2006/04/08

Second-hand Smoke Is Toxic - So Ban It!

In the wake of the California Air Resources Board declaring second-hand smoke a toxic air contaminant, the City of Calabasas has decided to take matters into their own hands by adding streets, bus stops, and other public places to CA's already extensive list of locations you can't light up. So just where do smokers get to enjoy their cigarettes? Why in their homes and in designated "smoking" areas, of course. And lest the recalcitrant think that the city isn't serious, non-smokers will be issued cards that outline the law.

When asked to comment on the situation, Dr. Thomas Pfeffer of the American Heart Association in Los Angeles replied -
Having a smoking area in a restaurant is like having a peeing section in a swimming pool...
Though your asthmatic author is considering a move to Calabasas, he's not sure that totally banning smoking in the great outdoors is going to prove to be very practical.

17 Comments:

Thats a great analogy- the pool! I happen to hate smoke but don't necessarily feel the need to throw rocks at people doing it. I think that children especially should not have to endure that. The "rights" argument is bs. I have the right to urinate upside down but it doesn't mean I should do it in public- or that its good for me. Talking about it as a right is silly. Go walk outside, dammit. At least in your state they have some concern.

PS Sorry I neglected you this week, Frog. I missed some good posts I see these past few days.
Although I don't smoke, I have asthma also. Glad we have strict anti-smoking laws here. Really don't care if people smoke outside, though, as long as I don't have to breathe it. and Agree that people should not allow smoking around kids. Wasn't really too many decades ago that they allowed smoking on planes, or maybe it just sems like yesterday to me.
Lily, Glenda...the whole smoking around kids thing is what' going to cause the biggest problem for the Air Resources Board here in CA. The fact that second-hand smoke was declared a "toxic carcinogen" means that they now must to take action to protect children from it.

I have no idea what they could possibly come up with that won't infringe on the rights of the parents.
I smoke outside my home because I don't want to expose my kids to second hand smoke. I often wish I hadn't started again, and keep trying to quit. It's getting so smokers are running out of places to smoke, and that's a good thing.
I can think of worse things happening around and to kids. Don't see one hell of a lot of carry on about that.
Where are all the 'nanny state' lawmakers when it comes to exploitative, predatory sleazebags?
I smoke, I do it in my own space. But I don't prey on the naive and vulnerable.
How about we target some real issues...
Well, there's really no room for smokers in restaurants anymore because the non-smokers got so fat.
Lew, Cartledge... Plenty of laws here on the Left Coast to attempt to deal with predators, I think, but the kid and second-hand smoke is an interesing problem. Hell most of us had mothers who smoked while they were pregnant with us.

Neil, smokers and non-smokers alike. You ever been to
Vegas? For a thin person, navigating through a casino these days is like a tugboat navigating between supertankers.
While I agree with not smoking in restaurants, as is the law here in Fla. Once outside I don't see second-hand cigarette smoke any more dangerous than car exhausts and all the other crap that is released into the air.
My mother was one of those who smoked while pregnant with me. I'm 5'10", so it didn't stunt my growth. And I have no health problems.

You'll never stop parents from smoking around kids. You can't stop them from drinking and getting drunk around their kids. You can try, but it won't happen.
Smokers should be hanged on the nearest lamppost!
Another argument to ban smoking:
http://www.rsc.org/Publishing/ChemScience/Volume/2006/04/smoking_ban.asp
Right you are Romunov. In fact, the ban on smoking in bars and restuarants in CA was for exactly that reason. Like they said...having a smoking section in a restuarant is like having peeing section in a pool.
Smokers should be hanged on the nearest lamppost!

Little extreme there Sangroncito (welcome by the way...). But perhaps we could agree on hanging the company execs, and I'll throw in the execs of companies that make nicotine patches as well. Oh wait, they're the same. Crap!
I only smoke when I'm drunk. Unfortunately, I smoke almost daily :-(

However, I do not support smokers rights, anywhere, at any time, and trust me, all my friends are sober smokers.

I believe I have the right to breathe clean air while in public, and that right cannot be challenged by someone's addictive fix. Ever.
Elizabeth - do you have video of the urinating upside down thing you speak of above?

Signed,
B.J. Doyle
I'll take you one step further Kvatch - since smoking has been proven in studies to cause smoking in the offspring of smokers, we should ban marriage between smokers (as opposed to marriage between people of the same sex. Gay marriage has never been proven to cause homosexuality in a person's offspring, now has it?)
Another law based on flawed science.


Smoking Out Bad Science
By Lorraine Mooney
Copyright 1998 Dow Jones & Co., Inc.
Wall Street Journal - European Edition (March 12, 1998)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For the past 15 years the anti-smoking lobby has pushed the view that cigarette smoking is a public health hazard. This was a shrewd tactic. For having failed to persuade committed smokers to save themselves, finding proof that passive smoking harmed non-smoking wives, children or workmates meant smoking could be criminalized. Last week the science fell off the campaign wagon when the definitive study on passive smoking, sponsored by the World Health Organization, reported no cancer risk at all.

But don't bet that will change the crusaders' minds. smoking, like fox hunting, is something that certain factions want to ban simply because they don't like it. It has slipped from a health crusade to a moral one. Today, National No smoking Day in Britain will be marked by demagoguery from the Department of Health, which has already set its agenda to ban smoking. The U.K. Scientific Committee on Tobacco or Health (SCOTH) report on passive smoking, due out Thursday, is headed by a known anti-tobacco crusader, Professor Nicholas Wald of the Royal London School of Medicine.

However, it is now obvious that the health hazard of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) has been knowingly overstated. The only large-scale definitive study on ETS was designed in 1988 by a WHO subgroup called the International Agency on Research on Cancer (IARC). It compared 650 lung-cancer patients with 1,542 healthy people in seven European countries. The results were expressed as "risk ratios," where the normal risk for a non-smoker of contracting lung cancer is set at one. Exposure to tobacco smoke in the home raised the risk to 1.16 and to smoke in the workplace to 1.17. This supposedly represents a 16% or 17% increase. But the admitted margin of error is so wide--0.93 to 1.44--that the true risk ratio could be less than one, making second-hand smoke a health benefit.

This is what anyone with common sense might have expected. After all, the dose makes the poison. But in 1988, IARC decreed mainstream tobacco smoke as a carcinogen, fully expecting that the second-hand product would have a similar, lower effect which would be capable of measurement by linear extrapolation. In anticipation of confirmation of this belief many countries have been adopting anti-smoking policies in the name of public health. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has confidently stated that 3,000 Americans die annually from inhaling environmental tobacco smoke, and the state of California leads the pack with a total smoking ban in all public places enacted on Jan. 1, 1998. Although Iran did enact such a ban in 1996, this was overturned as unconstitutional. The Indian city of Delhi has a smoking ban and Britain is working toward one.

Before the IARC study, no other reliable study on ETS was available. For the effect of the modestly increased risk of ETS to be detected, the number of cases in the study must be very high in order to distinguish the effect from other background noise. Acting in the most unscientific manner, the U.S. EPA decided to pool results of 11 studies, 10 of which were individually non- significant, to arrive at a risk ratio of 1.19. As is always a problem with this kind of meta-analysis, the studies were all different from each other in various ways so that they were not measuring the same thing.

Last October, the British Medical Journal ran the results of a similarly flawed study by SCOTH's Mr. Wald claiming an increased risk of lung cancer from ETS of 26%. It was supported by an editorial and timed to coincide with noise from the anti-smoking lobby and a Department of Health press release, talking of "shocking" figures and alluding to innocent victims. The Wald report has been dismissed as a "statistical trick" by Robert Nilsson, a senior toxicologist at the Swedish National Chemicals Inspectorate and a professor of toxicology at Stockholm University. He says that there are so many unacknowledged biases in Mr. Wald's analysis that the alleged risk figure is meaningless. For example, Mr. Wald relies on data from the memories of spouses as to how much their dead partner used to smoke. Survey bias is often considerable, potentially far higher than the 26% estimate of increased risk, but this is not even mentioned by the authors. Mr. Nilsson also explains that Mr. Wald's meta-analysis has pooled data from non-comparable studies. His most stinging criticism is aimed at the BMJ editorial board, who he considers must be "innocent of epidemiology" to have allowed publication of the Wald paper in its existing form. Nevertheless the U.K. SCOTH inquiry into ETS due to report on Thursday, with Mr. Wald at the helm, will probably ignore the flaws of the Wald study and brand ETS a killer.

New Labour has done a U-turn on fox hunting. Will it do one on Thursday when SCOTH reports? Or will it ignore the best evidence and press on with public smoking bans? My guess is that two climbdowns in a month is one too many. It will remind us all this week that smoking is bad for you and eventually ban it in public.

If California is so worried about peoples lungs, then they would have developed the state so that jobs are close to where people live. That will get rid of a lot of smog, but it would be bad for CA's gas tax revenue stream.
Oh brevity thy name is...uh... Oh wait you didn't post your name. Here's a hint: Want to get taken seriously, have the courage not to post anonymously. But to addres this one point:

Last week the science fell off the campaign wagon when the definitive study on passive smoking, sponsored by the World Health Organization, reported no cancer risk at all.

So what? So it doesn't cause cancer, BFHD! Please then explain to me how inhaling the extra particulate matter from cigarettes is good for me? Are you ashmatic? Nope? Didn't think so. So I guess you've never had your chest seize up from inhaling second-hand smoke.

You have a lot to say. Too bad it doesn't address the topic at hand, which is the feasability of one town taking matters into their own hands to ban the practice, but thanks for all that science. It'll be a great comfort to me the next time God tightens a belt around my chest because I got too close to a group of smokers.

Add a comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link