Why yes, I AM still enjoying this rare bit of smoker schadenfraude. Why do you ask?
There’s not much to laugh about these days, but the news that smokers might be protected from Covid-19 is certainly one of them. With study after study showing that smokers are under-represented in coronavirus wards, the renowned French neuroscientist, Jean-Pierre Changeux, is working on a randomised control trial to test the effect of nicotine patches on Covid-19 patients.
This is far from being a crackpot theory. Changeux has explained his hypothesis at length here. In simple terms, he says that nicotinic acetylcholine receptors play a key role in the development of the disease and that nicotine can put a brake on it. If he is right – and the banter heuristic says he is – it would not only save thousands of lives but would also be one in the eye for the ‘public health’ groups who have been claiming that smoking and vaping are risk factors for Covid-19.
These groups are so used to lying with impunity that they wasted no time in asserting that smoking caused coronavirus complications when the pandemic began. In the US, newspapers have been filled with reports that smokers and vapers ‘may’ be at greater risk from Covid-19, a weasel word that requires no evidence. A group of doctors in New York urged governor Andrew Cuomo to ban the sale of all tobacco and e-cigarette products on the false premise that ‘mounting evidence demonstrates the link between tobacco use and increased risk for progressive Covid-19’. Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has been taking occasional breaks from flattering the Chinese Communist Party to make evidence-free assertions about smokers being ‘likely’ to suffer more from the coronavirus.
Is there ANYTHING the panic-mongering “experts” have gotten right about this? Anything at all? Snowdon lays out some numbers in support of the argument for smoking’s health benefits before diving into the schadenfraude deep-end his own self:
People scoffed when Emmanuel Macron exempted tobacco kiosks from France’s lockdown on the basis that they provide an essential service. Who’s coughing now?
Far be it from me to preempt the conclusions of the professor’s research, but let us consider for a moment the policy implications of nicotine being the only tried and tested prophylactic for Covid-19. We could issue Lucky Strikes on prescription. We could #ClapForOurCigarettes every Thursday evening. The case for closing down Public Health England would be stronger than ever. We could open the pubs, but only to smokers and vapers. We might allow a few non-smokers in to enjoy the possible benefits of passive exposure, but only if they stand two metres apart. There is everything to play for.
The icing on the cake would be if British American Tobacco is first out of the blocks with a vaccine. Everyone who works for the World Health Organisation would have to go unvaccinated on principle and rely instead on herd immunity. Smokers would, of course, be pushed to the front of the queue for vaccination. They paid for it, after all.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. But, by God, wouldn’t it be fun?
Oh, it already is.
Hey buddy, can I get a light?