While many anti-smoking groups and advocates are sure to use the results of a new study on outdoor tobacco smoke to push their agenda which seeks nearly complete bans on outdoor smoking, at least one anti-smoking advocate has joined me in publicly suggesting that these results do not justify many outdoor smoking bans.
In a USA Today article on the new study, Dr. Simon Chapman, a professor of public health at the University of Sydney and editor of the journal Tobacco Control, is quoted as suggesting that there is not necessarily a need to ban outdoor smoking simply because there might be transient exposure to plumes of smoke:
"Some question the need to regulate outdoor smoke. 'If you burn anything, the smoke contains hundreds of noxious particles,' Simon Chapman, editor of the journal Tobacco Control and a professor at the University of Sydney's School of Public Health, says in an e-mail. He notes that 'people get brief exposures to intense plumes of noxious smoke from barbecues, campfires and home cooking, yet we don't ban those.'"
The Rest of the Story
Congratulations to Dr. Chapman for having the courage and integrity to stick to the science and to retain a solid evidence base in his jusitification for tobacco control policies. It is so easy to jump onto the bandwagon of the anti-smoking crusaders who are calling for nearly complete bans on smoking outdoors. And to challenge that agenda from within entails a substantial risk of being termed a traitor or a tobacco stooge.
Now I don't feel quite so alone. Although it would be nice to have someone in the United States to commiserate with, rather than all the way over in Australia.