Thursday, September 19, 2013

Turning Smokers Into Criminals

By Alan Caruba

America is filled with groups of people clamoring for their “rights” or claiming they are being discriminated against. One group, however, has been successfully silenced and, broadly speaking, turned into criminals. They are people who enjoy a cigarette, a cigar, or a pipe. There is no one left to speak for them, so I will.

A bit of background; my Father smoked a pipe as long as I knew him and, before him, his father smoked cigarettes. Both died well into their 90s. My Mother did not smoke but in the lingo of the attack on smokers, she presumably was a “victim” of secondary-smoke. She died at age 98. I have smoked since my days in college, some six decades. I became a cigar smoker while in the army and have thoroughly enjoyed them ever since.

In 2010 I received a book by Michael J. McFadden titled “Dissecting Antismoker’s Brains”, a privately-published examination of the movement to ban smoking. He wrote at the time “If by some chance they eventually succeeded in eliminating smoking from the face of the earth there would be virtually no time lapse before they sank their fangs into Big Auto, Big Meat, Big Soda, or whatever supposedly idealistic cause was out there that would promise them Big Money and Big Power.”

He was prescient because we have all witnessed campaigns against meat and soda consumption, all replete with “scientific studies” which, on close examination are bogus. We have been through three decades of such studies regarding the end-of-the-world claims regarding “global warming” only to learn in 2009 that they represented a cabal of scientists in America and Great Britain who colluded to produce the International Panel on Climate Change reports, based on falsified “science” and manipulated, bogus computer models.

These days the IPCC’s latest assessment reluctantly admits that its claims have failed, given a cooling cycle that began around 1998. Instead of shutting down and disbanding, the IPCC continues its quest to control the use of energy sources, oil, coal, and natural gas, denying it as much as possible to nations and people who depend on them.

McFadden has expanded on his earlier book with a new one, “TobakkoNacht: The Antismoking Endgame.” (Aethna Press, $27.95, softcover) The title is a play on Kristallnach, a 1938 event in Nazi Germany that revealed the depths of that regime’s hatred of Jews, leading eventually to the Holocaust. Smokers are not being rounded up and killed, but they are subjected to bans and meritless increases in the cost of smoking; taxes that greatly benefit the states imposing them while using the power of taxation to denigrate smokers.

McFadden, who has a strong knowledge of statistics, examines how they have been used, often falsely, to impose the agenda of the antismoking forces. “Statistics have a real and valid use in science and public health,” he says, “but when it comes to using social engineering techniques toward the end goal of creating a smoke-free world, they have been destructively abused to create fear and resentment far more than they have been constructively used to share information and enlightenment.”

“TobakkoNacht” is filled with information and enlightenment; the kind that the antismoking campaigners do not want the public to know. It is just over 500 pages long and, as McFadden warns, “A democratic republic that allows its policies to be built on the basis of lies, and a citizenry that accepts those lies as being the norm, is a republic and citizenry in very deep and serious trouble.” It’s not just lies about smoking, global warming, or what we should eat and drink. It is the lies that assure us that the government is not reading our mail and monitoring all our phone calls and Internet activity. It is the lies that lure the nation into wars.

The lies pouring out of the White House and repeated in the nation’s mainstream media have achieved a mass that the President has called “phony scandals” and they include the attack in Benghazi, the role of the National Security Agency, the actions taken by the Internal Revenue Service against Tea Party and other conservative groups, and the greatest fountain of lies, the Environmental Protection Agency.

In page after relentless page, McFadden cites the facts that disprove the lies about the connections between smoking and health. Yes, some smokers do develop lung disease, but many people who do not smoke also fall victim. No, there is no epidemic of heart attacks among smokers. The alleged links between “secondary” smoke and health are non-existent. Many of the diseases cited have a genetic component in which even people who do not smoke fall victim.

The war on smokers depends on the same general ignorance of science that other comparable campaigns use. They cite “amounts” of “toxic” substances, so let me end with a short lesson in reality:

1 milligram = 1,000 micrograms
1 milligram = 1,000,000 nanograms
1 milligram = 1,000,000,000 picograms
1 milligram = 1,000,000,000,000 femtograms

The same hucksters and frauds that tell you that 0.039% by volume of the carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere poses a huge threat to all life and those claiming that the presence of arsenic in tobacco smoke is a health threat are dependent on public ignorance. What you are not told is that there is arsenic in potatoes and in eggplants. What they are not telling you is that the earth’s active volcanoes are natural sources of carbon dioxide, along with others, including humans that exhale it.

The anti-smoking campaign is about controlling people and, as far as Big Pharma is concerned, making a ton of money selling nicotine patches and gum. The “scientists” in universities will make their money generating false studies.
 
It’s a scam. It’s a fraud. It has falsely stigmatized everyone who wants to light up and relax.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

24 comments:

Al Heithaus said...

To say that smoking doesn't harm your health is ludicrous. Ask my mom who died of COPD a couple of years ago after smoking for 30-something years.

Do all smokers die from it? Of course not. But it does increase the odds.

To compare smoking to drinking is also a lousy comparison. If I drink a beer (or 20) in the same room as you, you are not harmed. If I smoke in the same room as you, you may well be harmed--allergies, bronchitis, and other medical conditions are made worse by exposure to smoke. Notice that hospitals were one of the main places to go smoke free? Airliners? Movie theaters? All places where the non-smoker has little or no opportunity to get away from smokers.

As a libertarian, I don't like government forbidding smoking in private businesses. If I own a bar or restaurant who are they to say whether I allow smoking? Here in Austin, they've even tried to ban smoking in a cigar shop! The Bloomberg wannabes failed, at least for now.

To conclude, if smokers were more polite about it, these laws might never have been necessary. When do you ever hear a smoker ask "do you mind if I smoke?" Even in my own home, I've had visitors who simply assume that sparking up is just fine, and get indignant when I ask them to go outside (usually with something like "but it's too hot out there").

--Al--

Phil Hershkowitz said...

Thank you for your excellent article. Al, smoking may be smelly and/or disgusting but the contention that it will kill you is dubious. I suppose it's an endless debate. There are 100 year old folks who smoke.

pela68 said...

It's not so much of the freedom TO smoke as it the freedom to NOT being exposed to smoke unwillingly.

Here in Sweden nobody smokes indoors- even with the harsh winters we got here.

Almost everybody that still smokes are elders or young women or immigrants.

Smoking indoors is a sure way of getting your property value downsized by a million or more.

Cars that are sold in Sweden rarely have ashtrays- and I for instance would never buy a car that people have smoked in!

But besides from that- Feel free to puff on. I would never forbid you to enjoy a nice cigar. Heaven knows that I have done it on occasion. But mostly I just use snus (fermented, smokeless and flavored tobacco that you just put in your gums...

;-)

Ron Stabb said...

It is all about control. I get so sick of it.
I like dogs better than people. They don't tell me what to do and are happy to see me when I get home.
Alan Caruba for President!

Michael J. McFadden said...

Al, I actually would *not* argue that "smoking doesn't harm your health." I might argue that the harms are exaggerated, but I wouldn't argue they're not there.

Secondhand smoke harms are a different kettle of fish. Even conditions like extreme bronchitis or COPD wouldn't normally be negatively affected in a clinical sense in a Free Choice environment where ventilation and air-filtration levels were high, and allergies and tobacco smoke have at least something of a questionable relationship at any level: allergens tend to be protein-based and, if my understanding of them is correct, would tend to be destroyed by burning. Smoke *can* act as a "trigger" for allergic/asthmatic attacks, but so can almost anything -- it's highly individualized and often psychogenic.

Re visitors in your home: it's your home and you have the perfect right to set the rules. Politeness would dictate that you accompany them outside rather than just exile them though.

You might want to read my section on "Secondary Smoke" at http://Antibrains.com and see what you think of it.

Michael J. McFadden
author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains" (And, as Alan has so kindly pointed out, now the author of TobakkoNacht as well!)

Michael J. McFadden said...

Whoops! Forgot one thing: I wanted to address your alcohol comment. It's true you don't usually see or smell alcohol vapor, but ethyl alcohol *is* a Class A Carcinogen with "no safe level of exposure" and it *is* highly volatile! A martini emits roughly 1,000 milligrams of that vapor into the air in the space of an hour. A cigarette on the other hand might have a strong scent and be visible, but the half dozen or so discreet Class A components in smoke from a cigarette amount to only about 1/2 of a single milligram -- 2,000 times *less* than the martini emits! Really. See my piece on it in the BMJ at:

http://web.archive.org/web/20080330061027/http://www.bmj.com/cgi/eletters/330/7495/812#105082

- MJM

Allan Taylor said...

I live in Australia where the Labor Government has increased the tax on tobacco products. I don't smoke cigarettes but have smoked a pipe for 50 years, but not now that it costs $35 for a 50 gram packet of tobacco, or well over the cost of a bag of groceries.
I have written about this invasion of our privacy in an article: "Reflections: Pipe and Cigar Smoking" at http://bit.ly/hrXoXc
Regards, Allan Taylor

Allan Taylor said...

My comments are included in my article "Reflections: Pipe and Cigar Smoking" at http://bit.ly/hrXoXc
Regards
Allan Taylor

DJ said...

I've always thought it curious that the world's most productive periods in regard to technical and literary advances were times when creative people (consciously or unconsciously) regularly imbibed both nicotine and caffeine, usually in combination. Einstein, C. S. Lewis, and a number of other remarkable souls immediately come to mind; as do all those sepia and black-and-white photos of scientists and inventors who literally changed the world for the better.

Kin_Free said...

Al’s comment is typical of many people who have been affected by decades of anti-smoker propaganda. “Ask my mom who died of COPD a couple of years ago after smoking for 30-something years”. Some even miss out the illness and just say “Smoking killed my mum”.

These are simple one-line propaganda slogans intended to appeal to emotion, second only to the ‘protect our children’ slogans.

We see the same comment relating to lung cancer and used to see it for cervical cancer and oral/ throat cancer before it was discovered that these cancers were predominantly caused by the HPV virus.

The logic goes like this; My mum smoked, she died of COPD (or lung cancer etc) ergo smoking caused her death, “It’s ludicrous to think otherwise”. Other possibilities apparently become irrelevant once it is determined that the victim was a smoker, BUT many non-smokers die of COPD and ALL the other diseases allegedly attributed to smoking - what caused their illnesses? More importantly, could that same non-smoker cause be attributed to smokers too? If not - why not?

Smoking has been reducing for over 50 years in most western countries but let’s look at some raw statistics in the USA; in 1979 there were 47000 total new COPD deaths - in 1998 it was 107000 - by 2007 it was 124000. Smoking down - COPD up! Lung cancer stats are even more stark - New cases of lung cancer increased by over 30% in just eight years between 2000 and 2008!! We now know that 80% of new lung cancer cases are now diagnosed in NON smokers in USA (2012)! Population increase may temper that figure slightly, over the same period US pop. increased by 8% - but shouldn’t these illnesses be REDUCING if smoking was the cause? If anything, this suggests that smoking may prevent many of these illnesses!! (Another ‘ludicrous' suggestion?)

Passive smoking ‘harm’ claims have been shown over and over again to be grossly exaggerated, several scientific studies even show it to be beneficial. In other words, passive smoking ‘harm’ is false, it is a scam to justify smoke bans.

How far back in time and depth does this scam go?

Politicians may believe that if the truth of this was to become widespread public knowledge then their standing would be seriously damaged. What is worse; holding your hands up and admitting to having been conned by the anti-smoker industry or embroiling yourself deeper in the deception and aiding and abetting it to prevent embarrassment? I would suggest that the latter option would be far more damaging to government and the country in general - Look to places like Syria to see the result. (yet another ‘ludicrous suggestion’?)

Fred Mangels said...

Passive smoking ‘harm’ claims have been shown over and over again to be grossly exaggerated, several scientific studies even show it to be beneficial. In other words, passive smoking ‘harm’ is false, it is a scam to justify smoke bans.

Yep. It's getting even better. I recently read an article suggesting that even "third hand smoke"- the smoke particles that cling to walls and furniture- is dangerous. Go figure.

Ron Stabb said...

Here you go:

http://www.law.com/jsp/pa/PubArticlePA.jsp?id=1202619821763&thepage=1

Michael J. McFadden said...

Fred, I have a whole chapter devoted to thirdhand smoke in TobakkoNacht. The NY Times teamed up with Winikoff to frighten parents with tales of how their babies would be killed like the KGB spy who was assassinated with Polonium 210.

I did some figuring on it, and realized that even if a baby licked TEN SQUARE FEET of smokers' flooring absolutely clean, every single day, that it would take them a long time to get the dose that killed the KGB spy.

"How long?" You might ask.

About 3.4 *trillion* years! Seriously. You can read the whole analysis in my comments below the Global Health Law article at: http://globalhealthlaw.wordpress.com/2009/01/11/third-hand-smoke

In TobakkoNacht I also lay out my attempts to get the New York Times to undo the social damage they'd caused with that article, pointing out that fearmongering on such a ridiculous thing probably caused real harm in dividing families and ripping children away from loving parents in custody disputes. The Times of course refused to even acknowledge the problem, much less correct it.

- MJM

Michael J. McFadden said...

Kin Free wrote, "In other words, passive smoking ‘harm’ is false, it is a scam to justify smoke bans.
How far back in time and depth does this scam go?"

Kin, while there are bits and pieces extending way back about "Stygian stinks" etc, the first modern manifestation came from "Tobacco And The Organism" -- a book put out through the Nazis in 1939. The author, Fritz Lickint, created the term Passivrauchen, "Passive Smoking," and it was used by Hitler in his German drive to eliminate smoking as a step toward Aryan purity.

It disappeared after Hitler's defeat, but was picked up again and promoted by Sir George Godber at the WHO's 1975 "World Conference on Smoking and Health." American Antismokers saw the concept as their "golden ticket" to eliminate smokers -- and the rest, as they say, is history.

- MJM

Travis sez said...

Another hypocrisy: The primary function of the mandated catalytic converter is to change a real pollutant and killer, Carbon Monoxide into Carbon Dioxide, which has been "legally" but not scientifically defined as a pollutant by the Supreme Court and the recipient of the No-Bell Peace prize. It's really a life sustaining fertilizer which keeps the atmosphere in balance through photosynthesis. Go Figure!

Guy in Ohio said...

I've argued this subject until I'm blue in the face. Let it suffice to say that I believe the smoke Nazis pose a far greater risk to my health than tobacco smoke, first or second hand, ever did. Their claims about the dangers of secondhand smoke, in all but the most extreme cases, are complete nonsense. They simply don't like tobacco or tobacco users, and want to impose their lifestyle on the rest of us. I despise people like that ...

Michael J. McFadden said...

I'd like to thank Mr. Caruba for his warm words about my writing, and also add a note. A good friend from the Citizens Freedom Alliance has been working with me for the last few days on setting up a wonderful website that TobakkoNacht can call its home. If you are intrigued by Mr. Caruba's description, feel free to check it out at TobakkoNacht.com and you'll find a rich selection of the book's contents.

:)
MJM

Longstreet said...

Great piece, Alan!

...And Mr. McFadden, thanks for your wonderful book!

Oh, I've been a pipe smoker for oh, roughly 50 years now. As a kid, I'd make my own from a corn cob and a short piece of cane. I'd pull "rabbit tobacco" (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Rabbit%20Tobacco) right off the plant's stalk in the fields and smoke that.

Good stuff!

Thanks to both of you!

J. D. Longstreet

Fred Mangels said...

Some of you might be interested in this british oriented blog. I'm not sure if I stumbled onto it here or on some other blog. The guy goes after the health nazis over smoking, drinking and other stuff. Pretty good although I have a hard time relating to some posts as he references things going on in England, Australia, New Zealand and so on:
http://www.velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.pt/

I just sent him an e-mail mentioning Mcfadden's book in case he hadn't heard of it yet.

Michael J. McFadden said...

Thank you JD and Fred! :)

Rabbit tobacco! Love it! :> Very interesting that folk medicine viewed smoking it as *good* for sinusitis, asthma, etc.

Re Chris Snowdon's Velvet Glove site: I actually cite Chris pretty extensively in the "Helena Heart Miracle/Fraud" section of "Studies on the Slab" in TobakkoNacht. Chris is a careful researcher and great writer: his "Velvet Glove, Iron Fist: A History of Antismoking" is a must-read for anyone active in the area or who wants to get a solid historical context for where the whole antismoking craziness grew out of. As you'll see in the "Recommended Bibliography" section of TobakkoNacht, I recommend different books for different audiences and purposes: I see Chris's book as wonderfully complimenting my own "Brains." Glove sets the antismoking movement in a historical context while Brains sets it in a psychological one.

:)
MJM

karagiannis_dim said...

Non Smokers/Anti Smokers would have been more reliable with their anecdotal incidents if they could identify the lifestyle cause that caused non smokers to die

So if smokers die from cigarettes,why don't non smokers die from their choices, eg alcohol,dairy products,red meat the list goes on

Then ofcourse we have to go and stigmatise the consumers of those products sameway as smokers.Smth caused their death!!

Unknown said...

I suspect 'Al' is a paid shill. I've heard the same phrases used over and over as if they were coming from a script....Oh wait!

Alan Caruba said...

Unknown, you can suspect all you want, but I do not and have not received a dime from any tobacco company or representative thereof. And why should I publish the opinion of someone who wants to remain "unknown"?

Michael J. McFadden said...

Actually, I'm guessing it's more likely that "Unknown" is referring to the "Al" who led off the comments here. If he was referring to Alan Caruba he wouldn't have needed to put the "Al" in quotes.

The posting Al *does* lead off with something you see a lot of out there, a claim about someone close dying from what he believes was their smoking. Sometimes those claims are truer or more accurate than others -- sometimes they're clearly made up, and sometimes they're just reactions to swallowed propaganda (e.g. "X died from lung cancer because they lived next door to someone who smoked.") I think the poster "Al" was probably being sincere since he didn't jump on the bandwagon the Antis see as all important: the bar/restaurant bans.

- MJM