New Ploy in WHOville


The World Health Organization--whose spokesman last week declared that "with tobacco, there is no middle ground"--has a new slogan designed to mislead the public about the relative hazards of different tobacco products. The theme of World No Tobacco Day 2006 is "Tobacco: Deadly in Any Form or Disguise." That description deliberately obscures the fact that, depending upon the manner and frequency of use, tobacco products pose health risks ranging from negligible (Swedish-style smokeless tobacco, the occasional cigar) to substantial (a pack-a-day cigarette habit). It's like saying vehicles are "deadly in any form," which is in some sense true but ignores the vast difference in risk between a tricycle and a motorcycle.

[Thanks to Brad Rodu for the tip.]