Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Ignite Corrects Inaccurate Statement; Young People Should Be Commended for their Integrity

Possibly in response to my October 19 post pointing out an inaccurate statement on the Ignite web site, the group has corrected the statement.

On October 19, I wrote: "On the Ignite (a youth/young adult anti-smoking advocacy group) web site, it states: 'Even though tobacco is addictive and causes over 400,000 American deaths every year, tobacco is still the only consumer product not regulated by the FDA.' To be lenient, that is an inaccurate statement. To be more harsh, it's a lie. It's simply dishonest to publicly claim that all other consumer products (other than tobacco) are regulated by the FDA."

Ignite has, however, corrected the web site, which now states - accurately - that: "Even though tobacco is addictive and causes over 400,000 American deaths every year, tobacco is still [the] one of the only consumable products not regulated by the FDA."

I want to applaud Ignite for taking the time and showing the concern to correct this statement. It takes character to admit making a mistake and it demonstrates integrity to care enough to correct the mistake.

The Rest of the Story

In contrast to the actions of Ignite, which seem to indicate that it truly cares about the accuracy of its public statements and accusations, the actions of another anti-smoking group - Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights (ANR) - lead me to question whether ANR does.

Although it has been quite some time since I pointed out how irresponsible it is for ANR to accuse FORCES International of being a tobacco industry front group when ANR itself admits to having no evidence that FORCES is funded by the industry, ANR's unjustified, inaccurate, and undocumented accusation is still present on its web site.

As I stated back on October 5: "When you preface your argument for the inclusion of this group [FORCES] on the list by stating: "For years FORCES has claimed to be a membership organization that did not receive tobacco funding. Internal tobacco industry documents are inconclusive on this point", I think you are exposing that you have a very weak case for the inclusion of FORCES on the list.

I mean - if the evidence on FORCES being funded by Big Tobacco is inconclusive, then isn't it also inconclusive that FORCES is a Big Tobacco front group?"

Nevertheless, in contrast to Ignite, ANR does not seem interested in correcting what I see as its very inaccurate characterization of FORCES. After all, how can you accuse a group of being a Big Tobacco front and yet not be able to document, with even a shred of evidence, that the organization is funded, even in part, by Big Tobacco?

While Ignite's accomplishment may not seem particularly spectacular in and of itself, I have to say that in the midst of an anti-smoking movement that appears to care only about its agenda and not the integrity of the means used to pursue that agenda (including assuming the responsibility of being accurate to the public in one's public statements), Ignite's action to correct its public statement stands out as a rare light in an otherwise dark tunnel.

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