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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Getting to know WHO!

 I am trying to find out more about The World Health Organisation. So I got sidetracked into reading Chapter 4 of their book Bugs, drugs and Smoke Chapter 4: Tobacco trap: fighting back

Please forgive the very strange formatting - words were copied from the WHO site and are very unfriendly to being copied and pasted I CANNOT get it right!

I include here some interesting information and three ideas of my own regarding each.  Here follows the story of how Big Tobacco infiltrated WHO. I suggest that Big Pharma are in there - but in reverse - what you and I would call "brown nosing" "arse creeping" for their benefit...and maybe they BRIBE people too? WHO should investigate THAT.

"The advent of the Tobacco Free Initiative and the Master Settlement Agreement made 1998 something of a banner year for tobacco control campaigners. But for Brundtland (Photo"4.2) it marked only a brief moment of calm before the storm that broke in 1999, when she received the news, in an internal WHO document, that tobacco companies had for many years undermined WHO’s tobacco control efforts, spying on sta% and infiltrating the Organization The revelation of spying and infiltration of the WHO had a profound effect on the director-general. “We were upset in our hearts, all of us,” Brundtland recalls. “It was mind-boggling. Perhaps for the first time in its history, the Organization was confronted by a group of people, who had set themselves against it simply because it was getting in the way of business.” Brundtland appointed an expert committee, to take a closer look at the industries Organization’s anti-tobacco campaign had to begin by laying open the inner workings of the tobacco companies documents and compiled a more detailed report. Its fndings were shocking.Not only had tobacco companies been paying “consultants” to sabotage WHO’s anti-tobacco work, while employed at WHO, but the expert committee also found that tobacco companies had joined forces to “contain” and neutralize” WHO’s tobacco control work and to “reorient” it, where possible.“They saw WHO as one of the greatest threats to their global expansion,” says Dr Douglas Bettcher, the director of the WHO Tobacco Free Initiative.
“They were studying us under a microscope in order to counteract our work.”The tobacco companies had also tried to block the funding for WHO scientific and policy activities, and had tried to undermine and create confusion about the scientific basis of WHO’s work.

Here was a little "boxed" information which is actually the fault of Tobacco Control, recently acknowledged - demanding safer cigarettes.

One of the tobacco companies’ most cunning tactics was to launch ‘light’ cigarettes claiming that
these have a lower tar and nicotine content and implying that they are, therefore, less harmful. The
fact is that ‘lights’, sometimes called ‘low tar’ and ‘mild’ and similar descriptors for cigarettes were
developed and marketed as less harmful to counteract a new requirement for tobacco companies
to limit the measured nicotine and tar using a machine specially designed for this purpose.

By creating holes in the cigarette filters, the machine measured less nicotine and tar in each type
of cigarette. But, later, studies showed that after millions of smokers had switched to ‘lights’, ‘low
tar’ and ‘mild’ cigarettes, thinking they were safer, they were not safer at all.
The studies found that when people smoke these cigarettes, their fingers, lips or both tend
to cover the specially engineered ventilation holes intended to let air inside the machine and
dilute the tar and nicotine measurements. The studies also found that smokers ‘compensate’
for smoking these types of cigarettes by smoking more of them and inhaling more deeply. So
‘lights’, ‘low-tar’ and ‘mild’ cigarettes are no less harmful than ordinary cigarettes.

This was in an interesting "box" of information which I have never heard of (in UK), but the sentence in bold, gives me the creeps!

A myth is born
Ever since countries stated to make workplaces, bars, cafes and other public places no smoking areas, tobacco companies have been fighting back. One of their tactics in recent years has been to create a myth – that smokeless tobacco products are harmless. Some tobacco companies have created new ranges of smokeless products that are often packaged in the form of sweets to attract young people. These and other smokeless products are also marketed to smokers to help them bridge the time they spend in smoke-free bars and cafes. They are in fact perpetuating their nicotine addiction.
Tobacco control campaigners say these ‘nicotine pills’ are seriously undermining efforts to protect young people’s health. “Smoke-free environments and tax increases on cigarettes are
supposed to help people give up smoking, but these new products give smokers an alternative
to giving up,” says Dr Jeffrey Wigand, a scientist, who worked for a tobacco company for many
years before switching sides to become a passionate anti-tobacco campaigner.

Never heard of these described below....

“Smokeless products are marketed to kids. They look and taste like candies, in vanilla or spearmint
flavour, and they are cheaper than cigarettes,” says Wigand, who runs the USA-based charity
Smoke-Free Kids, Inc. “Studies show that these smokeless products contain more nicotine for
absorption than cigarettes, and the nicotine is absorbed more quickly that from cigarettes.”