The Murderous Intent of Tobacco Control

The recent grisly murder in Moscow of a smoker – Eduard Assylov – by his antismoking roommate reminded me of the generally murderous attitude of antismokers towards smokers.

For antismokers regularly wish death upon smokers, as even the most cursory examination of The Wall Of Hate proves. One example, plucked from many others:

“Please die from diseases from cigarettes sooner rather than later, so there will be less of you around, stinking up every place you go.”

Furthermore, “plain packaging”, which purports to show graphically a number of these diseases, might better be understood as the projection of such death wishes onto smokers. For the “health message” “Smoking Kills – Quit Now” might better be read as “Smoking Kills – So Die Now.”   There’s only a cigarette paper between the two statements.

But smoking bans, which purport to be health measures, can also be seen as being murderous in intent. For when, as Deborah Arnott wished, smokers were “exiled to the outdoors” by the UK smoking ban, they were moved from indoors to outdoors, and from warm to cold, and from dry to wet, and from light to dark. And this exile cannot have been beneficial for their health.

Tobacco Control often produces figures for the numbers of people killed by smoking. A Google search for “number of people killed by cigarettes” produced:

Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.

So what is “the number of people are killed by cold”? One answer:

Cold weather is 20 times as deadly as hot weather, and it’s not the extreme low or high temperatures that cause the most deaths, according to a study…

The study — published in the British journal The Lancet — analyzed data on more than 74 million deaths in 13 countries between 1985 and 2012. Of those, 5.4 million deaths were related to cold, while 311,000 were related to heat.

Because the study included countries under different socio-economic backgrounds and with varying climates, it was representative of temperature-related deaths worldwide, the study said. The sharp distinction between heat- and cold-related deaths is because low temperatures cause more problems for the body’s cardiovascular and respiratory systems, it added.

So, in 74 million deaths, there were 5.7 million temperature-related deaths, or nearly 8% of all deaths. And so, given that according to one source, 55.3 million people die every year globally, about 4.4 million of these deaths will be temperature-related.

So how many smokers, exiled to the outdoors, are likely to die when they transition from a warm 25ºC internal temperature to, say, a Siberian -40ºC external temperature? How soon does somebody die when they are forced outdoors into a cold environment? And how many smokers per year are being killed by smoking bans?

It may be possible to approach this question analytically, rather than statistically. The rate of conductive heat loss through a fabric with thermal conductivity (conductance?) K and surface area A, with a temperature difference across it of T0 – T1 will be K.A.( T0 – T). For human beings internal body core temperature T0 is fairly constant at about 37ºC, and human skin surface area is usually in the region of 1.5 square metres, K will vary with amount of clothing, and external environmental temperature will be whatever it happens to be. Once the appropriate values are plugged in, this will give a rate of heat loss, as some number of Watts.

At the same time as there is this conductive heat loss, there is also some rate of heat gain due to internal metabolic heat production. The more active and busy someone is, the higher their metabolic rate. A smoker standing outside a house or pub will have a fairly low metabolic rate of heat gain to counterbalance his conductive rate of heat loss. And, assuming that his rate of metabolic heat gain is less than his rate of conductive heat loss, his overall body temperature will be falling. And at his extremities – fingers, toes – the rate of heat loss will be greater, and tissue temperature will be falling faster.

If we can find a figure for minimum internal body temperature at which survival is possible, and a tissue temperature at which frostbite (and gangrene?) sets in, it should be possible to estimate how long it takes for someone to die or develop frostbite in verious environmental conditions.

In general, it might be added, adults have higher metabolic rates than children and elderly people, and men have higher metabolic rates than women. Given these figures, as well as body fat levels, it should be possible to estimate mortality rates for a wide range of people. And given it takes 10-15 minutes to smoke a cigarettes, it should be possible to find out how many people are likely to die while doing so.

The result of this exercise would be to provide temperature-related mortality rates from “exile to the outdoors” consequent on indoor smoking bans, and perhaps allow estimates for how many smokers per year are being killed by smoking bans.

There will of course be other non-temperature-related causes of death from being exiled to the outdoors. There is a greater likelihood of falls (very often from high places like windows or balconies) as smokers are driven outside. And also a greater likelihood of assault (e.g. robbery, rape).

Add them all up, and smoking bans are quite likely to cause far more injury and death than they prevent. And this is probably perfectly intentional. For Tobacco Control is no different in trying to kill smokers than Eduard Assylov’s nameless murderer.


About Frank Davis

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11 Responses to The Murderous Intent of Tobacco Control

  1. Pingback: On The Lash: Rumble Wrangle Shamble – Library of Libraries

  2. Clicky says:

  3. lleweton says:

    Re:’the projection of such death wishes on to smokers’, I’ve wondered for years why a possible nocebo effect of the warnings has not, apparently, been considered by those who would do no harm.

    • nisakiman says:

      I’m sure you’re right. If you keep telling smokers that they will suffer from terrible diseases if they continue smoking, then many of those smokers, even though they might try to ignore all the messages of impending Armageddon, will nevertheless have taken them on board. And if they don’t have the healthy scepticism and disdain for ‘experts’ that us lot do, then the nocebo effect could well be very strong. It’s been shown many times to be a very real phenomenon.

  4. Clicky says:

  5. C. F. Apollyon says:

    Merry Christmas/ Happy holidays Frank. :-D

    That goes for the rest of you freaks as well. <3

  6. Rhys says:

    Totally OT. Happy Christmas, Frank! And happy Christmas to my fave bunch of dissenters :)

  7. Pingback: Two Pieces of Good News | Frank Davis

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