June 28, 2006


U.S. Details Dangers of Secondhand Smoking (Marc Kaufman, June 28, 2006, Washington Post)

Secondhand smoke dramatically increases the risk of heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmokers and can be controlled only by making indoor spaces smoke-free, according to a comprehensive report issued yesterday by U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona.

"The health effects of secondhand smoke exposure are more pervasive than we previously thought," Carmona said. "The scientific evidence is now indisputable: Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance. It is a serious health hazard that can lead to disease and premature death in children and nonsmoking adults."

According to the report, the government's most detailed statement ever on secondhand smoke, exposure to smoke at home or work increases the nonsmokers' risk of developing heart disease by 25 to 30 percent and lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent. It is especially dangerous for children living with smokers and is known to cause sudden infant death syndrome, respiratory problems, ear infections and asthma attacks in infants and children.

Always strange to hear otherwise sensible conservatives defend this literal evil.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 28, 2006 10:20 AM

I wonder how long it's going to take after tobacco is no longer exempt as a Schedule I drug for people to start campaigning for "medicinal tobacco."

Posted by: Bryan at June 28, 2006 10:40 AM

I generally support laws restricting smoking for both personal and health reasons. That said, some of these numbers just don't meet the common sense test.

Sadly, the nation is so stupefied that they believe every headline with the word "study" in it.

For starters, let's look at the "heart disease" figure.

25%-30%! This appears unsupportable on its face, particularly in a nation incapable of reducing portion sizes for their gargantuan meals and the inability to mow their own lawns. (I wonder whether lawn mowers put out more smoke than cigarettes?)

Just like the Sun and 8000 diameter ball of lava are going to have more of an impact on that ball's thin skin than a 100 PPM increase in CO2, the idea that 2nd hand smoke is going to impact heart disease should give one pause to question the study.

Why not just cut to the chase and outlaw it instead of cooking up more fake numbers?

Posted by: Bruno at June 28, 2006 11:04 AM

Remember the World Health Organization's decade-long study that found no increased health risk from second-hand smoke? Of course not.

It has been noted that breathing in NYC exposes one to as much pollution as does two packs of cigarettes. Golly, those folks should get out to the suburbs as quickly as possible. Lives are at stake!

Posted by: Ed Bush at June 28, 2006 11:08 AM

The government hasn't done a new study. They simply base this on other studies, none of which have been able to scientifically prove that second hand smoke is a danger. That's why you don't find these studies in the medical journals. OJ, ask your wife about meta analysis and how it is used in medical research to determing causality. Finally, they say that 50,000 people per year (that number comes from a study that failed under meta analysis)die from second-hand smoke yet they can't name a single one. Strange, that, don't you think?

Posted by: Patrick H at June 28, 2006 11:59 AM


An excellent argument in favor of pollution limits.

Posted by: oj at June 28, 2006 12:01 PM


The Wife is a pulmonologist. If iy were up to her she'd get to personally horsewhip smokers. The notion that smoking isn't a killer is fatuous.

Posted by: oj at June 28, 2006 12:06 PM

In the 1960s and 1970s, it was plausible that further research would show that second-hand smoke was verifiably dangerous. It was a matter of waiting for "the other shoe to drop."

That shoe has been hanging in mid-air for the past 40 years.

Posted by: Joseph Hertzlinger at June 28, 2006 12:08 PM

Yes, smoking is very dangerous, but that isn't the point. Is second-hand smoke dangerous? Nobody has been able to show it to be so, but they want it to be true so they make a leap of faith and fake it. You know. Like darwinism. I fully understand your wife's position, but while I don't smoke, I think that as long as it's legal and hasn't been proven especially dangerous to others, people should be allowed to do so and businesses should be allowed to determine whether they want to allow smoking or not.

Posted by: Patrick H at June 28, 2006 12:42 PM

We know it's dangerous and studies demonstrate that to be true.

Posted by: oj at June 28, 2006 12:49 PM

They came for my cigarettes and I did nothing.

They came for my cheezy-poofs.....

Smoking performs a public service, it saves social security.

Although my grandmother smoked for 68 years and died at 80....and she had cut the filters off for years..............

Posted by: Sandy P at June 28, 2006 12:51 PM

cigarettes are a legal product - don't like it - call your congressman to make it illegal.

Posted by: smoky at June 28, 2006 1:06 PM

I'm waiting for "we're just doing it for your own good", "because we love you" comments from OJ. This always warms my heart when I hear it, especially during horsewhipping.

Posted by: andy at June 28, 2006 1:53 PM

The smokers are asking, "Why should I have to change my lifestyle for something that hasn't been proven harmful?"

The non-smokers are thinking, "Why should I have to put up with your filthy habit in public?"

Who cares if it's been proven dangerous our not? It's hampering my ability to breathe, and asthma-suffering folks will be happy to dispute the "non-dangerous" idea. I don't go bowling near as often as I'd like because I always smell like an ashtray after a few frames. It's not too difficult to avoid the bowling alley (though I wish I didn't have to) but what about other locations that I have less control over my visitation frequency?

Posted by: Joe Cool at June 28, 2006 2:20 PM


It's been proven harmful, not least to the smokers, so we're entitled to force them to change.

Posted by: oj at June 28, 2006 2:57 PM


Exactly. That's why they're banning it.

Posted by: oj at June 28, 2006 3:03 PM

The "Smokers are saving Soc. Sec." is a fallacy.

The best way to die is to live healthy, until you give up the ghost and pass quietly (second best is with boots on fighting some enemy).

Smokers and Porkers don't save us a dime because their bad habits cost the health delivery system zillions.

Now if we locked them in a clean room with all the cheetoz and crystal meth they needed....

Posted by: Bruno at June 28, 2006 3:11 PM


Convert to Wahhabism recently? I missed the "A+" Qutb Review on your main site?

Posted by: Bruno at June 28, 2006 3:14 PM

Wouldn't all this be far more honest if we just said, "It stinks, we like to Bowl and go see live music too, and now we can outvote you." instead of making overly moralistic arguments (with dangerous precedents) and ginning up fake studies?

Posted by: Bruno at June 28, 2006 3:17 PM

There's no such thing as an overmoralistic argument, just moral or amoral. In a Puritan Nation we abide by the moral ones.

Posted by: oj at June 28, 2006 3:21 PM


Islamic Puritanism will certainly improve Europe when it takes over.

Posted by: oj at June 28, 2006 3:26 PM

Ascribing "evil" to a physical object doesn't strike me as a part of Christian theology, but quite acceptable for Pagans, Wiccans and other Irrationalists.

And if we are going to ban activities and objects because of the "second-hand" effects, then why isn't homosexuality on the proscription list?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 28, 2006 8:11 PM

It isn't?

Posted by: oj at June 28, 2006 8:21 PM