c. Stewart, NYC CLASH, 2003



The War on Smokers
The Anti-Smoking Movement


"Quick and Dirty," 
says Elizabeth Whelan

"Attack the Messenger," 
says Stanton Glantz

Toss the Jargon
(everyone says it)


The EPA Report: 
Lung cancer and Secondhand Smoke

(Understanding the Jargon)

Heart Disease
Secondhand Smoke 
(53,000 "Deaths")



Cigarette constituents 
in the air (OSHA standards)

Table 1: 
constituents, charted

Anti-Smokers sue OSHA...
and say "Never mind."


What else is in 
restaurant air.

"Cooking the Books," a restaurant study

Bartenders' "exposure"

Cotinine as a measure 
(of what?)


For it: The facts

Against it: The Prohibitionists






If the air, in fact, needs clearing,  we maintain that ventilation clears it. And unlike Anti-Tobacco, which admits it lacks "the benefit of scientific studies disputing" that ventilation clears the air (1) we have that benefit. Viz:

Two studies conducted by the US Dept of Energy in 1999 and 2000, attached personal air monitors to 1500 non-smoking waiters, waitresses and bartenders during their working shifts in restaurants and bars (where smoking was allowed) in 17 US cities.  In addition, researchers tested bodily fluids for internalized markers of ETS exposure.


Real life "exposures were considerably below the [safety] limits established by OSHA for the workplace."

And "considerably" means...considerably.  Like 85% below the point at which OSHA says the air can even begin to be considered harmful.

"A well-known toxicological principle is that the poison is in the dose. It's pretty clear that the environmental tobacco smoke dose is pretty low for most people." In conclusion, the lead researcher added, "today's ventilation systems are more efficient."

-"Determination Of Exposure To Environmental Tobacco Smoke In Restaurant And Tavern Workers..." Journal Of Exposure Analysis & Environmental Epidemiology Feb. 2000./ "Dept Of Energy: Determination Of Personal Exposure To Environmental Tobacco Smoke: The 16-Cities Study

According to another study, "Assessment of Non-Smokers Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke Using Personal Exposure and Fixed-Location Monitoring": 

"Overall, the results demonstrate that with ventilation in accordance with current ASHRAE standards, dilution can be an effective means of controlling ETS-related constituents to low concentrations." 
(Emphasis added)
-Sterling Et Al, 1996, Full Cite

And yet another study:  "Environmental Tobacco Smoke in an Unrestricted Smoking Workplace: Area and Personal Exposure Monitoring."  Again, this study measured exposure under current ventilation technology:

"Although smoking was completely unrestricted inside the main office areas, ETS levels, either aerial or from personal exposure measurements, were lower than those estimated by OSHA to be present in such facilities."

And even OSHA hadn't estimated the levels to be unsafe.

Another restaurant study reports:

"The results indicate that ETS component concentrations in the non-smoking section of the facility..were not statistically different (P<0.05) from those measured in similar facilities where smoking is prohibited."

The study concludes:

"The regulatory implications of these findings are that ventilation techniques for restaurants/pubs with separate smoking and non-smoking areas are capable of achieving non-smoking area ETS concentrations that are comparable to those of similar facilities that prohibit smoking outright."
-"Environmental Tobacco Smoke In The Non-Smoking Section Of A Restaurant; A Case Study" Regulatory Toxicology & Pharmacology

(1) See "Anti-Ventilation" This admission comes from Stanton Glantz in correspondence on an anti-smoking network previously known as

Perhaps the final proof that the new ventilation works (even to the satisfaction of the most persnickety) comes, oddly, from its opponents.

In 1999 the Mesa AZ council had passed a ban on restaurant smoking. Apparently, a local restaurant chain, in a demonstration project, installed what a local activist referred to as "some of the so-called new ventilation  technology," (You really do gotta love 'em.)

The activist continues:

"The council was approached by the restaurants, saying come and check [it] out and see what you think. The council contacted one of the tobacco control coalition members who visited the test site and indicated that indeed he couldn't see or smell smoke...The council took that to be a green light and voted an amendment to the ordinance allowing smoking...with this ventilation...."

Though the smoke had been removed, without removing the smokers, from the activists' point of view this was an unhappy ending. Here's what they did next:

Tactic #2: Attack the Messenger

"The coalition got word that [engineering consultant X of the Y company] was in town, making the rounds with council members, providing in-depth information about the new technology. The coalition contacted ANR asking who [X] was, [learned that he] had provided testimony against the OSHA regs" and that his company had been contracted "by Philip Morris."

So there you have it. 

The ventilation system that provably worked (and that was neither manufactured nor installed by company Y) was now renounced as a con job, not on its merits, but on guilt by association. Tarred, feathered, and thrown out of town, the coalition convincing the council that it must have been "hoodwinked"-- even by its very own eyes and nose.


Though "tobacco control advocates don't have the benefit of scientific studies disputing ventilation claims" (bemoans Stanton Glantz)  a lack of scientific evidence has never stood in his (or the "advocates") way before.

And though the science (in fact, overwhelmingly) proves that ventilation  "works," they continue to oppose it on the following (flaky) grounds:

Some of these arguments were made at last year's hearings before the New York City council:

The P.R. department of one leading ventilation manufacturer (Honeywell) refused to "mak[e] claims that these are health products."  And in answer to the direct question, "Will filtering eliminate all health hazards known to occur with exposure to ETS?" (a loaded question to begin with: When did you stop beating your wife?) answered that "Honeywell has not in the past and does not make health hazard claims."  (Well, there you have it, Your Honor; case closed.)

Refuting this refutation is a no-brainer.  If Honeywell claimed ventilation systems were health products, they'd be regulated by the FDA, and sued for  breach of promise by anyone whose allergies to anything didn't improve.  Also by anyone catching cold from the vent's draft.  Further, in today's anti-tobacco world, where "advocates" are "linking" everything from impotence and female wrinkling to secondhand smoke, the possibilities for being sued (with some prodding from the "advocates") become dangerously infinite. No company in its right mind would dare to make any such blanket claim about anything on earth.

(Quote) "There is unanimous agreement among all cognizant occupational environmental and public health authorities that ventilation cannot possibly control ETS. The society of ventilation engineers, ASHRAE, totally supports this position."

So said James Repace in testimony to the Council. (March, 2001)

We've already disproved his first point. We can further add that ASHRAE does not support this position. In fact, it takes no position.  It is still, as of now, in ongoing discussions on the subject of establishing new ventilation standards for all--including smoking-- venues. (Current standards are now in place.) Repace and the other "advocates," however, are pressing ASHRAE to refuse to establish standards that accommodate smoking, to refuse to explore the subject. 

As an ASHRAE committee chair noted late last year (after Repace's testimony),  in reference to an upcoming meeting on the subject: 

"Smoking opponents likely will push us to take no action [on establishing standards for smoking venues] for fear it will imply some sort of endorsement of smoking by ASHRAE."

Reporting on that next meeting (held in Spring, 2002, a full year after Repace's testimony) the anti-smoking advocates are still whining about ASHRAE's failure to bend to their pressure.  In fact, despite the "active participation" of advocates and lobbyists-- from ALA, AHA, ACS, The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and the co-director of Smokeless States National Program Office, the latter also an member of ASHRAE's Policy Committee on Standards-- they still haven't gotten their way.  The smokescreen website has again put out an APB, calling for "a drumbeat of grassroots email" to exert more pressure on the beleaguered  engineers.

(Quote) "All ventilation can do is dilute pollutants, but since there is no threshold level for carcinogens, dilution will not do the trick." This argument comes from Richard Daynard, ESQ, an anti-tobacco lawyer who masterminded the strategy that led to the major lawsuits against Tobacco. 

Granted, Mr. Daynard is one canny lawyer but alas a lousy scientist.  Dilution is everything. First rule of toxicology is " The dose makes the poison."  The amount of chemicals in secondhand smoke is extremely minute and dilute to begin with.  Ventilation dilutes them further.  If Mr. Daynard's theory were true--we can't say this too often--no one should ever have a dental x-ray, fly in an airplane, drive through a tunnel, self-serve at the gas station, enter a dry cleaner's, or go out on a city street. And finally, again, OSHA sets permissible (all-day) exposure levels for workers to, yes, carcinogens.

(Quote) "The laws of physics dictate that ventilation or air cleaning technology cannot conceivably eliminate ETS exposure. It would take tornado-like levels of airflow to reduce residual ETS concentrations to acceptable levels of risk."

So testified James Repace to the NYC Council. 

Balderdash, Mr. Repace. The "laws of physics" say no such thing.  In fact, the laws of physics say that exhaust systems remove stale air and replace it with fresh air (and there's only room for so much air in a given space, which is why a balloon pops.)  Hospitals use "air walls" to prevent even tiny but deadly viruses from traveling.  Surely they know Something, when lives are truly at stake. 

Of course if by "residuals," he means "every last molecule," he's probably  quite right.  But that would be to make a mountain out of a molecule.  It would also be to live your life in a plastic bubble as our actual world is loaded with carcinogenic molecules-- most of them, in fact, naturally-occuring. 

As to the second part of the statement, as I think we've already shown: ventilation works;  better ventilation works even better;  OSHA itself lists "acceptable exposure levels," and finally, the  levels found in actual restaurants fall far, far below any starting points for "risk."

From there on, the arguments get paranoid and political:

Whenever a Ventilation Task Force (as one did in Philadelphia) issues a positive report about ventilation, it's because they've been bought or somehow "made to."  In Philly, an ANR activist writes, "The Health Commissioner  made sure" the report was positive, and the "ventilation advocates," which notably included bar and restaurant owners, got the news out to the press. (Whatta dirty  trick!)  Anyway, the jig was up in Philadelphia, with the "advocates" complaining "We wuz robbed!"-- by the truth.

The refutation here (beyond the self-evident) lies in analyzing the logical  formula being used.  The model goes like this: The tobacco industry says that ventilation works. Therefore: Anyone who says that ventilation works is the tobacco industry (or one of its lackeys.)  To apply that logical model elsewhere, one would have to conclude that: Hitler says the sun rises in the east. Therefore: Anyone who says so is Hitler (or his lackey.)  And yet: 

This exact argument (Ventilation is a Communist--oops--Tobacco Industry plot that corrupts all who touch it) was the point made in testimony to the New York City council by Glantz's Joanna Dearlove. (March, 2001) and similarly by James Repace.

(Quote) "The beneficiary of ventilation solutions is not the hospitality industry or the public. It is the cigarette companies who are trying to maintain sales and profits." (Testimony of Joanna Dearlove)

Dear Ms. Dearlove:  The 30% of New Yorkers who smoke, the 50% of our international visitors, and the restaurateurs who get our business (and who won't with a ban) would argue that point heatedly.  We, too, are "the public," and liberating us from a lifelong sentence of house arrest is indeed a benefit. 

A ventilation task force will take too much time to prepare a report. So claims Mr. Glantz's Ms. Charlesworth in testimony to the NYC health committee. (2001) And  further, she's afraid that the Task Force "will most likely return a report favorable" to the idea of ventilation and thus "effectively dismantle" the smoker-banning law.

In other words, don't do the science. Please.  It undoubtedly will prove that this law is unnecessary.  Rush the law through and then never do the science.