One often sees these days that when an experiment about the effects of smoking is reported on which is not negative to smoking then the result is quickly written off as having been sponsored by the cigarette industry – whether this is a fact, or whether this had any influence on the result of the project does not matter. The mere fact that it does not condemn smoking makes it a reasonable assumption that the researcher is biased.
When I read books or articles about smoking I find myself asking: so what is the authors bias. I assume that anyone reading this blog will be asking themselves this question.
So let me spell out what I believe:
- I am heavy smoker. Sadly three of my children are smokers (2 girls and 1 boy) and two are not (2 boys).
- Both my mother and father died of lung-cancer. My father was a heavy smoker and my mother was not. My mother died some twenty years after my father and after his death no-one smoked in my mother’s house so her exposure to second-hand smoking was very limited. I believe that she just got lung-cancer and not as a result of smoking by herself or others.
- I believe that smoking is a bad for your health. The evidence that smoking increases your chances of lung cancer being the cause of your death is solid.
- I do not subscribe to secondary smoking increasing the chances of lung cancer – except if you are in a much polluted environment. The research on this topic has as many studies suggesting that secondary smoking might increase the risk of lung cancer as what there are studies suggesting it does not.
- I believe that advertising of cigarettes has little effect on smoking.
- I believe that about a third of any population has a brain structure that requires a form of medication and smoking is a (legal) form of self-medication.
- I hate smoke in confined spaces just as much as any anti-smoking activist. I did not smoke on airplanes when it was allowed for this reason. I am happy to eat in restaurants where there are smoking areas, to travel in trains with smoking compartments, live in hotels with no-smoking rooms (which I don’t ask for).
- I do not like the way that smokers are crammed into small spaces with poor ventilation, or outside in the snow at bars in the UK, etc. This goes beyond the rights of non-smokers and is mostly vindictiveness.
- I believe it is the right of individual pub owners to decide whether their pubs are to be smoke-free.
I am writing this book to make smokers and especially non-smokers – of the milder kind – aware of the real reason why anti-smoking has reached the extreme measures that it has in many countries. I hope that through this awareness there will ultimately be a reasonableness shown to the lifestyle of smokers.