Saturday, March 21, 2009

Smoking kills . . . everybody says so

I’ve never met the guy personally, but over the years I’ve taken a very strong dislike to the man. He, or perhaps I should say she, because the actual gender of the individual has never really been made clear to me, keeps cropping up in conversation.

Whether you’re talking about the weather or huddled next to the dumpster in the back alley of the local booze can, debating the merits of the latest smoking ban while puffing on a Putters Light, you can bet that his (or her) name will enter into the conversation.

“Smoking kills . . . everybody knows that.”

I suspect this “everybody” character must be a kissing cousin to “they”. You know, as in, “Secondhand smoke kills . . . they have a study to prove it.”

Recently, I responded to an accusation that, because I didn’t believe that smoking killed anybody, I must be in a state of denial over my tobacco addiction because everybody knows smoking kills.

Being in a rather mischievous, or perhaps argumentative, mood, I suggested that somebody should do a little research because, according to Statistics Canada, nobody had ever died of smoking and that everybody was a know-it-all asshole who knew absolutely nothing about anything.

The response was a quizzical: “Huh?”

But, maybe I should set the record straight. I really don’t believe that smoking kills. I do believe that smoking may contribute to the death of some individuals through a synergistic or cumulative effect if, or when, combined with other causative factors. But, those smokers will not die from smoking or even smoking related illness. They will die from lung cancer, myocardial infarction, stroke, etc.

My conclusions are not merely a matter of semantics, but the result of a lifetime of personal observation, a little research and the application of simple logic.

Think about it; don’t listen to the fictitious “everybody”. He or she is under the control of the anti-smoker cult. They have surrendered their thought processes to the propaganda of the behavioural control freaks.

According to the latest data from Health Canada, 40,607 Canadians died from IHD in 2002. Only 5,243 were attributed to smoking. That’s only 13% of the total number of deaths from IHD, despite the fact that smokers comprised over 20% of the population. And, notwithstanding the fact that 35,364 of those deaths occurred among non-smokers (a ratio of almost 7 to 1), IHD is referred to as “a smoking related illness” by Health Canada and other members of the cult.

The figure of 40,607 deaths due to IHD is a reliable figure. It comes from StatCan, culled meticulously from death certificates from across the country. And, if StatCan says they’re dead, trust me, they’re dead.

The Health Canada figure of 5,243 deaths attributed to smoking, on the other hand, is a computer generated estimate which may, or may not, bear any resemblance to reality. But, to give you an example of the fragility of that number, consider this.

For years, Health Canada and other members of the anti-smoker cult were touting the number of smoking related deaths at 47,000. Everybody was proclaiming that number to anybody who would listen; the public, the politicians and the press.

But, last year, that number was reduced to 37,000 by Health Canada. There were no adjustments made by StatCan; they were still reporting the same number of real deaths. Indeed, nobody miraculously rose from the dead, waving their arms about and scaring the pants off their near and dear.

All that changed was the computer generated estimate from Health Canada which reduced smoking related deaths, with the stroke of a pen, from 47,000 to 37,000. In reducing the alleged death toll, Health Canada acknowledged that their data, imported from US sources, did not accurately reflect the Canadian demographic.

Now, 10,000 lives saved should have been reason to celebrate, even if they were only statistical deaths. But not everybody, of course, is aware of the good news, because somebody simply changed the figures, quietly and discretely, rather than have anybody make any kind of public announcement or correction.

So, because nobody knows the figures were changed, everybody, Physicians for a Smokefree Canada, the Canadian Cancer Society, etc. is still reporting the old figures and somebody is going to get confused and not know what-in-hell to believe from anybody.

As a matter of fact, I think I might be getting a little confused.

But, there are some things I’m not confused about. Anybody who tries to tell me that everybody knows anything about smoking doesn’t know a damn thing about nothing . . .er, anything. And, nobody should listen to anybody in the anti-smoker brigade because they simply can’t be trusted to tell the truth, even if everybody is buying their bullshit and bafflegab.

Screw it. Time to clear this addled old brain with a smoke and two fingers of Gordon Highlanders. But then, maybe I should skip the Gordon Highlanders; that may be what started this ramble in the first place.

Naw. As well to die for a sheep as a lamb. Everybody knows that.

1 comment:

Mrs. Pelican said...

Hey, I know who the elusive "everybody" is - it's the same person who keeps telling us death is preventable. Everybody knows if you don't smoke, eat enjoyable food, drink or have fun, you won't die. You'll live forever and get to make everyone else's life miserable. Everybody knows that.