Smoking is healthier than fascism

Smoking: it's healthier than Fascism!
Smoking is hazardous to your health and causes lung cancer... but is that really true? Are tobacco and cigarette smoking really the scourge that Big Pharma, the media and millions of people around the world believe it to be? Today we'll be talking with Richard White, author of Smoke Screens: The Truth About Tobacco. We'll examine studies on smoking, what researchers have to say, the scientists involved in the anti-smoking movement, previous attacks on smoking, the origins of the anti-smoking movement, the diseases said to be caused by smoking... and more!

Keeping your pets safe during the summer months is the topic of this week's Pet Health Segment.

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Here's the transcript of the show:

Tiffany:: Hello everyone. Today is June 19, 2015. Welcome to the Health and Wellness Show. I'm Tiffany. I'm going to be your host today. Joining me in our virtual studio from all over the world are co-hosts Jonathan, Doug and Erika. Dr. Gaby unfortunately is away today but she's here in spirit. We have a great show planned for you today. The topic is tobacco. Is it the evil scourge that big pharma, the government, the media and millions of people all over the world make it out to be or is there more to it?

So to help us sort through this we have a very special guest in our studio all the way from the UK. His name is Richard White. He's the author of the very well researched book "Smoke Screens: The Truth About Tobacco". The book has its basis in years of years of research examining studies on smoking, what researchers have to say, the scientists involved in the anti-smoking movement, previous attacks on smoking, the origins of the anti-smoking movement and the diseases said to be caused by smoking. Richard White has a degree in theology with qualifications in both psychology and sociology. He spent a number of years researching topics related to health and fitness and he has worked as a freelance writer and editor. Now he currently works in public relations. Richard's website is smokescreens.org. The book "Smoke Screens: The Truth About Tobacco" can be purchased on Amazon.com. It's a very enlightening read for smokers and non-smokers alike.

We are taking calls today so if you'd like to call in you can do so by dialing 718-508-9499. Richard White, welcome to the show.

Richard: Hi. Thank you.

Tiffany: So let's just get into it. We've all read lots and lots of books on topics of diet and health by some very knowledgeable and sharp researchers and medical professionals, but I've noticed that the vast majority of them still toe the mainstream line when it comes to tobacco and smoking. They seem really on the cutting edge in writing about diet and health but they don't employ that same critical eye and quest for truth when it comes to smoking. But you seem to have pushed past that block. How did that happen and can you let us in on what led you to delve a little deeper into the whole smoking and tobacco issue and not just take it at face value?

Richard: Yeah. I suppose the first thing I should say is that I previous did take it at face value. I had the same opinions and beliefs about smoking that I think the vast majority of people have today; all the statistics about getting cancer from it and premature death. Where it changed for me was I was in the process of just doing some research on cancer at the time. When you're reading about cancer you inevitably get to the smoking and it was during that time I found an online movement called In Defense of Smokers and that was the first thing I've read where it wasn't just someone's opinion about it. A guy called Lauren Colby that wrote this book. He had looked at the surgeon general's reports and all these other reports and explained it in a new way, that if you read the statistics they weren't quite the same as what we were told they were or there was flawed methodologies in the studies.

That really set me on a new path to finding out more about that.

Tiffany: I want to make this clear, that this book isn't just your opinion. You have about 332 references in your book and you're looking at mainstream studies throughout the book.

Richard: Yeah. I guess if you're taking this point of view, I think it has to be as bullet-proof as possible.

Tiffany: Is there anything that you looked at, that you can remember in particular, that pinged your bullshit radar? Was there one thing that said "Okay, this is wrong?!"

Richard: I don't know if I had one specific moment, but I certainly had the opinion that when I started to read these new things, it registered with me that actually there was definitely some doubt about what I previously thought; things like the black lung where once upon a time I believed that. I'd look at smokers and think "Oh well what do your lungs look like?" fully believing that they would look like a lump of coal, when I was reading it's the last thing they'd probably find. It got me thinking how would they look like that and still function and people still be walking around breathing?

Tiffany: So can we start with black lung myth because we've all seen those picture too? They show the picture of the blackened, decrepit-looking lung and they say that this is what happens with smokers' lungs. Can you get a little bit deeper into how that study came about?

Richard: Yeah, the earliest that I could trace it was a guy called Ernst Wynder. At the time he was a young medical student who during an autopsy noticed that the lungs were blackened and that the deceased happened to be a smoker and he couldn't find any evidence of pollution or any other factors that would physically cause this to happen. So he ran with it, smoking must be the reason and so it began really. But we know now actually that in some instances the disease itself will blacken the lungs or blacken the organ of this disease.

Moving forward, we know where they've done previous scare tactics with the lungs, but they tell us its human lungs. Sometimes they use lungs that have been stained in black to pound the point home. In previous campaigns they've used coal miners' lungs which had gone black inside from all the coal that they were using, presenting them as smokers' lungs. So they had to be pulled for not being true. And what you notice now, when you see a text or an online picture these days comparing a smoker's lung with a non-smoker's lung, I think everyone I've ever seen has the healthy non-smoker's lung, which is nice and pink and a diseased non-smoker's lung. I don't think I've seen one that honestly claims to have a healthy smoker's lung and a healthy non-smoker's lung.

Tiffany: So they're comparing a cancerous lung to a non-cancerous lung and attributing the cancerous-looking lung to the smoker's.

Richard: Yeah, so for all intents and purposes it's true. I suppose you can be dishonest and tell the truth at the same time because what they're doing is implying so you think oh the smoking did it. Actually they happen to be a smoker that also happened to have this disease. This is something that I actually quote in the book from a pathologist because I thought actually these are the people that see this day-in and day-out and since I've published the book I've seen more and more quotes from pathologists who say "On the table you can't tell any difference." I saw one great quote that unless someone had a pack of cigarettes when they were on the table, you'd never know.

Tiffany:: Well that just sounds like straight trickery to me.

Richard: Yeah.

Tiffany: Can we get into some of the chemicals that are found in cigarettes, including tar, because that the substance that gets blamed a lot when people refer to black lung? And in your book you go into how tar is not actually tar. I know it's actually used in quotations before and it's really not the same thing as tar found on roads.

Richard: Yeah, when I was in school we were told that they add real tar to cigarettes. It's something you believe at face value and then again, one of those moments for me when I realized actually it doesn't really make sense was if you look at what tar is, you couldn't breathe if you had this stuff in your lungs. And if it was collecting in your lungs it would also be in your mouth. You would know it was there. You'd look at a smoker and you would see black tar coming out of their mouth. They'd be coughing it up. And the truth is, you would never be a smoker that lived to 80 or 90 years old, as so many do because you wouldn't be able to breathe. You'd just asphyxiate not many years after you start smoking, I'd imagine.

Tiffany:: Yeah, you'd see it on their teeth. They'd be coughing it up and they'd probably drop dead after a few years.

Richard: Yeah, if you look back through history when people would be tarred and feathered, there was a reason they were tarred and it was simply the skin couldn't breathe and it's this horrible substance that doesn't really come off. And that gets in your lungs it probably stays in your lungs and it probably sets in your lungs and there's no way air's going to be able to pass through.

Tiffany: So what are some of the other chemicals in cigarettes because these researchers have to claim that there's something in cigarette smoke or tobacco that causes cancer?

Richard: It's not untrue that there are things in cigarette smoke, tobacco smoke that have been linked to illness like cancer and so on. But the big thing really is how much is in there. I think the first important point to consider that there's nothing added to cigarettes that isn't approved for human consumption. So whether it's in the fertilizer that we grow foods in, whether it's additives, there's nothing in there that we aren't consuming elsewhere.

And then there are some that actually are naturally created from the combustion, which again, if you stand by a bonfire, you have a barbecue, anything that has smoke, you are exposed to exactly the same chemicals and actually in far greater quantities. So while it's true to say that there's formaldehyde in smoke, you're exposed to much higher amounts elsewhere, but it comes back to that thing of telling the truth and being dishonest. So you can make the claim that there's this particular substance in the smoke and it's true, so you're leading someone to believe that because it's there, it's there in enough quantities to be seriously harmful. But actually you're making that connection yourself.

I think actually a pretty good one is I've seen on fire stations, banners that say if you breathe in three lungfuls of smoke in a burning building you'll pass out and I don't think you can smoke enough cigarettes to get enough smoke in your lungs to pass out.

Doug: Yeah, one thing I found interesting is the comparison to car exhaust. Nobody really seems to think twice about standing next to a car that's idling, but you're getting much more of those harmful chemicals from that car exhaust than you would standing next to a smoker, or even next to a smoker in a closed room.

Richard: Yeah. If think that a popular way of committing suicide is running the hose from your exhaust into your window and asphyxiating yourself, you could sit in that same room with a hundred smokers and you'd be well.

Doug: Yeah.

Tiffany: So it sounds like there are lots of chemicals in the environment, like air pollution from cars, pesticides, household cleaning items, plastic, glyphosate, benzene in water, all those things are found in the environment but researchers, scientists, doctors and all those people blame smoking. But it sounds like those things are found in cigarettes in such small amounts it doesn't even compare to what's found in everyday life.

Richard: Yeah, I think that's true. I go into it. I've got a chapter on chemicals with the amounts. But they're just really tiny. Certainly you would get them in bigger quantities elsewhere. And I've heard the argument "Oh, it's different because you're inhaling them. You're not eating it and it's gone into your stomach which is more able to deal with it." But that's not entirely true. There are plenty of the same chemicals, things like formaldehyde where you are inhaling it in higher quantities. And not just in higher quantities, but in higher quantities in a shorter space of time.

So if you're physically in room with a concentration that exceeds that of a whole pack of cigarettes, you'd be breathing that in more continuously than smoking that pack of cigarettes. That might take you a day. It might take you two days. It might take you through the morning. It depends who you are. But you'll be consuming cigarettes normally much slower than you breathe in the chemicals in your environment.

Tiffany: So can we get into some of the smoking studies? Your book goes into a lot of detail that really, really decimate and debunk a lot of these studies. Are there any of them that stand out for you? For me in particular, is the fact that scientists have not really been successful in inducing lung cancer in lab animals.

Richard: Actually, that goes back to the path that you mentioned because you're completely correct as did scientists - no I won't call them scientist actually. (laughter) They're research studies. They found that the tar causes the cancer. So a couple of studies they did involved extracting what they considered the tar from the smoker. So one of them painted it onto naked mice. I think in one of them they put some of the filters inside some of the rodents, nothing that had any consequences.

But in the animal studies I found it absolutely fascinating that they've never really managed to prove what they've set out to prove. There was one study where they had dogs and some of them contracted cancer in higher numbers than non-smoking groups but they never replicated. Years later, quite recently actually, it was accepted in court that the animal studies have always failed in this. So if it wasn't said it was an anomaly, there was certainly plenty wrong with it, as I explained in my book. The numbers of smoking dogs compared to non-smoking dogs was ridiculous. I think there was something like eight non-smoking dogs, but they had, I think off the top of my head, somewhere around 70-something smoking-exposed dogs. And they weren't just given cigarettes to smoke at their own leisure. So they had ... and they were forced to smoke.

Whenever animals are exposed to it, it's completely unrealistic dosage. In fact one of the ones I thought was particularly interesting was when they experimented with rats. So you've got these genetically modified rats that are essentially predisposed to contract cancer in various parts of their body. The consistent thing with the animal studies is that the smoking-exposed ones are often healthier than the non-smoking control animals.

So in this particular study, the exposure animals not only lived longer than the non-smoking animals, but they lived longer than their normal life expectancy. So where their life expectancy was 24 months, they went on for 30 months and they were called the low-exposure group. So they had a no-exposure group, a low-exposure and a high-exposure. The high exposure group were exposed to so much smoke that some of them physically asphyxiated and died. But the low exposure group, and as part of a "low-exposure" because it was the equivalent of 10 cigarettes every five minutes in a one cubic meter box, six hours a day, five days a week for 30 months. And they performed better than the non-smoking rats.

Again, bear in mind this is a group of animals that were predisposed to contracting cancer and dying early.

Doug: So does that mean that the smoking actually has a protective effect?

Richard: Yeah, there's a lot of evidence to show that there are protective benefits of smoking. And in fact the animal studies again, have demonstrated this. So time and time again we've seen in the rodents that they have improved cognitive abilities, they're physically a healthier weight, they live longer or they contract less disease. But there was a particularly interesting study with dogs where they were exposed to radiation and 100 percent of these dogs died of lung cancer. I get confused, sorry. They did a similar one with mice where there was an accidental cross-over. I think with the dogs it might be more deliberate. But the upshot is some of the dogs were exposed to tobacco smoke and they were the only group that had a reduced incidence of lung cancer.

So whereas 100 percent of the non-smoke-exposed ones contracted a disease, there were some smoke-exposed ones that didn't.

Tiffany:: Well that's very interesting considering Fukushima and all the nuclear testing that's been going on all over the world for decades.

Richard: Sure, yeah. And as far as with humans go, where there have been various studies that have said "we found a protective benefit", when we hear about the lung cancer rates of smokers and non-smokers, that's kind of whatever we're told, whatever they're using for that basis. If you look at specific studies that do this, actually there's numerous ones that have said that smokers have reduced incidence of cancer, heart disease or whatever. And what they've said, a universal consensus developed between these studies, is that they say there's a protective effect on the basis that the smoke encourages this mucous production which acts as a protective barrier in the lungs.

That's not something I've really tried to prove or disprove, but I find it an interesting concept. Certainly it is somewhat validated by studies like with the dogs because it goes some way to suggesting what the mechanics are to how that could be, which oddly enough has never happened with the anti-smokers. To this day they've never said "This is the physical, biological mechanism by which smoking causes cancer." They've never been able to do that. With all the reams of animal studies, with lab research, with human research they've done it's always been statistical with humans which kind of backfires in its own way, and the physical research of the animals completely contradicts what they're trying to say.

I think that's why I find it such an interesting topic because when you delve into it, it's not nearly as comprehensive as you're led to believe.

Tiffany: So they can't pinpoint the exact mechanism of how cigarette smoking leads to cancer, but on the other side, there's a mechanism of mucous production which forms a coating in your lungs and prevents particulate matter from making its way into the lungs and actually causing some kind of damage or cancer.

Richard: Yeah, that's the theory. I certainly wouldn't like to have to say that's definitely true. It's something that's been said and lends itself to some of the results certainly. And I think most smokers could attest to the extra mucous production. We all know what a smoker's cough is, which is kind of physical evidence of that extra mucous production. So the next step would be that if it acts as a barrier, maybe that's true. Certainly I think at least there's a theory there for something whereas on the other side, we don't really have too much.

Tiffany: So can we get into some of the human studies? I know a lot of the studies that are conducted by these so-called scientists, are where they're looking back in the past and having people report on smoking for themselves or one of their family members. In your book you also tie it to socioeconomic class and smoking. Can you go a little bit into that?

Richard: Yeah, the socioeconomics is something that's not just related to smoking. This has been on a whole range of things, from suicide and depression to drinking more, general life expectancy being reduced. So it's not something that is unique to smoking or that I've really had to try and make a leap of faith to get to. This is something that's very, very well established, that to be quite crude about it, richer people live longer and healthier, poorer people don't.

So as far as the relation to smoking goes, it's kind of an overall thing. What I actually found in researching and writing the book was the more I got into that particular topic, the more evidence there was for it. It ties in with a whole range of things including one of the ways the statistics could be skewed. An example is that it's probably fair to say that on average, non-smokers care more or pay more attention to their health than smokers, because smokers are assuming this risk, they're accepting it and they're gambling it whereas non-smokers might often think "actually no, I don't want to take that risk". So on the whole it's probably a fair statement.

So on the socioeconomic side of it, for decades and decades there's been research into this, that they can't necessarily afford the best diets, they tend to be more stressed, have more money worries. In countries like America more so than in the UK where we've got socialized medicine, you can't afford healthcare, you might avoid the doctors' appointments or the medicine; more manual work which is more taxing on you physically. All these things, so when you look back from a research point of view you can see clear disadvantages including increased smoking rates, increased drinking rates, increased depression and suicide, general ill health and lower life expectancy, which is quite a whole picture, if you like.

Tiffany: And yet smoking gets blamed when there's all these other factors that play into it.

Richard: Yeah, as far as smoking getting blamed, when I did the book five or six years ago now, I mentioned at the time that "Oh, smoking's now being blamed for blindness and acne" and I wondered where it could get more ridiculous than that. (laughter) And then a couple of week ago I saw a picture where it was being blamed for back pain. (laughs) What more can they do!?! Whether you agree with it or not, believe it or not, the whole lung disease idea, you can at least accept that its' an obvious connection; you inhale smoke into the lungs and you have lung health problems. Okay, that's believable. Back pain and things and I think is beyond tenuous.

Tiffany: That's quite a stretch.

Richard: Yeah, to put it nicely.

Tiffany: In your book you also talked about something called detection bias.

Richard: Yeah.

Tiffany: Can you explain what that is?

Richard: Detection bias basically is there being a tendency to look for or diagnose something like lung cancer in people you'd expect to have it, so smokers. So if you go the doctor as a smoker and you say "Oh, I've got this cough" they may be more like to look for or diagnose lung cancer than if you're a non-smoker. And again, when you first talk about this as a concept, it might sound a bit farfetched. I had a study in the book from the '50s and then found again in the '70s and the '80s and not only was it that you're more likely diagnosed in it, but they also found false and negative positives. So they had this diagnosis in life. When they later had a postmortem done there was "this guy was diagnosed with it, but he doesn't actually have it" or "this person wasn't diagnosed with it, but they do have it".

So the reason you give them when someone's alive, which is the kind of things we see on the news, "x amount of smokers are diagnosed with lung cancer", well actually they might not all have even had it, or the number of non-smokers that do have it is higher than we're led to believe. Although even "led to believe" is actually probably unfair; that are known about, because they're just reluctant to look for it.

One of the studies that I mention in the book concluded that detection bias led to a falsely low estimate of incidence rates in women because for years the statistics showed that men smoked more than women and they consumed more cigarettes than women, so a greater number of men smoked than women and those that smoked tended to smoke more tobacco. So they were therefore more likely to be diagnosed with the disease, but actually when the women were cut open on the table, they had the disease as well.

Doug: It's very interesting. It's gotten to the point where I have a friend who is a smoker and she tells me that she has never told her doctor that she smokes and actually denies it simply because anything that she says or goes in and complains about will be blamed on the smoking if she tells him that she does. Whereas if she doesn't then it means that they might actually investigate a little bit more and actually look for other possible reasons behind it.

Tiffany:: Yeah, it's as if knowing that you're a smoker gives them the right to just give up and stop looking any further than what you say.

Doug: Yeah. They just tell you to quit smoking.

Tiffany: Yeah.

Richard: Yeah, and I think actually the really serious thing about this, and what I think really sums up the inherent, I suppose evil, of the anti-smoking movement, is that people are really being let down with their health, potentially fatally. So you go to a doctor with something and you've got this real problem. Well, as you said, if they admit to smoking, that's where it begins and where it ends for the doctor where actually they may well have something serious wrong with them that just isn't being diagnosed or isn't being taken seriously because of where they are. But then what makes it worse is you hear this summed up, some of them get paid extra, like a bonus for getting people to stop smoking or for giving the handouts from whatever pharmaceutical companies, for instance, they're working with. So it kind of just turns the smokers into a pawn in the game and it's their life that's losing really.

Tiffany: Yeah, and working with doctors closely and looking at the visit sheets where they conduct the visits with their patients and they're writing in there in big caps with exclamation marks INSTRUCTED PATIENT TO STOP SMOKING!!! and then that's pretty much it.

Richard: Yeah. And when did medical school become that? You used to go the doctor and you'd see a doctor and now you're just being lectured on your lifestyle choices. The big thing as well is there's not a single illness, disease or affliction that only smokers get. So I think first you'd ask them why they really to hammer it home because all of this talk about smoking-related disease - you could argue that maybe smokers have a higher incidence of some of these diseases - but they're not exclusive to smokers.

So if we go back to that point about the doctors, even if you go as a smoker, it doesn't mean firstly that you wouldn't have had that disease if you weren't smoking and it also doesn't mean that you're not deserving of treatment, especially with the amount of tax the smokers pay now. And then I suppose you've got the higher price, so basically being victimized in society for the inconvenience of smoking. You pay the high tax, you smoke outside, you're not allowed indoors, you're getting pushed away from buildings, you can't smoke within a certain amount of feet from the door. And then you go to the doctor because you're not feeling well and you get told off. And all because maybe you have something that you may also get as a non-smoker anyway.

Tiffany: So can we get into some of these anti-tobacco crusaders. You go into that in your book and you go a little bit into the history of smoking bans. There's a good article on our SOTT page called Let's All Light Up where the author, Laura Knight-Jadczyk goes into the history of smoking bans and the first one was actually in Mexico in the 1500s and this is before there was even any so-called science to back up any claims that smoking led to any disease. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Richard: Yeah. Generally speaking I think that throughout history some people were not happy being around smoke. Again, I think it's easy to understand why. It's not always pleasant. So generally yeah, I think it's no more than that. Some people just generally disliked it. And then we also have the undeniable fact that some people just love power and controlling people. So you can do that and you can control people by saying "Actually you can't do that anymore." That's what they'll do. But it's been brutal. There have been bans where smokers have been beheaded. So I suppose we could stop moaning so much these days that you have to go outside. (laughter)

It was pretty nasty. But the thing that's been interesting about it is they've always been cyclical. So the ban would come and then a ban would go. So whether there's any comfort for today in that, that this one will also pass, I don't know. The big difference these days of course is that there's real influence and there's real money now. There's also been bans in the same place there are now. America's had its own bans. I remember one example I put in the book where a woman was told by the police "You can't light up", I think on Fifth Avenue. But they come and go. As for the motivations, I think it certainly wasn't health-based except for King James. King James did think that it caused soot on the brain and the lungs. So I think maybe in some instances there was genuine concern or fear of health, but they probably hadn't validated it.

But you've always had these examples of puritans through history. The really interesting thing about prohibition was you can kind of see the blueprint in that for smoking. So they had second-hand alcohol at the time.

Tiffany: Second-hand alcohol?

Richard: Yeah. I suppose today you'd just consider that someone getting really drunk and being violent, but actually it was something like the fumes. If you got this glass of whiskey and the fumes in it (bad audio) all of a sudden you've got secondhand smoke. So there's always been .... I imagine there always will be.

Tiffany: Go ahead Doug. You had a question?

Doug: Well it was kind of a comment. One thing that really struck me in the book is all the anti-smoking advocates that you looked into, how determined they are to just ban smoking. They're not actually interested in the truth about it or in doing some studies to figure out if it actually is harmful or what those harms actually are. They're on a crusade. They're not interested in health overall. They're really just interested in banning smoking and that's it. The one that comes to mind is the guy Stanton Glantz - was that his name?

Richard: Yeah.

Doug: Yeah, they're just so diligent. They don't have any real interest in the health of people. They only want to ban smoking, which is like an inset bias right from the get-go.

Richard: Oh for sure. And the really worrying thing though is these people are really high up. Sometimes it's hard to think of motivation for it, but actually I think a lot of these guys are career-driven. So you've got people like John Bancha(?) - I can't pronounce his name, the fat guy who's now trying to sue McDonalds because that's another choice we shouldn't have. (laughter). That was a whole new avenue for him. We can sue the tobacco companies.

Then you've got James Repace who worked in the EPA. I think he was there for the original report into secondhand smoke which was debunked a thousand times. And you can talk to these guys. I've spoken to them, certainly James Repace and he's absolutely insane. (laughter) This is the guy that said if you smoke in a room it takes hurricane or tornado-force winds to get rid of that smoke. Well anyone knows you can just open a window. They're on another planet and Stanton in particular, I remember when that film Appetite came out and he seemed to think there was a cigarette in practically every scene. I think I may have seen one or two. But I think he's like someone dumped plutonium in the water or something. It's another planet of crazies. But they're in these unbelievable positions of power and authority. He's been at university and actually if you find these new studies, people always come out and say "Oh, have you seen this new study?" or "They've just found this." And every time it's someone like Stanton behind it and he's got huge amounts of grant money and they get the money because the conclusion's predetermined. So they say "We'll give you half a million dollars if you can prove that smoking does this." So they go ahead and they prove smoking did it and then someone posts it on Facebook and then everyone shares it on Facebook and suddenly it's this accepted fact and I'm an idiot because I don't believe it.

And actually that's just social media, because what they used to do, they called it science by press release. This was Stanton Glantz's big tactic; he'd have this study which was pure bullshit (bad audio) ...in advance they would release a press release to the journalists which just had scary conclusions. And I kid you not, there are studies this guy's done where you can read the results and the conclusion is the exact opposite. Results found wasn't really statistically significant and the conclusion is "Oh my god! Everyone's going to die!" That then goes to the journalists and journalists are really lazy and if you read one story in multiple newspapers you'll often see actually they've just copied and pasted the press release.

So they send out this really scary press release and it's copied and pasted into quite a few big newspapers that, fair enough, we should be able to trust with things like this. A week later it gets properly published and it turns out actually it's not what they said, but the papers won't print an apology or an update because it's not as interesting. If you've got a story that says smokers are really harming their babies because they're smoking, then it turns out actually they're not, there's one really obvious interest in the story there.

And so that's what they did. And the public don't really follow up the stories. So you read that. That's your scary headline. You believe it and that's how it spreads. Then all of a sudden, it's accepted wisdom. That's what these guys do. That was just one of their tactics.

Tiffany: You also mention Richard Doll, one of the anti-tobacco crusaders but he got money from Monsanto and Dow Chemical and ICI. It seems like a lot of these crusaders or researchers in the anti-tobacco field are being paid by these big companies to do that. But on the other hand, you get the people on the other side who don't get any money, like you yourself for instance. You're not paid by any pro-tobacco lobby or anything, right?

Richard: Right. Yeah, I get nothing. But I think the irony of that is the moment anyone comes out with the slightest support of the tobacco industry. There's plenty of smokers who hate the tobacco industry because they've let them down or they put all this stuff in the cigarettes. You don't have to be a smoker or support smoking to like the tobacco industry. But the minute you say anything that slightly contradicts the hardest line of anti-smoking, they say you're in the pocket of big tobacco. I've had that accusation. I had an article published a few years ago in one of the papers here. Straight away I'm accused of being in their pay. People like Richard Doll, in fairness to him, I think when he first started, I think he probably believed his results.

Anti-smoking goes back further than that. The Nazis did their research into smoking. They had their goal of a pure race and part of that was they didn't want smoking. So they had this obvious propaganda research. But in Richard Doll's early work he referenced one of these studies. I think it was by a German called Miller. So I can imagine there's probably an element of "We can't use that research. That was conducted by the Nazis, but I'll kind of recreate it" or whatever. So it was referenced in one of his first studies and he did give up smoking when he found the results of that. But certainly as time went on he was being paid something like $1,500 a day. That was Monsanto paying him $1,500 a day in the 1980s. Now that's a huge amount of money. This was an exposé in the Guardian which is a paper over here. I don't know if you guys are aware of that one or if you get that one.

Tiffany: Yeah.

Richard: So he was being paid by chemical companies for 20 years. He argued that agent orange didn't have any link to cancer. Certainly as you go into his career, the 1980s was 30 years after his first smoking study, so I wouldn't like to say that he began dishonest or whatever, but I think he got there.

Tiffany: Doug, did you have another question?

Doug: Well just related to that, Doll was paid by these chemical companies to prove that their chemicals weren't actually harmful and then at the same time he was being paid to promote smoking as a cause for these things. It seems very related. Do you think that there was an agenda there; draw the attention away from these chemicals and put the blame more on smoking?

Richard: I think that's true. Like I say, I'm not too convinced it was there from day one, but I think as his career got going there was obvious conflict there. There's a lot of theories that I've come across with smoking being used as a scapegoat. The reason I didn't talk too much about it in the book is because they're actually really hard to verify and they can't all be true. One of them is that, as you mentioned earlier, that smoking's been used to cover the fact that lung cancer increase has been the result of the nuclear testing. Smoking's been used. Others have included pollution. If you think about London in the '50s which is when Doll's research began, you hear stories that people would hang their washing out and it would be black from the pollution and the soot.

So going back to what we were discussing before about environmental pollution, think about what people were breathing in just being outside. Following that on, I've seen people talking about that's why men had more instances of lung cancer because they would have been outside more. This was a period of time where women were mostly indoors and men were outside working. So there's all sorts of theories on it and unfortunately I haven't been able to verify or disprove any of them so I keep them all at arm's length.

Tiffany: Anything you'd like to share? It's very interesting.

Richard: Yeah, I think they're all fascinating. I just have to keep a step back from it and just look at the studies.

Tiffany: Well now that we have increased EMF with the cell phones and cell phone towers and all this new technology, I think smoking is used as a scapegoat in that instance as well.

Richard: Yeah, I think really we're probably at the point now where smoking can be used for anything because we're also at a point which I find worrying. I think America's quite similar to the UK, that we're in this ulta-accepting society where everything's offensive, you can be offended on behalf of someone else, everything's racist or sexist or whatever. I cannot understand why this whole Caitlyn Jenner thing's a big story. I don't get it. (laughter) But at the same time, smokers are completely vilified, to the point that it's accepted to certainly verbally abuse them. I know that there's been assaults and murders since smoking bans have come in. Smokers are the one group of society where that's still acceptable so it makes it so much easier to continue blaming smoking because you reach a point where the attitude is "Oh, they're smokers. They deserve it. They bring it on themselves. They should know better." Whatever it is, it's almost like you've volunteered to be a guinea pig for something and it's fair game. It's open season on smokers. I think I've got a blog about open season on smokers.

There was an article in the newspaper a few years ago, according to the journalist who wrote this piece, talking about how smokers should be shot with sniper rifles. We see all these kind of things. There was a school thing, again years ago, with 16 or 17 year old kids, part of a school thing, running around the streets stealing cigarettes off people. Any other circumstance would be considered harassment or abuse but it's smokers and it's fine and it's funny and it's on YouTube and got all those people liking it and sharing it. So as far as smoking being used as a scapegoat, I can't see that changing while there's this attitude.

Tiffany: You also mention in your book that as far as these anti-smoking advocates, they advise their acolytes not to even get into arguments about the scientific evidence behind smoking and cancer and they advise the best approach is to expose the tobacco industry ties of the scientists' economic interests. So basically they're making a strong argument with no science to back it up and the whole anti-smoking crusade is more political than anything else.

Richard: Oh yeah, it's entirely political. And actually I think one of the powerful things in social media is you start to see things go shared now which are people in certain places who admit that "Okay, the ban isn't for the health, but it's social engineering". These are their words, "de-normalizing smoking". You see this being used against E-cigarettes all the time, "Yeah, we're going to ban it because it normalizes smoking." Well so what if it normalizes smoking? Your message for a long time was it's health and now you just don't like to look at this. So it's very, very political, yeah.

The people high up don't get involved in the arguments. Right around the time I released the book there was this so-called study. And this made all the papers and the headlines about third-hand smoke. Actually all it was, he'd called people on the phone and said "Do you think that it's harmful?" and then some people said yes and some people said no. This was apparently a study into third-hand smoke.

Tiffany: What is third-hand smoke?

Erika: Yeah, I was just going to ask that.

Richard: Third-hand smoke is essentially the smell on your clothes or in your house, obviously that smell being made up of particulate matter. So if you have a cigarette and then you went and spoke to someone else, they would be exposed to third-hand smoke. So ultimately they are cultivating you to be scared of what you can smell because second-hand smoke wasn't tenuous enough, they've got third-hand smoke. I even heard fourth-hand smoke and that didn't last.

Tiffany: What is fourth-hand smoke? Is that thinking about somebody smoking? (laughter)

Richard: They never did, that I'm aware of actually agree on what it meant. The one I heard the most was "You're in the presence of someone who was in the presence of a smoker."

Tiffany: Oh my god!

Richard: So if you have a cigarette and you talk to someone, they're exposed to third-hand smoke and then the person they talk to is exposed to fourth-hand smoke. If they've reached any consensus on that, I'm not aware of it. So that definition may change. I was emailing with the guy who did the third-hand smoke, Jonathan Winickoff and he just eventually just admitted that yeah, it's just what you smell. So somehow this is part of the science now.

Doug: Jeez! It's at the point now where if you see somebody smoking in a movie or on TV, that's going to be harmful too. That's fifth-hand smoke. (laughter)

Richard: Yeah, that's just a matter of time.

Tiffany: How many dilutions can it go through?

Richard: Well they do now want to put anti-smoking messages before a film or a TV show that has someone smoking in it. Which is funny because you can watch films of people injecting heroin and all you get is a message at the beginning that says "This contains drug use". Now somehow smoking warrants a warning before it, just so you know, just in case you want to go out and buy some cigarettes afterwards.

Doug: Yeah, they already actually have started doing that to a certain extent. I know with the rating system in the US they'll say that a movie is rated mature and they'll say why that is, brief nudity or drug use or something and one of the things in there is smoking, that it actually shows smoking.

Richard: Yeah, I know and it's crazy. What particularly surprises me about America though - I think one of the things people admire about America is the whole thing about freedom and around the rest of the world we see it all the time with your Second Amendment and without getting into a debate about that, it seems to be that it's surprising that there's so much about the Second Amendment and general freedom, but no one cares about the right to smoke. We joke that that there's no right to smoke per se, but that comes down to your individual right to chose what goes into your body. That's probably one of the most fundamental rights you can have and it seems to just be happily given up.

Tiffany: Completely thrown out of the window. So the research shows that smoking doesn't cause lung cancer directly. And I'm sure even the staunchest anti-smoker would say "Well yeah, I admit that I know somebody who smokes and they haven't gotten cancer" or "people have died and smoke all their lives and they didn't have cancer". But what about other diseases like emphysema, heart disease, asthma, low birth weight; you go into a little bit of that in your book too.

Richard: Yeah, all those I dedicate chapters to them. I didn't set out to write this book. I had all this research and I thought I need to consolidate this into something sensible and then it became a book. But I did deliberately do it in a way with regard to "Okay, what are the things people really care about or are convinced about or the big push to stop smoking?" And as you say, inevitably one of those things come up. Actually pregnancy's quite an interesting one. With birth weight, I think they did find that there's a marginally lower weight. I suppose you should think about it when you had the baby boomers of the '50s. That baby boom could never have happened with all those smoking parents if smoking had as much impact on pregnancy as it apparently does.

But they've done other research into pregnancy and found that yes, smoking mothers are at a greatly reduced risk of preeclampsia and these other things that previously have killed mothers in childbirth. So again, one of these great disservices that we see because in any other product or substance or whatever, we are told there's good and bad. Okay, alcoholism's a big deal but a couple of glasses of red wine is really good for you. With smoking, somehow there's this barrier that it's only bad for you, there's nothing good about it and you will die. Well actually somewhere between 10 and 15 percent of smokers get lung cancer.

There are positive effects. Researchers have found that the low levels of carbon monoxide in it have helped stroke victims. But as far as other diseases, heart disease is one of these things where every week we prove that we have no idea what we're talking about with heart disease. (laughter) Keep low fat diets, cholesterol's terrible, run all the time, exercise and things and then just a couple of weeks ago they said "Actually we have this all wrong". And it kind of parallels to the smoking with my book. I've read this book The Great Cholesterol Con and it's this doctor who had done research, like I've done and others have done into smoking, and his was about fats and cholesterols and things. He found a similar thing of disproving or challenging the conventional wisdom. And he's been vindicated because now they've come out and said "Actually, yeah, it was based on flawed and cherry-picked data".

Well we're seeing the same thing with smoking. They're cherry-picking data. They're selecting what to tell us, what not to tell us, what to publish. The big one there of course is when the World Health Organization did their biggest ever study into passive smoking and it came back and said "There's no risk and children are 23 percent less likely to get lung cancers". Well they buried that report. That investigative research from the newspapers published that. They didn't want to publish that because it went against what their mission was. The World Health Organization openly state that their goal is a smoke-free world. They're not going to go back on that so they'll hide the study, which is what they've done.

With heart disease, the particulars of it, there have been induction studies. You get a bunch of people who smoke and eat bacon and sit down and then you get the people who don't smoke, don't eat bacon and stand up, and run, whatever. Or they say "We're going to make you stop smoking and see if you're healthier and whatnot. And actually they've done quite a few of these studies and they backfired, just like the animals. The people who gave up smoking died, or got ill and the people that carried on didn't. This is another thing that's been mentioned a few times, it's more than a casual relationship; that people who give up smoking when they don't necessarily want to are more likely to get something like lung cancer than if they'd carried on.

So on the heart disease line, that's been the results, but we've also found things like bacteria. So years ago it was found that bacteria could cause something like a stomach ulcer. Now we know it's true. I think the same thing's been shown with heart diseases. There are some instances where actually it's the bacteria. "We've got it wrong or we've misled you on things like cholesterol which your body makes anyway. So if you eat too much cholesterol your body produces less of it and if you're not eating enough of it..." Cholesterol is usually essential for us. It's what keeps our cells, cells. To say that we need to avoid it and it's bad, is beyond bad advice. It's scientific contempt, if anything.

Tiffany: I'd say it's malpractice.

Richard: Yeah, I totally agree. That's the word I was looking for, yeah. It is. I suppose there's obviously going to be some doctors and nutritionists who genuinely believe it. I think when you have anything like this (inadudible) books on nutrition, but they're still steadfast in the anti-smoking thing. I imagine they probably believe it because it's reinforced for years. Children are taught this as young as they can possibly be, that this is the truth. It's like a religion in itself. I think smoking, as much as someone has to go out of their way to find out things about dietary research and things that are different to the mainstream, it's still not necessarily particularly difficult to find nor is it so difficult to accept. But I think one of the really challenging things with smoking research is for a lot of people now, it goes against what they've always been told. So people of my age, when we were younger it was "You start out smoking, that's not good for you." Now I think it's at kind of at a brainwashing stage.

But yes, as far as other diseases, emphysema, I don't think I could find any research linking emphysema to smoking.

Tiffany: No, not outright.

Richard: When I was writing this chapter, the horrendous thing was I couldn't find anything. You type cancer and smoking and loads comes up. But with emphysema it's more of an assumed relationship and as recently as the '70s it was stated in medical books that the majority of doctors think smoking causes it. And again it goes back to the thing of how you put something into your lungs and there's a believable relationship with your health, like emphysema and lung cancer.

But actually there's really not much about it. We know things that emphysema rates have continued to increase as smoking rates have decreased. Now obviously there's a lag because emphysema affects older people more than younger people. But you could still say "Well at best it should have plateaued". But the most interesting thing I've found about emphysema was the discovery of a genetic link. There's a gene that controls the liver's production of a protein called alpha-1 antitrypsin and a lot of people with emphysema lack this gene and the result is that it doesn't control this protein which then, when left unchecked, the alveolar tissue gets destroyed which is of course, emphysema. It's been said in medical books, actually that almost every person with emphysema has this deficiency.

But you have to really go a long way to find this because anything you find otherwise is just a statement of assumed fact, that emphysema's caused by smoking. And of course emphysema today is COPD which emphysema and chronic bronchitis. They're not even the same thing. It's this umbrella term.

Tiffany: So this makes me think that aside from all the environmental pollution, the poor diets, being of a lower socio-economic class with all the stresses that that entails, and being brainwashed probably from the beginning of your life that smoking is bad, smoking causes cancer, how much of the cancer that smokers do get is actually kind of their own mind fulfilling...

Richard: Yeah, the nocebo effect.

Tiffany: Yeah, that's the word I was thinking of, the nocebo effect.

Richard: Yeah. That was really something that came to mind after I'd written the book. I suppose one of the reasons I need to update this thing is because I was introduced to so many more people after writing it. I couldn't give you any numbers or anything on that but I think it's very, very powerful. We know from scientific fact, the power of a placebo effect. There's no reason why the opposite isn't equally powerful. You have this Woodstock voodoo effect. And actually you can see it just in everyday life. I think you have to go quite a long way to meet an everyday smoker who isn't as convinced with the harm he's doing as a non-smoker.

Tiffany: One of those self-hating smokers, the guilty smokers.

Richard: Yeah! The guilty smokers, and how easy do they make it for anti-smokers to further victimize them because they have the mindset that they're doing something wrong. So as we were talking about before, about victimizing smokers, smokers have the exact same attitude a lot of times so that it makes it so easy. But actually it's not easy to have a counter-attitude even if you don't believe that they're wrong about the health aspects, you've still got the whole thing about freedom and personal respect. I don't really know how people believe the new claims. I think it comes to a point where you give someone enough rope and they'll hang themselves. I thought that would happen years ago with smoking because they're just getting more and more unbelievable, third-hand smoke, fourth-hand smoke and blindness and back pain. How far can it go?

Yeah, as a group, smokers are just making it so easy but actually the thing they need to be shouting about is that there is no disease that only smokers get. It's not even 90 percent of smokers that are getting lung cancer or anything. And it's not like smokers are draining society when you look at the amount of tax that's being paid and the amount of money going into the economy as a result.

And of course that's the other thing with the anti-smoking practices, these hugely grossly exaggerated prices of tobacco now, it's just driving people to the black market which probably puts them at genuine risk because they're completely unregulated. There's all sorts of horrible things in these products that it's easy for children to get access to.

If they really cared, this rhetoric about "We don't want to normalize smoking, we don't want children being exposed to smoking", well the results of these legislations is that smokers are on the streets where before they would be in the pub, the casino or wherever they might be indoors. They're now on the streets so now the anti-smokers are saying "Well children can see them so we'll put them back inside." (laughter) You can't have it both ways. But this is the gently, gently approach. If you'd come out 20 years ago and said "Let's just ban smoking" you couldn't have done it but what you can do over a period of 30 or 40 years, one step at a time, you can slowly get there. And I think that's what we've seen, this social engineering in practice. Hopefully this is something they'll look back on in a few years as an example that we'll get out of the madness.

Tiffany: Your book goes into another interesting thing about smoking too. You said in your book that nicotine is not the primary reason that people smoke and there's a difference between an addiction and a habit.

Richard: Yeah. This is something that I saw recently as well. I can't remember who but it was discovered that actually nicotine isn't addictive. And I think there's a wealth proof of this, that people don't get addicted to nicotine patches, you're not addicted to these e-cigarettes that contain nicotine. You're not addicted to the gum. What people really have, and I think the reason e-cigarettes have been so effective where traditional nicotine replacement therapy fails is that e-cigarettes very, very closely mimic the overall process of smoking. So you are holding something. You've got the hand-to-mouth action. You're feeling and witnessing, for all intents and purposes, the smoke.

I think this is what non-smokers never get, is that smoking is more than an addictive process. It's a sensory enjoyment. So as far as nicotine goes, they did a study a while ago with air stewards and stewardesses on a short haul and long haul flight because obviously what you'd expect if you're on a flight for 10 hours and you can't smoke, you'll be craving a smoke for that time. Actually what they found was there's a point in both flights, say coming in to land - I can't remember exactly, I think it's in the book somewhere - that's when the cravings kicked in. Basically when the smokers knew they would soon be able to smoke, they experienced a craving then.

You get told smoking's as addictive as heroin, so if you were to find heroin addicts, they wouldn't have the same experience. What they would find is actually after quite a period of time without the heroin, they would have very, very serious withdrawal effects and that doesn't happen with smoking. So the idea that this is a physical addiction even remotely comparable to heroin is just fantasy.

And in fact there was a researcher I was talking to about the time I was doing the book who was saying that the most addictive cigarettes have free-base nicotine added to them, but actually then he said that the cigarettes that had these additives were additive-free organic cigarettes, brands like American Spirit. So he kind of shot his own argument in the foot with this claim.

Tiffany:: So have you researched any of the differences between commercial cigarettes and organically grown cigarettes like American Spirit or whole leaf tobacco that people shred themselves?

Richard: I haven't done a great deal of research into it. I think as an initial reaction it's preferable to go down the organic route or as you mentioned, things like the whole leaf. I compare it to eating real food or processed food. If you've got something that's really just this colourful mess of E numbers and things you can't even pronounce and whatever, then comparing it to a real home cooked meal, there's a similarity there. You've got whole leaf products that you shred yourself and to be honest with you, if you open a commercial cigarette and feel the texture of it and compare it to what you'd get from an organic or additive-free product, they're very different.

I don't think it's necessary the same discussion as additives in cigarettes and things. I would imagine though that if there are naturally present chemicals and whatever that help with the beneficial aside of smoking that we discussed before, I think it stands to reason that they would be more so in a cigarette that's as close to natural as possible. But at the same time, of course in the studies that I did research for the book, they would have just been using commercial cigarettes.

So I really think that the discussion moves away from are these harmful, etc., to is one better than the other one? I certainly think the one is better than the other one. Yeah, I think that organic or a natural, additive-free product would be superior to this processed junk, the junk food of cigarettes.

Tiffany: But on the American Spirit boxes I think they write something to the effect that just because this is organic or additive-free, that doesn't mean that this is a safer cigarette.

Richard: Yeah, I remember that. The thing is, there's regulation. And the thing about regulation in any industry is that there's seldom room for the exceptions. Of course from their point of view I don't think there's been much, if any, specific research that compares the difference. To do that research you're probably talking about finding someone who just starts smoking and you give them American Spirit and then you give someone else a pack of Marlboros and you make them smoke them for the rest of their lives. And I don't think it's ever been done. So as a tobacco product, they've got the same regulations about what has to be on there.

But of course there's also the point that it's in their interests to be on there because you have the (bad audio) so you have the tobacco companies have to pay out money to the states and things. By coming out in the beginning and saying that this product can kill you, this is your responsibility, they're insuring themselves against future lawsuits because one of the things we know in hindsight, one of the big things the anti-smokers jump on all the time is that the tobacco industry kept secrets and it lied and it hid things and it knew that they were killing people. Well now what they're doing instead of to kill you, if you smoke it's down to you and they're protecting themselves from these lawsuits.

So American Spirit, even if they genuinely believe or it is genuinely the case, that their product is safer, they're not going to admit it in a time like this. It's hard enough getting them to admit anything. You don't hear from tobacco companies these days. They're as meek as they come, really.

Tiffany: Erica, you had something?

Erika: Oh yeah, I just wanted to share what we were talking about. I've noticed that non-smokers have said to me several times, because I smoke natural whole leaf tobacco or American Spirit, that they're not bothered by it or "I really don't like the commercial cigarettes but your tobacco doesn't really bother me" and "your house doesn't smell" or "your car doesn't smell" or "you don't have that third and fourth-hand smoke". I find that really interesting. It's almost like we were talking about, this whole mindset that smoking's bad, smoking's bad, but when you're around them and being conscientious of course, the feedback is "Oh, it's not that bad." I've even had a few friends who were pretty staunch anti-smokers say "Well I really like the smell. It smells good." So I wanted to add that in there. I don't know if any of our other co-hosts or even our listeners have had a similar experience where the conversation is not as intense once you have dialogues with them.

Richard: I've certainly noticed that. Actually with American Spirit it was the same thing, "Oh, that doesn't smell bad". My experience is almost like it's a fresher smell, if that's the best word to use, cleaner almost. Yeah, I definitely can share that experience.

Tiffany: Yeah, it kind of doesn't linger around like commercial cigarettes does.

Erykah: I recently I had an interesting incident. I've really never been assaulted as we were sharing earlier, but I was on the beach a couple of weeks ago and I had my role-your-own cigarette and I put it out in the sand and a woman halfway down the beach started to yell at me about how disgusting it was and "how could you do that?!?!" Initially my response was to get upset but I was really calm and I said "Well I just wanted to let you know this is an organic cigarette and there's no filter and I'm not really polluting. It's not bad. It's from the earth." And then she kind of got frustrated with me and was like "Well you know it's illegal to smoke on the beach here." And I was like "Well actually not yet as far as I know!"

And I kind of concluded the conversation with "Thanks for your concern. I think you should worry about yourself more than anything", but it was like what we've been talking about in this show, that kind of angry, "I'm going to attack you" attitude and she wasn't even within 20 feet of me. So it just goes to show the mind programming. We were talking about children too, the looks and the vibe. "Oh my god! You're doing something wrong and this is terrible." But like you write in your book about bonfires. How many people take their kids camping and burn bonfires day and night. Nobody ever says anything about the toxicity of that, but god forbid you should light up your natural cigarette anywhere near children.

Richard: Yeah, and how highly strung do you need to get stressed about what someone else is doing? (laughter) The levels of stress there are probably far more damaging.

Tiffany: That's right. There's always this air of superiority and looking down their nose like they're so much better than you because they don't smoke and they're just so sensitive and delicate that the smoke assaults their nostrils and they just can't stand it.

Richard: Yeah, is this what the smoking crusade has come to? The inferior, weakened human being. Is this what we're really striving for?

Doug: And it's funny how much the smokers actually pick up on that. Every smoker I ever meet, one of the first things out of their mouths is "Oh yeah, I've got to quit, I've got to quit. This is terrible what I'm doing here." That kind of mind program sets in, for sure.

Erykah: Or all the pressure with kids. I remember my parents paying my sisters thousands of dollars by the time they turned 18 if they refused to ever smoke a cigarette. And you're like "This is insanity!"

Richard: Before we had smoking bans, my experience was that people weren't nearly as concerned. It was "Do you mind if I smoke?" "Oh don't worry. I'll move away." It was all very amicable and civilized. And then all of a sudden it's almost like flipping a switch, the smoking ban comes in and people are suddenly really distressed. It was "Well this didn't bother you last week. What's changed?" People can no longer smoke indoors. Nothing's really changed in terms of what you're exposed to or the people you're with. You see families ripped apart by this, it's kind of heartbreaking, I've had people say to me "I'm not allowed to see my grand-kids anymore because my son or daughter won't let them be around me, even if I don't smoke around them. They can't be in a smoker's house." It's ripping families apart.

I think the real tragedy of it is that it focuses on smokers as individuals and doing the right thing, or making them healthier and protecting children. But actually the wider implications of this is devastating, people's families, particularly elderly people and grandparents where they're deliberately losing out on their families. And then you get into this area where the smoking ban just decimated the pub industry. So every pub I went into probably had that old guy in the corner who had a drink and a cigarette. He no longer has any social life because he's got nowhere to go. This is the wider impact. And this is the thing that people don't talk about. It doesn't get mentioned because it's always about this message of "for the greater good".

Tiffany: I wonder if we can get a little bit more into some more of the health benefits of smoking. We mentioned the mucous-production and how that has a protective effect and how in radiation studies smokers live longer. But there's some other health benefits that you got into, as far as it being an anti-spasmodic, relaxant, diuretic, certain things along those lines. Can you get a little more into some of the benefits?

Richard: Yeah. It's been used medicinally for millennia, right back to the peace pipe. And it's been used medicinally more recently as well. But what's been found scientifically is smoking is the biggest single factor in reducing the risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. I think Tourette's is up there as well. We also know that smokers have improved concentration. It improves cognitive function so actually it makes perfect sense that it also helps protect from these degenerative motor-neuron diseases. That all makes perfect sense.

But we also know that it contains the MAO-I's that are used in treating Parkinson's. It's an ingredient in the tablet, but it's also present in the smoke. So again, this isn't some fanciful leaping to conclusions but we actually know scientifically that okay, this is in the smoke and it has this impact. Osteoporosis is reduced threefold in smokers. Antioxidants are improved in smokers. This is one actually one that gets shown time and time again. The free radicals that are linked to aging, the effect on the immune system, the effect from the increase in these chemicals within us, has a positive effect on the immune system similar to exercise has on our muscles and things.

If you really want to see evidence of the benefits of smoking, the pharmaceutical industry is quietly trying to replicate the benefits because the pharmaceutical industry benefits the most from the anti-smoking legislation because it sells the replacement products. If you want to quit smoking you buy gum or a patch or nowadays people use e-cigarettes too. But of course they kicked up a fuss when they came out because they were challenging their inhalers and things and of course e-cigarettes aren't regulated. So all of a sudden they've got this direct threat. But actually they've been quietly working on drugs to mimic the beneficial aspects of smoke. So the pharmaceutical industry funds this work called The Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco and they did a review on the neuro-protective aspects of smoking and they also admitted that they're striving for the prevention and treatment of tobacco use.

So think about that, okay the prevention of that, but the treatment of tobacco use. So what would that be? You'd imagine that's something weening people off. We'll get them stopping smoking and we'll get them on our product. So they're the clear winners and they spend a fortune in lobbying and studies. The genetically modified rodents we talked about earlier, that study was sponsored by Pfizer. So they're really there lurking in the shadows and they sponsor anti-smoking events but the tobacco industry's are banned from going to.

So all of a sudden you've got this industry that can't even attend the events that are determining what happens to its industry. So it's like if you run a business and another group of people deciding what your business can and can't do but by the way, you can't even hear it. So it's quite shocking.

But as far as the benefits go, that same review also made the point that somewhere around 90 percent of schizophrenics smoke. It's been shown that they kind of self-medicate with it because of the way it helps them, but most schizophrenics are chain smokers and they suffer between 30 and 50 percent less cancer of general sites on the body, not just lung cancer than non-smokers of the same age. So there's this great natural study right there, that this group of people, the vast, vast majority of whom smoke, but they have less instances of cancer than non-smokers at the same age.

Tiffany: Doug, do you have a comment?

Doug: Yeah. You mentioned earlier on that there was a mouse study and you just mentioned offhand that by being exposed to the smoke that that group actually had greater cognitive abilities. I was wondering if there's any further research on that, that found an actual enhanced ability to think or problem solve or something like that with smoking? Are you still there Richard? (lost connection) I think maybe we've lost him here. Are you still there Richard?

Richard: Yeah, I'm here.

Doug: Did you hear my question?

Richard: I heard part of your question. So you're asking about the improved cognitive function?

Doug: Yeah, correct.

Richard: So was that in the animals or in the people?

Doug: We're getting an echo effect here. I don't know if somebody has the sound turned on, on the show maybe?

Tiffany: Let me fix it.

Doug: My question was basically that you had mentioned in the mouse studies that the smoking group did have an increased cognitive function so I was just wondering if there were any further studies on that and if you knew whether or not smoking actually has that kind of benefit.

Richard: Yeah, sure. Specific studies I can't name off-hand, but certainly there's plenty of research that shows this benefit. What I also found was that it's been said that smokers have increased cognitive levels, concentration and things, mental alertness, than non-smokers but smokers who've been deprived of a cigarette for a while, or whatever their choice of consumption is, had less concentration than non-users. So essentially if you consider the non-smokers the base level, then smokers would be above that, but if you are a smoker who hasn't smoked in a while, you're below that base level. So it almost definitively shows that cause and effect, that consuming it increases it and if you're deprived it reduces it although reducing it below what you probably would have thought.

So there's definitely plenty out there on that. That's something that I fear quite a lot actually. And what's interesting is that the research seems to be suggesting it's not just nicotine. In more anecdotal evidence, I've heard people who stop smoking and use e-cigarettes say that they didn't feel the same way. So they might have felt kind of muddy-headed or they couldn't concentrate as much, that kind of thing where it's all to do with that cognitive function level. It improved again when they went back to the real thing.

So it seems to be whereas for years they've focused on and we've heard all about nicotine, this is a much bigger thing here which is obviously, as we discussed before, about the addiction thing, that there's something more at play as to why people smoke or why people continue to smoke or why people don't really care much for the nicotine replacement therapy or why the e-cigarettes are not the same. Essentially, there's something in the smoke, this combination of chemicals and compounds that has a greater effect than any one in isolation.

Tiffany: So it sounds like there's still some undiscovered compound that's found in tobacco that lends itself to this feeling of well-being and cognitive improvement. Maybe some people at some level know this and that's one of the reasons for the smoking bans, to keep people dumbed down.

Richard: Going back to what I said before about people having different theories, that's certainly one of them. And beyond that you also hear that where people congregate is essentially a threat. So by ruining that community with this legislation that stops people from having those communities like that, we can speak to dumbing down and so on. Yeah, there's any number of theories on that.

Tiffany: There's probably more wacked-out and weird out-there theories that we don't know about or some people just don't want to say.

Richard: Oh yeah, I'm sure. It probably doesn't get anymore wacky than what the anti-smokers are saying. (laughter) Being in the presence of someone who was in the presence of a smoker, it doesn't get any worse than that.

Tiffany: Well another one of the health benefits that you mentioned in your book is that there are compounds within nicotine that promote new blood vessel growth around blocked arteries.

Richard: Yeah.

Tiffany: And it decreases the risk for gum recession which when you go to the dentist you always hear "Oh, do you smoke? That's probably why your gums are receding."

Richard: Yeah, that was a tiny study that I thought was an interesting one nonetheless because generally I tried to include things that would have been thrown out for being too small essentially, but I thought it was interesting just on the principle of what it was because as you said, it's something you always hear. It's the opposite of it, for sure. But it's all been deliberate, this gently, gently approach. The public at large believes that it's happened, we learn more and as we learn more, new legislation come about, things like plain packaging. "Oh we've just discovered that the packaging has an effect and if it didn't have an effect the tobacco companies wouldn't care." Well actually the tobacco companies care because it's brand differentiation. So if I make a pack of cigarettes and you make a pack of cigarettes, the brand and the packaging is how people can tell them apart.

So anti-smokers say it makes people start smoking, the tobacconists use care because my brand might cost more than your brand but if they look the same people are going to buy the cheaper one. But actually if you go back to the '70s, and what's called the Godber Blueprint - I don't know if you're aware of this but Sir George Godber was Britain's chief medical officer from 1960 to 1973 and in a time when not many people were, he was extremely anti-smoking. So he called for the de-normalization of smoking to the point that smoking outside of the home should be criminal. He set out with essentially a plan of action, which is why it's been called the blueprint, of what should happen and how it should happen; things like increased attacks and banned smoking outside of the home, in public places and things like that, things that we're starting to see. And the goal here was to have a smoke-free world by I think 2000, which they've missed but actually we're getting there.

Probably his most famous point was where people expected that the smoker was potentially harming themselves. He said they needed to make other people think the smoker was harming them, which is where second-hand smoke came in. But yeah, if you go back to the '70s, second-hand smoke didn't really become a thing until the '90s. So whereas we can see in the media and the public beliefs "Oh, this is what we've just discovered because X number of scientists have discovered it, actually it was something that was set in motion long before and we're still in the process, there's still things happening now that proposed this long ago and we're still getting it.

Because again, they knew full well that if they tried to say it at the time it wouldn't have happened so they took the gently, gently approach to it. And I think actually that's one of those things that if people were aware of, that would quite quickly change their opinion. So going back to when you asked how did I start changing my opinion, I think there are certain things like this where you realize how big it is, how it's not something that exists and can be interpreted one way or the other. It's quite definite, quite deliberate. This is what it was. This is how we've been lied to, this is why we've been lied to, this is how they've done this scientifically. The thing of the Godber Blueprint is definitely one of those things.

Tiffany: You said in your book it's one of the biggest lies ever told.

Richard: Yeah, I think that's true. I remember at the time thinking "Can I say that?" This is quite a borrowed title. I included it on the basis of firstly how many smokers there are, but then also how long it's gone on. This has been going on for decades now, many decades. And there's the wider impact, as we discussed before, how families are being affected, how people are going out of their way to be negative in some way to smokers, whether it's verbal or physical. There's this huge impact on us.

The one that really disgusts me is hospitals. You don't go into hospital for fun. You go there either as a patient or you're there visiting someone and you're invariably stressed and then there's this essentially lack of compassion, lack of humanity of "You can't smoke here. You have to smoke over there", especially in the UK of course where most hospitals are public anyway and we've all paid for them. So we have this thing where our health service isn't being funded enough. Well actually they're employing people on pretty generous salaries to harass smokers, "Don't smoke on the premises." That could buy equipment. That could employ a nurse. That could do any number of things to generally improve people's health but you're choosing to employ someone to nag people.

Tiffany: Jonathan, you had a comment?

Jonathan: Yeah. Richard, I was just curious if while you were working on this material, since it's such a charged issue, have you ever received any personal attacks over your work from the anti-industry or from any of the activists that you wrote about? I don't know if you would have ever felt in danger necessarily, but have you ever had your reputation attacked while you were working on this material?

Richard: No, thankfully and touch wood no, but largely I put it up to not being big enough. Where the attacks have come in actually is if I've had an article published in a bigger platform than my own, you get the standard "He's in the pay of the tobacco industry." I've never experienced anything too bad but in fairness I've almost gone out of my way to talk to them because I think it's important. I think if we know things, "Hang on, you're deceiving people, so that's not quite true, that third-hand smoke study for example." So I've not made it secret with them. I don't try and aggravate them either, so no, thankfully I haven't experienced anything too bad.

Tiffany: Well that's good.

Doug: It's probably partly also because your book is pretty airtight. If they're going to attack you it would basically just be all smears and attack on your person, like accusations of getting money from tobacco companies because they can't argue with the science. It's all right there and right out in the open. It would be a very difficult platform to try and argue against.

Tiffany: Yeah, and they purposely say "Don't argue the science."

Doug: Yeah, exactly.

Richard: Yeah, there might be an element of that. I appreciate you saying it's airtight. Thank you for that. But I imagine I'd have to do more to aggravate them for them to do anything. You're completely right of course, that they don't really engage in the science, even the big actual organizations themselves. Invariably it's just a sweeping statement "Well everyone knows that smoking does this so they're just wrong." They're almost playing "Oh they're just crazy. Don't worry about it." They never get into the details of it because if they do, they can't win because they're in the wrong.

I remember talking to one person who's not so much a campaign analyst but he's an entrepreneur over here and he's quite famous in his own way. But he's very, very anti-smoking and he was talking about banning the cigarette vending machines in pubs and how children can get to them. So I said "Well why can't you just have them on the wall rather than free-standing on the ground?" And he said "Well that would be discrimination against short people." (laughter) How do you answer that?

Tiffany: Erykah, do you have a quick question?

Erykah: Oh yeah, I had a quick question. Kind of on the flip side of that, have you gotten emails or letters of support for your work? Obviously we're supporters of your work, but have you had people contact you with "Thank you for writing this book. This has really helped me." Have you gotten that kind of support from people from writing this book?

Richard: Yeah, I have actually. Not all the time, but I've had a fair number of them and I'm always really, really appreciative. What surprised me though is where it comes from. I had a Polish doctor email me a couple of years ago to say she agreed with it; any number of people really, from all walks of life. One that I remember really well was a mother of I think a teenage son who was smoking. And she just said it really helped her kind of accept it more. And there was another one who was going to talk to the family about it to try and smooth things over because the family weren't pleased. Again, it came up before, about the way that these measures can impact the family, grandparents and grandchildren and things.

Other people just generally say that they find it really interesting. So I have had those. I had I think one email from someone who had a different opinion. But generally, yeah, they're very positive.

Erykah: That's great to hear.

Richard: It was unexpected and it's just really nice to actually see the difference that you're making because as I said, I didn't really set out to write this book. It came together organically and took on a life of its own. So for people to be finding it and finding something in it, is really great.

Tiffany: Well that's good to know. It gives me hope for humanity. Not all is lost if some people can have their eyes opened. Well it sounds like we've reached the end of our show. I want to thank you Richard White, for coming on and enlightening us all on this very controversial topic.

Richard: Oh thank you.

Tiffany: The book is called "Smoke Screens - The Truth About Tobacco". You can buy it on Amazon and Richard White's webpage is smokescrenes.org. And you do post articles on your webpage. You have a blog there.

Richard: Yeah, I'm ashamed to say how long it's been since my last one, but I do from time-to-time. If anyone is wondering, they can reach me on there. I monitor to those emails personally and it's not someone else that does it and my social media and things is all me personally. So I'm easy enough to get hold of.

Tiffany: Okay.

Richard: There are some errors occasionally.

Tiffany: Thank you so much. Thank you again for coming onto the show.

Doug: Yeah.

Tiffany: It's been an excellent conversation.

Richard: I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Tiffany: Well good. Again, buy the book folks. Very good. Pass it on to your loved ones, pass it on to some guilty smokers you might know. "Smoke Screens - The Truth About Tobacco". Thanks for coming on Richard.

Richard: Thank you.

Doug: Thanks Richard.

Eryka: Yeah, thanks Richard. Bye.

Jonathan: Thank you.

Tiffany: So we do have a pet health segment prepared for us by Zoya. Do you want to play that Jonathan?

Jonathan: Yes, it's time for that.

Zoya: Hello and welcome to the pet health segment of the Health and Wellness Show. Today I want to talk about summer and what you can do to help your pets enjoy it as much as possible and without any harmful effects. Summer is a wonderful season full of life and colours but there are all kinds of nuances that should be kept in mind. For example, some dog breeds, especially brachycephalic breeds, or dogs with short noses compact skulls and compressed upper respiratory systems like the pug are inefficient panters, which means that they are unable to cool themselves as effectively as other dog breeds. Because of this brachycephalic breeds are more prone to over-heating and require extra care in warm weather, particularly access to shade and plenty of water.

Other dog breeds that are at high risk of overheating are Pekinese, bulldog, shihtzu, Boston terrier, French bulldog, boxer and Cavalier King Charles spaniel. But don't forget other breeds or cats too since they also require an increased amount of water. For that you can do something both fun and tasty for your pets like making popsicles or catsicles. You can freeze meat broth with chunks of meat or fish or anything your pet likes and is good for them.

Other fun ways of dealing with the heat can be small pools for your pets or sprinkles. If you have a lake nearby you can take your pets for a walk and allow them to play in the water a bit. But just remember that lakes, especially the lakes with ducks are a perfect environment for a myriad of bacteria and viruses. Ducks are considered to be major reservoirs for viruses, for example influenza A viruses. And while they are not susceptible to those viruses they can transfer them to others, both animals and humans.

Other basic summer safety tips are never leave your pet in a parked car, not even for a minute, not even with the car running and the air conditioner on. On warm days temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85F degree day or 29C degrees for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows open slightly can reach 102F degrees or 38.8C degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120F degree or 48.8C degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or even die. Watch for humidity. It's important to remember that it's not just the ambient temperature but also the humidity that can affect your pet.

Also limit exercise on hot days. Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust the intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days limit exercise to early morning or evening hours and be especially careful with pets with white-coloured ears who are more susceptible to skin cancer.

Also asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating. Also don't rely on a fan. Pets respond differently to heat than humans do. Dogs for instance, sweat primarily through their feet and fans don't cool off pets as effectively as they do people. Maybe allow them to go over wet grass or floor, or over a wet blanket or wet body wrap.

Provide ample shade and water. Any time your pet is outside make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. In heat waves do popsicles or add ice to water when possible. Tree shade is ideal because it doesn't obstruct air flow. A dog house does not provide relief from heat. In fact it makes it worse.

Also, don't forget to watch for signs of heat stroke. Extreme temperatures can cause heat stroke. Some signs of heat stroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure and unconsciousness. Animals that are at particular risk for heat stroke besides the breeds I've already mentioned are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise or that have heart or respiratory disease.

So how to treat a pet suffering from heat stroke: move your pets into the shade or an air conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to their head, neck and chest or run cool, not cold water over them. Let them drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Take them directly to a veterinarian. Now, just a note regarding shaving your pets. Generally most experts recommend against shaving most pets though there are exceptions. Veterinarians advise against shaving cats and dogs for a simple reason. Your pet's hair isn't like yours. A pet's coat is designed by nature to keep it cool during the summer and warm in the winter. By shaving your pet you usually interfere with this built-in temperature regulation.

Cats in particular are very good at regulating body temperature and really get no benefit from being shaved. Because cats are so much smaller relative to their exposed surface area, they are just better at getting rid of extra body heat. Cats are also almost always more mobile than dogs so they can safely move to a shadier spot when temperatures rise.

Now, if you have a dog with a very thick coat that seems to suffer from the heat, some veterinarians suggest shaving them. But resist shaving shorter-haired breeds because not only do they get no benefit from it, but they also run the risk of sunburn once shaved. What you can do in order to help your pet is brush their coat. Brushing your pet removes dead undercoat, helping air to circulate near the skin, keeping pets cooler. Also in summer months pets can get bitten by insects and end up with moist dermatitis skin condition but removing dead hair by brushing helps skin stay drier. If you have the time and energy, brush daily.

Well this is it for today. Wish you and your furry friends a happy and safe summer.

Tiffany: Thanks for that Zoya. Okay, so that's our show for today folks. Thanks to the chatters and again a very special thank you to our guest Richard White. The book is called "Smoke Screens - The Truth About Tobacco" and it is available on Amazon.com. Richard White's webpage is smokescrenes.org. So you can join us again next Friday at 10:00a.m. eastern standard time for another episode of the Health and Wellness Show and also you can tune in tomorrow for The Truth Perspective. There's going to be a little high strangeness going on. You can join them at 2:00p.m. eastern standard time. And also catch Behind the Headlines Sunday at 2:00p.m. eastern standard time. So have a great day everyone.