C . A . G . E .
Citizens Against Government Encroachment -- Citoyens Anti Gouvernement Envahissant





They have a lot of important things to say:



March 8, 2008 - Hear Beryl Wajsman on The Assumption of Tolerance


“Rigorous law is often rigorous injustice.”

~Terence, Citizen of Rome

If hints of spring bring thoughts of living and loving to some, to agents of the state they seem to spark heightened feelings of arrogance and power. Marginalizing individual consequence and citizen sovereignty over their own lives seems to bring untold joy to the enemies among us. Enemies, because they represent authority that is now the problem, not the solution. And they don’t seem to care because no matter how foul the rule and regulation they enforce; no matter their recognition of it, their common binding code seems to be “it’s my job, you know.”

In criminal law we have the presumption of innocence. In our relations with government we should be entitled to an assumption of tolerance. Its authority comes from our suffrage. But we don’t get it. In witnessing some of the reported torts on the body politic as a member of the media in the past several weeks, and in advocating for private victims as president of the Institute for Public Affairs, I understand more than ever the words of John Reed who wrote in Ten Days that Shook the World that there comes a time when “…every act of the governors excites the contempt of the governed…”

Consider the following. Cases of tax assessments issued by revenue agents out of any connection to reality without regard to information they already had in hand. When asked why they didn’t make use of the information they had, their response was that they just wanted to shake up the taxpayer to file late returns. And they claimed they had the right to use this “shock therapy”. “Denonciations anonymes”, anonymous denunciations to the SAAQ against seniors — some of whom were doing nothing more than driving around a block several times. I didn’t know that a concept like anonymous denunciation still existed in the post-Stalin world. When I questioned a police commander about them, his justification was that it was often for the victim’s own “good” since it avoided the conflict between accuser and accused. What a concept. Not only no presumption of innocence, but now we can save ourselves the trouble of facing our accusers.

A pedestrian crossing Peel and Ste. Catherine stopped by a cop because her foot touched the road just as the light turned red. She was jaywalking! My oh my! He demanded identification. Her response was we don’t live in Beijing. Property owners whose street level tenants hadn’t screwed in the appropriate ashtrays to their entrances. The owners received fines totaling $14,000 in some cases. Fashion retailers fined $2,500 a month for not sending back forms to revenue departments telling them who their subcontractors are. Not only are we tax collectors for the government with GST and TVQ remittances, we now have to be tax informers as well. A couple walking down the street hand in hand and one haphazardly throws a candy wrapper on the sidewalk. Caught and fined! Another danger to the public clipped!

And of course the poor residents of east-end Delphis Delorme whacked by $30,000- plus tax bills for street work no one asked for and no official can explain why it was done. The borough’s mayor gave a reply that will be remembered forever. “Somebody has to pay for it!”. I could go on but you get the picture.

We live in an imprisoned society, Citizens are demonized to deflect from government’s inability to provide basic services expeditiously and efficiently. Guess it’s too difficult. Much easier to make the public pay for the privilege of its own self-abnegation. And it moves no hearts of stone in legislatures that these abuses by state agents are making people physically ill. From heart attacks to shock, government is dangerous to your health.

Lord Acton once wrote that when the first Earl of Masefield, William Murray, exclaimed “Fiat justitita, ruat coelum — let justice be done though the heavens fall” he was calling for a legal system grounded in the equity of just consideration for all. Acton called this the only definition of justice that really counts. And the only kind of justice that can hold the tenuous balance between the power of the state and the rights of the individual. What we are seeing in our society is evidence that the real threat to the commonwealth comes less from criminals, many of whom are deemed so by laws that make victimless activities criminal, than from legislators and regulators who persist in expanding the growth of state prerogatives that imprison us all in cages of law and legislation that no voters demanded and no suffrage affirmed.

The elimination of tolerance, the notion that if there is a doubt give the benefit of it to the citizen, compromises the foundational principles of our legal traditions and jettisons us into a post-apocalyptic world of Kafka and Alice in Wonderland. Sentence first, trial after.

Today’s overactive lawmakers and hyperactive bureaucrats intrude into our lives in unparalleled and unprecedented manners. And they do so for the worse, not for better. They have created a citizenry that lives in fearful timidity of the intolerance of statist bureaucracy. A national culture that has forfeited a robust battleground of competitive ideas to the parched prejudices of social orthodoxies, merely to be left alone.

The heart of the matter is whether in a representative democracy the restriction and reversion of rights can be reconciled with a state’s primordial obligation of protecting, and expanding, the amount of liberty and dignity which all individual citizens have a right to expect. With so many laws so badly drawn, with others intentionally vague meant to do nothing more than act as fodder for election ads, the people are at the mercy of elected officials who are always relieved to let the courts sort matters out as long as they can get some publicity.

Canadians have been inundated for too long by legal assaults masquerading as liberalism but that are in reality nothing more than the imposition of constructs and constraints of social engineering driven by the proponents of politically correct popular myths. Collectivist social experimentation at the expense of historic individual civil liberties. I have to stop now. I’m writing this at midnight and I think the condom inspectors are banging at my door. 


September 23/07 - Hear Beryl Wajsman on The Cult of the Victim

Freedom to choose and the cult of the victim

One of the saddest results of our surrender to statocratic engineering – submission to the “nanny state” as it has become known – is the abdication of individual responsibility. One of the cornerstones of liberal society is the freedom to choose. Even if we choose badly, that freedom must rest with the individual. But so must the responsibility for our actions.  Indeed many times we will choose badly. Whether through simple misjudgment, or by giving in to family, peer or societal pressures. But the latter examples relate to our private lives. In our public life – in the relations between governors and governed – the point of liberty is that there be no such pressures. Liberty and responsibility are flip sides of the same coin. You can’t have one without the other. Too many today fear that responsibility. As Shaw wrote, “Liberty demands responsibility. That’s why so many dread it.” What people fail to realize – or are too scared to accept - is that the false promises of protection from responsibility leads to nothing but restriction on liberty.

Politicians have capitalized on this fear for decades. They try to sell us the notion that we don’t know what’s good for us. They demonize us. This manipulation flows naturally from governments’ failures to deliver on its core responsibilities. To heal suffering. To cure injustice. To meet want. To deliver services. So the state deflects from its failures and blames the public for a whole agenda of ills promising to “perfect” us. That’s not the state’s role! It’s precisely our imperfections – and our right to them – that make us human, attractive, creative and compassionate. We don’t need to be pasteurized, homogenized and sanitized. Statist arrogance has led to little but the leveraging of peoples’ fears and fatigue by enacting measures that, in Benjamin Franklin’s words, “…trade permanent liberty for temporary security and in the end provide neither liberty nor security…” This nanny-state regulation has actually done nothing but give life to new armies of bureaucrats - paid for by increased tax revenues grabbed from our pockets - who broaden the power of the state over our most personal domains. Its nothing but deflection from spectacular failure.

As she so often does, Nathalie Elgrably of the Montreal Economic Institute has coined the perfect phrase to describe the paralysis that has beset our society through its dependence on the tyranny of bureaucratized state faith. She calls it “The cult of the victim”. The immediate target of her column this week in the Journal de Montreal is the latest obsession of government. Nutrition and obesity. The coming plans to interfere in our diets on top of our driving habits, smoking habits, health habits, etc… But her underlying message has broader implications. She reminds us that the point of ceding some of our natural liberties to government is to allow us as individuals the time and opportunity to maximize our personal potential. Not to become wards of the state. Not to be complicit in our own self-abnegation and have every aspect of our lives dictated by state fiat. Not to sit meekly by and allow for the “nationalization” of one of the last frontiers of personal choice. Your body!  Her words are important. So if your French isn’t up to snuff, use a dictionary. It’s worth your time.


You will find Ms. Elgrably’s article ‘’Le culte de la victime’’ on our French site at:  http://www.cagequebec.ca/index.php?pr=Articles

May 13/07 - The following letter sent to Governor Ritter of Colorado by Mr. Allan Campbell, Senior Vice-President for the Coalition of Equal Rights in Colorado, expresses the exasperation citizens feel when they’re victims of ad hominem attacks simply because they disagree with the politically correct cause ‘’du jour’’.  These kind of tactics have no place in a civilized society and they usually prove that those using them, are short of valid arguments to advance their agenda. 


Governor Ritter




During my tenure with the Colorado Coalition for Equal Rights I have fought for many causes I believe in and, have born the consequences of my stated positions willingly. I knowingly involved myself in these causes but, never did I show in any way that I believed opposition to my position was wrong or unwarranted. However, there is a point at which opposition can become an attack on personal integrity and character. That said, there is an even more disturbing element in today's discourse employed by some power and control seeking zealots. That is the manner in which some defend their cause or agenda. This is not done by offering compelling argument and evidence to justify their contention but, by attacking any who oppose the stated cause or agenda with virulent, spiteful and hateful rhetoric in an attempt to make them into villains in the eyes of the public. Common sense would suggest that the very fact that these tactics are used, rather than rational, reasonable argument, makes the cause or agenda suspect. A valid contention does not need these hostile, negative tactics to prevail, the validity of it can stand scrutiny on it's own merits.


 The honor and duty of all freedom loving citizens requires that all claims to political or religious, philosophical or societal truth, legal or justifiable, criminal or civil dictums be held to the highest standards of scrutiny and be proven necessary by undeniable and factual evidence before being enacted into law. To do otherwise is to deny the meaning and intent of the Constitution and the time honored and cherished tradition of common law. We owe it to ourselves and our fellow men and women, and to posterity, to insist that the highest ideals of reason and purpose be held inviolate and that society preserves and protects the freedoms and liberties that are the hallmarks of the democracy our Republic stands for and many fought and died to insure.


To allow any course of action to usurp the God given rights that inspired the creation of the democracy we so deeply cherish is nothing short of inviting tyranny and oppression to prevail.



Allen Campbell

Senior Vice President

Coalition for Equal Rights

310 E. Brookside

Colorado Springs, Co. 80906




Hear Beryl Wajsman on choice and for those that understand French, please read Ms. Egrably’s editorial  in CAGE Quebec at:  http://www.cagequebec.ca/index.php?pr=Articles  or directly at the M.E.I. site at:  http://www.iedm.org/main/show_editorials_fr.php?editorials_id=522




We cede some of our natural liberties – and a good deal of our personal treasure – to government for the provision of public services, not for the perfection of our private domains. That is the ideal basis for the contract between governors and governed. Provision not perfection. Protection not prevention. As de Montesquieu wrote centuries ago, “The real needs of the people not the imagined wants of the state.”


 One of the saddest side-effects of our control society is that it is making people believe that all harm is preventable. In this the state is not only selling a lie, but is turning Canadians into naïve children with no sense of responsibility nor an awareness of the world. These policies also encourage the abdication of individual consequence and the violation of what Robert Ardrey called “our essential private territorial imperatives.” What profits the state in this? More control through burgeoning bureaucracies perpetuating their own power through the exploitation of an artificially created climate of fear. Fear about everything.


 The human being should not be the target of experiments in perfectibility by the state. Our human condition’s traumas will not be prevented by any master plans of government. The pandering of our politicians to the notions of perfectibility and preventability has led to nothing but the restriction of the freedom to choose. And without this most essential of freedoms – including the freedom to choose badly individually bearing all consequences – we cannot call ourselves a free society. We may be many things less egregious than a tyranny, but we are certainly not truly free. Sadder sill, we are ridiculous.


 Nowhere in this country has the nanny-state mentality taken root more than in Quebec. Compulsion and coercion have taken the place of education and persuasion. The latest lobby group to get on the bandwagon of do-gooder perfectibility is the “Coalition Québécoise sur la problématique du poids”. Yup, weight control. This group wants government to restrict zoning laws so that fast-food outlets won’t be near schools. The Montreal Economic Institute’s Nathalie Elgrably has written a pithy response to this latest madness. She not only points out the silliness of it all by asking why stop only at fast-food outlets; but what about bakeries and a host of other businesses selling anything that when consumed in large quantities can be bad for you? Better yet, she suggests with biting sarcasm, why not go for the ideal and put all schools on top of mountains safely away from anything.


 But her most important underlying message is that nutrition is part of education. And if there are those among us – young people and parents alike - too stupid to learn and take responsibility for their own lives, why should the rest of us have to suffer through more restrictive rule and regulation? Why should we all be penalized for the lowest common denominators? It’s not society’s problem to regulate. It’s a matter of individual responsibility. Take a few moments to read “Un chausson avec ça?” As always Elgrably’s words are well worth your while.


Hear Michelle Gervais of Citizens for Civil Liberties addressing an article about banning smoke in private apartments:

I have to admit that I am extremely concerned by the actions of Non-Smokers Rights Association (NSRA) in regard to banning smoking in private homes.Smoking is the wedge by which the government may seek to intrude themselves in a space that the Supreme Court has ruled "is for the sole use and repose of the owner". Smoking bans in private homes tears to shreds the concept that a man’s home is his castle and overturns 400 years of legal precedence. Mike Strobel appears to support that concept.  I can understand the NSRA stand. Afterall, now that non-smokers can easily avoid exposure to second hand smoke, they are almost out of job and the funding gravy train is coming to an end. But Mike Strobel’s motivations appear most questionable.

There is a concept in toxicology that "the dose makes the poison". If active smoking represents the greatest risk to health and environmental tabacco smoke (ETS) has roughly 1 % of the concentration of mainstream smoke. Any molecules of gas that may drift through a crack in the wall repesents only a miniscule fraction of that 1 %, then just what is the significant risk to public health" that NSRA and Mike Strobel appear to be trying to sell us on.Perhaps Mike would like to take a shot at explaining why ETS appears to be the only substance in the world that doesn’t follow the rules of toxicology? Last I heard, ETS wasn’t nearly as risky as sarin gas or diesel exhaust. And it isn’t nearly as risky as allowing the government to use a fraudulant health scare to overturn 400 years of legal precedence.

Michelle GervaisDirector- Media RelationsCitizens for Civil Liberties

#32 - 55 Ashley Crescent, London Ontario,   N6E 3R8

Hear Gian Turci of FORCES International respond to a typical "common" oppinion:

Mrs. Moneith,

Before talking about parental philosophy and safety belts, let's stay on the issue of passive smoke, which is what matters. You write:

" I believe and the science backs me up that second-hand smoke is a serious risk for children. We know 30 minutes of exposure to second-hand smoke produces measurable, short-term impacts on heart function. "

Believe what you please, but the science DOES NOT back you up at all on the fact that second-hand smoke is a serious risk for children. None of the studies ever performed on passive smoke has ever shown the risk elevation of 200%+ required by epidemiological practice to establish that a risk exists. At best, they reached 30%. One of them, considered the largest ever, and performed by the WHO, even concludes:

"Our results indicate no association between childhood exposure to ETS and lung cancer risk. We did find weak evidence of a dose-response relationship between risk of lung cancer and exposure to spousal and workplace ETS. There was no detectable risk after cessation of exposure." (Multicenter case-control study of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and lung cancer in Europe) - Journal Of The National Cancer Institute, Vol 90, 1440-1450, Oxford University Press.

The general results for heart disease are even weaker. What we are facing here is an intentional and international misrepresentation of the epidemiological results by activists and health authorities for clear political purposes of social engineering and conditioning. That is the real social problem, Mrs. Moneith - not passive smoking. Furthermore, as we are talking about epidemiological studies based on retrospective questionnaires about distant memories of exposures sometimes skipping generations (imagine the reliability!), they are BY DEFINITION unable to establish causality because they are statistics, not science - another fundamental misunderstanding. Stating that "science says that passive smoke 'causes' something" is therefore a false representation to begin with.

The 30 minutes of exposure story is simply ridiculous, and it has been denounced even by more honest tobacco control advocates (http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2006/10/anti-smoking-advocate-claims-that.html ). Actually, you need an update: now it is claimed that 30 seconds of exposure causes coronary problems! ( http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2006/12/minnesota-anti-smoking-organizations.html ). One wonders how active smokers manage to survive!

I invite you to forget safety belts and to focus on this: are we talking about emotions or real science and logic? Are we talking about protecting children or do we fish for pseudo-scientific excuses to explain the hatred against smoking and smokers? Is there room for hatred in a civilized society Mrs. Moneith - even when it is covered up with "health" or promoted/endorsed by "health authorities"? No need to reply. Just ask yourself those questions, please.


Gian Turci

And the message he was responding too....

I strongly disagree with the hands-off message in Thomas Laprade's previous letter. He speaks of a parent's absolute right to judge the level of risk that they expose their children to.

His same argument could be used by a parent who doesn't believe in seat belts. Is Mr. Laprade giving that parent permission to not buckle their children into a car seat before driving? Or can a parent decide to ignore the need for life jackets before going out in a boat with their family?

Clearly there is such a potential of serious injury or death when children are not buckle up before driving or when going out on the water without wearing a lifejacket that there are laws to reinforce the necessary safe behaviour. Mr. Laprade’s philosophy of parents above all doesn't fit these circumstances.

I believe and the science backs me up that second-hand smoke is a serious risk for children. We know 30 minutes of exposure to second-hand smoke produces measurable, short-term impacts on heart function. Long term exposure has the potential for a range of very serious illnesses. Babies and children are at increased risk of being poisoned by second-hand smoke due to their more rapid rate of breathing and smaller body size.

Babies and children cannot exert their free will to avoid these contaminated situations, therefore adults most become better informed and committed to ensuring their children live in as healthy an environment as possible.

Tara Monteith

Thunder Bay

Hear Beryl Wajsmann on one of his many memorable rants and tirades against our moral keepers:


411 rue Peel, édifice Marine, bureau 502, Montréal, Qc, H3A 1S5

Quebec Government tobacco snitches; Supreme Court cowardice in Ruffo review Of snitches, spies and cowardly courts

by Beryl Wajsman, Institute for Public Affairs of Montreal, Saturday, May 20, 2006

"a civilization begins to decay when its governors are occupied only with vices and voices they seek to demonize."

~ Edward Gibbon

What a cowardly, silly little people we have become. This has been a shameful week to be Canadian. Other than the Prime Minister’s bold move to force a vote on our commitment to our Afghanistan mission that left the opposition looking like sniveling little nightcrawlers, Canadian civil society—in two instances in four days—retreated to its typical do-nothing, talking the talk and never walking the walk mode.

Two days ago, the Quebec government announced that in addition to the inspectors it would hire to enforce its new anti-smoking law, already the most inane in North America forbidding smoking even in open air terraces, it was going to hire "inspectors’ aides" to covertly go into bars and restaurants to assure compliance. They won’t have the right to hand out fines. They are only to act as snitches to the inspectors who then report to the bureaucrats at the provincial Office of Tobacco Policy. Another massive bureaucracy to control our personal habits.

Forget the very sketchy science behind the societal frenzy over smoking, no one argues that anyone should be forced to put up with the smell of cigarettes if they don’t like it. But no government should have the right to prevent adults who do like smoking from congregating in smoking-only bars and restaurants. This law not only forbids that, but dictates conduct even at private affairs held in rented halls. All this at the same time that Quebec merrily collects billions in tobacco taxes.

But the most shocking part of this story was the deafening sound of silence from most citizens about the execution of this law. A bureaucrat from the above-mentioned Tobacco Police stated this week, in classic Orwellian state-speak, that the purpose of the government was to "denormalize" smoking. "Denormalize" behaviour? What’s next? No over-eating? No dangerous sports? Other than leading constitutional lawyer Julius Grey, who is challenging the law, and the coalition supporting his clients Peter Sergakis and Voula Demopoulos, the famed "just society" of Canada was silent. And more than silent on the snitches.

Some commentators had the perversion of mind to say that there was nothing wrong with snitches and spies since the "precedent" had been set with the inspectors from the Office pour la langue Française that enforces Quebec’s language laws. In other words much of our vaunted intelligentsia was ready to accept a wrong committed on the back of another wrong simply because society submitted to the first one. By that reasoning why bother investigating and overturning wrongful convictions like Truscott, Marshall, Morin, and Milgaard since "precedents" had been set with the first one. Insanity. Sheer insanity.

However, the cherry on the poisonous, and hypocritical, cake that Canadian civil society has baked came Thursday. The Supreme Court whose members, including the Chief Justice, believe in an activist judiciary that can right constitutional and Charter wrongs, didn’t have the guts to review the case of activist Quebec youth court Judge Andrée Ruffo who was thrown off the bench by a Quebec judicial panel for speaking out in public against the abuses suffered by children under Quebec’s youth protection system.

Ruffo’s has been a lone voice for two decades for some of the most vulnerable in our society. She shamed Ministers, fellow judges and the system itself. There was no intimation of misfeasance or malfeasance in the Quebec panel’s decision. They simply didn’t like her style. They wanted judges who were quiet. In short, they wanted to shut her up and protect their tawdry little legal world. And now they got the top court in the land to be complicit in their bodyguard of lies.

The scales of justice fell again and the sword of justice has been once more been blunted. But in a society that runs between the raindrops, populated by citizens that dare not care, ruled by governors who can no longer tell right from wrong, this should no longer come as a surprise.

We live in a land that applauds McCarthyite witch-hunts that encourages innuendo, rumour and guilt by association in order to protect powerful vested interests, but we denounce those who speak truth to power and dare to challenge those same interests. As Judge Ruffo put it so well, "We have created codes and perverted our very language to shield a status quo that in so many cases does evil and brings harm to some of the most vulnerable among us."

Only one other judge in the history of Quebec has been ordered removed. That Judge was Richard Therrien, who had failed to disclose his past membership in the terrorist FLQ. I guess free speech is now as threatening to the state as fire bombs.

The Ruffo affair is as eloquent a testament to the need for radical judicial reform as there ever was. Canadians like to pretend to support an "activist" judiciary, but when we finally see an activist judge who walks the walk and not only talks the talk, she is silenced. Judicial activism cannot be narrowly defined as dry words on paper. Law, as Lord Acton wrote, must never be allowed to be used as a two-edged sword of craft and oppression. It must become the ".shield of the innocent and the staff of the honest." Judges like Ruffo who lend their names to petitions; who speak out; who attempt to rouse the resolve of a feckless public are those very shields and staffs.

It’s time to unclog the sclerotic arteries of justice after decades of judicial clubbiness and chumminess. We need to bring to an end law by dictat and fiat so far removed from the very citizens it judges. We need an elected judiciary accountable and responsible to the people, not just to its own judicial boards and political overseers.

And should anyone still maintain a fidelity to the idea of judicial "independence" in our system of appointed judges, let us remember that one of the great ironies in the Ruffo affair is that only the Quebec Minister of Justice can actually now remove her permanently from office. Yet how can any elected official remove her in good conscience when there have been so many cases of judicial interference by elected officials, even Ministers, with no reprimand whatsoever?

Society’s silence and inaction in the face of a system that does not work is nothing less than complicity in perpetuating the injustices it supposedly seeks to cure. Edward Gibbon once wrote that, ".a civilization begins to decay when its governors are occupied only with vices and voices they seek to demonize." By that, or any other standard, Canada is rotting away.

Beryl P. Wajsman is the president of the Institute for Public Affairs of Montreal.

Another exaggerated or outright false claim by the self-righteous prohibitionists.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

New Study Shows that Coronary Blood Flow is Not Impaired in Active Smokers, Much Less Passive Smokers; Statements of 38+ Anti-Smoking Groups are False

A new study published in this month’s issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine reports that coronary blood flow is not reduced in young smokers, throwing into severe doubt the claim by 38+ anti-smoking groups that passive smoking reduces coronary blood flow (see: Morita K, Tsukamoto T, Naya M, et al. Smoking cessation normalizes coronary endothelial vasomotor response assessed with 15O-water and PET in healthy young smokers. The Journal of Nuclear Medicine 2006; 47:1914-1920).

The study used PET scans to measure myocardial blood flow in 14 young smokers with no evidence of heart disease and 12 age-matched nonsmokers. Active smoking was found not to affect coronary blood flow, as there were no significant differences in the measured myocardial blood flow between smokers and nonsmokers. The researchers did find a reduction in endothelium-mediated vasodilation, as blood flow in response to a cold pressor test was reduced in the smokers, which the authors conclude indicates endothelial dysfunction. Of note, this endothelial dysfunction was reversed within one month of smoking cessation.

According to the study: "There were no significant differences in myocardial blood flow at rest and during ATP infusion between smokers and nonsmokers."

The authors concluded that: "young healthy smokers have impaired coronary endothelial vasomotor dysfunction, which is reversible within 1 month after smoking cessation, and the improvement is preserved at 6 months after cessation. . These findings indicate that coronary endothelial dysfunction may be reversible within 1 month after smoking cessation in healthy young smokers."

And now Dr. Siegle explains to you the important implications that are left out of the above article:

The Rest of the Story

This study demonstrates that the statements being made to the public by 38+ anti-smoking groups, indicating that secondhand smoke exposure reduces coronary blood flow, are not just deceptive - they are just plain wrong.

To suggest, as Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR) does, that 30 minutes of secondhand smoke impairs the ability of healthy young nonsmokers’ hearts to get life-giving blood, seems to be inaccurate in light of the evidence presented in this paper. Even active smokers did not have a problem with myocardial blood flow in this study.

The numerous other claims made by anti-smoking groups, indicating that secondhand smoke reduces blood flow to the heart, are also inaccurate. The truth is that even active smoking, in the absence of heart disease, does not reduce blood flow to the heart. It is only endothelial function that is affected by tobacco smoke, not baseline coronary blood flow.

In light of this new research, it is now inexcusable for these anti-smoking groups to fail to retract these claims and apologize for misleading the public.

ClearWay Minnesota has apparently responded by removing from the internet its smoking ban manual which contained the fallacious statement that secondhand smoke reduces coronary blood flow in healthy young adults (although I’m aware of no acknowledgment of the mistake nor an apology for it). But at least it’s a step in the right direction - getting the false health claim off its website and preventing the public from being misled any further.

There are now well over 30 anti-smoking groups that need to follow ClearWay s lead.

One other aspect of the study deserves mention. This research found that endothelial dysfunction induced by active smoking is reversible within one month following smoking cessation. If this is true, then certainly endothelial dysfunction induced by a 30-minute exposure to secondhand smoke is reversible.

This confirms that the statements being made by a number of health and anti-smoking groups, including the Office of the Surgeon General, that brief secondhand smoke exposure causes atherosclerosis, narrowing or hardening of the arteries, or heart disease are false.

If endothelial dysfunction in active smokers is quickly reversible, then it is also reversible in passive smokers, and thus a brief exposure cannot possibly lead to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and heart disease, despite what the Surgeon General told the public.

Because of the high-profile nature of the communication from the Surgeon General’s report, the heavy reliance of the tobacco control movement on the Surgeon General for public education, and the intense publicity surrounding the report and high media response to the press release containing the untruthful statement, a correction and apology for that misrepresentation of the science is particularly important for the credibility of the tobacco control movement.