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Assignment America: Smoke screens/One of the best articles I have read!
United Press International ^ | 22 August 2002 | John Bloom

Posted on 08/23/2002 5:39:18 PM PDT by SheLion

NEW YORK, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- If you were to be strapped down on a surgical table while four guys exhaled smoke directly into your mouth and nostrils for 30 years, you MIGHT get lung cancer 40 years after they stopped -- but it's not likely.

I'm using this absurd example, because ALL of the other examples in the available scientific literature are equally absurd.

The second-hand smoke scare is a political farce. It was invented in the mid-1990s by the Clinton administration -- it has Hillary's hands all over it -- because anti-smoking radicals, who tend to be like anti-abortion radicals in their zealous devotion to the cause, actually convinced the Environmental Protection Agency to change its "conventional standard for statistical significance" so that second-hand smoke could be proven to be a killer.

Normally nobody but specialists would care -- substandard scientific reports get released all the time -- except that it's now being used to justify anti-smoking legislation that, in the case of New York City, could result in smokers not even being able to light up in their own clubs, their own bars, and, in one case, their own apartment buildings -- even if the place is clearly marked as a smoking establishment.

If Mayor Michael Bloomberg gets his way, they won't even be able to smoke in smoking lounges, cigar bars or tobacco shops.

Wouldn't the American way be to put a big sign on the front of your restaurant? "People Smoke In Here -- Don't Come In If It Bugs You." And then let everyone act like grownups?

The simple fact of the matter is that by about 1990 everyone had reached a compromise on this issue. Smokers would sit in smoking sections.

Ventilation systems would be installed in public buildings. Everyone would live and let live.

Not good enough for the smoke-haters. They knew that arguing against a legal substance on the basis that it was hurting the people who LIKED IT was a losing battle, and un-American besides. But if they could somehow prove that innocent people were dying ...

And so they proved it with "junk science." The Bush administration recently rejected a scientific report, 30 years in the making, signed by some of the top researchers in the world that said fossil fuels were the principle cause of global warming in the form of air pollution. The reason Bush rejected the findings: it was "junk science" from "the bureaucracy."

If that was junk science, then the second-hand smoke research comes from a junkyard infested with giant rats and scavenging stray dogs. Most of the available studies have "confidence intervals" right around 1.0 -- which means no confidence at all. And almost all of them fail to take into account the other sources of air pollution. It's as though our polluted air were made up of 140 parts car exhaust, 70 parts smoke from fossil-fuel-burning factories, 40 parts methane, and .0000001 parts smoke from that guy on the corner sneaking a cigarette on his lunch hour. So what do we do?

KILL THE SMOKER. HE'S DESTROYING THE AIR.

The fact is, there have been 40 epidemiological studies of second-hand smoke, almost all of them based on the experience of non-smokers married to smokers. Thirty-two of them found no evidence of second-hand smoke causing any disease at all. The other eight showed "weak association" -- but in some of the studies there was actually a NEGATIVE result, indicating that non-smoking spouses of smokers are LESS likely to get a serious disease.

Of course, the ones that showed a negative result were thrown out as wacky, but the others are equally wacky. For one thing, they're all infected with what science calls "recall bias." People interviewed are asked to reconstruct smoking patterns over their entire lifetimes, and it's been shown time and again that their memories are faulty, and in many cases, designed to mislead. The non-smoker frequently turns out to be a smoker for a portion of those years; he changes his story for insurance reasons or because of pending litigation. And the non-smoker with lung cancer tends to seek external causes and fasten on the most convenient one, even when we know that a person living in an urban area is subject to multiple possible causes of lung cancer, most of them far more potent than cigarette smoke.

Complicating the issue is the media treatment of second-hand smoke. If you say something often enough, it acquires the patina of truth even if the original basis for it is phony. I could use dozens of examples, but I'll just use the most recent one that I know of. Here's the lead paragraph from a July 12 article in the Globe and Mail, the Canadian newspaper:

"People who are routinely exposed to a lot of secondhand smoke, such as workers in bars and restaurants, can see their risk of lung cancer triple, a new study says. The Canadian study provides some of the most compelling scientific evidence yet for a total ban on workplace smoking, including bars and restaurants."

Okay, now let's look at the study the article was based on. It was published in the International Journal of Cancer and signed by a lead researcher for Health Canada -- a government agency with a vested interest. (Public health agency research tends to be uniformly alarmist.) Even so, the Globe and Mail's report leaves out the most important conclusion in the study:

"Although more years of and more intense residential passive smoke exposure tended to be associated with higher risk estimates, no clear dose-response relationship was evident."

Any particular reason this would be left out? Other than that it's inconvenient? Of course, to report the data without any agency spin on it, you would need to study the tables, evaluate the "confidence intervals," allow for "recall bias," and do all the other things scientists normally do, and journalists SHOULD do.

Apparently Australian journalists are a little more diligent. When the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council released a second-hand smoke report in 1997, the authors decided to omit the statistical tables entirely because they feared the press might study them.

An outraged judge eventually censured the government agency for what he called lying by omission -- the same thing that happened in a North Carolina court case, when a judge said the Environmental Protection Agency's report was rife with "cherry picking" of statistics, and had excluded half the available studies for no good reason. Later the Congressional Research Service issued a blistering report of its own, essentially calling the EPA study irresponsible and alarmist.

The reason the issue of second-hand smoke is such a raging issue right now is that it's being used as the rationale for additional anti-smoking laws. Waiters, bartenders and cooks need to be protected. This is what Bloomberg is basing his whole campaign on.

People might not LIKE smoke. They might find it unpleasant. But it's a huge jump to say it's actually harming their bodies, as though they were coal miners, soon to be diagnosed with Black Lung Disease. In fact, we have two studies that measured Environmental Tobacco Smoke -- the scientific name for it -- and came to the conclusion that, first of all, the smoke inhaled from the air is chemically and physically different from the smoke inhaled from the end of the cigarette, and, secondly, people who work eight hours a day in heavy-smoking environments had the following CE's (Cigarette Equivalents):

Sydney: 0.2

Prague: 1.4

Barcelona: 4.3

That's cigarettes PER YEAR. The worst case they could find had the bartender adding to his cancer risk at the rate of 4.3 cigarettes per year, which is, of course, like saying somebody who eats six Lifesavers is a candidate for heart disease.

Even more to the point, scientists computed what would happen if a 20-by-20-foot room with a 9-foot ceiling were filled with smoke, and then compared that exposure to the EPA's lowest published "danger" doses. Here are the results:

For the lowest level of danger for benzopyrene, you would need to have 222,000 cigarettes burning in the room. For the lowest level of acetone, you would need to burn 118,000 cigarettes. For the lowest level of hydrazine, you would need 14,000 cigarettes. And for toluene, you would need a cool million smokes, all burning at the same time. Unless, of course, you opened the door or window -- then you would need more.

John C. Bailar, writing in the New England Journal of Medicine recently, said that, if you sum up all the available evidence, the MOST alarming case you can make for second-hand smoke being related to disease is "We don't know." (He was primarily writing about heart disease, but the conclusions on lung cancer are similar.)

Bailar was being polite. We know. Get a ventilation fan. Put up a sign. Go to separate rooms. But let's not start a whole new era of Prohibition in which people have to open speakeasies and private clubs just to enjoy a meal or a drink. We can't all afford to go to Paris to smoke.

--

(John Bloom, a smoker, writes a number of columns for UPI and may be contacted at joebob@upi.com or through his Web site at joebobbriggs.com. Snail mail: P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, Texas 75221.)


TOPICS: Activism/Chapters; Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: antismokers; butts; cigarettes; individualliberty; michaeldobbs; niconazis; prohibitionists; pufflist; smokingbans; taxes; tobacco
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Finally! A Journalist who makes sense!
1 posted on 08/23/2002 5:39:19 PM PDT by SheLion
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To: *puff_list; Just another Joe; Gabz; Great Dane; Max McGarrity; Tumbleweed_Connection; red-dawg; ...
Yes Sir! I LIKE this article!!!!


2 posted on 08/23/2002 5:40:21 PM PDT by SheLion
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To: *all
I'm sending this guy a nice email! Finally, someone in the press who makes sense!
3 posted on 08/23/2002 5:41:13 PM PDT by SheLion
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To: SheLion
The second-hand smoke scare is a political farce. It was invented in the mid-1990s by the Clinton administration -- it has Hillary's hands all over it -- because anti-smoking radicals, who tend to be like anti-abortion radicals in their zealous devotion to the cause, actually convinced the Environmental Protection Agency to change its "conventional standard for statistical significance" so that second-hand smoke could be proven to be a killer.

As much as I wish this was true, the bs about second-hand smoke actually started prior to sinkspur and hitlery - but they sure promoted this lie along with all of the other enviro-wacko theories! One of the first things that 'president hitlery' did was to ban smoking in the whitehouse (we all know how billyboy used the cigars - oh well, as long as he didn't actually smoke them!)

4 posted on 08/23/2002 5:54:45 PM PDT by fellowpatriot
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To: SheLion
A book I just read and loved, "The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine," by James Le Fanu, touches on some of this.

Second hand smoke is hardly the only myth. Also mythical are almost all claims linking diet and health.

The original proof that smoking causes lung cancer was impressive. The decline in smoking has saved millions of lives. But subsequent efforts to find other ways people could get healthier by changing their behavior have largely failed.

5 posted on 08/23/2002 5:54:56 PM PDT by Steve Eisenberg
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To: SheLion
Excellent analysis.
6 posted on 08/23/2002 5:55:00 PM PDT by Bahbah
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To: fellowpatriot
(we all know how billyboy used the cigars - oh well, as long as he didn't actually smoke them!)

ewwwwwwww.......what an image I have of THAT! ack! heh!

7 posted on 08/23/2002 5:57:14 PM PDT by SheLion
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To: Steve Eisenberg
Second hand smoke is hardly the only myth. Also mythical are almost all claims linking diet and health.

Right! And look at the war on obesity today. They have to keep the fur flying, I am afraid.

8 posted on 08/23/2002 5:58:23 PM PDT by SheLion
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To: SheLion
That's a bookmark.
9 posted on 08/23/2002 5:59:50 PM PDT by Just another Joe
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To: SheLion
Great article. I went to get my medical checkup to day and told the doctor about the Supreme Court decision concerning second hand smoke. He said he wasn't concerned with second-hand smoke, only first-hand smoke. I told him I've been smoking a pack a day for the last 62 (sixty two) years, so he sent me over to get an x-ray with a sheet of paper on it identifying me as a smoking abuser. When I go back, I'm going to ask him if he identifies people who are overweight as food abusers. Will let you know what the x-rays show. In the meantime, do you have any studies on first-hand smoke I can bone up on? Thanks... Dave
10 posted on 08/23/2002 6:00:51 PM PDT by Eastbound
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To: Steve Eisenberg
The original proof that smoking causes lung cancer was impressive. The decline in smoking has saved millions of lives. But subsequent efforts to find other ways people could get healthier by changing their behavior have largely failed.

This is parallel to the Polio success/HIV failure story.

11 posted on 08/23/2002 6:01:11 PM PDT by AdamSelene235
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To: Just another Joe
That's a bookmark

It's a great article, isn't it Joe? I was really impressed with this one!

12 posted on 08/23/2002 6:01:49 PM PDT by SheLion
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To: Eastbound; All
To the doctor's credit, he agreed that it is not government's call to ban smoking in bars, restaurants, etc, and said it was the decision of the business owners.
13 posted on 08/23/2002 6:04:04 PM PDT by Eastbound
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To: SheLion
ewwwwwwww.......what an image I have of THAT! ack! heh!

Sorry about that - gee, I wonder which method of use is considered better for your health!

14 posted on 08/23/2002 6:06:40 PM PDT by fellowpatriot
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To: Eastbound
I told him I've been smoking a pack a day for the last 62 (sixty two) years, so he sent me over to get an x-ray with a sheet of paper on it identifying me as a smoking abuser.

I would have stood up and told him that he just lost a patient and walked out the door.
I'll be DAMNED if I take that type of abuse from ANYBODY.
If my physician says that that worries her and would like me to get an x-ray, that's one thing. When they do what you just described they can KISS MY A$$.

15 posted on 08/23/2002 6:06:58 PM PDT by Just another Joe
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To: fellowpatriot
Sorry about that - gee, I wonder which method of use is considered better for your health!

I guess that would depend on whether you had a reaction to smoke or tobacco. ;^)

16 posted on 08/23/2002 6:08:40 PM PDT by Just another Joe
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To: Eastbound
Will let you know what the x-rays show. In the meantime, do you have any studies on first-hand smoke I can bone up on?

A smoker abuser? That's pretty cruel. And your right: Does he call obese patients "food abusers?" That's really sad, coming from a professional. I would kick his butt.

Well, nothing but common sense in the way of smoking. Its like anything else......nothing is good for us, so we pick and choose what we like that isn't good for us.


17 posted on 08/23/2002 6:08:54 PM PDT by SheLion
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To: SheLion
The only think that bothers me about smoke is that having asthma, being in a room with smokers literally takes my breath away. I have to leave.
But, just for the record..I have told off 2 petitioners asking me to sign to ban smoking. I told them "NO ..leave the smokers alone!"....even though I can't be around them in closed in places.
18 posted on 08/23/2002 6:09:49 PM PDT by Sungirl
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To: Just another Joe
Smoking Abuser.

Isn't that awful, Joe? I would have kicked him in the butt!

19 posted on 08/23/2002 6:10:19 PM PDT by SheLion
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To: Just another Joe
I'd just love to see a study on that! Hee, hee!
20 posted on 08/23/2002 6:10:31 PM PDT by fellowpatriot
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To: Eastbound
I smoked while pregnant and all three boys weighed over eight pounds. Maybe if I didn't smoke I would have had girls! Just kidding. My youngest is 28 years old. None of them have respiratory problems.
The last two times I have had chest X-rays in general checkups, they were fine. Once, I had quit smoking for a short time but started in again. My doctor told me my lungs looked healthy again. I wonder what that was all about?
21 posted on 08/23/2002 6:11:48 PM PDT by Jaidyn
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To: Sungirl
..I have told off 2 petitioners asking me to sign to ban smoking. I told them "NO ..leave the smokers alone!"....even though I can't be around them in closed in places.

Well, there is plenty of room for all of us, Sungirl. I realize people don't like to be around smoke. I respect that. That's why we want to keep smoking businesses and non-smoking business, so everyone can live happy! :)

22 posted on 08/23/2002 6:13:15 PM PDT by SheLion
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To: Sungirl
The only think that bothers me about smoke is that having asthma, being in a room with smokers literally takes my breath away.

I can only say that if we were in the same room and I knew about that I would have the common decency to smoke elsewhere.
I couldn't do anything BUT that.

23 posted on 08/23/2002 6:13:19 PM PDT by Just another Joe
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To: SheLion
Puffer propaganda.
24 posted on 08/23/2002 6:16:02 PM PDT by BushMeister
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To: Jaidyn
Jaidyn, I smoked while pg as well. And my girl weighed almost 9 lbs! And she never had asthma. She smokes now, and has her own baby. It's all propaganda. I don't believe none of them. And the Doctor's are being programmed to slam it to us.
25 posted on 08/23/2002 6:16:20 PM PDT by SheLion
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To: BushMeister
Puffer propaganda

What?

26 posted on 08/23/2002 6:17:37 PM PDT by SheLion
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To: SheLion
I can't believe this smoker circle-jerk. Do you people believe that smoking is hazardous to a smoker's health, in the very least, or not? I can't imagine you don't.

By extension, if the mechanism for transmitting the harmful elements into a smoker's body result from LIGHTING CARCINOGENS ON FIRE AND INHALING THEM, I don't want to be around you when you're doing that.

Sure, we can discuss other issues of exposure, build-up, etc., but I reject the notion that second-hand smoke is harmless. I also am amazed by the mothers crowing about their failure to stop smoking while pregnant.

27 posted on 08/23/2002 6:24:23 PM PDT by BushMeister
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To: Jaidyn
My mother smoked thru all eight pregnancies - none of us had ANY respitory problems, none whatsoever. I smoked when I was pregnant with my son (I tried quitting for three days and my poor husband begged me to start again I turned into such a beeaaatch). My son was 8.8 lbs at birth. Today he is 16, stands 6'3", weighs about 190 lbs and plays varsity basketball. He's as healthy as a horse!
28 posted on 08/23/2002 6:25:22 PM PDT by fellowpatriot
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To: SheLion
We have a bar and smokers are the main source of revenue. Non-smokers come in and complain (there is no smoking section)and are told to sit away from the smoke or are ignored. My other half doesn't smoke but says there is no way anyone is going to dictate who smokes or don't smoke in there. Why do nonsmokers want to be where smokers are? I sure avoid places where my Winstons aren't welcome.
29 posted on 08/23/2002 6:26:09 PM PDT by Jaidyn
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To: fellowpatriot
It's all propaganda. If you notice today, a lot of the young mothers don't smoke, yet their baby's are sick as dogs.
30 posted on 08/23/2002 6:27:47 PM PDT by SheLion
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To: BushMeister
Show me some hard evidence that smoking causes lung cancer.
31 posted on 08/23/2002 6:28:33 PM PDT by fellowpatriot
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To: BushMeister
Sure, we can discuss other issues of exposure, build-up, etc., but I reject the notion that second-hand smoke is harmless. I also am amazed by the mothers crowing about their failure to stop smoking while pregnant.

I don't know who you are, but it's none of your damn business. At least we aren't obese!

I guess you would rather we abort our baby's eh?

32 posted on 08/23/2002 6:29:29 PM PDT by SheLion
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To: SheLion
Just got it via e-mail from Roxxon, have it printed already. :-}
33 posted on 08/23/2002 6:29:29 PM PDT by Great Dane
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To: Jaidyn
I sure avoid places where my Winstons aren't welcome.

You and me both! We absolutely refuse to spend our hard earned money at a place that doesn't accomodate us. No way! If we can't smoke in a restaurant/bar, we take our money to the place where we can!

We refuse to pay for that personal abuse.

34 posted on 08/23/2002 6:31:30 PM PDT by SheLion
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To: Great Dane
Just got it via e-mail from Roxxon, have it printed already. :-}

Great Dane, this is one of the best articles I have read in a long time. I got it from Roxx, too, and slapped it on FR! heh! It's really good, isn't it!

35 posted on 08/23/2002 6:32:56 PM PDT by SheLion
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To: SheLion
We refuse to pay for that personal abuse.

Good for you! I feel the same way!

36 posted on 08/23/2002 6:33:29 PM PDT by fellowpatriot
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To: SheLion
Anybody who believes that cigarette smoke is not dangerous (especially when it comes off the end of cig and not through the filter) is a total dumbass.
37 posted on 08/23/2002 6:34:43 PM PDT by Dawgs of War
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To: Dawgs of War
Anybody who believes that cigarette smoke is not dangerous (especially when it comes off the end of cig and not through the filter) is a total dumbass

Listen, daaaaawgs........I think any anti who tries to dismiss the findings of the U.S.
Department of Energy labs at Oak Ridge, should be confronted with the
question: "Are you saying that DOE researchers committed scientific
fraud and that their findings on ETS exposure are untrue?"


Oak Ridge Labs & Second Hand Smoke

Statistics and Data Sciences Group Projects....so how do you explain that, Daawgs?

38 posted on 08/23/2002 6:38:55 PM PDT by SheLion
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To: Just another Joe
I guess you'll show everybody won't you, when you are gasping for breath or dying of cancer. Your post is the typical response of a fool.
39 posted on 08/23/2002 6:38:57 PM PDT by Dawgs of War
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To: Jaidyn
Sounds good, Jaidyn. I've had no problems either. . . except for one of my grandchildren who won't come in the house anymore after being brain-washed in school about second-hand smoke.

Looks like they are going to start equating smokers with drug abusers. The doctor said that even one cigarette a day is smoking abuse. This is a VA doctor, and is probably using the new federal terminology created by the Fabian Fascist NGO's working for the UN's WHO.

40 posted on 08/23/2002 6:40:46 PM PDT by Eastbound
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To: Dawgs of War
Anybody who believes that cigarette smoke is not dangerous (especially when it comes off the end of cig and not through the filter) is a total dumbass

Listen, daaaaawgs........I think any anti who tries to dismiss the findings of the U.S.
Department of Energy labs at Oak Ridge, should be confronted with the
question: "Are you saying that DOE researchers committed scientific
fraud and that their findings on ETS exposure are untrue?"


Oak Ridge Labs & Second Hand Smoke

Statistics and Data Sciences Group Projects....so how do you explain that, Daawgs?

41 posted on 08/23/2002 6:41:12 PM PDT by SheLion
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To: Dawgs of War
I guess you'll show everybody won't you, when you are gasping for breath or dying of cancer. Your post is the typical response of a fool.

Your an idiot. Go play in traffic little boy.

42 posted on 08/23/2002 6:42:12 PM PDT by SheLion
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To: SheLion
"To: BushMeister Sure, we can discuss other issues of exposure, build-up, etc., but I reject the notion that second-hand smoke is harmless. I also am amazed by the mothers crowing about their failure to stop smoking while pregnant. I don't know who you are, but it's none of your damn business. At least we aren't obese! I guess you would rather we abort our baby's eh?"
Right on SheLion this clown is an ass!
43 posted on 08/23/2002 6:42:53 PM PDT by LuigiBasco
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To: SheLion
You are in denial. Your responses sound like the typical BS of a heroin junkie. But you just keep on puffing. You'll show us all won't you. What an idiot you are.
44 posted on 08/23/2002 6:42:58 PM PDT by Dawgs of War
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To: LuigiBasco
Right on SheLion this clown is an ass!

Well, he doesn't need to be coming in here and flaming us! Who does he think HE is!

45 posted on 08/23/2002 6:44:25 PM PDT by SheLion
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To: Dawgs of War
Your post is the typical response of a fool.

So say you. Only one out of three smokers ever develop ANY kind of smoking related illness.
It's a choice I make. If my doctor wants to be concerned about my health I will accept that.
If my doctor wants to CHASTISE me about my choice I will find another doctor. The doctor works for ME not the other way around.

46 posted on 08/23/2002 6:45:09 PM PDT by Just another Joe
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To: *puff_list; Just another Joe; Gabz; Great Dane; Max McGarrity; Tumbleweed_Connection; red-dawg; ...
You are in denial. Your responses sound like the typical BS of a heroin junkie. But you just keep on puffing. You'll show us all won't you. What an idiot you are.

Who the hell IS this idiot?

47 posted on 08/23/2002 6:45:36 PM PDT by SheLion
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To: BushMeister
Puffer propaganda.

As opposed to ANTI SMOKER propaganda. ?

48 posted on 08/23/2002 6:45:58 PM PDT by Great Dane
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To: Dawgs of War
Barf alert

49 posted on 08/23/2002 6:46:08 PM PDT by LuigiBasco
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To: Dawgs of War
You want to come in here and get educated and talk sense, we can do that. But I refuse to let you flame me or anyone in here.

What are you, a Clinton Lap Dog?

50 posted on 08/23/2002 6:46:45 PM PDT by SheLion
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