2011/02/17 P-D: “Missouri lawmaker seeks prison smoking ban”

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The purpose of the legislators filing this bill is not to make it more bearable for those incarcerated: it’s to save money on healthcare costs. However, being imprisoned and subjected to secondhand smoke when you’re smoke-sensitive must make incarceration practically intolerable to bear.

                                             AN ACT

To amend chapter 191, RSMo, by adding thereto one new section relating to use of tobacco products in state correctional facilities.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:

         Section A. Chapter 191, RSMo, is amended by adding thereto one new section, to be known as section 191.774, to read as follows:
         191.774. No person shall smoke or otherwise use tobacco products in any area of a state correctional center or the grounds thereof. Any person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of an infraction.

Comment from MoGASP on St. Louis Post-Dispatch web site:

Martin Pion said on: February 18, 2011, 7:21 am
This measure deserves support, but not merely to save the state money on healthcare costs. Especially when incarcerated, you should not be forced to breathe other’s secondhand smoke (SHS).
Likewise, prison guards should not have to be exposed to SHS: it’s not part of the job description.
Martin Pion, President, Missouri GASP (Group Against Smoking Pollution) Inc. NFP 501(c)(3) since 1986. www.mogasp.wordpress.com

Missouri lawmaker seeks prison smoking ban

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | Posted: Thursday, February 17, 2011 7:03 am | Comments (60 at 11:38 pm on 2/18/11)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. • Some Missouri lawmakers want to snuff out cigarettes at state prisons.
         Bills filed recently in both the Missouri House and Senate would prohibit smoking or the use of tobacco products anywhere on the grounds of state correctional facilities.

Sen. Jim Lembke (R - S. St. Louis County)

         One of the sponsors is Republican Sen. Jim Lembke of St. Louis, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee. He says the proposed tobacco ban is a financial issue.
         Lembke says the cost of medical care for prisoners has risen significantly. And he says two chief causes are cardiac problems and cancer, which are associated with tobacco use.
         According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, 13 states currently prohibit the use of all tobacco products both indoors and outdoors on the grounds of correctional facilities.
Tobacco bills are SB289 and HB445.

Sen. Jim Lembke represents District 01 in SW St. Louis County, primarily just south of St. Louis City.

Rep. Chris Molendorp (R)

Sponsor of HB445 is Rep. Chris Molendorp (R – District 123) in Cass County, south of Kansas City, Mo.

19 responses to “2011/02/17 P-D: “Missouri lawmaker seeks prison smoking ban”

  1. I find it a little funny to see second hand smoke as cruel and unusual punishment, but not prison life itself. Seems as insane as “let them eat cake.” But the stimulus for this was financial, not out of compassion for either the prisoners or guards.

    mogasp reply: It might seem funny but it’s not, if you stop to think about it and you’re at all smoke-sensitive.
    In my first U.S. job I was cooped up with a PhD in a two-person windowless office. He was addicted to Camels. At least I could get away from him from time to time, certainly once I started working in a clean room, and obviously at quitting time. An inmate doesn’t have such options. THAT’S torture.
    You’re absolutely correct in your last remark: that’s what makes it a sad commentary on priorities. As has been noted before: “It’s wealth before health.”

  2. Actually MoGasp, you bring up an interesting point I’d never thought of before. If antismoking claims about the deadly consequences of asthmatic and allergic attacks due to secondary smoke exposure are true, there must be a long list, at least into the tens or hundreds of thousands (among the tens of millions who’ve been imprisoned), of prisoners who have died from acute reactions to secondary smoke exposure from which they clearly had no escape.

    I have never seen such a list, but if the claims are true then it must be common knowledge among prison doctors.

    This might be worth your investigating if you think about it.

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”

    mogasp reply: You won’t see “smoking” listed as a cause of death on any doctor’s certificate either. Does that mean smoking doesn’t cause premature death?

  3. Obviously not MoGasp, but I think you understand the difference between conditions occurring after 40 years of a daily activity and the instant reaction type conditions you generally talk about here. Instant reaction deaths WOULD have been noted and their immediate and drastic decline after prison bans would ALSO have been noted (and headlined!)

    If you want to talk about the 40 year lung cancer from ETS thing, I’m perfectly willing to, but you have to remember that even the EPA’s one death in 40,000 worker-years was based on conditions that were roughly 10x as smokey as workers today would be exposed to in Free Choice situations. So today’s “threat” would be more on the order of 1 death for every half-million worker years LC, and probably considerably less using the standard 95% scientific criterion.

    You might have a stronger argument in terms of ETS heart deaths, but you also might not. I’d guess you’ve seen the strong criticisms of the “post-ban heart attack” studies mounted by me, Dr. Siegel, Chris Snowdon, et al, and there’s no reason to imagine that the long-term heart attack studies were done any better: the study environments and motivations were largely the same.

    – MJM

    mogasp character limit note: You got a little carried away here and I only just noticed it: 1,192 to be exact. It will be allowed but please respect the limit in future, as you have done previously.

  4. A prisoner doesn’t necessarily lose his basic human rights when he’s convicted. The right to breathe clean air is as basic a human right as you can get. Subjecting prisoners to the torture of poisonous smoke is a clear violation of their human rights.

  5. I have mixed feelings about smoking in prisons, if an addict is sent to prison, the deprivation of nicotine could result in acute suffering with no remedy in sight for the inmate..

    mogasp response: If an addict for any other substance than nicotine is incarcerated I hope they get counseling and help dealing with it. The same should be provided for nicotine addicts, including nicotine replacement therapy, if necessary.
    If you instead facilitate smoking you are engaging in what is called “enabling behavior:” enabling someone to continue a destructive behavior. Typically, it’s applied to alcohol abuse and illegal drugs but it also applies to nicotine addiction.

  6. Horacio, there is nothing “clear” about a “violation of human rights” here. I believe the Geneva Conventions specify tobacco as a human right for prisoners of war, and they were largely referring to smoking when written. Plus there would clearly be no violation involved in such simple alternative measures as allowing cell block segregation by smoking status. I would also quibble with your use of the term “poisoning” since simply housing them in prison subjects them to poisoning by thousands of toxic metabolic exhaled human waste products from other prisoners’ respiratory excretions.

    In terms of “enabling behavior,” are you classed as an enabler when you provide a tasty Thanksgiving feast or blueberry pancake breakfast to visiting overweight relatives? Wouldn’t it be better to “help them” by giving them celery stalks? Heh: if I may offer a plug for the Tobacco Harm Reduction folks about celery, may I point to Paul L. Bergen’s wonderful piece at:



    mogasp response: You can’t just “make up” a definition for “enabling behavior” to suit your agenda. As I noted previously, the term is used specifically for alcohol and abuse of other addictive drugs, including nicotine. There’s plenty of information on-line if you care to look.

  7. MoGasp, in a sense, the ‘80s redefinition of smoking as an addiction was an enabling behavior since it removed responsibility from the smokers themselves and placed it upon “the addiction.” The falsity of the redefinition showed when smokers were routinely forced to skip multiple “doses” on airplanes without allowance for an “addiction” defense.

    Previously I believe the negative aspect of “enabling” only applied to drugs with serious physical withdrawal (e.g. alcohol & heroin) and occasionally to drugs with negative behavioral/functional consequences, e.g. marijuana. The impropriety of moving the language to other dopamine-related activities such as overeating or overexercising isn’t that much greater jumping to smoking.

    You might even argue that the entire language change was a BigT creation rather than an antismoking artifice: after all, it gave smokers the perfect excuse for not quitting and ignoring smoking bans: after all, you can’t blame them for their “addiction” right?

    – MJM

    mogasp response: So you can’t blame an alcoholic for drinking and driving and potentially causing mayhem on the road?

  8. But Library of Congress researchers noted that when individual health costs of smoking are calculated by antismoking advocates, they never subtract the individual health costs of nonsmokers from the total. When that is done, smoking costs are about 33 cents a pack. And by the way,, why does this bill ban outdoor smoking at state prisons?

  9. “His bill is opposed by the Executive Director of the Missouri Correctional Officers Association, Gary Gross. Gross fears prison violence and illegal trafficking if tobacco is banned at prisons.”

  10. Firstly, over the last decade there has been a growing group of people who believe they are “allergic” to tobacco smoke. Yet there are no allergens in tobacco smoke to be allergic to. It is an entirely recent “illness”. These and others who believe they are “smoke sensitive” are experiencing mental dysfunction. The unquestioned, incessant, inflammatory antismoking barrage of the last few decades where every other word is “danger”, “kill”, “harm”, etc, has produced the environmental somatization syndrome in many. Worse, it has then made this syndrome appear “normal”. Fear and hate-mongering produce anxiety reactions or somatization, e.g., heart palpitations, chest tightness, shortness of breath, headache, eye/nose irritation. These have nothing to do with the “causal” physical properties of SHS but are psychogenic (psychologically produced). Making these irrational reactions appear normal then promotes bigotry where neurotics demand irrational “protection”.

    mogasp comment: 970 characters, and this is just your FIRST comment! The limit is 1,000 characters, to which other commenters typically adhere.

  11. Secondly, the same goes for asthma. Any form of smoke – cooking, heating, tobacco – was not even considered as potential trigger for asthma until the deranged antismoking crusade got well underway. Now there is an ever-growing group of asthmatics that believe that tobacco smoke “triggers” their asthma. Again, asthma is also highly prone to psychogenic effects – somatization. This is a [mental] problem that has been produced by the medical establishment chasing delusional antismoking agenda (i.e., iatrogenic). [There are actually asthmatics that smoke] To add further absurdity, there are asthmatics, and others, that have no problem with cooking or heating smoke, which essentially contain the same constituents. They only have a “problem” with tobacco smoke. This is irrational fear and bigotry in motion.

    mogasp comment: What actual evidence can you produce to support your allegations, especially your conclusion that “This is irrational fear and bigotry in motion.”?
    This comment adds an additional 812 characters to the first for a total of 1,782. The limit is 1,000

  12. Fourthly, concerning the prison smoking ban, you’ll notice that the ban is not only indoors but on the entire grounds (i.e., outdoors too). There is not even the pretense of a scientific basis for outdoor bans, i.e., SHS “danger”. It is ideologically motivated, fitting the eugenics domination of this time.

    A Canadian Federal Court has thrown out a prison [outdoor] smoking ban.
    In his ruling, Judge Martineau noted that smoking is legal and that the ban had no basis under the current legislation.

    Canada’s Non-Smokers’ Health Act prohibits smoking in or directly outside federal buildings – but not on the grounds as in the case of the prison ban.

    He also noted the ban did nothing to reduce or prevent exposure to second-hand smoke.

    “The new guideline simply goes too far,” the judge wrote in his judgement.

    “The ban on outdoor smoking has no rational link with the rights of non-smokers who don’t want to be exposed to second-hand smoke.”

    mogasp response: The judge is wrong.
    And why are you tossing in “eugenics”? Changing the subject and/or making unfounded allegations is typical of those opposing smoke-free air laws.
    Definition of EUGENICS found at http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eugenics: a science that deals with the improvement (as by control of human mating) of hereditary qualities of a race or breed.
    Character count = 2,767 to this point.

  13. Another serious problem is that these cruel, draconian, ideologically-motivated [indoor/outdoor] smoking bans have also been instituted for mental health and aged-care facilities. Those living in such facilities are not prisoners.

    MoGASP, you’re going to have to entertain the idea that when medicos shove their way into social engineering (eugenics), they become a dangerous entity.

    mogasp reply: According to your logic, we shouldn’t prevent alcoholics from drinking and driving either. And just for good measure, you can’t resist throwing in “eugenics” again.
    Total character count to this point = 3,149

  14. MoGASP: If an addict for any other substance than nicotine is incarcerated I hope they get counseling and help dealing with it. The same should be provided for nicotine addicts, including nicotine replacement therapy, if necessary.

    MoGASP, most addictions involve illegal substances. Tobacco is not an illegal substance. MoGASP, your bigotry is showing.

    The nicotine addiction myth also serves the pharma cartel. By depicting smoking as due only to nicotine addiction, the pharma cartel has been able to peddle its NRT as the major/only means of quitting smoking.
    Yet, the success rate of NRT at one year is 3+% above a 3+% placebo baseline: At one year, NRT has a failure rate of ~97%. At two years, it is even closer to a 100% failure rate. This further and greatly undermines the “nicotine addiction” model.


    mogasp reply: Alcohol is not an illegal substance either, yet the same arguments apply concerning helping alcoholics to overcome their addiction. As regards NRT, if indeed it is not effective then I certainly don’t favor it’s use. I’m seeking an informed opinion on NRT.
    A few ex-smokers have told me that they were cured by hypnosis. We should support anything that works.

  15. The pharma cartel, in agreement with you, would like nothing more than indoor/outdoor smoking bans (e.g., prisons) so that it can peddle its useless NRT at the taxpayers expense.

    The pharmaceutical cartel pushes for smoking bans and increased taxes on tobacco by funding antismoking groups. The medical establishment also peddles these essentially useless products. When bans and increased taxes are instituted there is an increase in NRT sales.

    mogasp comment: The Big Pharma bogeyman appears to be very obviously an attempt to invent a counterpoint to Big Tobacco. It’s certainly true that the former has produced some flawed drugs but they aren’t in the business of knowingly pushing a highly addictive product known to cause premature death to half its users, as is Big Tobacco, and having no qualms about the effects on nonsmokers who are also exposed.
    Total count up to this point = 5,056 characters

  16. John Andersen, that’s not you talking, that’s the nicotine talking.
    Overcome your addiction so you can think clearly and then we’ll talk.

  17. What actual evidence can you produce to support your allegations, especially your conclusion that “This is irrational fear and bigotry in motion.”?

    For psychogenic effects:
    There’s an easily accessible and good discussion in Rampant Antismoking Signifies Grave Danger (available free)

    Regarding Asthma:
    p. 297-305; p.347-353

    Regarding the environmental somatization syndrome:

  18. Horacio,
    Thank you for your kind words. So you think nicotine “talks”, do you? You might need to entertain the idea that you’re not thinking straight. Fanaticism severely clouds judgment.

    Nicotine is not peculiar to tobacco. It is found in small quantities in potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, green peppers, black tea.

    Nicotine is also a precursor of nicotinic acid, also known as niacin or vitamin B3. When tobacco is oxidized (burnt) most of the nicotine is converted to a number of substances including nicotinic acid.

    “Nicotine addiction” goes back to the 19th century where anti-tobacco fanatics (temperance movement) didn’t have a clue as to what happens to nicotine when it is converted/metabolized. It was then continued by the eugenics movement from the early-20th century. The “nicotine addiction” model serves deranged ideology (eugenics) and its industrial partners (the pharma cartel).

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