The Corner

Give It Up

There’s some interesting new research on smoking due to be published in the British Medical Journal next week. The research is the result of a fifty-year study and the conclusions are good news for ex-smokers:

’Nowadays we have lots of them. We can see that even if you are 50 and have been smoking for 30 years, stopping more than halves your risk of dying from smoking. Stopping at 30 cuts the risk by 90 per cent.’

The most important message? That it’s still worth the while of older smokers to give up. And so they should. Thinking about this for a second, however, there may be a few other implications, none of them too healthy for the anti-tobacco jihadists:

(1) Those long-term smokers who sue on the basis that they took up smoking before it was widely known to be dangerous (an imaginary time, but let that pass) have to answer the question why they did not give up at the point that the US health authorities really got into the tobacco wars – decades ago. Yes, yes, of course cigarettes are ‘addictive’, but there are tens of millions of ex-smokers who have shown that all it takes to quit is some willpower. That a few poor souls keep puffing through their way through their tracheotomy tubes does not cancel that argument.

(2) While, clearly, no teenagers should smoke, perhaps some of the hysteria on this topic is, well, just hysteria. “For those who quit at 30, the risks of dying from smoking are negligible.” Let’s hope that all those somewhat Orwellian propaganda outfits that claim that to tell youngsters ‘the truth’ about smoking pass on that statistic.

(3) If the reduction of an individual’s intake of smoke can have such a dramatic effect, can we really believe that the microscopic amounts absorbed by ‘passive smokers’ are really that dangerous?

Hmmm, definitely a two-pipe problem.


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