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The 2016 presidential primary season in the United States is unprecedented. We’ve never seen anything like it in living memory.

Every day brings intrigue and drama, especially on the Republican side. You could not make it up.

A few years from now, someone should make a television series of it in documentary form with news clips and objective narration.

What follows are viewpoints on two candidates and one upcoming concern.

Ted Cruz

City dwellers and suburbanites in southern Wisconsin chose Ted Cruz over Donald Trump in their primary on April 5, 2016. This demographic handed the win to Cruz. (Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton.)

They voted for the GOPe(stablishment) man ‘showing America the face of God’, as his wife Heidi puts it.

Nearly one month ago I wrote a piece on Cruz and Donald Trump. It discussed Cruz’s dominionist religiosity and the globalist connections through his wife. I concluded:

I’ll take an honest sinner any day.

One of my readers, chrystalia99 of Fortune’s Thoughts, recently posted several more reasons not to vote for Cruz. Everyone who thinks he is a true outsider and upstanding man should read her post. I was particularly intrigued by the reasoning behind his desire to possibly abolish the IRS. It’s not necessarily an altruistic one.

Here’s Cruz trying to kiss his elder daughter in February:

This video shows Cruz coaching his family on doing campaign ads for him:

Some might find that convincing or heartwarming. Others will cringe.

GOP Convention

We’re still a few months away from the Republican convention in Cleveland.

Trump supporters are rightly worried that their man will be deprived of the Republican nomination. The GOPe are doing nothing to dispel that concern. In fact, they are stoking it.

Some people want to go and protest. Riots are rumoured. However, Fortune’s Thoughts explains the narrative of notional ‘delegate stealing’ and advises caution to those wanting to protest at the convention in July (highlights and caps in the original):

THE DELEGATES ARE NOT BEING STOLEN. Delegates aren’t magic beings–they are ordinary people from Main street. Anyone who is a republican can be elected a state delegate, and get to the National convention as well. What is happening is very simple. Cruz is playing the game, making sure that those who vote for HIM go the extra step and go for a delegate slot. And the GOPers are busily helping him, by making sure that their PRECINCT PEOPLE, OR THOSE WHO VOTE ON DELEGATES, ARE EITHER CRUZ SUPPORTERS OR ARE VOTING FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE. This is how the delegate system works. It is NOT the GOP’s “job” to make sure a candidate’s delegates actually support them.

Also:

I really shouldn’t have to spell this out, but I will anyway. THE GOPers KNOW CRUZ IS NEARLY COOKED. They also know that Trump IS our choice, which scares the Bejeevers out of them, for good reason. If Trump gets 1237+ the ONLY thing they can do to stop him is change the rules at the convention (which they do have the right to do BTW, yet ANOTHER reason we need to take back the GOP). They also know if they do that, we’ll likely go write in, or revolt. To prevent Trump REACHING 1237+, they have to demoralize the voting base. They have to convince people Trump is losing (look at the news and nonsense over WI, for instance), or that Trump HAS ALREADY LOST PLEDGED DELEGATES WHEN HE HASN’T.

As for the MSM:

  • The media is deliberately trying to create panic and civil unrest, by allowing people to think we’re “doomed”, WHEN THIS IS NOT THE CASE.
  • The media is also making sure that they don’t tell you the whole story, because if they told you what I wrote above, you’d do 2 things–you’d say “oh, OK, so I’ll LEARN HOW TO PLAY THE GAME SO MY VOTE COUNTS”, and you’d stop worrying about delegates in states where they have already been chosen, and start worrying about states going forward, and lock in THOSE delegates.
  • They are NOT telling you the whole story, or telling what they ARE telling you accurately, because they are hoping either Trump or the voters do something stupid that violates some arcane RNC by-law, so they can nullify the binding pledge, making ALL THE DELEGATES UNBOUND AT THE CONVENTION. They are doing this at the behest of the GOPers.

Here are excellent reasons not to march on Cleveland during the convention (purple highlights mine):

But, and this is far more important at this point: The media and the uniparty, both GOPers, AND Dems, are trying to get the people angry enough to fall for idiocy like Roger Stone’s “Days of Rage”, and march on Cleveland “just to be sure the people are listened to”. 

AND IF WE DO THAT–WE LOSE. EVERYTHING. THE NOMINATION, TRUMP IN THE WHITE HOUSE, AND PERHAPS WORSE. WHY???   THINK, AND THINK HARD, ABOUT THIS–

Under the RNC rules, if the convention isn’t “safe”, they can suspend it. Technically, as the rules expire THE NIGHT BEFORE THE CONVENTION, They can just change them anyway.

The RNC also has rules in place that allow them to nominate who they choose, if the binding of delegates is nullified by some action on the part of the candidate. Do you think they couldn’t make a case that Roger Stone is employed by Trump? Or that Roger Stone is trying to create civil unrest because Trump told him to? THINK AGAIN.

Chrystalia99 goes on to explain that the Left are bringing out their own people to protest Trump’s nomination. Cleveland Police are gearing up for riots. The National Guard will be on alert. As this concerns the presidency, anyone arrested for disrupting proceedings or protesting could be charged with a felony. With things being as they are today, charges of terrorism could also apply.

Cleveland has a population of only half a million people. The city will find the convention challenging enough without the added chaos from protesters, left-wing or conservative.

Roger Stone, who, as chrystalia99 says, does talk about this a lot with Alex Jones, really should stop. Although he is no longer working directly for the Trump campaign, he is investigating cases of alleged voting fraud for them.

Trump supporters should stay at home and let him do the ‘art of the deal’ with the GOPe at the convention. The media would be only happy to portray any peaceful protests from the his supporters as ‘angry’, ‘unhinged’ displays that they told us we could expect from them. This is a no-win proposition.

Bernie Sanders

Wouldn’t it be great if it were Donald Trump v Bernie Sanders in the general election?

Two renegades from New York battling it out for the presidency!

Every day of the campaign would engage the American public and the world, just as the primary season has.

Sanders has a one-minute campaign ad called ‘Bringing People Together’:

It hasn’t gone down well with everyone. Veteran blogger Dave Hitt is one of them. In his post on the advert, he says:

… it’s a reason so many of us are deeply afraid of a Bernie presidency.

I don’t want the government to bring me together with anyone. I, and I alone, should get to pick who I get together with. They, and they alone, get to decide if they want to get together with me. Choosing your own associations is one of the most basic of all human rights.

You want to get us together, Bernie? Then get out of the damn way. Let us peacefully decide what we want to do and who we want to do it with. Let us start a business doing whatever we want, without thousands of dollars worth of permits and three-inch-thick books of regulations. Let us decide for ourselves how we want to live our lives, and keep the resources we need to do it.

Hitt then reminisces about the brilliant cigar evenings he used to enjoy in a brew pub, where he and his friends were a microcosm of what Sanders wants to see:

There were about twenty of us. It would be hard to imagine a more diverse group. We were different races, had different educational backgrounds and were on different rungs of the socioeconomic ladder. Our politics and religious beliefs were all over the place. We had different jobs and different interests. The only thing we all had in common was the love of fine cigars …

Everything was good, but the conversations – the conversations were great. We’d joke and discuss and debate and explain and argue and be charming and offensive and everything in between, and never once, in all the years we did it, was a voice ever raised in anger. Nothing brings out good conversation better than fine cigars.

Then the smoking ban in his state took effect, which broke the group up. Hitt rightly observes:

Your tribes took that from us, Bernie. Your Government Tribe and your Nanny Tribe reached in with their diseased claws and ripped it from our lives. They intentionally destroyed something wonderful that brought people together.

Just so!

But, is Sanders himself an anti-smoker? The incomparable Frank Davis did some investigating and found that, indeed, he is. From ‘Tearing People Apart’:

This may clarify:

The Senate health committee took up anti-smoking legislation that would authorize the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the marketing, advertising and product standards of cigarettes and other tobacco products. “I support this long-overdue legislation. If anything, I don’t think this bill goes far enough,” Sanders said. He suggested doubling the current level of resources for programs to help smokers quit. He also compared tobacco company executives to heroin dealers. “The only difference is they wear three-piece suits and hang out at country clubs.”

I think it’s pretty clear where Bernie Sanders is coming from.

Me, too. Thanks, Frank. No different to Hillary Clinton, then — at least on that score.

Conclusion

2016 will see the beginning of ‘yuge’, as Trump would say, change in the United States. It will be real change, too, starting at the ballot box in early November.

We will not see another election cycle like this for at least a generation, probably longer. It will go down in history as being one of the most memorable, especially during the primaries. Millions of us have never paid any attention to them. Millions of Americans who have never voted in their lives have registered to vote in the primaries!

The votes Americans cast this year will, as Trump says, be the most important ones of their lives, regardless of whom they vote for.

America may never be the same again. Let us pray that the Great Republic is transformed rather than destroyed.

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Two of my posts last week — here and here — discussed the role of British women in the Great War.

Today’s post concludes the series, which will be included on my Recipes/Health/History page.

Much of the information in this series is from Kate Adie’s Women of World War One, based on her book Fighting on the Home Front, and was shown on BBC2 on August 13, 2014.

Smokes for Soldiers

ww1 A fag afrter a Fight postcardCigarettes — ‘fags’ in the vernacular — were seen to be as important a ration for soldiers as food and medicine.

Lady Denman, so instrumental in furthering Britain’s Women’s Institutes and a suffragette, initiated one of the funds for Lord Kitchener’s programme called Smokes for Soldiers.

Some cigarette cards, which accompanied the packs, showed soldiers in rare moments of quiet contemplation. Those pictured here are from Tony Allen’s fascinating page, Cigarettes & Tobacco and WWI Soldiers.

ww1 Bamforth smokes song card set of three

Carrera’s Black Cat cigarettes had a series of women on their cards. These depicted ladies working in war effort occupations, among them mechanics, coal workers and game keepers. The backs of the cards had brief descriptions of their duties. These made the troops aware that women were doing their part in what was probably seen as being an unheard of and fascinating way. Adie said that the cards proved to be very popular.

Food production

As yesterday’s post on the Women’s Institutes showed, ensuring Britons had enough food was paramount.

The government had statistics showing that farmers’ wives were the most likely ‘to go insane’. Indeed, the WI was able to help them to get out and about, if only to their meetings.

Women working in agriculture now had a new-found purpose, ensuring they could alleviate food shortages.

A further effort was made with the government’s introduction of the Women’s Land Army. Twenty-three thousand young volunteers were sent around the country to till the land, pick fruit, milk cows and take on other responsibilities. Farmers objected that the women were wearing trousers. The government assured them that the workers were feminine and ladylike.

The Women’s Land Army also participated in the same activities during the Second World War, spearheaded by the aforementioned Lady Denman who was their honorary head, sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Shipbuilding and dock work

Another controversial workplace for women were docks and shipyards.

Not surprisingly, male workers were concerned that low wages for inexperienced women would push their own pay packets downward. Unions ensured that any work arrangements were to be for the duration of the war only.

Women worked at several shipyards, including A&P in Tyne and Wear. The work that men previously did was divided up among women which made the pay and employment conditions more acceptable to long-standing male employees.

Medicine

The Voluntary Aid Detachment was comprised of upper and upper middle class women volunteers who cared for soldiers returning from the Front. Downton Abbey explored this.

The late Lady Jane Grey was interviewed in 1986 and said that as a young Voluntary Aid Detachment member she watched a doctor extract a bullet from a wounded soldier.

Nurses were concerned that the volunteers might not be able to care for the soldiers properly and that their recovery might be compromised as a result. However, with the number of injured men returning, they grudgingly agreed that the volunteers were needed.

Where doctors were concerned, only a few hundred women were physicians at the beginning of the war. They treated only women and children.

Some medical school professors refused to have women in their classes. Kate Adie said that, where women were taught, no professor showed them diagrams of the male anatomy.

In Edinburgh, the pioneering doctor Elsie Inglis established the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service Committee, a suffragette-sponsored medical team that provided all-women units to treat the Allied wounded. They had sent teams to France, Serbia and Russia. When Inglis approached the Royal Army Medical Corps, saying the Committee could offer their services, a representative from the War Office responded:

My good lady, go home and sit still.

Instead, the French government took Inglis up on her offer. She and her physicians went to Serbia under their aegis.

Two other suffragette physicians, Dr Flora Murray (left) and Dr Louisa Garrett Anderson (right) had better luck inLouisa Anderson.jpg establishing the Endell Street Military Hospital in Covent Garden, London. Perhaps this is because Murray was Emmeline Pankhurst’s personal physician. Alternatively, it might be because the hospital was in London and not overseas. In any event, Endell Street opened in May 1915 and stayed open until August 1919.

The hospital, staffed entirely by women, treated 24,000 men and carried out 7,000 operations. A convoy of ambulances arrived every night with soldiers requiring triage and emergency treatment. One who was treated there said:

This hospital is a triumph for women.

The Great War showed everyone — from soldiers to the general public to the War Office — that women could indeed practise medicine every bit as well as men.

In 1917, both women were made CBEs — Commanders of the British Empire. Today, a home for the elderly, Dudley Court, has replaced the hospital in Endell Street. It, too, has a medical centre, but no doubt staffed by men and women.

The vote

By 1917, there was little women could not do — except vote.

In parliamentary debates, Winston Churchill, who was then a young MP, said that women’s interests were adequately represented by either their husbands or male family members.

However, with most men still fighting in Europe and elections looming, Prime Minister Lloyd George and MPs debated the subject again. On February 6, 1918, they approved the Representation of the People Act by an overwhelming majority: 385 – 55.

It was thought that had the measure not been approved, suffragette demonstrations and violence could continue and perhaps escalate. MPs feared that the Bolshevik revolution might drift to the UK.

The new act did not enfranchise every woman, although it did respond directly to what the suffragettes wanted. (Suffragists, on the other hand, wanted universal suffrage for all men and women.) This act granted the vote to all women over 30 who either owned property or who were married to a registered voter. Many women were still unable to vote, including former suffragettes and those who were working in the war effort.

In some ways, the act did more for men. Prior to that, many were also unable to vote, including the troops in the trenches. Afterward:

All males over 21 gained the vote in the constituency where they were resident. Males who had turned 19 during service in connection with the First World War could also vote even if they were under 21, although there was some confusion over whether they could do so after being discharged from service. The Representation of the People Act 1920 clarified this in the affirmative, albeit after the 1918 general election.

It should be noted that some men — e.g. those affiliated with universities and property owners who had two homes — had a plural vote. In the case of university affiliation, they could vote in both the consituency where they were studying and in their home one. A property owner could vote where he lived and also where he owned property. This was abolished in 1948 in another Representation of the People Act.

Universal women’s suffrage was granted in the 1928 Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act, which gave all women over 21 the right to vote. The suffragists’ cause was finally won.

Post-war women’s work

After the war ended, women employed outside the home feared for the future.

Men returning home from the war expected and got their jobs back.

Six thousand munitionettes marched on Parliament for the right to continued employment. However, the government sent the message that women should now return home to be good wives, mothers and homemakers. The government said their efforts were greatly appreciated, but that time had now ended.

The level of women working outside the home soon returned to pre-war numbers. Mary Macarthur, the women’s union leader, was disgusted. She died of cancer in 1921.

The Church

In matters ecclesiastical, the controversial pacifist Maude Royden, who became assistant preacher at the nonconformist City Temple (United Reformed Church) in 1917, was the first woman to preach from a Church of England pulpit. That event took place in 1921 at St Botolph’s Church in London.

In 1929, she started the official campaign for women’s ordination. In 1931, she was the first woman to earn a Doctor of Divinity degree. By then, she had already completed preaching tours around the world.

Conclusion

Although the suffragettes and women working in the war effort were not all saints, they were highly capable at a crucial time in history.

What the Great War demonstrated was women’s worth in the working — perhaps, especially, a man’s — world.

It would be difficult to put women back in their box afterwards.

It is also worth remembering that it also became necessary for women to earn a living. No other generation of women in recent history lost more fiancés and husbands than that one. Thousands of widows and spinsters needed to work to support themselves and their children. They had to man up.

And finally …

You can see IBT‘s collection of Getty photos (mustn’t copy!) of women — mostly British, some French — working in factories and as policewomen during the Great War. It’s a fascinating mix of posters and photographs.

Earlier this year I met someone who works for a ‘tobacco addiction group’.

That’s not a group of smokers getting together for high tea, rather the opposite.

This person works in Oxford in an organisation which is part of or affiliated with the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences in the Medical Sciences Division.

I asked her why she was working there, and she responded by saying what a strange question that was. She then replied, ‘I want to help people’.

I said that was a strange response, considering how many smokers have been hindered rather than helped by the likes of her and everyone else in Tobacco Control.

Before I get into detail, my British readers will be wondering if this woman has ever met Debs Arnott from ASH. No, she hasn’t but has ‘heard of her’.

This woman really does live in a bubble along with the rest of her colleagues not only in Oxford but around the world. She said:

  • Smokers were free to smoke — no one was stopping them;
  • She did not feel that enough smokers knew tobacco and nicotine were harmful;
  • She has not seen the graphic made-up or otherwise falsified (e.g. neck tumour) photos on cigarette packets: ‘Why would I look at those?’;
  • She did not know about the meme — see cigarette packets — that male fertility and libido are supposedly harmed by tobacco; never mind that when smoking was at its peak we had the Baby Boom;
  • She did not know that rented accommodation in the UK is nearly all non-smoking and has been for nearly 15 years;
  • She is happy that all UK hotel rooms are non-smoking;
  • She doubted whether much-touted smoking-cessation prescription drugs caused suicide or depression;
  • She is delighted with the 2007 smoking ban in England;
  • She thinks smokers are clogging up the NHS;
  • She supports the introduction of plain packaging;
  • My better half and I were seen as being okay to smoke because we are ‘educated’ and ‘understand the risks involved’.

We discussed everything point by point. Please interpret ‘discussed’ loosely, as outside of what I’ve just written in bullet points, she had very little to say. I did most of the talking and told her frankly yet politely how wrong she and her ilk were:

  • It’s difficult to smoke anywhere now in the UK unless you own your own home; even then, you hardly dare to smoke outdoors unless you are 100% sure your neighbours are okay with it (think of the children!);
  • London’s powers that be have suggested that the capital’s public parks be ‘smoke free’; renters thinking of stepping out for a crafty gasper will have many fewer places to go if a local law eventually goes through;
  • I asked her if she had considered the employment discrimination against smokers — she hadn’t;
  • I asked her if it was right for an aged old soldier to have to stand outside a private club to have a smoke — she hadn’t thought about it but agreed I had a point;
  • I asked if she had thought about all the lost friendships and vanished camaraderie the smoking ban brought, especially to the elderly — she hadn’t;
  • We are sick and tired of being constantly portrayed as selfish, inconsiderate, morally derelict, stinky, generally disagreeable and that people we meet are surprised to discover we smoke — as was she;
  • I explained that the shocking cigarette packet photos are fake and told her that lungs inside a dead smoker are pink;
  • I told her that most smokers will never get lung cancer, die grisly deaths in hospital and that a fair number of us are on track to see to see our 100th birthday.

I didn’t go on to ask if she favoured dope smoking or hard drugs over cigarettes. There’s a simple reason for that; she couldn’t — or wouldn’t — respond much beyond saying, ‘No, that’s not true’ and ‘Mmm’. She was remarkably tight-lipped.

Overall, she seemed really stunned to be confronted by — gasp — a smoker.

There were a few more things which bear elaboration.

Considering that smokers pay so much in sin tax, I told her that we resented paying her and Tobacco Control’s salaries only to be endlessly harassed and preyed upon — audibly (televisual nagging), emotionally and financially.

She told me I was wrong: how could my better half and I possibly pay her salary when the government contributed to it. I asked her how the government gets its money. She said nothing. This woman went to one of the world’s top universities and does not understand that simple point? Perhaps she does now.

I said that if she really wanted to help people, she really should go into another line of work. I asked her once again, ‘Why smoking?’ All she could say was, ‘I really want to help people.’

At that point, I gave up.

This was a social occasion at a top London venue, incidentally. We were near the main refreshments table. When I turned around, the catering staff had been listening intently. For a moment, it seemed as if they were going to burst into applause.

I said what I had to say. It has been bubbling up for nearly 20 years.

And now, it’s off my chest and my bucket list! Happy days!

Several days ago, I saw a photo with something unusual: an outdoor cigarette advertisement.

SpouseMouse and I went to Germany in 2008 and were surprised to find promotional Lucky Strike matchboxes. Of course, they had a health warning on them. Smoking indoors, except in a few designated areas, is banned. Smoking in bars was at the time dependent on the size of the establishment and in what German state it was located.

However, seven years on, cigarette advertising is still allowed. It is possible that this will be a thing of the past if Food Minister Christian Schmidt gets his way.

Yet, it is worth noting that, despite cigarette advertising, fewer young Germans are smoking. EurActiv reports (emphases mine):

it is being ignored that the share of young smokers has been “plummeting” since 2001 and that 2014 reached a “historical low” with less than 10%, Mücke pointed out. In addition, the rate of smoking among young people has decreased more strongly in Germany than in France, Poland, the United Kingdom where total advertising bans have existed for years. From a lobbyists point of view, this shows that a ban on advertising has neither a real influence on the number of smokers nor is it suited for prevention among young people.

Let’s look at those points again:

  • Germany has cigarette advertising;
  • fewer young Germans than ever smoke;
  • comparative smoking rates for other Western European countries where advertising has long been banned are far higher;
  • advertising and advertising bans have little to no effect on smoking rates.

There may well be a reason why Germany has not yet banned cigarette advertising: Adolf Hitler.

Certainly, Hitler was far from the first to restrict tobacco and develop an anti-tobacco programme. In fact, from the early 17th century, a handful of rulers in Europe and Asia condemned or severely punished tobacco use and possession. American Heritage features an excellent essay by Gordon L Dillow which summarises the history of anti-tobacco movements on those continents before detailing those in the United States beginning at the end of the 19th century.

NaziantismokingHowever, none of these — draconian as some were — was as systematic and scientific as the anti-tobacco campaign and legislation in the Third Reich. I wrote about it in 2013, quoting a review of Robert L Proctor’s The Nazi War on Cancer. Black and white posters come from Blogs of Bainbridge (at left) and Inconvenient History (below right).

It is good to see that The Atlantic picked up on the book the following year in ‘The Nazis’ Forgotten Anti-Smoking Campaign’, because I know a History professor who says it never happened.

A brief excerpt from The Atlantic follows:

Nazism was a movement of muscular, health-conscious young men worried about things like the influence of Jews in German culture and the evils of communism,” Proctor says, “but also about the injurious effects of white bread, asbestos, and artificial food dyes.

According to an article in Toxicological Sciences, before 1900, lung cancer was extremely rare worldwide, but incidents of the disease increased dramatically by the 1930’s. This coincided with the growing popularity of cigarette smoking beginning toward the end of the 20th century, but a link was never identified between lung cancer and smoking until Nazi-era scientists made the connection.

Research into the harmful effects of tobacco were funded by the Institute for the Struggle Against Tobacco, which was established in 1941 and funded by Hitler’sNazi anti-smoking motherhood_smoking Inconvenient History Reich Chancellery. The Institute was led by Karl Astel, a doctor, high-ranking SS officer and fervent anti-Semite, according to Proctor.

Among other things, Astel’s institute funded and distributed pamphlets and articles about the harmful effects of tobacco, including a collection of Goethe’s views on the subject. The institute conducted research into the potential damage or mutations that nicotine could cause to the genetic material of the master race.

I posted on American research into the lung cancer phenomenon a few days ago. In short, there is no scientific proof of a connection between cigarettes and lung cancer. However, anyone against tobacco — Nazis included — can be persuaded that manipulated scientific data ‘prove’ causality. This junk science will proliferate. In 1997 epidemiologists strongly supported the continued use of ‘risk factor’ epidemiology, which gives us the frustrating array of contradictory studies and distorted dangers of just about everything. But I digress.

What The Atlantic article leaves out are Third Reich specifics that I cited from the review of Proctor’s book in 2013:

Propaganda Minister Joseph Gobbels was obliged to hide his ciggie whenever he was filmed — anti-tobacco activists succeeded in banning smoking from government offices, civic transport, university campuses, rest homes, post offices, many restaurants and bars, hospital grounds and workplaces. Tobacco taxes were raised, unsupervised cigarette vending machines were banned, and there were calls for a ban on smoking while driving …

It comes as little surprise to discover that the phrase “passive smoking” (Passivrauchen) was coined not by contemporary American admen, but by Fritz Lickint, the author of the magisterial 1100-page Tabak und Organismus (“Tobacco and the Organism”), which was produced in collaboration with the German AntiTobacco League.

If some of these measures appear familiar today, then consider the rules laid down in 1941 regarding tobacco advertising. “Images that create the impression that smoking is a sign of masculinity are barred, as are images depicting men engaged in activities attractive to youthful males (athletes or pilots, for example),” and “may not be directed at sportsmen or automobile drivers,” while “advocates of tobacco abstinence or temperance must not be mocked.” Advertisements were banned from films, billboards, posters and “the text sections of journals and newspapers.”

It sounds remarkably like the present day in the West, which fought Hitler.

Nearer the end of the Third Reich more restrictions came into force:

From July 1943 it was illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to smoke in public.(20) Smoking was banned on all German city trains and buses in 1944, the initiative coming from Hitler himself, who was worried about exposure of young female conductors to tobacco smoke.(21) Nazi policies were heralded as marking ”the beginning of the end” of tobacco use in Germany.(14) …

An ordinance on 3 November 1941 raised tobacco taxes to a higher level than they had ever been (80-95% of the retail price). Tobacco taxes would not rise that high again for more than a quarter of a century after Hitler’s defeat.(26) …

Ultimately:

After the war Germany lost its position as home to the world’s most aggressive anti-tobacco science. Hitler was dead but also many of his anti-tobacco underlings either had lost their jobs or were otherwise silenced. Karl Aster, head of Jena’s Institute for Tobacco Hazards Research (and rector of the University of Jena and an officer in the SS), committed suicide in his office on the night of 3-4 April 1945. Reich Health Fuhrer Leonardo Conti, another anti-tobacco activist, committed suicide on 6 October 1945 in an allied prison while awaiting prosecution for his role in the euthanasia programme. Hans Reiter, the Reich Health Office president who once characterised nicotine as “the greatest enemy of the people’s health” and “the number one drag on the German economy”(27) was interned in an American prison camp for two years, after which he worked as a physician in a clinic in Kassel, never again returning to public service. Gauleiter Fritz Sauckel, the guiding light behind Thuringia’s antismoking campaign and the man who drafted the grant application for Astel’s anti-tobacco institute, was executed on 1 October 1946 for crimes against humanity. It is hardly surprising that much of the wind was taken out of the sails of Germany’s anti-tobacco movement …

Germans began smoking freely again. Although there are many German non-smokers today, most of them take a balanced view of tobacco use as they do with alcohol. To rant against smoking or reinstate a Third Reich tobacco control programme would be anathema.

I read all the comments following The Atlantic article and recognised the names of two of my readers, Harleyrider1978 and Michael J McFadden. The anti-smokers they politely and factually countered could respond with nothing other than deplorable ad hominems.

Tobacco Control concerns many of us — including non-smokers — who object to state intrusions on individual and private property liberties hard fought for by our antecedents in two World Wars.

In closing, Hillary Clinton was the First Lady who banned smoking in the White House. The following graphic comes from a reader at No Quarter, an American political site comprised of ex-Clinton supporters who are now mostly independents. Note the similar sentiments voiced, then and now, by Adolf Hitler and Hillary Clinton:

https://scontent-ord1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpt1/v/t1.0-9/12115903_10153326426944296_7490413031598449294_n.jpg?oh=371327449d15bcfb887833232bba464c&oe=56CE7D47

Whilst smoking was unlikely to have been the subject of either statement, the communitarian view elucidated by these two leftist politicians is the same one that has given us Tobacco Control.

Parents might be surprised to find that a number of athletes still smoke tobacco.

Caution should be exercised when pointing out to children that athletes are good, healthy-living role models. In fact, an increasing number of American athletes smoke dope. More on that tomorrow.

For now, let’s explore the history of athletes and tobacco, past to present.

Tobacco and sports champions

1935

This vintage Camels ad features a number of sports personalities at the top of their game in the middle of the 20th century. To see a larger image, visit South Florida Filmmaker.

Ellsworth Vines Jr was a champion tennis player. As an amateur, he won Wimbledon in 1932. In 1934, he began playing professionally and was the leading pro player until 1938. In 1942, he became a professional golfer and won three tournaments between then and 1951. Vines died in 1994 at the age of 82.

Helen Hicks was one of the first women professional golfers. She won the 1937 Women’s Western Open and the 1940 Titleholders Championship. She married Whitney Harb in 1938 and competed as Helen Hicks Harb until 1948. In 1950, she and 12 other women founded the LPGA. Hicks died in 1974 at the age of 63 from throat cancer.

Harold ‘Stubby’ Kruger represented the United States in swimming at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp. He was also a water polo star and friend of Johnny Weismuller. After their athletic careers ended, Weismuller went on to play Tarzan in 12 films and Kruger pursued a long career as a Hollywood stunt man. He died in 1965 at the age of 68. In 1986, he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as a ‘pioneer swimmer’.

Another athlete advertised Lucky Strikes in the 1920s, legendary tennis ace Bill Tilden, who won 138 of 192 amateur tournaments between 1912 and 1930. He won Wimbledon, his last major title, at the age of 37 in 1930. He turned professional after Wimbledon and went on to tour with a select few fellow players until 1945. He died in 1953 at the age of 60 from heart complications. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1959. Many tennis fans consider him as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Incidentally, he played his closest rival Ellsworth Vines Jr six times in the latter half of 1934 and lost each time.

Around the same time, British school teacher Tom Hampson won the 800m gold in the 1932 Olympics held in Los Angeles. The Independent tells us:

he is said to have started the day with a fry-up, a cup of tea and a cigarette.

When he was at Oxford, famous middle-distance runner Roger Bannister’s closest rival was Eric Mackay:

who, according to legend, “could not last the nine laps of a three-mile race without a cigarette and had a friend standing by with one ready for a quick drag before the bell”.

In the middle of the 20th century, legendary baseball player Joe DiMaggio appeared in Chesterfield adverts. Golfer Arnold Palmer smoked L&Ms on the fairway.

Closer to the present day, footballer Johan Cruyff — voted European Player of the Century in 1999 — and considered one of the most influential players in the game’s history smoked 20 cigarettes a day until 1991, at which point he had double heart bypass surgery:

Proof, if any, that smoking a lot does not stop you becoming one of the world’s greatest footballers.

As a manager, Cruyff went on to make Ajax a powerhouse in the 1990s. His coaching methods injected new life into FC Barcelona.

21st century athletes

Some sports fans think that their heroes abhor tobacco. Although many do — and some have turned to drugs — there are still a few traditionalists around.

Cricket

Record-breaking Australian cricketer Shane Warne is the best of his generation with:

145 test matches, 194 ODIs, over 50,000 balls bowled on an international stage. Oh yeah, 1,000 international wickets too.

He:

not only smoked, he was a chain smoker …

Retired England cricketer, Phil Tufnell:

took over 1,000 wickets across all first-class cricket, and his personality, trademark behaviour and “great control of flight” when playing made him a popular sports personality.[2]

I saw him on television a few weeks ago (C4’s At Home with Steph and Dom). He was puffing away quite happily.

Tennis

German tennis player Karsten Braasch, who retired in 2005, used to smoke between changeovers and:

was described by one journalist as “a man whose training regime centred around a pack of cigarettes and more than a couple bottles of ice cold lager.”[2]

He was known for defeating both Serena and Vanessa Williams in a ‘Battle of the Sexes’ contest at the 1998 Australian Open when he was ranked 203:

playing a single set against each, beating Serena 6–1 and Venus 6–2.[3]

The unforgettable Russian Anna Kournikova, who now lives in Miami Beach, immersing herself in charity work, including the occasional match for a good cause, was known to smoke during her career:

In 2000 she admitted enjoying a smoke to wind down telling a French newspaper: ‘My smoking has nothing to do with my tennis.

‘It is absolutely my business when I smoke cigarettes. And I like to have a few cigarettes, especially in the evening after a hard day.’

Tim Henman also smoked at least occasionally during his career. He was very careful to keep it secret.

Football (soccer)

Goliath published an article last month: ’10 Athletes You Didn’t Know Smoked’.

Among them are footballers.

Wayne Rooney has:

been seen and criticized for smoking on holiday, proving that when you are a household name, your every move will be watched and scrutinized.

Mario Balotelli is an inveterate smoker. He is now on loan to AC Milan and is contractually obliged to obey a good behaviour clause, one where:

of course, smoking is strictly prohibited.

Ashley Cole:

is known to smoke heavily during the off-season, and his friends claim that he will chain smoke cigarettes whilst on vacation.

Golf

Irrepressible and unconventional golfer John Daly has stopped drinking but:

He does, however, still smoke around 40 cigarettes a day. The 49-year-old very recently collapsed whilst playing in a tournament in Mississippi on the 18th hole, and this was due to a collapsed lung from a rib injury he suffered in 2007. In typical John Daly fashion, he returned to the course the next day and was even spotted smoking a cigarette on the clubhouse patio. Although not exactly a positive role model for kids, Daly is a fan favorite due to his attitude and his non-country club appearance and lifestyle.

Baseball

New York Yankees star Alex ‘A-Rod’ Rodriguez:

is also a cigar smoker, and will often be seen lighting one up after an impressive performance.

Basketball

Legendary Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time:

is also a cigar aficionado. This is not something that he has picked up since retiring either, as he would also smoke a cigar before every single home game to relax. There are not many players that could get away with doing something like this, but “His Airness” is not like most other players. His first cigar was given to him by Jerry Reinsdorf (Bulls owner) after winning the first NBA title, and he soon fell in love with sparking up. Jordan is not seen too often these days, but when he is he will often be seen with a cigar in his mouth. He has even appeared on the cover of the popular magazine Cigar Aficionado, where he revealed how stepping back from the public eye has allowed him to enjoy himself.

Recent Olympians

Most people consider that Olympians lead the lives of saints. It is unthinkable that any of them would smoke.

Yet, London’s Olympic Village had designated smoking areas for the 2012 Games. This was the first time in many years that an Olympic Village has had such a provision. Well done to them, because, as even anti-smokers had to admit, including New Zealand’s chef de mission Dave Currie:

“I was going to raise it at the chefs meeting and rant and rave but my experience is that in a village some people smoke and you usually find piles of cigarette butts in furtive corners.

“It’s a bit of a ‘name and shame’ approach I suppose because these things are right in middle of walkways and people use them to smoke. Ideally it’d be great if they didn’t have them but it is probably a better option than people lurking in odd places.

“It is the first time I can recall there has been a smoking pod …”

The article adds a bit of Olympics history with regard to tobacco:

When Mark Todd won his first Olympic gold medal on Charisma in 1984 he nervously dragged on a cigarette as the competition leader, American Karen Stives, took to the showjumping ring. Stives knocked off a rail on the penultimate jump, and Todd took gold. Todd is to compete in his seventh Olympics when the three-day eventing starts next week.

Three-time Olympic gold medallist Peter Snell [1960, 1964] used to work for cigarette manufacturer Rothmans.

The world was somewhat surprised when 2012 Tour de France winner and Olympic gold medal winner Sir Bradley Wiggins finally got a chance to rest after several weeks of cycling and — gasp — smoked a cigarette:

Wiggo seemed happy and relaxed as he enjoyed the balmy evening.

Good for him. Tour de France winners often smoked cigarettes in the old days.

The Independent told us about Wiggins’s lung capacity:

One of the keys to Bradley Wiggins’ four Olympic golds, not to mention his Tour de France victory, is his lung capacity: eight litres, compared to the average man’s six. Perhaps that substantial natural advantage – inherited from his cyclist father – is why Wiggins was content to partake of a cigarette on holiday in Mallorca this week. He certainly isn’t the first celebrated athlete to relax with a crafty puff.

Nor will he be the last!

Conclusion

As a post at Smokescreens explains, the thing to remember is that these smoking athletes have outperformed non-smoking athletes:

Take a second to take that information in: the smokers, breathing in their deadly, unnecessary and toxic smoke, are physically fitter and healthier, and superior in a sporting sense over the athletes from their country who don’t smoke.  Now I am not for a moment suggesting that the smoking is responsible for their being chosen, but clearly it has not hindered them in the slightest. 

How true. Time to look at all the facts for once.

Tomorrow: Dope-smoking athletes

After four centuries of smoking in Western countries — longer in others, especially by Indian tribes and other indigenous peoples — lung cancer was so rare that many doctors had not heard of it.

Smoking might help alleviate lung ailments

Most readers will say, ‘Smoking causes lung cancer’. Yet, as I wrote last year, most smokers will never get lung cancer. That is not an endorsement of smoking or vaping, just an attempt to show how statistics can be manipulated, biased and presented to the public.

Whilst the underlying source seems to have disappeared from the Internet, Wisp of Smoke summarises findings on tuberculosis (first emphasis in the original, the one in purple mine):

Nicotine suppresses cell death of neurons (it also promotes vascular growth factor, e.g. growth and branching of capillaries). (Another advantage of nicotine is that Nicotine Slays TB. The link to this mainstream article is prefaced by this comment, “This article was written in 2001 and since then the ban on smoking in public places and taxing tobacco has grown. Extremely-Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis strains will continue to spread and multiply. The resulting global XDR-TB epidemic will be an untreatable and unstoppable calamity.”)

I wondered. Although I could not find more on TB, there was something else — on lung cancer.

Lung cancer rare until 1940s

The late Joe Vialls was what one would call today a citizen journalist. He debunked much popular science concerning health, especially smoking.

In one of his articles, ‘Smoking Helps Protect Against Lung Cancer’, Vialls states that lung cancer was virtually unknown after five centuries of smoking until the 1940s which brought experiments and detonation of nuclear weapons (emphasis in the original):

By the early 20th Century almost one in every two people smoked, but the incidence of lung cancer remained so low that it was almost immeasurable. Then something extraordinary happened on July 16, 1945: a terrifying cataclysmic event that would eventually cause western governments to distort the perception of smoking forever.

This was the notorious “Trinity Test”, the first dirty nuclear weapon to be detonated in the atmosphere. A six-kilogram sphere of plutonium, compressed to supercriticality by explosive lenses, Trinity exploded over New Mexico with a force equal to approximately 20,000 tons of TNT. Within seconds, billions of deadly radioactive particles were sucked into the atmosphere to an altitude of six miles, where high-speed jet streams could circulate them far and wide.

Atmospheric testing of this nature did not stop until 1963, by which time:

more than 4,200 kilograms of plutonium had been discharged into the atmosphere. Because we know that less than one microgram [millionth of a single gram] of inhaled plutonium causes terminal lung cancer in a human, we therefore know that your friendly government has lofted 4,200,000,000 [4.2 Billion] lethal doses into the atmosphere, with particle radioactive half-life a minimum of 50,000 years.

‘Prove’ smoking — not atmospheric testing — causes lung cancer

By 1963, lung cancer went from being a rare disease to something being diagnosed with increasing regularity. What could explain it? (Emphases in purple are mine.)

The only obvious substance that people inhaled into their lungs, apart from air, was tobacco smoke, so the government boot was put in. Poorly qualified medical “researchers” suddenly found themselves overwhelmed with massive government grants all aimed at achieving the same end-result: “Prove that smoking causes lung cancer”. Real scientists (especially some notable nuclear physicists) smiled grimly at the early pathetic efforts of the fledgling anti-smoking lobby, and lured them into the deadliest trap of all. The quasi-medical researchers were invited to prove their false claims under exactly the same rigid scientific rules that were used when proving that radioactive particles cause lung cancer in mammals.

However:

The real scientists had the quasi-medical researchers by the throat, because “pairing” the deadly radioactive particle experiment with the benign tobacco smoke experiment, proved conclusively for all time that smoking cannot under any circumstances cause lung cancer. And further, in one large “accidental” experiment they were never allowed to publish, the real scientists proved with startling clarity that smoking actually helps to protect against lung cancer.

Of course, government-generated radioactive rubbish around the world couldn’t be revealed to the public. Smoking, particularly cigarettes, had to be perceived to be responsible for the surge in lung cancer:

Government pressure was immediately brought to bear and the facts suppressed, but this did not completely silence the real scientists. Tongue-in-cheek perhaps, Professor Schrauzer, President of the International Association of Bio-inorganic Chemists, testified before a U.S. congressional committee in 1982 that it had long been well known to scientists that certain constituents of tobacco smoke act as anti-carcinogens (anti-cancer agents) in test animals. He continued that when known carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) are applied to the animals, the application of constituents of cigarette smoke counter them.

Nor did Professor Schrauzer stop there. He further testified on oath to the committee that “no ingredient of cigarette smoke has been shown to cause human lung cancer“, adding that “no-one has been able to produce lung cancer in laboratory animals from smoking.” It was a neat answer to a rather perplexing problem. If government blocks publication of your scientific paper, take the alternate route and put the essential facts on the written congressional record!

Predictably, this hard truth drove the government and quasi-medical “researchers” into a frenzy of rage. By 1982 they had actually started to believe their own ridiculous propaganda, and were not to be silenced by eminent members of the scientific establishment. Quite suddenly they switched the blame to other “secret” ingredients put into cigarettes by the tobacco companies. “Yes, that must be it!” they clamored eagerly, until a handful of scientists got on the phone and pointed out that these same “secret” ingredients had been included in the mice experiments, and had therefore also been proved incapable of causing lung cancer.

Between the 1960s and 1980s, ‘smoking causes lung cancer’ became a mantra in medical school. Think of the tens of thousands who were studying and earning degrees in medicine during those years — not to mention between the 1980s and the present day!

Vialls’ article states that any medical student who questioned this was told to be quiet or to stop being stupid.

To counter this, more propaganda emerged, namely the black lungs. As I said three years ago, an autopsy on a smoker’s lungs will reveal pink lungs, just as in a non-smoker. Black lungs are present in those — mostly miners — who suffer from the eponymous disease. The warning pictures on cigarette packets are fake. Many are, in fact, photoshopped.

Vialls explains:

Even blind faith needs a system of positive reinforcement, which in this case became the advertising agencies and the media. Suddenly the television screens were flooded with images of terribly blackened “smoker’s lungs”, with the accompanying mantra that you will die in horrible agony if you don’t quit now. It was all pathetic rubbish of course. On the mortuary slab the lungs of a smoker and non-smoker look an identical pink, and the only way a forensic pathologist can tell you might have been a smoker, is if he finds heavy stains of nicotine on your fingers, a packet of Camels or Marlboro in your coat pocket, or if one of your relatives unwisely admits on the record that you once smoked the demon weed.

The black lungs? From a coal miner, who throughout his working life breathed in copious quantities of microscopic black coal dust particles. Just like radioactive particles they get caught deep in the tissue of the lungs and stay there forever. If you worked down the coal mines for twenty or more years without a face mask, your lungs will probably look like this on the slab.

It should be noted that hospitals transplant lungs from smokers into non-smokers.

How smoking protects the lungs

The following will shock most people reading this.

Just remember that ever since we have been alive, we have been reading and hearing the meme that smoking causes lung cancer.

However, just to recap, lung cancer was not commonplace until the 1940s.

Over the past three decades, many smokers became ex-smokers.

Yet — and some non-smokers might not know this — despite many fewer smokers on the planet, lung cancer rates continue to rise, especially in never-smokers.

How can this be? And how is it that most smokers never get lung cancer?

Vialls has the most plausible answer, although non-smokers will not like it:

Many people ask exactly how it is that those smoking mice were protected from deadly radioactive particles, and even more are asking why real figures nowadays are showing far more non-smokers dying from lung cancer than smokers. Professor Sterling of the Simon Fraser University in Canada is perhaps closest to the truth, where he uses research papers to reason that smoking promotes the formation of a thin mucous layer in the lungs, “which forms a protective layer stopping any cancer-carrying particles from entering the lung tissue.”

This is probably as close as we can get to the truth at present, and it does make perfect scientific sense. Deadly radioactive particles inhaled by a smoker would initially be trapped by the mucous layer, and then be ejected from the body [coughing] before they could enter the tissue.

Well, no one will fund further study on that in the present climate.

Before accepting decades-old ‘truths’ on health, it is useful — sometimes unpalatable — to research what is being suppressed. What we find may well surprise us and give us something more to consider.

Two years ago, possibly unintentionally, a Tobacco Control person admitted what smokers and vapers have suspected all along.

The following pithy paragraph appeared in a Daily Mail article ‘Nicotine is good for you …’ dated December 15, 2013. I’ve highlighted it to show the bogus science surrounding nicotine and tobacco/tobacco-derivative use:

A spokeswoman for Cancer Research added: ‘We don’t fully understand the long-term effects of nicotine use.’

No kidding.

For every study showing positive benefits from nicotine, another shows a negative. And, for those positive benefits, such as the ones mentioned in the Mail, there is always the caveat to stop smoking (emphases mine below):

Professor John Britton, chairman of the Royal College of Physicians tobacco advisory group and professor of epidemiology at the University of Nottingham, said one hit of nicotine can have positive effects on the brain.

But he warned the drug is highly addictive

I wrote about this last October, recapping earlier research showing that nicotine is for the thinking man:

Nicotine benefits the brain in several ways

Those who are fearful because of Tobacco Control’s propaganda can rest more easily after reading these posts:

The truth behind the smoker’s lung pictures — they’re fake

Medical data show smoking does NOT cause lung cancer (known since 1985)

Medical benefits of nicotine and a few thoughts on Tobacco Control

‘Biased’ findings

Every time a positive study on nicotine appears, Tobacco Control and the media say it was funded by tobacco companies. A post on the io9 site states that the University of California San Francisco — probably Stanton Glantz‘s* department — has looked at financing behind studies showing nicotine helps to prevent Alzheimer’s:

In 2010, a group from UCSF compared 43 studies on smoking and Alzheimer’s disease and found one-quarter of them were funded by tobacco groups.

Therefore, this means 75% of studies concluding that nicotine use may ward off Alzheimer’s were financed by groups with no conflict of interest.

*Note for non-smokers: Stanton Glantz is the father of the Tobacco Control movement.

More benefits from nicotine

Below is a summary of more benefits from nicotine, which can be delivered via e-cigarettes as well as tobacco. Hard as it is for most of the world to believe, some people smoke or vape for health reasons.

Mental health

An article in the Canadian edition of the Huffington Post discusses the need for e-cigarettes in psychiatric hospitals. Until recently, cigarettes have been made available to patients to calm their nerves:

Those devices might help alleviate some of the deficits associated with schizophrenia …

Depression

E-cigarette Direct’s Ashtray Blog has an article on the benefits of nicotine, many of which are covered in this post from other sources.

That said, the article mentions nicotine’s beneficial effect on depression:

Smoking to improve one’s mood has been a controversial subject, but one study conducted in 2006 confirmed that nicotine led to a significant decline in depression and an improvement in symptoms of depression (source).

This is thought to be due to nicotine stimulating areas of the brain, resulting in the release of serotonin and dopamine, two chemicals lacking in people who have depression.

Observations have shown that those prone to depression are twice as likely to be smokers and are less likely to succeed in quitting, possibly due to these therapeutic effects of nicotine.

ADHD

The same article says that ADHD patients benefit from nicotine:

Studies have shown that nicotine can alleviate the symptoms of ADHD by increasing an individual’s alertness, reducing muscle activity (and thus restlessness/impulsiveness), calming the patient and elevating their mood (source, source).

Of course, no one is suggesting children take up smoking or vaping, but some studies are hoping to develop better treatments which have similar benefits to nicotine (source).

Parkinson’s disease

Research summarised in Frontiers in Ageing Neuroscience says that nicotine may help to lessen the negative aspects of Parkinson’s disease (PD):

Nicotine, the more studied alkaloid derived from tobacco, is considered to be responsible for the beneficial behavioral and neurological effects of tobacco use in PD. However, several metabolites of nicotine, such as cotinine, also increase in the brain after nicotine administration. The effect of nicotine and some of its derivatives on dopaminergic neurons viability, neuroinflammation, and motor and memory functions, have been investigated using cellular and rodent models of PD. Current evidence shows that nicotine, and some of its derivatives diminish oxidative stress and neuroinflammation in the brain and improve synaptic plasticity and neuronal survival of dopaminergic neurons. In vivo these effects resulted in improvements in mood, motor skills and memory in subjects suffering from PD pathology.

Ulcerative colitis, sepsis, obesity

The Journal of Translational Medicine has reproduced the full text of a study of nicotine’s benefits on alleviating gut inflammation, particularly in the case of ulcerative colitis. The paper also states that nicotine may benefit patients with sepsis. In brief, nicotine helps counter cytokines, about which I wrote last year.

This is a highly technical paper, therefore, only brief excerpts follow:

Nicotine has been proven effective in reducing obesity-related inflammation and insulin resistance [7] and attenuating inflammation and improving gut function in patients with active colitis [8]. In fact, ulcerative colitis patients with a history of smoking usually acquire their disease after they have stopped smoking [911]. Patients who smoke intermittently often experience an improvement in their colitis symptoms during the periods when they smoke [9,12]. Therefore the development of drugs designed to suppress the aberrant inflammatory response in obesity and ulcerative colitis may be of significant help in giving relief to patients.

nicotine exhibits anti-inflammatory properties in many systems [15,16,21,22] …

ACh and nicotine also reduce the concentration of high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) protein production by macrophages in sepsis patients [31]. HMGB1, a nucleosome protein that acts as a pro-inflammatory cytokine, stimulates other pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-8) and promotes epithelial cell permeability [31]. Treatment with nicotine attenuated serum HMGB1 levels, decreased the clinical signs of sepsis, provided significant protection against death and improved survival in “established” sepsis [31]. Additionally, nicotine treatment was not started until 24 h after the induction of lethal peritonitis in mice indicating that the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway can modulate the inflammatory response even in established sepsis [26].

This effect of nicotine on suppressing cytokine storms might also partly explain why nicotine suppresses appetite. As with all findings, more research must be done:

Nicotine, the principal addictive constituent of tobacco, has been shown to suppress appetite and attenuates obesity in many studies, but the underlying mechanism is not clear. Nicotine receptors are highly expressed in the hypothalamus and medulla, in nuclei that play a significant role in appetite regulation … these findings indicate that nicotine has a number of actions on hypothalamic neurons that could contribute to the reduced food intake and weight loss associated with smoking.

With regard to obesity, the paper goes on to say that there are obese people who are also heavy smokers. Nicotine does not appear to help them. Furthermore, nicotine can make type 2 diabetes patients more insulin-resistant (implying unregulated insulin production) rather than insulin-sensitive:

Moreover, smoking appears to aggravate insulin resistance in persons with type 2 diabetes and to impair glycemic control [70]. Other factors such as low physical activity and poor diet could counterbalance and even overtake the slimming effect of smoking. Clearly, the pathophysiological factors involved in the association among smoking and obesity are little explored, and remain to be elucidated.

Conclusion

My own prediction is that within the next ten to 20 years, the following two things will happen.

One is that people will slowly begin to see nicotine as being beneficial to the human body. The reason this hasn’t happened yet is that, as the Ashtray Blog states:

Maryka Quik who has conducted numerous notable studies on the effect of nicotine on the brain, made a valid point:

“The whole problem with nicotine is that it happens to be found in cigarettes” she said, “people can’t disassociate the two in their mind, nicotine and smoking.”

The second is that Big Tobacco will drop smokers for the most part and begin collaborating with Big Pharma on nicotine-based medicine. (Some tobacco fields in the US have already been sold to Big Pharma for big bucks.)

That’s where the future lies.

Many will say, once again, that nicotine is good for you.

During the tenth month of the year, the NHS runs an anti-smoking campaign called Stoptober.

For the past few years the smoking community in the UK has written essays against the demonisation of tobacco under the hashtag #octabber, ‘tab’ being British slang for ‘cigarette’.

Although Octabber might not be running this year — I am using the tag for my own reference — plenty of us are unhappy with the endless denormalisation and demonisation of smokers in Britain and elsewhere.

Tactics

Non-smokers are probably unaware of all the anti-smoking campaigns that take place under the banner of ‘public health’ — financed by smokers through sin tax on their pack of 18 (no longer 20 for many manufacturers). Never mind that only a fifth of Britons smoke today. The fight here for Tobacco Control, as elsewhere in the West, must continue until no one smokes.

Dick Puddlecote succinctly described how it worked in 2014 — ‘How Stoptober Really Views Smokers’:

The UK’s first state-funded anti-smoking organisation ASH (motto: “denormalising you with your money since 1972”) claim that they “do not attack smokers or condemn smoking”. It’s a debatable point, but the huge tax sponging industry they have spawned don’t seem to share the same mission statement, it appears.

https://churchmousec.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/174a6-stoptober.png?w=376&h=157

My three aunts — two nurses and one personal assistant (executive secretary, for my US readers) — smoked 20 a day. All stopped when they retired. Two are still alive and one died a few years ago, a great grandmother who outlived her non-smoking husband. They all had children. All the children are healthy. Half of them are grandparents. All have led responsible lives.

More from Dick Puddlecote:

I’m sure you’re very reassured that {cough} highly-respected politicians believe ‘professionals’ who post like this on Twitter are model citizens and should be shovelled skiploads of your hard-earned cash.

He ended his post with another 2014 tweet from the NHS’s #Stoptober:

Remember, if you’re doing Stoptober, everyone is behind you! And this time it isn’t because your breath smells like Fireman Sam’s jockstrap.

Rather crude, wouldn’t you say?

However, people will always smoke.

Attack on vaping

Countless numbers of ex-smokers around the world have taken up vaping.

Some of these people wanted to stop smoking cigarettes. Vaping gives them the same inhaling experience and they can often enjoy a few puffs in places where tobacco smoking is prohibited.

Not surprisingly, vaping has been gaining in popularity.

However, vaping has been under attack by health ministries around the world. A China Daily Hong Kong article from October 13, 2015 states that Brazil banned e-cigarettes in 2009, although they are still readily available on the black market. Canada followed suit in the same year but restricted the ban to e-cigarettes containing nicotine. In 2013, Spain banned vaping devices from public places.

The China Daily article describes the popularity of e-cigarettes among young people. In the United States, vaping among high school students increased exponentially between 2013 and 2014. The US National Youth Tobacco Survey data showed that, in 2013, approximately 660,000 secondary school students vaped. In 2014, their number increased to 2 million. Among middle school students a similar increase occurred; there were 450,000 young vapers in 2014 versus 120,000 in 2013.

In Britain — as in France — health ministries wish to minimise vaping altogether and not just for young people. Never mind that thousands of adults have been able to stop or switch from cigarettes to vaping, which, as the name implies, involves vapour not smoke.

In the UK, the government is openly against vaping. For their efforts, vapers are under attack, as Christopher Snowdon wrote recently in The Spectator. With an indoor ban to come in Wales, he writes (emphases mine):

Banning vaping indoors is such a criminally stupid and negligent idea that even the prohibitionists at Action on Smoking and Health are opposed to it. The unintended consequences are utterly predictable. Once people who have switched from smoking to vaping are thrown outside, they may come to the conclusion that they might as well smoke. Meanwhile, smokers who might switch to vaping have one less incentive to do so. The negative effect on health is plain to see, even if we ignore the glaring fact that none of this is the government’s business.

Also:

Vapers have every right to be outraged by this evidence-free attack on a habit that is not only harmless to bystanders but positively beneficial to them personally as erstwhile smokers. This is the important point to remember about so-called ‘e-cigarette campaigners’. They used to be smokers. You know how some ex-smokers can seem a little self-righteous and pleased with themselves? Vapers have taken that sense of triumph and channelled it into promoting – or, at least, protecting – the product that helped them quit.

Vapers did the notionally correct thing, obeying Public Health, only to find themselves on the wrong side now:

As smokers, vapers spent years being taxed, demonised and kicked into the street. Anti-smoking campaigners would never put it in such blunt terms, but their objective is to make smokers’ lives so miserable that they decide to quit smoking. Vapers did quit smoking, often to their own surprise. They did exactly what was asked of them, but instead of being embraced by their old tormentors, they found themselves with another battle to fight.

Our media and medical communities are full of warnings about the ‘dangers’ of e-cigarettes. Whilst Britain’s ASH might side with vapers, however, the daddy of Tobacco Control, Stanton Glantz

has helped bring about the banning of not only the use, but also the possession, of e-cigarettes on his campus in San Francisco.

Many smokers and vapers predicted this backlash a few years ago. It was only a matter of time.

It’s odd that ex-smokers inhaling vapour can cause such ill feeling. Under such restrictions, we should not be surprised if they take up tobacco again.

When is ‘Wesleyan’ synonymous with John Wesley?

Anyone could be forgiven for thinking that Wesleyan University in Connecticut is a Methodist institution of higher learning.

In recent weeks, two news items about the university have hit the headlines (H/T: Stand Firm).

On February 23, 2015, ten students and two visitors were hospitalised after overdosing on a pure crystalline form of MDMA known as Molly. At the time the Hartford Courant reported the story, what happened was still a mystery. One student told the paper:

I don’t understand why so many people were doing Molly that night, at one time.

There’s a lot of alcohol, there’s a lot of weed on campus. I’m not necessarily in contact with anything harder than that.

Some of the students had attended an on-campus rave at the social house of the university’s Eclectic Society.

Wesleyan’s president Michael S Roth pleaded with students not to use illegal drugs. Quite rightly, he said:

One mistake can change your life forever. If you have friends who are thinking about trying these kinds of drugs, remind them of the dangers … These drugs can be altered in ways that make them all the more toxic. Take a stand to protect your fellow students.

Yet, Roth was less sensible in his sanction of one of four male fraternities, Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE). The university’s administration told them they would all have to admit women or be closed down with the frat house left empty. All Wesleyan students must live on campus.

It is unclear what the other four frat houses have done, but DKE claim that they were given three years to admit women until the university accelerated the transition. The Daily Caller tells us they have decided to file a lawsuit.

The irony is that Wesleyan has specialised, identity-specific housing, so why not allow fraternities the same politics? The Daily Caller reports:

For instance, the Women of Color house caters to non-white females, the Womanist House is for students “committed to the issues of Wesleyan women,” and the Turath House exists for Arab, Middle Eastern, and Muslim students.

Most spectacular of all is the Open House, which defines itself as (we are not making this up) “a safe space for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Flexual, Asexual, Genderf**k [spelled out in full on the university’s website], Polyamourous [sic], Bondage/Disciple, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism (LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM) communities and for people of sexually or gender dissident communities.”

But we can rest easily, because Wesleyan University fully commits its students to Community Standards. We should all be happy (not) to see that, whatever else goes on there — crystalline MDMA, cannabis or sexual violence in a safe house — this policy appears in bold on their website:

Smoking Policy

In order to limit exposure to environmental smoke, the University prohibits smoking in all residence halls, program houses, apartments, and Wood frame houses, as well as within 25 feet of university residences.

Why does the ‘w’ in ‘wood’ need uppercase?

As for the university’s name, many readers are under the impression that once Wesleyan always Wesleyan, that is, Methodist.

And we would be wrong, because the website tells us (emphasis mine):

Ties to the Methodist church, which were particularly strong in the earliest years and from the 1870s to the 1890s, waned in the 20th century. Wesleyan became fully independent of the Methodist church in 1937.

Goodness me — 1937.

Today, Wesleyan University expresses pride in being

a New England liberal arts college that is far from traditional.

Isn’t that the truth!

Advice to parents — please read university websites in full before going on name alone.

The end of Britain’s anti-tobacco campaign, Stoptober, comes as a relief.

Its counterpart is #Octabber. Whilst most of my posts this month have not focussed on smoking, they do point to a possible endgame of drug-taking replacing the clear thinking which nicotine provides.

I remember the sensible days when smoking was allowed nearly everywhere: aircraft, offices and public buildings. Ashtrays — large or small — were ubiquitous until the late 1980s. In the 1990s, separate smoking rooms became common. Shortly after the Millennium — at least in Britain — these were done away with and the great outdoors became the smoking lounge. Our near-universal smoking bans were in place a few years later.

The effect has been devastating on pubs, productivity and property rights.

Adults can no longer go out to meet their friends for a drink and a cigarette in some areas; there is no pub anymore, never mind one with a smoking area in back.

Office workers need to walk outside — sometimes a few minutes away — for a quiet smoke. Often, because of the weather, there is no longer the ability to take work to do during a five-minute cigarette break.

Private companies can no longer allow an employee to smoke in a company car or other vehicle. The government has dictated to them, just as it has to those in the hospitality industry, what can and cannot be done within the confines of their own property. Along with this is the constant threat of new legislation which would prohibit smoking in the family car if children were present.

We in the West read that our health services are on overload or at breakdown point. Nonetheless, Tobacco Control rolls on with Alcohol Control not far behind. If I were in charge of any of our governments, the first thing I would do would be to remove the funding from these people. We all know the risks; we learn about them at home and in school. We know we can go to our pharmacists and doctors if we want help to stop smoking or drinking. That’s quite enough.

Agree or disagree with smoking (or drinking), no government should be dictating what can be done on or in private property other than where it concerns trespass, crime, unreasonable burdens on neighbours or domestic abuse.

In closing, here are a few more medical benefits from nicotine.

First, health writer Art Ayers’s research has revealed that studies from 2007 and 2009 have shown nicotine may benefit compromised immune systems with:

beneficial effects on inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis, asthma, cancer, inflammatory bowel diseases and perhaps, H1N1 [swine flu].

He says that the studies show that nicotine produces these benefits by acting on the vagus nerve, which runs from the base of our brains (medulla oblongata) through to the abdomen. The vagus nerve has a significant effect on various physical functions, from those in the brain all the way to the digestive tract.

Nicotine may also help to prevent or diminish the devastation of what are known as cytokine storms. In cases of infection or a compromised immune system:

cytokines signal immune cells such as T-cells and macrophages to travel to the site of infection. In addition, cytokines activate those cells, stimulating them to produce more cytokines.[2] Normally, this feedback loop is kept in check by the body. However, in some instances, the reaction becomes uncontrolled, and too many immune cells are activated in a single place. The precise reason for this is not entirely understood but may be caused by an exaggerated response when the immune system encounters a new and highly pathogenic invader. Cytokine storms have potential to do significant damage to body tissues and organs. If a cytokine storm occurs in the lungs, for example, fluids and immune cells such as macrophages may accumulate and eventually block off the airways, potentially resulting in death.

Ayers writes that nicotine is being studied to see if its anti-inflammatory properties can be used to block cytokine storms, particularly in the case of influenza.

Therefore, smokers, he says, are protecting themselves from infection and disease. However, when they stop smoking, they open themselves up to inflammatory disorders, as nicotine is no longer present.

More surprisingly, perhaps, are the studies which indicate that smoking may actually prevent some types of cancer. Second Opinions, cited yesterday, found two studies which discuss stomach and breast cancer (emphases mine in the body of the text):

Stomach cancer

There is other evidence that smoking might actually protect against cancer. Nitrates and nitrites, commonly found in vegetables and cured meats turn to carcinogenic nitrosamines in the stomach. Smoking inhibits the uptake of circulating nitrate into the saliva, especially at higher levels of dietary nitrate intake. (11)

Breast cancer

One out of every 250 women has one of the inherited mutated genes, BRCA1 or BRCA2, whose normal function is not yet fully understood. And 80 percent of women with one of the mutated genes will get breast cancer before the age of 70. This means that 3200 women per million will get breast cancer. Dr Paul Kleihues, M.D., Director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, WHO reported a study which found that smoking cuts the risk of developing breast cancer by 50 percent in these women. “The protection associated with smoking increased with the amount smoked. . . The risk reduction associated with up to four pack-years (one pack-year equals one pack per day for one year) of smoking was 35 percent, and for greater than four pack-years of smoking was 54 percent.” (12)

So, it’s not all bad for smokers or for nicotine.

Yet, in their war on smoking, the medical community and social policy makers over the past 30 years have encouraged non-smokers to blame smokers for their every ill. Going to the doctor’s surgery (office) or Accident & Emergency results in being asked, ‘Do you smoke?’ prior to any consultation or treatment. Smokers, who pay tax with every tobacco purchase (in the UK, around 75% of the cost of a pack of 20), are being denied NHS operations unless they stop smoking. Many employers condemn smoking, which extends to well-qualified, energetic interview candidates. Even when going away on holiday, the smoker is met with accommodation sites saying ‘100% non-smoking property’. The list goes on.

The end result is that non-smokers view smokers as being morally derelict.

Therefore, it’s high time Tobacco Control were put out to pasture. It’s time, instead, that we find out the truth about the causes of lung cancer — vehicle emissions being a good starting point.

Although not naturally optimistic, I remain hopeful that, just as a number of headlines in 2014 have been hailing the benefits of animal fat on the human body (a swipe at Ancel Keys’s falsehoods which have persisted since the 1950s), that smoking ceases to be demonised in the near future.

Fortunately, certain towns and counties in the US have been repealing their smoking bans. In some cases they have been declared unconstitutional. In others, restaurant and bar owners said the bans were bad for business.

Smoking is hardly the world’s greatest evil.

In fact, it pales in comparison to bullying of all ages, child molestation, child suicide, rising crime, domestic violence, abortion as birth control and the very real rise of tuberculosis (among other diseases) in the West.  Those really are public health concerns.

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