2014-07-22 P-D: “No e-cigarettes for minors in Chesterfield after council vote”

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I wasn’t aware of this step being considered by Chesterfield City Council. It should not detract from the need for FDA oversight of e-cigarettes and of their being treated cautiously, even if they hold out the prospect of a safer means of delivering nicotine than regular cigarettes.

I gave some of my reasons for supporting a veto of Senate Bill 841 relating to this issue in a Letter to the Editor, published June 29: “Don’t let industry set e-cigarette laws.

No e-cigarettes for minors in Chesterfield after council vote
• By Tara Kulash tkulash@post-dispatch.com 314-340-81145

CHESTERFIELD • Chesterfield joined a growing list of municipalities Monday that are preventing the sale of vapor nicotine products to minors, taking action one week after a potential statewide ban was vetoed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.
         The City Council voted 6-1 Monday night in favor of an ordinance that would prohibit the sale and possession of vapor products to those under 18.

Council member Barry Flaschbart

Council member
Barry Flaschbart

“These e-cigarettes should not be for sale to kids — I’ve gotten a complaint from a neighbor whose teenage kids were solicited to buy them in a store,” said council member Barry Flachsbart, who voted for the measure.
         Vapor products are electronic devices with liquid nicotine that claim to lack the carcinogens found in tobacco. Usually called e-cigarettes, the products produce a vapor instead of smoke.
         Many supporters of the product argue that e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes and often help users to quit tobacco use.
         But the industry is largely unregulated at the federal level and may appear safer than it actually is.
         Dr. Anthony Scalzo, professor of pediatrics and director of toxicology at St. Louis University, called it “intuitive” to prohibit minors from the product.
         “The whole process of inhaling nicotine through this electronic thing, it eliminates toxins — yes, that’s the good part,” he said. “The bad thing is it’s still nicotine.”
         Scalzo said because the vapor lacks an offensive odor and lasts much longer than a cigarette, it encourages users to smoke it for longer periods of time and in public. This leads to a higher dose of nicotine over time and can lead to a stronger addiction, especially in children whose brains aren’t fully developed.
         He also said it’s worrisome that there may be contaminants in the vapors that the public is not aware of yet.
         And it’s especially concerning for children, Scalzo said, because it appears the companies are targeting them with flavors.
         “What 45-year-old guy that goes to the casino and is smoking wants bubblegum flavored? It’s appealing to the youth,” he said. “Let’s cut to the chase.”
         Parents in Chesterfield became aware of the threat and began making complaints to the city, said councilwoman Nancy Greenwood.
         Council member Bruce DeGroot cast the lone vote against the measure Monday.
         “This is too much government intervention,” DeGroot said. “Nobody has proven to me (e-cigarettes) are harmful to health in any way. Government powers should be used sparingly.”
         Several local vapor shops support the ordinance.
         Luke Ottinger, a co-owner of Arch City Vapors in the Chesterfield Four Seasons Shopping Plaza, said his shop does not sell to minors, nor does it allow parents to purchase the products for their children.
         He acknowledged one isolated incident, though, in which an employee sold a vapor product to a minor.
         The employee, he said, was fired.
         “We don’t even give warnings for that,” Ottinger said. “As far as we’re concerned, that’s not acceptable.”
         At Dorsett Vapor in Chesterfield, there’s a sign on the door notifying patrons that no one under 18 is allowed without a guardian.
         Store manager Dakota Rhoads said his shop also turns away adult customers who say they are buying the vapor products for their children.
         He said it would feel morally wrong to provide e-cigarettes to minors. “Getting them hooked at an early age is not something that we would want to do,” Rhoads said.
         Chesterfield is not the first in its ordinance. Ray Johnson, chief of the Chesterfield police, said Ellisville and Eureka have similar ordinances. Illinois also banned the sale to minors.
         Missouri legislators sent a bill to Nixon in May that would prohibit the sale to children. It would also prevent the product from being regulated as tobacco, but it allowed for changes to be made to the law if product risks were made known in the future.
         In April, the Federal Drug Administration released proposed guidelines that would prohibit the sale of vapor products to minors and require label warnings that nicotine is an addictive chemical, among other rules.
         On July 14, Nixon vetoed the Missouri legislation, arguing that the bill didn’t go far enough. He said it favored the tobacco industry because it exempted vapor products from the laws and taxes on traditional tobacco cigarettes.
         The next day, the American Vaping Association called for the Missouri Legislature to override the governor’s veto, calling Nixon “out of step with the rest of the nation” in a press release.
         More than 40 states have banned the sale of vapor products to minors.
         In the case of Chesterfield, police chief Johnson said after receiving complaint from a resident, he took the issue to the Public Health and Safety Committee, which then recommended the ordinance to the council.
         Johnson said the ordinance is not targeting any particular vapor shop.
         “We’re seeing more and more pop up around the metro area, so we’re just trying to get out ahead of this thing,” he said.

Mary Shapiro, Post-Dispatch special correspondent, contributed to this report.

2014-07-13 P-D: “Sherpa: Move to ban smoking in military needs snuffing”

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St. Louis Post-Dispatch Metro reporter, Joe Holleman, also writes the Sunday “Life Sherpa” column and his latest is worth reproducing. It reflects one point of view and has some resonance, in that when you’re serving on active duty in a war zone, smoking cigarettes may not seem like your biggest concern. However, promoting cigarette smoking, even among military personnel, no longer makes any sense, if it ever did.

Maybe it seemed like a good idea during trench warfare when there were evidently long bouts of tedium separating over-the-top suicide charges towards enemy lines protected by barbed wire and machine guns. Promoting smoking in the military was certainly a wonderful boost to tobacco manufacturers, and resulted in a sudden large return of addicted demobilized military personnel in 1918.

However, to quote a well-known cigarette sales pitch, since then “We’ve come a long way baby.” That is, except for those steadfastly closing their eyes to reality and what we’ve learned about the addictiveness of cigarettes, and the disease and premature death they cause. (Not to mention the similar effects and air pollution caused by secondhand smoke.)

In fact, a legislator whom Holleman dismisses, U.S. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, is a hero to me. As a Congressman, Durbin worked with the late U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) to pass the very first limitation on smoking in airplanes, requiring flights of two hours or less to be smoke-free – which eventually led to smoke-free flights to and from the U.S. At the time this was (and remains) an incredible victory, given the tobacco industry’s influence then and now in the Congress. (This noteworthy effort deserves a separate blog.)

Joe Holleman is living in the past, and evidently a great ally of one of the most duplicitous industries of our time: Big Tobacco.

Please note: I’ve shortened the article’s introduction.

Joe Holleman  Metro reporter

Joe Holleman, Metro reporter

Sherpa: Move to ban smoking in military needs snuffing
July 12, 2014 12:15 am • By Joe Holleman jholleman@post-dispatch.com 314-340-825450

When listening to sports radio, especially when the subject of evaluating a player’s talent arises, you might hear the phrase “eye test.” …. This simply means, after all the numbers have been crunched, what does a player look like? ….
         That’s why I propose that all legislators, and the executive branch for that matter, adopt the “ear test” as soon as possible. It would work like this:
         When proposing legislation, it shall be required that each representative read — out loud — what the bill will actually do. Forget the statistics for a moment and just see what reaction the words trigger in your brain.
         For if the ear test rule were in place, then Congress would not have recently discussed limiting or prohibiting military personnel from smoking cigarettes.
         My kingdom for an ear test, and mine would sound something like this:
         “Should the U.S. — while asking our military to face enemy guns, bombs and missiles; fly dangerous missions in airplanes and helicopters under fire; and endure nerve-wracking terror, tension and boredom in hostile locales — tell soldiers, sailors and pilots that they can’t smoke ’em, even if they got ’em?”

mogasp comment: Some fire departments have hired only non-smoking firefighters for what is also a dangerous job. To be eligible for disability due to job-related smoke inhalation it makes no sense to simultaneously permit cigarette smoking. While this is not exactly analogous, promoting the highest level of physical fitness among military personnel still makes sense.

         Many cigarette-haters will trumpet this move as a giant step in the right direction and point to the illnesses and deaths cigarettes cause.
         To be sure, I don’t disagree with those medical facts. I know personally of the damage that cigarettes cause. My father, a smoker for many years, died of lung cancer. Realizing the danger, I managed to kick that nasty habit 11 years ago, and I have no plans to put that monkey back on my back.
         Then again, I’ve been able to avoid those pesky “someone is trying to kill me with rocket-propelled grenades” stress levels.
         Heck, the worst fire I ever draw are snarky letters from soccer sycophants and animal activists. Sorry to disappoint, but those missives aren’t enough to push me back into the warm and smoky arms of Miss Winston Light.
         To no one’s surprise, I hope, this military-tobacco issue has even been the subject of a government study. One fact they managed to uncover is that smoking is higher among those who are likely to face enemy fire. (Didn’t see that one coming, did you?)

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin

         But isn’t it par for the course that our elected leaders would spend time discussing this issue? One U.S. senator, Illinois Democrat Richard Durbin, even questioned whether the military should be offering tobacco discounts.
         Durbin said, “We spend $1.6 billion a year on medical care of service members from tobacco-related diseases and loss of work.”
         Pardon me, but the pressing question about military health care is not how much we spend, but how well we spend it. Recent reports about deficiencies at Veterans Administration hospitals seem to indicate that the answer is “abysmally.”
         Thankfully, one U.S. congressman spotted the emperor jogging naked around the Capitol rotunda.
Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA)

Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA)

         Duncan Hunter, a Republican from California, got the House to prohibit placing new restrictions on legal products for the military.
         I’d like to think that Hunter — a Marine Reserve major who did three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan — won this battle by providing his own ear test, saying:
         “We sleep in the dirt for this country. We get shot at for this country. But we can’t have a cigarette if we want to for this country, because that’s unhealthy.”
         And on that note, the common-sense lamp was lit.
         

Comments on-line at http://tinyurl.com/kfmpzqc. 50 as of

2014-06-29 P-D Letters: “Don’t let industry set e-cigarette laws”

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I’m delighted that my Letter to the Editor, prompted by the OpEd by Ron Leone published the previous day, appeared in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It’s reproduced below:

Martin Pion

Martin Pion, President MoGASP

Don’t let industry set e-cigarette laws

Ronald Leone, Executive Director of the Jefferson City-based Missouri Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association, is a master at sleight of hand. If he’s opposed to something, you can guarantee it’s in the public interest to support it, and vice-versa.
         This has been the case with his consistent opposition to repeated ballot initiatives to increase the lowest-in-the-nation Missouri cigarette tax, which is 17 cents per pack.
         What he never admits is that it’s in his members’ interests to oppose a tax hike; that it would be beneficial for public health; that it would help to deter youth smoking and reduce adult smoking and, horrors! incentivize them to quit.
         Mr. Leone’s June 25th OpEd (“Protecting kids from e-cigarettes: A common-sense approach”) in favor of Senate Bill 841 picked out the only potential carrot in the bill — prohibiting youth access to e-cigarettes — to justify what is overall a bad bill. Leone’s support confirms it should be vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon.
         Reasons include the need for federal definition and regulation of e-cigarettes, as well as local clean air regulation, which this bill preempts.
         The health groups opposing the bill, apart from Missouri GASP, include the Greene County Medical Society, the Missouri State Medical Association, the Missouri Academy of Family Physicians, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and the Tobacco Free Missouri Coalition.
         The public health and welfare is ill-served when we allow Mr. Leone to set the agenda.

Martin Pion • Ferguson
President, Missouri GASP (Group Against Smoking Pollution) Inc.

2014-06-25 P-D OpEd: “Protecting kids from e-cigarettes: A common-sense approach”

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Mr. Ron Leone does a great job on behalf of those he’s paid to represent. Not so much on behalf of the public health and welfare.

Here’s an objectionable section in the new law pertaining to e-cigarettes:

3. Alternative nicotine products and vapor products shall only
be sold to persons eighteen years of age or older, shall be subject to
local and state sales tax, but shall not be otherwise taxed or regulated
as tobacco products.

In the past, Mr. Leone has worked successfully against several proposed increases in Missouri’s cigarette tax, motivated by concerns over a decrease in tobacco sales but hiding those reasons behind bogus arguments. (Please see a previous blog here: 2012-11-07 P-D: “Missouri keeps tobacco tax as the lowest in the nation”.)

Here’s the OpEd he wrote, published in yesterday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch, favoring Senate Bill 841 which is currently on Governor Nixon’s desk.

Ron Leone

Ron Leone

Protecting kids from e-cigarettes: A common-sense approach
June 25, 2014 12:00 am • Ronald J. Leone

“Alternative nicotine products” and “vapor products,” commonly and collectively referred to as “e-cigs,” have surged in popularity over the last several years. However, most Missourians would be surprised to learn that there are few if any laws on the books that regulate these new products, which means that today in Missouri children can lawfully purchase and use e-cigs.
         The Missouri Legislature, taking a common-sense, go-slow approach, recently passed Senate Bill 841. SB 841 does many good things, including:

• Defines and thus identifies alternative nicotine products and vapor products.

• Ensures that local and state sales taxes are paid and remitted when e-cigs are purchased.

• Most importantly, addresses youth access by prohibiting the sale of e-cigs to anyone under the age of 18.

         The Food and Drug Administration recently proposed draft e-cig rules that actually strengthen the case for SB 841. The main thrust of the FDA’s rules, at least with respect to actions the state of Missouri can take, is prohibiting the sale of e-cigs to minors under the age of 18, which ties in perfectly with the main goal of SB 841.
         In all likelihood, it will take many months if not years before the FDA’s proposed e-cig rules are finalized. Thankfully, the Missouri Legislature has wisely chosen not to wait and has proactively addressed the most important issues by passing SB 841 and prohibiting youth access to e-cigs.
         In addition, SB 841 specifically states that the additional taxing and regulating of e-cigs — after receiving additional information, guidance and science from the FDA and others — will be addressed in future years by the people through the Missouri Legislature and a change to the law and not by rules and regulations issued from on high by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats.
         Several health care advocacy special interest groups actually opposed SB 841 because they felt the bill didn’t go far enough in terms of regulating and taxing e-cigs. They testified that they would rather see no bill pass in 2014, even though inaction would mean that 10-year-olds could continue to lawfully purchase and use e-cigs in Missouri.
         These special interest groups are now going so far as to urge Gov. Jay Nixon to veto SB 841 because the bill does not define and classify e-cigs as “tobacco products,” even though e-cigs contain nicotine but no tobacco.
         In politics, you should never let the desire for the perfect bill, which rarely if ever happens, keep you from supporting a good bill which moves the issue forward and promotes positive change in a realistic and measured way. Especially when any law can be changed at any time in the future by the people through their elected senators and representatives when and if new facts, science or federal guidelines warrant a change in the law.
         Thanks to the efforts of Sen. Jay Wasson, R-Nixa, and Reps. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, and Caleb Jones, R-Columbia, SB 841 passed by very strong votes in the Missouri Senate — 27 to 4 — and the Missouri House — 127 to 19.
         We urge Gov. Nixon to sign SB 841 into law. Once this is done, Missourians can be assured that a meaningful step has been taken to ensure that children are prohibited from purchasing and using e-cigs.

Ronald J. Leone is the executive director of the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, located in Jefferson City.

2014-05-22 P-D: “Study: E-cigarettes help smokers quit”

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Can mosquitoes tell the difference between e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes?!

Other Coast by Adrian Raeside

MoGASP question: Can mosquitoes tell the difference between e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes?!

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently republished a news article about a favorable British study of e-cigarettes, adding to the debate over these still-unregulated nicotine delivery devices. If e-cigarettes genuinely help smokers quit and don’t encourage smoking initiation, they should be seen as a welcome but regulated alternative to cigarettes. Regulation includes not permitting e-cigarette use in smoke-free areas to ensure continued compliance with smoke-free air laws.

Please also see an earlier blog about the glamorization of e-cigarettes, reminiscent of the former promotion of regular cigarettes: 2013-07-12 P-D: New health concern about e-cigarettes?

Also, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter, Marie French, wrote a May 12, 2014, article titled Measure barring minors from e-cigarette purchases sent to Missouri governor in which Rep. Jill Schupp reportedly expressed concerns about the bill, SB 841:

Rep. Jill Schupp (D), Creve Coeur

Rep. Jill Schupp

Rep. Jill Schupp (D), Creve Coeur, said on the House floor Monday that this definition and exemption from regulations applying to tobacco products could limit the ability of the FDA to impose future regulations on e-cigarettes. She called it a “pre-emptive strike” against the FDA’s authority.

“Even though the FDA did come out with regulations that increase the taxes on e-cigarette products we need to leave the door open,” Schupp said. “We know it takes more than just not selling these products to 18 year olds to stop young people from smoking.”

Recently, the Greene County Medical Society called on Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to veto SB 841. A link to their letter is below, courtesy of Jim Blaine, MD, followed by the e-cigarettes article.

Greene County Medical Society June 3, 2014, letter to Gov. Nixon requesting veto of SB 841

Study: E-cigarettes help smokers quit
May 22, 2014 2:00 pm • Abby Phillip
The Washington Post

People who used e-cigarettes to try to quit smoking were significantly more likely to succeed than those who bought over-the-counter cessation aids or tried to go cold turkey, according to British researchers.
         The study — of 5,863 adults who wanted to stop smoking — was conducted by University College London researchers and is scheduled to be published in the journal Addiction on Wednesday.
         Twenty percent of those who used e-cigarettes reported they had quit smoking tobacco and were still off cigarettes at the time the survey was taken. Ten percent of those who used nicotine patches or gums said they had quit, and about 15 percent of those who used nothing said they stopped smoking.
         “The potential public health aspect to e-cigarettes is they seem to tap into a widespread appeal that these types of cessation methods have never managed to do,” Jamie Brown, one of the study’s authors, said in an interview Tuesday. “In so far as e-cigarettes helped people to stop, then the fact that they are so widely used could suggest that it would have a quite positive public health effect.”
         About 42 million Americans smoke tobacco, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 68 percent are trying to quit.
         E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a nicotine-laced liquid that produces an inhaled vapor. Still, they are lightly regulated in the United States, their nicotine levels vary and there have been some reports of carcinogens present in the vapor.
         E-cigarettes appear to be better at helping people quit because they are a novel way of consuming nicotine. “Vaping” provides a similar “sensory experience” to smoking, Brown said.

Letter from Greene County Medical Society to Gov. Nixon, dated June 3, 2014:

May21Resolution

2014-05-21 P-D: “Move by Legislature could exempt St. Charles casino from smoking ban”

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Yet more efforts, supported by St. Charles elected officials, to ensure smoking continues in its Ameristar Casino over unfounded fears that revenues would drop if it were to go smoke-free. The bill, SB672, should be vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon.

Move by Legislature could exempt St. Charles casino from smoking ban
May 21, 2014 12:15 am • By Mark Schlinkmann mschlinkmann@post-dispatch.com 636-255-7233

ST. CHARLES • City officials may soon have a way to shield the Ameristar Casino from any future countywide smoking ban, thanks to action by the Missouri Legislature before it adjourned.
         If Gov. Jay Nixon signs the newly passed bill, St. Charles would be added to a list of cities exempt from county health rules if they set up their own municipal health departments.

Mayor Sally Faith

Mayor Sally Faith

         “It’s the opportunity to have something to fall back on,” Mayor Sally Faith said Tuesday.
         Faith worries that the millions of dollars in city tax revenue from the casino would be reduced if smoking is prohibited and attendance dropped.
         Troy Stremming, an executive with Ameristar’s parent company, said it supports the city’s bill “if they believe this is important for the future growth of the city.”

Pat Lindsey, TFMo STL

Pat Lindsey, TFMo STL

         Anti-smoking activist Pat Lindsey decried the Legislature’s move.
         “It’s beyond me how they can go backwards like this,” said Lindsey, the volunteer executive director of Tobacco-Free St. Louis. “From a health standpoint, what are they thinking?”
         Under current law, cities with at least 75,000 residents with their own health agencies are exempt from county rules to “enhance the public health.” The bill adds St. Charles, which had 65,794 residents in the 2010 census, to that category.
         Originally sponsored by Rep. Doug Funderburk, R-St. Peters, the provision was tacked on to a lengthy bill on local government issues across Missouri.
         Ameristar has said the St. Charles casino could lose 25 percent of its business if smoking was barred but still allowed at its competitors.

Councilman Joe Cronin 203 300 T 101 150

Councilman Joe Cronin

         A smoking ban advocate on the St. Charles County Council — Joe Cronin, R-St. Paul — says such estimates are overblown. He also said setting up a city health agency would cost “a lot of money.”
         Cronin has tried unsuccessfully for various bans, sometimes via health ordinances and others through county charter amendments. It’s unclear whether the Legislature’s bill could exempt the city from charter measures.
         In 2012, the county put on the ballot a two-question smoking package, but it was blocked by a judge.
         Voters first would have been asked to decide on banning smoking in public places. A second question would have exempted places barring people under age 21, such as the casino and bars.
         City officials worried that voters might pass the ban but reject the exemption measure.
         Cronin’s most recent bill would ban smoking in public places except those barring people under age 21, exempting Ameristar. That bill died last week but he plans to reintroduce it later this year.
         The bill passed by the Legislature is SB672.

2014-05-09: Smoking female featured by Urban Spoon for Mother’s Day

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I’m on Urban Spoon’s e-mail list, which has to do with food and cooking, as the name suggests. I was shocked by an animation in today’s e-mail from newsletter@urbanspoon.com which shows an elegantly dressed young woman puffing away on a cigarette, adjoining another panel full of beautiful peonies.

This might have been considered acceptable several decades ago when cigarette smoking was being promoted by tobacco companies and others as a desirable behavior, especially for emancipated women. But in this day and age? I can’t think of anything more deplorable.

Then I followed the link and discovered it was a character from Mad Men, supposedly “looking pissed,” as the caption maintains.

Add caption

Betty Draper – Mad Men
Caption reads: “Better Draper Looking Pissed”

So do I chalk my overreaction down to simply failing to be hip with modern TV culture, like Mad Men? Or is this something to get upset about?

2014-05-11: After posting the above, I received reaction from Michael McFadden, author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains,” which I bought but don’t find to be too objective. In his comments, which I’ve published, he disagreed with my viewpoint. However, “S” then e-mailed me, strongly disputing McFadden’s position. After reviewing S’s e-mail and doing further research myself, I felt it worth adding the following:

From “S” (whose identity I’ve agreed, exceptionally, to keep confidential):
         In seeing the reply from the staunch smoking advocate, Michael McFadden, regarding the Johnny Carson clip, I did some checking on the people featured in the clip. Note that George Gobel, Dean Martin, Johnny Carson were each prominently smoking … but Bob Hope was not smoking.
         George Gobel died at age 71 during heart surgery.
         Dean Martin was diagnosed with lung cancer, died age 78 of respiratory failure due to emphysema.
         Johnny Carson had a heart attack, died age 79 of respiratory failure due to emphysema.
         Bob Hope died at age 100 of pneumonia. One Internet source said Hope did smoke, another said he did not. Because he did endorse Chesterfield cigarettes back in the 40’s, I’m speculating he may have smoked back then and later quit. I don’t ever recall seeing Hope smoking.

Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_carson says:
Carson was a heavy smoker for decades and, in the early days of his tenure on Tonight, often smoked on-camera. It was reported that as early as the mid-1970s, he would repeatedly say, “These things are killing me.” His younger brother recalled that during their last conversation, Carson kept saying, “Those damn cigarettes.”

Hardly seems the warm nostalgia McFadden tried to evoke.

George Burns in 1986

George Burns in 1986

In response to the above I replied:
         One has to be careful using individual stories to prove a general point – e.g. cigar-smoking comedian, George Burns, died at 100, but it’s probably still a valid response in this case. (I just checked on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Burns and he’s shown holding a cigar. Burns did an act with his wife, Gracie Allen, who died at age 69 in 1964 from a heart attack after a long battle with heart disease, possibly from her husband’s smoking.)

This generated the following response from “S”:
         Gee, you’re right about George Burns. Also, our old nemesis in the (Missouri State) Capitol, John Britton, is in his late 80’s and about a year ago commented on how he cut back from smoking 4 packs a day to only 3 packs a day now. By the way, I heard recently he now pulls an oxygen tank behind him.

Couple of observations:
         1 – For every 1 smoker that lives a very long life, there are many others that have their lives end prematurely. On average, smokers live about 13-14 years less than non-smokers.
         2 – Don’t cigar smokers say they don’t inhale? That could reduce the odds for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, but not for oral cancer. The real reason they likely don’t inhale may have to do with the alkalinity of cigar smoke making it difficult to draw into the lungs. With cigarettes, the tobacco is flue-cured to concentrate the sugars, plus other sugars like molasses are added, to reduce the alkalinity and make the smoke much easier to inhale … and much easier for the toxins to be introduced to the respiratory and cardiovascular system.