The ban on smoking in public places is now in force, and this gross and unnecessary attack on individual choice and freedom seems to have slipped by relatively peacefully, which is no surprise really - we tolerate unrestricted invasion from other countries, we accept filthy, lethal hospitals, we allow our most intelligent young people to train as doctors and then go straight on the dole, we have ruthless lunatics trying to blow us up but are forbidden to call them what they are in case they are offended, our schools are rife with PC propaganda and no longer attempt to teach genuine knowledge and skills - so why the hell should we get aerated about a smoking ban?
Like so many other pieces of "accepted wisdom" these days, the smoking ban is based on lies. Not just little fibs like "passive smoking is bad for people" which is unproven but might easily be true, but socking great lies that boldly proclaim the exact opposite of the truth, like "Alzheimer's is linked to smoking" when actual research shows that non-smokers are 50% more likely to get Alzheimer's than smokers.
In February, the Australian Bureau of Statistics published a national health survey taken in 1989-90. To much surprise, it revealed that generally the health of smokers is better than that of many former or non-smokers. The worst sufferers from hypertension caused by stress were the ex-smokers (16.1 per cent) and the "never smoked" (13.4 per cent); the steady smokers registered 7.4 per cent.
It is well known that smoking, particularly at work, relieves stress, and to outlaw it increases demands on hospital beds. Even the US Surgeon General, in 1964, recognised that Parkinson's disease (a degenerative disorder of the nervous system) occurred at around half the rate among smokers. And researchers at Erasmus University Medical School in Rotterdam found that more non-smokers had early-onset dementia than smokers.
In Daily Telegraph, Dr. James Le Fanu wrote: "Smokers have a 50 per cent reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's and the more smoked, the greater the protection." The New England Journal of Medicine in 1985 reported that endometrial cancer of the womb occurs at around 50 per cent the rate among smokers as non-smokers. Colon cancer and ulcerative colitis also seem to be about 30 and 50 per cent respectively less frequent among smokers according to articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association and in the New England Journal of Medicine, in 1981 and 1983. The American government's first Health and Nutrition Examination Survey has found that osteoarthritis is five times less likely to occur among heavy smokers than non-smokers.
As the excellent and strongly recommended Numberwatch says this week, political power now resides in Brussels, among an unelected elite who have no regard for truth or science. It is they who produce and propagate the really big lies. They claim 20,000 passive smoking deaths for the UK, which pro rata for population is over thirty times higher than the demonstrably fraudulent and now discredited EPA claim for the USA. There is no actual evidence that anyone, anywhere has EVER died of passive smoking.
The BusinessGreen blog reports that recent research by British Gas predicts an increase in the sales of gas-fired patio heaters as pubs try to provide their customers with warm outdoor spaces in which to enjoy a fag with their pint, one of the great working-class pleasures for decades past. They suggest that carbon emissions from pub heaters alone could rocket to 160,000 tonnes of CO2 a year, representing almost ten percent of the annual reduction the UK needs to meet its Kyoto commitments by 2012.
In Scotland, where the ban has been in place for a year, half the pubs have deployed heaters to help smokers keep warm outside. The Green Party too has warned that CO2 emissions from London alone could increase by over 20,000 tonnes a year as a consequence of the ban. Patio heaters have been widely vilified by the environmental lobby in the past year with estimates claiming that commercial heaters can emit up to 4 tonnes of CO2 a year, representing more emissions that an average 4x4 - and to The GOS it certainly does seem ridiculous to try and heat the outdoors - that's what the outdoors is for, isn't it, not to be heated? But it also seems ridiculous to introduce legislation that not only limits people's personal freedom unnecessarily, but encourages huge extra CO2 emissions (always assuming, of course, that CO2 emissions are all that important which personally we doubt). A lack of joined-up thinking on the part of the government and its PC advisers, perhaps?
A BusinessGreen reader also posted this comment …
Activists of various flavours have managed to get people's shorts in a knot over enhanced greenhouse (the concept of increased atmospheric greenhouse gas availability cranking up the misnamed 'greenhouse effect' and causing catastrophic surface heating). One major problem with this hypothesis that always seems to get lost or glossed over is that there has been three times more greenhouse gas in the atmosphere than required to deliver the current greenhouse effect since at least the end of the last great glaciation. There has never been a need for anthropogenic greenhouse enhancement to increase potential greenhouse warming because the atmosphere is already opaque in the relevant absorption bands in most regions (that is, there's 'competition' between overabundant GHG molecules for available outbound infrared radiation with only limited, regional potential remaining). This is why catastrophic warming scenarios generated by woeful 'climate models' are so laughable because models are programmed only with 'positive feedbacks' (even greater warming from trivial increase in absorber availability) while real world potential actually works with negative feedback (you get progressively less bang for your buck by adding more GHGs because there's insufficient suitable infrared radiation to go around). So, why the hysteria over something that physically cannot happen?
We don't actually understand a word of that, but we're sure he's right!
Meanwhile another excellent website, Climate Resistance, has stumbled on a new truth (to use the term loosely) about Global Warming. It's all the fault of fat people.
The New Scientist recently carried an article attacking some climate-change sceptics who, the article claimed, are bad scientists, funded by bad money, and have published some bad science in what is presumably a bad science journal for bad reasons. A scientist called Willie Soon published a paper in the journal Ecological Complexity, questioning "whether polar bear populations really are declining and if sea ice, on which the animals hunt, will actually disappear as quickly as climate models predict." Not exactly strong stuff - we've been saying much more than that for months. But it's a step too far for the New Scientist.
Mind you, it's not really the science that offends the New Scientist - it's more the fact that Willie Soon is funded by Exxon-Mobil, who have been attacking climate change science for years. Oil money, or just the faintest whiff of it, trumps scientific method and debate every time.
And Ian Roberts of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine appears to be offering an epidemiological perspective on global warming in a piece entitled "Say No to Global Guzzling - How the Obesity Epidemic is Aggravating Global Warming".
We tend to think of obesity only as a public-health problem, but many of its causes overlap with those of global warming. Car dependence and labour-saving devices have cut the energy people expend as they go about their lives, at the same time increasing the amount of fossil fuel they burn. It's no coincidence that obesity is most prevalent in the US, where per capita carbon emissions exceed those of any other major nation, and it is becoming clear that obese people are having a direct impact on the climate.
Roberts speciously reasons that obese people, who (allegedly) consume 40% more calories than non-obese people, (allegedly) use their cars more because they are too fat to move properly, and (allegedly) eat the kind of things which are more CO2 intensive, contribute disproportionately to global warming than their thin counterparts.
It's an attractive argument, but not one that really holds water. It's not scientific, but a narrow, shallow, and hollow critique of capitalist society. We live in an environment that serves primarily the financial interests of the corporations that sell food, cars, and petroleum. And as the number of obese people increases, a kind of positive feedback kicks in. Obese people in the US are already throwing their political weight around. Roberts is asking us to panic about the possibility of the political voice of fat Americans being used to demand, elevators, escalators, and other forms of labour-saving mechanisation, which in turn worsens the cycle of increasing fuel use, carbon emissions, and the world's waistlines.
It must be lean times at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, because this poverty-stricken argument is so bloated, it needs four bandwagons to wheel it onto the pages of the New Scientist: obesity, global warming, anti-Americanism and anti-capitalism. All that's missing is a photo of a polar bear perched on a dwindling ice floe.
(Much of the last seven paragraphs courtesy of Climate Resistance.)
The GOS says: So, Global Warming is caused by chubbers. OK.
Now, if we could just manage to pin the blame for terrorism on ginger people, and link MRSA to the Welsh, we'd have the whole thing sorted. Only world peace to deal with, then, and we all know who's to blame there - bloody Bob Geldof and that prat Bono.
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