The Legal Examiner Mark The Legal Examiner Mark The Legal Examiner Mark search twitter facebook feed linkedin instagram google-plus avvo phone envelope checkmark mail-reply spinner error close
Skip to main content

In the state of Maine, it has been illegal since 2008 to smoke in a car carrying passengers less than 16 years of age. The rationale is that children strapped into a smoke-filled car are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of second-hand smoke, which can be 12 to 15 times higher than in a house or apartment, and that the law should protect these children.

In a similar spirit, two lawyers and a pediatrician recently published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine recommending that the Department of Housing and Urban Development place a ban on smoking in the housing facilities it rents to low-income residents. According to the authors, those who smoke it multi-unit buildings put numerous people at risk:

Tobacco smoke can move along air ducts, through cracks in the walls and floors, through elevator shafts, and along plumbing and electrical lines to affect units on other floors. High levels of tobacco toxins can persist in the indoor environment long after the period of active smoking…over a period of days to years. In households in which one or more people smoke, the urine levels of [cancer-causing tobacco toxins] are consistently higher in infants than in nonsmoking adults…

Tobacco-smoke exposure in public housing is particularly troubling because it afflicts disadvantaged and vulnerable populations. In 2008–2009, 32% of households in public housing included elderly persons, 35% included disabled persons, and 41% included children…Adolescents who live in public housing are considered to be at high risk for early experimentation with cigarettes. –NEJM

While this recommendation may infuriate a lot of people, including those living in public housing, it will be difficult to argue legally that smoking in public housing is an inherent right. As the authors point out, various courts have upheld that smoking bans don’t violate the Constitution, and that the government can issue a ban as long as it has a “reasonable basis” for it (e.g. protecting public health). Moreover, the Fair Housing Act does not grant smokers’ rights.


  1. Gravatar for Thomas Laprade

    Should public housing ban smoking??


  2. Gravatar for gene

    You mean the Canadian ventilation salesman Laprade doesn't think there should be a smoking ban??

    You mean he thinks the entire country should be retrofitted with his expensive, ineffective, difficult to maintain junk?


  3. Gravatar for Thomas Laprade

    Smoke from a handful of crushed leaves and some paper that is mixed with the air of a decently ventilated venue is harmful to your health??

    If any body believes that, then I have some ocean-front property in Ohio I would like to sell them

  4. Gravatar for Gene

    Laprade's useless ventilation systems _are_ the ocean-front property in Ohio, and yes, he sure want to sell them.

    So to convince us, he supplies links to the screwiest sites on the internet(!) Of course I believe EVERYTHING I read on the internet.

    These people will do anything they can to get the gullible to buy their books and ventilation systems and cigarettes.

    And I like how they hijack innocent message boards to function as their own private PR agencies. Cheaper than actually hiring someone.

    Real moral guys. Trust them.

  5. Gravatar for Steve Hartwell

    If the claims about SHS were true, then anti-smoking bans would be justifiable, and those supporting the bans, commendable. However, that the planet is over-populated today proves otherwise. SHS is NOT a risk to other people. If it was, the human race would have died out about 150,000 years ago.

    Mr. Gene has nothing better to say than to attempt to trash and discredit Mr. Laprade and make wild un-true claims about why Mr. Laprade submitted his post.

    Mr. Gene's post has as much validity as the anti-smoking, anti-smoker junk science claims about second hand tobacco smoke - zero - which are the falsified profiteering creation of Big Phmaraceutical companies to make $ Billions from gullible victims buying their 3 % success-rate, harmful, even lethal, anti-smoking products.

    There are many scientists and researchers who know that second hand tobacco smoke is NOT a statistically significant health risk to other people, some are brave enough to say so, and everyone can learn the truth for themselves at where you will find the real science, and dozens of grassroots groups representing millions of smokers, and non-smokers, around the world who know the truth too.

    Public Housing Smoking Ban based on the false junk science anti-smoking claims about second hand tobacco smoke is totally unjustifiable, and downright fraud on the part of those who know the anti-smoking claims are not true.

  6. Gravatar for Rebecca

    In 1998 the World Health Organization completed one of the largest international case-control studies of secondary smoke and lung cancer ever undertaken. When the report was finished however it didn't get the usual big flashy press release and news conference most of these reports do. Instead it was up to a UK Telegraph reporter, Victoria MacDonald, to uncover what it had found and publicize it.

    This huge study, the one that had been counted on to deliver a final condemnation of secondary smoke's connection to lung cancer instead found NO significant connection for adults. And when it looked at children the news for Antismokers was even worse: the one, single, significant result of the entire study was that children of smokers eventually got 22% *LESS* lung cancer than children of nonsmokers!

    The WHO was not happy with the results of its study being released in that way so they immediately turned around and issued a big bold headlined press release declaring 'PASSIVE SMOKING DOES CAUSE LUNG CANCER, DO NOT LET THEM FOOL YOU', " despite the fact that their own study was not even able to find minimally significant support for such a claim.

    The abstract, some analysis, and the link to the full study for your own examination can be found through the courtesies of Michael McFadden and Audrey Silk at the NY Clash site at the bottom of:

    So take one thing from the WHO's antismoking press release as fact: "DO NOT LET THEM FOOL YOU!" Their actual study did NOT support smoking bans!

  7. Gravatar for Michael J. McFadden
    Michael J. McFadden

    So Gene, do you have anything to back up your potentially libelous comment about Tom LaPrade? You've certainly been in this fight long enough to know that charging anyone publicly fighting bans with having a specific hidden competing interest is effectively libel. So where's your evidence or apology?

    Now while I certainly wouldn't charge YOU with being a "pharmaceutical salesman" for the NicoGummyPatchy antismoking corporations, I might still suggest that folks pay a visit to "Gene Borio's" and check out where the forces behind a good bit of the smoking bans get their funding.

    As for me, I am, as always, open about who I am and what Gene might claim my competing interest to be, and I stand firmly behind what I write.

    What about thee Gene? Standing or running?

    Michael J. McFadden

    Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

  8. Gravatar for Michael J. McFadden
    Michael J. McFadden

    Now, having defended a friend's honor against someone who I will refrain from characterizing, let me talk about the story.

    The author of this abomination posing as some sort of "study" in a medical journal is the same man who made headlines a year or two ago with a publication and research that had little to do with honest science but a lot to do with creating groundless fears in an attempt to promote smoking bans.

    Winickoff presented a study that was actually nothing more than an analysis of an opinion survey of random people asked whether they THOUGHT that it might be harmful to take an infant into a room where people had been smoking the previous day.

    Note that most ordinarily sane people would assume that the question was referring to a room where there still might be significant clouds of smoke floating in the air. Note as well that they were being asked merely to accept that it might possibly be harmful. Obviously human beings are always protective of infants, often even to the point of outright irrationality, so of course in today's world a majority granted that there could at least possibly be some harm.

    Winnickoff took this surve3y and spun it into newspaper headlines and articles that warned parents of the deadly threat of something he called "thirdhand smoke" (traces of smoke residue on clothing or surfaces around which people at somepoint in history smoked.) The point the newspapers, including the NY Times, particularly liked was the idea that babies might be getting poisoned by radioactive Polonium 210, which as spotlighted by the Times in its closing paragraph was "the highly radioactive carcinogen that was used to murder former Russian spy Alexander V. Litvinenko in 2006."

    Surely any sane parent would be concerned, right? After all, if the NY Times published such a thing it must be important, right? No. I sat down and did some careful calculations on just how dangerous such an exposure might be. For the sake of making the case against "thirdhand smoke" as damning as possible, I even assumed the infant would assiduously spend hours upon hours, every single day of the week, carefully licking every single trace of "thirdhand smoke" off the floor in a smoking household.

    How long would it take such a tot to get the same amount of poison that "was used to murder former Russian spy Alexander V. Litvinenko in 2006" ? A bit of simple math applied to some reasonable assumptions gave an answer:

    Almost three *trillion* years!

    Now since the entire universe is only about ten *billion* years old, the kid would have to do his Mr. Clean floor-licking act for about ten hours a day for about 300x as long as the entire life span of universe. OH.... he'd also have to suspend the normal laws of physics dealing with radioactive half life. OH... he'd also have to hold his goodies in his diaper till the end since normally it would be excreted. You can read the full story, including the analysis arriving at the three trillion years in my Aftercomments just under the "Thirdhand Smoke" article at Global Health Law at:

    This then, is the man who is now warning about submicroscopically invisible nano, pico, femto or atto particles of smoke squeezing their ways along electrical wires and through cracks in the wall to slaughter the poor innocent inhabitants of low-income housing.

    This is of course, simple insanity. Dr. Winickoff and his two lawyers actually are indeed probably suffering from the (initially whimsical) sickness known as ASDS: AntiSmoking Dysfunction Syndrome. And you can read more about that if you wish at:

    I wonder if Gene will return with some comments about me now?

    Michael J. McFadden

    Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

  9. Gravatar for Michael J. McFadden
    Michael J. McFadden

    Tom, you might have to wait a long time. Antismokers like Gene make a career out of hopping around the public plaza throwing mud at people they disagree with, but once anyone starts fighting back they run away faster'n a little girl from a pack of tarantulas.

    Sometimes they come back a week later to try to throw a final mudball when no one is looking: something he can't accuse us of since my posting here took place just seven hours after his and he'd been here three days previously as well.

    - MJM

Comments are closed.

Of Interest