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Let's talk second-hand smoke...


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#1 Rov Judicata

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Posted 28 April 2004 - 10:50 AM

The hard sciences are not my forte. However, one thing I hear-- constantly-- is that the harmful effects of secondhand smoke have largely been discredited; others say that a burning cigarette anywhere in the 'verse causes cancer in puppies <I'm exaggerating, but not by much...>.

So, what are the facts? How much do we know about the effects of second hand smoke?

Spun off of this thread: http://www.exisle.ne...showtopic=15509
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#2 QueenTiye

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Posted 28 April 2004 - 10:58 AM

Javert Rovinski, on Apr 28 2004, 11:48 AM, said:

emphasis mine

O.k., now you're just showing off! LOL!

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Edited by Handmaiden07, 28 April 2004 - 10:59 AM.

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#3 gaius claudius

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Posted 28 April 2004 - 11:00 AM

from what I understand there have been two major studies on 2nd hand smoke...one by the EPA in 1993...which was actually a "meta-study"..meaning a study of other studies...the research on that one has largely been discredited...

the 2nd study done was by WHO...on the front of study is printed the statement that 2nd hand smoke does cause a rise in cancer rates...but the actual data inside completely disagrees with that statement..showing no apreciable raise in cancer rates...



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#4 QueenTiye

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Posted 28 April 2004 - 11:09 AM

well, I don't know fiddle about any scientific studies.  I do know about asthma, because I'm asthmatic.  And, I cannot be around smokers in enclosed spaces without getting sick.

When I visit my mom and her husband (they are both smokers) - I give advance warning so they can air out the house.  If they don't air out the house I will begin feeling asthmatic after a few hours of being there, and by day two, I will have gotten sick.  So the dangers of second-hand smoke are real, even if they aren't to do with cancer.  AND, exposure to smoke for young children (or so I've read) increases the incidence of asthma.

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#5 gaius claudius

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Posted 28 April 2004 - 11:20 AM

Handmaiden07, on Apr 28 2004, 12:07 PM, said:

well, I don't know fiddle about any scientific studies.  I do know about asthma, because I'm asthmatic.  And, I cannot be around smokers in enclosed spaces without getting sick.

When I visit my mom and her husband (they are both smokers) - I give advance warning so they can air out the house.  If they don't air out the house I will begin feeling asthmatic after a few hours of being there, and by day two, I will have gotten sick.  So the dangers of second-hand smoke are real, even if they aren't to do with cancer.  AND, exposure to smoke for young children (or so I've read) increases the incidence of asthma.

HM07
Don't get me wrong...I'm not saying 2nd hand smoke isn't dangerous at all or even not harmfull...I just think the gov't regulations made over the past few years to protect teh populace from it have gonve way overboard without any justifiable proof...eespcially regulations about smoking in restricted areas and bars..


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#6 gadfly

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Posted 28 April 2004 - 01:17 PM

Quote

well, I don't know fiddle about any scientific studies. I do know about asthma, because I'm asthmatic. And, I cannot be around smokers in enclosed spaces without getting sick.

I have a good friend who is exactly the same way and she's not asthmatic but tobacco smoke irritates her throat and nose so much that she becomes severly congested which sounds like asthma but she does not suffer the symptoms at any other time.  

It seems to be commonly accepted that second-hand smoke is a significant factor in triggering asthma attacks in children but I wonder if that's because of the increased air pollution in general?  It just seems that theres been a huge increase in either the number of people, children in particular, who are asthmatic or who are diagnosed as asthmatics.  Also, what studies have been done to connect asthma in children to parents who smoke around them?

#7 iMel

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Posted 28 April 2004 - 03:11 PM

I have asthma, and cigarette smoke always triggers attacks for me. I don't know about any scientific studies, and I know that there are many factors that go into whether a person will or won't develop asthma. However, my mom smoked during her pregnancy with me and then around me when I was baby. I have asthma. She didn't smoke during her pregnancy with my sister or around my sister as a baby. My sister doesn't have asthma.
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#8 Christopher

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Posted 28 April 2004 - 03:34 PM

Quote

I just think the gov't regulations made over the past few years to protect teh populace from it have gonve way overboard without any justifiable proof...eespcially regulations about smoking in restricted areas and bars..

I don't think they go far enough.  Since when is it all right to risk other people's life and health just because the risk isn't "proven?"  Isn't the responsible thing to err on the side of caution, to assume it's dangerous?  I mean, come on, our society goes crazy about banning things like genetic engineering and cloning just because of the possibility that they might pose some vague, unspecified risk.  Now, it's a known fact that tobacco smoke contains literally hundreds of toxins.  It's a known fact that it kills smokers -- which makes it absurd to think that by some magic it's completely harmless for people who aren't actually holding a cigarette or cigar in their hands when they inhale it.  Maybe it isn't absolutely proven, but there's vastly more evidence of its danger than there is of the danger of genetically modified corn or something.  So there's a bizarre double standard going on here.

I grew up with a father who smoked a pipe.  Until I became aware of the risk and asked him not to smoke around me, I probably inhaled more of its smoke than he did (because pipe smokers don't inhale).  And that scares the hell out of me.  I've actually already had cancer once, but it was on my retina so it probably wasn't due to that.  But I make sure to eat plenty of antioxidants and I try very hard to avoid inhaling tobacco smoke, because I don't want to take the risk.  And because it stinks to high heaven.
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#9 Chakotay

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Posted 28 April 2004 - 03:39 PM

Just like with actual smokers, there are probably some people who are far more suceptible to the effects of second hand smoke than others.

But I still feel we should err on the side of caution here. After all, even it doesn't seem to be killing you, breathing in all that dirt and stuff can't be good for the lungs, can it?
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#10 Jid

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Posted 28 April 2004 - 03:56 PM

The problem with getting "hard" data for something like this is that it's extremely difficult to control the variables to the degree to which one would need to to get rigorous "hard" data.

For example, for a really good study, you'd probably need a representative population sample of, say, 500-1000 people who are in close proximity to second hand smoke most of the time, and 500-1000 people who do their best to avoid second hand smoke like the plague.

And then, follow their medical histories for the next decade (or two, or five).

It's just something that's really not all that feasible.  Sure, you can get close, but, close is:

Survey people of a certain age, asking them how close they've been to second hand smoke in a variety of circumstances, throughout their lives, then look at their incidences of the cancers commonly associated with actually smoking themselves.

Then you get to the problems with the non-common second hand smoke people.

Take me for example.  No one smokes in my family.  (No one really could, asthma's a fairly prevalent thing for my lineage).  So, I don't get a lot of second hand smoke, compared to someone my age who's mother or father (or both) smoked in the home.

However, I have *tried* smoking before, never really saw the appeal of it after that, but tried it.  Anytime I want to go out for food, or a pint, or any such thing, with friends, until the smoking bylaws here pass (July 1 is only 63 days away! ;) ) I will be exposed to a fair bit of second hand smoke.  There's no such thing as a "smoke free" pub here, or I'd frequent it ;)

Factor in the smokers I pass on the way into and out of every building on campus, in the street, and so forth.  

It'd be really hard to get people living a fairly "standard" lifestyle to meet with the stringent "controls" of a scientific study.

So, really, any data I'd read on this, I'll take with a grain of salt.  There certainly is anecdotal evidence to back up the harmfulness of second hand smoke, like HM07's asthma, and a anti smoking activist in Canada, who while never smoking herself, has a smokers tumour after several years of working for a living in a road side diner that allowed smoking.

Personally, I'd rather we air on the side of "better safe than sorry", than to worry excessively about a person's right to kill themselves slowly, despite the irritation and complaints of those around them.
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#11 Christopher

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Posted 28 April 2004 - 05:37 PM

Jid, on Apr 28 2004, 04:54 PM, said:

Personally, I'd rather we air on the side of "better safe than sorry", than to worry excessively about a person's right to kill themselves slowly, despite the irritation and complaints of those around them.
All the talk about "smoker's rights" overlooks one thing: nobody has the right to put other people in danger.  The rights of the individual cease to be absolute when they infringe upon the rights and safety of others.
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#12 Techfreak Ziana

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Posted 29 April 2004 - 06:32 PM

Christopher, on Apr 28 2004, 05:35 PM, said:

All the talk about "smoker's rights" overlooks one thing: nobody has the right to put other people in danger.  The rights of the individual cease to be absolute when they infringe upon the rights and safety of others.
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#13 Shoshana

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Posted 30 April 2004 - 12:14 AM

All I know is that my parents both smoked from the time they were in their midteens. My dad quit during his first massive heart attack, my mom still hasn't.

My dad has passed on, and my mom remarried a smoker.

Second hand smoke - my sister is Environmentally Intolerant (allergic to literally everything) She's been told it's from being around the second hand smoke. All I know is that if she's anywhere near a smoker or near smoke, she gets very ill - one cheek will get bright red, her hands swell and get purple, she starts talking nonsense, she gets a migraine and her fibromyalgia kicks in.

That's an obvious effect of second hand smoke.

Me, I'm asthmatic. And before I knew I had asthma, I worked in a bar. And every night by 9pm I totally lost my voice and had to eat lemons all night to get it back. I have the kind of asthma that doesn't have the dramatic wheezing attacks (my mom does - remember her? The smoker? She drives me nuts by continuing to smoke) I have coughing fits. And nothing can stop them. My emergency inhaler is great if I'm short of breath or my chest is tight. But once I start coughing - nothing will stop it till my chest desides to stop. And this is that deep nasty bronchial whooping cough kinda cough. Enough to break a rib.

Anyway, smoke can cause me to start that coughing. Not all the time, I'm lucky. But I've noticed when I'm near people who have recently smoked, I uusually wind up with a blinding headache the next day.

Now I hang out with a group of people that are very antismoking.

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#14 Broph

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Posted 30 April 2004 - 07:12 AM

gaius claudius, on Apr 28 2004, 03:58 PM, said:

from what I understand there have been two major studies on 2nd hand smoke...one by the EPA in 1993...which was actually a "meta-study"..meaning a study of other studies...the research on that one has largely been discredited...
That's an interesting way of putting it. Actually, more accurately, a single judge ruled that 1) the EPA published results before the study was finished, which it shouldn't have done and 2) he disagreed with the methodology used, so he deemed the study "invalid". The EPA is still free to publish the report, but has to note that disclaimer. However, dozens of scientists have upheld the findings of the study as valid.

Now, maybe they shouldn't have published results before the study was finished, but it was, after all, a metastudy. If you have 37 studies that show that second-hand smoke is harmful, then guess what - your study of those studies is going to show that second-hand smoke is harmful.

The judge who decided the case was a former lobbyist for big tobacco.

One of the things that he didn't like about the study was that after it was started, they decided to omit a study that they were going to include. I don't know the reasoning for not including the study, and yes, the study did seem to show a weaker link between second-hand smoke and ill effects, but there may have been other reasons.

The study was "discredited"? So far, only by smokers.

Edited to add:

BTW, the EPA is appealing that decision.

Edited by Broph, 30 April 2004 - 07:17 AM.


#15 Anakam

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Posted 30 April 2004 - 07:46 AM

Shoshana, on Apr 30 2004, 06:12 AM, said:

Second hand smoke - my sister is Environmentally Intolerant (allergic to literally everything) She's been told it's from being around the second hand smoke. All I know is that if she's anywhere near a smoker or near smoke, she gets very ill - one cheek will get bright red, her hands swell and get purple, she starts talking nonsense, she gets a migraine and her fibromyalgia kicks in.
And I thought I had a bad reaction to smoke.... :eek:

(For some reason, I don't display my reactions very much physically.  It's more that my brain is bonkers for the time being instead, which makes it harder for people to believe me, apparently. :p )
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#16 WildChildCait

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Posted 03 May 2004 - 07:40 AM

Neo,

In comparison, my dad smoked when my mum was pregnant with both me and my brother.
I am the eldest, for the record. He still hasn't stopped
my brother has asthma, I don't.

I've heard  somewhere it is a lack of activty for the immune system that triggers asthma initially
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#17 Broph

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 07:46 AM

There's actually a study out there that says children of smokers have a lower instance of asthma than children of non-smokers. I figure that children of smokers get out of the house more to avoid the cigarette smoke.

#18 Christopher

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 10:02 AM

Broph, on May 4 2004, 08:44 AM, said:

There's actually a study out there that says children of smokers have a lower instance of asthma than children of non-smokers. I figure that children of smokers get out of the house more to avoid the cigarette smoke.
If you grow up among smokers, you accept the smoke as normal -- at least, until and unless you learn better, as I did.

Anyway, a single study doesn't prove anything -- the important question is, do other studies support it or refute it?
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#19 Anakam

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 10:09 AM

^
I'd also ask who sponsored the study.

#20 Themis

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 02:53 PM

Back in antiquity when I was in college and the professors let students smoke in large lecture halls, I got a cold about every month.  Finally had allergy tests - guess what I was allergic to?

They don't even test you for an allergy to smoke any more - just say it's bad for everybody.  I wish they did.  I find smokers respond more politely when I ask them to put out the thing or aim it another direction because I'm allergic than because I don't like it.

My mother smoked.  My nose runs all the time without 3 wonderful modern sprays - I'm finally Kleenex free for hours at a time, which has only been in the last two years. "Sensitive nose" they called it at my last round of tests since I only showed mild allergies to a couple of trees.  I attribute the state of my nose to my mother and to smoky environments I didn't know enough to avoid.

I have about an hour's tolerance to smoky rooms before I start to feel the tingly itch in my nose that tells me I'm going to get an allergic cold if I don't get the heck out of there.  I ate in a smoky restaurant the night before I was going to see a performer I really liked in a musical and had an invite to go backstage and meet him after.  By the next day I had laryngitis and could barely croak out a word.  Some meeting. And that's why I don't hang out in bars at cons - unless they're in California!

No-smoking laws go hand in hand with drunk driving laws in attempting to keep the public safe.  Want to go out in the desert with one of those bike things, smoke a pack and drink a whole bottle?  Fine with me if nobody's near - you're only endangering yourself.

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