Thursday, September 06, 2007

Something Else.

Something else is a scourge of modern Britain and it is about time nanny government, the BMA pretend doctors, the leading lights in our compensation culture and the insurance companies took notice. Something else kills us in our millions yet it is utterly ignored. You see, my chances of getting lung cancer if I don’t smoke are about 1 in a 100, rising to maybe 5 in a 100 by smoking (not entirely sure about this, but these figures are only for an example). But there’s lots of other ways smoking can kill me, so let’s suppose my chances of dying from a smoking-related disease are 20 in a 100 or 20%. Now, with life being 100% fatal, this means that I have (100% - 20% = 80%) an 80% chance of dying from something else. It’s a killer, that’s what it is. I think it would be foolish for me to give up smoking since, the moment I give up, my chances of dying from something else will begin to rise and just keep on rising.

6 comments:

eagle1 said...

Neil-You've hit the right method in attracting interest in your blog and provoking responses to your musings, however ill informed they may be. You think smoking-active or passive is not really that serious, that climate change is nonsense and generally I suppose the kind of "cool guy" who likes to rubbish everything just for the sake of it. I am no climatologist but being a cancer physician-I think your "thoughts" on smoking are ill informed and I bet you know it. Anyway its your blog site and so your choice and your rights are your rights. But I think you wanted a response-you got one.

Neal Asher said...

No problem, eagle1. I am well aware of the dangers of active smoking which, in my opinion, have more to do with the quality of life on the way to the coffin rather than the arriving there. The passive smoking figures are heavily massaged and speculative, based on hearsay and in most cases not even rising out of statistical insignificance. They are politically motivated. In fact there's one study out there showing that children exposed to cigarette smoke in the home thereafter have a decreased chance of getting lung cancer. Don't hear much about that, do we?

But the thing is, Eagle1, where am I wrong in this last post? If I have a 50% chance of being run over by a truck, then I also have a 50% chance of dying of something else. If I reduce my chances of being run over by truck to 20%, that means my chances of dying of something else rise to 80%. It's a seamless argument. But the point of it? The point is that just maybe, having read that, people reading the statistical and hysterical nonsense pumped out by the media might stop and think. They might not react with such horror to a rise of 25% in your chances of getting lung cancer from passive smoking. Maybe they'll look at the figures and understand how meaningless a statement that is without knowing your chances of dying from lung cancer WITHOUT passive smoke about.

Keitousama said...

There's a nice little graphic I found a while back, quite escapes me where, that I think is appropriate to this post. I put it up at my blog: Your Odds of Dying.

Leo said...

You're missing the point. There are much "Better" ways of dying than lung cancer and there are ways to prolong death if you don't smoke. I'd like to die peacefully in my sleep after a long full life. Not hacking away on a respirator at a relatively young age in terrible agony.

Get real and don't encourage smoking.

StyrofoamSux said...

I think that your post is AWESOME. Frankly I have been trying to dig up "real" statistics on the dangers of smoking and they are VERY hard to find. Yes smoking increases your chances of dying of lung cancer (like 10X more likely or something) but on average we have a 7% chance of dying from the disease. Coincidentally, we have about a 7% chance of being killed by a medical error, but I am still going to go to the hospital if I need to. Basically, smoking IS bad for you and we all know it. Do we have to use inflated (or at least misleading) figures to prove that point?
A couple of interesting thoughts:
1) if you smoke and you die of a heart attack they will call it "smoking related" despite the fact that many, many, many people (my mom included) die at young ages from heart attack without smoking.
2) Lung cancer rates have been going up consistently over the last 40 years, while the smoking rate has halved (also lower tar and nicotine). Could there be other causes... no one will ever know because "they" have found "the" answer and choose to look no further.

Smoking does not cause cancer... but it does increase the risk for it. So does not eating enough fruit.

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