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There are 4 comments on A Commentary on Dean Galea’s Note

  1. The distinction between public health measures which regulate things but not people while useful is not dispositive. Prof Glantz mentions taxes on things as effectively regulating the poor. Regulating and taxing things has real impacts on peoples’ choices. The impact of all regulations ( other than purely informational efforts) or taxes, limits our freedom.
    The best example of the inconsistency of thought on paternalism versus autonomy in public health involves recommendations on the use of recreational substances.
    Many “liberal” thinkers favor the legalization of marijuana thereby eliminating governmental paternalism but decry the use of e-cigarettes. I find it dichotomous how we treat legal substances like alcohol and cigarettes so differently than marijuana. Tobacco offers no salutary effect and is deleterious to health when used as directed. Marijuana at least has some therapeutic applications. Alcohol and tobacco have killed millions and remain legal. The natural evolution of public health intervention will be to make “all you can eat buffets” illegal since obesity causes untold suffering and premature death or mandated exercise since we continue to hear that sitting is the new smoking. The price we pay for freedom is high… and worth it!

    1. Some serious issues with your comment Nicolas, or at least part of it. Tobacco does in fact have a number of positive aspects. Besides being enjoyable and relaxing for many, it also has some significant positive effects on the brain, especially cognitive thinking. The reason people with mental health issues have a much higher smoking rate is because they find significant relief from mental health symptoms when using tobacco. Nicotine is also the leading candidate for starving off age related dementia.

      It is not tobacco or nicotine that kills, it is inhaling smoke. Smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes are several orders of magnitude less harmful then cigarettes (check out the many studies on Swedish snus). Your aptitude on tobacco appears to come directly from the paternalistic nanny state propaganda, with no editing.

  2. Excellent analysis. I wish I had written it. I will be recommending it to all my blog readers.

    One thing, though: With regard to dietary choice, you choose what seems an odd place to draw the line, counting trans-fats among exposures people cannot protect themselves from, while putting large portion sizes on the other side of the line. This seems like gerrymandering. Why cannot mandatory labeling serve the same role in both cases? You would have a difficult time making the case that trans-fats cause more health risk (compared to what would substitute for them) than do larger-than-realized portion sizes. And if we are to ban trans-fats, rather than leaving them a disclosed option, why not ban corn oil? After all, it has a decidedly inferior nutrition profile compared to the light liquid oils that substitute for it. Its only apparent advantages are that it makes food cheaper and some people prefer the taste — just as with trans-fats.

    It seems to me that if you are trying to hang this on a bright-line argument, with the line being “cannot protect themselves”, you are going to have a difficult time justifying prohibiting any consumption choice that anyone would ever willingly make, like eating trans-fats. Infrastructure (e.g., water supplies) is an easy case to make as being real public health, as is infection transmission. Extreme contamination that no one would ever choose to consume (e.g., listeria, large quantities of lead) is equally clear. Somewhere between listeria and corn oil, though, is a dividing line where we need to transition from prohibition (because it is genuinely the case that no one would make an informed decision to consume it) to informed choice. Reasonable people will differ as to whether that line falls above or below, say, raw milk. But it seems very difficult to put trans-fats in the former category while (properly, I would agree) putting drinking, eating massive quantities in one sitting, playing sports, and smoking in the latter category.

  3. “Preventative medicine” saves no lives. If there are any lives to save they will be saved by individual choices and something learned and informed, by a more legitimate science of observations, that deal with real world products, that have a potential to do harm. Never in avoidance of the truth, that any potential, can be eliminated or reduced. That avoidance is the real danger we face and the crime that needs justice to prevail. Not only in respect of those already gone, but to protect the millions who will perish in the future, by the current depravity at the helm. Who swear allegiance to the “quit or die” psychosis. Making The Public Health “Movement” the hand of God, and the punishers of the sinful.

    Fear and ignorance have always been a useful tool if you want to control people, who only a criminal mind would believe, they have a right to control by unethical means. Avoiding risks, cures no diseases, and those diseases will still continue to cause harms. Seat belts are inanimate objects, so anyone who fails the logical evaluation in a belief that seat-belts save lives, would also fail the same logical evaluation, that preventative medicine produces anything, but “Stakeholder” profits.

    Everyone has an ability to evaluate the crime we know as extortion. As do we all, have an ability to resolve what is meant by the term “criminal cartel”. “Tobacco control” like many other frauds perpetrated by Public Health “advocates”, is criminal activity, that relies entirely on deceiving a trusting public, who have a right to know the full truth. Guaranteed in law.

    Second hand smoke stands only as proof, that Global Warming will likely succeed as well. If no one is the wiser, there are no limits and this crime spree can survive indefinitely. Until the day the effects of economic slavery, demands that things have to change.

    Tick Tock…

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