Friday 30 December 2011

March of the morons

Some pitiful news from Australia:

Cancer sparks legal action over smoking fumes

Peter 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.


Anonymous said...

From Dave Atherton.

When I read this my jaw dropped, how could 18 months exposure induce lung cancer. If you believe that cigarette smoke LC is caused by a genetic mutation of the p53 gene by inhaling benzo(a)pyrene (BAP) as the WHO/IARC do then no way will the damage be there.

Also if you have caught my latest blog post then Lavac would of ingested more BAP from walking down a car infested Sydney high street.

"Significant amounts of BaP are inhaled in tobacco smoke. The amount of BaP per cigarette is between 18 and 50 ng”

You may have read my previous post that non smokers breathe in between 1% and 0.001% of that of smokers. (5)

So hence:

Smoky bar BAP inhalation will be (ng/m3)

0.18 to 0.5 while in urban centres it is 3.6 to 7.1.

Therefore if BAP is a cause of lung cancer then non smokers are between 7.2 to 39.44 times just as likely to contract the p53 mutation form of lung cancer from breathing in car exhaust fumes than from the most concentrated of second hand cigarette smoke."

"I conclude that few if anyone has contracted lung cancer from inhaling second hand tobacco smoke."

Mag said...

The story is even more wretched than that. Peter Lavac is not just any patient. He was a signed-up member of the antismoking group Non-Smokers’ Movement of Australia (NSMA) from 2006, if not way earlier. Professor Nitwit (Peters) is currently the chairman of Action on Smoking and Health (Aust). It would seem that these two have known each other in antismoking frenzy for some time.

This whole saga appears to be the collusion between these two antismoking fanatics to advance the antismoking agenda: A theme in Australia that is picking up momentum is apartment smoking bans. These two nincompoops are attempting to plant the idea in the minds of the nonsmoking public that living near a smoker, even for a short time, can result in serious disease for “the innocent”. Solution: Lobby landlords for blanket smoking bans. ASH even has a trash-filled advocacy manual (featuring Lavac) on how to level histrionics at the unsuspecting landlord for the desired result.

What’s particularly repugnant about this story is that the newspaper article gives the impression that Lavac is an ordinary person advised/diagnosed by an independent medico. Rather, both are rabid antismokers. As usual, there is no coherent questioning by the journalist in question: The propaganda piece is presented intact. The story was picked up by a number of Australian newspapers, none of which had commenting available.

Check Siegel’s blog, comments section for Wednesday. “Shadow Guest” has a series of comments on this story providing further detail.

Frank said...

I think that ASH or its like will have a quiet word. A Court test is the last thing they would want.

Mag said...

In the newspaper article, Lavac, a high-profile criminal lawyer (I think he’s just retired), is threatening to take legal action. Yet his lung complaint was in 2008. He has had three years to take legal action, but hasn’t. Lavac knows full well that the causal claims by his nitwit Professor buddy about “smokedrift” and his lung cancer wouldn’t hold up in a court of law. So he does the next “best” thing - and a vile, often-used antismoking tactic at that – threaten litigation in the hope of terrorizing/terrifying landlords into adopting smokefree policies. The conduct can well be described as evil.

Although the newspaper article indicates that Lavac is only planning to sue, the same newspaper abbreviates the story to:
Fitness fanatic sues over fumes
Chain smokers lived below Peter Lavac.
Soon he got lung cancer.

(see Siegel’s blog, comments section for Wednesday)

Mag said...

The 2006 NSMA Newsletter that Lavac appears in (p.4) is of additional interest. Apartment smoking bans were already a goal for the fanatics at this time (comments by Simple-Simon Crapman, p.2).

Appearing on p.1 are some of the goals of the deranged folk:

* Prosecute adults supplying tobacco to minors.
* Mass media quitting campaigns, especially for regional areas..
* Free quit therapies (including drug-free) and ongoing counselling, especially for pregnant teenage smokers...
* Low-cost community exercise, weight-control, and healthy body programmes for teenage mothers and babies.
* Stop glamorising tobacco use, especially in magazines and films aimed at teenagers.
* Put tobacco out of sight wherever sold.
* Defend families against smoking assault from neighbours.
* Ban smoking in vehicles, protecting driver, passengers, other road-users, and the environment.
* Declare smoking in the presence of children as physical and emotional child abuse.

Non-Smokers' Movement's prime issues remain: smokefree homes and cars, protection from smoking neighbours; smokefree workplaces (indoors and outdoors), smokefree public transport waiting areas; smokefree outdoor recreation areas for all children, smokefree crowded outdoor areas, such as sporting and concert events; smokefree
CBDs (Central Business Districts) and reducing smoking rates for all ages, in all parts of Australia. (p.2)

Anonymous said...

You couldn't make it up.

Anonymous said...

Re what 'Frank' said about ASH not wanting legal action, is there anything to stop the smoking family who have been accused from suing these collaborators for slander? Surely it would be in the interests of tobacco companies to fund such an action?

Anonymous said...

Lavac got lung cancer?

This proves there is a God and that She has a wicked sense of humor.

Gary K.

Ivan D said...

It would seem that the “professions” are vying with each other in a contest to see which group can be the most dishonest and get away with it. I think that the bankers are runaway leaders but the medics and lawyers are closing fast. The politicians are rank outsiders thanks to the massive handicap of nobody trusting them at all in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I would like to draw your attention to a statement made to a NSW parliament committee by Mr Lavac in 2006;$FILE/1%20May%202006.pdf

page 13-
"My current health problems are further aggravated and compensated by the
fact that I am asthmatic, and have permanent scarring of my lungs from a bout of pneumonia several
years ago."

"I have been a
criminal lawyer for 30 years both here and in Hong Kong."

"Not long ago I was diagnosed with a very serious lifethreatening
illness. One of the first things I did was to purchase a small apartment right on the
headland on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean to take advantage of the fresh clean air coming
off the sea." What was his original illness I wonder?

How do we put a stop to these lying propagandists?

Christopher Snowdon said...

Anon 22.41. Good find. Very interesting indeed. So this is a guy who had damaged lungs from pneumonia and was suffering from a serious disease before he moved into the apartment. And he is now blaming his neighbours for his lung condition?

Mag said...

Anon, excellent job. My, my, how the facts are incredibly different to the impression given in the newspaper article, TV interview, and the ASH propaganda manual for apartment bans.

There are very serious omissions of fact and false accusations being made by these mentally disturbed folk. There is fraud occurring here.

The newspaper article gives the impression that Lavac was at the peak of health. It also gives the impression that the causal connection between “smokedrift” and Lavac’s lung condition is definitive and authoritative, and Lavac is planning legal action because there is an “airtight” basis for doing so. All of it is agenda-driven trash. It is incitement to neurosis and bigotry in the public that will be manifested as attempts to have apartment complexes made smokefree: They are agitating the public, through fraudulent information, to take unfounded action in advancing their deranged smokefree cause. And the newspapers (and TV channels) running the story did nothing to check the veracity of the antismoker claims.

While I was looking at the story online, for one paper there were 20 other readers also viewing the story at the time; for another paper there were another 27 people online viewing the story. And this was a few days after it was published. This unquestioned propaganda piece has the potential of doing much damage.

Required is someone with finances to have a lawyer contact the newspapers (and TV channels) that ran the story, provide the relevant information, and demand a public retraction of the story under threat of legal action. If the newspapers do not comply, then legal action can be taken against the newspapers and ASH. There could then be a legally-forced public retraction of the story and the fraudulent conduct of the antismokers exposed. This may be too much to ask at this time. Notwithstanding, it would be useful if other bloggers also exposed this story (with relevant background) and spread the information.

Frank said...

Junican: I think it's difficult to sue for slander or malicious falsehood as there can be no case if there is no quantum for loss and I doubt there is in this instance.

Old Wiel, however, is a much different issue and I say prayers for him and his 'investors' every day.

A case for any reason is what's needed. In spite of their bluster the likes of ASH would not want it. The levels of proof required, even for balance of probability, would squash them. (imagine Arnott on the stand and being professionally cross examined?) SHS would be destroyed completely and when that goes, it all goes.

Anonymous said...

We were busting on this days ago over the the smokers club,much of what is posted here is there already:


Anonymous said...

Heres an interesting tidbit when these fanatics were all testifying: $FILE/1%20May%202006.pdf

Secondly, I remind all speakers of the gravity of today's proceedings. Although the
Committee will not be asking you to take an oath or affirmation to tell the truth, we do expect that you
will speak truthfully, and I remind you of the responsibilities that accompany the opportunity to speak
on the public record. With that in mind, I also ask all speakers to respect the privacy of any
individuals they wish to refer to in their statements. Please avoid making critical statements about
specific individuals or naming people outside your immediate family, and instead speak about your
general issues of concern.

Cant have anybody swearing under oath,but we will use your testimony anyway as if it were!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like he already was diagnosed with LC and ASH along with himself decided to put him where some smokers were for a period of time,to monitor his exposure to the second hand smoke,then wait a period of time and publicly diagnose it. This case smells a total rat and is probably the lowest of lows anti-tobacco has ever pulled!

Dr Matthew Peters, ASH Chairman and the thoracic physician who advised Peter on monitoring his lung health during his secondhand exposure, told the launch “exposure to tobacco smoke was a likely factor.”

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.

Ann W. said...

This sounds very much like the "Heather Crowe" campaign we had in Canada. Ms. Crowe was presented as an innocent victim of second hand smoke who developed lung cancer after working in smoky bars and restaurants for 40 years. She didn't know she could become ill from other peoples smoke. In 2002 she went to her doctor with some lumps on her neck.

- "When she was a university student, my doctor had worked with in the same restaurant as me. She remembered how much smoke there was in that restaurant, and told me that she thought my lung cancer might be from second hand smoke."
- "The first thing I did was to hire a lawyer to help me make a claim with the Workers Compensation Board."
- " My name is Heather Crowe, and I'm a hospitality worker. I worked for 40 years in the restaurant industry. I'm a non-smoker. Three years ago, in 2002, I was diagnosed with lung cancer from second-hand smoke in the workplace. I've never smoked. I worked an average of 60 hours a week. This is why I'm here today, to ask for a complete ban in all workplaces and public spaces."
-"they can actually tell, by the way the cells look in the tumour itself, whether it came from a fibreglass or a building material of some sort. But mine was just as if they'd taken that tumour from a smoker. Those were the types of cells that were in the tumour. This is why they called it a smoker's tumour."

Anonymous said...

You may well be right, Frank, although I think that I have seen "loss of one's good name" being damage enough.

On the other hand, although there is a lot of talk about lung cancer, it seems me that he personally claimed only this:

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.

There are implications in the article that he was claiming that the SHS caused his lung cancer, and that is the impression and message that they want to stick in people's minds. But that is not what they say!

Another of their clever verbal tricks.

Mag said...

From the ASH press release and the news articles, it’s pretty clear that he is claiming that “smokedrift” caused his lung cancer. That’s why he’s threatening (but won’t take) legal action. It is giving the impression, by claiming so, that the “causation” is “airtight” and terrifying landlords that they might be sued. That's why they've launched "make apartment complexes smokefree". Now he won’t sue. But the damage has been done. The idea has been planted that “smokedrift” causes serious disease and warrants litigation. It has bypassed the scientific process – “causation” by fanatics’ press release.

This is from a TV piece:
Now he's has won the fight for his life. He's preparing a legal battle taking on his smoking neighbours.
“I want compensation for what I have been through,” he says.

Frank said...

"Now he's has won the fight for his life. He's preparing a legal battle taking on his smoking neighbours.
“I want compensation for what I have been through,” he says."

Oh, how I hope he does, how I hope he does!

But, trying to be impartial, I don't see it. He, along with the rest of the antis, is just getting carried away. They're excited children atm. Even amongst the limited number of antis, there must be wiser heads. I don't see it, unfortunately.

Anonymous said...


I have just read the links which you provided, for which many thanks.

As regards the first one, there is actually no direct suggestion that the smoke he complained about was what caused his lung cancer. Read it very carefully.

As regards the second, again, read it carefully. Again note that the person himself did not actually say that it was the neighbours' tobacco smoke that caused the cancer. That suggestion is merely implied! It is the person writing the article who comes nearest to saying that it was tobacco smoke that caused the lung cancer, but not necessarily the smoke from that particular neighbour!

That's how the bustards do it! They phrase things to give an impression of something without actually saying it.

The whole thing is just a conjuring trick. But they get the publicity, don't actually libel or slander any single person and convey a false impression at the same time.

Even so, if I had the wealth, I would sue them. I would do so purely on the grounds of the impression the articles give, regardless of the detail. And I would insist that they prove without doubt that SHS can do the damage they say it does. Mind you, if I had the wealth, I would be suing ASH for suggesting that I harmed my children by smoking in their presence. ASH say that tobacco smoke DOES harm ALL children - I would want them to show how that is so.

But I have not got the wealth - many have.