The Debate is Over! So says the Surgeon General about Secondhand Smoke

28 Jun

“Secondhand Smoke kills! 10 seconds of exposure will cause your balls to shrivel up and fall off”

The above link is an article regarding the recent report by United States Surgeon-General Richard Carmona:

“The scientific evidence is now indisputable: second-hand smoke is not a mere annoyance,” Carmona said at a news conference.

“It is a serious health hazard that can lead to disease and premature death in children and nonsmoking adults.”

The thing is this uses NO NEW DATA. This is pure propaganda. They didn’t release the results of a new study, they merely looked at the same data we have always had. 40 years ago there was smoking allowed in movie theatres and even schools. Where are all the hoards of non-smoking lung cancer patients?

I beg to differ Mr. Carmona, the evidence is disputable. Now before I continue let me add I am a non-smoker who feels habitual tobacco smoking is bad for you. But it takes decades upon decades of directly sucking on cigarettes to maybe develop lung cancer (george burns lived to be 100 and was a heavy smoker), and we are supposed to believe that casual exposure to diluted tobacco smoke is just as deadly? That even though it takes a smoker some 30 odd years to develop lung cancer after a lifetime of smoking 2, 3 packs a day directly that the casual inhalation of environmental smoke will harm us non-smokers just as much? Cause SUDDEN INFANT DEATH? That’s what Surgeon General Carmona is saying.

I wish other studies were more well known, such as one particular German study on secondhand smoke and its relation to cancer and cardiovascular health.

This mammoth study that was published by the American Journal of Epidemiology in April 2003 concluded AFTER 37 YEARS that there was no connection. At all.

Basically, thousands of stewardesses and whatnot were followed and monitored for cancer since they were exposed to heavy airplane cabin smoking in a highly enclosed environment for hours upon hours daily.

Here is an excerpt:

“We found a rather remarkably low SMR [standardized incidence ratio] for lung cancer among female cabin attendants and no increase for male cabin attendants, indicating that smoking and exposure to passive smoking may not play an important role in mortality in this group. Smoking during airplane flights was permitted in Germany until the mid-1990s, and smoking is still not banned on all charter flights. The risk of cardiovascular disease mortality for male and female air crew was surprisingly low (reaching statistical significance among women).”
Download PDF version of complete study

The reason I am so up-in-arms over this issue despite being a non-smoker is it is an example of the US Government intruding on our lives and acting as a parent, much like the FCC regulates swearing and ‘indecency’ on TV and Radio for us, since we are incapable of protecting our own children from *gasp* nipples and *gasp* words like ‘shit’.

The #1 killer in the US is Heart Disease, not lung cancer. So what’s next, ban all fatty foods? Hamburgers are now illegal? The argument that secondhand smoke kills and causes heart disease or cancer is based on very very spotty evidence.

It’s dishonest and outright deceitful for the Surgeon General to say “the debate is over”. I guess the big tobacco companies didn’t contribute enough toe republican party.

What’s worse is I loath when cities and states ban smoking in public, even bars, and at the same time tax the cigarette sales heavily and use that money for their own needs. They are just as ‘evil’ as big tobacco by profiting from peoples addiction to cigarettes. They have no moral pedestal to stand on.


2 Responses to “The Debate is Over! So says the Surgeon General about Secondhand Smoke”

  1. elgaroo June 28, 2006 at 4:52 pm #

    i completely agree that secondhand smoke is absurdly overblown and pretty preposterous, that government enforced bans are serious encroachments on individual rights (besides, any establishment can declare itself smoke free, offfering a venue to those who can’t stand the smoke, and no one HAS to go to or even work in a location which is constantly smokey, like a bar. where the hell governmental overseerance even implied?) it is totally a political move, looking good to non-smoking middle age, middle/upper-middle class families, as well as possibly an absurd fear of having to pay huge taxes taking care of possible future victems, but really, get some accurate data on that possibility before you start freaking out about it. sheesh!
    one thing to add though, not to defend the surgeon general’s study, but it is a common and perfectly valid mode of scientific research to re-evelauate and re-analyze past research (there is a specific term for this, but it escapes me), as long as that data has not been discredited. scientific discoveries often come out of left field, so scientists have gotten into the habit of recording extreemely volumnous details during any research, in case something that might have been thought insignifcant turns out surprisingly to be a very big deal. this data can often be used later, often in combination with several other studies, and re-analyzed from a completely different angle, often for a rather different purpose than the original research. in fact, a lot of research is done just for the sake of increasing knowledge without a particular aim or question in mind. all of this information can be much more valuable or practical than new research, as for example in cases of long term studies (folowing details of selected people’s lives throughout thier lifetime), studies of situations no longer existant (for example indigenous peoples, extinct animals, particular time periods), or when doing a new study or big enough study (good statistics often call for thousands of subjects) is way beyond the budget. this also allows for advances in statystical analysis, mathematics, computing technology, and other related areas of scientific understanding. of course, the original studies have to be well done and unbiased. i wouldn’t put much stock in a marijuana study that wasn’t based on new research, for example. i haven’t looked into this study personally, but i just wanted to point out that this is pretty standard scientific practice, though of course new research is normally ideally preferable.

  2. docwho88 July 3, 2006 at 5:58 pm #

    Funny that this report sounds so ominious, when the EPA’s report (which actually did studies) found a neglible, nearly nonexistent, and statistically insignificant link between growing up in smoking households, and getting lung cancer.
    i.e. 10 in 1,000,000 will get lung cancer with no exposure to S.H.S.
    and 12 in 1,000,000 will get it when they’ve grown up in smoking households
    that’s considerably less, even, than the margin of error.

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