Monthly Archives: July 2013

2013-07-10 P-D: Readers’ Comments on St. Charles County inaction

Reminder: For a comment to be considered it must be accompanied by your full name: first name only or a pseudonym is not normally accepted. Please limit your comment to 1,000 characters (including spaces), and also avoid epithets and personal attacks.

Following the St. Louis Post-Dispatch story “City-imposed smoking ban appears dead in St. Charles” readers weighed in on the comments page. Please click on Readers Comments to view them all on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on-line.

There are too many to reproduce them all, but a sample are below, the oldest thread being last.

As is often the case, Bill 
”I never sleep” Hannegan kicked off the comments!

Michael J. McFadden July 13 at 4:56pm
Why are Antismokers so totally, absolutely, and completely unable to respond to just about ANY questions or challenges put to them? Look around the various news boards on the internet and you’ll see the same patterns over and over. They appear and throw around a bunch of claims. If someone challenges those claims, instead of defending them the Antis will usually just revert to childhood and hurl invectives of one sort or another. If the challenger/questioner persists, then the Anti will usually either just disappear or say “Well, I have more important things to do than discuss this topic here…” — in both cases of course they’ve simply run away because their positions are indefensible and they know it.

Readers wandering by and reading these comments should think about that and think about what it means in the wider scheme of trusting all the various other things you heard from them over the years. I don’t think I can post a hot link here, so I’ll just suggest you Google:

V.Gen5H

and read “The Lies Behind The Smoking Bans” that you’ll find there. If you google it a bit more you’ll find I’ve challenged all sorts of Antismokers, amateurs and professionals alike, over the years to offer specific, substantive criticisms of its contents… with virtually not a single taker: they all run away. Think about that.

Mark Belding July 15 at 8:17am
Mike why don’t you tell us your educational background is? There really is no sense in debating someone with “facts” pulled out at random from research done on the internet.

Michael J. McFadden · July 15 at 12:53pm
Mark, if you visit my book site, http://Antibrains.com/ , and read the “About The Author” section there you will see my educational background. As for “facts pulled out at random,” would you care to point to a few of them? I can assure you that the material in “The Lies…” is far from a random assemblage of material, and if it WAS such an assemblage, then someone like you should easily be able to pick a half dozen or more points out of it that were clearly false, or highly misleading, or very weak.

I challenge you to do so and to defend your assertions. I promise I won’t mind, and I’ll try to stop back to respond.

Mark Belding · July 15 at 3:31pm
OK I did, “Michael McFadden grew up in Brooklyn in the 1960s and graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Manhattan College with a degree in both Peace Studies and Psychology.” Yes just as I had thought, little if any science or math background . I am not interested in debating you as people like you don’t hold to fact or reason. Everyone can decide for themselves if they want to believe someone with a degree in Peace Studies with the rigorous math and science degree requirements that would have been required for such a degree on health related discussions.

Michael J. McFadden · July 15 at 8:40pm
Odd. You seem to have missed noticing the graduate work at Wharton. Perhaps reading isn’t your strong suit Mark? I think you were about to tell us a bit more about your own medical and scientific qualifications… don’t let me interrupt you. Or wait… no… you did mention you were an engineer, didn’t you? Same as “Dr.” Stanton Glantz, the founder of the ANR site that you seem so fond of. Do you also parade around in a white coat as a doctor while talking about medical matters? “Dr.” Glantz is a mechanical engineer. Are you also one of those? I’m actually a bit weak in that area… I don’t even drive… and if I did, I’d be a terrible mechanic. I’ll stick to epidemiology if you don’t mind.
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Stephanie Steinberg · Wednesday at 4:22pm
SERIOUSLY? Posting signs that the air (from cigarettes) is contaminated…
Would they post signs that there is E. coli in the food or arsenic in the water too? UH….no.
But since the food and water are required to be clean and safe then so too should the air that is necessary to breathe.

By the way, AMERISTAR is 100% SMOKE FREE in Black Hawk, CO. The employees are healthier, happier and are going to live a lot longer!

Michael J. McFadden · Wednesday at 8:14pm
Stephanie, you might want to check your water standards and/or read my Brains book. Are you aware that a single pint of nice, government-approved-as-safe tap water would expose you to the same amount of arsenic as sitting around in a decent Free Choice smoking-allowed bar or restaurant for 165,000 hours?

You need to research this a bit more rather than just listen to propaganda designed to push smoking bans.

Mark Belding · 
Thursday at 4:12pm
Mike anyone with a brain knows that your so called “scientific studies” are BS, but luckily for you anyone stupid enough to smoke is likely not dealing with a full deck anyway.

Michael J. McFadden · Thursday at 9:27pm
Er, Mark? The scientific studies those figures are taken from are the Surgeon Generals Reports and the EPA Reports. They’re the ones that entire antismoking movement is based on. The only difference is that they never present the figures in a way that people can understand. If you think that YOU can contradict my statement on arsenic, go ahead. It’s based on 32 nanograms of arsenic emission per cigarette in a 50 cubic meter room with three air changes per hour and an average resting inhalation volume of roughly .5 cubic meter. Work those numbers out then compare them to the 15 ppb of arsenic allowed in your “safe” tap water.
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Billy Terence · Wednesday at 1:44pm
If you people are so against smoking because it is so bad then why don’t you ban it? That’s a rhetorical question. Smokers are a convenient tax revenue source that nanny politicians and nosy busy body citizens love to demonize while taking their money for the very thing they demonize.
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Martin Pion · Wednesday at 10:07am
This sham law, introduced by Mayor Sally Faith of St. Charles City with council approval, which simply requires a business to post a smoking or no-smoking sign, is no surprise.

The only reason the mayor addressed this issue in the first place was concern over County Councilman Joe Cronin’s efforts to pass a county-wide smoke-free air law that would have included the Ameristar Casino.

Mayor Faith is obsessed with an unfounded concern that such a law would negatively impact the substantial revenue the casino generates for the city. That was the driving force behind her efforts to enact the city’s own law: to try and preempt county council action. Her efforts are misguided, but also show again how backward St. Charles county, and especially St. Charles City is, on the issue of public health and secondhand smoke. (See 2013-05-24 P-D OpEd: “St. Charles city and county need smoke-free air” at http://tinyurl.com/nonp35p.)

Bill Hannegan · Wednesday at 3:10pm
How can it be a sham to warn citizens about the possibility of smoke exposure?
1 Like

Michael J. McFadden · Wednesday at 8:11pm
Martin, you wrote, “Mayor Faith is obsessed with an unfounded concern that such a law would negatively impact the substantial revenue the casino generates for the city.” Martin, if you and the other folks pushing for the law are TRULY so certain that the concerns are unfounded, would you be willing to sign legal documentation putting your own bank accounts and homes up as collateral in case you were wrong? After all, that’s what you’re asking the bar owners, casinos, and taxpayers to do.

All it would take to make a good bit of the ban opposition collapse would be to give them that legal financial guarantee to cover all their losses — the losses you swear will never happen. So why don’t you do that? 😕
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Mike McCluskeyWednesday at 9:12am
“
…now want to only require businesses to post signs saying whether they allow customers to light up.”

A common sense approach. Really no different than coming to St. Louis itself without bringing along your concealed to carry permit and legally licensed fire arm. If you enter a place of business that has that signage, whether it’s to be employed by such a business or patronize the business, it shouldn’t be any more of a concern to the business owner than it should be to the Police of St. Louis if you come to their town and get mugged and robbed or worse and you hadn’t armed yourself before coming into town. Don’t complain if your clothes smell like smoke and if you’re robbed in St. Louis you should be charged with aiding and abetting for not having the same equal amount of common sense. In other words…No one forced you to do either.
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Mark Belding · Thursday at 4:05pm
I sure hope you don’t have a concealed carry permit as we certainly don’t need any more idiots with a gun downtown, but I guess that it won’t be a problem with as you seem to be to afraid to come into the city.
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Pam Parker · Wednesday at 7:44am
What SLAYS ME town, after town, after town, is the arguement that the precious casinos can’t take the financial hit because they bring so much revenue and the council members are worried about them losing money after a smoking ban. WHAT ABOUT THE BARS THAT WOULD LOSE MONEY? Because they don’t bring as much revenue to a city, these mom and pop places should lose money and be thrown under the bus? Thank goodness St. Charles city council said no to this smoking ban but it would have been nice to hear that they cared as much about the bars losing money as the casinos.

Rayene Mullins · Barmaid at Bartender · Wednesday at 8:59am
amen

Stay Tun’d · Wednesday at 11:44am
Should be left for the business owner to decide… but that’s just too simple/logical for the politico’s.
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Sheila Martin · Wednesday at 6:32am
O’Fallon small hospitality businesses started closing immediately after the ban was imposed. It’s too late for those businesses. Thank GOD St Charles City Council can and does read! What better solution than posting signs! And NO, you do not have “a right” to enter a private business. You are allowed to enter by the owner.

Kevin Sharpe · July 10 at 6:21am
I find it strange that they specifically mention BOWLING ALLEYS, when by STATE LAW BOWLING ALLEYS are already exempt from any local smoking ban…..
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Michael J. McFadden · July 9 at 11:55pm
The concern about smokers migrating to a nearby Free Choice casino is valid, but it is NOT the only concern. Even if both casinos banned smoking, they would still lose a very significant number of their smoking clientele, and the clientele that remained would gamble less as they took breaks to go outside, relax, count up their losses, and realize it made sense to head home.

Antismokers like to claim that wild gambling drinking partying nonsmoking animals will come pouring out of the woodwork to make up for the smokers, but experience shows very clearly that that doesn’t happen. Take a look at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City. ONE smoke-banned casino out of over a dozen, and they couldn’t find enough people who actually cared that much about whiffs of smoke in the air to even support that ONE.

In Minnesota they imposed an across the board ban in bars and restaurants because the Antismokers promised them it would correct the disaster that their local smoking bans were creating for the State Charitable Gambling fund from such things as pull tabs and bingos. So did the full ban help? Heh… take a look at the very clear graph, taken straight from Minnesota government revenue figures on page 18 of “The Lies Behind The Smoking Bans” at:

http://tinyurl.com/SmokingBanLies

and you’ll see that it simply doubled their losses. St. Charles’ councilfolks made the right decision: they did the job they were elected to do, which is to take the time to actually study and learn about the issues being brought before them in a way that the “average citizen” simply can’t afford the attention for. That’s why we elect them… and in this case they did their job properly instead of caving in to threats from a fanatical pressure group that wanted to bring everyone to a level playing field: down at the bottom of a pit.

Michael J. McFadden
Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”.
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Mike McCluskey · Wednesday at 9:28am
Mike, here’s another tool that you should have as part of your arsenal of common sense approaches to smoking. It’s from the WebMD pages and it speaks volumes about the nonsense of the dangers of second hand smoke…Which is what a lot of these busy bodies actually are…Full of nonsense. They hate this article too!

http://psyed.org/r/crit/crd/second_smoke.html


Michael J. McFadden · Wednesday at 8:21pm
Thanks Mike! Yep, the 2003 Enstrom/Kabat study. I talk about that a bit in my next book actually. It wasn’t included in the 2006 Surgeon Generals’ Report because they said it came out too late to be included. Meanwhile, the Report somehow managed to include studies from 2004 and 2005 that agreed with their predetermined conclusion.
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Jon Travis
 · Wednesday at 12:02pm
Doesn’t keep the STINK off you though.

Michael J. McFadden · Wednesday at 8:43pm
Jon, are you referring to the stink of intolerance?
Perfumes?
Deodorants?
Meat cooking?
Fish cooking?
Frying-bacon-fat rancidity?
Chinese/Korean/Italian/Greek/Irish/Thai/Ethiopian/Texan-BBQ food?
Parents who bring infants in diapers into restaurants where people are trying to eat?
Drivers with the stink of auto-exhaust on their clothing?
Grandpa and his pipe?
Bleach-based floor/counter cleaners used in diners?
Pine-Sol?
Priests who wander into decent restaurants with the putrid fumes of incense in their robes?
Beer and liquor fumes?

You need to be a bit more clear I’m afraid…
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Mark Belding · SLU · 
Thursday at 4:09pm
The British Medical Journal published a study in its May 2003 issue entitled, “Environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality in a prospective study of Californians, 1960-1998,” which was authored by Dr. James E. Enstrom and Dr. Geoffrey C. Kabat. The study claimed that no causal relationship was found between secondhand smoke and tobacco-related mortality, after analyzing data from 35,351 adults over a period of thirty-eight years. As one might expect, the study generated an enormous amount of media attention. Speculation abounded that the unanimous conclusion of public health officials and medical practitioners, that secondhand smoke is hazardous to health, had been premature. Big Tobacco and its allies hailed the study as proof that the adverse health effects of secondhand smoke are greatly exaggerated. Under closer scrutiny, the inevitable was found to be true: the Enstrom and Kabat secondhand smoke study was largely funded by tobacco industry dollars, conducted by industry allies, and riddled with methodological errors.

Although the Enstrom and Kabat secondhand smoke study has now largely been discredited, the tobacco industry and its allies attempt to use the study to cast doubt upon the science of secondhand smoke. This document provides some basic information regarding the study, its funding, and its authors, and should help to counter any attempts to use the study to undermine the established body of research confirming the health hazards of secondhand smoke

Michael J. McFadden · July 15 at 2:48pm
You have quite an interesting way of spinning things yourself Mark. Or did you just copy this from someplace else? “Under closer scrutiny, the inevitable was found to be true: the Enstrom and Kabat secondhand smoke study was largely funded by tobacco industry dollars, conducted by industry allies, and riddled with methodological errors.”

Closer scrutiny? Hmm.. did they hire a special investigator? Perhaps use drone planes to spy? Or, possibly, did they simply read the study itself where E&K **EXPLICITLY** outlined where their funding had come from? How about it Mark? Was “special investigation” needed or were they up front about it right from the start… unlike what you’ve implied? And you say the study “has now largely been discredited.” Where was that Mark? In the 200 or so Rapid Responses in the BMJ that spent most of their time slamming E&K with Ad Hominems rather than offering scientific analysis? Did you bother to read the BMJ’s own followup editorial about how poor the quality of those criticisms were? I think they may have even quoted me in that… not sure, but I think they did.

And, despite ANY of that… it clearly does not justify the SGR refusing to include it because it was TOO LATE… when they managed to include studies done over a year later that they happened to approve of.
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Bill Hannegan · July 9 at 10:42pm
I hope O’Fallon soon moves to allow “over 21” venues free choice on this issue.

2013-07-10 P-D: “City-imposed smoking ban appears dead in St. Charles”

Reminder: For a comment to be considered it must be accompanied by your full name: first name only or a pseudonym is not normally accepted. Please limit your comment to 1,000 characters (including spaces), and also avoid epithets and personal attacks.

This action by Mayor Sally Faith and her St. Charles council colleagues to head off meaningful smoke-free air legislation in their city is not entirely surprising. Once they had concluded the danger of a county smoke-free air law passing had receded their fig leaf of concern disappeared, and they felt free to introduce a meaningless signage-only law.

By the time I posted a comment following the on-line St. Louis Post-Dispatch story Bill Hannegan had already posted 12 hours earlier, pushing his so-called “over 21” exemption.

I found a comment by Mike McCluskey, describing this as “A common sense approach,” to be odd. He wrote: “Don’t complain if your clothes smell like smoke and if you’re robbed in St. Louis you should be charged with aiding and abetting for not having the same equal amount of common sense. In other words…No one forced you to do either.”

My comment below appeared immediately after the above:

Martin Pion
This sham law, introduced by Mayor Sally Faith of St. Charles City with council approval, which simply requires a business to post a smoking or no-smoking sign, is no surprise.
The only reason the mayor addressed this issue in the first place was concern over County Councilman Joe Cronin’s efforts to pass a county-wide smoke-free air law that would have included the Ameristar Casino.
Mayor Faith is obsessed with an unfounded concern that such a law would negatively impact the substantial revenue the casino generates for the city. That was the driving force behind her efforts to enact the city’s own law: to try and preempt county council action. Her efforts are misguided, but also show again how backward St. Charles county, and especially St. Charles City is, on the issue of public health and secondhand smoke. (See 2013-05-24 P-D OpEd: “St. Charles city and county need smoke-free air” at http://tinyurl.com/nonp35p.)

Below is the story by reporter Mark Schlinkmann:

City-imposed smoking ban appears dead in St. Charles
By Mark Schlinkmann mschlinkmann@post-dispatch.com 636-255-7233 Comments

ST. CHARLES • City leaders here have backed off efforts to pass a limited smoking ban and now want to only require businesses to post signs saying whether they allow customers to light up.

Mayor Sally Faith

Mayor Sally Faith

Council President Dave Beckering

Council President Dave Beckering

         Mayor Sally Faith and Council President Dave Beckering announced plans for the sign ordinance at a City Council meeting Tuesday night.
         None of the seven other council members attending objected, although no vote was taken. Two were absent.
         Faith, Beckering and others previously had endorsed a city smoking ban exempting the Ameristar Casino, which channels millions of dollars in tax revenue each year to her city.
         Exemptions for bars, veterans halls and bowling alleys also had been under consideration.
         Any city ban, they had said, would have been aimed at blunting efforts of the St. Charles County Council to impose a countywide prohibition that might cover Ameristar.
         Now, Beckering said in an interview, he has reason to believe the county body won’t try to do that again.
         “I believe if they do anything relative to a smoking ban, they’ll do something to make sure they don’t put the casino at a disadvantage,” he said.
         That’s a reference to Ameristar’s long-held argument that a ban on smoking at its St. Charles casino would result in a significant loss of business to the Hollywood Casino in nearby Maryland Heights if a ban wasn’t also imposed there. Casinos are exempt from St. Louis County’s smoking ban.
         Faith and Beckering also noted the seven-person County Council has three new members since it took up the smoking issue last year.
         A draft of the sign bill submitted by Faith would apply to all public places, including retail businesses and places of employment. “People need to know when they go into a place whether there is smoking or no smoking,” Faith said.
         The council held three public hearings on the smoking ban idea in May.
         Of 102 people who either spoke at the hearings or contacted the council by email, Beckering said, 51 opposed a total smoking ban, 44 supported a total ban and two wanted a ban with exemptions. Five others had other positions.
         “Certainly we had very passionate people on both sides,” Beckering said. However, he said, “after all this discussion, we really don’t have a consensus here.” The County Council last summer decided to put before voters in November a two-proposition countywide package but it was blocked by an election official and a circuit judge.
         Under that plan, voters would have first been asked whether to ban smoking in workplaces and enclosed public places.
         A second ballot question was on exempting places restricting customers and employees to people 21 and older, including the casino and bars.
         The only smoking bans now in the county are in O’Fallon and Lake Saint Louis. They are among the strictest in the metro area, with no exemptions for bars.