The War on Electric Music

Via Juliette Tworsey on NYCCLASH (my added emphases):

NEW ORLEANS – Today, the New Orleans Health Department will launch a public health education initiative called Sound Check, which aims to reduce the level of harmful sounds that can adversely affect public health. Sound Check will engage residents, businesses, workers, performers and visitors to protect the overall health of the entire community by educating the public on how to accurately measure sound levels and how prolonged exposure to loud sound can lead to permanent hearing loss and other health issues.

A team from the Health Department’s Healthy Environments program will begin working with stakeholders to make recommendations on the length of time one can spend listening to sound based on decibel levels, perform demonstrations revealing the relationship between perceived and actual decibel levels, advise ways to protect peoples’ health in potentially dangerous sound conditions and provide information on how to seek help if one has sound-related health issues. The team will also start taking baseline sound measurements to determine the effect this campaign will have on decibel levels.

In 2013, the New Orleans City Council tasked the Health Department with addressing the issues around sound in the French Quarter and Marigny neighborhoods. The Sound Check initiative is the start of that work.

Bound to start sooner or later, the War on Electric Music. It’s a logical extension of the war on smoking, drinking, eating, and generally having any kind of fun at all. Find a negligible ‘health risk’ somewhere, and then gradually inflate it into a monstrous bogey.

They’ll probably come up with ‘safe’ decibel sound levels, with fines for exceeding them. The ‘safe’ levels will then get steadily lower and lower.

There will be a whole raft of ‘scientific’ studies of music-related disorders, particularly in relation to heart arrhythmia.

It will become impossible to hold stadium rock concerts. And then it will become impossible to have any amplified music at all anywhere.

People will start worrying about the secondhand music that leaks out of theatres and clubs, and  its ‘health impacts’ on ‘vulnerable’ social groups (i.e. chiiildren).

The golden age of electric music will come to an end, as it’s regulated out of existence.

About Frank Davis

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27 Responses to The War on Electric Music

    • Roobeedoo2 says:

      There you are Click. What’s up?

      WHO’d a thunk it?! Second-Hand Sound comes atrundling along the road paved so expertly with the good intentions of removing second-hand smoke… Where are you going now, you big fish? Click! Click! Wait up Clicky, I’ll come with…

  1. jaxthefirst says:

    And STILL the masses won’t see that the whole thing started with anti-smoking, and STILL they cannot see that if it is to be stopped, they must all accept that that very first campaign – with all its hysteria, encouraged self-righteousness, lying accusations, exaggerated and fabricated “facts,” and ever-harsher restrictions, bans and persecutions – must be where the brakes must first go on if exactly the same tactics are to be prevented from being applied successfully in a never-ending range of other areas. STILL they see smoking as “different.” STILL they come out with the old canard “but it’s different because there’s no such thing as passive ….. [whatever].” And always, without fail, they miss – perhaps conveniently, perhaps hopefully – the last, but most important word to finish that statement accurately – “Yet.”

    The ability of the general public to believe only what they want to believe, and their inability to admit when they’ve been wrong – even when to do so would work to their own advantage – never ceases to both amaze and, sometimes, dismay me.

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    Like I said before they will make everyone an enemy even themselves.

  3. harleyrider1978 says:

    Europe has ‘alarming’ rates of smoking, drinking and obesity: WHO

    • prog says:


      ‘The report found that for now, life expectancy is increasing across Europe and the region is on track for reducing premature mortality by 1.5 percent a year until 2020.

      This means that the number of people whose lives are cut short by cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases is steadily declining, it said.’


      Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO’s European regional director, applauded the improvements in health and the steady gains in life expectancy but added a warning.’

      ‘There is a very real risk that these gains will be lost if smoking and alcohol consumption continue at the current rate,” she said. “This is especially relevant to young people, who may not live as long as their grandparents.’

  4. westcoast2 says:

    In the UK regulations on noise levels have been in effect since 2005. They come from the Control of Noise at Work Regulations. The implementation was delayed, until 2008, for the music industry. There is also an EU directive, 2003/10/EC, about this.

  5. garyk30 says:

    Maybe they will soon have an acceptable level for babies crying in public?

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    Cigarettes + gasoline = explosion?

    Posted on February 28, 2007 | 11 Comments

    Only in the movies, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. In fact, forensic fire experts at the ATF’s research laboratory have found that it’s almost impossible to set something, or somebody, ablaze with a lit cigarette, even when they’ve been doused in gasoline. Richard Tontarski investigated one of Hollywood’s favorite cliches and – surprise – found it wanting.

    [H]e and colleagues experimented. They dropped burning cigarettes into trays of petrol. They sprayed a fine mist of petrol at a lighted cigarette. They even used a vacuum device to produce the higher temperature (900-950C) of a cigarette being sucked. In more than 2,000 attempts the petrol did not ignite.

    This is the stuff we thriller writers need to know. It not only puts me at ease about playing with gasoline, but helps me get things right when planning my next fireball.

    Fictional fireball. Fictional.

    Note, however, that Tontarski wasn’t merely mythbusting for fun:

    He began looking into the problem because arson suspects frequently claim a petrol fire was started by accident. “The person claims, ‘I accidentally threw gasoline on my girlfriend, she was smoking and she burst into flames’,” he said.

    Because that sort of accidental gasoline-throwing fiasco happens to all of us, right? “Frequently.” Nasty.

    Anyway, since the smokes are in the clear on this one, I offer this slogan to the tobacco companies, free. “Cigarettes – here’s one way they can’t kill you.”

    UPDATE: A reader emails,

    Hang on, gonna light a cig while I bathe in gasoline.

    Ah, that’s better. Been wanting to do that for a long while, but feared for my health. Good to know it’s safe to indulge.

    Always happy to help.

  7. Rose says:

    People will start worrying about the secondhand music that leaks out of theatres and clubs, and its ‘health impacts’ on ‘vulnerable’ social groups (i.e. chiiildren).
    The golden age of electric music will come to an end, as it’s regulated out of existence

    Nonsense, Frank, you’ll still be allowed to damage your own health by listening to loud electric music on headphones while standing outside, preferably 5 m from the nearest window or doorway. But remember, if any passerby can hear even the tiniest tinny drumbeat emanating from your skull it’ll be a fine for causing passive headbanging.

  8. smokervoter says:

    ‘A team from the Health Department’s Healthy Environments program’ … Healthy Environments: Managementspeak for (working with stakeholders) we intend to micromanage everyones life so as to extend lifespans to their absolute maximum. All those who perish before the age of 78 are hereby deemed to be heretics and sinners.

    By the way, this goes a long way towards explaining why my guvnor (Jerry Brown) is such a strange guy. He’s been talking lately like a complete madmen. He seems to think that Climate Change Armageddon is already upon us. He seems to believe that a one degree per century rise in the temperature is capable of igniting a wildfire. Seriously.

    Yeah, that’s him third from the left with his arm around the strapping young monk. Only in California.

  9. woodsy42 says:

    The war started years ago. At a small venue that I used to frequent the council, in their infinite wisdom, fitted the stage with sound level meters that tripped out the power to the stage if the noise level breached a set limit. Sadly the audience when in lively mood and applauding an act caused the system to trip out so (after they banned the regular sound guy from the usual ‘fix’ of using extension power leads from a different circuit) the hall was completely unuseable for any sort of concert or music event.
    When bookings dried up the system was quietly removed.

  10. Cecily Collingridge says:

    Today I went along to the inaugural meeting of a new support group for those with lung diseases in my town. Rather than being independent, it is a Breathe Easy group set up under the British Lung Foundation. I objected to this as charities are part of the problem promoting victimisation. I gave the chairman, who was part of the local Care Commissioning Group, a printed copy of a study published this year in the Journal of Promotional Communications called “‘Lung Cancer? He must be a smoker’ An Exploration into the Stigmatisation of Lung Cancer Patients”. (It’s an eye-opener even though I wouldn’t trust the one bit of data from ASH and the study has a few other limitations, e.g. the unintended consequences are more far-reaching than covered and I don’t think there is any justification for what is done to patients and their families).

    The public don’t stand a chance against these tactics and ALL respiratory patients, not just those with lung cancer, are the sacrificial lambs.

    Whilst I was about it, I also handed this person two examples of the health warning imagery used on cigarette packs. The first example of negative stereotyping is the picture of hands with the caption ‘Smoking causes ageing of the skin’. Below it, I put ‘The ageist message conveyed above is that old people are ugly and undesirable’. The second image was of a patient in bed with a caption ‘Smoking can cause a slow and painful death’ writing below it ‘This warning suggests palliative care fails those with any smoking-related disease irrespective of whether the patient smoked or not. This undermines the reassurances most advocates of palliative care give about the effective management of symptoms at the end of life.’

    I also gave the chairman recommendations on books to read:
    1. ‘The Death of Humane Medicine and the Rise of Coercive Healthism’ by Petr Skrabanek (Social Affairs Unit, 1994) – full text PDF available online.
    2. ‘The Tyranny of Health – doctors and the regulation of lifestyle’, by Michael FitzPatrick GP, (Routledge, 2001)

    Finally, for good measure, I printed off this:

    On 22 January 2015, I put in a Freedom of Information request to PHE because of my growing concerns about the TV/internet ad ‘Stop the Rot’ produced by the NHSsmokefree team:

    I would like to have whatever information you hold (e.g. baseline, current prevalence, trends) about:
    · the use of cigarette holders among ready-made and hand-rolling smokers
    · the holders’ length
    · the use of cartridges in holders among pre-packed and hand-rolling smokers
    · comparative evaluation of the efficiency of cartridge brands used in the UK
    · the use of papers and filter tips (among smokers using hand-rolling tobacco only)
    · tip sizes
    · what size and weight of paper is used
    · whether multiple filters are inserted into each paper as a strategy to cut down on the amount of tobacco used for health or cost reasons and/or to reduce staining on fingers; and
    · the impact these factors have on health outcomes.

    The reply was “ I can confirm that Public Health England (PHE) does not hold the information you have specified.”

    Over the phone, the Office for National Statistics said they didn’t collect that data either.

    The ability to roll shorter and slimmer cigarettes plus the widespread use of these accessories naturally alters both the smokers’ exposures (dose) and their perceptions about their risks. Researchers and PHE are not adequately characterising smoking behaviour, exposures, risks and outcomes. Cartridges remove tar, holders adjust volume of smoke inhaled and sidestream exposure, filters filter contaminants and all can be considered valid strategies to reduce harm (alone or in combination). However, PHE do not promote harm reduction and it is not in their interests to find out if smokers’ personal strategies work – their goal is the eradication of smoking altogether by whatever means to put pressure on current smokers to quit.

    Without gathering, identifying or quantifying all these factors, PHE fail to support the claim or, in the press release, that “hand-rolled cigarettes are at least as hazardous as any other type of cigarette”.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      The Medicalizing of America

      Part I: The Numbers Game

      Medicalize: “To identify or categorize (a condition or behavior) as being a disorder requiring medical treatment or intervention,” American Heritage Dictionary.

      Responses to virtually all questions, medical and otherwise fall into two categories: 1. Those having a finite number of answers, including yes, no, or in-between, for example “are you hungry?” or “are you sick?” and 2. Questions having a range of answers or values. Biologic and other scientific measurements fall into this latter category and include such things as weight, age, height, blood pressure, blood chemical values, such as glucose, cholesterol, PSA, etc. Where we get into trouble is in deciding, particularly in medicine, what is indeed normal and what is not. No matter where we place the dividing line or cutoff point, we are faced with an irresolvable medical dilemma.

      If we make the cutoff between normal and abnormal too low, we include too many normal in the abnormal group (called false positives, a Type I error); if the cutoff is too high, we include an excess of abnormal in the normal group (false negatives, Type II error). In the first instance we call too many well people sick, and in the latter, too many sick people well. (We are assuming the spectrum of low to high corresponds to the range of normal to abnormal; sometimes this range is reversed.)

      Over the years, various cutoff points for normal values have been based on generally accepted statistical and common sense clinical grounds. For example we have “normal” values for fasting and non-fasting blood sugars, upon which the diagnosis of diabetes is based; the “normal” level for blood pressure, defining the condition, hypertension; cutoff points for weight, defining obesity; and “normal” levels of blood lipids (HDL,LDL and total cholesterol) which for some even define the presence of heart disease (sic!). In what appears as a fatally misguided hope of extending treatment benefits to as many citizens as possible, various professional societies as well as Government Agencies have indeed changed our definitions of disease with unforeseen consequences. Specifically, in the present climate of change driven by a perceived need to keep us healthy and long-lived, these cutoff points have been lowered progressively and so drastically as virtually to create a nation of patients.

      In a revealing article in Effective Clinical Practice (March/April 1999) Lisa M. Schwartz and Steven Woloshin conclude that the number of people with at least one of four major medical conditions (actually risk factors) has increased dramatically in the past decade because of changes in the definition of abnormality. Using data abstracted from over 20,700 patients included in this Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III, 1988-1994) conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, the authors calculated the prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and being overweight under the old and the new definitions and calculated the net change (i.e., number of new cases). Here are the results reported in the above article.


      Old Definition: Blood sugar > 140 mg/dl
      People under old definition: 11.7 million
      New Definition: Blood sugar > 126 mg/dl
      People added under new definition: 1.7 million
      Percent increase: 15%

      The definition was changed in 1997 by the American Diabetes Association and WHO Expert Committee on the Diagnosis and Classification of Diabetes Mellitus.


      High blood pressure is reported as two numbers, systolic or peak pressure and diastolic pressure when heart is at rest) in mm Hg.

      Old Definition: cutoff Blood Pressure > 160/100
      People under old definition: 38.7 million
      New Definition: Blood Pressure > 140/90
      People added under new definition: 13.5 million
      Percent Increase: 35%

      The definition was changed in 1997 by U.S. Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure.

      Prehypertension, a new category created in 2003: blood pressure from 120/80 to 138/89 includes 45 million additional people! If one includes this category, we have a grand total of 97.2 million total numbers of hypertensives and prehypertensives (whatever that is).

      High (Total) Cholesterol:

      Old Definition: Cholesterol > 240 mg/dl total cholesterol
      People under old definition: 49.5 million
      New Definition: Cholesterol > 200 mg/dl total cholesterol
      People added under new definition: 42.6 million
      Percent increase: 86%

      The definition was changed in 1998 by U.S. Air Force/Texas Coronary Atherosclerosis Prevention Study.


      Body Mass Index (BMI) is defined as the ratio of weight (in kg) to height (in meters) squared and is an inexact measure of body fat, though it supposedly establishes cutoff points of normal weight, overweight, and obesity.

      Old definition: BMI > 28 (men), BMI > 27 (women)
      People under old definition: 70.6 million
      New definition: BMI > 25
      People added under new definition: 30.5 million
      Percent Increase: 43%

      The definition was changed in 1998 by U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

      “The new definitions ultimately label 75 percent of the adult U.S. population as diseased,” conclude the two researchers. They add cautiously that “…the extent to which new ‘patients’ would ultimately benefit from early detection and treatment of these conditions is unknown. Whether they would experience important physical or psychological harm is an open question.”

      We seem to live in an equal opportunity consumer culture tyrannized by the fear of growing “epidemics” going by the leading risk brand names, High Blood Pressure, Obesity, Diabetes, and High Cholesterol. Just read the papers, peruse the Internet, or turn on your TV to learn what the Government watchdogs, the consensus insurgency, and the other image makers have to say about our disastrous state of health.

      Several related questions arise when we consider the implications of these new definitions of disease (actually disease risk-markers). First how did these official and semi-official watchdogs achieve their status of “guideline-makers,”who appoints them and why, and how powerful an influence do they wield in terms of medical practice? Finally, one has to wonder what is the rationale for adding over 86 million new “patients” (not counting 45 million “prehypertensives”) to our already staggering over-the-top healthcare cost.

      Coming soon, these and other issues will be examined in our next newsletter.

      Martin F. Sturman, MD, FACP

      Copyright 2005, Mathemedics, Inc.

      • Cecily Collingridge says:

        Thanks Harleyrider. There has been some questioning in the press in the UK as to the size of the supposed obesity epidemic.

        With reference to Frank’s post, all the venues that hosted live music near me have closed. I had rather sensitive ears so I tended to keep a distance when I went. Self regulation works for me and I hate seeing our artistic and creative culture being curtailed. Festivals seem to be the only outlet that is the bucking the trend of cuts.

        Although off-topic again, I’m pasting below the complaint I eventually sent to the Advertising Standards Authority about the Stop the Rot campaign I mentioned above, if anyone is interested. WARNING: it is long and the formatting (quotes in italics etc) is long pasted here – I approached from every angle. My complaint was not upheld – the section about children being exposed to the ad was rejected as hearsay. As for the scientific report, Clearcast apparently got a man to check it’s accuracy but the public can’t challenge Clearcast. The ASA then announced they were only going to accept complaints with a maximum of three points. My complaint wouldn’t now be allowed. It shows they don’t have the resources and the public is being gagged.
        17th March 2015

        Dear Sirs,

        I am putting in writing my complaint about Public Health England’s advertising campaign ‘Every cigarette rots you from the inside out’ launched in the New Year involving TV and internet ads and posters on hoardings as part of their ‘Quit or Die’ long-term strategy. It was a new campaign that was produced by the NHSsmokefree team within Public Health England (PHE) – an autonomous quango that should go on the bonfire considering how little concern it has for public health or equality. I concentrate primarily on the film.


        The video from NHSsmokefree can be found on YouTube here:

        The setting is a bland public playground during winter and the sky is overcast. The characters are from a lower socio-economic group who are dressed against the cold, casually and slightly scruffily. The grey colour of the sky is echoed in the grey hair and stubble of a father and in his scarf that adds to a negative/depressing atmosphere.

        The father lifts one child down from an apparatus to join its sibling. Both children run to swings whilst the father sits down at a table.
        Girl: “Come on Daddy”
        Boy: “That’s boring, you know”
        Father: “Aha”
        He opens a tobacco pouch but, instead of tobacco, it’s full of bloody-looking gunge. He takes some revolting stringy bits out and rolls an untipped cigarette, having got ‘blood’ on his hands, then lifts it to his mouth to lick the gummed edge. He goes on to put the finished item into his mouth only to take it out again in order to remove stray bits of yuck from between his lips with his other hand. Close up shots show one bit lands on the table and another on his boot. The man ignites his lighter as he lifts it towards his face.
        The narration over the action is: “When you smoke, toxins attack your insides causing your body to rot. Every cigarette rots you from the inside out.”
        It switches to a caption on the screen with a voiceover: “Search ‘Smokefree’ for free quitting support.”
        The film finishes with a profile shot of the man with a drop of ‘blood’ falling off the end of the cigarette in his mouth.
        Beneath the film on the Youtube website is a paragraph that slightly expands on the voice statement: “This advert brings to life the damage smoking does to your body. When you smoke, toxins attack every part of you, causing you to slowly rot inside. If you could see the rot, you’d stop.”

        There is also a supplemental video ‘Stop the rot – stop smoking today’ here: It repeats the claim that every cigarette rots you from the inside out.


        I give my reaction to it as a 59-year-old. There was no forewarning about the graphic content of this film, as presumably there would have been had it been screened within a programme, so it took me totally by surprise.

        On first viewing, it was so disgusting it made me retch. I was shocked and profoundly distressed as I tried to process what I had witnessed. I am not normally of a nervous disposition. I feel the imposition of this ad on an unsuspecting mass audience was appalling.

        There is a time lag between reacting to visual cues (that usually comes first) and the auditory words and text, so conflicts were created that were difficult to resolve. I’m a woman so, naturally, I spontaneously drew from my own experience first before trying to rationalise differently later with subsequent viewings.

        Initially, what flashed into mind when seeing the contents in the open pouch was that it looked like heavy menstrual flow or discharge (lochia) after childbirth or it could have been animal afterbirth. These thoughts did not sit well with the subject in the film being a man. The bit between the lips was suggestive of cannibalism once I had deduced the stuff was supposed to be human and perhaps even his own. This visual cue goes way beyond all bounds of acceptability and decency.

        Subsequent viewings made me increasingly angry and distressed on a number of levels.

        The public is made up of individuals. They are not a homogenous group and PHE have failed to consider the impact of their ad on the most vulnerable. Each person will have had their own individual response to cues.

        I have seen trauma first hand and more than enough death and destruction, blood and gore than I care to describe. As a mother of a serving officer, I found the timing of the launch of this ad insensitive in the extreme at the end of the year our Armed Forces finally pulled out of Afghanistan. In addition, the Iraq war plus the anniversary of the First World War also received a lot of media coverage. Indeed, one advertisement over Christmas controversially referenced the temporary truce in WWI where German and British soldiers played football. So the annual service at the Cenotaph just a few weeks before was particularly poignant this year and those who did not return from combat were remembered at Christmas. Some of our serving and retired, military and civilian personnel smoked to help deal with the stress. PTSD and combat-related health problems is going to be a huge issue in the years ahead and stigmatising the smokers among them further is not going to help, will hold back recovery and is very disrespectful..

        The holiday season (when the ad was aired) is a stressful time anyway for most families, particularly for women who bear a disproportionate amount of the burden to shop for presents and cook meals, etc. and it’s well-known that there’s a hike in couples filing for divorce soon after and suicide rates go up.

        So I’m disgusted the out-of-touch PHE got their priorities so wrong with their crass, discordant, divisive mass media campaign that showed no sensitivity for anyone, smokers and non-smokers alike.

        There was no regard for children or the vulnerable groups among the public who smoke, such as those with mental health problems and prison inmates who feel the separation from their families acutely at this time of year. PHE irresponsibly opted to make matters worse with their excessive fear-mongering and kicking people when they are down and off-guard and giving more fuel to rabid anti-smokers whose state-induced neurosis about smoking drives smoker abuse. PHE have lost their moral compass.

        The claim about toxins rotting the body from the inside out didn’t ring true.

        The implication that multi-factorial disease processes constituted ‘rotting’ was hard to accept and I don’t see them as unique to smokers, which is what is suggested. Toxins in cigarettes are found environmentally, from other sources affecting everyone, and in greater concentrations depending on circumstances. The ‘rotting’ description used here is derogatory and an affront to all society not just smokers.

        I did not find the arguments in the PHE-commissioned report persuasive. I do not personally view tumour growth anywhere in the body, for example, whether benign or cancerous, as rot. This is irrespective of whether a person is a smoker or not or engage in any other practices deemed risky or live or work in unhealthy environments. (I had a benign lump removed in my early twenties).

        The inclusion of children was worrying as any child that happened to view this ad would engage with it more strongly and could be traumatised. Children stay up later out of term-time so they were more likely to see the ad over the New Year period both on television and on the internet. Using children is emotive and exploitative.

        The makers of this ad haven’t held back on deploying horrific aversive imagery at all. I see no justification for it and cannot accept the technique is appropriate for a mass audience.

        The frequency of the ads being shown or encountered on-line also added insult to injury.

        I’ve developed a strong association between this ad and those responsible for the harm it does – Public Health England and the NHSsmokefree team. Their reputation sinks every time they deploy such tactics. It’s an example of dangerous and divisive social engineering at its worst, exploiting the fears and vulnerabilities of the public. I would go so far as to describe it as an incitement to hate smokers and, by extension, the poor and mentally ill.

        I challenge the veracity of all the claims.

        The Report

        The supposed evidence to underpin the campaign is in a report Public Health England commissioned: ‘The role of smoking in the progressive decline of the body’s major systems’ by Dr Rachael Murray of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies. (

        This report cannot be considered authoritative in any shape or form. There were so many flaws in the methodology:

        1. The author failed to describe her review strategy for looking for primary evidence – what criteria she used for considering studies or how the information was searched for. There is no information about what sources were searched (e.g. libraries, peer-review literature, e-publication ahead of print, conference papers, expert committee reports) or any limits she applied to the strategies, (e.g. publication date, study design, language) or what methods she used to review the evidence, outlining exceptions and providing rationales for exclusion. There is no formal grading according to the hierarchy of evidence. Neither did the author describe her methodology to safeguard against bias. Bias takes many forms (e.g. selection bias, recall bias, publication bias, etc.) and leads to errors.

        2. The author drew on studies going back a long time. The oldest was dated 1989 (Ref. 27). Some may not reflect the latest findings either in the UK or internationally. Old research undermines validity and trust.

        3. Furthermore, PHE’s specifically requested the author ‘to determine whether it was justified to describe the effect of smoking as “to rot the body from the inside.”’ This tasking therefore pre-primed the research and it is highly unlikely the finding of ‘rotting’ was one that would have arisen spontaneously based on a synthesis of the evidence without the prompt. Of the studies referenced in the report, none of those I read mentioned rotting at all. The author was guilty of ‘confirmation bias’ (a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions).

        4. In the introduction, she omitted to describe whether she looked for the emergence or absence of any new confounding factors or contra-indications such as any beneficial effects (which do exist in the body), how these affect the concept of ‘rotting’ or anything along those lines in the subsections for each system.

        5. The author left out two of the body’s six major systems PHE had requested be covered – the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. She mentioned undertaking a “brief review” which was cursory and unprofessional and her excuse very weak. Therefore there is no evidence to show how she or the scientific community characterises any effects of toxins as ‘rotting’ in the respiratory or cardiovascular systems.

        5. Her introduction states the review “describes how smoking causes deterioration and degeneration of a number of body functions due to neglect… driven by the addictive nature of the habit.” Neglect is common among the frail and elderly, the physically sick and those with depression and other mental illnesses. Smoking is disproportionately prevalent in the latter groups. The referenced studies did not uphold her attribution to ‘neglect’ and she (in common with others) have not controlled for the effects of the draconian tobacco control legislation among smokers such as the 2007 smoking ban or controversial ads that pre-dated this one that are still aired. There is plenty of evidence that state-sanctioned stigmatisation, imposed isolation, marginalisation and the harrassment from non-smokers leads to psychological distress (such as depression or they exacerbate a pre-existing condition) that leads to neglect.

        6. There was ‘selection bias’ in the choice of studies to be referenced and distortion of statistical analyses. (Selection bias being the selection of individuals, groups or data for analysis such that proper randomisation is not achieved, thereby ensuring that the sample obtained is not representative of the population intended to be analysed).

        7. To illustrate some the problems encountered in this report already mentioned above and others, I take one of the referenced studies upon which it is based as an example. It is Ref. 46: Kane SM, Dave A, Haque A, Langston K. The incidence of rotator cuff disease in smoking and non-smoking patients: a cadaveric study. Orthopedics 2006;29(4):363-6.

        a) Small sample size/low statistical power
        There were 72 shoulders in only 36 cadavers evaluated.

        b) Erroneous methodology identifying smokers from non-smokers
        The researchers knew nothing about the lives of their subjects and whether they had smoked or not. This was determined from the cadavers.

        The abstract states “Microscopic evaluation of the accompanying lung tissue from the respective cadaver also was performed. As a result, we were able to determine the presence or absence of a smoking history or emphysema from each cadaver…”

        Further detail about the methodology was given later:
        “The lungs from each cadaver were examined for overt evidence of a chronic smoking history as evidenced by the presence of a black appearance on gross sectioning. Each cadaver then underwent biopsy of an apical lobe from a representative lung, and the specimen was sent for pathological examination. Each lung specimen was evaluated by a pulmonary pathologist, who graded it for the presence of macroscopic and microscopic emphysema and for microscopic evidence of chronic smoking using a classification system of 0 to 4 (0 represented normal lung tissue and 4 denoted the presence of emphysema) in >70% of the specimens examined. A smoking history for each lung examined was determined by the presence or absence of tar deposits within the lung tissue.”

        The methodology is complete nonsense. The presence of a ‘black appearance’ or emphysema is not proof the person had been a smoker in any way. It is impossible to determine a smoking history in the sense of smoking intensity or years smoked visually when even a person’s occupation or environment is unknown.

        That smokers’ lungs were black was a myth heavily promoted by anti-smoking lobby groups and was/is widely believed. However, non-smokers get emphysema and black deposits such as carbon soot are common in lungs exposed to air pollution from heavy traffic, coal mining, open fires and heavy industry. Coal is a contributor to air pollution in the UK (particularly in the past that led to the Great London Smog of 1952) and across China today that is still reliant on coal for its energy needs, often of poor quality. Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis (CWP) is commonly called Black Lung and silicosis and emphysema are the other respiratory diseases found among coal miners irrespective of whether they smoked.

        Dr. Jan Zeldenrust (Dutch pathologist for his government 1951-1984) has said he couldn’t tell if a pair of lungs belonged to a smoker or not, only that he could differentiate between sick and healthy lungs.
        “Dr. Duane Carr – Professor of Surgery at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, said this: “Smoking does not discolor the lung.”
        Dr. Victor Buhler, Pathologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Kansas City: “I have examined thousands of lungs both grossly and microscopically. I cannot tell you from examining a lung whether or not its former host had smoked.”
        Dr. Sheldon Sommers, Pathologist and Director of Laboratories at Lenox Hill Hospital, in New York: “…it is not possible grossly or microscopically, or in any other way known to me, to distinguish between the lung of a smoker or a nonsmoker. Blackening of lungs is from carbon particles, and smoking tobacco does not introduce carbon particles into the lung.”
        (Quotes from:

        c) Lack of differentiation between manufactured and hand-rolled cigarettes
        Type of cigarette smoked or other tobacco product (pipe/cigars) was not identified or mentioned.

        d) No statistically significant results
        “…none of this data was statistically significant due to the insufficient number of subject cadavers…”

        8. An example of a powerful study that confirmed a beneficial effect of smoking found by other researchers but omitted from this report was “Alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, and endometrial cancer risk: results from the Netherlands Cohort Study” by A Loerbroks, L J Schouten, R A Goldbohm, P A van den Brandt, Cancer Causes & Control, 2007 Jun; 18(5): 551–560.

        Their summary conclusion was “There is no association between alcohol consumption and endometrial cancer. Current smoking is associated with a reduced risk of endometrial cancer. This association is neither mediated by BMI nor by age at menopause.”

        It is significant findings like a reduced risk of endometrial cancer that undermine the hypothesis that toxins attack every part of the body and causes it to rot. Endometrial cancer is the most common form of gynaecological cancer in women.

        With regard to the section on cognitive function (page 11 in the report), there was no reference to a US meta-analysis in 2010 that is further evidence of selection bias. The following extract is from an article that discusses the positive findings in this analysis:

        “In 2010 the U.S. government published a groundbreaking meta-analysis, which summarizes the last 40 years of knowledge about tobacco and nicotine effects on the brain. The analysis was conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, headed by researcher Stephen Heishman: Meta-analysis of the acute effects of nicotine and smoking on human performance…
        The results in Heishman’s analysis gives the clear impression that it could turn out to be a very bad idea to try to “eradicate” tobacco. For nicotine has positive impacts in the areas of motor skills, attention, focus, speed and memory – and the effect is significant, the researchers say: The results are not due to statistical chance.”

        Positive findings like these have led to fresh research into possible treatments for Parkinson’s disease and dementia. It indicates the brain is not rotting and certainly not in the way portrayed in the advertisement.

        Conclusion: The author of the report had had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find studies in the literature. The quality of some was seriously wanting. Her selective analysis was flawed and very weak. Any analysis that does not take into account positive effects is biased. The report is pure junk science. The hypothesis of rot is rot.

        Vocabulary in the TV ad

        a) “When you smoke, …”
        Within the context of the film only (showing a man rolling a cigarette and about to light up), this phrase implies the toxins are just active whilst smoking a lit cigarette rather than over a more extended period. This is ambiguous and confusing though and some viewers may not be consciously aware of it. Covert or not, ambiguity may be intentional by the film-makers to add to the discomfort when deploying aversive techniques. However, I feel the public should be provided with clear, accurate information and not have their feelings played with in order to promote ideologically driven and commercial agendas.

        b) “…toxins attack your insides”/
        “… toxins attack every part of you”.
        The word ‘attack’ is very aggressive and violent. The effects of any pollutant can vary in intensity and duration. The body has repair mechanisms of varying efficiency depending on the site. So any overriding chronic effects are usually subtler, gentler and may only be apparent after a long timeframe (and the word ‘slowly’ is used in the text online below the ad on YouTube – see Description above). This word is therefore inappropriate and an exaggeration.

        c) “causing your body to rot” /”causing you to slowly rot inside”
        Research exists that show smoking has benefits, such as the significant protective effect against the risk of endometrial cancer mentioned above, for example. This word ‘rot’, with all its connotations, is too emotive and erroneous.

        d) “Every cigarette rots you from the inside out.”
        ‘Every cigarette’ does not take into account that hand-rolling tobacco (shag) comes in many blends and the quantity, quality and range of additives varies considerably – some are additive-free (e.g. Natural American Spirit), whilst other makes are flavoured (e.g. MacBaren Cocktail Flavoured). Therefore, the number and concentration of toxins varies significantly depending on the brand. (The evidence in the report or from surveys do not even go into the varieties available in the UK let alone provide any believable evidence to back an assertion hand rolling is as dangerous as smoking ready made cigarettes.) ‘Every cigarette’ is an unsupported generalisation, confusing and misleading.

        The ad gives the public the impression that hand-rolled cigarettes are a standard size (and similar to ready made ones in packs) and always un-tipped.

        In terms of tobacco density, fewer grams of tobacco are used in a roll-up against a manufactured cigarette of a comparable size. Also, in practice, the thickness and length can vary considerably according to each smoker’s preference – usually slimmer, and may or may not have a filter tip inserted that come in different sizes. This assertion about ‘every’ cigarette couldn’t apply to every variation and the ad is misleading.

        PHE glibly claimed in their press release that: “New figures show that half of smokers (49%) who only smoke roll-ups wrongly believe they are less harmful than manufactured cigarettes.” They may not be wrong at all as there is a fault in the data gathering methodology. The surveys (that are vulnerable to recall bias) do not address how roll-ups are smoked or what factors influence perceptions.

        On 22 January 2015, I put in a Freedom of Information request to PHE because of my growing concerns about the ad:

        I would like to have whatever information you hold (e.g. baseline, current prevalence, trends) about:
        · the use of cigarette holders among ready-made and hand-rolling smokers
        · the holders’ length
        · the use of cartridges in holders among pre-packed and hand-rolling smokers
        · comparative evaluation of the efficiency of cartridge brands used in the UK
        · the use of papers and filter tips (among smokers using hand-rolling tobacco only)
        · tip sizes
        · what size and weight of paper is used
        · whether multiple filters are inserted into each paper as a strategy to cut down on the amount of tobacco used for health or cost reasons and/or to reduce staining on fingers; and
        · the impact these factors have on health outcomes.

        The reply was “ I can confirm that Public Health England (PHE) does not hold the information you have specified.”

        Over the phone, the Office for National Statistics said they didn’t collect that data either.

        The ability to roll shorter and slimmer cigarettes plus the widespread use of these accessories naturally alters both the smokers’ exposures (dose) and their perceptions about their risks. Researchers and PHE are not adequately characterising smoking behaviour, exposures, risks and outcomes. Cartridges remove tar, holders adjust volume of smoke inhaled and sidestream exposure, filters filter contaminants and all can be considered valid strategies to reduce harm (alone or in combination). However, PHE do not promote harm reduction and it is not in their interests to find out if smokers’ personal strategies work – their goal is the eradication of smoking altogether by whatever means to put pressure on current smokers to quit.

        Without gathering, identifying or quantifying all these factors, PHE fail to support the claim or, in the press release, that “hand-rolled cigarettes are at least as hazardous as any other type of cigarette”.

        I also challenge the assertion that just one hand-rolled cigarette has the power to reach, let alone harm, the entire body. It is not in the evidence. This is another simplistic, misleading, exaggerated and potentially wholly erroneous claim.

        There is a challenge determining the relationships between dose and effect, effect and harm, and harm and risk. Prof. Carmel Mothersill , in the field of radiation biology, wrote something that is applicable here: “… there is great confusion between the effect, toxic or otherwise, of a dose and the biological response to that effect. One is likely to be harmful (e.g., membrane leakiness due to a biological stress; Harper et al. 2004, Araki et al. 2005), but the other (e.g., ion channel fluxes aimed at initiating kinase pathways; Rosen and Cohen 2006, Abele et al. 2007) is a reflection of the cell’s ability to stabilize the membrane or redress the harm. Both may be measured as effects of the dose.”

        Such nuances and uncertainties are totally missing from the report or the ad.

        e) “Search ‘Smokefree’ for free quitting support.”

        To give the impression something is available for free makes it a more attractive proposition. However, the advertisement is to aid the promotion of licensed nicotine replacement products that benefits the pharmaceutical industry and manufacturing companies of these products.

        There are numerous direct and indirect financial costs involved: the salaries and pensions of the personnel employed by the quango; the production costs of the ads and other marketing materials; the costs of the products and service promoted – They are all paid for by taxpayers so they are not free at all. To say it’s free is dishonest and misleading. ‘Taxpayer-subsidised’ would have been a more accurate term.


        The impact on children and frequency of ad shown online

        I kept seeing the ad online. I checked out the NHSsmokefree YouTube webpage: It was alarming as it was very apparent that complaints about the ad appearing on children’s TV channels had started immediately among the comments posted.

        I challenge NHSsmokefree team’s claim that their materials were only aimed at adults as this is a mass media campaign and they did not withdraw their video immediately the problem was drawn to their attention or later when complaints continued to be posted, spanning weeks! I was horrified by the team’s reaction and their inability to sort things out. It shows they are hypocrites and cannot be trusted to protect children.

        As children are included in the film, it will engage the children who see it even more. Some of the children exposed to it have been very young indeed judging by the comments. E.g.:
        · “Do you really feel it necessary to show this advert prior to to a child’s programme? I don’t particularly want my 3 year old son watching such a vile advert you stupid idiots”
        · I’m sorry but this is disgusting. This is being advertised before videos that are targeted at very young audiences. Episodes of Peppa Pig for instance, I actually snatched the phone off my little cousin because children of her age (4) shouldn’t have to see this sort if stuff. The way in which this message has been put across is barbaric in itself but for it to be exposed to the eyes of young children is completely vile! I suggest you look into where your advertisement is distributed, or just take it down all together.

        The NHSsmokefree team consistently lied in their replies to posters: “Thank you for your comments – we appreciate your concern and would like to reassure you that our adverts are only targeted at an adult audience and will not be shown on channels targeting those under the age of 16…”

        How dare they say it will not be shown to children when the complaints were stacking up that they were! And still the complaints kept coming, including from children themselves:

        · You say this wasn’t shown to younger audiences, but this was on a Minecraft channel.
        · This was shown before an episode of ben and Holly which is a programme aimed at 2-6 year old children, I apoligise for my previous rant but I’m really not best pleased at the fact I glanced over and saw my 3 year old son watching this
        · “This is disgusting to see every Youtuber I watch has thus at the beginning and there target audience is under 18’s
        Also I have seen at five o’clock on channels that are highly populated by young families at that time It is disgusting a pretty unnecessary to be honest”
        · My sister was watching Dora and this came on she was distraught
        · “…My 8 year old niece just saw this advert when she was watching sabrina the teenage witch. A kids show on a kids channel….”
        · “My 6 year old neice was watching some videos on Pewdiepie’s channel and this came on. Pretty sure Pewdiepie’s channel is full of kids, it shouldn’t be shown there.”
        · “…my younger brother who threw up all while watching stampylongnose”
        · Could you please add skip this add comes up every time me or my younger brother go to watch a video and my brother hates it it scares him.
        · “My younger brother was watching a video from stampylonghead [] and this ad appeared.
        Now, I am 15 but I didn’t get sick as I can tell it was for shock value but you’ve shown it in a channel targeted for children/young teens. Next time, you should check which channels this advert was showing because I saw it again in Good Mythical Morning [], which is a show for all ages.”

        Other complaints that posters have made on the website cover an inability to skip, feeling ill, autistics, frequency, etc:
        · I have no issue with anti smoking adverts, but this one is vile, and no chance to skip, so now having to explain it to my 6 year old autistic son. Please add a skip option!!!
        · “…do you really need to be putting this on a kids channel? At least give us the option to skip the advert so they don’t have to see it.”
        · Can you add a skip feature to this I don’t personally wanna see this giving that I’ve 14 times in the past 1hour
        · Whenever I click on a video this ad comes up and I can’t skip it and because of that I can’t watch the video and I’m not supposed to be seeing this I’m under 10
        · “…please take this down its discusting i almost vomited “
        · “I feel sick.”
        · “…They make me want to throw up. Do something about it “
        · NHS Smokefree – I get what you are trying to do. I do not smoke, yet I am being forced to see this advert over and over again. Just because I’m in my 20s does not mean I wish to see this. It should be skipable. I know your using ‘graphic images for hard hitting impact’ but I don’t not wish to see it. I am perfectly within my right not to see something. I beg you, PLEASE make it skipable. At this rate I’m going to have to get an adblock program and I don’t want to because I enjoy supporting my favorite YouTubers. The fact that people in the comments are saying that this has also been seen on kids is also unacceptable. There wouldn’t be as much of a problem if it was skipable.
        · I saw this on on challenge at 6.30pm. I think adverts like this should be shown at a later time like 8.30pm or 9.00pm not at a time when people are eating dinner in the early evening or when young children are still up.
        · Was that meat because it looks very disturbing

        Here’s another example of NHS Smokefree’s pathetic response to a comment that still doesn’t even acknowledge there were problems:
        Just watched this ad with my partner we have both been smokers for 10+years. We were completely shocked. Its quiet sinister. I can see the reason behind it. Its powerful. I dont think that smokers should be guilt triped tho. I dont see adverts for other addictions or for people who dont smoke haveing to watch it CERTAINLY NOT CHILDREN. Way too grafic.

        NHS Smokefree 1 month ago
        Hi Nikki, We use hard-hitting imagery in our adverts to create an immediate feeling of repulsion to cigarettes which encourages smokers to quit. Due to the nature of these adverts, we have only targeted an adult audience over 16 years of age. However, we appreciate your feedback about the campaign. Many thanks, the Smokefree Team.

        Youtubers lose revenue
        · (extracted from a comment above) I’m going to have to get an adblock program and I don’t want to because I enjoy supporting my favorite YouTubers
        · This video is the exact reason I got ad block. Robbing youtubers of income Via Ad blockers

        Ad promotes smoking
        · “Feel free to spam ‘no smoking’, but not while i’m trying to watch vids yo. I’m inspired to start smoking just to spite this horrible advert.”

        I think there will be a number of people who sympathise with this view and will act on it. It’s so over the top and inappropriate, it’s counter-productive.

        Some online programmes/videos are very short. To have an ad like this appearing continually, designed in their own words ‘to create an immediate feeling of repulsion’ (irrespective of topic) is enough to drive anyone to feel frightened, persecuted, traumatised or paranoid (smoker or not), and there is a real risk of harm if someone has a pre-existing mental illness. Provoking a gag response is downright cruel and certainly shows a complete lack of respect for those who are vulnerable, ill, elderly, frail or of a sensitive disposition.

        It is not appropriate on this platform and the ends do not justify the means.

        If the NHS Smokefree team cannot control where and how often their ads appear (as they obviously can’t), and do not make them all skippable, then they should be banned from YouTube and Google+ and anywhere else online.

        Omission of other key information

        There are other societal costs. There is no evidence their mass media advertising campaign will offer value for money to taxpayers. Public Health England have not put into the public domain any breakdowns or justification for continuing to inject funds into tobacco control activities such as advertising in this age of cuts and austerity or explained why it should have priority over other areas of health that are suffering even more badly as a consequence or neglected altogether. There are currently mental health, obesity, diabetes, domestic violence epidemics in this country. In my opinion, it’s a misdirection of funds.

        Misrepresentation on websites reporting on the new campaign

        Although not directly responsible for how others publicise their campaign, PHE should have a moral obligation to monitor how it has been received and should take action to correct inaccuracies instead of turning a blind eye. E.g. I mentioned earlier that how the roll up was portrayed in the ad (untipped only) lead to wrong assumptions being made and the risks being misrepresented and/or exaggerated even further. This is borne out here:
        “In fact, the notion that rollies are healthier is wrong because they contain no filter, which leads to more tar inhalation, and no doubt, other toxins like nicotine, carbon monoxide, and TSNAs. People who smoke roll-up cigs are at an increased risk for esophageal, mouth, throat, and larynx, cancers compared to smokers of manufactured cigs.”

        It is a myth being circulated that roll-ups are never made with filters. Filters tips are alive and well and come in a variety of widths and lengths – e.g. slim, extra-slim, ultra-slim/standard, extra long.


        Whilst some people may still hang on to the delusion that Britain is tolerant, inclusive, welcoming with personal freedoms protected, the reality is far different. Government policies over recent decades have been divisive, widened social inequalities and significantly eroded civil liberties.

        Such is the case with tobacco control legislation and associated measures aimed at total eradication through stigmatising smoking and smokers. Such radical polices have significant wider material and cultural impacts that are not properly being recognised or monitored. The loss of social standing is all too evident among those remaining visible – groups of smokers forced out in all weathers outside venues, made to feel like lepers, harassed and abused. The level of physical and mental persecution they mainly silently endure will move ever upwards in prevalence and intensity as tolerance and respect diminishes through the manipulation of public opinion.

        PHE described the imagery in the ad as hard hitting but this form of aversion imagery is extreme. It is dangerous, oppressive, disproportionate, inaccurate and unreasonable. Any alleged health gains do not outweigh other health and social costs combined.

        Studies show, qualitatively and quantitatively, non-smokers’ negative portrayal of smokers as ‘dirty’, ‘inconsiderate’ and ‘weak-willed’ and that they align them with other stigmatised groups cast as selfish and undeserving. “Thus,” writes social scientist, Prof. Hilary Graham, in her paper ‘Smoking, Stigma and Social Class’ “…body shape and sartorial style, together with everyday practices – health behaviours, leisure pursuits, parenting patterns – are treated as markers of broader differences in social background and cultural values, a way of referencing social class without explicitly naming it.”

        To get the message about ‘rot’ over in the ad, it would have been easy for PHE to have made it without people at all, using a plain backdrop behind a bloody gungy cigarette being magically rolled, with or without a diagram of the human body showing the internal organs with arrows reaching all parts, slowly over a lifetime. However, to stigmatise smokers, people within a setting was necessary.

        Some of the markers in the ad:
        · empty public playground and park (isolated/not an affluent, popular area)
        · father’s mumbled “Aha” (uncommunicative, distant/anti-social)
        · father sitting (sedentary) and alone (lone parent/selfish/letting his children down)
        · suggested degree of rot already inside a man with young children rather than in a grandfather (stupid/irresponsible)
        · [revised list, added later] bits from the mouth flicked away (litter lout)

        This ad is so discriminatory. You would never see one depicting a popular smoker lighting up after having received a prize at an exclusive polo match, surrounded by jubilant friends and family, or even ads depicting a representative array of social groups and settings.

        Prof. Graham writes: “…the history of public health is scarred by policies which, pursued in the name of health protection and promotion, have served to intensify public vilification and state-sanctioned discrimination against already disadvantaged groups.” and cautions: “policies conveying the message that smokers are outsiders who threaten public health are likely to do little to reduce class prejudice and to promote social cohesiveness.”

        She concludes: “…most importantly, the paper argues for tobacco control policies
        that engage directly with social inequalities. Despite a widespread appreciation
        that social inequalities drive the uptake of smoking in adolescence and its
        persistence across adulthood, tobacco control policy continues to be directed
        at changing smoking behaviour – and not at changing people’s circumstances.”

        Media discrimination and corruption of children

        Depicting smokers as uniformly lower class and rough is endemic as a result of PHE propaganda and this ad will fuel even more. E.g. My regional newspaper, the Western Daily Press, ran an article in October last year, about a problem with smokers outside the maternity unit at Musgrove Hospital in Taunton. They gave it the headline: “Oi – stop smoking, you” Taunton hospital gets kids to tell parents to stub out the fags

        I was disturbed to read the extent to which NHS Smokefree use and abuse actual children beyond showing them in ads. They spent taxpayers’ money for a public announcement speaker system using recordings of local schoolchildren making anti-smoking messages, inspired by the use of children’s artwork in posters put up in public spaces elsewhere.

        As a child, in my day, I was taught to respect my elders not spout propaganda at them. PHE/NHSsmokefree have corrupted education. This fear-mongering exploitation of children is immoral.

        Health costs

        · Stigmatised diseases
        Every disease under the sun now seems to be labelled ‘smoking-related’ on health websites (including charities’) and in the media, irrespective of other known or suspected causal agents. It’s a propaganda tool. However, this comes with mental health and social costs.

        I do not consider it acceptable for patients with any of these diseases who have never smoked to be accused of lying but this is what is happening at times. They are sometimes embarrassed to tell others because of the stigma attached to the disease and it prevents people from coming forward to seek help or get the support they need as a result.

        Patients who have smoked at some time in their lives, who contract these diseases are encouraged to blame themselves by health bodies and the wider society, as though the cause was definitely proven. This burden of guilt following diagnosis blights any happy memories of the past as well as their future till death. This is tragic for the individual and shameful of the perpetrators. Family or local community members can also be complicit, creating further distress and division.

        · Blood Service

        These excerpts are from a UK discussion forum in 2008 to the question ‘Should smokers be allowed to give blood?’:
        o with all that nasty stuff in a smokers blood clogging arteries etc it apears its still ok for others to use this cant be the case can it ?
        o I can’t imagine that their blood would be that good, considering the amount of CO irreversibly binded to the haemoglobin in their red blood cells. But maybe they have a technique of “cleaning” the blood.
        o No they should be pilloried and hung in public, like Ross, Brand and Clarkson etc.
        o The way things are going we won’t need to answer your question as all smokers will be shot on sight. Even pedos seem to be higher up on the social scale.
        o doesnt smoking cause leukaemia , so if i was taking the cure last thing i would want is more smokers blood i think
        o Quote: Smoker’s blood is just as good as anyone else’s blood.
        in which case all the stuff about cancer causing agents in cigs being passed through blood must be wrong somehow
        o can you explain were the toxins that cause disease go then ?
        o Quote: Jeez, us smokers get enough flack, the least we can do is try to save lives as penance for our dirty, unsociable miserable, addicted ways
        In fact. Let all the smokers STOP donating blood.

        It was already apparent in 2008 that warnings about toxins and cancer were affecting attitudes about blood donations and common sense would say this campaign about ‘rot’ is going to escalate negative views, raise other fears, undermine confidence in the service and potentially lose more donors who smoke, either in protest or in a belief that their blood is rotten and wouldn’t be wanted.

        · Organ donation
        A similar situation also exists already with regard to organ donation for transplant.
        For example, at present, almost half of lung transplant patients were given the lungs taken from smokers, with one in five coming from donors who had smoked at least one packet of cigarettes a day for 20 or more years. New research in 2014 showed that those people given the lungs of smokers were just as likely to be alive up to three years after transplantation as those who had organs from non-smokers. In some cases, they had improved survival rates!
        But, according to an article in the Independent on the 2nd February 2014 , such use has attracted concerns and controversy because of a perceived risk to the health of the recipients.

        Sampling the comments posted under the same story in the Daily Mail, I found prejudice overrides logic:
        o I suppose i’d die anyway of disgust if that crap was ever put inside of me.
        o I would rather be dead than have a smoker’s stinking lungs.
        o Those smokers lungs are just gross! [reference to photo of blackened/emphysemic lungs… the myth goes on]
        o I hope the doctors tell the patient that the donor lungs were from a smoker so they have a choice whether to accept them or not. There are so many risks to having a double lung transplant I would not want to take the risk for a pair of lungs from a smoker.
        PHE need to explain why survival rates improved using lungs from smokers and how this equates with their message that all parts of the body are rotten, considering a proper evaluation of the respiratory system in this regard was omitted in their commissioned report.

        There are the same risks as with blood donation, that this campaign about ‘rot’ is going to escalate negative views, raise other fears, undermine confidence in the transplant service and potentially lose more donors who smoke, either in protest or in a belief that their organs are rotten and wouldn’t be wanted.

        PHE need to show how these risks have been taken into account.

        Finally, please take into account the views of scientists sceptical of tobacco control methods and practice drawn from the scientific, medical and public health spheres who have dared to express their dissent. See:

        In conclusion, taken altogether, this ad campaign should be banned, including the other ads in this vein.

        Yours faithfully,

        Ms. Cecily Collingridge

    • lleweton says:

      Probably 30 years ago or more I read a report of a study that said that roll-your-own cigarettes burned at a lower temperature than shop cigarettes and were found to be less harmful, if that is the word. I knew an old RYO smoker who said that ready-mades caused him to cough. I’ve often wondered whether any more research has been done on this – or reported. There must be groups by which this theory could be tested.

      • Cecily Collingridge says:

        Cigarettes and blends have undergone quite a lot changes over the decades so you can’t really compare like with like. Even the filters have changed.
        I’ve had emphysema for years and still smoke without much problem although I am starting to cough on the first drag because my mouth and throat is dry – a side effect of my inhaled medication. As my lung function has declined, it has been interesting finding out what things really affect me. My lungs definitely don’t like any solvents. I used to paint with oils but the turpentine had me gasping so I switched to water based paints. The same with nail varnish remover or white spirit. I adapt and get round these things. I’ve changed the way I cook too. Roasting food in the oven exposes me to hot, oily fumes when I open the door that has become such a nuisance, I’ve switched to other methods and don’t use cooking oils much at all. Second-hand smoke doesn’t affect me at all, so it’s all propaganda as far as I can tell.

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