Carm and I are both big Joe Jackson fans. Next time he’s in Toronto (or maybe New York) we’ll try to catch him. He’s now just ending his latest tour â€” and he’s in Europe â€” so I imagine it will be a few years before he comes back to North America.
I was just on his site looking over the tour dates and I noticed he has some interesting articles and links about smoking on his site. I heard that he did make some comments about smoking in the media a while ago but I didn’t read any of the articles.
He also wrote a e-booklet â€” I work in PR and I’m not naive about what celebrities write themselves but I think he did actually write this.
This part struck me as interesting:
In fact there is a great deal of evidence that moderate smoking – up to about ten a day – is not harmful, and indeed has clear benefits. Apart from pleasure (which current medical thinking deems irrelevant) it relieves stress, helps with weight control, and protects against or relieves the symptoms of quite a few diseases, including Alzheimerâ€™s, Parkinsonâ€™s, ulcerative colitis, and cancers of the intestines and womb. Several doctors have admitted this to me in private, but you wonâ€™t hear it from the medical institutions and lobby groups who have worked so hard to build smoking into Public Health Enemy No 1.
A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of meeting with the late Dr Ken Denson, head of the Thame Thrombosis and Haemostasis Research Centre in Oxfordshire, who was a rare and inspiring objector to what he called the antismoking â€˜witch huntâ€™. Dr Denson had devoted ten years to researching smoking, and published several medical journal articles eloquently arguing that the evidence, if looked at impartially and in total, was equivocal. He had unearthed countless studies showing that changes in diet could offset any risks, that moderate smokers who exercised had less disease than nonsmokers, and so on, and simply wanted to know why such studies were ignored while anything appearing to show the slightest risk was trumpeted from the rooftops. In Dr Densonâ€™s view, doctors were failing smokers by preaching zero-tolerance instead of balance and moderation. He also suggested that we talk about â€˜smokers-related,â€™ rather than â€˜smokingrelatedâ€™ diseases, since a majority of smokers have tended to have overall unhealthy lifestyles.
This bit is interesting as well…
I think there are two different approaches to living a healthy life. One is to try very hard to avoid everything which current opinion holds to be bad for you, be guided by â€˜expertsâ€™ and statistics, feel very guilty about any human imperfection, and generally believe that if you work hard enough, you can achieve invulnerability. This is very American. The other is to enjoy yourself, be reasonably moderate, be sceptical of the â€˜experts,â€™ and let the chips fall where they may. This approach is more European â€” or used to be. These are broad stereotypes, but theyâ€™re both reasonable and most people are drawn more to one than the other. The problem comes when the first group starts to dictate to the second. Especially when thereâ€™s no real proof, that either approach works best.
He’s pretty brave to be expressing such an unpopular viewpoint on his website â€” PR Christine perhaps would’ve advised against posting this section on his site (not that I even do exciting entertainment PR) â€” but real-person Christine is thinks he’s a pretty cool iconoclast.