Daily Mail Article Paraphrased “Male Past Smoking ‘Asthmatises’ Their Offspring.

I think that I have just coined a new word. I wonder how long it will be before it appears in the Oxford English Dictionary.

“To Asthmatise: To induce asthma in the foetus, normally with specific reference to genetic abnormalities in the sperm of fathers who have smoked tobacco at any time prior to conception”

I like that.

LegIron alerted me to the article:


A father’s smoking could damage his unborn child’s health – even he quits years before the birth, a new study has revealed.

Norwegian researchers found a baby had a greater risk of asthma if their father smoked before they were conceived.

The findings add to growing evidence which suggests that poor health can be recorded in a father’s sperm or a mother’s eggs.

I would ask you to read the bolded sentence again, and again, if necessary. Do you see what it says? Or rather, what it does not say? It implies that smoking is equivalent to poor health. If you smoke, you are in a state of ‘poor health’. Or, if you prefer, that it is possible for a health condition to be genetic, which possibility has been known for several thousand years (viz. the writings of Hippocrates). What it does not say is that it is the smoking which is ‘recorded’ in the sperm or eggs. By the way, later in the article appears this statement:

No link was found between the mother’s smoking before conception and a child’s asthma.

So the ‘mother smoking’ is beneficial! Erm…..


I decided to try to find details of this study. I thought, at first, that ASH had commissioned it, so I tried to find something about it on the ASH site. Anyone who has ever visited the ASH site will know that it is like wading through treacle to avoid the propaganda, but, after a bit of messing about and searching, I found this subsection of something or other’:


It lists 10 pages if studies (403 to be exact). Whether these studies were commissioned by ASH specifically or not, I do not know. It is worth just breezing through them, however, just to see how many ‘studies’ have proven that almost every disease of the human body is ‘associated’ with smoking.

But nothing about this Norwegian study.


So I tried the ‘European Respiratory Society ‘Norwegian study’. This is what I got:


The Google search says that there are 11,400 results. I’m damned if I am going to search through that lot for a study which I am pretty sure will not be recorded there.


As LegIron said, most of the comments were dismissive. There were a couple of commenters who tried to defend the conclusions (that smoking affects men’s sperm so that a child conceived by them could be more inclined to be ‘asthmatised’) by claiming that the study was ‘science’.

I’m sick to death of stating that epidemiology is NOT science. It is mathematics. Let me explain. In my garden, I have some 60 tobacco plants distributed among Plot 1 and Plot 2. Roughly, 50% of the plants in plot 1 have reached maturity in that they they are flowering. The other 50% have simply not grown sufficiently well to get to that stage, but about 25% have still produced a reasonable crop. The other 25% are crappy. Plot 2, however, has been less productive. 0% are producing flower-heads, at the moment, but they might do so – there is still time. But, even so, about 25% are producing good sized leaves; another 25% are producing leaves worth harvesting, but the other 50% are crappy.

Now…. What I have stated is simple mathematical fact. It is true that plot 1 is doing better than plot 2. So we look for reasons. The obvious reason for the discrepancy is that plot 1 is in a sunny position but plot 2 is in a shady position. Here is the important thing:


Do you clearly understand the question? What I am asking is whether or not the mathematics, in themselves, justify the conclusion?

It is as clear as daylight that the maths do NOT justify that conclusion. The counting of good and bad plants does NOT indicate the cause of the goodness and badness. For example, it might be that plot 2 does not have the nutrients that plot 1 has, which may have something to do with the shadiness, but which may be correctable by the addition of fertilisers.


Oddly enough, it is this disconnect between ‘the maths’ and ‘the cause’ which allows the Zealots to make sillier and sillier claims. Without knowing the detail of this Norwegian study, it is impossible to say to what extent is is a simple mathematical correlation which has no connection at all with real reasons and causes.


We see the consequences of the ignorance of this simple fact (maths is just numbers) in the statement from Dr Cecile Svanes:

Dr Cecile Svanes, from the University of Bergen, Norway, said policymakers should warn men about how their lifestyle could affect their future children.

She said: ‘This study is important as it is the first study looking at how a father’s smoking habit pre-conception can affect the respiratory health of his children. 

‘Given these results, we can presume that exposure to any type of air pollution, from occupational exposures to chemical exposures, could also have an effect.’

She added: ‘It is important for policymakers to focus on interventions targeting young men and warning them of the dangers of smoking and other exposures to their unborn children in the future.’ 

Do you see all the caveats and conflations in that well-rehearsed statement? ‘Can’, ‘May’, ‘Could’ result in ‘It is important for policymakers……’  But the worst thing is that these ephemeral and minute differences justify massive punitive ‘policies’ made by ‘policymakers’.



Time to wind up for tonight.

I wonder if it would be possible to push back at the Zealots precisely because ‘It is important …’ can be totally reversed. It can be totally reversed by the sheer lack of numbers of people/children involved, and the sheer lack of proof that the conflation of smoking and asthma is causative, and, of the greatest importance, the rise in childhood asthma despite the falling rate of smoking prevalence.

Is this curiously pointless study intended to cloud the well-known fact that, as smoking has decreased over the last several decades, childhood asthma has increased? Is the idea to confuse matters by claiming that it may not be ‘smoking in the presence of children’  which is responsible for childhood asthma (which has been thoroughly debunked by the statistics which show that childhood asthma has increased in much the same ratio as smoking has decreased)? [Sorry for the tautology – cannot be bothered messing about], but rather,  smoking twenty years ago is responsible? Well, from a propaganda point of view, why not make the claim? It is part of the ‘iron triangle’, on a par with the WHO corrupt Tobacco Control Division. That is, the statement cannot be disputed because the disputer is outside the group who have control of the publicity.


There is some sort of witchcraft-like need for a ‘familiar’ – smoking or passive smoke – to explain ‘spells cast upon people’ (non-communicable diseases).

The craziness of this Norwegian Study is that …… Erm, what Norwegian Study? Where is it? Why is it not visible?

I wonder what would happen if us ‘Lepers’ and ‘Jews’ started to demand the publication of sources for these newspaper articles? It would not be difficult. I have defeated one newspaper and I can defeat another.


The desperation of Chapman, Glantz, Ashton, Gilmore, etc, etc, becomes more visible by the day. The anti-smoking gravy-train is decelerating. It is screeching to a halt. There is a lot of screeching, just like the noise that trains make when they come to a stop.


A crazy idea, just to end the night. Suppose that someone invented a terribly simple ‘nicotine delivery system’ which was very inexpensive? Suppose that that system comprised of a tube of dried lettuce leaf, suitably treated, which contained X amount of nicotine. Suppose that a person gently heated the tube and inhaled the resulting smoke, and suppose that the person found it delightful, and suppose that he died at the age of 90 – or 40.

So I finish tonight reiterating that ‘epidemiology’ is not an ‘ology’ at all. It is just mathematics.





15 Responses to “Daily Mail Article Paraphrased “Male Past Smoking ‘Asthmatises’ Their Offspring.”

  1. cherie79 Says:

    Funny how asthma was virtually unheard of when we were kids and nearly everybody smoked and of course we had the smogs and pollution from the steel works etc. but I don’t suppose they want to know about or explain that.

  2. mikef317 Says:

    I’m not going to try to look it up, but in maybe the 1970’s there was one U. S. tobacco company that tried to market lettuce cigarettes. People didn’t like them.

    Do a search for “lettuce smoking” and you’ll find lots of stuff that I wouldn’t recommend reading except for curiosity.

    • Junican Says:

      You can still get nicotine-free ‘tobacco’ from a firm in Israel. I believe that lettuce is used to produce it. I bought some and was surprised that it tasted like tobacco and was very pleasant. Unfortunately, it went mouldy.

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  4. J Brown Says:

    This is now beyond the realm of absurdity. Certainly, considering an entire generation of ‘baby boomers’ were fathered by men who were most probably smokers, the natural conclusion should be that there was an incredible amount of asthma in children born in the 1950’s. Which is utterly ridiculous and incorrect. Or, as smoking has apparently decreased within the past few decades, a statistical drop in asthma has been seen in Western countries. Additionally ridiculous, of course. These ‘scientists’ truly need something better to do.

    • Junican Says:

      I think that it is precisely the rise of childhood asthma, despite the fall in smoking over the past decades, that they are trying to explain away. In effect, they are saying that it doesn’t matter that smokers quit, they have still damaged their potential sperm in such a way as to produce asthma many years later. Utter baloney, of course, but they would claim that they are only talking about ‘population-wide risks’. Oh Yeah? Read how the Mail and the ‘experts’ have spun it.

  5. nisakiman Says:

    This is as far as i could track that study:


    Whether or not the study was commissioned by ELF I have no idea. But I couldn’t find a link to the actual study itself.

  6. garyk30 Says:

    “sperm can live for up to five days depending on the conditions”

    Soooo; unless it has been only 5 days or less since you quit smoking, the smoke ‘exposed’ sperm have long since died and gone to ‘sperm heaven’.

    The biological plausability of sperm being exposed to smokey chemicals that might ’cause’ asthma is laughable at best.

  7. garyk30 Says:

    It also assessed the year of birth, asthma and hayfever for 26,945 offspring aged 2-51 years from a mixture of never-smoking parents and parents who smoked only prior to conception.

    The researchers analysed the link in both mothers and fathers and looked at the number of years a person had smoked prior to conception, the incidence of asthma in children and whether the parent had quit before the baby was conceived.

    They found that fathers who smoked only before conception increased the risk of offspring’s non-allergic asthma by 70%, while fathers who smoked 10 years before conception raised their child’s asthma risk by 50%.

    Fathers who smoked in adolescence (before the age of 15) tripled their offspring’s asthma risk even if they had quit smoking five years before the child’s birth.

    “parents who smoked only prior to conception”
    So, it had to be for people who quit smoking after conception?
    Wonder how many?

    Neither a 70% or 50% increase in incidence is significant enough for ‘causation’.

    “Fathers who smoked in adolescence (before the age of 15) tripled their offspring’s asthma risk even if they had quit smoking five years before the child’s birth.”

    See my above post about the life span of sperm.

    • Junican Says:

      “parents who smoked only prior to conception”
      So, it had to be for people who quit smoking after conception?
      Wonder how many?

      Good point.
      To me, “parents who smoked only prior to conception” means that they did not smoke after conception. Now, I believe that it was very common for mothers who smoked to stop smoking for the time being as soon as they found out that they were pregnant. Since mothers are ‘parents’ then the statement “parents who smoked only prior to conception” could easily refer only to the mothers – excluding the fathers.But I need to read the article…..

  8. garyk30 Says:

    While the finding showed an association between a man’s smoking history and asthma risk in his children, it did not prove cause-and-effect.


  9. The Last Furlong Says:

    My question is – with five children from smoking fathers, why haven’t any of THEM (my kids) got asthma? Or does this only apply to modern fathers? My generation were conceived in a society where our fathers smoked. Where is OUR asthma?

    • Junican Says:

      A lot of comments on the Mail article said precisely the same thing. Don’t expect an answer!

  10. The Arrogant Agenda. | underdogs bite upwards Says:

    […] takes apart the new asthma nonsense (part 1 and part 2) in which ‘scientists’ take the theory of inherited traits right back to […]

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