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Smoking ban (Read 215496 times)
Princess Analia
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Re: Smoking ban
Reply #30 - Nov 7th, 2005 at 10:00pm
 
Liked the Maude and Mable joke Gasdoc! Just out of interest, I take it you're an anaesthetist from your name? I worked with you guys in ITU and (am honestly not crawling here) found anaesthetists to be the most knowledgeable doctors generally (and a very friendly bunch to boot!) Also found them to be anti smoking fanatics and fitness freaks! Well the consultants anyway. There was one very nice SHO who smoked.Just interested if you are in a minority as a smoking anaesthetist or if the guys and girls I worked with before are not that representative. No ulterior motive honestly! Am not trying to prove that you're in a minority regards your smoking opinions. Just interested to see what your colleagues think.
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Belinda
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Re: Smoking ban
Reply #31 - Nov 7th, 2005 at 10:36pm
 
Dear Princess

I hope you don't think I meant that 865 actual deaths are not significant in themselves. I meant that in terms of epidemiology you can't say that they amount to a signficant association and certainly can't be considered proof that it was tobacco smoke that killed those people. Remember the age factor. A UK stats table tells me that four fifths of the stroke deaths, two thirds of the heart disease deaths, and three quarters of the respiratory disease deaths were over 75. Lung cancer is the biggest killer of younger people (but far fewer than stroke or heart disease) with just over half the deaths occurring under the age of 75 but I think you will agree with me that by far the greater number of deaths will be in smokers, and they are likely to succomb more quickly.

My parents are both over 70 and actually my father is over 80 and I don't mean that deaths at their age don't matter, but to pin any death at an advanced age down to a single air pollutant seems to be erring on the side of simplicity. I would contend that the premature deaths in Scotland associated (by that particular report) with passive smoke would be about a third of 865. That is unless Professor Hole already allowed for age when he reached that figure, but he made no mention of the ages concerned.

'Just one death is too many' is totally true. But what of a house fire started because people are smoking and drinking at home that kills people? Whatever happens there will be accidents, illness and people will die. It's a fact.

I appreciate your difficulty with smoking as a 'right'. I think more of it as, yes, people do have a right to use legal products, and I would limit the smoking if there was a fire risk somewhere. But refusing them social opportunities where they can smoke is quite severe. I happen to believe that everybody has a right to public social space, whether or not they smoke. Not giving social space to smokers is abhorrent. It is a matter of survival. How can society be aware of the toll that isolaton takes on people and then say oh well if you smoke it's all your own fault. Nobody would say that to anybody who had any dependency on insulin. You can't think straight without it so if you insist that smokers do without it becomes abusive.


I hope you don't think I am using strong language but I am trying to explain how I feel the issue.
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« Last Edit: Jul 10th, 2006 at 2:07am by Belinda »  
 
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Belinda
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Re: Smoking ban
Reply #32 - Nov 7th, 2005 at 11:00pm
 
Princess A

What about bringing your colleagues in?
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Princess Analia
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Re: Smoking ban
Reply #33 - Nov 7th, 2005 at 11:01pm
 
Hello again,

I agree with you about being denied a public space.  I really do, but I'm not sure what the answer is.  As things stand there isn't much choice for people who don't want to be in smoky environments regardless of whether you believe passive smoking is harmful.  If we are simply talking about choice then that's how things are at the moment - regards pubs, clubs and restaurants at any rate.  Gasdoc quite rightly says that there aren't many places where you can have a coffee and a cigarette. But otherwise if you want to avoid smoke, you're stuck.  Snooks had mentioned that he didn't think that a voluntary scheme was the answer, I'm not sure it would work either but maybe it would have been better to start out that way and see how things panned out.  Perhaps incentives could have been made available?
I'm really not sure if comparing insulin requirement to smoking dependence is fair.  if you don't get your insulin, your body chemistry goes to pot, you feel absolutely ghastly and ulitimately you can end up with ketoacidosis and death. That's not going to happen for lack of a cigarette.
I can see that you feel really strongly about this to use that analogy.  I don't think that you have a legal remedy though.  I haven't looked into any challenges to legislation passed in other jurisdictions, what did people do in New York and the Republic of Ireland by way of challenge?
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princessanalia1974  
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Gasdoc
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Re: Smoking ban
Reply #34 - Nov 7th, 2005 at 11:04pm
 
Princess:
I do like that name! Well lots of questions!
In my department of Anaesthesia there are 28 members of staff. One consultant has recently given up and I believe that leaves no consultant smokers.
There are 6 other members who actively smoke.
I am most definately in the minority as a smoking doctor and almost on my own, as regards my views, amongst doctors.
However my colleagues seem to have given up suggesting I give up smoking and are not aware of my views as they just simply don't come up in conversation.
Doctor's generally have a mind set and generally that has to be compatible with what they preach. They are brainwashed to an extent and aim to pass on that brainwashing to their customers.
I don't really mix well with doctors as I find them patronising, arrogant, bossy, judgemental and narrow minded. Whoops!! However I love my work and regard myself as a good one because I do not judge and I have maximum compassion.
I do not enquire of my patients whether they smoke or not because I believe the effects on my anaesthesia are negligible. I have advised patients that they should consider stopping when I believe they might benefit but will not nag and will be understanding of the difficulty they might face stopping.
I hope that helps. My the way I think you are right about anaesthetists in general, I find them to be the most agreeable of doctors.
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Princess Analia
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Re: Smoking ban
Reply #35 - Nov 7th, 2005 at 11:19pm
 
I take it you mean the other law students??? I brought it up at university last week and everyone seemed to be in favour of the ban!  So they weren't that interested in debating it with me.  Will try and get some of them on here reading the threads and get them involved in the debate.
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Belinda
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Re: Smoking ban
Reply #36 - Nov 7th, 2005 at 11:35pm
 
Princess

sorry insulin was a bad example. However the one I do know about is thyroxin as that is what I take. If I need a tablet I cannot think of anything else. Ultimately of course I would get ill and I dread to thnk of national emergency situations where getting tablets would be difficult.

But in normal circumstances yes I have a very strong empathy with the idea that this feeling might be accompanied by a feeling that you are not wanted in society.

Don't know if you have seen press reports that the Swallow group are mounting a legal challenge. How far it will get I don't know.

I would have thought that air quality standards could be enforced, (so many air changes, filtration and so on), or that licenses should be obtainable but I also think the lawmakers should be asked why the dangers of second hand smoke do not show a signficant reading in mortality statistics.

I do think the interference aspect is wrong too. Legally wrong. If people want to meet in a public environment because they enjoy smoking and want to do it in company and talk about quaint brands of tobacco, and meet new friends in the community, as things are they will not be allowed. This will discriminate against poorer people without large living rooms and/or internet access to advertise their association. I really can't see how many people's lives wil be made easier by this.

Sorry that your fellow students are convinced that the ban is such a good thing but hope you can get one or two of them in anyway.
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Belinda
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Re: Smoking ban
Reply #37 - Nov 8th, 2005 at 1:50am
 
i think we used to think of pubs/licensed premises as 'dens of iniquity' where we could do naughty things in public places, drinking and tobacco being milder examples of such things. Opium is no longer allowed. Prosititution is an area of the law I don't know much about but it's not generally associated with pubs. The point is that these were adult environments enabling people to take drink and smoking etc away from the home.

I see no reason whatever why licences should not be allowed to the majority of licensed premises. We can't make all of life into a child-friendly environment. Adults endure a lot of stress in modern life and they need an outlet for it. I really don't accept the government's right to allow the sale of a product and then not care for the customers of that product or threaten them with criminal sanctions. It should make use of all the community resources it can in order to find a solution.

I note that you are saying that there is nowhere that non-smokers can go for a drink and avoid smoke. Actually to correct Snooks there is a non smoking pub in Edinburgh beside the central job centre off St Andrew Square. I believe there is another in Leith somewhere. But this tells me that you appreciate the importance for smokers to have somewhere to go too. It is hard to regulate, but the answer is not to punish people.
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Re: Smoking ban
Reply #38 - Nov 8th, 2005 at 4:24am
 
Analia wrote: " I had a conversation with a close friend of mine who is a research scientist in cell biology and she was aghast that people doubted in any way that passive smoking was harmful."

Analia, there are two reasons why a biological scientist might feel that exposure to secondary smoke (I'm sorry, I will not use the "Passevefruggin" terminology developed by the Nazis in the 1930's here.) was harmful.

The first reason is toxicologically based: smoke, whether from tobacco or almost any other source, has chemicals in it that are harmful: things like benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, acetone, etc.   However, "harmful" very specifically denotes that such chemicals are present in sufficient concentration that the person exposed to them is "harmed" in a meaningful way...  for purposes of law here we're talking about harm in the sense of long term disease or severe (rather than simply annoying) short term reactions.  Referring to OSHA standards and CAL EPA TLV standards for the various chemicals in tobacco smoke there are no grounds for arguing that normal people are "harmed" in any real sense from the low levels of exposure to secondary smoke that would normally be encountered in any decently ventilated bar or restaurant.

In terms of "exceptional" people, those who might be overcome by asthma or such problems at even small whiffs of smoke, dust, dander, perfume, aftershave and such, it's a toss up whether simply banning smoking will help them more than insisting upon air cleaning and ventilation standards sufficient to render smoke exposure undectable or nearly undectable.  If you've read Antibrains by this point you'll remember the findings of the air quality studies in aircraft in the 1980s: the concentrations of colony forming fungal units TRIPLED when the planes banned smoking and reduced their fresh air replacements!

2) The second reason is epidemiological, and as a cell pathologist your friend is unlikely to have actually read and analyzed a significant number of the epi studies that have been done.  If she had I think she would have a much more questioning attitude toward what the Antismokers conclude they show... particularly with regard to the levels of exposure encountered nowadays as opposed to the periods those studies were based on.

 
Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"
www.Antibrains.com
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Re: Smoking ban
Reply #39 - Nov 8th, 2005 at 4:30am
 
Snooks wrote: "Smokers aren't an oppressed minority! They are a selfish and anti-social one. As far as I can see, short of an outright ban in public places, there is no way of ensuring that a non-smoker will never be unwillingly subjected to a smoker's pollutants. "

And this is where the Snooks and the Princesses diverge.   The Snooks will never be happy with anything other than a total ban because they don't like smokers and insist upon an absolute right to an absolute zero-tolerance for this one aspect of "infringement" upon a perfect life.

Princess Analia on the other hand would, on a personal level, probably be quite content with arrangements whereby she could be assured that she would rarely have to deal with situations in which smoke was obvious enough that it bothered her.

One view is that of a fanatic antismoker, the other of a reasonable nonsmoker...  a very, very important distinction!


Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"
http://pasan.TheTruthIsALie.com
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Belinda
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Re: Smoking ban
Reply #40 - Nov 8th, 2005 at 2:53pm
 
Princess Analia

I was interested in your question about whether rights are automatic. In the early days one or two people said they had a 'universal human right to clean air'. But you can only have something that exists. There is no such thing as a right to employment in a situation where the economy has gone belly up and there is no work. What there might be in that situation is a claim that rights to work should be equal (assuming other things to be equal) and that if a job comes up it should be open to any capable person whatever their gender, creed etc.

I read a bit about South Africa in the Steve Biko years where banning orders were the way to deal with journalists who annoyed the government. They had not broken the law in the course of their work, but just annoyed the authorities, (I may have got this wrong but I believe people were informed by the police of a banning order which was imposed without due legal process) but the restrictions were irksome and led many to breach them and that was when they fell foul of the law.

I think smokers have good reason to ask in this sense, we have not done anything wrong but you are imposing conditions on us that really means that our presence in society is not valued because of a code of conduct that is very uncomfortable. Our friends don't mind us lighting up, nor do the people selling us drinks for the night, but if we do we will be in breach of the law.

I still think the fact that smokers are taxpayers to HMG gives the government a duty of care to smokers. The 'right' to clean air is somewhat artificial considering the state of the air outside, and that filtration systems and air changes can clean up the air to at least the standard it is outside in may districts.
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Belinda
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Re: Smoking ban
Reply #41 - Nov 10th, 2005 at 12:16am
 
I have been sent a link to the McTear case. Alfred McTear died of lung cancer after smoking all his life, began an action in the last year of his life against Imperial Tobacco. His wife continued the action following his death in 1993, which she famously lost in March this year. The judgement was heavily criticised, but was made on the evidence available to the court. The judge was careful to point out that this was not a judgment in general about the links between tobacco and lung cancer but was a judgement on the liability of Imperial Tobacco.

Interesting but lengthy: http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/opinions/2005CSOH69.html.
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Re: Smoking ban
Reply #42 - Nov 10th, 2005 at 7:16pm
 
Gosh, Belinda - two whole pubs in Edinburgh for non-smokers! Gee, aren't I lucky. If I can just find "somewhere in Leith" I will finally have the privilege of enjoying a night out without a hacking cough and a stinking wardrobe.

Smokers are the minority and it is they who should be expected to trail across town to find a suitable place to drink.

I consider smoking in public tantamount to assault, therefore I consider criminal sanctions to be eminently reasonable.

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Belinda
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Re: Smoking ban
Reply #43 - Nov 12th, 2005 at 12:52am
 
Snooks

Go to http://www.siliconglen.com/fooddrink/pubsfornonsmokers.html
and you will find quite a few references to non-smoking venues. The site celebrates the forthcoming ban while also pointing out places where ventilation systems are very effective. The Black Swan is at 23 Sandport Place in Leith.

If you are an internet-friendly professional resident in Edinburgh I can only assume that your desire to find non-smoking pubs is not very high, or you could have easily found them. I found the website within seconds. 

Social smokers enjoy the company of friends and neighbours and for that reason don't need to cross town to find what they want. It is right there. Anti-smokers want to avoid that section of the community that smokes, and adopt a canute like posture wondering why the seas don't move for them.

Anyway this is trivialising the discussion. I hope you enjoy siliconglen and enjoy a smoke-free drink very soon!

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Re: Smoking ban
Reply #44 - Nov 12th, 2005 at 7:31am
 
Hello Belinda,
From a straight legal point of view the problem is what to do about a merchant, or several merchants, who sell a product that kills their customers? There is certainly something unseemly about allowing one group of sellers in the market place to profit from the weaknesses or addictions of their buyers in those circumstances. For instance heroin comes to  mind. A good argument could be advanced by the heroin addict about his or her right to do whatever to themselves in the name of personal freedom, but should the community stand by and turn a blind eye to that sort of commerce and trade? If so why outlaw the sale of high explosives, or poisonous gases or require homeowners to install sewer systems and use sanitary garbage disposal? The laws are supposedly enacted by the community for the collective good of the community. Personal rights come into effect when the government is unable to show a compelling government interest which appears to conflict with that individual's pursuit of whatever they deem to be their personal rights or freedoms. But in this discussion of personal rights and freedoms the whole concept of personal responsibilities appears to be overlooked for reasons that continue to elude me.
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