Thursday, January 26, 2006


Virgo Week Ahead - Saturday, 21st January 2006

Shall we discuss the number of unfair and impossible tasks that you are now being expected to perform? Shall we worry about what's likely to prove difficult? Shall we wonder why other people seem to lead much easier lives? Or shall we just trust that you are not in your current position by mistake. You have made a brave choice. You are now coping with the inevitable consequences of this decision. You may become stretched, but you will not break. You may find yourself 'out of your depth' but you will not end up totally submerged. Somehow, you will be helped and you will make exactly the right kind of deeply satisfying progress.


uberfrau said...

California became the first state to declare secondhand smoke a toxic air pollutant Thursday, putting tobacco fumes in the same category as diesel exhaust, arsenic and benzene because of its link to breast cancer.


The unanimous decision by the state Air Resources Board relied on a September report that found a sharply increased risk of breast cancer in young women exposed to secondhand smoke. It also links drifting smoke to premature births, asthma and heart disease, as well as other cancers and numerous health problems in children.

"If people are serious about breast cancer, they have to deal with secondhand smoke. That's what this is all about," said Dr. Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control, Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco.

"This is a seminal, international document," Glantz said. "It's impossible to underestimate what a big deal this is."

The report by scientists at California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment drew on more than 1,000 other studies of secondhand smoke and blamed the fumes for 4,000 deaths each year in California from lung cancer or heart disease alone.

The most significant new finding cited by state officials is that young women exposed to secondhand smoke increase their risk of developing breast cancer between 68 percent and 120 percent. The disease kills about 40,000 women in the United States each year.

That conclusion conflicts with a 2004 report by the U.S. Surgeon General. Sanford Barsky, a researcher writing on behalf of the R.J. Reynolds tobacco company, told the board the state report "either ignores mentioning or does not give the appropriate weight" to studies refuting a link between secondhand smoke and breast cancer.

California scientists say their research is more current than the Surgeon General's report. The state report went through an exhaustive review that delayed its release for nearly a year but ensures it is based on sound research, said Dr. John Froines, director of UCLA's Center for Occupational and Environmental Health and head of the scientific review panel.

R.J. Reynolds spokesman David Howard said regardless of the dangers from passive smoke indoors, no research supports regulators' decision to declare it an air pollutant.

"No studies exist that show that exposure outdoors leads to any increased risk of tobacco-associated illness," he said.

The air board must next consider regulatory steps to reduce exposure, a process that could take years.

"This is no longer some crazy, California, Left Coast way of thinking," said Cynthia Hallett, executive director of Berkeley-based Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights. She cited smoking bans that have been enacted or are being considered across the nation and in other countries.

Much of the initial effort in California will focus on public education, said Paul Knepprath, vice president for government relations at the American Lung Association of California.

The association unsuccessfully sought legislation in 2003 that would have banned smoking in motor vehicles containing young children, and could try for a similar law next year, Knepprath said.

The group may also seek nonsmoking floors or wings in apartment buildings, much as hotels offer smoke-free areas, he said.

"People live in apartments all across California who are exposed to secondhand smoke on a daily basis," Knepprath said. "It drifts from a common area or another apartment."

That could one day force regulations requiring separate ventilation systems for smoking and nonsmoking apartments, he said.


Bill Hannegan said...

Audrey Silk of NYCCLASH once again blows the whistle on Stanton Glantz and his lunatic antismoking antics:

For Immediate Release: January 27, 2006
Contact: Audrey Silk (917) 888-9317


A new report from California's EPA ("Proposed Identification of Environmental Tobacco Smoke as a Toxic Air Contaminant.") which sensationally alleges that secondhand smoke is a "cause" of breast cancer and a "toxic contaminent " of outdoor air, has been scathingly criticized by top researchers in all the relevant fields.

The American Cancer Society stated unequivocally, in a written comment, that it did not agree with Cal-EPA's conclusion that secondhand smoke was a cause of breast cancer, and that published evidence did not support the requisite criteria for causation.

Other written charges leveled by top scientists agreed on the following points:

·¶ The California EPA excluded or misinterpreted the published peer-reviewed evidence that countered its own a priori conclusions.

¶ Used faulty or entirely inappropriate methodology;

·¶ Its cherry-picked selections, and jumped-to conclusions, were "advocative" in tone and very seriously biased;

Roger A. Jenkins, senior air quality researcher for the U.S. government 's Oak Ridge National Labs, also accused the report of excluding important studies and of thus reaching conclusions "incongruent with the latest scientific evidence."

Maurice E. LeVois, himself the author of many published studies in the field of ETS, adds to this litany that "objective methods and criteria were not used," that the methods that were used were "improper" and "not warranted" and were evaluated by "vague and subjective" criteria.

"Such exercises," he writes, "are result-driven and don't conform to even the most basic standards." Noting the "consistent effort [of this report] to emphasize data that support its own conclusions. and criticize and ignore [or even "misrepresent"] the data that undermine" them, he adds that these conclusions are simply "not supported by the previously published research or the more recent studies."

Sanford H. Barsky, Professor of Pathology at UCLA and a practicing oncologist, takes specific and well-documented exception to the Report's conclusions about breast cancer, which not only fly in the face of other (extensively cited) studies but lack any "credible biological mechanism."

Other accredited scientists to similarly comment include Peter N. Lee (author of many published studies in the field), J. Daniel Heck, Patricia Martin, and Carr J. Smith, all PhD, DABT.


In fairness to both your readers and your profession, we urge you to dig beyond the press release propaganda, and to investigate and report on the well-considered critiques of these major scientists. Their comments are recorded in the Report's Appendix C or can be found here, and we'd hope interested journalists would read their critiques and get in touch with the authors for supplementary interviews.


NYC C.L.A.S.H. is a grassroots smokers' rights organization that is well-established with the media. Among other efforts, C.L.A.S.H. sued NY State and City in Federal Court over the smoking bans and are part of the court record as a complainant in the currently pending federal court case of U.S. vs. Philip Morris, et al.