The Dream Café

Steven Brust: “A masterful storyteller of contagious glee and self-deprecating badassery” —Skyler White

Defending Tobacco

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I have set out to write in defense of tobacco.  I do it for the challenge.  There are other things that would be almost equally challenging, but I don’t know enough about them: I’ve never committed  pedophilia or sent out spam emails or run for congress, so  tobacco seems the only remaining choice.

I know very well the cards are stacked against me.  The only people who love the big tobacco companies are those who own the big tobacco companies.  In this way tobacco is not unlike oil.  A difference between them is that, in the last twenty years at least, no country has been invaded for its tobacco crop.  To me, this is a point in favor of tobacco, but no doubt others differ.

Now, I am aware that tobacco is not good for me.  I have been assured of this by, not only the medical profession, but by other good-hearted folk who, I am certain, have been earnestly told by their doctors and clergymen that they should seek me out and inform me.  I have had kindly people travel a thousand miles merely to tell me that tobacco is bad for me.  Sometimes they bring friends and distant relations and remain for weeks to be certain I have this information.  Such evidence of good will cannot be ignored, and I do not ignore it.  I am convinced that they are right and tobacco is not good for me, that I will live longer if I refrain.  And, as has been said before, even if I do not live longer, it will feel longer, which is the same thing.

I am also aware that tobacco is not good for the fellow next to me.  There have been studies indicating that spending forty hours a week for twenty years in smoke-filled rooms may be harmful; it seems reasonable, therefore, to conclude that if a chance whiff of my smoke should infiltrate the air of someone next to me he will drop dead on the spot, and therefore I accept this as a fact.  I know that if it should happen I would feel bad.

Another thing that makes it hard to defend tobacco is the recent increase in Federal tax on tobacco.  The tax on loose (roll-your-own) tobacco just increased by a factor of ten.  What makes this especially praiseworthy is that such an increase, like all taxes on goods and services, hits especially hard on the poor.  This will encourage the poor to quit smoking, because as we all know raising the price of something at once causes those addicted or habituated to it to quit; anyone pretending that our government cares little for the poor should be convinced by this statistic.  And it need hardly be said that this tax has the additional benefit of providing much needed funds for bailing out billionaire bankers and invading countries for their tobacco, or whichever resource that was.

With all of this working against me, how can I even consider defending tobacco?

Suddenly I am at a loss.  Let me light a cigarette.  Ah, yes, now I remember.  My defense is as follows: I like it.

corwin

Author: corwin

Site administrative account, so probably Corwin, Felix or DD-B.

0 Comments

  1. Actually, I think it should be up to the informed adult as to whether or not they use tobacco. And it’s hard to be ignorant with all the public service messages.

    On the other hand, smoke tends to spread. I know people who will have violent asthma or allergy attacks if they get a whiff of tobacco smoke. What do you suggest as a solution?

    Of course the government taxes the poor more than the rich. Who, after all, runs the government?

  2. Have you read Cigarettes Are Sublime? Robert Klein argues — meditates? muses? — upon how the fact that they’re bad for you but feel good is part of the allure of cigarettes.

    My defense is as follows: I like it.

    And you can’t smell it — not really. That’s part of the attraction, IMHO: it’s an invisible repellant that you don’t have to think about, against those who don’t smoke (and thus can smell it), and an attractant for those who do. A pseudo-speciation mechanism, possibly.

  3. “What do you suggest as a solution?”

    Well, back in the old days when they suddenly introduced smoking/non-smoking sections in public places, I thought it was a wonderful idea. I still do.

  4. You are Mark Twain and I claim my five pounds.

  5. TexAnne: Marry me?

  6. at the risk of sounding like an infatuated smoker groupie…..

    I really love you, man. 😀

  7. I’m a former smoker. I hesitate when I say that because so many seem to become born again anti-smokers. I’m not.

    I quit smoking for a variety of reasons; the primary one being health. Almost immediately following this my beloved dog who was like my shadow developed congestive heart failure. She’s the reason I didn’t continue smoking, I funneled the money I had spent previously into expensive medications for her, and I couldn’t have her around the secondary smoke.

    She passed away last year, I still miss her. I thought about resuming smoking, and decided not to…primarily because of the health problems related to smoking.

    I still miss it though. And if there weren’t those health problems, I would resume smoking.

    There’s many things I do which are bad for me. I’m carrying extra weight like most Americans…that’s bad for me. I enjoy eating things which are unhealthy for me. I love coffee. I don’t exercise enough because I’m lazy. I live in Southern California where the air quality is less than ideal some days. I keep parrots, which can be a health risk.

    I drive too fast, I own a convertible (not the safest car in the world), and…the list can go on.

    We all have our little vices, why should smoking be so demonized among them?

    And as to the *smell*…I have extremely long thick hair, and smoked 2-3 packs a day (I REALLY liked smoking). People who didn’t know I was a smoker (at work & classes primarily since I clearly smoked damn near every where else) were shocked that I didn’t smell like a smoker. They couldn’t smell it on my hair or my clothing.

    Now that I no longer smoke, I can smell it on some people, but not most people. Generally I’ve found that people have that odor (which I do not find distasteful, except with Camel cigarettes) immediately after smoking. It’s rare I can smell it otherwise.

    And in homes with heavy smokers, it’s obvious when I first enter, and like any other odor ceases to be within 10 to 20 minutes…if even that long.

    As far as second hand smoke exposure, that’s never been a problem for me. If someone is smoking somewhere that bothers me, I can leave or move. Or I can ask them politely to make concessions for me.

    I’ve never had a smoker refuse to make a concession for me, probably because I’m very polite in asking. I only refused once as a smoker myself, and that was because the person was unbelievably rude and offensive in ‘demanding’ I do as they wished.

    I blew a smoke ring instead. 🙂

    Does smoking need any more defense than, “I like it?”. Ideally, it should not.

  8. Marian: I agree with most of this, but let me go straight to the important point: What kind of parrots?

  9. How many tobacco plants would it take to grow your own supply per year?

    I can think of two items in defense of tobacco (the plant, not the industry).

    1: It is (or, at least, has been) a useful plant in botanical research.

    2: If you forget to top a plot of tobacco plants, the honey that the bees that find the plot make from it is yummy.

    3: (OK, I know, I know…) If you just cure it, it’s smell is divine. There used to be a tobacco warehouse just off campus at UKy, and the smell of the freshly auctioned tobacco wafting over campus was nice. Like a freshly opened pack of cigarettes, without the smoke afterwards.

    There is nothing wrong with tobacco. There isn’t even anything wrong with smoking tobacco. As long as you don’t do it to excess. If people treated it like a sacrament, instead of like candy, it wouldn’t be a problem. So what else is new?

  10. Vnend: I’ve been looking into the possibility of growing and curing; seems like a possibility.

  11. I tried to quit for my health, and started again. I tried to quit to save money, and started again. I tried to quit for other people who wanted me to, and started again.
    Then I realized that I won’t quit because I don’t want to. I too, like it.

  12. I started smoking regularly in college. I quit for four months when I was in Army basic training, and then as soon as I had the chance I smoked again. Now I’m going on about 20 years.

    Of course I should give it up for health reasons (but then, there are a lot of things that should be given up for health reasons, and quitting is no guarantee I won’t get some form of cancer or something equally destructive – life is life, and the only point of living is to die, really (I jest (sort of)). But yes, it all comes down to : I like it.

    And for some, the tax/price increases have the opposite effect – it makes me mad that the government is trying to regulate my freedom of choice and personal will by attempting to price me out of what I choose to do with my own body. So the rebel in me wants to say “Up yours, keep raising the price, you won’t stop me!”

    More moderation, perhaps, is a good idea. I’m working on that. I don’t have much time to smoke during the day since I work ten hours and aside from two small breaks, I have no time to. But then I “make up for it” when I get home. And then by the time I get to bed, I always think “Yuck, why did I have that last cigarette?” But as soon as the next morning comes and I can smell the coffee brewing, that’s the best time to start again. (“I can quit smoking. I quit every night when I go to bed.”)

    True, if I’m not smoking and I’m around someone who is, it does smell gross to me, but when I do it I’m not bothered by it.

    Anyway, just my babbling two-cents’ worth.

  13. Have you read Pierre Louys’ paean to tobacco, A New Sensation?
    …I was trying to make up my mind between two methods of employing my solitude: I was either going to write a strictly regular sonnet while I smoked cigarettes, or I was going to smoke cigarettes while I contemplated the paper on the ceiling. The important thing is to always have a cigarette in one’s hand; objects must be enveloped in a heavenly and delicate haze which bathes both light and shadow, effaces solid angles and by its scented spell imposes upon the restless mind a variable rhythm whence it may fall to dreaming…

    I’ve always detested smoking, but then, I’ve never had a scantily clad greek deity come by looking for a new hobby.

  14. I don’t smoke, and most of the time, I’m not bothered when people around me do,

    BUT. I do get angry when people smoke around my girlfriend if they know she is a cancer survivor. Neither of us tend to speak up, but we try to move away from smokers when we are together.

  15. Personally speaking (and only personally) I would have to put in “…and I’m addicted…” at the end of the last paragraph, final sentence. Going without nicotine tends to make me into something of a complete bastard. I gave the electronic ‘cigarette’ a try but I don’t think propalyne glycol and I get along too well. Nausea, headaches, and general dissatisfaction.
    Having given up other extremely addictive substances of my own free will, cold turkey, I know it’s possible to quit. However, possible and desirous are entirely different opinions.

    I have to agree that the tax increases are disproportionately impacting the poor. Unfortunately, the same can be said for the expenses of long-term smoking, with the poor suffering far more from health problems due their limited resources.

    Let us love tobacco, or nicotine, but not the gatekeepers at the industry level. Imagine the movement of tobacco from the introduction of the cigarette to the addiction levels. It became as popular in social circles as drinking. One could say it had the same level of impact as alcohol would if it was suddenly introduced into the same population.

    A quote I found, which seems quite appropriate to the subject matter:
    “This vice brings in one hundred million francs in taxes every year. I will certainly forbid it at once – as soon as you can name a virtue that brings in as much revenue.” — Napoleon III

  16. Brief web searching tells me that smoking causes a statistically significant increase in health problems for the population of smokers.

    If you were to undergo a costly cancer treatment that would have been unnecessary if you hadn’t smoked, would you be okay with the public bearing the cost of treatment?

    I live in Canada, and despite my support for a person’s right to choose whether they take drugs or not, I struggle to reconcile this with the impact on the rest of the population who share the health costs. Knowing somewhat of your politics and their similarity to my own, I’d be interested to hear more on this particular point.

    How does one justify engaging in an activity that poses a significant risk of affecting the public in this way? I acknowledge there are other risky activities that may generate health costs in aggregate, but I can’t think of many others where the statistics are quite so damning as they are for smoking.

  17. Zac, my dear Canadian, you have brought up my favorite insurance bugaboo. Supposedly smokers are at greater risk for health expenses, and yet they live on average ten years less than non-smokers, effectively cutting out the most expensive years for health care. Smoking, therefore, is good for lifetime health care costs.

  18. D. Nash

    yet they live on average ten years less than non-smokers, effectively cutting out the most expensive years for health care.

    That doesn’t prove it. Are there stats showing that treating lung cancer and emphysema patients is cheaper than terminally ill patients of other diseases?

    Btw I love cigars. Good ones.

  19. Never having smoked or had any interest in it, I must admit I just don’t get it. But hey, I don’t have to.

    Joe Jackson has written some interesting stuff about smoking bans and what he calls anti-smoking hysteria:
    http://www.joejackson.com/smoking.php

  20. schmwarf

    That doesn’t prove it. Are there stats showing that treating lung cancer and emphysema patients is cheaper than terminally ill patients of other diseases?

    Who do you expect to fund that study? The insurance companies who can charge smokers extra or the doctors whose mission is to “Do no harm”?

    I suspect, in truth, that it works out to about the same average cost for smokers and non-smokers….

  21. That’s a really cool link, Laurel. Thanks!

  22. D. Nash

    Who do you expect to fund that study?

    So you say the data is not out there then. If so then how do you lay proof to your original claim? Are you saying that the younger you are the cheaper it is on the health system? The “expensive years” are the older years? Are you saying that there is a study to this that was carried? Or are you basing this on feeling?

    Ditto for stats to prove that smokers are more expensive than people with other lifestyles such as injecting up heroin, alocholism, bing each to the point of being bed ridden etc.

    Please point me to the stats to back up your claim.

  23. I’m considering incorporating a pissing section in my backyard pool, wanna swim?

  24. on a tangential note;
    I have been reading the Herbert books, you know, used to be Frank, but he died, and his son and another gentleman took over from his notes on Dune. Anyway, this galactic society has been narrowed down to one planet, one product; vis-avis, Arrakis has spice, Ix has machines, Chapterhouse has the witches, Buzzell has soostones, etc.
    I was thinking, what would be Earth’s product? Tobacco?
    What about Dragaera? Sorcery?

  25. I haven’t had a smoke in many years, mainly because I don’t want my daughter to get started. Other than that, my opinion is, you have to die from something, might as well be something you enjoy.

    A cigar says to everyone; Go away..
    I do miss my cheroots.

  26. @24 Bawrence

    The pool is actually an ocean and there are fish shitting in it all the time.

  27. @27 Jason

    It’s actually a pool, I have the clothes with random spots of dye removed to prove it. The ocean is 5 hours away.

  28. …so I get to choose when I swim in it.

  29. schmwarf

    Please point me to the stats to back up your claim.

    Um. I intended to supply a tongue-in-cheek response to #17 Zac’s unsubstantiated hypothetical that smokers raise the cost of healthcare for everyone.

    Sorry for the misunderstanding. Perhaps I should have included a smiley. 😉 There, now it’s clear that I was being facetious.

  30. D.Nash

    Ah! Smiley! Heh!

    The fact of the matter, if it’s addictive and legal it will be taxed on the official basis that the tax is to discorage consumption (tobacco, alcohol, gambling and in the future I think, bad food).

    Any economist with half a qualification will model up a demonstration that the revenue from raising taxes significantly offsets any minor fall in demand of these commodoties.

    This is probably only type of tax where its bad political policy to lower.

    Bawrence

    The dye in the pool is probably more toxic than your pee! The pool is probably more sterile than the ocean, which theorectially has every natural element on the periodic table.

  31. schmwarf

    I get to choose when to get in the pool and when to get out. If someone was pushing me in and refusing to let me out at any interval it wouldn’t take long for me to become annoyed.

  32. Bawarence.

    I would be calling the police! But I guess its different if the “someone” is the government.

  33. Sometimes a pool is just a pool.

  34. I started chewing when I was 15. Still do 19 years later. Started smoking seriously when I was 19 (when I started working in bars – coincident?). Stopped smoking when I got married and had a baby.

    I don’t preach to others to stop smoking. I really could care less what you put in your body. But I will admit that I hate going to restaurants which have a smoking section. Unless they are a totally separate room with it’s own ventilation.

    When I smoked, I loved to have a smoke between courses and/or after dinner. Now that I don’t smoke, I hate the smell of smoke while I’m eating – primarily because it flavors the food I’m eating. The sense of smell is so closely tied to taste, that if someone is smoking nearby, my food tastes like ash. Why should my enjoyment of food be lowered by your enjoyment of smoking? Take it outside. Otherwise I’ll put a chew in and add some flavoring to your food… 😉

  35. @Vnend #10:

    Yeah, I always loved the tobacco warehouses on Broadway near campus. Just like I always like housing and stripping the tobacco. The smell of curing tobacco is very pleasant and brings back a lot of good memories.

    @skzb: If you grow your own it will probably be healthier (somewhat) as you can then control the amount of pesticides used to grow it. Heck you could wash it before you cure it. You probably wouldn’t need more then a few plants to easily have a year supply. Build a little curing shed and you’d be good to go.

  36. On this go round of the great wheel….. I am a doctor.

    SMOKING BAD!
    why smoking bad…
    causes health problems (serious problems)
    causes death (earlier than without)
    very very very hard to quit

    And in response to the next article about urban legends:
    Tobacco companies deserve to get there ass handed to them.
    They knew how bad it was and said not only nothing, but the opposite. (think ford pinto)
    They deliberately pump up the nicotine in cigarettes to hook you more. (think drug dealer)

    The funny thing is, is that smoking marijuana is illegal while this is legal.
    marijuana is not PHYSICALLY addictive
    marijuana is associated with fewer health problems.
    marijuana doesn’t have a huge lobby.

    btw… I haven’t smoked marijuana in more than 15 years.

    Thats it… back to talking about liking smoking.
    oh… and I smoke a hookah… not smoked a hooker.

  37. Highwayman: Follow the link Laural gave us.

  38. – Smoking killed both my parents, as well as making their last ten years utterly miserable.

    – Smoking-related illnesses bankrupted my parents.

    – Secondhand smoke growing up in a household with two heavy smokers gave me mild emphysema, impairing oxygen uptake in my lungs by about a third.

    – My father’s last act on this planet was sneaking out of his oxygen tent to have a smoke. And that was the behavior of an addict, not someone who really liked smoking.

    I believe you when you say you like it. But believe me when I say it’s a bit more complicated than that.

  39. Taking nothing away from the evils of smoking.

    I think sugar, trans fats, processed foods and sitting on your arse kill more people in the Western World than smoking.

    My wife, who was a smoker (a pack a day) saw the concept of giving it up loosly translating to giving up an “friend”.

    I’ve worked my arse off for the past two weeks. After reading this discussing I’ve came to the conclusion that I have earned a cigar. Got my cuban (believe that’s illegal in the US because of some immature bullyboy embargo?)

    I’ll let you all know how it went down in a few hours or so.

  40. If one is to partake in an activity that accelerates their trip to the Paths of the Dead, then at the very least they should enjoy said activity.

  41. Sweeping regulations passed by congress and ready for Obama to sign:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31305225/ns/politics-capitol_hill

  42. My large extended family lived together. The men all smoked like chimneys. The women did not. My great-grandmother, grandmother and mother all died of cancer. I am a breast cancer survivor. The men all died young of heart disease and related illness. Please think about this loss. My children and one grandson will never know, as I did, four generations of family living together as family.

    Incentive? I am considered a very good cook. I love to cook for friends. Two of them stopped life long smoking habits because they could not taste the subtle flavors that the rest could. Both gained weight, but were happy with the exchange.

  43. I like running for Congress cos it lets me bugger my interns while having them spam my constituents.

  44. If you get elected, you can spam your interns while buggering your constituents.

  45. My great-great grandfather was a tobacco farmer.

    He lent my great-grandfather the money to go to medical school.

    My great-grandfather ended up specializing in public health.

    My great-grandfather sent his oldest child (my grandmother) and both his sons to medical school.

    My grandmother was a cancer researcher.

    My grandmother and the next 2 of 7 children didn’t smoke. The next 3 did. The last one smoked for awhile and then gave it up. Aside from the one death from lung cancer before age 60, they all lived past 75.

    I have an interesting family history with respect to tobacco and medicine….

    (As far as growing your own, another one of the descendants of the tobacco farmer has at least attempted to grow ornamental tobacco in central Texas.)

  46. I don’t smoke, never had.

    My father smoked a pipe. I have a great affinity for pipe smokers now. Being around a pipe smoker is a comforting thing for me some days.

    I have problems with second-hand smoke. Marlboros are the worst for having bad effects on me. But American Spirit? Not a problem. Not a problem at all. So I think my primary problem is with the additives, not the tobacco itself.

  47. I am highly allergic to cigarette smoke, someone smoking a Marlboro a block away on a calm day makes me cough.

    I think that many smokers don’t realize that many of the more restrictive anti-smoking laws passed recently are based on workers need for a healthy work environment rather than punishing smokers. I am happy that I can go to a bar now without feeling miserable the next day from second-hand smoke exposure.

    I wish there were easier ways of protecting non-smoker while allowing those who smoke to do so, and I especially wish that smoking were not so unhealthy so less people would die.

  48. Smokers could wear an airtight helmet with an attached SCUBA tank, and keep the smoke they enjoy all to themselves.

  49. There is a very good first-season episode of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit! that examines and debunks many of the myths perpetrated by the anti-smoking folks. I highly recommend it to those who have not watched it.

    I am a former smoker myself, but bear no ill will to those who wish to do so around me. If it bothers me, I leave. It rarely bothers me.

    To me, smoking is a freedom that I am sad to see curtailed by excessive amounts of mob-think-legislation that is “in the public interest”. Taking away our freedoms is in our interest? Hmmm….

  50. To me, breathing is a freedom that I am sad to see curtailed by excessive amounts of inconsiderate louts who can’t seem to understand why no one wants to smell their breath. You can smoke but we can’t breathe clean(er) air? How inconsiderate of you.

  51. Bawrence,

    That’s the kind of mob-think mentality I’m talking about. How does “My lungs need clean air, it’s my right” translate into “I must therefore ensure that there is no place I may wander on earth where I might happen to stumble into a place where I cannot enjoy this precious freedom”?

    Surely there is enough room on this planet to set aside places for people who like to smoke, and those who do not want to be around them?

    Why must the smokers be constrained to extremely limited (and in most public places, increasingly NO) options? Because smoking is “bad for you” and “we must encourage these people to give up their nasty habit”?

    What legal behavior are you going to legislate against next? Picking your nose?

  52. Majikjon,

    I agree, why is there not some middle ground that can be reached? Why should it matter if Steve or anyone else wants to have a smoke in their own home? The argument against smoking always gets elevated to the intrusion of smoking on other people (second hand smoke, smell, asthma, etc.) but I don’t recall anyone advocating for the right to smoke everywhere.

    Especially outdoors, assuming some amount of ventilation, I would tend to be more concerned with vehicle emissions doing more harm than the limited amount of smoke that may finds it way to me. I do agree that smoke in enclosed spaces is a health risk but I think it should be up to the business owner to decide as long as they inform customers that a business allows smoking or has a smoking section. As a customer you are always allowed the option to not patronize that business.

    To offer my own analogy, there are tens and hundreds of cars on the rode that endanger me and my family every year but it does not mean I am ready to ban all cars. I would rather we train and/or remove the offensive drivers to improve the health of the roads. I think working with smokers to find solutions would be more productive than vilifying them. At a place I once worked they banned smoking from courtyards, the (open air) parking garage, and within 20 feet of building entrances so the smokers all went to the sidewalks. Now all passersby interact with the smokers and there are many complaints about them smoking there. Apparently providing an actual smoking area (preferably with ventilation) which could remove the smoke from those who do not wish it is out of the question though.

    For the record, I smoked for 10 years and quit about 7 years ago.

  53. Majikjon @ 52:

    How does “My lungs need smoke, it’s my right” supersede everyone else’s right to clean(er) air? The conflict stems directly from smokers’ decision to smoke, so shouldn’t it be incumbent upon smokers to find a place where they’re only endangering their own health with the practice?

    p.s. if you ever try to pick my nose there are other laws in place to deal with the resulting mayhem. I will claim self-defense.

  54. The conflict stems directly from smokers’ decision to smoke, so shouldn’t it be incumbent upon smokers to find a place where they’re only endangering their own health with the practice?

    It appears there’s a slight miscommunication here. I’m not advocating a situation where smoking is allowed anywhere and everywhere. However, in order to maintain the rights of everyone, equal facilities for both have to be provided.

    How can smokers “find a place where they’re only endangering their own health with the practice” when the 75% of the population that doesn’t smoke have all agreed that ALL public places need to be 100% smoke free?

    We live in a (supposed) democracy that is founded on the principle that majority rules, but with the principle that it is still important to protect the rights of the minority.

    Saying “you have to smoke in designated places only” therefore creates a mandate that reasonable accommodations are provided for the use of the smokers in order to maintain their ability to enjoy their legal right to smoke.

    The defense of “well, it’s their CHOICE to smoke, so we shouldn’t have to make any special accommodations for them” is kind of like saying “You have the right to free speech, but only in designated places where no one disagrees with you. Incidentally, we have outlawed all the designated places. But it’s your CHOICE to speak, so if you don’t like it, you can always just stop talking.”

  55. I thought we did away with “seperate but equal”.

  56. Yes we did, but we didn’t do it by returning African Americans to slavery.

  57. We tried. Ever heard of Liberia?

  58. The beginning of Liberian settlement efforts (1820-1847) predate the American Civil War, let alone the Plessy v. Ferguson case (1896) that established “separate but equal”, and started more than a century before the Brown v Topeka Board of Education (1964) decision that overturned segregation.

    In any case, this was an attempt to liberate blacks, not to re-enslave them. I fail to see the point you are making with this reference.

    My point is that as the person in favor of curtailing freedoms, the responsibility is on you to make certain those freedoms are not unjustly taken away from a minority. If you are claiming that “separate is inherently unequal” in regards to smokers, then you are effectively admitting that it is impossible to curtail the rights of smokers by providing them with separate facilities, and therefore only the SAME facilities will do.

    Logically, therefore, you must either be in favor of banning smoking altogether, or allowing them to smoke where ever they please.

    Personally, I do not think this is at all a fair analogy. As you point out, smoking is a choice, and it is one that any person, no matter their background, education, race, religion, or other unalterable condition may choose to engage in. Therefore the same logic that makes black/white segregation “inherently unequal” in this case makes it perfectly reasonable.

  59. Correction, Brown v Topeka was 1954. Simple typo there.

  60. Sacrificing my health to your addiction is curtailing freedom? Your rights end at the tip of my nose, unless I’m aroused.

  61. “Sacrificing my health to your addiction is curtailing freedom?”

    You’re right, of course. If bars exist that permit smoking, even if you don’t go into one, the mere knowledge that they exist will obviously weigh heavily on your emotional health, and it is wrong for anyone to ask you to sustain that sort of strain. In fact, I suggest you make a complete list of things others enjoy that you don’t, so they can all be made illegal.

    I feel the same way about many subjects. For example, other people driving cars pollutes my environment. They ought to stop. And motorboats on lakes and oceans leave oil traces, which interferes with my ability to swim there. Why doesn’t the law do something about it?

    “Your rights end at the tip of my nose”
    Inarguable. But just how long a nose do you have the right to grow? Around the time it finds itself expanding into my living room I feel I have the right to make suggestions to it, so long as I am polite and first offer it a chair and a handkerchief.

  62. @59
    My point is that as the person in favor of curtailing freedoms, the responsibility is on you to make certain those freedoms are not unjustly taken away from a minority

    I don’t think it is a case of restricting anyone’s freedom to require smokers to do so in areas away from non-smokers without providing those areas.

    If this were a question of property rights, there would be no arguments. X is free to spray paint wherever she wants, but if the wind blows it all over my house, car etc., she is guilty of at least a misdemeanor (vandalism, destruction of property whatever), and she can’t say it was to be expected just because there were no spray booths available.

    In reality, smoking is the same thing. If X smokes so that others are forced to smoke with her, the fault is hers, and no one is obliged to make it easier for her

    As for your message #55, I am stunned anyone would equate smoking with free speech. Equate it with spraying bug poison on a city street, or with playing a radio at top volume, or with something that is almost guaranteed to harm your health if used exactly as intended, but to suggest voluntarily ingesting an addictive drug is on par with the most widely recognized basic human rights in the world is appalling.

  63. @61:

    Certainly it is curtailing freedom. The freedom of an individual to smoke. While the importance of the activity in question is debatable, the critical fact is that you are allowing the government, and all its law enforcement tools, to be empowered to prevent a person from engaging in an otherwise legal activity in the time and place of his own choosing.

    I agree that absolutely that freedom must be balanced against the freedom of others to be free of the nuisance that smoking causes. However, curtailing freedom of smokers to the benefit of non-smokers, without providing quite reasonable compensating accommodations to protect the freedoms of those who wish to smoke is not only unfair, it is contrary to the fundamental ideals laid out in the Constitution. (Most of whom, I might point out, were smokers themselves.)

    @63:

    I believe this is a very pertinent analogy. Someone opens their mouth, something comes out that someone else finds offensive. Whether that offense is to the auditory or olfactory senses is largely irrelevant. They key political difference between the right to speak freely and the right to smoke freely in this country is the proportion of the population that supports either concept. If the vast majority of citizens did not believe in freedom of speech, and if it were not so explicitly protected in our constitution, then that right may very well evaporate in the same way that smoking in public is evaporating.

  64. @64 I stronly dislike exageration for effect, which is the only way to interpret your connecting free speech and smoking. If anything that curtails a freedom is bad, then forbidding slavery limits your right to have a slave, forbidding rape limits your right to force yourself on any women you see, forbidding murder prevents you from killing an annoying neighbor and so on and so on.

    The simple fact is that smoking is harmful. To my knowledge it is the only activity which when performed exactly as it is intended to be is harmful to the health of the one doing it and to anyone in the area subjected to it. Which, to use an exagerated analogy, makes it worse than shooting someone, since a bullet can only go in one direction while smoking fills the air in all directions.

    To compare smoking to a slight nuisance is disingenuous. A child complaining about smoking is probably whining about inconvenience; an adult pointing out a smoker’s attempt to force her to join him is not. An adult whining about “nuisance” is being childish, or is ignorant or engaged in me-tooism, but that does not detract from the actual, proven harm caused by inhaling smoke.

    I repeat it is apalling that you connect a known, proven public health hazard that affects everyone exposed to it to free speech. Owning cigarettes may be similar, but the better analogy is to compare lighting one up and forcing everyone to inhale with you to inciting a riot by urging everyone to smash store windows and help themselves to beer. That type of speech is, in fact, regulated by law in the US and elsewhere, while merely being bothered by taunts is not.

    Finally, drawing a connection between the Founders and smoking is not helpful given how well they talked about freedom and equality while owning slaves and agreeing women deserved to be regarded as legal minors all their lives.

    Mind you, this is all in relation to smoking in public, not to smoking at all. I have a lovely patio with a nice table, chairs and even a non-breakable ashtray for those whom I like and who ask if they can smoke while visiting. I won’t join them, but they’re free to puff to their heart’s content.

  65. “I stronly dislike exageration for effect … forbidding slavery … forbidding rape …”

    Um.

    “The simple fact is that smoking is harmful” It isn’t nearly that simple.

    “it is the only activity which when performed exactly as it is intended to be is harmful to the health of the one doing it and to anyone in the area subjected to it.”

    Well, voting Republican comes to mind as another example.

    “a known, proven public health hazard that affects everyone”

    I suggest reading Laurel’s link, above.

  66. Bawrence @61

    Whether you wish to admit it or not a person’s right to smoke is still a right even if you do not agree with the right. At the same time a person’s right to not have to breath someone’s smoke is also a right. The issue is thus balancing these rights. In your comments you have yet to acknowledge that a smoker has any rights which, I believe, was the whole point of the original post. Personally, I am for both rights.

    Majikjon @64

    You state that the main political difference between smoking and freedom of speech is the popular sentiment of the two. I disagree and say that one is part of our Constitution and the other is not. It is probable that our freedom of speech rights would have eroded more if it were not so explicitly defined but I think a closer comparison is to the right to bear arms whose popularity is less than it was at the time of its writing while freedom of speech is still very popular.

    L Raymond @65

    “To my knowledge it is the only activity which when performed exactly as it is intended to be is harmful to the health of the one doing it and to anyone in the area subjected to it.”

    You really believe that smoking is the only action that is harmful when done as intended? Let’s ignore the fact that you assume that smoking in the company of others is “as intended” thus extending the damages implied by your argument but instead look at a simple example. If I am standing at a street corner waiting for a light I am surrounded by motorists whose vehicle’s exhaust is polluting the air that I breath. In addition, the motorists are breathing that same air. The system is working as intended and we are all subject to the harmful effects.

    One form of speech is hate speech. This type of speech is, in my opinion, “a known, proven public health hazard that affects everyone exposed to it.” His analogy, while imperfect, is acceptable.

  67. Jason s.b.f @ 67:

    What I actually said was the KEY political difference was the popularity of each right.

    In our type of populist democracy, I find it hard to deny that the popularity of an issue is the KEY to that issue. Certainly, the difference that speech is protected explicitly in the Constitution is an important one. However, if the popularity to protect the rights of smokers was significantly higher, than it would be possible to pass a Constitutional amendment granting it the same status, and eliminating this difference.

    Conversely, if freedom of speech were LESS popular, then we could always repeal the first amendment and again, the two rights, smoking and speaking, would be on an equal footing.

    The 2nd Amendment is indeed a very good example, here. And look how much of an inroads against our rights to bear arms the government has been able to make over the years, despite this explicit protection in the Bill of Rights. Waiting periods. Licenses. Background checks. Restrictions on the types and numbers of weapons that can be bought.

    While I am generally in favor of most of these restrictions, it does seem to me that the 2nd Amendment is not really being observed here. Rather, over the centuries, we have allowed lawyers to poke holes in the wording of the amendment to give us loopholes to impose restrictions on gun buying habits that really ought properly to be ruled unconstitutional. To me, this calls to mind the Orwell phrase “…but some animals are more equal than others.”

    If this set of “protected rights” can suffer this much restriction, I shudder to think what would happen if Free Speech were ever to become unpopular in this nation.

  68. Fair enough. I find the key difference to be the First Amendment over the popular sentiment. But that is just something where we have different views of the magnitude of each aspect. One is the momentum of the change and one is the defense against the change. Or we could say, in a confrontation with an immovable object and an unstoppable force, which is key?

  69. Certainly, there is an aura of something or other that pertains to ALL of the provisions in the Bill of Rights amendments that makes is extremely unlikely that these will ever be substantially modified (our government will likely break down completely before this happens).

    IMO, this is why the second amendment has not been outright repealed already. So sure, I can see your point. I still don’t agree, but as you say, it’s really just a matter of different perspectives.

  70. Is it OK to yell “fire” in a crowded movie theater?

  71. If there is actually a fire in theater, then it is not only okay, it is advisable to do so.

    The point is, the context certainly matters here.

  72. OK, for context, assume there is no fire, if only to save the nits you’re picking from a fiery death.

  73. Free Speech has often been largely misunderstood. It is not uncommon for, say, a beauty queen to say something largely unpopular, and lose her crown, and claim “I have freedom of speech! You’ve violated it!” When in fact the only promise of Free Speech is that she wouldn’t be arrested for saying it. Words still have consequences, even if the consequence isn’t the government putting you in jail–which is the only free speech protection the 1st amendment promises.

    Legally, freedom of speech has always been balanced against certain kinds of common sense: speech that threatens public safety (i.e. “fire!”) is excluded, speech that qualifies as “fighting words” (i.e. can reasonably expect a violent response) is excluded. There are other exclusions, always have been (and they make a fascinating discussion on their own, such as “revealing state secrets” is not protected speech).

    The vast difficulty with the 2nd amendment has to do with it being possibly the worst-worded legal sentence in the history of law. I mean, seriously, how can anyone, from any era, parse that sentence and think they understand clearly what was intended? Someone loaded a shotgun with commas and fired it point-blank at that amendment. They must have been running very short of caffeine when it came time to proof the thing.

    Interestingly enough given the political context here, “the right to smoke” is a profoundly libertarian discussion, at least as it’s going in this thread. I’m not at all sure what the socialist approach to the smoking question is. But “I have the right to breathe smoke, and you have the right to breathe clean air, and how do we draw the personal liberty line?” is an extremely libertarian concept.

    I suspect the ideal socialist answer, which should involve the protection of the commons, is a clear and boring “no smoking in public,” but I could be very wrong.

  74. Smokers, in my experience, consistently underestimate their effects on others. And these effects aren’t uniform; people are more or less sensitive to smoke, both in terms of immediate health effects (asthma vs. coughing vs. no immediate health effect) and just noticing the smell (some people say they rarely smell smoke on a smoker, I find I can tell when passing people in the hall fairly often, though of course I don’t know how many I miss; and I have a friend who apparently can tell you that the person over on the aisle three rows ahead in the theater is a smoker).

    I have absolutely no objection to a restaurant, bar, or workplace providing a smoking area, so long as it’s built and the traffic is organized so that nobody can tell it’s there without instrumentation (or reading the sign :-)). Unfortunately that’s impossible. For a bar or restaurant, I’d be happy to have them with separate outside entrances and no staff traffic between sides. That’s not good enough for workplaces, though, since people will expect to go take a smoke break and then go back and sit next to me in a meeting.

    I’m also concerned with the people who have to be waitstaff in the smoking sections of a bar or restaurant (and I certainly don’t want them coming straight from the smoking section to my table!), the people who clean all of these areas, and so forth. Some way to make sure people aren’t pressured into taking such jobs when they don’t want to would be important.

    I think it’s these complexities that have lead many smoking bans to not make any provisions for allowing smoking sections.

    It’s a fascinating example of what I view as a market failure that there weren’t more non-smoking restaurants and bars in the years leading up to the bans. With so much demand for the bans, you’d think there was a market opportunity there! It could be as simple as the fact that such businesses are so often marginal that any small thing working against it is enough, I suppose.

  75. My father smoked, and cigarette smoke has always had a certain nostalgic appeal to me.

    I thought it mean of my mother to want to deprive Dad of an activity he liked so much, and think it mean of society to banish smokers to the out-of-doors in the middle of winter in the middle of Minnesota.

    – but if I spend very long in a smoky room I’ll get a headache and raw sinuses. And I’d worry if I owned parrots. I had a pair of canaries who keeled over dead in a matter of seconds when a teflon-lined pot started burning in my kitchen. I don’t expect parrots are as sensitive as canaries, but it can’t be good for them.

    Also, not sure about sharing my name with a brand of cigarettes on The Simpsons.

  76. To all you smokers in this thread. I highly recommend you read Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking. It will cost you less than 2 packs of cigarettes and 2-3 hours of your time to read it. And frankly, it might change your life.

  77. To all of you non-smokers who are under the illusion that all smokers want to quit: I highly recommend you read the blog post above. It will only take two minutes of your time, and it might change the lives of your friends.

  78. I’m under no illusion that they all want to quit. Many of them are too rude to quit.

  79. Yes, I sympathize. I abhor rudeness.

    *stares off*

  80. I never understood the demonizing done to smokers.

    People need to stop trying to control everyone else’s personal life.

    I don’t smoke. But I don’t care if someone I know does. Just don’t do it while I’m eating. And don’t expect to smoke in my house (go out on the balcony). Otherwise… go for broke.

  81. GWW: I can’t see where any reasonable person would have a problem with that.

  82. The only problem I have with smokers in the public is the fact that the majority of them drop their butt, grind it on the ground with their foot and leave it there for others to pick up. In other words, its the littering that annoys me and what I consider rude.

    So GWW: I agree with what you say with the additional “And put your but/nib in the bin. Otherwise go for broke”.

  83. Fair enough. Though… I was raised in the south where we had a higher rate of TB than other places from all the people spitting chewing tobbaco on the ground.

    So… I’m possibly slightly more tolerant. Heh.

  84. I’m guessing the contents spat out are biodegradable. Filters however are not.

  85. Actually, schmwarf, that’s a fair cop. It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve stopped throwing butts on the ground–thanks to a nasty look from Netmouse and a lecture from Kit.

  86. Smokers can smoke all they want, what they can’t be permitted to do is subject others to the documented ill effects of their vice. Wear an airtight helmet with an attached SCUBA tank and enjoy all that wonderful smoke yourself, if I want some of it I know where to get it.

  87. Documented? Just where is it documented, pray? I know of exactly one report linking second-hand smoke to health problems, and it was thrown out of Federal court for cherry picking data and poor sampling methods. Can you name another? Have you even bothered to follow the link in Laurel’s post? I didn’t think so.

  88. I always assumed filters were cotton. But after looking it up, apparently they’re some sort of plastic man made fibers that look like cotton.

    People should all just hand roll.

  89. {shrugs} Or just thump the cherry out, stomp on that, and toss the butt. It’s a lot less effort than the rolling. And I’m all about being a lazy smoker.

    Next time, you should try defending pedophilia. It’d probably be easier.

  90. Chy: I feel ya, brother.

  91. Why bother reading a lind when there’s a WARNING FROM THE SURGEON GENERAL OF THE US on every pack? Is that documented well enough for you?

  92. Smoking is disgusting. It’s vile, unhealthy and you shouldn’t do it. I’d type more but I’m a little drunk and my Pannourmous pizza just arrived.

  93. Bawrence: Figured.

  94. timB: Irony? Oh, we don’t get that here.

  95. Timb: Will you ingest either unwillingly?

  96. How would you feel if random people dosed you with a laxative at will?

  97. Smokers, like non-smokers, are generally judged by The Other Side on the basis of the behvior of the most notably obnoxious of their clan.

    As a non-smoker at the Dyer-Bennet end of the sensitivity scale, I have absolutely no problem with anyone who wishes to smoke at home, smoke in his car, smoke in her RV, smoke in the gas chamber at the airport, smoke in the wide outdoors.

    …so long as they never toss their butts and half-smokes on the ground. And aren’t offended if I decline an invitation to their home. And don’t take that last long drag just outside the office door, then breathe it back out in the elevator or on the 4th floor.

    I have to say, it’s the persistent blithe littering that makes me most inclined to think of smokers as inconsiderate slobs deserving of nothing. I know intellectually that that’s not fair to the smokers who don’t litter; but then, they aren’t constantly bringing themselves to my attention. I’m glad to hear that you have stopped littering, skzb — I could cover the walls of my home just with the butts I’ve seen thrown from car windows over the years.

  98. I understand what you are saying Bawrence. As a nonsmoker I can’t stand being around heavy smoking. My bar tending career lasted exactly 3 hours before I fled to the streets for clean city air. But aside from the few unavoidable circumstances, i.e. children in a vehicle with a parent smoking, you can always remove yourself from a smokey situation. But as far as an individual choice, smoking is no worse than drinking or over eating. Where’s the Surgeon General’s warning on cheeseburgers and checkout candy?

  99. For a few days now, CNN has been quoting a recent study that shows that ‘overweight’ people live 10 years longer than ‘normal’ people, on average.

  100. @timB: Smokers have the vice, but those who don’t are required to accomodate them to the extent of evacuating the area they’re polluting? Wow. Unbelievable.

  101. I don’t know how that could possibly be correct. If it is, I’m completely prepared for a long life.

  102. Nice, thanks for the link…it’s kinda sad that I have to lose 10 pounds to fall into the overweight category.

  103. Bawrence, do you believe everything the government says (or forces others to say)?

  104. No, so you can put your collection of logical fallacies away.

  105. Bawence, I see smokers every day. Seldom do I smell them. The vast majority have the courtesy of not blowing in my face. Almost all don’t smoke indoors if I’m in the room with them (even if they legally can).

    From my previous post, my biggest bugbear is dropping the butts on the ground which is a littering issue that is remedied quickly.

    I’m curious to know how often are you polluted by smoker’s air on a daily basis versus the likes of other pollution such as vehicles, industry, et al?

    And your bring up the health argument re – the surgeons general warning? Smokers in general know the health risks. It’s a tired argument. Did you know that trans fats, sugar, white flour, chlorine, some food additives, processed meats, etc can lead to serious health issues such as heart disease and cancer. If your bring up the health argument then maybe start with eliminating all of the above in your life.

  106. Yes smokers know the health risks, yet they knowingly and/or carelessly expose others who don’t smoke to that risk. It’s their chosen activity that presents the health risks, so it is incumbent upon them to keep it well away from nonparticipants. Stunt drivers use closed courses, alligator wrestlers keep onlookers outside a fenced enclosure, why can’t smokers show similar consideration?

  107. p.s. like cigarettes, people can choose to consume any and all of the substances you mention and with that choice accept any consequences, but if someone forced unwilling participants to ingest them despite the known risks it probably wouldn’t fly.

  108. I only raised the health risk issue because you posted it as an entry in isolation (twice from a glance) to the other arguments. So given we are agreement on the health perspective (in isolation to the second hand pollution issue) I’m curious to why you have brought them up – in isolation to the second hand pollution issue.

    but if someone forced unwilling participants to ingest them

    I don’t know of any instance were I have been “forced” to ingest second hand smoke. Based on the third paragraph in my comment in 108, do you experience second hand smoke being forced down your airways on a regular basis – more so than other industrial air-bourne pollutants?

  109. This discussion isn’t about other airborn pollutants, just like it wasn’t about trans fats, etc. The title of the OP may give you a hint.

  110. But the discussion has been steered in the direction of tobacco’s vices which include it been an airborne pollutant and its health issues.

    So unless one’s mode of transport is either walking or riding a bicycle, with a diet consisting of non-processed, organic food then I find an attack on tobacco usage a tad hypocritical.

  111. Again, poor examples. Individuals can choose to employ an internal combustion engine and/or ingest anything they want on an individual basis. Individuals cannot force-feed bad foods or pipe exhaust gasses into other individuals who choose to avoid them. Don’t you hate it when your bad analogies bite you in the ass?

  112. Rubbish. You choosing to employ an internal combustion engine messes up my atmosphere. Stop it. And, while you’re at it, stop using commodities that use up my resources, or harm my environment.

    And, by the way, would please stop exhaling? You’re emitting carbon dioxide.

  113. Rubbish. The internal combustion engine has benefits to society as a whole, as your recent trip demonstrates, that at least somewhat offset the harmful effects. Can smokers make a similar case for tobacco? I guess addicts really will try to ratioinalize anything.

  114. Schmwarf, I can generally smell smokers nearby, even if they aren’t smoking at the time.

    The littering issue is not remedied quickly; I now know two smokers who don’t litter.

    Bawrence, car and motorcycle drivers also present risks to bystanders; they are supposed to avoid hurting others, but they aren’t confined to areas that keep others safe, either.

    As for being “forced” to tolerate second-hand smoke, it isn’t clear. How much is someone required to be willing to give up before the issued is “forced”? (E.g. at one time, anybody who wanted to fly on a commercial flight had to tolerate smoke. I’ve had to put up with it in various jobs.) Due to the current laws, that’s much less of an issue today.

    Steve, please let him emit carbon dioxide. My favorite fruits need it to grow.

  115. “Let” me? Please. He’s only a writer.

  116. “And, while you’re at it, stop using commodities that use up my resources, or harm my environment.”

    Be careful what you wish for, this would include trees on both counts, and last time I checked they are a key ingredient in books.

  117. @114″Individuals can choose to employ an internal combustion engine and/or ingest anything they want on an individual basis. ”

    I could argue that people are addicted to their cars and the food they eat.

    “Individuals cannot force-feed bad foods or pipe exhaust gasses into other individuals who choose to avoid them.”

    Individuals cannot force smoke fumes into other individuals who choose to avoid them. I walked down the main streets past about 60 cars idling/starting up at the lights and three people with cigarettes in their hands. I could of walked on the other side of the road to avoid the smoke. Not much of an option in avoiding the cars.

    And since when did I mention force feeding others with food? I was referring to individuals taking food as a result of your previous arguments about individual health (eg @93). Your wiggling.

    @116″Can smokers make a similar case for tobacco?”

    Yes. Tobacco has nicotene. Nicotene is a stimulant that makes you feel good and more productive. On a macroeconomic scale this may translate to a greater GDP output.

    @117. Seth, I have to agree with you on that smell issue. I smoked a big cuban two weeks ago (in response to the post – true!). The smoking was done outside and the weather was very windy. Before I went back into the office:
    – I changed my shirt;
    – I rinsed my hair;
    – I washed my face;
    – I brushed my teeth and tongue with an electric toothbrush for five minutes.
    Later on I caught the train with my wife. When she sat down she sniffed and said “have you been smoking?”

  118. I’m wiggling, it seems you and some others are intent on injecting extraneous material. If you don’t want to discuss smoking, why did you comment in the thread?

  119. Wait a minute. You’re not joking?

    You’re trying to have a serious discussion that you just can’t let go of on a satirical thread?

    Freaking amazing.

  120. There is nothing the least bit off subject in exposing your hypocrisy. On the contrary, demonstrating the inconsistency, irrationality, and unscientific method in the self-righteous anti-smoking fanatic is precisely on topic.

  121. My hypocrisy? Stick to fiction, outside of it you are obviously a fool, nearly the equal of Orson Scott Card.

  122. Bawrence

    I’m wiggling, it seems you and some others are intent on injecting extraneous material.

    Please refer to the first paragraph in @113.
    And myself and some others didn’t inject material such as
    – “tip of my nose”;
    – “pissing section in my backyard pool”;
    – “airtight helmet with an attached SCUBA tank”;
    – longer living chubby people;
    – dousing people with laxatives; and
    – Liberia

    Any indirect topics I’ve brought up have been in the context of rebuttals.

    And yes you are wiggling. You have chosen to sidestep one or two questions directed your way.

    If you don’t want to discuss smoking, why did you comment in the thread?

    Umm.. I thought I was.

    Additionally, in your comment in @116 you said I guess addicts really will try to ratioinalize anything. Not everyone here that is defending tobacco is an addict. I smoked a cigar two weeks ago and 13 months prior to that and 24 months prior to that with no plans when the next one will be smoked. And no I don’t do cigarettes. I’ll defend them within the context of @82 and @84

    Steve

    I’m having fun here but if I’m polluting the Dream Cafe Weblog with my comments I’ll stop 🙂

  123. I meant: I’ll defend smoking within the context of @82 and @84

  124. Bawernce – can you avoid the ad hominem and attack the opinion and not the person?

  125. Certainly, can you?

  126. People who foam at the mouth over things like this make me feel a deep sadness.

    Everything on the interwebs is so serious.

    Topics like this always degrade into someone eating alka-seltzers and spewing red hot mouth goo all over everything.

  127. I can and I have.

    But if that’s not the case, please point out where I have and I apologize unreservedly (serious).

  128. scmwarf: Oh, no; this is great. When it stops being fun, I’ll just stop posting. If it gets to be a real problem, I’ll ask people to drop it. You’re fine.

  129. Why should nonsmokers breathe your secondhand smoke? Perhaps there should be something along the lines of a leper colony for smokers, to limit exposure almost exclusively to others who are unclean.

  130. Nonsmokers don’t have to breathe secondhand smoke. If they don’t like a restaurant, bar, or any private business that allows smoking they don’t have to go. Certainly nonsmokers have a right to smoke-free environments in their homes and city/state owned buildings. But it’s when they start telling others that they don’t have the right to smoke in their own homes and businesses that the government oversteps its bounds.

  131. When did smokers gain the ability to deny nonsmokers access to anywhere, especially when smokers are producing the pollutant? Smoke in your own home, if you don’t have children to poison, but if you place yourself in contact with people who don’t share your addiction you really should be more considerate and if you refuse to be considerate you should be regulated. Dog owners have to pick up after their pets or risk getting fined but smokers can expel known carcinogens without consequense? I don’t think so.

  132. When did smokers gain the ability to deny nonsmokers access to anywhere, especially when smokers are producing the pollutant?

    Clearly, smokers do NOT have the “ability” to deny non-smokers the right to ANYthing, as evidenced by the number of total smoking bans that have already been enacted around the country.

    In any case, the obvious slip side of this question is, “When did non-smokers gain the RIGHT to deny SMOKERS access to anywhere?”

    Why do you believe so firmly that your side should have the right and ability to castigate, demonize, and limit the rights of the other side, with no apologies or room for compromise?

    Why do you keep ignoring the fact that NO ONE is forcing you to go into a smoking bar or restaurant if you don’t want to? Why do you keep insisting on calling it “poison”, when poison is determined by the dosage? Why do you insist that EVERYone who smokes is “addicted”? This seems to flow from your belief that every smoker secretly WANTS to quit, but they just can’t because of their “addiction”.

    Why do you insist that there is no such thing as a considerate smoker?

    To me, this is similar to insisting that there’s no such thing as an honest Jew, or Black man who doesn’t want to rape all the white folks’ daughters.

  133. When did smokers gain the ability to deny nonsmokers access to anywhere, especially when smokers are producing the pollutant?

    You’re rewording previous postings. But to answer your question, it all depends who was there first. (notwithstanding smoke free zones due to business policies and government laws).

    If I’m sitting on a park bench by myself smoking a cigar then all things being equal, I don’t see the need to move from my spot. If someone sits next to me and says “you stink and you are polluting my lungs so please move” I would find that offensive.

    On the other hand..

    If I sit next to someone who is already on a park bench by themselves and a light up a cigar then all things being equal, what I’m doing is rude and offensive and that person has a right to tell me to leave.

    but smokers can expel known carcinogens without consequence?

    Again with the hypocrisy. If you walk and/or ride a bicycle to get from A to B then I retract that statement. This is getting a bit tired and I’m having less fun on that item.

    Regulated? Be careful what you wish for. The following comment digresses to another subject but those who expect governments to step in mandate them to rule and not govern.

  134. Smokers introduce the hazard to the environment, but they’re the ones persecuted? They may make you look cool, but you still sound like pussies.

  135. Smokers introduce this so-called “hazard” into “the environment” that is specifically designed and set aside for them and NO ONE is forcing you to go into.

    So yes, insisting that they stop smoking IN THAT ENVIRONMENT, just because you don’t approve of their habit, is persecution.

  136. Have I made any mention of banning smoking areas? Clearly one of us is fucking nuts.

  137. Something like a leper colony for smokers would be win/win, according to one respondent here. If the nicotine in cigarettes increases productivity (despite the frequent breaks) as he asserted, then concentrating all that productivity in one place should work miracles. What are you people waiting for?

  138. Tobacco has been worshipped by Indigenous Americans for centuries, and we know their health is outstanding. Europeans smoke more, Asia smokes more, and basically the rest of the continent and they maintain better health than us. Tobacco is obviously not that bad for us, but it’s a whole other load of problems of why we are sicker than everyone else. You could go with that interesting statistic.

  139. Kyler

    What is the “interesting statistic”?

    What is your source of stats?

    What is the life expectancy of an indigenous American?

    Chinese, Indians, Indonesians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis make up around 78 per cent of the Asian population and all of them have an average life expectancy far less than America. So what do you mean by “maintain better health than us?”

    To draw conclusions on tobacco and general global health you have to normalize other comparative national factors such as: alcohol consumption, consumption of other drugs, the quality of food, economic conditions, demographics, levels of violence, sedentary lifestyle, climate, etc.

    You are saying “Tobacco is obviously not that bad for us”, are you saying that decades of medical research by qualified doctors, biologists and other scientists are invalid?

  140. Smoking saves lives. Having a smoke reduces my stress level. Stress is caused by the minds refusal to kill some asshole who desperately deserves it. As this is occasioned daily if not hourly, smoking saves lives.

  141. Heh, I agree completely.

  142. Now that the US has socialized medicine, welcome to the real world of smoking. Smoking now costs every American, smoker or not, money. It causes not just lung and a few other cancers, but it weakens arteries leading to heart attack and stroke. And a dozen other things. My aunt is living with one lung removed and the other barely hanging on, sucking down oxygen from a bottle, stuck unable to leave her house or visit her children and grandchildren — smoked like a chimney and was a nurse, and now her lungs are unable to transmit enough oxygen into her blood to keep her more than superficially alive, something only smoking could have caused. Someone that knew better.

    All of those illnesses you will now be paying for. Actually, through your insurance, you already are.

    It costs you years of life — lost time not spent with children and grandchildren. My father smoked all his life, until his heart attack at 52 forced him to quit. (Six months in a hospital bed will help with that.) And then his (previously repaired) aneurysm in his heart blew out 14 years later, six weeks before my sister would have told him she was pregnant — at Christmas.

    My father missed all of his grandchildren. They’ll never meet him, because he smoked.

    Who are YOU going to never meet?

    Isn’t it worth learning to deal with your own anger without a crutch, so that you can meet that special small someone someday?

    Smoking has cost me dearly. If you can’t see what it could cost you, for an emotional crutch that you’d need to give up in order to really know whether you need it or not, then you need to open your eyes and look a little harder.

  143. I just saved your life.

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