Monday, February 03, 2020


Rush Limbaugh has lung cancer.
Talk radio king Rush Limbaugh stunned his 20-million member audience Monday with the announcement he’s been diagnosed with “advanced lung cancer.”

The 69-year-old conservative talk pioneer closed his broadcast with the grim news, saying he will be leaving his golden EIB microphone for treatment, but hopes to return later this week.
As the New York Daily News notes, Limbaugh, who was frequently photographed smoking cigars, downplayed the effects of smoking on a 2015 radio show:
Limbaugh denied second-hand smoke caused any deaths.

“That is a myth. That has been disproven at the World Health Organization and the report was suppressed,” Limbaugh claimed. “There is no fatality whatsoever. There’s no even major sickness component associated with secondhand smoke. It may irritate you, and you may not like it, but it will not make you sick, and it will not kill you.”

... Limbaugh went on to claim “firsthand smoke” isn’t that serious either.

“Firsthand smoke takes 50 years to kill people, if it does,” he said. “Not everybody that smokes gets cancer. Now, it’s true that everybody who smokes dies, but so does everyone who eats carrots.”
On a 2013 show, he claimed he was safe because he switched from cigarettes to cigars as a younger man:
Get this. “People who quit smoking by age 44 tend to live nearly as long as those who never smoked, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers from the University of Toronto analyzed health and smoking records collected from more than 200,000 Americans, then compared the lifespans of smokers to non-smokers. One of the study findings was predictable: Those who never smoke live a decade longer, on average, than lifetime smokers. But for those who quit — even well into middle age — the study results are encouraging: Men and women who smoke their last butt before turning 44 die just 1 year earlier, on average, than those who never smoke.”

So basically the way you can look at this is if you are smoking and you’re under 44, have at it, go ahead, no problem.

... I started smoking. I was 16. Let’s see, it was 1980, ’81, ’82, somewhere around there when I quit. We played flag football. I worked for the Kansas City Royals, and when the baseball season was over we played — the Royals front office played — flag football, touch football with the Chiefs front office every Thursday afternoon. One day I got a real bad case of bronchitis, almost like walking pneumonia, so I could not smoke a cigarette without coughing spasms.

So I said, “Well, I’m never gonna have a better time than now to quit when I can’t smoke.” So I quit then. So I’m safe, folks. I got out of it long before I hit 44. It’s like I never smoked, because of this research today. (interruption) Yeah, I smoke cigars, but I don’t inhale the cigars. You don’t inhale those. William F. Buckley inhaled his cigars. I kid you not. That was a real man. Mr. Buckley inhaled his cigars. Now, he didn’t smoke ’em all the time, but he was very proud of it. He’d blow smoke rings. He’d exhale smoke. He loved them.

But he inhaled the things.

I’ve never done that.
Limbaugh turned thirty in 1981. So he smoked cigarettes for approximately fifteen years. He said smoking takes fifty years to kill you. He's been smoking either cigarettes or cigars since he was 16, and he's 69 now. That's approximately 53 years.

The switch didn't save him. From the National Cancer Institute:
Do cigars cause cancer and other diseases?

Yes. Cigar smoking causes cancer of the oral cavity, larynx, esophagus, and lung....

What if I don’t inhale the cigar smoke?

Unlike nearly all cigarette smokers, most cigar smokers do not inhale. Although cigar smokers have lower rates of lung cancer, coronary heart disease, and lung disease than cigarette smokers, they have higher rates of these diseases than those who do not smoke cigars.
I should be a good person and say that even though I disagree with him, I wish Limbaugh well in his battle with cancer. Then I remember that he's one of the people most responsible for the toxicity of modern American politics. I remember the viciousness of his attacks on people like Sandra Fluke, whose advocacy of contraception coverage was met with this over several days in 2012:

Yeah, good luck, Rush. But for the good of the country, I hope you never broadcast another radio show or speak in public again.

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