Thursday, 20 January 2011

Update on smoking in homes

As an addendum to my post "Think Your Home is Safe?" is this news story about a man being sued by his neighbours for smoking in his own apartment.

According to the story:

Poses family say they have all been loosing sleep and suffering from headaches, chest pains and respiratory issues as a result of the second-hand smoke. The suit is seeking $500,000 in damages for each member of the Poses family.

However, the defendent is rightly contending the suit:

Dale contends that majority of his smoke breaks are taken outside and says he uses three air cleaners. Dale also claims that he went as far as hiring a specialist to attempt to seal off his apartment from his neighbors to help keep the smoke at bay.

If you ask me, it seems like Dale has been more than reasonable and accommodating. The fact that the neighbours have been having disputes for over a year suggests the smoke can't be causing that much of a problem, else they would have taken action before or tried to move. To suggest that minor secondhand smoke (supposedly surviving air filtration systems, walls and a sealed apartment) is causing chest pains and lack of sleep is absurd. It seems this family is more just looking for an easy income, and the war on smokers has made them an easy target. After all, everyone knows secondhand smoke kills, and smokers are selfish and obnoxious, and that smoking bans on private property are on the cards, so what better time to take action?

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Researchers Admit Thirdhand Smoke Study Is An Advocacy Piece

In a research grant application to the state of Califnornia for funding into a study on thirdhand smoke, the researchers openly admitted that the purpose of the study was not to explore the potential harm of thirdhand smoke, but to push for further bans.

"Overall, our proposed work will be a critical step in a timely assessment of whether the THS exposure is genetically harmful to exposed nonsmokers, and the ensuing data will serve as the experimental evidence for framing and enforcing policies prohibiting smoking in homes, hotels, and cars in California and elsewhere in order to protect vulnerable people."

Ok, so when the funding comes from the Tobacco Related Disease Research Program there's no surprise the grant was given or that the researchers were unashamed to admit their despicable agenda. Still, though, why is such a program allowed to exist in the first place, especially when it lacks the objectivity that a science program should exhibit?

What this really means is that individuals with a prejudice agenda are able to openly admit it and receive lavish amounts of money in return. It's a shame that America has just celebrated Martin Luther King day, a man who is revered for helping to erode social segregation, but simultaneously it is working hard to segregate another group of society - even fabricating evidence to do so.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Think Your Home Is Safe?

Blogging has been light since December for the usual reasons of Christmas and New Year, and I'm now in America for a while so it isn't going to be picking up much too soon, except for those stories that can't go unnoticed. This is one of them, H/T Chris Snowdon.

When the smoking ban originally hit the UK in 2007 there were many people, in the days before its enactment, saying they will ignore it - including bar owners. That didn't happen, and the more astute of us who knew where this was heading knew exactly that pubs were neither the beginning nor the end. I wrote an article in 2008 that Califnoria was trying to pass a ban on smoking even in one's home, unless it was a detached property. That bill didn't get through, and people declared such a ruling would never pass because the home is private property and authorities wouldn't be able to check. For now, perhaps, but if they can get in to check for illegal substances, all they need to do is put tobacco in such a light that the (anti-smoking) public would not mind.

In Bhutan, it's already happening:

Bhutan police can raid homes of smokers in a search for contraband tobacco and are training a special tobacco sniffer dog in a crackdown to honour a promise to become the world’s first smoke-free nation...

The Bhutan Narcotic Control Agency has started raids, with officials allowed to enter homes if someone is seen smoking or if officials have reason to believe there is illegal tobacco there...

“The sniffer dog is being trained at the moment. The dog will be able to sniff out tobacco products,” said Major Phub Gyaltshen of the Royal Bhutan Police.

Bhutan’s prime minister said the law cannot be called draconian and it was passed in the “collective wisdom” of the members of parliament.

“It is cancerous, both in the literal and the metaphoric sense, cancerous to society and to individual and in many ways it is no different from psychotropic drugs, for which the penalty in certain countries is death,” Prime Minister Jigmi Y. Thinley said.

True enough, Bhutan isn't in the UK, or America, or such "civilised" countries. But does that make a difference? No. Most of you will remember the recent petition I started to stop Philipina Sergevitch from being evicted just for being a smoker, and America is trying to make all sheltered accommodation for senior citizens non-smoking - forcing residents to either quit or give up. I don't need to mention this is abhorrent and cruel, so I won't.

Those favouring smoking bans in pubs utilise the argument that they don't want the exposure to secondhand smoke, or the smell from the smoke, or they shouldn't be exposed, and so on. That's a public place, though, so how does it translate to the home? It's not as difficult as you'd imagine.

Dr Winickoff, of thirdhand smoke 'fame', is still busying himself in Satan's Lab conjuring up all sorts of horseshit studies to rid the world of the foul and obnoxious tobacco plant. One of his recent 'discoveries' was that smoke can travel through vents, down phone lines, through cracks in the wall and so on. Put another way, you smoking in your own privately owned space can impact on your neighbours - or so they think. Once that happens, it's easy for the smoker to be at the bad end of a punishment.

And don't bet that these places will let you smoke outside, because third and fourthhand smoke will still be putting non-smokers at risk - tucked up in their apartments with all the windows and doors shut so the air remains clean (if only they knew).

Beyond that, the "save the chiiiildren" crowd are still churning out studies faster than Ford can churn out cars, showing all manner of things like this:

In healthy preschool children, parental smoking is an independent risk factor for higher blood pressure, adding to other familial and environmental risk factors. Implementing smoke-free environments at home and in public places may provide a long-term cardiovascular benefit even to young children.

In fact, take a look around at the new studies and reports and what you'll find stated over and over again is the researchers' advocation of smokefree homes. And when researchers say something enough, and the media reports it enough, you can ever so slowly see the public pendulum swing from 'no way' to 'take action!'. Either that, or the global population will discover their European sides and remember where their middle finger is.

I'm reminded of wise words from two great comedians:

"Second hand smoke bothers you?, there are people from Chernobyl still alive for fucks sake!, they look weird, but they are still here.... and now we make them smoke outside!" - Steve Hughes

"Doesn't the idea of making nature against the law seem to you a bit... paranoid?" - Bill Hicks