Playing the game.

A long time ago, I tried to keep tropical fish. It was a disaster. All I ended up with was a tank full of guppies. The local water is so dreadful that everyone has a water filter fitted just to make their tea drinkable. Even the chlorine-removal chemicals couldn’t make this stuff fit for fish to live in. Except guppies, the indestructible little sods. All they do is swim and shag and they are experts at both. You could put them in sulphuric acid and they’d still multiply.

None of these fish died of second hand smoke. They died of crappy water.

So I put a pond in the garden instead and for many years, a variety of coldwater species thrived in it because it was filled mostly with rainwater. I even had little baby fish appearing, and pondskaters, and one year there was a dragonfly. The winter before last killed everything so I gave up and filled it in. I have no pets now, but in the past I’ve kept budgies, hamsters, and a whole host of little creatures who all lived long and healthy lives. None of them ever even coughed. Not once.

This is odd because as a smoker, pets should be dropping dead as soon as they enter my home. Even the fish in the pond because I drop the entirely biodegradable cigarette ends all over the garden and some definitely ended up in the pond.

Yet, according to what is laughingly called ‘science’, one cigarette end should have killed all those fish. What am I doing wrong here?

Ah, I have it. I’m forgetting to fake the science. That’s what I’m doing wrong.

Look at this statement:

A single butt with just a tiny amount of tobacco left in it was enough to turn one litre of water toxic and kill 50 per cent of species swimming in it, it was claimed.

One litre. Now, that would not be enough water to let one of those pond fish turn around. There were a lot of litres in that pond. There are a tremendous number of litres in the sea. So how many fish did these ‘scientists’ have in their one litre of water? Look again:

…kill 50 per cent of species swimming in it…

They don’t mention fish at all. The term ‘species’ could be anything. Plankton. Algae. Bacteria. Sea monkeys. Very tiny mermaids or really, really little Krakens (well, we’re in fairyland science anyway). Tobacco is already known to have antibacterial and insecticidal properties and with just one litre to play with, you have to be working with something very small to have enough species in there to spot a difference. Perhaps half the species weren’t marine at all and therefore died by drowning? Would I put such chicanery past the antismokers? No.

What we are dealing with here is not science. It’s well-paid propaganda designed to make smokers look evil and to make science look as if it is populated entirely by dolts. It’s working well on both counts so far. So let’s turn the clock back to a day when science actually meant something and apply a thing we used to call ‘common sense’.

Smoking used to be something done by 80% or more of the population. Now it’s down to just over 20%. Smoking didn’t used to kill anything. Now it is responsible for wiping out fish stocks and killing pets, as well as the Korean war, syphilis and the demise of the dinosaurs. You would think, wouldn’t you, that when almost everyone at the beach was tossing aside cigarette butts willy-nilly, some marine biologist somewhere would have noticed something? Perhaps they were busy watching the sea cucumbers and wondering why they didn’t taste at all salady?

Nowadays, scientists only notice what they are paid to notice. Whether it’s true or not is no longer the concern of science. All that matters is the money. So now that smoking prevalence has dropped to a quarter of what it was, cigarettes have acquired some magical homeopathic qualities whereby the fewer there are, the more potent the effect. Third and even fourth hand smoke even gives homeopathy a bad name. Twenty cigarettes a day and the smoker lives, but pick up one molecule from his clothing and you die tomorrow. Then there is the amazing paranormal second-hand smoke that can pass through walls. Come on. How can anyone not play with that? It’s a gift for any prankster. It makes science look like total woo-woo, but I haven’t seen a single scientific organisation complain. New Scientist laps it all up like a cat faced with a cream spillage.

This is what modern science looks like. Good, isn’t it? I think I’ll take up alchemy because it looks far more credible than the well-paid nonsense that passes for modern research. I’ll look for the Philosopher’s Stone and use it to transmute cabbage into tobacco. Hell, most of the cretins out there will believe I can do it. They believe anything they’re told as long as it sounds like a smoker is doing something evil.

What to do about it? Well, there is no point fighting it. The propaganda has long entered the realms of the derisory and still the dopes in the general population lap up every word as if it actually made sense. I have stopped fighting it. Now I ride along with it and see how far into the realms of fantasy I can take it.

So I tell people to beware of unpackaged food in case a smoker might have breathed on it. I tell them to take care when hiring DVDs or taking books from the library because a smoker might have hired it before them. I tell them to wear gloves when shopping in case a smoker handled the goods before they arrived. And they believe it! All of it. There is not a single thought in these people’s heads. Soon I will achieve the first housebound antismoker who won’t even open their mail in case a smoker delivered it. They will eat nothing and drink nothing. They will die that horrible, slow death they all wish on me.

Will I feel guilt? Not. One. Bit.

When I tell them that tobacco is in fact made of dried lettuce and they’ve been eating it for years, I will feel no guilt. When I tell them that Parma ham, smoked salmon and kippers are flavoured with the smoke from burning tobacco, my conscience won’t even flicker. When I tell them that tobacco waste all goes into animal feed and even pet food, Jiminy Cricket will fall off my shoulder laughing.

They’ll believe it. I don’t think there is any smoker-demonisation lie they will not believe. ASH wanted me demonised. Consider me demonised. Hey, I’m just playing along with their game.

Will they believe that those flames on their gas cooker are provided by the fermentation of tobacco? That those gasometers are where tobacco gas is produced? That the huge cylinders first go down to compress the tobacco then rise as they fill with tobacco gas? It’ll be a tough one but I bet I can do it. We’re not fighting the hottest coals on the fire here.

If you can’t beat them, torment them. Go on, you know it’ll brighten your day.

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14 comments for “Playing the game.

  1. April 30, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    “One litre. Now, that would not be enough water to let one of those pond fish turn around.”

    Without filtration, it’s own waste would kill even a tiny fish long before the tobacco made it turn up it’s fins. Unlike state scientists, fish haven’t adapted to living on their own filth yet…

    • May 2, 2011 at 3:24 am

      That even applies to bacteria. Now that you mention it, I don’t recall them mentioning a timescale…

  2. William
    April 30, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    One cigarette end steeped in water will not provide enough nicotine to knock off an aphid. How’s that for a practical application of pseudo science?

    A bottle full of ends plus water and left overnight to stew on the other hand knocks the little blighters down almost instantly and it’s illegal. A win win then. :mrgreen:

    • May 1, 2011 at 5:27 am

      It’s illegal? Really? 😯

      • William
        May 1, 2011 at 8:00 am

        Not categorical BUT reeks of the herbal remedy legislation don’t ya think?

        “I think that Nicotine based pesticides (along with virtually all other pesticides) were taken off the market for domestic use some while back since manufacturers were unwilling to submit them to the very expensive safety tests that became a legal requirement.”
        http://www.growsonyou.com/question/show/27005

      • Thornavis.
        May 1, 2011 at 5:08 pm

        There’s some list or other at Brussels Central which shows all the pesticides you are allowed to use, if a thing’s not on that list it’s illegal. This leads to the amusing situation whereby milk, which some believe may have mild anti-fungal properties would be a banned substance in your greenhouse !
        Nicotine used to be sold in small bottles and heavily diluted was very effective against all sorts of pests especially aphids.

        • Thornavis.
          May 1, 2011 at 5:10 pm

          I forgot to add that, again most amusingly, nicotine used to be championed as an organic pesticide !

        • May 2, 2011 at 3:26 am

          Bottle of milk going in the greenhouse, right now.

          And if I can make my own pesticide out of dog-ends for free, I’ll be doing that too.

          Oddly enough, I’d put a large spare pot full of plants outside the lab last year. Everyone dropped butts into it, including me. No sign of insect damage at all.

          • Karen
            May 2, 2011 at 10:37 am

            If you’re growing your own baccy this year, that’s an excellent use for the stems and stalks that are otherwise only fit for the compost heap. (Well, for most people. You’ll probably be able to think up umpteen uses for them.)

            Steep them over autumn in a big bucket of water, strain, bottle and use to spray.

            I don’t actually think it’s that good as an insecticide (or at least my version wasn’t), which was a surprise. I was hoping for no safe level.

            http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2011/04/27/a-new-victim-of-second-hand-smoking-fish/

  3. Geo
    April 30, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Ah, The Philosopher’s Stone, a cracking song by Van Morrison.

  4. April 30, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    So… guppies are like the spider plants of the fish world?

    • May 2, 2011 at 3:27 am

      Guppies are indestructible. Leave the tank uncleaned, let the water go so green it’s opaque, and throw some food in. All you’ll see will be hundreds of litle guppy mouths.

  5. April 30, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Has anyone actually put it to the test? Anyone proper, I mean.

  6. May 2, 2011 at 3:28 am

    Not yet. I have long planned to test nicotine against a few species. It’s time I got around to it.

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