I knew, particularly since Edward Snowden’s revelations, that all our private electronic communications (email, among others) are under mass surveillance by government agencies (NSA/CIA and other bodies) and involve mail services such as Gmail, YahooMail, Hotmail and AOL mail. I naively believed that POSTAL mail (i.e. PAPER correspondence) would remain sheltered from that totalitarian intrusion in our private lives.
However, I recently stumbled on a private letter of mine dated 2007 (a “traditional” “paper” one, not a trivial email message) published by a third body “on the internet” (needless to say, without any permission…). Available through search engines, the document has been scanned by an “invisible hand”, converted to a « pdf » file and posted online , not by any maniac but the very official University of California at San Francisco (“Legacy Foundation”).
This obviously looks like a man hunting defamation attempt against a whistle-blower in the light of the growing global irresistible popularity of both the Middle East Peace Pipe and its offshoots: E-cigarettes, E-cigars and even E-hookahs …
Perhaps the so-called “Patriot Act” in the USA allows the federal government there to pry into the private lives of US nationals and even opens their postal paper mail. However, I would like to point here that I am not a US citizen…
Consequently, my best response to Totalitarians in power is to publish myself, in my turn, my own Letter dated 2007. As readers will see, its content deals with merely scientific matters .
Interestingly, I am a native of Tunisia, a country supposed to have been ruled by an ugly « dictator ». However, as far as I know, the latter’s police has never opened the private postal mail of its citizens…
 By opening postal private mail of a non-US citizen, staff of the so-called “Legacy Foundation” affiliated with the University of California at San Francisco violates human privacy on a much greater scale than the NSA/CIA.
 E-Cigarettes, Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) and E-Hookah”. E-Letter to the British Medical Journal
COPY OF THE LETTER
sent by postal mail and opened by the staff of the so-called
“Legacy Foundation” affiliated with the University of California at San Francisco
[Personal Confidential Redacted]
[note: the address was removed by the UCSF/Legacy Foundation
violators as if the words “privacy” or “respect” still meant something…]
ALTRIA GROUP, Inc.
Personal Attention, Louis C. Camilleri,
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
120 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Etats Unis d’Amerique
Paris, 2 February 2007
CC: Andre CALANTZOPOULOS, President and Chief Executive Officer, Philip Morris
International Inc.; Michael E. SZYMANCZYK, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Philip
Morris USA Inc.; G. PATSKAN, R. STABBERT, F. TEWES and P. TERPSTRA (researchers)
SUBJECT: The International Tobacco Industry and Narghile Smoking
Dear Mr Camilleri, Mr Calantzopoulos and Mr Szymanczyk,
I wish to share with the executive staff of the Altria Group two conclusions I draw from my recent contact with the four above mentioned staff members of your company who, put together, are the authors of a tetralogy on the electrically heated cigarette.
As the main library I work with was not a subscriber of the Journal of Applied Toxicology, in which the four studies were published, I wrote to each of them to ask them to be kind enough to provide me with corresponding electronic copies. This is a common practice among researchers. Indeed, they had actually advertised their personal email addresses in the abstracts published in the international scientific databases. I followed up on my callow request and eventually sent them a reminder; in vain. In these conditions, I had to go to another library in another district of the city where I live. There, I found the journal and the papers and this is all there was to it.
I was actually interested in this tetralogy only because I thought its findings could help me understood better some chemical and biochemical processes in relation with narghile (hookah, shisha) smoking. However, these four studies did not contain any new facts for me as I have been investigating the chemistry of narghile smoke for a while now. I found out that there are some similarities but also striking discrepancies between cigarette and narghile smokes. For instance, I already know, for having performed the tests myself, that electrical heating of tobacco -or a tobacco-molasses based mixture- cuts down carbon monoxide -and other toxic products- in a great proportion.
I deeply regret the lack of cooperation from your staff. This is unusual in the field of research, indeed. I understood that they might not have wanted to maintain any relation, even as a short-lived epistolary exchange, with a researcher working on narghile smoking. They may also have received instructions in this respect. I think such a shopkeeper’s mentality is not necessary for a prestigious company like yours and even negative for its outside image.
Indeed, would the emergence of narghile smoking be viewed as a competitor for your products, particularly among teenagers ? I know that some facts and assumptions are disturbing. For instance:
-that your products are highly and quickly addictive whereas the fashionable narghile, for many reasons (from behavioural to pharmacological and cultural ones), is very different in this respect;
-that narghile smoking, and once again for many reasons, might not be a gateway to cigarette smoking. In other words, a teenager who would have practiced hookah smoking for a while, might eventually find it difficult to switch or come back to cigarette smoking. This is only a hypothesis that I am testing with colleagues.
In the light of these facts (although there are many others) and the confusion and blackout maintained by an entire die-hard crusade-minded wing of the international Tobacco Control movement on my research and on my own existence [ 2 ] , I may be naturally driven to the conclusion that these people may share the same viewpoint as yours regarding the new world hookah epidemic. If I am wrong, please tell me. I am anxious to know.
An anti-tobacco activist one day said that, unlike the “Oriental” narghile, cigarettes are “a part of our [Western] culture”. In the light of this assumption and the present geopolitical context of a so-called “clash of civilisations”, the American Way of Life the Tobacco Industry has sold to all teenagers of the world for decades, would be, today, jeopardised by the emergence of an Oriental Way of Life… Finally, your researchers could recognise that the idea of an electrically heated cigarette was inspired by the narghile. They could follow the example of the Waterford cigarette’s inventors who did acknowledge this fact.
Researcher and Consultant in Tobacco Control (*)
 Patskan G, Reininghaus W. Toxicological evaluation of an electrically heated cigarette. Part 1: Overview of technical concepts and summary of findings. J Appl Toxicol. 2003 Sep-Oct;23(5):323-8.
Stabbert R, Voncken P, Rustemeier K, Haussmann HJ, Roemer E, Schaffernicht H, Patskan G. Toxicological evaluation of an electrically heated cigarette. Part 2: Chemical composition of mainstream smoke. J Appl Toxicol. 2003 Sep-Oct;23(5):329-39.
Tewes FJ, Meisgen TJ, Veltel DJ, Roemer E, Patskan G. Toxicological evaluation of an electrically heated cigarette. Part 3: Genotoxicity and cytotoxicity of mainstream smoke. J Appl Toxicol. 2003 Sep-Oct;23(5):341-8.
Terpstra PM, Teredesai A, Vanscheeuwijck PM, Verbeeck J, Schepers G, Radtke F, Kuhl P, Gomm W, Anskeit E, Patskan G. Toxicological evaluation of an electrically heated cigarette. Part 4: Subchronic inhalation toxicology. J Appl Toxicol. 2003 Sep-Oct;23(5):349-62.
(*) Necessary note (Jul 2014) about further bitter experience: please mentally picture quotation marks for “tobacco “control”” or add epithet “totalitarian” before “control”…
EXTRA NOTES FOR THE READER
In this respect, I was first targeted (in a similar defamatory attack) in 2005 by Simon CHAPMAN (former Editor-in-Chief of the “Tobacco “Control”” totalitarian journal and main advisor of the Globalink secret society) himself because my first intervention in their « tobacco « control » » field was an E-Letter to his journal (December 2004). It was an online debunking critique of the worst pseudoscientific publication ever on the Middle East Peace Pipe by Thomas EISSENBERG and Wasim MAZIAK. That stuff was sort of foretaste of the WHO totally flawed report whose critique (by the author of these lines, once again) was officially published in a respected biomedical journal . This was, so to speak, a “rite de passage” and simultaneously a “death sentence” in their world (see above-mentioned Globalink)… By the time of the comment, I was ending my participation in a tobacco harm reduction project (a gas-powered hookah (with a patent) producing no CO and other crap). Simon Chapman used the comment as the “evidence” for the greatest crime of the end of the century: a « « « conflict of interest » » »…. Of course, there was not the least ethical breach but this Untouchable Iron Fist in a Velvet Glove did not allow me to reply. Later, other titles of the Globalink secret society galaxy (e.g., “Pediatrics”) echoed the smut…