One thing that’s been obvious about the modern antismoking crusade has been that it’s more of a moral crusade than anything. Antismokers don’t like smoking. And their healthist companions don’t like alcohol or food either.
They’re quite obviously all puritans who don’t like pleasure of any sort. And it goes all the way back to King James I, if not earlier.
Dr W, the first antismoker I ever encountered, shouted that smoking was a “filthy, filthy, filthy” habit. And it seems that it’s the tobacco smoke that gets everywhere as secondhand smoke, and settles on everything as thirdhand smoke, that they see as particularly “filthy”.
And it’s not just tobacco smoke that they see as “filthy”, as I was pointing out a couple of days ago. Any smoke at all is automatically “filthy” as well as poisonous and carcinogenic and something children shouldn’t be allowed to see. Why they haven’t yet banned incense, candles, bonfires, and matches, I really don’t know.
In fact, it seems to me that the filthiest habit of all is cooking and eating. You end up with rooms full of steam and fat and smells, and pots and pans and plates and knives and forks and spoons and napkins covered in gravy and sauce. When I lived in Devon and set about cleaning the kitchen, I realised that walls and ceilings were covered in layers of accumulated oils and fats. All of it probably toxic and carcinogenic.
Perhaps that’s why vegetarians shun meat. It’s all the fat and oil that boils off. A vegetarian diet of fruit and vegetables and nuts is probably the cleanest form of food. You probably barely need to wash the plates. Although when I shared a flat with some vegetarians they made the most horrible-looking (and -smelling) saucepans full of brown gunge, which they’d cook for hours.
One day they’ll ban gravy. They’ll ban it just because it’s brown and sticky and gets all over plates.
Anyway I think that whenever (as now) people start making health claims about smoking and drinking and eating, it should always be remembered that some people have been opposed to them since time immemorial. And that if it’s said that “extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence”, then the same applies to any health claims made about habits which regularly attract moral disapproval: they should require extraordinary evidence to support them.
And there never is any. The evidence is always pitifully weak.
The worst of it is that, because the upper echelons of the medical profession is teeming with miserable puritans bent on preventing anyone enjoying anything, we’re now seeing a wave of epidemics which (amazingly) aren’t caused by smoking. First it was Ebola that they made a complete pig’s ear of. Now it’s Zika, which has reached southern US states.
We’ve seen it coming for months. Zika has been moving with hurricane intensity throughout South America and the Caribbean, appearing for the first time in 42 countries in the Western Hemisphere in less than two years. Originally thought a mild infection, Zika’s unanticipated ability to cause serious fetal abnormalities startled scientists and health officials into taking the virus much more seriously. Experts have been warning for months that the U.S. mainland was vulnerable, too, especially southern states that still harbor Aedes aegypti, the principal mosquito species involved in Zika transmission. So it should come as no surprise that last Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and the Florida Department of Health confirmed what we’ve all been expecting: four locally transmitted cases of Zika in Miami-Dade and neighboring Broward counties, all apparently acquired in the same part of Miami. Ten more cases were confirmed on Monday, and it is very likely more will come to light over the coming weeks.
And there are probably more epidemics on the way, thanks to these puritan doctors’ small-minded obsession with smoking and drinking and eating.
When are they all going to be kicked out of the medical profession?