Friday, March 31, 2006

A doctor's comments regarding smoking bans

I found a copy of this letter from a doctor and past president of the NY Cancer Society and thought I would pass it along:

I’m Robert E. Madden MD, FACS. I am also a non-smoker. HOWEVER I am a passionate opponent smoking bans. Most of the opposition to the smoking bans has been based upon economic factors such as loss of business revenue, even closings. My opposition is due to loss of individual freedom and abuse of scientific fact.

I am a practicing chest surgeon, a teacher and a former cancer researcher. I am also past president of the NY Cancer Society. I will not tell you that smoking is harmless and without risk, in fact one in eight hundred smokers will develop lung cancer. Asthmatics should avoid tobacco smoke. What I will say is: 1) it’s a personal choice and 2) so called second smoke (ETS) is virtually harmless. One may not like the smell but it has not been shown to cause cancer, even in bartenders. If people do not like the odor then they may go elsewhere. Those who support the ban have no right to deny 24% of the adult population their enjoyment of a popular product based on dislike, possibly hatred of smoking. This attitude is that of a bigot, akin to anti-Semitism or racism.

To me the most offensive element of the smoking bans is the resort to science as “proving that environmental smoke, second hand smoke, causes lung cancer”. Not only is this unproven but there is abundant and substantial evidence to the contrary. It is frustrating, even insulting, for a scientist like myself to hear the bloated statistics put out by the American Cancer Society (of which I am a member) and the American Lung Association used to justify what is best described as a political agenda. Smokers enjoy smoking. Most non-smokers are neutral. Anti-smokers hate smoking. It is this last group that drives the engine of smoking bans. Smoking sections in restaurants, ventilated bars and the like have been satisfactory and used for years. To those who choose to smoke they do so at their own risk. To those eschew smoking let them patronize establishments whose owners prohibit smoking. To impose a city wide or a state wide ban is to deny people of their rights.

Robert E. Madden, M.D.

I couldn't agree more with the good doctor especially after reviewing the SLP/OSHA study in which government health department officials proved secondhand smoke concentrations are 500 - 15 times safer than OSHA air quality regulations for secondhand smoke components.

Even more dramatic is the American Cancer Society air quality testing, conducted in NY in 2002, which demonstrates that secondhand smoke is actually 532 - 25,000 times safer than OSHA regulations (Standards - 29 CFR).

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Particulate matter and the pro-smoking ban movement

There has been a significant effort on the part of pro-smoking ban groups to try to confuse people with air quality standards that simply don't apply.

Some pro-ban groups go into bars after a smoking ban is implemented and measure total particulate matter (pm) they return results that show there is less (pm) and tout to the media "....see there's less airborne dust we saved lives!"

So what?
Total particulate matter readings are meaningless, measuring all airborne particulate matter is no indication of any harmful airborne contaminants. For that you need to measure specific contaminants like benzene, or lead, or nicotine, or chromium, whatever the suspected harmful substance might be.

IE. If I take my laser particle counter into a non-smoking busy pool hall...the total particulate matter could easily exceed 300,000 particles/cu.M. but chalk dust at that level is not listed as a health measuring the total PM in a busy bar is equally meaningless...

But measure for the "marker" component of secondhand the Cal EPA or St. Louis Park, MN. environmental health department did and then you've got a scientific result relevant to the actual concentrations of secondhand smoke. Which in the SLP study proved to be 500-15 times safer than the OSHA indoor air quality safety standards require.

Which brings me to another area pro-smoking ban activists try to confuse people with. They bring up the EPA outdoor particulate matter PM 2.5 and PM 10 standards, which is a standard that measures outdoor partculate levels at 2.5 micron and 10 micron* particle size. These EPA standards are for outdoor air quality, not indoor. Indoor air quality standards, especially in the workplace, are regulated by OSHA.

For additional information on air quality testing see the following links:

*As a frame of reference the eye of a needle 1/32 inch, is 749 microns.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The race for Minnesota update.

There has been much speculation over the reasoning behind gubernatorial candidate Kelly Doran's decision to drop out of the race.

Some say: it was a straw poll conducted among about 30,000 Democrats who attended precinct caucuses on March 7 — showed him trailing far behind Hatch and the other two DFL candidates. In that poll, Hatch got 39 percent of the vote, state Sen. Becky Lourey of Kerrick got 23 percent, state Sen. Steve Kelley of Hopkins got 22 percent and Doran got 6 percent.

But I think the real reason is that he feared the property rights candidate for Governor Sue Jeffers.....Sue, will you be announcing Doran as a running mate?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

St. Paul is just getting started with it's bans.....

Now St. Paul officials are banning the Easter bunny for fear that it "might offend" non christians.
I wonder if political correctness goes both ways.....would a Koran be cheerfully displayed if minority Muslims demanded it?

I am officially embarrassed to be a Minnesotan.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Minneapolis revenue numbers for bars and restaurants one year after the smoking ban are out

Just as the ALAMN spokesman requested a year ago, "......let's wait 12 months after the smoking ban and see what the numbers tell us...."

Well, the Minneapolis revenue numbers are out, tallied by the pro-smoking ban city officials; if that gives you any indication of the bias to be expected, and the numbers don't support the Nicoderm/RWJF funded testimony that business would be booming after a smoking ban.

In fact neighborhood bar revenues are down -4.15%, according to city officials.

And Minneapolis nightclub revenues are down -0.9%

Though many NE bars report revenue losses between 25-50%

This at a time when local economy and businesses not saddled by "special interest" ordinances are booming.

Of course its hard to tell if the revenue figures take into account the 60+ establishments which closed due to the smoking the entire 4th floor of the Mall of America which closed because of Bloomington's smoking ban.

One item to note, I meant to link to the Minneapolis hospitality revenue numbers, but true to their bias, all the pro-smoking ban media in town are too dismayed by the news to openly display that which highlights the financial losses due to the smoking bans.

Update: According to the city of Minneapolis the smoking ban revenue data included revenue information from 353 licensed liquor establishments within the city......what's the problem with that you ask? There are actually 618 establishments in Minneapolis with a liquor it appears that Minneapolis officials "cherry picked" the data to minimize the true economic harm from the smoking ban.

Additionally misleading is the fact that Minneapolis officials used revenue data from hotels, which constitutes nearly half the total revenue examined.....but hotel rooms are exempt from the smoking ban just as they are in California and anywhere else smoking bans have been implemented....the revenue data from hotels then should also be exempted from this study. But only if Minneapolis officials are interested in telling the truth.....I wouldn't count on that though.

Smoke out Gary has more facts and omissions about "the study".

Lawmakers are beginning to see that they have been used by the tobacco control movement

The tobacco control activists and the politicians they've used to implement smoking bans and higher taxes on tobacco products to affect policy change seem destined for a showdown.

New York lawmakers were happy to listen to tobacco control activists' exaggerations and lies about secondhand smoke to affect policy changes like smoking bans......but now that those same policies are beginning to affect tax revenues, lawmakers may be rethinking that relationship.

Afterall, 23 smoking bans were defeated in 2005, more were defeated than passed. And so far this year a number of proposed smoking bans have failed.

But the current issue is that new tobacco control policies are beginning to affect the bottom line of local and state governments. Consider the following:

Although the steep decline in cigarette sales has been a public health boon, it has become something of a financial problem for some states. Because industry payments to states are based to some extent on the number of cigarettes sold, the settlement revenue has dropped.
-The Washington Post

The Pataki administration is refusing to enforce a new law that effectively shuts down the lucrative sale of untaxed cigarettes by the state's Native American tribes - costing the city and state $500 million this year. -NY Daily News

Judge Dismisses New York's Suit Against Internet Cigarette Sellers - Smoker's Club Inc.

Seneca leaders and a Tuscarora businessman predict they are headed for a confrontation with Spitzer, who has strongly advocated collecting cigarette taxes on the reservations at the direction of the State Legislature. -Buffalo News

It's starting to seem that lawmaker's are becoming cognizant of the negative impact of their unfounded and over-zealous anti-tobacco actions.

Might I suggest that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funds nearly all smoking ban lobbying efforts, should make up the multi-billion dollar revenue shortfalls to local governments. It is the least they can do; afterall, the RWJF is looking out for our health.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Health research scientists caught "faking research"

From this Canadian publication comes the entire sordid story.

Officials at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) say they cannot, under federal privacy law, identify the researchers.........But CIHR says it awarded "approximately" $12,410,816.00 to projects in which researchers have been found to be violating research ethics or integrity rules since 2003.

These research studies are not unlike those that the
non-profits, funded by Nicoderm interests, later inundate our lawmakers with to affect policy smoking bans.

Well now there is no reason to believe that the research or studies provided by tobacco control activists are not also tainted with the same fraud.

There is one study we can rely on though, the
SLP / OSHA air quality testing of secondhnd smoke, proving that secondhand smoke is 500 - 15 times safer than OSHA indoor air quality regulations.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

What really happens to air quality after a smoking ban

Most people do not realize it, but many bars and restaurants do update their ventilation / filtration systems to accomodate smoking. However, once smoking bans are mandated your neighborhood establishment is less likely to invest in updated ventilation or filtration systems for two reasons:

A) revenues have decreased since the implementation of smoking bans

and / or

B) the perception is that the air is cleaner so there is no need

However the unseen benefit of a state of the art air filtration system is that bacteria, viruses, and other airborne pathogens are also eliminated along with the tobacco smoke.........eliminate the perceived need for updated ventilation and you naturally increase the health hazard for bacteria, viruses, and other airborne pathogens at your favorite eating and drinking establishment. 

A commentator and former aircraft mechanic of 30 years shared this experience after airlines voluntarily went non-smoking: 

I could if I had two hours, describe to you in great technical detail how the ventilation system works in modern jet passenger aircraft. But leaving out the finer details, all jet aircraft cabin ventilation systems work basically on the same principle, whether a tiny Lear jet or a 747. 

The system can be set to completely renew the cabin air every minute, but at the cost of fuel efficiency. That is why the airlines were mainly not reticent about smoking bans, and why many airlines opted for the bans before being forced to do so. Simply put, it has saved them literally millions of dollars in fuel costs over "X" number of flight hours. It had nothing to do with the health or comfort of their passengers. It had everything to do with their bottom line.
How does this work? If the pilot decides he wants the cabin to be well ventilated with all the air in the cabin to be renewed, say, every five minutes, he makes the corresponding setting and the computer does the rest. 

Now that you can no longer smoke in flight, the pilots have received the directive to minimize the fresh air cycles. The effect is that once the cabin is pressurized, the outflow valve essentially closes and stays closed for a much longer duration than it would if you wanted to keep introducing (smoke clearing) fresh air at faster intervals. As a result, the bleed air valve asks for less air from the engine(s). With the bleed air solicited to a minimum, the engine uses less fuel, hence the savings in fuel. 

Personally, I am qualified to say that the air quality on non-smoking flights, especially long flights, might be smoke free, but it sure as hell is full of every free floating bacteria and virus 220 people can emit over a length of time in a sealed cylinder. 
Thanks to non-smoking flight your average aircraft cabin is one big seething petri dish. 

Extremely good point Eric.....the hospitality industry is reacting in exactly the same manner. Thanks to smoking bans eliminating the need to upgrade air filtration systems, your average bar/restaurant is one big seething petri dish.

Bon apetit

After implementing smoking bans, massive numbers of bars & restaurants have closed due to revenue losses, tossing hundreds of thousands of employees in the unemployment line. 

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Some believe that California's statewide smoking ban has eliminated smoking in all bars

But other folks in California still have a penchant for freedom. Read more here.

Early American colonists showed similar backbone when they turned Boston Harbor into a tea party, I think we all remember how that turned out

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Since Dana Reeves death has been prominently replayed in the media lately

I thought I would point to an earlier post in which research scientists are seriously looking into hormone replacement therapy as the cause of lung cancer deaths among non-smoking women. The article is here.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) the over zealous anti-tobacco group is under fire from at least one pro-smoking ban advocate

ASH is making some pretty outrageous claims these days to villify secondhand smoke. You can read more on Dr. Siegel's website.

So this interested me enough to investigate more about ASH.

From the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF has large financial ties to Nicoderm manufacturer Johnson & Johnson) website, ASH is listed as a member organization of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. And the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids was:

..... in effect, the planning stage for the National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids, a new 501(c)(3) organization started by RWJF to reduce smoking ....... In January 1996, the Foundation's Board of Trustees authorized $20 million to create the Center. The AMA received a $489,890 three-month bridge grant (ID# 028989) to support the actual establishment of the Center. The Center itself received the balance of the authorization ($19.51 million) in grant ID# 029600. This grant was renewed with a $50 million grant (ID# 035929) running through March 2004. .......... The Center continues to use the name, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, as the umbrella for its activities.

So it sounds to me as though ASH is part of the marketing department for Nicoderm and pharmaceutical nicotine giant Johnson & Johnson Company. I would suggest any information by this organization, regarding smoking bans, should be viewed as HIGHLY dubious at best.

MPAAT seems to have abandoned their use of Heather Crowe commercials

It could be another embarassing scandal for Minnesota Partnership for Action Against Tobacco, the first was chronicled here. Heather Crowe is the restaurant worker who according to the MPAAT radio and TV commercials developed a "smoker's tumor" allegedly due to exposure to secondhand smoke for 40 years.

The full story is available at Forces homepage under the heading "Health".


Most of our readers are familiar with still-lively Canadian waitress Heather Crowe........worker's compensation awards she received, but the original judgment on her behalf by the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (OWSIB), dates back to 2002. ... prior to biopsy, with a tentative diagnosis of a lung tumor, she sought the help of the Chief Medical Officer for the city of Ottawa, Doctor Robert Cushman, to advance her claim for compensation. Doctor Cushman is also president of the non-profit Canadian Council for Tobacco Control (formerly the Canadian Council on Smoking and Health) which is as well known for its irregularities in fiscal accounting (government funding was slashed following a scandalous audit) as for its zealousness in pursuit of absolute tobacco prohibition.

Heather Crowe had worked as a waitress. With Cushman's help, and a publicly flaunted diagnosis of a "smoker's tumor," the OWSIB found that passive smoking in restaurants entitled Ms. Crowe to compensation........."Smoker's tumor" is nothing more than a propaganda term created by Ms. Crowe's prohibitionist managers.

........perhaps a year to live, perhaps a few months beyond, but no more. Well, the prognosis was sure wrong, so the obscured diagnosis becomes additionally suspect. Four years have passed. We learn that Ms. Crowe's insides are scarred by the noxious treatments (chemo) but no sign of lung cancer exists........She's in her sixties now and has gained forty pounds since her fatal cancer diagnosis. The OWSIB has ordered her back to work.

...We never were told what real form of lung cancer Ms. Crowe was supposed to have. We know over-zealous diagnosis is terribly unwise. Heather Crowe is very possibly a physical victim of purblind medicos and prohibitionists.

.....She is a victim, not of the friendly restaurant patrons who gave her tips, but of the psychopathic activists who used her, to throw those patrons out into the frozen Canadian streets. Heather says of her old restaurant friends, "I feel like I have taken so much from them."

The pro-smoking ban activists have a serious agenda, an active imagination, and unlimited funding to rape and pillage. Unfortunately it seems that Heather Crowe is their latest victim.

Minnesota lawmakers need to remove the current board members and policy agenda away from MPAAT, or the Settlement money will be squandered on further scandalous marketing campaigns and misguided agendas. What happened to helping smoker's voluntarily quit smoking....wasn't that MPAAT's mandate?

More about Heather Crowe and the hidden agenda behind smoking bans here.

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