Look, I expect politicians to be stupid but who is this Dan Poulter cunt?

But I expect them to be stupid in certain ways dependent upon party.

Unlike high-fat foods or alcohol, there is no acceptable level of consumption of cigarettes.

Bollocks. One or two a day can not only be \”acceptable\” but positively beneficial. It\’s entirely possible (no, not for everyone, not all the time either) that stress reduction from indulging in such a small scale habit will improve health overall.

Smoking kills – it\’s that simple……..One in two long-term smokers will die prematurely from a smoking related disease.

Can\’t you even manage logic? If long term smoking has a 50/50 killing rate then it isn\’t true that \”smoking kills-it\’s that simple\”. Smoking increases the probability of dying young. It does not ensure it.

We also know that smoking harms others through passive smoking in the home

Err, no we don\’t actually. There\’s between very little and evidence that there is no effect in fact. One particularly delightful study showed that passive smoking has a prophylactic effect upon lung cancer in later life among children exposed to it.

but introducing plain packaging for cigarettes could certainly help to reduce the brand marketing appeal of cigarettes to teenagers,

And there\’s precisely fuck all evidence for this.

This sort of evidence free statist crap I\’m inured to if it comes from a Labour MP. But when even the Tories spout this shit then we\’re all fucked.

Hang them, hang the lot of them.

16 thoughts on “Look, I expect politicians to be stupid but who is this Dan Poulter cunt?”

  1. Something else from that article jumped out at me:

    The average price for a packet of cigarettes translates to £51.80 a week for a 20-a-day habit. We know that smoking rates are highest among those on the lowest incomes, further entrenching the health inequalities that exist between the richest and poorest people in our country.

    Well don’t fucking smoke then. There’s a choice in this and it’s down to the individual and their priorities.

  2. There’s no need to read beyond ” there is no acceptable …”. Because “acceptable” always means ‘acceptable to me’.

  3. Come off it Tim, there’s overwhelming evidence that passive smoking is harmful. And, unlike for alcohol, there’s no reason to think that smoking is beneficial in low doses.

    The one study you mention doesn’t “prove” anything about lung cancer prophylaxis. You need to be much more careful than that when working with p-values.

    There’s a debate to be had about to what extent governments should seek to ban or restrict the sale of poisonous products for consumption. But there’s no doubt that cigarettes are much more poisonous than many products which are currently illegal.

  4. Everyone should read that link PaulB posted, because as usual, he’s lying through his teeth. Also, according to that paper, marrying a smoker counts as “involuntary smoking”. What a joke.

    As for there being “no reason to think that smoking is beneficial in low doses”, that’s a lie as well. What about people with ulcerative colitis?

  5. Yes, please do read the link. As usual I am telling the truth. Section 5.2 tells us that

    This evidence
    is sufficient to conclude that involuntary smoking is a cause of lung cancer in neversmokers

    Section 5.4 tells us that

    studies have demonstrated that exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke is causally
    associated with coronary heart disease

    It’s true that smoking may help people with ulcerative colitis. It’s also true that it offers some protection against Parkinson’s disease. But for anyone not suffering from ulcerative colitis, smoking is known to be bad for your overall health at any dose at which an effect can be detected. That does make it different from food and alcohol.

  6. “smoking is known to be bad for your overall health at any dose at which an effect can be detected. ”

    That’s not what your link says. No-one disputes that passive smoke, in high concentrations, can be just as harmful as smoking. There is no good evidence, though, that passive smoke is harmful in small, occasional doses.

  7. Paul B (6) is, as usual, not telling the truth.

    For a pretty comprehensive debunking (and counter-debunking) of the passive smoking myth see: http://www.skepdic.com/news/newsletter41.html#smoke

    The reality seems to be that passive smoking does indeed increase your likelihood of ‘illness’ (neatly running cancer and respiratory together), but only by an extremely tiny statistical amount. Hardly the pant-wetting danger that the doom-mongers would have us believe.

    A bit like wearing socks on a slippy kitchen floor. Scary stuff indeed.

  8. There’s something very odd about this thread. First we have Richard Allan calling me a liar, and citing in his support a document which, as the quotations I give show, agrees with me. Then Dave suggests I’ve got it wrong, preferring a statement which in no way disagrees with what I wrote. Finally Stuck-Record says that I am not telling the truth, citing a website whose author has long since retracted his earlier doubts about the evidence for the harmful effects of passive smoking. He says, with block capitals for emphasis “I ADMIT IT: I WAS DUPED”

    I repeat: passive smoking is harmful.

  9. Paul B
    You are not telling the truth. Your position is clearly that passive smoking is dangerous. This is not true. The website I linked to shows the nuance of the debate, but clearly shows that the risks from passive smoking are massively overstated. It has minuscule risk.

    Anything else is just rhetoric and alarmism.

  10. @PaulB. There’s a simple experiment to check whether or not passive smoking is harmful.

    Lock six people in a garage, one of whom is a smoker, with a pack of cigarettes. After 8 hours open the door and count the dead people. Take the same 6 poeple and lock them in a garage this time with a car and leave the engine running. After 8 hours open the door and count the dead people.


    Passive smoking is as harmful as smelling other people’s farts.

  11. Stuck-Record: Passive smoking is dangerous. It’s much less dangerous than active smoking, and the risk is small. But that doesn’t make it safe. Tim seemed to say that there was little or no evidence of any effect (he mangled his syntax), and that’s wrong.

    Henry Crun: Yes, both active and passive smoking are safer than acute carbon monoxide poisoning. Well done.

    I’m not aware of any epidemiological studies into the effects of fart-sniffing, but the health effects of the quite high hydrogen sulphide levels at Rotorua are small or zero, so there’s no reason to suppose that farts are at all harmful to health. Whereas passive smoking is known to be dangerous. So you are mistaken about the comparison.

  12. Paul B.

    “Come off it Tim, there’s overwhelming evidence that passive smoking is harmful.”

    The 1992 EPA report, which the fanatical anti-smoker James Repace helped considerably to inspire, was a particularly shoddy piece of work. The tobacco industry sued against it and in 1998 a US federal judge officially vacated the EPA’s findings on ETS (environmental tobacco smoke/secondhand smoke/passive smoking) and lung cancer.

    The court’s finding against the EPA was based, for the most part, on the EPA’s doing meta-analysis on only some of the ETS/lung cancer studies it compiled, rather than on all of them, which the court likened to “cherry-picking”, and on the EPA’s extraordinary move of switching from a conventionally used 95% “statistical significance” confidence level for its preliminary reports, to a rarely used 90% level for its final report.

    The switch was necessary, in the biased eyes of the study’s authors, because the final report’s “relative risk” (RR) result came out as “statistically insignificant” under conventional computation. The 90% confidence level produces a tighter “confidence interval”, so on that unusual basis, the EPA result could be called “statistically significant”. In fact, “statistical significance” is not, at any rate, any test of practical significance. It is the most base of standards and one which the EPA result did not meet by conventional calculation.

    You’ve been seduced by the dark side I’m afraid.

  13. Yes, a judge in North Carolina (a venue sympathetic to the tobacco industry) ruled against the part of the 1992 EPA report concerned with lung cancer (but not the findings of other dangers in the rest of the report).

    We needn’t discuss the merits of the report and the ruling. There is much more evidence since then, and the results are not in doubt. Here‘s a quite recent meta-analysis of the lung cancer question

    The abundance of evidence, consistency of finding across continent and study type, dose–response relationship and biological plausibility, overwhelmingly support the existence of a causal relationship between passive smoking and lung cancer

  14. Lifetime risk of developing lung cancer for a non-smoker is about 1.3%. If we take PaulB’s study at face value it looks like a non-smoker cohabiting with a smoker increases their risk to about 1.7%.

    Not particularly scary. Certainly not worth trampling over everyone’s civil liberties.

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