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Clarkson quits but discloses an inconvenient truth

I'm not as big a fan of Jeremy Clarkson as I once was.

He has a great turn of phrase but even I can see that his shtick has become a little jaded.

On the smoking front I've enjoyed his insouciant attitude and occasional jousts with authority, but he's rarely taken it beyond a throwaway newspaper column or a humorous TV moment.

We tried to engage him in the smoking debate. In particular we invited him to take part in several Forest events so he could speak out, as David Hockney did at the 2005 Labour party conference.

Unfortunately he was never available (or willing) to get actively involved, unlike others who were prepared to stand up and be counted.

I gave up on him after he wrote a column supporting the smoking ban which he claimed had helped him cut down on smoking. (He wrote it several years ago but it's not online so you'll have to take my word for it.)

It struck me then (and now) as a rather weak attempt to be contrary just for the sake of it. Or perhaps it was a slow news week. Either way I concluded he was never going to be a reliable ally.

To be fair, he's open about his inconsistency and he's been known to say that his public persona doesn't always represent his personal views.

Anyway, he's now announced that following a bout of pneumonia earlier this year he's quit smoking for good.

Far more interesting though was the revelation that despite being a smoker for 43 years (he estimates he's smoked 630,000 cigarettes in that time) tests showed "I had 96% of the lung capacity you would expect in someone of my age."

"I could breathe out harder and for longer than a non-smoking 40-year-old," he added.

He's also claimed that prior to his illness he hadn't taken a day off work since 1978. According to ASH, of course, smokers cost the economy billions of pounds a year through absenteeism and lost productivity.

Leaving aside the fact that much of what Clarkson says (on non-automobile related issues) should be taken with a pinch of salt, why would he make any of that up?

Let's take him at his word – and I do because the evidence is on his side: the overwhelming majority of smokers never get lung cancer, even if they've smoked for decades.

Three years ago it was even reported that:

Almost half of lung transplant patients were given the lungs taken from heavy smokers, with one in five coming from donors who had smoked at least one packet of cigarettes a day for 20 or more years.

Despite this, new research shows that those people given the lungs of smokers were just as likely to be alive up to three years after transplantation as those who had organs from non-smokers. In some cases, they had improved survival rates.

Meanwhile there are millions of people who have smoked the best part of their adult lives and if they're suffering from ill health it's not because of smoking.

Compared to overweight people like me, many are as fit as a fiddle.

The question no politician or public health professional wants to ask is, why? Why are some smokers susceptible to 'smoking-related' illnesses, including lung cancer or heart disease, while others live long and relatively healthy lives?

Instead of trying to answer this perfectly legitimate question, governments and the public health industry choose to ignore it in favour of spending millions of pounds implementing policies designed to force every smoker - even the healthy ones - to quit.

I'm sure many people will dismiss Clarkson's comments as more of the usual bluster, good for a silly season story but quickly forgotten.

In fact he's making a serious point but it's now almost impossible to query the exaggerated health risks of smoking without being labelled a 'flat Earther' or worse.

For the record, I accept that smoking is a potentially hazardous, even lethal, activity (although the same could be said for all sorts of things, including living).

The risks associated with smoking are probably greater than many other habits but do I believe all the scaremongering? No, I don't.

The pity is, people are happy to believe all the propaganda. Comments by a popular TV presenter and journalist will therefore be dismissed as little more than light entertainment when this is a discussion that ought to be taking place at the highest levels.

The fact that neither government nor the public health industry will address it is one of the scandals of our age.

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Reader Comments (4)

If what the smokerphobic tobacco control industry says about smoking - including the outright lies that just one cig can kill - is in anyway true, I would most certainly be dead or very disabled by now having smoked from childhood to grannyhood. I am, however, much fitter, active and healthy than many non smokers I know. I have even had one remonstrate with me because I am so healthy. She thought that was a bad thing for young people who cannot be allowed to see and older person smoking and healthy into older age.

Smoking, like driving a car, climbing a mountain or riding a horse, can kill but dose makes poison and risk of bad health can be reduced.

The tragedy is that dishonest scaremongering for more funding to replace jobs destroyed in the tobacco and related industries means smokers are not given honest and meaningful information about their habit to reduce the risks. They are fed bullshit, they recognise it as such and then choose to disbelieve every single dishonest lie that comes out of public health workers' mouths.

Smokers are unfairly persecuted not for the sake of their health or others but because of smokerphobia, political ideology and jobs for the boys and girls in public health. Stop funding that Quango and it's arteries and there would be plenty of cash to treat smokers and everyone else and we would all be treated fairly without prejudice or discrimination.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at 15:30 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

You might find his article here:-

Thursday, August 31, 2017 at 3:02 | Unregistered CommenterFred

Afew years back I had to have a full spirograph (the one that takes half an hour or so and you either throw up or pass out) because I had been coughing up blood.
After 25 years of smoking up to 60 a day , often of the strongest tobacco I could legally and illegally source, my lung function was where one might expect it to be for a sedentary 40-something year old with a preference for avoiding nutrients and vitamins in his caffeine stream; bang on the bottom end of 'normal'.

So in this instance I believe JC.

Thursday, August 31, 2017 at 11:45 | Unregistered CommenterThe Blocked Dwarf

I've been smoking for over 40 years and a year or so ago had the same test as TBD with similar results - better lungs than a 35 year old!

Thursday, August 31, 2017 at 21:31 | Unregistered CommenterJay

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