More Bad News For Smokers and the Businesses That Serve Them
> 6/29/2007 1:16:22 PM

Each successive study only adds further evidence to the mountain constituting a scientific consensus: tobacco harms not only the smoker himself but all those in his general vicinity. Far from a nominal threat, second-hand smoke can be just as deadly to those involuntarily subjected to the many detrimental effects of tobacco. The latest research highlights a particular concern of anti-smoking activists: the declining health of non-smoking employees who labor under the toxic clouds of others.

In this study, researchers from the Oregon Department of Health took hourly blood and urine samples from servers and busboys at various bars and restaurants where smoking is allowed. Their most significant finding concerns the carcinogenic agent NNK, tobacco's deadliest byproduct: the study's subjects registered elevated levels of NNK in their systems, with its total presence rising as much as 6% per hour. The substance has repeatedly been shown to cause cancer and facilitate rapid tumor growth in lab rats (and humans). No amount of NNK in the system could in any way be regarded as healthy. This study explodes the myth that non-smokers who raise concerns about the tobacco burning in their general vicinity are nothing more than self-righteous whiners. And previous research concluded that non-smokers living and working in smoke-filled environments increased their risk of contracting cancer or other respiratory and cardiovascular ailments by at least 20%.

Anti-government opinionators and smoking advocates who argue that related legislation intrudes on their personal liberties must realize that they speak from a purely self-interested perspective, and the point proven by this study and countless others before it bears repeating: by practicing their bad habit in spaces inhabited by others, they are passing its many detrimental effects to all those around them. Included in the sundry list: cancer, emphysema, pnuemonia, etc. Every individual has the unfettered right to kill him or herself slowly with tobacco in the privacy of his or her home (and one could conceivably make the uneasy argument that private business owners have the right to allow it in pre-designated establishments). But it's very clearly not the smoker whose rights are compromised in this case, and passing legislation to allow non-smokers to avoid the source of their ire (assuming they do not attend cigar or hookah bars) is hardly an example of an overreaching government. On the business front, competing assessments of New York City's smoking ban come to very different conclusions, highlighting the fact that its economic impact is, as yet, difficult to measure. One thing is certain: non-smoking employees at NYC bars and nightclubs now have far less NNK in their systems.

Every cognisant individual realizes that smoking is a deadly habit (only a truly fanatical hermit could possibly miss the innumerable advertisements, press releases and legislative measures outlining this indisputable fact in detail). The vast majority of smokers want to quit, and at least half of them make concerted efforts every year. Young people, though they do not always seek out proven cessation methods, are particularly motivated in this pursuit, and they have the right idea. Hopefully studies like this one will only encourage them. The lives they compromise are not only their own.

No comments yet.

Post Your Comments

Post a comment
Email Address:
Verification Code:
Input the 8 characters you see above:


Drug Abuse
Sexual Addiction
Eating Disorders
Alzheimer's Disease

About TOL | Contact Us | Defining Behavioral Fitness | For Healthcare Professionals | Links | Privacy Policy