Cancer sparks legal action over smoking fumesPeter Lavac, a Sydney lawyer, fitness fanatic and champion surf skier, thought something was wrong when he was not breathing as freely.
Knowing smoke was getting into his air from a flat below where a chain-smoking couple lived, he tried to get them to stop. Unsuccessful, he then approached the body corporate, strata title management and the tenancy tribunal, but to no avail.
He consulted a respiratory specialist, Professor Matthew Peters, who told him to monitor his condition. "From this data and my symptoms, Professor Peters concluded on the balance of probabilities that my symptoms and decrease in lung function were caused by the second-hand cigarette smoke," he said.
No responsible physician would make such a statement. 15% of lung cancers occur in nonsmokers and there are 40 different risk factors for the disease—there is no evidence that being in a flat near another flat where people smoke is one of them. On the contrary, such a hypothesis flies in the face of both science and common sense. What kind of an idiot is this Professor Peters?
Professor Peters, chairman of Action on Smoking and Health, said there was no lower limit for exposure to smoking. "If you can smell smoke, it is hurting you," he said.
Aha! Not just any old doctor, then. This is a guy who has argued for smokers to be denied surgery, who shills for GlaxoSmithKline and who has taken pleasure from hounding smokers out of every conceivable 'public' place in the über-nanny state of Australia. Now, having lied to his patient, he intends to persecute two innocent people who have retreated into their own home—the only place left for them to smoke. Let's not beat around the bush here, friends, this guy is the lowest of the low.
Professor Peters told Mr Lavac, 65, and his wife to reduce their exposure. After living in their flat for 18 months in 2005-06, they moved. In March, 2008, Mr Lavac felt unwell. A CT scan detected a shadow at the top of his right lung, and a biopsy confirmed cancer...
Mr Lavac, who had never smoked, lost a third of his right lung. His surgeon and Professor Peters told him that, on the balance of probabilities, the lesion had been caused by passive smoking.
Yes folks. We live in a world in which professors of medicine tell people that they have developed lung disorders because they lived in a flat for 18 months above people who smoked. This is the state of hypochondria and intellectual retardation we have reached in the last days of 2011.
You can watch this cretin below, if you can stomach it. He mentions that his patient had never smoked and reported no secondhand smoke exposure and so, in his weird little world, it must have been tobacco smoke magically seeping in from a neighbouring building wot done it. At this rate, Australians will be burning wickermen and ducking witches before the end of the decade.
I didn't want to say too much about Peter Lavac in this post as he has clearly suffered a brush with death. His disbelief at contracting lung cancer is sadly typical of people who think they don't "deserve" to suffer ill health because they have followed all the rules of public health
“How could this possibly happen to me?” asks Peter. “I was at the peak of my physical strength and power. I’d never smoked, I never drank alcohol, I never did drugs, I was an athlete."
However, as Mag points out in the comments, Mr Lavac has a back story himself. He is a member of the Non-Smokers Movement of Australia and lobbied parliament for a draconian smoking ban in 2006.
The coincidences are coming thick and fast, are they not? ASH and the NSMA are both small organisations with limited memberships and yet it just so happens that the "victim" of fourth-hand smoke (or whatever it is) is a prominent lobbyist for NSMA and the doctor who says his story checks out just so happens to be the chairman of ASH.
Gee, what a small world.