Study Finds Finds Dramatic Drop In Hospitalizations In Areas With Smoke-Free Areas

There is another study that offers strong support for the dangers of both smoking and second-hand smoke. The study at the University of California – San Francisco found a dramatic decline in hospitalizations in areas with laws banning smoking at work and public areas.

The study found fewer hospitalizations for heart attacks, strokes, asthma and other respiratory conditions.The research covered 33 different smoke-free-laws in cities and states as well as several countries like New Zealand and Germany. The study found a 24 percent drop in hospitalizations for respiratory diseases, including asthma and chronic obstruction. There was also a 16 percent drop in stroke hospitalizations and a 15 percent drop in heart attack admissions.

This would suggest a high savings in cost and illness with these laws. There is no reason why other citizens should have to bear these externalized costs. The study could also reinforce tort claims in terms of the harm caused by second-hand smoke.

Source: Eureka

65 thoughts on “Study Finds Finds Dramatic Drop In Hospitalizations In Areas With Smoke-Free Areas

  1. Wow. 24 and 15% are fairly impressive statistically significant numbers. That the source says the change applied equally to men and women is revealing too.

  2. I am quite suspicious of the scientific validity of such bogus studies since there are no controls and they cannot factor in other causes or groups that have other reasons for the results. They can also cherry pick the groups to give the desired results. The EPA studies that said that second hand smoke was dangerous had to fudge the figures to come up with their results and the person who did it admitted later that the study was faulty on a whole range of things.

    I was also struck by an article that an anti-smoking official wrote in the Houston Chronicle awhile back, in which he stated THAT THERE IS NO SAFE LEVEL OF SECOND HAND SMOKE. That is patently absurd on its face and I was appalled that any rational person could make such an obviously outlandish statement. If that is true, then he has discovered the deadiest substance known to man since there ARE safe levels of the most toxic substances we know of such as strycnine, ricin, benzene, mercury, etc.. Then there is the problem of composition since smoke has many compounds and elements in it. So if one molecule of one substance was created by burning in a cigarette or cigar, it now has becomce so toxic, it is more deadly than any other molecule of the same compound. That defies common sense and science. Such stuff is propoganda, NOT science.

    As for those who do smoke and their health care costs, we can also parse the insurance pool down to save money by raising the rates on obese people since they drive costs up by a FAR greater amount than smokers. Since I used to work in a refinery, there was a large health care cost incurred by workers who worked there in terms of cancer and other diseases such as respiratory ones. Those who worked in coal mines and other occupations that are similar in nature also drive our health care costs up. Of course, such “reasoning” voids the whole concept of insurance. Then we have the illegal drugs that people abuse. I guess that they should simply be thrown out of the ER when they come in since they used a drug that they KNEW to be illegal and harmful. That will bring the health care costs down dramatically too. So such thinking will make life much cheaper and better for the lucky survivors who do not work in hazardous places, and who stay at home or in an office so as not to be at risk for health care problems.

  3. ARE,

    Do you have proof of cherry picking or other skewing factors for the study methodology? The American Heart Association journal Circulation is a peer reviewed publication. Chances are such crude errors as cherry picking would have been sussed out by the review process.

    But your claim of propaganda over science is an interesting claim. Unless you have better evidence than your opinion, you aren’t going to meet the burden of proof for your counter-claim. Attacking science as propaganda just because you don’t like it without any evidence of the science being bad? Is bad science. The Houston Chronicle article? Not having seen it, if it says what you say it says, then yeah that’s not scientific at all – no substances are 100% toxic at any meaningful level of exposure although many are toxic in ridiculously small doses (ricin and certain forms of refined plutonium comes to mind). But there is no indication that this study suggested anything of the sort of blanket statement the HC article used.

    And before you get all testy, I’m an ex-smoker who personally doesn’t care if others smoke around me, but your extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof.

  4. As Rafflaw shows us, belief is better than science for most people. So a person smoking in his office 20 stories away, has harmed your health! That is patently absurd even for Gene and I think most scientists.

    While I have not read the study, my past readings and experiences with such studies shows a real lack of scientific scrutiny or plausibility. This one might be accurate, but given all the variables, I rather doubt it. The study I don’t believe has any controls as to the size of the pubs or the quality of air before and after, so that alone would be suspicious. Absent such data, I would wonder HOW one could make such claims that it is soley the smoke and not other factors.

    I have personally run into the problems in such studies since I requested a study of the air quality on the unit I used to work on, the benzene toluene unit which really stank. We had three wives of our workers who had miscarriages in a short time span. So I asked the union epidemiologist to look into it. She informed me of the problems associated with linking causation to the exposure and basically told me to forget about it since it is scientifically impossible to prove such a link given such a small data sample and lack of data. So my suspisions are great to say the least.

  5. I am pleasantly amazed that there is some skepticism in response to this article. I would thought the regular bloggers here would be irrationally in favor of the these results, a priori.

    Truly the study is defective and biased, it simply doesn’t control for other factors that have an impact on the statistics. It pushes for a correlation by implication; the old statistical observation applies: correlation does not prove causation.
    It also flies in the face of other prior studies done that were far more controlled, and far more on point to the question of second hand smoke – like non-smoking bartenders and flight attendants who were regularly exposed to second hand smoke in their occupations, with no statistical correlation of health problems vs non-smoking employees in jobs with no second hand smoke.

    One of the best and well researched articles I have come across on this issue was “Science and Second Hand Smoke, the need for a good puff of skepticism”, by Sidney Zion.
    Read it at

  6. Reading the apologists who still want to claim no harm from smoking 60 years after the first scientific results proving it is, 40 years after the entire scientific community had repeatedly tested, reviewed and agreed with the conclusion and 20 years after the merchants of death admitted that they knew that all the time and had manipulated their products to make them worse for you then they had to be makes me wonder how long the fight to convince people of the threat from climate change will kill us is we continue blindly poisoning out environment.

  7. All I know is that second hand cigarette smoke causes me to have respiratory problems and I don’t need a study to convince me. Even cigarette smoke on left of the clothing of a smoker causes a reaction. No smoking in my house or car by anyone. Unfortunately, smokers need a periodic break (usually at a gas refill or a potty stop) and then I have problems when they get back in the car. Needless to say I’m not terribly enthusiastic to give them a ride or to ride with them.

  8. Having actually read the article…the association between policy change and health is most convincing for diseases than for specific events. Hospital admissions for specific events are rarer events and this is not surprising. They are appropriately conservative in their interpretation of the data.

  9. “I am quite suspicious of the scientific validity of such bogus studies…”

    “… a real lack of scientific scrutiny or plausibility.”

    “Truly the study is defective and biased…”

    Boy, I wish I could get paid by major corporations to post on the internet!

    Does it pay well, being a PR shill? How much per hour, or is it strictly commish?

  10. Gary T:

    “I would thought the regular bloggers here would be irrationally in favor of the these results, a priori.”

    Gary –

    I take issue with some of the “regulars” here on occasion myself.

    But unlike yourself, I don’t see much irrationality by this group at all.

  11. Commenting wothout having read comments.

    In Sweden, I don’t know of any enclosed public area where smoking is allowed.
    No smoking out of consideration of employee health is standard.
    Smoking on the street is rarely seen.

  12. RandyJet,

    I believe Europe is far ahead of America on the problem of air pollution from many factors. I’ve mentioned tobacco smoke. Let’s take particle count including particle size.

    The whole EU follows a strict program, and follows it up with yearly controls, of particles being a very significant health factor.

    Using science to refute science is a favorite tactic of industry. Unfortunately, the public are not equipped to decide. The Surgeon General is an influence and has an official charge.

  13. GaryT,

    BS, pure and simple. Show proof of faults in the study. Go to any European nations health service which uniformly have single payer systems and do have reliable data:
    Ask them about second hand smoke.

    Sounds like you would like to go back to flying and depending on the air system to filer out the toxic agents form tobacco smoke from the smoking section.

    Are you a smoker? That is a question to ask of all who support smoking everywhere.

  14. Frankly sed:
    “Reading the apologists who still want to claim no harm from smoking 60 years after the first scientific results proving it”

    I do not claim that smoking causes no harm. It certainly does. What I say is that second hand smoke has no discernible negative health effects. And this finding is supported by the World Health Organization.

  15. From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

    Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke



    Secondhand smoke is the combination of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and the smoke breathed out by smokers. Secondhand smoke contains more than 7000 chemicals. Hundreds are toxic and about 70 can cause cancer.1,2

    There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke causes numerous health problems in infants and children, including severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).1 Some of the health conditions caused by secondhand smoke in adults include heart disease and lung cancer.1

  16. From the American Cancer Society:

    Why is secondhand smoke a problem?
    Secondhand smoke causes cancer

    Secondhand smoke is classified as a “known human carcinogen” (cancer-causing agent) by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the US National Toxicology Program, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organization.

    Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemical compounds. More than 250 of these chemicals are known to be harmful, and at least 69 are known to cause cancer.

    SHS has been linked to lung cancer. There is also some evidence suggesting it may be linked with childhood leukemia and cancers of the larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), brain, bladder, rectum, stomach, and breast.

    IARC reported in 2009 that parents who smoked before and during pregnancy were more likely to have a child with hepatoblastoma. This rare cancer is thought to start while the child is still in the uterus. Compared with non-smoking parents, the risk was about twice as high if only one parent smoked, but nearly 5 times higher when both parents smoked.


    Secondhand smoke causes other kinds of diseases and death

    Secondhand smoke can cause harm in many ways. Each year in the United States alone, it is responsible for:

    An estimated 46,000 deaths from heart disease in people who are current non-smokers

    About 3,400 lung cancer deaths in non-smoking adults
    Worse asthma and asthma-related problems in up to 1 million asthmatic children

    Between 150,000 and 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections (lung and bronchus) in children under 18 months of age, with 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations each year

    Children exposed to secondhand smoke are much more likely to be put into intensive care when they have the flu, they are in the hospital longer, and are more likely to need breathing tubes than kids who aren’t exposed to SHS

    In the United States, the costs of extra medical care, illness, and death caused by SHS are over $10 billion per year

  17. From the World Health Organization:

    The danger of second-hand smoke

    Second-hand smoke is a mixture of the smoke from the burning tip of a cigarette and the smoke exhaled by a smoker. When second-hand smoke contaminates the air, especially in enclosed spaces, it is inhaled by everyone, exposing both smokers and non-smokers to its harmful effects. It causes lung cancer in non-smokers and increases the risk of coronary heart disease.

    Although the majority of smokers are men, many women and children are affected by their second-hand smoke. Worldwide, second-hand smoke causes an estimated 600 000 premature deaths a year, the majority (64%) among women. In the Eastern Mediterranean Region 38% of students aged 13–15 are exposed to second-hand smoke at home, and in many countries only around a quarter of homes are smoke-free. Only around 50% of schools ban the use of tobacco products by teachers.

    The harm to health from second-hand smoke

    There are over 4000 known chemicals in tobacco smoke, many of which are harmful, with at least 40 that cause cancer. It also includes large quantities of carbon monoxide, a gas that hinders the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to vital organs such as the heart and brain, and substances that contribute to heart disease and stroke. Exposure to second-hand smoke has both immediate and long term effects, including the following:

    Immediate effects include irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs, and sometimes headaches, nausea and dizziness. Exposure can also trigger asthma attacks.

    Long-term exposure to second-hand smoke causes lung cancer, coronary heart disease and cardiac death. Non-smokers who live with smokers are at increased risk of smoking-related illnesses. The risk of coronary heart disease is increased by 25%–30% and lung cancer by 20%–30%.

  18. It stands to reason that people are healthier where the air they breathe is carrying fewer dangerous pollutants, so I don’t think the study’s conclusions are unexpected or bizarre. Therefore, even if they are not 100% free from any kind of scientific, statistical, or other kind of taint, I see nothing wrong in using those conclusions in a moderate and measured way to support policy until or unless they are disproven, weakened or changed by equally or more carefully designed and conducted studies, or if they fail to replicate over and over under controlled circumstances. It can’t hurt us NOT to breathe second-hand smoke, can it?

  19. There is a lower limit for all poisons, where the substance is not a poison.
    We take in (what would be) poisons all the time, it is just that the levels are low enough that normal biological processes clear it from our systems.

    SHS comes in such low concentrations, it is way below those limits.

  20. Tbe British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a study conducted by two world-class epidemiologists, James Enstrom and Geoffrey Kabat, that put to bed—-or should have– the idea that passive smoke kills.
    This study of 35,000 Califomians showed that lifelong
    exposure to a husband’s or wife’s smoke produced no increased risk of coronary heart disease or lung cancer among the people who
    never smoked. It’s one of the largest studies ever done, subjected to peer review and scrupulous editorial evaluation. And immediately condemned by the American Cancer Society, which, as it happened, had sponsored the original underlying survey and had, for many years, both funded and approved Enstrom’s work.

  21. The U.S. Department of Energy wired up bartenders and waiters
    working in smoke-filled bars and restaurants in16 cities, with a device that measured the amount of inhalation of secondhand smoke. Nothing like this
    had been done before; all other studies were statistical. The conclusion across the board: inhalation was so low as to render health hazards negligible to improbable. And yet, this breakthrough report was buried alive like all other challenges to the notion that secondhand smoke buries its victims.

  22. In March of 1998, the World Health Organization’s lnternational Agency on Research on Cancer published a study that ran for 10 years, covering 7 Europe’an countries. The conclusion: no statistically significant risk for nonsmokers who lived or worked with smokers.

  23. GaryT,

    I posted links to information on the negative effects of secondhand smoke provided by the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization. Can you post links to your studies so we can read them?

  24. Second-hand smoke kills 600,000 a year: WHO study
    By Kate Kelland
    LONDON | Fri Nov 26, 2010

    (Reuters) – Around one in a hundred deaths worldwide is due to passive smoking, which kills an estimated 600,000 people a year, World Health Organization (WHO) researchers said on Friday.

    In the first study to assess the global impact of second-hand smoke, WHO experts found that children are more heavily exposed to second-hand smoke than any other age-group, and around 165,000 of them a year die because of it.

    “Two-thirds of these deaths occur in Africa and south Asia,” the researchers, led by Annette Pruss-Ustun of the WHO in Geneva, wrote in their study.

    Children’s exposure to second-hand smoke is most likely to happen at home, and the double blow of infectious diseases and tobacco “seems to be a deadly combination for children in these regions,” they said.

    Commenting on the findings in the Lancet journal, Heather Wipfli and Jonathan Samet from the University of Southern California said policymakers try to motivate families to stop smoking in the home.

    “In some countries, smokefree homes are becoming the norm, but far from universally,” they wrote.

    The WHO researchers looked at data from 192 countries for their study. To get comprehensive data from all 192, they had to go back to 2004. They used mathematical modeling to estimate deaths and the number of years lost of life in good health.

  25. Amazing how the statistical studies radically change in results, depending on the current political and activist climate.

    Really. From 1995 to 2004, It goes from no correlation, to 600K dead from second hand smoke.

  26. There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke

    Thank you Elaine M for showing us the scientific fraud that the CDC has promoted. As in my previous posts, there were some who doubted my statement that serious people could make such outlandish and unscientific statements. Thank you for providing me the evidence of such political fraud masquerading as science. Since there is NO level of safe exposure to second hand smoke you and the CDC have now discovered the MOST toxic substance known to man. Even strychnine and ricin have SAFE levels of exposure and those are potent poisons, BUT the CDC now has found a MORE toxic substance than those! Of course, one has to wonder why all smokers are not yet dead. I can certainly say that if smokers had taken those other poisons in such massive quantities smoking would not be a problem any more. Thank you again for proving the vacuousness of your arguments. Of course, you have never heard of the problem that correlation does NOT prove causation.

    When they allowed smoking on aircraft, I once heard some F/As complaining about the smoke in the back of the plane since their eyes were watering. I was puzzled since I could observer no smoke layer or concentration of smoke there. So I did a radical thing, and did an EXPERIMENT to test their complaints. I held my lit cigarette at seat level to see which way the smoke went. As I suspected the smoke went DOWN, NOT UP as would be expected on the ground. i knew that the air flow was downward and back in aircraft and that in the 727, the air is completely changed every three minutes. as air is taken in and expelled out the outflow valves. The reason for their tearing eyes is that the air inside that plane has a relative humdity of about 10% which is drier than the air in the desert.

    I also had to be astounded at the suit a Delta F/A filed because she got lung cancer and was a non-smoker. She said it was because of the smoke she was exposed to in flight. Of course, she had lots of other exposures which were MORE likely to cause cancer. She grew up in southern Utah which was exposed to massive amounts of radiation from nuclear testing. She also undoubtedly joined the other crew members in going to nightspots that DID have a lot of smoke and less air quality than the plane. Yet she won a settlement and I am sure that all of the other factors that caused her cancer were swept under the rug and ignored. Thus such “studies” are junk science since by their very nature they have no controls.

  27. Gary T,

    Your toxic level argument does not hold water.

    1) Studies on long term effects establishing toxic levels are not done on all 700 compounds.

    2) Studies on long level exposure to the mixture of toxic compounds are not done and can not be done on humans, as the study periods and controlling levels of exposure are impossible to meet.

    3) Animal models won’t do it either.

    A closed mind is impervioous, but unfortunately for you, my smoker friend, your lungs are not.

    I smoked for 35 and got a heart attack. I stopped and have not for 32 years. My coronary arteriss are as clean now as they were 10 yaars ago. Can you say that?

    Can you admit to smoking, reveal your consumption profile, your age; and I will predict your impending heart attack and your impending cancer. Gruesome.

    And these are the gruesome kind of games that corporations play with OUR lives for their profit.

  28. ARE,

    Your ranting against ElaineM is not only unpleasant but absrudly unscientific. She relies on the CDC. So do others and the world too.

    “Of course, one has to wonder why all smokers are not yet dead.”

    If you are not a complete fool, you can snswer that yourself.
    People have a multiple of factors regarding morbidity and mortality. Those for smoking and those which encourage cancer to take two smoking related examples.

    Judging the exposures to Second hand smoke is difficult to gauge, but they do give at least studies that point out it as a clear factor.

    And to return to your question, people die from other resonns too. And who knows what poison killed them, It might have been childhood abuse, alcohol, etc. But SHS has given its contribution.

    Just be content with a people who never start, and won’t.
    You will soon be regarded as the DoDo. funny, dumb and soon extinct. Good luck with that.

  29. You are the prime example of the Col since you cannot or will not answer my point that the CDC made a scientifically and logically ABSURD statement is what YOU posted. I am sorry that you have neither the intellect or desire to respond rationally. At least the rest of the folks on this site will know what the truth is, even if you refuse to admit it. Once again, THANKS for proving my point.

  30. I see that 707 also refuses to answer the FACT that the CDC made a political statement about second hand smoke and NOT a scientific one with their absurd contention that there is NO risk free level of second hand smoke. Just because it is the CDC does NOT make it true, and if they continue making such statements and findings, they will become irrelevant scientifically.

    Refering to some past authority as an answer is NOT an answer at all. I am reminded of Reagan’s Star Wars that he promoted so much. it was the brain child of Dr. Teller who has wrongly been called the father of the H bomb. Using that authority, the US spent billions of dollars down the drain. I remember reading about the head of Star Wars going to Rice U and was trying to recruit the physicists to join in. Turns out they had done their homework better than Abramson had. They basically laughed him off the stage because he was so incompetent and had not done the basic math for the project. So just because an eminent source says something does NOT make it true. You have to use your own head and simple logic and reasoning for somethings such as this.

    Then there is the question of Gene H who agreed that the statement was ABSURD when I mentioned it, and questioned whether or not my report was right, but now it turns out it came from the CDC. So how about it Gene H, think it is still an absurd statement, or are you going to fold and retract your position on that statement?

  31. ARE,

    “So just because an eminent source says something does NOT make it true. You have to use your own head and simple logic and reasoning for somethings such as this.”

    Your simple logic and reasoning may be different from my simple logic and reasoning. Some choose to seek out eminent sources and research in order to learn about a subject like the negative effects of secondhand smoke. I provided links to four different reports/statements/articles. Have you determined–through simple logic and reasoning–that there is no correct factual information contained in them?

  32. Again you refuse to address the MAIN point I made about the FALSE statements the CDC made in their report. It makes NO scientific or logical sense and even Gene H agreed that the statement is pure BS, as do ALL thinking rational people.So given that FACT, you think that the reports are correct. You also refuse to address the FACTS that others have put forward showing the flaws in those studies.

    As one person has pointed out, correlation does NOT provide PROOF of causation. So given the political nature of the reports, they FAIL as legitimate studies. You also ignored the other studies that were linked showing the flaws in them as well. I also provided other examples of so called eminent authorities such as Teller who were WRONG on thier proposals.

  33. To be clear, I was talking about the Houston Chronicle article you referenced, ARE.

    However, I do not think research into smoking that finds health negatives associated with are political other than they run counter to the very blatant and well known history of the tobacco industry promoting their product and suppressing anything critical of it and harmful to their bottom line all the while purchasing candidates like all other big industries do to help them sell their wares, stifle competition and bury their dirty laundry. Smoking is bad for you. Second hand smoke is more than likely not real good for you either, but so are a lot of things technological society brings to the table. How bad is the open question. End of scientific story. But scientific statements need to be valued in light of the scientific method first and political and/or economic interests secondarily if at all. Facts are facts, but very often facts are antithetical to political and/or economic desires.

  34. ARE,

    “So given the political nature of the reports, they FAIL as legitimate studies.”

    What is “the political nature” of the reports/studies of which you speak? Can you explain why the studies are not legitimate?

    Do you believe that secondhand smoke is harmless?


    “You also ignored the other studies that were linked showing the flaws in them as well.”

    What studies are those? Who conducted those studies?

  35. ARE,

    You obviously know nothing about medicine testing nor testing and scietific reporting in general either.

    You are eimply imcompetent. The CDC sould have couched their text using scientific terms and the public would not have understood it, and then your grounds for arguing would have disappeared-

    Let me explain. Under the existing conditions of the study and the measurement conditions, where the former are the most significant. NO lower level there non-toxic levels could be established was found. IE, at the lowest level that could be established and confirmed the effects of toxicity were still present in the data, after correcting for different factors.

    Just for kicks, let me enlighten you further. This situation is one that leads to the “loneliness of the long-term researcher”. He gets so far from “normal” peoples works that he feels that no one understands what he is doing or thinking about to do it.

    How far you are away, is typical, not atypical at all, so console yourself for that.

  36. Gene H, I have no doubt that smoking is deleterious to ones health and that has been proven in good scientific studies. The fact that tobacco companies used skewed data and “studies” to counter that fact does NOT ipso facto make second hand smoke “studies” valid. The anti-second hand smoke faction has done the SAME kind of BS that tobacco companies did. It simply shows how PC can make fools out of otherwise rational people.

    The statement I referenced was the SAME as in the Houston Chronicle article with the exact wording. I was not aware of that source being the CDC, for which I can thank Elaine. Any “study” that can make such absurd, anti-scientific statements is on its face invalid and indicates it is just as much junk “science” as the tobacco ones on first hand smoke.

    The heart of science is doing experiments to make observations to test theories and quantify cause and effect. Others have given such experimental data studies, and I offered my own personal experimental observations and knowledge. All of which run counter to the hysteria of anti-smoker zealots. Thus most rational people will have to conclude that the CDC statements on SECOND hand smoke are BS, which is the point of THIS discussion, NOT whether or not smoking is bad over the long term. I would be willing to agree that for example in modern aircraft having a smoking section would not be a good idea since they currently recycle about 50% of the cabin air, as opposed to older aircraft which have NO recirculated air. The problem with such studies that were offered had no controls, nor levels of smoke, or doing anything other than making some correleations that may or may not be valid.

    I think that some studies have shown that having a dog is good for your health. So maybe we should give dog people a break on their health insurance rates since they are engaged in a healthy activity. As one can see from Prof. Turley’s post, he can anticipate a long and happy life with his Molley and any successors, much to our good fortune too. Of course, such studies do not find out just HOW MANY dogs are good, nor if having more than one or two has a result counter to the beneficial effects. For example, would having five dogs put one on the down side with increased stress and expense? Or would it result in even more satisfaction and longevity? Such studies would have to be done to get any meaningful data and there would have to be controls of people without dogs in similar economic status and place and age.

    I hope that at least we can agree that the CDC statement is BS and should NOT be taken as serious science.

  37. Elaine, I recall similar scientific studies that showed that blacks were genetically less intelligent than whites and they used similar techniques to PROVE their contentions. The same was true of the reports on smoking pot where they simply lied about the dangers of it and I assume provided studies to show that as well. So using an authority is NOT always a valid means of getting the truth. One has to use ones own rational capacity in evaluating such things.

    Now that some states have passed laws permitting the smoking of pot for recreational use, I will have to assume that the no smoking rule in doors will be waived, but only for pot and not tobacco. Pot is obviously NOT delleterious to ones health at all, so any rules on no smoking will not be enforced and that second hand smoke from it is OK. This despite the FACT that pilots like myself who have to take random drug tests may well be affected in a rather severe way with the loss of our jobs. It is amusing that many of those who are quite vociferous against second hand tobacco smoke have no problem with pot.

    The question that is posed is NOT is second hand smoke harmless, but whether ANY level of second hand smoke is bad. According to the CDC statement, a person smoking in a building that is 50 stories high is a danger to ALL the occupants even if that smoker is 50 stories away from a person. I think that even YOU would have to agree that is a rather far fetched idea. Another example is a person has smoked in a motel room two years previously, and that constitutes a danger to a non-smoker today using the same room. The problem is that such studies give NO clue as to the level of toxicity of second hand smoke, nor do they quantify such levels and places. Nor do they quantify or take into account other causative factors. Even 707 admits that there is no feasible means of doing such experiments. Though some studies such a Gary T has cited show no major health risk in second hand smoke. I think it is fairly obvious that if you are in a small room with 20 smokers and no circulation or venting of air, such levels are NOT good for those who do not smoke. But the matter in question is the validity of such a sweeping and absurd statement given by the CDC. It is purely political as 707 admits.

  38. and scietific reporting in general either.

    You are eimply imcompetent. The CDC sould have couched their text using scientific terms and the public would not have understood it,

    I don’t know if this is an intentional self parody or not, but thanks anyway for providing a good laugh and brightening my day.

    Now to what I think you were trying to say that it is OK to lie to the great unwashed benighted public. That smacks of an elitism that I find rather obnoxious and condescending. While i like to think that the left in general has fewer foibles and prejudices, with the exception of Stalinists, I see that some on the left are just as bad as the right. In your case, you show a perfect example of a closed mind. Gary T has given multiple examples and sources that destroy the CDC studies. Just from examination of the statement that there are NO safe levels of second hand smoke it should be a red flag warning of the bias and absurd nature of the study, and that your contention that it is OK to lie validates that evaluation. So we are left with the FACT that the CDC is making a POLITICAL statement, NOT a scientific one. Their political agenda is to eliminate smoking in the public completely, and so they use any means at hand. Just as the studies proving blacks were intellectually inferior to whites was more a political statement than a fact, the same is true of the CDC findings.

  39. randyjet,

    “According to the CDC statement, a person smoking in a building that is 50 stories high is a danger to ALL the occupants even if that smoker is 50 stories away from a person.”

    I guess it depends on how you interpret what the CDC statement means.


    I believe it’s important to find out who conducts research studies and who funds the research. The tobacco industry funded a number of studies over the years.

    BTW, I do use my “rational capacity” when thinking about issues such as the effects of secondhand smoke on non-smokers. Secondhand smoke contains some things that are known to be harmful. It seems logical to deduce that if one inhales those chemicals/components of the smoke, it could be harmful to one’s health.

    Among the more than 7,000 chemicals that have been identified in secondhand tobacco smoke, at least 250 are known to be harmful, for example, hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, and ammonia.

    At least 69 of the toxic chemicals in secondhand tobacco smoke cause cancer (1, 5, 6). These include the following:
    Beryllium (a toxic metal)
    1,3–Butadiene (a hazardous gas)
    Chromium (a metallic element)
    Ethylene oxide
    Nickel (a metallic element)
    Polonium-210 (a radioactive chemical element)
    Vinyl chloride

    Other toxic chemicals in secondhand smoke are suspected to cause cancer, including (1):

    Many factors affect which chemicals are found in secondhand smoke, such as the type of tobacco, the chemicals added to the tobacco, the way the tobacco product is smoked, and, for cigarettes and cigars, the material in which the tobacco is wrapped (1, 3, 4).


    “Now to what I think you were trying to say that it is OK to lie to the great unwashed benighted public. That smacks of an elitism that I find rather obnoxious and condescending.”

    You have no idea what I was trying to say. I think that telling people what they are trying to say is presumptuous. Saying that I think it’s okay to lie goes beyond the pale…and is obnoxious. Get a grip!


    “Gary T has given multiple examples and sources that destroy the CDC studies.”

    What were those studies? Who conducted them? Who financed them?

  40. Elaine, ALL of those substances you mentioned have SAFE levels of exposure. Thus to say that second hand smoke is a high risk or has no level of second hand smoke is safe is absurd. I detect a grudging acceptance of what i contend.

  41. ARE,

    “The fact that tobacco companies used skewed data and “studies” to counter that fact does NOT ipso facto make second hand smoke “studies” valid.”

    I didn’t say that it did. I did, however, say that your claims the study is flawed need more proof than you just didn’t like the results. That’s every bit of the polemics over science you accuse others of. Science has very simple rules. You formulate a theory, you build tests and collect data, and you make correlations to test the validity of the theory. Absent proof of methodological misconduct or factual error in observations, results stand until disproved.

    That the second hand smoking studies are not ipso facto valid does not make them ipso facto invalid absent proof of error.

  42. Gene H while I am sorry that you wound up on the side of the argument you do not like, I DO have to remind you and others that you agreed that the statement that there is NO level of second hand smoke that is risk free, was BUNK. I did not say that there is no correlation between second hand smoke and deleterious health results. Though I have to place such studies in the same category as the ones that had equal force in showing conclusively that blacks as a group are less intelligent than whites. Such studies run into the problem that correlation does NOT mean causation. Any “study” that makes such absurd conclusions are flawed in the exteme. So I think that most rational people join me in rejecting such racial studies, but when it comes to similar ones dealing with their pet peeves, then they lose all objectivity and scientific standards and swallow whole and hard.

    The key to evaluating such studies is to see if they show a level of second hand smoke that is safe or to set standards as we do for ALL other toxic substances, except in THIS ONE CASE! For this study, it is simply sufficient to make an absurd conclusion that is NOT supported by FACT, experiments, or data of any kind. If it were, we could set standards, but the whole point of the study is to do the opposite, and create hysteria rather than rational findings. Maybe you could tell us how those studies come to such a farcical conclusion if it is a valid study. From what I have seen it is on the same level as the ones on pot that were used to make its use illegal. Any “study” that cannot say what level of second hand smoke is toxic, nor set a time line for its presence of a week or years, the composition or the elements and which ones and which rate of decay, ALL of which are part and parcel of science. On its face the study is JUNK science and propoganda.

    It gets even worse, when actual scientific studies that used experimental data show the opposite conclusions as Gary T has pointed out. So all in all, I think that you should stick with your origianl statement that the conclusion is absurd that there is NO risk free level of second hand smoke. Of course, that means you will have to buck the mobs wants and desires and the CDC.

  43. ARE,

    Your detection skills have failed you.

    Those substances also have UNSAFE levels of exposure!

    I posted excerpts from and links to some reports/statements/articles on the subject of the negative effects of secondhand smoke that, I thought, were pertinent to the discussion on the subject of this thread. Why are you getting your knickers in such a twist?

  44. ARE,

    You can build all the straw men you like, but the bottom line is I said nothing of the sort. I said – and read this carefully – that is if the Houston Chronicle article said what you claimed it did, namely that “THAT THERE IS NO SAFE LEVEL OF SECOND HAND SMOKE”? That that was bad science and bunk. Nothing more. Oh, except that your claims the study is flawed need more proof than you just didn’t like the results. That’s every bit of the polemics over science you accuse others of. Science has very simple rules. You formulate a theory, you build tests and collect data, and you make correlations to test the validity of the theory. Absent proof of methodological misconduct or factual error in observations, results stand until disproved. That the second hand smoking studies are not ipso facto valid does not make them ipso facto invalid absent proof of error.

    If you keep trying to put words in my mouth then your going to simply get made to look the fool.

    If you don’t like that I’m pointing out that you’re engaging the very same sort of bad science you accuse others of practicing? I suggest you learn how science work better and realize that you are bias is showing. You are essentially dismissing a study based on no evidence of false evidence or methodological impropriety and that is in itself bad science.

    Again, if you have proof of bad evidence or methodological impropriety in regard to this particular study? Present it. Your unfounded opinion does not constitute proof.

  45. AY,

    We have all kinds of pollutants in the air we breathe. Are you suggesting that we shouldn’t try to do something about one type of pollutant because it may not be as bad as other pollutants? Is that your logic?

  46. Certainly not Elaine…. People have the right to expect big business to kill somehow…. Whether it be gas, oil, drugs, food….. Pick your poison….

  47. OK, you guys argue about the CDC and politics; however, the health related impact of second hand smoke has been studied for many years in countries all over the world. Politics has nothing to do with the findings. I do note the tobacco industry has thrown an enormous amount of money into trying to debunk the science. Hmmm….Now where have we heard of that tactic before?

    The consensus in the scientific community is unanimous. Second hand smoke is toxic. However, precise studies of just how toxic is complex due to the fact many toxic effects may be delayed for decades. However, here is a link to just a very small sample of the thousands of studies out there. Knowing what we know about second hand smoke, any employer who allows smoking on the premises of his or her business is just asking for it in terms of liability issues. Since most of our readers are associated with the legal profession, I do not need to go into detail about that aspect.

    Here is the result of a simple search on Google Scholar. The results in this search parameter just scratches the surface of what is out there, yet, this simple search yielded almost a million studies.

  48. Health issues or not, second hand smoke irritates me beyond reason because I have a very sensitive nose. So many of my neighbors smoke that many a lovely day I have to keep the doors and windows closed so I do not have to smell those noxious fumes. I cannot keep the window down in the car at stop lights if someone near is smoking. It’s just something I have to live with. I don’t care to much if folks want to kill themselves with smoking. I just don’t want to have to be a part of it.

  49. Evelyn:
    There are a lot of things that people do in public, that irritate select other people in public. Smoking is one of them. Religious missionaries is also one. Offensive messages on T-Shirts are another. Breast feeding in public is another.

    The point here is, although the things we see others do in public may be irritating to us, it cannot be a basis to outlaw it for all.
    The objective element here is not whether it irritates someone for one reason or another, but rather whether it actually presents an involuntary health hazard.

    In the case of second hand smoke, it does not.

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