Protected Smokers

From Brigitte:

ASH Daily News for 14 February 2020

UK Smokers at increased risk of coronavirus complications, leading experts warn

I have a different take on it: How To Prevent Coronavirus? Start Smoking. It was based on a recent Chinese study showing that smokers were much less likely than non-smokers to contract coronavirus, and when they did they generally had milder symptoms.

I wonder if ASH’s warning went viral? Because my piece went a bit viral in Spain a few days ago, and then in Turkey yesterday, with about 1000 hits from each.

In fact there may be a very simple reason why smokers are less likely to catch any virus, and it is that smokers have already been effectively quarantined by being made to stand outside. The result is that the indoor non-smokers are far more likely to catch viruses from each other as they breathe shared indoor air than outdoor smokers breathing fresh air.

And here’s a case where smoking bans protect smokers from non-smokers, rather than protect non-smokers from smokers.

The protection is even greater in those hospitals where smokers are excluded not just from inside the hospitals, but even from the hospital grounds. And since hospitals are the places most likely to have high populations of coronavirus patients, the smokers outside the hospital gates are the best protected of all.

The protection may also be further enhanced if smokers actively stay away from all crowded indoor places from which they have been excluded – such as theatres, cinemas, galleries, museums, hotels, stations, and the like.

And the protection will be enhanced even further if smokers keep the company of other smokers rather than that of non-smokers.

The net result is that highly socially isolated smokers will be the people most highly protected from any infectious diseases circulating in the non-smoking population

Seen this way, smoking bans might even be counted as more of a blessing for smokers than for non-smokers.

In addition, if tobacco smoke fumigates indoor environments in the same way as Bactericidal Wood Smoke, then the smoky environments of the past were actually far healthier than the modern “smoke-free” ones. In fact, one might expect infectious diseases of all kinds to multiply far more easily in “smoke-free” environments than smoky ones.

It’s not clear whether wood smoke has virucidal as well as bactericidal and fungicidal properties. But given that tobacco smoke is made up of thousands of chemical compounds, it seems plausible to suppose that some of these will have virusidal properties like, for example, bleach. But it seems that many viruses are also de-activated by high air temperatures, and given that wood smoke will always be the product of combustion, smoke-filled air will generally have a higher temperature than ambient air, and this will act to reduce viral infectivity. So in addition to being protected by social exclusion, smokers may also be additionally protected by the cloud of smoke surrounding them.

Whether or not tobacco smoke is virusidal, any Hot Smoke passing through the hot (700° C.) coal of a cigarette will have all its bacterial and fungal and viral burden incinerated, so smokers will generally be inhaling cleaner air than non-smokers

From a study of the SARS Coronavirus:

The Effects of Temperature and Relative Humidity on the Viability of the SARS Coronavirus

The main route of transmission of SARS CoV infection is presumed to be respiratory droplets. However the virus is also detectable in other body fluids and excreta. The stability of the virus at different temperatures and relative humidity on smooth surfaces were studied. The dried virus on smooth surfaces retained its viability for over 5 days at temperatures of 22–25°C and relative humidity of 40–50%, that is, typical air-conditioned environments. However, virus viability was rapidly lost (>3 log10) at higher temperatures and higher relative humidity (e.g., 38°C, and relative humidity of >95%). The better stability of SARS coronavirus at low temperature and low humidity environment may facilitate its transmission in community in subtropical area (such as Hong Kong) during the spring and in air-conditioned environments. It may also explain why some Asian countries in tropical area (such as Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand) with high temperature and high relative humidity environment did not have major community outbreaks of SARS.


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22 Responses to Protected Smokers

  1. RdM says:

    40 days and 40 nights …

    Well we’ve been enjoying hot summer days in Auckland for over a month, although some folk up north are experiencing drought and water shortages…

    First significant rain (> 1mm) in 47 days, a couple of days ago.

    (Although there is some slight dispute:-)–metservice

    (Warning – one of those sites that starts playing video without you asking – prepare to pause!)

    And so far, we have no declared cases of The Virus TM …
    Although we have quarantined recent travelers for two weeks, and restricted new ones.


    Who knows?

    But I am watching my hygiene around grabbing (or not) handrails on public transport, using a supermarket basket (hold it in an unusual way) doorknobs, stair rails, wash my hands on return.

    All one can do, really. And sensible anyway.

  2. Rose says:

    I am reminded of the aftermath of the swine flu panic, no wonder the WHO was quiet on coronavirus at first, they probably didn’t want a repeat of headlines like this.

    The pandemic that never was: Drug firms ‘encouraged world health body to exaggerate swine flu threat’

    “Declaring a swine flu pandemic was a ‘monumental error’, driven by profit-hungry drug companies spreading fear, an influential report has concluded.
    It led to huge amounts of taxpayers’ money being wasted in stockpiling vaccines, it added.

    Paul Flynn, the Labour MP charged with investigating the handling of the swine flu outbreak for the Council of Europe, described it as ‘a pandemic that never really was’.
    The report accuses the World Health Organisation of grave shortcomings in the transparency of the process that led to its warning last year.

    The MP said that the world relied on the WHO, but after ‘crying wolf’, its reputation was in jeopardy.
    The report questions whether the pandemic was driven by drug companies seeking a profit. Mr Flynn said predictions of a ‘plague’ that would wipe out up to 7.5million people proved to be ‘an exaggeration’, with fewer than 20,000 deaths worldwide.

    Britain braced itself for up to 65,000 deaths and signed vaccine contracts worth £540million.
    The actual number of deaths was fewer than 500 and the country is now desperately trying to unpick the contracts and unload millions of unused jabs.

    The focus on swine flu also led to other health services suffering and widespread public fear.
    Pharmaceutical companies, however, profited to the tune of £4.6billion from the sale of vaccines alone.”

    • beobrigitte says:

      The pandemic that never was: Drug firms ‘encouraged world health body to exaggerate swine flu threat’

      Rose, brilliant. I sure remember this one.

      Nevertheless, you are far too gentle on the WHO this time. The speed with which this one progressed was very different. We now have Italy (fully informed, so not totally out of the blue) as a European example.
      We pay the WHO to employ people who do recognise when what is serious.
      My take on this? Easy. This natural mutation sacrificed on deadliness. (unless there is the ADE twist, so second infections ARE really bad. That will also virtually cull vaccines). The next one will not. This is NORMAL! I’m not fuzzed.

      Interfering in people’s life style is a cushy number for the WHO. And the WHO gets even more money by scaremongering as it is a win-win for them and a lose-lose for us. Taking the tobacco industry funding out in the 1990s guaranteed the anti-smoking industry win-win all the time.
      Dmitry asked for literature recently – I sure did search. I do recall searching back in 2010 for independent research on the subject of smoking. It’s all gone.Along with the Third Reich’s anti-smoking propaganda.
      Instead we have pages and pages of anti-smoking propaganda and an anti-smoking industry (ASH has been extremely busy this month, visit their web site) hell bent on destroying smoking, smokers and anything that resembles smoking, thus have no moral compass when abusing this situation. Was this supposed to be their coup d’ etat? Paying a youngster (first ever publication!) to come up with an easily debunked “paper” that states smokers are the most susceptible to get and succumb to coronavirus? REALLY???

      At the very end of this all I will forward to Frank what I am writing down and have been since this begun in a pretty messy “lab book”. You will all see where my projections were right and where they were plain wrong. And who had been lying from what date on will by then be matched up – or not. I want the truth. Nothing less.

      (Sorry, Frank I will stick to the previous post from now)

      • Rose says:

        I do recall searching back in 2010 for independent research on the subject of smoking. It’s all gone

        It was a lot easier in 2007 when I started looking and search engines even quoted unexpected bits from vitamin research out of the tobacco documents from various collections, now you have to already know what you are looking for and search in Industry documents.

        They put them o line after the Master Settlement Agreement so the public could read the wicked lies of the tobacco industry for themselves, so at first I ignored them when they popped up.

        I found all sorts of interesting things , for example –

        Nicotinic Acid Utilisation of Tobacco Waste – 1960
        (niacin as we know it now)

        page 2
        “Nicotinic acid was first made by the oxidation of nicotine and Whiffens operate a commercial process in this country starting with tobacco.
        Later they were supplied with nicotine by the British Nicotine Company and continued the oxidation.
        Finally – before the Second World War – they found they were unable to compete with manufacturers starting from quinoline and picoline although it could be made directly from tobacco waste, from pyridine, some other coal tar bases, nicotine, anabasine, nor-nicotine or mixed tobacco alkaloids.
        The U.S. Department of Agriculture sponsored work aimed to make nicotine compete, as early as 1942, but although a new catalytic oxidation process was developed quinoline was still the cheapest source of nicotinic acid.
        Comparative costs were published in 1951 by Coal Tar Products of Philadelphia”

        Page 6
        Other Materials from Tobacco Waste

        The beginnings of research into the possible uses of Solanesol and familiar beauty and health products on sale today.

        “As a guess for example, if ubiquinone became important, the market price would quickly drop to a few shillings per gram. Nevertheless, this aspect is worth watching and the political impact of the tobacco industry making a contribution to medicine might be considered important.”

        They were already under the cosh in the 6o’s and after Doll’s study, they were so spooked I considered all their later research dubious.

        Solanesol: a review of its resources, derivatives, bioactivities, medicinal applications, and biosynthesis

        “Solanesol, which mainly accumulates in solanaceous crops, including tobacco, tomato, potato, eggplant, and pepper plants, is a long-chain polyisoprenoid alcohol compound with nine isoprene units. Chemical synthesis of solanesol is difficult; therefore, solanesol is primarily extracted from solanaceous crops, particularly tobacco leaves. In plants, solanesol exists in both free and esterified forms, and its accumulation is influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Solanesol is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry as an intermediate for the synthesis of ubiquinone drugs, such as coenzyme Q10 and vitamin K2. Solanesol possesses antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-ulcer activities, and solanesol derivatives also have anti-oxidant and antitumour activities, in addition to other bioactivities. Solanesol derivatives can also be used for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and wound healing.”

  3. Rose says:

    One for Brigitte

    Antiviral Activity of Tobacco Smoke Condensate on Encephalomyocarditis Infection in Mice

    “A water-soluble nontumorigenic acidic fraction of tobacco smoke condensate of cigarettes has been found to have antiviral activity against encephalomyocarditis (EMC) virus infection in mice. The portion of lower molecular weight was inhibitory to the growth of EMC virus, vesicular stomatitis virus, reovirus type 2, vaccinia virus, and poliovirus type 2, but not against adenovirus type 12, in KB cell cultures. The cigarette smoke agent did not induce serum interferon although it protected mice from EMC disease by pretreatment.”

    • beobrigitte says:

      Rose, this one is priceless right now!!! Thank you so much!!!!

    • simplex says:

      Loving it. The autists* & trolls are gonna freak.

      *said in a good way

      • beobrigitte says:

        Simplex (btw, I like your apt name) you need to learn to speak your mind clearly as otherwise, as you might have noticed, no-one will take notice.

        *said in an amused way

    • beobrigitte says:

      Rose, how many more article links do you have in your priceless archive? Chronologically if you can.
      Encephalomyocarditis has also been observed in SARS CoV-2 (beta version) infected patients.

      Thank you so much, again, for providing the “back-to-basics” link!!!!

      • Rose says:

        Brigitte, apart from Rose’s Garden that Frank saved and posted in the sidebar there is no archive.The rest is written down as I find it on Frank’s blog.
        People talk on this blog and the things they say raise questions or trigger memories in my head.

  4. beobrigitte says:

    Sorry, Frank, I just cannot hold myself back…
    I wonder if ASH’s warning went viral?
    Do you mean all 32 1/2 subscribers tweeted it endlessly????

    • simplex says:

      There is this place… I’ve been reluctant to post direct links, cause it might send a horde of trolls this way. Some of them (not all are trolls) might have been clever enough to do a reverse image search on the table (your table) I posted though, and spread the word.

      As for Spain – some speculate it is where the virus will hit next. Turkey? Don’t know – maybe because of the recent spread in a handful of islamic countries?

  5. jaxthefirst says:

    ASH’s swift “declaration” about this is suspect indeed. I’ve noticed that whenever there’s any slight hint of a possibility that smoking might be protective against anything (Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, Motor Neurone Disease, ulcerative colitis, ectopic pregnancies and gout all spring to mind, but there are plenty of cancers which, suspiciously, smokers never seem to get), the antis seem to jump in instantly with some conveniently-handy stats to “prove” that smoking isn’t protective at all and that (natch) it’s actually a risk factor, or makes it worse, or stops the meds from working. Or something. It’s almost like they are desperate to get “their side of the story in” before anyone notices the news about the protective effect of tobacco smoke. So, taking that as the example, their swift leap onto the Coronavirus bandwagon (bearing in mind that the disease has only been known abut for a couple of months or so) would seem to indicate that, yes, there really is something in the fact that so few smokers seem to be getting it ….

  6. beobrigitte says:

    God love the BBC – someone has to!!!

    Finally they have cottoned on that people go to northern Italy for the carnival …. All of a sudden coronavirus is something to talk about. London is a town of 8.9 million people and a lot of people travel through it as well.
    “Experts” are queuing up to add their perls of wisdom.

    There was advice given to people coming back from northern Italy to self isolate:
    “Stay in and try to avoid meeting other people”
    *facepalm, facepalm, facepalm*
    If you follow that advice it will be an epic failure. (Basically, do NOT open your front door and stay inside, get your shopping to be dropped off by your front door and bring it in AFTER the person delivering it has left. Etc.etc)

    Have a bus to catch now, Tuesday is walking day.

  7. beobrigitte says:

    A Liverpool school just announced that it will be “suspending” the children coming back from a skiing trip in northern Italy. They were nowhere near the “epicenter” but the school is just cautious.
    *Respect*. The first sensible action I have observed.

    You know, Brits can lay into Brits and Germans can REALLY lay into Germans.

    Putting my teutonic hat on now:
    After observing Germany’s idiotic action “oh, well, go home and self-isolate” on Sunday I estimated to see new cases in Germany by the end of the week.
    2 days later…..
    21.59 Uhr: Erste Infektion auch in Nordrhein-Westfalen
    Nach Baden-Württemberg ist erstmals auch ein Patient in Nordrhein-Westfalen nachweislich an dem neuartigen Coronavirus erkrankt. Die Person aus Erkelenz solle nun in die Uniklinik Düsseldorf gebracht werden, bestätigte ein Sprecher der Düsseldorfer Feuerwehr der Deutschen Presse-Agentur am Dienstagabend. Wo sich der Patient angesteckt haben könnte, war zunächst unbekannt. Zuvor hatte die “Rheinische Post” darüber berichtet.

    20.55 Uhr: Baden-Württemberg meldet erste Infektion
    In Baden-Württemberg gibt es einen ersten Coronavirus-Fall. Wie das baden-württembergische Sozialministerium mitteilt, handelt es sich um einen 25-jährigen Mann aus dem Landkreis Göppingen, der sich vermutlich während einer Italienreise in Mailand angesteckt hat

    [9:59 p.m .: First infection also in North Rhine-Westphalia
    After Baden-Württemberg, for the first time, a patient in North Rhine-Westphalia has also been shown to suffer from the novel corona virus. A spokesman for the Düsseldorf Fire Service of the German Press Agency confirmed on Tuesday evening that the person from Erkelenz should now be brought to the University Hospital Düsseldorf. Where the patient might have been infected was initially unknown. The “Rheinische Post” had previously reported on this.

    20.55: Baden-Württemberg reports the first infection
    There is a first coronavirus case in Baden-Württemberg. As the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Social Affairs reports, it is a 25-year-old man from the district of Göppingen, who was probably infected during a trip to Italy in Milan]

    Dipstickiqthesameasphysicalagewinnersnumbscullcompetitiorsärschemitohrendämlichergibts garnichtehrlich??…
    Oh, did I just suffered from a temporary blackout? I do apologize.

  8. beobrigitte says:

    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
    I discussed reinforcement of #PatientSafety at all levels of the #COVID19 response with
    , Chairman of 🇬🇧’s Health & Social Care Select Committee and Member of the Parliament. We will work together to mobilize attention and resources for patient safety worldwide.

  9. beobrigitte says:

    Firstly, I do apologize for letting my frustration run last night.

    The BBC is running advice this morning (just interviewed a smiley WHO official in Geneva who was sooooo happy to be interviewed, then ladling out outdated, useless information).
    Apply common sense if you watch it.

    Please be gentle with the Japanese; The Diamond Princess passengers had to stay on board for a simple reason:
    This, without any sudden epidemic dropping in:
    is the norm everywhere. If you add to this a sudden influx of a group of infectious people you know what is going to happen.
    There is a rumour going round that the NHS will be outsourced to the US. Does anyone know more about this? I think this is just a rumour.

    It is nice to see a lot of angry replies to Tedros WHO twitters. I do hope these increase exponentially.

    The young man is back from his travels.

    He is far too gentle on the WHO. By now I demand for this money drain to be dismantled and it’s income vs outgoings to be made public – 70 years retrospectively, of course.

  10. deltatrade24 says:

    i really believe in the medicinal properties of tobacco. both physical and mental. it was used as a remedy in the old ages. it was considered as a panaceea for everything. i don’t know why the natural health community sides with fda on tobacco. very weird. it might not be 100% safe. you might have problems for over indulging but i’ve seen the benefits on myself and my illnesses in the past. tobacco helped a lot.

  11. Wonderfully presented Frank! :) I noted this piece over on Quora earlier, so you may get some visitors from there!

    Note: if anyone here ever visits Quora themselves, note two things: (1) they’re big on you telling them “real names” with a full first and last name when signing on to write; and (2) unlike the wild ‘n wooly real world out here, Quora might remind you of Sunday School: any naughtiness in terms of being “not nice” or “not polite” in talking to people will get you a “Time Out” and eventually expelled if you continue.

    On the plus side of Quora: they’re not real big on rhetoric… if you can talk science ‘n stuff with references you’ve got a real leg up with the audience and the moderators.


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