This submission by Tony Palazzolo was the con opposing my pro on the recently released Wash. U. study on nicotine levels in 20 local bars and restaurants, 18 of which allowed smoking. He hangs his argument on what a lot of other pro-smoking proponents believe: that the amount of nicotine vapor present in the air in even the smokiest bars or restaurants tested is well below the OSHA standard.
Except that OSHA doesn’t HAVE a standard applicable to airborne nicotine from smoking!
Mr. Palazzolo also criticizes the study’s authors for not identifying the actual venues, although actually this is not uncommon. The reason may simply be to avoid the kind of threat of a lawsuit to which Missouri GASP has just been subjected by both Bill Hannegan AND Tony Palozzolo after I voluntarily informed Mr. Hannegan of the undercover study we had conducted the day before at the Double D Lounge in Brentwood.
Messrs. Hannegan and Palozzolo may say now that they were just trying to offer MoGASP a friendly warning, but that certainly isn’t how it came across. It was more a case of clear intimidation, even copying Marth Brothers, the suppliers of the smoke eaters in the bar we tested, in many of the e-mails.
Below is the actual e-mail I received from Bill Hannegan so that you can judge for yourself if this was just friendly advice:
Subject: Re: DD’s Irish Pub & Karaoke, formerly Double D Lounge
Date: September 26, 2010 12:30:29 PM CDT
To: [Martin Pion’s e-mail]
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
I have to warn you that there could be liability issues here. Be very careful about damaging the reputation of or injuring the business of the Double D Lounge or Marth Brothers with the results of tests conducted without the owner’s permission or cooperation.
Below is pasted Tony Palazzolo’s OpEd reproduced from the Riverfront Times web post:
Wash. U. Study Got it WRONG: Smoke Eaters Do Work
By Tony Palazzolo, Tue., Sep. 28 2010 @ 2:46PM
Tony Palazzolo is an active member of Keep St. Louis Free and a strong believer in personal rights.
Earlier this month Washington University released a study on air quality in smoking-allowed and smoke-free bars and restaurants in St Louis. They used nicotine as the marker to gauge environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) levels in all venues.
If you accept the conclusions of the study you should probably never leave the safe confines of your home. While nicotine was present in all venues it was on average thirty one times higher in smoking-allowed venues. This, they say, is proof that the air in these venues is deadly. What they left out of the press release that the nicotine levels were, at worst 500 times safer than OSHA standards in the establishments tested. Even at 31 times higher, it is still 500 times more dilute than would be considered harmful by OSHA. These are not arbitrary numbers but rigorously-tested standards developed by OSHA for all environments.
The other “finding” in this study is that they were surprised that establishments with ventilation had higher levels of nicotine.
According to the study, ventilation purportedly adds nicotine into the air. Even if the dubious claim that ventilation “just recirculates” ETS were true, it wouldn’t add more smoke to the environment. Even if systems were 100% ineffective they would have similar levels of ETS, not more.
A basic tenet of research is that all the information is released along with the study. In order for the research to be validated it needs to be replicated with similar results. Washington University not only withheld the venues that were tested but also the ventilation systems in use at these venues. Researchers are usually eager to release all the data resulting in such important findings. Why then would they withhold important data with a study that rewrites the laws of chemistry?
This is what is commonly referred to as “science by press release”. The point of the study was not the effectiveness of ventilation. It was to spread fear and misinformation to the public. They believe the public lacks the common sense and intelligence to question their results. The study was never meant to be scrutinized. It was meant to be released to the media and used as sound bytes in future press releases.
With, the results of the test showing air quality to be 500 times safer than OSHA standards. With, their conclusions not supported by any data they released. With their nonsensical findings that ventilation acts as a multiplier of ETS. We should all question what the researchers at Washington University were smoking.
Note: Read Martin Pion’s response: Wash U. Got it RIGHT: Smoke Eaters Don’t Work