More on The Pleasure of Smoking

Dr Neil McKeganey‘s talk:

Among noteworthy various things he said:

“When I moved from the arena of research on illegal drugs to legal drugs, I had not imagined the stranglehold that the Public Health perspective would have on the research which was actually being carried out – a stranglehold which almost structures thought as well as speech, so it becomes unsayable to say certain things about tobacco and about smoking. And I was staggered at how the academic public health community, of which I was a member, had so meekly absorbed the paradigm of Tobacco Control, to the point where they could not ever utter any statements or conceive of alternative ways of exploring smoking behaviour. And that struck me as something one has to challenge…”

Of his research,

“[It] has been regarded as somewhat controversial, to the point that the media would not even cover it.”

On objections to his research, which involved asking smokers what they thought about smoking:

“…[it is] the predominant view of smoking that the health consequences of it are so catastrophic that why on earth would one continue to do it, therefore what’s the point of even asking anyone who is doing it why they’re doing it, because they’re so irrational that they’re not going to tell you anything that approximates to rational thought.”

I thought this was a very valuable insight into the Tobacco Control mindset. They think it’s crazy for anyone to smoke, but I suspect that they only think that because they have uncritically accepted all the antismoking research findings (and probably equally uncritically accept all the UN IPCC climate research findings as well: they unquestioningly accept whatever scientists tell them). And there’s no point in asking crazy people who smoke why they do it, because they’re obviously crazy.

I must say that I have a similar view of people in Tobacco Control: I think they’re all crazy.

And then,

“Isn’t that strange? I was writing something the other day, and I was thinking that: on what basis could you exclude people from social gatherings? You couldn’t do it by way of gender. You couldn’t do it by way of sexual preference. You couldn’t do it by race or religion or culture. But you darn well can do it by smoking. And whatever one thinks about that, isn’t it extraordinary that this level of excluding people which we would frown upon in almost any other other area of people’s lives has been embraced in relation to this behaviour. That in a sense shows you just how powerful the Tobacco Control public health perspective has become.”

This won him a round of deserved applause. Smokers are socially excluded in ways that have become impossible, or would be loudly condemned, with other social groups. And here was someone in the academic community who had recognised this curious anomaly. It’s an anomaly that has led me to the conclusion that most Social Justice Warriors are hypocrites: they’ll stand up for gays and lesbians and blacks and women, but they’re completely silent about smokers.

In other matters, from Audrey Silk:

So far we’ve determined that at least three people in the Trump administration have problems with Tobacco Control:

Vice President Mike Pence (wrote an Op-Ed in 2001denigrating them),

HHS Secretary Tom Price (voted against FDA control) and,

I found but never reported here,

Press Secretary Sean Spicer (tried to protect smoking areas when he was in college).

Also, in a round-about way, Trump’s son-in-law and a senior adviser, Jared Kushner, owns the NY-based Observer newspaper whose editors’ denounced HUD’s smoking ban.

We can now add Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller to the list.

While at Trinity College at Duke University he had his own column. In 2007 he wrote: “…the anti-smoking crusade is nearly impervious to truth or reason.” And that’s just for starters.

It’s looking fairly promising.

And finally, a snapshot from my Twitter feed today. Clearly Trump survived the witches’ incantations. But another did not survive, executed for the crime of listening to pop music:

twitter-26feb2017

 

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About Frank Davis

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15 Responses to More on The Pleasure of Smoking

  1. Smoking Lamp says:

    Tobacco control relies upon suppressing dissent to keep ints monopoly on the discussion of smoking. Clearly the few who dominate the movement are true believers or absolute cynics that know they are propagating lies, false studies, and exaggerating risk for their own profit. This that follow the movement’s thought leaders reject all that conflicts with their beliefs (just like members of a totalitarian cult). Antismokers who dominate tobacco control have captured public health and the public discourse about smoking. They suppress all data that conflicts with their ideology. They seek prohibition and must be stopped. Tobacco control must be destroyed.

  2. smokingscot says:

    That photo of the wee lad disgusted me.

    Here’s the full story.

    https://www.rt.com/news/332919-boy-executed-isis-music/

    Even those under Daesh control know when the brain dead, shit eaters have gone way beyond what’s allowed under the Quran.

  3. Manfred says:

    Heads-up. You all may have seen this or been aware of it already. Forgive the repetition if so. It is the first time I have seen it. I knew the risk-mongers and policy-based ‘evidence’ would arrive at the cigarette null point eventually. It was as inevitable as it abject bovine excrement. Now the entire issue has been conveniently reduced to a matter of policy based implementation, while the risk-mongers move on to their next rain dance.
    JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(1):87-95. Inoue-Choi M et al.

    Summary:
    These researchers sought to clarify the effects of long-term, low-intensity smoking (≤10 cigarettes per day [CPD]) on mortality from all causes and for specific causes of death, using data from 290,215 adults (mean age 71 years) in the National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study who were aged 59–82 years at the start of the study. Participants were asked about their smoking behaviours during 9 periods across their lives (from <15 years to ≥70 years). Among current smokers,159 reported smoking <1 CPD consistently throughout the years that they smoked; 1493 reported consistently smoking between 1 and 10 CPD. In each of these groups, all-cause mortality risk was substantially higher than for never smokers (HR 1.64; 95% CI, 1.07 to 2.51, and HR 1.87; 95% CI, 1.64 to 2.13, respectively). Associations were similar between genders for all-cause mortality and were observed across a range of smoking-related causes of death, with a particularly strong association for lung cancer mortality (HR 9.12; 95% CI, 2.92 to 28.47, and HR 11.61; 95% CI, 8.25 to 16.35 for <1 and 1–10 CPD, respectively). Former consistent smokers of <1 and 1–10 CPD who quit at an older age had a higher all-cause mortality risk than those who quit at a younger age, with HRs of 1.44 (95% CI, 1.12 to 1.85) and 1.42 (95% CI, 1.27 to 1.59) for consistent smokers of <1 and 1–10 CPD who quit at ≥50 years, respectively.

    • Joe L. says:

      Among current smokers,159 reported smoking <1 CPD consistently throughout the years that they smoked

      Huh?? There is only one (non-negative number < 1, and that is 0. So 159 "smokers" consistently smoked zero cigarettes per day throughout the years that they smoked? Call me crazy, but I would consider those 159 people non-smokers.

      Sure sounds like yet another psuedoscientific ‘study’ funded by Big Tobacco Control.

      BTW, can you provide a link to this ”study’ for posterity’s sake?

      • <1 CPD could be those who claimed "1 to 5 per week" or "a pack a month" or some such. Out of 300,000 70ish-year-old adults, probably about 20% were current smokers … i.e. 60,000. The study says about 1600 smoked a half a 20pack per day, a bit less than 3%. That sounds a bit low for reality, but maybe the total number of smokers was under the 60K I'm guessing at, or maybe a lot of them figured they went through significant periods in their life where they smoked a pack a day.

        Dunno… it's hard to really know what's in studies sometimes just from an abstract: you might think they've studied innocent young suburban mothers and their babies while a more careful reading of the whole study might reveal they really just cut up the fetuses of a bunch of hairless mutated rats.

        – MJM, not a hairless rat fetus… even if Iook like one sometimes….

        • Joe L. says:

          <1 CPD could be those who claimed "1 to 5 per week" or "a pack a month" or some such.

          Sure, Michael, but then they should have chosen more appropriate wording, like, “maintained a consistent average of < 1 CPD throughout the years that they smoked."

          Phrasings of this nature in "scientific" reports always raise red flags with me. From the abstract alone it appears to be skewed so as to seem more sound (i.e., support their agenda).

          I agree that it's hard to really know what's in a study just from an abstract, but sometimes you can smell the bullshit seeping through.

        • RdM says:

          “it’s hard to really know what’s in studies sometimes just from an abstract”

          This is the beauty of sci-hub, the pirate bay of science journals… sci-hub.bz

          You can enter the doi: number for this (&or go to town on all the other ones you’ve been wondering about!) and get a link which will return the full pdf (you’ll have to enter a captcha) – try this:
          http://sci-hub.bz/10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.7511

          (I haven’t read it … yet)

          You might be interested to google sci hub to learn of its history… not taken down yet!
          And see discussions re ethics, open vs closed information, attempted lawsuits.
          “custodians.online” (as a URL) is an advocacy letter that led me to Library Genesis.

          https://oadoi.org/ is a legal open access article finder; sometimes they exist in both forms

          Sometimes it’s appalling to see how far or deceptively the abstract or headline differs from the detailed content in the body of the work. As others have noted…

          On the other side, you can access works that are critical of TC or what you generally see in the MSM which might otherwise be buried in obscurity.

          It also enables checking of references listed in footnotes of any particular study.
          There are often shovel loads of them, which for politicians and even policy analysts must surely often effectively be “blinding by science” or willful obscurantism.

          Footnote references should be checked, especially for any study used to propose or promote policy or legislation, let alone the main body of the “study”, by politicians, their policy analysts, or independent commissions of inquiry retroactively, but I bet they aren’t.

          To do so legally would require enormous expenditure and many subscriptions.
          “All these footnote references… it looks so sciencey… these nice people must be right!”

          I wonder even if some study authors sometimes merely grab abstracts as references, as supportive of their agendas without checking their body contents, or even if they have, insouciantly include them anyway, confident that they are unlikely to be checked.

          Perhaps they should be required by law to submit the full text of every reference as well as their own article to parliaments, select committees, when advancing policy agendas.
          Just as authors in some countries are required to deposit gratis to a National Library.

          This might happen if the extent of deception, fraudulence in an old sense, is obvious.

          So Sci Hub becomes, could act as a subversive citizen journalism tool.

          Politicians, policy makers or analysts, journalists, council members, news editors, bloggers, the public, can be presented – challenged – with material they have overlooked – or been unable to see – and the secreted studies flaws exposed.

          Still a lot of work, but made possible.

          Now… (legal disclaimer;-) I’m not advocating that you breach copyright law, but merely pointing out that this mechanism exists, already, whatever your position on it is!

          ;=})) ~ RdM

    • Roberto says:

      “In each of these groups, all-cause mortality risk was substantially higher than for never smokers (HR 1.64; 95% CI, 1.07 to 2.51, and HR 1.87; 95% CI, 1.64 to 2.13, respectively).”

      These are low risks. Any HR of less than 2 is usually dismissed. Lung cancer risks are high (HR = 9.12 and 11.61), but for smokers of less than a CPD (cigarette per day) there is a huge dispersion (HR between 2.92 and 28.47), which makes the statistical significance quite shaky. Also, the study involves an aging population (59-82 years) and mean age of lung cancer is well in this age range, so its incidence is bound to be much higher than in the general population.

      Another issue is the design: the “cohort” studies are retrospective: they ask senior citizens (aged 59-82) to remember how many CPD they smoked. Not only this recollection of memory is highly inaccurate, but given the anti-smoking climate (and the vulnerability of retired folks) those replying to the questionnaires may feel a lot of pressure to declare they smoked much less cigarettes that what they really did.

      It is difficult to conduct a good quality study on low intensity and intermittent smokers, simply because they tend not to smoke in standarized quantities. In many studies those smoking less than one CPD are classed as non-smokers. The dishonesty comes from making thundering claims (and later policy recommendations) when they use kinder garden statistics and sloppily designed experiments.

  4. Lepercolonist says:

    Citizens in California were told that the severe drought may last 100 years or as long as 1,000 years due to global warming. After the evacuation of 200,000 people due to the high water levels in the Oroville dam, the global warming zealots are backpedaling faster than a convicted snake-oil salesman. That includes NASA, Univ. of Berkeley, National Geographic,and governor Jerry Brown.

  5. Pingback: Más sobre el placer de fumar | Contra la ley "antitabaco"

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