Thursday, May 03, 2007

And Now for Something Completely Different: More Deception by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

In an April 4 message to its constituents, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids wrote: "Every major public health organization, including the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and American Heart Association, strongly supports S. 625/H.R. 1108, legislation introduced in the U.S. Congress that gives the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products."

The assertion in question is that "Every major public health organization...strongly supports S. 625/H.R. 1108."

The Rest of the Story

The rest of the story is that in refutation of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids' claim, the American Association of Public Health Physicians strongly opposes the proposed FDA legislation.

It seems deceptive to tell its constituents that every major public health organization in the country strongly supports the proposed FDA legislation when in fact, the major public health organization that represents the nation's public health physicians opposes the legislation.

I suppose that the Campaign could argue that the American Association of Public Health Physicians is not a major public health organization, but doing so would be spitting in the faces of the nation's public health physicians. I'm not sure which would be worse.

Incidentally, the Campaign's message to constituents also deceives them about what the legislation would and would not do. It states that the bill would require that tobacco companies remove harmful ingredients from their products. The bill does not do that. It merely gives the FDA the authority to require removal of some harmful ingredients. And it gives the tobacco industry tremendous power to block any significant FDA regulations. Moreover, the statement implies that all the hazardous ingredients would have to be removed. This, of course, is not true. I have discussed this issue in great detail previously.

Even if I supported the FDA legislation, I do not think it is appropriate to use unethical tactics to promote the bill. Deceiving your constituents about what the bill does is unethical. So is making a claim that is false, or at least very deceptive.

I just need to go on record as stating that I condemn the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids' unethical tactics in the strongest possible terms.

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