Monday, 24 June 2013

Will cyclists face ban from London offices?

You may have noticed that the anti-smoking bigots have now moved onto the fantasy dangers of what they are terming 'third hand smoke' - meaning the smoke smell that adheres to the clothing of smokers. Smokers, they declare, are covered in nasty PMs and carcinogenic PAHs and BaPs and they should wear disposable plastic onesies every time they have a fag.

No one, ever, has died from second hand or third hand cigarette smoke. Meanwhile, 5,000 Londoners a year are actually dying prematurely from the effects of vehicle air pollution. This blog has pointed out before (HERE  HERE and HERE ) that London's roadsides actually expose one to many times the levels of harmful particulates, chemicals and benzene derivatives than being locked in a closed car with a chain-smoker. London's worst roads have eight times the concentration of harmful substances than a smoky car, according to Aberdeen University. 

Now a lobby group called Clean Air in London has squeezed a full set of London air quality data out of Boris and the real situation is worse than anyone imagined; the worst roads for PM 2.5s are actually as follows;

Now you have to feel sorry for cyclists - I mean those who commute to the office by bike. They're actually exposing themselves to the very worst levels of air pollution, far worse than making the same journey sealed inside a car with a smoker. And when they get to the office ... yep, they're covered in nasty PMs and carcinogenic PAHs and BaPs and all the things the third-hand-smoke faddists rant against. So will cyclists who don't shower and change clothes when they arrive at work be banned from the workplace along with smokers?


The small of exhaust fumes in the morning said...

It used to be 'lead' that caused all those toddlers in pushchairs being taken to the shops by their mums that caused all their brain damage. How life moves on!

DeeDee99 said...

I'm not a smoker and never have been. I'm very grateful that smoking is no longer allowed in pubs and restaurants - although I agree with UKIP that if a landlord has a completely separate room which he is happy to reserve for smoking, then he should be free to do so.

But even I feel that Quango and State bullying of smokers has got to stop. It's becoming a State-sanctioned persecution.

Anonymous said...

Like DeeDee99 I never smoked. Most smokers inflicted their smoke on non smokers without any apology - the image of a smoker at the next table holding their fag at arms length so that I caught the smoke and it didn't get in their eyes is one I'll never forget. Smokers were like Nazis who got their Nuremburg, or Luftwaffe pilots who raided Coventry and then bleated about Dresden. You were merciless to us, and now we don't give a flying feck that someone is being merciless to you. You still don't respect the ten metres - you can't be trusted in your filthy habit - and why the feck can't you use a bin for your rubbish.

On the other hand, if there are special arrangements made for smokers (in pubs or anywhere), then why is that against the law? Perhaps what we are seeing is a battle for control of the Nazi Party!

Span Ows said...

Godwin's Law record?

Dick Puddlecote said...

Anon, the reason special arrangements were not allowed is that it's always been about forcing smokers to use pharma nicotine instead. It was never about health, nor about making life easier for non-smokers. Just money.

Love the piece, Raedwald, it's the next logical step. ;)

strawbrick said...

I have to correct your comment that no-one has died from "second-hand smoke".
What about Roy Castle?
What about my 45 year old nephew who died with the "lungs of a man who smokes 5o a day". He smoked only one cigarette in his whole life, and played rugby until 18 months before he died of lung cancer. However, he had lived over a pub since the age of 12 ...

Parmenion said...

What about Roy Castle? Besides the fact that he smoked cigars, his 'passive-smoke condition' was completely self-diagnosed. As far as I'm aware, the guy was an entertainer...not a physician.
To put things into perspective, the chances of anyone getting cancer from 'second hand smoke' carries about the same risk (RR 1.16) as someone getting cancer from drinking tapwater (RR 1.15), an infinitesimally small risk, which has been blown out of all proportion to further a political agenda.
Trust the scientists...not the anti-smoking fanatics.

Parmenion said...

I’m Robert E. Madden MD, FACS. I am also a non-smoker. HOWEVER I am a passionate opponent of smoking bans. Most of the opposition to the smoking bans has been based upon economic factors such as loss of business revenue, even closings. My opposition is due to loss of individual freedom and abuse of scientific fact.

I am a practicing chest surgeon, a teacher and a former cancer researcher. I am also past president of the NY Cancer Society. I will not tell you that smoking is harmless and without risk, in fact one in eight hundred smokers will develop lung cancer. Asthmatics should avoid tobacco smoke. What I will say is: 1) it’s a personal choice and 2) so called second smoke (ETS) is virtually harmless. One may not like the smell but it has not been shown to cause cancer, even in bartenders. If people do not like the odor then they may go elsewhere. Those who support the ban have no right to deny 24% of the adult population their enjoyment of a popular product based on dislike, possibly hatred of smoking. This attitude is that of a bigot, akin to anti-Semitism or racism.

To me the most offensive element of the smoking bans is the resort to science as “proving that environmental smoke, second hand smoke, causes lung cancer”. Not only is this unproven but there is abundant and substantial evidence to the contrary. It is frustrating, even insulting, for a scientist like myself to hear the bloated statistics put out by the American Cancer Society (of which I am a member) and the American Lung Association used to justify what is best described as a political agenda. Smokers enjoy smoking. Most non-smokers are neutral. Anti-smokers hate smoking. It is this last group that drives the engine of smoking bans. Smoking sections in restaurants, ventilated bars and the like have been satisfactory and used for years. To those who choose to smoke they do so at their own risk. To those eschew smoking let them patronize establishments whose owners prohibit smoking. To impose a city wide or a state wide ban is to deny people of their rights.

Robert E. Madden, M.D

Anonymous said...

Indeed Dr. Madden...

It always amazes me that lefties assume that it is OK to spend other people's money telling those same people how to live. Which has its own life shortening drawbacks.

As I understand things, the most important factor in lung cancers (and many others) is airborne nuclear fallout from around 3000 atmospheric tests.

Before these began to happen, when every self respecting citizen thought it was his patriotic duty to smoke... Cancer was virtually unknown.

Anon 2 said...

Me ... I speak as a qualified physio who worked to ameliorate the effects of several smoking-related lung conditions, not just carcinoma.

I also speak as the offspring of a smoker -- an 80-Camels-a-day-man. As he lay dying of emphysema and its natural corollaries, with a few of his last breaths he gasped: "And I enjoyed every cigarette."

Now for a while I also smoked, at least partly in self-defence against the scenarios DeeDee and others describe. But here's the thing - I ultimately had to give it up because I turned allergic to it: couldn't finish a cigarette without retching. Even as I stopped, the wish to smoke remained for a while. I learned that the habit is a strong addiction.

Somewhat after that I worked for a bunch of PC marxists who faced stormy protests against their smoking bans in the workplace. So they set apart a room that smokers could use.

Well. The concentration and stench of smoke were such that even the smokers stopped going in there. And since the intense pollution seeped into the air conditioning system, it eventually got at the rest of us anyway. Those smokers eventually accepted that they had to take their habit outside.

So my present take on the deal? If nicotine addicts choose to kill themselves with it, I don't feel constrained to stop them. But they have no right to force their habit on me. I really am glad I no longer have to inhale that filth everywhere I go.