That Second Hand Smoke Thing? Yeah, it Was BS

From Reason:

Several years ago I was talking to an epidemiologist who is skeptical of the idea that smokers pose a mortal threat to people in their vicinity. Although he supported workplace smoking bans, he was frustrated by the willingness of so many anti-tobacco activists and public health officials to overlook or minimize the weakness of the scientific case that secondhand smoke causes fatal illnesses such as lung cancer and heart disease. He wondered when it would be possible to have a calm, rational discussion of the issue, one in which skeptics would not be automatically dismissed as tools of the tobacco industry. I suggested that such a conversation might take place once smoking bans became ubiquitous, at which point the political stakes would be lower. Judging from a recent article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, headlined “No Clear Link Between Passive Smoking and Lung Cancer,” that conversation may have begun.

The article describes a large prospective study that “confirmed a strong association between cigarette smoking and lung cancer but found no link between the disease and secondhand smoke.” The study tracked more than 76,000 women, 901 of whom eventually developed lung cancer. Although “the incidence of lung cancer was 13 times higher in current smokers and four times higher in former smokers than in never-smokers,” says the JNCI article, there was no statistically significant association between reported exposure to secondhand smoke and subsequent development of lung cancer…

This is what I knew from the get-go: it was always nonsense to think that second hand smoke was a huge killer – or even a risk, at all.  Certainly no more of a risk than going outside on a smoggy day in Los Angeles and just breathing.  The amount of tobacco smoke a person would inhale via second hand smoke – even if they lived with a smoker – would be so tiny as to be inconsequential as a health risk. Remember, even for very heavy smokers, not all of them get lung cancer – smoking increases the risk of cancer, but it isn’t a 1 for 1 thing.  If you smoke, it doesn’t mean that smoking will kill you.

Hopefully this will open up a debate – and get us away from the idiot idea that smoking is some sort of massively hideous thing which needs to be banned.  Smoking is just a thing you can do – like eating cheeseburgers or having a coke.  Not the healthiest choice.  Not something any doctor would recommend, but it is something to do – for pleasure.  You know, to enjoy life.  Probably be better if all of us smokers ditched the cigarettes and switched over to pipes as we’d probably end up smoking far less (and mostly smoking much higher quality tobacco), but its still just one of the pleasures of life that someone may engage in.  And like all things in life, there is a risk involved.  Of course, the rule is, “eat right, exercise, die anyway”.  Main thing to remember about life is that no one gets out of it alive.  At some point certain, in a more or less painful manner, we will all exit this world.  And if before I go I can have a smoke, that’ll make it more pleasant than going, as I must, without a smoke.

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19 thoughts on “That Second Hand Smoke Thing? Yeah, it Was BS

  1. Amazona December 20, 2013 / 12:49 pm

    Well, Mark, as one who has had strong reactions to second-hand smoke, including coughing and congestion, I have to wonder just how or why anyone can come to the conclusion that the toxins in cigarette smoke are only toxic if they go through the filter directly into the lungs, and not out the end of the burning cigarette.

    OK, I can accept the fact that when the smoke is pulled into the lungs it is more concentrated, and therefore more toxic. But it is also filtered. What comes out the other end of the cigarette is still the same burning tobacco and chemicals. It is diffused, to some extent, depending on distance, diluted by the air between the cigarette and the other person, but it is the exact same composition as the smoke going through the filter directly into the lungs. So it would make sense to say that the effect is not as dramatic, because of that dilution factor, but to dismiss it as a health risk, as you did (” The amount of tobacco smoke a person would inhale via second hand smoke – even if they lived with a smoker – would be so tiny as to be inconsequential as a health risk. “) is simply not realistic.

    You yourself say that not everyone who smokes get lung cancer. Agreed. So of course not everyone who breathes smoke that has not gone through a filter will not get cancer, either. And why is cancer the only criterion?

    I am a former smoker. I smoked for a long time, and I smoked a lot. I had to be a non-smoker for quite a while before I could realize what others had had to put up with when I smoked around them. As a smoker, you simply do not realize the impact of that smoke on others—-and you don’t WANT to realize it, because to realize it would impose a burden of responsibility for those people that would be in conflict with the habit. When my husband quit, after smoking heavily for more than 40 years, he was horrified when his lungs cleared out, his sense of smell returned, and he could smell what he had been expecting others to tolerate.

    So let;s define the debate. For one thing, the issue is not always “second-hand” smoke. That would be smoke that has been filtered through a cigarette filter and then the lungs of the smoker, and exhaled into the environment. I’ll go along with the idea that this probably has most of the toxins removed. But the real problem is not what a smoker exhales, but what comes off the end of the burning cigarette. And this can and does cause lung irritation, coughing, exacerbation of existing respiratory problems, headaches and nausea.

    And then there is the simple fact that it is nasty. It stinks. It clings to hair and clothing, and it lingers. I let a friend live in an upstairs bedroom for a while and she went outside to smoke, but the smell she brought back into the house was so strong I finally told her she had to keep her door closed because it stunk up the whole house, and when she left I cleaned the room as much as I could and finally had to rip up the carpet and repaint the walls. She never did believe me when I told her how awful it, and she, smelled. When this lingering odor is really strong, it doesn’t smell like smoke any more, but more like old garbage.

    It was funny, because she felt completely entitled to smoke, and indifferent to how it affected those around her. She became nauseated at the smell of peaches, but never did agree that a determination to surround my self with clouds of peach scent no matter how it affected her would be analogous to her smoking around me. If for some reason I associated the smell of skunk with something comforting or pleasant, and chose to routinely spray skunk scent around me four or five times an hour, smokers would find this indefensible.

    Smoking is a personal decision, as long as the smoke, its toxins, and its smell remain limited to the smoker. And to dismiss the many negative reactions to the inadvertent and unwilling breathing of someone else’s smoke on the grounds that it seldom causes actual death is pretty weak.

    • dougq December 20, 2013 / 1:57 pm

      “And this can and does cause lung irritation, coughing, exacerbation of existing respiratory problems, headaches and nausea.” – yes, just like smog and exhaust fumes, some perfumes and deoderants, etc. so what’s your point?

      “And then there is the simple fact that it is nasty. It stinks. It clings to hair and clothing, and it lingers.” – yes, not quite as bad as pot smoking or that smelly homeless person who sticks to you like glue in the bus, so again, what’s your point?

      So the solution is that some people might have the symptoms of these so therefore let’s make it completely illegal inside of privately owned businesses, but at the same time let’s not do anything about the other things that cause similar symptons.

      We have just found out that there is indeed NO overwhelming emergency health circumstance requiring the government to make laws that affect privately owned businesses, they have found out that the facts that they based their laws upon weren’t true, those laws should be invalidated by court order.

      • M. Noonan December 20, 2013 / 2:37 pm

        That is another aspect of it – a private entity should be able to decide for itself. These days, given that something less than 25% of the population smokes, most bars and restaurants would remain non-smoking. But that also leaves open a niche enterprise which would cater to smokers, who might want to have a smoke with their beer, or right after their dinner, without having to go outside. Employees would know in advance that it was a smoking establishment – so, either be a smoker yourself, tolerate smoke, or work somewhere else. Patrons would also know – so if someone just really doesn’t like to be around cigarette smoke, then they can just not go there. Meanwhile, everyone has peace.

      • Amazona December 20, 2013 / 2:40 pm

        You can certainly write off smoke pollution as just another example of the deterioration of the social contract that used to restrain people from purposely infringing on the rights of others, if that makes you feel better.

        What’s my point? Clearly you missed it, so let’s approach it from a simpler direction, one that requires less analysis.

        My point is that the smoke emitted by the cigarettes of others is not harmless just because it doesn’t cause enough cases of cancer to impress some people.

        My point is that this smoke IS an irritant, IS annoying, IS a pollutant. And that is where I stopped.

        You seem to have missed what I thought was an obvious fact——I did not mention any restrictions on smoking, any legislation regarding smoking, or any such thing. I merely addressed the claim that there is supposedly proof that the smoke from cigarettes lit by other people is benign.

        I also did not mention buses, smog, deodorant, perfume or the odor of some homeless people.

        But now that you have defended the rights of people to impose these things on others, we might take a quick look at them—that is, to examine where the rights of some impinge upon the rights of others.

        I happen to think I have the right to breathe air that is as clean as can reasonably be expected. That is, free of optional pollutants—pollutants created due to the whims or self-indulgences of others, rather than the outcome of necessities such as transportation. As a libertarian, this belief poses some conundrums for me, as I realize that any effort to limit the negative impact of someone else’s self-indulgence will have to impinge on his personal liberty. And when the personal liberty of one is measured against that of another, it can get messy.

        I have the right, I guess, to talk to people on my cell phone. Do I have the right to engage in loud conversations while on a crowded bus? An airplane? A movie theater?

        I have the right to find the scent of some strong cologne to be downright wonderful. Do I have the right to slap on so much that I have a nearly visible aura of eye-stinging scent emanating from me for a dozen feet or more in any direction? What about the rights of others who find this nauseating?

        And so on.

        I don’t have an answer, but I have a reaction—and that is that the imposition of something as intrusive as loud noise, strong scent, or tobacco smoke into my personal area is an invasion of my privacy and a violation of my rights—that in a civil society this would not even be a matter of discussion but in ours it seems to be. In a society where such niceties have eroded to the point of near-nonexistence, I may have to live with these invasions of my personal space. Not liking this reality is hardly the same as petitioning Big Brother to step in and impose more restrictions on what people can and cannot do.

        And I never said this is what I wanted, so try responding to what I say and not the voices in your head, OK?

      • Amazona December 20, 2013 / 2:42 pm

        Mark, I agree with your approach to the problem. As a former smoker, I would have been quite happy to hang out in smoker-friendly places. And as a former smoker, I would appreciate the ability to enjoy live music and good food without having it ruined by the smell of smoke.

        Yours is a common sense libertarian point of view, and I think it is a good one.

    • M. Noonan December 20, 2013 / 2:32 pm

      No one more anti-smoking than a former smoker. Of course I don’t smoke around non-smokers. Even at parties at my house, outside, I won’t sit and smoke next to non-smokers. I understand. But what got me about the second hand smoke thing was the fact that it was based upon a lie – remember, the bans on indoor smoking were not based upon the unpleasant smell of smoke to non-smokers but on a “YOU’RE ALL GONNA DIE” if you inhale even the tiniest particle of smoke. That is nonsense, as this recent study shows. I’m ok with smoking be relegated to the back room – after all, 100 years ago, that was pretty much how it was. Smoking only became general among the populace when cheap cigarettes were invented. We can bring back smoking jackets, and that would be rather cool. But the one thing I will never tolerate – no matter how good the cause – is the use of falsehoods. It is a plain, bald faced lie that someone will get cancer from second hand smoke.

      • Amazona December 20, 2013 / 2:44 pm

        Come on, Mark—you know that “…“YOU’RE ALL GONNA DIE” if you inhale even the tiniest particle of smoke…” is hyperbole. No one ever said that.

        What was said that, given the proven toxicity of tobacco smoke, people ought to be able to choose whether or not they were going to inhale it.

      • Amazona December 20, 2013 / 2:50 pm

        ” It is a plain, bald faced lie that someone will get cancer from second hand smoke.”

        No, it is not. No one has ever proved that exposure to the smoke of other peoples’ cigarettes has not or will not cause cancer.

        Ever.

        The study says that there is “…no statistically significant association between reported exposure to secondhand smoke and subsequent development of lung cancer……”

        The next step would be to find out what those who did the study find to be “statistically significant”. Even the study did not claim that no one exposed to the smoke from other people’s cigarettes had gotten cancer.

        And, again, what is the definition of “second hand smoke”? Is it smoke that has been filtered through the cigarette filter and then through the lungs of a smoker and then exhaled to be inhaled by someone else? Because smoke from the smoldering end of a lit cigarette is not second hand. It is the same smoke that goes out the other end into the voluntary smoker’s lungs, just dissipated by being mixed with more air first so it is less concentrated.

  2. neocon01 December 20, 2013 / 2:58 pm

    I hate smoking, but many of my friends smoke an we go mostly to smoking bars because thats where our friends are.
    I however dis agree that second hand smoke produces no side effects or harm I have to go with Ama on this one.
    HOWEVER i DO NOT think that the government should dictate to a business how to operate that business in this area.

  3. Jeremiah December 20, 2013 / 11:50 pm

    I like a cigarette every now and then. I usually smoke one or two a year. Usually in the summer-time when it’s really warm outside, and I can take a drive down an old dirt road with the windows rolled down, or walk out in a field next to some shade trees. Never really could get the hang of smoking, though … I either smoke it too slow, and it goes out and have to relight it, or I make a cloud of smoke like an industrial factory smoke stack. LOL … Fire in the hole! … one would have thought a cannon had been fired. My favorite flavor/brand is Swisher Sweets. The mini-cigars. Other than the occasional cigarette, you will find me chewing snuff most of the time. Equally bad or worse habit than smoking, but without the second hand effects. All effects confined to the user. While normally a man-habit, girls/women are picking up the habit now. I couldn’t believe it. I would recommend not ever taking up either habit, because both create anxiety, and other brain chemical issues. A common belief is that smoking or nicotine use causes a release in stress, but that is far from the truth … nicotine use actually adds to stress, because, for all intents and purposes it is a stimulant, it agitates the central nervous system, which is why many people who use nicotine develop chronic fatigue, and anxiety issues. Who then have to seek out other drugs to counteract the anxiety and stress because they are addicted to nicotine, and can’t find the will power to quit.

    • Amazona December 21, 2013 / 11:06 am

      Jeremiah, good to see you here again!

      Nicotine is a very strong and lethal poison. I once read a “natural” way to kill garden pests——crumble the tobacco from a few cigarettes in about 16 ounces of water and let sit till the water looks like iced tea, and then spray on aphids etc. Sounded all groovy and organic and all, till I got to the next line—wear heavy rubber gloves and take serious precautions to keep this liquid from getting on your skin because it is so lethal that even a small amount, if brewed strong enough, can be fatal.

      I worked with a veterinarian who used injections of nicotine to put down horses and cows.

      When I smoked, I would rush to have a cigarette on my break, convinced that it was what I needed to relax, for it to really be a break. When I stopped smoking, my breaks became much more relaxed. My sleep habits normalized, my digestion got better, my skin looked a lot better, and it finally came to me that I had been working hard, and spending a lot of money, to pump a poison into my system.

      What pushed me over the edge into quitting was an evening spent with two friends. One of them, my husband and I, all smoked, and during the evening we each went through at least a pack of our own cigarettes, in addition to the smoke we each breathed from the other cigarettes. The next morning I felt like I had an iron band around my chest—–it would not expand the way it should. That was from the physical effect of the tars in the smoke filling up my lungs and coating them. But I also had tens of thousands of tiny blisters all over my body, worse on the skin that had been exposed. I figured, if I was not smart enough to read these things as proof I was poisoning myself, and STOP, I could blame no one but myself, and I never smoked again.

      Some time after I quit, I saw a demonstration, in which someone inhaled cigarette smoke and then blew it out through a white linen handkerchief, and the result was a disgusting urine-colored stain that was sticky to the touch. And that was one inhalation. At the time my husband still smoked, about a pack a day, and when I thought of how much of this nasty crud he was depositing on the lining of his lungs every day it made me sick.

      This is one reason I resent having someone else put that poison in the air I am breathing, without my permission, even if it is diluted to some extent.

      • neocon01 December 21, 2013 / 12:53 pm

        I can tell in two minutes if some one in the house smokes when I open up an air handler or furnace. It is covered with sticky residue and goo when it is cleaned the runoff is dark brown coffee colored you wouldn’t believe what it does to the equipment can you imagine this in your body?

      • Jeremiah December 21, 2013 / 6:55 pm

        Amazona,

        Thanks! I just thought I would chime in on this topic, which I find interesting.

        Yes, nicotine is an extremely powerful drug. It is more powerful than strychnine in concentrated form. But in much smaller doses for insect control, as it shuts down their nervous system, and incapacitates them. While most people don’t know, there is nicotine present in many garden plants, it is in very minute amounts (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc). All in the nightshade family.The primary source for the user is found in the tobacco plant, with variations in species and strength. The smallest amount available to the user is 1.2 ounces, 34.02 grams. The lethal dose for a human being, being right around 60 mg.

        If one is fortunate enough to visit a tobacco plant, you can get tobacco dust. Good to put on your plants in the garden for insect control. I do not use any pesticides in my garden now, however, because of the harm to beneficial insects, such as honeybees. Much of the latest buzz about the disappearance of honeybees is now being linked back to pesticides, and these pesticides are being found in places unfamiliar to the agricultural communities. Many wildflowers and other plants are being tested positive for pesticides, leading to many beekeepers and naturalists to seek bans on certain drugs for use both in home and agricultural remedies. Kind of hard to narrow down to a pesticide that is effective against pest insects, and harmless to honeybees and many native pollinators. It must be done, however, for the benefit of all, because without the bees, there is not enough food to go around.

        I’m really glad you found the power to ditch the habit, it was a healthy choice for you to make.

        You mentioned being in a room with others who smoked, while smoking yourself at the same time, and all this smoke inhalation, how it led to a tightness in your chest and the hives breaking out on you. I was going down the road with a friend once, who never asked me if smoking bothered me, and he had one cigarette going in each hand … I thought I would have to stop and lose my cookies, or I was going to pass out. lol .. I had to put my head out the window while driving to breathe. And, I developed a massive headache from it. I said, you’re going to have to put the cigarettes out, have mercy, you’re killing me! He didn’t light anymore cigarettes on future trips.

        A lot of times, people use drugs just like cigarettes to take advantage of the system until they get sick with chronic lung problems and other issues, such as heart trouble to get on government assistance, such as disability. The like the drug so much, but they’re finding out that they cannot support their habits due to all other expenses added in. So they look for a handout.

        Drugs are bad for not only our bodily systems/organs, they are bad for the system as a whole. I firmly believe that they lead to dependence.

      • Amazona December 22, 2013 / 11:49 am

        My parents committed suicide.

        Not in the way that comes to mind when you hear the word “suicide”. They did not use pills or guns or drive into bridge abutments.

        My father died of lung cancer, my mother from complications arising from alcohol abuse. They both died of causes they themselves created.

        They were adults, and they had the ultimate responsibility for their actions. But, having said that, there was a societal component to the choices they made.

        There was a time when doctors stated that smoking was beneficial, and an era in which it was portrayed in the media as glamorous and a sign of sophistication. Alcohol abuse has always been treated in our society as no big thing, even as a joke. From Dean Martin to Foster Brooks to the movie “Arthur” which got Academy Awards for what has always been referred to as a comedy though to many of us it was a tragedy, this self-destructive pathology has been sanitized and glamorized and portrayed as amusing and without any real consequences.

        But now, in this era, we know the lethal aspects of tobacco and alcohol use, and now, in this era, any decision is made with full awareness of the consequences. There is a two-faced attitude toward drinking—on one hand alcohol companies urge us to drink responsibly, we have MADD on billboards, we strenuously prosecute drunk driving, etc., but on the other “going out for a drink” no longer means meeting at a bar to sip a couple of cocktails, it means slamming down shots and guzzling drinks loaded with multiple ounces of booze chosen to create powerful drinks that don’t taste like alcohol. We have moved from a culture of social drinking which sometimes led to too much imbibing to one where the only goal is to get hammered, as much as possible as quickly as possible.

        But it’s still a choice.

        And no smoker can deny the reality of the choice he or she makes. It IS a choice, and I support the freedom to make it, but I do not agree that it conveys the freedom to make a choice for ME, that I have to participate in it by having its smoke invade my personal space.

      • Amazona December 22, 2013 / 12:01 pm

        Back to the movie “Arthur”. Can you imagine the reaction to a movie in which the star stumbles and weaves due to MS, and sometimes falls and can’t get up, based on the premise that these are all hysterically funny? Michael J. Fox is on a TV show now, playing a character with Parkinson’s. His disabilities are not hidden, but neither are they set up as the focal point of hilarity. The humor is secondary to his condition, and we are supposed to laugh at the other aspects of the character’s life, not AT HIM because of the way the condition makes him walk or talk.

        I can only think of one life-threatening chronic condition that is accepted as hysterically funny, and that is alcoholism. Even the writers of “Arthur” had to sanitize the situation to excise the tragedy of the condition, so they made Arthur wealthy, with no family to be impacted, no job to lose, no consequences of his behavior, so they could have him stumble and stammer and fall and be a buffoon without having to deal with the ugly reality of alcoholism. And everyone thought it was a hoot.

        Well, not everyone. I, and many others who had had to live with that ugly reality, left the theaters in tears or in disgust.

        And, as a side note, in the less-strident era in which Arthur was made, none of us demanded that because WE were so deeply offended the movie should be boycotted, or removed from theaters, or that its makers should APOLOGIZE. It was just something we should ignore and avoid, even though we found it tacky and low-class and pretty hateful.

      • Jeremiah December 23, 2013 / 8:17 pm

        I totally agree 100%. There is nothing funny about, and there is nothing to be made light of watching the misfortune of those who have life-threatening illnesses and debilitating disabilities. Watching people throw away their lives on drugs is a heart-wrenching thing. Everyone has someone who loves them, it doesn’t matter if we know them or not, everyone has someone that loves and cares about them, and the loved ones are the most deeply effected by the destructive actions of their loved ones who may be fighting for their life due to a battle with drug addictions. Even though death is a sure thing for all, some leave us too soon. I knew numerous people in my area that passed away due to lung cancer, and they were chain smokers. One very dear friend. When he left, it took a piece of me, because we were so close.

        Hollywood has always been about glamorizing sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, and violence … and we can see Hollywood’s effects on our society today, more violence, more std’s, more addiction, more alcohol and the related violence, deaths, etc that go along with it. More anorexic teenage girls, and young women, to look more like those who bedazzle their audiences strutting down the cat walk and broad way. And we can see how many of their lives ended … i,e. Elvis Presley, and that really pretty blonde headed woman–(I forget her name?), Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, on and on. No, these people weren’t anorexic, but they fit into their respective categories as victims of the Hollywood lifestyle. It’s those in the general public that are being effected to the greater degree by the destructive forces of Hollywood.

        However, Hollywood, nor the drug companies and manufacturers are to blame, not even our Congress or legislatures, it’s the people, the very same people who proclaim to be good, law-abiding citizens, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins etc who vote … if they cared, they would vote accordingly, they would vote for legislation that would the sale of many drugs, and make them for medical purposes only.

        Oh well, asking for people to move in such a fashion is like asking a tree to “Move closer to the water where there is less danger!”

        One day the Lord will call an end to all of this mess! And there will be no more heartache, suffering, or pain to endure.

  4. ricorun December 24, 2013 / 5:11 pm

    There are a few things I’d like to add to this conversation. First, one should always be circumspect about the results of a single study, including the one discussed here. Single studies can be problematic for a variety of reasons. Second, one should be especially wary of studies that are not peer reviewed. Apparently this one was presented at a meeting, which almost certainly means that it was not peer reviewed. Sometimes things presented at meetings end up in peer reviewed journals, but often they don’t. Third, one should always be wary of extrapolating beyond the population from which the sample was drawn. In this case the sample was elderly women (aged 50–79 years at enrollment) who were then followed for an average of 10+ years. How representative of the population at large is such a sample on the studied dimension? I have no idea. More importantly, there’s no indication that the question was addressed. Rather, it appears that they chose this sample simply because the data they needed were included in a larger study and thus readily available, not because the sample was representative of the entire population. Fourth, one should also be wary of extrapolating the results of a study beyond what they studied. In this case they looked at the incidence of lung cancer in active and passive smokers. There is no indication that they looked at any other complication, e.g., heart disease, stroke, etc. As one of the study’s authors was quoted in the Reason article, “Passive smoking has many downstream health effects—asthma, upper respiratory infections, other pulmonary diseases, cardiovascular disease—but only borderline increased risk of lung cancer,” said Patel.

    Finally there is one more thing I can’t stress enough, and that is this: when you discuss a scientific paper make every attempt to provide a link to the paper! After all, why should we take your word for it, or Reason Magazine’s word for it, or even a press release from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute’s word for it? By the time we get it the real story has been re-told several times — and inaccuracies usually compound with every re-telling. This case appears to be no different. In this case it’s very clear that Reason Magazine was only interested in attacking the weakest link in the story about the harmful effects of second hand smoke. And it’s even more clear that Mark extrapolated what was said in that article to mean that second hand smoke was essentially benign — or, “Certainly no more of a risk than going outside on a smoggy day in Los Angeles and just breathing.” Of course, the real irony in that last part is the fact that “going outside on a smoggy day in LA and just breathing” is, indeed, a very risky thing to do. And that is precisely why LA and its surrounding cities have dedicated so much time and effort to reducing the amount smog over the last 30 years or so. They have succeeded to the point where “smoggy days” are rare rather than commonplace, and the whole enterprise has proved to be an economic boon rather than the bust many critics predicted.

    • Amazona December 24, 2013 / 7:19 pm

      rico, excellent post. I particularly like the phrase “passive smoking” rather than the misleading and poorly defined “secondhand smoke” which is, as I pointed out, technically smoke that has already been filtered at least once through a cigarette filter and then through some lungs.

  5. Mark Moser December 26, 2013 / 12:38 pm

    Smoking is bad for you. I smoked for years and had a heart attack. I quit not, because smoking caused my heart attack, but because smoking constricts blood flow and causes angina. I have a every factor listed for being at risk for a heart attack and smoking was only one of them. I believe my heart attack was, due to my genetic disposition for such problems and I believe smoking exasperated that situation, but was not the sole cause resulting in the attack.
    I bought a VX vapor deal, you know like the e-cigs. I have none of the congestion, no angina and no nicotine fits. Now the anti-smoking lobby’s out after those too.
    There’s no smoke there, no fire, no smell either, still, many want to intercede and prevent my making such a choice. I assume this is because it so closely resembles what they detest with such fervor. It will be couched as for my protection, but… I grow weary of folks taking such good care of me. It’s cheap too. That is until the Government gets involved and regulates and taxes it to death. Funny how money always seems to supersede the Government’s grave concern for most everything including the populace’s health. It costs about $10 bucks a month instead of five plus bucks a pack. Nobody knows if they cause problems in the first hand, yet, but…
    Second hand smoke causing cancer is a fallacy. It won’t cause a heart attack either. If you have allergies it will sure make your life miserable, but long term life threating damage, no. It makes for a great justification to impose your sensibilities on others though. But if it did and if health were the real issue here shouldn’t the fireplace, internal combustion engines, along with most manufacturing processes, and a host of other things we use daily to make our live easier, more enjoyable, and more comfortable be outlawed if the goal is genuinely health. Actions speak louder than word ever could.
    If health is the real concern exercise should be made mandatory and we need to institute tough food laws too. Especially for sugar. These behaviors produce health risks just like smoking. Do we really want to go that road? Ergo, I come to the conclusion that my health or any body’s health is not the issue here, but limiting others choices are the real goal. As a libertarian, I wish they’d prove their case and show harm before restricting choice.

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