Skip to comments.Some questions and answers about: Second Hand Smoke
Posted on 06/12/2002 10:32:54 AM PDT by Just another Joe
Q: Hasn't the EPA determined that secondhand smoke (SHS) is killing innocent people? Why on earth would they lie about something like that?
A: Since the 1960s most doctors and public health organizations have believed smoking to be a primary cause of lung cancer and pre-mature heart disease. Acting on this belief they urged everyone to give up smoking. It didn't work: people kept on smoking anyway.
In the early 1970s radical Antismoking groups like ASH and GASP began increasing pressure on mainstream health groups like the American Lung and Heart Associations . Such groups had previously avoided efforts for widespread smoking bans as too authoritarian and lacking scientific basis. By the late 70s however, they realized that the public health goal of reducing smoking was stuck: a new approach was needed.. While smokers resisted pressure to quit for their own health, a campaign promoting peer and family pressures through fear of SHS might be more effective.
Early propaganda studies involved such bizarre situations as burning 10 cigarettes in a 6.7m^3 chamber (i.e. a closed and sealed "walk-in closet"). The extreme optic and respiratory irritation of "nonsmokers exposed to smoke" was then publicized. More recent studies have looked for almost invisible increases in lung cancer risk among nonsmokers who live or work closely with smokers for 30, 40, or more years. The results of these studies are rarely statistically significant, and don't address casual exposures in public places. No effort is made to examine the effects of better ventilation in offices or restaurants in order to establish safe levels of SHS exposure. Research is directed almost solely toward producing political pressure for total bans.
Why is this? Because the most effective way of reducing smoking in America is thought to be segregating smokers, turning them into social "lepers", and ultimately convincing even smokers themselves that they are killing their children and co-workers. Therefore, research studies designed to "find" such effects are the ones that get funded.
In 1992 the EPA came out with a highly publicized "official" report claiming a small but significant excess risk of lung cancer in those exposed to SHS on an intense daily basis for periods of 40 or more years. They declared that SHS was a human carcinogen (that's what a "Class A" carcinogen is: Class A has nothing to do with any relative "degree" of carcinogenicity).
That finding was based on the results of 11 studies which had found almost no scientifically significant evidence to support such a conclusion. The EPA derived the conclusion only by changing their normal guidelines and standards. (for example, they lowered the standard 95% significance level to 90%.) On the basis of this report, thousands of businesses and offices throughout the United States banned smoking in the 1990s .
In 1998 the EPA report was finally declared invalid in a federal court and its conclusions were thrown out, though with much less publicity.
(Quote from Appeals Court Ruling Striking Down EPA Report.)
"In this case, EPA publicly committed to a conclusion before research had begun.... EPA disregarded information and made findings on selective information; did not disseminate significant epidemiologic information; deviated from its Risk Assessment Guidelines; failed to disclose important findings and reasoning; and left significant questions without answers. EPA's conduct left substantial holes in the administrative record. While so doing, EPA produced limited evidence, then claimed the weight of the Agency's research evidence demonstrated ETS causes cancer."
Q: What about the 400,000 people who are killed every year by smoking and secondhand smoke (SHS)? Where do they get those numbers from?
A: First, a common tactic of Antismokers is to mix numbers up with each other to make things appear as they wish. Thus, a statement about SHS will often include the phrase "deaths from smoking and secondhand smoke" and then go on to cite a huge number. That number is NOT derived from actual death certificates, but from a computer program called SAMMEC, and is largely a guesstimate of deaths among smokers from smoking itself. The propaganda trick is making that number prominent when talking about SHS even though it has almost nothing to do with SHS.
Second, even the discredited figures used in the EPA report relating SHS and cancer were MUCH stronger than any evidence relating SHS to heart disease. The EPA did not even *try* to claim such a link. The "hypothesis" that there COULD be such a link is taken by many Antismoking activists and publicized as an actual "finding". This allows them to magnify the threat of SHS to a figure many times higher than even the EPA claimed.
In fairness, some recent research has begun to lend a tinge of credibility to a link between heart disease and SHS, but there has been no official determination that there is any basis for such a claim, and certainly no "finding" that normal social exposure to SHS poses any such risk . Indeed, one of the largest and most recent international studies ever done (WHO Report 1998), actually found that children of smokers were 20% LESS likely to get lung cancer than matched children of nonsmokers!
From the US Dept. of Transportation's Dec. 1989 report ... For business passengers, flying 480 hours per year for 30 years ... the lifetime risk of premature cancer death expressed as number of expected premature deaths per 100,000 flying cabin occupants -
Ascribable to ETS : .27
Ascribable to in-flight Cosmic Radiation: 504 (East-West flights)
Here we see that the risk from in-flight cosmic radiation is some 1867 times higher than the risk from ETS. Yet the risk from cosmic radiation is routinely ignored, while that of ETS causes apoplexy, hysteria and scatological comparisons.
One could just as easily "prove" that breathing causes cancer.
this is effective......... yesterday I tried to download NY State statutes in the criminal code looking for criminal defamation statutes.(without success) The bald faced lie that smokers murder thousands of non smokers every year fits the criteria for violation of this state law that exists in every state.The law includes individuals or groups of people that are singled out by any matter for disgrace ridicule and contempt by the general public as a result of the defaming matter is usually a gross misdemeanor.
Our civil law obligates the police department and the county attorney of the jurisdiction where the defamation takes place to investigate and prosecute the slanderers.
You do not need an attorney, one just needs to file a police report of the incident, Newspaper ad Radio ad or any matter used violates the civil rights of the citizen.
If a county attorney is playmates with the antis and refuses to investigate, because this is a statutory law one may complain of denial of civil rights for equal protection under the law.
Remember that no one in the U.S has made this challenge to the criminal defamation statements made by the anti's that make the mistake of believing they are above the law.
Make our laws work for us ,file a police report the next time you feel the sting of ridicule and contempt by the lies told about second hand smoke. We have been too accommodating for too long, Demand equal justice.
If you question the source, which it is always wise to do, follow the facts and find out for yourself. For every argument I put forth, I have at my fingertips the proof behind it. Unlike those who parrot the anti-smoker line.
Now, some of the more blatant and criminal speech, such as calling smokers "murderers", may not be protected. But, this may just lead to the stifling of more speech.
I always include in my resume':
I am a social leper.
I kill my children.
I kill my co-workers.
I'm still unemployed.
But isn't that the purpose of defamation laws? If you cause someone harm by defamatory speech, you must desist and/or pay a consequence?
It just occurred to me, though, that there might be great difficulty in proving harm; I'm not sure how it would be quantified.
In Maine there is this statute which sounds interesting:
Chapter 19: FALSIFICATION IN OFFICIAL MATTERS §451 - §457
§456. Tampering with public records or information
1. A person is guilty of tampering with public records or information if he:
A. Knowingly makes a false entry in, or false alteration of any record, document or thing belonging to, or received or kept by the government, or required by law to be kept by others for the information of the government; or [1975, c. 499, § 1 (new).]
B. Presents or uses any record, document or thing knowing it to be false, and with intent that it be taken as a genuine part of information or records referred to in subsection 1, paragraph A; or [1975, c. 499, § 1 (new).]
C. Intentionally destroys, conceals, removes or otherwise impairs the verity or availability of any such record, document or thing, knowing that he lacks authority to do so. [1975, c. 499, § 1 (new).] [1975, c. 499, § 1 (new).]
2. Tampering with public records or information is a Class D crime. [1975, c. 499, § 1 (new).]
Sounds like section B could be used against every lying Health Department in the state.
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