Thursday, August 11, 2005

 

Louisville Metro Council Votes Tonight on Smoking Ban

The biggest city in Tobacco Country (Kentucky) votes tonight on a smoking ban. It will be interesting to see the results. There seems to be a push for an all out ban there, but a lesser ban (excluding bars/restaurants) is also possible, but it is almost certain that a ban of some kind will be voted in.

One thing I've noted on this story over the past week or so is the Mayor indicating that his support is not only about health, but also portraying Louisville as a progressive city. An interesting point for those that consider themselves progressive, but are anti-smoking ban.

Comments:
Yes. I have always found controlling other people's lives to be a very progressive position.
 
Good news! A huge secondhand smoke study just released indicates that smoking bans are not necessary to protect public health after all!

Press Release

For Immediate Release: December 5 , 2005

Do Smoking Bans cause a 27 to 40% drop in admissions for myocardial infarction in hospitals?
December 5, 2005

Antismokers claim that studies have shown that bans bring about an immediate and drastic decrease in heart attacks among nonsmokers exposed to smoke at work.

This claim was never true to begin with - the cited studies never separated and analyzed nonsmokers as a separate group - and it has now been pointed out in the pages of the BMJ that even the claim of saving lives among the combined population of smokers and nonsmokers might be worthless.

While many making that claim may have believed their information to be accurate, it is now obvious that its basis has been thrown strongly into question. As Jacob Sullum noted in a December 1st reaction to the announcement, "An effect this dramatic (i.e. an immediate and pronounced drop of hospital admissions for heart attacks) should have been noticed all over the country..."

Just a week before the Chicago Aldermen were due to vote on a citywide smoking ban, two independent researchers working together, David W. Kuneman and Michael J. McFadden, unveiled a new study covering a population base roughly 1,000 times as large as the previous town-based studies. The new study indicates strongly that rather than a 30% decrease in heart attacks, statewide smoking bans seem to have literally NO EFFECT AT ALL on heart attack rates. Incredibly the data even indicates that California's statewide heart attack rate went UP by 6% in the first full year of their total smoking ban!

The data for the study and the basis of its design have been backed up and expanded by well-known antismoking researcher Michael Siegel who has come out in support of the researchers' approach as providing "compelling evidence that brings into question the conclusion that smoking bans have an immediate and drastic effect on heart attack incidence." His observation is echoed by researcher Kuneman who asks, "Ever wonder why you didn't hear about post ban heart attack declines in New York City? Or in Minneapolis or Los Angeles? Now you know!"

On December 4th the British Medical Journal entered the fray with the online publication of a Rapid Response by Mr. McFadden outlining the new research and posing sharp criticisms of the earlier studies and of the refusal of the authors of those studies to respond to previous criticisms and questions. McFadden points out that the data in the Kuneman/McFadden study are fully open for public examination and far less selective than the data in the earlier studies and notes with pride that he and his co-researcher have been quick to respond to all queries posted about their methodology on Dr. Siegel's web blog.

He also poses the wider ranging question of whether studies commissioned by the "Antismoking Industry" should begin to receive the same cautious reception accorded those commissioned by "Big Tobacco." The current study, as well as an earlier one by the duo, were unfunded and neither researcher receives grants for their work from either interest group. Kuneman sharply asks the question, "Why the difference between the studies? For one thing we weren't dependent on antismoking-targeted grants!"

At this point there appears to be very little, if any, real scientific support for the claim that protecting nonsmokers from normal levels of exposure to secondary smoke prevents any heart attacks. And it is this claim that has always provided the impressive numbers upon which ban advocates have pressed legislators to pass smoking bans.

Without those numbers proponents of extreme bans are left with little other than the widely discredited EPA figures relating ETS to lung cancer and a few isolated instances of hospitality workers who have come to believe that their own cancers were caused by working in smoking establishments. Samantha Phillipe, editor of the longstanding smokersclubinc.com newsletter, notes that while it's always a cause for sadness when someone becomes ill that it's even more sad when they are misguidedly advised to blame family and friends for their illness.

Without a compelling body of scientific evidence backing them up, smoking bans are an unnecessary and overbearing intrusion of government into the spheres of free choice, private property and free enterprise. And the Kuneman/McFadden study points up just how uncompelling even some of the strongest and most publicised evidence actually is.

References:

1) Article: A Preliminary Study

2) Mike Siegel's blog analysis and follow up comments:

3) BMJ Response: Helena 1000 Days

4) Jacob Sullum's REASON column: Hit and Run

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"
Mid-Atlantic Regional Director of SmokersClubInc.com
web page: http://pasan.thetruthisalie.com/
Email: Cantiloper@aol.com
 
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?