Bloomberg Cites ACSH On Tony Gwynn and Harm Reduction, But In An Odd Way

Bloomberg has published a decent piece on the death of Tony Gwynn but, like their namesake, the former mayor of New York City, can't help injecting personal opinion and calling it evidence.

"Gwynn may have been on shaky ground when he insisted that chewing caused his disease. But so is the American Council on Science and Health, which put out a statement headlined: "RIP Tony Gwynn, a victim of parotid gland cancer. NOT due to snuff or dip, however." The statement even includes a shameless plug for snus, a type of smokeless tobacco, from one of the group's physicians, Gil Ross: "It would be a shame if a smoker seeking a way out of his or her deadly addiction was scared off snus because of fear induced by Mr. Gwynn's unrelated disease.""

All factually correct, yet journalist Kavitha Davidson dismisses it with this disjointed disqualifier:

"As Mother Jones pointed out last year, the ACSH's research is funded by corporations including Altria -- the parent company of Philip Morris USA and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company."

Had even a modicum of research been done, the journalist would have noticed we have been a world leader in the war against tobacco. Full stop, no argument.

There is an entire industry build up around marketing against cigarettes, and the PSAs you see on TV are all paid for by Big Tobacco. Yet to this journalist, everyone who works on a PSA against smoking is somehow in cahoots with Big Tobacco because Big Tobacco funded it. It's silly to claim a $25,000 donation - a pittance - because they are required by law to fund smoking cessation campaigns, means that the Council is promoting smoking.

We expect that sort of partisan framing from Mother Jones, because they are a kind of Daily News for the anti-science fringe, but it is a disappointment to see that technique used by a real journalist.