More Bits and Pieces

DP and David Walker both emailed me today asking me to publicize a new e-petition asking to relax the smoking ban. I’ve put in a link to it in the margin (having at last figured out how to put stuff in the margin). I publicized another petition recently. I doubt either will have any effect, but it doesn’t take long to fill out the form. David Walker has also got a petition to Stop Government Funding Of ASH.

Klaus K also emailed me with a Google translation of an article about how Czech smokers put in 10 times more in tax than they take out in medical treatment.

“We spend annually about 6 billion dollars (2 billion Danish kroner) in treatment of smoking related diseases in the Czech Republic, while the tax on tobacco products bring the Treasury about 60 billion (20 billion Danish kroner),” Leon said Heger.

I think the equivalent UK figure is about 3 times more. And probably even more, since the price always seems to be going up.

Michael Siegel has an article about how graphic warning labels have no effect.

1. There was no observed effect of the graphic warning labels on cigarette smoking prevalence.

2. There was no observed effect of the warning labels on cigarette consumption.

3. There was no observed effect of the warning labels on smoking reduction (measured as forgoing cigarettes due to the warning labels).

That won’t stop them putting them on anyway.

And Libyan rebels seem to have overrun Gaddafi’s Tripoli headquarters. So unless he pops up in front of TV cameras like his son Saif did last night, it does look like he’s pretty much been ousted.

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8 Responses to More Bits and Pieces

  1. Brigitte says:

    Like this:
    (= resuscitation of common sense; after almost everyone feels the government cut backs and the financing of non-essentials, such as ASH should be the first to be axed)
    They will take public health groups to the cleaner any day.

    is telling me that the anti-smoking dictatorship is falling victim to it’s own fear. ASH et al members are probably reaching for tissues when faced with the prospect of surviving on voluntary donations + being taken to the cleaners for loss of income.

  2. Tim says:

    I posted a comment here yesterday with a reference to the Jerusalem Post running an article full of lies saying tobacco warning packs cause people to stop smoking and then having anti-smoking commentators rush to make comments agreeing and bad-mouthing smokers – as if the whole thing had been orchestrated, like anti-smoking is trying to move in on a new territory in the Middle East and takeover.

    I’ll put the link below, if the comment falls off, then I don’t know what caused it to.

    It comes under Health and Science Technology – but it’s totally a fabrication based on lies and a total propaganda piece – orchestrated with anti-smoking comments that appear read-to-post, direct from ASH.

  3. smokervoter says:

    These grotesque package labels are yet another affront to private property rights. That pack is mine, I paid good money for it and I don’t appreciate the government wantonly grafitti-ing my property.

    Here is my take on it. I threw all Godwin’s law caution to the wind this time around. The anti-smoking monster in charge implementing of these labels, Margaret Hamburg, bears a striking cross gender resemblance to Joseph Goebbels. So I put it up for all to see.

    Obama has carefully assembled a vicious team of Hall of Fame class anti-smokers in his administration and FDA commissioner Hamburg is a snarling attack dog if there ever was one.

  4. Brigitte says:

    Smokervoter, Thank you for this link, who are these people? – I have never come across anything as warped as this:

    When the Allies invaded Germany at the end of World War II, on seeing the terrible hunger and deprivations amongst the destitute public, they promptly imported 93,000 tons of tobacco to get Germans smoking again.

    I can assure everyone that there was indeed no tobacco shortage in Germany during and at the end of the war. Whilst the soldiers cigarette supplies were rationed, they also received parcels from home.
    As it happens, my grandfather planted tobacco, some of which went to the Reich; most of it was sold (or, more often than not, given away) to the locals. I wish I could remember all my mother told me about the process of growing, drying and cutting tobacco.
    Hitler also rationed alcohol. This led to people distilling their own Schnaps in their cellars. When growing up I heard many anecdotes about my grandfather guessing whose distiller blew up on the loudness and direction where the “Ka-boom” came from….

    Years ago I was convinced that no-one could ever ban smoking in Germany again; after all, didn’t everyone my age question the parents: “How on earth could you believe this utter, utter nonsense?” Mine used to reply (in a sad voice): ” you do not know the power of propaganda…”
    I guess I owe them an apology – sadly neither of them is still alive.

    I can understand that the Brits/Americans and many others fall for this “smoking-kills”-lark; they have never been subjected to Hitler’s (Goebbels!) propaganda – but how can a country’s population TWICE within 50 years be subjected to the same nonsense and fall for it? I weep…

    • Rose says:


      Is this any more accurate?

      I was trying to find out what substitutes people use in difficult times.

      The other prohibition

      The cigarette crisis in post-war Germany

      “Since the beginning of rationing in 1939 many people had also grown their own tobacco plants, and during the time of the real shortage almost everybody who had a garden or a large enough balcony cultivated them.

      In the fall, the lines of drying tobacco leaves were an integral part of the rural and urban landscapes. This non-commercial farming was limited to 200 plants per family, and only 25 plants were tax-free, for the rest you had to pay a considerable tax.

      Furthermore, the gardeners (or farmers who were not registered as tobacco farmers) were not allowed to sell or barter their product – except exchange it at very unfavorable rates for official cigarettes.

      Again, fraud was widespread. People grew more plants than they officially declared, and they traded part of their tobacco on the side.”

      “Tobacco cultivation was a topic much discussed in the newspapers and there was much advice on how so do it yourself. The result was, nevertheless, often quite unsatisfactory.

      Particularly fermentation (where tobacco gets its special aroma and the nicotine content is somewhat reduced) was difficult to do, and the not or badly fermented tobacco of the amateur farmers could cause nicotine poisonings, sweating, vertigo, nausea, fainting-fits and other undesirable symptoms. “You had to have a good stomach!” one of our interview-partners commented his own product.”

      Which sounds very much like the English home grown tobacco I’ve been told about.
      My Grandfather used to grow it in his back garden too.

      The Black Market

      “The stocks of the occupation armies were another source.
      During transport from the ports of Bremerhaven and Harnburg to all the different locations where American troops were stationed large bulks of cigarettes could easily get lost and end up in the hands of the German wholesalers.

      Of the 210 million American cigarettes the Army had stored in a warehouse in Frankfurt in October 1947, 10% had disappeared by April 1948, to give just one example.

      Belgian troops stationed in the British occupation zone got 1,200 cigarettes per month and were prominent in the black market.

      But most important as suppliers were probably the many thousands of American soldiers who had lavish cigarette rations and could furthermore order any amount from family and friends in the States. More than half of the 3 million packages which arrived every month by military mail from the US were cigarette shipments.”

      “Any plants they could get hold of were smoked: leaves of corn, woodruff, coltsfoot, fern, rib-grass and so forth. Very popular were tea leaves rolled in toilette paper.”


      “TEABAGS have been banned at a non-smoking jail after lags used them in cigarettes instead of brewing up.
      Inmates at the Isle of Man Prison now have to make do with tea granules after dozens were caught puffing away on ­teabags in their cells.”

      The £42million prison, which opened in ­August 2008, is Europe’s only non-smoking jail.
      Even prison guards are banned from ­smoking on the premises and have to go into a nearby car park to light up.
      Lags are told they have no choice but to give up and are given free nicotine patches and counselling sessions to help them beat their cravings
      But instead of quitting, ingenious inmates poured out the contents of teabags and rolled makeshift ciggies.
      One former prisoner, who did not want to be named, said: “Stress levels are very high in the jail because of the smoking ban.

      “When a warden comes back from having a fag in the car park they come in stinking of smoke and saying how enjoyable the cigarette was – and that just makes everyone mad. ”

      Society for Risk Analysis 1995
      Dietary Contributions to Nicotine Body Burden

      “Using the available data for nicotine in 10 brands of brewed tea (2 instant and 8 leaves) tea nicotine concentration is modeled as a lognormal distribution (with a mean of 68.9 ng of nicotine per gram of brewed tea and a standard deviation of 75 ng/g).

      Human instinct, it’s a wonderful thing.

  5. Brigitte says:

    Particularly fermentation (where tobacco gets its special aroma and the nicotine content is somewhat reduced) was difficult to do, and the not or badly fermented tobacco of the amateur farmers could cause nicotine poisonings, sweating, vertigo, nausea, fainting-fits and other undesirable symptoms. “You had to have a good stomach!” one of our interview-partners commented his own product.”
    is true.
    The same applied to the home made Schnaps as well – whilst my grandfather appeared to have the knack for producing “smokeable” tobacco, his adventure in producing sweet potatoe Schnaps was a lot less successful. This fell to another man in the village who continued distilling this Schnaps (legally then) until the 1980s.

    If I remember correctly, with tobacco the problem during the fermentation stage was the air humidity. And even if the conditions were right, there were controls. The illegal batches had to be hidden.
    When the French soldiers arrived (the area became the French occupied zone) they often sold their cigarette supply to the population until the black market of American cigarettes outbid them.

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