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Smokers treated like lepers says Tom

A week ago I was contacted by a local newspaper in Fife.

An elderly reader had written to complain about the treatment of smokers.

To its credit the Dunfermline Press and West Fife Advertiser sensed a story and interviewed Tom, 80.

He told them:

"I've been smoking all my life. I don't want to say that smoking is good for you but I do feel there should be some respect and tolerance.

“You would think you had horns sticking out your head when you smoke. You're made to feel like a social outcast.

“I've been approached by a woman who said 'Are you still smoking that disgusting thing?'

"There's a woman in my street who will start waving her arms about if you light a cigarette in your back garden.

"Another woman with a seven-bedroom house has to sneak out of her house and hide in a corner to smoke. You feel like a leper.

“I won't say I won't get cancer, fingers crossed, but I've got rights as well.

“Smoking outside is not against the law. I will stop smoking if they tell me it is against the law. It's not against the law, that's the whole point."

The paper invited Forest (and ASH Scotland) to comment. I told them:

"Tom is not alone. There are a great many adults just like him who choose to smoke and have no wish to give up, yet they are stigmatised by public health campaigners who won't be happy until every smoker has quit and Scotland is 'smoke-free'.

"No-one disputes the health risks associated with smoking but there can't be a sane adult in the country who isn't aware of them.

"Excessive regulation is a curse of modern life and few groups have been subjected to more legislation, much of it excessive, than smokers.

"The smoking ban was followed by legislation to ban the display of tobacco in shops and outlaw tobacco vending machines.

"Now government wants to prohibit smoking in outdoor areas like hospital grounds and introduce standardised packaging when there is no evidence it will have any impact on smoking rates."

Tom's comments have provoked exactly the sort of intolerance and bile he is complaining about:

"There should be no place for tobacco in today's society, smokers need our help and encouragement to stop."

"Sorry to break it to you Tom, all other health concerns aside ... fags make you stink - FACT"

"The more people ridicule and victimise smokers the better"

You can read the full article here - Smokers treated like lepers rages 20-a-day man Tom.

You have to register but it only takes a few seconds.

Oddly enough I think you can comment without registering.

Tom needs our support so please add a comment today.

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Reader Comments (21)

It's not easy to register and I can't but if I could I would say this :

"There are some truly vile, intolerant and downright abusive thugs on here who think it's big to name call a vulnerable elderly man. No wonder society is in a mess and youths have no respect. They are learning how to hate from Public Health. You nasties on here should be truly ashamed of yourselves. And I wonder what you stink of. Righteous zealousness perhaps. There are many unpleasant smells in life but your hysterical paranoia only allows you to detect one that you personally dislike and expect everyone else to hate as well. I'd rather a smoker any day than an anti-smoker. You are bullies and bores."

Govt really should take notice of how it is backing hate against the vulnerable like Tom and it should not be making laws that encourage such public abuse. That it does is why people are turning away from the three main intolerant parties and turning towards a more tolerant one like UKIP.

Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 13:49 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Spoiling Trolls

It looks like the trolls have been sent out to play in the comments section, the voting figures seem unatural. Whenever a positive comment is made which attracts yes votes, then there appears to be an equal number of no votes which more or less negates the comment.

You will of course notice the 'You stink' nasty comment - you can't have a reasoned debate with half-wits.

Here's a comment from a warped head called Tosh.

"Sorry to break it to you Tom, all other health concerns aside.... fags make you stink - FACT.

If any of my friends STINK I'll tell them, avoid them give or them hassle and continually question why they STINK. If it a medical condition fair enough - if it's choice like fags, then it just shows how far your addiction makes you inconsiderate to others enjoying a non-stinky environment.

Boo-hoo about people giving you hassle. If you are courageous enough to court death by smoking surely you can handle some hassle about it?

The smokers case always comes of like a small child yelling it's not fair.... I want to stay up late WAAAAAAAAAAA!

Seriously - would any decent person make that kind of comment?

I'm sure you've noticed the irony of warped head's alluding to Tom courting death by smoking - obviously missing the point that Tom has smoked all his life and he is now 80 years old - that's funny - death appears to be taking its time catching up with him wouldn't you say?

Looks like a spoiling exercise.

Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 15:04 | Unregistered CommenterDennis

I completely agree, Pat.

Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 16:01 | Unregistered CommenterNorman Brand

I totally agree with Tom. Do people not realise that the anti-smoking activists are funded and encouraged by the large pharmaceutical companies. These companies are not interested in saving lives, just in increasing their own profits by selling ineffective and often dangerous remedies.

Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 16:04 | Unregistered CommenterRichard Mallows

It seems to be closed for comments. Unfortunate as I was as insulting to them as they had been to Tom.

Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 16:54 | Unregistered CommenterFrank J

It is still open for comments

Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 17:47 | Unregistered CommenterSheila

Comments are still open, I have just commented:-

Smokers are discriminated against and treated like lepers as a result of the smoking bans introduced across the UK. Providing smoking rooms with modern air management systems in Britains pubs and clubs would see to it that many thousands of people that no longer go out because they feel uncomfortable or too old to stand around outside, would be able to do so again.

The indoor smoking bans were introduced to reduce smoking prevalence and denormalise smoking. There is no need to ban smoking outright indoors to prevent bar workers from being exposed to smoke, as this is easily achieved by two separate rooms.

The smoking ban has left many thousands of people excluded from society, no longer visiting pubs and clubs. The EU has been selective about which minorities it chooses to protect whilst continuing to permit smoking inside its own parliament buildings.

Smokers are a persecuted minority. ASH have declared that they are against smokers.

Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 18:19 | Unregistered Commenterjs4321

Tosh has friends? I can't think why.

Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 19:35 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

I totally agree with Tom and I am shocked that so many people have happily accepted some science and pseudo science to support hatred. Even smokers and ex smokers appear to have been made to feel guilty. I am 65 years old and was brought up in a family of smokers and surprisingly I am still alive and happy. I am ashamed that people are open to this brain washing, it does explain how easy it is to divide the the country as in 1930's Germany but people won't believe that.

Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 19:55 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Reeds

"No-one disputes the health risks associated with smoking but there can't be a sane adult in the country who isn't aware of them."

I dispute the health risks! I dispute every single thing that Tobacco Control has ever said about tobacco. It's all lies from start to finish, and anyone who disagrees with me is handing Tobacco Control a stick with which to beat them.

Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 20:34 | Unregistered CommenterFrank Davis

Thanks to those who have commented on the Dunfermline Press website. You've helped balance what was a very one-sided response!!

Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 22:06 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

Yes, I noticed that the first nine comments were from Zealots. Note especially that those comments ignored his age and concentrated on stinks. That was no accident. The idea was to belittle the man any-which-way.
Were the zealots aware that the article was about to appear? I think so. We have seen, again and again, the zealots get in first and then disappear.
It seems to be a fact that most people read only the first couple of lines of any article in a newspaper, unless they are very interested. I suspect that Tobacco Control think the same about the comments - and they may be right.


But the good thing about that article is that it raises the doubts. It illustrates the exclusion of older people who are PETS (People who Enjoy Tobacco) from society. The CEO of the new organisation 'Public Health England' drew particular attention to the exclusion and isolation of older people and that the health damage was "Equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes per day" [I paraphrase].

Like Frank Davis, I do not accept anything that Tobacco Control says. I have studied Doll's Doctors Study, and all it reveals is "an increased risk" to smokers of various conditions. It does not explain why only one out of twenty five smokers succumb to lung cancer. Nor does it explain why it is that people like Tom are hale and healthy at the age of 80 after smoking for all their adult life.

Monday, April 29, 2013 at 0:23 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

Dispute [] "to argue about; debate"

I must share Frank's radar, since I too bristled when I read that particular statement.

Whilst we have to concede that the epidemiological evidence associating smoking with lung cancer seems strong, it is my no means a proven fact, and to debate (ie "dispute") the association is not flat-out denial that it may be real. There is much room for doubt, and more possible confounding factors can be found with deeper research.

The problem is that epidemiology is not a true science, it is merely a branch of the social sciences that relies almost entirely on its (mis)use of the statistical method. For the health risks to be "indisputable" requires that the pathological means by which smoking causes ill health be proven in the laboratory, and this, to the best of my knowledge, hasn't happened yet - despite there having been 50+ years so to do.

The reality is that lung cancer research has all but stopped, now that it is easy just to pin the blame on tobacco, and hence the weakness of the human tendency towards self-indulgence. I consider this to be pretty scandalous, Partly because it provides a license for all of the knuckle-draggers in society (not just in Dunfermline), to exercise their moronic rhetoric against a target group, but, worse than that, it means that the poor buggers who contract this form of cancer receive nothing like the potential treatments afforded to more politically correct cancer sites such as breast and prostate.

As for the other (enormous) list of apparent health problems caused by smoking, they are a joke. Even heart disease - another apparent 'no-brainer' in the anti-tobacco hit-list - enjoys a relative risk of under 2.0 for active smoking - not sufficient to establish a causal relationship in any statistically based discipline (except epidemiology!)

And did you know that the late Konrad Jamrozik (Australian anti-smoking fanatic who, ironically, died of pancreatic cancer, aged 54), when drawing up the 'definitive' list of conditions caused by smoking, included such delights as hip fractures? Why? Because some data-mining 'study' or other found a tenuous, but non-significant statistical relationship at some time in the past!

So we should never concede the 'truth' to anti-tobacco zealots (who, arrogantly, seem to have even now taken it upon themselves to entitle their egregious antics 'tobacco control' FFS), until, and if, there is absolute certainty - to the point where a tobacco-related illness becomes totally predictable at the individual level.

In case anyone thinks I am a heretic, or advocating the equivalent of holocaust denial here, well just consider what we all now well know: The lucrative anti-tobacco industry has now been shown to have been lying about pretty much everything during the last couple of decades. Since they pulled off the passive smoking scam, they don't pretend any more, so arrogant are they; so certain that the gullible and foolish politicians (Soubrey, anyone?) just swallow all the dross they feed them. The drones in the general population aren't too far behind, either.

But was it always thus? Shouldn't we go back and subject the limited number of epidemiological studies that gave birth to the smoking/lung cancer association to the closest possible scrutiny? Better still, what about doing a fresh new study (excluding the anti-smoking fanatics, but involving professional and impartial statisticians), to see whether what held in the 1950s/60s is relevant to today? Wouldn't that be more interesting than just accepting that ASH have the monopoly on truth?

Ultimately, if we don't dispute "the health risks associated with smoking", then we are on thin ice trying to win the passive smoking argument - even if the fact that second-hand smoke does not lead to ill health is pretty much indisputable.

Monday, April 29, 2013 at 0:48 | Unregistered CommenterBrianB

Amen to the last comment and to Frank Davis's earlier one. Over and over again, it seems to me that 'our' side shoots itself in the foot by not challenging the supposedly horrific health risks of smoking. I still agree with the late Gian Turci that what he called 'the smoking is bad, BUT . . .' argument is doomed to failure. If smokers really are killing themselves and people around them, then what are we doing defending them? It's like saying, "We know smokers are both suicides and murderers, but they sort of have a theoretical right to be, so can't you be a bit nicer to them?' . . . what kind of position is that?!

Yes, a lot of people have become unreasonably nasty to smokers, but that isn't the problem, and asking them to be a bit more 'civil' isn't the answer. There will always be nasty people who will indulge their nastiness when and where they get a chance. The problem is that they have been given a 'license' to be nasty by authorities WHO ARE LYING. Grossly exaggerating the risks of smoking and guilty of a flat-out fraud re. SHS. Unless we are saying that, we will only come across as exactly what the Antismokers portray us as: (a) misguided idealists promoting dubious ideas about free choice in the face of disease and death, or (b) stooges of the tobacco industry.

I sometimes think that if I see one more comment which starts 'No one can dispute the horrendous health risks of smoking, BUT . . .', I just may throw up.

Monday, April 29, 2013 at 11:50 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Jackson

Well said, Joe - the civil liberties argument can't (and shouldn't) trump the danger to health argument; it's a very weak argument and an extraordinary one to use when the evidence is available that SHS is a scam - that's the message that should be hammered home at every turn.

Monday, April 29, 2013 at 16:20 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

I share the disgust at overly zealous anti-smoking regulations. They are quite unnecessary and based upon VERY spurious science. Smoking is not good for one, we all know that, but the second-hand smoking argument is very very weak and backed up by highly spurious use of statistics; many emanating from Scottish sources.

Indoor, well-ventilated smoking rooms would kick-start a resurgence of pubs. Do we all remember how the anti-smoking zealots stated how much more they would use pubs if there was a smoking ban? This was patently false as circa 300,000 job losses and the closure of thousands of pubs up and down the country will testify. A separate room would resolve a lot of theses issues, particularly as we smokers usually don't wish to be in the same room as the anti-smoking bores.

Monday, April 29, 2013 at 16:44 | Unregistered CommenterMJR Peel

I agree with Frank, the dangers of smoking should never be acknowledged until the point at which they can be proven scientifically beyond doubt...

Also, smokers should NEVER promote 'well-ventilated smoking rooms' in pubs - it gives off exactly the same message. Pubs should be free to choose if they are smoking or non-smoking establishments and the customers (and staff) can then choose which to frequent...

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 7:50 | Unregistered CommenterBarman

I agree with Frank D and Barman. The most I go to is to say that in SOME cases (Doll's 4%) smoking may be a contributory factor among many, many, others but in no way to be claimed as a cause.

It may be that Simon believes other but he has to play the political game in any event and wouldn't be invited to the top table if he was like me. You know what these people are like and in order to have input, concessions must be given. It's unfortunate but reality.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 10:47 | Unregistered CommenterFrank J

No proof exists…………..just old age diseases nicely dressed up as smoking related!

7 October, the COT meeting on 26 October and the COC meeting on 18
November 2004.

“5. The Committees commented that tobacco smoke was a highly complex chemical mixture and that the causative agents for smoke induced diseases (such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, effects on reproduction and on offspring) was unknown. The mechanisms by which tobacco induced adverse effects were not established. The best information related to tobacco smoke – induced lung cancer, but even in this instance a detailed mechanism was not available. The Committees therefore agreed that on the basis of current knowledge it would be very difficult to identify a toxicological testing strategy or a biomonitoring approach for use in volunteer studies with smokers where the end-points determined or biomarkers measured were predictive of the overall burden of tobacco-induced adverse disease.”

In other words … our first hand smoke theory is so lame we can’t even design a bogus lab experiment to prove it. In fact … we don’t even know how tobacco does all of the magical things we claim it does.

The greatest threat to the second hand theory is the weakness of the first hand theory.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 15:16 | Unregistered CommenterHarleyrider1978

Who among us always thought they had proof positive of disease causation. I would think all of us after 6 and 7 decades of daily propaganda.

The main concern here is that science and medicene itself have been usurped to the point of being nothing more than a political sales platform for whatever the latest healthist craze is.

When did we stop demanding ''PROOF POSITIVE'' of actual disease causation....

Im simply glad that its out in the open now that NO PROOF EXISTS of their claims. Now maybe Science and medicene will be able to return to the lab and do real research not based upon producing the next one liner for whatever group with grant money needs it but produce real science connecting the dots and producing results that lead to real cures and causes.

This anti-tobacco movement and many others like the climate change wagon have set us back 100 years in real science. Its time to kick these radicals out and install REAL SCIENTISTS for a change. Its the only way public trust will ever be regained after this run of decades long JUNK SCIENCE!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 15:26 | Unregistered CommenterHarleyrider1978

Yes, I'd agree with all those who echoed the sentiments of Frank Davis. The more I've delved into what lies behind the anti-tobacco movement and the so-called "science" that they trot out as justification, the less I've trusted the veracity of their foundation stone "smoking causes LC, heart Attacks etc". And the way they pursue their agenda belies any pretence that their concern is for other people's health.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 17:33 | Unregistered Commenternisakiman

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