I came across this in Tobacco Control journal:
Recent comments posted on some personal blogs impugn the objectivity of Tobacco Control and its reviewers, questioning our motives and the veracity of peer review.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if my blog is on that list. After, all I regularly call for the complete destruction of Tobacco Control. Although for me Tobacco Control doesn’t mean a journal, but an entire global consortium of antismoking organisations, active in every country in the world, staffed with pinch-faced killjoys, fully deserving of the name of the Tobacco Control Industry, and producing nothing but new draft antismoking edicts and new antismoking propaganda campaigns.
I sometimes imagine that TC has an entire floor to itself in a 6,000 storey Control Tower located in Washington or Geneva or Karachi. Other floors will be occupied by Alcohol Control, Climate Control, Gun Control, and every other sort of Control you may imagine, including Chinese Restaurant Control, Custard Control, and Teddy Bear Control.
There would of course be an ever-vigilant, baleful Eye of Sauron at the top of the Control Tower, constantly sweeping the horizon like a radar scanner.
While other industries engage in starting new things happening, Tobacco Control and other Control organisations engage in stopping things happening. Whenever they encounter some new activity, they set out to regulate and control it, and ultimately to stifle and suppress it.
Given its name, Air Traffic Control might look like it also should have a floor in the Control Tower. But Air Traffic Control doesn’t actually set out to suppress air traffic, and stop people flying in planes. Air Traffic Control doesn’t demonise aircraft. It doesn’t work to ban aircraft from the skies, or obstruct airfields. Instead, the task of Air Traffic Control is to enable the maximum or optimal flow of aircraft landings and take-offs. Air Traffic Control is actually trying to help flyers to get to their desired destinations as safely and rapidly as possible. If Tobacco Control was modelled on Air Traffic Control, it would be ensuring that smokers got the very best tobacco, at the lowest prices, as quickly as possible. But in fact, the task of Tobacco Control is not to assist smokers in any way, but instead to hinder and obstruct them at every opportunity. If Air Traffic Control was modelled on Tobacco Control, it would be trying to “help” aviators to stop flying planes, and “help” tourists stop travelling round the world. And it would hold out a vision of completely “aircraft-free” skies.
Air Traffic Control is not anti-aircraft. It’s actually very pro-aircraft.
What would happen if Air Traffic Control was taken over by people who were anti-aircraft in the same way that Tobacco Control is anti-smoking? They would of course start pointing out all the many dangers of flying. They would portray air travel as a sort of terrible addiction, with “frequent flyers” as the worst sort of addicts. Anti-aircraft campaigners would complain loudly about their lives being blighted by the noise of aircraft continually taking off and landing at airports, birds being killed by aircraft propellers, the skies being obscured by vapour trails (or “chem-trails” as they would prefer to call them). Anti-aircraft doctors would point out health risks of flying – other than dying a horrible death in a blazing airliner – such as those that come from breathing re-circulated air. The Daily Mail has a handy guide to the risks:
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), the condition that killed the apparently otherwise healthy Emma Christoffersen, is one of the most common and disturbing medical problems associated with air travel.
Although DVT – where a blood clot forms in the veins of the legs and can work its way into the heart or lungs – is often seen in patients undergoing surgery, studies have shown that about 25pc of all people who develop it have been on a long-haul flight.
Air quality in aircraft is almost as serious an issue as seating arrangements. Here again, we see the negative influence of commercial pressures.
We all need a regular intake of fresh air, and in a plane, air is drawn in by the engine and channelled into the interior. But many airlines try to conserve fuel by recycling air several times.
The Daily Mail even has a Complete Guide to the health risks of flying:
Frequent flyers can be susceptible to a host of health problems, from cardiovascular disease and cancer, to vision and hearing problems, even mental disorders and cognitive decline.
The pressure in an airplane cabin at cruising altitude may make you feel like you are high in the mountains. There’s less oxygen available which puts an added load on a system trying to get the required amount of oxygen into the bloodstream.
And while our usual home environment has a humidity level of about 35 per cent, on a plane it’s below 25 per cent, which may also disturb breathing.
The occupational safety limit set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is 88 decibels for four hours and 85 decibels for eight hours, while noise on a plane usually ranges between 95 and 105 decibels, and engine noise during take-off is usually upward of 115 decibels.
Of course there would be “No Safe Level” of Cosmic Radiation:
On most international flights, you are exposed to a not entirely insignificant dose of radiation from cosmic rays, which are energetic particles from space.
The longer the flight and the higher and closer you fly to the North Pole, the greater the dose. On a round trip flight from Washington, DC, to Beijing, for example, you can easily exceed the dose you would get from a chest X-ray.
And that’s without even mentioning the jet lag, constipation, and bad breath.
If Air Traffic Control was like Tobacco Control, it would have plenty of health risks to highlight. And if Air Traffic Control adopted “plain packaging”, aircraft would have the airline names and logos obscured, and they would instead be covered in apocalyptic images of people slowly frying inside blazing aircraft, clawing frantically at the windows in a futile effort to escape.
Something a bit like this:
And, who knows, Air Traffic Control may actually become like Tobacco Control. What’s to stop it?