Saturday, June 12, 2010

Extra, read all about it. Anti-smoker bigots say . . .

The Toronto Sun headline claims: “Smoke-free laws keep kids healthy: U.S. study.” But, the article could just as well have been called “How to say absolutely nothing while bashing smokers in 300 words or less.”

According to an article in the June 11, 2010 edition of the Toronto Sun, “Smoke-free laws are helping children stay healthy.” The Sun notes a “new study” from researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health. The study apparently claims that "children living in non-smoking homes in U.S. counties with smoke-free laws had 39% lower prevalence of cotinine in their blood - an indicator of tobacco smoke exposure - compared to those living in counties with no smoke-free laws.”

But, judging from the article in the Sun, exposure to secondhand smoke, or perhaps just the presence of cotinine in the blood, is now a disease in and of itself.

The article states that: “The Harvard researchers examined data from the 1999-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey which monitored the health and nutritional status of the U.S. population. They analyzed the cotinine levels in 11,486 non-smoking youngsters, aged 3-19 years, from 117 counties, both with and without exposure to second-hand smoke in the home.” Uh-huh.

Which proves . . . ?

What the article doesn't say is just how the lower cotinine levels keep kids healthy. Just exactly what is the threshold limit value of cotinine in the blood? How high does it have to go before a kid keels over and expires due to a heart attack or some other smoking related disease? Just how many kids between the ages of 3 to 19 years have dropped dead recently due to the higher concentrations of cotinine in their urine?

Read the carefully crafted study to find out the shocking statistics. Guaranteed to send shivers down your spine.

Lead researcher Melanie Dove is quoted as saying: "The findings suggest that smoke-free laws are an effective strategy to protect both children and adults from exposure to second-hand smoke. In addition, interventions designed to reduce or prevent adults from smoking around children are needed."

Well, there it is! We all know that secondhand smoke kills thousands of Canadian kids every year. OK, maybe not thousands, but hundreds. OK. OK. But, it kills hundreds of adults over the age of 35 who were once kids. Just don't waste a lot of time looking for the bodies. Better off to do something constructive, like searching for Edgar Rice Burroughs' lost land of Pellucidar. I'll bet the anti-smoker madness hasn't reached there yet.

In other news, Errol Povah claims he is not an anti-smoker, but admits that he is an anti-tobacco activist. And, according to Povah: “There is a difference.” Uh-huh. There's also a difference between an alligator and a crocodile, but I don't want to get chomped on by either.

Povah is running across Canada (at least as far as Montreal which is a little more than half-way) to garner support for a Smoke-Free World.

On his way through Duncan (BC), he urged the town council to “bring in the toughest no-smoking bylaw possible,” noting he'd support the measure 110%. Sounds like he went to the same school as most other anti-smoker statisticians.

Povah dismissed personal freedom concerns by claiming: “Addiction eliminates freedom and choice.” He notes “Smoking is not addictive.” Before adding that nicotine is
“the most addictive drug known - and smoking is actually the dirtiest way to get the hit.”

Oh, well. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck . . .

Also in the news, the fight against contraband smokes. The CCSA (Canadian Convenience Stores Association) is in the midst of a 25-city tour, to build [public] support and awareness to have the provincial and federal governments make a more serious effort to curb the trade of illegal cigarettes.

The article in the Niagara Falls Review notes that governments are losing $2.4 billion in lost tax revenue each year, before stating the little known fact that smoking is unhealthy.

Miserable, no good smokers. Don't they understand that refusing to pay extortion is,. . . er, well it's un-Canadian. They should submit meekly to the demands of the extortionists in Ottawa and Queen's Park (and Quebec City and Halifax, etc) and graciously kiss the collective ass of the anti-smoker crowd for their help and encouragement. After all, this persecution is for our own good. Isn't it?

Sometimes I wish I wasn't such a news junkie. It does terrible things to my blood pressure.


Michael J. McFadden said...

Rambler wrote, "On his way through Duncan (BC), he urged the town council to “bring in the toughest no-smoking bylaw possible,” noting he'd support the measure 110%. Sounds like he went to the same school as most other anti-smoker statisticians."

Heh... Rambler, always love yer style!

Keep on fightin' !


Anonymous said...

Years and years ago, in the late 1990s, I worked on a short-term contract helping validate a method of assaying cotinine levels in peoples' saliva (which exactly mirrors the blood levels without being as hard to handle in a lab). The method was fairly simple, but rather cunning.

Firstly, collect saliva from the victim^Wvolunteer using a tampon-like thing which tastes awful, thus ensuring the researcher almost never persuades the same person to volunteer twice. Then spin the saliva out of the padding, and pass through a vac-elut cartridge to do a preliminary extract.

This gives you a cleaner sample, and about a 50-fold concentration increase. You then spike this sample with a known amount of radiolabelled cotinine; that is to say cotinine with some of the hydrogens replaced with deuterium. Chemically identical, but a bit heavier.

You run this through a liquid chromatograph, and run some of the output of this through a scanning gas chromatograph. This lets you compare the amounts of heavy cotinine to normal cotinine; you know how much heavy is in the sample, so you can work out the ratio of heavy to light and thus how much was in the original sample.

Non-smokers like myself who shun secondhand smoke (because I don't much like the smell of it) normally have 5 to 10 picogrammes of cotinine per ml of original matrix. People who live with a smoker and get exposed to lots of smoke have levels in the thirties to fifties. Smokers never show less than a couple of hundred picogrammes per ml, and are usually a good deal higher, even over a thousand in some cases.

The study is showing that children who live closely with smokers have slightly elevated levels of cotinine (the breakdown metabolite of nicotine) in their blood. Slightly is the key phrase here; they have ever so slightly raised levels.

What we are not told is ifthe study tries to control for the socio-economic status of the kids' families (smokers are more likely to be lower-class people and such folks have poorer diets than the better off people, which means poorer health etc) which would far outweigh the effects seen from smoking. Indeed the socio-economic effects would be so huge compared to the smoking effect that the smoking effects ought to be lost in the noise.

bannedsmoker said...

Errol Povah claims he is not an anti-smoker, but admits that he is an anti-tobacco activist.

Is he STILL singing that tune? Yawn...

I still can't figure out what an "anti-tobacco activist" is going to accomplish by pushing for more laws and rules against SMOKERS. Sounds more to me like he is an anti-SMOKER.

I mean they can have as many laws as they want to "restrict/regulate" and punish smokers, but how is that going to change anything in regards to tobacco?

What would happen to these "anti-tobacco activists" if they decided one day that tobacco is henceforth ILLEGAL to produce, distribute, sell, or possess?

Who would they then turn against to keep their spotlight?

Isn't Errol Povah the guy who chucks paint at billboards and runs around in a Grim Reaper costume with a big prop cigarette he lies to call "sickarette"?

Seeing as how the paint hurling and the costume parties were such successful campaigns, perhaps he should throw paint on his costume and run across country with that.

If anything, at least it would draw more attention to his "cause" whether good or bad.

Just some guy on a long jog? Well at least he'll get some exercise and might get a few cheers from his anti-smoker buddies.

Run Forrest Run!

bannedsmoker said...

Here is a couple more things that really baffle me about this crusader.

Here is a guy who will push for the strongest and strictest laws against smokers without even considering accommodations for them, or outright refusing any suggested possibility of them by stating every reason in the anti-smoker bible.

Then says this:

He stresses that smokers are not the cause.

So then WHY all the strongest possible laws and "rules" against them and the vehement refusal to co-habitate?

Then claim to NOT be an anti-smoker?

“Smoking is not addictive,” he pointed out.

Oh really? Smoking is not addictive anymore? I don't know me. That is not what I have been hearing for the past few years me.

So are the anti-smokers changing their tune now?

Oh yeah... "it's the nicotine"...

What would say them if the tobacco companies found a way to remove the nicotine?

I doubt anything would change much.

It would be just a matter of fabricating yet ANOTHER reason to continue this crusade.

Smokers are alot easier to pick on than governments, or the tobacco industry.

Which is why this crusade continues.

If they tried to get politicians to BAN this so-called deadly and addictive substance, they would be laughed right out of there.

Next best thing? Pick on the consumers of said product. Chances are, politicians will eat it up.

Might even buy a few votes from the "I don't like the smell of cigarettes" crowd.

Give the appearance of "saving all the lives".

Oh my hero!