Introduction

Prior to the 1950s almost nobody in everyday life would have suggested smoking was harmful, let alone deadly. It was even a recommendation of doctors on occasion, an experience encountered by my own grandmother during her pregnancy, on the advice that it would prompt her to eat less. Cigarette adverts remain on YouTube, providing a glimpse of a bygone era in which doctors advocated smoking – including the famous Camel advert that declared doctors favoured that particular brand over others.[1] Smoking was not only socially acceptable, it was the norm; almost everybody did it. One look at classical Hollywood will show just how prominent smoking was at the time. Not only was it an almost ubiquitous act, it was also seen as classy and elegant – who can forget the classic picture of Audrey Hepburn with her cigarette holder? Even today smoking is widely used in films and art to symbolise anything from a phallic symbol to independence. An example of this can be seen in the film Fight Club, in which a cigarette was used to symbolise masculinity. Until more recent times, it was commonplace in Europe for people to keep spare cigarettes and an ashtray to offer their guests upon arrival in their home. Smoking was so entrenched within society that when the idea that it could be harmful first came to light in the 1950s most doctors, and indeed civilians, refuted the idea as preposterous.

Dr. Isaac Adler conducted the very first study linking smoking to lung cancer in 1912. As early as 1928 there were studies in Germany also purporting to demonstrate a link, although Fritz Lickint of Dresden found the first formal statistical evidence in 1929. This study was far from conclusive, though, as the link was simply ‘discovered’ because men smoked more than women and had higher incidence of lung cancer than women – notably, this is the same research used today: a dependence more on statistical correlations than on real biologically determined causation. The subsequent German studies will be looked at in the sub-chapter ‘The Nazi Discovery of Smoking and Cancer’.

The breakthrough study that created the basis for the current anti-smoking movement was conducted by Sir Richard Doll, who was, and despite his passing still remains, one of the most prominent figures in the anti-smoking movement. During his first study, an examination of smokers and lung cancer in London hospitals, Doll was convinced enough by his data to cease his own smoking habitg. After the publication of this study in 1950 he became active in speaking out against smoking. In the same decade Doll embarked on the famous British Doctor’s study, published later in the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report. Cancer Research UK states on its website, “This British Doctors Study has provided much of our current knowledge about the dangers of smoking.[2] The fiftieth anniversary of the study, June 2004, was marked by Doll releasing the follow up: a fifty-year epidemiological study. Research shows that much of today’s figures and statistics on the hazards of smoking come from this study, so it is no understatement to say that it is considered the Holy Grail of smoking studies. In looking at the study in detail later on, the reader may question the validity of such figures and subsequent claims.

With regards to studies on smoking, one large discrepancy over the years is the lack of a definition of the term “smoker”; no formal definition means researchers can define it as they wish, with the result that it changes from study to study. In some research, it is anyone who smokes tobacco, whether it be a cigarette or pipe, whether they inhale the smoke or not; in others, it is someone who has smoked over a hundred cigarettes in their lifetime, while elsewhere it is less than one cigarette a day; some studies even group ex-smokers in the smoker category, further confusing the issue. Without a recognised, universal definition of what is being studied, it is not possible to draw any firm conclusions. After all, not all smoking is equal: one person may smoke one cigarette a day for a year and develop lung cancer forty years later, while another may smoke two packs a day for fifty years. To any sensible person the former should not be counted as a smoker, and their onset of lung cancer will only skew the statistics between smoking and the disease, yet including them in the same group as a lifelong heavy smoker is precisely what some researchers have done.

A particular problem with there being no definition is that one researcher would recognise a person as a smoker, while other researchers would classify the same person as a non-smoker or ex-smoker. Such irregularity would be scoffed at in other scientific fields of study – imagine, perhaps, studies examining a link between cirrhosis and alcohol consumption with no shared definition of “drinker”, with one researcher including a glass of wine at Christmas and another researcher including only those who drink in excess of three alcoholic units a week.

It gets even more confusing: researcher Ernst Wynder adjusted his data so that if someone had smoked for fewer than twenty years, the consumption was adjusted to a twenty-year period e.g. someone who smoked twenty cigarettes for ten years was classified as smoking ten cigarettes a day for twenty years. This skews the results and the following conclusions, because it overlooks the issue of dosage (one cigarette an hour is not equal to one cigarette a day, and the frequency with which we consume something can affect how our body handles it) and changes the amount and duration of a great number of participants, so in the end the figures were not actually representative of reality. To say “smoking kills” without a standard definition recognised in the studies is false, because each study has, essentially, studied something different.

Doll’s British Doctors’ study prompted a lot of change: an ever increasing number of studies began to emerge showing a correlation between smoking and lung cancer, and then studies that linked smoking with emphysema and heart disease. Nowadays, barely a week goes by without another anti-smoking revelation, to the point where we are now told smoking can cause a range of cancers including bowel, pancreatic and bladder, as well as impotence, aging of the skin, acne and blindness, and more recently that the residue of smoke on a smoker’s skin or clothing is as harmful (and sometimes more harmful) than first-hand smoke (known as third-hand smoke)! We are also continually told that second-hand smoke is responsible for thousands of deaths each and every year, and we now have third-hand smoke as well as the first warnings of fourth-hand smoke. For those unfamiliar with the term, fourth-hand smoke is the smell on a non-smoker who was exposed to second-hand smoke. With fourth-hand smoke, someone is supposedly at risk of harm by being in the presence of someone who was in the presence of a smoker.

What started off as somewhat feasible – that inhaling smoke into the lungs could cause lung cancer – is now looking hugely different: perhaps never before has there been such an attack on any substance (except alcohol in the 1920s), despite well known and well documented dangers of countless chemicals in our everyday purchases. No other product of substance has received such hounding, and it seems the evidence, whilst getting more and more plentiful, is becoming more and more unbelievable. In 2007 the United Kingdom implemented a blanket smoking ban, meaning the legal activity of smoking is now prohibited in any enclosed area including pubs, clubs and even open-air railway platforms. Similar bans have been implemented around the world, with Canada, the USA and Ireland having the most comprehensive ban policies, with parts of Canada and America making it illegal to smoke within twenty-five feet of a doorway. Parks in New York have now been made smoke-free, as have all beaches and parks in Vancouver, Canada. Bhutan has set itself the task of becoming the first tobacco-free nation in the world, outlawing the sale of tobacco in 2005 and now granting police the power to enter private homes in search of the product.[3]

In the face of all this, often the first thing most people ask is ‘How does banning smoking benefit the government?’ Until such time as smoking is made illegal, the government has little to be concerned with because smoking still benefits the economy. In addition to the financial benefit of having tobacco products on sale, the government also presents an image to the public that it is looking after their best interests. And yet, the smoking issue has no government neutrality. Anti-smoking groups, such as Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) (UK), receive funding for their work, whilst most pro-choice groups, such as Fight Ordinances and Restrictions to Control and Eliminate Smoking (FORCES) or Freedom 2 Choose, receive no such funding. Furthermore, the funding to ASH and other such groups comes, in large part, from the government’s Department of Health. Freedom Organisation for the Right To Enjoy Smoking Tobacco (FOREST), on the other hand, is one of the few, if not the only, Western pro-choice groups to receive funding from the tobacco industry itself. The government has, therefore, aligned itself with one side instead of remaining neutral. Within scientific research, funding will only be given to studies that purport a risk from tobacco smoke, while studies that find no risk are denied funding or see it withdrawn, as will be shown in Chapter 6: Passive Smoking.

The aforementioned British Doctor’s study by Doll was funded by the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation,[4] and Cancer Research’s more recent “Smoke is Poison” campaign was funded by the Department of Health.[5] Suing Big Tobacco was, at one time, hugely lucrative. The anti-smoking campaign allows government members to increase the size and power of their agencies and further their careers, whilst allowing those outside the government increased funding for their research projects. For the day-to-day researchers, anti-smoking studies allow them to pay the bills and earn their bread and butter, because funding is all but guaranteed.

Regarding funding by the health establishment, Blueprint for Success. Countdown 2000: Ten Years To A Tobacco-Free America[6] was written in 1990. One excerpt of it states:

The American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and American Lung Association began working together in the early 1960s to educate Americans about the serious health hazards associated with tobacco use. In 1985, the three agencies created Tobacco-Free America (TFA), and its programs, including the Smoke-Free Class of 2000, Tobacco-Free Schools and the Legislative Clearinghouse, to meet the following three specific goals:
1) to form strong state and local coalitions of the three agencies to focus the attention of legislators, regulators and other public officials, as well as the general public, on the health hazards of tobacco use and the need for enactment of tobacco-control legislation;
2) to foster public perception that smoking is a socially unacceptable behavior and encourage smokers to quit and young persons not to start; and
3) to attain a smoke-free society by the year 2000, as called for by former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop.

This informs us that these respected charities aligned themselves with the common goal of lifestyle advocacy decades ago, aiming to eradicate tobacco usage. The objective, as laid out in Blueprint, was, and remains, “for states and localities to use public policy to the fullest extent over the next ten years, and beyond, to achieve a tobacco-free society.” Although the target is now missed by over a decade, it is not sidelined, just delayed. Ardent strides have been made, though, and the goal is far closer today than it was in 2000.

Furthermore, the adverts to encourage smokers to put down the cigarettes are paid for by the excessive tax on cigarettes so that it is smokers themselves who are paying for the adverts. There are now countless products designed to help people stop smoking, such as patches, gum, inhalators and in-person individual support and treatment. Smoking cessation lines many pockets with a lot of money. Electronic cigarettes have recently become hugely popular, and while they contain nothing harmful or produce any significant quantities of anything other than water vapour, there are cries from Tobacco Control to have them removed from the market under the premise of being unsafe. They are no less safe than nicotine gum or patches, and there is little doubt the real reason for the backlash is because they are not made by the pharmaceutical industry – an industry that gives vast sums of money to anti-smoking groups, holds anti-smoking conferences and funds numerous studies, because smokers who want to give up invariably buy their products. The electronic cigarette is direct competition that many are switching to because it looks, feels and tastes like a cigarette, without any of the health concerns. In response, ASH et al. want it off the market.

What is widely overlooked, ignored, or just not known is that a very definite health establishment exists, to which organisations like the National Health Service (NHS) and Cancer Research UK belong. Within this health establishment are many researchers and scientists who depend upon anti-smoking-orientated funding for their research. There is now a bandwagon, so to speak: any anti-smoking study is guaranteed to receive grants and guaranteed to get exposure. Thus, the bigger picture begins to emerge and we can see that scientists and researchers are almost forced to churn out anti-smoking studies, regardless of how bogus they are. For others, it presents an opportunity to grab a headline and get some press coverage, as well as helping to advocate policy change from an opinion that is often based on morality rather than science. As a matter of fact, there is a large, and increasing, body of evidence showing tobacco smoke helps prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, relieve symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome and increase brain activity; unfortunately one has to dig around a bit before finding the studies, reinforcing the above point, but we will get to them in Chapter 13: Health Benefits of Smoking.

It is within this health establishment that anti-smoking studies find funding and exposure; the medical status quo must be adhered to and a quick look at the studies invariably shows that these organisations, or individuals in Tobacco Control, fund the studies. Today, researchers make no attempt to hide their long-term objective and openly talk of “denormalising” smokers or pushing for smoking bans in private homes, as will be shown later on. Mike Daube,[7] founder of ASH UK, laid out this objective in 1979. Speaking at the Fourth World Conference on Smoking and Health, he said, “The key to reversing this trend is to change the social norm. Nonsmoking should be regarded as normal social behaviour. Only when people see smoking as socially abnormal will political pressure be felt.”[8]

What’s most disturbing about it all is not that certain individuals have an intense dislike of something, but rather that major players, like the World Health Organisation (WHO), took the movement under its wing. The anti-smoking crusade has divided families,[9] led to violent attacks in public, and smokers are routinely labelled “filthy,” “disgusting” and “killers”. Entrepreneur and anti-smoker extraordinaire Duncan Bannatyne has told smokers they kill babies by blowing smoke in their face and that children should be allowed to contact the police if their parents smoke in the car with them present. Thanks to the backing of the WHO, governments are now on board. In short, governments are funding social hatred and encouraging a new social division. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to anti-smoking campaigns and has encouraged the harassment of smokers, saying “giving them ‘a not particularly nice look’ when passing them in the street has shown that ‘social pressure really does work’”.[10]

In 1952 the American Cancer Society (ACS) conducted a study in which volunteers were used and told that they would be researching whether smoking was related to lung cancer or not, but in actual fact the researchers were setting out to prove smoking does cause lung cancer. Dr Leroy E. Burney, Surgeon General at the time, supported the ACS’s claim that smoking causes lung cancer, allowing further exposure for the claim, saying, “Unless the use of tobacco can be made safe, the individual person’s risk of lung cancer can best be reduced by the elimination of smoking.”[11]

Yet despite multiple attempts to curb or eliminate smoking in the past, nothing changed. With the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) in 1998, the landscape altered drastically. It was meant to protect the tobacco industry from future lawsuits by penalising them with a huge payout of $206 billion to the American states, as well as to provide finance to a $1.5 billion nationwide anti-smoking campaign organisation and make internal documents public. Rather than being protective, though, the settlement left the industry more vulnerable and open to attack than ever before, and meanwhile, to cover the costs of the settlement, tobacco companies were required to simply increase the cost of a packet of cigarettes so that it would be the smokers themselves footing the bill. In recent times, the attitudes towards smoking have changed, with bans on airplanes and in workplaces, and expensive anti-smoking adverts bombarding the media. Where did this come from, though? While certain measures, such as non-smoking sections on transport, came about from public polls showing the majority of people wanted them, the real shift in public attitude towards smoking came from the advent of the concept that second-hand smoke could kill those exposed to it. In a recent speech[12] Shadow Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley explained that a 1962 report by the Royal College of Physicians[13] laid the foundations for a societal shift towards smoking, and although it acknowledged on page five that “no animal has yet been given lung cancer by exposure to cigarette smoke” it devised a series of measures to reduce smoking consumption, including “more education of the public and especially school-children concerning the hazards of smoking; more effective restrictions on the sale of tobacco to children; restriction of tobacco advertising; wider restriction of smoking in public places; an increase of tax on cigarettes…; investigating the value of anti-smoking clinics to help those who find difficulty in giving up smoking.” Lansley noted that in 1965 television adverts for cigarettes were banned following calls from the Royal College of Physicians, and Lansley expressed his want to give more power to doctors, nurses and health professionals, because “more influence will be given to those who know the harms of smoking, and are determined to reduce it. [Such] plans, for the first time, will place a legal duty on the NHS to reduce health inequalities.” Moreover, Lansley declared advocacy of smokers to be hounded at every opportunity: “We will continue to work with clinicians, so every time a smoker sees a doctor, nurse or any other member of the NHS they should be encouraged to kick the habit.” Needless to say, making a patient feel harassed will not only cause further stress and guilt, but, contrary to the aim, will most likely simply result in fewer trips to the doctor, which could in turn lead to worrisome rates of illness and disease as symptoms are ignored. Lansley also explains in his speech that rather than being an open field for discourse and discussion of evidence, tobacco control “will be delivered as part of the new public health system.” Of the current constant bombardment of anti-smoking messages, removal of civil liberties and property rights and harassment of smokers, Lansley proudly admits that “the foundations for our current ambition for reducing smoking were laid 50 years ago with the RCP’s report.”

The suggestions that served those foundations were later expanded. In the third World Conference on Smoking and Health, held in 1975, World Health Organisation (WHO) representative Sir George Godber spoke candidly about smoking and laid out his suggestions to curb the habit, in what has become known as the Godber Blueprint:

…most of us here know full well that our target must be, in the long-term, the elimination of cigarette smoking…… We may not have eliminated cigarette smoking completely by the end of this century, but we ought to have reached a position where a relatively few addicts still use cigarettes, but only in private at most in the company of consenting adults.

First, I think we must ask ourselves whether our society is one in which the major influences exercised on public opinion are such as would convey the impression that smoking is a dirty, anti-social practice, spoiling the enjoyment of youth and accelerating the onset of the deterioration of age.

Need there really be any difficulty about prohibiting smoking in more public places? The nicotine addicts would be petulant for a while, but why should we accord them any right to make the innocent suffer?

Every smoker is a promoter of other smokers. The practice ought to be an enclosed one, not to be endured by the non-smoker in ordinary social intercourse; and no one should be allowed to use advertisement or any indirect means to suggest otherwise.[14]

It is clear that, for Godber, the health of non-smokers was paramount, while smokers were seen as second-class citizens:

All organizations and associations concerned with matters of smoking and health should set an example for the societies they serve by taking and enforcing all necessary and appropriate measures for the protection of non-smokers including the prohibition of smoking in their offices, or their conferences and workshops and on the part of any persons representing them professionally or officially at any function or activities.

All organizations and associations concerned with matters of smoking and health should utilize their resources for, and provide their whole-hearted vigorous and unequivocal support to, legislative, administrative and other measures or initiatives for the protection of the health of non-smokers.[15]

From the same speech we can see recommendations that have been implemented today:

It is suggested that in the United States, major health agencies join forces to create and produce anti-smoking material for mass media.

In order to start a new generation of health professionals who will provide a medical environment free of smoking, present health professionals must adopt good health practices themselves specifically [by] not smoking.

No cigarette smoking in the course of professional duties should be a condition of employment in health facilities.

When patients visit hospitals, health clinics, neighborhood health centers and similar facilities, health professionals should take the opportunity to conduct education about the hazards of smoking and show smoking patients their personal responsibility in taking a major step toward better health; namely, quitting cigarettes.

Health professionals as exemplars should use their influence to establish a “no smoking” policy at all professional health meetings.

This sub-section believes that the combined efforts of health professionals can help make the use of tobacco socially unacceptable.

Smoking in hospital should be restricted to limited designated areas out of view of patients and the general public. [Emphasis added]

That it be recognized by all organizations and associations concerned with smoking and health that the campaign against smoking is political and economic in character and requires decisions based on political and economic factors. As a consequence each government should appoint a special committee whose members have expertise in these areas.[16]

Note that the campaign against smoking is not said to be one of health, but politics and economics. Godber gave some 150-200 recommendations for further action, however these became simply conclusions without debate, as though the desires of a single individual were enough to warrant the following remarks:

-Research to find out if smoke harms nonsmokers;
-Elimination of smoking cigarettes;
-Include quit-smoking assistance in health insurance;
-Create ‘a social environment in which smoking is unacceptable’;
-Classify tobacco as addictive and smokers as drug-dependent;
-Preempt 5% of tobacco sales revenues for antismoking ‘education’;
-Raise tobacco prices enough to discourage sales;
-Ban all forms of tobacco advertising and promotion;
-Set up committees of sophisticated politicians and economists in every country to help pursue stated goals.

Some thirty-six years later and these “recommendations” are in full swing, without any recourse or prior thorough investigation. The blueprint, rather than being challenged morally, politically, medically, scientifically or socially, is being protected.[17] Another important point emerges from these notes also: long before any evidence was gathered about the effects of smoke on non-smokers, Godber and the anti-smoking crowd before him were talking about the danger posed from passive smoking. The thinking was simply that smoke is emitted from both ends of a cigarette, and so passive smoke simply must be harmful, with recognition of dosage being totally absent. And here we see a long-standing method still used today: discover what would have most impact on the long-term goal, and then gather the required data post-haste. Perhaps worst of all, though, is that the blueprint dictates to “set up committees of sophisticated politicians and economists in every country to help pursue stated goals”, but at no point in time was the WHO appointed world police; never did each individual country vote to have the WHO become their overlords, and yet with the Godber Blueprint, that is precisely what happened – a single group became the health police to the planet, enforcing a moral belief of one man who held no science, evidence or substantial reasoning to eradicate smoking. At the fourth World Conference on Smoking and Health, a participant from the Philip Morris tobacco company noted Godber’s comments:

I haven’t really tried to make the case against smoking. I am really only arguing about speed and outcome. I don’t believe we have to wait for decades. Years ago I worked with a Minister who actually said in public that “of course” we weren’t talking about the end of smoking. But why not? I think we ARE talking about the end of smoking as a public social activity and I believe we can get to that end much faster than we have ever realized.[18]

What all this informs us is that the anti-smoking wave we are currently riding on is not primarily concerned with health. Rather, it is political advocacy; a means to an end of satisfying a long-term goal that has its roots in what is essentially eugenics. The unsubstantiated opinions of a select group of people have been launched into an assault thanks to the influence of the WHO. It is also worth noting that Mike Daube, in his talk at the Fourth Conference on Smoking and Health, acknowledged the other main force, besides the WHO, behind the anti-smoking movement, the ACS:

I believe it would be wrong not to pay tribute to the continuing contributions of the American Cancer Society to international smoking and health activities. They have organised two of the four world conferences so far as well as a host of other events and activities, and they have also quietly, discreetly and without publicity, helped to fund all kinds of international activities run by others; I think they deserve much credit for this.[19]

Quite why a group created to research a disease should receive credit for quietly being lifestyle advocates is not mentioned. No doubt it would not have been well received by the public, either, for if they had been in favour of it then the activities would have been public, not covert. Daube thanked the ACS again, in 1987, at the Sixth World Conference on Smoking and Health:

I would like to commence by paying tribute to the organisers of this conference… The American Cancer Society who have contributed so much in this area invented the idea of World Conferences which have proved to be so worthwhile.[20]

Far from simply providing funding then, the ACS actually invented the conferences – which were, it must be remembered, solely to work out a plan to rid the world of smoking.

The consequences of smoking bans also deserve mention. McFadden and Kuneman’s study deduced that in California alone the lost revenue from smoking bans in bars and restaurants between 1998 and 2004 amounts to between $75 billion and $100 billion.[21] While the government, NHS and anti-smoking groups are quick to state that smokers cost the NHS between £1.5 and £2.7 billion a year in treatment, what they are not so quick to tell people is that smokers pay into society over £9 billion annually through tobacco tax. No government is going to willingly lose that amount of money, and as such the more the smoking rates decrease, the more other taxes will have to increase. Will people be so pleased if the bans work, reducing the number of smokers and in turn forcing other taxes to rise? It’s unlikely.

It is important to keep in mind that when we are told smokers cost the NHS £1.5 billion annually, what that means is that any smoker needing treatment for certain conditions is categorised as having a smoking-related illness – whether the doctor believes it was smoking-related or not. In fact, the smoking-related illness figures comprise everyone thought to be ill from smoke, including any smoker, any non-smoker who lives with a smoker and anyone claiming to be exposed to second-hand smoke.[22] Such methods are not scientific. Science hinges on rigorous examination and solid facts, not guesses and estimated numbers that become accepted through repetition.

Furthermore, ‘smoking-related disease’ is a misleading term as there is not a single illness or ailment that affects only smokers. There is no way of telling whether a smoker would have contracted the same illness if he or she did not smoke. Given that statistics are the main body of smoking research it is imperative to keep that point in mind. It is one thing to say that fifty per cent of smokers die of smoking-related diseases, but such diseases also strike down a large percentage of non-smoking individuals, mainly because they are diseases that typically afflict the elderly population. Indeed, most smokers die in their senior years, as do most non-smokers, with the average age of the onset of cancer being sixty-five for both groups of people. However, anti-smoking groups in their own pages cite middle age as being up to sixty-nine, allowing them to lump senior citizens in with the younger population to reel off frightening numbers of “premature” deaths from tobacco smoking in “middle age”, as will be shown further on.

 Official statistics also say that smoking is “the cause of more than a quarter (29%) of all deaths from cancer and has killed an estimated six million people over the last 50 years.”[23] This means, of course, that seventy-one per cent of cancer deaths are not from smoking, yet smoking appears to be the main focus of research. Moreover, the word “estimated” is a subtle way of saying unproven, thus allowing those who announce the figures an ability to create any number they desire.

Tobacco taxation is easy for governments, because smokers are a minority and the majority are pleased it is not they who will be forced to pay more from their wages. As such, cigarette taxation is extortionately high, exceeding seventy-five per cent per packet. On July 21st, 2009, President Barack Obama appeared on American television on the Today Show and openly lied, stating: “The only tax change I have made in the six months I’ve been here has been to cut people’s taxes.” On February 6th, 2011, in an interview by Bill O’ Reilly on FOX News, Obama again stated he has “not raised taxes” in his time as president, only lowered them. The truth of the matter was that within his first few months as president, he increased tax for smokers by 150 per cent and rolling tobacco saw a staggering 2,100 per cent tax increase. The reason for this was so smokers would pay the healthcare for uninsured children as part of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), meaning some of the poorest members of society were saddled with the burden of paying for millions of children’s wellbeing. More worrying than the reason, though, was that in one brief moment, President Obama had shunned more than forty million American smokers; people who had helped to vote him into power and a group of people to which Obama himself belongs to, at the time of agreeing to the tax increase at least. It has become socially and politically acceptable to punish a minority, and then, for all intents and purposes, deny the existence of that minority.

Let us have one last look at the official statistics from Cancer Research: “Around one in four British adults currently smoke. Men are still more likely to smoke than women (27% and 25% respectively).”[24] The official census shows that, in 2001, there were 58.8 million people living in Britain, of which 11.9 million were under sixteen, leaving 46.9 million over sixteen. For argument’s sake, we will consider those aged sixteen or over as adults, as at the time sixteen was the legal age for purchasing tobacco, and, again for argument’s sake, we will work under the assumption that half are male and the other half female. This means 23.45 million are men and 23.45 million are female. Twenty-seven per cent of 23.45 is 6,331,500 and twenty-five per cent is 5,862,500. Combining these totals leaves us with 12,194,000 smokers in the UK, or twenty-six per cent of the population.

Using the above statistics, twenty-six per cent of the adult population smoke, which is 12.19 million, and apparently fifty per cent of smokers die from cancer, a total of six million. If this is the case, how is it that only six million people in the UK have died from tobacco in the last fifty years, especially as the rates of smokers have declined in the same space of time?[25] Clearly, something is amiss. Of course, those are just statistics from Cancer Research; in 1990 Richard Peto – a researcher who worked with Doll – claimed that cigarette smoking was responsible for twenty per cent of deaths in the Western world. The problem is that figures are either too low, showing that, with the amount of people who do smoke or have smoked, there is statistically no risk to the habit, or they are too high, indicating dishonest researching. One would expect the figures to be at least vaguely similar, yet they are not. The discrepancy and continually changing numbers is a big red warning flag that they are not based on anything solid or conclusive.

Because conventional wisdom states that smoking is harmful and carries a strong risk of disease, people passively accept this. However, history itself shows that conventional wisdom is often incorrect. In the first instance, doctors used to advise smoking – so they were either wrong then or now. Additionally, alcohol was prohibited and then allowed again, and at the time of prohibition it was even considered proven that second-hand alcohol was a health risk (second-hand alcohol being the fumes of the evaporated liquid). Let us also not forget that before the 1900s it was a commonly held belief, still used jokingly today, that masturbation causes blindness. People readily accepted this and truly believed masturbation was a high-risk activity, yet we now know that it is not. However, no person in their right mind, doctors or other professionals especially, would have said otherwise because should a person have masturbated and lost their eyesight, the activity would have been labelled the cause and the doctor held responsible for giving bad advice. It was also believed, and stated by experts, that marijuana would turn people into sex-crazed murderous maniacs, and as a final example, in the 1970s and 1980s, parents were instructed to put their babies to sleep face down to reduce cot deaths, but this had the exact opposite effect and mortality rates from cot deaths increased.

These examples show that conventional wisdom can be incorrect and lead people in the wrong direction. It’s one thing when science follows the wrong path by accident, but it is something else entirely when researchers actively and deliberately release ideology-guided science to maintain healthy bank balances, especially when said research results in divided families and communities and the destruction of people’s livelihoods. The sad truth is that because the mantra of smoking being harmful has been repeated so many times people now accept it without question or research. However, misinformation or a lie told over and over is still wrong; never will mere repetition make something true. Do we have enough solid evidence to be sure that smoking tobacco is such a high-risk activity and not like any one of the above examples of conventional wisdom that were misguided? Can we discard any doubt while we see smokers living to an old age but be told in the media and by the Surgeon General that there is “no safe level” of tobacco smoke and that even one wisp of smoke can cause a heart attack? It is very often said that smoking is a slow form of suicide, almost guaranteed to cause death, and yet only ten per cent of heavy smokers contract lung cancer. It is one thing to say that smoking may be a risky activity, but that is not the same as claiming that smoking will cause a painful death.

One argument often heard from anti-smokers is that any dissenting view from the official line is propaganda from the tobacco industry or those receiving funding from them. This is largely because the anti-smoking campaign has, since day one, avoided discussions with critics and simply denounced any dissenting view as being a member, representative or front for the tobacco industry, creating a curious but successful barrier that renders them free from critique. However, most of the evidence used by those dissenting voices actually consists of the same studies that are used to show smoking is harmful, they just point out the bias present in the studies, or intentionally missed factors that had skewed the results, and so forth. In other words, the very studies used to claim smoking is harmful have been reviewed to show that, actually, they do no such thing. Perhaps the most relevant quote is from Winston Churchill when he said, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth gets a chance to put its pants on”, or maybe Joseph Goebbels with his view that “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

Another odd mantra that is oft spoken by anti-smokers is that tobacco is the only product in the world that, when used as it is intended, kills its users. It is amazing that someone had the temerity to think this up, and even more amazing that people repeat it with conviction. What of vehicle accidents where a tyre blows out, or people who eat too much food thus becoming obese and dying (after all, they consumed the food the way it was meant to be consumed: eating it), or drinking too much alcohol, or, most surprisingly, drugs (illegal or prescription)?

The anti-smoking hysteria has now reached fever pitch. In certain areas, smoking has been banned both indoors and outdoors, making it almost impossible to smoke without breaking the law. In Honduras, families can even call the police on those who smoke at home.[26] Smokers are now sometimes being denied the option of fostering and adoption, and a parent’s smoking status has been cause to lose child custody in divorce hearings.[27] It is now increasingly commonplace in the USA for smokers to be denied employment solely because they smoke, even if they only smoke on their own time. Tenants, most notably including the elderly in residential homes, have been evicted due to their being smokers.[28][29] In hospitals, smokers must vacate not only the building but often the entire grounds to have a cigarette; it speaks volumes about the current health establishment that it is considered acceptable to send frail, weak, ill people outside, sometimes in only their hospital gown, to brave the weather conditions or attack from passers-by for a smoke rather than having a ventilated smoking room on the property. In the UK the NHS has repeatedly tried to refuse treatment to smokers for various problems,[30] and some senators in the USA have tried to exclude smokers and obese people from Medicaid coverage.[31] In the UK a tobacco display ban has passed and there were talks about plain packaging for cigarettes, a ban on electronic cigarettes – which have no tobacco and do not combust – and a doorway ban so smokers are forced away from entrances of buildings. Cigarettes have been airbrushed out of famous pictures such as the Beatles on Abbey Road and the late blues musician Robert Johnson when his image was used on a postage stamp. Lynn Barber, a writer who has won five British Press awards, had her publicity photo for the Book Now festival rejected by Richmond Council for the sole reason that she was holding a cigarette in it.[32] The main reasoning for all of this is to protect children from the sight of cigarettes, for the sight of tobacco is apparently bad – in accordance with the words of Sir George Godber over thirty years ago. The issue has moved far beyond health and is now openly and admittedly a social agenda; a cleansing of the population is underway to raise a whole generation to behave, or not behave, in a way that the government instructs.

In 2010, a group of sixth formers from the Hundred of Hoo School in Chatham, Kent, England, roamed the streets of Chatham en masse, forcibly removing cigarettes from smokers.[33] This would usually be considered theft and harassment, but because it was anti-smoking, it was somehow acceptable. In the same year, Hart District Council funded “a schools project around smoking, which included the development of a website by Year 8s at Yateley School.”[34] The errors and juvenile writing remind the reader that this has been cobbled together by children aged twelve to thirteen, and they are being encouraged, by a school receiving money from the local council, to develop an anti-smoking website.[35] The header on the site reads: “Don’t smoke. It’s a joke.” Snippets from the site include:

If you smoke during puberty, it lowers your hormone levels. Some people believe that smoking makes you thin. This is a lie, as even when you’re smoking you’re not getting thinner. If that was the case, then every single smoker would be as thin as a rake.

You also vomit a lot more if you smoke, and you will have weaker lungs, making it harder to breathe throughout the whole of your life. Smoking makes you feel good, but you can also get that feeling from playing sports and things like that.

However, that good feeling you get from Nicotine doesn’t last forever and if you are really sick the euphoria disappears. Along with that, large quantaties of Nicotene can make you feel pretty sick; however, don’t fret, as anti-smoking products do not have enough nicotene in them to have that effect.

The spelling errors above are verbatim from the website, which serve as a reminder to the reader of the tender, and impressionable, age of the creators. That impression is reinforced in the final sentence, as anti-smoking products, such as nicotine patches and gum, most certainly do have enough nicotine in them to have unwanted effects. Indeed, it only takes poor management of the dosage of such products to overdose on nicotine. In fact, in 2009 it was reported in the news that a fourteen-year-old boy overdosed on Nicorette after chewing forty-five sticks in twenty-five minutes. It transpires that the school’s policy was to give out 105 pieces – apparently a week’s supply – to children as young as twelve, without consulting the parents. The boy was given the gum from another pupil and taken to hospital with nicotine poisoning after ingesting so much it could have killed him.[36]

The website also features an obituaries page, where we are given a list of famous people who died from lung cancer and emphysema, and are then informed that it was ostensibly smoking that killed them. There is then a cryptic page that seems to inform the reader that smoking will leave you in poverty:

On average, people spend about £1,643 a year, while smoking one pack of cigerettes a day, not including health bills and other smoking-related diseases etc.

After a year of smoking you could lose your house, car and job.

After two years of smoking you might not be able to financially support your family.

And After three years of smoking you wont be able to afford to keep your life machine on.

It’s a curious page that doesn’t seem to make much sense. The problem, however, isn’t the lack of editing skills but the simple fact that young teenagers are now being made, as part of their state education, to produce propaganda. Is the anti-smoking crusade truly so honourable and righteous that indoctrination of children to produce propaganda, bully and harass smokers is acceptable? Is it right to discard the age-old societal teaching to respect one’s elders in a bid to eradicate smoking? This is part of the aforementioned Godber Blueprint, when it was said that “Nor should people be allowed to lead children astray by smoking in their presence.”[37]

As part of the WHO relishing its role as guardian of public health, it set up the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which is a treaty “to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke” through universal standards to limit tobacco usage. The treaty includes rules that affect taxation, sales, production, distribution and advertising tobacco. The FCTC came into effect on February 27th, 2005, and 168 countries have signed it and it is legally binding in 172 ratifying countries. What we have now, therefore, is one of the largest treaties in the entire history of the world dedicated to tackling tobacco consumption on a global scale.

This book will look objectively at studies that have been used to prove smoking is harmful. This book will not be choosing select studies in an attempt to disprove the existing mantra that smoking can cause death, as that would be akin to one person saying ‘yes it does’ and another saying ‘no it doesn’t’. Instead, it will be focusing on studies that are widely used as evidence for smoking being harmful to see if those conclusions are truly valid, as well as reviewing other bodies of work for a well-rounded and neutral standpoint on tobacco to see whether or not smoking has an effect on the body that warrants any alarm.

Before continuing, due to the subject of this book, it is important to include a disclaimer: I do not, nor have ever, worked for, or received money from, tobacco or medical* companies or other bodies on behalf of the tobacco or medical industries. I do not, nor have ever, owned shares or stocks in any tobacco or medical company. The following work was not conducted under any premise or promise of receiving money in the future from tobacco or medical companies, nor is it intended as advocacy of smoking. The book is an independent analysis of various factors in the smoking controversy.

I have included citations of all my references and where possible I have cited links to Web pages. In most instances the Web pages are there for the reader’s convenience as they contain the original articles in their entirety and so save hunting libraries for the documents. In the instances where the original documents are not on the Web page they are either scientific articles or contain information from relevant documents – again, I have included them to save those who want to check the references from spending time locating the original articles or documents.

* ‘Medical’ includes pharmaceutical or any other related companies.


[1] http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=gCMzjJjuxQI

[2]http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/healthyliving/smokingandtobacco/howdoweknow/

[3] http://www.torontosun.com/news/weird/2011/01/28/17073276.html

[4] http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/news/archive/pressreleases/2004/june/38863

[5] http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/healthyliving/smokeispoison/?a=5441

[6] http://tobaccodocuments.org/rjr/507619094-9127.html

[7] Daube is now the Deputy Chair of the Preventative Health Taskforce, who’s latest report has made 122 recommendations and argued for twenty-six new laws with seven new agengies to change the behaviour of Australian citizens, as part of the crackdown on alcohol, tobacco smoking and unhealthy food, with measures that include banning smoking in multi-unit apartments and outdoor areas where people may be in close proximity to one another. The report can be found at http://www.apo.org.au/research/taking-preventative-action-response-australia-healthiest-country-2020

[8] http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/action/document/page?tid=ini30f00 (p10)

[9] http://takingliberties.squarespace.com/taking-liberties/2011/1/10/postscript-to-passive-smoking-and-the-price-of-propaganda.html

[10] http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/sep/18/bloomberg-smoking-ban-new-york

[11] http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/cmq36b00/pdf

[12] http://mediacentre.dh.gov.uk/2012/03/07/speech-6-march-2012-andrew-lansley-smoking-and-health/

[13] http://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/resources/smoking-and-health-1962

[14] http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/nub2aa00/pdf

[15] http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/ogn52d00/pdf

[16] http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/ogn52d00/pdf

[17] http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/kub2aa00/pdf

[18] http://tobaccodocuments.org/pm/2028564359-4391.html (p21)

[19] http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/action/document/page?tid=oze32e00

[20] http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/zwt51f00

[21] http://kuneman.smokersclub.com/economic.html

[22] Levy, R; Marimont, R (1998) Lies, Damn Lies & 400,000 Smoking-Related Deaths

[23] http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/causes/lifestyle/tobacco/

[24] Ibid

[25] Ibid

[26]http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hKETeAuP7nhnpxF0SPi4gu4cnBUA?docId=d132c86b2b14499487163dbf655e66e4

[27]http://www.nytimes.com/1993/10/16/us/smokers-find-mark-against-them-in-fight-for-custody-of-their-children.html?sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all

[28]http://www.vancouversun.com/health/year+woman+told+butt+evicted/3696774/story.html

[29] http://www.forces.org/research/files/elderly.htm

[30] http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/feb/24/nhs-managers-block-operations-save-money

[31] http://www.postonpolitics.com/2011/02/lose-weight-quit-smoking-or-lose-medicaid-benefits/

[32] http://www.tobaccouse.info/author-lynn-barber%E2%80%99s-smoking-mad/

[33] http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/news/Students-bust-smokers-action-packed-movie/article-2489342-detail/article.html

[34] http://www.smokefreehampshire.co.uk/pdfs/ebulletinjul10.pdf

[35] http://www.ysdsiaj.hampshire.org.uk/Home%20Page.html

[36] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1200918/Boy-14-collapses-overdosing-nicotine-chewing-gum-handed-school.html

[37] http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/action/document/page?tid=ini30f00 (p12)