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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Nicotine, Nazi's and Magical Thinking (Part I)

Anne Frank - From Wikipedia - Did she smoke?
I have been very busy and so have only been updating the Lone Wolf blog for the last few weeks.

Recently, though, I have been involved in a very interesting and unique process.  Several close relatives have been switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes.  And, what is surprising to me, is how much illogical and foolish nonsense is involved in the "myth of the evil cigarette".  To the point that it involves something like an e-cigarette which does not burn anything at all.  How is such a think "smoking" in any rational sense?  How is it a nicotine delivery device any different than, say, an eggplant, which is full of nicotine?  How is something natural like niacin (nicotinic acid or vitamin B3) bad for you?

I call it a "myth" because most of what people seem to believe is not based on any actual science at all but is in fact based on what I will call "politically-based pseudo science".  What is fascinating is that this pseudo science is no more modern or reliable than Hatiian Voodou yet modern people cling to it as if their very lives depend on it.  (Perhaps its because as a nation our burgeoning scientific ignorance is accelerating at a remarkable rate, at least according to this.)

As an advocate of logic the pseudo science of "the evils of cigarette smoking" makes a very interesting tale...

(I am an advocate of the libertarian perspective on all of this - if you don't like it go away and leave me alone and don't take my rights away because of what you don't like.  There are many other dangerous activities and diseases but since they are politically correct science looks for cures and aids to make sufferers live longer - funny how you don't see that with smoking...  Is it morally "better" to create a medication to help an Aids or Hepatitis C sufferer than a smoker?)

The history of this begins in the 1950's as observations about what happened to smokers were turned into epidemiological studies.  I have written here before about this kind of study (magical thinking) and how they work.

In point of fact no one reports the number of smokers who die from cancer as a percentage of smokers, i.e., if 100 people smoke how many will die.  The answer, unfortunately for the anti-smoking Nazi's is that only about 10% or so are actually killed by cancer directly (er, as "directly" as can be claimed) as a result of smoking, i.e., 10 of the 100 will die of cancer (see this).  So the propaganda machine turns this around and always talks about how many people die from lung cancer - which tells you nothing about the actual risk of smoking.

According to this only 1 in 4 smokers will develop progressive and incurable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

And most interestingly and more important there are many new genetic studies that point to all sorts of other genetic links between cancer and smoking such as this in Scientific American.

So my first point in the e-cigarette saga is that smoking is a problem related to being a "social outcast".  Its certainly less dangerous than many things, everyone regardless of whether they smoke or not will still die, and there are many more unpleasant ways to die than via lung cancer, COPD, or other smoking related illnesses.  (One study I would like to see is what does it cost to die.  I would also like to see studies that remove the elderly from the classic types of studies, i.e., what do younger people die from that is not usual.  As I have pointed out here in the past death certificates have only one box for a "cause" - and that is also a problem with all of this.)

So at any rate the ratcheted-up anti-smoking Nazi goose-stepping is all based on the fact that a majority of people don't like smokers.  Surprisingly even heavy pot smokers have complained to me that cigarettes "bother" them - as if that made any kind of sense at all.  They (the cigarette smokers) are "unclean" - to borrow from a more infamous famous historical perspective.

So the bottom line from the e-cigarette perspective is that its the "thought that counts": you're on your way to the concentration camp if you look like you belong there - life will be better for the rest of us (even the heavy pot smokers) without you...

Of course you think that I am some sort of anti-smoking extremist - which I am not. (I am merely a logician applying consistent rules across the boundaries of time to expose "pseudo science" for what it is: nonsense.)

Simply read the link above from the Scientific American - perhaps the smoker sitting next to you has a genetic variation leading them to smoke in the first place.

So how, in the eyes of a Nazi, is that any different than the genetics of Judaism, of Mishchling?

And given a demonstrated genetic component to smoking how is "hating smoking" any different than the evils of racial profiling?  Is a cigarette hanging out of someone's mouth any different than someone wearing a burka or turban?

Its not... its just plain old guilt by genetic predisposition.

While you many not like this, or me for saying it, you will not be able to convince me I am wrong because I am not.

E-cigarettes (which, again, don't even burn anything and hence are not related to smoking at all other than by appearance) have a big hole to dig out of...

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