Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Smoke-Free San Antonio update

As we know, the city of San Antonio is working on updating its ordinance that restricts smoking. The first draft of that has emerged from committee, and it’s got some teeth to it.

The strengthened recommendations, which will be considered in August by the Quality of Life Committee before heading to the full council later in the month, now include banning smoking in several public spaces, including the San Antonio Zoo, the River Walk, Alamo and Main plazas, parks and outdoor stadiums.

That’s in addition to extending the city’s smoking ban to bars, pool halls, comedy clubs, restaurants and bingo halls, as introduced in April.

I don’t recall if Houston’s updated ordinance mentions parks or other outdoor locations like that. I do know that the Houston Zoo is smoke-free, and I’m rather surprised that isn’t already the case for the San Antonio zoo. The rest is more or less the same as what we now have. That includes some of the arguments against it:

Restaurateur Louis Barrios, an outspoken opponent of a stronger smoking ban, said he wasn’t surprised to learn that the proposed ordinance had strengthened.

“It’s being framed as a health issue, but the reality is that it’s not a health issue because it’s not statewide,” he said.

Opponents of the proposal have said they would support a statewide smoking ban because it would offer a level playing field. They argue that if San Antonio enacts a smoke-free ordinance, then the market would shift to nearby municipalities and business would suffer.

[Mayor Julian] Castro says he doesn’t buy that argument.

“I’d just say the overwhelming evidence indicates that the smoking ban is either neutral or beneficial to bars and restaurants in terms of revenue,” he said. “More people will frequent non-smoking establishments.”

The Lege has tried and failed to pass a statewide smoking ban in each of the last two sessions. I continue to believe that such a thing will eventually pass, but who knows how long that could take. As for the allegations about city businesses losing out to those in the surrounding unincorporated county areas, all I can say is that I haven’t seen any evidence of that here. Doesn’t mean there isn’t any – maybe it’s just a greatly under-reported story – but it at least suggests that the concern is overblown. We’ll see how this plays out. More on the story here and here.

Related Posts:

3 Comments

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    ’They have created a fear that is based on nothing’’
    World-renowned pulmonologist, president of the prestigious Research Institute Necker for the last decade, Professor Philippe Even, now retired, tells us that he’s convinced of the absence of harm from passive smoking. A shocking interview.

    What do the studies on passive smoking tell us?

    PHILIPPE EVEN. There are about a hundred studies on the issue. First surprise: 40% of them claim a total absence of harmful effects of passive smoking on health. The remaining 60% estimate that the cancer risk is multiplied by 0.02 for the most optimistic and by 0.15 for the more pessimistic … compared to a risk multiplied by 10 or 20 for active smoking! It is therefore negligible. Clearly, the harm is either nonexistent, or it is extremely low.

    It is an indisputable scientific fact. Anti-tobacco associations report 3 000-6 000 deaths per year in France …

    I am curious to know their sources. No study has ever produced such a result.

    Many experts argue that passive smoking is also responsible for cardiovascular disease and other asthma attacks. Not you?

    They don’t base it on any solid scientific evidence. Take the case of cardiovascular diseases: the four main causes are obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes. To determine whether passive smoking is an aggravating factor, there should be a study on people who have none of these four symptoms. But this was never done. Regarding chronic bronchitis, although the role of active smoking is undeniable, that of passive smoking is yet to be proven. For asthma, it is indeed a contributing factor … but not greater than pollen!

    The purpose of the ban on smoking in public places, however, was to protect non-smokers. It was thus based on nothing?

    Absolutely nothing! The psychosis began with the publication of a report by the IARC, International Agency for Research on Cancer, which depends on the WHO (Editor’s note: World Health Organization). The report released in 2002 says it is now proven that passive smoking carries serious health risks, but without showing the evidence. Where are the data? What was the methodology? It’s everything but a scientific approach. It was creating fear that is not based on anything.

    Why would anti-tobacco organizations wave a threat that does not exist?

    The anti-smoking campaigns and higher cigarette prices having failed, they had to find a new way to lower the number of smokers. By waving the threat of passive smoking, they found a tool that really works: social pressure. In good faith, non-smokers felt in danger and started to stand up against smokers. As a result, passive smoking has become a public health problem, paving the way for the Evin Law and the decree banning smoking in public places. The cause may be good, but I do not think it is good to legislate on a lie. And the worst part is that it does not work: since the entry into force of the decree, cigarette sales are rising again.

    Why not speak up earlier?

    As a civil servant, dean of the largest medical faculty in France, I was held to confidentiality. If I had deviated from official positions, I would have had to pay the consequences. Today, I am a free man.

    Le Parisien

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    The new Tobacco Prohibition

    I would like to take the time to tell the entire community about a falsehood so big that everyone who believes in freedom should be appauled.
    This falsehood is so big it resonates from historical fact forward to this day. This falsehood is so big billions of dollars have been spent to make it believable to those of us who dont take the time to look up the facts.
    We all remember reading about alcohol prohibition,but did you know there was also tobacco prohibition going on before alcohol became such a target of the last nanny staters.
    Our great grandparents lived thru prohibition and the great depression,they also lived thru tobacco prohibition.

    Heres a time line starting in 1900,dont be surprised to see the same thing playing out today nearly 100 years later.

    1901: REGULATION: Strong anti-cigarette activity in 43 of the 45 states. “Only Wyoming and Louisiana had paid no attention to the cigarette controversy, while the other forty-three states either already had anti-cigarette laws on the books or were considering new or tougher anti-cigarette laws, or were the scenes of heavy anti- cigarette activity” (Dillow, 1981:10).

    1904: New York: A judge sends a woman is sent to jail for 30 days for smoking in front of her children.

    1904: New York City. A woman is arrested for smoking a cigarette in an automobile. “You can’t do that on Fifth Avenue,” the arresting officer says.

    1907: Business owners are refusing to hire smokers. On August 8, the New York Times writes: “Business … is doing what all the anti-cigarette specialists could not do.”

    1917: SMOKEFREE: Tobacco control laws have fallen, including smoking bans in numerous cities, and the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Idaho and Tennessee.

    1937: hitler institutes laws against smoking.This one you can google.

    Now onto the falsehood……

    We have been told for years by smoke free advocates that second hand smoke is the cause of everything from johnnys ear ache to cousin ED’S lung cancer. But wheres the proof!!!

    Remember they claim 50,000 deaths a year yet,there are no bodys not even mass graves of the dead to second hand smoke.We await the names of these victims.

    A simple stroll down historys road say 10 years or so and we start to get at the truth……

    A federal Judge by the name of osteen got a case dropped in his lap in North Carolina,the case was that of EPA’S study on second hand smoke/environmental tobacco smoke.The judge an anti-tobbaco judge by reputation spent 4 years going thru the study and interviewing scientists at EPA and came to the conclusion :

    JUNK SCIENCE

    ”EPA’s 1992 conclusions are not supported by reliable scientific evidence. The report has been largely discredited and, in 1998, was legally vacated by a federal judge.Before its 1992 report, EPA had always used epidemiology’s gold standard CI of 95 percent to measure statistical significance. But because the U.S. studies chosen[cherry picked] for the report were not statistically significant within a 95 percent CI, for the first time in its history EPA changed the rules and used a 90 percent CI, which doubled the chance of being wrong.

    This allowed it to report a statistically significant 19 percent increase [a 1.19rr] of lung cancer cases in the nonsmoking spouses of smokers over those cases found in nonsmoking spouses of nonsmokers. Even though the RR was only 1.19–an amount far short of what is normally required to demonstrate correlation or causality–the agency concluded this was proof SHS increased the risk of U.S. nonsmokers developing lung cancer by 19 percent.”

    The EPA fought to have Osteen’s decision overturned on technical grounds, ignoring the multitude of facts in the decision. They succeeded in 2002 on the narrowest of technicalities. The fourth circuit court of appeals ruled that because the report was not an official policy document Osteen’s court did not have jurisdiction. In their appeal the EPA did not answer a single criticism in the 92 page report, nor challenge a single fact put forth by Judge Osteen. Not one.

    Although the anti-smoker movement was already established, this report was used, and continues to be used, to bolster their claim that SHS is a killer.
    http://knol.google.com/k/second-hand-smoke #

    So here we find that second hand smoke was made a political scapegoat by EPA.Lets not forget how EPA has reworked the global warming studys just this last summer. Where its top scientists paper was rebuked because it didnt carry the EPA’S stand that global warming was real.

    The political shenanigans surrounding SHS/ETS go deep not only with the government and its health agencies but also to the big pharmaceutical companies and non-profit orginizations aka ACS,ALA,AHA and a meriad of others. All lobbying for smoking bans and their weapon of choise Propaganda paid for by big pharma and tax dollars. Studys made to order that second hand smoke is deadly. Take a memory note here too,over 250 studys on shs/ets have found it safe.

    Yet a simple look at the chemistry shows us that its:

    About 90% of secondary smoke is composed of water vapor and ordinary air with a minor amount of carbon dioxide. The volume of water vapor of second hand smoke becomes even larger as it qickly disperses into the air,depending upon the humidity factors within a set location indoors or outdoors. Exhaled smoke from a smoker will provide 20% more water vapor to the smoke as it exists the smokers mouth.

    4 % is carbon monoxide.

    6 % is those supposed 4,000 chemicals to be found in tobacco smoke. Unfortunatley for the smoke free advocates these supposed chemicals are more theorized than actually found.What is found is so small to even call them threats to humans is beyond belief.Nanograms,picograms and femptograms……
    (1989 Report of the Surgeon General p. 80).

    Now, how odd that when we search the smoke free activists sites not one of them mentions that water vapor and air are the main components of second hand smoke. Is this just a fluke or an outright omission to further their political healthscare against the general public.

    The last informative tid bit I have for you is what does OSHA have to say about all this secondhand smoke stuff.

    Here is where it gets interesting,it seems John Banzhaf, founder and president of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) decided to sue OSHA to make a rule on shs/ets not that OSHA didnt want to play ball with him,its just that the scientific facts didnt back up a rule to start with.

    Now for a rule to happen Osha has to send out for comments for a period of time and boy did the comments fly in, over 40,000 of them….Osha has whats called PEL’S and limits for an 8 hour period of exposure to chemicals in indoor environments…[epa is in charge of outdoor air]some smoke free groups have tried to use 30 minute air samples using epa monitoring to create a air borne healthscare.

    The actual standard to use is OSHA’S

    The EPA standard is to be used for OUTSIDE ambient air quality and it is the average over a period of 3 years.

    The proper standard to compare to is the OSHA standard for indoor air quality for respirable particulate (not otherwise specified) for nuisance dusts and smoke. That standard is 5000 ug/m3 on a time-weighted average (8 hours a day, 5 days a week) and is intended to be protective of health over an average working life of 30 years!

    This is where second hand smoke really becomes a joke,remember its nearly 90% water vapor and air…..now lets get to the facts of toxicology and dose makes the poison:

    According to independent Public and Health Policy Research group, Littlewood & Fennel of Austin, Tx, on the subject of secondhand smoke……..

    They did the figures for what it takes to meet all of OSHA’S minimum PEL’S on shs/ets…….Did it ever set the debate on fire.

    They concluded that:

    All this is in a small sealed room 9×20 and must occur in ONE HOUR.

    For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes

    “For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes

    “Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

    Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up.

    “For Hydroquinone, “only” 1250 cigarettes

    For arsenic 2 million 500,000 smokers at one time

    The same number of cigarettes required for the other so called chemicals in shs/ets will have the same outcomes.

    So,OSHA finally makes a statement on shs/ets :

    Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.” -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA, To Leroy J Pletten, PHD, July 8, 1997

    WHAT! DILUTED BELOW PERMISSABLE LEVELS

    By the way ASH dropped their lawsuit because OSHA was going to make a rule and that rule would have been weak and been the law of the land,meaning no smoking bans would ever have been enacted anywhere,simply because an open window or a ventilation system would have covered the rule.

    Let me also tell you that the relative risk for shs/ets by the SG report of 2006 was a 1.19 ”EPA study is whats used to call it a carcinogen”……milks is a 2.43 and that glass of chlorinated water your about to drink is a 1.25 yet these things aren’t determined to be a carcinogen….The gold standard in epidemiology is a 3.0….Now had the SURGEON GENERAL included 2 other shs/ets studys the relative risk for disease from shs/ets would have been nearer a.60-.70 meaning it would have a protective effect against ever getting disease.

    But,what each of us has is years and years of exposure and the knowledge that our kids all grew up around shs and generations of others,yet we are here alive not dead from a lousy 30 minute exposure to shs as stanton glantz tries to claim…..thats another story and its just as crazy as all the rest of smokefree’s claim about shs/ets.

    Oh! have you heard the one about ”laugh” thirdhand smoke or third hand drinking.
    Like I said their claims border beyond that of any reasonable persons commomsence.

    The next time you see a healthscare claim
    consider the source.Especially if it comes from a government or non profit agency!

  3. gene says:

    The notorious spammer harleyrider1978 (google it) has been kicked off so many boards it’s surprising to find a board that still tolerates him.

    But to dispatch just a little of his boilerplate BS:

    1. harleyrider1978 quotes liberally from something(??) by the unknowns, “Littlewood & Fennel.”

    Now this charming duo calls their, uh, research, “a labor of our love,” and I guess you don’t need a degree or an education or anything for love, but usually you do for, you know, science.

    Did they even graduate high school? You can’t tell from reading their “study.” You can’t even find what Littlewood’s first name is(!)

    The authors have no CV at all, but they do claim to run a — well, I don’t know what it is, but they call it “Independent Public & Health Policy Research.” Why, it MUST be independent– it says so in the title!

    This weird entity is apparently run out of L/F’s home in suburban Austin; were it an actual business it may well be in violation of Austin’s residential zoning codes–but I suspect it’s not. “IPHPR” seems to have been set up for no purpose other than to undercut the science on SHS and provide fodder for the easily duped. No one’s heard of them before or since.

    It’s all classic BS PR, so beloved of harley, and so typical of his scientific expertise: he extols this unsourced tripe, which seems to have been published solely on screwball pro-tobacco websites, over decades of normal science by real scientists published in open, peer-reviewed journals.

    2. An Acting Secretary’s letter to a citizen is NOT official OSHA policy, but even so, harleyrider truncates the quote, forgetting to add Watchman’s crucial, “The more central concern of the Agency is that synergism of the chemicals in tobacco smoke may lead to adverse health effects even though the PELs are often not exceeded.”

    harleyrider had best avoid any mention of OSHA at all. Because OFFICIALLY, OSHA directs people for guidance on secondhand smoke issues to that very 1993 EPA report harleyrider tries so hard to trash .

    Wikipedia does a good job of documenting the reality behind much tobacco-derived PR posted online in “Industry-funded Studies and Critiques”:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secondhand_smoke#Industry-funded_studies_and_critiques

    And of course the comprehensive 2006 US Surgeon General’s report on secondhand smoke is at:

    http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/secondhandsmoke/