There has been no study by a legitimate scientific organization that has shown secondhand smoke to be harmful. I know that may sound unbelievable to many, but it is fact. Unfortunately, our City Council members are ignoring the facts as they succumb to the hysterical anti-secondhand smoke fanatics. But, as Aldous Huxley said, "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."
The most-quoted source for the claim that secondhand smoke is harmful is a 1992 study by the Environmental Protection Agency that states that secondhand smoke causes as many as 3,000 deaths a year. This study is still the most widely quoted study with most anti-secondhand-smoke organizations, including the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society. In 1998, this study was found in federal court to be fraudulent. Not only did the facts of the study show there was no statistically significant health risk with secondhand smoke, but the so-called scientists may have committed fraud with the study.
The most comprehensive secondhand smoke study was done by the World Health Organization. Not only did it fail to prove that secondhand smoke was a health risk, it actually found that children of smokers are 22 percent less likely to get lung cancer than are the children of smokers. WHO officials tried to bury this study until it was exposed in 1998 by the persistent efforts of the London Telegraph.
Study after study have shown there is no statistically relevant health risk from secondhand smoke, even to those who work in smoking environments.
Joseph Geobbles, the propaganda minister for Nazi Germany, said: "If repeated often enough, a lie will become the new truth." Fanatics of all persuasions know the truth of this statement, including the anti-secondhand smoke fanatics. They know that Geobbles is right as they continually publish and speak lies, hoping to create hysteria regarding something that doesn't exist.
Anyone who is exposed to secondhand smoke is so by his or her choice. Every employee who works in a business where smoking is allowed applied for the job knowing they would work in a smoking environment. Every customer of a business that allows smoking is there knowing smoking is allowed. No one is unwittingly or unwillingly exposed to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is very easy to avoid.
The fact that it is conclusive that secondhand smoke has not been found to be harmful should put an end to any consideration of a smoking ban in private businesses, but that's really not the issue. Smoking is legal. A business owner has the right to conduct his private business as he or she chooses, as long as it is conducted in a legal manner. That should be the end of the discussion. The City Council has no business interfering with the legal activities of a private business.
There is a lot of legitimate scientific research that suggests obesity may be the No. 1 health hazard in the United States. If the City Council is actually interested in the health of Steamboat residents, it should consider a ban on restaurants serving overweight customers. Such a ban should have actual positive health benefits on the community, where a smoking ban will have none. But it also would interfere with the rights of each resident to eat himself or herself to death and a restaurant to provide a legal service.