Friday, 28 October 2011

Second hand enhancement?

One last quickie and then back to work...

Athletes are to be tested for nicotine.

Why? Are sporting events being ruined by high-jumpers snagging their lumps on the bar? Sprinters stopping mid-race to hack up great gobs of phlegm? Perhaps they've caught another relay runner trying to light the baton?

Ah, no. It's because nicotine is a performance enhancing drug.

Yes, if you chew a Snu it'll boost what you do (ahem, Snus manufacturers, that slogan is for sale). Yet if there is a molecule of nicotine on a smoker's clothing, it will kill every antismoker within fifty yards. At the same time, it boosts athletic performance. It is also deadly to pets and children.

Actually, nicotine is only deadly to the gullible and anything that reduces their number can only be good. The less of them that vote at the next election, the better.

So if you smoke in the pub, you're killing everyone around you. If you smoke (or more lilely, use Snus or Electrofags) before an Olympic event, you are boosting your performance unfairly. If you stand near a smoker in the park, you die. If you stand near a smoker before taking part in a race, you're cheating.

I have stuff to write. You work it out.


Woodsy42 said...

Nothing odd about it. The aim is to classify nicotine as a drug then they can ban all sports people from smoking, and also ban non-smoking nicotine products (except patches made by big pharma of course). Nicotine has always been known as having a positive physical effect.

Leg-iron said...

What baffles me is how the drones can be convinced that a trace of nicotine is deadly, and be simultaneously convinced that nicotine is a performance-enhancer.

How do people do that?

Frank Davis said...

Well, at least it's a clear admission that tobacco is a performance-enhancing drug. Is that really the only way in which tobacco enhances performance - to have people run faster or jump higher? Well, no it isn't. It enhances concentration and endurance at all sorts of other tasks as well.

The way the antis talk about tobacco, it's that there are zero benefits from smoking, and you catch lung cancer the moment you smoke your first cigarette. But now we know that it's actually a performance-enhancing drug, they can't say that any more. They'll have to admit that there are benefits as well as costs.

I think the important point here is that these tests on athletes aren't being run by antismokers, but by athletics officials who want to create (literally) a level playing field. They're not anti-smoking per se, but anti-cheating. And they've decided, quite reasonably, that tobacco/nicotine unfairly enhances performance.

I see it as good news. Are the antismokers going to go and tell the athletics officials that they're wrong? I don't think so, somehow.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I think anti-smoking will quickly bury the "performance enhancing" bit and turn it around by using PR campaigns to implicate they stopped smoking because it was healthier for them not to smoke and imply that everyone else should too. They will say simply anything, in order to effect a ban, but once that ban is on, then they will do everything to re-write it in whatever way best suits to normalize the ban and keep it going for 1,000 years, or however long the reich is predicted to last. Second hand smoke was never shown to be statistically harmful, but it didn't stop them from re-writing that bit of script either - and of course now it's passed into acceptable normality, even though it is false.

Bill Sticker said...

Is it conceivable they've got Nicotine and Nicotinic acid confused?

If they have, that will bring up some interesting disqualifications.

Slamlander said...

Say what you will; this just makes me sick.

Nicotine is either the deadliest substance known to mankind or it is a performance enhancing drug. You can't claim both.

Delphius1 said...

I see a plot thickening here.

Its the delivery method that's being targeted. Nasty awful smoking, the historical delivery method is bad, bad, bad.

But the new, hi-tech pharma-owned delivery methods are great, wonderful, fantastic and boost performance.

Anyone suspicious the pharma companies are laying the ground to widen their customer base?

death by democracy (a subsidiary of duty free exports inc) said...


'level playing field discourages performance', where have i heard that before?

is firing someone out the barrel of a gun considered illegally performance-hancing, i wonder?

the enhanced-english editor said...


"death by democracy (a subsidiary of duty free [ ] exports inc)"

please insert equality

Anonymous said...

That's been a while coming.

Burning desire - 2008

"According to Jarvis, there might even be - gulp - a benefit. 'Nicotine is a psychomotive stimulant, in the same group of drugs as amphetamines,' he says. 'So a cigarette could potentially enhance performance in "explosive" events like sprinting.'"

Naturally I'm inclined to take that with a very large pinch of salt.

The inhaled nitric oxide produced by a cigarette however might be a very different matter.

Nitric oxide: From menace to marvel of the decade - 1996

"Previously, nitric oxide was regarded as an environmental pollutant and little else: at best a chemically reactive nuisance, at worst a poison. In the exhaust fumes of cars it reacted readily with oxygen to produce smog, increasing the risk of asthma. When discharged into the atmosphere from power station chimneys it contributed to the ecological damage from acid rain."

"Consequently, a response bordering on disbelief greeted the discovery that cells lining the walls of blood vessels, endothelial cells, intentionally synthesised nitric oxide as a muscle relaxant. The molecule is short-lived, and a constant supply is generated by endothelial cells in response to the sheer stress of the blood flow on the artery wall.

The notion that such a noxious little molecule should also hold a key to a healthy body and mind was counter-intuitive, and is still disconcerting to some people."


smokervoter said...

I see this as yet another extension of widespread nicotine panic. This Marclay fellow spends his day staring at vials of piss while foaming at the mouth in anticipation of the next frantic step in creating a pristine tobacco-free world. In the meantime almost 2 billion inhabitants ignore everything he says and go right on enjoying its many pleasures. And the tall green plants keep thriving in the noonday sun, oblivious to it all.

Leg-iron said...

Delphius1 - you might be on to something there. The hype about deadly nicotine in tobacco but safe nicotine in patches - when anyone with half a brain can see it's the same chemical - could be leading to this.

Imagine - non-smokers encouraged to buy those patches and gum to boost performance. It's okay, ASH won't mind, it's not smoking. It's safe nicotine, not the stuff the smokers use.

How many will fall for it? There are enough dim people to make quite a profit, I think.

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