Letter to the City Council Members and the Mayor from ......., resident and concerned citizen
The decision you are going to make Tuesday and in the weeks to come has far reaching consequences.
Can you imagine a time when a waiter or waitress will be required to tell customers they can't order a certain item or off of a certain menu because of their weight?
Sounds far fetched, doesn't it? The rhetoric around obesity has already started, must as it did with smoking. A recent study regarding obesity in California (and published there) details the cost the obese incur to society, health care and employers. One of the suggestions to employers is that meetings become walk-a-thons.
Who among you imagined in the 1960s and 1970s that a person would leave a restaurant or bar , have an accident and, because the individual had been drinking, the bartender and proprietor of the business would be held responsible?
That has certainly come to pass.
We are standing at a crossroads. Freedom of choice verses control and an inevitable health state as more and more so-called dangers to society are discovered by our health institutions. Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical industry and a number of anti-smoking specialists are laughing all the way to the bank.
The question you are facing is not whether to ban smoking in private establishments which are open to the public, it is whether you believe in individual choice or government control.
My question to you is this: What legacy do you want to leave your children and grandchildren? Do you want to leave them at choice or leave them a country that dictates their behavior at home, at work and during their leisure hours?
These are serious questions. The answers will define whether liberty and freedom and the pursuit of happiness survive the 21st century.
One among you has been quoted as saying, "The attitude of America is changing and we've got to change with it. And I hope that we don't value the health of citizens and the reputation of this city less than the ability of a few individuals to turn a profit."
Another council member agreed.
I suspect the same was said of Prohibition. Anyone who knows history knows what a disaster that was. It did, however, do what it was truly designed to do. It made some individuals rich and granted organized crime an entry into American life that exists to this day.
The so-called issue of secondhand smoke is no different. There are those getting rich off of smoking cessation products and the General Accounting Office of the federal government stated in a 2004 report that international terrorists are now involved in cigarette smuggling due to the increasing taxes on tobacco products.
In 2001 and after an extensive research effort conducted over a number of years, OSHA backed off of ruling on secondhand smoke.
Conclusions of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ... In its August 2001 response filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Circuit of Washington D.C. OSHA filed that response to address a petition by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) to force OSHA to promulgate a nationwide prohibition on smoking in the workplace. ASH's petition failed and OSHA withdrew its proposed Indoor Air Quality regulations December 2001, with the support of tobacco control groups that included the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association that are now providing financial support for I-901. OSHA's conclusions as presented to our federal appeals court were reached after extensive public hearings and additional workshops dedicated to ETS, one segment of which focused on the hospitality industry. In its response OSHA said to the appeals court:
"Critically, there is NO LONGER any basis to assume, as the proposed rule does, that all workers in all workplaces face an elevated risk equivalent to that found in homes during the 1980s." (Page 15)
"Here, as we have explained above, the proposed rule appears to be based upon outdated information and methodology and its risk estimates are not supported by the weight of evidence now available." (Page 17)
"OSHA does NOT believe that over 74 million workers are exposed to ETS at work at levels equivalent to those faced by a nonsmoking spouse of a smoker at home."(Page 17)
"Nor does OSHA believe that issuance of an ETS rule would prevent between 2,234 and 13,723 excess deaths annually, or anything like that." (Page 18)
"This potential hazard is not, as ASH's Petition suggests, so egregious as to demand instant action, especially to the exclusion of all other safety and health matters before the agency." (Page 18) (Full report enclosed)
After pushing for such a ruling, ASH and other anti-smoking enthusiasts agreed because they realized that if pushed further OSHA would make a weak ruling which did not fit with their agenda. No ruling left them free to continue their reign of terror against smokers and small business owners.
Large chains can withstand the loss of business; mom and pop operations often cannot. By their very words, these two council members are NOT concerned about the small business owner in Midland. Nor are they concerned about private property rights.
A restaurant or bar is a private business open to the public. No one is forced to go inside. Midland already has establishments that are non-smoking by choice. Smoking or non-smoking is a decision that belongs to those who have their money invested in the business and in the case of a club, the membership of said establishment. The government in a republic has no business being involved in this matter.
This is not about the children, unless you believe the state knows better than the parents what is best for their children. If parents feel a place of business is not suitable for their children, they don't take them there. Any complaints they have need to be addressed to the owner, not the city council nor any other branch of government.
The war on secondhand smoke began with a flawed EPA report. You have already been provided with the entire text of Judge Osteen's ruling and the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. The following is merely a reminder.
On .... July 17, 1998 U.S. District Court Judge William L. Osteen ordered that Section 1 to 6 and appendices of the December 1992 EPA report on secondhand smoke be vacated. Judge Osteen's order was accompanied by a 90 page-plus Memorandum Opinion that presented a scathing review of fatally-flawed statistical methodologies employed by EPA to reach its conclusions about secondhand smoke. Judge Osteen's conclusions included a statement that EPA statistical methodologies were "an ugly possibility with which this court is faced." The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit confirmed that important issues remained regarding the EPA report and its methodologies when it overturned Judge Osteen's July 1998 order December 11, 2002, based on procedural grounds that our federal courts did not have authority to review the EPA report on secondhand smoke. The full text of the 4th Circuit's makes it painfully obvious that, notwithstanding its ruling on procedural grounds, important issues regarding the December 1992 EPA report on secondhand smoke still remained (see, for example, pages 15 and 16 of the court's ruling.)
It is important to realize that the pharmaceutical industry has the largest lobbying force in Washington, D.C., ("The Truth About the Drug Companies," Marcia Angell, M.D.) And to know that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the largest single share holder in Johnson & Johnson, a pharmaceutical giant heavily vested in smoking cessation products. (1996 Annual Report from RWJ foundation regarding its grants for tobacco control is enclosed.)
So who are you really representing when voting for a smoking ban? Not the citizens but the special interest groups whose decades old campaign against secondhand smoke has lined their pockets with gold at the expense of individual liberties and private ownership
The current smoking ordinance represents a fair approach for all.
The following information is from a much longer article by Norman Kjono, Washington Smoking Ban Legislation, Part 1: Initiative to the People 901, dated Feb. 6, 2005. The article can be found on the Internet at www.forces.org.
In the final analysis smoking ban legislation touches us all, whether we work at a hospitality job or choose to smoke. They affect us all because they affect local tax bases, civil liberties, employment, and small businesses. .... Pronouncements about rights do not provide a pathway to jobs lost. Jimmied "statistics" about hospitality revenues that ignore the devastating effect of smoking bans on small, independent establishments do not replace the dollars available in local economies to purchase goods and services that are lost when mom and pop go out of business, nor do they replace the goods and services that their former employees can no longer afford. Nor do platitudes about costs of health insurance justify under any circumstances mandating that about 25 percent of our population persons who smoke off the job be a permanently unemployable class of citizens. To presume there is merit to that position necessarily assumes that the "Target Group " 25 percent of our working population contributes no economic value to our society whatsoever.
If we can ban any risk why not do so? The answers to those questions is found in what (The National Institute of Environmental Heath Sciences) NIEHS added to the list of "Known human carcinogens" this year. NIEHS additions to its 11th edition of list of human carcinogens include hepatitis and other viruses, compounds in grilled meats and eggs, and Neutrons (X-ray radiation). If any risk whatsoever is unacceptable then DO NOT ever have another dental X-ray, NEVER eat another grilled cheeseburger or steak, and DO NOT go out in public where you could be near any person who may carry hepatitis viruses. In short, stay at home, live in a plastic bubble, and live on strict soy bean diet. ...
The food related additions to NIEHS list are important to the smoking ban subject and food services. About grilled foods NIEHS says:
"MeIQ, MeIQx, and PhIP are heterocyclic amine compounds formed when meats and eggs are cooked or grilled at high temperatures. These compounds are also found in cigarette smoke. They are listed in the report as reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens' because oral studies in animals showed they caused cancer in multiple organs including the forestomach, colon, liver, oral cavity, mammary gland, skin, and cecum. Several human studies suggest there is an increased risk for breast and colorectal cancers related to consumption of broiled or fried foods that may contain these or other similar compounds."
Airborne carcinogenic Nitrosamines are also produced when grilling meats. This is particularly on point with the subject of ETS and the hospitality industry because tobacco control advocates claim that hospitality workers have a double risk of cancers which they attribute exclusively to ETS. Kitchens and grilling locations are often close to patron sitting areas. What is the safe distance for airborne carcinogens produced by grilling meats? Are patrons unwittingly objecting to smoking sections in separate parts of a restaurant, only to sit at a counter or table next to a grill?
What cancers attributed to ETS in hospitality businesses were in fact caused by other sources? Has NIEHS now published a confounding factor, where cancers attributed to ETS may in fact be caused by other sources? Are we next to hear that Wendys, McDonalds, and Jack In The Box are to be sued into oblivion over these new cancer risks from grilled meats, despite their "Smoke Free" status?
Please see Pierce Law's 1990 paper about electromagnetic emission fields (EMF) "Coping with the Risk of Cancer in Children Living Near Power Lines," by Eileen N. Abt, who received an M.S. (Environmental Health) from the Harvard School of Public Health. That paper discloses three studies about cancer in children living near power transmission lines that found risk factors of 2.0 to 3.0 (versus 1.20 for ETS.) The conclusion of the Committee on Interagency Radiation Research and Policy Coordination (CIRRPC) was "Epidemiologic findings of an association between electric and magnetic fields and childhood leukemia or other childhood or adult cancers, are inconsistent and inconclusive."
e.) Risk factors of 2.0 to 3.0 concerning child leukemia and power lines are "inconsistent and inconclusive" as the basis for regulation, yet EPA and tobacco control advocates have launched a nationwide jihad against Environmental Tobacco Smoke as a "known human carcinogen" based on risk factors of 1.20 (at a 90 percent confidence level as opposed to the standard 95 percent confidence level). What agenda is pushing such conflicting scientific standards?
h.) Finally, about EMF emissions, Columbia University's Health Q&A Internet Service, "Go Ask Alice," says in part:
"Some epidemiological studies have shown an increased probability of childhood leukemia and brain tumors in residential areas from exposure to strong EM fields, such as those created by high voltage power lines (the ones on big steel towers). In occupational settings, a similar correlation has been identified between breast cancer and leukemia and EM fields. But the risk factor of two is low, especially in comparison to a risk factor of 20 for the correlation between smoking and lung cancer. You would be hard pressed to find someone who believes that 60 Hz fields (typically what you would live near) actually cause or initiate a cancer, although it's possible for EM fields to promote or co-promote a pre-existing cancer."
We have claims about ETS that have been rejected by both our federal courts and OSHA after extensive review and very close scrutiny, and which produce risk factors that are fractions of what is not considered high enough to regulate other alleged cancer sources, yet tobacco control continues to assert such claims as if they were Gospel of Risk. Where are the legitimate disclosures that should be made regarding such statements? Is it time for NIEHS to revisit its conclusions about ETS? Might we expect that EPA's risk factor for ETS of 1.19 at a 90 percent confidence level is considerably less than one-half as compelling as 2.0 to 3.0 risk factors for which NIEHS concluded "the evidence for a risk of cancer and other human disease from the electric and magnetic fields (EMF) around power lines is weak.'"
The point of discussions about EMF emissions and carcinogenic compounds in some foods above is not to promote new concerns about health. The material point in this discussion about National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and Environmental Tobacco Smoke is that on the one hand NIEHS classifies a substance with a risk factor of 1.19 at a 90 percent confidence level (ETS) in the 1992 EPA report on secondhand smoke as a "known human carcinogen," yet it has also concluded that EMF emissions with risk factors of 1.5 to 3.0 at 95 percent confidence demonstrate a weak association for risk of cancer and human disease. And confounding factors regarding viruses, as well as grilled foods in hospitality business environments, are not disclosed or apparently considered. At what point does the "science" get stretched so fat that is snaps?
Mr Kjono, who lies in Washington State, also outlines the direct connections between non-profits and the pharmaceutical industry. (The close times between the pharmaceutical industry, medical schools, researchers, physicians and health-related non-profits has also been discussed in detail in The Truth About the Drug Companies by Marcia Angell, M.D., former Editor-in-Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. The book can be purchased at Barnes & Noble.)
Mr. Kjono says:
The initiative appears to be promoted by the American Lung Association of Washington, which sent mass mailings dated January 2, 2005 to solicit petition signatures, volunteers and donations to support an unnamed initiative to prohibit smoking in public places The ALA documents state that checks should be made payable to "Healthy Indoor Air For All Washington." The initiative enjoys strong special-interest financial support from private advocacy groups that are directly connected to "Smoke Free" pharmaceutical nicotine distributor's vested interests, having raised $83,000 as of current reports filed with the Public Disclosure Commission. According to PDC filings to date that $83,000 in funding consists of a November 22, 2004 contribution in the amount of $25,000 from the American Cancer Society, , an additional $50,000 donation from the American Cancer Society in December 14, 2004, and an $8,000 contribution by the American Lung Association of Washington on November 1, 2004. This level of funding from private advocacy groups raises serious questions of public lobbying for laws by 501 c-3 tax exempt entities.
There is a current and historical connection between both the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association with pharmaceutical interests and "Smoke Free" nicotine distributors.
For example both organizations are current and historic recipients of seven-figure grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation of Princeton, New Jersey, the largest single shareholder of Johnson & Johnson. For example, current or immediately recent grants to the American Cancer Society include $399,574 (13 months, awarded on 12/23/2003, starting 01/01/2004 ending 01/31/2005) ID#048091 for "Developing a sustainable plan for the Center for Tobacco Cessation" and $749,996 (2 years, awarded on 02/15/2002, starting 02/15/2002 ending 02/14/2004) ID#040101 for "Developing a virtual center to provide information on guidelines for tobacco dependence treatment."
Current or immediately recent RWJ foundation grants to the American Lung Association include $138,900 (1 year, awarded on 11/24/2004, starting 12/01/2004 ending 11/30/2005) ID#052404 for purposes of "Public awareness campaign to increase the number of smoke-free communities in Illinois," $987,932 (30 months, awarded on 05/14/2002, starting 06/01/2002 ending 11/30/2004) ID# 045147 for purposes of "SmokeLess States: National Tobacco Policy Initiative" and $205,419 (8 months, awarded on 03/29/2004, starting 04/01/2004 ending 11/30/2004) ID#054428 for purposes of "SmokeLess States: National Tobacco Policy Initiative - Special Opportunities grant Washington." I corresponded with Kevin Knox at www. cancer.org about grant No. 050428 in April of 2004. Mr. Knox confirmed to me that the grant would be applied to develop a network in native communities regarding tobacco use, including tribes in Washington.
As to historical ties between the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society with pharmaceutical nicotine distributors please see, for example, a 1996 list of $35 million in grants to tobacco control advocacy groups that includes $500,000 to the American Cancer Society and $1.1 million to the American Lung Association, in addition to $649,967 to Washington DOC. The American Cancer Society was the nationwide manager of the George H.W. Bush administration's 1991 to 1998 Project ASSIST, Washington DOC was a paid contractor under that program, and the American Lung Association aggressively promoted smoking bans as well as increased taxes on cigarettes during that program.
And during that time Johnson & Johnson was distributing Nicotrol "Smoke Free" nicotine delivery device products (see Value Line report dated March 1998.)
In addition, the American Cancer Society has received an annual grant for the past several years from GlaxoSmithKline for use of the society's seal in promoting its Nicorette gum, NicoDerm CQ, and Commit lozenge "Smoke Free" nicotine delivery device products (pick up a box for one of those products at a grocery store or pharmacy to confirm that fact.) Nicotrol products are currently distributed by Pfizer, through its Pharmacia subsidiary.
The direct linkage between aggressively promoting smoking bans as a mercantile strategy to increase sales of pharmaceutical products is not open to credible or even tongue-in-cheek question. Sunday January 9, 2005, by the London Financial Times, Drug Giants To Cash In On Italian Smoking Ban, by Andrew Jack. That article was reported by Forces.org. The Times says:
An Italian marketing campaign for anti-smoking products is being launched by GlaxoSmithKline this week as pharmaceutical groups gear up to cash in where their rivals in the tobacco sector are losing out. GSK's drive to boost sales of its NiQuitin nicotine replacement gums and patches is timed to coincide with a new local law restricting smoking in the workplace and comes as Italy prepares on Monday to enforce its ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and cafés. Its rival, Pfizer, is also aiming to boost demand for its products in Europe. The fresh focus on the smoking strongholds of southern Europe follows a 36 per cent increase in sales of GSK's products in Ireland since that country introduced a ban on smoking in public places at the end of March. . . . GSK dominates the UK market for nicotine replacement therapies, with sales of £160m (229m) a year. The company claims that the chances of successfully quitting smoking are about 5 per cent with no assistance, and double to about 10 per cent with the aid of its products."
That direct linkage between tobacco control advocacy groups and increased sales of "Smoke Free" pharmaceutical nicotine delivery device products is further corroborated by a June 2003 published plan to employ government powers for the purpose of replacing cigarettes with nicotine inhalers. The (Robert Wood Johnson) RWJ Foundation awarded about $3 million in current and recently expired grants to Washington University in Saint Louis while Dr. Walton Sumner II, MD published a paper "Estimating the Health Consequences Of Replacing Cigarettes With Nicotine Inhalers" under the university's auspices. Dr. Sumner's paper, which explicitly states that smoking bans "reduce opportunities to smoke," and thereby give pharmaceutical nicotine replacement therapy products a competitive edge, was published in the journal Tobacco Control June 2003 at www. tobaccocontrol.org. Tobacco Control journal is also supported by grants from the (Robert Wood Johnson) RWJ Foundation. Dr. Sumner explicitly advocates the use of fast acting and highly addictive nicotine inhalers to replace cigarettes. Dr. Sumner also states in his research paper that increased taxes on cigarettes will give pharmaceutical nicotine products a competitive price advantage. Hence, tobacco control advocate's declared strategy to use government influence to increase taxes on cigarettes, and to reduce opportunities to smoke, to give their pharmaceutical nicotine sponsors' products a competitive edge.
© 2005, S.M.P.,
Mr. Kjono's article and information courtesy of www.forces.org