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Friday
Apr282017

You and Yours (the smoking ban)

Further to my previous post ...

Click here to listen to the You and Yours item about the smoking ban, broadcast on Radio 4 at 12.30 today.

Although it was recorded 'as live' it's been edited quite a bit. At one point I launched into a diatribe against politicians like Patricia Hewitt. That's gone.

Without mentioning Enstrom and Kabat by name I also referred to their study, published in 2003, that found that the impact of long-term exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke in the home may be considerably weaker than generally believed. (I may have used the word "insignificant" instead.)

That's gone too, possibly because Hewitt said she was unaware of it. Why am I not surprised? It may have been the largest ever study into the effects of 'passive' smoking but if she was 100 per cent reliant on the anti-smoking industry for her information you can be sure they kept quiet about it.

I praised her predecessor John Reid for trying to find a compromise but that didn't make the final edit either. 

And without listening to it again I think they also omitted my reference to Office for National Statistics surveys that in the years preceding the legislation repeatedly found that only a minority (approximately 30 per cent) supported a comprehensive ban.

Instead, Hewitt justified the legislation by referring to the cross party support it had among MPs, as if their views were more important than the general public. That's when I had my little rant against politicians!

To be fair, Hewitt's contribution was also edited. She spoke far more than is evident in the programme, which is one of the reasons I became a bit tetchy and argumentative. They've toned that down as well!

Finally, email to Forest from a listener following the programme:

I’ve just caught the discussion on [You and Yours], including comments by one of your supporters / officers, about public smoking not necessarily affecting others.

I couldn’t disagree more. I have lost count of the times I have had to cross the road to avoid the deeply unpleasant smoke from someone walking ahead of me, with a cigarette on.  

Smoking outdoors does have an affect on others as smoke drifts.  My wife and I have on several occasions left outdoor areas – eg the sitting area outside a café – because of drifting smoke.

Smokers should have a responsibility to keep their habit to themselves, and not inflict it on others.  I therefore fully support any proposals to extend the ban on smoking outdoors. 

Spare me.

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Reader Comments (8)

Does that smokerphobic terrified of a wisp of smoke in the air drive? If so, he is killing far more people than smokers who have not harmed anyone and the evidence proves it . The propaganda is dishonest.

These hypocrites and extremists are encouraged by politicians who are happy to single out one social and consumer group for hate, abuse, and discrimination.

Why, I wonder, did Radio 4 even bother to interview either of you if they intended to present their own preferred opinion of the smoking ban.

Free press my arse.

Friday, April 28, 2017 at 15:41 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Love to meet this smokerphobic and his wife and have a very vigorous discussion with the neurotic twats !

Friday, April 28, 2017 at 16:08 | Unregistered CommenterTimothy Goodacre

"That's gone too, possibly because Hewitt said she was unaware of it."

Good grief! How could she possibly be UNAWARE of the existence of one of the largest studies ever conducted on SHS to date? Does she even do any research into the issue that she claims to know so much about? ...and what of the other (large) epidemiological study that was published by the JNCI (Journal of the National Cancer Institute here in the U.S.) a couple of years back, is she unaware of that as well? That study, btw, came to the conclusion that there is no relationship between 2nd hand smoke and lung cancer.

Sometimes you just have to wonder if the feigned ignorance on the part of some anti-tobacco advocates isn't blatant and intentional.

Friday, April 28, 2017 at 16:57 | Unregistered Commenterjredheadgirl

"I have lost count of the times I have had to cross the road to avoid the deeply unpleasant smoke from someone walking ahead of me"

The >>>road<<<? Erm ... #GoodGrief

Friday, April 28, 2017 at 18:34 | Unregistered CommenterDick Puddlecote

@ jredheadgirl

Sometimes you just have to wonder if the feigned ignorance on the part of some anti-tobacco advocates isn't blatant and intentional.

I don't wonder at all.

Of course they know about those studies and their conclusions. But they don't fit the doctrinaire narrative, so they are buried.

Just as the WHO study by Boffat et al was buried because it came up with the 'wrong' conclusions. In fact the icing on the cake with that particular study (which must have given TobCon palpitations and nervous breakdowns) was that the only statistically significant result that came out of it was that children raised in smoking homes had better health outcomes than those raised in non-smoking homes! By a margin of 20% or so. The horror! No wonder that report got buried deep.

Friday, April 28, 2017 at 19:13 | Unregistered Commenternisakiman

If not fully ignorant of the research, it appears that antismokers choose to ignore and suppress all findings that diverge from their preferred worldview. I doubt she hadn't heard of it, she just won't acknowledge it in public.

To assist those who were unable to hear about it they should know In addition, that Engstrom/Kabat was a large study that looked at 38 years worth of data:

Enstrom, JE and Kabat, GC. Environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality in a prospective study of Californians, 1960-98 BMJ 2003; 326:1057.

It study found "No significant associations were found for current or former exposure to environmental tobacco smoke before or after adjusting for seven confounders and before or after excluding participants with pre-existing disease." (This prospective study used American Cancer Society dataset.)

They could also look at Boffetta, et al: Multicenter Case-Control Study of Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Lung Cancer in Europe, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 90, No. 19, October 7, 1998: "public indoor settings did not represent an important source of ETS exposure."

(This case-control study used data from the IARC. The period of enrollment of case and control subjects was from 1988 to 1994--16 years; IARC=International Agency for Research on Cancer.)

Friday, April 28, 2017 at 19:23 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

There no scientific evidence in the claim that health harms occur from whiffs of outdoor smoking. This is not a scientific issue and thus it must be addressed as a matter of confronting prejudice. The following comment is very revealing:

"Smoking outdoors does have an affect on others as smoke drifts. My wife and I have on several occasions left outdoor areas – eg the sitting area outside a café – because of drifting smoke."

This is exactly the same type of comment that virulent homophobic folks could utter when seeing two Gay men or Lesbian women kissing in public (and mind you, 50 years ago the medics regarded homosexuality as a mental disorder). Just take the comment and change wording appropriately:

"Homosexuals kissing outdoors does have an affect on others as the image drifts. My wife and I have on several occasions left outdoor areas – eg the sitting area outside a café – because of being forced to see these acts."

There is no amount of rational debate that can convince ideological haters bearing prejudice. The only way to counter them is to deny them legitimacy and to undertake all possible legal means to fight them. This is the way in which Gays and Lesbians successfully fought homophobia, this should be the way smokers must fight smoker-phobia.

Friday, April 28, 2017 at 21:02 | Unregistered CommenterRoberto

My wife and I have on several occasions left outdoor areas – eg the sitting area outside a café – because of drifting smoke

But happy to sit bathed in the diesel smoke they can't see.


London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Fear of political embarrassment led to government cover up of link between air pollution and lung cancer.

"Delegates attending an international conference in London today to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Great London Smog of 1952, which caused an estimated 12,000 deaths, will hear how governments from the late 50s onwards deliberately downplayed the huge threat to public health caused by air pollution, and sought to shift the blame firmly onto cigarette smoking instead"
http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/pressoffice/press_releases/2002/smogpollution.html

And it's still working.

Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 9:43 | Unregistered CommenterRose2

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