THE OREGONIAN 12/14/93
article says anxiety more of threat to heart than smoking
complain of high anxiety are four to six times more likely to die from
sudden heart failure than other men, Harvard researchers say.
risk of sudden cardiac death from anxiety is two to three times greater than
that related to cigarette smoking, said lchiro Kawachi, an assistant prof
essor of health and social behavior at the Harvard School of Public Health
in Cambridge, Mass.
who reported the findings with his colleagues in a recent issue of the
American Heart Association's journal Circulation, said that intense
psychological stress may trigger "electrical storms" in the heart, causing
an irregular heartbeat that, in severe cases, can be fatal.
heart rhythm problem, ventricular fibrillation, is not the same as
myocardial infarction, commonly known as a heart attack, in which blockage
of a heart artery causes part of the heart muscle to die.
findings are based on data gathered in a continuing Veterans Affairs
Department research project called the Normative Aging Study, which began
in 1961 and included 2,280 men from the Boston area
Tobacco Corruption of American Medical Industry
by Wade Frazier
companies weren't on the roll, but it was easy to tell who they owned in
the Senate and Congress. The tobacco issue actually highlights
how the system works. Tobacco was decried as deadly by King James almost
four hundred years ago. It doesn't take an Einstein to know
that inhaling smoke into one's lungs is harmful, but the tobacco companies
and their payees were literally working hard to keep the harmful effects
immune from mainstream action for generations.
During the 1930's 1940s and 1950s, when even the Nazis found out how deadly
tobacco was (Hitler called it the red man's revenge on the white man), the
Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) was literally filled with
cigarette ads, making health claims! The dictator of American medicine,
Morris Fishbein (The JAMA editor) was finally deposed in 1949, and
immediately went to work for Lorillard at a salary of $20,000 a year, big
money in those days. People like George Seldes were campaigning against
cigarettes in the 1930's, and talking back then about how damaging
cigarettes were, but the medical establishment, deeply in the pay of the
tobacco interests, were covering it up.
The whole phenomenon of women smoking came as a result of the tobacco
companies looking to expand their market. There was a famous march by women
(in the 1920s, I believe) where they smoked as they marched, demonstrating
their newfound "freedom." It turned out that the march was literally a
publicity stunt dreamed up by Ed Bernays at the tobacco companies' behest.
Women were manipulated into thinking that smoking was somehow a badge of
In the 1950's, finally "science" was finding out the obvious: smoking is bad
for your health. Duh. In the early 1950s you had the spectacle of Reader's
Digest crusading against cigarettes, while JAMA was running ads making
medical claims, and Morris Fishbein was literally advising the tobacco
companies on how to structure their "research" so they could make medical
claims in their ads. Hard to believe but true.
The JAMA only stopped running ads in 1954 when the pharmaceutical companies
started complaining. The bone of contention was Lorillard's Micronite
filter. Reading about those days is shocking. The campaign for the
Micronite filter was so shameless that it alarmed the pharmaceutical
companies, who felt pharmaceutical ads would be discredited if run in the
same magazine that ran ads for cigarettes as if they were wonder drugs. It
was only then that the JAMA stopped running cigarette ads. Guess what the
vaunted Micronite filter was made of? Asbestos! You can read The Serpent
and the Staff by Wolinksy and Brun or Reclaiming Our Health by John Robbins
for a summary of that surreal situation.
But the influence of the tobacco companies over lawmakers and the medical
profession did not end there. By the 1960s the scientific evidence was
overwhelming in its indictment of tobacco consumption. The AMA was
conspicuously absent in the debate, and Senators and Congressmen from the
tobacco states were fervent defenders of the tobacco companies. When the
Surgeon General's report came out in 1964 the AMA literally raised $10
million from the tobacco companies and did its own study, one that
concluded, among other choice nuggets of wisdom, that smoking in bed was
harmful to your health because you might burn the house down, and they
downplayed any cancer link. Their conclusion was "Smoke if you feel you
should, but be moderate."
When cigarette TV advertising was finally banned a generation ago, the AMA
was silent as a mouse, and the only thing they would do would be mumble
about more research being needed. All the while they were still deeply in
bed with the tobacco interests, as were a great number of congressmen and
It wasn't until the mid-1980s when some idealistic young doctors started
taking the AMA to task for its non-existent performance regarding cigarettes,
that the AMA finally started taking a timid stand. Then it was found out
that two AMA board members were invested in a tobacco farm. In 1996 (and it
still might be true today) you could walk into the AMA lobby in Chicago and
see a cigarette vending machine. America has always had one of the lowest
tobacco taxes in the industrialized world, and corrupting tobacco money kept
it that way.
What is going on today with the tobacco industry is about 400 years
overdue. The rise and fall (not really, the tobacco companies are busy
addicting the rest of the world to their product) of the tobacco companies
in this century is a classic case of big business corrupting industry and
"science." That they have gotten away with selling an
establishment-sponsored poison all these years is incredible. Oh yes, there
is progress sometimes made, though fitfully. What we can hope is that maybe
fluoride will finally get banned, but that situation is so Orwellian that
most people have no idea that fluoride is a deadly poison, as it merrily
springs from their tap. I have an article on that issue published by what I
consider to be the leading web site in the world on that issue at:
published on the page
It is another case of our vaunted system being decidedly anti-democratic,
where money not only talks, it dictates. I am not advocating any system,
because I don't believe any system can solve our problems. People will
solve the problems, not a system. If the system doesn't work, get rid of
it. One of the main conclusions in my book is that believing in any system
is how we start losing our freedom. Human designed systems are not laws of
nature. Capitalism is a system designed by greedy people trying to get
rich. There is nothing democratic about it. Democracy is a nice idea. But
there has never been one in the history of the earth (Maybe the Iroquois
came close), and our system only resembles it in the most superficial ways.
Going to the voting booth and voting for tweedledum or tweedlededee is hardly
a democratic process. A democratic process has a great deal of open debate
and ferment before anybody goes to ballot booths. That does not happen in
America. On the news and shows like McNeil Lehrer or Nightline it is the
same old crowd of rich white men debating on an incredibly narrow spectrum
of issues. It amounts to propaganda, not a democratic exchange of ideas.
But that is how our "free press" operates. He who owns a press is free to print
what he/she wishes. And if the same people who own our politicians also own
the media, how "free" is such a system? Not very. The Internet has a great
potential for helping freedom along. If it ends up under commercial control
like radio did, it will become another adjunct to the corporate system,
about as stimulating as Dan Rather. That is a real threat, and it has been
educational to watch how the mainstream media has reacted to the Internet.
It has not been a welcome with open arms.
I live down the road from Bill Gates. On the off ramp to his house I saw a
man holding a sign saying he would work for food. A few miles from Bill's
palace people sleep on the streets by the thousands. That is a broken
system, and to the extent that exists, we are not a society.