Sunday, January 11, 2009

Third hand smoke; anti-smoker insanity

“Yep. It’s getting pretty sad these days. Can’t even get on a elevator without someb’dy killin’ ya.”

The old guy sat down next to me on the rustic old bench where I was waiting for a streetcar to take me downtown. He appeared to be a lonely old chap, but he was clean shaven and well-dressed and I’ve never been averse to casual conversation, even with strangers.

“Excuse me?” I queried, not sure what he was referring to.

“Woman got herself killed t’other day. Oh, yeah,” he said, with a toothless grin. “Happened downtown, it did. Some poor woman got on the elevator with one a them smoker fellas and the mis’rable bastard breathed on her. Killed ‘er dead, he did, just like that.” He finished, snapping his fingers for emphasis.

“Yep. Third hand smoke is what done it. Only young she was too.” The old man shook his head in dismay, then continued,
“Somethin’ ought’a be done about them smokers, that’s for sure. Foul, smelly bast . . . “

He stopped mid sentence, his eyes bulging like saucers, as I withdrew the pack of Putters Lights from my shirt pocket. Sweat was already beading on his forehead as I extracted a fag from the blue and white pack. He was visibly trembling when I put the fag between my lips and brought out my trusty Zippo.

“Ah, geez don’t do it, mister. Don't light it.” He groveled, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean nuttin’ by it. I don’t wanna get dead.” Then, terrified and next to tears, he turned and ran for his life.

I flicked open the Zippo and brought the open flame to the end of my fag. ‘Why is he running?’ I thought to myself. He’s got at least 20 minutes before my secondhand smoke turns to third hand smoke and causes him to keel over.

A new “scientific study” by Dr. Jonathan Winickoff , warns the public that third hand smoke is hazardous to the health of both adults and children, but mostly children. In another week or two, the anti-smoker crowd will have people believing something called third hand smoke kills not only babies, but houseplants, household pets and all manner of living things.

By the end of the month, third hand smoke will be a bigger threat to humanity than atomic weapons. OK. OK. Maybe not as big as the atom bomb, but big. For sure, it will be even more deadly than secondhand smoke which is, in turn, more hazardous than first hand smoke.

And, e-v-e-r-y-b-o-d-y knows first hand smoke is very deadly stuff. Just ask anybody in the anti-smoker brigade. They’ll tell you. After all, that’s what started this whole nightmare.

Of course, as it turns out, the study wasn’t really a study, it was a telephone poll. And the hazards of third hand smoke weren’t really studied. What was studied was what people thought about third hand smoke. And, the truth be known, they didn’t really ask about third hand smoke per se, because they hadn’t invented it yet. So they just asked people if someone smoking in a room today would hurt you tomorrow. Or was it, if someone smoked in a room yesterday, could it hurt you today. No matter, it was something like that.

But, if that’s not confusing enough for you, third hand smoke, as it turns out, isn’t really smoke at all, it’s tobacco residue left over after the smoke is gone. Of course, after the smoke is gone it can’t really be called third hand smoke, because it’s not . . . smoke that is.

Dammit, now they’ve got me confused.

At any rate, due to the potential health hazards of young children eating, licking or absorbing infinitesimally small trace amounts of this solidified, once-upon-a-time secondhand smoke, tobacco contamination, anti smoker crusaders are now free to push government to ban smokers from all public and private spaces. Yes. Smokers. Did you expect them to ban cigarettes?

According to Winickoff: “For people who smoke, this is another important piece of factual evidence for them to attempt to quit smoking.” Uh-huh.

Factual? I think I may be sick.

For the real story behind this lapse into insanity, check out the article by Christopher Snowdon on Velvet Glove Iron Fist

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