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Greenbelt community meeting on secondhand smoke highlights nonsmokers' rights

“That’s life.”

So muttered the woman next to me at a community meeting convened last night in the Greenbelt Community Center last night to discuss the problem of intrusion of secondhand smoke from one apartment to another. The woman was not very sympathetic to the plight of nonsmokers. What an appalling comment. I wonder how she would feel if she was the one breathing secondhand smoke all the time.

The meeting was called by David Schuman, who is suing his Greenbelt Homes neighbor over secondhand smoke that regularly seeps into Schuman’s apartment. The idea was to discuss the issue with his neighbors and provide information.

Also presenting were James Repace, a reknowned health physicist and expert on secondhand smoke; John O’Hara, founder of Maryland GASP; a couple from Montgomery County who are suing a condo neighbor over secondhand smoke; and a woman from Montgomery County who also is suing over a neighbor’s secondhand smoke.

The room was packed and the discussion lively. A few good points were made:

First, that secondhand smoke is a poison. There is no safe level of exposure to it. Second, that the situation of one resident’s smoke intruding into another resident’s home is no different from other things deemed nuisances by most condo boards and apartment managers. For instance, many condo rules have clauses prohibiting noxious cooking smells or loud noises.

One woman, a neighbor of Schuman’s who has had to use her asthma inhaler and sleep in another room because of cigarette smoke coming into her home, noted that if a resident were burning tires and sending toxic fumes into other dwellings, the coop and city would immediately order him to stop.

Ben Kramer, a Maryland state delegate, was in attendance. He has taken an interest in the issue. Let’s hope he can do something when the Legislature convenes next year.

In the meantime, to the woman who muttered “that’s life,” may your neighbor start burning tires in his backyard tomorrow.


1 comment to Greenbelt community meeting on secondhand smoke highlights nonsmokers’ rights

  • MOLE WARNING: There’s a Greenbelt Community On-line newsletter operated by the Greenbelt Patch that has carried several stories on the Schuman v. GHI & Popovic trial. The site has a Message Board, which has been attacked by semi-pro Tobacco Industry Spammers with the obvious intent of drowning out support for Schuman. According to Gene Borio, who operates an extremely informative daily tobacco newsletter, these spammers, who go by the names of Michael J. McFadden, a FORCES.org columnist, as well as Kevin Mulvina, and Magnetic, among several others, invariably pollute the message boards relating to on-line tobacco-related stories with the clear intent of drowning out alternative opinion with their fanatical flat-earth pseudo-science. Some webmasters have become wise to this, and some moderated sites have banned these industry moles. Unfortunately this has not happened with the Patch blog.:
    http://greenbelt.patch.com/articles/witness-testimony-ends-in-secondhand-smoke-trial

  • Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    “semi-pro Tobacco Industry Spammers” Mr. Repace?

    Would you care to define that term a bit more precisely? I’m sure you didn’t mean it to have any libelous intent such as inferring that we work for the tobacco industry or get paid to post articles on blogs and news boards. Still, although *I* might be sure you had no such intent, you might want to clarify that for others who might be unintentionally misled.

    You also noted that we posted “with the obvious intent of drowning out support for Schuman.” Actually, I think readers of that link will find that at least three quarters of the anti-ban postings there actually had the “clear intent” of asking you to back up the assertions you made in your initial posting and elsewhere. Such requests were sadly unfulfilled as readers will note by the enumerated 13th time I asked you to provide just a couple of simple studies to back up your concerns about endothelial dysfunction occurring in cases such as Schuman’s.

    As for Mr. Borio under his multiplicity of pseudo-anonymous internet handles, readers here might enjoy Googling:

    McFadden AND Geneb

    and, once you inform Google you did NOT mean “Geneva,” you’ll find many of Gene’s information-rich and content-filled on topic postings sharing board space with my own sundry efforts. You can try it with GeneBB and GeneBBB and GeneBBBB and GeneB5 and just plain Gene as well, but I think GeneB gives the best results.

    Mr. Repace, thank you for making me aware of SmokeFreeDC’s board. We’ll see if they’re able to tolerate sometimes contrary views or if they have to hide their weaknesses behind censorship.

    Michael J. McFadden
    (Who will avoid noting his competing interest here, not because he wishes to hide it, but because it might be used by a board censor as an excuse.)

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