Are Arab Smokers Revolting?

I became intrigued last night by the idea that the Jasmine Revolution spreading across the Middle East and North Africa might in part be a response to the appearance of smoking bans in these countries. So I’ve been doing a bit of investigating.

Smoking bans are highly socially divisive. They effectively expel smokers from society, and one-sidedly benefit non-smokers at the expense of smokers, and set smokers against non-smokers. The more smokers there are in any society, the more angry smokers are generated by smoking bans, and the angrier smokers become with  the severity of the ban. In the Middle East, male smoking prevalence runs at between 30% and 50%, by comparison with figures of 25% or so for most European countries.

The Jasmine Revolution started in Tunisia with the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor who had been subjected to harassment by municipal officials. It’s not clear whether Bouazizi was a smoker, but it does seem that Tunisia has the highest prevalence of smoking in the region:

As the world marked World No Tobacco Day on May 31, a recent report by the World Health Organization has revealed that Yemen has the second highest national rate of smokers in the whole Arab region, after Tunisia which ranked first.

At least one estimate reports that 50% of Tunisian men were smokers, and 15% of women, with a high prevalence among Tunisian youth. Furthermore, a strict smoking ban was introduced in Tunisia on 19 March 2010. Translated from French:

In practical terms, the anti-smoking law is reinforced by Decree No. 2009-2611 of 14 September 2009. Within six months he would be prohibited from smoking in all premises collective enclosed or covered, including restaurants, cafes, taverns, and tourist establishments, except in places specifically reserved for this effect.Under the new decree, it is forbidden to smoke in restaurants that the area covered does not exceed 50m ² and drinking establishments called Tier refreshment. A room or area for smoking will be permitted on the premises without the area of these spaces may not exceed 15m ².

There is evidence that the ban was not well liked. After the revolution,

Cigarettes lit in joy in front of the palace

Before the revolution people would avoid even casual conversations in the streets. Today, they can freely discuss the future of the country even in front of intelligence officers. Young people tend to light their cigarettes in front of the presidential palace to protest the pre-revolution ban on smoking nearby. Women are more sensitive to political developments.

So Tunisia seems to have been a prime candidate for a smokers’ revolt. It had the most smokers in the region, and it had just had a strict smoking ban introduced, and also enforced:

As for the control of cafes and restaurants, 36,000 visits were made, resulting in 12 000 warnings…

Might the same thing be happening elsewhere in the Arab region? After Tunisia, Yemen is reported to have the next highest prevalence of smoking. In late 2009, Yemen also enacted a smoking ban, which presumably came into force some months later. Although Yemen seems to have fewer smokers than Tunisia, some estimates rank Yemen among the highest in the world.

According to the study the number of smokers in Yemen is estimated at 3.4 million out of 22 million from the total population or that 77 percent of Yemeni men smoke, as well as 29 percent of Yemeni women. The study also uncovered that 29 percent of smokers are young, aged 17-24.  These numbers makes smoking cigarettes in Yemen among the highest percentages worldwide.

So, depending on the severity of its ban, Yemen would also seem to be a good candidate for a smoker revolt. And right now, after weeks of demonstrations and shootings, the country appears to be on the brink of civil war.

There’s also trouble in Syria, which had 50% male smoking prevalence in 1999. The BBC reported in April 2010:

Syria has become the first Arab state to implement a ban on smoking in public places, such as restaurants and cafes.The decree also outlaws smoking in educational institutions, health centres, sports halls, cinemas and theatres and on public transport.
Workers must not smoke during meetings and businesses need to provide well-ventilated areas for smokers.The restrictions include the nargile, or hubble-bubble pipe, which is popular among locals and tourists.The decree was signed last November by President Bashar al-Assad, a qualified medical doctor.

There have also been some rioting in Jordan, which has a similar smoking prevalence as Syria, and which is also in process of introducing a smoking ban.

AMMAN – The Jordan Restaurants Association (JRA) has called for postponing the implementation of the Public Health Law, which bans smoking in public places, until the end of the year, a JRA official said on Sunday.
The Ministry of Health issued a circular banning smoking in shopping malls starting March 1, while restaurants were given until June to abide by the law so they have enough time to study the implementation mechanisms.

Iraq too.

BAGHDAD, Aug. 7 2009(UPI) — In Iraq, where it seems nearly everyone lights up, smoking is so pervasive many find it inconceivable that government wants to ban it in public, officials say.
A bill before the Iraqi Parliament would make it unlawful to smoke in government buildings and public indoor areas. Most residents interviewed by the Washington Post apparently don’t like the idea.
“We all have to deal with anger issues here,” one Iraqi citizen said. “That’s the reason people smoke here, to run away from that.”
People chain-smoke everywhere, observers say — in hospitals and restaurants, at weddings, funerals and after bombings. Only a few other countries in the region, like Israel and Jordan, have taken steps toward smoking bans.

Egypt also has 40% male smoking prevalence. And smoking bans are being introduced there also.

The Arab World’s largest consumer of tobacco is hoping to transform the northern Mediterranean city into the region’s first smoke-free zone. If successful, this ban will be extended to the rest of the country.
For starters, Egyptian authorities will impose a smoking ban in government buildings, where a 2007 law banning smoking in government buildings, hospitals and schools has largely been ignored. To demonstrate its seriousness, the government raised the cigarette tax as much as 40 percent last month.

The situation seems to be different in Saudi Arabia, where the prevalence of smoking appears to be lower, and where there does not appear to be any smoking ban at all.

There is reportedly only 15% prevalence of smoking in Bahrain (where there have also been riots), but in 2008 the Kingdom introduced a strict smoking ban, and also enforced it.

Bahrain Ministry of Health inspectors have caught more than 14,000 people smoking in public areas since the kingdom’s smoking ban came into effect last year.According to official figures 72 offenders were women and 2,060 were under the age of 18, according to a report in the Gulf Daily News.The ministry said it has stepped up its anti-smoking campaign and has carried out a series of surprise inspections on public areas to ensure the ban is being followed.

It would also appear to be different in Libya, where the authorities seem merely to have said in 2009 that they were going to ban smoking.

Algeria, Lebanon, Qatar and Kuwait all seem to have little in the way of smoking bans. The UAE were threatening to introduce a strict ban a couple of years ago. Oman introduced a smoking ban in Muscat in April 2010. Morocco enacted a smoking ban in 2008.

So, from this brief survey, it would seem that – apart from Libya – Middle East political upheaval correlates fairly well with the recent introduction (and enforcement) of smoking bans, and with the prevalence of smoking. The highest prevalence of smoking is in Tunisia and Yemen, and both countries recently introduced smoking bans, and both have since been experiencing political upheaval. By contrast, in those countries with a relatively low prevalence of smoking, and also non-existent or unenforced smoking bans (such as Saudi Arabia), there has been little political upheaval.

It would not of course be that smoking bans have been the sole cause of the revolts sweeping the Arab world. It’s more likely that smoking bans introduced a further level of public disaffection on top of the previously existing level, and this was enough to trigger revolt. Smoking bans were just one contributor.

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26 Responses to Are Arab Smokers Revolting?

  1. Walt says:

    I wonder if Bloomberg is mucking around in the Middle East, too. This, from the Jakarta Indonesia Glob, April 2010:

    Indonesian Clerics Join Smoking Fatwa Row
    A growing debate in the religious arena over smoking intensified on Sunday, with senior officials from the country’s largest Muslim organization and its top council of clerics deriding a recent fatwa issued against the habit.

    Officials from Nahdlatul Ulama and the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) both took issue with Muhammadiyah, the nation’s second-largest Muslim organization, issuing the religious edict last week, saying it went too far. Both organizations maintained their positions that smoking cigarettes was not haram, or forbidden in Islam.

    “It’s not that easy declaring something as haram. There are many considerations that should be taken into account,” Masdar F Mas’udi, an NU deputy chairman, told the Jakarta Globe. “Nahdlatul Ulama still considers smoking as makruh [undesirable], and we have no plan to change that in the near future

    Over the weekend, however, Muhammadiyah found itself on the defensive, denying that the fatwa was related to a grant it received from a US-based antitobacco organization. The Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, funded by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, lists a November 2009 grant to Muhammadiyah worth $393,234 on its Web site.

    Among the grant’s stated purposes is “the issuance and dissemination of religious advice on the dangers of tobacco use.”

  2. Pavlov's Cat says:

    I think you may have hit on something there.
    I thought my protest days were behind me as I’ve got older, I’ve been a ‘go along to get along’ kind of guy but since the smoking ban arbitarily denied me my one small pleasure of drinking in pubs, I hate to use the term ‘tipping point’ but for me every extra ban / restriction since has raised my ire so much so that I’ve have actually started attending ‘Demo’s’ again.
    Although more ‘Photographer Not Terrorist’ ones and other civil liberties ones. Not student grants
    but the Rubicon has been crossed and they are lucky* we don’t have access to AK47’s

    *as well they know, which is why personal access to firearms is so restricted in this country

  3. Tim says:

    There are probably a lot of things happening in this world, where if you look at the restrictiveness of the smoking ban and compare it to other conditions going on, a strong cause and effect or correlation can be demonstrated. The same with riots and revolutions as it is with pub closures, as it is with bankrupted US states are the ones that restrict smoking the most, as it is with decreased productivity, increased unhappiness and depression, increased sales of antidepressants and other drugs, as it is with increased tobacco taxes to feed ever growing anti-tobacco tyranny, as it is with a lot of things.

    The above description would probably make an interesting graph and show a strong correlation effect going on between the two. It would at least be a more honest graph than cherry picking selective hospital data and making blatant lies out of it or the total fraud of the SHS Scam Of The Century being pulled off with the complicity of liars in high places.

    People look aghast and dismayed over soon having to pay carbon taxes to “fight global warming”, to having their thermostats remotely controlled and power turned off by the electric utilities, to being no longer able to travel freely without being accosted by government sponsored goons at the airport – well they only need look as far as the SHS Scam Of The Century – and be perfectly honest with themselves when they do it – and they might just figure out how the rest of these scams and cons have come to be and what laid at the base of all other things social, political and economic, in the long run.

    When an entire country figures it out and knows a lie when they hear it, then it might just result in increased tensions, leading to riots and revolutions, like what is happening in much of the Middle East.

  4. The smoking ban must have in some small way contributed to these revolts, it might have only been 1% of the reasons, but hey.

    Interesting to note that PR China is swiftly moving towards a smoking ban. Given that PR China is basically one half of the country (the Party) enslaving the other (peasants, factory workers) so there must be plenty enough stored up rage (think of the empty cities and the overcrowded housing), and their high prevalence of smoking, we might see some interesting tipping points in PR China in the near future.

  5. Rose says:

    I have finally found the published announcement that Britain had ratified the FCTC

    Britain ratifies anti-tobacco treaty
    “The announcement was hidden away in a statement about a reduction in the number of smokers in the UK.”
    Grand Prix.com

    More than a million fewer smokers since 1998, UK – 17 Dec 2004
    “On the same day as these statistics were published, the UK ratified the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

    This is the first international treaty on public health and has the potential to make a real difference in tobacco control at a global level by committing all parties to the following measures:

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/17968.php

    Another is on the NHS National Electronic Library for Medicines

    And on a government website, but though it’s picked up by google access is forbidden.

    Hardly a public announcement in my view.

    Now stripped of its hereditaries, the House of Lords seems to approve.

    House 0f Lords 30th November 2010
    The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe):
    “My Lords, the report from the World Health Organisation sets out the significant harms to health from exposure to second-hand smoke.

    The United Kingdom is a strong supporter of the FCTC and has worked hard to implement it since ratification of the treaty in 2004.
    Today, we exceed our treaty obligations in this area through the effective and popular smoke-free legislation.”

    http://services.parliament.uk/hansard/Lords/ByDate/20101130/mainchamberdebates/part004.html

    Brave new Tobacco Plan for England – 18th of March 2011

    http://www.fctc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=522:new-tobacco-plan-for-england&catid=257:opinion-pieces&Itemid=214

    High time there was a real public announcement, instead of a cruel denormalisation campaign in an attempt fool the public into supporting what has already been decided and signed up to without their knowledge.

    • churchmouse says:

      The smokers who are over 50 in my acquaintance would disagree with the FCTC (Arnott) statement that

      ‘tobacco remains significantly more affordable than it was 40 years ago.’

      That’s complete rubbish, even going back as far as 20 years ago when I first started buying tobacco in the UK.

  6. At last year’s TICAP conference, Dr. Kamal Chaouachi of the University of Paris spoke of the possible effects of anti-smoking measures directed at shisha pipes. He said that there are a billion muslim and arab shisha smokers and that it is a social pastime which is also viewed as spiritual. He warned that any concerted effort to stamp shisha out would be met with a hell of a lot of anger, so you may well have a point.

  7. Tim says:

    It might be that traditional distinction between left and right is blurred thanks to anti-smoking and instead anti-smoking is moving into the predominant way of politically correct thinking, among all political parties, but at the risk that by it becoming so, then the wishes of ALL of Hitler’s former ideology will become normalized – and nobody will be able to understand how today’s police state came to be that way – because anti-smoking will have blurred truth, making it okay for lies to be truth at the root core – thus opening a Pandora’s Box from which all the rest of today’s craziness, lies turned into truth, have as their baseline root, this anti-smoking belief based on lies corrupting all other thought and turning the world upside down.

    This is a splendid example and also why when conservatives get into power, they just take the smoking bans previously put into place by the leftist-progressives and fail to recognize them for the evil that they are.

    This is from WND.com which is uber-conservative and extremely in right-wing territory, an editorial, saying that Hitler and the Nazis were all the bad things nowadays represented by our liberal-progressive elites and citing as examples everything from obsessive organic vegetarianism to PETA’s horrific declarations and doings.

    But when they get to the issue of healthism and smoking, one short sentence says Hitler hated smoking – then that’s that. Instead of relaying the truth, that Hitler banned smoking and persecuted smokers, they just ignore the subject beyond that one sentence, hoping nobody will inquire and instead harp on food bans and social engineering of eating habits.

    So that tells me, even if a conservative government gets into power, they are just going to endorse and enhance the already existing anti-tobacco programs already put into place by their progressive counterparts before them.

    It also tells me, when two supposed opposite sides of a political spectrum agree to disagree around every topic of debate imagineable, but when it comes to the anti-tobacco issue, fall dead silent, especially silent now coming from the conservative camp, which is failing to make note of an issue that if they were to take a side anti-anti-tobacco, would be a strong vote getter for them – that it gives anti-tobacco the appearance of being in the driver’s seat of such high importance – that essentially the implication then becomes, anti-tobacco might just be the driving force for a lot, if not ALL of the other anti-liberty political philosophies which have come alive worldwide since anti-tobacco’s SHS Scam became lie turned into truth, such that the entire social, political and economic structure of the entire world is built entirely and completely on the back of the anti-tobacco anti-smoking pro-smoking-ban lie(s).

    In other words, believe in the SHS Lie, all other lies then become believable or else risk tearing down the sacred cow of SHS, which lies at the root center of belief – is my thinking.

    Could be, don’t know. But if nothing else, it does imply that conservatives can be no more trusted than progressives to tone down the war on smokers, as this article points out, through omission of fact of history, implicitly endorses a lie.

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=279449

    • Frank Davis says:

      In other words, believe in the SHS Lie, all other lies then become believable or else risk tearing down the sacred cow of SHS, which lies at the root center of belief – is my thinking.

      I agree. But I’d go further. For I think that the SHS lie is rooted in the FHS (First Hand Smoke) lie. Once people were convinced that FHS caused lung cancer, then it was relatively straightforward to convince them that SHS did too, and all the other smoking ‘hands’ as well. Once one big lie could be swallowed, any lie at all could be swallowed. Including the AGW lie, and lots of others. And 95% of people – maybe more like 99% of people – believe the FHS lie. Even people with impeccable sceptical credentials believe it. Chris Snowdon believes it. Anthony Watts of WUWT believes it.

      What seems to happen is that the Lie becomes part of the fabric of consciousness. Once that has happened, then to question it means questioning all beliefs. And that is inconceivable and impossible. And so the Lie becomes unquestionable and indisputable. And once the Lie is part of the fabric of consciousness, integral to a belief system, then it becomes a piece of illogic within an otherwise logical set of beliefs, and its illogic gradually permeates the logic, and it becomes illogical as well. In the end, all beliefs about everything become illogical.

      But once this stage has been reached, people have a whole set of dangerous delusions, and not just about smoking. The smoking bans which grow out of the Lie are profoundly socially (and economically) destructive, but this damage is concealed with a set of subsidiary lies. e.g. that smoking bans increase business, and that smokers like smoking bans. These, and other subsidiary lies, cause other damage, and result in a variety of stupid decisions being taken. In the end, the Lie – like a cancer slowly metastasising through a body – brings death to the whole society.

  8. Tim says:

    Yes, it brings death to the whole world. But the sad part is, after all is said and done, nobody will ever – EVER – be the wiser. And nobody will ever – EVER – figure it out. And it’s not like it’s so deceptively clever that nobody COULD figure it out – if they wanted to. It’s that way because people have WILLINGLY bought into it – by simply ignoring the truth(s) – because the lie(s) were a flattery to the majority’s ego and pride. Thus the sin of pride is at the root and anti-smoking, from the start, beginning with Doll who was well paid for his predetermined results, was a pampering of the majority’s pride in order to manifest the totalitarian state as normal status-quo. It’s insidiously evil and at the root of all other evil currently destroying liberty and freedom in this world.

    • Rose says:

      Doll was a staunch Communist and I have often wondered how that affected his work.

      “Richard Doll was born on October 28th 1912 in Hampton. He joined the Communist Party in his student years and graduated from St Thomas’ hospital in 1937. Doll helped set up the national blood service, insisting that Britain avoid the American path of paying donors for their blood. His war years were spent in the RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corps) on a hospital ship.

      Doll was a member of the Communist Party until May 1957. He resigned, due to his difference with the conclusions of the Communist Party’s commission on Inner-Party Democracy. He and his wife were members of the Norland branch in Kensington at least for most of the 1950s but had probably joined in their youth.

      http://www.grahamstevenson.me.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=156:richard-doll&catid=4:d&Itemid=19

      Richard Doll’s socialism did not please everyone
      “His communism had so antagonised Professor John McMichael at the Hammersmith that he was told after the war, “You’ll never work here.”

      http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/331/7515/517-c

      “Another result of his work was that he helped establish the science of epidemiology, which is now one of the most essential components of medical research. He joined the statistical research unit of the UK Medical Research Council after the Second World War, where he was to work for more than 21 years, eventually becoming its director.”

      MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL: ROCKEFELLER MEDICAL FELLOWSHIPS – BMJ 1932

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2520659/pdf/brmedj07385-0032a.pdf

      “From the 1970s on Doll was called as an expert witness in dozens of official enquiries and court cases seeking to establish links between cancer cases and chemicals or radiation. In many cases he denied there was any significant causative factor involved and saved industry and governments millions in compensation payments.

      After his death his papers, held at the Wellcome Foundation Library, showed that he had received a series of consultancy payments, including money from companies whose products he defended in court.”

      “Doll’s supporters claim that the sources of his funding were “widely known.” But the workers who suffered from the effects of industrial pollution were presumably not party to the information. In addition, his personal testimonies helped to exonerate industrial pollution as a significant cause of cancer. There is a grim symmetry between the millions of lives saved from lung cancer by stopping smoking and the millions that have died with cancer from occupational and environmental causes.

      This is more than a matter of personal ethics. Doll started out as a committed socialist. He was a member of the Communist Party in the 1930s, leaving the party over the Nazi-Soviet Pact.

      He also was a leading member of the Socialist Medical Association that campaigned for the British National Health Service to be established after World War II.”

      https://www1.wsws.org/articles/2007/jan2007/doll-j09.shtml

      Nazi-Soviet Pact
      “Joseph Stalin realized that war with Germany was inevitable. However, to have any chance of victory he needed time to build up his armed forces. The only way he could obtain time was to do a deal with Hitler. Stalin was convinced that Hitler would not be foolish enough to fight a war on two fronts.”

      “On 28th August, 1939, the Nazi-Soviet Pact was signed in Moscow. Under the terms of the agreement, both countries promised to remain neutral if either country became involved in a war.”

      http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSnazipact.htm

      The Socialist Medical Association appears to have been heavily involved with anti-smoking.
      Leading lights Doll, Godber and Joules were all members.

      • churchmouse says:

        Interesting that. Thank you, Rose!!

      • Rose says:

        Churchmouse

        You are very welcome.

        That man lied to me all my life and I believed every word until recently.
        (Except tobacco causing all respiratory diseases in the days when the skies were raining soot and you could smell the toxic chemicals in the smog blowing up from the city)

        So now on wet days I hunt him across the internet, to see what else he has been up to.

  9. Tim says:

    And I will say this too, I have said it before, but that tiny puff of smoke floating up in the air from the ashtray sitting out in public areas here and there, scattered throughout the western world, was the public’s insurance policy that all other freedoms and liberties were being acknowledged and accepted. When they did away with that little puff of smoke, they did away with society’s insurance policy. And with no insurance any longer in place, then sky is the limit, up to and including microchipping as the final solution this time, after a large population kill-off through various means to cull down the numbers.

    If World War II was fought in a haze of tobacco smoke to insure that liberties and freedoms be recognized and true tolerance (not the fake-tolerance found in today’s propaganda) be the norm, in today’s climate it is devolving back into middle age intolerance and lack of freedom, diversity and liberty simply because that haze of tobacco smoke has been removed.

    And people have done it to themselves, have agreed to it, because it better suits their selfish pride.

  10. Tim says:

    Here are the results of a recent study – I think you may have had this on your website a few weeks back – about the positive effects of nicotine and specifically smoking on workplace performance, increased brain activity and more productivity as a result.

    It says in one part about absolute scientific measurements done in-lab proving that smokers outperform nonsmokers in simulated workplace activities requiring attentiveness, concentration and nimble-mindedness as a fact that:

    ” This fact raises the question: Can nicotine have had a beneficial effect on innovation & growth in the economy in the last century? If this is true, it may help to explain why the productivity of labor in the western world has decreased slightly each year since the 1970s, when the official health campaigns began to reduce the number of smokers.

    One can also raise questions about whether the numerous smoking bans in workplaces could have contributed to the recent large productivity decline. In Denmark an unexpected and inexplicable collapse in labor productivity was apparent in 2007 and 2008 – right after the state banned smoking in all Danish workplaces.”

    (Quote taken from: http://forces.org/News_Portal/news_viewer.php?id=2225 )

    So yes, it is quite reasonable to believe that much if not most of the declines in economic growth coupled with declines in personal freedoms and liberties of all sorts can’t all be tied back exactly and squarely to anti-smoking and smoking-bans based on “The Lie” – and thus follows, from “The Lie” – the great world of freedom, growth and opportunity, as it was – is quickly being eroded and destroyed – and all thanks to demonization of “the smokers” and the Holy Grail of smoking-bans.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Yes, I did cover that. Twice, in fact. And I had a hand in translating it from the original Danish.

      It reminds me that I came across a reference to a study that said more or less the opposite, and that smokers were stupid.

      Dr. Mark Weiser from the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Hospital in Israel found a direct correlation between the number of cigarettes a smoker inhales and his IQ. People with lower IQs are the ones who tend to be smokers and the heavier the smoker, the lower the IQ.

      “It was really quite a straightforward study,” says Weiser, who compared the cognitive test scores of male adolescent smokers and non-smokers. “We looked at cross-sectional data on IQ and smoking cigarettes, and looked at people’s smoking status and their IQs,” he tells ISRAEL21c.

      Some media reports distorted the findings of the study that appeared recently in the journal Addiction, and reported that smoking actually damages your IQ, but Weiser says this is not likely the case, and it’s not what he and his colleagues found in their study.

      “It’s very clear that people with low IQs are the ones who choose to smoke. It’s not just a matter of socioeconomic status – if they are poor or have less education – and because of that do less well on IQ tests. And that’s really the story,” he says.

      So there you are. A counter-study!

      • churchmouse says:

        People who don’t believe in an afterlife tend to seek healthist ‘solutions’.

      • Jax says:

        It reminds me that I came across a reference to a study that said more or less the opposite, and that smokers were stupid

        As the anti-smoking movement have now morphed from their original tactic of grossly exaggerating vague hypotheses and automatically claiming them as “fact,” to telling downright complete and utter lies, it’s highly likely that this study was part of the “get in first” tactic which the anti-smoking movement is increasingly using these days – they get wind of a study which they believe they might not be able to suppress, showing that smoking is either good for people, or at least not as bad as they hoped, and swiftly make up one of their own “proving” the complete opposite of what might shortly be announced.

        A similar thing was done a few years ago regarding depression and other mental disorders. My immediate suspicion on that one was that it was in response to cries of alarm from mental health professionals that their patients would suffer even more than they were already if a blanket smoking ban was implemented in mental institutions. And sure enough, when cases came to court over it, the courts (as usual) trusted the word of the “studies” over the word of the people working directly with patients.

        In fact, the main usefulness of anti-smoking “studies” these days is to indicate the existence somewhere of some research or study showing some form of benefit from smoking in precisely the area where the anti-smoking “study” is trying to indicate that there is a dis-benefit.

      • Mike F says:

        The notion that IQ measures intelligence is about as “intelligent” as the notion that smoking causes lung cancer.

        For a contrarian view, try Stephen J. Gould, The Mismeasure of Man.

        The link is to Amazon.com U.S. because there are more reader comments than the U.K. site.

        Junk science has been around for a long time, and it’s hardly limited to smoking.

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