Tag Archives: smokers’ rights

A Hidden Bias, Exposed

This is the most important study in many years, and we can expect the public health establishment to ignore it. They get their paychecks for blaming smoking, so they’d rather do things wrong, not right!

Assortative mixing as a source of bias in epidemiological studies of sexually transmitted infections: the case of smoking and human papillomavirus. P Lemieux-Mellouki, M Drolet, J Brisson, EL Franco, MC Boily, I Baussano, M Brisson. Epidemiol Infect 2015 Nov 20:1-10 [Epub ahead of print].

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Workplace Wellness Barrage

On April 16, 2015, several federal agencies released a barrage of regulatory issuances and guidances that further clarify their position on wellness programs.  First, the EEOC released a proposed rule on the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act to Wellness programs.  With the proposed rule, the EEOC released a fact sheet for small businesses and a question and answer set for the general public.

Second, the HHS Office of Civil Rights, which enforces the HIPAA privacy rules, released FAQs on the wellness programs and HIPAA privacy and security.  Third, HHS and the Departments of Labor and Treasury released a set of frequently asked questions on wellness programs.  Fourth, HHS released a separate set of FAQs regarding the relationship between the ACA insurance reforms and wellness programs.

Finally, the Department of Labor released a research report on workplace wellness programs. (Workplace Wellness Programs: Federal Agencies Weigh In. By Timothy Jost. Health Affairs, Apr. 17, 2015.)


As usual, smokers’ rights concerns are poorly addressed, if not completely trampled, by all. An example is what the departments of HHS, Labor and the Treasury consider to be a “reasonably designed” wellness program. “A program that collects a substantial level of sensitive personal health information without assisting individuals to make behavioral changes such as stopping smoking, managing diabetes, or losing weight, may fail to meet the requirement that the wellness program must have a reasonable chance of improving the health of, or preventing disease in, participating individuals.” But what about the rights of people who don’t want to quit smoking? What about the inherent coercion of so-called “incentives?”

And what about the fact that Workplace Wellness is founded on scientific and economic fraud in the first place? At least the economic nonsense is addressed in the last two paragraphs, summarizing the Department of Labor research report:

The study found that lifestyle management programs did not result in reduced utilization of health care services or reduced cost.  No evidence was found of reduced costs from smoking cessation or pre-disease management programs.  Greater exposure to interventions through telephonic counseling programs increased rather than reduced costs.  Lower cardiovascular events attributable to wellness programs reduced costs, but did not come close to offsetting increased costs of participation.

Wellness programs, in sum, do not reduce health program cost, contrary to the assertions of program vendors and the beliefs of employers.

Civil Resistance

Those who are committed to non-violent resistance might wish to read this:

How to Topple a Dictator (Peacefully). By Tina Rosenberg. The New York Times, Feb. 13, 2015.

“The teachers [of a weeklong class in revolution] were Srdja Popovic and Slobodan Djinovic — leaders of Otpor, a student movement in Serbia that had been instrumental in the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic in 2000. After then helping the successful democracy movements in Georgia and Ukraine, the two founded the Center for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (Canvas), and have traveled the world, training democracy activists from 46 countries in Otpor’s methods… In a new book, ‘Blueprint for Revolution,’ Popovic recounts Canvas’s strategies and how people use them… Popovic cheerfully blows up just about every idea most people hold about nonviolent struggle. Here are some:

Myth: Nonviolence is synonymous with passivity.
..Just the opposite, said Djinovic: “We’re here to plan a war.” Nonviolent struggle, Djinovic explained, is a war — just one fought with means other than weapons. It must be as carefully planned as a military campaign.

Myth: The most successful nonviolent movements arise and progress spontaneously.
No general would leave a military campaign to chance. A nonviolent war is no different.

Myth: Nonviolent struggle’s major tactic is amassing large concentrations of people.
This idea is widespread because the big protests are like the tip of an iceberg: the only thing visible from a distance. Did it look like the ousting of Mubarak started with a spontaneous mass gathering in Tahrir Square? Actually, the occupation of Tahrir Square was carefully planned, and followed two years of work. The Egyptian opposition waited until it knew it had the numbers. Mass concentrations of people aren’t the beginning of a movement, Popovic writes. They’re a victory lap.



Anti-Smokers Kick Stossel Around Again

Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. blathers, “John Stossel said on Fox that there is ‘no good data’ proving secondhand cigarette smoke kills nonsmokers. There is. So maybe you can see why serious people — a category excluding those who rely upon it for news and information — do not take Fox, well … seriously, why they dub it Pox News and Fakes News, to name two of the printable variations.” (Why serious people discount what Fox News says. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 26, 2015.) Continue reading