Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/10/21

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Subject: [Leica] Liars Figure: Smoking Pistols!
From: Marc James Small <>
Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2001 12:58:45 -0400
References: <>

At 10:37 PM 10/20/01 -0700, Roland Smith wrote:
>The issue is not so much that smoke from a smoker in the room is offensive.
>It is that it is downright dangerous.  Friends of mine have died from lung
>cancer due to the second hand smoke produced by their smoking spouse.

Hmm.  This has got to be quite speculative, Roland.  I doubt if any doctor
would assign this as a cause "to a medical certainty".  The EPA tried, some
six years back, to make a jump from the statistical fact that there is a
VERY minor increase in smoking-related illnesses among non-smokers working
within 8 feet of a smoker for an extended period (I believe it was 15
years, but I have mislaid my copy of their "report") to ruling that smoking
in the workplace WAS a health hazard, the Courts tossed it out.  (That the
increase in illnesses was within the statistical range of error for the
study was one reason, the other was that no medical authority could be
found who would agree that the conclusion was warranted "to a medical

In the US, opposition to smoking almost always breaks down either to
"style" ('I just don't like the smell') or moral puritanism.  A hard look
at the available data shows that no one has ever done a really thorough,
really complete, really long-term study of all of the effects of smoking.
(Smoking DOES have benefits -- for instance, it has a noted sedative effect
and, of course, there is, in most folks, a small jump in problem-solving
and data-analyzing abilities while the effect of nicotine is present -- the
news media reported this as, "a five-to-ten percent increase in IQ" but
that seems more than a stretch.)  This silliness gets pushed to huge
limits:  when a 95-year-old smoker dies of a heart attack, it gets booked
as a "smoking-related death".  Dave Jentz, the noted Retina scholar (and a
convinced non-smoker) serves as a coroner in his private (non-camera!)
life.  When an attending physician sends him such a death certificate for
approval, he amends the cause of death to "body wore out".

What we DO know is that long-term smokers have about a 5% chance of dying
from a smoking-related cause.  One shot in twenty, folks.  You're going to
die someday of something, whether he lead a magnificently abstemious life
or are a paragon of sinful excess as I am.  Some folks seem genetically
disposed to pick up cancer;  others seem genetically resistant.  In the
long run, this is far more likely to kill you, what with our very unclean
environment and penchant for unhealthy life-style choices, than smoke,
first- or second-hand.

Marc  FAX:  +540/343-7315
Cha robh bąs fir gun ghrąs fir!

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Replies: Reply from Marc James Small <> (Re: [Leica] Liars Figure: Smoking Pistols!)
In reply to: Message from Walter S Delesandri <> (Re: [Leica] Homepages / crtique / smoking in the us of a.)