Passive smoking lie busted

We have all been told for years that passive smoking kills.

Turns out it doesn’t…like global warming it appears to have been a massive fraud.

James Delingpole explains:

Passive smoking doesn’t give you lung cancer. So says a new report publicised by the American Cancer Institute which will come as no surprise whatsoever to anyone with a shred of integrity who has looked into the origins of the great “environmental tobacco smoke” meme.

It was, after all, a decade ago that the British Medical Journal, published the results of a massive, long-term survey into the effects of second-hand tobacco smoke. Between 1959 and 1989 two American researchers named James Enstrom and Geoffrey Kabat surveyed no few than 118,094 Californians. Fierce anti-smoking campaigners themselves, they began the research because they wanted to prove once and for all what a pernicious, socially damaging habit smoking was. Their research was initiated by the American Cancer Society and supported by the anti-smoking Tobacco Related Disease Research Program.

At least it was at first. But then something rather embarrassing happened. Much to their surprise, Kabat and Enstrom discovered that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ie passive smoking), no matter how intense or prolonged, creates no significantly increased risk of heart disease or lung cancer.

Similar conclusions were reached by the World Health Organisation which concluded in 1998 after a seven-year study that the correlation between “passive smoking” and lung cancer was not “statistically significant.” A 2002 report by the Greater London Assembly agreed. So too did an investigation by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee.

Yet between 2006 and 2007 smoking was banned in all enclosed public places throughout the United Kingdom largely on the basis of the claim – widely promulgated by bansturbating politicians and kill-joy activists – that it was necessary to protect the health of non-smokers. On the basis, in other words, of a blatant and scientifically demonstrable lie. 

Not just the UK but here as well under Helen Clark’s regime. Look at Auckland City which is still trying to stop people smoking in the open air.

It’s not just British health Nazis who like to promulgate this myth. Here’s what America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has to say on the subject:

Secondhand smoke causes an estimated 3,400 lung cancer deaths among U.S. nonsmokers each year.

The actual number, Jacob Sullum argues at Reason, is “probably closer to zero.”

So why does the medical establishment pretend otherwise? Sullum quotes a doctor who comments on the latest study’s findings. The doctor observes primly:

“The strongest reason to avoid passive cigarette smoke is to change societal behavior: to not live in a society where smoking is a norm.”

Aha. Now we’re closer to the mark. What the doctor is showing here are the classic symptoms of “freedom of choice is far too dangerous for the little people” syndrome.

[I hope I don’t need to draw the parallels here with the similarly scientifically unfounded excuses being advanced to justify all sorts of regulatory and confiscatory activity to do with “climate change”]

There are plenty of troughers enjoying literally millions of dollars of taxpayer cash who have lived off of these lies. Same with climate change ‘scientists’.


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  • philbest

    Interestingly, I know at least one CAGW skeptic scientist has been ad hominem dismissed as a non-person all along because he was a “second hand smoke denier”.

    Not 100% sure, I think it might be Fred Singer.

    • Andy

      Yes you are correct.
      I think Singer gets smeared in the book “Merchants of Doubt” for this reason.

  • steve and monique

    Lets hope this does not allow smokers back inside workplaces, bars etc. Good not stinking of second hand smoke after night out.

    • metalnwood

      yep, I dont care is something bad is banned for the right reasons or the wrong reasons.

      • wiltinpenis

        Sorry? you don’t make sense

        • metalnwood

          The first ‘is’ should be an ‘if’.

          If something is bad I am not concerned that it was banned on incorrect information. It would have been done anyway, based on good info or bad.

    • Cowgirl

      Agreed – I always seem to get a headache, nausea and more often than not, a cold after being around smoke for the night. I would prefer not to go back to having it around me all the time.

  • pidge

    …but that doesn’t mean non-smokers should should have to put up with that crap in the air they breath. Feel free to pollute your “own” air, but don’t pollute the air you share with others. I don’t want the stench of stale smoke in my clothes or the respirotory irritation from breathing that crap.

    • pidge

      And a disclaimer – the only time I have had a cigarette between my lips was when I was 11 (at school camp, no less). At the time, I had no idea you were supposed to draw in through the cigarette. And I probably would have said “Are you kidding?!” if I was told that was what you were supposed suck that crap into your lungs.

    • johnooz

      That’s fair I guess, but don’t be surprised if I kick up when you fart in the same room as me, pollute the air I breathe with fecal contaminants and make me nauseous. Nor when I get upset at someone for bringing a bucket of fried chicken into my workspace and causing me to gag uncontrollably and wish I could wipe that crap off the face of the earth. Both of those activities, amongst many others, pollute the air that is shared by others. In short, don’t be so selfish.

      • Bunswalla

        Fair call but in a room full of people you’ll never know it was me (a.k.a. silent but deadly) bahaahaahaahaahahaha

  • Thismayhurtabitsobraceyourself

    How about those that suffer from asthma, emphysema or COPD.
    There are a lot of people who have COPD who have never smoked and the only reason they could possibly have it is via second hand cigarette smoke.
    Anyway, any reason at all to save the world from a few making billions by selling legalised poison is a good reason for me.
    I was addicted to cigarettes for 44 years and am now have COPD.

  • John1234

    The “passive smoking causes cancer” always seemed to me to be about as plausible as cell phone towers causing cancer.

    However it can be argued that passive smoking:
    – Stinks
    – Makes you and your clothes stink
    – Irritates

    And probably is bad for anyone with asthma and other lung sensitivities.

    People who smoke around others are inconsiderate wankers IMO.

    • Flegin

      As a smoker I agree with you to a point, when I go outside at work to have a cigarette and find the smoking shelters purposely erected because of this law filled with non-smokers I’m going to smoke there, plenty of other places the non-smokers can be.

      • John1234

        Fair comment Flegin – and mine was unfair to those smokers who take care not to get their smoke on the non smokers. Good for you.

      • johnbronkhorst

        When I was in London, smoking was allowed on the underground. 2 carriages per train were smoking, they usually stopped next to the escalators, lazy non smokers would jump into the CROWDED smoking carriages and then complained that there was cigarette smoke.

      • TreeCrusher

        Fair apart from the fact so many bars are now being designed in a way that the “outdoor smoking area” is the main area, especially garden bars on a summers day.

        If only smokers knew how bad they smell. About as offensive to the nose as a homeless guy who hasn’t showered in months. I don’t want to sit next to them either.

    • Other_Andy

      “People who smoke around others are inconsiderate wankers IMO.”

      When I grew up smoking was allowed literally anywhere. In hospitals, planes and even my teachers used to smoke in class.
      Even as a smoker myself I found it nauseating to sit in a plane full of chain smokers, especially cigar smokers!

      I have always made sure that, when I smoke, I do not annoy or irritate others with second hand smoke.
      However, “People who complain about smokers in public places outdoors are inconsiderate wankers IMHO.”

      • Ururoa

        A while ago I was smoking on the street in Mission Bay. A lady walked passed and made disparaging comments about smoking in a “public place”. I just ignored her.

        Then I saw her get into a great old Remuera tractor (diesel Pajero if I remember rightly) and drive off in a huge cloud of black smoke right in front of a cafe full of diners.

        Who is causing second hand cancer?

  • Col

    So all those not smoking can now go back on the corner and get free smoke without worrying anymore that the Greens will be looking at you, and wagging there finger, but it is still ok to have a joint, right.

  • unitedtribes

    Passive smoking is still shit and if it don’t give you cancer that dosnt mean it dosnt make you unhealthy. Getting a lung full of someone els’s shit smoke is about the most unpleasant thing that happens to a non smoker. Smokers fuck off.

  • metalnwood

    Interesting but I don’t care on this one. I wouldn’t want to go back to how it was with smoking all over the place. Sure I can choose where I go if I have to avoid it but growing up as a kid with a pack or two a day dad being stuck in the car with him I don’t see how kids who have no choice should be stuck with it. Cancer or not.

  • Justsayn

    But in a round about way the anti-smokers may still be right: from what is said above passive smoking does kill. The social acceptance that come with smoking around other people must increase the number of people that become smokers.

    What is the quote about statistics and lies?

  • drummerboy

    Interesting. But surely a child been raised in a home of smokers could experience other health problems like asthma? Personally I think property owners should decide if people can smoke on their propert, not the government.

  • Andy

    This issue is one of the many “scares” that is discussed in the book “Scared to Death” by Christopher Booker and Richard North

  • LesleyNZ

    Disgusting filthy habit. Ban smoking and smokers – especially in Queen St and High St. When my dad worked in an office years ago he used to say the air was blue with smoke. Don’t tell me that cigarette smoke isn’t harmful. Passive smoking might not give you cancer but there is no doubt that it is not good for your health.

  • Michael J Wood

    My late wife died of lung cancer as did her parents. She stopped smoking 20 years prior to her death but I continued to smoke (no more tho) – so I see a definite link to passive smoke inhalation and lung cancer – I do not have lung cancer myself but I do have Throat Cancer – possibly from smoking.

  • thor42

    I can’t see the “smokefree workplace” law being repealed. The bottom line is that smoking around people who don’t smoke is inconsiderate, does annoy them (usually) and it does make their clothes stink too.

    I worked in an office before the law was passed and we had a guy there who smoked *revolting* cigars. We tried opening the windows but that just blew the smoke along to other people.

    This is *one* law that a Labour government passed that I’m grateful for.

    • LesleyNZ

      Absolutely agree. One good thing Helen Clark’s govt did.

      • Rodger T

        A title for her you reckon Lesley, Baroness Helen Clark, your signature first on the petition?

        • LesleyNZ

          Now that is going a tad far Rodger! There is only one Baroness I know – you know.

  • Dick Brown

    Boo hoo I have asthma; boo hoo I don’t like the smell; boo bloody hoo.

    Smoking is cool.

  • johnbronkhorst

    If I invite you to my house…ashtrays are supplied. If I didn’t want you to be welcome in my house, I wouldn’t invite you in the first place.
    As a host, my first responsibility, IS NOT to make sure you don’t drink too much (that is YOUR responsibility), it is to make sure you feel at home and welcome in MY home!!!!!
    EDIT : My wife has been a non-smoker for 10 years and me for nearly 20.

    • Dan

      I don’t invite smokers to my house because they stink.

  • Andy

    The issue is not whether smoking is bad, good, cool or disgusting. It is recognising when science gets highjacked by those with a political agenda, as so often happens

  • Steve (North Shore)

    Ex smoker (40+ years) I do not mind the smell of smoke, it does not worry me.
    I do not sit downwind of smokers and make a scene.
    Now many people get cancer, many people who do not smoke get cancer, many people who do smoke do not get cancer. There is money to be made here, not from tobacco, but from banning tobacco.
    “tobacco is killing our people” some Moari dick that has trips overseas to India to study, Shane someone.
    Love the smell of a good cigar and pipe tobacco – although I would not try it now

  • TreeCrusher

    Smoking is just a bloody offensive habit. I would be happy with smoking being banned in all public places. Nothing worse than walking down the street behind someone fagging away. I don’t hesitate telling someone they stink if they smoke around me.

    Two easy law changes to make the problem go away.

    1. Ban smoking in all public places
    2. Increase the age to buy tobacco related products by one year every year for the next 35 odd years, then ban it all together.

  • Dan

    Its the smell that is the problem for me. Nothing worse than some asshole smoking along from you at a game.