Airport smoking rooms don’t work

To read/download published paper please click the link Airport smoking rooms don’t work.

The paper is also reproduced below:

Tob Control 2004;13:i37-i40 doi:10.1136/tc.2003.005447
Research paper
Airport smoking rooms don’t work
M Pion1, M S Givel2
+ Author Affiliations

1Missouri GASP, St Louis, Missouri, USA
2University of Oklahoma, Department of Political Science, Norman, Oklahoma, USA
Correspondence to:
 MrMartin Pion
 President, Missouri GASP, 6 Manor Lane, St Louis, Missouri 63135-1213, USA;


Objectives: To document tobacco industry involvement in thwarting enactment of a smoke-free airport policy at Lambert-St Louis International Airport (Lambert Airport) in the 1990s; and to test whether smoking rooms at Lambert Airport protect non-smokers from exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke (SHS) in adjacent non-smoking areas.

Methods: Tobacco industry document websites were searched for previously secret documents relating to efforts to maintain smoking in Lambert Airport. Testing of SHS contamination in non-smoking areas adjacent to a designated smoking room was conducted at Lambert Airport in 1997–98 and again in 2002. A 1998 comparative test was also performed inside nominally smoke-free Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac Airport). Tests were performed using either static or active nicotine monitors.

Results: Industry documents show that the tobacco industry promoted the construction of designated smoking rooms as a way to sidetrack efforts to make Lambert Airport entirely non-smoking. Nicotine vapour air monitoring in a non-smoking area of the airport, adjacent to a smoking room located in Terminal C, reveals elevated levels of ambient nicotine vapour in excess of what would be expected in a completely non-smoking environment.

Conclusions: This study shows that airport smoking rooms expose non-smokers in adjacent non-smoking areas to a significant concentration of nicotine vapour from SHS.

Before 1992, Lambert Airport in St Louis, Missouri, permitted unrestricted smoking except for scattered seating areas designated as “No smoking” in open areas of the terminal and concourses. In 1992, a new smoking policy was adopted which, while still allowing smoking in shops, restaurants, cocktail lounges, gate areas, and airline clubs, restricted smoking in the terminal and concourses to the former “No smoking” areas.1 In 1993, St Louis County Council members considered legislation to prohibit smoking entirely throughout the public parts of Lambert Airport, but the bill was defeated. The following year Missouri Group Against Smoking Pollution Inc (GASP) filed a discrimination complaint with the US Department of Justice against the City of St Louis Airport Authority and St Louis County Council, alleging violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.2 The complaint charged denial of meaningful access to airport services for individuals with respiratory disabilities caused or exacerbated by SHS. In 1996, the St Louis City Commissioner of the Office on the Disabled arranged a meeting between GASP and Lambert Airport officials to discuss GASP’s discrimination complaint.3,4 At this meeting a GASP representative was told of plans to install smoking lounges to accommodate smoking, after which the rest of the airport would be designated “No smoking”.

GASP argued that building smoking rooms would be ineffective because SHS would leak from them into adjacent non-smoking areas. Despite GASP’s objection, the airport constructed and opened seven smoking rooms in 1997 at a reported cost of $450 000.5

GASP subsequently sponsored two studies to test whether SHS leaked from a designated smoking room at Lambert Airport into the adjacent non-smoking area. This paper presents the results of these nicotine monitoring studies and examines recently released tobacco industry documents to determine if the tobacco industry played a role in thwarting GASP’s efforts to make Lambert Airport completely non-smoking.

In order to assess the tobacco industry’s involvement in efforts to promote designated smoking rooms as an alternative to a completely non-smoking Lambert Airport a search was conducted for documents on this subject posted on the tobacco industry’s document websites. The websites were searched using request for production (RFP) codes, specified keyword searches, and serendipitous terms identified in document citations found with RFP and keyword searches.

To examine ambient nicotine vapour levels in an area adjacent to a Lambert Airport smoking room a nicotine vapour air monitor was used, consisting of a sodium bisulfate treated filter inside a filter cassette. When the monitor is unsealed for sampling, nicotine vapour in the sampled air binds to the treated filter. The adsorbed nicotine is later extracted and its mass determined by gas chromatography. Air sampling was done in the same Lambert Airport concourse location on two occasions: in 1997–98 and 2002. Figure 1 shows where the air monitoring was done relative to the designated smoking room.

Figure 1. Location of Lambert Airport smoking room 4C, relative to nicotine monitor test locations. Gates C10-C12 on Concourse C are nominally smoke-free.
Double-click image to enlarge.

During late 1997 and early 1998, a static nicotine vapour monitor was worn by a Lambert airline employee while working at a gate area near smoking room 4C. (Testing began 15 December 1997 and ended 26 February 1998). For a direct comparison with a smoking-prohibited airport, an employee working in a bar inside nominally smoke-free Sea-Tac Airport conducted a static nicotine sampling test in April 1998. The bar was remote from outdoor smoking-permitted entrances. The difference in nicotine concentrations in the two airports gives a quantitative measure of how much nicotine vapour is directly attributable to the smoking room in Lambert Airport.

In 2002, an active nicotine sampling test was done near the same Lambert Airport smoking room 4C using a miniature pump to draw a calibrated flow of air more rapidly through the filter. Using this method, sampling was completed in one, four hour period on 26 September 2002, permitting it to be conducted by an independent environmental company. Figure 2 shows the air sampling device and the pump that was used for the test along with pictures showing the location of the smoking room in relation to where air monitoring was done.

Figure 2. Lambert-St Louis International Airport nicotine monitor test, conducted Thursday, 26 September 2002. Pump assisted nicotine monitor test conducted roughly 35 feet (10 m) from front wall containing the entrance to smoking lounge 4C. The test ran for four hours from 1.30 pm to 5.30 pm. The first three photos show James Foley of Environmental Solutions conducting the test in the seating area adjoining gate C10 on the C Concourse. The fourth photo shows the smoking room, the entrance to which faces the corridor leading down the concourse.

Knowing the total time for which the filter is exposed allows the average nicotine vapour concentration in the sampled air to be calculated, using the expression Cav  =  M/RT, where Cav  =  Average nicotine concentration (micrograms per cubic meter or μg/cu m; M  =  mass of nicotine collected (μg); R  =  sampling rate (cu m/min); and T  =  total sampling time (min).6 For the static nicotine monitor test, the empirical sampling rate R was 25 ml/min (25 × 10−6 cu m/min) 7and for the pump assisted monitor, which was calibrated before and rechecked after the test, the sampling rate was 150 ml/min.8 For all the tests a “control” monitor accompanied the test monitor but remained sealed from the time it left the University of California-Berkeley laboratory until its return for analysis. The mass of any nicotine detected on the control was deducted from the test monitor in calculating the average nicotine vapour concentration. All individuals conducting the tests were non-smokers.


Tobacco documents
Industry documents were uncovered showing evidence that the tobacco industry promoted the construction of designated smoking rooms as a way to sidetrack efforts directed at making Lambert Airport completely non-smoking. By the early 1990s Congress was already pressuring airport executives to establish guidelines for protecting airport passengers from exposure to tobacco smoke.9 The Tobacco Institute (TI), the former US cigarette manufacturer’s trade and lobbying organisation, responded with a strategy targeting 43 of the nation’s largest airports, including Lambert Airport. The objective was: “To demonstrate to airport executives, airport concessionaires, and airlines that they can reasonably and responsibly accommodate smoking and non-smoking travellers and visitors.”10 One tactic identified was to promote ventilation and air filtration/cleaning technology as the main issue in indoor air quality, not smoking restrictions or bans. In February 1992, a TI representative wrote: “We now have at our disposal some resources that should be very helpful in our efforts to sidetrack the “smoke-free” movement at St. Louis’ Airport. Further, we have access to Mr. Gray Robertson and other principals at HBI (Healthy Buildings International), Inc., a firm specializing in ventilation and indoor air quality problems. Gray and his colleagues bring to meetings with airport people the crucial elements of technical and scientific expertise.”11

In May 1992, a TI representative met with the director of Lambert Airport to discuss airport smoking. The evident success of the meeting is reflected in a letter to the director shortly afterwards in which the TI representative wrote: “We are very enthusiastic about working with you and your organization to provide proper smoking accommodations in the Lambert Airport. It is not often that the people with whom we deal use such a common sense approach to handling problems.”12 In February 1993, at a public hearing on a proposed St Louis County bill to ban smoking at Lambert Airport, the airport director expressed reservations about the proposal.13,14 Two TI consultants also testified against the proposed ordinance: an HBI ventilation expert argued that indoor air quality was a problem of inadequate ventilation, not smoking, and Larry Holcomb, of Holcomb Environmental Services, attacked the Environmental Protection Agency report on SHS. The document search confirmed that key members of the County Council were heavily lobbied by the industry, resulting in the eventual defeat of the proposed smoking ban.13

Nicotine vapour air monitoring
Nicotine monitor tests were conducted at Lambert Airport in 1997–98 and again in 2002. Both tests were conducted in or near the gate area adjacent to smoking room 4C on Concourse C.

Smoking room 4C is an enclosed room approximately 15 foot wide by 13 foot deep with an 8 foot high ceiling (4.5 × 4 × 3.5 m). The room has an open doorway 36 inches wide and 93 inches high (0.9 × 2.4 m) which faces the concourse corridor. Twin exhaust vents in the ceiling are ducted outside the building, with transfer air entering the room through the open doorway. During the 2002 test an average of 10 smokers were counted in the room during the four hour test period. The average occupancy in smoking room 4C during the 1997 test was estimated to be 15, according to an independent HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) engineering report prepared for Lambert Airport.15 The report noted that the “design occupancy” for smoking room 4C is 14, equal to the number of seats provided.

The 1997–98 Lambert Airport test yielded an average nicotine vapour concentration of 0.46 μg/cu m versus 0.72 μg/cu m for the 2002 test near the same location (table 1).

View this table: In this window In a new window
Table 1
Raw data and average nicotine vapour concentrations for Lambert-St Louis International Airport versus smoking prohibited Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

The comparative measurement inside non-smoking Sea-Tac Airport in 1998 was 0.15 μg/cu m (table 1). Possible sources for the nicotine detected in Sea-Tac Airport are: (1) migration from outdoors, especially around entrances; (2) clandestine indoor smoking; and (3) (probably an insignificant source) smokers’ clothing and personal belongings while inside the airport.

Comparing the measurements at Lambert with that at Sea-Tac Airport leads to the conclusion that Lambert Airport’s smoking rooms are responsible for approximately 70–80% of the average airborne nicotine vapour concentration measured in the two tests near smoking room 4C.

This study reveals that the tobacco industry was heavily involved in thwarting legislation to ban smoking at Lambert Airport in the 1990s. Promoting ventilation technology to accommodate indoor smoking was a major part of the industry strategy.

What this paper adds
The tobacco industry has deliberately thwarted the enactment of smoke-free policies at major US airports, and has instead promoted construction of costly smoking rooms. Measurements of nicotine vapour concentrations in the air inside Lambert Airport, St Louis, compared to a non-smoking airport indicate that smoking rooms, where they exist, will be the major source of secondhand smoke exposure for non-smokers in adjacent non-smoking areas. To protect the health and welfare of employees and the public, and to prevent unlawful discrimination against smoke sensitive individuals with respiratory and other disabilities, airports should prohibit smoking indoors and also around outdoor entrances.

The nicotine vapour air monitoring conducted at Lambert Airport and Seattle-Tacoma Airport shows that designated smoking rooms are not able to prevent tobacco smoke from migrating into the adjacent non-smoking area of the terminal. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has stated that tobacco smoke exposure should be reduced to the lowest feasible concentration, which can only be done by a total smoking ban,16 a conclusion supported by these results.

The nicotine monitor tests were funded solely by GASP membership contributions.

S Katharine Hammond, PhD, Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California Berkeley, provided essential assistance with the analysis of the nicotine monitors.

Ms Carol Liedke conducted the nicotine monitor test in Sea-Tac Airport in 1998, assisted by Mr Bob Fox, Fresh Air for Nonsmokers.

↵ Lambert-St. Louis International Airport Tobacco Smoking Policy. 1992; (Obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act Request filed by Missouri GASP on November 5, 1995, pursuant to discrimination complaint DOT #94-928 against Lambert et al.).
↵ Pion M. Formal ADA discrimination complaint filed by Missouri GASP with Edward B. Brzezinski, US Attorney’s Office, St Louis; 13 July 1994.
↵ Dee DK. Letter to Martin Pion from Commissioner, Office on the Disabled, The City of St Louis Department of Human Services; 27 March 1996.
↵ Dee DK. Letter to Martin Pion, President, Missouri GASP; 2 April 1996.
↵ Manor R. Where there’s smoke: there’ll soon be a lounge, at Lambert Airport. St. Louis Post-Dispatch3 February 1997:A1A6.
↵ Hammond SK, Leaderer BP, et al. Collection and analysis of nicotine as a marker for environmental tobacco smoke. Atmospheric Environment1987;21:457–62. [CrossRef]
↵ Hammond SK, Leaderer BP. A diffusion monitor to measure exposure to passive smoking. Environ Sci Technol1987;21:494–7. [CrossRef]
↵ Foley JG. Report on nicotine vapour air testing, Lambert Airport St. Louis International Airport. Test conducted for Missouri GASP on 26 September 2002, by Environmental Solutions, St Louis, Missouri. 14 November 2002.
↵ Airport Strategy Plan, 1993. Tobacco Institute legal document produced in the case of: State of Missouri et al, v. American Tobacco Company, et al., No. 972–1465, St. Louis Circuit Court, Missouri. Minneapolis: Minnesota Tobacco Document Depository. Bates No. TIMN 0028405.
↵ Airport Strategy Plan, 1993. Tobacco Institute legal document produced in the case of: State of Missouri et al, v. American Tobacco Company, et al., No. 972–1465, St. Louis Circuit Court, Missouri. Minneapolis: Minnesota Tobacco Document Depository. Bates No. TIMN 0028407.
↵ Stan Boman. The Tobacco Institute legal document produced in the case of: State of Missouri et al, v. American Tobacco Company, et al., No. 972–1465, St. Louis Circuit Court, Missouri. Minneapolis: Minnesota Tobacco Document Depository; 1993; Bates No. TIMO 0000993.
↵ Morris Ronald C. The Tobacco Institute legal document produced in the case of: State of Missouri et al, v. American Tobacco Company, et al., No. 972-1465, St. Louis Circuit Court, Missouri. Minneapolis: Minnesota Tobacco Document Depository; 1993; Bates No. TIMO 0003706.
↵ Givel MS, Glantz SA. The Public Health Undermined: the Tobacco Industry’s legacy in Missouri in the 1990’s. San Francisco, California: Institute of Health Policy Studies, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 2000:28–30.
↵ Wahby DJ. Memo from Director of Special Project, The Tobacco Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana, to Diana Avedon, Tobacco Institute staff member. Tobacco Institute legal document produced in the case of State of Missouri et al, v. American Tobacco Company, et al. No.972–1465, St. Louis Circuit Court, Missouri. Minneapolis: Minnesota Tobacco Document Depository; March 15, 1993. Bates No. TIMO 0001858-0001859.
↵ McCoy & McCoy, Inc. Air sampling results for St. Louis Lambert International Airport, Project No. 97017E, 27 February 1997. Provided to Missouri GASP for comment by US DOT FAA Office of Civil Rights in July 1997 pursuant to GASP’s ADA discrimination complaint.
↵ US Department of Health and Human Services. Current Intelligence Bulletin 54, Environmental Tobacco Smoke in the Workplace, Lung Cancer and Other Health Effects. Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. June 1991:12–13 (Publication No. 91–108.).

60 responses to “Airport smoking rooms don’t work

  1. Quoting Michael J. McFadden, author of Dissecting Anti-Smokers Brains, Mid-Atlantic Director, Citizens Freedom Alliance, Inc.
    Director, Pennsylvania Smokers’ Action Network (PASAN) with an excellent point: Looking at just two of the emissions that jets and cigarettes have in common shows how ridiculous this is. According to the Surgeon Generals’ 1986 Report on Environmental Tobacco Smoke, a cigarette puts out a total of 3 mg of nitrogen oxide (NO) and 40 mg of carbon monoxide (CO). The 1995 EPA study on airplane emissions cites a single 747 takeoff/landing at about 115 pounds of NO and 32 pounds of CO.
    That’s 52 million mg of NO and 14 million mg of CO if you do the math.
    Doing a bit more math for a typical 500 takeoffs/landings per day shows us that
    the nice clean smokefree air being pumped into those terminals has the CO equivalent of over 160 million cigarettes and the NO of Eight and a Half BILLION cigarettes.
    All of which is being shwooshed right into the lungs of travelers who are supposedly
    receiving a “dangerous dose” from a few cigarettes being puffed in secluded and sealed off terminal areas and bars. This insanity would be funny if it weren’t so sad.
    1986 SG Report pgs. 129, 130, 136
    EPA Report “Technical Data… Commercial Aviation” 09/29/95

    • It seems to me you’re comparing apples and oranges and drawing totally inappropriate conclusions. I’ve never seen a jet liner take off with it’s exhaust being somehow funneled into an airport! There is enormous dilution occurring in the case of a jet exhaust. I just don’t see how McFadden can make such claims without any supporting scientific evidence. I’m not saying jet exhaust is healthy. I’m just basing my comments on measurements we’ve done or had done for us at Lambert and Seattle-Tacoma airports, which is the basis for the peer-reviewed published study “Airport smoking rooms don’t work.” Try Googling that title on the web and read the study for yourself.

    • follow the money–has and bar or resturants fire insurance premiums went down after the smoking bans?? can you say?? BIG INSURANCE” is behind it?? same with seat belt laws, has anyones auto ins. went down after state mandated seat belt laws??

  2. michaeljmcfadden

    Mogasp, my claims were clearly based upon the facts and figures as stated in Marbee’s posting. Obviously there is dilution, but antismoking advocates always maintain diligently that dilution and ventilation are close to meaningless. In the case of the airport we’re talking about the equivalent of diluting the output of 8,500,000,000 cigarettes per day as it is getting sucked into the air vents ventilating the terminal, while proposals for ventilating and diluting the output of a few dozen or a few hundred cigarettes per day in a bar area is claimed to be impossible.

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

  3. If the smoking room has 4 walls and a roof
    Who are they harming??

    • If the room is totally isolated, i.e. not connected to the structure open to the general public or a place of work, and no nonsmokers are required to enter it for any reason, there isn’t a problem.

  4. michaeljmcfadden

    Mogasp, why is my comment of Nov. 27th, a week ago, still “awaiting moderation” ?

  5. Seems to me the whole thing is anti-SMOKER, not anti-smoking. The organizations behind this demonization are the same that are now demonizing the overweight. You know, the moms who stay home to care for their kids, the people who’s very livlihoods depend on sitting at a computer. They would have them drop everything and run to their local gym or lose their health insurance. Same with smokers who used to be a majority who’s numbers have dwindled due to the drug company’s stake at their own brand of nicotine being forced on a huge segment of society or face losing their health insurance, which big pharma is working on also. It’s never been about health, just pharma profits!

    • MoGASP reply: I don’t buy this theory about Big Pharma. It’s another tobacco industry-inspired ploy to divert attention and subvert the science and facts surrounding secondhand smoke pollution.
      Nicotine, when absorbed from a modern cigarette, is highly addictive, which is what is the main factor enslaving so many Americans to this product right now: some 45 million or so. There are therapies out there to help people quit and what works depends on the individual. I know of some for whom hypnosis worked. But the failure rate is very high, fortunately for the tobacco industry.
      The tobacco industry started to vigorously oppose smoke-free air laws shortly after they began gaining traction, fearing they would cut into industry profits. That remains their reason for opposing them. It’s also why they are increasingly concentrating on opening up new markets in countries like China, or third world countries with little regulation, where the opportunities are vast.

    • I don’t see how MoGASP is anti-smoker. We draw a clear distinction between the smoker and secondhand smoke (SHS). It’s no different to my mind to someone drinking and driving. Separately, there isn’t a problem. It’s when you put them together that it becomes a problem not just for the drinker but for other innocent road users.
      The Big Pharma conspiracy theory is a sham. There’s no evidence for it that I’m aware. Nicotine inhaled from modern cigarettes is highly addictive, which is why there are still some 45-50 million adult American smokers, despite all the health warnings. Plus the tobacco industry remains astute in its marketing, although its current efforts are increasingly aimed towards more lucrative foreign markets where restrictions are often much looser.

  6. Wrong mogasp. All of this hysteria was begun by the big pharma, namely the major shareholder of Johnson & Johnson, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in their effort to de-normalize certain behaviors. Why? Not for the good of public health but for corporate greed! A “non-profit” foundation funded most of the smoking bans. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation paid just through 2005 over 446 MILLION DOLLARS for tobacco control. $99 million to the ACS, ALA, AHA for bans. $84 million to create/fund Tobacco-Free Kids. RWJF was created by the founder of Johnson & Johnson. RWJF owns tens of millions of shares of J&J stock. J&J sells Nicotine Replacement Therapy products (CESSATION). Michael Fiore of the U of WI received grant money from RJWF; Fiore helped write federal mandate that doctors tell patients they MUST use drugs, not to quit cold turkey and yet, NRT products have a FAILURE RATE OF 98.4% for one year or longer quitting. And you wonder why these groups are opposed to anyone selling nicotine products besides the drug companies? A study was done showing 80% of the time, minors were able to buy NRT products with no ID. And how about Nicorette’s “minty fresh” gum with teeth whiteners or “cinnamon burst” gum? Hypocrisy. It’s ok for the drug companies to sell alternative nicotine products? What a scam this whole thing is. On their own website they say that in 2009 begins the war on alcohol, they have a new drug now. They will spend millions to de-normalize just to market their new product. It took almost 30 years to get where they are regarding tobacco and with that ball rolling, the alcohol drug should take about a third of the time. Smokers, drinkers, and eaters beware, big pharma will take care of you!

    • Can you provide a reference for where this “Big Pharma” lie comes from? I’m not aware that it has any substance and is just a ruse to confuse the issue. Repetition of a lie, which is a tactic that the tobacco industry used successfully for years regarding its “nicotine is not addictive” mantra, doesn’t make it true.

  7. mogasp, since you don’t seem to know much in this area, here is a start. The tactics belong to Big Pharma, and the “big lie” is right on their website as fact. No dispute there!;funding&x=0&y=0&src=sw&num=10
    The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) “seeks to improve the health and health care of all Americans,” according to its mission statement. [1]
    The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funds tobacco control and health projects.

  8. Your organization is uptight about those isolated smoking rooms? You have WAY too much time on your hands and/or WAY too much grant money.

    I would be more uptight about the jet fuel fumes you can almost TASTE at airports instead if you are TRULY interested in better air quality.

    Maybe you should look into the air quality of the passenger cabins of the planes themselves.

    Just thought I’d mention some good worthwhile projects for you to busy your idle minds with.

    • If you think that jet fuel fumes in airports is a bigger problem than secondhand smoke why don’t you do some objective research to prove it? You seem to have way too much time on your hands!

  9. mogasp, while I won’t disagree that the tobacco industry is guilty of lie repetition, the anti-smoking crusaders have learned from the best and are now very guilty of the same tactic. “There is no safe level of second-hand smoke”. Those words were uttered by former SG Carmona, but there is not a shred of plausible scientific evidence that supports this “fact”. And that is just one example of the lies that the anti-smokers perpetuate. Also, it may not be your intent to marginalize smokers, but that’s exactly what you and the rest of the anti-smokers are doing. Your intent may be good, but your views are the same as a lot of some very bigoted people and organizations. I would ask that you take a moment to check out Dr. Michael Siegel’s blog:
    If you’re not familiar with Dr. Siegel, I would suggest you take some time to research him. He believes in smoking bans, but he refuses to follow the tactics of the rest of the anti-smoking industry.

    • I’ve been looking into the statement with which you take exception: “There is no safe level of second-hand smoke.” This specifically relates to the known human carcinogens in SHS and from my research into this so far, is based on the evidence that carcinogensis can be initiated at even the smallest levels of exposure. It’s not saying that everyone exposed to SHS will end up dying from lung cancer as a consequence. It’s saying that science cannot rule that out.

  10. mogasp Port Columbus, Ohio CMH has had numerous evacuations of TSA employees in the concourse areas do to carbon monoxide build up from jet exhaust. The TSA employees are sent to Mt. Carmel East located on East Broad Street for evaluation. I was a former passenger screener!

    • I’m willing to believe that jet exhaust enters the concourse. I’ve smelled it myself on occasions when an airplane passenger. This doesn’t in any way vitiate our findings about SHS leaking out of supposedly perfectly-functioning smoking rooms.

  11. MOGASP, with all your “studies” you’ve never looked into who funded and continues to fund tobacco-control? Here’s a link to RWJF’s “Assault on Smoking”. Scroll to pgs 5 & 6 to see who the big winners were in millions of dollars in “grants”. Note: the $99,000,000 to the AMA was to be administered to the ACS, ALA & AHA.
    RWJF, as of their last on-line annual report, owned 42,343,491 shares of J&J stock.
    RWJF was CREATED by the founder of Johnson & Johnson. Note that RWJF claims they created and funded Tobacco-Free Kids @ $84,000,000 to start (provided in first link). The Wall Street Journal pointed out the ties with William Corr’s appointment to HHS.
    Johnson & Johnson’s in a little hot water right now for doing basically the same thing by buying OmniCare with “grants” to push their Risperdal in nursing homes over other products. Note that J&J profits from the sales of Nicorette, Nicoderm and Commit.

    Who’s dumped $500,000,000 into the obesity “epidemic”? RWJF. Who owns Spelda? J&J. Who owns the lapband surgery COMPANY, EthiconEndo? J&J.

    They use people like you by firing you all up to push bans so they can sell their own form of ADDICTIVE nicotine. (see what these users say about the addiction:

    People are more aware of the corruption than you think. Do your OWN research and you’ll find YOU’VE BEEN HAD.

    • Pam, please see my note about accepting future postings without full disclosure of commenter’s name.
      As regards your comments above, as a scientist I scrutinize the claims with some care and I’m aware that not all the research connecting secondhand smoke with harm in nonsmokers is as strong as one would like. That’s to be expected, by virtue of the nature of such studies. However, I don’t see any kind of conspiracy here by RWJ, or concerted effort on the part of the voluntary health agencies or government agencies to subvert the science, or on the part of the overwhelming majority of the scientists who have contributed to this subject. And as far as the research that MoGASP has conducted itself or had done on its behalf by independent researchers, we have stressed to those individuals that we want the best science possible, no matter what the results.

  12. I HAVE just sent you all the references you asked for on the pharma connection. Where’s the post I sent with the documentation? Are you sensoring it?

    • Pam, Please note that if I want to accept, reject, or edit comments that is clearly my prerogative. I’ve allowed your two comments related to “Airport smoking rooms don’t work,” submitted on February 5, 2010 at around 7:30 am. However, to be considered in future, commenters will generally have to provide their full names and not hide behind a pseudonym.

  13. Ventilation filtration options in smoking rooms do keep air quality safer than required:

    • I’ve checked this out and this individual appears to have a chip on his shoulder but doesn’t appear to be in the least reliable as a resource. I’ll allow your post but he’s talking nonsense. He writes:

      I have engineered many Smokeeter ventilation systems to establishments over 15 years to solve secondhand smoke issues. And our primary design criteria is first to provide 10 – 15 air changes per hour of Smokeeter filtration. Which means the entire room is completely filtered every 4 – 6 minutes, and contrary to pro-smoking ban activists’ claims is no where near tornado-like winds. Secondly, I insist on using electronic air filtration systems on tobacco smoke even though we also handle other types of filtration systems, because electronic air cleaner filtration removes the smallest possible airborne particles 0.01 microns.

      We’ve had independent testing done of nicotine vapor levels in establishments where smoking was only allowed in a separate room with its own independent HVAC system, which would be far better than what this individual is describing, and in both places there were significant levels of nicotine detected in areas in the non-smoking room remote from the smoking room. By significant I mean above the level that would be permitted by law for other federally regulated carcinogens.

  14. Quintessential argument against smoking bans

    If your local government is legislating secondhand smoke because they claim secondhand smoke is a WORKPLACE health hazard…….shouldn’t they consult with the authority on workplace health hazards? –OSHA

    And in fact air quality testing of secondhand smoke results compared to OSHA permissible exposure limits proves there is no health hazard. Results found SHS is 2.6 – 25,000 times SAFER than OSHA workplace regulations.

    More here:

    OSHA itself has stated regarding secondhand smoke:

    “Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.”

    • You should check your facts. OSHA doesn’t regulate workplace smoking and the only standard they have of which I’m aware is for nicotine from e.g. cigarette manufacturing, which is not produced by combusting tobacco. It’s something on which I’m currently also researching, as it happens.

  15. Is my name clear enough for you now? Be assured I couldn’t care less that you have banned me from your site. If you can’t take the truth of the heat you should get out of beating the drumb on the biggets fraud ever called SHS Kills.

  16. The controversy of second hand smoke could be ended quickly by a simple act of legislation. Anyone presenting information represented as science or health reliant information, which is later found to be false or misleading, would be rewarded with a mandatory ten year jail sentence.

    I can guarantee the bandwagon of smoker hatred would end overnight and the profiteers would be making deals in self preservation convicting each other. Similar to the last time their ilk rose to prominence and Doctors were hanged at Nuremberg. The laws of Autonomy created in the wake, are largely being minimized by the bigots and zealots of Public Healthism, they are laws we found at the expense of millions who died without them. No one has the right to make health choices for others and no one has a right to demand rights to the detriment of others, especially with the convenience of a lie, as we find in the “toxic effect of second hand smoke”.

    • I don’t see this as being either a practical solution, or appropriate for a major public nuisance like secondhand smoke. It smacks more of being yet another attempt at subverting efforts to protect the public health and welfare when it comes to this one issue.

    • mogasp, a public nuisance? Take away privated property rights for a nuisance? Much like the newly exposed global warming debacle, which is nothing but an excuse for the government to legitimize the extreme taxation it would bring, the second hand smoke issue is nothing more than a way to control a huge segment of the population, perhaps as much as 1/2 of it or more. The newly created obesity ‘crisis’ that has kids feeling guilt, not love, is nothing more than a way for big pharma’s controlled FDA to further limit our choices and thus our very freedom! I know many professionals (educated) who will NOT work under smoke-free rules and have quit! So how many of the brightest and best has the professional world lost due to the preference of those less educated? How many business owners have lost everything due to those with their snobby anti-smoker bullying? Smokers Welcome, Non-Smokers Welcome, Anti-Smokers Buy Your Own Business, You Are Not Welcome!

      • Where does it say that if you own a private property into which you invite the public, or employ workers, that gives you the right to create a public nuisance? On the contrary, if you examine local laws you’ll find nuisance ordinances among them. They can include things like outdoor burning.
        Stop trying to use this “private property” red herring as an excuse to avoid any kind of government regulation: It’s dishonest.

  17. Mogasp, Virgil, as is true for many of us here, has felt the sting of the censor’s pen over the years: he has a right to be angry when he sees it in action – even if your real-name request is reasonable if equally applied.

    You’d be angry too if you’d experienced literally hundreds of hours and years of work being wiped from hundreds of pages of newsboards by, e.g. , the folks at the Topix news boards.

    Signing my full name and potential competing interest openly, as usual,

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

    P.S. Martin, you should ALSO be aware that some folks have good business and/or personal reasons on our side of the aisle for being anonymous: picture a wife of a doctor posting “pro-smoking material” and what that could do to hubby. Or an employee under an antismoking boss. Or a schoolteacher who smokes a pipe on his porch in the evening.

    In today’s prejudiced world it might very well make far more sense, and be far more justified, to demand ID from the antismoking posters rather than smoking ones. How many Antis are losing their jobs/housing/children nowadays because of their beliefs and actions?

    • I lean towards allowing most comments, unless they’re profane, or name-calling, or add nothing of value. I’m not in the least bit interested in commenters hurling epithets: that is counter-productive and insulting.
      As to the issue of prejudice, I have experienced that in the past when I worked at McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Co. as a technical specialist in charge of a semiconductor lab. Because of the unrestricted smoking when I first started in 1980 that became an ongoing battle, and eventually the main reason I was known to upper management was my campaign for smoke-free air in my office, NOT my scientific contributions. So I’m well aware of the risks of speaking out. However, I can’t imagine too many employers checking the mogasp blog to see if someone is posting to it!

  18. A P.P.S. ….

    The censorship at Topix is particularly nasty because

    (1) They won’t even admit to doing it and discussions of it seem to get almost instantly wiped as well.


    (2) They employ a programming trick – originally intended for use only against commercial spammers – called “Shadow Banning” where the poster is not even aware that his posts are being erased because when the board sees his IP address the posts are made visible…. even though no one else can see them.

    – MJM

  19. The thing that upsets me most, is that Mogasp expects much more from others than he demands from himself. His selective memory and lack of supporting evidence never occurs to him but is demanded from others. Always coming up with way out examples that don’t pertain to anything but his own preconceived idea of what is true. It’s like a complete cripple demanding that others not limp. Ignoring real evidence because it doesn’t agree with his biased opinion is not discussion.
    I would guess my name has been checked out and has been found that I am connected to no special interest. Have a good day.

  20. When will it sink in that SHS is not the threat it is made out to be. It always goes back to, I don’t like the smell or some other feeble reason to control others.

    The latest research into passive smoking. It has been discovered that mechanism that triggers lung cancer in non-smokers is quite different to that in smokers.
    Therefore breathing in other peoples smoke will not ever give you lung cancer. “INTERPRETATION: Lung cancer in never-smokers should probably be regarded as a different disease-entity than smoking-induced lung cancer. This could impact prognosis as well as treatment.”

  21. Mogasp is stuck. He will not give credence to the truth in light of his sister’s death. That happens when people need to have someone or something to blame whether it’s true or not. Too bad it can’t be taken to court and once and for all be put to rest.

    • I’m not sure what your point is with this comment. As a scientist I try to be objective and not let my personal feelings intervene. But I was simply stating the real possibility here regarding the cause of my late sister’s death. There is no way to prove it though and it isn’t what motivates me.

  22. My point is I could give you evidence forever and expect that you as a scientist would give credence. You have not.

  23. My apologies for being away from here for a while and addressing several points in one post, but I’ll try to keep it brief:

    1) Mogasp, you wrote to Musician: “If you think that jet fuel fumes in airports is a bigger problem than secondhand smoke why don’t you do some objective research to prove it?”

    I’d be very happy to accept a grant to carry out such research. Of course if the grant came from any tobacco-related source the research would be considered worthless and difficult to publish since journals like PLoS are now refusing to accept such research even if it is scientifically valid. Of course if the tobacco money was laundered sufficiently through the Master Settlement Agreement and distributed through the gatekeepers of the Legacy Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, or the Center for Tobacco Free Kids then it might be acceptable. Do you really think they’d pay for such a study though?

    2) You wrote to Shawn: “I’ve been looking into the statement with which you take exception: “There is no safe level of second-hand smoke.” This specifically relates to the known human carcinogens in SHS and from my research into this so far, is based on the evidence that carcinogensis can be initiated at even the smallest levels of exposure.”

    The concern about the “smallest levels of exposure” would then lead one to ban daytime patio dining where the workers would be forced to risk death from malignant melanoma from carcinogenic sunshine (remember: sunscreen provides only PARTIAL protection!) and also ban service of highly volatile carcinogenic alcoholic beverages in restaurants or at sports events. Do you favor such bans, or, if you don’t, can you explain why the “smallest levels of exposure” aren’t a concern in such cases while they are a concern in the case of ETS?

    3) You asked for a link about the censorship at Topix. I’m not sure what you’re looking for. You can google “shadow banning” and topix to find some general information, or I could send you to some posts that were shadow banned – but you wouldn’t be able to see them: all you’d see would be a “jump” in the post numbers from e.g. 97 to 99 with no number 98 visible.

    4) In your Denver Airport thread, on Nov. 27th 2009 I wrote:

    “Mogasp, I challenge YOU in turn to find any reference backing up the claim that there are ‘rapid physical changes in individuals exposed to (NORMAL) levels of SHS” that are “immediately life-threatening” to “individuals with … heart disease.’ I do not believe such a reference exists, particularly when speaking of levels such as existed at the measuring points of your study. If you have proper references please supply them. Otherwise admit there are none and please retract your statement.’

    and you responded ten days ago with ‘Michael, It’s taken a long time to approve your comments and I apologize for the delay. I should have either approved or rejected them much sooner. I wanted to do some research beforehand but I simply haven’t found the time, nor do I have the time now.’ ”

    Have you found the time yet?

    Thank you for your attention, and apologies again for my absence.

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

    • No need to apologize for your absence! I wasn’t sitting idly by waiting. I have to try and prioritize my finite time. Some of your comments are a bit tongue-in-cheek, it seems to me, so I’ll allow them on the blog but forgo a response. Others I may still be working on, but it takes time to properly research them.

  24. Wow! Now THAT was a prompt response! 🙂

    Mogasp, the only tongue in cheek comment was whether an antismoking group would be willing to support research that might cast doubt on the importance of airport smoking bans even if such doubt was legitimate. I’m quite certain such funding would never be approved by such groups.

    Every other comment and question was fully serious.

    – MJM

    • I object to the term “anti-smoking group” being applied to Missouri GASP. We’re not trying to ban smoking, which I would argue would justify this description. We’re “pro smoke-free air.”
      What research are you talking about?

  25. Mogasp, I was speaking specifically at that point of the groups named: “Legacy Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, or the Center for Tobacco Free Kids.”

    The research in question was the research you yourself brought up to Musician when you said, “If you think that jet fuel fumes in airports is a bigger problem than secondhand smoke why don’t you do some objective research to prove it?”

    In terms of the description of MOGASP et al as “antismoking groups” this is a point we disagree on. Would you consider groups such as the Smokers Club and FORCES to be “Pro Freedom Groups” ? See the quote from highlighted in Figure 6 of the chapter on Language in “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains” :

    “In a battle of pr0-smoking vs. anti-smoking, we will always lose. In a battle of pro-health vs. anti-health we will always win….”

    – MJM

    • Michael,
      I looked in your book for this quote in Fig. 6 – “Language” and subsequently did a web search on the referenced source – – and the website I found doesn’t appear to be relevant. However, I’m willing to believe that someone at one time did post this, suggesting defining a nonsmoker positively and a smoker negatively, i.e. as “unhealthy, smoky, anti-health, anti-clean indoor air, and abnormal…
      I would agree with some of these descriptors but not the epithets, e.g. abnormal. Although smokers shouldn’t be our opponents, unfortunately a minority does seem to believe the tobacco industry propaganda and actively work to protect the industry. Perhaps nicotine addiction is the reason, just as denial of problem drinking and driving while drunk accompany alcohol addiction.

      As regards funding a research project into “jet fuel fumes in airports,” as you suggest MoGASP should do, this is pretty absurd. Would you suggest that to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which is a breast cancer group? No, because they have a focused goal, the same as MoGASP. Our members would wonder if we’d lost our minds if we funded unrelated research.

      Finally, I stick by the distinction I made between anti-smoking groups, which too easily become equated with “anti-smoker,” which we definitely are not, and anti-smoke pollution, aka pro-smokefree air, which we are.

  26. Mogasp, the page I originally got it from has been removed. However, it was picked up by smokefreeny and they still have it available at:

    In terms of our vocabulary, I would imagine that you probably would refer to my groups as “pro-smoking” rather than “pro-freedom” or “Free Choice” groups, am I not correct? Yet we would feel the same way in reverse.

    MoGASP: Pro-smoking groups are viewed as shills for the tobacco industry because that’s how they appear to function. They mouth all the same arguments originally used by the tobacco industry to try and derail meaningful smoke-free air legislation.
    If instead of smoke-free air a group was protesting St. Louis City’s ordinance prohibiting the outdoor burning of yard waste should they be (accurately) labelled as a “pro-yard waste burning” group, or as a “pro-freedom” or “Free Choice” group? The latter descriptions would be viewed as attempts to hide the group’s real identity.

    And no, I would not expect MOGASP or any antismoking group to fund such a study, but yet I have the feeling that if I or any of the other posters here got funding from Philip Morris to do it you’d throw the results down the toilet before feeling that they were valid or allowing them to be posted here as evidence – no matter how well done the science was. Do you really think I’m wrong in such an assumption?

    MoGASP: All the evidence I’ve read clearly shows that the tobacco industry, which conducted extensive secret research showing that smoking was harmful to smokers, never published any of that work and continued to challenge any evidence that smoking caused disease in smokers. They continued the same tactics once attention turned to SHS and disease in exposed healthy nonsmokers.
    In 1981, Japanese investigator Dr. Takeshi Hirayama published the first study showing that secondhand smoke elevated the lung cancer risk of nonsmoking spouses of Japanese smoking husbands. The industry attacked Hirayama’s study even while their own internal scientists were agreeing privately with the results of that study. (Ref. pp 413-416, The Cigarette Papers, 1996, Glantz et al.)

    I’m also still interested in hearing why you might feel it is ok to force young workers to work under the carcinogenic rays of the sun or while breathing in the carcinogens evaporating from people’s cocktails in restaurants. Unless of course you actually are in favor of treating protections from “the smallest exposures” to carcinogens equally and fairly.

    – MJM

    MoGASP: Your question is phrased in a deliberately biased way, intended to imply that MoGASP is somehow unreasonable in focusing on the issue of SHS. To be consistent, please ask every other single-issue group the same question. You can start with the following:
    Helen Chesnut, Executive Director of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, St. Louis: or phone (314) 569-3900. Their focus is breast cancer awareness and cure. Let me know what Ms. Chesnut says. BTW, there’s evidence that some breast cancers are induced by SHS exposure among nonsmoking women.

  27. Mogasp, let me see if I can answer your points without going on at unreasonable length.

    You say my Free Choice groups “mouth all the same arguments originally used by the tobacco industry.” I would have to strongly disagree. While I’m sure you would agree that at least some of the industry’s arguments were valid and there’s nothing wrong with repeating them, I believe most of our groups today mount arguments that have been developed by our members. I don’t recall the industry ever arguing that pools changed their water once a year while Free Choice bars/restaurants/casinos change their air 25,000 to 75,000 times a year. Nor argued that reduced ventilation/filtration in airplanes as well as more stationary banned places would increase the risk of the spread of airborne swine flu and suchlike. Nor argued that a nonsmoker will get far more arsenic from a pitcher of tap water than they’re likely to get in an average lifetime of smoke exposure. Nor argued that hidden smoking and hasty, improper disposal of forbidden cigarettes in the legally-required absence of fire-safety devices (ashtrays) would increase fire risks. Nor argued that smoking bans would ultimately result in a social atmosphere resulting in hate crimes against smokers. Nor argued that there’s something fundamentally wrong about laws that define an employee as anyone “who performs a service for another with or WITHOUT compensation.” Nor argued many of the other points that I have seen argued by Free Choice folks over the years.

    In terms of your burning example, I think a less prejudicial matter would involve fireplaces since they, like smoking, have been a widely accepted social norm (unlike yard-waste burning in most areas in recent decades). I would consider those campaigning against fireplaces to be “Antiburning” or “Antifireplace” folks while those campaigning against such laws would indeed be “Free Choice” or “pro-freedom” folks – even though I actually think the Antiburning folks have a far stronger argument than the Antismokers.

    Re industry research: I’m quite sure that if the courts suddenly grabbed all the “secret papers” of the antismoking industry that you’d find quite a nice selection of research that was “covered up” in one way or another because it would have delivered the “wrong message.” Or you’d uncover more examples of situations like I found in the Klein study and wrote about in the comments to Jacob Grier’s column at:

    I won’t reproduce that discussion here but invite you and your readers to read it there and then comment on it here if wished. I’d like however to know how you would justify what those researchers did.

    Re Hirayama. I’m quite sure the industry attacked the study. It deserved to be attacked. I wrote a very strong attack on it back in 1981 as well, though since that was pre-computer era my attack was handwritten and since lost to the sands of time. I *do* remember making the point quite strongly though that the strongly negative attitude toward female cigarette smoking in Japan likely resulted in a far greater level of “secret smoking” amongst the wives of Japanese male smokers… thus accounting for the increased lung cancers observed. Remember: even a small extra amount of such hidden smoking would have a greatly disproportionate effect when compared to the simple exposure of nonsmokers if EPA figures are accepted.

    Finally, regarding patio dining and restaurant alcohol service: I *never* suggested MOGASP should focus on those things. I was asking YOU whether YOU felt it was ok to force young people to work in such carcinogenic environments. To be consistent with your stand on secondary smoke exposure I believe you would have to answer that yes, such things SHOULD be outlawed. If your answer is different though I’d like to know how you would justify it.

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

  28. Martin, in addition to closing the blog on Denver airport without answering my posts from September 2nd and evidently claiming to still need “more time” to respond to my postings from last February and November, you still have my September 3rd posting here “awaiting moderation.” There is nothing controversial about my post: there is absolutely *NO* ethically justifiable reason for holding it so long in moderation even if you do not have an answer at the moment for the question I posed in it. You made a commitment to your readers a number of months ago not to censor comments that were reasonable and submitted with a full name. I have fulfilled both those conditions.

    – Michael

  29. Under 500 char:

    Martin, you have not answered my earlier Q that started with “Martin, the concern about the “smallest level of exposure” ” & young workers risking death from malignant melanoma. {C above for entire Q}


    … regarding patio dining and restaurant alcohol service: I *never* suggested MOGASP should focus on those things. I was asking YOU whether YOU felt it was ok to force young people to work in such carcinogenic environments. (consistent with your stand on smoke exposure)


  30. Martin, I believe these are “Givens”: Sunshine causes malignant melanoma. Sunscreen/awnings give only partial protection. Daytime patio dining is no more “inherent and necessary” to restaurants than indoor smoking is to bars. Finally, it’s a given that if such dining is allowed, youths will be “forced” to work there just as they would be “forced” to work in some indoor smoking venues.

    Simply asking your opinion: To be consistent with your ETS stand I believe you’d have to say that yes, such dining SHOULD be outlawed. If not, then please justify.

    A similar case can be made to ban indoor restaurant alcohol consumption. See:

    That risk isn’t as clearly indicated but we know concentrated liquid alcohol on human mucousal tissues increases cancer, so it’s a small jump to indict vapor alcohol under the “no safe level” carcinogenesis theory.

    So my appeal Martin, is simply that you clearly state your opinion on the above and its basis. -MJM

    mogasp: The complete text of the reference above, which you provided by e-mail, is pasted below for convenience.

    Michael J. McFadden,
    Re: Secondary Smoke, Alcohol, and Deaths…
    28 April 2005.

    Two points raised in the Rapid Responses immediately prior to this come together with a question I have written about for several years. USDHHS (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services) has classified Ethyl Alcohol as a carcinogen. To be true, they have only classified it as such when it is “consumed,” presumably in liquid form, but alcohol is a very volatile liquid. (1)

    A cigarette emits roughly a half milligram of active Class A carcinogens with the most significant in terms of weight being benzene at 3/10ths of a milligram. A standard martini releases roughly one full gram of the Class A carcinogen ethyl alcohol into the air in the space of an hour: an amount equal to 2,000 cigarettes. You can see this for yourself most clearly if you pour a large shot (48 grams) of grain alcohol into a martini glass and set it someplace ventilated and safe for two days. When you come back it will be gone. If the cat didn’t drink it the alcohol went into the air and was breathed and ingested by any who wandered through the room during that period.

    Some might claim that DHHS specified “consumption” of alcohol in order to rule out any airborne effects, but to say that mucosal cancers from liquid alcohol do not imply mucosal cancers from evaporated alcohol makes an absolute mockery of the old “tar in acetone painted on mouse skin” proofs that medical scientists were so fond of in the 1950s and 60s.

    As Dr. Lee, in the Response immediately above this one, points out: “Logic dictates that if cigarette smoke is harmful when inhaled into the lungs of smokers then the same smoke when inhaled into the lungs of non- smokers will also be harmful. To argue otherwise would be foolhardy.” People like myself argue that the dilution of that smoke, particularly in modern venues with far better ventilation than generally reflected in epidemiological studies based on exposures stretching back 30 or 40 years, make a huge difference.

    Nonsmokers in well designed and ventilated bars and restaurants would normally inhale no more than a few micrograms of active Class A carcinogenic material from cigarettes. In exceptionally well designed and ventilated venues the total amount would probably be measurable only in nano- and picograms. The alcohol case is clearly far stronger: nondrinkers would be likely to inhale milligrams rather than mere micrograms in drinking allowed venues… particularly if smoking is banned and ventilation levels reduced.

    Of course there’s no massively funded Antialcohol lobby to run huge epidemiological studies on passive drinking and such studies would be very difficult to design. Non-drinking bar workers could be compared to non- drinking pool-hall workers (both groups would be exposed to similar amounts of smoke thereby removing that as a variable) but such population pools aren’t very large. However, as Luc Bonneux pointed out above, risk management often involves making decisions “not supported by hard epidemiologic data.”

    He also points out that risk management principles dictate that “risks are to be reduced to levels as low as possible. The lowest level possible is easy to identify: apply the law, ban smoking in all public places.” Following those principles, and following the thinking and reasoning of Dr. Lee, one would have to accept the necessity of banning alcoholic drinks in restaurants and perhaps even in bars.

    Sure, it might hurt their businesses a bit. Fancy upscale restaurants would lose their profits on $100 bottles of wine and the clientele frequenting bars would probably suffer an initial dip until people got used to enjoying each others’ company over glasses of vegetable juice or soda pop. However, as has been stated consistently by smoking ban proponents, any possible risk to health is first and foremost: nonpartakers should not be forced to partake anything over a zero- tolerance exposure to any potentially harmful chemical, and the removal of drug use from the visual environment of children and teenagers will make them less likely to become addicted themselves.

    We should remember that underage drinkers account for nearly 20% of alcohol consumption (2) while underage smokers account for just 3% to 5% of the cigarette market (3). Would removing alcohol from bars, restaurants, TV commercials, movies, and sports events while quintupling its taxes cut underage drinking by 400%? Antismoking advocates feel such measures are effective for tobacco so they should be similarly effective for alcohol, true?

    Do I really think alcohol should be banned from bars and restaurants, from movies and TV, from sports events and wedding champagne toasts? Of course not: the risk levels of nondrinkers, if evaluated honestly in studies not funded by pressure groups would be below consideration by any rational person. And anyone who did not want to be exposed to such fantastical wisps of risk could simply avoid establishments where alcohol was allowed.

    Exactly the same argument can be made about smoking and smoking bans.

    Michael J. McFadden

    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”


    (1) National Toxicology Program. DHHS. 11th Report on Carcinogens

    (2) Foster, S.E., R.D. Vaughn, W.H. Foster and J. A. Califano, Jr. 2003. Alcohol consumption and expenditures for underage drinking and adult excessive drinking. JAMA 289 (8): 989-95

    (3) Viscusi, W. Kip. “Smoke and Mirrors….” The Brookings Review, Winter 1998 Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 14-19

    I am a member of several Free Choice organizations, and have absolutely no financial interests with Big Tobacco, Big Hospitality, or any other player in this arena other than as a customer and as the author of a book in the field.

    Competing interests: I am a member of several Free Choice organizations, and have absolutely no financial interests with Big Tobacco, Big Hospitality, Big Pharma, or any other player in this arena other than as a customer and as the author of a book in the field.

    • Michael, I feel reasonably confident when making statements about SHS, often (but not exclusively) using U.S. Surgeon General’s Reports for reference. I cannot extrapolate from that data to other human carcinogens, such as sunlight or alcohol. The new link to bmj letters which you provided worked and I have added your text from this link to the mogasp blog for convenience.

  31. No idea what happened to the original BMJ link. Fortunately several years ago while recovering some web-erased data that contradicted some claims about the Helena study I discovered something called the Wayback Machine. Using that resource I have recovered the original and saved it more securely for you at:

    See: “Secondary Smoke, Alcohol, and Deaths” 4/5 way down the page.

    -MJM (Response on SGR later)

  32. That link refers to the alcohol fume claim. I do not believe references are really necessary for the link between sunshine and malignant melanoma.


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