Saturday 18 December 2010

Something for the weekend

A few blog-posts of interest for the weekend...

Find A Voice really, really hates smoking, but he hates junk science and intolerance more. He gives an account of his conversion here:

You may argue that the medical evidence provides an overwhelming case to introduce such bans but I don't accept this. Having had my eyes opened to all the pseudo-science that currently is awash throughout 'the case for banning / the case for introducing more powers' industry, I have revisited the purported science over the period and much to my surprise (as I thought the smoking science to be irrefutable) the damage to others by second-hand (and the dubious third-hand and extremely dubious fourth-hand) smoking is statistically insignificant.

There might be the tiniest evidence that in certain extreme circumstances (i.e. lock someone in a room for a smoker for a number of years without a supply of 'fresh' air) that second hand smoke may have a very small effect - but would be less than exposure to harmful emissions than one would get through regularly using a car. So that only leaves the smokers themselves and whether or not smoking causes the smoker terrible harm or none at all is entirely the smoker's problem. Nothing to do with me or anyone else.

Likewise, the nurses at Hypercryptical are not happy about the heart miracle hoax or the plan to deny smokers routine surgery.

You might think that I am a rabid smoker demanding my place back in the world, but I am not - I am just an ordinary person, saddened that research has been manipulated to give a false impression of health gains to suit a particular agenda.

The reason for this post is this article in Pulse. It appears that smokers will be denied routine surgery unless they quit or complete an NHS Stop Smoking course. NHS Surrey has take the lead here. Read it all, including the comments.

Smokers will contribute (as tax revenue) £10.5 billion into the coffers this year. Source: HM Revenue & Customs. This equates to 11.55% of the NHS budget for England (£11) billion).

Who will next become society's dog to beat - alcoholics, the obese, the elderly or you?

At, the Freedom Association has posted its response to the EU's latest consultation on tobacco control. The disproportionate influence of state-funded groups like ASH is mentioned, as is the ineffectiveness of the proposals. Have a read.

Also, Freedom in A Puritan Age is a new one to me and looks like a website worth keeping an eye on.

Finally, on an entirely different note, the best album I've heard all year is the self-titled debut and swan-song of Dan Haywood's New Hawks. It is a record of extraordinary breadth and ambition and has been getting the thumbs up from Uncut, The Independent and—somewhat incongruously—Clubber's Guide 24/7. I've been listening to little else for the last few weeks. Here's a sample:

Spate River from Kevin Cameron on Vimeo.


Anonymous said...

Yes it is sad and yet the deception continues.
University of Wisconsin Guilty of Science by Politital Agenda

Found A Voice said...

Velvet Glove - thanks for reading and posting the link. Have been a reading your blog for nearly a year now and have enjoyed it and, as mentioned in my article, you were one of those who helped open my eyes.

PRM - it's amazing (once one is open to the deception) how easy it is to spot the fake science or know when it doesn't "smell right".


hyperCRYPTICal said...

Thanks for the mention.

Kind regards.


Anonymous said...

Hi just followed a link here hope you don't mind a contrary comment.
Put bluntly, smoking stinks. Do what you like in privacy but in public where your addiction makes my clothes smell my eyes sore or my food taste wrong? That's a different matter.
If a friend has bad B.O. a polite quiet hint about deodorant would be normal, but tell a smoker they smell would be offensive?
When a heavy smoker comes into my office I need the window open after to clear the vile stench. That's a direct and undeniable effect on me that should be unacceptableto any decent person.
I'm all for skewering pseudoscience by the way but condemning 'government funded' whilst accepting 'tobacco industry funded' research is not the way to do it. -- Kev Mcveigh, UK

Anonymous said...

aNON @ 19 December 2010 12:18

You might as well have said when someone who smokes comes into my office ..
I'll skweeem and skweeem and skweeem untill I make myself shick !

Chris Oakley said...

anon @ 19 December 2010 12:18

Perhaps Kev would be so kind as to provide us with some recent examples of pseudoscience funded by the tobacco industry to support his argument?

It is just that from where I am sitting, the junk science is all emanating from one direction and I am paying for it.

Found A Voice said...

anon @ 19 December 2010 12:18

And the sound of your laugh REALLY annoys me, as does the way you mutter under your breath as you type, as does the way your telephone conversations are way too loud, as does the smell of your cheesy Quavers that you insist on eating at your desk, as does the type of deodorant you use, as...[etc ad infinum].

Do you get it yet?

Christopher Snowdon said...


Welcome. There's no tobacco industry funded research here. As for your opinion that smoking stinks, never forget that it IS only an opinion. You don't like it and you're not alone, but lots of other people do and many others are completely indifferent.

On the subject of the smoking ban in *privately owned* enclosed places, it shouldn't be too hard to accommodate the quarter of the population that smokes, while keeping sensitive individuals like yourself happy. Quite obviously, nobody is forced to go into a clearly defined smokers' pub, club or restaurant, so the positive liberty argument doesn't stand up.

Christopher Snowdon said...

There's a very good comment on this at Tim Worstall's place (amongst some fairly bone-headed ones):

Anonymous said...

Snowdon, much of the research belittling the negative aspects of smoking is promoted by industry funded lobby groups like FOREST. Note I don't like smoking, but am not coming down on either side re research, merely asking you to compare like with like.
The tax benefits received by the UK from smokers are at least partly offset by the costs of smoking related health issues (I dont know if this is quantified anywhere) so the figures you cite dont exist in isolation.

Found A Voice, you miss the point. Asking me not to eat smelly food at my desk or wear overpowering scent would be considered reasonable in a way that comment on a smokers smell wouldn't. Again let's see like for like.
-- Kev

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Christopher Snowdon said...

[Comments above deleted because they were reprints of the previous post]

The evidence on this blog isn't financed by anybody eg. the posts below showing the discrepancy between the 'heart attacks slashed by smoking ban' studies and the actual data from hospitals.

That aside, the NHS is unlikely to finance research 'belittling the negative aspects of smoking' just as FOREST is unlikely to finance research belittling the negative effects of smoking bans. What we try to do on this blog is bear those biases in mind while looking at the real facts.

Re: tobacco taxes. The ASH figure for the cost of smoking-related diseases is £2.7bn. The tax from tobacco duty is around £10 billion.

Magnetic said...

If you watch movies of not all too long ago, you should notice that smoking was normative. Nonsmokers were not bothered by smoke. Nonsmokers ate in restaurants with ambient smoke, never complaining that their food “tasted wrong”. Nonsmokers didn’t complain that their clothes were unfit for wearing (due to the “unbearable smell”) after a night out on the town. There was not the “Oh, the stink is just too much for me”. It just was not there.

Antismokers are a different mentality altogether. Spending even a little time with an antismoker should indicate that their hyper-sensitivity/reactivity to smoke is so inordinate, so disproportionate, that it has nothing to do with smoke. It masquerades more deep-seated mental dysfunction.

When a society has sufficient psychological insight, antismokers are very few because they are quickly recognized as mentally disturbed. Antismoking gets a foothold into societies when the masses are deteriorating into superficiality. With three decades of one-sided, State-sponsored inflammatory propaganda constantly pounding smoke “danger” and the “victimhood” of the nonsmoker, there are more and more nonsmokers that have capitulated to the barrage. Never before bothered by smoke exposure, they suddenly became “sensitive”. It is all a psychological shift with irrational fear and hatred at its core. Unfortunately, there are now many that are so superficial, harboring considerable mental dysfunction, that a position on the bigotry bandwagon is a highly tempting prospect. It gives superficial, troubled minds a sense of [false] superiority. Bigotry has been made to appear “normal”. These are sickly times.