Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Fiddling while Rome burns

This is a comment I attempted to post in the Irish Independent where ASH appear to be taking naive local councillors for a ride. It wasn't approved by the moderator.

And Nero fiddled while Rome burned! 

“SMOKING has been banned in more than 100 playgrounds around the country as a growing number of local authorities tighten rules on lighting up in public places ... Although it is not yet an offence to light up in playgrounds, "no-smoking" signs are being erected as a deterrent to smokers in these areas ... The main pressure has come from the anti-smoking group ASH”

Our health service is in crisis, unable to properly treat the ill, the aged are neglected, scarce resources are having to be spread ever more wider, yet dubious anti-smoker ideology still gets priority, sucking from the public purse.  On the pretext of protecting children, the anti-smoker juggernaut moves to impose its next ban towards its prohibitionist agenda goal. Highly trained, highly paid doctors are diverted away from treating the sick into political lobbying that does nothing more than constrict the individual and erode liberties. The sad part is that it is all built on the misconception that second hand smoke is harmful. 

I’m sure these doctors who have been co-opted into the tobacco CONTROL industry do have honourable intentions but they have been caught up in an ‘error cascade’ or 'information cascade' that was set in motion many years ago. Medical science has been seriously compromised and degraded with much of it no longer used for the purpose of finding causes and cures but purely to further tobacco CONTROL objectives under the flawed assumption that “We know what the problem is, it was ‘proven’ over 50 years ago, all we have to do is to prevent people from smoking”.  Well, with the benefit of around 6 decades of hindsight, it has NOT worked. 

So called ‘smoke related’ diseases continue to increase despite the substantial reduction in smokers and there is some suggestion that life expectancy, that has been steadily rising over the last century, is stalling. New cases of Lung cancer in USA for instance, that totaled  around 50,000 in 1950, rose to over 164,000 in 2000 then to over 215,000 in 2008. (American Cancer Society stats - screen grab below) The trend is similar in England where newly diagnosed cancers rose by a staggering 100,000 from 143,000 in 1971 to 243,000 in 2006. (Statistics.gov).  These are raw figures that will have been tortured, age and population adjusted to make them appear less stark (US pop increased by 8% between 2000 and 2008) Here are some other age adjusted figures;

All cancers male (age adjusted);  
USA -   407 per 100,000
China - 205 per 100,000
(Pfizer facts: The Burden of Cancer in Asia - 2008)

compare with Male smoking rate;
USA; around 25% (or less) 
China; around 60% (fairly constant over last 30+ years)

(USA has half the smoker rate but twice the cancer rate of China!)

While the ‘experts’ and vacant public ‘servants’ are shaking their lances at those windmills and playing on their out-of-tune fiddles, health services are being starved of funding and finding it increasingly difficult to cope,  while public health continues to worsen