Major concepts from this blog:
THR = tobacco harm reduction (see main page sidebar for more)
Lie (for purposes of this blog, which I would argue is the best definition in general) = any claim that is crafted in a way that causes people to believe something that the author/speaker knows is not true. Such statements are often by design, and the author knows the message that is being communicated is not true, though in some cases the author is simply not expert to know the accuracy of their claims, but is claiming such expertise. Lies includes statements that the evidence suggests is false, as well as declaring speculative claims to be true. While the literal truth or falsehood of sentences is often tied to whether or not they are lies, there is not a perfect correlation; a true factual statement that is presented in a way that is intended to cause someone to believe a falsehood is a lie. Some of the identified lies might be unintentional, based on ignorance or some unstated subtle intention other than to mislead. Neither of these lets the author off the hook, however. If there is some subtle intention behind a false/misleading claim, the author is obliged to make that clear rather than just letting the flat misleading claims stand. In cases where the cited authors actually believe the false information they are communicating, usually because they are blindly repeating someone else’s lies, they are still being false/misleading and are also committing a different lie: They are claiming to be sufficiently expert to correctly identify the truth and make claims to readers on the topic, but should know that this is not true. Similarly, citing a source for a lie does not make it any less a lie, unless there is a clear indication that the author is not endorsing the claim of the previous author; either the later author knows that the claim is false or is not sufficiently expert to have any business repeating it as fact.
CASAA = Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (you can see why we just like to just call it CASAA — pronounced k’sah, by the way), the leading THR consumer advocacy organization in the USA, and the producer of this blog.
ANTZ = anti-nicotine and tobacco zealots. A general term to describe those who are opposed to all tobacco and nicotine use for no honest reason. There are more precise terms including: “anti-tobacco extremists”, which refers to those who take the most extreme possible view, that all tobacco/nicotine use should be eliminated, no matter how low its costs or how high its benefits; “prohibitionists” who favor prohibition, obviously; “member of the tobacco control industry” which emphasizes someone’s role in the institution. These precise terms are not interchangeable, though sometimes they are misused that way. ANTZ is an intentionally imprecise term that is thus a convenient catch-all.
ST = smokeless tobacco. In the context of THR, this refers to any of the contemporary modern American- or Swedish-style products (moist snuff — also called snus — in its various forms, chewing tobacco).
And some simple frequently-used abbreviations:
FDA = Food and Drug Administration. Usually refers to the U.S. FDA, though there are other countries that name too, so we try to specify.
CTP = Center for Tobacco Products, the recently-created division of U.S. FDA with authority over tobacco products.
TPSAC = Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, a group of semi-independent advisers that CTP is required, by law, to have. The first round of them were almost all fanatical ANTZ, and some were chased off because of their glaring conflicts of interest. The current (writing this mid-2013) group is less fanatical but still heavily populated by ANTZ special interests. Outside observers are hard pressed to identify any useful advice that this committee is given to CTP.
MRTP=”modified risk tobacco products”, FDA-speak for anything that is lower risk than a standard cigarette. It is a very misleading collection, since it includes everything from minor modifications of cigarettes that might or might not reduce risks by 10% to smokeless tobacco which is definitively demonstrated to be about 99% less risky. It is also a dumb term since many of these products are not “modified” — they are what they have always been — they are just different. Finally, the word “modified” could refer to either increases or decreases, so what they really mean is lower.
WHO = World Health Organization, a unit of the United Nations.
FCTC = a WHO-sponsored international treaty (sort of) that theoretically requires signatories to obey most of the ANTZ’s worst dictates. Decidedly anti-THR.