The Reverse Second Hand Effect

Those researchers really are amazing.

They never cease to astound me in their quest for knowledge and the new discoveries they keep revealing.

Take for example the Second Hand phenomenon.

First they invented Second Hand smoke.  It had been around for centuries not harming anyone when suddenly they discovered it was lethal and was causing heart attacks and cancer after only a few seconds exposure.  To turn something harmless into something so deadly was quite an achievement and I really have to hand it to them.

They went on of course to prove that there was second hand alcohol and their astounding discovery of Second Hand Obesity.  The latter is of course the scientific fact that if you hang around with your astonishingly obese friend that you'll become astonishingly obese yourself.  Now I find that hard to swallow [if you’ll pardon the expression] but if the researchers say it is fact, then it has to be true.

But now they have discovered the Reverse Second Hand Effect.  Yes – obese people who dally with non-obese become non-obese themselves.

Now, if I hang around with my morbidly obese friend he is the one who loses the weight because my weight is normal.  It's a sort of Second Hand Normality, or even Second Hand Anorexia.  But the problem is that I have been hanging around with him and therefore I have become obese through the original Second Hand Effect.  So now he's thin and I'm fat.  And now the cycle goes into reverse and he starts putting on weight [catching my obesity] and I start to lose it [catching his normality].  So over the months our weights gently undulate from one extreme to the other.

Presumably this phenomenon will spread to other fields as well [but they haven’t invented it just yet].  They will discover that alcoholics who hang around with teetotalers will become teetotalers themselves.  But in the meantime the teetotalers will have become alcoholics.

And what about smoking?  Will they discover that mixing smokers with non-smokers will cause smokers to quit through the Reverse Second Hand Effect?  Will smokers be forced against their will to smoke in pubs and workplaces so that they catch the non-smoking effect?  Or would all the non-smokers become smokers and the gentle swaying from one state to the other start there too?

Where will this all end?  What else is catching?  I'm becoming quite concerned.

I'm steering well clear of red-heads though.

You can't be too careful these days.

Vending the rules

My great friend Luke Clancy is at it again.

He and his buddy pals in gubmint and Tobacco Control have come up with a whizz on an idea – let's ban cigarette vending machines!

Isn't that a blast?

You see apparently cheeeldren are frequenting our pubs and nightclubs and these insidious machines are positively screaming at them to take up smoking.  “Vending machines by their very presence help to advertise and promote tobacco products.” Good God Almighty!  I suppose the same can be said for condom vending machines?  They are promoting promiscuous sex by their very presence? You'll find them in pubs and nightclubs too?

There is a bit of a problem though.  Since the display ban came in, most shops now have vending machines to dispense the fags.  You ask for a pack, the bloke presses the appropriate brand button and out pops the pack, presumably to see daylight for the first time.  Are they going to ban those too?  If so, then the shopkeepers will have to resort back to doors again, and when those doors are opened and the contents made visible, every child within a ten mile radius instantly becomes hooked.

I notice one thing about the proposal – there is no mention of health.  That's a serious omission on their part, or are they finally admitting that it is fuck all to do with health and is merely another step in their quest to "denormalise" smokers and banish tobacco?

Well, yes.  That's exactly what Clancy said – "It sounds anachronistic to have vending machines when we’re banning point of sale advertising, we’re introducing plain packaging, we’re putting price up and we’re trying to eliminate and de-normalise smoking".

Just another little salami-slice on the way to their puritanical goal.



Relative Risk

There was a bit of a flurry on the Interwebs a couple of days ago.

For example,

Streets where smoking is to be banned

Now this got me thinking.  Are Christopher and Dick maybe being a little precious about smokers?  Is the ban warranted?  Could the hospital be right?

So I got out my vast array of highly technical doo-dads and set to work working out the risks.

Basically there are two main forms of pollution in the area – exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke.  Exhaust fumes are, as we well know, toxic and carcinogenic, but cigarette fumes are lethal to the point of instant annihilation of anyone within sight, and also they make your clothes smell.

I decided to plot the relative levels of these threats in the same area.  I have marked exhaust fumes in yellow, and cigarette fumes in red.

Relative risk

Now the red areas are  little difficult to spot [there is a wee cluster at the main entrance for some reason] but don't be fooled.  These red areas have the potential to reduce everything to rubble in a ten mile radius, whereas the millions of litres of highly concentrated exhaust fumes will harmlessly disperse into the atmosphere, as we all know.  Also we must take into account that even though vehicles are belching vast clouds of fumes, they are traveling quickly [at least five miles an hour in the rush hour?] so they are soon out of the area, whereas those damned smokers are all but stationary and therefore multiplying the effect of their toxic cloud by a factor of at least two.

I don't often disagree with Christopher Snowdon and I rarely disagree with Dick Puddlecote, but on this occasion I think they're wrong.

Those two streets MUST be closed.

We must think of the chiiildren?