Sep
28
2007

Quit smoking and make an accordion happy!

Breathing easier: Irish accordions are happier these days now that they're being played in smoke-free venues. Build up of soot and odors in the instruments was impacting the sounds that they make. (Flickr photo by schwa23)
Breathing easier: Irish accordions are happier these days now that they're being played in smoke-free venues. Build up of soot and odors in the instruments was impacting the sounds that they make. (Flickr photo by schwa23)
Minnesota’s statewide smoking ban starts on Monday (Oct. 1) and humans aren’t the only one who’ll benefit from it.

According to a study being conducted in Ireland, musical instruments that are played in the now smoke-free bars and pubs of that country are experiencing a better quality of their life. The new findings have recently been published in the British Medical Journal.

But the more you think about it, instruments like an accordion are a lot more like a set of lungs than anything else. They draw in and exhale air to create their, uh, unique sound.

The Irish smoking ban in public places has been in effect since 2004. And while many studies have been conducted to test the health benefits to people who work in the pubs, bars and restaurants that now have cleaner air, this new study is the first to look at the impact on instruments. And not so coincidently, one of the researchers is an accordion player. Other instruments checked out in the study were concertinas, melodeons and Uilleann (Irish) bagpipes, all of which are bellows-driven.

How do they know the instruments are happier and healthier since the ban? Researchers contacted the repair workers for the instruments in the country. They reported that prior to the ban, they’d get a blast of foul odors when opening up the instruments to do repairs. They also found sooty particles in the tubing and chambers of the instrument. Get enough of that gunk in there, and the tones the instrument was putting out could be affected.

Now there’s something to dance a jig about!

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

That is good that they are banding smoking because it is a bad habit to start on.

posted on Sat, 09/29/2007 - 6:40pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

smoking is the way of life get over it

posted on Tue, 10/02/2007 - 1:22pm
TobyGreenhorn's picture
TobyGreenhorn says:

If musical instruments are ‘happier’ in a smoke-free environment, how much more people around you? I think it is just being more conscious and responsible, not only to ourselves, but to the people around us. A few friends took a step program to help themselves quit smoking, starting from alternatives like e cigarettes, and then eventually moved on quitting completely. They say that it is just a responsibility they have towards the people they love and to keep them happier.

posted on Mon, 07/15/2013 - 4:54am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

that is a great idea!!!!! i live in SD and my mom smokes. i wish i lived in MN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

posted on Sat, 09/29/2007 - 6:40pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I am from Wisconsin and the city we live in has a smoking ban. I think it is wonderful! Food tastes better! We can go out as a family and not feel sick the following day due to the second hand smoke in the air, our clothing doesn't smell due to the folks puffing it up around us...

posted on Sun, 09/30/2007 - 11:21am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

what is this.... the ussr??? I thougth we defated fascism and communism.

posted on Sun, 09/30/2007 - 11:25am
Thor's picture
Thor says:

Actually, the real tyrany involved here is nicotine and the power it wields over tobacco users. Those hooked on smoking have little freedom or choice to simply quit, but have to go through a painful, arduous process to quit. I think it's government's perfect right and responsibility to make smoking less common. There is so much information out there about the dangers of smoking, anyone who chooses to do it needs the goverment's intervention to help them live a healthier, safer life, and preventing others from having to be exposed to health risks by smokers' irresponsiblity.

posted on Tue, 10/02/2007 - 12:11pm
Carole's picture
Carole says:

I'm happy to be living in Minnesota, where finally our lawmakers have guts enough to pass some healthy laws. Everyone should have the right not to subject themselves to smoky environments, so I believe all restaurants and bars should be smoke free. If you want to smoke...feel free to step outside and do so. Most bars are now building special areas outside that make it pretty nice for the smokers. Also, it's not right that the bartenders and waitresses have to breathe the smoke if they don't want to. Actually, knowing what we know about smoking and lung cancer, why do we even allow cigarettes to be made??? When will the world wake???? Carole

posted on Sun, 09/30/2007 - 3:22pm
Carole's more thoughtful partner's picture
Carole's more thoughtful partner says:

My girlfriend is cracked. She thinks the ban is a good thing. She thinks cigarettes should be banned. She thinks anything that's unhealthy with all this evidence should be legislated out of existence. Yeah, right.

Autos kill 48,000 people per year. Malpractice by physicians is responsible for 120,000 deaths per year. Swimmming pools kill kids at a horrific rate. If we eliminate all these risks to human health, the earth could not support us. Sure it's a dumb argument or reason to allow these unsafe practices to continue, but ban doctors while your at it. Quit picking on one industry, alone. Cigarettes don't kill as many people as doctors. Put it in perspective.

I don't smoke. Don't like it, either. But I want the choice. I choose not to be a waitress or a bartender. Let people make choices for themselves. Let them choose to go to a smoke-free bar. Let the market decide.

posted on Sun, 09/30/2007 - 3:33pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Sorry, but your argument doesn't make much sense. The automobile and medical industries are two of the mostly governmentally regulated there are. When it comes to people's lives, letting "the market decide" is foolish.

Let's take cars as an example. There are some very strict government regulations when it comes to automobile safety. These regulations make cars more expensive. If these regulations weren't in place, car makers would be free to build much cheaper cars. People would buy them because they're inexpensive. And many, many more people would die in car crashes each year.

Free markets are good for commodities. Do you consider your life a commodity?

posted on Sat, 10/20/2007 - 3:16am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

No, but I do consider my life my own.

I think the truth lies somewhere between these two positions. Virtually all activities are dangerous if done improperly. Virtually all activities are safe if done properly. Where do you draw the line?

Each of us has out own opinion about what constitutes an acceptable risk. I should be free to engage in activities if I know and accept the risks.

But -- and here's the problem -- what if my activity put somebody else at risk? I may be willing to accept the risk of driving my car 90 mph. But at that speed, I'm far more likely to hit somebody else, and far more likely to kill or injure them if I do. And they probably do not accept that risk.

At that point society, in the form of government, establishes rules and regulations, and sets a level of risk that reasonable for all. (Since follow-up studies are showing that second-hand smoke may not be as dangerous as once thought, this activity may not require government regulation. The smoker knows and accepts the risks of smoking; if their behavior doesn't impact anyone else, then it's nobody else's business.)

Of course there's an additional complicating factor -- medical insurance. If someone engages in risky behavior -- smoking cigarettes, eating cheeseburgers, riding a motorcycle without a helmet -- and lands in a hospital, they can run up some serious medical bills. The insurance company pays, and passes the costs on to the rest of us in the form of higher premiums. I don't like having to pay for someone else's foolish choices. Unfortunately, the options seem to be outlaw all risky behavior (thus infringing on personal liberty), or refusing to insure people who engage in such behaviors (thus creating a lot of human misery).

posted on Sat, 10/20/2007 - 10:11am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

What wouldl u have to say but smoking if u were the one addicted to it would u be affended

posted on Sat, 10/20/2007 - 11:59am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

I would say it was my choice. I accepted the risks; I accept the consequences.

posted on Sat, 10/20/2007 - 9:34pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Gene wrote:
"Since follow-up studies are showing that second-hand smoke may not be as dangerous as once thought"

Please don't throw around statements like that without backing it up with facts. Where is a credible report of the "studies" you mention?

posted on Sat, 10/20/2007 - 6:29pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

The British Medical Journal: "The results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality, although they do not rule out a small effect. The association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer may be considerably weaker than generally believed."

American Journal of Epidemiology: "We found a rather remarkably low SMR [standardized incidence ratio] for lung cancer among female cabin attendants and no increase for male cabin attendants, indicating that smoking and exposure to passive smoking may not play an important role in mortality in this group."

Journal of the National Cancer Institute: "In contrast to the results of previous studies, this study found no association between exposure to ETS and female breast cancer mortality."

All on the very first page I found when searching for "second hand smoke not dangerous" on Ask.com. There were several others, but life is short.

posted on Sat, 10/20/2007 - 9:33pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I read the studies you linked to. Here's what I found...

The British Medical Journal:
First, this study says that there IS a relationship between secondhand smoke and cancer, but that they found it to be weaker than what other studies have found. One reason this study could be different from the others is that it was based on at-home exposure of smoker/non-smoker couples. The amount of smoke generated by 1 person at home (assuming they smoked inside, which this study had no control for) is nothing compared to a bar with dozens, if not 100+ smokers. Show me a study on bartenders proving that secondhand smoke doesn't cause lung cancer, then we'll talk.

American Journal of Epidemiology:
This study compares airline attendants to the public in general. There was no comparison within the group for non-smoking attendants vs attendants that smoked. For all we know, the majority of the attendants were smokers and/or regularly exposed to secondhand smoke somewhere else -- especially since the study has a sample group starting in 1953.

Journal of the National Cancer Institute:
This study only looked at breast cancer death rates. Last time I checked, smoking affects your lungs more than any other part of the body. And breast cancer is far more treatable than lung cancer. The study says nothing about the number of non-lethal cases of breast cancer. It also doesn't say what the lung cancer rates in the sample group were.

Conclusion: None of the studies you linked to are at all convincing in arguing that secondhand smoke doesn't cause lung cancer.

Here's a page with a bunch of studies saying that secondhand smoke does cause lung cancer.

posted on Sun, 10/21/2007 - 4:46am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Gotta disagree with you there. The extraordinary steps taken to ban smoking require extraordinary evidence to back them up. These studies either fail to find a link, or find one much weaker than would justify the actions we are discussing.

If you want more:

A study published in the journal Indoor + Built Environment found an 18% increase in lung cancer risk from second hand smoke. Sounds terrible, right? Well, no. In statistical studies, an increase has to be at least 200% before we can be reasonably certain that we are seeing a real cause-and-effect, and not just a statistical anomaly.

A paper presented at the international conference of the American Lung Association finds that "Passive cigarette smoke often has been thought to increase the risk of active asthma, but studies to date have not demonstrated this association convincingly."

A study published in the International Journal of Cancer finds no statistically significant relationships between second-hand smoke and cancer.

A study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute finds that "exposure during childhood was not associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. ... No clear dose-response relationship could be demonstrated for cumulative spousal ETS exposure. The OR for ever exposure to workplace ETS was 1.17, with possible evidence of increasing risk for increasing duration of exposure. ... Ever exposure to ETS from other sources was not associated with lung cancer risk. ''

I suspect there may be more. I’m not even half-way through the first page of the first site on Ask.com.

Meanwhile, there are problems with the studies used to support smoking bans.

Congress found the 1992 EPA study which started this whole craze to be faulty.

The British Medical Journal has found " clear evidence of publication bias” in studies condemning second-hand smoke.

Another study finds that estimates of second-hand smoke in a free smoking environment are greatly overestimated.

One famous study now stands accused of fraud.

And most telling of all, the courts have ruled that second hand smoke is not a class A carcinogen.

posted on Mon, 10/22/2007 - 10:04am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

The arguments the person made make sense. Those first three studies don't have good samples for testing second hand smoke in places like bars and lung cancer. I think that's the point they were making and I agree with them. Some of these other ones might be better but the other part is that the public pays more for insurance because of smokers. Their behavior is causing other people monetary harm.

posted on Mon, 10/22/2007 - 9:28pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

I actually don't know the answer to this, so I'll pose the question: Do smokers really increase insurance costs for everyone else?

It's a very logical position.

But I wonder about three things:

  1. Since we would expect smokers to die earlier, are the costs they incur due to lung cancer, emphysema, etc., canceled out by the lack of elder care costs, etc?
  2. Of the money received in the gigantic tobacco settlements, very little went to smokers, in terms of smoking cessation programs, etc. Does that money offset whatever insurance costs are passed along to non-smokers?
  3. It's easy to demonize smokers. And maybe fair, since some 20% of the adult population of the US smokes. But we don't (yet) put the onus on, for example, morbidly obese people for their health care costs. We don't put the burden on, for example, people who use fertility drugs to conceive high-order multiple pregnancies, with all the related hospital costs. In most cases, these other two examples are also avoidable behaviors with a high societal cost.
posted on Tue, 10/23/2007 - 10:13am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Regarding number 1: There are "end of life" costs no matter how someone dies. I don't know if smokers' costs are more or less than average, but if smokers have a significantly shorter life, that means they paid less into the overall insurance system (private or government) and that makes the cost for those that live longer (non-smokers) go up.

posted on Sun, 10/28/2007 - 3:48am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

>> No, but I do consider my life my own.

Smoking affects the people around you, not just you.

>> Virtually all activities are dangerous if done improperly. Virtually all activities are safe if done properly.

There is no safe amount of smoking. Plus, it's addicting.

posted on Sun, 10/21/2007 - 5:13am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

>> No, but I do consider my life my own.

Smoking affects the people around you, not just you.

That is precisely what we are debating.

>> Virtually all activities are dangerous if done improperly. Virtually all activities are safe if done properly.

There is no safe amount of smoking. Plus, it's addicting.

Tell that to George Burns.

posted on Mon, 10/22/2007 - 9:22am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i think ur right

posted on Sat, 10/20/2007 - 11:27am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Say somebody u know got killed by secondary smoking

posted on Sat, 10/20/2007 - 12:00pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

I would be very sad. Now, say somebody you know died in a car crash. Would you outlaw automobiles? Say somebody slipped and fell in the shower. Should we outlaw bathing? Say somebody drowns. Shall we outlaw swimming?

I hope the answer to all of these is "no." We want things to be reasonably safe, but we must accept that nothing is perfectly safe. If our threshold is "if it hurts one person, it must be banned," then EVERYTHING will be banned. As a society, we need to find a reasonable balance between personal liberty, personal responsibility, and public safety.

When it comes to second-hand smoke, I do not know where that line is. I am not a smoker, never have been, never will be. But I suspect an acceptable level of exposure is somewhere south of "total prohibition."

posted on Sat, 10/20/2007 - 9:41pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Gene wrote:
"Now, say somebody you know died in a car crash. Would you outlaw automobiles? Say somebody slipped and fell in the shower. Should we outlaw bathing? Say somebody drowns. Shall we outlaw swimming?"

These examples are ridiculous and have no parallel to secondhand smoke. We're not talking about something that hurts one person. And regarding your various comments about personal liberties, I say this: If someone chooses to smoke, they endanger them self. If someone smokes around other people, they're endangering other people.

If you change your examples to account for the fact that smoking hurts more than just the person smoking...

Would you outlaw KILLING OTHERS WITH automobiles?

Say somebody PUSHED SOMEONE ELSE AND MADE THEM slip and fall in the shower. Should we outlaw that?

Say somebody drowns SOMEONE ELSE. Shall we outlaw that?

I would hope the answer to all of these is YES.

posted on Sun, 10/21/2007 - 5:02am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

These examples are exact parallels. Cars, showers, drowning etc. all kill far more than one person. If someone chooses to speed, they are endangering many people.

In 1992, the EPA estimated that Second Hand Smoke killed 3,000 people a year. Even if we accept this at face value, that's a lot less than are killed by drunk drivers or many other causes.

Yes, I would outlaw killing people deliberately in the ways you mention. However, I would not outlaw automobiles, showers or swimming altogether.

posted on Mon, 10/22/2007 - 9:25am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

>> These examples are exact parallels. Cars, showers, drowning etc. all kill far more than one person. If someone chooses to speed, they are endangering many people.

No, they're not parallels. You didn't say anything about speeding in your original example. You said "say somebody you know died in a car crash. Would you outlaw automobiles?" That situation as you described it is not related to the action of another person. "Say somebody you know was killed by a drunk driver. Would you outlaw driving drunk?" is a parallel. The action of one affects another person. That's not how you presented any of your original examples. Your examples used direct, first party consequences, not second party consequences. You are wrong.

>> In 1992, the EPA estimated that Second Hand Smoke killed 3,000 people a year. Even if we accept this at face value, that's a lot less than are killed by drunk drivers or many other causes.

So you're ok with people dying, due to no fault of their own, so long as it's a small enough number? Cuz that's sure what it sounds like. By that logic, someone might assume you think lynching should be ok... "hey, drunk drivers kill more people!" Just because one action kills more people than another, doesn't make the first ok.

posted on Mon, 10/22/2007 - 10:00pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

We are talking about accidental deaths. The parallels, while not exact, seem fine to me.

As for the number of deaths, there's a reason they call Economics "the dismal science." Society makes these kinds of trade-offs all the time. Having electricity in everybody's home means there will be a certain number of deaths by electrocution every year. But, we recognize that having electricity in our homes is a tremendous boon, enabling us to do an enormous number of things. So we put safety measures in place, accept the small risk, and enjoy the vast benefit.

As for lynching, the argument is specious. Lynching is legally murder -- there is intent, malice, and the lack of any mitigating excuse. It is also a form of terrorism. Second-hand smoke, even if it does contribute to people's deaths (an assertion which a number of studies have called into question), is at best reckless endangerment -- a far far less serious offense.

posted on Thu, 10/25/2007 - 11:49am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Dying from smoking is no accident. Everyone knows that cigarette smoke kills.

posted on Sun, 10/28/2007 - 3:37am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Inhaling somebody else's smoke -- which is what we're talking about -- would be accidental, or at the very least non-intentional.

The lethality of second-hand smoke, if it exists, is very minor.

posted on Sun, 10/28/2007 - 5:29pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Smoking is not a "tremendous boon". It has no benefits at all. It addicts people and then it kills them.

posted on Sun, 10/28/2007 - 3:53am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

No benefits at all? I know several million smokers who would beg to differ.

posted on Sun, 10/28/2007 - 5:26pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

And they'd be wrong. And dead.

posted on Tue, 11/06/2007 - 12:22am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

If they are enjoying their smokes, they are not wrong.

If they are smoking now, they are not dead.

posted on Tue, 11/06/2007 - 8:56am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

smoking is just sick

posted on Tue, 11/06/2007 - 10:35am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i want everything banned. even happyness. what i mean is that i want the pursuit of happyness (starring will smith) to be banned. that movie wasn't very good. not very good at all. plus the popcorn was stale. i like popcorn.

posted on Sun, 10/21/2007 - 2:09pm
Doug's picture
Doug says:

As a person who grew up in a home where both parents smoked (2 & 1 pack per day), I must live with the possibility of contracting lung cancer at some point in my life - at no fault of my own. (NOTE: My father passed in 1990, partially as a result of complications caused by smoking [but not lung cancer]). Will I get it? Only time will tell. If I don't, does that make secondhand smoke less deadly? Studies tell us no. As parents, do we regularly subject our children to risky, and potentially deadly behavior, or do we allow our children to participate in such behavior? I'm guessing not.

I'm all for personal freedoms, but as many have stated before me, when it starts to inflict on the personal rights of others, where is the personal freedom of those affected?

I'm completely in favor of the smoking ban. It will make many more places more acceptable to a greater majority of individuals, especially children, as a result.

posted on Sun, 10/21/2007 - 1:44pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I feel that smoking is a sign of weakness. You smokers should get on the ball and quit today. You are not providing any good by smoking. I hope that cirgarettes go to $11.00 per pack. Then it might pay for the addiditonal health insurance you people are going to need.

Get REAL!!!!!!

posted on Sun, 10/21/2007 - 3:37pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Yeah! That's right for making more accordians happy. Prior to that, I supposed that they are breathing second-hand smoke which is even worse. Now there's the ban, I'm sure it will really improves the quality of life.

Brian

posted on Sun, 10/28/2007 - 1:56am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i think smoking is very stupid. not only are you basically killing yourself, but you are killing the people around you even faster. so if you smoke and you are reading this, or oyu know someone who smokes...help them stop!!!!!

posted on Tue, 11/06/2007 - 11:41am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

smoking is bad!!! do not do it!!! you will kill yourself!!!! do not smoke!!!!

posted on Tue, 11/06/2007 - 11:43am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

omg smoking is so bad make the right decision and do not do it

posted on Tue, 11/06/2007 - 1:51pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

let people make their own decisions.

posted on Tue, 11/06/2007 - 2:56pm

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