Civil Discourse Now

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Smoking bans and Depauw alumni reunions.

   Last weekend was DePauw University's alumni weekend. Because I was on a special five-year program for my degree at DePauw, I have two "reunion" years---anniversaries of graduations divisible by the number five.

   Putnam County, in which Greencastle and DePauw are located banned smoking in 2007 in public places. I spoke with a lot of people about the Indianapolis ban and the litigation over it. I was (pleasantly) surprised by the reaction of the alums with whom I spoke. Generally, they view smoking as a matter of choice. This is anecdotal material and thus does not meet the standards of epidemiological studies---but, then again, neither did the studies upon which the City-County Council relief in passage of the 2005 or 2012 bans. (Relative Risk was shown at about 1.2 for "second hand smoke," or "SHS", whereas epidemiological standards, to establish causation, require RR of 1.95 or greater. That is from the Federal Evidence Manual, 1st, 2nd, or 3rd editions.)

   An interesting point was after the dinner for the Class of 1978. A classmate asked if I would sell a cigar to him. I said I would trade a cigar for a beer instead. We went outside to a patio and sat at a table. Shortly, there were at least half a dozen people, all non-smokers from what I could tell, that had joined us. No one complained about our cigars. They could see we had them when they came to sit with us.

   The claimed harms from SHS are extrapolations from numbe4rs that have no statistical significance under the rules of epidemiology. It was interesting that people at DePauw seemed to have no problem with the concept of individual liberty.

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