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August 24, 2008

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paulflynn

Timbone, the exchange in the Guardian thread fairly demonstrates both sides of the argument. There is evidence of the very strong popular support for the smoking ban against the organised swarming of F2C.

Rollo Tommasi

Thanks for your reply Timbone. But I don't think it matters that F2C isn't affiliated to Forces. The Policy Exchange made comments about some English cities "beyond revival". Even though it's an independent think-tank, the Conservative Party was sufficiently concerned about people thinking it shared these views that David Cameron felt the need to distance himself from the report: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7556937.stm.

The comments on the Coren article are interesting. There were a lot of comments sympathising with the thugs, which attracted strong condemnation from other posters. The problem for F2C is many of the thug-apologists also made comments about passive smoking which are identical to what F2C itself says. So people will be left thinking that F2C also condones the acts of the thugs.

If F2C is really to live up to its claim that "We at Freedom2Choose do not represent either extreme of the passive smoke debate", it needs to show that it is not filled with extremists who applauded or excused the inexcusable actions of those thugs.

timbone

Rollo. I am afraid your comparison falls at the first hurdle. Forces is not affiliated to F2C in the way that you describe, ie the Labour Party and a trade union. The Labour Party was started by trade unions, F2C was not started by Forces. As I said, F2C is made up of individual people. Any opinion is a person's own opinion, they are not speaking on behalf of F2C, and everybody is entitled to their own opinion. As a member of F2C, I have no authority to make a statement on behalf of F2C. Paul himself has criticised John Reid in reply to one of my comments. That is his opinion. I would not expect another member of the Labour Party to condemn his comment on their behalf if I disagree with it. By the way, have you seen the original article by Victoria Coren which Forces refer to? It received so many comments, 396, in less than two days I think, that the observer had to close it. If you have not seen it, it is an interesting article, and some of the comments are fascinating.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/aug/10/smoking?gusrc=rss&feed=uknews

Rollo Tommasi

Timbone's comparison with political parties is interesting. If a trade union affiliated to the Labour Party said something outrageuous, then I'm pretty confident the Labour Party would make sure it was made known that it did not agree with the union's comments. Same with the Conservatives over something bad a donor or linked think-tank might say (take, for instance, the recent case of a think-tank which suggested that some northern cities should be left to rot).

If F2C really does disagree with the view of Forces that the thugs were justified in assaulting Mrs Buchanan and that violent responses by smokers should be expected, you should say so. You don't even need to criticise Forces - simply make an unconditional statement on behalf of F2C condemning any such violence. Unless, of course, many F2C members actually believe that Mrs Buchanan got what she deserved....

Fredrik Eich

Huw,

"You just have to obey the law of the land and not smoke in enclosed public places."

I have disobeyed the 2006 "health" act a minimum of twice a day since July 1/st 2007. Including police stations(well once only, July 1 2007 Brighton nick 6:00 AM), train stations, pubs but mainly smoke free concrete buildings.

"As far as you may reach that is not draconian."

What on earth could be more draconian than abolishing every single smoking venue in the country?

"People who smoke are not barred from places, they simply may not smoke in them."

That's right, Huw, smokers are not barred from going to any smoke free places, now, as they were not barred from going to any smoke free places before the 2006 health act.

"People who wish to smoke in company can invite their company into their own homes."
Very kind of you, Huw, and how much longer can we expect this situation to last?

"People who feel they cannot enjoy themselves in enclosed public places because they cannot smoke"

this argument is similar to people who sit in pubs and point out that one does not need to drink in order to enjoy ones self - which is of course both true and self defeating.

"still need to put the blame where it belongs, on their addiction"

addiction? How is smoking addictive?

"rather than blaming those who have passed legislation to protect the vast majority from "

The 2006 health act is a public health disaster, promoted by those who listen to Big Tobacco in one ear and Big Pharma in the other ear.

"having to inhale the fumes from the lethal hobby of the minority."

As smoking causes no diseases whatsoever I can only assume you are talking about people who use use carcinogens on a daily basis - the majority.

Huw, if you have any evidence that smoking tobacco causes any diseases in humans - please show it to me.

Diolch Yn Fawr Fredrik.

timbone

Hello again Paul. You said "The Forces garbage is extremism of the most sinister kind. F2C rely on them and on Forest for information. Have they no shame?"
I personally do not want to comment on what Forces said, as I am not a member of Forces, and do not rely on them for whatever information you are referring to.
F2C is a group of individuals with a common interest, a bit like stamp collectors or a political party. I know that you do not agree with everything said by political parties which are not yours. On the other hand, you will at times disagree with views of your own party, and agree with others.
As far as 'information' is concerned. All my information concerning tobacco comes mainly from the internet and a little from other media. If I want to know anything specific, medical matters or news, I will get most referrals from google. Forces and Forest are just two of many places, inluding this very blogsite, which I may look at now and again to see what they are saying.


Frank Davis

Rollo Tomassi wrote: 'Frank describes epidemiological studies showing the dangers of passive smoking as “rather weak and inaccurate”.'

When did I mention passive smoking? I was referring to active smoking studies, such as those by Doll and Hill, Wynder and Graham, Hammond and Horn, all in the 1950s - which is when Sir Ronald Fisher was reading them.

Carlos

Frank our posts must have overlapped.

Carlos

Rollo those quotes are of the freat Sir Ronald Fisher one of the masters of statistics. Spaghetti skin well said.

Huw pubs, restaurants and the like arent public they are PRIVAETLY owned- the owner invites people in so it should be his/her say as to whether smoking occurs or not on THEIR property which they pay taxes for NOT the government. Thats why we are angry at those who passed this undemocratic oppressive legislation.

Frank Davis

Huw wrote: "People who wish to smoke in company can invite their company into their own homes."

You appear to have no objection to this. Would you have any objection to people enjoying the company of other smokers in private members-only smoking clubs?

spaghetti skin

Mr Flynn. Instead of gossipping on here about it, perhaps everyone should wait for the facts of the case and the trial if there is one before trying to score points off each other. There will always be for and against arguments to any rules but this is deeper than just a possible pro health gesture. This is the victimisation of 25% of British citizens and a similar percentage of visitors to this country but more to the point it is victimisation of thousands of legitimate businessmen selling
legitimate products in private business premises. These are not public buildings and therefore should not be subject to special rules on the say so of of a few over enthusiastic health fanatics who think they have the right to control others. In a democratic society, personal choice is paramount, unless of course there is a hidden agenda to your methods.

Rollo Tommasi

So here's a running scoreline of feedback on the Forces article.

The noble Fredrik Eich (who recently made clear he is not a member of F2C) has roundly condemned their comments.

Belinda and Carlos (both of whom I know to be F2C members) have stated they do not condone the actions of the thugs at that station. But they are driven by an urge to defend their actions, somehow suggesting they might have been reasonably provoked into violence.

And I don't know if Timothy le Clerc is F2C or not. But his statement of echoing the hyperbolic comments of Victoria Coren in the Guardian, 'On a bad day, I'd've pushed her off myself.' is disgusting.

Rollo Tommasi

Frank describes epidemiological studies showing the dangers of passive smoking as “rather weak and inaccurate”. His supporting evidence? Nothing more than a generic quote made over 50 years ago.

Timothy, meanwhile, tries to warn of the limitations of meta-analyses. His supporting evidence? References to 3 articles, none of which state that meta-analyses are fundamentally flawed. All they state is that they have to be constructed carefully to be valid and meaningful. In all of these 3 articles, only one meta-analysis involving passive smoking is criticised. And that is a report produced by Peter Lee, a tobacco industry analyst whom Eysenck suggested exaggerated results in order to back up his claim of misclassification when smokers pretend to be non-smokers. It’s the pro-smoking movement hoist by its own petard. If Timothy took the time to read the 2004 IARC monograph for himself, he’d be aware of the care that has been taken to overcome potentially confounding factors across the scores of studies on the dangers of passive smoking.

I’ve not looked closely at leukaemia studies, because I’ve not encountered revisionists who try to rewrite facts in an attempt to deny the existence of harm there. If there is sufficient evidence showing dangers to health from living too close to sub-stations or pylons, then I would support protective action.

Rollo Tommasi

Belinda: You could not be more wrong by trying to suggest that others, including me, were “misreading the intent of Forces’ message”.

Don’t try to pretend the Forces writer only had the assailants of the poor young smoking woman assaulted in 2006 in mind when referring to “antismoking thugs”. The article refers to Victoria Coren’s description of Mrs Buchanan as a “busybody” and then immediately describes such deeds as the acts of “thugs”…..long before the article turns to the awful case of the other young woman.

And don’t try to pretend that the article is about “a feeling that ordinary courtesies can be dispensed with when dealing with smokers”. It is about seeking to legitimise a violent reaction to any form of challenge (even the most peaceful kind) to a smoker. Hence this paragraph:
“Antismoking thugs stand warned: when you see someone smoking, leave him alone and move off. If you intervene, the mass media antismoking thugs may paint you as a hero but – if you really care about your health as you claim – bear in mind that you may end up in a hospital.”

The true intent of the Forces message is perfectly clear…..and it’s much, much darker than you would wish it to be. According to that paragraph, ANY kind of contact with someone smoking – no matter how polite – may be enough to warrant physical assault.

By the way, I did not ignore the story about the young woman who was horrifically tortured. I stated upfront at 23:26 last night that “I have no difficulty in condemning any act of violence (including the horrific assault against that poor young woman which, incidentally, occurred over a year before the smoking laws in England came into force)”. I don’t think I could have made myself any clearer.

Like Carlos, you are totally unable to condemn violent acts unequivocally. You’ve had to create this illusion of “deliberately engineered fear” which, even if it were real, would not be enough to justify the sorts of violence meted out on Mrs Buchanan.

And I strongly disagree with your description of the science. I was comparing “correlation” with “causation”, not “significance” with “non-significance”. Of course, the great majority of studies show clearly and consistently the added risk to health that passive smoking causes. These results ARE significant. The pooled results show a statistically significant added risk at 95% CI.

Timothy Le Clerc

Belinda - other examples of anti-smoking thugs - the deaf man in Wales (Cardiff I think it was), beaten to a pulp for smoking in a bus station. The anti-smoking thug asked him to put it out, not realising he couldn't hear. He then proceeded to beat him to a bloody pulp. The police described the attack as 'unprovoked'.

"You also reiterate the idea that many studies make an insignificant result into a significant one. No, they reiterate that the result is insignificant, and if anything else bar secondary smoke were the subject of such insignificant results they would not find publishers." And also magnifies the problematic aspects, e.g., confounding factors, of numerous studies, many times over. Not to mention the problems inherent in meta-analysis itself:

http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/309/6957/789

http://www.improvingmedicalstatistics.com/Meta%20Beware%20gifts.htm

http://www-users.york.ac.uk/~mb55/intro/meta.htm

Huw O'Sullivan

You don't have to believe it Frank.
You just have to obey the law of the land and not smoke in enclosed public places.
As far as you may reach that is not draconian.
People who smoke are not barred from places, they simply may not smoke in them.
People who wish to smoke in company can invite their company into their own homes.
People who feel they cannot enjoy themselves in enclosed public places because they cannot smoke still need to put the blame where it belongs, on their addiction rather than blaming those who have passed legislation to protect the vast majority from having to inhale the fumes from the lethal hobby of the minority.

You should also perhaps blame the tobacco companies for the fact that people believe that the studies prove the correlation as they went to great effort and expense to hide such results, it would seem they also believed that they proved the damage that smoking causes.

For myself, as a smoker, I do believe that only a fool could pretend that smoking is anything other than harmful and only a very great fool could try to persuade anyone other than themselves of that.

Timothy Le Clerc

"You know fine well that's not what I'm saying. We all die. If I choose to take risks with my own life, then that's my business. But if I choose to take genuine yet unnecessary risks with the life of my neighbour, then that is unacceptable. And that's what passive smoking in an enclosed public place is - a genuine, unnecessary and unacceptable risk to life."

And allowing electricity companies to erect pylons in areas with children isn't, despite an RR for leukemia of 1.70? When are you going to admit that based on your own spurious logic this threat is real? Because medical authorities, contradictorily, refuse to believe it is, while at the same time demarcating passive smoking, with an RR for lung cancer and heart disease of approx 1.25, a significant health threat? Do you rely so slavishly on appealing to authorities in every argument? Or is smoking simply a special case in which following a train of logic goes out of the window?

According to a European Commission report, there are over 900 everyday emitters of carcinogens which can damage air quality and harm health, including open candles (!!!!), coal fires, and cleaning products. Yet passive smoking is a special case.

There are a myriad of items which can passively damage health. I have never once heard you call for any of them to be banned. Smoking is a special case.

As for the woman who couldn't mind her own business, and was mortally offended by the act of smoking in the open air, to echo the hyperbolic comments of Victoria Coren in the Guardian, 'On a bad day, I'd've pushed her off myself.'

Frank Davis

Rollo Tommasi wrote: "To an extent you're right to say "correlation is not causation". A correlation in an individual study should not be treated as causation, unless the correlation is very strong. But with smoking and lung cancer, we see study after study showing the same correlation. That provides, as a very minimum, probable cause. And playing silly pedantic games over terminology is tantamount to playing with people's lives."

No, it's not a silly pedantic game. It's a point of logic. Just because A is regularly found in conjunction with B, does not mean that A causes B. For example, wearing sunglasses is very often found in conjunction with cases of sunburn, but this does not mean that wearing sunglasses causes sunburn, however strong the correlation may be.

Nor does it help if the same rather weak and inaccurate epidemiological studies are repeated over and over again to produce the same sorts of results.

The most that these studies have ever done is to make smoking a candidate contributory cause of lung cancer. But that's as far as it's ever got. As Sir Ronald Fisher asked 50 years ago, in the face of exactly these sorts of epidemiological studies: "When is there going to be a serious investigation?" There never has been one, and if he was around today, he'd still be asking the same question.

By all means feel free to believe that smoking causes lung cancer. You are perfectly entitled to believe what you like. Just don't expect me to believe it too.

Belinda

Rollo

Thanks for your advice but you will forgive me for tninking that you don't have our interests at heart!

I am not sure that I would have expressed things quite in the same way as the Forces article, but you did miss out the story about a smoker being tortured for hours because of someone blamed her for a miscarriage. This is what is meant by 'anti-smoking thugs', rather than someone at a railway station.

You are shooting the messenger. The ban and associated propaganda are the cause of suspicion and hatred of smokers, and a feeling that ordinary courtesies can be dispensed with when dealing with smokers. This is what the article is about.

You also reiterate the idea that many studies make an insignificant result into a significant one. No, they reiterate that the result is insignificant, and if anything else bar secondary smoke were the subject of such insignificant results they would not find publishers. This is not playing with people's lives. Inciting fear of secondary smoke is playing with people's lives, and while no one condones it, violence resulting from deliberately engendered fear is not unexpected.

So thanks for your advice Rollo but I have two points: 1) we will not be distancing ourselves from Foreces because our opponents choose to misread the intent of their message; and 2) we don't get most of our information from Forces anyway ... this is just another attempt to paint our organisation as just a satellite of another organisation ... first it was Forest and now Forces. Thanks but our members are quite capable of reading up their own sourcss.

Carlos

Forces were set up as a result of the ever more draconian restrictions being places on smokers and businesses against their will. All this whilst we are beng taxed at increasing rates for our LEGAL products.

Carlos

Paul Flynn what about your views of smokers arent they "extremism"?? Have you no shame?

Rollo Tommasi

Oops! In my last message, I meant to say:
"Condemning violence UNEQUIVOCALLY should be something that unites all of us".

It's late and I need my bed!

Rollo Tommasi

Thanks Fredrik for your thoughtful response. Condemning violence unilaterally should be something that unites all of us.

(And, by the way, even I'm smiling at the picture you describe at Brighton Station!)

Rollo Tommasi

Thanks Paul. Perhaps someone else from F2C will be prepared to distance their group unequivocally from the disgraceful message issued by Forces.

Fredrik Eich

Rollo,
Just for the record, I think that what those two men did to that woman was disgusting. I got chased out of Brighton Train station about three weeks ago by a copper for smoking (he could not run as fast as me!) - but it was comical not violent.
I am on your side on this one.

Rollo Tommasi

Carlos: I accept you realise these thugs overreacted by far. But you insist on diluting your comments by pointing to how she is supposed to have behaved. Your attempt to link the woman's supposedly "thuggish" behaviour with the real thuggery of her assailants is, I feel I must say, hopelessly weak. How did she behave that was possibly bad enough to justify the treatment she received?

I also see no evidence of criticism of the thugs' behaviour in the Forces article. Quite the opposite, in fact. Here are a couple of quotes:

"The only defence that smokers are left with (if they don’t want to bend over to sadistic abuse) is to use force to defend themselves from the antismoking thugs."

"Considering the circumstances at the metro station (and the fact that nothing serious happened to the busybody), the two men who threw her on the tracks showed restraint in comparison."

They showed RESTRAINT?????

Carlos - Forces International are not worth defending. It was a tawdry article and you shouldn't be allowing your group to be remotely associated with its message.

paulflynn

Thanks Rollo. The Forces garbage is extremism of the most sinister kind. F2C rely on them and on Forest for information. Have they no shame?

Carlos

she approached them and was quite abusive and rude to them apparently. That is thuggish as well.

They arent malicious it is just making the point that people have had enough of busybodies in general not just with smoking. These people overreacted by far I(and Forces) admit that.

Rollo Tommasi

Carlos: You ARE condoning the thugs! You are unable to resist the need to say "that lady would have been fine had she just minded her own business." She did not deserve to be assaulted - however she approached them and whatever the purpose.

Let me remind you about the Forces article. It paints the lady who was assaulted as an "antismoking thug". In what way was SHE the "thug"?

It then states:
"The antismoking thugs must learn that there are risks – serious risks – when harassing smokers, and that there will be consequences. When reason and peaceful coexistence fail, the only way left, unfortunately, is the use of force. If smokers don’t use force to defend themselves and make the antis aware that there shall be physical consequences in an endless escalation of brutality from both sides, the brutality will always be only with the antis, and the smokers will keep on being the victims."

It also states:
"Antismoking thugs stand warned: when you see someone smoking, leave him alone and move off. If you intervene, the mass media antismoking thugs may paint you as a hero but – if you really care about your health as you claim – bear in mind that you may end up in a hospital."

These are malicious, threatening and belligerent words representing the official position of Forces International. You're living in cloud-cuckoo land if you really think Forces would "never condone" any act of violence.

Carlos

Sorry Rollo I havent been following these threads for a while so have no clue what you said. If I want to allow smoking in my establishment which is an extension of my home- my business providing it abides by basic health conditions. Im afraid to say smoking or non doesnt fall into this category. Im afraid the "evidence" you give me is statistics which mean nothing as they can be rigged. Please come up with real names and not your usual ASH/CRUK etal quotes and figures. To us they have been debunked for what they are- propaganda pure and simple.

Carlos

Rollo I NEVER condoned such an act of violence and Im sure neither do Forces. I know some of the contributors through emails and they certainly dont seem the type who would do what happened on the platform. They are only pointing out certain people can turn violent and that lady would have been fine had she just minded her own business.

As for nonsmokers sitting next to smokers- well their choice to do so in the first place. Same as for walking into a clearly "Smoking allowed" establishment.

I know it is minor to tell someone to put out a cigarette and if I had been there Id have told the stupid woman to get lost and mind her own business and carried on regardless. Smoking is minor.

Rollo Tommasi

As for your last comment Carlos, I simply returned to what I said earlier this evening.

We all die. If I choose to take risks with my own life, then that's my business. But I have no right to take unnecessary risks with the life of my neighbour. And that's what passive smoking in an enclosed public place is - a genuine, unnecessary and unacceptable risk to the life of the smoker's neighbour.

Rollo Tommasi

Carlos: I have no difficulty in condemning any act of violence (including the horrific assault against that poor young woman which, incidentally, occurred over a year before the smoking laws in England came into force). Why do you find it so difficult to condemn the violent acts of those 2 thugs at the railway station? And why can you not condemn the apologists for violence in Forces International - unless F2C subscribes to the same reprehensible agenda?

All those times when smokers sat next to non-smokers and lit up, violence was not an acceptable response. When smokers blew smoke in others' faces, violence was not an acceptable response. Non-smokers faced real discomfort and displeasure then Even so, there was no legitimate breaking point for non-smokers.

So don't try telling me there's a legitimate breaking point for smokers to resort to violence now. Especially over something as minor as being asked to put out a cigarette.

Carlos

Rollo and Paul I suggest you read this other article from them: http://www.forces.org/Forces_Articles/article_viewer.php?id=607

"Why do we die? Reflections on supreme human stupidity"

Explains common sense.

Carlos

about Forces- that view isnt that of that organisation. The point there is how far the antismoking propaganda has pushed smokers. Thing is everyone has a breaking point- that is all they are saying. Did you read at all Rollo the link where the smoker was beaten to death?? Do you and ASH support such behaviour?

Rollo Tommasi

Paul: If ever you needed to know the mentality of some of the pro-smoking groups, you need only look at this article by Forces (a US group): http://forces.org/News_Portal/news_viewer.php?id=1393. Its content is utterly despicable.

To be fair, the UK’s own F2C has not stated anything similar (as far as I know), but they do rely on Forces for a lot of their “information”. It would be nice to get some assurance from the F2C members who patrol your website that they and their organisation totally disassociate themselves from the repugnant view of Forces.

Rollo Tommasi

Timothy asks "So you're saying that had it not been for smoking we'd all be immortal?"

You know fine well that's not what I'm saying. We all die. If I choose to take risks with my own life, then that's my business. But if I choose to take genuine yet unnecessary risks with the life of my neighbour, then that is unacceptable. And that's what passive smoking in an enclosed public place is - a genuine, unnecessary and unacceptable risk to life.

Rollo Tommasi

Frank Davis: To an extent you're right to say "correlation is not causation". A correlation in an individual study should not be treated as causation, unless the correlation is very strong. But with smoking and lung cancer, we see study after study showing the same correlation. That provides, as a very minimum, probable cause. And playing silly pedantic games over terminology is tantamount to playing with people's lives.

Timothy Le Clerc

"With 400,000 fewer UK smokers post ban and poison consumption dropping heavily in the USA also , big tabacco is desperate and now targets 8 year old kids."

There are not 400,000 fewer smokers:

http://www.freedom2choose.info/docs/Every_CRUK_And_Nanny.pdf

Please familiarise yourself with the above article, penned by a qualified NHS statistician.

Even if there were 400,000 fewer smokers, this does not deviate from secular trends. 400,000 people, according to official figures, stopped smoking between 2003 and 2004.

"As far as I can tell, the main reason for this trend is that average life expectancy increased sharply for people (especially men) born in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which caused lung cancer death rates to increase sharply as more people were living long enough for lung cancer to take hold. These death rates have since slipped in line with reducing cigarette consumption."

So you're saying that had it not been for smoking we'd all be immortal? Either active smokers or people who have inhaled a wisp of passive smoke?

Fredrik Eich

Rollo,
“lung cancer death rates peaked among people born between 1900-1910 and have declined since. So for example, death rates for 65-74 year olds peaked between 1970-75. These people would have been aged 30-45 during WWII.”

I am not disputing that LC peaked for men born 1900-1910 or that they were 30 – 45 during the war. Nor am I disputing that people started living longer at the turn of the last century, or that smoking rates have a modulating affect on these figures. What I am saying is that clearly both male and females born in the ten years post 1930 had a significant drop in LC. This is seen most clearly in the females (who smoked less) and that this cannot be explained by any modulating effects of smoking habits of these children at school age during the evacuation period or their smoking habits post war.
The after shock of this breather from LC can be seen on fig 2.4 with the dip in the
65 – 74 age group (1995 – ~2000) and the shallower dip in the 55 – 64 (1990 - ~2005).

http://publications.cancerresearchuk.org/WebRoot/crukstoredb/CRUK_PDFs/lung/cs_lu_f2.4.xls

Both these rates will climb again up until 2020 because this dip has nothing to do with
smoking rates whatsoever –it’s about child hood exposure to toxins. If CRUK keep this graph going for another 50 years the it will
be seen bold as brass.

Rollo, I have not had chance to look at the CHD link you gave me earlier on Pauls blog but I will look at it soon – I promise!

Frank Davis

"What a sorry state that there are still people who will deny the fact that smoking tobacco causes lung cancer."

It's not a 'fact', however much the assertion gets repeated. There is a fairly strong correlation of smoking with lung cancer. But correlation is not causation. And now that the claims of antismoking have become outright and manifest fraud (see Michael Siegel http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2008/08/los-angeles-city-councilor-claims-that.html ), disbelief in the claims of antismoking zealots is set to multiply. The zealots have only themselves to blame.

patrick

Frank Davis
"Another golden age of smoking is about to dawn."
You are right Frank-
With 400,000 fewer UK smokers post ban and poison consumption dropping heavily in the USA also , big tabacco is desperate and now targets 8 year old kids.

Article Source (below) - The Times

British American Tobacco (BAT) and Philip Morris face allegations that they targeted young and underage smokers in Nigeria to increase smoking rates in developing countries as sales decline in the West.

Lawyers for Nigeria’s largest state, Kano, will argue today that the tobacco companies sponsored pop concerts and sporting events and, in some instances, gave away free cigarettes, to recruit minors to smoking.

Kano is one of four Nigerian states suing BAT Nigeria, its parent company in Britain and Philip Morris International to recover the costs of treating smoking-related diseases.

They are seeking damages of at least $38.6 billion (£19.1 billion).


The biggest increase in smoking in Nigeria has been among young people. The number of young women smokers grew tenfold between 1990 and 2001, according to the World Health Organisation.

A large part of the plaintiffs’ evidence will come from the tobacco companies’ internal documents, which were released as part of a multibillion-dollar settlement that the US tobacco industry reached with state governments in the 1990s. The documents, some of which have been seen by The Times, show the companies’ attempts to reach younger smokers by sponsoring well-known musicians, and their efforts to fight tobacco control initiatives.

Although there are laws banning tobacco advertising on billboards and on television and radio, there is no explicit legislation restricting the sale of cigarettes to underage smokers.

The plaintiffs argue that the youth market was and still is important to the tobacco industry, citing a Philip Morris USA report dated March 31, 1981, which says: “Today’s teenager is tomorrow’s potential regular customer, and the overwhelming majority of smokers first begin to smoke while still in their teens.”

A similar document prepared for BAT, dated July 25, 1991, discusses the habits of younger smokers in Nigeria. “New smokers enter the market at a very early age in many cases: as young as 8 or 9 years seems to be quite common,” according to the report, entitled The Cigarette Market in Nigeria.

In an internal memo dated May 13, 1991, BAT talked about the use of Nigerian artists to promote its Benson & Hedges (B&H) brand, saying: “The young adult music platform of the B&H label is the type of image enhancement we need in Nigeria.”

Stephen Swedlow, an American lawyer who is advising the Nigerian state governments, told The Times: “The international tobacco companies have to develop these . . . markets because the smoking rates in the US and the UK have consistently dropped, based on litigation in the US and public health pressures in the UK.”

A spokeswoman for BAT said that the allegations were completely unfounded. “We don’t market to children and we have never attempted to do so,” she said. “We also actively lobby governments to raise the age at which people are allowed to buy tobacco to 18.”

Is this what you are proud of Frank?

T.FitzGerald

What a sorry state that there are still people who will deny the fact that smoking tobacco causes lung cancer ,and leads to millions of preventable deaths around the world every year.
Those on the payroll of tobacco companies at least got paid in return for spreading lies, but what do these defenders of disease get in return? Nothing, not a penny, they actually believe the propaganda they spout, and that is what is most shocking.
Thankfully the legislation remains and hopefully will lead to a reduction in the harm that is caused by smoking and passive smoking.

Rollo Tommasi

Fredrik: I have to disagree with your claim that "Lung cancer was significantly reduced in the ages of people who were of school age during WWII".

If you look at Figure 2.3 on the CRUK website (http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/types/lung/mortality/), it is clear that lung cancer death rates peaked among people born between 1900-1910 and have declined since. So for example, death rates for 65-74 year olds peaked between 1970-75. These people would have been aged 30-45 during WWII.

As far as I can tell, the main reason for this trend is that average life expectancy increased sharply for people (especially men) born in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which caused lung cancer death rates to increase sharply as more people were living long enough for lung cancer to take hold. These death rates have since slipped in line with reducing cigarette consumption.

Chris

I agree Fredrik
It'll be like the social engineering of the American era of Prohibition. What a disaster that was! All history says so.

Could I mention the smoking ban? Why can't people smoke at the top end of an open train station platform?

This does not affect staff; it does not affect non-smoking passengers. All it does is affect many people from using trains.

I can't see how anyone can agree to this, unless there was an ulterior motive with the ban.

Unfortunatley, I think many are all too wise and it has back-fired

Fredrik Eich

Huw,
I think very often our friends will have similar opinions to ourselves because we like people who are similar to ourselves. My never-smoking friends are uncomfortable with the 2006 Act but some of my ex-smoker friends (the ones that rarely go out anyway) seem to love it and naturally my smoking friends rightly have contempt for it. But prior to the ban I would say my never smoking friends were looking forward to it because they did not realize, then, that it would have a negative impact on their lives as well. But if one turns every pub in the country into smoke free eating and drinking rooms (olives if you are lucky) it is nothing less than a gross act of cultural vandalism. I don't know how long it will take for people to realize that the 2006 health act is in reality a public health disaster but clearly more damage will be done, life years will be lost before it is repealed.

Fredrik Eich

Paul,
You are one of lucky generation of people who have a lower risk of lung cancer due to the year that you were born. We in the UK are lucky in that we have a unique event in the history of epidemiology will help exonerate tobacco smoke as a pollutant over the next 50 years.
Lung cancer was significantly reduced in the ages of people who were of school age during WWII and more importantly in lesser smoking females Because 3.5 million kids were evacuated from toxic urban areas to less toxic rural areas, for just enough time for many of them escape the rise of lung cancer which the 1926 and 1956 Clean Air acts helped to stall.

As CRUK very helpfully show:

http://publications.cancerresearchuk.org/WebRoot/crukstoredb/CRUK_PDFs/lung/cs_lu_f2.5.xls

Over the next 50 years we will see the lines post 1945 relative to the evacuation generation
and we will see just how important childhood exposure to toxins is for lung cancer and why smoking is good for you.

Frank Davis

Huw wrote: "again the problems of you and your "friend" come down to the addiction to a dangerous and killer drug."

Why do you feel it necessary to refer to my friend in quotes this way? He is a friend of mine, plain and simple. And if anything is killing him, it's not his smoking. Most likely it will be having had half of his intestines removed by the NHS after they incorrectly diagnosed him with cancer.

You assert that: "We can no longer pretend to not know that smoking is bad for ourselves and perhaps more importantly, other people."

This is something that I once believed, but am now rapidly ceasing to believe. In the past, it was more or less impossible for people to see the research for themselves, and they had to take it on trust from assorted experts. But now, thanks to the internet, much of that research is available online for people to read themselves and draw their own conclusions. And what a crock it is! Anybody who looks at passive smoking research rapidly discovers that most studies indicate little or no danger. The numbers of 'dead' from passive smoking, or 'lives saved' by bans, are fictions, figures conjured out of thin air. Not even the governments own experts - e.g. Julian Le Grand, Richard Peto - believe the numbers. Instead, the ban is now justified primarily as a way to get people to stop smoking - i.e. as a piece of naked social engineering. Yet, if the Irish experience is anything to go by - more people are now smoking there - even this will fail.

If people now believe that passive smoking is a health threat (something that not even arch anti-smoker Sir Richard Doll believed 10 years ago), it's not because the research shows that it is (it doesn't), but because most people are so convinced after 50 years of being told as much that smoking causes lung cancer that they will readily accept that passive smoking must do so as well, on a stands-ter-reason-dunnit basis.

And yet if the case against passive smoking is non-existent, the case against active smoking is, while far stronger than that against passive smoking, surprisingly weak. According to Doll and Hill's flagship British Doctors' study, while it is regularly trumpeted that smokers are 20 times more likely to get lung cancer than non-smokers, the absolute risk for both is small: most smokers - something like 90% of them - don't get lung cancer. For something that is held to be the cause of lung cancer, smoking is an oddly ineffective agent. And, as Sir Richard Doll conceded about 5 years ago in the McTear case, animal studies have never been able to induce lung cancer from smoking tobacco.

My point is that, largely as consequence of the internet, individuals like myself now have access to information that was previously almost entirely unavailable to them, and can draw their own conclusions, rather than having their minds made up for them by a high priesthood of authoritative 'experts' - like Sir Richard Doll. For good or ill, such authorities are now being undermined by the ready availability of the information of which they were once the sole custodians. And this is a new situation. Antismoking propagandists may still hold the high ground, and be able to broadcast their (increasingly far-fetched) propaganda on prime time TV, but there is an emergent volunteer guerrilla counter-insurgency which is telling a rather different story.

It's analogous to what happened with marijuana, in which state propaganda set out to demonize Reefer Madness, but was counteracted and almost completely neutralised by a 'grassroot' volunteer pro-marijuana movement, with the result that marijuans use is now endemic in ways that it probably never was when it was legal.

40 years on, the Labour party has launched a cultural war on smoking (and by extension upon the working classes that do most of the smoking). One may predict with certainty that it will be no more successful than the War on Drugs of which it is part.Most likely the incidence of smoking will now increase in response to this latest crass, socially divisive attempt at social engineering. As before, a volunteer counterinsurgency is emerging. What was always doomed to fail will in due course be recognised as a failure, and the smoking ban will be relaxed once sober realists replace antismoking zealots. Another golden age of smoking is about to dawn.

And you should be proud to be a smoker, Huw.

Huw O'Sullivan

Frank
again the problems of you and your "friend"
come down to the addiction to a dangerous and killer drug.
Put the blame squarely where it belongs, which is a mix between the users and the tobacco companies rather than on legislators seeking to protect not only us, but everyone else from the harmful effects of tobacco.

Your spoilt child-like irrationality is demonstrated by the ignorance you have to the stances people have publicly taken, you clearly simply want to mouth off in ignorance when reading the multitudinous comments on the number of topics covering the smoking ban where both Paul and myself have made it clear we would oppose the banning of tobacco as it would be as foolish, pointless, expensive and stupid as the ban on marijuana.

Opposing a total ban however is not the same as saying go ahead and put others at risk. Smokers like us have a habit and an addiction to something we know to be harmful, there is no reason on earth to expect politicians to simply act as enablers when it is not only people who smoke by personal choice who would be effected.
They were in the past, but the past as they say is a different country. The information is now in, despite decades of obstruction, obfuscation and of course deliberate lies by the tobacco companies. We can no longer pretend to not know that smoking is bad for ourselves and perhaps more importantly, other people.
The legislation is sensible, if an inconvenience for us,but as I said before, if smokers had had more consideration for non smokers when we were in the majority and ever so easy going as long as we could do whatever the heck we wanted regardless of the wishes, comfort and health of others, then perhaps pubs, clubs etc would already have had completely separate, well ventilated smoking areas and perhaps it would have been harder even impossible to bring in the legislation that we have now. But when smokers had the power they couldn't care less, and it is far too late now to whine and whinge about it.

patrick

"you'd probably be delighted if smoking were made entirely illegal".
That's a really good idea Frank.
Why should the law punish Cannabis users whilst the killer drug tobacco can be bought in any newsagent?
Let's have some fairness here, either legalise cannabis or ban tabacco.

Frank Davis

Huw, Paul Flynn asked for "No more please", and I explained why it's never going to stop. It's astonishing he can't see it.

And for every perverse smoker like yourself (what smoker ever honestly approves of bans?), there are plenty of non-smokers who are appalled by the ban. Anyone of a liberal and tolerant disposition is shocked by it. They're neither liberal nor tlerant if they don't.

Yes, I'm angry. Yes, I probably represent 10% of usually easygoing smokers. And why shouldn't I be angry? A few days ago I met up with a smoking friend of mine who recounted how his social life had been destroyed by the ban. He no longer goes to pubs. He no longer meets up with friends at coffee bars. He was more resigned than angry. But I was angry about what had happened to him and to so many pensioners like him across the country. I wished he'd been more angry. He had every justification to be.

Perhaps your response to everything that happens to you is one of passive acceptance. And if you like the smoking ban, you'd probably be delighted if smoking were made entirely illegal. Is there anything you would set your face against? Apart from smoking, that is.

Huw O'Sullivan

Tantruming will not change the situation Frank.

Many smoker's wouldn't have supported the smoking ban before it came in, most would not actively oppose it now.

It is not 75% vs 25%; as I am a smoker who is in favour of the ban. The screaming toddler approach will likely reduce the potential minimal support your stand could hope for. So perhaps you are 3% of the 25%.
Because honestly, most smokers I know are not throwing their toys out of the pram due to the prohibition on smoking in public places.

They have more important things on their minds and grasp that they have to take responisbility for their own choices.

Frank Davis

Paul Flynn wrote: "No more, please. Although I have tried to euthanaise the thread more than once, the issue of the smoking ban keep self-resurrecting."

Are you surprised? Do you really think it's ever going to stop?

Look. You set out, in your capacity as an MP, to marginalise and denormalise a full quarter of the population of this country who had been up until then respected members of society. Did you think that they were all going to say, "All right. It's a fair cop. We don't mind being second class citizens"? Did it really never occur to you that some of them might take it rather differently? Did it never occur to you that some of them might not accept the 'evidence' that you have so readily accepted?

You have set threequarters of the population against the remaining quarter. You have created a huge social division where there there was little or none before. Now for heaven's sake live with what you have done, and with the intolerance and anger that you have so ably encouraged and advanced - because you are going to have to live with it for the rest of your life.

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