Being There

I was fascinated to hear Lord Darzi on BBC World Service Radio, talking with Dave Atherton about his proposals to ban smoking in London parks. Rather than transcribe the whole thing, I chose to only transcribe what Darzi said, so as to examine what he was saying more carefully:

“The proposals are to ban smoking in parks, not everywhere in London. And this is very much one of many proposals in tackling some of the major public health crises in the capital. We have 1.2 million people smoking, but we have 8,200 people dying of smoking a year. We have two classrooms of kids taking up smoking every day. We are dealing with an obesity crisis at the same time. 40% of our kids by the time they leave primary school are obese and overweight. The whole purpose of this proposal is to make our parks the beacons of health.”

We have “major public health crises” in London, do we? Has Ebola arrived already? The “crises” he’s talking about are those of smoking and obesity. They are, in short, not crises at all.

And how does he know that there are 1.2 million smokers in London, of whom 8,200 die every year, and that 2 classrooms of kids start smoking every day, and that 40% of them are obese? Of these figures, the only one that is plausibly accurate is the 40% obesity figure, because schools can weigh and measure their pupils, and determine whether they are “obese” using the pseudo-scientific BMI method. The other figures can only be guesses. Beats me how anyone can know how many kids start smoking every day. Are kids regularly asked “Have you started smoking?” in school?

And how does he know that the guesstimated 8,200 people died of smoking?

But the crowning glory must be the idea of making parks into “beacons of health”. What on earth is a “beacon of health”? Parks are are provided for relaxation and recreation. What makes this doctor think that he can change their purpose to something else (and something quite nonsensical at that)? Or that he has the right to do so?

“I think what we’re trying to do here is to make healthy choices easier. This is not about demonising smokers. This is about helping smokers…. I am a cancer surgeon. I see every day the consequences of smoking. It’s not just cancer. It’s amputations. We need to allow people to make healthier choices. We’re not banning cigarettes completely. This is not about cigarettes being illegal. It’s not about demonising smokers. This is about saying in our parks we would like to make our parks the role models, the examples of healthier living.”

He’s proposing to “make healthy choices easier” by banning people from smoking? He’s actually disallowing them any choice at all. So when he says that we need to “allow people to make healthier choices” (which they are already allowed to do), he really means that we must disallow them from making unhealthy choices.

He then announces that he’s a cancer surgeon. Presumably he has spent much of his life cutting out tumours, and is highly skilled at doing so. But how does he know that these cancers are the consequence of smoking? Is he an epidemiologist as well? In truth, he has no idea what caused the cancers he is presented with, just as he can have no idea whether a broken bone he is presented with was caused by falling down stairs, playing football, being hit by a car, or any of the other innumerable ways in which bones can be broken. He pretends to know far more than he actually does know, or actually can know.

And the parks have now ceased to be beacons, and become role models. In what way can a park be a role model?

“I am a great believer in choice, but let’s make the healthy choices. Let’s make sure that our kids in the future make those healthy choices. Nicotine is highly addictive. We know that. It’s more addictive than narcotics. And we need to help people to get off smoking cigarettes.”

We have already learned that he is no believer in choice. He wishes to remove choice. One might even say that his idea of choice is no choice at all.

And it’s questionable whether smoking or nicotine are addictive, let alone more addictive than “narcotics”.

And when he says “we need to help people” to stop smoking, this begs the question of whether they want to stop in the first place. Don’t they have a choice in the matter? No, they don’t, Darzi will give them no choice at all.

He then moves on to the other “crisis”, the “obesity crisis”:

“3.8 million adults are obese. It’s all related to our lifestyle illnesses. It’s the amount we’re eating. It’s the amount of exercise, or the less amount of exercise we do…. The whole point of this set of proposals is to get London to move. If you’re taking the Tube, think of going from the left side of the escalator and climb up the escalator. And how do we get more people walking the last mile to work, and the first mile back home? How do we incentivise them to do so. We have 8000 junk food outlets in London. A school in Tower Hamlets will have 43 junk food outlets around it. We have to do something about this. And they’re growing by 10% per year. So that one of the proposals is that we don’t have further expansion. So going back to the narrative here, this about allowing people to make healthy choices, and make that easier.”

I think that by now we may guess that “allowing people to make healthy choices” translates into “disallowing people from making unhealthy choices.” i.e. no choice at all. And we may guess that he’d like to turn off the Tube’s escalators and have people “make the healthy choice” of walking the whole way up and down. And in fact, we may guess that he’d like to close down London transport entirely, thereby offering Londoners the opportunity of “making the healthy choice” of walking the entire 20 miles to and from home. And we may also guess that he’d like to close down all the “junk food” outlets, thereby depriving Londoners of the high energy foods they will need to walk those 40 miles every day. He’s really proposing to reverse the logic of economic logic that created London in the first place – of making life easier for people -, by setting out to make life harder for them.

But it’s all concealed through the use of a language in which meanings have become inverted, so that “crisis” really means “no crisis”, “choice” really means “no choice”, “allow” really means “disallow”, and “helping” people really means “forcing” them, and so on. And all bolstered by a garbled mish-mash of conflicting “beacons” and “role models” and “incentives”.

I could’ve almost found reason to disagree with every word he said.

And I couldn’t help but think that Lord Darzi was a sort of Chauncey Gardiner, the simple-minded gardener in Being There, whose “simplistic utterances about gardens and the weather are interpreted as allegorical statements about business and the state of the economy,” and who ends up being chosen as the next US President. For a cancer surgeon is really just a glorified plumber or repair man or gardener. He has no more business to set out to impose his values and beliefs (i.e. “health”) on everyone else than plumbers or repair men. He should have stuck to his core job (like the WHO should have stuck to its core job), and left it to other people to run London. Unfortunately, our lives are more and more being determined by simple-minded people like him.


About Frank Davis

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46 Responses to Being There

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    Yep its falling apart for all of their agendas………….

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Even today my brothers best friend a life long Liberal democrat even said. That global warming shit was always a hoax changing its name left and right…………Let me tell you when this man said that I like to shit!

      I don’t even feel the need to fight anymore……………Id say weve done our job now let the people finish it.

  2. Marie says:

    For me this is London

  3. virtualbarman says:

    Excellent post!

    And Being There has always been one of my most favourite films…

    I was arguing about the proposals on The Telegraph the other day…

    When I was a kid everybody smoked. Indeed, my father was a heavy smoker – he rolled his own and we had a billionteen empty 2oz Golden Virginia tins in the house for storing screws, fuses, etc. in. I played with them as toys and liked the smell of the stale tobacco inside.

    He smoked at home, in the car, cinema, everywhere as did everybody around him…. so inspired by him was I that my mother made me cotton wool filled cigarettes so I could emulate him.

    I also remember being at a fun fair on holiday once and ‘winning’ two packs of cigarettes in one of those crane games when you had to twirl the little knobs and get the crane to pick up prizes. I proudly displayed the pack in my top pocket like I was a smoker – like my dad.

    Yet I am a never-smoker.

    So the concept of keeping smoking out of the view of an cheeeldren in case he/she sees somebody having a puff and immediately rushes out to buy 20 B & H and a lighter is clearly ridiculous.

  4. Joe L. says:

    But it’s all concealed through the use of a language in which meanings have become inverted, so that “crisis” really means “no crisis”, “choice” really means “no choice”, “allow” really means “disallow”, and “helping” people really means “forcing” them, and so on.

    Nice summary, Frank. In one word: “newspeak.” The healthist movement is far too uncannily Orwellian for my liking. Sadly, the masses continue to blindly accept this nonsense from this “Ministry of Truth” without a second thought.

  5. Rose says:

    Nicotine is highly addictive. We know that. It’s more addictive than narcotics

    If nicotine was as addictive as narcotics then nicotine patches would work.

    To any genuinely interested and logical mind a failure rate of 98.4% would clearly prove that nicotine is not addictive. To keep insisting that it is addictive is a statement of belief rather than anything proven.

    I doubt that Lord Darzi has done a days work on a real life tobacco plant and is merely parroting the lazy prohibitionist science of the ages.
    Without the nicotine addiction theory they are completely lost.

    Tobacco, like every other plant is complex with lots of different chemicals that they never bothered to research, the practice of smoking it also produces gases that have different effects the beneficial properties of which were only recently discovered.

    Lord Darzi also shows his ignorance in that parks are already “beacons of health” in that they give people a refuge away from London’s traffic fumes. More practically useful than moving smoking from the park to the pavement.

    If he does want to be useful he could campaign to plant more trees in London parks.

    How trees clean the air in London

    “New research by scientists at the University of Southampton has shown how London’s trees can improve air quality by filtering out pollution particulates, which are damaging to human health.

    A paper published this month in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning indicates that the urban trees of the Greater London Authority (GLA) area remove somewhere between 850 and 2000 tonnes of particulate pollution (PM10) from the air every year.”

    A very quick search shows me that Lord Darzi does not appeared to have considered such a friendly, attractive and beneficial solution.

    • Frank Davis says:

      It is odd that it’s only the “addictive” nicotine which they put in the patches which are supposed to wean people off their cigarette “addiction”. It’s like trying to wean heroin addicts off their addiction (I seriously wonder if heroin addicts are “addicted”) by giving them heroin patches.

      Anyway, I have no idea what a “beacon of health” is. It’s a nonsense.

      • Rose says:

        A glowing pink blob, brightening intermittently and exuding the smell of bleach?

        • smokervoter says:

          I was going to warn Rose not to click on that Yardbirds tune (Hot House of Omagarashid) I put up a while back lest she spend the rest of her day tooling around her splendid English garden with ya ya ya, ya ya ya, ya ya ya, ya ya ya stuck in her head.

          Well, the glowing pink blob has me completely baffled on this fine Saturday morn.

          Will someone let me in on the hidden meaning?

        • Rose says:


          No mystery, it was a reply to Frank.

          Anyway, I have no idea what a “beacon of health” is

          “A glowing pink blob, brightening intermittently and exuding the smell of bleach?”

          But I do seem to be immune to your Hot House of Omagarashid, when I hear the name Yardbirds, Shapes of Things has already started playing in my head.

      • nisakiman says:

        Having spent a few years in my youth addicted to heroin, I can say with a reasonable degree of authority that nicotine is not ‘addictive’. However, opiates most certainly are. I’m sure nicotine is a small part of the complex mix which makes smoking habit-forming, but as Rose points out, if nicotine was the sole ingredient which makes smoking habit-forming, then nicotine patches would work.

        I also cannot imagine that as a heroin addict indulging in, say, twenty fixes a day (not really – I’m just trying to equate it to cigarettes), I would happily get on a long-haul flight on which I knew I would be deprived of my fixes for 8 – 10 – 12 – 14 hours. No way, José.

        Depriving myself of cigarettes for that length of time causes me no physical problems; I suffer no withdrawal symptoms and my strongest reaction is anger at the morons who instigated the situation where I can’t enjoy a cigarette while I’m airborne any more. I fly long-haul not often, but usually at least once a year. It’s not a prospect that fills me with foreboding because I won’t be able to smoke. It’s just a pain in the arse. It takes away some of the enjoyment of the journey.

        The heroin ‘patches’ exist in the form of methadone, a synthetic substitute which alleviates the symptoms of withdrawal without providing the buzz. Its success rate is probably on a par with nicotine patches.

    • carol2000 says:

      The best response I’ve seen to the “nicotine addiction” lie, which directly attacks the Surgeon General gang: If the data contradict the theory, throw out the data: Nicotine addiction in the 2010 report of the Surgeon General. Frenk H, Dar R. Harm Reduct J. 2011 May 19;8:12.

      Thus, the SG’s report asserts that nicotine is a primary positive reinforcer and that repeated nicotine administration causes neurobiologic adaptation, which results in tolerance to the effects of nicotine. In the absence of nicotine, a withdrawal syndrome ensues that is alleviated by nicotine and hence makes the drug a negative reinforcer. This model is identical to the model that accounts for addiction to opiates and to other drugs such as alcohol and barbiturates. In the case of nicotine, however, the evidence for the SG’s model of addiction is much weaker than the authors of the report portray it to be. Below, we review the principal tenets of the nicotine addiction model presented in the SG’s report and examine their empirical status. As we shall show below, the conclusions summarized in the preceding paragraph are invalidated by (a) selectively presenting evidence that supports these conclusions while ignoring evidence that contradicts them, (b) presenting evidence that does not pass criteria for modern science and was discarded by contributors to the report themselves in the recent past, and (c) stating that evidence exists where, in fact, it does not…

      In fact, one would be hard pressed nowadays to find such preposterous statements regarding the reinforcing power of nicotine outside the SG report…

      Two decades ago, Aker suggested that the motivation for calling smoking an addiction was to give it a bad name. “Anything addictive is bad; if it is not addictive, it is probably not too bad. A tobacco smoking habit is bad enough, but it is even worse when one thinks of it as an addiction (p. 778)”… The message of the 1988 SG report proclaiming that nicotine is as addictive as heroin and cocaine was widely disseminated by scientists, physicians and the media. A 1977 study reported that “About four out of five non-smokers regarded the average cigarette smoker as an addict, whereas only about half the smokers saw themselves as addicted (p. 334)”. In a study published eight years later [98] only 25 out of 2,312 subjects (1%) answered the question “How addicted do you think you are to smoking?” with the answer “Not at all”. Today, after more than 25 years of authoritative messages by the SG, we would not be surprised if both smokers and non-smokers view the statement “nicotine is addictive” as obviously true as “water is wet”.

      • nisakiman says:

        Thus, the SG’s report asserts that nicotine is a primary positive reinforcer and that repeated nicotine administration causes neurobiologic adaptation, which results in tolerance to the effects of nicotine.

        Well that is obviously and demonstrably palpable nonsense.

        I (and I’m sure most other smokers), have gone through phases of smoking a lot and smoking not very much. Forty years ago, I was smoking five packs of Camel plain a day. At the moment I smoke about 10 – 12 roll-ups a day. Hardly a positive reinforcer.

        Opiates, on the other hand, definitely do have the effect of creating increasing tolerance. Totally different to smoking. In fact it’s like comparing apples and oranges. There is no common factor at all.

      • Frank Davis says:

        From Carol’s link:

        the growing body of evidence for the crucial effect of non-nicotine factors in smoking. The importance of the sensory rewards associated with smoking has been documented for decades. More recently, studies with de-nicotinized tobacco have shown conclusively that such factors determine smoking behavior at least as much as nicotine. Smokers readily smoke de-nicotinized cigarettes [40] and there is no decay in the rate of smoking that would be expected if the motivation for smoking was nicotine. In the same vein, de-nicotinized cigarettes are as effective as regular cigarettes, and more than nicotine in any other delivery mode, in relieving withdrawal and craving

        This reminds me of the late Lauren Colby who wrote that “the active ingredient in smoking is… smoke”, which always struck me as being pretty near the truth. It’s a nice sensation to feel warm dry smoke in your mouth and throat. And furthermore to alternate the warm dryness with cold wetness (lager) or warm wetness (tea or coffee – but not fruit juice or Coca Cola). I hardly ever smoke without drinking something at the same time (I wrote something about this a while back). And furthermore I smoke the most when I’m thinking hard, and can go for long periods not smoking if I’m not thinking (as I remember on an 11-hour flight flight on which I was either dozing or gazing out of the window).

        And if vaping is has a strong appeal to smokers, it’s because it reproduces the sensation of smoking quite well, and not just the nicotine (which really needs to be oxidized to become nicotinic acid/niacin).

        And the first thing I want in the morning is a mug of tea, not a cigarette.

      • Rose says:


        Declaring nicotine addictive is the only way Kessler could regulate it.

        From their point of view it just has to be addictive, it’s the only possible reason they can think of to explain us continually ignoring their repeated warnings of dying a horrible death.

        US ruling turns smokers into junkies – 1994

        “Nicotine is addictive, a panel of experts on drug abuse decided last week. The decision leaves the door open for the US Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco as it does other addictive substances.

        Over the past few months, the FDA’s commissioner, David Kessler, has been campaigning for tobacco to be regulated in the same way as many other drugs. To do so legally, he must demonstrate that nicotine is a powerful drug, and that the tobacco companies depend on nicotine’s addictiveness to keep smokers smoking.”
        http: //

        Paper presented to the FDA’s Substance Abuse Advisory Committee meeting, 2 August 1994, Silver Springs, MD.

        Is Nicotine Addictive? A Re-evaluation of the Data

        “In this brief statement I will develop the argument that research has failed to substantiate the claim that nicotine is addictive. To the contrary, it is difficult to document even mildly rewarding effects from nicotine.”

        Nicotine as an Addictive Substance: A Critical Examination of the Basic Concepts and Empirical Evidence Dale Atrens

        I’m afraid that strapping monkeys down and witholding food until they press a lever doesn’t count as proof of an addictive substance as far as I’m concerned

        You’ll have to read the Forces copy though, the original vanished a while ago.

        Of course there was always room for doubt over who was really right until millions had tried NRT.

  6. beobrigitte says:

    Lord Dazi’s impudence is quite astonishing.

    The proposals are to ban smoking in parks, not everywhere in London.
    The same old lie, different venue.

    We have 1.2 million people smoking, but we have 8,200 people dying of smoking a year. We have two classrooms of kids taking up smoking every day.
    8,200 people die of smoking each year? REALLY? 8,200 death certificates stating smoking as the cause of death?
    Two classrooms of kids take up smoking every day? How big are these classrooms? Number of pupils, please.

    “I think what we’re trying to do here is to make healthy choices easier.
    Who is “we”? And can’t individuals make “healthy choices” for themselves? Aren’t adults supposed to do that?

    This is not about demonising smokers. This is about helping smokers….
    If it is not about demonising smokers why not simply ask if help is wanted? It would save our cash strapped government time and money.

    I am a cancer surgeon.
    In this case I would like to suggest Dr. Darzi gets on with his job and sticks to it; if I ask a plumber to do a job for me I would not expect him to rewire my bathroom, too. Obviously Dr. Darzi has a lot of time on his hands which he could put to better use, such as actually TREATING patients.

    I see every day the consequences of smoking. It’s not just cancer. It’s amputations.
    My life in his hands? NO! The lack of knowledge that cancer is a multifactorial disease and that most leg ulcers are caused by diabetes, clotting factor deficiencies etc.etc. does not induce this feeling of reassurance.

    We need to allow people to make healthier choices.
    In which case it is imperative that adults are treated as such.

    We’re not banning cigarettes completely. This is not about cigarettes being illegal. It’s not about demonising smokers.
    Who is “we”? What gives Dr. Darzi the right to say: “We’re not banning cigarettes completely. This is not about cigarettes being illegal. ?
    I believe Dr. Darzi is not in a position to dictate any law, as much as he might like to!
    Voters do have a say eventually!!

    This is about saying in our parks we would like to make our parks the role models, the examples of healthier living.”
    Who is “we”? A park as a ‘role model for healthier living’? Does this mean that there would be signs everywhere, stating: “NO BLANKETS AND PICNICS ALLOWED”; “NO DOGS” etc.etc.?
    To go to the park for relaxation to relieve work stress no longer would be an option (after killing traditional english pubs it is now the turn for other places smokers can be found), thus the number of mentally ill youngsters will increase even more with the old people at retirement age (having lived through decades of smoking/passive smoke) are required to support their long term sickness absence.

    People, you have the right to vote!!! Make use of it.

  7. Valkyrre says:

    No need to spend much wordage on the silly small time crank Darzi,he’s just a Westminster pimp
    who crawls round deathbeds waving flags to illuminate his worthless miserable existences.
    In an honest society he would be a bandage technician in a Vets
    He will get his park ban eventually because the smokers will crawl down the nearest grid and let him

  8. Frank Davis says:

    Brendan O’Neill making the exact same point as mine in Spiked:

    But even worse than all that has been the way this fun-allergic lobby has warped the meaning of the word choice. Almost singlehandedly they have transformed the c-word. They have turned ‘choice’ from something individuals do for themselves, using our free will and moral autonomy to decide on a course of action that we think is best suited to our lives, into something that is done for us, by others, and which we have to be guided towards. They talk about the ‘right choice’, the ‘informed choice’, the ‘healthy choice’, and about their determination to shove us donut-scoffing plebs towards that ‘choice’. They have turned choice utterly on its head: when they say ‘choice’, what they really mean is ‘less choice’.

  9. Frank Davis says:

    Michelle Malkin

    Centers for anything but disease control

    So now the federal health bureaucrats in charge of controlling diseases and pandemics want more money to do their jobs.

    Hmph. Maybe if they hadn’t been so busy squandering their massive government subsidies on everything but their core mission, taxpayers might actually feel a twinge of sympathy.

    At $7 billion, the Centers for Disease Control 2014 budget is nearly 200 percent bigger now than it was in 2000. Those evil, stingy Republicans actually approved CDC funding increases in January larger than what President Obama requested.

    What are we getting for this ever-increasing amount of money? Answer: A power-hungry busybody brigade of politicized blame-mongers.

    Money, money, it’s always the money. Yet, while Ebola and enterovirus D68 wreak havoc on our health system, the CDC has been busying itself with an ever-widening array of non-disease-control campaigns, like these recent crusades:

    Mandatory motorcycle-helmet laws: CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden appoints a 15-member “Community Preventive Services Task Force” to promote pet Nanny State projects….

    • smokervoter says:

      Thanks for that link Frank. It really backs up my month old contention that the Frieden-lead CDC has some rough sledding ahead when the investigations as to why they seem to have been “a day late and a dollar short’ during the crucial May-June 2014 time period of the Ebola outbreak comes out in the wash.

      “After every public-health disaster, CDC bureaucrats play the money card while expanding their regulatory and research reach into anti-gun screeds, anti-smoking propaganda, anti-bullying lessons, gender inequity studies and unlimited behavior modification programs that treat individual vices — personal lifestyle choices — as germs to be eradicated.”

      That one paragraph says it all. Thank you Michelle Malkin.

      And furthermore, to any smoker who buys into the tiresome ‘left-right paradigm’ argument that it makes no difference which party you vote for:

      Rush Limbaugh (who has been hammering Frieden/CDC mercilessly on the radio) and Michelle Malkin are definitely not leftwing Democrat types. Never, ever vote Democrat (nor Labour) if you smoke cigs/pipes/cigars/hookahs or vape.

      On the other hand, isn’t Brendan O’Neill a former/current leftie?

      BTW, I’m still wondering about that glowing pink blob. Ya ya ya, ya ya ya……

      • carol2000 says:

        “And furthermore, to any smoker who buys into the tiresome ‘left-right paradigm’ argument that it makes no difference which party you vote for:

        Rush Limbaugh (who has been hammering Frieden/CDC mercilessly on the radio) and Michelle Malkin are definitely not leftwing Democrat types. Never, ever vote Democrat (nor Labour) if you smoke cigs/pipes/cigars/hookahs or vape.”

        And what are Limbaugh and Malkin good for? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Blustering about nannyism and griping about the CDC falling on its face over Ebola are utterly worthless. It’s nothing but Anti-Smoker-Approved Fake Opposition, because they refuse to attack the anti-smokers’ scientific fraud. Their crap is nothing but a ticket to second-class citizenship, of being whiny little children who throw tantrums while the grownups ignore them and do as they damn please. And when their kind get into office, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING CHANGES. And that’s why it makes no difference which party you vote for.

    • beobrigitte says:

      So now the federal health bureaucrats in charge of controlling diseases and pandemics want more money to do their jobs.

      Lets base their wage on that what the health professionals working in Liberia get; I believe their one off pay (for putting themselves and their families in REAL danger) is $400. Since the federal health bureaucrats do not put themselves into any danger (other than the stress-induced heart attack that MIGHT occur when their books and the cash spent do not match), their wages should be adjusted to -$520 000.

      I also stumbled across this headline a bit earlier:
      However, what this article does not mention, is, that the Ebola virus and the Marburg virus are ‘cousins’.

      The federal health bureaucrats (and others, such as the WHO) better start getting busy with REAL problems!!!

  10. garyk30 says:

    I, for one, believe that out of 1.2 million smokers there are 8,200 that die from ‘smoking related’ diseases.

    Using the USA death rate of 0.8% deaths per year, 1.2 million smokers could expect to have 9,600 deaths per year.
    Doll’s Doctor Study showed that 85% of smokers’ deaths would be from the diseases ’caused’ by smoking.

    85% of 9,600 is 8,200.

    What this doctor fails to mention is that never-smokers have 84% of their deaths from those same diseases. That would be 1.2 million never-smokers having 8,064 deaths from the diseases ’caused’ by smoking.

    Or put another way;
    8,200 deaths out of 1.2 million shows that 99.31% did not die.

    for never-smokers:
    8,064 deaths out of 1,2 million would be 99.33% not dying from those same diseases.

    Being a never-smoker does very very little to improve your chances of not dying from the diseases ’caused’ by smoking.

    • garyk30 says:

      While we are playing with comparative numbers.

      99.31%/ 99.33% = smokers gave 99.98% of never-smokers’ chance of not dying from a disease ’caused’ by smoking.

  11. magnetic01 says:

    People like Narzi, the neo-eugenics brigade, are dangerously stupid. This from the other day:
    “Just as smokers’ lungs are polluted, the lungs of our city–our parks and green spaces–are polluted by smoking,” Lord Darzi said.

    Is Narzi suggesting that smoke is bad for plants? It’s not a strange question to be asked of these nitwits. Bear with me. Many years ago, as part of employment, I occupied a small room. In that room I brought 3 plants…… simply because I like plants. I was also one of the few smokers on that floor. The plants thrived beautifully. I couldn’t tell you how many times nonsmokers entered my room (with me smoking) with a look of great concern for the plants. Why was I endangering plants with smoking? Why would I want to bring plants into a smoky environment? These morons didn’t understand the simple fact that plants absorb volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulates, and carbon dioxide – smoke is fine by plants, and they release oxygen. It’s all beneficial to humans.

    Narzi appears to be implying this stupidity….. that tobacco smoke (considering, too, that we’re dealing with wisps of smoke in massive acreage) detrimentally affects flora in the context of multi-acre parks: It’s grand stupidity. And he should be hammered for it.

    • beobrigitte says:

      I am getting VERY worried – a cancer surgeon who expects this “Just as smokers’ lungs are polluted, the lungs of our city–our parks and green spaces–are polluted by smoking,” Lord Darzi said. to be believed, may well think he can sell a lot of other utter nonsense. I would refuse to be treated by this guy OUTRIGHT. For all I know, he also may have been too busy with his tobacco control friends issues, anyway, and may no longer be in a position to do the job he is (was) supposed to do.

      “The ideas and proposals in this report have been developed for London, yet they could just as easily apply to other big cities in the UK–London should be a leader, not an exception,” Lord Darzi added. “I passionately believe that Britain’s local and city governments can become the defining locus for better health.”

      Where does Lord Darzi’s idea come from? What a surprise!!!
      Former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, who banned smoking in Central Park, said that the ban had helped extend life expectancy by nearly three years during his time as mayor.
      THREE MORE YEARS have been added to life expectancy? WHOSE life expectancy? Would Mr. Bloomberg provide the figures for that, naturally excluding all old peoples’ diseases?

      Perhaps it isn’t a bad time to hold these nu… erm…. people DIRECTLY responsible for the damage they already DID by demanding that their personal fortune to be donated to those who put themselves into REAL danger, such as the many (by me unheard of) people working in Liberia as we speak!! THAT way this country HERE could start to heal.

  12. carol2000 says:

    In New York, a Nose for Hidden Compartments and Cigarettes. Crime Scene By MICHAEL WILSON Oct. 17, 2014
    In early 2002, the city, the state and the federal government collected a combined $15.80 in taxes on every carton of cigarettes sold here. Today, that number is $68.60, or almost $7 a pack. With the increases in taxes, more packs flowed up from the South, in cars and overstuffed minivans and in the underside luggage compartments of passenger buses, said Maureen Kokeas, director of the office of tax enforcement for the city’s Department of Finance. The cigarettes are kept in storage units and quietly sold, a carton or three at a time, to bodegas.
    (I never saw or heard the word “bodegas” before I started reading The New York Times. It sounds vaguely like a term for a house of prostitution or something.)

    • smokervoter says:

      Just so happens that “bodega” was one of the first Spanish nouns I learned. I was living/surfing on a jungly tropical paradise island immediately south of the Mazatlan, Mexico seaport, circa Feb, 1973.

      Partially with the help of my trusty little red backpocket-sized Spanish-English dictionary (and a Mexican friend who was learning English), I eventually learned the language.

      Painted in huge block letters on all of the big, huge warehouses where they stored mainly cotton bales at the time (and probably some pot, too) were the words BODEGA #1, BODEGA #2, BODEGA #3 and so on.

      • Frank Davis says:

        I remember visiting a bodega in Galicia in Spain a few years back. It was a winery, and they’d thrown a party to hand out glasses of their latest product, and plates of octopus to go with them.

    • Joe L. says:

      It’s a regional thing here in the States, mainly in New York. Here in Chicago, where we have a large Hispanic population, the term “bodega” isn’t even in our vocabulary. We simply call them “convenience stores,” “corner stores,” or more often (due to their main purpose of existence here), “liquor stores.” The first time I visited New York I asked a gentleman where the nearest place to buy a pack of cigarettes was, and when he directed me to a “bodega down the street”, I was utterly perplexed.

      • smokervoter says:

        Bing translator’s first entry was “winery” and second was “nautical warehouse” – Bingo! There’s a discount chain of winesellers here called Wine Bodega, which always translated to my inner Spanish brain as Wine Warehouse, as in Lumber Warehouse (discount wood), Computer Warehouse etc, etc.

        I’m thinking that wine was an early export item of Old Spain and was stored at their portside warehouses (bodegas) before making their way to Jolly Olde’ England or the Colonies.

        For the record the word “Almacen” also means port warehouse and, yes, I’ve seen the word used at Ensenada, Mexico. It’s a fine seaside port city 70 miles south of San Diego with perhaps the finest climate in the world. Up until the time the drug cartel wars erupted I was looking for a second home there. Had I succeeded it is my firm belief that I wouldn’t be typing this right now, I’d be a casualty of the lucrative Gringo Kidnapping trade.

      • carol2000 says:

        New York City is full of Dominicans and Puerto Ricans, rather than Mexicans.

  13. smokingscot says:

    Clearly this “Lord” Darzi’s not a night time person.

    Beacons of health – oh do so not make me laugh.

    When the sun sets they’re anything but.

    This link gives you an indication of what some of them are used for.

    Then there are the shooting galleries, the bag people, the muggers and – as always – the rapists.

  14. garyk30 says:

    “We have two classrooms of kids taking up smoking every day.”

    In case you are curious, law restricts classes to 30 students at most.

    2 classrooms per day would be about 22,000 per year at most.

    There are about 2 million school age kids in London.

    22,000 is only 1%(1 per 100) per year.

    That is 1 kids starts smoking every year out of 3 to 4 classrooms of kids.

  15. smokervoter says:

    OK. One last time.

    Whilst still in hot pursuit of the true meaning of a glowing pink blob, I StartPage’d “glowing pink blob bleach” and ended up at a Daily Mail article featuring my favorite British MILF Helen Mirren with pink hair. Off to the right in the margin was Lana Del Rey ‘puffing on a cigarette’. I will never get used to that being a newsworthy Big Deal.

    Lana Del Rey puffs on cigarette while clad in tropical pleated wrap-dress onstage her Hollywood Forever Cemetery concert

    She is doing a duet with a guy who I consider to be a musical genius of the first degree – Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. Good Vibrations has to be one of the most unusual and perfect masterpieces ever created. It also typifies my fondest early Southern Cal memories of life. Along with Fun, Fun, Fun of course.

    And did you know that he and Jeff Beck were on tour together last year? Talk about your absolute sonic nirvana!

    Click away there friend.

    PS. Never did find out what glowing pink blob exuding bleach is all about.

  16. Pingback: Little Confidence | Frank Davis

  17. Jay says:

    I haven’t read the comments so someone has probably said this already – but wonderful piece, Frank – I’d really like to see it in the MSM – why not hawk it around?

  18. junican says:

    I’ve just listened to the radio broadcast with Dave Atherton and Darzi, It was a pity that Dave missed the opportunity to say that the word ‘help’ has no connotations of the use of ‘force’. A ban is ‘force’. I think that it is very important to continuously emphasis this, rather than discuss the niceties of enforcement, etc.
    I think that Darzi and the rest of the charlatans have actually managed to repeat their redefinition of the words like ‘help’ so many times that many people do not notice that what they really mean is ‘persecute’.

  19. Pingback: The Tobacco Control Mentality | Frank Davis

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