[In a letter posted in the Health Sentinel on February 8, 2010, Nicholas J. Gonzalez, M.D., wrote to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., co-sponsor of the Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010. The following is an abridged form of Gonzalez’ letter.]
Dear Senator McCain:
Though I am a resident of New York, not Arizona, I suggest that someone on your staff read my letter very carefully, as I believe you are unwittingly sponsoring a bill with potentially onerous consequences, one that might — if I read the information about it properly — lead to the death of hundreds of my patients fighting advanced, terminal cancer. I do not think that you would want their deaths on your conscience.
I am a registered Republican, and in the past have donated many thousands to Republican causes, including your reelection, even when it became clear to me that the Party, including you, had strayed significantly from its mission of limited government, deficit reduction and, ultimately, protection of individual liberty.
A former journalist (Time Inc.), I am currently a physician and cancer researcher. I was educated at three Ivy League schools (Brown undergraduate, Columbia post grad, Cornell for medical school) and finished a fellowship in cancer immunology under Robert A. Good, for ten years president of Sloan-Kettering. Under Dr. Good’s direction, 29 years ago I began researching the use of diet, nutrients and proteolytic enzymes against advanced cancer.
Though some consider my work “alternative,” and although in the past I have generated controversy (since my therapy does not conform to the drug company model), I have been funded by very mainstream corporations and institutions, including Procter & Gamble, Nestle and the NIH. Congressman Dan Burton, R-Ind., has long been a vocal supporter; and I have met with Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, at his invitation, to discuss this treatment. My research was featured in a lengthy profile published in The New Yorker magazine (Feb. 5, 2001) and more recently in the actress Suzanne Somers’ best-selling book Knockout about innovative new approaches to cancer. My colleague Dr. Linda Isaacs and I recently published the first book in a projected series, The Trophoblast and the Origins of Cancer, which discusses in some detail the scientific support for our treatment approach. You can learn more about my background and therapy at our website: www.dr-gonzalez.com
Dr. Isaacs and I are currently treating hundreds of patients diagnosed with terrible advanced cancer, patients for whom no conventional options exist. Many are successfully battling their disease with our regimen of diet, nutritional supplements and proteolytic enzymes — currently available legally as over-the-counter items. We use only high-quality products, manufactured according to my stringent specifications.
Though I suspect you and your staff created this new bill with the intention of protecting the public, as I read information about the bill, it appears to give the FDA near-dictatorial control over the manufacture and availability of supplements, allow it at its own discretion to remove legitimate nutritional supplements from the marketplace, file arbitrary complaints against legitimate supplements and impose drug-testing standards on each supplement. Testing of a single product to meet FDA standards for marketing of a new drug can cost hundreds of millions of dollars. To my knowledge, no supplement company has the resources to fight or meet such regulatory impositions. As a result, ethical supplement companies would (again, if I read the bill correctly) be forced to shut down.
I have read that you are motivated by recent scandals involving the doping of athletes with illegal steroids, certainly a terrible tragedy, and have been approached by various professional athletic organizations such as Major League Baseball. I believe these organizations are trying to shift blame from their athletes to the supplement industry. Regardless, the FDA already possesses the power to investigate and punish companies marketing and selling steroids improperly. It certainly does not need added control over properly manufactured and properly marketed supplements or food substances — and the companies that provide these products — in order to regulate illicit steroid spiking. It hardly seems reasonable, as could now be possible should your bill pass, to punish and perhaps even eliminate an entire industry because of a few renegade manufacturers.
On the surface, your bill sounds innocent enough, requiring manufacturers to provide the FDA with ingredients, etc. But current Good Manufacturing regulations already require supplement companies to provide proof of ingredients and quality. This proposed bill, whatever your stated goal, appears to play into the FDA’s longstanding animus against the supplement industry at large, which to date — under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) — has had some protection from capricious regulatory harassment. Based on years of study, I believe that the FDA’s antagonism even against ethically manufactured supplements stems from its close working relationship with the drug company giants. Like the FDA, the drug industry has sought for years to have supplements removed from the over-the-counter marketplace and transformed into prescription drugs, which it alone could control and market and for which it could charge enormous prices. You seem to have played right into this effort.
In your press conference, you alluded to expected opposition to your bill from the supplement industry. I suspect such opposition will be small compared with the opposition of the American public at large. In past decades, as the FDA, working with the drug industry, tried to gain complete control over the supplement industry, the American people have repeatedly fought back in vigorous campaigns, expressing their opinions to their elected officials in Washington. But the regulatory agencies in Washington never give up their dream of removing most if not all supplements from the free marketplace and turning them into restricted and expensive drugs, all to the benefit of the pharmaceutical industry and to the ultimate detriment of the public.
Ethically manufactured nutritional supplements, when used appropriately, are extraordinarily safe and provide considerable health benefits. We see this daily in our own practice, even with the most advanced, deadly of diseases. Furthermore, nutrients — again, when manufactured and used appropriately — have in my long experience none of the terrible side effects of prescription items or even over-the-counter drugs. For example, it is estimated that 10,000 Americans die each year from bleeding resulting from intake of aspirin or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, yet the FDA does nothing to ban these products, which bring in untold profits to the drug industry. Nor to my knowledge have you ever held a press conference expressing your outrage over thousands of Americans tragically dying from aspirin use each year.
On a personal note, I will tell you that since your press conference announcing the introduction of your bill, hundreds of my very sick patients have been very distraught, angry that you, of all people, would sponsor legislation that might possibly eliminate their life-sustaining supplements from the marketplace and essentially condemn them to death — all in the name of consumer protection. The mere possibility of such a turn of events has upset them enormously. I will also tell you that as we learn more about this proposed legislation, however you may position it, my patients are already considering mobilizing to support your opponent in every way possible, financially, as volunteers — even perhaps holding a “sit-in” at your offices for the benefit of the press. That is how seriously they are taking this situation. And let me assure you these people are not part of some supplement company conspiracy against safe manufacturing practices: They are Americans with terrible diseases, many of them veterans, who do not want interference with their treatment choice. I can understand their dismay. Perhaps I am wrong in my interpretation, but if this bill were ever to pass, the repercussions do seem potentially disastrous, in ways far beyond your assurance that this issue is a “no-brainer.”
I would be happy to talk to anyone on your staff about the unintended consequences apparent in this bill. As I read the information, it appears that ultimately it protects nobody except the drug industry and provides professional athletes with a convenient scapegoat. It certainly would not protect the American public that has repeatedly shown over the decades that it wants free access to nutritional supplements without FDA interference. Certainly, it will not protect my patients, who, frankly, did not need to hear of this bill, the thought of which has added enormous stress to their daily lives as they fight their life-and-death battles.
Nicholas J. Gonzalez, M.D.
GOP Doctor Instructs John McCain and Explains What the McCain Bill Means for his Patients
[In a letter posted in the Health Sentinel on February 8, 2010, Nicholas J. Gonzalez, M.D., wrote to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., co-sponsor of the Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010. The following is an abridged form of Gonzalez’ letter.]
96 thoughts on “GOP Doctor Instructs John McCain and Explains What the McCain Bill Means for his Patients”
Thank God for Dr’s like Nicholas J Gonzalez. I had a viral cardiomyopathy 6 years ago which I treated with Co Q 10 and L-Carnitine.I could not take the conventional meds because of the side effects. It was resolved in 3 months. Also my bone density is 10% better since I’ve been on Vitamin D3, calcium and bio-identical hormones.This could not have been possible without access to these supplements.
In a free country such as ours shouldn’t we be able to choose how we would like to take care of ourselves?
I am appaled by what Sen. McCain is proposing.
I am convinced that recent proposed health care legislation in Congress was drug company sponsored. I now must suspect that Sen. McCain has also been purchased by the drug companies.
The Congressional health care debate has been a misnomer – it is not about health – it is about prescription drug distribution and who pays the tab
When will America wake up?.
Were it not for my autistic son’s supplement regimen, he would not be able to sit in his third grade classroom and learn multiplication facts and the life cycle of plants and animals. Very obviously, Senator McCain feels that my son’s condition would be better treated by the government than by his doctors!
Dear Senator McCain,
I too am extremely upset by your introduction of this bill. My good health requires unfettered availability of nutritional supplements that my board certified Medical Doctor recommends. Some of my health problems were caused by long term pharmaceutical use and can only be treated with high powered nutrition. I the early 90’s I had toxic chemical overload and conventional medicine had nothing to offer. It was through large doses of nutrients that my body was able to detoxify before I succumbed to the toxins. Without ready availability of quality nutritional supplements I would not be here to write this letter today. Rescind this foolishness!!!
Charles B Dorsey, Baltimore
Dear Dr. Gonzalez,
You are a true champion of those of us who have maintained good health through the use of supplements. I have suggested to Sen. McCain that he could use some of them to clear his head. I presume his wife has investments in the pharmaceutical industry, thereby giveing further incentive to his effort.
Thank you, thank you for publishing this letter to McCain.
I also sent him an email off his website blasting him royally!!
Way to go Doc, I have a new hero. I am alive today because of alternative cancer therapy. One of which included pancreatic enzymes. ( Dr. Kelley)
Coming up to 6 years from a terminal diagnosis and doing great.
Keep up the good work ! ! ! !
I totally agree with you. It’s time for McCain to retire doing stupid stuff like this. Vote him into retirement.
With all due respect, Dr. Gonzalez, is it possible that a diet with the proper amounts of vegetables, fruits, etc. would be sufficient treatment?
My other question is that does this bill also include naturopathic, ayurvedic, and homeopathic remedies?
I have Herpes simplex (fa9ial) and use Viruxo to treat it. would that also be regulated?
You need to watch “Food Inc” – Real food is only available under your own growing supervision!…..also, from what I understand of a cancer patient friend I have who is on Dr Gonzalez’s diet, the enzymes need to be taken in fairly large amounts to keep the body’s flush supported (since illness slows many of the systems in the body so there it can focus on “fighting” the illness (by the immune system).
This is about all the public – if the supplement companies don’t exist, where do the Naturopathic prescriptions, Ayurvedic, and Homeopathic remedies come from???? Other countries imported by black market????
Get a clue, this is not just about you and your Herpes simplex!!!
Dear Dr, Gonzalez,
I have been reading about you for years and have been very impressed with what I have learned about your treatment methods. You have stated very eloquently what I think of this proposed bill.
I have a friend with a health food store who is working with me to repair the damage done by years of PPI drugs. She is very knowledgeable about supplements and is making major strides in helping me regain my health. If this bill passes, she will no longer be able to help people who have chosen to heal themselves with diet and nutritional supplements rather than tolerate the side effects of pharmaceuticals.
I thank you for your wonderful letter stating what thousands of us are thinking.
Laura S Carr
I was a patient of Dr. Gonzalez’ from 1992 to 1996 for endometrial cancer. I have been cancer free for all the years since thanks to his wonderful program of supplements, diet, and alternative medicine procedures. I also had overcome osteoporosis with nutrition and supplements and stay healthy by still staying on Dr. Gonzalez’ diet and supplements. It would be tragic to so many people to deprive us of our health-giving products that are harmless yet so powerfully effective. I am a Democrat, but it doesn’t matter which Party to one belongs, we ALL need the FDA to keep their hands off our supplements.
Looks like Ron Paul is opposed to it also http://dailypaul.com/node/124647
My wife and I take specific supplements for improved health and do so out of pocket since health insurance does not cover these health aides. These supplements provide protection against illnesses as well as minimize same.
So we have been paying for health insurance coverage while our total health care costs to the insurance company have been well below premiums paid. Remember, our supplements are over and above the premiums.
So we as well as millions of others are being “self reliant” in taking charge of our health and paying for quality supplements. This is a solution to rampant health care cost growth. Can Senator McCain arrange for health insurance rebates for the self reliant citizens?
Introduce this topic in the February 25th Health care brawl. It just might bring some logic to the fiasco.
Senator McCain, the proposed legislation is misguided and will be another license to steal for big Pharma. Do you want that on your record?
Joseph C Bucara
Your are right on with your assesment of McCains bill. One other aspect of this bill is like most in congress; give more powere to big money (pharmeticials in this case) at the sacrifice of the individual. Why can’t big companies make a profit the old fashion way; provide a good product at a reasnoable price. Does their success (or greed) depend on their having a franchise to screw someone?
Dr.Gonzalez very compellingly underlies the potential threat to the life saving treatments of some cancer patients whose lives are at stake. The rest of the population will potentially face additional hardships in getting the nutrients their bodies need. While the immediate consequences are not as starkly imminent in their lives, over the long term the total damage can be far greater. But since it will be spread out over more time, it will be noticed much less.
Thiis bill must be stopped.
Hooray for Dr. Gonzalez!
Beautifully written DR. Gonzalez! I read about you in Knockout recently. Keep up the good work.
I, too, am a cancer survivor who depends on supplements to maintain my health. I will fight this bill with every effort I can.
I, too, am a cancer survivor who depends on supplements to maintain my health. I will fight this bill with every effort I can.
I have followed Dr. Gonzalez’s research and writings and hope that John McCain will be affected by his letter. We all need to stand up for the freedom to choose our form of healthcare. I believe that supplements and clean whole foods are imperative in prevention and treatment of disease. Much of today’s illness stems from lack of nutrients, not lack of drugs.
Carol Klingsmith, R.N.
Hi Dr Gonzalez,
you wrote a fantastic letter to John McCain exactly to the point, we all hope that such a bill
would be rejected right away because otherwise will kill innocent people reling on proper
nutrition essential for good health.
Thanks again for what you do for terminally ill patients, I’m on your corner 100%
I cured myself of cancer 23 years ago using natural supplements, no thanks to the pharmaceutical companies.
Thank you, Dr. Nicholas J. Gonzalez, for not only speaking out on behalf of your patients, but also for all Americans who use and rely on nutritional supplements. I couldn’t have said it any better.
Dear Sn. McCain,
We fought to have freedom to eat food supplements without the gov’t. boots on our necks.
We sincerely believe you have received poor advice or $$$$ from Big Pharma, who lose when folks stay healthy.
Please take back this ill-advised bill.
You will get more votes if you do.
thank you for having the conviction to write mccain this letter. i pray it does some good. i was a mccain supporter but no more, also i have several family members in az. that will no longer support him either, because of this bill.
This was an absolute wonderful letter & I commend you, Dr. Gonzalez, for writing it. You said everything exactly as it is, FDA & Pharma are in bed together & FDA needs to be eliminated.
Thank you so much for this expression
Dr. Gonzalez: Your letter to Senator McCain was absolutely brilliant.
I hope that he gets the message and does not side with the big companies
who care only about stuffing their own wallets at the expense of the public interest.
Thanks a million for speaking out so eloquently on our behalf.
Very truly yours,
I agree with you, Dennis. Without the right to choose the alternative Doctor and supplements that I and my Naturopathic Dr. advised, I would not be writing this Reply today. I want that right to remain and not have it controlled by the Drug Co.’s. Thanks, Dr. Gonzalez for speaking up!
Carole Muller – [email protected]
What does athlete use of steroids(drugs) have to do with using ordinary food supplements? Personal liberty and responsibility , and not a safety, are at issue here. A government agency is making law? How did this come about?.
Has everyone forgotten that it is the duty of government to secure the rights of the people? Government is instituted to serve us and not the other way around. When government tells us that it knows best, it already is ignoring our sacred rights.
Who is this new McCain, and what has he done with the Senator from Arizona?
Dr. Gonzalez, that is a great letter. I read Suzanne Somer’s book and I was very impressed with you and your work in curing cancer without the usual “cut, burn or poison” treatments. It is amazing how the human body can repair or heal itself with proper nutrition and supplements.
It is a sad situation when a government agency that is supposed to be protecting people against harmful drugs has instead become a patsy for big pharmaceutical companies. In truth, it is the Faulty Drug Administration, beholden to Merck, Astra-Zeneca, Lilly, etc. and looking out for their interests in lieu of protecting John and Jane Doe from harmful drugs.
The irony is that many of the supplements have been used and tested for hundreds of years or more, instead of the “fast track” testing that makes users paying “guinea pigs” for the pharmaceutical companies. They are using the steroid scandals as a scapegoat to stop the supplements so big pharma can take over the supplement market and create more huge profits.
We who use supplements have done the research and know what we are doing. We are in control of our health and well-being and now our job is to fight the Faulty Drug Administration to keep that right. Best wishes to you….
This is ‘right on’. Yes there are some abuses in the supplement world but they pale in the light of Big Pharma’s insensitivity and dishonesty. And at least 50 % of the FDA’S bottom line is funded by Big Pharma. Their interest in American health is greatly conflicted and it would be criminal to give them control of the supplement world. Senator McCain should do his homework on this one. I would vote for him again but would have to think twice if he supported this potentially disastrous bill. AGR
Mr. McCain’s proposal has upset me as well. And a lot of other people I know who rely on supplements to help their many ailments. I myself have been fighting with spinal stenosis for the past 20 years. I cannot/donot use prescription pain medications. Most of them make me ill and the side effects are scary.
I have a few supplements that do help relieve the pain in my back and joints. If I were to lose access to those supplements I would be worse off than I am now. So far, I manage to keep out of a wheelchair, but I still can’t walk very far without a lot of pain. If it weren’t for the supplements that I have access to I would be much worse off than I am now.
II am on social security and do not have extra money to spend on the kind of treatment the drug companies would try to push me into. Nor do I want their kind of treatment. Our society is drugged up enough already. Even Medicare has eliminated some of the treatments that would help me.
In view of the hue and cry about bringing down medical costs I cannot not imagine the thinking (or maybe I can as it brings in more dollars to the medical industry) that prevents methods of treatment that would bring better relief and healing at less cost. I have just looked into some new treatment with laser technology that could bring me some real relief from my pain and disability for thousands less than the surgery the medical establishment would put me through (with no guarantee that it will even work). Surgery would be in the tens of thousands of dollars whereas the laser treatment will only cost approx. $2000 dollars. However, Medicare will not cover it.
I could say a lot more on the subject, but you probably get the idea. Why would they rather spend $30,000 when two or three thousand would bring better relief with much less pain and bring down medical costs. I can guess; IT IS THE BOTTOMLINE. They (the medical establishment and drug companies) are not interested in healing, they are interesting in making money.
An excellent letter that gets to the heart of the problem. Let us hope that Senator McCain will read it and heed its meaning and the consequences of continuing in his mistaken course.
If supplements are restricted I am another casulity of the bill. I have been depending on supplements for many years, mostly nutrients and a few herbs. It may be my death sentence.
Gary B. Cernak
222 Park St.
RIGHT ON DR. GONZALEZ; THIS LEGISLATION WILL BE DISASTEROUS FOR THE HEALTH OF THE NATION. THE INCESTUOUS RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE FDA AND THE PHARMACEAUTICAL CARTEL HAS RESULTED IN INCOMPETANCE, DECEPTION, FAILURE, ABUSE, SUPPRESSION OF VIABABLE AND COST EFFECTIVE ALTERNATIVES TO PHARMACEUTICALS AND OUTRIGHT THUGGERY. SENATOR MCCAIN EITHER IS OBLIVIOUS TO THE CONSEQUENCES OF HIS PROPOSED LEGISLATION OR HAS BEEN PAID HANDSOMELY FOR HIS SPONSORSHIP OF IT. EITHER WAY THE RESULTS WILL BE THE SAME. TO GIVE THE FDA ADDITIONAL POWER IS ABSOLUTELY THE WRONG WAY TO GO. THE FDA NEEDS TO BE DISMANTLED AND REORGANIZED WITH STRICT OVERSIGHT OR ELIMINATED ALTOGETHER. EVERYONE SHOULD GET A COPY OF “FDA: FAILURE, DECEPTION, ABUSE BY THE LIFE EXTENSION FOUNDATION. IF THIS LEGISLATION PASSES THE CONSEQUENCES WILL BE HORRENDOUS AND JOHN MCCAIN WILL BE THE RESPONSIBLE PARTY FOR IT.
I wholly concur with Dr. Gonzalez. The Food and Drug Association has long shown its true face of protecting its financial interests without real regard for the safety of the public. This bill is a sham that would only further the power of the Drug Lobby and not help or provide safety for the public. I, along with millions of the voting public, am appalled at this consideration.
i needed the choice to try alternative supplements before having to undergo chemo for the aggressive cll stage 3 case that i am involved in.
still, with consulting with doc. i do supplements that complement chemo….
i do believe that if i knew about having cll earlier….. the right supplements would have played a stronger role.
i would feel that my right of choice would be violated if this bill is allowed……
in just a few hours…i’ll undergo another chemo treatment…..and if there was an alternative, it would have to be so much gentler than the harshness of this that i would wish on no one…
Thank you Dr. Gonzalez for publically publishing your letter to Sen. McCain. Perhaps we will hear publically from other practioners. Maybe Gerry Gordon MD an Arizona resident.
I have felt our government leaders are totally out of touch with the public but I am now more convinced that they are arrogant and self serving parasites living off the backs of the working middle class.
I fully support Dr. Gonzalez statement as reasonable, logical, and irrefutable.
Congratulations to you Dr. Gonzalez!!! If this doesn’t change Senator McCain’s mind, nothing will!
Thank you, Dr. Gonzalez. The FDA does not now do an adequate job of “policing” Big Pharma. Why would anyone give them an additional job to do? Of course, it is easier for FDA to oppose the Supplement Industry than Big Pharma. The big bucks are with Big Pharma. I hope more doctors join you in opposing this new attack on natural supplements and vitamins. Did you notice that FDA has for years opposed use of Stevia – UNTIL Coca Cola decided to use it in their beverages and, miraculously, it became acceptable! Amazing what money can do. Again, thank you.
It would be tragic if the FDA puts gets any Legislation against supplements.
We must keep them out of our personal choices.
What is wrong with McCain??
Thank you for your heart felt letter
Who is regulating tobacco and alcohol to keep it away from people misusing it. They are both drugs to the body. There are some labels with warnings and they consider that to be sufficient. Who is going to profit from this FDA interference?
Thank you for being a voice in this matter. I certainly do not want to be regulated with my supplelments. I”m a 72 years of age female and look at least 10 years younger, which my medical biological age also shows, inc. blood pressure 100/70 and extra high HDL [i’ve had no cosmetic surgery or treatments][would probably be more difference if I dyed my hair.] I have no doubt that my health has been greatly enhanced by my alternative methods of care.
No one could have said it better. I voted for John McCain but now I am telling him ‘get out my face and off of my back’ I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself. I do not need the government to take on that role.
The FDA has already caused huge problems for thyroid patients, by ordering two of the natural dessicated thyroid hormone producers to stop production since natural thyroid has not been “approved”. Little do they care that natural thyroid was the standard protocol long before the FDA even existed. Big Pharma, no doubt, is behind this as they try to push their synthetic T4 (which for many patients is useless!). Obviously paying off someone for these favors. I resort to getting my natural hormone from Thailand now….
I think the natural/alternative health industry needs to organize a march on Washington to get our message across. I’m ready to go!
Thank you for writing to John McCain voicing your,(and thousands of our) concerns over this bill.
I’m a Hep C survivor. Contracted the disease 25 yrs ago, but down here in Florida conventional medicine reigns and have had to rely on diet, cleanses and SUPPLEMENTS to keep myself
functioning and able to be the single parent I am.
Again Thank You for your voice, and feel free to add mine.
I am an ovarian cancer survivor and rely on supplements to sustain my present excellent health, including bioidentical hormones which would also be affected by this bill. We Americans cannot eat enough food to give us the nutrition today that we need (please see the article in Mother Jones magazine about how much of our food is nutritionally deficient compared to 50 years ago).
Senator McCain has been hoodwinked that with this bill he will be helping the American people. On the contrary, if this bill passes, the harm that will come from it will be astronomical. I work in a pharmacy in NW Indiana that has an emphasis on nutritional health using quality supplements, and I know that supplements work by how they have helped our customers, myself, my family, and my friends.
Senator McCain, drop the sponsorship of this bill. If you don’t, the consequences to us all and to your political career will not be pretty. Do you realize how many Americans use supplements? I dare you to check it out.
Dear Dr. Gonzales and Supporters,
You are a pioneer! Thank you for writing Sen. McCain and letting him know some of your truth about nutrients which is the truth of many Americans.
Big Pharma and the FDA are in cahoots with Big Agriculture, Big Chemicals, Big Gov’t ETC. The agenda is to do to us what has been done to Europe with the loss of sovereignty of the countries of the EU. They no longer have access to vitamins and nutrients except through their doctors and at dosages that would not support a flea and prices that support princes. (Thanks to the Codex Alimentarius).
What could possibly be behind all this? Let me suggest that these entities do not want people to be well (more jobs for the medicos) do not want the sick or elderly to hang around too long (draining the coffers of Social Security and other insurances that they paid into for years) and the biggest motivation of all is – you guessed it – the MONEY! Everyone in Big Bizz wins!
Keep writing, marching, griping and voting those out of office who will not listen to their constituents. We definitely need another revolution – in mind, body and spirit. This has to stop! It has to stop with you and me. The ruling elite ought not to have their way with us and make us pay the bill, to boot.
Here is the podcast link to my interview of Dr. Nick Gonzalez from February 14, 2010 regarding the McCain Dietary Supplement Safety Act:
Wow! The public is up in arms over this one, as well we should be!
I, too have fought to be healthy…and my weapon of choice, is NATURAL, WHOLESOME FOODS (ie herbs) vitamins–yes, supplements!
They have stood the test of time, and been “field-tested” for 6,000 years since God gifted us with them Genesis 1:29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.”
So, I trust God more than chemists. Now, I am not against medicine–I try it AFTER the supplements when issues are serious.
I am now 70 years old and never had to rely on prescription drugs–I look and feel GREAT, most of the time.
McCain’s bill would wipe out even the minimal protections contained in DSHEA. It would give the FDA full discretion and power to compile a discreet list of supplements allowed to remain on the market while banning all others.
Everyone knows that the FDA is friendly to drug companies (which pay its bills and provide good revolving door jobs) and hostile to supplement companies. Under this bill, this same Agency could quite arbitrarily ban any supplement it wished or turn it over to drug companies to be developed as a drug and sold for multiples of its price as a supplement. Take for example fish oil. Drug companies brought out “their” fish oil prescription for over $200! When excellent quality pure fish oil supplements were 10X less expensive!
The FDA will love a move like McCain proposes, because it believes that it can more easily control a few industry giants.
The FDA is already misusing the adverse event reporting process that exists. Drugs rack up thousands of adverse event reports without any action. Just recently, the FDA yanked from the market a supplement product based on just a couple of alleged adverse event reports without even allowing the company (an old and respected firm) to provide any counter-evidence or counter-argument.
How about this quote “DRUG-RELATED morbidity and mortality have been estimated to cost more than $136 billion a year in the United States. These estimates are higher than the total cost of cardiovascular care or diabetes care in the United States. A major component of these costs is adverse drug reactions (ADEs). In additon, ADEs may account for up to 140,000 deaths annualy in the Untied States.” (JAMA 1997,277(4);301
It would be even HIGHER now…this is crazy. Leave things as they are!
Great letter. I am totally against this bill. I am allergic to many, many medications and 5 years ago I was diagnosed with Atrial Fib and certain supplements have helped me stay out of afib for months at a time. I was also diagnosed with H.pylori last year, I was very sick losing from 123 lbs to 105 lbs. I could not take the strong antibiotics prescribed so found a supplement and in two months the H.pylori was killed by the supplement and verified by medical professionals. Please keep fighting to stop this bill please, my life probably depends on it.
I am a user of Natural supplements for general health and my osteoporosis.
I am infuriated with McCain’s Bill and am so happy that he is not the President of the United States!
We have to stand up against this bill. Big Pharma must be stopped at all costs, they claim to help people but all they do is dispense poisonous chemicals and call it medicine.
Natual supplements to me are the modern day (tea) and if this bill passes, I am sure that the people will rise up and defend their rights to natural-unadulterated suplements and foods!
i started in 1967 with dr. fraulo and vit c 3000 mg’s and vit . b-3 that’s also called niacin which protects the heart that’s finally being admited by the truth & not trying to conceal it !!!!! then he sent me to the brain bio center in princeton n.j. for test’s ! Dr. fraulo then added vitamin e &B-6 & zinc One friend who i saw 2 year’s ago from high school in 1955 said my face was so smooth !!!!!!!! she had not seen me for around 50 years !!!!!!!!! I told her vitamins minarals right types of organic foods &alternative docters who study how nutriton etc. save lives !!!!!!!!!! Drug companys spend million’s of dollar’s to block this along with the F.D.A. a death sentence
Per the New England Journal of Medicine, John McCain received $142 million from pharmaceutical companies during his presidential campaign. Does he really think we’re so stupid to not see the connection.
Any liberal who masquerades as a conservative deserves no public office. Vote him OUT!
good letter 142 million .! that’s all ? wellhe didn’t make president ‘ thank the lord !!!!!!!! that would be a death sentance for me!!!!!!!!!!!! DODGE
Myself and my daughter have been patients of Dr. Leo Galland for over 2 decades. Our lives changed with his expert care using supplements, diet, and enzymes. We had serious problems that no longer exist. Without supplements, past and present, we might not be here. I am classifying John McCain with Henry Waxman because of their pimping for Big Pharma. It’s time to vote these puppets out of office. When it becomes a health issue, show no mercy. First our wallets, now our health. Is there no end to the lunacy in Washington! And these people are supposedly highly educated! We need some common sense and some people with open minds that READ.
great to hear that !me also ! if macainiak took vitamins etc. he would change from looking just like a drunk derilick into a descent human being !
Great letter. I’m also a prostte cancer survivor for ten years. I rely heavily on nutrition, supplementation, excercise and keeping my spiritual side in good shape. Besides over the counter supplements, I also take bioidentical Armous Thyroid, by prescription. However, for the past two years, the FDA has bee interfering with Forester, the manufacturer, where it’s now almost impossible to find this natural medication. Both my wife and I take it. This is an outrage, since there’s been no incidents with this medication, in use now for decades. However, the drug companies are pressuring the FDA so they can capture 100% of this market with their synthetic hormones, which have been shown to be practically ineffective!
I could not agree with you more. I also rely heavily on good nutrition, supplementation and exercise. I consider supplementation God- givens and essential to good health.
I am writing you re Armour Thyroid. You may be interested to know I used to take it; however, apparently am doing ok without it. I am using Iosol Iodine from Wellness Resources (1-800-717-WELL(9355) and also Metabolic Advantage (Thyroid Formula) from Enzymatic Thereapy, INc, 1-800-783-2286. Perhaps you will be happily surprised at the results of taking these naturals.
God bless you. Sincerely, Joyce Davis, RN
I also was using Armour thyroid (90 mg), and panicked when it was no longer available. After doing a lot of computer searching, I found two sources of natural thyroid and now I feel better than I did on the Armour. You can get Erfa thyroid (30 mg) and Thyroid Pro from the UK without a prescription at http://www.antiaging-systems.com/a2z/thyroid.htm. The 3rd product I take is Hypo Support Formula by RLC Labs: http://www.thyroidscience.us/products/hsf/intro.hsf.htm. I take 1 Erfa thyroid, 2 Thyroid Pro, and 2 Hypo Support Formula every morning before breakfast.
My thyroid is basically dead after too many years of taking Synthroid. I switched to Armour only in the past 4 years.
thank you that’s good your feeling much better
After my husband suffered from acute mercury poisoning from having his teeth (with “silver” fillings containing over 50% mercury) removed prior to getting dentures, he came very close to dying. The oral surgeon knew nothing about how to protect him from the mercury that was let loose getting those teeth out. Over a period of 9 months with many trips to the hospital and doctor’s offices and even a nursing home, he was sent home to die as they had no idea about mercury poisoning since it was never even mentioned in Med school. One Doctor admitted to me that since they had no diagnosis, they had no treatment and to seek alternative methods. We found an alternative doctor who treated him with supplements and hyperbaric oxygen. That was the beginning of his recovery and of course none of that was covered by insurance so we were left in debt. But, thank God my husband is now healthy again.
thank god . but see how loog it took the so-calledcaring dr.to tell you? that’s criminal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I agree with both Shaun and Kirt. My life has been saved by nutritional supplements after going downhill for 3 years after suffering a trauma-induced stroke in 1998 and following western medicine and Big Pharma treatment. I will donate to and work for McCain’s defeat by JD Hayworth, a true conservative. Listen to Dr. Gonzalez and the many thousands of MDs and other health care professionals who are light years ahead of Big Pharma and their poisonous drugs. Sounds like McCain is another one bought and paid for by Big Pharma.
John ‘the obvious shill’ McCain. I don’t know why, but in spite of all the devastating realities the US is faced with at this moment in time, this proposed bill sent me over the top. I guess that “the Cabal” that runs these puppets thinks we are so worried about our future and very survival, that it’d be a perfect time to slip this through. It literally makes me sick. Talk about enemy combatants and terrorism!!! Voting him/them out isn’t enough! How about secret rendition and torture in a black site prison? Something McCain readily agreed with when he voted for the John Warner Defense Authorization Act. What audacity he has calling the bill a ‘no brainer’. McCain is the no brainer!!! It’s possible that the Cabal KNOWS we may vote them all out and needs to get their minions moving as quickly as possible on their agenda before November. Health care, cap and trade, and now this. All instruments of MORE THEFT!
BJ in PA, well said! Our country can never have meaningful reform of any bent or fair and balanced representative government until we overhaul the campaign finance laws and amend the US constitution to put rightful power back into the hands of the high information voters. We are governed by the big money special interests through their prostitute flunkies in both parties facilitated by propaganda to create a psychology of fear and hatred which they use to divide us.
Wonderful letter! We need more physicians like Dr. Gonzales! I am also extremely upset by this bill and plan to do whatever it takes to fight this nonsense. With three Celiac Sprue patients in our family, one of them who survived for 20 following a liver transplant, I KNOW that we owe our health in large part to good nutrition and supplementation. Please continue to keep us updated and let us know where best our efforts should be made. McCain has lost my respect and support for good.
Brilliant letter by Dr. Gonzales. I am beyond Incensed by McCain’s attempt to deprive uis of our supplenents. My life was saved by some brilliant “outside the Box” Doctors and Health care practitioners who recognized what was wrong with me and helped me heal after traditional medicine could not diagnose me and then only wanted to poison me. I would be dead if I had no access to nurtional supplements that are safe, side effect free and inexpensive.
If it takes a March on Washington, let’s go!!
Hooray for Dr. Gonzales! We need more doctors like him. We need more voices like his to stand up for our rights. This is a horrible, frightening bill, that I personally pray will never pass. It would be a nightmare for me, and many other people that I know who depend on supplements for many health issues. My life, and that of my husbands, changed a great deal after we introduced supplements into our daily routine. We would become very sick again if we were to loose that freedom of choice. I am praying that John McCain will not allow himself to be blinded by the deceptions handed out by the pharmceutical companies, and the FDA. I feel very disappointed, and worried about the fact that he has fallen for this. Who can we count on?
Thank you Dr Gonzalez for writing this letter to Sen. McCain. I am a 70 yr. old cancer patient and this
is my 2nd go round with cancer and this time I am doing the natural cure method-diet, supplements,etc. I am furious at Sen. McCain for even thinking about trying to do this. He is obviously ignorant of the facts when it comes to the VAST, growing market of supplements, vitamins, herbs, etc. OR MAYBE HE IS NOT!!! Maybe he is in bed with FDA, AMA, AND BIG PHARMACEUTICAL COS. I certainly hope not and I don’t have proof, but as I said he is either ignorant, or???????? I am going to notify his opponent, J.D. Hayworth of the pending bill. He should be able to make some good political hay with this information. DO YOUR HOMEWORK, MCCAIN–YOU ARE BETTER THAN THIS!!!!??? WE SHALL SEE.
This is outrageous and the challenge keeps coming up. I don’t think I’d be here if I hadn’t used supplements and alternative treatments for the last 30 years. I have, in most cases, stayed away from the drug/cut/burn doctors and have usually had unpleasant experiences when I haven’t steered clear of them. It’s a shame that more people do not know the value of supplements and natural health and instead rely on doctors and drugs who, they think, are the cause of people living longer lives.
The FDA and AMA have far too much power.
As an 81 year old Canadian, I can fully understand your problems with McCain. Yes he is in the pockets of big Pharma, all you need to do is look who supported him with 100’s of millions in his thank God unsuccessful bid for the oval office. Don”t these people understand what this fight is all about ? The FDA (puppets of big pharma) has been trying so far unsuccessful to do away with nutritional supplements, vitamins and minerals. How many billions of dollars could be saved – and God knows you need to save billions to try and trim deficits – if you were to promote supplements properly and do away with the drugs that have been proven to kill more people than they save.
Personally I am fortunate not to take any pharmaceutical prescriptions, I am healthy and looking forward to many more healthy years. But if McCain is successful with his bill DSSA, only God knows what will happen when supplement manufacturers will be forced to close. And how about those Major League Sports teams ? What gives them the right to meddle with something that is not their business at all. Let’s boykott the bunch of them. Make sure they know. Keep up your good work in keeping us informed, making it possible to stop the nonsense. Thank You !
Please let the honest and practical natural doctors get us out of our deadly political drug culture and create the new health care solutions that could heal all citizens with far less cost, side effect, and FDA, big Pharma & political incest!
Come on John.. be what you say.. or else!
How would he feel if we got Botox banned? Or implants? How’s that wife looking now? I thought Republicans were for less government? Oh, wait that doesn’t count when you get 140 million from drug companies for re-election. Listen, John, we’ll leave your Botox alone and you leave our supplements. Deal? Oh wait, you want more $. Sorry, bud, you unleased a lethal virus on us named Sarah, and you get no $ from me.
I cured severe rheumatoid arthritis (diagnosed when I was a grad student at Stanford by Stanford MD’s) with my own protocol of diet, vitamins and herbs. The doctors yelled at me and said I’d be back begging for drugs on my hands and knees in a year. Nope. My hands unclawed, my hips were no longer screaming in pain, my toes did not throb, and I was back on a bike in a year. They said, “hip replacement” and I said, “Watch me.” Here’s to devil’s claw, yucca, B complex, extra B6, extra pantothenic acid, magnesium, no meat and no coffee. The coffee came back and I rarely take the herbs now, but all else is still the same. This was years ago, Today I would use low dose naltrexone which whips RA in a heartbeat and is non toxic and cheap. I would still do all the others.
I’ve followed Gonzalez’s work for years. It is impressive and if anyone should be listened to, it is he.
Dr Gonzales ~
It is clear that big Pharma is out to gobble up any remaining market share by funding the politicians who agree to do their bidding. These faceless corporations have consistently degraded and destroyed the quality of life for millions of Americans for over forty years. Now they are attempting to remove all choice. The FDA is nothing more than a puppet organization that carries out the will of big Pharma.
John McCain, in a desperate attempt to maintain perceived power, is only the scout…the real enemy is the corporate empire that has been promulgated upon Americans like an aggressive cancer that feeds on money and greed. This must be addressed head on and with courage by all of us who believe in freedom – and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I have read your interview in Knockout. Your work, and that of others like you, is a threat to the status quo, i.e., sick care does not seek to heal, it seeks to maintain high dollar treatments that line the pockets of a few, select individuals and their corporate sponsors.
We must make this a national debate. It cannot wait for the next assault.
This McCain sponsered bill would allow the almighty FDA total power over the suppliments that would be available to keep us healthy. The FDA should be dismanteled and the criminals running the organization should be prosecuted for allowing deadly drugs to be sold at outrageous prices to an unsuspecting American public. Their only mission is to make sure the drug companies remain profitable at the expense of the American people.
Doctors, show the drug reps that show up every day with doughnuts and free samples the door. Do your own research before prescribing medicine.
Politicians should not be allowed to accept money from pharmaceutical companies…PERIOD!
The intelligent American citizens should be allowed to choose what they want to take to keep them healthy and to treat whatever conditions and diseases they may have.
Allow the free market to work and the prices of drugs and suppliments will be drastically reduced.
Thank you, Dr. Gonzalez for speaking out about this travesty. I am an RA sufferer and have chosen to go the “alternative” route. For fourteen years I have lived a normal functional life thanks to natural health care and supplements while seeing other fellow sufferers go under the knife for sometimes multiple joint replacements and succumb to organ failure due to the Rx drugs they were taking. My TV keeps telling me about the “latest and greatest” drugs to make my life heaven but it takes longer to list the side effects and complications (including usually “death” as an option) than to tout the good things the drug does. Take any drug – the warnings are all the same! (My doctor said “take it, it’s safe and will help you – they’re just required to put those warnings on the label but they don’t mean it will hurt you” — huh??? I don’t see that doctor anymore. What this bill does is force me to see that doctor (or no doctor) because it put my alternative guy out of business!)
It is impossible for me to understand how basically good, intelligent men and women can even consider voting Yes on such a bill. I have a basic conservative gene and supported Senator McCain in his presidential election bid as well. His good judgment came into question with the selection of Barbi as a running mate and this bill seals the deal for me in deciding that he has lost maybe not only his mind but his scruples as well. How can one sponsor a bill with the ramifications of this one based on what people have told him about it? If he has actually read it then he couldn’t have made the claims about it that he has. And if he actually has read it and still makes those claims then he deserves to lose not only his Senate seat but everyone’s respect as well as he has lost mine. Should’ve passed the campaign financing reform bill – might have kept him out of Big Pharma’s pocket! But it was my intention not to stray into name calling, etc.
The fight to keep our health choices out of the hands of the FDA, Big Government and Big Pharma cannot and must not ever be abandoned!
I have been using natural supplements for years, and believe me, they DO work. For years I had chronic pain at the base of my thumb, which has completely gone away since I started using glucosamine and chondroitin with MSM. Same for prostate supplements (saw palmetto and other ingredients) and it just works. And no side effects whatsoever. I started taking fish oil and noticed almost immediately my night vision improved dramatically, and that wasn’t even what I took it for. It has no side effects, only benefits.
A few years ago my doctor put me on Lexapro, a SSRI anti-depressant, for a temper problem. It didn’t help all that much, and I eventually weaned myself off of it because of the side effects. Couldn’t sleep at night, leg shaking like a paint mixer every 15 seconds all night, restless leg syndrome, enough is enough. Now I find fjsh oil has much the same effect, but with none of the side effects, only side benefits!
Yes, not only is the FDA is in bed with the drug industry, it is using gangster tactics in their crusade to put a stop to natural supplements. Armed raids are not uncommon against supplement providers, and they recently have threatened to raid cherry growers who make health claims about their products. It even forcied one to sign a consent decree admitting to crimes he didn’t commit and promising not to do it again. It has even gone so far as to kidnap Greg Caton from Ecuador, bribing local officials to arrest him and then flying him to Miami-for what crime? Selling natural anti-cancer remedies that really work, at prices ordinary people can afford. In Ecuador, perfectly legal. You can read all about it here:
No, the FDA doesn’t need more authority to regulate supplements. What it needs is a very pointed and thorough congressional investigation of its tactics and behavior, and to be reined in, hard and fast.
Dr Gonzales, Thank you, thank you and thank you again for your input. I’ m affraid that Mc Cain sponsored bill will only contribute to the all blunder of Obama’s medical bill and on the other hand create more confusion among people like O’ Rally, who is educated but uninformed (but very influential with his TV program). I’ve only hope that intelliget public will let misguided Senator know how wrong he is here and this bill will heart among the others many seniors who depend on natural medication only.
I HAVE A GREAT SOLUTION FOR THESE ARROGANT POLITICIANS WITH JUST TWO WORDS!!! TERM LIMITS!!!!!
Enjoyed reading this post, thanks 😉
Thank you… Thank you …Dr Gonzalez!!!! You’re my Hero !!!!
What a grrrreat! letter! About time an MD stands up for Truth!
I was thrown out of a family practice once with 1 minute of consultation because I dared talk about having a copy of dark-field microscopy on my daughter’s blood that showed a pre-diabetic condition. She yelled and screamed at me at how “crazy” I was to have a video of blood and that “who ever heard of that!” Meanwhile it is done in the hospitals all the time, as well as research biologists using it. As a matter of fact 10 years! prior to that my mother’s diabetes was discovered using a similar procedure by a Harvard graduate MD turned alternative – we had her diabetes reversed in 3 months with supplements! And guess what?…… 3 years later my daughter was diagnosed with diabetes type II. I want to rub the video in her face, I’m so mad. Instead, I’m sending her Dr Gonzalez’s letter – that would be a more powerful rub!
Two other times MD’s refused to treat me because I treat my fibromyalgia with supplements – they didn’t care that I suffered 10 years trying to find relief with MD’s, years that found me bedridden for 6 weeks at a time, swollen by 5 sizes and symptoms filling an entire page, after which I found help with natural medicine. She simply refused to order lab work or “treat” me if I used supplements. But the only way to get my blood and hormones tested is through an MD. And they call this healthcare!
What is it that Medicine and government don’t understand about this?:
There is simply 2 substances provided naturally by this Earth that without… our bodies putrefy.
Substances from which their inherent essences nurture the multiplication of one cell into trillion of cells with the unmanned intelligence to form feet, legs, arms, fingers, nose, eyes, mouth, brain, nerves, AND have these in precise locations, having precise and complex functions – all without our conscious direction. If these cells create themselves in such orderly fashion and unmatched intelligence with the necessary, required, nurturing aid of these essences… then why cannot they repair themselves the same way?!
These substances are nothing but:
Water and Vegetation.
Any wonder why so much disease, then?
THAT is the real no-brainer!!!!!
But who’s got the brains for that? ….Certainly and obviously NOT our government.
And WHO has asked MY permission to adulterate MY life sustenance provided by Earth as my BIRTHRIGHT??
NO to GMOs… NO to FDA…. NO to CDC…. NO to commercialism… No supplement restriction…
DON’T touch MY FOOD! PERIOD!
As a former patient of Dr. Gonzalez 17 years ago, with hit protocol I have been cancer free. I have been a long time proponent of dietary supplements, and Have written Obama, my two senators, and my representative. to include dietary supplements as part of Medicare. Which would probably save billions of dollars and increase health benefits. The FDA is the most corrupt federal agency, and has conspired with the drug and biotech industries to do more harm to the health of americans in the guise of protecting the public. Thank you Dr. Gonzalez
stop M A C A I N I A C K what does he care about people ?????????????? N O T H I N G !!!!!
i am replying my own message thank god he didnt make president hittler !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You have to look at “unintended outcomes” to appreciate the magnitude of the “Health Care Bill”. Big Pharma wants a new funding source (since a lot of us opt out of part D, etc.) and they got it. Now the allopaths can perscribe things only a fool would take to a whole new supply of fools. This really is genocide. The “Big Ag/Big Pharma problem” isnt new. Its been going on since the 1930’s.
right . f.d.a. want’s to stop nutrient’s so we can take expensive medicine to sometime’s kill & the F > D > A know’s it for year’s till they get caught .did any one see food ink about how meet &food is processed? I love all of the letter’s . keep protesting .. 142 million for macainiac from BIG PHARMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
thanks for the great article, this really nice blog
Thank you Dr Gonzalez.
You’ve obviously spent some time on this. Well done!
thank you dr. gonzalas & dr. fraulo &dr. braverman &dr pressman &dr.swartz ann vitamin’s & mineral’s &amino acids and organic food’s GOD BLESS
just want to mention about ‘” PROLO-THEARPY” it’s injection’s of vitamin’s & or mineral’s for inflamation & arthritice !!! also plaitlet rich plasma thearpy!!!!!!!!!!! NOT SURE OF EXACT NAME —— They take a little blood & centrifuge it with nutrient’s & put it back in body & it helps circulation & helps reduce pain & connect joints etc.
Man you are a god. Awesome article
I have smoked for 39 years and I have to say that I’ll never quit. I know its really terrible for my lungs, but I have come this far and done all the harm that I can already do. I wished I would of had good info like on this site when I started smoking and maybe I would not have ever started in the first place.