Thursday, December 11, 2008

Stamp out smoking - stomp on a smoker

Next month, the city of Belmont will begin enforcing the most extensive anti-smoker ordinance in the US. And, if it weren’t so sad, so insane, it would be funny.

While visiting Michael Siegel’s blog recently (Tobacco Analysis), I picked up a link to a video on The Mayor of Belmont, California, was speaking on behalf of a proposition that would ban smoking practically everywhere in the city, including a person’s own car and private homes if you happened to live in a condominium or apartment.

The video provided some interesting insight into the mind of the anti-smoker zealot.

I’m thinking of the children, that’s the most important thing.” raved Mayor Coralin Feirbach. “Not necessarily the restaurants, not necessarily the condos, but the children in the community. Children. Children. Children.”

The Mayor was waving her arms about, pounding on the desk with her fist, as animated as an evangelical preacher overdosing on the Holy Ghost. Mayor Feirbach is obviously an anti-smoker and just as obviously a fanatic, but much, much worse; a fanatic in a position of power.

Councilman Dave Warden, also supporting the ban, declared at a city council meeting: “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a smoke-free city, where you don’t smoke in the parks, you don’t smoke outside, you don’t smoke in front of Starbucks, you just don’t do it?”

Mr. Perfectly Flawless Warden obviously likes to dream in Technicolor.

Warden says that non-smokers have no options if they’re offended by the smell of secondhand smoke. “Their options are to move. Their options are to die.” He declares in a grand mal of empty-headed nonsense.

Listening to Warden, someone might easily be led into believing that Belmont city works was being overwhelmed, sweeping up the bodies of non-smokers felled by a whiff of tobacco smoke on a regular basis.

“The council has the right to enact ordinances for the health, welfare and safety for the population of Belmont,” proclaims Mayor Feirbach in her best imitation of an old time, fire and brimstone preacher. “That is our responsibility; to take care of everybody.” Uh-huh.

Unfortunately, in Belmont, California, everybody apparently means everybody but smokers.

Those who choose to smoke have been branded as second class citizens. (At this point in time, we are speaking figuratively, although it’s rumoured that council has put out tenders for a supply of branding irons bearing the city logo.)

The obscenely oppressive legislation approved by Belmont’s city council, in fact, declares open season on smokers. It targets them for government sanctioned discrimination.

But, perhaps the saddest part of the whole disgusting affair is that the ordinance is based on fear; a ludicrous, irrational fear of secondhand smoke. And, Feirbach and Warden spread that message of fear with a vengeance.

“Children. Children. Children.” Feirbach rages fervently. Her (over) zealous assertion that she is acting in the interests of the children is certainly not without passion. What it does lack, however, is credible evidence to support the contention that children (or adults) are at any increased risk of death from exposure to secondhand smoke.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer conducted a study for the World Health Organization which concluded that: “ETS exposure during childhood was not associated with an increased risk of lung cancer (odds ratio [OR] for ever exposure = 0.78; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.64 -0.96).” Simply put, no risk of lung cancer from secondhand smoke. Nor have scientific studies shown an increased risk for heart disease.

The worst that can be shown is that cigarette smoke might contribute to an asthma attack causing a runny nose or watery eyes. And, how many parents, aware of a child’s medical condition, would expose their child to even that discomfort.

But then, who needs evidence when you’re protecting the world from the foul stench of tobacco smoke?

But you have to wonder: did Feirbach or Warden actually do any research of their own before their venomous incitement of hatred against smokers? Or did they simply rely on the “experts” in the anti-smoker club?

A sizable contingent from the anti-smoker brigade attended at least one Belmont council meeting where the issue was discussed; the American Lung Association, California Clean Air Project, BREATHE California, San Mateo County Tobacco Coalition, etc. In fact, anti-smoker cultists outnumbered the five member city council.

Of course, one stakeholder group appears to have been glaringly absent from council discussions; smokers. But, then, they were the defendants in the proceeding. And, the concept of due process has obviously been discarded in Belmont’s politically correct version of democracy.

The Belmont anti-smoker ordinance was approved in September, 2007 and will be enforced beginning in January 2009. Another fine day for truth, justice and the American way.

No comments: