Smoking Bans

Another Multi-City Study Finds No Link Between Smoking Bans and Heart Attack Rates

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Two weeks ago (while I was camping in Colorado), Michael Siegel highlighted a study presented at the American Heart Association's annual meeting that further undermines widely publicized claims that smoking bans lead to immediate, dramatic reductions in heart attack rates. As I have been saying since anti-tobacco activists began making these claims in 2003, hundreds of jurisdictions have smoking bans, and you would expect heart attack rates to decline in some of them purely by chance while rising or remaining essentially unchanged in others. If you focus only on the jurisdictions where heart attacks happen to fall substantially—such as Helena, Montana, or Pueblo, Colorado—it is not hard to create a misleading impression. But as Siegel notes, "The studies which have systematically examined the effect of smoking bans on heart attacks in all cities across the country that have implemented such bans have found that while heart attacks have declined in many cities, they have increased in others. The overall effect is nil, or very close to it." The new study (PDF), by Robin Mathews of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, fits this pattern.

Mathews looked at heart attack rates among people 65 and older (measured by hospital admissions and Medicare claims) in 74 U.S. cities the year before and the year after the implementation of smoking bans. Over all, there was a 3 percent decline. In his presentation of the study, Mathews concludes that "the measured impact of [smoking bans] on AMI [acute myocardial infarction] rates after ban implementation was less than previously estimated from published literature." That's a bit of an understatement, for several reasons. First, ban boosters have cited reductions as big as 47 percent—more than 15 times the change Mathews found. Second, Mathews did not compare the cities with smoking bans to cities without smoking bans, so we don't know whether heart attacks fell more in the first group than in the second. (Siegel notes that a 3 percent drop is smaller than the nationwide declines seen in recent years.) Third, when Mathews restricted his analysis to the 43 cities with laws that represented "a meaningful increase in restrictiveness," he found no statistically significant decline in heart attacks. That means heart attacks fell more in cities that made insignificant changes to their laws than in cities that tightened restrictions in a way that had a practical impact—which makes no sense if smoking bans really do drive down heart attack rates. Nevertheless, Siegel writes in a follow-up post, "a number of anti-smoking researchers" argue that Mathews' study "actually supports the prior research." Mathews himself, who says one of his research goals was "to validate the existing effect estimate," evidently was hoping for more politically convenient results as well.

As Siegel notes, those are the results that tend to be published in scientific journals and publicized in the general press:

It seems clear that the explanation for the discrepancy [between published studies and broader analyses like Mathews'] is publication bias. There are many factors operating which discourage researchers from reporting "negative" findings. It is also much more difficult to get negative findings published, especially on this topic. No researchers are running out to publish a study showing no decline in heart attacks following a smoking ban.  

No matter how biologically implausible it is to expect big drops in heart attacks immediately after smoking bans take effect, tobacco control researchers, journal editors, anti-smoking activists, public health officials, and health reporters all want it to be true—so much so that a CDC-commissioned report issued by the Institute of Medicine two years ago endorsed this basic story, ignoring a nationwide analysis that found heart attacks were as likely to rise in cities with smoking bans as they were to fall. (That study, available at the time as a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, was later published by the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.) The authors of the IOM report hedged their bets by declining to estimate the magnitude of the effect, leaving open the possibility that it is in practice indistinguishable from zero. That way they never have to set the record straight.

Christopher Snowdon has more here.

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  1. I appreciate your consternation at the agricultural City-State taking away your leisure activity; it did that too when it took away a life gamboling through the forest and plains, with the gathering of needs so easy it took only a couple hours of work all day.

    It was a Non-State sociopolitical typology. The Original Affluent Society.

    But then these faux Live Free or Die people get upset when I say that. I’m still trying to figure it out.

    1. HEY YA HEY YA HEY YA WHITE INDIAN GATHER HEAP FOOD FOR FEW HOURS THEN DRINK FIREWATER REST OF DAY AND TALK TO SPIRIT GUIDE

      1. Got a problem with the immense leisure and luxury of the Original Affluent Society, city-slickin’ poodle boy?

        Need another can of city-lized ALPO opened for you?

        The Original Affluent Society
        Marshall Sahlins
        Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology Emeritus
        University of Chicago
        http://www.primitivism.com/original-affluent.htm

    2. you are such a faker…the real Honkey Native always uses ALL CAPS!

      Decent first go…keep practicing and get back to us. We’ll keep your resume on file.

      1. Get tired thinking much eating that city-lized ALPO factory food?

        1. City-Lizard Factory Food….Mmmm reptile….!

    3. I believe…

      – that to have a friend, a man must be one.

      – that all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.

      – that God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.

      – in being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right.

      – that a man should make the most of what equipment he has.

      – that ‘this government of the people, by the people, and for the people’ shall live always.

      – that men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.

      – that sooner or later…somewhere…somehow…we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.

      – that all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.

      – in my Creator, my country, my fellow man.

      1. “that men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.”

        Who gets to decide this and how to they arrive at the decision?

        1. The right people, of course.

        2. Well, he said “should” instead of must. Above, he said man “must” gather the firewood. Maybe he’s just hoping man will be charitable and caring?

          Fuck. Where did my cynicism go?

          1. Above, he said man “must” gather the firewood.

            Nope….that what the women are for! Now where’s that sandwich?

  2. Whatever. BIGGER warning labels. That you can see from space.

    1. What if we burned into the retinas of everyone in America some sort of anti-tobacco message? Preferably with disturbing 3-D anti-tobacco imagery? So everyone would see these messages and imagery all of their waking hours?

      1. What if we burned down every building in the country, killed something like 95% of the populace, and spent our time hugging baby deer in the woods? That would fix it, I think.

        1. That’s a good start, but I still think we’d better burn the anti-smoking message into the retinas of the survivors. And, while we’re at it, those of the deer, as well.

          1. It might be OK to smoke, as long as you don’t grow the tobacco using agriculture. I’m not convinced that your solution is necessary.

            1. Can we distill firewater?

              1. Man, I really get under your skins.
                Delicious!

                1. Are you posting from a smartphone?

                  1. Are you?

                    1. I asked you first.

                    2. Are you a puppet? You dance like one.

                    3. Did you find your way back, rectal? Change ISPs so your IP address changed?

                    4. C’mon…a line like this should be used quarterly at most. Don’t beat it to death.

                      I have high hopes for you.

                2. Re: White Imbecile,

                  Man, I really get under your skins.

                  Actually you’re like the shit that gets under my fingernail when the toilet paper fails.

                  1. Thanks for the visual.

                  2. How do you wipe your ass, OM?

                    You must be seriously uncoordinated or maybe you’re one of those “swirlers.”

                3. Who are you again?

                4. Not so much. You’re kind of entertaining.

            2. Let me brand your retina, and all will make sense to you, Warty. Besides, Gaia is entitled to a little vengeance.

              1. I’m starting to get a little uncomfortable with your obsession with mutilating retinas.

                1. It’s not me. I’m speaking on behalf of the insane anti-smoking lobby and Mother Gaia.

                  1. As long as it isn’t coming from your neighbor’s dog.

      2. …with disturbing 3-D anti-tobacco imagery?

        A multi-hued (like the “3D” on trading cards) penis waving in your face? Perhaps with a lit smoke in the pee-hole?

        1. So long as it contributes to you being disgusted at the very idea of smoking, sure.

          1. Wonder how Tony’s gonna feel about that imagery? Conflicted is my guess.

  3. The smoking bans accomplished one thing – they tilted the market towards reality. Before the ban approximately 100% of restaurants allowed smoking whereas no more than 30% of the population smoked. I would like to see the bans lifted now, and find out how many establishments would go back to the stale ash tray smell that we had everywhere just 10 years ago. My hunch is that the vast majority of non-smokers would demand smoke free environments now that they have experienced it, and restaurant owners would allow smoking at their own peril.

    1. Isn’t smoke in a restaurant an assault on my body and health, anyway?

      1. No kidding! Bad body odor, too much perfume, ethnic smells, they cause me to have nausea. Those people are clearly assaulting me.

        And don’t even get me started on the psychological scarring that fat chicks cause.

        1. And GARLIC!

      2. Isn’t being in a restaurant I’m smoking in bad for your health, anyway?

      3. Ban cooking in restaurants!

    2. The smoking bans jim crow laws accomplished one thing -they tilted the market towards reality. Before the ban approximately 100% of restaurants allowed smoking negroes whereas no more than 30% of the population smokes is negro.

      1. Why you be callin me a negro? My knees don’t be growin.

      2. Last I checked, black people weren’t black by choice. Nor were/are black people killing non-blacks simply by existing (sub: being used as directed for cigs).

    3. Re: Lost in AZ,

      Before the ban approximately 100% of restaurants allowed smoking whereas no more than 30% of the population smoked.

      So before the ban there was a ban on non-smokers? I don’t understand your logic.

      By the same token, a ban on gay people would also reflect reality, would it not?

      1. Absolute proof that the left nannies are not at all concerned with health, but with using force against those who they find icky.

        All of the money and resources wastedspent on implementing smoking bans shows that there is CLEARLY enough demand for non-smoking establishments. Opening a non-smoking bar/restaurant in a world that doesn’t outright ban smoking CREATES BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE TO MAKE MONEY AND START A NEW MARKET, yet they take the force everyone to do it route. No new restaurants. No new jobs. Because going to a non-smoking bar isn’t their concern; forcing everyone to go to a non-smoking bar is, and even if they’ve fooled themselves in to thinking that going to a non-smoking bar is an inherent good right, waiting for the market to decide is just more than they can bear, even with, in time, the results are EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANTED ALL ALONG.

        These are the worst kind of leftists there are. I’m not sure that even Obama fits in this category.

    4. My guess is that smoking/non-smoking sections were sufficient to satisfy both parties.

      1. NO! EVERYONE IS MUCH HAPPIER NOW! WHETHER THEY LIKE IT OR NOT!

      2. Not really. Smoke has this way of traveling through the air. It’s weird.

  4. if the govt can ban the consumption of legal product A on private property, it can – and will – move to ban the consumption of legal products B, C, and D. Sooner or later.

    1. You mean like foods with trans fats? Get real, that’ll never happen.

      1. What’s next?

      2. Like salt?

        1. or Happy Meals?

    2. But its unfair that I can’t go to my favorite meal: an appetizer (deep fried macaroni and cheese), entree (quesadilla burger) and dessert (mega-sized deep dish sundae) packed 6,190 calories and 187 grams of saturated fat. The USDA recommends that adults our age eat roughly 2,000 calories per day, and no more than 20 grams of saturated fat. This means our single meal packed more than three times the daily recommended calories, and nearly 10 times the saturated fat suggested by federal guidelines.

      http://abcnews.go.com/WN/Healt…..761&page=1

      Because the second hand smoke is going to kill me.

  5. My hunch is that the vast majority of non-smokers would demand smoke free environments now that they have experienced it, and restaurant owners would allow smoking at their own peril.

    Like how Germans still hate Jews, and shops that sell Israeli produce there still get their windows smashed.

    The system works.

    1. Huh? Is that supposed to pass for logical inference?

      As a private consumer I have the right to choose to spend my money or not spend my money at a restaurant or bar. As a rule, I do not spend my money at bars that allow smoking. That is my choice. The bar owner has the right to allow smoking in certain states, and they have made that choice assuming it will be better for their bottom line. 10 years ago there was no such thing as a bar that did not allow smoking, and I either had to deal with smoke or not go to a bar.

      If the bans were lifted now, then the private decisions of restaurant owners and potential diners would be allowed to create a market that would include smokey and smoke free restaurants (something we did not have 10 years ago).

      1. Re: Lost In AZ,

        As a private consumer I have the right to choose to spend my money or not spend my money at a restaurant or bar. As a rule, I do not spend my money at bars that allow smoking. That is my choice.

        Then I don’t understand why would you be for the ban if you were already choosing venues that do not allow smoking. What is logical for you would also be logical for many; the ban would have been totally unnecessary as sufficient patrons spend their money only in those non-smoking venues.

        If the bans were lifted now, then the private decisions of restaurant owners and potential diners would be allowed to create a market that would include smokey and smoke free restaurants (something we did not have 10 years ago).

        Sure, but what makes you think it would not have been so without the ban? Why would you trust people’s choices now but not before the bans? What changed? Did people change?

        And what makes you think that busybodies would not keep at it after the ban is lifted?

        The point is that one should place their trust on freedom rather than imposition, because once you enable the tyrant, it later becomes very difficult to restore sanity.

        1. Even better, OM, if enough people would start to use their wallets instead of government force, maybe even an entirely new market of non-smoking bars/restaurants would be created.

      2. (something we did not have 10 years ago).

        Bullshit. We had smoke free restaurants before the ban.

        Not many, but first movers deserve the rewards.

      3. 10 years ago there was no such thing as a bar that did not allow smoking, and I either had to deal with smoke or not go to a bar.

        Pity party for Lost in AZ.

        Of course, now smokers have the same problem as you used to, and you don’t give a shit. Tyranny 101, I suppose.

  6. The concept of the micromort usefully illustrates the risk of secondhand smoke.

    Activities that increase the death risk by one micromort, and their associated cause of death:
    smoking 1.4 cigarettes (cancer, heart disease)[5]
    drinking 0.5 liter of wine (cirrhosis of the liver)[5]
    spending 1 hour in a coal mine (black lung disease)[5]
    spending 3 hours in a coal mine (accident)[5]
    living 2 days in New York or Boston (air pollution)[5]
    living 2 months in Denver (cancer from cosmic radiation)[5]
    living 2 months with a smoker (cancer, heart disease)[5]
    drinking Miami water for 1 year (cancer from chloroform)[5]

    1. Two hours on hit and run (blood pressure)

      1. Two hours on hit and run (blood pressure) (massive brain cell loss).

    2. I’m calling bullshit on the wine. 500mL is a fairly small dose.

      I’m assuming this came from some study, that might have a link or something, right?

    3. Oh I see, that’s from the wikipedia article for “micromort”. The source referenced for those claims is a 1979 article in Technology Review, which doesn’t give any idea where those numbers came from (the author does make a passing reference to just preparing the table himself, with no indication of what statistical methods he used to measure these things). I’m flagging that source as bogus in the Wikipedia article.

      1. Before you do, look at the first 2 Wilson articles (if you can). I can’t access them, but I can get the abstract for the second:

        Microrisks for medical decision analysis. International Journal Of Technology Assessment In Health Care 1989; Vol. 5 (3), pp. 357-70.

        “Many would agree on the need to inform patients about the risks of medical conditions or treatments and to consider those risks in making medical decisions. The question is how to describe the risks and how to balance them with other factors in arriving at a decision. In this article, we present the thesis that part of the answer lies in defining an appropriate scale for risks that are often quite small. We propose that a convenient unit in which to measure most medical risks is the microprobability, a probability of 1 in 1 million. When the risk consequence is death, we can define a micromort as one microprobability of death.

        Medical risks can be placed in perspective by noting that we live in a society where people face about 270 micromorts per year from interactions with motor vehicles. Continuing risks or hazards, such as are posed by following unhealthful practices or by the side-effects of drugs, can be described in the same micromort framework. …Once the risks are described in the microrisk form, they can be evaluated in terms of the patient’s willingness-to-pay to avoid them. …Microrisk analysis is based on the proposition that precision in language permits the soundness of thought that produces clarity of action and peace of mind.”

  7. Jacob, why is the first link for a totally unrelated article about Rick Perry?

  8. Secondhand smoke has a half life of two trillion light years. That’s your problem right there.

    1. But what about thirdhand smoke? I hear that’s the deadly stuff.

      1. We have yet to hear the dangers of fourth-hand smoke. That shit probably causes cancer just thinking about it.

        1. If you think fourth-hand smoke is bad, Mr. FIFY, you clearly have not been warned of the dangers of fifth-hand smoke. There is nicotine in the fish! All those smokers that have the audacity of urinating, that makes it through the sewer system…there is nicotine in the fishes! It’s in the fishes! Big Tobacco is in the fishes!
          …Sadly, I wish I was making that up, someone handed me a pamphlet about it. According to ASH, fourth-hand smoke is a smoker’s breath.

          1. Is the science settled on n-th-hand smoke?

            1. Sorry, guess my sarcasm did not come across, but to continue the sarcasm, “n-the hand smoke” is the visual appeal of tobacco use! Photos of tobacco users must be purged in order to keep the kids away from tobacco! Churchill having a cigar may inspire the youth to take up smoking! A crusty, old Brit may lead the glorious youth of today to the bad habits (or lethal enjoyment) of generations past! Seeing the man that illustrated “Goodnight Moon” smoking will lead to the death of 80 billion children, and the cigarette must be photo-shopped out! So, in a way, yes, the science is settled, I know that for a fact…a child saw me smoking and over 10 billion people have died! “n-th equals visual appeal…at least according to ANR (Americans for Non-Smoker’s Rights and ASH Action on Smoking and Health)!Sorry if I went all “anti-tobacco” for a minute, but I do get worked up when it comes to “settled” science! Since you have conversed with a horrible, “blacked-lunged” smoker, you are not free to die of “x-th hand smoke:” the cancer that is caused by replying to a smoker’s comment…

              1. “Now free to die of x-th hand smoke…

  9. DENIER! The Science is Settled!!!

  10. Off-Topic: PZ Myers agrees with Sam Harris, Libertarians are selfish, evil idiots. http://freethoughtblogs.com/ph…..-the-rich/

    1. Almost 3 years ago, Penn Jillette had an argument with Sam Harris regarding Obama and Palin:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccfqpwfvYmw

    2. That’s right, we’re selfish because we refuse to take shit from people.

      1. You killed and drove off the First Families from their land to make privation property for the invasive and occupational agricultural City-Statists.

        “If we are to wage a campaign against these Indians the end proposed should be their extermination, or their removal beyond the lakes of the Illinois River. The same world would scarcely do for them and us.” ~governor of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson

    3. Why do you think I care what someone else thinks about my motives?

      Are you really that desperate for recognition? I’m not, maybe that’s the bigger problem, you live a life defined by your impression of how others see you.

      1. What are you talking about? Are you high or something?

    4. Favorite Pharyngula quote, hands-down:

      While we are talking about libertarian atheists, did anyone see Penn Jillette on Piers Morgan the other night propose that the way to deal with the fact that 1 out of 7 Americans are using food stamps is to remember that “that’s 6 Americans able to help them!”, (or something to that extent)? Ie, the government shouldn’t help them; Good Old Fashioned Charity will do the trick. You know, because that really worked in the nineteenth century.

      I love Penn, but it is hard for me to see atheists who place such an emphasis on being reality-based make statements that, to me, suggest they are completely delusional when it comes to social reality. Anyone want to try to explain this to me?

      1. Why I remember the great 19th century starve-fest, in which 14% of the American public were piled in giant graves.

        Oh, wait, that didnt happen?

    5. Amazing how much hate this simple, elegant thought has gotten on that supposed “free thought” blog:

      I just want all you motherfuckers to leave my money, my sexual preferences, and my religious beliefs alone. And I don’t want to have to pay to support yours.

      1. Me too. A pox on politicians and meddling do gooders

    6. Tell everyone “if you manage to get really really rich you’ll have this amazing life of privilege and lack of responsibility and nobody’ll touch your assets” and let them think that they actually have a chance of getting there, and they’ll overlook the fact that they’re being shorn like sheep by their peers.

      the generally irrational hope of someday becoming rich that people have that combines to oppose taxing the rich.

      Certain members of the extremely rich have managed to convince enough voters that taxes on the rich are wicked and socialist and Jebus cries when the rich are taxed.

      Seriously, is there anyone on the left who realizes that Americans generally support lower taxes for reasons other than false consciousness? Maybe something like how higher taxes for the rich are a prelude to higher taxes for everyone (c.f. federal and state income taxes), or how the public has near-zero confidence in our federal “leaders,” or how most interactions with the government are thoroughly painful (DMV, USPS, IRS, police).

      That also, you know, makes sense when you think about a VAT (arguably more efficient taxation) or the mortgage interest tax deduction. It’s not that our taxation system is great, it’s just that people in general want to keep more of their money and have no reason to trust that a change in the system will be in their best interests.

    7. Also, I’m just going to leave this here:

      If you’re an objectivist, you believe any violence is wrong. That is of course stupid. If no other means works then violence is justified.

      Violence: always a justifiable option

      </not_even_an_objectivist>

      1. Amazing……simply amazing. Notice the disconnect?

        First of all, Rand (like the majority of H&R regulars, I’d bet) was a champion of violence as needed for self-defense.

        Secondly, “If no other means works then violence is justified.”???? So, if he can’t persuade me, he’ll just fucking kill me?

  11. While I don’t support our involvement in the Libyan conflict, this is a heartworming story of free enterprise by the Libyan rebels:

    How the Libyan rebels bought a miniature drone on the Internet

    “What was happening with [the Libyan rebels] was they’d be driving down roads, getting shot at and losing people along the way,” said Barlow, now the president of Zariba Security, an Ottawa, Canada-based company that works closely with the drone’s manufacturer, Aeryon Labs. Barlow spoke with The Envoy on Thursday. “They wanted to see, where are Gadhafi’s forces so they did not end up driving right into them.”

    The rebels first tried a number of different methods to acquire better visibility of the battlefield. “They asked NATO for imaging. NATO could not provide that, it was deemed too sensitive,” Barlow said. They then rigged up a toy helicopter and strapped a camera under it, but that didn’t work.

    “So they started to look around for drones–little ones–they could pilot themselves.”

    1. I don’t see any prices on Aeryon’s website. I suppose that means these things are not being mass produced.

      1. The article says $100,000-$200,000 depending on specs. Also delivery into war zones is extra.

        There’s also the small matter of the Canadian govt requiring an export license for some reason, even though the drone does not contain any weaponry.

        1. I happen to work with the industry. Lots of sensor stuff is potentially ITAR controlled.

          1. Not that that has anything to do with Canada’s actions. Just saying they might do something similar. No idea.

  12. Threadjack: ESPN causes controversy by publishing an image of Michael Vick Photoshopped to make him look white to discuss if racism is a factor in the perception of him.

    Personally, I can’t imagine why anyone would do such a thing.

  13. OK wow that makes a lot of sense dude.

    http://www.real-anon.at.tc

  14. Who cares about heart attack rates. I don’t want to smell that fucking nasty shit when I go out for dinner. I hope all smokers die of heart attacks – painfully.

    1. die, slaver

    2. Then don’t go out to dinner, Sherlock.

    3. Wow, the restaurant that I like to patronize has this system installed called “ventilation” that can suck the smoke from an adjacent table which means that I can never smell it!

      If Jemez Springs New Mexico can have such a modern device, it’s a wonder that it hasn’t caught on with the rest of the US!

      … Hobbit

      1. Careful, dude. Rather is going to track you down and murder you now.

        1. I’ve never been stalked before. Should I feel threatened or honored?

          … Hobbit

          1. A few of the lads here are paranoid-delusional. They see a “rather” behind every tree, tapping messages on a “smart” phone, just for them. If only they knew…that those comments were coming…from their own house!

    4. Esteban|8.26.11 @ 9:27PM|#
      …”I don’t want to smell that fucking nasty shit when I go out for dinner.”…

      And you’re willing to pull a gun because you ‘don’t like’ something.
      Please tell me the color of you hair. I want to be able to use a gun to forbid you to eat at various restaurants.

      1. Another anti-smoking/pro-statism pussy. Just what we need.

        1. Everybody is pro-statist here.

          Unless you happen to appreciate a Non-State sociopolitical typology.

          1. Or you like to capitalize PRIV anytime those letters appear in that particular order. Although that may just be a symptom of tourette’s.

    5. I don’t want to smell that fucking nasty shit when I go out for dinner.

      Then bring your own supply of air with you.

      BYOA

    6. I don’t want to smell that fucking nasty shit when I go out for dinner.

      There’s this new thing called “private property” that you may not be familiar with, which is a wonderful means of settling problems such as this. Wikipedia has a nice article on it.

      Under this “private property” system, you can go to a restaurant whose “owner” doesn’t allow smoking. And then you don’t have to smell nasty shit, unless the person next to you orders cream of broccoli soup at least.

  15. Threadjack:

    Mayor Bloomberg’s very brief libertarian moment regarding the evacuation order:

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg said there was little authorities could do to force people to leave.
    “We do not have the manpower to go door-to-door and drag people out of their homes,” he said. “Nobody’s going to get fined. Nobody’s going to go to jail. But if you don’t follow this, people may die.”

    Reality is a bitch sometimes.

    1. And just a thought: I wonder how many of those homes in the storm’s path have federal flood insurance. We may see yet another libertarian moment before long.

    2. So you can’t risk your long-term health by eating transfats or sodium, but you can risk your short-term survival by sticking around for a hurricane. Got it, Mike.

      Mandatory evacuations in the face of severe natural disasters are way down on the totem pole of threats to liberty IMHO. Even leaving aside looting concerns, people who stay behind are ultimately risking the lives of the ones who have to rescue their asses after the disaster hits, too.

      Yes, yes, I know that no one is obligated to rescue people who choose to stay put during a hurricane or a volcanic eruption, but that’s how our society works.

      1. Yes, yes, I know that no one is obligated to rescue people who choose to stay put during a hurricane or a volcanic eruption, but that’s how our society works.

        And society works that way totally without government too (not that Im an anarchist). Same thing as Penn’s comment above about 6 people to help the 7th out. Thats the way society works.

      2. Clearly you’ve never been through a god’s honest natural disaster, then. The looting starts as soon as the worst is over (yet before the end), and there are very good chances that in a real storm (not this tropical storm bullshit) you may not be able to get BACK to your home if you leave.

        And it isn’t how our society works. In areas that have hurricanes on the regular, it’s well known that once shit starts to hit the fan, emergency services are shut the fuck down. It is as it should be.

        Any government body trying to force me out of my own home because something bad might happen due to a natural disaster can lick my ass crack.

  16. Regardless if it mother nature, it’s Obumba-gumba-dumba’s fault…
    I despise that FALKING lying mnkey.
    He said he’ll go after Wall Street the moment he be seated, to date I’m still waiting!!!
    The lying monkey didn’t deliver!!! I wanted him to NUKE the entire Wall Street blocks off from the face of the earth and hunt down all them parasitic Wall Streeting bankers!!! Instead, he stole our TRILLION$$$$ hard earned tax dollars and handed to them Wall Streeting mother FALKERS!!! I hate’m!!! hate’m!!!! I want Wall Street gone!!! I want all them Wall Streeting scums collected and dunked slowly in giant pot filled with hot crackling SUPER-HOT crude oil and FRIED super crispy!!!

    1. Brackets. You [ISRAELI-AMERICAN MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX] forgot the [EMPIRE] brackets.

    2. Brackets. You forgot the [EMPIRE] brackets!

    3. It would have been more convincing if you had misspelled “turd”.

  17. Very true Mr. Sullum, and pretty much exactly the same conclusion Dave Kuneman and I arrived at in our own multi-state 2005 study that flatly contradicted Helena but was rejected by the BMJ that such knowledge was “nothing new.” See the ACSH “Facts And Fears” column for more on that:

    http://www.acsh.org/factsfears…..detail.asp

    It’s also worth mentioning the 2009 NBER/RAND/Stanford study that duplicated, extended, formalized, and corroborated our work with a similarly large hundred-thousand case + population.

    Smoking bans are based on lies. Big lies, small lies, questionable lies, lies that are SOOOO excruciatingly close to the truth that it’s almost a lie to call them lies except for the fact that the microscopic untruth is crucial to the misleading message meant to be conveyed.

    Helena was just one more of the lies.

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”

  18. So, is anyone else excited that it looks like even Obama isn’t dumb enough to oppose the Keystone pipeline?

    I relish the day when we can wave a massive middle finger in Saudi Arabia’s face. Also, how funny will it be that China is eventually going to have to become embroiled in Middle East “peacekeeping”? Have fun with that kids, tell us how it goes!

    1. Do you have a job yet?

  19. This is hardly surprising, the claim that ‘smoking bans’ (public smoking bans, right? I don’t think anyplace has banned smoking in one’s own home and curtilage) led to such immediate results seemes hard to believe on its face.

    But does it matter? Smoking is not something you can do without impacting others. If you could smoke with a bubble around your head to collect it then you should be able to do it around me and others. It’s like chronic flatulence, but worse, since there is at least a rational basis to think it could be harmful. In tort law one can be guilty of a trespass even when it is just particulates you are dumping on my land, your smoke gets in people’s eyes, lungs, on their clothes. You don’t have the ‘right’ to so impact me. So I’m fine with it being banned in public.

    For the record, while I support smoking in public bans I don’t support bans on smoking in private establishments like eateries and such. That’s egregious.

    1. …”But does it matter? Smoking is not something you can do without impacting others.”…

      EXTERNALITIES!
      COMMERCE CLAUSE!
      Go away.

      1. Sorry, direct impacts fall even under the very low libertarian radar. These are local bans, so no commerce clause discussion necessary.

        As to your juvenile “go away” I’ve been posting here since long before you were and will be long afterwards. Now run back to LGF.

        1. “Sorry, direct impacts fall even under the very low libertarian radar.”

          What “direct impacts”?
          As to your ‘seniority’, please tell about it to someone who cares.

          1. Direct impacts. Smokers blowing particles directly onto the person of others. This shouldn’t be hard, even for you.

            “please tell about it to someone who cares”

            WTF, are you ESL? That would explain some things…

            1. MNG|8.27.11 @ 4:33PM|#
              “Direct impacts. Smokers blowing particles directly onto the person of others. This shouldn’t be hard, even for you.”
              Like those who eat garlic, exhaling particles with a certain smell? Like that?

              “WTF, are you ESL? That would explain some things…”
              Uh, care to read what I posted again?
              Are you ESL? That might explain some of what looks like idiocy.

              1. Again, I don’t see groups of people huddled at doorways eating garlic and breathing heavily into the air around my head as I walk through, nor am I aware of any rational basis which to think that would be as harmful as exists for cigs. Nice try.

                1. “Again, I don’t see groups of people huddled at doorways eating garlic and breathing heavily into the air around my head as I walk through,”
                  Nor would that be the case for those who smoke absent the regulations.

                  “nor am I aware of any rational basis which to think that would be as harmful as exists for cigs.”
                  Nice dodge.
                  Now try proving the harm of SHS.
                  Not even a nice try.

                2. Here we go with the “head level” crap again.

        2. I guess we have to ban cats and peanuts too, since people can have severe allergic reactions to the particles they emit. And unlike secondhand smoke, the danger is actually known to exist, not merely conjecture.

          1. There’s plenty of evidence to base a rational conjecture of harm from second hand smoke. I also don’t know many people who walk around public places waving cats and peanuts around.

            But nice try.

            1. You don’t have to wave them around to cause allergic reactions, bub. And there are plenty of both in public places.

              But nice dodge.

              1. Plenty of cats in public places?

                I don’t want to know where you’ve been hanging out Tulpa…

                Seriously though you’re comparing cats/peanuts which cause reactions to a small, specially sensitive group of people with smoking which can be rationally conjectured to have negative impacts in general on people (including those allergic to cats and peanuts).

                Also, I think it plain that one who wants to avoid smoke is much more likely to come across a group of people huddled in public projecting it into the air than a person avoiding peanuts and cats would come across people huddled in public with cats and peanuts at arms length…

                Mind you apart from health concerns there are ‘little things’ like me not wanting the stink of your smoking projected onto me, my clothes, my hair and such. You don’t get the right to impact me in such a way unless I’m on your property.

                1. Ah, but cat dander and peanut dust are known to cause severe effects on that subset of people, which is not really that small. Despite scads of studies on the effects of secondhand smoke there’s no conclusive evidence that it has any medical effect on anyone, conjecture notwithstanding.

                  Mind you apart from health concerns there are ‘little things’ like me not wanting the stink of your smoking projected onto me, my clothes, my hair and such.

                  If the justification for the bans is simply that some people find it unpleasant, then you’re back to banning flatulence, body odor, annoying laughs, whiny voices, etc. Your clothes aren’t going to be damaged by walking past people smoking in a public place.

                  1. “which is not really that small”

                    It’s certainly smaller than the set of people who can be negatively effected by smoke, namely, all people. And, again, people smoking in public is far more common than people waving cats and peanuts around.

                    “no conclusive evidence”

                    According to the Tobacco Institute maybe, but there is plenty of evidence to base a rational conjecture on it being harmful.

                    ” banning flatulence, body odor, annoying laughs, whiny voices”

                    Unlike smoking much of this unintentional behavior, much more probelmatic to ban.

                    Bottom line: smoking is something that directly does not stop at my nose, and that is where your rights do stop.

                    1. “According to the Tobacco Institute maybe, but there is plenty of evidence to base a rational conjecture on it being harmful.”

                      Let’s see:
                      Red herring and innunendo.
                      About standard for you.

                  2. I’m not even sure the mere unpleasantness can’t be the basis for banning it from public places. After all, it is the mere pleasure smokers get from smoking on one side of the ledger. They can’t engage in that pleasure in public without lessening the pleasure of those who don’t want to encounter the smoke, and if the latter outweighs the former then, on public grounds, that warrants a ban imo.

                    Consider basic nuisance laws, dog barking ordninances or disorderly conduct laws, often it is the mere discomfort you cause others in violating them that is the justification for them.

                2. And dude, there are cats in public outdoors all over the place. Trust me, I wish it weren’t so.

                  In public buildings there aren’t cats, but as I said I have no problem with smoking bans in public buildings.

                  1. I don’t know where you hang out but I don’t remember the last time I passed a public entrance to a place with a bunch of people outside of it taking a cat petting break…

                    1. “I don’t know where you hang out but I don’t remember the last time I passed a public entrance to a place with a bunch of people outside of it taking a cat petting break…”

                      And this would mean what to other than an unctuous twit?
                      That as an unctuous twit you can invent a clever stawman?
                      Go away.

                    2. Er, it means that a ban of something that is harmful to many people and is very common rests on firmer ground than a ban which harmful to a smaller group and is much less common.

                      Again, do try to keep up.

                    3. …a ban on something that is harmful to many people…

                      Conjecture. It is still very debatable whether moderate to heavy exposure to second hand smoke causes any health problems. And the limited exposure one would experience in a bar or restaurant with reasonable ventilation has been linked to nothing by any reputable study I’ve seen.

                      Annoyance =/= harmful

                      And dog barking ordinances and disorderly conduct laws are bullshit interference on people’s property rights and 1st Amendment rights respectively.

                    4. Not to mention of course, that even the most favorable evidence for MNG’s conjecture assumes long-term exposure to secondhand smoke. ie, you’re choosing to go back to the same smoky bar or restaurant over and over again despite knowing what you’re inhaling. It’s not like radon where you wouldn’t know the danger till it’s too late.

                    5. And dog barking ordinances and disorderly conduct laws are bullshit interference on people’s property rights and 1st Amendment rights respectively.

                      Whoa whoa whoa. Let’s not get crazy here. Noise ordinances in a densely populated area are a must for people to be able to use and enjoy their property rights. This is one example where the natural rights maglev goes off the rails.

                    6. it means that a ban of something that is harmful to many people and is very common rests on firmer ground than a ban which harmful to a smaller group and is much less common.

                      So if something’s fairly unusual then it shouldn’t be banned?

                      Your argument above fails anyway, since peanuts and cats are not at all unusual in public places, but this is a strange principle nonetheless. I mean, that would mean it’s OK to ban knives from carry-on bags but not nunchaku because those are unusual?

                3. He must be hanging behind Krugman’s condo.

    2. If you’re on your own property, you can tell the person smoking to stop smoking or leave.

      If you’re on someone else’s private property, you can request them to tell the person to stop smoking, etc, and if they refuse you can leave their property and choose not to associate with them anymore.

      If you’re in unenclosed public property, the concentration of smoke is so slight as to be no more harmful than coffee odor or peanut dust. Unless you’re going to ban everything that sheds molecules into the air, there’s no rational basis for singling out smoke.

      So I don’t see how smoking bans make any sense from an “externality” point of view outside of enclosed public property, where I and most libertarians would have no issue with smoking bans.

      1. You don’t “shed molecules” when you smoke, you project them, when you exhale. People don’t congregate around entrances waving peanuts…

        1. You’re really scraping the bottom of the stupidity barrel here, MNG. Projected or shedded makes no difference, the particles are still floating in the air.

          1. When you smoke, you regularly blow particles into the air around head level. Particles may fall off of cats and peanuts but it’s, well, nuts to think it’s comparable.

            1. There’s something called molecular diffusion that happens in air that you might have heard of. People with cat allergies don’t have to crawl on the floor at the cat’s level to inhale the cat dander.

              It’s possible to smoke without blowing with significant force, anyway. Watch an old movie with people making smoke rings. Also, opening a sealed bag of peanuts or exhaling with peanut residue in your mouth is going to produce the same motion of peanut dust as blowing smoke does for smoke. Not that it matters because whether it’s blown or merely released into the air, it’s going to spread in a similar way.

            2. Actually we could make you happy by simply requiring smokers to sit down on the ground while smoking. In MNG physics, that would mean the smoke never reaches head level.

            3. MNG|8.27.11 @ 4:31PM|#
              “When you smoke, you regularly blow particles into the air around head level.”

              This is a laugh riot!
              After you eat garlic, “you regularly blow particles into the air around head level.”
              Yes?

    3. the tort thing is probably right and you don’t get to inflict smoke on folks if they don’t like it, but for fucks sake its just a damn cigarette, I swear if you ask me to put it out i will or at least move. i’m not a dick. here at the u of ark they have a campus wide smoking ban and the whole thing is just asinine

      1. “I swear if you ask me to put it out i will or at least move. i’m not a dick.”

        that’s cool, but these bans are for the dicks, and there are plenty of them out there, smoking (and according to Tulpa waving cats and peanuts around)

        1. I think they’re more for the really indignant types who don’t ask someone to move and instead complain about how no one here should be smoking anyway.

          it seems like a non confrontational way for people to push around smokers, probably because us smokers have that cool, dangerous air about us like James Dean that they find intimidating

        2. …but these bans are for the dicks, and there are plenty of them out there, smoking

          There are also plenty of dicks out there trying to tell people who aren’t bothering them that they’re forbidden to smoke.

          1. If by “not bothering them” you mean exhaling smelly, annoying, known carcinogens on them, then yes there aer people who want you to stop that.

            1. They’re not “known carcinogens” at secondhand smoke concentration levels.

            2. I have yet to see MNG address the fact that somebody, other than the smoker or he, owns the property where the smoking is taking place.

    4. Re: MNG,

      Smoking is not something you can do without impacting others.

      So would be farting. Let’s ban frijoles.

      If you could smoke with a bubble around your head to collect it then you should be able to do it around me and others.

      I would bet the house you would still find it disgusting.

      You don’t have the ‘right’ to so impact me[.]

      A reason why I didn’t marry a smoker. Neither did my wife. However, I certainly have no right to tell others what they can put inside their own bodies.

      1. Smoking is somewhat like farting in that offends those around you. It’s unlike it in that farting is often not intentional while smoking always is, enforcing bans is easier with smoking, it’s much more common to come across people smoking than people farting, and there is more reason to think second hand smoke to be more dangerous.

        But look, if people commonly stood around intentionally farting in public places I’d be all for coercion to stop that.

        People can do it on their own private property to their hearts content for all I care. I’m talking about in public places.

        1. Well, those who would have people arrested for farting already fucking exist.

          Unsurprisingly, they are tax-fed public school “teachers.”

          1. I was kicked off the safety patrol in 6th grade for farting in the cafeteria. Just another reason on a long list of my own personal experience which informs my hatred of public schools.

            1. Did you get reassigned to the doorknob patrol?

              1. No. Equipment manager. Turned out to be a better gig anyways. But that’s hardly the point.

        2. Farting is not really unintentional most of the time. You get the urge to do it, but usually you can delay, no? At least long enough to go somewhere where there aren’t other people around so you can let loose.

          But look, if people commonly stood around intentionally farting in public places I’d be all for coercion to stop that.

          Ah, so you’re consistent in your statism, if consistently wrong. Thus you would apply coercion to annoying laughs and screechy voices, it seems. “It’s OK to talk like Gilbert Gottfried at home, but not in a publicly accessible place.”

          People can do it on their own private property to their hearts content for all I care. I’m talking about in public places.

          The vast majority of bars and restaurants are private property…so you’d have no issue with a bar owner smoking in his own bar, would you?

  20. I guess this is the weekend links thread…

    Two Post columns on the GOP’s Perry Problems

    “Rick Perry’s rapid lead over previous Republican front-runner Mitt Romney was predictable. But it is not a good sign for Republicans hoping to reclaim the White House and further highlights the crucial battle within GOP circles: Who is the godliest of us all?

    That’s the mirror-mirror question for Republicans. Forget charisma, charm, intelligence, knowledge and that nuisance, “foreign policy experience.” The race of the moment concerns which candidate is the truest believer.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..story.html

    “I have been tough on Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s shoot-from-the-lip style. My concern is three-fold. First, I have a visceral dislike for trash-talking pols who aspire to the highest office in the country. It demeans them and coarsens our public debate when they hurl epithets at opponents and government itself. Second, it is a substitute, a verbal crutch, for smart discussion. It avoids troublesome questions about how the candidate is going to govern and conveys (as then candidate Barack Obama did) a sort of intellectual simplicity that if we just got rid of the “seedy” and “treacherous” types, we’d have smooth-sailing. And finally, it’s a political loser, especially when it comes with a heavy regional element.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..ml?hpid=z5

    1. They always tell us who they fear the most.

      1. Parker is a moderate conservative and Jennifer Rubin is a fairly staunch conservative, writing for Human Events, the Weekly Standard, etc.

        But see, you went “oh, from the Post and attacking my beloved GOP frontrunner so they must be liberals, enemy of my enemy blah blah.”

        Nice try!

        1. Conservatives are our enemies too….

          1. That doesn’t fit in to his worldview, Tulpa. If liberals are your enemies, then you MUST be a conservative.

            And he’s the one yammering on about coarsening the political conversation.

    2. It demeans them and coarsens our public debate when they hurl epithets at opponents and government itself.

      Why is the latter just as deserving of not having epithets hurled, as human beings?

    3. it is a substitute, a verbal crutch, for smart discussion.

      I don’t care who wrote this. Has this person ever listened to an Obama speech?

  21. Last, but not least, article about a film that Pip likely refers to as “that movie with the volleball scene”

    25 years later, how ‘Top Gun’ made America love war

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..story.html

    1. One of the very few movies in which that little chipmunk, Tom Cruise, actually fit the role.

      1. You missed Tropic Thunder I guess

        1. Or “Days of Thunder.”. You ever see the stature of those NASCAR drivers? With the exception of Michael Waltrip*, they’re all midgets.

          *calling Michael Waltrip a “driver” may be incorrect.

          1. Indeed. Doesn’t stop them from complaining that female drivers have an “unfair advantage” due to their weight.

    2. Re: MNG,

      25 years later, how ‘Top Gun’ made America love war

      Was also the greatest gay movie ever.

      “You can ride on my six anytime!”

      1. Was also the greatest gay movie ever.

        Other than Batman and Robin, of course.

  22. I HATE HOMELESS PEOPLE!

    I can’t find a single can of Sterno in the entire state of NJ!

    1. Never in the Boy Scouts, I take it?

  23. Expecting nanny science to be, you know, reproducible or accurate?

    That’s just mean.

  24. Doesn’t he know that cigarettes are dangerous?

    Charlie Koetzle, 55, who has lived in Ocean City for a decade, came to the boardwalk in swim trunks and flip-flops to look at the sea. While his neighbors and most everyone else had evacuated, Koetzle said he told authorities he wasn’t leaving. To ride out the storm, he had stocked up with soda, roast beef, peanut butter, tuna, nine packs of cigarettes and a detective novel.

    Of the storm, he said: “I always wanted to see one.”

    1. I like everything about the guy except the detective novel.

      1. Wait a minute, LM.

        How do you know if the detective is employed by a public law enforcemet body?

        What if the detective is a private dick investigating some public sector corruption?

        1. Libertymike = MNG ?

          1. Interesting…

          2. Somebody done fucked up, that’s for sure.

    2. What? No bitches or blow? What a lightweight.

  25. No libertarian propertarian domesticated poodle was ever interested in a Non-State sociopolitical typology.

    NON-STATE AND STATE SOCIETIES
    faculty.smu.edu/rkemper/cf_3333/Non_State_and_State_Societies.pdf

    1. Re: White Imbecile,

      You’re still just like the shit that gets under my fingernail when the toilet paper fails.

      1. Would ancient Indians have used computers?

        1. Build’um heap big blog.

        2. An Open Letter on Technology and Mediation

          In March of 1999, I received an open letter from zine publisher Ron Leighton regarding the common question of whether propagating views which question technology through technological means –radio, television, the Internet–involved some type of contradiction…

          http://www.primitivism.com/open-letter.htm

          1. It IS a contradiction, White Idiot.

            Just like environmentalists who refuse to walk the walk and give up all energy-using devices like, say, gas-powered vehicles.

          2. No contradiction at all. None of us would deny there are situations where one must kill to prevent killing.

  26. I still don’t see why they would think that smoking at home is healthier than smoking in a bar.

  27. a study presented at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting that further undermines widely publicized claims that smoking bans lead to immediate, dramatic reductions in heart attack rates.

    I would just highlight that this study was produced by, and presented by “anti-smoking activists” that Sullum wants so badly to be ignoring the science. As for the general bias against negative results…it is an issue. In this kind of research, there is another problem, and that is the over-powered study that finds very small & unimportant effects that are statistically significant. That said…second hand smoke has a greater impact on things like asthma than SIDS, etc…

    1. Wouldn’t “ignoring the science” be cherry-picking the data from certain cities rather than using all cities?

      While I hate smoking bans (or anything-bans) I do agree that you’d really need to study asthma, bronchitis, and other health effects to assess whether there was a real impact.

    2. I would just highlight that this study was produced by, and presented by “anti-smoking activists” that Sullum wants so badly to be ignoring the science.

      Uh, Sullum quotes Michael Siegel in many of his posts on this topic, and identifies him as an anti-smoking activist every time. So your accusation of ad hominemism on Sullum’s part is false, and indeed is itself an ad hominem, making your argument a veritable nexus of fallacy.

      Of course, the anti-smoking activists that get media coverage and have the ear of govt are mostly in the “ignoring” category, unfortunately.

      1. I was referring to the content of this here post…and the American Heart Association. But I am glad you feel you’ve defended Sullum’s honor.

    3. The AHA is not nearly as bad as the ALA.

    4. Um, I don’t believe he said that all anti-smoking activists or researchers were blinded by the data:

      Nevertheless, Siegel writes in a follow-up post, “a number of anti-smoking researchers” argue that Mathews’ study “actually supports the prior research.” Mathews himself, who says one of his research goals was “to validate the existing effect estimate,” evidently was hoping for more politically convenient results as well.

      (And clearly, when he found an outcome different than what he had expected, he didn’t withhold the research or anything nefarious.)

      Am I missing something here? They wanted certain results — and researchers are allowed to want an outcome — followed a scientific process, and found something else. Others in the movement are citing the more extreme results. World goes ’round.

  28. But there is a link between right-wing market fundamentalism and idiocy.

    1. Uh, there’s a significant negative correlation between anti-market economics and intelligence. And groups like MENSA (an example that is more anecdotal than anything, of course) lean libertarian.

  29. Well that really does make a lot of sense dude.

    http://www.anon-stuff.us.tc

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