Political Correctness

The Truths & Myths about Smoking

The Anti-smoking Crusade is the result of a 30+ year campaign by small activist groups and agencies that have grown in power by tapping the cigarette tax dollars, the government teat, and more recently the monies from the tobacco lawsuits. What may have started out as an awareness campaign has been highjacked by the power hungry and those with an alternative agenda. The issue is not as black & white as you may have been led to believe.  It takes a lot of time to do the research and become informed but hopefully this website will give you a broader understanding of the truth and maybe debunk a few of the many myths out there.  Everything here is factual.  Join me in learning the truth.

The Truth about Smoking & Lung Cancer   (instead of the myths that are treated like facts)

  1. Smoking's contribution to heart disease kills more people than lung cancer.1
  2. US white males (the highest risk smokers) have a lifetime relative risk of dying from lung cancer of only 8, not the 20+ times risk (it has even been reported as being as high as 2000 times) that you may have seen.  Even with a relative risk of 8, a heavy smoker still has <8% lifetime chance of dying of  lung cancer.2
  3. No study has ever shown that casual cigar smoker (<5 cigars/wk, not inhaled) has an increased incidence of lung cancer.2
  4. Lung cancer is not in even in the top 5 causes of death, it is only #9.3
  5. All cancers combined account for only 13% of all annual deaths, and lung cancer only 2%.3
  6. Occasional cigarette use (<1 pk/wk) has never been shown to be a risk factor in lung cancer.2
  7. Certain types of pollution are more dangerous than second hand smoke.4
  8. A World Health Organization (WHO) study did not show that passive (second hand) smoke statistically increased the risk of getting lung cancer.3
  9. No study has shown that second hand smoke exposure during childhood increases the risk of getting lung cancer.2
  10. In one study they couldn't even cause lung cancer in mice after prolonged cigarette smoke exposure.5
  11. If everyone in the world stopped smoking 50 years ago, the premature death rate would still be well over 80% of what it is today.(But I thought that smoking was the major cause of preventable death ... hmmm.)
  12. Occasional second hand smoke has never been shown to be a causative factor in lung cancer.  Even according to EPA figures, living with a heavy smoker for 30 or 40 years, will only increase the nonsmoker's chance of getting lung cancer from 0.4% to 0.6%.6

        Smoking is but one factor that can increase the incidence of lung cancer.  Over 20% of all lung cancers occur in nonsmokers.1  Smoking by itself can not cause lung cancer.  The process of developing cancer is complex and multifactorial.  It involves genetics, the immune system, cellular irritation, DNA alteration, dose and duration of exposure, and much more.2  Some of the known risk factors include genetics, asbestos exposure, sex, HIV status, vitamin deficiency, diet, pollution, shipbuilding and even just plain old being lazy.2  When some of these factors are combined they can have a synergistic effect, but none of these risk factors are directly and independently responsible for "causing" lung cancer!
        If you have a family history of lung cancer, I sure wouldn't take up smoking.  But if you want to have an occasional cigar I sure wouldn't talk you out of it.  It is a matter of risk and benefits, which the informed individual should be allowed to decide, not the government.

Myths about Smoking [followed by the truth]

  1. Myth:  If you can smell cigarette smoke then the "bad" parts of the smoke are also there.
    Truth: The portion of smoke that you can smell is only a small fraction of the content but it is also the longest lasting.  Do you really think that because you can smell "smoke" in your clothes the next day that the smoke is still there trying to kill you?  If so you belong to the neurotic (and exceedingly stupid) class of antismokers.7

  2. Myth:  Second-hand smoke is unfiltered smoke and therefore worse than the smoke that the smoker is inhaling.
    Truth: The smoke that a smoker exhales is what you are exposed to as the cigarette does not give off significant smoke while idle.  Therefore the smoke has not only been filtered by the cigarette's filter but also the smoker's respiratory system.

  3. Myth:  A lot of people have an allergy to tobacco smoke.
    Truth: We have looked but been unable to find a single documented case of an allergy to tobacco smoke. What people sometimes call an allergy is really a perceived irritation of the respiratory tract.

  4. Myth:  Cigarettes cause lung cancer.
    Truth: Cigarettes do not cause cancer but are but one of many factors that can increase the incidence of lung cancer. People who have never been exposed to any type of cigarette smoke still get lung cancer. Not only that but for every 100 lifelong heavy smokers, less than 6 of them would ever get lung cancer.1,2  Hardly any direct correlation.

  5. Myth:  Cigarettes are as addictive as heroin.
    Truth: Not only cigarettes but now also hamburgers are as addictive as heroin.8  Of course these are false.  Such statements are  misinterpretations of recidivism rates.  Basically, these people say that because someone who stops smoking or eating a hamburger, often have another cigarette or hamburger down the road at about the same rate as someone who kicks heroin, that they must therefore be equally addictive.  This is nothing but pure sophistry (the incorrect use of logic to fool the public).  It is also a purposeful confusion of psychogenic and physical dependence.  The 1964 Report of the Surgeon General (p.352) states, "The compulsion (to smoke) appears to be solely psychogenic since physical dependence does not develop to nicotine ... nor does tobacco, either during its use or following withdrawal, create psychotoxic effects which lead to antisocial behavior....  In contrast to drugs of addiction, withdrawal from tobacco never constitutes a threat to life.  These facts indicate clearly the absence of physical dependence."

  6. Myth:  Smoking has no medical benefits.
    Truth:  It helps to prevent the development of neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.9-14  It may also be helpful in ADHD, schizophrenia, and depression.14  Smoking has been found to be relaxing for beneficial for some anxiety disorders and people with type A personalities.  In fact, taking away smoking from some subgroups can increase their medical problems and chance of dying). Smoking like caffeine can help a person get going in the morning and improve their energy state.7  Though some of the benefits from smoking may be due to some individual components such as nicotine, studies need to be done and an effective means of administration needs to be developed.

 

"Yes, smoking is bad for you, but so is fast-food hamburgers, driving, and so on. We must weigh the risk and benefits of the behavior both as a society and as an individual based on unbiased information. Be warned though, that a society that attempts to remove all risk terminates individual liberty and will ultimately perish. Let us be logical in our endeavors and true in our pursuit of knowledge. Instead of fearful waiting for lung cancer to get me (because the media and much of the medical literature has falsely told me that smoking causes lung cancer), I can enjoy my occasional cigar even more now...now that I know the whole story."2

 

References:

  1. "Cigarette Smoking-Related Mortality", CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/research_data/health_consequences/mortali.htm .
  2. Siepmann, J.P., "Smoking Does Not Cause Lung Cancer (WHO/CDC data)!", Journal of Theoretics, Vol.1-4.
  3. World health Organization data.
  4. The World Health Report 1999, chapter 5 and Statistical Annex and CDC data (http://www.cdc.gov/scientific.htm).
  5. Finch GL, Nikula KJ, Belinsky SA, Barr EB, Stoner GD, Lechner JF, Failure of cigarette smoke to induce or promote lung cancer in the A/J mouse, Cancer Lett; 99(2):161-7 1996.
  6. EPA Report of 1993.
  7. McFadden, M.J., Dissecting Antismokers' Brains, AEthna Press, 2003.
  8. Hoffman, B., "BURGERS ARE AS ADDICTIVE AS HEROIN: STUDY", New York Post. New York, N.Y.: Jul 14, 2003. pg. 019.
  9. "A statistically significant inverse association between smoking and Alzheimer's disease was observed at all levels of analysis, with a trend towards decreasing risk with increasing consumption" (International Journal of Epidemiology, 1991). "The risk of Alzheimer's disease decreased with increasing daily number of cigarettes smoked before onset of disease. . . . In six families in which the disease was apparently inherited . . . the mean age of onset was 4.17 years later in smoking patients than in non-smoking patients from the same family" (British Medical Journal, June 22, 1991). "Although more data are needed . . . [an analysis of 19 studies suggests] nicotine protects against AD" (Neuroepidemiology, 1994). Nicotine injections significantly improved certain types of mental functioning in Alzheimer's patients (Psychopharmacology, 1992).
  10. Over 20 supporting references at http://www.forces.org/evidence/carol/carol16.htm .
  11. Allam, M. F., M. J. Campbell, et al. (2002). "[Parkinson's disease and smoking: coherence and plausibility]." Rev Neurol 34(7): 686-9.
  12. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/index.php?newsid=6544 .
  13. http://www.medicalcrossfire.com/debate_archive/2000/dec_00/Nicotine.htm .

This Freedom-of-Choice website is not meant to promote or encourage smoking but to present the information, that is often neglected by the mainstream media, so that individuals can make informed decisions about personal freedom.  We are an independent think-tank about personal freedoms and do not receive any monies from any organization that has any interest in the smoking debate.


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