A Billion Lives

There has been a bit of a commotion over this Billion Lives thing over the weekend.

Simon Clarke wrote about it and that was followed up by Dick Puddlecote who threw in his hape worth.

I had little to add to the debate, but then under an article on Facts Do Matter I came across a response by Aaron Biebert, the director of the film.  To say my gob was smacked was a slight understatement.

It seems that many pro-smoking advocates would like to hurt our film because they are delusional veterans of a lost war. Lost.

It's laughable to me that they are still fighting. It reminds me when they found Japanese soldiers on an island many years after WWII was done. They were still on alert, waiting for orders. They were still at war.

Let me set out my stall.

First of all, I am a reasonably intelligent person of mature years and I consider myself quite capable of making my own decisions about my own life and therefore resent in the strongest possible terms any attempt to force me down a path according to someone else's ideology.  This applies to smoking, eating, drinking and any other aspect of my life that others may think unsuitable.  I am not pro-smoking.  I am not anti-smoking.  I am not pro-vaping.  I am not anti-vaping.  I am pro free choice to make my own decisions about my health and my life.  The Antis have declared war on me and I will fight them and their allies to the last man.

Secondly, I believe in science, and with regard to smoking or vaping there is no science.  It is all surveys, statistics and epidemiology, none of which are science – they are mathematics and are wide open to bias and error.

The entire anti-smoking/anti-vaping movement is based on figures which are highly questionable to say the least.  No one has ever actually proved that smoking causes cancer, and the so called "facts" around second hand smoke are more than questionable to say the least.  As far as I am concerned smoking may, or may not be harmful.  So are a lot of things in life.  Second hand smoke is an outright fabrication designed specifically to turn non-smokers against smokers.  Just read Frank Davis or Velvet Glove Iron Fist for some mathematical trickery!

The whole anti smoking movement has relied on tried and trusted propaganda methods, mainly the old adage "repeat a lie often enough and it will become the truth".  So they trot out trite figures such as one in every two smokers will die, or 165,000 kids die of secondhand smoke every year, and these little headline-makers get trotted out on a regular basis without question.  They are all bollox.  They are figures that are plucked out of the air and are purely the result of fevered imaginations, wishful thinking and dubious statistics.  Even the Billion Lives figure is a nonsensical piece of rubbish designed exclusively to grab headlines.  It is absolute bullshit.  It implies that if smoking were eradicated entirely that somehow, miraculously a billion people wouldn't die this century which is laughable.  I can guarantee that every single person who reads this along with 99% of the world's population of seven billion will never see the year 2100, so where is the one billion lives now?

I have been very disappointed at the stuff I have read from vapers over the last few years. In the main, their rhetoric has been playing right into the hands of the Tobacco Control Industry.  They scream about how much safer vaping is and how it is saving lives.  Maybe vaping is safer and maybe it isn't – I don't care one way or another as it is irrelevant.  My point is that smoking or vaping should be a free choice where no one has any right whatsoever to dictate terms.  Maybe vapers have been trying to cozy up to Tobacco Control hoping for an easier ride, and maybe some are now realising that Tobacco Control doesn't give a damn about Tobacco – they care about Control.

I don't know what was going through Aaron Biebert's mind when he wrote the comment above.  Does he really hold smokers in such contempt?  Is he trying to score brownie points with Tobacco Control?  He has certainly not convinced me that he is in any way an ally.

I haven't seen the film A Billion Lives but going by the trailer it is a massive disappointment.  It should set out to debunk the lies and propaganda but by the looks of things it may debunk some but just repeat others.  The title alone is enough to put me off at it is just another of the over dramatised myths. 

I know the title comes from the WHO and The Lancet but that says nothing [neither is exactly famous for impartiality].  It is a wet dream headline designed to scare and dramatise, but it is still the result of very dodgy statistics and extrapolation and is ultimately a nonsense.

Aaron Biebert should be really careful.  He should be fighting for the freedom of the individual, instead of which he is just fighting his own little vaping corner and it looks to me like he is losing.

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Giving ASH what they deserve

Next Friday is [apparently] Black Friday.

This is yet another of those ghastly concepts which has spread across the Atlantic in an effort to squeeze even more money out of our wallets.

This is followed by Cyber Monday.  I haven't a fucking clue what that is but as it is yet another Mercan invention I shall treat it with the contempt it deserves and ignore it completely.

Then we have Giving Tuesday.  I confess I have never heard of this one before so it must be a new one.  Not content with trying to sell us every useless piece of tat they can think of, they are now trying to squeeze money out of us for no reason whatsoever other than apparent guilt.

I have to thank ASH for pointing me in the direction of Giving Tuesday, as they are using it to appeal for funds.  It seems the millions of taxpayers' money they already get isn't enough.

ASH appeal

I think for once, just in the spirit of Giving Tuesday I shall send them a donation.  Now my Deposit Account is a little threadbare at the moment but the dog has stepped up to the plate and offered me all her deposits so I shall happily forward them on to ASH.

I actually feel quite sorry for ASH.  In particular, ASH Scotland has just had a very hard time of it.

Their Sheila Duffy appeared before some committee or other and things didn't go quite as planned.  She rode in on her white horse in her guise as saviour of mankind presumably with the intention of ordering the committee [and the gubmint] to have nothing to do with the Evil Big Tobacco.  However she was [just a little] confused by the way things went.  It's well worth the watch.

Dick Puddlecote has already had a go at poor Shiela [as if she hadn’t enough troubles] but I would like to add one small observation, purely in the interests of honesty and accuracy which poor Sheila seems to crave so much.

In her opening propaganda speech she gives the usual guff about Big Tobacco designing their products to kill [blah blah]. she mentions that smoking kills one in every two consumers [with a dark hint that they may be planning to up that to two out of three].  She then goes on to state that tobacco is responsible for a quarter of all Scottish deaths, which confuses me a little.  Assuming a quarter of the population smokes, that means that all of them account for a quarter of all deaths?  This is in fact true – if a fifth of the population are readheads then a fifth of all deaths are redheads.  Right?  But being a redhead didn't necessarily kill them. That's called logic.

So if a quarter of the population smokes, and a quarter of all deaths are smokers then that would seem to imply that smoking was just as incidental as being a redhead or having blue eyes.  So using her own argument, smoking seems to have no effect on whether you die or not? What point is she trying to make?

Poor Shiela.  And on top of all that she is accused of being a part of the tobacco industry?  

You have to feel sorry for her?

I think I will add my own contribution to Penny's after all.

She seems to like wallowing in shit.


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Legal discrimination

Over the next few months people will doubtless turn their thoughts to holidays.

If nothing else, it's a pleasant subject to dwell on in the dark cold days of winter?

For the last four years, I have gone to the same place in West Cork.  I go there for several reasons – it's an incredibly peaceful and beautiful location, the people in the local town are extremely friendly and the dog is more than welcome.  It is also a non-smoker cottage.  Now the agent who lets the place knows us at this stage so when she discovered that we were fumigating the place on a daily basis she just asked us to open the windows before leaving.  An eminently sensible arrangement.

But how does the smoker fare when it comes to booking a holiday here?

My pal John has just been on a road trip around Ireland highlighting the discrimination against smokers in this country.  Simon Clark gives a brief summary of the trip over at his place.  What stands out for me is the hostile reception John got when trying to find himself a hotel room for the night.  The anti-smoking laws here don't cover hotel rooms, or indeed rented accommodation but by all accounts hotels can hang a sign on the front door – "Niggers, Polaks, Pakis and Tinkers welcome but NO SMOKERS" and somehow get away with it. 

I just did a quick search on the Interwebs to see what kind of reception smokers get in self-catering holidays in this Ireland of a Thousand Welcomes.  It wasn't easy but I found a site that allows searches under various criteria. 

The site has the best part of eight hundred rentals so it should be easy enough to find a place that welcomes smokers?

Think again.

Holiday selector

Out of eight hundred locations, just five allow smoking?  Less than one percent?

This "denormalisation" of smokers has gone too far.  We have chosen a lifestyle which is perfectly legal and which has a lot more health benefits than they care to admit.  We are singled out for excessive taxation, legal discrimination, abuse from public funded qangos and abuse from the public who are egged on by those same qangos and "charities".  We are inundated with advertising and propaganda against us, and they take delight in dreaming up new ways to attack us such as banning smoking in our own cars, and ultimately [I bet] in our own homes.  If any other sector of society was subject to so much abuse there would be screams of discrimination which would doubtless end in the European Court of Human Rights.

Racism and discrimination exist in this country.  However there is a clatter of laws against said discrimination.  The law is fully on the side of the discriminated.

Except in the case of smokers where the law is fully against us.

No blacks, No smoking

One is illegal and the other is encouraged by the law.

What's the difference?

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Working on insanity

Very occasionally I mention smoking.

While I touched on the subject a couple of days ago, I feel compelled to return to it again as this is a special occasion.

Yesterday I was mooching around and came across an article which was highlighted by Dick Puddlecote amongst [many] others.  The reason it's special is that I laughed out loud when I read it.

People in Wales who work from home are to be banned from using electrofags while they are working.


What possible reason could there be for this move?

Imagine the scenario – you are beavering away at your desk in the back room, with no one else in the house and you take out your electrofag for a quick puff and immediately you are breaking the law?  Even more idiotic, you have knocked off for the evening and the missus and yourself are quietly watching television when the phone rings – it's a call from a customer, so instantly you have to fling your electrofag into a bucket of water otherwise you could land in court?  Presumably your misses can carry on vaping away, or maybe not?  The proposed ban doesn't mention the wee woman.


Apart from giving me a laugh, what justification could they possibly have for this surreal suggestion?

Now the only reason I can think of for this strange behaviour is that the Welsh gubmint have discovered that electrofags can somehow affect all the electronics around them.  So you spend your day producing a very impressive Powerpoint presentation to send on to your client, and as soon as he opens it he is immediately enveloped in lethal vapour which has somehow infected the files.  If you chat to a client on the phone, then sneaky little electrofag zips into the phone line and your client promptly develops cancer.  Even if you use a mobile phone, that impish electrofag is not to be outdone – it simply modulates itself onto the carrier wave and your client is toast.

But there is a problem here.

There you are, slaving away on a programming project and diligently not vaping in case you infect your code or get caught by the Vapour Patrol and end up in prison.  You decide to take a quick break so you spark up your electrofag and do a quick bit of surfing for porn.  How does your computer know that the porn is not work related?  Surely you are going to infect all your favourite porn sites, because your computer thinks you are doing some research for that payroll project you're supposed to be working on?  Will the rest of us have to install anti-vapour software to protect ourselves?

I confess I am baffled by that one.

Things are a bit simpler here in Ireland.  Here there is mention of a ban on smoking at home altogether.  At the time of writing, nearly half the people say that's a brilliant idea which just goes to show how the Irish love to be state controlled and to be ordered around for their own good.  The Irish are proud to be insane whereas the Welsh are still trying to prove it?

On a saner note, here's another soothing eighteen minutes of our John explaining why us saner people in Ireland object to being classed as second class citizens because of our sanity.

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Dogmatic belief

I read a piece by my good friend John the other day.

He went head to head on radio with Luke Clancy, one of Ireland's fanatical anti-smokers.  It is well worth a listen and is only eleven minutes long.

Clancy spoke first and when he was confronted with a report that all this "denormalisation" and over the top advertising was alienating smokers making them less likely to quit, he floundered.  He floundered badly and quickly tried to get onto safer ground by waffling about the price of cigarettes.  He then claimed the report he was reading was a different report.

Basically he stumbled through the interview, blustering and side tracking until he eventually tries to reach his safer grounds by wiffling on about the cheeeeldren and how the majority of smokers support the Draconian messages.

What struck me most about this interview was how extremely uncomfortable Clancy was.  They were talking about stigmatisation but he wanted to talk about the "horrors" of smoking.  He has a one track mind and the interview was off that track.

I have a strong theory that these people [for want of a better word] really don't have a clue what they're talking about.  Clancy and his ilk go to conferences which are basically religious retreats where they are taught the latest mantras to preach to the unfaithful.  They learn off their "smoking kills one in every two smokers" and "smoking costs the health service X billion a year" and all their other well worn clichés, and like the faithful at a religious retreat they learn the mantra by rote without ever actually questioning the meaning.

The more I think about t the more obvious it becomes that the Anti-Smokers are actually following a religion.  They have a blind faith in their teachings, but when those teachings are questioned they are at a loss for an answer.  An uncomfortable question must be sidetracked and steered back to safe territory where they can start back into their mantras.

If one of their sacred prayers is questioned the response is usually along the lines of "we all know that blah blah is the truth" [which we don’t] or "countless studies have shown blah blah".  In the interview, Clancy was told unequivocally that his claim of smokers costing the health services billions was a load of bollox and he was given the figures [nice one, John!] where the gubmint makes 1.2 billion a year from smokers, yet they only cost the health service 550 million.  This, as far as Clancy was concerned was heresy as it contradicted everything he had been taught.  His answer incidentally was that we have to take into account loss of working hours [not a cost to the state] and the “hundreds of thousands [?] out on disability".

I saw a thing recently on the Tobacco Control website.  They state quite categorically that "The cigarette is the deadliest artefact in the history of human civilisation."  This is not stated as an opinion, it is stated as incontrovertible truth in a pseudo-scientific paper and is therefore equivalent to the Pope preaching ex cathedra.  It brooks no argument despite being laughably false.  Have they not heard of nerve gas?  Are they totally unaware of guns?  Has the nuclear bomb escaped their attention?  Do they seriously believe in the rubbish they are spouting?

I began to think then of all the other "truths" the Tobacco Control Industry spews out on a daily basis.  Do they really and honestly believe all their numbers that die each year from cigarettes?  Do they honestly think that non-smokers run any risks at all from a whisp of smoke, despite generations having somehow survived this apparently deadly phenomenon?

This religion is funded by gubmints and Big Pharma, and the edicts pour forth from on high.  They faithful are expected to learn those edicts and preach them to the great unwashed.  They don't have to understand them, and they must never question them for they are Gospel according to Tobacco Control.

And thus ends the lesson for today.


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