Friday, 1 July 2011

Steak and chips in a smoke-free pub - the myth of "clean air" and a person's "right" to it.

This guest post is from one of my wonderful sons.  I mentioned to him that the BMA's latest proclamations that smoking should be banned in cars, that minimum alcohol pricing will eradicate alcoholism and that the banning of certain fats in foods would turn us all into perfect physical specimens were to be the themes in upcoming posts.  He told me that he had responded in the comments section of The Telegraph to the thoughts of an anti-smoking zealot whose foaming mouth was in danger of choking him.  Below is a slightly amended version of same.  Michael will respond as and when possible to any observations you may have on his post.

Ever since reading about the proposed outdoor smoking ban near the fresh air zone that is car-gridlocked Milton Keynes, I have been very disturbed by the rabid psychosis of today's anti-smokers as seen on online newspapers' readers' comments.

Let me make one thing clear - non-smokers and anti-smokers are two different beasts. My friends, virtually all of whom are non-smokers, are tolerant, friendly and interested in other people. They realise we live in a polluted world and make the best of it. They see me first, not the ciggie in my mouth.

The anti-smoker however is intolerant of anyone else's joy which s/he does not understand. The anti-smoker seems to believe that the bubble of the atmosphere within 5 metres of their nose is actually their property and not a shared space. The anti-smoker sees the ciggie in my mouth first and does not believe that a human being worthy of respect is attached to it.

On the Telegraph website, a poster named "Cyphre" was advocating physical violence against smokers. Of course, this is just his mouth shooting off on the internet - it is doubtful he would ever do such a thing in the real world. It makes me wonder what part of his psyche and his need to be heard makes him preach that which he would be too scared to practice?

He then states "The air is naturally clean of harmful tobacco smoke so anyone smoking is knowingly polluting the air."

All human activity pollutes the air. The fumes coming from a smoke-free pub's kitchen are full of all types of nasty carcinogens that are inhaled by all the unsuspecting victims of the murderous landlord. According to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, cooking smoke is estimated to shorten the lives of 1.9 million people a year.

It's worse than that though. Cleaning solvents contains such lethal dangers as naptha, which cause dangers to the eyes, skin, liver, kidney and more. When the oven is on, the cooking process releases those into the atmosphere as well.

The air fresheners the landlord's cleaner uses contain carcinogens, volatile organic compounds and known toxins such as phthalate esters in their formulas. In 2008, Anne Steinemann of the University of Washington published a study of top-selling air fresheners and laundry products. She found that all products tested gave off chemicals regulated as toxic or hazardous under federal laws, including carcinogens with no safe exposure level, but none of these chemicals were listed on any of the product labels or Material Safety Data Sheets. Chemicals included acetone, the active ingredient in paint thinner and nail-polish remover; chloromethane, a neurotoxicant and respiratory toxicant; and acetaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane, both carcinogens.

To prepare the meat you'll be eating at your smokefree pub, a whole global industry is involved in cutting down trees and replacing them with plains. Whilst I personally believe that the AGM case is wildly overstated (just like passive smoking), livestock release countless thousands of tonnes of stinky, smelly farts into the atmosphere. This may be matched by other pollutant gasses involved in their rearing, slaughtering, butchery and distribution.

On the subject of farting, you might gently and discretely lift a buttock cheek to squeeze out a fart out in your smoke-free pub. However, because you can't see it doesn't mean the mortal dangers aren't there, you selfish murderer. The primary constituents of flatulence are the non-odorous gases nitrogen (ingested), carbon dioxide (produced by aerobic microbes or ingested), and hydrogen (produced by some microbes and consumed by others), as well as lesser amounts of oxygen (ingested) and methane (produced by anaerobic microbes). Odors result from trace amounts of other components (often sulphur containing). The gas released during a flatus event frequently has a foul odour which mainly results from low molecular weight fatty acids such as butyric acid (rancid butter smell) and reduced sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell) and carbonyl sulfide that are the result of protein breakdown.

Your demand to be able to sit in your smoke-free pub at anytime explains the existence of the on-demand electricity and gas industries. By their very nature, they have to release countless tons of pollutants into the air to suit your desire to sit down and have your steak and chips.

Of course, you and the other patrons have had to pollute the air by travelling to your smoke-free pub of choice. This probably involved a vehicle using internal combustion, whether a taxi, bus or car. This can be hardly considered essential transport - you are making it for selfish reasons.

Traffic pollution "contributes to thousands of deaths a year caused by pneumonia, research suggested yesterday." The researcher, Professor George Knox said the annual death toll caused by air pollution was comparable to that caused by the London smog of 1952, which killed 4,000 people.

Cyphre should stop flapping your gums and talking such lunacy. Everything anyone does affects someone else - the question is to what degree.

Passive smoking studies are flimsy and nonsensical. The latest gem suggests that passive smoke are more dangerous than traffic fumes. It's a wonder why so many people committing suicide chose traffic fumes through a hose rather than just having a ciggy in a car.

I gave up smoking after 18 years. I smoked the grand total of 160,000 cigarettes in that time - at least. If I can survive that, you can survive a brief whiff of cigarette smoke.

Otherwise, I'll expect to see you on the streets demanding the immediate banning of farting, air fresheners, commercial kitchens, the internal combustion engine, meat consumption and power generation. The reason? I can denormalise you and stigmatise you because the flawed studies of biased interest groups say I can.
Michael Entferrier (Guest Poster)


Linda said...

Personally, I'm not real worried about all the toxins we breathe in as long as they don't smell. I hate going into discount stores any more because they wreak of chemicals--so I don't go in them at all. I hate the smell of cigarette smoke and so I don't go near smokers, nothing to do with the person making the smell. It's not the smoker for me, it's the smell.

Frances Garrood said...

I totally agree about the anit-smokers v non-smokers argument. I'm a non-smoker, but have no objection to others smoking if they wish. I don't like the smell in restaurants, but don't (didn't) mind it in pubs (odd, that). However, some of the other pollutants mentioned (farting, petrol fumes etc) are things that are harder to restrict. After all, none of us chooses to fart (?). And unless it's within walking distance, any travel will involve some kind of pullutant/waste. Smoking is a matter of choice. Travelling (largely) is not. But, back to smoking. I was brought up by (then) heavily smoking parents, and must have been kippered throughout my childhood. I've never had any respiratory problems at all. And my son (a consultant physician) says the passive smoking argument is rubbish!

Manzanita said...

Anna... Thank you for hosting your articulate son. Like his Mother, he tells it like it is.

Michael....This is a fun post with some well-pointed out facts. I'm a non-smoker and I don't like to be around smokers BUT when Montana became a no-smoking state, I had mixed feelings. Another of our "rights" had been snatched from us.
We can't do too much about auto-exhaust but we can choose where we live.
We can't do much about cow flatulence as long as people eat meat but people are responsible for the human flatulence by eating a terrible diet they can't digest.
Do I think we've polluted our world? Definitely. But the good thing is, at least some people are aware of it. The past 50 years, it just spiraled downward and no one seemed to notice.
Thank you for your articulate post.

Anonymous said...
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Bee's Blog said...

Just have to come back to this tomorrow. midnight here and bed;s calling!

Bee's Blog said...

As you can see by my typos!

Friko said...

Yes, yes, already, but the smoker does all that too AND THEN he smokes on top of all that. :-)

Actually, joking apart, banning smoking on the street is a nonsense. I'd rather eat my carcinogenic and earth polluting steak and chips in a smoke-free zone though.

Fag smoke always starts a coughing fit and I have to remove myself from the smoker. Honestly, cross my heart.

Bee's Blog said...

Oh what fun! This is enough to make me start smoking again after being 'clean' for two months off seven years!

I have found that on the whole, ex smokers are the most intolerant people in the world when it comes to tobacco Intolerant and holier than thou! Yet they'll stand on the corner between Selfridge's and M & S and inhale whatever the taxis and buses are churning out.

Think I'll go and pour me a glass of wine and ignore the sulfites! Cheers!