ASH, een van de meest extreme anti-rokenorganisaties in de VS, roept op om roken ook – naast in parken en speeltuinen – te verbieden op trottoirs en op straat. Reden is, volgens de organisatie, dat omgevingsrook gevaarlijk is doordat het mensen (ook op straat!) binnen 30 minuten een hartaanval kan bezorgen.
Anti-rokers, zoals de voorzitter van deze organisatie, Banzhaf, zijn zó in hun eigen van leugens doorspinde wereld opgesloten dat ze niet eens meer zien hoe idioot de redenen zijn die ze naar buiten brengen. Hun gedachtengoed begint het fascistoïde te raken.
Dr. Michael Siegel, dissidente anti-rokenwetenschapper, geeft ASH op zijn blog heftig van katoen en beschuldigt hun van regelrechte leugens: “In fact, after 30 minutes of secondhand smoke exposure, an otherwise healthy nonsmoker’s risk of a heart attack is basically ZERO.”
In a press release issued Saturday, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) became the first anti-smoking organization to officially promote the adoption of laws broadly banning smoking outdoors, including on streets and sidewalks. ASH backed up its support for these smoking bans by offering to assist local governments in defending the legality of these laws.
According to the press release: “The formal designation of secondhand tobacco smoke as a ‘toxic air contaminant’ opens the door to many additional restrictions on smoking, both in cars where children are present and even on public sidewalks… One city has already asked its staff to submit a report on the legality and feasibility of prohibiting smoking on city streets and sidewalks — the legality of which has already been upheld in a law suit in which ASH’s Executive Director … participated. The designation follows on the heels of findings that even small amounts of tobacco smoke outdoors can be dangerous. … ASH also says it will help to defend the legality of bans on smoking on streets, sidewalks, and in other public places as it did successfully in the past.”
To support its recommendation that smoking be banned on streets and sidewalks, ASH presented scientific data on the health hazards associated with brief exposure to secondhand smoke, stating that: “Even for people without such respiratory conditions, breathing drifting tobacco smoke for even brief periods can be deadly. For example, the Centers for Disease Controls [CDC] has warned that breathing drifting tobacco smoke for as little as 30 minutes (less than the time one might be exposed outdoors on a beach, sitting on a park bench, listening to a concert in a park, etc.) can raise a nonsmoker’’s risk of suffering a fatal heart attack to that of a smoker. The danger is even greater for those who are already at an elevated risk for coronary problems: e.g., men over 40 and postmenopausal women, anyone who is obese, has diabetes, a personal or family history of heart or circulatory conditions, gets insufficient exercise, has high blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.”
ASH also stated that: “A 2004 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that as little as 30 minutes of exposure to drifting secondhand smoke can have a serious or even lethal health impact by rapidly increasing the tendency of blood to clot.”
Finally, ASH stated: “In cases where drifting tobacco smoke was present and a nonsmoker suffered a heart attack, asthmatic attack, or other similar problems, the municipality which owns and operates the beach, park, playground, etc. could be liable since it was on notice of the known health dangers but failed to take the ‘reasonable’ step of banning smoking as taken by many other outdoor areas.”
The Rest of the Story
I am quite serious when I suggest that this action by ASH, if unchecked by the rest of the tobacco control community (and especially if supported by other anti-smoking groups), is going to cause the whole smoke-free movement to implode, resulting not only in no bans on smoking on sidewalks and streets, but in a severe dent in what I see as legitimate efforts to regulate smoking indoors, in workplaces.
There is, in my opinion, simply no justification for invoking the state’s police powers to regulate smoking on streets and sidewalks, places where people are free to move about and where, in most situations, people can simply avoid substantial exposure to secondhand smoke. And I am aware of no scientific evidence that secondhand smoke exposure on streets and sidewalks is a significant public health problem.
And I think the public is going to view smoke-free advocates as complete fanatics because of this type of action that ASH is taking.