Smoking’s harm not proven, says Conservative councillor

In November 2004 I posted a rebuttal of what I considered to be a completely moronic letter to the local newspaper. John Bramham, the Conservative councillor for Elmdon, wrote:

If smoking has been proven to be the primary cause of most cancers, then why is the world still pouring vast sums of cash into cancer research? To reiterate the question from my first letter (as yet unanswered) why are cancer and other respiratory diseases now labelled as ’smoking-related’ when they were well-documented in Egyptian times, before tobacco was discovered? The logic is flawed, the arguments weak and the case unproven; we therefore do not need legislation to enforce what is already a successful voluntary policy of smoking restrictions within Solihull.

19 months later, and the newly-blogging councillor himself has responded. My post was, it appears, ‘deeply patronising’. He has some fun with statistics, accuses the American Cancer Society of making things up, and says this:

there is still not one ounce of proof that the use of tobacco is the sole cause of any of the so-called smoking related diseases, nor has it been shown even partly to be the cause of lung cancer.

and this:

I would therefore suggest that although smoking may well be a contributory factor in some pulmonary diseases, the suggestion that it is either instrumental or even contributory in other forms of malaise or major disease is highly questionable.

I fully intend to eviscerate said comment in due course. It’s hard to believe that there are still people who think smoking isn’t that bad for you, but it’s worrying that people elect them.