Forced to Read

I had an email from Rich White today, asking me if I’d seen something Chris Snowdon had written about. Chris wrote:

I’ve come across a very well-written and incisive PDF…

Don’t be put off by the title (‘The Plain Truth About Tobacco’). It’s not about plain packaging and it doesn’t argue that smoking is not the main cause of lung cancer (in fact, any remaining deniers should be forced to read it),..

As I remarked in my reply to Rich, that was rather throwing down the gauntlet to the denialista likes of him and me. So, frogmarched to the paper by Chris Snowdon, and told to read the effing thing and wise up, I have indeed been forced to read it.

At 150 pages, it’s quite long. And since I only started reading it this evening, I’ve only got about a third of the way through it.

The first thing I’d like to say is that I entirely agree with Chris that it’s very well written. And I’d like to encourage my readers to read it too. Although I can’t say that I think they should be forced to read it. Nor would I even say that they ought to read it. I’d just like to say that it’s very well written, and it explains a number of things very clearly, in ways that might make it reference work for clear explanations of things.

I was sort of expecting, given Chris’ introduction to it, that it would start out saying on page  one that Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, and Anyone Who Disagrees is a Pinhead. But it’s very far from that. In fact among the first things he says is:

The link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer is often cited as the strongest case in the vast research on factors influencing cancer risk amongst the population at large and this is a fair assessment. However, what has typically been made of that link by medical and public health practitioners and institutions, is absolutely and terribly flawed.

Now saying that smoking is linked with lung cancer isn’t the same as saying that smoking causes lung cancer. All sorts of things are ‘linked’. I could say that I’m ‘linked’ to Lana Del Rey. Because I have lots of links to her videos and articles about her. But it would probably be stretching things a bit to suggest that I am in any way the cause of her subsequent overnight global superstardom. It’s a bit more multifactorial than that, I suspect. Although if I get an email from her saying, “It was all thanks to you, Frank,” I may have to revise my judgement.

But then, in fairness to Chris Snowdon, all he said was that the author “doesn’t argue that smoking is not the main cause of lung cancer.” And this would indeed appear to be the case. But, as far as my reading has got, I’m going to be astonished if he does argue that smoking is the main cause of lung cancer.

If nothing else, he might be said to have introduced another hypothesis: that Irritation Causes Lung Cancer.

Generally, in terms of common sense:

To anyone who smokes cigarettes considerably, irritation of the lungs over time is self evident. If a person smokes heavily he will come to recognize his “smoker’s cough”. The cough is due primarily to irritation of the breathing passages of the lungs, and it is particularly cancers of these breathing passages, to which smokers are at heightened risk.

Though not really surprising in itself, that irritated tissues are more vulnerable to cancer, likewise appears evident based on wider observation.

So, if I follow his logic correctly, it’s not smoking that causes lung cancer, but irritation of the lungs as indicated by subsequent coughing. And anyone whose lungs are irritated in any other way, and coughs a lot, is just as likely to develop lung cancer as a heavy smoker. And so if you want to smoke and avoid lung cancer, then don’t smoke so much that you end up coughing a lot. This is a perfectly plausible hypothesis, and would go some way to explaining why quite a few non-smokers get lung cancer: their lungs were irritated in some other way.

And indeed one of the things he is very quick to point out is that non-smokers don’t have a zero risk of lung cancer, despite many doctors and pundits talking as if they do.

And he also goes into the difficulties of diagnosing lung cancer. A cancer is (or should be) only called lung cancer if the lung is the place where the cancer originates. If it starts somewhere else, like someone’s knee, then it is (or should be) called knee cancer. And he goes on to describe how difficult it is, in many cases, to ascertain where a cancer originated before metastasising (spreading) elsewhere.

In fact, it strikes me as being a quite impossible task. It’s a bit like finding a ticketless deaf-mute on a railway platform in, say, Barnsley, and wondering where they started their journey. Perhaps, after a while, you might ascertain that the person is Norwegian, and lives in New York, and has a wife in Australia.  You might find an old bus ticket from Cologne in one pocket, and Tokyo bullet train ticket in another. How on earth can you ever know where he started out?

With all of this the opportunity for diagnostic bias is positively enormous

…the biased perspective tends strongly to perceive that, if the patient is a never smoker, the cancer cannot have begun in the lung, but if the patient is an ever smoker, the cancer surely did begin in the lung.

…strong diagnostic bias exists regarding lung cancer is clear indeed, simply from encountering clinicians’ common statements revealing colossal over-interpretation of the smoking / lung cancer link, and this has long been apparent.

 He makes the point very clearly.

As Doctor Feinstein, an early critic on general terms of epidemiological and clinical overinterpretation, wrote on the overall subject of diagnostic bias in 1974: “It seems important to recall that in epidemiologic surveys of causes of disease, the investigators get data about the occurrence of diagnoses not the occurrence of diseases, and that the rates of diagnosis may be affected by bias …”

Doctor Feinstein summed up the particularly egregious bias surrounding smoking and lung cancer then in famously saying, “Cigarette smoking may contribute more to the diagnosis of lung cancer than it does in producing the disease itself.” Things have only grown worse over time.

In terms of statistics, of course, the plain result of this diagnostic bias is that clinicians under-diagnose “primary lung cancer” amongst never smokers (thereby statistically understating the base risk) and over-diagnose “primary lung cancer” amongst ever smokers (thereby statistically overstating the relative risk from smoking).

Well, I haven’t got to the end of the paper, but given what I’ve read so far I’m not expecting the author to come out and declare that Smoking Causes Lung Cancer and The Debate Is Over. And if he does, then he has provided an arsenal of reasons for doubting any such claim. Faster readers may wish to point out to me where he makes such a declaration.

In fact, if anything, he is lending further force to some of the sceptical denialista arguments I’ve been assembling over the past year. For it seems to me that if you don’t really know how many “cigarettes” anyone has smoked in the lifetime, because any number is just a guess, and furthermore you don’t really know whether their lung cancer originated in their lungs, then you really have no data, and whatever mathematical operations you perform on the numbers that you have will produce results as nebulous as the figures on which they are based.

As for plain packaging, H/T Belinda for this example:


About Frank Davis

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30 Responses to Forced to Read

  1. Fully agree on the well-written aspect of “Plain Truth…” And LOVE Belinda’s “Plane Truth” LOL!

    I’m one of the “non-denialists” when it comes to lung cancer and smoking in and of itself. Frank, in terms of your irritation theory, if it is true then you’re not really denying that smoking causes lung cancer at all. Since, to this date, smoking has generally been somewhat irritating to throat and bronchial tissue, if irritation causes (or contributes to) lung cancer then it’s not incorrect at all to say that smoking causes (or contributes to) lung cancer.

    HOWEVER… I’m also willing to state that the book is not entirely closed on the matter in some ways: I’ve actually posted several “alternate” explanations for the correlation between smoking and lung cancer that I consider to be rather unlikely but which are certainly within the realm of possibility. E.G. smokers probably breathe in through their mouths more than nonsmokers, thereby bypassing safety mechanisms built into the sinuses, and it’s possible that smokers take more showers than nonsmokers and thereby breathe in far more asbestos-filled water droplets. Hmm… I think I had one or two other possibilities out there as well. As noted, I don’t think they’re very likely, but they DO show that it’s at least within the realm of possibility that the correlation between smoking and lung cancer could at least conceivably reflect less causality that is commonly believed.

    – MJM

    • Frank Davis says:

      The “irritation” theory wasn’t mine, but one that the author appeared to entertain.

      My actual position these days is that we simply don’t know what causes lung cancer (and many other cancers as well), and therefore we can’t say with any certainty that Smoking Causes Lung Cancer. To say that Smoking Doesn’t Cause Lung Cancer would also suggest a certainty I don’t have.

      As far as most of the epidemiological studies go, I don’t find the raw data scientifically credible, and consequently any of the conclusions drawn from them. And the animal studies proved nothing either.

      Furthermore there are other possible causes. e.g. HPV which is known to cause cervical cancer, and has been found present in many other cancers, including lung cancers. And there’s the fallout hypothesis which I’ve also explored.

      The case is very far from closed, in my opinion.

  2. cherie79 says:

    This is true, you only have to go to one of the lung cancer support sites, Inspire is a good one, to see just how many never smokers and those who gave up decades ago get lung cancer. Worse still they tend to be diagnosed later when it is likely to have spread since many Drs. seem to believe that if you have never smoked it must be bronchitis, asthma, anything but lung cancer. The worst thing about this false belief is that it is preventing any alternative causes being considered, except radon gas, So in a way I am glad I smoke, although I had no symptoms myself this triggered a CT for my unexplained anaemia and a small lung cancer was found and treated.

  3. Yes, you are right, Frank. To hear the word denialist from Chris Snowdon diminishes him in my eyes. I will read him with caution from now on.

  4. waltc says:

    I continue to like the germ theory of (any) cancer, and evidence piles up. Smokers handle cigarettes immediately after handling all the likely germ-filled things in life; handle the same things before eating and you’d wash your hands first. “Irritation” is also in a way synonymous with “inflammation” which is also the trendy new hypothesis of “cause.”

    As for biased diagnosis of the cancer’s origin: According to the Merck Manual, “Metastases to the lungs are common from primary cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, kidney, thyroid, stomach, cervix, rectum, testes, bone and from melanoma.” (Source: Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, 16th Ed, p. 723

  5. waltc says:

    Alvan Feinstein, clearly the guy referred to, was the head of Epidemiology at Yale, and editor of the journal, Epidemiology. At his death, he was eulogized not only for his scientific integrity and scruples but as the most brilliant epidemiologist in the country, even by some notably rabid aunts. He was, and remained, completely skeptical of the ETS/ lung cancer link and testified so to Congress in 1994, offering some hilarious examples of false conclusions that can be based on correlation. (see and scroll around for Feinstein though the whole beginning of the report is good stuff. )

    OT: I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to your theory that sooner or later (or sooner than later) the nanny state–and perhaps the EU which is nanny writ large– will implode and the citizens will triumph. Reading Snowdon today on the minimum-pricing on liquor to be enacted by Tories, I start to wonder something else. You guys voted the conservatives in in rebellion against the Liberals just as we in the US threw the 2010 congressional election overwhelmingly to conservatives. Since none of the voters’ efforts have produced a more responsive or less statist government (though here we’re still stymied by a liberal senate and a left-liberal president) I wonder if the voters will start to catch on and either vote Libertarian or at least symbolically take to the streets with pitchforks.

    • churchmouse says:

      This is about where France is at this stage. Smoking, less so, but other issues, a definite yes.

      They will have presidential elections in April. Many — on the left and the right — consider the two main parties the same : ‘UMPS’ (a contraction of the conservative UMP and the socialist PS). Sadly, for them, there is no libertarian party.

  6. beobrigitte says:

    I am neither, denialist/non-denialist of what factors EXACTLY encourage the manifestation of lung (indeed, any) cancer. This ever growing muddle of research results focusing on single causes shows clearly one thing which we all know – any cancer is a multifactoral condition.

    Unfortunately for us, micro-organisms (bacterial as well as viral) can mutate – and with that adapt – at a much, much faster rate than we can. The best known example for this is the “immortal” He-La cell line.
    And we do encounter micro-organisms on a daily basis.

    Isn’t this the


  7. When we see that tobacco has been under fire for nearly its entire existense in one form or another over the past 500 years and especially in america over the last 100 years. Its clearly evident that the claims made by these prohibitionists have been outright lies and distortions for so long and preached as the state dogma,how can we expect anything less when it comes to LC. LC has been there biggest selling point in the propaganda department for nearly 100 years. Theyve gone out of their way to create and manufacture everything they can think of to connect smoking to everything and now they apply the same thing to second hand smoke,then 3rd hand smoke…….

    Did I believe smoking caused LC before the bans came down,hell ya! But only because it had been piped down my ever waking moment all my life! Then the day came when I discover they cant prove it at all!

    Here all this time I believed they had PROOF of causation as in microscope proof of direct cause…..

    But noooooo sireee,they had NOTHING.

    Then I find these same prohibitionists have tried everything to prove it by way of the microscope to prove it and fail everytime……..The fact remians their bias to prove it was of such magnitude and importance to them they stooped to every level to keep the lie alive.

    So far the only thing ever proven to cause cancer was radiation in super high doses.

    What is the end result from 100 years and proof of nothing. Simple the scientific standard has been reduced to the point where no proof is required any longer,they simply create studies to link something and then thats suppose to be enuf to OUTLAW and Criminalize the rest of us. As I read the RIO summit set in motion the ”PRECAUTIONARY RULE” where no proof is required at all. Simply create another junk study along with a few hundred more to push the so called link and voila more criminal laws……

    Its because of the LC link with no proof that everyone now believes that led us to a path of JUNK SCIENCE and the lowering of the scientific standard to create laws that reek of hatred against whomever the law is aimed……….Just take your pick of the new victims because of anti-tobacco and their pathway of destruction of civilization thru years and years of propaganda creating a world of fear mongering health moments with no proof required……..Think about it while watching the next health facism moment about the latest junk study!

  8. As far as radiation and smoking heres this:

    The nazis speak of hot spots in smokers air pathways where cancers are found some blame buried radiation from the smoke stuck there forever.

    The U.S. national annual background dose for humans is approximately 360 mrem. A mrem, or millirem, is a standard measure of radiation dose. Examples of radiation doses from common medical procedures are:

    Chest x-ray (14 x 17 inch area) – 15 mrem

    Dental x-ray (3 inch diameter area) – 300 mrem

    Spinal x-ray (14 x 17 inch area) – 300 mrem

    Thyroid uptake study – 28,000 mrem to the thyroid

    Thyroid oblation – 18,000,000 mrem to the thyroid

    Average Annual Total
    361 mrem/year

    Tobacco (If You Smoke, Add ~ 280 mrem)

    Not quite 1 dental xray for a whole years smoking ehh!


    Thyroid oblation – 18,000,000 mrem to the thyroid /shrinking the thyroid

    Tobacco (If You Smoke, Add ~ 280 mrem)

    18,000,000 / 280 = roughly 64,000 years of equivalent years of smoking!

  9. How does plutonium get into the environment?
    Plutonium was dispersed world wide from atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons conducted during the 1950s and ‘60s. The fallout from these tests left very low concentrations of plutonium in soils around the world.

    Nuclear weapons production and testing facilities (Hanford, WA; Savannah River, GA; Rocky Flats, CO; and The Nevada Test Site, in the United States, and Mayak and Semi Plafinsk in the former Soviet Union), also released small amounts. Some releases have occurred in accidents with nuclear weapons, the reentry of satellites that used Pu-238, and from the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident.

    The SG report is a waste of time to read.

    go back to page 2 on my comments on excerpts from the report itself!

    If you actually read the surgeon generals report it used mostly “The evidence is suggestive but not sufficient to infer a causal relationship” and even then if you read page 21 they admit that the use of meta-analysis on observational studies is not a widely accepted and controversial practice and yet they do it anyway.….

    Most foods and beverages have tens of times more alpha emitters per unit
    of weight than water [5]:

    * Beer= 390 pCi/liter
    * Tap Water= 20 pCi/liter
    * Milk= 1,400 pCi/liter
    * Salad Oil= 4,900 pCi/liter
    * Whiskey= 1,200 pCi/liter
    * Brazil Nuts= 14 pCi/g
    * Bananas= 3 pCi/g
    * Flour= 0.14 pCi/g
    * Peanuts 8 Peanut Butter= 0.12 pCi/g
    * Tea= 0.40 pCi/g

    Further, not only you take in much less of tobacco leaf matter (by
    factors into thousands), but unlike most agricultural products, tobacco
    leaf is cured and aged, hence even in the little of tobacco leaf matter
    you take in, the Po-210 (which has half life 138 days) will be mostly
    gone by the time you end up smoking the leaf (a year or two later).

    Note that you will also find in antismoking literature theoretical
    figures of absorbed radiation (in mrad units) based on a 1960s study
    (which was never reproduced, being based on a ridiculous “model”
    according to which all of the lifelong inhaled smoke is compressed into
    a microscopic cube, few cells large, and permanently stuck, somehow,
    onto this handful of poor cells). That often cited 8000 mrad/year (for 2
    packs/day smoker) is a bogus antismoking “fact” (by virtue of
    repetition) which has been debunked [6] by Colby in several usenet
    discussions (see also my post there for additional refs [7]). In view of
    lawsuits against tobacco industry, had anyone been able to validate that
    often cited mrad figure, tobacco companies would have been required by
    law & EPA regulations to remove Po-210 from tobacco years ago (e.g. by
    by just aging it couple years, 97.5% of Po-210 will decay). Similarly,
    it would have been trivial to induce lung cancers in lab animals by
    exposing them to tobacco smoke (yet antismoking “science” still can’t do
    it and it still has to rely on blind statistical associations, half a
    century later).


    1. ETS Test data from American Cancer Society and OSHA

    2. NYT Puffing on Polonium, by Robert N. Proctor






    Don’t cherry pick regulations out of 29 CFR. You failed to talk about the Carbon Monoxide in tobacco smoke or the plutonium in tobacco.

    Polonium in tobacco hoax (tobacco)

    Now the rest of the story:

    The radiation from tobacco smoke is a red herring for the ignorant.
    Whether radioactive atoms are absorbed from fertilizer or from rain
    water (picking radioactive fallout after decades of nuclear tests), any
    plant and animal will pick them, hence our food is vastly greater source
    of that radioactivity simply because smoker inhales 20-50 mg of tobacco
    leaf matter per cigarette or 1 gram per pack (of which only 20% is
    retained in the lungs). Between food and beverages you consume thousands
    times more matter, along with whatever it contains, radioactive atoms or
    pesticides or other chemical carcinogens and toxins. (Of course, the
    secondary smoke dilutes the intake from tobacco by further factors of
    tens of thousands or more. [1])

    For example, a recent New York Times article [2] (antismoking as usual)
    “Puffing on Polonium” cites 0.04 pCi (unit for # of alpha particle
    emitting atoms) inhaled per cigarette, hence 0.8 pCi per pack, call it 1
    pCi per pack. A glass of water (250ml) has 3-10 pCi of alpha emitters
    [3]. As one might have expected, the New York Times didn’t consider it
    ‘fit to print’ to inform readers that a glass of water will give you as
    many radioactive atoms as 3-10 packs of cigarettes. They even had to
    twist the plain fact of ‘smoker longevity’ [4] in Caucasus into a clumsy
    half-truth “tobacco growers’ longevity in the Caucasus”, since putting
    ‘smoker’ and ‘longevity’ together must have grated too much on the
    author’s & editor’s ears (the author was a court witness against tobacco

  10. What I find most disturbing is that only 6-9% of smokers get LC after a lifetime of smoking. We hear it takes 5 decades of smoking before a cancer even appears. Yet what else happens during 5 decades to the argument, humans age and with age comes a reduction in the immune response. Obviously something in the immune system or genetic code stops working properly in the cell repair process,it slows down. Until the key to the breakdown is found and all the processes that occur are documented and proven over and over again. The cause of cancer wont be found. I dont believe smoking causes cancer itself,I am now a firm believer that a genetic breakdown in the system causes the cancer and that same genetic system prevents cancer. How else can we have smokers who live into their 100s!

  11. mikef317 says:

    Re irritation. Might I suggest “inflammation” as a better word? I believe there’s lots of biological knowledge about this (but not having read much I could be wrong).

    I’m going to quote you, Frank, but typically I can’t find the link. From 8/3 (last year?) “No You Don’t” topic: “Even someone like me, who now seriously doubts whether smoking causes lung cancer, will admit that it’s the prime cause of most of my morning coughing.”

    I also cough in the morning. Generally this lasts a few minutes but sometimes I cough off and on for hours. Daily, the amount I smoke is fairly consistent. Coughing, however, is highly variable.

    Anti tobacco dogma assumes that smoking causes the cough. If this is true, should I not cough least in the morning since I haven’t smoked for eight hours? As the day passes, should I not cough more because I smoke more? The exact opposite happens. (And yes I sometimes smoke too much and irritate [inflame?] my throat, but that’s a rare exception.)

    A good number of smokers read this blog, and I’m sure many cough, so let me ask – does coughing increase or decrease during the day? If it increases, smoking may be the cause. But what’s the explanation if coughing decreases?

    Something to be discussed another day.

    On to the main topic. Apologies for no links to things I state as facts.

    Re Plain Truth, I haven’t finished reading it either, but so far, WELL DONE! There’s more sense in this than in all the Surgeon General’s reports put together.


    Page 29, “Beyond this, those who have smoked appreciably….” He (she?) is referring to a “dose / response” relationship between smoking and lung cancer; i.e., non-smokers get some LC, pack a day smokers get more, and 2 pack a day smokers get more still. (And if I recall correctly people who smoke half a pack a day get no more LC than non-smokers.)

    Dose / response is one of the major points in support of the “smoking causes” theory, and I agree that the statistics show the above relationship. HOWEVER – if there is some chemical in tobacco that causes lung cancer, should not two pack a day smokers develop LC earlier in life, followed X years later by pack a day smokers, followed Y years later by non-smokers? To my knowledge, all three groups develop LC at approximately the same age. This contradicts dose / response. (Lots more should be said here.)

    Page 30, sex differences. I vaguely recall a good number of papers stating that women get lung cancer much less frequently than men, regardless of smoking. But maybe I’m wrong.

    Frank, you state: “And he also goes into the difficulties of diagnosing lung cancer. A cancer is (or should be) only called lung cancer if the lung is the place where the cancer originates.” Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! In good old English English, bloody obvious! Are you getting this from the discussion starting on page 32? I would also, but….

    Page 32, last paragraph, “recent research” shows that 85% of primary lung cancers are diagnosed correctly. (There’s a similar statement on page 34.) There’s no citation on page 32, and just about everything I’ve ever read about death certificates (un-autopsied) tells me not to trust them. I’m not even sure that I should accept autopsies. But maybe things have improved. Even if true, most statistics on smoking come from the old British Doctors and American Cancer Society (etc.) studies. At that time, of all LC deaths, maybe half were diagnosed as primary lung cancer. The other half was “undetermined” – i.e., the LC could be primary or metastasized; the doctors didn’t know (although Doll and Hammond said that almost all smokers in their samples had primary LC). Whatever the truth, everything got lumped together and treated as primary lung cancer. This is a can of worms that I wouldn’t mind opening.

    Page 67. The danger of “tar” (fine particulate matter) in smoke is quite debatable.

    This is as far as I’ve read, but as I said above, WELL DONE!

    And even if the anonymous author does eventually conclude that smoking causes lung cancer, unlike anti tobacco screwballs, I think this person might be open to honest debate.

    • richwhite08 says:

      Re coughing, there’s actually a reason you cough in the morning. The theory is that as you smoke you suppress the cilia; when you have a period of not smoking (i.e. overnight or if you give up completely) the body then gets rid of the mucous it had stored up.

      what’s more interesting to me is, as you said, the large variables in coughing frequency. I rarely cough, but if i do i usually bring up some mucous. I haven’t really noticed any pattern to the time of day, but i can go weeks or months without coughing and then have a day or so where i’m quite “active”, so to speak.

    • Frank Davis says:

      so let me ask – does coughing increase or decrease during the day?


      If I’m going to cough, it starts happening about 5 minutes after I’ve got out of bed. And typically I’ll carry on coughing for a while, and then it’ll stop. And the rest of the day I’ll hardly cough at all.

      However, unlike Rich (above) I don’t think it’s got anything to do with lung cilia. I think that the reason I cough in the mornings is that I’ve shifted from a horizontal to a vertical orientation, and the mucus in my lungs starts moving once I stand up, and if there’s a lot of it a lot of coughing results.

      This is a very interesting subject, and I could write a lot about it, but that’s all I’ll say for now.

      • mikef317 says:

        I think of this as akin to urinating in the morning. I’ve spent eight hours passively inhaling God only knows what chemicals in the atmosphere. My lungs have accumulated useless or harmful substances and quite sensibly want to excrete them. Hence I cough.

        But do write when you’re inclined. Maybe you’ll have a better idea.

        • churchmouse says:

          I also think it depends on when you leave the house and on dampness. If you leave early in the morning and with a high level of humidity (i.e. damp in cold weather) and/or wind, you will cough more and for a longer duration.

          A damp house will produce the same effect.

          Just my personal experience. A dry house and leaving home later lessens the cough.

  12. Rose says:

    “ from them likewise was brought this use of Tobacco, as a stinking and unsavorie Antidot, for so corrupted and execrable a Maladie, the stinking Suffumigation whereof they yet use against that disease, making so one canker or venime to eate out another.”

    From the horse’s mouth, King James 1, head of the Church of England and presumably America.

    “In January 1604, King James I of England convened the Hampton Court Conference where a new English version was conceived in response to the perceived problems of the earlier translations as detected by the Puritans, a faction within the Church of England”

    But even he only likened tobacco to a cancer, he didn’t say it caused it.

    What surprises me is that no scientist ever seems to have questioned “if” it did,before embarking on their experiments to try and prove it. Perhaps King James’s statement lost something in the translation over 400 years.

  13. On topic read the below!

    Egyptians Rally Around Fighting Big Tobacco

    Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist and Mayor of New York City, was at the awards ceremony, maybe to wonder why Egypt did not have more important things to worry about, like not implementing Sharia law and going backwards into fundamentalism? No, he thinks tobacco is their big issue. To be fair, tobacco usage is implicated in real deaths, but then it is also implicated in a whole lot of fuzzy ones. It isn’t like everyone with lung cancer smoked cigarettes, only 50% of lung cancer patients ever smoked at all, and the almost “six million people” annually they claim die from smoking can’t actually be attributed to smoking. Why not go after trans fatty acids? Why not legislate bad luck out of existence, since random mutations are behind most cancers? If every disease is attributed to smoking if the person smokes, and cardio-pulmonary diseases are attributed to tobacco even if the patient did not smoke, something is wrong. But that is what a culture war is; data goes by the wayside. Bloomberg says low- and middle-income countries are where 80% of tobacco-related deaths occur but how they can establish that is unknown, since we don’t even know how many people are dying much less why.

  14. Rose says:

    Something that has always bothered me from the moment I first heard about the cigarette cancer theory at school, is why, if nightshade vegetables have the same plant chemistry as tobacco but in smaller amounts, then why don’t they cause bowel and stomach cancer?

    • Rose dont give them any ideas,bloomy is already denying the homeless free food!

      • Rose says:


        They were given the idea in 1993.

        What I knew as a kid, these scientists had to be told. Then they seemed to bluff it out when they thought that they might lose cotinine and secondhand smoke.

        Dietary nicotine: Won’t mislead on passive smoking…: New insight into myocardial protection – 1994

        J L Repace

        EDITOR, – Domino et al have argued that the plasma cotinine concentration in non-smokers, which is taken as an index of passive smoking, may be confounded by dietary nicotine intake from vegetables of the family Solanaceae.1 They report that eggplant (aubergine) had the most nicotine of any Solanaceae. If their data are taken at face value, daily consumption of a 174 g serving of baked eggplant with gourmet tomato sauce made from puree yields a maximum dietary nicotine dose of 15 μg (table), assuming (dubiously) That nicotine does not evaporate during baking. The mean daily total intake of all vegetables, however, is about 207 g for adults in the United States.”

        Here’s your deadly tar -.
        Solanesol: A Tracer for Environmental Tobacco Smoke -1988

        “Solanesol, a compound expected to be unique to environmental tobacco smoke is easily detected in air even at low concentrations of environmental tobacco smoke”

        – In a potato
        Optimization of microwave-assisted extraction of solanesol from potato leaves and stems

        “Many plants of the Solanaceae family, which includes the genus Nicotiana, of which the tobacco plant is a member, contain solanesol; particularly those that contain trace amounts of nicotine.
        These include the tomato, eggplant, potato, and pepper.

        The potential interference due to these sources is negligible, cooking being the only likely potential source of interference. An interference of this type would bias results high, overestimating the contribution of ETS to RSP.

        Solanesol: Added value from Solanaceous waste

        “Solanesol is a 45-carbon, unsaturated, all-trans-nonaprenol isoprenoid of high value. Recently this molecule has received particular attention because of its utility, both in its own right and as a precursor in the production of numerous compounds used in the treatment of disease states. Instability in supply and spiralling costs have also lead to the search for sources. In this article existing sources and the potential strategies and tools available to create sustainable biosources are reviewed.”

        “Solanesol is a high value isoprenoid found in the leaves of the Solanaceae.”

        So determined were they to get tobacco that they also maligned our staple foods. I daresay that might come in very useful to Monsanto someday.


    New Evidence Of Cancer-Causing Agent Present In Gaseous Phase Of Cigarette Smoke
    Main Category: Smoking / Quit Smoking
    Also Included In: Cancer / Oncology | Lung Cancer
    Article Date: 23 Mar 2012

    A team of researchers led by A. K. Rajasekaran, PhD, Director of the Nemours Center for Childhood Cancer Research, has shown that a key protein involved in cell function and regulation is stopped by a substance present in cigarette smoke. Their work is published online in the American Journal of Physiology – Lung Cell and Molecular Physiology.

    Cigarette smoke is well recognized as a cause of lung cancer and is associated with many other forms of cancer in adults. Cigarette smoke has more than 4,000 components, many of which are linked to the development and progression of lung cancer. Evidence has shown secondhand smoke to be as dangerous as primary smoke due to its impact on the cells of the body.

    In the study, the authors found a cancer-causing agent called reactive oxygen species (ROS) present in the gaseous phase of cigarette smoke that has the ability to inhibit normal cell function. Exposure to the secondhand smoke produced by as little as two cigarettes was found to almost completely stop the function of a cell’s sodium pump within a few hours. In normal cells, the sodium pump plays a critical role transporting potassium into the cell and sodium out of the cell. The competence of the cell’s sodium pump, i.e., its inability to regulate sodium, is predictive of cell damage, disease progression and ultimately, survival.

    “This is critical information with regard to secondhand smoke,” said Dr. Rajasekaran. “We now know that one need not inhale the particulate matter present in secondhand smoke to suffer the consequence of smoking. Exposure to the gaseous substance alone, which you breathe while standing near a smoker, is sufficient to cause harm.” Dr. Lee Goodglick, Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UCLA, and co-senior author of the study, noted, “Few reliable lung cancer biomarkers that could predict survival, treatment options or response to therapy exist today. Even fewer have been recognized where the function of the biomarker is known, yielding important information about the mechanism of action. This study really accomplishes both.”

    This research is the latest finding in the compendium of evidence that supports protecting children from exposure to cigarette smoke. Excessive exposure to cigarette smoke during childhood can facilitate lung cancer development as children grow into adults. While more research is needed to understand the consequences of sodium pump inhibition by cigarette smoke, this study reveals that secondhand smoke is even more dangerous than previously thought.

    • The “sodium-potassium pump” is a major process which regulates many critical cellular functions such as calcium activity, signal transduction and even the regulation of ROS (reactive oxygen species) and the formation of free radicals.

      Several medical studies indicate that toxic metals, such as mercury, directly alter the effect and functionality of the sodium-potassium pump.

    • mikef317 says:

      Harleyrider, I’m sure you don’t believe this drivel, but…

      “Cigarette smoke has more than 4,000 components, many of which are linked to the development and progression of lung cancer.” Actually, more than 8,000 chemicals have been found in cigarette smoke, most in miniscule amounts. “Many” are linked to the “development and progression of lung cancer.” Great! Let’s expose animals to these “many” chemicals and see if they develop lung cancer or some other disease of your choice.

      “Evidence has shown secondhand smoke to be as dangerous as primary smoke due to its impact on the cells of the body.” Yeah, sure, and let’s not forget thirdhand smoke; that’s even deadlier.

      “Exposure to the secondhand smoke produced by as little as two cigarettes was found to almost completely stop the function of a cell’s sodium pump within a few hours.” Having smoked two packs of cigarettes or more a day for the past 50 years, I guess I’m dead but just don’t know it.

      Fellow human beings, I have sinned! I repent! Certainly every sodium pump in every cell of my body has long ceased to function. I am dead, Horatio…. Had I but time…. O, I could tell you. But let it be. Horatio, I am dead.

      O, I could tell you – if only some pure non-smoker would agree to a cell by cell sodium pump transplant. But I don’t think that likely.

      Sorry, I was going to go to sleep but decided to write this instead. Odds are I’ll wake up tomorrow with at least a few functioning sodium pumps.

      But first, before I sleep, another cigarette.

    • ladyraj says:

      Great minds must think alike! I posted this on Doc Siegel’s blog:

      New Evidence of Harmfulness of Second-Hand Smoke: Cancer Causing Agent Present in Gaseous Phase of Cigarette Smoke

      In the study, the authors found a cancer-causing agent called reactive oxygen species (ROS) present in the gaseous phase of cigarette smoke that has the ability to inhibit normal cell function. Exposure to the secondhand smoke produced by as little as two cigarettes was found to almost completely stop the function of a cell’s sodium pump within a few hours.

      In normal cells, the sodium pump plays a critical role transporting potassium into the cell and sodium out of the cell. The competence of the cell’s sodium pump, i.e., its inability to regulate sodium, is predictive of cell damage, disease progression and ultimately, survival.

      “This is critical information with regard to secondhand smoke,” said Dr. Rajasekaran. “We now know that one need not inhale the particulate matter present in secondhand smoke to suffer the consequence of smoking. Exposure to the gaseous substance alone, which you breathe while standing near a smoker, is sufficient to cause harm.”

      …Scary stuff! What is reactive oxygen species (ROS) you may ask? According to Wiki:

      Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are chemically reactive molecules containing oxygen. Examples include oxygen ions and peroxides. Reactive oxygen species are highly reactive due to the presence of unpaired valence shell electrons. ROS form as a natural byproduct of the normal metabolism of oxygen and have important roles in cell signaling and homeostasis.[1] However, during times of environmental stress (e.g., UV or heat exposure), ROS levels can increase dramatically.[1] This may result in significant damage to cell structures. Cumulatively, this is known as oxidative stress. ROS are also generated by exogenous sources such as ionizing radiation.

      ….So what I can deduce from the Wiki description is that I shouldn’t panic about ROS as they are a natural byproduct of living and breathing oxygen EXCEPT when it’s hot outside, I’m near any UV source (black lights, bug zappers, the sun, etc),……or if I’m near a smoker. I guess I’ll need a truckload of antioxidants to nullify the free radicals that have come under oxidative stress to restore homeostasis. Oh wait….ROS occurs as a function of aging. Where is the fountain of life when you need it?

      In the words of Emily Litella…Never mind! Nothing new here.

  16. Steve Kelly says:


    The ‘Plain Truth’ essay suggests there is a link between considerable long-term smoking & lung cancer risk but actually stresses that smoking should not be called ‘the cause’ or ‘a cause’ of lung cancer. Note in particular pages from about 45 through 48 of the PDF.

  17. junican says:

    Re the study which Harley and Ladyraj refer to, the actual title of the study is not: “New Evidence Of Cancer-Causing Agent Present In Gaseous Phase Of Cigarette Smoke”, or anything like that. If you look at the report in Science News which Ladyraj gives the URL for, and you scroll down, you will see on the left, “Journal Reference”. There you will see the actual title of th study which is: “Na,K-ATPase is a target of cigarette smoke and reduced expression predicts poor patient outcome of smokers with lung cancer”

    I made some comments about this study at the Bolton Smokers Club:

    last night. I ‘accidentally’ got to read the whole thing. Look at the back end of the title – “…..predicts poor patient outcome of smokers with lung cancer” That’s what it was about – how various enzymes react with cigarette smoke and how that might affect the chance of survival for people who might carry on smoking after being treated for lung cancer.

    I’m off to the pub in a minute, so here’s a quick summary of the method they used. They spread A SINGLE LAYER of lung cells (some cancerous and some not) over a slide (or something) and puffed the smoke from two marlborough fags over the surface of the layer (thus, I would say, thoroughly coating them with a thick layer of tobacco condensate – nb. The layer of cells is less than 1/100 th of a millimetre thick (I think). Then they found that the cells did not work properly. For heaven’s sake! What would one expect?

    The claims in the press release are as near as damn-it fraudulent.

    Off to pub.

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