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Last summer, I wrote a post summarising the French physician, researcher and professor Philippe Even’s debunking of the dangers of second hand smoke.

Late in 2012, Even (pron. ‘Ay-vahn’) and noted urologist Bernard Debré co-authored a book called Guide des 4 000 médicaments utiles, inutiles ou dangereux (A Guide to 4000 Useful, Useless or Dangerous Medicines).

Even’s latest work is called La Vérité sur le cholestérol (The Truth about Cholesterol), which has been making quite a stir in the French health community. I’ve heard him interviewed on RTL and, one week ago, on RMC.

The RMC interview went a bit more in depth than RTL’s, probably because Even appeared on Les Grandes Gueules, the lively mid-morning news debate co-hosted by Olivier Truchot and Alain Marschall. I mention this because Truchot introduced the segment by saying, ‘Incidentally, my colleague Alain Marschall is taking Crestor, so he might find this of interest’.

The panellists on the show were all men, which was just as well once Even began going into the side effects of statins. Many of us know of reports of statin patients who experience memory loss and/or severe muscular pain within a short time after they start the medication.

Even advised stopping the statins in such cases: ‘What is the point of continuing with a medication that is giving you pain? These ailments could become much worse in 10 or 20 years’ time.’ He said that patients who stopped statins altogether noticed an improvement in their health within a few days’ time. He added that this included side effects of a ‘sexual’ nature.

At that point, a high-pitched nervous laugh went up in the studio — Marschall? — followed by an uncomfortable silence.

So, we might well add erectile dysfunction to the list of statins’ possible side effects.

The following is a summary of Even’s findings on cholesterol and statins taken from l’Internaute, Le Nouvel Observateur and Atlantico:

– Cholesterol often poses no danger. On RMC, he said that if there is only a high cholesterol reading and no other heart or cardiovascular problems, then the patient should think twice about taking statins.

– High cholesterol alone will not cause a heart attack or stroke: ‘there has been no such example from the beginning of prescription drugs up to the present day’.

– Professor Even studied 50 clinical trials of cholesterol which showed that statins made no difference to the frequency of cardiovascular disease-related illnesses.

– Only patients with a 3mg cholesterol reading should consider statins on their doctor’s advice (also see above caveat — provided something else is present which could indicate a heart condition). Currently, patients with as low a reading as 1.5mg receive a prescription.

– Statins do little to reduce cholesterol in 90% of cases.

– Doctors exaggerate the dangers of cholesterol when talking to their patients.

– Cholesterol-reducing drugs, such as statins, are a €2bn per annum business in France, €25bn worldwide.

– In France, there are only 100,000 people with high cholesterol running in their families who should be taking statins — yet, 5 million French are on them!

Even said that the best way to reduce one’s cholesterol is to make changes to one’s diet, increase one’s amount of physical exercise and, if necessary, modify certain lifestyle habits.

He added that people are becoming increasingly wary of blanket prescriptions for statins and other powerful drugs but warned that it would take ‘probably five or six years’ before pharmaceutical companies feel suitably pressured to change their ways of promoting prescription drugs.

The truth is that there is no firmly established ’cause’ or ’causes’ of heart disease and stroke. I know that will surprise many, but remember that Big Pharma, insurance companies and the medical field  have to have a fear-inducing industry in order to exist.

Ask yourself these questions. We are in the 21st century, yet, a) is there a cure for cancer or b) a cure for heart disease or stroke? No! Big Pharma and health professionals — including researchers — rely on unfounded fear and faulty studies to keep their jobs.

Professor Even admitted — when debunking second-hand smoking — that he had to hold to ‘certain positions’ in order to be able to work in his field.

The Nouvel Obs article mentioned an interesting group — Thincs — The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics, founded by a Swedish doctor and independent researcher, Dr Uffe Ravnskov. More on that tomorrow.

Tomorrow: More cholesterol-related myths questioned

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Continuing a series on parasitic advocacy groups living off of taxpayers’ money, today’s post explores what anti-tobacco researcher Professor Philippe Even said upon his retirement.

What follows was originally part of one of my 2011 posts on secular pietism. The name implies a carry-over of outer ‘holiness’ to secularists. More whited sepulchres.

On smoking — here is what Philippe Even, a retired French civil servant and dean of the Necker Research Institute, France’s largest medical faculty told Le Parisien in 2010. First, he reveals why he didn’t speak up before now about the spurious science behind tobacco bans:

I was held to confidentiality. If I had deviated from official positions, I would have had to pay the consequences. Today, I am a free man.

Dr Even spent his career in public health research.  On the purported — and often reported — 3000 – 6000 deaths in France from passive smoking:

I am curious to know their sources. No study has ever produced such a result.

On passive smoking being responsible for cardiovascular disease and asthma:

Take the case of cardiovascular diseases: the four main causes are obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes. To determine whether passive smoking is an aggravating factor, there should be a study on people who have none of these four symptoms. But this was never done. Regarding chronic bronchitis, although the role of active smoking is undeniable, that of passive smoking is yet to be proven. For asthma, it is indeed a contributing factor … but not greater than pollen!

On public smoking bans based on nothing:

The psychosis began with the publication of a report by the IARC, International Agency for Research on Cancer, which depends on the WHO [World Health Organisation]. The report released in 2002 says it is now proven that passive smoking carries serious health risks, but without showing the evidence. Where are the data? What was the methodology? It’s everything but a scientific approach. It was creating fear that is not based on anything.

For those reading this who disapprove of tobacco and alcohol: they are legal products for adult consumption.  We have also seen that prohibition and high taxation on these ‘sins’ — past and present — drive the market underground.

Ultimately, the danger — and perhaps this is what secular pietists want — is that adults become infantilised.  And those who drink or smoke are also stigmatised as well as infantalised.  It’s a sad, mad and bad situation for anyone of majority age.

Think you’re an adult?  Not in the eyes of the State or health movements.

Just as bad is the deliberately misguided scapegoating of tobacco smokers. If any other minority were denied housing, employment or hospitality, there would be an outcry.  In the 19th and 20th centuries, it was not unusual for boarding house proprietors to post a sign in their window saying, ‘No dogs, no blacks, no Irish’. Thankfully, those days are behind us.

However, now that the last taboo — with regard to the same-sex community — has been legislated out of existence, this century presented us with the problem of finding new scapegoats. The new scapegoats are smokers. Unlike other minority groups, they have no rights at all. And, just as in days of yore, ignorance, fear and anger are fuelling the emotion and irrationality against one of God’s plants — tobacco — and His people, smokers.

The worst part about this is that smokers have no choice but to fund their own demise. Their excessive tobacco taxes fund the same advocacy groups out to persecute them.

Tomorrow: Another scientist speaks out against bogus tobacco science

No doubt all of us can think of aspects of society which we would like to change. I have a short list which I sometimes need to get off my chest whilst trying to remind myself that it concerns personal behaviour of adults, people of and over majority age.

That said, a whole industry has popped up in the West and is spreading rapidly to Asia and South America thanks to the World Health Organisation and health-related charities.  All of these people are secular pietists: anything more than an ice cream social can harm one’s health. Wait, make that a skimmed-milk, transfat-free ice cream social.

Some people don’t like smoking or drinking, regardless of the fact that many of their mothers and grandmothers did both, even whilst pregnant.  But smokers and drinkers generally mind their own business.  Yes, a few drinkers get out of hand.  They’re the ones who come to the attention of police and mainstream media.  However, by and large, people do what they enjoy in a quiet, law-abiding way.

When my generation was growing up, we were told, ‘You’ll have plenty of time for that once you’re of legal age’.  We accepted that drinking (and, for some, smoking) would have to wait.  Then we grew up only to find that we were suddenly obliged by law to wear seatbelts (US, 1980s) — where the rot started.  Then smokers couldn’t have a quiet puff on flights under two hours (1980s): ‘That’s all were asking’, said the secular pietists.  After that, things got a bit slippery. Not only were there laws, there was also an element of social conditioning which has now become, sadly, part and parcel of modern thought.  In the 1990s, we were told that pregnant women couldn’t drink.  Barmen refused to serve them even a glass of wine.  Bottles of beer, wine and spirits began sporting warnings and health advice.  Tobacco Control (numerous organisations) advanced their own agenda, gaining a bit on drink.  Various bans on tobacco — even snus — have been brought in worldwide. (If you would like to see this reviewed in the UK, sign the petition.)  Smokers need special websites now in order to find hotel rooms where smoking is allowed — a ‘home away from home’, which is what a hotel is supposed to be.

Secular pietists all say the same thing: ‘There is no safe amount.  Think of the children.  You are an irresponsible adult.’

As far as secular pietists are concerned, there are no adults, only wayward children of varying ages.  Children who work for a living, own homes, drive cars, pay tax, plan for their retirement and have families of their own.  Some of these children are grandparents.  Other grown-up children give generously of their time to community or church organisations. But secular pietists say that these children cannot be trusted to smoke or drink responsibly.  And secular pietists don’t necessarily need to be members of an organisation in order to stick their noses in where they shouldn’t be.

On August 21, 2011, Dick Puddlecote highlighted an article from the Telegraph involving two mothers on a day out in London with their children.  David Barrett writes:

It was meant to be a refreshing pit-stop during a hectic family outing.

But when friends Ali Ineson and Emma Rutherford popped into a central London pub to buy their children soft drinks and themselves an alcoholic drink, they were shocked to find their order refused.

Although happy to sell the soft drinks, the barman would not allow them to have a white wine spritzer and a vodka and Coke because it would be “inappropriate” for them to drink in front of their children.

The mothers left after their children finished their soft drinks.

The Britannia is run by Stonegate Pub Company, which operates 560 pubs and bars across the country, including the Yates’s and Slug and Lettuce chains.

A company spokesman said: … “We are therefore now going to investigate this complaint and we would request that the responsible adults concerned contact us directly in order that we can ascertain the facts of the situation.”

The Pub Curmudgeon says:

It’s a more extreme version of the refusal to serve a pregnant woman even a single drink. The view is becoming increasingly common than any quantity of alcohol is incompatible with any responsible activity (see my recent poll about lunchtime drinking at work) and we are heading towards a situation where drinking becomes an activity that has to be ringfenced from the rest of society.

Meanwhile, in non-believing Wales — prone to secular pietism because of its roots in the Wesleyan holiness doctrine — alcohol is creating a ‘health time-bomb’.  In ‘The alcohol Jihad’ at Orphans of Liberty, Quiet Man notes:

We have laws to deal with drunk and disorderly behaviour, if they were properly enforced then the situation of public drunkenness  that gets the righteous so up in arms wouldn’t be an issue. As it is, the police are either doing paperwork to justify their existence or chasing motorists, a far easier target.

He refers to an article from This is South Wales, ‘Calls made for booze rationing in Carmarthen’ (emphases mine):

Latest figures show there are 105 licenses across the town and 90 of those are in the south ward of the town.

Town and county councillor Arwel Lloyd who represents the ward said the licenses are made up of pubs, restaurants and off licenses and takeaways.

He added: “We are looking to stop the number of problems stemming from the sale of alcohol,” he said. “We have allowed 105 licences to sell alcohol. To me that doesn’t make too much sense.

“In a town this size, when we are trying to sort out issues of antisocial behaviour, we have all these alcohol licenses making the situation worse …”

There has also been a call for alcohol rationing on a county wide level to tackle the problem …

A few days before a full meeting of the county council, Councillor Huw Lewis had suggested rationing alcohol should be seriously considered, saying: “By rationing no one would be able to have more than what is considered suitable by medical officials.”

And, at full council, he said: “We will have to regard alcohol as we do any other drug to ensure that no one is able to provide more than is permitted by the experts …

Alun Lenny, secretary of the Association of Independent Chapels for Carmarthen said …

The amount of shops, not just in Carmarthen but across the county, selling alcohol is a concern, often at cheap prices due to the competition between outlets.”

Is there a problem?  It’s hard to say, because no one has commented on the article.  Secular pietists are just upset about alcohol in general.  They don’t like it, so no one else should, either.  You’re never an adult when secular pietists are around.  A reader from elsewhere in Europe observes the UK from afar and has this to say in response to Quiet Man’s post:

Your whole country appears to have become a nursery school in the hands of some besandled weirdo, crochet knicker wearing, poetry reading, lentil eating renegade … hippy from the teacher training school of the class of 1968, as the headmaster.

 … one word comes to mind to describe Britain of today.

JUVENILE.

Juvenile in word, thought, deed, attitude, ideas, emotion, and leadership.

Yep, and that’s, sadly, how not only the secular pietists — but also a growing number of overage children (AKA ‘adults’) in Britain like it.

And it gets worse. In Scotland, a new American device might be brought in as part of drink-related crime sentencing.  Subrosa tells us:

The ‘booze bracelet’ is the latest import which Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit hopes will cut drink-related violet crime.  An asbo with a difference, because it monitors an offender’s alcohol consumption.  Data from the tag is sent remotely to a computer and if alcohol is detected the system alerts the authorities.

The tags, costing £850 each, are currently used in the US for drunk drivers who are repeat offenders and shortly US representatives will bring the first batch of bracelets to Glasgow for testing.  The bracelet already has the approval of the Scottish government, the courts, the Crown Office and even defence and human rights lawyers.

Those who say, ‘What’s the problem?’ haven’t seen the propensity for potential scope creep:

While I would welcome a reduction in alcohol-fueled violent crime, how long will it be before this technology is used to monitor smokers and those who eat themselves into obesity?

On smoking — here is what Philippe Even, a retired French civil servant and dean of the Necker Research Institute, France’s largest medical faculty told Le Parisien in 2010. First, he reveals why he didn’t speak up before now about the spurious science behind tobacco bans:

I was held to confidentiality. If I had deviated from official positions, I would have had to pay the consequences. Today, I am a free man.

Dr Even spent his career in public health research.  On the purported — and often reported — 3000 – 6000 deaths in France from passive smoking:

I am curious to know their sources. No study has ever produced such a result.

On passive smoking being responsible for cardiovascular disease and asthma:

Take the case of cardiovascular diseases: the four main causes are obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes. To determine whether passive smoking is an aggravating factor, there should be a study on people who have none of these four symptoms. But this was never done. Regarding chronic bronchitis, although the role of active smoking is undeniable, that of passive smoking is yet to be proven. For asthma, it is indeed a contributing factor … but not greater than pollen!

On public smoking bans based on nothing:

The psychosis began with the publication of a report by the IARC, International Agency for Research on Cancer, which depends on the WHO [World Health Organisation]. The report released in 2002 says it is now proven that passive smoking carries serious health risks, but without showing the evidence. Where are the data? What was the methodology? It’s everything but a scientific approach. It was creating fear that is not based on anything.

For those reading this who disapprove of tobacco and alcohol: they are legal products for adult consumption.  We have also seen that prohibition and high taxation on these ‘sins’ — past and present — drive the market underground.

Ultimately, the danger — and perhaps this is what secular pietists want — is that adults become infantilised.  And those who drink or smoke are also stigmatised as well as infantalised.  It’s a sad, mad and bad situation for anyone of majority age.

Think you’re an adult?  Not in the eyes of the State or health movements.  Back to the mothers at the London pub, where I shall leave the final word here to Angry Exile of Orphans for Liberty, who writes:

Seriously, what … was the barman thinking? That one thing would lead to another and they’d start feeding the kids grog under the table? Because there’s a solution if that happens – you tell them to drink up and leave …

Or was he thinking that they were his kids? Not literally his kids, but kind of his in that he shared some kind of collective responsibility for them and their upbringing. Worryingly, not to mention creepily, it sounds like it

Back in those not far off days I mentioned earlier it would not be ‘appropriate’ for a barman or landlord to concern himself with what’s appropriate for other people’s children if the parents are clearly perfectly sober and the kids seem healthy and normal. Certainly nobody thought to tell my parents not to drink in front of their kids, and for the record my brother is probably a low to average drinker, my sister drinks quite sparingly and I’m teetotal by choice. Getting all concerned for the kids is a bit premature when the adults haven’t actually had a … drink yet, and since I’ve never heard of anyone ever being refused alcohol or being told by a publican not to drink it in front of their children, coupled with the fact that alcohol consumption in the UK has been falling for some years, I’d say that it is not and never has been a problem anyway. However, what is a problem is the ever increasing influence of the nanny state, its propaganda department, and their constant drip-drip-drip messages that any vice, no matter how socially acceptable and how harmless in moderation, is a dangerous and corrupting influence on impressionable minds.

The irony is that that line of thinking is a dangerous, corrupting influence, and sadly the impressionable minds are those of people who should be old enough to know better. The state is mother. The state is father. And if it’s not possible to parent your kids directly it’s as happy to have its brainwashed drones – supermarket staff who refuse to sell alcohol to adults, and now it seems bar staff as well – do it by proxy

And people wonder why the pub trade is dying. It was always about being somewhere to go where you could enjoy yourself, and the enjoyment is being sucked out of it. You can’t smoke in the pub, you can’t buy booze as cheaply as you can for home consumption, and now it seems that if you have a child with you it might not be possible to buy booze at all. So what’s the point in going in at all?

The pub trade is dying, and if it’s about to switch sides to become the pawns of the Strength Through Joy neo-puritans I’d say it’s better off dead.

None of us has a problem with people who subscribe to secular pietism or the holiness doctrine … as long as they keep it to themselves.  Secular pietists shouldn’t be working in pubs or anywhere near alcohol or tobacco — being 21st century Carrie Nations.  I haven’t mentioned those subscribing to the holiness doctrine in the same vein, because they have better sense in most cases, although ‘dry counties’ in the United States are an exception.

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