Last year, the Netherlands relaxed its smoking ban after a campaign by small bar owners and their customers. It came after a battle between the Dutch and EU governments' lavishly-funded NGOs and fake charities who masqueraded as nonsmokers' rights groups against Wiel Maessan and others gave their time for free to undo the worst of the ban's damage to small bars.
This is how things work these days. State funded astro-turf groups create the illusion of support for draconian laws. Ordinary people fight against them. Usually the astro-turf groups win. Sometimes, as in the Netherlands, ordinary people claim a scalp.
Anti-smoking dinosaurs like Simon Chapman and Stanton Glantz (pictured left) try to maintain the facade of it being a battle between the whole of humanity—made up of people who don't smoke and people who do smoke but want tobacco control to save them—versus the big, bad, evil, all-controlling tobacco industry.
Stanton Glantz knows that the tobacco industry weren't involved in the campaign to relax the smoking ban in the Netherlands. He knows because he interviewed Wiel Maessan personally several months ago and got it from the horse's mouth. If that weren't enough, he's failed to uncover a scintilla of evidence of industry involvement with the campaign despite looking under every stone. It was a grass-roots campaign by people who believed in property rights, individual freedom and—in the case of bar-owners—self-interest. End of story.
This is mind-blowing information to someone like Glantz who is so far down the rabbit hole of delusional self-righteousness that he probably believes his own studies. So when he writes up his account of what happened in the Netherlands, he can't bring himself to tell the truth, but he can't lie either. Instead, he uses innuendo and suggestion to give the reader the impression that Big Tobacco was at work, while never risking libel by stating it up front.
The introduction of his latest article (from the European Journal of Public Health) gives the flavour of what is to come...
The tobacco industry has made maintaining smoking in hospitality venues a priority worldwide by organizing and sometimes financing hospitality and ‘smokers’ rights’ groups to oppose smoking restrictions. Bars are particularly important to the tobacco industry because they are adult only venues where young adults can be targeted [what on earth does this mean? - CJS]. As claims of adverse economic effects on restaurants have lost credibility, the tobacco industry has focused on bars as a wedge to undermine 100% smoke-free laws, including in the Netherlands.
Get the picture? It's the tobacco industry who want people to smoke in bars, not smokers or the people who own the bars.
It carries on in much the same vein, with Stan always talking about the kind of things the tobacco industry might do, while being careful to never say that they actually did them.
Echoing tobacco industry messaging, opponents accused the government of violating individual freedom, and called Minister Klink a ‘nanny’.
Perhaps, because of the dominance of the pro-industry messaging in the media, the health groups did not gain much traction.
And then finally, on page 5 of this 7 page article, we get a glimpse of the truth.
While the tobacco companies did not play an open public role in these events...
They didn't play any role in these events—open or covert, public or private—and Glantz knows it. If he had any evidence to the contrary he would present it. Instead, he continues with the same innuendo.
...the strategies and rhetoric deployed to oppose the smoking restrictions parallels tobacco industry global strategies, including arguing that smoke-free laws represent a form of intolerance and extremism [they do—CJS], and that, despite consistent evidence to the contrary, smoke-free laws harm bars [they do; it's basic economics—CJS]. Other industry tactics are to encourage and publicize venues flouting the law to create the perception of widespread noncompliance [I went to Amsterdam when the ban was in force and there was widespread noncompliance—CJS], to encourage (and fund) hospitality venues to challenge the law in court, and to promote ventilation.
And just in case you haven't taken the nudge and the wink, he finishes with this...
Owner-run bars in the Netherlands have been used by tobacco industry allies as a wedge to undermine public perception of and encourage noncompliance with smoke-free regulations. (Compliance remained high in other hospitality venues). The reversal in the Netherlands was the result of a failure to present and defend the law as a way to protect non-smokers, together with continuing to allow smoking rooms. There is a danger that the Netherlands may be cited by the tobacco industry and its allies as evidence that 100% smoke-free bar laws are unpopular and unenforceable and that tobacco control best practices embodied in the FCTC do not work.
"Allies", "parallels", "tactics", "pro-tobacco messaging". What weasel words these are. Misleading but never quite libellous; untrue but never quite lies. Using the same techniques, I will say this about the great mechanical engineer...
There is no direct evidence that Stanton Glantz is a criminally insane fraudster. That said, his refusal to acknowledge facts which clash with his delusions is a common phenomenon often observed in psychiatric patients. Although never officially certified with a mental illness, Glantz's constant references to dark conspiracies for which there is no evidence is a classic symptom of paranoid schizophrenia, as is the belief that ordinary people are working for sinister organisations. Asylums are filled with people with delusions of grandeur who obsessively repeat the same words over and over as if they had a profound meaning.
Glantz has recently written an article that was published in The Lancet, the same journal that published the notorious study on autism and MMR which has been described as "deliberate fraud" involving "clear evidence of falsification of data." Glantz has also worked with Prof. Anna Gilmore.
Glantz has written a book in which he explains his beliefs, thereby mirroring the strategies and rhetoric deployed by the suspected murderer O. J. Simpson, the disgraced politician Jeffrey Archer and the genocidal dictator Adolf Hitler whose book, Mein Kampf, was written whilst in prison in Germany. Like many of the most evil men in history, Glantz uses the Latin alphabet and owns a pen.
On the ninth of September 2001, two passenger aircraft were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre. Glantz did not play an open public role in these events, although he has never publicly denied involvement. Nor has he denied involvement in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, the schoolgirl who went missing in Portugal six years later. Some eye-witness reports suggested that the kidnapper was a white male.
Stanton Glantz, a white male, has never been formally charged with racially motivated violence. He lives in the United States of America, where lynchings of ethnic minorities were common until quite recently. His home state of California endorsed eugenics and carried out an extensive sterilisation programme which did not end until 1979, at which point Glantz was working at the University of California, San Francisco.
You see how easy it is? Glantz has long since scraped through the barrel and at this rate will each the core of the Earth by 2019. It's garbage. The truth is—as his study tells you if you can cut through the guff—that the tobacco industry only appears twice in this story. On the first occasion, they were invited by the government to attend a meeting as a stakeholder. The industry's lobbying at this meeting was ignored and a total ban was introduced. On the second occasion, a law firm working on behalf of the hospitality industry allegedly approached the Dutch Cigarette Manufacturers Association to ask for funding so that bar-owners could sue the government. The Dutch Cigarette Manufacturers Association turned them down.
That's yer conspiracy, right there. Scary, huh? If you want to hear what really went on, I suggest you listen to the conversation between Wiel Maessan and Stanton Glantz (listen here).