Stress Relief

Guido Fawkes reported recently that David Cameron was seen smoking on the House of Commons terrace. This isn’t big news, since he’s admitted he hasn’t managed to entirely stop smoking.

More interesting, however, has been the news that his wife Sam has started smoking.

Samantha Cameron is reported to have taken up smoking due to the stress of the EU referendum campaign.

The Prime Minister’s wife smoked the occasional cigarette in the final few weeks of the bitter campaign after a long period of abstinence, the Sunday Times reported.

A family friend told the paper: “Sam has been so stressed by it all that she has taken up smoking.

“She doesn’t really smoke, but the stress has driven her to cigarettes. She wants to give up after the referendum.”

Which reminds me of my last landlady, who’d regularly come knocking on my door begging for a roll-up when life got too stressful for her. She’d sit in my room, puffing away, and telling me all about the awful things that had been winding her up. I must have rolled her hundreds of cigarettes over a number of years. I never saw her ever buy any. And I suppose that she too would have said that “she doesn’t really smoke.” And in time she became strongly antismoking.

Nevertheless, I think that those roll-ups must’ve calmed her down. Because she kept coming back for them. And yet antismokers insist that smoking has no benefits whatsoever

Which also reminded me that the great upsurge in cigarette smoking started in WW1 with the troops in the trenches (on both sides). And while I have no experience of anything remotely like it, I’m quite sure that it was very, very stressful – even when the front was quiet.

It continued in WW2 of course. But there were plenty of other stressful things happening between the wars. Stock market crashes. Hyper-inflation. Mass unemployment. The entire period from 1914 to 1945 must have been one of the most stressful periods many people ever lived through.

And if smoking prevalence started falling after 1945, it was probably simply because life became much less stressful for most people. Or at least it became much less stressful for the upper and middle classes, while it remained pretty stressful for the working classes. And that’s why the working classes have carried on smoking, while the upper and middle classes have almost entirely stopped.

All of which suggests that, if you really want people to stop smoking, try to make their lives less stressful. And, in this respect, smoking bans make smokers’ lives more stressful, and therefore must tend to make them smoke more rather than less. Perhaps that’s one reason why smoking prevalence doesn’t seem to fall very much when smoking bans are introduced: they have the exact opposite effect to that intended. One might add that putting ghastly pictures on cigarette packets also adds stress to smokers’ lives, and once again has the exact opposite effect to that intended.

It also suggests that if we should enter another period of high stress like 1914 – 1945 (as the EU disintegrates and WW3 breaks out?) smoking prevalence will sky-rocket, and smoking bans will come under increasing pressure to be relaxed as the numbers of smokers multiplies beyond the point where smokers once again outnumber non-smokers.

Personally, I live a low-stress life. But I think a lot. I start thinking at dawn, and I carry on thinking until I fall asleep again. And I smoke at very roughly the rate that I think. If I didn’t think so much, I’d probably smoke a lot less. Which suggests that if you want to stop smoking, stop thinking. And I suppose that in our increasingly dumbed-down world, that’s exactly what we’re being encouraged to do.

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30 Responses to Stress Relief

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    Well we get a call that my ex-wife had passed away but couldnt be verified at all from a reliable source. Hospital quoted HIPPA LAWS and wouldnt tell my son anything then after 2 hours of calls we get a call from organ harvest bank wanting to know if we’d donate corneal tissue! Thats how we got death confirmation!

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      This is how quick public health vultures flock down on bodies……….

    • waltc says:

      Rough stuff, Harley. Sorry to hear it.

    • mikef317 says:

      Harley, sorry to hear about your ex-wife.

      HIPPA laws are intended to protect the privacy of medical records; e.g., an employer can’t call a hospital and ask about your medical problems.

      Harley, I know you’re ex-military. I don’t know if Veteran’s Administration hospitals have different rules, but for civilians, when you are admitted to a hospital, you can give one or multiple people access to your health status just by telling the hospital their names and phone numbers. Pick whoever you want. An ex-spouse, son, daughter, even a next door neighbor. The hospital will discuss your condition with them. Anyone else will at best just be given the information that you are a patient at the hospital.

      If your ex-wife was alive and mentally sound when she arrived at the emergency room, she would have been given the designated person(s) choice.

      Again, sorry for your loss.

    • Rose says:

      I am very sorry to hear that, Harley.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Sorry to hear that, Harley. That’s awful! If the HIPPA LAWS prevented your son being informed appropriately then they shouldn’t have contacted you both for the donation. This must have been a very stressful time for you and your family!

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Thanks everyone ya today yesterday all this week pretty rough. Trying to get things in order and the medical examiners office supplied with info. But as yet the case is still open as it appears she wasn’t in advanced cancer after all according to my other son who was with her at her last PET scan in fact the lesions had disappeared save for 2 very very small ones. The ex wifes doctors office has not gotton back after 3 days to the coroners office which he said was something that never happens.

        He said if the docs prognosis does not match with what he thought appeared to be natural from advanced cancer then the case is open to criminal investigation. I have a feeling and this is just out a whim it would either be she was suffocated by a pillow or overdosed on drugs. Either is possible knowing the crowd she was around and with.

        Theres one other possibility if truly what could be many but that she had a bad drug interaction. Either way her body is in limbo until such determinations are made.

        Weve got her on ice and awaiting cremation as that’s what she wanted.

        But no permit for that can be authorized until cause of death is actually verified.

        This could end quickly or last for weeks more.

        Either way we just want the truth. My boyz can start to heal.

  2. waltc says:

    On topic: But no stress relief for the peasants, eh? Someone over there ought to write a letter to the editor pointing that out–the way Cameron’s govt has systematically thwarted the working man’s ability to de-stress the easy way –such an easy way–by simply lighting a smoke.

  3. Lepercolonist says:

    Samantha Cameron and the landlady discovered a simple way to alleviate stress: smoke a cigarette. They have a proven track record for stress relief.
    Or you can go to the doctor for anti-anxiety meds such as Prozac or Zoloft.
    I would rather have the old reliable.

    • Manfred says:

      Big-Pharma or Big-Tobacco? – a no brainer really. A thoughtful, aromatic puff or a glass of water and an anti-depressant, anxiolytic, hypnotic or sedative? But don’t forget there’s always the pill to lower your IQ –
      But does one really need to ask?
      Speaking of dumbing-down (smoking) on the other, those EU-luvvies wanting a re-run of the Brexit vote and currently portrayed screeching and venting on TV by the traitorous Fourth Estate (who should be held accountable for their planetary wide dereliction of duty) find themselves trapped in a literal oxymoron. Were they robots, their establishment owners might be compensated for, for their protest work, possibly after they had short circuited their positronic arrays. But don’t worry, the EU’s already on to it.

      “MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) – Europe’s growing army of robot workers could be classed
      as “electronic persons” and their owners liable to paying social security for them if the
      European Union adopts a draft plan to address the realities of a new industrial revolution.
      Robots are being deployed in ever-greater numbers in factories and also taking on tasks
      such as personal care or surgery, raising fears over unemployment, wealth inequality and
      alienation. Their growing intelligence, pervasiveness and autonomy requires rethinking everything
      from taxation to legal liability, a draft European Parliament motion, dated May 31, suggests.
      Reuters Health Information © 2016
      Cite this article: Europe’s Robots to Become ‘Electronic Persons’ Under Draft
      Plan. Medscape. Jun 22, 2016.

    • Rose says:

      I would rather have the old reliable

      Me too. Now we know that cigarette smoke genuinely does contain a natural,on demand antidepressant and gases that help you think your way out of difficult situations, we must be saving the NHS an absolute fortune in prescription drugs and councilling services.

      Scientists Learn How The Brain ‘Boots Up’ To Process Information From The Senses
      August 8, 2006

      “Just as a computer must boot up its operating system before running involved applications like spreadsheets, nitric oxide released as the brain wakes up may set the stage for more complex brain operations by enhancing information at the earliest processing steps,” said Godwin.

      Sensory information from the eyes, skin or ears goes first to the thalamus, which acts like a gateway and either allows the information to flow on to the cortex, the thinking part of the brain, or stops it. Scientists knew that the thalamus sends information to the cortex, but did not know that nitric oxide affects how the cortex communicates back.

      “What we have shown is that nitric oxide released into the thalamus enhances communication between the thalamus and cortex. This is a whole new understanding of how the brain communicates,” said Godwin.

      He explained that the cortex receives visual information from the thalamus that is basically just a small part of an image, analogous to a pixel in a photograph. The cortex then builds up a more complex representation, which it then feeds back to the thalamus to select the information that it needs to complete or organize the picture. Nitric oxide enhances this feedback effect.

      This discovery was made by isolating inputs to the thalamus into two groups: inputs from the eyes; and a second group of feedback inputs from the cortex. What they found about nitric oxide’s role was surprising.

      “We expected to find that signals from the eye would be boosted by nitric oxide,” said Godwin. “Instead, we found that nitric oxide reduced signals from the eyes, and enhanced the feedback from the cortex. The tiny molecule appears to allow the cortex to exert more control on how much information it receives from the thalamus.”

      The really good thing in this situation, is that actually being someone who smokes, you can recognise what is true and what is not from a mass of conflicting information.

  4. prog says:

    No fines issued for smoking in cars with children

    BTW , the photo of Cameron didn’t show him smoking – it was an optical illusion whereby part of the chair arm looked like a cig.

    As for his wife, if the story is true, frankly I’m surprised she hadn’t used a faux fag. Perhaps she has tried them but found them poor substitute.

    • beobrigitte says:

      No fines issued for smoking in cars with children
      I noticed that this article went up 7 hours ago by the BBC. Looks like the Ashites are getting worried? This country’s politicians currently have other problems to solve, like Hunt and ??? not liking the result of the last referendum.

      Anti-smoking campaigner Deborah Arnott of Action on Smoking and Health said: “This is a social law. We are never going to see the police putting a large amount of effort into it.

      “But by having the legislation and penalties we send a strong message to people that this is no longer acceptable.”
      So, it’s not a social law. Social laws develop when ADULTS decide democratically. I do not recall being invited to vote for the smoking ban. Neither does any of my English friends.

  5. roobeedoo2 says:

    The delay in invoking Article 50 is probably not the best idea if the UK really wants to leave the EU:

    • beobrigitte says:

      Interesting article, thanks, Roobeedoo!

      I’m getting a little tired of questions about what will happen. How am I supposed to know? When I answer that we might be treated as customers in a pub again rather than vermin to be kicked outside now that the anti-smoking lobby is rattled, I get a reply question: ” is this all you are interested in?”.
      In a nutshell, mostly. If you kick a dog out in the rain/wind/cold you will be fined. I’m a proud human being (!) who happens to be a smoker who is capable of deciding HOW I wish to live and respect other peoples’ wishes. (Naturally I visit friends providing an ashtray all year; others have to visit me in Winter/rain etc.)

      I really used to be pro-EU; it started off good. Then the “Groessenwahnsinn” took over and it turned into a weirdo “health”-obsessed lobby group nightmare dictatorship.

  6. junican says:

    Some time ago, my nephew’s wife switched to an ecig. Recently, we had a ‘bit of a do’ for the family. I was surprised when she joined the smokers outside the venue and lit a cig. I said, “I thought that you used an ecig?” Well, yes”, she replied, “but we had some problems, and I just fancied a fag”.
    Does that not suggest that nicotine alone is not the de-stressor?

    • Rose says:

      I think very little of anything is due to to nicotine, but nicotine was the only thing they had to berate smokers with due to it’s use as an ingredient in pesticide.

    • prog says:

      I, my son, a couple of his friends and my daughter’s boyfriend (I refuse to refer to him as her ‘partner’) all tried vaping for at least a couple of months and all of us found it to be a poor substitute after the novelty wore off. A good quitting tool perhaps, but little more imo.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Does that not suggest that nicotine alone is not the de-stressor?
      Good question. I use an e-cig to stretch my tobacco supply but if there is a stressful situation I prefer tobacco.

      But then, vapers are being treated like smokers (wasn’t it the ultra-hyper-super-duper-dangerous-passive-smoke that brought us the smoking ban?) – kicked out everywhere. The cigarette has been KNOWN to help in stressful times whereas the e-cig is a new invention and it may be a psychological thing. In stress times no-one wants to experiment.

  7. Joe L. says:

    O/T: If you’re not aware of the latest in psuedoscientific nonsense and what constitutes “public health,” allow me to rant a bit.

    First it was tobacco smoke, then smokeless tobacco, then fat, salt, sugar, meat, etc. The newest threat to our health: guns.

    There’s currently a strong push here in American politics to classify gun violence as a “public health” issue, which is just as absurd (if not more so) than smoking being a matter of “public health.”

    The CDC had been funded $2.6M to research gun violence until 1996, when the NRA accused the CDC of promoting gun control and subsequently Republican congressmen stripped the CDC of said funding and threats to defund them further, prompting a ban on all future gun violence research at the CDC.

    I was unaware that in 2012, after the Newtown, CT shootings, President Obama, by executive order, reversed the ban, but the CDC has been too afraid to resume research, because they fear a Republican-led Congress will defund them further. This is why there is a big political movement by Democratic members of Congress to approve funding for the CDC to start researching again.

    I’ve never owned a gun and I live in Chicago, which has some of the strictest gun laws yet one of the highest rates of gun violence. I will be the first to tell you there is a problem. However, the root of the problem is socioeconomic and cultural in nature; guns just happen to be the weapon du jour. This problem needs to be solved by preventing violence, not by controlling guns. It is not a matter of gun control, and most certainly not a matter of “public health.” The CDC should stick to treating and preventing communicable diseases as they were created to do and keep their noses (and our tax dollars) out of our lifestyles and crimes that have nothing to do with diseases whatsoever.

    Related reading: AMA Decides Gun Violence is a Public Health Issue

    • prog says:

      I believe your close neighbour, Canada, also has quite high gun ownership yet far less gun crime

      • Joe L. says:

        Absolutely true, and I highly doubt Canada attributes that fact to a superior “public health” program.

    • beobrigitte says:

      I’ve never owned a gun and I live in Chicago, which has some of the strictest gun laws yet one of the highest rates of gun violence.
      I have grown up in Germany and moved to England. In both countries there are gun laws. That hasn’t prevented violent people from getting and using one.

      This problem needs to be solved by preventing violence, not by controlling guns.
      I don’t think we can prevent violence unless our drinking water is laced with (rather doubtful and no long term effects researched) psychotropics, producing nations of total numb-sculls.
      And, gun laws have not prevented violent people from using the large kitchen knife. Will there be (yet another idiotic) law coming?

      • Joe L. says:

        I have grown up in Germany and moved to England. In both countries there are gun laws. That hasn’t prevented violent people from getting and using one.

        Exactly. Violent criminals will get their hands on a gun if they really want to, no matter how strict the laws.

        I don’t think we can prevent violence unless our drinking water is laced with (rather doubtful and no long term effects researched) psychotropics, producing nations of total numb-sculls.

        Obviously, I don’t believe we can completely prevent violence (that’s as Utopian an idea as the Antis’ belief in a tobacco-free world). However, at least in Chicago, the majority of gun violence is concentrated in neighborhoods on the south side of the city where education rates are low, unemployment rates are high, a great deal of children are raised in broken homes, parenting skills are lacking, etc., such that the only lifestyle some children are exposed to growing up is that of a gang member/criminal. As with your first point, these criminals will get their hands on guns no matter what the law says. If the community leaders were to focus on improving the living conditions in these communities, the amount of gun violence would decrease simply because the amount of crime overall will decrease. Unfortunately, mayor Rahm Emanuel has been preoccupied with more important priorities like raising tobacco taxes and banning smokeless tobacco at sporting events … oh, and trying (and failing) to get the George Lucas museum built here.

        And, gun laws have not prevented violent people from using the large kitchen knife. Will there be (yet another idiotic) law coming?

        Great question — where does this logically end? And also, to reiterate my initial point, what the hell does it have to do with “public health?” Clearly, “public health” is simply newspeak for “social control.”

        • garyk30 says:

          Clearly, “public health” is simply newspeak for “social control.

          So are ‘social justice’, ‘equality’, and all of the other elitist mandates.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      The Vetting – Holder 1995: We Must ‘Brainwash’ People on Guns like we did on cigarettes has uncovered video from 1995 of then-U.S. Attorney Eric Holder announcing a public campaign to “really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way.”
      Holder was addressing the Woman’s National Democratic Club. In his remarks, broadcast by CSPAN 2, he explained that he intended to use anti-smoking campaigns as his model to “change the hearts and minds of people in Washington, DC” about guns.

      “What we need to do is change the way in which people think about guns, especially young people, and make it something that’s not cool, that it’s not acceptable, it’s not hip to carry a gun anymore, in the way in which we changed our attitudes about cigarettes.”

      Holder added that he had asked advertising agencies in the nation’s capital to assist by making anti-gun ads rather than commercials “that make me buy things that I don’t really need.” He had also approached local newspapers and television stations, he said, asking them to devote prime space and time, respectively, to his anti-gun campaign.

      Local political leaders and celebrities, Holder said, including Mayor Marion Barry and Jesse Jackson, had been asked to help. In addition, he reported, he had asked the local school board to make the anti-gun message a part of “every day, every school, and every level.”

      Despite strict gun control efforts, Washington, DC was and remains one of the nation’s most dangerous cities for gun violence, though crime has abated somewhat since the 1990s.

      Holder went on to become Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton administration, and currently serves as Attorney General in the Obama Administration.

      The video of Holder’s remarks was uncovered by contributor Charles C. Johnson.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

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

        Goals of the Department

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

        Center for Gun Policy and Research


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

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

        Current Events

  8. Well, it has started to shoot. And it is the same phenomena which you have described. Stock market crash, inflation, massive unemployment. The millennials who used to abhor the smokers have now started to pick up the habit. Those, who remained smoke free have started to pick up the habit.

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