Monday, October 8, 2007

Health Rights: Smoke Free Living


Two California cities will vote this month on unprecendented legislation that will ban all smoking inside apartments and condos.

This legislative push, which has triggered death threats against both cities council members by "my home is my castle" smokers, is controversial in spite of mounting scientific evidence that no-level of secondhand smoke is risk-free.

The closeness of most apartment and condo units allows smoke to waft easily from the doors and windows of one unit to those of other units. At the very least, this drifting smoke is a nuisance and on that account alone can be restricted.

Noises, smells, and a host of activities in one's home that adversely effect other's enjoyment of their living space can, and is, regulated. The only difference with cigarettes is that Americans have been bombarded with advertising and movie images of smoking that link smoking with individuality and independence.

When the Surgeon General issued his landmark study suggesting smoking was hazardous to human health, Big Tobacco's immediate response, among others, was an ad campaign linking smoking with rugged American individualism- the Marlboro Man. The message: society and doctors be damned, like a cowboy on the open range, I'll do what I please and I don't care who it harms.

The reality is that cigarettes are not symbols of freedom and individualism, but are symbols of addiction, cancer, death, disease, ignorance, and dependence.

The sooner Americans finally get over their Marlboro Man complex, the sooner sensible laws will be enacted. The Marlboro Man, by the way, died of lung cancer.

If the ophthalmic and optometric medical communities truly believe that living and working in smoke free environments will help prevent degenerative eye disease, improve overall public health and lower the societal cost of healthcare, we need to support this type of legislation.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Where do you come off?

I will do whatever I want in my home, including smoke if and when I feel like it.

Amy said...

I think they should have smoking and non-smoking apartment buildings. Anonymous you can do whatever you like in your home but if it can hurt me or my baby then it is my business. I still don't understand why people smoke. They know the health risks yet they continue to start smoking. I think parents need to educate their children so they never start the habit.

kristen said...

If people want to continue to harm themselves and smoke then fine; but don't involve me! I don't want to smell it, see it, or step on the nasty buds either! Oh, and for all you smokers out there, throwing out buds from your car window litters the Earth! So not only are you harming yourself but you're also harming me AND my planet!!

Anonymous said...

This issue effects me dearly, I live in a very high end neighborhood in an attached town home 2 minutes from the first tee box. We chose this home for its location. Since we have moved here my husband has gone from the 50th player in the state to #1. Why should we have to move from this great location because my two 80 almost dead, never leave the house, neighbors have decided to smoke like chimney's. We are trying to live a clean healthy life, since we are only 35. I called the local health Dept. they said there was nothing they can do no one can be held responsible. The cost to fix the ventilation system would be at my expense. The only advice I was given was to move. The woman at the health dept thought that solution was ridiculous.
Comment to anonymous yes, you should be able to smoke if an when you feel like it, just consider buying a high end filter or opening your windows and maybe asking the neighbors if they can smell it and being considerate we all have to live on this planet together.

Ellen Troyer, MT MA said...

Anonymous,

Here's where I come off:

There is overwhelming scientific evidence that secondhand tobacco smoke is a direct cause of lung cancer (3,000 nonsmokers die each year from second hand smoke), heart disease (35,000 deaths
each year from second hand smoke), and lung and bronchial infections (affect a quarter million children every year).

Accompanying the growth in smoke-free laws nationwide has been a parallel increase in false allegations from the cigarette companies and their allies that smoke-free laws will hurt local economies and businesses and that these laws interfere with individual rights.

In fact, numerous scientific and economic analyses show that smoke-free laws have not hurt restaurant and bar patronage, employment, sales, or profits.

Another fact you might not know: A Phillip Morris document (#2025771934/1995) suggested:
"Three to five fewer cigarettes per day, per smoker, could reduce annual manufacturers profits a billion dollars plus per year."

With those numbers, one can see why the tobacco lobbyist will do anything to make our elected officials believe that smokers have every right to smoke in their apartments, condos or townhouses.

A Health & Human Services (HHS)document suggests that smoke-free laws help the seven out of every ten smokers who want to quit smoking by providing them with environments free from any pressure or temptation to smoke.

Anonomous, my colleagues, my friends and my family don't want to get sick or die from second hand smoke, and we don't want you to get sick or die either, so hopefully quitting smoking is, or will be, your goal.

Dr. Whiting said...

Amy,

Your smoking only apartment buildings will have to be for adults only, since it will soon be illegal to expose minors to second hand smoke.

Ruby Southall said...

I hope all the smokers who are reading this blog know to take vitamins every time they light up because smoking depletes both vitamin C and E. And please see that the children you are exposing to your smoke are getting plenty of vitamin C, since children exposed to cigarette smoke have 20 percent less vitamin C in their blood than those who are not exposed.

Ellen Troyer, MT MA said...

Science now suggests that smoking depletes vitamin E from tissue concentrations in order to keep up its levels in the blood, leaving the tissues, including lung tissue, particularly vulnerable to attack by toxins and free radicals.

Its important to understand that vitamin E and vitamin C have a complex biochemical symbiotic relationship (vitamin C regenerates vitamin E) so it's best to take these vitamins together, preferably in a multiple before taking extra vitamin C.

For best tissue protection, vitamin E and C need to be present before free radical damage or oxidation occurs. These vitamins cannot be expected to optimally repair cellular damage if they are ingested after the fact.

Jess said...

In New York and New Jersey you are not allowed to smoke in restaurants and bars. Everyone got used to it and no one cares anymore. I wish they would do that everywhere. I hate having to wait over an hour at a restaurant for a non-smoking table. That makes me not want to go out to dinner. So if anything having smoking in restaurants lowers its business. For instance Outback in South Carolina is non-smoking and they are always packed.

Steve said...

Jess,

You will be glad to know that thirty one states ban smoking in the workplace, and twelve prohibit smoking in public places, including restaurants, bars, clubs and some casinos. Maybe South Carolina will be next.

California, the first state to ban smoking inside public places, also leads the nation in outdoor restrictions.

They declared secondhand smoke to be a toxic air pollutant. This means, as with other designated toxins, such as vehicle exhaust and industrial air pollutants, the California Environmental Protection Agency must now work with the state, local governments and businesses to reduce public exposure to toxcins, including secondhand smoke.

The major offenders are those folks who insist on smoking in front of, or right next to, the doors of public buildings causing all who enter or leave the building to run their disgusting smoke gauntlet.

Go California!!!

George J said...

Smoking an occassional dubies is illegal and the folks who sell an ounce or so of weed can go to prison for life if they are convicted three times, while over 400,000 people die every year from cigarette related deaths; and that is legal.

Our laws are designed to best serve Wall Street, certainly not the people.

Joe Kirkland said...

Hey Steve,

South Carolina is moving in this direction, in fact several towns have banned smoking.

Joe

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