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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.
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.
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.
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.
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’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.
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.
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.
Today’s post concludes the series, which will be included on my Recipes/Health/History page.
Smokes for Soldiers
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 in 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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
145 test matches, 194 ODIs, over 50,000 balls bowled on an international stage. Oh yeah, 1,000 international wickets too.
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.
I saw him on television a few weeks ago (C4’s At Home with Steph and Dom). He was puffing away quite happily.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
is known to smoke heavily during the off-season, and his friends claim that he will chain smoke cigarettes whilst on vacation.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.’
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:
Those who are fearful because of Tobacco Control’s propaganda can rest more easily after reading these posts:
Medical data show smoking does NOT cause lung cancer (known since 1985)
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.
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 …
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.
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).
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  and attenuating inflammation and improving gut function in patients with active colitis . In fact, ulcerative colitis patients with a history of smoking usually acquire their disease after they have stopped smoking [9–11]. 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.
ACh and nicotine also reduce the concentration of high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) protein production by macrophages in sepsis patients . 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 . Treatment with nicotine attenuated serum HMGB1 levels, decreased the clinical signs of sepsis, provided significant protection against death and improved survival in “established” sepsis . 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 .
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 . 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.
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.
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. 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):
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)
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.
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.
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. (19 – 20)
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.
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.)
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.
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.