Don’t forget car emissions when blaming smokers for bad air

For me, the fact that all health issues are blamed on smokers seems ridiculous. If people are getting really concerned about bad air messing up their health, then please start with all the big cars. Ban them from public streets for public health. … It would be great to see that no car fumes will be able to mess up our health.

People here think that cars are OK to use, even when they are big trucks used just for private pleasure. Every day, I see all these super-fancy big vehicles, shiny and super-clean, that never haul anything around. People seem to feel big if they drive them, and don't care about how much these vehicles (or houses on wheels) are messing up our air. We inhale so much stuff from these vehicles that no cigarette will be able to create more health issues. It just seems to be in and popular to blame the smokers for anything and everything.

I never hear that the car drivers will be blamed for creating health problems. It's unbelievable that so many people are complaining about outside secondhand smokers, while they are getting more firsthand car fumes right in their brain.

— Sonja Voss
Asheville

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14 thoughts on “Don’t forget car emissions when blaming smokers for bad air

  1. Dionysis

    That the letter-writer may not “hear” about “car drivers being blamed for creating health problems,” but there is no shortage of published studies on the deleterious effects of auto pollution on the public heatlh (not to mention environmental impacts). It is very easy to access countless studies on this very issue. Here’s one place to start:

    http://www.edf.org/documents/2656_MotorAirPollutionCancer.pdf

    Surely the writer is aware of on-going efforts to reduce harmful emissions and the race to supplant fossil fuel powered vehicles with alternatives.

    As for the irrelevant comparison between auto emissions and second-hand smoke inhaled by people in confined spaces, that is akin to saying we shouldn’t worry about pick-pockets, burglars and robbers because there are murderers lose. They’re all bad, and need to be dealt with.

  2. joeinmadco

    Dionysis, you miss the point. The writer is simply saying that the media (and the general public, as a result) is paying way too much attention to the smoking issue, and therefore not giving adequate attention to other issues that are at least just as pressing. I think it’s an apt argument.

  3. harleyrider2009

    Note that the EPA report of 1992 on second hand smoke was tossed out as junk science by federal judge osteen.
    Followed by 2 congressional comittees with henry waxman in attendance,both comittees also tossed the epa report as junk science………yet these same smoke free and govmnt health groups continue to make claims shs/ets harms people. Sg general carmona was asked to provide some names of the dead he claimed of 50,000 deaths to shs a year……..yet he couldnt name one and he declared the number was computer generated on the sammac system……….to this date there still are no names………note this too the relative risk factor of second hand smoke is a 1.1 while tap waters is a 1.24 and milks is a 2.4 yet we dont call these things carcinogens as the epa study of 1992 tried to claim…….then when we find not one smoke free group lists the true major component in second hand smoke is water vapor and air at nearly 94%…..surgeon general report of 1989 pg 80.

    Then we have OSHA not making a rule of limits………..why because nano grams and femptograms are not going to harm anyone………what we have here is a lie and mass propaganda by health officials andnon-profits out to secure profits for big pharma elling the cessation drugs….the guilty parties are the robert woods johnson foundation aka johnson and johnson along with the american cancer society ,hired out by RWJF to lobby for smoking bans…….note also that all state wide bans include tax dollars for smoke free droups and 300-500 million dollars for purchasing and paying for quit lines and buy cessation drugs from big pharma…………This story is bigger than the global arming hype from the climategate emails………..follow the money and you will find the world health orginization is heavily financed by big pharma and lets not forget the world anti-tobacco treaty where countries were blackmaled to sign the treaty or lose world bank loans………….Even the tobacco companies had there hands tied by the MSA deal to stay shut up about anything tobacco control may say in the future……….leaving tobacco control prohibitionists the ability to make any claim they so desired and see it rubber stamped by government agencies staffed with people from the same non-profit groups…look at obamas hhs secretary or the cdc director all from tobacco control back grounds even the new surgeon general comes from tobacco control in mississippi…………….colusion you bet.

    “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.” -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA, To Leroy J Pletten, PHD, July 8, 1997

  4. Dionysis

    “Dionysis, you miss the point. The writer is simply saying that the media (and the general public, as a result) is paying way too much attention to the smoking issue, and therefore not giving adequate attention to other issues that are at least just as pressing. I think it’s an apt argument.”

    I’m not sure I “miss the point.” I agree that there is a lot of focus on the dangers of cigarette smoking, and less so on the dangers of other particulants and emissions. That is a valid point, I agree. However, the letter (at least to me) reads just like so many others from smokers who seek to diminish the significance of the problem by citing other issues.

    Oh, and not unexpectedly, along comes harleyrider spewing out the exact same rambling missives repeated a number of times in recent weeks, citing specious, even outdated ‘data’. If his argument is as valid as he would have others believe, then surely he (and others with that view) should have been persuasive with lawmakers via their argument. That, however, does not seem to be the case.

  5. Piffy!

    while i think dealing with auto exhaust is equally valid, it hardly is an excuse to ignore cigarette smoke.

  6. brebro

    ..but people NEED to willingly addict themselves to a carcinogen that not only affects their lungs, but those of everyone their exhaust reaches and pollute the ground with their discarded filters and create untold damage via building and forest fires resulting from carelessly handled smoldering butts. Nobody NEEDS to drive a car!

  7. harleyrider2009

    Since 1981 there have been 148 reported studies on ETS, involving spouses, children and workplace exposure. 124 of these studies showed no significant causal relationship between second hand smoke and lung cancer. Of the 24 which showed some risk, only two had a Relative Risk Factor over 3.0 and none higher. What does this mean. To put it in perspective, Robert Temple, director of drug evaluation at the Food and Drug Administration said “My basic rule is if the relative risk isn’t at least 3 or 4, forget it.” The National Cancer Institute states “Relative risks of less than 2 are considered small and are usually difficult to interpret. Such increases may be due to mere chance, statistical bias, or the effect of confounding factors that are sometimes not evident.” Dr. Kabat, IAQC epidemiologist states “An association is generally considered weak if the relative risk is under 3.0 and particularly when it is under 2.0, as is the case in the relationship of ETS and lung cancer. Therefore, you can see any concern of second hand smoke causing lung cancer is highly questionable.” Note that the Relative Risk (RR) of lung cancer for persons drinking whole milk is 2.14 and all cancers from chlorinated water ranked at 1.25. These are higher risks than the average ETS risk. If we believe second hand smoke to be a danger for lung cancer then we should also never drink milk or chlorinated water.

    Milk drinking, other beverage habits, and lung cancer risk.
    Mettlin C.

    Dept. of Cancer Control and Epidemiology, Roswell Park Memorial Institute, Buffalo, NY 14263.

    The reported beverage habits of 569 lung cancer patients and 569 control patients admitted to Roswell Park Memorial Institute (RPMI) were studied, 355 male cases and 214 female cases being matched to controls within strata of age and residence. Smoking history and an index of vitamin A from vegetables had significant, dose-response associations with risk. Animal fat intake as measured by an index of animal fats from meats showed elevated risks which were not significant. Three vegetables rich in vitamin A and 3 meats contributing to the animal fat index were, individually, associated with lung cancer risk. Frequency of consumption of milk, coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages was studied in multiple logistic regression analyses which controlled for smoking history, intake of vitamin A from vegetables and education level. Subjects reporting consumption of whole milk 3 or more times daily had a 2-fold increase in lung cancer risk compared to those who reported never drinking whole milk (RR = 2.14). The same frequency of intake of reduced-fat milk was associated with a significant protective effect (RR = .54). Significant risk variations were observed for other beverages but, with the exception of frequencies of reported diet cola and decaffeinated coffee intake, dose-response patterns were not evident.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2703270

    OBJECTIVES: This study assessed the association of drinking water source and chlorination by-product exposure with cancer incidence. METHODS: A cohort of 28,237 Iowa women reported their drinking water source. Exposure to chlorination by-products was determined from statewide water quality data. RESULTS: In comparison with women who used municipal ground-water sources, women with municipal surface water sources were at an increased risk of colon cancer and all cancers combined. A clear dose-response relation was observed between four categories of increasing chloroform levels in finished drinking water and the risk of colon cancer and all cancers combined. The relative risks were 1.00, 1.06, 1.39, and 1.68 for colon cancer and 1.00, 1.04, 1.24, and 1.25 for total cancers. No consistent association with either water source or chloroform concentration was observed for other cancer sites. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that exposure to chlorination by-products in drinking water is associated with increased risk of colon cancer.

  8. sosdd

    i’m not a smoker but outlawing smoking in private establishments is unconstitutional and another sign of the general degradation of intellegence in this country.. the place should make their own rules about smoking, if you don’t like it go somewhere else…i’d rather see a law banning public obesity and the obviously unimportant morans walking around with a phone plugged into their ears.

  9. Dionysis

    Hey harleyrider, is someone paying you by the word to try and discredit the new no smoking law? Or do you just have a whole lot of time on your hands and enjoy offering long, rambling posts that repeat ad naseum the same thing? Just curious.

    We all know there are lots of environmental hazards out there as well as lifestyle-specific hazards. Your point would be what, exactly?

  10. harleyrider2009

    I want everybody to know that second hand smoke is a joke.The truth will shut down tobacco control.
    I would assume you work for smoke free or the health dept……Feeding psuedo-science to outlaw the rights of the people is flat out bull crap….I and many others arent going to stand for it…..you can kiss your ban goodbye!!! We wont rest til its GONE!

  11. Piffy!

    So, some argue that smoke is indeed unhealthy, but claIm cars are worse, and therefor cigarettes are unimportant, and others claim that second hand smoke is totally benign. Interesting. You guys need to co-ordinate your attack better.

  12. Dionysis

    “I would assume you work for smoke free or the health dept”

    I don’t. I work for a private organization; I just don’t want to breath in that toxic crap. Do you really think people opposed to tobacco smoke all work for the ‘health department’?

    “.I and many others arent going to stand for it…..you can kiss your ban goodbye!!! We wont rest til its GONE!”

    Meaning what, exactly? A modern-day ‘storming of the Bastille’? That you’ll refuse to sleep until the ban is overturned? That you’ll take your ball and go home?

  13. BadPlanner

    I don’t think I agree with the letter writer about whether smoking should be allowed in public places (including crowded outdoor events – I got nasty headaches from all the cigarette smoke at LAAFF and at least one of the Fridays After 5 events last summer), but there is a valid point in all this.

    We as a society are concerned about the health impacts of cigarette smoke so we ban it in a large number of places, spend public money on education and encouragement against smoking, and certainly don’t give people tax breaks for buying cigarettes or spend public money to build and maintain an ever-growing number of facilities for them to smoke in.

    We also claim to be concerned about the health impacts of auto emissions (not to mention the social, environmental and aesthetic cost of so much of our land being used for highways and parking lots), but our national policy does very little if anything to discourage excessive, unnecessary driving. We bail out developers of sprawl housing when their projects go belly-up, encourage and sometimes require the provision of free parking with residential and commercial development, and spend in excess of 80% of federal transportation funding on highways. I can’t imagine why people seem to think it’s so much more socially acceptable to drive a Hummer than to smoke – public policy at all levels of government dictates that it is. Just like smoking was once the norm and has drastically decreased once public policy started to internalize the external costs of the behavior, American’s ideas about driving being somehow “superior” to walking, biking or taking public transit CAN be changed. It just takes commitment to a common goal. We can and will develop that commitment if we’re going to give our children a livable future.

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