Anorak News | Smoking Ban: Passive Smoking Is Not Harmful

Smoking Ban: Passive Smoking Is Not Harmful

by | 1st, July 2007

SMOKING is now banned in enclosed public spaces. But what is such a space? “I am sorry sir, this is a non-smoking mountain” – Sir David Frost reports what an official told a friend about to light up on a skiing holiday at Aspen.

And Christopher Booker’s notebook tells us:

At the end of the Seventies, the anti-smokers first seriously turned their attention to what they called “passive smoking”. Over the next decade, it is fascinating to follow how, try as they might, they could not come up with the evidence they wanted to prove that “environmental tobacco smoke” was directly harming non-smokers’ health. They became greatly excited by a series of studies which purported to show a link between smoking and cot deaths. But these somehow managed to ignore the fact that, in the very years when cot deaths were rising by 500 per cent, the incidence of smoking had halved.

A further series of studies in the Nineties, mainly in the US, claimed to have found that passive smoking was causing thousands of deaths a year. But however much the researchers tried to manipulate the evidence, none could come up with an increased risk of cancer that, by the strict rules of epidemiology, was “statistically significant”.

In 1998 and 2003 came the results of by far the biggest studies of passive smoking ever carried out. One was conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organisation. The other, run by Prof James Enstrom and Geoffrey Kabat for the American Cancer Society, was a mammoth 40-year-long study of 35,000 non-smokers living with smokers. In each case, when the sponsors saw the results they were horrified. The evidence inescapably showed that passive smoking posed no significant risk. This confirmed Sir Richard Doll’s own comment in 2001: “The effects of other people’s smoking in my presence is so small it doesn’t worry me”.

Posted: 1st, July 2007 | In: Reviews Comments (7) | TrackBack | Permalink