Nanny Knows Best

Nanny Knows Best
Dedicated to exposing, and resisting, the all pervasive nanny state that is corroding the way of life and the freedom of the people of Britain.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Gasping For a Fag

Gasping For a FagMy commiserations to all you fag lovers out there...

Editor's note

For reference, especially for my American readership, fag in this case means cigarette!

Today is the last day that you can have a relaxing fag in a public place (eg pub, bar, club etc). As from tomorrow Nanny's new anti smoking rules come into effect in England.

Even the hallowed Smoking Room of my club (The East India) will have to ban smoking (note, the room will still be called "The Smoking Room").

All very silly, we are adults and should be allowed to go to the devil in our own way. I certainly have quite a few methods of going to the devil!

Unfortunately, Nanny does not believe in freedom of choice.

A SmokerWhilst I do not smoke myself, I believe that others should be allowed to do so. I also have a view that the exhaust from cars are far more likely to damage our health, than even the smokiest of bars. However, you will never see Nanny banning cars.

Now that she has dispensed with smoking, her next target is drinking; then comes meat eating.

Mark my words, Nanny will do her best to ban these pleasures as well.

"In Germany they came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
The they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up.
"

Martin Niemoeller



So there we have it ladies and gentlemen, another freedom has been eroded.

Whilst we contemplate this, let us list the various terms for smoking and cigarettes; I will start you off:

-Having a fag
-Tabs
-Death sticks

Please add to the list.

37 comments:

  1. Well, I for one am very much looking forward to coming home from the pub without stinking like an ashtray.

    So on the one hand we have the rights of employees and the public not to put their health at risk, and on the other the rights of smokers to light up in a public place? Not exactly a difficult decision.

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  2. I think your case is completely demolished by the Ken Clarke pic.

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  3. Chris - who's case? My case? Ken's case? Either way, I don't understand how Ken Clarke (bless his cottons) makes a difference. What did you mean? Enlighten us please! :-)

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  4. Ken,

    I suspect your concerns about cars are pretty much unfounded these days, at least for modern vehicles. Indeed public policy might well have indicated advantages for subsidising vehicle purchase (for both emissions and safety aspects) in recent years in order to more quickly enhance the vehicle stock in regular use.

    On the other hand smokey old diesel buses, as provided in many cities, may well represent a health hazard from particulates. More modern large diesel vehicles are much improved on that and other areas - noise for example.


    Andy,

    Your expectation of 'protecting the rights of employees and the public not to put their health at risk' is laudable but scientifically, despite the claims of those who demanded the complete ban, is unproven. There may also be other negative effects on health and productivity that have not been investigated (but a few have been mooted.) None of these claims have been investigated which is odd for societies that insist on applying the 'precautionary principle'. Selective application it would seem.

    Notwithstanding that it would have been possible to allow pubs, restuarant and other premises to choose to be smoking or non-smoking and to some extent that happened even before the ban. On that basis staff could also choose whether to work at smoking allowed locations.

    But for some curious reason that did not appeal to the 'authorities'.

    There again by common agreement the majority of smokers are 'working class chavs' and trouble makers so perhaps this will keep them at home with their habit and make the streets purer. That way they can be more easily rounded up and sent off to ...

    Hmm. Have we been here before?

    I think Ken is probably correct about Booze and Meat being the next targets. Based on the current success of oppositionless legalised bullying 'they' might try for both at the same time. If expecting no resistance, why not?



    Grant

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  5. Grant - you're right, there isn't any specific research that links passive smoking to health problems. But aside from a large amount of anecdotal evidence, the composition of exhaled cigarette smoke is well known, and there's plenty of evidence to show that many of the substances there are harmful to health. To say that there's no evidence of a direct link is kind of like saying there's no evidence of a link between falling out of planes and dying. :-)

    And haven't there always been non-smoking pubs? I think in my area (Warwickshire) there were maybe two of them. Considering the number of people who don't currently smoke in pubs, and the number who support the ban, it's a bit strange that simple market forces didn't lead to more non-smoking pubs. But that didn't happen, so now we're left with legislation.

    I'm not sure about booze and meat being next... the smoking ban was aimed at protecting the public at large, rather than the individuals who choose to smoke. My guess is that fatty foods will be next, seeing as obesity costs us so much. Whilst there's an argument in favour of banning both smoking and alcohol entirely, I suspect that personal freedom will (quite rightly) prevail. Anyway, can you see this (or any other) government foregoing the tax revenue??

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  6. Anonymous5:36 PM

    Living in a "free" country and having "liberty" means defending someone else's right to do something that you don't like or find distasteful.

    I stopped smoking last August and don't care to come home stinking of smoke or having smoke blown in my face either but I would defend to the last other people's rights to smoke in designated areas because I value freedom and liberty more than what some stupid government think tank thinks.

    Those people who are happy about this ban (Andy et al) may not be so happy when their favourite pubs start closing down and/or when the government's next target for a ban is something they personally hold dear.

    If smoking really was that bad then the government would surely ban cigarettes altogether?

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  7. Anonymous8:04 PM

    THis is happening state by state in the US, including Minnesota where I live.Now I neither smoke nor go to pubs, so I have no dog in this fight, but this is whats happened here. Peole who smoke will just buy booze, invite friends in, stay at home, where Nanny has no control.YET! Bars are going out of business, bartenders and waitreses are loosing tips, in general peole are loosing their livelihood. The smoking ban here is fueled by finger wagging, holier that thou elites who believe they know better than the unwashed masses and must make it their business to tell us how to live or lives. They claim to be protecting the workers of the Bar industry, but said workers have not ASKED for their help. and these do-gooders (who rarely do any good) would never step in these pubs anyway...(unless they serve a good white wine or a cosmopolitan)

    Debbie

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  8. grant8:36 PM

    Andy said:

    "To say that there's no evidence of a direct link is kind of like saying there's no evidence of a link between falling out of planes and dying. :-)"

    Could you expand on that somewhat? Mainly because I don't get the link between the two subjects or the basis of any scientific comparison. But as a secondary question I would like to know how many people simply fall out of planes (assuming you are talking about aeroplanes as opposed to something to do with geometry.)

    Or maybe that is your point? There is no link between science and people's beliefs?

    Andy then said:

    "And haven't there always been non-smoking pubs? I think in my area (Warwickshire) there were maybe two of them. Considering the number of people who don't currently smoke in pubs, and the number who support the ban, it's a bit strange that simple market forces didn't lead to more non-smoking pubs. But that didn't happen, so now we're left with legislation."

    Your point being?

    IN my view that suggests that people were not too concerned about banning smoking, otherwise the two pubs in Warwickshire would have been very busy indeed.

    Andy finally said:

    "Anyway, can you see this (or any other) government foregoing the tax revenue?? "

    No I can't. But one of the other effects of this pubblic passivity is that they don't need to. When one source dries up (tobacco taxes) they just introduce another (Carbon taxes fo rexample) to replace it. Preferably the tax is not directly attributable to central govt. but is collected as 'something else'. Local Council 'rates' for example. Of the penalty payments from the Fixed Penalty Systems being implemented. Or not adjusting allowances in line with inflation/values - think death duties.

    And amazing ly no one complains (as used to happen) because they think, probably rightly, that all the other political shysters would do exactly the same. So the message is 'grin and bear it'.

    Clearly the British public does not yet feel it has it's back to the wall. Or if it does it no longer has a backbone for a political fight to save whatever it believes to be its freedoms.

    Strangely, based on events reported from London and Glasgow Airport in the last 24 hours, it seems that others do have some belief in themselves and the rights of their beliefs.

    Perhaps we should just let them take over to save any further bother. I'm sure no one will object.


    Grant

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  9. Anonymous12:42 AM

    http://www.freedom2choose.co.uk/art1.php?id=57 this guy seems to make sense... not everyone is bending over http://lfbuk.blogspot.com/2007/06/smoking-ban.html

    maybe more will take up the cudgel?

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  10. grumpy1:20 PM

    Anonymous (4:42) is right, go to
    www.freedom2choose.co..uk and read the results of a 19 year scientific study PROVING that there is absolutely no link between passive smoking and any disease normally considered to be smoking related.
    In fact, there is some suggestion that passive smoking acts rather like innoculation, in that it helps the body's immune system to build up protection against lung cancer, emphysemia and so on.
    Andy, anecdotal evidence is fine for a discussion in a pub (with a fag in one hand and a pint in another) but it is not a sufficient base on which to build repressive legislation.
    What pisses me off as much the deliberate suppression of counter-evidence (by the Gov't, ASH and others) is the attitude expressed by people like Andy, the
    "I don't do it and I don't like it so let them ban it" brigade.

    If you don't like me smoking in your presence, we each have alternatives: you can leave my company; I can leave your company; or we can negotiate a compromise.

    It's called adult, civilised behaviour.

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  11. grumpy2:42 PM

    Andy,
    I just had another thought; in case you don't believe that your particular weakness is ever going to be under threat, you might want to take a look at this little gem reported by the BBC recently.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6238676.stm

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  12. grant9:11 PM

    grumpy pointed out some valid concerns.

    Here is a background which helps t illuminate them.

    http://pub41.bravenet.com/forum/3444295554/fetch/751984/


    The quote is:

    "More Proof Anti-tobacco Lies - Here's one from the past , suitable for enhancing perspective, in these prohibitionist times.

    Dateline 1998. British smokers were protesting increasing cigarette taxes and smoking restrictions.

    Clive Bates, Director of Action on Smoking and Health, called the smokers "a tobacco industry front group," and said the smokers' concerns were "scaremongering.

    " After all, Mr. Bates explained, "No one is seriously talking about a complete ban on smoking in pubs and restaurants ... separate smoking and non-smoking areas should be set up in pubs and restaurants. We reckon that would have strong support from both smokers and non-smokers."

    Interestingly the timescale fits neatly with the immensely open and honest period of Nanny employment we came to know and love from Nanny Bliar.

    Nanny Brown is curently rasining a smoke screen of 'new ideas' hoping that people will forget her part in the dupklicity of the the last ten years.

    And we will, won't we children?


    Grant

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  13. Grant - Interesting points, all of them, but I'm not entirely convinced.

    "Or maybe that is your point? There is no link between science and people's beliefs?"

    No, although that is true. The point I was making is that just because nobody has been able to do research to prove that passive smoking kills, doesn't mean that it isn't the case. Sometimes it's not necessary to do the research -- in this case, scientists know what's in exhaled smoke, and they know the effect these 50+ toxins have on humans. So it's not necessary to do the specific research. Obviously it's better if you can, but it's difficult. That's what I meant about falling out of planes... it's scientifically safe to draw a conclusion without having to push a few hundred people out of planes and watching to see if they expire when they hit the ground. :-)

    Incidentally, as far as I remember, there is a correlation between working in pubs and developing lung cancer. Can't remember where I read it though, and can't be bothered to look right now.

    "IN my view that suggests that people were not too concerned about banning smoking, otherwise the two pubs in Warwickshire would have been very busy indeed."

    Well that's clearly not true, judging both by published public reaction, and the experiences myself and others I know have had. A large proportion of people are in favour of the ban. Any yes, the one of those pubs I regularly went to was usually very busy.

    Grumpy - "Anonymous (4:42) is right, go to
    www.freedom2choose.co..uk and read the results of a 19 year scientific study PROVING that there is absolutely no link between passive smoking and any disease normally considered to be smoking related."

    I had a quick scan through this, and, unless I'm looking at the wrong part, this isn't even remotely scientific. I think there have been quite a few studies, some of which show that passive smoking is a probable risk factor, and some that aren't conclusive. Such studies are usually, by necessity, just analysis of statistics. And statistics can, as you know, show whatever you want.

    What's required is common sense: turn the problem around... how can breathing air that is polluted with more than 50 known toxins NOT be bad for you??

    "Andy, anecdotal evidence is fine for a discussion in a pub (with a fag in one hand and a pint in another) but it is not a sufficient base on which to build repressive legislation."

    Thankfully such discussions will now take place with only the pint. :-) And the evidence that shows smoke to be harmful is far from just being anecdotal.

    And my particular weakness was banned years ago, sadly. I used to enjoy shooting at my local rifle and pistol club, and as a result of some particularly witless and reactionary legislation I can't do that any more. Now that was the Nanny state at it's worst.

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  14. grant1:05 PM

    Andy siad:

    "Sometimes it's not necessary to do the research -- in this case, scientists know what's in exhaled smoke, and they know the effect these 50+ toxins have on humans. So it's not necessary to do the specific research. Obviously it's better if you can, but it's difficult."

    Water causes death, oxygen will kill you. Need I go on? (Should I mention the postive effects of DDT?). The danger is in the dosage. At some dosage everything is dangerous. For most things the dosage is quite large. Were it not that way our species would not have survived.

    The EU a few years ago banned the use of quite a large number of inepensive cheimicals that had been used for specific purposes for many many years, especially by gardeners. The reason given was they had not been tested.

    They will not be tested since they were inexpensive BECAUSE the patents had expired. The low price means there will be no money for the expensive testing regime required. The chemical companies welcome this because people will be forced to buy their more expensive, patent protected products.

    So your logic would suggest what?

    The chemicals (because they were chemicals) should obviously be banned? Or because they had been used judiciously without harm for 100 years they should not need testing?

    As for shooting, what a pointless waste of time and money (one might argue). Just look at the evidence from the USA and see why gun bans are so important. It was the only way we could ensure that nobody in the UK was ever shot and killed. (we export that to Iraq and Afghanistan these days.)

    Or not, depending on how you see and believe it.

    In any case I think you may have found that a backdoor way to ban your hobby based on something to do with dangerous chemicals would have been introduced if an outright ban was thought to be unacceptable. I guess we can blame the Scots once again?


    Grant

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  15. grumpy1:31 PM

    Andy,
    Yes, wrong page. If you're interested enough, go back to freedom2choose and read the article entitled 'A Little Bit of Anything does you Good'. There you will see reference to a 39 year study (sorry, I got that wrong in my first post) carried out by Enstrom & Kabat at Harvard University.
    The research was largely funded by the American Cancer Society (not notoriously a pro-smoking organisation). The full text of the Enstrom and Kabat study is available on-line. You will find that the BMJ, Harvard Medical School AND the ACS accepted and endorsed the study's findings; including the claim about the immunising effects of passive smoking.
    But hey, the government and its big-business allies say that THEIR figures are right (even though they don't yet appear to have got their heads together about what the statistics actually are) and that they are 'saving us from ourselves', so that's OK then.

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  16. Grant - "Water causes death, oxygen will kill you. Need I go on? (Should I mention the postive effects of DDT?). The danger is in the dosage. At some dosage everything is dangerous. For most things the dosage is quite large. Were it not that way our species would not have survived."

    I would challenge you to suggest a safe or beneficial dose level for, say, benzopyrene. Just one of many unpleasant chemicals in second-hand smoke.

    Grumpy - thanks, have now found it and had a look. The first thing to note is that whilst the study was initially funded by the American Cancer Society, the analysis stage was funded by the Center for Indoor Air Research, an organisation funded by US tobacco companies.

    That study was apparently seriously flawed. For more information, see: http://www.bmj.com/cgi/eletters/326/7398/1057

    However, it turns out that there's actually quite a lot of scientific evidence. For instance:

    * Respiratory health effects of passive smoking: Lung Cancer and other disorders. The report of the US Environmental Protection Agency, 1993.
    * Report of the Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health. 1998.
    * International Consultation on Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) and Child Health. WHO Tobacco Free Initiative, 1999
    * Health effects of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. The report of the California Environmental Protection Agency. Smoking and Tobacco Control Monograph 10, National Cancer Institute, 1999
    * Involuntary Smoking. IARC, 2002.
    * WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
    * California Environmental Protection Agency: Air Resources Board, "Proposed Identification of Environmental Tobacco Smoke as a Toxic Air Contaminant" (June 24, 2005); on January 26, 2006, the Air Resources Board, following a lengthy review and public outreach process, determined ETS to be a Toxic Air Contaminant (TAC).
    * WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer "Tobacco Smoke and Involuntary Smoking" IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, Vol. 83, 2002

    There's an interesting article about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_smoking

    Of course, it's possible to dismiss it all as biased, but that would be a little silly, especially when you consider that the other side in this debate (the tobacco companies) have so much more money to throw at it, and have been surprisingly quiet on the subject of passive smoking.

    Anyway. Personally I value the health of the majority above the personal freedoms of the minority. I'd never suggest stopping somebody from smoking by himself, in his own home... but when it comes to a public place, well, I'm glad that common sense has finally prevailed. If that's seen by some as supporting the Nanny State then so be it. I can't see it myself, but then you're entitled to your opinion, just as I'm entitled to mine.

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  17. grumpy5:34 PM

    Andy,
    or anyone else who might care,
    have a look at my website:
    www.grumpyoldexpat.com
    to see where I stand on this.
    Personally, I think you are absolutely wrong on the idea of Nanny, but as long as you can live with it...........

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  18. andy,

    A search for benzopyrene certainly produces a lot of references ranging from chemical reference sites which tend to use words like 'thought to be a carcinogen' as applied to humans through to law enforcement sites which know for sure that it is a cancer creator especially for Marijuana users.

    It's probably not a good thing in large volumes as used on rats and mice, though how much would be required to induce the same effect on humans I was unable to ascertain. I think I have a chart somewhere but no time to find it at the moment.

    However human susceptibility to cancer appears to be related to genetics. Given that benzopyrene(s) occur naturally in plants and are also present in diesel fumes and, according to a source on Yahoo! Health which just happened to come up in the search, in grilled meat, it suggests that we should perhaps genetically profile all newborn and then electroincally tag them with information about what they should avoid during their lives.

    Or at the very least we should immediately ban diesel fuel and the grilling of meat.

    Would that not make even more sense than randomly banning anything that happens to come into the view of some sort of action group?

    You also said:

    "Anyway. Personally I value the health of the majority above the personal freedoms of the minority. I'd never suggest stopping somebody from smoking by himself, in his own home... but when it comes to a public place, well, I'm glad that common sense has finally prevailed. If that's seen by some as supporting the Nanny State then so be it. I can't see it myself, but then you're entitled to your opinion, just as I'm entitled to mine."

    And do you consider drawing any lines around this for guidance? I assume it implies you actually support the ban on your erstwhile hobby?

    For example the majority probably feel somewhat threatened by the apparently random bombing attmpts at the moment. The signs are, accring to the media, that a rather specific part of the population is the most likely source of these attempted bombers and that they can be difficult to spot.

    For the health of the majority (and in this case it would seem to be a very large majority indeed - 97% probably) I assume we should ban anyone with the appropriate ritual habits? They could always give up and stay if they wanted to.

    What do you think? Good idea?


    Grant

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  19. grumpy12:20 AM

    As before, a great deal of sense in what grant says.
    I haven't had time to check out those references you gave earlier andy (although I shall) but, following grant's lead; I would ask you the following: If, as I do, you find the sight of obese people stuffing their faces with Kentucky Fried Burgers offensive; and if (like me) you also find the smell of such 'food' offensive; and if (like me) you know that the consumption of such junk represents a health risk to those who consume it and that the litter which inevitably flows from such consumption creates a threat to the environment; should you not now - as a matter of stated principle - be publicly advocating a ban on the use of junk food (except, presumably, by consenting adults, in the privacy of their own homes)?
    The use of junk food has at least as great an impact on the nation's health as does the use of tobacco, particularly as those who are addicted to burger consumption are much more likely to convert their children to its use than tobacco addicts are to glamourise the effects of smoking to their offspring. If what you say is true andy, then, as you '...value the health of the majority above the freedoms of the minority...' I expect you to post the pictures of yourself manning the picket line outside McDonald's to─▒morrow.

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  20. Grant - "A search for benzopyrene certainly produces a lot of references ranging from chemical reference sites which tend to use words like 'thought to be a carcinogen' as applied to humans through to law enforcement sites which know for sure that it is a cancer creator especially for Marijuana users."

    There's some information about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benzopyrene

    Apparently it does occur in grilled meat, also in burned toast. The key difference between these things and passive smoking is that you get a choice as to whether you expose yourself to them. In any case, it sounds like eating the stuff isn't such a problem: "However, the foods themselves are not necessarily carcinogenic, even if they contain trace amounts of carcinogens, because the gastrointestinal tract protects itself against carcinomas by shedding its outer layer continuously."

    "I assume it implies you actually support the ban on your erstwhile hobby?"

    Not at all. That was a witless, knee-jerk reaction. There is no evidence that legally held guns ever caused significant numbers of injuries or deaths... how many people were killed by licensed guns in the last 100 years? It seems to me (and I haven't read all the articles I found yet either) that passive smoking does have a real potential to cause harm.

    "For example the majority probably feel somewhat threatened by the apparently random bombing attmpts at the moment. The signs are, accring to the media, that a rather specific part of the population is the most likely source of these attempted bombers and that they can be difficult to spot."

    Now that's a discussion I'm not getting drawn into! :-)

    Grumpy - I think you may have missed the point of what I'm saying. I support personal freedom as much as the next man. I, like you, do find it offensive to watch people eating junk food... especially at the cinema (it seems that some people really can't go for two hours without stuffing their faces). But the obvious difference here is that if I am unfortunate enough to sit next to somebody eating junk food then it isn't going to make *me* obese. I wouldn't advocate banning the stuff, as it's a matter of personal choice. I would, however, suggest a tax on junk food, to pay for the inevitable costs of treating so many obese people. Just as there's a tax on tobacco and alcohol.

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  21. grant2:17 PM

    Going back a little way Andy said:

    "I would challenge you to suggest a safe or beneficial dose level for, say, benzopyrene. Just one of many unpleasant chemicals in second-hand smoke."

    We also get a lot of dioxin from burning wood I believe. The advice is that dioxins are dangerous so therefore we should not burn wood?

    Exhaled smoke will, one assumes, contain much less in the way of 'nasty chemicals' than first hand smoke and then be diluted somewhat. I have no idea what it might then contain.

    However I could observe that not all smokers (by any means) die from direct effects of being 'poisoned' by the smoke they inhale, so it seems likely that even fewer non-smokers would be likely to be affected. Observation suggests that may be the case since life expectancy of the age group that smoked the most in the last century seems to have extended rather than contracted. (Unless there are a lot of contradicting factors.)

    Let me turn your question around. (On the basis that to be accepted without question we need reasonably definitive, reasonably accurately measured and repeatable experiments and anything else is just hypothesis.)

    What is the known lowest amount that will definitely cause a carsinogenic event in a human or a range of humans with possibly different susceptibilities?

    Failing that, what amount is required to cause tumours (for example) in tumour sensitive rats and mice? How does that amount scale up to a value that might put humans at risk?

    Is the effect by cumulative build-up or single dose based?

    What volume of smoke would be required to guarantee a carcinogenic event in

    a) a smoker
    b) a non-smoker

    Note that I am not a smoker. I was, many years ago, as were many of the people I worked with.

    I gave up primarily because I objected to handing over so much cash in taxes. However I will probably be taxed for my slight weight gain which, by current measurement standards, likely moves me into the mildly obese category though by no means seriously large.

    Is there someone I can sue?


    Grant

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  22. Grant3:03 PM

    Andy,

    I don't think offering Wikipedia as an authority is a very good idea.

    Choice would be excellent, and did exist before the ban - you could choose whether to go to a smoking or non-smoking pub for example. Presumably the people who worked in the establishmetns could also choose whether or not they were prepared to work there.

    You don't mention having any choice about diesel fumes. Our government would like to see more diesel powered public transport on the roads and railways. What choice there?

    I think you might find that, relative to the number of licence holders, there have been quite a few gun deaths from licenced guns over the years, though many may have been domestic or suicide in the farming community.

    You will, no doubt, find many 'articles' that point the finger at passive smoking as a source of harm. Not too much unquestionable research though it seems. Most articles point back to a very few sources. Repetition does not itself make anything true if it was not true in the first place, but more people will come to believe it. History is full of examples.

    Remember that 'bad news sells'. "Nothing to see here" is unlikely to attract an audience, a reputation or future funding.

    Why do you feel unable to offer an opinion on my theoretical question about possible considerations for protecting the health of the population from a few people with nihilistic tendencies? What makes that different from the things you are prepared to offer an opinion about? (Rhetorical question really. No answer required, just want you think about the question.)

    Eating in cinemas (or smoking once upon a time) is/was part of the experience.

    However with the general crap that is produced these days, including the entire 'celebrity culture' BS, means I would not be averse to seeing the entire industry disappear. Banning eating in cinemas should have enough effect on profits to make that finances far more difficult and help cut obesity in one action. One could approve.

    But there again I rarely (almost never, in fact never since the kids became old enough to take themselves which was about a decade ago) go to cinemas. So it would not worry me personally at all.

    We all have our not-always-rational likes and dislikes.

    The important thing here is that once we simple accept without serious question, as seems to be the way of things these days, that Nanny is doing something 'for the good of the majority of the population (generous considering her election to power, when there was an election, was by a minority of the population).

    It becomes very easy to just accept everything that is presented without any serious thought about the consequences. Nanny today, as with Nannies in the past, work hard to get to that position of absolute control - for their benefit, not for the benefit of the majority of the people.

    Recently 1.8 million people signed up to a petition opposing road charging as currently presented. Given the circumstances that is a quite large number of concerned people. It's quite a surprise that so many understood the issues enough to make the effort.

    Nanny 'listened' and told them to fuck off. She will do what she was always intending to do.

    Every 'petition' I have seen so far seems to have received the same response or been dismissed as irrelevant.

    Draw your own conclusions.

    Grant

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  23. Grant -

    "What volume of smoke would be required to guarantee a carcinogenic event in

    a) a smoker
    b) a non-smoker"

    I don't think there's any level of any carcinogen which will produce a guaranteed effect. Also, most carcinogens don't have a minimum 'safe' dose. As far as I understand it they work on a cumulative basis, so it's best to avoid them completely where possible.

    "I don't think offering Wikipedia as an authority is a very good idea."

    Wikipedia is surprisingly accurate -- recently there was a comparison with Encyclopedia Britannica, and Wikipedia was found to be just as accurate. (I'm not sure what the exact criteria for the comparison were). Anyway, many articles cite reliable sources. (Admittedly, I could have modified the article myself to support my argument, but honestly, what's the point?)

    I will be along later/tomorrow to read the rest of your response more carefully... you have clearly spent a bit of time on it, and to jump in quickly with a reply wouldn't do justice to the effort you put in.

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  24. Grant - "Choice would be excellent, and did exist before the ban - you could choose whether to go to a smoking or non-smoking pub for example. Presumably the people who worked in the establishmetns could also choose whether or not they were prepared to work there."

    Judging by the number of people who have spoken out in favour of the ban, I suspect that market forces were being distorted here. Certainly there's not as much choice available to employees anyway.

    Mind you, I have to say that the pubs I've been in during the last few days have been somewhat quieter than before, so maybe there is something in the argument I've heard that the people who supported the ban did not (and never would) go to pubs. Only time will tell.

    "I think you might find that, relative to the number of licence holders, there have been quite a few gun deaths from licenced guns over the years, though many may have been domestic or suicide in the farming community."

    As you said, a lot of these were suicide. I'm not sure how many domestic crimes were ever committed with licensed guns, but I don't think it was many. I honestly don't think that licensed firearms caused much harm at all. They were banned as a response to public outcry, which is never a good reason for any legislation.

    "It becomes very easy to just accept everything that is presented without any serious thought about the consequences. Nanny today, as with Nannies in the past, work hard to get to that position of absolute control - for their benefit, not for the benefit of the majority of the people."

    I agree. Which is why the kind of debate we've been having here is so necessary.

    I still think that banning smoking in public was a generally good thing... whilst none of the evidence on either side is totally conclusive, it seems pretty obvious that there is a high probability that it's harmful.

    Incidentally, I would have been even more supportive of a scheme whereby smoking was allowed in a limited number of places. I'm not sure how such a scheme would work though... leaving it up to market forces wasn't working. Perhaps a limited number of 'smoking licenses' in a given area?

    "Recently 1.8 million people signed up to a petition opposing road charging as currently presented. Given the circumstances that is a quite large number of concerned people. It's quite a surprise that so many understood the issues enough to make the effort."

    Yeah, that was idiotic. Sooner or later the idea of road charging is going to have to be considered. In the next decade or so we'll be seeing more and more electric cars on the road... which, if charged on a domestic electricity supply, will be totally exempt from paying fuel duty. They'll need taxing (doesn't everything??) so road charging will almost certainly have to be implemented. To allow a public petition like that, and then to (by necessity) completely ignore it just comes across as arrogant and inconsiderate.

    "Why do you feel unable to offer an opinion on my theoretical question about possible considerations for protecting the health of the population from a few people with nihilistic tendencies? What makes that different from the things you are prepared to offer an opinion about? (Rhetorical question really. No answer required, just want you think about the question.)"

    To answer the rhetorical question: partly because it's very much 'off topic', and partly because it's a hugely complex and controversial subject. Personally I'd like to see a few more safeguards to protect us from 'this section of the population', and let's be honest, what we're shying away from saying is 'Muslims' (as Ken is often heard to say "can I say that here?"), but that's not going to happen, and these days it's necessary to be very careful indeed about what one says in public.

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  25. Grant1:30 PM

    Andy,

    Your last comment is very kind.

    I think up until about 4 or 5 years ago I would have had the same feeling about things and belief in what I read anywhere as you do at the moment.

    But then I read something that pointed out that were are now getting excited about levels things that we could not measure until quite recently and I began to wonder why that would cause so much excitement and agitation.

    Against the expanded use, in the last century or so, of things that contain and release these dangerous chemicals we see a net trend towards longer life. So on balance the trade-off of the dangerous materials against the net benefit in life span might be considered beneficial. But I doubt anyone could put a figure on it or descibe it as a mathematical formula to be proved.

    Cancer (to use a broad term) is primarily a disease of older people since most (but not all) cancers take some time to develop. There may also be a genetic pre-disposition for tumour growth. This seems likely sionce we can and do breed mice, rats and other creatures with high tumour susceptibility for laboratory use. And then dose them with incredibly high doses of anything which we want to test. When they almost inevitably develop the expect tumour the effect is back calculated to the effect the chemical MAY have on humans. Hence why I doubt that you will find any figures for safe doses.

    As with 'water' (liquids in general). It is possible for a child to drown by falling asleep face down in a bowl of soup. Should we ban bottleds of water, baths, swimming pools? If not, why not?

    If we drink too much water it can kill us by diluting levels of salts in the body. Dangerous stuff this water - why has it not been banned?

    The body usually has ways of dealing with most things that are thrown at it, especially if it is something that can occur naturally. Not everyone has all the defences r the defences n depth. Modern health care keeps alive many people who in times past would not have survived as long as they do. In so doing it presents us with more health problems to solve and apparent 'epidemics' concerning things that would not have been very identifiable not so long ago.

    These days the authorities want to measure everything to give themselves power. But they don't know what the effects ore for most of the things they measure. To retain power they invoke the precautionary principle. It's a great catch-all and probably about as honest as B'Liar's WMD story for Iraq.

    Therefore, on a topical note for Ken's current day post, I take all of it with a pinch of salt.

    You mention the Wikipedia 'survey' from two or three years ago - As I recall that was brought into question in the foloowing months and certainly in the last year or so Wikipedia has been severely criticised for imbalance and because it is wide open to unchecked ad-hominem attacks on individuals and/or their work.

    I treat the information it contains as being on a par with the quality and balance of the media.

    I see you have added another post since I started this response so will finish here and cover any other points later.

    Grant

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  26. grumpy4:08 PM

    Andy said,
    "...judging by the number of people who have spoken out in favour of the ban...", as though a poll-count was, in itself, proof of something.
    Obviously, such a statement is extremely subjective: from MY point of view - because, like most people, I tend to look for evidence to support MY prejudices, rather than someone else's - the majority are against the ban.
    How far does that take us?

    As I still have not had time to study the references you gave earlier, I am - as yet - in no position to challenge you on their content. However, let's be absolutely honest here: when it comes to consulting evidence, we all do so from our own perspective. (A) thinks (B's) evidence is biased and inconclusive and that his own is clear and unequivocal. Amazingly, (B) thinks the same of (A's). When I get time to follow andy's research, it's unlikely that I will find it as convincing as he does; not because it is necessarily wrong, but because I don't want to find it convincing.

    More than is usually the case, people on this blog generally (and genuinely) seem to offer mature, considered opinions. I teach at University and, as I constantly warn my students, you cannot win an argument; any argument; without considering, and trying to defeat, the counter-argument. We do seem to have been doing rather a lot of that in the last few days!
    So, as I aid in my first blog on this topic, reasoned and reasonable negotiation has long been considered the civilised way to arrive at a solution amenable to all.
    However, because of the 'knee-jerk' zealots, the anti-liberal activists, the jobsworths and the 'ban everything' bastards currently in power, there has been no genuine public discussion on this. There has been no mention of the possibility that there might be a counter-argument. As with so many of the petty laws passed by NuLab, few people seem bothered enough to ask, "Can the case be so open-and-shut and, if not, why have we not been allowed to hear the opposing view?" My students would (I hope) point out the flaws in this kind of 'discussion'.

    And it is for this basic reason that I am compelled to argue that -whatever the strength of your clinical evidence, andy, you are still one hundred percent wrong on this issue.
    Smoking is, ultimately, peripheral to the whole thing. The current government of the UK is addicted to the idea of messing with the minutiae of people's lives. That they have no mandate for this is immaterial, what counts is that by taking ever-greater control of you/us, ultimately nothing will be outside their remit. We become their pawns. And yet, we constantly roll over and, through the filter of our own prejudice, accept that there must be 'some truth' in what they say, because they are, after all, the government.
    Look more closely at the daily substance of Ken's site andy; there may be nothing there that concerns you today - but I am prepared to bet (while that is still legal) that one day; soon; there will be.
    I'll get back to you on the research stuff as soon as I've read it (and found a good reason to disagree).

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  27. Andy,

    There seems to be a lot of anecdotal evidence that even some smokers will support the ban on the basis that (apart from any moral pressure they are being submitted to - some might interpret such things as bullying in other contexts) this will help them give up what has become an expensive habit. Very rational of course, especially for younger people with a huge costs ahead of them if they continue.

    But bear in mind that something like 35% (or maybe a little more) of respondents to some surveys I have seen in the web news sites do not support a ban and a further few percent are 'don't knows'. As a percentage that is the same or a little more than voted for the current government at the last election.

    One wonders if the percentages would have been different again if the scare about SHS had not been more than fully promoted.

    I don't visit pubs regularly but we happened to go out to eat at one last night. Great restaurant. The bar was quite empty even when we left at about 9pm. It's a village pub and normally much busier. Only about 4 tables used in the restaurant - maybe 14 covers in total. There were a few people out in the rain in the garden playing boules. I don't remember being there previously when it was that quiet, but then I am not a regular there by any means.

    Re Guns:

    You said:

    "I honestly don't think that licensed firearms caused much harm at all."

    Probably so. They were quite well segregated from member of the public who had no wish to be around them, as smokers could have been and largely have been in recent years.

    "They were banned as a response to public outcry, which is never a good reason for any legislation."

    Er, yes. Exactly. Especially when the outcry comes from places claiming to represent the public but having no democratically obtained authority.


    Andy said:

    "I still think that banning smoking in public was a generally good thing... whilst none of the evidence on either side is totally conclusive, it seems pretty obvious that there is a high probability that it's harmful."

    I have no argument with the idea that smoking is not terribly desirable in the main and is worth discouraging, if only for financial reasons. I'm not sure that my position goes so far as banning - a rather slippery path historically.

    I also always question 'obvious' conclusions when many apparently serious attempts to come up with conclusive evidence have failed to do so. I certainly do not expect experts to be free of bias.

    I could point you to publications by two professors whose writing pretty much agree as far as I can tell (they discuss similar issues from different angles but seem to reach the same general conclusions) on everything EXCEPT smoking. On smoking their views are almost totally opposed. Or rather one is totally opposed (a chapter of his book reads as if it was written by an entirely different person) and the other is opposed to lack of choice given the paucity of solid evidence either way.

    We all have our weak points. Of those two who has the weaker point I have no idea.

    Andy said:

    "I would have been even more supportive of a scheme whereby smoking was allowed in a limited number of places. I'm not sure how such a scheme would work though... leaving it up to market forces wasn't working."

    I rather suspect 'market' forces were working in many ways. Some perhaps felt they were not having effect quickly enough. Other may have thought they were working too quickly and wanted to endure that they made a name for themselves from campaigning whilst the opportunity to do so existed.

    Yes I am a natural cynic. It's my version of the precautionary principle.

    Take road charging.

    Currently the road users hand something like 48 billion pounds a year to the Exchequer and about 8 billion of that is spent on road infrastructure. Much of the rest seems to be spent on propping up the rail 'services' and bus routes.

    Road maintenance and development has been under funded for years despite its importance to the modern economy.

    Road charging, we are told, is intended to 'cut congestion', although how that will work and what effect that would have on road spending budgets is unclear. One might argue that there is not room for cuts in road spending for the foreseeable future because of under funding in the last two decades or more. (It's more complex than that but let's keep the discussion simple.

    So if we need the 48billion for what we currently spend it on the net cost per mile to the travelling extra-tax payer must go UP if the amount of travelling is reduced. Any claims that the charges are considered as a tool for re-distributing the load to avoid congestion are, shall we say, dubious. At best.

    But this scheme will cost 8 billion a year to run we are told (so make that 24 billion in real money by the time it is active.) We still need the 48 billion for the current spend so none of that is available to put towards the 24 million running costs which rather look like fixed costs rather than variable costs. So even if traffic declines by 50% the cost would still be around 24 billion (or 8 billion of you believe the government). In other words the public has to pay 8 (or 24) billion a year for some bureaucracy whose only effect is to create another army of government employees or outsourced workers employed by the likes of the Crapitas of this world. No doubt someone will also try to put a security spin on it given half a chance.

    I totally agree with your 'arrogant and inconsiderate' observation. Their actions also clearly identify that they are not 'listening' and never have been. Just lies.

    On to the rhetorical question ...

    You have indeed named one 'group' that might fit into that category of concern and they might well be of concern to most people in the country no matter what their political, religious or ideological leanings. But in my view of things there are several others who are most likely equally dangerous but less blatant. Many of them claim to be making a case for protecting things when in reality their fundamental attitudes are nihilistic. Who will protect us from those who claim to protect us?

    Finally Andy wrote:

    "... these days it's necessary to be very careful indeed about what one says in public."

    My understanding is that such situations have in past time been interpreted in this country as being the result of unacceptable totalitarian rulers, notable recent examples being Hitler, Stalin and a number of similar dictators. More recently one might point to a couple of African states - Zimbabwe comes to mind - and, well, the UK it seems. I think we may be in fairly close agreement there.


    Grant

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  28. grumpy2:55 PM

    andy said,
    "...public outcry...is never a good reason for any legislation."
    To which grant replied,
    "Exactly, especially when the outcry comes from places...having no democratically obtained authority."
    You will all be aware that, to much critical acclaim, Nanny has decided to bring 'outsiders' into 'the big tent' in order (I guess) that we can all see how little of a control freak GB really is. The people doing the applauding about this are - of course - members of the political merry-go-round (journalists etc.)

    These 'outsiders' will all be experts in their particular, non-political fields.
    Now, like grant, I may be rather more cynical than most, but this seems to me to be yet further proof - if any were needed - of the drift away from democracy and toward even more bullying by Nanny.
    In the 'Ban Smoking' case, Nanny relied on the impact of 'expert opinion' to pressure (or fool) people into believing that the government's case was proved.That there are many reasons to doubt such a simplistic analysis should be clear (even to supporters of the ban). That there are major financial connections between the several key players in the securing of a ban was never publicised or even indicated. What was, and is, considered important is that the plan was shown to be validated by experts; the implication being that, because they are 'experts', their pronouncements are unchallengable and their views are unbiased.

    As I pointed out in my post yesterday, it is virtually impossible for any person to be without bias. Grant cites the case of the two professors who agree about everything but smoking. Given that the two people concerned must have received similar training and been required to study the same evidence and proofs, one would have expected them to agree on everything within their field of study; that this is not the case would seem to support my contention, that even those people who try desperately hard to be objective find it extremely difficult not to display some measure of bias.

    Remember that Nanny's new experts are appointees rather than electees. Knowing the way that Nanny dishes out rewards, one can be fairly sure that, in cash and in kind, the new boys will be well taken care of. Could anyone honestly claim that, in these circumstances, they would not be (however slightly) biased in favour of their employer?
    It is conceivable, I suppose, that these people will be totally committed to the concept of democracy; that they will strive manfully(?) to follow the declared wishes of the British people (although this is something else I wouldn't want to bet on).
    Bear in mind also that, being unelected means never having to say 'sorry' to the people who's lives you may just have screwed up.

    Now, our new tame experts - answerable only to the blokes who gave them their new jobs - are going to pronounce on all sorts of areas of our daily lives. Being 'experts', of course they will not sit on their arses and say nothing (especially if they think they might lose their shiny new job and the pay-packet and pension that go with it), so, any time now, expect to see a whole raft of new legislation, suggesed by our experts.

    Pretty soon, all the crap that Nanny Brown has been saving up for us over the last ten years, will also be thrown at us; validated, of course, by the tame expert in that particular field. And, since 'everybody knows' that these people are independent of Nanny and 'acknowledged experts in their field', who are we, the know-nothing masses, to argue.

    I just hope that, unlike the rest of this government, at least one of Nanny's new boys is aware of 'The Law of Unintended Consequences': you know the one; it's where, in private, somebody says, 'Bloody Hell, whoever would have thought THAT would happen?'.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Grant6:22 PM

    grumpy,

    Good points. Not quite the area that I had thought about since my take on Brown, pointed out by someone writing in a paper a few weeks ago, is that he is probably appointing all of these people because he lacks the courage to make his own decisions (and hides that behind 'expertism').

    I fear that experts are not to be relied upon completely - ultimately they are as fallible as everyone else but more intent on the correctness of their beliefs.

    Ths we come to 'groupthink'.

    Here is a reference which outlines the concept rather well (IMO).

    http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2007/06/howd-we-get-here-from-there.html

    Groupthink leads to measureandmonitorthink and rapidly to the 'what-can-be-measured-most-cheaply-gets-done'
    strategy.

    What has been measured then becomes pretty much the only 'evidence' and so rather easy to manipulate to the 'cause'. In fact it becomes a necessity. And if the only measurements are hijacked by one groupthink groups early in the process any alternative views will be struggling to put forward contra-arguments.

    I'm not sure Brown's selections are likely that to be convincing. After all he also brought Gore into play as an expert adviser on Global Warming which is stretching it a bit when the man gets so much of the science wrong and operates purely on the back of a one-trick-pony Powerpoint presentation.

    Or maybe that is what defines an expert these days. All show and no real content.


    Grant

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  30. grumpy9:11 PM

    grant,
    Can't help but agree that part of what The Brownie is doing is giving himself some camouflage, but I think it's possible to see how your scenario and mine would overlap nicely.
    I think your point about Gore supports my thesis: EVERYBODY knows that Gore is THE expert on global warming and - despite his oh so self-effacing little preface to his every appearance ('I'm the guy who used to be the next President') everybody forgets that he is just another hack, has-been (never really was?) politician who has found a gravy train to jump on.
    So, although he spouts nonsense disguised as science and although almost every word he utters has been repudiated, because 'everybody knows' he is THE expert [particularly all those people who have never seen his peep-show] he gets paid vast amounts to go around and give us his spurious warnings of doom.
    Sounds like just the sort of man Gordie would want in his tent.

    If pushed,(or offered enough money/publicity) I'm sure Mr. Gore could probably be persuaded to find some satisfactory science that explains why second-hand tobacco smoke in British pubs
    helps to spread AIDS throughout Africa.

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  31. grumpy9:32 PM

    And another thing!
    andy, just followed your link to 'junkfoodscience': wonderful stuff. Now I know the name for bastards like me who just WON'T agree.

    ReplyDelete
  32. grumpy9:37 PM

    grant,
    sorry, I meant your link of course.

    ReplyDelete
  33. grumpy,

    I am sure we are in agreement with the cause and effect whichever driver effect may be prime!

    Not sure about Gore's position on tobacco though. The family fortune is, iirc, based on tobacco. On the other hand I think I read that the family misfortune may also be based on tobacco - a sibling died of lung cancer or similar.

    As far as his science goes (and one might observe that the SHS 'science' has some rather tenuous claims to be scientific in much the same way - needed to have some reference back to the current topic!), just today I have read a brief summary of a paper that reports that there were forests on Greenland a million years ago. Which is sort of interesting, but not entirely unexpected.

    I also read of a paper that was published abuot 5 years ago and has more recent supporting evidence to confirm that the 'mild' european weather has little if anything to do with the Gulf Stream and is really controlled by the prevailing winds across the Atlantic and the heat transfer from the warm tropical ocean to our currently temperate land mass.

    Makes sense to me. Out prevailing wind is from the South West. Typically it blows warm air. When it comes from a more northerly direction it blows in much colder air. Who would have thought it?

    There appears to be some effect from the warmer waters, though that may be more apparent in, say, Norway, but not enough to explain the weather and tempratures observed.

    Or so the theory goes.


    Tomorrow? (or today? if you are reading this live in Australia) we have the Live something Gore fest. Hopefully it will be possible to avoid it. Sadly the last weather forecast I saw seemed to suggest the weekend might be OK weather wise. Torrential rain, hail or snow (or a plague of malaria carrying mosquitos) would be needed for me to be interested in it as a news item.

    (I wonder if they have checked out the doctors allocated to Wembley Stadium? Odd that the precautionary principle has not been invoked to cancle the event for public safety reasons at that location.)


    Grant

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  34. Andy quoted: "However, it turns out that there's actually quite a lot of scientific evidence. For instance:

    * Respiratory health effects of passive smoking: Lung Cancer and other disorders. The report of the US Environmental Protection Agency, 1993.

    ...

    * International Consultation on Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) and Child Health. WHO Tobacco Free Initiative, 1999"

    At which point it occurred to me that you might not have actually read the studies in question...

    The EPA study managed to derive a vanishingly-small correllation only after descending to the 90% Confidence Level - something unheard-of in respectable statistical analysis. Therefore it is nothing better than guesswork - or to put it more strongly, fraudulent.

    The W.H.O. Cohort Study on Environmental Tobacco Smoke only produced *one* statistically significant result and that was for children exposed to ETS - who had a *lower level* of "smoking-related illnesses" in later life.

    Sorry that I'm late to this discussion, but as a life-long non-smoker I'm much more horrified by junk-science being used to bolster deeply repressive legislation than I am by going home from the pub with my clothes niffing a bit of fag smoke.

    As to the "50 different toxins" - it's taken as read in toxicology that "the damage is in the dose"... For example, your quoted Benzopyrene: Huber et al reported that a room full of non-smokers would contain an air-load of 0.1 to 1.0 nanograms (billionths of a gram), a room full of smokers would be 0.3 to 1.5 nanograms. Human being absorb between 1000 and 5000 nanograms of Benzopyrene every day, it's in the water, it's produced every time any organic substance is burned - a grilled steak will add approx 2500 nanograms to your body, it's also contained in spinach and lettuce so the "veggies" don't escape either.

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  35. grumpy10:53 PM

    Pressure of 'real' work means that I still haven't had time to look at andy's suggested sites. I am, however, delighted that Pogo has done so: particularly as his reading of the WHO study seems to vindicate my claim (very early in this thread) that there is proof that SHS actually confers a large measure of protection from the 'traditional' smoking-induced illnesses.
    Andy, assuming pogo and grant to be correct on the science, and allowing that there is a measure of justification in the collective moral stance, will you now give in and come and join the angels?

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  36. I haven't done any more than skimmed through most of the research either (have been especially busy of late), but the EPA report seemed, on the face of it at least, convincing.

    I'm a long way from convinced that a room full of smokers would contain only 1.5 nanograms of benzopyrene. After all, there's no disputing that the toxins in cigarettes are sufficient to cause harm to the smoker, and it doesn't sound likely that the smoker's lungs could possibly be that efficient at absorbing it.

    Also worth noting that, even if there are only 0.3 - 1.5 nanograms of benzopyrene in a room full of smokers, that's between 150% - 300% as much as if the smokers weren't there. Just because the numbers are small doesn't mean it's any less toxic.

    "Andy, assuming pogo and grant to be correct on the science, and allowing that there is a measure of justification in the collective moral stance, will you now give in and come and join the angels?"

    Of course not! :-) Then there'd be no more debate. Seriously though, the discussion here has put the issue in perspective for me. I do still support the smoking ban (despite the lack of 100% conclusive evidence, I still believe that passive smoking is, in all probability, harmful), but I'm somewhat less convinced of the absolute necessity of it than I was before. If anyone's still reading this, thanks for an entertaining discussion.

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  37. grumpy10:26 PM

    Ah well andy,
    I suppose that a partial victory is better than an absolute defeat - and I must say that I too have enjoyed the discussion.
    NOW, if we could only get someone from government to actually listen to us..............

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