Second-hand Smoke Is Toxic - So Ban It!
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.
PS Sorry I neglected you this week, Frog. I missed some good posts I see these past few days.
I have no idea what they could possibly come up with that won't infringe on the rights of the parents.
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...
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.