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Editorial: Smoking ban

Friday, February 12, 2010

All but 12 of the 50 states have some sort of ban on smoking in public places. Missouri is one of the dozen without a statewide regulation.

In Missouri, many local governments have imposed smoking bans, some more restrictive than others. Now a bill -- one of several regarding the use of tobacco products -- has been introduced in the Missouri Legislature that, if passed, would be one of the most restrictive bans anywhere. It would allow exemptions only for some hotel rooms and for businesses whose primary source of income is from tobacco products. Legislative leaders are uncertain of the bill's prospects.

Smoking regulation is a topic that tends to prompt heated debate. Advocates of banning smoking in public places cite heath concerns, both from smoking and from secondhand smoke. The American Cancer Society and the American Heart and Lung Association support the proposed Missouri bill.

But many businesses say any decision about smoking limits should be up to business owners, not the state or federal government. These advocates of smoking privileges say their customers can decide whether or not to patronize them without government sanctions.

Legislative debate is one way to inform Missourians about both sides of this issue.


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According to the latest survey by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, only 27 percent of Missourians support a total ban on smoking in bars and cocktail lounges. http://www.scribd.com/doc/8831046/Data-7

-- Posted by BillHannegan on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 4:54 AM

According to Rep. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, the health concerns of secondhand smoke appears to be the primary factor for submitting this bill as she was quoted as saying, "I think the bill really protects people in the workplace...." In an effort to help people understand the issue, there is some important information to consider.

According to the Surgeon General's 2006 report titled "The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke", the relative risk index for a non-smoker living with a non-smoker is 1.0 versus an index of 1.21 for a non-smoker living with a smoker. This means that a non-smoker who lives with a smoker is 21% more likely to develop lung cancer than living with a non-smoker.

The index of relative risk for a non-smoker working in a non-smoking environment is likewise 1.0. The risk for working at an establishment that allows smoking is similarly 1.22 or an increased risk of 22%.

To assist in understanding just how small this value is let's take a look at some relative risks for fatalities in the workplace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 1993 report, "A Relative Risk Analysis of Workplace Fatalities" the relative risk of death from a work related injury across all civilian occupations is 1.0, thus providing a base for comparison. The following list provides some specifics:

Machine operators, assemblers,

and inspectors - 0.6

Sales occupations - 0.7

Mechanics and repairers - 1.1

Construction trades - 2.4

Farming and related

agricultural occupations - 3.6

Transportation and material

moving occupations - 4.1

Forestry, logging, fishing,

and hunting - 28.1

These values indicate that mechanics are 10% more likely to have a fatal accident at work than the average employee, someone in the construction trades are 140% more likely, farmers are 260% more likely, truck drivers are 310% more likely, and loggers are 2710% more likely to have an occupational fatality. The intention is to add some perspective to the discussion.

There are risks associated with everything we do throughout the entirety of our lives and some activities are more risky than others. We make choices regarding our lives based on what risks are acceptable to us. Banning any activity undermines our freedom to choose what is right for each of us. For fellow citizens to seek to take away that freedom from others for such an insignificant risk is selfish and reprehensible.

-- Posted by non-biasedphilosopher on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 6:39 AM

Yes, there are risks involved to varying degrees no matter what you choose to do or not do. But I seriously doubt that if you got lung cancer due to second hand smoke, you would say it was "such an insignificant risk".

-- Posted by Mr."H" on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 7:50 AM

Tobacco smoke doesn't cause lung cancer, it increases your risk of developing lung cancer. If it caused lung cancer then everyone who smokes would have lung cancer. It's not like catching a cold from someone, it isn't viral. If tobacco didn't exist people would still develop lung cancer, then what would you blame? How much freedom would you require other people to give up so you could feel safer? If the risk is too great for you then exercise your freedom of choice and go to places that are smoke free, there are twice as many of those as there are smoking allowed establishments.

-- Posted by non-biasedphilosopher on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 9:14 AM

Comments so far on this article reveal a complete indifference about those who must endure breathing other people's poison. They also reveal a staggering degree of ignorance, much like the naysayers regarding global warming.

What's wrong with you people? Do you just not get it, or does your desire for the personal freedom to kill other people with your poison override your knowledge that smoking kills? Which is it?

I would imagine you are the same folks who refuse to wear a seatbelt because the law says you must do so, the same folks who were against tightening the drunk-driving laws, the same folks who wouldn't get the H1N1 flu shot........probably the same ones who think Sara Palin is the National Fount of Wisdom. Am I right?

-- Posted by Raunchy on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 11:04 AM

Missouri should ban peanuts while they are at it, or at least ban the consumption of peanuts while in public places.

-- Posted by Lumpy on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 4:17 PM

I'd rather ban the overuse of cologne/perfume. You can avoid walking into smokey areas but you have no warning until the odor hits you of those that use extreme perfume/cologne. What smells good to one is a danger to others.

-- Posted by LiveAnotherDay on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 6:20 PM

More ill informed smoker bashing. I do not think the authors would argue with me that smoking over the last 60 years smoking has more than halved (UK 1948 66% of the population, 2009 22.5%) but asthma has risen by 300% (again in the UK). So smoking is not the primary cause of asthma and atopy, I assume the doctor's cars and industrial pollution. The inconvenient truth is that the only studies of children of smokers suggest it is PROTECTIVE in contracting atopy in the first place. The New Zealand study says by a staggering factor of 82%.

"Participants with atopic parents were also less likely to have positive SPTs between ages 13 and 32 years if they smoked themselves (OR=0.18), and this reduction in risk remained significant after adjusting for confounders.

The authors write: "We found that children who were exposed to parental smoking and those who took up cigarette smoking themselves had a lower incidence of atopy to a range of common inhaled allergens.

"These associations were found only in those with a parental history of asthma or hay fever."

They conclude: Our findings suggest that preventing allergic sensitization is not one of them."

http://www.medwire-news.md/.../...gic_se...

This is a Swedish study.

"Children of mothers who smoked at least 15 cigarettes a day tended to have lower odds for suffering from allergic rhino-conjunctivitis, allergic asthma, atopic eczema and food allergy, compared to children of mothers who had never smoked (ORs 0.6-0.7)

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates an association between current exposure to tobacco smoke and a low risk for atopic disorders in smokers themselves and a similar tendency in their children."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubm...pubme... 11422156

In conclusion let's have a balanced debate and not characterise smokers as race akin to the devil.

-- Posted by harleyrider1978 on Sat, Feb 13, 2010, at 3:54 AM

Johnson and Johnson, makers of Chantix and Nicoderm fund the bans through their RWJ Foundation.

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-RWJo...

The American Cancer Society, the American Lung association, and the American Heart Association get millions to sell smoking bans from their RWJ Foundation. These bans are nothing but clever marketing strategy.

http://www.rwjf.org/pr/product.jsp?ia=14...

And what the 99 million dollars was going to. Note on page seven the "inside -out", provision going for patios later, AFTER business owners spend thousands of dollars to build them to accommodate their smoking customers, clearly showing that the tobacco control activists have ABSOLUTLY NO CONCERN about local issues or businesses. You may need to CTRL and scoll to enlarge it.

http://www.no-smoke.org/pdf/CIA_Fundamen...

-- Posted by generalsn on Sat, Feb 13, 2010, at 6:22 AM


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