Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Secondhand Smoke Trial Judgement

This is a post which should have particular interest for bloggers, such as this one, this one and this one (who has finished smoking yet defends the rights of those who do), plus many others who believe secondhand smoke, unless in a very enclosed environment, is a serious danger to health.

 In Maryland, US, there has been a trial which the British MSM has ignored.

David Schuman and his wife live in a 'village' designed by Greenbelt Homes Inc. (GHI). His neighbour in the adjoining 'town house' terrace is Darko Popovic and his wife.  Mr Popovik and his wife enjoy a smoke, yet for the past couple of years Mrs Popovic has given up smoking and Mr Popovic has reduced his smoking to a few of an evening in his garden.  He used to enjoy it more when his wife joined him and they could sit outside mulling over the day's events.

Mr Schuman however is not a smoker.  He detests smoking and, according to his evidence has health issues which are affected by secondhand some. He has constantly complained to GHI about the smoke from the Popovics' cigarettes permeating his home.  Although the homes are what would be called new builds, he insisted that GHI's building standards were adequate and paid thousands in having all windows and doors resealed.

Mr Schuman wasn't happy with the responses from complaining to both GHI and Mr Popovic over the years. (He now refuses to discuss the matter with the Popovics), so he took both to court asking for $300,000 from GHI because they wouldn't tell the Popovics to stop smoking because they were breaking the rules of the 'village' and another $300,000 from the Popovics.

Earlier in the case the judge stated the $300,000 claim from Schuman against GHI was not credible, but let a similar claim against the Popovics stand.

The verdict?  You can read it here, but considering the judge's family history, he has shown his personal experiences are not considered in his judgement.

My opinion, for what it's worth, is when James Repace, the biophysicist hired by the plaintiff, found the same level of 'cancer-causing' particles with his monitor in the smoke-free courtroom as he had in Schuman's living room with Darko Popovice smoking outside his own home, was the clincher.

Credit to Judge Albert Northrop for refusing to be influenced by propaganda.  I do not condone smoking, but I do respect the right of people to smoke if they wish and smokers I know are responsible and social individuals.


Edward Spalton said...


This reminded me of the time the local council issued my business with abatement notices, alleging environmental public nuisance. They tried all sorts of things first (rats, mice, soiling the highway, weighty lorries damaging drains, noise, a dangerous chimney which was,in fact, part of the adjacent premises) but eventually settled on smells and dust.

We had over 200 site visits by council officials (never less than in pairs) .
You can argue about smells but dust is measurable and our products were characteristic. So I started three streets out and came inwards in concentric circles, sampling dust every ten paces. There was nothing but a trace which might, or might not have been ours and it didn't increase as I came closer. Then, as a control sample, I went on a Sunday outside the court where the case was due to be heard and did the same. Although it was far away, the background trace was higher than near our factory.

We disclosed the evidence to the council (as is required) and they ran up the white flag within the hour, agreeing to pay our lawyer's fees, if we did some trifling face saving works. I agreed because I had suffered two years of intense worry and loss of development of our business - for which there was no recompense.

A local councillor, we discovered, worked for a property company which owned much of the surrounding area which was becoming "ripe for redevelopment".

Gedguy said...

I was so frightened, after reading this article, that I had to have a fag to calm down.

I've been a smoker all my life and enjoy it, but it's an addictive poison and will one day aid in killing me. The more we stop the younger ones from starting to smoke the better. I have no problem with others smoking [obviously] but not to the risk of others who do not wish to inhale this poison.

Gedguy said...


Your story is an affront to those who are willing to work but not at the expense of building a business just for it to be taken off you by those who have been placed there to look after your interests. This country pretends that it is above corruption and sneers at the 'baksheesh' mentality of the Middle East. Yet we are far worse than they are. Our whole system is rotten to the core and those who are elected to protect us are, sad to say, a major part of the problem.

subrosa said...

Edward, that's a shocking story but I have heard similar over the years. It proves how hard it is to battle those who use our money to fight us.

subrosa said...

Gedguy, I'd be the first to discourage youngsters from smoking but this case shows how ridiculous the science of secondhand smoke is. Similar to Edward's story, the fact that the smoke-free court room had similar traces to the plaintiff's home says it all.

English Pensioner said...

I have been told by a local publican that many of his fellow publicans believe that the incidence of people taking drugs in pubs is on the increase since the smoking ban. "Popping a pill" is not noticed like a cigarette, but the view is some of the customers' behaviour is not warranted by the amount that they have drunk. It's hard to prove, but could be a worrying trend, effectively driving people from what one might call a "mentally harmless" drug to ones which can cause long term mental heath problems.

pa_broon74 said...

I wouldn't buy that argument, popping pills just isn't in the same category as smoking cigarettes (smoking pot, yes. But not a a cigarette.)

I used to be a smoker, for ten years or so, stopped once, then started again then stopped once more. I think in terms of second hand smoke, personally I don't mind, you're far more likely to get hit by a car than die from it, it seems to me life is a risk and it would be the thin end of a dangerous wedge to start legislating against activities, especially when the risk to third parties is not exactly measurable let alone confirmable (if that is even a word.)

I think I heard on the radio they're thinking about banning smoking in cars, I was half asleep when it was on the radio this morning. For me, that would be a step to far. Although, if you've got kids in the car I'm not averse to there being an 'advisory' stop if it was practical.

The Filthy Engineer said...

You might like to read the comments after this posting on Greenpatch. Michael J Mcfadden rips into Mr Repace by asking some very searching questions.


subrosa said...

That doesn't surprise me EP but I haven't heard of it. Mind you I don't know if many of my friends use pubs. Those here are drinking houses really and not too pleasant.

subrosa said...

The science is like the global warming evidence pa_broon - leaves a lot of detail out and picks out what suits the anti-smoking lobby.

Yes that's the BMA's suggestion.

Why they don't just ban smoking altogether I don't know.

Ah! Could it be the treasury would lose billions? Surely not.

subrosa said...

FE, perhaps in the post I should have suggested reading the whole trial (links on the right of the page) was intriguing.

Thanks for that one.

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