Anti-Smoking Groups Target Author For His Dissenting Opinion
By Lindsay Fox Posted November 24, 2012
In a growing trend, anti-smoking groups are becoming very vocal in their disapproval of people who do not share their opinions. As a matter of fact, many of these groups try to shout down people who do not agree with them, especially when it comes to the link between smoking and health issues.
It is a matter of growing concern to industry watchdogs that the powerful anti-smoking lobby targets them in an attempt to silence them. Take the example of a powerful group called Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR). A writer talks about the negative response he got from this organization because he pointed out that ANR was using spurious studies in order to make certain claims to validate their stand on controlling smoking.
What seems strange to the unbiased observer is that ANR cites the findings from a study that agrees with its opinion on the health risks of smoking while totally ignoring other studies that do not arrive at such a conclusion. This organization cites the study by Lippert and Gustat that finds a direct co-relation between a smoking ban and a reduction in heart attacks whereas there are two other larger studies that do not have the same findings as this one. The Lippert and Gustat study has two glaring discrepancies; one is that it has not used a control group and the second is that it does not use the right type of statistical analysis.
The writer who pointed out the fact that ANR used unscientific methods to bolster their opinion about the health risks associated with smoking had to face an attack on his character and integrity; one of the worst kinds of attacks a commentator can face. Surprisingly, ANR has complained in the past about tobacco groups using the exact same tactics; using wrong data from badly conducted studies and vociferously shouting down opponents. The pity is that this tactic will only bring down the credibility of the lobby that opposes the use of cigarettes in public. Read more here.