Sniffing Tobacco Control Flatulence

By Norman E. Kjono, December 7, 2006

From Britain's The Register, December 7, 2006 "Flatulence Forces US Plane Out of the Sky,"   by Tracey Cooper: 

 "A woman's attempt to cover up the nasty smell of her own flatulence caused an aircraft en route between Washington DC and Dallas to make an emergency landing, the BBC reports. Passengers kicked up a stink when they caught a whiff of sulphur from burning matches and alerted cabin crew. The American Airlines plane was forced to divert to Nashville where all 99 passengers were evacuated. Bomb-sniffing dogs found the offending matches on the seat of the woman, who admitted she'd lit the matches to mask the smell of her own bomb. . . . The FBI questioned the passenger, but she was released without charge."

 

Now there's an investigation interview that's certain to make the top 5 in FBI lore! No doubt the flies on the wall in the interview room were cracking up. Apparently the flatulence was OK, passengers only complained when they smelled a burning match. It's simply amazing what deplorable air quality conditions the public now accepts as "normal" in airline cabins.

 

I hope the bomb-sniffing dogs were not injured by American Airline's cabin air quality. Lord only knows how many charges of animal cruelty could be added if the dogs passed out sniffing passenger cabin interior air. At least there could be a strong legal defense. I can hear the public defender proclaiming from atop his court room soap box, "Your honor, these charges are preposterous!" Pausing for effect, he could add, "Given dogs' propensity for sniffing butts as a way to say hello a mere fart could not have caused injury!"

 

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette also reported the above story in the second item of its December 7, 2006 column "The Morning File,"   by Peter Leo: 

 

"The plane, bound for Dallas from Washington D.C., had to make an emergency landing in Knoxville, Tenn., after passengers reported the smell of lit matches, according to WBIR-TV. Everybody had to get off with all their luggage and go through security again. Eventually, a passenger admitted to the FBI that she had cut one -- we don't know how silent it was but it might have been potentially deadly -- and lit the matches to hide the smell."

 

One seriously ponders what criminal charges would have been filed against that lady if she had used the match to - God forbid - light a cigarette to hide the smell of her SBD.

 

The Register has also reported another story about flatulence and airline travel, "Novelty Farting Dog Sparks US Terror Alert,"   by Lester Haines, on October 27, 2003: 

 

"Osama bin Laden will doubtless be absolutely gutted to learn that any plan he may have had to destroy a US airliner using a life-size novelty mechanical farting terrier is doomed to failure. Yup, the ever-vigilant airport security officials in Norfolk, Virginia, responded instantly when Brit passenger Dave Rogerson's flatulent fido's outgassing triggered a security device, the BBC reports. It appears that the "wind-breaking mechanism registered as a high explosive on sensitive monitoring equipment", resulting in armed Feds swooping on Mr Rogerson. Rogerson is reported as saying: 'There's no humour at American check-ins and for about 20 minutes I was quite scared. They were very jumpy and convinced there was something explosive in the dog.' . . . Mr Rogerson has now renamed the animal "Norfolk" in honour of the airport and its contribution to the War on Terror."

 

Mr. Rogerson should be profoundly grateful the he did not bring a smoking chimpanzee aboard rather than a farting terrier. Had he done so he undoubtedly would be an involuntary, long-term guest at Guantanamo as an enemy noncombatant, alongside Osama's alleged cohorts.

 

A Brief History And An HonestSolution

 

From the Summary of "The Airliner Cabin Environment and the Health of Passengers and Crew (2002)

 

"The aircraft cabin is similar to other indoor environments, such as homes and offices, in that people are exposed to a mixture of outside and recirculated air. However, the cabin environment is different in many respects-for example, the high occupant density, the inability of occupants to leave at will, and the need for pressurization. In flight, people encounter a combination of environmental factors that includes low humidity, reduced air pressure, and potential exposure to air contaminants, such as ozone (O3), carbon monoxide (CO), various organic chemicals, and biological agents. . . . In 1986, a committee of the National Research Council (NRC), the principal operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, produced a report requested by Congress titled The Airliner Cabin Environment: Air Quality and Safety. That report recommended the elimination of smoking on most domestic airline flights and other actions to address health and safety problems and to obtain better data on cabin air quality. In response, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) took several actions, including a ban on smoking on all domestic flights. However, 15 years later, many of the other issues about aircraft cabin air quality have yet to be adequately addressed by FAA and the airline industry, and new health questions have been raised by the public and cabin crew."  

 

From Science Daily, March 21, 2005, "Study Examines Role of EGFR Gene Mutations In Lung Cancer Development," about a study published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute  (NCI)

 

"A new study has found that mutations in either of two genes are involved in the development of lung cancer. One of them is the first known mutation to occur specifically in never smokers, according to a new study in the March 2 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. . . . These findings "support the hypothesis that at least two distinct molecular pathways are involved in the pathogenesis of lung adenocarcinomas, one involving EGFR TK domain mutations and the other involving KRAS gene mutations," the authors write. These results also "suggest that exposure to carcinogens in environmental tobacco smoke may not be the major pathogenic factor involved in the origin of lung cancers in never smokers but that an as-yet-unidentified carcinogen(s) plays an important role." (Underline, italic added.)

 

From "Adults Get Asthma, Too," January 2004, published by the Washington Department of Labor and Industries: 

"The graph below shows that from 1995 through 2002, the rate of workers' compensation claims filed for asthma has increased significantly by about 7% per year. The rate of accepted claims has also increased over the 8-year period, thought to a lesser degree."

 

In 1994 Washington banned smoking in all office worksites, to supplement a smoking ban in all public government facilities. The Washington Department of Labor and Industries, the American Lung Association, and the American Cancer Society heavily promoted the ban as a public health measure and to reduce illness such as asthma in the name of "Clean Indoor Air." 1995 to 2002 worker compensation asthma claims "increased significantly by 7% per year." Beginning in 1986 smoking bans in airlines were phased in, leading to bans on all flights in the USA. Airlines promptly reduced cabin airflow - thereby reducing the ability of the ventilation system to address all Indoor Air Quality constituents - to save fuel. In 2002 the National Academies Press published a book, "The Airliner Cabin Environment and the Health of Passengers and Crew (2002)."   The book includes in its summary the following statement 

 

". . . issues about aircraft cabin air quality have yet to be adequately addressed by FAA and the airline industry, and new health questions have been raised by the public and cabin crew."

 

Tobacco control advocates concluded in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) December 1992 report on secondhand smoke that Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) was a "known human carcinogen".  In July 1998 U.S. District Court judge William L. Osteen ordered that report vacated, citing manipulations of the report's data and unreasonable assumptions and/or methodologies. Tobacco control's secondhand smoke beat drummed unabated.

 

Today we still hear from tobacco control advocates, as we have since December 1992, that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Conspicuous by its absence are any statements about air quality health risks other than tobacco smoke. Perhaps that absence of comment is accounted for by the above report about a 2005 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, which says in part "exposure to carcinogens in environmental tobacco smoke may not be the major pathogenic factor involved in the origin of lung cancers in never smokers but that an as-yet-unidentified carcinogen(s) plays an important role." Having kicked off a nationwide campaign for "Clean Indoor Air" that does not it any manner whatsoever address "as-yet-unidentified carcinogen(s)" that play "an important role" in lung cancer among nonsmokers, perhaps tobacco control understands a secret: if the public were to base their conclusions about smoking on legitimate scientific conclusions they would catch on to the rather stunning reality that smoking bans do not, cannot, and will not address serious and well-documented Indoor Air Quality health risks unrelated to tobacco smoke. Simply put, smoking bans do not equal clean indoor air.

 

December 14, 2001 the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration issues a press release, "OSHA Withdraws Indoor Air Proposal With Support Of Anti-Smoking Groups". OSHA said, in part: 

 

"Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health John Henshaw announced that OSHA is withdrawing an inactive indoor air quality regulation proposed in 1994. The decision was reached with the support of major anti-smoking public health groups including the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids." (Underline, italic added.)

 

February 24, 2003 Issued issued a restatement of its policy about ETS,  "Reiteration Of Existing OSHA Policy In Indoor Air Quality," that it will not apply a general duty clause to "protect workers" by banning smoking because it has concluded that exposure to ETS constituents does not exceed its Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) in normal work environments. OSHA said in its reiteration of policy:

 

"Although OSHA has no regulation that addresses tobacco smoke as a whole, 29 CFR 1910.1000 Air contaminants, limits employee exposure to several of the main chemical components found in tobacco smoke. In normal situations, exposures would not exceed these permissible exposure limits (PELs), and, as a matter of prosecutorial discretion, OSHA will not apply the General Duty Clause to ETS."

 

It has been known since at least 1994 that indoor air superior to outside air can be provided with smoking permitted. That observation is based on actual Indoor Air Quality test of a superior ventilation system in which I participated. The results of that study were published in the May 1996 issue of Heating/Piping/Airconditioning magazine.

 

Those who are still sufficiently uninformed about ETS as to continue believing the mavens of mandate mugging about tobacco smoke please book the next domestic US airline flight that you can get on, settle in your two-square-centimeter seat with you neighbor's elbow in your ear, and inhale deeply for the duration of the flight. Perhaps the rest of us will be fortunate enough for the reduced cabin air flow to chuck you so full of bacteria, viruses and carcinogens that we can begin to clean up the gene pool (with emphasis on DNA related intelligence).

 

Normal folks already have a better idea and they will soon have a superior alternative, SMINTAIR.   Honest competition predictably creates superior service, lower costs, and a more enjoyable consumer experience. The founder and managing director of that airline, Alexander W. Schoppmann, had a better idea: reduce seating density and increase air flow through the cabin. By doing so SMINTAIR will not only effectively mitigate Environmental Tobacco Smoke but the increased ventilation will also address other cabin air contaminants, prospectively including those pesky "as-yet-unidentified carcinogen(s)" reported by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. As SMINTAIR says on its Web site: 

 

"70" legroom for business and 80" for first class guests will enhance comfort and privacy. . . . SMINTAIR reinstates the liberty of smoking in all seats. Non-smokers will find the cabin air more refreshing than on any other flight with any other airline, as SMINTAIR adds fresh outside air to the conditioning system! This is more expensive, as it burns more fuel, but it is seen as an additional service to our guests."

 

I make a personal request of those who still believe that their personal-preference about lawfully consuming legal tobacco products automatically equals other folk's legal mandate: please, please do not book on this airline. Not only is compulsive fart sniffing a distraction to my enjoyment of a superior flight experience but your constant whine about other passengers doing what they have every legal right to do has become an annoying, ever-present buzz. Please book your flight on a crowded, stuffy and stifling air carrier that your chosen personal-preference intolerance has created for you.

 

A High Jinks Review of "The Evidence"

 

Based on the foregoing it is readily apparent to me that responsible public health officials and citizens who are genuinely concerned about Indoor Air Quality cannot continue to take seriously tobacco control's Junk Science about ETS. Such understanding puts tobacco control advocacy in its proper light: increasingly-bizarre hyper-ventilation Social Marketing spin, much mercantile ado about nothing.  

 

If it makes headlines there will surely be a "scientific" study prepared to support the latest medical rumors drifting across mainstream media teleprompters. Rumor has it that Secondhand Smoke Consultant James Repace -- long noted for his claims that it takes 100,000 air exchanges per hour in New York but 50,000 exchanges in Tacoma, Washington to remove cigarette smoke -- is already ginning up some new statistics about flatulence. "We have conducted scientific air quality studies for methane," he allegedly said. "Take Tacoma, Washington, for example" Repace continued. "The tide flats explain why it only takes 50,000 air exchanges an hour to purify indoor air in Tacoma."  Those who have visited Tacoma on a hot summer day at low tide understand that the tide flats release enough methane to inspire breath holding contests among drivers on I-5. A phantom witness claims Repace continued his presentation by saying, "Our studies show conclusively that at 50,449.8976549 air exchanges per hour sniffing farts is preferable to tobacco smoke." Glad tidings of great joy about that air quality study will purportedly appear in the next edition of the journal Tobacco Control. The headline could be "Latest Studies Show Fart Sniffing Preferable To Tobacco Smoke." One wonders who the members of that clinical research study control group were. Perhaps volunteers from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Americans for Nonsmoker's Rights. Performance criteria to receive tobacco control grants may be getting a little out of line . . .

 

University of California at San Francisco epidemiology guru Stanton Glantz is reputed to be preparing an emergency supplement to his Helena, Montana study about smoking bans and emergency room admissions for cardiac arrest. "The evidence is there," a gossip columnist begins to write. "Glantz' Helena study provides a credible baseline to examine the causal relationship between flatulence and hospital admissions. Once the correlation between flatulence and hospital admissions is scientifically established, as it was in Helena about secondhand smoke, another known cause of heart attacks can be attacked with a War on Farts similar to the War on Tobacco and the War on Obesity." The columnist is believed to write for Intestinal Health Daily Flurp. Glantz allegedly holds the opinion that "The medical profession must take these correlative causations seriously. After all, we know for a fact that the American Airlines flight was diverted to Nashville." Citing his most recent study about medical malpractice published in Tobacco Control (see "That's Ridiculous!"   published by Forces.org), Glantz may have reached new heights of waxing eloquent about the health hazards of airline flatulence, "There are known farting cessation treatments available. Once we can demonstrate that cardiac arrest and pulmonary disease emergency room admissions increased in Nashville on the day that flight was diverted we will have a sound legal basis to holding physicians liable for not treating flatulence. Doctors who do not inquire about patient's flatulence patterns on each visit and also fail to treat it could be liable if they do not prescribe Beano."  Glantz is apparently prepared to issue new guidelines for doctors about flatulence cessation based on AHCPR guidelines to treat smoking.

 

Anti-smoking activist lawyer John F. Banzhaf III, Esq.,  the Executive Director of Action on smoking and Health, "The Law Professor Who Masterminded Litigation Against the Tobacco Industry," and noted by Regardie's Magazine for being "instrumental in getting the nation's airlines to ban smoking on most domestic flights," reportedly brought sage legal opinion to the table about this compelling new epidemic of flatulence (now Flatulence Affecting Respiratory Tension Syndrome, FARTS). Banzhaf apparently cited his recent legal opinion as reported by Dr. Michael Siegel December 3, 2006:  

 

"Antismoking lawyers do not have to win every case, most cases, or even one out of every ten cases to put strong pressure on hospitals, medical organizations, insurance companies, and ultimately on individual physicians to begin complying with the guidelines to avoid the risk of being sued and the possibility -  however large or small it may appear - of losing such a law suit."

 

Airline passengers can express profound gratitude for Mr. Banzhaf's contribution to reducing airline cabin airflow at www.ash.org. The same statement, as actually written by Banzhaf and published a few days ago, could be applied to stimulate Beano sales with one word change: 

 

"Antifarting lawyers do not have to win every case, most cases, or even one out of every ten cases to put strong pressure on hospitals, medical organizations, insurance companies, and ultimately on individual physicians to begin complying with the guidelines to avoid the risk of being sued and the possibility -  however large or small it may appear - of losing such a law suit."

 

Banzhaf apparently believes that juries can be sold on anything. All it apparently takes is less than one jury in ten to agree with preposterous claims for physicians, doctors, and hospitals will quake in their boots about prospective lawsuits, then stampede to endorse new Glantz-Banzhaf farting guidelines. Well, at least law suit initiatives that Banzhaf has inspired can now be called by their true name: The Litigation Crap Shoot.

 

Meanwhile, Agenda-Afflicted policy wonks who suffer from acute Anti-Mentality may be quietly going long on margin in common stock of Beano. They know a good thing when it happens. All it takes is an agenda, a couple of grants, a few studies, and creative teleprompter writers to launch a new, greatest ever, sure-to-kill, national epidemic for which there is compelling evidence that action must be taken today. Action, of course, inevitably involves mandating the use of new pharmaceutical products to cure the related illness. Beano investors will probably do about as well as those who held stock in NicoDerm CQ patch manufacturer Johnson & Johnson (through its subsidiary ALZA Corp.) and the product's distributor, GlaxoSmithKline, before the latest round of higher cigarette taxes smoking bans began to be promoted by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.   Parity pricing  the cost of Nicotine Replacement Therapy products with the ever-escalating cost of cigarettes has worked marvelously for Big Drugs.

 

Declare a health crisis, promote it to teleprompter writers, get media talking heads abuzz about it, launch a new product to "Save the Children" from whatever, then rake in the bucks. Why not a new product, Fart-Be Gone, with the price indexed to the level of methane in airline cabins? Considering that the last $14 million grant for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free-Kids is to expire in 2007, maybe its president, Matt Myers, can start a new group, Campaign for Fart-Free Kids, to keep the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grants flowing.

 

On the local level, here in Washington things are already getting to be a bit tense concerning this new, worst ever, epidemic. Seattle public health Tobacco Czar Roger Valdez is rumored to be drafting a new public statement about the crisis, similar to his views as expressed in Seattle Weekly on January 18, 2006 about smoking:   

 

"Americans think they have a lot of rights they really don't have. Smoking is one of those things where people think they have a right to smoke, but you don't. . . . You have no right to smoke. It's an addiction. It's something you should see a doctor about. . . . The condo association can ban it, and you have no legal recourse."  

 

A little yellow bird is reportedly flying around, spreading the word that Valdez' new statement may read: 

"Americans think they have a lot of rights they really don't have. Farting is one of those things where people think they have a right to fart, but you don't. . . . You have no right to fart. It's an addiction. It's something you should see a doctor about. . . . The condo association can ban it, and you have no legal recourse."  

And rumors fly that response to the above statement could already be prepared by Valdez, similar that that published February 1, 2006 in the Seattle Weekly:   

"We have compassion for farters battling

 a powerful addiction . . . Affordable treatment is key: We offer a free Fart-Be-Gone program, and we are advocating for important changes in the law to mandate farting cessation treatment on demand for those with health insurance and offer support for those with no coverage."

 

Perhaps Valdez will become Seattle's Farting Czar, too. As a public health and safety measure, Washington Secretary of Heath Mary Selecky could issue a decree that health department flatulence does not stink.

 

Finally, gossip is abuzz in Tacoma. Will Kevin Phelps, the former chair of the Tacoma-Pierce County health board, champion a new farting ban? Citizens are reportedly waiting with bated breath for his announcement. After all, "It's inevitable," some believe, just like the 2004 smoking ban in Pierce County that was overturned by Washington's superior, appeals and supreme courts. But, like Pierce-County's ill-fated smoking ban, the farting ban would not apply to tribal casinos. Folks could soon be dashing out of restaurants, bars, and nontribal casinos statewide and in droves, careening down roads to tribal casinos so they can fart. Chatter among speculators is reported about how to cash in on the action for toll booths on all roads leading to tribal casinos. "Why the complaints?" Phelps could inquire. "After all, this new crisis is straining state health budgets. The toll booths provide desperately-needed new revenue to prevent fart-related illness."

 

Closing Thoughts

 

Some would say the above satire is out-of-line. Folks are entitled to believe as they choose, of course. But consider how ridiculous many would have thought health insurance premiums by the pound, or Body Mass Index, could be before the following two news reports were published:

 

From the Washington Post, November 14, 2006, "Smokers, Obese Should Pay More Health Insurance: Poll,"   by Kim Dixon: 

 

"CHICAGO (Reuters) - Most Americans believe smokers and obese people should pay more for health insurance . . . Sixty percent of those polled favored higher premiums for smokers while 30 percent felt the obese should pay more. 'When it comes to personal responsibility, consumers increasingly support making people pay more for unhealthy behavior,' said the report in the journal Health Affairs. . . . The rate of uninsured, now nearly 16 percent of Americans, has been climbing for years, driven by consumer demand and escalating prices for prescription drugs and hospital care. About 20 percent of large employers are already giving discounts to workers who do not smoke, according to Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health, which lobbies for corporations on health issues. 'The non-smoker's discount is growing in popularity and I think it is going to grow faster,' she said. As to obesity, 'I think it will be a while before we get to the point where people begin tying a financial discount to something like BMI (body mass index),' she said." (Underline added.)

 

From United Press International, October 14, 2006, "Insurance Plan Penalizes Smokers, Obese:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- The director of a U.S. anti-smoking organization says smokers and obese people should pay substantially more for health insurance than others. John Banzhaf, director of the Washington organization Action on Smoking and Health said he's urging state governors to adopt his plan in reforming their Medicaid programs. Under the plan, obese people would pay a 10-percent increased health insurance premium, with smokers generally paying an even higher percentage. Those who are obese and smoke would pay nearly 30 percent more to obtain health insurance. 'While a growing number of health insurance companies are now charging smokers higher premiums, and a few state governments have started charging employees who smoke more for health coverage, this may be the first situation in which the concept is applied to Medicaid," Banzhaf said in a release. While noting increasing the premium penalty beyond a certain point might cause some to do without insurance, Banzhaf said correspondingly lower rates for non-smokers would probably help many of them obtain coverage that was previously financially out of bounds."

 

The moral of the story presented in the above two articles is that special-interest Anti-Mentality programs, like an SBD, affect everyone around you. Personally, I find the previous satire to be closer to common sense than the above two articles that quote Banzhaf Darlings of the special-interest world.

 

Can you imagine the trouble that an obese lady would get into in today's increasingly-bizarre public health environment if she lit up to cover the smell from planting an SBD on American Airlines? The dagger-stares form other passengers alone would probably kill the dear woman. At least the smoking chimpanzee would be safe from harassment - it couldn't get on an American flight without a nicotine patch. But the chimp could fart its brains out with impunity.

 

So are all of the subjects addressed above just a bunch of comment about nothing? You be the judge. Begin your analysis by reading a commentary published by Forces.org nearly a decade ago,  "Anti-Tobacco Violence."    Then proceed to the ultimate health-fettish article published by The Register November 28, 2006, "US Drinker Stabbed For Not Washington Hands,"   less than two weeks ago:

 

"Those men among you who indulge in the woman-enraging provocation of not putting the loo seat back down after taking a leak should count yourselves lucky you're not in Fort Worth, Texas, where some people take the matter of good toilet habits very seriously indeed. Just ask 25-year-old Morgan Jackson, who was with two drinking buddies in the car park of the Tumbleweeds Sports Bar last Thursday evening when an infuriated toilet user charged them with a knife "because he apparently grew angry that one of the men didn't wash his hands in the bathroom", as the Houston Chronicle explains. Indeed, so pissed off was 27-year-old Eric Jennings Kisiah that he stabbed Jackson three times in his left torso and once in his back with an eight-inch knife which was subsequently recovered close to the scene of the incident."

In between those published reports we the people have experienced a rapidly-escalating drumbeat of anti-tobacco's intolerance-mongering mantra. Their dogma produces narcissistic, self-fixated fools who believe that every hospitality venue in the state must ban smoking, to assure "freedom of choice" in the unlikely event that intolerant healthists from Seattle may want to go night clubbing in Spokane once in their life. The drumbeat was defined April 1993 in Washington's "Planning for a Tobacco Free Washington."  

 

Strategy: ". . . the most effective way to reduce smoking rates is to decrease public tolerance of tobacco use." 

Policy: "Changing public acceptance of tobacco use will require policy change, a critical ingredient of societal change." 

Media: "Social change requires that people receive persistent and consistent messages from sources they trust. To this end ASSIST resources will be use to generate a variety of media messages that will foster and strengthen public support for proposed policy changes."

 

And we wonder why many in foreign countries regard Americans as the chief worldwide exporter of hate and intolerance. I think it's time for many Baby Boomers and their brat offspring to grow up.

 

God, I'm looking forward to flying on a responsible airline that reasonably accommodates normal people.

 

It's time to clear the flatulence in special-interest public health policy enacted by "public-private partnerships."

 

Norman E. Kjono


FORCES is supported solely by the efforts of the readers. Please become a member or donate what you can.



Contact Info
Forces Contacts
Media Contacts
Advertisers
Links To Archived Categories

The Evidence
Inside Forces
About Forces
Research
Writers
Book case