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Short Exposure to Second-Hand Smoke


Pangloss
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I can see the hackles raising already on this, but frankly I don't really care. I quite enjoy tackling issues that are politically incorrect in the scientific community. It's been my experience that scientists are no less hypocritically inclined than any other group of people, and this community, much as I love it, has done nothing to disabuse me of that notion.

 

With that in mind, I got a kick out of John Stossel's newest episode of "Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity" last night. One of the segments was about BRIEF exposure to second-hand smoke. Some may recall that in a recent discussion right here at SFN, it was declared by anti-smoking advocates that even a few minutes of exposure can ultimately cause exactly the same damage as extended exposure (to their credit, they didn't claim that it WILL cause it, just that it might). I challenged that assertion as scientifically unsupported.

 

So do many scientists and cardiologists. Even the ones who favor banning smoking from the workplace (where exposure would be more prolonged).

 

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Stossel/story?id=1955237&page=1

 

(Activist Stanton) Glantz and other activists now say just 20 or 30 minutes of smoke puts you on the road to a deadly heart attack.

 

Dr. Michael Siegel, a leading advocate of bans on smoking in the workplace because of the harm from daily exposure to secondhand smoke, says the 20 or 30 minute claims are ridiculous.

 

"If someone is just exposed for 30 minutes, it's completely reversible, and it's not gonna cause hardening of the arteries," Siegel said.

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While it is probably accurate that short term (30 - 60 minutes) second hand smoke exposure is hardly dangerous at least in regard to long term effects there is more to the argument for bans than just that.

 

As a non-smoker it is just annoying, uncommfortable, and makes my hair and clothes smelly to be exposed to second hand smoke while at a restaraunt etc. So aside from infringing upon others health, it is also infringement upon their comfort.

 

As far as banning smoking in work places, that seems completely applicable considering 8 or more hours is hardly short term.

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But the question is would you ban it because it's annoying or because "the science says it's dangerous"?

 

It may sound like hair-splitting, but I think these situations are important because stuff like this undermines the credibility of science over the long haul. Between overinflated importance assigned to statistical studies that clearly don't account for all the variables, and scientists who are willing to sell their credibilty for increased income, the perceived value of scientific research has taken a beating.

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This is more of the same. The "science" on second-hand smoke has been ridiculous for a long time. For "scientists" to say that second-hand smoke is more harmful than direct smoke is just ludicrous (and yes, I heard some so-called scientists say just that.) For scientists to say that 20-30 minutes of exposure to second hand smoke will result in any meaningful increase in the likelihood of a heart attack is just ludicrous.

 

All that this kind of garbage does is give true science a bad name.

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Well yeh, I say ban smoking for the more obvious reasons. It infringes upon others rights to be as comfortable as the smoker is.

 

The added consequences of possible long term health risks by EXTENDED exposure adds into the equation when dealing with situations of longer exposure such as work.

 

There really shouldn't be any requirement for scientists to lie that 20 minutes could cause health risks.

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Well yeh, I say ban smoking for the more obvious reasons. It infringes upon others rights to be as comfortable as the smoker is.

 

What rights? I do not see anything in the constitution regarding smoking. What about the right of a someone who wants to build a restaurant/nightclub/whatever where smoking is allowed? What gives you nosy, repressive, obnoxious, lieing antismokers the right to walk over that person's rights?

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Between overinflated importance assigned to statistical studies that clearly don't account for all the variables, and scientists who are willing to sell their credibilty for increased income, the perceived value of scientific research has taken a beating.

 

Then don't trust scientists and so-called experts, read publications in peer-reviewed journals. The fact is, science doesn’t rely on the opinion and views of a bunch of PhDs, it's fuelled by publications and I think we really give too much credits to some people just because they have a diploma. You're right, it's easy for a scientist to sell his credibility, he can give his benediction to anything and the fact that he can add "Ph.D." after his name lends some credibility, but publishing is much harder.

 

For scientists to say that 20-30 minutes of exposure to second hand smoke will result in any meaningful increase in the likelihood of a heart attack is just ludicrous.

 

I must admit I don't know much about this debate, but I do remember reading an abstract saying the exact opposite, do you have any credible source ? I think it was an article in JAMA.

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What gives you nosy, repressive, obnoxious, lieing antismokers the right to walk over that person's rights?

 

Wow, are you in second grade?

 

There was nothing but civil discussion going on, and then you decided to be juvenile.

 

The right, is the right to pursuit of happiness. Everyone has it, so long as you are not infringing on someone else's right to pursue their happiness.

 

And I agree, if someone builds a private club, restaraunt, etc they obviously have the right to say if smoking is allowed or not.

 

When it comes to public buildings/locations then it is a different story. Further, when it comes to work it is a different story as well.

 

If someone doesn't have the choice as to whether they have to be in a specific place then smoking should be banned, or if it is a public venue as previously pointed out. Obviously people can avoid bars/clubs/restaruants that allow smoking if they desire.

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The real problem I see with the whole secondhand smoking argument is the utter lack of focus on why cigarettes cause cancer. The idea is simply accepted as an inevitability. Cigarettes presently contain emitters of ionizing alpha radiation (polonium-210 and lead-210) and are cured in a process which results in nitrosamine, a known carcinogen.

 

Legislation surrounding cigarette smoking has never focused on producing safer cigarettes. Instead it focuses on banning the activity entirely.

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theCPE, if you attack like that again I will issue you an infraction. DH didn't insult you; there's no cause for you to insult him. That's not civil discourse.

 

 

Then don't trust scientists and so-called experts, read publications in peer-reviewed journals. The fact is, science doesn’t rely on the opinion and views of a bunch of PhDs, it's fuelled by publications and I think we really give too much credits to some people just because they have a diploma. You're right, it's easy for a scientist to sell his credibility, he can give his benediction to anything and the fact that he can add "Ph.D." after his name lends some credibility, but publishing is much harder.

 

Well put, Phil.

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theCPE, if you attack like that again I will issue you an infraction. DH didn't insult you; there's no cause for you to insult him. That's not civil discourse.

 

What gives you nosy, repressive, obnoxious, lieing antismokers the right to walk over that person's rights?

 

Haha. Right.

 

So pointing out someone is being juvenile for calling someone nosy, obnoxious, a liar, etc is an attack, whereas doing the name calling isn't?

 

Excellent logic.

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The whole part about it being "annoying" isn't really a strong arguement. I find many things annoying that people do, i.e. like people complaining all the time, parents who let there kids do anything, etc. I can't ban these people from public buildings can I? So this is purely a health question.

 

So yes I would have a problem if science is used incorrectly to elevate someone's personal belief to a false factual statement, and in turn get away with it.

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But the question is would you ban it because it's annoying or because "the science says it's dangerous"?

 

It would be nice if people would consider it just good manners to not smoke while eating. There are no laws against farting in restaurants and I guess you have the right to walk near someone and fart over their plate, but that would be very rude.

 

As far as the short term exposure, well that sounds ridiculous to me. I know some people with asthma, it bothers them quite a bit, but they don't die.

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Very good point, we should ban children from these establishments as well!!:)

 

On a more serious note, it realy would mostly come down to what amount of exposure begins to create possibilities for long term health issues.

 

Then again...it could be argued that the smoke damages the other peoples property (clothing).

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Very good point, we should ban children from these establishments as well!!:)

 

Well if are going to make laws against things that annoy us why not.

 

If we want to stop emitting harmiful gases lets work on cars and certain industrial plants. I think it's convient that no one ever complains about these polluters since probably the majority of anti-smokers use them directly or indirectly (by product use).

 

I mean what's the average life expectancy in a heavily populated area with frequenct car use?

or

http://environment.guardian.co.uk/waste/story/0,,1999260,00.html

or

http://www.enn.com/today.html?id=11484

 

The least of people worries should be 30 minutes of second hand smoke, even if it were true.

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The real problem I see with the whole secondhand smoking argument is the utter lack of focus on why cigarettes cause cancer. The idea is simply accepted as an inevitability. Cigarettes presently contain emitters of ionizing alpha radiation (polonium-210 and lead-210) and are cured in a process which results in nitrosamine, a known carcinogen.

 

Legislation surrounding cigarette smoking has never focused on producing safer cigarettes. Instead it focuses on banning the activity entirely.

I've always convinced myself that there is a really good reason why this is. I guess that's kind of silly.

 

Anyways, last I checked there were three carcinogens in cigarettes. One comes from the growing process, one from the curing processes and the last is genuinely inevitable as it's really just a result of burning organic matter.

 

Back to the point, second hand smoke is dangerous. Maybe not very dangerous with short term exposure to a healthy adult, but still dangerous.

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I don't see why both can't be accomodated. dont like smoke? go to a non-smoking pub/restaurant/whatever. do like smoking? go to a smoking pub/restaurant/whatever.

 

don't like being exposed to ciggarette smoke for a couple of seconds whilst walking past someone in the street? no need to ban it on those grounds, surely?

 

the only laws i'd like to see are ones ensuring that people who have to work in smoking pubs have adequate air conditioning to suck the smoke away from the bar, and maybe 'no smoking whilst actually at the bar' rules, so that the workers (who would get huge exposure) are ok.

 

The real problem I see with the whole secondhand smoking argument is the utter lack of focus on why cigarettes cause cancer. The idea is simply accepted as an inevitability. Cigarettes presently contain emitters of ionizing alpha radiation (polonium-210 and lead-210) and are cured in a process which results in nitrosamine, a known carcinogen.

 

Legislation surrounding cigarette smoking has never focused on producing safer cigarettes. Instead it focuses on banning the activity entirely.

 

nicotine inhalers?

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The anti-smoke crowd are right of course, smokers should not be so downright rude and they ought to keep their toxic by-products out of the way of people who didn't choose to inhale them.

 

It just makes me laugh when I see some of the "arguments".

 

"Waaaa, I shouldn't have to breath that smoke"

Really? You will also be arguing for a public ban on cars based on the same reasons then, won't you?

 

"Waaaa, the smoke gets in my clothes"

You were planning on washing them anyway, right?

 

"Waaaa, smoking near food is disgusting"

Yes, it is filthy and rude. But you don't really need legislation to challenge someone's behaviour, do you? Have some balls and - gasp - do it yourself. Excuse me madam, would you mind not lighting up while there are others eating? Or at least move away from the food? OH MY GOD, that was like so hard.

 

No, you shouldn't have to ask people to not be so rude and inconsiderate, but smokers or not there are people out there who are just plain old pig ignorant, and it's not an efficient use of everyone's time to challenge that by making up laws that single out the group they belong to.

 

Ever wonder why society seems to be crumbling? It's because we can't even properly enforce the laws that say "don't brutally kill each other", yet somehow we keep falling for this circus where a tiny minority decide a trivial matter will help them gain political popularity, and turn it into a massive juggernaut of popular opinion, and before you know it we have law enforcement agencies and civil services having their time and resources diverted into something that is not in any way a threat to society. And for what? "Because it was annoying."

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I'd be fine with that if I could drag smokers from their table and kick their teeth out. However we surrendered all legal rights in regards to enforcing laws to the state, so I expect them to do it for me.

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I laugh at some of the "arguments" of the smoking crowd.

 

"I have the right to smoke where ever I want"

Oh, its in the constitution?

 

"If you don't want me to smoke, ask me."

Yeh, studies have shown that smokers are far more polite people.

 

"You can wash the smoke out of your clothes crybaby."

There is a reason "smoke damage" depreciates things.

 

"Cars pollute too, no one is banning them."

Oh, I have never had someone tell me damn, have you been driving a car, you smell like a car. I also was unaware that carcinogens are emitted from ICEs.

 

"Society is crumbling becase of laws that are lame!!"

Really? I figured it was more the lame people.

 

It is illegal to be in public naked, naked people don't harm others, naked people don't cause long term health risks, and it seems like people could just politely ask a naked person if they minded putting on some clothes at the restaraunt.....but some silly people passed anti-naked laws that are making our society crumble...

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"I have the right to smoke where ever I want"

Oh, its in the constitution?

Do you only recongnise what's given in the constitution?

 

"If you don't want me to smoke, ask me."

Yeh, studies have shown that smokers are far more polite people.

Have they shown otherwise? Most smokers I know wont be the first to spark up without asking if it's o.k. with everyone around first.

 

"You can wash the smoke out of your clothes crybaby."

There is a reason "smoke damage" depreciates things.

Depreciates? You're planning to resell your clothes? And no, it takes a hell of a lot of cigarette smoke to do any lasting damage to clothes and furnishings, it's really only a drop in the ocean of general wear and tear.

 

"Cars pollute too, no one is banning them."

Oh, I have never had someone tell me damn, have you been driving a car, you smell like a car.

You would smell a bit if you'd been driving a diesel, it's just a case of what you're driving.

In much the same way that you don't smell of smoke after smoking a roll-up without accelerating additives in it, it's just a case of what you're smoking.

I also was unaware that carcinogens are emitted from ICEs.
You being unaware of stuff really isn't the issue. Petrol contains benzene, benzene is a carcinogen. You not getting that doesn't change it.
[Long strawman of Sayo's point]
Seriously, read the guys post properly.
Ever wonder why society seems to be crumbling? It's because we can't even properly enforce the laws that say "don't brutally kill each other"...
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"I have the right to smoke where ever I want"

Oh, its in the constitution?

 

the 'right' to not have to tolerate something that, ultimately, just annoys you a bit is not in the constitution either, remember...

 

"Cars pollute too, no one is banning them."

Oh, I have never had someone tell me damn, have you been driving a car, you smell like a car. I also was unaware that carcinogens are emitted from ICEs.

 

in certain places, like pubs, the majority of the damaging pollution comes from cigarettes.

 

barring a few places like pubs/clubs, tho, the majority of the damaging pollution (and the smell) comes from petrol and diesel fumes.

 

seriously, if you're walking down a street and pass a smoker, you've got to put up with some non-damaging levels of tobacco smoke for about a second, and damaging levels of car fumes all day long. yet, people seem unprepared to tolerate the fomer, and perfectly happy with the latter. :confused:

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I don't think anyone wants to ban smoking anywhere that isn't your own home.

 

And the comparison between cars and smoking is still silly.

 

I have never had an exhaust pipe bellowing fumes at me throughout the course of a meal.

 

But like I said earlier, the establishments can make the choice of whether to allow smoking or not, and I can avoid restaraunts or whatever if I don't wanna put up with it.

 

Work place is a different story though.

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