Thursday, August 31, 2006

Fort Wayne Aug. 31/06

Smoking bans roll on

The debate is now mostly over the how of restrictions, but the why still matters, too.
Allen County is proposing public smoking restrictions even stronger than the ones in Fort Wayne, which makes this a good time to point out a philosophical contradiction in the argument usually advanced for such bans. If secondhand smoke is as dangerous as the critics contend – and the numbers quoted sound more dire every day – smoking should probably be banned everywhere. If it is not that dangerous, then the facts are being exaggerated in order to push through desired outcomes, and that kind of dishonesty is never good for the process of setting public policy.

But smoking bans have a momentum now that makes the question of whether they should be imposed almost moot (Kokomo this week became the 26th Indiana municipality to enact restrictions). That fact makes debate of how a ban should be instituted even more important.
Fort Wayne’s ban, passed in a time when there was still widespread opposition to such an idea, is a masterpiece of carving out exceptions to win constituencies. Restaurants are covered, but they are allowed to have smoking areas if they are completely enclosed. Bars are excluded, as are bowling alleys, pool halls, bingo parlors, private clubs, hotel rooms. The result might be politically artful, but it defies logic. If the issue is that owners of private property have the right to say what goes on there, some property owners have more rights than others. If the issue is that employees are trapped by secondhand smoke they don’t want, why should bar waitresses have less claim on pure air than insurance company typists?

Allen County’s proposal is logically more coherent and gets much closer to the “secondhand smoke is a killer” rationale. Almost nothing is exempt except private residences (as long as they don’t house licensed child care), 20 percent of hotel rooms, retail tobacco stores and nursing-home rooms in which all the occupants request smoking privileges. Bars are included, as are most of the other venues excluded by Fort Wayne. All restaurants are covered – no separate smoking areas, period.
But again: If secondhand smoke is that bad, why any exemptions at all? Most of the evidence on the phenomenon is presented by politicians rather than the scientists who do the studies. The danger seems to get higher with every story, and few really question the numbers. “Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and increases risk for heart disease and lung cancer,” Surgeon General Richard Carmon pronounced earlier this year. That defies common sense and goes against the scientific principle that dosage is everything in toxins.
If we accept it as true, however, there is still an inescapable conclusion: If momentary exposure to minute amounts is so risky, imagine how dangerous long-term exposure to large amounts is. The most at-risk, any way you look at the numbers, are the spouses and children of longtime smokers. But private residences are the last places the smoke bans will ever go.
There will be a fascinating twist now to the smoking-ban debate in this community. Allen County’s proposal is meant to cover the whole county, cities and towns and unincorporated areas alike. But there is an “opt-out” feature for cities and towns that don’t want to go along. Fort Wayne already has an ordinance, but one that is much weaker than the county’s. If the Fort Wayne City Council does nothing, that means the county’s ordinance will take effect here, having the effect of enacting tighter restrictions with no action and therefore no debate. The council would have to take a vote to opt out for things to stay the same.
The do-nothing approach is not likely, especially if Dr. John Crawford, the city councilman who pushed through Fort Wayne’s ban, has his way. “And we certainly won’t vote to opt out so we can have a less-restrictive ordinance.” So look for the next debate to be whether Fort Wayne should go even further than the county.
The next debate, though, will come on Sept. 11, as the county conducts a public hearing on its proposal at 6 p.m. in Room 126 of the City-County Building.
Smoking is a nasty habit that most who don’t indulge in are at least annoyed by; smoking is the one habit most requiring the unwilling and non-addicted to participate in. That alone would give the smoking-ban movement momentum, whatever the dangers of secondhand smoke. But understanding and stating those dangers accurately are important.
The secondhand smoking debate is about values as well as science. Individual liberties compete with society’s needs, property rights with government’s reach. Sorting through all that requires the balancing of risk – how much we should accept and what we can be asked to give up to avoid it.
By Leo Morris for the editorial board


SOCIALIZED MEDICINE only decreases the quality and availability of health care and qualified professionals in the field. If a person has the money and is willing to pay for top-notch health care, then it should be available in this country. There is no reason why a person should have to go south to get good quality health care.

Thomas Laprade

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Persistance finally paid off

Hospital jeopardizes anti-smoking campaign

The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Re: Hospital must reconsider ban on smoking, Aug. 25.

As a retired medical officer of health for Brantford and Hamilton, it concerns me that much of the work put into the anti-smoking campaign will be lost by the imposition of harsh control measures at the Ottawa Hospital.
If we, as professional caring people, fail to respect the dignity and well-being of smokers, we will lose public support.

Many years ago Dr. Lou Douglas, medical officer of health for Ottawa, and I, as medical officer of health for Hamilton, despaired of ever controlling smoking. We had the statistics, the case reports and the research papers to make the case but the opposition was powerful. Some said we didn't respect their personal rights to indulge their comforting habits. Some said banning smoking would cost them money. And we all knew how financially and politically powerful the North American tobacco industry was and is. Its advertising was seductive and prolific. Nevertheless, we got a bylaw in Hamilton. And more followed.
Smokers in hospital know better than anybody the harm that comes from the habit, but to harass them while they seek treatment is unwise and unkind.
Even in a time of austerity in hospital budgeting, it is essential to respect smokers' rights and cherish their well-being by providing the well-ventilated heated quarters they need while they are patients in the hospital. To do less is to imperil the advances in public policy so far achieved.

Ian Cunningham,
MD, Ottawa
© The Ottawa Citizen 2006
Dear Editor, Aug.26/06 Published in The Ottawa Citizen

As a visitor to your great city..Ottawa, the capital of Canada, I noticed a situation that will be etched in my mind forever. I watched two females in wheel chairs just off the hospital grounds, one hooked up to an IV, smoking cigarettes, looking cold, excluded, and alone. I can only imagine what kind of reactions they were enduring from the people walking by them into and out of the grounds they'd been exiled from. If that situation was about race, colour or creed, I would imagine that the public outcry would be so loud that the City of Ottawa would probably never recover. There is absolulely no human, medical, or scientific reason why sick patients can't be treated better than that.

Thomas Laprade
480 Rupert St.
Thunder Bay, Ont.
Edited Letter

As a visitor to your great city, I noticed a situation that will be etched in my mind forever.
I watched two women in wheelchairs (one hooked up to an IV) just off the Ottawa Hospital grounds, smoking cigarettes and looking cold and excluded. I can only imagine what kind of reactions they got from the people walking by them as they passed into and out of the grounds theyd been exiled from.
If that situation was about race, colour or creed, there would be a loud public outcry. There is absolutely no humane, medical, or scientific reason why sick patients cant be treated better than this.

Thunder Bay, Ont.

Monday, August 28, 2006


August 24, 2006
Bingo profits plummet
Following city smoking ban
By FRANK LANDRY, City Hall Bureau
Kensington Bingo Hall, 12538 - 132 Avenue, manager Terry Aikens poses for a photo at the hall Thursday afternoon. Aikens says the hall has suffered from low attendance in recent months. (DAVID BLOOM, Edmonton Sun)
Edmonton-area charities are feeling the squeeze after their bingo profits plummet by $6.8 million in the year following the city smoking ban.
“To have the bingos kind of crash and burn has been a real deterrent to our programs because it’s pretty hard to replace that funding,” said Lorraine Jex, president of the city’s northeast zone sports council.
During the first full year of the puffing ban – which kicked in July 1, 2005 – the nearly 600 charities that run bingos in the Edmonton area made $6.1 million, down from $12.9 million a year earlier, according to provincial figures obtained by the Sun. That represents a whopping 53% drop.
During the past year, bingo profits in the rest of Alberta – where smoking is generally still permitted – dropped only 1%.
Jex said her organization went from making $2,500 a night to pocketing as little as $200.
The money is used to maintain sports facilities like baseball diamonds and to pay registration fees for kids whose families can’t afford to. The sports council runs bingos on behalf of minor hockey, baseball and softball teams in northeast Edmonton.
Jex said so far no kids have been turned away, but her group has been forced to go to local businesses with hat in hand.
“All of that money we don’t have just means it’s that much more difficult to fund some of these kids,” Jex said.
Terry Aikens, manager of the Kensington Bingo Centre, said that, prior to the smoking ban, a charitable group could make $4,000 an evening.
“Now if they can make $1,000 they’re doing good,” she said, adding attendance has also dropped by about 50% at her hall — from 400 to 200 people a night.
She said it’s getting more difficult to convince the 73 charitable organizations that use the bingo hall to continue to do so.
“They’re not making enough money to make it worth their while.”
Overall, attendance at evening bingo dropped an average of 29% in Edmonton over the past year, according to Alberta Satellite Bingo, which broadcasts games live into halls across the province.
Coun. Mike Nickel said the numbers prove the smoking ban is having economic consequences.
“Some people were saying this wasn’t going to affect anyone’s business,” he said. “Well, that’s not the case.
“People who are paying for this in the end, taking the health issue aside, have been the charities.”
But Shane Bergdahl, president of the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues, said bingos had been losing their popularity, even before the indoor puffing ban.
“Revenue had been dropping off for years,” he said.
Coun. Michael Phair said this indicates it’s time for the province to consider new ways to fund charitable groups.

Tobacco Control 2003;12:411-413© 2003 BMJ Publishing Group Ltd
No association of smoke-free ordinances with profits from bingo and charitable games in Massachusetts
S A Glantz and R Wilson-Loots
Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA
Correspondence to: Stanton A Glantz PhD, Box 1390, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-1390, USA; glantz@medicine.ucsf.edu

Received 8 February 2003 Accepted 11 August 2003

TOPABSTRACTMETHODSRESULTSDISCUSSIONREFERENCES Background: Because it is widely played, claims that smoking restrictions will adversely affect bingo games is used as an argument against these policies. We used publicly available data from Massachusetts to assess the impact of 100% smoke-free ordinances on profits from bingo and other gambling sponsored by charitable organisations between 1985 and 2001.
Methods: We conducted two analyses: (1) a general linear model implementation of a time series analysis with net profits (adjusted to 2001 dollars) as the dependent variable, and community (as a fixed effect), year, lagged net profits, and the length of time the ordinance had been in force as the independent variables; (2) multiple linear regression of total state profits against time, lagged profits, and the percentage of the entire state population in communities that allow charitable gaming but prohibit smoking.
Results: The general linear model analysis of data from individual communities showed that, while adjusted profits fell over time, this effect was not related to the presence of an ordinance. The analysis in terms of the fraction of the population living in communities with ordinances yielded the same result.
Conclusion: Policymakers can implement smoke-free policies without concern that these policies will affect charitable gaming.
Keywords: tobacco smoke pollution; economics; bingo
Smoke-free workplaces substantially and rapidly reduce cigarette consumption,1 so the tobacco industry mobilises aggressively against these measures. Because of the industry’s low public credibility, however, it does not openly oppose these policies and never raises the issue of the impact on smoking.2,3 Rather, the tobacco industry uses claims of adverse economic impact on other industries, particularly the hospitality industry.4 As claims of adverse effects on restaurant and bar revenues,5 employment in the hospitality industry,6 and tourism7 have lost credibility in the face of strong evidence that smoke-free policies have no effect or a positive effect on these businesses, opponents of these policies have used claims of adverse effects on the gaming industry to oppose smoke-free policies.8,9 Because it is widely played, often in smaller communities where efforts to enact local clean indoor air ordinances begin, claims that smoking restrictions will adversely affect bingo games is used as an argument against these public health policies. The fact that bingo is often sponsored by charitable organisations not normally associated with the tobacco industry makes claims of adverse effects on bingo revenues a politically useful claim for the tobacco industry. Bingo is widely played in Massachusetts and the state collects detailed statistics on bingo and related charitable gaming profits, and has seen the passage of many local clean indoor air ordinances. We used these data to assess the impact of 100% smoke-free ordinances on profits from bingo and other gambling sponsored by charitable organisations in Massachusetts.

TOPABSTRACTMETHODSRESULTSDISCUSSIONREFERENCES In Massachusetts individual communities can vote to allow charitable organisations to sponsor bingo games and other games of chance for fund raising purposes. Non-profit organisations in cities and towns in which voters have voted to allow bingo and other charitable gaming to be conducted. These games are all conducted at the bingo halls. All organisations holding games are licensed by the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission. These organisations report detailed information income and expense statements to the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission every year, which publishes annual statistics on gross receipts, net profit or loss from the games, and other related statistics in each town or city that voted to permit bingo yearly. We obtained these data from the Commission for the years 1985 through 2001. We included all communities that permitted charitable gaming each year; if no games were being played that year, we entered the profit as 0.
To account for inflation and the state of the underlying economy, we adjusted the profit figures based on Taxes on Commodities Sold (sales and use, meals, alcoholic beverages, motor fuels, and cigarettes) reported by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Revenue by multiplying the unadjusted charitable gaming profits by the ratio of sales tax revenues in 2001 divided by the sales tax revenues in each year: Adjusted profits in year y = raw profits in year y • (sales tax revenues in 2001/sales tax revenues in year y). Gaming statistics are reported by calendar year and tax statistics are reported by fiscal year; we converted tax data to calendar years. This procedure is similar to the procedure of representing restaurant or bar revenues as a fraction of total retail sales.10,11
We identified the smoking regulations for each town or city using the American Nonsmokers Rights Foundation (ANRF) local ordinance database and by reviewing copies of the relevant local ordinances. Charitable games were considered included if the ordinance applied to all public places or workplaces unless there was a specific exclusion for these games.
To evaluate the effects of the ordinances on bingo and charitable game profits, we used a general linear model implementation of a time series analysis with net (adjusted) profits as the dependent variable, and community (treated as a fixed effect), year, lagged (by one year) profits, and the length of time the ordinance had been in force as the independent variables. (If the ordinance was in effect for part of the year, we set the ordinance variable to a fraction equal to the number of days that the ordinance was in effect divided by 365.) Each data point represented the profits in the community for one year. To account for the wide variation in community size, we conducted an analysis including all communities in a single analysis and also separate analyses for small and larger communities, divided based on the median population of all communities that permitted gaming (14 997). Population figures were obtained from the annual Charitable Gaming Commission reports.
We also conducted a linear regression analysis of total (adjusted) aggregate profits each year as the dependent variable and time and the fraction of the population covered by 100% smoke-free ordinances that covered bingo and charitable games.
Two hundred and ten communities permitted charitable gaming during one or more years between 1985 and 2001. Seven communities (Easthampton, Holyoke, Montague, Sudbury, Westfield, Westwood, and Winthrop) were excluded because copies of the local ordinances were not available in the ANRF ordinance files.

TOPABSTRACTMETHODSRESULTSDISCUSSIONREFERENCES Between 1985 and 2001, total adjusted profits from charitable gaming fell over time (fig 1, upper panel), probably because of competition from the Massachusetts Lottery and casinos, which can offer larger prizes.8 While this trend has been attributed to smoking restrictions,8 this trend predated the enactment of local smoke-free policies (fig 1, lower panel). Multiple linear regression of adjusted profits for all games in the state against time, lagged profits, and the percentage of the Massachusetts population in communities that allow charitable gaming but prohibit smoking show a fall in total revenues at a rate of -$1.71 (0.95) (SE) million/year (p < 0.096), but no effect of the fraction of population covered by smoke-free policies (-$23.7 (22.0) million/per cent smoke-free; p = 0.303).

View larger version (17K):[in this window][in a new window]
Figure 1 Upper panel: total profits for charitable gaming in Massachusetts, adjusted to 2001 dollars. Lower panel: fraction of people living in communities that permit charitable gaming where the games were required to be smoke-free. Note that the pattern of declining profits in charitable gaming was well established before smoke-free ordinances began being implemented. The fraction of population covered by these ordinances is not a significant predictor (p = 0.303) of gaming profits.
The analysis of the effect of ordinances in individual communities appears in table 1. Adjusted profits fell over time in all communities considered together, as well as in small (below 14 997 population) and larger (above 14 998 population) communities which were analysed separately. In all three analyses, revenues fell with time, independently of the effects of the ordinances. The ordinances did not have a significant effect on this trend (p =" src="http://tc.bmjjournals.com/math/ge.gif" border=0> 0.141).

View this table:[in this window][in a new window]
Table 1 Effects of smoke-free policies on adjusted profits from charitable gaming

TOPABSTRACTMETHODSRESULTSDISCUSSIONREFERENCES Contrary to claims of opponents of local smoke-free policies, which claim substantial negative impacts of smoke-free ordinances on profits from bingo and charitable gaming, these ordinances were not associated with any effect on profits from these games.
One limitation of this analysis is the fact that the large number of data points collected in communities of widely varying sizes led to a wide range of residuals in the general linear model analysis and some departures from normality in the residuals as assessed by normal probability plots. The fact that we included communities that permitted charitable games but had no games biases our results towards underestimating the effects of the smoke-free policies, since many communities who did not have any games did so before any smoke-free policy was implemented.
Given the large number of observations in this analysis (3450), we can be very confident in our conclusion that there is no effect or a positive effect. In particular, we can confidently reject the hypothesis, advanced by opponents of smoke-free policies, that these policies reduce bingo profits. The fact that there were positive effects in larger communities suggests that there may also be positive effects of smoke-free policies on other, larger, gambling establishments. Policymakers can implement smoke-free policies without concern that these policies will adversely affect charitable gaming.
What this paper adds
As claims that smoke-free laws adversely affect restaurants and bars have been proven wrong, there have been increasing claims that these laws adversely affect gaming, particularly bingo. This study uses data from Massachusetts to demonstrate that, as with restaurants and bars, smoke-free policies do not affect charitable gaming.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS We thank Donna Foley of the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission, for providing the data and answering all our questions. This project was supported by National Cancer Institute grant CA-61021


Fichtenberg CM, Glantz SA. Effect of smoke-free workplaces on smoking behaviour: systematic review. BMJ 2002;325:188.[Abstract/Free Full Text]
Samuels B, Glantz S. The politics of local tobacco control. JAMA 1991;266:2110–17.[Abstract]
Traynor M, M B, Glantz S. New tobacco industry strategy to prevent local tobacco control. JAMA 1993;270:479–86.[Abstract]
Scollo M, Lai A, Hyland A, et al. A review of the quality of studies on the economic effects of smoke-free policies on the hospitality industry. Tobacco Control 2003;12:13–20.[Abstract/Free Full Text]
Glantz S. Smokefree restaurant ordinances don’t affect restaurant business period. Journal of Public Health Management & Practice 1999;5 (1):vi–ix.[Medline]
Hyland A, Cummings K. Restaurant employment before and after the New York City Smoke-free Air Act. Journal of Public Health Management & Practice 1998;5 (1):22–27.
Glantz SA, Charlesworth A. Tourism and hotel revenues before and after passage of smoke-free restaurant ordinances. JAMA 1999;281:1911–8.[Abstract/Free Full Text]
Associated Press. Bingo’s number may be up. New Bedford Standard Times 1996;December 2.
Haynes K, Kerkstra P. Ban may spell trouble; Smoking: bingo parlors say business has dropped because of new state law; charities that benefit from the games fear long-term impact. Los Angeles Times 1998;February 2:Sect. B1.
Glantz S, Smith LR A. The effect of ordinances requiring smoke-free restaurants on restaurant sales. Am J Public Health 1994;84:1081–5.[Abstract]
Glantz S, Smith L. Erratum for "The effect of ordinances requiring smoke-free restaurants on restaurant sales". Am J Public Health 1997;87:1729–30.

The quote in the Subject comes from a previous poster. It sadly reflects the ignorance of far too many and is the result of a campaign against tobacco which only presents an inflated - and too often deceitful - estimate of the costs of smoking.Here's just one medical benefit of smoking. For a few more go here:http://www.forces.org/evidence/evid/therap.htm

For even more search Pubmed.

Impact of Smoking on Clinical and Angiographic Restenosis After Percutaneous Coronary Intervention
Another Smoker’s Paradox? David J. Cohen, MD, MSc; Michel Doucet, MD;; Donald E. Cutlip, MD; Kalon K.L. Ho, MD, MSc; Jeffrey J. Popma, MD; Richard E. Kuntz, MD, MSc
From the Harvard Clinical Research Institute, Harvard Medical School (D.J.C., M.D., D.E.C., K.K.L.H., R.E.K.); Cardiovascular Division, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (D.J.C., M.D., D.E.C., K.K.L.H.); and Divisions of Cardiology (J.J.P., R.E.K.) and Clinical Biometry (R.E.K.), Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Mass.
Correspondence to David J. Cohen, MD, MSc, Cardiovascular Division, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Ave, Boston, MA 02215. E-mail djc@hsph.harvard.edu
Background— Recent studies have suggested that smokers may require less frequent repeated revascularization after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) compared with nonsmokers. However, the mechanism of this phenomenon is unknown.
Methods and Results— We examined the association between smoking and restenosis using pooled data from 8671 patients treated with PCI in 9 multicenter clinical trials. Clinical restenosis was examined in the cohort of 5682 patients who were assigned to clinical follow-up only. Angiographic restenosis was evaluated in the subset of 2989 patients who were assigned to mandatory angiographic restudy. Among those patients assigned to clinical follow-up only, target lesion revascularization (TLR) occurred in 6.6% of smokers and 10.1% of nonsmokers (P<0.001). After adjustment for baseline clinical and angiographic differences, the rate of TLR remained significantly lower in smokers with an adjusted relative risk of 0.69 (95% CI, 0.54 to 0.88). Among the angiographic cohort, there were no differences in the rates of angiographic restenosis or follow-up diameter stenosis in either univariate or multivariate analyses. This dissociation between clinical and angiographic restenosis was explained in part by reduced sensitivity to restenosis on the part of smokers and by the greater reluctance of smokers to seek medical attention despite recurrent angina.
Conclusions— In patients undergoing contemporary PCI, cigarette smoking is associated with a lower rate of subsequent TLR without affecting angiographic restenosis. These findings have important implications for the follow-up of smokers after PCI and suggest that cross-study comparisons of rates of clinical restenosis must account for the potential confounding effect of smoking.

Friday, August 25, 2006

http://baytownsun.com/story.lasso?ewcd=513bd6b762baf8afSent two letters to Baytownsun.com letters@baytownsun.com

Dear Editor, Aug. 24/06

Concerning the smoking issue.
This issue should not be left up to the voters.
The vast majority of the public do not or very seldom patronize the hospitality industry on any given day. Why should these voters dictate smoking policy on 'private' enterprise. It should be left up to the owners, since they are the ones who have invested thousands of dollars in their businesses. The owners can put a sign in their doors."This is a non-smoking environment..or This is a smoking environment. The owners have choices just like the public has choices.Isn't that the American Way??-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------A smokeless environment. Aug. 24/06
Dear Editor,

I believe that non-smokers, like anyone else, have this right. But how far does that right extend? Should it take priority over someone else's rights? Court houses, publicly owned buildings and anywhere else an individual might be forced to go should properly be included in any smoking law. What should not be included are places located in or on private property, Workers being "forced"to work in a smoking environment is a false argument since no one is ever truly forced to work at any particular place, providing an individual is not compelled by necessity or law, to frequent or work at that specific location. Second-hand smoke is not a significant health risk.

Does Secondhand Smoke Really Cause Cancer?
By Sam Barron
Ontario, Canada (worldfitness.ca) Aug 2006 Based on the lack of scientific evidence, there is no conclusive data which says secondhand smoke causes cancer.
Over the past few years, the secondhand smoke debate has been discussed and debated endlessly. Here in Ontario Canada, the government just implemented legislation to ban people from smoking in all public places including bars and restaurants.
The new tobacco control legislation, called the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, as well as banning people from smoking in public places, prohibits smokers from smoking at their work place as well.
Similar legislation has also been implemented throughout many parts of United States
There have been dozens of scientific studies linking secondhand to everything from asthma to heart disease. Yet the biggest and most controversial “affect” of secondhand smoke has been its link to cancer.
But is there scientific proof that secondhand smoke actually causes cancer in non-smokers? The short answer, no.
One of the most widely used studies on the effects of secondhand smoke was done by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a report titled Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoke: Lung Cancer and Other Disorders, published in 1992. Based on information at that time, the reported concluded that secondhand smoke is responsible for 3,000 deaths of non smokers each year.
Yet by 1998 a U.S. federal court found that the EPA demonstrated no link between secondhand smoke and cancer. Even more so, the court found that the EPA “...’cherry picked’ it’s data,’ to reach their predetermined conclusion. In other words, they lied.
And yet even after a federal court deemed the report to be complexly wrong, organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association still use the EPA study as their primary source to prove that secondhand smoke causes cancer.
Even on the Health Canada website in a report titled Protection from Second-hand Smoke in Ontario: A Review of Evidence Regarding Best Practices, the main source of “data” comes from the very same EPA study that was thrown out by a federal court. Yet this review was used as proof that secondhand smoke causes cancer and therefor should be banned by stating “all involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke is harmful and should eliminated.”
Interestingly, several of the reference links on the Smoke Free Ontario website were either broken, or did not link to the referenced article.
So even with a study which came to a conclusion based on scanty data, and predetermined conclusions, places like Ontario have caved to political and public pressure banning smoking in work and public places to reduce the risk of cancer caused by secondhand smoke.
In a study published in the May 17 2003 issue of the British Medical Journal, researchers found no link between secondhand smoke and lung cancer.
"We found no measurable effect from being exposed to secondhand smoke and an increased risk of heart disease or lung cancer in nonsmokers -- not at any time or at any level," lead researcher James Enstrom, PhD, MPH, of the UCLA School of Public Health, tells WebMD. "The only thing we did find, which was not reported in the study, is that nonsmokers who live with smokers have a increased risk of widowhood because their smoking spouses do die prematurely."
Although the study was “discredited” by many for various reasons, it is still an interesting contrast to previous findings.
In another study published in 1997 by the British Medical Journal titled The accumulated evidence on lung cancer and environmental tobacco smoke, researches concluded that “breathing other people's tobacco smoke is a cause of lung cancer” They reached this conclusion by examining spouses who lived with a smoker over a long period of time and who were “constantly” exposed to secondhand smoke. And in respect to smoking at work the study noted that, “workplace exposure varies considerably and is difficult to measure.” So according to this particular study, although a link to secondhand smoke and cancer is significant, there is no data to support wether the amount of secondhand smoke at the workplace is harmful - which is a main issue for the Ontario legislation.
Ultimately most people will agree that smoking is bad for you but so is eating a bucket of fried chicken. The problem is that these reports say that secondhand smoke “causes” cancer.
In an editorial titled Smoking Does Not Cause Lung Cancer, published in the October 1999 issues of the Journal of Theoretics author By: James P. Siepmann, MD said that there are many constituting factors to cancer, but none are responsible for “causing” the disease
“The process of developing cancer is complex and multifactorial. It involves genetics, the immune system, cellular irritation, DNA alteration, dose and duration of exposure, and much more. Some of the known risk factors include genetics asbestos exposure, sex, HIV status, vitamin deficiency, diet pollution , shipbuilding and even just plain old being lazy. When some of these factors are combined they can have a synergistic effect, but none of these risk factors are directly and independently responsible for "causing" lung cancer”
As Siepmann points out in his editorial if these reports said that secondhand smoke “increases the risk of developing cancer” than perhaps that would be a little easier to swallow. But to say that secondhand smoke causes cancer has no concrete scientific merit.
Health Canada even says that they have no idea how much secondhand smoke is considered harmful “No scientific authority or regulatory health body in the world has established a safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke.” And yet legislation was still passed.
Many will argue that banning smoking is a threat to our civil liberties. Another serious epidemic in this country and many other parts of the world for that matter is obesity. Should we ban people from eating cake, or asking for a second helping? No, of course not. So why is it ok for the government to tell you where to smoke?
There is little doubt that the 50 are so chemicals found in secondhand smoke are harmful to some degree, but to influence people and create laws based on data which was proven to be inaccurate, is simply too big to ignore.
Perhaps Dr. Siepmann put it best when he said, “We must weigh the risk and benefits of the behavior both as a society and as an individual based on unbiased information. Be warned though, that a society that attempts to remove all risk terminates individual liberty and will ultimately perish. Let us be logical in our endeavors and true in our pursuit of knowledge.”

Smokers suffer chronic illnesshttp://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Render&c=Page&cid=968332189003

Dear Editor, Aug. 26/06

Whether people smoke,eat or drink too much, they live in the present and hopefully the future will take care of itself.It is called,'Lifestyle'..Doctor!!

Thomas Laprade
480 Rupert St.
Thunder Bay, Ont.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Sent two letters to Baytownsun.com letters@baytownsun.com

Dear Editor, Aug. 24/06

Concerning the smoking issue.
This issue should not be left up to the voters.
The vast majority of the public do not or very seldom patronize the hospitality industry on any given day. Why should these voters dictate smoking policy on 'private' enterprise. It should be left up to the owners, since they are the ones who have invested thousands of dollars in their businesses. The owners can put a sign in their doors."This is a non-smoking environment..or This is a smoking environment. The owners have choices just like the public has choices. Isn't that the American Way??


A smokeless environment.
Aug. 24/06
Dear Editor,

I believe that non-smokers, like anyone else, have this right. But how far does that right extend? Should it take priority over someone else's rights? Court houses, publicly owned buildings and anywhere else an individual might beforced to go should properly be included in any smoking law. What should not be included are places located in or on private property, Workers being "forced"to work in a smoking environment is a false argument since no one is ever truly forced to work at any particular place, providing an individual is not compelled by necessity or law, to frequent or work at that specific location. Second-hand smoke is not a significant health risk.

Monday, August 14, 2006


I KNOW you have probably heard this all before, but I feel that all you anti-smoking activists are a bunch of communist yahoos. I am a die-hard non-smoker, and yes, it irks me when I go out for dinner and my family members feel they have to have a cigarette. Yet it's my choice to sit with them just like it's their choice to sit in the smoking section. Governments are taking away their right to choose. We have never lived in a Communist country. Why start now?
Debbie Powers

Sunday, August 13, 2006

August 12, 2006
The Truth About Secondhand Smoke
By Matthew Bandyk
The old saying is that “honesty is the best policy.” Even people with intentions to mislead recognize the usefulness of honesty. That’s why they will go to great lengths to not technically “lie,” yet still give a completely false impression,.
An example of this fine art in action came on June 27, when the Surgeon General Richard Carmona released a report on the health effects of secondhand smoke. The report declared that the “debate is over.” Bans on smoking in “public places,” which have surged in cities and states from to, are now indisputably just. It claims that new information shows that secondhand smoke is so dangerous that science can definitively say it is more than just a “mere annoyance.” The logic would follow, then, that if someone blows smoke in your face in a bar, he’s not just being rude: he’s committing an assault against you.
Those who speak out on behalf of bar and restaurant owners and against smoking bans usually talk about freedom of choice and the liberty to do what may harm oneself, but not others. Carmona clearly hopes to turn the tables: anti-tobacco activists are actually the ones protecting liberty, because they’re defending innocent bystanders from deadly pollution involuntarily inhaled.
A look beyond the report’s impressive talking points reveals that that it is not nearly as groundbreaking as Carmona claims, and does little to shift the ground of the smoking debate against libertarians.
The boldest claim in the report is that even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can cause harm. This sounds like the proponents of regulation have won the entire argument from the beginning. “Brief” exposure implies involuntariness: if smoking is allowed in public, I will inevitably be exposed to it briefly unless I become a shut-in. Surely the state has authority to limit harmful conduct involuntarily imposed on others, right?
That all depends on what you mean by harm. Let’s say that after 100 puffs of secondhand smoke, I experience serious health effects. Now, what about those first 99 puffs? Each one made me unhealthier than the last because it got me closer to that 100 mark. So, yes, in that marginal sense, one puff of secondhand smoke is harmful. The report isn't lying, just avoiding the central question: is that harm enough to pose a real public policy concern, not just "mere annoyance"?
Are we doomed to uncertainty on this issue? If what causes minor discomfort to one man can ruin the week of another, how can the legal system ever decide when infringements on liberty really begin?
Conveniently enough, we already have a tool that has worked for hundreds of years for deciding when harms become legally significant: Has anyone made a successful tort claim against a smoker for briefly exposing them to smoke? In other words, has a jury ever recognized that brief exposure goes beyond mere annoyance to the point where a victim is due financial restitution? Under our common law system, to win a tort case, a plaintiff has to show that he was injured in some way. If I walk by you and you blow smoke at me, I might be annoyed, but I can't reasonably claim that I'm injured. The report does specify that brief exposure to secondhand smoke can be more dangerous to people with serious respiratory illnesses. But even if we assume that there are some people who would be injured by even very brief exposure to secondhand smoke, it doesn't follow from those exceptions that we need comprehensive regulations that affect everyone, such as smoking bans. The need for government regulation only exists if common law courts can't sufficiently deal with a problem by itself. That doesn't seem to be the case here. In the rare case where secondhand smoking actually is tortious, the victim can sue.
But perhaps the next major claim in the report will expose secondhand smoke as a pressing concern. Research shows that exposure to smoke among non-smoking adults “raises the risk of heart disease by 25 to 30 percent and of cancer by 20 to 30 percent, and accounted for an estimated 46,000 premature deaths from heart disease and 3,000 premature deaths from cancer last year.”
It is telling that in the report’s press release, the closest that 99% of the people who hear of the report will actually get to reading it, this information follows immediately after the previous bullet point about “brief exposure.” The report has already implanted in our heads the idea that any exposure to smoke is harmful. It’s now just a quick step to the conclusion that those 50,000 extra deaths a year are all cases of persons deprived of their human rights by vicious smokers.
But this statistic has nothing to do with brief exposure: the research was gathered from people who were exposed to smoke over a long period of time, such as at home through a smoking spouse. Can one really say that someone who has chosen to live with a smoker for decades is really being subjected to an assault on his or her body—or is that person merely experiencing the foreseeable consequences of that decision? As the old legal saying goes, volenti non fit iniuria: “that to which you consent is no injustice.” The report removes the critical distinction between those who choose to be around smokers and those who do not by dubbing all secondhand smoke inhalation as “involuntary smoking.”
Yet the voluntary nature of smoking—and truly harmful secondhand smoke—is the crux of the debate over public smoking bans. As long as no one is being forced to breathe smoky air, why isn’t the decision by a bar or restaurant owner to allow smoking in her own establishment fully within her rights as a property owner? How can smoking in these establishments, which occurs only on private property and is not forced upon others outside that property, be considered a threat to public health? We should not be distracted from these important questions by Carmona’s chimera of deadly, “involuntary” smoking.

Matt Bandyk is a 2006 graduate of Davidson College in North Carolina. He now writes about political issues in the Washington, DC area.


If Doctors call it child abuse when a person is smoking in his car with children in it.Would the same doctors call it child abuse if children are obese??

Thomas Laprade
480 Rupert St.
Thunder Bay, Ont.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Other county towns not ready to ban smoking

Published Wednesday, August 09, 2006

At this point, incorporated communities close to Springfield aren’t eager to enact smoking bans.

“Everything’s going to stay about the same around here,” Grandview Mayor David Wysocki said Tuesday, before the Sangamon County Board acted on its smoking ban.
“We have no plans to have a smoking ban or anything else, regardless of what the county does.”
Wysocki said Grandview’s board of trustees thinks business owners should be allowed to determine the “atmosphere” of their establishments.
That sentiment is echoed by Jerome Mayor Harry Stirmell.
“The board members have discussed (a smoking ban), and they are not in favor of ... telling the establishments what they can or can’t do,” Stirmell said.
Only one establishment would be affected by a smoking ban in Leland Grove - Illini Country Club - and Mayor Rex Bangert said the city council hasn’t given much thought to banning smoking.
“We unfortunately do not have any restaurants, motels or public areas” of that kind, Bangert said. “I feel that (Illini) is a private club, and their board or so forth should make that determination.”
Southern View Village President Matt Lauterbach said through a spokeswoman that his town also is not considering a smoking ban.
Chatham village trustees also have said they’re not interested in discussing a smoking ban, according to Del McCord, director of administration and utilities.
“They have said it should be a business decision,” McCord said, adding that many Chatham restaurants already prohibit smoking.
On the north side of Sangamon County, Riverton Village President Joe Rusciolelli said he would like to see the village board take up the matter of a smoking ban, in part to show support for the Riverton schools and Parents Corps, a national effort that partners parents and schools and targets use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.
No date has been set for discussion of a ban, said Rusciolelli, adding, “But I’d like to bring it up.”
Rochester village trustees haven’t discussed the possibility of a smoking ban, according to village manager Dale Laningham.
In western Sangamon County, Pleasant Plains Village President Jim Verkuilen said there are basically two businesses in his village where people might smoke inside.
“Leave that decision (whether to ban smoking) to them,” Verkuilen said.
Auburn Mayor Joe Powell said the matter of a smoking ban hasn’t come up for discussion on the Auburn City Council.
Citing a personal view, Powell said such a ban could hurt business.
“The business climate is not that strong in these smaller communities. I would hate to place more burden on the businesses,” he said.
Daniel Pike can be reached at 788-1532 or daniel.pike@sj-r.com. Debra Landis can be reached at 483-4352.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Dear Editor, Aug. 9/06

I find this situation is unbelievable, that the province is skirting its financial responsibility by reneging on its promise to pay their fair share to The City of North Bay.
The province didn't think twice of spending millions of taxpayers dollars on promoting no-smoking legislation in the Province of Ontario. I think it's about time for a change of government.

Thomas Laprade
Thunder Bay, Ont. http://www.nugget.ca/webapp/sitepages/content.asp?contentid=143448&catname=Local%20News&classif=News%20-%20Local _________________________________

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Leave Those Poor Smokers Alone!Written By: Joseph BastPublished In: HeartlanderPublication Date: January 1, 2006Publisher: The Heartland Institute
A member of The Heartland Institute’s board of directors called me recently to ask why I spend time defending smokers. It’s a lost cause, he said, and it surely doesn’t win us any friends.
I know smoking is widely condemned and that banning smoking in restaurants and bars is all the rage among state and local elected officials. I know many people think they unfairly shoulder the higher health costs of smokers, hate tobacco companies, and can’t stand the smell of cigarettes. And I know my writing on this subject will irk some Heartland supporters.
I know all that ... but I still think it is important to defend smokers. Here are my reasons.
The Rights of Smokers
Forty-five million adults in the U.S.--about 21 percent of the population--choose to smoke. You probably know a few who do. You can detest their habit and support regulations that protect you from any adverse effects their smoking may have on you, but you cannot simply run rough-shod over their rights. They’re still people. They still have rights.
John Stuart Mill wrote in 1859, “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community against his will is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.”
We live in a nation founded on that principle. People are free to do things both great and foolish so long as they do not conflict with an equal right held by others. That focus on individual liberty is the reason we are the most prosperous and tolerant people in human history. When we carve out exceptions to this principle, we ought to do so with great care and reluctance.
I see neither great care nor reluctance in the anti-smoking movement. Instead I see a $600 million-a-year anti-smoking industry, funded largely by taxes on tobacco products, willing to use junk science, scare tactics, lawsuit abuse, and government force to demonize a product and its users. It’s a textbook campaign for stealing the rights of a minority and making government bigger and more powerful. It should be repugnant to anyone who is a friend of freedom.
Smokers Pay for Their Habit
When calculating the “costs of smoking” it is important to remember that smokers assume the risk, which means they understand the risk to their health but decide that risk is worth taking for the enjoyment they derive from smoking. Whatever losses smokers themselves sustain are not “costs to society” that justify higher taxes or restrictions on smoking.
The 2004 average retail price of a pack of cigarettes was $3.82. The federal tax was $0.47, state tax $1.41 ... nearly half the retail price. Smokers in some states pay more in taxes on cigarettes than in state income taxes, which is a polite way of saying smokers are forced to pay twice as much in state taxes as nonsmokers.
Harvard University professor Kip Viscusi has repeatedly demonstrated that smokers paid more in excise taxes than the social costs of their habits even before the 1999 Master Settlement Agreement raised the price of a pack of cigarettes by $0.40. (All that money goes directly into state government coffers and is spent largely for the benefit of nonsmokers.) Says Viscusi, “excise taxes on cigarettes equal or exceed the medical care costs associated with smoking.”
That was back in 2001 ... before the enormous hikes in cigarette taxes of recent years. It also doesn’t take into account the politically incorrect but nevertheless undeniable fact that smokers save the rest of society by qualifying for fewer years of Social Security and private pension benefits. Smokers die, on average, six to seven years before nonsmokers.
Second-Hand Junk
The only legitimate grounds for interfering in smokers’ choices are the potentially harmful effects of second-hand smoke on nonsmokers. Anti-smoking activists say second-hand smoke contains 4,000 poisons and carcinogens, that even a tiny dose can cause severe health effects. They claim “there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke.”
This is pure junk science. The first principle of toxicology is that the dose makes the poison. We are exposed to thousands of natural poisons and carcinogens in our diets every day, but they don’t hurt us because the exposure is too small to overcome our bodies’ natural defenses. The same is true of second-hand smoke. No victim of cancer, heart disease, etc. can “prove” his or her cancer or heart disease was caused by exposure to second-hand smoke.
Perhaps the best recent academic study of the effects of second-smoke on nonsmokers appeared in a 2003 issue of the British Medical Journal. The authors analyzed data collected by the American Cancer Society from more than 100,000 Californians from 1959 through 1997. They concluded: “The results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco-related mortality,” although they do not rule out a small effect. “The association between tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer may be considerably weaker than generally believed.”
Various radical environmental groups and liberal advocacy groups have been warning us about the supposed risk of “getting cancer” from everything from apples and soda to coffee, chocolate, french fries, and fish ... and now second-hand smoke. Yet each year Americans are living longer and healthier lives. Cancer rates are going down, not up. Do the math, guys.
Voluntary Action Working
We don’t need more bans on smoking in public spaces because people are figuring this out on their own. In the first place, fewer people are smoking. Controlling for the tar content of cigarettes, per-capita cigarette consumption fell by three-fifths (60 percent) since 1950, according to Viscusi.
In most cities and towns, more than half the restaurants are already nonsmoking by choice, and virtually every restaurant has seats reserved for nonsmokers. A growing share have physical room dividers and ventilation systems to prevent smoke migration. Few smokers who share a home with a nonsmoker smoke indoors anymore, or at least not in rooms likely to be occupied by nonsmoking family members.
All this is working. Exposure to second-hand smoke, as measured by the amount of cotinine in the blood of nonsmokers, has fallen 68 percent for kids and 75 percent for adults from the four-year period 1988-1991 to the four-year period 1999-2002, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Recall that even exposure to much higher levels of second-hand smoke in the past hasn’t been plausibly associated with negative health effects ... so how likely is it that today’s much lower levels of exposure are a real public health threat? Not very.
So let’s see. Taxes are already far above any reasonable estimate of social costs of smoking, sound science doesn’t show a health risk from second-hand smoke, voluntary limits now make smoke-free restaurants and even bars widely available to nonsmokers, and exposure to second-hand smoke is rapidly diminishing. Gee, what should we do?
Friedrich Hayek once wrote, “if we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion.” Surely this is a case where further coercion is not justified.
Anti-smoking lobbyists want to go one step further by banning smoking in the few places left for smokers to go to enjoy their habits: those restaurants and bars whose owners still permit smoking. I don’t blame them for wanting to do this because continuing to attack smokers is their business, and I mean that literally: They are paid to advocate smoking restrictions.
I’m not paid to defend smokers. Heartland probably loses funding every time I write on this subject. But as I see it, somebody has to stand up for the millions of American smokers who just want to be left alone. Enough already! Leave those poor smokers alone!
Joseph L. Bast (jbast@heartland.org) is president of The Heartland Institute.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


LetterPublished: Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Re: Your July 22 story by Dave Battagello, in which local MPP Dwight Duncan predicts a rebound for Casino Windsor following the recent announcement of 300 layoffs.

I hope that Mr. Duncan is right about the rebound, but I take exception to his claim that his government always said there would be a decline as the result of the smoking ban.
Mr. Duncan's government did everything it could to hide the fact that the ban would have an impact on the casino. It kept secret its own reports showing that there would be serious impacts on gaming revenues -- up to $500 million a year in losses for the first two years -- and that Windsor would be particularly hard hit.
These reports were only released under pressure through the Freedom of Information Act after many months of pressure from mychoice.ca. The reports, with many parts blacked out, were only released after the new smoking ban law was passed last year, when it was too late for the information to be included in the public debate about whether such a total ban should be enacted.
As for Mr. Duncan's comments that the smoking ban is only part of the problem, the reality is that the government knew that high-dollar and border-security issues had already severely impacted on tourism in Windsor and the success of its casino and chose to add a third strike against the city by making it unattractive to American visitors who smoke.
It did so knowing full well from its own then-secret reports that smokers make up a large portion of revenue-generating visitors to casinos and bingos and stay away when bans are introduced.
Spending $400 million to upgrade the casino will not change the fact that in already tough times, the venue will not be a welcoming one for smokers.
The problem is not that the law requires smoke-free environments to protect non-smokers, but rather that the law does not permit facilities that cater to smokers -- venues where they can go without bothering others.
The law does not even permit separately enclosed and ventilated smoking rooms, a fact that sends a message to visiting smokers -- "go outside, go home, or go elsewhere."
But why should anyone be surprised by this blinkered attitude and revisionist account of past events?
This is the same government that said it would provide exemption to allow seniors to have smoking facilities in their retirement homes, then made the exemptions so restrictive that homes are finding it too costly to provide smoking facilities, causing great distress to those residents who do smoke.
If a government is so consumed with an ideology that it can find no room for compassion, why should anyone expect it to find room for any common sense?
Nancy Daigneault
President, mychoice.ca
Aurora, Ont.


RE: the editor's comment: "Nobody's asking smokers to give up the habit" (July 26 letters).
Keep watching. Through government-initiated, legislated force, smokers will eventually be pushed to smoke on the sly, as if they were criminals. They are not. This is a moral issue, not a government-manipulated health issue. Individual human rights for all is the only issue. For example, from George Orwell's satirical allegory Animal Farm, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." That quote indicates dictatorial policy -- the anti-smoking policies.
Ken Hill
(Butting out is a personal choice.)

What some folks seem to miss when discussing this issue is that the question of comfort, or being offended, has nothing to do with passing a law banning smoking. If people don't like the smell of something or it makes them uncomfortable in a particular establishment they are completely free to go elsewhere or to make enough noise about their wishes that the establishment change its policy.
Smoking ban laws are supposedly based on protecting the health of nonsmokers, and the problem with this is that there are no studies at all out there showing that the low levels of smoke found in a decently ventilated modern establishment have ever hurt anyone.
Should there be bars and restaurants that ban smoking? Sure. And if enough nonsmokers want to go to such places there will be a lot of them.
Should there be places that allow smoking? Again, of course.
Government bans are NOT the answer.
Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

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