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The myth of the smoking ban ‘miracle’

Supporters of comprehensive bans on smoking often point to research findings that heart attacks decrease when smoking bans are implemented. But is this true? Christopher Snowdon reports in Spiked online:

Tales of heart attacks being “slashed” by smoking bans have appeared with such regularity in recent years that it is easy to forget that there is a conspicuous lack of reliable evidence to support them. It is almost as if the sheer number of column inches is a substitute for proof.

Later on he concludes:

What is abundantly clear in each case is that the number of heart attack admissions has been falling for some time. Far from causing further dramatic cuts in heart attack rates, the bans had no discernible effect.

If we’re going to cite public health as a reason for smoking bans, let’s make sure we’re working with complete and reliable scientific evidence. Snowdon’s full article is The myth of the smoking ban ‘miracle’.

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7 Comments

  1. Sheila February 12, 2010

    Thank God for Wichita Liberty! When the truth is needed we must NOT expect it from the pharmaceutical bought off newspapers and radio stations. And we will not get it from the once sacred charities, who now receive huge grants to lobby for rent seeking legislation, for the drug companies. It is ONLY news organizations like this one, that will tell the truth, no slant, no lies.

  2. Ken Hill (non-smoker) February 12, 2010

    Hooray for Fascism

    Hooray for Fascism. Let us all jump up and down and sing in joy, like little children, but we are adults that know Fascism is evil and to make emotional decisions about our children’s future based on our government’s irrational anti-smoking agenda, is in not in their best interest.

    Capitalism can thrive without war. It is a producer of goods and services. Capitalism trades with other countries. Fascism depends on the demise of Capitalism. Fascism destroys the means of producing goods and services necessitating invasion against other countries.

    Big Government assists Fascism to exist by forcing their will upon the population with more and more sweeping legislations. Small Government relies upon the strength of the people, not their weaknesses’, to project hope into the future.

    Capitalism requires courage to move forward, Fascism cowardice. Fascism always hides, represses their rotting, self-betrayed inner state while spewing “there is no hope, the earth is dying” mentality upon the world. Anti-smoking bans are part of this process.

    The earth is not dying, but the strident forcefulness of chicken littleism, politicized environmentalism, Fascism must be identified and eradicated.

  3. scott owens February 13, 2010

    For those of you who claim “facism”, socialism … drives us to these anti-smoking bans … you are wrong.
    It is your neighbor, your brother, your children, your co-workers who vote for them locally and at your city council level.

    You are the minority and claiming that somehow “we” are being impacted by chicken littleism is wrong. We just think it is a gross habit that should be illegal ( only habit that the expected outcome is premature death – and yes, I have lost 3 relatives in the last 4 years to cancer, including my father and grandmother ) and/or restricted to YOUR basement.

    Thank goodness there are more of me than there are of you – I remember airline flights 20 years ago or bars in California 10 years ago.

  4. scott owens February 13, 2010

    Many authors/researchers of “smoking ban” stories point out the possible non-conclusive links between smoking bans and reduced heart attacks.

    See this article for an example -http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/16/health/16smoke.html

    Furthermore, the panel could not assess the degree to which “individual lifestyle, community and societal factors can also influence the magnitude” of heart disease reduction. Smoking bans, for example, may be accompanied by public health messages or social inconveniences that prompt more people in a community to stop smoking and reduce their heart attack risk that way.

    But, Dr. Goldman said, evidence was sufficient to “conclude a cause-and-effect relationship exist between heart disease generally and secondhand smoke exposure.”

    “It increased the risk of coronary heart disease by about 25 to 30 percent, a pretty significant increase,” she continued.

    And she said, “we found a cause and effect relationship between smoking bans and decreases in heart attack and acute coronary events. It showed remarkable consistency. All of the studies showed decreases in the rate of acute myocardial infarctions after implementation of smoking bans.”

    For the sake of full disclosure the “author” of the quoted article also has a book out about the anti-smoking agenda.
    One might think that there was a relationship between his book and what he writes in an online, non peer-reviewed web site. But that would be just jumping to conclusions without fulling reviewing his book and his article.

  5. clara mitchell February 13, 2010

    Present owner of a drinking establishment in Hutchinson, Ks. I am not a smoker but to advise my patrons that they were not allowed to smoke in my establishment, where they choose to come, would make them go elsewhere and make my income decrease to forcing me to close. As a sole proprietor in a small business I need every patron (smoking or non) that enters my open door. At present they choose to come in so leave it that way

  6. Anonymous February 13, 2010

    “Thank goodness there are more of me than there are of you – I remember airline flights 20 years ago or bars in California 10 years ago.”

    It’s too bad that Scott can’t sense his desire to control other people. This is a perfect example of the tyranny of the majority. It’s a serious disease of the do-gooders. I’m surprised Bob lets trashy opinions like this litter his blog.

  7. Pat February 13, 2010

    Non-smoker here. I fail to see why some non-smokers must have to it all their way, meaning a total ban, when a viable option exists. For example, the Wichita city ordinance allows choices to be made and balances the public health interest with business property rights. As long as a business establishment openly and clearly indicates that it allows smoking, then a customer has a choice to either enter or not enter the establishment.

    The customer does not have the right to enter and dictate the terms of his/her entrance; especially on an such a transparent issue. Would anyone suppose that the customer has the right to tell Sonney over at the Scotch that they demand to be served Mexican food there? No! Nor should they dictate that a business be non-smoking.

    The Wichita ordinance balances these interests. Kudos to the council for getting it right. I would hope that the Kansas legislature will get it right as well.

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