Legitimate Aspirations

I was listening to the Libya Conference that was being chaired by David Cameron. The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, was speaking. He addressed everybody as “excellencies”, and spoke of “meeting the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people”.

It sounded very good until I started wondering whether it would be a “legitimate aspiration” of a Libyan to be able, say, to sit in a bar and drink a cup of coffee and smoke a cigarette.

In fact, Libyans probably don’t aspire in the least to do such a thing, because they’re already perfectly free to do this, and always have been. For, despite being described as “murderous” by David Cameron about five or six times, Gaddafi never banned smoking in Libya. Perhaps that’s why Cameron thinks he’s murderous.

But when the Coalition tanks finally roll into Tripoli, Libyans will almost certainly start having exactly such an aspiration. Because with all the UN aid to rebuild Libyan hospitals and mosques, the WHO will also show up too, with its ‘lifestyle medicine’ agenda. And they’ll be pushing hard for smoking bans. After all, most of the countries of the world have signed the UN/WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control which requires them to introduce ‘smokefree’ premises everywhere, and fund education about the dangers of tobacco, and all the rest of it. Libya signed up too. So smoking will be banned in Libyan cafes and bars. And Mr Average Libyan will start aspiring to be able to just go into a cafe, and buy a cup of coffee, and sit smoking a cigarette and gazing into space thinking about whether Tripoli Wanderers will do better next time against Athletico Benghazi if that fat fool Yusuf could only learn to kick straight.

So no, it won’t be a “legitimate aspiration”. You can aspire to freedom and democracy and equality and all sorts of fine and abstract ideas. But, nope, you can’t aspire to be able to sit in a bar, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. Sorry. Not legitimate.

But the freedom to be able to sit in a bar and drink a coffee or a beer and smoke a cigarette is such a basic, bricks-and-mortar freedom that, if you can no longer do even that, then you can no longer free to do anything at all. If that isn’t a legitimate aspiration, then there are no legitimate aspirations at all.

Gaddafi may be a tyrant. But he’s got nothing on the UN and the WHO. Gaddafi didn’t want to control every single thing that Libyans did, but the WHO does want to control everyone in the world. It wants to control every single thing they do, right down to drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.

What’s needed isn’t air strikes on Libya, but on the WHO.

More than 8000 people from more than 150 countries work for the Organization in 147 country offices, six regional offices and at the headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

They could start with its headquarters in Geneva.

The World Health Organization (WHO/OMS) headquarters is situated on the outskirts of Geneva at the end of Avenue Appia, approximately three kilometres from the centre of town, and about one and a half kilometres from the Palais des Nations (UN). Most Geneva taxi drivers know the headquarters building as “OMS” (on Avenue Appia).

Its precise location is 46.23° N, 6.13° E.

Two or three cruise missiles should do the job nicely.

I think that’s a perfectly legitimate aspiration.

About Frank Davis

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22 Responses to Legitimate Aspirations

  1. Lysistrata says:

    Frank, you are a star. Well observed and well said.

    I had the privilege, from the 70s, of living in one of those northern english cities with a huge mix of nationalities, cheerfully getting on together.

    I drank vodka and danced in the Polish club, I learned bhangra dancing in the Asian Youth Association club, I smoked dope and danced to black music in “The International”, I spoke French with gracious elderly gentlemen and even more gracious and beautiful women and learned to dance more slowly in the Dominican Association club, I knocked back some odd drinks and listened to Estonian comedians doing even odder turns in the Estonian club, I bawled my eyes out on Friday nights when Mary and Sean got up to sing the old songs of love and loss at the Harp of Erin, I drank tea and lost at playing cards and ate searingly hot little patties at the Bangladesh Centre, and we all met and greeted each other in between times at The Star or The Boy and Barrel or at the market cafes.

    Gone, all gone, within the past few years.

    What unified us? What was the one thing that all these cultures, all these places, had in common? What was the currency between us? How did we understand each other between all these languages and backgrounds? What – possibly – could a young Pakistani waiter and an Irish singer and an elderly Polish man have in common? What freedom did we have, that we didn’t realise at the time?

    Sadly, my only weapons are my words, and that’s not enough now.

    • Frank Davis says:

      What unified us? What was the one thing that all these cultures, all these places, had in common? What was the currency between us?

      Cigarettes? They are a universal currency. In fact they have often been used as an informal currency.

      It’s an odd thought that cigarettes may have been greasing the wheels of a genuinely multicultural society, one of give and take, cigarettes given and taken. And that once removed, the engine slowly seized up, like a motor from which the oil had been drained off.

      I hadn’t thought of that.

  2. Junican says:

    A touching tribute to times gone by, Lysitrata. Have we not all been there at one time or another? But that was when we had the freedom to do so. That was before the zealots turned up and took over the Government.

    It is late – I must turn in. I am intrigued by Frank’s previous article about Idle Time. I think that that article is worthy of further consideration. It coincided with some thoughts that I was having about how politicians could no longer be considered to be competent to run Government Departments on the grounds that these departments are just too complex these days. And that we ought to be able to vote for the people who run these departments in order to bring into the light of day the zealots who have quietly gained control. Democracy was fine when it was understood that minorities would not be persecuted by the majority, but that idea seems to have gone by the Board. Now, ASH need only produce a survey which shows that most people (who never go to pubs) want smoking to be banned in pubs for it to be so.

    Our system of government is falling apart. It must be true. How else can the spread of smoking bans be accounted for? Why did Spain inflict this ban on smokers when there was no actual public demand whatsoever for such a ban? It can only be that the Spanish Gov was being controlled by others. There is no other explanation. Nothing else makes sense.

    • Frank Davis says:

      And that we ought to be able to vote for the people who run these departments in order to bring into the light of day the zealots who have quietly gained control.

      That would be an interesting extension of democracy. For it certainly seems to be the case, in the matter of antismoking, that a number of zealots have quietly infiltrated the medical profession and the civil service, and have been using their power to further their antismoking aims. Nobody voted for them, of course. Apart from each other, that is.

      An organisation like the WHO would seem to be perfect for such a process of infiltration, given that most of its members would seem to be appointed or elected by each other. Once you’ve got enough of your chaps inside – whether they be communists or antismokers or greens – you can continue to ensure that they are promoted and advanced until the entire organisation is under the control of True Believers of one sort or other.

      It’s one of the reasons why I think that the medical profession needs to be decapitated, and its top ranks purged, and fresh blood introduced from below. I read once, not long ago, that the British medical profession had been ‘taken over’ sometime in the 1990s by zealots. This seems entirely plausible. It also seems entirely plausible that the same has happened in most other countries in the world, including of course the WHO.

      Cruise missiles would be a bit of a messy way of getting rid of these infestations. There are probably better ways. But in principle the end result would be the same: decapitation.

  3. Rose says:

    Passive smoking doesn’t cause cancer – official
    Sunday 8 March 1998
    “THE world’s leading health organisation has withheld from publication a study which shows that not only might there be no link between passive smoking and lung cancer but that it could even have a protective effect.

    The astounding results are set to throw wide open the debate on passive smoking health risks. The World Health Organisation, which commissioned the 12-centre, seven-country European study has failed to make the findings public, and has instead produced only a summary of the results in an internal report.

    Despite repeated approaches, nobody at the WHO headquarters in Geneva would comment on the findings last week. At its International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, which coordinated the study, a spokesman would say only that the full report had been submitted to a science journal and no publication date had been set.

    The findings are certain to be an embarrassment to the WHO, which has spent years and vast sums on anti-smoking and anti-tobacco campaigns.”
    http://web.archive.org/web/20021128202555/http://www.telegraph.co.uk/htmlContent.jhtml?html=/archive/1998/03/08/wtob08.html

    WHO LAUNCHES PARTNERSHIP WITH THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY TO HELP SMOKERS QUIT
    30 January 1999
    http://www.who.int/inf-pr-1999/en/pr99-04.html

    Labour Government’s tobacco spin spins them off track – 1997

    “Smoking is the greatest single cause of preventable illness and premature death in the UK. We will therefore ban tobacco advertising”—Labour Party manifesto, 1997″
    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2897%2921046-9/fulltext

    Tony Blair’s 10 Years Of Tobacco Control – 2007
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/75557.php

    “It was a rare good news story in an otherwise grim week. A landmark study into the effects of inhaling other people’s smoke revealed that fears that passive smoking kills more than 1,000 a year in the UK alone are unfounded.

    After studying the health of tens of thousands of people married to smokers, US researchers found that they face no significant extra risk of lung cancer or heart disease. It may sting your eyes, take your breath away and make your clothes smell, but other people’s cigarette smoke will not kill you.

    The demise of a supposed major risk to public health might be expected to prompt celebration among medical experts and campaigners. Instead, they scrambled to condemn the study, its authors, its conclusions, and the journal that published them.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/4769409/Warning-the-health-police-can-seriously-addle-your-brain.html

    I’m not a bit surprised, if that study hadn’t been stamped on hard, it would have blown the whole deal.
    Look at the dates.

  4. Tim says:

    Odd that head of UN has as his first name, Ban. Also odd that head of the GE corporation responsible for nuclear reactors in Japan has Immelt as his last name.

    I’ve often said they are bombing the wrong targets in these things they call wars these days, they should be targeting UN headquarters in NYC, EU headquarters in Brussels and definitely WHO headquarters in Geneva.

    If someone had the balls to do that, the whole world would snap instantly back into a state of total freedom and liberty for all and people would be much happier and better off in the long run.

    Instead they keep targeting everyone who hasn’t conformed to the dictates of the evil world monsters whose headquarters are enunciated above.

  5. I straddle the fence on this issue. I’ve been reading your posts Frank and you are one brilliant writer. I also admire your bravery in tackling this subject in a way that not many people will. My straddling is a result of the fact that, as you know, I lost my mother to throat cancer and she was such a heavy smoker. It is a horrible way to die, as my brother and I witnessed at her deathbed. I cried at the beginning of her illness and cursed the cigarettes. I myself had quit several years before because at the young age of 34 I had developed chronic bronchitis as a direct result of cigarette smoking. I was totally pissed that it had come to that, but my health did do a 180 degree turnaround in less than 6 months after quitting. This may sound to you like the argument of a zealot. It is not my argument. I only bring it up to show you why I straddle the fence. But smoking is not the core issue – rights and freedoms are.

    On the zealot side of the fence, I want to scream in anger at the tobacco industry moguls who have knowingly infused their products with addiction enhancing chemicals as laid out Hollywood style in the movie “The Insider” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0140352/ – the movie is no bullshit. Not actually a documentary, but I myself was privy to the facts and early inception of this movie because a lawyer I worked for back in the mid 90’s was personal friends with the actual scientist – character played by Russell Crowe.

    And I believe it IS beneficial for organizations like the WHO to exist for the purpose of being a watchdog of sorts because they weren’t dreamed up, at least I hope not, to simply strip us of our freedoms. They are supposed to be protecting us from corporate cons and certain health related atrocities that occur so often in underdeveloped nations. But like all bureaucracies and so-called humanitarian organizations, they are run by people and people have agendas and it is these agendas that screw it all up for the average Joe, and the average Lybian.

    Still on the zealot side, but not being an actual zealot – I was in favor of banning smoking in the workplace because, well ‘frankly’ (teehee) sitting next to a smoking cubicle in a cramped and closed office situation all day long did in fact irritate me. I didn’t have a choice there. I had to go to work.

    But restaurants? Granted, people should be able to go out and enjoy a meal without something that might be offensive to their enjoyment of the meal wafting into their face. But for many citizens, the cigarette at the end of the meal is part of THEIR total dining experience’s enjoyment. Why should they now have to leave the building and huddle against the wind and the rain to complete their ritual of choice. Don’t the smokers have an equal right to enjoy their dining experience? Yes, they do and I thought we solved this decades ago with smoking and non-smoking sections in restaurants which seemed to be working just fine in that regard. And if a particular restaurant’s smoking-non-smoking sections were NOT working for you, well, you had the choice of eating somewhere else now didn’t you.

    And Pubs?? Seriously?? If you are a drinking, non-smoker, such as I am, and you are going into a pub to imbibe, mingle, dance, carouse, and otherwise engage in similar intellectual activities, you are truly being a hypocrite to object to the cigarette smoking going on in such an atmosphere. The smoke in the air is PART of the atmosphere, and it isn’t going to hurt you no matter how many studies they do. You might not like the smell. You also might not like the smell of the thrashed bathrooms or the spilled beer soaked floors, what is the WHO doing about that, hmmmm? The only thing being offended here is your nose, not your health. So don’t go to the Pub if all the smells have become just too much for you. Again, it is about choice.

    Banning cigarettes globally is one of the most crippling things that can be done to us citizens of the earth, and it makes me wonder why they want to do it. What is the real agenda here. The effort should be put instead on watch dogging the cigarette manufacturers more zealously in order to protect those citizens who choose to smoke. Pure cigarettes are just as much a product protection right as pure food.

    By the way, Mom would have totally agreed.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Thanks for the balanced view.

      It seems to very often be painful personal experiences which determine whether someone is going to become antismoking or not. If you have a mother or father who smokes and dies of lung cancer (or anything else), then smoking is invariably held to be the cause, as day follows night. If, like me, you have a whole family of smokers, none of whom died of lung cancer, and the only people you know who have died of it were lifelong non-smokers, you tend to doubt that smoking causes lung cancer (or anything else). Particularly if, like me, smoking does you no discernible harm.

      I find it extraordinary the lengths that people will go to blame everything on smoking. I once attended the funeral of an old lady of well over 80, who’d been more or less a chain-smoker, and who fell out of bed one night, broke a leg, and died in hospital a couple of days later. At the funeral her son, a non-smoker, said, “Of course, it was the smoking that killed her.” Surprised, I asked what made him think this. “Well,” he said, “If she hadn’t smoked so much, she would have survived having a broken leg.” In this manner, he’d managed to convince himself that smoking ’caused’ her death. He could have used the same logic to blame her death on smoking if she’d been in car crash or a train wreck.

      • True you will always find the octogenarian still happily puffing away, and the middle aged non-smoker lying in a cancer deathbed. These are the exceptions. If you take all the lung and throat related cancer deaths and look at the statistics on how many of them were in fact smokers, you can’t deny that the ciggies had something to do with it.

        Nevertheless, this still doesn’t mean that we should lose the freedom to make the choice about how we will live our lives and what possible things we might wander into that could potentially harm us. No arena is guaranteed to remain free under that mindset.

        • Frank Davis says:

          My point was that when people know several people who were smokers and who died of lung cancer, it’s not surprising if they readily believe that smoking causes lung cancer, because it corresponds with their personal experience. And when they don’t know such people, they are less ready to believe it, because it doesn’t correspond with their personal experience. I suspect that I wouldn’t be quite so suspicious of the link between smoking and lung cancer if both my parents had died of lung cancer, and my grandfather as well.

          If you take all the lung and throat related cancer deaths and look at the statistics on how many of them were in fact smokers, you can’t deny that the ciggies had something to do with it.

          Well, in the 1950 London Hospitals study, 99% of lung cancer cases were among smokers. And something like 90% of all lung cancers were found among smokers in the subsequent British Doctors study. And, on the face of it, it would indeed seem that “ciggies had something to do with it”. However, in the first study, 98% of the patients (cancer and non-cancer) were smokers. And in the second study, 87% of the doctors were smokers. So on the null hypothesis that smoking did not cause lung cancer, it would be expected that 98% of the lung cancer patients in the first study would be smokers, and 87% of them in the second study. And this is round about what was found. To put it at its bluntest, in a population in which pretty well everyone smokes, pretty well all cases of lung cancer (and any other disease you care to mention) will be found among smokers. These early studies were conducted in a time when almost everybody smoked.

          Currently, when there are far fewer smokers, it seems that (according to one study) 60% of lung cancers are found among ex-smokers, 20% among current smokers, and 20% among never-smokers. If the prevalence of smoking has fallen from 80% to 20%, then it would seem that you are equally likely to get lung cancer if you are a never-smoker, an ex-smoker, or a current smoker. And that smoking has very little to do with it.

          Furthermore, there is at least one new hypothesis which is making headway these days, and this is that HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is the cause not just of cervical cancer, but also of a whole variety of other cancers, including lung cancer (click on the ‘hpv’ in the word cloud in the right margin if you’d like to read more).

          Of course I agree with you about freedom of choice, regardless of whether smoking does or doesn’t cause lung cancer.

  6. Ian B says:

    Frank, I always find it hard to decide whether to read you blog on a given day. Because I love what you write, but I always end up suicidally depressed at the end of an article :(

    • Frank Davis says:

      I’m sorry that you end up suicidally depressed, Ian. I didn’t know that I had such an effect on anyone.

      Personally, as the writer, I have to say that depression isn’t something I suffer from very much at all. I just get extremely angry instead.

  7. Junican says:

    This is not something that I would normally wish to talk about, but Ian B has brought it to our attention.

    Some years ago, I fell into a clinical depression. I must emphasis that I do not mean that I was particularly unhappy. The situation was that there were lots of situations which occurred at that time which were problematical, but which I had no power to solve. The upshot (or should that be ‘outcomes’) was that the anxiety started to have physical effects – like being startled for no apparent reason, followed by rapid heartbeats for no apparent reason. Also, churning stomach for no reason and other silly happenings. One of the oddest was bending down to pick something up off the floor and seeing the floor coming up towards you!

    After suffering these symptoms for some time, I eventually forced myself to go to my doctor and confess to them. (NB – every word I use means exactly what it says)

    His opinion was that it was a good job that I went to him when I did, otherwise I might have suffered a mental breakdown. The theory was that I was suffering such anxiety that my brain chemicals were ‘geared up’ to anxiety (I hope that this makes sense!). While he could do nothing about the causes of my anxiety, he could do something about the brain chemicals. The result was that I took one pill per day of seroxat.

    It worked. The anxiety was relieved and the problems eventually worked themselves out.

    There is a salutary lesson here. Humans can find themselves worrying about things which do not concern them, especially if they have lots of ‘idle time’; thus, one can envisage a person who never goes to pubs ordinarily, but goes to a pub on New Years Eve, worrying himself to death about the possibility that a person in the pub might be smoking. No other idea can explain the reasoning behind ordinary people who never go to pubs being so uptight about smoking in pubs. If they never go to pubs, why should they be bothered? It is like people who never go to football matches worrying about the clear violence of footballers; even more so as regards boxing. How can people be allowed to bash each other with great violence in public for the amusement of others? IT IS DISGUSTING AND AUGHT TO BE BANNED, says I, who has never been to a boxing match in his life.

    On this same line of thought, since I have found a new way of living, which is less dependent upon my local pub and my acquaintances there, why should I still be bothered about the ban? There are two answers to that which immediately spring to mind: a) I hate beyond imagining being cheated (I refer to the Labour manifesto pledge not to ban smoking in wet-led pubs and private clubs). b) I hate artificially created anxieties and worries. I personally have this great little thought when I have to do something which I do not really want to do but have to: “Does it hurt? Is it hard? Does it take a long time?” If the answer to those questions is: “No”, then there is nothing to worry about
    But there is more to it than that. I used to enjoy going to the pub and taking something to study which interested me. I had a couple of pints, a few fags and a read of whatever and a think. I can no longer do that. I mean that the pleasure of my thinking process has been destroyed. I can still think, but that little extra pleasure of thinking in the circumstances that I describe has been destroyed.

    In a few days time I am off to Mallorca. We will see if that pleasure has also been destroyed there.

  8. Junican says:

    One more thing before I go to bed.

    Twenty (or less) years ago, most people were content to go to the polls every few years to vote for an MP who represented their views, more or less. In recent times, aspiring politicians have taken more and more extreme views about what constitutes their remit. It has become commonplace for aspiring politicians to believe that their election gives them carte blanche to do anything that they wish. For example, the MSP for Dumbarton issued the following statement a couple of days ago:

    “”Jackie Baillie (MSP Dumbarton), who is the party’s health spokesperson, said: “This was a visionary piece of legislation which is an example of how well-planned legislation can really change the face of public health.
    “There is no serious doubt about the link between passive smoking and serious illness and as a result the health of the nation has improved immeasurably.” “”

    If you read that statement carefully, you will see that it actually says that passive smoking has improved the health of the nation. But never mind that, she means the opposite, even though she has no evidence whatsoever. But never mind that either. What is important is the fact that she thinks that it is OK to persecute smokers.

    On the theme that Frank introduced, and bearing in mind the quote above, it is becoming clearer and cleared that MPs are out of their depth in today’s world. The people whom we should be voting into office are the Ministers. A person who is proposed for the office of Minister of State for Health should be obliged to justify his selection before us all and we should be able to veto him if we so desire.

    Is that unreasonable? In today’s world of ultra fast communication, I do not see a problem – except for the politicians. If we can vote for a local mayor, we can vote for the Minister for Health.

    Our system of government stinks. It is falling apart. We need new thoughts which do not revolve around soundbites and special interest groups – and, most important of all, NO UNELECTED, SELF-APPOINTED, SELF-PERPETUATING GROUPS LIKE THE ‘EU’, THE ‘WHO’ AND THE’ UNITED NATIONS’ PERSECUTING US.

  9. Frank, come on, we are getting off the track here. You are defending cigarettes on a level that you don’t need to. You have a right to smoke, you should have a right to smoke in pubs because that is the nature of a pub. You should have a right to smoke in the smoking section of a restaurant. But cigarette smoking does create or at the very least, contribute to lung and throat related illnesses in a very large population of people regardless of where they live or how they were brought up. You don’t need a study to know that.

    Studies schmudies. If you smoke, you are way more likely to develop chronic bronchitis, emphysema and yes cancer. Do the ciggies CAUSE the illness? Maybe not, but they certainly are involved. Don’t be in denial over this. I applaud your freedom fight and I only brought up the cancer issue so that I could applaud the position of your blog with a balanced view. Now you seem to want to naysay the obvious.

    • Frank Davis says:

      You are defending cigarettes on a level that you don’t need to. You have a right to smoke, you should have a right to smoke in pubs because that is the nature of a pub.

      I agree that I shouldn’t need to. But equally I shouldn’t need to defend my right to smoke, and my right to smoke in pubs. But my right to smoke is being removed, and my right to smoke in pubs has already been removed. All because it is claimed that smoking causes lung cancer, both in smokers and non-smokers. Why should I accept either of these claims? Once I accept either, my rights promptly vanish.

      • Ah Ha! I see where you are coming from. But I never put it out there that second hand smoke causes cancer in non-smokers. There is a HUGE difference between the exposure one gets from being a smoker and the almost negligible exposure one gets from simply being around it. I’ve never gotten on board with that one.

        And we are not just talking cancer. Most, and by most I mean MOST lung, throat and mouth related illnesses are either caused by or impacted by either smoking or chewing tobacco. I actually think that you weaken your position on the second hand smoke by not recognizing that fact. Banning smoking in pubs or anywhere else is just a silly gesture and advocates on the anti-ban side should just target the premise that second had smoke hurts non-smokers – I just think you lose your credibility when you try to deny that cancer, emphysema, and bronchitis are not linked to smoking.

  10. Another point as to the relationship between tobacco smoking and illness. Most of the studies, and I did just look up a few, list the stats for deaths that can be linked to tobacco and most of them are in the advanced years of such person’s life. This is true. My mother passed away at the ‘advanced’ age of 78. My sons were 6, 2 and 6 months old at the time. My GRANDMOTHER, (mom’s mom) passed away at the age of 82 – she was a non smoker. Until this current generation the pattern of longevity has been that kids usually have a longer lifespan than their parents. I have always thought that if my mom had not gotten throat cancer, she probably would have made it into her mid to late 80’s and those extra 10 years would have been wonderful for our family. She would have been able to see her grandsons grow and they would have had their ‘Grammy’ in their life.

    I blame cigarette smoking for robbing us all of these years of memories that could have been. Do I want to ban cigarettes from pubs though? NO. Am I glad that I quit smoking and stopped my chronic bronchitis in its tracks? YES. Am I looking forward to a long life of being healthy and able to enjoy my sons as they age and my grandchildren as they grow? YES. Do I think that if I never quit smoking I would have that opportunity. NO. Smoking hurt my health. Smoking hurts a lot of people in many ways. Do I want the government to ban it. NO.

  11. Junican says:

    Hello, Jeanne.

    In 2009, just under 500,000 people died in England and Wales. Of these deaths, just under 2000 were a result of oral cancers at various sites. Of these, just over 700 people were under 65 years old.

    Considering that 10,000,000 people (if not more) smoke now and that many more than that were smokers in years gone by, I would say that the statistics show a distinct lack of a link between the enjoyment of tobacco and mouth cancers.

    The thing is that links of this nature (smoking and mouth cancer) are pretty meaningless. If you go looking for links to smoking (through questionnaires for example) you might well find them. But, there again, if you used the same methods for looking for such a link with many other habits involving the use of the mouth, you might find many others as well. There certainly seem to be connections between HPV and various cancers, only recently discovered.

    • Your Stats are self damning. Of the 500,000 people that died, how many of them were smokers? If 2000 of these people died of just oral cancer out of the500,000 total deaths, whatever the age, and granted, most lung, throat and mouth cancers that bring death do so after the age of 65 (I don’t know about you but I hardly consider 65 to be a good time to die) regardless, 2000 out of 500,000 total deaths in a year is a HUGE number to be attributed to something that could possibly be tobacco related – that’s 1 in 250 of all the deaths in a country in a year were oral cancer! That isn’t even the most common disease linked to tobacco – you don’t even mention how many of the 500,000 were lung or throat diseases that caused the deaths. You don’t think that is significant? I have heard about the HPV connection recently, but if the people were smokers, how do you distinguish between the two.

      The number to look at, out of all the people that died there or anywhere, from lung diseases, throat and mouth cancers, how many of them were tobacco users? This number, the last stat that I saw, and it’s been pretty consistent over the past several decades, is about 85 out of 100. That means when you walk down the cancer ward, and you look over at the person lying in the bed, you can be about 85% certain this person smoked.

      Anyway, as I’ve tried to point out, but for some reason I’m not getting through here, the point of being against a tobacco ban, in pubs, restaurants, etc. is not about whether or not being a SMOKER causes illness. It is about whether a smoker’s second hand smoke subjects a NON SMOKER to any risk or harm. On that premise I am 100% on the side of the smoker. This is the one where there is no valid stat, science or even logical explanation, and I can’t believe that the ban has been and continues to get passed over and over again. I’m on your side here Junican.

      I don’t care how many times you try to play with statistics – the fact remains, smoking and chewing tobacco causes and/or exacerbates lung, throat and mouth illnesses, and not to any small or negligible degree – FOR THE PERSON DOING THE SMOKING. The number is big. And again, it’s only common sense. For citizens against the ban to rail on about how cigarettes and tobacco are a basically safe and healthy practice for the SMOKER is ludicrous and you weaken your position about the ban when you carry that torch.

      • Just to clarify – I meant to say that when you walk down the LUNG cancer ward, not just the cancer ward you can be 85% certain that the person lying in the bed was, and in some cases still is, a smoker. My own mother never put the ciggies down until 3 days before her death after being sick for over a year. I get that though, once you are terminal, what is the point is quitting?

        And I also wish to point out that of the 10,000,000 people or so that do smoke, the percentage of them that will develop an untimely lung disease and early death from it is not a big number. The big flux of disease is after the age of 65, and a lot of studies try to say that the lung cancers of these ‘advanced age’ patients could easily have been caused from other environmental forces as well as simply their ‘old age’ yet, the stat remains, 85% of them typically were smokers, so there is an irrefutable link between tobacco and lung disease.

  12. Hello, ME again! Here is an excellent read I found building the case AGAINST the Tobacco Bans, and no where in it does the writer attempt to demolish the link between actual tobacco smoking and lung disease. In fact he doesn’t even mention it.

    Click to access v29n4-4.pdf

    I especially love the logic laid out in the end under his “Conclusion”. I think at the end of the day, what we all need to do is strive for the common sense ground of logic on these issues.

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