Sunday, 21 November 2010

Seeing wood in the trees.

The whole 'smoking causes this, that and the other thing' mantra is not there to protect the health of you antismokers. It's to persuade you that smokers are modern day Pandoras, and every time we light up we release terrible demons that aim straight for you. It's not true, unfortunately.

Smoking does not, and cannot possibly, cause meningitis or ear infection. It is not possible to get any bacterial or viral infection from anything that's burning, not even tobacco. Absolutely and incontrovertibly not possible. No living thing survives burning because flames consume proteins and fats and DNA. The smoke and ash is sterile. You cannot, not even by the wildest stretch of the imagination, catch any communicable disease from something that has been burned. Trust me on this. My B.Sc. in microbiology is hanging on the wall here, dated 1981, and I have worked in that field since then (apart from nearly a year when I buggered up my life financially). I'm now a self-employed rogue scientist still working in that field. No government funding here. The market keeps me alive because I know what I'm talking about and because I don't have to toe anyone's line. Trust me on this. You cannot catch any of these microbial infections from something that has been burned. Not even ringworm.

We've been told for years that smoking causes lung cancer, whereas trumpet playing doesn't. However, does it really? I know many smokers and the only one who ever came down with lung cancer had given up decades earlier. He survived and is still alive at over 80, despite his fondness for barley wine and the fact that when his son asked him where he kept his angina medicine, he said 'Down the bog'. I have never known a current smoker with lung cancer.

Cancers are often missed by doctors. Look at the Daily Mail, they usually have some story about 'doctors didn't spot my cancer in time' but the reason for that is never made public. Cancers are rare. Many GPs can go their whole careers without seeing a lung cancer case. So when one appears, the fact that they don't instantly recognise it is not because they are stupid, it's because they've never seen one before.

Why would the antismokers care? If it hammers smokers, it's fine with them, right? Well antismokers, you might be interested to learn that the 'smoking causes everything' line will kill you and your children. Why? Because for one thing, if you don't smoke, you can't possibly have lung cancer. Must be just a chest infection. You'll get course after course of antibiotics while your lungs turn lumpy and nobody will even think to look. A smoker, on the other hand, with any kind of chest complaint will go straight into the scanning machines. Caught early, fixed and home in time for port and a cigar. Fair? No it isn't, but you did it, not us.

When you really look at the data, it just doesn't fit the conclusions. Frank Davis has one such report. There's another one on Stand FAST.

The article, by Jill Mahoney, claims that: “So few parents now smoke that there were no statistically significant differences in asthma rates between kids in smoking and non-smoking households between 2006-07 and 2008-09,” before going on to quote from the StatCan article: "This suggests that . . . adult smoking rates have become low enough that parental smoking has ceased to be [a] major cause of asthma in young children." That's quite a leap in logic.

So few parents smoke that... That part is irrelevant. The comparison was between asthma rates in children in smoking and non-smoking homes. How many smokers there are has no bearing on the result. Which was that there was no difference in asthma rates between children whose parents smoked and those whose didn't. The real conclusion is that passive smoking does not cause asthma. Something else does, but nobody is looking for it.

The antismokers love these twisted conclusions. It villifies smokers and that's all they want. If the cause of their child's asthma is never found, that doesn't matter to them as long as smokers get the blame.

Look, the study proved that smoking does not cause asthma in those around the smoker. Asthma happens, so something causes it. Who is looking for that cause? Nobody. Not one red cent is going into research to find the real cause, it's all going into anti-smoker propaganda. You'll die, asthmatics, because it's politically more fun to blame us smokers than to try to cure you. Smokers are not killing you. Antismokers are.

Remember seeing tobacco smoke in the pub? Even indoors, it floats around. Small particles. Look at those bus and truck exhausts. Even outdoors, it clings to the ground. Look at the tailpipes. See the black stuff? That's large particulate material and you're breathing it in whenever you are out on the street.

What is that doing to your lungs? Do you know? Do you even care? No, because the one guy with his paper tube of leaves is an easier target than the bus or the articulated lorry that is producing more per centimetre travelled than the smoker produces in a day. Much larger particles too. Children in pushchairs are not at smoker height. They are at bus and truck exhaust height. Ever heard an antismoker even mention this? Of course not.

Your lungs are lined with mucus and ciliated cells. That means they have little hairs that sweep the mucus upwards. It carries small particulates that you've inhaled up to the throat where they are normally swallowed. If you have an infection that makes mucus production intense, such as a cold or flu, you might have to cough some of it out. Heavier particles are harder to shift and therefore more likely to hang around and cause trouble. Didn't you know? Oh, that's right, it's all down to tobacco so you needn't bother using your brain.

Humans have lived with wood fires and coal fires for a very long time. Central heating, smokeless heating, is a very new thing. Very new. We've been inhaling burnt particulates every day since we invented fire. However, the large heavy particles from burning oils are new too.

Tobacco arrived in this country in the 1500's. Lung cancer took off big time in the 1950s. That's over 350 years of lag time. Was it tobacco or was there something else that happened after the war that might have caused the current surge in lung diseases and many other types of disease? Something so profitable that it could be deemed better to shunt the blame elsewhere?

Who is looking? Who cares?

Nobody.

If all smoking stopped tomorrow, none of those diseases would vanish or even be significantly reduced. You'll be told they did, you'll be lied to, but really there will be no detectable difference.

You'll still die at the same rate. You just won't have bothered working out why.

Look hard at the trees and try to see the wood.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I lived and worked in London for 25 years. I worked outside most of the time and never really noticed the vehicle fumes, it was just one of those things.
I've recently moved to a very rural area with constant sea breezes and now when the occasional vehicle passes me it absolutely reeks and hangs in the air for ages. Makes me realise the shite I've been hoovering up for a lifetime.

John said...

The whole smoking debate; I don't know. I don't have all the facts. But I strongly suspect that, while I may have done something some good for my health, I also lost something when smoking went out of my life. But I don't know.
What has smacked me in the eye is the ignoring, indeed, of all those heavy hydrocarbon exhausts from the buses you mention, trucks, cabs. It seems completely obvious that that stuff is so much more anti-life than vegetable smoke like tobacco.
I saw a morning jogger valiantly working to improve his health, battling up a steep hill in rush hour traffic. He didn't seem to notice anything other than his effort and good intentions.

Ed P said...

Apart from diesel particulates, there's the slight matter of nuclear test residues (& Chernobyl of course). The airborne test of the 50s distributed radionucleides over the entire surface of the earth. Various types of cancers increased afterwards, but officially there's no link to the tests. Oh no.
I measured a 15% increase in background radiation in Kent after the Chernobyl cloud came over (and as most of it dropped out on Wales, not Kent, the increase there must have been much greater). I was actually caught in the rain from the cloud and was coated in a light brown dust! (All clothes and skin were double-washed soon afterwards; the over-reaction feelings at the time becoming relief later, when is became obvious that this was no joke.)

Anonymous said...

a pros pos "something else" - funny no-one ever mentions this.

Oh, and then there's the business with cremating dead people, introduced ±1870. Combine that with the fact that mercury fillings were introduced ±1840. Now there's some SHS for you. :p

Boney said...

Cigarettes-may-be-sold-in-plain-brown-packs-so-they-are-less-attractive-to-children:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8149573/Cigarettes-may-be-sold-in-plain-brown-packs-so-they-are-less-attractive-to-children.html#dsq-content

Leg-iron said...

Anon 8:28 - When I lived in Aberdeen I didn't notice the traffic fumes. After I'd moved out of town, every visit back into town was asphyxiating.

Like you, I thought 'Was I breathing that the whole time?'

That little bit of dry leaf is trivial by comparison.

Leg-iron said...

John - I don't pick wild berries if they are alongside busy roads. They haven't had a trace of cigarette smoke wafted at them, they've had tons of soot and combustion products blasted all over them and into the soil they grow in.

I know there is a risk in smoking, but some risks are just off the scale.

Leg-iron said...

Ed P - Frank Davis showed maps of nuclear test fallout, and maps of cancer incidence.

The match was highly impressive.

Leg-iron said...

Anon 12:22 has a map. 2053 nuclear explosions between 1945-1998.

Diesel engines started to replace steam on the railways in the 1930s, and gradually took over.

After the war, the cost of running steam engines coupled with the wartime improvements to internal combustion engines accelerated the change. Increased road traffic meant laying lots and lots of tarmac.

Lung cancer boosted in prevalence in the 1950's.

But it's smoking, you know. Just smoking. All those other things are good for you.

Well, they're good for business...

Leg-iron said...

Boney - Kids buy drugs that are packaged as plant food and in little plastic bags with no branding at all.

They'll get their tobacco the same way. Only this time, the guy they'll be buying from is selling other products too.

If you push people too hard, then seriously hard people get involved.

Once that happens, tobacco will replace cannabis as 'the route to hard drugs' and the Ban Brigade will never admit why it happened.

Anonymous said...

Just love the part that says that a smoker would get all the medical tests done before a non-smoker !!! Non-smokers will be on antibiotics until they suddenly drop down dead choking on blood. Oh dear !!

John said...

I tend to agree with you, Sr Leg-Iron. When I see so much propaganda chucked at something I KNOW they are up to something. Obscuring, redirecting, selling, trying to achieve something other than the stated objective. One can take it as a "given".
I've tried to work out why smoking is so hammered while other things not and it seems there is a freedom aspect in there somewhere. Smoking ties in with independence? Or assertion of the individual?
Something like that.
Yes. There are so many other things such as rise in the infernal combustion engine, nuclear explosions, general ramping up of energy levels. Inorganic chemicals. And who knows what else.
But speak softly or they will pick that up, turn it around, and incorporate it into another agenda to curtail freedom and increase wealth and dominance while they avoid the common herd in private jets. Oh yes, Al already did.

Pogo said...

I know that the anti- lobby don't "do" empiricism, but...

When I was a kid, something over 50 years ago, 80+% of adults smoked and childhood asthma was very rare.

Today, 25-ish% od adults smoke and childhood asthma has increased by some 7(?) times in the last 50 years.

Plot the graphs folks. A increasing in line with B decreasing implies either an inverse relation between the two, or, no fucking link whatsoever!!!

But it's "the smoking" innit...

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