Senate votes to ban smoking in cars with kids

The Senate today passed a bill that prohibits smoking in a vehicle when a child under 15 is present.

Cigarette car

Update #2 — January 31, 2013; 4:15 PM

By Paige Baxter | Capital News Service

The Senate today passed a bill to prohibit smoking in a vehicle when a child under 15 is present.

Senators voted 30-10 for the bill, which now goes to the House of Delegates for consideration. All of the Democrats and half of the Republicans in the Senate supported the bill.

Under Senate Bill 975, proposed by Democratic Sen. Ralph Northam of Virginia Beach and Norfolk, people who violate the proposed law would face a civil penalty of $100.

On the floor of the Senate, Northam asked his colleagues to approve the bill. He said the legislation was inspired by a third-grader who had told Northam that his parents smoke in the car with him.

“It will protect our children and improve their health and in the end hopefully cut down on health care costs,” Northam said.

Northam’s bill is one of three smoking bans still making their way through the General Assembly.

A House bill, HB2309, would ban smoking in health care facilities. It is awaiting a vote in the House General Laws Committee.

Another bill in the Senate, SB1253, would give local governments the authority to ban smoking in public areas such as parks and beaches. The Senate Local Government Committee approved this proposal, 11-4, and is now before the full Senate.

— ∮∮∮ —

Update #1 — January 28, 2013; 1:47 PM

Today, the state Senate Courts of Justice Committee voted 10-5 to send a bill (SB975) banning smoking in vehicles when passengers include children under the age of 15 (see below). Infractions would be punishable by a fine up to $100.

The bill will soon go before a Senate vote.

— ∮∮∮ —

Original — January 21, 2013

By Paige Baxter | Capital News Service

A bill to forbid smoking in cars carrying children is dead in the House, but a similar proposal remains alive in the Senate.

House Bill 1366, sponsored by Delegate Joseph Morrissey (D-Richmond), would have made it illegal to smoke in a car if a child under 13 were in the vehicle.

The legislation would have made violations a secondary offense, meaning drivers could be cited only if pulled over for another reason. Violators could have been fined $100 under Morrissey’s bill.

A subcommittee of the House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety deadlocked 3-3 Thursday on whether to recommend approval of HB 1366. As a result, the motion failed.

Voting in favor of the bill were Delegates James Edmunds, R-Halifax; Israel O’Quinn, R-Galax; and Alfonso Lopez, D-Arlington.

Voting against it were Republican Delegates Benjamin Cline of Amherst, Christopher Head of Roanoke, and Tony Wilt of Harrisonburg.

There is still hope for anti-smoking legislation. Sen. Ralph Northam, a Democrat who represents parts of Norfolk and Virginia Beach, has introduced Senate Bill 975. It is like Morrissey’s proposal but would ban smoking when children under 15 are in the vehicle.

SB 975 initially was referred to the Senate Transportation Committee. Last week, that panel sent it to the Senate Courts of Justice Committee.

Northam is also sponsoring SB 1253, which would allow local governments to ban smoking in public areas such as parks and beaches.

It’s not uncommon for states to ban smoking in cars carrying children. Arkansas, Louisiana, California, Maine, and Puerto Rico all have such laws. The age of the minor varies from state to state.

Anti-smoking advocates would like to see Virginia join that list.

“Virginia is far behind what other states have,” said Bronson Frick, an assistant director of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, a national advocacy group.

Virginia does ban smoking in restaurants, but the state law doesn’t cover other areas. “It’d help Virginia be a part of a trend with most of the United States,” Frick said.

Most states that have outlawed smoking in the car with a child present, Frick said, usually take an educational approach, too: They have a campaign to inform the public about the health risks of second-hand smoke.

“It’s not just about passing the law but also implementing it,” Frick said.

Both of Northam’s bills will be heard this week at the General Assembly.

photo by joka2000

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59 comments on Senate votes to ban smoking in cars with kids

  1. Ellery Baker on said:

    As a kid, it was horrible when my dad smoked in our van, no matter how many windows were open. Fully support this for the health of kids everywhere (in VA)! I’m a Republican that votes! Get behind this one guys!

  2. “It’d help Virginia be a part of a trend with most of the United States,” Really? First of all, I believe this is factually wrong “Most” states do NOT ban smoking in cars with minors. Secondly, even if it was true, this is essentially the same argument that a six year old makes to his mommy: “Gee mom, all the other kids are jumping off the bridge, why can’t I?” It’s called a “Bandwagon Fallacy” argument because it’s meaningless. Decisions should be made on facts, on the basis of what’s right and what’s wrong; NOT on the basis of “Everyone ELSE is doing it…”

    Michael J. McFadden,
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”

  3. jess pruett on said:

    I’d be more worried about why said people are driving around with a bunch of kids heads in their car……

  4. Ellery, would you please cite just a few pieces of actual research (as in studies, not websites, articles, quotes from important sounding people, advocacy “factsheets”, generalized reports etc, but actual scientific studies) showing any harm to children’s health from the levels and durations of exposure to smoke they would normally be getting in cars with their parents? Unless a child is one of the small portion of the population with a highly smoke-sensitive asthma trigger, I believe you’ll find that there’s absolutely no real evidence to back up your assertion that this bill “supports the health of kids.”

    - MJM

  5. Jim Byrd on said:

    Hey Michael,

    Sometimes, you just gotta go with old-fashioned common sense. We’ve known for decades that smoking can cause a host of health issues. We’ve also known for a while that second-hand smoke increases the health risks of non-smokers. Do you really need a research paper to tell you that smoking in an enclosed environment with a child who’s body and brain are still developing is stupid? I’m pretty conservative in most views regarding government involvement in individual decisions, but only if they don’t infringe on someone else’s health and well-being. This, my obviously emotionally invested fellow American, is a situation where a young person probably has no option but to be in the car with the smoker. I think it’s a good law.

  6. As a family physician here in RVA, I find this to be great news and I hope Sen. Northam’s bills see more life in the House the than the House bills did.

    Every day, I deal with the consequences of smoking: asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis for the adults, and ear infections and asthma for kids. Patients whose risk of heart disease was increased from smoking. Patients with lung cancer from smoking. Every day.

    Evidence smoking harms kids? http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/22/6/1079.short http://archotol.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=509558 http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/95/5/670.short http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/7497415/reload=0;jsessionid=7XwWwHXWXm7WeDMAYrM5.2 http://thorax.bmj.com/content/53/3/204.abstract http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3703509?uid=3739936&uid=2460338175&uid=2460337935&uid=2&uid=4&uid=83&uid=63&uid=3739256&sid=21101613870011 http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.72.6.574

    Smoking harms kids. More smoking harms kids more. Less smoking harms kids less.

    Easy enough to see that preventing childhood smoke exposure protects kids. To claim otherwise is nonsense. Claiming that kids aren’t in cars long enough to be *really* harmed is foolish. The fact that there isn’t a study that proves that smoking in cars is unnecessary. ALL smoking hurts kids. Reducing that exposure is beneficial, as indicated in the studies above that show that increased exposure increases harm.

    So: less smoke exposure is better. Limiting smoking where others are at greater risk of direct harm is a good thing. The Ontario Medical Association has shown that cigarette smokes concentrates more in smokers cars than in there homes https://www.oma.org/Resources/Documents/fTobaccoSmokeConcentrationsInCars.pdf , indicating that preventing second-hand smoke in cars is likely to benefit passengers–including children.

  7. Anon E. Mouse on said:

    The next logical step is banning smoking in all homes with children. While we’re at it, let’s criminalize everything. That supposedly health juice box is crammed with as much sugar as a soft drink and what about those McNuggets. Maybe there should be an age limit on this products or just an outright ban? Are there child advocate lawyers who can represent these children against their parents? Where are the food police when you need them?

  8. To respond to Anon’s attempt to push this to the absurd:

    Kids can actually choose not to eat garbage, and parents should avoid giving it to them. The difference is that a kid in a safety seat in a car can’t avoid breathing in cigarette smoke. In your example, this would be analogous to forcing kids to eat regardless of whether or not they wanted to.

    In a house, parents can make some attempt to limit exposure. There is no choice in a car.

  9. Anon E. Mouse on said:

    Windows

  10. Winter. Summer. Heat. Cold Rain. Pollen.

    Also: how much smoke leaves via windows vs. staying in car? It isn’t as though an open window magically sucks all the smoke out. From personal experience, I’d vouch for the fact that an awful lot of it stays in…

  11. Cold. Rain.

  12. Mark, thank you for a detailed response to my request. I think it’s notable because even as a family medical doctor making a sincere effort, you were unable to find any studies generally showing any real harm to the general health of children from the exposures they would get in cars.

    You cited one meta-analysis, six studies, and one “backgrounder paper.”

    The meta and first three studies dealt with earaches in children. The results generally agree that maternal smoking in the home, particularly at levels of 20 cigarettes per day or more, every day of the week, increased the occurrence of ear aches in young children. I would certainly agree with you that if a mother showed up with a child having recurrent ear aches and she smoked heavily at home, that advising her not to do so would be a good thing.

    NOWHERE in any of those four items you offered dealing with ear aches however addressed occasional, passing exposures in cars — more likely to be on the order of several minutes a day rather than many hours per day. Nevertheless, even without any real research indicating a relationship, I could see it being good sense to recommend that parents of children with ear aches avoid smoking in any concentrated fashion in the car while driving the affected children around: particularly if such driving occurred on a regular basis for even an hour or two per day. None of those four citations dealt with any health effects on children other than the small subgroup of very young children who suffer from earaches.

    Your second set of three studies dealt again with constant home exposures, not passing car exposures, but this time they focused on asthma. I would certainly agree with you that if a child shows evidence of asthma that parents should reduce the smoke exposure of that child in general, AND, in most particular, cease any smoking situations that seemed to actually bring on asthmatic attacks. Overall though, the studied relationships again showed nothing about the sort of passing exposures in cars that this legislation addresses — which is a strong indicator that no such evidence has been found despite researchers having searched for it {Car smoking ban debates are not something that have just popped up in the last few months.}

    If the legislature *truly* wanted to address the problem, it would ban smoking in homes with children and encourage reporting of violations by the children and by their physicians. Is that the sort of thing you yourself would recommend? It would certainly be FAR more effective than any legislation regarding cars.

    I’ll address your “backgrounder” in a separate post.

    – MJM

  13. Mark, yYour backgrounder summary has 11 paragraphs. I don’t have time to address them all, but to avoid accusations of cherry-picking I’ll analyze all the odd numbered ones.

    P1) General intro, nothing specific

    P3) Claims that in *ALL* circumstances, even just one cigarette in a car driving with all windows open down a speedy highway, the smoke levels in the vehicle will be more concentrated than in even the smokiest of “smoke-filled bars.” I’d call that claim a lie.

    P5) Claims that “under full ventilation, interior respirable particle concentrations [i.e. smoke] were *AT LEAST* 13 times that of the outdoor concentration.” When you read the study itself though, you find that “full ventilation” was defined as just opening two windows by three to six inches, or one window fully. You also find that providing such ventilation produced SEVENTY air changes every hour in the car.

    The key to understanding the lie here depends on examining the different conditions and separating the numbers generated by unreasonable ones from the numbers generated by more reasonable ones. Sitting in a parked car smoking entire cigarettes with the windows all rolled up obviously produces an unhealthy atmosphere for ANY passenger, child or adult. Measuring the “pollutant” levels for a precise period of 27.2 minutes gave the readings that the researchers used: ask yourself why they chose that odd time period… it clearly wasn’t chosen so as to minimize the impact of the smoking, eh?

    If you want to check this out in detail, read the cited Klepeis/Ott study and pay special attention to Tables 3 and 4 and the descriptive materials. And then you’ll see why, despite the fact that you can tease numbers like “13 times” out of it … I call this claim a lie.

    P7) Comparing bar and car concentrations: References another study, but oddly, it seems to have been done by the same chief researchers (Klepeis, Ott, & Switzer — along with helpers) as the previous one, AND… the study has nothing at all to do with supporting what the paragraph claims it found! The study was an analysis of a telephone survey about the time people spent around smoke. The paragraph made the claim that it studied field measurements of particulates inside vehicles and cars. So again … I call this claim a lie.

    P9) Says, in entirety, “Studies have found that approximately 66 mg. of carbon monoxide (CO) are emitted per cigarette smoked.” Finally. Not a lie. Yes, that’s what studies show, although the figure by itself is absolutely meaningless and the study cited has the oddity of once again being done by Ott and Switzer, though Klepeis was absent for this one 1992. Unfortunately a detailed analysis of the study is not possible here since the content is restricted behind a paywall. Still, we can note that while ten cigarettes’ worth of CO concentrated in a small plastic bag, with that bag containing the only air a person had to breathe, would probably kill them; a hundred cigarettes’ worth of CO dispersed in a large and well ventilated bar would probably have no discernable effect at all on the health of the patrons. So the *intent* of the paragraph — to frighten people with scaringly precise scientific measurements of a poison — is indeed, when used by itself, a form of a lie.

    P11) Based on the same inaccessible study by Ott and Switzer as P9. Given the bias shown in the earlier paragraphs by these researchers, I’d bet dollars to donuts that the COHb increases in car passengers were most certainly NOT the result of driving around with the windows open.

    ===

    OK Mark, I took your best studies, and even a dedicated background “factsheet” of the type I asked you to avoid, and showed why they don’t support the legislation.

    Now why don’t you return the favor by visiting http://tinyurl.com/SmokingBanLies and offering your detailed, specific, substantive criticisms of my own material and analyses there. You can do the same for the segment I reproduced from my “Brains” book if you like, where I examined 24 antismoking lies (although some of those 24 refer just to material in other chapters). See: http://TheTruthIsALie.com Heh, catchy title, eh? :>

    Come back and share your best criticisms. That would only be fair, true? And I promise I won’t mind.

    – MJM

  14. Michael;

    I don’t actually feel the need to take the time to review your document.

    Smoking is bad. Exposing kids to cigarette smoke is bad. Reducing exposure to cigarette smoke is beneficial. Period.

    Pinning your argument on “kids are only in cars a short time, so what harm can come?” misses the point that any smoke exposure is harmful. A study looking at that claim is likely unethical: just try to get IRB approval for a study where 1/2 kids are exposed to tobacco smoke in cars, and 1/2 aren’t, and we’ll watch outcomes. It would never pass muster or meet ethical standards. Why not? Because tobacco smoke is harmful.

    So: since the study you ask for is unethical and impossible, I’ll turn the tables.
    Can you provide proof that tobacco smoke exposure in cars is harmless?

    Legislatures could try to outlaw smoking in homes; it would never pass, because the public would never accept it. But, as the public’s representatives, they could try. Virginia’s legislature is trying to reduce smoke exposure by banning smoking in cars. Let them try–if there is sufficient public support, then so be it.

    At the end of the day, less exposure to tobacco smoke is better.

  15. Mark wrote “I don’t actually feel the need to take the time to review your document.”

    I’m not surprised. Of course you *did* review it, at least briefly, because you’d have loved to show what nonsense it was. Unfortunately, you found no specific and substantive criticisms. Thus the dodge. Meanwhile, you totally failed to address or defend against my criticisms of your own material. Again, I’m not surprised, but you *do* realize how shaky it that makes your position look?

    You then say, “Can you provide proof that tobacco smoke exposure in cars is harmless?” Of course not. And you can’t provide proof that children being forced to breathe comparatively huge amounts of a highly volatile Class A Carcinogen in restaurants is harmless either… yet I don’t see you moving to ban ethyl alcohol in restaurants. If you’d like to see the details on that just look for my piece on it in the BMJ. Oh, that’s right, you probably wouldn’t want to “take the time to review” it, right?

    Btw, the car study would be neither unethical nor impossible. If you were familiar at all with epidemiological research you’d see how simple it would be to design one. Here are two designs, the second more powerful than the first, but more difficult to populate:

    1) A lot of children grow up in homes where carless parents smoke. See if their health outcomes are different than those reporting a heavy additional childhood driving exposure. If the claims about car exposure being SO much more intense were true, there’d be at least SOME measurable effect.

    2) Find subjects who were not exposed to parental smoking at home, but who spent a significant period of time being driven, e.g., to school by a neighbor or older sibling who smoked in the car. A bit difficult, but by no means impossible to get a large subject pool, for a retrospective study similar to most of the ETS LC/CHD studies done.

    To paraphrase you Mark, “At the end of the day, less time spent sitting in front of the TV or playing video games is better” for kids, so would you like to see the government come into people’s homes and ban that if you could get away with it? My guess is that you probably would. As you say, the “public’s representatives… could try.”

    Aside from your backlog in defending the rest of your argument/evidence, care to back up your statement that “ANY smoke exposure is harmful.” Does that include the kids at McD’s blowing out their birthday cake candles? Or the smoke from the burger cooking that takes place in the same building where those poor children are forced to be? (remember: ventilation doesn’t work, right?) If you don’t like reading, perhaps you’d like to spare eight seconds to see this video I took of a Burger King: http://tinyurl.com/McWhopperie

    While you’re at it, try explaining the 200% increase in childhood asthma over the last 30 years when 30 years ago ETS exposure was about 300% or more higher than today.

    - MJM

  16. P.S. In terms of “unethical and impossible,” aren’t you aware that antismoking researchers send “volunteers” into smoke-filled situations all the time for their research after reassuring them that there’s “no risk” involved in the exposures?

    - MJM

  17. Michael–

    I’m not going to address your document because I don’t feel the need to try and answer a justification if why smoking isn’t really all that bad for kids. If you feel comfortable defending that position, that’s your choice.

    For me it is simple: smoking is bad for kids. ANY smoking is bad for kids. Less smoking exposure is better. Period.

    I’ll let you dig through however many studies to prove whatever point you like. For myself, I believe that smoking in the presence of children is bad, and that any reduction I’m smoke exposure is a good step.

    You choose to stand against decades of research proving the harmfulness of cigarette smoking. Your choice, again. Wrong, but your choice.

    I will continue to take care of children whose asthma and ear infections are worsened by exposure to cigarette smoking, and adults suffering from COPD due to cigarette smoking. As a result, I will continue to support any/all efforts to reduce smoking and smoke exposure for children in order to try and reduce these diseases.

    You can stand in opposition to the accumulated evidence, and try to pick apart what you can. I’ll keep doing my job.

  18. Wally on said:

    Mark, Michael chose this path a long time ago. Do a search on “Michael J. McFadden” & “Smoking” to get a sense of how he has devoted a large chunk of his life to the defense of smoking. Your comment “Can you provide proof that tobacco smoke exposure in cars is harmless?” gets to the heart of the matter. Most of us intuitively understand that breathing smoke is bad for kids. Michael rejects the obvious evidence you provide that tobacco smoke is poison, and chooses to say that IN HIS OPINION the levels of smoke are too low to cause any injury. What he seems incapable of appreciating is that, when uncertain, we choose to err on the side of caution. I attribute this to his nicotine addiction — anything that might come between him and his cigarettes must be rejected out of hand. The health of children will never be as important as his need to smoke.

  19. Scott Burger on said:

    According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) the true cause of asthma is unknown, although scientists believe it is caused by a confluence of genetic and environmental factors or early viral infections.

    Many people, including myself, believe the burning of coal is a major factor.

    Maybe VCU can get out from under Big Tobacco and do some more valuable research on the subject.

  20. Anon E. Mouse on said:

    So you base your belief on no evidence whatsoever, just your own personal political convictions.

  21. Scott Burger on said:

    Oh there is evidence-

    http://articles.mcall.com/2012-06-19/business/mc-coal-power-plants-enviromental-effects-20120619_1_power-plants-asthma-attacks-ppl

    It would just be nice if the NIH and other entities like VCU could confirm it. Perhaps THEIR politics does not allow them.

  22. Mark, anyone seeing the care I took in responding to the 7 sources you named, and then seeing your refusal to address the single source I asked you to address, will easily be able to make their own decision on our arguments.

    Wally, you say, “Michael rejects the obvious evidence you provide that tobacco smoke is poison,”

    Wally, salt is poison. Carbon dioxide is poison. Many, many things are poison, but the word “poison” is *ONLY* used when they’re ingested in sufficient amounts. How about cadmium? Is that poison? If you’re around a smoker you’re breathing it. Of course you’d have to be around that smoker for a few hundred years to get the same amount you’d get from a nice big bag of healthy sunflower seeds, but hey, I guess sunflower seeds are REALLY poison then, right?

    How about arsenic? You know, “rat poison”? That’s in cigarette smoke too. Go have lunch at a smoking bar/restaurant every day for an hour and after about 500 years you’ll be “poisoned” by the same amount of arsenic you’d get in a healthy gvt-approved-as-safe pint of tap water.

    Do you begin to see what the problem is? You’ve been tricked with emotional hooks attached to things like scare words and your love of children into supporting political policies that don’t deserve your support.

    btw… you also say, “The health of children will never be as important as his need to smoke.” Duh… I’m virtually NEVER around children Wally. Oh, and I don’t drive: I’m a nice healthy bicyclist type. How about you? Run any little ones over lately with your death machine? Of course you *need* your car right? Too inconvenient to live near where you work… or maybe you don’t like the neighborhood? But if the kids run out in front of your car, well, you didn’t MAKE them do it, right?

    Somehow Wally, I think it’s probably far more likely that you’ll end up being a child killer than I will.

    - MJM

  23. Wally, a quick addition: You say, “Michael rejects the obvious evidence you provide that tobacco smoke is poison, and chooses to say that IN HIS OPINION the levels of smoke are too low to cause any injury. ”

    1) I didn’t reject his evidence, I examined it and showed why it wasn’t relevant in terms of showing that the regulation was needed. If you disagree with what I pointed out, please explain exactly why.

    2) He didn’t show anything about “poison.” He showed that having a mother who smoked while pregnant AND smoked at home every day all day long around their baby could initiate/aggravate ear infections and asthma attacks. And nothing at all about brief exposures in environments with 50 to 70 air changes per hour (as his study showed cars have once they crack open a few windows. ) Do you see the difference?

    3) I most certainly didn’t just offer my “OPINION” — the levels involved are far below what OSHA considers to be a problem, and, again with windows cracked open in a driving car, far below what EPA considers a problem when you follow their guidelines for 24 hour averaging. Have you read their guidelines?

    - MJM

  24. Wally on said:

    Michael J. McFadden, why should I care about your analysis of these issues? You are not a medical doctor or a toxicologist. You have no training in the sciences. You are just a smoker that has spent about a decade trying to defend your nasty habit against a rising tide of public awareness of its dangers. I choose to believe the conclusions of the CDC and Surgeon General: “There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. Any exposure to tobacco smoke – even an occasional cigarette or exposure to secondhand smoke – is harmful.”

    http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/reports/tobaccosmoke/factsheet.html

  25. Wally, I actually *have* had a fair amount of training in scientific methodology and analysis, both during my undergrad and graduate years, as you can see from my website at http://Antibrains.com By the way, where is the website where we can see your own background? Or are you hiding it?

    Oh, while you are correct that the “no safe level” thing is indeed the OPINION of the Surgeon General in the press release he put out with his famous Report (and the so-called “factsheets” etc) , you’ll find that if you actually READ the Report itself you won’t find that conclusion IN it. Go to your link and open up the full Report and do a search on “no safe level.” You’ll find I’m correct: it’s simply not in there. It’s just a propaganda statement, not supported by any evidence beyond the obvious concept that would let you say that there’s “no safe level of exposure to sunshine” because it’s a Class A Carcinogen, or that would let you say there’s “no safe level of exposure to orange juice” because it contains thousands of micrograms of carcinogenic (and highly addictive) ethyl alcohol. I’m sure you wouldn’t expose your children to either one of those, right? Or does science only apply when it serves to reinforce your desires about something “nasty”?

    - MJM

  26. Wally on said:

    I don’t really feel like visiting your website, Mr McFadden. Why don’t you just spell out your credentials in medicine and toxicology for us? And I really don’t care if you once had an “intro to statistics” or freshman biology course. I’m interested in your training in medicine and toxicology, specifically. How many scientific articles have you published in peer-reviewed journals?

    I’m flattered that your are also interested in my academic background. But I’m not the one challenging the accepted scientific consensus regarding secondhand smoke. I’m just a guy that recognizes a crank when he sees one. “Some cranks lack academic achievement, in which case they typically assert that academic training in the subject of their crank belief is not only unnecessary for discovering the truth, but actively harmful because they believe it poisons the minds by teaching falsehoods. Others greatly exaggerate their personal achievements, and may insist that some achievement (real or alleged) in some entirely unrelated area of human endeavor implies that their cranky opinion should be taken seriously.” Sound like anyone you know?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crank_%28person%29

  27. Heh, I cite scientific studies, as well as providing details on my identity and background, and the anonymous “Wally” poster cites something from Wikipedia in return. Did you base your dissertation on Wikipedia Wally?

    Actually, most ban related research, if you had read it, takes almost nothing from medical toxicology. If it did, then the exposures would be judged, correctly, to be meaningless. Their real base lies in misinterpreted measurement analyses and statistical studies that are often heavily contaminated with confounders.

    Wally asked if I had a high school course in statistics. Actually, yes. As well as a college course, and then two years graduate training under a full university fellowship at the University of Penn’s Wharton School.

    As for my publications, well, I think it’s time for some equal sharing here Wally. Cite a few of yours, would you? And perhaps catch us all up on your own credentials? (Aside from an obvious ability to do detailed research on Wikipedia of course…)

    Meanwhile, I gather you were NOT able to find the “no safe level” quote in the Surgeon General’s Report. I’m sure you’ll be able to find some in Wikipedia, but I like to stick with more trustworthy sources.

    - MJM

  28. Wally on said:

    OK, Mr. McFadden, I can see you want to keep dancing around my questions, rather than answering them. I like the way you say “then two years graduate training under a full university fellowship at the University of Penn’s Wharton School” without actually divulging what that training was. I feel quite certain that if your training was in a relevant discipline you would have been quite forthcoming with the details. Of course, if you had, we’d be right back to the conceit of a crank: “…may insist that some achievement (real or alleged) in some entirely unrelated area of human endeavor implies that their cranky opinion should be taken seriously.” You not an MD. You are not a toxicologist. You are not a biologist. You are not a chemist. You’ve never published a scientific article in a journal. You are just a sad old smoker, pretending to be a scientist.

  29. Wally wrote, “OK, Mr. McFadden, I can see you want to keep dancing around my questions, rather than answering them.”

    Oh, sorry Wally! Do you mean questions like, “As for my publications, well, I think it’s time for some equal sharing here Wally. Cite a few of yours, would you? And perhaps catch us all up on your own credentials?”, or “where is the website where we can see your own background? Or are you hiding it?”, or ” Have you read their [the EPA's] guidelines?”, or perhaps, “Run any little ones over lately with your death machine? Of course you *need* your car right? Too inconvenient to live near where you work… or maybe you don’t like the neighborhood?”, or maybe, “why don’t you return the favor by visiting http://tinyurl.com/SmokingBanLies and offering your detailed, specific, substantive criticisms of my own material and analyses there.” ?

    Oddly, it seems the only answer I got on those questions was: “I don’t really feel like visiting your website, Mr McFadden.” Wally, somehow I think that most casual readers looking through our exchange will be quite well-satisfied as to who has been more open and responsive throughout it. And if they look through most Free Choice Vs. Antismoker exchanges around the internet I think they’ll find the same thing.

    And finally, you don’t even seem to have understood the point that was made in my previous comment: most of the research used to justify smoking bans is statistical in nature. I outlined my high school, college, and graduate level work in the field. In terms of scientific and experimental methodology about all I can offer is two semesters of senior year Experimental Clinical Psychology, however in terms of examining, understanding, and analyzing technical research literature, the training at Penn worked quite satisfactorily.

    Heh, in terms of not being an “MD” you might want to check out “Dr.” Stanton Glantz of California smoking ban fame. It used to be hard to find out back in the 90s, but his “Dr.” credential comes from a doctorate in Mechanical Engineering. I can assure you, if I had finished my Ph.D. at Penn, I would most certainly NOT be wandering around today spouting off on smoking and health as a “Dr. Michael J. McFadden.” Wally, it’s called honesty and openness… something you might want to work on a bit harder after you’ve answered *my* questions.

    - MJM

  30. Wally on said:

    The pretend scientist wrote: “As for my publications, well, I think it’s time for some equal sharing here Wally. Cite a few of yours, would you?”

    Sorry Mr. Fadden, but I’m not the one “analyzing” science and presenting a conclusion which is at odds with the scientific consensus that “there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.” If you are going to challenge the accepted wisdom of the CDC regarding secondhand smoke, you need to convince us that your opinion is superior to that of the Surgeon General. A few college classes doesn’t quite cut it. I know you don’t have any scientific publications because YOU ARE NOT A SCIENTIST. I’ve assumed you were trying to fool others — but I’m beginning to think you are fooling yourself. Wake up! There’s no reason why anyone should care about your opinions on science. You are just a disgruntled smoker with an obvious ax to grind.

  31. Anon E. Mouse on said:

    Wally seems to substitute name calling for reasoned arguments. There is no reason laymen or trained professionals in other fields cannot examine evidence for themselves and reach their own conclusions. As a matter of fact, we all should do some due diligence to the extent that we are able. Invasions of personal liberties have unintended consequences. Outlawing and banning activities for even the fractional possibility of harm is bad policy. Once it was alcohol. Now it’s tobacco. Tomorrow it will be peanut butter or perfume. The old saw that if this “saves even one life” or “helps even one child” has brought the nanny/lawyer state we live in today.

  32. Mouse, next time you are sick, let me know if you go to a doctor or a “trained professionals in other fields.” Would you rely upon an MBA to treat you? Mr. McFadden is pretending to be a scientist, because otherwise his opinion would just be just be that of another unhappy smoker. All he had to say when I questioned him is “I have no relevant degrees and I’ve never published a scientific article.” Instead he evaded the questions. I will continue to trust the Surgeon General and the CDC, and reject the opinions Mr. McFadden.

  33. Anon E. Mouse on said:

    Again Wally, you make this about personalities, not facts. You contradict yourself. You demand credentials, he offers them. You demand a website, he gives one to you. You refuse to even read his research. Where do you go to get your official scientist certificate? I’ve never seen one. Mr. Mcfadden wouldn’t be the first amateur to contribute to the advancement of science. Once upon a time they were all amateurs. You abandon critical to reliance on experts at your peril. This is public policy. We have a right to debate it. You start with not just looking at conclusions, but evidence, something you seem unwilling to do.

  34. Wally on said:

    Mouse, I never asked Mr. McFadden if he had a website. I did ask about his credentials, and he evaded the question. When pressed, he admitted he had some undergraduate classes in statistics, but didn’t specify what his degree was. He then makes reference to some graduate classes from a business school, but still nothing about any resulting degree. I suspect his long dance means he has a BA in an unrelated area, and some graduate hours that did not lead to a degree. Again, he could have just said “I’m a layman with no formal training in medicine, biology, chemistry or toxicology.” He didn’t do that. I’ll be glad to read any peer-reviewed article he has published. I don’t care about his website or his vanity press book. Any crank can create those things.

    You ask “Where do you go to get your official scientist certificate?” For most people, you go to graduate school, write a dissertation, defend it, receive an advanced degree, and (if you are one of the best) you are able to get a job in research. Then, to be accepted into the community of scientists, you write scientific articles and have them published in peer-reviewed journals. Mr. McFadden has done none of those things. He is just another frustrated smoker offering his biased opinions. I choose to rely on the real scientists at the CDC.

  35. The anonymous Wally wrote, ” If you are going to challenge the accepted wisdom of the CDC regarding secondhand smoke, you need to convince us that your opinion is superior to that of the Surgeon General. ” Which is why I never simply offer an opinion. My writings are generally either analytical of others’ work or based in hard fact and numbers if I am creating my own piece. And when I *do* offer either such things in public I invite specific, substantive criticisms of the material.

    Readers will note, I’m sure, “Wally”‘s specific and substantive criticisms.

    - MJM

  36. For those who came in late, here’s the gist of the discussion:

    Mark on February 2, 2013 at 4:03 pm said:

    Pinning your argument on “kids are only in cars a short time, so what harm can come?” misses the point that any smoke exposure is harmful. A study looking at that claim is likely unethical: just try to get IRB approval for a study where 1/2 kids are exposed to tobacco smoke in cars, and 1/2 aren’t, and we’ll watch outcomes. It would never pass muster or meet ethical standards. Why not? Because tobacco smoke is harmful.

    So: since the study you ask for is unethical and impossible, I’ll turn the tables.
    Can you provide proof that tobacco smoke exposure in cars is harmless?

    Michael J. McFadden on February 3, 2013 at 12:50 am said:

    “Can you provide proof that tobacco smoke exposure in cars is harmless?”

    Of course not.

  37. For those who’ve come in late… note what the anonymous “Wally” feels is the “gist” of my posting content here. Then read through the postings yourself. Then decide who has more weight on their side of the argument.

    - MJM

  38. “Then decide who has more weight on their side of the argument.”

    Yes, please choose one:

    1. The Surgeon General, and the scientists at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who state that: “The scientific evidence is now indisputable: Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance. It is a serious health hazard that can lead to disease and premature death in children and nonsmoking adults.”
    or
    2. Michael J. McFadden, a smoker without formal training in medicine, biology, chemistry, or toxicology, who disagrees

    Tough choice, eh?

  39. Looking at pictures and video of Michael McFadden confirms that his body has been ravaged by years of heavy smoking. His activism can be explained away as Stockholm syndrome.

  40. LOL! Good one anon. I wouldn’t say my pics do too badly for a fella in his sixties who’s been smoking for 45 years though. How about a pic of you? Or are you an anonymous shill like Wally?

    Oh, Wally? If the SG was involved in this discussion, somehow I missed seeing his posting. You yourself have been invited to share and defend a few of the individual studies he or others might use to defend the car ban… but of course you’re not able to. There are no substantial studies showing harm to anyone from the durations and intensities of exposure involved and you know it. Otherwise, instead of continuously posting empty attacks you’d be sharing and defending the science…. which is the way scientific discussions are usually carried out.

    Overall Wally, your argument would have been better served if you hadn’t started your anonymous posting in the first place.

    - MJM

  41. Anon E. Mouse on said:

    MJM,

    Inspite of or maybe because of my previous supportive statements I would encourage you to quit or cut back on smoking. While the data on 2nd hand smoke is in my opinion debatable, the data on first hand heavy use is not. You have a good mind. It’d be nice if you could stick around for awhile.

    Not that it’s any of my business, but I’m just sayin.

  42. Wally on said:

    Michael J. McFadden on February 15, 2013 at 3:04 pm said: There are no substantial studies showing harm to anyone from the durations and intensities of exposure involved and you know it.

    Here’s the earlier response by Michael J. McFadden, the pretend epidemiologist, after Mark, who is a MD, posts scientific studies showing that low levels of exposure to second hand smoke CAN cause damage to the health of those children that are exposed:

    Michael J. McFadden on February 2, 2013 at 12:41 am: The results generally agree that maternal smoking in the home, particularly at levels of 20 cigarettes per day or more, every day of the week, increased the occurrence of ear aches in young children. I would certainly agree with you that if a mother showed up with a child having recurrent ear aches and she smoked heavily at home, that advising her not to do so would be a good thing.

    Mr. McFadden then goes on to dismiss those studies, because they weren’t conducted in cars with more transient exposures. Dr. Mark explains why those studies will not be done:

    Mark on February 2, 2013 at 4:03 pm said: Pinning your argument on “kids are only in cars a short time, so what harm can come?” misses the point that any smoke exposure is harmful. A study looking at that claim is likely unethical: just try to get IRB approval for a study where 1/2 kids are exposed to tobacco smoke in cars, and 1/2 aren’t, and we’ll watch outcomes. It would never pass muster or meet ethical standards. Why not? Because tobacco smoke is harmful.

    So: since the study you ask for is unethical and impossible, I’ll turn the tables.
    Can you provide proof that tobacco smoke exposure in cars is harmless?

    Michael J. McFadden on February 3, 2013 at 12:50 am said: …the car study would be neither unethical nor impossible. If you were familiar at all with epidemiological research you’d see how simple it would be to design one.

    This is one of those opinions that Mr. McFadden assures us he never makes. He is dead wrong of course, because Mr. McFadden is NOT an epidemiologist, he’s just an untrained crank who thinks he understands this question better than an MD. Mr. McFadden has never taken a course in epidemiology, never designed an epidemiological study, never sought the approval of a human subjects review board, and has never published a peer-reviewed article. And yet, he feels competent to offer his assessment that “If you were familiar at all with epidemiological research you’d see how simple it would be to design one. ” He does this because he is a crank with an inflated ego. He has neither the temperament or intelligence to be a scientist.

  43. Wally on said:

    Michael J. McFadden on February 15, 2013 at 3:04 pm said: Overall Wally, your argument would have been better served if you hadn’t started your anonymous posting in the first place.

    Another opinion, Mr. McFadden? Let me offer you mine: you are wasting the limited life you have left. No one cares about your detailed analyses, except your little band of colleagues that post their brain-dead comments every time a story about smoking pops up. You and your friends have been remarkably unsuccessful in convincing anyone outside your little group, but perseveration seems to be your strong suit.

  44. This would almost be funny if it wasn’t simply kind of sad. We have one anonymous poster, Wally, citing another anonymous poster, Mark, as “Dr. Mark” while criticizing the credentials of a known person with an actual identity and history.

    Wally, I’d think you’d do much better sticking to the substantive criticisms, but you even mess those up. How? Look, let’s examine the very first attempt you make in your last postings (on Feb. 16th at 4:27am — to follow your pattern of “precision in posting” LOL!). You cite my statement that there are no studies showing harm from “the DURATIONS and INTENSITIES of exposure involved…” when we’re speaking of ordinary car exposures of children — and you then attempt to show I’m contradicting myself because I freely admit that some studies show that 24 hour/day exposure every day by smoking mothers around toddlers can cause/aggravate ear aches.

    Wally, do you understand the word “duration” and its importance in terms of physical effects? I once spilled hot grease from a frying pan on the back of my hand while pouring it into a can in the kitchen sink. If I’d stood there for five minutes or so doing such a thing, I’d basically have stripped the flesh from my bones. Instead, I had the presence of mind to immediately stick my hand under the cold water faucet and flush it thoroughly with a second or two. End result? Something similar to a mild sunburn. The DURATION of my exposure was so brief that no serious harm resulted … despite the extreme INTENSITY of the exposure.

    And, speaking of sunburns, would you or “Dr. Mark” say of a parent who walked their child out to the post box in the morning to pick up the mail and then come back inside? Harmful? Child abuse? I doubt it. But what if the parent slapped a bathing suit on the toddler and then left it out for four hours of mid-day baking in Death Valley?

    Do you see how the words “duration” and “intensity” apply and why they are of crucial importance?

    - MJM

  45. Now, in case anyone thinks I just “cherry-picked” your first point because it was unusually weak, let me analyze your second point. You speak of epidemiology, and cite “Dr. Mark” again (LOL! Wally, what would the substance of your postings here have been if I’d simply posted as “Dr. Mikey, Epidemiologist”?) You repeat the criticism that an epidemiological “car study” would be unethical and impossible.

    Unfortunately neither you nor “Dr. Mark” seem to understand how retrospective epidemiological studies are done. You do NOT “force” people into potentially harmful situations and then see if they are harmed. Instead, you find people with different intensities/durations/sources of “exposures” to the variable being studied and then you determine, either by examination or questioning, if they experienced different “effects.”

    If you go to http://www.nycclash.com/Philly.html#ETSTable you will find a detailed compilation of the results from roughly a hundred ETS exposure studies that examined lung cancer. Virtually *ALL* of them used the retrospective method in arriving at their conclusions (actually, for the most part, their lack of conclusions). There was nothing unethical or impossible about those studies, although it *could* be argued that WHO abstract at the bottom was unethical. The proposal I’d outlined above involved exactly the same type of epidemiological research: comparing children with car exposures (but not home exposures) to children without exposures. Populating the subject pool would be difficult, but clearly not impossible, and, since we’re talking about a retrospective study, there’s clearly nothing unethical involved. If either “Dr. Mark” OR you had been trained in epidemiology (or even studied it a bit on your own) you’d have realized that.

    Heh, and Wally, if you truly believed that no one cared about the content of this sort of posting, I doubt you’d have put in the effort you’ve displayed here. You’ll probably pop up again, probably under another anonymous name, and put in even more effort, probably from a slightly different angle… but again, you’ll fail. Why? Because you’re basically arguing from a position based on lies, and it’s indefensible when argued on the level playing field of an internet discussion like this one. (For new readers: to reference my comment about lies, see: http://TinyURL.com/SmokingBanLies )

    - MJM

  46. Anon E. Mouse, yes, I’m quite aware of the health risks of being a smoker. At the moment I’ve survived the rough equivalent of 45,000 years of full-daily secondhand smoke exposure. Statistically, I’d have a longer life in front of me if I’d never smoked or, possibly, if I quit. In much the same way I’d have that statistical longer life if I’d always subsisted on a diet of wheat grass, soy milk, green salads with a garnish of parsley, and an occasional freshly plucked orange (or if I immediately switched over to subsisting on such a diet.) In both cases I’ve chosen the riskier path as part of enjoying life… rather than just enduring it.

    Are you familiar with the joke in which the doctor advises a patient to give up drinking, smoking, women, and fatty food? The patient asks “Can you guarantee that I’ll live another hundred years if I follow your advice?” The doctor responds, “No, but it will FEEL like you’ve lived a hundred years!”

    :>
    MJM
    P.S. I have another response to Wally in the queue, but it had two links in it so it seems to be momentarily held up.

  47. You must be enjoying your life if such a substantial amount of it consists of impotently spewing verbose torrents of ill-informed propaganda at strangers over the internet. You’re on the wrong side of history and the tides of change are inevitable. You lose, McFadden.

  48. ” impotently spewing verbose torrents of ill-informed propaganda” Y’haveta admit, the cut out anons certainly have a way with words sometimes, don’t they? Too bad they don’t put their efforts into reasoned arguments supporting their position… but, then again, that could be a bit difficult on this topic.

    - MJM

  49. Wally on said:

    Michael J. McFadden on February 16, 2013 at 7:29 pm said:
    Now, in case anyone thinks I just “cherry-picked” your first point because it was unusually weak, let me analyze your second point.

    Why don’t you address my final point, Mr. McFadden?

    Wally on February 16, 2013 at 4:27 am said:
    Mr. McFadden has never taken a course in epidemiology, never designed an epidemiological study, never sought the approval of a human subjects review board, and has never published a peer-reviewed article. And yet, he feels competent to offer his assessment that “If you were familiar at all with epidemiological research you’d see how simple it would be to design one. ” He does this because he is a crank with an inflated ego. He has neither the temperament or intelligence to be a scientist.

    So now you say that, in your opinion as a smoker, that such a retrospective study COULD be designed and executed to answer this question. Well, once again you are WRONG Mr. McFadden. That’s not surprising, since you have no experience in this area. Where DO you have experience?

    Michael J. McFadden on February 15, 2013 at 3:04 pm said:
    I wouldn’t say my pics do too badly for a fella in his sixties who’s been smoking for 45 years though.

    That explains a lot…

    “According to the BBC, a new study of more than 8,800 people over age 50 found a correlation between smoking and damage to memory, learning and reasoning in the brain.”
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/26/smoking-rots-the-brain-study-aging_n_2193236.html

    Michael J. McFadden on February 15, 2013 at 3:04 pm said:
    I wouldn’t say my pics do too badly for a fella in his sixties who’s been smoking for 45 years though.

    In your videos, you appear to be in your mid to late 70s. Perhaps you are not aware of this, because you seem to have a great capacity for self-deception. Like you said earlier, it might be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

  50. Wally wrote, “Why don’t you address my final point, Mr. McFadden?”

    Simple. There was no need to. Since I’m a real person rather than an anonymous poster named “Wally” or somesuch thing I certainly can’t claim (nor would I ever try to claim) credentials in epidemiology or medicine that I don’t have. My qualifications are out there for anyone to see at http://www.Antibrains.com or in my bio over at the Smokers Club site.

    However, as most people realize, you can’t judge what someone says simply on the basis of their formal qualifications: those qualifications are like signposts: they give you an idea where you might be, but they might also lead you into error. There are plenty of wacky MDs and PhDs out there, and plenty of knowledgeable folks without such credentials. Wally, my postings, writings, and arguments stand up quite well on their own… as you’ve seen, since you’ve been unable to find any weaknesses in them for credible attacks.

    Mid to late 70s? Well gee, maybe I just forgot my birthdays (after all, I *am* a smoker, right) and I’m really 93! WowzerDowzerBowzer! Lookin’ purty dam gude fer ‘n ol’ coot now, ent I?

    - MJM

  51. Wally on said:

    Michael J. McFadden on February 18, 2013 at 5:50 pm said:

    However, as most people realize, you can’t judge what someone says simply on the basis of their formal qualifications: those qualifications are like signposts: they give you an idea where you might be, but they might also lead you into error. There are plenty of wacky MDs and PhDs out there, and plenty of knowledgeable folks without such credentials.

    “Some cranks lack academic achievement, in which case they typically assert that academic training in the subject of their crank belief is not only unnecessary for discovering the truth, but actively harmful because they believe it poisons the minds by teaching falsehoods. Others greatly exaggerate their personal achievements, and may insist that some achievement (real or alleged) in some entirely unrelated area of human endeavor implies that their cranky opinion should be taken seriously.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crank_%28person%29

  52. Bernie on said:

    Hurray!! Let’s strip parents of even more rights!!!! I don’t support the stripping of ANY rights.

  53. Jay on said:

    They don’t use there mony to get the car so til then they just need to back off there just being controling everyone. are rits not going to be no more they can’t even make up there minds on any thing anyway. i don’t beleav in them eather i can’t even walk after twelve at night any more that’s note rite

  54. tyler on said:

    If smoking is so bad for both kids and adults and the goverment is so worried with peoples health then way has the government never tried banning smoking altogether

  55. I would like to see a law on smokers throwing their cigarette butts out the windows!!!
    Don’t you call that littering because the cigarette butts are here to stay just like all the plastic bottles in this world!
    If you ever pull up to a stop sign or a red light —look in the medium and see how many butts you can count! Its disgusting. Then on the times its really dry, imagine how easy a fire can start from one being tossed out.
    I have even seen people dump their car ashtrays at the red light!

  56. It’s interesting to me that the last 3 strongest industries in America have an agency named for them: Alcohol, Tobacco & Fire Arms… My guess is our government wants to “regulate” these industries right out of existence.

  57. Kacey on said:

    To be honest, I have no clue where I stand with this issue. There are too many factors on both sides. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a scientist. I’m just up late because I can’t sleep and thought these posts were interesting. In my opinion though, issues seeking resolution should be dealt with by providing facts, right? What are facts? And who or how many people came to the conclusion that they were facts? (Continued in next comment)

  58. Kacey on said:

    My point is, anything can potentially be fabricated, even a fact based on multiple conclusions to theories or scientific studies, reguardless of which “side” of the argument they support…whether it be the Surgeon General, people on the internet who dedicate their life to studies on these matters, or Jesus himself, everyone should just think about which side they agree with and go make their life choices based on how they feel. If you don’t like smoking, great! If you’re an avid smoker, and you have kids, guess what? …they’re YOUR kids, I don’t care what you do because it’s none of my business to have any say in what you do around them. The only other thing I can say is that if smoking was so horrible, it would be illegal period. Then again, that would all be based on “facts”, which can all potentially be fabricated. …people, I encourage you all to do what you want to do, say what you want to say, and go about your lives instead of getting into heated arguments about who’s the bigger asshole and who makes more “points”. Let smokers be. It’s a free country. Smokers, don’t force others to be around your habit (although your kids are yours to make a judgement about in my opinion). …that’s all. :) now I’m bored again. Good night.

  59. cool

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