Losing It

Following on from last night:

Salt, sex and booze: lifestyle killers on the rise


Paris (AFP) – The number of people worldwide whose deaths were tied to avoidable health risks like high blood pressure and smoking has shot up by almost 23 percent since 1990, researchers said Friday.

According to results published in British journal The Lancet, scientists concluded that a range of 79 health dangers contributed to 30.8 million deaths in 2013, 5.7 million more than in 1990 even when population growth and ageing were taken into account.

“To put it in plain English, we are behaving badly,” study co-author Ali Mokdad of the University of Washington told AFP.

“I mean we know very well that smoking kills and that blood pressure is another killer,” he said by phone. “Nobody risks not changing the oil in their car, but nobody pays the same attention to their own body.”

They’re losing it, aren’t they?

But I’m a bit puzzled by the photo. There’s no salt or sex or booze in it. Instead there’s a cigarette, a cup of coffee, and what looks like a glass of water. But I suppose all these health risks are interchangeable.

Water is lethal stuff, of course. People drown in it. And that glass of water might look harmless, but just imagine if you fainted and fell forward and your nose ended up in the glass. Yes, you could easily drown in the glass of water on a restaurant table.

It probably happens quite often. Customer comes in, sits down, orders a Four Seasons pizza with added capers and fried onions, and a few minutes later is found dead with his nose sunk in the glass of water in front of him.

In fact, you could just as easily drown in a bowl of minestrone. Or porridge. Or mashed potato.

They should have health warnings. I’m surprised they don’t already. Don’t Lower Your Nose Into The Mashed Potato. Or Porridge Kills.

It probably helps to have companions sitting at the table with you, who can keep an eye on you, and pull you and your nose out of the macaroni cheese starter if you happen to fall in.

Better safe than sorry, eh?

Anyway, yet more signs that they’re losing it:

Smoking rates on the rise in New York City

For the first time in years, more than 1 million New Yorkers are smoking, marking a disturbing rise of tobacco use in the city that pioneered a number of anti-smoking initiatives that were emulated nationally.

New York City’s Department of Health released data Monday showing that 16 percent of adult New Yorkers are smokers.

That’s up 14 percent from 2010, which was the city’s lowest recorded rate.

The findings came from answers to an annual health survey of thousands of residents in New York’s five boroughs.

To combat the rise, the city is launching a new anti-smoking ad campaign, authorized by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

De Blasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, made anti-smoking a centerpiece of his public health agenda.

So when are they going to start running campaigns against minestrone and mashed potato?

About Frank Davis

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40 Responses to Losing It

  1. The rise in NY is interesting. Wonder what might account for it? The beginnings of a bounce-back? Could the general population finally waking up to just how much they’ve been lied to and are then going on to discount what they’ve been told for so long?

    – MJM

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Remember the epa said the 911 air quality was fine and wouldn’t harm anyone. But a few cigs would kill everyone 2 years later. Lol

      • Yep. The quote, from the LA Times as I discussed it in “Brains”:

        NY — A vast choking plume of smoke from the … World Trade Center has engulfed much of lower Manhattan…. Federal health officials say the fumes…pose no serious hazard to the millions of people breathing them….

        “The good news for the residents of New York is that the air, while smoky, is not dangerous,” said (the) EPA … “There are dangers of smoke from the fire, of course, but it is not something we would classify as toxic.”

        — LA Times 09/15/01

  2. slugbop007 says:

    Here are Ali Mokdad’s academic credentials:

    PhD Quantitative Epidemiology, Emory University, 1997
    BS Biostatistics, American University of Beirut, 1984

    Here is a description of typical quantitative epidemiology:

    Send to:
    Methods Mol Biol. 2011;713:27-39. doi: 10.1007/978-1-60327-416-6_3.
    An introduction to epidemiology.
    Hajat C1.
    Author information
    The last sentence says it all about quantitative epidemiological studies.
    Epidemiology as defined by Last is “the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events in specified populations and the application of this study to the prevention and control of health problems”. Traditional epidemiological studies include quantitative and qualitative study designs. Quantitative study designs include observational and interventional methodology. Observational methods describe associations that are already present at population (descriptive) or individual (analytical) level. Although they form the mainstay of epidemiological studies, observational methods are prone to bias and confounding.
    I wonder if Mr. Mokdad received a Fellowship grant, or a bursary, from the RWJ Foundation. Like Gary Giovino, Sally Satel and thousands of other public health conscious folks around the globe?

  3. slugbop007 says:

    Other than that, it’s just more end of the week bullshit from the health fascists. They like to end the week with bombshells.

    • roobeedoo2 says:

      Clocking off for the weekend? It really is like it’s a just a job to them. I wonder if that will help them in the end…

  4. Tony says:

    I wrote this in response to your post of yesterday. Hope you don’t mind my putting it here instead.

    I’m sure I’ve read many accounts stating that Fisher got on well with Hill (though perhaps not Doll) even actively supporting his fellowship of the Royal Society (FRS). But the review you’ve linked to states otherwise. My guess is that all accounts have been written by the winning side (including that one). As a result, truth emerges in dribs and drabs.

    I came across this quote today which seems phenomenally important:
    Richard Feynman: “I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.”

    The chief taboo question being of course: “Can smoking cause lung cancer?”.
    I strongly doubt it but very few people even dare to question.

    • Joe L. says:

      They don’t make scientists like Richard Feynman anymore.

    • Frank Davis says:

      That’s a great quote. Got a source for it?

      Yes, and I’ve read the story of how Fisher supported Hill becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society. I’ve also read how Fisher, after he moved to Australia, was reported to have ‘recanted’ of his objections to the smoking hypothesis (although the sources were vague and secondhand). And there’s also Doll failing his mathematics entrance exam to Oxford/Cambridge only because he’d got drunk the night before (the implication being that he would have passed but for that, and was as good a mathematician as anybody).

      As I’ve read more and more about Doll and Hill’s ‘research’ the worse and worse it has seemed to me, and I’ve grown rather surprised that Fisher didn’t conduct a much more powerful campaign against their work than he actually did. But perhaps the truth has been buried. We know that he wrote a whole book. Now it emerges that he was trying to get Hill ejected from the Royal Society. Which seems much more like what was needed to be done.

      Maybe you’re right about the truth gradually trickling out. Perhaps there was a much bigger battle fought in the 1950s than we know about, and Fisher was the loser, and Hill (and Doll) the winners, when it should have been the other way round.

      The chief taboo question being of course: “Can smoking cause lung cancer?”.
      I strongly doubt it but very few people even dare to question.

      It’s indeed a very difficult question to ask, as I found when I first started asking it about 10 years ago. People (myself included) have been so conditioned to believe that smoking causes lung cancer that it’s almost impossible to question the doctrine. It’s like questioning whether the Earth goes round the Sun.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Tell a lie often enuf til it becomes the fabled truth. Then challenge the dogma and we find nobody can defend the so called belief system created from the original lie. Even the SG of 1964 was skeptical about the claims being made.

      • Some French bloke says:

        From Robert Proctor’s ‘Golden Holocaust’
        “Rumors swirled after Fisher’s death in 1962 that he had either reversed himself on his deathbed or explained away his truculence as opportunism. David Daube, the Oxford biblical scholar, recalls Fisher telling him shortly before his death that his defense of tobacco was simply “for the money.” (Michael Daube (David’s son), personal communication, Jan. 10, 2009.)”

        • French, two notes on that: (1) It puts me in mind of “speaking ill of the dead.” Even if Fisher did utter those three words, we have no real idea of the context and Fisher has no way of explaining them at the moment. and (2) The context could well have been referring simply to why he accepted (if he did… I don’t really know) some position/commission from the industry for his writings on smoking statistics. It doesn’t in any sense indicate that he wrote anything he didn’t believe to be true.

          If we discounted all antismoking claims that were made by people who have done/written/researched things partly because they’re in a position where they’re paid to do so, and are paid by powers/institutions/organizations that would probably *not* be paying them as well and securely if they were saying the opposite, I believe we’d have comparatively very little out there in the antismoking realm. Sure, we might have some folks willing to live poor and try to do their research and writing on their own without the results being viewed as “contaminated” by ever having any connection to Big Pharma or Big MSAFunds or institutions with such connections, etc, but how many do you know of at the moment of all the multi-thousands in their ranks?

          If you feel I cast my net too widely with that “ever having any connection to … institutions with such connections” remember how TobaccoScam dismissed the research Dave Kuneman and I performed several years ago by deriding it as being authored by a “tobacco industry researcher” — i.e. Dave, who had worked 20 years earlier as a soda flavoring chemist for 7-Up Soda company … a company that was at one point briefly bought and sold by Philip Morris in its efforts to diversify as Altria.

          Put that level of testing to the Antismokers, throw out the research and accomplishments flowing from such “contaminated sources,” and there’d be virtually nothing left at all.

          – MJM

        • Frank Davis says:

          Rumors swirled after Fisher’s death in 1962

          This is the entire modus operandi of Tobacco Control. They plant suggestions, doubts, fears, rumours. That’s all they’ve ever done. They never proved that smoking causes lung cancer, but they got millions of suggestible people to believe that it did, and that was all that mattered. What does it matter whether it did or didn’t cause cancer: all that mattered was to get people to believe that it did. And this was done largely by gradually exaggerating the claims made against tobacco, and whispering them incessantly, over and over again.

          It’s a remarkable achievement, a propaganda triumph, to have made Smoking Causes Lung Cancer become what might be called the Central Dogma of our gullible modern era, and what Everybody Knows is unquestionably true. Far more certain and true than the idea that the Earth revolves around the Sun.

          I think it’s the unquestionable veracity of this otherwise obscure doctrine that marks it out as a construct of some sort. There’s nothing else quite like it. Most beliefs carry a measure of doubt, but not this one. It is more certain than the Laws of Motion, or the proofs of Pythagoras. It’s too perfect to be true.

          This evening I was watching a TV programme (on my brother’s TV) which called into question the authenticity of the famous bust of Nefertiti that was discovered in Amarna in 1912. It’s almost too good to be true, that such a startlingly modern depiction of a beautiful woman should be discovered in an historical period in which the depictions of Akhenaten (whose wife Nefertiti was) always seem (to my eye) misshapen and deformed. How come such a stunning beauty should emerge from the same sands as them? It’s a bit like finding a new fresco by Michelangelo on which the face of Brigitte Bardot or Marilyn Monroe appears. And yet, so far, all the pigments used on this bust have proved authentically Egyptian. And if it is a modern forgery, it’s one of such audacity as to elevate it to the rank of great art.

        • Some French bloke says:

          They plant suggestions, doubts, fears, rumours.

          In that case, Proctor is just disseminating a rumour about distant “swirling” rumours. And his huge book is heavily referenced, yet the only reference provided on that is from a “personal communication”, almost 50 years after the ‘fact’…

        • Some French bloke says:

          … a “personal communication”, almost 50 years after the ‘fact’, when the original witness (David Daube) had been dead for 10 years, to boot.

    • tony says:

      You (Frank) said “That’s a great quote. Got a source for it?”

      I can’t find a clear source for the Feynman quote even though lots of people seem to refer to it. Just try an internet search. It would be a pity if it wasn’t him but the wisdom stands on its own anyway.
      There’s a brief mention on wikiquote:
      https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Talk:Richard_Feynman (scroll to bottom of page).

      The idea of a battle in the 1950s that was covered up by the victors is a very intriguing one. I suspect there is a lot of truth in it.

      I have also seen references to a supposed death bed recantation by Fisher but nothing from Fisher himself. From the letters etc that I’ve seen, his views were strongly held and well reasoned so I frankly don’t believe he’d have suddenly recanted. As MJM pointed out, the ‘for the money’ bit is ridiculous.

      You also said “We know that he wrote a whole book“. I haven’t heard a book about the Hill and Doll affair although I know he wrote some seminal texts on statistical analysis.

      • Frank Davis says:

        The book was called Smoking; The Cancer Controvery and was published around 1958. It’s available online here,

      • Some French bloke says:

        the ‘for the money’ bit is ridiculous.

        I was just tossing a quote from a prominent zealot into the debate, with relevance to Frank’s comment above on “how Fisher […] was reported to have ‘recanted’ of his objections to the smoking hypothesis (although the sources were vague and secondhand)”, and also with respect to your impression that all accounts have been written by the winning side.
        The name Michael Daube somehow rang a bell, but he’s clearly not to be confused with Aussie antismoking crackpot Mike Daube.

        Another profound quote from a physicist to add to your collection: “Never express yourself more clearly than you think” (Niel Bohr)

      • Tony says:

        Thanks for the book link Frank, although that is a compilation of the letters I’ve seen already.
        SFb: Thanks also; your ‘for the money’ zealot quote was interesting, as was the connection with Mike Daube – although perhaps that is where I should heed Bohr’s words:)

      • Frank Davis says:

        The idea of a battle in the 1950s that was covered up by the victors is a very intriguing one.

        I have read several times that the controversy that exploded in 1950 after the publication of the London Hospitals study was accompanied by considerable comment in the press. Yet I have never seen any of it. Not a single article. All of which tends to make Fisher et al seem like lone, misguided defenders of a disproven orthodoxy, like Ptolemeian astronomers in the face of the all-conquering Copernicus. But as best I understand, the findings of Doll and Hill were not widely accepted at that time, and the British government did not act upon them. It took another 20 years of repeated innuendo to establish the new doctrine in public consciousness as an indubitable truth.

  5. garyk30 says:

    However, death rates are declining in the developed countries.

    Inverse correlation is indicated. :/

  6. Smoking Lamp says:

    The anti tobacco momentum in California is slowing down too. According to the LA Times, “California lawmakers failed to act by the end of the regular session Friday on a package of anti-tobacco bills, including measures what would have raised the smoking age to 21, restricted electronic cigarettes, and raised the tobacco tax by $2 per pack. Officials said it is unlikely the bills will be heard again before next year.” http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-california-lawmakers-fail-to-act-on-several-anti-tobacco-bills-20150912-story.html

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      If it dies in California it dies everywhere else.

    • The $2/pack hearing is mainly just a gambit from the Antis. Yeah, they’d have loved it to pass, but didn’t expect it to. HOWEVER…. they can now set it up as “Big Tobacco Lobby Stopped our Legislators from protecting our children, so NOW it’s up to US!” when they try to put it through in a popular vote a year from now. We beat them, but barely, three years ago on a $1 tax. We won by about 1/10th of 1% of the vote…. actually a great victory for those of us who post and write online since we can feel pretty sure that our efforts swung at LEAST that much of the vote (I believe we swing well over 2% — which is a very significant margin in tightly contested popular votes on things.) This time around though they’ll roll out the big money for their campaign: a CA win on a $2/pack tax would pump an extra 800 million to 1500 million PER YEAR into the Antismokers’ coffers.

      – MJM

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        More like into the bootleggers coffers mike. Look at NYC state 60-80% black market everywhere. Calif would be no different just like the rest of the world. Australia says I.

  7. Dirk says:

    THe good old days, watch Melina Mercouri singing about smoking https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O04lB46X1hk

  8. jltrader says:

    No smoking link to 25% of lung cancers: Top surgeon warns quarter of cases are nothing but ‘bad luck’

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3232381/No-smoking-link-25-lung-cancers-surgeon-warns-quarter-cases-bad-luck.htm

    I would say that 100% of lung cancers are bad luck – but then again, I’m not a top surgeon

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      The latest study on HPV and lung cancer:
      Correlation between squamous cell carcinoma of the lung and human papillomavirus infection and the relationship to expression of p53 and p16. X Fan, K Yu, J Wu, J Shao, L Zhu, J Zhang. Tumour Biol. 2014 Dec 28 [Epub ahead of print]. 128 adenocarcinomas and 134 squamous cell carcinomas in Shanghai. “The rate of HPV infection in SQC cases was significantly higher than in ADC cases (12.69 versus 3.91 %). Females with SQC had a significantly higher rate of HPV infection compared to males with SQC (18.75 versus 7.14 %, p?=?0.044). HPV infection was correlated with gender and age in SQC but not with the degree of tumor differentiation, TNM stage, or smoking.”


      And don’t turn up your nose just because it’s not 100% of lung cancer caused by HPV. Remember the supposed smoking-related mechanism the anti-smokers peddle (benzo(a)pyrene diol epoxide-DNA adducts at hot spot codons at p53 in lung cells) could only pertain to about 7% or less of lung cancers.


      7 % or less would explain why so few smokers get LC to start with! LC is a very rare disease even in smokers where 2% or less of life long smokers ever get LC..

      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.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Frank dungeon again lol

      • slugbop007 says:

        the jig is up – Wiktionary
        ‘Jig’ is a very old term for a lively dance, and in Elizabethan times the word also became slang for a practical joke or a trick. ‘The jig is up’ – meaning your trick or game is finished, has been exposed, we’re onto you now – derives from this obsolete slang word.

      • beobrigitte says:

        And don’t turn up your nose just because it’s not 100% of lung cancer caused by HPV. Remember the supposed smoking-related mechanism the anti-smokers peddle (benzo(a)pyrene diol epoxide-DNA adducts at hot spot codons at p53 in lung cells) could only pertain to about 7% or less of lung cancers.

        I’m getting bored with the P53 ….. It’s one of the hairs on our heads! One of many….

        Of course not 100% of the lung cancers are caused by HPV! Cancer is NEVER caused by ONLY 1 factor. Multiple things have to go ‘wrong’ at the same time.

        However, anyone who owns pets: Vaccination. My sibling’s cats were vaccinated against EVERYTHING. One of them did end up getting cat flu. Despite the vaccination.

        It’s not the cat – it’s the bug. They replicate at a rate we can’t compete with. (The cat did survive – and got cat-flu again, which it also survived. It died eventually of old age.)

  9. beobrigitte says:

    But I’m a bit puzzled by the photo. There’s no salt or sex or booze in it. Instead there’s a cigarette, a cup of coffee, and what looks like a glass of water. But I suppose all these health risks are interchangeable.

    Indeed. I wouldn’t worry about the sex bit – unless the healthists and anti-smokers are either asexual or unable to perform.
    Just as they can’t smoke or enjoy a drink or have a life. They just are too scared to see that their own life is not eternal on this planet and it scares them to death.
    For them the number of years is soooo important. (Who is going to pay for them?)
    I’d rather have less years but more life. I doubt that my worldly possessions fit one fine day into my coffin – my memories do.

    When fear of any sort is allowed to dictate peoples’ lives we will only exist, not live.

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