LETTER: Additional restrictions on smokers would be unfair

Friday, November 19, 2010 | 12:52 p.m. CST

As a former student at the University of Missouri and a smoker, I have experienced bits and pieces of the steps being taken to eradicate smoking from the school grounds. I lived in a dorm that had a designated smoking area that transformed into non-smoking as soon as an imaginary line into the commons was crossed.

I feel smokers have been very patient and calm when dealing with the constant scrutiny they incur from non-smokers, but when will enough be enough? We can't smoke outside anymore? Where can we smoke? In our cars in a dark parking lot, making sure no one sees us? We gave you restaurants, planes, public buildings; you asked us to take it outside, and we did. Now, you're going to take outside as well?

Taxes and politics aside, the idea is ludicrous. It's like an attempt to outlaw smoking, something that, as far as I remember from my time at school, was an immensely integral part of America's birth and growth as a country through tobacco production.

All I'm saying is, if you're going to make it illegal to smoke, do it, because the taxes and the laws are just agitating smokers, and, unfortunately, we've nowhere left to smoke to deal with the stress.

Jason Koch is a former student at MU. He lives in Columbia.

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Joseph Higgs November 19, 2010 | 5:40 p.m.

Smoking cessation programs have an 85% failure rate. Tobacco cigarettes are killers. E-cigarettes are an alternative for people to make a life saving decision. E-cigarettes contain no tar, carbon monoxide, arsenic, butane, acetone, methanol, etc. There's no second-hand smoke or smell of smoke. I smoked two packs of tobacco cigarettes a day for 18 years. I purchased my first electric cigarette in March 2010 and haven't smoked tobacco since then. I love not smelling like smoke any longer. Get more information at:

(Report Comment)
Amy Vandergriff-Belcher November 19, 2010 | 7:05 p.m.

I got hypnotized. Worked wonders. I was skeptical even going in to the hypnotist but haven't touched one since. It's nice not being a slave to nicotine anymore.

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Justin Ritter November 19, 2010 | 7:51 p.m.

Smoking kills you. Second-hand smoke kills me. Third-hand smoke kills your children.

It's absurd to argue that because the tobacco industry was "an immensely integral part of America's birth" that it deserves a place in today's society. It's an easy argument, but I suppose slavery and the suppression of indigenous populations played a big role in our country's birth, too. What's your take on those? Besides, do you really think the crap you smoke now, with its litany of additives, bears any resemblance to what tobacco started as?

And you didn't give us restaurants, planes, etc. We took it, because you were breathing out death on us and the people who work in those places. By all means, keep smoking your cigarettes - it's your right to do as you will. I understand that it's a very tough addiction to break, and we need the tax revenue. But don't expect that I'm going to be sympathetic to your desire to do it around me or my family.

(Report Comment)
jonathan doe-smith November 23, 2010 | 6:46 p.m.

"It's absurd to argue that because the tobacco industry was "an immensely integral part of America's birth" that it deserves a place in today's society. It's an easy argument, but I suppose slavery and the suppression of indigenous populations played a big role in our country's birth, too. What's your take on those?"

Really? Just because someone smokes he's in support of slavery? Does that mean that since I think that the auto industry was historically important to the development of America and I drive a Ford that I support Henry Ford's antisemetic,pro-Hitler beliefs? Your argument is as absurd as you claim his is.

So the guy likes to smoke. Big deal. I personally don't but that's my choice, just like it's his choice to do so. Smoking wouldn't (and shouldn't) be such a big issue if small-minded people such as yourself stopped trying to force your beliefs on others. Our country was built on personal freedom and the ability to make your own choices and if one of those choices is to smoke, then more power to you.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz November 23, 2010 | 8:20 p.m.

Justin, third-hand smoke is a bunch of hooey, but in case you're not scared enough already, some "researchers" are working on a case for fourth-hand smoke. Personally, I think most of their recent claims are out of hand. Making wildly unsupported scientific claims should make one more skeptical of their earlier statements.

(Report Comment)
Justin Ritter November 23, 2010 | 9:48 p.m.

@John Doe - I wasn't trying to equate the support of smoking with the support of slavery. By bringing up slavery, etc, I was merely pointing out that just because some event played a large part in our country's formation does not give it validity today. Your second paragraph seems to reflect the same point I was trying to make.

I could care less if you chain-smoke 10 packs a day. Feel free. I completely support every adult's right to smoke tobacco. I'm not trying to force my beliefs on anyone, just putting them out there. Just don't smoke it around me or my wife and kids.

And, way to go John Doe, calling me small-minded because I have a definite opinion on smoking and its effects on people. I can see from your general civility that "large-mindedness" is working out well for you.

@John Schultz - Thanks for the link. Dr. Siegel definitely has some legitimate credentials. However, note that he didn't say that third hand smoke was a bunch of hooey; merely that the research thus far does not support some wild claims that have been made. He is, of course, correct. Similarly, some wild claims about second hand and even primary smoking are unwarranted. As Dr. Siegel points out, such wild claims risk damaging the credibility of legitimate claims about the dangers inherent in smoking.


(Report Comment)
Justin Ritter November 23, 2010 | 9:49 p.m.

Incidentally, I made a quick search of the academic journals (those available to the University of Missouri, which is many), presumably the same ones that Dr. Siegel would be referencing. While there isn't a great deal of research done on third-hand smoke, there is research out there that concludes that carcinogenic agents can attach to surfaces and be transmitted by touch. Maybe not enough to "KILL YOUR CHILDREN" (as I think I indicated, and as headlines would put it), but no amount of that stuff is good. If you have access to journals, see:

Aitken RJ, Kenny LC, Soutar A: Measurement of personal exposure to PM10 in the non-workplace environment using passive sampling techniques Edinburgh, UK: Institute of Occupational Medicine; 2001.

Daisey JM: Tracers for assessing exposure to environmental tobacco smoke: What are they tracing?. Environmental Health Perspectives 1999, 107(Suppl 2): 319-327.

Daisey JM, Mahanama KR, Hodgson AT: Toxic volatile organic compounds in simulated environmental tobacco smoke: Emission factors for exposure assessment. J Expo Anal Environ Epidemiol 1998, 8(3): 313-334.

Destaillats H, Singer BC, Lee SK, Gundel LA: Effect of ozone on nicotine desorption from model surfaces: Evidence for heterogeneous chemistry. Environmental Science and Technology 2006, 40(6): 1799-1805.

Matt GE, Quintana PJ, Hovell MF, Bernert JT, Song S, Novianti N, Juarez T, Floro J, Gehrman C, Garcia M, Larson S: Households contaminated by environmental tobacco smoke: Sources of infant exposures. Tobacco Control 2004, 13(1): 29-37.

Singer BC, Hodgson AT, Guevarra KS, Hawley EL, Nazaroff WW: Gas-phase organics in environmental tobacco smoke. 1. Effects of smoking rate, ventilation, and furnishing level on emission factors. Environ Sci Technol 2002, 36(5): 846-853.

Matt GE, Quintana PJE, Hovell MF, Chatfield D, Ma DS, Romero R, et al: Residual tobacco smoke pollution in used cars for sale: Air, dust, and surfaces. Nicotine & Tobacco Research .

This is actual research, not second hand news articles or blogs.

Have a nice day, everybody.

(Report Comment)
Justin Ritter November 24, 2010 | 1:16 a.m.

I just realized that I did a disservice to everyone by listing a bunch of journal articles that many people might not know how to access.

EVERYONE has access to these by going to Ellis Library at the University of Missouri. Since MU uses public funds, it is required to provide public access (I think does anyway). If you go in the entrance off the little mall area (south of the corner of 9th and University), after you get up the stairs, walk straight back to the computer area. There is a help desk there, and they are VERY helpful. They will set you up with a free account that allows two hours a day of use. Go to a computer terminal, log in, and open up a web browser - it should be on the library's home page. There should be an option to search for articles...

There you have it! Thousands (millions?) of scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles at your fingertips. You can search for anything from art history to thermodynamics, in many languages. Journals are where the real work of science and research is presented and discussed. If you're not getting your facts from scholarly, peer-reviewed articles, they're likely second-hand interpretations (with too many adjectives).

The Health Sciences Library at University Hospital also provides a free terminal for searching medical/biology related journals, and of course, both libraries have extensive collections of bound journals.

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Sapphire Blue December 3, 2010 | 2:54 p.m.

If they make smoking illegal then the State would lose all that tax money. What will they outrageously tax next? I'd say leave the smokers alone and be glad the State isn't ridiculously over-taxing something you enjoy.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire December 8, 2010 | 12:17 p.m.

"EVERYONE has access to these by going to Ellis Library at the University of Missouri."

Make sure you don't look homeless when you use the library!!!

(Report Comment)
Justin Ritter December 9, 2010 | 1:21 p.m.

@ Paul

Half of the students there look homeless. That shouldn't be a problem.

(Report Comment)
Holly McGee January 14, 2011 | 3:48 a.m.

hmm i havent heard of accidents caused by "SMOKING:, but there are enough of them caused by booze, going to ban that? yaright, i doubt it!

(Report Comment)

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