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FEEDBACK: View on calorie postings compares apples to oranges



RE: Calorie signs following path laid out with cigarettes, From the Cheap Seats, March 2, 2017

Good Afternoon:  I rarely take time to comment on opinion pieces as usually they are exactly that, an opinion, and as we know everyone is entitled to one.  This morning however, Bill was presenting "alternate facts" and ignoring actual facts rather than presenting his opinion.

The gist of his view was that labelling caloric values on meals in restaurants was useless. He likened this to warnings on cigarette packing which leapt to banning smoking in public spaces which rocketed to banning obese people in those same areas.  The dissection of all that is wrong with that corpse of an argument could start and either end.  Let's start with what he did say that was factual.

Obesity is a major health concern in society today.  Agreed.  I think he also may have admitted that second hand smoke was harmful.  Then he began trying to connect the dots.

Any program that might help overweight people lose some weight would be most welcome.  Will letting people know how many calories they are eating (and what they should be eating) cure obesity?  Absolutely not.  Will it help some people modify their intake?  I know so, as it has already made me change a menu choice.  To try to bring it round to Bill's connections: has cigarette package labeling shut down the tobacco industry?  Absolutely not.  Has it stopped anyone from smoking or reduced the amount they smoke - probably.  His tangential comparisons have much weaker links.

Second hand smoke is without a doubt a health hazard.(not an opinion but a widely held belief)  If Bill believes that banning smoking in public spaces was a bad idea then I should stop where I am.  He tries to parallel this with potentially banning obese people from public spaces.  Really?  The last time I checked, "second hand eating" was a non-entity, forgiving the regurgitation present in the animal world.  Other than our tax bills that contribute to health care costs, obese people harm only themselves directly (there is more to that discussion but for another day).  Smokers harm anyone that shares there local atmosphere.  To compare the two is a non-sequitur.

I suspect that Bill is either a smoker or a bitter ex-smoker who believes that he should not have to inconvenience himself by having to go outside for a smoke break. In his opinion piece this morning I think he needed to vent and thought he saw an opportunity by comparing apples and oranges. 

He was correct in stating that the road of good intentions is often a slippery slope - particularly when it is greased with personal bias.

You may not agree with what I have said, but I hope it gets you thinking.

Dave Clements

Read More: Opinion, Feedback

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