Saturday, 28 March 2015

Perennial anti-smoker emotional blackmail

Callous exploitation of the Child, the Baby, the Foetus
and the objective Scientific method


Recently, the media has been swamped with stories about a 'study' that utilised 4d ultrasound pictures of babies in the womb (eg. here and here) and how certain fetal movements were claimed as proof of smoking harm. It doesn't take much to realise that this is speculative rubbish, on a par with 'I can tell when anti-smokers tell lies - their lips move', (Hold on; maybe that's not such a good analogy), yet still it made national news!

I commented on both of these articles but, as is increasing the case, one failed to appear and the other was hidden away in the middle of a long list of existing comments, a tactic that ensures very few get to read it. Clearly my comments do not accord with the anti-smoker 'message' and, god forbid that an uncommitted reader might happen to see something other than anti-smoker propaganda that may cause them to think! Here is that comment;


So, foetuses whose mothers smoke are more active in the womb, and this is supposed to be evidence of the negative effects of smoking in pregnancy?

'News' by press release is one of the most effective methods of propaganda dissemination; call it 'science',  use babies or children, add a few astro-turfers / sock-puppets to reinforce the 'message' and Big anti-smoker industry has a very effective recipe that has been used for years. However, anti-smoker propaganda is now having to run at manic levels that strongly suggests it isn't working anymore and people are waking up to their tactics. This 'news story' looks like a good example, reported in several web newspaper sites, with plenty of anti-smoker astro-turfer hate comments.

In actual fact, there is some good scientific evidence that smoking is highly beneficial to cognitive functioning in adults. Smoking/nicotine improves brain function in several areas of memory, speed, duration etc. typically by between 10% and 30%; (Yes, it can tune up the adult brain and improve it by nearly a third more; 'Science is conclusive: Tobacco increases work capacity'. )

Logically, the foetus could well benefit from this too via the mother's smoking - it may actually be advancing/improving brain function development - hence more foetal brain activity? We already know that smoking does have several general benefits as well as those relating to pregnant women and children, but exploitation of the natural parent/child protective instinct is one of the most successful anti-smoker propaganda techniques ever, so these benefits are routinely ignored/suppressed (if you don't know of any - consider the difference between education and indoctrination). Making any wild assumptions either way, based on such tenuous evidence, as in this article, is merely evidence of pre-conceived bias (forgive the pun).

Here is a realistic view of smoking while pregnant; 'The myth of smoking during pregnancy being harmful'
"Smoking women tend to light up when under stress. This is less harmful to the baby than over-eating. For this reason smoking mothers tended to have better outcomes for baby and mother."
The anti-smoker demonising agenda, intended to create irrational fear in pregnant smokers themselves and even more irrational hatred from those anti and non smokers too stupid to realise they are being manipulated by vested interests, must stop before it incites even more really serious adverse consequences.


I could have included other information, such as on the NHS choices website. Covering this story, it begins with a more realistic view of this 'study' before defaulting to anti smoker diatribe and fallacious propaganda slogans;

"Unborn baby shown grimacing in womb as mother smokes," is the somewhat misleading headline in The Daily Telegraph."
"The implication is that this is a sign of slower development as a direct result of maternal smoking. But this has not been proven."
"This study had a very small sample size, including just 4 smokers [and 16 non smokers]. And we don't know whether these observed differences in movement actually have any meaning in terms of the ongoing development of the unborn baby, or during infancy or childhood."

Then the rot sets in;

"Still, we don't need any new research to tell us that smoking in pregnancy is harmful." 

i.e. the Royal 'us - everyone knows' meme and fallacy, with the inferred - 'and anyone else is stupid'. (followed by the usual anti smoker propaganda slogans - almost all of which have been exposed as purely biased speculation based on the dearth of real knowledge/evidence and is dependent upon ignorance)

"A case could be made that using the images to frighten mothers into quitting would be justifiable for the greater good, but it also wouldn't be entirely truthful or transparent. "

Of course this is the ultimate purpose of this poor quality 'study'; It has nothing to do with the health of children, babies or foetuses, it is about (innocently or intended) reinforcing old anti-smoker propaganda, promoting social engineering and frightening the unsuspecting into compliance. It is the politically motivated 'greater good' as defined by anti-smoker/healthist nutters. Their ultimate goal is prohibition of tobacco / criminalisation of smokers. (and increasingly any other substance or behaviour proscribed by those few fanatics, with a newly exhumed medieval puritan mind-set, who have managed somehow to gain the power and wealth to impose their flawed values on others). Propaganda by news release is, we know, still very effective even when inaccurate. That propaganda is internalised by the target victims, reinforced and given respectability by previously learned propaganda, and they fail to notice the fact that it is utter rubbish even when/if it is later exposed as disingenuous.

Much of the anti-smoker campaign copies the principles, methods, psychological manipulation and emotional blackmail utilised by Hitler in his campaign to 'rule the world'. His perverted views, though not necessarily incorrect ones, outlined in his book 'Mein Kampf' may explain to a certain extent the underlying motivations and techniques employed by the anti-smoker industry today.

"It is always more difficult to fight against faith than against knowledge."
“As long as the government is PERCEIVED as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”

Hitler also pointed out a little know truism that if you are going to lie - lie BIG, and keep on repeating the lie - eventually it will be believed. He explains;

"In the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation."

Hitler was actually referring to the Jewish race in this quote, but he went on to infamously exploit this flaw in the human psyche himself. Yet he surely must have known that ultimately 'the big lie' would inevitably fail, just as the insincere anti-smoker agenda must fail - the only question is how much damage these nutters are allowed to cause in the mean time. He continues;

"The grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying." (Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. I, ch. X)


  1. The “study” in question demonstrates only how nothing is manufactured into catastrophe by antismoking zealots, i.e., agenda-driven trash.

    The entire sample size was 20 with only 4 smokers. There’s not much that can be made with these small numbers. Yet beyond the small sample size, there are serious methodological issues. For example, “The pilot study of 20 pregnant mothers, conducted at Durham and Lancaster universities in England, was designed to find out how
    fetuses react to smoking.” The researchers were convinced, a priori, that the research design measured only the effects of smoking. Firstly, for the smokers group, ultrasounds were NOT taken while the woman was smoking. Were there differences in time of day and pre-post meals that the ultrasounds were undertaken? Were some women on medication? Did some women have a history of stress? Were there fetus-gender differences? Were the ultra-sounds administered by the same/different operators? Are there ultra-sound techniques that can elicit fetal movements?

    The study doesn’t account for potential confounders. Further, there’s no particular reason why hand movements around the mouth would be considered a “distressed” activity. Fetal movements would be considered a “positive” in ultrasounds. Most importantly, “All fetuses were born with no obvious health issues.”

    Yet, this flimsy “study” has only provided opportunity for the researchers to engage in antismoking hysteria, which appears to be the [antismoking] intent from the outset. The researchers conclude, without basis, that fetal movements, especially in pregnant smokers, are “negative”, signs of distress. They conclude, without basis, that these fetal movements in pregnant smokers are solely caused by smoking. They go even further, without basis, claiming that the fetal movements were caused specifically by nicotine. These conclusions are inflammatory nonsense that go far, far beyond the scope of the study in question that further promote the antismoking agenda.

  2. Antismokers making hysterical claims about smoking in pregnancy has a long history.

    Early in the 1900’s it was some church groups (e.g., Methodist Episcopal Church’s Board of Temperance, Prohibition, and Public Morals) that considered nicotine as a “killer of babies.” The “controversy” was picked up by the New York Times in two stories. In one story it was claimed that 40 babies from a New York maternity hospital “suffered from tobacco heart caused by the cigaret smoking of their mothers.” In the other it was claimed that “sixty percent of all babies born of cigaret-smoking mothers die before they reach the age of two, due primarily to nicotine poisoning.” (quoted in Oaks, 2001, p.53; Journal of the American Medical Association, 1929, p.123) The American Tobacco Trust was viewed by the church board as “conscienceless baby-killers” that by promoting cigarettes to women were directing a “lying murderous campaign.”

    Consider the current antismoking crusade and the warning label “Smoking Harms Unborn Babies” (appears on Australian cigarette packs):

    The statistical associations between smoking women and particular problems in newborns is confined to a few percent of deliveries to smoking women. Further, the role
    of smoking in these problems is highly dubious in that it is such a poor
    predictor for these problems. The vast majority of deliveries to pregnant
    smokers are comparable to pregnant nonsmokers. But you would never guess this
    from the label above which implies that smoking harms all babies.

    This inflammatory nonsense comes from the late-1970s. Look at the Godber
    Blueprint, the framework for the current crusade. Here’s an insight into how
    antismoking fanatics/zealots/extremists “reason”:
    “Donovan’s most interesting remarks related to smoking and pregnancy. He
    admitted that he couldn’t explain how or why smoking harmed the fetus but
    suggested that, instead of worrying about such fine points, women be told that
    all unborn children of smoking women will be hurt. Donovan urged every
    participant to go back to their countries and publish estimates of the
    lethality of smoking and pregnancy based on the number of pregnant smokers. He
    urged this as an effective method to get women to stop smoking.”

    This is the sort of inflammatory trash that has been fed to
    the public for the last 30 years. Facts don’t matter. All that matters to
    antismoking fanatics/zealots/extremists is what needs to be said repeatedly to
    terrorize women into antismoking conformity.

    Take a look at this utter nonsense:

  3. There should be investigations – none to date - into whether the antismoking hysteria adopted by Public Health produces needless stress/further stress in pregnant smokers.

    1. One thing that occurs to me is that in terms of the subjects of this research we have two very different sets of people.

      On the one hand, we have the non-smoking mothers. For them, going to hospital for several hours to do the tests, with all the waiting around which is inevitably involved is doubtless a bit of a pain, but they are in a comfortable environment where they can do, within the limits of the hospital, what they wish.

      On the other hand, we have the smoking mothers. Unlike the non-smokers, they cannot do as they wish. Their normal means of stress relief is forbidden to them. They are told they must leave the premises to be treated like pariahs out on the street if they wish to have a cigarette while they continue with their tests. And doubtless they are also being fed stress-inducing lies about the 'damage they are doing to their unborn'.

      So, dismissing the smoking / foetus aspect of the tests, do we have two equal groups here? Would we expect the same outcome from both groups? Whatever the tests?