Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Dances with Woodbines.

(Visitors are still here and will be until Wednesday, which is good timing).

Wednesday is National No Smoking day. I am ready. I have rolling tobacco, pipe tobacco and a pack of Henri Winterman's Half Coronas. That should allow almost continuous smoke production throughout the day. If it's fine I'll fire up the chimenea too.

Any antismokers thinking of challenging me should consider that even being in my presence will saturate them with nicotine to the tips of their toes. Seriously. It has been proven by pseudoscience, and no antismoker will ever argue with that.

Quite how anyone came up with the idea of measuring nicotine in toenail clippings I have no idea and I'm not at all sure I want to know. There are some extraordinarily strange minds in the antismoking camp. A few trivial details are missing from that report -

Toenails are dead tissue. So was the nicotine laid down in them when they formed or absorbed later?

How long does it persist?

Is it certain that this nicotine came from tobacco and not from other vegetables? Is it certain that the toenail-producing cells don't concentrate the body's spare vitamin B3 in the toenails? (Niacin, for those who haven't heard it before, is an abbreviation of 'nicotinic acid'.) Is it certain - given that so many never-smokers showed such high levels - that the nicotine test is not affected by any other component of toenails that might differ between individuals due to diet, genetics or any other factor?

If lung cancer relates to the nicotine content of your toenails twelve years earlier, then surely once you have the test, your fate is sealed? In which case, who out there really wants to take the test?

Slightly inconvenient for the antismokers but... nicotine doesn't cause lung cancer. There are things in smoke - all smoke, not just tobacco smoke - that have the potential to cause lung cancer but nicotine isn't one of them. No other smoke components are reported as being tested for. In this study, nicotine is smoke.

In a report on their findings, researchers said the toenail test showed the hidden risks for non-smokers.

More than ten per cent of men with the highest levels of toenail nicotine were never smokers.

The real conclusion here, not the anti-tobacco kneejerk, is that their test cannot even tell which toenail came from a smoker and which from a nonsmoker. There is nothing to justify any smoking-related conclusions.

Our study shows toenail nicotine levels provide a biomarker that can predict the risk of lung cancer independent of reported smoking history.

No. It doesn't. So many factors are ignored here in favour of smoking. No mention of diet, occupation, physical activity, exposure to non-tobacco smoke, exposure to other potential carcinogens, nothing. With so many never-smokers in the top range of nicotine levels, nothing is offered to explain this beyond 'it's the smokers what done it'. How? Are smokers imprisoning people and forcing them to eat cigarette butts? Are smokers sneaking nicotine patches onto unsuspecting people or handing them nicotine gum pretending it's plain gum? Well, okay, we've all thought about it but I doubt anyone has ever done it.

Throwing cigarette butts at their feet to watch them dance, Wild West style, is of course common these days. That's why we keep the butts in portable ashtrays. For ammo. Maybe that's how they achieve toenail saturation.

Once again, it's that branch of science called 'antismoking', the branch that makes parapsychology look like chemistry. A non-carcinogen measured in toenails causes cancer in the lung. It's right up there with 'smoking causes the spontaneous generation of infectious micro-organisms in the inner ear' and 'smoke from tobacco transcends reality and passes through solid walls but only if there is a nonsmoker on the other side'.

And yet, the antismokers will once more believe every word. They will be demanding pedicures on the NHS and getting those nicotine results back along with their cholesterol and salt levels.

I have to wonder. Could these idiots be convinced to rip out their own toenails with pliers in order to render themselves immune to lung cancer? No pain, no gain. You have nothing to lose but your toenails and possibly some blood.

That just has to be worth a try.

Well, we're banned from pubs and everywhere else so we have to make our own entertainment.


Ed P said...

No Smoking day is Ash Wednesday? - you could not make it up!

subrosa said...

Where do I sign up to be part of this test? I insist it includes not only a pedicure, but the full works including massage and two coats of my favourite nail polish plus topcoat. Do you think they'll throw in a pair of these 'floating on air' insoles?

Doubt that really. They float on so much hot air themselves.

Ashtrayhead said...

In todays edition of the Daily Mail (at which point I have to admit that I do get it! But in my defence it's for the racing...) there's a little article in the 'health' section about how research at Columbia University Dental School in New York suggests that a nicotine nose spray could soothe the pain of tooth extraction.
' The team were unsure of how exactly nicotine works to reduce pain, but they believe it may have an effect on a number of different pain chemicals.
One theory is that it triggers an increase in the production of endorphins - proteins which act as natural painkillers'

The article doesn't appear in the online edition for some reason!

Maybe dentists should offer fags instead of lollipops!

JJ said...

LI - If you want a good wind-up, then watch a programme I found by mistake. It's called Smokehouse and is on at 3.05 on BBC1(where else?) every afternoon. Children are encouraged to persuade parents to give up smoking.
The programme comes complete with junk science.

Make sure your teeth are in good working order before gnashing!

nominedeus said...

can you get the video on my page on to eyetube m8 this one is really important and cannot be lost

Francis Urquhart said...

Every day seems to be National something-or-other day. Clearly I need to instigate legislation to reduce the numbers so that only meaningful things are promoted.

Dioclese said...

In honour of National Non-Smoking Day (and as a little thank you for the number of readers that seem to find my blog from yours), I have penned a little Smokey Drinkey Song which I shall release at 8am tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Second Hand Smoke, or S.H.S. should be re-marketed as Second Hand Inhalation Threat, or S.H.I.T. and that's how the media should refer to it from now on in the adverts.

No Smoking Day, or No S.D., could then be rebranded to No Second Hand Inhallation Threat Day, or No S.H.I.T. Day, like that.

FrankC said...

Niacin, that's in Cornflakes. Maybe the non-smoking high niacin toenails belonged to Cornflake junkies.

Anonymous said...

Funny - everywhere else in the anti-tobacco world it seems to have been institutionalised as on May 31.



What gives?

You guys & gals going to have two, this year?

Still, gives some time to organise marches, placards, posters, whatever for a May 31 turn-out for smokers - er, tobacco lovers, to make and reclaim the day as their own... in as full a public view as possible, perhaps?

- Ross

Antipholus Papps said...

Cornflake junkies

I used to eat two bowls off Kellogg's finest every day, and now I smoke like a pregnant chav! I should sue.

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