Sunday, February 25, 2007

"Ventilation not Legislation" is an amendment we can all live with

Smoking bans have shut down 100 + bars and restaurants in the Twin Cities after barely 18 months. But a ventilation / filtration amendment to smoking bans offer a safe alternative. Filtration and ventilation options are the manner in which welding smoke is eliminated in the workplace where strict OSHA air quality standards must be met. And it is the manner in which secondhand smoke.....which is far, far less hazardous.....should also be regulated; not banned.

On November 15, 2005 when the Hennepin County Minnesota Commission decided to explore amending the smoking ban that has devastated so many establishments. Testimony was given by one individual who claimed to be a mechanical ventilation expert, hired incidentally by the smoking ban proponents. After his testimony claiming there was no way to ventilate secondhand smoke, Commissioner Penny Steele asked a great question:

"Isn't indoor charcoal and wood-fired grilling a popular trend in bars & restaurants these days?....and isn't inhaling those fumes indoors potentially deadly? " (note how similar charcoal, wood, and tobacco smoke are as far as hazards....in fact wood and charcoal contain far more hazardous chemicals)

Expert reply: "....um, yeah"

Commissioner Steele: "Well, why isn't anybody dying in the restaurants from the cooking smoke?"

Expert: "Because they have special ventilation....."

Steele: "Couldn't establishment owners use a similar type of ventilation to also render secondhand smoke harmless?"

Expert: "uh, well, I suppose they could......."

And thus the above exchange killed this "expert's" testimony, along with the rationale for smoking bans altogether.


I have engineered many Smokeeter ventilation systems to establishments over 15 years to solve secondhand smoke issues. And our primary design criteria is first to provide 10 - 15 air changes per hour of Smokeeter filtration. Which means the entire room is completely filtered every 4 - 6 minutes, and contrary to pro-smoking ban activists' claims is no where near tornado-like winds. Secondly, I insist on using electronic air filtration systems on tobacco smoke even though we also handle other types of filtration systems, because electronic air cleaner filtration removes the smallest possible airborne particles 0.01 microns.

And my selling point always was that our equipment will meet or exceed all OSHA air quality standards when the customer purchases a system designed for 10 -15 air changes per hour. This guarantee is backed by the factory warranty as well, but truth be told we in the field didn't always have access to testing equipment to back the claim on every job. That is the reason I bring up the St. Louis Park, MN. Environmental Health Department air quality test results for secondhand smoke. The city inadvertently proved our claims for us.

Consider:



The Smokeeter models Crystal-Aire & LS are installed above the ceiling, and direct smoke away from the non-smoking area. Keeping smokers and non-smokers safely accomodated.

T.G.I. Friday's in SLP has 2 Smokeeter Crystal Aire systems pictured above in place, and the test results measuring secondhand smoke levels, when smoking was allowed, exceeded OSHA air quality standards by a factor of 68........68 times safer than OSHA guidelines...... show me the public health problem there. Click here for data.

Applebee's in SLP has 2 Smokeeter LS systems pictured above in place, and the test results measuring secondhand smoke levels, when smoking was allowed, exceeded OSHA air quality standards by a factor of 152........152 times safer than OSHA guidelines...... show me the public health problem there. Click here for data.

Santorini's in SLP has 1 Smokeeter Crystal Aire systems pictured above in place, and the test results measuring secondhand smoke levels, when smoking was allowed, exceeded OSHA air quality standards by a factor of 174........174 times safer than OSHA guidelines...... show me the public health problem there. Click here for data.

So I again express my gratitude to the St. Louis Park Environmental Health Department, they have inadvertently provided testing that proves for our customers and to lawmakers everywhere what we have always known to be true....you just can't buy advertising like that.

At the very least, the above information proves that a ventilation amendment should be part of any smoking ban ordinance......though common sense and air quality facts tell us that smoking bans are an unnecessary intrusion into private bussinesses to begin with.

Update: The American Cancer Society air quality testing of secondhand smoke proves ETS is 532 - 25,000 times SAFER than OSHA regulations.

When writing a ventilation amendment into law, these are the important points to include:

1) "ventilation/filtration option will segregate smoking area from non-smoking" (I have engineered many systems over the years which drive smoke away from non-smoking section/ walls are an even more effective means of separation)

2) "this system needs to provide a minimum of 10 air changes per hour" (filtration of the interior room every 6 minutes at a minimum)

3) "the filtration system is to be independent of the existing HVAC" (typical HVAC merely recirculates up to 80% of interior air without filtration; an exception could be made for an HVAC system with a highly efficient electro-static precipitator (ESP) filtration system)

4) " ESP filtration is the most effective particulate removal system because it is very effective in removing particles as small as 0.01 microns"

(Ventilation equipment is allowed in the industrial workplace to remove welding smoke, why not in the hospitality workplace to remove tobacco smoke? The fact that Nicoderm, Nicorette, Nicotrol, money via RWJF is used to finance smoking ban lobbyists is the likely reason......it's all about making money not concern for health)

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  • WHO report secondhand smoke doesn't cause cancer
  • Do smoker's cost society more money than non-smoker's? NO
  • Do smoker's cost society more money than non-smoker's? Part 2
  • Why does UCSF researcher Stanton Glantz support smoking bans?
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