Monday, November 06, 2006

Note Sent to Anti-Smoking Groups on Eve of Election

For what it's worth, I sent the following note out today to a large group of anti-smoking organizations, including SmokeFreeOhio, ANR, ASH, and Association of Nonsmokers-Minnesota. Most likely, I'll just be attacked, but at least it's an attempt to try to retain some scientific integrity in the movement. Most important, my conscience does not rest easy knowing that we as a movement are misleading people about the health facts in order to scare them into voting for our cause. I think the truth is, should be, and must be enough.

"I think the claims being made widely by anti-smoking groups to try to scare people into thinking they are going to get a heart attack from breathing in secondhand smoke only for a few minutes are misleading and inadequately documented, and need to stop. By continuing to make these claims, we are not only violating the public trust, in my opinion, because we are not accurately communicating the science, but we are also threatening our credibility and ultimately, our long-term effectiveness.

It is not too late for groups like SmokeFreeOhio, ANR, ASH, and the Association of Nonsmokers - Minnesota to correct their misleading claims before the election. While many of us have been working for years to enact smoke-free laws based on accurate and carefully documented science, the current use of misleading the public in order to garner support for their votes is unfortunate.

It doesn't have to be this way. The truth is on our side, and it is clearly enough. Let's win big tomorrow, but let's win big knowing that we have done our best to accurately represent the health effects of secondhand smoke to the public and that we have not sunk to the level of the opposition by trying to mislead people about the facts in order to gain their votes."

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