Tinotopia (Logo)
TinotopiaLog → Allergies Schmallergies (26 Jun 2002)
Wednesday 26 June 2002

Allergies Schmallergies

This story in the L.A. Times (use username/password cpunks/cpunks) chronicles the growing popularity of hookahs, of all things, in hip L.A. bars and such.

Now, you can’t actually smoke these things (or anything else) in the bar or restaurant in California, because that would be just too unhealthy. Too many people are allergic to smoke, they say. Or are they?

On a recent Friday night in Pasadena, Rachel Lesky, 25, smoked a hookah for the first time at an outside table—smoking being prohibited nearly everywhere indoors—at Equator coffeehouse. Though she is allergic to cigarette smoke, the fumes from the mixed fruit tobacco didn’t bother her. “It’s really mellow and very calming,” Lesky said.

So she’s allergic, mind you, to cigarette smoke, but she’s not allergic to trendy smoke. Trendy smoke is “mellow” and “calming”.

Now, it’s certainly within Ms. Lesky’s rights — or anyone else’s — to dislike cigarette smoke, and they can dislike that smoke while liking other, trendier smoke. But I find it very hard to believe that she (or anyone else) is allergic to secondhand cigarette smoke, and at the same time finds fancy smoke “calming”.

It’s impossible to just dislike anything these days; you have to maintain that you have some catastrophic biological aversion to it. By claiming some biological basis for your preferences, you avoid having to compromise on or defend your opinions. Very clever.

I expect hookahs to be banned outright before long in California; the possibility of holes being poked in the smoke-allergy argument is too dangerous.

Posted by tino at 17:02 26.06.02
This entry's TrackBack URL::

Links to weblogs that reference 'Allergies Schmallergies' from Tinotopia.

Allergies are a huge scam, and I’ve been similarly ranting about people and animals. Sure, humans can be sensitive to animal hair, dander, etc, but for the most part folks who say they’re allergic just don’t like animals. The human body generally adjusts to a new thing in the air, it’s pretty amazing, and people should shut the hell up about their allergies.

Oh yeah, humans are also sensitive to dust. Somebody do an expose. yawn

Posted by: Amanda at July 14, 2002 01:14 AM

Trendy smoke? Mixed fruit tobacco? Are you sure that was really tobacco in there?

Sources tell me that certain herbs (which may be even legal under California state law depending on one’s medical condition) can help with asthma, which maybe the “allergy” that the woman quoted is referring to.

But I’m just one of those insidious legalizers using George Soros’ money to lobby government to get crack in all elementary school vending machines, so don’t listen to me.

Posted by: zurn at July 23, 2002 04:52 AM

Whether or not someone is allergic to cigarette smoke, people who have allergies often find their allergy response (itchy, watery eyes, coughing, sneezing) to be exacerbated by exposure to the smoke (which contains about 400 UNFLITERED chemicals if you are the breather of the second hand smoke).

Also, maybe some people just don’t like animals but there are many REAL allergies to dander, fur, airborne allergens such as “dust”, pollen, mold spores etc…

It may be true that some folks use the “allergies” argument as a cop-out for taking responibility for stating the truth about how they feel - that doesn’t mean that allergies are not based in biological fact.

Posted by: CoughCough at January 27, 2003 11:24 AM

I am really offended by Amandas comment about allergies. I can speak from experience that animal allergies are true. I am deathly allergic to all animals with fur. When i have prolonged exposure i physically cant breathe. I still ride horses and plan on having a dog when im older because of my LOVE for animals. I plan on taking shots. The same goes for smoke. People physically have reactions to it, part may have to do with the dislike but some people physically cant handle it. Its like food allergies people arent making up the fact that they get hives when they eat something because they dont like it. They have a biological reaction. You, Amanda, should think before you say something so illogical.

Posted by: Meaghan at April 18, 2003 06:31 PM

I used to be a smoker and since I became pregnant in 1999, I can’t even walk by a smoker without feeling like I’m suffocating and I can smell the smoke for days afterwards. I don’t know if it’s an allergy to cigarette smoke or just a very sensitive nose - but it’s not fun!

Posted by: LisaMarie at April 25, 2003 08:29 AM

Re: Amandas Comment

I was upset by your comment on allergies , my fathers were so bad that his sinuses exploded in his brain. We waited in the emergency room as they drilled a hole in his brain to release the pressure. Had he not gotten to the hospital a half hr later he would be dead.

I started suffering as a child then at thirty, I began having severe reactions to dust, cigarette smoke, animal dander and molds from fall. So bad that I administered shots twice a day in my thigh.

I went to work, but the headaches were so bad that I was bed ridden. I got so sick at one point that my sinuses closed up and I could not breathe which caused me to crack four ribs.

I lost my mother to brain and lung cancer at, 47, my father has acute empysema, I also lost one aunt and a granparent to lung desease. From cigarette smoke.

My allergies are under control now as I take 2000-4000 mg of msm daily. But, I have severe reactions to cigarette smoke. I do not know why, I begin with a headache then my eyes turn bright red and swell and they begin tearing so badly I can’t see. Then I began to get stuffed up and can’t breathe thru my nose.

I personally don’t care if someone smokes, but I would like to go to a sports bar and watch the games. I get so sick that it is impossible.

I hope you now understand that allergies are not something to brush aside. People die every day from them.

Posted by: sandra despain at October 24, 2003 10:43 AM

Amanda, you are an idiot. To say that people who are supposedly allergic to animals are people who simply don’t like them is ignorant and hateful.

I have had severe alleriges all my freakin life, to cats and dogs. Although I absolutely adore cats, just hugging someone with cat hair on their clothes will send me sneezing and make me miserable. Because of this allergy I am unable to have pets in my home - I love animals, and I will never be able to have my own cat or dog to love, and will NEVER get to hold a cat in my arms.

I hope you hold your tongue the next time you decide to say something so wrong, and so hurtful.

Maybe when you’ve walked in someone elses’ shoes you will finally stop judging others….

Posted by: Julie at February 7, 2004 10:48 PM

Amanda! I pray YOU never develop allergies, maybe THEN you will understand they are REAL. Myself, my mom, my sons, my great aunt, ALLERGIES. Real, DIAGNOSED BY PHYSICIANS, by ALLERGISTS. It can be to dust (read about dust mites!!!), molds, pollen, animals, even food allergies. They have been around for a LONG time, and many people do not have allergies as a child, but develop them later in life. Allergies can cause asthma (which happened to my sons), and sinus problems (which I have). What PLANET do you live on? Come back to earth, where allergies are PROVEN. You need some education in this area, or bite my tongue, to develop an allergy yourself so you will not attribute it to “hype”. Shame on you!

Posted by: Kami at April 18, 2004 05:05 AM

Amanda, Why don’t you take immunology so you can at least learn something about the true cause of allergies and how it is physically and biologically proven. Do you live in a cave? Open up an immunology book or just watch someone who claims to have allergies react in front of you. They are real! I just recently became sick this weekend after being in a bar exposed to cigarette smoke. Right away these were my symptoms- burning throat, difficulty breathing, and later loss of voice. Why the hell would I want these symptoms? Our brains cannot simply give us these symptoms, the only answer is a physical trigger also known as an antibody. Look up the work antibody and learn.

Posted by: at November 1, 2005 07:31 PM

Tino should try to learn something too, instead of hanging out at Hookah bars so much, open up a damn book or go to an allergy clinic. I’m so tired of ignorant people!

Posted by: at November 1, 2005 07:33 PM

I don’t know whether to delete those two comments, or what. On the one hand, they’re not actually offensive, so there’s really no reason to get rid of them.

On the other hand, they both come from someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about, but who complains about ‘ignorance’ on the part of other people. I’m about done with the term ‘ignorant’; it’s getting really, really tired.

Instead, I’ll just point out where you’re wrong.

‘Allergy’ is a noun. It, like all other words, has a meaning. It means what it means, and it does not mean what it does not mean. Maybe you need an example: ‘cat’ means one thing, and ‘dog’ another. Cats and dogs are similar, but a ‘dog’ is not a ‘cat’ and vice-versa. They are both ‘quadrupeds’, though, or ‘mammals’. If you want to refer to both cats and dogs with one word, you cannot use ‘cat’ or ‘dog’.

As I said, ‘allergy’ has a specific meaning, to-wit: a condition in which the immune system overreacts to a substance. That is all ‘allergy’ means. You are not ‘allergic’ to Salmonella bacteria, even though it makes you sick.

Similarly, you are not ‘allergic’ to cigarette smoke, no matter how much you might not like it, and no matter how psychosomatically ill your blinding rage and self-righteousness makes you.

It is simply not possible to have an allergic reaction to cigarette smoke. You might be allergic to certain things in certain types of smoke, but I assure you that there are no allergens in cigarette smoke. There are no antibodies to ‘smoke’. I believe that you don’t like smoke, and even that you have some terrible reaction to it — but please, if you are going to take people to task, get your facts straight and get over yourself.

Posted by: Tino at November 1, 2005 08:40 PM