Second-hand smoke dramatically increases the risk of heart disease and lung cancer in non-smokers and can be controlled only by making indoor spaces free of smoke, according to a new report from the US Surgeon General.
Surgeon General Richard Carmona said the health effects of second-hand smoke are more significant than previously thought.
He said the scientific evidence is now indisputable that second-hand smoke is not a mere annoyance; it is a serious health hazard that can lead to disease and premature death in children and non-smoking adults.Near as I can figure, we have two things we can do about smoking. First, we can simply ban it. I know this didn't work with prohibition, but intolerant folks tend to care more about laws than about actual results, and a ban fits nicely with their convoluted view of the world. If second hand smoke is so horrific, I say--playing at the autocrat--that we prevent everyone from smoking at all. We do the same thing with pot, crack and all kinds of other drugs people just love to injest. Suspiciously, it's not working, but such trivialities can be sorted out later.
The other option is perlious. We accept the fact that living is a fleeting condition and accept the risk that it brings. If a person doesn't want second hand smoke, they should refrain from associating with smokers. Crisis solved.
I know the slipperly slope thing is played out, but I really have no idea when this sort of nonsense will end. The report notes that some 50,000 Americans died from second hand smoke last year. As a tactless aside, we live in a nation of just short of 300 million people. 300 million is substantially more than 50,000. Then again, "everything changed on September 11th" when some 3,000 people died. Wouldn't it be safer and easier to invade Marlboro country? I bet they'll love democracy.
Let's call that figure what it is: a shot in the dark. Unless the Surgeon General has been talking to tumors, we don't know that the people who were exposed to second hand smoke died for this reason. String theory shows promise, but we have yet to be able to extrapolate a man's life were certain conditions removed in the theoretical alternative universe. Last I checked, most everything causes cancer. For all we know, it could have been the toothpaste these people used. Did they brush their teeth regularly with fluoride? I reckon the Surgeon General forgot to ask. Yet I recall, from my days as a talk radio junkie, a conversation about fluroide as carcinogen. It's time we go after Colgate and Crest. We can't be too careful.
My hypothesis is probably dead wrong. Most are. Thus the wise, fabled Irish man's preference to prophesy after the fact. Well, sorry Irish fellow, but people could be dying. I will not rest until all toothpaste is safely disposed of. While at it, we can ban cell phones--cancer causing, also a general nuisance--beer and liquor--too enjoyable, also dangerous--baseball, automobiles--do we get it yet?
All this talk about safety has me in a foul mood, but I've stumbled on a paradox, and that ought to cheer me up. The only reason one could think that banning trivial things would make the world a better place is if a person really believed that if we all subsisted on herbal tea and rice cakes and lived in bubbles the world would be truly safe. The only way one could be so naive as to think humans are ever going to live in a risk free environment is if a body was on drugs to begin with. I'm not. Evidently the fascists who want us to die of sterility and boredom are. Ironic methinks. Paradox is my anti-drug.
I don't know when we got to this point. I think I'll go read The Once and Future King. The Middle Ages seemed much more sane. Can you imagine Arthur telling Pellinore to stop questing because the beast was getting fewments all over and giving everyone the sniffles? Even Pellinore would be taken aback. Merlyn would smack Art in the back and Pellinore would go on questing.
I don't know who this Surgeon General is or why we have to listen to him. I do know that once we get to our inevitable utopia, I'm going to be so bored I'll take up smoking for certain. POWs used to get smokes, even over in Germany. I wonder if our new overlords will be so kind.