“The Scientific Scandal of Antismoking” by J.R. Johnstone (PhD Monash) and P.D. Finch (Prof. Emeritus of mathematical statistics, Monash) has long been one of the must-read articles on the web. It’s always worth a re-read.
Today, via Facebook, I came across a video on sott.net which is based on it. Let’s all light up: What you don’t know about tobacco. Here’s the rather polished 8-minute video:
It opens with the eminent statistician Sir Ronald Fisher finding in the Doll and Hill 1950 London Hospitals study conclusive evidence that inhaling tobacco smoke had a protective effect against lung cancer.
I once went through Fisher’s article about it – Inhaling – in order to reproduce his results. I thought it was a very neat statistical skewering of the study.
The findings of the study were that 99% of lung cancer patients were smokers. And this was alarming enough to start people quitting smoking. But it should have been no surprise at all that 99% of lung cancer patients were smokers, given that the sample population that the study used was 99% made up of smokers (or to be exact, 98%). Given such a sample, whatever disease was considered, it would have been found that on average 99% of patients suffering from it were smokers. And, assuming that London hospitals were 99% full of Londoners, it would have also been found that 99% of them were Londoners as well.
I now think that the London hospitals study was designed to produce the newspaper headline: “99% of lung cancer patients are smokers.” And in this it was extremely successful.
Anyway, I thought the little video did a pretty good job of highlighting some of the points made in The Scientific Scandal of Antismoking, and bringing it to the YouTube era.
The title reminded me of the Pretty Things’ All Light Up:
And if you liked that, you’d probably like Don’t Bring Me Down.
Thanks for the videos.
Just what I needed today, Frank – have had the most depressing and angry-making visit to the dentist, who waits till I’m trapped with my mouth full of his gear and then gives me the spiel about how I’m going to lose all my teeth and, when that’s happened, my gums will not heal – and it’s all my own fault because I smoke. And implants will not be an option because no dentist that he knows will put these into a smoker’s mouth. And, anyway, years of smoking have done too much damage. (The same damage most of my family have suffered, both the smokers and the non-smokers – but anything I say falls on deaf ears.) What is one to do?
Just tell the dentist you’re not a smoker before going for implants. :) There’s no way of really finding out if smoking has indeed an effect on dental implants survival with the current anti smoking hysteria. Genetics and a good oral hygiene are if not 100% of the equation, then very close to it.
Margo Ive been to probably 8 dentists in the last 4 years and one endedontist. Not one ever said a word about smoking. They told me my apple cores were from soda pop drinking over the top of the mid teeth. That’s exactly where it was always at. The enamel flaked away over a period of years but on pension and the VA dental system of 4-6 months waits for one 45 minute visit just aloowed them to finally get to the point of infected teeth and then all the repair I paid for out of pocket after 10 years started to just fll apart as decay got in underneath the repairs. From that point on over the last 6 months its just been one of yank em all from the top and get a denture plate.
The lowers are in real good shape save 2 that need root canal and filling.
Its never been the smoking or the coffee,its the acidy soda pop over the years that does in teeth.
I’ve never had any dentist say anything about smoking. It was always sugary food and drink. Your dentist is a liar.
Sorry Frank I haven’t had one say smoking was a cause of dental decay. Dry sockets yes but dry sockets are mostly on lower teeth not top ones.
Margo, before you visit that dentist again, I suggest you read this, especially the Literature review and the Conclusion.
A student struggles with the received wisdom and ends up baffled.
Smoking and its effects on wound healing after Partial Nail Avulsion
Click to access PhilipDalby.pdf
includes such conundrums as –
“Patient 4: healed rapidly, even though the highest level of cotinine was recorded, possibly due to the recent course of antibiotics. The higher levels of cotinine could be explained by the patient’s occupation as a bar man in a smoky student bar.”
However away from anti-tobacco studies there is a long history of tobacco being used to heal wounds –
Nicotine Accelerates Angiogenesis and Wound Healing in Genetically Diabetic Mice
“From a historical point of view, leaves or extracts of tobacco plants have been used in the management of wound treatment by shamans and native healers. The French ambassador to Portugal, Jean Nicot de Villemain, introduced the plant in Europe and wrote about the medicinal properties of tobacco in 1560. He described tobacco as a panacea and successfully treated an acquaintance’s face wound with the plant. His name was later given to the tobacco plant (Nicotiana tabacum) and to the stimulating alkaloid, nicotine.
Conversely, apart from these isolated reports and historical anecdotes, there has been a consensus in the medical and scientific community that tobacco use impairs wound healing.
Indeed, a recently published clinical trial demonstrates that preoperative smoking intervention significantly reduces the occurrence of postoperative wound-related complications in smokers undergoing elective surgery. This study would appear to conflict with our observations”
I hope that cheers you up a bit.
Rose the only thing I ever heard from a dentist about smoking was dry sockets. I had one on the lower about 15 years ago. But up top Ive had 7 teeth out now and not one dry socket.
The told me after I got the last one out to wait 3 months for all the swelling and healing to happen and then theyd make me a plate. Might even get posts! lol
In all fairness, I believe your example has just as much relevance as the Wynder mouse painting experiment. Topically treating mice with nicotine is very different from smoking. They should’ve separated the wounded mice in 3 groups, smokers, nonsmokers and sham, and only after that we could assess the effect of smoking on wound healing.
They were injecting the wounded animals with nicotine.
That was in the first link of course.
Quote from the second link: ”In genetically diabetic and control mice full-thickness skin wounds (0.8 cm) were created on the dorsum and topically treated over 7 days with either vehicle (phosphate-buffered saline, PBS) or nicotine (10−8 mol/L, 10−9 mol/L; each, n = 5).”
Even if they had injected it, my argument stands the same. In the current climate they won’t do/publish proper studies because if it turns out that smoking is actually beneficial to wound healing who’ll actually care about it when everyone ‘knows’ that every illness known to man is ’caused’ by smoking.
In the current climate they won’t do/publish proper studies because if it turns out that smoking is actually beneficial to wound healing who’ll actually care about it when everyone ‘knows’ that every illness known to man is ’caused’ by smoking.
I see what you mean, JLTrader, I thought you were talking about the first study,you are quite right, the discovery of the healing qualities found in nicotine very quickly became a double-edged sword.
Nicotine Can Boost Blood Vessel Growth
FRIDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) — Nicotine may not be all bad: A study found it stimulated new blood vessel growth in mice by actively signaling their bone marrow to release vessel-forming adult stem cells.
The finding might translate to the use someday of nicotine as a means of helping wound healing and other conditions where new blood vessel growth is key, experts say. It also gives insight into unwanted vessel growth, such as that which happens during tumor formation.”
“I don’t want people to think that smoking is good for you,” cautioned co-author Dr. John P. Cooke, a professor of medicine at Stanford University’s School of Medicine in California. “Tobacco smoke contains 4,000 compounds, and nicotine is just one of them. And what we’ve discovered is that nicotine alone can cause blood vessel growth.”
“Blood vessel growth is like fire,” Cooke added. “It’s neither good nor bad. So, certainly nicotine-associated blood vessel formation can cause problems, in the context of enhancing tumor growth, causing macular degeneration and blindness, or promoting coronary plaque. But, on the other hand, knowing that this phenomenon occurs, we can potentially manipulate it in a way that can be therapeutic — such as to enhance insufficient wound healing where part of the problem is related to poor blood vessel growth.”
So Pharma manipulated nicotine – good , nicotine straight from the plant bad.
Which is why they’ve recently started saying nicotine is a carcinogen because randomly growing new blood vessels could promote the growth of tumours
But I was trying to cheer up Margo and that has nothing to do with her teeth.
Oh thank you, it does, it does cheer me up. I knew there was something about nicotine helping healing – and tobacco has been used for this over centuries. My dentist was just spewing out the ‘Dentists Bible’, I knew that. I did have a go at him afterwards, as far as I could – and I know I have to go back for more treatment a few times. I said, ‘Can we take it as read, now, and you don’t do this lecture every time I come?’ And he said, ‘No – I will be doing it every time’. Unbelievable. I came home fuming with rage. But I should just laugh, really, I think.
Thanks for your experiences, HR. It’s a bummer, isn’t it. I put my problem down to: age (over 70), family inheritance, bad or non-existent dentistry all my childhood, poor nutrition over several years, ignorance for a long time about how to look after my teeth, stress, a certain amount of wild living, all in the past now. Smoking? I don’t fucking believe it, and Frank is right – the dentist is a liar. Thanks to everyone. You’ve really helped,
jltrader, yes, “every illness known to man is ’caused’ by smoking”, but only if you smoke. A few years ago, I was moving huge breeze-blocks in the garden, wearing sandals (yes, I know) and managed to drop one, flat on my big toe. I hobbled to the doc (really, just to see if I should get an X-ray or something) and he said, ‘It’s definitely broken.’
Next thing I knew, a few days later an appointment came for me to visit the Low Bone Density Clinic. I phoned up to ask why, and the doc said, ‘Well, since you smoke, you’ve probably got low bone density, which is why your toe broke.’
So I said, ‘I DROPPED A BRICK ON IT!’
“Oh, did you?” he said. He hadn’t taken that bit in – he’d just focused on the word Smoker, which unfortunately is on my records. If you’re a smoker, there are no other causes whatsoever for any malady you might suffer.
My dentist in Thailand will at some point be doing some implants for me (but he says I need to be there for at least three months, so it may not get done for a year or two), and he knows I smoke. It’s an irrelevance. It makes no difference whatsoever whether you smoke or not.
Perhaps you should change your dentist.
Funny in surgery it takes about 30 days for the wound to heal whether you smoke or not.
I had 2 coincidences in the last month. Went to my doc over a few things and damn 2 days after I have stomach bug and sinus issues. I called on the third day and tried to get back in,no she says doctors out sick for 3 days with sinuses and stomach bug…………I said you mean he gave me this crap! LOL
Then I had a tooth pulled and the dentist was running from 5 rooms to rooms and 24 hours after leaving hi office I get a raw sore throat lasting a week it finally quit yesterday.
My son goes to the same dentist they called and said his appointment was cancelled as the dentist was now out sick…….guess what with sore throat too and stomach virus.
He hadn’t changed his rubber gloves from patient to patient I noticed………..dentist.
I had 4 implants put into my lower jaw in 2007 because ill fitting false teeth had resulted in the virtual collapse of the left side of my jaw bone. My fault on account I was a lazy git about getting new dentures.
It was a case get implants fitted or put up with ill fitting false teeth as well as tubes of gunk to try to keep them in vaguely in place for about 6 to 8 hours.
Massively expensive (about £8,000 in 2007 money) and the operation took the better part of 4 hours under local anesthetic. Didn’t feel much, but heard the whole shebang and of course the vibration and smell. Pilot hole, check, change bit, bigger hole, check, change bit, final hole, check. Several minutes of blasting it with air, then screw in implant (x 4). Tedious and backbreaking for the maxillofacial surgeon. (Both of us were well knackered that day and the nurses had a shift change during this time).
Supposed to be three months before the locator pegs went on (it takes that long for the implants to bond solidly to the bone. It takes six months if they do them in your upper jaw because that bone’s much softer) but various things went awry. So ten months after the operation, the temporary caps went on, then the lengthy process of getting the mould made, then the new dentures, then off with the temporary caps and in went the locator pegs, then slap in the wallies.
At that time I was burning through 55 cigarettes per day and they had to make a thumping great cut to expose my jaw bone. Can’t remember how many stitches I had but it was lots.
Since then I’ve had no hassle. What’s very important to me is the shrinkage of my jaw has stopped because the bone thinks it’s got teeth in there (which it has to all intents and purposes) so it actually gets denser in the area closest to the implants.
I go for an x-ray every year and they’re exactly as they should be. Solidly bonded. Oh and I still burn my way through about 25 rollups every day.
My maxillofacial surgeon has only once commented on my smoking, when he said – with a smile – that it might not be good for my health. He knows now to keep that sort of thing to himself, or tell someone who may give a damn.
One word of advice. Don’t see one maxillofacial specialist. I saw three in all. Two I did not like one iota. The chap I went with is a qualified practitioner and dentist. Most important of all is he does it all, though he uses a specialist to make the dentures.
I think it’s crucial I deal with one person only, so be very wary of surgeons who just do the implant side, then pass you over to someone else to do the locator (or in your case the prosthetic tooth) side.
Margo…I have smoked for 53 years. 5 years ago I had 4 dental implants and they have been successful.
wife just came back from doctors visit they did a chest xray and all clear………Then she giggled and walked out. Comes home tells me And Ive been smoking for 40 years since she was 13! lol
Margo, find another dentist. The one you are with seems to be too preoccupied with the anti-smokers’ cause to do his job properly. He obviously does not need your money.
And implants will not be an option because no dentist that he knows will put these into a smoker’s mouth.
That’s perfectly fine – if they don’t want your cash (the NHS will not pay anything towards implants for smokers) there are great dentists elsewhere. And they are a lot cheaper than the English ones, anyway. As I already mentioned, I am in the process of getting mine done in Poland – my son’s partner’s mother’s dentist sounds great.
My teeth actually all looked fine and healthy – I suffered all my life with abscesses at the tips of the teeth… These abscesses did not (and still don’t) constantly result in a swollen face and screaming agony; they were (and still are) there until something triggers them.
I did have a great dentist here – but he retired in his 50s. He made enough cash to enjoy life now. The next dentist I signed up with HAD NO PROBLEM PROVIDING ME WITH IMPLANTS providing I PAID FOR THEM MYSELF.
I have no dentists now and will in the next few month be visiting the Polish guy, combining this with a nice holiday and tobacco shopping.
Boycott anti-smoking dentists!!!
Thanks, everyone. I doubt I’ll get the money together for implants – it sounds like a right palaver, from what smoking scot says. But I like the Poland idea, beobrigitte. So far, my wobbly teeth are holding on (eating carefully) so we’re not quite there yet, but the day will come. This is the worst anti-smoking dentist I’ve ever encountered – and I’ve been going to this surgery for 10 years. It’s just down the road from me and they take NHS patients (of which I’m one). Implants wouldn’t be done on the NHS, I’d have to pay through the nose. I’m hoping this dentist will move on, in time – they do tend to come and go here – as it might be difficult finding another who’ll take me as an NHS patient.
It’s never been about Tobacco:
It’s been about making you think lung cancer and heart disease are YOUR fault:
Wow, I just LOVE all of you. I tell people all the time, I’ve got a pimple on my rear – it’s because I smoke. They really do blame EVERYTHING on it.
hey Linda remember we met at wafflehouse in franklin,the bastards went smokefree at the corporate level. Now if your down that way go across the street to franklin house they have ashtrays on every table and no non smoking area……….. or go to the oasis. Theres a few other in town I wont mention.
Frank if you would delete my post to Lynda after she reads it………..for obvious reasons.
I tell people all the time, I’ve got a pimple on my rear – it’s because I smoke.
Only recently I was asked by the health center to attend – they had noticed that I hadn’t been there for many years and wanted to make sure I am not a dead customer.
So, off I toddled to the health center.
I did see some medic who first asked about smoking. “Hell, yeah! You got an ashtray?”
That did not go down too well.
The guy wanted to to a “health-MOT” – this I declined with the words: “I know I am healthy as I feel fine. If I don’t feel fine, I’ll make an appointment.”
That did not go down well, either.
By then I was amused enough to mention: ” Oh, by the way, now that I’m here; my shoulder and arm muscles do hurt a little; could this be because I dug up my potatoe patch today AND after that came off stupidly off the climbing wall at 5.5 feet?”
THAT did not go down well, either.
I guess it was his last resort – “What tablets are you taking regularly?”
My reply: ” Huh? I take every now and then Ibuprofen when I fall off a wall or I come off when skating. Split the rail the other day, killed the coccyxs, so for 3 days I took Ibuprofen. Now I’m ok.”
Taking my blood pressure did piss him off, too. 125/75. No tablets then for me.
Hopefully this health center will make sure again that I’m not a dead customer on it’s list again in 10 years time. :)
Beo mine was 118/68 last time lol
Harley, you must be a lot younger than I am…. :)
I continue to live according to the rule: Systolic pressure = your age + 100; diastolic pressure <100.
This worked well for generations of people! And, yes, that makes my bloodpressure as low as it was when I was a youngster. I can live with that happily!
I’ll vote with the Go to another dentist faction. But if you absolutely can’t, go into his office with industrial-strength earmuffs or a two-eared jack in an iPad set to iTunes –anything notable and flashy that he can’t miss–and tell him up front that if he still feels compelled to lecture, you feel equally compelled to not listen. If you deliver that message with a smile, it might be enough to make him not start.
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With smoking declining on screen, experts turn attention to alcohol
Read more at http://national.deseretnews.com/article/4509/With-smoking-declining-on-screen-experts-turn-attention-to-alcohol.html#M6yltsym6tQpjZPa.99
“A Critique of Nicotine Addiction” is worth a read, too.