This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
Bearing in mind the lack of rigorous evidence for secondary smoking then how can these guys be helped?
There are a good many benefits to getting smokers back inside; not least their health with a cold winter coming up, all that standing around in the wind, rain snow and cold and the exposure to muggers cannot be good.
To say nothing of making a judgement about the point at which the loss of civil liberties outweighs any potential other benefits. I'm pretty sure there must be some economic impact of the secondary smoking legislation on pubs, restaurants etc.
Incidentally, it will save all those arguments with "jobsworths". I had one at Gatwick station a while back. I had made the brave decision to take the train from the airport rather than drive ... a 25minute drive if well within nanny states speed limits. One hour into my wait on the platform (pretty well every train was delayed and several cancelled, some jobsworth railway guard laid into a passenger smoking on the platform.
"You aren't allowed to smoke." he said.
"Who says?" asks the man, "This isn't an enclosed space."
"The government. No smoking on railway property." he says smuggly.
"Tough." says the smoker.
"Its a £1000 fine." replies the jobsworth "and security is watching everything you do on CCTV."
The man looked round to see if a squad of the Sturm Abteilung were heading his way. No.
"Bring them on." says he.
So, rather than worry about why so many trains are late or cancelled or the service is so poor, BR security (Sorry, no BR any more but who the hell is it these days?) is going to be busy enforcing government mandates.
ABout time we ended that too.
Alcohol is next and they have a lot of room for taxes.
Just a thought.
In the USA at $6 per pack, cigarettes cost $136 per pound and about $70 of that $136 are taxes.
At that tax rate per ounce, an ordinary 12 oz glass of beer would cost about $53!!!!
Early death and disease is the result of disrespect, discourteousness, insulting behaviors, harassment, poor service,and fearful reactions.
Antis turn smokers into 2nd class people and then blame the smokers for the bad effects on their health.
You can go through this series of articles and substitute 'smoking' and 'smokers' for 'obesity' and 'the obese'.
In another study of successful minorities, those with certain cultural backgrounds who reported experiencing the highest levels of mistreatment, including disrespect, discourteousness, insulting behaviors, harassment, poor service, fearful reactions, and/or assumptions of dishonesty or stupidity, had more health problems, including cardiovascular, respiratory and pain-related health troubles.
The associations were not related to age, education, income levels or job status.
What the research is showing is that everyday slights can turn into long-term health effects,” he said. “For people to be suffering from premature illness and death related to exposure to discrimination is not acceptable."
In other words they made two leaps. Firstly that death certificates were accurate, and secondly that any of these cancers listed above were caused by smoking.
Professor Alvan Feinstein, of Yale, a world authority on epidemiology (the study of the causes of disease), has said firmly that death certificates are merely "passports to burial", and for more than 50 years, every time someone has studied the causes of death listed on the death certificates, the conclusion has been that the information is 'grossly inaccurate and unreliable".
A joint report by the Royal Colleges of Pathologists Surgeons and Physicians ("The Autopsy and Audit", 1991), says: "In autopsies (post-mortems) performed on patients thought to have died of malignant disease (cancer) there was only 75% agreement that malignancy was the cause of the death and in only 56% was the primary site identified correctly."
If you are told you have cancer there is a one in four chance that you haven't, and even if you have, there is almost a fifty-fifty chance that you're being treated for one in the wrong place.
The report ended: "Such high levels of discordance mean that mortality statistics which are not supported by autopsy examinations must be viewed with caution." The rate of post-mortems in England and Wales is 27%.
That was in 1991,rate of post-mortems today is probably much lower at about 5%.
A survey in Hungary, which has a very high rate of postmortems, showed that even when autopsies were performed pathologists couldn't be dead sure of what had killed the diseased in almost 20% of the cases.
We have a problem too with international databases... do different countries tend to have different standard answers where no autopsy performed?
If the databases were culled to only retain data where there has been an autopsy performed and not simply the attending physicians best guess/standard response there'd be virtually no database left and it would be seriously distorted since autopsies would be for atypical deaths anyway.
Admittedly, where there is a recent medical history and the attending physician is the patients own physician, there is a good chance the autopsy is accurate, or so I would have thought. The data given above is worrying. So too when you know cases where the patients own doctor can't add two and two and come up with four.
For example, our neighbour had a brain tumour, was operated on and returned home. A year later she presented with the same symptoms. We all thought she had had a recurrence. The doctor thought otherwise and she died of it.
What should happen is the Government should require autopsies on a percentage of "normal" deaths in order to build a reliable data base.
Of course, that isn't going to happen so the best we can do is recognise there is a serious problem with the data base and ask that nice Michael Mann (or is it James Hansen? I can't keep my vilains straight)if he can "correct it".
I hate smoking. Smokers stink, spread litter everywhere and set fire to buildings. Smoking ought to be legal everywhere outdoors and in pubs and bars. The fact that people such as me stronmgly dislike it is no reason whatever for banning it.
Yet more propaganda has hit the airwaves this morning. I saw this reported on Sky News, and online at the beeb http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8267523.stm
From the links on this page you can get to the study itself here http://content.onlinejacc.org/cgi/content/abstract/54/14/1249
Unless you join the American College of Cardiology you can only read this Abstract. However even from this we can see that it was a meta-study. The numbers quoted are so far beyond the realms of possibility that it must be lies, but without the full text it is again hard to know exactly how they've done it. However there might be a slight clue in the Abstract itself where it says