Friday, 24 June 2011

ASH Scotland: Assaulting smokers with bilge about third-hand smoke

The anti-smoking professionals are getting a bad press this week, but this gets even worse.

A briefing called Third-hand Smoke has appeared today. It was only a matter of time as ASH Scotland has been gathering information on Third-hand Smoke for some months now. The opening is classic ASH Scotland:
  • the ‘three r’ definition of third-hand smoke is that it describes residual tobacco smoke pollutants which remain on surfaces and in dust after tobacco has been smoked, are re-emitted back into the gas phase, or react with oxidants and other compounds in the environment to yield secondary pollutants
  • even without understanding what third-hand smoke is, people have long been aware of its presence and are beginning to understand how it can affect clothes, hair, cars and homes, and create stains and odours
  • existing evidence on THS suggests a strong need for further research to close gaps in the current understanding of the chemistry, exposure, toxicology, and health effects, as well as behavioural, economic, and socio-cultural consequences
  • whereas there is a long-established evidence base for the health impact of second-hand smoke, there is still a lack of human health studies on the potential health impact of third-hand smoke
  • the greater and more quantifiable health dangers from SHS suggest that health professionals should focus on reducing exposure to SHS, including by promoting smoke-free homes and vehicles. [italic emphasis added]
In other words, 'people know that smoke is smelly and stains things over time, but we haven't be able to demonstrate any health effects in the literature yet. We can still carry on pestering you about secondary smoke though.' Well, that was worth a shed-load of taxpayers' money. Curiously, it then goes on to explain that residual smoke reacts with oxides and other chemicals including nitrous acid, which is 'produced in engine exhaust emissions but is also a common indoor pollutant produced by poorly vented domestic gas appliances'. Wouldn't it be better to maintain regular checks on these gas appliances than to mess about warning people on third-hand smoke, which they don't even know is dangerous? Researchers have so far failed to find harmful doses of any substances in third-hand smoke even when increasing nitrous acid concentrations to levels much higher than normal. But that won't stop belief in the concept. One respondent even cites third-hand smoke as a reason to ban electronic cigarettes.  

The third-hand smoke briefing from ASH Scotland shows limited understanding of second-hand smoke too. In one sentence to describe second-hand smoke it says: 'Research demonstrates that tobacco smoke is a toxic substance with no safe level of exposure, and that the risks from exposure are largely dose-related' [emphasis added]. If it's dose related, why won't a tiny little dose cause negligible damage? (oh, dear!) 

This third-hand smoke concept is insidious. It fits so well with the denormalisation of smokers. Having removed smoking from the public sphere, it now follows them to the private sphere. Question – What could be the intention of this kind of statement?: 
A 2010 study* indicated that third-hand smoke accumulates in smokers' homes and persists even after homes have been vacant for two months and are cleaned and prepared for new residents; the study suggested that non-smokers living in former smoker homes are exposed to THS in dust and on surfaces. (* Matt, George E et al. When smokers move out and non-smokers move in: residential thirdhand smoke pollution and exposure. Tobacco Control, 2011;20:e1. [Accessed 06 May 2011])
Answer – to devalue the effects of smokers: the properties they own, or rent. To impoverish them, basically. And to devalue smokers as buyers of property and (especially) as tenants. Note that this study emerged in 2010, and they still, half-way through 2011, don't have any evidence that third-hand smoke harms anyone. Yet they are printing this rather inflammatory material  It talks of a potential health hazard to infants: no sick babies to hand, just potential research contracts.

A further purpose is to continue pushing ASH Scotland's agenda to get people smoking outside. ASH Scotland's strategy document Beyond Smoke-free includes the following in its short-term aims:
We must develop robust intermediate and endpoint targets to reduce second-hand smoke exposure in the home and in vehicles, in order to support awareness raising work and work in communities.
And the following in its medium-term aims:
We need to be realistic about the difficulties some people have. We must promote effective harm reduction strategies, including the use of nicotine replacement for temporary abstinence, to protect children from exposure to secondhand smoke in the home. 
All the more easy for them, if they can persuade enough people of the dangers of third-hand smoke without needing to prove it or even show any understanding of it. The briefing does say that the research on third-hand smoke is not conclusive. But it is 'aimed at parents and carers', talks about infants crawling across the carpet and generally attempts to stir the shit on the basis of lucrative speculation, in pursuance of its agenda.


Anonymous said...

What a complete load of these ASH people not have lives?

Anonymous said...

BS Alert: The 'third-hand smoke' hoax

The thirdhand smoke scam

Dr. Brian Oblivion said...

Very good overview of the latest dishonest bullshit from Ash's propaganda mill, Belinda. It's astonishing to see how far these sociopaths are willing to go to demonize and dehumanize other human beings, abandoning all pretense of fair play and good faith.

I can only hope that once they finally cross a line that the majority can no longer stomach that they get a fraction of the badwill they've been dishing out.

Anonymous said...

This drivel from ASH Scotland about Third Hand Smoke is purely a tactic to get more taxpayers money wasted on studies carried out by Tobacco Control Career Parasites such as Jill Pell, Linda Bauld, Anne Gilmore etc etc etc.


Anonymous said...

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