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Wednesday, 29 December 2010

BUREAUCRATS SEEK ''TROPHY CONVICTIONS''

With the permission of our friends at the Canadian Constitution Foundation, we are posting this newsletter which you can also read right at their website at:  http://www.canadianconstitutionfoundation.ca/newsletter.php?newsletter_id=154

Bureaucrats seek 'trophy convictions'


Drop the pig and put your hands up in the air!




By Karen Selick, CCF Litigation Director

The National Post

The maxim “Ignorance of the law is no excuse” made sense back in the days when the only kind of acts that were illegal were genuine crimes that caused palpable harm to innocent victims: murder, rape, theft, etc.

But with the growth of the regulatory state, every individual is now subject to thousands of pages of densely written federal, provincial and municipal statutes and regulations. The law is also embodied in innumerable judicial decisions. And it’s all in continual flux: regulations are passed without parliamentary debate, and courts release new judgments daily.

There is probably not a single law professor, judge, or legislator in Canada who has even a passing familiarity with, let alone full comprehension of, all the laws we are required to obey. The average joe doesn’t stand a chance. We are all potential offenders every day, no matter how law-abiding we might wish to be.

Given this welter of law, how should those responsible for enforcing it conduct themselves? A legal battle unfolding in Ottawa provides a prime example of how not to do it.

Mark Tijssen is a major in the Canadian Forces. He grew up on a farm, attending livestock auctions and helping his father butcher animals for the family’s own table. He’s also a hunter who dresses his own game. And he has a University of Guelph degree in biomedical toxicology. In short, he can tell a healthy animal from a sick one. He’s concerned, like many Canadians, about the safety of commercially produced meats, especially since the Maple Leaf Foods episode of 2008 that left 21 dead and dozens of others seriously ill. He knows of the study showing that as much as 10% of the pork in Canadian supermarkets is contaminated with antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus germs.

Tijssen uses his farming and butchering skills to opt out of the commercial food supply. For years, he has inspected his own meat while still on the hoof, slaughtered it himself, and packaged it for later use. In November, 2009 he and a friend bought a pig, intending to share it.

But for unknown reasons, a neighbour reported to the Ontario government that Tijssen was running an unlicensed slaughterhouse on his property.

It’s perfectly legal to butcher your own pig and serve it to your immediate family in your own home. What’s not legal, as a result of new Food Safety and Quality Act regulations that quietly took effect in 2005, is letting someone else take home-butchered meat off the property.

It fell to conservation officer Graham Ridley of Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) to deal with Tijssen’s neighbour’s complaint.

Ridley could have phoned or visited Tijssen to make sure he knew about the 130-page regulation and warn him against violating it. A responsible person like a Canadian Forces major would surely have wanted to avoid getting into trouble with the law if he knew about it.

But instead, Ridley staked out Tijssen’s home for five full days in November 2009, watching from a tree-house on the neighbour’s property, waiting to see whether anyone would leave Tijssen’s property with meat. How gratifying it must have been when he finally saw the co-owner of the pig leaving with a box of pork. At last, a charge could be laid!

Ridley sprang into action, following the friend down the road and confiscating the pork.

Tijssen, on learning from his friend what had happened, telephoned Ridley the next day and acknowledged having butchered the pig. But faced with this golden opportunity of explaining the 2005 regulations to Tijssen, Ridley once again declined.

Instead, the following evening, after dark, Ridley raided Tijssen’s property accompanied by four police cars and two MNR trucks, lights flashing. Armed police officers searched the property painstakingly and carried off 14 articles of butchering equipment—evidence of Tijssen’s heinous offence—even though Tijssen had already acknowledged in the previous day’s phone call that he had killed the pig.

Tijssen now stands charged with four offences and theoretically faces penalties of up to $100,000. The MNR lawyers quickly offered him the chance to settle for a fine of only $8,000. They then reduced their demand to $2,000 and eventually to a paltry $1,000—not nearly enough to pay for officer Ridley’s five-day surveillance and the multi-officer raid, let alone their lawyers’ services

But Tijssen refuses to plead guilty and will be tried in February.

Meanwhile, one can’t help wondering: does the MNR really want compliance with the law, or trophy convictions to terrorize other unwitting citizens?

Friday, 24 December 2010

JOYEUSES FÊTES - HAPPY HOLIDAYS

Nous souhaitons des très joyeuses fêtes et une bonne année à tous nos lecteurs.


Pour l’occasion, nous vous offrons cet article de Pierre Foglia paru dans la Cyberpresse du 21 décembre qui décrit jusqu’à quel point on peut pousser la rectitude politique au sein d’une société qui cherche à plaire à tout le monde à tout prix.


Mon beau sapin






A very happy holiday season to all our faithful readers.

The following two of a series of articles were written by a friend of C.A.G.E., John Savage from the UK. Enjoy.

6,000+ Chemicals in Brussel Sprouts

A stark warning was issued earlier today by the charity Action against Relaxation, Socialising and Enjoyment (ARSE), concerning the lethal nature of the most traditional accompliment to the Christmas lunch - the Brussel sprout.

ARSE's chief scientific officer, Dr (bought off the internet) E Bonnie Kneeser-Scruge, stated, "As we all know, Brussel sprouts contain over 6,000+ chemicals. These include glucosinolates, sinigrin, progoitrin, glocobrassicin, carotenes, benzene acetonitrile, benzene propane nitrile, folates, 1-H-indole-3-acetonitrile, ascorbic acid, phenylthiocarbamide, goitrogens, benzene ethyl isothiocyanate and sulforaphane. One can hardly imagine what damage this lethal chemical mixture is causing to the health of the nation, especially to that of the children."

When challenged that she had only listed less than twenty of these 6,000+ chemicals, Dr (of Propaganda and Deceiving The Public) Kneeser-Scruge replied."As we all know, those 6,000+ chemicals are in Brussels sprouts. It's only a matter of using state of the art detection equipment, theorising or fabricating evidence to prove their existence. That is why we are urging the public to increase their donations to fund this vital research."

When challenged that ARSE was practically completely funded by government grants, Dr Kneeser-Scruge denied this, stating that the tax system was the most efficient means of collecting public donations.



Legal Age For Sitting On Santa's Lap To be Raised to 18

Anti-Christmas campaigners welcomed lifting the legal age for sitting on Santa's lap to 18. Government statistics show that 9% of young people aged 1 to 15 sit on Santa's lap, down from 13% in 1996. Most sit on Santa's lap in departmental stores. A trading standards survey in 2005 found that 12% of departmental stores were willing to allow children clearly under the current legal age of 16 to do so.

Deputy Health Secretary, Ima Killjoy, said, "Sitting on Santa's lap is dangerous at any age, but the younger people start, the more likely they are to become lifelong Christmas addicts and to die early.

"Someone who starts enjoying Christmas aged 15 is 3.12 (RR. 3.12, 2% CI: 0.00-6.24) times more likely to die of a Brussel sprout related condition than someone who starts in their late 20s. Enjoying Christmas has been too easy for under-16s, and this is partly due to retailers allowing them to sit on Santa's lap when blatantly under the legal age.

Dr Mercy Ree-Barstaad, director of ARSE (Action against Relaxation, Socialising and Enjoyment), welcomed the change but said the current fines on departmental stores were pitiful, with most given a verbal warning.


Monday, 20 December 2010

BELIEFS, MANIPULATION AND LIES IN THE TOBACCO ISSUE - Robert Molimard

English translation of the French original of this paper that was presented at a meeting of la Société d'Addictologie Francophone at the Sainte Anne Hospital in Paris on December 9, 2010, under the theme ‘’Truths, Lies and beliefs in regards to addiction’’ ("Vérités, mensonges et…croyances en addictologie’’). It will be published in the next issue of the journal ‘’Le Courrier des Addictions’’, organ of the SAF.

Translated by Iro Cyr with the assistance of Pr. Robert Molimard and Dan Romano

Disclaimer: In accordance with French law, Pr. Robert Molimard declares that he doesn’t have any competing interests with neither the pharmaceutical nor the tobacco industries.


Beliefs, manipulation and lies in the tobacco issue

Robert Molimard   

When contaminated by pesticides such as Gaucho ® or Regent ®, a bee becomes disoriented and can no longer find its hive or its wild flowers of choice. We cannot solve a problem if the messages are muddled. Undeniably, disturbing one’s sense of orientation and muddling communication hinders rational thought and behavior. Lies and manipulations are the weapons of choice for political and economic gains without regard for the well-being of people or the survival of the planet.

Tobacco manufacturers and merchants, the state, self-righteous non-profit organizations, the pharmaceutical industry - all powerful entities involved in tobacco issues - are ready to do anything to promote their own agendas. In a curious collusion, they all seem to be quite content with a general state of public confusion in which scientific truth has no place, and where the smoker, convinced of his own guilt, has become the apathetic victim.

The Tobacco Industry

As soon as the very first findings of the risks of smoking were publicized, the tobacco industry was quick to rebut these with misleading advertising.

Although some ads promoted the relaxing effects and social advantages of smoking, and even the glamorous aspect supposedly so seductive to women, other ads, however, specifically contested the negative health effects. During the period between the two world wars, in the United States where trade was not controlled by a Board of State as in France, many tobacco advertising posters were associated with doctors. For example:

‘’More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette’’; in a classic “argument from authority”, the ad encouraged people to follow the example of doctors, who must certainly know best.

Or in another ad where we find the caption "Not one single case of throat irritation due to smoking Camels!" accompanied by the photo of an ENT with his stereotypical head mirror. They can’t possibly be dangerous when it is an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist who says they are not.

And your doctor will go as far as prescribing L & M filter cigarettes: ‘’Just What the Doctor ordered’’. Instead of quitting smoking, they would even suggest that you switch to Philip Morris and in 3 out of 4 cases your cough will disappear! [1]

But the greatest success story in misleading tobacco advertising is the “light cigarettes” scam. On June 8, 1985, during the 3rd day of tobacco dependence I organized in Paris at la Faculté des Saints Pères, I had invited LT Kozlowski to give us a demonstration of the work he had done in Toronto with a smoking machine [2]. He explained that the amounts of nicotine and tar displayed on cigarette packs had nothing to do with the content in the tobacco itself. Moreover, tobacco contains no tar. It is formed during the combustion process. In other words, what the outcomes actually represented was the amount collected in the smoke when the cigarette was smoked by a machine under standard conditions. As for tobacco, it was virtually the same whether the cigarette was labeled heavy or light, based on the readings obtained from the machine. The big difference was made by the micro-perforations in the filter through which ambient air from the room can enter. Consequently, when the machine sucks the standard 35ml puff, if 30 ml enters through the perforations, the dosage relates to only 5 ml of smoke! All Kozlowski had to do is block the ventilation and change the setting on the machine to see the content multiplied by 22 for the reading obtained for 0.1 mg of nicotine and by 29 for that of tar. The smoker is perfectly capable of doing exactly that. Moreover, from determination of salivary cotinine in 2031 smokers of their usual cigarette, yielding from 0.1 to 1.mg of nicotine, Martin Jarvis calculated their real nicotine intake. He did not find any difference. Nicotine intake was about the same, irrespective of the machine-yield of the cigarette they smoke. (3)

The conclusion is clear and unequivocal: The smoker is not a machine. Yields reported are of no use in predicting the absorption of toxins. And yet, 20 years later, a European directive specified that as of January 1, 2004, contents (sic) for cigarettes should not exceed 10mg per cigarette for tar, 1mg for nicotine and 10mg for carbon monoxide. This 2003 directive is still in effect! It therefore becomes compelling to conclude that the EU endorses the light cigarettes deceit. I see only two possible explanations. Either the ‘’experts’’ who advise the EU are guilty of total incompetence and gross ignorance, or else they are moles of the tobacco industry. In any case, I personally have not been consulted and therefore plead not guilty.

The Medication Enterprises (Les entreprises du médicament)

Let us first of all acknowledge the change of name. It is neither innocent nor without reason. Formerly, it was known as the Pharmaceutical Industry, which is not a very reassuring name. Industry evoked factory chimneys belching black smoke. Pharmaceutical, springs to mind images of jars labeled “Poison’’ with a skull crossed in red. Enterprises on the other hand sounds dynamic, and evokes progress. As for Medication, it serves to heal, how can that not be beneficial? Is it a matter of a simple naive case for an enhanced image or a manifestation of the art of manipulation?

The big fraud in the tobacco issue was none other than the publication of the 1988 Surgeon General Report entitled “Nicotine Addiction’’. This fraud is incomprehensible unless one sees the link with the launch of the nicotine gum. The major premise of the Report seems to be a syllogism that states: “Tobacco products cause a powerful addiction’’ The minor premise is: “Tobacco contains a neurotropic poison - nicotine’’. Hence follows the conclusion: “Therefore nicotine is responsible for the addictiveness of tobacco’’. But there is no evidence that allows us to draw such a conclusion. A host of other assumptions are possible, and there are even major arguments to oppose it, such as the fact that no cases of nicotine dependence have ever been documented when this substance was used in isolation, as was already established long before the “Medication Enterprises” began marketing nicotine as a form of medication. This duplicity is more than amazing when you consider how common it is for addicts to experiment with the purified extracts of their plants of choice. Since no formal evidence of dependence to pure nicotine has yet to be produced, the conclusion that nicotine alone is addictive is not a syllogism, but rather, pure sophistry.

And yet, against all scientific rigor, this fallacy was implanted through repetition, hammered in as an unassailable truth, all with the support of health authorities and politicians. Thus the famous Fagerström test in the AFSSAPS good practice recommendations, continues to be called ‘’test for nicotine dependence’’. Yet not one of its 6 items even refers to it. This is simply a test for cigarette dependence and we would have no objection if it were referred to as such. Is this a minor detail? No, it is clearly an intentional mistake, extremely serious in its consequences both intellectually and scientifically. Because having arbitrarily decided that nicotine alone explains tobacco dependence and having it engrained in the minds of doctors, the authorities and the public, any research on the other possible factors of this dependency is now excluded in advance and a vast new market is made available for commercial exploitation by the pharmaceutical industry.

But a second manipulation, easy to debunk at least in theory, is also currently wreaking havoc: the big lie used as the basis of all repressive policies against smokers on the basis of passive smoking. As one would expect, they found popular support from non-smokers, forceful because they are now the majority, as well as among a number of smokers who considered that it would give them the incentive they required to rid them of their cigarette dependence. It is undeniable that the omnipresence of smoke was becoming increasingly intolerable and that regulation was necessary for the sake of non-smokers who had enough of the constant annoyance. But they had to find an argument that carried greater weight than simple inconvenience to non-smokers – the danger of other people's smoke to the health of nonsmokers. In 1990, Catherine Hill, estimated the annual deaths from passive smoking for France to be 1000, of which around one hundred were lung cancers. She noted that the margin of uncertainty becomes quite wide when dealing with estimates of such low impacts. In front of the Academy of Medicine, Pr. Tubiana in 1997 applied the considerable increase in cardiovascular risk of the U.S. assessment to France and estimated the death toll from passive smoking to be 2500, including 105 lung cancers. In 2005, without producing any specific study for France, Norman and Dubois reported 3000 deaths from passive smoking.

But these increases were still not sufficient to reach the critical level that would have made second hand smoke a serious public health problem warranting drastic measures. That’s when an international report made its appearance. Produced by four institutions, Cancer Research UK, European Respiratory Society, Institut National du Cancer and the European Health Network, announced, with great precision, 5863 deaths for France, quickly rounded to 6000 deaths for the press [4]. They had finally reached the level that was required to justify the measures that were quickly adopted in most countries. (Figure 1)

(Figure1) Reproduction of the table in the report ‘’Lifting the SmokeScreen’’ assessing mortality for France by passive smoking. It is broken down by age and exposure at home or at the place of employment, indicating separately the employment in the ‘’hospitality industry’’, including hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Moreover, deaths are calculated separately for the various causes - lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke and chronic respiratory diseases. None of these estimates takes into account statistical spreads.

But anyone who would had carefully read this report would have discovered that, with the utmost simplicity and dare I say nonchalance, the authors also showed separately the estimates for non-smokers thus revealing that smokers themselves were included in their total death estimates. In doing so,  they changed the definition of passive smoking itself! And suddenly, with only 1,114 deaths in non-smokers including 152 lung cancers, we almost went back to Catherine Hill’s estimate of 20 years earlier.''   When breaking down these 1114 deaths, it becomes unclear how a law banning smoking in public spaces can have any effect on 1007 of these 1114 deaths that relate to exposure at home, providing of course that the police are not permitted to break down your door with a ram to fine your smoking spouse. 107 deaths were attributed to exposure at work, and 6 of them to the special conditions for the hotels restaurants, bars and discos where the application of the ban was delayed by one year. (Figure 2)


Figure 2 .- Reproduction of the table in the report ‘’Lifting the SmokeScreen’’ assessing mortality for France by passive smoking among non-smokers. This is the only assessment that matches the traditional definition of passive smoking, ie ‘’non-smoking victims due to other people's smoke’’. The overall assessment comes from old data. The importance of exposure to the spouse’s second hand some at home is surprising, as is the weakness of death by exposure in the workplace, especially in the hospitality industry, where the consequences of the ban have had the biggest social impact.


Thus the authors have classified 4749 active smokers as victims of passive smoking using the specious argument that when smoking in their offices they also inhale the ambient air filled with their own smoke! I have previously produced a complete analysis of this outrageous report [5]. It obviously did not elicit any response. In my analysis, I pointed out that this report was presented at a conference held in Luxembourg on June 2, 2005, in the presence of the highest authorities of Europe, by the associations mandated to adopt it and under the sponsorship of GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer precisely at the same moment as the launch of Champix ®.

But in terms of marketing, the operation is a failure. Indeed, not only have smokers, despite being stigmatized and persecuted, did not rush off to the pharmacies in response to the bans, but sales of all drugs known as ‘’nicotine replacement therapy’’ are plummeting. And this notwithstanding the intense indirect television advertising that should in fact be banned since in France it is not permitted to advertize for medication that is reimbursed by social security. One has to be blind not to see through their hardly veiled scheme that these ads make smokers aware of the drugs that are eligible for reimbursement so they can insist that their doctor prescribes those particular drugs to them.

But the major concern for anyone who really cares about the health of smokers, is that such drastic measures are counterproductive to smoking cessation. The official sales of tobacco increased while the smuggling figures do not show any reduction. The prevalence of smoking among youth is increasing. Smoking cessation consultations are increasingly abandoned by their clients. The Diplomas of Tobacology no longer attract any students. In defense of their proper identity, smokers now sink into themselves and shut themselves off in a way that public health messages [6] can no longer reach them.

The Anti-Tobacco Crusaders

These activists have abandoned logical reasoning and replaced it with faith and passion. Anything goes when it comes to pursuing the triumph of their such “good cause’’, and “white lies’ are a perfectly acceptable tool.  Any open debate and any valid scientific research is therefore precluded. We do find of course some pure idealists, survivors of former “virtuous movements’’ among them. Be that as it may, there are unfortunately a great number of self-interested do-gooder apostles fueling and exploiting to their advantage this blind militant force in an effort to assert their own power and fame, not to mention more tangible benefits.

For these knights of purity, tobacco is the absolute evil, the devil. It must be eliminated, eradicated. At the very least, it must be hidden or sold “under the counter’’, much like porn magazines (sic). The tobacco industry is diabolical. It must be destroyed, made to disappear, bankrupted through litigation.

The problem is that if the tobacco industry exists it is because it responds to a demand. If tobacco has spread around the world since Christopher Columbus, during an era when there was no other means of advertising than word of mouth and when tobacco was cultivated by primitive means, it is because there is something attractive about the product that causes people to crave for it. The industry responded to the demand, it did not create it. If the industry were to disappear, the demand would remain and would require to be fulfilled. And it would be fulfilled. Multinationals would be investing their money in tax havens, where they would fund an offshore production in some underdeveloped nation. Cigarettes would be distributed through organized criminal networks, fueling underground commerce and auxiliary crimes in the process. No quality control could ever be achieved. Control could only be dealt with through the police and corruption would inevitably creep in. For these reasons, the fundamentalist anti-tobacco crusaders are a true danger to social balance and public health.

As for the smoker, he is seen as someone possessed by the devil. He must be pursued, hunted down to his last hide-out, even in his own home. The smoker loses the ordinary rights of ownership and freedoms within his own home. Already in the U.S. smokers are increasingly denied rental housing. Moreover, in the spirit of good Judeo-Christian morality, he must be punished by where he has sinned. Let his vice cost him and ruin him. Let us therefore increase the price of cigarettes and rolling tobacco. For decades, we have been served a lie, with no tolerance for any criticism or challenge, namely: that the only effective method to reduce smoking prevalence is to increase the price of cigarettes. But since it does not work, they allege that it is because the increases are neither high enough nor frequent enough! But just as with their tactic of stigmatization of smokers, the high-price policy does not work.

That is where the real failure lies. One could always be tempted to defend such a policy if its success outweighed its serious adverse effects. Effects that destroy the individual, the HUMAN-slave to cigarettes. It sinks him into poverty and social exclusion, pushing him into more dangerous smoking behaviors. But it does not exorcise the demon of addiction.

They attempt to justify these dehumanizing policies by referring to large statistics with abstruse mathematical models [7]. However, if any of these policies were truly effective one would think that after 30 years of applying them worldwide we should be noticing their effects. Smoking prevalence should be lower in places where the prices are high. Comparing the 27 countries of the European Union for smoking prevalence according to price, and after adjusting for purchasing power, we should be able to calculate a significant regression line with a nice negative slope. I drafted this graph based on 2009 [8,9] data. The result is not debatable. We observe a cloud of dots, there is no significant correlation, and to add mockery to injury, the calculated regression line shows a positive slope! (Figure 3)

Figure 3 – Distribution of smoking prevalence in the EU in 2009 according to the price of the most popular brand of cigarettes (Marlboro ® ) adjusted for purchasing power. 


Science can only progress if we learn from its mistakes. What is truly diabolical is keeping our eyes tightly shut and manufacturing the results to best serve our own interests and obsessions!


References

1.- The University of Stanford website contains an important collection of cigarette advertizing images that can be downloaded from http://lane.stanford.edu/tobacco/index.html

2.- Kozlowski LT, Rickert WS, Popo MA, Robinson JC. Estimating the yields to smokers of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide from the "lowest-yield" ventilated-filter cigarettes. Br. J. Addict. 1982b, 77 : 159-65

3.- Jarvis MJ, Boreham R, Primatesta P, Feyerabend C, Bryant A. Nicotine yield from machine-smoked cigarettes and nicotine intakes in smokers: evidence from a representative population survey .J Natl Cancer Inst. 2001 Jan 17;93(2):134-8.

4.- Lifting the smokescreen, 10 reasons for a smokefree Europe .www.ersnet.org

5.- Molimard R. Le rapport européen "Lifting the smokescreen: Etude épidémiologique, ou manipulation? Revue d'Epidémiologie et de Santé Publique, (2008) 56 ;(n°4): 286-90

6.- Falomir, J. M., Mugny, G. (2004) Société contre fumeur, Une analyse psychologique de l’influence des experts. Grenoble : Presses Universitaires de Grenoble

7.- Ross H, Blecher E, Yan L, Hyland A. Do cigarette prices motivate smokers to quit? New evidence from the ITC survey. Addiction. 2010 Nov 9. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.03192.x. [Epub ahead of print]


9.- The 2009 prices of a pack of 20 Marlboro cigarettes in 27 countries of the EU adjusted for purchasing power, according to http://www.cancer.be/images/journaliste/Communique-de-presse-taxation-tabac-100929.pdf

Saturday, 11 December 2010

CROYANCES, MANIPULATIONS ET MENSONGES EN MATIÈRE DE TABAC

Le professeur Robert Molimard fut l’invité de la Société d’Addictologie Francophone qui tenait une réunion sur le thème « Vérités, croyances et mensonges en Addictologie » à l’Hôpital Sainte-Anne à Paris le 9 décembre dernier.

Avec l’aimable permission du professeur, nous reproduisons ici le texte intégral de sa présentation. Vous trouverez cet exposé accompagné des fichiers audio et Power Point, dont nous vous recommandons fortement de consulter, dans son site Tabac Humain.


Croyances, manipulations et mensonges en matière de tabac

Robert Molimard

Contaminée par un pesticide comme le Gaucho® ou le Régent®, une abeille perd ses repères et ne peut retrouver ni sa ruche ni ses champs de fleurs favoris. On ne peut résoudre un problème si les messages sont brouillés. Perturber les repères, brouiller la communication
s'oppose aux comportements et adaptations rationnels. Mensonges, manipulations, sont les armes favorites pour accroître sans limites le pouvoir économique et politique et le profit, sans aucun égard pour le bien-être des populations ou la survie de la planète.

Fabricants et vendeurs de tabac, Etat, ligues de vertu, industrie pharmaceutique, toutes ces forces en œuvre dans le domaine du tabac sont prêtes à tout pour faire triompher leur intérêts ou leurs passions. Dans une curieuse collusion, elles semblent se satisfaire d'une confusion où la vérité scientifique n'a pas sa place, et où le fumeur est en fin de compte une victime complice.

Les tabagiers

Dès les premières informations sur le risque à fumer; ils ont été prompts à les combattre par des publicités mensongères. Certes les affiches vantaient la détente, la convivialité de la cigarette, l'aspect glamour pour séduire les femmes. Mais certaines étaient une négation des effets délétères sur la santé. Dans l'entre deux-guerres, aux USA où le commerce n'était pas encadré par une Régie d'Etat comme en France, on voyait parmi celles qui fleurissaient les murs les appels au médecin. "Beaucoup de médecins fument des Camels plutôt que toute autre cigarette". Argument d'autorité, poussant à les imiter. "Pas un seul cas d'irritation de la gorge en fumant des Camels". Elles ne peuvent être dangereuses, puisqu'un ORL avec son miroir frontal vous le dit. Et votre docteur va jusqu'à vous prescrire la cigarette filtre L&M :"just what the doctor ordered". Plutôt qu'arrêter de fumer, on va même jusqu'à vous suggérer de passer aux Philip Morris, et dans 3 cas sur 4 la toux disparait![1]

Mais leur plus belle réussite est l'arnaque des cigarettes légères. Le 8 juin 1985 lors de la 3e journée de la dépendance tabagique à Paris à la Faculté des Saints Pères, j'avais invité L.T. Kozlowski. Il venait nous exposer ses travaux menés à Toronto avec une machine à fumer[2]. Il expliquait que les quantités de nicotine et de goudron affichées sur les paquets de cigarettes n'étaient pas des teneurs du tabac. D'ailleurs le tabac ne contient pas de goudron, formé lors de sa combustion. C'étaient des rendements, c'est-à-dire les quantités recueillies dans la fumée lorsque la cigarette était fumée par une machine dans des conditions standard. Quant au tabac, il était pratiquement le même, que la cigarette soit étiquetée forte ou légère en fonction de ces rendements. La grande différence tenait aux micro-perforations au niveau du filtre, par où peut pénétrer l'air de la pièce. Si bien que lorsque la machine aspire la bouffée standard de 35ml, si 30ml entrent par ces perforations, le dosage ne porte que sur 5 ml de fumée! Mais il a suffi à Kozlowski d'obturer cette ventilation et de modifier les paramètres de réglage de la machine pour multiplier par 22 le rendement affiché de 0,1mg de nicotine et par 29 celui de goudron. Le fumeur est parfaitement capable d'une telle performance. D'ailleurs, dans un travail sur 2031 fumeurs, M. Jarvis[3] a calculé à partir de l'élimination de cotinine la quantité de nicotine réellement absorbée, et n'a trouvé aucune différence quels que soient les rendements affichés, de 0,1 à 1mg.

La conclusion est nette et sans appels: Le fumeur n'est pas une machine. Les rendements affichés n'ont aucun intérêt pour prévoir son absorption de toxiques. Pourtant, 20 ans plus tard, une directive européenne spécifiait qu'à compter du 1 janvier 2004, les teneurs (sic) maximales pour les cigarettes seraient de 10mg par cigarette pour le goudron, 1mg pour la nicotine et 10mg pour l'oxyde de carbone. Cette directive 2003 est encore en vigueur! Force est donc de constater que l'Union Européenne cautionne la duperie des cigarettes légères. Je n'y vois que deux explications. Ou bien les "experts" qui conseillent l'UE sont d'une incompétence majeure et d'une ignorance crasse. Ou bien ce sont des taupes de l'industrie tabagière. En tous cas, personnellement, je n'ai pas été consulté et plaide non-coupable.

Les entreprises du médicament

On appréciera d'abord le changement sémantique. Ce n'est ni innocent ni gratuit. Naguère, c'était l'Industrie Pharmaceutique. Rien de rassurant. Industrie évoquait des cheminées d'usine crachant des fumées noires. Pharmaceutique, c'étaient des alignées de bocaux marqués "Poison", avec des têtes de mort barrées d'une croix rouge. Tandis qu'Entreprise, c'est dynamique, cela sent le progrès, et Médicament, c'est pour guérir, ce ne peut qu'être bénéfique. Simple naïve question d'image? Ou manifestation de l'art de la manipulation?

Car la grande imposture en matière de tabac a été la publication du rapport 1988 du Surgeon General. De façon strictement incompréhensible, si l'on ne fait pas la relation avec le lancement sur le marché de la gomme à la nicotine, il a été intitulé "Nicotine Addiction". La prémisse majeure de ce qui semblerait un syllogisme est : "Le tabac crée une puissante addiction'. La prémisse mineure : "Le tabac contient un poison neurotrope, la nicotine" D'où découle la conclusion : "Donc la nicotine est responsable de l'addiction au tabac". Mais on ne peut d'évidence tirer une telle conclusion. Une foule d'autres hypothèses sont possibles, il y a même des arguments majeurs à lui opposer, ne serait-ce qu'aucun cas de dépendance à la nicotine seule n'a été décrit depuis l'isolement de cette substance, bien avant sa commercialisation médicamenteuse. Cela ne manque pas d'étonner quand on sait la propension des toxicomanes à explorer les extraits purifiés de leurs plantes favorites. Il ne s'agit donc pas d'un syllogisme, mais d'un pur sophisme, car aucune preuve formelle de dépendance à la nicotine seule n'a encore été apportée.

Et pourtant, contre toute rigueur scientifique, ce sophisme s'est implanté, à force d'être répété, matraqué comme une vérité première, avec le support des autorités sanitaires et politiques. Ainsi le célèbre test de Fagerström, dans les recommandations de bonne pratique de l'AFSSAPS, continue-t'il à être dénommé :"Test de dépendance à la nicotine". Pourtant, aucun de ses 6 items ne lui fait référence. C'est un test de dépendance à la cigarette, c'est tout, et l'on n'aurait rien à redire s'il se dénommait ainsi. Est-ce un détail? Non, c'est une faute, clairement intentionnelle, intellectuellement et scientifiquement gravissime par ses conséquences. Car avoir décidé ainsi, imprimé dans l'esprit des médecins, des autorités et du public que la nicotine à elle seule expliquait la dépendance au tabac exclut à l'avance toute recherche sur les facteurs de cette dépendance, et livre à l'industrie pharmaceutique tout un champ, désormais libre, d'exploitation commerciale.

Mais une deuxième manipulation, pourtant théoriquement facile à démonter, fait actuellement ses ravages: l'énorme mensonge à la base de toutes les politiques répressives à l'encontre des fumeurs au nom du tabagisme passif. Elles ont trouvé, et c'est normal, un soutien populaire d'autant plus efficace que les non-fumeurs sont en majorité, et que beaucoup de fumeurs ont pensé que cela pourrait les aider à se débarrasser du lourd fardeau de leur dépendance à la cigarette. Il est vrai aussi que l'omniprésence de la fumée devenait de plus en plus intolérable et qu'une régulation s'imposait, au nom du droit des non-fumeurs à ne pas être constamment incommodés. Mais il fallait trouver un argument d'un plus grand poids, le risque que faisait courir la fumée des autres à la santé des non-fumeurs. En 1990, Catherine Hill l'évaluait à 1000 décès annuels pour la France, dont une centaine de cancers du poumon. Elle faisait remarquer la large marge d'incertitude quand on veut apprécier des incidences aussi faibles. Devant l'Académie de Médecine, M. Tubiana montait en 1997 l'évaluation à 2500 décès, dont 105 cancers du poumon. Il transposait ainsi à la France la considérable hausse du risque cardiovasculaire dans l'évaluation américaine. En 2005, sans étude particulière pour la France, Norman et Dubois y annonçaient 3000 décès.

Mais ces hausses ne suffisaient pas à faire atteindre le niveau critique qui aurait fait de la fumée passive un grave problème de santé publique justifiant des mesures drastiques. C'est alors que parut un rapport international. Produit par quatre institutions, Cancer Research UK, European Respiratory Society, Institut National du Cancer et European Hearth Network, il annonçait avec grande précision pour la France 5863 décès, vite arrondis pour la presse à 6000 décès[4]. On atteignait enfin un niveau justifiant les mesures qui furent vite adoptées dans la majorité des pays. (figure 1)


Figure 1.- Reproduction du tableau du rapport "Lifting the SmokeScreen" évaluant pour la France la mortalité par tabagisme passif. Elle est ventilée selon l'âge et l'exposition à domicile ou au travail, en individualisant le travail dans "l'industrie de l'hospitalité", à savoir hôtels, restaurants, bars et discothèques. Sont calculés séparément les décès par cancer du poumon, affections cardiovasculaires, attaques cérébrales et affections respiratoires chroniques. Aucune de ces évaluations ne prend en compte la dispersion statistique

Mais la lecture de ce rapport révélait une énormité: le changement de la définition du tabagisme passif. Car, avec une grande naïveté, voire désinvolture, les auteurs donnaient aussi leurs évaluations chez les non-fumeurs! Et là, avec 1114 décès dont 152 cancers du poumon, on revenait à peu près à l'évaluation de Catherine Hill 20 ans auparavant. Mais, dans le détail, sur ces 1114 décès, on voit mal comment une loi interdisant de fumer dans les espaces publics pourrait avoir quelque efficacité sur les 1007 de ces 1114 décès liés à une exposition à domicile, tant que la police ne serait pas autorisée à défoncer votre porte au bélier pour verbaliser votre conjoint. 107 décès étaient attribués à une exposition au travail, et 6 d'entre eux aux conditions spéciales des hôtels restaurants, bars et discothèques où l'application de l'interdiction avait été retardée d'un an. (figure 2)

Figure 2.- Reproduction du tableau du rapport "Lifting the SmokeScreen" évaluant pour la France la mortalité par tabagisme passif chez les non-fumeurs. C'est la seule évaluation qui corresponde à la définition traditionnelle du tabagisme passif, à savoir les "non-fumeurs victimes de la fumée des autres". L'évaluation globale correspond à des données anciennes. L'importance de l'exposition à domicile au tabagisme du conjoint est surprenante, ainsi que la faiblesse des décès par exposition au travail, en particulier dans l'industrie de l'hospitalité, où les conséquences de l'interdiction ont amené les plus importants bouleversements des habitudes sociales.
Ainsi les auteurs ont classé 4749 fumeurs actifs comme victimes du tabagisme passif sous l'argument spécieux que, fumant dans leur bureau, ils en respiraient l'air qu'ils venaient d'enfumer! J'ai fait une analyse complète de ce rapport[5] scandaleux. Elle n'a évidemment suscité aucun écho. J'y faisais qu'il a été présenté lors d'une conférence tenue à Luxembourg le 2 juin 2005, en présence des plus hautes autorités de l'Europe, par les associations mandatées pour l'établir, sous le parrainage de GlaxoSmithKline et Pfizer, justement à l'occasion du lancement du Champix®.

Mais l'opération est ratée sur le plan du marketing. En effet, non seulement les fumeurs, stigmatisés et pourchassés, ne se sont pas précipités vers les pharmacies en réponse aux interdictions, mais les ventes de tous les médicaments dits "de sevrage tabagique" sont en chute libre. Et ceci malgré une intense publicité télévisée indirecte qui devrait être interdite, car il est cousu de fil blanc que le fumeur saura quel médicament, remboursé par la sécurité sociale, il lui faudra insister pour que son médecin le lui prescrive.

Mais le plus grave, pour qui se préoccupe de la santé des fumeurs, est que ces mesures drastiques se montrent contreproductives vis-à-vis du tabagisme. Les ventes officielles de tabac augmentent, sans que baisse la contrebande. La prévalence du tabagisme des jeunes s'accroît. Les consultations de tabacologie sont désertées. Les DIU de tabacologie n'attirent plus les étudiants. Par défense identitaire, les fumeurs se replient dans un "tabagisme retranché". Ils deviennent inaccessibles aux messages de santé publique.[6]

Les Croisés anti-tabac

On quitte le raisonnement logique pour la foi et la passion. Tout est bon pour faire triompher "la bonne cause", y compris le "pieux mensonge ". Tout débat, toute recherche scientifique sont donc "pré-clos". Parmi eux, il est évidemment de purs idéalistes, survivants des militants des anciennes "ligues de vertu". Mais il est hélas beaucoup de bons apôtres qui attisent et exploitent à leur profit cette force militante aveugle, pour asseoir un pouvoir ou une
notoriété, voire des avantages plus concrets.

Pour ces chevaliers de la pureté, le tabac est le mal absolu, le diable. Il faut l'éliminer, l'éradiquer. Au moins, le cacher, voire le vendre "sous le comptoir", comme les revues porno (sic). L'industrie tabagière est satanique. Il faut la détruire, qu'elle disparaisse, la ruiner par des procès.

Le problème est qu'elle existe parce qu'elle répond à une demande. Si le tabac s'est répandu dans le monde entier depuis Christophe Colomb, c'est parce qu'il a su la susciter, alors qu'il n'y avait d'autre possibilité publicitaire que le bouche à oreille, que sa culture était artisanale. L'industrie est née de cette demande, elle ne l'a pas créée. Si l'industrie disparaissait, la demande demeurerait, exigerait d'être satisfaite. Elle le serait. Les multinationales placeraient leurs capitaux dans des paradis fiscaux, d'où ils financeraient une production délocalisée dans quelque contrée africaine. Les cigarettes seraient distribuées par des circuits mafieux de contrebande, alimentant la délinquance. Plus aucun contrôle de la qualité des produits ne pourrait être réalisé. La répression ne pourrait être que policière, et la corruption s'organiserait. Ces intégristes sont des gens dangereux pour l'équilibre social et la santé publique.

Quand au fumeur, ils le voient eux possédé du démon. Il faut le pourchasser, le traquer dans ses derniers retranchements, même chez lui. Qu'il n'ait même plus de chez lui, et déjà aux USA certains fumeurs se voient refuser la location de logements. De plus, en bonne morale judéo-chrétienne, il faut qu'il soit puni par où il a péché. Que son vice lui coûte et le ruine. Augmentons donc le prix des cigarettes, puis du tabac à rouler. Depuis des décennies, on nous assène un mensonge, sans tolérer la moindre critique: la seule méthode efficace pour faire baisser le tabagisme serait d'augmenter le prix des cigarettes. Comme c'est inefficace, on dit que ce n'est ni assez souvent, ni assez fort ! Mais pas plus que la stigmatisation, la politique de prix élevés ne marche pas.

C'est là sa véritable faille. On pourrait la défendre si son efficacité compensait ses graves effets pervers. Car elle détruit l'individu, l'HOMME- esclave de la cigarette: Elle l'enfonce dans la pauvreté, l'exclusion sociale, le pousse à des comportements de fume plus dangereux. Mais elle n'exorcise pas le démon de la dépendance.

De grandes statistiques avec des modèles mathématiques abscons veulent la justifier[7]. Pourtant, si une d'une telle politique était efficace après 30 ans d'application dans le monde, on devrait en voir les effets. La prévalence du tabagisme devrait être plus faible là où les prix sont élevés. En comparant dans les 27 pays de l'Union Européenne la prévalence en fonction des prix, évidemment corrigés en fonction du pouvoir d'achat, on devrait pouvoir calculer une droite de régression significative avec une belle pente négative. J'ai établi ce graphique à partir de données de 2009[8] [9]. Le résultat est sans appel. Nous obtenons un nuage de points, il n'existe aucune relation significative, et même, véritable pied de nez, la droite de régression calculée a une pente positive! (figure 3)

Figure 3.- Distribution de la prévalence du tabagisme dans les 27 pays de l'Union Européenne en 2009 en fonction du prix de la cigarette la plus vendue (Marlboro ®) corrigé en fonction du pouvoir d'achat.

La science ne peut progresser que si l'on reconnait ses erreurs. C'est se voiler la face, truquer les résultats en fonctions de ses intérêts ou de ses passions qui est diabolique.


[1] L'Université de Stanford publie une considérable collection de telles affiches téléchargeables sur http://lane.stanford.edu/tobacco/index.html
[2] Kozlowski LT, Rickert WS, Popo MA, Robinson JC. Estimating the yields to smokers of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide from the "lowest-yield" ventilated-filter cigarettes. Br. J. Addict. 1982b, 77 : 159-65
[3] Jarvis MJ, Boreham R, Primatesta P, Feyerabend C, Bryant A. Nicotine yield from machine-smoked cigarettes and nicotine intakes in smokers: evidence from a representative population survey .J Natl Cancer Inst. 2001 Jan 17;93(2):134-8.
[4] Lifting the smokescreen, 10 reasons for a smokefree Europe .www.ersnet.org
[5] Molimard R. Le rapport européen "Lifting the smokescreen: Etude épidémiologique, ou manipulation?
Revue d'Epidémiologie et de Santé Publique, (2008) 56 ;(°4): 286-90
[6] Falomir, J. M., Mugny, G. (2004) Société contre fumeur, Une analyse psychologique de l’influence des experts. Grenoble : Presses Universitaires de Grenoble
[7] Ross H, Blecher E, Yan L, Hyland A. Do cigarette prices motivate smokers to quit? New evidence from the ITC survey. Addiction. 2010 Nov 9. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.03192.x. [Epub ahead of print]
[8] Prévalences Europe 2009 selon http://ec.europa.eu/health/tobacco/docs/ebs332_en.pdf
[9]Prix en 2009 d'un paquet de 20 cigarettes Marlboro dans les 27 pays de l'union corrigé par le pouvoir d'achat, selon http://www.cancer.be/images/journaliste/Communique-de-presse-taxation-tabac-100229.pdf

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

C’EST LE GROS BON SENS QUI A GAGNÉ – Nicolas Girard, député


En novembre 2007, nous avons exprimé dans ce blogue ainsi qu’à nos élus que nous étions contre la baisse du taux d’alcool permissible au volant à 0,05. Nous avons plutôt favorisé des sanctions plus sévères aux récidivistes et à ceux qui font des grands excès de vitesse.

Nous avons aussi amplement exprimé notre désaccord avec le port de casque protecteur obligatoire.

À notre très grande satisfaction, le gouvernement Charest a décidé de laisser tomber la baisse de la limite légale d'alcool à 0,05. En accord avec notre opinion, ils vont plutôt se concentrer sur une surveillance plus accrue et sur des sanctions plus sévères pour les récidivistes. Tant qu’au port du casque de vélo, ils ont opté pour une plus grande sensibilisation, en accord une fois de plus avec notre point de vue.

Les raisons officielles évoquées relèvent du gros bon sens :
- les citoyens n’étaient pas favorables à ces mesures
- il faut être en mesure de respecter les lois actuelles avant d’en implémenter d’autres
- les policiers ont d’autres choses à faire que de courir après des jeunes qui ne portent pas de casques

Nous sommes particulièrement heureux de constater que l’opinion public a finit par peser sur la balance. Il ne faut jamais perdre de vue que nos élus sont là pour nous servir et non le contraire.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

NO FREE LUNCH


The CBC was recently reporting on the increasing concern about the level of influence the drug industry has on doctors' medical decisions. Adam Hoffman, founder of the McGill University chapter of the U.S. not-for-profit group No Free Lunch, estimates that as much as 70 per cent of continuing medical education activities in Canada are sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry.


There is no denying that the medical profession is greatly influenced by the pharmaceutical industry that has infiltrated our universities, our health agencies, our bureaucrats, our hospitals and even as far as into our homes through television and the internet. When brand names such as Viagra, Valium, Prozak have become part of our casual conversations as if they were a common household name like Kleenex, we know that we are living in a dangerously over- medicated society. Believing that our young doctors, who were educated by our heavily pharma funded universities and work day in and day out in medicalized environments are not influenced consciously or subconsciously by them, is like believing that someone who works in fashion is not influenced by the latest designer trends. As one doctor put it to the writer of this comment when questioned why he was prescribing the expensive drug Avandia over less expensive older drugs that are as, if not more, effective in lowering sugar levels : ‘’Errrm, I guess it’s a trend to prescribe Avandia now’’! It speaks volumes of the reasons certain drugs - usually newer drugs with patent rights still in effect - are favored over others by many doctors! Incidentally, Avandia is no longer ‘’trendy’’ because it has been linked with increased risks for heart attacks.

The bigger tragedy in all this however is that our healthcare system is woven so tightly that we cannot escape it unless we want to live in the margins of society and resort to strictly alternative medicine. Sadly, we can no longer pick and choose which drug treatment we want to receive from our doctor and which we would rather not because it goes against our better judgment. For example, if a person refuses to be medicated for his heart condition by a certain drug or drugs that his cardiologist is adamant in prescribing, he may be labeled as a rebel against all conventional medicine and may even be refused further follow-ups and treatment by his specialist who has more ‘’deserving’’ patients to look after. Good luck trying to find another specialist or a GP to replace him. This can even result in the ‘’rebel’’ losing his driver’s license since, depending on his condition, he is obligated by law to have regular check-ups by a government approved practitioner who will give the green light for its renewal.

We are thankful that there are some watchdogs looking over the activities of the medical profession but unfortunately we are still very far from making meaningful differences and this as long as the majority of individuals will not have awaken (and started loudly denouncing) to the fact that health is a humongous industry and like every other industry it is subject to dishonesty and corruption. Unfortunately, even those professionals who have chosen the medical profession out of love and compassion towards their fellow humans can be subjected to insidious manipulations by the pharmaceutical industry that is increasingly proving to be no more ethical or moral than the next robber baron.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

ABERRANT MAIS PAS SURPRENANT QUE LA CIGARETTE ÉLECTRONIQUE SOIT CONDAMNÉE PAR LES ANTI-TABAGISTES PENDANT QUE LE TABAC TRADITIONNEL DEMEURE LÉGAL



La cigarette électronique «sabote» la lutte contre le tabac, peut-on lire dans un article de Agence France-Presse repris par Cyberpresse.


Que des énormités véhiculées dans cet article !


La lutte contre le tabac est en effet en train d’être sabotée, non pas par la cigarette électronique mais plutôt par les croisades agressives et inhumaines auxquelles les anti-tabagistes se livrent sans aucun égard à la psychologie de l’humain. Le Pr. Robert Molimard, qui a consacré la majeure partie de sa carrière à tenter de comprendre et assister ceux qui voulaient cesser leur consommation du tabac, nous avait pourtant mis en garde contre ces tactiques barbares et néfastes : ‘’ La cigarette fait partie de l'IDENTITÉ même du fumeur. L'attaquer, c'est l'exposer à un repli sur soi des fumeurs, un tabagisme retranché, insensible aux messages de santé,’’ a-t-il vainement répété à qui voulait bien lui prêter une oreille attentive. Ses avertissements sont malheureusement tombés dans des oreilles rendues trop sourdes par l’appât du gain.


Depuis que l’OMS en
partenariat avec l’industrie pharmaceutique, tout en se servant des anti-tabagistes professionnels en tant qu’armée en première ligne, s’est livrée à une guerre sans merci contre les fumeurs à travers le monde avec le résultat que le taux du tabagisme a non seulement demeuré inchangé mais a même commencé à emprunter une pente montante dans plusieurs pays entre autres :
États-Unis – Pour la première fois en 10 ans le taux du tabagisme a augmenté. The Lancet avril 2009
Canada – La prévalence du tabagisme est stagnante et a même grimpé selon la Société Canadienne du Cancer 2010.
France – Une hausse significative du taux du tabagisme depuis la Loi Evin - Stopsanté.com octobre 2010


La cigarette électronique a été bannie au Canada pour des raisons plus que nébuleuses tel que vous pourriez constater par vous-même en lisant la correspondance entre C.A.G.E. et Santé Canada (en anglais).


Ce merveilleux bidule électronique sans fumée et sans odeur a assisté plusieurs fumeurs aux prises avec des problèmes de santé d’abandonner la cigarette traditionnelle. Parallèlement, il a rendu à d'autres leur harmonie familiale et sociale qui était sévèrement compromise par la dé-monisation de la fumée du tabac. La cigarette électronique a fait ses preuves parmi des milliers, voir même de millions d’usagers à travers le monde qui n'ont que des éloges pour ce produit.

Les cartouches de nicotine ou sans nicotine, selon notre préférence, contiennent des saveurs qui sont déjà approuvées par Santé Canada en tant qu’additifs alimentaires. Pour ce qu’il est du propylène glycol, voici en bref en quoi consiste cette substance selon les recherches de Wikipédia : ‘’ Le propylène glycol ou propane-1,2-diol appelé aussi 1,2-dihydroxypropane, methyl glycol est un alcool utilisé principalement comme additif alimentaire considéré comme généralement non toxique’’.


Il est aberrant, mais pas surprenant, que les anti-tabagistes professionnels ainsi que l’OMS condamnent d’emblée et sans l’avoir testé, un produit qui a un réel potentiel de remplacer le tabac fumé nettement plus nocif tout en persistant à garder ce dernier légal. Il est clair que ces ‘’bien-pensants’’ n’ont qu’un seul but derrière leur position par rapport à la cigarette électronique, soit celui de protéger les intérêts de leurs bailleurs de fonds corporatifs : l’omnipuissante industrie pharmaceutique.


La cigarette électronique «sabote» la lutte contre le tabac

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

IS THE ANTI-TOBACCO INDUSTRY'S OUTRAGE JUSTIFIED?

There is much ado these days in the anti-smoker industry about the Federal Government’s decision to suspend the plan for new health warnings on cigarette packages. The outrage of the various anti-tobacco industry representatives has been largely covered by all major newspapers in Canada. The general public’s opinion leans more in favor of the government’s decision than the anti-smokers groups, if we judge by the comments of the posters in the different newspaper forums. Most commentators feel that wasting money on new health warnings when those present already cover 50% of the packages and are plenty explicit, is not a good idea. Keeping in mind that since it is the consumers who already absorbed the millions it cost for the research of these labels and who will ultimately absorb the costs of the tobacco industry’s obligation to change the packages, many are asking for proof that they will work before further millions, public or private, are injected in what they feel is only another piece of useless “straw-man” legislation.

The core argument of the anti-tobacco groups is that from a leader in anti-tobacco policies, Canada has now fallen to 15th when it comes to health warnings. This can easily bring to mind images of some sort of nanny-state Olympics or anti-smoker Oscar Night celebration. Indeed there is just such an awards event: From page 10 of the Report of The Framework Convention Alliance.

The Bulletin also served as the podium for the daily conferring of the Orchid and Dirty Ashtray awards. The former award recognized individual or group of Parties that have made considerable strides in implementing the WHO FCTC since its conception, commendable country position, and/or playing a constructive role during the talks; while the Dirty Ashtray denounced those that played a negative role throughout the negotiations, or failed to meet the obligations of the WHO FCTC.

Never mind if the Canadian society cannot bare further regulation without indignation and revolt, oh the embarrassment if from one time “Orchid Award” winners our Canadian do-gooders ever get the much dreaded “Dirty Ashtray Award” !

For the highly paid anti-smokers who tour the world with our tax money to want to be champions in some global zealot competition, it is par for the course in conducting business to survive in the competitive market of anti-smoking activism. Governments are now slashing the anti-tobacco funding and our do-gooders are desperately struggling to gain back what they consider to be due to them. In our opinion, wanting to be 1st in anti-tobacco activism, is their way of standing out in their pursuit for more grants that will secure them another couple of years of prosperity at our expense in a society that has just about had enough of these insatiable do-gooders.

We are especially surprised that the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has actively pronounced itself in favour of the new health warnings. It is puzzling and alarming that the CMA finds it appropriate to condone the anti-smokers’ outrage and criticize the federal government who seem to be resolved to not give in to the pressure tactics currently being exerted. Perhaps the good doctors and representatives of the CMA have failed to take any notice of this article from one of their American peers, Health Agencies Boast of Dramatic Impact of New Cigarette Warning Labels

Excerpts:

Smokers are already aware of the harmful consequences of smoking and lack of knowledge of the health effects is not a significant factor in explaining why millions of Americans continue to smoke or why youths begin smoking. Research shows that warning labels have a limited impact on smoking behavior.

The real threat to the tobacco industry would have come from eliminating the warning labels on the packs, and thus opening up the companies to devastating lawsuits. Congress chose the weaker approach of requiring mildly stronger warning labels but completely immunizing the tobacco companies from any prospect of serious financial damage in future litigation.

And perhaps part of the answer for the CMA’s position can be found in the following article:

Excerpts:

(Pfizer) is currently on a very aggressive campaign to do more than sell drugs. It is staking out new territory and investing in innovative ways to influence the people who make decisions about healthcare.''
''it (Pfizer) has also established a new “partnership” with the Canadian Medical Association, which represents Canada’s 70,000 doctors who were recently on the receiving end of $780,000 new Pfizer dollars to help educate our physicians.''

We remind our readers that Pfizer just happens to be the maker of Champix and nicotine replacement therapies. Pfizer has a vested economic interest in this matter, and the actions of the anti-tobacco industry appear to be serving those economic interests.

The concept of “doing good” and turning a profit at the same time is one that we can accept in theory, as long as the “good” is being done in an honest, transparent and evidence-based manner. The anti-tobacco industry and the pharmaceutical industry appear very closely linked, and their consistent collaboration with one another is cause for concern. The position of the anti-tobacco industry with respect to the health warnings appears to be far more helpful to the pharmaceutical industry than to the people at large. The general public in this case are correct to follow their instinct and disbelieve the propaganda campaign of the anti-smoking industry and its financial supporters.

One of the most vocal groups against the US health warnings that are also making the news, is one of the largest e-cigarette communities, aka vapers, who are now standing tall beside smokers and their fight for truth, justice and evidence-based policy. They are now seeing clearly that the war against tobacco has turned into an ugly, out-of-control war against smokers and not only do they sympathize with the smokers in a compassionate way, but they are realizing that nothing will stop the zealots in their fight to eliminate electronic cigarettes on absolutely no evidence of harm to either the vapers or the bystanders. We are delighted to have their support on this particular issue.

Logic dictates that if the anti-tobacco industry were primarily concerned by the well-being of the people, they would abandon the wasteful campaign for additional health warnings and actively support truly effective alternatives to smoking, such as the e-cigarettes.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

TAKING THE HAPPY OUT OF THE HAPPY MEAL


San Francisco health authorities voted 8 - 3 to take the ‘’happy’’ out of the happy meal by forbidding McDonald’s to offer a toy with any meal that contains more than 600 calories and does not contain at least half a cup of fruit and 3/4 cup of vegetables.

Parents who have/had to raise children with their very own likes and dislikes, finicky tastes and stubborn personalities, know first hand how they have to struggle to get their children to ingest a few calories to supply them with the energy they need. Are San Francisco legislators sending parents the message that kids who totally refuse to eat fruits and vegetables should be punished and sent to the naughty stool with nothing to play just because they will not let their taste buds be dictated by their parents and legislators?

Fact: Some children will not eat what we as parents feel is best for them and we would rather see them eat less healthy than not eat at all.

Fact: It is counterproductive to punish a child because he won’t eat according to his own preferences and penalizing him for it only reinforces his refusal to comply to our dictates.

Fact: We know our children better than the state and if we feel that they won’t stubbornly refuse and pout over eating what the state deems best, we will gladly choose another place than McDonald’s to take them, toy or no toy!

But there are also some children who are the complete opposite. Inveterate gluttons who will be willing to sacrifice the toy just as long as they get to eat what they want and…more of it. So if the toy incentive to convince them to eat a reasonable size meal is no longer there, they will simply go for 2 cheeseburgers instead of one, a soft drink instead of juice and medium or large size fries instead of small. Who will this legislation have helped then? Neither the child’s health, nor the parent’s wallet.

The bottom line is that children have their own personalities, strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes and who better than their parents to know how to deal with that? It is not up to legislators to make the best decisions for our children and they should butt out of the challenges we are faced with day and day out when trying to find a balance between our children’s unique personalities and the need to get them to adopt healthy choices.



Tuesday, 2 November 2010

UNE P'TITE CUILLÉRÉE D'HÉROÏNE AVEC VOTRE REPAS ?


À la lumière du projet de stratégies mondiales visant à réduire l’usage nocif de l’alcool orchestré par l’OMS qu’on peut lire au http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA63/A63_13-fr.pdf on commence déjà à nous bombarder avec des études de nature à faire appel à nos émotions plutôt qu’à notre intellect.

La dernière étude qui a vu le jour en est une qui nous parvient de l’Angleterre et prétend que l'alcool est plus nocif que l'héroïne ou le crack.
Le Professeur David Nutt, un des auteurs de l’étude, a déclaré à la BBC que dans l'ensemble, l'alcool est la drogue la plus nocive car son usage est très répandu. Il justifie ceci sur le fait que malgré que le crack est plus addictif que l'alcool, il y a des centaines de milliers de personnes qui ne reculeront devant rien pour en obtenir lorsqu’ils ont envie de boire et portent ainsi préjudice à la société. Il poursuit en nous mettant en garde qu’il était important de faire la distinction entre la nocivité individuelle et la nocivité collective.

Si on se fie sur la philosophie qui a permis au Pr. Nutt de déclarer l’alcool plus nocif que l’héroïne ou le crack, nous pourrions conclure qu’il serait préférable à l’individu d’avoir recours à l’héroïne ou le crack pour son ‘’buzz’’ plutôt qu’à l’alcool, au nom du bien-être de la collectivité qui en serait ainsi moins perdante ! Alors chers parents, la prochaine fois que vous surprenez votre adolescent en train de siroter une bière, offrez-lui donc une dose ou deux d’héroïne. Après tout que vaut l’individu si la société est mal en point?

Soit-dit en passant le Pr. David Nutt mène en parallèle une équipe de chercheurs à l’Imperial College à Londres, qui est sur le point de mettre en marché un substitut à base de substances tels que les benzodiazépines dont en contient le très connu médicament Valium. Ce substitut à l’alcool provoquerait un sentiment de bien-être sans conduire à l'ivresse! En outre, il serait possible d’éliminer ses effets par l'ingestion d'une pilule qui permettrait d’éliminer la gueule de bois du lendemain. Conflit d’intérêt flagrant? Tirez-en vos propres conclusions !

Monday, 25 October 2010

AN INTERNATIONAL APPEAL AGAINST THE INHUMAN EVICTION OF PHILIPINA SCHERGEVITCH

Update November 8/10 - You can read follow up to this story at the following link:
http://smokescreensthetruthabouttobacco.blogspot.com/2010/11/philipina-schergevitch-petition-and.html


An important message from the international blogosphere:




If you read the story at:

http://www.vancouversun.com/health/year+woman+told+butt+evicted/3696774/story.html

you will learn of the sad story of 88 year old Philipina Schergevitch who is now facing eviction from her home of ten years because of a Senior Housing Association's new no-smoking policy.

Richard White, author of "Smokescreens: The Truth About Tobacco," is coordinating an online letter/petition drive to show support for Ms. Schergevitch. I will reproduce his email below. Please copy it to a new email, sign it with your name (address and any affiliation/position qualifications would help as well but are voluntary), and email it back to him at

richwhite@smokescreens.org

He will gather and organize the names and send the result in hardcopy from the UK to the housing association to show that the case has attracted widespread international publicity and attention. While most of our fight is directed at the organizations and forces behind "smoker denormalization," it's important to remember individuals as well. And for this woman, at age 88, to have her life disrupted in this fashion is criminal.

Thank you.

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"
====
Dear Ms Morgan,


We the undersigned appeal to your conscience and common sense to reconsider the eviction of Philipina Schergevitch for her smoking habit.


Philipina is a long-standing tenant of a decade, during which time the Francis Klein Centre has become her home and she has provided the Bishop O'Byrne Housing for Seniors Association a lot of money to live there. At 88 years of age, the stress alone could cause the demise of this lady who has done nothing wrong to deserve such treatment. While the association states smoking is permitted in designated areas outside, it must be recognised that subjugating an elderly woman to the harsh weather conditions Calgary experiences is unacceptable and her human rights must be considered. The argument for the ban is of health, but that is clearly not the case because no harm is posed to other tenants by her smoking and a direct, large and immediate health threat is posed to Philipina through the extreme weather conditions of winter. It is startling to note that the Bishop O’Byrne Housing for Seniors Association deems it acceptable to put tenants at risk of pneumonia, flu, unprecedented stress and the possibility of attack from passers-by under the pretence of “health” and care for other, non-smoking tenants. The Calgary Herald reported in January 2009 the case of Juliette Bombardier, who died outside the Kamloops, B. C. seniors care home the day after Christmas as she went out for a cigarette and got locked out. This was a preventable death and yet the Bishop O’Bryne Housing for Seniors Association is fully prepared to run the risk of its tenants suffering a similar fate.


It must be remembered that tobacco smoking is still legal and so is smoking in one’s home. Canadian law still dictates that smoking is permitted in places of residence, which includes rented properties. Thus, the onus is on the owners of such buildings and therefore the Association is under no legal obligation to ban smoking in its buildings; it is being done through choice. There has been no regard for the safety and wellbeing of its tenants, not least that of an 88 year old woman who has resided there for a decade. Such a ruling is nothing short of vindictive and hateful and this innocent woman, not to mention her family, are being subjected to extreme levels of stress and worry because of the ideology of others. No concern or regard has been shown to Philipina or her relatives despite the fact that these apartments are specifically subsidized for low-income seniors; something the owners are well aware of being in short-supply in Calgary. This means that they are willingly and carelessly evicting a loyal paying tenant with no regard to whether she will be able to find new accommodation. There is no need for Philipina, or any smoker, to be treated like a social outcast just because some do not agree with their legal lifestyle choice. She has not broken any law – national or provincial – and is being punished anyway.


Once again, we urge you to reconsider your decision and show equal fairness and kindness to all tenants and not to display acts of ruthlessness, carelessness or pass vindictive rulings not governed by law; such attitudes should be employed at all times anyway – especially considering the Association exists to provide people like Philipina their necessary housing – but most importantly towards the elderly. It is disconcerting that such a reminder of human decency and good-spirit needs to be stated, but you hold all the power to remove the potentially lethal stress and worry from Philipina and her family, and on behalf of all concerned humans worldwide, we urge you to do so.

Yours faithfully,

Saturday, 23 October 2010

LETTER TO THE EDMONTON JOURNAL

Hello Mr. Staples,

I read your article about the government not giving an explanation about why they are delaying the new health warnings on cigarette packages.

Let me first agree with you that their delays do not seem to be warranted. Not that in my opinion these million dollar warnings will deter many remaining smokers to quit and therefore are an urgent life or death necessity, but the fact that they're not justifying their decision is very intriguing.

However, I truly wish journalists would once in a while be as critical with another unethical corporation playing hanky panky with government as they are with the tobacco industry. It seems mostly every mainstream journalist is keeping his eyes tightly shut on the shenanigans of the pharmaceutical industry and their emerging nicotine market when so much blatant evidence is just screaming to be reported! Why?

One of those examples is electronic cigarettes which have been nixed by Health Canada very shortly after they were introduced in Canada. The e-cigarette is a smokeless, odorless electronic device that has become very popular with smokers who wish to give up smoking without giving up nicotine intake but find no satisfaction in the patches, inhalers, gums or lozenges of the pharmaceutical industry which have been documented to have but a 1,6% long term success rate. Although most of them are not marketed as a smoking cessation device, hundreds of thousands of smokers throughout the world have either significantly cut down or quit smoking totally thanks to them. The various manufacturers and distributors of such devices being completely independant of the tobacco and the pharmaceutical industries, have thus become a real threat to the two big players in the nicotine market. These devices contain nicotine, propylene glycol and flavorings, three substances already approved by Health Canada. Yet Health Canada has banned them giving reasons that do not fly with reality, common sense or ethics. You may want to read this story here:
http://cagecanada.blogspot.com/2009/05/e-cigarettes-letter-to-health-canada.html

Another example is nicotine lozenges. The tobacco industry and the pharmaceutical industry both produce almost identical products. The only difference is the price, the pharmaceutical ones being almost four times more expensive than the tobacco products. Read this story here: http://cagecanada.blogspot.com/search?q=orbs These tobacco products will probably never be marketed in Canada because the anti-tobacco lobby is condemning them as we have read from the latest recommandations to the Ontario government (page 11 of http://media.thestar.topscms.com/acrobat/34/88/1283a0ca484494ea3e8badfc828b.pdf ) :

Ban smokeless tobacco products in Ontario by the end of the 5-year revised SFO Strategy. '
Prohibit the approval, sale and marketing of any new tobacco product or non-therapeutic nicotine product.

Which brings me to another observation. Why would anti-tobacco activists who claim to want smokers to quit, do everything in their power to block smokeless products which have been proven to be far less harmful than smoked tobacco if it isn't to either protect the pharmaceutical industry's profits or to carry out their vendetta against the tobacco industry (most probably both reasons) at the smoker's expense? Why would they block the e-cigarette (referred to in their report as the ''non-therapeutic nicotine product) which should instead be heiled as a much, if not totally, harmless product, and as a solution to a divisive smoking/non-smoking society, smoking bans and the hospitality industry hardships?

Why don't reporters ever investigate such blatant conflicts of interest?

Remaining hopeful,

Iro Cyr
Vice-president
C.A.G.E.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

MEDICAL STUDIES ARE MOSTLY UNRELIABLE ACCORDING TO DR. JOHN IOANNIDIS


C.A.G.E. has often commented how scientific studies reported by the mainstream media either contradict each other or are not coherent with what we observe in our day to day life to a point where we are now so confused about what is good or bad for us we just don’t pay notice anymore.

Those of us who totally ignore the medical findings that we read or hear, are probably the ones with the right attitude observes Dr. John Ioannidis who has spent his career challenging his peers.


The following article and Dr. Ioannidis’ paper itself (linked below), lucidly explain what makes today’s medical studies so unreliable. Whether it has to do with conflicts of interest because of the funding, the scientists’ ardent desire to be published in a respected medical journal and gain recognition, the insatiable appetite to get more funding, the cozy relationship between the authors and the peer reviewers, the false findings that become infectious and are carried over from study to study, or the disproved results of flawed studies that are still touted as factual, are some of the main reasons why, in Dr. Ioannidis’ expert opinion, medical studies should not be given much credence.

The medical and scientific communities have been given too much latitude for far too long.’University and government research overseers rarely step in to directly enforce research quality, and when they do, the science community goes ballistic over the outside interference,’’ the author of the article tells us. This is quite alarming especially that it deals with our well-being, our medication, our life and our death. Have we come to the point that since the scientific community doesn’t show any encouraging signs to discipline its members and that the government has no particular interest to step in, that we will have to rely only on our common sense and instinct to separate falsehoods from truth? How can we rely on such sloppy science to establish sound public health policies?

Regrettably, even when the more informed of us attempt to engage in meaningful discussions with our doctor, specialists and the medical community in general, we are often dismissed either as arrogant know-it-alls or conspiracy theorists who spend too much time on the internet. This must never stop us nevertheless from keeping the medical community in check. If each and every single one of us asked the right questions to the right authorities, we are bound to eventually see some improvement in the way they deal with our lives.