Thursday, November 17, 2005

More Misleading Claims Found in Tobacco-Free Kids' Campaign of Deception to Promote FDA Legislation

According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids' "fact" sheet on the proposed FDA tobacco legislation: "The public health community supports strong, identical, bipartisan bills that have been introduced in the Senate and the House of Representatives."

The Rest of the Story

I find the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids' claim that the public health community supports the FDA tobacco bills to be misleading and disingenuous.

The claim is not that "The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids" supports this legislation, or that "A coalition of public health groups" supports this legislation. Instead, it's that "The public health community" supports this legislation.

To me, that implies that there is not a substantial amount of dissent in the public health community about support for this legislation. And I simply do not think that implication is accurate.

A large number of very prominent public health advocates with years of experience in tobacco control have expressed their opposition to this legislation. There has been a published commentary in the journal Tobacco Control that opposes this legislation. And that commentary was published in the "Debate" section, apparently indicating that there is some debate in the field about the merit of this legislation. There is a web site devoted to opposition to this legislation. And a large number of public health advocates are clearly opposed to the measure. And the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids knows it.

While I disagree with the Campaign's characterization of this legislation as being "strong" (I do agree that the bills are "identical" and that they are "bipartisan"), I don't take issue with that characterization because the Campaign is entitled to its opinion and is entitled to state its opinion in its own "fact" sheet.

However, the Campaign is not entitled to misrepresent the position of the public health community in order to enhance its Campaign of Deception to promote this Philip Morris-supported legislation.

If the Campaign wants to express its own support for the bill - fine. If it wants to express the support of a large number of organizations - fine. But it is not entitled to express the support of the entire public health community when there is a substantial segment of the public health community that vigorously opposes this legislation.

Tobacco-Free Kids is entitled to lobby for what they apparently think is the best thing since sliced bread (and Philip Morris apparently agrees). But this campaign of deception has got to come to an end.

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