Groups Behaving Badly, #2: The U.S. Surgeon General


Though the “Surgeon General” is just one person, their proclamations are generally based on the recommendations of an advisory panel. Thus “what the Surgeon General says” is in actuality more likely to be what the Surgeon General’s advisory panel suggests. The SG’s recommendations are partly responsible for many smoking bans throughout the U.S. It’s imperative, then, to take a closer look.

The Office of the Surgeon General released its report on secondhand smoke in 2006. The conclusion of the report, that “there is no safe level” of secondhand smoke, makes absolutely no toxicological sense. Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, President of The American Council on Science and Health. called the very notion “alarming:”

“What is most alarming here is that the top doctor in the land is communicating a message that anything that is harmful at a high dose can be lethal at a low dose – when that is simply not true.”

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