Friday, June 30, 2006

Smoking and Identity Survey

Received this communication via Belinda from Anna Rabinovich a Research Student at The Exeter University Psychology Department:

"I was wondering whether I could ask for your help once again. We are doing another survey now that aims to clarify and support the findings from the first one regarding smokers' reactions on smoking bans. I would like to ask you to put the link up once again. However, ideally we want people who did not take part in our first survey participate in this one. Do you think it would be possible to add something saying "please fill this in if you didn't take part in Smoking and Identity survey" to the link?"


All pay a visit and participate is my view! Hit the title to link to the survey.

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IMPORTANT

FORCES have published an excellent 2 page document, which it is our duty to circulate to the world. Please visit their site and follow their instructions.

Then read on below as Professor Blad Tolstoy has some very interesting philosophical thoughts to impart...

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Freud, Antismokers and the Removal of Children

Having been a perceptive psychologist there are times in this day and age of drier analysis when Freud still remains useful.

With regard to the antismoker movement Freud enables us to gain some invaluable insights into the condition of a group of people who for the most part are suffering from a profound neurosis if not a psychosis.

The reaction of the fervent antismoker to the smoker is one that Freud would have described as being typically neurotic, in that, confronted by the smoker, the antismoker will no longer consider or contemplate that person as a human being with many facets and a personality but simply as something vile to be avoided or eliminated without further regard.

Key to the personality of the antismoker is the reaction to the phallic symbolism imparted by a cigarette. Cigarette smoking, in addition to its erotic connotations, represents a supremely adult activity, namely, the ability and willingness to take a calculated personal risk for the sake of pleasure, life enhancement or reinforcement of the libido. Therefore, in vain will the antismokers manage to destroy the sexual connotations and allure connected with smoking, for these occur naturally and were not initially the product of the film industry although the latter probably highlighted these attributes and made them unambiguous in the mind of the public.

In terms of personality, many fervent antismokers come across as being repressed or essentially prissy and hence give the impression of lacking something. Freud would probably have considered them to suffer from a castration complex and thus, when confronted by the cigarette's phallic and pleasurable significance, their angst is stimulated twice over: firstly by the strong phallic aspect of the cigarette and secondly, by their sense of personal inadequacy when confronted by immediate personal risk.

The fervent antismoker has more bad news in store for if we look at the evidence Freud would have unquestionably dubbed them as also being "anally retentive".

Let us consider then the manner in which despite the frequent criticisms of and the real holes to be found in the arguments and evidence that purports to show that environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), in the quantities in which we normally experience it, is a deadly toxic substance, the antismoker movement just cannot let this idea go and subsequently can never enjoy the pleasure of relief and creativity.

Instead, this movement simply repeats time and time again the same flawed arguments and studies rather like a constipated person who, unable to obtain the necessary toiletry relief, nevertheless insists in pushing and pushing in the erroneous belief that he or she will produce a "genuine" faecal pellet. This breeds an intense frustration and stymies the eventual development of new and free flowing ideas.

The resulting frustration generates an even greater hate of the substance that the antismoker is fixated with.

The attack on tobacco smoke - both primary and secondary - should be seen as an obvious one. The antismoker hates and fears the phallic and risk taking significance of the cigarette and smoking and, by inevitable natural extension, those who use them. Therefore, not satisfied with the fact that smokers may pay painfully for their pleasure and satisfaction, the antismoker is driven to declare that the projected "offspring" of the cigarette - the secondary smoke - is a vile and dangerous offspring. By so doing the antismoker is able to diminish the potency of the phallus.

If you think I am joking I am not and now the picture becomes truly interesting.

Let us then consider that emphasis that has been placed by the antismokers on the diminution of potency and fertility caused by smoking. We know that after a period of very heavy smoking during the Second World War there was a baby boom. In addition, subsequent heavy smoking generations produced millions of children. Under the circumstances, if there is the risk of infertility caused by smoking it cannot be a very great one any more than can be the risk to the children of parents who smoke for we search in vain for all the damaged and dead babies and toddlers. Moreover, if we used irresponsible causal reasoning, as does the antismoker movement, then tobacco is a blessing for it has assisted us to be fertile. Consider the huge increases in population that took place in Europe since Sir Walter Raleigh first brought tobacco back from America.

Things become sinister however, when we further examine the current trend of the antismoker movement to advocate the removal of children from parents who smoke on the grounds that those parents are child abusers.

Such removal, to the anti mind, indicates the perfect proof of their position.: "see, we have taken your children away so you have no children for everyone knows that smokers are impotent and infertile."

By the same token, they can point to the couple who don't smoke and who, subsequently, are permitted to keep their children and say: "see these are fertile because they do not smoke".

This is probably the pinnacle of satisfaction for the anally retentive antismokers for it enables them to reorder the world in line with their dreams: it is like the constipated person who manufactures turds out of papier maché and who then asserts: "you see, I am not unnatural for I too am a creator!"

Such thinking would seem to go hand in glove with the idea that the antismoking movement can also play God for the inadequate always have great dreams. Furthermore, it has already been well noted that as time has gone by and the criticism of the antismoker penchant for exaggerating small levels of risk has become louder, they should make the ultimate claim that there are no safe levels of ETS.

This now elevates their claim to the status of a law of nature and formally presented the proposition has the nature of: For all A then B.

Whereas one may see how such a propositional format may be suited to the fact that all metals are good thermal conductors, where ETS is concerned it is difficult to see how such a tenet could hold as the elements contained in tobacco smoke are not unique to it but shared by many other substances. Hence, I contend confidently that if this claim were subjected to rigorous and honest hard-nosed scrutiny by physicists and chemists it would not pass muster as a newly discovered law of nature. Rather it is the case that what we have here is the supreme conceit of a strangely twisted movement that thinks it can play God - a role for which is creatively unsuited and at which it is failing miserably.

Blad Tolstoy.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Action Group

I think we need a Smoker's Action Group as well as our blog and yahoo now. I think the time is right. We need an administrator, a PO Box address and donations of about £200 from each committed member. If we could get about 100 members that would be about enough to make a start and pay the administrator. The we can MARCH!

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

ASHhhhhhhhhhissssssss


It was my birthday on the 15th June and BLAD sent me this delightful card. My word someone's full of venom! Nice one BLAD!

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Letter To The Daily Mirror

Dear Sir

I have only just read your paper of 7th June 2006 as I am abroad on vacation. I could not let your Voice snippet on the House of Lords and smoking bans go unchallenged. The House of Lords is effectively using its moderating role to attempt to change a complete injustice and I say three cheers and long may the Lords continue. It is a shame that there lordships have worked so hard on this issue and may still not have much influence. I am specifically aware of the dedication of some of the noble lords involved to their country and to their citizens. It is the first time I have seen my representatives doing just that for me. My constituent MP refused to represent me on this matter.

The Mirror must really try and get it's facts right when making such blatant, stark and sweeping assertions. In fact it might be better if ignorami did not comment on that which they know zilch about. It's fine for the Mirror to have an anti-smoking position but a different matter to peddle outright untruths whether they are supported by corrupted organisations such as ASH or indeed "campaigners" who should know better. The Mirror should be starting from a point of view of accurate reporting of fact not on being an organ for a single issue propaganda group.

There is no such repeatable idea that 600 hospitality workers die of passive smoking. That widely spread piece of crap is wholly inaccurate because there is no supportable evidence that passive smoking does any significant even measurable harm.

Banning smoking in public places like pictures on fag packets will have no effect on the health of the nation as smokers who wish to continue to smoke will do so whatever. The only effect will be to further denormalise smoking and demonise smokers. These are the spoken and written aims of the anti-smoking groups and that cannot be a healthy way to treat people. This will produce as it has already done a group of 13 million people in the UK who are alienated and trodden over. That could quite reasonably lead to civil unrest and a great deal of depression and suicide. Wake up and smell the plumes of smoke rising from smokers. We will not keep quiet for much longer.

The government may well firmly believe that there is evidence for clear health risks from second hand tobacco smoke exposure when they have quite clearly been deliberately misled or are completely naive. Then why if so clear about the risk do they not make tobacco illegal. That would be the only correct way to proceed if the risk was as bad as ASH and the Daily Mirror believe. I will tell you why. The government will not do it as it would be political suicide to loose 13 million voters and because the country's economy would require a replacement for the billions in tax that are robbed from smokers for enjoying a perfectly reasonable pastime. This would most seriously effect the NHS, which I am proud to work for and support doubly over any non-smoker with my extra taxes. I also know that by smoking I am not causing any extra cost to the country especially as it may cause my early death and so cost the country less in health care.

I know that the Mirror's traditional stance is to take shots at the Lords but you have got it seriously wrong on this occasion. I hope this does your circulation appropriate harm.

Yours charmed as always...

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Roy Castle & The Lottery

Hi friends, from sunny orange flavoured Florida, USA.
I am fully internet enabled over my O2 GPRS phone line after some teething problems all sorted out by O2 Data Support. I sit in the sun on my laptop and blog to the world! Must watch the bill!

I had to post this cos I'm sadly annoyed and I want you to know!
I was jotting down the lottery numbers the other day as Eamon Holmes entertained me on BBC1. Hoping for millionaire status to relive all my problems and the worlds.

But...an announcement was made about a lottery donation and I lost the plot. Roy Castle's Foundation thingy has been awarded a lottery grant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am hopping mad and I don't know what to do. I only suggested to Blad the other day that if we put all our various charity donations towards smoker's rights then we would be rich. It turns out I'm supporting Roy Castle's Family's misguided foray into health politics. Fuck! Sorry!

Surely time has come to redirect the money?

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Did I hear right?

NSAIDS (ibuprofen and diclofenac) increase the risk of heart attack in high doses. Well that's the headline but the study is about COX 2 inhibitors, that's drugs like Vioxx to you! Ibuprofen and Diclofenac (COX 1 & 2 inhibitors) are the main competitors to the newer COX 2 drugs which offer a marginally better gastro-intestinal side-effect profile, but it seems that all the Vioxx like drugs make you 42% more likely to suffer a vascular event (heart attack, or stroke). Sorry slipped into BHF language then. I mean of course a relative risk ratio of 1.42. Beginning to sound all too similar me thinks and then it is confirmed. Apparently the Ibuprofen (Nurofen) and Diclofenac (Voltarol) not only increase your risks of gastro-intestinal bleeding but have a 20%(1.2 RR) increased risk of giving you a vascular present too, but only at high dose. A Prof of whatever also introduced as BHF type on BBC news reassures us that its not too bad really. Have to way the risks and benefits apparently, only 1-5 out of 1000 or so will get a vascular event.

These new fangled drugs never get a look in with me anyway and I got stomach ulcers on the old ones so I only give them if I'm sure I'm not going to do any harm (Hippocrates). I really really hope arthritis research will attract more attention and funding as these poisonous drugs are all we've got.

But there again what does this work actually say considering the relative risk ratios are not dissimilar to much passive smoking tripe we hear about and below the magic 2 that epidemiologists strive for to even indicate an association? Its bin on the telly and the radio all f**king day......why?

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50% enclosed

I love maths, always have, I know the universe is fundamentally explainable with maths. But how about trying to work out how to define and calculate "50% ENCLOSED". I thought initially it could be that a simple approach was necessary and we would treat the subject as a number of faces. If all the faces were covered then that was 100% enclosed. But what about the floor and what if a face had a window or a permanent grill. I hope someone in the offices of power is having a go at this too.

I took a leap because I wanted it to be thorough and allow for all circumstances. I first considered the result was dependant on perspectives. Two perspectives to be clear. The first was whether the place was enclosed from the position of production of smoke or the point of passive consumption of smoke, I decided that the consumption point was the whole point of the idea. The result of adequate enclosure was to increase passive smoking. The second perspective was static or dynamic and without any 3d shadow of a doubt dynamic was the complicated answer. The "enclosure quotient" grew and was now dependant on the position of the passive inhaler in the area.

I now considered units and naturally as the influence of enclosure was on flux or rate of change of air volumes then the quotient would be a ratio of the SI unit litres. I could soon see the Button Enclosure Quotient Constant (BEQC) being delivered.

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Day 3 at the Smoke Free Hospital

The grassed and wooded area at the front of the hospital has become my regular meeting place with my work colleagues. We do so as not to incur the wrath of we know not whom and out of fear of "disciplinary action". The car park attendants, my mate Lionel included, have been told they are the smoke police. I talk to everyone but one by one it seems I find out something new about these people. People I once talked to freely I now have an urge to assault and others I feel are allies. The segregation of my friends has commenced. I now have two types of friends, those who wander how I'm managing now they've closed the smoking room and those who are showing increasingly violent opinions and feelings towards the people who have done this to us. One colleague related how he had got so angry yesterday he had gone home at lunch time and phoned to tell his boss he wouldn't be coming back for the afternoon as he might hit someone.

Day 2 as a result of having to display my doctorial smoking habit in the light of day at the bus stop outside the hospital I met a strange lady. I was chatting to 4 other colleagues inhaling on similar white sticks and this extremely fat lady started talking to herself whilst looking at me. We are only 100yds away from the mental health services hospital and so it is not unusual to meet this behaviour and anyway health service staff themselves are in the habit as well. She seemed to be communicating her pleasure derived from the very thing that caused my unusual and defenceless placement and despite her rambling and disconnected style of oration I got the distinct impression she was trying to make me and my troup feel embarassment. "Excuse me but we're not actually interested" was my lame interjection which I later found out was rather approved of by my trench mates. It was at that moment that I remembered my last such exchange and simultaneously some form of personal abuse issued as if by reflex from the calorifically challenged marauder. Apparently I am smelly and undesirable. I could only think of an enormous black pot bubbling over next to a rather sleek cordless upright slimline kettle. Well forward into battle it is. Platoon! Attention!!

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SOB

I have written this abbreviation every working day of my live and more importantly I have asked countless people if "they get short of breath". SOB, medical acronym for "Shortness of Breath", means something completely different to me now. I had no real idea what I was talking about but, I am now short of breath and I understand.

At 47 I now get "SOB" when I get a cold and my chest feels "tight". My lungs don't work well at the moment. I have to consider whether I should stop smoking. Naturally all my colleagues have a predicable response to my enquiry. However you know I'm not actually sure what I want to do. I now remember many patients with much worse SOB than me that still smoked. I hasten to add I have never nagged!

The symptoms are scary and unpleasant but still I reach for my cigarettes and enjoy the flavour and the mellow contemplation, which strangely facilitates the decision making process. Is it the addiction thing I hear about that makes me go on?

Just got back from pharmacy with two inhalers and course of steroids. Too embarassed to go to GP. Lets see if the treatment works and during my next fag I might come up with a new idea.

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