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Old 11th January 2007, 06:56 AM   #201
Euromutt
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Originally Posted by Merko View Post
Well, my libertarian principles tell me it should be all up to bar owners to permit smoking, or not. However..

This has been the case everywhere until a few years ago. How many non-smoking bars have you ever seen? I know that I haven't come across a single one. Ok, so we might then think that this is because the overwhelming majority prefers smoke in bars, so there's just no market for non-smoking bars.
That may apply in Sweden, but here in Washington state, at the time the smoking ban was imposed on bars and restaurants in December 2005, 85% of these establishments were already non-smoking, and their number was on the rise even before the imposition of the ban. Clearly, some mechanism exists whereby it is possible to get establishments to convert to non-smoking without resorting to a blanket ban.

Originally Posted by Merko View Post
So what happened, people stopped going to bars? Nope. There was a huge public outcry against the ban? Nope. Polls showed that 90% supported the law, after it was in place. There had been a lot of criticism before the law was passed, but very little of that was seen afterwards. The restaurant industry, who opposed the law beforehand, switched around when they saw the consequences.
Similar arguments are wielded ex post facto to justify bans in many places, and I'm unconvinced any of them are actually meaningful; they all smack of lessons in how to lie with statistics.

When you (general "you") impose a nationwide, or state-wide or province-wide, ban on smoking in bars, you eliminate the option for customers who want to smoke to take their custom elsewhere. Smoking is only one aspect of the equation here; at least as important, and probably more so, is the desire on customers' part to get out of the house and have a drink in a convivial atmosphere. The only thing that is shown by statistics that bar patronage didn't drop is that bar-going smokers would rather go to non-smoking bars than not go to bars at all.

It does, admittedly, demonstrate that the oft-wielded "it'll hurt the industry" argument against smoking bans is flawed. Flawed, but not invalid, depending on the situation. For example, here in Washington state, Pierce County imposed a smoking ban in January 2004. Because it only applied to the county, bar-frequenting smokers stopped going to bars in the Pierce County, and took their custom to neighboring King County or the Indian reservations instead, and that most certainly did hurt the hurt the industry locally. The lesson is that if you want to impose a smoking ban, make it cover as wide a geographical area as possible.

Originally Posted by Merko View Post
Polls showed that 90% supported the law, after it was in place.
Were the samples drawn from the population as a whole, or only from people who actually frequent bars? Why should the opinion of people who don't even go to bars carry any weight in deciding whether or not smoking should be allowed in such places? In fact, basing myself on the Millsian principle that the only limitation on one individual's freedom should be that it does not infringe upon another's, I'd go so far as to say that the decision whether smoking should be banned in a specific establishment should fall only to those who frequent it.

Originally Posted by Eos of the Eons View Post
As a person with an allergy to tobaccy, I'm relieved I can now work, go to school, and patronize places without coming out wheezing, covered in a rash, and dealing with water blisters and itchy eyes, nose, ears, etc.
Look, I'm not unsympathetic. I just think there has to be a conceivable mechanism whereby you can go to a bar you like without being hampered by smoke, while at the same time I can go some other bar and have a ciggie with my pint. I acknowledge that not all places are like Washington state; in western Europe, non-smoking bars are rarer than hens' teeth. But why does a blanket ban have to be the only way to promote non-smoking establishments? Why couldn't government grant some kind of tax break to bars which adopt non-smoking policies? Or allow bars to purchase a license permitting smoking on the premises, the (sizeable) cost of which the bar owner could pass on to his customers?

Originally Posted by fls View Post
Like seatbelt and helmet laws?
(The following is not specifically directed at anything you said, Linda, I'm just using that quote as a cue.)
I'll admit that, as one who subscribes to the aforementioned Millsian principle that the only limitation on one individual's freedom should be that it does not infringe upon another's, I've had to think hard about why I do support helmet and seatbelt laws, but I think I've found it. Smoking, like failure to wear a car seatbelt or a motorcycle helmet, imposes an avoidable burden on the health care system, thereby causing one's own freedom to affect that of others. Where smoking differs from not wearing a seatbelt is that, in the case of smoking, this burden can be (and is) compensated for by imposing an excise tax on tobacco and applying the revenue towards health care. By contrast, there is no practical way to tax people for not wearing a seatbelt or helmet, except by making it an offense not to wear one, subject to a fine which, for all practical purposes, takes the place of a tax.

Originally Posted by baron View Post
So, let's try this out on a scenario based on a question I posted earlier (that nobody has yet answered) ~
Well, it took some thinking, but that doesn't mean the answer didn't exist. Patience must you learn.
Originally Posted by baron View Post
Would you find it acceptable to scrap fire safety legislation in privately-owned businesses? Oh, this club doesn't have a fire escape but that's OK because the business owner doesn't want one. People don't have to go if they don't want to, right?
The parallel doesn't work for the following reason: very few members of the general public have the requisite skills to determine whether a building complies with fire safety codes. A customer or employee might ask the business owner whether the premises comply, but it's entirely possible for the business owner to lie and say they do (when in fact they don't), and the only way the customer or employee can find out that was a lie is the hard way, when the building catches fire.

By contrast, anyone can tell whether or not smoking takes place on the premises. Indeed, much of the argument for smoking bans is that the evidence to that effect is impossible to ignore.
Originally Posted by baron View Post
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of individual items of legislation that businesses must comply with in the interests of health and safety.
Certainly, and all of them cover aspects which the layman cannot reasonably expected to be able to determine for himself. Restaurants can't operate if every customer has to be allowed to inspect the kitchen, and you can't reasonably expect every customer to know what he's looking for in the way of unhygienic practices. Laborers at a sawmill may have no way of knowing that a saw is inadequately guarded until it takes their arm off, at which point it's too late. Most importantly, it's possible for the management to lie (as it may be in their interest to do) and claim that the premises comply with safety standards when they don't. Freedom is based on the ability of individuals to make informed decisions; government has a right (indeed, a duty) to intervene and make decisions on behalf of its citizens when it rightly determines that those citizens do not have the means at their disposal to make an informed decision. But again, while the layman may be unable to determine whether he is being exposed to toxins or pathogens, the layman is perfectly capable of determining whether or not tobacco smoke is present in a room.
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Last edited by Euromutt; 11th January 2007 at 07:03 AM.
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Old 11th January 2007, 07:36 AM   #202
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Originally Posted by Greyman View Post
Speaking of carcinogens. What are the workplace safety measures in place re: carcinogens? How does secondhand smoke measure up when compared to them?
The relevant comparison would be with long-term exposures. Other carcinogens have limits placed on daily exposure. The typical occupational exposures for a restaurant/bar-worker in an establishment that allows smoking are as harmful or more harmful than other carcinogens.

The National Toxicology Program provides a summary of this information plus references.

If this wasn't an issue of "personal freedom", nobody would think twice about eliminating this exposure.

Linda
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Old 11th January 2007, 08:33 AM   #203
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Originally Posted by blutoski View Post
This means the restaurants wouldn't participate. They participate today because the government has access to police enforcement.

[several good paragraphs snipped]

I've been to ex-Soviet republics (I was born in Lithuania), and this is the attitude indeed: no regulation, so caveat emptor. What is the result? Commerce implodes. Nobody trusts the butcher, the baker, or the candlestick maker. If somebody started a testing organization, the butcher would bribe them, so nobody would trust *them* either. Result: there is no economic demand for vendor evaluation! Unemployment is high (who would invest in capital, when there's no justice if you were defrauded?) Counterfeitting is rampant (whenever I go, I am asked to bring medicines, because if I bring them, they know they're genuine).

I have seen laissez-faire economies: they're a total mess. People are *afraid to buy*.

The trick is to recognize a balance, and trust the republic. It fosters commerce, the health of the citizenry, and - most importantly - it responds to their directive. You can disagree with it, and rail against the system, but I propose that the reason this argument has received no traction is because the electorate knows better and sees this approach as in their best interest.
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Old 11th January 2007, 08:46 AM   #204
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Originally Posted by fls View Post
That same description, with some variation, would apply to many of our choices. Don't people choose to go skiing because it's exciting (i.e. conditioned release of adrenaline, endorphins, etc.)?
I choose to go skiing for pleasure, which no doubt results in adrenaline and endorphins being produced in my body. They are produced even if I don't go skiing. Nicotine is not produced in anyone's body as far as I know.

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Casual smoking results in little harm (if any) while receiving the benefits of participating in a social activity, relaxation, etc.
Are you playing devil's advocate with this statement? Ok, I'll bite:

So how many casual smokers do you know?
What is "casual smoking"? 1 a day, 5 a day, more / less?
Would "casual smoker" describe the vast majority of the people who smoke?

Personally, I've only known 2 people in my life who I'd class as casual smokers. All the others (the number of which have smoked is in the 10's) have habits of 10 or more a day.

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Nicotine isn't the point. People don't take up the activity to fill a need for nicotine.

Linda
Nicotine isn't the point of smoking? Huh?

What does it matter why people take up smoking? People continue the activity because of their addiction to nicotine and operant conditioning. You could make exactly the same argument for any physically addictive drug.

I think it is pretty obvious that a smoke filled room is going to be detrimental to a persons long term health if they have prolonged exposure. Some here want to argue the toss so I'm not going to get involved. With your expertise you are in a far better position to do that.

My argument is based on pragmatism. Since nicotine addiction is tolerated in our society, shouldn't it be made as safe as it reasonably can be? As a bonus, by making it safer, it would remove the effects smoking currently has on everyone else. Kind of like providing clean needles for heroin addicts but better.

The image of a group of nicotine junkies sat in a pub sucking up their dose from inhalers would probably remove much of the coolness that's been associated with smoking too.

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Old 11th January 2007, 09:01 AM   #205
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Originally Posted by Ivor the Engineer View Post
So is that trying to equate the "choice" to smoke with, say, the choice to go skiing?

Smoking is a conditioned habit and physical drug addiction. So "choice" isn't quite the right word is it?
ah. nothing like a faith based statement of 'fact.'

I choose to smoke because I enjoy it. I also ride large motorcycles and (when not on the motorcycle) like to drink beer. I do all these things because I find they increase my enjoyment of my life at a cost acceptable to me.
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Old 11th January 2007, 09:31 AM   #206
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Originally Posted by Deus Ex Machina View Post
ah. nothing like a faith based statement of 'fact.'
You'll have to explain that to me in more detail

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I choose to smoke because I enjoy it. I also ride large motorcycles and (when not on the motorcycle) like to drink beer. I do all these things because I find they increase my enjoyment of my life at a cost acceptable to me.
So you could give up smoking anytime you wanted, right?

What's the cost of smoking that you're prepared to pay?

The expected cost for riding a motorcycle or moderate drinking of beer is very low in comparison to that of smoking regularly.

Or is that another faith based statement?
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Old 11th January 2007, 10:10 AM   #207
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Originally Posted by Blue Mountain View Post
Your right to swing your arms ends where my nose begins. Should be the same for the foul odour of cigarettes, too.
And perfume, Body Odor, halitosis etc...
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Old 11th January 2007, 10:39 AM   #208
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Originally Posted by Euromutt View Post
Certainly, and all of them cover aspects which the layman cannot reasonably expected to be able to determine for himself. Restaurants can't operate if every customer has to be allowed to inspect the kitchen, and you can't reasonably expect every customer to know what he's looking for in the way of unhygienic practices. Laborers at a sawmill may have no way of knowing that a saw is inadequately guarded until it takes their arm off, at which point it's too late. Most importantly, it's possible for the management to lie (as it may be in their interest to do) and claim that the premises comply with safety standards when they don't. Freedom is based on the ability of individuals to make informed decisions; government has a right (indeed, a duty) to intervene and make decisions on behalf of its citizens when it rightly determines that those citizens do not have the means at their disposal to make an informed decision. But again, while the layman may be unable to determine whether he is being exposed to toxins or pathogens, the layman is perfectly capable of determining whether or not tobacco smoke is present in a room.
But OSHA and restaurant inspectors don't simply post warnings in order to inform individuals, they outright ban practices that a hypothetical rational agent would reject. Nobody wants broken glass in his food, and so you can't serve food with with broken glass in it. Nobody wants to risk losing an arm to a saw at work, so you can't have unsafe work conditions except where they are necessary given the job you are performing.

I would also question the assumption that freedom rests upon the ability of individuals to make informed decisions in situ. We can view regulations from point of view of carefully negotiated offloading of this decision-making process from the individual to the appropriate authority, in order to maximize individual liberty (you inspect the restaurants and close them down if they aren't up to code, so I don't have to).

I'm confident that people can, in the appropriate context, come to well-reasoned conclusions about which processes will lead to desirable consequences. I am not confident that we can do this at the check-out or while operating a drill press. The notion of the rational agent making informed decisions in every aspect of her life is simply mythology; it is not consistent with any modern scientific treatment of human behavior. If this is freedom, we never had it to lose in the first place.
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Old 11th January 2007, 10:45 AM   #209
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Originally Posted by Euromutt View Post
The parallel doesn't work for the following reason: very few members of the general public have the requisite skills to determine whether a building complies with fire safety codes...
I agree with this and everything you posted afterwards except for the words " The parallel doesn't work for the following reason". Check what I was responding to: I was responding to the suggestion that health and safety - as a whole - should be voluntarily complied with, and managed by a private organisation. In other words, your argument is, by-and-large, my argument. For example, I made the same point in the very post you quoted from ~

Originally Posted by baron
So, a packer decides to look for a job in a factory. To do this, you are saying this person needs firstly to be fully conversant with all hundreds of potential safety risks in that factory and be able to evaluate them against the measures put in place by the company
I'm not advocating a blanket ban and have never said I would support it over more selective rulings (whatever they may be). I would be happy for 70% or 80% of bars to be non-smoking. In some places they are, although where I live, it's 0%. However, it looks like a blanket ban is what's coming. OK, so I have even more choice! I'm sure from a smokers' perspective it's not a good thing but, to put it bluntly, that's their lookout and I don't care. All I want is a choice of establishments that I can visit without gulping carcinogens and coming home coughing, nauseated and stinking like an ashtray.
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Old 11th January 2007, 03:19 PM   #210
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Originally Posted by skeptigirl View Post
Which virus was that?
HIV.



Originally Posted by skeptigirl View Post
We don't eliminate HIV in any case nor Hep C in all cases yet reducing viral loads has tremendous results in many cases.

I understood your point but he was talking about both evidence of benefit and evidence of causality.

And if a cancer treatment resulted in an average 90% reduction of the tumors, some of those people might have 100% reductions or at least have a bit more time on the planet. If you are dying of cancer, a month most certainly does have value.
It was just an example of the meaning of clinical significance. A patient with 1,000 viral load is indistinguishable from a patient with 10k viral load. They're both close do death.

The antiviral in question did not get past phase III trials, largely because it was ineffective in reducing viral loads below 1,000, regardless of starting point. They showed us the charts of the patients who started with large loads *implying* that a 90% reduction was normal. But patients with loads of 1,200 were reduced to 900, and patients with loads of 800 stayed the same.

This compares to other drugs which are effective in reducing load in all patients, and often are actually more effective with patients who have lower starting titres.

So, this drug piqued our interest from a "mechanism-curiosity" point of view, but was not of interest from a clinical perspective.
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Old 11th January 2007, 03:53 PM   #211
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Originally Posted by cafink View Post
I
Since you asked specifically: I would be in favor of relaxing the governmental regulations on workplace safety. A person does not have to work in a factory whose conditions he deems unsafe any more than he does in a restaurant or bar that permits smoking.

Because safety is important to me, I would be totally in support of a private organization that judged workplace safety. Workers who value their safety (a group that I would hope includes all workers!) would be free to seek employment only with those firms who volunarily complied with this organization's policies and whose workplace environments were deemed safe.
The problem with this is that it simply doesn't work, which has been proven historically. Workplace safety costs money and impacts profits. Workplaces typically do only the minimum necessary to comply with safety regulations. Lower the standards, and safety will be correspondingly lowered.

Expecting a subset of employers to arbitrarily implement higher safety standards is a pipe-dream. To do so would raise their operating costs and make them non-competitive, at least in the long term. Furthermore, employment opportunity is non-elastic, so there would be a significant number of people desiring higher safety standards, but unable to find employment at a company that provided them, and thus would be forced to either work for an employer with lower standards, or remain unemployed.

This would be partially offset by the fact that employers with higher standards would be almost guaranteed to offer reduced monetary compensation (in order to make up for higher operating costs, as well as in reaction to a larger, more competitive labour pool); but would still result in a non-trivial number of people who would like better safety, but would be unable to obtain it.

Further, there would also be incentive for a workplace to claim higher safety standards, or create the appearance of higher standards, while still maintaining a lower level of workplace safety. This would enable them to reduce salaries in line with those businesses providing higher safety standards, while still maintaining lower operating costs. Private regulatory agencies can alleviate this problem somewhat, but there is the issue of funding and effective monitoring, as well as "under the table" collusion.
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Old 11th January 2007, 04:19 PM   #212
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Originally Posted by cafink View Post
An evaluator who holds back due to litigation is not an effective evaluator. If indeed there is a demand for organized workplace-safety measures (as I believe there is), then this ineffective evaluator will find himself out of a job, supplanted through market forces by someone who is willing to do the job effectively--no need to have the government interfere here.
Except that any regulator that steps up is also subject to the threat of litigation; and not many are going to have the resources to operate in the face of such a threat. Remember, litigation does not have to be legitimate in order to be successful.
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Consider the MPAA's movie ratings system for an analogous situation. A parent doesn't have to buy a magazine every time he wants to see if a particular movie is appropriate for his child. A movie's rating is prominently displayed in all advertising material, and an archive of ratings is freely available for perusal at the MPAA's web site. The movie studio, not the customer, foots the bill to have a film rated and to have that rating easily available for anyone who wishes to look it up.
But it is still possible for an unrated movie to be produced and distributed. The only reason that more unrated movies are not shown in theatres is simply because of the near-monopoly that the corporations have on theatre ownership -- nearly all theatre chains (and the vast majority of theatres are chains) are owned by the same corporations that own the production companies. So they can effectively block unrated movies, which includes a large percentage of foreign films, from being shown in the majority of theatres. Without that effective monopoly, the MPAA would be less important as a regulatory body.

You're also ignoring the fact that the MPAA is only quasi-private since it's power depends in large part on federal and state regulations regarding the viewing of "sexually oriented" or "inappropriate" subject matter by minors.

So the MPAA is not a strictly voluntary organization offering strictly voluntary regulation. They are a private organization enforcing government regulations; which was created to forestall the implementation of a government regulatory agency similar to the FCC and the passing of even more stringent government regulations. Various states had already passed regulatory legislation regarding motion picture content.

So what your proposal would do is allow the Federal government to create workplace safety laws at a fairly low level, encourage the creation of a quasi-private regulatory agency with higher safety standards, but allow for businesses to bypass the regulatory agency and operate at the much lower government-mandated safety standard.
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Old 11th January 2007, 04:33 PM   #213
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Originally Posted by cafink View Post
The MPAA somehow implements a workable movie ratings system without government intervention. The ESRB somehow implements a workable video game ratings system without government intervention.
Actually, there is considerably controversy as to whether their systems are, in fact, workable; and the inconsistency of their ratings have become increasingly controversial. A documentary on the MPAA highlighting the flaws in the organization, This Film Is Not Yet Rated was released late last year. Interestingly, the film's creator has filed against the MPAA for illegally copying the film, which they admit to doing, though denied the specific illegality of their actions.
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What makes them immune to the problems that you seem so sure would cripple a similar organization that monitors the health and safety practices of businesses?
They are supported by federal and local government regulation and enforcement.
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If the only consideration is corruption, then I will choose the private sector over the government every time. Private organizations can be held accountable, too, you know. If you don't think their product or service is worth what they charge for it, then don't patronize them. They'll soon see the error of their ways, I assure you.
On the contrary, most private regulatory agencies do not have any accoutability. That is one of the key points in the aformentioned documentary. There is also the issue of academic accreditation agencies and their lack of accountability. The only accountability available for these agencies is through National Education Administration recognition of their validity through meeting specific government-mandated standards.
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Old 11th January 2007, 05:10 PM   #214
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Originally Posted by KingMerv00 View Post
HOW MUCH second hand smoke do you need to be exposed to for it to be harmful?

Live with a smoker?

Work with smokers?
I'd like to see a study of the effects of vehicle exhaust gases on lung disease...
We're not going to because those emissions are carcogenic and in greater supply than cigarette smoke.
And every-one is a commuter
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Old 11th January 2007, 06:19 PM   #215
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Originally Posted by blutoski View Post
....It was just an example of the meaning of clinical significance. A patient with 1,000 viral load is indistinguishable from a patient with 10k viral load. They're both close do death.....
Bad example. You couldn't be more wrong about HIV. As long as viral loads are kept low, HIV does not progress to AIDS.

Sounds like your research drug just wasn't effective. The numbers you are citing on viral loads seem off by a couple factors so I can't make sense of your example. But otherwise, I get the point.

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Public health guidelines state that treatment should be considered for asymptomatic HIV-infected people who have viral loads higher than 30,000 copies per milliliter of blood using a test known as a branched DNA test, or more than 55,000 copies using an RT-PCR test...A low viral load is usually between 200 to 500 copies, depending on the type of test used. This result indicates that HIV is not actively reproducing and that the risk of disease progression is low.
Uncontrolled HIV viral counts are typically in the 100,000s.

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Old 11th January 2007, 06:51 PM   #216
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Originally Posted by Deus Ex Machina View Post
I choose to smoke because I enjoy it. I also ride large motorcycles and (when not on the motorcycle) like to drink beer. I do all these things because I find they increase my enjoyment of my life at a cost acceptable to me.
I can relate to this.

But have you actually done the stats?

What's your risk of asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, peripheral vascular disease, cardiovascular disease, and cerebrovascular disease above your background risk considering your level of smoking and how will this affect your future enjoyment of life? What's your risk of major and minor injury over and above those resulting from a car accident, considering the size of motorcycle and the speed and skill of riding your motorcycle, and the effect of these injuries on your enjoyment of life. What's your risk of liver disease, brain disease, heart disease, disease of nerves and muscles considering your level of drinking? Unless you've considered these risks you haven't made an informed choice.

You don't have to do the stats, of course. You can just say "stuff it, I'm just going to continue doing these things if I want to because I enjoy them". But then you can't say you continue to do these things "at a cost acceptable to me".

I once did this exercise for my high cholesterol - because I love full-cream milk, cream and cheese. I decided that my personal risk would not be significantly reduced by eliminating fats from my diet to justify my reduced enjoyment of food. It seems the health system benefited more than I did - because the number of heart attacks, for example, could be halved if everyone took these measures to reduce their cholesterol. But, for me personally, it didn't seem worthwhile.
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Old 11th January 2007, 08:10 PM   #217
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Originally Posted by Deus Ex Machina View Post
...

I choose to smoke because I enjoy it. ....
You may choose to continue smoking because you enjoy it. But most people don't choose to start smoking because they enjoy it. Typically one has to get passed a period of nausea learning to smoke.

Most people start because of peer pressure. It's cool, you feel older, your parents don't tell you what to do. In fact, studies show if one doesn't start smoking by about the age of 20 very few people go on to start smoking later.
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Old 11th January 2007, 08:26 PM   #218
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Originally Posted by skeptigirl View Post
Sounds like your research drug just wasn't effective. The numbers you are citing on viral loads seem off by a couple factors so I can't make sense of your example. But otherwise, I get the point.
Yes, I was just throwing out round numbers for illustrative purposes.

I should point out that this was 1991, and the prevailing attitude at the time was that patients needed to keep titres below 500 to be considered 'stable'.
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Old 11th January 2007, 08:40 PM   #219
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Originally Posted by blutoski View Post
Yes, I was just throwing out round numbers for illustrative purposes.

I should point out that this was 1991, and the prevailing attitude at the time was that patients needed to keep titres below 500 to be considered 'stable'.
This is confusing as well. We didn't test for viral loads in 91 that I'm aware of. I think you are mixing apples and oranges.

In 1991 one was considered to have AIDS if one's white blood cell count went BELOW 500. I think you have things mixed up. It's easy to do with those ol' memories.

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Old 11th January 2007, 08:52 PM   #220
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Originally Posted by skeptigirl View Post
In 1991 one was considered to have AIDS if one's white blood cell count went BELOW 500.
What units?

http://www.mydr.com.au/default.asp?article=3011

Quote:
The normal white cell count for adults is 4.0-10.0 x 109/L.
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Old 12th January 2007, 06:19 AM   #221
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Originally Posted by George152 View Post
I'd like to see a study of the effects of vehicle exhaust gases on lung disease...
We're not going to because those emissions are carcogenic and in greater supply than cigarette smoke.
And every-one is a commuter
There have been hundreds of studies, you just haven't looked. They conclude that vehicle emissions are, in general, harmful. That is why, in the UK at least, strict measures are being introduced to reduce the use of private vehicles and promote other forms of travel. Beyond that, what action would you suggest?
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Old 12th January 2007, 10:51 AM   #222
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Originally Posted by Ivor the Engineer View Post
I choose to go skiing for pleasure, which no doubt results in adrenaline and endorphins being produced in my body. They are produced even if I don't go skiing. Nicotine is not produced in anyone's body as far as I know.
The analogy I was trying to make was that both induce pleasurable physiologic responses - a major reason for many of our behaviours.

Quote:
Are you playing devil's advocate with this statement? Ok, I'll bite:

So how many casual smokers do you know?
Only a few. People used to smoke casually until the tobacco companies purposely made their cigarettes highly addictive.

Quote:
What is "casual smoking"? 1 a day, 5 a day, more / less?
Would "casual smoker" describe the vast majority of the people who smoke?

Personally, I've only known 2 people in my life who I'd class as casual smokers. All the others (the number of which have smoked is in the 10's) have habits of 10 or more a day.
There may be an official definition, but I'll say less than a lifetime total of 15-pack-years (so less than a third or quarter of a pack per day). Maybe some other criteria like no chain-smoking or eye-openers. I think the majority of people that smoke nowadays are those that are addicted - i.e. those that could be a casual smoker don't bother.

Quote:
Nicotine isn't the point of smoking? Huh?
Teenagers don't take up cigarettes because they want nicotine - i.e. if you dispensed nicotine in the form of pills or inhalers, you wouldn't suddenly find groups of teenagers hanging outside the school doors puffing on inhalers. Nicotine may be why you become addicted, but you take up the activity for social reasons.

Quote:
What does it matter why people take up smoking? People continue the activity because of their addiction to nicotine and operant conditioning. You could make exactly the same argument for any physically addictive drug

I think it is pretty obvious that a smoke filled room is going to be detrimental to a persons long term health if they have prolonged exposure. Some here want to argue the toss so I'm not going to get involved. With your expertise you are in a far better position to do that.

My argument is based on pragmatism. Since nicotine addiction is tolerated in our society, shouldn't it be made as safe as it reasonably can be? As a bonus, by making it safer, it would remove the effects smoking currently has on everyone else. Kind of like providing clean needles for heroin addicts but better.

The image of a group of nicotine junkies sat in a pub sucking up their dose from inhalers would probably remove much of the coolness that's been associated with smoking too.
The nicotine addiction comes after the activity is initiated. Yes, you can help the people who already have an addiction with safer delivery and withdrawal (nicotine has harmful effects so long-term use is not desirable). But the steady supply of new smokers will not take up nicotine inhalers - that will not satisfy the reason cigarette smoking is popular in the first place. And I doubt an inhaler will serve as a voluntary substitue. Read Deus ex Machina's descriptions. Lighting up a cigarette is a chance to enjoy a meaningful and pleasurable experience. Why would he want to give that up?

Linda
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Old 12th January 2007, 03:27 PM   #223
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Originally Posted by fls View Post
The analogy I was trying to make was that both induce pleasurable physiologic responses - a major reason for many of our behaviours.
One invokes the bodies natural reward system, the other is an artificial introduced drug. Not that similar to me at all.

Quote:
Only a few. People used to smoke casually until the tobacco companies purposely made their cigarettes highly addictive.
When did they do that? Some of my grandparents smoked 30+ a day circa 1920.

Quote:
There may be an official definition, but I'll say less than a lifetime total of 15-pack-years (so less than a third or quarter of a pack per day). Maybe some other criteria like no chain-smoking or eye-openers. I think the majority of people that smoke nowadays are those that are addicted - i.e. those that could be a casual smoker don't bother.
Something we almost agree on I'd say most reasonable people know how addictive cigarettes are and don't want to run the risk of becoming addicted.

Quote:
Teenagers don't take up cigarettes because they want nicotine - i.e. if you dispensed nicotine in the form of pills or inhalers, you wouldn't suddenly find groups of teenagers hanging outside the school doors puffing on inhalers. Nicotine may be why you become addicted, but you take up the activity for social reasons.
So if you provided a drug in pill/liquid/powder form that gets you "high" teenagers wouldn't take/inject/sniff it? Do I really have to provide the evidence to refute that?

Quote:
The nicotine addiction comes after the activity is initiated. Yes, you can help the people who already have an addiction with safer delivery and withdrawal (nicotine has harmful effects so long-term use is not desirable). But the steady supply of new smokers will not take up nicotine inhalers - that will not satisfy the reason cigarette smoking is popular in the first place. And I doubt an inhaler will serve as a voluntary substitue. Read Deus ex Machina's descriptions. Lighting up a cigarette is a chance to enjoy a meaningful and pleasurable experience. Why would he want to give that up?

Linda
Smoking is not a "meaningful" experience. It is a pleasurable experience because of our nervous system is hyper-sensitive to nicotine. It is also an operant conditioned habit. Smokers are like Skinner's rats, pressing the leaver for their reward. People who smoke more in social situations have simply associated the two activities.

The smart people who smoke on this forum are very good at making up excuses and complicated reasons about why they continue to smoke. But it's all b******t. Given that most of them are probably atheists too - this life is it for them - it is not reasonable for them to shorten it by years and run a much higher risk of having a miserable death.

Yes, I'd agree that given the choice of a cigarette or the more honest but less cool inhaler/pill/syringe, then most nicotine addicts would choose the cigarette. That's why, if a government anywhere in the world had the b***s they would have to legislate to force the tobacco companies to produce safer ways of peddling their drug. But it won’t happen, I know.

I'll be back in a week. I'm going to get "high" on the ski slopes of Austria
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Old 12th January 2007, 06:10 PM   #224
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Originally Posted by George152 View Post
I'd like to see a study of the effects of vehicle exhaust gases on lung disease...
There are plenty of them out there.
Quote:
We're not going to because those emissions are carcogenic and in greater supply than cigarette smoke.
And every-one is a commuter
Which is why various governments have mandated emissions-control systems that greatly reduce harmful hydrocarbon, particulate, and other emission; and require periodic testing to ensure that vehicles are meeting emissions-control standards. And why various governments are switching public transportation to lower-emission fuels.

And they've finally started restricting tobacco smoke exposure for the same reason.
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Old 12th January 2007, 06:15 PM   #225
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Originally Posted by skeptigirl View Post
Most people start because of peer pressure. It's cool, you feel older, your parents don't tell you what to do. In fact, studies show if one doesn't start smoking by about the age of 20 very few people go on to start smoking later.
According to what I've read, peer pressure, and exposure to tobacco smoke in the home are the two most common reason, covering darn near everyone who starts smoking.
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Old 13th January 2007, 06:12 PM   #226
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Originally Posted by Ivor the Engineer View Post
One invokes the bodies natural reward system, the other is an artificial introduced drug. Not that similar to me at all.
An artificially introduced drug that accesses the body's natural reward system.

Quote:
When did they do that? Some of my grandparents smoked 30+ a day circa 1920.
The WHO testimoney of Jeffrey Wigand makes for interesting reading.

Addiction to cigarettes has always been a problem, but not all people are susceptible to addiction (another interesting area of research) and boosting nicotine does make it happen faster and more certainly. Also, the changing social conditions means that nowadays that we're used to encountering mostly those who are regular smokers.

I'm not really trying to argue that it's possible to have "good smoking" - a large group of people, that confine smoking to a casual activity, that obtain the social benefits without the adverse effects. I'm just pointing out that all use isn't necessarily detrimental.

Quote:
Something we almost agree on I'd say most reasonable people know how addictive cigarettes are and don't want to run the risk of becoming addicted.
You know what's sad? That you think we mostly disagree just because I tend to point out (regardless of what "side" I'm on) both sides of the issue (i.e. whichever "side" I think is being ignored). Too contrarian, maybe.

Quote:
So if you provided a drug in pill/liquid/powder form that gets you "high" teenagers wouldn't take/inject/sniff it? Do I really have to provide the evidence to refute that?
Here you are talking about something different - more like the reasons people use heroin or cocaine. Nicotine doesn't give the same kind of "high" (different reward system).

Quote:
Smoking is not a "meaningful" experience. It is a pleasurable experience because of our nervous system is hyper-sensitive to nicotine. It is also an operant conditioned habit. Smokers are like Skinner's rats, pressing the leaver for their reward. People who smoke more in social situations have simply associated the two activities.
Yes, that it what I mean. The social association is relevant. I'm thinking of comparing it to having a beer at the pub with your friends. Associating the activity and the physiologic effects becomes strongly reinforced and it's hard to give up that package, even when on a day-to-day basis the reality doesn't match the picture (huddling outside in the cold vs. lounging with the cool kids).

Quote:
The smart people who smoke on this forum are very good at making up excuses and complicated reasons about why they continue to smoke. But it's all b******t. Given that most of them are probably atheists too - this life is it for them - it is not reasonable for them to shorten it by years and run a much higher risk of having a miserable death.
I think they know that, too. But the remote future tends to be heavily discounted.

Quote:
Yes, I'd agree that given the choice of a cigarette or the more honest but less cool inhaler/pill/syringe, then most nicotine addicts would choose the cigarette. That's why, if a government anywhere in the world had the b***s they would have to legislate to force the tobacco companies to produce safer ways of peddling their drug. But it won’t happen, I know.
You never know.

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I'll be back in a week. I'm going to get "high" on the ski slopes of Austria
Break a leg? Or did I get that mixed-up with something else....

Linda
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Old 13th January 2007, 06:34 PM   #227
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Originally Posted by BillyJoe View Post
Absolute neutrophil counts. Sorry, I was just trying to suggest a count where 500 was a typical cutoff in HIV rather than getting too specific. People know what white blood cells are more often than they know what an ANC is.

Quote:
A normal absolute neutrophil count (ANC) is in the range of 1,500 to 8,000 cells per microliter. If the ANC is below 500 for an extended period of time, the risk of serious bacterial infection may increase significantly. A low neutrophil count is called neutropenia.
BTW, we don't usually discuss blood labs in 'liters' unless you are talking about total volume like blood loss. White counts are per cubic micrometer, or microliter, (a millionth of a liter).

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Old 13th January 2007, 08:16 PM   #228
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Okay.
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Old 14th January 2007, 04:46 AM   #229
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I have heard alot of people -not only here- that talk about the individual's right to light up... what about the individuals right not to smoke? Being a non-smokin' Swede myself, I can say that now that smokes are banned from clubs and restaurants I really enjoy the clubbin' experience a hole lot more and there have been no decrease in people clubbin'.

Some of the good things are: no more stinky clothes, no burn marks by careless drunk people, and no makin' out with chimney wannabes...
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Old 14th January 2007, 05:32 AM   #230
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Clu,

I think smokers underestimate the effect their smoking has on non-smokers' enjoyment of life.
(My wife has no idea how her smoking detracts from the enjoyment I get from kissing her - and I would never tell her.)
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Old 14th January 2007, 05:54 AM   #231
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Originally Posted by BillyJoe View Post
Clu,

I think smokers underestimate the effect their smoking has on non-smokers' enjoyment of life.
(My wife has no idea how her smoking detracts from the enjoyment I get from kissing her - and I would never tell her.)
Jupp that's my take on the matter aswell... both the smoke thing and the wife thing
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Old 14th January 2007, 10:48 AM   #232
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
Which is why various governments have mandated emissions-control systems that greatly reduce harmful hydrocarbon, particulate, and other emission; and require periodic testing to ensure that vehicles are meeting emissions-control standards. And why various governments are switching public transportation to lower-emission fuels.

And they've finally started restricting tobacco smoke exposure for the same reason.
I remember when the lead studies came out: lead was a fuel additive that reduced premature ignition (knocking), but it is expelled in the exhaust. It was identified as an important factor in child malformation in housing developments that were too close to highways. It was concluded that there was no safe exposure level, and phased out of fuel supplies by legislation.

There's a game theory problem called 'tragedy of the commons' that covers this: everybody figures that their personal contribution is irrelevant, because no matter how much they hold off on leaded gas, everybody else is going to use it. So, there's no rational individual benefit to using unleaded. The conclusion that intelligent people recognize is that a blanket mandate will enforce universal adherence for everybody, and the benefit is realized.

The problem is that there will always be what game theory refers to as 'cheaters' who create damage far beyond their proportional representation. A second problem exposed by game theory is that people value the present more than the future, so institutions are valuable for the establishment and disciplined enforcement of long-term planning. Societies that figure this out thrive, whereas societies that don't are doomed to become historical footnotes.
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Old 14th January 2007, 10:56 AM   #233
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Originally Posted by skeptigirl View Post
This is confusing as well. We didn't test for viral loads in 91 that I'm aware of. I think you are mixing apples and oranges.
We did: we were developing new assay techniques for the purpose of monitoring patient response to drugs. Not just PCR: we were interested in the possibility of getting quantitative results from other tests. We were hoping to develop quick, reliable assays for HIV viral load. That was the purpose of our lab.



Originally Posted by skeptigirl View Post
In 1991 one was considered to have AIDS if one's white blood cell count went BELOW 500. I think you have things mixed up. It's easy to do with those ol' memories.
Too true.
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Old 14th January 2007, 02:32 PM   #234
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Originally Posted by Euromutt View Post
Look, I'm not unsympathetic. I just think there has to be a conceivable mechanism whereby you can go to a bar you like without being hampered by smoke, while at the same time I can go some other bar and have a ciggie with my pint. I acknowledge that not all places are like Washington state; in western Europe, non-smoking bars are rarer than hens' teeth. But why does a blanket ban have to be the only way to promote non-smoking establishments? Why couldn't government grant some kind of tax break to bars which adopt non-smoking policies? Or allow bars to purchase a license permitting smoking on the premises, the (sizeable) cost of which the bar owner could pass on to his customers?
In Washington State, the solution is actually quite simple: members-only clubs. One of the clubs I frequent is members-only, and thus gets around the ban quite easily. There are several other members-only clubs, cigar bars, and hookah lounges for smokers around town. The requirements are fairly simple, and don't significantly impact patronage (except maybe for one-time casual drop-ins). Some clubs were already doing the members-only thing prior to the ban, to avoid some of the more ridiculous strictures of the local liquor laws.
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Old 14th January 2007, 04:11 PM   #235
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
In Washington State, the solution is actually quite simple: members-only clubs. One of the clubs I frequent is members-only, and thus gets around the ban quite easily. There are several other members-only clubs, cigar bars, and hookah lounges for smokers around town. The requirements are fairly simple, and don't significantly impact patronage (except maybe for one-time casual drop-ins). Some clubs were already doing the members-only thing prior to the ban, to avoid some of the more ridiculous strictures of the local liquor laws.
Which, again, just goes to show the reasoning behind the ban is entirely bull. I can still hire someone whose sole job is to allow me and my friends to blow smoke in their face. And why should members only clubs be treated any different from pubs or bars? They're both privately only facilities that can include and exclude people as they like. Why is it that being inclusive by default makes you somehow more open to having your business run by public whim?
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Old 14th January 2007, 07:11 PM   #236
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Originally Posted by Clu View Post
I have heard alot of people -not only here- that talk about the individual's right to light up... what about the individuals right not to smoke?
Urrrgh... have you actually bothered to read (and attempted to comprehend) what various smokers on this thread have been saying? Yes, we understand that a large number of non-smokers would prefer to not be exposed to our smoke, and that's fair enough. What I fail to understand is why the fairly reasonable objective of having a non-smoking nightlife can supposedly be achieved by nothing short of the total eradication of smoking from every bar in the province/state/country.
Originally Posted by luchog View Post
In Washington State, the solution is actually quite simple: members-only clubs. One of the clubs I frequent is members-only, and thus gets around the ban quite easily.
Are you sure? RCW 70.160.030 states "No person may smoke in a public place or in any place of employment." It looks to me like the only way your place can circumvent the ban is by being owner-operated, and thus not having employees, in addition to not being public.
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Old 15th January 2007, 02:43 AM   #237
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Originally Posted by Euromutt View Post
What I fail to understand is why the fairly reasonable objective of having a non-smoking nightlife can supposedly be achieved by nothing short of the total eradication of smoking from every bar in the province/state/country.
I think the objective is much wider than just protecting people who do not wish to inhale others' cigarette smoke. They want to discourage smokers from smoking because it can affect their health and increase health costs.

They could alternatively have banned the production and sale of cigarettes (and some still want that). See this as a (?reasonable) compromise.
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Old 15th January 2007, 11:30 AM   #238
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Originally Posted by CaptainManacles View Post
Which, again, just goes to show the reasoning behind the ban is entirely bull. I can still hire someone whose sole job is to allow me and my friends to blow smoke in their face.
No, you can't. Members-only establishments cannot have regular employees. Any workers need to be volunteers, and are typically paid only in tips, and/or under the table. Some establishments may include cover charges as "tips", and distribute a percentage among the volunteer staff as well; or add an automatic "gratuity" to all products sold, for the same purpose. Since the employer is not paying payroll tax, the volunteer employees are treated as independent contractors, and responsible for their own taxes on tip income.
Quote:
Are you sure? RCW 70.160.030 states "No person may smoke in a public place or in any place of employment." It looks to me like the only way your place can circumvent the ban is by being owner-operated, and thus not having employees, in addition to not being public.
Yes, I'm sure. I'm a member of one that existed many years before the smoking ban. See my reply to CM earlier in this post.
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Old 15th January 2007, 11:37 AM   #239
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Originally Posted by Euromutt View Post
Urrrgh... have you actually bothered to read (and attempted to comprehend) what various smokers on this thread have been saying? Yes, we understand that a large number of non-smokers would prefer to not be exposed to our smoke, and that's fair enough. What I fail to understand is why the fairly reasonable objective of having a non-smoking nightlife can supposedly be achieved by nothing short of the total eradication of smoking from every bar in the province/state/country.
Because that really isn't the objective of most smoking bans. Bans are made on places of employment, and are there to protect employees, not patrons, from an unnecessarily hazardous work environment. There is no reason that employees in a bar or restaurant should receive any less protection than employees in, say, a fiberglass manufacturing plant, or a photo-processing lab. Tobacco smoke is a known environmental hazard, with well-documented harmful effects.

Talk about smoker's rights vs. patron's rights is a chimera, since the issue isn't about either one. It's about a safe work environment.
Originally Posted by BillyJoe View Post
I think the objective is much wider than just protecting people who do not wish to inhale others' cigarette smoke. They want to discourage smokers from smoking because it can affect their health and increase health costs.

They could alternatively have banned the production and sale of cigarettes (and some still want that). See this as a (?reasonable) compromise.
No, that's demonstrably not true. Had it been about discouraging smokers per se, then tobacco would certainly have been banned. The issue is strictly about employee safety, and that is the only legitimate issue that such a ban could conceivably be based on. It's not even based on the potential for harm from PES in general, otherwise there would be a ban on smoking around children at all (being that PES has been determined to be primary or significant contributing factor to many childhood disorders, as well as SIDS).
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Last edited by luchog; 15th January 2007 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 15th January 2007, 06:22 PM   #240
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You can't ban tobacco any more than you can ban alcohol. Both are here to stay, but the management of them is the issue.
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