OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Sock-Puppeting Big Tobacco to Chew on ACT

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  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    The existence of individuals that are able to give up tobacco with ease doesn't really fit with the story of people suffering from a disease of the body and mind.

    Logic like that is not helping your case.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16478 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    he'd have to pay for the extra years of super that his non-smoking is going to cost us

    Why do people assume that we all stop contributing at age 65, or that you can even quantify the economics without some effort - and expertise? Though don't get me started on the crap assumptions in DALYs as a concept.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16478 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    Logic like that is not helping your case.

    Why not?

    Sacha, you haven't produced any evidence either, nor has George. He just linked to the WHO website, which on the dangers of second hand smoke defines that as something that happens indoors. You've only asserted that there is a "prevailing consensus of evidence" about this scientific theory. You asked me repeatedly for my opinion, which I've now given. Now you are asking me for extensive research? I knew that was going to be your follow up, and resisted giving the opinion for that reason, because this whole approach is a red herring, designed to stop me talking. EVEN IF the disease model is correct, that still does not give anyone the right to punish people for their disease. In fact, an honestly applied disease model would actually abhor the idea. That is why I repeatedly said it was irrelevant to the purposes under discussion.

    I'm sorry if this point is subtle. I figured an intelligent crowd like PAS denizens would probably get it, and some clearly did. I didn't really want to waste so much time on it.

    If we can possibly separate the points under discussion, I'm quite happy to share what research I have done in the past couple of days on the subject of addiction. It is, after all, quite interesting. The main difficultly with it, as a scientific study, is that it's tied in so tightly with public policy, that it becomes difficult to separate the science from the politics. It is indeed quite tightly paralleled by climate change debate, except that it seems to be more controversial amongst experts than that one, coming down for the disease model.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8314 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I'll let people draw their own conclusions, but I'm not going to waste another moment arguing about this. Or about climate change. Or scientology for that matter.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16478 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    I'm quite interesting in any links you do have to the actual economic effects of smoking, Sacha. It is a complicated equation, and from discussions I've had with your about your work, I can see why you feel that getting the economic arguments on your side would be helpful, since there are neoliberals and other money-heads around who might find that much more convincing than any arguments from compassion or the importance of controlling corporatized outputs that generate social harms. It's a sad fact of the political world you move in. But it doesn't have to be a sad fact about this forum - I don't find the economic arguments around smoking compelling much. People who get sick need treatment. Most people get sick one day, and everybody dies. Compassionate moral society treats those people, whether it costs or not. But I am interested in whether it does actually cost more for smokers or not, it could be grist for my generalized dislike of the capitalist machine, that treats humans as machines that it discards when finished with them, to find that things like smoking and obesity actually make it stronger.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8314 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to BenWilson,

    Judge Dried...

    ...a red herring

    red herrings become that colour after smoking,
    a classic case of a cloud removing a silver lining!
    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4668 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to BenWilson,

    which would most likely be opting for therapy, or going cold turkey and sucking on it

    Or, y'know, not sucking on it, surely?

    Just trying to lighten the mood. Coat, getting, gone.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2354 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    Cigarettes do the smoking.....us smokers just suck :)

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 315 posts Report Reply

  • John Armstrong,

    I guess we can put this one down to good old intractable differences of opinion. But my final comment would be that most of the disagreement seems to arise from beliefs about whether restrictive anti-smoking measures should be viewed as punitive. I don't think anyone here has demonised smokers as people, and those of us who support such measures probably don't see them as punishments at all, but as ways of creating conditions that make quitting a more attractive option. I guess you could argue that smokers feel coerced or punished by those measures, but given the addictive nature of the product, you could also see it as assistance.

    I'm sorry if this point is subtle. I figured an intelligent crowd like PAS denizens would probably get it, and some clearly did.

    Ben, nothing kills goodwill in a conversation faster than painting people who disagree with you as stupid or drunk.

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2007 • 126 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to John Armstrong,

    I guess you could argue that smokers feel coerced or punished by those measures, but given the addictive nature of the product, you could also see it as assistance.

    Measures taken, that are likely to create a scenario of physical discomfort and emotional distress, like being unable to find anywhere to smoke for many hours certainly does cause for nearly everyone who fits the addict tag, are punitive. Punitive measures like that are attempts at coercion. I find the use of punitive coercion on adult people to save them from harming only themselves, objectionable. This is quite possibly an intractable difference of opinion, yes.

    > I'm sorry if this point is subtle. I figured an intelligent crowd like PAS denizens would probably get it, and some clearly did.

    Ben, nothing kills goodwill in a conversation faster than painting people who disagree with you as stupid or drunk.

    If you read what I'm saying in your quote, it is an apology for making too subtle a point. It stood out to me, but I can see in hindsight, that that is because I already understood what I was trying to say. So again, I'm sorry that I made you think I was calling you stupid. Genuinely sorry, and also to anyone else so offended. It seemed obvious to me why I had been calling the point irrelevant, but sometimes these things aren't obvious.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8314 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    bloody Sir Walter Raleigh….ah
    the indigenous only smoked it on special occasions…and with great ceremony.
    I believe......or perhaps Im just a romantic

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1173 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    PS: Cigarettes are an anti-depressant (depression rises in nations as smoking falls), an appetite suppressant (obesity rises in nations as smoking falls), an anti-anxiety (more OCD type disorders as smoking falls), and a stimulant (much less dangerous than many other ones so powerful, but most folk use coffee instead) all rolled into one, with the individual effect controlled via rate of blood level changes depending on draw technique.

    So it's not so much that cigarettes have a health cost, it's that no one bothers measuring the upside. People don't just take pleasure in smoking, they gain a real pharmacological benefit. Rather like alcohol use, which can act to dull doctrinal repression of character and enable the initialisation of good (and bad) relationships, or you can just drink it until you choke on your vomit and die.

    Self-medication being a bit of an art, and prone to abuse in particular people. Ideally we wouldn't be depressed, or eat too much, or get anxious, or need a bit of pep, or to just chill and talk, even without cigarettes and booze, but we ain't ideal.

    ...

    I smoked a cigarette once, it was awesome. I climbed a mountain once, even more awesome. Got drunk once, not so good. John Denver was right.

    Since Nov 2006 • 361 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard, in reply to tussock,

    Any references for any of that tussock? ‘Cos otherwise…

    depression rises in nations as smoking falls

    Despite having very good access to every possible respectable medical journal, I can't find a single reference supporting this statement. Not even ones planted by tobacco companies.

    There is evidence that being depressed can contribute to people taking up smoking. There are a whole bunch of other ways of dealing with depression that don't involve becoming addicted to something that will severely shorten your lifespan. I don’t see an upside in depressed people being more susceptible to tobacco marketing and peer pressure.

    obesity rises as smoking falls

    Not it doesn't

    [smoking is] anti-anxiety

    no it isn't

    is a stimulant

    True, but so what? There are plenty of other pleasurable things that won't kill you or other people.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 323 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Further...

    Noone bothers measuring the upside

    Upside? Seriously? But anyway, yes, they do. See page 14.

    People don't just take pleasure in smoking, they gain a real pharmacological benefit

    No, they don't. A pharmacological benefit is one where the risks of the treatment are less than the benefits. So with chemotherapy, even though it makes you feel very ill, it is the treatment most likely to allow you to live longer, therefore it's a benefit. HRT is now seldom prescribed because even though it has a temporary benefit in relieving the side-effects of menopause, research found it seriously increased the risk of heart attack. Ergo, not a pharmacological benefit. No ethical psychiatrist would prescribe a medication for anxiety and/or depression that had the side effects of tobacco.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 323 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    100% of people who are born, die.

    There are plenty of other pleasurable things that won’t kill you or other people.

    You want to tell us how to have fun now? And stop raising the spectre of death, unless you want to venture into deep philosophical arguments about the meaning of life, what purpose a single life has, in its 7 billion odd manifestations, and what rights a person has, that are above dispute. Or is nothing above being demonised.
    Or maybe think about making some of those other "pleasurable things " you dangle in front of us legal. Or are you so straight any fun has to be sanctioned by legal decree.Ever considered pleasure might be an individual thing, that cant be prescribed for.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1173 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to andin,

    7 billion odd manifestations

    or as the Land Lords of the Earth probably think of it
    a man-infestation of 7 billion
    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4668 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    to save them from harming only themselves, objectionable. This is quite possibly an intractable difference of opinion

    or an intractable difference of fact. But go right ahead. Carrick is having a good laugh.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16478 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    If it hasn’t been mentioned already, the Granny (by way of the UK Indy) has some insight on Big Tobacco’s turd-polishing machines.

    And can the PM guarantee what’s happening in Aussie can’t happen to us?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4154 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Having read through this thread, I think it's really lost the original point of Keith's post - what the hell are these tobacco companies trying to do?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    I'd have to disagree. The thread is a perfect example of what they're trying to do; we've just helped out for free.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16478 posts Report Reply

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