Give Your Money Where It Will Help, not Hurt!  


PASAN is proud to add its voice to that of NYCLASH and other Free Choice groups in urging a contribution boycott of the large organized medical "charities" that seek to impose smoking bans upon unwilling populations. The ACS, AHA, and ALA have all devoted a disproportionate amount of their money to regulating the way people choose to live rather than to the sort of basic research that people generally intend their donations to support. As Audrey Silk of CLASH asked, "Why do we want to donate to groups that are out to ruin our businesses and demean us as human beings?"

Donations to small local groups and hospitals are far more likely to be used wisely and to have less lost to overhead or flashy TV ad campaigns. The ACS, AHA, and ALA have all moved beyond the proper boundaries of preventive medicine in their Antismoking efforts, not seeking to merely educate smokers or kids about the dangers of smoking, but instead promoting unreasonable and unwanted universal smoking bans based largely upon falsehoods.

See "The Great Helena Heart Fraud" link from PASAN's home page for a good example of the sort of misinformation that is being used to promote smoking bans. Read "" from that home page to see brief outlines of many other examples of the lies and misinformation that are being used in such campaigns.

Supporting medical research is important. Supporting organized propaganda efforts to influence political legislation and divide people into antagonistic groups is not. Give your money where it will help, not hurt. (See below...)

The Call For A Boycott... 

... has spawned a lot of reaction on the web from various groups (including of course some of those boycotted) but, as is often the case in this area, those with the microphone do not want those on the other side to be heard. The official charity websites of course will not allow uncensored responses to their one-sided world view and even many of the "blog" type sites are not fond of open discussion.

One pleasing Blog counterexample though can be found at "Three Squirrels In A Pressure Cooker." The website below has posted quite a colorful exchange of opinions on the boycott and is still open for further comments!

My own opening comment below:

May 15th, 2005 at 7:58 pm

Barry wrote: “Yes, the people who are most likely to get lung and throat cancer are urging us to not support the organizations that fund research that could provide treatment and a cure for these conditions.”

Barry, the problem is that the three particular named organizations are spending very LITTLE of their contributions on research for treatments and cures and very MUCH of those contributions on activities and advertising designed to reduce smoking purely by making life more and more unpleasant for smokers.

If I contribute a dollar to the American Lung Association I am generally not intending for it to be used as though I’d contributed it to the “American Social Engineering Association.” I am not intending it to be used to “DeNormalize” a quarter of my friends, nor to be used to create an atmosphere in which courts take children away from smoking parents in custody disputes, put my smoking friends on the unemployment roles, get them kicked out of hospitals during courses of treatment, get children beaten to death for smoking or drive them to suicide when they are caught, or any of a number of other things.

I want that money used for RESEARCH to cure the ills not just of smokers but of ALL of us… since, if we live long enough, we are ALL likely to develop lung, heart, or cancer problems someday.

Do I have exact spending figures for the Big Three outlined in CLASH’s call for a boycott? No. Do you? What I *do* have is the knowledge that these groups ARE spending a very significant amount of their resources demonizing smokers in various ways when that money COULD be getting spent on research to help all of us.

Think of the last person you know who died of a heart, lung, or cancer problem. Now think about the fact that they might still be alive if the money spent on TV commercials alienating smokers had instead been spent on basic research that could have helped them.

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

Copyright 2005, Michael J. McFadden


The United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter