Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Archie McPherson wants smokers to be terrorised

He says so here: [you can only watch this until 6pm BST today, 9 October]. We are told that sports broadcaster Archie McPherson tells us why he believes that passive smoking is to blame for his kidney cancer. This reason amounts simply to the fact that he is not a smoker himself. He tells the interviewer that he feels a 'venomous hatred of the smoker' (extended to one that he encounters smoking in her night-gown attached to a drip outside a hospital). His memories of smoky environments apparently entitles him to 'decide' that his tumour was caused by passive smoking. The smoking ban is the 'greatest piece of legislation that has been passed anywhere in the world'; and 'we must find some other way, even in this era of human rights legislation and whatever, of terrorising smokers'.

I can't help Mr McPherson much. My favourite source of anti-smoking propaganda, Cancer Research UK, gives the following information: Figure 2.2 shows that mortality from cancer of the kidney has been rising steadily since the 1970s (although the graph goes up only to 2008) (the smoking rate does not appear on this graph but it is commonly agreed to have been falling rapidly in the 1970s to 1990s). The mortality rate per 100,000 for males in Scotland (2008) was 10, females 6.3 and overall 8.1. CRUK says that smoking is a primary risk factor (even though the mortality rate was rising at the same time as the smoking rate was dropping), but even so I don't consider the figures particularly alarming, and if Mr McPherson did indeed succumb to kidney cancer as a result of passive smoking he may be the only one ever to have done so.

That aside calling on national TV for a distinctly identifiable group in society to be 'terrorised' and professing 'venomous hatred' for a group of people on the suspicion based on very dubious grounds that their collective behaviour contributed to his illness is deplorable behaviour; both he and STV should be ashamed.


Heidi Stevenson said...

Therein lies the issue of marginalizing smokers: It leaves pour souls like Archie McPherson free to spew hate based on untruths. At some point, a smoker is going to be physically attacked for the "crime" of smoking, the attacked will feel righteous, and much of the public will believe that the smoker had it coming.

Hate is hate, no matter where it's focused.

Anonymous said...

In a less venomous but typically one sided piece of drivel in the Scotsman, we are informed that Macpherson:

"was told by medics that he was almost certainly a victim of passive smoking."

I cannot excuse his shameful, hate filled rhetoric but I do understand that he speaks from a position of complete ignorance and is reacting to what he has been told by people who should know better. I would love to know who the medics in question are.

Anonymous said...

You can comment about this in the mail today

Anonymous said...

Is it a complete coincidence that this story appeared in The Herald and on STV on the same day that the European Parliament voted on the Tobacco Products Directive.

The involvement of the Anti-Smoking lobby,Tobacco Control might be the answer.