I’ve just had a big rant at a friend on Facebook for sharing a pro-smoking picture on Facebook. I tend to do things like this when I’m ratty because of exams. It’s quite long and sort of researched so I thought I’d share it here to, simply because it would be a shame to see it lost there.
As you can see, it’s a relatively stupid picture but it got me hyped up. It’s of small significance really but my asthma was first triggered by having to walk past kids at my secondary school smoking at break. Killed 50% of my grandparents too which isn’t very nice, But anyway, I got a bit heated and when I get heated I rant. I’ve added formatting, citations and extra notes which I couldn’t on Facebook. Let’s do this.
OK let’s tackle this in points. Break it down to the facts.
If you smoke 5 cigarettes or more a day you have a 25% chance of getting lung cancer and about 80% of people who get it die because of it. Therefore if you smoke you have a 20% chance of dying from lung cancer, which at the last recorded year was 158683 dead people in the UK. Statistically speaking, if you know 4 other people who smoke one of you are going to die because of it. And that’s not counting all the other cancers and other illnesses it can give you. In reality, it’s probably a lot higher, between 33% and 50% (or you and one or two friends) but at this point it becomes more difficult to gather the statistics because there’re just that many. This isn’t even beginning to go into the stats of passive smoking (killed 50,000 people in the US last year) and the fact that 90% of lung cancer cases (and 30% of all cancer cases) happen as a result of the habit. Smokers are literally killing the people around them.
At this point, I sort of agreed. Why not? It might help reduce the problem a little. Perhaps a bit over dramatic though when you look into it. Obesity is a problem, there’s no denying it. About 22% of Britons are classified as obese. And that’s bad. That’s very bad. But then do you know how many people died because of obesity related ailments? 757. That’s a 0.00005% kill rate, compared to smoking’s 20+%. That means if you had 20,000 friends and all of you were obese, statistics predict only one of you would die from it. Remember when that was just 5 friends for smoking? So while it’s a problem and it doesn’t exactly forecast a good future, it’s doing less damage than smoking.
Simply because this doesn’t harm humans. It’s as simple as that. A human life is worth more than the poor animal being tested. On the upside, animal testing has given us a lot of the medical advances we know and love today. Admittedly, it’s not a brilliant method. There are problems such as biological incompatibility and such, but it works. We’d sooner have 5 dead rats in the lab than 5 dead humans. So animal testing stays. This is entirely up to the consumer though, whether they want a “tested” or “organic” product, and their own morals. It will not affect anyone else if they decide they would like their products tested on animals, whereas if you decide you want to smoke it will affect others. Fun fact, last year we spent approximately £2.7 billion (£2,700,000,000) treating people who’d given themself cancer because of smoking. Where did that all come from? Hmm?
If you’re asking why we don’t give alcohol the same shock advertising we give cigarettes you’ve clearly not being watching enough advertising. It’s still there, admittedly not in as high quantities, but it’s there. TV, Radio, and most importantly for this example, posters and beer mats in pubs. It’s all been done. It’s another nasty problem which needs to be dealt with. But then, it all comes back to statistics. There were exactly 250 drink driving deaths in 2010, the same year as the 158683 for smoking. That’s 63,373% more. Sixty three thousand present. That’s a lot. Is that 63,373% difference taken into account with the amount of advertising put out there? Yes. More than enough so. Moving on. Fun fact 2! on a related note alcohol addiction costs the NHS just as much as smoking per year, £2,700,000,000.
Person writing this might have gone a little loopy by this point. The reason why we don’t? They are the ones producing the tax returns for us to fill out. Though this isn’t really the same thing. It would be like printing a person you didn’t like on the cover of a cigarette pack, with them enjoying one of your cigarettes in the photo. That doesn’t really make sense does it? As for parading the dishonest politicians about, we do a fair amount of that on television and in newspapers, though not really enough if you ask me. As this one isn’t really relevant or correct I’m going to leave it here.
I’m forced to agree with this last comment. It does indeed take guts to come out on Facebook in support of something which kills 6 million people a year. And this is worldwide , every year. I can’t see why anyone knowing all that would then think “Yes! Yes, I do agree with all that.”, let alone someone who doesn’t smoke. They’re the ones who have it worse. The ones who die because of someone else’s ignorance to their health.
Perhaps, you’re addicted. Perhaps you just enjoy it and don’t want to quit. Either way, it’s time to get help. It’s gone on too long now. The help’s out there, you just have to ask. Do it for you, and if not for you for the people around you. Because there’s going to be death following you otherwise.
Note: The “63,372%” difference is actually really bad statistics on my part. While the drink driving deaths is done out of the total UK population (63,818,775), the smoking one is only done out of the smoking population hence the massive divide. As well as this the original data sources for this particular bit were dodgy, not giving me the information I thought they were, and entirely situationally dependent. A deep apology going out to the statistics community.
It was loud, disorganised, badly worded, poorly referenced and damn obnoxious but I think it’s worked. It’s probably not the most exciting read in itself but some of the more reliable sources (BBC, Telegraph, NHS) make for a good read. Hopefully food for though for any smokers (or people who know people who smoke) and perhaps make a bit of an impact. Of course, who can ignore the 63,372%‽