Monday, December 01, 2008

Passive smoking and the salt mines

[This is a guest-posting by DaveA.]

It has always been a puzzle to me as to why Hitler wasted millions of Reich marks on Cyclon B cyanide at Auschwitz-Birkenau, when all Adolf had to do to exterminate the Jews, Slavs and gypsies was to send them to the nearest smoke filled bar.

Not many people know it, but Hitler was the first person in modern times to ban smoking in public places and he also walks away with the caravan for first coining the phrase Passivrauchen—passive smoking.

The Ministry of Science and Education, and the Reich Health Office, produced posters depicting smoking as a habit of Jews, jazz musicians, Gypsies, Indians, homosexuals, blacks, communists, capitalists, cripples, intellectuals and harlots. Health professionals were sent to schools, terrifying children with tales of droopy penises and racial impurity.

While the ball was rolling in the Third Reich, Stalin was purging 20 million plus kulaks, and from 1928 scientists that did not fit in the Soviet ideology were either removed from their pots or dispatched to the salt mines. It would seem history is repeating itself.

Passive smoking is at worst a minor health worry—like walking down the high street breathing in traffic fumes—or is entirely harmless. The cat was out the bag in 2003 when the peer reviewed Enstrom/Kabat report was published in the British Medical Journal. It is the largest and longest study ever commissioned, lasting 38 years from 1960 to 1998, involved 114,000 Californians of whom 35,000 had partners who were smokers. The conclusions were: “The results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality, although they do not rule out a small effect. The association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer may be considerably weaker than generally believed.” And “Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, primarily asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema, has been associated with exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, but the evidence for increased mortality is sparse.” Just in case it is crossing your mind the 38 years research was funded 95% by American Cancer Society (ACS) and 5% by tobacco companies.

The main protagonists are Herr Glantz and Comrade Thun—both are on the payroll for the ACS. Please note Enstrom based his research on Cancer Prevention Studies 1 and 2 (CPS1, CPS2), data supplied by the ACS. To begin with Glantz and Thun descended into ad hominem attacks on Enstrom/Kabat and questioning the accuracy of their data, supplied by them to refresh your memory!

Alison Tonks Associate Editor of the BMJ wrote in response to Glantz and Thun...
I feel quite embarrassed following the debate on this article. Many postings look more like a witch hunt than a scientific debate.

... and Richard Smith, the Editor of the BMJ, commented...
Fourthly, I found it disturbing that so many people and organisations referred to the flaws in the study without specifying what they were. Indeed, this debate was much more remarkable for its passion than its precision.

Also around that time Dennis Bray—who works for the Institute for Coastal Research, GKSS Geesthact, Germany—said...
“The paper examines silencing through a systematic examination of the "rapid responses" to a smoking study published in the British Medical Journal claiming that second hand smoke is not as dangerous as conventionally believed. Media coverage of the smoking study is also examined, as is the question of whether there is self-silencing by the media regarding doubts about the negative effects of passive smoke. The results suggest that the public consensus about the negative effects of passive smoke is so strong that it has become part of a regime of truth that cannot be intelligibly questioned.”

Now it gets dirty. Herr Glantz and Comrade Thun since 2005 have gone out of their way to have Professor Enstrom removed from his post at University Of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) by accusing him of scientific misconduct.

Also just in case Enstrom and Kabat come up with the “wrong results” again he has been denied any further access to CPS2 and ACS’ data [PDF].

This Soviet style (with a hint of McCarthyism) is now spread across the board where any dissent is treated with personal attacks, trashing of their work and telling all sorts of porkie pies that undermine legitimate science [PDF].

Professor Carl V Phillips, a Canadian Epidemiologist, also has had a knock at the door in the early hours of the morning and no doubt will be doing his bit for Saxo’s share price.
“The two we published, by James E. Enstrom and Michael Siegel, both deal with the issue of environmental tobacco smoke. This commentary adds a third story of attacks on legitimate science by anti-tobacco activists, the author's own experience. These stories suggest a willingness of influential anti-tobacco activists, including academics, to hurt legitimate scientists and turn epidemiology into junk science in order to further their agendas. The willingness of epidemiologists to embrace such anti-scientific influences bodes ill for the field's reputation as a legitimate science.”

“Enstrom cites the reign of terror over biology under Stalin as one example of politics trumping science. Though the Soviet case is rather extreme (we North Americans who dare question the scientific orthodoxy only have our careers threatened; not our lives, at least so far), it is not the most extreme. Many cultures were hobbled for centuries because of religious adherence to pseudoscience, and damage to people's health was one of the many results.”

(Space has prevented me from presenting a whole catalogue of 1984 tactics and suppressions of the truth. If you want more I can easily supply.)

In America, the general population have been brainwashed by the Surgeon General (scripts from Herr Glantz) to the level that very few people in America believe passive smoking is harmless and the new soundbite there is that there is “no safe level of passive smoke.”

Disturbingly most Americans have emerged from Room101 also believing that passive smoking is equally dangerous as active smoking. Epidemiology in the US is now demoted to the level of junk science and a nation has been lied to by big government, supposedly a democracy.

Jesus wept.


Dick Puddlecote said...

Bollocks to democracy and freedom, all is well as Tony Sidewise and Kay Tie don't have smelly hair anymore.

Anonymous said...

You mean my freedom has been taken away from me for nothing, or at most, a maybe?

And I stopped going to pubs about 2 weeks after the ban, 'least the smoke covered the smell of stale sweat, piss and beer.

Anonymous said...

The phrase "Although they do not rule out a small effect." smacks of the usual American arse covering just so that they don't get sued in a class action later.

Roger Thornhill said...

Hitler was also a teetotaller and a vegetarian.

If he was alive today he would believe in AGW, carbon credit cards, bin tax, road pricing and have a hockey stick graph in his private apartments.

DaveA said...

What I did not mention was that it was the World Health Orgaization (WHO) who kicked off in 1975 the lies on passive smoking. The Chief Medical Officer, Sir George Godber the equivalent of Sir (?) Liam Donaldson. The WHO were disappointed that the levels of smoking were not declining at sufficient levels. So Sir George Godber, British delegate to the World Health Organization, and anti-smoker activist presented to WHO his blueprint for changing individual behaviour by changing social attitudes. Of smoking, he said: " would be essential to 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 to ETS." When asked by a reporter why he had exaggerated the risks of secondary smoke, instead of denying that exaggeration C. Everett Koop is quoted as saying he had to be "forceful in warning of the ETS threat in order to win the public's attention."

DaveA said...

I need to do some more research but in more enlightened times there was a meeting in 1964 in America with the American Cancer Society, the Surgeon General and the tobacco companies to create safer cigarettes, or deliver nicotine sfer via tobacco.

The vested interests of anti smoking were so confident that by 2000 they could reduce smoking to 10% of the population, the partnership was dissolved.

So the anti smoking legions contribute to smoking prevalence and if you believe them early mortality.

Anonymous said...

Remind anyone of the tactics used by the warmists; Hansen, Gore, Schmidt et al?

Anonymous said...

The line between politics and science just got even more blurry...I find it disturbing, not only the corruption of science by the Left, but the credulous faith which most people still put in science, especially when easily obtainable data and counterarguments are available.

The problem is, when you point out this corruption of science and question current orthodoxies, you get branded as some sort of religious nut or 'denier'. The very basis of science, i.e. scepticism, is now the worst crime!

Anonymous said...

Who cares if it's a health hazard, it's just a foul habit. And all you uptight 'yuman writes' smokers should bear in mind that even 20 feet up wind on a breezy day the rest of us can smell your stink.
So keep whining, you'll not get much sympathy.

Stan said...

I'm not a smoker (not cigarettes anyway - I do enjoy an occassional cigar maybe twice a year), but I am appalled by the way this passive smoking business has been over hyped. And unlike "Non-Smoker" I don't mind the smell of cigarettes, actually enjoy the smell of cigars or a decent pipe tobacco and would rather put up with that than the stench of hypocrisy that emanates from people like him.

Anonymous said...

DaveA interesting article on how the SHS smoking fraud has been perpetrated.

The widely reported (er not) Scottish Heart Miracle shows the on-going nature of the fraud.

Non-smoker, do you drink? Check the same tactics being used on drinkers.

Also NS: Sympathy? Not sure what you mean. Are you suggesting 'the ends justify the means'?

DaveA said...

Here is liar-in-chief Amanda Sandford of ASH on the Prof Pell 30minute heart study. "ASH (UK) endorses your conclusion that bad science can never be justified. ASH, unlike some organisations, has never asserted that a single 30-minute exposure to second-hand smoke is enough to trigger a heart attack, and we are not aware of any UK health advocates who have done so. "

Anonymous said...

Yay! Yet another pro-smoking thread, this time under the guise of exposing Stalinism with references to Herr Schicklegruber!

Thank God for Devil's Kitchen. In a world of madness, we have sanity. So light up and puff away for freedom while cursing the man who says it stinks. So what if it makes everyone smell foul? Who cares about others when there is our freedom to won?

Smokers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your filter tips.

Anonymous said...

Replace fag ash and smoke with global warming and Hey Presto! another article documenting exactly the same style of truth suppression.

Anonymous said...

Hitler was also the last leader to ban hunting in Europe, that is until T. Blair decided to get in on the act. Fucking Nazi's the pair of them.

Mister Magpie said...

Sudden obsession with the scent of cigarette smoke on the part of the peanut gallery. This couldn't be related to the realization that there's not a single compelling medical reason to ban smoking, could it?

Longing to blow smoke into your faces, not for good, solid libertarian reasons but simply because it would make me laugh and probably actually get me a bit hard,


El Draque said...

The next slogan: "Smoke-free-ness is next to Godliness". It will become a religious duty not to smoke.
I do wonder whether the fanatical obsession with cleaning out dirty habits will lead to something worse. Not the use of modified insecticide (Zyklon B) on people, but "merely" a terrible assault on our rights at home.

Anonymous said... if Hitler banned hunting pond life, how did his pal Herr Goering spend so much time slaughtering wildlife I wonder. Was the second man in the third Reich exempt?

Good article on the myth of passive smoking. "Liar" Donaldson was the main mover of the ban here; of course the evil control freaks of the Blair gang never compromise and we end up with one of the worlds most totalitarian bans.

Booze is much easier to demonise than second hand smoke-especially since they don't have to actually massively fib about the mayhem it causes, which they do for passive smoking.
Alcohol is now in the sites of the puritanical nannies of NL and the BMA.

Those who cheer on "bans" by a deeply fascist regime-the meglamaniacs will get round to you too.

Anonymous said...

"the new soundbite there is that there is “no safe level of passive smoke.”"

Which is just standard modern health Nazism; it's both 100% true and 100% meaningless. There's 'no safe level of passive smoke', but there's no safe level of anything, because merely being alive will kill you sooner or later.

The problem is that there are too many people who believe that they can be 100% safe, and are unable to comprehend comparative risk levels.

Anonymous said...

DaveA wrote; very few people in America believe passive smoking is harmless and the new soundbite there is that there is “no safe level of passive smoke.”

It's worse than that even! ASH even claimed in a press release in 2005 that "Secondhand tobacco smoke more dangerous than smoking itself." I think this takes the cake as the most outrageous claim ever, and one which ought to set even dedicated antismokers wondering where this nonsense comes from.

Neal Asher said...

'Something else' is a scourge of modern Britain and it is about time nanny government, the BMA pretend doctors, the leading lights in our compensation culture and the insurance companies took notice. 'Something else' kills us in our millions yet it is utterly ignored. You see, my chances of getting lung cancer if I don’t smoke are about 1 in a 100, rising to maybe 5 in a 100 by smoking (not entirely sure about this, but these figures are only for an example). But there’s lots of other ways smoking can kill me, so let’s suppose my chances of dying from a smoking-related disease are 20 in a 100 or 20%. Now, with life being 100% fatal, this means that I have (100% - 20% = 80%) an 80% chance of dying from 'something else'. It’s a killer, that’s what it is. I think it would be foolish for me to give up smoking since, the moment I give up, my chances of dying from 'something else' will begin to rise and just keep on rising.

Anonymous said...

An aussie doctor called Ray Johnstone (homepage here) has collected an impressive array of statistics and information to counter passive smoking pseudo-science propaganda.

Also, diesel particulates are *far* more dangerous than tobacco smoke. Each time a bus or truck goes past, belching great clouds of exhaust, for those in its wake it's probably equivalent in long-term health risk to smoking a pack of Capstan Full Strength!

When ZanuLab first got in I seem to recall they promised to abolish diesel public transport, and have exhaust quality monitors on every corner. But those turned out to be yet more promises that fell by the wayside.

Dr Evil said...

What does smoking actually do for a person? Nothing, apart from reducing lung capacity and in some cases causing cancer. Cigarette smoke is particularly annoying as it is acrid owing to the chemicals in the tobacco and the paper. Oxidising agents mostly to keep the fag burning. And the smoke makes you and others smell of smoke. Just not very pleasant. I advise those who smoke ciggies to try small cigars or a pipe instead. Much better for you all long term.

Now I used to smoke. I used to smoke cigars. I lit one up perfectly legally in a restaurant in New York city some years ago, when it was allowed. The squeals of the women as they rushed away from me was quite hilarious. Obviously scared shitless about passive smoking. People who have never smoked get lung cancer. It's mostly caused by genetics and other environmental factors.

My daughters nagged me so much because of what the school was telling them about smoking that I gave up 3 years ago. Pester power.

Anonymous said...

Neal Asher, I think long term smoking is said to increase lung cancer risks more like from, say, 1 in 100 to about 17 in a hundred. To me, that is information that I can hear and process, but not in itself a reason to quit. Lung cancer is a relatively rare thing, and the majority of cases occur after the age of 70. As for the second hand smoke stuff, the research seems all over the place in terms of increased risks. The worst case scenarios added together seem to show that if you had, say, 1 in 100 cancer risk with no exposure at all, decades of living in close proximity to smokers might raise the risk to something like 1.25 in 100. That is less than radon gas exposure, for example. And the risks of emphysema and heart disease are similar. Funny how the facts get spun into a sense of emergency when public health officialdom, politicians hungry for votes from the 80% who don't smoke, and a public taught to overreact to public health fear-mongering, act in concert. It is too late now to turn things back or compromise, since contraty opinions are blocked and there is no coherent opposition to the bans.

Anonymous said...

There is “no safe level of passive smoke.”

There is no safe level of ionising radiation, though the risks at very low exposures are bugger all. That relates to cancer risk, BTW.

Anonymous said...

There is “no safe level of passive smoke.”

Actually, according to some research, there are not only safe levels but low levels of some substances have been shown to be beneficial. Research in Japan concluded (much to their surprise) that people who were exposed to low doses of radiation after the Nagasaki bomb suffered from a lowered incidence of cancer in subsequent years. I believe similar findings have emerged from studies on radiologists.

It has been speculated that the mechanism is related to beneficial developments in the immune system. Rather like low level use of a muscle develops it to accept a greater load later.

Some chemical toxins have shown a similar effect. As in all things, the dose is critical.

Anonymous said...

The estimates of risk elevation in smokers are at best highly suspect, at worst massively exaggerated.

Just as with 'passive' smoking, these risk factors were derived from epidemiological 'studies' of varying kinds, and the key lung cancer ones were conducted up to 50 years ago. Austin Bradford Hill and his junior assistant, Richard Doll, paved the way in the UK, and Ernst Wynder was the leading light of such research in the USA.

What is now much clearer, though, is that all of this research was carried out on people who smoked the cigarettes of the time, ie mainly the 1940s and 1950s. Since then, with the development of low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes (modern cigs. typically having levels of these constituents less than 1/3rd of their 1950s equivalents), and the use of increasingly sophisticated filter tips, modern day cigarettes are at least 50% safer than they were at that time. Yet the 'risk' factors for the supposed 'smoking-related diseases' have never been adjusted downwards.

Does all of this matter? Isn't smoking still the number 1 factor in the development of lung cancer?

Well maybe it is, but there are many more factors that are known about today, compared with 40-50 years ago - not least industrial pollution and the increasing levels of Diesel fuel usage.

But there is a much bigger issue than arguing about whether the risk is 17x, or 5x or even 2x, and this relates to the question of why it is that cigarettes are still allowed to carry any significant risk of potentially fatal disease. And there is a big, and almost-forgotten story to tell about this.

Anyone who has an interest in this subject, whether smoker or non-smoker, should take some time out to read this report at, that describes the efforts being made, in that same period (40-50 years ago) to develop a Less Hazardous Cigarette (LHC).

This development was canned by the Carter Administration under pressure from prohibitionists, Pharmaceutical companies (who stood to lose huge profits from their burgeoning market for 'cessation' aids), and the delicate flowers, such as Kay Tie and Tony Sidaway, who don't like the smell of tobacco smoke!

When you understand that the LHC development was already demonstrating that it was possible to reduce the risks of tobacco smoking to the equivalent levels accepted for any other consumer product, you may start to feel cheated.

When you then realise that the callous action of stopping this important piece of R&D has resulted in, quite literally, hundreds of millions of premature deaths that would have been avoided, you should, like me, feel fucking outraged!

If you only have half an hour to spare, at least listen to the recorded interview, at the linked page, involving Dr Gio Gori, who was leading the LHC research team at that time.

The LHC is the way forward, not nicotine gum, or patches, nor toy cigarettes made from plastic, and powered by batteries - but containing no tobacco, and mostly certainly not prohibition or the partial prohibition of today's illiberal bans. It's day is going to come again.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Tee-hee!From snu news blogspot:
UK Planned curbs on smoking to be axed..

December 3, 2008 - Isabel Oakeshott, Deputy Political Editor, Times Online measures to help cut smoking and drinking are expected to be shelved this week because of fears they will alienate voters during the recession. Ministers have decided they cannot justify some of the more draconian measures to reduce cigarette and alcohol sales during the economic downturn. A proposed ban on shops displaying tobacco, and steps to force tobacco manufacturers to remove logos from cigarette packs are expected to be abandoned, along with proposals to stop supermarkets discounting alcohol. The U-turn follows pressure from backbenchers and trade groups, who argued that there was little evidence to show the steps would have health benefits.

Last night, Tuesday, 12/2/2008, the health department was examining whether any part of the proposed tobacco restrictions could be salvaged in time for Wednesday’s Queen’s speech, which sets out the legislative program. It is understood, however, that ministers have reluctantly conceded there is not enough evidence to support the tobacco proposals and have concluded it would “not be in the nation’s best interests” to press ahead. Some in the cabinet feared the crackdown, which included packaging cigarettes in plain “vanilla” boxes with no branding, would jar with the key message about shoring up the economy. Senior Labor sources say the legislative program is designed to appeal to “white van man”; that is, working-class swing voters who are more likely to smoke and drink. The government is still expected to press ahead with plans to ban so-called “happy hours” in pubs and clubs. http://www.timeson s/uk/health/articl e5258474.ece

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DaveA said...

Following the logic we should amend the ban to allow smoking in private members clubs, pubs with two rooms and leave the choice to landlords in one room pubs.

Anonymous said...

DaveA said...

Following the logic we should amend the ban to allow smoking in private members clubs, pubs with two rooms and leave the choice to landlords in one room pubs.

12/04/2008 12:50:00 PM

NO! NO! NO! Can't you see, we're all too stupid to have a freedom of choice, it's best to let nanny look after us all, or we might get hurt.

Or we might upset those folks that choose to sit in a pub then complain about it later.....


Anonymous said...

the rest of us can smell your stink.

Seventy years ago, you'd have said the same thing about Jewish moral turpitude, you fucking Nazi scumbag! I can smell your fascism all the way from Vancouver. Cunt.

olivermir said...
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