The Deadliest Artifact in Human History

Three different stories vying for my attention this morning. The first one from Hawaii:

“The cigarette is considered the deadliest artifact in human history,” declares HB 1509. The product, it continues, has “killed one hundred million people in the twentieth century and is likely to kill one billion people in the twenty-first century,” giving the tobacco industry roughly the same body count as global communism.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Richard Creagan (D–South Kona/Ka’u), aims to halt this menace by raising the legal age for buying cigarettes to 30 in 2020, rising from there to 60 in 2023 and 100 in 2024. Retailers who sell cigarettes to underage Medicare recipients would be subject to fines of $500 per violation.

Cigars and e-cigarettes would be spared from these age restrictions. The bill would not prohibit those over the age of 21, the state’s current smoking age, from merely possessing cigarettes.

Well, some people may think that the cigarette is “the deadliest artifact in human history.” But I’m not one of them. In fact, I think cigarettes are completely harmless.

“Banning the sales of cigarettes should be viewed as a good faith effort to free smokers from the enslavement of this powerful addiction and not an infringement on individual liberties,” reads the bill. Creagan reiterated his belief that smokers are “enslaved” in an interview with the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

I also don’t think that smokers are “enslaved addicts” either. The belief that they are is part of the bizarre confection of ideas that accompany extreme antismoking zealotry.

My view is the same view that most people had 70 years ago. People might say that I’m 70 years behind the times, but I think that 70 years ago people had more balanced ideas than they do today not just about smoking, but about pretty much everything else as well.

The second story connects to the first. In Hawaii you’ll still be able to vape, because e-cigarettes are generally regarded as far safer than cigarettes. That might change when Rep. Richard Creagan reads this story:

A 24-year-old man was killed in Texas last week when his vape pen exploded — slicing open his carotid artery and leaving his grandmother’s car covered in blood.

William Brown died after his left internal carotid artery was severed due to trauma from the exploding vape pen he just bought from Smoke & Vape DZ in Keller, a town just north of Fort Worth, his distraught grandmother told WFAA.

This is one thing that cigarettes are incapable of doing: exploding and severing the carotid artery.

The third story would seem to be completely unconnected but for one fact that I discovered in one line of one report about it.

Yesterday in Paris, an apartment block at 17, Rue Erlanger in the XVIth arrondissement caught fire. Ten people were killed. Another 50 needed to be rescued by firefighters from roofs and windows. What makes the story unusual is that it seems that it was the work of an arsonist, a 40-year-old woman named Essia B with a history of mental disorder who lived on the 2nd floor of the block.

What happened, it seems (and this is my own summary), was that Essia B was playing music very loudly in her studio flat, and neighbours, including Nicholas L who lived on the same floor, complained to the police. The police eventually arrived at about midnight, talked to Essia B, whom they described as being “calm”, and left without taking any further action. Then it appears that she went and lit a fire against the front door of Nicholas L’s apartment:

“She had to set fire to my house to take revenge,” says the young man in conflict with his neighbor…  “When I met her, she wished me good luck because I loved the flames…”

It starts getting seriously weird at this point, for it seems that Nicholas L was a 22-year-old firefighter, and that was why Essia B had used fire to take revenge on him.

At this point Nicholas L started banging on doors and telling residents to get out quickly, while Essia B left the building, and started trying to set fire to various other things outside, including cars and garbage containers.  Within minutes, unsurprisingly, the entire apartment block was on fire. It then took 250 firefighters about 5 hours to bring the fire under control, because the apartment block was located in a courtyard inaccessible to fire trucks.  Essia B was arrested outside the apartment block, and is now confined in a psychiatric unit.

This is a bizarre story, but one detail of it that jumped out immediately for me, was that when Essia B was seen wandering round outside trying to set things alight, she was using a cigarette lighter:

…the officers put the woman under brief surveillance and detained her after she allegedly tied a scarf around a car’s rear-view mirror and raised a cigarette lighter to it.

And that meant that she was most likely a smoker. Mental patients very often are, it seems. And I began wondering whether the intense conflict she was having with her neighbours might not have just been about her loud music, but also her smoking habit. Might not her new neighbour, the young firefighter have warned her that her smoking posed a fire threat. Was there a smoking ban in the apartment block? Did residents have gas cookers or heaters that needed lighters?

So I started wondering whether there’s another story here, in which Essia B emerges as yet another persecuted smoker, who finally snaps, and sets fire to her persecutors’ apartment block in an orgy of violence, using the only weapon available to her. And who knows, perhaps Essia B’s “madness” was simply that in Emmanuel Macron’s Paris she smoked cigarettes, which we have learned today are “the deadliest artifacts in human history”, and to which she had become “enslaved”.

Will we ever find out?

About Frank Davis

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17 Responses to The Deadliest Artifact in Human History

  1. As you know Frank, I buy cheap cigars online from Holland. It’s not legal to buy cigarettes or tobacco in this way, but it is legal for cigars. We’ve often assumed the reason for this is that the people who make these laws are more likely to smoke cigars, so they exempted themselves from the regulations
    If they are exempting cigars from these new Hawaii regulations, it would seem to corroborate our hypothesis
    Ash and such have always said there is no safe level of cigar, so you’d think they’d be included in these laws, unless the lawmakers had a personal reason for exempting them

  2. Claudia says:

    As far as I know (have read), the vaper hadn’t his carotid artery severed and his grandmother’s car was not covered in blood. The mech mod he was using (a mech mod has no battery safeties unlike other e-cigs which have) blew up, and a piece of it seems to have been deposited in his neck. He died two days later in hospital of a stroke. No one so far knows why the piece of shrapnel in his neck, that probably caused the stroke, was not removed. If his carotid artery would have been severed, he would have died on the spot, so I tend to believe the other version of this sad story.

    • Claudia says:

      Isn’t it a really sad thing also, that nowadays we can know what happened only if we were there? What we read and see is no longer necessarily even remotely close to the “truth” …

      • Roobeedoo2 says:

        This report of the what the Medical Examiner found does say his carotid artery was severed, that medics couldn’t remove the shrapnel (apparently) and that he died of a stroke, after being induced into a coma. It also says the explosion was sufficiently forceful to melt plastic in his car:

        Batteries can sometimes explode. In phones and all kinds of gadgetry, not just vaping instruments.

  3. Timothy Goodacre says:

    I do hope that cigarette smokers fight this stupid proposed legislation and throw this bigot out.

  4. smokingscot says:

    Well there’s one politician who is not afraid to tell the healthists to bugger off!

    Polakis, who is also a surgeon, said he was dealing with more pressing issues at the ministry than smoking. “Learn before you speak,” Polakis wrote on his Facebook account in a post addressed to Andriukaitis.

    “I’ll decide when to stop smoking, on my terms,” Polakis said.

    We need more like him.

    • Joe L. says:

      Yes, we do need more people like Mr. Polakis!

      Also from the article you linked,

      The EU official, who was questioned by a daily newspaper frequently critical of the outspoken minister, also complained the health ministry smelt of cigarettes and that nobody wore ties.

      It really exemplifies the pettiness of these self-righteous whiners. Cigarette smoking is a complaint on par with that of not wearing a necktie. Oh, the horror!

      • smokingscot says:

        It also shows the EU official is a complete pillock. Insensitive and doesn’t do his homework – nor it seems does his aides.

        All members of Syriza swore to go open neck until Greece has exited their bailout.

  5. From page 183 of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”:

    The pressure to hide smoking can be intense: some schools now treat possession of tobacco products as being exactly the same level of offense as carrying a deadly weapon! An infraction that used to merit a half hour detention for actually using tobacco products can now result in the outright expulsion and total ruination of an entire educational career for the mere possession of such (Alisha Hipwell. “New State Law….” Pittsburgh Post Gazette 04/04/01).
    A particularly sad incident in this vein occurred recently not among teens, but among older folks. In 2000 there was a fire at a Philadelphia senior citizens center in which two residents died. From the content of news stories later it seemed that a quickly and improperly disposed of cigarette seems to have started the fire. Of the dozens of stories aired and printed concerning this fire, I saw only one that mentioned that a smoking ban had been put in place before the fire.
    While specific details were not released, it seemed likely that the delay in calling for aid during the early and controllable period of the fire may have been due to the fear of the seniors involved that they would be thrown out alone into the street for violating the no-smoking rule. When you’re 80 years old and without other resources such delay and confusion even in a burgeoning emergency would be almost unavoidable.

    The downsides of these sorts of antismoking laws are NEVER mentioned by the Antismokers of course, and since they have access to the hundreds of millions of dollars or pounds or whatever that allow control of the media, it’s their stories that unfortunately get heard the loudest.

    – MJM

  6. waltc says:

    In fact, let’s hope the arsonist was not a smoker. It just adds to the “smokers are crazy” meme and leads to more apartment bldg bans too. ..

    .I heard a discussion today about identity politics and how most of the identities are formed around notions of victimhood–a status that inspires both public and legislative sympathy and endows those who suffer it with both righteousness and power. Which made me start to think. Nonsmokers have cast themselves (and been so cast by decades of propaganda) as the victims of smokers, thereby, in a circle, gaining both public and legislative sympathy–rather than the truth that it’s the other way around. After all, who’s the actual victim: someone living three doors down from an octogenarian who smokes or the evicted octogenarian?

  7. Joe L. says:

    The cigarette is considered the deadliest artifact in human history

    This type of ridiculous hyperbole may have become commonplace in Antismoking propaganda, but the prospect of having it written into law is beyond comprehension.

    Also, it appears that neither Rep. Creagan nor any of his contemporaries recognized the absurd irony of having a law stating “The cigarette is considered the deadliest artifact in human history” on the official record in a state which is part of the country which developed and deployed nuclear weapons.

  8. Lepercolonist says:

    This Hawaii proposal does not ban the selling cigarettes only the legal age requirement is raised.
    What store would carry cigarettes in inventory if you must be 100 years old ? Is this a joke ? These progressive lunatics need to be reeled in.

    • Joe L. says:

      What store would carry cigarettes in inventory if you must be 100 years old ? Is this a joke ?

      Unfortunately it’s not a joke. It’s a poorly-disguised proposal for prohibition that was designed so as not to mention the dreaded P-word, because most Americans are at least somewhat aware of how well that word has played out in the past.

      These progressive lunatics need to be reeled in.

      It can’t happen soon enough.

  9. Rose says:

    “The cigarette is considered the deadliest artifact in human history,”

    “the most lethal instrument devised by man for peaceful use”

    “Godber is probably best remembered for his public health campaigns in the 1960s against promiscuity and the cigarette, which he once described as “the most lethal instrument devised by man for peaceful use”

    And they’ve followed George Godber, British Chief Medical Officer, like a long line of little ducklings ever since.

  10. petesquiz says:

    “The cigarette is considered the deadliest artifact in human history,”

    “the most lethal instrument devised by man for peaceful use”

    Hmmm…I wonder where the motor car rates in their list of deadly artefacts considering that over 1 million people per year die on the roads worldwide. (And I also wonder how many ‘smoking related’ diseases could equally be attributed as ‘motoring related’ diseases from the toxic fumes put out by most cars/lorries etc?)

    • Rose says:

      “Delegates attending an international conference in London today to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Great London Smog of 1952, which caused an estimated 12,000 deaths,

      will hear how governments from the late 50s onwards deliberately downplayed the huge threat to public health caused by air pollution, and sought to shift the blame firmly onto cigarette smoking instead.”

      “In 1953, Dr Guy Scadding, speaking on the television programme Matters of Medicine, had expressed a belief that air pollution was as much a factor in whether someone developed lung cancer as smoking, citing the significantly higher number of deaths from the disease among those living in polluted cities, as opposed to the countryside, and assuming that rates of smoking were likely to be similar in both populations.”

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