Thursday 3 December 2009

Bullies and Banzhaf

I haven't yet mentioned Brian Monteith's book The Bully State, which is a rollicking good read. I reviewed it in the current Spiked Review of Books:

Readers who have not visited Britain for several years may be shocked by the lurch towards authoritarianism described in this book. Those who have witnessed the creep of the bully state first hand will be enraged, amused and informed in equal measure. Californian politicians can simply use it as an instruction manual.

Go have a look. And speaking of bullies...

Chubby ambulance-chaser John Banzhaf has called on e-cigarette users to sue e-cigarette makers. In a typically narcissistic press release, the ASH founder invites vapers to "possibly share in any damages awarded to users of this new product which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declared 'illegal'."

Smokles provides an accurate character assessment of the litigious lard-ass:

I can think of no other example where the signatory of the letter refers to himself in the third person so many times and so magnificently. (In nine out of the thirteen paragraphs of his release, he refers to himself at least once, and even bestows upon himself a title: the Dean of Public Interest Lawyers).

You just have to wonder how this blowhard survived grade school.

Since nearly all e-cigarette users are very happy to be vaping rather than smoking, Banzhaf is once again displaying a certain detachment from reality with this press release. Judging by some of the comments at the e-cigarette forum, the ASH founder is going to struggle to find many takers:

Yeah, i'm sure we are going to turn on the hand that feeds us ... not.

That may be in his repetoire, being the disgusting turncoat sell-out pork belly that he obviously is, but it sure as diddly isn't in the most decent people's plans.

Similar sentiments are on display on the Tobacco Facts website which hosts the press release:

I wish these anti-smoking fanatics realized that by attacking e-cigarettes they’re actually supporting big tobacco.

They might be supporting big tobacco. They're certainly supporting the pharmaceutical industry, as Michael Siegel points out:

Interestingly, ASH is not promoting lawsuits against the pharmaceutical companies who market nicotine replacement products without informing their customers that these products contain detectable levels of carcinogens. Why this double standard?

Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that ASH is heavily funded by Big Pharma.

ASH is funded heavily by Big Pharma (specifically, by Pfizer - the maker of Chantix). If e-cigarettes really take off, they represent a huge threat to the profits of pharmaceutical companies, and in turn, they represent a threat to future funding of ASH. This conflict of interest is significant, but ASH has failed to disclose it in any of its statements about the dangers of electronic cigarettes, or in its propaganda designed to encourage vapers to sue e-cigarette companies.

Indeed ASH is funded by Pfizer (makers of Chantix, Nicorette etc.). It received $50,000 from the company in 2006 and is currently sharing the spoils of a $47 million grant made to various anti-smoking organisations. 

Banzhaf himself does very nicely as head of his charity, pocketing $226,000 in the last year their accounts were published. And although the FDA has concluded that Pfizer's stop-smoking drug Chantix is linked to suicide, Banzhaf is not involved in any of the lawsuits against Pfizer, nor will you find the word Chantix anywhere on ASH's website. 

Funny, that.

1 comment:

Dick Puddlecote said...

So, can we now say categorically that ASH are more crooked than the big tobacco companies they forever demonise?

I think we can, you know.