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Cigar Insider: Michael J. McFadden, Author of ‘TobakkoNacht: The Antismoking Endgame’

24 Oct 2013



[Editor’s Note: See the end of today’s article to learn how to win a free copy of this book.]

Michael J. McFadden’s new book, TobakkoNacht: The Antismoking Endgame, is an in-depth, carefully documented exploration of how tobacco opponents work. With an Ivy League education and no financial interest in tobacco, McFadden presents technical material in an engaging and understandable format, mixing humor, statistics, anecdote, stories, and surprises. We recently exchanged emails for the following [edited] interview.

TNcoverStogie Guys: Can you tell us a little about your background and how you got involved in researching and writing about tobacco?

Michael J. McFadden: The issue of scientific integrity and telling the truth was always important to me. Seeing people unjustly gain at the expense of other people on the basis of lies always angered me, and it’s something I’ve seen throughout the antismoking movement.

My concern with what drives human conflict and allows people to tolerate the suffering or killing of others goes back to my college years and my Peace Studies program. Yes, thermonuclear war is a much more important issue than a smoking ban at the local bar, but they’re both based on people being led to believe lies that lead them to feel it’s OK to attack some other group of people… a dehumanizing of another group.

I first became aware of and concerned about this issue in 1976 when a housemate showed up at our West Philadelphia nonviolence training center with a fistful of leaflets from ASH that were clearly filled with lies and exaggerations. Those lies split our community and helped to eventually destroy our training center altogether, but I didn’t have the background knowledge to be able to fight them effectively. That was really when I began researching the issue.

SG: Your new book, TobakkoNacht, has a somewhat unusual structure. How would you describe it? And how does it differ from your earlier works?

MM: TobakkoNacht is structured to appeal to and benefit several different audiences simultaneously. It has some sections of very serious and fairly complex material, and others of a more relaxed design for quick reading in small units or in environments where one might be distracted during one’s reading.

It’s a book that a less-serious reader can enjoy jumping around in while benefiting a lot along the way, while a more knowledgeable activist or researcher will still find new perspective and knowledge from sections like the extensive “Studies on the Slab.” The opening story sets an emotional tone that is later justified by the explorations of science, and the closing “Endgame” section wraps it all up and provides suggestions for the future. Finally, over four hundred detailed endnote citations thoroughly back up its material while opening the door for further research.

SG: What do you want readers to come away from your the book with?

MM: I hope my readers will come away from the book with several benefits: (1) a greater appreciation of the harms and dangers of the antismoking movement and how they can extend far beyond smokers and far beyond the particular question of smoking; (2) a greater appreciation of how their perceptions, feelings, and behaviors have been consciously manipulated by a strategic distortion of science, language, and statistics; and (3) a better idea of how to fight this sort of misinformation and an appreciation of why it’s important to stand against the special interests that promote it.

SG: Is there a single activity or individual that worries you most in terms of attacking smoking?

MM: I don’t think I could pinpoint any particular person or group as standing out as most “worrisome” in their attacks on smoking. The ones who are the most honest tend to have little money and may be the most effective in educating people about actual smoking hazards and reducing overall numbers of smokers, but I don’t see that sort of honest education as an attack.

The ones living off the mega-millions in grant money may get the biggest microphones and have the most persuasive propaganda broadcast over TV, but they also tend to be the ones telling the biggest lies, and are thus easiest to fight successfully. Free Choice activists are not trying to get more people to smoke, we are trying to ensure that those people who DO decide to smoke are treated fairly and that their decision, and their treatment by society and by people around them, is based upon accurate information and understanding.

SG: What are your own smoking preferences?

MM: My own smoking preferences lean toward smoking about 10 to 15 cigarettes a day, non-filtered, with a preference toward roll-your-own tobaccos.

SG: What actions do you recommend for individuals who want to do something?

MM: As an immediate recommendation I’d point people to my website at TobakkoNacht.com where they can read selections from the book and to the SmokersClubInc.com website where they’ll find a wealth of information and articles throughout 730+ weekly editions of its newsletter. I’d also recommend visiting and reading the material at Forces.org, AntiProhibition.org, TCTactics.org, and the many Free Choice sites and blogs those links will lead to.

I’d also urge readers to get active in local politics whenever questions of smoking bans come up, print out and share copies of my short and superficial, but sharp and free, “Lies Behind The Smoking Bans” (http://tinyurl.com/SmokingBanLies), and to join and support the various groups active in the fight: Big Tobacco is fighting for its own interests, not necessarily ours. We need to fight for ourselves.

TobakkoNacht: The Antismoking Endgame is available through Amazon and other online book sellers. And in an effort to help spread the word, Stogie Guys is going to give away the inscribed copy McFadden sent us. Just comment below and we’ll select a winner at random after a week.

-George E

photo credit: TobakkoNacht.com

Drew Estate

24 Responses to “Cigar Insider: Michael J. McFadden, Author of ‘TobakkoNacht: The Antismoking Endgame’”

  1. Fred Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 5:22 am #

    Suggesting a similarity between the Kristallnacht and the anti-smoking lobby is really pathetic and just plain WRONG. Last time i ever visited this mickey mouse website.

    • Patrick Ashby Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 7:21 am #

      As the editor of this website, I would be interested to hear Michael J. McFadden’s thoughts on the following:

      — Is the book/title intentionally drawing an analogy between Kristallnacht and anti-smoking efforts? If not, can be explain the title?

      — If so, does he think such an analogy exposes his book (and possibly the overall efforts to fight tobacco taxes, bans, and regulations) to increased scrutiny–scrutiny that doesn't necessarily focus on the validity of his arguments?

      I would personally agree that comparing today's anti-smoking lobby to Nazi Germany is inappropriate.

      • michaeljmcfadden Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 7:49 am #

        Patrick, as you'll see, I explain my thoughts about the appropriateness in the Preface. In terms of exposing the book to increased scrutiny — all the better. Unlike most of the antismoking crowd that I've run into on the Internet, I believe in defending my ideas and admitting when I've made mistakes. I'm guessing that, as editor, you had opportunity to read TobakkoNacht, and would have seen the section in the Trenches where I talk about my "Challenges." I have *repeatedly* challenged Antismokers, many of them highly paid professionals, to answer basic challenges put to their claims or philosophy, and have virtually never received anything other than Ad Hominems or silence in return.

        Heh, "silence" is the most common response. I like to refer to it as being like "a little girl running from a pack of tarantulas." They simply disappear.

        I won't.

        – MJM

  2. michaeljmcfadden Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 7:36 am #

    Fred and Patrick, that is a very important question. Actually so important that the very first pages of the book are devoted to it. See the Author's Preface at my website:
    http://www.tobakkonacht.com/preface.html

    and think about what I wrote there. Then feel free to continue the discussion. I'll check back.

    – MJM

    • michaeljmcfadden Sunday, October 27, 2013 at 11:56 am #

      Patrick, any further thoughts/comments on the appropriateness aspect?

      :?
      MJM

  3. DaveG Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 8:03 am #

    Only thing that seems to be saving smoking in various public areas is the realization that banning (tobacco) smoking would ban marijuana smoking…and for whatever hypocritical reason, that seems to be OK in the new reality.

  4. Ashburn Dave Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    Added to my wishlist. I work in market research and after seeing how the sausage is made I find these kind of subjects fascinating.

    • michaeljmcfadden Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

      Dave, actually I think Sullum's "For Your Own Good" might possibly be a better choice for you if you're specifically looking for something with a stronger leaning toward a "market research" perspective. TobakkoNacht is more about the conflict between science and propaganda, about the sociological fallout from the radical antismoking movement, and about how and why to fight against it.

      Of course I wouldn't complain if you got both! LOL!

      :>
      MJM

  5. Swede214 Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

    This might be some interesting reading,I'm going to wait to see if I can get lucky and win this book be for I buy copy. Thanks for the contest.

  6. Ron Fedele Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

    Will be buying this. If I don't win

    • John Davidson Monday, October 28, 2013 at 10:13 am #

      Everything was EUGENICS BASED!__Eugenics: the California connection to Nazi policies_ _http://www.ahrp.org/infomail/0…__Eugenics: the California connection to Nazi policies_SF Chronicle __Mon, 10 Nov 2003 __On Sunday, Nov 9, the San Francisco Chronicle published an extraordinary, most informative article by Edwin Black, that sheds light on the role played by the American eugenics movement in the Nazi extermination policy. Eugenics is a pseudoscience whose purported aim is to “improve” the human race, while eliminating that portion of the race that eugenicists deem “undesirable.” The article is adapted from Black’s recently released book, “War Against the Weak,” published by Four Walls Eight Windows. __Black shows that American eugenics played a decisive role in the adoption of racist and even lethal public policies in the US and then in Germany. Black writes: “Eugenics would have been so much bizarre parlor talk had it not been for extensive financing by corporate philanthropies, specifically the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman railroad fortune.

  7. steve hartwell Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 11:43 pm #

    My summary about how Nazi Germany came to be is simplistic but sufficient to make my point. The comparisons between then and now, are undeniable.

    The rise of the Nazi Party to power in Germany did not happen overnight. Indeed, it took more than 20 years to get there, one advance at a time. Most people never noticed it happening, till it was too late to stop.

    At the time, in the 1920s, Germany was drowning in a sea of global debts, mostly because of Reparations for WWI which were bleeding the country to death, and that was even before the 1929 global stock market crash. Germany had the highest unemployment in Europe, public works were a shambles, no welfare assistance, few doctors, most had zero health care which most people could not afford even if there had been enough doctors. The country was awash in cheap foreign labour workers. Corruption abounded, gangs and organized crime ruled everything. Later on, the Nazis actually released a lot of criminals, homeless people, and mental patients back onto the streets to help destabalize the encumbent governing political parties, and fuel the ever growing support for more and more authoritarian powers to combat the worsening situations.

    It was technocratic fascist ideologic corporations, not just German corporations, but a long list of them around the world, that chose and funded Hitler, and paved his way to the top.

    Hitler and the Nazi Party promised jobs for Germans, to get rid of the foreign labourers, to end Reparations, which he claimed the Jews were mostly to blame for, and he promised good health care. On the good health care program, everybody was urged to eat healthy foods; exercise a lot, as in military marching and calisthenics, which led many to join the resurging military ranks; free bran muffins were handed out on the streets; and the slow bit by bit emergence of a very strict anti-smoking campaign. Only Jews and other low-life subhumans smoked tobacco, according to the later-on Nazi propaganda.

    It was through these few simple edicts that Hitler and the Nazis manipulated the majority of German people to submit and comply with their plans to create their "New World Order". Persons of authority, doctors, lawyers, judges, scientists, police officials, all were 'recruited' to hammer home to the German people the Nazi propaganda. Those who would not co-operate, lost their jobs, and far worse.

    It is well documented that Nazi Germany 'cooked' science to brainwash and convince the Germans to believe whatever the Nazis wanted them to believe, in order to manipulate them to submit and comply to their plans for global domination. And it worked because most people then, and sadly today also, do not understand science, nor the language of science, and, for those who did back then and do today, they submit and comply also, or they suffer the consequences.

    In the beginning most Germans did not care about, nor want to know about, the nefarious side of Nazism. They were just too happy to finally get paid to work, have affordable health care and food, infrastructure and public works that function well enough, and to feel like they were part of and co-benefactors of a glorious future for Germany and themselves. Anything and anybody who got in the way of all this "progress" was ostracized, or disappeared.

    I return to the aspect relevant to my point. Hitler's anti-smoking campaign. It's true purpose was not the obvious assumption by most to achieve a total eradication of smoking for health reasons.

    It began seemingly innocently enough. Stop smoking to become healthy Germans, good citizens of the Fatherland. The more people complied, the more foreful the campaign became. Doctors and other health care workers, the entire health care system, was instructed on what to say and how to say it, or else suffer dire consequences. As stated above, eventually the Nazi anti-smoking propaganda claimed that only Jews and other low-life subhumans smoked tobacco, not good pure blood Germans. The campaign advanced to denormalization of smoking, and targeting specific groups of people as evil smokers, and all smokers. It portrayed these people as being less than human, and thus gave Germans permission to blame these so-labelled subhumans for everything that was allegedly wrong in Germany, and, to further totally ostracize these people from all of German society, and even exterminate them. This slow-at-first, gathering speed as it grew, brainwashing propaganda further bonded Germans to the Nazi regime, and helped pave the way to the atrocities that eventually ocurred.

  8. steve hartwell Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 11:47 pm #

    (the blog said I had to split my entire post into separate posts, so, in the hopes of it displaying in the proper order, I have tried to post the bottom 3rd first, the middle second, and the top 3rd last. I hope it displays in the proper order)

    Michael, I read your book's preface explaining your justification for the title of your book "Tobakkonacht", invoking comparisons of anti-smoking to Kristallnacht and Nazi Germany, and, so far as it goes, I agree with your premise for titling your book to draw reference from and comparison to that horrific event in Nazi Germany.

    However, in my opinion, you do not go far enough to justify your title. You should have also included in your preface the facts that I am sure you must know about how the Nazis masterminded their coming to power in Germany, which was quite detailed in Hitler's Mein Kampf, the first part, Volume One, of which he wrote while spending nine cushy well-cared-for months in prison in 1924 for trying to take over the German government in a failed coup. If enough people of decent intelligent minds had read Mein Kampf before 1933 and taken it seriously, Nazi Germany might never have succeeded to become what it did become.

    The first 4 points and point 7 of Volume One, Chapter Six: "War Propaganda" neatly spell out how he did it.
    http://history.hanover.edu/courses/excerpts/111hi

    Volume One, Chapter Six: "War Propaganda"

    {1}The function of propaganda does not lie in the scientific training of the individual, but in calling the masses' attention to certain facts, processes, necessities, etc., whose significance is thus for the first time placed within their field of vision.

    {2}The whole art consists in doing this so skillfully that everyone will be convinced that the fact is real, the process necessary, the necessity correct, etc. But since propaganda is not and cannot be the necessity in itself, since its function. . . consists in attracting the attention of the crowd, and not in educating those who are already educated or who are striving after education and knowledge, its effect for the most part must be aimed at the emotions and only to a very limited degree at the so-called intellect. . . .

    {3}The art of propaganda lies in understanding the emotional ideas of the great masses and finding, through a psychologically correct form, the way to the attention and thence to the heart of the broad masses. The fact that our bright boys do not understand this merely shows how mentally lazy and conceited they are. . . .

    {4}The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan. As soon as you sacrifice this slogan and try to be many-sided, the effect will piddle away, for the crowd can neither digest nor retain the material offered. In this way the result is weakened and in the end entirely cancelled out.

    {7}The function of propaganda is . . . not to weigh and ponder the rights of different people, but exclusively to emphasize the one right which it has set out to argue for. Its task is not to make an objective study of the truth, in so far as it favors the enemy, and then set it before the masses with academic fairness; its task is to serve our own right, always and unflinchingly.

    • michaeljmcfadden Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 2:16 am #

      Steve, thank you for a very detailed layout of what happened in Germany to produce what eventually came. You're correct that I did not go into specifics of the history there in my Preface, but that was deliberate. The "Nazi card" is overplayed sometimes by Free Choicers, and I felt that the reference through the title, although justified both through the events in the opening story and through the strong parallels of the early stages as noted in the Preface, was enough.

      Your outline is missing one third (unless you actually managed to get it into just two pieces). Can you repost that third so that that the piece is complete if it is not?

      :?
      MJM

  9. steve hartwell Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Hi Michael, and all, I've tried several times to get my entire post – posted as it should be read, but, have repeatedly failed to get the final 3rd to be posted where it needs to be. Therefore, it is below in this post, sadly, displaying ahead of where it should be. Sorry, but, unless the stogieguys blog admin can be enlisted to fix the situation, I've no choice butt to ask you all to realize that what is here in this post, should be read AFTER my earlier successful 2/3rds posting.
    ————————————-
    Here's the kicker.

    The current global anti-smoking campaign propaganda, is an almost word-for-word replication, of Hitler's anti-smoking campaign of the 1930s.

    There are some very significant differences between Hitler's anti-smoking propaganda and the anti-smoking propaganda of today, although some smokers have been shot here and there, no mass exterminations of evil tobacco smokers has been enacted today, despite a lot of rhetoric and verbal support by fanatical anti-smokers to do it – so far.

    But, the main goal today is the same as it was back then.

    Anti-smoking today is again one of the major tools, weapons if you will, to brainwash the masses of the entire planet into submission and compliance with a central authority, with a single government, a single global government —

    a single global totalitarian dictatorial corporate fascist technocracy.

    What was tried via Nazi Germany all those decades ago, is being accomplished today on a global scale, in almost the exact same ways as back then, but modified to succeed this time.

    It's not global communist socialism we have to fear. We need to realize the real existence of and fear corporate fascist socialism.

    Hitler and Nazi Germany were defeated in 1945. Corporate fascism was not. It's very much alive and well today, and it's taken over the entire planet.

    The point is, our fight against anti-smoking today is not just about tobacco and anti-smoking, it is a far far bigger fight against what is happening to us all.

    Kristallnacht is considered to have been that "moment" among many, the event after which the Nazis achieved their unshakeable grip on complete power, which opened the Nazis' way to all that came next.

    And so, as per above, in my opinion, it is very appropriate for you to title your book "Tobakkonacht", to invoke comparisons of today, with Nazi Germany of long ago.

  10. Thomas Huxley Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    The cover of this "book" is strongly reminiscent of 1950s anti-communist cartoon propaganda ("America under Attack!") and its hyperbolic argument not much better. In my experience, the "anti-smoking = nazism" connection is fatuous and disgusting. The suggestion that a ban on smoking will end freedom as we know it is absurd, and the invocation that "this is exactly what the Nazis did" is grotesquely inappropriate when referring to US government policy. President Obama is not Hitler. The FDA is not the Gestapo. Comparing constitutional government — no matter how flawed it may be — to a genocidal dictorial regime is shameful. "First they came for our cigars . . . . and then Auschwitz!" How crass.

    These sorts of hysterical claims from self-appointed protectors of our liberties are so typical and predictible that it's a wonder anyone takes them seriously. That anyone else around here might is unfortunate. Freedom didn't end when this country banned alcohol, DDT, asbestos, or any number of real or allegedly dangerous substances. As a cigar smoker, I consider smoking restrictions and bans unjust, but ultimately nothing more than an inconvenience. Smoking's not a right, and the liberty to light up a cigar is not absolute.

    Like Fred, I may have to stop visiting this otherwise informative site; the owners have seriously jumped the shark by inviting the lunatic fringe to defecate all over their readers. This is an obscenity.

    • michaeljmcfadden Sunday, October 27, 2013 at 11:54 am #

      Mr. Huxley, you wrote, "The cover of this "book" is strongly reminiscent of 1950s anti-communist cartoon propaganda ("America under Attack!") and its hyperbolic argument not much better."

      So which parts of the "hyperbolic argument" in the book did you find poor? Oh… that's right… you haven't actually read it, have you? Did you at least read the Author's Preface pointed to on the website? If you do, I think you'll find I've addressed your concerns.

      – MJM

      • Thomas Huxley Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

        Yes, regrettably, I did read it. It is hyperbolic in thesis and content, and completely without merit.

        Your argument is fraudulent, and your historical analogies cheap and misappropriated. As an academic, I find no "high academic standards," for academics do not, as a rule, indulge in propaganda. As a student and professor of the Holocaust, I find the alleged connection of tobacco regulation to Kristallnacht or the Nazi dictatorship to be grotesque.

        If you wish to have the last word, be my guest, if your ego demands it. As for me, I'm done. I do not argue with demagogues or cranks. Goodbye.

        • michaeljmcfadden Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

          Interesting. In its 530 pages, I believe there are only 3 that directly draw the historical analogies, with two of them publicly available on the http://TobakkoNacht.com site. And yet, despite claiming to have read it, you have nothing to say about the other 527 pages.

          Would you like to comment perhaps on Igor and his boss? Or offer your critique on the Sound of Smoke?

          Oh, that's right… you're "done" because you don't "argue with demagogues or cranks."

          Nice way to duck out of being shown up for probably not having read it in reality, eh Thomas "the (anonymous) professor"?

          ::sigh:: I guess that's the way "professors" are nowadays, unwilling to share their learning with eager students or to correct errors. Name calling is just SOOO much more erudite.

          You'll see the notification on this… after all you just posted your note 28 minutes ago. Why not crack open the book and show my assumption false good sir? Or madam? Or gender neutral anonomie?

          – MJM

        • michaeljmcfadden Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 5:01 am #

          Thomas, I *would* like to add a note to what I wrote. From the tone of your posting I thought you were simply an Antismoker who had wandered into the forum. Evidently you are actually a regular here (Heh, more than can be said about me!) and a cigar smoker (Ditto!), so I would like to apologize if my tone was a bit… hmmm…. stiff shall we say?

          Although I can assure you that I'm only cranky in the mornings,

          – MJM

  11. steve Sunday, October 27, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    i tried again to post the last 3rd of my posting, but, it's been rejected again i guess – no word from the blog as to why

  12. last third Sunday, October 27, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    Here's the kicker.

    The current global anti-smoking campaign propaganda, is an almost word-for-word replication, of Hitler's anti-smoking campaign of the 1930s.

    There are some very significant differences between Hitler's anti-smoking propaganda and the anti-smoking propaganda of today, although some smokers have been shot here and there, no mass exterminations of evil tobacco smokers has been enacted today, despite a lot of rhetoric and verbal support by fanatical anti-smokers to do it – so far.

    But, the main goal today is the same as it was back then.

    Anti-smoking today is again one of the major tools, weapons if you will, to brainwash the masses of the entire planet into submission and compliance with a central authority, with a single government, a single global government —

    a single global totalitarian dictatorial corporate fascist technocracy.

    What was tried via Nazi Germany all those decades ago, is being accomplished today on a global scale, in almost the exact same ways as back then, but modified to succeed this time.

    It's not global communist socialism we have to fear. We need to realize the real existence of and fear corporate fascist socialism.

    Hitler and Nazi Germany were defeated in 1945. Corporate fascism was not. It's very much alive and well today, and it's taken over the entire planet.

    The point is, our fight against anti-smoking today is not just about tobacco and anti-smoking, it is a far far bigger fight against what is happening to us all.

    Kristallnacht is considered to have been that "moment" among many, the event after which the Nazis achieved their unshakeable grip on complete power, which opened the Nazis' way to all that came next.

    And so, as per above, in my opinion, it is very appropriate for you to title your book "Tobakkonacht", to invoke comparisons of today, with Nazi Germany of long ago.

    • johndavidson Monday, October 28, 2013 at 10:04 am #

      Hitler's Anti-Tobacco Campaign

      One particularly vile individual, Karl Astel — upstanding president of Jena University, poisonous anti-Semite, euthanasia fanatic, SS officer, war criminal and tobacco-free Germany enthusiast — liked to walk up to smokers and tear cigarettes from their unsuspecting mouths. (He committed suicide when the war ended, more through disappointment than fear of hanging.) It comes as little surprise to discover that the phrase "passive smoking" (Passivrauchen) was coined not by contemporary American admen, but by Fritz Lickint, the author of the magisterial 1100-page Tabak und Organismus ("Tobacco and the Organism"), which was produced in collaboration with the German AntiTobacco League.
      http://constitutionalistnc.tripod.com/hitler-left

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