Tuesday 16 November 2010

Speak up, smokophobe.

Did you know smoking now makes you deaf? Oh yes indeedy, there is no age-related ailment that cannot be blamed on smoking. Even if you don't smoke. It causes ageing of the skin, did you know? Time doesn't do that. Smoking does. It causes hearing loss. Getting older plays no part in that. It's smoking.

If nobody smoked, everyone would be immortal and in perfect health. Believe it, antismokers. You know you want to. You believe all the rest of the crap and you know that line is on the way, so get it over with. Believe it now. Oh, what am I saying? Most of you believe it already.

The original article, posted by the unquestioning drones who masquerade as BBC reporters, is full of howlers that nobody in the BBC has the brains to see.

Experts believe tobacco smoke may disrupt blood flow in the small vessels of the ear.

This could starve the organ of oxygen and lead to a build up of toxic waste, causing damage.

If that happened, the outer ear would atrophy and drop off. At the very least, it would become inflamed and painful. A build-up of toxic material in any part of the body does not happen without symptoms - and if there are no symptoms at all, on what basis do the 'experts' believe there is anything to investigate?

The inner ear, where the hearing part happens, is protected from the outside world by a membrane called an eardrum. The only part smoke could affect is the outer ear. Which will, if affected, show signs of damage. Ever seen any?

The harm is different to that caused by noise exposure or simple ageing.

What harm? All we have so far is 'experts believe in something that has shown no symptoms and has not been definitely linked to anything'. And yet in the very next sentence, the theory is proved. That's ASH science folks. Think of a number and it's always the right one.

In the study, the researchers from the University of Miami and Florida International University looked at the hearing test results of 3,307 non-smoking volunteers - some who were ex-smokers and some who had never smoked in their lifetime.

No active smokers? Well, no, those persistently non-deaf smokers would mess up the statistics, wouldn't they? Smokers just won't do as they are told.

To assess passive smoke exposure, the volunteers had their blood checked for a byproduct of nicotine, called cotinine, which is made when the body comes into contact with tobacco smoke.

Also when it comes into contact with potatoes, tomatoes and all sorts of other vegetables. Oh, no! They have just proved that tomatoes make you deaf! Ban them at once!

This revealed that people exposed to second-hand smoke were far more likely to have poorer hearing than others, and to a degree where they might struggle to follow a conversation in the presence of background noise.

The thing about cotinine is that it's not like mercury. It is not cumulative. So you will only have it in you if you have recently smoked, or had a meal with your five-a-day vegetables, or eaten anything with tomatoes in it (I'm not sure, but I suspect tomato sauce counts. Tomato juice certainly does). All this reveals is a remarkably tenuous link between cotinine levels today and hearing loss over the last 10-20 years. Cotinine levels will be different tomorrow, depending on what the volunteers had for lunch. Oh, and vitamin B3 will boost your levels too. Because it's derived from nicotine.

Where did these volunteers get exposed to recent second-hand smoke? We can't smoke indoors anywhere, and outdoors you'd have to have a tobacco bonfire to inhale enough to show up. Cotinine doesn't stay in you. It goes away fairly quickly. The only way you're going to get tobacco-derived cotinine is if you sit around in a smoke-filled room for hours - and there are no smoke-filled rooms any more. They've been banned.

You'd also have to test your blood immediately after leaving that room because your body will wash away the traces of cotinine soon afterwards.

The study links a temporary blood level of a vegetable-derived compound with a long-term issue. Science? Really? When did the principles of science get abandoned and replaced with some quasi-religious 'I believe it therefore it is proved' madness? Do they perform their experiments at night, in a circle of otter's blood, dressed in black lab coats with stars and moons on them? How long before the word 'experiment' is replaced with 'invocation'?

Yet people will believe it because the magicians call themselves 'experts', and the nonsense fits with the smokophobe prejudices so they simply won't question it. They don't want to think. It hurts them.

Hearing loss can often be very frustrating and lead to social isolation, if not quickly addressed.

Social isolation? <> Oh, I wonder what that can possibly feel like. Perhaps it feels a bit like being excluded from all public places and sneered at with Government approval?< /sarcasm >. Social isolation is what they have done to smokers, deliberately, and here they are pretending they give a crap about its effects on people? It's their main weapon.

These are the same 'scientists' who would decry homeopathy or astrology as 'pesudoscience' and yet what they are doing is far, far worse. They are making stuff up and using it to reduce a whole section of society to subhuman status. Say what you like about astrology and homeopathy, at least their practitioners don't call for people to be controlled and even killed. Antismokers do, regularly.

Smoking isn't good for me. I know it's not good for me. There is a risk, it's nowhere near as big a risk as the antismokers claim but it is there. I accept the risk because I enjoy a smoke. Just as a car driver accepts the risks associated with driving or a mountain climber or bungee jumper accept the risks associated with doing what they enjoy. Smoking poses no risk to anyone else, and these attempts to make smokers feel guilty over imagined harm are nothing more than spiteful social control.

The propaganda is now so silly that all it does is make smokers angry and more determined never to stop. It has one further, more sinister effect.

Since it is patently ridiculous to blame all these things on smoking, the real potential hazards are now lost among the mountains of insane and easily debunked claims. Children can see through claims as stupid as 'even seeing a packet will make you smoke' and 'smoking causes infections that we used to think were caused by bacteria and viruses but we now know that tobacco contains little demons that are released when the leaves are burned'. Really. That is what the claims amount to and even children can see through that.

So when you tell them they risk lung damage if they smoke too much (note: too much of anything can be harmful, even water), they don't believe you because they will file that along with the rest of the nonsense. So where is that disincentive now? Lost among the forest of lies that the antismokers have planted around it.

I don't want to see children smoking. It seems logical to me that a still-developing body is much more at risk of chemical damage than a fully-formed adult. However, what will happen if I were to tell children that?

They will file it under 'smoking-related lies' and light one up.

Nice one, antismokers.

Update: The Snowolf has reached a similar conclusion. All disease is now caused by 'tobacco goblins'.


Anonymous said...

Completely off-topic but I have (sadly) been watching "I'm A Celebrity." I bet you 100 quid that Gillian McKeith is an anti-smoker (let's wait and see how she reacts around Shaun Ryder, the only smoker in the group as far as I can tell). She's already treated him like a subhuman as he (gasp!) offended her delicate sensibilities by coughing (!) as he ate a kangaroo penis, and she is also neurotic to the point of madness, being scared of heights, insects, germs etc and is a non-smoking vegan... who won't even eat meat when her comrades depend on her to win their dinners for them. Indeed, as with most anti-smokers she didn't think once about them, she just thought of herself then whined and whinged and made up fake medical complaints about allergies and phobias to explain her pathetic feebleness and lack of inner fibre.

Yes, I bet she is an anti-smoker. Watch it, Leggy - she's a prime example. Devoted to health but hideously unfit (she was not allowed to do a physical task, while Shaun Ryder, smoker, drinker, toker and pill-popper was, despite only being 3 years younger than her). Oh yes, and she is 51 apparently but looks fifteen years older. Ah, the joys of healthy living!

Watch this show non-smoking "I'm A Celeb" fans - this is the kind of person who is now dictating health and social policy in this country. Oh, and like Stanton Glantz and his ilk, she even has a faked qualification!

I can't wait to see how she deals with tobacco smoke whilst sat outside in the middle of the jungle. She could be a massive own goal for the Tobacco Control movement if she goes off on one about smoke as she is clearly neurotic, egocentric, infantalised and deranged. As I say, a typical anti-smoker!

Leg-iron said...

They have Shaun Ryder on? That might make it worth watching.

He's not likely to cower under antismoker ire.

timbone said...

Leonard Bernstein, 1918 - 1990. One of the most outstanding classical musicians of the 20th century. Memorable for such things as being Principal Conductor of the New York Symphony Orchestra and composing the musical West Side Story. His ears must have been that of a never smoker.....um, no, he was practically chain smoking untipped cigarettes al his adult life.

Anonymous said...

Would love to see the results of cotinine tests in Italy! Tomatoes at every meal.

Dick Puddlecote said...

"They don't want to think. It hurts them."

Think? The lazy rakes can't even be bothered to wash their hair before calling smokers 'filthy'.

Thinking? Too much effort for those who want the world given to them on a plate.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday on the BBC 6am news they continiously ran the news that 'children of heavy smokers are far more likely to grow up and become criminals!'
It really has become a comedy show.

Anonymous said...

Years and years ago, I did a short-term contract job for a large bio-pharma testing company that was on testing for cotinine levels. The method was to get a saliva sample off people (by means of a vile-tasting tampon-like thing called a salivette), run it through a vac-elut concentration stage, then spike with radiolabelled cotinine and finally run through LC-MS to compare the ration of spiked heavy cotinine to normal stuff. Limit of quantification was something like 10 picogrammes per ml of saliva.

Looking at non-smokers who lived with smokers (hard to find, even a decade ago), you saw a marked difference in cotinine levels. A non-smoker like myself showed levels of 15 to 25 picogrammes per ml saliva; background contamination and tomatoes etc.

A smoker was never less than a couple of hundred, frequently four or five hundred picogrammes per ml. Of the few non-smokers exposed to lots of smoke that I could find, the levels were forty or fifty picogrammes per ml.

So, the cotinine levels in non-smokers who lived with smokers and who were thus exposed to lots of secondhand smoke weren't all that elevated really. I'd have to have Leggy here literally sitting in my lap blowing smoke in my face to get cotinine levels over a hundred, and given that I don't like the smell of ciggie smoke very much (Cigar and pipe tobacco is much nicer) and tend to have easily irritated lungs, I doubt I'd stay there very long. Non-smokers don't tend to stay near smokers but that's all you have to do: MOVE AWAY A FEW FEET.

Secondhand smoke as a pollutant is utterly bogus; you're going to be exposed to way more pollutants if you walk down a street past a rank of idling busses than if you stand next to a smoker. Exposure of bar staff to smoke is similarly bogus; all you need to reduce exposure is to designate a smoking area and fit it with a decent extractor fan, or a nice big open fire (which'll do very much the same thing).

The only people you'd expect to see health effects on are actual smokers, and even then most of the effects vanish once they stop smoking. Tobacco smoke as absorbed by smokers, in the doses that regular smokers take, is harmful. It elevates the risk of lung cancer (just like diesel fumes do, and coal smoke did way back when) and it harms micro-circulation down at the capillary level which causes all the effects you'd expect from such damage. It also irritates the respiratory system so if you add in another irritant like an infection or disease, the net effect is greater than would be the case without the effects of smoking.

However, all these effects are known, and not actually very big. Substitute in electrofags and similar devices, and you separate the effects of nicotine from the hell-brew you get from incompletely burning tarry vegetation; do that and the nicotine looks rather beneficial in the doses smokers take. This is another thing I find it impossible to understand: why the big down on non-cigarette forms of nicotine delivery from anti-smokers? Remove the smoking aspect, you remove the cancer and circulatory damage effects, and smokeless smoking becomes healthy. Job done, health problems removed, go look for another thing to solve. Bloody sociopathic nitwits, anti-smokers.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Dr Dan: {Applause} :)

Anonymous said...

Dr Dan, the big down is because of the close links the anti tobacco industry has with the drug companies, who want a monopoly on nicotine delivery. I've only ever bought one pack of nicotine gum an dit cost about £14. That's 40p for the gum and £13.60 for stirring in some nicotine. Compare with snus which sells for about £3 in Sweden, lasts far longer and actually stops you wanting a cigarette. The anti smoking industry is killing people.

Anonymous said...

Dr Dan,
Thank you for sharing your fascinating research info and, for what it's worth, I fully agree with your conclusions.
I was wondering if I could ask a favour though.
You report typical passive smoking levels of cotinine in saliva as around 40-50 picogrammes. By contrast, the following paper assumed levels of cotinine due to passive smoking at around 0.8-14.0 nanogrammes per millilitre. i.e. 800 to 14000 picogrammes. The difference was that this was blood serum measurements so perhaps that and the methods used explain the difference.
Any thoughts?
Sorry if this seems rather pedantic but I'm just trying to get a better understanding.

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