Reductio Creep

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Back when the smoking bans were spreading across the country, those of us opposed to them made the point that you could make many of the same arguments about perfume and cologne that ban proponents were making about second hand smoke. (And there’s about as much evidence that fragrances are a health risk, which is to say very little.)

But you can’t really make a reductio argument for too long before someone embraces it.

Many women love wearing perfume, but have you ever gotten a headache from someone who has sprayed on way too much of a scent you don’t like? Back in 2008, Susan McBride, sued Detroit under the Americans with Disabilities Act, claiming a co-worker’s fragrance made it hard for her to breathe and do her job. She was eventually awarded $100,000, and the city warned workers to avoid using scented products like perfume, cologne, deodorant, lotion, and aftershave. Now New Hampshire is looking to do the same.

State representative Michele Peckham is sponsoring House Bill 1444 which hopes to ban state employees who work with the public from wearing perfume. Apparently a constituent with extreme allergies approached Peckham with the proposal. “It may seem silly, but it’s a health issue,” Peckham told the Union Leader. “Many people have violent reactions to strong scents.”

The author then poses an honest question that puts this nonsense into the proper perspective:

Allergies and annoyances aside, should the government be able to regulate what we smell like?

The bans at the moment are just for state employees. But that’s merely where these ideas start. Just to hammer the point home, this, from  a tweet from Stacy Malkan, head of an organization called the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

Fragrance is the new secondhand smoke.

Of course, body odor is fairly offensive to the senses as well. Don’t we deserve protection from that? Clearly the proper balance here is for the federal government to require regular showers and the application of deodorant, but ban all but the unscented varieties. All of this would be proper under the authority  of the Commerce Clause, of course.

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72 Responses to “Reductio Creep”

  1. #1 |  SJE | 

    Not much different from the Govt trying to protect us from people saying mean things, people who pretend to be someone else, people who wear pajamas, or whose pants are too short, hang too low, etc etc… In Pyongyang everyone wears the same clothes, cuts their hair the same way, and women have exactly the same shade of lipstick.

  2. #2 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I suspect most of the people who will complain when this becomes law will be those who were enthusiastic supporters of smoking bans. What really pisses me off is that I won’t be able to identify them so I can laugh in their faces.

  3. #3 |  Zeb | 

    I think that some people really are allergic to some common perfume components. But I’ve never been one to think that the whole world should be set up to accommodate people with rare health problems. Sometimes life is just rough.

  4. #4 |  E | 

    I wish you’d do a better job of making a distinction between things one finds unpleasant and things that make one sick. This isn’t about “a scent you don’t like” or something “offensive to the senses.” For me, and many asthmatics, breathing secondhand smoke, certain perfumes, incense, cleaning products, and other chemicals that create vapor or otherwise spread through the air can quite literally kill me. It often will cause an asthma attack so severe I need medical attention. I can’t So without taking an opinion on whether this is a public policy issue serious enough to merit legislation, please make a distinction between personal preferences and health issues.

  5. #5 |  Mattocracy | 

    People are always so dimissive of slippery slope arguements. I don’t know since the horrible state we are in was a series of slippery slopes.

  6. #6 |  M | 

    Soda makes me fart up a storm at work. I love it. Charge me w/ illegal flatulence. I would delight in being a test case.

  7. #7 |  SJE | 

    The problem is the “rights” mindset that does not accept compromise.

    I agree some people do have a reaction to perfume. I agree that employers should find ways to accomodate. Of course, they have to contend with the rights of those who are allergic, and those who want to bathe is some vile “fragrance.” It would be better if we could promote a culture of working it out and compromise, rather than litigating. (Not saying that this did or did not happen in this case)

  8. #8 |  SJE | 

    M: flatulence has already been used as a basis of charging someone with assault on a police officer.

  9. #9 |  Personanongrata | 

    Esposito: From this day on, the official language of San Marcos will be Swedish. Silence! In addition to that, all citizens will be required to change their underwear every half-hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside so we can check. Furthermore, all children under 16 years old are now… 16 years old! ~ From Woody Allen’s movie Bananas

  10. #10 |  Fred Bush | 

    Why do you feel that the worldwide agreement that second-hand smoke is a significant health risk is mistaken?

    It’s really hard to take anyone seriously when they snidely dismiss the global scientific consensus.

  11. #11 |  GregS | 

    ROFL! I love that a perfume ad showed up alongside this post. Awesome.

  12. #12 |  Juice | 

    Not in favor of a law, but I guess I’m one of those people. I have to navigate crowds and sit (and stand) on public transportation and such. I’m so sick of people who dump on their nasty, shitty perfume and cologne. Stop it! It’s awful. I can’t think of anyone who likes it. Wear anti-perspirant so no one has to smell your BO and be done with it. Some days I get the crossfire of perfume and BO and I just pull my shirt over my face and deal with it for the duration of the ride. It’s not as bad as being in public in Europe during the summer, though. They don’t use deodorant. They just dump shitty cologne on top of their BO so you walk down the street and smell nothing but perfume and BO. Come on! It comes in sticks, it works, and it’s cheap! What’s the problem?! Just the other day I’m crammed into a train and the woman next to me has putrid woman farts and I can’t escape it. Then I get on the bus and someone in there had BO so bad the whole bus was reeking with his filth. Fuck! /rant

  13. #13 |  Marty | 

    I can’t believe the perfume ‘by the gallon’ from Walgreen’s women haven’t weighed in on this, yet. Oh wait, those assholes are out pushing tobacco bans on some neighborhood bar.

  14. #14 |  irish red | 

    I know people who will get a migraine from strong perfume. I don’t think the government needs to be involved, though.

  15. #15 |  Anthony | 

    Offensive smells from perfume and cologne can, and should, be addressed by dress codes. If someone has a problem with a smell in the work place they should try to work something out the the offensive person and the employer instead of dragging everyone else into with a one-size-fits-all law.

  16. #16 |  lunchstealer | 

    I have more sympathy for this than for cigarette bans, because I hate godawful chemical smells, and douchery, both of which are strongly correlated with perfume/cologne users in the workplace.

    Which goes to show you, that peoples’ legislation decisions shouldn’t be motivated by aesthetics.

  17. #17 |  Ben | 

    It’s people like this who make so that my son can’t bring a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to school. The rest of the world should not have to plan their whole lives around your medical conditions.

  18. #18 |  crzyb0b | 

    Peanut butter can KILL children with allergies, having to have a cheese sandwich instead of a peanut butter sandwich isn’t going to kill anyone. It is both a reasonable (and christian) accommodation to skip the skippy.

    Let’s say you were immune to smallpox due to a prior exposure – would you still argue that you should be allowed to transport smallpox around because you don’t want to plan your life around other people’s medical conditions?

  19. #19 |  plutosdad | 

    There is a guy at work that cannot stand the smell of quite a few colognes and perfumes, he will start coughing and hacking and have to go home early. It is not a matter of preference, but of actual health.

    Maybe it’s easy to make fun of if you don’t know anyone like that and think it’s just about what you prefer.

    So you know what we do? We wear barely scented deodorant and that’s it. He just has to ask, and we do it. (there are a couple people who forget) but for the most part, a law wasn’t needed, at least not for us.

  20. #20 |  Radley Balko | 

    I would hope people would accommodate a coworker or classmate with a severe allergy.

    That’s different than turning accommodation into a law that affects everyone, including environments where no one has the allergy.

    Peanuts, shellfish, milk, regular fish — there are people who have bad, sometimes dangerous reactions to a lot of things. The solution isn’t to start banning them.

  21. #21 |  Nipplemancer | 

    I’ve lost all faith in humanity. We must nuke the planet from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

  22. #22 |  Dana Gower | 

    @#10 Why do you feel that the worldwide agreement that second-hand smoke is a significant health risk is mistaken? It’s really hard to take anyone seriously when they snidely dismiss the global scientific consensus.

    I have talked to scientists who only marginally agree (at best) that second-hand smoke is a health risk, but that won’t be quoted publicly because of the immediate attacks that would follow. There are serious scientists who say that inhaling practically anything other than pure air isn’t great, but that nobody actually inhales pure air. Walking on a sidewalk along a busy street can be worse than standing next to a smoker. Working in a commercial kitchen is far worse on your lungs.

  23. #23 |  Dante | 

    Hey! Wait a minute!

    I’m deathly alergic to greedy, dishonest politicians!

    There ought to be a law…..

  24. #24 |  crzyb0b | 

    Your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose. Perfumes work because the chemicals evaporate from your skin, travel through the air and then enter the nose of someone else. When you apply a scent you are making the voluntary decision to emit chemicals which you know will be inhaled by others around you in any public space you transit.

    So please answer this question: Is there a right to emit chemicals in a public space, chemicals you know are designed to enter the noses of those nearby? I don’t think so.

  25. #25 |  Bob Smith | 

    “Peanut butter can KILL children with allergies”

    Not if they aren’t eating it. Are you alleging that students are forcibly feeding peanut butter to students known to have peanut allergies? What other kids eat is no business of yours.

  26. #26 |  Dana Gower | 

    I wish The Jefferson 1 would post something here. Her writing was brilliant.

  27. #27 |  Mattocracy | 

    “So please answer this question: Is there a right to emit chemicals in a public space, chemicals you know are designed to enter the noses of those nearby? I don’t think so.”

    People have a right to be free. The idea that wearing a scent is violating the rights of others is pretty weak. It’s not smallpox or mustard gas. I get headaches from exhaust fumes. I get the fuck over it when I’m stuck in traffic that’s not moving.

    If you’re in public, you can leave and go outside if someone’s cologne of perfume is causing you that much trouble. Or, heaven forbid, you could engage them in polite conversation, explain the issue, and hopefully come to an agreement if you need to occupy the same space with someone.

    Bottom line is wearing cologne and perfume should not be a criminal offense.

  28. #28 |  crzyb0b | 

    Question 2: if a right to emit chemicals exists and you choose to exercise it, should you be liable for any damage caused: say you trigger a severe asthma attack in someone that requires a visit to the emergency room. Should you have to pay the costs?

  29. #29 |  Radley Balko | 

    So please answer this question: Is there a right to emit chemicals in a public space, chemicals you know are designed to enter the noses of those nearby? I don’t think so.

    Then I think you’re going to need to stop living.

  30. #30 |  KristenS | 

    I don’t get why some of you think you need the government to tell you to be a reasonable, kind, accommodating human being. Do you really/i>, seriously need to be told how to live among your fellow humans in a society by the fricken government?? You can’t just approach someone who sits near you day after day and politely engage them on how their perfume/laundry detergent/whatever is bothering you? Goddamn, y’all are hopeless.

  31. #31 |  crzyb0b | 

    ” Or, heaven forbid, you could engage them in polite conversation, explain the issue, and hopefully come to an agreement if you need to occupy the same space with someone.”

    OK, let’s say that “someone” is a coworker or a boss, and the exposure makes it impossible to work. And that someone refuses to modify their behavior. Do you have to give up your job?

  32. #32 |  crzyb0b | 

    Let me rephrase so that we can get a serious answer rather than a flip one: Is there a right to emit any chemical of your choosing that is not part of the usual natural processes of living, for example one that is deliberately applied solely for the purpose of emitting a “pleasant” fragrance?

  33. #33 |  Dana Gower | 

    @#32

    Most of the people who comment here are way smarter than I am, but let’s try this: I would say you have the legal right to do anything that’s not prohibited by law. Whether a law prohibiting a particular action is just is another matter. But, yes, absent any law stating otherwise, I would think you have the right to do just about anything.

  34. #34 |  Jack Dempsey | 

    I have been asthmatic most of my life and I’ve never thought that it was possible for me to have the source of my problem removed from my environment. If this is the case, I really can’t stand the color yellow, it gives me a headache so anything yellow should be prohibited from wherever I am. I also get violently ill whenever I see a Chevy Vega. I have a right not to be made ill by 1970s cars, so any of those that are still out there need to go too. And hearing reggae music brings on flashbacks and bouts of PTSD from when I was beat up in Jamaica, so reggae is definitely not to be played. Oh, and I don’t like pale green colors on houses, it causes me to sneeze too often so those ugly houses in my neighborhood need to go for my health and well being. And while we’re at it with ugly houses, there are some ugly people I know. . .

  35. #35 |  Dana Gower | 

    @#34 …there are some ugly people I know…

    This is my greatest concern about reductio creep. I would be banned.

  36. #36 |  Brandon | 

    #10, it’s hard to take anyone seriously who has to use the words “global scientific consensus” to try to make a point. Address the actual issue, don’t hide behind words that you clearly don’t understand.

  37. #37 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    crzyb0b,

    Apply the same logic to sound, and see where it gets you. If one takes observed behavior into account, there are scads of people who become alarmed and even deranged when certain opinions are expressed in their hearing.

    Back when the legal system was being adjusted so that people bringing suit against tobacco companies could win, the tobacco companies took out ads in newspapers warning that suits against fast food and bans on scent would be the inevitable consequences. My, how the Progressive Left mocked them!

    I can get mild sinus headaches from some common scents (there are chain stores that carry certain brands of scented candle which i simply won’t enter). That this might entitle me to badger other people would never occur to me, normally.

    And i point out that there is a growing body of opinion and evidence in support of the belief that we are seeing more and worse allergies because we are too protected to build up any tolerances.

  38. #38 |  Deoxy | 

    I used to argue with the du Toits on their website (back when they had it) about dresscode/secondhand smoke issues, in part because it was one of the few issues I found where they were just plain inconsistent.

    Smell is in the dresscode area. Try walking down the street with a pipe full of burning cow feces and see how it goes. Or just rub it all over yourself, same difference.

    I don’t care how bloody many studies you have saying it’s not a health danger to bloody anyone, you WILL be removed. Society will not put up with it.

    Same thing with nudity/inappropriate level of clothing (which varies depending on where you live). Society has certain things they consider unacceptable; these sorts of things are mostly irrational, many of them inherently so.

    Attempting to codify what is currently the standard is extremely unwise (for several reasons). Scientific arguments to change what is currently the standard have a VERY low success rate (and very slow when they do work).

    Get used to it – that’s humanity.

  39. #39 |  Brandon | 

    crzyb0b, aka Joe Biden, aka dipshit: if you have health problems, it is YOUR responsibility to avoid those things that exacerbate them, not the entire world’s. The vast majority of people, especially those with whom you come in regular contact, will make reasonable accomodations on your behalf if you ask them. They are less likely to do so if you try to force them at gunpoint. And if you do so, inevitably, there will be more people killed by police breaking into their homes trying to prevent them from using illegal perfumes than there are currently being harmed by said perfumes.

    So to answer your “serious” question: Yes. As long as you do not threaten or restrain people, forcing them to breathe your fumes, or trespass onto private property whose owner has expressly forbidden your fragrance, you do have the right to wear whatever fragrance you find appropriate.

  40. #40 |  Ben | 

    crzyb0b – Radley already said it, but it bears repeating. If it were the case that a child in my son’s class had a peanut allergy, and it were severe enough that my son’s eating a peanut butter sandwich in the same room as him would cause him to get ill, that would be one thing.

    But that is not the case. The entire school district has banned peanut products anywhere in their schools. Rather than even attempt to accomodate a specific need, they basically decided to bubble wrap the entire school district, just in case.

  41. #41 |  Lorenzo | 

    I’m not buying the “can quite literally kill me” people. If you’re a grownup in a grownup world — jobs, stores, church, parties, games — and still alive, it’s probably not because you’ve managed to avoid “secondhand smoke, certain perfumes, incense, cleaning products, and other chemicals that create vapor or otherwise spread through the air.” It’s probably because those things aren’t as bad as you would like to believe.

  42. #42 |  Xenocles | 

    “OK, let’s say that “someone” is a coworker or a boss, and the exposure makes it impossible to work. And that someone refuses to modify their behavior. Do you have to give up your job?”

    Not yet. For a coworker you could appeal to your boss. The impact on your work might persuade him to take action on your behalf. For your boss you might appeal to higher management. If the directors or owners refuse you, then I’d say yes, you ought to leave.

  43. #43 |  supercat | 

    #41 | Lorenzo | “It’s probably because those things aren’t as bad as you would like to believe.”

    Ah, the joys of what I call “statistical homeopathy”. If someone who had only a tiny exposure to some allegedly-dangerous chemical develops some bad condition, that’s proof that the chemical is dangerous in extremely small doses. The smaller the exposure, the more dangerous the chemical. The notion that triviality of the exposure to a suspect chemical might imply that a bad condition was caused by something else would be completely alien to the statistical homeopath.

  44. #44 |  CyniCAl | 

    I am going to wear twice as much cologne as I did before. Fuck you all.

  45. #45 |  Jack Dempsey | 

    @35 Me too. . .

  46. #46 |  Big A | 

    I’m with KristenS #30. When did liberty become defined as preventing others from being annoying? Unless you’re being forced to smell a smell you do not like (in which case other laws already protect your rights), be an adult and either leave or use some of those communication skills you’ve been saving up.

    P.S. Perfume is natural. People are part of nature, people make perfume. No mysticism is involved.

  47. #47 |  Big A | 

    Must resist trolls. Must resist.

  48. #48 |  Xenocles | 

    “Unless you’re being forced to smell a smell you do not like”

    In my experience many of the people who want laws of this sort believe that they are in fact being forced to endure the annoyance because avoiding it would be inconvenient.

  49. #49 |  GT | 

    #4 – so I take it you eat VERY little sugar? And you don’t use any hair dyes or cosmetics? (that would be VERY rare if you was a woman over the age of about 10).

    The number of ‘asthmatics’ for which your claim is true is sufficiently small as makes no odds; the number of THOSE who take ALL necessary steps to ameliorate their condition, is even smaller.

    Forcing the entire world to conform to some stupid edict because some vanishingly-small cohort is wired up wrong is stupid.

    Now if we were going to ban redheads, I would be totally on board. Fucking redmuffs… can’t stand the freckled bastards.

  50. #50 |  tariqata | 

    I agree that a legislated ban on perfume is stupid, but I do think indoor smoking bans make a lot of sense. I’d argue that even if you discount the evidence that second-hand smoke is harmful (which I don’t, but I’m obviously in a minority here), there’s a reasonable case to be made for smoking bans that doesn’t extend to perfumes and other highly scented products.

    At least in my experience, perfumes dissipate over time; if I share an office with someone wearing perfume, the scent is generally going to leave with her, and I’m not going to go home and find that my own clothes are saturated with it. If she doesn’t wear it the next day, it won’t be there.

    Cigarette smoke, on the other hand, does stick. I used to babysit for a kid whose parents smoked in the house so much that I came home reeking noticeably – even though there was no one smoking when I was there. Indoor smoking creates more than a momentary nuisance, and it seems much more reasonable for the smokers to get their fix outside – a small imposition – than to insist that non-smokers should just suck it up, or avoid frequenting places where it’s permitted inside, or change jobs to avoid it – a rather larger one.

  51. #51 |  (B)oscoH | 

    Seriously folks, this is the result of the de facto criminalization of bullying. Back in the day, if someone smelled like a fenced in steer in a whorehouse, it was perfectly OK to tell them, “you smell like a fenced in steer in a whorehouse”. Presumably, they might use such feedback to adjust their scent, even/especially if hearing that feedback caused them embarrassment or discomfort. But now, we are so concerned with their feelings that we wouldn’t dare say anything. So we need laws to take care of these things.

  52. #52 |  Jim Bialik | 

    Yes, I’m sure the area of smell regulation is ripe for judicial inquiry, because when the courts get involved, we always have a fair outcome: http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/2012/01/16/supreme-court-pro-corporation-decisions-enforcing-arbitration-clauses/

  53. #53 |  nospam | 

    One of the many reasons why I’m starting to look forward to the now mathematically certain financial collapse. Why? Because people who are worried about staying warm and how they are going to eat don’t spend a lot of energy trying to tell people where they can smoke and how much perfume I can wear. Curses of an affluent society that are soon to be lifted.

    Personally, I hate the old broads who take a bath in a vat of Taboo before coming into work, but I’m not cheering to have the people with guns who are allowed to kill you if you resist sufficiently fix that issue. Big bunch of fucking pussies americans have become.

  54. #54 |  PermaLurker | 

    I am one of the tiny tiny minority who is fatally allergic to certain perfume ingredients, however I do not wish any bans to be enacted. Why? Because I am also fatally allergic to bees. Should bees also be banned? I use the exact same coping mechanisms for both problems. I carry my epi pen all the time and I avoid situations likely to put me in contact with the offending allergens. It means I don’t take elevators, I don’t use public transport and I have run (not walked) out of restaurants, bars and workplaces where someone was wearing one of the baddies. It’s not that hard to explain after the fact and no one has ever been dick enough to refuse to change perfumes when I explained the situation to them. Law is the WRONG tool for this problem. It’s MY problem and I’m the only one who needs to worry about it and I’m the only one who needs to modify my behaviour.

  55. #55 |  Jay | 

    It makes more sense to have people remove themselves from your (hypothetical) restaurant if they want to smoke as you would get much more business; going outside is much less an inconvenience for smokers than having to avoid the restaurant altogether is for those unable to endure second-hand smoke. However, I think the owners of the restaurant need to be able to make these decisions for themselves. They will either handicap their ability to make profit, and thus have to close their business (or change), or they will strike on some innovation that no one considered before. Either way, society wins.

  56. #56 |  Zeph | 

    I am hearing a “whoosh” problem, here. Are y’all completely lacking in a sense of humor? Obvious trolls are obvious, and crzyb0b is barely funny, but that’s no excuse to take him seriously.

  57. #57 |  AnonymousCoward | 

    Live free or die smelly.

  58. #58 |  Corkscrew | 

    I have talked to scientists who only marginally agree (at best) that second-hand smoke is a health risk, but that won’t be quoted publicly because of the immediate attacks that would follow.

    How many of those scientists are actually in a related field? I recall arguing with creationists who claimed the same thing, and then it turned out that all their scientists were actually engineers or meteorologists.

    My understanding is that almost all medical studies on the subject have shown passive smoking to significantly increase morbidity/mortality, and most of the remaining studies were heavily funded by the tobacco industry. It’s as close to proven as anything else in healthcare.

    Libertarians have a reputation for being anti-science. Where we see scientific research being used as an excuse for more intrusive regulation, we sometimes attack the research without stopping to check whether it might be correct. As a result, we have ended up with a large denialist contingent.

    IMO we’re no worse on average than any other political group (for example in the UK it tends to be the lefties who are anti-vaccine). But it’d be nice if I could be as proud of our movement for accepting good science as I am of it for calling out unscientific practices on the part of e.g. law enforcement.

  59. #59 |  Sebastian H | 

    My sister’s son is deathly deathly allergic to shellfish. If his meal was cooked in the same pan, he could die. He doesn’t try to ban shellfish. That would be absurd. He tells the cook that he unfortunately needs another pan, and he carries his epi pen with him everywhere. That is how normal people deal with a serious but statistically rare health issue.

    “My understanding is that almost all medical studies on the subject have shown passive smoking to significantly increase morbidity/mortality, and most of the remaining studies were heavily funded by the tobacco industry.”

    Your understanding is right or wrong depending on the level of generality you apply to ‘passive’ and ‘significantly’.

    Second hand smoke is only statistically significant for enclosed spaces with lots of smokers and a lack of pumped in fresh air–pretty much only airplanes when smoking was allowed and only for the flight attendants who had to deal with it full time, not the customers. Smoking in a bar with normal ventilation for example does not cause an increased risk. Walking by a person who is smoking in Central Park does not cause an increased risk. Your body is designed to deal with the fact that pure air is rarely available.

    So…… for about 90% of the situations where people want to complain about second hand smoke, it isn’t actually a serious health concern.

    (I don’t smoke, but I do know science).
    So yes, second hand smoke can be dangerous

  60. #60 |  harleyrider1778 | 

    They have created a fear that is based on nothing’’
    World-renowned pulmonologist, president of the prestigious Research Institute Necker for the last decade, Professor Philippe Even, now retired, tells us that he’s convinced of the absence of harm from passive smoking. A shocking interview.

    What do the studies on passive smoking tell us?

    PHILIPPE EVEN. There are about a hundred studies on the issue. First surprise: 40% of them claim a total absence of harmful effects of passive smoking on health. The remaining 60% estimate that the cancer risk is multiplied by 0.02 for the most optimistic and by 0.15 for the more pessimistic … compared to a risk multiplied by 10 or 20 for active smoking! It is therefore negligible. Clearly, the harm is either nonexistent, or it is extremely low.

    It is an indisputable scientific fact. Anti-tobacco associations report 3 000-6 000 deaths per year in France …

    I am curious to know their sources. No study has ever produced such a result.

    Many experts argue that passive smoking is also responsible for cardiovascular disease and other asthma attacks. Not you?

    They don’t base it on any solid scientific evidence. Take the case of cardiovascular diseases: the four main causes are obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes. To determine whether passive smoking is an aggravating factor, there should be a study on people who have none of these four symptoms. But this was never done. Regarding chronic bronchitis, although the role of active smoking is undeniable, that of passive smoking is yet to be proven. For asthma, it is indeed a contributing factor … but not greater than pollen!

    The purpose of the ban on smoking in public places, however, was to protect non-smokers. It was thus based on nothing?

    Absolutely nothing! The psychosis began with the publication of a report by the IARC, International Agency for Research on Cancer, which depends on the WHO (Editor’s note: World Health Organization). The report released in 2002 says it is now proven that passive smoking carries serious health risks, but without showing the evidence. Where are the data? What was the methodology? It’s everything but a scientific approach. It was creating fear that is not based on anything.

    Why would anti-tobacco organizations wave a threat that does not exist?

    The anti-smoking campaigns and higher cigarette prices having failed, they had to find a new way to lower the number of smokers. By waving the threat of passive smoking, they found a tool that really works: social pressure. In good faith, non-smokers felt in danger and started to stand up against smokers. As a result, passive smoking has become a public health problem, paving the way for the Evin Law and the decree banning smoking in public places. The cause may be good, but I do not think it is good to legislate on a lie. And the worst part is that it does not work: since the entry into force of the decree, cigarette sales are rising again.

    Why not speak up earlier?

    As a civil servant, dean of the largest medical faculty in France, I was held to confidentiality. If I had deviated from official positions, I would have had to pay the consequences. Today, I am a free man.

    Le Parisien

    Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.” -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA

  61. #61 |  harleyrider1778 | 

    Yet a simple look at the chemistry shows us that its:

    About 90% of secondary smoke is composed of water vapor and ordinary air with a minor amount of carbon dioxide. The volume of water vapor of second hand smoke becomes even larger as it qickly disperses into the air,depending upon the humidity factors within a set location indoors or outdoors. Exhaled smoke from a smoker will provide 20% more water vapor to the smoke as it exists the smokers mouth.

    4 % is carbon monoxide.

    6 % is those supposed 4,000 chemicals to be found in tobacco smoke. Unfortunatley for the smoke free advocates these supposed chemicals are more theorized than actually found.What is found is so small to even call them threats to humans is beyond belief.Nanograms,picograms and femptograms……
    (1989 Report of the Surgeon General p. 80).

  62. #62 |  harleyrider1778 | 

    Yes…the 1992/93 EPA report on second hand smoke was thrown out by a judge for fudging the numbers. Essentially, the standard for scientific significance which demonstrates if a variable has an effect at all was lowered. But the judge’s ruling doesn’t stop the anti-smoking advocates from citing bad science.

    Here’s some other findings that have been taken so far out of context it defies the imagination:

    2006 Surgeon General’s Report (excerpts)

    The evidence is inadequate to infer the presence or absence of a causal relationship between maternal exposure to secondhand smoke and female fertility or fecundability. No data were found on paternal exposure to secondhand smoke and male fertility or fecundability.

    The evidence is inadequate to infer the presence or absence of a causal relationship between maternal exposure to secondhand smoke during pregnancy and spontaneous abortion.

    The evidence is inadequate to infer the presence or absence of a causal relationship between exposure to secondhand smoke and neonatal mortality.

    The evidence is inadequate to infer the presence or absence of a causal relationship between exposure to secondhand smoke and cognitive functioning among children.

    The evidence is inadequate to infer the presence or absence of a causal relationship between exposure to secondhand smoke and behavioral problems among children.

    The evidence is inadequate to infer the presence or absence of a causal relationship between exposure to secondhand smoke and children’s height/growth.

    The evidence is inadequate to infer the presence or absence of a causal relationship between maternal exposure to secondhand smoke during pregnancy and childhood cancer.

    The evidence is inadequate to infer the presence or absence of a causal relationship between exposure to secondhand smoke during infancy and childhood cancer

    The evidence is suggestive but not sufficient to infer a causal relationship between parental smoking and the natural history of middle ear effusion.

    The evidence is inadequate to infer the presence or absence of a causal relationship between parental smoking and an increase in the risk of adenoidectomy or tonsillectomy among children.

    The evidence is suggestive but not sufficient to infer a causal relationship between secondhand smoke exposure from parental smoking and the onset of childhood asthma.

    The evidence is inadequate to infer the presence or absence of a causal relationship between parental smoking and the risk of immunoglobulin E-mediated allergy in their children.

    The evidence is suggestive but not sufficient to infer a causal relationship between exposure to secondhand smoke and an increased risk of stroke.

    Studies of secondhand smoke and subclinical vascular disease, particularly carotid arterial wall thickening, are suggestive but not sufficient to infer a causal relationship between exposure to secondhand smoke and atherosclerosis.

    The evidence is suggestive but not sufficient to infer a causal relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and acute respiratory symptoms including cough, wheeze, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing among persons with asthma.

    The evidence is suggestive but not sufficient to infer a causal relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and acute respiratory symptoms including cough, wheeze, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing among healthy persons.

    The evidence is suggestive but not sufficient to infer a causal relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and chronic respiratory symptoms.

    The evidence is suggestive but not sufficient to infer a causal relationship between short-term secondhand smoke exposure and an acute decline in lung function in persons with asthma.

    The evidence is inadequate to infer the presence or absence of a causal relationship between short-term secondhand smoke exposure and an acute decline in lung function in healthy persons.

    The evidence is suggestive but not sufficient to infer a causal relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and a worsening of asthma control.

    The evidence is suggestive but not sufficient to infer a causal relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

    And finally…..

    The evidence is sufficient to infer a causal relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and odor annoyance.

    Source: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library….

    If you actually read the surgeon generals report it used mostly “The evidence is suggestive but not sufficient to infer a causal relationship” and even then if you read page 21 they admit that the use of meta-analysis on observational studies is not a widely accepted and controversial practice and yet they do it anyway.

    http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library….

  63. #63 |  derfel cadarn | 

    Do you know what is funny? I tend to have severe reactions to shallow useless self serving busybody politicians. I have found from recent research that this condition is spreading rapidly through the population. Perhaps we can use this situation to ban these busybodies from holding office. Isn’t that a happy thought.

  64. #64 |  First they came for the smokers . . . . Perfume the New second hand smoke? : Deadline Live With Jack Blood | 

    […] own, but the State should have no role in this whats-so-ever!Here come the Perfume Police… Reductio CreepFriday, January 20th, 2012 Back when the smoking bans were spreading across the country, those of us […]

  65. #65 |  crzyb0b | 

    “crzyb0b – Radley already said it, but it bears repeating. If it were the case that a child in my son’s class had a peanut allergy, and it were severe enough that my son’s eating a peanut butter sandwich in the same room as him would cause him to get ill, that would be one thing.

    But that is not the case. The entire school district has banned peanut products anywhere in their schools. Rather than even attempt to accomodate a specific need, they basically decided to bubble wrap the entire school district, just in case.”

    Let’s not deal in hypotheticals. Let’s take a real situation. A 7 yo child has a condition (this is real) that the exposure to a small amount of peanut butter can result in a potentially fatal allergic reaction. The fatal reaction can be treated with an epi-pen used in time to make it non fatal – if the child can receive the treatment within a very few minutes. The exposure can be small: for example if a smear of peanut butter is left on the table and an amount too small to see is transferred to the child’s hand and then to his mouth the reaction could occur. Further the child might leave the cafeteria and go to the bathroom in the time between the exposure and the reaction – and thus be alone and incapacitated.

    Would that situation not warrant a ban on peanut butter in the school? Or should the child just stay home?

  66. #66 |  crzyb0b | 

    Now let’s consider a hypothetical: Let’s say the scent you have chosen creates a significant but non fatal reaction in some percentage of those exposed to it: At what level of reaction should the substance be banned:
    1 in one million, 1 in 1000, 1 in 100, 1 in 50, 1 in 10, 1 in 2? (i.e. 1 in every 2 people exposed have the reaction).

    Now, same question, but what if the reaction is fatal?

    Corollary: If the substance in question isn’t banned, is fatal at the 1:1M level, should you be personally responsible for (i.e. pay damages) any deaths that result?

  67. #67 |  Radley Balko | 

    “Would that situation not warrant a ban on peanut butter in the school? Or should the child just stay home?”

    I think it would warrant the school taking extra precautions to protect the child. You make the entire staff aware of the allergy. Probably his classmates, too, so they don’t expose him to nuts in lunches they might bring to school. You educate teachers and lunchroom staff on how to use an Epi pen. You make sure his lunch spot is thoroughly cleaned every day.

    But no, I don’t think you ban everything containing nuts on the entire campus because of one student’s allergy. Severe childhood allergies are becoming increasingly common. We’re going to have to learn how deal with them. I don’t think simply banning the allergens is going to be a viable solution.

  68. #68 |  crzyb0b | 

    “I don’t think simply banning the allergens is going to be a viable solution.”

    Why not? Banning peanuts from schools has been demonstrated to a) protect the child in question, and b) not be so onerous that other families couldn’t comply. I.e. – its a perfectly viable solution in this case. Sure some parents grumble, but really is it a life changing event?

    So in this case its pretty clear it IS a viable solution.

    This is always a case of balancing equal rights. There IS a right to be free from noxious chemicals that are voluntarily emitted that must be balanced against the right to emit those noxious chemicals. I think the fist/nose paradigm applies perfectly here.

  69. #69 |  James | 

    @ #4 E:

    The world is not your iron lung. If you are so sensitive to every day things, perhaps your life is best lived out inside a plastic bubble.

    It is not my – or anyone else’s duty – to fund government programs and laws that make the world safe for you and your over-sensitive lungs. The idea that the world owes it to you to be pollutant free so you can sit in a restaurant or bar eating unhealthy foods or slurping down toxic liquors is as sickening as it is indefensible.

  70. #70 |  Perfume restrictions in the news | 

    […] said. ‘Many people have violent reactions to strong scents.’” [Union-Leader via Radley Balko, who calls it reductio creep] Similar proposals have surfaced in places like Portland, Ore., and […]

  71. #71 |  FreeWestRadio.com » Blog Archive » Reductio Creep | 

    […] the Agitator […]

  72. #72 |  R | 

    To most of the posters on here: you are missing the point. It is not about “not liking” the “overdoing” of of the smell of the colognes/perfumes. It is simply and seriously a health issue. Most of you are sarcastically commenting and joking as if we should either “deal” with it, or quit our jobs if we can’t. First of all, don’t you think we have asked (and repeatedly, and really nicely) that the offenders lighten up, wear less, or not wear the scents to work?? These co workers just don’t care; they do whatever they want whenever they want because they only care about themselves. Second, it is “work”…not a date; not a club. It is not necessary to douse yourself with cologne, perfume and scented lotions to go to the office to work. Third, yes, this should be compared to the second hand smoke movement…this is how that started. Remember how smoking was allowed in the past – you could smoke on trains, planes and in offices?? Today, many offices are now scent free, including the CDC! Finally, I get severe migraines from strong perfume smells. I have gone to the ER 3 times so far. At each ER visit, I have received 2 IV injections of Demerol because my migraine meds were not strong enough to relieve my migraine pain! Migraine patients live in fear of the next attack. So, who should pay for those visits to the ER?? Or, are you seriously suggesting that I quit my job because other employees cannot resist the urge to spray and pour cologne all over their bodies to go to work?? I have a co worker who suffers from asthma and starts coughing and wheezing when Mr. “AXE” passes by her desk. Should he pay for her doctor bills and meds because he cannot control himself from overpouring the AXE?? Or should she also quit her job?? There are 2 other women who just love their new perfumes and they keep re-spraying throughout the day….and the scent is like a knife in the side of my head, and my co worker continues to cough and wheeze…. We have asked nicely, and repeatedly, but nothing changes. People are self centered and they simply do not care about others. The bottom line is: Bans are sometimes needed and necessary. This is not a joke; you obviously never had migraines. And the pain aside, (which is unbearable)….the related monetary costs are extremely high. Why should I suffer in pain and pay out of pocket, simply because co workers are selfish?

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