07/02/09 Some Interesting Figures

Smokers are not lepers, we do not deserve ostracisation from society or to be kicked out of enclosed areas like unwelcome members of society.  We pay more into society than non-smokers through ridiculously high taxes – taxes which do not have any effect on smoking rates, only the amount of cash a smoker has.  We are not killing anyone with our ‘toxic fumes’ as proclaimed. And, to the chagrin of ASH and the like, we outlive the non-smokers.  Ain’t that a bitch?

As Levy and Marimont explain in Lies, Damn Lies and 400,000 Smoking Related Deaths, of the smoking-related deaths almost 60% occured over the life expectancy.  According to America’s Health Rankings report, issued at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting, America’s life expectancy now is 69.3 years, and according to Levy and Marimont’s findings the average age of smoker deaths is 72.

Dr. Reed Tuckson stated that America’s decreasing life expectancy is the result of increasing obesity, increasing numbers of people not having health insurance and, er, smoking rates no longer dropping.  Obesity contirbuting to the problem I can understand, but that’s as far as my agreement stretches.  The health insurance issue is one of the biggest problems facing America today – as Michael Moore explored in his documentary Sicko Americans pay more per person for medical care than anywhere else in the world, yet astonishingly rank last in the developed world for health.  Somehow, somewhere, something went wrong…. And as for the smoking rates, this just doesn’t make sense.  The argument is essentially that because smoking rates have reached a plateau the life expectancy is going down.  Yeah, doesn’t make sense to me either.  Anyone with a brain cell would be able to work out that if smoking was a cause of death then a plateau in smoking rates would lead to a plateau in the life expectancy once all over variables were accounted for.  In other words, one rate stopping would not cause the other to go up or down.

It is interesting to note that the officials made no mention of the poor Western diet, which includes rising consumption of processed foods, artificial sweeteners, flavour enhancers like monosodium glutamate, vegetable oils, additives, preservatives, and corresponding lack of natural, unprocessed foods like fruit and vegetables.

Admittedly, the average age of death for smokers is not hugely different to non-smokers. But that is not the real point here.  The main issue is that we are constantly told that smoking is the leading cause of premature, preventable death (the Department of Health reiterated this to me only recently), and yet official statistics reveal that smokers have an average life expectancy of 72 years and the majority of smoking-related deaths occur above the national life expectancy.  This is quite a big discrepancy, and hardly one that has snuck by unnoticed past the Department of Health.  No, this is a clear and deliberate lie.  For years the counter-argument to the tobacco control movement has been that statistical correlation doesn’t mean causation: just because smokers die younger does not mean smoking is responsible.  This is true.  But, now our argument should be an outright challenge of the data, because offficial figures show they are lying to us.  They are so confident of their control over our passive acceptance that they do not even bother trying to hide all the conflicting numbers!

The anti-smoking movement claim smoking takes more than 10 years off our life. So apparently then, smokers tend to live beyond the life expectancy anyway but had they not smoked would have lived a further decade above that expectancy.  The mind boggles. It must also be remembered that ‘smoking-related disease’ is just an umbrella term for any disease like COPD or lung cancer, they cannot prove smoking caused it so what we are left with is that X amount of people suffer some form of respiratory disease at that time in their life – then smoking gets the blame.

Now we will look at lung cancer death rates.  According to Cancer Research UK there are over 34,000 lung cancer deaths (LCDs) annually.  In America there are 160,000 per year.  According to the 1993 EPA report a non-smokers risk of lung cancer is 1/10,000 per year.  Of 225 million Americans, 20% smoke, meaning there are 180 million non-smokers.  1/10,000 = 18,000 non-smoker LCDs per year.  Of 45 million smokers in the USA, the LCD of 1/1000 = 45,000 for non-smokers.  This means there are 97,000 unaccounted cases of lung cancer deaths in non-smokers each year. Even if we suppose smokers have an increased risk of 20 there are still 52,000 unaccounted LCDs. Something does not add up.

The tobacco control movement claims there is no safe level of exposure to second hand smoke, as stated in the 2006 Surgeon General’s Report.  The 1993 EPA report said that a non-smokers risk of LCD is 1/10,000 per year, and a non-smoker exposed to passive smoke has a 20 increase over that, so .2/10,000 per year or 1/50,000 per year.

What does this translate to?  Of 50,000 non-smokers, 49,999 will not get lung cancer.  In other words, 99.998% of exposed non-smokers will not suffer a lung cancer death. 1/50,000 exposed non-smokers having a LCD is a risk rate of .00002. To clarify:

1.0=1% risk
0.1=1/10th of 1%
0.01=1/100th of 1% risk
0.002=2/10th of 1/100th of 1%

An inextricably low number then, but apparently unsafe.  Whilst on the subject, if there is no safe level of exposure to SHS then that means walking past a smoker is as dangerous as sitting in a smoky room for hours, because no safe level means that any exposure is the maximum risk.  Although don’t hold your breath to hear that in the media.

Another interesting tidbit is that over half of lung transplants use smokers lungs.  Further proof that they are not black with tar with a lowered functioning ability – no, they are perfectly healthy to use in transplants.  Tests run by the University of Texas Health Science center stated no comprise in patient health or compilations, even with the lungs of smokers after 20 pack years.

This article has served to shatter some more myths purported from the anti-smoking movement and hopefully it will be of help to everyone.

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