Wednesday 7 December 2011

Stanton Glantz: How to deceive without actually lying

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) 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 eleventh 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 reports have 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 reach 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).


Guy Herbert said...

Curiously, we scarcely ever hear screaming about corporate interests when the corporate interests are on the side of governments and grant-fat NGOs.

Wonder why this is.

1. Volunteer campaigns, unless run by actual conspiracy theorists, don't want to look like fringe nutters.

2. If you don't care about looking like a fringe nutter, it is not an effective method for the little battalions. Plain conspiracy theories offered by big respectable organisations are not seen as such. But even adversions to public choice theory by amateur campaigners will be nervously handled by media.

3. Blackguarding your opponents, while effective, is costly in terms of resources, and a diversion from making a sound case. Small campaigns have to make a choice whether to play man or ball. Strategic sanity requires ball.

4. Blackguarding opponents requires a degree of control of the discourse, of ideological uniformity, for it either to be workable or to carry honest people with it. This means it is an establishment weapon. (And given sufficient uniformity of view, a natural defensive reaction, rather than a conscious tactic.) It just isn't available to outsiders. (And if they do adopt it they risk spinning themselves off into conspiracy madness proper.)

Bill Gibson said...

Wonderfully written Chris, I have been waiting many months for tis day to arrive knowing that Stan simple could not tell it as it really was. He is such a clown ... why, oh why does the world put up with the trio of Glantz, Chapman and Repace who in recent weeks have shown that they present sham evidence at every opportunity.

George Speller said...

Masterful demolition job, Chris. We have much to learn from your talents.

Anonymous said...

I am pretty much positive that I saw Glantz giving instructions to the terrorists of 09/11!!!!

And I have already informed Scotland Yard that Glantz has kidnapped Madeleine McCann!!!!

All the renowned antiterrorist organisations agree with me , in fact with statistical significance and an RR of 1.99, that Glantz has to be arrested!!!!

Frank said...

It's a pathetic attempt. Comments mentioning 'Tobacco Industry' will only have effect on antis, anyway.

Glanz and his like should move with the times. The words 'Tobacco Industry' no longer have the effect they may once have done.

Anonymous said...

I've made several comments on Glantz's blog and not one has appeared. Below is the comment I made underneath his latest posting.

"How does the new Dutch arrangement fail to protect non-smokers? There is a plentiful supply of non smoking bars, so no need for a non smoker to venture into a smoking bar. The exemption applies only to bars with no employees and so the health of workers is not at risk.

Second, in the Netherlands, as here in the UK, it is smokers and bar owners who campaign to have smoking bans relaxed. The Tobacco Industry seems to have given up the fight and concentrates more on developing countries.

See Chris Snowdon's blog here:"

Ann W. said...

The March 2008 Report by the Canadian Non-Smokers’ Rights Association/Smoking and Health Action Foundation “Exposing recent tobacco industry front groups and alliances” listed Citizens Against Government Encroachment (CAGE) as a front group. When CAGE challenged the Non-Smokers’ Rights Association/Smoking and Health Action Foundation to put up the evidence or issue a retraction, the best that they would do is revise the report (October 2008 ) and list CAGE as an “Organizations that behave like tobacco industry fronts” under the sub section: Hospitality associations.

In the letter exchange between the two group, Gar Mahood, director of the NSRA/SHAF replies with: "Your letter certainly triggered my curiosity. How, for example, could any organization claim that its reputation was damaged when its website contains a sufficient number of passages that are so outside the boundaries of legitimate science that they ensure that the organization has no reputation worth saving?"

David Goerlitz said...

Chris, Enjoy your point of view. The only comment I can add is that having met all of these "clowns, wackos and nutjobs", all of which I once was, I need to say that I was paid to lie FOR THEM from 1989 til I awoke from my nightmare and realized the harm and chaos these idiots were capable of. Thats how they get away with it. I was a paid liar at their disposal.
Have a great holiday and kep up the good work.

Carl V Phillips said...

ROTFL. I especially like the subtle aside that quietly suggests that being associated with Anna Gilmore is similarly damning to being associated with the Wakefield autism fraud (which is certainly true).

I would part company with you on your title and associated thesis, though. I have argued (as you probably know) that taking action that is designed to cause people to believe something you know to be false is lying, regardless of the truth value of any specific statement. So I would have gone with "how to lie without writing any specific falsehoods" or something like that. The exchange "were you out past curfew last night?"..."I came home right at 11:00" is a lie if the teenager in question walked into the house at 11:00 and snuck out again at 11:30, even though the spoken sentence was true. (Am I suggesting someone some people are behaving like deceitful children? Maaaaybe)

You will recall my comments about Glantz from a recent EP-ology post:
"it is not entirely clear whether he spouts junk because he has not acquired a modicum of understanding about the science in the field where he has worked for decades, or because he is a sociopath-level liar; I am not entirely sure which is the more charitable interpretation."

The Dutch story was not about science so it does not apply exactly. (Hmm, that observation may answer the question.)

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Glantz, it's just marvelous to see Chapman and Glantz fighting like roosters,throwing trash to each other about smoking in movies!!

Anonymous said...

What to say? Brilliant.

jredheadgirl said...

Great post Chris!!

fedup said...

Chris - well done! I first discovered Glantz when Ohio's smoking ban that wasn't supposed to hurt our business went into effect and we soon found out that was a lie. I went in search of who started this lie and I found how they profit and big pHARMa's role in it as well as the ACS, etc.

Two years ago, Glantz had a study published at PLoS Medicine. PLoS allowed me to post the "competing interests" Glantz SHOULD have posted. I think you'll find the reading quite interesting.

Also, see this press release put out by the CDC Foundation about a study they and the CDC are going to do, funded by Pfizer, on the economic impact of smoking bans on bars and restaurants. Seems the "perception" that it hurts business is a "barrier" to furthering TC "policies" so they want to put out educational material to these businesses after the study. David Satcher sits on the Board of the CDC Foundation and Board of J&J, maker of Nicorette, Nicoderm and Nicotrol. Pfizer makes Chantix. Who in their right mind thinks they don't already know what this "educational material" is going to say?

Anonymous said...

"Educational material."

I'm sorry, calling these people "clowns" is charitable. They are far more like a certain group that spearheaded the use of junk science, State-sponsored denormalisation, propaganda and "re-education" in a certain European country in 1936.

And now we have our cigarettes with added fire-retardant chemicals - with absolutely no testing done as to their safety. Does anyone actually believe that TC doesn't have a sinister purpose behind this initiative? There is a sinister purpose behind most of their initiatives, after all.

So now every day, smokers line up and pay £7 for their own personal dosage of Zyklon B.....

Eddie Douthwaite said...

The vested interests of Global Tobacco Control:-

Eddie Douthwaite said...

Re: Fire Retardent Cigarettes.

Looks like it was a stitch up:-


The report from 2006 is here:-

Anonymous said...


IP Location: Switzerland Geneva World Health Organization
Resolve Host:
IP Address:
Reverse IP: 38 other sites hosted on this server.

World Health Organization WHO Headquarters
address: 20 Avenue Appia
address: Geneva 27, Geneva CH-1211
address: Switzerland

Frank Davis said...

I have a transcript of a phone conversation between Wiel Maessen and Stanton Glantz.

Anonymous said...

I quite literally LOL'd by the time I got to the Latin alphabet and the pen.

But my point in posting is to urge you to write a letter to the editor of wherever the hell he published this twaddle and try to get it into the hard copy journal. Not that they'll give you the time and space for parody, but you've got the credentials to be considered for publication and you really ought to convey the meat of this blog to the very same audience that read the original. And simultaneously poke an elbow at the editors who published it.

Anonymous said...

How about a Stanton Glantz shadow blog, so we can comment on his posts? His latest concerns breast cancer. According to the recent CRUK research, smoking features outside the top seven causes and so fewer than 0.9% of breast cancers are attributed to smoking (active and passive together). So much for passive smoking as a cause of breastcancer. All those children thinking daddy has killed mummy. All for a good cause though.

Anonymous said...

you do awesome work chris!! thank you very much for all you have done and continue to do ^_^ Here is a "study" that is a keeper....

Why Most Published Research Findings Are FalseSummary

There is increasing concern that most current published research findings are false. The probability that a research claim is true may depend on study power and bias, the number of other studies on the same question, and, importantly, the ratio of true to no relationships among the relationships probed in each scientific field. In this framework, a research finding is less likely to be true when the studies conducted in a field are smaller; when effect sizes are smaller; when there is a greater number and lesser preselection of tested relationships; where there is greater flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and analytical modes; when there is greater financial and other interest and prejudice; and when more teams are involved in a scientific field in chase of statistical significance. Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias. In this essay, I discuss the implications of these problems for the conduct and interpretation of research.

Anonymous said...

It is extremely flattering to Glantz using a readily available stock photo of him as portrayed on the UCSF server website. But in all honesty, those photos go back at least 20, maybe 30 years and appear to be retouched to make him look like a young angel. Flash forward to recent TV interviews he has done on local San Francisco TV stations, which are available online and from which single frames can be captured and saved as .jpg's, then one will see the true extent of what mean-spirited and hateful living has done to Glantz, him having turned into a wrinkly, prune-faced, smelly looking and foul old squash-faced man. It looks like years of anti-smoking lies and betrayal of an entire society has finally caught up with him and it's all showing in his current foul looking old age photos. I wish the UCSF server website would update their photos and show him today as he currently is. Of course, for them, it is better propaganda to continue showing him in his youthful glory, when his career as liar and charlatan in chief first began.

Christopher Snowdon said...

Well, there is a drug that might alleviate some of his symptoms:

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