Thursday, July 12, 2007

The smoking gun

There's been a small spat caused by Timmy's Times article which, amongst other things, condemns the banning of smoking in private places, i.e. pubs.

A gentleman calling himself The Clunking Fist weighs in...
I'm sure Mr Worstall thought he was awfully brave.
"... the dangers of passive smoking have been hugely overstated is one thing," starts Worstall. Mr Worstall hasn't, evidently, heard of sidestream smoke, predominent in passive smoking, "four times more toxic than mainstream smoke" and "contains much higher levels of many of the poisons and cancer-causing chemicals in cigarettes." (

Mr Fist is obviously unaware of the blogger etiquette that says that if you are going to cite some facts or figures—especially scientific ones—one should actually link to the article in question.

Unfortunately, Mr Fist doesn't do so and, having searched for those exact sentences on the site, I cannot be bothered to trawl through the many documents that that exact sentence, about "much higher levels of poisons", brings up.

However, I would like to point out to Mr Fist that the levels of cancer caused by passive smoking were found to be "statistically insignificant". By those clean air fanatics in the US of A, no less.*

Here, I'll let Penn and Teller explain this particular piece of Bullshit.

Plus, of course, Mr Fist also misses the point that pubs are, in fact, private property.

Is Mr Fist another Neil Harding, we wonder?

* Oh, and by the way, this doesn't mean that I think that sitting in a smokey atmosphere is good for anyone: I don't. All I am pointing out is that, despite the "concensus" (you all know how I love that word"), the actual, concrete evidence is scanty to say the least.


Roger Thornhill said...

Just love the way these two destroy pomposity and unreason.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Passive smoking may or may not be risky. But surely, the bloke who's smoking gets more poison than the passive smoker? It is inconceivable that passive smoking is more dangerous than smoking.

Otherwise, if you are a non-smoker in a room full of smokers, your best defence would be to light up and chain smoke, if the smoke coming through the filter is "cleaner" than the surrounding air?

Oh yeah? So what has happened for the last ten years, exactly?

Over at the ASI, they are posting some of the winning entries of the Young Writers on Liberty. One does not want to put such keen minds off,...