My third roundtable interview with Gian Turci of FORCES International addresses the widespread misrepresentation of the science of secondhand smoke by anti-smoking groups. The interview includes a discussion of the U.S. Surgeon General's misrepresentation of the acute effects of secondhand smoke, and it debunks the myth that 30 minutes of secondhand smoke exposure is enough to cause heart disease or to precipitate a heart attack in an otherwise healthy nonsmoker.
To my surprise, rather than the 30-minute claims representing a transient bad episode of misrepresentation of science, it is turning out that the 30-minute claims were actually the initial sign of a deteriorating commitment to scientific intergrity and honest communication in the tobacco control movement.
Things have gotten so bad that now a provincial health department can claim that secondhand smoke causes instant cardiac arrest among children and no anti-smoking group goes on the record as rejecting that claim.
What started as an exaggeration of the science has turned into distortion of that science and now into complete fabrication of health effects that do not exist.