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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Joanna in Wonderland. Anti-Fruit Smoking Activism at the US-American University of Beirut


Just published in the anti smoking
"
Tobacco Control" journal : The tobacco health nexus ? Health messages in narghile advertisements

by Joanna KHALIL (JK) and her friends (Robin L HEATH, Rima T NAKKASH, Rema A AFIFI) from the US-American University of Beirut



COUNTERPUNCH

J.K. and friends said: "Research on the narghile smoke constituents suggest it is as harmful—if not more harmful—than cigarettes"

OBSERVATORY on Hookah or Health : This is dead convincing, particularly when one of the cited sources is the unspeakable calamitous WHO flawed report (2 errors in its first 2 sentences...). What is not notified to the reader is that this report was prepared by Alan Shihadeh, and "peer-reviewed", among others, by Ghazi ZAATARI who both are colleagues of Joanna Khalil at the US-American University of Beirut.

JK and friends : "Recently, narghile smoking has become ‘‘big business’’ and a variety of marketing techniques are being used to emphasise the enjoyable facet of smoking while disregarding its detrimental health effects."

OBSERVATORY on Hookah or Health : This is true. See our story: CNN “Social Smoke” Business Success Story by Iranian Born Hookah Entrepreneur: Ain’t a Dig at WHO Treaty on Tobacco Control (FCTC) ?

As for the "detrimental health effects", how do you want these people to rely on the poor biased "science" produced by your university ?

JK and friends : "One interesting marketing technique has been the use of health messages to market narghile products (…) For example, in one advertisement for locally manufactured tobacco, the slogan ‘‘untouched by human hands’’ was used as an indicator of ‘‘the purity’’ of the product. In addition, the product was shown to be manufactured in state-of-the-art machines (…)".

OBSERVATORY on Hookah or Health : Joanna, my dear, you are wrong. “‘‘Untouched by human hands’’ means that the company (Eastern Company) is actually using an automatic line based on state-of-the-art machines as you rightly point out. This is all there is to it. By contrast, the narghile smoking machine of your colleagues at the US-University University of Beirut was tampered by human hands and is actually the source of the world confusion, the well known exaggerations (1 narghile session = 100, 200, …900 cigarettes, etc.):

BBC NEWS: Shisha 450 Times Worse than Cigarettes, New Research Reveals. Swine Flu Link Now Established

Because of their behaviour, they must be accountable for the 10-year delayed public health intervention.


JK and friends : "Simultaneously, two advertisements for a type of charcoal used to light the narghile charcoal embers were advertised as being ‘‘natural’’ and made of ‘‘100% coconut shell’’, smokeless, odourless and ‘‘free of chemicals.’’”

OBSERVATORY on Hookah or Health : No, Joanna, a charcoal can’t be used to light the narghile charcoal embers. If you wanna become a narghile expert, first you must go downtown Beirut (Al-Hamra Street, for example) and ask the staff of any cafe there how the charcoal of a narghile is lit...


JK and friends : “One of these advertisements ends with the comment that not a single tree was cut down to produce the charcoal (fig 1). Narghile smoking is highlighted as safe and environmentally friendly. The brand name furthers this image by using the prefix ‘‘eco’’ thus conferring eco-friendly legitimacy on the image of narghile smoking."

OBSERVATORY on Hookah or Health : So what ? These people are trying to do their best and certainly this new charcoal is safer and more environment-and-Earth-friendly than the quick-lighting one used in the biased smoking machine of your colleagues.


JK and friends : "Although the above two examples specifically mention the health aspect of narghile, other messages are more tacit. For instance, in an advertisement for a brand of mo’assel, the fruit flavoured narghile tobacco, what first hit your eye is the fresh watermelon, constituting the background of the ad (fig 2). Although the photograph of the narghile is shown on the left of the ad, the mouthwatering fruit is impossible to miss. This watermelon, and the other fruits that indicate the different available flavours, make narghile seem as healthy as the fruits."

OBSERVATORY on Hookah or Health : Woaw ! What a breath-taking sociologist you and your friends are ! At least, instead of citing erroneous bibliographic sources to support these statements, why didn’t you review the existing sound literature ? From a prehistoric date, narghile has maintained a close relation (a love affair) with fruits. You would also have found that the word “narghile” itself derives from the name of an exotic fruit… Indeed, narghile users know this. They are the experts, not those appearing in the parroting media…


JK and friends : "As suggested by the specific examples above, the myth of the narghile smoking being less harmful than cigarette smoking is being exploited by a new tobacco industry.”

OBSERVATORY on Hookah or Health : First, this tobacco industry is not new. It is very old. Then, the myth of narghile smoking being MORE harmful than cigarette smoking is being exploited by a recent anti-tobacco industry whose main operational base is the antismoking journal Tobacco Kontrol in which you got your paper published.

JK and friends : This new spin on the image of the narghile (…). In light of the current weak policy and regulatory framework for tobacco control in Lebanon, a serious commitment from health stakeholders and advocacy groups is mandatory to counter these false claims."

OBSERVATORY on Hookah or Health : What is needed is countering the false claims and pseudo-science supposedly but actually deceivingly "peer-reviewed", pouring from biased antismoking journals like “Tobacco Control”.

The Middle East doesn’t need artificial wars. Aren’t you tired of wars there in Beirut ? Or we would be tempted to think that you defend foreign interests after UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) has recently considered in its last report (2009) that narghile smoking poses a threat to "Arab Human Development Security" (sic).


JK and friends : “Funding: This paper was supported by a generous grant from Research for International Tobacco Control, an IDRC secretariat.”

OBSERVATORY on Hookah or Health : Yes, they are more and more ““generous”” as you would say. Why don’t you add that your RITC is linked to Big Pharmaceuticals ?

“It should noted, however, that among the advertised “Strategic Partners” of the latter [The “North American RITC (Research on International Tobacco Control; Canada)], the names of two multinational pharmaceutical companies appear after a list of world antismoking organisations: namely, Glaxo-Wellcome/Smith Kline Beecham and Merrck-Frost” (Revealed in “UK Ban on Smoking in General and on Hookah Smoking in Particular Should Not Stay(Source: Lift the UK Ban on smoking)


JK and friends : “Competing interests: None”

OBSERVATORY on Hookah or Health : In view of all the above, do you confirm ?

“Tobacco Control” Editors : “Provenance and peer review: Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.”

OBSERVATORY on Hookah or Health : This is news to us. By whom ? The antismoking friends of the Globalink antismoking "model village"(sic) ? The same who "peer-reviewed" the calamitous WHO report and its recycled laundered version, the Cochrane Review?


IMAGES (commented in this article and appearing above)

Source: Joanna Khalil et al 2009 (who should have requested the permission from the "pro-smoking" "new tobacco industry" in Lebanon to reproduce them in an anti-smoking biased journal)


ACCOUNTABILITY

As a new narghile expert, Joanna KHALIL is, as all others, accountable for what she says in public (here a n official publication)


CONCLUSION

As for JK and friend's call for immediate regulation in line with the the brain Formatting Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC) cooked by the same Globalink people, it is not an innocent statement. Health officials of any government will refer to this kind of "scientific" stuff to overrride their own bills and constitutions. This is also the objective of the Lisbon Treaty that any conscious citizen should reject for the same reasons.

This is a vicious circle, one of the many tricks used by antismoking organizations to maintain control over medias and governments. Also, other antismoking researchers will publish further articles citing Joanna Khalil and friends' paper. Then, they will pretend -as they have been doing with cigarette passive smoke, E-cigarette smoke, etc. - that there would be "overwhelming evidence" that narghile smoking is dangerous and must be banned. Remember the WHO slogan “Rigorous research leaves no doubt” (that tobacco second-hand smoke kills. There would be a world supranational expert consensus. You're dead and you can's utter a word of dissent.

Resist here and now !


RELEVANT ARTICLES


Narghile smoking keeps researchers in Wonderland
(medical journal)

The Birth of a New Profession: Anti-Fruits Smoking Activist (Observatory)

Narghile, Sex and the US-American Univer-City of Beirut... Tobacco Control, Prostitution and the City of Bombay... (Observatory)

YOU ARE NOT ON THE HOME PAGE of the OBSERVATORY on HOOKAH OR HEALTH (Narghile, "Waterpipe"™, Health, Risks, Dangers, Diseases, Tar, Nicotine, Cancer). CLICK HERE to go there !

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