As much as they would like everyone to believe that ‘’the debate is over’’ and the only entity fighting against tobacco control activity is the tobacco industry itself, many members of the public, a swarm, as blogger Frank Davis described them in one of his recent blogposts, smokers and nons alike are regularly exposing the shenanigans and the shoddy science behind anti-smoking and demand answers from the professional anti-smokers who very seldom make themselves available to the public. If the journalists won’t challenge even their more absurd studies and contentions, somebody has to do it. Ordinary citizens have taken the task into their own hands.
One of the few exceptions to their rule of deafening silence was a facebook group they created to plead their case and gain sympathy on a FOI request from Philip Morris pertaining to the underlying data Stirling University anti-tobacco researchers have collected for a study on young people and smoking. A study that could lead to policy for mandatory plain packaging in the UK. The story has even reached the Canadian media. You can hear it here: Freedom of Information on Kids and Smoking
Because the opportunities to get to question these tobacco control activists and researchers are rare, a few ordinary citizens joined the facebook group that members of the Globalink community created, casted their vote on the poll available to all that asked whether or not one agreed with the university’s stand of refusing to produce the data to Philip Morris regardless of the FOI Act regulations, and engaged in a civil discussion with anti-smoker activists willing to participate in the debate such as Simon Chapman well known Australian tobacco control activist and Rory Morrison from ASH Scotland, both members of Globalink. Not only were they asked pointy questions, these ordinary citizens (including the writer of this blogpost) clearly and firmly expressed to them that they no longer had trust in the integrity of anti-smoker activists and studies and gave numerous examples of shoddy anti-tobacco science to prove their point.
Not only were the questions not answered, and no attempts to defend the shoddy/fraudulent science behind already published studies were offered, when the heat became too unbearable for this tobacco control community to take, they made the facebook group vanish with no trace of any of the discussions to be found anywhere.
Why? The answer is more than obvious. They had no answers or defense in the face of such public humiliation from ordinary citizens. They ran scared and hid behind private groups such as a newly created Globalink facebook goup that invites tobacco control activists to join upon invitation and/or approval.
‘’ Today, Simon Chapman and I are pleased to announce the launch of a new Facebook closed discussion group, information and strategy exchange site, the Global Tobacco Control Network.
By a “closed” Facebook group, we mean that all members need to be approved and all material posted to the group will not be visible to non‐members nor searchable by outsiders. ‘’
Such lack of transparency and willingness to debate when they are against informed opponents instead of complacent lazy journalists and politicians, is plenty proof that Philip Morris has legitimate reasons to doubt the integrity of the Stirling University researchers’ data, and therefore their FOI request should be respected and obeyed without any further delays. Moreover, it should be made mandatory that the underlying data of any and every publicly funded study that affects public policy, be open and available to everyone to examine. It has become more than obvious that the public cannot rely on neither politicians nor overworked and/or lazy journalists to examine the integrity of the anti-tobacco science before policy that affects numerous societies is enacted.
Let the tobacco control activists be warned: They can continue to try to hide behind anonymous posters planted in different newspaper and other forums, we have learnt to recognize their style and they will be constantly tracked down and asked the same types of questions and explanations as they were asked during this brief encounter between identified anti-tobacco and pro-truth activists. And this until they are forced to resign or become accountable, honest and human.
Some background to our story :
Globalink is a network for international tobacco control activists making use of the internet to communicate ideas and strategies against the use of tobacco. It is part of the Global Control Movement lead by the American Cancer Society and the UICC. Although Globalink don't declare in their webiste that Big Pharma is funding them, here's what we can read in bold on page 34 of the Strategy Planning for Tobacco Control Movement Building at http://www.paho.org/English/AD/SDE/RA/Guide2_MovementBuilding.pdf
Links to Drug Companies That Have Funded Tobacco Control Action
Pharmacia Corporation (now owned by Pfizer)
In a June/11 blog posting, Dr. Michael Siegel exposed how the groupthink mentality runs rampant in the globalink network. A few excerpts from his blogpost :
‘’It (Globalink) is a mechanism for preventing critical discussion of research, science, and policy issues in tobacco control. It serves to stifle thoughtful discussion of ideas, suppresses dissenting opinions, and plays out as a forum for malicious individual attacks against researchers, advocates, or citizens who dare to go against the mainstream opinions within the tobacco control movement.’’
Another former Globalink member – Dr. Kamal Chaouachi – had this to say:
‘’I was banished (from Globalink) several times and eventually expelled once and for all. Over the years, I have also been amazed by the extent of endorsed intolerance. For instance, there have been, believe it or not, “debates” on whether it is ethical or not to give a last cigarette to a person confined to bed and doomed to death… Then, one discovers the pharmaceutical industry connections (Pfizer in particular)(WCTOH, 2009 ; Mesbah 2009) and how Globalink’s policy has been drawn with “a velvet glove” pulled on an iron fist named Simon Chapman, ex Editor in Chief of the world famous antismoking Tobacco Control Journal’’.
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