2011-06-17 P-D: “7 area SSM hospitals will no longer hire smokers”

Ernie Wolf, recent photo from Facebook page

Not mentioned anywhere in this story, but deserving to be for historical reasons, is Ernest “Ernie” Wolf, who operated Skytop Sunroofs Ltd in St. Louis for twenty years until 1992.
         He was a pioneer in only hiring nonsmoking employees well before it became accepted practice.
         He found that his nonsmoking employees were more productive, they didn’t take as much sick leave, and had lower healthcare and life insurance coverage costs than smokers.
         Ernie Wolf and the union ended up agreeing to only add nonsmokers to the workforce, the same policy as SSM Healthcare is about to implement.

Following is a comment I submitted earlier to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch comments page following the SSM hospital story, which is arousing a lively debate among readers:

Martin Pion said on: June 17, 2011, 11:31 am
This is a contentious issue.
Missouri GASP doesn’t take a position on it, but speaking personally, if I were to hire an employee to work in my home office they would have to be a nonsmoker. I wouldn’t be prepared to allow them smoking breaks outside and wonder where they’re throwing their cigarette butts for me to pick up after them. Plus, they would still be smelling of tobacco smoke when they came back inside my house. And finally, even when smoking outside, I would be concerned about the smoke wafting in my direction if I were to go outside myself.
Yes, I can certainly understand smokers feeling unfairly targeted by an employer’s policy of only hiring nonsmokers, but one could argue that it’s another incentive for smokers to quit.

Related Stories
         Big tobacco prevails in St. Louis lawsuit by hospitals
         From 2004: SSM Health Care outlaws smoking on its properties

11/16/04: SSM Healthcare is instituting a policy Thursday that will prohibit smoking on their property. Sonya Johnson of Portageville, Mo. takes a break for a cigarette outside Cardinal Glennon Hospital Tuesday. Her daughter Bailey, 4 mos., is being treated there for an undiagnosed infection.
File photo by Karen Elshout

Sonya Johnson was quoted in the photo caption as saying: “I think it sucks that the hospital is going to force us to go elsewhere to smoke, ” she said. “This isn’t the safest neighborhood. Aren’t we stressed out enough?

7 area SSM hospitals will no longer hire smokers

BY BLYTHE BERNHARD bbernhard@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8129 | Posted: Friday, June 17, 2011 12:15 am | Comments (115 as of June 17, 2011, 9:39 am; 237 as of June 17, 2011, 3:05 pm)

Smokers need not apply at SSM Health Care hospitals, which will start a tobacco-free hiring policy next month.
         Job applicants at the seven SSM hospitals in the St. Louis area will be asked whether they have used tobacco in the last six months. Anyone who answers yes will be eliminated from the hiring process.
“As an organization that provides health care, we want to encourage our employees to take better care of themselves and set good examples for our patients,” said SSM spokesman Chris Sutton.
         Cost-cutting is a side benefit of the new policy, Sutton said, because “healthier employees does mean lower health care costs.”
Text STLTODAY to 21321 to download the free Post-Dispatch news app.
         Each smoker costs a company an additional $3,400 annually in health care costs and lost productivity, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
         Current SSM employees will not be bound by the policy when they’re off-duty. All SSM facilities have been tobacco-free since 2004.
         Thursday evening, beyond the parking garage on the east side of St. Mary’s Health Center in Richmond Heights, a half dozen hospital employees were lighting up on a city sidewalk. Word of the new policy came as a shock.
         “They wouldn’t hire you because you’re a smoker?” said Angela Mueller, who said she has been working at the hospital just over a month. “That’s not right.”
         The new policy will apply only to SSM hospitals in Missouri, where about 25 percent of adult residents smoke. About 6,000 companies nationwide have stopped hiring smokers, according to the New Jersey nonprofit National Workrights Institute. Missouri law supports the practice for certain employers, including health care providers.
         SSM officials said they will lobby for similar legislation in Illinois, Wisconsin and Oklahoma, where they also operate hospitals.
         Workers’ rights groups argue that the shift to a smoke-free workforce could lead to similar crackdowns on health behaviors like drinking alcohol and eating fast food. Others have warned that the policies punish lower-paid employees like janitors and cafeteria workers who are addicted to nicotine.
         “If enough of these companies adopt these policies and it really becomes difficult for smokers to find jobs, there are going to be consequences,” said Michael Siegel, a professor at Boston University School of Public Health. “Unemployment is also bad for health.”
The trend started 20 years ago when companies like Union Pacific, Turner Broadcasting and Alaska Airlines adopted smoke-free hiring policies.
         Since then, more than half the states have passed laws that prohibit discrimination against smokers.
         But courts in some of those states have upheld the hiring bans when challenged.
Health care providers have led a more recent trend away from employing smokers. The Cleveland Clinic stopped hiring smokers in 2007. Hospitals in Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas have recently made the move.
         Staring this year, St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau, Mo., only hires nonsmokers.
“We felt it was unfair for employees who maintained healthy lifestyles to have to subsidize those who do not,” Steven Bjelich, the hospital’s chief executive. “Essentially that’s what happens.”
         Most smoke-free policies are enforced with the honor system. Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City investigates accusations of tobacco use and has fired employees who violate the smoke-free policy.
         BJC HealthCare, the largest hospital system in St. Louis, has no plans to implement a tobacco-free hiring policy. The company provides discounts on health insurance to nonsmokers and offers incentives to employees to quit smoking.
West County EMS and Fire Protection District has mandated since 2010 that all employees abstain from smoking or chewing tobacco. The firefighters union unanimously approved the policy.
         There have been few challenges to employee smoking bans.
         In the 1980s, a firefighter in Oklahoma City sued after being fired for smoking during a lunch break.
         The court eventually ruled that anti-smoking policies are reasonable to protect employees’ health.

Marlon A. Walker of the Post-Dispatch and The New York Times contributed to this report.

32 responses to “2011-06-17 P-D: “7 area SSM hospitals will no longer hire smokers”

  1. I don’t want to speculate on the legality of SSM’s stance, but for my tastes it encroaches a step too far over the line of personal liberty.

    Hans Levi is a retired Lindenwood University professor of photography and Treasurer of MoGASP.

  2. It is legal, Mr. Levi, very legal. You can find the state statue here when the hardware problem is corrected in Jeff. City:
    Although I’ve not reviewed it in some time, it codifies that ‘off-the-clock’ alcohol or tobacco use is discrimination. Exemptions are made for religious entities and others whose primary enterprise is health promotion. In addition, it stipulates that the sections are not for relief which means any plaintiff would have to pursue actual and punitive damages in civil court without MOAG support.
    What’s more troubling is that SSM’s action has set the precedent for hiring criteria based upon the official costs a specified class puts upon productivity and health losses. If one class (never mind who) can be denied because of the official documented data what is in place to stop another:
    considering the published data:
    Is their any doubt HR departments will use any and all information to trim the skyrocketing insurance premiums passed on to them by providers? Add in the shifting ‘yardsticks’ used:
    there’s an almost unlimited territory to be selective.
    In addition, Dr. Don Binz may well appear to be your advocate he’s either insensitive or merely oblivious to his industries bilking of those he espouses to protect:
    Mr. Pion’s fellow TPSA shadow panel member, Dr. Michael Siegal has written at length how TC advocates enable government and private entities to push the envelope:

    mogasp comment: This is WAY over the 1,000 character limit, at no less than 1,757 characters (including spaces). However, I’ll allow it, even though I may not agree with it, for the information it contains. But please treat this as an exception, not the rule.

  3. Horacio Prada

    I wholeheartedly applaud any business which employs only non-smokers. I could not work alongside smokers myself.

  4. I find it interesting that you have no position here. A big proponent of the ADA with frequent claims that smoking comes under the heading of addiction?

    Now the Libertarian in me says they have the right to hire whoever they choose, however since they practice discrimination they should be barred from all public funding.

    Marshall P Keith

    mogasp reply: It’s inappropriate, in my view, to claim to express a position as MoGASP president not explicitly approved in MoGASP’s goals, which this isn’t. I can, however, express a personal opinion, as I’ve indicated.

  5. I would also like to add a response to your comment.

    Martin Pion said on: June 17, 2011, 11:31 am
    “This is a contentious issue.
    Missouri GASP doesn’t take a position on it, but speaking personally, if I were to hire an employee to work in my home office they would have to be a nonsmoker”

    Equally contentious is the fact that you want laws denying any business from catering to smokers. Those establishments that choose to cater to smokers could have a policy of only hiring smokers and your whole argument about worker safety would be gone. The fact is that there is no right to work anywhere you choose and neither you or the government have the right to dictate what clientel a business chooses to cater to.

    Marshall P Keith

    mogasp comment: There’s an important distinction to be made: between “smokers” and “smoking.” The former is welcome into any business or place of employment. The latter activity is not.

  6. I think these sort of policies are unpleasant, but as long as they apply equally to bars/restaurants/businesses that want to only hire smokers and then allow smoking I guess I can’t see complaining too much. Fair is fair after all.

    Mogasp, we’ve talked about that before…. did we come to an agreement on that point? I know there have been one or two somewhat surprising agreements between us over the past few months, but I honestly forget what they were at the moment. Hmm…. ok… I think ditching “no safe level” was one of them. Was this another?

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

    mogasp reply: I don’t recollect agreeing with you on anything else! O:-)

  7. Skytop is clearly breaking MO law discriminating against smokers, but SSM’s is legal. Dr. Siegel has pointed out that these refusals by hospitals to hire smokers never apply to physicians who technically are not really employees. If SSM and any other employer really wants to save healthcare dollars and improve absentee rates, then a policy of hiring those without kids would be much more effective. Time and time again, where I’ve worked, it’s parents of small kids who take off the most time, and bring the most contageious illnesses into the workplace. Lastly, SSM is founded upon the Christian faith. I wonder if Jesus would approve a policy of not hiring smokers if He ran the place.

    mogasp comment: Skytop Sunroof no longer exists in St. Louis but why do you assert it’s breaking MO law while SSM is not?
    I would guess there are very few physicians who smoke these days. It’s not like decades ago when they were being used in ads to promote smoother smokes that were allegedly good for the throat!
    If you can prove your point regarding only hiring those without children I suggest you submit it as a peer-reviewed paper to a respected journal.
    Lastly, I don’t think either of us can predict what Jesus’s hiring policy would be but would Jesus really approve of the tobacco industry and all the harm it and others benefiting from promoting smoking do? You could argue that not hiring smokers is a strong incentive for them to quit or never start, which is good for the smoker, good for society, and only bad for the tobacco industry.

  8. Now Mogasp, I explicitly remember agreeing with you that the sky was blue. At least on alternate Tuesdays in February. :>

    OK, well, then without agreement, I’d still say that it is at least somewhat reasonable for businesses to be allowed to hire only smokers or only nonsmokers if they had an explicit business-justified reason for doing so (e.g. if they wanted to run a smoking-allowed hospitality business.)

    Re: Jesus: I forget the figures at the moment, but Lynda Farley (You may know her from her Liberty Van travels!) has compiled something like 650 places in the Bible where people are urged to offer burnt offerings to The Lord so that he may share in the sweet smelling smoke.


    mogasp comment: I don’t think we’ll agree on the idea of exemptions to the rule for businesses and places of employment, such as you propose.

    Re. burnt offerings in the Bible, it also allowed for stoning people to death, which personally I feel is a bit excessive for someone smoking in a smoke-free workplacec. O:-)

  9. Bill Hannegan

    Lots of doctors enjoy an occasional cigar.

    mogasp: “Lots” = What %?

  10. You miss Mr. Kunemans point Mogasp, Skytop today would be guilty of discrimination whereas SSM is not. When and if the MOGA schmucks get their Radio Shack computer system up you’ll see from my previous post the statute is there. Human sickness profiteers and faith based entities are given an exemption.
    Hiring practice screenings based on official sickness damage is now a criterion for denial. While children may not be a sufficient example, maybe this:
    while controversial, extrapolates that the homosexual population present a higher risk for STDs and their associated health care costs.
    When your ally, Rep. Oxford earns her well deserved dismissal from MOGA in 18 mos., she’ll have 3 strikes: non-heterosexual, not pulmonarily secure, and well beyond established BMI standards. None of which would impede her performance in her avocation yet a HR department now has a legal criteria for hiring denial.

    mogasp comment: Thanks for pointing out the distinction, which is probably correct, and I believe was engineered by the tobacco lobbyist and ACLU back in 1992 when the Mo Clean Indoor Air Act, which MoGASP opposed, partly for that reason, was enacted.

  11. LOL! OK… no stonings to death. :>

    I’m not sure why the disagreement on exemptions though. I thought you felt that the purpose of the laws was to protect nonsmoking workers. If places are allowed to hire only nonsmoking or only smoking workers, then the ones that hire only smoking workers would obviously be exempt from the ban, no?


    mogasp reply: When you require a workplace to be smoke-free you’re providing a place free from a known health hazard. Surely it’s appropriate for authorities to strive to do that and not make the kind of exemption you suggest that would undercut that intent?

  12. MOGASP, there is not even shoddy evidence that secondhand smoke harms smokers. If Mcfadden and I opened a smoking bar that only catered to smokers, your above comment would be moot.
    In 2008, I spent a lot of time at Barne’s center for Advanced Medicine, which had an indoor smoking lounge. Many times I saw Doctors in there, some even in surgical garb.
    Many churches burn incense and candles which ommit PAH’s sorry, Jesus, Who was all-knowing, must have known that too, yet He founded a faith which promoted indoor burning of things like that. A-N-D why did God create tobacco in the first place????? P.S. it’s common knowlege in the insurance industry that familys with small knds have higher healthcare costs.

    mogasp comment: Why indeed create the tobacco plant, or arsenic … or, for that matter, other things that have the potential for ending humanity, like nuclear fission. I prefer not to blame God for man’s folly though.

  13. mogasp comment: “There’s an important distinction to be made: between “smokers” and “smoking.” The former is welcome into any business or place of employment. The latter activity is not.”

    This according to you and other anti-smokers. In a free society the owner decides not only who ia welcome but what is welcome. A reasonable person makes decisions on whether to patronize a business based on that persons business practice and the clientele that they cater too. If an employer only hires smokers your involuntary argument is gone. Since you agree that appropriate tohire based on smoking preference. You can’t have it both ways. Your way is to through force of law demand that all businesses cater exclusively to anti-smokers.

    mogasp request: Please sign as “Marshall Keith” since otherwise you’re not complying with posting requirements, and it’s not my job to do this.

  14. Mogasp, the intent, if they were telling the truth, was to protect nonsmoking workers who might be forced to work at a job. If the employer refuses to hire nonsmokers then the problem disappears. And from a legal standpoint it’s pretty clear: if we’ve allowed one side I can see no legal excuse for not allowing the other. We may disagree on what we’d LIKE to see, but I think the legal foundation would be stronger on my side.

    – MJM

    mogasp reply: We are talking about an air pollutant, we aren’t talking about two sides in a soccer match.

  15. MOGASP. did you know that small amounts of arsenic are needed for proper nutrition? Fission is also necessary to break down naturally occurring radioactive elements to the point where life can take place. When supernovas first explode and create the elements of life, too much radioactive isotopes exist for life to flourish.
    Did you know that bans are so bad for business that the State of Nevada just severely loosened theirs? I can’t paste the link here, so I’ll send it to you via regular email.


    Dave K

    mogasp: Dave, I’ve pasted the link you provided above and, for future reference, please note that you could have added it to your comment yourself.

  16. mogasp reply: “We are talking about an air pollutant, we aren’t talking about two sides in a soccer match.”
    Just about every human activity including the act of breathing (if you believe the Greenhouse scientist) The question is does it rise to the level of being a threat. Weak statistical association is not proof. Statistics is not Science, it is a mathmaatical tool and far from exact. And the vast majority of the claimed science is based on the questionable methodology of Meta-analysis.

    Marshall P Keith

    mogasp reply: I know what secondhand smoke exposure does to me and others who are smoke-sensitive. I know it can result in a potentially (and occasionally) fatal asthma attack in affected asthmatics (fortunately, I’m not one). Are you suggesting that SHS doesn’t even qualify as a public nuisance? That’s a bit absurd if so.

  17. Tony Palazzolo

    As I’ve posted in other forums. I don’t have a problem with SSM not hiring tobacco users. Its their business and they are free to run it into the ground if they so wish. What is not clear is if includes doctors. My guess is that it does not. If it doesn’t include doctors then is a PR scam.

  18. Bill Hannegan

    I have to wonder if Ernie Wolf discriminated against not only smokers, but also gay and African American employment applicants back in the 80’s. The health statistics of all three groups were then dismal.

    mogasp comment: I don’t see a common connection from a hiring standpoint but it’s interesting that you agree that smokers are in a category with “dismal health statistics.”

  19. “mogasp reply: We are talking about an air pollutant, we aren’t talking about two sides in a soccer match.”

    Actually, we’re talking about discrimination against a significant segment of the population, the loss of many jobs, and the statistical likelihood of a good number of deaths accruing from those job losses. To say you’re talking about smoking in a place where smokers work and gather as “talking about an air pollutant” would be the same as saying it if you’re talking about a place where burnt carcass eaters gather to burn dead animals and share eating their blood, flesh, and organs in the same building where they are burned and the smoke is ventilated (out into the innocent atmosphere) and filtered (which we know is useless, correct?) Remember my ten second video at:


    and the article there about Los Angeles’s air pollution. (General point continued in my response to other responses.)

    mogasp comment: Your reply above demonstrates how far apart we are on this issue, but that is not a new revelation.

  20. Re: Bill’s statement: I have never seen Bill, me, or most others here argue that smoking itself is not unhealthy to some degree.

    Re: fatal asthma attacks: the same could be said for a restaurant with roses, a pool with chlorine, a bus, plane, or park bench with a peanut eater. During the very smoky 1960s – 80s I saw TWO possible smoking-related asthma attacks: neither was close to being fatal or required hospitalization.

    MoGasp, the idea is to draw a reasonable line, and we disagree STRONGLY over where that line should be drawn. Obviously a smoker sitting in the midst of a roaring fireplace of a hunting lodge is not “polluting your air” in any normal sense of language, would you agree? Obviously as well if he/she is sitting on top of the fry pan at your local McWhopperie while you’re waiting for your grease fries. So why the 100% adamant objection to ventilated areas?

    This is where we mainly argue: with what I see as the irrationality of an extremist position.

    – MJM

    mogasp comment: I would anticipate that I would have to leave the room, primarily because of the secondhand smoke.

  21. mogasp reply:” I know what secondhand smoke exposure does to me and others who are smoke-sensitive. I know it can result in a potentially (and occasionally) fatal asthma attack in affected asthmatics (fortunately, I’m not one)”
    .The facts don’t support your statement.smoking rates and ets exposure have decreased drastically over the last 40v years and yet the asthma rates continue to rise.

    I have seen the so called sensitive waiving their hands and gasping for breath at the site of an e-cigarette which is nothing bjut steam, thereby exposing them for the frauds that they are.

    Marshall P Keith

    mogasp reply: So accepting your assertion is correct about asthma rates continuing to rise, how does that disprove any association between SHS and asthma attacks? It doesn’t. I can well imagine a smoke-sensitive individual reacting to seeing smoke from an e-cigarette, which would be visually indistinguishable from a regular cigarette, which is why MoGASP objects to their use in places designated as smoke-free. The health science surrounding e-cigarettes is still unresolved, in my view.

  22. MOGASP, wordpress will not allow my computer to paste anything. Probably due to my outdated software. That asthma rates are soaring proves smoke is NOT a major cause of asthma. interesting comment about a smoke-sensitive person reacting to visable SEEING someone using an e-cig though…how do you know that that same mechanism is not responsible for all these phantom asthma attacks you speak of that no one else has ever seen? Science is clear that e-cigs do not make combustion products like regular cigs do. Also, have you ever seen someone suffer an asthma attack in the presence of an e-cig?

    lastly, in one place above (June 17) you say smokers should be welcome in places of employment, while smoking should not, then you spend the rest of this thread defending SSM.. I’m confused. it seems you speak with forked tongue.

    mogasp reply: Dave, You are evidently able to submit comments through the regular process, just like everyone else, this being an example, so no need to knock your computer.
    As regards my alleged fork tongue, that’s news to me. Plus I think snakes got a raw deal following the biblical story of Adam and Eve.
    What I wrote earlier about SSM Healthcare’s new policy is that MoGASP has no official position on it. However, speaking personally, because SHS is a problem for me, I try not to hire smokers, and when I don’t have any choice, I make my sensitivity known to the owner or person in charge.

  23. MOGASP. I can TYPE into the comments field here, but I cannot COPY and PASTE into the comments field here. That is why I can comment, but cannot paste links to things like the news that NV drastically weakened it’s ban.

    You’ve evaded, by not commenting, my assertation that NV weakening it’s ban proves bans are bad for business, and you never defended your position that e-cigs should be treated just like regular cigs insofar as bans are concerned.

    mogasp comment: I’m not sure why you can’t copy/paste links into your message. No one else has reported this.
    What happens in NV, hopefully, stays in NV. Seriously, I’m not prepared to comment unless I deem at a later date that it’s relevant to MO.
    E-cigs can too easily be mistaken for regular cigarettes and could therefore lead to an impossible enforcement situation for smoke-free air laws.

  24. if cigs are as stinky as you claim, there would be no problem distinguishing e-cigs use from regular cig use. you said it COULD lead to an enforcement problem, but unless or until it is proved that it does, there is no basis to include e-cigs in smoke-free laws. About 5 other states are currently considering scale-backs of their smoking bans. This is because bans hurt business.

    mogasp comment: Obviously, not everyone is at sensitive to SHS as I am.
    I’ve also said repeatedly that action on a health and welfare issue should not be determined by claims of hurting business, UNLESS the cost so completely outweighs the benefit. That is not the case with smoke-free air laws. Nor do we have this debate on other comparable issue.

  25. MOGASP the costs of smoke-free laws do outweigh the benefit by a large margin. Back when I could post links here, I posted one showing the consensus is that every 1% drop in income causes 2.1/100,000 more premature deaths each year among workers.

    P.S. added following e-mail received off-line:
    http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/abstract/320/7239/898 Thus income loss has health consequences which have to be weighed against smoking bans. And don’t forget, the studies which claim shs harms workers were done before modern HIVAC systems were used. Dave Kuneman

  26. Your statement “I’ve also said repeatedly that action on a health and welfare issue should not be determined by claims of hurting business, UNLESS the cost so completely outweighs the benefit. That is not the case with smoke-free air laws.” is based on the assertion that the so called science behind the ban is valid. I have pointed out the questionable use of Meta-analysis,
    I have also pointed out that none of the science would hold up to legal scrutiny. http://veritasvincitprolibertate.wordpress.com/2008/09/03/science-and-the-law/
    So is it your assertion that it is perfectly acceptably to pass laws based on junk Science that would not hold up in a court of law?
    Marshall P Keith

    mogasp comment: In my view, you don’t prove or disprove science in a court of law, which is where judgements are made based on man-made laws of conduct. It’s where the tobacco industry goes to try to block science.

  27. mogasp comment: In my view, you don’t prove or disprove science in a court of law, which is where judgements are made based on man-made laws of conduct. It’s where the tobacco industry goes to try to block science.

    We are talking about laws here. You propose laws that discriminate against a segment of society based on their lifestyle choices and therefore that science should withstand legal scrutiny. The rules for scientific evidence is based on testimony by actual scientist.not made up by a group of lawyers.

    Marshall P Keith

    mogasp reply: No, we’re not talking about laws here, we ARE talking about science. The federal EPA has no rule-making authority when it comes to SHS (thanks to the tobacco industry), it can only issue scientific studies, subject to public review, which it did with its landmark report on SHS issued in 1992. The tobacco industry’s response was to turn to the courts.

  28. Marshall, the legal profession, although much maligned, are presenters of fact to reflective arbitrators:
    and these cases, the juries and judges of our court system.
    As to the methodology used by EPA to present its ‘landmark report’ to judicial scrutiny , even the climate change leadership repudiate the devious manipulation EPA used to arrive at its bogus conclusions:
    and what’s especially telling is the comments (50 so far) and their analysis of the authors assertions.
    As far as court actions, the human sickness profiteers of SSM are not immune from attempting to manipulate the courts for their own enrichment:
    along with the greedy pettifoggers attempting to win the litigation lottery:
    Mogasp-you need a word count plug-in. 990 with spaces.

  29. mogasp reply: “No, we’re not talking about laws here, we ARE talking about science. The federal EPA has no rule-making authority when it comes to SHS (thanks to the tobacco industry)”

    Again you avoid the question. Should laws be passed based on questionable scientific evidence that can’t withstand legal scrutiny. Since you bring up the EPA report it is important to note that they were commissioned to study the effects of Radon an activist within the group turned it in to their anti-smoking crusade. They ysed Meta-analysis on cherry picked studies and when they still couldn’t get the results they wanted they reduced the Confidence Interval tl 90% thereby doubling the margin of error. Books have been written on activism within the agency.

    Marshall P Keith

  30. MoGasp, you wrote, “The federal EPA has no rule-making authority when it comes to SHS (thanks to the tobacco industry), ”

    er…. actually, unless I badly misunderstood the higher court decision, the lack of their “rule-making authority” being applied to their SHS decision was the main (only?) reasons cited for throwing out Osteen’s court ruling. If they HAD used “rule-making authority” the EPA Report would have been voided as junk, but the higher court ruled that since they had deliberately NOT invoked that power that the Report was not open to being ruled invalid by the courts. Am I wrong in this?

    – MJM

    mogasp reply: I stated my understanding of the case, based on my recollection, but I don’t have time to research it I’m afraid.

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