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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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Many cigarette and e-cigarette smokers attest that they think more clearly than non-smokers.

Whilst this might appear a subjective comment to most of the population, smokers also point out the social advances helped along by nicotine.

In short, nicotine helps to improve cognitive abilities and thinking.

Before continuing, I feel obliged to say the following. First, no one is encouraging anyone to start smoking. Secondly, the news about nicotine is not all bad. Thirdly, the content below helps to explain why some smokers and e-cigarette users do not wish to give up.

ELI5, an e-cigarette smoker (and probably someone for whom English is a second language), began an interesting discussion on Reddit. Part of his premise follows (emphases mine):

I wonder often why nicotine is so universally despised on reddit. If we look at the effects of culture after tobacco was brought from America to Europe in the 1500s there is an immediate effect of: The renaissance, scientific revolution, explosion of democracy, literature, arts. Most of the famous scientists and inventors of the twentieth century smoked, including Einstein, Hubble, Tesla, Edison, Oppenheimer and more. The most famous american writer ever: Mark Twain was an avid smoker.

If you look at country wide smoking, it is clear th[at] the countries with the fastest growth have the most smokers. Germany, for example, regularly the top exporter in the world, ha[s] about 50% more smokers than America.

Smoking helps with weight loss. It’s been argued that obesity related illnesses make up the largest percentage of America’s health care expenditures. Obesity is also correlated with marked cognitive decline.

It just boggles my mind why something that has so many society wide benefits is so universally despised on Reddit …

Because it seems like there is an agenda to kill nicotine consumption in America. I suppose that health care has a lot to benefit from this as cigarette consumption generally is a much more efficient killer than obesity related illnesses. There’s more money to get from it. Please someone who knows something, try to explain why it does seem like there is a battle to ban nicotine, and not necessarily smoking.

One of my favourite smoking writers is England’s Frank Davis. All his posts are excellent. Some discuss thinking and nicotine, such as this one from 2011, ‘Nicotine Improves Brain Performance’:

People simply work better – up to 30% better – when they’re smoking than when they’re not. And they maintain concentration for longer. Nicotine is a performance-enhancing drug. It’s a ‘work-drug’.

It’s certainly true in my experience. I concentrate better when I’m smoking. Whenever I think hard about anything, I reach for the tobacco. And when I’m not thinking about anything, I don’t.

Tobacco seems to be unusual among drugs in that it doesn’t have strong psychotropic effects. This isn’t true of alcohol or cannabis or opium, all of which have quite strong psychotropic effects, which increase with the amount consumed. But there isn’t anything that can really be called a tobacco ‘high’, in my experience. Perhaps just a slight lift ...

Yet the war on smoking always proceeds on the assumption that there are no benefits from smoking, but only costs. Antismokers dismiss all benefits, and exaggerate the costs. And this is likely to backfire on them in the end, when the people eventually find out that they’ve been lied to

Frank helped to edit a well-researched article on smoking, nicotine and the brain by two Danes, Niels Ipsen, an environmental biologist and Klaus Kjellerup, a researcher.

The two men present their findings in ‘Science is conclusive: Tobacco increases work capacity’. Excerpts follow, but, whatever side of the nicotine debate you find yourself on, it is an informative and well researched article, well worth reading.

Emphases in the original, purple highlights mine.

A recent and thorough study of nicotine and cognition is revealing:

– In 2010 the U.S. government published a groundbreaking meta-analysis, which summarizes the last 40 years of knowledge about tobacco and nicotine effects on the brain. The analysis was conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, headed by researcher Stephen Heishman: Meta-analysis of the acute effects of nicotine and smoking on human performance. Abstract: (3) – full text (4).

The results in Heishman’s analysis gives the clear impression that it could turn out to be a very bad idea to try to “eradicate” tobacco. For nicotine has positive impacts in the areas of motor skills, attention, focus, speed and memory – and the effect is significant, the researchers say: The results are not due to statistical chance

Heishman’s team examined all 256 published non-medicinal nicotine tests carried out since 1994 when they conducted a similar study. The tests measured both the effect of cigarettes on smokers – and the effect of non-smoking nicotine on non-smokers. 

– 48 of the best quality trials were selected for the meta-analysis following strict scientific criteria: They had to be placebo controlled – with nicotine-free patches and nicotine-free cigarettes – and double blinded, so no subjects knew whether they had received nicotine or not

Furthermore only trials in which none of the smokers were craving tobacco were used. Thus Heishman excluded the risk that smokers may have performed unusually well because of their relief from the withdrawal effect. 

Furthermore, many people today are surprised to find that famous personalities from various walks of life were — and are — smokers:

– The positive effect on the brain may explain why many of history’s greatest scientists have been avid smokers – for example Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein, both of whom praised the effect of tobacco on their scientific thinking.

Furthermore, it is known that many athletes, creative people, stage performers, writers, musicians and artists through time have been smokers. The nicotine in cigarettes appears to have been particularly important for people who need to produce something unique or competitive in their work.

Top footballers, in particular, have often surprised the media when it emerged that they were avid smokers, while they were at the peak of their careers. For example, the puritanical British media people couldn’t imagine that a top player like Wayne Rooney would be able to deliver top performances for his team, when they revealed it as a scandal, that Rooney is a smoker (5). 

– The truth is however, that some of the world’s most creative stars – like Zinedine Zidane, Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff, Ronaldo, Dimitar Berbatov and many other players from the highest levels of football – were avid smokers while they were at the top of their careers – including the Danish 80’s hero, Preben Elkjaer …

The effects also suggest an answer to the puzzle of why people start smoking and continue on a permanent basis – and the proof comes paradoxically from the results of the effect of nicotine on non-smokers, who also perform better when they get nicotine gum. Heishman writes: 

“… [The fact that] the results are also found among non-smokers is an indirect evidence that nicotine performance enhancing effects may be the reason why people start smoking.”

The two Danes discuss more studies from past and present which demonstrate that nicotine helps drivers, pilots and workers in general.

Speaking of the last — workers — the article tells us that higher rates of smoking increase labour productivity. This could help to at least partly explain the surprising rise of the BRICS countries’ economic performance to that of those in the West:

In a somewhat unscientific way, it is probably safe to say that if non-nicotine users perform 1.0, then nicotine users will perform up to 1.25 – with smokers as the absolute top performers. At the same time nicotine users – especially smokers – who fail to maintain nicotine levels will perform down to 0.75. 

– This fact raises the question: Can nicotine have had a beneficial effect on innovation & growth in the economy in the last century? If this is true, it may help to explain why the productivity of labor in the western world has decreased slightly each year since  the 1970s, when the official health campaigns began to reduce the number of smokers.

One can also raise questions about whether the numerous smoking bans in workplaces could have contributed to the recent large productivity decline. In Denmark an unexpected and inexplicable collapse in labor productivity was apparent in 2007 and 2008 – right after the state banned smoking in all Danish workplaces. (1920)

Moving on to other sources, a study published in the June 1995 issue of Psychopharmacology about the effect nicotine has on inspection time (IT) reveals (emphases mine):

IT was significantly shorter in the smoking condition as compared to both the no-smoking or sham-smoking conditions, suggesting that nicotine enhances early information processing. This result is of particular interest because of the correlation between IT and IQ reported in previous experiments. The nicotine related decrease in IT raises the possibility that nicotine enhances at least a subset of the physiological processes underlying intellectual performance.

Even older non-smokers could benefit from clinically-managed nicotine intake via patches or other pharmaceutical delivery methods. This study comes from the American Academy of Neurology and was published in January 2012:

This study looked at nicotine in people with mild cognitive impairment, which is the stage between normal aging and dementia when people have mild memory or thinking problems but no significant disability …

After six months of treatment, the nicotine-treated group regained 46 percent of normal performance for age on long-term memory, whereas the placebo group worsened by 26 percent over the same time period …

Nicotine stimulates receptors in the brain that are important for thinking and memory skills.

These are a few of the benefits of nicotine. Many great social, artistic and technological advances came about thanks to smoking, which stimulates thinking.

Scientists are finally waking up to the benefits of nicotine. Yes, it is useful. Its benefits are one reason that the remaining smoking population does not wish to quit.

The following is likely to happen with less tobacco or nicotine use. This observation comes from someone who knows the reality of today’s San Francisco scene:

People are very “doped up” in SF and I see them daily, hear them talking about it, lauding one anti-depressant over the other and many of them ex-smokers. They have simply substituted the use and words like Wellbutrin, Chantrix, Paxil or countless others, the way 30 years ago they’d have spoken about and used the words Marlboro, Winston or Lucky Strikes. The one has substituted for the others, but their eyes are truly glassy, “doped up” and should someone spot a smoker, even at a distance, quite a rile has to be made over it, by someone in the crowd, so that feeling of anti-smoking comaraderie becomes manifested and “all is well”, “normal”, the way it’s been packaged and presented, in the propaganda, which is inescapable. I am just relaying some facts, very common daily real life situations, as I have observed them.

The rest of Anonymous’s comments on that thread from Frank Davis’s archives detail what life in California is like. In closing, this is what everyone’s reality could be like in future:

SF was also where they signed the UN treaty after WWII, the same UN which gave birth to the WHO and the international tobacco treaty, the international global warming based treaties and soon international gun banning treaties, which has led to the global state of things currently, which are very top down, a command economy and political system. There are historical roots in that city …

I feel frightened to think what will happen when some of what I see currently, in SF, is called “a great success” by the social engineers, then pushed onto unsuspecting populations across the US and thousands of miles away across the seas. They may not even see it coming, but it should be felt physically to those who will be affected by each piece of pre-tested evil social and political structure when it hits their shores, out of the blue, everyone blind to the source from where it has been first tested and honed to a fine art.

Cleansing the world the San Francisco globalist way will not be a good thing. In fact, far from it. But I digress.

Did you know that most smokers will never contract lung cancer?

Experts and media economical with the truth

Studies on the subject are, not surprisingly, hard to find, but every now and then, a small item appears in a news article, such as this one in Time magazine, dated April 2, 2008 (emphases mine):

… what about the 80% of smokers who don’t develop lung cancer? Are they just the lucky ones?

The article goes on to say that lung cancer and smoking depends on a genetic variant which researchers in Europe and the United States studied:

While the variants were associated with an increased risk of lung cancer in smokers, that genetic predisposition is not destiny.

However, this is not new. A 1985 article from the Los Angeles Times, ‘Researcher Admits that 80% of Smokers Don’t Get Cancer’ begins as follows:

A researcher who testified in a $1-million wrongful death suit that smoking causes lung cancer later admitted “perhaps 80%” of smokers do not contract the disease.

Dr. Michael B. Shimkin acknowledged under cross-examination Wednesday that “most people who do smoke–even heavy smokers–do not get lung cancer.”

Shimkin refused when pressed by R. J. Reynolds Co. attorneys to set the number at 90%, but said it is “a heavy number, perhaps 80%. . . . This is one of the many questions in medicine, why some of us have resistance to this and others do not.”

Another doctor, James P Shiepman, MD, did his own private research on many of the anti-tobacco studies available on the Internet. His short but informative essay, based on 50 hours of research, is entitled ‘Smoking Does Not Cause Lung Cancer’. I recommend it to everyone.

Those seeking actual tables from the WHO and Center for Disease Control can examine his table of risks per demographic at the bottom of the page.

Excerpts from his essay follow (emphasis his in the third paragraph):

… the risk of a smoker getting lung cancer is much less than anyone would suspect.  Based upon what the media and anti-tobacco organizations say, one would think that if you smoke, you get lung cancer (a 100% correlation) or at least expect a 50+% occurrence before someone uses the word “cause.” 

Would you believe that the real number is < 10% (see Appendix A)? Yes, a US white male (USWM) cigarette smoker has an 8% lifetime chance of dying from lung cancer but the USWM nonsmoker also has a 1% chance of dying from lung cancer (see Appendix A).  In fact, the data used is biased in the way that it was collected and the actual risk for a smoker is probably less.  I personally would not smoke cigarettes and take that risk, nor recommend cigarette smoking to others, but the numbers were less than I had been led to believe.  I only did the data on white males because they account for the largest number of lung cancers in the US, but a similar analysis can be done for other groups using the CDC data.

You don’t see this type of information being reported, and we hear things like, “if you smoke you will die”, but when we actually look at the data, lung cancer accounts for only 2% of the annual deaths worldwide and only 3% in the US.**

He takes the media to task for misusing words, particularly ’cause’ (emphases his in the second paragraph):

Look in any dictionary and you will find something like, “anything producing an effect or result.”18 At what level of occurrence would you feel comfortable saying that X “causes” Y?  For myself and most scientists, we would require Y to occur at least 50% of the time. Yet the media would have you believe that X causes Y when it actually occurs less than 10% of the time ...

If they would say that smoking increases the incidence of lung cancer or that smoking is a risk factor in the development of lung cancer, then I would agree. The purpose of this article is to emphasize the need to use language appropriately in both the medical and scientific literature (the media, as a whole, may be a lost cause).

Yet, his own scientific world does not dispute the media’s message; they say the same thing. The aforementioned articles from Time and the Los Angeles Times focus more on the anti-smoking aspect than the fact that only a small percentage of smokers will ever get lung cancer.

Shiepman follows his essay with a section called ‘The Untold Facts of Smoking (Yes, there is bias in science’. Among the facts are these:

4. All cancers combined account for only 13% of all annual deaths and lung cancer only 2%.**

7. Second hand smoke has never been shown to be a causative factor in lung cancer.

9. No study has shown that second hand smoke exposure during childhood increases their risk of getting lung cancer.

11. If everyone in the world stopped smoking 50 years ago, the premature death rate would still be well over 80% of what it is today.1 (But I thought that smoking was the major cause of preventable death…hmmm.)

He concludes:

Yes, smoking is bad for you, but so is fast-food hamburgers, driving, and so on. We must weigh the risk and benefits of the behavior both as a society and as an individual based on unbiased information. Be warned though, that a society that attempts to remove all risk terminates individual liberty and will ultimately perish. Let us be logical in our endeavors and true in our pursuit of knowledge. Instead of fearful waiting for lung cancer to get me (because the media and much of the medical literature has falsely told me that smoking causes lung cancer), I can enjoy my occasional cigar even more now…now that I know the whole story.

At the bottom of the page is this (italics his):

For those of you who actually read the whole article…

As long as I’m being controversial by presenting both sides of the story, do I dare tell you that a woman is three times more likely to die from an abortion than from delivering a baby (WHO data).

Why lung cancer rates are increasing — despite smoking bans

A British health site, Second Opinions, has an in-depth article on the puzzling rates of lung cancer from the 20th century to the present. Many people wonder about the strange rise of the disease among non- and never-smokers in an era where smoking is banned nearly everywhere in the West.  ‘Does Smoking Really Cause Lung Cancer?’ which appeared at the Millennium is required reading.

The article looks at the research done by the late Dr Kitty Little who worked for 50 years as a research scientist both in Oxford and in Washington, DC. She spent the first decade of her career studying the effects of radiation on the body for the Atomic Energy Research Establishment. She went on to Oxford Medical School practising orthopaedics. She then spent time in the United States working with their armed forces as a pathologist. When she returned to England, she worked at the MRC (Medical Research Council) on DNA and the causes of dental caries. She also wrote a textbook at Oxford about bone pathology and bone cancer. Dr Little died in 1999.

In 1998, Little wrote an article called ‘Diesel Smoke and Lung Cancer’ (see aforementioned Second Opinions link). In short, she concluded (emphases mine, unless otherwise indicated):

  • tobacco smoke contains no carcinogens, while diesel fumes contain four known carcinogens;
  • that lung cancer is rare in rural areas, but common in towns;
  • that cancers are more prevalent along the routes of motorways;
  • that the incidence of lung cancer has doubled in non-smokers over past decades;
  • and that there was less lung cancer when we, as a nation, smoked more.

A summary, accompanied by excerpts, of her research into the 20th century history of lung cancer follows.

It should be noted that the effect of smoke in the lungs was first debated in 1306 by the English Parliament when coal began to be used as fuel. Tobacco had not yet reached Europe.

Lung cancer rates started to rise in the 1930s, inexplicably eclipsing the incidence of other cancers. The pattern of lung cancer cases was equally unusual. In South Africa, cities with frequent breezes (e.g. Port Elizabeth, Cape Town) had lower rates than urban areas with little to no wind (e.g. Durban, Johannesburg).

Another factor was that most cities had already experienced decades of urban smoke. Why the sudden explosion of lung cancer in the 1930s?

In rural South Africa, lung cancer rates were lower, even where much of the population — both men and women — smoked. Rhodesia, which had a high percentage of smokers, had very little lung cancer.

The culprit appears to have been the introduction of diesel-fuelled vehicles which appeared at the beginning of the 1930s, first in the UK, then South Africa and New Zealand a few years later. British immigrants to other parts of the Commonwealth began contracting lung cancer before the populations of their host countries did. This included non- or never-smokers.

Little concluded:

Statistics such as these that have been quoted provide almost complete proof that diesel smoke has been the cause of the rise in incidence of lung cancer, but statistics on their own can never provide complete proof. One also needs confirmation from an investigation into the biological mechanisms involved. This includes seeking to identify the carcinogenic agent or agents responsible.

Urban smoke and cigarette and tobacco smoke contain a chemical, 3:4 benzpyrine, that is weakly carcinogenic. However, it oxidises very easily, and has never been shown to cause lung cancer – conditions in the lungs would favour rapid oxidation to harmless compounds. There is, however, evidence that diesel smoke contains at least four strongly carcinogenic compounds. (4) It has also been shown, from field observations, that local concentrations in some traffic conditions can be very high. (5)

In 1950s Britain:

it was quite clear that the increase in lung cancer had been due to diesel smoke, and that cigarette and tobacco smoke had nothing to do with it. Yet on 27th June 1957 the anti-smoking campaign was launched, (6) with the Health Education Council being formed to help push its propaganda. (The Health Education Council, and its successor the Health Education Authority, have been primarily concerned with promoting bogus medical propaganda).

By the early 1960s, this anti-tobacco campaign resulted in fewer Britons smoking. Nonetheless, lung cancer rates continued to rise, particularly among men who worked amidst diesel emissions — notably garage attendants and lorry drivers. The solution for the former was to introduce self-service filling stations.

By 1970, lung cancer rates continued to rise as road traffic increased along with the amount of diesel emissions. Towns near motorways and cities with heavy traffic had a higher incidence than those communities in a cleaner environment:

Thus, in the Abingdon and Faringdon district lung cancer deaths rose by 65% in 1970 as compared with previous years. (7)

Regardless, the British medical establishment continued to press on with the message that smoking tobacco was deadly:

There was no attempt made to check if any doctor with an early lung cancer had some other condition recorded as a cause of death. One such case would have been sufficient to invalidate the conclusion.

Little’s research points out that researchers and physicians have completely ignored the effect of diesel smoke — now increased over the past 15 years with family vehicles running on the fuel:

This invalidates all their results, since statistics always seem to give an answer, but it is only the correct answer when all the relevant variables are taken into account – and the effect of diesel smoke is undoubtedly relevant. It is interesting that lawyers issued instruction on how to confuse a court should an action for damages resulting from diesel smoke be initiated. (9)

The fact that many of the cases of lung cancer involve non-smokers became something that could no longer be ignored. Therefore, as diesel family cars came onto the roads, an attempt has been made to implicate “passive smoking”. Evidence already quoted shows that this suggestion must be false. Not only does tobacco smoke not contain a carcinogenic agent that could cause lung cancer, but the high levels of smoking, in this country before diesel was introduced, and in South Africa and elsewhere in places where diesel had not been introduced, never resulted in lung cancer from “passive smoking”. If the suggestion was valid they would have done.

Little concluded her article by condemning the Tobacco Control industry:

Since the effect of the anti-smoking campaign has been to prevent the genuine cause from being publicly acknowledged, there is a very real sense in which we could say that the main reason for those 30,000 deaths a year from lung cancer is the anti-smoking campaign itself.

Second Opinions also examined American research on the rise of lung cancer. Dr David Abbey studied 6338 non-smoking men, aged 27-95, who lived in California between 1967 and 1992. In 1999, he published his results which centred on vehicle emissions and lung cancer in non- and never-smokers (emphasis in the original):

PM10 exposure was strongly associated with lung cancer, raising the risk by 2.38 times. PM10 exposure was also associated with all natural causes of death in men and with an increased mortality from non-malignant respiratory disease in men and women. PM10s are particles of less than 10 µm in diameter exhausted from Diesel engines. David Abbey, leading author of the study noted that men who spent longer outside were at greater risk than men who spent most of their time indoors.

In addition, ozone exposure was implicated in increased risk of lung-cancer mortality in men, and sulphur dioxide (SO 2 ) exposure was independently associated with increased risk of lung-cancer mortality in both men and women. These too are found in vehicle exhaust emissions.

Today’s ‘cleaner’ diesel is still problematic with regard to lung cancer. Abbey discovered:

these may be even more harmful … “recent studies on the short-term effects of atmospheric particles on respiratory and cardiovascular diseases have shown that PM2.5s and even smaller particles are more important than PM10s.”

It is to be hoped that the lies about tobacco which have been foisted on the world over the past 60 years — from Sir Richard Doll’s 1954 study onward — will soon be exposed.

The real cause of our lung cancer rates is likely to be vehicle emissions. More experts need the bottle to break out of the conventional mould and research this, particularly with the continuous decrease in the number of smokers and venues where smoking is allowed.

ASH — Action on Smoking and Health — would do well if they could kindly tell the public what their organisation’s attitude is towards legalisation of drugs.

Because ASH never say anything anti-drug. If I’ve missed something there, please let me know in the comments below.

It would be helpful if a journalist or perhaps a smokers’ advocate could ask ASH the following and make it public:

1/ Would the ultimate end of tobacco smoking — doubtful, in reality — bring about their advocacy of illicit drugs?

2/ Do they support — sotto voce or otherwise — current moves to decriminalise marijuana?

3/ Do they agree with British Professor David Nutt‘s views on drugs?

Smokers should be told the truth about where their tobacco taxes are going. Currently, that is on ASH’s smoker demonisation programmes. But what happens in future?

Unlike many libertarians — and some smokers — I fully object to decriminalisation of illicit drugs and will be writing more about why next week.

The dope many smoked at university 25 or 40 years ago is no longer the bulk of what is available today. In fact, I read several years ago that middle aged and older people going to Amsterdam’s ‘coffee houses’ for the first time will be advised not to smoke several types on the menu: ‘This isn’t what you smoked in the 60s and 70s.’

That is because it has a hallucinogenic effect.

I’ve written before about an ex-skunk addict and the trouble today’s dope created for him and his marriage. That post also has two other first-hand stories about people I knew who had involvement in drugs.

Just to round things out, I knew another guy in the 1980s who found it very difficult getting off drink and drugs. He really couldn’t consume anything remotely addictive. He went sugar-free and tobacco-free, after which he became rather hyper with unpredictable moods. At that time, he was separated from his wife who was expecting their first child.

I pray that things worked out for them in the end, however, there are millions like him who endure years of agony trying to get clean. They miss their highs, their drug-induced experiences and the excitement that surrounds illegal drug taking.

It’s an uphill battle. Whilst some people survive drugs, many others find illegal substances ruin their lives.

Tobacco Control’s current ‘safe’ messaging for drugs — which also tells us there ‘is no safe amount of tobacco’ — is highly irresponsible and misleading.

Regardless of whether one smokes tobacco, it is instructive to read of the effects smoking bans have on the leisure industry.

The Pub Curmudgeon has a tally of the numbers of pubs which have closed since July 1, 2007, the date England’s smoking ban came into effect. As I write, the number of defunct pubs now totals 14,192.

Now there are those who do not go to pubs, however, when one thinks how one piece of legislation could cripple such an inherent part of English life and culture, it beggars belief. Think of all the jobs lost through this draconian law.

To be sure, there are other factors, and the Pub Curmudgeon explores these — such as drink drive laws as well as large pub companies’ arrangements with their tenants — but, there is no question that the smoking ban is killing our pubs.

The Pub Curmudgeon says (emphases mine):

This is not a beer blog. It’s a view of life from the saloon bar, not entirely about the saloon bar – which of course is a metaphorical place as well as a physical one. It is as much about political correctness and the erosion of lifestyle freedom as it is about pubs and beer. And, while I enjoy cask beer, I don’t assume that it is the only alcoholic beverage worth consuming.

I’m a non-smoker, but not an antismoker. I believe the owners of private property should be entitled to choose whether or not smoking is permitted on their premises. If any supporter of pubs still thinks the smoking ban was a remotely good idea, just look around at all the pubs that have closed since 1 July 2007. The smoking ban is what prompted the creation of this blog back then and, while it touches on many other topics, it remains essentially its core theme. However, there remains much to be enjoyed and celebrated in pubs despite the effects of the ban.

I condemn drunken driving, but there is no evidence that driving after consuming a small quantity of alcohol is dangerous, and the campaign to discourage driving even within the British legal limit has been a major cause of the decline of the pub trade in recent years. Reducing the current legal limit – a proposal fortunately rejected by the Coalition government – would lead to the closure of thousands more pubs and would not necessarily save a single life. In my view, this is at least as much a threat to pubs as the smoking ban.

When Labour MPs discussed the smoking ban on news programmes, many cited how well local, then afterwards, statewide bans worked in California. Hmm. Not many Britons would compare our climate to California’s.

However, the California comparison seems to have been used in the US as well. Yet, whereas it’s relatively easy to spend time outdoors on a bar or restaurant terrace there for a smoke, the rest of the United States has a variable climate depending on where one lives. This makes the California comparison particularly disingenuous.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis has a few articles on the impact of smoking bans by state or region, including their effect on casino revenue.

In 2009, the St Louis Fed noted that Illinois was the only state at that time which extended the smoking ban to casinos. ‘No Ifs, Ands or Butts: Illinois Casinos Lost Revenue after Smoking Banned’ states:

In the first year after the smoking ban took effect, revenue at Illinois casinos fell sharply from the previous year.4 As shown in the figure, the decline in revenue stands in sharp contrast both to the growth of recent years and to the performance of casinos in nearby states.

The Illinois Casino Gaming Association, they say, disputes that and says the economic downturn was responsible.

I’m not a huge casino fan, but I do have empathy for people who may have lost their jobs there during that time. Casinos have gift shops and restaurants, too. They also generate a lot of tax, some of which gets put back into schools and communities.

The Fed’s chart shows that Illinois — in contrast to Indiana, Iowa and Missouri — experienced a huge drop in revenue in 2008:

Using our estimates of revenue losses and declining attendance at each of the casinos in Illinois, we find that the tax loss was more than $200 million in 2008. For the local communities, the total loss in tax revenue amounted to over $12 million.

The economic effects of the Smoke-Free Illinois Act—specifically with regard to casino revenue and government tax receipts—represent only part of the act’s overall impact. In a full analysis, these costs need to be considered alongside other costs and benefits, including the public health benefits of the legislation. But as policymakers in Illinois and elsewhere ponder the implications of the Illinois smoking ban, the impact on revenue, attendance and taxes should not be ignored.

It’s quite easy for people who live downstate to go to St Louis. Those in the Chicago area can spend an hour or less travelling to Indiana. Iowa is a stone’s throw away for many in western Illinois.

However, back to the California comparison. Another St Louis Fed article from 2008, ‘Clearing the Haze? New Evidence of the Economic Impact of Smoking Bans’ tells us:

A previous article in The Regional Economist (“Peering Through the Haze,” July 2005) described some early evidence on the economic impact of smoke-free laws and suggested that the findings were far from conclusive.1

As more communities have adopted smoke-free laws and more data have been gathered, economists have discovered new, significant findings. As an earlier article suggested, economic costs often focus on specific business categories—those that smokers tend to frequent.

They cite research saying that bar employment has gone down between 4 and 16 per cent. Restaurants have experienced less of a decline, however, it depends on where they are located and whether the majority of their clientele are smokers.

However, the real issue is climate:

Restaurants in warm climates fared better than those in cooler climates. The authors suggest that the reason for this might be that restaurants in warmer climates can more easily provide outdoor seating where smoking is not prohibited … Restaurants that suffered the dual curse of being in regions with colder climates and a high prevalence of smokers suffered statistically significant employment losses, on average.

California, therefore, cannot be used as a template for everywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere.

The article features an item about the effects of the smoking ban on restaurants in Columbia, Missouri. It says, in part:

Since January 2007, all bars and restaurants in Columbia, Mo., have been required to be smoke-free. Only some sections of outdoor patios are exempt from the requirement.

Some local businesses have continued to oppose the Columbia Clean Air Ordinance, circulating petitions to repeal the law by ballot initiative. According to local press reports, owners of at least four establishments have cited the smoking ban as a factor in their decision to close their doors in 2007.

Recent data from the city of Columbia show a distinct decline in sales tax receipts at bars and restaurants. After rising at an average rate of 6.8 percent from 2002 through 2006, tax revenue declined at an annual rate of 1.3 percent over the first seven months of 2007. (See graph.) Although the data are still preliminary, initial analysis suggests a 5 percent decline in overall sales revenue at Columbia dining establishments since the implementation of the smoking ban. This estimate takes into account past trends, seasonal fluctuations in the data and an overall slowdown in sales tax revenue in Columbia. 6

Of course, as is true everywhere else, the answer is outdoor patio space:

One owner was quoted as saying, “You have to have a patio to survive.”7 The expenses associated with these renovations may help buffer the sales revenue of these establishments, but they also represent profit losses that are above and beyond the measured sales declines.

Two things are certainly true of smoking bans: they harm business and create unemployment.

Smoking bans appear to be all about health.

However, when we allow state, local or federal government to dictate to private businesses and property owners what we can and cannot do in these premises, we are on a slippery slope that will affect more of us than just the smoking population.

Sean Turner, writing for New Visions Commentary — the National Leadership Network of Conservative African Americans — says we should be concerned about this downward trajectory.

In ‘Property Rights Going Up In Smoke’, he explains (emphases mine):

The attempt by federal, state and local governments and with various anti-smoking organizations to modify our behavior is bad enough.  I believe there is a greater issue relating to smoking bans, however, with which we must concern ourselves.  This concern is the threat to property rights.

A property right is the exclusive authority to determine how a resource is used – whether it’s a car, house, business or any other resource of which one is the owner.  Additionally, private property rights confer an exclusive right to the services of the resource – as well as the right to delegate, sell or rent any portion of the rights by exchange or gift based on mutually agreeable terms.  Conversely, public property is property controlled by the state (government) or a community.

While most would agree with these definitions, many seem to suffer a severe logical disconnect when leaving their homes (i.e., private property) and enter into a restaurant, retail store or other places of business that they do not own (i.e., someone else’s private property). 

Though a business exists to provide a product or service to potential consumers, it should be allowed to do so under the terms of those who own it and not those of the state, or some third party using the state as a tool of coercion.  These terms include the environment in which those products or services are offered.  If the terms are agreeable to both the business owner and potential consumer, a transaction occurs and both parties walk away having benefited.

Just as one lacks the unfettered right to enter into another’s home – much less restrict smoking in it – one also lacks the right to enter into another’s business.  One is given access to the business by the owner who hopes to conduct a transaction, not cede control of the business.

Contrary to popular belief, one does not have the unfettered right to dictate the usage [of] another’s property – whether it be a house or place of business – particularly when one has the ability and choice to avoid that place, and its real or perceived ill-effects.

Few argue the ill-effects of smoking tobacco, as the CDC other organizations continuously point them out.  As someone who believes in the principles of liberty, I find it deplorable when anti-smoking policies are applied to private property and violate the U.S. Constitution.  Not only does this violate the fundamental principal of property rights, but it is also anathema to the concept of a free society.

In the UK, the smoking ban prohibits smoking tobacco in a company vehicle. That is not a decision individual companies make; it is the law. In time, this may be extended to people in their own vehicles where children are passengers.

Wouldn’t it have been better to let companies, pubs, clubs and other privately-owned establishments to decide whether to allow tobacco smoking in or on their property, be it grounds, vehicles or a building?

Incidentally, the Palace of Westminster still has a bar where smoking is allowed. Our politicians are exempt from a law they passed for the rest of us, the people whom they are supposed to serve.

Nazi anti-smoking motherhood_smoking Inconvenient HistoryA year ago I wrote about the Nazi blueprint for today’s smoking bans.

The source is ‘Hitler’s Anti-Tobacco Campaign’, which draws on information from The Nazi War on Cancer by Robert N Proctor.

We’re all familiar with the atrocities that occurred during the Third Reich.

However, how many of us know that much of what Adolf Hitler promoted and supported is firmly in place in many Western countries today?

Forbidden words: The government provided the basis for today’s hate speech proponents. They proscribed certain words, e.g. ‘sabotage’, ‘catastrophe’. Interestingly, they also replaced the word ‘cripple’ with ‘handicapped’.

Anti-Christian sentiments: Joseph Goebbels said that Hitler was ‘deeply religious though completely anti-Christian; he views Christianity as a symptom of decay’.

Popular causes: Hitler and the Nazis were committed to animal rights, abortion and gun control.

Bodily purity: Nazis told the Germans they had a personal responsibility to their nation to be — and stay — healthy.

Alcohol taboo: Germans were told that alcohol was harmful; fruit juice was healthful.

NaziantismokingSmoking bans: One of the main Nazi health programmes concerned campaigns and bans on tobacco.

This is what happened:

– Smoking was seen as degenerate, a sign of moral weakness.

– Schoolchildren were told they would become impotent if they smoked.

– SS officer Karl Astel — a well-known eugenicist and anti-Semite — coined the term ‘passive smoking’ (Passivrauchen). He tore cigarettes out of the mouths of strangers. He committed suicide in April 1945.

– Hans Reiter, the president of the Reich Health Office, said that nicotine was ‘the greatest enemy of the people’s health’.

– Gauleiter Fritz Sauckel led Thuringia’s anti-smoking campaign and drafted the grant application for Karl Astel’s anti-tobacco institute. Sauckel was executed on 1 October 1946 for crimes against humanity.

Tobacco taxes were an important source of government revenue. By 1941, they comprised one-twelfth of this revenue.

Anti-tobacco campaigners claimed they were powerless against tobacco companies.

The Nazis banned smoking in government offices, public transport, university campuses, hospital grounds, workplaces and many restaurants and bars. They were also planning to ban smoking in cars.

Does any of this sound familiar?

History is repeating itself.

This month’s posts will largely concern increasing statism, health care control, church participation and the attendant peer pressure upon all three.

Some posts you might agree with, others might merely give pause for thought. In short, can we be certain that all we are told by governments and ‘experts’ is true?

And what about the personal conduct of the personalities behind morals and good causes? I explored two recent scandals yesterday.

Why October? Because this is the third year of the NHS’s Stoptober anti-smoking campaign. Yes, Britain has had a comprehensive smoking ban since 2007, which includes nearly all hotel rooms, sometimes entire hotel or B&B premises. It also mandates smoke-free company vehicles. Smoking cessation helplines have been in existence long before that and still continue.

We are all aware of them. Isn’t that enough, small ‘l’ libertarians ask?

No, anti-smoking campaigners say. There must be more, much more: plain packaging, restrictions on smoking in the car and so on.

Anti-alcohol campaigns running throughout the year use the same lines which once were ‘uniquely’ applicable to tobacco. Britain’s non-smokers who enjoy a glass of wine with dinner could well find that minimum pricing will make that gustatory and digestive pleasure cost that much more.

To counter this anti-smoking industry which is here to stay, a number of British bloggers participate in #Octabber as a contrarian voice for personal liberty for adult smokers. None of them is promoting smoking and not all are smokers. They are, however, asking governments to leave smokers alone. Seventy-five per cent of the price of a pack of cigarettes (19 or 20) goes to the British government. Should that not suffice?

#Octabber campaigner Pat Nurse explains in her 2014 post on the subject (emphases mine):

Here we are again. Now in it’s third year, Stoptober, Nanny’s do as we say October campaign is back again in a bid to force us all into the perfect size 10, non drinking, non smoking, tofu-eating, water-supping perfect human specimens to, presumably, ensure we can become 150 year old burdens on society. However, this year on Twitter, it seems to be targeting all sorts of undesirables from smokers, to drinkers to the overweight – and jumping on the bandwagon a month in advance is the long-running Movember and new Govember campaigns, for those who like to grow moustaches and goatee beards …

However, #Octabber is about much more than just a statement from informed adult consumers who want to be left alone in peace without harassment to enjoy a legal product of choice. We resent the waste of tax payers cash on such silly gimmicks which do not have the effect the professional healthists brag about. Thousands/millions (insert outrageous stat for effect) of smokers do not quit during the month and you only have to check out the #Stoptober hash tag to see that it’s mostly health professionals, local authorities, alleged charities, and other tax funded, Big Pharma and corporate funded organisations that are getting excited about it. After all, their jobs depend on coming up with such propaganda and they are as dependant upon smokers for their living as the tobacco companies.

Despite the ever increasing hate campaign, marginalisation and stigmatisation of smokers, calls to ban them from outdoor public places, that they have every right to use, moves to remove yet more private property rights with car bans and home bans on the horizon, it seems we are still increasing in numbers with new figures that show one in five people still smoke

We are and remain totally against any bullying, coercion, community campaign, ban, junk science “study”, or untrue propaganda , such as smokers cost everyone else more money. – we don’t – which is aimed at making us quit through forced marginalisaton.

My problem with all these campaigns is that none of us really knows enough about the people behind the organisations promoting them. Certainly, we know names and see the leading personalities from ASH, to name one, on television, however, it would be helpful to know more about their worldview, their career progression and what the end game of anti-smoking and anti-alcohol movements actually is.

Churchgoers who think such public health campaigns are a better organised renaissance of temperance and clean living might be disappointed to find that, in time, they could progress to a push for legalisation of illicit, dangerous drugs.

Professor David Nutt is one such campaigner who is at least open about his intentions. He was an advisor in the preceding Labour government to the Ministry of Defence, Department of Health and the Home Office until his editorial ‘Equasy’ which appeared in the Journal of Psychopharmacology:

In February 2009 he was criticised by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith for stating in the paper that the drug ecstasy was statistically no more dangerous than an addiction to horse-riding.[22] Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Nutt said that the point was “to get people to understand that drug harm can be equal to harms in other parts of life”. Jacqui Smith claimed to be “surprised and profoundly disappointed” by the remarks, and added: “I’m sure most people would simply not accept the link that he makes up in his article between horse riding and illegal drug taking”. She also insisted that he apologise for his comments, and asked him to apologise also to ‘the families of the victims of ecstasy’.[23]

That same year:

Prof Nutt was sacked by the then health secretary, Alan Johnson, from his post as chair of the government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs for publicly stating that alcohol and tobacco were more harmful than LSD, ecstasy and cannabis. Despite his dismissal, his forthright views on drugs have rarely been out of the headlines and he has continued to campaign for a more rational government policy on drugs that takes into account the actual harms caused by them.

His website makes his position on illicit drugs quite clear.

More adolescents are indulging in recreational drugs at the weekend. I’ll have more on them later this month.

For now, let us contemplate a world where mind-altering drugs could gradually take over our society as the norm, rather than tobacco and alcohol.

In early 1917, Vladimir Lenin was living in Zurich, Switzerland, with his wife who needed a goiter removed. They were in Bern and Zurich to seek an expert surgeon and have the procedure done.

The Great War was in full flow, with Russia and Germany on opposite sides.

Lenin was eager to get back to Russia to further his plans for revolution, which began only months later. He was also unhappy with what some prominent Social-Democrats, among them Bolsheviks, had been saying and doing in his absence.

With war raging in the countries surrounding Switzerland, Lenin, his family and friends spent much time discussing the best way of returning to Russia.

The Swiss Communist Fritz Platten appealed directly to the German Foreign Minister’s office for help. Germany was only too glad to help. If Lenin started the Revolution upon his return, Russia would be forced to exit the Great War in chaos and disgrace.

The Germans provided a specially sealed train — one carriage, possibly with blackout shades or windows — to transport Lenin’s group along with other Russian exiles from Switzerland through Germany. Two German Army officers were also on board.

In Young Stalin, Simon Sebag Montefiore tells us that upon boarding, Lenin immediately implemented a smoking policy — a near ban (p. 329). Smokers could light up only in the lavatory. Non-smokers were given ‘first-class’ priority to use the lavatory over the smokers. One can imagine the consternation over the ensuing three days before the group finally arrived at the German port which ran the ferry to Sweden, the group’s next stop.

Another pet peeve of Lenin’s was listening to music (p. 330). He loathed it because it distracted him from beating people ‘on the head without mercy’.

It took another four days to reach St Petersburg. Once there, Lenin barked invectives and criticism at those who came to greet him (pp. 330, 331).

And there we see the mindset of an early anti-smoker in action.

My thanks to Lleweton for sending information on this English chaplain and poet from the Great War.

Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy (June 27, 1883 – March 8, 1929) is today remembered byGeoffrey Studdert Kennedy Woodbine Willie Northern Echo WOODBI~2 the Church of England and the Episcopal Church on March 8.

Studdert Kennedy was known for distributing New Testaments along with Woodbines to troops before and after battle. He also wrote poems, including some frank descriptions of what happened in the trenches. ‘To Stretcher Bearers’ — the first stanza of which follows — is one of them:

Easy does it — bit o’ trench ‘ere,
Mind that blinkin’ bit o’ wire,
There’s a shell ‘ole on your left there,
Lift ‘im up a little ‘igher.
Stick it, lad, ye’ll soon be there now,
Want to rest ‘ere for a while?
Let ‘im dahn then — gently — gently,
There ye are, lad. That’s the style.
Want a drink, mate? ‘Ere’s my bottle,
Lift ‘is ‘ead up for ‘im, Jack,
Put my tunic underneath ‘im,
‘Ow’s that, chummy? That’s the tack!
Guess we’d better make a start now,
Ready for another spell?
Best be goin’, we won’t ‘urt ye,
But ‘e might just start to shell.
Are ye right, mate? Off we goes then.
That’s well over on the right,
Gawd Almighty, that’s a near ‘un!
‘Old your end up good and tight,
Never mind, lad, you’re for Blighty,
Mind this rotten bit o’ board.

Studdert Kennedy was the seventh of nine children born to Jeannette Anketell and the Revd William Studdert Kennedy, who was the vicar of St Mary’s, Quarry Hill in Leeds. (Studdert Kennedy is the surname, by the way, not Kennedy.)

After finishing his studies at Leeds Grammar School, he went to Ireland for university, earning a degree in Classics and Divinity from Trinity College (alma mater of Jonathan Swift and other luminaries) in 1904.

He then returned to England and studied for a year at Ripon Clergy College in Ripon, Yorkshire. In Februrary 2013, the Ripon Civic Society mounted one of their green plaques at the site of the former college to remember the famous chaplain. Ripon College Cuddesdon, incidentally, is the successor to Ripon Clergy College.

Studdert Kennedy’s first posting was as a curate to a church in Rugby. In 1914, he was appointed vicar of St Paul’s in Worcester.

His time in Worcester was to be short-lived, however. When war broke out, he soon volunteered to be an Army chaplain. His ministry took him to the Western Front, where he saw the atrocities of war up close.

Woodbine Cigarettes WOODBI~1The Northern Echo newspaper explains (emphases mine):

The Rev Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy became one of the best known figures on the Western Front for giving Woodbine cigarettes, a copy of the New Testament and spiritual aid to soldiers before battle as well as their injured and dying comrades.

The cleric, who trained at Ripon Clergy College, won the Military Cross for running into no man’s land at Messines Ridge, Flanders, to help the wounded during an attack on the German frontline …

Six years after completing his training at the Princess Road college, which closed in 1915, the Rev Kennedy, volunteered as an Army chaplain aged 31, and became attached to a bayonet-training service.

While touring the Western Front with boxers and wrestlers, he gave morale-boosting speeches about the usefulness of the bayonet and became known for his heavy smoking, despite suffering asthma having been exposed to mustard gas.

It should be noted here that some asthma sufferers find relief from smoking cigarettes. There were also no pocket-sized inhalers in those days.

The article gives us an idea of Studdert Kennedy’s pastoral manner, particularly appropriate for men who, in some cases, had only minutes to live:

He often became embroiled in battles and soldiers told how the Rev Kennedy once crawled to a working party putting up wire in front of their trench.

When a nervous soldier asked him who he was, he replied “The church.” And when the soldier asked what the church was doing there, he replied “Its job”.

Soldiers said they liked the chaplain for his irreverent preaching style and salty language, while he described his chaplain’s ministry as taking “a box of fags in your haversack, and a great deal of love in your heart”.

After the Armistice was declared on November 11, 1918 at 11 a.m., Studdert Kennedy returned to England and was appointed priest-in-charge of St Edmund, King and Martyr in Lombard Street in the City (financial district) of London.

He published two volumes of poems in the aftermath of the war, Rough Rhymes of a Padre (1918) and More Rough Rhymes (1919). These poems and others helped to make him

the country’s most famous religious author.

It wasn’t long before Studdert Kennedy made his political views clear. These he had absorbed during the War. He became what is known as a ‘Christian socialist’, although, in reality, you can be a Christian or a socialist, but not both. He was also a pacifist.

He wrote hard-hitting works: Lies (1919), Democracy and the Dog-Collar (1921) (featuring such chapters as “The Church Is Not a Movement but a Mob,” “Capitalism is Nothing But Greed, Grab, and Profit-Mongering,” and “So-Called Religious Education Worse than Useless”), Food for the Fed Up (1921), The Wicket Gate (1923), and The Word and the Work (1925).

He left St Edmund’s to tour the country as part of the Industrial Christian Fellowship. He was taken ill during a speaking engagement in Liverpool, where he died in 1929.

There:

a crowd of more than 2,000 turned out for his funeral procession, and tossed packets of Woodbines onto the passing cortege.

The citation for Studdert Kennedy’s Military Cross reads as follows:

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He showed the greatest courage and disregard for his own safety in attending to the wounded under heavy fire. He searched shell holes for our own and enemy wounded, assisting them to the dressing station, and his cheerfulness and endurance had a splendid effect upon all ranks in the front line trenches, which he constantly visited.

Photo credits: Northern Echo

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