Civil Discourse Now

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Epidemiology, Henry Lee Summer, and a benefit concert tonight for the Indy Tavern League's fight against Indianapolis's smoking ban.

   8 Second Saloon, 111 North Lynhurst on the west side, will be the venue for a concert by Henry Lee Summer. Proceeds of the concert will go to the fight against the smoking ban in Indianapolis.

   I have not blogged on this issue. I shall do so briefly, and not in an effort to influence any decision makers on any active case in which I am counsel.

   2012 amendments to the Indianapolis-Marion County Municipal Code effectively banned smoking in those taverns, within Indianapolis's city limits, where the taverns' owners had chosen to allow smoking. Fewer than half of the bars in Marion County allowed smoking the day the ban took effect, June 1, 2012.

   The 2005 Smoking Ordinance set forth the bases for restrictions on smoking within buildings to which the public has access. Those bases related to the effects of second-hand smoke ("SHS") or environmental tobacco smoke ("ETS"). Several studies and meta-studies are cited in the 2005 Ordinance.The studies all are epidemiological studies. Epidemiology is the study of the effects of suspected pathogens in populations---i.e., the study of whether something causes people to become ill or die by looking at numbers.

   One of the most famous reports of epidemiological studies was that of the Surgeon General of the United States in 1964. In that report, smokers were found to be 10 to 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer. The report was itself not a study, but a report of studies. The 10 to 20 times more likely number was developed from numbers used---and misused---in epidemiology.

   The main number used in epidemiology is 1. The study begins with a human being. This number is part of what is called the "risk factor." There are standards used to determine when causation is established in an epidemiological study. If a study established 1.01 incidence of a disease, the ".01" has no statistical significance. The ".01" means only that there is one one-hundredth of a percent of correlation between the pathogen---the thing being studied; in this conversation SHS or ETS---and the occurrence of a disease---lung cancer or emphysema. Only when the risk factor hits 2, minus a five percent (5%) or .05 for margin of error or "confidence interval," can causation be said to be indicated.

   Part of the problem with studies of SHS is that people polled might tell the truth about having smoked at some time in their lives. Insurance companies pounce, when they can, on people who admit to having smoked. There would be more likelihood that people would be untruthful and say, "I never smoked," to avoid adverse consequences on insurance, than would say, "I smoked," when they always have been non-smokers. Whereas the former has plausible reason for being stated, the latter does not.

   Even with this problem, none of the studies upon which the 2005 Ordinance was based hit the 1.95 figure. At best, the studies had a risk factor of 1.29. 

   More of a problem arose when one looked at the studies available to the City-County Council. Studies that showed no causation between SHS and illness were not included, either by the City-County Council for the ordinance, or the Surgeon General in any of his/her reports on SHS, or the EPA of the United States or California for their various reports. If a study showed no causation, that study was discarded.

   A recent study at Stanford University looked at data from the Womens Health Initiative Observational Study. While that study found a link between main stream smoke ("MSM"), i.e., direct smoke as inhaled by the smoker, the study of 76,000, women found no link between SHS and non-smokers, except where the non-smokers lived with a smoker for 30 years or more. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 12/05/13. The last part is exposure that is: (1) voluntary and (2) more than the exposure of someone who spends time in bars that allow smoking. Also, the City's experts arrived at economic impact figures based on taking .29 and multiplying it by various numbers. The .29 was used out of context. As taxpayers we should ask for a refund of monies wasted on those experts.

   Studies of economic impacts of smoking bans have focused on overall alcohol sales, and not on the effects on bars after bans have been put into place. In Ohio, sales of alcohol remained about the same after a state-wide ban. However, carry-out sales were significantly higher while bar sales were reduced by roughly the same amount. The neighborhood bars suffered and went out of business. People bought their beer and other beverages at liquor stores and went home.

   The choice had been simple here. If a person chose not to enter an establishment where smoking was allowed, that person did not have to enter. She or he could go to an establishment where smoking was prohibited. One person we know met us frequently at a local bar. He does not smoke. He does not like to be around smoke. Once the ban was put in place, he voiced his pleasure at the fact it was enacted. We socialize with him far less now than before the ban. We do not go out as frequently. 

   SHS is roughly 1/400th the concentration of MSM. An automobile exudes more toxic gases than a cigarette. That explains the lack of causation in the studies upon which the City relied.

   And now, over 1 1/2 years after the ban was put into place, non-smokers can walk down the street past people huddled under a heater who smoke. The smoke is there, an assault on the senses of the people on the sidewalk as the rights of the people under the heater and the owners of establishments where smokers otherwise would be, have been ignored. The outside heaters have been cause for rollback of smoking bans in the United Kingdom and Scotland. 

   Tonight there will be a concert at 8 Second Saloon to support the fight against the ban. Henry Lee Summer will play. Doors open at 8. Be there. Aloha.

   The studies and meta-studies ---there is a correlation olikelihood Not until the risk factor reaches

Meta-studies are summaries of other summaries. To determine the validity of meta-studies, one looks 

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