Jun 30, 2009

Legislature breaks without addressing public health issue that kills and sickens thousands

LANSING – With the Legislature on a two-week summer break, it seems fitting to look at what did not get done during the marathon session last Thursday that ran to 1 a.m. Friday morning in the Senate.

Although there was a solution out there, 100 Michigan State Troopers will still lose their jobs this week. The House passed a supplemental bill using some restricted funds to save the jobs, but the Senate never took it up. Sen. Valde Garcia, R-Howell, the chair of the MSP Appropriations Sub-Committee, said he had a way to save the jobs.

But my pet peeve and that of thousands of other Michigan residents is the Senate’s failure to take up the workplace smoking ban. The House passed House Bill 4377 in May with bipartisan support, but the Republican controlled Senate refuses to take it up, despite some 70 percent of Michigan residents supporting it.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, does not support a ban, and he has said he will not consider a ban that has exceptions like HB 4377 does. No problem; then take up Senate Bill 114 that has no exceptions so or an amended version of HB 4377 so it can get in a conference committee with time to spare instead of at the last minute like last year.

Here are some important bills they passed that night instead of taking up the workplace smoking ban. HB 4897, a bill to create an exception to a requirement that a hunter wear hunter orange; SB 470, a bill to require a retailer selling beer kegs to attach an ID tag to it; and SB 483, a bill to specify that a person accompanying a licensed hunter on a bear or bobcat hunt does not have to be licensed, as long as he or she does not carry a weapon or own or possess dogs used during the hunt.

Now, these bills are important to someone in Michigan, but nothing personally touches people like deadly secondhand smoke, costs taxpayers more money and has more support than a workplace smoking ban.

Why is the Senate sitting on this important public health issue?


carraig said...

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You simply don't get it - when you do anything that hurts the economy there is something that some one else has to pay. This should not be taken up by the senate.

There are huge problems with the idea that government takes away a portion of someone's business without compensation. You say its 22% of people smoke, of whom 50% don't care or are willing to step outside in winter. That's still 10-15% of someone's business you deem it ok to take away. For rural or older age bars/restaurants it will be much higher than that.

How bloody arrogant of you ?

Now on to the 'second hand smoking deaths ' - 3000 in the US last year according to the AMA. Assuming 1 in 30 are in the US based on population = 100 in Michigan

Based on a deep dive on those studies, about 95% of all second hand smoke exposure is in the home.
Not work, not at bars or restaurants, not in public places but in the home.

So banning smoking in public in the entire state might reduce the number of deaths by 5 people (5% of 100 people). The ban in bars, restaurants is likely to have an effect of less than 10% of that, just on a proportionate level of number of places or probably less than a person a year who could claim death from second hand smoke inhaled in a bar.

The health benefit claims made are inflated, misleading and ideologically driven.

if the ban passes it will cost a high number of jobs (much more than 7500) cause bankruptcies of many currently stable businesses, and will not deliver the claimed health benefits. As it has not in New York, Ireland, England, or any of the other places it has been implemented.

Communications guru said...

I’m sorry, you simply don’t get it. This simply does not hurt the economy, and the Senate should take it up, simply because 70 percent of Michigan residents support it.

Study after study has shown a workplace smoking ban does not hurt business. If you will look on this blog, you will see studies from New York, one from the leading Michigan public policy firm and one from the University of Michigan that says a workplace smoking ban does not hurt business. There is not a single study that proves your point; not one. In fact, I challenge you to produce one; just one.

How bloody arrogant of you that you want to protect a small minority that insists on endangering the health of innocent bystanders.

Yes, on to the second hand smoking deaths. That’s 3,000 in Michigan, and the list of the harmful effects of secondhand smoke is almost endless. The harmful effects of secondhand smoke are undisputed, according to both the U.S. Surgeon General and the EPA.

There is no way to regulate the amount of secondhand smoke in the home, but I doubt that figure you produced. The few people I know who still smoke do not smoke around their children. The fact is the rate of cancer among hospitality workers is 50 percent higher than most people.

Sorry, the health benefit claims are undisputed. How is it “ideologically driven?” It’s a bipartisan bill. The smoking ban in the 37 other states and entire countries that have the ban has not cost a single job; not one, because of it.

carraig said...

First the second hand smoking related death rate is not 3000/yr in Michigan , it's 3000/yr in the entire United States.....the asthma and others, we'll leave to one side.

There's no doubt that breast cancer is largely genetic(hence the genetic testing-BR1 etc) and not really related to external factors such as diet/lifestyle, as previously thought in the 1990's though triggers are being examined.

Smoking bans have cost many jobs - look at all of the studies you refer to - not one of them claims an increase in employment - some claim decreases, some claim decreases subsequently recovered, but none claim any growth. In many cases they simply say that they can't make any inferences.

In a real world, assuming that most of these studies have some predisposition through the hypotheses chosen, some of the studies should have been able to show job growth. That they failed to do so indicates that there were job losses. In order to avoid showing losses, what has happened, time after time, is that the health departments have included local quick serve industry(McD etc) receipts with the bar and restaurant segments to try to show that there is no decrease in overall business. The Quick serve segment has been a source of growth for the past decade, and it's growth has been used to mask the decline in the other segments.

It's like saying that the auto supply industry wasn't in decline by including other segments that were growing such as motor boat or aerospace if those segments of manufacturing were growing.

Go to upstate New York and see what has happened there after they implemented their ban - they have their own problems, but there is no doubt that they have been hurt pretty badly. In Illinois, they're simply not enforcing any more. Bars that want to smoke do, and pay lip service to the law when it arrives.

Go to England - the decline in the pub trade there accelerated from 4% to 10% excluding the London area over the 18 months after the smoking ban was implemented. In fact, many breweries are closing down bars/restaurants in small towns because they are no longer viable. Orchid - a major brewery group filed for receivership in late 2008 as their financial covenants were breached due to cashflow issues (due to reduction in business) and no bank saw their business as being viable for refinancing.

It is a big fat stinking lie for you to post continuously that there have been no job losses due to smoking bans. You have no, absolutely no, credibility on this side of the issue.

Again, as a public health issue, I challenge you to show any improvement in overall mortality rates in states with smoking bans compared to states without smoking bans. I challenge you to show that this taking of private property for public use has actually ever had the stated aim of reducing smoking related deaths (direct and second hand) by more than say 20% anywhere.

Michigan is hurting enough at the moment. We don't need to put another industry on it's knees.

carraig said...

70% of the people wanting something is not a reason to grant that wish.

The majority (many of whom are not bar-goers in any case) taking rights from a minority of business owners is never ok. The test of a democracy is how well it treats the members of it's minorities.

You seem to fight a progressive agenda - progressive should mean increased freedoms, not denial of rights and not taking of people's properties without compensation.

Communications guru said...

Sorry, but you are wrong. Secondhand smoke causes between 35,000 and 62,000 deaths from heart disease every year, nationwide, according to “Passive Smoking and the Risk of Heart Disease,“ Journal of the American Medical Association.

Wrong again, An international panel of researchers convened by the University of Toronto and chaired by the university's Neil Collishaw, M.D., found after its review of several recent studies and meta-analyses that exposure to secondhand smoke was causally linked to breast cancer in premenopausal women.

A Smoking ban has not cost a single job; not one. Please show me proof of your false claim that it does. How is it possible that just 22 percent of the people who still smoke can have such an economic effect? They don’t.

The University of Michigan Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy released a study on Thursday that concluded the state's bars and restaurants would not be hurt by a proposed workplace smoking ban. The study said “in economic terms, most high-quality research finds that smoking bans have not had negative effects on the revenues of restaurants and bars.”

In March a study by Indiana University Center for Health Policy called “The Economic Impact of Smoke-free Policies on Business and Health” debunks the myth that a smoking ban will cause a drop in business and job losses.

Grand Valley State University marketing professors Frederic Kraft and Suzeanne Benet have just concluded a study that shows non-smokers are more likely to go to a place that bans smoking and it’s less likely that a smoker will not go to a place simply because it bans smoking. That means a smoking ban will increase business.

A report by Public Sector Consultants Inc. of Lansing said the Michigan bar and restaurant industry will experience no net economic impact from smoking ban.

Now, can you produce one single report or link that proves your point? Just one?

I wasn’t aware McDonalds served beer, at least in the U.S.

Any proof of you claim about upstate New York, Illinois or even England?

Once again, there have been no job losses due to smoking bans. It is a big fat stinking lie for you to say there have been. I have shown proof. Where is yours?

Communications guru said...

You can’t be serous? You’re challenging me to prove proof to show the positive effect of a smoking ban. I showed you the proof of the effects of secondhand smoke, and I’m still waiting for you to show me proof of your false claim. But here goes.

The American Psychosomatic Society released a study at their annul meeting in Chicago tying secondhand smoke to depression. Another study in Japan came up with a similar conclusion, buy unlike the Japanese research, this study actually confirmed exposure to smoke by measuring cotinine — a chemical that occurs in blood after breathing in smoke.

A new study just released says secondhand smoke may raise the risk of dementia or similar cognitive problems.

Henry Ford Health System’s director of Cardiac Imaging Research released a study that said if smoke free air were implemented in Michigan a 12 percent drop in heart attack admissions would be seen after just the first year.

In just one year after Italy enacted a national smoking ban, researchers in Rome found an 11.2 percent reduction of acute coronary events in persons 35 to 64 years and a 7.9 percent reduction in those ages 65 to 74, according to a study in, “Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.”

I wait with baited breath for the links to prove your argument.

A smoking ban will not hurt business in Michigan, just like it has not hurt business in the 37 other states that have been smart enough to enact a smoking ban.

Communications guru said...

Wrong again, 70 percent of the people wanting something certainly is a reason to “grant that wish.” We send them to Lansing to represent us.

You are so wrong again; it is the minority taking the rights away from the majority; the right to breathe clean air, and not to breathe air full of cancer causing agents.

I am fighting for an progressive agenda; the right to breathe clean, healthy air.