2nd Hand Smoke kills (or so we’re told) pt. 2

Using absurdity to illustrate absurdity – one more example of how the claim that ‘climate change deniers are untrustworthy because they also deny the harm of cigarette smoking’ implodes under hard scrutiny.

Call it misinformation or disinformation or whatever you prefer, if you ask people who repeat that accusation to show you full context verbatim material where skeptic climate scientists or Heartland Institute people said smoking is not harmful, they can’t deliver. Believe me, I’ve tried over the last seven or more years, most recently when an alleged* tea party founder (*this label is a whole other story) replied to my Tweets about her apparent lack of awareness both of the depth of material from skeptic climate scientists and the intelligence of her audience by saying,

Heartland took money from big tobacco in 1990s to convince folks 2nd hand smoke posed no health risks. Do you still believe that ?

When I asked her to point the entire Twitter audience to where those exact words were found, she offered all of us a digital library subscription service’s copy of an old 1998 Heartland newsletter section by CEO Joe Bast, when she could have used the copy’s own link straight to the formerly named “Legacy Tobacco Documents Library” …….. which contains no such wording about “2nd hand smoke posed no health risks.” The closest the newsletter (available on Heartland’s website to this day) comes to such wording is the basic truism seen in its second page, (screencapture here):

Exposure to small amounts of a toxic substance is often benign because the human body has a natural ability to repair itself. Our bodies shed and create anew millions of cells every day, in the process repairing much of the damage done by exposure to toxins and other kinds of wear and tear. The result is thresholds of exposure to potentially harmful substances below which there is no irreversible damage.

The fact that smoking in moderation has few, if any, adverse health effects has astounding importance in the tobacco debate. Virtually any product (water, salt, and vitamins come to mind), if used in excess, is a health hazard.

See that? No such wording about “2nd hand smoke posed no health risks” is there, only one about moderation, and the hazards of just about any kind of substance abuse. The alleged ‘smoking gun’ old paper by Dr S Fred Singer that I linked directly to in part one of this post said as much here ….

…almost any chemical substance will harm a person’s health if administered in sufficiently large quantities. Even substances which are necessary for life itself become deadly at high doses. Unfortunately, the EPA ignores this fact in most of its risk assessments …

… and here:

As mentioned earlier, essentially every substance to which humans are exposed is potentially harmful. Many ordinary substances — common table salt, for instance – are fatal if ingested in sufficiently large amounts. In addition, hundreds of foods in the human diet contain enormous quantities of “natural carcinogens” …

I chose a facetious over-the-top title for this 2-part blog post to illustrate a point: of course, opponents of Heartland Institute/Dr Singer never said second-hand smoke was lethal to breathe in any form, and it is not my attempt to dupe a gullible audience via insinuation into believing those opponents ever said any such thing. Therein lies the difference in this situation. Those opponents have long insinuated that Heartland and Dr Singer both hold the position that cigarette smoking is not harmful via ‘evidence’ which, under thorough examination, does not prove the accusation is true.

Repeating from part 1 of this post, what does this tangent on cigarettes have to do with climate science? Absolutely nothing. This whole thing only ends up looking like a “smoke and mirrors” (pun intended) effort to trick the public into ignoring what Heartland and Dr Singer have to say about climate science. After years of insinuation that both deny the harm of smoking, why is verbatim text where both said “smoking is not harmful” unavailable for accusers to directly quote? But the ultimate question is tougher yet: did the people who first started this accusation tangent create it knowing it was false, and proceed to spread it with malice anyway?