Pollution

Gary K first drew attention to this:

THE air pollution that city dwellers are exposed to is as bad for the health as smoking a packet of cigarettes a day, a shock report warns.

Maybe city air pollution is not so bad after all?

Following this Walt drew attention to a related report:

“Rates of chronic lung disease in this country are going up and increasingly it is recognized that this disease occurs in nonsmokers,” said Kaufman, also a professor of internal medicine and a physician at UW School of Medicine. “We really need to understand what’s causing chronic lung disease, and it appears that air pollution exposures that are common and hard to avoid might be a major contributor.”

If “we really need to understand what’s causing chronic lung disease”, it can only mean that we currently don’t understand what’s causing chronic lung disease.

And if it “appears” that air pollution exposures that are common and hard to avoid “might” be a major contributor, it can only mean that they’re really just guessing it might be.

And what’s “air pollution”? Personally I don’t think tobacco smoke is “air pollution”. I’ve always liked the smell of tobacco smoke. And I’ve been smoking unfiltered roll-ups for 50 years without ill effect. And I’ve made it to the age of 71 years. What more could I ask for?

If tobacco smoke is “air pollution”, then is the smoke from a campfire or a barbecue also “air pollution”? Are perfumes and fragrances “air pollution”? Is the smell of frying bacon or baking bread also “air pollution”? Is any odour at all “air pollution”? Is the sea spray in the air on beaches “air pollution”? Is the sand blowing in the air along those beaches “air pollution”? Is the smell of gasoline at gas stations “air pollution”? Are nitrogen and carbon dioxide different forms of “air pollution” in the atmosphere? Are the oceans “polluted” with sodium chloride?

Is music a form of “air pollution”? Is loud or obscene conversation a form of “air pollution”? Is any sort of conversation “air pollution”?

And doesn’t calling something “pollution” really just mean that it’s something you personally don’t like. “I would have enjoyed my coffee a lot more if it hadn’t been polluted with milk.”

“Pollution” is a loaded word. To say that something is “polluted” is to say that it has been debauched or corrupted or poisoned. Why not just say “mixed” or “blended”? Coffee comes mixed with milk and sugar, not “polluted” with milk and sugar.

A lot of people seem to look at the world around them and see it as a poisoned world. But I think that that says more about them than it does about the world. For the “poison” they see is more in their imagination than it is in the world. If you can’t stand smoky bars filled with the babble of conversation and the tinkle of music playing on the juke box and the snatch of scent and the clink of glasses, that says much more about you than it does about those places. It says you’re some sort of killjoy. Or some sort of snowflake. Or something even worse.

Anyway, Professor Kaufman of UW School of Medicine is really just telling everyone that he hasn’t a clue what causes chronic lung disease. And that’s actually what I thought all along. I think that most of these self-styled experts haven’t really got a clue about anything that they’re supposed to possess expertise about. It’s not just medicine. It’s everything else too. It would be really refreshing if a few of these people would say something like: “Well, I’ve been studying this stuff all my life, but to be quite honest, I have no more of a clue today about it then I did when I started.” But no, they never say that. Or they hardly ever say that. Instead they usually pretend to know something. And as soon as anyone pretends to know something, somebody will believe them. Because we all wish that somebody somewhere knew something about it. We want to believe that, even if we ourselves don’t understand what’s going on, somebody else does. It’s too awful to contemplate the possibility that nobody knows.

About Frank Davis

smoker
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8 Responses to Pollution

  1. Timothy Goodacre says:

    Diesel fumes not smoking !

  2. garyk30 says:

    29 years of puffing on 20 cigarettes daily was found to do no more damage than just a decade of city living…

    Or,’10 years of city air breathing is more harmful than 25 years of pack a day smoking’.

    ‘One year of breathing city air is more harmful than 2.5 years of pack a day smoking’.

    Or,’one year of breathing city air is more harmful than smoking 18,263 cigarettes’.

    SHS exposure is said to equal smoking 6 cigs per year and 2.5 years would be the same as 9 cigs.

    One year of breathing city air would be the same as 2029 years of SHS exposure.

    So, you would have to be exposed to SHS for 2029 years to equal the pollution/lack of healthy ness of one year of breathing city air.

    Obviously, bans to limit the exposure to SHS are a bunch of crap.

  3. waltc says:

    FYI’s. These are the 13 graphic warnings the FDA proposes to slap on American packs–and, in fact, by law must. 4-color. 50% of both front and back:

    1. smoke (ets) causes childhood asthma. (child in hospital with inhaler)
    2. smoke (ets) causes fatal lung disease ( gloved hands hold lungs with “cancerous lesions.”)
    3. smoking causes head and neck cancer ( woman with huge tumor on her neck)
    4. smoking causes bladder cancer ( a test tube of bloody urine)
    5. smoking stunts fetal growth (scrawny newborn on scale, weighing 4 pounds)*
    6. smoking causes heart disease and stroke ( man in hospital with long stitched incision on his chest)
    7. smoking causes COPD ( gloved hands hold “darkened lungs”)
    8. smoking causes COPD ( man hooked up to oxygen tank)
    9. Smoking causes impotence ( anguished man sits on edge of bed, head in hands, while unhappy woman is visible behind him)
    10. Smoking reduces blood flow to limbs which may require amputation (foot with missing toes)
    11. Smoking causes type 2 diabetes ( meter showing high blood sugar)
    12. Smoking causes age related macular degeneration which can lead to blindness (man getting a needle injected into his eye)
    13. Smoking causes cataracts (close up of cloudy eye)

    Have a nice day.

    • Joe L. says:

      Wait … did I miss some news? Are we going to have “pathology porn” defacing our cigarette packs in the U.S. soon? Ugh. If so, I’m actually quite surprised it took Tobacco Control this long. Do you have a link to a source, Walt?

      12. Smoking causes age related macular degeneration which can lead to blindness

      How on Earth could smoking cause “age-related macular degeneration”?? Seems like whoever wrote this forgot to replace “age” with “smoking”. Whoops!

      • waltc says:

        Over at the clash site Audrey gives the link to the full 175 page FDA document (sorry, don’t have it offhand). IIRC, the photo list starts at about p 71 where they also site how they determined the validity of each of their claims. There is, btw, a load of counter-evidence on almost all of these things.

    • Smoking Lamp says:

      The actual scientific literature of the effects of second hand smoke presents a somewhat different picture than the heath advocacy and antismoking propaganda used to impose smoking bans.

      On Asthma: “The evidence is suggestive but not sufficient to infer a causal relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and adult-onset asthma.” and “The evidence is suggestive but not sufficient to infer a causal relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and a worsening of asthma control.”

      On COPD: “The evidence is suggestive but not sufficient to infer a causal relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.” and “The evidence is inadequate to infer the presence or absence of a causal relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and morbidity in persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”

      From: The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Office on Smoking and Health (US). Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US); 2006.

  4. Sackerson says:

    I’ve always liked the smell of pipe and cigar smoke, but not cigarettes.

    Why do we have to be in an all-or-nothing age? In other areas (e.g. education) we are required to make “reasonable adjustments.” What was wrong with smoking rooms and “snugs”?

    Btw particulate pollution from city incinerators may be worse than the diesel which the Government first wanted us to use and then suddenly very much didn’t. Is there an issue of competence here?

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