The Corner

Oh Really?

These folks (“A Smoke-Free New York Works”) have started putting out annoying advertisements in New York City. Now of course these ads are satire, but in their implications they are also spectacularly dishonest – people opposed to the anti-tobacco jihad always said that the early ‘reasonable’ measures taken to curb smoking were nothing more than the thin edge of the wedge – and they were right. The satire, however, has nothing on ’statistics’ like the claim that secondhand smoke “takes the lives of 53,000 Americans each year”.

Let’s think about that for a second. It’s usually said that around 400,000 Americans die each year from smoking related causes. Are we really expected to believe that nearly one in eight of them will killed by secondhand smoke?

And then there is this claim:

“Studies in cities across the country demonstrate no effect on bar and restaurant revenue as a result of smoking bans. “

Well, some studies doubtless have. Others would not agree. Take this, for example:

“For example, California’s smoking ban is the wall trophy for tobacco haters, but the political rampage was not without victims. More than 1,000 bars, taverns and “mom & pop” restaurants closed their doors, with thousands of servers losing their jobs.

“In Canada, a citywide ban in Ottawa has nearly destroyed all downtown bars and restaurants as patrons flock to the suburbs. In British Columbia, a disastrous experiment with a ban lasted only 80 days, but in that brief period, 910 workers were laid off, with multimillion-dollar losses in the hospitality and tourism industries.”

The organization behind A Smoke-free New York Works is the American Legacy Foundation, a propaganda mill funded by tobacco ’settlement’ money and, thus, of course, something that owes its existence at least partly to complaints about misleading advertising.

Well, that’s at least one tobacco industry tradition that they are keeping alive.

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