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More propaganda dressed up as science

"Nicotine in third-hand smoke, the residue from tobacco smoke that clings to virtually all surfaces long after a cigarette has been extinguished, reacts with the common indoor air pollutant nitrous acid to produce dangerous carcinogens" says a new study.

The BBC is reporting that researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a US Department of Energy laboratory in Berkeley, California, ran lab tests (my emphasis) and found "substantial levels" of toxins on smoke-exposed material.

Even though the threat, if any, to non-smokers including children is unclear (ie minimal), opponents of smoking have been predictably quick to call for the need to "protect children" and make "homes and cars smokefree".

Amanda Sandford of Action on Smoking and Health said: "The harmful effects of second-hand smoke are already well-established but this study adds a new dimension to the dangers associated with smoking and provides further evidence of the need to protect children, in particular, from exposure to tobacco smoke.

Ed Young of Cancer Research UK said: "This is an interesting piece of research that adds the possibility of an extra level of harm from tobacco smoke ... The most important step parents can take to protect their families from the dangers of cigarette smoke is to make their homes and cars smokefree."

To be fair, the BBC adds that:

Simon Clark, director of the smokers' lobby group Forest, remained sceptical. He said: "The dose makes the poison and there is no evidence that exposure to such minute levels is harmful. That doesn't seem to matter, though. The aim, it seems, is to generate alarm in the hope that people will be stopped from smoking or will give up.

"The real danger is not third-hand smoke but propaganda dressed up as science. Until the evidence of harm is irrefutable, scientists and campaigners should resist the urge to tell us how to live our lives."

Full story HERE.

For further comment about "third-hand smoke" (which I described as a "laughable term" when I was speaking to the BBC) I recommend articles by Michael Siegel HERE and Chris Snowdon HERE.

Reader Comments (58)

The effects of third hand tobacco smoke, have you ever heard such rubbish in your life? with all other polutions, toxins and smells out there that stick to your clothes "car fumes, purfume, factory fumes etc" why are they trying to say it is only tobacco smoke that is dangerous to man? It is just another big lie thought up by ASH and their story telling health Gurus to get this weak government to keep up the attack on people who smoke.

February 9, 2010 at 6:42 | Unregistered Commenterclif e

Well said Clif e.

The problem is they are not winning the battle yet, too many of us resist their bullying to give up and have found other ways of socialising where we can still smoke.

These pariahs will not be satisfied until they have succeeded in their aim of a totally smoke free world!

Give me a cyanide pill, or something, so that I won't have to remain living in such a depressing place!

February 9, 2010 at 7:19 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

"The most important step parents can take to protect their families from the dangers of cigarette smoke is to make their homes and cars smokefree"

Err, what's the point? According to this report it's still dangerous to kids if you smoke outside, unless you plan never to come back in again. Might as well not bother going outside then.

February 9, 2010 at 7:56 | Unregistered CommenterAlan Thrower

I regard the third hand smoke scam as pure evil.
The third hand smoke lie, and a lie it is.
Basically means that they are trying to say that smokers themselves are toxic.
The implications of this are obvious and sinister. .
Surely only a complete fool would believe this ?
But there are plenty of them out there.
The BBC have once again dredged the bottom of the sewer.
This is what I pay my licence fee for ?

February 9, 2010 at 8:11 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

This study appears to be wall to wall junk science. They seem to be most worried about "carcinogenic tobacco-specific nitrosamines or TSNAs..several hundred nanograms per square meter of nitrosamines" (1)

Guess where Nitrosamines are also formed? Cooking fish, where TSNAs are measured in microgrammes, but in the Berkeley paper nanogrammes a factor of a thousand times smaller. (2)

Nitrosamines are also found in ham, milk, children's balloons and tap water. (3)

Finally the World Health Organization's cancer mouthpiece the International Agency Research on Cancer says on Nitrosamines: "5.2 Human carcinogenicity data. No data were (sic)available to the Working Group." (4)

So we have a dose that is so low, cooking a fish produces 1,000 times more "carcinogens" on a chemical which has not been proven to cause cancer in the first place.

Junk science that insults the intelligence.

February 9, 2010 at 8:19 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Well said Dave, but it's no good preaching to the converted. Get the message out there....Loud and Clear!

February 9, 2010 at 9:05 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

These people who do these studies are frankly off with the fairies and I bet they all drive cars (carbon monoxide etc. etc.).

February 9, 2010 at 9:26 | Unregistered CommenterJenny of Yorkshire

"dangerous carcinogens............"

Gosh - this is DEEPLY disturbing !

From now on I PROMISE to stop licking the furniture, chewing the carpet, and stroking the cat (a well-known source of nicotine-poisoning).

I could KISS Amanda Sandford.

Once I've de-toxed her..................

(And had my brain removed)

February 9, 2010 at 9:26 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

wouldn't life be much easier if we just banned children?

Just when you think the antis cannot get any sillier, they do.

February 9, 2010 at 9:50 | Unregistered CommenterMCO

"Researchers at the University of East Anglia - often referred to as The Home of British Science - have discovered that SMOKERS pushed from the roof of a twenty-story building sustain a fracture-rate 'significantly higher' than a control group of NON-SMOKERS jumping off a chair.

Amanda Sandford of ASH - now almost fully recovered from a recent attack of PR-Related Hyperbole Syndrome - is reported to be 'delighted':

"This is a STAGGERING piece of research, and delivers a killer blow to the Adam's Apple of anti-smoking scepticism", she said.

A spokesman for the University described the science as 'very, very robust'............."

(BBC Science Report)

February 9, 2010 at 10:34 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Carefull Ms Sandford being an anti smoker causes warts on you nose !
And it has been linked to warts on the chin as well.
A telephone poll repudiated this fact !

February 9, 2010 at 10:40 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

If these reports were not soaked up by the gullible, brainless and righteous, then they would be histerically funny!

Unfortunately, as we know, the antis have cultivated a large number of the population to be gullible, brainless and righteous; sadly the majority of the remainder just 'don't give a damn'!

I don't have any answers, unfortunately, but somehow, I believe, we have to try and undo the damage the antis have done so far to the majority of the population.

I guess I am teaching my grandmother to suck eggs with that statement though!

February 9, 2010 at 11:13 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

This is so depressing ... I'm off to find some rope and the nearest tree.

No doubt my body would have to be sealed in some sort of nuclear proof container before it was buried to ensure that my rotting body does not suddenly cause the earth to explode becaue of ther amount of tobacco I've smoked.

These people don't want anything more or less than the total eradication of smokers and smoking!

February 9, 2010 at 12:27 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

"These people don't want anything more or less than the total eradication of smokers and smoking!"

So what's new Pat? We have all known that for at least the last two years, maybe longer.

The picture now is so familiar that it is as recognisable as an old master with most people. Even the artist is now famous, or should that be infamous?

We don't need any lecturers in unpopular culture pointing out the gory facts to us, we need soldiers pointing out how we should be handling it.

Any soldiers out there ready to volunteer?

February 9, 2010 at 13:15 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

"If these reports were not soaked up by the gullible, brainless and righteous, then they would be histerically funny!"

Then, Lyn, you should drop an e-mail to Jennifer Tracey and Eddie Maier, who did a 'witty' piece for Radio 4's 'iPM' on Saturday.

Heck, they even visited the Beeb's smoking shelter (despite the appalling odour and the 'overflowing ashtrays'):

"We want to hear from YOU - if you have a POSITIVE story about smoking. WE KNOW it's Bad For You. YOU KNOW it's Bad For You. But we think there might be stories out there from people who love their ciggies, or who made friends over a ciggie, or who just like the taste........"

Yep - we're just a tiny bunch of Lovable Eccentrics, really.

The sound-effects depatment even produced a 'smoker's cough' - by way of an ironic coda.

Great stuff !

(But I just couldn't be bothered, frankly).

February 9, 2010 at 14:07 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

They will have to take down all those 'no smoking' signs and replace them with 'no smokers' signs.

February 9, 2010 at 14:39 | Unregistered Commenterchas

Peter - and you know exactly which "army" I believe is the only one that is willing to fight this war for smokers and I am one of its soldiers.

Have I offended you in some other way than just having a different political party view? I don't comment on here just for peolpe like yourself but anyone else who may visit and not comment. I think it is important to keep repeating it. Perhaps if someone had bothered to say it years ago, we might not be in this position now!

The link above is my latest assualt as a soldier in this war. What have you done exactly other than try to persuade smokers to vote for a party that will do nothing for them?

February 9, 2010 at 14:53 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Its the EU stupid! their toxic tenticles are now spreading into the rest of europe, Greece being the latest casualty.
Ireland was their sounding board then came Britain Scotland and Wales.
And didnt they do well when the antis thought the good times of false money would never end and body image and 'health' was considered more important than our pleasures.
Even Turkey has a smoking ban, I think they brought it in themselves without even being asked so they could join the great 'western block'.

February 9, 2010 at 15:06 | Unregistered Commenterann

When I speak about soldiers Pat, I am not talking about ANY political party, because I know that no political party can or will do anything to help smokers, not at this point anyway, because things are just too close for comfort, to risk rocking the boat on this issue, and that goes for ALL of them.

The soldiers I speak of, are the street soldiers, like myself, since you ask, people who are willing to stand up and be counted and defy the ban. On my own, or with just the willing few, I am never going to get anywhere, just like the old army of moaners, that do just that and nothing else.

When I said we need soldiers I meant real people, like other countries have, who have guts and will do something for themselves, not just moan because politicians won't do it for them.

If the mood of the people was right, the politicians would follow. At the moment the politicians don't care a damn about smokers because they can see that the average smoker doesn'r seem to give a damn about themselves.

February 9, 2010 at 16:56 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

Peter - you should check out the (you know who) candidates site. I can assure you that (you know who) is very much on the side of smokers. I have the smoking ban, and anti health zealotry as my main campaign issues. - 1) to abolish health quangos and divert the money back into direct patient care and 2) to stop the denonormalisation of adults who do not take the Govt's advice on lifestyle control.
There is also a write up from me explaining that in more detail. So it is not true to say that ALL parties are against smokers. Only Three of them are and they are all the same.
The one I cannot mention has grown from the grass roots, has ordinary smokers standing as candidates because of this issue, and it was smokers that put it second in the EU elections. It knows very well which side it's bread is buttered. Shame on those that don't!

February 9, 2010 at 18:54 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Mr Atherton

Data is a plural noun , so the construction:- "No data WERE available to the Working Group." is correct!

February 9, 2010 at 20:36 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

This one fails dramatically

Let me please quote a real scientist (astrophysics) but the method should be the same.

Carl Sagan's
Baloney Detection Kit

Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the facts
Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.
Arguments from authority carry little weight (in science there are no "authorities").
Spin more than one hypothesis - don't simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy.
Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it's yours.
Quantify, wherever possible.
If there is a chain of argument every link in the chain must work.
"Occam's razor" - if there are two hypothesis that explain the data equally well choose the simpler.
Ask whether the hypothesis can, at least in principle, be falsified (shown to be false by some unambiguous test). In other words, is it testable? Can others duplicate the experiment and get the same result?

February 9, 2010 at 20:59 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

Love it !
Good old Carl !

February 9, 2010 at 21:00 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

Interesting stuff, Specky !

However, re:

"Arguments from authority carry little weight."

Sadly, it's the arguments from Authority that carry ALL the weight - so far as Public and Politicians are concerned.

One should never underestimate the talismanic power of the Lab-coat or the Stethoscope.

It is, after all, one of the reasons they used to figure SO prominently in (among other things) cigarette advertisements and commercials.

And people are far too polite and trusting (usually) to demand A Second Opinion.

Except in TV drama.

And far too lazy to examine the facts - even when laid out before them.................

February 9, 2010 at 21:45 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Yes I remember the old colgate toothpaste adverts years ago.
Or washing powder adverts.
The white coats were a integral part of the, (show).
Anti smoking is such a natural progression from that.
Wonder if a recent study shows those to be carcanegic.
Probably some uncrupulous fund shark waiting to release it at the right time.
Wouldn't it be hillarious if everyone went back to washing their clothes in urine and brushing their teeth with salt.
Because they were afraid of washing powder and toothpaste ?

February 9, 2010 at 23:06 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

@ Martin V.

No, Martin, it is not the 'arguments' from authority that cause the problems, it is the 'penalties for failure to obey' that cause the problems.
This is also the problem with Peter T,s ideas about 'soldiers'. Where are the soldiers going to light up in defiance? In the fresh air in the grounds of a hospital which bans smoking anywhere would certainly be possible, but in a pub? I think not, unless the publican agreed with the deliberate intent of testing the law as regards the meaning of the word 'allow' in the legislation. But, to do that, the publican would require massive financial backing. Hewitt (was that his name - the guy from Blackpool?) almost did so, but backed down. I would assume, because he was not backed up.
Perhaps he was too early. I suppose that it has always been necessary to let the situation as regards the smoking ban to develop. Let it get sillier - and sillier and sillier, as Burnham's new proposals seem to be. Then, let a publican whose pub is failing but who is about to retire anyway, deliberately provoke a 'major incident' by allowing smoking in his pub much publicised, Gather together a group of people (as many as possible - possibly hundreds to congregate at his pub), who do not mind paying a £50 fine, but who are prepared not to pay a spot fine and insist on going to court. and let the criminal cases go to court. And let the publican be backed up financially by the Licenced Vic Assoc and tobacco cos and by private subscription.

The publican, the group of smokers, the private subscriptions may be fairly easy to obtain. I subscribed my £20 to Freedon to Choose when they tried to pursue the Human Rights Act route, so I would readily subscribe, I would also be a member of the group and would not bother about a fine or going to court (I am retired, therefore what fear does 'a criminal record' have for me?) The really seriously difficult problem is big financial backing from the tobacco cos. At least they seem to have broken their unbelievable silence in the matter of plain packaging.

Maybe the time is now ripe to start making real waves.

February 10, 2010 at 0:28 | Unregistered CommenterJunican


Congrats on a brilliant article Pat and congrats to the fair minded newspaper.

Regarding this present topic, I've often wondered why the colourless smoke from a cigarette ends up as a rather thick sticky amount of brown dust. Seems to me to be far more dust produced than the original amount of smoke. I've come to the conclusion that just as smoking creates a mucous inside the human body to trap incoming germs and impurities, so cigarette smoke captures and neutralises external germs and impurities.

We can cough up and spit out the mucous containing the trapped and neutralised germs and the mucous remains white - not brown. It would explain why I instinctively feel healthier entering a room in which someone has smoked but cannot stay for long periods inside a perpetually smoke free germ mutating enclosed public space..

Just a thought folks. Sorry to be so graphic.

I feel the day is getting closer and closer when true science regarding the benefits of smoking can be heard at last. Yes, in spite of all the anti lies, UKIP have got a sound and unassailable policy on this. Be patient as their election manifesto nears completion.

February 10, 2010 at 2:51 | Unregistered CommenterMargot Johnson

Gosh, Magot J, how I admire your simplistic view!
Vote UKIP and all will be solved! Vote UKIP and there will be a new UKIP government which will solve everything!

Erm....No. There will be no UKIP MPs. What you really want, and all that you are scheming to attain is an increase in the UKIP vote. That is all.

The fight against stupid, useless government minsters is real, serious and NOW, not some vague possibility for the future when the UKIP get sufficient votes. Even in a hung parliament, UKIP (with its zero MPs) will have no voice.

PLEASE confine yourself to the matter of finding a way to amend the ban. Sure, discuss the politics, but be REAL!

February 10, 2010 at 4:06 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

Your cheap IKEA'esque furniture is much more damaging to long term health than tobacco.
MDF and it's ilk is made using formaldehyde and veneers are bonded to it with equally nasty chemicals. Just being in your house is way more damaging than smoking a packet of cigs.
Wrapping your lunch in cling film? Bad idea - the polymers from the film leech out onto your food.
Like burnt toast? - Carcanegenic....
Like that "new car" smell? - that's the wiff of the polymers in all the plastic leeching out - that's why plastics crack in the sun - the heat accelerates the exit of these nasty chems.

I could go on....

Second-hand smoke? Damn well less unhealthy than just living in a modern house and driving to work in the morning.

F*ck 'em and THEIR law!

February 10, 2010 at 7:55 | Unregistered CommenterScoot

Junican -

Without the 'arguments from Authority' (and we can ALL name the 'authorities' in this context), there would be no stigmatisation of smokers, and therefore no threat of legal retaliation against the publican.

The one is made possible only by the other.

But - on the 'foot soldiers' point - which of us WOULD subject our Landlord to the possibility of a £5000 fine - merely to defend OUR principles ?

What would THAT do to eradicate the carefully-crafted image of The Selfish Smoker ?

Using the British sense of Fair Play AGAINST us was a master-stroke by the Government.

February 10, 2010 at 9:01 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Let's be honest, the "political solution" is a non-starter. UKIP haven't got a hope of any power and the Conservatives show no sign of wanting to do away with the big nanny government created by 13 years of Labour evil (although I hope that this might change if they come to power which is why I will vote for them - anything to be rid of the curse of Labour).
On a practical note to the foot soldiers argument:
The best way to change a bad law is to subvert it and make it punitive to enforce. E cigs seem to offer a rather nifty solution. Imagine just a few people in a shopping mall, airport, railway station etc. "smoking" these electronic beauties (which at a distance of 6 feet or more are indiscernable from the real thing). Security would have a nightmare but could do little since no law is being broken. A similar logic would apply to "smoking" in the pub and with the sight of people smoking in pubs again becoming normal once more probably one or two punters may choose to use the real thing again. If this happened in many pubs would the authorities have the resources and will to enforce the law? I doubt it.
What's the downside? Well they could try to ban E cigs. But they are very stealthy pieces of kit and can be hidden in a second. And any attempt to ban them would at least drag the whole issue of the smoking ban back into the news at a time when I suspect that people are becoming more aware of and concerned about the massive curtailment of individual liberties which this government has introduced.
The smoking ban as a piece of law was brilliantly crafted. Time for guerilla tactics.

February 10, 2010 at 9:53 | Unregistered CommenterGoodstuff

Junican -

I think - if you'll forgive me - that your urging of Margot to 'be real' is unfair, misguided, and historically short-sighted.

You seem to have understimated the 'leverage' effect of our First-Past-The-Post system.

If - in a putative final count for Anytown North East (a 'traditional Labour stronghold') - the votes (as percentages) were cast as follows:

Lab: 25% (down 10)

Con: 20% (up 10)

Lib: 15% (down 5)

UKIP: 26% (up 15)

Others: 14% (who cares ?)

The UKIP candidate would be the new MP.

That doesn't seem SO far beyond the realms of possibility to me.

And just think of all those 'marginals'...........

February 10, 2010 at 10:00 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Mind you -

I rather like Goodstuff's creatively mischevous suggestion about the e-fags !

Does anyone know what the REAL legal position is here ?

If their use were the equivalent of (say) sucking on a lollipop, then I imagine it could even be extended to public libraries.

Not that I'm advocating THAT.

Nonetheless, it WOULD be immensely gratifying to be able to say - with the full protection of the Law - to the Security Guard and the Man In The High-Visibility Jacket:

"Go away - you Silly Little Man (or I'll call a policeman)."

February 10, 2010 at 10:12 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Specky says 'Wouldn't it be hillarious if everyone went back to washing their clothes in urine and brushing their teeth with salt'

Are you trying to tell me, Specky old chap, that some people don't use urine any more to wash their clothes? I certainly do, I just adore the smell. As for salt for the teeth, what else would one use, vinegar?

Goodstuff; spot on with your obseravtions on Ukip man, I mean to say, would anyone seriously bet on a horse that only had three legs?

February 10, 2010 at 11:20 | Unregistered CommenterCaptain Duckpuddle

This appeared in today's Daily Mail.
"Two men are recovering in hospital after a security guard ejected them from an alley in Queens USA when he caught them smoking.
The guard said he struggled with the pair, broke free, then pulled out his legally held .380 Rutger and shot the two of them, one in the side and one in the stomach.
Police say the pair will be charged with menacing when they're released from hospital".
I think this brings Junican's point of 'penalties of failure to obey' into stark reality.
Thank God our lot are not armed....YET!!

February 10, 2010 at 13:21 | Unregistered Commenterann

Win or not my vote reflects my conscience. Why would I vote for any party that is going to dish out the same on this issue? I believe UKIP has a great chance and therefore I'm willing to take a risk when otherwise my vote would be to abstain from the election.
I honestly think that anyone who is voting Con and gives Cameron a mandate to continue with the nanny state really doesn't care if this issue is amended or not. I've said it before but the three main parties are not listening. A hung parliament, a massive switch in support - which is what UKIP WILL get - or lost votes will, I believe, create the climate where the smokers' voice is finaly heard! It is the only way we can stop them ignoring us.

February 10, 2010 at 16:09 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Junican you are right. But it isn't necessary to involve pub landlords. Get a few hundred people to sign a joint tenancy agreement to rent premises and form a smoking club. Start as research (exempted from the ban) into smoke extraction efficiency. Post experiment on Youtube. This could be genuine and useful but would be stopped. Write the agreement so that the eventual £2500 fine would be shared out among all members. Repeat ad nauseum.

February 10, 2010 at 17:06 | Unregistered Commenterjon

Jon -

Some nice thinking there !

But would the freeholder allow/be permitted to allow it, I wonder ?

The Act seems not to have been really tested yet.

Here's a POSSIBLE alternative:

If I were to throw an open-house party for friends, neighbours, and anyone who cared to bring a bottle, would I be caught by the law ?

If so, then that would make the Act - and the definition of 'members of the public' (aren't we all?) - even more draconian than it already appears.

It would effectively prevent the participants of any street party, for example, from smoking in each others' houses.

If NOT, however, then I SHOULD - in theory - be able to allow (say) a downstairs room, ADJACENT to a pub, to be used by ANYONE who wished to stroll over from the pub with his pint, and enjoy MY hospitality in MY Smoking Lounge (c/w log fire, cosy chairs etc etc).

And if THAT were the case, then it would be only a short step away from leasing a ROOM in a pub to a DIFFERENT landlord - who would grant the same 'hospitality' (purely out of the goodness of his heart).

A 'sidewind' - in legal parlance.

This is one area in which the Heavy Hand Of Authority MIGHT be reluctant to act - especially if some widespread publicity could be arranged.

Ideas, anyone ?

February 10, 2010 at 18:40 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Yes, I've often wondered this. If you have lots of people to your house they can drink and smoke to their heart's content. Similarly, according to the law (although the Pubcos have, in their seeming desire to be put out of business, come down on many who do this) it is also legal for a landlord to smoke in his own living space that isn't part of the pub. So why can't the landlord "invite" people into this "non-pub" area of the pub where nothing is sold? Or as you say, a canny landlord could "make an arrangement" with a neighbour (or even buy a next door house in his own name - it isn't licensed, isn't part of the business, he's simply very "friendly"). His private dwelling may look like a pub, it may be furnished like a pub, but it isn't part of the pub. To buy alcohol one must leave the house and pop next door to buy your round from the pub before heading back to the snug warmth of the "non-pub, unlicensed private dwelling next door.... which just so happens to let the public in.

Legally, I really can't see the problem with this although it's tragic such chicanery needs to even be considered in a supposed democracy in 2010.

February 11, 2010 at 0:44 | Unregistered CommenterMr A

Re: Jon's suggestion. I believe some time last year a number of pubs did claim they were conducting research and were eventually stopped. However, tellingly their takings increased 300% in one week, more once it hit the news. But then, according to the Government, the smoking ban is well-loved and has actually been good for the Trade, so it must have been a blip. After all, they never lie, do they?

February 11, 2010 at 0:48 | Unregistered CommenterMr A

Wasn't there also a B&B owner who had set aside one of her bedrooms for her smoking customers?

I think that the rights that a property owner now actually has would be tested by a spat between the owner and someone coming to work in the property. As far as I'm concerned, if I call in a plumber, he has no right to demand that I don't smoke despite the fact that it's his workplace while he's there. If he doesn't like the conditions then he's free to refuse the work. These days, though, I can imagine a court ruling that the plumber has the right either to demand no-smoking or compensation for not being forewarned and therefore not having the opportunity to turn down the work.

February 11, 2010 at 9:54 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

The thrid hand smoke scam failed the last two times it was tried on.
Hopefully it will fail this time.
I think and hope that is highly likely ,my gut feeling is it will.
Simply because all the articles I have read ,their seems to be little support for the idea and most see through the ridiculouslness of the claim.
Good example from the new scientist below.
However ,the problem is Politicians do not seem to be bothered on the validity of claims like this third hand smoke quackery as long as it suits their political agenda.
As for bans in homes ,in private housing that would be impossible to enforce.
However in public housing i.e. rented blocks of flats it would be more enforcable.
I know in "Kalifornia" this is done already.
How succesfull they are in actually enforcing it I do not know.
Going by other opinions I see I think more and more smokers are beginning to wake up to what is hapening to them and hopefully become more politically active.
Rather than putting up with it.
A good example of how to defend yourself was created by the gay community.
A good blue print on how to survive as a minority under attack.
But smokers are quite a large minority 25% ,I think more actually as tobacco use statistics are based on ligitimate sales in the UK.

The idea of third hand smoke is quite nasty.
It basically means they are trying to scare people into thinking that smokers are toxic.
This notion when aligned to the fact that the pseudo science behind it is so bad it is luaghable then it bears a strong resemblance to the "HATE CRIME" pseudo science touted by rascists at the turn of the century.
Anti smoking has now gone beyond public health and is behaving in a manner akin to rascist dogma.

February 11, 2010 at 10:39 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

Last year a guy in southern ireland opened a Shebeen (a shed for drinking) in his house and set it up as a bar so that he and his friends and neighbours could smoke and there was a kitty to pay for their drink.
It was a thundering success until that is, some snake in the grass reported him to the law (as they do).
He was brought to Court and paid the fine but still kept it going regardless.
He defied them on numerous occasions after that but the last newspaper report said he was was being forced to close down and then it disappeared off the radar, or else unfortunately I missed the final outcome. In my opinion Big Bro had a hand in it, as they do.
Its amazing that Publords dont open an adjacent room in their pub like Martin suggested or keep defying them in some form.
Because things are just going to get worse for smokers if there's no defiance.
Just last Tuesday the EU Health Chief Andrailla Vassiliou proposed that uniform laws be drafted for all 27 countries to regulate smoking more strictly in public areas.
And holding England and Ireland up as examples, told a news conferance - "The rules are stricter in Britain and Ireland and each and every european should be entitled to full protection from tobacco smoke".
I guess their agenda is for us to complain about other countries getting away with indoor smoking, thus giving them carte blance to replace the 'fair play for children' lie with the 'fair play for other countries' lie.
She goes on to say that Greece is to introduce a ban on tobacco in indoor public places from Wednesday.
Then I hear today that EU is to bail out Greece's debt.
Have they got Greece by the short and curleys already I ask. It looks very much like it.
Looks like I'll have to cancel my hol.
Yes, the planet is surely shrinking day by day for smokers.

February 11, 2010 at 11:15 | Unregistered Commenterann

i have some good news for smokers i look after the elderly and have for 30 years and smokers dont get dementia they seem to keep their minds intact all their lives

February 11, 2010 at 13:53 | Unregistered Commenterharris

Ann is right. Not protesting now will make effective protest more difficult in the future. Other European countries ignore EU laws but ours generally doesn't. I think that it is legal for a pub to delicense part of its premises and sell drinks as off-sales to take into the delicensed part, so long as it is part of living accommodation. However most pubs aren't free houses and most publicans wouldn't want the bother. I think a cafe owned by its members and, to minimise dealings with the Authorities, not selling food, is a lot less complicated. Conducting an air purification experiment would be of interst to a lot of people.

February 11, 2010 at 14:03 | Unregistered Commenterjon

Again - some interesting ideas and observations here.

What we NEED right now is some established lawyer, sympathetic to our cause, to draft a well-argued opinion on my suggestion, and that of others.

'Pro bono', naturally.

A group of lawyers would be even better.

At that stage, we would be in a position to CIRCULATE the 'opinion' (if favourable) widely among thousands of pub landlords (I'd be quite prepared to stump up a couple of hundred quid to cover the postage etc) - and thereby plant the seed of legalised rebellion.

The point is (surely ?) that it would only take a handful of enterprising souls to give it a go for the IDEA to spread. I certainly can't see the Media - at either local or national level - ignoring this one, either.

David and Goliath, and all that.

And I suspect it would generate a good deal more sympathy among the general public than the sight of yet another few thousand (some chance !) trudging with placards down Pall Mall, fists clenched, and intoning the wearisome refrain of "What do we WANT ?".

OK - I admit that the idea is as yet embryonic, and based upon certain optimistic assumptions.


February 11, 2010 at 22:08 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Re Mr A & Martin V - separate 'house' near pub.

I stayed in a small hotel/guest house in Ireland some years ago (golf holiday). The hotel did not have a bar, but had an arrangement with the pub next door.
If you wanted a drink in the hotel, reception (ie. the owner or 'maid') would phone the pub with your order and someone from the pub would bring your drinks round! Empties were left at reception and collected by the pub next day.
Wonderful - especially near closing time.

February 12, 2010 at 0:12 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

I stayed in a student hostel type accomodation in Norwich for two nights.

The Eastern European gentleman tha run it said smoking was not allowed in the rooms, however when shown the room it had an ashtray on the table.

I queried why there was an ashtray and he said - "I don't see any ashtray in the room"....

February 14, 2010 at 17:11 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph K

There was no 'fair play for children lie'. If you guys want to smoke in your own homes, I guess that is your affair. After all, no one can prevent you fulfilling a long-term suicide note.

But, not where there are:

+ kids, including your own
+ other adults who don't want your exhaled smoke
+ people who have to be with you to do their jobs.

Let's take the last-mentioned. In a pub. no one allows staff to work where there is an asbestos risk, the place has to be clean. The argument that staff could be free to choose has been settled for the asbestos and for the cigarette smoke. NO. No employer has that right nor an employee to connive or be pressured. The risk is gauged to be severe enough to remove any discussion of choice.

Oh, let's take the first, kids. Parental rights in this do not and have never existed. You have no right to smoke where it can affect your own kids. Your kids have a right to good health and to be protected from harm. Most parents who smoke recognise that, but too many still do not. There are those who smoke when pregnant. Unacceptable.

Smoking is your affair. It is addictive, health-damaging and dangerous. Every reason to restrict it as much as possible without removing your right to smoke, but in a rights-based society, there are 2 types of right - unconditional and conditional. The European Convention has both types. The right to a fair trial, for example, unconditional. The right to associate, to privacy etc, conditional - because one has to take on board other issues, specifically mentioned are health, national security and the rights of others. Your right to smoke is therefore counterbalanced by the rights of others as regards health. As the TV meerkat says "Shimple"

February 15, 2010 at 14:41 | Unregistered CommenterJan Cosgrove

Keep taking the tablets Jan.

February 15, 2010 at 15:02 | Unregistered Commenterann

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