"During times of universal deceit", said George Orwell, "telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
The following stories appeared in the last week. All of them involve statements that are so transparently truthful that they are obvious to anyone who does not have a vested interest in saying otherwise. Consequently, in the early days of 2010, they are considered controversial.
Outdoor Smoking Bans Spread Without ScienceWeHo News
West Hollywood, California (January 11, 2010) - Half a dozen LA County municipalities have banned smoking near their outdoor dining facilities, with a few banning it from publicly-owned property - sidewalks, medians etc. - across their city entire.
All did so citing public health concerns, but none did so based on scientific evidence that second hand smoke (SHS) near an outdoor area poses a health risk, because no such peer reviewed study existed.
Smoking defended by Quebec doctorA Quebec psychiatrist has sparked controversy with a new book that comes to the defence of smokers and even promotes some benefits of smoking.
The former president of the province’s Association of Psychiatrists said smoking can be helpful for those suffering from deep depression.
"Sometimes antidepressants aren’t enough — it is an individual approach for everyone," Bourque said in an interview with Radio-Canada.
Bourque said the concerns about the dangers of second-hand smoke are overblown.
"The idea that is promoted by the Quebec government, that second-hand smoke is more dangerous than the smoke inhaled by someone who is smoking, is completely off the rails," Bourque said.
'Shaming' smokers makes it harder to quit: studyTom Blackwell, National Post
Years of anti-smoking laws and campaigns have amounted to a public shaming of smokers that could make it harder for them to quit, a group of UBC researchers argue in a new report.
Katherine Frohlich, a public-health expert at the University of Montreal, said studies by her research group found that poorer smokers feel the policies have discriminated against them by, for instance, restricting their social interaction and isolating them at home.
"We shouldn't dismiss the fact these interventions have been incredibly successful," she said. "[But] we have to take into consideration the fact that there are some pretty serious unintended consequences."