2011/03/12 KMOV Ch 4 “Extra Edition” with Martin Pion (MoGASP) vs attorney Beavis Schock re. Clayton outdoor smoking

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The following is a MoGASP transcript of the broadcast which aired at 6 am on Saturday morning. Images were captured from the TV with a digital camera, hence the quality.

“Extra Edition” from NEWS 4 and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Moderator John Knicely introducing NEWS 4 Extra Edition

Moderator, John Knicely: “Good morning, and welcome to “Extra Edition.” I’m John Knicely.
         In recent years, more and more local communities have adopted smoking bans in public buildings, restaurants, even bars and lodges.
         Now, smokers are saying a new ban in Clayton goes too far, and they’re fighting back.
         The new ban prohibits smoking in public parks.
         The lawsuit was filed last week alleging a violation of constitutional rights. News 4 Jasmine Huta filed this report the day the lawsuit was filed.”

[Jasmine Huta’s News 4 report, which is posted on the mogasp blog here, was shown.]

John Knicely:”That report was filed last week when the lawsuit challenging the outdoor smoking ban was filed. Since then anti-smoking advocates have also spoken out, voicing their strong support for the smoking ban in public parks. It’s a spirited debate.

Pion, Schock and moderator Knicely at the start of the program

Joining us this morning to explain both sides are Beavis Shock, right next to me: he’s the Clayton attorney who filed the lawsuit. And down on the end is Martin Pion. He’s a long-time anti-smoking advocate and leader of the local chapter of GASP. That stands for Group to Alleviate Smoking Pollution.
So we’ll start with you Beavis. Where is this lawsuit now in the process?”

Plaintiff's attorney Bevis Schock challenging legality of smoke-free air ordinance

Beavis Shock: “Well, we just started, er, the other side will be getting their pleading today, and then they have, gosh, 60 days to file an answer.
         Er, the law doesn’t work very quickly. Um, er, so we don’t know what their position’s going to be.          Clayton may decide that they just, their position is so silly that they want to repeal it, which of course is what we hope.
         Um, or they may dig in for a long fight and we’re prepared for the long fight if that’s what they want to do ’cause it’s a freedom issue.

John Knicely: “Martin, you were obviously happy that this ban was put in place. Now that it’s being challenged what are your thoughts?”

Martin Pion, president of Missouri GASP

Martin Pion: “Well let me just correct something: we’re Group Against Smoking Pollution. We used to be Group to Alleviate Smoking Pollution. We were lucky if we could get a smoke-free section in a restaurant. That was pretty absurd because the smoke doesn’t stay put. Now were Group Against Smoking Pollution.
         And we’re not anti-smoking, we’re pro-smokefree. That’s what we want. We want smoke-free environments. We’re not against smokers, because when you talk about Group Against Smoking Pollution it sounds like you’re against smokers. We’re not.
         If this gentleman wants to smoke, it’s fine. He’s not going to do it in here is he, let’s face it. If he smokes in the privacy of his own home it’s fine by us. We don’t have any objection to that.”

John Knicely: “When you look at the smoking bans that have been put in place, one of the main arguments across the nation have been the health risks of secondhand smoke, and so those issues obviously pop up in an indoor environment. But when you look at an outdoor environment where is the argument in your standpoint?”

Martin Pion: “Well, I understand the, why it’s hard to grasp that outdoor smoking should be a problem because we’ve got, er, you know, dilution. It’s obvious. But there’s two things:

Pion holding Young Choices leaflet

One, there are people like this gentleman who we had with us just recently in the park. I don’t know if you can see that: Don Young. (Holding up brochure featuring Don Young of “Young Choices.“)
         And another lady who was with us, Vivian Dietemann, who’s an asthmatic and is exceptionally smoke-sensitive. She can’t be anywhere near smoke, and neither can that gentleman. They’re made sick by it.
         So I, I’m not as allergic to smoke as they are. In other words I don’t react, I don’t get an asthma attack or anything like that. I don’t have asthma.
         But talk to my wife. She doesn’t take me anywhere anymore. She’s French. She doesn’t take me to France anymore because I’m like a ball and chain around her ankle. I’m very sensitive to tobacco smoke, so it doesn’t make me sick but just the smell is a problem. And even in an outdoor environment there’s enough smoke, if there’s smokers around, that I’m going to be going in the opposite direction.
         And if you’ve got a park situation, let’s say, and you allow smoking there there’s going to be smokers dotting around in the park, and so you’ll never be, you’ll always be downwind from a smoker if you allow smoking in a park situation.
         Now, quite honestly, it’s absurd to allow smoking on a sidewalk and ban it in the park. We want to see no smoking. Period. Except in the privacy of somebody’s home. That’s what we want.”

John Knicely: “Beavis, as you look at the legality of this, you’re questioning the constitutional rights of people being violated here. We know that smoking bans have been held up in indoor places across the country. Er, what do you think as far as, or what have you seen, I should rather say, about different smoking bans in public places outdoors, such as New York City and other places?”

Plaintiff's attorney Beavis Schock

“Well, the ban on outdoors is surreal because they have all these beaches. So, you can’t even go have a smoke on a beach. And they assert that this is for some health reason. Now, I’m really sympathetic to, er, Martin’s concern about asthmatics, and his own, he doesn’t want to smell it, I understand that. But how far do you take it?
         I mean, a lot of these children can’t be around peanuts. Are we going to ban peanuts in the parks. Maybe we ought to ban peanuts at the ballgame. I mean at some point a person who has these specialized needs has a kind of a duty to work it out with their neighbors. I mean, if these schools now: they’ll have no peanut zones, and that’s indoors.
         Now outdoors, I think, if there’s a mother who has her child and a peanut allergy the mother says to the person smoking, hey, my child has a peanut allergy, would you mind moving down a little bit, and they will, ’cause people learn how to interact with each other in a friendly and peaceful manner to solve these little problems.
         This morning, I was at Starbucks and a young lady came in. Very honestly, I’m not a perfume expert, but when I smell cheap perfume I know it. Should we ban her because she interferes with my aromatic coffee experience? That’s ridiculous!
         What you have to do is let people work these things out. Outdoors is over the top. When we banned alcohol in this country it didn’t work, and the reason it didn’t work was that it was too strong an infringement on people’s liberty. And they reacted the way people normally react when you tell ’em they can’t do something they want to do; they go underground, they do it more, and crime ensues.”

John Knicely: “And real quickly, we’ve only got a few seconds left. Martin, I want your take on this argument.”

Martin Pion: “It’s the slippery slope argument that I hear all the time. “Where is it gonna stop?” Well frankly, I’m not interested in anything else other than secondhand smoke. That’s the problem for us. And these other issues are irrelevant. You deal with those separately. If peanut allergies are a problem you deal with those as a separate health issue. And so let’s just talk about secondhand smoke.
         We know that smoking is the leading cause of death and disease in this country. What we didn’t know for a long time was that secondhand smoke was a serious problem too. And now we know that it is.”

John Knicely: “Martin, I’m sorry, we’re running out of time. This argument obviously is one that we could continue all morning long. You both made excellent points and this is obviously gonna play out in court. In Clayton the ban is currently in place in public parks as you heard the, er, the lawsuit is moving forward and we will continue to follow it here on NEWS 4. Thank you gentlemen.”

17 responses to “2011/03/12 KMOV Ch 4 “Extra Edition” with Martin Pion (MoGASP) vs attorney Beavis Schock re. Clayton outdoor smoking

  1. Nice discussion. At the Univ. of Penn day care, peanuts are banned. They don’t want to take a chance that they will get into the wrong hands. As to perfume, I had a couple of students who doused themselves with aftershave or perfume. I couldn’t take it. I had to tell them to hold back. Then I had a student who just smelled terrible. And I suspected there wasn’t much he could do about it. Gladly, the semester ended.

  2. Hi Martin! 🙂

    1) Great interview: you presented your views well (though I disagree with them — LOL!)

    2) Your GASP history may be off. In the 1970s it actually stood for “Group Against SMOKERS Pollution” and only retreated to the more friendly “Smoking Pollution” as they tried to be more mainstream and identify with nonsmokers in general. The friendly mainstreaming then continued with the “Alleviate” title, and has now retrogressed as the need for the friendly facade has given way to admitting the real goal: denormalizing and eventually disposing of smoking/smokers altogether.

    3) Re beaches: 10 years ago Gabrielle LeVecque debated Regina Carlson of NJ GASP on TV. I found it excruciatingly funny when she promoted beach bans because of the FIRE HAZARD! LOL! Surrounded by 40 gazillion gigatons of sand & water, and she used a fire hazard excuse for a ban? Of course that was after she proposed bringing buckets of nice fresh steaming manure into restaurants to share with fellow diners!

    mogasp comment; Other grass-roots groups have chosen the “GASP” acronym to stand for somewhat different things, and you have provided such an example. “Georgians Against Smoking Pollution” is another.
    With 40 million or so American adults who still smoke, and with underage smokers still joining their ranks at a substantial rate, realistically the tobacco industry doesn’t have anything to fear from the likes of MoGASP. Recognizing that reality, and also that it’s the tobacco industry that is the enemy and not addicted smokers, is why our goals are what they are: to protect nonsmokers and children, and permit smoking only in private residences when it harms no one else.
    I met Regina Carlson in the early days of MoGASP when she visited St. Louis. She seemed to make sense to me at the time, as far as I can recall. If she has ever said anything for which she could be criticized that would be only human.

  3. 4) You said, “talk to my wife. She doesn’t take me anywhere anymore. She’s French. (In France) I’m like a ball and chain around her ankle. I’m very sensitive to tobacco smoke, so it doesn’t make me sick but just the smell is a problem.” Think a moment: A smell of smoke, whether from tobacco, pine-wood, or carcasses, should not inherently make someone sick or create a strong “problem” interfering with their normal enjoyment of life. It’s an idiosyncratic psychological thing (other than the “There’s a fire! Run Away” instinct civilized humans have overcome) and should be seen/treated as a psychological problem. If someone was not able to work in a regular restaurant because of the stink of burned flesh, they wouldn’t be encouraged to join PETA but encouraged to seek “help” for their problem – and that’s how I feel about people with problems such as yours, as well as radical vegans who refuse to live with meat eaters/cookers.

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

    mogasp comment: I didn’t get into the details on-air but SHS exposure leads to a sore throat, burning sensation in my lungs, and a general feeling of being unwell. It can’t be dismissed as you’re trying to do.

  4. Martin, throughout the ’70s and ’80s I had a VERY similar reaction anytime I was in a car with someone and they pulled into a gas station to fill up. My ideological intensity based upon my bicycle activism gave me very real physical reactions to the gas fumes. The reactions were real, but they were psychologically based: as I became less intense about the issue, realizing that at least some of my convictions in the area were exaggerated, the physical reaction disappeared. It’s not a matter of dismissing the reactions because they’re not “real,” but a matter of recognizing that the roots of those reactions may be more psychological in nature than physiological.

    – MJM

  5. Getting back to how MOGASP only supports smoking in the home, i’d like to comment that it’s more likely nonsmokers and kids will be exposed at home rather than in a bar, where only adults are present , and where (unlike a home) those who don’t want exposure can leave at any time.

    MOGASP has it upside down, and claims that smoking like sex, should be only done among consenting adults in private places. i’ve been in bars, especially the smaller ones, where all the workers are smokers, and most of the customers too. those nonsmoking customers ( unlike in a home situation or at Clayton parks) can easily avoid those places the County issues exemptions for.

    If MOGASP is sincere about it’s stance on the Clayton Park situation, and also the idea that smoking like sex should be done among consenting adults, then I’m certain that , as a practical matter, MOGASP would see the idea of exempt bars being the best solution.

    mogasp reply: Would it be considered good public health policy to allow some bars to opt out of other safety regulations, such as food handling, if they serve food? Or be allowed to ignore building codes?
    The only reason there are exceptions now to smoke-free workplace laws is political influence. That’s why casino gaming floors are still smoke-polluted. But that certainly doesn’t make it right.

  6. Mr. McFadden, have you ever heard of porphyria? There are actually 8 different porphyrians but last I heard there were only tests available for 5 of those porphyrians. As a point of reference lead poisoning is a form of porphyria. Some symptons include, but are not limited to, dark colored urine upon exposure, extreme abdominal pain and photosensitivity.

    Some people have problems being exposed to toxic chemicals because their liver has become toxic and can no longer process the chemicals to which they are exposed. Medical intervention with drugs further exacerbates the problem.

    Metal Fume Fever (MFF) develops for some people who work with nickel, cadmium, lead and benzene all of which are present in SHS (second hand smoke). Exposure to antibiotics (and other meds) can also cause MFF. Last year I was on a course of antibiotics because I had teeth extracted. At the end of the course I was exposed to SHS and it sent me over the edge into MFF.

  7. MoGASP,

    Those are immediate, and well understood risks, not hypothetical risks. everyone agrees we need food and building code standards, about half of all Americans don’t believe smoke is a serious risk to nonsmokers, however.
    A-N-D of course, absolutely no customer wants food code regulations or building code regulations exempted.. BTW how do you feel about radon which is not a short term risk,,but a long term risk??? Eveeryone,,including all scientists agree radon is a risk B-U-T Nobody is pushing for radon measurements in bars and restaurants… and unlike smoking, which most cohort ( the better kind of) studies find no risk, but is easily observable by anyone who enters an establishment, radon is invisable. (Actually everyone is waiting for the Feds to set radon standards– that’s how long term risks are usually addressed, –not by activists who don’t understand real science) , but by accountable experts. And no Federal smoking ban has ever been proposed by the EPA or the U.S dept of health and human services, because the feds would be legally liable if it became apparant smoke does not harm nonsmokers. That’s exactly how the lawsuit against the EPA turned out… if the EPA , after issuing it’s 1992 secondhand smoke report,,,had actually banned smoking anywhere, the appelate court would have found them guilty. But since the county council and the voters are not accountable experts, they can’t be sued.

    mogasp comment: As a scientist, I expect you to be a lot more objective in your statements. The above has plenty of misinformation. For example, the US EPA has NEVER had regulatory control over secondhand tobacco smoke (SHS): the tobacco lobby saw to that. The risks from SHS are certainly NOT hypothetical, as you assert. Several US Surgeon General reports on smoking and SHS make that crystal clear. There is no scientific basis for suggesting that we should worry about food handling but not SHS in restaurants, for example. There is no scientific basis for insisting on safe building codes for workplaces but ignore the presence of SHS in those same buildings.

  8. Vivian, I am sorry to hear about your porphyria. It is rare (incidence 1/25k) although not as rare as xeroderma (1/250k) which is a related subject we have spoken of here regarding the banning of restaurant patio dining.

    How did you arrive at the conclusion that it was SHS that brought on the MFF however rather than what I would see as far more likely: a delayed reaction to the antibiotics? Or even exposure to other elements, e.g. average exposure of an hour or so to ETS would result in a benzene exposure of about one half of a single microgram of benzene, while the USDA has OK’d 250 micrograms as being safe in the standard American diet: a single McWhopper might have given you 100x the ETS dosage. For cadmium the average person ingests about 30 micrograms/day while exposure to an hour’s worth of normal ETS would give you about .002 (2 one-thousandths) of a microgram.

    What sort of ETS levels were you exposed to that would lead to a diagnosis that they were responsible for MFF?

    – MJM

  9. Vivian D. (approved to protect personal info.)

    You are so funny! You can’t use data that relates to a normal population when dealing with people who are not normal in terms of their exposure limitations. MCS(Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) has its own parameters and they are different for each person.

    Take benzene, for instance, in1990 I agreed to a flu shot since my asthma was a criteria that made me more susceptible. That flu shot gave me a virus, HTLV1 which makes me more likely to develop leukemia and so does exposure to benzene. I had NONE of the risk factors for HTLV1 and I had been celebate for 10 yrs. The Red Cross accused me of lying about my sexual history. About 2 yrs later it was announced on ch 4 news that some people who receive flu shots test positive for HTLV1. This occurred after I had conversation with a blood specialist at the Red Cross.

  10. Vivienne, I wasn’t trying to be funny at all. I was making two major points:

    1) That your situation is very rare, and as a society we generally haven’t legislated on things of such rarity — otherwise we’d be banning restaurants from having patio dining since allowing it potentially forces people with xeroderma “to choose between their lives and a paycheck” which is the argument used so often by Antismokers. Legislation offering a similar level of protection based upon a population of porphyria sufferers would be arguably similar.

    2) Unless you are pretty much living in “bubble atmosphere” the amount of exposure to benzene etc that you might get from occasional diluted secondary smoke exposure is fantastically small and insignficant compared to what you’re exposed to just in the course of everyday living. Concerns about that level of exposure would obviously seem, in the face of the science, to be more psychologically based than physiologically based.

    How is that funny?

    – MJM

  11. Vivian Dietemann

    1. I mentioned asthma but you didn’t cite any asthma stats. You didn’t even ask  what other conditions I may have that would be a factor. Aren’t you supposed to collect more data before trying to come to some conclusion?
    2. That is one heck of a presupposition possibly colored by your own personal experience.
    I am a licensed,ordained minister since 1974 when I received my certification in hypnotherapy and Silva Mind Control. Are you familiar with Energy Medicine, NLP, PSTEC, EFT, TAT, MTT (self applied accupressure techniques to address emotional aspects of illness, physical/mental limitations)? It is being used for PTSD for soldiers and genocide victims in Rwanda.
    I use them for myself and others.

    Note: EFT: Emotional Freedom Technique; TAT: Tappas Technique; MTT: Meridian Tapping Technique; Energy Medicine by Donna Eden; NLP: NeuroLingistic Programming; PSTEC.org uses hypnotherapy and NLP combined. MTT has become an umbrella term for EFT,TAT

    mogasp character count = 953

  12. The EPA does have authority to regulate indoor air under the radon act.
    OSHA, and the Library of Congress have stated that 1. the levels of indoor smoke are not high enough to cause problems, and 2. that the perponderance of better smoke studies find no risk. So, not every government agency is in your camp.

    The Surgeon general’s office can only review studies which have been published. It’s main fault, is that it gives equal weight to case-controlled shs studies, which are quick and dirty studies which according to epidemiological texts should only be used to decide if big cohort studies over many years, and at considerable expense should be run. –and of course, the few cohort studies which actually have been run which almost always find no risk.

    The surgeon general’s reports, themselves, are not scientific documents, which is why i criticize them. They are simply public health policy reports.

    insofar as my scientific integrity is concerned, i have made every attempt to look at health data in places with bans, compared to places without bans, and have found no difference. additionally, the health of nonsmokers has not improved over the last 20 years, despite an over 70% reduction to smoke exposure. The so-called science you speak of,, simply does not demonstrate cause-effect relationship when a change in the independant variable ( smoke exposure) DOES not manifest a change in the dependant varaible ( the health of nonsmokers. )

    Martin, the main reason humans have science is to make predictions. When those predictions do not come true, we don’t have science.

    And that’s objectivity. –which you said you “expect”

    mogasp response: James Repace, a respected scientist who formerly worked in the EPA Indoor Air Quality Division, has advised me that, contrary to your claim above, “under SARA Title IV, in 1984, congress specifically did not authorize EPA to regulate indoor air, only to put out info.”
    That confirms my own understanding of EPA authority to regulate SHS. This doesn’t prevent them from issuing advisory information, e.g. http://www.epa.gov/smokefree/healtheffects.html
    OSHA was considering a rule for workplace smoking but it was never finalized and it was quietly withdrawn on December 17, 2001 under the first George W. Bush administration.
    [Ref: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=24602
    NIOSH has investigated claims of harm from SHS exposure to nonsmokers in smoking-permitted casinos and has recommended that those workplaces be smoke-free. [Ref: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/blog/nsb061609_casino.html]

    It all depends what you’re looking for insofar as cause-effect is concerned when it comes to disease and SHS exposure. Long-term effects like lung cancer will not show up immediately because of the latency period of the disease. However, there are immediate benefits of smoke-free air which are obvious to smoke-sensitive individuals, such as asthmatics, or anyone else with a significant sensitivity.

  13. Vivian, you asked, “Aren’t you supposed to collect more data before trying to come to some conclusion?”

    Vivian, I took the data you gave which seemed to be the data you felt important. While you mentioned asthma, you concentrated on porphyria and in particular on exposure to substances like benzene and cadmium. I showed that even if you had deliberately spent an hour or so in a smoking environment that your uptake of benzene from the smoke would likely be only 1/500th of your uptake from food, while your uptake of cadmium would be 1/15,000th of your day’s exposure. You responded by asking if I were trying to be funny. I didn’t see anything funny about it as you had made a claim I assumed you’d researched and I had to put in my own time researching it in order to respond. To claim that 1/15,000th of your cadmium intake is somehow more important or even equally important as the other 14,999 parts does indeed seem to be more of a psychological than a physiological conclusion.

    – MJM

  14. And wow! your own link says and I quote “In normal situations, exposures would not exceed these permissible exposure limits (PELs), and, as a matter of prosecutorial discretion, OSHA will not apply the General Duty Clause to ETS.”

    That referred to indoors….and now you say we can’t have smoking outdoors either??????????????????

    Regarding other discussion threads going on here,, we don’t ban outdoor water parks because we’re afraid someone with malginant mellinoma might go to one and get even more damaging sun exposure. We should not ban smoking in bars because we’re afraid someone with rare forms of asthma might go into one and have an attack.

    what you said about lung cancer is kinda true, but nonsmokers national rates of lung cancer are now higher than 20 years ago,,when exposure was much higher. 20 years is considered sufficient lag time, for cancer risk changes to show up in populations due to risk exposure changes. By now,, we should be seeing a decline in nonsmoker’s lung cancer cases… and what about heart attack? I’ve been monitoring heart attack rates in states with bans to see if they are dropping faster than states without bans… and guess what???? no difference. The drops which have occurred are consistant with the introduction of statin cholesterol drug use, and occur similar regardless of state smoking ban status.

    and the radon act was enacted in 1986, which gave the epa indoor authority, the repace citation you used was 1984. 1986 comes AFTER 1984. And I read one Repace study which found only 10% as much smoke in nonsmoking sections of restaurants as in the smoking section… Soooo, if smoke elevates risk of disease 30%,, then in the nonsmoking sections that risk would only be 3%,, -completely tolerable by societal standards.
    BTW that is why ventilation ( according to Repace’s own data) actually works. Bottom line,, if OSHA says smoke hardly ever rises to a level which would trigger action under the general duty clause,, then 90% less smoke certainly will not. ( especially in Clayton parks) To state otherwise,,is being anti SMOKER…not as you claim only to be antismoking.

    mogasp comment: I appreciate your wanting to provide a comprehensive comment but 2,140 characters is WAY more than the 1,000 character limit. It will be allowed on this occasion as an exception so that you can get it out of your system but in future please adhere to the limit that generally applies without exception to everyone else.

  15. Sorry, MoGASP, I did get carried away…. LOL ( but what response do you have to my comment ? )

    mogasp reply: If you believe what you’ve written will stand up to peer-review in a respected journal you should submit it in order to give it some credibility. I personally don’t have time to check out every one of your assertions or conclusions.

  16. If I may briefly jump in: MoGasp, Dave and I DID submit a major study to “a respected medical journal” 5 years ago. The BMJ had published the Helena study a year earlier and should, by rights, have been quite interested in a study that was literally 1,000 times larger AND had the advantage of using fully verifiable methodology and data (unlike the Helena study).

    In addition, our study produced results that were diametrically opposite those of their previously published Helena research, and for a journal of medical science seeing better based results published that would serve as a correction should have been of highest importance.

    Instead the BMJ submitted our study to only ONE reviewer (who actually gave us a suggestive but not a negative review), then brought it before “mini-committee” instead of a regular editorial committee and rejected it primarily on the grounds that it added “nothing new to what is already known.”

    Somehow I no longer find credibility in such publication.

    – MJM

  17. We submitted our study to BMJ, Circulation, & Tobacco Control.  Dr Siegel reviewed it & thought it publication worthy, yet all 3 said that space is too limited to give us consideration. The BMJ added that Helena had already been rebuked in its Rapid Responses.  So then since there were no contrary studies published by 2006, the Surgeon General concluded bans caused immediate substantial heart attack drops.
    Math Prof. Givens at the U. of CO did a results distribution analysis of such studies & concluded that many null studies likely were never published. Need more proof?Enstrom & Kabat ran into a similar experience with their large, cohort null study too.  They had to fight tooth & nail to finally get the BMJ to publish. and have personally been attacked ever since.
    So it seems that antismoking activists with lots of power stop the “null” studies from being published so that the SG can say most published evidence proves smoke is hazardous, and then smoking gets banned even outdoors.

    mogasp count: 995 characters

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