Een aantal artikelen uit alt.smokers die aangeven hoe selectief Amerikaanse gezondheidsorganisaties met de omgeving om gaan: streng tegen rokers, zacht tegen de industrie.
Californians seek smoke-free outdoor air
By Deena Beasley
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Forced out of restaurants, ousted from bars,
smokers continue to retreat in health-conscious California as nonsmokers demand,
and increasingly get, smoke-free outdoor air as well.
Smokers who in 1998 lost the once-inalienable right to smoke and drink at the
same time, at least in public bars, now are being restricted by some businesses
and local governments to certain limited areas of the great outdoors.
"Only 16 to 17 percent of Californians smoke. Nonsmokers are less willing to
accept the annoyance and unpleasantness now that smoking has been banned
indoors," said Dr. David Burns, a spokesman for the American Lung Association of
California began in 1994 to phase in its ban on smoking in nearly all indoor
workplaces. The trend has since spread throughout the country and around the
Now some complain that the ban on indoor smoking means more smoke outside — on
restaurant patios, in doorways of buildings, shopping centers, parks and other
public places where everyone around is exposed to the secondhand smoke.
"The anti-smoking movement in California is reaching absurd levels. The outdoors
is the last bastion, after one’s own home, now that they have closed down
smoking in bars and restaurants," National Smokers Alliance spokesman Eric
The city of San Diego is expected to approve an ordinance barring smokers from
lighting up within 50 feet of public playgrounds and recreation centers.
THE WORLD IS THEIR ASHTRAY
The new law, which is expected to go into effect next year, was spurred by
complaints of toxic cigarette butts piling up near areas where children play.
"Unfortunately, the smoking industry encourages smokers to think of the world as
their ashtray and playgrounds have a lot of sand," said Debbie Kelly, a
spokeswoman for the Lung Association in San Diego.
"That same 50-foot space will be passed by five municipal buses and three
trucks, but I guess its OK to breath those fumes," the smokers alliance’s
More than 50,000 people die prematurely each year from prolonged exposure to
secondhand smoke, which contributes to diseases including lung cancer, heart
disease and asthma, according to the Lung Association.
"There is a tendency for smokers to congregate in certain locations, outside of
restaurants or doorways. This creates conflict with nonsmokers who are also
outside," Burns said.
The problem is made worse at some large office buildings because their powerful
ventilation systems draw in the smoke every time the door opens, the association
The trend to restrict outdoor smoking has been particularly pronounced at
hospitals and other medical facilities such as health maintenance organization
Kaiser Permanente, which has barred outdoor smoking at its Southern California
centers since Jan. 1.
"We wanted, as a preventive health care organization, to set an example and
encourage employees to quit smoking," said Denise Schaefer, manager of Kaiser’s
smokers health line. She said feedback from the anti-smoking campaign has been
Although Kaiser employees now have nowhere to smoke, the ban is "kind of like
seat belts — it’s not 100 percent enforced. They can go to their cars,"
Disneyland began to restrict smoking to four designated areas this year. Until
January, visitors to the Anaheim theme park had been allowed to light up as long
as they were not on a ride, waiting in line, or in transit, eating or store
"We feel we’ve accommodated both sides. We’ve eliminated the uncertainty about
where you could or could not smoke within the park," said Ray Gomez, a
People who do not like cigarette smoke appreciate the move and smokers like the
guidance, spelled out in a brochure they receive at entry, and the fact that
puffing zones are away from mainstream traffic, he said.
The manager of a Starbucks coffee shop in the northern California town of Auburn
decided three months ago to ban smokers from the store’s outdoor patio.
"We were having constant customer feedback that it would be really nice if they
didn’t have to breathe all that smoke," manager John Shanahan said.
Local authorities allow businesses to dictate activity on premises they own or
rent, he noted, adding: "The police have been very supportive. We have had
customers who refused to put out their cigarettes."
California bar owners and the tobacco industry lobbied ferociously, but
unsuccessfully, to repeal the state’s ban on smoking, arguing that it would
But a spokeswoman for the California Restaurant Association, Kristin Olsen, said
there has been no concrete evidence so far to show that the ban has affected
revenues. "We have noticed that more restaurants and bars are building patios to
accommodate smokers," she added.
"People who expect to be able to smoke need to be able to do so responsibly, not
at the inconvenience of other people," said Lung Association spokesman Burns.
Researchers Defend Humans in Study
By TOM VERDIN
.c The Associated Press
LOMA LINDA, Calif. (AP) – Doctors doing a study of a toxic water
pollutant defended feeding it to human participants, saying the potential
medical benefit outweighed the risk.
The Loma Linda University Medical Center researchers held a news conference
Tuesday to respond to media reports raising concerns about people being given
doses of perchlorate, a chemical used in rocket fuel that has contaminated
ground water in parts of Southern California.
The hospital’s institutional review board, which oversees clinical trials,
concluded that participants would face minimal risk. Researchers said the
perchlorate doses being given in the study are about 100 times lower than those
given to people who are prescribed perchlorate for thyroid illnesses.
Dr. Anthony Firek, the study’s principal investigator, said the dosages are also
lower than those given in a study published earlier this year by Harvard
University. Nine men received 10 milligrams of perchlorate daily in that study.
Loma Linda researchers are giving participants doses ranging from a
half-milligram to three milligrams. Half of the participants get placebos.
But the daily doses in the Loma Linda study are still up to 83 times higher than
drinking-water limits for perchlorate recommended by California’s Department of
Dr. William Saukel, chairman of Loma Linda’s review board, said the study likely
will produce information beneficial to the population as a whole.
So far, just eight people have enrolled in the study, which began in early
October. Researchers hope to eventually enroll 100 people who each will be paid
$1,000 for seven months of participation.
Participants are informed of the risks of the research, which include bone
marrow suppression, lessening of white and red blood cell counts and thyroid
Lockheed Martin – which faces hundreds of lawsuits accusing it of creating
perchlorate pollution and threatening the health of San Bernardino and Riverside
counties’ residents – is paying for the study. The aerospace company’s officials
have said the study will help determine the health risk of perchlorate.
Barry Taylor, Loma Linda’s vice president for research affairs, said university
officials discussed the company’s possible motivations. “But on the other
hand,” he said, “people on the committee recognized that they could see
medical use coming out of this.”
The idea for the study came from medical researchers, not Lockheed, researchers
Firek said the study is being conducted to determine how best to diagnose and
treat any illnesses caused by perchlorate in drinking water.
Perchlorate has been used as a rocket-fuel oxidizer since the 1940s, and is
thought to have contaminated water supplies in parts of Riverside and San
Bernardino counties, as well as the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles.
In large doses, it can slow down the thyroid, which produces the hormone that
controls infants’ brain development and growth in older children. In adults,
the thyroid regulates such things as temperature and blood cholesterol. Some
people with thyroid illnesses are prescribed perchlorate to help treat their
Firek indicated that doctors treating such patients are seeing some problems
they think could be related to perchlorate. A clinical trial is the only way to
determine whether that is the case, he said.
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Loma Linda Medical Center:
"There has never been a time like this, in which we have the power to create
knowledge and the power to create havoc, and both those powers rest in the same