Smokers lose rights at hands of advocates

"We have been taught that discrimination in any form is wrong, and yet smokers have endured discrimination for over a decade. Smoking bans have been put in place to prohibit smoking indoors. Their premise was the notion that second-hand smoke was dangerous to health. Many places are now adopting laws to prohibit smoking outdoors as well. Some have gone as far as issuing drug tests for nicotine. Maine adopted a law making it illegal to smoke in your car if you have a child 16 or younger riding with you. California has passed laws prohibiting smoking in condos and apartments that people pay for.

"These are not the only means that have been adopted to get people to quit smoking. They have placed extremely high taxes on packs and cartons of cigarettes, making them virtually unaffordable to the general public. New York has the highest cigarette tax in the nation at $4.36 a pack.

"A law was passed in June 2009, giving the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco, including marketing and labeling guidelines. Their agenda’s latest gimmick to promote non-smoking is to force cigarette companies to change the way cigarette packs are labeled. The Food and Drug Administration’s new graphic warning labels will cover half the front and half the back of each cigarette pack. Another proposal in the works is to go after the movies. If there is smoking by any character, the MPAA rating would have to be R.

"The question is: why are state and federal government going to extremes to get people to stop smoking? Prior to 1985, smoking was a natural part of society. Smoking had no limitations or restrictions; even in doctor’s offices smoking was allowed. Smoking was considered socially acceptable. How is it that in such a short period of time smoking has become demonized?

"The government and many lobbying groups have been on a crusade to eliminate smoking. Their ammunition is so-called studies that prove smoking and second-hand smoke cause cancer, heart disease and other health related problems especially for non-smokers who are exposed to smoke. It’s easy to have a study skewed to be biased in a certain direction. For example, they would have you believe that cigarette smoking causes cancer. This is a false statement.

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"There may be a correlation between smoking and cancer, but it is not a true cause-and-effect relationship. In doing such a study, it is impossible to factor out all the variables. It would be unethical to do such a study, yet they will have you believe that there is evidence second-hand smoke is responsible for a large amount of cancers in non-smokers. The World Health Organization ran one of the most exhaustive studies on second-hand smoke and found it presented no significant, measurable relationship between second-hand smoke and cancer or other so-called smoke-related illnesses.

"The study did reveal one significant finding: all adult children from homes where both parents smoked, were 22 percent less likely to contract lung cancer. It seems smoking actually built up an immunity in those children who came from homes where they were exposed to second-hand smoke. There has not been one death certificate that states, cause of death: second-hand smoke.

"Even if you believe that indoor smoking is hazardous to non-smokers, you can’t believe outdoor smoking is equally as bad, and yet people are trying to ban smoking outdoors. According to the organization, Action on Smoking and Health, an article entitled "Reasons For Banning Smoking In Certain Public Outdoor Areas" states, "Careful scientific studies based upon both highly accurate mathematical modeling techniques as well as actual real-life measurements – have shown that concentrations of second-hand tobacco smoke in many outdoor areas are often as high or higher than in some indoor areas." This is utter nonsense and propaganda from the nanny state.

"So why are they restricting a legal substance? The bottom line is money, and whose palms are getting greased in Washington. Big pharmaceutical corporations stand to make an ungodly amount of money on smoking cessation products. The major insurance companies are making extra money on smokers, stating that charging more for health insurance is justifiable because those who wish to smoke have larger medical expenses. One name keeps coming up in every study: Dr. Glantz. He’s the director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. The studies are funded by the federal government to attack the tobacco industry. There had been a study in Helena, Mont. in which smoking bans were put in place and the results showed a decrease in heart attacks. After six months the bans were lifted and the rate of heart attacks increased to pre ban rates. This was deemed proof positive that second-hand smoke was responsible for causing heart attacks. Steven Milloy, in his article, "Second-hand Smoke Scam," asked Glantz’s colleague on the Helena study to retest the theory on New York City, which had the same ban. He was told such a study would be too difficult because of all the data involved. True scientific studies that are reliable, are reproducible and have the ability to be re-tested.

"Logic has it that if second-hand smoke was responsible for as many deaths as the EPA would have you believe then we would have died off as a species long ago. Recently, electronic cigarettes have been advertised as a smoking alternative and are legal indoors. There is no second hand smoke and it is nothing more than water vapor. Rush Limbaugh had mentioned it on his show, telling a story in which he was smoking one in a bar and was asked to not use it indoors. When he told the bartender what it was, the bartender acknowledged he knew. However, it was making others feel uncomfortable. I myself have gone to the mall to try the e-cigarette and was told that I would have to take it outside to try it out. I replied that it was supposed to be legal indoors. He told me it is but the security guards were tired of getting complaints from shoppers in the mall. It goes to show you that it really isn’t the danger of second-hand smoke but the annoyance that those who have nothing better to do but complain.