No More Doctor’s Orders

What is the optimum size for a state? That rather Socratic question came to mind this morning as I considered the Catalonian crisis, which rumbled on over the weekend with approaching one million demonstrators on the streets of Barcelona.

Eight former members of Catalonia’s dissolved Cabinet and two activists are in jail while Spanish authorities investigate their alleged roles in promoting an illegal declaration of independence last month in violation of Spain’s Constitution.

Something like another six members of the former Catalonian government have fled to Belgium, and are complaining of being treated like criminals or drug traffickers or paedophiles.

Their crime was to want Catalonian independence, Catalonian self-government. That is also the UK’s crime, in voting for Brexit. And it’s also my crime, in choosing to carry on smoking.

For the same question lies at the root of all of them. Who decides? Who rules? Is it up to the EU whether the UK is allowed to leave? Is it up to Spain whether Catalonia is allowed to secede from it? Is it up to Tobacco Control whether I am allowed to smoke? Or is it up to the UK, Catalonia, and me.

In each case, it’s some relatively small scale entity seeking independence from some larger scale entity.

Civil wars grow out of such conflicts. In fact WW1 kicked off when a Bosnian Serb, Gavrilo Princip, assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand in July 1914. It was, in effect, a European civil war. And ultimately it was all about who decides, who rules.

On the one hand there are forces which act to form large scale political institutions like the EU, or the UK, or Spain. And on the other hand there are always small scale political institutions that are trying to break away from the large scale organisations, like the UK from the EU, or Catalonia from Spain, or me from Tobacco Control. There’s a constant tension. For there are always rivalries between different places, and between different people. What I want, and what you want, are always going to be two different things.

The only odd thing about the various conflicts of interest that I’ve mentioned is that only two of the three are treated as serious political problems. For in the case of Brexit and Catalonia, both are the subject of intensive debate in government and the media. But smoking bans receive no debate at all. They are just announced. This country will ban smoking tomorrow, and that country will ban it next year. They affect millions of people very intimately, but they receive no debate.

And that is because they are not seen as political matters, but matters of Public Health or medicine. Smoking bans are “doctor’s orders” which are quite separate from orders issued by governments. And “doctor’s orders” are always unquestionable. The medical profession has become as unquestionable an authority as the Pope in Rome. Doctors have become infallible.

But if nobody else thinks that smoking bans are a political issue, I most certainly think they are. And I think that they are going to become one of the greatest political issues of all time over the next few decades, and even the next few centuries.

And that’s because they affect very large numbers of people, all over the world. And they affect them in the most intimate ways.

And they are also extremely divisive.

And they are, above all, not being recognised as a political problem. They are not being addressed. They are being allowed to fester, and so they get worse.

There is currently a global pandemic of smoking bans, spreading around the world like a plague, yet nobody in authority is doing anything about it, because nobody in authority sees it as being any sort of a problem at all. In fact they generally tend to see smoking bans as good things. And they see them as good things because they think that “doctor’s orders” are always good things. And because many of the (mad) doctors think that it is they who are fighting against a global pandemic of tobacco, against which their smoking bans are health measures no different from draining malarial swamps.

But for smokers, smoking bans are the plague that afflicts them, and from which they seek to flee, just like they would flee from the Black Death. For smoking bans cause suffering among smokers, just like any other disease. Smoking bans cause them to be reviled as lepers, “exiled to the outdoors”, fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, refused medical attention, and in some cases even murdered. And smoking bans shatter communities, fracture marriages, sunder friendships. And they bankrupt pubs, cafes, restaurants, clubs, casinos, snooker clubs, bingo halls, working men’s clubs. The only good thing that comes out of smoking bans is that all those caught up in them live longer in the wasteland they create. Except, alas, not even that is true.

The political problem of smoking bans really grows out of the political unaccountability of the medical profession that issues the “doctor’s orders”. Tobacco Control and the WHO are not democratic organisations. They are accountable to no-one. They are their own closed communities with their own closed cultures. This was demonstrated a few years ago when a WHO Tobacco Control conference evicted members of the public and the media, and held their conference in a close session. People complain the EU is an undemocratic institution, but in comparison to the WHO the EU is a shining beacon of accountability. After all, there actually is a EU parliament. It may only act as a rubber stamp for decisions taken in the EU Commission, but it is nevertheless democratically elected. The WHO, by contrast, is as unaccountable as the Vatican. Its edicts are as unquestionable as any papal bull.

One day the political issue of smoking bans is going to explode all around the world. This will happen because they affect so many people, so intimately and personally. And it will explode because nothing is being done to address it, and the problem has been allowed to fester for so long.

And when it does finally explode, one result will be the destruction of the medical profession in its present undemocratic form. Doctors will be made accountable to the people they are supposed to work for, just like elected governments are accountable to their constituents. And a great many antismoking doctors are going to be expelled from the profession. It will be an event a bit like the dissolution of the monasteries in Britain in the 16th century, when thousands of monks were evicted from their monasteries. And after that there will be no more “doctor’s orders.”

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About Frank Davis

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19 Responses to No More Doctor’s Orders

  1. beobrigitte says:

    The political problem of smoking bans really grows out of the political unaccountability of the medical profession that issues the “doctor’s orders”. Tobacco Control and the WHO are not democratic organisations. They are accountable to no-one.
    It is high time these dubious organisations are made accountable to the people whose money they waste! I’d like to see transparency as well!!!
    And when it does finally explode, one result will be the destruction of the medical profession in its present undemocratic form. Doctors will be made accountable to the people they are supposed to work for, just like elected governments are accountable to their constituents.
    I would like to see elected governments being accountable to their constituents’ societies.

  2. garyk30 says:

    Doctors = orders?

    Nah!

    They can only give their patients suggestions or advice.

    Perhaps, that is why the control loving ones get the politicians to pass laws that give force to their,otherwise ignorable, wishes.

    Doctors are not superhuman and should not be treated as such.

  3. Vinny Gracchus says:

    Frank, The antismoking witch hunt is most certainly a political issue. The health front is a propaganda ploy. These totalitarians must be stopped.

  4. Inspector Alleyne says:

    I’ve no problem with my doctor because he smokes. Whilst talking to him outside the surgery recently he complemented me on the smell of my pipe tobacco. If only he was representative of all doctors…

  5. waltc says:

    “They must be stopped.” Okay. Easy said. The question, as always, remains how? You’re up agsinst a triumverate of the Experts, the pols and the media. Who, in turn, have influenced the doctors and the public. Seems to me the only way to unwind the ball of yarn is to start where it started with exploding the “irrefutable” “science” of ets. And it would take a sizeable number of fearless counter-experts, who’d be willing to risk both their careers and reputations. . And why would they bother? To defend a bunch of people who, they’d still believe, are killing their own health? To inflict the Awful Smell on a lot of “public places” to the clamoring cries of protest from a chorus of Angry Moms? And besides, even well-exploded myths die hard because people invest in them. No matter how many studies exculpate salt or cholesterol or …whatever the villains of an era, there are doctors and civilians who’ll carry them to the grave. So I ask again how? Argue Liberty? they’ll say you’re not free to sicken your neighbor. And besides, , as an addict, you’re not free at all, you’re a slave to your habit.

    So–how?

    • Frank Davis says:

      Floating cities?

      It is an idea at once audacious and simplistic, a seeming impossibility that is now technologically within reach: cities floating in international waters — independent, self-sustaining nation-states at sea.

      Long the stuff of science fiction, so-called “seasteading” has in recent years matured from pure fantasy into something approaching reality, and there are now companies, academics, architects and even a government working together on a prototype by 2020.

    • Vinny Gracchus says:

      I don’t know how it stop them. I acknowledge all of your points and have seen many try over the years. Even when credible data refuting tobacco control propaganda is released it is surprised. The problem is the lifestyle controllers have gone beyond smoking to all things tobacco, alcohol (again), meat, sugar, and who knows what next.

      That said, the fortunes of war and politics can change quickly and unexpectedly. Revolutions aren’t planned, they occur and are exploited. The tobacco control project is based on exaggerations and outright lies bolstered by some plausible realities. The first step in resisting is resistance itself. And you after right, the ETS gambit was brilliant on their behalf. It sounds plausible, sates people’s fears, and exploits a general lack of understanding of scientific methods and epidemiology, and relies upon relentless propaganda.

      Liberty is abstract until you lose it. Yet, great totalitarian enterprises have been stopped. Others as we see just morph and reconstitute themselves. But like all human endeavors they are fragile. I suggest we start as you suggest by attacking the second hand smoke lies whenever and however we can and then look for opportunity.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Seems to me the only way to unwind the ball of yarn is to start where it started with exploding the “irrefutable” “science” of ets.
      You will not achieve this by listing the far and few between, 10+ year old studies questioning tobacco control’s “irrefutable” science.
      But you can pull them up on that. We have a “pensioner epidemic” – according to tobacco control NONE of us (including the previous generation in miserable old folks’ homes now) should be alive. And my generation is soooo alive that our pension age has been raised.

      Common sense question need to be asked. LOUDLY.

  6. jaxthefirst says:

    I often wonder whether the biggest death knell for Tobacco Control might come from an unexpected quarter, i.e. from their very own “pets,” the non-smokers. Everyone on here is only too familiar with the personality changes which occur in ex-smokers once they give up, and one very common trait is a new-found inclination to “buy in” to the Blame Culture which is so sadly prevalent in society today, and which has certainly been helped along (I would almost say that the foundations were laid) by the whole anti-smoking movement, spearheaded by Public Health. So, with the dramatic rise in cancers now occurring in the non-smoking population (ironically, rising most steeply since smoking bans have been implemented and thus ETS levels have been decreasing – but that’s a subject for another discussion), it is, I think, just a matter of time before some resentful, angry ex-smoker who develops the disease to cast around for someone to “blame” for it. This article from a couple of years ago illustrates how mystified medics are by this unforeseen and rather unwelcome rise: https://www.medpagetoday.com/meetingcoverage/iaslc/53476 . As the article says:

    “I think it is clear that there is concern that the rate of nonsmoking tumors is increasing. What is causing that is very, very speculative at this point. Second-hand smoke is still there. Radon is still around, but that wouldn’t necessarily explain an increase because it is remaining constant or decreasing.”

    He can’t, of course, blame his smoking, because he doesn’t do that any more (maybe never has) and, as has been pointed out in the article, he can’t really these days blame ETS, either, being as Tobacco Control, through their puppets in the Government, have ensured that his exposure to that has decreased now to its lowest level. So – who’s left for him to blame? Of course! It’s all those do-gooders in Public Health who “promised” that if he gave up smoking he’d never get cancer! No matter that Public Health may argue that they’ve never actually made that promise (which they are always careful not to do in so many words), the fact is, they’ve allowed the insinuation to trickle unabated into the public’s psyche so that now virtually every non-smoker on the planet believes it. And Public Health knows – and has always known – that that is precisely the effect that all those scary anti-smoking messages would have, and they did nothing to stop it. Not once.

    Then, if you add in those (Japanese, I think) the studies floating around the internet which show an increased risk of cancer after giving up suddenly (just as Public Health advises) after long-term smoking, and that cancer-afflicted, bitter non-smoker may well feel understandably aggrieved. With just a small degree of research, he would realise that he’d been lied to and persuaded to give up something he enjoyed – all on the basis of a carefully-crafted deception that his obedient sacrifice would somehow protect him from a greatly feared disease. I think he’d be very angry indeed about that. And, if he had the inclination and the money – and he was furious enough, which I suspect he would be – I think he’d sue, and sue hard. Now, then we’d see some of Tobacco Control’s sh*t really hit the fan!

    • Rose says:

      I did expect some kind of increase in non-smokers with lung cancer when smoking rates fell and secondhand smoke could no longer be blamed, just because of the leveling out, what I didn’t expect was that the non-smoking lung cancer sufferers would turn out to be so very young.

      Lung cancer increasingly affects non-smokers, but stigma in Canada persists
      November 12, 2017

      “The diagnosis came as a shock to the 25-year-old, who has never picked up a cigarette.
      “There wasn’t an explanation why — just anyone with lungs can get lung cancer. It doesn’t have to be from smoking necessarily, and unfortunately I was one of the unlucky ones,” Bradford told CTV News.
      She instantly went into “fight mode” against the disease. But when it came to breaking the news to others, Bradford felt pushed on the defensive.
      “I feel I always need to assure them I never smoked, because I just assume that the first thing they are going to think is I did it to myself from smoking,” Bradford told CTV News.”

      “I have 20-year-olds, 30-year-olds. I have booked a patient who is 40 with an infant. This is every day for me,” said Jurgens, who estimates that up to 20 per cent of Canadians with lung cancer have never smoked.
      http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/lung-cancer-increasingly-affects-non-smokers-but-stigma-in-canada-persists-1.3674960

  7. Lepercolonist says:

    Quote from writer Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) :

    “Here’s the news: I am going to sue the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company, manufacturers of Pall Mall cigarettes, for a billion bucks! Starting when I was only twelve years old, I have never chain-smoked anything but unfiltered Pall Malls. And for many years now, right on the package, Brown & Williamson have promised to kill me. 
    But I am eighty-two. Thanks a lot, you dirty rats. The last thing I ever wanted was to be alive when the three most powerful people on the whole planet would be named Bush, Dick and Colon.”

  8. Joe L. says:

    Speaking of doctor’s orders…

    How can you almost instantaneously increase the profits of the Healthcare and Pharmaceutical industries by a huge margin? It’s simple: Just lower the thresholds with which high blood pressure is diagnosed (yet again).

    New blood pressure range means half of Americans have hypertension

    Tighter blood pressure guidelines from U.S. heart organizations mean millions more people need to make lifestyle changes, or start taking medication, in order to avoid cardiovascular problems.

    Americans with blood pressure of 130/80 or higher should be treated, down from the previous trigger of 140/90, according to new guidelines announced on Monday by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.

    At the new cutoff, around 46 percent, or more than 103 million, of American adults are considered to have high blood pressure, compared with an estimated 72 million under the previous guidelines in place since 2003.

    High blood pressure accounts for the second-largest number of preventable heart disease and stroke deaths in the United States, second only to smoking.

    Of course, high blood pressure still plays second fiddle to smoking, even after all the bans and the overall decrease in smoking prevalence in the US. Oh, and wasn’t smoking always labeled a “leading cause” of high blood pressure? Well, it was until they needed a new cow to milk. Now they’re using statements like this in an attempt to separate the two to make twice the profits off of two separate treatments.

    Maybe I’m old-fashioned (or maybe I simply understand science), but as with all normal distributions, blood pressure among Americans should fit into a bell curve. Using statistics properly (i.e., neither for determining causation nor predicting the future), the majority of people will fall in the middle of the curve, leaving the upper and lower couple standard deviations to be the “outliers.”

    There is absolutely no way almost half of the population can fall into those outlying areas, it defies statistics. Unless 46% of the population are dying from high blood pressure, which they’re not, it’s obvious these greedy bastards are simply “moving the goalposts” in order to make even more money off the ever-increasing fear of death.

    It seems that after the success of the Antismoking lies, these assholes have gotten cocky. They think they can just make anything up and people will believe it out of fear. Sadly, they have been correct thus far. However, this can’t continue indefinitely. People are starting to wake up. The more they pull stunts like this, the quicker and harder they will fall.

  9. smokingscot says:

    Neat find Joe. And I agree with your take on it.

    Checked what others think about it in the British press. The articles are best ignored, it’s the comments that I look at.

    Mail readers have it nailed.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5078933/New-guidelines-drop-high-blood-pressure-threshold-130.html

    While the Telegraph has one Yank who tries to put it down to far too many of his fellow citizens being rather too chubby for their own good.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/body/high-blood-pressure-redefined-us-130-not-140-meaning-nearly/

    Overall it’s not been widely reported here, presumably because it’s seen as an American thing. Odd, because I’ll bet the NHS will issue new guidelines within months. Covering bottoms.

  10. kin_free says:

    I have to disagree with Walt when he suggests how, ‘These totalitarians must be stopped’; “Seems to me the only way to unwind the ball of yarn is to start where it started with exploding the “irrefutable” “science” of ets.”
    and Vinnie; “…I suggest we start as you suggest by attacking the second hand smoke lies…”

    Both make some other valid points BUT… I, and several others, STARTED attacking SHS lies over ten years ago. People like Michael McFadden started many years before that, but what difference has it all made? – diddly squat!

    I once thought that all we had to do was expose the SHS ‘harm’ tactic as false and common sense would prevail but it didn’t happen and it is NOT going to happen. Hitler knew that people are not controlled by reason, but by emotion and fear. Exposing SHS lies in isolation.is not going to cut the mustard.

    I would suggest that very few people are unaware of the SHS deception. Most however, are of the opinion that the means justifies the end; ‘Everyone knows’ smoking kills 50% of smokers etc, so ANY means to prevent those millions of ‘avoidable deaths’ is worth it – isn’t it?’ Alternatively, those who are unconvinced either way will always think in terms of ‘better safe than sorry. In any case, it doesn’t affect me and I’ve been told that I don’t like the smell’.

    Other groups, currently under attack from lifestyle propagandists, are using it for their own purposes to defend their positions too. They all use the ‘but vaping/alcohol/meat/salt/sugar/obesity… does not have any harmful SHS- we are not harming anyone, like what dem durty smokas is” i.e. it is another a means to an end too. It doesn’t matter that it is a load of rubbish or even that they know it is a load of rubbish – they still think it will work for them.

    No, the only way this can be beaten is by attacking and exposing the original lies and exaggerations of active smoking ‘harm’. There is plenty of evidence out there that shows it to be lies and exaggeration. We just need get beyond the conditioning that has made smokers ashamed of their habit or worried that they will be called delusional tin foil hatters. – This is a deliberate psychological tactic that has worked very well.

    It needs to be emphasised to the public that this is not a Zero sum game where non smokers win and smokers lose – EVERYONE loses, in many ways eg. (health-wise, financially, socially etc) INCLUDING never smokers and quitters. Burst this bubble that suggests only smokers lose, only smokers die. I know that Vinnie has eluded to the point that NON smokers are just so much collateral damage in the eyes of anti-smoker fanatics. Both Jax and Rose point to areas that are relevant here too – non smokers are dying from what the public have been convinced were almost exclusively smoker diseases.

    A good start would be to debunk the ‘smoking kills’ slogan – when so-called ‘smoke related diseases’ have been ballooning while less and less people smoke. Or that quitting will make you live longer when we now know that quitting moves the smoker into a much higher risk bracket of serious illness (eg. Quitters account for over 60% of lung cancers.)

    The public needs to be made aware that the anti-smoker industry, has squandered £billions of public money on propaganda that has only resulted in many avoidable deaths over many years – and most of them have been, and will continue to be, NON smokers!

    The deep public money pot, that tobacco CONTROL keep dipping into to further their ideological agenda, should be used to fund real science to find causes and cures and, as most people are aware of the funding crisis in health care providers, to provide proper health care for the ill and injured.

    By all means use the SHS deception to emphasise anti-smoker leopard spots, contradictions and anomalies in primary smoking but ensure that people are woken up from their slumber and have their perceived comfort zone challenged with a reality check or three – about the ACTIVE smoking deception.

    • Joe L. says:

      I agree, kin_free. We have to destroy the foundation of the house of cards–the “active smoking” lies–in order to get the rest to fall.

      I also agree that the ongoing increase in “smoking-related” cancers among never-smokers will also help expose Tobacco Control for the expensive fraud it is because it’s going to cause people to begin to question the Antismoking dogmas they’ve been duped into believing for so long. This makes for an opportune time for us to attack the active smoking lies.

      The million-dollar question is, how do we most effectively spread our message?

    • Frank Davis says:

      No, the only way this can be beaten is by attacking and exposing the original lies and exaggerations of active smoking ‘harm’.

      I entirely agree. Because the SHS lie is a lie that is built on the active smoking lie. It wouldn’t be in the least believable if people didn’t already believe that Smoking Causes Lung Cancer. Tobacco Control has erected a vast edifice of lies built on lies built on lies. It’s the foundational lies that need to be demolished, because everything else will fall with them.

  11. Pingback: The Deepening Crisis of Science | Frank Davis

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