Sunday, April 6, 2008

1000 Canadians die from SHS

I wrote a post a few weeks ago, after reading an article by the anti-smoker brigade claiming that one out of three smokers would, eventually, die of a smoking related disease. I pointed out that three out of three smokers would, eventually, die of something. I also noted that three out of three non-smokers would, eventually, die of something.

The facts are incontrovertible. Everyone is going to die. Some will die sooner and some later, but we’re all going to die. And, although most people, I suspect, would prefer to die later, many take risks that could cause them to die sooner. It’s human nature.

Some do it because they have to make a living. Coal miners, for example, accept the risks associated with that occupation. Cave-ins, methane gas explosions and black lung disease are all risks associated with mining coal.

Some accept risk through a sense of duty. Soldiers take the risk of some guy shooting their ass off before they have the chance to shoot his ass off. Some soldiers, not content with the risk of being shot at, volunteer to take additional risks; like jumping out of perfectly good aircraft flying very high off the ground.

Many people engage in risky activity for the pure joy of it; doing really crazy stuff, like sliding down steep, snow-covered slopes at 80 MPH on a couple of waxed boards; or driving to and from work across the QEW at 100 KPH.

And some people smoke!

So why aren’t these other people targeted to reduce their exposure to risk? Why is there such an all-out effort to “de-normalize” only smokers? Why is the anti-smoker brigade free to preach intolerance and hatred against five million Canadians? Why is there a deliberate strategy to vilify and discriminate against smokers by the fanatics, public health advocates and the government? Why don’t they demonize miners, soldiers and skiers?

Ah, yes; because smokers “force” the “serious health hazards” of their addiction on non-smokers. Or do they? Has anyone really thought to question the statistics being quoted by the zealots?

For example, Health Canada “estimates” that 1,000 Canadians are killed annually by secondhand smoke. That simple statistic has people wringing their hands in despair. But has anyone in the media, the government or the public asked where that statistic came from? StatsCan does not list SHS as the cause of any of the roughly 230,000 deaths that occur annually in Canada. Did someone from Health Canada really reach behind them and pull that number out of their anal cavity?

If I want to know how many Canadian soldiers were killed in the service of their country over the last century, I can get their name, rank and serial number from the Department of Defense. If I want the names of all the miners killed in coal mines in Nova Scotia, I can get a full list from several sources on the web. It took me less than twenty minutes to find my uncle, who was killed in a rock fall back in 1941.

But, try asking Health Canada for a list of the 1,000 Canadians they claim were killed by secondhand smoke last year? I’ll risk everything I own on a bet that no list will be forthcoming.

It’s time to use some common sense, friends and neighbours. Even if we accepted that figure (I don’t; not for a bloody minute), try putting the number into context. StatsCan figures for 2004 show that 8,626 Canadians died in accidents, including motor vehicle accidents. Another 8,032 died of pneumonia. In that same year, over three times as many Canadians died by their own hand than allegedly died from secondhand smoke. That’s 3,681 suicides; real people, real deaths, not fictional “estimated” deaths plucked from somebody’s posterior.

Do Canadians really want to persecute five million of their countrymen because some petty, would be dictators “estimate” that 1,000 Canadians may be dying from possible exposure to SHS? Do Canadians really want to deprive 20% of the population of their right to hold a job; a place to live; proper medical care?

Common sense doesn’t cost a cent, friends and neighbours. Let’s use it. Don’t buy into the prejudice and propaganda. Get the facts. Stop the discrimination.

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