Monday, July 5, 2010

Not everyone supports smoking bans

I paid a visit to Frank Davis' blog yesterday. He's a Brit and comments regularly on the British smoking ban(s). He's an excellent writer who manages to remain consistently entertaining and informative. His latest blog entry led me to a site called “Your Freedom”.

Your Freedom is a new web site run by the British government. Its stated purpose is to give the public an opportunity to suggest ways the government can “create a more open and less intrusive society”, by ridding the country of “unnecessary laws and regulations”. The public is invited to submit various laws or regulations they'd like the government to repeal or otherwise modify.

Naturally enough, several of the suggestions dealt with the smoking ban and the need to repeal or amend it, especially as it relates to British pubs. Of course, it's unlikely the government will pay any attention to such suggestions; the anti-smoker crowd has far too much influence in Britain, as they do in most countries.

Smoking bans, in Britain and elsewhere, are a draconian solution to a problem which, more likely than not, doesn't exist. But, by constant repetition, the public has been persuaded that secondhand smoke is a major health hazard and that comprehensive smoking bans are the only viable solution to the alleged problem.

That perception has been created by the manipulation of emotions, rather than the use of valid reasoning or legitimate science. Many years ago, the anti-smoker crowd decided that the most effective method of forcing smokers to quit was an appeal to the fear of the non-smoker.

By generating fear of secondhand smoke, and prejudice towards smokers, non-smokers could be convinced to abandon common sense and support any initiative designed to force smokers to give up their “filthy habit”, for their own good and, of course, for the good of public health.

There was no evidence to support the contention that secondhand smoke could cause lung cancer or heart disease, so the anti-smoker zealots simply invented it. The 1993
study from the US EPA (Environment Protection Agency; the 1998 report from WHO (World Health Organization) being the most prominent propaganda pieces. Studies by Enstrom and Kabat, Brownson et al and a myriad of others which did not support the proposition were simply ignored.

And, with funding from major pharmaceutical companies, and a little help from their allies in the self-censored media, the fanatics managed to persuade a majority of the public that secondhand smoke was a major menace.

Once the public had been conditioned to accept secondhand smoke as hazardous to their health, it was an easy task to convince the politicians. “Look here,” they said, “80% of the population believes that secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard. Something must be done. ”

Politicians, it seems, are often devoid of common sense and logical thought processes. In the case of smoking bans, their reasoning skills were apparently restrained by the belief that, because many people believe something to be true, it is therefore true. It's absurd logic, really. But, then, we're dealing with polticians.

And, when the anti-smoker crowd proposed draconian smoking bans as the solution to the manufactured hazards of secondhand smoke, the politicians were only too willing to accept their faulty logic; thinking for themselves apparently too great a chore.

Smoking bans were the only solution to be considered. All other potential solutions were to be rejected because some small part of the problem might still exist due to the mysterious, magical powers of secondhand smoke.

Separate smoking areas could not be permitted because a technology which has put men into space is apparently incapable of devising a ventilation/exhaust system to contain secondhand smoke. Signs advising the public that they are entering a smoking establishment aren't adequate to protect bar staff, some of whom might be non-smokers.

Only the perfect solution, a complete ban on smoking, was/is acceptable. No compromise was/is to be considered. And, if the perfect solution includes the de-normalization of, and discrimination against, smokers, so what? Non-smokers must be protected from the foul-smelling, filthy brutes who cling to their addiction, spreading disease and death among the population.

At the end of the day, the politicians are not likely to repeal or amend the smoking ban in Britain, no matter how well reasoned the arguments to do so might be. The anti-smoker crowd will not allow it. And, the politicians . . .

But, there's some evidence that the truth is getting out there. More and more people are beginning to question the need for smoking bans and other forms of discrimination against smokers.

Unfortunately, for now, the bullshit and bafflegab of the anti-smoker fanatics will prevail.

4 comments:

bannedsmoker said...

Speaking of consistently entertaining and informative writers, here is another site out of the US.

smokervoter.com

You may have seen it already, but I thought that one is also a great read.

Sensible said...

Great post! It's nice to know there are other functioning brains out there - whether or not you are using the known-to-be-a-neuro-enhancer "nicotine."

Even non-smokers should heed your words!

I'm worried about the way that secondhand smoke fear tactics are being used to approach a host of other social issues - like soda taxes, obesity and even global warming.

I talk about the use of social isolation - a dreaded punishment - in a recent post, First, Do No Harm at sensiblesmoker.com

Social isolation? Really?

DaveA said...

Hi Standfast.

Not only was the EPA 1993 report viewed as junk science it was stated as junk science. Judge William Osteen in 1998 accused the EPA of "cherry picking" its data and using different formulae to get different results. He basically accused the EPA of fraud.

Also you may not be aware that in November 1994 the Congressional Health Sub Committee headed up by virulent anti smoking campaigner Henry Waxman, D-California, published the results into passive smoking, they concluded that:

"it is likely that many workers would not be exposed to sufficient ETS to be at increased risk for lung cancer."

"The statistical evidence does not appear to support a conclusion that there are substantial health effects of passive smoking" on the American public."

"The new Congressional Research Service report raises additional questions about the validity of EPA's decision to classify environmental tobacco smoke as a known human carcinogen."

"The statistical evidence does not appear to support a conclusion that there are substantial health effects of passive smoking.."


"It is possible that very few or even no deaths can be attributed to ETS...if there are any lung cancer deaths from ETS exposure, they are likely to be concentrated among those subjected to the highest exposure levels...

primarily among those nonsmokers subjected to significant spousal ETS.


Even when overall risk is considered, it is a very small risk and is not statistically significant at a conventional 95% level."

I have a library of 4,000 studies which confirm this analysis. Please feel free to drop me a line should you want more info.

daveatherton20@hotmail.com

http://www.legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/oio50c00/pdf?search=%22crs%20report%20for%20congress%20redhead%20rowberg%22

http://www.legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/brn77d00/pdf

The Old Rambler said...

DaveA,

Isn't it strange that documents, obtained as a result of lawsuits against the tobacco companies, include such a wealth of information contradicting many of the claims made by the anti-smoker crowd.

Thanks for the links and the offer of assistance.