Over To Hockney

Mail online:

Acclaimed as our greatest living artist, David Hockney is keen to share his opinions on the worldwide health crisis.

The 82-year-old painter is convinced that smoking helps protect against coronavirus. And he’s written a letter to the Daily Mail to argue his case.

Hockney suggests ‘smokers have developed an immune system to this virus’.

He points to research in China that appeared to show there were fewer smokers being treated with Covid-19 in hospitals than their numbers among the general population would suggest.

Writing from his home in Normandy, France, he says: ‘With all these figures coming out, it’s beginning to look like that to me.’

He adds: ‘I’m serious.’ His claims contradict the medical establishment, which has asserted that smokers find it harder to recover from the virus.

Just last month, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘It is abundantly clear from the research into previous coronaviruses that smoking makes the impact of a coronavirus worse.’ This echoed the advice of Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, who advised: ‘If you are going to give up smoking, this is a very good moment to do it.’

However, Hockney has never been one to accept the consensus when it comes to smoking and said the Americans’ censorious attitude to cigarettes was one of the reasons why he moved to France last year.

‘I’ve smoked for more than 60 years, but I think I’m quite healthy,’ he said. ‘How much longer do I have? I’m going to die of either a smoking-related illness or a non-smoking-related illness.’

He took up the habit as an art student in Bradford. His father Kenneth was a militant anti-smoker. Hockney’s contrariness could be seen as part of his anti-authoritarian streak.


About Frank Davis

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29 Responses to Over To Hockney

  1. smokingscot says:

    As you said yesterday, it’s gaining traction. I do not advocate anyone start smoking just to protect themselves, however I’d certainly warn anyone thinking of quitting to put that off until this hysteria has gone.

    And looking at photos of the man, I’d be mighty chuffed to look that good – and still have the passion to risk ridicule to tell it like it is. Photo shows him aged 81.


  2. Emily says:

    Hockney is the best. He isn’t afraid to speak his mind at all. Great artist too :)

  3. slugbop007 says:

    A trifle off topic but I was shocked to discover today that the Quebec government has declared all tobacco shops a non-essential service. That’s bullshit! How presumptuous of them to pretend that they know the needs of every single citizen of their province. This shows clearly that the true face of this lockdown is no longer to protect us but to enforce more social engineering measures on us. In my social housing building we are forbidden to see our neighbors, have visitors from loved ones. Everything is forbidden, nothing is permitted! I think it used to be the other way around. Civil Rights can be taken away at the stroke of a pen, with little or no public debate.from our All Seeing All Knowing governments and their ministers. The State is Supreme and they know what is right for their flock. The State, aided and abetted by Public Health fanatics everywhere has become the New Universal Religion. We better stop this movement pretty soon or we will never regain any semblance of human freedom.


    • There is an aspect of this that we should respond strongly with: By making this Declaration the Quebec Government has made it official that smoking tobacco is NOT as “addictive” as drinking alcohol! It has deemed continued supplies of alcohol to alcohol addicts as essential, while saying that continued supplies of tobacco to those FORMERLY considered to be addicts, i.e. smokers, is not essential!

      We should tout that aspect of its decision as being loud and clear whenever complaining about its substance!

      – MJM,

  4. slugbop007 says:

    I just read the Manifesto fo Vaping Post. What a smug bunch! They, too, think that they are as orally superior to tobacco consumers as the zealots of Tobacco Control. So I sent them this message:

    My, my, what a smug bunch of coconuts. If you think that your CAUSE is foolproof, think again. People like Stanton Glantz, Debra Arnott, the WHO, ad nauseum don’t give a hoot if your vaping is safer or not. They want to eliminate vapers  as well as tobacco smokers. Everywhere. Sorry to give you the bad news.  Better join our side so we can fight this scourge together. Otherwise, we will both lose.


  5. slugbop007 says:

    It seems that some public health authority (not named specifically) most likely decided to go into all the tobacco, pipe and cigar stores and order them to close down until further notice. Whenever that is. Perhaps never.


  6. Александра Собина says:

    Oh Gods! They would not dare. They should be scared of revolt.

  7. Ryan S says:

    Everything about this “virus” is speculation. Everything. From contraction to viability outside of the body. I’d like the to show proof, not just a “scientist’s word” (because scientists are whores for grant money). The problem is they can’t. So until they can, I’m out. I’m done playing the game. I’ve been 3 weeks now of not following the guidelines and nothing. Kinda disappointed really.

    • Joe L. says:

      I absolutely agree. This “virus” has been in the media now for over three months, and we still don’t know anything about it. It seems like every time new information is released, it contradicts previously released information. We have no idea what to believe about this, and very little data with which to even draw our own conclusions. Honestly, the most consistent piece of information that I have been able to glean from actual studies is that tobacco smokers are far less likely to require hospitalization after contracting COVID-19.

      The CFR varies widely from country to country depending on how strictly they classify deaths from the virus vs. deaths with the virus, and even something as basic as the list of common symptoms is still changing almost daily. We are under house arrest all across the world over something that nobody seems to understand at all, even after all this time. This is absolute insanity.

    • KurtGeek says:


      There seems to be consensus on nothing but ‘it’s deadly’ and ‘must be stopped at all costs’. How hard can it be to get a proper handle on what it is and what it’s doing. There’s surely enough subjects to study now.

      3 weeks in and I’m really annoyed that the goalposts have moved: no longer ‘flatten the curve’ (which appears to have been done) but ‘defeat the virus’, which is going to be impossible. They may as well say ‘stop the tide coming in’.

  8. Aside from noting that the Quebec government formally declaring tobacco is no longer considered as addictive as alcohol (See my comment to slugbopoo7 at top), it’s also important to note that the US Government, through its CDC, has officially noted that of the 7,162 CoVid cases it has gathered complete health information on, 98.7% of those have either never smoked or are not current smokers. The bottom itemized line in Table 1 of its March 31st Report at


    of those 7,162 cases notes specifically that only 69 (1.3%) of CoVid victims tabulated so far have been smokers.

    Imagine if some other dietary or activity factor had indicated any sort of 98% “immunity” to CoVid. Imagine how loudly that finding would be getting shouted from the rooftops.

    In terms of any claims that the finding was in any sense too preliminary or was not based on enough cases… heh… compare the coverage that was given to the study involving FIVE smokers where they were able to extract the “finding” that smokers were supposedly 14x as likely to suffer the severe form of CoVid!

    – MJM, who notes that while the CDC “skipped” any similar Table in the forllowing Weekly Report (not even mentioning smoking a single time throughout its entirety) the new Report should be coming out within the next day or so. It will be interesting to see what happens to the numbers then!

    • Rose says:

      They can’t deny that nitric oxide is part of the immune system , they’ve spent decades saying that nitric oxide is a short lived gas produced by cigarettes when burned, to try to ban it because of their misguided obsession with nicotine, particularly when it stops coronavirus replicating, which is shown in the statistics and studies, would be a visible act of deliberate harm. Are they trying to kill even more people?

  9. Frank Davis says:

    Does anyone know where i might find an explanation of the smokers-are-14-times claim?

    • smokingscot says:

      If you can track all my comments, I believe I said something along those lines way back when you gave us the first list of 3 Chines studies. And it may have been when I mulled the figures that included smokers and recently quit.

    • Rose says:

      Frank, this explains it nicely

      Analysis of factors associated with disease outcomes in hospitalized patients with 2019 novel coronavirus disease
      Liu, Wei1; Tao, Zhao-Wu2; Lei, Wang1; Ming-Li, Yuan1; Kui, Liu3; Ling, Zhou3; Shuang, Wei3; Yan, Deng3; Jing, Liu4; Liu, Hui-Guo3; Ming, Yang5; Yi, Hu1
      February 28 2020

      “Yesterday, referring to the same ‘story’ (that has now echoed around the world), Clive Bates, the former director of ASH, tweeted:

      I had hoped @PHE_uk would look at the evidence on smoking, vaping and COVID-19 in the round, take expert advice, and update advice on a rolling basis. But what they have done is terrible. It looks like crass PR rather than sound science.

      He then linked to the PHE statement, and didn’t stop there. In a series of hard-hitting tweets he wrote:

      It draws on a single study from China of 78 subjects who were already very sick with COVID-19-induced pneumonia. Of the 78, 11 deteriorated. Of the 78, 5 were smokers, 3 deteriorated and 2 improved.

      (history of smoking (OR, 14.285)

      This is the basis for the 14x headline risk claim.

      But this overlooks a very important detail. Of the 78 included in the study, there were only 5 smokers (6.4%). Yet smoking prevalence in China is about 27% (52% men, 3% women). So smokers are dramatically underrepresented in those already very sick with pneumonia. Why?”

      “PHE is giving advice on the basis of a single study, which is bad enough. But it ignores the striking underrepresentation of smokers in the sample and misrepresents the findings of the study as general advice to smokers”

  10. Rose says:

    From the world of business

    U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Nitric Oxide Patent Win for Linde; Linde Commits to Support Inhaled Nitric Oxide Clinical Studies Relating to COVID-19
    April 08, 2020

    “Guildford, UK, April 8, 2020 – Linde (NYSE:LIN; FWB:LIN), a leading global supplier of inhaled nitric oxide, is pleased with the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court declining to review the 2019 appeals court decision that affirmed Praxair Distribution, Inc.’s (PDI) right to sell a generic form of inhaled nitric oxide. This decision ends the long-running U.S. patent litigation with Mallinckrodt plc, and affirms the ability of PDI, a wholly owned subsidiary of Linde, to continue supplying inhaled nitric oxide. This drug product is widely used as approved in the U.S. and other countries to improve oxygenation of certain groups of patients.

    “Nitric oxide is truly a unique and beneficial drug product. We are proud to be doing our part to support healthcare institutions around the world with a reliable, competitive and beneficial supply of inhaled nitric oxide along with our other medical gases and services,” said Ben Glazer, President, US Packaged & Specialty Gases.

    Linde is actively supporting doctors as they investigate the use of nitric oxide to treat COVID-19 patients globally. This includes supplying nitric oxide to Massachusetts General Hospital to support a trial launched by their researchers to test the drug’s effectiveness for preventing disease progression in patients with mild to moderate disease, thereby avoiding the need for ventilation. Separately, German authorities have authorized on a temporary basis the use of inhaled nitric oxide specifically to treat patients with severe cases of COVID-19.”

    Time the flat earthers shut up.

  11. smokingscot says:

    Michael, you must have the maths correct. If the number of people “they”claim smoke is 10%, then the figure should have been 716. It wasn’t it was 69, or 9.6% of what should have happened, meaning our factor is 9 out of 10 seem to be able to avoid infection.

    If the base line is moved to 15%, then 1074 should have been smokers. Thus only 6.4% of the smoking population got, meaning our factor 9.4 out of 10 avoided infection.

    The only way one can get to the 98% is if 24% of the population smoke. Bottom line is if you want to use percentages, then just say that between 90 and 95%, depending on which state.

    Not being irritating, just hoping a thoroughly valid set of statistics is not rubbished because of some smart arse picking up on the maths.

  12. Rose says:

    Frank, there’s another Hockey based article today

    The Mail Online and a masterclass in balanced reporting
    Thursday, April 16,

    Does smoking PROTECT against coronavirus? That was the amazing claim from David Hockney but multiple scientific studies now suggest he might be on to something
    15 April 2020

    “When world-famous artist David Hockney wrote a letter to the Daily Mail saying he believes smoking could protect people against the coronavirus many scoffed.
    Mr Hockney wrote: ‘Could it not be that smokers have developed an immune system to this virus? With all these figures coming out, it’s beginning to look like that to me.’

    Understandably the claim was brushed off as laughable and ‘rubbish’ by many.

    But is it?”


    And it is too.

    • Igrowmyown says:

      So there we have a breakthrough,the Daily Mail is one of the UK’s most anti-smoking newspapers,has broken rank and published the science,might get interesting now.

    • RdM says:

      “Understandably the claim was brushed off as laughable and ‘rubbish’ by many.”


      Art Industry News: David Hockney Promotes a Completely Bogus Theory That Smokers Are Immune to Coronavirus + Other Stories

      and, The Observer (heh heh)


      “While this particular flavor of contemplative nihilism is certainly entertaining coming from one of the most celebrated artists in the world, Hockney’s theory that smokers are less likely to get the coronavirus is problematic at best and dangerous at worst.”

      And so, the rest of the ‘Observer’ propaganda continues…

      The World Health Organization writes that smokers are in fact more likely to be vulnerable to COVID-19, due to the fact that potentially contaminated fingers and cigarettes are coming into frequent contact with a person’s open mouth when they smoke. “Smokers may also already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity, which would greatly increase risk of serious illness,” WHO continues. Additionally, although it’s clear that more research is warranted, recent studies are beginning to trickle out which indicate that smoking is likely associated with the “negative progression and adverse outcomes of COVID-19.”

      You know WHO or not, who to believe, or take at face value, do you not?

      They’re clutching at straws … but unless countered, many folk might still be suckered in to believing the lies, “news”, the slim ‘evidence’ based on dodgy manipulated ‘statistics’.

      Beyond considerations of ‘smoking status’ ;- hey, status! –
      I Love Tobacco! – there’s more:

      Can’t think what just right now ;-

  13. Igrowmyown says:

    I can see a new headline in a few months time
    “Government says pubs can re-open but only if smoking allowed in all bars for customers safety” :)

  14. slugbop007 says:

    We need our own GlolalLink Network. If we combined all our PCs, like the scientists and astrophysicts do,. we could enlarge our base a thousandfold. Imagine thousands of emails and tweets from countries around the world, with their differeent languages, flooding TC’s vast network everyday, putting their own servers at risk of overload? In the meantime, people like Mr. Bates should seriously consider returning to remedial and brush up on the 3 Rs: Reading, Riting and Rithmetic.


  15. slugbop007 says:

    You are right on the money, Mr. McFadden. I should have looked it at that way myself. To add to that, I remember reading just a few years ago that alcohol-related diseases in Great Britain cost the treasury $20 billion pounds a year while smoking, according to the same standard of measurement, also to be taken with a grain of salt, cost $5 billion pounds a year. The Quebec state owns the S.A.Q. so maybe their profit margin is greater than their taxes on tobacco? I don’t know, I think they are pretty much neck and neck. Two years ago I bought a bottle of Patron Coffee Liqueur, a blend of coffee and Tequila. Out of curiosity I checked the Ontario Liquor Board price for the same bottle and the Quebec bottle was $6 dollars more expensive. Yesterday I checked Montreal news outlets and saw no mention of tobacconists brinh ordered to shut down by government decree. Very strange. Plus, the orange cardboard pasted to the top of the window announcing the government decree at my local tobacco shop was written out by hand with a marksalot.


    michaeljmcfadden says: April 16, 2020 at 1:36 am There is an aspect of this that we should respond strongly with: By making this Declaration the Quebec Government has made it official that smoking tobacco is NOT as “addictive” as drinking alcohol! It has deemed continued supplies of alcohol to alcohol addicts as essential, while saying that continued supplies of tobacco to those FORMERLY considered to be addicts, i.e. smokers, is not essential!

    We should tout that aspect of its decision as being loud and clear whenever complaining about its substance!

    – MJM,

  16. EG says:

    This is interesting and not interesting because tabbaco and the idea of smoking came to Europe from America. But there is no secret that indians used tabbaco as medication.
    But they also used smoking it to stop a conflicts.

  17. Александра Собина says:

    Tim Worstall in his “To Ban Or Not To Ban?”
    A critique of paternalism
    February 2020
    Says smokers and the rest of siners are saving money for NHS because they are dying fast(er). So it should be right to let them do as they wish.
    But no one wants to wait when traditional siner such as smoker will die. Majority of them smoking out clouds for many years when non-smokers are already gone. I think the bullying of smokers is aimed not only to pump out money, but more at driving them into a state of depression. Those who are unhappy do not live long. Because they don’t want to.

  18. slugbop007 says:

    April 17, 2020 at 8:31 am To RdM:

    When I look at the Google chart at a certain angle it reminds me of a Modigliani nude.


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