Via Audrey Silk, a new study:
Despite a decline in cigarette smoking over the years, tobacco remains a health risk for many people, with nearly 28 percent of adults regularly using one or more of an assortment of products, according to results of a major national study led by Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, is collecting information from 46,000 tobacco and non-tobacco users in 150 randomly selected counties in the United States to better understand how they are using the products.
The statistical analysis provides a baseline for examining trends as individuals are followed over time.
And, one finding so far sticks out as surprising: that so many people — 40 percent overall in the study — use at least two tobacco products. The most common combinations included cigarettes with e-cigarettes, cigarillos or a hookah.
Is it 28% of adults use tobacco in one form or other? And 40% use at least two? I thought that 20% or less of Americans now used tobacco. Audrey Silk had the same questions.
Most likely, the 20% or less is just another one of Tobacco Control’s Big Lies. The figure is always dwindling. And that’s probably meant to show that their efforts are being successful, and that they need to continue to be funded. After all, it wouldn’t look very good if smoking prevalence started rising sharply, would it? It would mean that their efforts were being unsuccessful, and that the money being given to Tobacco Control was being wasted. No, TC needs to generate figures showing that they’re gradually succeeding in stamping out smoking. They can never allow smoking prevalence to actually hit zero, because then the war on smoking would have been won, and they’d lose their funding. It’s probably a topic of intense debate within TC what smoking prevalence numbers need to be in order to maximise the gravy in the gravy train they’re riding.
Keeping the prevalence numbers gradually falling will keep the gravy flowing. But one other effect of having smoking prevalence at 20% and falling is that it also tells the politicians who provide most of the gravy that smokers are a dying breed whose opinions can safely be ignored. After all, what’s the point in looking for the votes of a group of people who simply won’t exist in 10 or 20 years time? If you’re a politician, you’ll be wanting to attract the votes of social groups that are rapidly expanding – like, for example, Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. Politicians of this sort try to predict the future, usually by extrapolating from current trends. If smoking prevalence is at 15% and falling at the rate of 1% per year, then most likely smokers will be extinct in 15 years. And if the prevalence of unmarried mothers is 20%, and rising by 2% per year, then in 15 years 50% of mothers will be unmarried. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, you’ll forget about smokers completely, and start a big drive to attract unmarried mothers (and Islamic fundamentalist terrorists) to your party.
I think that this was the Clinton political strategy known as “triangulation” (although I can’t see any triangles anywhere). Essentially, you identify minorities that are growing or dwindling in numbers, and cultivate the ones that are growing, and ignore the ones that are dwindling. And you devise a set of policies that manages to please all the growing minorities. Which might prove to be difficult if policies that attract votes from one group cost votes in another group. For example, going big on gun control might attract the votes of lots of unmarried mothers, but would alienate a great many Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. So one way round this problem might be to go big on gun control, but with exemptions in the small print for Muslims, or anyone called Muhammed. That way you please everybody. Whatever the policy mix you decide, you have to keep it regularly updated to ensure the combined maximum vote. And if you do it right, you always hold the moral high ground, even as the moral high ground shifts from week to week, year to year. Because the only purpose is to win power, and promises are cheap.
And most political parties are doing something along these lines, more or less successfully. And it’s why they almost all ignore smokers. Because everybody knows that smokers are an endangered species. And Tobacco Control comes out with numbers showing smoking prevalence steadily falling, year after year. Why should any politician pledge support for a voting bloc that is vanishing? They have to go wherever the votes are, or where they will be.
But if Tobacco Control has been claiming that smoking prevalence in recent years has been less than 20% and falling, doesn’t this new study strongly suggest that smoking prevalence is now rising, and rising very sharply? Let’s say smoking prevalence was 18% five years ago, and it’s 28% now, then what was falling at the rate of 1% per year is now rising at 2% per year. And smokers have become a growing minority rather than a shrinking minority. And the Clintonian ‘triangulators’ may find that they need to start cultivating smokers (and white working classes), perhaps at the cost of unmarried mothers and Islamic terrorists.
But I suspect that Tobacco Control will move rapidly to discredit this new study, most likely by showing that at least 1% of the funding for it came from Big Tobacco, or from somebody who once worked in Big Tobacco 30 years ago, or knew somebody who did. The last thing they want is to see headlines like Smoking Prevalence Is Rising Sharply appearing in the mainstream media, or even in the new internet media, like Facebook and Twitter.
…which reminds me that yesterday I reactivated my @cfrankdavis Twitter account. What better headline to restart it with?
P.S. It worked: