The Madsen Moment

Something I saw on Dick Puddlecote a few days back has been niggling at the back of my mind. And I think it’s actually relevant to the Smokers’ Army meme being explored on threads here recently.

It featured Madsen Pirie giving a one-minute talk on vaping. DP himself added his approval of the talk:

“In a nutshell, this is the whole debate. If anyone you know asks about e-cigs, send them this.”

Here’s the video:

And here’s a transcript of the first half minute:

“Look, the fact is that vaping works. It’s the most effective means yet developed for helping people who want to give up smoking to actually quit. Public Health England has come out saying it’s 95% safer than smoking cigarettes. In fact they were being cautious. It’s probably 99% safer. Look, nicotine is like caffeine. Here at the Adam Smith Institute we’re relaxed about that: we drink coffee, and some of us even vape. Yet antismokers want to limit it. They say it normalises smoking. The EU specifies a maximum size for the liquid containers…”

Well, yes, it actually is the whole debate about vaping, but not in quite the way that DP probably thinks.

First off, Madsen Pirie thinks that vaping was something developed to help people give up smoking. And indeed I think that the Chinese inventor of the e-cigarette, Hon Lik, was trying to do exactly that. But it seems to me that what he actually succeeded in doing was to invent a whole new way of smoking. It’s as new a way of smoking as once were the pipe, and the cigar, and the cigarette. The pipe was probably the oldest, and then the cigar, with the cigarette as a newcomer barely 100 years old today. And now the 21st century has spawned what seems to be multiple electronic cigarettes, as different from each other as all the thousands of different motorcycles that appeared after the invention of the first one, or the thousands of different planes that appeared after the Wright brothers first got off the ground for a few seconds at Kitty Hawk on December 17, 1903.

For there are now people who prefer vaping to smoking. Or prefer their particular vaping devices, for one reason or other. The vaper – homo vapor? – is a brand new species of smoker. And what is now happening is a (richly deserved) absolute catastrophe for Public Health. There they all were, trying to stamp out smoking, and actually being quite successful about it, when – boom! – a completely new way of smoking appears. It’s a bit like an army having fought its way to take control of a line of enemy trenches – only to find that there is another line of defences beyond them, one the generals knew nothing at all about.

For myself I belong to the species homo rollie. I smoke roll-ups. And I have no wish whatsoever to stop smoking them. I’ve tried a couple of e-cigarettes, but I much prefer real cigarettes. And also I’ve completely ceased to believe anything that is said about tobacco or smoking. I have no faith whatsoever in the “experts”. And that loss of faith is something that extends to all the so-called “experts” trying to ban or restrict alcohol, sugar, salt, fat, meat, fast food, etc, etc. They can all go fuck themselves, as far as I am concerned. In fact my disbelief in experts extends way beyond just disbelief in Public Health “experts”: I’m beginning to have difficulty finding any expert in anything in whom I I feel able to place any trust. But that’s another story.

For me, the only thing about e-cigarettes that was at all attractive about them, was that they might have a), been a bit cheaper than real cigarettes, and b), it might have been possible to smoke them in places where smoking real cigarettes was banned. But Tobacco Control/Public Health have moved rapidly the close off both of those possible advantages. E-cigarettes are now classified as no different from real cigarettes. And a whole series of “research papers” has been rushed out to show that they’re just as bad as smoking, and quite possibly a great deal worse (which is exactly what happened when cigarettes first appeared, and began to shoulder aside traditional pipes and cigars).

So I think that Madsen Pirie has completely missed out an entire class of smokers who, like me, simply see e-cigarettes as an alternative to real cigarettes, much like aspartame is an alternative to sugar, or powdered milk is an alternative to whole fresh milk. We don’t want to stop smoking (or eating sugar, or drinking milk). In fact, we’re getting more and more determined to carry on smoking (and eating sugar, and drinking milk), come what may.

Madsen Pirie seems to be one of those many people (in fact, most people) who firmly believe that smoking tobacco is bad for you, and who regard this as being an established and unquestionable fact of life (when in fact it isn’t). I dare say that DP is of the same mind. And Chris Snowdon. And countless other people. And actually theirs is the majority opinion.

And I think that there’s something of a division opening up in the ranks of smokers over vaping. For some vapers are as antismoking as any zealot in Tobacco Control. And some are not, like regular commenter, the Last Furlong. In fact, it may be that vapers and cigarette-smokers and pipe-smokers and cigar smokers and tobacco-chewers and snus-suckers are all quite different species of people, with cigarette-smokers remaining predominant. And that’s a possible obstacle to putting together any sort of Smokers’ Army.

In addition, Madsen Pirie seems to place some sort of faith in Public Health England. Do I need to tell anyone that I have absolutely no faith whatsoever in Public Health England? I think they’re all a bunch of crooks and shysters and con-men. And the sooner they’re de-funded and disbanded the better.

And also he seems to be one of those people who believe that the active ingredient in tobacco is nicotine, and the active ingredient in coffee is caffeine. And maybe they’re right, and it can all be boiled down to something as simple as that. But to me that looks exactly like saying that the active ingredient in pretty women is big tits. Well, maybe it is. But I think that pretty women have all sorts of other ingredients, that count just as much. In fact, I’m not sure that regarding pretty women as having a set of ingredients at all is likely to be the completely wrong way to think about them. And what applies to pretty women also applies to coffee and tobacco and pretty much everything else.

And don’t, please don’t, get me started on Adam Smith.

So within half a minute I was disagreeing with Madsen Pirie about almost everything he said. And that’s why what he had to say summed up the whole debate: we disagree about everything.

Which is why I felt impelled to write about it.

As an addendum, I think vaping has got a great future. I think that in the years to come there will be the vaping equivalents of Cadillacs and Ferraris and Jaguars. And I suspect they won’t all contain just tobacco or nicotine: I think they’ll contain an entire confectionery of drugs. But that’s just my guess.

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50 Responses to The Madsen Moment

  1. I don’t know if Madsen Pirie really has much faith in PHE. (Christopher Snowdon and Dick Puddlecote certainly don’t, they both think PHE are the scum of the Earth.)

  2. The government recently passed a regulation? that a NO SMOKING did NOT include vaping. It was up to the owner of the premises to stipulate NO VAPING. Otherwise it’s allowed.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Is that so. Maybe I’ve been drinking TC kool-aid?

      • ” e-cigarette use is not covered by smokefree legislation and should not routinely
        be included in the requirements of an organisation’s smokefree policy” PHE
        Quote – “Legislation under the Health Act 2006, which prohibits smoking in enclosed public
        places and workplaces, on public transport and in vehicles used for work, is based on
        conclusive scientific evidence of the direct health harm caused to bystanders through
        the inhalation of secondhand smoke.
        E-cigarette use, known as vaping, is not covered by smokefree legislation. E-cigarettes
        do not burn tobacco and do not create smoke. While debate continues about their
        absolute level of safety, the consensus across England’s public health community is
        that e-cigarettes are significantly safer for users than smoked tobacco. An independent
        review of the latest evidenceii published by Public Health England (PHE) in 2015 found
        that, based on the international peer-reviewed evidence, vaping is around 95% safer for
        users than smoking. It also confirmed the findings of PHE’s 2014 independent evidence
        iii that there is no evidence of harm to bystanders from exposure to e-cigarette
        vapour and the risks to their health are likely to be extremely low. ” PHE

        Click to access PHE-advice-on-use-of-e-cigarettes-in-public-places-and-workplaces.PDF

        Government policy on using e cigarettes in public places – (duplicates maybe?)

    • Joe L. says:

      I recall hearing that the UK planned to wrap vaping into their smoking ban in 2016. Did that not happen?

      Here in the US, however, many state-wide and local smoking bans have been amended to include vaping. When I was still living in Chicago, in 2014, I believe, Chicago made headlines as the first major US city to do so.

      • The heart of all the persecution of vapers AND smokers is The Tobacco Control Industry. They have spread like a dreadful poison. USA is particularly stricken – and Australia too – supposedly civilised countries. In the UK, vapers are ‘lucky’ as Public Health England favours vaping as a ‘quit’ device. But ‘lucky’ vapers, need to be aware that The Tobacco Control Industry is influencing Public Health England The Tobacco Control Industry is black, toxic and totalitarian.
        Of course vaping is a SUBSTITUTE for smoking – THAT WAS THE ORIGINAL INTENTION. A smoker switching to vaping can’t expect to simply ‘try’ an e cig and instantly like it. Switching takes a bit of effort and curiosity and stickability. Vaping has huge benefits over smoking I’ve found, practically and physically. I prefer it. It took a bit of getting used to, though, for someone who was NEVER going to give up smoking.
        I was very badly treated as a smoker, coming into the UK from a country where smoking was normal, and smokers were considered as a group of people. I watched, as, gradually over the twenty years I have been here, the anti smoking poison took a hold here.
        In 2011 I switched to vaping so I could ‘smoke’ where I could not smoke – mainly at work. I’m retired now but I vape everywhere – not clouds – but (hopefully) elegantly and discretely. No one has ever challenged me.
        I promote vaping as a way of life because it’s the biggest ‘fuck you’ to The Tobacco Control Industry that I can do.
        My biggest sorrow is the split we have between smokers and vapers. Smokers don’t see the ‘fuck you’ aspect of vaping, they just see vapers as enemies. We should work together to cleanse our society of The Tobacco Control Industry. But we should heal ourselves first – anti smoking vapers and anti vaping smokers, together. Only UNITY will give us strength.

        • Joe L. says:

          Smokers don’t see the ‘fuck you’ aspect of vaping, they just see vapers as enemies.

          That’s because there are a large number of vocal Antismoking vapers. They were the ones that created the divide.

          I completely agree that smokers and vapers should band together, but unfortunately the self-righteous sect of vapers have made that task far more difficult than it should be.

          When I see vapers “exiled to the outdoors” along with me while I smoke, I can’t help but wonder why they’re even more complacent than smokers.

          Fog machines are still used indoors in many entertainment venues. The only tangible difference between fog fluid and vaping “juice” is the addition of nicotine. That means fog machines produce all of the same “deadly,” “toxic” chemicals as e-cigarettes.

          Why are fog machines still legal to use in public spaces? And why aren’t vapers using this glaring contradiction to challenge Tobacco Control?

        • jaxthefirst says:

          I’m puzzled as to how you think that, LF, because it would appear to me that openly vaping in public is no more of an F-U to Tobacco Control than wearing a nicotine patch somewhere highly visible would be. Tobacco Control certainly don’t see it that way – as the article cited below states: “In this way, vaping becomes synomyous [sic] with the rejection of smoking.” So your (very laudable!) F-U message clearly isn’t getting through. I don’t want to rain on your parade, but it seems that they see the use of e-cigarettes as a sign of agreeing with and supporting them, rather than the other way around. Looks horribly like they see you as an ally and friend! Perhaps you and some of your like-minded vaping friends should address that viewpoint before it becomes accepted as “the way it is” (we all know how good Tobacco Control are in establishing that in the public’s mind). The problem is, in the case of most vapers, they’re right! Supportive ones like yourself are few and far between, sadly!

        • Fredrik Eich says:

          “The heart of all the persecution of vapers AND smokers is The Tobacco Control Industry.”
          I have to disagree.
          The modern crusade against smokers has been spearheaded by the UK and US governments since the late 1940s. Both governments were warned by their own scientists that that atomic weapons testing could cause lung cancer in people. So both governments coordinated, with each other and with some secrecy, a massive public relations campaign to link smoking with lung cancer, at the same time and by the same people who were investigating the possible public health consequences of nuclear fallout. That is a clear conflict of interests.

          The TCI is just a by product of the massive amounts of time and effort expended at linking lung cancer with smoking.

          “Smoking causes lung cancer” is just a product of cold war politics. The idea that you can reduce lung cancer rates by reducing the number of smokers in a country is demonstrably not true. Lung cancer trends are secular to cigarette consumption.

          Any “Smokers army” will be at war with the state and not at war with the TCI.

        • Rose says:

          You could well be right, Fredrik

          PORTON DOWN – The Unwitting victims.

          “Scientists from Porton Down carried out a top-secret experiment 40 years ago. Alarmingly, it was done on a journey through Somerset and into the heart of Bristol.”

          “On February 1, 1961 a Land Rover set off at 10.45 am from the village of Ilchester. It was driven by scientists from Porton Down.
          The Land Rover travelled through Wedmore and on to the outskirts of Bristol.
          As it went, Zinc Cadmium Sulphide was sprayed into the air in an attempt to simulate germ warfare.

          The cloud was being traced at sampling stations through Somerset and Wiltshire back to Porton.
          It was the height of the Cold War and the British government feared that the Soviet Union was planning a chemical and biological attack.
          The government wanted to analyse how a cloud of germs might disperse.

          The scientists were instructed to handle the chemical very carefully. They were ordered to wear full protective clothing and gas masks.
          Those handling the material were to be given annual medical checks.

          Despite the extreme safety precautions the scientists took, they were spraying the chemical cloud onto passers-by.
          When they arrived in Bristol they would have been travelling through groups of lunchtime shoppers.

          Guardian journalist Rob Evans, has written extensively on the trials conducted by Porton Down:
          “This was the one trial where people were exposed the most, the one where people got their biggest dose, and the problem with Zinc Cadmium Sulphide is we don’t know how toxic it is. The data on how toxic it is, is sparse.”

          The authorities at Porton Down declined to give an interview, but released this statement.
          “There was no danger to public health arising from the release of Zinc Cadmium Sulphide and that in the areas where these trials took place.
          There was no evidence of increased incidents of diseases associated with cadmium toxicity.”

        • Frank Davis says:

          @ Fredrick. While I agree that radioactive fallout is a much better candidate as a cause of cancer then smoking ever will be, the war on smoking has been going on a lot longer than there has been radioactive fallout. There has been a war on tobacco since its introduction in the 16th century. King James I of England was one of the first antismokers.

          It may be that governments have wanted to diminish the importance of radioactive fallout, but the ever-present antismokers would have been willing allies in smearing tobacco. In fact, they probably suggested it, and governments went along with it.

        • Fredrik Eich says:

          Yup the war on smokers has been going on longer a lot longer than before the second world war. I did say the ‘modern campaign’! But from all I have read I see little evidence of a strong, coordinated and well funded government campaign prior to the second world war (not including NAZI Germany). In June 1956 Harold Himsworth the head of the Medical Research Council submitted a report to the UK government stating that nuclear fallout could cause lung cancer in ‘some people ‘ and a year later the UK exploded it’s first hydrogen bomb 15 May. Three days later on the 21 May (Project E) agreement for the United States to supply atomic weapons for British forces established. One month later 27 June a ‘Special report’ from the MRC establishes the relationship between smoking and lung cancer as causal. This report from the MRC (the scientific wing of the UK government) headed up by Harold Himsworth who was effectively Richard Dolls boss (because he had a big say in where the money got spent ).

          The common denominator of the above is the MRC and Sir Harold Himsworth.

          Why did both the UK and US governments embark on an identical strategy and an identical time? I think the answer is because they were worried they may have a minor lung cancer epidemic to hide (which later turned out to be a massive epidemic) or at the very least the perception of a coming lung cancer epidemic. It is matter of record that both governments were cooperating on this (nuclear issue) to what extent they cooperated on the smoking issue I don’t know. But we do know that public announcements on tobacco and lung cancer were also timed between these two countries to gain maximum publicity.

          It all stinks.

          I think the anti smoking lobby would be dead in the water now with out the cold war because there would not have been a massive rise in lung cancer for them to talk about and for certain governments to hide. Something caused a post war lung cancer epidemic and it is impossible that it was caused be cigarette consumption. I think that there is only one candidate hypothesis that can not be rejected by the data and so these days I really do believe it is true that atomic weapons testing caused the post war lung cancer epidemic. I have believed it for about six months now. There was even a massive rise in lung cancer in ducks during the 1940s and 1950s!?!

          Ducks can’t buy cigarettes let alone smoke them!


        • Very interesting. I have wondered about the thousands of nuclear test we did – and are still doing actually. All that shit is floating around in the atmosphere – still!

        • Joe L. says:


          It may be that governments have wanted to diminish the importance of radioactive fallout, but the ever-present antismokers would have been willing allies in smearing tobacco. In fact, they probably suggested it, and governments went along with it.

          This is pretty much my hypothesis of what transpired. The government needed a scapegoat for the effects of radioactive fallout, and the antismokers provided it. A “win-win” for both.

        • Frank Davis says:

          @LastFurlong, I think most of it will have washed out of the atmosphere by now, so it won’t stilll be floating around up there.

          @ Fredrik,.I’m perfectly happy with the idea that the post-war lung cancer epidemic was caused by radioactive fallout. The duck story sounds like further evidence for that.

          But the idea that the government has been covering this fact up is a quite different hypothesis altogether. First of all it would entail not just the British government, but more or less every other government in the world covering it up It would entail a vast conspiracy by multiple governments with the medical profession and quite likely other branches of government and industry to hoodwink their own populations, without a word of it ever getting out anywhere, for something approaching 70 years. And I don’t think that’s very plausible.

          What seems more plausible is that the medical profession, in the form of Wynder and Graham, and Doll and Hill, and later George Godber and hundreds more,started saying in 1950 that smoking caused lung cancer. In the UK for some 10-15 years, this advice was largely ignored by the government (and governments elsewhere as well). But after the US Surgeon General’s 1964 report, it ceased to be ignored.

          But even then the government dragged its feet. So when Enoch Powell, Health Minister sometime around 1970 was approached by George Godber wanting to stamp out smoking, Powell was shocked at the proposal. If the government had been engaged in a conspiracy, wouldn’t the Health Minister have been in the know, and wouldn’t he have been supportive of Godber, rather than shocked?

          And since the medics were telling governments that smoking caused lung cancer, why should the government have felt any need to suppress the idea that it was caused by fallout? Because nobody much was putting that idea around. Why try to suppress an idea which had little currency?

          And it was only in 1964 or so that governments began to recognise that fallout was a problem, and it was why they concluded a test ban treaty with the Soviet Union in about that year, banning atmospheric tests. If they’d known all along that there was a problem, they wouldn’t have conducted atmospheric tests at all, and would have reached a test ban treaty in 1945. They didn’t because they didn’t know. When they dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they didn’t know that radiation sickness would be one of the consequences. And they didn’t know because they’d never dropped one on anybody before. And it took governments nearly 20 years to learn.

          In fairness, the medical profession didn’t know either. But by 1948, they were convinced, largely on the basis of Nazi research, that smoking caused lung cancer. They couldn’t have blamed nuclear weapons, because they knew no more about it than the government did.

          And once the medical profession had convinced itself that smoking caused lung cancer, it never let go of that idea. They still haven’t. And they kept pushing it harder and harder. And gradually got all their smoking bans and penal taxation.and smoker demonisation.

          The war on smoking has primarily been driven by doctors, and they’ve been driving it since long before WW2. And the government has been forced to pay heed to them. After all, they are the medical experts, and if they say that smoking causes lung cancer, who is going to argue with them.

          So I don’t see any vast conspiracy to dupe the public.I don’t see that it’s utterly impossible, but it seems very unlikely. And even if there had been a conspiracy, why would they still be concealing the fact that fallout was the real culprit, given that most of the fallout has long since fallen out of the atmosphere, and it’s past history?

        • Joe L. says:

          Agreed, Frank. It’s not that it was a global conspiracy from the beginning, but rather once the governments realized the effects of fallout 20-some years later, they kept it quiet, letting the now-established “theory” that smoking causes lung cancer remain the prevailing theory, thus preventing the blame being shifted to them.

          This comment thread is far too long now; I think you should dedicate an entire post to this. You bring up some excellent points.

        • Joe L. says:

          I shouldn’t have started off with “Agreed” because my point contradicts your final paragraph.

          I agree that it probably wasn’t a conspiracy from the get-go, but I’m not convinced that that no conspiracy ever existed. Yes, the fallout from the original nuclear tests may have mostly fallen out by now, but there have been other nuclear disasters since, and most likely other nuclear tests we’re not aware of. I believe last year there was a spike in radiation across Europe, leading some to believe Russia was conducting nuclear tests.

          However, I believe overall, there has been a reduction in radiation levels since the ’40s-’50s, yet we have seen lung cancer (and other cancers) on the rise in recent years. So, maybe fallout is a red herring, or maybe it was just one of many factors.

        • RdM says:

          Well, monitoring measurements do seem to have been conducted. Just some:

          Radioactive fallout in air and rain: results to the end of 1975

          Click to access CM-P00068548.pdf

          Caesium-137 (30 years) and Strontium-90 (28 years) seem to have the longest half-lives of what they were measuring.

          I had imagined that there were or might be much longer half-life radioactive particles created or spread that even if washed out of the air by rain, might persist in the soil, even be licked up as dust later, perhaps inhaled, etc.

          I don’t know…

          (was going to be a remark to Joe, hey)

          I don’t mind the sub-thread tangents by the way;- I was going to comment here but may make it a separate one;- partly it’s the wordpress . com layout that doesn’t allow layers of replies or limits them, so you have to scroll up to find the most recent one to drop under, but also I think they shouldn’t (or needn’t) be censored or restricted, as will happen in ‘forums’ where everything is kept tight by a moderator, here on a blog.

          In the old days there was Usenet, NNTP protocol, news servers, newsreader clients, and there still is… I was active from early 90’s for a decade or more, and every post, comment, had a reply function, so you could go off on or follow marvelous sub-tangents, which would have their own organic life, peter out without any moderation or censorship, a full exploration of ideas, quite fractal, really…

          So no, I don’t think this or any ‘thread’ or sub-thread, tangent, is too long!
          It will end when it ends.
          Let’s not be fazed by divergences of subject… if it all ties in to the whole.

          The Recent Comments widget is an aid to seeing er recent comments on the older than current thread (unless it’s really active!) and I’d encourage Frank to up the maximum shown to 15 from the current 7, so that late comments on an older post can be seen.

          I’ve myself been lazy about ticking the boxes for (when posting a comment)

          Notify me of new comments via email.
          Notify me of new posts via email.

          And so have probably missed replies in the past… Apologies!
          Even though it’s a slight hassle to confirm, I might do it more often now, or always.

          In newsgroups, you could see everything, and follow the paths.
          Here, we have to work with what we have to work with…

        • I get notification in WordPress…

        • Fredrik Eich says:

          @Joe L

          “However, I believe overall, there has been a reduction in radiation levels since the ’40s-’50s, yet we have seen lung cancer (and other cancers) on the rise in recent years. So, maybe fallout is a red herring, or maybe it was just one of many factors.”

          No it’s not a red herring! The correlation with the global lung cancer trend with the period of atomic weapons testing fallout 1945 – 1985 is astonishing. See below

        • Fredrik Eich says:

          I do not believe there was any conspiracy either! Governments are composed of groups of people and individuals working under different parameters (differing knowledge sets, differing objectives). Some people will have access to security issues and some will not.

          I have found plenty of evidence that Harold Himsworth was aware of the importance of atomic weapons testing both for future energy security and for military security (The UK wanted US nukes as per the Quebec Conference, 1943 agreement) . From correspondence

          we can see he was overseeing many investigations and conclusions including:-

          1) Measuring radio-activity collected from rain water on roofs since 1950 (Dolls Hospital study year). This was in his 1956 report.

          2) “work … on … atmospheric radio-activity in relation to lung cancer ” – letter to TMSC

          3) “Even for a ‘heavy’ smoker the contribution of radio-activity from cigarette consumption was negligible in comparison with the amounts breathed from the atmosphere” – letter to TMSC

          4) “Earlier in the year the Council were requested by the Government to submit their considered assement of existing scientific evidence on the relationship between tobacco smoking and cancer of the lung. The council had already at the time decided to publish in their report an article giving a general review of the causative factors in the disease. In the event and on the recomendation of Ministers [unnamed] both the article and the Council’s assessment were published simultaneously and formed the basis of a statement made in the house of commons on June 27th 1957.” [The UK exploded it’s first H Bomb on 15 May and Himsworth had already alerted them to a theoretical risk for LC a year earlier in 1956].

          It is pretty clear that Himsworth would have had a much clearer picture of what was going on than most (including Doll). Himsworth also later attended a conference with a view to setting up the IARC. And there is this from Dolls oral history.

          ” And I [Doll] sent the paper to Himsworth, the
          Secretary of the MRC and asked him if he thought it was worth
          publishing because it was very speculative. And I didn’t get a
          reply for some time, but some weeks later he wrote back and
          said, ‘Look, I think this is so speculative, I wouldn’t publish this
          if I were you, it will only damage your reputation as a scientist.’
          Well, I respected Himsworth, I had asked his advice and he
          said, ‘Don’t publish’. I didn’t publish it. I forgot all about it.
          Forty years later I was rung up by a journalist who said, ‘Do
          you still think that the Bravo Explosion caused two hundred
          cases of leukaemia?’. I think it was in the United States. I can’t
          remember now whether it was in the United States or in
          England. And I said, ‘I never said anything like that.’ He said,
          ‘Oh yes you did, I’ve got it here in front of me.’ And I said,
          ‘Well, where did you get that from?’ Well, of course under the
          30 year rule, he’d got all the papers of the man who had been
          Director of the Atomic Energy Authority.”
          “Anyway, this journalist had got all the papers, which
          Himsworth had sent to [the AEA Director]. And the Atomic
          Energy Authority
          had looked at my papers and they had
          advised Himsworth that it really wasn’t reliable and shouldn’t
          be published. ”

          I think Himsworth was far more concerned with the UKs future national security than the future of the UKs smokers! I could add evidence but I need to get on with stuff!

        • Joe L. says:


          I agree the no comment thread can be “too long” as far as discussion is concerned, it’s just that we’ve reached the maximum amount of nesting allowed on WordPress, and as you said, you have to scroll up a ways to find the last comment you can reply to. This makes it impossible to reply directly to someone, so the comments get hard to follow.

  3. Rose says:

    And also he seems to be one of those people who believe that the active ingredient in tobacco is nicotine, and the active ingredient in coffee is caffeine

    The magic ingredient in tobacco appears to be sublingual niacin and the magic ingredient in coffee seems to be niacin too because brewers yeast (niacin) taken sublingually knocked out the urge for a coffee and a cigarette for at least an hour and half when I was in a place where I couldn’t smoke, though i could drink coffee.

    He can think what he likes, but if he hasn’t researched the chemistry himself, his views are merely repeating hearsay and of no practical use to me.

  4. Timothy Goodacre says:

    I can’t imagine enjoying anything other than a real cigarette ! The aroma of burning tobacco is sensational ! Stuff that up your arse Bloomberg, Arnott and all the other interfering shits trying to stop us enjoying tobacco. Public execution to too good for these control freaks !

    • Rose says:

      After 10 years of intensive study, I may know the chemistry of tobacco, but I still enjoy a cigarettes and a coffee just as much and have no intention of giving up either.
      But I am interested in Heat not Burn so I can go back to staying in hotels, the pub is dead as far as I’m concerned, I only used to go there for a chat.
      The worst thing about staying in hotels is waking up in the morning and having to get dressed whilst half asleep to go outside.

      HnB may not work though because I’m convinced that first thing in the morning my need for inhaled nitric oxide from a real cigarette to wake me up is greater.
      I’ll have to do the experiment myself though because the amount of ideology involved on all sides is so great that I’m not going to get a word of sense from anyone else.

      • Pat Nurse says:

        There are ways to smoke in hotel rooms. I never go outside and won’t when I have paid to stay in a room. I won’t vape either, mostly because it is utter crap.

        • Rose says:

          I just abandoned hotels along with the pubs unless it was absolutely necessary.
          I had a long held dream to go round the country spending weekends in places I had never been when my husband retired. Alas too late, he retired a year after the smoking ban came in.

          You are quite right though, nicotine and pg with some random flavour is not a substitute for a cigarette any more than a tablespoon of flour and some randon flavour would be a substitute for a cake.

      • RdM says:

        I found little to no real satisfaction with vaping, at least the little I’ve tried, and that was with 24mg liquid.
        I disliked the sticky clinging vapour, could hardly bear to inhale it, coughed if I did, settled for rolling it around my mouth.

        IMHO there’s far more in a rolled real tobacco cigarette (or cigar, pipe) than mere nicotine that gives satisfaction, perhaps other alkaloids, those MAOIs etc.
        And I see now there’s quite a lot of development in “whole tobacco alkaloid” e liquids, as a search will show. And naturally extracted real tobacco flavours.
        Which might be more a lot satisfying than purified nicotine alone.

        I seem to recall reading of Hon Lik at some conference saying that he developed the e-cig merely as a way of getting around restrictive smoking bans, not as a way of “giving up” tobacco – maybe someone has the link.

        It’s tobacco control that has tried to medicalise it, take control of it, re-frame it as such..

        My analogy would be comparing a rich cup of real coffee, all the pleasures associated with it, with a cup of hot water (maybe sweetened) and a caffeine pill like No-Doz.

        “There are over 1000 chemicals in a cup of coffee”, “stinky coffee breath”, yada yada.

        Anyway, reading about what’s in an Iqos / Heet stick doesn’t inspire me that much…
        There’s a review there too… and a BAT Glo review

        If they’re just using powdered tobacco in a vegetable glycerine & etc. carrier perhaps the whole tobacco alkaloid e liquids and the natural extracts of real tobaccos might be easier to use and cheaper. I’d be tempted to try those…

  5. Smoking Lamp says:

    In the US tobacco control has largely made vaping and smoking a single enemy. The tobacco control ads on TV attack vaping as if it is just another form of smoking and most municipal smoking bans (including outdoor bans) cover vaping as well as smoking.

    The core of tobacco control’s lies lie with the exaggeration (and potential fabrication) of risk from smoking. I suspect a large measure of their suppressing dissenting research and attacking researchers that have findings that don’t conform with their accepted view is that there are severe flaws in their research. They attack because they are afraid they will be discovered as frauds.

  6. Tony says:

    For the last few months, I’ve been unable to even see if there are any comments on Dick Puddlecote’s or Chris Snowdon’s blog, let alone read them or make any myself. Most of the time, I can only see the latest post rather than the usual list of recent ones.
    Are other people having this problem too?

    • Frank Davis says:

      I have that problem too. But what happens is the blog post appears immediately, but all the rest appears several seconds (30 seconds?) later..

      • Tony says:

        I’ve just tried both from a desktop PC with a fairly good broadband connection.

        On Dick Puddlecote’s blog I got a message at the bottom of the screen saying:
        “Connecting to”
        Then, after 2 minutes: Read platform – at which point the rest of the blog appeared.
        (On other occasions, it’s taken far longer than 2 minutes if ever.)

        On Velvet Glove I got:

        “Transferring data from”
        OK after about 5 minutes.

    • Rose says:

      Yes, I put up a new page for both and go and read something else for a bit until they are fully loaded, it first started happening on Dr.Siegel’s blog then Dick Puddlecote and Chris Snowdon’s, I was wondering if it was just me. They are all on Blogspot, but Dr.Siegel’s is by far the worst.

      • nisakiman says:

        They’ve all been having problems with Blogspot. Chris’s Disqus comments disappeared for several days; Twitter wouldn’t accept their URLs when they wanted to post a link to a blogpost and a couple of other things.

        I don’t have any problems now. DP’s page has always been slow to load – all that stuff in the sidebar, I guess, but never had a problem with VGIF, apart from that spell where he lost Disqus. Dunno about Seigel – I almost never go there.

  7. duncan says:

    ‘Homo rollie’. Me too Frank.
    Good work.

  8. Joe L. says:

    OT: A new study suggests we’re much better off without so-called “experts.” Unfortunately the remainder if this article is behind a paywall. If someone happens to find a link to the full text or the actual study, I’d be interested in reading more.

    Fewer heart attack patients die when top cardiologists are away at conferences, study finds

    Heart attack patients are more likely to survive when top cardiologists are not in the hospital, a new study suggests.

    Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that when heart specialists are away at academic conferences, the survival rate at their hospitals actually improves.

    They believe that specialists who attend the meetings are more prone to using intensive interventions for their patients which may do more harm than good, rather than taking a more holistic approach.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Heart attack patients are more likely to survive when top cardiologists are not in the hospital, a new study suggests.

      Why am I not surprised?

      I’m also reminded that Sir Charles George, who publicly called for a smoking ban in November 2004 (something that first brought to my attention the possibility of such an inconceivable event), was also a heart surgeon. And I always felt about him that I wouldn’t want to be operated on by someone like him. Because to my mind antismokers are deeply flawed people, and such flaws are most likely spill into other areas of their lives. So I thought that quite a lot of Sir Charles George’s patients probably didn’t survive being butchered by him. But I don’t know for sure. Do surgeons have track records of their successes and failures? Would you like to be operated on by Dr X, 90% of whose patients die under his knife, or would you prefer to be dealt with by our top surgeon, Dr Y, only 75% of whose patients never recover from his ministrations?

      • Joe L. says:

        There absolutely should exist “track records” for all surgeons. These records should be made available to the public, and should (anonymously) identify, along with the outcomes, patient details both physical and lifestyle-related (age, height, weight, daily # of alcoholic beverages, daily # of cigarettes smoked etc.).

        It’s a very frightening thought, but an Antismoking surgeon could easily perform sub-standard work on patients who smoked in order to make the survival rate for smokers artificially low.

        Doctors have been caught intentionally killing their patients in the past, so this isn’t far-fetched.

        Any nefarious surgeons like this could be detected and investigated (or at least avoided) if the public was able to review the surgeon’s “track record” and compare/contrast statistics of the same patient groups between surgeons.

        We let these people play God; there needs to be more accountability and transparency.

  9. jaxthefirst says:

    Unfortunately, so many owners of establishments have become so tainted with the anti-smoking poison that they are now choosing to ban vaping whether they have to or not. Dyed-in-the-wool anti-smoking establishment owners dislike vaping because it denies them the kick that they get seeing smokers having to suffer the punishment that’s been lined up for them – to them it’s sort of like “cheating.” Less vitriolic antis dislike vaping because it bears a passing resemblance to smoking and thus might “give the wrong impression.” Even if an establishment did allow vaping, you could bet your bottom dollar that there’d be some anti-smoking customer who would kick up a fuss at the sight of vaping, and no-one needs that sort of hassle in their pub or restaurant, do they? So it’s easier simply to ban it. In my area there’s only one pub which allows vaping, but only if the vaper (a) only takes one or two discreet puffs at a time, rather than “drawing” on their e-cig several times, like a smoker would, and then puts the e-cig back in their bag or pocket; (b) doesn’t use a device which emits a lot of steam; and (c) doesn’t leave the device in full sight out on the table or bar. On one occasion, a vaper took his e-cig out of his pocket to get at his wallet to pay for some drinks and put it on the bar and was quietly asked by the barmaid to put it back before anyone saw it. Given such a set of strict, nannifying rules, it’s not surprising that vapers at that pub will most often go outside to join the smokers. What is surprising, though, is that any vapers still actually go there at all!

  10. Rose says:

    Just for fun, I read this in the Telegraph today.

    Knitting should be prescribed on NHS to lower blood pressure, reduce depression and slow dementia

    “The new review found that knitting lowers heart rate by an average 11 beats per minute and induces ‘an enhanced state of calm’ and even the same state of ‘flow’ experienced by athletes when they are ‘in the zone’ which causes a drop in stress hormones and blood pressure.
    It also helps chronic pain by switching off alarm signals in the brain, because the focus is turned elsewhere. Repetitive movement also boosts calming serotonin which lifts mood and dulls pain.

    A study of over 70s by the Mayo Clinic in the US , found that knitting was associated with decreased odds of experiencing mild-cognitive impairment, which increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
    The process of creating an object also boosts the reward centres of the brain and can help lower depression. And many former smokers have used knitting as a way to control their cravings to reach for cigarettes, by keeping their hands busy with the needles.

    “We found a surprisingly large body of research showing the health benefits of knitting. What is more surprising is how little known the research is,” added Dame Hilary.
    “Knitting is often dismissed or derided as old-fashioned but it should be promoted because of its health-giving qualities.

    “Every GP appointment costs around £45 but we believe knitting could help prevent people needing to visit the doctor so much, and help them feel happier, less isolated, and more healthy.”
    The report also calls for knitting to be taught in schools.”

    What a brilliant way to ruin a perfectly harmless pastime, they simply can’t leave anything alone.
    Through autumn and winter I have been tucked up on the sofa in the warm watching an endless amount of films, kidding myself that I was doing something useful and knitting warm jumpers for every child I know and some of their mothers too.

    Now they tell me it’s healthy and should be taught in schools by law.
    You just can’t win.

    • Joe L. says:

      The way things are going, it’s only a matter of time before our governments provide us with a website containing an official, comprehensive list of every food, activity, fabric, light source, etc. known to man (essentially anything that a human could possibly encounter or interact with in this universe), each with an eye-catching, color-coded indicator of that thing’s “Healthiness Factor” where Green = Extremely Healthy, Red = Extremely Unhealthy and various shades of yellow and orange in between.

      Remember those “terrorism threat level” indicators after 9/11 (whatever happened to them)? Something along those lines.

  11. Pingback: Some Strengths and Weaknesses of Tobacco Control | Frank Davis

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