Potential and Actual Threats

From Dick Puddlecote:

“there are potentially more cancer-forming chemicals within e-cigarettes than you’ve actually got in cigarettes per se themselves.”

There are also potentially more cancer-forming chemicals in one of my cheese sandwiches. There are also potentially more cancer-forming  chemicals in the dust on my floor.  There are potentially more cancer-forming chemicals in absolutely anything anyone cares to name. In fact anything has the potential be something else. My kitchen knives have the potential to be used to kill people, or to cut their heads off. My hammer has the potential to be a murder weapon. So do my scissors. And my pencils.

There are any number of potential threats everywhere. One might even say that there an infinite number of potential threats. But a potential threat is not an actual threat. And in actual fact, e-cigarettes don’t contain any carcinogens whatsoever.

What Dr Rae is really saying is that “we don’t know of any cancer-causing chemicals in e-cigarettes, but they can potentially contain them (and this is why we want them banned).” He may as well have said that “we don’t know of any cancer-causing chemicals in Sainsbury’s Apple Pies, but they can potentially contain them (and this is why we want them banned).” If we can ban things for what they might potentially contain, rather than what they actually contain, we have carte blanche  to ban absolutely anything we like.

Leaving out the “potentially”, Dick Puddlecote understood Dr Rae to be saying something a bit different:

He is actually claiming that e-cigs are more capable of causing cancer than cigarettes themselves. A statement that is so comprehensively stupid that it consequently calls into question the veracity of the original 1950s research linking smoking to lung cancer, surely.

Perhaps Dr Rae is making such a claim, given that he seems to think that a potential threat should be taken just as seriously as an actual threat.

Which raises the question of whether the mental disorder underlying the sort of fear-mongering that the likes of Dr Rae engage in is one of systematically conflating potential dangers with actual dangers. The release of large quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere has the potential to alter the Earth’s climate, and so this potential threat is transformed into an actual threat. All men are potentially rapists and child molesters, and so they actually all are rapists and child molesters.  Smoking tobacco is potentially a cause of lung cancer, heart disease, etc, etc, so smoking actually causes lung cancer. All you need do to discover the actual danger in anything is to find a potential danger in it.

Incidentally, it hasn’t been the wild claims made against e-cigarettes that has struck me as being “so comprehensively stupid that it consequently calls into question the veracity of the original 1950s research linking smoking to lung cancer.” No, it was claims about the dangers of passive smoking that did that some 10 years ago.

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31 Responses to Potential and Actual Threats

  1. How oxygen in the air could trigger lung cancer: Rates of the disease found to decrease at higher altitudes.

    US researchers suggest way our bodies process oxygen is potentially carcinogenic.
    Free radicals in body can cause damage to cell structures and DNA, which in turn can trigger cancer.
    Link between elevation and lung cancer not seen with breast, prostate or bowel cancer.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2909046/How-oxygen-air-trigger-lung-cancer-Rates-disease-decrease-higher-altitudes.html#ixzz3OojufPbZ.

    Oxygen in the air we breathe may play a role in triggering lung cancer, new research suggests.

    Scientists found that rates of the disease decrease at higher altitudes, where there is less oxygen in the air.

    Although oxygen is essential for life, the US researchers suggest the way our bodies process it is potentially carcinogenic.

    Oxygen is known to be highly reactive. When cells in the body use oxygen atoms to harness the energy stored in food, they produce a natural by-product called oxygen free radicals.

    These free radicals can cause damage to cell structures and DNA, which in turn can trigger cancer.

    Kamen Simeonov, from the University of Pennsylvania, and Daniel Himmelstein, from the University of California at San Francisco, compared cancer rates across 250 western counties in the US with varying altitude levels.

    They found that incidence of lung cancer fell by 7.23 cases per 100,000 individuals for every 1,000 metre (3,281 feet) rise in altitude.

    Although there was a strong association between elevation and lung cancer, they did not see the same link with breast, prostate or bowel cancer, suggesting a role played by the inhalation process.

    They said if the entire population of the US lived in San Juan County, which is at 3,470 metres (11,400 feet), there would be 65,496 fewer lung cancer cases every year.

    Researchers from universities in California and Pennsylvania found that incidence of lung cancer fell by 7.23 cases per 100,000 individuals for every 1,000-metre (3,281 feet) rise in altitude. Lung cancer kills an estimated 160,000 people in the US and 35,000 in the UK every year

    They said exposure to sunlight and pollution, both of which are affected by elevation, was taken into account in their calculations.

    They added: ‘Viewing our findings through the lens of the literature, atmospheric oxygen emerges as the most probable culprit.

    ‘Overall, our findings suggest the presence of an inhaled carcinogen inherently and inversely tied to elevation.’

    • Scientists Say Smelling Farts Prevents Cancer – Sunny Skyz


      Jul 11, 2014 – This is not a hoax, folks. Scientists out of the University of Exeter believe that smelling farts actually prevents cancer, among other diseases.

    • nisakiman says:

      Or maybe there’s less traffic in counties that are higher altitude. Or perhaps it has to do with the barometric pressure. Or maybe HPV or some other as yet undiscovered virus doesn’t survive so well at higher altitudes. Or maybe all those things. Who knows what confounders are involved.

      • Or it could be Tibetan monks living at Mt Everest are immune…………….Since Tibetan monks all smoke and do it religiously.

      • “If you smoke RELIGIOUSLY then you’re gonna be ok!”

        Old Irish joke. A man who loved smoking asked one of his parish priests if it was ok to smoke while he was praying. The priest tut-tutted and said, “No my son. Your thoughts should be on our Lord, not on smoking when you pray!”

        The man thought about this unhappily and eventually decided he’d try appealing to the actual elderly pastor of the parish. This time he asked, “Pastor, is it ok for me to pray when I’m smoking?” And the pastor said, “You can pray anytime you like!”

        So now the man is happy.


        • it has little or no effect on consciousness and thus, from the Buddhist perspective, has no moral significance. A person can be kind, generous and honest and yet smoke. Thus, although smoking is inadvisable from the point of view of physical health it is not contrary to the fifth Precept. –

    • DenisO says:

      Fascinating correlation between altitude and cancer. Pure Oxygen is reactive, but it is not what causes cancer. Cancer is caused by damage to the DNA in a cell’s nucleus, and it is believed that there are only three causes: errors in mitosis replication, radiation, or radical oxygen species (ROS). An example is hydrogen peroxide which is a product of mitochondrial production of ATP (energy fuel) within the cell but outside the nucleus.
      Doctors told me, a former smoker, that smoking was correlated with my former bladder cancer.
      Combustion gases from cigarettes contain reactive oxygen species that enter the lungs, but don’t ordinarily penetrate the lung cell walls and then the nucleus walls, but it is close enough to be a prime suspect. How those gases have anything to do with the bladder, which gets its input from the kidneys, begs the correlation? It’s a puzzlement.

      • Its simple THEY LIED

      • ROS happens in everything and I mean everything………

      • beobrigitte says:

        Cancer is caused by damage to the DNA in a cell’s nucleus, and it is believed that there are only three causes: errors in mitosis replication, radiation, or radical oxygen species (ROS).
        Not true. There are far more causes of cancer, just to mention one: a defect in the regulation of apoptosis (natural cell death), by slowing the process of apoptosis down leads to cancer.
        The thing with ROS is that they produce the free radicals to which cancer has been attributed. About 10 – 15 years ago there was this big thing about free radical being a bad thing and people were alarmed. In the meantime it has been discovered that these free radicals are NEEDED by our body.

        That bladder cancer is smoking related is a tobacco control created myth. Sure, carpenters tend to show more occurrences of bladder cancer (due to inhaling the fumes of strong solutions) just as cooks in restaurants were shown to have a high rate of lung cancer prior to the implementation of ventilation. (Ironically, the waiters and bar workers working in this oh-so-dangerous SHS environment showed a very low rate of lung cancer).

        Mrs. Arnott’s carpet is getting too bumpy to be comfortable; too much brushed under it.

        • Bladder cancer is called pee cancer and for one reason only. The bodies impurities get stored there until released and the storage makes it the longest and most highly collected point in saturation of chemicals…………That’s the toxicologists that call it pee cancer. You cant link it to smoking as everything that goes into everybody gets secreted the same way…….

        • Ya sometimes I end up on toxicologists boards where they discuss a few things OPENLY……….Don’t ask me where it took me two years to get approved and a lot of lying and false trails to get there.

  2. Smoking Lamp says:

    Quebec government should ban smoking on terraces…

    According to a CBC article today “Research has found harmful levels of second-hand smoke on Montreal’s patios.” The proposed patio ban is being put forward by Marvin Rotrand a city councillor who stated that: “The bulk of the population are not smokers and many people just don’t like having to breathe in somebody else’s smoke when they want to enjoy a nice warm summer day on a restaurant patio.” The bar owners association is opposed to the ban stating tat they already lost business from the indoor smoking ban. According to a study by researchers at John Hopkins University, harmful levels of smoke are found on Montreal bar patios. That study allegedly makes the absurd claim “that a single lit cigarette could create air quality levels comparable to a smoggy day in Los Angeles.”


    • How odd is this …. Air Filtration copes easily with Aircraft pollution at Airports but in the opinion of Tobacco Control and the political legislators cannot cope with burning tobacco leaves ??

      Click to access Airports_segment_brochure_EN-GB%5B1%5D.pdf

    • CLEAN smoke-free air.
      Arsenic is a deadly poison and airborne arsenic can cause lung cancer.
      Each cubic meter of ‘clean-smoke free’ urban air can contain as much arsenic as is produced by your average cigarette!!!

      How much arsenic might there be in urban air?
      urban areas generally have mean arsenic levels in air ranging from 20 to 30 ng/m3.

      There is,indeed, Arsenic in cigarette smoke. Here: (The 1999 Mass. Benchmark Study. Final Report 07/24/00) we find the average cigarette has 32ng of arsenic in all of it’s smoke,mainstream and side stream.

      My house has about 450 cubic meters of space, At 30 ng/cubic meter, my house contains 13,500 ng of airborne arsenic provided by society.

      I smoke a pack a day and that pack will produce 640 ng of arsenic in it’s smoke.
      There is a total of about 14,140 ng of airborne arsenic in my house and 95.5% of that arsenic(13,500 ng) does NOT come from cigarette smoke.

      Here is a list of 33 of the 188 toxic pollutants the American EPA has found will be in CLEAN smoke free urban air.

      Some you may recognize as being in cigarette smoke and there are some that are not found in cigarette smoke.


      Acetaldehyde-Acrolein-Acrylonitrile-Arsenic Compounds-Benzene-Beryllium Compounds-1,3-Butadiene-Cadmium Compounds-Carbon tetrachloride-Chloroform-Chromium Compounds-Coke Oven Emissions- 1,3-Dichloropropene-Diesel Particulate Matter-Ethylene dibromide-Ethylene dichloride-Ethylene oxide-Formaldehyde-Hexachlorobenzene- Hydrazine-Lead Compounds-Manganese Compounds-Mercury Compounds-Methylene chloride-Nickel Compounds-Perchloroethylene-Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB)-Polycyclic Organic Matter (POM)-Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (7-PAH)-Propylene dichloride-Quinoline-1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane- Trichloroethylene-Vinyl chloride

      • OSHA also took on the passive smoking fraud and this is what came of it:

        Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence: Third Edition


        This sorta says it all

        These limits generally are based on assessments of health risk and calculations of concentrations that are associated with what the regulators believe to be negligibly small risks. The calculations are made after first identifying the total dose of a chemical that is safe (poses a negligible risk) and then determining the concentration of that chemical in the medium of concern that should not be exceeded if exposed individuals (typically those at the high end of media contact) are not to incur a dose greater than the safe one.

        So OSHA standards are what is the guideline for what is acceptable ”SAFE LEVELS”


        All this is in a small sealed room 9×20 and must occur in ONE HOUR.

        For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes.

        “For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes.

        “Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

        Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up.

        “For Hydroquinone, “only” 1250 cigarettes.

        For arsenic 2 million 500,000 smokers at one time.

        The same number of cigarettes required for the other so called chemicals in shs/ets will have the same outcomes.

        So, OSHA finally makes a statement on shs/ets :

        Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.” -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA.

        Why are their any smoking bans at all they have absolutely no validity to the courts or to science!

      • garyk30 says:

        Someone did great research there!! :)

        • Gary guess who led me to it in an afternoon of following up on other BS claims made.

          THE RICO trial,guess who co-authored the reference manual third edition…………..

          None other than Judge Gladys Kessler…………epa study and Rico trial fame along with corrective BS statements…….It was on her federal personal profile I found. LMAO

        • Totally by accident

      • Nice analysis Harley!


    • smokingscot says:

      Aha, John Hopkins University. The place where His Royal Majesty Michael Bloomberg spent such a long time.

      And HRM B saw fit to sink a cool $1.1 billion into, just to say “thanks”:


      By way of reciprocity John Hopkins renamed their School of Health the “John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health”


      Now there’s an outfit that’s GUARANTEED to be totally unbiased.

      • Scot bloomy got more than that for his money,he got his own public health epidemiology dept to do whatever bidding was needed. Like Obamas speech 2 years ago on gun control that he said was just released days before his speech………..it was made for his speech by bloomies NAZIs at john Hopkins.

        Bloomberg donated 1 billion dollars to john Hopkins and that’s where all the JUNK SCIENCE to support bloombergs nanny state policies comes from like last years anti-gun violence study Owebama used after the sandyhook shooting took place…….


        Goals of the Department

        Develop approaches for applying the findings of epidemiologic research in the formulation of public policy and to participate in formulating and evaluating the effects of such policy

        Center for Gun Policy and Research


        The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research is engaged in original scholarly research, policy analysis, and agenda-setting public discourse. Our goal is to bring public health expertise and perspectives to the complex policy issues related to gun violence prevention.

        An important part of the Center’s mission is to serve as an objective and informative resource for the news media, thereby providing the public with accurate information about gun injuries, prevention strategies, and policies.

        Current Events


        • Sounds just like Prof Enstroms problems his work didn’t follow the guideline policies of the school…………roflmao…….he just won in federal court and is considering ethic charges against all of the bastards including GLANZ

        • They also create anti-smoking junk studies as needed too,actually that’s there main bread and butter for those there.

  3. beobrigitte says:

    “there are potentially more cancer-forming chemicals within e-cigarettes than you’ve actually got in cigarettes per se themselves.”

    It is April the first today…..

  4. The bill is reminiscent of another the Inquisitr recently reported that occurred in England. Similar to the “smoking in ban” bill that Florida is entertaining, detractors were mostly saying the same thing: it isn’t necessary.

    “This is not about protecting children,” said Pat Nurse of the U.K. ban.

    Nurse, a smoker since the age of eight, felt that her government was “using children as human shields and exploiting people’s children to push through a political agenda, which is ultimately the eradication of tobacco by any means even if it means criminalizing consumers and actually preventing them from enjoying a legal product in what is actually their own property.”

    What do you think of the pushback these “smoking in car” bans are getting? And is the government overreaching with these types of laws or protecting children?


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