Posted by sim-o
December 18th, 2009
A lie, by definition, is something you say which you know is untrue. (The Iraq Inquiry may provide the right label for Tony Blair’s misleading statements.)
The vaguer category of ‘dishonest’ applies to all sorts of official statistics, as presented by the Government, in policing, immigration etc.
But how do you classify claims that are obviously false but are being provided by those who are apparently too stupid to understand them?
After an intro like that, whatever you say afterwards needs to be bulletproof. Unfortunately it doesn’t start well for Andrew Alexander. The first bit of gobbledegook is…
Smoking is an interesting area because the figures – intended to make your flesh creep – must be, by definition, false.
We are told that smoking ‘costs’ the National Health Service £1.7bn, or maybe £5bn. They are not just guesswork, they are patently contrary to common sense.
What definition of the figures? Why must they be false? They could be, but why ‘must’ they be? What are the real figures, then?
Andrew doesn’t say. The only figures Andrew quotes are the two numbers are in the above quote. He doesn’t say how much tax is raised from tobacco or anything mention any other numbers apart from the number 12 – the number of years he once gave up for.
We are told that smoking is a cause of lung cancer and heart disease and other potentially lethal disorders.
That may well be so.
But if smoking leads to premature deaths, it obviously saves the NHS money, since it is in old age that the cost of medical attention soars.
If we could all arrange to die at retirement age, the NHS would save an awful lot of money.
The whole article is written like this. I can just picture this guy sat tapping out this article in a dark room with his tinfoil hat on, curtains closed so ‘they’ can’t see what he’s up to. A cigarette with a long ash burning down in an ashtray filling the room with it’s blue smoke.
The problem is that not everyone just drops down dead. for many smokers, the unlucky ones that don’t die all of a sudden, death is a slow lingering one, full of respirators and pills and pain and pacemakers and amputations and transplants and regular visits to hospital and the gentle decline into a physical state that belies a persons real age.
All that care costs money. Money that is being prematurely spent on someones health.
Moreover, smoking is an appetite suppressant and may therefore reduce obesity, which is certainly a cause of heart disease, and other disorders, costing the health service an awful lot of money.
Smoking is not an appetite suppressant. If it was, you’d never see a fat person with a fag, would you? Obesity may be a cause of heart disease, but smoking causes lots of diseases too and also makes you lethargic, contributing to, yes obesity.
An outright lie is also included in the anti-smoking campaign.
Tobacco manufacturers have to warn purchasers that, among other things, ’smoking kills’.
If one said that prussic acid kills, it would be true. A more honest statement would be that tobacco can kill. Only the illiterate or mentally idle will fail to see the difference.
Only a pedantic denialist would bring it up.
Alas, there is something about smoking which damages the mind – of anti-smokers. Normal as they may be in other respects, they rave and rant about tobacco.
Anti-smokers, the ones that rant and rave, are generally ex-smokers. The reason they are so passionate is because i) in the back of their mind they are still addicted and the best form of defence for their will power is attack, or ii) they know first hand what being a smoker, the nasty side of smoking, is all about or iii) reasons i & ii together.
[Duncan] Bannatyne apparently had great trouble giving up many years ago. So he wants others to suffer, too.
Poor chap! I am sorry he found it so hard.
Andrew Alexander gave up too, for 12 years, but found it so easy, and had so much free cash and didn’t mind the smell or the panicky feeling of nearly running out of baccy in the middle of the night, that he went back to it. Oh, my mistake. he blames writers block.
I would watch a fellow pipe smoker as he sat down to do the same, slowly and thoughtfully filling his pipe (an art you have to master), finally lighting up and allowing that slow upward drift of the curling smoke.
Nice bit of romanticising there, eh?
Sensibly, I returned to the habit. Pipe-smoking is a very ruminative process. It creates the right spaces and pauses for a writer.
Smoking creates the spaces and pauses because the smoker is thinking about smoking, not writing. A non-smoker, goes for a walk or makes a cup of tea.
But we have not finished with the statistics yet. Second-hand smoke is claimed to cause many deaths and is the basis for tyrannical curbs on offices and pubs.
Finished with the statistics? I didn’t realise we had started with them.
This figure is arrived at by guesswork, inspired by hysteria, and masquerades as scientific ‘proof’ – a process which characterises our age.
If smoking isn’t as bad as Andrew says, and it is all assertion and opinion in this piece, then I would like to know if Andrew encourages and approves of his children, or if he doesn’t have any, his young relatives, smoking. If his son started smoking at, say, sixteen, would he slap him on the back and say ‘good decision, lad, you’ll really enjoy smoking. It’s great’.