To those of you who do not know who Michael Siegel is, he is a prominent anti-smoker who wholeheartedly agrees with bans and other tobacco control. Unlike the rest of the anti-smoking brigade though, Mr Siegel speaks out against ridiculous lies and notions put forth from the movement, such as a new outcry over the labelling of ‘slim’ cigarettes – where the anti’s claim that this will lead women to think of the cigarettes as glamourous in lieu with the media fascination of women having a slim physique. The mind truly boggles.
On November 18th 2008, Michael Siegel wrote on his website how he had been attacked by an anti who wrote a “blatantly inaccurate and distorted biography” on SourceWatch. The author of the biography goes under the screen name of “truthteller” – ironically enough – and said Mr Siegel’s primary role is to campaign against tobacco control measures, that he issues “tobacco-industry soundbytes” and that he aides with the “tobacco industry’s efforts to create a ‘doubt’ campaign” and assisting the tobacco industry in it’s fight “to return to smoky areas”.
Anyone who knows anything about Mr Siegel will know this is as far from the truth as it can get – he and I most certainly differ in our opinions of smoking and tobacco, and he believes the habit is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in America annually, and causes disease in countless others. Clearly, then, not a person who particularly likes Big Tobacco.
I found his article interesting because it shows that the anti’s not only attack anyone who is pro-smoking or, indeed, not anti-smoking, but they also attack anti-smokers who do not agree with everything they claim. As Mr Siegel himself stated of the movement “It continually fascinates me how there is no room for nuance in tobacco control. Everything is black and white. Either you approve of all tobacco control measures or you are a traitor to the cause. Either you approve of all tobacco taxes or you are working to promote the tobacco industry. Either you support all smoking bans or you are trying to return to smoky areas. Either you support every scientific statement that tobacco control groups make or you are participating in the tobacco industry’s doubt campaign.”
What else I found interesting about the article is that Mr. Siegel also states how the tobacco industry have only ever attacked him not only publicly (in courtrooms) but also on facts and in a manner that he may respond – in other words, not a sly, back-stabbing way.
If the members of the anti-smoking brigade can’t keep it together enough to respect each other and that other people have differences then it certainly won’t be long before it crumbles on itself. Once a group starts to rot from within the end is nigh, and when it’s own members and supporters question the motives and claims then something is very, very wrong.