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Pangloss

Short Exposure to Second-Hand Smoke

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with smoking, tho, the argument is that you can choose wether to go to smoking or non-smoking places. alternatively, the law could have been that bars have to have non-smoking areas. so legislation was not required (i realise you pretty much said this earlyer on, just pointing out the analogy is flawed)

 

There was a day when smoking was omnipresent. You couldn't go anywhere without coming back home with the foul stench of tobbacy on your clothes.

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Should smokers have the right to smoke in public?

 

This particular argument is, ultimately, all about individual philosophy. Do people have the right to engage in an activity around others, which those others find unpleasant, and which confers no benefit to ourselves or to society, except to relieve an artificially gained addiction?

 

To me, the answer is no. No-one should have such a right. However, the reality is that second hand smoke, unpleasant though it is for myself and others, actually causes only trivial harm. Because of this, smokers can argue with some credibility that second hand smoke should not become a cause celebre.

 

I still claim that the act of starting the smoking habit, is a highly non rational behaviour. Once addicted, of course, it is damned hard to stop. The only good solution is not to start in the first place. It is starting that I call an example of idiotic behaviour.

 

Current estimates are 2 million deaths each year from smoking. And this is growing. In addition, there is enormous pain and hardship from all the ills that smoking causes, even when it does not directly cause death.

 

I made the decision not to start 44 years ago, as a result of information that was readily available then. I was only 14 years old and fully capable at that young age of making an informed decision. I find it hard to understand how anyone can begin this destructive habit any time within the past 40 years, and fail to call that a non rational act.

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My driving is a potentially deadly activity to me and to others. The only way there is a zero chance of me not passing this deadly risk on to other people is to forbid me to drive.

 

Which is why driving is not a right, it's a priviledge. You're basically "signing up" to drive. Because of the apparent utility value of automobiles over thousands of dead people every year, we make folks pass a driving test. (And despite the thousands of dead people every year, we don't make the test any harder nor teach driving any better.)

 

Rights however are different. I'm free to use my grill while you have to deal with the aroma of steaks and beer, if you're my neighbor. But when your actions actually cause damage to someone else's person or property, it's wrong. Consequently though, it should be ok to have smoking areas, voluntary entrace only by all.

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I'm free to use my grill while you have to deal with the aroma of steaks and beer, if you're my neighbor.

 

Similiarly, if my mulch bin starts to rot and spreads unpleasant odors throughout my neighborhood, I may be subject to a nuisance action in court or a complaint before my homeowner's association.

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This debate has gone on a lot longer tha I thought it would.

As I see it, if people want to smoke then let them. On the other hand the assumption shoulkd be that places should be smoke free unless otherwise specified. There needs to be a good reason to let people blow toxic fumes at other people and "because I want to" isn't an adequate reason.

I have yet to see a pub with an adequate segragation of smoking and non smoking areas- you can still smell the smoke in the non smoking rooms.

Why should a selfish group of people be permitted to polute any area they chose; surely the default state should be smoke free and only specified areas set aside for smoking? Since these areas, as far as I have seen, cannot be in the same building as non smoking areas they need to be entirely separate or outside.

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This debate has gone on a lot longer tha I thought it would.

 

Same here. I'm surprised at the level of discussion. I'm also quite happy to see it.

 

We had a thread not that long ago where this subject was discussed, and it seemed to me at the time that that discussion was dominated by two ardent enemies-at-all-costs to tobacco, and they produced a thread in which the tone was much more along the lines of forbidden all forms of smoking in any and all locations.

 

I was very disappointed by that thread at the time, and this thread is a direct result of my determination to review that earlier discussion and find out what the true feeling of the membership was on this issue, which turns out to be far more complex and balanced than that earlier discussion suggested.

 

From where I sit this thread is a resounding success, and yet another thorn in the side of closed-minded, issue-driven demagoguery.

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I would like to have an answer from D H (or anyone else), some people here have said it was ridiculous to believe short term expose to second-hand smoke could be dangerous. As I said before, I don't know much about this, but some studies showing the exact opposite have been published in serious journals. I would be interested in reading something serious (i.e.: peer-reviewed) about why this is so absurd.

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To Phil.

 

One of the problems of the issue of second hand smoke is that literally dozens of studies have been carried out, with variable results. Most show little harm to health. A few show more harm. If you want to publish results of a study to show your own particular bias, you can select the data to suit.

 

Overall, as far as I can judge, overall the data indicates some harm to the health of people breathing second hand smoke, but the harm is minimal comparted to the harm to the smokers themselves.

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But the level of harm is irrelevant really. That's what bugs me about this. You don't have a right to hurt me "a little bit".

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I would like to have an answer from D H (or anyone else), some people here have said it was ridiculous to believe short term expose to second-hand smoke could be dangerous.

 

I said it was ludicrous that the threshold should be zero risk. Why pick on smoking, when practically every human action has some risk of causing harm to others?

 

As far as the harm from short-term exposure to second hand smoke, nearly every study that proves any substantial harm from extended exposure to second hand smoke has been debunked.

 

I would be interested in reading something serious (i.e.: peer-reviewed) about why this is so absurd.

 

This is absurd. The burden of proof is on those who want to prove the association, not the other way around.

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I know a study isn't true because it's published in a scientific journal. What I find surprising is that so many people think this is absurd, short exposure can't possibly cause harm, but it's certainly not as obvious from a scientific point of view.

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oops, you posted while I was writing.

 

As far as the harm from short-term exposure to second hand smoke, nearly every study that proves any substantial harm from extended exposure to second hand smoke has been debunked.

 

That's what I'm interested in, do you have a source ?

 

This is absurd. The burden of proof is on those who want to prove the association, not the other way around.

 

Why is it absurd ? I'm neutral on this, I don't try to prove any association. I simply assumed that, if you claimed it wasn't harmful, you probably had a good reason for making this claim.

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It hasn't been proven that short term exposure causes no harm.

 

What matters is that it hasn't been proven that short term exposure causes harm.

 

Understanding the full implications of the two above sentences (and how they apply to all subjects) is something that the scientific community seems to be lacking at these days. We latch onto politically correct assumptions (requiring opponents to prove a negative!) while objecting to politically incorrect assumptions on a scientific basis. A tremendous hypocrisy, IMO.

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As far as I am concerned, the issue of harm from second hand smoke is relatively unimportant, since the studies would indicate the level of harm is slight.

 

There are, however, two other issues.

 

1. Simple courtesy and consideration. Smokers frequently fail to understand just how unpleasant their residue is to non smokers. That is because they live with the stench 24 hours a day. It is in their lungs, airways, and in their clothes all the time, and they simply cannot detect it any more. However, for myself, and other non smokers, it is exceedingly unpleasant. For this reason, I see smokers as having a duty to courtesy and human consideration not to smoke where it can affect non smokers.

 

2. Tacit encouragement of others to take up smoking. It distresses me to see the smokers on this forum justifying their habit. This is the science forum. It is supposed to be run by people who can think in a rational manner, and who avoid self deception. Smokers may be addicted and unable to give up their habit, but they should be able to recognise clearly that what they are doing is self-destructive, and something to discourage in others.

 

Yet there are dozens of people who read these postings, even without responding. This will include young people who are candidates for future addiction. The smokers on this forum should be sending them a firm, clear message that smoking is NOT OK.

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Requiring opponents to prove a negative!

 

I said at least twice I wasn't taking a side. But I know some studies "prove" short exposure is dangerous, I'm simply curious to see if there's a credible counterargument.

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Did you read the OP, Phil? If so, what was your objection to the information contained therein?

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Simple courtesy and consideration.

Which is really all it takes; my point exactly. Legislation removes any incentive for them to learn this for themselves.

 

It distresses me to see the smokers on this forum justifying their habit.

As far as I am aware, I am the only person in this thread who has used the words "...as a smoker", and I don't recall 'justifying my habit' in any way. I am not answerable to you for my actions and I have no reason to seek your validation.

 

It is supposed to be run by people who can think in a rational manner, and who avoid self deception.

I can't speak for anyone else, but personally I am quite capable of thinking in a rational manner, and I am not one for self-deception.

 

It just so happens that I quite like smoking, in a controlled manner and as part of an otherwise very healthy lifestyle.

 

I jog, run, swim, and do weight training. I eat more fruit in a day than most people see in a week. I drink enough water to sink a battleship. I avoid refined sugars, low-complexity carbs, and most kinds of fats. I have never smoked full strength cigarettes and on a 'bad day' I will have ten at most.

 

I understand the need to kick the habit, indeed I have spent months without fags and reaped the rewards.

 

But the bottom line is, at the moment I want to smoke, I enjoy it, and since I am taking measures to mitigate the harmful effects, and since I go out of my way to ensure that I don't expose non-smokers to my smog (as I have stated many times, not just in this thread), I don't see any particular need for me to ask for permission to indulge, or explain myself to anyone.

 

Smokers may be addicted and unable to give up their habit,

It always seems disingenous when I see 'addiction' and 'habit' being used together. They are not the same thing.

 

but they should be able to recognise clearly that what they are doing is self-destructive, and something to discourage in others.

I don't think whether or not smoking is self-destructive is the subject of the thread. In fact, I rather believe Pangloss is mainly interested in the effects on people around smokers.

 

Since we have not established whether or not we accept those effects to be significant (which is the purpose of this thread), this is clearly not the place for "discouraging others".

 

If you want to make a separate anti-smoking thread, do so. Otherwise get off the high horse; I for one have had it with the holier than thou routine.

 

Yet there are dozens of people who read these postings, even without responding. This will include young people who are candidates for future addiction. The smokers on this forum should be sending them a firm, clear message that smoking is NOT OK.

Hey kids, smoking is not okay. Don't start, or you'll regret it.

 

Other than that, it is actually your personal choice. Of course, if you want the quiet life, you could choose one of the many self-destructive behaviours that people won't harp on and on and on about. Have you considered alcoholism, solvent abuse, opiates, or maybe even self harm? The last one is the cheapest.

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It distresses me to see the smokers on this forum justifying their habit.

 

Ahem. Ex-smoker. Most ex-smokers are among the worst anti-smokers. Not me. The habit stinks, costs lives, costs money, and ruins clothes. So I quit. That was my decision. It is not my business and it is hypocritical for me to tell people to stop smoking for their own good.

 

One theme I have seen throughout this thread by the more vehement anti-smokers is one of selfishness. The selfish ones are the anti-smokers who tell people to stop smoking for their own good (the non-smokers' good, that is, not the smokers'). Look very hard in the mirror. Stop lying to yourselves, and more importantly, stop lying to everyone else. The stats on long-term second-hand smoke are extremely dubious. The stats on short-term second-hand smoke exposure are outright lies.

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DH

 

Congratulations for dumping the habit. I have been told that nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known - as bad as heroine - and to be able to quit is evidence of real strength of character.

 

My biggest hang up on smoking is those who begin. I know that it is really, really tough to quit once addicted. Thus, the best approach is to push the message as hard as possible ; "Don't start!"

 

It irks me to see beautiful young teenagers smoking. You know damn well they have just started, and they are in the process of harming their healthy young bodies. I have lost three friends, my father, and my father-in-law, to illnesses ascribed to their smoking habits. I want everyone who knows, and ESPECIALLY smokers to push the message : "Don't start."

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It hasn't been proven that short term exposure causes no harm.

 

What matters is that it hasn't been proven that short term exposure causes harm.

 

I agree with all of this except the statement "what matters." I believe the burden of proof is on smokers to justify imposing the possibility of risk on others. Science proves negatives, e.g. drinking water does not cause cancer.

 

When I know that me and my family are not at risk due to other people's smoke, then my only objection will be to the noxious odor and discourteous behavior.

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The selfish ones are the anti-smokers who tell people to stop smoking for their own good (the non-smokers' good, that is, not the smokers'). Look very hard in the mirror. Stop lying to yourselves, and more importantly, stop lying to everyone else. The stats on long-term second-hand smoke are extremely dubious. The stats on short-term second-hand smoke exposure are outright lies.

 

How am I lying to myself? I don't know the science and have not made a claim that second hand smoke is dangerous.

 

Prove it's safe and remove it's noxious odor and I won't mind anyone smoking next to me.

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Science proves negatives, e.g. drinking water does not cause cancer.

 

No, it does not. Name one study that shows drinking water does not cause cancer. No one would fund such a study, for one thing. The study would be inconclusive, for another.

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Did you read the OP, Phil? If so, what was your objection to the information contained therein?

 

Sure I did, and you just have to read my first comment on this topic to understand my objection; it's only the opinion of a ONE scientist. It might be his opinion that the claim (short exposure) is "ridiculous", but obviously in the scientific community some people think otherwise, and their studies is serious enough to be published in JAMA, a highly respected journal.

 

Many studies published in serious journals are based on faulty logic, bad methodology and sometime even worst. Perhaps Dr Siegel is right, perhaps Glantz's claim IS ridiculous. However, articles published in equally serious journals should be use to debunk this. For Stossel to present something as a "myth" based only on the opinion of ONE scientist is downright manipulative. Although in the end it'll probably damage the reputation of science more than his ratings.

 

BTW I found the article I read some years ago in JAMA.

 

Otsuka et al. 2001. Acute effects of passive smoking on the coronary circulation in healthy young adults. JAMA 286, 436-441.

 

The stats on long-term second-hand smoke are extremely dubious. The stats on short-term second-hand smoke exposure are outright lies.

 

Again you're not taking a neutral stance, you're claiming some studies are lies. I can't believe you're making such extravagant claim without even trying to justify it.

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One or two opinions one way, one or two opinions another. Sounds like a toss-up to me. (shrug) So we're back to square one, which in this society means you can continue with your activity until someone proves it is dangerous.

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I agree with all of this except the statement "what matters." I believe the burden of proof is on smokers to justify imposing the possibility of risk on others. Science proves negatives, e.g. drinking water does not cause cancer.

 

When I know that me and my family are not at risk due to other people's smoke, then my only objection will be to the noxious odor and discourteous behavior.

 

How am I lying to myself? I don't know the science and have not made a claim that second hand smoke is dangerous.

 

Prove it's safe and remove it's noxious odor and I won't mind anyone smoking next to me.

 

This is very wrong reasoning, IMO. You can't just pick a subject and decide that its adherents need to prove themselves non-threatening to you. You look funny. Prove you're not dangerous to me. You have a strange name. Prove you're not dangerous to me. Your farts smell awful. Prove they're not dangerous to me.

 

I think you know better than that. I have no problem with your objections to noxious odor and discourteous behavior, by the way. By all means, object on that basis. I support your right to take your business elsewhere, 100%.

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