A tweet from Simon Chapman over on Taking Liberties caught my eye:
UK HealthDept calls bluff of BIgTobacco’s claim to have got 500k signatures against #plainpacks
I don’t think the bluff has been called, but that’s not the point I want to make. What I noticed was that Chapman framed the dispute as being between Tobacco Control and Big Tobacco.
And there’s some truth to it, because Forest is behind the Hands Off Our Pack Packs campaign, and Forest has tobacco company funding. But if 500,000 people have in fact signed up to support this campaign, that says that a lot of people object to plain packs.
Stanton Glantz was doing the same a few months back with California’s Proposition 29, which he framed as a battle between Tobacco Control and Big Tobacco, even though Californians voted against it.
And again there was some truth in it, because tobacco companies spent $20 million fighting Prop 29. Nevertheless it was the people of California that actually disposed of Prop 29, not the tobacco companies. And it’s dishonest to suggest otherwise.
But Tobacco Control want people to see things this way. Having Big Tobacco as their enemy is very handy for them. And it’s important that it’s Big, because it lets them play David to its Goliath, and portray themselves as the underdog fighting for a noble cause (health) against greedy capitalist corporations selling their customers poison. It’s a win-win strategy for TC. And they want to keep it that way.
Because one thing Simon Chapman will probably never admit is that half a million people signed up for the UK Hands Off Our Packs campaign, nor Stanton Glantz that a majority of over 2.5 million Californians voted against Prop 29. Because when it’s expressed that way, it becomes Tobacco Control versus the People rather than Tobacco Control versus Big Tobacco. And when the dispute is framed that way, Tobacco Control becomes Goliath against the Davids of ordinary people. And that’s a lose-lose scenario for Tobacco Control. And something they want to avoid at all costs.
So they’ll always act to conceal the role of ordinary people – voters -, and keep the focus firmly on Big Tobacco. Yet this is getting harder for them to do, now that the People (in the form of voters and online commenters and bloggers and writers) are becoming increasingly vocal and active. Tobacco Control’s regular response is to dismiss such people as “shills” or “front groups” for Big Tobacco. And this is an outright lie. But it’s a lie that suits Tobacco Control because in this manner they can continue to use the playbook that has served them so well for so long. But in the process Big Tobacco becomes a Big Tent which houses not just the rich, powerful, greedy tobacco companies which everyone loves to hate, but also hundreds of millions of penniless and powerless smokers. It’s a dangerous tactic they’re using.
I think it’s important to emphasize that it’s increasingly the People who are making their voices heard, and to portray the real conflict not as Tobacco Control versus Big Tobacco like they want, but instead as Ordinary People versus Tobacco Control. And in this manner shift Tobacco Control from good to evil.
Because as far as I’m concerned Tobacco Control (which in its alliance with Big Pharma forms the Tobacco Control Industry) actually is evil. It’s not just that all its smoking bans and advertising bans and plain packaging don’t do any good, but that they do a tremendous amount of harm, demonising ordinary people, shattering communities, and bankrupting businesses (like pubs), and more.
It is the sheer evil that Tobacco Control does which needs to brought to people’s attention, and the real harm that they do to millions of ordinary people and legitimate businesses. It needs to be highlighted and emphasised over and over again.
Because for the most part, most people know nothing about it. And they know nothing about it because the mainstream media simply repeat unquestioningly what Tobacco Control tell them – that smoking bans are popular, and they have no adverse economic or social effects, and that most smokers want to give up smoking, etc, etc, etc.
What’s needed perhaps is the equivalent of Climategate to strip off the veneer of respectability from Tobacco Control, and show how corrupt and mendacious it really is. But in the absence of a Climategate, it seems to me that TC tells so many lies that it may be just as effective to pick just one of their lies and set out to comprehensively and conclusively show that, in this one case, they are lying through their back teeth.
Currently my most read blog post is the Black Lung Lie. I only posted it a little over a month ago, but it’s still getting around 100 hits per day. This is unusual. With most of my posts, the hit count drops off rapidly after a few days. But the Black Lung Lie only got about 500 hits on its first day, and has received another 3,000 since. But it’s not the only lie out there.
So my question today is: What is Tobacco Control’s biggest lie?
The black lung lie is fairly good candidate, but it’s really one of those urban legends that Tobacco Control doesn’t discourage. I don’t know whether Tobacco Control ever actively promoted it. And I don’t know whether they’d defend it.
In my view, the biggest lie of all is that Smoking Causes Lung Cancer. But I’m aware that I’m in a minority on that one. It’s also something that may not be a conscious lie. It may be that researchers like Doll and Hill really believed it. Most people do.
Another big lie, of course, is the notion the Passive Smoking is dangerous. And in this case, it’s probably only a minority of people who have swallowed the lie. Quite a few antismokers don’t believe it either. And it’s probably a conscious lie. It’s the Godber Blueprint.
There are lots and lots of lies to choose from. Tobacco Control is a whole supermarket full of lies. Big ones, little ones. Plausible ones, implausible ones. I’m not at all sure that anything they say is actually true.
But which, in this blizzard of lies, is the one which is the easiest to refute, and the most dangerous to them? Which is the lie which, when revealed, shocks people into the sudden realisation that these people are just a bunch of liars?
Perhaps I should make a list, and put up a poll? I’m sure some people will have their own suggestions.
Maybe, from somewhere inside the Tobacco Control supermarket of lies, one lie will press itself forward, as being most outstanding, monumental, and easily refutable lie of all.