09 August 2010

TheTruth(.com)... or is it? More anti-tobacco lies. 9 Aug 2010

I went to see a movie a few nights ago and saw the all too familiar ad from the folks at TheTruth.com. You're all familiar with them, and I'm sure you've seen many of them on TV. The latest one is the kind of silly "Shards 'O Glass" commercial. For some reason, their marketing guru figures that by comparing cigarettes to popsicles with shards of glass in them, people will immediately assume that all tobacco products are JUST LIKE THESE POPSICLES! Wow! Clever marketing, but what the folks at TheTruth don't understand is there are people out there who adamantly oppose the efforts to demonize tobacco such as myself and various others. Usually I'll laugh at these things and brush them off my shoulders, but I saw another one that seemed to aim squarely at smokeless tobacco and felt that I should write a little something about it. I'll try to avoid ranting, but no promises.

The newer one is "Shards 'O Glass Spheres" which more than likely is focusing on Camel's smokeless products including their Camel Orbs. By association, this ad is attempting to demonize other forms of tobacco including smokeless tobacco as well. This ad compares smokeless alternatives as "candy flavored" alternatives to other related products. A recent visit to their website showed that their "facts" have expanded to include a lot of smokeless tobacco "facts" which are, as the anti-tobacco crowd tends to create, a bunch of lies. What's interesting about all this is that the very ad form that TheTruth.com demonizes is the ad form they use to demonize tobacco! Isn't it great the world we live in? A product is out there to help people quit smoking (speaking of course for Swedish Snus, not the American smokeless variety) and an attack lands right on our doorsteps? I wanted to do a little Fact Check with some of their own "facts" to ensure the users of Swedish Snus and those who are considering switching that TheTruth's campaign, in regards to smokeless tobacco, is nothing more than a bunch of lies by anti-tobacco propagandists.

Now, using their "fact" page as a reference, I'll go over a few I found to be outright silly. One of the most important things about spreading awareness of Swedish Snus to a world of people trying to find a way out of the cigarette's hold on their life is to be informed and to help people make educated decisions about it. These commercials and ad campaigns attempt to tarnish the reputation of a product that is doing a great thing. Over at Snubie.com, we have a large collection of health articles, as does the folks over at SnusCENTRAL. It's important to research these things and know the truth before you're spoon fed lies by these anti-tobacco folks. The ability to make up your own mind is one of the greatest freedoms any of us have.

#213 Because nicotine from smokeless tobacco is absorbed through the mouth, it takes longer to produce an effect than if it were absorbed through the lungs. But using cigarettes and smokeless tobacco really do result in the same amount of nicotine intake. This has absolutely nothing to do with health effects. Yes, nicotine is addictive. They're not really saying anything we don't know. As was noted in the recently 60 Minutes story, addiction is an issue, but it's not as big of an issue as lung cancer. And you can take that to the bank.

#211 Long-term smokeless tobacco users may be up to fifty times more likely to have cancers of the cheek and gum than non-users. WOW, FIFTY TIMES?! That's intense! When making up a number to use in a statistic, it's always good to make up a big, round number. That's scary enough, right? Well, the fact is, snus has not been proven to cause any kind of cancer. And that's well documented.

Dr. Brad Rodu, well known in the harm reduction field, wrote this article and this article in regards to the "50 Myth", and Carl Phillips wrote another excellent article about the same thing.

#210 Smokeless tobacco increases the risk of oral cancer. See above...

#210 Smokeless tobacco increases the risk of oral cancer....See above...(wow, they really want to beat this cancer thing into the ground, don't they?

#197 Adolescents who use smokeless tobacco are more likely to become cigarette smokers. This is a point they attempted to make in the 60 Minutes story. The "dual user" concept. Sadly, this isn't true and is not typical. In the case of Swedish Snus, the majority of people go from cigarettes to snus, and can even quit smoking with snus and never return to cigarettes!

So, where does TheTruth.com get their facts from? From their FAQ, "We get our facts from respected data sources and organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." Wow, that's rather vague. Only one organization supplying facts for millions of dollars in ad campaigns? Wait, I think I know where they get their facts from....It sounds oddly familiar. From Wikipedia's article about a recent South Park episode, "The aquatic mammals, who live in a large tank, pick up "idea balls" from a large pile of them, each of which has a different noun, a verb or a pop-culture reference written on it, and deliver them, five at a time, to a machine that then forms a Family Guy cutaway gag based on those ideas." Ah, that's what it was!

One of my favorite quotes is, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.....It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” (Joseph Goebbels) I couldn't agree more. After all, who is the biggest enemy of the tobacco industry than the American government? You can assume that's where most of TheTruth's funding comes from. My only desire is that they begin to use some truth in their ads instead of making up numbers, "facts", and "statistics" to scare people. If you're going to call yourself "TheTruth", shouldn't you TELL the truth?

1 comment:

  1. Chad,

    Excellent post, and impeccably accurate. With respect to #211, the "fifty" number, I have discussed in detail how this is a pure fabrication (http://rodutobaccotruth.blogspot.com/2010/04/winns-legacy-fifty-fabrication.html), and how it has been misused by the American Cancer Society (http://rodutobaccotruth.blogspot.com/2010/08/to-american-cancer-society-tell.html).

    Brad Rodu
    Professor, Department of Medicine
    University of Louisville

    ReplyDelete