I thought the denial of the link between smoking and cancer had gone out of style. The link between smoking and cancer is so thoroughly established that I thought no one could continue to defend cigarettes with a straight face.
Well, all Orac has to do is write a piece about the evidence for a health risk from second-hand smoke and soon enough the denialists come crawling out of the woodwork. The reason is pretty simple, smoking bans are unpopular with a certain group of people, and what do you do when science suggests something that people don’t want to believe? Well, you whip out the tactics of course.
Orac then follows the trail of BS back to one of the more incredible crank sites I’ve ever seen. It’s called forces.org, and it meets every single possible criteria of both crankery and denialism. It’s pretty incredible. They have conspiracy theories about drug companies being behind smoking bans to promote their nicotine replacements and anti-addiction drugs. They have quote-mines galore (every scientific paper they cite is misquoted, it’s incredible). They have these unbelievable crank fake experts. They clearly aren’t convinced by any amount of scientific evidence or expertise. And their logical fallacies are great! Not only do they conflate all sorts of different cancers, it seems that if something besides smoking can cause any type of cancer, then it must cause all cancers – including those cigarettes have been falsely implicated in. All of this is permeated by one of the more hilarious persecution complexes about their rights being violated because they can’t persist in a behavior that is a nuisance and health-hazard to other people.
The point of the site seems mostly to be opposition of the extension of smoking bans, and their reasoning is somewhat intriguing, at the same time it’s hilariously self-defeating. According to the mission statement of their West Virginia division, they have no chance to oppose smoking bans because there is no legitimate right to be a nuisance and hurt others’ health in public. Therefore they have to make sure to deny the science until they die of old age (or cancer). It’s almost like a public admission of using denialist tactics.