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Old 06-30-2006, 06:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Surgeon General Warns of Secondhand Smoke

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Surgeon General Warns of Secondhand Smoke

By JOHN O'NEIL
Published: June 27, 2006

Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona declared today that the evidence is now "indisputable" that secondhand smoke is an "alarming" public health hazard, and warned that measures like no-smoking sections don't provide adequate protection.

"Smoke-free environments are the only approach that protects nonsmokers from the dangers of secondhand smoke," he said.

Dr. Carmona did not call for a federal ban on smoking in workplaces, bars and restaurants, as a growing number of cities and states have done. He said he saw his role as providing the American people and Congress with definitive information on the subject.

"We hope that they will make the right decision on behalf of their constituents," Dr. Carmona said.

Smoking bans have often been bitterly resisted by business owners worried about losing customers and by groups skeptical about the dangers posed by secondhand smoke. But Dr. Carmona today said that "overwhelming" evidence showed that secondhand smoke is responsible for "tens of thousands" of premature deaths from heart disease and cancer among nonsmokers each year.

"I am here to say the debate is over: the science is clear," Dr. Carmona said at a televised news conference this morning, at which he released a report updating the original surgeon general's study of secondhand smoke in 1986.

In the years since then, hundreds of studies have indicated that the harm caused by secondhand smoke is far greater than earlier believed, he said. The report's findings include the following:

* There is no safe level of secondhand smoke, and even brief exposure can cause harm, especially for people already suffering from heart or respiratory diseases.

* For nonsmoking adults, exposure raises the risk of heart disease by 25 to 30 percent and of cancer by 20 to 30 percent, and accounted for an estimated 46,000 premature deaths from heart disease and 3,000 premature deaths from cancer last year.

* Secondhand smoke is a cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, accounting for an estimated 430 deaths last year. The risk is elevated both for children whose mothers were exposed during pregnancy and for children exposed in their homes after birth.

* The impact on the health and development of children is more severe than previously thought. "Children are especially vulnerable to the poisons in secondhand smoke," Dr. Carmona said.

* Efforts to minimize the effect of secondhand smoke by separating smokers and nonsmokers are ineffective, as are ventilation systems meant to remove smoke from a shared space.

* While exposure has declined, as many as 60 percent of nonsmokers show biological evidence of encountering secondhand smoke, and an estimated 22 percent of children are exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes.

Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control show that great progress has been made in reducing exposure, Dr. Carmona said. The amount of cotinine — the form nicotine takes after being metabolized — fell by 75 percent among adults, when samples taken between 1999 and 2002 were compared with samples taken a decade earlier.

But Dr. Carmona said more needed to be done, particularly to protect children.

He urged parents who smoke not only to quit, but to move their smoking outside while they are trying to quit. "Make the home a smoke-free environment," he said.

Dr. Cheryl G. Healton, the president and chief executive of the American Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit group created to use settlement money from tobacco companies to educate young people about the dangers of tobacco, called the report "groundbreaking" even though much of its information had been published in journal articles previously. Bringing it all together creates a persuasive case for smoking bans, she said.

But she said that many tobacco advocates would be hesitant about using it as a springboard to push for federal legislation creating smoke-free environments like those that have been adopted in many other countries and throughout most of Western Europe.

"The risk of approaching it nationally in this country is the extreme lobbying power that the tobacco industry has on the Hill," she said, and any national bill able to pass would likely be weaker than the bans adopted by municipalities.

The report issued today also went beyond the 1986 study by finding that evidence suggests possible links between secondhand smoking and some other cancers, including breast cancer, childhood cancer and nasal sinus cancer. It found no link to cervical cancer.

Earlier this year, the California Environmental Protection Agency issued a report that concluded that exposure to secondhand smoke was a cause of breast cancer.

The surgeon general's report also found a link between exposure to secondhand smoke by pregnant women and low birth weights for their children, and said that evidence suggests a possible link to premature delivery .
Hmmm, this is pretty big news when it comes to smoking. Florida already banned smoking from restaurants (and I think anywhere that makes over 15% of its profit from selling food), and recently tried to ban smoking from its beaches. I think Cali banned smoking on its beaches, or had something in the works?

Anyway, this new report is definitely going to make it easier for the various governments to regulate smoking. Tobacco companies have long argued that, in their opinion, there is nothing harmful about secondhand smoke. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future...
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Old 06-30-2006, 07:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Pretty cut and dry. It would be nice not to have to smell cigarette smoke
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Old 06-30-2006, 09:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Appleton, a city near here, doesn't allow smoking in ANY public locations - including bars. It's unfortunate, because it isn't so far away that people aren't willing to travel to good ole' Green Bay and get hammered here, then drive all the way back drunk
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Old 06-30-2006, 09:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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banning smoking outdoors is just going overboard... I'm a non-smoker and dont love the smell of smoke, but outside, that's just getting carried away...

When the no smoking ban went into effect in Giants Stadium it was stupid - it's an open air stadium and it's generally pretty breezey - I can see it for not having to clean up the mess of cigarette butts but not for second hand smoke.

A decent ventilation system would solve the problem in restaurants... Anyone old enough to remember when they allowed smoking on planes, can attest to the fact that the air on a plane was a lot cleaner then.... even with smokers on board, than it is now...

Oh wait - this is for the children.. .:eyeroll: let's save the children
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Old 06-30-2006, 12:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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In other news, second-hand smoke is bad, the sky is blue, grass is green......

It's about time that places ban smoking. Cigarettes are a death trap and provide nothing beneficial and are only detrimental to passerby's who have no concern for others welfare.
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Old 06-30-2006, 12:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I have a hard time believing that inhaling a half second of smoke as you walk by me <b>outside</b> will cause damage. Banning smoking outside is silly.

If California banned smoking from beaches I would think it would be to cut down on litter, not the amount of smoke that harmlessly floated into the air. I guess I should drive next to anyone either. You know I'd hate for my exhaust to cause damage. Oh yeah, nevermind all the jet fuel falling down on us daily.

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Old 06-30-2006, 12:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The only decent thing about living in Utah, smoking is illegal in ANY public place.

I've got nothing against smokers, enjoy your vice just like I'm enjoying mine, but I do have a problem with the expectation that I should be accomodating of their habit. (Can you tell I've more than had it with morons on the freeway bouncing their cigarette butts off my car?)

I'm not the healthiest person, but I also don't like it that someone else is making a decision about my health for me and that my only options are to either not go where they are or deal with it. Hopefully this study will allow for some intelligent solutions to a disgusting problem.
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Old 06-30-2006, 01:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm glad for this--perhaps it will pave the way for Oregon to pass even more restrictive public smoking laws. As it stands, several cities have ordinances on the books banning smoking in restaurants and bars, but statewide the only public smoking restriction applies to smoking in the workplace. Several restaurants HAVE interpreted this as meaning no smoking in restaurants and already done away with their smoking sections, but it's still a pain in the butt to go into a bar outside of town and inhale someone else's smoke.

Currently Washington State has extremely strict public smoking laws (no smoking within 25 feet of an entrance to a public building/air intake/window, and the definition of public building is very broad). I only hope that Oregon moves in that direction, and soon.
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Old 06-30-2006, 01:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I second what maleficent said about ventilation systems; when I lived in South Bend, there was a bar there that allowed smoking inside (in the smoking area), but had a good enough filtration system that if you weren't near the smokers, you didn't notice the smoke.

I'm not so upset about the idea that more places should disallow smoking. But I think these places should be able to make their own choices. If there are really so many non-smokers looking for a smoke-free environment, why doesn't the market respond and start offering smoke free restaurants? And if there's not, why should we listen to some government mandarin telling us what to do?
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Old 06-30-2006, 02:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Goodie Goodie.. another Government law telling me I can't do something. I guess they'll start charging for air next
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Old 06-30-2006, 02:10 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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i completely agree. i do not want someone smoking in the same room as me. it's cool they're finaly doing something about it. maybe ban cigarettes completely?

i wouldnt ban smoking outside, but if you're littering, then i'd give you a fine. i'm sick of seeing that shit on the sidewalk, parkinglots, street, etc.. why cant ppl just put it out in those smoke specific garbages?

btw: i'm so happy about canada(ontario atleast) banning smoking in public places(restaurants, bars, etc...). it's really nice going someplace and not having to wash your clothes(coat and everyhing else) just because it smells like a fucking ashtray!
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Old 06-30-2006, 03:00 PM   #12 (permalink)
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The state of new hampshire is looking more and more appealing all the time.. several towns up here repealed the smoking ban that was put in effect because it violated the mindset of- it doesn't effect you- -so i'm not gonna legislate it..

don't want tobe around cigarette smokers? don't go to that restuarant or bar...
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Old 06-30-2006, 03:02 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asaris
I'm not so upset about the idea that more places should disallow smoking. But I think these places should be able to make their own choices. If there are really so many non-smokers looking for a smoke-free environment, why doesn't the market respond and start offering smoke free restaurants? And if there's not, why should we listen to some government mandarin telling us what to do?
Precisely my thoughts.

I've never smoked and don't plan on starting, but I actually enjoy the smell of cigarette smoke. Reminds me of bowling alleys and rock concerts.
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Old 06-30-2006, 03:11 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maleficent
The state of new hampshire is looking more and more appealing all the time.. several towns up here repealed the smoking ban that was put in effect because it violated the mindset of- it doesn't effect you- -so i'm not gonna legislate it..

don't want tobe around cigarette smokers? don't go to that restuarant or bar...
Well, before the smoking ban in minneapolis there weren't any bars that were nonsmoking so it wasn't really an option. You can't count on the market to handle public health issues when it's often more profitable to ignore them(imagine how the market would handle worker safety regulations if left to its own devices). Now all the bars are freshly smoke-free and it's great. It's nice seeing a show and not smelling like ass afterwards.


I do seem to recall a thread discussing the smoking ban from last year where the threats of secondhand smoke were repeatedly dismissed by those opposed to the ban. I would hope that those folks would now at least acknowlege that the shit is harmful.
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Old 06-30-2006, 06:25 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maleficent
Anyone old enough to remember when they allowed smoking on planes, can attest to the fact that the air on a plane was a lot cleaner then.... even with smokers on board, than it is now...
Is that even possible? Obviously I have never been on a plane that allowed smoking, but that seems like a pretty bold statement. I've never noticed unclean air on any plane I've ever flown in either.
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Old 06-30-2006, 07:03 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Every cold Ihave gotten in the past 10 years has been courtesy of a flight somewhere... backin days of yore- fresh air was sucked into the cabin somehow, and it wasn't constantly recycled air... The air was fresher... and Ididn't feel the need to shower getting off a plane like i do now.
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Old 07-01-2006, 05:00 AM   #17 (permalink)
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There is no smoking in any bar or restaraunt in Ontario as of June 1. Patio smoking is allowed as long as the patio is not covered. As an ex-smoker, I'm happy with this.
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Old 07-01-2006, 03:06 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filtherton
Well, before the smoking ban in minneapolis there weren't any bars that were nonsmoking so it wasn't really an option. You can't count on the market to handle public health issues when it's often more profitable to ignore them.
This is entirely true. There isn't even a choice in most places. Bar owners are so brain washed to believe that smokers will make or brake their business that they won't offer the choice of non-smoking. But, I was down town in Minneapolis last night and the smoking ban didn't seem to be detrimental to business in the least. So, maybe after bar owners live with the ban for awhile, nightclubs can offer the choice rather than the law having to enforce it. For me, I just like not hacking up a lung the whole night.
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Old 07-01-2006, 03:31 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maleficent
Every cold Ihave gotten in the past 10 years has been courtesy of a flight somewhere... backin days of yore- fresh air was sucked into the cabin somehow, and it wasn't constantly recycled air... The air was fresher... and Ididn't feel the need to shower getting off a plane like i do now.
It takes less fuel to recirculate than to bring in fresh air. I remember how (early-90's?) things started getting stuffy on extended gradual climbs. At some point it changed from being an uncomfortable error to company policy.

Now that I think about it, didn't it start about the same time in-flight smoking was completely banned? Anyone remember when that began?
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Old 07-01-2006, 04:03 PM   #20 (permalink)
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im still unconvinced, yes its bad, but so many million things cause cancer and so many other things can go wrong. Smoking anything isnt healthy, but to say its the only cause in cancer is bold (just as bold as this statement).
im a non smoker and am totally for letting whoever wants to smoke, smoke, but be polite about it. when i do smoke ill put the cig away from people walking by not blow in their face etc.
give america back its freedom damn it.
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Old 07-01-2006, 11:17 PM   #21 (permalink)
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This really seems all to obvious to me, but I guess it will just help them crack down on it?
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Old 07-02-2006, 07:20 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I'm 46 years old. Both of my parents smoked like chimneys while we were growing up (they both quit by the time I was 10). I remember airplanes being full of smoke, buses full of smoke, EVERYWHERE full of smoke. I spent years playing live music and some of my equipment STILL smells like smoke.

So, I'm fucked, right?
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Old 07-03-2006, 11:35 AM   #23 (permalink)
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I don't see why it's silly to ban outdoor smoking. I think it SHOULD be banned, especially on public property. There are MANY reasons for this:

a) Greater air quality overall in the long run. Yes, there are other major pollutants, but slowing or stopping any of them over time can help.

b) Less litter on the ground all over the place

c) May persuade more people to quit an unhealthy habit.

d) Isn't particularly different from open bottle laws in many places. Just because you're smoking a cigarette doesn't mean I'll get cancer? Fair enough! Just becuase I'm walking down the street drinking a beer doesn't mean I'm drunk and/or disorderly. *shrug*

e) It's a PUBLIC place. You're not supposed to do things that interupt the enjoyment, peace and happiness of those around you. You can't walk around outside YELLING, because it's a nuisance. It doesn't HURT you, but it's illegal because it's a disruption. I think cigarette smoke is a disruption. I don't like walking through a cloud of it. And, it DOES hurt you more than someone making a commotion. *shrug*

f) What are the good, valid reasons NOT to ban all public smoking, even outdoors? I don't get it? Personal liberties? You can't DRINK in most places. You can't be naked in public. Why is smoking somehow a protected right? Oh yeah... it's NOT!
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