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« More thoughts on snipers and smoking | Main | Out of Africa – update »

"Snipers could soon snuff out smoking"

Let's put it down to bad timing.

This week's issue of the Luton Herald & Post (published on Thursday) describes in detail how people smoking on the streets of Luton should be shot by a "squad of licensed snipers" to save the Health Service the cost of looking after them in later years.

Oddly enough I can't find the article, by columnist Alan Dee, online (perhaps it's been removed following the news from Norway), but I've seen the digital edition and I thought you might like to read it in full. (I'll post it shortly.)

H/T Sean Spillane

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References (3)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Our catalogue of anti-smoker psychopaths was originally intended for picking up mentally unbalanced gems from the commentariat, but then I suppose the law of averages dictates that one of the swivel-eyed crazies would also happen to work in the newspaper industry
  • Response
    I am amazed, frankly, that the editor allowed this execrable piece of piss-poor journalism (and I use the term loosely) past his desk. Shame on him.
  • Response
    Response: OUTRAGEOUS!
    Frankly, unbiased and ethical publications such as the Luton Herald and Post should have put this propaganda to the test and then perhaps prejudices as wild as your reporter's would not have got to such hysterical levels.

Reader Comments (80)

Absolutely disgusting - and rather reminiscent of the 10/10 "blow up climate change deniers" video which so spectacularly backfired on them.

Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 15:36 | Unregistered CommenterCurmudgeon

And when some lunatic decides to act on this 'advice' by Alan Dee, is he and/or his editor going to show his face and apologise and grovel to the bereaved family?

Totaly disgusting, disgraceful and sick!

Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 16:26 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

My comments to the editor of this odious publication:

This is the most disgusting article I can remember reading.
Is it not a crime to incite to maim or kill?
I sincerely hope that an apology and a reasonable statement will be published at the earliest opportunity and also hope that it comes before some lunatic decides to follow this 'advice'!
Should the worse happen, will your and/or Alan Dee be the first to apologise and offer comfort to the bereaved family? Judging by this article that you allowed to run, I would very much doubt it; perhaps the next article you print would be to share how you all celebrated this event with champagne and caviar?
A most juvenile and dangerous act of self gratification.
Yours, most disgusted
Lyn Ladds

Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 16:33 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

"My only suggestion for effective action is to be a bit literal around it ..... So let's set a squad of licesed snipers on the streets, with permission to pick off smokers whenever there's a clear shot."

Has anybody notified the police about this article? The two sentences above are quite, quite clearly an incitement to violence, helpfully acknowledged by the writer himself as his own suggestion. I strongly suspect that, to protect themselves, this is why the paper removed it from the online version so quickly, but if it went into the printed version of the paper as well then if anyone takes this further, the paper (and the writer) are in deep, deep "doo-dah."

Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 17:01 | Unregistered CommenterMisty

Complaint made.

Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 17:38 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda

From Dee's other article:

"As intelligent beings, we’re supposed to be able to learn from the mistakes of others – but how many more email scandals do we need before we all accept that every time we press ‘send’ it could come back to bite us?"

Intelligent beings are usually wise enough not to press send on articles about killing people in the street, too.

Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 18:20 | Unregistered CommenterDick Puddlecote

Have written demanding a full retraction and apology.

Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 18:30 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Maybe the writer of this piece will one day blush at the memory of his words. What would happen to him if any other law-abiding minority group were substituted for the word 'smokers' in this article? Perhaps he is young and hopes to impress a Fleet Street features editor with his cuttings file. I was a weekly newspaper journalist more than 50 years ago. I can think of one or two pieces I wrote as a young man, the pretentiousness of which now make me blush. Perhaps he should ask himself whether, if he were taken ill in the street, he would accept the help of a doctor or nurse or a passer by who is a smoker. Pretentiousness is a dangerous temptation for the ambitious. I wish him well.

Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 20:06 | Unregistered CommenterNorman

what Complete Wutfickery

Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 21:19 | Unregistered CommenterRichardsomm

congratulations on publishing a wonderful article from the obviously talented and perceptive Mr Dee.

I think under the circumstances he should be congratulated for putting into words what a few deranged and deluded half wits have been saying for some time.

It's truly heartening to see that quality journalism is allowed to flourish under an enlightened and truly thoughtful editorial regime.

Perhaps you'd be kind enough to print his photograph so that we can all see this paradigm of journalistic virtue?

yours hopefully

Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 21:34 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Al;so published here:-

Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 21:39 | Unregistered CommenterEddie D

Online complaint made to the PCC. This should also be a matter for the Police.

Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 22:04 | Unregistered CommenterEddie D

Eddie D

Your link seems to be incomplete.

Comment posted on digital edition. Email complaint sent (mentioned 148 - 2).

Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 22:26 | Unregistered CommenterJunican


Copy and paste didn't work but I have just noticed that the link to the story in Hemel Today is mentioned in Simon's update(8 lines from the end).

"Update: I have found the article online. It's on Hemel Today, which is the website for the Hemel Express."

Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 23:36 | Unregistered CommenterEddie D

Dear Ms Hughes

I am unable to comprehend the article by Alan Dee with regard to setting up snipers to shoot people who smoke. I have been informed that this was humour. My children, one an ex smoker and the other a social smoker, would not be at all happy that their Dad is alleged to " indulge in a noxious habit that makes them stink".

I would not "come wheezing to" Alan Dee to complain about his article, as I do not have a wheeze.

Mr Dee says "And if they defiantly carry on puffing, when they are popped between the eyes it will save the health service all the costs of caring for them in their declining years." Smoking related illness allegedly costs the NHS 3.5 billion pounds a year. Mentioning my children again, how would they feel if their father had dementia, and Alan Dee had suiggested shooting sufferers of that?, after all, it would save the NHS 23 billion pounds a year!

I still cannot believe that that this kind of patronising hate gets published.

Yours sincerely

Tim Paton

Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 23:47 | Unregistered Commentertimbone

Perhaps this clown took his inspiration from here:

Not very original at all, it?

Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 1:39 | Unregistered CommenterBill Brown

I have written to Lynn Hughes the editor of this dish-rag, the Press Complaints Commission, the bastards at ASH, and my MP. I took particular delight in writing to my MP and rubbing his nose in it since he is in favour of the smoking ban. I have asked him to write to Lynn Hughes asking her for an explanation for these sentiments expressed by Alan Dee.

I also included some useful reading that he can indulge in so that he might educate himself, while away on their ludicrously long sojourn. I gave him plenty of links to follow up, so no excuses then. I asked him to look at the comments on this site to get an idea of how offended the general public is.

My only regret? Well, having once shoved his face nicely into the crap-pile – I can’t keep it there!
Anyway, must keep this issue nicely on the boil for them though – eh?

BTW Simon, I’m sorry this armchair activist can’t do more – sleep tight poppet!

Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 3:09 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

Well done, JJ.

I have two complaints in with the Press Commission. One has been dismissed - which I expected, and the other is still ongoing. I expect that also to be dismissed. The important thing is to complain and to keep on complaining. Keep on complaining about the distortions which newspapers print on the say-so of ASH ET AL (the front group for the DoH, the Chemical Industry (drugs companies) and the BMA).

I am glad to see that someone else has complained to the Press Commission - I thought that I was alone.

Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 3:34 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

Junican - Pat Nurse has also sent a letter to the Press Complaints Commission too, in the form of a copy of a letter she sent to the editor of the Luton and Herald Post.

Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 3:48 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

Quite independentlyI have also sent a full & proper complaint to the PCC Simon and also a reversal article to the editor suggesting that perhaps all the new wave of 'sanctimonious prats' should be snipered and that old style tolerance be brought back! I will post it on here if you wish.

Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 10:28 | Unregistered CommenterPhil Johnson

Has anyone complained about this article to the Chief Constable, Bedfordshire Police?

Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 10:52 | Unregistered CommenterGeoff

I know this is a bit off subject, but I could believe my eyes when I read this, in this morning's paper. If there was a prize for double standards, this would surely qualify for it.

The quote in question, comes from HM Customs & Excise, who speak about the quality of a load of counterfeit cigarettes they had just seized. "The quality of the cigarettes was extremely poor" they said, "and they were likely to pose a health risk".

In other words cigarettes manufactured here, with their tax going to our Government are perfectly safe then? It now seems to be only those made in China, which "pose a health risk"

You can read the whole article here

Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 11:19 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

I know Peter, I am rather hoping they will print my response to this double decker bilge! :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 11:41 | Unregistered CommenterPhil Johnson

Just spotted this article and some of the responses to it.

I'm not here to condone Alan Dee's remarks. For me there is no place for any posts condoning violence against either smokers or non-smokers. Much like Victoria Coren's awful remarks about Linda Buchanan, who was assaulted by a smoker on a railway platform ("On a bad day, I'd have shoved her off the platform myself.").

But my jaw drops at the rank hypocrisy of Phil Johnson in particular, the chair of Freedom2Choose and so supposedly a responsible and authoritative figurehead for your cause. He says he has complained to the PCC about the Dee article. This, mark you, is the same person who talked about the death of Konrad Jamrozik thus: "How can any smoker or any scientist/statistician with any degree of dignity rue the loss of this cretin?.....the world is well rid of such turds."

When it comes to vile, hideous and unacceptable language, some people really ought to look closer to home.

Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 12:52 | Unregistered CommenterRollo Tommasi

It’s wonderful to hear from the caped crusader of virtue, the protector of probity, the defender of fairness, the espouser of equity, the righter of wrongs - the Mass Debater (secret identity – Rollo).

Keep up the good work, Mass. Ah, ’tis a wonderful, inspiring image; the Mass Debater atop his trusty steed (Moral Mule) with his spangled chartreuse cape, beautifully complementing his pallid complexion, quasi-fluttering in the breeze; the outer-worn, mauve underpants pulled up tight over his understated, designer-grey sweatpants. Onward and Away!! [clip-clop.... clip-clop]

Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 13:30 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

I am not going use Simons blog to argue with Pope Rollo the Pious, but I still do not see how any sane person can defend the scientific junk produced by the likes of Jamrozic when the SCOTH Committee purposely ignored studies by scientists with integrity (including the WHO!) to gain a result they so obviously wanted!
Secondly, Pope Rollo the Pious, Jamrozic was already dead-this idiot (Alan Dee) is sending out a clear message to go round shooting smokers-who all happen to be alive at present! Now that is what I call "vile, hideous and unacceptable language" as it is pure incitement to hatred and violence!

Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 15:10 | Unregistered CommenterPhil Johnson

Complaint to PCC filed.

It looks as though the number of plaintiffs on this occasion is substantial. Massive protest, of course, also secured the pulling of the advert about smokers getting hit and the one about the hook in the mouth. Both pretty sick.

What we are seeing happening here is very interesting, in that, the number of people prepared to put their protest into action is increasing significantly. Stony Stratford was another instance of this militancy. However, what I am getting at is that a clear course of action is emerging for us so long as we don't become apathetic again.

In 2004/2005/2006, when the protests about the proposed smoking ban were taking place in Scotland, and Wales as well as the protests to the House of Commons and House of Lords, there were very few people taking part. In fact, a number of the people I was working with were Americans. Now, however, the picture is changing and it is only by lots of people undertaking such actions as I have described, that all sorts of minorities and social groups have been able to make their presence felt. I wonder too, if there had been a current level of action as to whether the smoking ban would have been made law in the first place.

Having said all that, the current proposal in Wales to ban smoking in cars carrying in children, does represent another and rather sinister step forward for the anti smoking lobby. I think that most of us are agreed that if such a ban is implemented, it is only a matter of time before the next step is proposed which will be to interfere in what people do in their own homes.

Leaving aside the fact that plenty of data manipulation has occurred to make a car ban seem a decent proposition to MPs, what carefully structured course of action should be taken by us (provided the numbers are willing to take part) to fight the car ban?

Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 17:02 | Unregistered CommenterBlad Tolstoy

Dee is an idiot, but people who complain to the police or accuse him of a hate crime are descending to the level of some of the nastiest people we have to live with.

Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 18:32 | Unregistered CommenterLittle Black Sambo

"but people who complain to the police or accuse him of a hate crime are descending to the level of some of the nastiest people we have to live with".

We didn't start these petty vendettas nor did we ask for them. We did not ask for a smoking ban nor were we ever consulted. Nor did we wish, over 13 years, for the introduction of varying levels of 'hate crime' by the very same Govts. All were imposed by machination of small pressure groups.

We asked for none of this and whilst I agree that being a prat is not yet illegal, the prospect of 'hoist by your own petard' or 'chickens home to roost' is, quite sweet.

I also hope that one Rollo, in his efforts to save the world or, at least, his perceived 1/100k people from alleged premature death (or whatever fantasy figures the latest piece of garbage dictates) is happy and content in the knowledge of the antagonism, conflict and sheer hysteria his ilk have caused.

Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 19:44 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Off topic, but seeing as your hovering around Rollo, perhaps you'd care to comment on the overwhelming public rejection of the proposals that Stony Stratford town council adopts policies that could, potentially, pave the way towards a smoking ban on commercial and residential streets? Less than 1% of those present supported Paul Bartlett. This was an open meeting, so why was there virtually no demonstrable public support?

Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 21:01 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Why does Rollo Tomassi scour these topics and turn around anything she sees as being pro choice?

Every time I read an article about smoking her awful presence is there.

Konrad Jamrozik died and most people enjoy hearing about the death of such a bigoted person who preached that people would live long lives if they stayed away from smoke and smokers. That is what is called poetic justice. However people did not call for him to die as Alan Dee has done in saying that people should shoot smokers.

Monday, July 25, 2011 at 0:01 | Unregistered CommenterShirley Scott


I’m not quite sure exactly which “nastiest elements of society” you think that anyone complaining about this might be comparable to, but even if you’re right, I think that “acting like them” is the worst possible reason for not complaining in this particular instance. If the justice system has been abused by these “nasty” people for their own ends, does this then automatically mean that “decent” people shouldn’t use it at all, even when a crime has quite clearly been committed? Of course not!

Inciting violence towards anyone is a crime, and Dee has done precisely this in pretty straightforward language in his article. Contrary to popular belief, hate crimes aren’t just restricted to race, sex or religion and can be aimed at anyone that the criminal doesn’t like. Single mothers, drug users, hoodies, vagrants, benefits claimants, cyclists, Man United supporters – you name it, there’ll be someone out there who’d like “their” pet hate group rounded up and eliminated.

Smokers are already enduring the kind of prejudice previously doled out to other – now rightly protected – groups of people, tacitly supported by all those authorities who claim to be working for everyone and who loudly trumpet their “equal rights” credentials to anyone who will listen, whilst quietly overlooking the fact that all those nasty elements of human nature which they feel so proud of eradicating are simply being directed elsewhere towards a different target group. But it’s a sign that a crucial line has been crossed when those people who have been so keen to embrace all the state-sanctioned encouragement to indulge themselves in a bit of gratuitous bullying now feel they are powerful enough to commit a criminal offence and get away with it, because it’s “only directed towards smokers,” and as such should be of huge concern to everyone – smokers and non-smokers alike.

And if “decent” people decide to draw this to the attention of the authorities, and in so doing act in a similar way to “nasty” people, then that, to my mind, is a price worth paying - for everyone's sake.

Monday, July 25, 2011 at 0:23 | Unregistered CommenterMisty

We should notice that Rollo (bless him/her) always picks on a particular bit of an argument. In this case, the bit is an 'ad hominem' attack on Phil Johnson.

There really is no point in bothering with the Rollos of this world. They regard all human beings as clones of each other. All have the same physical make-up; all are exactly the same. In Rollo's view, people who have allergic reactions to substances such as peanuts are not different from other human beings. EVERYBODY IS POTENTIALLY ALLERGIC TO PEANUTS. There can be no doubt of that, since studies of allergies to peanuts have revealed that being allergic to peanuts IS SPREAD AROUND THROUGHOUT THE POPULATION. Therefore, peanuts should be banned. Why have peanuts not been banned?

And the same argument applies to the enjoyment of tobacco. It is probably true that some people are 'allergic' to tobacco smoke, and this allergy can be disastrous - but not everyone is allergic. In fact, few people are.

It seems to me that the whole anti-tobacco edifice is built upon the exploitation of allergies. Essentially, people who suffer from tobacco fumes do so because they are allergic. It is the only reasonable explanation for the lack of deaths in smokers of yesteryear.

Monday, July 25, 2011 at 0:41 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

Sod all the complaints and complaining,

Alan Dee - your game, your rules.

His type want a war, give them a war. They understand nothing else.

Monday, July 25, 2011 at 0:44 | Unregistered CommenterLeg-iron

But, LI, THEY HAVE CONTROL OF THE MEDIA! They are able to influence the great unwashed who cannot think rationally and can only think like animals - emotionally. There lies the huge problem. So many people cannot think rationally, and they are being mercilessly exploited by ASH ET AL for the commercial benefit of Chemical Companies.

Where, for example, is the evidence that children are adversely affected by tobacco smoke in normal, everyday, circumstances? Who said so? Where is the evidence? Beats me.

Monday, July 25, 2011 at 1:43 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

No-one is allergic to tobacco smoke, Junican. In order to be allergic to something, that something must contain allergens which are made of protein. There is not protein in tobacco smoke or any other kind of smoke that I am aware of.

Monday, July 25, 2011 at 11:04 | Unregistered CommenterBlad Tolstoy


I have just written a post after some research and you may well be right. Not only could an asthma attack be brought on psychosomaticism from the sight of people smoking, but asthma and atopy maybe in the FIRST PLACE psychosomatic. Usually as a result of an overbearing and controlling parent.

Monday, July 25, 2011 at 11:21 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

You are right Dave, I have witnessed this myself on a number of occasions. One, a few years back, before the ban, when a young boy in a restaurant saw me smoking, and immediately started coughing and spluttering, ending with his father arguing with me - telling me I shouldn't be smoking etc etc., which of course I completely ignored. Half an hour or so later, he caught sight of me smoking again, and the whole things started up again. But what he had not seen, was a guy sitting behind him, who was also smoking - and because he hadn't seen him, it hadn't caused him any stress. He only became stressed and "suffered" his so called attacks, when he actually saw someone smoking, which unfortunately for me, just happened to be me!

Monday, July 25, 2011 at 11:35 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

You should have swopped his ears round Peter!

Monday, July 25, 2011 at 11:46 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

Phil Johnson, as far as I am aware, has not called for smokerphobics such as Jamrozik to be singled out for violence nor has Phil urged other citizens to shoot anti-smokers on sight, nor beat them in public. Phil expressed his own opinion of a junk scientist who, frankly, lied to help push forward the ideological aim that Rollo and those in his movement believe is in our best interest - even if we don't agree and really are the experts on this issue as for some of us we have studied it first hand for a lifetime unlike Jamrozik who just did clever maths and multiplication in a paid for results study.

As for the anti-smoker lady who took it upon herself to walk the length of a railway platform to attack a smoker who then responded making her come off the worse and him come off the criminal, I think there is an example of why public bullying supported by Govt is a dangerous track to take.

Monday, July 25, 2011 at 14:07 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Seems the idea of shooting people at point blank range isn't that funny any more, even if the most obvious high profile target for this kind of narcissist might be Nick Clegg.
Conversely, given that smokers are far more likely to be collateral damage when the next nutter decides to blow up public space at the start of a weekend, perhaps they should think along the lines of the authorities in Nevada.
Smoking Scot

Monday, July 25, 2011 at 22:57 | Unregistered CommenterSmoking Scot

Could this possibly be satire in the tradition of Jonathan Swift's "Modest Porposal"?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 4:32 | Unregistered Commenterchris

It appears that the piece on "Hemel Today" has now been taken down.

Has anyone received a reply to their complaints from the paper yet?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 22:43 | Unregistered CommenterCurmudgeon

Hi Curmudgeon, no reply from the paper but an acceptance from the PCC that complaint is now being considered. it's a start.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 23:19 | Unregistered CommenterPhil Johnson

The PCC have contacted me and asked which clause do I wish to have this article considered under.

There does not appear to be a clause in their code that would cover this article.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 1:02 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

For what it is worth I sent this back after receiving the same insulting question (it seems they try to cover every base; ie, journo's can write what the hell they like!)
Dear Sir,
Firstly I cannot believe, after reading this article, yet again, that you are questioning me as to what I specifically am referring to!
Here goes:-
i) Journalists must not engage in intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit.
I assume that telling smokers that an underground sniper movement has nothing to do with intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit?

12) Discrimination
I assume that singling out smokers and only smokers for public shooting, public execution because of the legal pursuit they choose to follow is allowed to rest under the banner of discrimination?

The Public Interest:
3. Whenever the public interest is invoked, the PCC will require editors to demonstrate fully that they reasonably believed that publication, or journalistic activity undertaken with a view to publication, would be in the public interest.
Apart from a few psycho's, what, about randomly shooting smokers is in the "public's interest"?

Notes: I am fully aware that other people have written to the PCC with complaints about this article so I know I am not alone with my disgust, at the distasteful manner with which Alan Dee sees smokers. Personally, if nothing is done about this I hope a 'psycho smoker' decides to 'pop' him!. How would you describe that action?
Yours sincerely

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 2:30 | Unregistered CommenterPhil Johnson

Quite right Phil.

I shall see what comes of my response. What they did say was that those that had complained had cited clause 4 (harassment), and clause 12 (discrimination).

Well here are both clauses 4 and 12.

Clause 4: Harassment

1. Journalists must not engage in intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit.
2. They must not persist in questioning, telephoning, pursuing or photographing individuals once asked to desist; nor remain on their property when asked to leave and must not follow them. If requested, they must identify themselves and whom they represent.
3. Editors must ensure these principles are observed by those working for them and take care not to use non-compliant material from other sources.

Clause 12: Discrimination

1. The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual's race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.
2. Details of an individual's race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.

It would appear from this code, if taken literally, that the PCC would not consider looking at the complaint made about Alan Dee’s journalism, since the actual content of the article (whether it be incitement or not) simply isn’t covered by their code of conduct.

How could it possibly be that an article in a local newspaper written by a journalist suggesting shooting smokers - isn't covered by a relevant code of conduct clause?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 5:35 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

Rollo, As you may know my opinion on the Linda Buchanan incedent is this:

I have to mostly agree with Rollo on this one, this thug has been proven guilty in a court of law of endangering a persons life. However, being a simple sort of chap, I never understood why three smokefree carriages on trains needed to be turned into four smokefree carriages on trains - let alone banning smoking on platforms. March 4, 2010 at 13:05

My opinion on Konrad Jamrozik is this
Despite the fact that Konrad Kamrozik has worked hard to close down the pubs that gave me joy - I take no pleasure in learning that he has passed away. I feel sad for his friends and family. When the smoking ban is repealed; I shall think of him over a cigarette and a pint.
But let me show you the mentalitly of the people that bat for your team:
Heather S. Crowe, Volunteer

Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, 1226A Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA, K1A 3A1

The Editor, British Medical Journal,

I was a waitress for forty years, working all the time in smoky restaurants and banquet halls. I frequently worked at two or three jobs, often for sixty hours a week, just to earn enough money to support my family. I am 58 years old. I never smoked, no member of my family smokes and I do not live with a smoker. The only significant exposure tobacco smoke I have ever had was at work.

In 2002, I was diagnosed with inoperable, terminal lung cancer. My oncologist, my surgeon and the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (which has awarded me full compensation for disability acquired at work) have all asserted that my lung cancer came from the only risk factor. for lung cancer that I have – exposure to second-hand smoke at work.

If second-hand smoke does not cause lung cancer (as the flawed study by Enstrom and Kabat implies), then why am I dying from lung cancer caused by second-hand smoke?

How many more will die because of misinformation paid for by the tobacco industry and irresponsibly published by the British Medical Journal?

I want to be the last person to die from second-hand smoke. I never expected any help in realizing my dream from the tobacco industry. But I would have expected better from the formerly prestigious British Medical Journal.

Heather Crowe

Volunteer, Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada 1226A Wellington Street Ottawa, Ontario CANADA K1Y 3A1

Competing interests: None declared

What do you think of people that assert to someone that is dieing of lung cancer:
have all asserted that my lung cancer came from the only risk factor for lung cancer that I have – exposure to second-hand smoke at work

Yours Fredrik.

Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 0:48 | Unregistered CommenterFredrik Eich

Hi Fredrik – Yes, I agree. It is just as wrong to think of passive smoking as the only risk factor for lung cancer as it is to argue that it is absolutely not a risk factor at all.

I recall your previous comments about Linda Buchanan and Konrad Jamrozik. I would certainly never categorise you alongside the jaundiced and vindictive perspectives of people like Phil Johnson and Pat Nurse (whose redrawing of the history of the Buchanan incident is truly bizarre. Ms Buchanan’s “attack”? She basically walked past him and said a few words, as was her right to do. Not even slightly provocative to a reasonable person in the eyes of the court. His “attack”? He shoved her onto the tracks and she was lucky to avoid the third rail. GBH, and worthy of a 4 year jail term. Yet Pat Nurse would have us believe the 2 “attacks” were comparable!!!!)

Although, Fredrik, I did find myself smiling wryly about your comments on smokefree carriages and smokefree platforms. I thought this campaign was not about requiring smoking facilities, but about giving owners the choice whether to allow smoking or not. These bans you describe are not the result of smoking laws. Smoking bans on open railway platforms are the choice of station operators and enforced through bye-laws. Railway companies chose to ban smoking on most if not all trains long before the smoking laws came into force. And it wasn’t hard to see why they did so, from what I could see. I clearly recall seeing many smokers actually preferring to sit in the non-smoking carriages. If they needed a smoke, they’d either move along to the smoking carriage for a few minutes or wait until the next station where they could light up quickly on the platform.

Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 9:40 | Unregistered CommenterRollo Tommasi


While Ms Buchanan did not deserve to be assaulted in the potentially lethal way she was, you have to say she was partly the architect of her own downfall. Restricting smoking just criminalises people, e.g. Nick Hogan and creates strife and aggression. I have seen the video of her sprinting like Usain Bolt down the platform to confront him, to bully and wag her finger at him. What possible harm and inconvenience was that Rumanian guy doing. The platform is open air and he was at one end and she could of easily avoided it.

I am afraid Rollo you sum up the intolerant, control freak, bigoted, anti smoker who wishes to make smokers 2nd class citizens, and social pariahs "because you can."

At least your real agenda is exposed.

Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 10:07 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

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