As if your Pubs & Clubs don't have enough to contend with these days, what with the [failed] Smoking Ban Experiment and beer tax hikes not to mention the [minimal] effects of the so called credit crunch (don't forget that pubs and clubs have always thrived during crisis and economic downturns until, that is, they imposed a smoking ban on them and us.) Our treacherous [all parties] MPs, in cahoots with the anti British EU, have come up with a plan to further denormalise smokers and their watering holes. A smoking ban in beer gardens, outside offices and even open air concerts!
EU zealots will this week demand a ban on smoking OUTSIDE pubs and offices.
No mincing words there then, is there. They DEMAND!
Brussels chiefs want to outlaw beer garden ciggie areas - and even extend the ban to open air concerts like this weekend's Glastonbury festival.
The European Commission says the current bar on smoking in enclosed public places does not go far enough. It says non-smokers in outdoor areas are still in danger from passive smoking.
It comes after a World Health Organisation report said workers such as waiters and door staff are exposed to dangerous levels of smoke outside pubs and restaurants. And the smoke can waft back inside buildings through open doors, windows and vents.
Brussels Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou is expected to announce plans on Tuesday. Her spokesman said: "We want to encourage EU member states to enforce the WHO convention as at the moment it is not binding." The government banned smoking in enclosed public spaces in the UK two years ago.
You see, according to the healthist nutters in Brussels coming within a mile of a smoker is a killer and our own, home grown, healthist nut jobs believe the above crap, hook, line and sinker. I will outline later some facts about SHS, aka Second Hand Smoke and other truths by two respected authors and readers of the F2C forum, Michael J. McFadden, author of Dissecting Anti Smokers' Brains and Christopher Snowdon's much acclaimed book, Velvet Glove, Iron Fist, which has just been launched at a FOREST bash.
Out of all this over in the land of sprouts one lone voice coins another phrase that can sit comfortably beside "Nanny State."
The Bully State
The UK Independence Party blasted the plan. Euro MP Godfrey Bloom said: "It's beyond the nanny state. It's the bully state. Do they want to close down the English country pub?"
Some real facts, one) the chemistry and two) the history, by the two authors I mentioned above. First Michael J. McFadden on the myths treated as facts by our anti smoking bullies.
One. The Chemistry of Secondary Smoke by M. J. McFadden
As noted earlier in the chapter on Language, about 90% of secondary smoke is composed of water and ordinary air with a slight excess of carbon dioxide. Another 4% is carbon monoxide, a gas that can act as a poison when in sufficient quantity by reducing the amount of oxygen your red blood cells can carry. The last 6% contains the rest of the 4,000 or so chemicals supposedly to be found in smoke… but found, obviously, in very small quantities (1989 Report of the Surgeon General p. 80).
Most of these chemicals can only be found in quantities measured in nanograms, picograms and femtograms. Many cannot even be detected in these amounts: their presence is simply theorized rather than measured. To bring those quantities into a real world perspective, take a saltshaker and shake out a few grains of salt. A single grain of that salt will weigh in the ballpark of 100 million picograms! (Allen Blackman. Chemistry Magazine 10/08/01).
To refer back to our earlier example of arsenic, a nonsmoker would have to work with a smoker 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year, for well over a hundred years to be exposed to a quantity of arsenic equal to one grain of salt. While a lot of waitresses and bartenders may feel as if they’ve worked a hundred years at their jobs, there really aren’t too many who actually have.
And, again as noted earlier, far from all 4,000 of those chemicals are normally labeled as toxic in the first place, with the 1989 Surgeon Generals’ Report only noting that “some” are… without reference to how many or to what amounts would be considered toxic. One of the most basic principles of scientific toxicology is that “The Dose Makes The Poison.”… a fact always ignored by Crusaders.
When speaking of secondary smoke many Antismokers will also refer to the “40 carcinogenic compounds” it supposedly contains. In reality only six of those have in fact been classified as “known human carcinogens” (1989 Report of the Surgeon General. pgs. 86-87). Most of the rest of the 40 compounds have shown insufficient evidence of being human carcinogens and many are commonly found in foods, coffee, and the general environment (Science, 258: 261-265 (1992). The exposure of nonsmokers to the six actual human carcinogens is usually so minuscule as to be almost imaginary in nature and is sometimes far less than other everyday environmental exposures.
Secondary smoke is the mix of all of the smoke that enters the air in a room where someone is smoking, both the smoke exhaled by the smoker and the smoke coming off the tip of the cigarette. You’ve heard the claim that secondary smoke is twice as bad as what the smoker gets? In a way this is true: if you held your nose a quarter inch above the burning end of a cigarette and inhaled a slow deep breath through your nostrils you’d be getting a concentration of smoke and its chemicals twice as great as what the smoker is pulling into his or her mouth.
In the real world no one does that. Even the most hardened of smokers would generally be reduced to paroxysms of coughing from such concentrated inhalation. The secondary smoke that a nonsmoker comes in contact with is usually an extremely diluted mixture of exhaled smoke and the smoke produced directly from the cigarette’s tip.
Something that’s usually forgotten in the rush of concern about the nonsmoker is that the smoker is also breathing all the secondary smoke produced, and, given the closer proximity to the source, the smoker is inhaling it in far greater quantities and concentrations than most nonsmokers ever would! If the concerns about the dangers of secondary smoke were really true it would make perfect sense for a smoker with a smoking guest to insist that the guest go outside to smoke even if they were both smoking at the same time. Indeed, smokers would want to rush outside themselves out of fear of their own secondary smoke!
The exact chemical composition of secondary smoke depends largely upon how many seconds it’s been in the air. Just as happens in the case of most combustion products, the chemicals change and break down very quickly, and some elements will tend to settle toward the floor or deposit themselves on walls or curtains. In pursuit of some arguments Antismokers want to assume from the start that secondary smoke is carcinogenic: this is when they will claim that it’s chemically very similar to mainstream smoke. However, when they want to argue that comparing secondary smoke exposure to “cigarette equivalents” is unfair (This method generally produces very low measures of exposure… sometimes as low as six cigarettes per year even for bartenders), they will claim that it’s chemically very different than mainstream smoke and can’t be compared in that way!
No, I am not kidding… this is an example of the type of doublethink that I call the “Catch 22” argument later on. It’s very useful as an argumentation technique unless the opponent both notices it and has the time available to fully show how both sides of the street are being straddled by the shape-shifting opponent. The later chapter on Fallacious Argumentation looks at this verbal scamming tool in more detail.
In examining what risk there could be to a nonsmoker we need to develop and accept an estimate as to how much smoke a nonsmoker is likely to inhale when around one or more smokers. Rather than go into mathematical detail here, the supporting figures are presented in Appendix B. Those figures will show that, in most reasonably ventilated situations, whether a private home with one or two smokers, or a bar with dozens or hundreds of them, a nonsmoker will usually be exposed to the equivalent of about a thousandth of a cigarette or less per hour.
It could well be argued that anyone concerned at all about secondary smoke shouldn’t be in such a Free-Choice bar or restaurant to begin with, since there are many venues that have already banned smoking on their own; but Crusading activists generally insist that even if 95 out of 100 businesses are “smoke-free” that smokers should not have the right to keep those last five places to themselves and their friends. This is not in any sense an exaggeration or misrepresentation: Antismokers call it “leveling the playing field” and it has served as the basis for many legislated universal bans.
The need for such leveling arises because, despite Crusaders’ claims to the contrary, restaurants and bars that accommodate both smokers and nonsmokers almost invariably do better business than ones with total bans. Nonsmokers want an atmosphere that is comfortable, clean, and well ventilated: they are usually quite happy to accompany their smoking friends to establishments that meet those criteria while allowing those friends to smoke without being forced outside. The only exceptions to this rule occur when an establishment is truly one of the few in its geographic/economic niche that has such a ban: in that case there can often be enough of a specialty demand to make up for other losses.
To return to the chemistry of smoke, let us look at the 6 elements in tobacco smoke that IARC (The International Agency for Research on Cancer) classifies as Class A (Human) carcinogens. One of those is arsenic, which we looked at earlier. You’ll remember that you’d have to sit in a room with a smoker smoking 165,000 cigarettes to be exposed to as much arsenic as you would get from a large glass of water.
What about the other five carcinogens though? Are nonsmokers likely to be exposed to enough of those to have them correctly perceived as threats? While most of them occur in even smaller quantities than arsenic (naphthylamine, aminobi-phenyl, vinyl chloride and chromium average only about fifteen nanograms apiece), let’s look at the one with the largest quantity present so as to clearly make the case that is least favorable to our own argument. This is benzene: a human carcinogen that cigarettes produce in quantities not measured in picograms nor even in nanograms, but in micrograms, a unit that is one million times larger than a picogram, but still only one one-millionth of a single gram (1989 Report of the Surgeon General. p.87)
The average cigarette produces roughly 300 micrograms of benzene (1986 Report of the Surgeon General. p.130). If the estimates of smoke exposure for the average nonsmoker in Appendix B hold true, then such exposure would equal roughly three tenths of a microgram per hour of sharing a space with a reasonable number of smokers in a decently ventilated public indoor setting.
Benzene is normally found in fruits, fish, vegetables, nuts, dairy products, beverages, and eggs. The National Cancer Institute estimates that an individual may safely ingest up to 250 micrograms in their food per day, every single day of the year. Thus, the “safe” exposure to benzene from one day of a normal diet is roughly equal to the exposure experienced by a nonsmoker sharing an airspace with smokers for over 750 hours. Another way of looking at it would be to compare it to the normal work exposure of a waiter in a decently ventilated Free-Choice restaurant: the waiter would have to work there for four months to receive the equivalent benzene dosage ingested in one day of a “safe” diet.
In 1994, the Air Resources Board of California estimated that California vehicles emitted close to 50 million pounds (i.e. about 23 billion grams) of benzene per year into the atmosphere of California. At 300 micrograms per cigarette, it would take 70 trillion cigarettes to produce what California\'s vehicles produce in a single year. Try to imagine all the smokers of the entire world, with each and every one of them smoking well over two hundred cigarettes a day, and all crowded into California, and you’ll have a rough comparison to California’s normal vehicle emissions.
During the course of New York and Philadelphia City Council hearings on vastly enlarging existing smoking bans, Crusaders trotted out the claim that the recently enacted smoking bans in California had reduced the lung cancer rate there by 14%. The claim seemed impressive unless one realized several things. First of all, smoking related lung cancer generally has a time lag of between 20 and 40 years, while the total indoor bans in California were only in place about three years when the claims were being made. Secondly, California has led the country in the past thirty years in reducing vehicle emissions and correcting its air pollution problems. And thirdly, the age composition and immigration patterns for the state have changed enormously over the past few decades.
By picking one particular statistic however, and ignoring all the background variables, confounders, and other scientific factors, testifying Crusaders were able to mount a convincing and seemingly powerful argument to City Councilors in both cities. Of course they also helped their case by not mentioning that they got the figure from a study that ended two years before California’s universal smoking ban was enacted! (Master Plan For a Smoke-Free California: www.dhs.cahwnet.gov/tobacco /documents/ TobaccoMasterPlan2003.pdf)
The other four human carcinogens in the smoke from a cigarette, all added together, equal less than a single microgram, thus contributing to an exposure for the average nonsmoker in a smoking environment of roughly one nanogram or one one-billionth of a gram per hour (1986 Report of the Surgeon General p. 130, 1989 Report of the Surgeon General p. 87, and Appendix B). Such a level of contact would never be considered as a “risk” for any substance not associated with tobacco smoke.
It’s not just carcinogens that Antismokers worry about though. There’s now a push to put a label on packs that will warn folks that “cigarettes contain formaldehyde, used in preserving corpses.” Now isn’t that a pleasant thought? Of course the Crusaders never want to mention the amount of formaldehyde produced (less than one third of a single thousandth of a gram) or the fact that cooking a healthy vegetarian dinner at a gas stove puts roughly 100 times this amount into the air for your family to breathe (Huber et al. \"Smoke and Mirrors.\" Regulation 16:3:44. 1993).
The situation is the same for almost all the compounds in smoke that the Antismokers point their fingers at. Upon examining the amounts of the substances involved and checking the values of OSHA and EPA safe concentrations for them, you would find that you’d have to be locked up in a small unventilated bar with hundreds, thousands, or even millions of smokers before even approaching levels thought to be unsafe by actual government standards. Appendix B presents a number of examples in a well-formatted table. You’ll note that in the real world significant concentrations of any of the supposedly dangerous elements in secondary smoke would never actually occur.
A lot to take in, I know but very educational none the less.
Two. Christopher Snowden's Velvet Glove, Iron Fist
A unique case?
It is the summer of 2007. A humble council meeting in the Californian town of Belmont has attracted a degree of attention from the world's press to which this quiet suburban community is wholly unaccustomed. Extra security has been ordered after several councillors received death threats. On the internet, a photo of the mayor is being circulated with the image doctored to show her in full Nazi regalia.
Inside the town hall, local politicians debate a bill which, if passed, will ban smoking on every street, park and sidewalk in Belmont, as well as in all apartments and many private homes. Only detached houses will be exempt. Even nonsmokers face possible prosecution; it will be illegal for any citizen to fail to report an infringement to the police.
The debate is heated. The mayor, Coralin Feierbach, raises her voice and waves her arms as she makes her case:
"I'm thinking of the children, that's the most important thing. Not necessarily the restaurants, not necessarily the condos, but the children in the community."
Warming to her theme, she bangs her fist on the table three times as she shouts:
"Children! Children! Children!"(1)
This being California, it goes without saying that it is already illegal to smoke in offices, bars and restaurants. For years, the 'Golden State' has built a reputation for being tough on smoking but even ardent nonsmokers are beginning to wonder whether the anti-smoking campaign has crossed the line between protecting public health and intruding on personal freedom. "I don't know where the boundaries of a truly legally defensible ordinance are," concedes Councillor Dave Warden, a keen supporter of the bill, "I really believe that we're so close to the line that no one can really tell."(2)
As the press gathers in Belmont, the town's councillors are contemplating the most far-reaching anti-smoking law of modern times, but it will not be long before a more extreme ordinance is passed in some other part of the world and the media will move on. Smokers and civil libertarians will continue to complain of discrimination and the public health lobby will continue to devise new ways to stamp out the smoking habit.
None of this is new. The English Puritans who settled in Massachusetts and Connecticut banned smoking in the street in the 17th century. In Russia, Turkey, China and elsewhere smokers were punished with mutilation, torture and death. For five centuries tobacco was besieged on the basis of religious conviction, public morality, fire safety, racial superiority, political doctrine and often - but never exclusively - health. The fascists of Germany viewed smoking as a Communist habit just as the socialists regarded it as suspiciously bourgeois. For Christians, it was a pagan custom; for Muslims, it was a Christian invention. The anti-Semites associated it with the Jews, the teetotallers linked it to the drunks and the chaste linked it to the debauched. Wherever there was a popular cause, there were bands of anti-tobacconists ready to attach themselves to it.
Time and again the anti-smokers gathered momentum only to overreach themselves and tumble into obscurity. The political ideologies with which they allied themselves would fall out of favour, their charismatic leaders would die, their followers would come to be seen as cranks and the myriad diseases they blamed on the hated herb - infertility, blindness, hysteria, herpes and insanity, to name but a few - would be exposed as the products of fevered imaginations.
And then, in the mid-20th century, solid evidence finally surfaced which showed that the latest and most popular tobacco product - the cigarette - did indeed cause some serious diseases and all of a sudden the cranks and the moralists disappeared. No longer did anyone oppose tobacco because it led to drink or debauchery. No longer did anyone condemn it as irreligious. No one fretted about cigarettes causing fires and no one insisted - as they had only a few years earlier - that their consumption would infect the gene pool and wipe out the white race. For the first time since Columbus's first encounter with the weed, the zealots and fanatics of the anti-tobacco leagues simply vanished. In their place came a host of new organisations whose agenda was strikingly similar to that of the tobacco-haters of bygone days but whose members declared themselves to be motivated only by concern for the public health.
By now, however, the smoking public had grown used to ignoring the shrill voices that for generations had fed them tall tales about the devilish herb and so there was an urgent need to educate them about this genuine peril. It started with a warning label. In the 1960s, governments around the world ordered the tobacco industry to label each pack of their extraordinarily lucrative product with a cautionary note to its customers. Soon afterwards, the government brought the curtain down on televised cigarette commercials.
The industry complained that its right to free speech was being trampled on. In the United States, where the right to free expression was enshrined in the Constitution, they may have had a case but it was hard to deny that, as a legal product, cigarettes were unusually dangerous. American politicians remained reluctant to over-regulate business, curtail free speech or challenge the public's right to smoke, but they banned broadcast advertising all the same because cigarettes posed a "unique danger" which required unique policies.
Around the world, taxes on tobacco rose, the warnings became stronger, tobacco advertising was banned in all its forms and the number of places in which smokers could engage in their habit dwindled. Some complained that smokers were being persecuted by joyless puritans set on the outright criminalisation of tobacco. Others warned that the anti-smoking endeavour represented the thin end of a wedge that would ultimately lead to the state dictating what people ate, drank, how much they should exercise and what they should spend their money on. "Today it's cigarettes," announced one cigarette company in 1994, "Will high-fat foods be next?"(3) Such warnings fell on deaf ears, particularly when they came from the discredited tobacco industry. Those who warned that society was sliding down a slippery slope of government intrusion were accused of indulging in hyperbole bordering on paranoia. The cigarette, it was said again, was a unique case - a product that could kill when used as the manufacturer intended - and it was ludicrous to compare eating a steak or drinking a glass of wine with smoking a pack of cigarettes.
The educational campaign against smoking inspired millions of smokers to kick their habit but millions more persisted and, much to the surprise of the anti-smoking groups, millions more took up the habit in full knowledge of the hazards. For those who sought tobacco's destruction, the well of government measures that could be deployed to dissuade individuals from risking their own health was running dry and so a new theory emerged.
The evidence that tobacco smoke was still dangerous at vastly diluted levels in the form of secondhand smoke was scant but the idea was invaluable to those who wanted the anti-smoking campaign to shift up a few gears. With it, the hated, stinking smoke became a menace to all and could be prohibited as a threat to the lives of others. Smokers stubbornly continued to puff away in streets, doorways and in their homes but the end, it seemed, was nigh.
By the time the councillors of Belmont were debating the merits of banning smoking in people's own homes, the battlers for public health had long since expanded their horizons beyond cigarettes and were campaigning for legislation against products which were neither unique nor necessarily dangerous. This, too, began with a warning label. Today, the spokesmen and spokeswomen of the health organisations demand warnings be placed on wine bottles, food packaging, cars, gambling machines, aeroplanes, bottled water and large-sized clothes. Activists of all kinds wrestle with one another for the prize of having their cause seen as "the new smoking."
As before, the warnings serve to identify certain products and forms of behaviour as socially undesirable and, also as before, they are merely a prelude to fresh bans and further legislation. Advertising executives now accept that the days of promoting alcoholic drinks on television are numbered. Commercials for hamburgers, chips, cheese and full-fat milk have begun to disappear from the airwaves in Britain and elsewhere. Politicians are regularly advised to slap 'sin taxes' on food and drink, to issue their citizens with pedometers, to limit the number of drinks that can be served in bars, to deny medical treatment to the overweight, to compel restauranteurs to put warnings on their menus, to ban smokers from adopting children and to prohibit perfume, aftershave and other supposed 'toxins' in the workplace.
Are these pragmatic measures to protect the public health or unwarranted intrusions into private behaviour? Do these new laws represent the next logical step or the slippery slope? These are questions that have been asked for generations. We have been here many times before. To give but one example, the American temperance movement of the 19th century began by condemning heavy drinking and hard liquor. Temperance - as its name suggests - meant moderation, not abolition, but within a few decades the anti-saloon activists were calling for the complete criminalisation of the production and consumption of all forms of alcohol.
Prohibition was achieved in 1919 and one newspaper compared the ranks of victorious teetotallers to "a soldier of fortune after the peace is signed."(4) Suddenly redundant, but with no intention of disbanding, it took the moral crusaders only a matter of weeks before they had set their sights on banning tobacco and were rallying round the banner of 'Nicotine Next.' Seventy-five years later, the vice-president of the country's foremost anti-smoking group, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, was asked what she would do if tobacco should miraculously disappear. Her candid answer was that she would "simply move on to other causes."(5)
This is the story of just one cause, a cause that for many years seemed doomed but which ultimately set the template for the public health campaigns of the present-day. It is a story populated by characters who had little in common beyond a mutual hatred of tobacco, and it is a story that began long before any of the elements that colour our perception of the smoking issue today existed. When Columbus explored the New World there was no tobacco industry and no advertising industry. The link between smoking and cancer was unknown. There was no concept of passive smoking, let alone 'passive drinking' or 'secondhand obesity.' The battle against smoking began without any of this and yet it began all the same, almost from the moment the Spanish lit their first pipes, and it rarely let up in the five hundred years that followed.
As far as this country is concerned I ask only one question. When will the worm turn?