Frank Davis

Banging on about the Smoking Ban

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Smoking Doesn't Cause Lung Cancer
Back home in Devon after my Barcelona excursion, wondering if I may have a damaged ear drum. On the return flight, my ears were very painful as the plane descended. Now, 10 hours later, there's something amiss inside my right ear. The flight to Barcelona was similarly painful, except it wasn't my ears that hurt, but my forehead.

And now I'm beginning to catch up with everything I haven't read for the past few days, when I was using an internet cafe.

Via Juliette Tworsey, from an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Sixty percent of lung cancer cases diagnosed in 2006 were in people who had quit smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's most recent report on the subject. (Another 21 percent were in people who had never smoked.) Given prevailing trends, ex-smokers' share of cases could be even higher now.

The article went on:

In other words, people who were once smokers are at high risk for lung cancer. Giving up tobacco is good for you many times over, but it's not a free pass.

Federal health officials do not publicize this fact. They fear that former smokers' inconvenient vulnerability to lung cancer will undermine stop-smoking campaigns.

Well, yes, it would undermine stop-smoking campaigns. What's the point of giving up smoking if you remain at high risk of lung cancer?

But that wasn't the way I interpreted the article. As I saw it, it meant that if 60% of lung cancer cases were found in ex-smokers, and 21% were found in never-smokers, then only 19% of lung cancers were found among smokers. And 19% is round about the fraction of the US population who still smoke. Smokers make up about 20% of the US population, and they get 20% of the lung cancer.

The obvious conclusion: Smoking doesn't cause lung cancer. You're equally likely to get lung cancer whether you've never smoked, or have given up smoking, or still smoke.

Perhaps that's another reason why federal health officials don't publicize these numbers.

But the author of the piece clearly can't unhook from the conviction that smoking causes lung cancer. Everybody knows it does. And they're as sure about it as they're sure that the earth goes round the sun. It's a truth that can't be questioned. And so the author doesn't question it.

The reason why lung cancer got pinned on smoking was because in studies like the 1950 London Hospitals study, over 99% of lung cancer was found in smokers. But the reason that the figure was that high was because 98% of patients in the study, both the lung cancer group and the control group, were smokers. They were pretty much all smokers. So most lung cancer patients were bound to be smokers. They may also have been Londoners as well. The same objection applies to the subsequent British Doctors study. 87% of the doctors were smokers. So it was only to be expected that 90% of the lung cancer cases would be found among doctors. But that wasn't how Doll and Hill saw it. To them, it was just obvious that, if most lung cancer patients were smokers, then smoking must cause lung cancer.

The conviction that smoking causes lung cancer is probably so embedded in Western culture now, largely through 60 years of repetition, that it's probably almost part of the DNA now. People may be uncertain about almost everything else, but they're certain about that. It's the one thing that almost everybody is quite certain about. And that makes it a belief on which an awful lot is riding. If people find out that this belief is mistaken, that it'll mean that nobody knows anything about anything. That everything they know is wrong. And that's an intolerable thought. So people will carry on believing that smoking causes lung cancer, because the alternative is too terrifying to contemplate.

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I know one cannot draw any conclusions from the following as the sample rate is too low, however;

I've known two people that have died from lung cancer. One was 68 yo and had smoked since the age of eight. The other was 44 yo and was a non-smoker all of his life.

My next door neighbour, bless her, is 94 yo and has smoked since the age of 14. Oh, and drinks a bottle of gin a week. In her more 'lucid' moments says exactly what she thinks of all this smoking/drinking twattery.

Me? I believe life is for living how you, the individual, chooses. No interference, no nannying, no finger wagging or hand waving.

Leave us the fuck alone.

Sadly there are too many people who would like to be Kommandants in the Nu Nazi society. Too many keyboard warriors. Too many anti-smoking zealots who cannot see or understand where their path does truly lead.

Sometimes I think killing them is the easy option.

Interesting Frank. I found this link to CDC data.

There are some odd stats here. The data tells us that 65% of the people in the survey suffering from no chronic disease at all are never smokers but also says that never smokers are more likely to be suffering from a chronic smoking related disease than wither current of former smokers (37.1% v 36.9% v 26%). It also gives higher percentage incidences for both stroke and CV disease amongst never smokers relative to the other two groups although current smokers top the list for cancers other than lung neoplasms and former smokers are massively ahead when it comes to lung cancer.

If these data are correct then this seems to suggest is that never smokers suffer more from chronic smoking related disease than current smokers and quitting increased your statistical chances of contracting lung cancer. Odd and worthy of investigation


So you telling me if I never smoked a cigarette a day in my life I could die of lung cancer, if I already smoke and I quit I am probably gonna die from the cancer and if I continue ti smoke I am still going to eventually die from smoking. That is some messed up bs. I believe un God and he has a plan from me and it's not to die from cancer.

Now, it maybe just coincidence, but I’m sure I heard mention on the radio recently that our esteemed medical profession are now saying that if you give up smoking today, your risk of developing lung cancer will be down (or should it be up in view of this research??!) to the same level as a never-smoker’s in fifteen years. Fifteen?! Hasn’t their “magic number” always been five years up until now? How come it’s suddenly shot up to fifteen? Couldn’t possibly be that they’ve got wind of this unpalatable piece of research and have decided to extend the time a bit so that they can keep blaming all those non-smokers’ lung cancers on their previous smoking habits for just a little bit longer? No, surely not!

But it would be interesting to know, on average, how long ago many of those ex-smokers currently contracting lung cancer actually quit. I’ve long held the view that if a person’s system has got used to regular doses of nicotine over many years then, regardless of whatever damage it might or might not be doing to them, that person’s system will go into shock when confronted by sudden withdrawal. A study in Japan not so long ago highlighted the fact that many non-smokers who developed lung cancer did so not whilst they were still smoking, but after about a year to 18 months after giving up, and I personally know of more than a few people who have slotted into that pattern perfectly.

After all, it’s widely regarded as pretty dangerous for addicts such as long-term alcoholics or heroin users to go “cold turkey” for that very reason. If nicotine is as hideously strong and addictive as the zealots would have us believe, then why aren’t they dishing out the same advice to “nicotine addicts” as they are to alcohol or heroin ones? Wouldn’t possibly be because if they admitted that “cutting down slowly” was a safer way of giving up than stopping suddenly, they’d have to give some ground on their constant badgering for ever-more stringent restrictions on smoking, and it would also destroy their ready-made excuse to indulge themselves in a bit of smoker-harrassing every time they see someone with a cigarette?

I may have heard of a Japanese study, but I do know of this Indian study:

The danger of cigarettes is mostly not in smoking them, argues a study by three doctors at the KS Hegde Medical Academy in Mangalore, India. Or, put another way: the danger comes from not smoking. Figuratively blowing smoke in the face of conventional wisdom, the study asks: "Are lung cancers triggered by stopping smoking?"

Arunachalam Kumar, Kasaragod Mallya and Jairaj Kumar take little for granted. They begin: "The clinically high correlation between smoking and carcinoma of the lungs has been the focal point in societal campaigns against the habit and the tobacco lobby." But their experience with patients suggests to them a different, seldom-told story. "We are struck by the more than casual relationship between the appearance of lung cancer and an abrupt and recent cessation of the smoking habit in many, if not most, cases."

Experience is their guide, numerically speaking. Of the 312 lung cancer patients they treated during a four-year period, 182 had recently quit smoking. The report goes into detail. "Each had been addicted to the habit no less than 25 years, smoking in excess of 20 sticks a day. The striking direct statistical correlation between cessation of smoking to the development of lung malignancies, more than 60% plus, is too glaring to be dismissed as coincidental."

There's exaggeration on both sides

I think that to claim that smoking is actually good for you physically is a tad silly, despite it is clearly not as bad for you as 'They' make out, and it does have some beneficial side effects.

But that's not the point.

There are a large number of people for whom smoking is good for their mental health - it helps ability to concentrate, ability to relax, to socialise, enjoy alcohol, keep the midges away etc etc.

AFAICS, the mental health benefits more or less outweigh the physical health downsides and that is the end of that.

Re: There's exaggeration on both sides

Hmmm, mental and physical.

I tend to believe that if smoking both relaxes people and enables them to concentrate (it does both), this is a physical (or chemical) process, possibly due to having nicotine receptors in our brains. Smoking is a rapid delivery system for nicotine (or nicotinic acid, or nicotinamide) - much faster than eating it.

The 'mental' bit - socialising - is rather more abstract, even if physically based.

The anti-smokers tend to concentrate entirely on physical ill effects, and to completely ignore mental or psychological well-being. They regard it as unimportant that smoking bans fragment communities, or cause psychological distress in other ways. In their view, any psychologocal benefits are purely imaginary.


I smoke and disagree with the ban. I haven't been in a pub since. But I do believe that my smoking increase my chances of lung cancer. Your figures might not be evidence for your hypothesis. For example, the median age for lung cancer is 71. Most smokers have given up by then. They just lose interest. Many of them will have been smoking for 50 years.It is well documented that a higher risk of lc persists after quitting. Doll's continuing doctors study showed this to my satisfaction. (I guess you probably don't think much of Doll).

Leading scientists leap to the defence of 'corrupt' Doll

"Some of Britain's most senior scientists have angrily denounced suggestions that Sir Richard Doll, who proved the link between smoking and lung cancer, had deliberately failed to disclose financial dealings with the chemicals industry."

Injurywatch Discovers Secret Payments For Anti-Smoking Cancer Link Oxford Academic Sir Richard Doll By Asbestos And Chemical Industry

Renowned cancer scientist was paid by chemical firm for 20 years

Scientist who gave Agent Orange the nod worked for its maker

The Spanish Cooking Oil Scandal
"Twenty years ago, 1,000 people died in an epidemic that spread across Spain. Poisoned cooking oil was blamed - an explanation that suited government and giant chemical corporations. It was, argues Bob Woffinden, who investigated the scandal in the 80s, the prototype scientific fraud that has found echoes around the world"

A Long Trial in Spain on Fatal Tainted Food
"In his court appearance, Professor Doll explained that epidemiologists have established in many cases the causal relation between a disease and the toxic agent that caused it, without being able to specify the latter nor reproduce the full range of symptoms in animals.
''I'm satisfied that the oil was responsible,'' he said later."

Lung cancer pioneer 'was on chemical firms' payroll'
"The association is said to have used the review to defend its members' use of vinyl chloride"

"Doll pioneered the argument that cancer is caused by smoking, a view contested by environmentalists who point to the dangers of pollution"

"a view contested by environmentalists who point to the dangers of pollution"
Why? because it only seems to have worked in heavily polluted towns.
They probably didn't much like that he, the school and the scholarships for the MRC, were funded by oil money either.


Thanks for that link to the Spanish cooking oil disaster, Rose. Funnily enough, I was talking with mi amiga in Spain about it on Wednesday. She said it had been caused by olive oil mixed with engine oil. Which isn't quite what the Guardian says.

I've sent her the link.


Lung cancer, former smoking & passive smoking

"Over 60% of new cases are never smokers or former smokers, many of whom quit decades ago," - Lung Cancer Alliance:

"The median age at lung carcinoma diagnosis for FS was slightly later than that for CS. CS was a positive predictor for both small cell carcinoma (OR = 8.79) and squamous cell carcinoma (OR = 2.11) and negatively associated with adenocarcinoma (OR = 0.50), whereas FS was a positive predictor only for small cell carcinoma (OR = 5.50)." - Lung carcinoma in former smokers, 1996:

"Relative risk of lung cancer in ex-smokers by number of years quit, women. CPS II, data from Garfinkel & Stellman, 1991:

Never-smokers: 1.0
Smokers >21 cig pr day: 21.2
Ex-smoker <3 years quit: 32.4
Ex-smoker <6 yrs quit: 20.3
Ex-smoker <11 yrs quit: 11.4
Ex-smoker <16 yrs quit: 4.1
Ex-smoker >16 yrs quit: 4.0"

Garfinkel, American Cancer Society 1991, Figure 5:

Please also note: Table 1 in this last link disproves the theory that passive smoking is associated with lung cancer - at least if the theory stands, that active smoking is. Both theories can't be true, according to the figures.

Klaus K. -

"Delegates attending an international conference in London today to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Great London Smog of 1952, which caused an estimated 12,000 deaths, will hear how governments from the late 50s onwards deliberately downplayed the huge threat to public health caused by air pollution, and sought to shift the blame firmly onto cigarette smoking instead"

The Killer Fog of '52
"Fifty years ago this month, a toxic mix of dense fog and sooty black coal smoke killed thousands of Londoners in four days. It remains the deadliest environmental episode in recorded history."

"Bessy Braddock, Labour MP for Liverpool Exchange, favoured an environmental explanation, and
therefore found the urban–rural divide a barrier to acceptance of the smoking–lung cancer connection.
‘In view of the fact that cigarette and pipe smoking goes on all over the country, it is folly to say that it is the
main cause of lung cancer.’

Dr Guy Scadding
"The effect of smoking cannot explain the difference in mortality between town and country dwellers."

Medicine: Death in the Smoke
Monday, May. 11, 1959
"It does not take "a London particular" to send cough-racked Britons to their beds —or their graves. The tight little island's air is tightly packed with pollutant particles, boosting the bronchitis and chest-disease rate to the world's highest. Last week Dr. Horace Joules (rhymes with rules), of London's Central Middlesex Hospital, painted a Dickensian picture of what a medical nightmare the past winter had been in the city which some Englishmen still call "the Smoke."

"We are a great community hospital of 800 beds," said Dr. Joules, "but during February and March we ceased to be a general hospital. We had to suspend all admissions except emergency cases of chest and heart disease.* In those two months we admitted 616 such cases, and 196 died. The hospital really was an annex of the mortuary. If there had been a few days of smog, there would have been a holocaust in London."

Echoed Edgware General Hospital's Dr. Hugh J. Trenchard: "It is time to panic.",9171,865848,00.html


Stop Smoking Tobacco

Smoking cessation programs have an 85% failure rate. Tobacco cigarettes are killers. E-cigarettes are an alternative for people to make a life saving decision. E-cigarettes contain no tar, carbon monoxide, arsenic, butane, acetone, methanol, etc. There's no second-hand smoke or smell of smoke. I smoked two packs of tobacco cigarettes a day for 18 years. I purchased my first electric cigarette in March 2010 and haven't smoked tobacco since then. I love not smelling like smoke any longer. Get more information at:

I smoke ten roll ups a day.
Personally I do not think it has any effect on my health at all ,consider the amount of tobacco is about the same as 5 packet fags.
I have a hunch it's benefits for me as a moderate smoker are more than if I didn't smoke at all.
The reason generally I find non smokers are heavier because they seek solace in food ,me I just have roll up instead of a doughnut.
The future will tell the truth.
I suspect the 80's 90's longevity now will not be surpassed
by the heavier crop of non smokers.

Smoking is very dangerous Habit for Human.This smoking effects the Mouth,Lung,Brain,Heart and other Human parts. The most result is Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer

Go and read Lauren A. Colby's, In Defense of Smokers. The word 'cause' is the most important thing in topics such as this. If smoking causes cancer then most smokers or all smokers would have cancer. It simply isn't the case. You can have an accident whilst driving a car but driving a car doesn't cause accidents otherwise we would all have accidents, no exceptions. There is whole new world of genetics being exposed and I'm pretty certain that your genes have a lot to do with your predisposition to illnesses. If you have a family history of certain illnesses, you would be wise to avoid its catalysts. My family has a history of diabetes, so I choose not to eat a great deal of carbohydrates, starches, etc. Smoking hasn't been proven to cause anything in animals or humans. Purely by being born you're at risk of something. Smoking is a risk, at best, but not a cause of cancers and other ailments as we're led to believe. Do yourself a favour and read his online book on his website.

Its a great pleasure reading your post.Its full of information I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work.


Ok clearly no one who read this article understands statistics.

The evidence is clear and overhwheming.

Current long-term smokers have the highest risk, people who are around smokers and breathing in second-hand smoke the second highest risk, ex-smokers the third highest risk, people who have never smoked have the lowest risks.

Decades and decades of research demonstrates this. And if you want to talk about people paid by ‘chemical companies’ then let’s look at all the deniers who were on big tobacco’s pay roll.

Smoking doesn’t mean you *will* get cancer, but it increases your risk substantially.

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