The Revenge of the Furtive Smokers: Fewer COVID-19 Infections Due to Alkalinity

In 1994, eminent sociologist Peter L. Berger wrote a famous and prophetic article titled “Furtive Smokers: What They Tell Us About America” (originally in Commentary magazine, June 1994, updated 2015).  In that article, Berger foresaw a “frightening”, cultural shift from individualism to “insidious collectivism” due to the anti-smoking movement and its totalitarian ideology.  Berger was referring to secretive and shamefaced smokers banned from smoking at their places of work, hiding from observation around outside doorways to public buildings while they take a smoke break. This stood in contrast with the “Marlboro Man” television commercials of the 1960’s that promoted western cowboy rugged individualism with smoking cigarettes.

Berger posed the question: how did this cultural shift come about?  Berger put the onus on the rise of the New Knowledge Class of intellectuals, professionals, paraprofessionals, therapists, clinicians, technocrats together with the mainstream media.  The Knowledge Class was seeking a way to shame those in the rival Business Class to gain power over the culture, and with it, funding for government research, therapies and social status sinecures.  The Knowledge Class even went as far as claiming scientific support for banning public smoking based on mere correlation studies that lacked validation and corroboration. Berger pointed out at that time, the studies that seemed to show that smoking was related to lung cancer intentionally omitted studies that proved otherwise.

Berger didn’t mention that in early America, tobacco growers smoked tobacco and slept on beds of tobacco leaves to deter catching the plague.  In the 1890’s, a remedy for the Russian Flu was a carbolic smoke ball.  Those who took repeated smoke balls in the 1890’s still succumbed to the so-called epidemic. Likewise, 8 out of 10 virus deaths are from the vaccinated and triple jabbed and are no better than smoke balls, as recently corroborated by no less than White House Corona Virus coordinator Debra Birx, MD.

Sociologist Berger knew that both patients and doctors don’t get their opinions (or explain their illnesses) by reasoning but by social contagion, “certaintized” by the ideology of the antismoking movement (see Peter L. Berger, A Sociological View of the Anti-Smoking Phenomenon, in Smoking and Society: Toward a More Balanced Assessment, R.D. Tollinson, 1984).  We’re only now painfully learning from C-19 that modern medicine and virology is not immune from the fads, frauds and follies of pre-modern folk medicine.  But it is legitimatized by vested ideas as much as by vested interests (see Peter L. Berger, Towards a Religion of Health Care Activism in Health, Lifestyle and the Environment: Countering the Panic, 1991).

Current Smokers Protected from C-19

However, the ban on smoking and the vaccine mandate has recently led to an emerging empirical and ideological contradiction: Current Smokers are less likely to get COVID-19 than Non-Smokers or Former Smokers, despite that countless correlation studies produced by the Deep State concluding otherwise.

Five recent studies in peer-reviewed journals are salient.

Association of COVID-19 and Smoker Status

Sample Size
Current Smokers
Former Smokers
Never Smokers


Study with Embedded Link



Association Between Smoking and SARS—COV-2 Infection, JMIR, Public Health Surveillance, April 2021

Lower Risk
Higher Risk
Moderately Riskier
Impact of Tobacco Smoking on the Risk of COVID-19, Nicotine Tobacco Research, Aug. 2021

233 studies
74% Reduced


The Association of Smoking Status with SARS-COV-2 Infections, Hospitalizations and Mortality from COVID-19,

Addiction Journal, June 2021

Less Likely
More Likely

More Likely

Smoking and Risk of COVID-19 Hospitalization, Respiration Medicine Journal, June 2021

The Paradox of the Low Prevalence of Current Smokers Among COVID-19 Patients Hospitalized in Non-ICU Care Wards: An Italian Case Control Study, Nicotine Tobacco Research, Aug., 2021

Moreover, an Italian study surprisingly found that Current Smokers had drastically less likelihood of C-19 infection and hospitalization (4.1%) than Never Smokers (71.6%) or Former Smokers (24.3%).

Which leads to a question of whether there is a protective or hormesis effect from smoking on COVID-19?  However, none of the above-cited studies attempted to explain a mechanism of action.

Alkalinity and COVID-19

A plausible mechanism of action for the protective effect of smoking on COVID-19 infection is greater alkalinity in the alimentary canal and, ultimately, in the blood from tobacco.  As the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology puts it: “It has recently been proposed that the pH (potential Hydrogen) of cigarette smoke particulate matter is higher (meaning more alkaline, less acidic, or better) than previously thought, and thus, a larger portion of nicotine would be in the unionized (combined or bonded) form, facilitating rapid pulmonary absorption”.  And the Journal of Chemical Research Toxicology expresses it this way:  “The available information combines to create a picture of nicotine in cigarette smoke that contradicts the traditional view that cigarette smoke PM (particulate matter) is typically acidic, with little free-base nicotine typically present in the smoke PM phase”. Smoking isn’t quite like taking baking soda, but it is alkalinizing.

However, the public has been so brainwashed to believe that anything connected with smoking is bad that reporting Current Smokers have a much lower COVID-19 incidence and hospitalization rate than Former or Non-Smokers is cognitively confusing and typically elicits cognitive dissonance, subject to the cancel culture.

Berger revised his article on the furtiveness of smokers in 2015 to prophetically add:

“It is clear that, at least today, the depiction of American society as overly individualistic is a gross distortion. This is not a nation of rugged individualist, but of timid joiners, petulant victims and self-denigrating conformists. Under a continuing rhetoric of individual autonomy and rights, an insidious collectivism is becoming the new norm. To anyone driven to ask one last question about those furtive smokers – can these people be Americans? – the answer, alas, is that they provide a frighteningly accurate picture of what this country has already become and an even more frightening harbinger of its future”.

So, to answer Berger’s question as to how Americans became “self-denigrating conformists,” we must be cognizant that Communism ruled the normative culture of many nations not only by propagating lies but by instilling shame and humiliation via political correctness in its social institutions, as Theodore Dalrymple has pointed out.  The ideology of the anti-smoking movement is a smokescreen for absolute social control by the managerial class to their benefit.

In the dystopian totalitarian movie V for Vendetta, the central character Guy Fawkes says:

“The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive (vow), not in vain
for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and
the virtuous”.

The furtive smokers are unintentionally getting their revenge in being relatively better protected against the COVID-19 bugaboo.

This article should not be misconstrued to say smoking is good for your health and does not substitute for medical advice.

The post The Revenge of the Furtive Smokers: Fewer COVID-19 Infections Due to Alkalinity appeared first on LewRockwell.

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