A Billion Lies

There has been a fair bit of comment on the Royal College of Physicians report on vaping in recent days.

People have been justifiably delighted with the announcement that vaping is officially as safe as they have always claimed it is.  

I have read several views on the report but the one that stood out for me was one written by an anti-smoker – Michael Siegel.  While he is a professional anti-smoker, he at least has the saving grace to be honest about it.  One paragraph in particular stood out for me –

It is also a breath of fresh air that helps to clean out some of the stench we have been getting from the completely non-evidence-based rhetoric and propaganda we have been getting for the past six years from anti-nicotine organizations and researchers in the U.S. and from numerous health agencies and regulatory bodies, including the FDA and the CDC.

Now smokers have known for years that the Tobacco Control Industry can be economical with the truth, but here is a report that not only contradicts the TCI but essentially proves that they have been lying all along.  So having been called out on their lies, just how far back in history to we have to go before we see a bit of honesty in their outpourings?

I would contend that it all started with Godber's statement that they must “foster an atmosphere where it was perceived that active smokers would injure those around them, especially their family and any infants or young children who would be exposed involuntarily”.  Now this wasn't the first lie, but it was a direct call to action to produce "evidence", as is shown by the word "perceived" as distinct from "proved". 

So the lies started then.  We had study after study, where the evidence was manipulated and distorted.  "Good" results were published and "bad" reports were buried.  The Great Lie about second hand smoke had begun.  Having been emboldened by their success they dropped the pretense of using science to back their claims and just stated blatant lies as fact.  How else would you explain such gems as smoke traveling through solid walls and down telephone cables?  How else could they claim that a whisp of smoke in the open air can damage children's health?  Opening a car window blows smoke into the car?

Over the years these lies have become the truth purely by virtue of constant repetition.  How often do we hear of the hundreds of thousands who have "died from second hand smoke" or the thousands of kids who take up smoking because they have seen it in a film?  I am not saying that all anti-smokers know they are lying but those at the top definitely do, unless they are totally deranged.

Then along comes the e-cigarette.

They had no answer to this device which threatened not only their livelihood but also the profits of their masters in Big Pharma.  Their only answer was to spin more lies in the hope that the momentum would carry them over the bump.  E-cigarettes are leading kids into smoking real cigarettes.  E-cigarettes are carcinogenic and are more dangerous than real cigarettes.  E-cigarettes reduce smokers' chances of quitting.  E-cigarettes explode without warning.  The list is long and tedious.

Even after the report was published, we had a desperate attempt at back pedaling from our own Pat Doorley who said that "while e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco products, there are still some concerns around their use, particularly long-term." 

He then goes on to say “The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland recommends that people who need help with smoking cessation speak to their GP or pharmacist to get advice about all treatment options such as nicotine replacement therapies and psychological supports,”  We must keep our paymasters in Big Pharma happy, mustn't we?

They have been called out on their lies in public.

Maybe now people will see they have been lying through their teeth all along?


Thinking outside the box

I don't have much in the way of rubbish.

I put the bins out around once a month or less.  The plastic and paper goes in the recycling, perishables [except meat] go on the compost heap and the rest goes into the black bin.

However the vast majority of the stuff that goes out is packaging of one sort or another.  What the fuck is it with packaging?  Everything has to come wrapped in plastic these days which not only adds to the bin contents but leads to endless frustration in trying to open things.

They insist on selling me stuff like cheese, rashers or sausages which comes in "resealable" plastic packs.  I don't think I have come across one yet that does actually reseal.  First I have to find the "peel back here" tab which involves trying to separate two bits of plastic which refuse to be parted.  If I do manage to separate them I then peel back the top layer only for the fucking thing to rip thereby destroying the point of the exercise.  Then if I do manage to keep the two bits intact they don't stick back together again which destroys the whole concept.

And don't start me on about those hard plastic cases!  You buy something simple like a light-bulb or a computer mouse and the fucking thing glares at you from behind an impenetrable seal of hard plastic which is impossible to remove.  The only way to open them is with a sharp pair of scissors, so you nip down to the hardware only to find that the scissors are contained in an equally impenetrable seal of hard plastic that you can't open without a pair of scissors.  Catch 22.

Who is the bright spark who decided to redesign lids on jars?  They used to come with nice vertical sides to the lid, but some twat thought it would be a brilliant idea to slant them.  Now if you remove the lid from a jar and place it on a flat surface, it's nearly impossible to pick the fucking thing up again because of its daft beveled edge.  I spend my time picking the fucking things off the floor after they have skithered away from my attempts to pick 'em up.  I have taken to carrying a magnet around to save my sanity.

Plastic two-litre milk bottles are another blight on my life.  They come with a screw top that is attached to a ring by a series of little bits of plastic.  The idea [I presume] is that the act of unscrewing the lid breaks the little plastic bits thereby releasing the lid.  Some fucking hope!  In the end I usually have to attack them with a sharp knife which usually slips.  If ever you see pink milk in this house its probably just the blood causing the discolouration.

As for those fucking things they sell tablets in… you'd need blood pressure tablets after trying to remove a pill from one of their precious strips.  The only problem is that the blood pressure pills come in equally daft strips.  What the fuck happened to little bottles?

It was never like this in the Good Old Days.

Nearly everything either came loose or wrapped in paper.  If it was liquid it came in a bottle.  Bottles were returned and the paper burned resulting in little or no waste.

And they talk about progress?



There is a lot of debate about abortion rights here in Ireland at the moment [in fact it has been going on for decades].

My stance on the subject is quite simple – it is none of my fucking business.  I am unlikely at my age to become pregnant and therefore I have no right whatsoever to lay down the law for those women who may find themselves in that position.  It's their bodies – they make their own rules.

But that got me thinking.

What about these town councils who ban smoking on beaches or housing associations who ban smoking in their apartments?

Statistically roughly one fifth of the people who impose these bans are smokers which presumably means the rest don't or are lying about it?  A small minority of those that don't smoke are presumably rabid anti-smokers while the rest probably don't give a shit about the subject either way, with minor variations from leaning towards freedom of choice through to "it doesn't smell very nice". 

So any proposal to hound smokers is bound to be carried.  Those who couldn't normally give a shit are probably going to be swayed by the two magic words "health" and "children" so the vote will pass, simply because it doesn't affect the majority.

I wonder what would have happened with the smoking ban here if the vote had been confined to individual pubs or offices?  Would pub owners and their clients have voted for the ban?  My guess is that they wouldn't, and those that did could go smoke free in their own right.  The same would apply to offices, though I imagine there would have been a smaller proportion who would have remained smoker friendly.  But the laws were passed by those who didn't smoke, and probably didn't frequent that many pubs.  The smokers were outnumbered.

One of the great problems with modern society is the concept that the majority know what's best for the minority. 

Let only those who are affected make the decisions.


The elephant outside the room

I dropped down for a haircut the other day.

This is noticeable because I'm not due one for a couple of months but there was a bit of a family do coming up, and Herself was getting stroppy about my ponytail.

Needless to say Jacinta from the hairdressers stuck her tits in my ear [looking for a bigger tip] while she washed my mane.  If gossip in the pub is right [and I have no need to doubt it] then those tits have seen more handling than a doorknob in a railway station, so she could forget the tip.  She also had the audacity to say that I was overdue a haircut, the cheeky mare, so I told her that it was only last May and that once a year was enough for anyone.

Anyhows, afterwards I thought I deserved a coffee, and it was a lovely warm spring day so I nipped over to the coffee shop, bought myself one and sat on the terrace outside enjoying my mug and a pipefull of baccy.

I was sitting there minding my own business when a couple of tourists came and sat at the next table.  Now they saw I was puffing on the pipe so they could have chosen a table at the far end, but no – they had to sit beside me.  The glances started.  I could see they weren't happy, but tough shit.  According to the law my place is outside so the corollary must be that their place is inside? 

A short while later a couple of cyclists came in with their revolting Spandex, clacky shoes and banana helmets.  They sat the other side of me so I was now getting dirty looks from both sides.  I ignored them all.

I was sitting there pondering on their miseries when a lorry roared past.  That got me thinking.

I did a little bit of mental gymnastics which I must admit involved a little guess work and a spot of corner cutting.

I assumed the lorry had an engine capacity of around 16 liters.  Being a diesel engine [and not a 2-stroke?] I assumed it displaced 4 liters of exhaust per revolution.  I assumed it was doing around 1000 revolutions per minute which means that every minute it was pumping out around 4,000 liters of exhaust per minute or 67 liters of carcinogens every second.

Now for the other side of the equation.

I assumed the volume of breath I exhaled to be around 0.5 liters.  I assumed about 20 breaths per minute, so that means every minute I would exhale around 10 liters.  That sounds about right?  That comes out at around 0.2 liters a second.  Exhaled smoke is heavily diluted and I don't exhale smoke with every breath, but I'll be generous and say that 10% of the exhaled air was tobacco smoke which means I was breathing out 0.02 litres a second.

So there we have it.  A lorry produces 67 liters of shit that is definitely unhealthy, and I produce 0.02 liters of harmless odour.

And I'm the one getting the dirty looks?



Sunday Surreality

I'm just back from my Sunday visit to the shop for my baccy and paper.

Despite all my threats and implorations, he's still insisting on little gifts.

I got seven lovely choc-chip cup-cakes.  I just had a couple and they are all squidgy and fresh.

I also got a padlock.  A little mini one for locking luggage.

And two birthday cake candles in the shape of numbers.

He gave me a 9 and a 7.

Does he think I'm 79?

Or 97?