Saturday, 11 December 2010

Crying Wolf.

ForEnt, in the comments to an earlier post, links to the story of the US Surgeon-General who says you can die of a heart attack from one cigarette. One. So, you can die of a heart attack from one sticky bun too? Looks like she's played Danish Roulette a few times herself.

I have no idea how many cigarettes I've smoked in total. There were months when it was less than one a day because I had no money. There were weeks when I had flu and didn't feel like smoking. In the winter I probably smoke more because the main work goes quiet, I'm mostly writing so I'm sat here puffing away. I would guess, on average, a two-ounce pack of baccy lasts five days but there have been many variations away from that in both directions. Some are huge rollups, some are thin two-puffers, that's what I like about them. I can set the size of the cigarette to how much I want. 'One cigarette' has no meaning. Even readymades come in a wide range of strengths and sizes.

The last two days have been snow-shifting, now that it's stopped arriving for a while. It's melting but is due to refreeze by Monday. Last year, the compacted snow partially melted then re-froze into an impassable skating rink. So this year I'm shifting some while it's soft enough to do so. I have a lot of gravel because I live in a swamp and need the drainage in order to grow anything. That's useful because all I need do is break the ice and turn it over so there's gravel on top. Any sunshine heats the gravel enough to speed melting, and broken-up ice has more surface area in contact with the above-zero air. On tarmac/patio, a sprinkling of sand does the same job. Brush it into the lawn in spring. It helps drainage there too.

While I'm doing that I can't smoke. No time, and it's impossible to make a rolly with gloves on. So the last two days have been low-intake days. Saturday won't be. It's a smoky-drinky evening.

Much is made of the 'no safe limit' when it comes to tobacco. Nothing is mentioned of any safe limit applicable to traffic fumes or scented sprays. You can suck in as much as you like, nobody cares. There is a safe limit for all those things and it's impossible to define because it's different for everyone.

The comments under the article serve to illustrate why Chris Snowdon is having a difficult time persuading his opposition at Frank's place. The antismokers are now outnumbered by not only smokers, but nonsmokers who simply cannot believe how stupid some of the claims are. It has reached heights of absurdity that Kafka would have rolled up and binned. It simply cannot be parodied. Monty Python would have driven themselves insane trying.

Smokers and non-smokers are looking at these ridiculous claims and thinking 'Well if this is obvious bollocks... what about the rest of it?' Antismokers lap it up, of course, because they aren't bothering to think. They hate, and they are happy to accept anything that justifies their hate. If it wasn't smokers it would be fat people. Including the Surgeon-General.

Ten percent of smokers get lung cancer. Not all smokers. Ninety percent don't. If you're a nonsmoker you have a lower chance of getting lung cancer. Therefore second hand smoke is a lie because otherwise, everyone who went in a pub before the smoking ban would have the same cancer risk. Not smoking wouldn't protect you if second hand smoke was really as dangerous as active smoking. Therefore the cancer rate among pubgoers must be the same as that among smokers, yes? It's not.

Try telling that to an antismoker if you like. I won't. I'm happy to tell them they will die in pain because I'm smoking while they whine at me. Their choice. They don't have to come over and preach. Give me a weapon made of words, don't complain when I use it. Give me a drone conditioned to believe any old crap, don't be surprised if I give them better crap than you did.

What I have found with antismokers is that it is impossible to reach levels of absurdity they won't believe. Sitting on a toilet seat used by smokers gives you piles. Clothes in a second hand shop might have come from a smoker, or been within sight of clothes that did, so they are deadly. Clothes on any rack, anywhere, might have been touched by a smoker and are contaminated. Better buy all your food pre-packaged so you can be sure no smoker touched it in the shop - and hope that it wasn't packed by smokers. Best wash it in bleach first. There is only one cure for passive smoking. Lots of salt. The tobacco industry sponsors the anti-salt campaign. That's why it sounds so much like ASH, to confuse you.

Smokers deliberately open children's books in shops and breathe into them so the child becomes addicted by reading. Smokers get a free pack for every child they recruit (never mind how it's measured, they never ask).

I can't find anything they won't believe. Cancer of the eye from seeing smoke. Cancer of the ear from hearing the spark of a lighter. Cancer of the brain from thinking too much about smoking. Throat cancer from talking about it. Nose cancer (does that even exist? At least five people now believe it does) from smelling smoke on clothing. Just say 'cancer' and any words around it are definitely true. I'm going for tooth cancer next. Who wants to bet the antismokers will believe it? If psychosomatics are up to it, you'll see the first case within a year. Although I think even an antismoker's subconscious is going to balk at that one.

Why do we spend all this money on nuclear weapons when twenty Rothman's could win any war? Forget the bullets, lads. Just offer them a cigarette. It's quicker.

Why are smokers not arrested as terrorists when we can allegedly kill more than the 9/11 plane-bombers just by appearing in a room?

Why are we not feared everywhere we go? Why are the antismokers scared to touch us but willing to beat us up? Why is smoking still legal?

Nonsmokers are starting to ask this too. If it's so deadly that even being in a room after a smoker has left will kill you, then surely it's more dangerous than radiation or mustard gas or Muslims? If the police see fit to set up 200 cameras to watch Muslims, why don't they have one at every smoking so-called shelter to see what these apocalyptic puffers are up to?

There's only one answer. It's all lies.

Second hand smoke and any further multiples are lies, and are increasingly obviously so. People dying from a whiff of smoke is a lie because if that were true, smoke would not force you to buy a washing machine or work out how to use a shower. You'd be dead. Your home would not stink of smoke in the morning because you wouldn't have made it home. There would be a pile of nonsmoker corpses around every smoking half-shelter. At least they'd shield us from the weather.

It's beyond stupid and blatantly so. The result is that smokers and nonsmokers alike now question not only the really stupid claims, but the real risks too.

Smoking can increase the risk of respiratory problems if you overdo it. It does depend on both the individual and on the amount they smoke. Smoking cannot cause inner ear infections or meningitis or scabies or any other disease spread by bacteria or viruses or bad diet. Other people cause most of those. Fortunately I have little to do with them.

Yet now, when the antismokers claim that one whiff of cigarette smoke will make you die on the spot (but a passing truck won't), the real risks are gone. Lost in the noise. It has become a religion. Believe all or none of it.

Take something non-smoking-related. Mountain climbing. I don't do it so I don't have first hand knowledge but as a primitive comparison, it'll do. The big risks are 1. Falling off and 2. Freezing to death. There are probably others but that's for mountain climbers to worry about.

Suppose some fake charity claimed that climbing mountains causes second-hand climbing, so people who watched mountain climbers were found trapped on the roofs of their houses. Another claim - children watching mountain climbing might be encouraged to wear crampons to school or insist that their bed was nailed to the ceiling. Climbers are addicts who will climb anything to get a fix. They must be banned from pubs because they insist on standing on the tables. There must be 'No Climbing' signs on anything over head height.

Ridiculous ideas? Of course they are. But when there are enough ridiculous claims, the real risks of falling off or freezing are lost among them. Nobody believes the stupid claims and soon, nobody believes the real ones either. Then you have people trying climbing because it's banned, with no equipment and dressed in T-shirts that say 'I'm with the one wearing the I'm with stupid T-shirt'. Falling off? Freezing? About as likely as the reasoning behind the ban on ladders.

I agree that smoking too much increases the risk of lung problems of all kinds. Of course it does, just as eating too much or drinking too much can cause problems. The thing is that' 'too much' is an individual thing, not a species-wide directive. Health groups should be informing us of the risks and leaving it up to us to decide, not telling us how to live.

The current antismoker zealotry is having the opposite effect to what they claim to intend. They say they want to reduce smoking but their blatant lies are masking any real risks, so making smoking more attractive. Both as a harmless hobby and as a way to cock a snoot at the authoritarians. I suspect they are funded by the tobacco industry, you know.

There was once a bored shepherd boy who cried 'Wolf' when there was no wolf....


Anonymous said...

I've done a bit of mountaineering and there is little to beat reaching the top and having a fag.

Leg-iron said...

Anon - I'll bet you'll get to the top of one, one day, and find a 'no smoking' sign.

Antipholus Papps said...

Grouse Mountain, BC. They've already done it.

Magnetic said...

For the record. The idea of “no safe level” of ETS exposure was being circulated around the antismoking clique in early-1992, many months before even the official release of the later discredited the EPA(1992) Report. See Godber Blueprint

From Tobacco in Developing Countries
Working Papers in Support of the 8th World Conference on Tobacco or Health: Building a Tobacco-Free World
March 30 - April 3, 1992

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Consideration of new laws to restrict cigarette marketing offers an excellent opportunity to limit cigarette use . Such laws shape social norms about tobacco use and complement policies that limit marketing. New evidence clearly shows that exposure to secondhand smoke can cause cancer among exposed nonsmokers and increases infant risk of respiratory problems. On a preliminary basis, the U.S . Environmental Protection Agency has classified environmental tobacco smoke as a class A carcinogen. (p.16)

Smoke Fighting is a strategic guide useful at the early stages of coalition development and later to update strategies . Coalitions formed to fight TTCs have additional needs and responsibilities .

The coalition must establish a strong public image that portrays it as a defender of the nation's health and sovereignty . In many nations, coalitions are seen as fringe "antismoking" groups out to impose their narrow vision on a society that sees smoking as a sign of status and power . The term "antismoking," a label often applied by the tobacco industry, should be avoided and positive names such as "national health campaign" used. (p.17)

The scientific evidence linking ETS to death and disease is clear and overwhelming : There is no safe level of exposure for the carcinogens found in tobacco smoke. Victims of ETS are called involuntary smokers or passive smokers . The only way to protect people from the dangers of ETS is to keep tobacco smoke out of our indoor air . The prevention of involuntary exposure to ETS should be a priority for tobacco control advocates worldwide. (p.79)

Anonymous said...

Non-smoking mountains?


Nitric oxide helps high-altitude survival

"CLEVELAND, Nov. 6 US researchers have discovered high blood levels of nitric oxide allow people to live at high altitudes where air has low levels of oxygen.

The Tibetans were found to have 10 times more nitric oxide and more than double the forearm blood flow of sea-level dwellers.

The researchers said they believe the high levels of nitric oxide cause an increased blood flow that provides body tissues with sufficient amounts of oxygen despite low levels of oxygen in both the air and the bloodstream."

"Instructor in Anaesthesia Dr. Jesse D. Roberts, Jr., a member of Zapol's research group, said the discovery also explains why mountain climbers short of breath often claim that smoking cigarettes makes them stronger. The seeming paradox may be due to the presence of nitric oxide in cigarette smoke"

"According to Zapol, it all reduces to one simple thing. "Good things hide in pollutants and cigarettes," he said"

I suppose that they are just trying to level that playing field again.


Anonymous said...

As there are still millions of smokers in the UK, perhaps they could be encouraged to spread the most ridiculous of rumours about smoking. The stuff you mention will do for a start. The more stupid the 'facts' the quicker people will realise it's all lies!

Anonymous said...

Have just enjoyed making a couple of pithy comments over there on the Mail.
The fact is that this one fag thing is the epitomy of rationalisation, isn't it? One can imagine the conversation:

Surgeon Gen: "So Mr Scientist, after 50 years of trying, have you found out yet how tobacco smoke causes harm?"

Scientist: " - not exactly. There are all these carcinogenic chemicals in there, but not in sufficient quantities, really....and a lot of these chemicals are common in food anyway. So...not really quite got there yet".

SG: "So we don't really know yet how many fags are, shall we say, 'the tipping point'?"

S: "Well....that's right".

SG: "So it is quite possible that ONE cigarette could do it?"

S: "Wouldn't say that exactly..."

SG: "But you can't rule it out?"

S: "No".

SG: "That'll do for me".



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