Michael Campbell's new Gestapo

After the Supreme Court of Canada made a 9-0 decision upholding British Columbia legislation making it easier to sue tobacco companies, all of Canada's major print media followed the tobacco industry's party line in criticizing the decision.

The columnist most up front in this was Michael Campbell, who has a column in the business section of the Fraser Institute mouthpiece Vancouver Sun, and a program on CKNW called "Money Talks".

In Campbell's case, money doesn't just talk, it libels. Campbell invented a fantasy about an "anti-smoking Gestapo", and the Sun printed it.

Here's a response to Campbell's name-calling: Michael Campbell, Tobacco Industry Sycophant.

A piece of good news on patios

This letter to the editor was published in the South Delta Leader on August 12:

While the debate about smoking on patios rages in Vancouver, my partner and I recently went out for dinner in Tsawwassen. As we approached the front entrance of the local White Spot, I noticed what appeared to be a recently-added-on patio, on the front of the building. I automatically assumed it was, like most patios, a smoke pit... and we chose a seat inside.

It wasn't until we were leaving that we asked the hostess about the patio... and were very pleasantly surprised to learn that it is, in fact, smoke-free. A big thumbs up to the owners/managers of that particular White Spot for leading the way and voluntarily doing what will, one day soon, be the law... everywhere.

Besides once again being reminded of the hazards of making assumptions, my only criticism would be: Any establishment with a smoke-free patio should proudly advertise it, loud and clear.

Errol E. Povah
President, Airspace Action on Smoking & Health

Philip Morris/Altria to build new animal testing facility

People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has discovered plans by Philip Morris/Altria to build a new reasearch and development facility in Richmond, VA, and the research to be done will include animal testing. Here's PETA's story: Philip Morris to Build New Research Facility: Bad News for Animals.

The story also reveals that Philip Morris is getting huge tax break from the City of Richmond for this.

PETA is correct in pointing out that this is "bad news for animals". Unfortunately, PETA suggests that Philip Morris do their research on human volunteers instead. This would be bad news for humans.

We already know that cigarettes kill, and so do the tobacco industry's own scientists. There isn't any compelling need to add to the body of knowledge that already exists on this subject.

Peter Jennings 1938-2005

Smoking kills some 5 million people around the world every year, But it doesn't bleed so it doesn't lead. We get occasional reminders about smoking's devastating impact on health when a Yul Brynner, a Nat King Cole, a George Harrison - or a Peter Jennings or Peter Gzowski - dies but, for the most part, families suffer their tragedies in private.

The nicotine industry acts with impunity, but it's not too late to begin demanding it be held responsible for its deadly actions. Unregulated, slender, deadly sticks of tar and carbon monoxide are killing scores of Canadians every day. That fact alone should make it into print and onto broadcasts and TV newscasts regularly. Peter Jennings and Peter Gzowski, at heart both good men and good reporters, would approve.

Stan Shatenstein, Contributing Editor, Tobacco Control
Co-editor, GLOBALink News & Information

More on BAT/Imperial Tobacco and smuggling

Fresh allegations rock BAT as six-year investigation by the Mounties leads to publication of secret letters. Here's an article from The Guardian about it.
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