Michael B. Siegel

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Michael B. Siegel, M.D. was trained as an epidemiologist and is currently professor and Associate Chairman in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department, Boston University School of Public Health. [1] He has been a tobacco control advocate and in recent years has expressed strong disagreements with others in the tobacco control movement, especially through his blog which is titled The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary. He has also created a Web site titled Center for Public Accountability in Tobacco Control.

Biographical details

A biographical note on his blog states that Siegel has "20 years of experience in tobacco control, primarily as a researcher. My areas of research interest include the health effects of secondhand smoke, policy aspects of regulating smoking in public places, effects of cigarette marketing on youth smoking behavior, and the evaluation of tobacco control program and policy interventions." [2]

A Boston University biographical note states that he "completed his residency in Preventive Medicine at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and trained in epidemiology for two years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta before coming to Boston."[1]

Blogging and opposition to tobacco control groups and policies

Siegel has established his own blog site where he argues against some tobacco control measures that he feels go too far, such as laws restricting outdoor smoking in areas like parking lots, parks, beaches, and near building entrances[3] and restrictions on smoking in all private homes. Siegel says he opposes these measures because they treat smoking as a moral, rather than an evidence-based health issue. He also feels these measures damage the legitimacy of the tobacco control movement because they provide opponents with "evidence that the ultimate goal of the tobacco control movement is indeed to ban smoking everywhere, including the home."[4] Siegel has also accused tobacco control researchers of misrepresenting in research reports the acute cardiovascular effects of exposure to secondhand smoke.[5][6][7]

Siegel has also strongly criticized certain tobacco control groups he believes go too far in their advocacy. One example was his strident criticism of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) over a press release[8] ASH issued June 25, 2008 discussing a study that showed a majority of the public supported banning smoking in all homes. Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) cited a poll showing that "57% of the people in Ireland support a ban on smoking in all homes and cars" and suggested this could indicate growing support for smoking bans in Ireland and elsewhere "in the war to protect nonsmokers." In response, Siegel wrote in his Friday, June 27, 2008 blog,

For the first time, to the best of my knowledge, an anti-smoking group has publicly and officially called for a ban on smoking in all homes ... I get the distinct impression that ASH is acting, at least in part, out of pure hatred for smokers and a desire to punish them. It seems to me like one can feel the hatred oozing out of the press release and that ASH is trying to punish smokers in any way it can find - no matter how much damage that might cause to the children of those smokers or to societal values like privacy and autonomy.[9]

While Siegel criticized ASH over this press release, sometimes Siegel agrees with ASH. In one blog post, Siegel quoted ASH extensively as support for his position opposing an effort by Congress to have the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulate tobacco.[10]

In response to these and other issues, Siegel created a Web site titled Center for Public Accountability in Tobacco Control, the stated function of which is to "ensure the ethical and honest practice of tobacco control by anti-smoking organizations in the U.S." The site's pages are titled "Misleading the Public" "Inaccurate Health Claims," "Going Too Far," "Discrimination Against Smokers" and "Outdoor Smoking Bans." A page titled "The Organizations" specifically attacks the The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, The American Legacy Foundation and Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, accusing them of engaging in "unethical, deceptive, hypocritical, or otherwise inappropriate actions." The Center's Web site lists no programs, policies, board members or annual reports, and the sole contact given for the Center is Michael Seigel, M.D. in his position as Professor at the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department at Boston University School of Public Health [11]


  • Michael Siegel and Lynne Doner, Marketing Public Health: Strategies to Promote Social Change, Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2nd Edition, 2007. ISBN 9780763738914.

Contact Details

Blog: http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/

This article may include information from Tobacco Documents Online.

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Boston University School of Public Health, "Michael Siegel", accessed November 2007.
  2. "Michael Siegel", The Rest of the Story (blog), accessed November 2007.
  3. Michael B. Siegel's Blog "New York County Legislator Seeking to Ban Smoking Outdoors Because It Sets a Bad Example", The Rest of the Story (blog), July 14, 2008.
  4. Michael B. Siegel's Blog "Action on Smoking and Health Suggests Banning Smoking in All Homes", The Rest of the Story (blog), June 27, 2008.
  5. Waldemar Ingdahl, "Interview: Michael Seigel", Eudoxa Think Tank, Stockholm, Sweden, November 26, 2007. Accessed July 98, 2008.
  6. Jacob Sullum, Reason Hit and Run: If You Can Smell It, It May Be Killing You, Reason Online (the Reason Foundation), October 17, 2007. Accessed July 8, 2008
  7. Michael Siegel, M.D. Analytic Perspective: Is the tobacco control movement misrepresenting the acute cardiovascular health effects of secondhand smoke exposure? An analysis of the scientific evidence and commentary on the implications for tobacco control and public health practice Epidemiologic Perspectives and Innovations, 2007, 4:12doi:10.1186/1742-5573-4-12,
  8. John Banzhaf, Action on Smoking and Health Majority Want Smoking Banned in All Homes [06/26/08 Latest Front in the War to Protect Nonsmokers] Press release. June 25, 2008
  9. Michael B. Siegel's Blog "Action on Smoking and Health Suggests Banning Smoking in All Homes", The Rest of the Story (blog), June 27, 2008.
  10. Michael Siegel, M.D., The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary Support for FDA Tobacco Legislation Continues to Crumble; Truth May Win Out in the End Blog post. Tuesday, July 15, 2008
  11. Michael Siegel, M.D., Center for Public Accountability in Tobacco Control Web site of Center for Public Accountability in Tobacco Control, accessed July 8, 2008

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