Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Odds and ends and anti-smoker rhetoric

Although I'm still working to fulfill other commitments, I figured I should take the time to write a post to let those who care know that I'm still alive and kicking. I should be back to writing blog entries on a regular basis in a week or so.

With everything that's happening in Japan, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, etc., it's amazing how the anti-smoker zealots manage to maintain any level of press coverage. But, they do.

According to an article in the Windsor Star, an 11 member panel of experts has unanimously agreed that evidence now exists to link second-hand smoke to breast cancer. The article also notes, however, that: “Studies on the possible relationship between cigarette smoke and breast cancer have been inconsistent, with some showing an increase in risk and others not.”

The experts reached their conclusions after reviewing “all available evidence” from studies which showed no consistent results. And they call that science?

One of the panelists, University of Toronto public health expert Dr. Anthony Miller, is quoted as saying: "On average, it would be about a 50- to 70-per-cent increase in risk, depending on how much women smoke." Such scientific precision.

Of course, if studies linking active smoking and breast cancer show inconsistent results, one has to wonder how Miller can then claim that: "Even moderate exposure to passive smoking, such as living or working with a smoker early in life, increases a woman's risk of breast cancer when she is in her 30s, 40s and 50s." No 30 year latency period for breast cancer I suppose. Did they unanimously agree that passive smoking was more hazardous that active smoking?

Or maybe it's just another example of anti-smoker bullshit and bafflegab?

Everybody in Canada knows that smoking kills 37,000 Canadians a year, more than all deaths due to suicides, homicides, HIV and car accidents combined. That's a scary and often repeated statistic.

But how's this for a statistic. IHD (Ischemic Heart Disease), excluding deaths attributed to smoking, kills more Canadians every year than smoking related deaths due to oropharyngeal cancer, oesophageal cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, laryngeal cancer, lung cancer, cervical cancer, urinary tract cancer, renal cell carcinoma, bladder cancer, acute myeloid leukemia, pulmonary circulatory disease, cardiac arrhythmias, cerebrovascular disease, atherosclerosis, pneumonia, influenza, fire related deaths and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease combined. Uh-huh.

And, only about 30% of deaths from smoking related diseases are attributed to smoking.

Aren't statistics fun?

How about this one? Although the average life expectancy in Canada is roughly 80 years, less than 13% of the Canadian population had actually survived past 65 years of age when the last smoking attributable mortality tables were prepared based on 2002 data. Yet, roughly 70% of all deaths attributed to smoking occurred after the age of 65.

Statistics may be fun, but growing old sure as hell isn't. Shit, I passed 65 almost two years ago. I could kick the bucket any day now. Maybe I should quit smoking. Just in case.

Naw. Fuck it.

In Scotland, Professor Candace Currie, director of the child and adolescent research unit at Edinburgh University, claims drinking, drug use and smoking among schoolchildren has fallen to the lowest level in two decades. Says Currie: “Some people have suggested the ban on smoking in public places supported this decline, as there are fewer people visibly smoking.” Uh-huh.

But, I wonder how a smoking ban which applies only to adults managed to cause a decline in underage drinking and cannabis use? Strange.

And, I wonder how truthful the kids are when answering such surveys.

“Yes Miss. I swipes a couple fags from the old man's pack a Player's every day. An', every Friday me an' Frankie pools our money an' picks up a bottle a 999 from the bootlegger before heading out ta da dance at the Odd Fellows Hall.”

Of course, maybe the kids are more honest today than when I was a kid.

On a slightly different topic, Joe Warmington in his column in the Toronto Sun today, quotes a Toronto City Councilor: “It just makes no sense for this (the sex trade) to continue without the city capitalizing on the tax revenue from it . . . “ Uh-huh.

Prostit . . . er, sex trade workers, like smokers, drinkers, gamblers, the overweight and the couch potatoes also need saving apparently.

And, if the government can make a few bucks from regulating the "industry", and creating a safe working environment for the girls (and boys) peddling their as . . . er, services, then why not?

After all, they do it for the smokers, drinkers, gamblers, the overweight and the couch potatoes. (Sometimes I wonder if anybody but we sinners are paying to keep the fucking government afloat.)

At any rate, it seems there's a lot of money to be made saving sinners these days.


smokervoter said...

And, I wonder how truthful the kids are when answering such surveys.

I wonder how truthful anybody is when answering these surveys. After all, what smoker in their right mind wants to risk being put on some DO NOT RENT TO or DO NOT HIRE database?

I know, I know, we can absolutely, positively trust them (and Google) not to sell our information to any third party.

Ann W. said...

"Everybody in Canada knows that smoking kills 37,000 Canadians a year, more than all deaths due to suicides, homicides, HIV and car accidents combined. That's a scary and often repeated statistic."

That statement really nothing more then a factoid. (something that looks like a fact, could be a fact, but in fact is not a fact - Wesley Pruden, Washington Times)

The 37,000 figure originates from "THE COSTS OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN CANADA 2002" released in March 2006.
"We do not look at actual dollars spent or at a literal body count in cases where death results in a cost to society. Rather, cost studies are based on well-documented economic theories and assumptions. For this study, in all cases where we could have used different assumptions to estimate costs, we routinely adopted the most conservative approach."

Assumptions, estimates and NO BODY COUNT.......

TheBigYin said...

It's as if you have never been away Rambler, great post.

The rhetoric (bullshit) that the anti smoking fraternity pumps out to the MSM, who in turn swallow it hook, line and sinker, is never questioned. Where's the science reporter with some integrity? Where's the science reporter who would pour over every detail and investigate and disseminate that that is put in front of him/her by vested interests?

Here in the UK, pre 2007, I was happily going about my everyday business, smoking as I go, and not realizing there was a shit storm coming my way. The fact that the shit storm is toploaded with rhetoric, mis-information and downright lies seems to evade them, and, I'm ashamed to say, my fellow tobacco enthusiasts.

For me the fight continues to show these anti smokers and their lapdogs that the debate is far from over!

Work and other things apart keep up the good work on your blog.