So Smoking Doesn’t Cause Lung Cancer

Daily Mail::

6,000 Brits who have never smoked die of lung cancer annually, with rates rising

Scientists say non-smokers will overtake smokers among sufferers in a decade

Clearly it’s not just smoking that causes lung cancer, if more and more non-smokers are getting the disease.

There has to be some other cause.

And maybe this unknown other cause will prove to have been what was causing smokers to get lung cancer.

For example, many smokers light their cigarettes and pipes and cigars using matches. Matches have incendiary tips. What if  the carcinogen is in the match tips, and gets inhaled while lighting up? The smokers who used matches to light up would be the ones who got lung cancer, while the rest would not. And because matches have multiple uses (lighting fires, lighting candles, and so on) for non-smokers as well as smokers, some non-smokers would get lung cancer too.

It would take a detailed investigation of people’s habits to reveal such a culprit. And most likely it’s got nothing to do with matches either.

A few words further down the article caught my eye:

 ‘Despite advances in our understanding…’

Their understanding is still advancing? I thought the whole thing was done and dusted. I thought everybody knew that smoking causes lung cancer, and they’ve known it for 70 years and more.

‘The stigma of smoking has been the major factor behind the lack of interest in, knowledge of and research into lung cancer.’

Why do any research into lung cancer if you already think you know what causes it?

Clearly they’re going to have to start all over again with lung cancer research. Who are they going to point the finger at next? Who are they going to bully and browbeat next? In another article, new suspects are suggested.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released by cosmetics, deodorants and cooking fumes might be connected to rise

So next we’re likely to be told to stop cooking and stop wearing cosmetics. A different bunch of people will be demonised.

Will tobacco be exonerated? Will smoking bans be lifted? Will smokers be recalled from exile? Will they be given reparations?

Of course not.

I had an email from my Conservative MP a couple of days ago. I thought it would be about Brexit. But it was about a bird shooting ban. James Delingpole opines:

It’s not hard to see why Packham is so unpopular. He may live in the country but his sensibilities are those of the kind of townie who thinks that milk comes ready-skimmed in bottles from factories. He doesn’t give a damn about rural communities or the traditions that bind them or the relationship country folk have forged with their natural environment over many centuries. That’s why he’s just ridden roughshod over one of their most important freedoms: the ability to shoot avian pests — such as pigeons, rooks, and magpies — on their own land.

Packham’s campaign organisation Wild Justice has successfully ensured that it is now illegal for people to shoot nuisance birds on their own land. It did this by forcing Natural England — the quango partly responsible for policing rural affairs — to rescind the General Licence that farmers, gamekeepers, and such like are required by law to have if they are to shoot birds on their land.

This isn’t on my regular beat, but it is yet another ban. Chris Packham is clearly another arrogant little bully who thinks he knows better than other people what’s good for them.

There are a lot of them around these days.

About Frank Davis

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21 Responses to So Smoking Doesn’t Cause Lung Cancer

  1. Clicky says:

  2. Timothy Goodacre says:

    Chris Packham is despised by the commoners of the New Forest. Been there 5 mins and already telling them how to manage the Forest which they have done for centuries successfully. Nasty bully. He could work for ASH or PHE.

    • Rose says:

      In 2015 he had the brilliant idea of “re wilding” the British countryside with wolves and lynxs to control the deer population.
      Why he thought that hungry wolves would stick to eating the designated deer I have no idea.

      • Timothy Goodacre says:

        He is bonkers Rose !

      • DP says:

        Dear Rose

        I wonder if the wolves and lynxes could be trained only to eat remaindeers.


      • beobrigitte says:

        This idiotic and short-sighted idea has been put into practice in Germany already. First there was a re-population of wild boar. With no natural enemy their numbers increased drastically and road traffic accidents caused by wild boars are no rarity. So the next ?idiot decided to re-populate our forests with wolves, not taking into consideration that the human population has increased dramatically since these animals roamed.
        From what I understand, for both, wild boar and wolves, it’s hunting season virtually all year now as the damage caused by these animals is thought to be (?) extensive.

  3. Twisted Root says:

    Maybe it was his Asperger’s that let him slip to the Radio Times that his preferred species to wipe off the face of the earth was humans.

  4. Smoking Lamp says:

    Lung Cancer in Nonsmokers:

    Lorraine Pelosof, Chul Ahn, Ang Gao, Leora Horn, Alejandra Madrigales, Joan Cox, Dauphne McGavic, John D. Minna, Adi F. Gazdar, Joan Schiller; Proportion of Never-Smoker Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients at Three Diverse Institutions, JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Volume 109, Issue 7, 1 July 2017, djw295,

    Background: Approximately 10% to 15% of lung cancer cases in the United States occur in never smokers, but there has been much debate about whether this rate is increasing. To determine whether the proportion of never smokers among lung cancer cases is increasing, we conducted a retrospective study using registries from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Parkland Hospital, and Vanderbilt University.

    Methods: Registries were queried for demographic information from 1990 to 2013 including sex, age, stage, and self-reported smoking history. Ten thousand five hundred ninety-three non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) case patients and 1510 small cell lung cancer (SCLC) case patients were captured, and logistic regression analysis was performed. All statistical tests were two-sided.

    Results: The proportion of never-smoker NSCLC patients increased from 8.0% in the years 1990 to 1995 to 14.9% in 2011 to 2013 (P < .001). This increase was also observed using multivariable logistic regression after controlling for sex, stage at diagnosis, and race/ethnicity. The percentage of never smokers among SCLC case patients (1.5% in 1990–1995 to 2.5% in 2011–2013, P = .36) or squamous cell NSCLC case patients did not statistically significantly change during this period.

    Conclusions: This study demonstrates an increasing proportion of NSCLC patients who have never smoked in a large, diverse patient population between 1990 and 2013. Given that this increase appears independent of sex, stage, and race/ethnicity and also occurred in our county hospital, this trend is unlikely due to changes in referral patterns and suggests that the actual incidence of lung cancer in never smokers is increasing.

  5. jaxthefirst says:

    I seem to recall hearing a story about never-smokers getting lung cancer in increasing numbers on the radio about a year ago – it might have been in connection with the study which you post here, SL, or it might have been from some research done here in the UK. It made the news then because the fastest rise was in younger, rather than older, never-smokers – the point being that this was precisely the demographic who have grown up around decreasing levels of environmental tobacco smoke, thus rendering the antis’ usual response (“it’s all due to passive smoking”) pretty much null and void. Because even the most brainwashed drone can’t fail to see that if something is decreasing, but an illness supposedly caused by that “something” is increasing, then it’s no longer tenable to suggest that the “something” was the cause in the first place! Even more worryingly for the anti-smoking gang, is that it isn’t that great a leap of intellect for people to consider that, in the light of the increase in the illness then maybe, just maybe, that “something,” instead of causing the disease, was in fact helping to prevent it, and that maybe if that “something” isn’t happening any more, then that’s the reason why the illness is increasing (MMR vaccines and Measles, anyone? Not rocket science, is it?)

    I realise that for most drones (which is most people in society, in my experience these days) it’s just too scary to contemplate that the beliefs that they have held so dear about smoking all their lives might after all turn out to have been based just on exaggeration, negative spin and downright fabrications – in other words, they’ve been duped good and proper. And of course, for many, feeling superior to another group within society is simply too precious a feeling to give up. So there’s a unique mental block there around the smoking issue. But this is highly likely to start shifting when some saintly never-smoker (or several) that they personally know, falls prey to lung cancer (which, from the sound of it, won’t be too long, if the figures continue to go up). Then they might start to have the courage to question whether all that they’ve been told about smoking is hard and fast “fact,” or whether it was – well – not hard and fast fact at all.

    It’s a bit like the clear connection between the decreasing number of people smoking tobacco and the increase in levels of obesity. The figures correlate almost exactly – as smoking rates go down, obesity rates go up. I remember tales about the obesity “epidemic” in the US around 25-30 years ago – and where did the anti-smoking movement first take hold? Oh yes, in the US! And when was that? Oh yes, about 30 years ago! Then it came over here, accompanied by the same increase in obesity, and then it spread to Europe and then ….

    But, of course, the connection between smoking and obesity is easily ignored. After all, obesity isn’t an illness which will kill you as such. Although it may be a risk factor in other diseases, it’ll be that disease that kills you, not the fact per se that you were obese. But lung cancer is a whole different kettle of fish. If lung cancer is now affecting never-smokers and never-smokers start dying from it (because, as a smoking-related illness, it’s received virtually no research funding in comparison to other cancers) then people – even erstwhile brainwashed drones – are going to start asking some very difficult questions of the medical and research community. And the answers to those questions are uncomfortable ones – “We didn’t do much research into lung cancer because we too believed that it was only caused by smoking, so we didn’t bother to question whether it was caused by anything else,” “We didn’t do much research into finding a cure for lung cancer because we thought that only smokers got it and we don’t care about them,” “We didn’t want to find a cure for lung cancer because then people would feel able to go on smoking,” “We didn’t do much research into other causes of lung cancer because we really, really wanted it to only be caused by smoking,” “We thought we knew what caused lung cancer, and we were too arrogant to ever stop to contemplate the uncomfortable reality that we might actually be wrong about something.” None of which answers cast the medical and research community in a very good light, and certainly none of which the families of never-smoking lung cancer victims will find very comforting – notwithstanding the fact that they themselves have, by their silence and unquestioning acceptance of the “facts” about smoking, tacitly contributed to the very lack of research which has now led to the loss of one of their own loved ones.

    Could be a case of some very heavy chickens coming home to roost on the medical profession, the research community, the anti-smoking movement, bullying politicians and the many, many members of the public who have allowed themselves to be taken in without so much as a moment’s hesitation, methinks.

  6. waltc says:

    One kink in the stats: most people old enough to get lung cancer lived at a time when most people smoked and therefore were likely to have, at one time, smoked 100 cigarettes (5 packs) in their life. Therefore, according to the gods, they were smokers and therefore their cancer was caused by smoke. QED.

  7. Joe L. says:

    Slightly O/T: According to Healthists, one of the major carcinogens found in tobacco smoke is formaldehyde. It is claimed the average cigarette produces on the order of 40 micrograms of formaldehyde, most of which winds up being dispersed into the atmosphere, resulting in “secondhand smoke” exposure on the order of picograms, if not femtograms of formaldehyde. However, the same pro-Medical-Industrial-Complex Healthists want to pressure you to vaccinate your children against infectious diseases, ensuring that your infant is exposed to “50-100 micrograms of formaldehyde per injected dose in many vaccines” (source).

    The last thing I want to be is a vaccine fearmonger so I thought I’d quote from this pro-vaccination blog post, which, in turn, quotes from other sources:

    So what’s the most a child might get in a single office visit? That would probably be at their 6 month visit (when they are, on average, 16.5lbs or 7.5kg) with HepB, DTaP, IPV and flu, for a total of 307.5μg. That is about 160 times less than the total amount their body naturally produces every single day. Compare that to the 428.4-1,516.4μg of formaldehyde in a single apple.

    … and …

    The body normally produces and metabolizes (detoxifies and uses) 50,000 mg of endogenous formaldehyde daily. It has been calculates [sic] that an adult human liver will metabolize 22 mg of formaldehyde per minute (or 1,320 mg per hour).

    According to this, the amount of formaldehyde produced by one cigarette (assuming one could impossibly absorb 100% of the byproducts of combustion and no smoke drifted off into the atmosphere), would be metabolized by an adult body in ~2 minutes! Oh, and an apple contains 10 to 38 times more formaldehyde than a cigarette! And the body naturally produces and metabolizes the equivalent of 1,250 cigarettes worth of formaldehyde a day! And medical “experts” claim that it’s A-OK for a 6-month old child to receive vaccinations containing ~7.5 times the total amount of formaldehyde produced by one cigarette!

    After reading all this, I beg any Antismoker to please tell me what’s so dangerous about the purported amount of formaldehyde in cigarettes.

    • Rose says:

      Blame Simon Chapman

      Chapman S

      “Citations are included from patent office registrations of new chemical applications to tobacco processing and from the specialist chemical literature.
      Both these sources are virtually unintelligible, let alone normally accessible to the average person but are rich in potential for anyone willing to translate them into news items with popular interest .

      Polysyllabic chemical names should be checked through a reference book that lists common usages and toxicological data for chemicals .
      Look for usages that will connote revulsion or concern .
      For example, well known chemicals found in tobacco include cadmium (as in car batteries), ammonia (as in toilet cleaners), cyanides, formaldehyde and so on ……” (p.15)

  8. Fredrik Eich says:

    In the study that the article refers to it states that smoking accounts for 86% of lung cancers

    According to CRUK it is 72%

  9. Philip Neal says:

    Many people who grasped Fisher’s (and Burch’s) point that differential rates of lung cancer in smokers and non-smokers need not mean that correlation is causation rejected their ideas for an important reason. Lung cancer rates had been rising since the 1920s and it seemed that there was no other explanation than rising rates of cigarette smoking. Fisher and Burch saw that the increase in lung cancer was partly, if not wholly, an artefact of misdiagnosis but the medical profession naturally did not want to know that it had made a huge mistake.

    That is why the strange lack of correlation between the two as smoking rates go down is hugely important. It might persuade those who understand the mathematics of the pattern and the importance of falsification to reopen the whole question.

    As for Chris Packham, has he heard of the balance of nature? Has he even met a farmer? Surely people must come to realise that the quangocrats as often as not don’t know what they are talking about.

  10. Fredrik Eich says:

    “That is why the strange lack of correlation between the two as smoking rates go down is hugely important.”

    Yes it is hugely important.

    The problem, as I see it, is that the bulk of scientists probably do not know that lung cancer rates are falling in countries where smoking prevalence remains to this day high because no one is publishing this information in the scientific literature.

    I have pointed out that LC rates fall regardless of efforts to reduce smoking prevalence href=””>here.

    If you use the search term “How much lung cancer is caused by smoking” it comes up very high in the results and gets about 10 hits a day. Before the question was closed by hostile moderators it came first in the listing and was getting 1000+ hits a day (It was closed in under three days).

    But I do get the sense that there is a shift from blaming LC on smoking onto air pollution, as this fits
    nicely with the current efforts to eliminate fossil fuels.

  11. Fredrik Eich says:

    “Non-smoking lung cancer accounts for a third of patients undergoing surgery at the Royal Brompton Hospital and worryingly, Mr Lim says, non-smokers may have more difficulty getting diagnosed, meaning their cancer is spotted at a later stage when it’s harder to treat.”

    As never smokers make up 52% of the population and 33% of lung cancer patients (presumably)
    fall into this category, then misdiagnosed lung cancer only needs to account 19% of the difference between smokers and never smokers for there to be no causal relationship (assuming the 33% means never smokers)

  12. Fredrik Eich says:

    “Most non-smoking patients are diagnosed after having scans for something else, such as a CT scan for heart disease.”
    Given that smokers will be sent for CT scans too, then non-smokers must be underdiagnosed.

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