Saturday, February 20, 2010

More anti-smoker hysteria! third hand smoke

There's a sucker born every minute.
Each time the second hand sweeps to the top,
Like dandelions up they pop,
Their ears so big, their eyes so wide.
And though my tale is bonafide baloney,
Just let me spin it,
And ain't no man who can resist me, wait and see..
Cause there's a sure-as-shooting sucker born a minute,
And friends the biggest one excluding none is anyone
Who buys the bullshit and bafflegab of the anti-smoker crowd.
Author Unknown

OK. So, I modified the last two lines, and it doesn't rhyme, but I'm sure you get my point. What else could you call someone who takes third hand smoke seriously. OK. So maybe we could call them gullible for starters. Simpleton might be a valid descriptor, or buffoon.

Unfortunately, some of the people buying into this nonsense are actually well educated. Some of them need more than their fingers and toes to calculate their IQ. Like the doctor who, when asked how long third hand smoke clung to the furniture and draperies, responded with scientific precision, “A long time.” Uh-huh.

God forbid I should ever have to rely on her for medical care for anything more severe than a hangnail.

The latest third hand smoke insanity . . . er, study, reportedly cost over $700,000. This incredibly expensive piece of propaganda was conducted at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. The experiment involved impregnating cellulose substrates with pure nicotine vapour, then applying nitrous acid to see if the reaction created carcinogens in the form of tobacco-specific nitrosamines. These refugees from a loony bin in Berkeley weren't interested in testing a hypothesis, they were hell bent on supporting the contention that third hand smoke was a health hazard.

At any rate, they found that nicotine, when combined with nitrous acid, produced TSNA's (Tobacco Specific Nitrosamines). The main indoor sources of nitrous acid are from unvented combustion appliances such as gas stoves or wood fireplaces. So modest levels of nitrous acid are likely to be present in many homes. Smoking, of course, can also produce nitrous acid because it is a product of combustion.

But, to produce TSNA's of even microscopic proportions, they had to use concentrations of nicotine and nitrous acid which far exceeded anything likely to be found in the average home. And, as author Chris Snowdon notes in an article in the Free society, “if your house or car is full of nitrous acid then you have more to worry about than it reacting with absorbed nicotine.”

The study is being heavily reported in the main stream media, along with suitable comments from health scare professionals. “Third-hand smoke found in hair and on clothes can be as dangerous as the fumes billowing directly from a cigarette – particularly to babies and children.”

But, the study did not prove anything remotely resembling harm to anyone, including children.

They proved that sufficient quantities of pure nicotine vapour (not tobacco smoke residue) when mixed with sufficient quantities of nitrous acid caused a chemical reaction which produced barely measurable levels of some TSNA's. And, since the quantities of both nicotine and nitrous acid were magnified far beyond normal, all they really proved was that there was a chemical reaction when the two were combined.

They did not show that secondhand smoke residue was found in significant quantities in the homes of smokers, that so called third hand smoke was hazardous without the influence of nitrous acid, or that there was a degree of risk posed to toddlers licking floors which are, apparently, never cleaned. Just how many square feet of floor does a toddler have to lick to make him ill?

Yet, according to most news accounts, it's third hand smoke and the multiplicity of allegedly deadly chemicals they contain, which are the danger. And, they're already burying our kids, figuratively speaking.

The real solution to any potential hazard of third hand smoke will be denied by the anti-smoker crowd and ignored by a gullible public. Just keep the kids to hell away from research facilities while they're conducting their fraudulent experiments. That way, they'll never be exposed to a quantity of third hand smoke sufficient to do them any harm.

The only real worth of this particular study is in its propaganda value. It allows the anti-smoker cult to link secondhand smoke residue (now called third hand smoke) with the safety and well-being of children. It allows the cultists to twist and distort the reality and instill an irrational fear of smokers in the minds of parents in particular, and the public in general. It will allow the cultists to justify otherwise unjustifiable discrimination against smokers.

Just like the studies on secondhand smoke, it is meant to create the perception of harm while ignoring the reality of the science.

I'll finish with a quote purloined from the pages of The Smoker's Club Newsletter. Elizabeth Whelan, M.D., President, ACSH (American Council on Science and Health) and anti-smoking advocate:
"There is such a phenomenon as third-hand smoke. There's no evidence whatsoever that it's hazardous to health, but as an aesthetic matter, it's quite noticeable if you're sitting next to someone on a bus who reeks so badly of smoke that you are nauseous. Still, being able to smell something doesn't mean it will give you cancer or any other disease."

"I can't believe we've reached the phase in anti-smoking hysteria that we're now worried about carcinogenic effects of third-hand smoke. When are we going to get to fourth-hand smoke?"

Dr. Whelan should check out the latest rambling from Leg Iron over at Underdogs Bite Upwards. We're way past fourth hand smoke.

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