Four Groups File Complaints Against Carmona’s 2006 Report

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In June, 2006, then Surgeon General Carmona released his report titled “The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke”. Since that date, his report has drawn criticism from Scientists and Epidemiologists worldwide.

Four separate groups have filed complaints with the Office of Research Integrity, Health and Human Services against Ex-Surgeon General Carmona’s 2006 Report.

Opponents of Ohio Bans filed a complaint against the scientific misconduct (manipulation of research) of the economic assessment/impact of smoking bans. According to Carmona’s report, smokefree policies do not harm business. Two thirds of the studies in Carmona’s report were either authored or co-authored by Stanton Glantz, Director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, who is not an economist. He and his university have profited heavily by anti-tobacco funding and grants. Absolutely no studies or reports conducted by economists or trade organizations were cited in Carmona’s report, although many sources were available at the time. For example, the highly regarded Deloitte and Touche reported a study for the National Restaurant Association study (2004), the Ridgeway Economic Associates New York Nightlife Association/Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association Study (05/12/2004), and Terry L. Clower, Ph.D. & Bernard L. Weinstein, Ph.D. completed a study for Dallas Restaurant Association Study (10/01/2004). “This is a glaring and obvious attempt to stack the deck in favor of anti-tobacco versus the real damage done to the hospitality industry. How was it even possible that the highest medical authority in this country got away with this?” asks Pam Parker of Opponents of Ohio Bans.

The Hawaii Smokers Alliance filed a complaint against the public statement “there is no safe level of exposure”. In addition to violating the basic tenets of toxicology, this actually crosses the line of fabricating results because the SG is the highest healthcare authority in the United States of America and his press release to announce the results of his meta-analysis truly is his report to the American public. “We are committed to holding those who have chosen to misinform or misrepresent information to the general public accountable for such reckless and egregious behavior. Such misrepresentations are solely responsible for the destruction and incalculable financial harm to businesses both large and small across the nation,” states Jolyn Tenn of Hawaii Smokers Alliance.

Ban the Ban Wisconsin’s complaint cites the haphazard use of RRs or “relative risks”. Coupled with the fact that the larger studies not included in Carmona’s report would have diminished the already unacceptably low RRs, questionable studies inflated the appearance of RRs. Moreover, the relative risks don’t appear to be discussed with respect to absolute risks. In the ORI’s terms, this is a significant departure from accepted practice in the relevant field. Early in Carmona’s report, a brief subsection stated that, “The quantitative results of the meta-analyses, however, were not determinate in making causal inferences in this Surgeon General’s report.” Clearly, in the absence of hard evidence, the Surgeon General chose to pontificate according to his pre-determined results. Carmona couldn’t have deviated any further from accepted practice in the relevant field without stepping in something.

Citizens Freedom Alliance‘s complaint is centered on “changing and omitting data”. The data for a meta-analysis is the studies collected from the body of research, but the SG’s meta-analysis omits relevant studies such as the Enstrom/Kabat study, belittles other large relevant studies, includes highly questionable studies, and relies heavily on the thoroughly discredited 1992 EPA report (which was not only discredited by a Federal Judge, but by three congressional committees). By omitting relevant long-term, large studies as well as relying heavily on discredited reports, the Surgeon General both changed and omitted data in his meta-analysis of research on secondhand smoke (SHS)/environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), which did indeed ensure that the research is not accurately represented in the research record. He, therefore, committed “research misconduct” as defined by the “falsification” according to the “Public Health Service Policies on Research Misconduct”. According to Gary Nolan, U.S. Regional Director for Citizens Freedom Alliance, “Americans should be angry about this waste of tax payer dollars. I truly believe this study was released for purely political reasons and is an insult to every honorable scientist in the world. The result of Carmona’s ETS study was to needlessly ruin business, cost jobs and harm the economies of local communities and states across the country. He should be ashamed of his actions.”

Dr. Michael Siegel is a prominent doctor specializing in Preventative Medicine and Public Health. From his commentary on Carmona’s 2006 report, he is quoted as saying, “The Surgeon General is publicly claiming that brief exposure to secondhand smoke increases risk for heart disease and lung cancer. But there is absolutely no evidence to support this claim. Certainly, no evidence is presented in the Surgeon General’s report to support this claim. And certainly, the Surgeon General’s report draws no such conclusion.”

Many researchers and prominent organizations have written about the powerful influences of the anti-tobacco activists. Dr. Carl Phillips, University of Alberta School of Public Health, Edmonton, Canada wrote “Warning: Anti-Tobacco Activism May Be Hazardous to Epidemiological Science”. . Other articles such as “Science and Secondhand Smoke: the Need for a Good Puff of Skepticism” by Sidney Zion (Skeptic, Volume 13, Number 3, 2007), “Where’s the Consensus on Second Hand Smoke?” by Joseph Bast of Heartland Institute, and “Did Carmona Read His Own Report?” by Jacob Scullum with Reason Magazine 06/29/2006 are but a small representation of the articles that give a glimpse of how damaging the epidemic of anti-smoking is.

The fact is, the Surgeon General title is one that is held in highest esteem. It is the medical authority in this country. When, for whatever reason, that position is compromised into producing a report that wreaks the damage his report has had on this country, that authority should be held accountable. Carmona’s 2006 report is the sole reason given for several smoking bans, Ohio’s ban for one. These bans have had devastating financial impacts on businesses. The worst offense is the offense against the American People and the Scientific Community. People will no longer be able to trust the word of the person holding the Surgeon General title. The damage to the science of Epidemiology is irreversible. The good news is many ethical doctors and scientists can no longer remain silent about the abuses of Epidemiology and are starting to speak out. “Because they’ve committed a huge fraud on the American public. And because they should be held accountable for that. They should be held accountable to the same rules of corporate and individual behavior as everybody else. It’s very simple.” This is a quote by Stanton Glantz during a PBS interview about Big Tobacco. Shouldn’t the same apply to the Surgeon General?


About Marshall Keith

Broadcast Engineer Scuba Diver Photographer Fisherman Hunter Libertarian
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5 Responses to Four Groups File Complaints Against Carmona’s 2006 Report

  1. SStahl says:

    Whoa! Kinda big news there, isn’t it? I think it’s great that science will be brought back to it’s esteemed position in the US. We’re always hearing about how scientific studies are biased by funding, one way or another. This is great news on so many frints. To top it off, I hope this is the beginning of a diminishing “Ban It” mentality. We can’t have regulations intruding into business in the free market based on iffy science hyping a non-existent health scare. Kudos to the four groups that notified the Office of Research Integrity. Oooo, that has a nice ring to it: Liberty, Integrity, Freedom.

  2. John and Brenda Manning says:

    Thank goodness the deceits are being exposed. We hope the wrongs are corrected soon.

    Society does not need liars on self missions that are backed by big corporate funds setting social rules based on a personal dislike or for the bank account health of the deceitful.

    Everyone knows that bans ruin much with the economy and the smoking ban was designed BY and paid for BY a giant pharmaceutical foundation to bring giant profits to THEIR industry, that being those who sell the no-smoke products.

    Follow the money !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Rebecca says:

    I am so happy about this article. It is about time the truth was told. We the people need to wake up big time! According to the Ohio Dept. of Taxation, in 2007, the first year of the smoking ban, 315 drinking establishments closed. More than 5,400 employees lost their jobs. There was 67.44 million in lost liquor sales. There was 4,264,446 dollars in lost taxes to the state. Ohio has the highest unemployment rate since 1992 in the hospitality and service industry.

    Smoking bans ARE NOT good for business. Wake up America and take back your property rights!

  4. Deanna S. says:

    I am SO glad someone is FINALLY doing something about this!! I can’t beleve HOW MANY PEOPLE know about the junk “studies”, the money behind these studies and bans and who profits. It’s certainly now my in-laws. They own a bar in Ohio. This ban is KILLING their business. I hope they don’t lose everything and move in with us! I love them but…..

  5. These are very serious charges. I see and hear examples of the damage done to the wider medical establishment by the fraud built around secondary smoke every day.

    The lies about secondary smoke have resulted in an atmosphere where probably fewer people believe that smoking itself is “bad for one’s health” than believed it ten years ago. The distrust of Big Pharma and its backroom political dealings to promote its NicoGummyPatchyProducts has created enormous skepticism about things like vaccinations or the value of regular medical exams. The spillover effects of people being less supportive of large charities that use their money to promote smoking bans rather than to do basic research has probably cost those organizations millions by this point while costing all of us breakthroughs that might have been made.

    Surgeon General Carmona and the various front groups funded under the MSA to promote smoking bans flew into battle under the false banner of saying that universal bans were necessary in the face of a “dire threat” that was “unsafe at any level.” The fact that same sort of thing could be said for exposure to sunshine was ignored in a blatant spirit of yellow journalism. The headline hungry media picked it up and today we’re faced with such farcical nonsense as audience members having the screaming meemies because an actor lights a cigarette on a stage 100 feet away.

    The harms are very real: they’re real on a societal level as businesses close and social groupings are disrupted and they’re real on a personal level as families and friendships are injured. The prejudice against smokers isn’t a “natural” one: in previous years most nonsmokers didn’t really care about smoke unless it was being blown right in their face. The very basis for most of the studies of the 80s and 90s that condemned secondary smoke was the prevalence of “mixed marriages” where nonsmokers married smokers because they loved them despite their smoking preferences. It would be a lot harder to find tens of thousands of such happy marriages today.

    Carmona’s not alone in being at fault: anyone with a careful eye to the news sees this sort of acceptance of duplicity and scientific sloppiness every day. Mayor Bloomberg will stand up in front of a German audience and proclaim that “giving up smoking is relatively easy” while at the same time praising policies based on the idea that nicotine is more addictive than heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine combined. Press releases extol a 17% post-ban drop in Scottish heart attacks, but a few months later when the real figures show that heart attacks might have actually INcreased after the ban there’s virtually no news coverage of the story. Cities, states and even countries are told that there’s no economic harm from bans while the example of British pub closures rising 1,100% post-ban (from 3/week to 36 per week) is ignored as if it didn’t exist.

    Surgeon General Carmona was one of the “little old men behind the curtain” pulling the strings of the giant smoke-and-flame-belching monster designed to frighten people into behaving “correctly” and now, maybe, he’ll be caught and held responsible. Hopefully, with the curtain pulled back, people will begin to realize just how much they’ve been lied to and just how much their ordinary lives have been impacted and disrupted by “The Great Smoking Prohibition Experiment.”

    And hopefully this joint press release will signal the start of putting that “Experiment” into the dustbin of history where it belongs.

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”

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