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According to Objectivism, life should be at the top of ones list of values, and hedonic pleasure should be at or near the bottom.

Bob,

Be careful not to mix up two different concepts here. One is metaphysical: the identification that man is an end in himself (and not "hedonic pleasure" is the purpose of human life). The other is pleasure and volition.

These two concepts result in very different "shoulds" (owning to very different contexts) and both are based on Objectivism.

Michael

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According to Objectivism, life should be at the top of ones list of values, and hedonic pleasure should be at or near the bottom. Smoking is most definitely anti-Objectivist - should compare to initiation of force, or communism, but no....

It's very clear that smoking is a much greater threat to life than just about anything we could think of, but somehow it's evil to outlaw tobacco sales. Initiation of force is illegal, but tobacco sales is just fine? It's only logically coherent with a DIFFERENT value hierarchy, not with life at the top of the list.

Bob

It is not the mere mechanical perpetuation of existence which is one's highest value, as is suggested by your comment that 'life should be at the top of one's list of values' but a particular kind of life a eudaemonic 'good life' which mechanical perpetuation of existence is needed to achieve, but in some cases one might give up their 'good life' in order to sustain their existence, or even sacrifice everything they value in order to continue to exist. The valuation of a particular kind of life over one's mere existence is more clearly evident in Galt's threat to kill himself to prevent Dagny from being tortured than anywhere else within objectivism.

Clearly some people derive some pleasure from smoking, and many other common things are more harmful to one's mechanical existence than smoking is, most people's drinking habits are actually more harmful, but smoking is the paternalists favorite cause these days. By your own demand of focusing only on that which perpetuates one's mechanical existence the most, we should all abandon drinking, smoking, bicylce riding (more dangerous than motorcycling) motorcyling (more dangerous than driving cars) cars (more dangerous than walking) mountain climbing, hang gliding, boating, swimming, etc etc etc. It is up to each individual person to decide whether the danger one thing poses to their mechanical existence outweighs the benefit something gives toward their achievement of 'the good life' In some cases the pleasure one derives from smoking as, for example, a celebration of one's value (after sex, or in deep thought) in pursuit of the 'good life' may very well outweigh the mechanical threat it poses to their existence.

Furthermore, people lacking the P52 gene mutation are highly unlikely to ever get cancer from smoking (though they are still at risk from respiratory related illnesses) in such people, in some cases, it would be more beneficial to adopt a moderate smoking habit (just as doctors sometimes suggest 1 glass of wine a day has more benefits than disadvantages) because the weight many people gain from quitting smoking is more unhealthy than the smoking (assuming they lack the p52 gene mutation) Yet you will NEVER see a doctor recommend someone adopt a moderate smoking habit though, even if it is more healthy (of course, just being fit and eating right is more healthy than either option, except in the case of red wine consumption, where resverestrol appears to activate the SIR 2 gene and it's genetic repair mechanisms that other wise are only advocated by extreme caloric restriction with optimal nutrition diets)

In short Bob's continually seeking to rule everyone's life 'for their own benefit' is not founded in objectivism, nor Bob's implicit assumption that every act is necessarily moral or not moral true - drinking green tea vs early grey tea? which is more conducive to my life? which is more conducive to living a good life? which is moral, or immoral? Having 1 wife or 10 wives? Which does objectivism say is right? which is moral, which immoral? why?

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Let's say that a tobacco company wants to sell a healthier product and finds out that adding X substance in Y quantity to its cigarettes vitiates all danger from getting lung cancer from smoking and makes and advertises and sells its product as a "Get-no-lung-cancer" cigarette! Can't be done, of course, even if it were technically possible to make it. The government won't let the product be made, advertised or sold, not even if that company were to say any tobacco company is free to use this substance in its cigarettes. Considering the state of historical knowledge of the health dangers from smoking, tobacco companies should have been competing on safer cigarettes starting as far back as the 1950s. This in itself would have had the ironic effect of driving people away from smoking. Etc.

--Brant

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Bob: Ok.

Resolved that: Smoking tobacco, in any form, is moral.

Is this the proposition that you believe should be argued? I am granting that the "status quo" is that smoking is unhealthy, but not that it is immoral.

Therefore, it is time to define terms. For the purpose of debating the proposition, would you define moral.

Second, would you define immoral.

Third, define "smoking".

I believe the word tobacco is any leafed product that contains nicotine. However, would the word tobacco include marijuana?

Adam

The Objectivist definitions of morality/immorality should be fine. From TAS

"According to Objectivism, a person's own life and happiness is the ultimate good."

However, we need to remember that hedonic happiness is NOT the happiness described here.

"Third, define "smoking"."

Really?

Bob

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According to Objectivism, life should be at the top of ones list of values, and hedonic pleasure should be at or near the bottom. Smoking is most definitely anti-Objectivist - should compare to initiation of force, or communism, but no....

It's very clear that smoking is a much greater threat to life than just about anything we could think of, but somehow it's evil to outlaw tobacco sales. Initiation of force is illegal, but tobacco sales is just fine? It's only logically coherent with a DIFFERENT value hierarchy, not with life at the top of the list.

Bob

It is not the mere mechanical perpetuation of existence which is one's highest value, as is suggested by your comment that 'life should be at the top of one's list of values' but a particular kind of life a eudaemonic 'good life' which mechanical perpetuation of existence is needed to achieve, but in some cases one might give up their 'good life' in order to sustain their existence, or even sacrifice everything they value in order to continue to exist. The valuation of a particular kind of life over one's mere existence is more clearly evident in Galt's threat to kill himself to prevent Dagny from being tortured than anywhere else within objectivism.

Clearly some people derive some pleasure from smoking, and many other common things are more harmful to one's mechanical existence than smoking is, most people's drinking habits are actually more harmful, but smoking is the paternalists favorite cause these days. By your own demand of focusing only on that which perpetuates one's mechanical existence the most, we should all abandon drinking, smoking, bicylce riding (more dangerous than motorcycling) motorcyling (more dangerous than driving cars) cars (more dangerous than walking) mountain climbing, hang gliding, boating, swimming, etc etc etc. It is up to each individual person to decide whether the danger one thing poses to their mechanical existence outweighs the benefit something gives toward their achievement of 'the good life' In some cases the pleasure one derives from smoking as, for example, a celebration of one's value (after sex, or in deep thought) in pursuit of the 'good life' may very well outweigh the mechanical threat it poses to their existence.

Furthermore, people lacking the P52 gene mutation are highly unlikely to ever get cancer from smoking (though they are still at risk from respiratory related illnesses) in such people, in some cases, it would be more beneficial to adopt a moderate smoking habit (just as doctors sometimes suggest 1 glass of wine a day has more benefits than disadvantages) because the weight many people gain from quitting smoking is more unhealthy than the smoking (assuming they lack the p52 gene mutation) Yet you will NEVER see a doctor recommend someone adopt a moderate smoking habit though, even if it is more healthy (of course, just being fit and eating right is more healthy than either option, except in the case of red wine consumption, where resverestrol appears to activate the SIR 2 gene and it's genetic repair mechanisms that other wise are only advocated by extreme caloric restriction with optimal nutrition diets)

In short Bob's continually seeking to rule everyone's life 'for their own benefit' is not founded in objectivism, nor Bob's implicit assumption that every act is necessarily moral or not moral true - drinking green tea vs early grey tea? which is more conducive to my life? which is more conducive to living a good life? which is moral, or immoral? Having 1 wife or 10 wives? Which does objectivism say is right? which is moral, which immoral? why?

Matus,

Your comments again are nonsensical. You can't seem to string anything together that's even remotely logically coherent.

"the weight many people gain from quitting smoking"

People do not gain weight from quitting smoking. People gain weight because they eat too much and/or exercise too little. People gain weight because of excess caloric intake.

Smoking is not immoral because of some "rule" based rights or wrongs. Smoking is immoral because AND only because is damaging to one's health with hedonic pleasure as the only benefit.

"In some cases the pleasure one derives from smoking as, for example, a celebration of one's value (after sex, or in deep thought) in pursuit of the 'good life' may very well outweigh the mechanical threat it poses to their existence."

Nope, Rand was the one who rejected hedonic pleasure. From TAS again:

"Focusing too much on what one is feeling, and not enough on the long-term goals and effort that success in life requires, can lead one to make serious mistakes in life, pursuing thrills over real achievement, and novelty over what is really of value in the long term"

So yes, physical (life threatening) risk-taking behaviour for pleasure is clearly on the negative side of Objectivist morality. This would include any activity with risk as the downside and short term pleasure as the only positive.

Another TAS quote:

"So, we need objective standards of morality, founded in our rational grasp of the facts about what is of benefit to ourselves as living human beings and of what tends to promote our illness and death."

This is not my definition of morality, but TAS's. Looking at the last quote, either smoking is immoral, or TAS is in error. Can't have it both ways.

Bob

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~ Haven't caught the movie, even yet, in spite of all the generally glowing praise (even from pro 'critics') about it. Ntl, attempting to segue this thread back to the movie (no small feat at this point)...

...I was a fan of the character in the comics, back when, but there's something I can't remember: Did Tony Stark ever smoke in the comics (pre-'tobacco is evil' days)?

LLAP

J:D

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The Objectivist definitions of morality/immorality should be fine. From TAS

"According to Objectivism, a person's own life and happiness is the ultimate good."

However, we need to remember that hedonic happiness is NOT the happiness described here.

Happiness is the achievment of one's values, but your statement without context means that I could value making bombs and killing infidels, or playing practical jokes on people, and still be 'happy' and indeed this is not a hedonistic drug induced euphoria, but a real achievement of things that one values.

The problem in your statement is that it says nothing of what one *ought* to value. What one *ought* to value is the decided by standard of life qua man, according to objectivism, not just 'life (mechanical existence)' and 'happiness (achievement of values)' because we can choose to value bad things. Something still guides our choices in what to value, and those things we choose to value ought to be good. So no, happiness is not the ultimate goal, even when qualified with a happiness that is the avhievement of values (as opposed to a drug induced euphoria) but it must be a happiness that comes from achieving the *right* kinds of values - not just any values.

Edited by Matus1976
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Matus,

Your comments again are nonsensical.

Bob, your comments again are nonsensical, indeed You can't seem to string anything together that's even remotely logically coherent.

"the weight many people gain from quitting smoking"

People do not gain weight from quitting smoking. People gain weight because they eat too much and/or exercise too little. People gain weight because of excess caloric intake.

Wow gee Bob, I didn't know people gained weight from eating food and not exercising </sarcasm> Seriously, Don't be an ass. Smoking cigarettes can burn a few hundred extra calories per day (it's not the physical motion of smoking, but the increased metabolism and heart rate that come from physical stimulants) Nicotine is also an appetite suppressant. As I said in my original post, it's clearly better to be thin due to diet and exercise than it is to be thin because of smoking, but a person who does not have the genetic mutation which seems to be required to get cancer from smoking, who otherwise might have extreme difficulty keeping their weight down, might be healthier from a moderate smoking habit and being thin than being overweight without smoking. Approximately 50% of people have this mutation, which where present in the body is almost always one of the genes that has mutated to contribute to cancer in a person.

Smoking is not immoral because of some "rule" based rights or wrongs. Smoking is immoral because AND only because is damaging to one's health with hedonic pleasure as the only benefit.

That remains to be seen, it is your claim that all pleasure from smoking is only hedonistic. Are you suggesting then that EVERYTHING which is 'damaging' to one's health is 'immoral' ? What if something poses only a 'risk' of being damaging to one's health (like un protected sex with an allegedly monogamous partner) Or is it only things that are damaging to one's health AND hedonistic (pleasure for it's own sake) things that are immoral? Next question then is, ought these things which are damaging and hedonistic be illegal? Normally, we allow individuals to make up their own minds, and even if doing something we consider immoral, if they are hurting only themselves, we let them be. Are you suggesting that any act which might be considered immoral in this regard be illegal for individuals to do to themselves?

"In some cases the pleasure one derives from smoking as, for example, a celebration of one's value (after sex, or in deep thought) in pursuit of the 'good life' may very well outweigh the mechanical threat it poses to their existence."

Nope, Rand was the one who rejected hedonic pleasure. From TAS again:

"Focusing too much on what one is feeling, and not enough on the long-term goals and effort that success in life requires, can lead one to make serious mistakes in life, pursuing thrills over real achievement, and novelty over what is really of value in the long term"

I agree, but you seem to be suggesting that we ought to throw people in jail for wanting to go mountain climbing.

So yes, physical (life threatening) risk-taking behavior for pleasure is clearly on the negative side of Objectivist morality. This would include any activity with risk as the downside and short term pleasure as the only positive.

I've established that in some cases smoking might even be beneficial for some peoples health (this would require genetic screening to know though) but even if you disagree with that, it's clear that in some people moderate alcohol consumption is beneficial for their health, other 'risk taking' behavior, like mountain climbing, has secondary benefits beyond the hedonistic rush of completing the climb, such as the physical fitness which comes from pursuing and achieving said task. The point being, some 'risk taking' behavior, which ultimately has short term hedonistic pleasure as it's ultimate goal, might also have secondary benefits. Where do you draw the line between what is moral and immoral? Merely where the mechanical health benefits are greater than the mechanical health detriment? Further, I'd bet some mountain climbers or sky divers might disagree with the results being 'only' hedonistic pleasure (I've done neither so can not attest to it, any objectivist climbers or sky divers out there?) but that's probably why I've never had any interest in either.

Another TAS quote:

"So, we need objective standards of morality, founded in our rational grasp of the facts about what is of benefit to ourselves as living human beings and of what tends to promote our illness and death."

This is not my definition of morality, but TAS's. Looking at the last quote, either smoking is immoral, or TAS is in error. Can't have it both ways.

Bob

"benefits to ourselves as living HUMAN beings" =/= benefits to ourselves as a collection of cells. There is a difference, though in most cases they are mutually inclusive. You are wading into unclear territory here Bob.

If something that is more detrimental to our physical health is automatically always bad, regardless of it's contribution toward our psychological and spiritual health (or the perpetuation of our values) then Galt's threat to kill himself would have been immoral. If things which are detrimental to our physical health and whose only benefit is hedonistic pleasure are always immoral, then indeed smoking would be immoral. But so would many things people do that are of questionable health value, and of questionable psychological value, such as social drinking, sky diving, or motorcycling. But what of things that are contributive to our physical health, but detrimental to our psychological health? e.g. getting a mundane job, and then just playing video games and watching movies for the rest of one's life. Is such a life immoral? And what of things that while allowing us to physically live, curtail our ability to thrive and flourish humanistically? e.g. A woman choosing to be a wealthy man's 10th wife, in order to get the mechanical health benefits, or a poor man's first wife, in order to get the spiritual and psychological health benefits and try to live a fulfilling life, which of these are 'immoral' according to your assessment of the standards of morality in objectivism?

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...I was a fan of the character in the comics, back when, but there's something I can't remember: Did Tony Stark ever smoke in the comics (pre-'tobacco is evil' days)?

Not that I recall. He did have an problem with alchoholism, which was used for some story lines. Supposedly this will be an theme in the next movie.

To be honest, I'm not aware of many that did. There were a few that might have a cigar (say Sgt Fury et al). Eeevil villians might have a cigarette holder.

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Michael:

You truly make me laugh.

Well this Minnesota Supreme Court Decision today should really stimulate an argument!

http://www.mncourts.gov/opinions/sc/curren...070152-0530.pdf

Secondary. individual rights question...if a rational adult, male or female wishes to be "paddled" or spanked or .....fill in your individual "kink", should the state step in? lol

Adam

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Nicotine is also an appetite suppressant.

Nicotine != Smoking

Are you suggesting then that EVERYTHING which is 'damaging' to one's health is 'immoral' ? What if something poses only a 'risk' of being damaging to one's health (like un protected sex with an allegedly monogamous partner) Or is it only things that are damaging to one's health AND hedonistic (pleasure for it's own sake) things that are immoral? Next question then is, ought these things which are damaging and hedonistic be illegal? Normally, we allow individuals to make up their own minds, and even if doing something we consider immoral, if they are hurting only themselves, we let them be. Are you suggesting that any act which might be considered immoral in this regard be illegal for individuals to do to themselves?

"Or is it only things that are damaging to one's health AND hedonistic (pleasure for it's own sake) things that are immoral?"

I'm saying that, according to Rand, yes the above type of act would be immoral.

"Are you suggesting that any act which might be considered immoral in this regard be illegal for individuals to do to themselves?"

No, I'm saying that this type of product, when we throw addiction on top of everything else should most definitely be illegal to SELL. To profit from addiction, harm, death, and hedonism should be clearly be illegal if logic is to prevail over politics.

Bob

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No, I'm saying that this type of product, when we throw addiction on top of everything else should most definitely be illegal to SELL. To profit from addiction, harm, death, and hedonism should be clearly be illegal if logic is to prevail over politics.

Bob,

[Contra your statism:........................................................................

....................................]

--Brant

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No, I'm saying that this type of product, when we throw addiction on top of everything else should most definitely be illegal to SELL. To profit from addiction, harm, death, and hedonism should be clearly be illegal if logic is to prevail over politics.

Bob,

[Contra your statism:........................................................................

....................................]

--Brant

Well, fair enough, the legal/illegal conclusion is arguable. But in any so-called objective ethics that holds life as the standard of value (even the murky definition of life qua man) cannot escape the fact that an anti-life activity that exchanges short term pleasure (as the sole benefit) for long term harm necessarily must be immoral. Otherwise, calling Objectivist ethics 'objective' in any way, shape or form is completely ridiculous.

The morality is the primary argument, and I see you make no comment other than 'statism' nonsense.

Bob

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Bob:

I have two (2) questions. One you still have not answered. Yes, define "smoking". Is using marijuana in the following device, considered "smoking" to you which you would make completely illegal.

http://www.bongshop.com/products/category.asp?cat=6

Second, did someone close to die from cigarettes?

Adam

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No, I'm saying that this type of product, when we throw addiction on top of everything else should most definitely be illegal to SELL. To profit from addiction, harm, death, and hedonism should be clearly be illegal if logic is to prevail over politics.

Bob,

[Contra your statism:........................................................................

....................................]

--Brant

Well, fair enough, the legal/illegal conclusion is arguable. But in any so-called objective ethics that holds life as the standard of value (even the murky definition of life qua man) cannot escape the fact that an anti-life activity that exchanges short term pleasure (as the sole benefit) for long term harm necessarily must be immoral. Otherwise, calling Objectivist ethics 'objective' in any way, shape or form is completely ridiculous.

The morality is the primary argument, and I see you make no comment other than 'statism' nonsense.

I'm perfectly willing to discuss the morality as opposed to there outta be a law.

Smoking is not "pro life" and I quit over 39 years ago. If I smoked I wouldn't claim it had anything to do with any "ethics," Objectivist or any other. Essentially I smoked in the army ("Take five") and I sure wasn't going to quit in Vietnam where my concern was getting shot or blown up, not getting lung cancer 50 years later. If you smoked, I wouldn't feel entitled to lecture you about the "immorality" of it. Do what you want. If it is found out that eating fruits and vegetables is bad for your health shall future generations lecture each other about the immorality of doing that? Moralist: You eat fruit! You are an Objectivist! Obviously the Objectivist ethics are no good!

--Brant

Edited by Brant Gaede
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Nicotine is also an appetite suppressant.

Nicotine != Smoking

Of course, but the context of your post seemed to suggest that smoking was not related in any form to weight and weight gain, clearly it is. Smoking gives you a dose of Nicotine, among other things, that suppress your appetite and increase your basal metabolic rate.

"Or is it only things that are damaging to one's health AND hedonistic (pleasure for it's own sake) things that are immoral?"

I'm saying that, according to Rand, yes the above type of act would be immoral.

I agree that such a thing is immoral, but I don't think this dividing line is always so easily discernable. But I do not agree that something which is immoral for one to do to themselves is something that should be illegal.

"Are you suggesting that any act which might be considered immoral in this regard be illegal for individuals to do to themselves?"

No, I'm saying that this type of product, when we throw addiction on top of everything else should most definitely be illegal to SELL. To profit from addiction, harm, death, and hedonism should be clearly be illegal if logic is to prevail over politics.

Should alchohol then be illegal? Soda? potatoe chips? candy? None of these are conducive to long term health, and are in fact harmful and are pretty much consumed for their short term hedonistic pleasure.

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I was just look at the IMDB web site where they have movie grosses. I noted that Iron Man is the top movie in receipts for the whole beating the new Indiania Jones. Iron Man is continueing to get good grosses even through it has been out four weeks.

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I agree that such a thing is immoral, but I don't think this dividing line is always so easily discernable. But I do not agree that something which is immoral for one to do to themselves is something that should be illegal.

Fair enough. I also think, and maybe that's what you're saying too, is that immorality is on a spectrum, from the basically harmless to the horribly depraved and everywhere in between. About how easily discernable things are, sure, it's not always clear but in the case of smoking tobacco, while there are certainly much worse transgressions that one could commit, to me at least, following Objectivist reasoning it has to be immoral and that's clear. How immoral? Arguable...

But remember, what I am saying should be illegal is NOT smoking, but profiting from smoking, because if you accept and extend the immorality argument, profiting from addiction, harm and so forth is truly disgusting. I also think that an Objectivist who values productive work should be highly disgusted from this immoral behaviour (sales that is) but I find that not the case generally, and it's curious to me.

Alcohol, candy etc. are very different. In small doses these items can even be beneficial, whereas tobacco smoke has NO unharmful dose.

The next question is of course is there any level of immorality that should be legislated against? If so what is it?

For me, profiting from addiction and harm is over that line.

Bob

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I was just look at the IMDB web site where they have movie grosses. I noted that Iron Man is the top movie in receipts for the whole beating the new Indiania Jones. Iron Man is continueing to get good grosses even through it has been out four weeks.

Hey Bub... Stay on topic!

:angry:

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"...whereas tobacco smoke has NO unharmful dose."

And you have what independent data to prove this assertion?

Adam

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"...whereas tobacco smoke has NO unharmful dose."

And you have what independent data to prove this assertion?

Adam

The assertion is based on the immediate delivery of carbon monoxide and thousands of other (many carcinogenic) chemicals into the lungs/blood stream. Carbon monoxide just as an example immediately lowers the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. One cigarette will have an easily measureable negative effect.

The other chemicals are generally dose-dependent, much like radiation. The lower the exposure the better, with ZERO being the best.

Bob

Recent study (2007) of low-dose (second hand) exposure.

Tobacco smoke exposure is associated with attenuated endothelial function in 11-year-old healthy children.Kallio K, Jokinen E, Raitakari OT, Hämäläinen M, Siltala M, Volanen I, Kaitosaari T, Viikari J, Rönnemaa T, Simell O.

Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Turku, Kiinamyllynkatu 10, FIN-20520 Turku, Finland. katariina.kallio@utu.fi

BACKGROUND: Passive smoking is associated with early arterial damage in adults, but its effect on endothelial function in children is unknown. METHODS AND RESULTS: Serum cotinine concentration was measured annually in children between 8 and 11 years of age who had participated since infancy in a randomized, prospective atherosclerosis prevention trial (Special Turku Coronary Risk Factor Intervention Project for children [sTRIP]). At age 11, endothelium-dependent flow-mediated vasodilatory responses of the brachial artery were examined with high-resolution ultrasound in 402 children. These children were divided into 3 groups according to serum cotinine concentrations: the noncotinine group (nondetectable cotinine, n=229), the low cotinine group (cotinine between 0.2 and 1.6 ng/mL, n=134), and the top decile cotinine group (cotinine > or = 1.7 ng/mL, n=39). Longitudinal cotinine data in children aged 8 to 11 years and ultrasound studies were available in 327 children. At age 11, the increase in cotinine concentration was associated with attenuated peak flow-mediated dilation response (mean+/-SD: the noncotinine group 9.10+/-3.88%, the low-cotinine group 8.57+/-3.78%, and the top-decile cotinine group 7.73+/-3.85%; P=0.03 for trend). Similarly, total dilation response (the area under the dilation response versus time curve between 40 and 180 seconds after hyperemia) was affected by the cotinine level (P=0.02 for trend). These trends were not explained by traditional atherosclerosis risk factors. Arterial measures and passive smoking showed even stronger associations when longitudinal cotinine data were used (peak flow-mediated dilation, P=0.01 for trend; total dilation response, P=0.008 for trend). CONCLUSIONS: Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke confirmed by serum cotinine concentrations impairs endothelial function in a dose-dependent manner in 11-year-old children.

Edited by Bob_Mac
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The other chemicals are generally dose-dependent, much like radiation. The lower the exposure the better, with ZERO being the best.

The human organism benefits from low dose radiation. The higher you live in elevation the more radiation you are exposed to and the less chance you have of getting cancer. Radon daughter levels up to three times considered safe by the EPA are also probably beneficial, not harmful. We all live in a sea of background radiation and internally generated radiation.

--Brant

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