Smoking in Cars and the BMA: The Counterwheeze

You can tell libertarians from the sound they make: it’s the faint rattle of a tiny intellect untethered in an otherwise empty mind.  Cheap and all-too-easy insults aside, though, I’d been wondering how long it’d be, in the wake of the BMA’s recommendation that smoking be banned from cars, before we got a response from the libertarians.  The answer, it seems, is a couple of days.  The Libertarian Alliance, for example, has had a go (it’s a totalitarian tax ruse, I tells ya!  Thank goodness tax is low on tinfoil hats…); but the example that really caught my attention – by which I mean rendered me slack-jawed in amazement – was this piece by Rob Lyons in Spiked, the online journal of choice of the bewildered.

There’re two aspects to questions about smoking in cars: the scientific and the moral.  They’re related – the science provides the context for the moral debate – but oughtn’t to be confused, and neither is reducible to the other.  And I won’t say a great deal about the scientific aspect, for a couple of reasons: first, not being a scientist, I’m probably not qualified to say much; second, the BMA has already had to backtrack a little over one of its claims, and I suppose that there’s room to dispute about the precise figures of some of the others.

Nevertheless, there’s a small handful of scientific points about which you don’t have to be a Nobel laureate to talk.  The first is that, though there might be reasonable dispute about just how dangerous second-hand smoke is, I think that it’s fair to say that the evidence is overwhelming that it is to some degree dangerous.  The second is that the chemicals from cigarettes do accumulate in confined spaces (such as cars): if I get into your car and it smells of fag-ash, that’s because there’re at least some cigarette-related chemicals floating around there.  On the assumption that some cigarette-associated chemicals are dangerous, and all else being equal, it’s reasonable to assume that I’m at a greater risk by getting in to your car than I would have been by not doing so.  (Incidentally, there’s quite a nice little demo of the difference that a cigarette makes on the atmosphere in a car on the Sky news site.)

The trouble in which the BMA found itself had to do with its claim that the concentration of toxins in a smoke-filled vehicle could be up to (and there’s a weasel phrase: “up to” means “less than”) 23 times greater than in a smoky bar; it’s now revised this down to 11 times.  (H/t to VGIF for picking that up.)  On the other hand, I’m not sure what that statistic is supposed to show anyway; invoking it was probably a tactical blunder by the BMA, because it was a gift to the pro-smoking lobby.  It doesn’t matter whether smoky bars are more or less dangerous than smoky cars, or by how much.  The comparison ought to be between smoky and non-smoky cars.  Quite why bars are cited is a bit of a mystery to me, unless you’re driving home from the pub – in which case, other worries are more pertinent.

But enough about the science: on to the ethics, and, in particular, the Spiked article.  It’s a long piece, so I’m going to home in on a few aspects.

The first is Lyons’ assertion that passive smoking causes very low levels of morbidity and mortality; it’s a claim he’s made before:

A thousand deaths seems like a terrible death toll until set against the 600,000-plus deaths that occur in the UK each year, in a population of 60 million. Even if we were to take these figures at face value, a quick back-of-a-fag-packet calculation suggests that one in 60,000 people die each year because of passive smoking.

One in sixty thousand doesn’t sound like a lot; but that is, as Lyons admits, still a thousand people over all.  That’s a thousand people killed prematurely by the effects of someone else’s addiction – and whose deaths Lyons appears to think not worth preventing.  If I dumped a toxic chemical and caused the deaths of a thousand people a year, I think I’d be strung up; and I think that being strung up might well be warranted.  Pleading that there’s still well over 59 million people I’d not killed would be somewhat pathetic.  And that’s before we begin to count the economic cost of lost work days, and the drain on the NHS.  (UPDATE: Of course, no single smoker causes a thousand deaths; but the point stands that, if there were any other practice that predictably caused that much mortality, it’d be a cause for concern.)

Lyons then moves on to a claim that “a sizeable proportion of parents won’t smoke in front of their kids already”.  This claim is based on a finding that many parents go outside to smoke when at home.  Very well: but that tells us nothing about cars.  As with the smelly car point above, not actually smoking in front of the kids while driving is irrelevant if the chemicals from the smoke are still circulating.  Next up is the claim that, if smokers drive with the windows open, there’s a great deal less smoke in the atmosphere than there would be in a bar.  I’ve already explained why this is a red herring; but I’m also wondering whether smokers will reliably have the window open anyway.  What if it’s pissing down, or freezing cold?  Are passengers simply expected to choose between exposure to the elements and exposure to carcinogens?  What about exposure to neither?  (Note, too, that the tests refer to open windows – plural.  All of them?  Fully open?  Frankly, I’d rather get the bus.)

Now come the really big claims – and the big blunders.

The reality is that the demand for prohibition has got nothing to do with scientific evidence and everything to do with moralising. The briefing reminds us of the ‘BMA’s desire for UK governments to achieve a tobacco-free society by 2035’. Essentially, the BMA’s hierarchy detests the idea that you or I might choose to engage in a pleasurable activity that could possibly shorten our lives. These petty puritans believe it is their God-given right to tell us how to live – and the corridors of power are increasingly stacked with politicians and bureaucrats that share this sentiment.

Gee whizz!  An organisation of health professionals speaks publicly about health-related matters!  Still, I’m slightly puzzled about whether smoking really is a pleasure.  Most people don’t enjoy their first cigarette: it’s a habit they have to acquire.  But, not being a smoker, I’m also led to wonder whether there’s really much enjoyment to be had from subsequent ones.  (Maybe there is.  I’m sure someone’ll tell me.)  For sure, there’s the fact that craving nicotine might well be unpleasant, and relief of something unpleasant is desirable; but it’s a stretch to ascribe pleasure to smoking as a result.  Taking off ill-fitting shoes gets rid of an unpleasant feeling; but it’s hardly a pleasure in any serious sense: you don’t put on ill-fitting shoes so that you can enjoy taking them off.  And, of course, there’s the sleight of hand as Lyons shifts the attention from what people do to others to what they do to themselves.

He continues by admitting that

there is a moral argument to be had about smoking in cars. You might very reasonably argue that in such a confined space, it is a bit anti-social to smoke in front of others, at least in a manner that would cause them irritation. Most people resolve this through compromise between one person’s desire to smoke and another person’s desire for fresh air.

Sorry to interrupt, but: no, not really.  It’s not a matter of compromise.  We aren’t comparing two equivalent but incompatible goods.  The situation is one in which Smith knowingly exposes Jones to a dangerous chemical (and so we aren’t talking about being a bit antisocial either).  If Jones objects, or the State acts on Jones’ behalf, Smith doesn’t have the option of coming back and offering just to expose Jones a little bit.  The right not to be exposed to a toxin simply isn’t comparable to any putative right (ha!) to expose others to that toxin.  The latter right ain’t no such thing.  What Lyons ought to be comparing is the right not to be exposed to toxins with the smoker’s desire to do something (allegedly) pleasurable.  And in that sort of case: well, pleasure – allowing, for the nonce, that smoking is pleasurable – can wait.  Part of being an adult is the ability to defer pleasure if it’ll inconvenience or harm others.  Pleasure is not a right.  Perhaps it would be too much to legislate about inconveniencing others; but being exposed to dangerous chemicals is more than inconvenience.  Trying not to expose others to unnecessary harm is a duty.

And then things get really strange.

But the moral argument about our habits just doesn’t work today. We’ve been told for years that we’ve all got to make our own choices about the world and that there’s no such thing as hard-and-fast morality anymore. That might seem like a good thing. After all, who wants some higher authority determining how they should live their lives? But unfortunately, the old moral campaigns to shift our behaviour have been replaced by new pseudoscientific campaigns to re-engineer us, as typified by the BMA’s war on smoking. how I live my life.[sic]

Try as I might, I can’t read this as anything other than the claim that there might have been a moral argument about banning smoking in cars, but that morality is obsolete nowardays.  This seems to amount to “God is dead, and so libertarianism is the only game in town”.  If that’s what Lyons really does mean, it’s embarrassingly wrong.  You don’t need a “higher power” to talk meaningfully about moral rules, or even rules of social propriety, by which people ought to live.  You don’t need a higher power to think that they might be enforceable.  (Besides: if there really is no hard-and-fast morality any more, by what standard is that a good thing?  Lyons seems not to have noticed that he’s making an essentially moral claim.  Oh, well.)  And who is it that’s told us that there’s no hard-and-fast morality any more?  There’s certainly been a collapse in some of the old certainties, and there’s certainly been a certain kind of pluralism over the past couple of generations; but the fact of pluralism doesn’t warrant a metaethical claim that there is no hard-and-fast morality, and it doesn’t mean that there’s no such thing as a poor moral argument.  Plurality is not relativism, and there’re very few actual thoroughgoing relativists (notwithstanding my post from a couple of days ago).

Neither is it clear that it’s correct to say that there’s no hard-and-fast morality to be had, nor that there’s nothing at all that can be said about issues of moral import, be they famine or smoking.  For example, I disagree with a lot of my colleagues about how to do moral philosophy; but we all agree that certain things are wrong and others obligatory.  Lyons’ claim is pretty much senseless.

I spent a great deal of time after reading Lyons’ piece wondering whether it was incompetent or mendacious; but I’m not sure that I have to choose.  It could plausibly be both.

UPDATE: Brendan O’Neill, Spiked‘s editor, compounds the silliness in today’s Telegraph

  • I think I love you.

  • harleyrider1989

    The first is that, though there might be reasonable dispute about just how dangerous second-hand smoke is, I think that it’s fair to say that the evidence is overwhelming that it is to some degree dangerous.

    Its about time the opposition admitted SHS/ETS science is JUNK!

    Those mystical deaths to shs/ets are just that mythology just like those smoking deaths!

    Heres the factual eveidence on smoking and disease:

    Not 1 Death or Sickness Etiologically Assigned to Tobacco.  All the diseases attributed to smoking are also present in non smokers. It means, in other words, that they are multifactorial, that is, the result of the interaction of tens, hundreds, sometimes thousands of factors, either known or suspected contributors – of which smoking can be one!

    JOINT STATEMENT ON THE RE-ASSESSMENT OF THE TOXICOLOGICAL TESTING OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS” 7 October, the COT meeting on 26 October and the COC meeting on 18 November 2004.
    “5. The Committees commented that tobacco smoke was a highly complex chemical mixture and that the causative agents for smoke induced diseases (such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, effects on reproduction and on offspring) was unknown. The mechanisms by which tobacco induced adverse effects were not established. The best information related to tobacco smoke – induced lung cancer, but even in this instance a detailed mechanism was not available. The Committees therefore agreed that on the basis of current knowledge it would be very difficult to identify a toxicological testing strategy or a biomonitoring approach for use in volunteer studies with smokers where the end-points determined or biomarkers measured were predictive of the overall burden of tobacco-induced adverse disease.”

  • harleyrider1989

    Yes those mystical magical SHS DEATHS and those mystical smoking deaths again all conjured up thru epidemiology relative risk factors via computer programs like the governments SAMMEC system!

    Not 1 Death or Sickness Etiologically Assigned to Tobacco.  All the diseases attributed to smoking are also present in non smokers. It means, in other words, that they are multifactorial, that is, the result of the interaction of tens, hundreds, sometimes thousands of factors, either known or suspected contributors – of which smoking can be one!

    JOINT STATEMENT ON THE RE-ASSESSMENT OF THE TOXICOLOGICAL TESTING OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS” 7 October, the COT meeting on 26 October and the COC meeting on 18 November 2004.

    “5. The Committees commented that tobacco smoke was a highly complex chemical mixture and that the causative agents for smoke induced diseases (such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, effects on reproduction and on offspring) was unknown. The mechanisms by which tobacco induced adverse effects were not established. The best information related to tobacco smoke – induced lung cancer, but even in this instance a detailed mechanism was not available. The Committees therefore agreed that on the basis of current knowledge it would be very difficult to identify a toxicological testing strategy or a biomonitoring approach for use in volunteer studies with smokers where the end-points determined or biomarkers measured were predictive of the overall burden of tobacco-induced adverse disease.”

  • harleyrider1989

    Schuman's Expert Witnesses Testify in Secondhand Smoke Trial
    The plaintiff's expert witnesses spoke up on day three of David Schuman's case against his housing cooperative, Greenbelt Homes, Inc. (GHI), for its failure to prohibit the nuisance created by his townhome neighbors, the Popovics', secondhand smoke.
    Courtroom and Plaintiff's Townhome Register Similar Carcinogen Levels
    But, an incident from Repace’s testimony Thursday came back into play Friday during cross examination. Goecke pointed out that on Thursday, while demonstrating the carcinogen monitor, Repace had measured the concentration of carcinogens in the court room  — which is in a smoke-free building — and the amount he recorded there was similar to what Repace had reported recording in Schuman’s townhome in July of 2011.…

  • harleyrider1989

    Here's my all-time favorite “scientific” study of the the anti-smoking campaign: “Lies, Damned Lies, & 400,000 Smoking-Related Deaths,” Robert A. Levy and Rosalind B. Marimont, Journal of Regulation, Vol. 21 (4), 1998.  You can access the article for free on the Cato Institute's wesbite, This article neither defends nor promotes smoking. Rather it condemns the abuse of statistics to misinform and scare the public. Levy, by the way taught Statistics for Lawyers at Georgetown University Law School. There is also a popular law school class called How to Lie With Statistics.

  • I'm struggling to see precisely how this – a decontextualised report about Potentially Reduced Exposure Produces (whatever they are: I can't see where it says) – speaks to the post.  The fact that things that kill non-smokers also kill smokers is neither here nor there: assuming that death is a certainty at some point, if nothing else kills you first, lung cancer (or COPD, or bronchitis, or a really, really bad verucca) will.  Whether or not you're a smoker is beside the point on that.  However, being a smoker, or – more importantly in this context – being exposed to smoke, does make a difference to the probability of certain causes of death, and your chances of longevity.
    The paragraph you quote says only that the causative agents and mechanisms for smoke-induced disease are unknown.  It does not deny a link between smoke and disease – indeed, it talks about “tobacco smoke-induced lung cancer”, which seems pretty clear to me.  Paragraph 7 admits that there are 50 known human carcinogens in tobacco smoke.
    The idea that there is not one single death attributable to tobacco smoke is simply bananas – as even a short visit to Google Scholar will tell you.

  • Well, if the author of this post should ever want to be able to refer to an empirical demonstration of what is proposed in the post's initial sentence, I doubt there could ever be a better one than the posts of Professor Harleyrider1989. Thank you, professor Harley for proving the point!

  • harleyrider1989

    In todays world of utter delusion, link is now confirmed to begat CAUSE!

    Rediculous is more the point! To keep blathering 50 known human carcinogens when the amounts contained in that smoke is only 6% of the whole and is measured in nanograms, femprograms! The entire basis of harm is based upon direct ingestion of amounts known to be harmful to humans,with tobacco smoke its a neil point altogether except in the minds of tobacco control activists!

    When you see that the people behind classifying the '' known human carcinogen'' triad are also in the league of anti-smokers at the EPA! Their study which is what you use to call SHS/ETS a human carcinogen was tossed out as ''JUNK SCIENCE'' by a federal court after it was exposed they lowered CI to try and obtain a higher relative risk factor to pump into the ''SAMMEC'' computer to get those mythical shs deaths!

    Its finally time you and the others admit the CHIRADE! Its over.

  • Careful: you'll take someone's eye out with all those exclamation marks.

  • harleyrider1989

    Don't fret over list of cancer 'risks'…/…r-list...

    [[“We are being bombarded” with messages about the dangers posed by common things in our lives, yet most exposures “are not at a level that are going to cause cancer,” said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, the American Cancer Society's deputy chief medical officer. Linda Birnbaum agrees. She is a toxicologist who heads the government agency that just declared styrene, an ingredient in fiberglass boats and Styrofoam, a likely cancer risk. “Let me put your mind at ease right away about Styrofoam,” she said. Levels of styrene that leach from food containers “are hundreds if not thousands of times lower than have occurred in the occupational setting,” where the chemical in vapor form poses a possible risk to workers. Carcinogens are things that can cause cancer, but that label doesn't mean that they will or that they pose a risk to anyone exposed to them in any amount at any time.]]

    Now,Im glad to see the ACS admitting to the dose response relationship finally!

    So now we understand why the following is factual:

    [[are hundreds if not thousands of times lower than have occurred in the occupational setting,” where the chemical in vapor form poses a possible risk to workers.]]

    Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, Vol. 14, No. 1. (August 1991), pp. 88-105.

    [[ETS between 10,000- and 100,000-fold less than estimated average MSS-RSP doses for active smokers]]

    [[OSHA the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded]]

  • chaswin

    The BMJ should only print real facts and not propaganda.

  • Dear Professor Harley,

    thank you so much for supplying more logs to the fire that I mentioned in my initial comment to your earlier comments, and which by now is for sure providing Professor Brassington with a very cozy Friday night in these times of chilly autumn. Especially your supply of a more than 20 year old reference is making the opening sentence of the original post glow with a blessed shimmer it didn't quite display before.

  • Chaswin, while it is certainly desirable for any source (blog, journal or anything) to strive to be as accurate as possible, it is not always clear what are the 'real facts' or how this can be separated from our interpretation of them. This is reflected in the etymological origins of the word 'fact'. It comes
    comes from the Latin 'factum' (thing that is made); same as manufacture, factory etc. etc. So there is a sense in which all facts are subject to interpretation and controversy. In this respect, there is a difference between facts and data. If you make up your data, you will probably get fired. Even here though, the data on a given matter may depend on the procedures by which it is gathered. For this reason data gathering (like the interpretation and construction of facts) requires a good deal of skill, as well as a good deal of integrity on the part of the person gathering the data or presenting the fact. I dare say we all fall a bit short on that from time to time, but most of get up in the morning trying to do the best job we can.

    Edited after my original post was a bit mean and bad tempered. Apologies.

  • harleyrider1989

    Like tobacco smoke changed its chemical constituents in the last 20 years or even 500 years save the food flavorings added or the FSC paper government mandated thru the tobacco control folks insistence!

  • S_Nicholls

    Bradford Hill criteria

  • chaswin

    On Tuesday the BMS said '“Further studies demonstrate that the concentration of toxins in a smoke-filled vehicle is 23 times greater than that of a smoky bar, even under realistic ventilation conditions”. They then had to apologise for making such an exageration.
    They should have checked their facts before printing such rubbish.

  • Granted, that was a humiliation for them.  But I don't really see how it alters the basic moral case, or why it makes my post propaganda.  (I assume you meant that it was propaganda on behalf of the BMA, of course.)

  • Eh?

  • chaswin

    My apologies Iain. O course I should have said the BMA.

  • Kevin

    Spoken like a true Marxist Sociologists, with no adoration, beyond his own magnificence. Science has indeed been transformed to a spiritual following. The consensus political branding of bong logic, by citations of one leading to certainties of all. With no allowances for dissenters [deniers] clearly demonstrated at the BMJ in discussion of Enstrom and Kabat, in place of any substantial discussion of their research, or attempts at any explanation of the findings. The over saturation of “Tobacco Control” lobby concepts. by which we were taught to fear the smell of burning leaves and the public association with anyone who dares to burn them, is leading us finally out of the mist, with the new norms of editorial content drawing a parallel between the decades long anti-smoker siege and the same battle against intolerance that seeks to provide homosexuals a place in this world. Far too long smokers have been described as some inferior species that need to be controlled and eliminated like germs, while claims of entitlement listed spectacular lies of empathy and concern, around the claims of “Helping them to quit” with a universal reality that they all to a head, wish that someone would provide that help. Treatment by wide-brush without legitimate information or consent has arisen as the new norm of social marketing, where all who don't measure up will be thrown to the pit of moralist damnation. The norms of medicine are finally emerging in the public consciousness, in a new branding, which is as universal as the word smoker is used to define the unclean. It will soon be the norm in editorial cometary to define “Public health mentality ” as a catch phrase describing self service and ignorance, or with “Tobacco Control mentality” describing someone as a bigot or worse a fascist, without the need to actually use those words directly. Is this the unintended consequence of a Marxist sociology pandemic, in control of UN agencies of late. Or will the medically elite downplay the emerging norms of Public consciousness, by investing  another sizable portion of the public's money, to teach us something else”?

    Rattle on my friends we are obviously in better company, as the battle to normalize medically entitled  intolerance and materialism rages on.

  • You submitted that twice; I hope you don't mind me only posting it once.

    I have no objection to being labelled a Marxist – though that has nothing to do with this particular issue.  But the parallel with fascism is just stupid… and an accusation of sociology is something I'll never forgive.

  • In repose to the “pleasure of smoking” being a non smoker you don't really need to be educated in something you have no doubt experienced. The medical community has distinguished the term “nicotinic receptor” in the brain, as the trigger which creates “addiction”. Not really scientific, if you actually examine the facts in place of moralist aversions. Nicotine by it's properties has an ignition point below it's boiling point and smokers actually inhale little if any nicotine. As it burns it is oxidized to form nicotinic acid, which we know as Niacin or vitamin B3 although the medical community will strongly object to the implication, that cigarettes provide a source of vitamin content. It spoils what they are trying very hard to sell. Receptors in the brain are not formed by smoking cigarettes. however there is considerable discussion they may be formed by smoking something else. Nicotinic acid is metabolized within the body to form acetochlorine, a vital component of our physiology, which is produced within the body in limited capacities naturally because is not stored well it needs to be replenished constantly. Niacin deficiencies lead to an extensive array of physical problems such as pellagra among others. No one smokes to enhance their health prospects that is not in debate. The point being made is that there is a universally held exclusion of partial disclosure of the facts, that entitles moralist denunciation by the lobby groups of smoking and in fact smokers, when legitimate science should always have been sufficient to motivate individuals without government intervention. By extension the levels of trust in the sources of medical expertise are being diminished by those exclusions lacking a full disclosure of the facts.

    Getting back to your own personal experience. Nicotinic receptors are only triggered by nicotinic acid. Nicotine is a natural pesticide and would only serve to make you feel ill when exposed to it in it's purest form, such as we experience by the placebos sold as tobacco “alternative medicines”. Beyond the placebo effect this would explain why those eo called medications reduce your chances of quitting, by a substantial degree, compared to cold turkey. When acetochlorine receptors are initiated they release endorphins which stimulate memory physical reaction time and a number of mood altering effects, which make you feel more confident and aware. IOW allow you to function at a higher level. Taking your explanation we have a chicken or the egg scenario which will always be held as controversial and hypocritical by extension. When you are selling your home the real estate agent will advise you to bake bread or cookies to put a perspective buyer in a receptive frame of mind. That mood is exactly what smokers crave because the same mechanisms are at play. By the elimination of the endorphins at source we are forcing people to operate at what non smokers consider normal cognitive levels and what smokers perceive to be diminished capacity. The same smell you experience at the bakery is imbibed with identical levels of all the same toxins and carcinogens you would experience by second hand tobacco smoke and why wouldn't they? They both originate from the heating of organic matter. The difference is your preference for a different aroma. And that in a nutshell distinguishes the addictive nature of smoking and the identical allure of baked goods, which smell much more pleasant. If this were remotely connected to concern for the well being of others, the lobbies would be focusing on flu curing methods which significantly decrease both the most suspect carcinogens and histamine levels by more than 96%. What are they selling instead? It is unacceptable for a smoker to believe some cigarettes could be safer than others because it would be impossible to make them quit if they were to venture down that road.  Reduced ignition propensity cigarettes [RIP] which by simple mechanical principles, tells us that if you reduce the temperature when burning organic material; by the incomplete burning you greatly increase the particulate and ultimately the toxic load. Boxcars for millions of smokers. The buzz that they latched onto when considering the advocacy for RIP was that the other most substantial effect would be to make the smoke more repulsive, which fits with their advocacy and does not fit well with the “concern for others” as they claim, increasing health risks whether you smoke or not.

  • The Spiked article certainly has some arguable points. But
    some of your comments, Iain, are right up there in rendering one “slack-jawed in amazement”.

    Iain, you keep using the word “dangerous” and “toxic”, as pertaining to tobacco smoke or remnants of tobacco smoke, but why do you believe that tobacco smoke is peculiarly “dangerous” or “toxic”? Are you not aware that there are all sorts of chemicals and gasses coming from plastics and upholstery in cars? The air generally has a plethora of chemicals that if you encountered in the right dose would be lethal. Urban air also has the chemicals emitted from vehicle exhaust. In the confined space of a car, people’s expired breath contains waste chemicals and possibly bacterial and viral material. Why does
    only dilute tobacco smoke register in your mind as “dangerous”, if it is that?

    Iain, I’ll give you a hint. You’ve done a good lapping-up job of antismoking propaganda. The antismoking crusade first brutalized and
    then murdered the fundamental toxicological idea of dosimetry. It has contrived exposure to tobacco smoke as initially contributing to [slightly] elevated risk of particular disease from LIFELONG exposure, to now some people being terrified of ANY exposure, i.e., “no safe level”; those are the ones that typically hold their breath, hand cupped over mouth, if they are anywhere near anyone smoking – even outdoors. In just 30 years, ambient tobacco smoke, which
    was essentially a background phenomenon, has been contrived, into
    bio-weapon-like, on a par with, say, sarin gas. The shift has nothing to do with the actual physical properties/propensities of ambient tobacco smoke, but is entirely psychological, i.e., delusion. Unfortunately, inflammatory propaganda warps thinking and emotion to fit an agenda.

  • While we’re here, Iain, just a few more questions to
    consider. Although a nonsmoker, you have a very haughty idea of why people
    smoke, i.e., nicotine “addiction”. Iain, are you aware of where/when the idea
    of nicotine “addiction” originated? Do you know when, in the current crusade,
    nicotine was declared addictive and who declared it so? Are you aware that
    nicotine is not peculiar to tobacco?


    Iain, are you aware that anti-smoking/tobacco has a long,
    sordid history. The most recent “crusades” were in early-1900s America
    and Nazi Germany, the common denominator being eugenics; these were the
    catastrophes produced by physician-led social engineering.


    Iain, are you aware of when the current antismoking crusade
    officially began? It was a small, unelected, self-installed elite operating
    under the auspices of the WHO that decided for everyone that tobacco-use should
    be eradicated from the world. The term “eugenics” has not been used post WWII
    for obvious reasons, but it shouldn’t be surprising that this “elite” was the
    standard physicalist/eugenics personnel – physicians, biologists,
    statisticians, behaviorists. This physicalism currently goes by the name of
    “healthism”; some even refer to it as “health fascism”. This [physicalist,
    social engineering] group was talking about the denormalization/stigmatization
    of smoking/smokers, indoor and outdoor bans, and secondhand smoke “danger”
    years before the first study on secondhand smoke. Rather than ban the sale of
    tobacco, the plan this time is to essentially ban smoking in all the places
    that people typically smoke. The rabid antismoking of the last three decades
    has been agenda, not science, driven.


    Iain, are you aware that there are many advocacy groups,
    e.g., Royal College of Physicians, medical associations, the Office of the
    Surgeon-General, that have been committed to the “smokefree” world since the
    1970s, some even earlier: They are ideologically compromised. Some are even
    financially compromised (e.g., pharmaceutical-industry funding).


    Iain, do you know if there are any differences in smoke from
    cooking, from an open-log fire, from candles, from tobacco, from incense? Are
    the bulk of chemicals in smoke already in the air generally?


    Iain, how much do you know about psychogenic effects such as
    anxiety/somatization disorders, particularly “en masse” disorders such as the
    environmental somatization syndrome, and what allows them to proliferate? How
    much do you know about bandwagon effects such as a bigotry bandwagon effect? Do
    you know what bigotry refers to, particularly institutionalized bigotry? What
    do you know of the psychology of fanaticism? How much do you know about
    propaganda, its intent, and how it operates? How much do you know of cultic
    supremacist groups and how a cult or groupthink operates?


    Iain, how much do you really think you understand about the
    contemporary medical establishment (particularly the pharmaceutical cartel) and
    Public Health? Are you aware that physicians (medicos) and related disciplines
    were the leaders in the “world fixing” eugenics catastrophes in America
    and Nazi Germany in the first-half of the last century? When physicians
    aggressively venture into social engineering, they become a dangerous entity,
    assaulting every dimension of health.

  • Edgar

    Someone who dislikes cigarette smoke is in favour of banning it wherever possible. Whodathunk?

  • Iain it is encouraging to see by your analytical evaluations above, that you tend to lean toward protecting what you believe, however your mind is not completely closed in the face of more compelling evidence coming to light. I would suggest as a means of direct comparison in apples to apples, a starting point in discerning the source of the claimed 5000 deadly toxins is unavoidable, can you name where you first saw it?

  • Actually a leaning toward industrial socialism [Mussolini et al] is what inspired the Public Health mantra; that we should be forced to be healthy or else, in stakeholder partnerships with the industries who profit by those demands. Public Health was formed to provide information on which people could rely to make sound judgements. They decided to move to political advocacy and make our choices for us, as a sneak-thief slide around personal autonomy laws. Fascistmanagement of our bodies directly with no responsibility for the consequences.

  • harleyrider1989

    Toxicol Rev. 2003;22(4):235-46.
    Idiopathic environmental intolerance: Part 1: A causation analysis applying Bradford Hill's criteria to the toxicogenic theory.
    Staudenmayer H, Binkley KE, Leznoff A, Phillips S.
    Behavioral Medicine, Multi-Disciplinary Toxicology, Treatment and Research Center, Denver, Colorado 80222, USA.
    Idiopathic environmental intolerance (IEI) is a descriptor for a phenomenon that has many names including environmental illness, multiple chemical sensitivity and chemical intolerance. Toxicogenic and psychogenic theories have been proposed to explain IEI. This paper presents a causality analysis of the toxicogenic theory using Bradford Hill's nine criteria (strength, consistency, specificity, temporality, biological gradient, biological plausibility, coherence, experimental intervention and analogy) and an additional criteria (reversibility) and reviews critically the scientific literature on the topic. The results of this analysis indicate that the toxicogenic theory fails all of these criteria. There is no convincing evidence to support the fundamental postulate that IEI has a toxic aetiology; the hypothesised biological processes and mechanisms are implausible….

  • Lain;
    The smell you experience in a bakery contains all of the identical list of toxins and carcinogens in equal amounts as are found in smoke from burned leaves or officially “second hand smoke”,  including the oxidized niacin[burned nicotine]. Logically it has to. because they both originate from heated organic matter.

    Do you fear baked goods as well?

  • That kind of correction is just what I am talking about when I say it is desirable to strive to be as accurate as possible. That includes correcting ones' mistakes, even though in doing so one subjects oneself to derision. If we want to live in a world in which people are as forthcoming as possible, we can help by not pointing and laughing too loudly when someone does this.

  • Right: first up, your comment might be flagged up as having been moderated, because the formatting was really, really strange, so I fiddled with it a bit.

    The fact that there's any number of things that are dangerous or toxic in the right quantities is neither here nor there, though.  Cigarette smoke causes cancer in the smoker.  Not all the smoke from a cigarette goes into the smoker.  Some of the smoke that doesn't go into the smoker goes into passers-by.  It's reasonable to assume that it contains carcinogens.  I deliberately didn't go into the science, but, as far as I can see, that's all that's needed to ground an ethical argument, isn't it? And I'm not sure that there is a bright line between lifelong and any exposure: obviously, if you spend your life in a swimming-pool, you stand a greater chance of drowning than someone who only jumps in occasionally.  But that tells you nothing about the danger of water generally.

  • No, I don't fear baked goods (though I'd be interested to see any peer-reviewed work comparing the chemical composition of the air in a smoky car with that outside a bakery: I'm prepared to be proved wrong, but I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that there's a substantial difference).

    I am quite intimidated by the strangeness of your logic, though.

  • From where do you get the idea that I'm in favour of banning it wherever possible?

  • Again, as with the comment above, this is moderated for the sake of odd formatting (which is still odd, but not as bad as it was).

    The appeal to the Nazis is utterly senseless.  So what if the Nazis happened to have a dislike of smoking for health reasons?  I'm willing to bet that a fair few of them liked lunch; it doesn't follow from that that eating lunch is in any way sinister.  Ditto people who worry about the health effects of smoking.  The eugenics point is even more of a red herring.  The most that's at issue here is the regulation of behaviour that, in public, conceivably poses a danger to others.  I don't see anything objectionable in that.  And, as far as I can tell, the evidence is that smoking is one of those behaviours.  So the idea that it might be permissible – or a good idea – to regulate smoking when it's going to have an impact on others seems, at least prima facie, not to be nuts.  There's nothing fanatical about it.

  •  See below.

  • Keith Tayler: “….for the major risk by far in smoking whilst
    driving is the increased possibility of having an accident whilst fumbling with
    a fag. Smoking in cars unquestionable causes accidents which kills and maims
    more people than passive smoking…”

    Keith, you are making outrageous claims. If smoking was a
    significant cause of accidents, it would have been banned in cars many decades
    ago. As far as I’m aware, smoking doesn’t even make the top 10 causes of
    accidents. Apart from intoxication and high speed, one of the top raters is
    conversation which requires selective attention. Selective attention is a
    limited resource. Anything that requires continuous selective attention will
    distract from driving which also requires continuous selective attention. This
    concerns both conversations on the phone and with other people in the car. Smoking does not require continuous selective attention.

    Keith, since you’re making the [absurd] claim, could you
    provide a link to a road accident authority that indicates that smoking while
    driving is “bloody dangerous”. Otherwise keep your misguided, ill-informed,
    inflammatory opinions to yourself.

    Keith: “Obviously children are at risk in a car where there
    is smoking.”

    Keith, there is nothing “obvious” about that claim at all.
    Children are at risk of what? Could you point us to one – just one – study that
    coherently indicates the risk to children of short-term exposure to highly
    dilute smoke in a car? Don’t look; there isn’t one.

    So, you think the fanatics are trying to “protect” the
    children? Well, smoking bans have been going on since the 1980s. They started
    with bans on short-haul flights in the USA. Then all flights. Then workplaces. Then hospitality venues. Then apartments. Then the outdoors such as entire university campuses, parks and beaches. Only now do we come to banning smoking in cars to “protect” the children. If there was genuine risk involved and being one of the more confined spaces, wouldn’t it have been one of the first attempted bans to “protect” the children? The car smoking ban is just the latest ban working to a long-held plan to remove all the places that people typically smoke in, i.e., denormalization/stigmatization, using the masquerade of “protecting” the children to manipulate lawmakers into instituting the ban.

  • Iain, I posed those questions in an attempt to highlight how
    little you understand about how we arrived at this point. It may only seem to
    concern smoking but it involves many issues and failures. I didn’t expect you
    to answer because if you’re serious about informing your opinion, it would take
    you some time to catch up on the last 30 years, let alone the last century. You
    could have been honest and said I’m really not familiar with all of this; could
    you tell me a little more. I would have been more than happy to provide some
    links that would set you in the right direction. [By the way, you can still

    But your response demonstrates that you really don’t
    understand what you’re saying. So you think that the anti-tobacco of Nazism was
    happenstance or on a par with having lunch? Iain, anti-tobacco was a critical
    aspect of the eugenics framework. The emphasis is not on Nazism, per se, but on
    eugenics. Eugenics was a fundamental layer within Nazism. However, the Nazis
    didn’t invent eugenics. It was popularized in America
    decades earlier. German eugenicists leading into Nazism were students of
    American eugenics. There was an intimate relationship between American and
    German eugenics. If we recognized the physicalism and social-engineering intent
    of eugenics, we would recognize many of the same signs currently. There is a
    continuity between the eugenics of the first half of the last century and
    contemporary Public health.

    Iain: “The most that’s at issue here is the regulation of
    behaviour that, in public, conceivably poses a danger to others.”

    Then how do you explain all the other antismoking “crusades”
    and tobacco/smoking bans over the last 400 years that they pre-date the
    concoction of secondhand smoke “danger”? Iain, if you had any grasp of the
    relevant history, you would understand that the current antismoking crusade is
    a [fake] moralist crusade like its predecessors. The current crusade has
    concocted secondhand smoke “danger” as a means to a [deranged] “moralist” end. It was the only way the insanity could proceed in the late 1970s. It
    temporarily gave the [false] impression that the crusade was not moralist but
    was only trying to “protect” nonsmokers.

  • CyZane

    The math is straight forward and is correct. If I can do the figuring anyone can because I am very lousy in the maths department.  And yes you are correct that the probabilities are higher than totally smoke-free.  But they are only theoretical probabilities and they would only be a concern if we had a life span much longer than we actually do.  Your dice example doesn’t apply because it is purely based on chance.  But for inhaling smoke we have a base to go by because they tell us that it takes 20 years for a smoker to develop a disease suspected to be caused by smoking.   The maths is easily done starting from this base and the more correct example to compare it to is to let’s say swallowing a little bit of poison at a time.  It would take far less time for someone to die if they take 1 drop a day, than someone who takes 1 drop per month.  The poison is in the dose, and albeit there is a theoretical increase in danger when it comes to second hand smoke, in real life it simply doesn’t apply because the danger never catches up to us within a normal life span. 

    And let’s not forget that the smoker inhales both his mainstream smoke
    and his second hand smoke and everyone else’s since he doesn’t find it
    necessary to avoid smoke laden places.

    And I was very lenient with my figures.  I assumed that ”heavy smoking” is 20 per day.  It is actually much higher than that.  If you look at this study  you will read that the cut-off number of cigarettes for tumors to appear in a smoker is 280000.  280000 cigarettes in 20 years equals a 38 cigarette smoking habit.  It doubles all the estimates I did for you, but let’s stay conservative with my figures.  It would take some 150 years for second hand smoke to kill you. 

  • Iain: “The fact that there’s any number of things that are
    dangerous or toxic in the right quantities is neither here nor there, though.”

    Iain, are you seriously suggesting that dosimetry – the dose
    makes the toxicity/carcinogenicity/poison – is neither here nor there? Might I
    suggest that you don’t make that statement too often in public.

    Iain: “Cigarette smoke causes cancer in the smoker.
    Not all the smoke from a cigarette goes into the smoker.  Some of
    the smoke that doesn’t go into the smoker goes into passers-by.  It’s
    reasonable to assume that it contains carcinogens.”

    Iain, this is a simple-minded view of the circumstance.
    Cigarette smoking causes what cancer in smokers? If you’re willing to make the
    statement, could you tell us what the absolute incidence of lung cancer is,
    above a baseline, for smokers? Could you tell us, too, what the absolute
    incidence of any fatal cancer is for smokers and how this compares with

    The smoke that “goes into” a smoker is very particular and
    very different to nonsmokers exposure to ambient tobacco smoke. Smoking
    involves a drag on a cigarette and inhaling (drawback) a “packet” of
    concentrated smoke. Simply breathing air with remnants of smoke does not
    remotely resemble smoking. The idea of passive or secondhand smoking is a concocted, inflammatory myth. The risks associated with smoking, as far as they are causally definable, cannot be attributed, even in reduced risk terms – to
    simple exposure to ambient tobacco smoke. Smoking involves not only a critical
    difference in dosimetry, but also a critical difference in mode of inhalation.

    Does tobacco smoke contain carcinogens? No. It contains both
    potential carcinogens and anti-carcinogens. The critical qualifier is
    “potential” that again directly relates to dosimetry. As part of the
    antismoking propaganda onslaught, critical qualifying terms such as “potential”
    have been [intentionally] removed from claims.

  • CyZane

    Iain writes:  ''On the assumption that some cigarette-associated chemicals are
    dangerous, and all else being equal, it’s reasonable to assume that I’m
    at a greater risk by getting in to your car than I would have been by
    not doing so.''  Fair enough assumption.  But let's see how this fairs out in real life scenarios. 

    The SAMMEC application from which anti-tobacco create their statistical deaths, does not compute any deaths for anyone under 35.  The reason is that it takes at least 20 years (if ever) for a heavy smoker to develop diseases suspected to be caused by smoking.  If it takes a heavy smoker (20 + per day) 20 years, how long does it take someone who breathes in hundreds of times more dilute second hand smoke when they occasionally or even regularly hitch a ride in a smoker's car?  Some have estimated that a bar worker breathes in 6 cigarettes per year.  Let's be more conservative and make this figure 500 cigarettes per year, better still let's make it 1000.  Do the math, it works out to around 300 years for 500 cigarettes/year and 150 years for 1000 cigarettes/year before you risk to die from a disease suspected to be caused by second hand smoke.  Do you really think there is cause for any concern that second hand smoke will kill you before something else or old age does?

    Iro Cyr

  • junican41

    Mr Brassington.
    Are you saying that you are not in favour of banning smoking altogether? And if not, why not?

  • junican41

    The chance of being killed by cigarette smoke is highest if you’re a smoker, and lower if you’re simply exposed to others’ smoke.  But it’s lower still if you’re not exposed at all.

    Isn’t the whole point of the math that the above statement is incorrect? Isn’t the whole point that there is no chance of becoming diseased from SHS unless you live for hundreds of years and are constantly exposed? In which case, it is of no significance whether or not you are exposed somewhat.It cannot be any lower that nonexistent. I don’t think that your dice analogy holds water, for a normal healthy person (which includes children). What you seem to be suggesting is that it is possible for a person not to know whether or not he is healthy – which is a strange suggestion.

    You know, try as you might to defend the BMA semantically, you really ought to give up. Anyone with any sense knows that the real objective of this smoking ban in cars (whether with children in them or not) is simply a device to persecute smoking parents in particular and smokers in genera. That is the reason for the nazi connection – it is the methods and idealism which are similar.    

  • Keith Tayler

    I have one or two cigarettes a day, not because I am addicted but because I enjoy it (I can go for days without any craving). So there is at least one human being who enjoys it and is not fighting off cravings. I think smoking in cars is an extremely unpleasant habit and quit dangerous. Obviously children are at risk in a car where there is smoking. An adult passenger who does not want to sit in a car with a smoker or in a car where there has been smoking can refuse to be driven. But that is all by the bye, for the major risk by far in smoking whilst driving is the increased possibility of having an accident whilst fumbling with a fag. Smoking in cars unquestionable causes accidents which kills and maims more people than passive smoking (it is already of course an offence to use a phone, eat and drink whilst driving a car). For this reason alone there is a case for banning it because it’s bloody dangerous. I would fully support such a ban, but would rather avoid a ban on the grounds of passive smoking because it produces weird ’facts’ and even weirder arguments from all sides. The passive smoking argument is a silly distraction – just ban it because it distracts the driver. Passengers should be banned to avoid problems of identifying the offender, and because smoke and dropped cigarettes also distracts drivers. Okay this would mean you could smoke in a parked car, but you could ban it if children are in the car (not much dispute that this is unhealthy), which leaves it to adults to decide whether they wish to sit in a smoky car. Surely we can leave a little room. Anyone objects?

  • Hmmm – I'm no mathematician, and offer this with some trepidation… but haven't you got the maths wrong here?  I don't think that anyone would deny that the probability of contracting (say) cancer from secondhand smoke is lower than the probability of contracting it from primary smoke.  Nevertheless, the chance is still there, and it's higher than it would be absent the smoke.

    Think of it this way.  Imagine a six-sided die, a 12-sided die, and a 20-sided one.  The chance of getting a “4” on the first throw is highest on the six-sided die; but there's still a chance of rolling it on the 12-sided one, and the chance of rolling a 4 on the 12-sided one is higher than the chance of rolling a 4 on the 20-sided one.  As with dice, so with smoking.  The chance of being killed by cigarette smoke is highest if you're a smoker, and lower if you're simply exposed to others' smoke.  But it's lower still if you're not exposed at all.

  • Huh?  What 5000 deadly toxins?  I've not said anything about that.  The document produced by Harley in defence of the harmlessness of smoke talked about 50 toxins: is that what you mean?  If it is, that's where I first saw it.  It's the only reference I think I've made to the number of toxins in smoke.

    Should I believe that source?  Well, I've no reason not to.  As far as I can tell, it comes from acknowledged experts in the field; and, on the assumption that I'm not a toxicologist – and, more widely, it'd be absurd to demand that people only accept what they've discovered for themselves – that seems to be enough.

  • It is quite intriguing to witness how many people of genuine
    and discernible intelligence have been taken in by the anti-smoker lobby with
    their assertions that tobacco is unique in 
    some way from all other organic materials and plant life. That it
    produces thousands of deadly toxins as a unique characteristic of tobacco
    smoke. The basics of ignition or fire should reveal to anyone with the common
    sense to look, when we see a flame we see by it's color an indication of how
    complete the furl is being consumed and at what temperature the fuel is
    burning. When you look at a forest fire close to the ground the heat is most
    extreme and consumption of the fuel is at it's most efficient level. We see
    white flames, above that a cooler flame is distinguished as yellow, and at the
    tree tops it is red, indicating a higher production of carbon particulate and a
    lowered temperature of an inefficient consumption of fuel, we know the remnants
    as soot, being produced by the oxidization of the fuel remnants and we witness
    an inefficient transfer of energy in the soot rising above the flames. Look at
    the lit end of a cigarette the temperature is slightly below 1000 degrees F.
    and we see no flame, however consumption of fuel is still evident and the
    particulate can be measured by instrumentation, although aside from the white
    smoke which consists essentially of water vapor or steam, the particulate
    produced is almost invisible. When we cook, the same energy transfer balancing
    act is in play and can be seen when we overcook our food as it turns black, and
    when black smoke rises from a toaster at approximately 400 degrees F. Reduce
    the heat of energy transfer and the energy exchange or fuel consumption is less
    efficient. When you cook you produce more particulate as a result of the heat

    What is really surprising is that anyone would question the
    facts drawn of physical observation, insisting that tobacco wheat and grains [biomass]are somehow different and would produce different toxic products when we heat them. The long list of industrial chemicals and compounds said to be contained in tobacco smoke, also occur in all plant life, because they are the products of the environment where that plant grows. If it is logical for any of the toxins and poisons to exist in tobacco, it has to be logical that they also exist in wheat and grains or any plants. If you release them, by oxidization at a lower temperature, they are released in higher quantities then we would find at higher temperatures such as when someone is
    smoking. The product would have to be more toxic and more dangerous by cooking.
    So I ask again do you fear baked goods? If not why would you fear tobacco
    smoke? Tobacco smoke as a toxin or a carcinogen in it's [no safe level?]
    entirety regardless of plant variety or environment, with consistent
    statistical risk numbers, is the product of irresponsible fear mongering, by ad
    agency promotions [social marketing]and little more. That is why you won't last
    an hour in the garage with the car running, yet you will do just fine, if
    someone is having a smoke inside the car on the highway. Regardless of the
    false advertising promotions of anti smoker lobby groups and the prostitutes of
    science, who illegitimately claim something else. If it is more than intolerance and it is ethical to insist that no one has a right to smoke in your presence it is also equally ethical by the same logic to insist we ban cooking, fire-logs, candles and indoor plumbing all things considered and if risk is the real target of your concern. The carcinogens found in a well cooked steak increase your health risks by 2.0 above no risk, while the risk found by tobacco smoke are a full order of magnitude lower at .16, the logic of smoking bans is not supported in any ethical legitimacy, a-prior or a-posteriori analysis. In the schools of dogma or empiricism. Or even in the evaluation of epistemology when evaluating facts and knowledge as distinct from chance truths. It is illegitimate half-truth-telling to sustain a want or need.Distinguished by Godber at the world health organization in 1973, before any of the new tobacco smoke “research” was even produced. “it will be necessary to convince those who don't smoke, that smokers are doing them harm” Love it or leave it, it's what we have.

  • DaveAtherton20

    Dr. Brassington, in 1633 Galileo was sentenced to house arrest for life by the Pope for suggesting the earth went round the sun, (helio-centrist). It was not until 1758 if you were a Catholic were you allowed to believe Galileo. Florence Nightingale was berated by the medical establishment in the Crimea war for wanting wanting clean wards and drains for sewerage. The world has believed in pseudo science and suitably punished people before for daring to go against the orthodoxy. So it is with the junk science of second hand smoke (SHS).

    While active smoking is as bad as medical experts say, 7 years early mortality, 72% of lung cancers and 90% of emphysema cases can be traced  to ACTIVE smoking. However PASSIVE smoking and SHS is next to harmless. The basic point is that the passive smoker breathes in 1/100th of what a smoker does in a bar, 1/000th in an airy room, to 1/10,000th in the open air. Your car exhaust will kill far people before any SHS. 

    The lifetime risk of contracting lung cancer if you are a smoker is 8%. It is also dose respondent and synergistically (spelling)  too. If you double your cigarette consumption you may quadruple your chances of contracting lung cancer. Surely it is implied that the reverse is too. Therefore as a non smoker exposed to SHS 

    0.08/1000 plus probably a factor 100+ for the reduced synergistic reduced chances more than implies that very few or  quite possibly no one has ever contracted lung cancer from SHS. Please do not say Roy Castle as I wrote to Dr. Rosemary Gillespie the CEO of The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and they do not claim he contracted it from SHS.

    I will post, with your permission the actual studies done into SHS and lung cancer, and papers from dissenting scientists who have been harassed and hounded by wealthy and influential anti smoking groups. They have been silenced. As a specialist in medical ethics I am sure you have something to say. Before I sign off with a quote from Dr. Jerome Arnett a Pulmonologist, I think you do not mind being described as a Marxist. I have met Rob Lyons and he considers himself a Libertarian Marxist.

    “The abuse of scientific integrity and the generation of faulty “scientific” outcomes (through the use of pseudoscience) have led to the deception of the American public on a grand scale and to draconian government overregulation and the squandering of public money.

    Millions of dollars have been spent promoting belief in SHS as a killer, and more millions of dollars have been spent by businesses in order to comply with thousands of highly restrictive bans, while personal choice and freedom have been denied to millions of smokers. Finally, and perhaps most tragically, all this has diverted resources away from discovering the true cause(s) of lung cancer in nonsmokers.”

  • nisakiman

    “Cigarette smoke causes cancer in the smoker”


    Smoking is THOUGHT to be a CONTRIBUTING factor to lung cancer in SOME smokers.

    Although it is the now (post Doll) received orthodoxy that smoking CAN cause lung cancer (not CAUSES), it is not yet proven, and there are other contenders for the title of main culprit, not least deisel exhaust particulates.

    You’ve been reading too many press releases from ASH and the BMA and treating them as incontrovertible truths, which they are patently not. ASH and the BMA knowingly lie through their teeth in pursuit of their agendas, as has been amply demonstrated in this last debacle by the BMA.

  • nisakiman

    “The most that’s at issue here is the regulation of behaviour that, in public, conceivably poses a danger to others.”

    What, like driving a car, you mean.

  • Iain, have you ever heard of – for example – bigotry,
    megalomania, a “god complex”. Iain, are you aware that Public Health has been used as an instrument of persecution before, and even in just the recent past? Iain,
    you’re demonstrating how [dangerously] shallow your framework of thought is. You have little grasp of the significant foibles of human nature, particularly
    your own.

  • CyZane


    You’re now
    showing bad faith in this discussion.  Or
    is it that you’re showing blind faith in the SHS dogma that you won’t use
    critical thinking because it might shake your beliefs?  Did you read the study where it clearly
    states this as a by the way fact :  ‘’ The
    average number of smoked cigarettes per day is quite low,less than 10
    cigarettes, so that the total average number of smoked cigarettes is
    158,045,well under 280,000 which is considered the cut-off point in many
    studies of when tumors are noticed.’’

    What is so
    difficult about taking 280,000 and dividing it by 7300 (20 years x 365 days) =
    38 cigarettes per day?  And what is so
    difficult about taking 280,000 and dividing it by the equivalent of 1000
    cigarettes per year that one can be exposed to in the form of SHS (a very
    lenient estimate since some studies estimate that figure to be 6 cigarettes per
    year for a typical bar employee) and ending up with 280 years to develop cancer
    through SHS?  I was very conservative and
    used approx. half of the 280,000 to come up with approx. half of that in my 153
    years calculations. 

    Did you
    read SAMMEC
    where it states that they only estimate deaths of 35 year olds and over?  Why do you think that is if for nothing else but
    that they’re basing it on + ou – 20 years for ‘’smoking related’’ diseases to
    develop?  And it is common knowledge that
    it takes 20 years for smoking related diseases to develop.  It is the typical excuse anti-tobacco
    activists use when asked why lung cancer is not decreasing when smoking
    prevalence has halved in the last 25 years. 
    As for heart disease, except for special cases due to heredity or malformations
    at birth, have you heard of many people under 35 that have ischemic heart
    disease or strokes? 

  • DaveAtherton20

    This is Dr Gio Batta Gori, Former Deputy Director of the National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Causes and Prevention, Acting Associate Director, Carcinogenesis Program, Director of the Diet, Nutrition and Cancer Program, and Director of the Smoking and Health Program.
    “The world must protest the ongoing deceit and the squandering of public monies for rigged and incompetent ETS studies. And people should feel offended by the complicity and sham paternalism of health authorities and of profitable tax exempt charities. Such an officially imposed tyranny has no place in countries that claim and presume to be free, enlightened, and just. We are not children, nor bumbling simpletons who need to be deceived for our own good..”

  • DaveAtherton20

    The late Dr. Alvan Feinstein was a Yale Epidemiologist who was sceptical about the harm of second hand smoke. Here he is reporting on a comment on a World Health Organization official. You will note I researched this in the database of anti smoking documents held at the University of California, San Francisco.
    “Yes, it’s rotten science, but it’s in a worthy cause. It will help us to get rid of cigarettes and become a smoke-free society”.

  • Can I get this straight? We ban smoking in bars and workplaces because there is *no safe level of secondary smoke*, and it is quite unacceptable to smoke even in the presence of people who don’t mind being exposed to smoke. Not only do we ban it (forget wishy-washy public education campaigns), we issue horrendous fines to third parties who *allow* it (namely pub landlords and other employers), Because secondary smoke exposure is REALLY dangerous, there is absolutely no choice, and we even have to ban it in places where adults really need not go unless they want to.
    Then a few years later they tell us that cars give exposure to smoke that is 23 (or 11??) times as lethal as bars. This is the nanny state that will stop at nothing to look after the nation’s children? There are crocodile tears about the poor kids that are forced to travel in smoke-filled vehicles. But if exposure to smoke is so lethal to children (underdeveloped lungs and all that) what has taken them so long to suggest this measure?
    They assured us, and still assure us, that the smoking ban in public places would not lead to more home smoking, but since bars exist in the first place to provide a space where men and women can consume adult products out of the sight of children it’s a bit risky to remove the facility.
    This is not about protecting children. If children were in more danger because of their limited choice and early stage of development they would have been protected by legislation before anyone else. All children are, to nanny, is a stick to beat adults with. Remember – they let four years elapse after the smoking ban before attempting to protect children from exposure that they claim is 23 times greater than adults were exposed to, before whining about how nanny cares for the nation’s children.

  • CyZane

     Follow the money Iain, follow the money and you might start understanding a few things. 

    Smoking bans are designed to coerce smokers into quitting their habit by making
    their life as miserable as public opinion will permit.  This coercion, combined with the fact that
    they have brainwashed smokers to believe that they are too severely addicted to
    quit on their own, profit the powerful pharmaceutical industry who makes
    billions selling nicotine replacement treatment and drugs such as Champix and Zyban throughout the world, albeit
    their low rate of success in the long term.  What
    better business partnership between governments who collect taxes, the
    pharmaceutical industry that profits from the repeat sales of smoking cessation drugs and anti-smoking activists who profit from the grants of
    both? And for those who refuse to be coerced into quitting, do you have any idea what car smoking bans mean for the pharmaceutical industry?  If one can’t smoke in their car, they’ll be tempted to chew, inhale or swallow nicotine pharmaceutical products.  Thank goodness the e-cigarette is now available.  Why do you think that it is under attack by pharmaceutical interests who simply refuse to see the billions they invested in smoking bans go up in vapor 🙂  This might ring a few bells?  WHO LAUNCHES PARTNERSHIP WITH THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY TO HELP SMOKERS QUIT – 1999

  • How about a comment as to why it has taken almost a generation for the anti-smoking lobby to come out with legislation specifically to protect children who have no choice where they go and who have underdeveloped lungs (let’s leave aside for the moment the fact that the BMA want to ban smoking in ALL vehicles). 

    Twenty-three times more lethal — oops, I mean 11 times more lethal — than a bar.  Not only have previous measures risked increasing children’s exposure to smoke, but also protecting children looks like a measure of last resort for the august medical profession. 

    Be honest: you’re just using the kids as a propaganda tool to let you in on smokers’ private space.

  • Does it matter?  What I think about banning smoking altogether has nothing to do with what I think about banning it in cars; and what I think about banning it in cars has nothing to do with what I think of the laughably Spiked article.  Now, you can probably deduce the gist of what I think about the BMA's position – but, still, I don't see why your question is important.

  • Can I ask you a question?  If it's true that there is a desire to persecute smoking parents in particular, and smokers in general, presumably there's a reason for that desire?  And, modus tollens, if you can't come up with a a reason for that desire, that counts against there being one.  So my question is this: why on Earth would anyone just decide to persecute smokers?  For the lulz, maybe?

  • My understanding – and, again, I offer this with trepidation – is that it can take up to 20 years to be confident that you've not got cancer from smoking.  That's not the same as needing 20 years for it to manifest.

    I have to admit that I'm amused by the way you assert that the maths must be correct because you're poor at maths.

  • There is no conceptual link between public health and eugenics.  There is no conceptual link between smoking policy and Nazism.  Worrying about secondhand smoke does not make you a Nazi; and the fact that the Nazis worried about smoking does not indicate that worrying about smoking is problematic.

    If these are the strongest cards in your hand, you've got an astonishingly weak hand.

  • Post away.

    As for what Lyons thinks himsef: well, I know that Spiked claims to have grown out of the Living Marxism, but that's neither here nor there – it is, as far as I can tell, about as Marxist as Joe McCarthy.  I'm also puzzled about whether there really can be such a thing as a libertarian Marxist – but that's for another day, and maybe another blog altogether.

    What matters at the moment is that, whatever political descriptor Lyons applies to himself, his article was piss-weak; putting the boot in was easy and a great deal of fun.

  • And what to say about the benefits of quitting
    smoking?  ”Giving up smoking has rapid health benefits, says
    study. Risk of death from all causes falls by 13% within 5 years and no extra
    risk of death by 20 years”.  
    How can they tout this and yet alarm everyone that second hand smoke exposure
    causes serious risks?  Unless of course one thinks that second hand smoke
    is a bigger risk than primary smoking 🙂  And if this is so,
    shouldn’t we then be witnessing more casualties from second hand smoke than
    from mainstream smoking?  There are so many holes in the second hand smoke
    propaganda it is surprising that anyone with a minimal intelligence and
    education can’t see them. 

  • As it happens, I'm entirely in favour of regulations about where and how you can drive a car.  Are you not?

  • What would you accept as proof?  Natural science is in the business of finding correlations; and when those correlations are strong enough, they get called proof.  You can't prove an epidemiological point in the same way that you can prove a mathematical one – but, all the same, the word “proof” has a perfectly acceptable place in the laboratory, and it seems acceptable to use it here.

    Where's your evidence of lying?

  • nisakiman

    I would accept as proof a far stronger case than has been made to date. There are a lot of studies out there that throw Doll’s findings into doubt.

    Scroll down to below the article to find Dr. Little’s analysis on this page:

    I realise “proof” of any one cause of cancer is impossible, since so many factors combine to bring on this illness that it can’t be laid at the door of any one thing. Hence my taking issue with your declaration “Cigarette smoke causes cancer in the smoker.” Cigarette smoke may be a contributory factor in some cases, but that is a million miles away from your bald and totally incorrect statement.

    As for evidence of lying, I already pointed out the outright lie peddled by the BMA about 23x concentrations of SHS in cars. They only issued a retraction because they got caught out. Had they not been caught, they would have let the 23x figure stand.

    Another one here:

    There are lots more, but I have neither time nor inclination to dig them out now. Dick Puddlecote (above link) has documented loads. Have a look round there.

  • Keith Tayler

    I will not give you references to the stats on accidents and smoking because I assume you can use a search engine. There are lots of stats, some seem too high (78% of accidents caused by smokers!), but there is a body of evidence that has led some countries like Brazil and Germany to ban smoking on safety grounds. But I do not need to know the stats because I have been in cars with smokers for over 60 years and have smoked in cars. I know that smoking distracts drivers, including myself, and I have been in one accident which was caused by a cigarette end blowing back onto the drivers clothing which made him take his eyes off the road as he tried to brush it away. I also had a near accident myself when I was lighting a cigarette. I have discussed the dangers of smoking and driving with numerous smokers who for the most part do accept it is a distraction. Not sure whether you are a driver or indeed a smoker, but if you are I assume you must accept that having a slow burning tube in your hands that you have to light and extinguish whilst driving a car must present a hazard. After over 45 years of driving and smoking I do not think I am ‘ill-informed’. You may disagree with me, but you cannot say I am ill-informed without sounding like bigot.As to the child issue. There are many children that have respiratory problems that are unquestionably aggravated by smoke (look it up on Google or ask asthma suffers). As before I do not have to look at the stats because I have considerable experience of respiratory problems in children and I know smoke, any smoke, can cause them difficulties. Small children, unlike adults, are not usually in the position to refuse to get into a car because of smoke. But quite apart from that, I would have thought it might be acceptable to impose a ban on those bloody inconsiderate adults that believe it is their right to force children to breath their sticking smoke. Remember I speak as a smoker, but I am a smoker who knows that tobacco smoke is a very unpleasant smell and am quit happy for it to be banned in places where non-smokers are forced to breath it in enclosed spaces (banning it in the home would be a ban too far). I partly agree with you that children are used by many pressure groups to get public and government support, but I am not doing this. What I am say is that it is unreasonable to subject people to smoke who do not have a choice whether to be in a car. Again you can disagree with me; you can say that tobacco smoke is pleasant, that there is nothing wrong in children smelling tobacco smoke, that the respiratory problem should be left to the parents and adults in the car, etc.. On the other issue, you could say in you experience and studies have shown that smoking is not a hazard, but you cannot sensibly say that I am ill-informed because I have considerable experience in these matters. You and most of the contributors to this blog seem to think that if someone disagrees the best way to reach the truth and consensus is abuse. We are supposed to be doing a bit of light philosophy – so let us all try to “discuss” the topic or I will have to get the poker out. I shall now have a cigarette in the garden (my wife is a non-smoker).

  • harleyrider1989

    The point here is,its never ever been proven a point I made earlier! The fact is only 6-9% of life long smokers if ever develop these so called smokers cancers. What we find is that smoker LC tumors and non-smoker LC tumors are 2 totally diferenet diseases as proven here:

    Lung Cancer a Different Disease in Smokers and Nonsmokers

    PHILADELPHIA — Lung cancer that develops in smokers is not the same disease as lung cancer that develops in people who’ve never touched a cigarette, a new study finds.
    There are nearly twice as many DNA changes in the tumors of people who have never smoked than in the tumors of people who smoke, which suggests the cancer of “never-smokers” is different from smokers’ cancer, said Kelsie Thu, a Ph.D. candidate at the BC Cancer Research Center in Canada.
    “We think this finding provides evidence that never-smoker and smoker lung cancers are different, and suggests they arise through different molecular pathways,” Thu told MyHealthNewsDaily. “Never-smokers might be exposed to a carcinogen, not from cigarettes, that causes their tumors to have more DNA alterations and promotes lung cancer development.”
    While its not proof smoking causes cancer where the end points meet it does prove second hand smoke does not cause cancer in non-smokers,hense why the risk was always near non-existent. The triggers for cancer are not understood yet the tobacco control lobby would spout and create their own junk based science to create the propaganda to justify smoking bans.

    Day by day the junk science gets debunked at every turn. The only reasons there are bans is because the anti-tobacco folks have their folks in prominent positions of governments in the UN,THE WHO and in other governments around the world. The WHO treaty on tobacco control will go down as one of the most ludicrous schemes ever created to undermine national sovereignty and humann rights in the world. Countries were BLACKMAILED to sign on or lose world bank and IMF loans and as we all know the world bank and the WHO are connected at the hips like siamese twins!

    During the Greek bailout the Harvard school of public health was sent to Greece to ensure the WHO treaty was enforced for a smoking ban and to report back before any bailout funds would be authorized. Its as if the entire world financial meltdown was pre-ordained as everyone seemed to realise that signed on that it was comming!

    The EU and the WHO along with the rest of it is comming closer and closer to ultimate destruction by the finacial depression thats comming and here!

    Hopefully the BMJ will become a victim of that same collapse.

  • Iain said;

    “There is no conceptual link between public health and eugenics.  There is no conceptual link between smoking policy and Nazism.”

    I have to strongly disagree with you here and to see the paralels you should look to the writings of lifetime an anti-smoker advocate, who seems to set the tone for what has become of medical followings. Dt. Robert Proctor has provided the entitlement for anti-smoker advocacy and what we see today in the way of emotionally tested sound bites, present in many if not most of the so called research that the lobby relies upon, to malign by wide-brush, are entirely consistent with the slogans they used in Germany to defame the Jews and Poles. Personal autonomy laws were the necessary solution, to defend personal rights of self dominion. and to set a line in the sand that should never be crossed by the medical community. Informerd consent is being challenged by cheap political stunts and propaganda, meant to undermine those laws, by the excuse created by fanatics and terrorists, known as “second hand smoke”. If we applied the same standard of tolerance in our environment, we are applying to cigarette smoke exposures, our ability to maintain communities would be eliminated, because no society can please everyone at all times, so we are reduced to acceptable limits and self regulation, common courtesy and mutual respect, in place of government interventions and that has worked well for generations.  To promote smoking bans in place of a sign on the door, that provides acceptable protection against higher dangers such as peanut allergies and dairy intolerance or even to assure we don't enter a highway on the off ramp, is hypocritical and telling, as a direct affront to self dominion with an assumption we can all be treated as children with no rights. When these laws are drafted as “universal protection” regardless of the people involved, or the property rights being ignored, even regardless if they want that protection or not government has crossed the line that limits it's actual authority.. In short a direct anti-autonomy law, with nothing to gain beyond forcing people to use the alternatives “when smoking is inconvenient”, which is exactly how they were initially marketed. If the government can be forced by their own lobby group hires to ignore personal rights and freedoms, what else can they be “forced” to do, by the same hired lobby groups? Your take is that you should be protected against the insult of having to smell tobacco smoke. Do you have the same beliefs about gasoline fumes at a self serve gas bar? Diesel Exhaust? Cooking smells? sewage plant emissions? Steel plant emissions? Fireplaces? Scented candles? Perfumes and deodorants? Body odor? Bad breath? Flatulence? All of which carry a much higher health risk, than cigarette smoke ever could and the effects are seen in hours not in decades. With real bodies not statistically invented bodies. If we go that road society as we know it ends and anarchy rules. Is this what the need for materializm and progressive politics leads too? In Germany they found out the hard way, that centrist politics [pleasing every whimper] leads to something much worse. Medicine is corrupted today and it has become too possessed in materialist goals, that ignore the needs of the people, who are incredibly serving medical community wants and needs, in place of the other way around. People who are in turn being coached to hate and segregate each other, and that pandemic of our time needs to be the target of our immediate concerns. They have gone down this road before and it leads to a place where Doctors caught up in the excitement and greed are hanged for their crimes against others.

  • harleyrider1989

    A horse can do 7 mph quite well! I suppose these folks would pronounce laws against horse farts being deadly to humans and the manure on the ground as a health violation and hense even horses would be banned. They did it with cow farts,global warming factor METHANE! Its quite an insane world these greenies live in.

  • harleyrider1989

    I think Michael J. Mcfadden said it best:

    the “threshold” theory and the “no threshold” theory.
    The threshold theory argues that below a certain level any exposures to carcinogens literally “disappear” because they get swallowed up in all the random chaos of how the body works at a microscopic level.  The “no threshold” theory says that even the smallest possible event, such as a one second exposure to a small beam of sunlight, could be the “trigger” that later produces a deadly cancer.  The “no threshold” theory applied in meteorology would say that yes, a single flap of a single butterfly’s wings in the backwoods of Australia could have “caused” Hurricane Katrina.   The “threshold” scientists say that such an idea is nonsense.  The Antismokers’ “no safe level” argument is a “no-threshold” argument: they’re saying even very small exposures to ETS could have as big an effect on lung cancer as a butterfly’s wings in Australia could have on US hurricanes.

  • Kieth, do you understand how ridiculous your 78% statistic sounds? If we made them all quit smoking, do you actually believe that accidents will decrease by 78% ? This lunacy is almost on par with the promotions for fire safe cigarettes, which increase the health risks of millions, to “reduce the risk of fires caused by smoking” and to save a few dozen a year killed in fires. No mention of care and control? or the fact that by the numbers if billions of cigarettes are smoked every day without incident, fires don't even exist statistically. Careless and inattentive people cause accidents and fires, while smoking is only a popular target activity, not a cause of anything that people do. Is it safe to smoke a fire safe cigarette in bed? or to toss one into the brush? Think before you parrot the lobby group incoherence and nonsense, You're making the rest of us look like we are all willing fools, conned by the same fraudulent sales pitches, over and over again.

  • harleyrider1989

    The day you can explain the bodies own genetic changes thru getting older and the disease process I might listen to that argument!

    The point here is cancer is a product of the bodys genetic repair system gone awry!

    Find that answer and you just cured cancer and diseases.

  • Keith Tayler

    I thought the moment anyone mentioned Hitler or the Nazis they had to throw their hand in.

    You can get a link between smoking policy and Nazism but it is hardly worth the effort. Public health and eugenics – yes there is a strong link between them; indeed, the use of stats in early 19th century public health work greatly influenced Galton's theory and laid the foundations to eugenics.

    But of course I argee with you, worrying about secondhand smoke does not make you a Nazi unless you are Hilter. (Not logically correct, but we are talking about Hitler so anything goes)

  • harleyrider1989

    For 500 years theyve tried to outlaw or criminalize tobacco the last time was here:

    Heres a time line starting in 1900,dont be surprised to see the same thing playing out today nearly 100 years later.
    1901: REGULATION: Strong anti-cigarette activity in 43 of the 45 states. “Only Wyoming and Louisiana had paid no attention to the cigarette controversy, while the other forty-three states either already had anti-cigarette laws on the books or were considering new or tougher anti-cigarette laws, or were the scenes of heavy anti- cigarette activity” (Dillow, 1981:10).
    1904: New York: A judge sends a woman is sent to jail for 30 days for smoking in front of her children.
    1904: New York City. A woman is arrested for smoking a cigarette in an automobile. “You can’t do that on Fifth Avenue,” the arresting officer says.
    1907: Business owners are refusing to hire smokers. On August 8, the New York Times writes: “Business … is doing what all the anti-cigarette specialists could not do.”
    1917: SMOKEFREE: Tobacco control laws have fallen, including smoking bans in numerous cities, and the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Idaho and Tennessee.
    1937: hitler institutes laws against smoking.

  • harleyrider1989

    A letter from a doctor on shs
    Robert E. Madden MD, FACS. I am also a non-smoker. HOWEVER I am a passionate opponent smoking bans. Most of the opposition to the smoking bans has been based upon economic factors such as loss of business revenue, even closings. My opposition is due to loss of individual freedom and abuse of scientific fact.
    I am a practicing chest surgeon, a teacher and a former cancer researcher. I am also past president of the NY Cancer Society. I will not tell you that smoking is harmless and without risk, in fact one in eight hundred smokers will develop lung cancer. Asthmatics should avoid tobacco smoke. What I will say is: 1) it’s a personal choice and 2) so called second smoke (ETS) is virtually harmless. One may not like the smell but it has not been shown to cause cancer, even in bartenders. If people do not like the odor then they may go elsewhere. Those who support the ban have no right to deny 24% of the adult population their enjoyment of a popular product based on dislike, possibly hatred of smoking. This attitude is that of a bigot, akin to anti-Semitism or racism.
    To me the most offensive element of the smoking bans is the resort to science as “proving that environmental smoke, second hand smoke, causes lung cancer”. Not only is this unproven but there is abundant and substantial evidence to the contrary. It is frustrating, even insulting, for a scientist like myself to hear the bloated statistics put out by the American Cancer Society (of which I am a member) and the American Lung Association used to justify what is best described as a political agenda. Smokers enjoy smoking. Most non-smokers are neutral. Anti-smokers hate smoking. It is this last group that drives the engine of smoking bans. Smoking sections in restaurants, ventilated bars and the like have been satisfactory and used for years. To those who choose to smoke they do so at their own risk. To those eschew smoking let them patronize establishments whose owners prohibit smoking. To impose a city wide or a state wide ban is to deny people of their rights.
    Respectfully,Robert E. Madden, M.D…

  • DaveAtherton20

    I urge you to read this paper from Professor Carl Phillips who is the former Professor of Public Health at University of Alberta. It is chilling in the way that scientists have been silenced who do not agree with anti tobacco activists.“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.”“The situation described in the article by James Enstrom [2] has gone even further, representing not only a bastardization of epidemiologic research by anti-tobacco advocates and an excommunication of a long-time member of the anti-smoking research club, but a concerted effort by political activists to destroy the career of a scientist because of one result that appeared in his data, which he chose to publish rather than suppress or alter to be more politically correct.”“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.”

  • DaveAtherton20

    I was a speaker at the BMJ Quality and Safety in Healthcare Forum  “nicotine addiction should be recognised by the state as a medical condition, not a lifestyle choice.” on April 7th this year. Naturally I do not think it is an addicition. One of the speakers who I cannot find their name used the same statistics. However she did remark if you change the question from a conceptual quit to giving up in 1 month that figure goes down to 20%.

  • nisakiman

    Ah yes indeed, as long as those regulations remain within the realms of reality and sanity and most importantly, common sense.

    If, however, it was proposed (for instance) that we should all be restricted to 10 mph on motorways on the basis that any faster COULD BE hazardous, I think even you would not be in favour. Sure, lives WOULD be saved, probably hundreds of lives, but that notwithstanding, it would be an obviously ridiculous proposal.

    And so it is with the current proposals. They are palpably NOT within the realms of reality, sanity or common sense. They are based on nothing more than junk science and a desire to impose by force of law a warped sense of morality on all those who don't toe the moraliser's line.

  • Keith: “I thought the moment anyone mentioned Hitler or the Nazis they had to throw their hand in.”

    Sorry, Keith, but your understanding of Godwin’s Law is also
    …… let’s say, ill-informed.

    Nazism and anti-tobacco:

  • Keith: “There are lots of stats, some seem too high (78% of
    accidents caused by smokers!)”


    Keith, where did you pluck that from? I’ve just done a
    search and of the seven sites I looked at not one refers to smoking
    specifically. Keith, you’re talking about accidents with smoking which are
    rare. You even note that they are rare. It’s the rare accident with smoking
    that can become a distraction. This is very different to phone conversations
    and texting, for example, which are of themselves fundamentally distracting.


    Keith: “Remember I speak as a smoker”


    Keith, I’m not particularly convinced of that. You sound
    more like an antismoker. If you are a smoker, you must be an antismoking-neutered
    smoker 🙂


    Keith: “There are many children that have respiratory
    problems that are unquestionably aggravated by smoke (look it up on Google or
    ask asthma suffers).”


    Sorry, Keith, I’m going to have to disagree with you here
    too. Until antismoking took hold in the 1980s, any smoke typically encountered
    (e.g., cooking, heating, tobacco, candle), and which was commonplace, was not
    considered even a trigger for asthma. Asthma is also prone to psychogenic
    effects, e.g., irrational anxiety reactions that trigger an asthma attack. But
    the fanatics, in their quest to push their deranged agenda, have vanquished
    this psychological dimension. [BTW There are even asthmatics who smoke]

  • Bigotry?  That's just too silly to merit a reply.

  • Brighteyesopenwide

    I’m afraid Keith, that you are way off course on this one.

    Here is an analysis done in America (2006). 

    Specific Distraction % of Drivers

    Outside person, object, or event 29.4%

    Adjusting radio/cassette/CD 11.4%

    Other occupant 10.9%

    Moving object in vehicle 4.3%

    Other device/object 2.9%

    Adjusting vehicle/climate controls 2.8%

    Eating and/or drinking 1.7%

    Using/dialing cell phone 1.5%

    Smoking related 0.9%

    Other distractions 25.6%

    Unknown distraction 8.6%

    As you can see, smoking is by far the least of driver problems in terms of accident causing distractions. 

    In fact we now know that smoking substantially enhances brain function including attention, motor skills, speed and memory. On average nicotine and smoking ‘tunes up’ the brain to work 10-30% more efficiently BUT can make a difference of as much as a 50% improvement in brain function!

    This means that smoking while driving is highly likely to IMPROVE driving skills and hence PREVENT more accidents! As an aside, ever thought, why, as a nation, we are losing out to heavier smoking nations such as China in terms of economic and innovative progress? .

    Preventing smokers from smoking while driving will almost certainly CAUSE more accidents! Unnecessary deaths and injury CAUSED by anti-smoker fanaticism will increase even more!

    Bearing in mind your age and apparent expert knowledge on child asthma Keith, can you explain why child asthma substantially INCREASED during the very period when smoking/smoking prevalence was REDUCING the most? While not questioning your point that smoke, amongst many other things, may trigger an asthmatic attack, can you remember those days when asthma was relatively rare (ie when almost everyone smoked)?

  • Keith Tayler

    As I said, the 78% figure is weird. Below are some studies that might interest you. But to repeat, I do have my own experience and knowledge in this matter. You obviously have been lucky and have never dropped a lighted cigarette in a car, had the end blow back onto your cloths, or gone into the back of a car because the driver was distracted by his smoking habit. I have meet a lot of lucky drivers in my time but have never thought of myself as being a particularly unlucky driver. So I sound like an anti-smoker. Why would I say I am a smoker if I am not? Surely it is possible to recognise that what you do may be dangerous and unpleasant to others, and for you to accept that you should be constrained from doing it if you are so insensitive not to realise yourself. I drink but I do not drive or walk about in public pissed to eyeballs. I do smoke and I do drive, and I also think the two do not go together. To suggest that I am being deceitful is an abusive ad hominem. (I am sure many of Iain’s colleagues will remember me having a fag and a drink or two in Manchester.) ‘Until antismoking took hold in the 1980s, any smoke typically encountered
    (e.g., cooking, heating, tobacco, candle), and which was commonplace, was not
    considered even a trigger for asthma.’The anti-smoking ‘hold’ predates the 1980s – I can remember smoke being considered a trigger for asthma in the 1950s (not cancer). For sure there were some who thought smoking was good for asthma but they were wrong. Smoke is not a problem to all asthmatics all of the time. However, I can a sure you that smoke does cause some asthmatics problems some of the time. As I child I had a form of anaemia that made me extremely breathless in enclosed smoky areas (had to have the window open when my father smoked his pipe in the car). But again, I still think it is bloody inconsiderate to smoke in cars where children are and would support a ban on the grounds of consideration to others.Collins D, Lapsley H. Economic aspects of drug taking and road safety. In: Enquiry into the effects of drugs other than alcohol on road safety in Victoria. First report incorporating collected papers. Melbourne: Road Safety Committee, Parliament of Victoria; 1995. Available from:….…. Young K, Regan M, Hammer M. Driver distraction: a review of the literature. Report 206. Clayton: Monash University Accident Research Centre; 2003. Available from:… Stutts J, Reinfurt D, Rodgman E. The role of driver distraction in crashes: an analysis of 1995–1999 Crashworthiness Data System Data. Annu Proc Assoc Adv Automot Med 2001;45:287–301. Brison R. Risk of automobile accidents in cigarette smokers. Can J Public Health 1990;81:102–6. Young K, Regan M, Hammer M. Driver distraction: a review of the literature. Report 206. Clayton: Monash University Accident Research Centre; 2003. Available from:… Stutts J, Reinfurt D, Rodgman E. The role of driver distraction in crashes: an analysis of 1995–1999 Crashworthiness Data System Data. Annu Proc Assoc Adv Automot Med 2001;45:287–301. Brison R. Risk of automobile accidents in cigarette smokers. Can J Public Health 1990;81:102–6. Stutts J, Reinfurt D, Rodgman E. The role of driver distraction in crashes: an analysis of 1995–1999 Crashworthiness Data System Data. Annu Proc Assoc Adv Automot Med 2001;45:287–301. Brison R. Risk of automobile accidents in cigarette smokers. Can J Public Health 1990;81:102–6.

  • Keith Tayler

    Sorry John, this reply field does not like my word processing program. You appear to have problems with it.

  • oh come on now Iain, if primary smoking is the top and secondhand smoke is near the bottom of risk, and if you can remove most of the risk by stopping for primary smoking, how much of an actual risk is secondhand smoke.

    and just as an interesting point, the quote from the BMA paper which read “smoking generates 23 times more toxins than you would find in a smoky bar” is different from the original factoid that was used in Canada to bring in smoking bans in vehicles with children “Based on the evidence that exposure to SHS in a vehicle is 23-times more toxic than in a house due to the smaller enclosed space”

    as well as in the CMJ paper which read “23 times more toxic in a vehicle than in a home.” of strange how that changed from a home to a smoky bar, yet the BMA was able to footnote it…………

  • Keith Tayler

    No – I think it's right. If I am right, I think it is supposed to be a bit of a joke.

  • CyZane

    Iain you write:  ''Some of the smoke that doesn't go into the smoker goes into passers-by.
     It's reasonable to assume that it contains carcinogens.  I deliberately
    didn't go into the science, but, as far as I can see, that's all that's
    needed to ground an ethical argument, isn't it?''

    If you're going to conveniently ignore the science and simply go on ethics, did you raise your voice against the refusal of some health units to treat smokers, against old age homes banning smoking, against some employers (starting with the WHO) to refuse employment to smokers whether they smoke during working hours or not, against the law forbidding private clubs with no employees dedicated to smokers only?   If you did, can you point to me where I can read your objections and if not, why not?  Science put aside, do you consider these practices ethical? 

  • Let me guess: you deny anthropogenic global warming too?
    Just a hunch…

  • Madden's point only stands a chance of being powerful if you think that personal freedom is not only valuable, but the only thing of value.  And that is – at best – questi…

    Actually: you know what?  Nuts to this.  I can't believe that I'm wasting time responding to a claim that arguments about secondhand smoke are comparable to racism.  You have to be an imbecile to think that, and I've got better things to do than argue against imbecility.

  • So you'd have liked legislation sooner?

    Your final sentence just looks like paranoia, btw.

  • Eh?  How does evidence of the benefits of giving up show that secondhand smoke isn't risky?  That makes no sense at all.

    Noone has claimed that SHS is as dangerous as primary smoking.  But that won't show that it's not dangerous.

  • There're all manner of reasons why health units might refuse certain procedures to smokers; sometimes they might be defensible, and other times not so.  Sheltered accommodation where smoking is banned is a trickier case; but there is a moral argument to be had in defence of a ban.  And so on…

    Ethics is not as straightforward a matter as your post seems to indicate you think it to be.

  • CyZane

    Ethics should have at least dictated to you to look at the science instead of making general statements that because there are carcinogens (regardless of the dose) it is ethical to throw old  and sick people in all elements to smoke outdoors, to outright refuse operating on smokers just to save costs, to forbid to smokers the freedom to associate with like minded individuals, to isolate lonely people who all they have is their friends at the pub, to refuse jobs to smokers, to cause discord and division among family members and I am probably forgetting some of the other not only unethical but immoral consequences that anti-smokers have brought on on less than flimsy evidence.   

    Quite frankly I don't care what the academic definition of ethics is and how complicated it may be.  Common decency dictates that if we're going to do all of the above, the ethical and human thing to do is look at the science and if it warrants it.  So it doesn't really matter which way you want to look at the issue there is only one question to be asked and it is how hazardous second hand smoke is.  Yet you conveniently avoid assessing the risk. Why?

  • junican41

    This debate becomes weirder by the minute.

    Iain you write:  ''Some of the smoke that doesn't go into the smoker goes into passers-by. It's reasonable to assume that it contains carcinogens.  I deliberately didn't go into the science, but, as far as I can see, that's all that'sneeded to ground an ethical argument, isn't it?'

    Remove the 'did not go into the science' bit and the sentence says that the mere fact that air may contain a portion of stuff in that air, which may, possibly, perhaps, maybe, unproven, hysterically exagerated, announced a priori by quack professors like Repace, will definitely shorten a person's life, provided that the the person lives for 200 years.

    So the ethical argument is that it is naughty for the government not to legislate to ensure that the possibilities outlined in the last sentence do not occur. Is that the 'ethics'?

    Fiddle and faff semantically as you wish, but the reality is that THERE IS NO DANGER TO ANYONE, IN NORMAL, EVERYDAY CIRCUMSTANCES, FROM SHS – NOT EVEN REMOTELY TO CHILDREN.

    Put that in your non-pipe and non-smoke it.

  • harleyrider1989

    Never ever bought it for a second,just a HUNCH I figured you did since you buy into microscopic levels of shs will harm people junk science!

    But at least your fun………………..

  • 1. in what way are bars a red herring when they have been the subject of bans for at least seven years this side of the pond. 

    We had an allegedly dangerous substance to which both children and adults are exposed. Instead of acting to protect the children (who can’t choose where they go) we act to protect the adults (who can choose), even though the environment for children is 23 (or 11) times more lethal. 

    2. Of course the comparative gravity of two threats can’t be deduced by the speed of regulation. But you would expect the greater threat to be regulated first. 

  • DaveAtherton20

    Here are the stats on smoking and driving from the American AA and conducted by North Carolina University. 0.9% for smoking. 

    “The study found that drivers were most often distracted by something outside their vehicle (29.4 percent) followed by adjusting a radio or CD player (11.4 percent). Other specific distractions included talking with other occupants (10.9 percent), adjusting vehicle or climate controls (2.8 percent), eating or drinking (1.7 percent), cell-phone use (1.5 percent) and smoking (0.9 percent). However, percentages should be considered very rough estimates, which are likely biased by underreporting.”

  • Iain, with all due respect, Belinda is making a very valid
    point. You simply fail to comprehend it because what goes through your mind,
    the only concepts you have to work with, is what you’ve heard in the Public
    Health mainstream, i.e., propaganda. You need another perspective on the
    matter. As an academic prepared to give opinions on the matter, you should
    ensure that you have as much relevant information as possible. Iain, how much
    courage do you actually have to venture beyond the illusory safety of the bigotry


    Just for some background, here’s a very brief history of
    antismoking, the bulk of it predating the concoction of secondhand smoke


    For some background on the current antismoking crusade,
    which continues in the physicalist/eugenics tradition, see the web page “the
    Godber Blueprint”. It highlights just some of the antismoking shenanigans/manipulation
    over the last few decades:


  • Here’s a rough sequence of the antismoking onslaught working
    to the Godber/WHO Blueprint over the last few decades.


    The first demand for a smoking ban was in the late-1980s
    concerning short-haul flights in the USA
    of less than 2 hours. At the time, the antismokers were asked if this was a
    “slippery slope” – where would it end? They ridiculed anyone suggesting such
    because this ban was ALL that they were after.

    Then they ONLY wanted smoking bans on all flights.

    Then the antismokers ONLY wanted nonsmoking sections in
    restaurants, bars, etc., and ensuring that this was ALL they wanted.

    Then the antismokers ONLY wanted complete bans indoors. That
    was all they wanted. At the time, no-one was complaining about having to
    “endure” wisps of smoke outdoors.


    Having bulldozed their way into indoor bans, the antismokers
    then went to work on the outdoors.

    Then they ONLY wanted bans within 10 feet of entrance ways.

    Then they ONLY wanted bans within 20 feet of entrance ways.

    Then they ONLY wanted bans in entire outdoor dining areas.

    Then they ONLY wanted bans for entire university campuses
    and parks and beaches.

    Then they ONLY wanted bans for apartment balconies.

    Then they ONLY wanted bans for entire apartment (including
    individual apartments) complexes.

    Having not heard of the “need” for smoking bans in cars to
    “protect” the children over the last few decades, NOW they ONLY want bans in
    cars to “protect the poor, helpless children”.


    On top of all of this, there are now instances, particularly
    in the USA,
    where smokers are denied employment, denied housing (even the elderly), and
    denied medical treatment. Smokers in the UK
    are denied fostering/adoption. Involuntary mental patients are restrained
    physically or chemically (sedation) rather than allow them to have a cigarette.


    At each point there was a crazed insistence that there was
    no more to come while the “world-fixer” fanatics were actually planning the
    next ban and the brainwashing required to push it. There has been incessant
    (pathological) lying and deception, “justified” in the fanatics’ minds to
    advance the Blueprint. Many medically-aligned groups have been committed to
    antismoking – their smokefree “utopia” – since the 1960s. All of it is working
    to a tobacco-extermination plan run by the WHO and that most nations are now
    signed-up to (the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control).


    I’m sure we can see a pattern here. The concocted SHS “danger”
    concerned a minute statistical risk of questionable causal basis for LIFELONG
    (30, 40, 50, 60 years) exposure to SHS from spousal smoking. Around 99.9+% of
    those exposed to SHS over a lifetime have NO elevated statistical risk of
    disease. Yet with the propaganda promoting the idea that SHS is
    bio-weapon-like, unlike anything else on earth, we now have many delicate and
    dainty nonsmokers “running the gauntlet” of smokers at entranceways, hand
    cupped over mouth, terrified that they might inhale a whiff. This is the
    promotion of mental dysfunction (e.g., anxiety reactions, hypochondria,
    somatization). And the irrationally terrified then demand “protection”. It is
    fully to be expected as a result of incessant inflammatory propaganda. And this
    is typically what happens when the medically-aligned Public Health goes on its
    social-engineering, deranged ideological crusades. The fanatics will keep
    pushing as far as society allows them.


    This has all happened in just 20 years. If it was mentioned
    20 years ago, or even 10 or 5 years ago, that smokers would be denied
    employment and housing and smoking bans in parks and beaches, it would have
    been laughed at as “crazed thinking”. Yet here we are. Much of it has happened
    before and it has all been intentional, planned decades ago. We just don’t
    learn or we’re going to have to learn the very hard way because it has to do
    with far, far more than just smoking.


  • Iain, you keep going on about the “danger” of second hand smoke but you don’t
    qualify what and how serious the danger is. Is it more dangerous then riding
    in the vehicle that smoking takes place in? more dangerous then riding a bike
    on a busy road? more dangerous then walking home from a friends house after
    midnight? more dangerous then binge drinking? more dangerous then lack of
    exercise or being obese? And if it’s so dangerous, please explain the boomer
    generation that was exposed to secondhand smoke everywhere, all the time
    growing up, including vehicles, and are still considered to be the longest
    lived generation?

    ‘‘Not safe’’ is not enough: smokers have a right to know more than there
    is no safe tobacco productL T Kozlowski, B Q Edwards

    Tobacco Control 2005;14(Suppl II):ii3–ii7. doi:

    We propose that the ‘‘no safe’’ message is so limited in its value that
    it represents a violation of the right to health relevant information. There
    is a need to go beyond saying, ‘‘there is no safe tobacco product’’ to
    indicate information on degree of risks……

  • I'll try again. If cars are much much more lethal than bars, why didn't the cars come first, and why has it taken so long to start expressing an intention to legislate around areas where children spend their time. If in the places where adults spend time is so lethal that we are denied choice about being exposed to smoke in them, why has there been this delay in acting on spaces where children are – if those spaces are so much more lethal than that?

    (No, I don't want the legislation at all. I don't believe that there is no safe level of secondary smoke. But you and your colleagues do, so you need to answer why protection of children lags years behind protection of adults.)

  • What matters is that SHS does elevate the risk – that's all that's needed to carry the moral weight, isn't it?
    And why keep banging on about the 23-times/ 11-times stuff?  I pointed out in the OP that that whole approach is a bit hokey anyway.  The comparison that matters is the difference between a smoky and non-smoky car.  The BMA's having used the bar comparison is, at best, puzzling.  But that's a bit of a side-issue, as far as I can see.

  • I've avoided going at great length into the risk simply because I'm not qualified.  But I don't have to go into detailed evaluations of the risk: the evidence is overwhelming that there is an elevated risk from SHS.  How elevated is only a secondary question.

    As I said just ^up there^, there may be all kinds of debates to be had about policy in respect of, say, smoking in sheltered accommodation.  But that has nothing to do with smoking in cars, and nothing to do with Lyons' article.  As far as I can see, these questions are – for the sake of what interested me in the blog post – mere chaff.

  • 1. Bars are a red herring.  The BMA made a mistake in using that comparator because, as I've pointed out three or four times, what's much more important is the difference between smoky and smoke-free cars.
    2. You seem to believe that the comparative gravity of two given threats x and y can be deduced by the speed with which regulations are passed in reference to x and y.  I'm genuinely baffled by why anyone would think that.

  • Keith Tayler

    The reference for the US research? I find it extremely difficult to believe that adjusting radio/cassette/CD 11.4%, moving object in vehicle 4.3%, other device/object 2.9%, adjusting vehicle/climate controls 2.8%, eating and/or drinking 1.7%, using/dialing cell phone 1.5%, other distractions 25.6%, unknown distraction 8.6% but smoking is just 0.9%. What 'other distractions' and 'unknown distraction' account for over a third? Does 'moving object in vehicle' include a cigarette? Remarkably high at over 4%. Find it difficult to believe that 'adjusting/climate controls' is over twice that of eating and nearly that of phoning. I would have to look at this research very closely. Remember that about a half of this type of research is rubbish.

    However, the 1% has appeared elsewhere and I am happy to ban it on 1%. Eating, drinking and phoning has been bannerd on less than 2%. Again, I am interested in the stats but I do not ground by argument on stats.

    The nicotne improves performance is complex. As some of the research I referenced shows, it does have a down side. I think we will have to say it is inconclusive. 

    I agree that asthma has increased and I am not suggesting that smoking is a 'cause' of asthma. It does trigger some acts in some people. It also, as in my case, causes children with other problems difficulty. But again, I would ban it because it is unreasonable to expect children to breath my stinking smoke (not that I have smoked in a car for the last thirty years). If people are unable to understand that we have to ban it – as with other forms of behaviour. You disagree, but I am sure there are people who disagree with the littering laws and planning laws that prevent smells.

  • Bars are a red herring because, in a debate about the safety of smoke in cars, it's smoke in cars, and the danger that it presents, that should concern us.  I'd've thought that obvious.

    I'd expect all manner of things about the law.  But that's neither here nor there.

  • Keith Tayler

    I have found the same research at

    It does open with the 0.9% figure but, as you say, it does put a health warning on the figures and says they should not be used for policy purposes – too many unknowns etc.. Later in the research the smoking figures change as the road conditions change and are much much higher. The researcher make it clear that getting figures on this stuff is very difficult.

    The 0.9% is used by the pro-smoking types – mostly without reference and without any of the researchers comments on the problems they had.

  • CyZane

    Oh fine Iain, just fine.  Carry on tearing Lyon's article apart and writing blog posts about it. Obviously in the academical world it is the ethical thing to do. For your information, it doesn't take fancy qualifications to read the studies and use some common sense and critical thinking to realize that we have been had and people are suffering for it.  But if for whatever reason it tickles your fancy to continue believing the fraud, there is not much else I can hope for than for some real ethical person to do the right thing one day.

  • Rose


    You might find this helpful in understanding the situation, is it within the rules to quote a study from the BMJ on the BMJ ?


    “Hammond et al state that “social denormalisation” strategies seek “to change the broad social norms around using tobacco—to push tobacco use out of the charmed circle of normal, desirable practice to being an abnormal practice”.

    Several authors have suggested that Erving Goffman’s classic analysis of stigma and its resultant “spoiled identity” is consonant with how the meaning of smoking has changed in societies with widespread tobacco control. Goffman described stigmatisation as the transformation “from a whole and usual person to a tainted, discounted one”, writing that “Stigma is a process by which the reaction of others spoils normal identity”.

    Various headings

    Smokers as malodourous
    Smokers as litterers
    Smokers as unattractive and undesirable housemates
    Smokers as undereducated and a social underclass
    Smokers as excessive users of public health services
    Smokers as employer liabilities

    “For the individual, an obvious escape from this negativity is to quit smoking, as hundreds of thousands do each year. For governments, this negativity foments a public climate that is highly receptive to tobacco control legislation, polices and programs.”

    Markers of the denormalisation of smoking and the tobacco industry

    Having social denormalisation strategies practiced on you while you are quietly going about your life becomes both tedious and very intrusive.

  • Which is all fine and groovy had the notion of banning smoking in cars been about smokers – which it isn't – rather than about where smokers smoke – which it is. If you're going to argue against that notion, then that's one thing; but I think that the arguments ought to be kept on track. I don't see why talking about smoking in cars has to be seen as stigmatising of smokers.

  • Brighteyesopenwide

    Of course you find it ‘extremely difficult to believe’ actual recorded accident distraction causes Keith because it contradicts your entrenched anecdotal opinion. Admit it Keith, you will never consider ANY research as anything more than 'inconclusive', unless it agrees with your views. Remember, ‘belief’ is the preserve of religious faith – not science where evidence is required! (at least that used to be the case.)

    “Smoking in cars unquestionable causes accidents which kills and maims more people than passive smoking…” This is probably correct Keith as NO ONE has EVER been killed or maimed by ‘passive smoking’ so it would take only one unfortunate death to make this true.  The “I am happy to ban it on 1% “ however, puts into perspective the ‘danger’ of smoking while driving and hardly confirms the fallacious mental image you try to convey of mass deaths but does adequately illustrate your mental processes eh? 

    “I agree that asthma has increased and I am not suggesting that smoking is a 'cause' of asthma. It does trigger some acts in some people.” Nor I suspect, would you consider that smoking could be beneficial, YET there is a substantial body of evidence that suggests just that, not just scientific but also from a common sense perspective too. 

    How is your ‘belief’ challenged when we consider the large, WHO sponsored, 7 European country, Boffetta et al study into passive smoking. that produced a very significant result; that passive smoke is beneficial to children and PREVENTED lung cancer later in life? Shall we just ignore it, pretend it doesn’t exist, cos it contradicts the SHS ‘harm’ deception?


    ps Neither eating nor drinking are ‘banned’ while driving in the UK. 

    “Does 'moving object in vehicle' include a cigarette?” (straws-grasping comes to mind)

  • Keith Tayler

    I will say this one more time – I am not that concerned about the stats., my point is that is unreasonable (and could trigger asthma etc.) to inflict smoke on people in enclosed spaces if they are not in the position to remove themselves from the car, and as with of cases of unwanted smells it should be banned. Do you understand? I do believe smoking and driving is dangerous for the ‘reasons’ I gave. As for the stats, I also think that even if we take the 0.9% figure to be correct (remember the researchers have their doubts), it is still too high to ignore. The 0.9% figure is of total accidents. Given that only 19.8% of the US population smoke and many of those do not smoke whilst driving (not permitted in commercial vehicles, many smokers do not smoke in their cars, etc.), we are left with about 15% of drivers that smoke and drive (may be some research on this but I can‘t be bothered to look). So 0.9% of accidents are caused by the habit of about 15% of drivers. That is quite high. It is not, nor have I ever suggested, ‘mass deaths’, but it does amount to over 60,000 accidents a year in the US of which over 400 are fatal (some people might say this a ‘mass‘, I think it to too many). I believe this number of fatalities is more than can be “proved” to be caused by passive smoking. I am not, as I have said before, interested in the passive smoking issue because it creates too much weirdness. Just as I have my doubts about the research that links passive smoking and lung cancer, so I have my doubts about the research that claims smoking prevents lung cancer. I have been assessing and analysing research in all the sciences on and off for about 40 years (I am coincidentally presently researching the link between the tobacco industry and genome research). I am very conscious of keeping my own personal views out of my work, but in this instance I have expressed a view. So far I have seen no evidence, including the 0.9% of total accident figure, that challenges that view (again the main grounds of my argument comes down to consideration for others which is not a matter the stats address). Finally, drinking and eating has increasingly fallen under driving without due care and attention. As with smoking, it is difficult to ban it outright so it is left to the police and courts to make the call – all very English and worth keeping an eye on because there is no defence that it was okay to do it years ago. Perhaps I should not have used the word ‘banned’ because it suggests there is specific statute forbidding it; however, I can assure you that drivers are regularly fined for drinking and eating at the wheel. I would be quite happy if smoking was ’banned’ the same way (of course in some rare situations it is), but that would not address the child issue so a ban on the lines of phones might be the only way. Anyway, you are welcome to prove me wrong by passing a police car whilst eating a sandwich and having a drink.

  • Keith Tayler

    Thought about this. Too many accidents even for the US. Of course it is a percentage of distracted related accidents which is much much lower. It's about 2500 pa of which 15 fatal. Still too many and still more than can be proved by passive smoking.

  • Keith Tayler

    Just noticed this. I have said the 78% figure is wrong.

  • I can't help but to wonder whether, if smoking really does reduce the chance of cancer in later life, it's simply because it reduces the chance of a later life.

  • nisakiman

    Iain, you are obviously an intelligent man, so why do you make such an unintelligent statement?

    The whole process, defacing cigarette packets, banning smoking in bars, lying to people about second-hand smoke being dangerous, banning smoking in cars – it's ALL part of the process of stigmatisation and denormalisation. If you are unable to see that, then you are totally blinded by your dogged belief in the propaganda you have been fed.

    Read my lips, Iain.




  • Defacing cigarette packets?  Really?

    It's not about puritanism.  Even writing in capitals doesn't make that true.

  • Keith Tayler

    Now that this little topic has been put to bed it is time for me to make a small correction. In reply to Brighteyedandopenmouthed I stated that accidents “caused” by drivers distracted by smoking resulted in 400 deaths a year in the US. I quickly “corrected” this figure to 15 deaths! Obviously both figures look wrong. I wanted to know how the smoking lobby responded to these figures, but it would appear they have taken their UPPER CASE thinking somewhere else (can’t blame them for that). For the record, I should present what would appear to be the correct figures. If we take the Stutts et al figure and apply it to the total fatal accidents caused by distracted drives, as supplied by the US Dept. of Transport (…, we get 0.9% of 5,474 which is 49 fatalities pa.. Again, given that only about 15% of drivers smoke whilst driving, this is higher than many other forms of distraction, e.g. operating the climate control, fiddling with radio, or indeed using a phone given the number of phone users (this would need some research). Other studies in Virginia (see links above) have given 2.1% accidents caused by smoking. The problem of course is that it is difficult to get information from drivers that are dead, or if they survive the accident to get them to admit that they may have caused the accident because they were distracted by a cigarette (got a feeling that the UPPER CASE lot would not admit their habit caused an accident). So as with so much research we should use our commonsense. Finally, as I have said before, these stats are of little interest to me – I think it should be banded because it is grossly inconsiderate in much the same way as littering and noise pollution is.

  • Keith Tayler

    As is often the case the field has edited me again! Not sure why this is down here as I made it a reply to my post above. Anyway, the web site is…

  • Keith Tayler

    Did not take it – I will type the address

  • Keith Tayler

    I give up. Google 'distracted drivers US department of transport'