Monday 25 October 2010


Update November 8/10 - You can read follow up to this story at the following link:

An important message from the international blogosphere:

If you read the story at:

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

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


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:

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: 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 ) :

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

Tuesday 19 October 2010


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.

Saturday 9 October 2010


Un excellent article de la très nuancée Marie-Claude Lortie de La Presse aborde dans le même sens que C.A.G.E. en rapport avec la responsabilisation personnelle et la bonne mesure.

S’appuyant sur une récente étude britannique qui nous rapporte que le fait de boire un ou deux verres d’alcool par semaine pendant la grossesse n’est pas néfaste pour le fœtus, Mme Lortie souligne une fois de plus l’importance de la modération et le jugement personnel et dénonce ceux qui prêchent l’abstinence totale et la tolérance zéro face au risque.

Il est malheureux que cela a pris une étude épidémiologique avec toutes les limites qu’on connaît à cette branche de la science, pour délier la langue de certains médecins comme la Dr Diane Francoeur, chef du département d'obstétrique et de gynécologie de Sainte-Justine. ‘’ Bonne nouvelle, car la recherche donne des munitions à ceux qui s'opposent aux extrêmes, à la rigidité, au dogmatisme, au tout noir et tout blanc.’’ nous dit cette docteure par le biais d’une tribune de Radio-Canada.

‘’ Donc, gérons le risque. Et vivons un peu.’’ opine Mme Lortie. N’est-ce pas ce que C.A.G.E. préconise depuis longtemps en se basant sur le principe que la santé mentale est aussi importante que la santé physique et qu’il revient à l’individu de trouver son propre équilibre entre les deux ?

Bonne lecture et n’hésitez pas d’écrire au forum de Mme Lortie pour lui exprimer votre opinion et l’encourager de continuer à dénoncer les excès et abus de la santé publique.


(Lorsqu’il s’agit de propagande) plus le mensonge est gros, plus les gens y croient. Joseph Goebbels

L’étude vers laquelle nous vous pointons dans le bas de cet article, prétend que le prix réel d’un paquet de cigarette se situe aux alentours de 150 $. Attention, on parle bel et bien d’un paquet et non d’une cartouche. Il paraît qu’ils arrivent à ce chiffre en faisant des calculs ‘’savants’’ sur ce que la consommation du tabac coûte au fumeur lui-même en tant que consommateur.

Une théorie jadis avancée par Joseph Goebbels et Adolf Hitler soutenait que si on exagère seulement de peu notre propagande, le peuple sera sceptique et il risque de nous mettre au défi de présenter nos preuves. Cependant si la contention est scandaleuse elle va au delà du plus haut seuil de scepticisme et redescend dans les limites du crédible. Il est évident que les ‘’chercheurs’’ de cette étude adhèrent à cette tactique propagandiste à la lettre. Il est clair que les anti-tabagistes espagnols se préparent pour justifier une loi anti-tabac drastique prévue pour aussi tôt que l'hiver prochain.

Il s'agit d'une étude qui n’a rien à voir avec une logique mathématique. Ce n’est qu’une bataille de plus dans leur guerre morale contre le tabac. Ne tentez même pas de comprendre quelle formule mathématique ils ont utilisé pour arriver à ces chiffres, vous vous perdrez assurément dans les dédales obscurs de leur doctrine et ce, qu’importe le chemin que vous emprunterez.