Thursday, January 18, 2007

Smoke Nazis: Wrong Again!

Once again, my angry, anti-smoking friends, you have the power, but I have the facts.

And, as I point out in my latest column, there simply is no evidence--NONE--that a normal, healthy person will suffer any ill effects from second-hand smoke at bars and restaurants.

More proof comes in today, courtesy of the American Cancer Society:

  • Death rates for all cancer sites combined decreased 1.6 percent per year between 1993 and 2003 in males, and by 0.8 percent in females between 1992 and 2003.

  • Lung cancer incidence rates are declining in men and appear to be plateauing in women after increasing for many decades.

  • Among males age 40 and under, leukemia is the most common fatal cancer, while cancer of the lung and bronchus predominates in men 40 and over.

But how can this be? How can we children of smokers be dying of rare cancers like leukemia more often than lung cancer? After all those years of our parents gassing us with nicotine in the family car, after all those nights we spent in smoky bars back in the '80s and '90s--why aren't we all dead?

If the Smoke Nazis are right, shouldn't the death rate from lung cancer at least be holding steady? After all, one smoker per household was "poisoning" entire families. We ought to be dropping like flies!

And yet there isn't one major study--not ONE--that shows people who never smoked but grew up with smokers have a clearly higher rate of lung cancer than the children of non-smokers. Why not?

Instead, the death rate from lung cancer for women tracks the rise in smoking among women. Liberated women smoked more in the '60s and '70s, and today they are dying of lung cancer. Their moms--who sat next to dad, inhaling the smoke from his evil cigarette for 40 years--died of something else.

Sadly, the Smoke Nazis don't care. They've got the power to strip smokers of their property rights and they are going to use it. This was never about the facts. It was always about the power.