Thursday, January 13, 2005


Tar Baby

The January 12th issue of JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) contains a review of the book "Unfiltered: Conflicts over Tobacco Policy and Public Health" (will need subscription to access). The book describes Eric A. Feldman and Ronald Bayer's research into the impact of public health policy and smoking rates in eight industrialized countries (including the US).

JAMA states that "Unfiltered concludes that scientific evidence did not determine tobacco control policy, the power of the epidemic of tobacco-caused deaths in motivating action was common to all countries."

This finding did not sit well with the reviewers at JAMA, who appear to think the book's conclusion incomplete since there was no call for heads to roll inside the Tobacco companies.

Deciding to roll their own, the reviewers light-up this diatribe:

"The "Lessons learned" might have included a primer on Tobacco industry tactics, including infiltration of legislative bodies and influence on their actions, (and) efforts to undermine scientific evidence on adverse health effects of smoking... "

The reviewers conclude by snuffing out any confusion on what the next front in the War against (politically incorrect) vice is, with this statement:

"Those concerned with limiting obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease arising from unhealthful food consumption driven by multinational corporations will likely find many parallels in tobacco."

It appears the righteous among us on the left and right will continue their quest to save us from ourselves (and from rich, litigation ripe, multinational corporations) by any means possible. May I suggest avoiding the urge to crucify our good brothers, personal responsibility and individual freedom, in the process?

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