Truth Through Combat

Smoking and Public Health

Secondhand Smoke and Public Health: Resources 

This document will provide resource links which summarize the science of ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke) as well as the laws which have sprung up over the last decade in this quickly-moving field of public policy. While the focus is on secondhand smoke, the broader issue of smoking as a health hazard can be considered. Such arguments run as follows:


The Anti-smoking Argument

I.                    Smoking is bad for the health of smokers.

II.                 That which is bad for health should be banned.

III.               Therefore, smoking ought to be banned.


The Anti-ETS Argument

I.                    ETS harms the health of non-smokers exposed in enclosed spaces.

II.                 That which harms health should be banned.

III.               Therefore, smoking ought to be banned in enclosed spaces where non-smokers are exposed to ETS.


We’ll consider this issue on Monday, September 19.


I.                    Science—Links to scientific assessments of the impact of secondhand smoke. Much of the scientific research is still in the air, so it’s important to read the data carefully. It’s also important to note that some scientific research comes with political agendas; therefore, a critical approach is required.

a.       Medline: U.S. government website summarizing ETS research. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/secondhandsmoke.html.

b.      Environmental Protection Agency’s fact sheet on ETS: http://www.epa.gov/smokefree/pubs/etsfs.html.

c.       Arguments against the EPA report’s scientific conclusions: http://library.stcsc.edu/handouts/webevalsmoke_1.html.

II.                 The Law—Links to websites summarizing laws in various nations and states.

a.       NY State’s indoor smoking law: http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/clean_indoor_air_act/general.htm.

b.      Oklahoma’s smoking law: http://www.breatheeasyok.com/Summary%20of%20Oklahoma%20Laws%20on%20Secondhand%20Smoke%202004.pdf.

c.       A summary of moves to restrict smoking in some private residences in WA state: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/realestate/2002484234_homeforum11.html?syndication=rss&source=seattletimes.xml&items=153.

III.               The Arguments—Links to partisans on both sides of the debate. These links are less than objective.

a.       Secondhand Smoke and Community Laws—A pro-restriction organization with several sympathetic links. http://www.toolworks.com/bilofsky/smoking.htm.

b.      Smoker’s Rights: http://www.poconolibertarians.org/smokers.html.

Filed under: Bioethics, Uncategorized

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