Is the Surgeon General a Liar or an Idiot?


Under the headline "Killing by the million–and that's just the health campaigners," British anti-smoking activist Clive Bates slams "the well paid and comfortably smug public health community" for refusing to accept the idea of smokeless tobacco as a harm-reducing alternative to cigarettes:

Instead of telling the truth about low risk options, there is a conspiracy to lie and mislead (for example, the US Surgeon General told a barefaced lie about it to Congress). In Europe, we even have a directive (2001/37/EC see article 8 and 2.4) that bans the much lower risk products than cigarettes. If there is a reason to be a Euro-sceptic, then this is one of the strongest–deliberate denial of access to products that are much lower risk to people that are addicted to nicotine.

Having heard Richard Carmona speak, I'm inclined to be a little more charitable than Bates. I think it's plausible that he simply doesn't know what he's talking about when he says things like, "I cannot conclude that the use of any tobacco product is a safer alternative to smoking." His staff, however, is another matter.

[Thanks to Brad Rodu for the link.]