The Next 100 Years

I often think that I’m much more optimistic than many of my readers and commenters. And I’ve been wondering why that’s so. And I think it’s because I tend to take a long term view of things.

The late Captain Ranty once wrote that, if the UK smoking ban was still in place after one year, smokers would have lost the war. And I think there were probably quite a few people who thought that if the smoking ban was still in place after one day, smokers would have lost the war. And in fact they believed that they had already lost the war.

But I’ve always taken a longer term view. I never thought that the smoking ban would be overturned after either one day or one year. From the outset I thought in terms of a decade or more. After all, the war on smoking has been going on for 500 years. Over the past few decades, smokers may have suffered a pretty catastrophic defeat, but the war remains very far from over.

So what’s likely to happen over the next 100 years?

If the antismokers have gained ascendancy over the past 100 years, they’ve done so a) by using statistics to establish a causal connection between smoking and lung cancer, and b) by using the mainstream media to advertise the statistically-derived causal connection. Smokers have been defeated by mathematics and mainstream media. Firstly scientists authoritatively declared that they had found the cause of lung cancer, and secondly the mainstream media broadcast this as an established fact for the next 50 years and more. The result is that Everybody Knows that smoking causes lung cancer. They’ve been told as much about 500 times. They’ve been thoroughly propagandised.

But I expect that the next 100 years will see the unraveling of this propaganda victory. For if anything is pretty painfully obvious these days, it’s that scientists don’t understand cancer, and don’t know what causes it, and don’t know how to cure it. And the result is that we have a global cancer epidemic on a scale that rivals the Plague or the Black Death. Cancer is our modern plague. And even though smoking prevalence has dropped sharply over the past 50 years, the plague only tightens its grip.

And so the cigarette hypothesis of cancer causation (which has expanded to become the tobacco hypothesis) is a dying hypothesis. People have started to look around for new causes. And there are lots of them: Diesel exhaust fumes. HPV. Radioactive fallout. Genetic mutation.

And so it seems entirely plausible that over the next 100 years, scientists will gain a real understanding of cancer. They’ll find out what really causes it. And they’ll find out how to cure it as well. And almost certainly they’ll find that it isn’t smoking or tobacco that causes cancer, but something else. And the true causes of cancer will be discovered by honest, clear-sighted researchers who really want to find the causes, and don’t want to merely conform to the prevailing antismoking ideology.

So I think that over the next 100 years we’ll be seeing the cigarette/tobacco hypothesis of cancer causation in headlong retreat, as new hypotheses emerge and slowly dominate.

But also I think we’re going to see the disappearance of the old-style mainstream media, which largely took the form of a centralised one-way megaphones controlled by either the state (e.g. the BBC) or by a handful of media moguls (e.g. Rupert Murdoch), and which could be used to thoroughly propagandise entire populations. And so not only will the cigarette/tobacco hypothesis be in retreat, but it will also become increasingly difficult to thoroughly propagandise entire populations with a single message, repeated endlessly.

Instead, I expect that the new internet-based media will be decentralised, dispersed, and two-way conversational rather than one-way harangue. Instead of one message, there will be lots of competing messages. The new media will probably be rather confusing. People won’t know who or what to believe.

I also think that the internet allows the creation of new kinds of communities of people, scattered all over the world, rather than located in one town or country or region. And I think that one of these new global communities will be comprised of smokers.

And I think that the process of decentralisation and dispersion will also apply to the political realm. If the 20th century saw the rise of large power blocs like the USSR and USA and EU, the 21st century will likely see their disintegration. It started with the USSR, but is already happening to the EU, and is likely to happen to the USA, and also China and India. Instead of a few big fish, there’ll be lots of little fish.

And after a century of bad science – the cigarette/tobacco hypothesis and the global warming panic being two prime examples – there will be a reformation of science, with the new scientists being lone mavericks fighting established institutional orthodoxies, rather as lone protestant reformers once fought the Roman Catholic Church.

And there will be any number of other developments as well, many of them completely inconceivable.

I may be wrong, of course, about all these various predictions. Most of them are just the forward projection of current trends. But what can most certainly be predicted is that the next 100 years won’t be like the previous 100 years. It’ll be different. It always is different.

So if I’m optimistic, it’s because I think the war on smoking and smokers is very far from over, and that there remains everything to play for. Yes, we’ve been defeated. That’s what happens in wars. You win some and you lose some. Get over it, and march towards the next battlefield.

And I think that, in the long term, our currently-victorious (and over-confident) enemy is going to find that both his credibility and his ability to broadcast his message are going to diminish. In some ways, the only way that he can now influence smokers is by printing his dogmas on the tobacco packets they buy, now that his message is getting lost in the swirl of the internet. His No Smoking signs may also still adorn many walls throughout the world, but they’re likely to be slowly buried under any number of other signs and posters and graffiti. In this manner Tobacco Control will gradually be silenced.


About Frank Davis

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to The Next 100 Years

  1. castello2 says:

    I love the optimism but it reminded me of this song.

  2. nisakiman says:

    I don’t know if you’ve seen this one Frank, of Farage having a go at the press for their biased reporting, but it’s quite interesting:

    Whatever one’s opinion of the guy might be, there’s no getting away from the fact that he’s an excellent speaker.

  3. Igrowmyown says:

    Matt Salmon a 25yr old physiotherapist with Mansfield Town football club has just died from lung cancer having received his diagnosis in 2010. So he would have been about 18 yes old at the time of diagnosis, yet another small statistic which belies the smoking causes lung cancer thesis.

  4. Igrowmyown says:

    From BBC Nottingham local news:-
    ” Original artwork of people smoking and children handing out cigarettes,which once hung inside England’s last tobacco factory,are set to go to auction.”

  5. Good afternoon, Frank, maybe my angry outburst against the authorities that enacted the anti-smoking laws in Brazil is contaminated by the absolute institutional crisis that we have been going through for 3 years, and that, in turn, is still far from being solved. Grateful for your wise words.

  6. Roobeedoo2 says:

    Who is he and his, Frank? Doctor W?

  7. Vlad says:

    Every time a non-smoking, ‘did everything right’ kind of guy/gal gets seriously sick or dies while in his/her prime, the Matrix suffers another glitch. The current path is not sustainable both from a monetary perspective (look at the rising healthcare costs) and a health one – people getting sicker and dying younger while on numerous prescription meds (for instance in the military).

    I think one of the best ways to stick a finger to the system is to lead by example. I mean, if you had to choose, would you rather be a nonsmoking fat bastard like Glantz or a smoking top fit guy like Stallone (they’re the same age)? Like never before, knowledge is at out fingertips, mostly free. Let’s take advantage of it and leave the healthist fascists to die/suffer by their own sword. There can be only so many ‘healthy smoker’ paradoxes until the populace at large will smell the big rat TC is.

    • Vlad says:

      What I mean by ‘their own sword’ – virulent anti-smokers are either mentally deranged individuals and/or very gullible people. The first type (which I think is a minority) will succumb to their disease. The second type are easy prey for whatever (medical) fad the ‘experts’ through their way.

  8. I’m afraid that you may be wrong, however much I hope you’re right. With the advent of individualised, targeted marketing of not only products but ideas and attitudes, it becomes easier every day to instil a certain dread or enforce a certain message. The only hope we’ve got is a massive loss of power of our governments, which we may well see given the current political trend and divisiveness. Sans governments, minor laws such as smoking bans cannot be enforced. We’re beginning to see this already here in Germany, with the police being busy with gangs and “refugees”, and doing less and less police work pertaining to non-pressing issues such as smoking bans, road-checks, and setting up speed traps. Take out the bullies, and people do as they please.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I’ve yet to see much individualised, targeted marketing being directed at me. But, perhaps now that I’ve been exiled to the outdoors, I’ll get offers of umbrellas and scarves and handwarmers* .

      *(H/T MJM).

  9. Igromyown says:

    Matt Salmon a 25yr old physiotherapist with Mansfield Town football club has just died from lung cancer having received his diagnosis in 2010. So he would have been about 18 yes old at the time of diagnosis,yet another small statistic which confounds the smoking causes lung cancer thesis.

  10. Igromyown says:

    From BBC’S Nottingham local news:-
    ” Original artwork of people smoking and children handing out cigarettes,which once hung inside England’s last tobacco factory are set to go to auction.”

  11. Joe L. says:

    Another excellent post, Frank, and very appropriate that you mentioned Captain Ranty as well as invoking the war analogies today, which is Memorial Day here in the U.S.; a holiday for remembering the soldiers who lost their lives fighting for our freedom.

    I propose a toast in memory of Captain Ranty, Lysistrata, Harley and all others who have fallen in battle while fighting for our cause.

  12. Vlad says:

    Smoking during pregnancy can destroy a baby’s liver, discover scientists

    Read more:

    ‘Researchers’ from 3 universities had to come together to produce this garbage!

    • nisakiman says:

      We must be fast approaching the point where they’ve run out of things to blame on smoking, surely? I mean, what is there left? I’m sitting here desperately trying to think of something which hasn’t yet been attributed to smoking, and I’m struggling. Baldness? Have they done that one yet? Piles?

      Maybe they’re going to have to start inventing new diseases to blame on smoking, because there can’t be many of the old ones left that haven’t been used already.

      • Joe L. says:

        Well, they haven’t repurposed “STD” to stand for “Smoking Transmitted Diseases” yet.

        • Emily Wieja says:

          Very true. When Michael Douglas was asked whether he regretted smoking and drinking (because of his throat cancer) he responded “No. Because, without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV [human papillomavirus], which actually comes about from cunnilingus.” :)

      • beobrigitte says:

        Nisakiman, they (TC&friends) have still options left to blame on smoking, for example, ingrown toe nails. (Potentially life threatening when you’re 102+years old!)
        Thanks, btw for mentioning the German-scouse mix! I did succeed in integrating into my local environment and the people around me even though I never lost my accent. I am both, scouser and German. *awesome*, love it!!

        Emily, Michael Douglas gained a lot of respect by his being honest! (Kirk got his child rearing enviably right to the point of perfect)
        The media “punished” Michael Douglas by ignorance after.
        HPV is out of TC’s reach! Dare I say HPV is only the tip of the iceberg?

        And, Henrietta Lachs (the poor black woman who provided science with an ‘immortal’ cell line, thanks to a straying husband) died from HPV caused cervical cancer.

  13. smokingscot says:

    I agree that these large and mainly post WW2 nation states will break up.

    Tito’s Yugoslavia didn’t last long following the old guy’s transition.

    And I have to admit to being genuinely fascinated by the new country known as Transnistria.

    It’s only recognised as such by Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh and South Ossetia. And eac of those are non-UN states.

    What’s interesting is the EU was intended to draw Europe together, yet we still see the need by some – like the Basques and the Catalans to form their own states, some without the slightest wish to join the EU.

    There is a list of these “breakaway” regions in Europe – and I believe some will succeed. Looking at it, one has to understand why the “Spanish” government is so opposed to Catalonia because if that goes successfully, many others will follow suit.

    And it’s similar in the Far East, again with myself being on the side of the Kurds. As well as Tibet and East Turkestan – both ostensibly bits of “China”.

    Much of what I’ve been led to believe has proven to be a line drawn on a map, frequently by colonials, with the Brits, the Belgians, Dutch and French all doing their own thing to make things easier to administer.

    I look at Yemen and, having lived there for 18 months, can assure you is a nation in name only – and the discrimination practised against the minorities there as well as Afghanistan were and continue to be repugnant.

    I could bore the lot of you by giving stacks more examples, so in the context of just the next 23 years, I’m not sure you guys are aware that “experts” are calling for a cigarette free world by 2040.

    Skip the headline and what they really mean is that less than 5% of the adult population will be smoking in 2040, partly by turbocharging price hikes and getting politicians to do their bidding.

    I’m not very good at seeing into the future (if I was I’d have bought BAT and Imp shares 30 years ago, as well as Apple and so on), but I am prepared to make a stab at the likelihood of a cigarette free Yemen in 2040. Zero!

    • beobrigitte says:

      Smokingscot, Tito died long before the life support could no longer sustain his body as Tito ruled and there was no successor.
      Then a hell of a war broke lose.

      If anything like that happened nowadays (ok, we have no such a leader) at least we’d be rid of TC and it’s friend leeches. Unfortunately there’d be a lot of dead. Sadder even, a lot of the dead would be the children, “our future”.

      Isn’t it a pity TC doesn’t care about children lost in unrests and wars? (Hey, as long as there isn’t tobacco around the cheeeldren, everything is fine.)

      A bitter pill to swallow, isn’t it?

  14. Smoking Lamp says:

    Frank, I’d like to share your optimism (and to a degree I do) but the current state of the Internet is overwhelmingly antismoker. Virtually all traditional media sites are biased against smoking and the comment sections reflect this. The comment sections for me are the greatest indicator for concern. The medias outlets increasingly restrict comments on smoking stories (in addition to presenting only an antismoking, pro-ban bias). The comments (which are likely influenced by tobacco control partisans) firmly amplify antismoking sentiment and actively attack smokers. There are few pro-choice sites left and the readership their appears to be stable. The evidence that the antismoking propaganda is exaggerated (and in many cases false) exists but that dissent falls on deaf ears. For balance to return and to counter the active persecution of smokers, I suspect smokers need to become more vocal in our advocacy for choice.

  15. Emily Wieja says:

    Frank, I think your optimism and the way it feeds your ideas is what makes your writing very special. Without that element of optimism I don’t think many of us would be attracted to this blog and inspired to discuss these issues.

  16. jaxthefirst says:

    It’s the age-old enemy of those who would control us by fear and lies, though, isn’t it? Good old father time. Because eventually – even if it takes decades, or even centuries – the truth will always “out” in the end. We’ve already seen the number of LC cases amongst never-smokers doubling in the years between 2008 and 2013 in the UK, and, perhaps most alarmingly for the antis, amongst that very generation who have grown up around ever-diminishing levels of environmental tobacco smoke. Hence the frantic scrabbling around to find a “new” cause for LC. It’s clearly desperately hoped that if some “new” danger can be found (and, naturally, addressed with lots of heavy-handed regulation), then it’ll distract everyone from ever uttering the heretical words: “But I thought lung cancer was only caused by smoking! You all told us so. You printed it on the packets and taught it to us from infancy. That’s why we gave up or didn’t start. And now, it seems, we’re getting cancer faster than smokers have ever got it!” And, being as this exponential rise correlates almost exactly with the imposition of smoking bans (2008 in the UK; since the 1990s in the US), the even more awkward question must surely one day be asked that maybe (Shock! Horror!) tobacco smoke might actually have been a preventative agent against LC all those years.

    It’s a bit like the days of the Black Death when, in a wild attempt to find something to “blame” some bright spark came up with the theory that it was dogs and cats (of which there were many thousands in London) who were spreading the disease through living in such proximity to humans. So all the dogs and cats were either driven out or killed off. What the desperate souls of London didn’t realise, of course, was that the dogs and cats – catching and consuming so many rats on a daily basis as they did – were actually keeping the Black Death in check, not making it worse. The inevitable result, of course, was a far more virulent and rampant plague which swept away a much larger swathe of the population than it might have done had the dogs and cats not been done away with. Now, that may well have been forgivable back in those early days when both science and medicine were in their infancy, but for the same principles to be applied now, several centuries later, with all our increased scientific knowledge and our advanced medical techniques, it is certainly not.

    So, I’m with you on this one, Frank. Being anti-smoking might be the new religion to which adherents cling on desperately, but eventually, just like all religions down through history, as their prophecies of doom (for the sinners) and promises of glory (for the saints) consistently fail, over time, to materialise, the scales will start to fall from people’s eyes and they will start to question the words of the “knowledgeable ones” and, eventually, come to realise that the whole thing was, from start to finish, nothing more than a huge con trick, materialised out of nothing for the benefit of just a few people who, for reasons known only to them, wished to recreate the world, life and society just the way they, personally, wanted it to be.

    • Joe L. says:

      Great comment, Jax. The Black Death parallel is spot-on. It’s a perfect historical example of how a society blindly believing in the popular theories of contemporary “experts” can have horrific consequences.

      • Rose says:

        the even more awkward question must surely one day be asked that maybe (Shock! Horror!) tobacco smoke might actually have been a preventative agent against LC all those years

        That thought has crossed my mind more than once.

        Anticancer Activity of Nicotinamide on Lung Cancer
        April 3, 2015
        “Nicotinamide is an inhibitor of human sirtuins (HDAC III), and is found to re-activate epigenetically silenced tumor suppressors, RUNX3 (runt-related gene 3) and others, in cancer cells. Nicotinamide was found to be effective in several animal cancer models including lung, bladder, liver, etc. The purpose of this study is to determine whether nicotinamide is also effective in the treatment of human lung cancer.”

        Niacin and Niacinamide In Flue Cured Cigarette Smoke Condensate August 10 1960
        “The susceptibility of mice to lung adenomas, induced by urethran feeding, depends upon the dietary supply of niacin.
        Furthermore, Strain A mice, on a niacin deficient diet, showed a greatly increased incidence of spontaneous lung adenomas; whereas, a supplement of niacin seemed to be protective.”

        Mapping the role of NAD metabolism in prevention and treatment of carcinogenesis

        Studies presented here show that cellular NAD, which we hypothesize to be the relevant biomarker of niacin status, is significantly lower in humans than in the commonly studied animal models of carcinogenesis. We show that nicotinamide and the resulting cellular NAD concentration modulate expression of the tumor suppressor protein, p53, in human breast, skin, and lung cells.
        https: //

        “Researchers at the New South Wales Cancer Institute painted healthy volunteers with a lotion containing vitamin B3 or nicotinamide.
        They found those patients treated with the substance suffered no damage to their immunity when exposed to ultra violet light.
        In another first, the study found men were twice as likely to suffer immune damage from the sun than women.
        Scientists are not exactly sure how vitamin B3 boosts the skin’s defences against cancer.
        Tests so far have shown it is safe and effective as a topical treatment.”
        https: // //

    • Frank Davis says:

      tobacco smoke might actually have been a preventative agent against LC all those years.

      Back in the 1950s, Sir Ronald Fisher used the Doll and Hill London Hospitals study to show that inhaled tobacco smoke had a protective effect against lung cancer. Smokers are now no longer asked whether they inhale.

      Other studies have produced similar results, with the suggestion that increased mucus in smokers’ lungs has a protective effect.

      And then there was the Indian study which had people mostly developing lung cancer after they stopped smoking.

      But I’ve long since ceased to believe that the antismokers have any interest whatsoever in discovering what does and does not cause lung cancer, or any other cancer. I think they all just hate smoking, for purely aesthetic reasons: they see it, like Dr W, as a “filthy” habit. Pinning the blame for lung cancer on smoking was a spectacular coup that enabled them to push very hard for the prohibition of something they already hated anyway.

      “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” might well be the antismokers’ motto. And also the environmentalists’ motto, in their fight against “pollution”. Quite how they decide what is and is not “pollution” is a bit of a mystery.

      • beobrigitte says:

        Prof. Grieshaber did notice in his studies that the staff working in smoking pubs had a LESSER rate of lung cancer.
        This would tie in with the findings of Sir Ronald Fisher.

  17. Ripper says:

    “But I expect that the next 100 years will see the unraveling of this propaganda victory. For if anything is pretty painfully obvious these days, it’s that scientists don’t understand cancer, and don’t know what causes it, and don’t know how to cure it.”

    But the whole thing is a scam. They may know how to cure it, after all, how long has CRUK been ‘researching’ now? But just like the whole of the Public Health industry, they need the very thing they are fighting against to survive themselves. What would happen to CRUK if a magical cure suddenly popped up tomorrow? What would become of ASH if everyone quit smoking or vaping?

    If there is a cure for cancer, you can bet that its been suppressed, just like all the oppressive regulations on tobacco don’t quite, and never will, stretch to a complete ban.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Every now and then the BBC blurts out some unrealistic “research” nobody ever hears again from to get people to finance more TC cr*p next to CRUK’s ceo’s lavish life style.
      They are selling CRUK t-shirt even at TESCO.
      Got my back up endlessly. I did succeed, however, in asking potential customers a few questions. One of them was : “You do known CRUK’s CEO wages? I wonder who pay them.”

      These days anger is something good.

      • Ripper says:

        I’ve had CRUK at the door begging. Its wonderful to see their faces when their emotional blackmail doesn’t work, and I tell them that a) I do not sign anything on the doorstep and b) I’m a smoker who vapes and CRUK declared war on smokers so they will never get a penny from me. It breaks their script and they have no idea where to go from there.

      • Supergran says:

        Half a bleeding million quid a year the CEO of CRUK earns. I would NEVER EVER give to charities that pay so much in salaries. I have a friend who earns thirty grand a year raising money for charity (begging). The only charity I gladly give to is the good ole Sally Army.

  18. Dmitri says:

    I always accused you of excessive pessimism, Frank. But here I not only agree with you, I wrote my last week’s column exactly about that – what will happen when we win.
    (You’ll have to translate it, of course. Hate Google translation, the translator must be a secret Russian, with a tell-tale accent).
    I often write optimistic pieces, because when you fight, you have to know exactly what is defeat and exactly what is victory.
    And I am an optimist, thanks to my experience. You see, I’m a kind of an expert in totalitarian brainwashing campaigns. I know one thing for sure – lies are a perishable product. I know it, following political campaigns like “Russia attacked Georgia in 2008”, “Assad used chemical weapons”, etc. Making such a campaign last means huge effort, but even that fails in its own time. It’s fun watching how such things crumble down. Global warming or second-hand smoking requires huge input of money and effort, but still shows all the familiar signs of fatigue. If they didn’t manage in 10-15 years, it means they have a good chance of failing. And they feel it.
    In 100 years? Might be faster, and that’s what I say in that column.
    And my wife hopes that we’ll meet in person much sooner, if we ever complete our country house (eats us up alive). She is asking how long to go to your place from London, and will you tell me in person that you do not like my novel, etc.

    • Frank Davis says:

      lies are a perishable product.

      Indeed. They lack consistency and internal cohesion. So they always tend to disintegrate sooner or later. And so they need to be re-enforced, usually by repetition. It requires a constant effort to do this. It requires continuous work. And money. And eventually the money runs out.

      The only way they can reach me these days is with the slogans they print on tobacco packs. I suppose they must believe that one day, after reading that Smoking Causes Lung Cancer for the 5,942nd time, I’ll get the message the 5,943rd time. It hasn’t happened yet.

      In 100 years?

      I can well imagine that it’ll take science 100 years to understand cancer.

      and will you tell me in person that you do not like my novel,

      I’m currently reading The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas very very slowly, usually while sitting with a beer and a cigarette in a sunny English pub garden. My plan has been to read it slowly, max one chapter a day, much like Amalia and the White Apparition. But there haven’t been many sunny days lately, so I’ve only been managing about half that. And I’ve got about half way through so far, after starting 3 weeks ago.

      I live about 2 hours by train from London. It would, of course, be much easier to meet up on Skype, without anyone having to to travel anywhere. I’m supposed to meet up with Sandra Sabella in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Skype in 2 hours time. It’s much easier than flying there. Or her flying here.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Dmitri, google translate had me baffled!

      Somehow, it translates better from Russian than it does from any other language when it comes to tobacco and smoking.

      I like your blog despite it taking a while to read via translation.

      As Loius Armstrong once sung : “I have all the time in the world…”

      Keep up the good work!

No need to log in

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.