No Doubt

H/T Emily Wieja, I spent about about an hour this morning watching this video, and trying to look inside Chris Snowdon‘s right ear. Eventually, quite late on, I saw what I wanted to see, as he swung his head to the left to fully reveal it. No, he didn’t have an earphone in his right ear. I’d already established that he didn’t have one in his left ear.

And that was the explanation why much of what he was saying was almost completely incomprehensible. He was listening to Emily with loudspeakers rather than earphones or headphones, and the sound from the loudspeakers was reaching his microphone, and then coming back out of the loudspeaker, perhaps after a round trip to Cambridge, Massachusetts and back. We were listening to feedback.

I’d had the same problem with Emily when we did a trial run for my interview about 3 weeks ago, when my loudspeakers started feeding back through my microphone just like Chris Snowdon’s was doing. And my online Skype chats with other people (readers of my blog) a few years ago had been bedevilled with the same problem. You simply can’t understand what people are saying. Judge for yourselves:

Nevertheless, it wasn’t all completely incomprehensible. Here’s a transcript of what was for me the most interesting exchange:

Emily Wieja: In 2010 you took part in an online debate about the question of whether lung cancer is actually caused by cigarette smoking, because I think this is very much the cornerstone of how the modern antismoking history begins, is really with the scientific discovery that firsthand smoking – that is, the smokers’ smoking – is doing great harm to themselves and causing lung cancer, and do you still believe this to be the case?

Chris Snowdon: Yes, absolutely. There is no doubt in my mind about it. I took part in the debate because Frank Davis was becoming sceptical about that, because he’d been following for several years the many lies and misrepresentations of the Tobacco Control lobbying, and he’d started believing that it was all a lie. I don’t believe that. There’s no doubt in my mind at all that smoking causes lung cancer and several other diseases. I took part in that because it was interesting to go back to the original studies, which I guess a lot of people simply take it for granted , rather than bothering to look at the original evidence, and the evidence was as I thought, and for me the most compelling part of the evidence – if anybody still has any doubt of this – which I did? have in 1964 when with the Surgeon General’s report, is you can now see over the course of the last 50 or 60 years, you can see the rise of smoking among men, and later on …., and you can see the rise of lung cancer … starting with women, There seems to be no other possible explanation for that.

Emily asked this question because I’d drawn her attention to the CATCH debate on my Livejournal blog back in November 2010. And it was interesting to have it confirmed that Chris Snowdon is as convinced today of the smoking hypothesis as he was back then, perhaps even more so: “There is no doubt in my mind about it.”

And I remain as sceptical as I was back then, and perhaps even more so. In the passage above Emily speaks of “the scientific discovery” that smoking causes lung cancer. I think that if the debate were to be repeated today, I’d argue that there was never any such scientific discovery, because there was no science whatsoever involved. And there was no science involved because you can’t do science with questionnaires. Science is only ever done with accurate measuring devices like rulers, scales, and clocks. Questionnaires are not accurate measuring devices. Rulers and scales and clocks can be carefully calibrated. How do you calibrate questionnaires to ensure their accuracy? You can’t.

This is something that ought to have been brought home to a few people by the complete failure of opinion polls in the UK and USA to predict either Brexit or Trump. It was also something brought home to me by my own ISIS survey of smokers, when, looking at my own responses to its questionnaire, I was rather surprised at the answers I’d given 6 months earlier. The truth of the matter is that people’s opinions in any matter change from month to month, and from day to day, and even from minute to minute. They’re weathervanes. And you can even read their changing dispositions on their faces as they smile or laugh or scowl or raise their eyebrows in surprise.

And there is always some degree of doubt in my mind about absolutely everything. I’m never completely and entirely convinced or certain about anything at all. The debate, whatever it is about, is never over. Certainty is something that can only ever be approached, but never actually reached. I’ll concede that it is possible that smoking causes lung cancer, but I now think that possibility is almost vanishingly small. Yes, it’s true that the incidence of lung cancer rose in tandem with the prevalence of cigarette smoking. But there are plenty of other possible explanations. I was reprising one of the best ones only yesterday: the Fallout Hypothesis. For just as smoking was growing in prevalence, so also were radioactive materials appearing in growing quantities throughout the world. And diesel trucks. And any number of other entirely new products and technologies. The list of possible suspects is a very, very long one. Tobacco, like Lee Harvey Oswald, is most likely just the patsy. Yes, he was present in the Texas Schoolbook Depository in Dallas when JFK was shot dead outside it on 22 November 1963. I used to believe that Oswald did it – everybody did back then, didn’t they? -, but I now prefer the Storm Drain conjecture. Am I completely convinced by this novel conjecture? No, not at all.

Anyway, I think Emily Wieja should invite Chris Snowdon back onto her show, and this time ensure that he listens on earphones rather than loudspeakers, and ask him how it is that he manages to have absolutely no doubt on this matter, when most of the rest of us are filled with doubt about more or less everything, including what day it is today.

For I have absolutely no doubt that it would be an enthralling discussion.


About Frank Davis

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58 Responses to No Doubt

  1. Emily Wieja says:

    I thought it went really well but it definitely sounded better in the studio :( Chris did a beautiful job and I’m sad that the recording is so hard to understand. It’s interesting, I didn’t even think of the headphones thing as being a problem because I wasn’t hearing an echo, but it makes sense that the loudspeakers could be feeding through the microphone. I will keep trying!

    • Frank Davis says:

      I would have expected Chris to do a good job, because I think he appears on TV and radio quite often. Which was why I was a bit surprised that he made such an elementary mistake as using loudspeakers that were almost certain to generate feedback. I guess that he’s probably only ever been interviewed by phone or in a studio, when these problems don’t occur (I think a lot of TV guests and hosts are all wired up with discreet earphones).

      Apart from that, I thought it was a great interview.

  2. Fredrik Eich says:

    you can now see over the course of the last 50 or 60 years, you can see the rise of smoking among men, and later on …., and you can see the rise of lung cancer … starting with women, There seems to be no other possible explanation for that. – Chris Snowdon

    Well I have on two occasions tried to post the charts below on Chris Snowdons blog and on both occasions the comments were deleted (I assume because they were a bit off topic). But they both show that there is no time lag between the rise of cigarette consumption and male lung cancer because both lung cancer epidemics start at the same time – ~1945 when atomic weapons testing starts.

      • prog says:

        More here Fredrik

        Inc this..

        ‘1963 Bordeaux wine was bad when it was bottled and time has only made it worse.
        The summer was cold and wet. Rot on the grapes was a major problem for growers.
        Damage from severe hail storms further reduced the crop yields. The 1963 Bordeaux harvest officially started October 7.1963 Bordeaux wine at their best were light, acidic wines.From their initial release, 1963 Bordeau wines quickly headed downhill from there.’

        ‘Therefore, the next time your shivering outside having a surreptitious smoke be grateful your not inside sharing a bottle of vintage 1963 Chateau Caesium with some smug, self-satisfied non-smokers who think they will live forever.’

      • garyk30 says:

        Per capita consumption says nothing about the percentage of smokers or the amounts the smokers smoked.
        Those are the only meaningful data for comparison.

        Also, the lung cancer rate is in deaths per 10,000 and the chart only goes from 0 to about 12.
        The chart should go from 0 to 10,000 and the chart should be 2,000 inches high.
        Not just a little over 2 inches high.

        At the scale shown, one inch in height would be about 5,000 deaths and maximum of about 10 deaths would not be different from the base line.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I thought that lung cancer was already on the rise in the 1920s.

      • prog says:

        This (I guess) from the site Fredrik sourced the images above

        You and Junican commented there two years ago

        • Joe L. says:

          Fredrick, I doubt the data is available, but I’d like to see these last two graphs overlayed with the average cigarette consumption from the same 89 countries. I’m almost certain we would see little to no correlation.

        • Joe L. says:

          I meant for that comment to be placed below your post from 5:26 pm below.

        • garyk30 says:

          Again, misleading as a chart.
          Deaths are given per 100,000 and calibrated to 150.

          The only way to show a connection to smoking would be to measure changes in the percentage of male that were smokers or to use the number of cigarettes smoked per male smoker.

      • Fredrik Eich says:

        Yes but there was a clear trend break after 1945

        • The fallout theory isn’t new. I researched it back in the 80s when I was first getting into this area, and wasn’t able to decide one way or the other.

          The “Elephant In The Room” however is that we had multi-billion dollar corporations fighting DESPERATELY to prove stuff like that… and they came up with nothing. Huge conspiracies aren’t practical: that’s why I spent the whole first section of Brains describing how the antismoking movement was a “Perfect Storm” of different people with different motivations all just happening to move naturally in the same direction — no conspiracy necessary for the whole “secondhand smoke” type of attack beyond the research impetus given by Godber’s 1975 conference.

          – MJM

        • Frank Davis says:

          we had multi-billion dollar corporations fighting DESPERATELY to prove stuff like that

          Were those corporations the tobacco companies? How come I’ve never seen any of it?

        • I’d say because they weren’t able to come up with anything. They made a few feeble stabs, but nothing at all like what they should have been able to do with their resources if they had any good ground to stand on.

          In any event, I decided to focus primarily upon the ETS issue for two reasons: (1) That’s where the main attack on us was making ground, and (2) Our argument there is SOOOO much strong on SOOOO many different levels (or at least it feels that way to me.)

          (Heading offline for a bit here if there are more responses…)

          – MJM

        • Fredrik Eich says:

          I agree that the fallout theory is not new. But the difference between now and the eighties
          is that we have another three decades of ecological data to look at. And we have data from the former Soviet Union where we can see a fall in age adjusted lung cancer in line
          with the west and yet they they continued with very high smoking prevalence

          The fallout hypothesis has got stronger over the last three decades while the cigarette hypthesis has got weaker.

        • The Russia Ukraine graphs certainly look strong, I’ll grant you that! :)

          In terms of the extra decades making the US graphs weaker though… I wouldn’t really say that. The fall off isn’t a perfect 20 year lag correlation, but it’s reasonably close.

          The “Elephant” though is still a big issue: if there was a sound argument to be made in that area I think we’d have heard it from BigT. (Of course I just realized that my own reasoning there is living in a glass house: BigT’s done diddlysquat compared to us when it comes to exposing the secondhand smoke fraud. I *think* that part of the problem there was an Ivory Tower thing: they just had NOOOO idea how strong that movement was getting in the 90s. Even well into the early 2000s all I was able to get from bar owners in Philadelphia was laughter at the idea smoking would ever be banned in our bars: they just didn’t have contact, online or off, with the nutsos and their growth in power.

          – MJM

        • Fredrik Eich says:

          In the eighties you could not plot this chart because the data was not available.

        • Fredrik, your research is impressive and your graphs are strong. I won’t argue with it! I realized though that I have another background motivation at work, one which I’ve discussed over the years with those in our camp who hold the position that the root of the problem is indeed that primary “smoking causes LC” claim and that therefore that’s what we need to refute.

          I’m of the opinion that the belief system there is **SO** totally strong and entrenched that you would need absolutely KILLER data and arguments to even begin to nick away at it. I believe we have absolutely KILLER data and arguments to throw against a far less formidable opponent: the secondary smoke claims. Both my books centered on that and I believe did a strong job of it. But even there the enemy is so strong that I and we have barely managed to nick their appendages from time to time, much less land the deadly blows that our facts and finding would seem to call for.

          OK… *now* heading offline for a bit! LOL!


        • Fredrik Eich says:

          We can also see clear trend breaks for both sexes globally which addresses Chris Snowdons point about the differences between the sexes. The fallout hypothesis can explain that too.

        • Some French bloke says:

          the enemy is so strong that I and we have barely managed to nick their appendages

          As Frank states below, the 2nd hand claims will always implicitly incorporate the 1st hand ones, bringing with them the support of a “totally strong and entrenched belief system.”
          While 1st hand claims have been circulated for centuries, the 2nd hand claim is only the still-born brainchild of Fritz Lickint (1898 – 1960), a ludicrous claim Godber et al managed to resurrect 40 years on.
          In order to defeat it, I’d humbly recommend we put more stress on the innumerable discrepancies the cig hypothesis presents us with, rather than on any alternative hypotheses, however thought-provoking. After all, the aetiology of most cancers, including the most frequent ones (breast, digestive, respiratory), is far from elucidated, and it does not behove us to effect such major breakthroughs just to make our case heard.

          Some prominent discrepancies aka holes in the ‘smoking causes lung cancer’ Swiss cheese:
          time trends in LC that don’t always agree with variations in smoking rates within a given country, even more so on an international level, e.g.: smoking rates down in France, “leading to” increases in LC rates (both sexes); stable male smoking rates in Russia and Ukraine, “leading to” decreases in male LC rates.
          putative time-lag that has to be extended to 50 or 60 years (!), or abolished altogether, according to need.
          **contradictory** trends in men vs women following contemporaneous decreases in smoking prevalence in both sexes (case in point: the UK from 1980 on).

        • Fredrik Eich says:

          “In order to defeat it, I’d humbly recommend we put more stress on the innumerable discrepancies the cig hypothesis presents us with, rather than on any alternative hypotheses,” – SFB
          I kind of agree with you and kind of do not. I don’t agree with MJM that the focus should be on the SHS scam , although that should be rebutted too. I think the most powerful weapon that can be deployed against the tobacco control industry is that their anti-smoking policies
          simply do not work when it comes to reducing lung cancer deaths. We know this is true because we can demonstrate that the former eastern bloc have identical lung cancer signatures to the west. This is a massive test and control experiment where the test group (the west) did no better than the control (the east). It is billions of subject years and does not rely on samples, it is a record of near 100% of populations. It is a very powerful counter argument to TCI claims that their policies work because it clearly shows they made no difference to lung cancer deaths. I think this point should be push very hard because it will damage them on so many levels. But it will be natural for people to ask the question “If cig consumption does not drive lung cancer deaths , then what does?”. I don’t think it does any harm to point out that the post WWII global lung cancer is far more strongly correlated with atomic weapons testing because you don’t have to prove that it is true, which is impossible, all you have to do is show that it is a stronger hypothesis, which it is!

          When someone eventually publishes this in a proper journal it will be a near death blow for the TCI.

        • Fredrik Eich says:

          Frank, I have one in the bin!

  3. Fredrik Eich says:

    I also remember on the CATCH debate words to the effect that if you would need to find a stronger
    association than smoking and lung cancer to make the case that it is not smoking that directly caused the epidemics. In the ecological data the fallout hypothesis makes far fewer assumptions than the cigarette hypothesis.
    1) The fallout hypothesis can explain a 30 fold increase in lung cancer in never smokers the cigarette hypothesis can not.

    2) The fallout hypothesis can explain why Sweden had its lung cancer epidemic during the rise cigarette consumption and not after a twenty year delay.
    3) The fallout hypothesis can explain why the former USSR countries saw a fall in lung cancer in line with the rest of the world despite continuing with very high smoker prevalence the cigarette hypotheses can not.

    4) The fallout hypothesis can explain why there is more lung cancer where it rains the cigarette hypothesis can not.

    5) The fallout hypothesis could also explain why there are differences between the sexes because
    females would be expected to be more exposed later than men due to moving form the home to the work place.

  4. Vlad says:

    Perhaps Chris should read some of the docs you have on the Active Smoking reference page and also from the judgement in McTear case.

  5. nisakiman says:

    My reasons for being wary of the bald statement ‘Smoking Causes Lung Cancer’ is firstly that as you point out, the evidence is epidemiological, not empirical, and there are so many confounding factors (diesel, radiation, industrial pollutants, insecticides etc), that to pronounce with any certainty that something ’causes’ lung cancer seems to me to be nigh on impossible.

    The other thing that raises doubts in my mind are all the anomalies which contradict the statement.

    Why do two of the heaviest smoking nations (Japan and Greece) have lower incidences of LC than other nations with much lower prevalence of smoking?

    Why do only a small percentage of smokers get LC?

    Why is it that most super-centenarians were smokers?

    Why is LC more prevalent in urban / industrial areas than in rural areas?

    And most tellingly, why is it that in so many years of trying researchers have never been able to demonstrate the mechanism of smoke causing LC in lab animals?

    I’ve never had any answers to these questions when I’ve asked them, only bluster and straw man arguments.

    Like you, Frank, I concede that smoking may be a contributory factor in the development of LC, but as things stand, we can’t even be certain of that. There is no hard evidence, only correlation. And when you consider that in the US the per capita consumption of cheese correlates with the number of people who die by becoming tangled in their bedsheets to the tune of 0.947091, the idea of assuming LC is caused by smoking purely on the basis of correlation starts to look a little shaky.

    • Some French bloke says:

      Note also that two of the heaviest smoking nations (Japan and Greece) have been vying for the title of “country with the longest life expectancy in the world” for the past several decades. Rather disproves the “ageing *mechanically* increases cancer risk” theory too!

    • Vlad says:

      I would add to the list: – why hasn’t laryngeal/tracheal cancer increased to parallel the rise in lung cancer?
      -why on average smokers (irrespective of years and amount smoked) get lung cancer at the same age as non-smokers?

    • waltc says:

      Well, if Japan really has a lower incidence of lung cancer, there goes the fallout theory, considering, um, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Be interesting to see what happens (or not) and with what lag time after Fukishima.

      • nisakiman says:

        That doesn’t necessarily hold, Walt. Most of the radioactive debris from a nuclear bomb will have been thrown high into the atmosphere, where the prevailing winds could distribute it across the globe. There were of course high local concentrations at ground level, which caused all sorts of unpleasant and fairly immediate effects, but the fallout itself could very well have been carried far away before it started to descend.

        I don’t actually know if that is how it worked out, I’m just theorising, but it seems a distinct possibility. Maybe someone here has more knowledge of these things than me.

      • margo says:

        I’m waiting for that one, walt. I think Japan has already slipped from top of the longevity chart to second or third since Fukushima five years ago. Hiroshima and Nagasaki, bad as they were, were peanuts compared to that one.
        If we go back to the first smoking study (Richard Doll) and look at how he got that commission (to discover the causes of the rise in lung cancer), while the other major epidemiologist of the time, Alice Stewart, was side-lined; look at what Doll did with that commission (turned it into (‘let’s prove that smoking causes lung cancer’); compare the quality of their work (eg see Alice Stewart’s Oxford Childrens’s study that went on for years and included hundreds of questions about everything under the sun, as opposed to Doll’s lung cancer study that asked about seven questions, all about smoking); note Doll’s connections with polluting industries (including asbestos) and Alice Stewart’s work on radiation, I think there are rats to be smelt. Vested interests had to be protected.
        Look at the cover-ups in the nuclear industry that have gone on ever since (from the Sellafield accident to the lies about Fukushima).
        So was born our ‘blame the victim’ culture. It’s never been proper science and it’s never been about health – it’s all about protecting industries.

      • Frank Davis says:

        Hiroshima and Nagasaki were one-off events, and most the radioactive material went into the atmosphere, and thence all over the world. In places where there were regular nuclear tests, of larger and larger bombs, like Nevada and Bikini, it may have different. Hiroshima is a thriving city these days, but Bikini is uninhabitable.

    • RdM says:

      Industrial pollutants would include coal tar, road tar, asphalt, coke production.

      I’m reminded of the tale of the asphalt plant in Strandby, which KlausK had on his blog and Frank covered the translation of

      “Lung Cancer hit primarily the residents of Strandby, who had stayed in town, while the factory was driving during working hours. It was often housewives and shopkeepers in the small town. Fishermen, however, which accounted for 90% of men in town, was at sea during the day while the plant was running, and they were completely free of the disease.

      “And among the fishermen, there were many heavy smokers. The smoke actually all together, “says Knud Wilson. “While none of the housewives, who was suffering from lung cancer have never smoked a cigarette.”

      Roses comment brings up further info, and there’s more in comments below (Wilson &etc.)

      • RdM says:

        Presumably the Google translation provided was mistaken in that last sentence, not intending a double negative, and the last sentence would read more like
        “While none of the housewives who were suffering from lung cancer had ever smoked a cigarette.”
        There were other obvious idiomatic translation errors I didn’t bother to ‘correct’ either.
        They’re easy enough to read through.

      • margo says:

        and the phenomenal rise in road traffic since 1950.

    • prog says:

      I believe that Japan resisted widespread introduction of diesel engines for many years. Not sure about Greece

      • nisakiman says:

        Until about 10 years ago, you could only run a diesel vehicle in Greece if it was registered to a business. Private ownership was not allowed. I think the EU forced them to allow private ownership of diesel engined cars

      • nisakiman says:

        I might add to my previous comment that prior to Greece joining the EU, car ownership was the preserve of the rich due to the punitive import taxes levied. So not only were there not many diesels, there weren’t many cars at all, comparatively speaking.

  6. Some French bloke says:

    They’re weathervanes.

    And not very ‘carefully calibrated’ ones at that!

  7. petesquiz says:

    I’m also not a person who easily believes that things are exactly as we’re told they are and I’m also not one for believing in conspiracy theories…but I’m going to postulate one anyway!

    Imagine that you are a powerful figure in the USA or Soviet Union in the 1950’s and you’ve become aware that as a result of your nuclear testing you could be killing millions of people in the future through the finely dispersed fallout and plutonium in the atmosphere. You’d have the dilemma of either stopping the testing and admitting why or carry on and hope that it isn’t as bad as the predictions.

    Then along comes the research of Richard Doll and Bradford Hill and, suddenly, you have the perfect plausible deniability. And it wouldn’t take much to get people to start to believe that smoking is bad for you (the cough, the smell, the irritation, etc). All you’d have to do is to nudge things in the right direction at first, then just let it roll along and gather its own momentum.

    Now it is in a position that the original conspirators have gone (presumably), but they aren’t needed any more because almost everyone believes that smoking causes lung cancer and all other manner of illnesses. That belief is so ingrained that when anyone postulates the radioactive fallout theory the response is, “That’s an interesting theory, but it doesn’t match the ‘facts’ as well as the smoking theory.” And so it is sidelined.

    Let me just add one factor that I haven’t seen, but that may have been considered elsewhere. During the period of atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, any tobacco grown in relatively close proximity to the explosions would have more likelihood of being contaminated with radioactive fallout. That would give smokers a more than double chance of inhaling plutonium (say) than non smokers. For tobacco grown elsewhere, it would be contaminated to a similar extent to the surrounding atmosphere, but would still have an extra effect on smokers as opposed to non smokers.

  8. Smoking Lamp says:

    Fallout, vehicle emissions, and random mutation are likely to play as much or more role in lung cancer than cigarette smoking. Cigarettes were the convenient scapegoat.

  9. Tony says:

    I was rather disappointed with Chris’s entrenched beliefs on smoking and lung cancer. It appeared to me that he had not actually read the McTear judgement for example. I also remember his insistence that an animal study had succeeded in inducing lung cancer through smoke exposure even though both sides in the McTear case accepted they had not done so. He seemed to rely on a tobacco company memo sent on the day of the Auerbach press conference in 1971 despite their official disagreement both before and subsequently. And their complaint that they had been sent a copy of the study in advance that was wholly different from the one produced at the conference.

  10. smokingscot says:

    2p worth.

    The issue here is the reason for indoor smoking bans. 2nd hand smoke.

    I believe that’s rubbish.

    Smoking may be a contributory factor for smokers’ who develop lung cancer, but it most definitely is not the ONLY reason. Whatever your opinion, it’s a choice we made and if we develop cancer or any other “smoking related illness” we cannot say we were not warned.

    So we come back to that thorny issue of whether we inadvertently cause severe damage to other people via the smoke we do not inhale.

    That folks is the reason for THEIR existence. And why we’re all here.

    • Frank Davis says:

      But I don’t think the issue of secondhand smoke can be separated from the issue of firsthand smoke. The one followed from the other, by the simple expedient of starting to claim, circa 1975, that smoking was much more dangerous than had been claimed up until then.

      I think the two topics are indivisible. And that’s why I advocate rejecting all the “science” lock, stock, and barrel.

      • Joe L. says:

        I agree the two topics are indivisible.

        The secondhand smoke myth is entirely founded upon the belief that firsthand smoke is believed to be dangerous.

        By the antismokers’ beloved use of correlation, secondhand smoke contains all of the same components of firsthand smoke, therefore it is just as dangerous. Sure, you could argue that secondhand smoke is less concentrated and inhaled in much smaller quantities, but to the antismokers, dangerous is dangerous, hence their argument that “no amount is a safe amount.”

        • waltc says:

          They CAN be separated because “the dose makes the poison.”

        • Joe L. says:

          …the dose makes the poison.

          That may be true for poisons (and nicotine itself is one of many common substances that is lethal in large doses), but it is not true for carcinogens, or at least that’s what can be concluded since Doll and Hill. There has never been an explanation for why some light smokers and non-smokers who were exposed to secondhand smoke develop lung cancer while some heavy smokers never do.

          This proves that either 1.) the dose does not make the poison when it comes to smoking causing cancer …or… 2.) the dose does not make the poison when it comes to anything causing cancer …or… 3.) Carcinogens in general are poorly understood …or.. 4.) a combination of the above.

          The anitsmokers realized the inconsistencies in smoking-related studies, and in order to prevent losing momentum by admitting the discrepancies and doing the right thing (i.e., funding and waiting for further research to shed more light on it), they concocted the “no safe level of ETS” bullshit to push through their agenda of bans, bans bans.

        • RdM says:

          By the antismokers’ beloved use of correlation, secondhand smoke contains all of the same components of firsthand smoke, therefore it is just as dangerous.

          Not quite, obviously not all, else the primary smoker wouldn’t have absorbed anything!
          No, I think they’re claiming ‘there must be something left over and it might be (&or made to look like it could be) dangerous as well’ and set out to say so, with or without proof.

          They claim something like 4000 chemicals in ETS/SHS – yet we know that there are 4000 chemicals in normal exhaled human breath. (link not to hand, composition human breath)

          Massively diluted, yes, is it > 90% water vapour? And the smoker got the vitamin N and various other goodies; there can’t be much left.

          But there’s some scent; obviously, and factory made cigarette papers have a stench…
          Good RYO papers burn with almost no smoke or ash, light a corner of one of each.
          (If I can’t afford a RYO pack, I’ll buy 20 cigs & strip into a tin and re-roll in RYO papers.)
          (actually I’ll take say 4 at a time and put the rest of the pack into a humidifying jar… )

          We see phrases like ‘stale cigarette smoke’ but little on how delicious the scent of fresh tobacco is, and even its smoke.

          “Room note” is discussed,

          Sure, you could argue that secondhand smoke is less concentrated and inhaled in much smaller quantities, but to the antismokers, dangerous is dangerous, hence their argument that “no amount is a safe amount.”

          yes, the linear no-threshold dose response theory, where every increment away from zero on an x-y graph is upward, whether straight line or curve, as opposed to hormesis, where you might get a J curve, like for alcohol consumption, where low to moderate drinking proves more beneficial than teetotalism.

          Actually one can hardly think of any substance that is ‘poisonous’ (& even perhaps ‘carcinogenic’ – the body will deal with small amounts) in truly small & therefore there must be necessarily some threshold amount, from botulism>botox to increased background radioactivity, the latter I note in

          where I conclude
          “It all confirms my belief that ASH’s “no safe level” of tobacco use is woefully mistaken if not a deliberate lie, since it slavishly follows the linear no-threshold dose model, whereas I think the hormesis idea is much more likely – positive benefits of small or even moderate use.” (by which I mean “dosage”) (and even ‘at will’ use, what is moderate?)

          So when I see a small cigar tin here with an overstamped message
          CIGAR SMOKE IS TOXIC followed by an advertisement for Quitline, who market (or provide, at taxpayer expense) NRT products sold by Big Pharma, I think lawsuits and complaints to the Advertising Standards Regulatory Authority or such should follow.

          Of course the weaponised nerve agents like Sarin in recent news, and come to think of it what about low doses of snake venom, might be hard to find a pleasant dose of, but I don’t think a thousands or hundreds of years old much loved agricultural product like tobacco, which ought in my opinion be re-elevated in status and popular appreciation to where wines and beers including craft ones, and whisky & etc. are today, is anywhere near the dimension of something as deliberately toxic and deadly as that.

        • RdM says:

          “Room note” is discussed in reviews at the wonderful (pipe tobacco only) site of:

          (browse brands, choose blends, read reviews… remember the great cover arts too!)

          DE-ASH would seek to remove all that great art too…

  11. Tony says:

    My position is that I find the cigarette, lung cancer hypothesis utterly unconvincing. Vast amounts of money has been spent trying to gather evidence to support it with no success. Contrary evidence that would have buried any normal scientific hypothesis has simply been ignored.

    I find Fredrik Eik’s graphs far more impressive though I tend to a degree of scepticism. Mainly because I suspect viruses play a major role and possibly diesel too, along with loads of other possibilities, many of which I’ve not even heard about yet.

    One thought. How can radiation explain the strong correlation between cigarettes and lung cancer (though not pipes or cigars)? Perhaps those surveys were bad? Certainly the ‘researchers’ were heavily biased right from the outset. Or perhaps it has to do with all the hand to mouth movement involved in cigarette smoking?

    There again I don’t think any hypothesis has to explain every single correlation to be accepted.

    • Vlad says:

      Indeed, those surveys and the conclusions drawn from them have been criticized by several reputable statisticians.
      We don’t even know if that lung cancer was primary or secondary. At first there was a specific type of lung cancer associated with smoking (epidermoid, whereas adenocarcinoma wasn’t) then this distinction vanished. Antismokers claimed that introduction of filters did that. Who knows – there are more holes in the smoking causes lung cancer than in Swiss cheese.

      One theory I have seen, based on the animals experiments (in 2004 or so they managed to cause lung cancer in some genetically engineered cancer prone mice, but ONLY by making them quit smoking for a period equivalent to the smoking one. Both ‘quitters’ and nonsmoking mice had the same number of tumors, but the ‘quitters’ had more lung tumors) and on the fact that nicotine is angiogenic is that cancer would be attracted towards an organ with a lot of blood vessels, like the lung of a smoker’s.

      See nightlight’s post #277

      I remember reading CATCH debates that Chris was put off by the fact that nightlight was showing pictures of old people smoking – what a shame, because the man is a genius.

    • margo says:

      I’ve got no doubt whatsoever – the whole anti-smoking thing is a con.
      I don’t know what causes cancer, but I do know that.

  12. George Speller says:

    It seems to very severely noise gated so you only hear the loudest part of any word. Plus it’s out of synch which doesn’t help.

    • Joe L. says:

      The gating is a side effect of using the mic on his computer with the speakers active. Software like Skype attempts to gate the signal in order to prevent the sound from the speakers feeding back through the mic and causing an infinite growing echo.

  13. beobrigitte says:

    Chris Snowdon: Yes, absolutely. There is no doubt in my mind about it. I took part in the debate because Frank Davis was becoming sceptical about that, because he’d been following for several years the many lies and misrepresentations of the Tobacco Control lobbying, and he’d started believing that it was all a lie. I don’t believe that. There’s no doubt in my mind at all that smoking causes lung cancer and several other diseases. I took part in that because it was interesting to go back to the original studies, which I guess a lot of people simply take it for granted , rather than bothering to look at the original evidence, and the evidence was as I thought, and for me the most compelling part of the evidence – if anybody still has any doubt of this – which I did? have in 1964 when with the Surgeon General’s report, is you can now see over the course of the last 50 or 60 years, you can see the rise of smoking among men, and later on …., and you can see the rise of lung cancer … starting with women, There seems to be no other possible explanation for that.

    And later on it was completely ignored that HPV was SHOWN (best case Henrietta Lacks) to CAUSE cancer.
    Chris Snowdon appears to have only researched tobacco control directed “research” and settled for it. Even Wikipedia describes:
    Human papillomavirus infection is an infection by human papillomavirus (HPV).[1] Most HPV infections cause no symptoms and resolve spontaneously.[2] In some, they persist and result in warts or precancerous lesions.[3] The precancerous lesions increase the risk of cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, anus, mouth, or throat.[2][3] Nearly all cervical cancer is due to HPV with two types, HPV16 and HPV18, accounting for 70% of cases.[2][4] Between 60 and 90% of the other cancers are also linked to HPV.[4] HPV6 and HPV11 are common causes of genital warts and respiratory papillomatosis.[2]
    Unfortunately it avoids more about respiratory papillomatosis.
    In 3-5% of patients, respiratory papillomas may undergo malignant degeneration to squamous cell carcinoma, and the prognosis for patients with these cancers is quite poor. See Squamous Cell Carcinoma for more information on this topic.
    Unfortunately I can’t find the average age of these cancer patients.

    And that is only 1 micro-organism.

    I rest my case.

    Sorry Chris Snowdon. You have failed to provide proof for your (tobacco control) theory.

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