Facts prove second-hand smoke kills
The Daily Press (Timmins)
Wed 19 Feb 2003

Thanks to the intervention of FORCES during the Timmins no-smoking bylaw debate ("Letter by Timmins bartender brews praise from president of association," Feb. 15), those interested in this important health issue can now have a few good laughs.

To believe FORCES, the entire medical case demonstrating health damage from both first-hand smoking and second-hand smoke exposure is nothing but a vast conspiracy of health and medical professionals and institutions worldwide.

The organization's researchers identified on its Web site www.forces.org, include John Luik, whose academic credentials were recently exposed as fraudulent by a CBC TV news investigation, and Pierre Lemieux, a Quebec researcher who has acknowledged receiving grants from the tobacco industry.

Their Web site is an amusing mixture of libertarian rhetoric and charges of anti-smoker conspiracies by, among others, the World Health Organization and members of the U.S. Congress.

The group's letter gives away its real intentions by citing a study by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) which allegedly demonstrates no impact of second-hand smoke exposure on hospitality workers.

The lead tobacco researcher at the ORNL, Roger Jenkins, is a well-known and long-standing tobacco industry researcher who has been identified as working for U.S. tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds.

On one occasion, Jenkins was barred from testifying in a tobacco-related lawsuit in Florida because of perceived bias in his research, due to his tobacco industry connections.

FORCES would have you believe that permitting exposure to second-hand smoke is a fundamental right in a free society.

The only way they can advance this argument is by outright denial of the international scientific consensus, most recently described in the Ontario Medical Association's "The Duty to Protect: Eliminating Second-hand Smoke Exposure from Public Places and Workplaces in Ontario," published on Feb. 11 that second-hand smoke is a proven cause of lung cancer, heart disease and a variety of respiratory ailments, particularly in children.

Their denial strategy is further evident in one of their Web site's sidebars which states that "Addiction is a Choice."

Try telling that to anyone who has unsuccessfully tried to quit smoking, or to the many physicians and scientists working in the area of addiction medicine, who have categorized nicotine as one of the most available drugs on the market.

Michael Perley,
Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco,

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