Smokers will be denied life-changing operations unless they agree to kick the habit, The Daily Mail revealed on October 23rd.
According to The Mail, cash-strapped hospitals say patients will not be given treatments such as hip and knee replacements until they try to give up. Those who fail could be denied treatment all together.
Managers in Norfolk and Newcastle, where trusts are millions of pounds in debt, say smokers are at a greater risk of complications and the move will help save them money on further care. But critics accused them of putting its finances before the health of its patients - and warned it could lead to surgeons being "browbeaten" into breaking the Hippocratic Oath.
The move will hit patients of Norfolk Primary Care Trust which is £50 million in the red and provides healthcare to the residents of Norwich and surrounding towns and villages. Newcastle-Under-Lyme PCT in north Staffordshire, which is £1.4 million in debt, has taken a similar decision.
So what are we to make of this story?
I am not a Communist but I do believe that there is something useful in Lenin¹s advice which is that if people don't understand something one should explain to them patiently time and time again.
Do smokers cost the NHS more? Well, the government revealed this year that whilst smokers are 'estimated' to cost the NHS £1.7 billion a year, they nevertheless pay in direct taxes on tobacco products the sum of £8 billion a year. That means that each smoker pays for his or her health care costs 4.7 times over which means they are already paying for other people's health care too.
Add to that £8 billion in direct taxes the yearly taxes levied on the profits of the tobacco companies and, at a conservative estimate, that £8 billion easily doubles. So let's say in continuing conservative terms that smokers contribute, through their habit, £16 billion to the economy. That means in health care terms they pay for themselves 9.4 times over. That's a very generous deal from the smokers and imagine what would happen if that £16 billion disappeared. There would be a very large hole in the finances of the treasury which would have to be made up by additional taxes being levied on the whole population.
Under the circumstances, the hospitals who want to deny patients treatments if they smoke should not be doing so for smokers are the only people who DO pay their way in health care costs.
This hypocrisy is scandalous and reflects the fact that these unscrupulous managers want an easy target or scapegoat to justify their actions which are not only unfair but wicked. One should have no hesitation, in fact, in designating them to be scoundrels jumping on the bandwagon of what they perceive to be a fashionable trend with easy victims.
But wait, we cannot leave the story there for what we are also seeing is an attempt to blackmail smokers into giving up a legal product and against their will in many cases. Why? Well, we notice that workers are to be given nicotine patches (NRT) instead of cigarette breaks and, by the same token, we also know that similar schemes offering NRT to patients are now commonplace in the NHS. How convenient, for if the government wants to stop people smoking it¹s going to have to make up the loss of revenue somewhere and what better way than by persuading people to use and then buy NRT? NRT is now a multibillion dollar industry.
At this point it is important to say that it is high time that the relationships between NRT vendors and the government and the NHS were fully explored. We must ask who is getting the perks and kickbacks from promoting NRT?
Why? Well for one reason it's not ethical to get people addicted to NRT patches and as time goes on we hear of this happening more and more and for some people there are very unpleasant resulting effects. Nor is it right to persuade people to buy or partake of products whose efficacy is highly dubious. Remember, the basis on which these patches are sold is that whilst it is the nicotine in cigarettes that causes one to become addicted to them, it is the nicotine in patches that takes that addiction away. This is self-contradictory mumbo-jumbo.
Next, someone taking the trouble to sift through the website of The National Institute for Clinical Excellence will discover that even they admit NRT to have a success rate of only between 3% and 6% and that only after tracking people¹s progress for one year. Similar American websites list an overall 7% success rate over a six month period. Subsequently, it is not unreasonable to conclude from one¹s own experiences and those of acquaintances who have used these products that the longer the period monitored the lower the success rate. Might it then be sensible to suggest that the NHS saves some money by not wasting it on NRT, unless of course much of this product is supplied free by the vendors in the hope of generating an even larger future market.
Finally, what we are currently witnessing is a government that has failed to manage the NHS effectively and there are many areas in which this writer can see how cuts can be made within the existing framework in order to save money. To begin with there are far too many health quangos which do not seem to performing any useful function other than lining the pockets of their employees. Then, there are the silly health schemes on offer like personal health trainers/consultants as opposed to what we really need such as more nurses and useful hospital staff such as cleaners and porters. Add to that the costs of obsessive 'heath and safetyism', the excess of well salaried managers and bureaucrats and we start to tally up some considerable savings.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Smokers will be denied life-changing operations unless they agree to kick the habit, The Daily Mail revealed on October 23rd.
Posted by Gasdoc at 6:35 pm
Sunday, October 22, 2006
From the government that brought us hypocritical buzzwords like "respect" and childish slogans such as "Cool Britannia" smokers have had to put up with pre-pubescent NHS insults which state that "smokers stink" (nah-nan-na-nan-nah) and that "smokers are impotent".
Here are two examples of the latter infantile waggishness:
Contemplating these works of art, one wonders how much further this government is prepared to go in supporting corrupt medical non-science in its desire to add to Tony Blair's crumbling legacy. To begin with, if there is a risk of smokers becoming impotent as a result of their habit that risk cannot be very great as can be proved by the fact that during World War II an estimated 85% of military personnel smoked and an estimated 65% of the rest of the population, yet despite this, following that war there was a baby boom. In addition, subsequent heavy smoking generations produced millions of offspring.
These facts, however, are of no importance to the anti-smoker crusaders or to a government intent on cynically shoring up its popularity at any price, even if that means telling us more lies. We should also like to point out to Tony Blair that this nonsense hardly constitutes showing people respect either and if he wants respect from the smoking population he will have to learn to show it himself. No respectee, no votee!
We have become tired of being insulted, lied about and bullied so we have started producing our own responses but these responses are accurate. So perhaps our viewers would like to enjoy this new anti Labour NHS poster which reveals the truth. Whilst Nu-Labour tries to vilify smokers this belies the fact that its real concern is with its own impotence.
In simple terms: IT CANNOT MANAGE THE NHS EFFECTIVELY!
Finally, along with the mendacious anti-smoker movement, whenever criticism is received concerning the Lysenkoism utilised to promote smoker bans, the government's response is to directly or indirectly permit the issuing of yet more far fetched claims regarding the dangers of environmental tobacco smoke. This is ham fisted ineptitude for, increasingly, more and more smokers, libertarians and pro-choice activists are becoming aware of the truth concerning the great second hand smoke scam by learning the science and digging beneath the surface to the corruption that ultimately sustains the anti smoker crusade. Yes indeed, there will be a reckoning and for these creatures of dishonesty and hatred it is later than they think!
Posted by Gasdoc at 11:58 am
Forces front page reports on a pivotal scientific discovery which has been ignored by the anti-tobacco lobby and the medical press. The significance of the discovery of a gene which smoking appears to down regulate cannot be overestimated. The gene is involved in the production of nitric oxide.
The effect of smoking on the gene could explain the known reduced incidence of Parkinson's Disease in smokers. The understanding of neurological degenerative diseases and their prevention and treatment could be majorly advanced if this area of research was afforded the priority it deserves.
However Parkinsons Disease like arthritis is a poor relative when it comes to the Public Health Brigade and the Charities. It is a crippling and personally disastrous condition. The is no hidden agenda to produce massive funding. So in effect such ground breaking and potentially life enhancing work will be held back because it is a benefit of smoking.
As the Nanny State clearly is in the advanced stages of Dementia perhaps its time it paid a little more heed to more responsible funding of science and less attention to the powerful anti-smoking cult. It may then be able to think more clearly and remember we live in a free democratic society.
Posted by Gasdoc at 11:38 am
Friday, October 20, 2006
"The evidence against the dangers of passive smoking remains in my view unequivocal. The imposition of a ban on smoking in so-called public places represents a triumph of prejudice and propaganda masquerading as science. It has no place in a free and tolerant society and must in the long run risk bringing science itself into further dispute." Lord Harris of Highcross, Chairman of Forest 1987-2006.
Posted by Gasdoc at 7:50 pm
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Posted by Gasdoc at 6:31 pm
Dr Peter Stuyvesant, 74, honary shadow propaganda minister for the Doctor's Against Bad Science party has used very strong language in his appeal to ASH and other anti-tobacco morons to desist being slightly undesireable members of society. You have to say he presents a very powerful argument.
Posted by Gasdoc at 3:23 pm
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Dr Richard Smith has written a book. He was the editor of the BMJ for 13 years and as such his opinions should be noted. He may have an axe to grind or he may simply be revealing his inside experience and learned views on the matter. He is absolutely right though and I know. The quality of the published research in many journals is transparently poor. Many articles incompletely outlining the methods used to reach their conclusions. This particularly applies to the description of statistical methods which have become increasingly ellaborate and confusing.
It has already been suggested that abstracts of articles make claims that are not supported by the results and ignore findings that go against the authors' or funders' agenda!
Three cheers to Dr Smith and a definite book for our shelves!
Link in the title of this article to Amazon for everyone to find out more and purchase.
Follow this link to go to a good article about the book: Life Style Extra.
Posted by Gasdoc at 5:28 pm
We have great pleasure in reproducing these e-mails from Irish journalist, researcher, friend and fellow pro-choice activist John Mallon. John wrote to The Central Statistics Office of the Irish Republic in order to discover what actual statistics were actually available on deaths from smoking related illnesses. What did he discover? Read on.
Having read yet again the statistic from the Office of Tobacco Control that 7,000 a year die in Ireland from "smoking related illness", I decided to query the "Central Statistics Office" here and get the actual figures. These are my questions with their response underneath. It is informative indeed when pro ban politicians throw around scary stats, to know that there is no formal foundation for them. What the answers from here tell us is that there is NO PROOF in Ireland that anyone has ever died from smoking, much less ETS. It might be worth looking at the stats in your own areas:
(Next, we see the questions posed by John and the answers he received.)
I am researching figures and statistics for a project around smoking in Ireland (only). What I am seeking is accurate mortality figures for smokers. Your data suggests that you collect "cause of death" among other things. It would help me greatly if you could let me know:
Q1. Is smoking ever listed as a cause of death?
A1. Smoking is frequently mentioned on death certificates. However, our data are based on recording the 'Underlying Cause of Death', according to the World Health Organisation International Classification of Diseases, version 9 (ICD-9), and Smoking will never be picked as the Underlying Cause of Death. The death will be recorded as due to Lung Cancer (e.g), or whichever cause is also mentioned on the death certificate.
Q2. Is there any separate register of smokers and from it, how they died?
A2. Not that I know of.
Q3. Is there any accurate mechanism to show smoking related deaths.
A3. No, for the reasons mentioned above. We can give you data on how many people each year die from Lung Cancer, Ischaemic Heart Disease, and other causes which 'may' be linked to smoking. However we don't currently have figures on how many of these deaths were among smokers. You can find estimates of deaths due to smoking at http://www.dohc.ie/publications/pdf/hstat02.pdf?direct=1 (pages 51 and 52), a publication produced by the Statistics section of the Department of Health and Children.
Q4. Is there a listing of deaths from "environmental tobacco smoke"?
A4. Not that I know of.
Q5. The other statistic that I have been having difficulty is the percentage of our people who do smoke. I cannot remember if it was a question on the census form but, do you have any figures on this.
A5. You can find information on percentages of smokers in pages 93 and 94 of the Department of Health and Children publication linked to above. These refer to 1998.
Central Statistics Office
Tel: +353 21 453 5121
Fax: +353 21 453 5555
I thank you in advance for any hard facts you can furnish,
When we asked John if we could use his e-mail for this blog, he replied:
Be my guest but, more importantly, I suspect if you check the same data in the U.K. I believe you will find that (shock horror), there are no figures AT ALL from independent sources that actually show a single death from smoking. And, of course, there has not been a single verified death from ETS. Smoking "contributes" to illness and death but is not solely responsible for it.
ETS is merely an irritant.
Posted by Gasdoc at 5:21 pm
Friday, October 06, 2006
Posted by Gasdoc at 8:01 pm
In the world of politics, politicians say some blatantly stupid phrases. So many nonsensical sayings have been uttered that day calendars can be made every year with new quotes for all 365 days, or 366 for those leap years.
Recently, while at the United Nations on invitation from his pal Kofi Annan, former senator, vice president and self-appointed global warming warrior Al Gore added yet another phrase to that lengthy list. "Cigarette smoking is a significant contributor to global warming," said the greenhouse gas fighter.
Despite the alleged role of millions of automobiles, thousands of jet liners, industrial ocean tankers, emerging industrial economies and third-world pollution, cigarette smoking, said Gore, is enough to have the landmass of Greenland run "a real risk of splitting in two, and, if that happens, substantial parts of Manhattan, Shanghai and Bombay will disappear."
Keep in mind that this is the same Al Gore who accused the Bush White House of using "fear tactics" with the war on terror.
Following his numbing three-hour speech at the United Nations on the bane of mankind and all life on Earth, Gore answered questions about his future political ambitions and then opened boxes of his book, "An Inconvenient Truth," to sell to the U.N. audience.
What heightens the degree of the statement's absurdity, aside from its sheer ridiculousness, is the fact that Gore worked on his family's tobacco farm growing up. While running in the Democratic presidential primary in 1988, Gore said, "Throughout most of my life, I raised tobacco. I want you to know that with my own hands, all of my life, I put it in the plant beds and transferred it. I've hoed it. I've dug in it. I've sprayed it, I've chopped it, I've shredded it, spiked it, put it in the barn and stripped it and sold it."
Furthermore, one month after Gore's sister died from lung cancer in 1984, he received a speaker's fee from an American tobacco company. The next year, he voted against three bills to increase taxes on cigarettes and tobacco and favored a bill to allow major cigarette producers to purchase discounted tobacco. He did all of this while accepting campaign contributions from major tobacco producers.
The hypocrisy does not end there. While showing his movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," at the Cannes Film Festival on the French Riviera, Gore rode in his caravan of black General Motors sport utility vehicles only a couple blocks from his hotel to the festival. This is the same person who called for the end of internal combustion engines worldwide in his 1992 book, "Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit."
In the state of California it is illegal to smoke in a public building or commercial venue. The smokers that the state has relocated outside are now contributing "significantly" to global warming. According to Gore's logic, it seems that California is now promoting global warming and the death and destruction that go along with it, rather than curbing it. This seems quite odd. Where do environmentally conscious smokers now go? This is very bad news for hippies.
Regardless of what kind of opinion one holds on the issue of global warming, it is quite hard to take Al Gore seriously given his hypocrisy, obscure statements and downright absurdity. This is now especially true with the addition of the global-warming-cigarette-smoking statement. He has ridden his passionate pony of global warming thinking that he is King Arthur when he is closer to Don Quixote. This new quote will undoubtedly end up on a day calendar of stupid phrases. But let's just hope that day is within the next nine years and 110 days, which is when the apocalyptical fiery wrath of global warming will commence, according, of course, to Gore himself.
Posted by Blad
Posted by Gasdoc at 7:54 pm
Sunday, October 01, 2006
In the second of our Support the Welsh Against Smoker Bans series we depict Rhodri Morgan. This man, now head of the Welsh Assembly, commenced his career as a cretin, rose rapidly to the rank of buffoon and rapidly reached the pinnacle of imbecility as state socialist nanny.
Keen on smoker bans, here we have a picture of Rhodri taking his place in the Assembly in full national costume to discuss that auspicious yet laughable and lamentable document the Report of the Committee on Smoking in Public Places. What a pile of junk science and dishonest manipulations of evidence from start to finish!
Yes, in common with his Nu-Labour political masters in Downing Street, Morgan thinks it's fine to vilify and discriminate against smokers and then to ask for their votes. They really have got to be joking! Who votes for someone who insults and discriminates against them? No-one!
However, very bad news for the anti smoker lobby this week, for now up on the web is the new site organised by Dr James Enstrom entitled The Scientific Integrity Institute which is designed to encourage honest appraisals of epidemiological findings. Certainly, now we have one of the two famous men - Enstrom and Kabat - who carried out the largest study ever, wanting to put the record straight by reinforcing the fact that the findings of their study showed no relationship between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality in never smokers in California. For those interested the link is here:
Also, this article from The Telegraph is excellent too and cited by Enstrom:
Likewise this one by Michael Fumento:
Lastly, take a look at these two by Dutch writer Henry R Sturman:
This cartoon has been undertaken in response to popular request from my friends: Meirion, Pete, Sian, Meic, Gogi, Wil, Jim, Tara, Gwillt, Henry, Gwyn, Eifion J, Eifion R, Jac, Simon, Rob, Enfys, Dave, Daf, Jason, Eric, Gwynfor, Sion, Bethan, Bill and Nia and is also in sympathy for all those publicans and cafe owners who will find their businesses irreversibly damaged or destroyed by Wales' coming smoker ban. The Welsh Ass will have a lot to answer for.
Is that the Devil at Rhodri's elbow?
Posted by Gasdoc at 1:58 pm