Smoking: Reader Responses to SG Page 2

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USA A personal bias on the part of the Surgeon General has been startlingly reflected in his public appearances as well as in the Executive Summary of his Report and the press release that touts it. In all three cases, what’s been sold to the public as “fact,” is provably not backed by the contents of the Report. (2) “Statements to the effect that even passing contact with smokers is a ticket to slow death (or even loonier, quick death) are paradigmatic propaganda– a tilt at the Big Lie. It’s disappointing, ” Silk observes, “that a high-ranking public official has preferred to promote civil divisiveness and hate and to sacrifice science as the means to his own agenda.”

American Cancer Society catches the Surgeon General in an outright lie…

The Surgeon General showed up very regal looking to provide a press release rehashing the tired old argument that secondhand smoke is deadly and must be banned. And with his next statement:

Separate “no smoking” sections DO NOT protect you from secondhand smoke. Neither does filtering the air or opening a window.

It seemed a feable attempt to pre-empt any action short of a total smoking ban…..as if to confirm that pro-smoking ban activists’ credibility in the public is failing miserably.

Well I am sorry to report that the American Cancer Society conducted air quality testing at several smoking venues which prove the Sugeon General flat out wrong.

Take a look at the above table, do you see the 20 reading? It represents a restaurant with an enclosed (seperate) smoking area. And the 20 is actually 20 nanograms, a nanogram is 10 (-9).

So……let me put a number to that nanogram for you: 0.000000020 of a gram/cubic meter was the secondhand smoke concentration for the restaurant with the enclosed smoking area. Which is 25,000 times SAFER than OSHA regulations for the secondhand smoke measured airborne component. Thus the American Cancer Society destroys the Surgeon General’s and RWJF (Nicoderm) funded James Repace argument that seperation and ventilation don’t work.

The Surgeon General can stomp his feet, and scream at the top of his lungs…like a little Napoleon “….because I said so…..” all he wants. But it doesn’t change the facts……..and the facts show he is telling a bold faced lie to the American public.


Surgeon General Report 2006 – Rebuttals


The Truth About Secondhand Smoke

August 12, 2006
By Matthew Bandyk
The old saying is that “honesty is the best policy.” Even people with intentions to mislead recognize the usefulness of honesty. That’s why they will go to great lengths to not technically “lie,” yet still give a completely false impression,.
An example of this fine art in action came on June 27, when the Surgeon General Richard Carmona released a report on the health effects of secondhand smoke. The report declared that the “debate is over.” Bans on smoking in “public places,” which have surged in cities and states from to, are now indisputably just. It claims that new information shows that secondhand smoke is so dangerous that science can definitively say it is more than just a “mere annoyance.” The logic would follow, then, that if someone blows smoke in your face in a bar, he’s not just being rude: he’s committing an assault against you.
Those who speak out on behalf of bar and restaurant owners and against smoking bans usually talk about freedom of choice and the liberty to do what may harm oneself, but not others. Carmona clearly hopes to turn the tables: anti-tobacco activists are actually the ones protecting liberty, because they’re defending innocent bystanders from deadly pollution involuntarily inhaled.
A look beyond the report’s impressive talking points reveals that that it is not nearly as groundbreaking as Carmona claims, and does little to shift the ground of the smoking debate against libertarians.
The boldest claim in the report is that even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can cause harm. This sounds like the proponents of regulation have won the entire argument from the beginning. “Brief” exposure implies involuntariness: if smoking is allowed in public, I will inevitably be exposed to it briefly unless I become a shut-in. Surely the state has authority to limit harmful conduct involuntarily imposed on others, right?
That all depends on what you mean by harm. Let’s say that after 100 puffs of secondhand smoke, I experience serious health effects. Now, what about those first 99 puffs? Each one made me unhealthier than the last because it got me closer to that 100 mark. So, yes, in that marginal sense, one puff of secondhand smoke is harmful. The report isn’t lying, just avoiding the central question: is that harm enough to pose a real public policy concern, not just “mere annoyance”?
Are we doomed to uncertainty on this issue? If what causes minor discomfort to one man can ruin the week of another, how can the legal system ever decide when infringements on liberty really begin?
Conveniently enough, we already have a tool that has worked for hundreds of years for deciding when harms become legally significant: Has anyone made a successful tort claim against a smoker for briefly exposing them to smoke? In other words, has a jury ever recognized that brief exposure goes beyond mere annoyance to the point where a victim is due financial restitution? Under our common law system, to win a tort case, a plaintiff has to show that he was injured in some way. If I walk by you and you blow smoke at me, I might be annoyed, but I can’t reasonably claim that I’m injured. The report does specify that brief exposure to secondhand smoke can be more dangerous to people with serious respiratory illnesses. But even if we assume that there are some people who would be injured by even very brief exposure to secondhand smoke, it doesn’t follow from those exceptions that we need comprehensive regulations that affect everyone, such as smoking bans. The need for government regulation only exists if common law courts can’t sufficiently deal with a problem by itself. That doesn’t seem to be the case here. In the rare case where secondhand smoking actually is tortious, the victim can sue.
But perhaps the next major claim in the report will expose secondhand smoke as a pressing concern. Research shows that exposure to smoke among non-smoking adults “raises the risk of heart disease by 25 to 30 percent and of cancer by 20 to 30 percent, and accounted for an estimated 46,000 premature deaths from heart disease and 3,000 premature deaths from cancer last year.”
It is telling that in the report’s press release, the closest that 99% of the people who hear of the report will actually get to reading it, this information follows immediately after the previous bullet point about “brief exposure.” The report has already implanted in our heads the idea that any exposure to smoke is harmful. It’s now just a quick step to the conclusion that those 50,000 extra deaths a year are all cases of persons deprived of their human rights by vicious smokers.
But this statistic has nothing to do with brief exposure: the research was gathered from people who were exposed to smoke over a long period of time, such as at home through a smoking spouse. Can one really say that someone who has chosen to live with a smoker for decades is really being subjected to an assault on his or her body—or is that person merely experiencing the foreseeable consequences of that decision? As the old legal saying goes, volenti non fit iniuria: “that to which you consent is no injustice.” The report removes the critical distinction between those who choose to be around smokers and those who do not by dubbing all secondhand smoke inhalation as “involuntary smoking.”
Yet the voluntary nature of smoking—and truly harmful secondhand smoke—is the crux of the debate over public smoking bans. As long as no one is being forced to breathe smoky air, why isn’t the decision by a bar or restaurant owner to allow smoking in her own establishment fully within her rights as a property owner? How can smoking in these establishments, which occurs only on private property and is not forced upon others outside that property, be considered a threat to public health? We should not be distracted from these important questions by Carmona’s chimera of deadly, “involuntary” smoking.
Matt Bandyk is a 2006 graduate of Davidson College in North Carolina. He now writes about political issues in the Washington, DC area.


Treat Smoking Report With Skepticism

July 28, 2006
The current surgeon general’s report on the risks of secondhand smoke is just a rehash of 20 years of false data. This report needs a warning label that says “contains mix of facts, speculation, and downright hyperbole.” It does correctly report a few things, which the media did not report, such as there is no causal relationship between secondhand smoke and breast or cervical cancers, congenital malformations, behavioral developments or childhood cancers. It also showed no causal relationship to asthma in children or adults.
The most important statement this report makes is that even the smallest dose of secondhand smoke can be dangerous. This goes against the basic tenet of toxicology: only the dose makes the poison. The measurements made in these studies use nanograms – that’s one millionth of a gram, folks! These measurements do not even come close to exceeding OSHA’s standards for air quality. The closest they reach is 5,000 times safer than OSHA’s standards.
This only shows that air filtration devices can increase dramatically the atmosphere of an establishment that allows smoking. I have said before that the 1993 EPA report is false, but here is one example of the data. It states that the lifetime risk for nonsmokers getting lung cancer is 1-in-10,000. The EPA report further states that spousal exposure to secondhand smoke increases that risk by 20 percent. Therefore, you would have to have 50,000 people exposed to secondhand smoke to cause one more fatality. This just shows that secondhand smoke is an insignificant risk.
All of my data comes from their sources. I am not making this up. It’s about time people used a little skepticism around doctors like they do around politicians.
JAMES EILBRACHT
Mahomet


Everyone has a right to an opinion, although…
July 19, 2006
As the surgeon General has demonstrated his once quite credible office, is now an excellent source of speculation and political opinion, recently severed from the burdens of integrity or that more cumbersome burden of protecting public health. The SG in his finest hour demonstrates examples of social engineering even Sadam would be proud of. A self appointed referee who seeks to end the petty squabbles of the discovery process in his recent decree “we already know all we need to know”.


Ethics cleansing
July 16, 2006
The CDC, The World Health Organization the Surgeon General of the United states, along with the throngs of stakeholders involved in stealing public funds to distribute the lies are all murderers and guilty of international coercive activities detrimental to the public good causing thousands of unnecessary deaths and disease in their misleading promotions. Planned depraved indifference, in categorized health groups dispensing illegal acts of social cleansing.
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The truth, the whole truth…?
July 10, 2006
Anti smoker advocacy relies heavily on the lack of knowledge in the general public and in many cases knowledge not existing in the public domain. Bill Gates once stated whom ever controls the information will control the world. It is quite easy to take a snippet of information not widely known in the public, to create half truths precipitating fears, which can be used advantageously in political campaigns.. This appears to be the case in many of the most popular battle cries of anti smokers in public tirades and feigned concerned citizens letters to the editor, attempting to illicit a public following while supplanting fictitious urban legends.
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Secondhand smoke July 1, 2006
Editor — I find the surgeon general’s report on secondhand smoke amusing. Why doesn’t he recommend the removal of 464 additives to cigarettes? (American Spirit, Sherman’s and Winston are some of the additive-free smokes.) Some of these additives include arsenic, cyanide and heavy metals. Maybe the secondhand smoke wouldn’t be so toxic if the chemicals were removed.
Dr. James Howenstine blames the huge increase in lung cancer from exposure to depleted uranium shells and bombs. “Breathing radioactive particulate matter has long been known to cause lung cancer … This danger from radioactive iodine is greater than that found from cigarette smoking.”
Why doesn’t Surgeon General Richard Carmona recommend that corporations stop production of insecticides and pesticides? They’ve been linked with asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, attention-deficit disorder, bronchitis, multiple-chemical sensitivity, PMS, enlarged prostate, breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, testicular cancer and prostate cancer.
It seems that Carmona prefers to scapegoat smokers instead of stopping additives in cigarettes, stopping the radioactive war machine and stopping toxic agricultural chemicals. It’s easier to blame secondhand smoke than get rid of major societal poisons. How pathetic! Maybe it’s time we demanded the government reduce the toxin load.
DENISE JAMESON
San Francisco

From BMJ Journal Response: July 1, 2006

Therefore, if people use the standard “dose is the poison” metric, they would expose themselves to a much greater risk than they realized, due to the non-linear relationship between SHS and CHD.

Jill; if you really considered the idea of non linearity in a credible response to Michael’s article you would quickly find your arguments to be circular and self defeating.

No dose response in respect to how many people you could find in the population base, who have not been expossed at some point, elliminates all existence of increased risk. If we have all been expossed how can any have an increased risk?

Further why should smokers quit or smoking bans be implimented as you point out the risk is non linear having knowlege of what smoke smells like is evidence of exposure. non linear supports exposure, all exposure even to what most would have considered to be an insignificant degree is now confirmed by the Surgeon General and you apparently, is still as harmfull as daily exposure. Equal consequences are in store for the entire population smokers or not. Do you understand now why the WHO and the EPA are at odds over linearity?

Linear dose response is the foundation of environmental testing and controls you can not eliminate the science for one toxin without destroying the validity of all toxic damage.

Now in your new non linear world how do you present science as evidence to enforce environmental laws?

Kevin Mulvina


PRESS RELEASE
News from NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment
For more information: Audrey L. Silk, 917-888-9317

SECONDHAND SMOKE: THE DEBATE ISN’T OVER

BROOKLYN, NY — (06/30/2006; 0545)(EIS) — On June 27, U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona unilaterally decreed that the debate about secondhand smoke was over. “That’s a statement spoken more in the way of parent-to-toddler (‘Because I say so’) or dictator-to-subjects (‘Because I rule so’) than a national health advisor to a free and inquiring public,” said smokers’ rights advocate Audrey Silk,” though I don’t seem to remember his debating the subject at all. His conclusions were foregone. In fact,” she said, “he testified to congress a few years ago, and was rather famously quoted as favoring an outright prohibition of tobacco.” (1)

Silk, the founder of NYC C.L.A.S.H. (Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment), whose members include smokers and civil libertarians, says that none of the many scientists or scientific reporters who disagree with the Surgeon General about the “danger” of secondhand smoke, have been suddenly struck dumb. “None of them changed their minds. They didn’t think it was dangerous on Monday, June 26, and none of them thought it was dangerous on Wednesday, June 28. Science,” Silk insisted, “doesn’t succumb to official fiats.”

A personal bias on the part of the Surgeon General has been startlingly reflected in his public appearances as well as in the Executive Summary of his Report and the press release that touts it. In all three cases, what’s been sold to the public as “fact,” is provably not backed by the contents of the Report. (2) “Statements to the effect that even passing contact with smokers is a ticket to slow death (or even loonier, quick death) are paradigmatic propaganda– a tilt at the Big Lie. It’s disappointing, ” Silk observes, “that a high-ranking public official has preferred to promote civil divisiveness and hate and to sacrifice science as the means to his own agenda.”

The Report, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, issued Tuesday from the Surgeon General’s office, isn’t really a new report, as his office itself admits. It’s a rehash of old studies– themselves widely criticized and highly controversial– very carefully selected to support the “correct” conclusion that secondhand smoke is a risk to health and to insure the continuing jihad against smokers.

And a lot of its wilder statements aren’t merely “debatable,” but easily proven wrong. “For instance,” Silk expands, “the notion that there’s “no safe level” of secondhand smoke is just scientific nonsense that any objective scientist would be more than glad to debate.” Silk suggests OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), the agency that determines what exposure levels are safe, might be called as the first witness, since every known constituent ever measured in secondhand smoke has been shown to fall far below what OSHA considers a “risk.”

Then too there’s the strange pronouncement that filtration and ventilation– which dispel industrial toxins from the factory workplace air, and automobile exhaust from indoor parking garages– can’t tackle secondhand smoke.

“Bottom line,” Silk continues, ” is that people willing to buy this incredible new Report– and to buy it without debate– must be willing to ditch science, not to mention common sense and the actual living experience of the entire 20th Century in order to feed their bias.”

The debate can’t be stifled. The real science begs for an ear.

(1)
(2) “Surgeon General’s Communications Misrepresent Findings if Report…” Siegel, Tobacco Analysis News & Commentary,
———————– NYC C.L.A.S.H. is a grassroots smokers’ rights organization that is well established with the media. Among other efforts, C.L.A.S.H. sued NY State and City in Federal Court over the smoking bans and are part of the court record as a complainant in the currently pending federal court case of U.S. vs. Philip Morris, et al.


Surgeon General’s report on secondhand smoke — same-old, same-old
June 28, 2006
By Craig Westover
But public health is not the objective. Banning smoking is. If this were a question of public health, we’d be talking about air quality standards like we do for every other type of air pollution. It’s a bout a group of people using government’s legitimate publich health authority to illegitimately impose their chosen lifestyle on everyone else.
In short, while smoking ban proponents will crow about the “new” report, it is simply more of the same-old, same-old. I’ll ask Moffitt for some supporting data; he’ll simply say this is another rock on the mountains of data and not supply any. Dave Thune will read the article and despite admitting he has no understanding of statistics will say, see the proof is irrefutable.
And more bars will go out of business and more employees will be out of jobs, but bars and restaurants will be smoke-free. All we have to do is wade through the toxic b.s. to get to them.
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Reader Responses to SG Page 1

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