Reach for a Camel instead of a sweet

The Nazis were against smoking well before it was cool. Therefore…

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38 Responses to Reach for a Camel instead of a sweet

  1. Staff writer says:

    Seems right to me. 🙂

  2. Anuseed says:

    Smoking has probably killed more people than WW2…

    • The Z Blog says:

      Per capita cigarette consumption is about a quarter of the peak in the late 60’s. Yet, lung cancer rates are about the same. They did decline from the peak in the late 80’s, but given the decline in smoking, one would expect a steeper decline in lung cancer.

      • gcochran9 says:

        Lung cancer death rates – which are unfortunately pretty much the same as incidence rates – peaked in 1991. By 2012 they were down 23% from that peak. Dropping about 3% a year in men, stable in women ( later onset of mass smoking).

        • The Z Blog says:

          That’s pretty much what I said. Smoking rates in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s were pretty consistent. Here we are thirty years past peak smoking and lung cancer rates are where they were in the 70’s. Granted, there was an increase into the later 80’s, and then rates began to fall, but it seems that they should be falling faster and further.

          Maybe I’m barking up the wrong tree, but I would have expected a much steeper decline in cancer rates.

          • Philip Neal says:

            The sensational rise in lung cancer rates to 1970 may have been partly artefactual (X-rays, tuberculosis). May I link to my website on the heretic Philip Burch? Don’t shoot the messenger, it concerns what he said, not what I say.

            • gcochran9 says:

              Since people usually died within six months of diagnosis, how artifactual could it have been?

              • Philip Neal says:

                He had evidence that, historically, diagnosis was hugely inaccurate (The Biology of Cancer p. 327-33).

              • gcochran9 says:

                He was wrong. The relative risk of smoking for various kinds of lung cancer are enormous. “Adenocarcinoma (AdCa) was the most prevalent subtype in never smokers and in women. Squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC) predominated in male smokers. Age‐adjusted odds ratios (ORs) were estimated with logistic regression. ORs were elevated for all metrics of exposure to cigarette smoke and were higher for SqCC and small cell lung cancer (SCLC) than for AdCa. Current male smokers with an average daily dose of >30 cigarettes had ORs of 103.5 (95% confidence interval (CI): 74.8–143.2) for SqCC, 111.3 (95% CI: 69.8–177.5) for SCLC and 21.9 (95% CI: 16.6–29.0) for AdCa. In women, the corresponding ORs were 62.7 (95% CI: 31.5–124.6), 108.6 (95% CI: 50.7–232.8) and 16.8 (95% CI: 9.2–30.6), respectively. Although ORs started to decline soon after quitting, they did not fully return to the baseline risk of never smokers even 35 years after cessation. ”

                I occasionally read in the history of medicine, when I feel strong. Back before cigarettes, a teaching surgeon would call in all the interns to see a case of lung cancer, because they might never see another.

  3. Henry Scrope says:

    “The Nazi War on Cancer”, good book by Proctor, they were also against vivisection. The world isn’t black and white.Also handy if you can’t be bribed or blackmailed.

    • gcochran9 says:

      ” they were also against vivisection” – only of animals.

      • Henry Scrope says:

        After the war started we all behaved badly, even us decent British chaps sadly. Dresden was not the right way to behave.

        • Ilya says:

          Wow. Crocodile tears for Dresden. Rhetoric and thinking like this is why the allahu-akbars etc are tilling the ‘ttocks of Britsmen. Really, three or four more generations of this and it will be just 007 movies and the charming accent left of the poofs. I don’t see any reason why they deserve otherwise.

          • Henry Scrope says:

            I hope we can prove you wrong, though it is looking bad here and any slight and totally legal resistance is met with state force. We are effectively occupied.

          • ghazisiz says:

            Dresden was not a military target. The firebombing was straightforward terrorism of the civilian population. Maybe Russians and Turks still embrace the methods of Timurlane, but Western Europeans would like to feel that they are above that.

            • Ilya says:

              My words stand then.

              “You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop the war, which can only be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride.” General William T. Sherman.

              If it was not below Sherman to burn down Atlanta, it should not have been below an Englishman to burn down Dresden. Germans deserved and needed everything that befell them. Just as the Japanese needed to be rammed and burned by those atom bombs.

            • Ursiform says:

              Dresden was an industrial target. An early example of overselling the value of strategic bombing.

      • marcel proust says:

        What do you mean, that they were willing to allow the vivisection of plants? Prokaryotes?
        Protists? Fungi? None of that distinguishes them from other anti-vivisectionists (well, except for the Arrogant Worms).

    • Philip Neal says:

      Proctor is an interesting author but occasionally sloppy and inaccurate. E.g.

      He claims that the German geneticist Fritz Lenz held that Einstein and Spinoza were not really Jewish but “Oriental” (Racial Hygiene, p. 54). In fact, Lenz meant that Ashkenazis and Sephardis are genetically distinct and that genuine geniuses such as Spinoza (and, he speculated, Einstein) were generally of Sephardi ancestry. Lenz later became a Nazi, but I believe that he was not one when he wrote that.
      Arguing, no doubt rightly, (Cancer Wars, p. 259) that a disaster like the Irish famine had wider causes than simply the potato blight, he names the thinking of Thomas Huxley and Herbert Spencer. They were 20 and 25 in 1845. He also blames “the election of the Tory government in 1846”. If you don’t know that a Liberal government replaced a Tory one, you don’t know the first thing about the political context of the famine.
      He claims (Golden Holocaust, p. 436) that R.A. Fisher reversed his views on smoking and cancer on his deathbed and confessed that his defence of tobacco was motivated by money. He cites a personal communication from the son of an acquaintance of Fisher. In the light of Fisher’s correspondence on the subject with Bradford Hill and others this is most implausible: Fisher felt strongly about the matter.

      Cancer Wars is, incidentally, a very lucid statement of views similar to those of Eric Turkheimer and Philip Kitcher about the relationship of “ethical principles” to knowledge. He approvingly quotes Richard Lewontin: “Asbestos and cotton lint fibres are not the causes of cancer. They are the agents of social causes… and in the end it is only through changes in those social forces that we can get to the root of problems of health.” Proctor believes, not in the social construction of reality but the social construction of ignorance, of doubt. In Golden Holocaust he is outraged that statisticians (he names 29) should testify on behalf of the tobacco industry, because they help to manufacture doubt, and doubt is one of the social causes of cancer.

  4. JRM says:

    Germans are the original health nuts. My great grandmother did stool inspection.

  5. Frau Katze says:

    And didn’t the cigarette companies use the “this research was done by Nazis!” line to stave off the inevitable for a few more years?

    I read that in a really long and exhaustive book on the history of the fight against tobacco. Even Nazis were right sometimes it seems (although the start of the research predated the Nazis). The party never banned it, as it seems they themselves were making money on it. Not the whole party, but some subgroups.

  6. MawBTS says:

    Check out Hitler’s drug stack.

    Substances administered to Hitler

    Methamphetamine, cocaine, adrenaline, testosterone, strychnine, heroin, oxycodone, morphine, barbituates, human fecal bacteria…

  7. magusjanus says:

    How many people died in Europe post WW2 from smoking related causes. Is it enough to say “if the Nazis had won AND banned smoking they’d have net saved lives?”

    Literally the first google result I get says: 700k/year, which seems way too high to me. But if that’s true, well then time travelers stop trying to kill Hitler as a child and instead work on securing Enigma via proper training of operators, telling them to go for Moscow, warning of the Tularemia threat at Stalingrad, telling them bout Dday spot and time, and pushing earlier development of Type XXI subs, StG44, Me262 and most importantly sneaking Heisenberg a copy of The Berlin Project.

    (for the purposes of this exercise, let’s ignore Generplan Ost ‘zomg theyre gonna kill all the slavs 100mio mass genocide’ histrionics)

    • Garr says:

      Count years of life lost due to dying earlier than average from cigarettes vs. combat and massacre, though. It’s not as sad if a 65 yr old dies than if a 25 yr old dies.

      And the death of the 25 yr old is sadder not just because the 25 yr old loses so many more years but also because the 65 yr old is very likely already a grandparent, while the 25 yr old may not even be a parent yet.

      • Bill_R says:

        Well that depends on which 65 year, speaking as a 69 year old.

      • Jim says:

        People dying of tobacco related diseases in their fifties and sixties reduce pension costs and health costs for the elderly. There has been some discussion among actuaries about the possibility that tobacco deaths in aggregate may be a net economic benefit.

        • Ilya says:

          I’ve heard this argument and accept it as legit. Especially, taking into account the generally bad level of elderly care in the past vs modern expensive amenities and services covered by insurance.

          There are obviously exceptions of people being productive even into their 80’s, if not more. My own grandmother stopped working at 89 y.o., and only then because of poor vision for writing, otherwise she’d continue to this day.

          Most people can be — even if partially — productive into their early 70s. Then, purely from standpoint of economics, they become a net burden. So, cigarettes might have been useful in getting rid of people before various other conditions, especially mentally debilitating ones like strokes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia, affect them.

          That said, there is more to humanity than utilitarian concerns.

    • iffen says:

      “if the Nazis had won AND banned smoking they’d have net saved lives?”
      It’s not about net lives; it’s about which lives.

  8. Rainforest Giant says:

    I’m having a hard time linking this to the Guelphs and Ghibellines. While I’m against smoking this is beyond my G&G skills.

  9. spottedtoad says:

    Eh, more under 65 year olds die of drug overdoses than lung cancer now ( ); depending on how much you think no longer smoking drove increases in obesity, chronic pain, opiate and antidepressant usage, and alcohol-related deaths, I think we can be safely anti-Nazi here.

  10. Smithie says:

    If Uncle Joe, Mao, and Castro all smoked, and Hitler didn’t, then smoking can’t really be that bad, can it?

  11. mapman says:

    Hitler was vegetarian. Therefore vegans are worse than Nazis.
    Leftists use this logic all the time. It’s practically a norm today.

  12. Mattias Dahlstrom says:

    Not reaching for sweets, eh? The thing with Camel is that it was the first cigarette whos tobacco was soaked in sugar brine, giving a sweetness to the smoke. So you did in fact reach for a sweet!

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