Reprint from Oct-2008: Smoking bans: the air quality facts, economic effects, and special interest motivesWe're told that secondhand smoke is hazardous, should we just believe the rhetoric without looking at air quality test results? Numerous groups conducted testing for a reason, why then are they now silent about the results of this air quality testing? Air quality testing, I might add, that was conducted by groups who have a pro-smoking ban bias.
My job involves engineering and selling industrial air filtration systems which are designed to remove process emissions. Process emissions like welding smoke for example which factory employees are exposed to all day every day. Typically what happens is that a disgruntled employee makes a call to OSHA to report that the welding smoke level seems high, so it must be dangerous. This scenario happens relatively often in the real world, oddly enough OSHA's response isn't to ban welding smoke in the alleged facility or have lawmakers pass sweeping welding smoke bans in the workplace, rather; its response is to conduct air quality testing to determine if welding smoke levels pose a hazard in that particular facility.
OSHA doesn't have a permissible exposure limit or PEL for "welding smoke" as a whole because welding smoke contains hundreds of hazardous components too long to list here. Components like hexavalent chromium, beryllium, lead, nickel, arsenic, asbestos, etc. But OSHA does have a permissible exposure limit (PEL) for the individual components of welding smoke. So OSHA conducts air quality testing on the individual airborne components, if the results come in lower, or safer than its set PEL, the facility is given an acceptable bill of health and allowed to conduct business as usual. If testing yields results which exceed current OSHA PELs it doesn't ban welding, rather it allows the facility to improve its air quality by upgrading its ventilation or filtration system. OSHA PELs are the safe acceptable level of exposure to humans for an 8 hour day, 40 hour per week time period.
So now let's get back to secondhand smoke…..OSHA also has a pel for each and every one of the "hazardous" components of secondhand smoke. The five AQ test results above prove that secondhand smoke levels are 2.6 – 25,000 times SAFER than occupational (OSHA) workplace regulations. In other words, not a workplace health hazard.
People have called me a smoker's rights advocate, however as a non-smoker it's more accurate to call me a property rights, and jobs rights advocate. Whether pro-smoking ban activists admit it or not smoking bans eliminate businesses and jobs at an alarming rate, 258+ bars and restaurants and approximately 10,000 jobs in the Twin Cities have been eliminated since local smoking bans went into effect.
The air quality facts are clear, secondhand smoke is not a deadly hazard which requires government intervention. Primarily because OSHA already has established safe permissible exposure levels (PEL) for all the components of secondhand smoke.
We've proven that secondhand smoke is not a workplace health hazard, so why do activist groups lobby for smoking ban laws? The pro-smoking ban lobby consists of the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, The American Medical Association, American Non-Smoker's Rights Foundation, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and others, all of whom have been well compensated by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in excess of $446+ million to lobby in favor of smoking bans. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is the political wing of the Johnson & Johnson Company, which manufactures Nicoderm, Nicoderm CQ via their wholly owned subsidiary ALZA, and now profit from sales of Nicotrol, Nicorette, and Commit since the Pfizer buyout. (RWJF owns $5.4 billion in J & J stock)
(if you're asking yourself why a pharmaceutical nicotine manufacturer would want lawmakers to ban tobacco nicotine use, you're apparently too naive to understand; but the marketing department at Johnson & Johnson understands)
Lawmakers and the public should weigh the facts thoroughly before imposing well intentioned, yet business damaging smoking ban laws. Smoking bans closed 3,300+ pubs in the U.K., 300+ establishments in Ohio, 400+ bars & restaurants in Minnesota....just to name a few; eliminating tens perhaps hundreds of thousands of jobs. (see link at bottom of post).
Look closely at the groups which fund and pursue a legislative "solution", you will find that their motives and agenda are less than forthcoming.
Updated information here: