Cosmography Humour

Smoking Is The New Smoking

Man literally smoking a sausage.

I’ve a couple of cartoons I like a lot in the current Phoenix. This is my favourite of the ones they didn’t use. You always feel like you’ve done a better quality cartoon if you don’t need any words.

I assume you’ve all come to terms with this story by now. Yes processed meat definitely definitely causes cancer, but… that’s OK for some reason. You can frame it in more or less scary ways. A few years ago I heard one researcher put it this way: “There is no safe dosage for smoked or chemically preserved meat.” In other words, even the smallest amount increases your risk of cancer.

Which is terrifying. It’s only when you look at the actual figures that you get some perspective. I don’t remember them precisely, but the gist was that processed meats take the very small chance you have of contracting bowel cancer, and increase that by a small percentage. So yes, cutting processed meats out of your diet will decrease your risk of getting bowel cancer, but it reduces it from very small to very slightly not as small.

Or put it in another way: Among the reasons for and against meats, be they ethical, environmental, or nutritional, this makes bugger all difference.

The cartoon I admit doesn’t convey all the subtlety of that.

In other cartoon news – there’s something big coming up. I don’t want to talk about it much yet because, well, I guess I’m superstitious. Also, because I can’t really get my head around it yet. More details when I calm down!

That wasn’t even going to be my big news. Last night I drew the first comic strip I did for far too long. It’s for the Phoenix Christmas annual, and damn I like it. I was already fully excited by that, so now I don’t know where I am.

4 replies on “Smoking Is The New Smoking”

Yes that’s a good article, and has a nice clear headline – as opposed to the Telegraph’s “Processed meat ranks alongside smoking as major cause of cancer, World Health Organisation says”, showing that the Telegraph is now basically the Daily Mail for people with bigger cars.

The graphic clearly makes the point I was too tired and fuzzy to make last night: The news is that the evidence for a link between meats and cancer is as strong as the evidence for one between smoking and cancer, not that the link itself is as strong.

Put another way: The case against tobacco is proven. Its crime is genocide. Processed meats have now been found guilty too, but only of some light occasional murdering.

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