John Banzhaf and ASH International

An interview with Chris Snowdon, author of Velvet Glove Iron Fist.

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ECD: Well, John Banzhaf is a bully, there is no doubt about that. He's always threatening people with lawsuits. Although in many ways he is a great enemy to have, he's so extreme and his claims are so ridiculous...

Chris: He's a comic book figure, really. When I think of Banzhaf I think of some kid in a schoolyard by himself, with no friends, who's just sort of planning when he grows up he's going to take his revenge in the world.

ECD: I really think that some of the other organisations must be embarrassed about him.

Chris: He's getting less and less publicity. I've gone on to his website to look at his crazy rantings and his press releases and things and he doesn't seem to get in the news much any more. But what he is saying is just bonkers, I mean, take this thirdhand smoking again. He said the risk from third hand smoking is comparable with smoking. The guy's a lawyer, so I guess that's legalese, you can technically say it is comparable with smoking because it is nothing like smoking - that's the comparison!

He's a scaremonger and he's an attention seeker.

So he comes up with this stuff, he's said a lot about e-cigarettes and how nicotine is a poison and people are pumping it into the air and do you want to be sat next to someone huffing away on one of these e-cigarettes.

He's a scaremonger and he's an attention seeker.

ECD: I mean he's not the only one, I mean the one that always come to my mind is the person who said that giving a smoker an electronic cigarette is like giving a rubber knife to a murderer, and (laughs) I actually think that would be quite a good idea, at least better than giving him a real one, surely!

Chris: Exactly, that would be harm reduction, wouldn't it, if you give these people rubber knives, I suppose. It's the kind of thing they like to say. Stanton Glantz got his knickers in a twist about one of the characters smoking in avatar. He said it was like putting plutonium into the water supply. They have no sense of perspective at all.


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: The Anti-Smoking Lobby and the Erosion of Public Trust
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