Originally published November 10, 2011
Here is a short guest post from Ian Dunbar, who provided the foreword to Smoke Screens. Comments and opinions are very welcome on this.
For tens of thousands of years from the discovery of fire, through the Stone Age to the invention of chimneys and the present day, ordinary people were conceived, born, brought up, lived and died in smoky hovels. This was because smoke from the fire containing tar, carbon monoxide, soot and suchlike, could only escape slowly through the thatch of the roof. People passively inhaled this smoke. Over the millennia human lungs must therefore have been naturally-selected to survive in smoke-filled environments.
Consequently it is irrational to make an issue of smoking tobacco either actively or passively. Moreover smoking has been blamed for an increased incidence of illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and lung cancer. Ignored has been the fact that while the number of people who smoke has been diminishing since the war the incidence of COPD, heart disease and lung cancer has been increasing. Some other factor must therefore be responsible. Indeed scientists are even still unable to produce tumours in laboratory animals.
The fact of the matter is that tobacco is no more dangerous than incense except that like incense some people find the smell obnoxious. Smoking tobacco must therefore be a completely harmless activity.