In its June 15 editorial against the lawsuit brought against the City of Indianapolis over the recent increases in the smoking ban, The Indianapolis Star made inaccurate and false statements in support of its position.
One of these false statements is: "Opponents of the smoking ban can’t argue credibly against the health risks of secondhand smoke. Again, the evidence is simply overwhelming."
A general statement such as that takes time to refute. First, one defines the applicable terms: "health risks," "secondhand smoke," "evidence," and "overwhelming." Second, one must identify the "evidence" to which the statement. Third, one must analyze the evidence and the conclusions reached by those who reviewed the evidence.
This is an important aspect of the reason for the smoking ban. Presumably the City cannot claim to limit the choice of an adult to smoke. However, silly that adult might be for choosing to smoke, that is the adult’s choice. The owner of the bar in question—and this is about banning bars, virtually the final category of places where people can smoke in public—also, presumably has chosen to operate her or his business to allow smoking. Patrons of the bar who do not smoke do not have to enter the bar. They have the choice available to them to not enter.
The people upon whom various ordinances and statutes have focused are employees, of bars that allow smoking, who do not smoke themselves.
Put to the side, for the moment, the question of whether a person has a right to expect to be employed in an establishment. If the studies do not support the conclusion that there is a risk to the non-smoker from passive or second-hand smoke, then what is the basis for the ban? The basis would be guess work and bias against smoking.
The EPA’s study in the 1990s made headlines with its claim that second-hand smoke causes 30,000 deaths per year. The study began with a statement that a priori it would accept the risk of second-hand smoke. In other words, the people who performed the "study" began by operating on the conclusion they wished to reach.
Today at Pitts Stop Bar & Grill, 1640 South Meridian Street, we will stream "live," at 11 a.m., a town-hall style show about the smoking ban that took effect in Indianapolis on June 1. All age 21 and over are welcome.