Ban on smoking in public places “disproportionate to the problem”BMJ 2006; 332 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.332.7554.1349-a (Published 08 June 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1349
All rapid responses
Dr. Gosavi cited my "Secondary Smoke, Alcohol, and Deaths" in his piece, but the citation now leads to a 404 error page. The correct current citation should read:
I would also like to take this opportunity to add an expansion. While there seems to be no entry for volatile ethyl alcohol, I have recently found that OSHA has concerns about volatile isopropyl alcohol:
They note that "The NIOSH limits are based on the risk of mucous membrane irritation; carcinogenic effects [NIOSH 1992]" although there seems to be no reference to the concept of "no safe level" of exposure.
Michael J. McFadden
Competing interests: Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains." Member and sometimes officer in a number of Free Choice organizations, all without compensation.
I totally agree with the fifth report by Committee on Economic
affairs. The bill to ban on smoking in public places is flawed in
formulating and promoting legislation. The stated objective of the bill
was to ban smoking at work and in enclosed public places, because passive
smoking imposes a significant health risk on workers and others exposed to
environmental tobacco smoke (ETS).1
Abundant evidence is available to support the health hazards observed
in non-smokers living with smokers. SCOTH members concluded that long term
exposure of non-smokers to ETS caused an increased risk of lung cancer
which, in those living with smokers, is in the region of 20-30%.2
Ninety-five percent of deaths are related to smoking in the home.
Other evidence received by committee, suggested that the health risks
associated with passive smoking are relatively minor and the main harm, if
there is one, concerns children who are exposed to passive smoking in the
home, which is something the bill is not designed to address. 1
There is a doubt whether the government guidelines on risk
managements were properly implemented for the policy of ban on smoking.
The purpose of legislation was not clearly defined and enough attention
was not given to available scientific evidence, the relative merits of
alternative policy options. In the preliminary stages of policy little or
no importance was given to the personal freedom and choice. 1
In March 2005 BBC published “Passive smoking killing thousands”;
based on study by Konard Zamrozic. 3 This study enjoyed nationwide media
coverage. But questions have been raised about study design and statistics
used in this study.
In our opinion such policies should be more evidence based and
proportionate to risks involved.
At the same time we would like to draw reader’s attention to another
equally important public health problem of drink driving. We would like to
ask antismoker lobby whether they would take the same stand regarding it.
Alcohol has been classified as a carcinogen when consumed; but it is
a very volatile liquid. 4
A cigarette emits roughly a half milligram of active Class A
carcinogens with the most significant in terms of weight being benzene at
3/10ths of a milligram. A standard martini releases roughly one full gram
of the Class A carcinogen ethyl alcohol into the air in the space of an
hour: an amount equal to 2,000 cigarettes. 5
Trauma is a major cause of mortality and morbidity in the United
States. Each year, more than 140,000 Americans die from injuries, and
almost one person in three suffers a nonfatal injury serious enough to
require medical attention or to cause temporary disability. 6
Communities can decrease alcohol-related fatal crashes by providing
better access to substance abuse treatment while reducing the availability
of alcohol in the community, according to a new study supported by the
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). 7
Alcohol evaporates in the air and releases carcinogen; causes
thousands of deaths worldwide because of drink driving and evidence is
there; if appropriate measures are taken, it would reduce trauma and
deaths related with it.
As on the lines of policy of ban on smoking in public places should
we recommend same ban on drinking alcohol? Any takers?
Chandrakant Gosavi specialist registrar anaesthetics,
Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester, LE1 5WW.
Roopa Chatterjee senior house officer anaesthetics
St Richards Hospital, Chichester, PO19 6SE
Competing interests: None declared.
1 The report, Government Policy on the Management of Risk.
2 Environmental tobacco smoke. Report of the Scientific Committee on
Tobacco and Health. http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk
3. Zamrozic K. Estimates of death attributable to passive smoking among
UK adults: database analysis BMJ 2005; 330:812
4 National Toxicology Program. DHHS. 11th Report on Carcinogens.
5 McFadden MJ. Secondary smoke, alcohol and deaths…
6 Clark D, McCarthy E, Robinson E. Trauma as a symptom of alcoholism. Ann
Emerg Med 1985; 14: 274
7 Buddy T. Communities can reduce drunk driving fatalities.
Competing interests: No competing interests