Q: Is FORCES a smokers' association?

A: No. Although smoking is the dominant issue and most of its members are smokers, our group is not limited to smoking. FORCES fights the philosophy of healthism and the therapeutic state that is based on it.

Q: What does FORCES mean?

A: FORCES is an acronym for Fight Ordinances and Restrictions to Control and Eliminate Smoking, which was (and still is) its original purpose. However, due to the expansion of the Therapeutic State, our organization has also expanded its scope. Created in 1995, the group has expanded in many American states and in several nations such as Germany, Italy, the Netherlands - as it is becoming clearer that the repression of smoking - and the use of junk science to justify it - exceeds by far the simple ban of lighting a cigarette in public places. It implies a subversion of ethics, politics and social values mostly at the service of powerful pharmaceutical corporations on one hand, and state social engineering and control on the other.

Q: Why does FORCES fight those who want the health of the public?

A: In the first place, healthism does not coincide with the health of the public, but it is the enmeshment of two concepts: health and totalitarianism. Today there is a dangerous deviation from the classic understanding of the role of  both public health and of medicine in general (the latter having had the role of primarily treating and curing disease). This deviation (marketed today with the inaccurate term of prevention) implies the utilization of economic and political power to "prevent disease". This process, which has unarguable historical precedents in the Nazi state, includes the concept that being healthy -- or, rather, having a "healthy lifestyle" --  is not just a choice of the citizen but also a duty. Thus, the state has the right to demand and implement with force the compliance with this duty. Furthermore, the state has the right/duty to "educate" youth in this social duty regardless of the will and opinion of parents - as we see happening everywhere in public schools with "antismoking/antifat/antialcohol "education". Healthism has deeply contaminated the fabric of the state at all levels (together with the pharmaceutical and insurance industry with whom healthism is deeply associated), and has acquired economical and political super-power, enabling it to alter social systems as well as scientific and democratic procedures.

In the second place, healthism uses junk science to reach its goals, as it is often unable to demonstrate the reality of its claims with real science, unwilling to wait for science to confirm its assertion - and absolutely unwilling to accept the disproving of its theories. Junk science presents theoretical speculations, unproven assertions, and biased statistics as if they were sound scientific facts of unequivocal clarity. Let us take passive smoke as an example. There is absolutely no scientific proof (or statistical evidence, for that matter) demonstrating that passive smoke is harmful to the non smoker. Yet we are told with absolute certainty that passive smoke causes death and disease - which are even quantified in meaningless numbers because of the faultiness of the data gathering process. It is clear the those who spread the information are aware of this reality - the alternative being that they are utterly incompetent. Incompetence and inaccuracy are somewhat accepted as media traits, but they become worrisome issues when they apply to health authorities. At any rate, the "dangers" of passive smoke are an excuse to justify smoking bans that have their real base in the annoyance that non smokers feel towards smokers - an annoyance which in turn is induced mainly by relentless propaganda stating that passive smoke kills: thus, annoyance becomes a dignifying expression of fear. By the same token, smoking-related "deaths" are impossible to calculate because of the multiple factors contributing to the development of diseases that by no means are unique to smokers. In fact, not even one death can be demonstrated to have been caused uniquely by smoking, nor is it possible to establish the contribution of smoking to the death or disease of one individual. We feel that it is shameful that ministries of health and other public and private entities - and even many doctors - lend themselves to statistical trickery, false representation of evidence and to the promotion of pharmaceutical agendas to the end of marketing and social engineering.

Finally, behaviour coercion represents a serious threat to both personal liberties and freedom of enterprise. A state using taxation, communication and law to impose personal health is called a Therapeutic State, one where all citizens are potentially sick and in need of cure. Such a regime elevates what is called public health to a plane higher than personal liberties or, worse yet, attempts to create an equivalence between health and freedom. On such a basis, the repression of personal liberties when they are not conducive to "health" as set by the state becomes acceptable, legitimate and even moral. A very dangerous concept is thus launched: those who don't take care of their health according to state dogmas are immoral, thus their marginalization from social and public life is justified. Today this mentality pervades much of the public and the state and, as we have shown for years, is no longer limited to the smoking issue.

Q: If you are against smoking bans, how do you intend to protect non smokers against passive smoke?

A: The use of the word "protect" is unacceptable, as it implies the existence of a danger. One can only talk about the reciprocal annoyance that smokers and non smokers create for each other - one with smoke and the other with intolerance. FORCES believe that, instead of laws, real education and mutual respect must be implemented. Civil coexistence consists of self-limitations and tolerance -- and both smokers and non smokers are no exception. Furthermore, we believe that separation - not segregation and ghettoization - of smokers and non smokers in appropriate and dignified sections (the proportions to be established exclusively by market demand) can easily be achieved in public and private places.

Q: You speak of tolerance, peaceful coexistence and respect, but the often belligerent tones of your organization makes one think otherwise. How do you explain this incongruity?

A: Moderation is a virtue and it is effective only in an environment where moderation and balance are the standard. In that case, presenting oneself as moderate in opposition to extremists may create public support. Unfortunately nowadays, the situation is already in the hands of extremists - that is, people who consider it "normal" and "therapeutic" to expose children and adults to pictures of disfigured cancer patients; to relentlessly instigate people to ever more violent intolerance (marketed as "self-protection"); and to segregation and taxation of citizens according to their "vices".

Under such conditions, "moderate" opposition can only be perceived as weakness. To re-establish common sense and balance, healthist extremism must be faced with an equal counter-force that is not compromising and that is not fearful of authority. Such counter-force must also be turned to educating people on the false scientific bases used to justify such extremism. There is ever-growing historical evidence that any other method has failed.

Q: Why separation? Isn't it easier and more practical to impose a total ban?

It is always easier in a social conflict such as this is to impose a ban that gives the advantage to one side rather than respect the rights and dignity of all. While it is true that totalitarian regimes are usually more efficient than the free ones, it is also true that the social price to pay for the simplistic approach taken by such regimes is often quite high, and frequently leading to eventual social collapse.

Q: Wouldn't a total ban induce smokers to quit smoking and the youth not to start?

A: What we have to quit is considering smoking as something that is always and only negative. That is scientifically false, and it leads to prejudice, superstition and social debilitation beyond the smoking issue. Smoking is a legitimate and legal choice as acceptable as eating, drinking or gambling. Second, we do not recognize to the state the right to regulate lifestyles, nor that of using taxation to force and pilot public behaviour. Third, propaganda and prohibition are either ineffective or force behaviour in directions that -- differently than smoking -- could be very negative.

Q: Smoking is a vice. Why do you support it?

A: It has to be said beforehand that we reject the concept that smoking is a vice. Smoking is a choice and, like any choice, it means risk. Choosing not to smoke is no guarantee of less risk whatsoever. If that were true, non smokers would not get sick. Choosing not to smoke does not even mean less risk of cancer, as two thirds of the cancers occur in non smokers. It only means, statistically, less risk of lung cancer after the age of about 75. Smoking is a pleasure -- and people are entitled to pleasure if, when and where they choose, as long as they don't physically harm others - and passive smoke represent no harm.

Q: Are you supported by the tobacco industry?

A: No. But we certainly would not consider it immoral to be supported by it. If financing is to be the discriminator, then the arguments of antitobacco, lavishly supported by the pharmaceutical industry, must not be believed. Nor one should believe groups financed by state money, as clearly their arguments can be "tainted" by political agenda. As anybody has to make a living (thus get money from somebody else) the absurd conclusion is that nobody must believe anybody. A more logical solution is, therefore, that the arguments stand on their own regardless of the financing, as reason and logic cannot be overridden by prejudice or claimed moral issues. But even if one's metre if the financing then FORCES as an organization funded solely by membership and donation and run by volunteers should be more credible than all our opponents put together!

Q: Do you support the tobacco industry?

A: That depends on what the tobacco industry does. We certainly support the right of the tobacco industry (and any other industry) to freely promote and advertise its products, which are absolutely legal and certainly no more "dangerous" than many other products which are allowed to be advertised. That, incidentally, does not imply that advertisement of those other products should be restricted (other than when it is misleading). Equality under tyranny is no justice at all.

At any rate, we are usually in strong disagreement with the tobacco industry on how to handle anti-tobacco. We criticize the industry for being very short-sighted, meek, and soft-pedaling when it comes to fighting its opposition. We resent the industry for not involving - and not even considering -- its clientele when it comes to decisions and negotiations that affect the purse, the destiny and the liberties of its customers.

Q: Why all this animosity on smoking? Aren't there more important causes concerning liberty out there?

A: When talking about liberty, all causes are important, and it has been said that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. We know that the war on smoking has deep implications - so deep, in fact, that they tend to go unnoticed by the uninformed person, who represents the vast majority. Beyond the infringement of the sacrosanct freedom of choice lays a serious institutional problem.

The fundamental problem consists in the state (in this case represented by the health institutions) divulging statistical and scientific fraud and then using them as bases for laws to impose behaviour, and going as far as considering behaviour as disease.

The exaggerations and frauds on active and passive smoking are as glaring as they are demonstrable and indisputable. To accept the de-normalization of smoking means to accept the normalization of beliefs based on those exaggerations and frauds. Much like the global warming scam, antitobacco stemmed from fear, fraud and ignorance and evolved into a hysterical and nihilistic ideology that sees in abolitionism the fulfilment of its reason to be. The consequences of that mentality open to intolerance and utterly closed to dialogue will inevitably be disastrous from any point of view. And that is no small issue at all.

Q: What are your political affiliations and ideology?

A: We are not affiliated with any political party. Though we believe that the fight against anti-tobacco must be a political one, we are not "party political" in nature. The fight for personal, civil and human rights is usually independent of political parties. Of course, we will support any party that stands for the rights of smokers, and the right of choice.

Q: Do you believe that children should smoke?

A: Of course not. Children should not smoke, drink, or engage in other adult behaviour before their time. But we are certainly against lying to children about the effects of smoking. We are against the interference of the state in the family, especially when children are encouraged to disrespect or "educate" their parents just because simply because they smoke. Children have become instruments of peer pressure on parents exercised by schools and institutions.

 Q: Do you support tobacco education in schools?

A: There is a difference between education and brainwashing, and what is going on in schools today is not education.

  • If we choose to educate about potentially dangerous substances and behaviours, then education should not be limited to tobacco. There are vastly more dangerous substances and behaviours to educate children about.
  • If we choose to educate children against all the potentially dangerous substances and behaviours, that would be at the expense of conventional education, already severely lacking in substance with results of measurable, endemic ignorance.
  • Schools are supposed to teach children academic disciplines that are useful in life, not turn into propaganda centres to satisfy social or political agendas. Education about lifestyle choices is to be left to the parents, who teach children according to their own values and experiences. This is important to maintain the moral and intellectual diversity which is the foundation of a strong and resilient society.
  • If there must be tobacco education outside the scholastic environment, children should be educated on the real and verified potential dangers of tobacco, if any, without making undemonstrated hypotheses fit cultural agendas. Making the children believe that tobacco is worse than almost anything else - equal or worse than heroin for example - or exposing them to violent images of surgical operations is irresponsible, brutal and obtuse.

To grow up straight, children deserve truth, balance, the teaching of respect for adults (especially parents), as well as examples of tolerance and moderation.

Q: Are you favourable to the prohibition of tobacco sales to minors?

A: No, and this for two main reasons:

1)   What is forbidden attracts. Keeping minors from obtaining alcoholics and cigarettes increases their desire to have them, and antitobacco "education" enhances that desire, more so in kids with bright minds who don't get easily conditioned by propaganda. Anywhere the sales have been prohibited to minors, the percentage of drinkers and smokers between eight and fifteen years has greatly increased. Furthermore, there is a direct relationship between drinking restrictions and underage drinking: the tougher the restrictions, the greater the transgression. The abuse is not the cause of the prohibition; the prohibition is the cause of the abuse. But today this easily demonstrable reality is obfuscated by fanatical health activism, preaching that current restrictions are "not tough enough" because the only acceptable rate of alcohol and tobacco use among the underage is zero. But absolute prohibition does not mean  elimination of the intended target behaviour, but rather driving the targets out of control.

2)  The prohibition of sales to minors carries the exaggerated message that tobacco and alcohol are highly dangerous substances, thus adult maturity is needed to handle them. Again, that stimulates the adolescent to demonstrate that he is mature, and to experiment with them inappropriately. We also have to accept that experimentation is part of the normal and healthy development of the individual, and that stubbing/discouraging experimentation may impair the development of good judgement in adulthood. Conversely, a relaxed social acceptance of the use of these substances without drumming propaganda, combined with family guidance and a school system teaching concepts of moderation as opposed to zero tolerance would not stimulate desire for transgression.

If everything that is potentially dangerous is forbidden or controlled, then control becomes total and personal choice is precluded - which is the final goal of the healthist ideology, killing pleasure in the name of long life. And that, in itself, is not healthy at all.

Q: Don't people who are not smoking have the right to avoid breathing other people's smoke?

A: The issue of rights when it comes to smoking bans does not concern the rights of the non-smoker or the smoker. It only concerns the rights of the owner to provide a service to whomever he/she sees fit. The owner of a bar or club should have the right, having invested their own time and money, to provide any legal activity amongst consenting adults within their own premises. This is the only solution that protects everyone's choice, i.e. the owner is free to choose smoking or non-smoking, the employees are free to choose whether to work there and smokers/non-smokers are free to choose whether to enter or not.



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