The John Crown Affair

I have the highest regard for John Crown…..

…. as an oncologist.

I believe he is one of the best in the country and should I ever be unfortunate enough to require the services of an oncologist, he would be my first choice.

I draw the line there though.

When it comes to tobacco, he is a paranoid obsessive.  To listen to him, you would swear that tobacco is the greatest evil and the cause of all the world's ills, and that the Tobacco Industry is there solely to kill off mankind for their own profit.

I suppose there is an excuse for him in that he sees a lot of cases of cancer.  It's like a car mechanic demanding Draconian driving restrictions because he sees so many crashed cars?

Now he is on the e-cigarette bandwagon, demanding that they be treated as tobacco products [despite their containing no tobacco].  He wants people protected from "second hand vapour"!.  He wants them banned in the workplace, in cars and just about everywhere else, and even wants the ludicrous step of forcing "plain packaging".

Now I would assume that an oncologist would like to see people stop smoking?  Deluded or not, there is a logic to it.  One of the greatest innovations in the smoking cessation field has been the development of the electo-fag, with millions forsaking cigarettes for the electronic version.  You would therefore imagine that the ilk of Crown would be only too delighted?

His reasoning for his hatred is somewhat vague and basically boils down to "not enough studies have been done".  His partner in crime Averil Power uses the excuse that "she has seen a child using one"!  To use an example from my old friend John Mallon – Crown would stop an alcoholic from drinking water because it looks like vodka and not enough research has been done into water.

Treating electronic cigarettes as if they were ordinary cigarettes will have a major impact on those who wish to quit.  Those who have already switched and who don't find the alternative quite so enjoyable will just revert back to their old habits.  Others who see the electronic cigarette as a means to enjoy a vape down the pub or in the office will just shrug and stay on the old reliables.  

The rise of the electronic cigarette has hit two industries and hit them hard.

The Tobacco Industry is losing sales as people switch to the electronic equivalent.

The Pharmaceutical Industry has been hit badly as sales of their smoking cessation products is severely under threat.

I can only assume that Crown is in the pay of one of the above.

The only other conclusion is that his obsessive hatred of smoking and his desire to force everyone to quit has clouded his judgment to the point of paranoia.

I'll let you decide.

–oOo–

See also – Simon Clark & Dick Puddlecote

Answering the sheeple

I read an article in the paper yesterday.

It's an excellent article, written I might point out by a non-smoker, and well worth a read.

Why persecuting smokers will cost us all more in the long run

What amused and saddened me though were some of the comments that came after.

I have been berated before for using the term "sheeple".  Well, I make no apologies for using the term, representing as it does the mindless herd instinct of those who will read some sensationalist headline and will then take that as fact to be repeated ad nauseam at every available opportunity.  The Urban Dictionary sums the word up fairly well – "People unable to think for themselves. Followers. Lemmings. Those with no cognitive abilities of their own."

Smoking killed a relative

Take for example the oft cried "I know smoking kills because my mother/father/brother/sister died from smoking".  Even our ex-minister for health Fatso Reilly quotes that one, and gives it as his reason for being such an Anti.  My question to them is how do they know that smoking caused the death?  Whatever they died from is not unique to smokers so is there a chance they would have died anyway?  I would also ask them what kind of death they would have preferred for their relative.  And even in the event that smoking did contribute to the death, what right does that give them to interfere in others lives?

The smell

Another "argument" that is possibly topping the bill for feeble excuses is the smell factor.  One of the best I have yet come across –

"I'm just glad I can now walk into a pub and still be able to see and breathe. They banned smoking indoors when I was a kid so I don't remember it too well until I go abroad and I'm stuck in a room full of smoke, which happened in Amsterdam. It left my clothes smelling so bad I had to wash my entire suitcase, even the clothes I hadn't worn."

Cold we have a new phenomenon here?  The ability of cigarette smoke to leave a pub, travel a fair distance [presumably] and then seek out and "infect" clothing hanging in a wardrobe?  Wow!
 

There are three points I would like to make here.

The first is that I have an allergic reaction to artificial scents.  Most perfumes and after shaves cause a reaction that can leave my eyes streaming and my sinuses blocked.  I particularly abhor those so called "air fresheners" that come in sprays, plug in yokes and even dangle from car mirrors.  Do I complain?  No.  I just avoid them.  Do I demand laws to protect me?  No.  That would be beyond foolish and incredibly selfish.  I just tolerate them because I can practice tolerance – an art form nicely killed off by the Puritans.

The second point is that back in the days before the Puritans took over, I cannot remember any outcry about the smell of pubs or offices?  Very few complained because it wouldn't have occurred to them.  Now of course the Puritans have given free licence for everyone to complain about anything that annoys or irritates them.

The third point is a question I would like to ask these people.  Do they think that the thousands of publicans [and their staff] who lost their livelihoods over the ban are worth the cost of not having to wash hair or clothes [that presumably are going to be washed anyway]?  

Toxic fumes and carcinogens

A frequently used ploy is to refer to smoke as "toxic fumes", "toxic carcinogens" and the like.

I would ask these people their opinion on scented candles, barbeques and open fires. All these [and thousands more] produce "toxic fumes", some at much greater levels than a puff of cigarette smoke.  Traffic fumes pump out carcinogens by the liter and are thousands of times more toxic than a smouldering bit of leaf.  The levels of carcinogens found in cigarette smoke are at the microscopic level, where one would require sophisticated laboratory equipment to detect them.

And of course there is the simple argument – if secondary smoke is so "toxic" how come heavy smokers last so long?

Smoking costs the state….

The article above, and the comments under adequately answer that.  I would add that if every smoker quit suddenly, the overall tax rate would have to rise considerably for everyone, to make up the massive shortfall.

In the pay of Big Tobacco

In the article I started off with, the author stated quite clearly that he has no vested interest in writing his piece, yet there are still accusations of being "an apologist for Big Tobacco".  If he is not anti-smoking he is de facto in the pay of Big Tobacco?

This is one of the last lines of defense for the Puritans.  If you disagree with them then you must be in the pay of someone.  It is the equivalent of giving the reason "just because…". 

I drive a car.  Does that make me an apologist for Big Auto?

I eat food.  Am I in the pay of Big Supermarket for saying that?

It is however known that the Tobacco Control Industry receives a lot of funding from the Pharmaceutical Industry so they need to be careful.   People and glasshouses and all that?

Sadly the two things that the Puritans have killed off are truth and tolerance.

Do you believe in truth and tolerance?

Or are you one of the flock?

Give us the money

I came across an interesting web site the other day.

State Grades

I had some fun visiting various spots around the States and seeing them all get a slap on the wrist.

A couple of things struck me.

The first and most obvious is the choice of phrase "make the grade".  They could have said "how you score" but no – they have set the bar and it's up to the various states to jump over it.  It's back to school time – MUST DO BETTER!!

The second thing that struck me was that areas I had assumed to be no-go for smokers failed abysmally.  New York?  California?  I know there is this weird system Over There where cities and towns can pass their own laws independently from the state but I assumed that as San Francisco is one of the least tolerant cities, that California would reflect that.  But no – not a single "A" and two fails.  Then there is New Orleans where there is a fight on at the moment to ban smoking everywhere in the city, yet Mississippi as a state comes across as an extremely tolerant and smoker friendly state – four Fs.  Even New York manages to achieve only one A.

The main thing that gave me a chuckle though was the list of steps to be taken.  I didn't visit them all, but all the ones I did visit had one thing in common.  It came in various guises but the message is the same in each one –

"Sustain tobacco control prevention and cessation funding"

"Restore funding"

"earmark funding"

"Increase tobacco control funding"

and so on…..

It is really all they are interested in.

All together now……….

GIVE US YOUR MONEY!

The benefits of Nicotine

It is a known medical fact that all diseases are "smoking related".

Everything from Athlete's Foot through to Yellow Fever is on the list and it makes life a lot easier for the Anti Nazis.  If your death is non-accidental then it has to have been a smoking related disease which is all good for business and even better for propaganda.  Even if you have never smoked but die from Bubonic Plague then you must have been in contact with cigarette smoke at some stage in your life [two seconds is enough, as we all know there is no safe level yada yada yada].

I recently was doing a little research into Parkinson's Disease.  Naturally I expected smoking to be listed under the causes but it wasn't.  Something strange going on?

I checked through some of the more reliable sources including the Mayo Clinic, WebMD and our own glorious HSE [which I won’t bother linking to as all they have is fucking blank pages!] and not one of them mentioned smoking.  I thought I was getting close when they mentioned Environmental Factors, but still no mention of the Evil Weed.

I did a little more research and pages started to pop up.

The NCBI threw up an interesting little nugget or two –

Both retrospective and prospective epidemiological studies have consistently demonstrated an inverse association between cigarette smoking and PD, leading to theories that smoking in general and nicotine in particular might be neuroprotective.

Then, from MedScape we get the following –

The risk of Parkinson's disease is reduced by cigarette smoking, which raises some unanswered questions.

And from Haaretz

Israeli scientists have identified the genetic mechanism that protects cigarette smokers from Parkinson's disease, which could ultimately lead scientists closer to a treatment for the degenerative disorder.

So here we have a possible [probable] major benefit to be found in Nicotine, but is any further research being done? 

Of course the problem here is that the Anti-Smoker brigade have campaigned tirelessly against Big Tobacco and one of their base mantras is that everything that comes from tobacco is the epitome of evil.  It is inconceivable that tobacco or Nicotine could have any benefits whatsoever, and anyone who suggests otherwise is in the pay of the Devil himself.

Non-smokers should be particularly worried about this.  Not only are they at a much higher risk of lung cancer [the medical attitude seems to be that if you don’t smoke there is no need to check the lungs] but there is a big potential out there for medical intervention in Parkinson's Disease, and presumably also for such lovelies as Alzheimer's.

So if you're a non-smoker and lung cancer gets you, or if you come down with Parkinson's, just give the Tobacco Control Industry a passing thought.

Damn sure they don't care about you.

Please delay your emergency for an hour

Just imagine the scenario –

You are sitting quietly enjoying a mug of tea and a cigarette.  You spouse / other half / whatever is pottering around upstairs when there is a yell and a scream.  You investigate and discover they have fallen downstairs, there is a broken leg and blood gushing everywhere from where the broken bone has pierced the skin. 

This is serious.

You phone for an ambulance.

"Sorry but we cannot attend as you have been smoking.  Open all windows and doors, stay off the cigarettes and call us back in an hour."

I am not joking.

Under the new HSE policy rules, the client is also instructed not to smoke for at least an hour before the visit. The same restriction applies to others in the house, who also cannot smoke while the health worker is present.

I had to read that a couple of times as I didn't believe it the first time around.

There are a few points I would like to make here.

First of all, they keep talking about "risk" to their workers.  Lets' do a quick calculation.  I have been "exposed" to smoke in various forms for my entire life.  When I wasn't smoking, others were.  I have been around for about 569,790 hours, so for the sake of argument, I have been "exposed" to smoke for one hundredth of that time [let’s be conservative], which makes about 5,700 hours where I have been breathing either pipe or cigarette smoke. Fair enough?  And the last time I visited my doctor he gave me my usual clean bill of health.  Yet these HSE workers are going so suffer ghastly repercussions from breathing a bit of smoke for a matter of half an hour or so?  Where precisely is the risk?  It is just a piece of smouldering leaf, for God's sake!

I have been paying taxes all my working life.  I am therefore entitle to full and unconditional attention from the health service.  When I paid those taxes, they never mentioned any conditions whereby I might not be covered.  But now they are changing the rules to exclude me because of a perfectly legitimate pastime?  That is not on.

My home is my castle.  I set the rules here, and no one on the face of this planet is going to change that.  If I decide that smoking is perfectly acceptable here then that is the law in this household.  The Nannies would have it otherwise but they know a smoking ban in the home is unenforceable and unacceptable, but they are trying to sneak their foot in the door by threatening to withhold healthcare that I am fully entitled to.

The smoking ban was originally introduced on the pretext that it would "protect" bar workers who would be exposed to cigarette smoke for several hours, seven days a week.  Now suddenly they are worried about a few minutes exposure?  When exactly did smoke become so incredibly lethal?

The Nannies invented this myth of secondhand smoke and the gullible public let them away with it.  Now they are penalising the sick and elderly with their bullying tactics on the back of this myth.

This is a step way too far.