Sunday, September 07, 2008

More deceit from big tobacco

This article in The Age suggesting that tobacco companies knew that ciarettes contain a pollonium isotope that makes smoking a packet and a half of cigarettes equivalent in radiation exposure to 300 chest X-rays per year.  They kept quiet about it as they have with some many of the other deadly features of this habit. The more I look at the evidence the more I back my radical plan to get really tough on smoking - let's end this outrageously dangerous and stupid practice within one generation.

Thanks for The Age reference Damien Eldridge


John Hasenkam said...

Nicotine is not a carcinogen, it is an acetylcholine agonist(nACHr). They even trialled nicotine patches for Alz because Ach falls through the floor in that condition. Indeed, central Ach is a regulator of systematic inflammatory status so maintaining central Ach is very important for overall health.

Some researchers even believe that it is the radioactive components taken up by tobacco that is the main cancer causing agent.

jc said...


Just so I understand it....

You want to see smoking products banned or taxed heavily.

Alcopops taxed heavily.

but wine left alone because you're a wine drinker.

Is that about the right summation?

John Hasenkam said...


Answer this question:

Do companies have an obligation to be honest about their products or can they say anything they like and it is up to the consumer to know the truth about a product?

jc said...


You mean about the dangers of smoking? Dude anyone with an IQ higher than a fruit fly would know that smoking can do a lot of bad shit to your lungs.

By the way can you cite any authoritative paper that connects tar to lung cancer? Just interested to know.

John Hasenkam said...

Int J Cancer. 2008 May 15;122(10):2398-402.
Tobacco smoking and the risk of upper aero-digestive tract cancers: A reanalysis of case-control studies using spline models.

Although tobacco smoking has long been recognized as a major risk factor for cancer of the upper aero-digestive tract (UADT, i.e., oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, and oesophagus), very few studies have provided estimates of the effect of very low tobacco consumption. Step-functions have been the common statistical methods for risk estimates, but the choice of reference category and of interval cutpoints influence the results, especially when data are sparse. In the present analysis, the dose-response relationship between UADT cancers and tobacco smoking was evaluated through logistic regression spline models. We included 1,241 UADT male cases and 2,835 male controls pooled from a large series of case-control studies conducted in northern Italy and in the Swiss Canton of Vaud during the last 2 decades. For cancers of the pharynx, larynx and oesophagus, the risk steadily increased with number of cigarettes/day. The risk of oral, pharyngeal and oesophageal cancers was significantly higher in smokers than in nonsmokers beginning with as low as 2 cigarettes/day. The effect of tobacco smoking at low levels seemed less evident for laryngeal cancer since the raise in risk begun with 6 cigarettes/day. In conclusion, for all the examined UADT sites, a monotonic dose-response relationship between cancer risk and cigarette smoking emerged. The excess of risk among people smoking 2 cigarettes/day highlights the absence of any harmless level for cigarette smoking, and it further supports the need of public health programs against tobacco smoking. (c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Spiros said...

Or you can go to Google Scholar and do a search on 'smoking cancer'. A mere 552,000 papers are returned.

jc said...

One can Spiros.

I'm simply asking for the evidence that tar causes lung cancer.

John Hasenkam said...


Your request betrays a common misunderstanding about the nature of biomedical science. The tobacco companies have used this misunderstanding to good effect. The same is true of AGW denialists.

In biomedicine it is rare to find a single authoritative study. For example, many papers will constitute about 5 pages of text and up to 100 references in the footnotes.

Studies comparing cancer rates for filter and non-filtered cigarettes clearly point to a large difference in cancer rates. That is, the filter reduces tar intake and that lowers the cancer risk.

jc said...

It's not a trick question John and I certainly wasn't trying to catch you out.

I simply wanted to see the evidence of an actual study linking tar to lung cancer. Is there one.

John said...


Compared with smokers of medium tar (15-21 mg) filter cigarettes, risk was higher among men and women who smoked high tar (> or = 22 mg) non-filter brands (hazard ratio 1.44, 95% confidence interval 1.20 to 1.73, and 1.64, 1.26 to 2.15, respectively). There was no difference in risk among men who smoked brands rated as very low tar (1.17, 0.95 to 1.45) or low tar (1.02, 0.90 to 1.16) compared with those who smoked medium tar brands. The same was seen for women (0.98, 0.80 to 1.21, and 0.95, 0.82 to 1.11, respectively). CONCLUSION: The increase in lung cancer risk is similar in people who smoke medium tar cigarettes (15-21 mg), low tar cigarettes (8-14 mg), or very low tar cigarettes (< or = 7 mg). Men and women who smoke non-filtered cigarettes with tar ratings > or = 22 mg have an even higher risk of lung cancer.

PMID: 14715602 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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