National Statistics for social trends in the UK record a dramatic decline in numbers of smokers over the last quarter of the 20th century, for males and females alike. Parallel figures for the incidence of lung cancer show a marked decline for males, but paradoxically for females a steady rise. The decline in lung cancer for males is said to "result" from the fall in numbers of smokers, with the clear implication that smoking causes lung cancer. Surely the meanest intelligence must dispute such a conclusion, which flies in the face of the figures for females. Logically some factor or factors other than smoking must lie behind the figures for lung cancer, at a time when, according to statistics, men in their droves were escaping from stressful relationships, while many women were left to bring up a family and manage a home on their own, suggesting that emotional stress could be the main factor behind the figures. National statistics also reveal that most cancers occur after the age of 60, which suggests that our organs are subject to 'wear and tear', so I submit that it must be a build-up of stress over the years which causes a smoker's lungs to weaken and finally fail to cope with deposits of smoke. Exhaling smoke into a handkerchief would make it black as your hat after a couple of days, yet many people smoke for years with no ill effects at all. I would therefore suggest that the stress of negative feelings, especially anger, guilt and fear, may have a much greater impact on health than we think, and that smoking is simply a harmless means of obtaining relief and a manifestation of emotional stress inside. I had a heart attack in my 50's which my doctors automatically ascribed to smoking, but my counsellor later maintained that the cause was suppressed anger inside, as the 'Choice Theory' school of counselling has discovered a link between suppressed anger and heart disease. At the time of the first World War, according to statistics, sharp peaks occurred in mortality rates for infectious and respiritory disease, which surely may well have been due to feelings of worry and fear over loved ones engaged in the fighting. I submit that many children of modest intelligence find pressurised education a painful ordeal, and that most of what they are forced to learn is lost to memory soon after they have left school. The cruel blackmail that children have only one chance to 'succeed' is scarcely conducive to a happy, carefree childhood, nor is compulsory study at home, all through childhood and youth. Why else do 50,000 children skip school every day, while child help-lines are flooded with calls?. I would suggest that such pressure may well sow the seed for illness in later life, arising from inordinate stress at every stage of their lives. In the same context it is worth remembering that the breakdown in stable family relationships must cause misery and distress to many parents and children, which surely must have an impact on health and helps to explain why one in four of our children will one day suffer some form of mental complaint. Given all the dire warnings about smoking, anyone who persists with the habit must surely be stressed in some degree and therefore in need of sedation. I would suggest that most smokers are stressed in varying degrees, from the child who is always late for school and taunted by his peers, to the man who faces a firing squad the following day! It is surely also significant that smoking, according to statistics, is more common among the poorer groups in society, who are less secure and therefore more prone to worry and fear than the better-paid professional and managerial classes. If it were possible, it would surely be worthwhile to discover whether a link exists between numbers of cigarettes smoked and levels of stress, perhaps by means of blood pressure tests? If such a link was established, further investigation might also reveal the source of the stress, such as a loveless or broken relationship, a stressful job, an unhappy childhood, a bereavement or having no home, etc etc. The proposition that stress, rather than smoking, causes ill health, would then be consistent with all the known facts and the same, of course, would apply to consumption of alcohol, obsessive gambling, or indeed any obsessive behaviour, such as over- or under-consumption of food. On the same theme, tests have recently shown that on average the blood-pressure of breast-fed babies is one point below that of babies fed with a bottle, and I reckon the warmth and love of a caring Mum in attendance all day, must make a difference to a child's emotional well-being, and therefore its general health, apart from the merits of mothers' milk. A further survey revealed that in later years, those who were breast-fed were less likely to die from a certain disease and that thousands of lives could be saved if more Mums were able and willing to breast-feed their young, the same as the rest of the animal kingdom. When people have anger inside they feel stressed and low in self-esteem. They may turn to alcohol for relief and when they are drunk, release their anger in anti-social behaviour. It isn't the alcohol which causes the anger, as a 'social' drinker may also get drunk and only cause amusement at his condition. He will be 'pleasantly' intoxicated, which is a far cry from the behaviour of an unruly drunk, who may cause mayhem and for whom no amount of alcohol is enough. I am convinced that addiction arises in people who have no peace of mind and whose anger may go back a very long way. My own drinking took off in my early twenties. I saw myself as a failure in love and a failure in my career and I blamed my irascible father for everything, in a home where there was constant conflict between my parents, all through my childhood and youth. As a young boy, very depressed and angry at times, I used to go on long walks in the countryside, to escape the strife and find some measure of peace, but I suffered from frequent head-aches and heavy colds, and because of poor sleep was obliged to give up my paper-round, around the age of twelve or thirteen..I was also afflicted with a severe attack of the flu, also quite badly with mumps and chicken-pox during my teens. As I grew older, with so much hate in my head for my father, I had to have something to ease the pain and so I used alcohol more and more as the anger inside increased. After a while I couldn't feel comfortable without the aid of a drink, and so the terrible craving began. As the anger inside got worse, so did my need for alcohol. Current resentments were coloured and magnified by the anger from the past, and all I could do to escape from my misery was to drink. I was cruel to my family and a 'mouse' to the outside world and I hated myself for being such a fraud. I was breathalysed and banned twice for drinking and driving. I lived in a state of perpetual fear, unable to function without a drink, vowing to stop every day and then drinking again, totally out of control. I was a mess, with no peace of mind and no self-esteem at all. I was a typical, two-sided alcoholic for many grim years, causing mayhem in the home, until I finally got rid of the anger through counselling and the programme of Alcoholics Anonymous, and feelings of love came in its place. I am the same to everyone now, and heresy as it may seem, I can drink 'socially' now and the terrible craving has gone, having found the love 'in me', which resides deep down in us all. I submit if we all had enough love from the start, there would be no addictive or obsessive illness. Of course we can continue with our myopic approach, blaming drink, tobacco and 'unhealthy' foods, as well as our genes, for much of the nation's ill health, when I suspect the underlying cause is in essence a 'lack of love' at some stage of our lives. A further indication that excessive emotional stress, rather than smoking or drinking, causes ill health, is the fact that, according to statistics, "the proportion of people reporting a limiting long-standing illness" rose by 33% concurrently with the decline in numbers of smokers during the last quarter of the 20th century. As examples of this, close to home, I must mention a friend of mine who began having asthma attacks as soon as he gave up smoking, as did a female acquaintance, while my father died as a result of an asthma attack soon after giving up smoking on the advice of his doctor. The truth is that my friend was deeply hurt by a failed love in his youth, my female acquaintance was raped when she was young, and my poor father, who suffered for years from insomnia, was as I later learned from my mother, severely traumatised by the war. I hated him as a boy, but I know now he had a burden to bear not of his making, and so I was able at last to forgive, which took all my anger away. It is surely also significant that the recent increase in numbers of women who smoke is matched by increasing numbers of single Mums living on limited means, who feel obliged to work in order to raise a family and manage a home without the support of a partner, which must be hugely stressful for any woman, despite her superior emotional strength compared to that of a man. Of course there are many who smoke or drink in moderation for comfort, as life is uncertain and makes many demands at the best of times and we don't know what happens when we die, and similar levels of stress may apply to some who have managed to kick the habit without too much trouble, who now abstain and dread the effects of cigarette smoke or alcohol on the system, as a direct result of government indoctrination. But I submit there must also be many who, like the women mentioned in my first paragraph, manage somehow to stop, but are still very stressed and therefore just as prone to ill health as before, although as a general rule, those who can’t stop will be more likely to have high levels of stress, compared with the bulk of the population, hence the statistical link between smoking and ill health... I would therefore suggest that further investigation needs to take place to discover, by means of a few simple questions, why those who smoke or drink to excess or take drugs tend to be more stressed and unhappy, and therefore more prone to illness than most, thereby revising our assumptions about the alledged harmful effects of alcohol and tobacco, which are based entirely on statistical risks instead of empirical truth. Surely with any empirical search for the truth, ALL the facts must comply with the proposed hypothesis, otherwise there could be no discernible laws which govern nature or the physical universe, and no logical causes or remedies for illness obtainable by means of empirical research. 'True love' has been celebrated in song, story and verse throughout the ages, and the wonderful feeling it brings comes to us all around the time of puberty. So why does such love seldom succeed, when it would last a lifetime if given the chance? I submit that the stern priorities of education, finding a job and a home come first in most people's minds before love. In fact our society blithely denies the value of pubic love, calling it 'puppy love' or infatuation and writing it off as worthless. Yet we can all recall the name of the loved one the rest of our lives, and childhood sweethearts often re-unite in later life. Meanwhile fleeting sexual encounters leave little of value behind and often only distaste or regret, not to mention the risk of disease. I hope someday our priorities will change, and the love which comes when we 'fall in love' will be acknowledged as being of prime importance in the scheme of things, to be nurtured and encouraged by parents and teachers alike. I submit only then will we have a happy, healthy society, in contrast to that of today, where love has become an irrelevance in the self-centred scramble for money, power and personal 'success' and where the intentions of politicians are not necessarily ‘noble’ or ‘honourable’, in a world where ‘political correctness’ overrides rigorous honesty, except in the case of a few.. Even scientists acknowledge the beauty of truth and Einstein once said of a mathematical concept that “it was so beautiful, it had to be true.” There can be nothing more beautiful than the love which coincides with the coming of puberty, during the halcyon(?) days of our childhood and youth. Surely true love is everyones dream?