EDITORIAL: Lawmakers should save tobacco agency and ban smoking

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IBJ Editorial

When times are tight, good news can be hard to find.But here’s some good news about Indiana:

• The proportion of high school students who smoke has fallen from 32 percent in 2000 to 18 percent in 2008.

• Cigarette consumption has fallen from 599 million packs in 2004 to 471 million packs in 2009.

Now for the bad news: Instead of trying to continue that success, the General Assembly may sabotage it. Here’s how:

• A House of Representatives bill that would ban smoking in public places statewide got so bogged down with exemptions that it’s been withdrawn. If the bill fails again for the second year, we’ll remain one of only 12 states without some sort of ban.

This is a law that would put a more progressive face on our unhealthy state, and help save some of the 1,000-plus Hoosiers who die every year as a result of secondhand smoke—all with no new spending.

• Senate Bill 298 would abolish the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency. The 10-year-old agency’s efforts have achieved national recognition.

In addition to its staff of 14, the agency has a 20-member board that includes representatives of major medical and cancer groups, as well as top state officials such as the health commissioner, the attorney general and the superintendent of public instruction.

Having such broad representation on the board helps assure that anti-tobacco programs touch as many Hoosiers as possible, and that state agencies and not-for-profits work together to improve our common health.

Under the proposed legislation, the duties of the anti-smoking agency would be folded into the State Department of Health. Fighting smoking would become just another responsibility for employees who already have full-time jobs. It would be a shame to lose the expertise developed by this staff and board over the past 10 years.

Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, the bill’s author, claims that abolishing the agency could save the state up to $1.1 million a year. But what about the $2.1 billion the state spends every year on medical expenses directly related to tobacco use? If those expenses keep falling, the anti-tobacco agency could more than pay for itself.

It’s ironic that these legislative moves are taking place just as the Indiana Cancer Consortium releases goals for reducing the prevalence of this killer disease. Among the group’s priorities: lowering the smoking rate, enacting a comprehensive smoke-free workplace law and increasing funding for tobacco control and prevention.

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, as well as in Indiana, where deaths from lung and bronchial cancer are nearly 20 percent above the national average.

If the General Assembly wants to create some good news in this budget-conscious short session, it will continue our wise investment in Hoosier health, and go one better by passing a statewide smoking ban.

To do otherwise would just be blowing smoke.•


To comment on this editorial, write to ibjedit@ibj.com.


  • shs studies
    Of the 30 studies on spousal smoking referred to in the EPA report, only 6 found any statistically significant association between ETS and cancer in nonsmokers married to smokers, and none found a strong relative risk. The studies actually used by the EPA were limited to 11 studies done in the United States. Using the EPA's own Guidelines for Carcenogenic Risk Assessment, none of these showed a statistically significant risk. These guidelines call for a 95% Confidence Interval. By lowering it to 90%, only one of the 11 studies showed a statistically significant risk. More importantly, the two largest and most recent studies, one of which was partially funded by the National Cancer Institute, were omitted from consideration altogether. Had these two been included, no statistically significant risk would have been found even after lowering the Confidence Interval to 90%. Even after violating its own guidelines, in other words, the EPA could still show no statistically significant risk without selecting data to fit its hypothesis. This cooked data is the EPA's only basis for declaring ETS to be a "Group A" carcinogen. ("Group A", incidentally, does not mean "extra deadly". It simply means "human".)

    The EPA's studies on ETS operate under a "zero threshold" hypothesis, or the assumption that if huge quantities of something are dangerous, then microscopic quantities are dangerous also. The data they used, however, fails to bear this out: virtually all of the studies used either found no risk at all or a risk so weak that it would not be considered significant if applied to other subjects.

    To read the rest -->http://www.smokingaloud.com/corrupt.html

    Lets see, the prohibitionists are not only making second hand smoke a complete joke in the scientific world with their psuedo-studies paid for by non-profits and government tax dollars.Ths fraudsters are even after the obese and the drinkers...robert woods johnson fondation aka johnson and johnson big pharma are the main culprits. RWJF director has an open door invite from obama to meet him at any time according to recent press releases. Collusion in a healthscare perhaps,after knowing what the RWJF uses its billions to outlaw I wouldnt be surprised.Do you want to see the NIH become a national health dept with regulatory authority to impose the whims of the new prohibitionists agenda.....The fat police in every school,the food inspectors invading your home. Outlawing fat people from eating in public venues. Oh yes,its already been tried in MISS. this last year. The new wave progressives have arrived and guess who is next on the chopping block of lost liberty and criminalization.. YOU
  • the joke of second hand smoke

    Ask the anti-tobacco folks to tell you what truly is in second hand smoke...when it burns from the coal its oxygenated and everything is burned and turned into water vapor...thats right water...you ever burned leaves in the fall...know how the heavy smoke bellows off.......

    Thats the organic material releasing the moisture in the leaves, the greener the leaves/organic material the more smoke thats made..thats why second hand smoke is classified as a class 3 irritant by osha and epa as of 2006........IN 1993 EPA decided to change the listing of shs to a carcinogen for political reasons ......because it contained a trace amount of 6 chemicals measured in picograms so small even sophisticated scientific equipment can hardly detect it.

    If the same standards to make shs/ets a carcinogen were applied to a glass of tap water, certain foods and most other things in the natural environment they would also be carcinogens. The failure of the EPA to use the dose makes the poison chart in this political decision makes their entire claim a moot point.

    However osha still maintains shs/ets as an irritant only and maintains the dose makes the poison position.......as osha is in charge of indoor air quality its decisions are based on science not political agendas as epa's is. We can see this is true after a federal judge threw out the epa's study on shs as junk science..What OSHA should be doing is applying the general duty clause and set indoor standards where limits of safe levels are set. But dog gone it,thats why OSHA didnt set a standard because there was just nothing in shs/ets that could be deemed harmful to humans. So it was left as it was a simple class 3 irritant.

    Wednesday, March 12, 2008 British Medical Journal & WHO conclude secondhand smoke "health hazard" claims are greatly exaggerated The BMJ published report at:


    concludes that "The results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality. The association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer are considerably weaker than generally believed." What makes this study so significant is that it took place over a 39 year period, and studied the results of non-smokers who lived with smokers.....

    meaning these non-smokers were exposed to secondhand smoke up to 24 hours per day; 365 days per year for 39 years. And there was still no relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality. In light of the damage to business, jobs, and the economy from smoking bans the BMJ report should be revisited by lawmakers as a reference tool and justification to repeal the now unnecessary and very damaging smoking ban laws. Also significant is the World Health Organization (WHO) study:

    Passive smoking doesn't cause cancer-official By Victoria Macdonald, Health Correspondent " The results are consistent with their being no additional risk for a person living or working with a smoker and could be consistent with passive smoke having a protective effect against lung cancer. The summary, seen by The Telegraph, also states: 'There was no association between lung cancer risk and ETS exposure during childhood.' " And if lawmakers need additional real world data to further highlight the need to eliminate these onerous and arbitrary laws, air quality testing by Johns Hopkins University proves that secondhand smoke is up to 25,000 times SAFER than occupational (OSHA) workplace regulations.

    The Chemistry of Secondary Smoke About 94% of secondary smoke is composed of water vapor and ordinary air with a slight excess of carbon dioxide. Another 3 % is carbon monoxide. The last 3 % contains the rest of the 4,000 or so chemicals supposedly to be found in smokeâ?¦ but found, obviously, in very small quantities if at all.This is because most of the assumed chemicals have never actually been found in secondhand smoke. (1989 Report of the Surgeon General p. 80). Most of these chemicals can only be found in quantities measured in nanograms, picograms and femtograms. Many cannot even be detected in these amounts: their presence is simply theorized rather than measured. To bring those quantities into a real world perspective, take a saltshaker and shake out a few grains of salt. A single grain of that salt will weigh in the ballpark of 100 million picograms! (Allen Blackman. Chemistry Magazine 10/08/01). - (Excerpted from "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains" with permission of the author.)

    The Myth of the Smoking Ban â??Miracleâ?? Restrictions on smoking around the world are claimed to have had a dramatic effect on heart attack rates. It's not true. http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/7451/

    As for secondhand smoke in the air, OSHA has stated outright that: "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

    Heres what the smoke free groups did to try and prove a connection to heart disease and second hand smoke....

    The "30 minute" experiments that the statement is based on have nothing at all to do with the exposures one might get on a park bench sitting next to a smoker or even with what one would normally get in any decently ventilated bar or restaurant.

    The exposures in the supportive experiments involve smoke concentrations at levels of 400% to 2,000% as high as what used to be measured in the middle of the smoking sections of pressurized airplanes!! (Which used to be held up as one of the worst smoking environments.)

    The experiments take nonsmokers who avoid smoke in all their daily home, social, and working life, force them to sign papers

    acknowledging the "danger" they are about to be put in, and then sealing them in smoke-choked chambers that nonsmokers would run screaming from if they weren't being paid $100 to endure 30 minutes for science. . . . When the poor souls come stumbling out blood test measurement show small changes that could theoretically relate to heart disease.

    The changes are like ones other experimenters find when they feed subjects a bowl of corn flakes and milk.... but in the kooky world of antismoking research those results get twisted into representing an unusual and deadly threat.

    And remember: they only get those results in EXTREME conditions, nothing like normal restaurant/park or even decent bar/casino exposures. . . . The Antismokers today are lying just like Big Tobacco did back in the 1950s.
    Antismoking extremism needs to be put to rest. Smoking is unhealthy like a lot of other things, but the smoke from burning smokers at the stake smells a lot worse than Newports. . . .

    Cornflakes, White Bread Could Boost Heart Risk
    'High-glycemic' carbs like these hamper blood vessel function, study shows.

    THURSDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- Eating a diet rich in carbohydrates that boost blood sugar levels -- foods such as cornflakes or white bread -- may hamper the functioning of your blood vessels and raise your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, a new study suggests.


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