Sunday 14 October 2012

When The Lie Is Just Too Big

The Graun has today come over all concerned about shisha pipes.
Experts fear many shisha smokers are unaware of the health risks they are taking. They claim that shisha smoking – inhaling flavoured tobacco smoke after it has passed through a water basin – is significantly more damaging than smoking normal cigarettes.
Really? What 'experts' are these then?
A survey soon to be published by the anti-smoking group Ash says ...
Hmm, not a promising start, is it?
Experts said they were concerned many people were unaware of the risks associated with smoking shisha pipes. The BHF survey found that 84% of people thought that using a shisha pipe for an hour was equivalent to inhaling the smoke of 10 cigarettes. In fact, according to the BHF, it is like more than 100.
So, not experts at all. Simply the same old rent-seeking, from the usual suspects, in their favoured lefty organ. And spouting a figure which is pure fantasy.

Except that no-one - not even traditionally state and ban-friendly Guardian readers - is buying it this time, as is plain from the comments.
"Will they ever publish any objective studies to show the contents and effects of shisha smoke? Having seen the actual quantity of tobacco in the flavouring it's hard to see how the damage equates to a hundred cigarettes an hour." 
"Alarmist nonsense." 
"Do BHF even know how shisha is smoked by the casual smokers? [...] If you're going to tell me that an hour of shisha is as harmful as a 100 cigarettes, you're really going to have to give me a link to the study"
They won't be doing that anytime soon. You might read it!
"I don't really think the denizens of Edgware Road's shisha cafes give a XXXX what the BHF says. In fact, I'd take their opiniion on the matter over the self-interested scare-mongering of some tax-exempt charity any day...."
"ASH and the BHF are a bunch of sticky-beaks. what the hell has it got to do with them if some people want to enjoy a pleasant, fun, sociable smoke of a shisha pipe? I get the impression ASH and BHF are just not interested in positives."
Have they ever been?

And I get the impression they're not doing their reputations any good by adhering to a lie that is just too big. It's a classic case of the serial fantasist getting caught out when the Walter Mitty life they are living becomes too far-fetched to believe and doubts are irrevocably sown. 

As such, I do hope they continue with these daft shisha claims, because they lead to comments like this, my personal favourite.
"do ASH and the BHF really care about people's health, or are they simply a bunch of self-righteous puritans looking to guilt trip and scare people."
Well, we know the answer to that question, don't we? But it's great to see those scales falling away from many eyes, nonetheless.


PeterA5145 said...

Ooh, there really is a big dose of entitlement poker here. Now who is that typically smokes shisha?

westcoast2 said...

There was a detailed discussion of this claim at Carl V. Phillips blog (EP-ology) back in March The claim seems to have come from the WHO/EU. We came to the conclusion that the 100 equivalent cigs was based on a calculation error!

Lysistrata Eleftheria said...

I see only too clearly what you did there.
The people nowadays who typically smoke shisha are young modern educated Britons from - if you like this euphemism - all walks of life. Modern shisha bars are quite trendy, and a way of younger people mixing together in a safe environment.
You know, like pubs used to be.
No-one's playing poker here. The tobacco control industry is fanatically obsessed in hunting down the last rebel, and as a pro-choicer I'm totally on the side of shisha users and retailers. So should you be.

Tony said...

ASH get away with releasing vast amounts of bullshit don't they? Are people really that fucking stupid? (Don't worry, it was a rhetorical question.)

JuliaM said...

In attacking a past time enjoyed by a Guardian favoured group, they may just have gone too far...

Michael McFadden said...

Left this over at the article:

Many shisha smokers are people who do NOT generally smoke except on relatively rare occasions when they go to a shisha bar with friends.
ASH and the Heart Foundation claim an hour of shisha smoking is equivalent to smoking 100 cigarettes? I defy them to find people who are generally nonsmokers who could sit down and smoke 100 cigarettes in an hour, (or even TEN hours!) without barfing or worse. Obviously they're lying, and people should realize that while sometimes their lies are obvious, like this one, that they regularly lie about all sorts of things concerning secondhand smoke in order to support their smoking bans. Google "V.Gen5H" and read "The Lies Behind The Smoking Bans" you'll find there at the top. And then get angry about how you've been lied to and the harm it may have done to your lives and relationships in the process.
If you have any specific, substantive criticisms of anything in "The Lies..." please feel free to share them here. I promise I won't mind, and I'll try to stop back to respond.

Furor Teutonicus said...

I thought, and correct me if I am wrong, that Nicotine is water soluble? In that case pass that smoke through water, and....

Na, need I go further?

Jason said...

If smoking bans were the brainchild of leftists serving health fascist special interests from the very beginning, then naturally extreme leftists will be the last among the population to wake up and notice the plague of what they have created. So it's not surprising that Guardian and its readers begin noticing the inequities and hatefulness of the smoking bans last, after everyone else has already woken up to them - since they are the original source of their infliction. It's like the monster they created coming back to bite them on their own backsides, at the end, with only themselves to blame.