Dear Reader of this LinkedIn blog,
I hope you will believe me when I say that I try to give the benefit of the doubt, and give room for error and correction. After several attempts and reminders to get a response to a vital and lifesaving question for millions of Americans and over a Billion worldwide, I have decided to publish my letter to the NIH internal newsletter. The Newsletter should by all counts have 5,000 recipients directly employed by NIH, quite probably another 5,000 PostGrad researchers who are Intramural at NIH, and finally information from the Newsletter disseminating to another staggering 325,000 Extramural researchers funded by the NIH.
Please read below and I hope you will agree with me that it is respectful, reasonable and generally not very tinfoil hat. No response.
(Hear find link to article on Tobacco Harm Reduction in Sweden’s biggest newspaper by myself: www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/calling-out-public-health-sweden-truth-snus-atakan-befrits)
Dear Mr McManus and colleagues,
My name is Atakan Befrits and I work with Tobacco Harm Reduction advocacy focussing on the Middle East, Asia and Africa regions.
I am writing to you in response to a somewhat unfortunate report in your internal newsletter published July 17th.
I am certain that the report in question was an accurate account of a lecture held by a NIH funded scientist on NIH campus, the statements in it are certainly all hallmarks of Professor Stanton Glantz’s usual lecture commentary on electronic cigarettes in particular and Tobacco Harm Reduction in general.
The reason the report in NIH Records is unfortunate is precisely that it is just that, commentary. Extensive and conclusive commentary derived from conclusions drawn on scant, non existent, or even contrary findings in the actual research, much of which is funded by the NIH.
I scanned the other articles in the issue of The Record, which is freely available online for anyone to read. The other articles that I was reasonably able to form an opinion regarding, seemed accurate enough and penned for easy reading, also by non expert readers.
I therefore gather that the articles are intended for a wide readership, also by non experts in the specific field covered, who work within NIH.
By default, intentionally or unintentionally, there is a tremendous element of influence through this newsletter as a channel, and this influence surely reaches far and wide through the NIH grapevine.
NIH intramurally and extramurally is one of the largest research organizations on the planet and carries immense weight and influence.
Smoking is the biggest avoidable cause of death on the planet and is expected to prematurely kill one billion human beings this century, given the current trends.
Given the two sets of circumstances stated above, the NIH more than any other organization except possibly the WHO, absolutely has to get it right.
Yet in the 17th of July 2015 issue you publish an accurate report of an on campus lecture given by the (arguably) most heavily biased “Tobacco Control” researcher and anti-nicotine advocate in the USA.
Defending the publication with an argument like for example: “It is simply a report from an on campus lecture” (a very real reply from NIH to critique by another renowned voice in the field), would immediately bring on the question if the lecture by Professor Glantz was not very ill-advised in the first place.
May I be so bold as to ask who at NIH invited Professor Glantz to hold the lecture? I am curious if the lecture was pre-screened or if the content was well known in advance and sanctioned?
For your information please find enclosed an open to letter to WHO Director General Mrs. Dr. Margaret Chan from early 2014. The letter is signed by 53 Public Health experts coming from many different specialities. Together they represent some 1,325 person years of tobacco cessation and tobacco control research and advocacy.
They with one voice loudly and clearly say that Professor Glantz view on “Tobacco Control” and “Tobacco Harm Reduction” is wrong, deadly, counterproductive and based in ideology instead of evidence and/or observation.
Thank you very much in advance for your kind attention and reply
With my best regards and respect for the important work carried out by the NIH personnel and affiliated researchers.
Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocate