Public Health

Asthma Triggers Call for Smoking Ban

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An article in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine attributes the death of a Michigan waitress to an asthma attack triggered by secondhand smoke in the bar where she worked. The title of this dispassionate scientific study is "How Many Deaths Will It Take?" The authors, who say "this is the first reported acute asthma death associated with work-related ETS," conclude "this death dramatizes the need to enact legal protections for workers in the hospitality industry from secondhand smoke." That's one way of looking at it. One might also suggest this death dramatizes the need for people with asthma to take their medication, or to avoid smoky bars if they don't:

[Lead author Kenneth] Rosenman said the woman had asthma since age 2. Her asthma was poorly controlled. She had made four visits to her doctor in the year before her death for flare-ups, and had been treated in a hospital emergency department two to three times that year.

Although she had prescriptions for an assortment of drugs to prevent and treat asthma attacks, she was reported to only use them when she was having breathing difficulty.

On the evening of her death, she had no inhaler with her. When she became sick, she told the bar manager she needed to go to the hospital, then collapsed on the dance floor.

Bar patrons offered an inhaler and the woman tried to use it, but could not. Emergency response workers were unable to revive her and she died shortly thereafter.

Here is a list of asthma attack triggers provided by the University of Virginia Health System. Along with tobacco smoke, it includes pollen, mold, animal dander, dust, dust mites, cockroaches, certain foods, air pollutants, wood smoke, "strong odors and sprays such as perfumes, household cleaners, cooking fumes, paints, and varnishes," "chemicals such as coal, chalk dust, or talcum powder," "changing weather conditions, including changes in temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, and strong winds," and "chemical exposure on the job, such as occupational vapors, dust, gases, or fumes." In addition to casting doubt on the explanation for this particular woman's death, this lengthy list raises the question of why the demand for a ban focuses on just one asthma trigger. How many deaths will it take before people with asthma are protected from perfume and pets?

[Thanks to D-FENS for the tip.]

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  1. Thanks to D-FENS for the tip

    Here’s another tip for you: don’t dare try to charge him 85 cents for a stinkin’ soda!

  2. How many deaths will it take before people with asthma are protected from perfume ….?

    Shhhhh, thats already next on the list, stop faning the flames.

  3. I didn’t realize anecdotal evidence could actually make a peer-reviewed journal… excuse me while I submit stuff about my family to a psychiatric journal. On second thought…

    Either way, the singular of “data” is not “anecdote”, and the premise, to put it mildly, is shaky due to the other factors. With everything in play there, is it really a “death due to secondhand smoke” or a “suicide”? While this woman’s death was tragic, what is even more so is how preventable it was…

  4. ” …never less likely to heed the call of “remoralization” emanating from a wealthy Beltway pundit.”

    Yup, we are so selfish in our rejection of our betters telling us how to live.

  5. “Yup, we are so selfish in our rejection of our betters telling us how to live.”

    Whoops, commented to the wrong thread. Sorry!

  6. A ban for smoking in public places is absoletly necessary. many cities and states have already implemented them. This would be good for everyone, not just those with athsma.

  7. … raises the question of why the demand for a ban focuses on just one asthma trigger.

    Because smoking is evil. It’s similar to alcohol related traffic fatalities. If a motorist with a BAC of .05, stopped at a red light, is rear ended by a soccor mom applying makeup, it’s alcohol ralated. Don’t ever let the facts get in the way of your noble cause.

  8. Not for nothing, but what is so wrong (in a Libertarian utopia) to confining behaviors that are actively harmful to bystanders to private quarters? Fuck anyone you want, smoke anything you want…just do it at home.

    Is that so horrible? Really?

  9. …if you reflect on our change from thoughtless trash-tossing to virtually universal recycling, or from the past in which smokers didn’t hesitate to blow smoke in anybody’s face to our present restrictions on smoking in public places, it’s clear that shared ideas about acceptable or desirable behavior can change markedly. Such changes occurred without anybody getting arrested in the dark of night. Further changes will come…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecotopia

    Science Fiction from 1975

  10. lmnop,

    but what is so wrong (in a Libertarian utopia) to confining behaviors that are actively harmful to bystanders to private quarters?

    Nothing at all, if we can get private defined properly. A restaurant is private, not public. Ditto a bar. Etc, etc.

    If we can get rid of this damn “public accomidation” crap, Im right with you. I have no problem with banning smoking in courthouses and the like.

  11. robc,

    Why must there only be two categories?

    1) Private
    2) Public

    When most people see things a gradient (see poorly constructed examples below)

    1) Really private (bedroom, bath)
    2) Mine, but still private (rest of the house)
    3) Mine, but sorta public (my front yard)
    4) Mine, but public (restaurant, bar)
    5) Public (sidewalk, park, wilderness)
    6) Really public (Courthouse, City Hall)

  12. As much as I like being able to go to any restaurant without dealing with smoke, I’m with Robc here. If the restaurant owner wants to allow smoking, that’s his decision. My guess is that most supermarkets, book st9ores, movie theaters wouldn’t allow smoking if the ban were lifted. They want non-smoking customers. Bars and restaurants want smoking customers. It’s fair that each establishment make their own decisions.

  13. Ownership is only a single factor in the construction of the public/private concept. Unidimensional thinking doesn’t make sense with a social concept or any importance. People behave as if there is more than one factor, so law should be built around more than one factor.

  14. OF any importance, that is…

  15. NM,

    I have no problem with your breakdown, but from a legal standpoint, either I own something or I dont. If its my property, I get to control the rules (within the bounds of legality). Elemenope did ask about libertopia, after all.

    I would think the breakdown would be more like:
    1. Really private (inside my house, I cant think of any reason to distinguish bedroom from living room)
    2. Private but in public view – front yard, restaurant. Things like nudity laws would be enforced.
    3. Public use – sidewalks/parks
    4. Government use – courthouses, city hall

  16. And yet if a bar owner refused to hire an asthmatic on the grounds that she might die, he’d be sued for infringing upon her inalienable right to work in his bar. Can’t win no matter what.

  17. In other words, if you look at the overlap in semantic space of “privateness” and “ownership” the two concepts don’t perfectly overlap.

    For an example,

    The stall in a restaurant’s bathroom…a customer can expect that space to be treated as private while they occupy it, even though the owner has the right to refuse your access to it.

    Is the bathroom stall at the courthouse a public space or a private space?

  18. robc,

    Things like nudity laws would be enforced.

    A law like nudity laws = smoking bans.

  19. NM,

    I think bathrooms work like rental properties. 🙂

    If I own an apartment it was mine, but when I lease it out I effectively transfer the privacy to you via contract. It becomes your private area instead of mine. Same with bathrooms, only its an implied contract. If I posted a large “there are webcams recording you in the bathroom” sign on the door of my restaurant bathroom, then you should then have no expectation of privacy within it.

    Good point though, there are always some complicated issues.

  20. robc,

    I get to control the rules (within the bounds of legality).

    Correct.

    Rules in most communities include restrictions on how businesses behave. In many these days the bounds of legality include not allowing smoking in your place of public accomodation.

  21. Actually, I shouldnt have included nudity in the restaurant portion, because if you want a nudie bar, (workers or customers) Im okay with that. So, a restaurant goes into the living room/bedroom category. I was trying to make a distinction between being viewed from public places and being in a public place. So front yards and restaurants dont belong together.

  22. A law like nudity laws = smoking bans.

    I was thinking something similar. Nudity laws have to do with public view, so smoking laws could have to do with public smell (?!) or some other qualitative measure of bystander impact.

  23. By bounds of legality I meant things that are ENTIRELY illegal.

    If it is illegal to smoke pot (unfortunatly) anywhere then you cant allow it in your private property. If pot becomes legal, then I should be allowed to allow it in the property I control.

    Murder is probably a better example.

  24. I should have explained what I meant by “bounds of legality” when I posted it, because I knew the exact response I was going to get. I just hoped you would figure out what I meant. Sigh.

  25. I myself have no problem with the idea of privately owned restaurants allowing smoking and/or bare titties. My concern was more regarding the public commons.

    Standing on a street corner/outside the entrance of some building puffing away to the detriment of passers-by who have as much right to the easement of public walkways, regardless of their standing as an asthmatic/allergic to cig smoke/hypochondriac/whatever as the smoker, seems like a problem. Along similar lines we ban public alcohol consumption on public walkways (drunk fool interfering with my ability to walk, damn it!) a similar reasoning could be envisioned for cig smoking.

  26. A law like nudity laws = smoking bans.

    No, a law like this –
    Stripper bars OK, Naked in the park, not OK = Smoking bars OK, smoking in the schools not OK.

    Yes, the strippers can be barred from disrobing in front of the windows.

  27. “Yup, we are so selfish in our rejection of our betters telling us how to live.”

    Whoops, commented to the wrong thread. Sorry!

    Actually, MayorOS, your comment is perfectly apropos here as well! RC’z Law applies!

  28. I myself have no problem with the idea of privately owned restaurants allowing smoking and/or bare titties. My concern was more regarding the public commons. … a similar reasoning could be envisioned for cig smoking.

    And you’d be using consistent reasoning.

  29. Elemenope:

    How about banning all sources of smoke ? The smoke is harmful, not the nicotine. So ban private cars, public transportation, aviation, cooking etc. if smoke is that dangerous.

    And please ban cheap deodorants too, if you’re bent on banning stuff: they give me headaches.

  30. I have asthma. I smoke. I is stoopid. But whatever, I choose to do it that way, and I use my asthma medication to make sure I don’t stop breathing.

    ALTHOUGH

    The medical establishment should be slapped silly for making Albuterol and other asthma medication prescription-only – it makes things a huge pain in the ass if you do run out of asthma medicine and are anywhere more than 30 miles from your pharmacy.

  31. A law like nudity laws = smoking bans.
    Not even close. Man someone didnt think that one through eh? Strip clubs, cabaret dances,etc…

  32. Murder is OK if the murdered party agrees, such as in Kavorkian’s case. Same should go for smoking, nudity, etc. As long as it is consensual or posted, I’m fine with it. Better get it notorized, though.

  33. As the owner of a restaurant (which IS private property) I should be able to reasonably expect that I can design an environment to attract the targeted audience of MY choice. In this case that would be citizens that smoke, specifically because they are clearly in the minority and I can offer an environment that suits their personal preference. This would be good for the bottom line of the business. A Non-smoking environment by force of law diminishes my ability to differentiate my business (menu aside)from any other non-smoking establishment, thereby bolstering the idiotic “level playing field” BS. There is no such animal in what is now laughingly referred to as a “free market economy”.
    Simple signage is all that is required.
    “No Smoking”, or ‘Smoking Permitted”

    In a state that uses “at will” employment law; so long as my hiring policies do not violate EEOC or ADA laws, only smokers could be considered to fill the necessary staffing positions therby eliminating the equally fallacious propaganda of “forcing” employees to “choose between health and job”. Police and Fire personnel make this choice everyday, as do high-rise window washers, high-steel construction workers etc. to name just a few, and many of them smoke as well. (Double RISK?!)

    Having a staff that smokes, catering to patrons that smoke would provide for an all around much more plesant experience for all concerned, except for the most militant Anti-Tobacco proponents bent on saving smokers from themselves, whether they want or need that help, or not. The average indifferent Non-smokers need only decline the open invitation to enter the premises. It really should be no more difficult than this.

    Militant Non-smokers however, that routinely, and gleefuly site that they are in fact the majority, really should have no issue here as they also routinely site how many bars and restaurant are voluntarily adopting “smoke free” policies.

    Good for them,… they should support those specific businesses that they are so happy with, but this leaves approximately 55 million people (smokers) literally “out in the cold” and it simply isn’t necessary. This makes the militant Anti-smokers appear, not as concerned for someone elses health, but purely vindictive, greedy, or selfish,… maybe all of these things.

    It just seems that smoking bans are like trying to douse a candle using Niagara Falls to do it. It’s Overkill, and if nothing else, it’s not at all representative of the marketplace.

  34. Jacob’s posts usually bore the hell out of me, but this is a good one backed up by solid logic. But seriously, Jacob, can we get something other than drugs- or ETS-related posts once in a while?

  35. Randolph Carter,
    I don’t mean to sound like a prick, but maybe you should really think about quitting smoking. Also, there is no way in hell I’m going to let my tax dollars go to support your asthma treatments to counteract the effects of your smoking habit. I’m not accusing you of trying, it’s just a precaution to make sure we’re clear on that.

  36. Sorry, Randolph, that came out wrong. I’m sure that you pay for your own albuterol, or you get it through insurance, and therefore you do not hurt taxpayers. Mostly I was projecting rage felt at a cousin of mine who smokes constantly and every day blames the government for her habit by saying, in essence, “They didn’t stop the tobacco companies”.

  37. If second hand smoke is a pollutant, then the property rights arguments all go out the window. You have no constituitional right to pollute. I believe the Reason guys get around this by claiming secondhand smoke is not a pollutant. I believe they are wrong on the science, but that is besides the point because once the USEPA (or equivalent State agency) determines that something is a pollutant that is how it is regulated.

    Now, I guess that the regulating agency could give a bar owner a permit to allow smoking. But the default status would be for no smoking in all bars. Just as you cannot build a plant and emit benzene without first obtaining a permit.

  38. robc, val,

    By bounds of legality I meant things that are ENTIRELY illegal.

    A law like nudity laws = smoking bans.
    Not even close. Man someone didnt think that one through eh? Strip clubs, cabaret dances,etc…

    Both of these fall apart upon close inspection.

    It is ENTIRELY illegal to smoke in places of public accommodation.

    Many communities have careful regulation of “nudity” in cabaret/strip clubs. Regulation of the nudity is exactly equivalent to smoking bans. The closest analogy, of course, is the liquor license…default says you can’t do it unless you have a special permit and meet certain requirements.

    Patrick,
    Your idea is about right.
    Liquor license, smoking establishment license…works out to about the same burden on the liberty of business owners.

    Ligtningboy

    As the owner of a restaurant (which IS private property)

    Private property…sure, but also subject regulation. Your preference for the world to be otherwise, notwithstanding.

  39. My overall point, of course, is that if you want to oppose these laws you need to think clearly on the logic. The property rights argument falls apart primarily because I can write the ban in such a way that it is a limitation on the freedom of your customers, not on you the property owner.

    Sometimes, the laws are written so that it a property rights argument can be made, but typically the laws ban the activity of smoking in public, not the activity of allowing others to do it.

  40. Property rights issue applies to laws like this:

    “It shall be illegal to run an establishment which allows patrons to smoke in public”

    Property rights issue absent:

    “Smoking indoors in places of public accomodation shall be illegal.”

    The first one is a restriction on the property owner, the second on the activity of people who may or may not be on your property.

  41. The second example above is equivalent to laws which robc would call making things ENTIRELY illegal.

    It shall be illegal for an individual to purposely kill another individual.

    It shall be illegal for an individual to get naked on the sidewalk.

    It shall be illegal for an individual to smoke pot.

    Property rights do not extend to allowing others to break laws in the form of “It shall be illegal for an individual to X…”

  42. Just for fun, here is the EPA position on smoking and Asthma…

    Secondhand smoke can trigger asthma episodes and increase the severity of attacks. Secondhand smoke is also a risk factor for new cases of asthma in preschool aged children who have not already exhibited asthma symptoms. Scientists believe that secondhand smoke irritates the chronically inflamed bronchial passages of people with asthma. Secondhand smoke is linked to other health problems, including lung cancer, ear infections and other chronic respiratory illnesses, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

    Many of the health effects of secondhand smoke, including asthma, are most clearly seen in children because children are most vulnerable to its effects. Most likely, children’s developing bodies make them more susceptible to secondhand smoke’s effects and, due to their small size, they breathe more rapidly than adults thereby taking in more secondhand smoke. Children receiving high doses of secondhand smoke, such as those with smoking mothers, run the greatest relative risk of experiencing damaging health effects.

  43. Until the mid-90s, you found secondhand smoke pretty much everywhere. Restaurants, waiting rooms, common areas of shopping malls … if it’s as dangerous as the anti-smokers claim it is, every American above the age of 30 should be a walking health disaster right now, and every Baby Boomer should be dead.

  44. “Smoking indoors in places of public accomodation shall be illegal.”

    The problem here, as I stated in maybe my first post, is the whole concept of public accomodation. There is no such thing. Restaurants are private accomodations that generally allow (nearly) every in. Any bar/restaurant that wanted to allow smoking under your law could just declare themselves a private club. But, the frickin cities/states wont let them. Apparently if you arent picky and allow everyone in your club, you arent private.

    I would guess even No Homers wouldnt be picky enough to avoid public accomodation laws. If we treat restaurants as the same privacy level as bedrooms (and with some people I know, their bedroom is no less selective on who they let in) these problems all go away.

  45. I’m a smoker and have been for more than 20 years and i have asthma.I just got asthma 3 years ago but not from smoking i got it from mold.I dont have a problem with it until i get home.Maybe there is mold in that bar.

  46. Owners preference aside, until the smoking ban was made official here, there was no issue.
    Smokers and non-smokers were living together in harmony. If one didn’t smoke, or for any reason didn’t wish to be in that environment, then they simply didn’t come in. Business was good. The idea of a blanket ban, while making Anti-smokers feel all warm and fuzzy about themselves, really is an insult to all thinking adults, Smokers and Non-smokers alike. Smokers take about 1 second to weigh the decision and easily choose the smoking environment in spite of the non-smokers preference that they choose otherwise. Even many non-smokers would routinely choose the smoking allowed environment with little or no additional thought required.
    Non-smokers don’t buy into the “science” that ETS is dangerous, or they simply don’t care.
    Anti-smokers however (a very vocal subgroup of non-smokers) can’t grasp why smokers would choose they way they do, and are motivated by their faith in the same “science” that the majority of non-smokers and certainly the overwhelmong majority of smokers completely disregard as pharmaceutical company driven propaganda.
    Simple signage is all that is required, ….and the basic ability to read and understand it. Smokers routinely abstained or went somewhere else before the ban, but now that it’s prohibited everywhere, they have no choice of venue to accomodate them.
    This doesn’t reflect the basic principle, and purpose the “free market” at all.
    The entire issue has been blown way out of proportion in comparrison to the size of the potential risk of ETS.

    Burning candle, …Niagara Falls,…overkill.

  47. Neu Mejican,
    Your argument that the laws restrict the freedom of customers, not the property owners, so it doesn’t infringe on property rights, has a serious flaw: Property rights include the right to ban OR allow various behaviors on your property, provided you are not harming someone else against their will. If a person who doesn’t like smoking is on the property, you can simply put up a sign saying smoking is allowed, so if someone is convinced secondhand smoke will kill them, they avoid it. As long as the smoke doesn’t create a problem for surrounding properties and the people on them,the government shouldn’t get involved. Saying the customers can’t smoke essentially amounts to saying the restaurant owner cannot allow them to smoke either. Still, I find your clever rhetorical arguments in favor of statism most amusing.

  48. 25 years ago

    Non-smoker – Sir, your cigarette is bothering me.
    Smoker – Sorry ’bout that. It’s out now.
    Non-smokers – Thanks
    Smoker – Not a problem.

    Fast forward to 2008.

    Non-smoker – What a disgusting habit! Put that thing out!
    Smoker – Too bad. I’m allowed to smoke here, if you don’t like it go somplace it’s prohibited.
    Non-smoker – Asshole!
    Smoker – Prick!

    I’m not so sure we’ve improved anything at all.

  49. J sub D summed up what I have noticed in a few nice neat sentences. Well done. And no cursing either. Congrats.

  50. Private/Public as a continuum rather than digital. I kind of like this idea – it appeals to my common sense. Maybe this is the kind of change in thinking this election should be about:

    homophobe/heterophobe
    racist/diversity

    Perhaps there is a spectrum of opinion here?

  51. robc,

    the whole concept of public accomodation. There is no such thing.

    It is nice to wish away the complications of reality, but in fact, there is such a concept…hell it even has legal precedence.

    economist
    Your argument that the laws restrict the freedom of customers, not the property owners, so it doesn’t infringe on property rights, has a serious flaw: Property rights include the right to ban OR allow various behaviors on your property, provided you are not harming someone else against their will.

    Property rights allow one to allow or ban various activities on your property, but do not include the right to allow or ban various others. The point under debate is whether or not smoking is to go in the first column (something property owners have control of) or the second (something that robc calls ENTIRELY illegal).

    Your “shouldn’t” aside, a law restricting your right to perform a certain activity (e.g., murder, littering, public nudity) is a restriction on the actor, not the property owner.

    There is a liberty argument to be made. But it is not the liberty of the bar/restaurant owner that is primary…it is the right of the smoker to be free of undue burden.

    Whether being asked to refrain from smoking in a public place is such an undue burden is at the crux of the issue. Not the rights of businesses.

  52. JsubD,

    25 years ago…

    Non-smoker: Sir, your cigarette is bothering me.
    Smoker: Whatever, we’re in a bar, go outside if you don’t like it.
    Non-smoker: But I paid 10 bucks to see this band.
    Smoker: then deal with it.

    Fast-forward to 2008:
    Non-smoker: Dude, you can’t smoke in here.
    Smoker: But I paid 25 bucks to see this band.
    Non-smoker: so take a smoke break and come back.
    Smoker: But I’ve got rights.
    Non-smoker: Deal with it.

    I agree it is hard to tell if we have improved things by switching which crowd feels put upon.

  53. re: which crowd feels put upon.

    Of course, the major difference is that now we are putting the burden upon the active participant where it used to be placed upon the passive participant. Somehow I feel more comfortable placing burden upon the choice to act rather than the choice to refrain.

    With rights come responsibilities, or something.

  54. robc,

    btw…
    Any bar/restaurant that wanted to allow smoking under your law could just declare themselves a private club. But, the frickin cities/states wont let them.

    Depends upon jurisdiction and specifics, but I know that there are private smoking clubs in Seattle, which has one of the more restrictive smoking bans (and, incidently, seems closer to the “can’t allow smoking” kind of law, so there may be a property rights challenge to it). I am fairly certain that most people would support the rights of private smoking clubs. Very few activist are zealous enough to want to keep others from smoking…most just support laws keeping the smoke out of their own face.

  55. Jennifer,

    …if it’s as dangerous as the anti-smokers claim it is…

    Or short and unable to put together a logical argument…of course that might just be restricted to the “my mom smoked and I turned out okay” crowd.

    [/snark]

  56. And, yes, that was totally ad hominem.

    But come on.
    There’s so much hyperbole Jennifer’s post it is hard to know where to start.

  57. …in Jennifer’s…

    Someone’s rule goes here…joe’z, robz, I furget.

  58. The death of this girl was tragic, but what’s almost worse is the way it is simply being abused by the antismoking lobby for their own ends. She had asthma, and asthma has many different sorts of “triggers” for different people. It’s unlikely that smoke was a trigger for her since she was regularly working in a bar that would get much smokier in the course of an evening than it was at that early point (remember, the DJ was still “setting up”) and she said nothing about smoke.

    The smoke connection is purely a concoction by antismoking extremists seeking to take advantage of her unfortunate and sad death. It’s just a small variation on the abusive game they play with children, using them as weapons against their parents. The idea is to present a puppy dog in the hope that someone will kick it and make themselves look bad.

    She had an asthma attack and it happened by pure chance that it occurred while she was at work in a bar. It could just as easily have happened out on a bar patio in the winter (at which point a “lack of patio heaters” could have been blamed), as she was parking her car in a parking garage (at which point the anti-car folks could claim she was killed by automobile fumes), or after she’d jogged (asthma attacks ARE often brought on by exercise you know).

    Her death is simply being exploited, much to the harm and detriment of the people she worked with who were probably her friends, and much to the potential advantage of lawyers who will seek to cash in either on her death or on similar ones that occur in ANY situation where smoking is allowed… regardless of exposure or whether the victim was a quiet smoker him/herself. Antismokiing lobbyists have been pushing the concept of fear at employers for a long time: “Your employees will SUE you when they get sick from ETS!” and this is just another chip in the game to them. They care nothing for the people involved.

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”
    http://www.TheTruthIsALie.com

  59. Maybe I should have been more clear: Since smoking is unlikely to harm someone off a restaurant/bar property, and they can avoid harm to the nonsmoking customers they invite onto their property by simply warning them that they allow smoking in their business, the government shouldn’t be involved.

  60. economist,

    You were clear.

    Your “shouldn’t” is still a non-sequitor since it does not address the issue of whose rights the government is trampling.

    I am claiming that it is the smokers, not the business owners. It is not a property rights issue.

    The debate about whether or not they should trample either’s rights is separate to the debate about whose rights these smoking bans infringe upon.

    IMHO, there is not a property rights claim to be made. You have done nothing to demonstrate why it is the property owners, rather than the smokers, who are having their rights restricted.

  61. Thank you Mr. Sullum, Mr. McFadden and LighteningBoy for the above ammunition. A city councilman is trying to institute a near Calabas extent smoking ban (outdoor dining patios, small outdoor shopping malls, city sidewalks, “everywhere there are children present”) in my little city of La Mesa, CA, and I am fighting him. I had been using Dave Hitts’ riposte “Name Three” to the claim of “63,000 ETS deaths per year”, until an Anti one-upped me at a meeting with this incident.

    Copies of your comments will go to every member of the smoking ban study committee and to my city council.

  62. Interesting, there is almost NO statistically significant correlation of asthma with smoking (and even some studies showing NEGATIVE correlations), and in fact, I personally know some who claim starting smoking STOPPED THEIR asthma, including my new son in law. But asthma DOES correlate highly with EMOTIONAL/STRESS issues. Since smoking is often a SELF TREATMENT for STRESS, and cigarette smoke IN FACT IS 98% WATER VAPOR(!), this DOES make sense. And, many folks ARE highly suggestible, and get PHYSICAL symptoms due merely to their ‘beliefs’. This used to be called ‘hysterical’ somatic symptoms.

    “Luparello et al.(1971) instructed a group (40) of asthmatics and a similarly sized control group that they were participating in a study of air pollution. It was explained that the study was to determine what concentrations of various substances would induce wheezing. The asthmatics were advised that they would be inhaling five different concentrations of an irritant or an allergen that had previously been determined as a contributing cause of their asthma attacks. Although both asthmatics and controls were given only five NON-ALLERGENIC SALINE(caps MINE!) solutions to inhale, asthmatics were led to believe that each successive sample would have a higher concentration of the allergen; controls were advised that they would be inhaling pollutants which could irritate the bronchial tubes, and make it difficult for them to breathe. (caps mine again)…. SIGNIFICANT AIRWAY OBSTRUCTION OCCURRED FOR 14 of the FORTY ASTHMATIC SUBJECTS; 12 OF THESE DEVELOPED FULL BLOWN ATTACKS. (VERY INTERESTING==>) Respiratory symptoms were NOT observed in ANY of the controls. Even more interestingly, the twelve subjects that had developed full-blown attacks were told that they were being given a bronchodilator to inhale when in fact it was the SAME SALINE SOLUTION. THE CONDITION OF ALL TWELVE IMPROVED, CONFIRMING THE ROLE OF SUGGESTION IN SOME ASTHMATICS” From the book, Rampant Anti-smoking Signifies Grave Danger – Materialism Out of Control, by Vincent-Riccardo Di Pierri, PhD., Copyright Vincent-Riccardo Di Pierri, PhD 2003. This illustrates the NOCEBO effect. It is sort of the converse of the ‘placebo’ effect, but instead of positive responses based on belief that the ‘sugar pill’ is a helpful medicine (placebo effect), it is NEGATIVE PHYSICAL effects induced by BELIEF that something is ‘harmful’.

    Folks, I remember when I was younger I NEVER saw prescription drugs marketed to the public AT ALL, let alone in the AGGRESSIVE manner I see TV, and ALL print media (including so called ‘health’ information) FLOODED with this propaganda these days. And, I think the United States of America and New Zealand are the ONLY TWO countries in the WORLD that are allowing such direct marketing of pharmaceuticals to the public. The potential for nocebo effects is STAGGERING, and will bankrupt our medical care system.

    The pharmaceutical industry, especially the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (who owns Johnson and Johnson and the PATENT FOR NICODERM!) has irresponsibly spent hundreds of billions of dollars over several DECADES now, to BRAINWASH a large part of the population into the false, IRRATIONAL belief that we are being ‘killed off’ by cigarette smoke. Never mind that the so called ‘science’ of epidemiology has completely THROWN OUT ALL the criteria for REAL scientific proof of cause and effect, and all they are using are Relative Risk ratios, as so called ‘proof’ of cause and effect. Relative risk ratios are no more than COINCIDENCES, and can NOT ‘prove’ cause and effect, else I’ve proved that my rooster crowing causes the sun to come up, as there is a 100% correlation. Eating five or more hot dogs a week, drinking whole milk, and many other nonsensical correlations can be found with LUNG CANCER in the literature that are MUCH HIGHER than ‘environmental tobacco smoke’ and lung cancer. And, the ‘relative risk ratios’ they have been using to base their ‘proof’ that smokING ’causes’ lung cancer are only LESS THAN 10% – including ALL LIFE TIME HEAVY smokers. For forty years and less, 98.3% of smokERS DO NOT get lung cancer, proving CONCLUSIVELY that smoking can NOT POSSIBLY BE a ‘primary’ OR a ‘single cause’ of lung cancer, yet, we are DROWNED in propaganda that ‘smoking causes lung cancer’. And, after 40 years of smoking, the stats are converging with AGE related increases in all cancers. The standard to even DISCUSS POSSIBLE ’cause and effect’ with relative risk ratios is correlations OVER 60%. ALL other relative risk ratios for ALL other diseases in smokERS are near ZERO. ALL of the relative risk ratios reported for so called ‘second hand smoke’ are EFFECTIVELY ZERO. All the propaganda has done is created NEUROSIS and tobaccoPHOBIA among the public on a PANDEMIC scale, and it seems that ANY AND ALL turning society upside down, and ANY AND ALL EXPENSE is justified to attempt to appease people’s NEUROTIC FEARS. Children are being removed from loving parents on the basis of NON existent ‘risk’ of smoke. Belleville, IL right now is forcing 80 and 90 year old folks to hike outdoors through rain, snow, and ice, with their walkers, canes, and wheel chairs, to get 15 feet away from the nearest building, where there is NO shelter whatsoever from the elements, to ‘enjoy’ a smoke at their retirement HOMES. This is not only CRUEL, it is EVIL.

    Please do some HONEST RESEARCH on this issue. This is EXACTLY WHAT ADOLPH HITLER started with, when he was trying to ‘create’ the ‘perfect society’. Hitler is the first one who attempted to promote the idea that ‘smoking causes lung cancer’. He and his henchmen stated the philosophy, ‘tell a lie, tell it often enough, and eventually everyone will believe it.’ Guess that’s true. They were running eerily SIMILAR anti-smoking propaganda campaigns in the schools of Nazi Germany, that we are running in our own schools in the USA today. And, just as there was no way to ‘appease’ Hitler, there is NO way to ‘appease’ NEUROTICS. EVERY attempt to coddle them by removing the external stimulus onto which they’ve projected their INTERNAL psychological ‘issues’ just REINFORCES their irrational beliefs, and causes them to react to even SMALLER stimuli. Some even claim to be having physical reactions to the mere SIGHT of tobacco smoke. Smokers, try this – carry an UNLIT cigarette around in some venues. You will find some anti-smokers COMPLAINING – even if there is NO SMOKE AT ALL.

    Folks, cigarette smoke is IN FACT 98% WATER VAPOR, and ALL the chemicals in there are also WIDELY available in your FOOD, WATER, coming from the exhaust pipe of any internal combustion engine, or building materials, in THOUSANDS of times HIGHER concentrations. If you are truly ‘frightened’ of cigarette smoke, that is understandable. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent on anti-smoking propaganda over decades now, and I realize most folks did NOT ask to be brainwashed. But in reality, there is NOT ONE SHRED of REAL SCIENTIFIC basis for those fears. If you are so frightened of smoke, you must QUIT EATING, DRINKING WATER, STAY AWAY from ANY operating internal combustion engine, and watch out for formaldehyde in paneling and other chemicals in building materials. GOOD luck with that.
    LOTS more info at http://www.forces.org

  63. Lynda Farley: I Googled Luparello et al. and was able to access the entire study. Thanks. It supports my contention that a lot of people who complain that the very smell of outdoor tobacco smoke makes them ill are salivating like Pavlov’s dogs.

  64. I bought into the smoking thing in the late 80’s I quit smoking for 4 years and got asthma for those four years I could not breath couldn’t walk up the slightest bump let alone a hill and was put on all kinds of asthma med’s spent a fortune tiill I started smoking again and threw away all the med’s I can run, jump on the trampoline with my grandkids, dance and breath with out med’s just a smoke whole lot cheaper even with the extotion taxes they impose and not nearly as many chemicals as the medication that didn’t work or the dr bills or the hospital bills that I had the four years I quit. I’m not making them rich any more I think that is the whole thing in a nutshell they can’t make as much money if we leave smoking alone so they are paying the gov to kill us off by baning smoking. just my opinion. these greedy people would rather lie than loose money

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