P-D 9/8/2010: “Wash U to release study on secondhand smoke”

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I fortuitously noticed this story on-line earlier this morning (it’s not in the printed version of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch yet) and after reading it checked out the comments. Sure enough, they’re overwhelmingly negative, panning the researchers’ conclusions even before knowing them, and putting forward spurious reasons why this research will be flawed.

Only one comment at the time I checked supported smoke-free air:

David Hartstein said on: September 8, 2010, 8:40 am

I agree that even with proper ventilation, it seems obvious that second hand smoke would still negatively impact the health of others in the space. I support the smoking ban and personally have stopped going to places that are smokey. To me, when one person’s choices impact the health and well-being of others, it is reasonable to restrict that activity to the privacy of one’s own home.

David Hartstein
JG Visual

The on-line story is pasted below. To read comments please click here. I’ve added a couple of comments (please see below following story) and invite you to do likewise.

Wash U to release study on secondhand smoke

By MICHELE MUNZ mmunz@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8263 | Posted: Wednesday, September 8, 2010 5:41 am | (14) Comments

Researchers at Washington University are expected to announce today the results of the first study to monitor secondhand smoke exposure in St. Louis area bars and restaurants and whether ventilation systems work in purifying the air.
The study was a joint effort between the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine and the Center for Tobacco Policy Research at Washington University. Researchers looked at airborne nicotine levels, nicotine levels in employees’ hair samples, employees’ health, employees’ knowledge about smoke-free policies and the effectiveness of ventilation systems.
Key players are scheduled to discuss the findings at a 1 p.m. press conference. John Postel, marketing and entertainment manager of the Highlands Brewing Co. in Kirkwood, where a smoking ban went into effect over nine months ago, is also on the list to speak.
A smoking ban in public places in St. Louis and St. Louis County takes effect Jan. 2. However, casino floors, some hotel rooms, private clubs (mainly veterans and fraternal organizations) and tobacco stores are exempt. The county also exempts bars where income from food is 25 percent or less of gross receipts.
In the city, small bars — less than 2,000 square feet where food sales are “incidental” to alcohol consumption — have five years to comply with the ban.
Bans are already in effect in Clayton, Kirkwood, Arnold, Ballwin and Lake Saint Louis and throughout the state of Illinois. Some of the municipal laws, such as one that goes into effect Jan. 1 in Brentwood, ban smoking in all bars.

My comments posted to date on the Post-Dispatch:

Martin Pion said on: September 8, 2010, 9:34 am

I wasn’t aware of this study but I’m delighted to learn of it.
MoGASP has funded independent studies in Ballwin and Arnold restaurants and bars in the past but those results have not been published in peer-reviewed journals. These new studies of smoke-free environments vs. ventilation solutions would probably be a spur to submitting our result for publication.
In research, it’s important to obtain more than one set of data.
Martin Pion, B.Sc. President, MoGASP

Martin Pion said on: September 8, 2010, 10:05 am

Tony Palazzolo wrote: “You already know that nicotine levels are higher in places that allow smoking than not …. nicotine sticks to clothing … which is not harmful in anyway.”
I’m baffled by your logic. Nicotine in the air is a unique surrogate for SHS. What research can you point to showing that the nicotine being measured in smoking-permitted environments is mainly or even partially due to clothing?
This is a red herring.
Martin Pion, B.Sc., President, Missouri GASP
Report Abuse

6 responses to “P-D 9/8/2010: “Wash U to release study on secondhand smoke”

  1. A small amount of smoke from tobacco in a decently ventilated venue is
    a statistically insignificant health risk

    http://fightingback.homestead.com (144 characters)

  2. The prestige of Washington University’s Test should serve to bolster the work done by MO Gasp, under the guidance of our indomitable leader, Martin Pion.

  3. If negative ventilation is good enough for operating rooms in the hospitals then I would think ventialtion is good enough for the hospitality industry (150 characters.)

  4. For years, the U.S. Surgeon General has stated that ventilation systems are no protection from second-hand smoke (Google the report for confirmation). It is unfortunate that the St Louis area has the highest number of nicotine addicts of any city in America, as the overwhelming negative reaction to this report demonstrates. I was an addict 25 yrs ago but overcame may addiction by sheer will-power and you can too, then you won’t feel compelled by the nicotine to protect cigarettes. (485 characters)

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