"Just the facts, Ma'am" - Sgt Joe Friday

Understanding
The Numbers

Studies

Smoking Bans
And Businesses

Odds and Ends

   

The Facts About Second Hand Smoke
(Finally)

This site contains detailed examinations of the 1993 EPA study on secondhand smoke, the first World Health Organization study on SHS, and the Helena study that claimed smoking bans result in an immediate drop in heart attacks. It also contains, in blog format, excerpts from hundreds of articles about the financial damage caused by smoking bans.

The American anti-smoking crusade has been very successful. There are now more ex-smokers in America as there are smokers. But even after thirty years of constant urging to kick the habit, about a quarter of the population still chooses to smoke.

America was built on a live and let live attitude. Before the current crop of busybodies, do-gooders and nannies gained political power, we let people do what they like - even if they were hurting themselves - as long as didn't hurt anyone else. We'd only step in if an unwilling bystander was being harmed. That left the door open for the Second Hand Smoke (SHS) attack on smokers.

If SHS really is as dangerous as the government, political organizations and charities claim, efforts to prevent it and contain it might be justified. But is it dangerous? We're bombarded by endless proclamations of its horrors, claims that get more fantastic with each passing year. These claims are usually accompanied by impressive sounding numbers. Are smokers really hurting every stranger in the vicinity? The answer to that question is obvious once you know the facts.

We're not going to rely on hype or hysteria. We won't tell you we have The Truth. We'll just present the hard cold facts and let you figure out The Truth for yourself. Every effort has been made to verify everything on this site, to make sure it as accurate and factual as possible.

This site will not only make you an expert on the subject of SHS, but also leave you well equipped to deal with anyone using numbers to support health claims.

The Statistics 101 page will give you a good overall understanding of the science used to generate the numbers we hear so often. Statistics 102 explains common errors in epidemiological studies, and how to spot them. These sections may be a little difficult, but you'll find it's worth the effort to understand them. Once you do, you'll be able to understand the numbers and studies from all sources and on all subjects, not just SHS.

We'll take a detailed look at three SHS studies. The first, the EPA 1993 report, is the basis for most of the SHS legislation and restrictions in the US. Once you see exactly what they did, and how they did it, you may never trust the EPA again. The second study, carefully conducted by the World Health Organization, had some very surprising results. We've recently added two pages on the Helena study, including a look at the authors own chart. It provides a good example of the dishonesty and outright fraud practiced by the anti-smoker movement.

We make no attempt to cover every study of SHS, but to give you examples of a good study, two bad ones, and the politics that surrounded them. Combine that with the knowledge of how statistics work, and you'll be able to spot bogus studies with ease.

We also have excerpts from and links to hundreds of news articles about how smoking bans effect businesses. Nannies claim bans are good for business. These stories prove they're lying. You'll read about hundreds of bars, taverns, bingo halls, pool halls, private clubs and restaurants that are suffering, many to the point of closing, because of smoking bans.

Site Layout

Fact: This is a fact. Anything headed off by the word "Fact: " is a solid, proven, verifiable fact, presented as accurately as possible.

Comments on these facts appear above or below the indented text. They may contain opinions, interpretations, or explanations of the facts. If you're in a hurry, or uninterested in our comments, you can skip them entirely and just read the facts.

Terminology

Some of the phrases and abbreviations we use may be unfamiliar, especially to people outside the United States, so here's a brief explanation of them.

SHS, ETS - Common abbreviations for Second Hand Smoke and Environmental Tobacco Smoke. Both terms mean the same thing and are interchangeable. The term ETS is preferred in most scientific journals and studies, while SHS is more common everywhere else.

EPA - The Environmental Protection Agency, a US government agency.

CDC - The Center for Disease Control, a US government agency.

WHO - The World Health Organization, an agency of the United Nations

IARC - The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization.

CRS - The Congressional Research Service. The CRS is a research service provided to members of congress.

Epidemiology - A crude science used, and often misused, to gather information on health trends.

Statistics - The collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. You'll need to know the basics of this science before you can determine the validity of most medical studies. Fortunately, we've provided a couple of lessons that will let you debunk (or confirm) studies like an expert.

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Note: The terms "Statistics" and Epidemiology" are often used interchangeably, including in a few places on this site. This is technically incorrect, as they are two different things, but such usage is common.

Nannies - Busybody activists. On this site it will usually refer to anti-tobacco activists, but it describes anyone who thinks they should be able to tell other adults how to live. It includes the militantly anti-booze and anti-meat and anti-fat and anti-SUVs and anti-anything-else-they-see-someone-else-enjoying.

Misc.

This site is designed as a starting point for your research, not an ending point. If you spend some time here you'll understand statistics well enough to do your own research and draw your own conclusions. If you use the opportunity, not just on smoking issues but on any statistical claims, you'll be absolutely amazed at how much bogus information is being fed to the public.

Although I retain copyright to these pages, anyone may use the text here, in whole or in part, however they like, with just one restriction: It can't be sold.

Anyone who stands up to the nicotine nanny's propaganda is automatically branded, by them, as a front for big tobacco. It is one of their favorite and most common lies. This site has never had any affiliation with big tobacco, whom I despise. I've never received any money from any tobacco company for anything. However, many years ago, I sent in a bunch of Marlboro UPCs and they sent me a T-shirt. It had a picture of a cowboy on it.

A Note About Inappropriate Ads

The advertisements on these pages help pay for this site. Most are generated automatically, and we have little control over which ads appear. As a result you'll occasionally see ads that are woefully inappropriate to our content. I try to block out the worst offenders, but keeping the site completely free of them would be a full time job. When you do see an anti-tobacco ad, or an ad for an anti-smoker hate group, just ignore it.

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