A bit of over-reach

Public health experts have called for a ban on cigarette sales, declaring the government’s response to the coronavirus “farcical” given how many more people died annually from tobacco-related illnesses.

COVID-19 would be “unlikely to ever match the relentless and growing annual toll from tobacco smoking” and its spread was an “opportune time to move towards removing cigarettes from general retail sale”, according to analysis published in the latest issue of Tobacco Control, an international health journal.

The Australian.

Another one for the never let a good crisis go to waste basket.

But let’s think about this – smoking is mostly an internality not an externality. Now there may well be problems with second hand smoke – not trivial but not as dangerous as the public health lobby argues – and so-called third hand smoke simply caused laughter. The single largest cost of smoking is early death – as opposed to later death. That is a private cost. The public benefit of smoking is:

In its latest budget, update the government forecast tobacco excise receipts of $17.2 billion this financial year.

But I expect the anti-tobacco lobby to push their barrow at every opportunity.

I seems to me, however, that this sort of argument undermines the fight the fight against COVID-19.

The public health lobby has just undermined the benefit of the COVID-19 lock down:

In China, there have been just over 3300 COVID-19 deaths compared with approximately 1 million each year from tobacco. In Italy, which currently has the highest deaths per million of the population, there have been nearly 14,000 deaths from COVID-19, compared with 93,300 each year from tobacco

That will be a very small comfort to the millions of Australians who have lost their jobs in the last three weeks, the hundreds of thousands of small businesses that have gone broke, and the Gen Ys and Zs who are going to pay for it all.

Update: CL and I double-posted on this same topic. His post appears below.



by currencylad

A Chinese ‘flu is becoming a nanny-stater’s Nuremberg …                                                 

Coronavirus: Health experts argue for smoking ban to save more lives.

Public health experts have called for a ban on cigarette sales, declaring the government’s response to the coronavirus “farcical” given how many more people died annually from tobacco-related illnesses …

“If governments had acted to protect the public from tobacco with a fraction of the effort (and financial investment) they have exerted to control this coronavirus, many millions of lives could have been saved, and underlying demand on health services significantly reduced,” they said.
NED-1524-Covid-19 control scenarios – Australia – 0

Authors Marita Hefler and Coral Gartner, of Charles Darwin and Queensland Universities, respectively, said tobacco smoking – which kills around 8 million people annually – was “a greater, sustained strain” than the coronavirus, which has killed around 70,000 globally, mainly in Europe, China and the United States.

Defining Moment: The Nazis launch the first public anti-smoking campaign.

Tobacco is the wrath of the Red Man against the White Man, vengeance for having been given hard liquor.”

– Founder and icon of the anti-smoking movement, Adolf Hitler

I drink a great deal. I sleep a little, and I smoke cigar after cigar. That is why I am in two-hundred-percent form.”

– Winston Churchill, persona non grata to “public health experts”

These latest two wannabe corona-starlets – Marita Hefler and Coral Gartner – are not medical practitioners, by the way. The important thing to remember is this: if Australian hospitals are coping well with COVID-19, don’t just thank nurses and doctors. Thank smokers too because they paid for it all. (HT: JC).

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27 Responses to A bit of over-reach

  1. nb

    It is my considered view that we ought to ban all human activity. Human activity is dangerous.

  2. Professor Fred Lenin

    The smokers are gallantly laying down their heslth and lives to provide politicians with heaps of excise money to waste on climate change.

  3. C.L.

    These latest two wannabe corona-starlets – Marita Hefler and Coral Gartner – are not medical practitioners, by the way. The important thing to remember is this: if Australian hospitals are coping well with COVID-19, don’t just thank nurses and doctors. Thank smokers too. We paid for them.

  4. Luke

    They mean Reichstag Fire don’t they? ?

  5. No, no, no Sinc. These guys are thinking broadly enough.

    “Why corporate power is a public health priority”, Gerard Hastings, BMJ 2012; 345.

    That’s BMJ wot used to be known as the British Medical Journal. Tossers.

  6. edit

    “These guys are NOT thinking broadly enough. …”

  7. JC



  8. Some History

    Marita Heiffer has been a long-time prohibitionist. She’s currently the editor of the BMJ’s prohibitionist rag “Tobacco Control” (i.e., tobacco prohibition).

    Prohibitionists are trying to piggy-back their “cause” onto the high-profile covid-19 to get into the MSM. I would be confident that for quite a few of these “public healthers”, a KPI is to get “the cause” into the mainstream media at least, say, 8-10 times per year. They’re enthusiastic to have media exposure where they can spout their crap without question. From Coral’s page:

    This staff member is a UQ Expert for media in the following fields:
    Smoking – health, Tobacco – health, Public health – smoking reduction, Smoking – public health policy, Snus (smokeless tobacco), Tobacco – snus, Nicotine vaccines, Smoking – quitting
    They are happy to lend their expertise to your articles or broadcasts and share their research discoveries and insights with the community via media channels.
    For additional assistance with story ideas, general advice and information or help with seeking further experts, please email the UQ Media Team or telephone (07) 3365 1120.

    “Expert”, my astroturf.

  9. Some History

    Then there’s the smoking “death toll”, whether it’s globally or locally. For example, it’s claimed that in Australia smoking “kills” 15,000 per year. That’s a nice round figure. I’ve asked a few times over the years – where does that number come from, how is it calculated. The answer is it comes from the USA CDC’s “Smoking Attributed Morbidity & Mortality and Economic Cost” (SAMMEC) software put together decades ago. The “toll” is not based on death certificates or an understanding of cause and effect. Rather, it’s just the summation of a series of elevated relative risks for smoking and specific disease. Every assumption in SAMMEC is arguable. It’s a statistical death toll that “exists” in a statistical fantasy world. SAMMEC can be applied on a state/national/global level and can spit out a death toll in seconds: Just feed in the population estimate and the %age that are smokers. It can generate a “death toll” for countries where there hasn’t even been any research on smoking and mortality. It could even spit out a “death toll” for your local street. Then there’s the “secondhand smoke” variant that is even more tortured in its “assumptions”.

  10. NoFixedAddress

    After we ‘kill all the lawyers’ we go after the ‘experts’.

  11. Some History

    C.L. (and others), you might be interested in some antismoking background.


    N#zi Germany

    The current antismoking crusade, very much in the eugenics tradition – involving the same medically-aligned personnel and repugnant methodology, is much like crusades over the previous 400 years. It is a moralizing, social-engineering, eradication/prohibition crusade decided upon in the 1970s by a small, self-installed clique of [medically-oriented] fanatics (e.g., George Godber) operating under the auspices of the World Health Organization and sponsored by the American Cancer Society. This little, unelected group, using much the same inflammatory rhetoric of its fanatical predecessors, decided for everyone that tobacco-use should be eradicated from the world – for a “better” (according to them) world. These fanatics were speaking of secondhand smoke “danger” and advocating indoor and OUTDOOR smoking bans years before the first study on SHS, and extortionate taxes on tobacco years before contrived “cost burden” analyses of smoking: In the 1970s, populations – particularly in relatively free societies – weren’t interested in elitist social-engineering, particularly by a group (medically-aligned) that had a horrible recent track record (eugenics). Given that their antismoking crusade would have otherwise stalled, the zealots conjured secondhand smoke “danger” to advance the social-engineering agenda, i.e., inflammatory propaganda. Until only recently the zealots claimed they weren’t doing social engineering, that they weren’t moralizing. Well, that’s a lie that’s been told many times over the last few decades.

    The zealots’ goal this time is not to ban the sale of tobacco but to ban smoking in essentially all the places that people smoke (combined with extortionate taxes), indoors and out. Up until recently the social-engineering intent has been masqueraded as protecting nonsmokers from secondhand smoke “danger”. But even this fraud can no longer be hidden in that bans are now being instituted for large outdoor areas such as parks, beaches, university campuses where there is not even any concocted “health” issue for nonsmokers. This dangerous mix of the medically-aligned attempting social engineering is a throwback to a century ago. We seem to have learned nothing of value from very painful lessons of only the recent past.

  12. Some History

    Just a quick word on the N#zi anti-tobacco article (and there are others). Nazi anti-tobacco only came to light in the early-1990s. The current antismokers were already on their prohibitionist way from the early-1980s.

    The current crusade is far nastier than the Nazi crusade. It has to be borne in mind that the Nazis had the major “distractions” of world conquest and genocide holding most of their attention. Antismoking was to be pursued with even greater vigour after the war which the Nazis thought they would win. In contrast, contemporary antismoking has had some 3 decades of singular pursuit, no distractions, and red-carpet access to the legislature. While Nazi anti-tobacco was confined to one nation, contemporary antismoking is a global menace. As far as anti-tobacco goes, contemporary “Tobacco Control” makes the Nazis look like pansies.

    The Nazi war on tobacco only came to light in the early-1990s. By this time the current anti-tobacco crusade was already well underway. Tobacco Control was caught with its pants down regarding the similarities to Nazi anti-tobacco. Tobacco Control went into damage control.

    Tobacco Control hates the Nazi comparison: It is offended by the comparison. Some TC folk even slapped together a sub-amateurish article downplaying the Nazis’ commitment to anti-tobacco. The thrust of their “argument” is please don’t refer to us as Nazi-like because, as far as anti-tobacco goes, we are way nastier and comprehensive than the Nazis were. How’s that for an “argument” as to why they shouldn’t be referred to as Nazi-like?


    But they are correct. As far as anti-tobacco goes, contemporary TC, directed by the unelected, unaccountable WHO, is way, way, way worse than the Nazis.

    To the official bullies and their industrial partners, the bullying/coercion is not referred to as bullying/coercion. It’s referred to as “help” or “encouragement” or “care” or “tough love”.

    It is the elite, the well-educated, that are highly prone to intelligent self-deception as they attempt to wield unmerited, self-serving power over society. This is a critical problem with the highly and dangerously delusional and particularly in officialdom, i.e., organized policy-making derangement. Their conduct is never self-viewed as vulgar, as sickly. They even take offence at the suggestion that it might be so: “How can they compare us to the Nazis or other evil group”, declare the current bigots/tyrants. “All we’re trying to do is reduce the damage done by tobacco. We’re doing ‘good’”. But what the nouveaux bigots fail to comprehend is that the Nazis, as with others, saw themselves as “deliverers of the world” from “evil” as they perceived it: At the time, they viewed their conduct as doing their nation and the world a great service. They saw themselves as anything but evil. It is contorted perception. These were seriously disturbed minds. And, concerning anti-tobacco, contemporary Public Health and its Tobacco Control subsidiary aren’t all that far behind.

  13. Some History

    Now there may well be problems with second hand smoke – not trivial but not as dangerous as the public health lobby argues – and so-called third hand smoke simply caused laughter.

    Secondhand smoke “danger” is fabricated. Long before covid-19, Public Health had brainwashed the gullible in reacting to even wisps of smoke outdoors as if it is “like” a covid-19, that they could die at any moment.

    Thirdhand smoke is the “smoke” you can’t see. It’s even easier to terrorize the gullible based on nothing. Thirdhand smoke is the “equivalent” of covid-19 on surfaces. In thirdhand smoke have we witnessed the manufacture of a “hazard” from nothing but people still aren’t paying attention.

    None of the “thirdhand smoke” research includes specific diseases as an experimental variable. Therefore, no health claims can be made from this [agenda driven] “research”, i.e., crap.

    But that doesn’t stop vile antismoking nut cases. These are the sorts of results on page 1 of a simple google search using “thirdhand smoke” – and note the dates:

    People are exposed to these chemicals by touching contaminated surfaces or breathing in the off-gassing from these surfaces. This residue is thought to react with common indoor pollutants to create a toxic mix including cancer causing compounds, posing a potential health hazard to nonsmokers — especially children.Jul 13, 2017 mayo clinic

    Thirdhand smoke is the tobacco smoke residue that remains after a tobacco product has been put out. … Infants exposed to thirdhand smoke are more likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS ), and those exposed are at an increased risk for asthma.

    If someone in your household smokes and isn’t ready to quit, you can still protect your baby . … If you wear a jacket or sweatshirt while smoking, take it off before holding the baby. Never let anyone smoke around the baby. And never take the baby into an area where people are smoking.

    Buying a home from a smoker can increase the risk of cancer as toxic chemicals remain in carpets, curtains, walls and furniture indefinitely, a new study has warned. Researchers found the so-called third-hand smoke is a serious threat to health – especially in young children and those with underlying health conditions.Jan 4, 2016 dailymail

    Thirdhand smoke is residual — or leftover — nicotine and other chemicals that remain on clothing and surfaces after someone smokes in the area. … Researchers believe these lingering chemicals can harm your body just like smoking and secondhand smoke can.Apr 6, 2017 cleveland clinic

    Do not smoke and do not allow yourself to be exposed to smoke because second-hand smoke and third-hand smoke are just as deadly as first-hand smoke, say scientists who conducted the first animal study of the effects of third-hand smoke.Jan 30, 2014 sciencedaily

    A “serious danger” from absolutely nothing.

  14. Gerard

    Data on the hazards of second hand smoke do not add up. Just invented to justify indoor smoking banshttps://junkscience.com/2014/03/second-hand-smoke-ooooo-so-scary-says-the-brits/#more-53466

  15. There was an article in a scientific journal some days ago (which I didn’t bookmark) that indicated that smoking has the potential to prevent coronavirus. Early test have shown that long-term smokers haven’t been affected like non-smokers. The article went on to say that non-smokers shouldn’t start smoking (of course). That article has now disappeared from Google and only a Chinese news report survives.

  16. Some History


    There is a regularly updating meta-analysis that now includes 13 studies.


    See also Snowdon


  17. Some History

    So there’s plenty of data, including early CDC American data, that smokers are under-represented in the covid-19 stats, i.e., smokers are at considerably lower risk of hospitalization/ICU/mortality. But that’s not what Public Health (and antismoking activists) is publicly stating, so much so that it’s even pi**ing off Clive Bates, a long-time antismoker. See


  18. Another Ian

    Got this in an email – FWIW


    Smoking increases susceptibility to respiratory infections and media reports suggest that it may increase the risk of being infected with acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus responsible for COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 is known to use the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a receptor for cell entry, and there is evidence that smoking down-regulates ACE2 expression in the lung and other tissues.

    Their findings, though surprising, appear to be supported by the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These too show that – contrary to expectations – relatively few smokers and ex-smokers have been hospitalised with COVID-19. “

  19. Some History

    This is a good place to post this information. A useful way to consider antismoking information is to first understand that rabid antismokers view smokers in roughly the same way that the KKK would view African-Americans.

    Thirdhand smoke – the term was coined in ~2008. THS is not science leading the way. It’s misocapny/capnophobia perverting the scientific method in an attempt to legitimize its derangement. Most are not familiar with misocapny/capnophobia. They represent a seething, irrational hatred and irrational fear of peculiarly tobacco smoke, the emphasis being on irrational. There’s more than good reason to view misocapny/capnophobia as a mental disorder. And when this mentality is let loose with government approval, as has been the case for the last 3 decades, it becomes reinforced; it becomes more acute. The claims become progressively more absurd and hysterical and the demands for protection from phantom “dangers” more draconian and inhumane. The mentality is bullying, spiteful, vindictive, and malicious. It suffers control issues, power issues, delusions of benevolence, and delusions of grandeur. And this dysfunctional mess is held together by pathological lying. It never dawns on the misocapnist/capnophobe that there might be something wrong with their thinking.

    The forerunner of THS: Here’s information from 1993, 15 years before the “official” invention of THS, where a rabid misocapnist/capnophobe was hyper-reacting to “tobacco-smoke residues”. These are excerpts from a variety of sources. Not sure how current the links are. This information was put together a few years ago.

    Let me introduce you to Chuck Crawford, president of Kimball Physics, New Hampshire, USA.

    From the Kimball Physics website (claims for which there was no coherent basis whatsoever):

    Second: No tobacco use is allowed anywhere outside on Kimball Physics grounds (including entry areas, parking lots, picnic areas, grassed areas, fields, and hundreds of acres of woods). No tobacco use is allowed inside any motor vehicle, irrespective of ownership, while located on Kimball Physics grounds.

    Third: No tobacco-residuals emitting person, article of clothing, or other object is allowed inside any Kimball Physics building. This restriction also applies to anyone or anything emitting characteristic tobacco odors. Anyone who has used a tobacco product within the previous two hours is automatically to be turned away, unless measures have been taken such that residuals-sensitive persons are not exposed. The determining factor, regarding allowable residuals levels and/or exposure durations, is whether anyone is either significantly bothered, or even worse, made ill.

    …. Conversely (as is widely accepted), if an individual enters an area formerly occupied by a smoker, a contaminated automobile for example, the same effects occur. This sensitivity, of course, explains the need for non-smoking hotel rooms, non-smoking rental cars, tobacco-free taxis, and the like. A surprisingly large fraction of the population is sensitive to tobacco residuals.

    ….. Minor (and not so minor) illnesses which are caused by tobacco residuals include: headaches, stinging eyes, burning or constricting throats, chest congestion, hoarseness, coughing, nose bleeds, sinus problems, stomach pains, ear aches, asthma attacks, etc.

    The policy was instituted in 1993

    Some background:


    Imagine you walk into the reception area of a building .
    The receptionist stands up and begins to sniff you up and down . Where are you?
    A lunatic asylum? A vetrinary clinic? Dreaming? Some combination of the above?
    Actually you might be at Kimball Physics, an electronics manufacturer in Wilton, New Hampshire, where smokers are so un-welcome they are sniffed out at the gate .

    Receptionist Jennifer Walsh of Kimball is charged with applying the sniff test on all employees and visitors to the company . If she catches even a whiff of tobacco smoke on your breath, hair or clothing, she will deny you entrance to the company’s offices .

    Company president Chuck Crawford defended the policy to the Associated Press, insisting that “people can be made ill by amounts of tobacco residues that are below the level of sensitivity the nose can detect .”

    First, he [Chuck Crawford] was saying that the effects of second hand smoke are present even if no one is smoking . He said his allergy is so bad that a person who had a cigarette six hours previous still exhales smoke that effects him . The smell from the smokers’ clothing also is an impediment .

  20. Some History


    Many companies that have adjusted their no-smoker policies have done so only grudgingly. Chuck Crawford, president of Kimball Physics Inc., a Wilton, N.H., electronic-optics company, defiantly tightened his company’s antismoking rules when the state made smoking a civil right in 199L He believes the state’s law contradicts federal health regulations and should be thrown out. Mr. Crawford says he opposes corporate intrusion into employees’ lives. But he worries that residue from smokers’ clothes and from their breath could contaminate rooms at the company that must be kept clean for the manufacturing of electronic optics. In addition, some employees are allergic to smoke. “We can smell a smoker, typically, at a distance of a couple of feet,” Mr. Crawford says. “In point of fact, they stink.”

    Kimball Physics no longer asks potential employees whether they smoke. But it has started telling them that they can’t smoke on company grounds, even in the parking lot inside their own car. The smell of smoke would linger on the workers* clothes, Mr. Crawford explains.

    Employees who are exposed to smoke at home must wash up in company showers and put on clean clothes when they arrive at work.

    Mr. Crawford, who once paid an employee $3,000 to stop smoking, says he doesn’t know of any current workers who smoke. I would spend every cent this company has to attack that industry if I thought it would do any good,” he says. “We will fight to the death on this.”

    Dr. Chuck Crawford (Kimball Physics Vice President) :
    We would not allow a tobacco user to come into our house. My wife would have my head if I did.

    Dr. Chuck Crawford, president of Kimble physics, spoke in opposition to SB 171 noting that people are allergic to both second hand and time-delayed smoke and that allergic reactions can occur in time-delayed smoke situations and therefore a businesses decision to discriminate on the basis of smoking is justified.

  21. Some History


    Kimball Physics, Inc., a manufacturer of scientific apparatuses based in Wilton, N.H., actually signs a contract with each of its approximately 45 non-smoking employees, guaranteeing that it will not hire tobacco users. Chuck Crawford, physicist and president of the firm, says the policy is designed primarily to protect workers’ health, and has attracted job applicants who are allergic to tobacco smoke.

    Kimball Physics, a maker of electron and ion optics, forbids smoking on company grounds, and no one is allowed inside the building who smells of smoke.
    “If someone has a wool suit and walks through a bar, they don’t
    wear that suit into the office,” says Chuck Crawford, president of the
    Wilton, N,H-based firm. “It’s a very strong policy and a selling point for the company.”


    There are no allergens (proteins) in tobacco smoke to be allergic to.

    He said his allergy is so bad that a person who had a cigarette six hours previous still exhales smoke that effects him

    That’s more crap. In 2007, a group of researchers showed that the mean time it took for a smoker to stop exhaling residual tobacco smoke particles after finishing a cigarette was 58.6 seconds, corresponding to about nine subsequent breathings

  22. Some History


    Folk like Crawford are suffering psychogenic problems such as the Environmental Somatization Syndrome or Idiopathic Environmental Sensitivity (formerly known as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) in addition to other mental problems.

    And what does Crawford get for his deranged efforts? An award, of course!

    Chuck Crawford (Kimball Physics), 2007 American Lung Association/C. Everett Koop “Unsung Hero” Award Recipient

    Dr. Crawford is tireless in his efforts to make tobacco control everyone’s goal. He shares the policy’s successes and merits with partners and vendors in hopes of encouraging more businesses to follow in Kimball Physics’ footsteps.

    The mentally dysfunctional now receive awards – from other misocapnists/capnophobes – for torturing society with their dysfunction masqueraded as “health promotion”.


    As it turns out, Chuck Crawford has been a long-time member of the Board of Trustees of Action on Smoking and Health in America. ASH is one of the 2 major antismoking organizations in America. It’s as rabidly antismoking as can be got.


    Chuck Crawford, the rabid misocapnist/capnophobe:

    The policies at Kimball Physics serve another pathetic [antismoker] purpose. They are intended to also circumvent anti-discrimination laws. New Hampshire, USA, has anti-discriminatory laws protecting smokers from employment discrimination. Chuck Crawford can claim that he is quite prepared to hire smokers but what smoker would apply to work at such an oppressive, neurotic enclave.

  23. John Bayley

    Didn’t Hitler prefer methamphetamine?

    We’re following in his footsteps – I’m told that it is much cheaper to buy a gram of meth than having a night on the town (before ‘social distancing!) with a few drinks and fags.

    Alas, I don’t think it’s an improvement.

  24. Indigo

    Both these comments rejected by the censor at The Australian –

    “Tobacco is the wrath of the Red Man against the White Man, vengeance for having been given hard liquor.” – Founder and icon of the anti-smoking movement, Adolf Hitler

    In the words of a certain German: “Tobacco is the wrath of the Red Man against the White Man, vengeance for having been given hard liquor.” – Founder and icon of the anti-smoking movement……….”

  25. Wasn’t it a bunch of sheilas (married to power) who demanded prohibition in the first place?
    Don’t ever believe any of the shit we’re living through is going to get better any time soon.
    There just isn’t enough Thatchers among ’em.

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