About Dogs and Smokers

By Norman E. Kjono, January 25, 2007

From the Seattle Times, January 25, 2006, "Senator Wants Dog Friendly Bars," by Rachel La Corte: 

"If dog-loving lawmakers prevail, Fido could soon be sidling up to bar stools around the state under a measure that would allow well-behaved, leashed canines to join their human companions as they down their favorite microbrews. The measure was introduced by Sen. Ken Jacobsen, D-Seattle . . . The measure has a public hearing before the Senate Labor, Commerce, Research & Development Committee on Tuesday. . . . 'I know there will be people who are concerned or who don't like the bill,' Jacobsen said. ' Well, talk to the dog lovers. In my mind, it's giving them some flexibility.' Lisa Owens . . . agreed. She said she wouldn't change the policy at her sit-down restaurant but would like the law to pass so she could bring her 112-pound Rottweiler, Ida, with her if she went to meet friends at bars. 'If people were asking me to go somewhere and I could bring my dog, I might be more likely to go,' she said." (Underlines added.)

 

Will Senator Jacobsen  also sponsor an appropriations bill to replace the Department of Health no smoking signs in Washington bars and restaurants? The new signs need only say four words to convey his message:

 

"Dogs Welcome, Smokers Banned"

 

So where's the "flexibility" for folks who enjoy a smoke with their microbrew, that Senator Jacobsen apparently believes dog owners should have? Where's the consideration of property rights for bar owners who reserve the right to refuse to allow animals on their premises? Bar owners face intrusion on their property rights from both anti-smoking advocates and animal rights advocates.

 

Washington smokers are banned from bars but under Senator Jacobsen's bill dogs would be welcome. In keeping with tobacco control ideology, this measure will reputedly bring customers flocking to bars, too, just as Lisa opines that being able to bring her Rottweiler along might make her more likely to go to a bar. One wonders if she would bring her Rottweiler to a bar where persons who smoke are allowed.

 

Now there's a potential news story: "Rotweiller Attacks Nonsmoker in Bar." The Seattle Times report would undoubtedly make it clear that it's smokers' fault, after all. If smokers had not been indulging their habit in bars for centuries Washington's I-901 would not have been necessary. It follows that, since allowing dogs has apparently become necessary to lure nonsmokers who were supposed to flock to bars to make up for I-901's devastating affect on bar trade, smokers who stay home are the one's to blame.  

Twisted Priorities

 

It bears mention that more injuries and deaths from Rottweiler attacks have been documented than credible, legitimate science has ever proven persons to be harmed by Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS).

 

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal, January 16, 2007, "Las Vegan Saves Neighbor, Her Dogs from Rottweiler Attack," by Frank Geary:

 

"While others hesitated in horror, Kyle Blanchard rushed a rampaging Rottweiler. The former high school football standout was working on his car Nov. 12 when he heard screaming. He darted from his garage and saw the 80-pound beast attacking a neighbor and her two Chihuahuas as the little dogs' owner pleaded with the Rottweiler handler."

 

In some attack cases, it appears that the Rottweilers are already heading for the pubs. Perhaps the time has finally come for Senator Jacobsen's legislative bill to let them in the door. From IOL.com, September 24, 2006, "Baby Girl Dies After Rottweiler Attack:

 

"London - A five-month-old baby girl has died after being attacked by two Rottweiler dogs in the Midlands city of Leicester, British police said on Sunday. Leicestershire police and ambulance staff were called to a pub in the New Parks area of the city on Saturday afternoon, before the baby was rushed to Leicester Royal Infirmary, where she later died from her injuries. The BBC reported the baby girl had been dragged onto the roof of the pub, which was run by her parents."

 

Cue strident proclamations about the "overwhelming evidence" concerning secondhand smoke from Seattle-King County's tobacco control czar, Roger Valdez. He serves up quantities of Junk Science about ETS vastly beyond the amount of coffee that his apparent cousin, Juan, peddles.

 

Problem is that Juan's product has its Agenda-Afflicted advocacy group, too, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). CSPI said about caffeine in its bulletin "Caffeine: the Inside Scoop, Birth Defects, Miscarriages," 

 

"In laboratory animals, very large amounts of caffeine seem to cause females to bear young that are malformed. And birth defects were reported in the children of three women who drank 8 to 25 cups of coffee a day. In 1980, based largely on the animal evidence, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised pregnant women to "avoid caffeine-containing foods and drugs, if possible, or consume them only sparingly." . . . While birth defects were never really shown to occur in humans at the lower levels we consume, that doesn't get caffeine off the hook. . . . For example, among nearly 4,000 women who gave birth in New Haven, Connecticut, in the early 1980s, those who consumed between 150 and 300 milligrams of caffeine a day during their pregnancies had more than twice the risk of delivering underweight babies (less than about 5 pounds) than those who consumed less. The risk was almost five times greater for women who consumed more than 300 milligrams a day. 'Lower birth weight is linked to an increased risk of dying in early infancy,' notes Bracken." (Underline added.)

 

CSPI has also demanded a reduction of salt in meat and poultry products. See January 25, 2007 posting Salt reduction demanded  by Forces.org. Tavern owners, you can now assume responsibility for limiting the salt that your customers can use with each meal. No, you can't complain that is an intrusion on your property rights. CSPI says it, so it's true-as any opportunistic politician will tell you.

 

Predictably, even though-like secondhand smoke-credible studies do not show the low birth weight health risks touted by CSPI, advocacy claims are still advanced and the "Target" product does not get off the hook. If the same studies touted by separate advocacy groups to advance their agenda create confounding factors that diminish the credibility of their "statistical science" claims that is studiously ignored.

 

But wait, there's more! Smoking and secondhand smoke are supposed to be the cause of lower birth weight, not caffeine. See the March of Dimes, "What Causes Low Birth Weight?

 

"Smokers have smaller babies than non-smokers, on average, and maternal exposure to another person's smoking also may decrease the baby's birth weight."

 

When a genetic cause for alleged risks of consuming coffee or tobacco is identified that has nothing to do with the target product the agenda the claims persist. See University of Washington press release, April 24, 2002,  "Link Found Between Low Birth Weight and DNA From Mothers,"  by Joel Schwartz:

 

Using a unique set of data collected over 30 years and six generations of captive-bred monkeys, researchers have found the first evidence that low birth weight is linked to a type of DNA only passed along by females. "This is why, when it comes to birth weight, we tend to be more like our mother than our father," said James Ha, a University of Washington research professor of psychology and lead author of a study published in the current issue of the American Journal of Primatology. The National Institutes of Health funded the research. "We definitely think that our findings will hold up when human data becomes available," he said. . . . "We want to know why birth weight is a risk factor for other perhaps more critical things. One possibility is that there is a gene that affects birth weight, and the same gene controls IQ, retardation and memory difficulties. That gene has two effects, but we don't know if there is a direct or indirect connection. We believe there may be a genetic component in common, and if we can identify the genes and the mechanism we then can explore why children are at risk."

 

Anti-tobacco claims about lung cancer in nonsmokers persist. Lung cancer in nonsmokers is allegedly caused by tobacco smoke, despite emerging science about genetic causes and explicit statements that tobacco smoke is not the primary pathogenic pathway and that other as yet unidentified carcinogens are. 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.)  

 

Smoking has been banned in Washington public buildings and office for far more than a decade. Most restaurants were "Smoke Free" for several years before I-901 was passed in 2005. For years, exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke has been sharply reduced throughout our state. Why are the health risks that it allegedly presents still an issue? When the allegedly causal factor is removed isn't the associated medical condition supposed to decline?

 

It is embarrassing and of deep concern that a Washington legislator apparently believes a 112 pound Rottweiler inside the premises presents less risk to bar patrons than a customer enjoying a smoke with their microbrew. Legislators ignore that blatant public health and safety contradiction just as studiously as they do the contradictions of tobacco control's wild claims. To my mind that's about as twisted a set of priorities as it gets.

 

Washington's Nero Legislators

 

In the world according to Senator Jacobsen dogs have higher standing than persons who smoke. Which is pejorative of both humans and their canine companions: it at once demeans the human and creates a negative association for their canine companion.

 

One paragraph in the above-excerpted Seattle Times article caught my eye:

 

"There's all sorts of places you can bring animals now. You can take dogs into hotels. My God, some people are carrying dogs in their purses. Why can't we have them in the bars?"

 

Let's substitute a few words in that paragraph:

 

"There's all sorts of places you can bring smokers now. You can take smokers into hotels. My God, some people are carrying cigarettes in their purses. Why can't we have them in the bars?"

 

Folks in Washington who lawfully consume legal tobacco products now know where they stand. Some Washington legislators apparently consider the standing of persons who smoke to be somewhere below that of a 112 pound Rottweiler. Governor Gregoire's fellow Democrats in the legislature fiddle with dog rights while small, independent bar owners' trade burns down.

 

Those still naïve and foolish enough to believe that tobacco control, caffeine advocacy, or other agendas like anti-obesity, have credible merit as promoted are invited to share a tavern booth with a 112 pound Rottweiler. Perhaps that pooch will deliver a much-needed dose of Agenda-Afflicted reality.

 

Smokers needn't worry about the junk yard dog about to run amuck through their local bar. They have enough common sense to stay away from places that refuse to accommodate them.

 

Perhaps Senator Jacobsen's next legislative bill will mandate that smokers be tied up outside the bar-25 feet or more from the entrance, of course.

 

Norman E. Kjono


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