Smoking Is Good For You

I think that, in some profound sense, every smoker knows that smoking is good for them. They wouldn’t smoke if they didn’t feel that way about smoking. People do things that they like doing. They eat foods that they like eating. They drink beverages that they enjoy drinking. They listen to music that they like hearing. They watch movies that they enjoy seeing. And they smoke tobacco because they like that too.

But ask any of them why they enjoy that kind of food, and they’ll be hard pressed to give a reason. They won’t be able to come up with a chemical analysis of the food, and pinpoint a key ingredient. They’ll just say, "I like it." And the same will go for what they drink. What they listen to. What they watch. What they read. What they smoke. All of these things they enjoy, but they can’t say quite why.

But that doesn’t matter. Human beings have been around for millions of years. Far longer if their pre-human ancestors are added in. For millions of years, humans have been pulling berries off trees, digging up roots, catching fish, and nibbling them, and deciding, "I like it." Humans – every animal, in fact – has some very, very sophisticated ways of finding out whether something is edible or poisonous. They have to have a hyper-efficient chemical analytical laboratory built into them, that runs a check on every single bite of food they take, and tells them within milliseconds whether to swallow it or spit it out. And that laboratory doesn’t need to come up and give a list of ingredients. All it has to do is say, "Yes, I like it," or "No, I don’t like it." So when anyone says about something they eat, or drink, or smoke, or anything else, when they say "I like it," they’re not hazarding a guess:  they’re giving the results from the best laboratory in the world, one that’s been in business for millions of years, and which is always getting better.

And more than this, humans – all animals – also have super-sophisticated on-board control systems telling them when to drink and when to eat. And very often telling them exactly what to eat. From time to time people get cravings for particular foods. For me it’s usually oily fish like smoked mackerel. Or pure orange juice. A week or two back, I suddenly had a craving for tinned smoked mussels. I bought a can. It tasted delicious. Why? Probably because there was something in it I needed, something I was running low on, and my control system had kicked in to push it up the priority list of things to eat. Pregnant women are renowned for these sorts of cravings. That isn’t very surprising, given that they’re eating for two, and most likely the developing embryo within them is calling soundlessly but urgently for all sorts of things, and this creates a series of deficits which have to be made good rapidly, just like when house guests eat all the biscuits. And these sudden deficits translate into cravings for, well, bananas and baked beans.

And that’s what people really need to weigh against the claims of any self-styled medical or nutritional ‘expert’ who tells them the opposite of what their own on-board, million-year-tried-and-tested, super-high-speed laboratory and control systems are telling them. Most of these ‘experts’ haven’t been around for 10 years or 100 years, never mind one hundred million years. And most of them disagree with each other, and with past experts. In fact they’re not really experts at all. They’re wolves. But people listen to them all the same.

And that creates a problem. Because these wolves are almost always telling people not to trust their own super-sophisticated multi-million-year-honed analysis and control systems. When do medical or nutritional or lifestyle gurus ever tell people to eat what they feel like, to trust their own judgment?. Never. It’s part of any expert wolf’s job description to get people to stop believing themselves, and start to believe them instead. Because it makes it easier to fleece them, by getting them to buy the patent medicines they’re peddling. 

The problem is one of serving two masters. Because even though somebody might completely believe some self-styled expert, they’re still going to have their on-board laboratory analysing what they eat, and they’re still going to have their control system telling them what to eat. Once someone falls under the spell of an ‘expert’, they become just like a car driver who allows a backseat passenger sitting behind them to lean over and take hold of the wheel, while they’re still holding onto the wheel themselves. So there are two sets of hands pulling in opposite directions on the same steering wheel. And that’s a recipe for disaster.

If we have so many ‘eating disorders’ these days – anorexia, bulimia, obesity, etc – there’s a good case for suggesting that a lot of it is down to serving two masters. More and more, people aren’t doing what comes naturally, but are always fighting with some sort of learned or acquired expertise that they’ve picked up from some magazine, or seen on TV, or heard from a friend, and which they believe, and which sets them working against themselves, fighting their natural impulses, alternately starving and bingeing or behaving in some other crazy way.

It’s always been a problem. There have always been quack doctors and snake oil salesmen, but these days there’s a veritable plague of them. There are armies of doctors telling people not to smoke, chefs telling them what to eat, nutritional experts telling them what to drink, athletes, gymnasts, advertising agencies, government bureaus. The list is endless. And they are all of them working to override people’s own judgment – their billion-year-evolved, multi-crash-tested, hyper-sophisticated, built-in, super-fast, on-board laboratories and control systems – just so that they can sell them NRT or Chantix or Zyban or something, and make a quick buck.

It’s not all experts that are the problem. A lot of experts really do know what they’re talking about. The problem lies in those kinds of experts who try to override people’s own judgment, and substitute their own expertise for it. Those are the dangerous ones. Traditional family doctors didn’t used to do this. They offered medicines, treatments, therapies. They didn’t try to run the lives of their patients. And they didn’t because they saw themselves as trying to help their patients to live their lives in the way they chose. The problem lies in a "lifestyle medicine" which aims to change people’s behaviour, to override their own in-built judgment, and take control of their lives, just like backseat drivers trying to take over the steering wheel of a car.

It can’t go on. It has to stop. These wolves must be stopped.

So smoke a cigarette. If you don’t enjoy it, then don’t smoke any more, because it probably isn’t good for you. Your on-board, multi-million-year-old, hyper-fast on-board analytical laboratory has just said No to it.  And if you enjoy it, then that same laboratory will have just said Yes, and you’ll have found out, in a profound sense, that smoking is good for you.   

About Frank Davis

smoker
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23 Responses to Smoking Is Good For You

  1. Anonymous says:

    Is Smoking good for me?
    At my age I have more of a smoking past than a smoking
    future, After smoking ,heavy, for the past 55 years I
    still enjoy each drag, especially now in these times of
    defiance. The other evening my friend (75 year old ex para) and I were sat ouside a promenade bar in Lloret de
    Mar,Spain. Midnight still warm, a nice Amber leaf roll up
    and a very large ice cold mug of strong Mahou.
    A couple walked slowly past our table , he coughing she
    doing the hand wafting set piece. George the para shouted
    after them asking their origins , a muttered reply in
    some nordic tongue. It seemed our happiness was their
    sadness , but them again even if we were not smoking
    that couple would still be sad, so carry on smoking
    whats the point of giving up.
    Just a little story , Frank ,carry on regardless
    The Galizian

  2. lynladd says:

    Smoking is Good For You
    Well Frank, your take on what is going on in the world today regarding smoking and other lifestyle choices makes one heck of a lot more sense than anything else I have heard so far from any government, medical body, anti smoker, pseudo charity and any other similar person/body.
    Well done and thank you for writing a piece that is so logical.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Smoking is Good For You
    Hi Frank,
    A very good, informed slant on a very pernicious predicament we find ourselves in.
    A proverb comes to mind : “One Man’s Meat is Another Man’s Poison”. :> How about: “Live and Let Live”!?? – wouldn’t that be nice!!
    Best wishes,
    Jo

  4. Anonymous says:

    Smoking IS good for you!
    Well said, Frank. And so true. It’s such a shame that ASH and all those other moralising busy-bodies have poisoned such life-affirming pleasure as there was in a smoke.
    Public Health is the arch-villain of the piece. They ran out of real public health problems (like Cholera and rickets)and have been justifying their existence on the grounds of nannying ever since.
    Read this and weep:http://www.nationalhealthexecutive.com/news_public-health_does-nanny-know-best.htm
    “Left to themselves, people do not choose to live healthy lives.”
    David J Hunter. Professor of Health Policy and Management in the Wolfson Research Institute at Durham University and Chair of the UK Public Health Association
    Karenb

  5. Frank Davis says:

    Re: Health Behaviour Change
    Thanks for that.
    Coercion, by raising price, is probably the method with the strongest track record, the price elasticity for consumption being estimated at –0.4 internationally. More draconian measures may one day be possible: we have found almost 50% support for a total ban on sales of tobacco in England.</i.
    Not much bothered about using coercion, is he?

  6. Frank Davis says:

    Re: Smoking IS good for you!
    Thanks for that. It’s very interesting indeed.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Smoking is good for you
    So true Frank. You are only happy and healthy when your whole being is.
    I chose to smoke because I liked the aroma and I do enjoy a cigarette. If ever I stop enjoying it, then I will stop smoking – just like I did with baked beans! I used to adore them 20 years ago, yet can’t eat them now.
    The main threat to our health at the moment is the prohibitionists and puritans. They are a cancer on society and they know it. Unfortunatley they don’t care at all, and they certainly don’t give two-hoots on who they tread on – governments included. They are very dangerous at the moment.

  8. Anonymous says:

    In the light of this piece, I thought I’d share a little bit of my history with you which I think illustrates your point perfectly. I was a latecomer to the world of tobacco smoking, eschewing the habit until I was just short of 30 years old. I started out of pure curiosity and sheer perversity. I’d never smoked when I was younger (through the 70’s and 80’s) simply because everyone else did. Then, 30 years on, everyone else was giving up and going all precious about it, and that made me think that there must be something very, very good about it or all those ex-smokers wouldn’t be making all that fuss. So I tried it, fully convinced that my first attempt at inhaling would result in paroxysms of wild coughing. Not so. The term “ducks to water” springs to mind. My first cigarette was nothing short of a complete revelation. I was angry at all my long-term smoking friends – why hadn’t they told me all this time what I’d been missing? Why hadn’t they shared with me how wonderfully, blissfully relaxing it was? Why hadn’t they described to me the sheer ecstasy of the “nicotine rush” – tingling its way deliciously from the top of my head to the tip of my toes like the very, very best kind of magical massage?
    But I digress. The point is that for the first 30 years of my life I’d suffered very badly with eczema. At its worst there were times when there wasn’t one single part of me that wasn’t covered in itchy, flaky patches. At best there were isolated, but huge, areas of fiendishly itchy skin which cracked and seeped and wept with every slight movement. I lost count of the times I had to peel myself out of my sheets in the mornings where the wounds had wept overnight and dried, or indeed torn huge chunks of skin off my legs or arms when I undressed at night. I’d tried everything – and I mean everything – to get rid of it. Doctors, dermatologists, creams, lotions and potions from conventional medical professionals had yielded no improvement; homoeopathy, herbalism, naturopathy, acupuncture, food sensitivity tests (including one rather radical treatment whereby I had to inject myself in the leg with allergen solutions on a regular basis), and contact allergy tests from alternative healing circles were equally ineffective. In fact, the only thing I learned from all this is that alternative medicine is infinitely (and I mean infinitely!) more expensive than the conventional type.
    Then, by chance, as it were, I began smoking. As if by magic, within a month my eczema began to disappear. The wild itching stopped, the skin repaired itself, the few stubborn patches that remained diminished in size, stopped weeping and bleeding and after three months even they had vanished. Within six months my skin looked as normal as the next person’s. I could wear make up again, I could wear perfume, I could wash my clothes in biological washing powder and I could wear any fabric I chose close to my skin without so much as a hint of irritation. And when I look back on it now, and particularly in the light of the comments in this article, it’s no wonder that on that first, blissful puff at the age of 29½, my own multi-million-year-honed analysis and control systems, as you so accurately describe them, switched themselves onto “all systems go” and said: “Yes! And about time, too!”

  9. Frank Davis says:

    That’s a wonderful story.

  10. Frank Davis says:

    I just turned up this:
    Medicinal Tobacco – This is an herb of marvelous virtue against wounds, ulcers, herpes, and all other things… these are the words of Jean Nicot, the 15th century French Ambassador to Portugal who introduced the tobacco plant to France and who later wrote of the medicinal values of tobacco. Six hundred years later, scientists and researchers are continuously experimenting to uncover the medicinal benefits of tobacco: as antibacterial, antifungal, and topical analgesics. Today, researchers from NTA are formulating different medications from the tobacco seed oil and leaf extracts. Five dogs, each of them afflicted with skin disease and bald spots on their bodies, were initially treated with these medications, and after one month, the disease was cured and researchers noticed that new furs emerged on the dog’s bald spots. The success rate of the trial was approximately 100%, however, it was limited to veterinary purposes only. NTA has not yet explored the possibilities of tobacco for human medicine.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Smoking IS good for you!
    Don’t know if you’ve seen this from the Forces site:
    http://www.forces.org/evidence/evid/therap.htm
    Happy reading!
    Karenb

  12. Anonymous says:

    Smoking and Health
    Having read Anonymous tale about eczema I to have a similar tale, born with chronic asthma, I suffered terribly until I was 17, at that time I was in New Zealand and had an attack that almost killed me,
    I was sent to the Wellington Hospital, where an Asthma specialist asked if I smoked, NO Way was my reply, he said try it occasionally, which eventually I did, The result has been once Id recovered from the attack, I have had 48 years Asthma free, and a lot of that 48 years were in the Forces.
    Smoking gave me a life I could not have dreamed of before I was 17, Im now 66 and going strong.

  13. Frank Davis says:

    Re: Smoking and Health
    Smoking certainly used to be recommended for people who suffered from asthma.
    I know someone who suffered from asthma for a long time, but hasn’t had any recurrence of it since she took up smoking. The one person I know who does suffer from it (and also from eczema) is a non-smoker who can’t stand the smell of tobacco smoke.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Re: Smoking and Health
    I know someone who gave up smoking and got terrible asthma. He’d never had it before.
    Karenb

  15. Anonymous says:

    Does tobacco smoke prevent atopic disorders?
    I have a good collegue / friend, who stopped smoking a pack pr. day (in 2003) and since that have suffered from a serious asthma. He now has to have medicine against it just to live a reasonable life.
    Today he hates tobacco smoke, and has declined visiting me in my house, since we are 2 smokers in my family. It should be noted, that he has never had asthma before in his life.
    Take a look at this study:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11422156

  16. Anonymous says:

    smoking good for you
    Thank you Frank, that was a brilliant.
    How do we stop them though, that is the burning question?
    I also agree with the people who mention asthma, I had that many years ago for about 4 years. It is a shame the doctors are so blinkered, maybe if they had asked more people a few questions like rather than just smoking like, do you have small pets ect, would be more useful. I used an inhaler until our hamsters and chinchilla died, as I did not want to get rid of them. That was over 15 years ago and I have not used one since. I have no doubt the doctors would have just kept prescribing should I have carried on going to them.
    I does appear since coal fires have been replaced with storage heaters and other “cleaner” fuels, less smoking in households, the children now have more asthma than ever I remember in my smokey childhood. I think it seems pretty obvious that does have something to do with the rise, even without a degree.
    You have a superb way with words, and I am sure you speak for many, the antis seem to be like a slow, drip, drip, drip of poison, seeping through our lives. I found this interesting, it made me angry when I first read it though.
    http://www.democracyinstitute.org/pdfs/DI%20Denormalisation%20Study.pdf
    snip~
    In practise, denormalisation means that the
    government attempts to shame adults into
    changing their behaviour. For the
    government’s denormalisation campaign to
    succeed these adults must be stigmatised,II
    that is, they will be placed apart from the
    rest of civilised society until and unless they
    learn to behave in the approved manner.1
    Denormalisation pushes gamblers, drinkers,
    smokers, and the obese from being a health
    hazard to being a moral hazard, nothing less
    than blots on the nation’s moral landscape.
    http://www.democracyinstitute.org/pdfs/DI%20Denormalisation%20Study.pdf
    snip~page 25
    Would we find nothing morally objectionable about such government
    activity? The answer is that, whatever our views about AIDS or sexuality, we would
    find such actions to be morally objectionable. For a government in a liberal
    democracy, the tool for censuring either its citizens or its corporations is not
    denormalisation but the criminal law. To
    forget this is to forget that the twentiethcentury’s
    experiments in denormalisation
    ended with the gulag and the concentration camp.
    Denormalisation also runs afoul of legitimacy because it represents a vast and
    unacceptable instance of social engineering
    mandyv

  17. Anonymous says:

    Smoking is good for you
    The main problem with the self-righteous, sanctimonious, puritanical bigots that have infected our society with mis-information propaganda, lies not in what they tell us to believe but in our acceptance of the “Facts” without ever questioning the validity of their so-called evidence.
    Let me give you an example: earlier this week we were fed the line that cancer deaths have been reduced by around a third in recent years and that the reduction in smoking prevalence is the reason.
    This leads to an erroneous assumption that fewer cancer deaths indicates that there are fewer people suffering from cancer, Wrong, Very Wrong.
    The prevalence of cancer of all types is higher than ever before in human history, however, treatment of the symptoms of cancer have improved considerably leading to fewer deaths.
    We are all exposed to far more carcinogens in our every day lives, in our cleaning materials (we use more chemicals in our homes than ever before), in our personal hygiene products, from vehicle exhausts (there are 5 times as many cars on our roads as 40 years ago), from industry, in our food/drink (aspartame is now used as a sugar replacement in almost all our processed food/ diet drinks despite the fact that it is a known carcinogen).
    Add to that the fact that we now smear our skin with factor 20 plus before we step into the sun, UV exposure gives us our only natural source of vitamin D, Vitamin D is effective against 77 different types of cancer.
    Now you begin to understand why there are more cases of cancer than ever before, but it’s far easier to point the finger of blame at smokers because we are in the minority and no-one cares that not one piece of credible scientific evidence has ever been produced linking passive smoking to any, ANY specific diseases.
    In fifty years of research not one scientific study has proven that second hand tobacco smoke is anything more than a mild irritant to non-smokers.
    THERE IS NO PROOF, who needs proof when you have unquestioning belief in doctors, scientists and other authoritative people (usually on the payroll of big pharma or ASH) who dispite having presented us with nothing more than opinion, speculation and conjecture on the massive cost of human life caused by the threat of passive smoking.
    We are bombarded almost daily with ridiculous claims and conflicting statistics about this health threat or that, we are bewildered and confused, we’re scared half to death by mad cow disease, bird flu, now swine flu, it feels like FARMAGEDDON.
    Life was so much simpler and healthier when we just didn’t give a shit.

  18. Anonymous says:

    So, my on-board, million-year-tried-and-tested, super-high-speed laboratory and control system says my legs buckle with pain due to narrowed arteries when I walk, which gets worse with heavy smoking, and my chest is more routinely infected after a cold rather than clear its self as it used to, my blood pressure rockets after a ciggy and my middle ears won’t clear of snot because of the eustacian tubes being blocked by smokers residue over the years, then my machine was giving me the right signals and was actually telling me “no, it’s not good for you”. BUT, my head over ruled it and said “throw caution to the wind lad. You only live once. Light it up, you know you want to. One more will hardly make a difference” etc.
    The mind is a powerful thing and sometimes it over rules sense or reason. This is the thing, when you actually know, or put another way you can ‘feel’ the harmful effects of something, and yet can’t resist it, what hope is there.
    I love the smell of Isopropyl alcohol, but I’m told it is dangerous to sniff, but I still take a whiff when ever I clean my tape heads. My point is that even with expert advice, and even sometimes with negative symptoms, we as humans will only take notice if we want to. The same applies that we will only smoke, drink or eat what we want to as you say. The experts exist to point out the dangers probable, and I don’t doubt their experience in the field. You’d have to operate on someone with smoking disease to appreciate where they come from, but what stinks most of all is the government hypochrisy that on one hand bemoans to cost of dealing with the health issues of smoking and on the other hand happily takes tax revenue from the sale of tobacco and at the same time gets into bed with the pharm’s. What sort of mixed message does this send out. Of course government will never legislate for a total ban, or risk criminalising millions of people overnight, so do we trust what our mind tells us we want, or our finely honed inbuilt laboratory or the experts, or do we just say sod it, why don’t you all just sod off while I enjoy a ciggy. Where’s my Rizzlas?

  19. Frank Davis says:

    This is the thing, when you actually know, or put another way you can ‘feel’ the harmful effects of something, and yet can’t resist it, what hope is there.
    Given that my legs don’t buckle when I walk, and that I’ve often gone for years without getting a cold, and my ears aren’t blocked, it’s quite impossible for me to feel these ‘harmful effects’.
    It’s true that blood pressure rises after smoking a cigarette, but it also rises after lots of other things. So what?
    In 40 years of smoking, I have suffered from no serious illnesses whatsoever. The principle ill effect has been the occasional hacking cough in the morning. This has got worse in the last couple of years, largely because my tobacco consumption has increased by a third since the introduction of the smoking ban.
    The experts exist to point out the dangers probable, and I don’t doubt their experience in the field.
    And therein lies the difference between you and me, because I always doubt that the ‘experts’ really know what they are talking about. Or at least I am not prepared to uncritically accept their advice, particularly when it so often proves remarkably easy to show that much of it is entirely groundless.
    We are all of us (or maybe just some of us) given our own two eyes and our own intelligence and our own common sense with which to evaluate the advice of self-styled experts and authorities of one sort or other. We should, I believe, regard their claims with scepticism until we are convinced otherwise. That seems to me to be a rather more rational attitude than the kind of credulity that you appear to advocate and to practise.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Frank Davies’s article
    This is the first time that I have posted on this site. I am very impressed by the intelligence and common sense of other posters.
    Everything makes sense about the idea that ‘smoking is good for you’ except for one thing – the ‘real’ statistical information that was discovered by what’s-his-name in the 1960s. There seemed to be no doubt at all that people were dieing prematurely as a result of smoking.
    If one is going to say that the statistics are false, one needs to provide a convincing alternative reason for all the premature deaths.
    In my personal opinion, without any scientific basis whatsoever, the real culprit was the amount of SULPHUR in the air. I lived for a long time in an industrial town in the North West of England, and, on occasions, a yellow smog blanketed the town from the factory chimneys. This problem led to the Clean Air Acts – and about time to! The reason that I feel that the smogs were important is that the there was a predominance of ‘smoking related diseases’ in industrial areas. I do not know – perhaps the presence of sulphur would be obvious if sulphur was the cause – perhaps not. Whatever, there needs to be found a rational explanation for the finds of whoever-it-was.
    Something that really annoys me very much is the use of the phrase ‘saving lives’. For God knows how long, we have had this wonderful phrase ‘he/she/they saved my life’. The phrase applied to immediate, life threatening situations, such as drownings, fires, accidents, etc. It is to the eternal shame of the Patricia Hewitt and the Caroline Flint that they hijacked this wonderful, meaningful phrase and debased it by applying it to their statistical possibilities. NO – their statistical possibilities save no lives – at best, if what they say is true, they only postpone deaths.
    It may be that postponing deaths is a wonderful thing. I do not know, but what I DO know is that the longer people live, the more likely that they are to develop other conditions. In the end, we are all going to peg out. Perhaps the illnesses of old age are going to be worse for the NHS than the posited demand due to smoking.

  21. Frank Davis says:

    Re: Frank Davies’s article
    Everything makes sense about the idea that ‘smoking is good for you’ except for one thing – the ‘real’ statistical information that was discovered by what’s-his-name in the 1960s.
    Richard Doll and Bradford Hill in the 1950s? I’ve already taken a look at their 1950 London Hospitals Study, and found that while 99.7% of the lung cancer patients were smokers, 97.7% of all the patients in the study were smokers – which would mean that, on the null hypothesis that smoking had no effect on whether anyone got lung cancer or not, 97.7% of lung cancer patients could be expected to be smokers. So, in the London Hospitals Study, just 2% more of them were smokers than would be expected.
    If one is going to say that the statistics are false, one needs to provide a convincing alternative reason for all the premature deaths.
    I can’t agree. In a murder enquiry, for example, is it really necessary to prove that Miss Scarlet dunnit with the candlestick in the library, in order to show that Professor Plum didn’t? Of course it helps if you can show who dunnit. But this isn’t necessary in order to show who didn’t do it. People can be ruled out of an enquiry in very simple ways – e.g. by showing that they were on the other side of the world at the time. It’s not as if absolutely everybody is under suspicion until the real culprit is found.
    As I see it, the demolition of the case against tobacco should in itself be sufficient cause to re-open the enquiry into the causes of lung cancer. The case against tobacco is surprisingly weak, resting largely on statistical correlations. It’s a scandal that lung cancer research has now become an underfunded poor relation of other cancer studies.
    Anyway, it’s interesting that you think that sulphur is the culprit. Lots of people think that it was car exhausts. Or diesel exhausts. I was quite interested in radioactive fallout for a while. Now I’m intrigued that cervical cancer has a viral cause – human papillomavirus (HPV). But the point is that nobody is investigating any of these, because it is believed that smoking causes 90% of lung cancers. And while this continues to be believed, nobody will investigate anything else, and we will never find out.
    There seemed to be no doubt at all that people were dieing prematurely as a result of smoking.
    Have people really been dying ‘prematurely’? The generation of cigarette smokers has been the longest lived in recorded history, resulting in a pension crisis, the extension of retirement age, and an overloaded health service. So how on earth can they be said to have been dying ‘prematurely’?

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