Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Stalin and Hitler were Pikers

Hitler was responsible for the death of 6 million Jews and who knows how many others. Stalin was responsible for killing at least 20 million Soviet Citizens.

Both of them were small time.

An article in todays Star Tribune, references the expected world wide death toll in this century from tobacco related diseases. 1 BILLION. This number of course includes those pesky ones associated with Cancer and Heart Disease that Tobacco claims are not related to smoking. This is expected to be a 10 fold increase over the 100 Million that died in the 20th century.

So, however you look at it, as horrible as Hitler and Stalin were, numbers wise, they are small potatoes compared to Tobacco.

I still wonder how those "people" sleep at night


Ed Abbey said...

If it weren't for the fact that their smoke causes my lungs harm or that my tax dollars go to save their asses because some can't afford to save themselves, I would say that 1 billion dead smokers was a good start.

Saur♥Kraut said...

As you know, we see eye-to-eye on this one. As I wrote last August, "I am so surprised and saddened to see how many teenagers are smoking. I never imagined that smoking would continue on in the new generations as it has. I thought that by now the only people left smoking would be the old diehards. I mourn for every family that has such a foolish teen in it. "

United We Lay said...

Money makes everything a little easier.

Grant said...

I wonder what the obesity numbers will be? The latest studies I've read suggested that obesity is set to overcome tobacco as the #1 cause of preventable death, although that was limited to the US alone. Many other nations have greater tobacco issues than we do. For instance, Japanese obesity is at 3% for both sexes, but 10% of the women and 50% of the men smoke.

Freewheel said...

Unfortunately, teens still see smoking as a way to look cool and rebel. I don't think the anti-smoking ads help.

Senor Caiman said...


You're right. A good friend of mine was just diagnosed with brain cancer, he smoked heavily.

Biking question; I've been asked to participate in a bike ride across NC. Would I be crazy to do this on a mountain bike? The ride is all on pavement.


Fantastagirl said...

Smoking is a terrible thing and I agree with the comment above, that the anti-smoking ads aren't helping - "smoking is the way to rebel against mom and dad - therefore is cool"

It's a sad thing.

Ed Abbey said...

Mr. Gator, let me answer your question as a bicyclist myself. You would not be crazy. Many people ride mountain bikes on distance rides for comfort. With shocks on most of them these days and your more upright riding posture, your shoulders feel a lot better at the end of the day. The drawback is that they have more rolling friction so don't coast as well and take more pedaling power to maintain speed. You can reduce this by getting you a pair of slicks (smooth tires) made specifically for those riding mountain bikes on pavement. My parents rode across the United States on mountain bikes at the age of 50 so I'm sure you could do North Carolina.

Freewheel said...

Mr. Gator,

I agree with Mr. Abbey and I admire his parents. However, there are 2 other drawbacks to mountain bikes that you should consider.

Mtb's are like the SUVs of the bike world. They're heavy, so you're going to be working a lot harder (using more fuel) than the people riding road bikes. In addition, you're likely to be sitting upright on your mtb, so you'll be catching wind like a sail on a sailboat.

Bottomline: get a road bike. Doesn't need to be new or expensive, just one that's your size and comfortable.

Leesa said...

Lots of smoking-related deaths, but it seems that politics and money seems to smooth everything over.

Fred said...

I saw that article today. As a teacher, I don't preach about the subject, but I like to hit them with facts like this every so often. If I save a few kids from this addiction, hopefully it will be worth it.

mal said...

Mr Gator, I am with Ed on this. If it is a good bike to begin with and more importantly, IF IT IS COMFORTABLE, go with it. I would suggest getting some slicks or touring tires for it as that will help smooth out the ride.

To address Free Wheels comments, he is correct, you will work a bit harder or go a bit slower. That is the downside

mal said...

Fred- just keep putting seeds in, some do sprout

Leesa- cynical and true

Fantasta, Freewheel- I see the same thing here

United- ditto on Leesas comments

Grant- interesting number

Senor Caiman said...


I apologize for asking my off-topic question but I thank you and everyone for the great information. The ride isn't until the end of September so I have time to plan. This really dates me but my only rode bike is a Schwinn Continental. I'm going to look into the slicks. Thanks again.

mal said...

Mr Gator, if you want to chat more on it, feel free to e mail mallory_walls@yahoo.com I suspect Ed and Freewheel are more than happy to share their wisdom (greater than mine) on this topic

Chris Allen Gaubatz said...

Doesn't anyone object to comparing smoking with Hitler and Stalin? Hitler forced millions of people into gas ovens. Stalin tortured and killed millions in cruel ways. Smokers willingly inhale smoke because they CHOOSE to. Smoker's know the risks. If you don't agree with paying for the health costs of smokers, then take a libertarian approach to healthcare and you won't. I have a solution- why not adopt a Hitler/Stalin approach to the problem, and just gas and kill all smokers; get it over with. As absurd as that statement was, it is no more absurd than comparing the atrocities of Hitler and Stalin to the tobacco industry. Ask the jews who were gassed in the ovens if they would have preferred the concentration camps over a carton of non-filter camels.

mal said...

Chris, I was comparing Tobacco with Hitler/Stalin for illustrative purposes. It was not my intent to mitigate their heinous deeds, but rather to put the impact of tobacco in context.

I am sorry if you took offense, but I do think the comparison is appropriate for scale

Chris Allen Gaubatz said...

Mal...I didn't take offense- I enjoy blogs that evoke passion, regardless of the different views expressed (as long as they are done intelligently, which this one is). I just feel like Hitler/Stalin evil and the tobacco industry are apples and oranges. The real question in my mind is why does such a large segment of society willingly inhale deadly toxins on a daily basis? I don't think the tobacco industry is to blame- they are simply providing a product that is obviously in high demand. Why are addictive substances- whether it be alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, cocaine, heroine etc etc in such high demand? That is the real question. Unfortunately, I don't have the answer to that one.

jj mollo said...

Well, to put things in perspective, E. coli and malaria have probably claimed more victims over time. I suspect that alchohol has been competitive, especially since it has been killing people for a lot longer.

Another take on perspective, I always cringe when people use raw deaths as a comparative measure. We all have to die of something and most, certainly not all, people who die of heart disease and cancer are elderly.

Stalin and Hitler took the very best years away from the millions they killed, and I think you are underestimating them anyway. By the way, Mao made them both look like pikers.

All the might-have-beens ... These mass terrorists preferentially target good people who take chances to help others. The lost years from those lives are also taken from those they might have helped, and in turn, those are taken from others. The multiplier effect of such a life taken or spared is enormous. These monsters were implicated in unthinkable, unimaginable evil.

Which is all to say, I do agree that smoking is a sad thing of comparable scale -- a self-chosen illness, but still sad, and we should do what we can to help people avoid it.