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Smoking Ban at work Health

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#61 Lin731

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 03:18 PM

Broph as I said earlier, we will NEVER agree on this issue. When all those illnesses are pegged to "smoking related" simply on the basis that the person smoked, I have a problem with the criteria. It does nothing to answer the bigger questions. How MUCH of a factor was the smoking in regard to the overall illness? As I mentioned before, in my dads case it was minor/miniscule in comparison to all the OTHER factors. THAT is what bothers me about it period. When you take smoker versus non smoker in those illness categories then anything over the percentages for non smokers are all attributed to "smoking related" it IMO paints a distorted picture of the real impact and obscures some of the more relevant causes.
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#62 Eskaminzim

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 03:20 PM

Broph:

At the very high risk of getting sliced by your wit, I have to say that it sounds like YOU have an agenda, too.  (And frankly, based on the thread itself, I do happen to believe that private companies do have a right to say "you either stop smoking altogether or you get fired", especially in 'right to work' states, so on this, I agree with you.)

Your family died of smoking related illnesses, or so you believe, and you're rightfully angry about it.  No one blames you, I'm sure, but that does lead to an agenda type thinking.

Based on how you're quizzing Lin, I'd guess that if she said that her second cousin twice removed was crushed to death when a semi-truck jumped the curb and ran over him, you might come back with the argument that smoking (first or second hand) caused his bones to weaken and that's why he died.

Based on what I've read on the CDC reports (which I take as truth, as you do) the latest round of death statistics have "smoking related illnesses" as the number one cause of preventable death, and obesity/overeating as the second cause of preventable death.

And do you know how many deaths separarate the two?  27,000, give or take a few.

Now, by itself, that might sound like a large number.  But when you take into account that 427,000 are smoking related, and 400,000 are obesity related, then you're talking about something that is not statistically significant.

And remember the obesity that they're talking about is not in conjunction with smoking, or it would go in the 'smoking related mortality' column.  It does not.  And yes, I asked my friend Claressa, upon whose sayso the US Gov't was shut down due to the anthrax scare.  She's a microbiologist Emory grad living here in Atlanta, working for the...you guessed it...CDC.  Which is why I believe their statistics.

Smoking is a bad thing.  It's a very bad thing.  People die from it.  But the thing is, statistically, just as many people die of overeating.

So you're right, Broph.

Then again, so is Lin.

Can't ya'll just call this a draw?

#63 Lin731

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 03:30 PM

Eskaminzim, thank you for your insight, I saw you were in the process of posting and I was glad to see it as I value your expertise. I also agree with your assessment, we are both right on certain points which was why I had hoped to call it a day and move on. That didn't happen. I really DO understand Broph's anger (I had alot of it over my dads death) because he refused to take care of his diabetes and poor dietary habits. My only point in all this was to point up what I believe is a flawed way of arriving at the stats. Smoking is a bad habit, of that I have NO argument, I simply question how exactly they measure it's TRUE impact. I may be wrong in my assessment of how their methodology works (I'm not a scientist) but from a lay person's point of view it looks too simplistic and generalised. Perhaps your friend at the CDC can explain it in a way that makes it more sensible to me.
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#64 Broph

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 03:56 PM

Eskaminzim, on Nov 2 2005, 08:20 PM, said:

At the very high risk of getting sliced by your wit

Ah, but is that risk as defined by the CDC or forces.org, I must wonder!

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I have to say that it sounds like YOU have an agenda, too.

Not only do I have an agenda, I have an attache and a wallet!

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Your family died of smoking related illnesses, or so you believe, and you're rightfully angry about it.  No one blames you, I'm sure, but that does lead to an agenda type thinking.

I just find it interesting that web sites like forces.org can actually try to state that not a single person has died as a result of smoking. My mother woke up early the day she died; I was leaving for work and it struck me how tired she was; she could hardly hold her head up, but she insisted that she was fine. She was dead before I got home. Her brain was literally not getting enough oxygen. She was a nurse and she had worked the night before. She was only 61. She had stopped smoking, but we found out that for the last 6 months of her life she smoked in secret. The previous time she had done that she wound up in the ICU for a week followed by months of therapy. How she got back to working is beyond me. 3 years later she died.

My father was on oxygen the last 6 years of his life. He had to give up working; he had to give up driving. He smoked with his oxygen on - it's a wonder he wasn't one of those people you read about who blow themselves up by smoking with oxygen. He finally quit when he was housebound. Nobody would buy cigarettes for him. He spent his last 4 months downstairs. I brought a bed down for him because he couldn't climb the stairs anymore. He couldn't travel the 100 miles to visit his grandchildren and my brother didn't visit often enough. My father lived to see those grandchildren. And as I said, I was with him when he died. It's not an experience I'd wish on anyone. That's my agenda.

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Based on how you're quizzing Lin, I'd guess that if she said that her second cousin twice removed was crushed to death when a semi-truck jumped the curb and ran over him, you might come back with the argument that smoking (first or second hand) caused his bones to weaken and that's why he died.

No, but if that second cousin was walking to the packie to get a carton of smokes I'd say that smoking contributed to his death!

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Now, by itself, that might sound like a large number.  But when you take into account that 427,000 are smoking related, and 400,000 are obesity related, then you're talking about something that is not statistically significant.

True, though I've never gained weight from someone else downing a Big Mac. The CDC says that second-hand smoke kills 3,000 people a year.

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Smoking is a bad thing.  It's a very bad thing.  People die from it.  But the thing is, statistically, just as many people die of overeating.

I have to ask, though, if the people who overeat have the related medical costs that smokers have. The truth must be out there somewhere!

#65 Lin731

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 04:06 PM

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have to ask, though, if the people who overeat have the related medical costs that smokers have. The truth must be out there somewhere!


Here's some info on that issue:

http://www.rti.org/p...06A064BB32DD00B

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Research Triangle Park, NC -- Researchers from RTI International and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that states spend as much as $75 billion a year in medical expenditures related to obesity. In a report published in this month's edition of Obesity Research, the economists provide the first state-by-state estimates of obesity-attributable medical expenditures. The report also provides rough estimates of the share of obesity expenditures in each state that are funded by taxpayers through Medicare and Medicaid.

Total state-level estimates in 2003 dollars range from $87 million (Wyoming) to $7.7 billion (California). Obesity-attributable Medicaid expenditures range from $23 million (Wyoming) to $3.5 billion (New York), and Medicare expenditures range from $15 million (Wyoming) to $1.7 billion (California).

"This report further drives home the point that we must stem the tide of the obesity epidemic in this country," said Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, Tommy G. Thompson. "These findings are a dramatic illustration of the devastating economic impact obesity has on health care delivery systems across the nation," Thompson said.

The percentage of annual medical expenditures in each state attributable to obesity ranges from 4 percent (Arizona) to 6.7 percent (Alaska). For Medicare expenditures, the percentage ranges from 3.9 percent (Arizona) to 9.8 percent (Delaware). For Medicaid recipients, the percentages are much higher, ranging from 7.7 percent (Rhode Island) to 15.7 percent (Indiana). The higher percentage of Medicaid expenditures attributed to obesity results from the higher prevalence of obesity among Medicaid recipients.

"These estimates of obesity-attributable medical expenditures present the best available information concerning the economic impact of obesity at the state level," said Eric A. Finkelstein, RTI economist and lead author of the paper. "Policy makers should consider these estimates, along with other factors, in determining how best to allocate scarce public health resources," Finkelstein said.

The figures confirm earlier findings that obesity accounts for a significant, and preventable, portion of the nation's medical bill, and highlight the role of the states in financing these costs. Finkelstein and his colleagues caution that the estimates should not be used to make cost comparisons across states or between payers because the state-level estimates are associated with large standard errors influenced by many variables within each state.

In another paper published in the journal Health Affairs last May, the same authors estimated national costs attributable to both overweight and obesity to be $93 billion (2002 dollars). The state-by-state analysis focuses solely on obesity. (http://content.healt...ff.w3.219v1/DC1)

"These reports are particularly alarming given that obesity has been shown to promote many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, several types of cancer (endometrial, postmenopausal breast, kidney, and colon cancer), musculoskeletal disorders, sleep apnea, and gallbladder disease," said Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of CDC. "The long-term effects of obesity on our nation's health and on our economy cannot be underestimated," Gerberding said.

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#66 Eskaminzim

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 05:09 PM

>>I just find it interesting that web sites like forces.org can actually try to state that not a single person has died as a result of smoking.<<

They're like any website, pro- or con- ANYTHING, Broph.  They're arguing based on semantics, that's all.

It's like people who claim that not a single person has died as a result of cancer.  Cause, usually, it's the pneumonia or the body wasting, or the seizures, or whatever, and not the cancer itself....based on semantics.  The tumors themselves kill folks *directly* less often than the complicating factors of the tumors.

Semantically (is that even a word?) there is no one on the face of the earth that has ever been born who has died as a result of anything other than "cardiac failure".

Yup, semantically, every single person in this world has died ONLY when their heart stopped beating...permanently (or in the case of the artifical heart man, his artifical heart).  Cause, you know, semantically, as long as your heart's beating, you're technically alive.  You only die when your heart stops, so, technically, 'heart stoppage' is the direct cause of every single death in the world.

And for decades (if not centuries), if the "actual" cause of death wasn't "in your face" (such as a gigantic bullet hole in the skull with brain matter leaking out, or severe crush injuries, or arrows sticking out of multiple body parts, or a missing head or something), cardiac failure was listed as the cause of death.  And, semantically, they were right.

That's why, for the longest time, "cardiac failure" was the number one killer of people.  Cause it wound up on most of the death certificates.  Till the statisticians (and the families of the deceased) began to raise a hue and cry, and that pretty much stopped.   Docs are now, for the most part, strongly discouraged from putting that on the death certificate.

So, yes, semantics are used to push through just about any agenda in the world, pro- or con- anything you can name.


Lin:

I'll ask my friend about how those statistics were compiled in generic terms and get back to you when she answers.


EDITED to change "you're" to "your".  I HATE that particular typo.

Edited by Eskaminzim, 02 November 2005 - 05:10 PM.


#67 Cheile

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 02:33 AM

i will agree that employers can't tell smokers not to smoke on their off time.

HOWEVER, i wouldn't mind seeing smoke breaks banned.  it's a waste of employers' time and money because these people can't control their addiction to wait until their SCHEDULED break(s) and/or lunch hour to have their dose of cancer-causer.

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#68 Broph

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 08:02 AM

Lin731, on Nov 2 2005, 09:06 PM, said:

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have to ask, though, if the people who overeat have the related medical costs that smokers have. The truth must be out there somewhere!

Here's some info on that issue:

http://www.rti.org/p...06A064BB32DD00B


Thanks. I'll check it out when I have some time for some reading. I keep getting interrupted.

#69 Broph

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 08:03 AM

Eskaminzim, on Nov 2 2005, 10:09 PM, said:

>>I just find it interesting that web sites like forces.org can actually try to state that not a single person has died as a result of smoking.<<

They're like any website, pro- or con- ANYTHING, Broph.  They're arguing based on semantics, that's all.

Strange world we live in.

#70 Nonprofit

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 10:29 AM

Lin,

Thanks for your explaination to me. I appreciate it.  
I'm sorry for the sudden loss of your mom at such a young age.
And your dad, too. Sending my condolence.

RuReddy

#71 Lin731

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 10:42 AM

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Lin,

Thanks for your explaination to me. I appreciate it.
I'm sorry for the sudden loss of your mom at such a young age.
And your dad, too. Sending my condolence.

RuReddy


Thanks RuReddy, I appreciate it  :)  I guess it just goes to show how fragile and unpredictable life really is. We always think we have all the time in the world, until we don't.
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#72 Kosh

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 04:57 PM

As an addendum, Bob's obit.

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Robert Lawrence Vaughan, 58, of St. Albans passed away on Monday, Oct. 31, in Thomas Memorial Hospital, South Charleston.  He served his country in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam Conflict aboard the USS Sam Houston and later with the West Virginia Air National Guard, Charleston.  He was a HAM operator, KB8QLO, for 12 years and was a member of KVR Club. Robert was a founding member of the Kanawha Valley Personal Computer Club and The 21st Century Connection from 1981 to 1988.  He was the administrator of the first bulletin board system (BBS) in West Virginia from 1979 to 1998.  Robert was an avid motorcycle enthusiast who operated his own shop in South Carolina for a number of years.

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