Wednesday, April 16, 2008

No new hearts for smokers - ASH

The Daily Mail article claimed that: “More than one in four heart transplant patients start smoking again after their operation.”

According to the article, Doctors at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle began analyzing urine samples for signs of tobacco use in 1993. Over the next 13 years, they tracked 380 male patients to see how many started smoking again. The result: according to the doctors, 104 had smoked again in the months and years after surgery.

The “findings” of this study claim the smokers lived an average of 11.89 years, 4 years less than those who didn’t resume smoking.

"A lot of families will be very upset and disappointed," said Pauline Weaver, a trustee of the Donor Family Network charity, "But donors and their families cannot choose who they give an organ to. All they can do is give other people the chance of a better life. What they choose to do with that is up to them."

ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) is, as usual, a little more militant in expressing their opinion, saying. “Indeed, since many families of heart donors are "very upset and disappointed" when former smokers "waste" this gift of life by smoking again, perhaps they should begin to specify that hearts should go only to those who never smoked, or who gave it up many years ago”.

ASH Executive Director, John Banzhaf, says “Many non-smokers die while waiting for the hearts which are now being put into people (smokers) very likely to accelerate their own deaths.” Banzhaf also takes issue with the Donor Family Network charity, and their contention that donors and their families cannot choose to whom they can give an organ.

Banzhaf, a “professor of public interest law”, suggests, “Conditioning the gift of a heart upon a requirement that it not be largely wasted by being transplanted into someone very highly likely to smoke is very different from trying to prevent a heart from being donated to someone because of his or her race, religion, or similar immutable characteristics.

But, Banzhaf’s opinion is a legal one which ignores morals and ethics. And, his remarks amount to blatant discrimination. Claiming that heart transplants are “wasted” on smokers because they only live an average of 12 years after the operation instead of 16, clearly shows his contempt for a large minority in our society.

And, in this case, their suggestion that smokers and/or former smokers be denied transplants is counter-productive. Why should smokers and former smoker sign an organ donor card if they know there’s no way they would, themselves, be considered for a transplant?

ASH openly preaches hatred, intolerance and discrimination against smokers.

Dr. Michael Siegel, an anti-smoking advocate says in his web log, “There is no place for discrimination and bigotry in the practice of medicine. And I hope other anti-smoking groups join me in speaking out against the position that ASH has advanced here.”

They won’t. Not publicly. Dissent is not tolerated in the anti-smoker industry. The advancement of their “cause” is predicated on demonizing smokers; painting them as a sub-human species no longer fit for civilized society.

The anti-smoker brigade will march on like good little party members.

For additional information on this topic and links to the articles, visit: The Rest of the Story

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