The „Black-lung-lie“-lie: How smoker lobbyists lie on behalf of lung cancer and smoker’s leg

(Die deutsche Version dieses Artikels steht hier)

I regularly observe the well known internet channels of the usual suspects amongst the smoker’s lobby groups. Sometimes I find articles that are hard to beleive. Stupid, crazy, close to insanity. But the ultimate bullshit occurs when smokers claim that smoking is not dangerous or even healthy. Sometimes they even present „studies“ or other „scientific“ material as a proof for what they say. And then, due to the fact that I love to investigate, I try to go behind the stories that have been published in favour of lung cancer and smoker’s leg. Let’s find out what is going on with this bunch of stupid excuse for the deadly habit.

Here is one of them:

„Smokers against discrimination“ is a well known desinformation page available on facebook. Recently they posted this article that has been copied later on a German facebook equivalent named „Raucher in Deutschland“:


The „Black-lung-lie“-lie

The German re-poster, Frank Schneidereit, commented: „Sounds sensible“. OK, then let’s see what is „sensible“ about the fact that for example they argue that 80% of lung cancer patients are non-smokers:

One of the citations in the text goes:

Dr. Victor Buhler, Pathologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Kansas City: “I have examined thousands of lungs both grossly and microscopically. I cannot tell you from exmining a lung whether or not its former host had smoked.”

Even when you scan the internet carefully you will never find the origin of the quoting. All that you’ll find are citations of this sentence that Mr. Buhler is claimed to have said once. All from pro-smoking sources. And, next question, when was „once“? And has he said this in reality? Or is it just wishful thinking of the lung cancer fanatics? Dr Victor Buhler can not tell us. He died in the year 1983 as an article in an American local newspaper says (Link). His death was over 32 years ago!

Next thing, a similar case:

“Dr. Duane Carr – Professor of Surgery at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, said this: “Smoking does not discolor the lung.”

Dr Duane Carr died in the year 1993 (Link) after suffering from longer illness. No original quoting again. Only recitations on smoker’s lobbyist websites. Looks like deja vu.

Next forgery of the smoker’s groups:

‘Nearly 80% of people diagnosed with lung cancer now, in 2012, are non-smokers.’

Those who are engaged in the anti-smoking debate know: This is mere bullshit. Vice versa it makes sense: 80 to 90% of all incidents of lung cancer are related to smoking tobacco. First, let’s check the website that is linked behind the statement. You can see at first glance that this website is of an American doctor who is concerned with treating cancer patients, particularly lung cancer victims. Would she tell such incredible BS? Press Ctrl-F and search for the 80%-statement on the website. And you’ll find…NOTHING.

When the website is skimmed briefly a link can be seen at the top of the article leading to lung cancer related articles on this site. There expectedly is not one article that says that 80% of lung cancer patients are non-smokers. But on page 3 of the list there is an article dealing with risk factors for bronchus (i. e. lung) cancer. And the figures there look „slightly“ different:

Smoking is responsible for at least 80% of lung cancer deaths in the United States. (Source)

Ooops, just the other way round. Not 80% of  the lung cancer cases are in non-smokers but they are related to smoking. I’m a little bit confused, I have to concede.

The other sources in the „Smoker’s against discrimination“ posting, mainly „“, are not worth being examined. „“ in particular is a conspiracy blog based on the desinformation material once published by a certain Joe Vialls. If you understand German, switch to an article on „psiram„, a German group opposing conspiracy theorists..

Well, not it’s time to draw a conclusion. What can radical lung cancer fanatics (i. e. hardcore smokers) do if there is no scientific proof that their habit, or better say „their addiction“, is harmless? The easiest way: Invent something that looks like a scientific proof. Find some academic staff (if they are already dead, it’s even better because they can’t complain about having become victim of a forgery quoting) and put the words that you’d like to hear into their mouth. That’s all folks. There are lots of idiots going to believe you. Most of them carry a cancer stick between their lips while they’re reading your „scientific stories“.

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11 Gedanken zu „The „Black-lung-lie“-lie: How smoker lobbyists lie on behalf of lung cancer and smoker’s leg

  1. Fredrik Eich sagt:

    Hi Peter,
    Dr. Michael Siegel (Professor of public Health) wrote a blog piece about the subject of only 20% (in the US) of lung cancer cases occurring in smokers (about 20% of Americans are smokers). He does not deny this figure but rather makes the point that in his view 80% of lung cancer can still be attributed to smoking because the difference can be made up by non-smokers who are former smokers. (which is perfectly plausible). He has been an anti-smoking activist for many years.

    For the record I have my own blog which mainly focuses on the hypothesis that radioactivity from atomic weapons testing fallout caused the world wide rise and fall of lung cancer ~1950/90. Whether this is true or not I don’t know but I do find it quite interesting because it can explain the massive rise in lung cancer among never smokers –

    This is my blog

    Best wishes

    • Peter Rachow sagt:

      Hi Fredrik,

      sorry, I think that Siegel figures saying only 20% of lung cancer cases are among the groups of smokers are wrong.

      Scientific reaearchers found out that about 10 to 15% of lung cancer incidents occur in never-smokers. One example is listed below:

      „Approximately 10 – 15% of all lung cancers arise in never smokers, …“

      This means on the other hand that current smokers and ex-smokers are affected by 85 to 90% of lung cancer incidents. Other studies will give similar figures. Just use Google scholar.

      This also makes sense if you take into account the fact that genetic changes in the p53 tumor suppressor gene in smokers have been widely observed long before lung cancer was diagnosed.

      The debate concerning radioactive fallout as a cause of lung cancer in my opinion is obsolete. This is due to several facts.

      First is that lung cancer has a latency period of about 20 to 40 years. This goes together with the widespread availablity of factory-made and therefore cheap cigarettes world-wide starting in the 10th and 20th of the last century and rising consumer rates.

      If you compare the smokers rates to the lung cancer incidents you will find a phase shift that is right in the range of the latency period of lung cancer.

      Second I think that radioactive fallout from the nuclear testings in the 50th and 60th on the other hand does not significantly contribute to radioactive exposure of humans. Atmospheric weapons testing only weights less than 0,005 mSv to radioactive charging of humans:

      Other radioactive sources like medical applications (mainly X-ray and CT) are overwhelmingly more affecting humans than the atmospheric testings in the middle of the last centuriy. But X-raying is, as far as I know, only associtated with one more cancer case within 10.000 cases.



    • Josef sagt:

      20% of lung cancer cases among the groups of smokers is definitely wrong, that is why Dr. Elrdrige already delated her original article, which was quoted by „Smokers against discrimination“.
      Her newest article (updated 4 days ago) reports that 40 percent of lung cancers occur in smokers and 50 – 55 percent in former smokers (only 10 – 15 percent in never smokers) and in Peters comment the reason for the high number of former smokers is already explained

  2. Fredrik Eich sagt:

    This CDC missive puts lung cancer by smoking status as follows:

    Never smokers 17.9% .
    Former smokers 61.2 %
    Current smokers 20.9 %

    (Table 2)

    So the figure of only 20% of lung cancers occurring in current smokers is correct, if you count former smokers as non-smokers. And it is still plausible that smoking cigarettes was a contributing factor in 80% of lung cancers.

    I think this is where the confusion comes from. The problem is that if it were true that cigarettes
    ‚directly‘ caused 80% of lung cancers , then lung cancer rates would be closely correlated to cigarette consumption. But publicly available data does not support this as I point out on my blog.

    The global rise of lung cancer starts after the second world war and not when smoking prevalence rises.

    And the global fall in lung cancer happens regardless of whether cigarette consumption declines or continues as I have pointed out here

    The conclusion being that if cigarette consumption does not drive global lung cancer rates then something else must have done. My best guess is that it was caused by fallout from atomic weapons testing ~1945 – ~1985. This could explain the rise in lung cancer in never smokers.

    But this all depends on whether the linear no-threshold model is correct or not.

    I have recently managed to find cigarette consumption data for the former soviet union countries
    and plan on comparing lung cancer rates between the USSR and the USA. This will be interesting
    because cigarette consumption steadily rose over the last 50 years in the USSR so in theory lung cancer rates should have steadily rose to but they did nothing of the sort, they fell in line with the USA for example.

    see here Lung cancer here

    • Peter Rachow sagt:

      „I have recently managed to find cigarette consumption data for the former soviet union countries
      and plan on comparing lung cancer rates between the USSR and the USA. This will be interesting
      because cigarette consumption steadily rose over the last 50 years in the USSR so in theory lung cancer rates should have steadily rose to but they did nothing of the sort, they fell in line with the USA for example.“

      It’s a good idea to learn about the latency time of lung cancer wchich is by average 2 to 4 decades from the time a person started smoking. This explains why lung cancers rates still increase when cigarette consumption is already decaying.

    • Josef sagt:

      The numbers, I wrote earlier, are also true for Russia.
      Russia: Lung cancer risk smoker: 14.6 percent
      Russia: Lung cancer never smoker: 1.1 percent

  3. Fredrik Eich sagt:

    Hi Peter,
    Yes but I am not looking forward to it because it will take time. First I will have to write computer
    code to get accurate estimates from the image below which shows cigarette consumption steadily rising in the former soviet union and plot a regression.

    and then I will have to aggregate lung cancer data from the relevent countries such that it is similar to this

    All of which will take up much of my spare time but I find the subject matter so interesting that
    I think it will be worth it!


  4. Fredrik Eich sagt:


    If it were true that the estimate that never smokers are 15 times less likely to get lung cancer
    matches the measurement that 17.9 % of lung cancer occurs in never smokers in the US, then it should be a trivial matter to calculate how many never smokers there are in the US.

    On the subject of the black lung lie, we should ask this question. If it is true that
    smokers lungs are black , how is it that smokers lungs are more likely to make it through the screening process for lung transplants than a non-smokers lungs?

    50% of lungs come from smokers but smokers only make up 1 in 5 of the population.

    Does the reality that smokers lungs can be used for transplant match the theory that smokers lung are black?!?

    Quite a surprise!

    Best wishes,

    • Josef sagt:

      @Fredrik. Why are you asking such stupid questions? The circa 15 percent lung cancer life time risks refers to life long male smokers, the risk among former smokers is between life long and never smokers. You could read that in my link…..

      I have no idea what you would like to tell us with your lung transplantation link, the link has nothing to do with our debate (lung cancer risks smokers vs. never smokers). People with lung cancer do not even have the change to get a new lung.

      • Peter Rachow sagt:

        That’s my problem, too. I’m really fed up with that „What the hell could be the other causes of lung cancer except from smoking?„. Actually they don’t matter that much.

        Compare the life time risks for bronchus cancer of never-smokers, former smokers and current smokers and make your decision! That’s all. I mean, every book I’ve ever read about pulmonology states that smoking is the overwhelming risk for lung cancer. That’s the scientific point of view. Why can’t that be acceppted and all those „truth seekers“ search for their own set of reasons?

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