The official justification for banning smoking in the workplace here is the risk posed by tobacco smoke. Evidence emerged that tobacco smoke contains carcinogens, or human cancer causing agents. Although many studies countered that the amount of these agents was minuscule and there were safe levels of exposure, the official view declared in reply that there were no safe levels of carcinogens and that was that.
On the basis of this perceived threat, we have had fourteen years of attacks on smokers including massive price increases, the addition of sickening images to the boxes, outdoor bans and restrictions as well as the original blanket ban and much more as well. There is zero tolerance of smoking, no debate is permitted, fines of €3,000's for smoking in the workplace exist and even some surgeons are refusing operations to smokers unless they quit. So you can take it as read that carcinogenic smoke has been practically outlawed in this country.
Back in 2006, Edmund Contoski wrote a very intelligent article on carcinogens and in it he points out that, "We live in a world of carcinogens. They are everywhere. They are in the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil we walk on. They are produced by plants, trees, bacteria, fungi, and our own bodies. Human blood contains many carcinogens; if it were an industrial product, it would be classed as a toxic substance. Our saliva contains nitrates, which are carcinogens. All human sex hormones are carcinogens." It's a long read but worth it if you are truly concerned about carcinogens and your health. You might also look at this list of known carcinogens and where we all encounter them every day.
In , June 2012 after a week-long meeting of international experts, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), classified diesel engine exhaust as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1), based on sufficient evidence that exposure is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer. Many other public health organisations around the world have also shown that the smoke from burnt diesel is a human cancer causing agent. It has taken five years but this diesel menace is now being looked at seriously. You might expect then that the phobically carcinogen-hating Irish would want to be first up to ban diesel smoke, but you'd be very wrong on that score.
Last Saturday the Journal ran a poll of readers asking the question, "Do you think there should be restrictions on diesel vehicles?" As a known smoker I was staggered at the response. Over 17,000 people voted for starters and by any measure, that's a big poll. Incredibly, an amazing 68 per cent or 11,919 voters were against any kind of restriction on carcinogenic diesel vehicles. A further 6 per cent didn't know. Note we are only talking about 'restrictions' and not an outright ban that would immediately remove all diesel cars trucks and buses from our roads. According to the Examiner, 70 per cent of all cars sold in 2015 in Ireland were diesel powered and of course every bus and truck has a diesel engine.
It is worth pointing out that it was the same International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) who first announced tobacco smoke as cancer causing and the rest for smokers is just history. Cancer is cancer no matter what causes it, whether that be tobacco or diesel smoke. One is not worse than the other, they are both awful. However the difference is not about health but politics. For example, the Irish Cancer Society will never mention diesel because that would be political suicide for them and their funding. Diesel will not get a mention in the Dail either for the same reason. You can bully, overcharge, exclude and insult the smoker but God forbid anyone take on the diesel lobby.
On closer inspection though I have discovered that nobody gives a shit whether diesel engines cause cancer. The real reason the poll ran in the Journal was because, "The UN climate and clean air coalition says soot from diesel vehicles is among the big contributors to ill health and global warming." So it's the Climate Change mob who are behind this rather than the Public Health bandwagon. But the IARC is a part of the WHO which in turn is an arm of the UN where this "climate and clean air coalition," live. It becomes truly informative then that the neither the UN or the WHO gives a toss about cancer when the cash-cow of climate change is in the offing. Never mind that you already pay a climate fine on every single litre you buy, the climate change racket wants more and they refuse to even discuss the faulty science behind their claims of this so-called man made problem.
Oh! And the loud voices of condemnation of smokers don't appear to care much about the risk of cancer when it comes to their diesel car either, all three-quarters of them in that poll. Is that ironic or just pure hypocrisy?