Armstrong versus secondhand smoke

The Chron had an interview earlier this week with Lance Armstrong, in which they discussed his current focus on getting a statewide ban on smoking in public places passed.

Q: What made you want to join the Smoke-Free Texas initiative?

A: Smoke-Free Texas is a logical extension of what we’ve done with Proposition 15. Polls overwhelmingly show that the people of Texas want smoking banned from public places. The science on secondhand smoke is overwhelming. I don’t want to infringe on the rights of what people do on their own time, but you shouldn’t smoke in public places. You can’t risk others’ lives.

Q: There’s so much positive news about Americans beating cancer. Yet the news recently was that, worldwide, cancer is expected to overtake heart disease as the world’s top killer by 2010, which isn’t far away. They cite increased tobacco use in China and India. Any chance you will take your initiatives worldwide?

A: Cities all over the world — in Ireland, France, Germany — are banning public smoking. But you’re right, smoking is increasing in China and India. I suppose big tobacco has to take its marketing efforts somewhere.

Q: As you’ve worked on behalf of cancer research funding, you’ve gone into meetings with physicians, scientists and economists — yet you’re the guy everyone wants to hear from. Does that surprise you?

A: You mean that they want to talk to a guy from Plano on a bike? (laughs). People know I take this very seriously. I can talk about it at great length without being a physician or economist or scientist. I understand the disease and am comfortable talking with anyone.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to tell Texans?

A: This is an important measure for this session. It ties in real well with the cancer initiative it created. The headline should be that Texas is leading the way. In Texas, with M.D. Anderson, UT, Baylor and all the other great hospitals, we’re suited to truly change lives.

I’ve noted Armstrong’s involvement in this effort before. Whether you agree with him or not, having Armstrong on board with this is going to be a big plus for the proponents of this legislation. Anyone who can get a proposal for three billion dollars in cancer research funds through the Lege and approved by the voters, all on their first try, is a force to be reckoned with.

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3 Responses to Armstrong versus secondhand smoke

  1. Baby Snooks says:

    While smoking causes cancer, so do other things. Carcinogens not only in the “clean air” we all enjoy but the carcinogens in our daily lives, from the clothes we wear to the carpets we walk on, to the products we use to clean our clothes and carpets to the products we use to bathe and “beautify” ourselves with. Many of them the same carcinogens in cigarettes which are added to make the cigarette smoother and, of course, more addictive. It isn’t the tobacco that’s dangerous so much as the chemicals, most of them carcinogenic, they add to make the smoke more enjoyable. And, again, more addictive. That is where the effort should have been – to make cigarettes a little less deadly. But the tobacco industry has fought that as well.

    It will be interesting to see how many of the “healthy living” activists end up with lung cancer 20 years from now after years of jogging along busy streets, in Memorial Park in particular, inhaling far worse into their lungs than second-hand smoke.

    What will be ban next?

  2. Pete says:

    If Lance Armstrong can help clean up the filthy air in many venues in this state then I support him fully. I can’t stand going to areas that have had the intelligence to ban public smoking, and then come back here where we’re still living in the dark ages.

  3. Fascist says:

    It would be so nice to go into a Cigar Bar and have smoke free air.

    Perhaps they will ban alcohol next. I hear Lance has quite a reputation for over drinking in Austin bars. Perhaps we need to help him quit drinking, since alcohol also causes cancer. I also hear you can still smoke on the outdoor deck of Lance’s bar. Why is that?

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