This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
I agree with everything you say here.
One clarification though. The dead include the people who are just ill. The people who are sick see doctors. People who aren't don't.
There indeed is the rub. I have smoked a pack per day of non-filtered cigarettes since I was 14 years old. X-rays and my doctor's stethoscope say that my lungs are exceptionally clear (I do a deep lung cleansing exercise several times a day) I am 76 years of age.
In addition, I also drank a lot of alcohol for a long time, and still drink a "wee drop" almost every evening.
I have found that by drinking a mix of one 11 1/2 oz can of V8 juice mixed with a 12 oz bottle of Negro Modelo beer every day, that this is a veritable potion of youth. I am 76 years old with as of now, a 55 year old body. I can even do deep knee bend exercises. Everyone who has tried it says the same thing. It makes their bodies physically younnger, and heals existing physical painful problems (and I don't get a single penny out of this).
Individuals are all a bit different from a phyysical standpoint. And who could know what other bad things those who contract cancer of the lung.
Another sigificant point: during the time the studies of cigarette smoking were done, the Kent cigarette company was making a filter out of asbestos fibers . . . for at least 12 years. Moreover, smokers like myself smoked one pack per day, while many were smoking 3 or 4 packs per day.
The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
@Gary K, ex-cyclists will not die in motorcyling accidents because they are no longer exposed to the things that cause the death (like hitting the pavement at high speed). Ex-smokers however can still die of having smoked as the damage lingers on. The exposure and the effect can be separated by quite some time, which is not the case with motorcycling.
"The exposure and the effect can be separated by quite some time"
No more than 10-15 years at the most.
Health Care professionals tell us that 10-15 years after quitting a smoker's risk of cancer and heart disease is about the same as a never-smoker's.
One thing I don't buy on the smoking issue is that smoking causes cancer.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to pretend that smoking isn't harmful, I just don't buy the causes bit.
I suspect that there is something in each of us that makes some more susceptible to cancer than others. From there you get the increase in cancers which I would say are more correctly described as aggravated by smoking.
Don't all pounce at once..
But you are just paraphrasing our host...
You can only rarely get in trouble for paraphrasing. the host of a party. As long as the paraphrase is used positively...
While the plural of anecdotes is most definitely NOT data. Ignoring the implications of the anecdotes is also not science. The outliers do matter. The Japanese not dying from heart issues is worth researching (which IIRC turns out to have something to do with a bias against reporting deaths as associated with hearts). The people who thwart the "rules of healthy living" and thrive should make you ask why...
I believe our host has pointed to the most probable source of why -- stress --. Most specifically how each of us deals with it. Personally, I look at the trees and realize that they don't give a flying leap about my worries and realize that if my worries aren't important enough for the trees to worry about, they are probably aren't going to kill me.
A long time ago in an off beat classroom far far away, a teacher asked "How are a pineapple and a electrician the same?" A flippant student (not me, I am not that creative) responded, "They are both affected by thermonuclear detonations!" The truth of the answer was that he was trying to "satisfy" the requirements of participation. It has stayed with me all this time though. How do you measure the stuff that doesn't kill you other than reiterating pithy sayings like "If it doesn't kill you it just makes you stronger!"
Linear No Threshhold was beaten into me in Nuclear Power School. Combined with Time, Distance, Shielding, it was a very useful tool for planning. Always treat radiation carefully and it won't kill you. The application of this to operations got wacko. If there was some way that a person could get irradiated during an evolution, we prevented that path from happening. The problem with this was that we would spend an entire shift locking out everything to make an evolution possible because there was a chance that "a person might climb the ladder on the other side of the high bay, possibly in line with the portal that will be open for the removal of the remote arm. Any device that might put radioactive material in the position to stream through that portal must be secured. There is a chance that an earthquake might hit of such magnitude that the radioactive material will bounce from the transfer train up 6 feet to hit the transmission hole, therefore tag it out." We operated on the precautionary principle.. I can't say it was completely wrong for us to think that way. Tactically, it is actually sort of sensible. When moving radioactive material around, keep people away from it and you limit the problems that can happen. The cost of not thinking that way could be someone's life. When you are moving 40 ton casks around filled with highly radioactive material, move slowly and carefully but with efficiency.
All this is a careful means of avoiding the work I should be doing. I swear it is related to the discussion. Happily the people in this group tend not to jump on me as a denier of science, which happens on so many other sites.