Physical Activity

As readers know, I am decorating. So far, I spent two days cleaning all the gunky stuff (disgusting, filthy, stinking tobacco residue) off the ceiling and walls. Not a difficult task, but wearisome and boring. It did involve quite a lot of physical endeavour – on and off a stool and scrubbing with a squeegee mop. Today, I went and bought the paint, and made a start on the painting. Again, on and off the stool. Needless to say, the ancient legs are aching a bit tonight.

But the circumstances of life ‘chez nous’ demand that I be pretty active physically. Not in a ‘hard labour’ sense, but in a fairly constant ‘needs must’ sense. No need to go into detail.

Anyway, Chris Snowden has been disputing statements from people that exercise is useless for losing weight. Read this:

Basically, what Chris has been saying is that, over the past decades, fewer and fewer people have had to work physically to earn a living, and that fewer and fewer people, on a population-wide basis, are using physical activities for their entertainment. Therefore, they need less ‘calories’ (aka food). He says that it is stupid to make general statements that exercise is not a factor in the growth of obesity when more and more people need not be physically active in their jobs.

In a way, I can see both points of view. Personally, I have thought for a long time that the value of physical activity lies in ‘toning’ the body. I mean, just busying about, washing up, hoovering, mowing the lawns, digging in the garden, washing the car, walking to the shop and the pub, etc, keep the heart busy and the muscles busy and the general bodily metabolism ticking over nicely.

A long time ago, I took advantage of a special offer from a local gym – three months membership cheap. I only went once. At the time, for some reason or other, I had fallen for the ‘need to be fit’ mantra. I was fit – for heaven’s sake! I was spending four or more hours, at least four times a week, walking around the golf course without sitting down throughout the four hours!

I only went once. I was appalled. There was a guy lifting weights. He was lying on his back on a bench using all his strength to push this bar with weights on the end up and down. His face was red as a beetroot. It was awful to behold. A woman was on a treadmill, running as fast as she could. Bang, bang, bang, went her feet. It was horrible. I can’t really remember what I did – perhaps I sat on a pretend bike and peddled. They had a sauna, so I went in there. That too was utterly boring. Frankly, I was glad to escape. So I peddled back home on my bike, and put the bike away, never to be used again.

So I see a ‘disconnect’ between Chris’s argument and Malhotra’s. It is almost as if they are talking about two different things:


50 years ago, many more people had jobs which required hard, physical work. They needed the calories and ate accordingly. Today, fewer people have such jobs, but many of those people still eat as much food, and so those people get fat.


It isn’t the lack of exercise these days or indeed the amount of food. It is the amount of sugar in the diets. ‘Big Sugar’ is responsible for people getting fat.


I have in mind a scene which I witnessed some years ago in Mallorca. Magalluf has a sports complex – the ‘polideportivo’ (multi-sports). I was heading there because there was a big chess competition going on there. As I neared the complex, there appeared this enormously fat chap. I mean, HUGE – not tall, but extremely rotund. Had he been to the sports complex to try to lose weight? I do not know. So we ask ourselves – can an obese person tolerate the amount of effort required to use exercise alone to lose weight? Or would such effort put intolerable strain upon their hearts? Would they become exhausted before any effect was observed?

It seems to me that such an obese person has no realistic alternative but to starve himself. I mean, to eat as little as possible while keeping to a balance in the diet, and taking some gentle exercise by keeping busy. Such exercise might the simple expedient of hoovering more often than is strictly necessary, washing the car more often than normal, etc. It is very easy to keep busy if you have a home to look after and it need not cost a penny.

Where Chris and Malhotra diverge significantly is in the remedies. Chris says that individuals must take responsibility for themselves and cut their calorie intake (and, I suppose, that parents must control their children’s calorie intake). Malhotra wants Big Government to bash Big Sugar.


What is likely to happen? The tobacco template is much in evidence. Expect Big Government to enjoy exercising its power over Big Sugar, since, in the UK, Big Government seems to have little to do other than bash whatever target academics point at.

So we can agree.

Academics have become the REAL government in this country. It does not matter who wins the election. The political party which has the majority, or whatever coalition, is no more than the PROVISIONAL government. That is obvious from the hurried production of the plain packaging regulations. No REAL government, composed of politicians, would have enacted such regulations so close to an election.


I suppose that we smokers need to be patient. For example, the e-cig situation seems to be causing an implosion within the ranks of the Zealots. No matter how much Frieden and Glantz try to hide it, the fact is that their ‘studies’, in this case, cannot overrule real life experience. The ‘studies’ are theoretical mumbo-jumbo. Certain academics have tried to claim that their studies are ‘the truth’ and real life experiences are just ‘allegories’.  The opposite is true. The studies are the allegories and the real life experiences are the truth. The difference is that it is much easier to ‘count’ events in studies than it is in real life, which is why academics prefer and extol studies.

So vapers should be of good cheer. There is NO DOUBT WHATSOEVER that they hold the high moral ground. Attempts by the Zealots to change the target from smoking to nicotine will not work provided that vapers simple shout and shout and shout,  “I HAVE STOPPED SMOKING TOBACCO”.

Further, there is real justification beyond doubt in defying any edict or law which might deprive vapers of their pleasure. That is important to understand.

9 Responses to “Physical Activity”

  1. michaeljmcfadden Says:

    It will be interesting to see someone get rich by devising an efficient way to extract healthy nicotine juice from eggplants specially bred to be nicotine-rich and then selling it at ten times the price of that poisonous tobacco derived nicotine!


    Eggplant certainly has a LOT of nicotine if we’re to take the Antis seriously after all. Excerpt from p. 205 of TobakkoNacht where I compare the “deadly threat” of a grandparent hugging their grandchild after being out in the yard for a smoke-break and getting that nasty tobacco nicotine on their clothing:

    It seems fair to say that in ten minutes, only 1/10th, at most, of that picogram will be rubbed onto the child’s skin: about 100 femtograms. Of that 100 femtograms, it’s likely that at least 90% will soon get rubbed or washed away, leaving at most 10% to get “absorbed” by those hungry little baby cells that supposedly gobble up nicotine like candy.

    That’s ten femtograms.

    Is that a “risk”? Let’s think about it in perspective. We’d have very few qualms about feeding our little one a teaspoon or two of BabyGoober’s Eggplant Mush for lunch each afternoon, true? Eggplant happens to have about 1 milligram of nicotine per 10 kilograms of product. Two teaspoons of the delicious Mush would weigh about 10 grams and thus have about .001 milligram, or one microgram, of that deadly neurotoxic poison. …

    … Say your tender one loved eggplant so much that you fed him two teaspoons of it every day from weaning until he was about three years old: 1,000 days. That would be one milligram of nicotine. How long would you have to cuddle little Donnie before his endangered skin would absorb that same amount of nicotine? How many cigarette outings on that balcony would you have to take to transfer 1 milligram through his skin at a rate of 10 femtograms per guilty smoke break? Basically, we need to know how many femtograms there are in a milligram and then divide the result by ten, so, just as we did for thirdhand smoke in general, we’ll run the numbers.

    1 milligram = 1,000 micrograms
    1 milligram = 1,000,000 nanograms
    1 milligram = 1,000,000,000 picograms
    1 milligram = 1,000,000,000,000 femtograms

    Dividing that one trillion by ten lets us see that it would take roughly 100,000,000,000 (one hundred billion) smoke breaks to give your child the same “healthy” amount of nicotine they’d get from those smushed eggplants. If you smoked ten per day, it would take ten billion days. That’s a bit over 30 million years of cuddling – over a hundred times as long as Homo Sapiens has walked the face of the earth – and you could still rest assured that you haven’t “poisoned” them with anything more than the “deadly neurotoxins” they would get in a healthy diet that included a reasonable daily serving or two of pureed tomato or eggplant.

    This hardly seems to justify the headlined titles of the press releases – “When Baby Smokes Too!” and “Tobacco Smoke Residue Causes Massive Damage in Babies’ Skin” – but fear of this “risk” will still likely cause a sad number of parents to tell a loving Grandmom or Grandpop that they’re not welcome to touch their blessed grandchildren for fear of causing neurotoxic poisoning and massive skin and nerve damage.

    Hmm… I wonder… If you eat an eggplant salad, and then fart… will you kill innocent children in the vicinity with your farted nicotine fumes?

    Or will you just smell funny?

    – MJM

    • garyk30 Says:

      You would indeed ‘smell funny’. 🙂

      Here is another take on this subject.
      Enough second hand nicotine would have to be rubbed off to equal the child smoking 24 cigarettes at the same time.

      A 2013 review suggests that the lower limit causing fatal outcomes is 6.5–13 mg/kg orally for adults and 1.3 mg/kg for children.

      A cigarette produces about 1 mg of absorbed nicotine.

      A 40 pound child weighs 18.2 kg and would need to smoke 24 cigarettes at the same time to absorb the 23.66 mg of nicotine needed for harm.

  2. garyk30 Says:

    OT: 😦

    Formaldehyde Exposures from Tobacco Smoke: A Review

    Click to access amjph00234-0100.pdf

    As seen in Table 1, formaldehyde concentrations in
    mainstream smoke” ranged from about 10 ug/cigarette to
    over 100 ug/cigarette.

    Differences in concentrations reflect differences in tobacco type and brand.

    Higher average concentrations reported by the Surgeon General in 1986 reflect those of regular non-filter cigarettes.
    (NOTE: 1986 SG levels were about 10 times higher-GK)

    TABLE 1-Formaldehyde Concentrations In Mainstream, Sidestream, and Environmental Tobacco Smoke

    Mainstream Average = 74.2 ug/mcg per cigarette

    Sidestream Average = 12.1 ug/mcg per cigarette

    Total average = 86.3 ug(mcg) per cigarette

    • garyk30 Says: Table 4

      Year …Total Nicotine (mg/cig)

    • garyk30 Says:

      Welll, just how much of the nicotine or any of the chemicals in cigarette tobacco are inhaled by a smoker?

      Only 7%, one fourteenth, of the nicotine in a cigarette is inhaled by a smoker and that would hold true for the rest of those chemicals!!! The amount of nicotine inhaled with tobacco smoke is a fraction of the amount contained in the tobacco leaves.(an average cigarette yields about 1 mg of absorbed nicotine)

    • garyk30 Says:

      This is part of Godish’s paper.

      Effect of Tobacco Smoking on Indoor Formaldehyde

      Even under these extreme circumstances, the effect of cigarette
      smoking on formaldehyde levels in indoor spaces would be
      This is consistent with the residential measurements
      of Dally, et al, ” and Ritchie and Lehnen.’

    • garyk30 Says:

      Total average = 86.3 ug(mcg) per cigarette of formaldehyde divided by 14(7%) = 6.16 mcg/ug absorbed per cig.

      The average Pear contains about 50 mg of formaldehyde.

      That is 50,000 mcg/ug, and you would have to smoke 8,140 cigs per day to absorb an equal amount. 🙂

      The ‘Daily Safe Level With No Harm’ is 2 mg/kg of body weight.

      The average adult weighs about 70 Kg and would need to absorb about 140 mg of formaldehyde per day.
      That is 140,000 mcg/ug or about 22,800 cigs smoked per day.

  3. junican Says:

    The other factor of importance is time. Even if formaldehyde accumulated in the same sort of way that arsenic does, how long would a person/child need to live in order to accumulate a fatal/dangerous dose, assuming that the level of exposure to cig smoke from 20 cigs per day?
    Again and again, in my mind, I keep coming back to the weirdness of the Doll Doctors Study. Considering only heavy smokers, it seems odd to me that thirty years of heavy smoking had such a random effect. Only a few got LC at, say, age 50. Why those particular individuals? The lack of answers to that oddity in the Doctors Study is a major fail, I think.

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