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.]

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  1. With all the talk about The Beatles and Lynrd Skynard of late, (and the common talk of the Kinks and punk on this site) for a moment I thought this thread was going to be about The Who.

    Well, I won’t get fooled again.

  2. “the occasional cigar” – nobody smokes those… (nor eats parsley). snus is a nasty habit. (shudder). oh – that’s why people want to ban it 🙂

    the “emotionally true” lie (e.g., paper shredders, guns randomly kill, kyoto is beneficial and not at all political, etc) told by zealots who are trying first and foremost to make political hay with their issue seems to be getting stronger. “emotionally true” means that it is something that’s not true. just true for the particular person’s hysteria (saddam = hitler. bush = hitler, etc).

    the tactics by the PC forces in the 90s have taken root and are spreading faster than horny teenage tribbles on shore leave.

    the WHO exemplifies the negative, excessive image of the UN in spades. How else to keep power than by having the enemy, and then the valliant leader comes to the rescue.

    without things that go thump in the night, the meddling crusaders have to work harder to find reasons to boss us around and feel either morally or intellectually superior. or at least more socialized.

  3. I think a lot of this is mis-channeled aggression. I think there are people who are born crusaders. They are on a life mission to fight an insidious, moral evil. Crusaders don’t burden themselves with “truth” or “facts”. It’s all about the fight.

  4. My father used to use tobacco as a pesticide in our vegetable garden. Was that a deadly disguise as well?

    (Why am I so fond of that word lately?)

  5. I looked and looked but I could not find the actual date of World No Tobacco Day 2006. So is it an actual day or the whole friggin’ year? And will blue-helmeted thugs swoop down upon me suddenly if I light a Dominican? Will there be secret torture camps run by sadistic nannies? Will the French ride to my rescue? I’m really worried about this.

  6. Warren: because it’s a great word.

    have you relocated to the banks of the ohio yet?

  7. Well I already posted the article about Chicago’s smoking ban in another thread.

    Then I saw the front page of the Sun-Times:
    “Three male students at Taft High School — seventh- and eighth-graders in an Advanced Placement program — were disciplined Wednesday after obscene and threatening remarks were posted about Taft staff on a Web log that reportedly had a teacher in tears when discovered this week.”

    Bad day for the Bill of Rights in Chicago!

  8. what about the discovery of the teacher caused tears?

  9. Hey Warren, how’d he do that? Did he go through a lot of Drum or what? I’ve got some interested potted herbs. (No, not that kind.)

    Mmm, tomacco.

  10. VM,
    Why yes, I have established myself in Southern IN. Just the other night I showed up at the license bureau with my passport, MI license, MI title, signed copy of my lease, Social Security card, and proof of insurance (and reading material). And after a mere 2.5 hours, walked away with IN plates, registration, license, and application for title (which I am assured will be mailed to me shortly). Might I add that I am flattered that you bothered to keep tabs on my life developments.

  11. poco,
    As I recall, he put it in a blender with some soap and water and sprayed it on the plants. It was a weak solution and I don’t think it actually killed the bugs, just made the leaves taste bad.

  12. “Why yes, I have established myself in Southern IN.”

    Anywhere near Evansville?

  13. mediageek,
    The Loyd and Burkhardt

  14. Tobacco may be dangerous in any form, but it really has more to do with the frequency with which it is consumed.

    Alcohol is dangerous in any form if you drink enough of it. So is water for that matter.

    Of course this argument leaves us open to claims of its addictiveness etc.

  15. My father used to use tobacco as a pesticide in our vegetable garden. Was that a deadly disguise as well?

    It’s failed as a pesticide in Seattle. The mere mention of cigarettes or tobacco has brought out every insufferable pest one could imagine.

  16. mediageek,

    Evansville? Is there anything there besides American General? Their legal department used to try to recruit me on a monthly basis. Of course, getting me to leave Tampa for Evansville would’ve been a neat trick.

  17. jim crews is there.

    (so glad this thread isn’t about the fucking beatles)

  18. Those new anti-tobacco ads where the puppet people eat rats and hairballs are really a bit beyond the pale. It almost makes me want to start smoking just to spite their producers.

  19. My brother is in Evansville. I visit him when my life seems too fast-paced and exciting.

    Mediageek: I just saw your e-mail about last month’s Denver reasonoid meet-up (yeah, I check that account about once a month or so). Keep me posted on future get-togethers.

  20. poco, I use Drum or Bali Shag to kill mealybugs, aphids and spider mites (and as a preventative measure) – I soak a couple of cigs worth in about a liter of water overnight and mist the plants lightly.

    I’ve had pretty poor luck using it on succulents tho.

  21. 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.

    That difference is not as vast as you might think. According to the CDC, in 2002 in the U.S., 3153 people were killed while riding a motorcycle and 767 were killed on a bicycle. I don’t know what the figures are for vehicle miles travelled, but I’ll bet that the number of motorcycle deaths per mile travelled are far fewer than the number of bicycle (or tricycle) deaths per mile.

  22. I looked and looked but I could not find the actual date of World No Tobacco Day 2006.

    If you find out when it is, let me know. I want to smoke a bunch of pipes full of tobacco on that day. Yes, I know it’s a useless gesture. But it’ll make me feel better.

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