Should I be smoking? Probably not. Is smoking doing me any damage? Most certainly it is. It does not require a genius or endless sets of research papers to know that inhaling smoke which contains countless chemicals at high temperature into very delicate lungs, is of no benefit whatsoever and is going to be positively harmful. On top of all that it is becoming increasingly expensive. So why do it?
Is it harmful to other people? We have been inundated with statistics which show that passive smoking is harmful. I have one little concern as to how they gather these statistics. Consider how you would go about it? Would you simply rely on people's response to questions? How exactly are causal links established when no proper scientific studies have been carried out..
To determine the effects of passive smoking you would first have to consider all the other air pollutants that people are exposed to in the course of their normal daily lives. Traffic fumes, aerosols, bonfires, pollen, dust, and the list goes on and is very extensive. Smoke from tobacco is just one of the pollutants we are exposed to. Then you take several thousand individuals of similar ages, height, and weight distributed evenly between the sexes. In your first test group you have several hundred of these you expose to all the possible pollutants; the second group are exposed to all bar one; the third group are exposed to all bar a different one and so on. Then you have a second trial in which one group are exposed to all, a second group are exposed to none and then a series of other groups are exposed to only one of the pollutants. You then follow their medical histories over a period of several years.
Impossible to carry out of course so we have to rely on data which has been collected from questionnaires and autopsies and apocryphal stories.
How many people contract lung cancer who have never smoked and never been exposed to smoke? We are never supplied with this figure because that has not been of interest to any of our researchers. In discussions statistics are bandied about as if they are absolute and the definitive truth. When in fact they are simply one persons interpretation of a set of data. How good that interpretation is depends upon how the data was collected and we are never told that.
I am not suggesting that smoking or passive smoking is not harmful but sitting in traffic jams cannot be too good for you either. I just wish that the health lobby would stop trying to shove their own agenda down my throat all the time because this then gives the politicians an excuse to interfere in our daily lives all the more with laws telling us what we cannot and can do, and quite frankly I am fed up with their constant preaching and interfering. It would seem that it has become a replacement for religion, but instead of hell fire and damnation awaiting a transgressor of fairly basic rules we now have fines and political preaching. I use smoking as one example but there are numerous others such as obesity which could have been used. In answer to the question why do I smoke the answer is simple, I am an addict, I enjoy it, and I object to other people telling me I shouldn't be doing it.
David Andrew Smith is the owner of http://www.wesparkle.co.uk a cleaning services company.