Sowing the Seeds of Doubt

We cannot fight against Tobacco Control with reasoned and lengthy refutations of their fake science. The reason is that:

1. They have lots of money and we have none.

2. They control the media, including Medical Journals like the Lancet and the BMJ.

3. They control Health Departments and similar quangos.

4. Politicians are either zealots or shit scared.

There are probably lots more reasons.


I was having some fun earlier today by commenting on newspaper articles. One specific was an article in the Mail-on-Line. At first, I amused myself. For example, one anti-smoker said that her father died at the age of 48 as a result of smoking. I replied that, sad though her father’s death might be, it was unlikely to be because he smoked, since the ‘Doctors Study’ showed that hardly anyone was affected by smoking before they were at least 50, and that, even then, there were very, very few. Unfortunately, I did not know that the Mail restricted comment to 10 per person per day on any specific topic, so my more serious comments later were disallowed. [Lesson: Do not waste your ability to comment on trivia]

I also commented on some American newspapers. Much as I admire our American cousins, I cannot help but be disappointed by the lack of erudition shown in the comments in their online newspapers. Few people seem to have any knowledge, but instead rely upon what they have been told. The same seems to apply to Australia.

It was this that set me to think. If the opinions of people generally are set by the simplistic propaganda which is disseminated by newspapers and such, then the only way to create doubt in their minds is to respond with simple ideas. One such idea is that mentioned again and again by garyk from the USA. Again and again, he has pointed out that the Doll ‘Doctors Study’ showed that 85% of smokers died from ‘tobacco related diseases’, but it is also true that the same study showed that 84% of non-smokers also died from tobacco related diseases. Given the confounders of these studies, it is fair to say that almost all smokers and non-smokers die from the same ‘tobacco related diseases’. It may be that smokers die earlier than non-smokers from these diseases, but IT IS A LIE for TC to say that these diseases are specific to smokers. They are not.


Sowing the seeds of doubt can be done by simple statements. Thus, in newspaper comment sections, it is possible to use the same ‘tricks’ as TC. Repeat again and again:

“The famous Doll’s ‘Doctors Study’ showed that 85% of smokers died from ‘tobacco related diseases’. Isn’t that awful? But the same study showed that 84% of NON-smokers died from exactly the same diseases. Don’t be fooled by the Tobacco Control Industry – they do not want you to know that.”

Sow the seeds of doubt.

Another good one concerns lung transplants. No need to go into detail since the objective is to sow the seeds of doubt:

“Do you know that an awful lot of lungs used in lung transplants come from heavy smokers? Surgeons have said that they cannot tell any difference between lungs from smokers and lungs from non-smokers. Further, there is no evidence that lungs from smokers fail any more than lungs from non-smokers” I like the idea of keeping the ‘doubt-sowing’ as simple as possible, but you could embellish the last item by adding: “If you, as a non-smoker, was advised that your only hope of survival beyond a month, was a lung transplant, and that the only lungs available came from a heavy smoker, would you refuse the transplant?”


It seems to me that the only way to sow the seeds of doubt is by simple statements which are TRUE. Complex and lengthy statements are either too difficult to understand or are unread. Take the question: “Does smoking cause lung cancer?” The TCI says, “Absolutely, Yes”. What is the response to such statements in the comments in newspaper articles? The answer is simple:

“There was a case in the Scottish Supreme Court only a few years ago (but don’t expect the Medical Establishment to tell you about it). It was called ‘The McTear Case”. The Medical Establishment tried to convince the Judge that Mr McTear died from lung cancer because he smoked, but they could not or would not produce any evidence. The Judge gave them a good telling-off for not producing evidence. He chucked out all their claims. Here is a summary of the case”:


Note that there is no great complexity to the statements. Sow the seeds of doubt:

“A really, really big study of husbands and wives showed that there is only a tiny difference in ‘tobacco related illnesses’ between smoker wives and non-smoker wives – virtually no difference at all. Don’t let these ‘snake-oil salesmen’ sell you ‘magic water'”

Repeat ad inf.


One last thing that requires a tiny fib.

“I am a non-smoker (I tried it but I did not enjoy it). I used to go to the pub and meet my mates. Some were smokers. None of us were ever bothered by tobacco smoke – we did not notice it. Now, because of the ban, the smokers do not go to the pub, nor do most of the non-smokers. Three pubs round about have closed. One has become a vets, and another is still boarded up. The third has been converted into a “Tobacco Control Emporium”, selling gums and patches. It is always RAM JAM FULL.”

Sarcasm has its place.



22 Responses to “Sowing the Seeds of Doubt”

  1. harleyrider1978 Says:

    Puff, it’s gone: Cigar bar that went non-smoking has apparently closed

    Former cigar bar Downing Street Pub has apparently closed. A CultureMap reader says he spoke with an employee who informed him of the closure. In addition, the bar’s website has been taken offline and no posts have been made to its Facebook page in over a week. An employee at a neighboring business observed that the bar, which is usually open for lunch, was locked up all day Wednesday.

    Downing Street made the decision to go non-smoking in March to better accommodate the arrival of the recently opened Local Foods and the Memorial Hermann Breast Care Center that operates above the bar. Managing partner Lawrence Daniel told CultureMap that the property’s landlord was “heavily involved” in the decision to end smoking at the space.

    When CultureMap first reported on Downing Street’s decision to go non-smoking in February, Daniel predicted the bar would be able to successfully transition away from cigar enthusiasts by attracting non-smokers who had previously avoided the bar’s smoky atmosphere. “If we were to go completely non-smoking, what might that open up,” he wondered. “Nobody in Houston can touch our back bar . . . in single malt Scotches and bourbon.”

    Unfortunately, that prediction hasn’t been proven true. TABC records show that the bar reported Mixed Beverage revenue of almost $92,000 in February, the last full month of smoking. By April, that number was down to less than $33,700. More recent numbers aren’t available, but anecdotal reports suggest a continued decline.

    Neither Daniel nor co-founding partner Chris Hill immediately responded to CultureMap’s request for comment about the decision or the space’s future. When they do, we will update this article with their comments.

    Upper Kirby has seen many changes over the past year with openings like Nara, Trenza, 60 Degrees Mastercrafted, Grace’s and Pico’s balanced out by a wave of recent closures that includes Brio, Saint Genevieve, the Roak/OTC “funeral bars” and others.

    Could the corner of Kirby and Westheimer be the sort of “spectacular” location Austin chef Ned Elliot said would lure him to open a second location of his restaurant Foreign and Domestic in Houston? Only time will tell.

    Truth is always better than fiction………………..

  2. harleyrider1978 Says:

    Right now Ive got a bad tooth going to dental in the AM whole jaw is swollen and hurts like bloody hell……….Luckily Ive a few pain killers but my god its like having a ice creame headache in your jaw for hours on end and don’t tilt your head the wrong way……..

    But I still managed to get in a few fights…………….today

  3. Frank J Says:

    Good stuff in the DM, there, Junican. Simple and taking the piss. Makes them look and feel, idiots.

  4. nisakiman Says:

    The problem is that they are so utterly convinced that they are right that no amount of solid evidence to the contrary will sway them. They are totally blinkered, and consider any opinion or evidence that contradicts them is not worthy of consideration, and so ignore it. A small exchange on Twitter yesterday went thus:

    ASH Wales ‏@ASHWalesCymru 18h

    89% of people in Wales agree that second-hand smoke has at least some impact upon increasing risks to a child’s health. #sharetheair #yougov

    Forest ‏@Forest_Smoking 18h

    .@ASHWalesCymru Yes, you tweeted that yesterday but ignored our request for a link to the actual poll. Well?

    nisakiman ‏@nisakiman 18h

    @Forest_Smoking @ASHWalesCymru I would imagine that the devil is in the detail. Hence the lack of response to your request.

    Toby Price ‏@TbyPrice 17h

    @nisakiman @Forest_Smoking @ASHWalesCymru or maybe they don’t waste their time with joke organisations

    nisakiman ‏@nisakiman 7h

    @TbyPrice @Forest_Smoking @ASHWalesCymru Yes, of course, anyone who disagrees with the zealot ideology is a ‘joke’. There can be NO dissent.

    So we have ASH Wales ignoring Forest’s request for the source of their (frankly unbelievable) claim, and then this Toby Price (whoever he is – he appears to be linked to Tobacco Control given his sycophancy to Simon Chapman et al) referring to Forest as a ‘joke organisation’. They just cannot countenance the idea that there could be people out there with valid, differing views to theirs.

    So they stick their fingers in their ears and chant “na-na-nana-na, I can’t hear you”, in the belief that that validates their stance.

    Propaganda is a powerful tool, and it has been deployed with considerable skill by the anti-smoking fanatics for three decades now. It’s going to take some time to de-condition the brainwashed masses.

    • junican Says:

      It isn’t the ASH shills that I hope to cast doubts in the minds of – it is other readers. For example, the 85/84% thing is attempting to combat the implication in the phrase ‘tobacco related diseases’ that they are tobacco specific. They are not. Just as many non-smokers die from them as smokers. But there is also a little bonus (which is a counter-implication), which is that the bald 85/84% implies that it applies to ALL ‘tobacco related diseases’, which it obviously doesn’t. The LC correlation is very strong, whereas the heart disease correlation is weak statistically.
      Why not use TC’s tactics against them, if it successfully casts doubts?

  5. harleyrider1978 Says:

    has at least some impact upon

    I think that pretty well says what the truth is……………People aren’t buying the BS anymore. Ive seen the small print words in literally every story coming out anymore.

    They know the end is near for TC and their laws. Politically will is DEAD for TC

    • harleyrider1978 Says:

      He urged that country have a new resolve to make the next generation a smoke-free generation

    • harleyrider1978 Says:

      Acting US Surgeon General to be in Indianapolis

      • harleyrider1978 Says:

        When they’ve got the SG in the united states begging to have new resolve you know the whole damnable business is coming unglued everywhere!

      • junican Says:

        “A NEW resolve”, which, as you say, implies that the old resolve is dying.
        But I think that all the lies that can reasonably be told, the big lies, have already been told – stuff like SHS harm. I think that 3rd hand smoke harm has totally flopped for the simple reason that most folk would see that argument as implying that they do not clean their houses properly.
        Oh ….. What a cracking thought for countering the 3rd hand lies!
        “You mean that I don’t clean my house properly! Swine!!”

  6. cherie79 Says:

    I recently spent two great weeks in Canada except trying to convince my host that I smoked from choice! He just would not have it, I was addicted and in denial and nothing I said made any difference. A lovely intelligent guy and we agreed on most things but this, my pointing out that once I was in the airport I forgot about smoking, he didn’t believe it. He was not a fanatic I could smoke in the garden with him no problem. It is frightening how brainwashed people are about smoking.

    • junican Says:

      Yes, cherie, that is a huge problem. But I don’t think that it is an insurmountable problem. De-brainwashing is a matter of time, which is why I talk about ‘casting doubts’ rather than ‘trying to convince’.

      Something that I might throw into a brief conversation if the chance arises:
      “Well, you can say what you want, but I’ll be 75 in a couple of weeks time, and I’ve been smoking since I was 19. As you can see, I’m in good health. Why have I not got any of these so-called ‘tobacco related diseases’?”
      Followed, if I get the chance by:
      “Do you know that just as many non-smokers die from ‘tobacco related diseases? The only difference is ‘when’ and not ‘what'”

      • cherie79 Says:

        Believe me I tried all of that! Jack is only in his 40s and already won’t eat red meat is utterly convinced that all heart problems are due to what he eats, smoking is an inevitable road to lung cancer, isn’t quite believe when I said only 20% of smokers get lung cancer as do many non and never smokers. I am very glad I had the luxury of growing up without all these hang ups and was able to enjoy life.

      • Frank J Says:

        I seem to remember in a previous thread by Junican on the Drs. survey that 1025 of 28,000 contracted LC i.e. 4%, not 20%

        Am I wrong? these are figures I, merrily, quote often.

      • junican Says:

        The Doctors Study figures you quote are nearly correct. The total of deaths at the end of the fifty year period was 25,346 of which 1025 were cancer of the lung – 4.15%.

      • Frank J Says:

        I use your figures a lot and I want to be sure so apologies if I seem pedantic

        It was 28,000 smoking doctors in the survey? of whom 25,000 had died during the 50 year period, 4% of LC?

      • junican Says:

        Keeping the figures nice and round, Doll et al wrote to all the doctors in the UK totalling some 60,000, of which 40,000 responded. 6,000 were female, but Doll decided to concentrate on the male doctors. Thus the total he included was about 34,000. Of those, over the period of the study, about 4,000 were lost (struck off, gone abroad, etc) leaving around 30,000. Of those, as we have seen, 25,000 died.

  7. garyk30 Says:

    A very nice thing about quoting Doll, antis can not accuse him of being in the pay of ‘Big Tobacco’.

    Doll is one of their Gods.

    • junican Says:

      He wrote the ‘Holy Bible’ of tobacco control.
      You have often spoken about the 85/84% thing, and I must admit that I could never see a use for it, since I recognised that the whole point, according to Doll, was about the ‘when’ and not the ‘what’, until towards the end of the reports when he moved into propaganda.
      But I suddenly realised that it could be used as a ‘sound-bite’ truthfully in the Tobacco Control manner. It actually sounds right to say, “Just as many non-smokers die from ‘tobacco related diseases’ as smokers, and I can prove it by reference to the Doctors Study” That puts the pressure on the Zealots to start to explain the detail of the Doctors Study. In other words, the boot is on the other foot.
      By the way, well calculated!

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