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I can't breathe! If only there weren't so many smokers within three feet of me!
February 2, 2011 5:18 PM   Subscribe

City of New York extends full smoking ban to public parks, beaches, and public concourses like Times Square. (slnyt). A surprisingly metafilteresque flamewar can be observed in the comments of the huffington post re-reportage.
posted by tehloki (211 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by fuq at 5:19 PM on February 2, 2011


Finally! Now I'll be able to smell the garbage again. New York as it's meant to smell.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:21 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


. indeed

My editorializing here: I recognize the nuisance it can be to walk through the park or down the beach and pass through a cloud of smelly toxic cigarette smoke. However, I don't believe a comprehensive ban on smoking in these areas is really fair to all the people who generally aren't assholes and don't smoke right the hell next to you for 10 minutes, which is what the bill seems to be trying to fight. Couldn't they just have said something like "no smoking in public places within 20 feet of somebody who tells you to go away?"
posted by tehloki at 5:23 PM on February 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


Once again, NYC government validates right-wing alarmism about the nanny state. Boy am I glad I moved out.
posted by nasreddin at 5:26 PM on February 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


Now I'll be able to smell the garbage again.

Ive often wondered if this is just a cute meme that New Yorkers perpetuate for fun or does the city really stink that bad?

I've heard it alot in a lot of different places.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 5:30 PM on February 2, 2011


And in this case it also validates right-wing bullshit about secondhand smoke being "junk science." Every study that I'm aware of has analyzed secondhand-smoke exposure over a long period of time in enclosed spaces like workplaces or homes. The idea that this can just be unquestioningly extended to smoking outside is insane, and suggests that the real motivation here is to treat people like they're children (see also: soda taxes, sodium-content restrictions, etc. etc.).
posted by nasreddin at 5:31 PM on February 2, 2011 [10 favorites]


does the city really stink that bad?

Only on trash collection days. Oh, and all summer.
posted by oinopaponton at 5:32 PM on February 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Does the gross steam fall under this ban?
posted by smackfu at 5:34 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Now I'll be able to smell the garbage again.

Don't be ridiculous, you can't smell the garbage over the stench of piss.
posted by elizardbits at 5:37 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't give a shit about people smoking outdoors nearish to where I am. But I am absolutely fucking ropable about the ziggurats of cigarette butts, the dense scatterings, the clogged drains, the disgusting, piles of trash, oozing arsenic, cyanide and other chemicals, ingested by fish, birds and other animals, taking years to break down - five in sea water! One year in fresh! - starting bushfires in summer, that pile up anywhere smoking is remotely popular.

Fuck that shit, man. If smokers didn't think cigarette butts are somehow different to every other type of garbage that we put in the god-damned bin, they could cancer themselves up like lemmings for all I care. But they spew their poisonous rubbish far and wide. Let them do it in their lounge rooms. If - as a whole - they acted with the kind of responsibility we would expect an eight year old to exercise, maybe the ban wouldn't have happened.
posted by smoke at 5:37 PM on February 2, 2011 [59 favorites]


Only on trash collection days

You don't have daily collection? Or are you saying it stinks everyday?
posted by ryanrs at 5:39 PM on February 2, 2011


Does the gross steam fall under this ban?

That steam isn't gross, it is steam generated by con Ed to heat many of the landmark buildings.

Don't be ridiculous, you can't smell the garbage over the stench of piss.

Ahh garbage and piss, like a lover's perfume.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:40 PM on February 2, 2011


What smoke said. I don't understand how smokers who don't litter can rationalize throwing their butts on the ground. Fuck you. You're just as bad as people who let their dogs shit on the sidewalk and don't pick it up.
posted by birdherder at 5:41 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I fully support this. Smoke yourself to death in the privacy of your own home, but in public spaces/places there's no reason I or anyone else should have to be subjected to it.
posted by blaneyphoto at 5:43 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


But they spew their poisonous rubbish far and wide. Let them do it in their lounge rooms.

I'd like to see some serious statistics about how much smokers contribute to the general poisoning of the atmosphere and rubbishing of the far and wide. I'm willing to bet it's absolutely trivial, and that the people who complain most about smokers in the wild on average contribute far more.
posted by Dumsnill at 5:44 PM on February 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


You're just as bad as people who let their dogs shit on the sidewalk and don't pick it up.

The ones who bury it under the snow on the sidewalk, like that will somehow magically make it go away (NEWSFLASH: IT WILL NOT, YOU FUCKERS), are especially deserving of gruesome deaths involving angry ravenous pterodactyls.
posted by elizardbits at 5:45 PM on February 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


I hate cigarettes and I hate cigarette smoke, but this creeping ban on something that is ostensibly legal is really uncalled for. Criminalize cigarettes or don't, but for fuck's sake don't just make it impossible to do a legal thing.

And don't criminalize cigarettes, prohibition is bullshit.
posted by paisley henosis at 5:45 PM on February 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also: New York City smells fucking bad. I don't know how people can stand it, and I lived in India down the road from an open sewer. No joke.
posted by paisley henosis at 5:46 PM on February 2, 2011


If you go to Staten Island, the outer most borough of the city, you can Fresh Kills. It is the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, and it is a mountain of garbage. Among the largest land-fills on Earth. And yeah, it smells (though much less since it was closed down as an active dump site). When the wind is blowing just right, you can smell it in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
posted by Flood at 5:46 PM on February 2, 2011



You don't have daily collection? Or are you saying it stinks everyday?


Tuesday, Thursay and Saturday for me. I live in a large old building, it stinks up the basement and stairwells on the offmdays and stinks up the sidewalk outside when they haul it out.

It is interesting that as a society we are moving towards legalizing marijuana, which you also smoke. What are people going to do when they walk through the park and every other person is doing bong hits.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:48 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The key passage is actually this:
However, Councilwoman Gale Brewer, the bill's prime sponsor, said the ban isn't intended to be a legally "punitive program." She said the city expects the law will be primarily self-enforced, with residents warning anyone who lights a cigarette in a park or on a beach that it's illegal. Police won't be responsible for enforcing it, she said.
This is really similar to the jaywalking ban or the bag-inspection tables in subway stations. The idea isn't that all of a sudden there's gonna be a mass crackdown on bag-carrying terrorists or jaywalkers or smokers; it's to keep you, the average citizen, constantly reminded that the law has its eye on you, that if you haven't been confronted by a cop it's only because the state in its mercy and wisdom has deemed it proper for you to slip through the cracks for now. Then, when something actually significant happens--like the RNC, remember that?--the state can deploy its massive police apparatus and people will be trained to respond by staying home or avoiding areas with police concentrations, which is very convenient if you want to keep things nice and peaceful for the conventioneers.

(This is kind of an irrelevant sidenote, but bad laws kept on the books but not enforced were one of Adam Smith's great concerns. He pointed out that the supposed freedom you get from lack of enforcement is an illusion, since in reality the existence of the laws themselves corrupts justice by allowing individuals to be targeted arbitrarily at the whim of the magistrate.)
posted by nasreddin at 5:48 PM on February 2, 2011 [41 favorites]


Man, it sure does feel good to use the law to beat up on people we think are disgusting, doesn't it?
posted by Dasein at 5:48 PM on February 2, 2011 [19 favorites]


Eponysterical, smoke.

And I agree with you too. I do.
posted by rain at 5:51 PM on February 2, 2011


Fuck that shit, man. If smokers didn't think cigarette butts are somehow different to every other type of garbage that we put in the god-damned bin, they could cancer themselves up like lemmings for all I care. But they spew their poisonous rubbish far and wide. Let them do it in their lounge rooms. If - as a whole - they acted with the kind of responsibility we would expect an eight year old to exercise, maybe the ban wouldn't have happened.

If we smoke inside, we use ashtrays. If you force us to smoke outside, give us urns. If I see an urn outside, I use it; I don't usually use normal garbage cans because I'm afraid of starting a fire.

If you force us outside and don't give us urns, what the fuck do you expect? You want us to swallow them or something?
posted by nasreddin at 5:52 PM on February 2, 2011 [14 favorites]


It is interesting that as a society we are moving towards legalizing marijuana, which you also smoke.

One can smoke marijuana, but it can also be ingested. It also works with a vaporizer (presumably less obnoxious than smoke but I can't speak from personal experience).
posted by jedicus at 5:53 PM on February 2, 2011


Metafilter: garbage and piss, like a lover's perfume.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 5:54 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd like to see some serious statistics about how much smokers contribute to the general poisoning of the atmosphere and rubbishing of the far and wide.

Cigarette butts make up 43% of South Australia's litter stream (pdf)

Butts:

Constitute 50% of all litter in Australia.

Are estimated to start 4,400 fires each year in Australia.

One cigarette butt can turn 8 litres of water into biohazard for species at the bottom of the food chain.


So yeah, pretty big problem, pretty bad.
posted by smoke at 5:55 PM on February 2, 2011 [15 favorites]


I smoked outside and put my butts in the pack between the outer and inner packaging. it worked just fine and no litter. Hooray.

(Finally quit last year, but don't support outdoor smoking bans).
posted by wildcrdj at 5:56 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


If you force us outside and don't give us urns, what the fuck do you expect? You want us to swallow them or something?

I used to toss them in the storm drains, but those empty into the river so it's probably worse.

One can smoke marijuana, but it can also be ingested. It also works with a vaporizer (presumably less obnoxious than smoke but I can't speak from personal experience).

Nobody is bringing a 900 dollar vaporizer to the park.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:56 PM on February 2, 2011


In other words: there's nothing inherent about smoking outside that causes litter. Punish those who litter with the existing littering laws/fines. It's not necessary to ban smoking to punish littering.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:57 PM on February 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Tuesday, Thursay and Saturday for me.

7 days a week in downtown San Francisco. It's gone before it gets ripe. I sort of assumed other densely built citites did the same.
posted by ryanrs at 5:57 PM on February 2, 2011


If smokers didn't think cigarette butts are somehow different to every other type of garbage that we put in the god-damned bin

Obviously someone here hasn't walked around picking up cigarette butts and emptying leftover tobacco into rolling papers to smoke. I guess the Thompkins Sq Blend is gone forever.
posted by fuq at 5:58 PM on February 2, 2011 [11 favorites]


If we smoke inside, we use ashtrays. If you force us to smoke outside, give us urns. If I see an urn outside, I use it; I don't usually use normal garbage cans because I'm afraid of starting a fire.

If you force us outside and don't give us urns, what the fuck do you expect? You want us to swallow them or something?


That's a bit of a false dichotomy. Not binning cigarettes becaue of fire concerns = throwing them on the ground as necessity? You could put the butt out before you bin it. You could carry a small portable closed container to use as an ashtray. You could do a lot of of different things.

Also, your contention that smokers will use supplied urns is highly contestable, at least in Australia. If it wasn't 35' right now and I wasn't working from home without a shirt, I would go outside and take you a picture of the stacks of butts sprayed around any one of my neighbourhood bins - all of which include ashtrays.
posted by smoke at 5:59 PM on February 2, 2011


Awesome, awesome news. Well done NYC!
posted by 2bucksplus at 6:00 PM on February 2, 2011



One can smoke marijuana, but it can also be ingested. It also works with a vaporizer (presumably less obnoxious than smoke but I can't speak from personal experience).

Nobody is bringing a 900 dollar vaporizer to the park.


Uhh, there are a ton of affordable vaporizers for EITHER substance.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:02 PM on February 2, 2011


"She said the city expects the law will be primarily self-enforced, with residents warning anyone who lights a cigarette in a park or on a beach that it's illegal."

Will there be a cash bonus offered for people who denounce their neighbors? I'm sure Mayor Hoenecker Bloomberg can find some money in the budget for that.
posted by MikeMc at 6:02 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Nobody is bringing a 900 dollar vaporizer to the park.

Presumably they'd get a lot cheaper if marijuana were legalized and they started being mass produced by appliance companies.
posted by jedicus at 6:02 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Vaporgenie.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:04 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Smoke:

So your links are largely to stuff in comic sans and contain no actual links to real peer-reviewed papers?

(And, anyway, are about fire hazards in Australia?)
posted by Dumsnill at 6:05 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


One group will be exempted from the restrictions: actors lighting up a cigarette in a park or on a beach for the purposes of a theatrical production.

I'm staging a one man performance of "Go Fuck Yourself."

But really this is overboard. I smoke and really enjoy the fact that smokers have to be outside now. Stale nicotine just isn't a very enjoyable aroma. But outside? In the parks?
posted by Glibpaxman at 6:06 PM on February 2, 2011 [12 favorites]


Ok fair enough, I haven't shopped for vaporizers recently.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:06 PM on February 2, 2011


If you force us outside and don't give us urns, what the fuck do you expect? You want us to swallow them or something?

Use a pocket ashtray. I mean, really - if you're leaving the house and you know you'll be smoking somewhere without ashtrays there isn't much excuse.

(and yes, this law is awful)
posted by ripley_ at 6:06 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]



That's a bit of a false dichotomy. Not binning cigarettes becaue of fire concerns = throwing them on the ground as necessity? You could put the butt out before you bin it. You could carry a small portable closed container to use as an ashtray. You could do a lot of of different things.


Well, I often will try to use the side of a bin to put it out, but that falls right on the edge of "too much work" for me (and carrying my stanky butts around in a box is definitely over that line). Like all people, I have conscientious days and I have non-conscientious days, but even on the latter I will use an urn if one is provided for me.

Also, your contention that smokers will use supplied urns is highly contestable, at least in Australia. If it wasn't 35' right now and I wasn't working from home without a shirt, I would go outside and take you a picture of the stacks of butts sprayed around any one of my neighbourhood bins - all of which include ashtrays.

Well, I've observed the same thing, but I've also observed urns working well as a butt-control measure in other places. I can really only speak for myself.
posted by nasreddin at 6:07 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dumsnill, they're from government agencies and a university, with references to NGOs and government agencies. If you have a problem feel free to dig up some research proving the South Australian Govt, The Australian National University, and the Australian Fire Council wrong. Maybe it will be in fonts you like, too FFS.
posted by smoke at 6:08 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hell, I'll be that guy.

Fuck smokers. Keep your filthy habit away from me every single moment of every single day. I ingest enough lung-cancer-causing pollution without having your pathetic addiction sting my sensitive nostrils.

(That was probably a little over the top.)
posted by jabberjaw at 6:09 PM on February 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


you can Fresh Kills

I don't know who Kills is, and I have no idea what "Fresh" means these days with you kids and your urban slang on the world wide web, but just leave me out of it.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:09 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nasreddin blaming governments for you being to lazy to not dispose of your butts properly is a bit.... irrational, don't you think?

Let the record reflect, I'm not defending this specific law, but I damned well wish smoking was banned in public places and there are good environmental (not public health) reasons for doing so.
posted by smoke at 6:10 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fuck smokers. Keep your filthy habit away from me every single moment of every single day. I ingest enough lung-cancer-causing pollution without having your pathetic addiction sting my sensitive nostrils.

I can only hope that the next step on the slippery slope will be a law against raging assholes. Then again, that'll probably criminalize half the city's population.
posted by nasreddin at 6:10 PM on February 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Nasreddin blaming governments for you being to lazy to not dispose of your butts properly is a bit.... irrational, don't you think?

Look, you have to decide if the environmental harm from smoking is a moral issue or a practical issue. If it's a moral issue, sure, make us suffer as much as possible so we're constantly reminded of what degraded wretches we are. If it's a practical issue, then make it easy for us to be responsible. I don't think too many people object to single-stream recycling because it's an irrational response to laziness.
posted by nasreddin at 6:13 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I mean, it's not like urns are any more expensive than regular trashcans. You just carve out an ashtray-shaped section from the top and you're golden. I suspect the reason they're fairly uncommon in New York is that they don't want us to forget that our filthy habit makes us pariahs, like the "armrests" they put on park benches to keep homeless people from sleeping.
posted by nasreddin at 6:17 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blah stupid. Just keep raising the prices. An outdoor ban is ridiculous and will actually generate more criminal behaviour because an outdoor ban is all about avoiding getting caught. And if one can avoid being nabbed for smoking in a park, what else can they get away with?

And for all the haters, the indoor air in your homes and offices will get you before a brief encounter with my cloud. Don't tread on me yo.
posted by nickrussell at 6:17 PM on February 2, 2011


I don't know who Kills is

I think it's Dutch for 'garbage'.
posted by ryanrs at 6:18 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think that if you can smoke in a park then I get to piss on the grass legally. Those toilets are gross and my urine kills only the grass.
posted by gagglezoomer at 6:21 PM on February 2, 2011


If you force us outside and don't give us urns, what the fuck do you expect? You want us to swallow them or something?
I use a Binyabutt (35mm film canister). It works just fine.
posted by unliteral at 6:21 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


If we smoke inside, we use ashtrays. If you force us to smoke outside, give us urns. If I see an urn outside, I use it; I don't usually use normal garbage cans because I'm afraid of starting a fire.

If you force us outside and don't give us urns, what the fuck do you expect? You want us to swallow them or something?


When I'm out hiking in the mountains, I throw all of my trash on the ground. If you don't put trash cans in the mountains, fuck you, I'm throwing it on the ground.
posted by jessssse at 6:29 PM on February 2, 2011 [42 favorites]


I'm cool with this. Tobacco smoke is nasty stink, nevermind toxic. Pls to keep it to yourself in your own private fume hood. Your right to smoke stops right about where anyone who doesn't want to smell it, can. Simple, and fair.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:31 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the wind's just right, New York actually smells like maple syrup.
posted by jessssse at 6:35 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's like having a dog. You carry something to clean up with. Not a big deal. I smoked for 15 years and as far as I know I never left a butt on the ground (disclaimer: some of the time I was very drunk, so I probably did occasionally).
posted by wildcrdj at 6:37 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wish they could just pass a law that required smokers to be respectful. Like, I don't care if you hang out in a doorway or smoke while you're walking or something, but for gods fucking sake, don't light up at a fucking bus stop, I'm standing right here goddamn you!
posted by Afroblanco at 6:37 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, not so sure about that. If I don't want to hear you, I can't really ban you from speaking. Unless I'm in Afghanistan. And you're a woman. Then, I just don't let you go to school, you can't work, you stay home, and I don't have to hear you.

It starts with public smoking bans and the next thing you know, women like seanmpuckett will no longer be educated.

What do you think the grade of that slippery slope over there is? Next time, what if it's something you like. Like umbrellas. Or puppies. Or, god forbid, children.

You people can ban smoking everywhere around the world if you can assure me that your screaming "beautiful boy" won't ever interrupt my meals, flights, films, etc. You like him, I think he's annoying. You don't see me lobbying to have children banned.
posted by nickrussell at 6:38 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


fuck dog owners, with their dogs shitting outside, smelling shit all the god damn fucking time can't be healthy. that and dog fart, fucking gross and do you know the god damn carbon footprint of keeping an animal? The fuckers should pay a huge tax.

And I'll just go ahead and say it, everyone who uses a car, go fucking hang yourself. You are killing the planet. Here I am riding my bike and I have to inhale your toxic fucking fumes, not to mention how many times I've been hit and nearly killed. fuckers, choke and die.

and all those people who have kids, fucking keep them home. I don't want your smelly, screaming, walking sperm interrupting my afternoon mediation. Shit eaters the lot of you.
posted by Shit Parade at 6:38 PM on February 2, 2011 [52 favorites]


Your right to smoke stops right about where anyone who doesn't want to smell it, can. Simple, and fair.

It's only simple and fair if you live on an asteroid with the Little Prince instead of in a city with 8 million people. Why isn't having a noisy car alarm illegal? What about hogging the subway pole? Listening to crappy music? Microwaving smelly food in the office breakroom? Seriously, give me one good reason these things wouldn't be criminalized on this principle.
posted by nasreddin at 6:41 PM on February 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


When I'm out hiking in the mountains, I throw all of my trash on the ground. If you don't put trash cans in the mountains, fuck you, I'm throwing it on the ground.

When I'm out hiking in the city, I expect there to be trash cans. When I'm hiking in the mountains, not so much. There are many things that are inconvenient about hiking in the mountains. There are too few people there for Water Closets to be installed every 500 meters, for example. In cities, though? Flushing toilets are the norm, including public ones. But apparently a simple urn is a crazy thing to ask for.
posted by Dumsnill at 6:41 PM on February 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


This nice derail about how cigarette butt ground tossers are awful is nice and all, but isn't the fact that NYC just made it illegal to smoke in a large portion of what I would consider to be "outside" kind of a more pressing and interesting issue?
posted by tehloki at 6:46 PM on February 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Perfume next please. And that includes your nauseating shampoos and cosmetics.
posted by Jode at 6:46 PM on February 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


If an urn is not crazy to ask for, then asking for individuals to be responsible for the rubbish they generate - such as carrying a small container, or extinguishing a butt before binning it - is surely no crazier?
posted by smoke at 6:47 PM on February 2, 2011


Man, New York kinda sucks anymore. Did it ever really used to be cool, or was Martin Scorsese lying to me all those years?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:49 PM on February 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is a dumb law. However, rationalizing throwing trash in the street because a bin isn't provided is pretty childish. Butts aren't somehow better than other kinds of trash, just because they're small. Ditto gum, gum wrappers, lollipop sticks, toothpicks, whatever.

(and carrying my stanky butts around in a box is definitely over that line).

But you just had that same stanky butt in your mouth not a moment earlier. Why is it somehow ickier to have it in a sealed box in your pocket?
posted by oneirodynia at 6:50 PM on February 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


If an urn is not crazy to ask for, then asking for individuals to be responsible for the rubbish they generate - such as carrying a small container, or extinguishing a butt before binning it - is surely no crazier?

Look, I personally can solemnly pledge to start carrying a box around, but that's not the point. The point is that this is precisely the kind of "tragedy of the commons" problem that targeted state action, in the behavioral-economics-approved form of an inverted trashcan top, is best equipped to solve.

Or, I suppose, we can just create an unenforceable ban to turn even more people into potential criminals. Yeah, that sounds good.
posted by nasreddin at 6:51 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


If it's a practical issue, then make it easy for us to be responsible

This would be a better argument were it not for the thousands of butts strewn on the ground all around every single public ashtray I've ever walked by. When I've done town "clean up" days, they outnumber and outmass all other trash put together. And let's not mention the ones going out the window of cars, most of which come with an ashtray.

My son tries to eat the damn things.

The law sounds like an absolutely terrible infringement on personal rights, but it's this kind of attitude that makes me stop caring in the least what the poor smokers have to go through.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 6:51 PM on February 2, 2011


So you do this for all the rubbish you generate in the course of a day? Or do you use the public receptacles?
posted by Dumsnill at 6:52 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I submit that after crying babies, car alarms, perfumes, and stupid people we outlaw ethnic foods. Not only is the smell sometimes horrifying but in many cases the indigestion makes me feel like I'm dying.
posted by Glibpaxman at 6:53 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]



It's only simple and fair if you live on an asteroid with the Little Prince instead of in a city with 8 million people. Why isn't having a noisy car alarm illegal? What about hogging the subway pole? Listening to crappy music? Microwaving smelly food in the office breakroom? Seriously, give me one good reason these things wouldn't be criminalized on this principle.


Well, there's the whole bit where one's smoking habit actually harms, not just annoys, the people around you.
posted by litnerd at 6:54 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've read that it's for the same reason porn no longer interests a viewer after orgasm.

Will the perverts on the subway have to take their semen with them instead of leaving it on poles and seats?

This is going to go to far. When a man has to carry his cigarette butts and spent ejaculate with him, The Terrorists really have won.
posted by nickrussell at 6:54 PM on February 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well, there's the whole bit where one's smoking habit actually harms, not just annoys, the people around you.

Cite? I'm talking about a reference for secondhand smoke being harmful outside, in the typical conditions under which one normally encounters smokers on the street (i.e. limited duration of exposure, distance, etc.).
posted by nasreddin at 6:56 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I'm out hiking in the mountains, I throw all of my trash on the ground. If you don't put trash cans in the mountains, fuck you, I'm throwing it on the ground.
After I've read a porn magazine in the woods, I leave it lying around. If you don't put trash cans in the woods, fuck you, I'm not taking it with me.
posted by unliteral at 6:56 PM on February 2, 2011


fuq: Obviously someone here hasn't walked around picking up cigarette butts and emptying leftover tobacco into rolling papers to smoke. I guess the Thompkins Sq Blend is gone forever."

Gross and foul as it is to admit, this.

Discarded ciggy butts on the ground, I always thought were a kind of public service for broke, treasure hunting wretches like myself.
posted by Philby at 6:58 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


You can try and justify it all you want, nasreddin, but stop being a douchebag to society and properly dispose of your trash. Your trash is no one else's responsibility but your own.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:58 PM on February 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yikes.

I mean, I am not a fan of cigarettes, but this is fucking ridiculous.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:02 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


WTF. Bloomberg gave the city away to every two bit developer to build garbage buildings that go for 2K a pop per month, polluting sos much of the sky and light and sense of space and I can't have a smoke on a motherfuckin' beach?

Three term effin' billionaire nanny bitch.
posted by Skygazer at 7:08 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think I would be more comfortable targeting cig litter than smoking itself; but then, I have friends who are smokers and don't loathe them although I hate their addiction. For the most part, they are people with problems so much larger than a cigarette addiction (drugs, alcohol, massive depression, families from hell) that I can't hate them for this particular failing.

My parents were smokers; none of us kids are. My dad tried to quit, every program he could, and never succeeded. He died at age 50, far before his time, at least partly because he couldn't give it up and it exacerbated the damage of the heart disease that killed him.

Addiction is a beast. Anything that makes people actually willing to pick up butts off the ground and pull out the tobacco to smoke, holy cats; that person is addicted. They need treatment, not vitriol. So ding them for leaving butts around, but Jesus, they're still human beings, not monsters.
posted by emjaybee at 7:09 PM on February 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


This will only affect the people that the police feel like enforcing it on. So, probably the homeless, minorities and other relatively downtrodden as opposed to the wealthy.

I, for one, do not welcome our useless nanny state overlords.
posted by schyler523 at 7:11 PM on February 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Honestly I kinda feel bad smoking in the park anyway. But I'm going to make it a point to smoke a few in Riverside park before the ban.

Now let's see what Bloomie can do about banning cars from Manhattan.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:12 PM on February 2, 2011


Hell yeah! Nothing but a good thing.
posted by ReeMonster at 7:14 PM on February 2, 2011


Okay, so if the problem is the butts, why not just increase the tax on cigarettes to fund a jobs programme of daily litter removal.

That reduces the overall litter through demand reduction, creates jobs, and there's a positive externality for the community.

Taxes and fines (incentives and disincentives), not bans.

Is the statue of liberty still in new york harbour by the way?
posted by nickrussell at 7:21 PM on February 2, 2011


I quit smoking six weeks ago with the help of e-cigarettes. Nicotine vapor, no tar/CO/arsenic/plutonium and it's cheaper than smoking. Bonus: no butts. New York should totally be promoting them as a way to cut down on analog smoking everywhere, and as a way to cut down on the litter.

Haha, right.
posted by mullingitover at 7:22 PM on February 2, 2011


That steam isn't gross, it is steam generated by con Ed to heat many of the landmark buildings.

So why does it smell funny? Not all the time, but geez, sometimes it's like walking through a warm garbage pit.
posted by smackfu at 7:28 PM on February 2, 2011


"A cigar, there is no cigar, I dont see a cigar, do you see a cigar"
posted by clavdivs at 7:31 PM on February 2, 2011


It's the right thing to do. Smoking by its very nature is not (and simply cannot be) a personal habit outside the bounds of private property.
posted by weston at 7:36 PM on February 2, 2011


We should ban talking on cell phones outside private homes. Talking on cell phones is not by it's very nature (and simply cannot be) a personal habit.
posted by Dumsnill at 7:41 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


So why does it smell funny? Not all the time, but geez, sometimes it's like walking through a warm garbage pit

Yeah you are right, I think it picks up sewer type smells on it's way up to the surface when there is a leak. My stepfather was a steam plumber for something like 25 years for con Ed. It is sort of an amazing system. I was in the channin building on 39th when that giant steam pipe exploded a few years back. The entire building was rumbling. That is an old building and has operational windows. I stuck my head out the window to see what was happening and got hit by a hot mist
and bits of asbestos, luckily I was on the other side of the building or I would probably have gotten scalded by the steam. We were pretty sure the building was going to collapse. Building security and the cops had us exit the building and run several blocks. I turned back, lit a smoke, and saw the 20 story plume of steam rising from a crater in the street. Pretty crazy.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:45 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Talking on cell phones is not by it's very nature (and simply cannot be) a personal habit.

Indeed, I endorse your modest proposal, and see it to its logical conclusion: we should ban talking entirely.

Or, alternatively, we could all learn to question lacking analogies before we make them.
posted by weston at 7:46 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


So why does it smell funny? Not all the time, but geez, sometimes it's like walking through a warm garbage pit.

We have the same system in Detroit (subterranean steam heating), and, our steam comes from a trash incinerator. So yeah, it might be garbage-steam.
posted by ofthestrait at 7:49 PM on February 2, 2011


Yeah, BO by it's very nature is also not a personal habit that simply cannot be a personal habit. Included in this special class of offensiveness are ugly people, fat people, and stupid people, who should all, in my very carefully and highly respected opinion, should not be allowed on beaches, in parks, or anywhere I, or his royal highness, King "Is it snowing yet?" Bloomie's eyeline chooses to fall.

Those people, should be taxed, shamed, frightened, threatened, banned, stamped, fined, penalized, processed and criminalized. Repeat as necessary.
posted by Skygazer at 7:51 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fuck smokers.

So, you didn't vote for Obama then?
posted by Brocktoon at 7:54 PM on February 2, 2011


Or, alternatively, we could all learn to question lacking analogies before we make them.

Well, why don't we just ban them? Get it over with. We don't want people making lacking analogies when the law could prevent them.
posted by Dumsnill at 7:54 PM on February 2, 2011


We have the same system in Detroit (subterranean steam heating), and, our steam comes from a trash incinerator. So yeah, it might be garbage-steam.

Ours comes from giant boilers In fact sometimes the steam is used for steam cleaning it is the largest system in the country
posted by Ad hominem at 7:56 PM on February 2, 2011


It starts with public smoking bans and the next thing you know, women like seanmpuckett will no longer be educated.

You know, I was actually sympathetic to the smokers' plight until you compared the right to use a controlled substance in certain areas to the issue of womens' equality.

Now all I feel like doing is trying to get Suhaila Seddiqi to come in here and tell you to suck it up and get the hell over it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:00 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


BO by it's very nature is also not a personal habit that simply cannot be a personal habit

This is actually true, and in a number of cases, people take action over it in situations that aren't strictly option and they're exposed to someone with this problem. There's also policies in public libraries... the six feet rule.

The thing is, though, BO problems are less common a problem than smoking in my experience, and when you point it out to someone they're generally a lot smarter and less defensive about it than smokers, who seem to develop persecution complexes instead.

But I'll grant you an equivalence between smoking and stupidity, particularly if you continue making these kinds of arguments in earnest.
posted by weston at 8:04 PM on February 2, 2011


Yay, another insignificant thing to choose sides over!
posted by Kloryne at 8:07 PM on February 2, 2011


If you force us outside and don't give us urns, what the fuck do you expect? You want us to swallow them or something?

In addition to the multiple suggestions already given....when I was a smoker I simply "field stripped" my butts...Roll it between your fingers until the lit part and remaining tobacco falls out, bin the filter. This is not complicated.
posted by Jeeb at 8:10 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Man, it sure does feel good to use the law to beat up on people we think are disgusting, doesn't it?

This is going poorly....

I'll jump in to say that I disagree. Although nobody has a god-given right to be happy 100% of the time, the health effects of second-hand smoke are extremely well-known. This isn't about anybody's perception of "cleanliness." I don't think smokers are disgusting. However, I do know that cigarette smoke triggers coughing spasms for me. They're really not fun to experience.

Normally, if I see a smoker, I can avoid entering his or her general vicinity, and I have no problem. In the case of New York City, this simply isn't an option. I distinctly remember walking down 7th Avenue toward Penn Station, being stuck behind a smoker for 5-10 minutes, inhaling every bit of his cigarette as I walked to the station. Simply put, there wasn't enough room to walk around him without darting into the road. Did I mention that NYC is fucking crowded?

I can also distinctly remember people ashing on my shoulder on several occasions. After all, when it's that crowded, where else are you going to do it? New York's outdoor spaces are more crowded than most indoor spaces anywhere else on the planet. Sure, it's open-air, although when you're talking about that kind of density, it doesn't really matter, especially in the windless summer months.

When somebody lights up a cigar on Central Park's Great Lawn, virtually all of the hundreds of people using that portion of the park can smell it. Although this drifts away from the public health aspect, it creates a damn unpleasant experience for hundreds of people, while solely benefitting a single individual.

I may be biased because I'm asthmatic (in all likelihood because I was born into a smoking household). However, last time I checked, our society was making an effort not to beat up on the disabled.

Need your nicotine fix? Use one of those electronic cigarettes instead. I could care less what you do in the comfort of your own home. Users of public spaces need to be mindful of the needs of others. There's a reason why it's illegal to shit on the sidewalk.

But, yeah. NYC smells rank in the summertime. Smells are one of the strongest triggers of memories (for me at least). A few years ago, I walked past an overturned garbage truck on a hot summer day. Instantly, memories of NYC came flooding into my mind. Ick.
posted by schmod at 8:21 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm just going to carry a vial of methyl mercaptan around and open it in bus stops and other crowded areas. What? I like the smell. It's not illegal!
posted by Existential Dread at 8:23 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


If I were a politician I'd probably be humming "with my mind on my money and my money on my mind" when I walked from place to place.
posted by Sailormom at 8:25 PM on February 2, 2011


Unilateral: After I've read a porn magazine in the woods, I leave it lying around. If you don't put trash cans in the woods, fuck you, I'm not taking it with me.

Wow, that was you!! I can't tell you how much delight, and educative-type awe and you gave me and my gang of prepubescent teen friends decades ago when we snuck into the woods to smoke our communal pack of Marlboro's (seriously), and instead discovered a treasure pile of wet, moldy, old copies of Hustler and Penthouse encrusted with dirt, leaves and twigs.

I'm sure if Mayor Three Terms and his posse of cowering pussies on the city council, has his way, dirt, leaves and twigs stuck to old pron mags will soon be outlawed too.
posted by Skygazer at 8:28 PM on February 2, 2011


Those people, should be taxed, shamed, frightened, threatened, banned, stamped, fined, penalized, processed and criminalized. Repeat as necessary.

Be careful what you wish for. A lot of people here are posting "ridiculous" examples of inconveniences that they think would be absurd to regulate. But these things are actually merely a matter of time - if not already being addressed!

I remember when the idea of asking a grown adult to pick up their own dog's excrement was every bit as absurd.

But you've grown up with this and come to accept it as normal and worthwhile.

Similarly, many of these "absurd" suggestions will be regulated in the future (some already are in places), they'll become the status quo, and cease to be absurd. Part of the march of civilization is that people get used to higher standards of living and the comfort that entails, and so they become less tolerant of pointless and unnecessary discomforts. And when a lot of people are crowded together in close quarters, the room to swing your fist before encountering a nose gets smaller and smaller.

Civilization isn't the state of the world that you were born into and which you're familiar with. Civilization is a never ending process of progress, and one day, you'll be just like your grandparents, dismayed at how seriously society scorns harmless stuff that sensible people would know is perfectly normal - or so it seems to you.

Like "air quotes". Air quotes will be banned!
posted by -harlequin- at 8:31 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]



I'll jump in to say that I disagree. Although nobody has a god-given right to be happy 100% of the time, the health effects of second-hand smoke are extremely well-known.


Again, cite, please?

I lived in New York for years and I remember only a handful of occasions on which a sidewalk nuisance really could not be avoided. Failing that, a simple request would be appropriate--somehow every time one of these threads pops up, there are people bitching about outside smokers, yet never once in my smoking career has anyone asked me not to smoke near them. How are we supposed to know you're asthmatic?

Finally, I don't see what smoking in parks has to do with this. Unless you're smoking in the middle of the Central Park jogging path, parks are some of the least crowded places in the city and the places where it's easiest to avoid someone whose smell or activities you don't like. They also tend to be quiet enough that it's easy to talk to the person and ask them to move, if you're so inclined. But we can't have that, can we? We gotta have the man in the uniform handle that stuff for us.


I may be biased because I'm asthmatic (in all likelihood because I was born into a smoking household). However, last time I checked, our society was making an effort not to beat up on the disabled.


No one is "beating up" on you, and it's disingenuous to suggest otherwise.
posted by nasreddin at 8:35 PM on February 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


"The last time anybody made a list of the top hundred character attributes of New Yorkers, common sense snuck in at number 79."
posted by vidur at 8:41 PM on February 2, 2011


Now I'll be able to smell the garbage again.

Don't be ridiculous, you can't smell the garbage over the stench of piss.


Not like that matters either, since you can't smell the piss over New Jersey.
posted by Mikey-San at 8:54 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


They also tend to be quiet enough that it's easy to talk to the person and ask them to move, if you're so inclined. But we can't have that, can we?

Actually, it sounds like that is exactly the point - so people can ask.

Without the law, if you politely ask a New Yorker smoking in a park if they could be so kind as to move a bit further off, you're more than likely going to regret it. This in turn means that plenty of people who would like to ask, are just going to choose to suffer in silence instead. Fear of confrontation is a Big Deal to many.

With the law, if you politely ask the same, the person smoking would likely just say nothing, move and that's the end of it.
posted by -harlequin- at 8:56 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Weston: But I'll grant you an equivalence between smoking and stupidity, particularly if you continue making these kinds of arguments in earnest.

I deplore having to defend smoking, let me say that upfront. What I'm incensed by is the intolerance at the heart of this and how it chips away at the basic and very necessary fabric of the city as a place of co-existence and equality.

This is about more than smoking. This is about how suddenly the city becomes even more a place of class consciousness and money over some simple shared values as citizens.

Parks, and beaches? That's just absurd crap that the police will use for harassment if they feel like it. It's as obtrusive as asking someone for their citizenship papers. And it's the same thing, it's about creating a frightened underclass. More minorities and poor people smoke in this city than anyone else. So, is it okay now for a cop to approach a minority or a person not dressed right on a beach or a park and then ask them to empty their pockets and have the right to search them because someone complained about their smoking?

It is going much much too far. And, as Nasreddin pointed out, this sort of nonsense weakens real laws, and just creates an environment of oppressiveness and doubt as to what IS lega and what ISN'T.

They either need to make smoking cigarettes illegal or stop this BS.
posted by Skygazer at 8:56 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Without the law, if you politely ask a New Yorker smoking in a park if they could be so kind as to move a bit further off, you're more than likely going to regret it.

What is this based on?
posted by nasreddin at 8:58 PM on February 2, 2011


The elevator in our building has a sign stating that smoking is strictly prohibited and subject to a $25(!) fine.
posted by electroboy at 8:59 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Without the law, if you politely ask a New Yorker smoking in a park if they could be so kind as to move a bit further off, you're more than likely going to regret it.

I don't care one way or another about the law, but this is a silly thing to say. Unless you run into a legitimately crazy person, at worst you'd probably just be told very plainly that there's plenty of room and that they were already sitting down. I don't think you'd "reget" anything. Depending on the situation, you might actually get your way.
posted by Mikey-San at 9:03 PM on February 2, 2011


regret, even TYPING IS HARD OK
posted by Mikey-San at 9:04 PM on February 2, 2011


Is the statue of liberty still in new york harbour by the way?

No, it's in New Jersey.
posted by tzikeh at 9:08 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


-Harlequin-: Part of the march of civilization is that people get used to higher standards of living and the comfort that entails, and so they become less tolerant of pointless and unnecessary discomforts.

Of course, and I understand that, but this really isn't about pointless and unnecessary discomforts, it's about a pointless and unnecessary law/regulation, that is badly written and excessive and will be abused for one class of people, against another class of people, on public land, owned by we the people. Honestly, what does this law address if I am on a beach standing even 100 feet within someone else smoking, especially on a windy day. At that point if someone asks me to move away, it's really not a health concern for them is it? And if I put the cigarette out in the sand (ash, in spite of all the hysteria is still a natural substance last time I checked and so is tobacco) and put the butt in my pocket?

This is hysteria and trendiness. Nothing else. It's over-reach and bullshit. People play music around me at the beach and in parks all the time I cannot stand, seriously some of it especially the vocoded pop shit makes me feel ill, but I tolerate it, I realize, hey their freedom is my freedom, relax, accept and be TOLERANT.
posted by Skygazer at 9:16 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you see a smoker, and you dislike smoking, stay away from them. Give them a dirty look and act like you are a superior human. I will give you a dirty look and blow my smoke in your general direction. You are no better than I. I may have a bad habit, but that doesn't make you a better person. That is the bullshit getting on my last nerve. Especially, given the fact that what I am doing is legal, so far, and I go out of my way to not disturb you. I am outside. Walk around me, and give me your dirty look. You still aren't any better than me.
posted by wv kay in ga at 9:23 PM on February 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


Surely this is less about reducing interpersonal annoyance and more about the gradual worldwide illegalisation of smoking to reduce the associated health care expenditure that is going on world wide.
posted by mhjb at 9:25 PM on February 2, 2011


Is the statue of liberty still in new york harbour by the way?

Yes, but, much to her chagrin, Mayor "Let's make a Snowman!!" Bloomy and the City Council has ordered Lady Liberty to apply copious underarm deodorant, lest she offend.

Oh dear.
posted by Skygazer at 9:26 PM on February 2, 2011


Surely this is less about reducing interpersonal annoyance and more about the gradual worldwide illegalisation of smoking to reduce the associated health care expenditure that is going on world wide.

Believe it or not, smokers are actually better health-care-spending-wise than non-smokers, primarily because they die earlier and spend fewer years in retirement.
posted by nasreddin at 9:28 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


at worst you'd probably just be told very plainly that there's plenty of room and that they were already sitting down. I don't think you'd "reget" anything.

Let me clarify. You would like the person to move. You don't want to be belittled for asking. You don't want to be defending your wishes to a stranger, or feel like you need to stand up for yourself. You might not even wish to be talking to a stranger in the first place. Anything that resembles a conversation is not what you sought to gain, and is unlikely to be making your day any brighter (unless you're an asshole who enjoys inconveniencing others), any and all of these outcomes are regrettable.

You're right, many people may be polite and gracious about it. But no-one knows that ahead of time, and look at this thread - some people are offended and think it is beyond the pale that smoking be considered an serious issue in an open park. Being asked to move in a public park is, to some people, offensive.

Right of way in this situation has not been established, and that means many people are not inclined to yield right of way. This law (which seems to go too far for my taste) looks like an attempt to clarify the right of way.

FWIW, I think it's going too far. But it seems to me that part of the purpose of this law is to facilitate people being able to ask without worrying they might get an earful for their efforts.
posted by -harlequin- at 9:30 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


At this point in history it's obvious that all smokers are, by definition, disabled. Insofar as they deliberately chose to knowingly take up, and now continue, a habit which makes them; unattractive, disgusting to smell, sexually unappealing, really poor decision-makers, financially irresponsible, callous about the environment, thoroughly self-entitled, lacking in self-control, lazy, smug, tone-deaf, angry, infectiously toxic, and likely to die a self-inflicted, painfully-slow death, the answer is obvious.

Clearly, what's need is a bureau of smokers assistance. That's right, smokers should have assistants assigned to them, just as the blind have guide-dogs. These would be rational people , who be assigned the task of guiding these poor unfortunates through their daily routine, cleaning up after them, disposing of their poisons properly, warning normal people of their presence, etc. This would be paid for by a National Nicotine Nullification Foundation funded by the mandatory health insurance premiums required of all smokers. Each smoker would have a chip embedded in their brain, which they're not using anyway, which would identify them and the bureau would dispatch attendants to them to help them go about daily with such a severe disability. This would have the added advantage of providing employment to those unfortunates facing severe challenges in the job-market, such as the mildly mentally developmentally challenged.

The poisons could be dispensed from secured bunkers accessible only smokers with the embedded chips, and full sanitation and sterilization facilities would be located within these bunkers. Naturally the smokers would be denied access to any medical treatment facilities forever, resulting in huge savings to the heath-care infrastructure.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:35 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is hysteria and trendiness. Nothing else. It's over-reach and bullshit. People play music around me at the beach and in parks all the time I cannot stand, seriously some of it especially the vocoded pop shit makes me feel ill, but I tolerate it, I realize, hey their freedom is my freedom, relax, accept and be TOLERANT.

People said the same things about drunk driving. And to them, it seemed just as blindingly obvious. Plain as day. I happen to think they were wrong and you are right, but I don't think we can clearly evaluate how much of that is due to the same flawed reason - that we are simply products of our age?
Time will tell.

I think getting smoking out of buildings was a net increase in freedoms, but this one strikes me as a net decrease. I suspect it will catch on, but unlike the building-bans (which were obviously the future, even at the time), I would be mostly unsurprised if this one doesn't catch on.
posted by -harlequin- at 9:52 PM on February 2, 2011


This law does nothing about smoking on sidewalks...just city parks and other public places. I foresee this actually increasing the problem, rather than fixing it as smokers will probably congregate around the entrances to parks etc. creating a thick cloud rather than the previously diluted cloud of smoke.
posted by schyler523 at 10:00 PM on February 2, 2011


When you're done smoking, you roll the cigarette between your fingers just below the ember until the cherry falls out. You grind out the ember with the heel of your shoe, check the butt to make sure that there's no more tobacco inside, and then throw it out in the garbage can. Done and done.
posted by Scientist at 10:08 PM on February 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


PareidoliaticBoy: At this point in history it's obvious that all smokers are, by definition, disabled. Insofar as they deliberately chose to knowingly take up, and now continue, a habit which makes them; unattractive, disgusting to smell, sexually unappealing, really poor decision-makers, financially irresponsible, callous about the environment, thoroughly self-entitled, lacking in self-control, lazy, smug, tone-deaf, angry, infectiously toxic, and likely to die a self-inflicted, painfully-slow death...

Whoa...whoa...whoa....now you hold on just a gosh darned minute there pal.

*Lights cigarette. Blows smoke in PareidoliaticBoy's face.*

I am not tone deaf. Not in the least, and I demand an immediate apology.
posted by Skygazer at 10:18 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, not so sure about that. If I don't want to hear you, I can't really ban you from speaking. Unless I'm in Afghanistan. And you're a woman. Then, I just don't let you go to school, you can't work, you stay home, and I don't have to hear you.-- nickrussell

I hope you are joking and not really equating smoking with free speech and educating women in Afghanistan.
posted by eye of newt at 10:54 PM on February 2, 2011


I often wonder who's going to prevail in the forthcoming fight to the death between smokers and non-smokers. Obviously, the non-smokers are going to be a bit fitter and have more stamina. However, they're also more risk averse, and a bunch of whining nancies with an excessive fear of negative consequences. Those tendencies don't bode well in a fight.

Presumably, it'll finally come down to numbers and the smokers are sadly outgunned on that metric.

We're gonna take a whole load of you fuckers down in the process though.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:04 PM on February 2, 2011 [10 favorites]


I imagine that if this law were to be applied evenly across the board it would be a very short lived law, indeed. Instead, it'll be just one more way for the police to hassle people they don't like. Lovely.
posted by stoneweaver at 11:05 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


callous about the environment

dam it man, I planted trees this year.
I remember picking apart a dissertation, running out of boros and having to smoke studs which is fine. I am going to have to find that thread.
posted by clavdivs at 11:07 PM on February 2, 2011


PeterMcDermott:

The non-smokers also have more of their discretionary income left at the end of the week to spend on mercinaries :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 11:07 PM on February 2, 2011


I'd fight for them as well. With cigarettes at £7 a packet, I need all the work I can get.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:31 PM on February 2, 2011


My favorite thing about this law is that it gives me one more rule to break.
posted by Errant at 12:04 AM on February 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Japanese smokers carry portable ashtrays. If marketed properly, someone could make a bit of money in this country (usa) selling them.
posted by nikoniko at 12:14 AM on February 3, 2011


Come to China - one of the only things we are free to do is smoke like lord's bastards (as Brendan Behan had it), and all for mere pennies a pack.
posted by Abiezer at 2:08 AM on February 3, 2011


"I hate cigarettes and I hate cigarette smoke, but this creeping ban on something that is ostensibly legal is really uncalled for. "

My wife and I live on the first floor of an apartment, right next to a nightclub, and have to pay to keep air purifiers running 24/7, because of all the smoke that comes in from the street. She has asthma, while I have allergies so bad that I need an inhaler... including allergies to smoke.

Half the time, I have to hold my breath when I walk out on to the pavement, because someone is smoking right next to the doorway. Sometimes it's cigarettes... sometimes marijuana.

And you know what?! All of that smoking is illegal, due to a very recent -- if unenforced -- law in San Francisco, forbidding smoking within 15' of someone's window, and near entrances of buildings. Of course, I can't/shouldn't have to go outside and complain every time multiple someone(s) break that law... because it happens all the time.

And the thing is, that law has noticeably helped us, because now the nightclub is doing a better job posting warning signs and policing their customers as they line up, so that at least they're on the far edge of the curb.

So, is a creeping "ban" uncalled for?! Hardly. There is no ban, frankly... and what restrictions exist do measurable good and help to curb general smoking behavior towards the kind of responsible standards we'd all like to see smokers have around those who don't smoke.
posted by markkraft at 2:49 AM on February 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


You can tolerate your coal-fired power plants and what they do to the land and air, the stench of your garbage, the noxious and dangerous fumes of your fucking automobiles as they kill tens of thousands, the stench of your perfume and cologne, your toxic dry-cleaning chemicals, and garden and lawn chemicals, and farm chemicals, and industrial effluents poured into your rivers, your food, all of your easily disposable manufactured goods and their packaging that you throw away carelessly and thoughtlessly, your rivers and lakes and drinking water, the soldiers of your armies invading foreign lands ending the lives of millions ....

But what *really* pisses you off is (they say) the 1 in 100,000 chance that you'll get sick from the smoke from a cigarette. Yeah right.
posted by Twang at 2:54 AM on February 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Japanese smokers carry portable ashtrays. If marketed properly, someone could make a bit of money in this country (usa) selling them.

And in the UK... I've always wondered why there's not more of a push to sell these things. I'm the only person I know who has one, and people look at me like I'm a weirdo when I use it.

Cheap as chips on ebay
posted by ComfySofa at 3:00 AM on February 3, 2011


It seems that we're all overlooking how pleasurable smoking is. People have been smoking one way or another for millenia - the problem started with the invention of cigarettes, which are the perfect delivery vehicle for changing smoking from an occasional indulgence into an addiction.

I smoke hand-rolled cigarettes very occasionally, usually with a drink, not more than a few a month. And you know what? I enjoy the taste, the sensation, all of it. Its great. As have people for a thousand years. Anyone who wants to lecture me about the minuscule risk here, you better be a chocolate and alcohol shunning ascetic, or you're a hypocrite.

Also there are many cities outside of the US where the garbage cans have built-in ashtrays, and thus way less butts on the streets. Simple.
posted by tempythethird at 3:22 AM on February 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


7 days a week in downtown San Francisco. It's gone before it gets ripe. I sort of assumed other densely built citites did the same.
posted by ryanrs


Do you have any idea what NYC summers are like? It gets ripe within 5 minutes of being put outside!
posted by vacapinta at 3:28 AM on February 3, 2011


"You can tolerate your coal-fired power plants..."

But we don't. And we won't.

"the noxious and dangerous fumes of your fucking automobiles..."

But we're changing that, too. New CAFE standards won't just save fuel... they will eventually lead to reductions of 900 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, the equivalent of taking 177 million cars off the road or shutting down 194 coal-fired power plants.

"But what *really* pisses you off is (they say) the 1 in 100,000 chance that you'll get sick from the smoke from a cigarette."

All I need to do get sick from the smoke of a cigarette is to open the window. If I do that all night, the cigarette smoke from the street below will trigger my allergies, and literally give me apneas all night long, leaving me exhausted the next day, coughing up junk from my lungs for several hours.

You're not talking about "getting sick". You're talking about people dying unnecessarily.

And frankly, even if those odds are only 1-in-100,000 who actually die -- in addition to all the people who do, in fact, get really sick, the kids who get childhood asthma, etc. -- well, I don't think those 3,000 people should have to die for someone else's drug addiction.
posted by markkraft at 3:29 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"It seems that we're all overlooking how pleasurable smoking is."

...and how pleasurable childhood asthma is!
posted by markkraft at 3:35 AM on February 3, 2011


and how pleasurable childhood asthma is

Don't know if you read the entirety of my post, but I think an adult having a very occasional smoke or pipe in a proper place and away from children is not going to cause any asthma.

Also I think the internet needs an addition to Godwin, something to encapsulate the "won't anyone think of the children!" argument.
posted by tempythethird at 3:39 AM on February 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I guess I have to say that if I were that sensitive to smoke, above a nightclub is just about the last place I'd live. In fact the idea sounds downright bizarre to me.
posted by nasreddin at 3:51 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]



You're not talking about "getting sick". You're talking about people dying unnecessarily.

And frankly, even if those odds are only 1-in-100,000 who actually die -- in addition to all the people who do, in fact, get really sick, the kids who get childhood asthma, etc. -- well, I don't think those 3,000 people should have to die for someone else's drug addiction.


Oh what-fucking-ever. Public policy is based on tradeoffs. It's also based on actual numbers not pulled out of your ass. I've raised this issue three times in this thread already, and no one's yet given me any kind of figure for the dangers of secondhand smoke outside. How do you expect to make decent laws if all you're working with is handwaving and visceral feelings of disgust?
posted by nasreddin at 3:57 AM on February 3, 2011


...and how pleasurable childhood asthma is!

Okay, this is just obtuse moralistic alarmism. Childhood asthma related to people smoking in Times Square or outdoor parks? For a child who lives in a city?!? You do know what smog is, right?

Children shouldn't have to die for someone else's drug addiction but children dying because their parents want to live in a nice urban trendy city - now that's perfectly okay.
posted by XMLicious at 4:15 AM on February 3, 2011


"I guess I have to say that if I were that sensitive to smoke, above a nightclub is just about the last place I'd live. In fact the idea sounds downright bizarre to me."

It's adjacent to a nightclub, but unfortunately they have long lines to get in that run along our sidewalk. There's no smoking inside the club itself, and I can't say it was obvious that people would line up there when I got the place.

... and really, it's a city. Kinda hard to avoid cigarettes entirely. The place was surprisingly large and affordable, and frankly, the smoke issue might actually be worse elsewhere in the apartment complex, as we have a unit that is well away from the other tenants, who likely deal with second-hand smoke issues as well. Either way, I'd *still* have to hold my breath when leaving the apartment half the time, because there are plenty of people in the building who smoke near the doorway, because they don't want to fully and completely stink up their own space and can't be arsed to go somewhere more out-of-the-way.

The problem, really, with the suggestion that there's some sort of special, safe place to smoke, well away from others who it might harm, is that neither the facts nor their fellow smoker's behavior supports such claims. The closest place to a smoker's paradise is a modern Las Vegas casino, frankly, where huge amounts are spent on air filtration... but the economics don't support that elsewhere.

The perfect bar / lounge for smokers invariably contains employees... which explains why smoking has been banned from many bars and restaurants, oftentimes with considerable approval from the employees themselves. City sidewalks aren't safe, because sidewalks are invariably near doors, windows, businesses, etc. It's hard not to walk behind someone who smokes, hard to avoid them at bus stops (i.e. all-weather smoking windbreaks), etc.

Parks are actually safer, in that there's lots of public space, and it's a lot easier for those who are sensitive to smoke to avoid it... but that space is public, and I can understand people not wanting to be exposed to smoke in such places, as well as the financial sense of not having to have public employees clean up cigarette butts all day. Garbage cans with built-in ashtrays simply don't solve this problem, in part because such laws aren't enforced, and aren't easily enforceable. (There are LOTS of laws on the books that would make such behavior littering, but Singaporean enforcement wouldn't be tolerated.)
posted by markkraft at 4:27 AM on February 3, 2011


"Children shouldn't have to die for someone else's drug addiction but children dying because their parents want to live in a nice urban trendy city - now that's perfectly okay."

Take a look at the stats... you'll find childhood asthma is *particularly* common amongst the children of poorer, inner-city neighborhoods. And frankly, neither they nor their parents live there because it's nice or trendy.

As for me, I live in the Tenderloin of San Francisco. Not trendy. Not fancy. But it's (comparatively) affordable, and the kind of work I do is around here.
posted by markkraft at 4:39 AM on February 3, 2011


The problem, really, with the suggestion that there's some sort of special, safe place to smoke, well away from others who it might harm, is that neither the facts nor their fellow smoker's behavior supports such claims.

Look, I appreciate that you and other people with respiratory problems have trouble dealing with smoke. But on some level this has to be a question of personal responsibility--whether asking people not to smoke or not living in a place where a lot of smoking happens--just like it takes special effort on the part of people with peanut allergies to verify that the food they eat doesn't contain peanuts. Smokers don't yet have to meet the crazy standard that no one be harmed or inconvenienced by their habit ever. I think that's for the best, because the kind of mindset that criminalizes smoking based on that kind of calculus will also lead to the criminalization of all kinds of things that are vital for the vibrancy of urban life.

(For the record, I don't disapprove of indoor smoking bans or the enforcement of littering laws.)
posted by nasreddin at 4:54 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Would you tell a bunch of middle easterners spending a lunch break sitting around a hookah that due to the findings of modern science their habit is no longer permissible? Or an old man with a pipe?

Would you deny anyone the occasional blackened steak, bloody on the inside?

Certainly improved public health is an important pursuit, and I am a lukewarm supporter of the nanny state myself. Serious addiction-level smoking is a terrible health problem for smokers and all those around them. But as with everything, absolutism should be avoided, lest we become a nation of fanatical hypochondriacs chasing some drab Star Trek-like future. And anyway such absolutism will never win anyone but the choir over to your side, witness: militant veganism.
posted by tempythethird at 5:07 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wonderful. Now the citizens of NYC can breathe their toxic vehicle-exhaust pollution without danger!

Seriously, as a non-smoker, this is already at least three steps too far. God damn the neo-puritans. They make me sick to my guts. What horrible, censorious, finger-wagging little twats they must be. And how lacking in a sense of proportion or reasonableness. Anyone in favour of this: fuck you; you're a monumental git. An utter bastard. A that-word-we're-not-supposed-to-say-on-MeFi. That is all.
posted by Decani at 5:21 AM on February 3, 2011 [11 favorites]


Decani, as much as I appreciate your excellent rant and admire your ranting skills, after reading this post by you, I do feel like I just witnessed you falling off the wagon a little. Though you do it spectacularly, my friend.
posted by tempythethird at 5:34 AM on February 3, 2011


As for me, I live in the Tenderloin of San Francisco. Not trendy. Not fancy. But it's (comparatively) affordable, and the kind of work I do is around here.

markkraft - the point wasn't that I think you expose your children to smog, it's that your reaction to tempythethird daring to say anything positive about smoking, even in the context of a thread like this, makes it sound to me like you would condemn someone having a smoke outdoors in the middle of Central Park as somehow causing childhood asthma, because everybody just knows smoking is evil and wrong, while leaving off condemning other people for needlessly exposing children to equal or greater risks.

Someone who would do that would be self-righteously moralizing and engaging in alarmism.

On the other hand, the law you mention in your area that prohibits smoking outside of someone's window sounds like a good law and I'm glad that it has helped you and caused that bar to behave more responsibly. I hope it becomes actively enforced or continues to have a chilling effect on people boorishly smoking right next to others' windows.
posted by XMLicious at 5:45 AM on February 3, 2011


Surely this is less about reducing interpersonal annoyance and more about the gradual worldwide illegalisation of smoking to reduce the associated health care expenditure that is going on world wide. Believe it or not, smokers are actually better health-care- they die earlier and spend fewer years in retirement.

And in countries with sane, govt-subsidised health care systems smokers pay far more into the system through tobacco taxes than they cost.
posted by goo at 5:53 AM on February 3, 2011


Do it at home, like any other drug. You can't carry an open container of alcohol, either.

The fact that you're addicted doesn't give you the right to be a dick.
posted by Eideteker at 6:06 AM on February 3, 2011


Why does the steam smell?

Well, from wikipedia:

Clouds of condensation can sometimes be seen rising from manholes in Manhattan, although this is usually caused by external water being boiled by contact with the steam pipes, rather than leaks in the steam system itself.

So, it appears that the groundwater percolates through the slimy film of garbage and urine on the street, works its way down until it hits a hot steam pipe, and then the solution of garbage/urine/groundwater boils.
posted by mikelieman at 6:07 AM on February 3, 2011


All this thread has down is cement my ideas that the only thing worse than the militant anti-smocking brigade (of which I'm a member) is self-righteous smokers.
posted by Mick at 6:14 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


*anti-smoking
posted by Mick at 6:15 AM on February 3, 2011


"Childhood asthma related to people smoking in Times Square or outdoor parks?"

The Center for Disease control says:
"Smoke-free laws that completely ban smoking in indoor workplaces and public places are needed to protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke."

If you live in an apartment and smoke, that's still a cause of childhood asthma. Central air conditioning/heating can actually make the problem worse, by spreading that smoke throughout the building.

It can even potentially be harmful to smoke at your perfect little smoker's retreat, only to bring that smoke home with you.

"Smoking outside the house is not enough. Family members and visitors who smoke carry smoke residue in and on their clothes and hair -- this can trigger asthma symptoms." - National Institutes of Health

So no, there's nothing alarmist about smoking being problematic for those who are vulnerable to it. All the evidence supports the fact that there's a significant risk, both to the smoker and to those around them.

Frankly, if I smoked, I would want to switch to an electronic cigarette, if only because the risks are lower, both for the user and for those vulnerable to secondhand smoke. I'd also be asking serious questions as to whether I was in control of my smoking, or whether my smoking was in control of me.
posted by markkraft at 6:18 AM on February 3, 2011


Senor Cardgage: "Now I'll be able to smell the garbage again.

Ive often wondered if this is just a cute meme that New Yorkers perpetuate for fun or does the city really stink that bad? I've heard it alot in a lot of different places.
"

Yes. Like ass, in most place. Like moose taint in others.

jabberjaw: "Hell, I'll be that guy.

Fuck smokers. Keep your filthy habit away from me every single moment of every single day. I ingest enough lung-cancer-causing pollution without having your pathetic addiction sting my sensitive nostrils. (That was probably a little over the top.)
"

This is the first time in the history of the internet that someone has spoken out so forcefully against smokers. Congrats!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:18 AM on February 3, 2011


The only thing worse...

I wonder, in your book, is it possible to selectively stick up for the rights (or assume they have rights in the first place) of smokers without being a militant smoker?
posted by tempythethird at 6:20 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Center for Disease control says:
"Smoke-free laws that completely ban smoking in indoor workplaces and public places are needed to protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke."


Yeah, indoor workplaces. They don't mean Times Square.

If you live in an apartment and smoke, that's still a cause of childhood asthma.

All that article says is that concentrations of smoke particulates are higher. It doesn't make any argument about an increased risk of childhood asthma besides handwave bullshit like "there is no safe level of secondhand smoke."

"Smoking outside the house is not enough. Family members and visitors who smoke carry smoke residue in and on their clothes and hair -- this can trigger asthma symptoms." - National Institutes of Health

Well, keep your goddamn kids away from my hair and I promise I won't trigger their asthma symptoms.
posted by nasreddin at 6:37 AM on February 3, 2011


Times Square is a public place.

"Well, keep your goddamn kids away from my hair and I promise I won't trigger their asthma symptoms."

You realize, of course, that this is impossible without impeding the freedom of movement of either children (good luck passing that law) or smokers. So your options are to choose between your own freedom of movement or your addiction. This is your choice. Welcome to society. It ain't pretty.
posted by Eideteker at 6:50 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]



Times Square is a public place.

That's not the kind of public place they're talking about. They're talking about indoor smoking bans, which I've already said I support. But by all means show me a cite if you think I'm wrong.

You realize, of course, that this is impossible without impeding the freedom of movement of either children (good luck passing that law) or smokers. So your options are to choose between your own freedom of movement or your addiction. This is your choice. Welcome to society. It ain't pretty.


The studies that I've seen discuss "third-hand smoke" in the context of close interaction with children by family and visitors. If I'm interacting closely enough with your kid that it's a problem, then you're doing something wrong.
posted by nasreddin at 6:54 AM on February 3, 2011


No, sorry, markkraft. Your links might be a reason to pass a law having something to do with family members of children and their smoking habits. But they provide no reason whatsoever to ban everyone in New York City from smoking in Times Square or Central Park. They don't get you off the hook for not being equally condemning of other behaviors that expose children to risk. You are being self-righteously moralistic and alarmist.

I would seriously ask yourself whether you're in control of your need to tell others what to do with their lives or whether it's in control of you. You have tried to advise other people how to live their lives more times in just the last few hours than I have smoked in the entire last year (and that's my normal smoking rate - a handful of times a year or less, I'm not a habitual smoker who has quit or anything) and you have made up a who will think of the children? rationale to justify and enable yourself.
posted by XMLicious at 7:01 AM on February 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Hell, I'll be that guy.

Fuck smokers. Keep your filthy habit away from me every single moment of every single day. I ingest enough lung-cancer-causing pollution without having your pathetic addiction sting my sensitive nostrils.


I'll join you.

Anyone know what a cluster headache is? Basically, imagine the worst pain you've ever felt in your life, then imagine a day-long headache that hurts more than that. That pulses and gets worse with exposure to bright lights, loud noises, or anything rhythmic, and makes you hyperaware in the process - so a car's engine cycling, the clicking noise when you turn on a turn signal, even eventually your own heartbeat just translates into spiking pulses of pain. Add to that a kind of nausea that ... you know how when you are going to throw up, you feel worse and worse until you puke, and then after you do you feel a sense of relief? Yeah, just stick yourself right at the "I am five seconds from throwing up" level, and take away the sense of relief after you do. That lasts all day too.

I've been getting clusters on a regular basis for most of my life. I carry pills with me everywhere I go, like an asthmatic's inhaler or an epi pen, that sometimes can stave off the worst of one if I catch it early, when it's still in the aura stage of hallucinating floating specks of light. Mostly they seem tied to changes in barometric pressure - when it starts raining, or when it stops - but I have a few allergic triggers that can set 'em off, too. And one of those allergies is tobacco smoke. I can't be in the room with someone who's smoking, and even somebody who comes back in after going outside to smoke can basically ruin my entire day. Walking down the street and crossing paths with someone who's smoking, I usually have to hold my breath until they're past, and this sometimes works - and then again, sometimes it doesn't. Waiting for a bus or train or something, and someone lights up? Great, my day is basically fucked now.

So, yeah. I support smoking bans in any public place I might pass through. There are all kinds of bad habits out there, but this is pretty unique in how it must impact everyone around you. People getting a risk of cancer from long-term exposure is far from the only medical harm done by secondhand smoke.
posted by kafziel at 8:06 AM on February 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mods, can we just merge this with the circumcision thread?

That would be like putting your peanut butter in my chocolate.
posted by everichon at 8:08 AM on February 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


"All that article says is that concentrations of smoke particulates are higher. It doesn't make any argument about an increased risk of childhood asthma besides handwave bullshit like "there is no safe level of secondhand smoke."

"I would like to draw your attention to several new conclusions that I have reached due to overwhelming scientific evidence.

* Secondhand smoke exposure causes heart disease and lung cancer in adults and sudden infant death syndrome and respiratory problems in children.
* There is NO risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure, with even brief exposure adversely affecting the cardiovascular and respiratory system."


Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H, FACS, US Surgeon General,
June 27, 2006

(Damn those anti-smoking "experts" and their extremist political agendas, right?! There are, of course, existing studies on childhood asthma that point out that even the levels of secondhand smoke that were found in multi-unit buildings were consistent with increased level of childhood asthma, but hey... you'd know that if you actually read the original link I cited.)

There is, of course, a growing body of evidence suggesting that secondhand smoke is a problem outside, with levels comparable to indoors. The big difference is that when people aren't smoking, the increased level of pollutants decreases to baseline very rapidly, unlike indoors, where the levels linger and can become somewhat more concentrated over time, depending upon how much the person smokes.
posted by markkraft at 8:21 AM on February 3, 2011


There is, of course, a growing body of evidence suggesting that secondhand smoke is a problem outside, with levels comparable to indoors. The big difference is that when people aren't smoking, the increased level of pollutants decreases to baseline very rapidly, unlike indoors, where the levels linger and can become somewhat more concentrated over time, depending upon how much the person smokes.

This study that you linked to actually proves my point perfectly.
After six hours in an outdoor bar seating area--a typical case where smokers would be there lighting up constantly--the levels of the relevant particulate went up only 162% (compared to the 16% of the control group), which went down to 102% in the case of a restaurant. For the five or ten minutes, max, you're exposed to cigarette smoke over the course of your day (unless you're a server at a bar with outdoor seating, it's unlikely that you ever exceed this amount; I rarely do, and I'm a fairly light smoker who hangs out with heavy smokers) that figure would be on the order of four percent over baseline, and even less if we use the restaurant figure.

You think a four percent increase in exposure is worth shitting on my ability to use public spaces? Well, fuck you too. I'm out.
posted by nasreddin at 9:07 AM on February 3, 2011


I'm gone, I know, but how about this link?

Smoking linked to reduced allergic sensitization

Or this one?

In contrast with smaller regional studies, we find that workplace bans are not associated with statistically significant short-term declines in mortality or hospital admissions for myocardial infarction or other diseases. An analysis simulating smaller studies using subsamples reveals that large short-term increases in myocardial infarction incidence following a workplace ban are as common as the large decreases reported in the published literature.

These come from the (admittedly batshit) commenters on the article you linked, but I don't see any reason to doubt that the studies themselves are as legitimate as the ones you provided. This shit works both ways.
posted by nasreddin at 9:21 AM on February 3, 2011


Wow, markkraft, it sounds like second-hand smoke is really bad. Like smog, which I think we agree causes asthma, and which you weirdly tried to out-save-the-children!-me-on by telling me to "take a look at the stats" and talking about how children get asthma from it... in response to a comment already saying exactly that and linking to a page talking about air pollution being a major cause of childhood asthma.

Or like benzene, the carcinogenic levels of benzene in the gasoline fumes inhaled by every person who owns a car, every time they fill up their tank. (If anyone's skeptical I can track down the links, an AskMe comment I made about it is around here somewhere.)

It's amazing, when you look at the list of chemicals in cigarette smoke (like benzene) and look some of them up, to see how many of them are already in other things we're around all the time.

Cigarette smoke is certainly bad stuff containing many carcinogens but you have to have some perspective. Once you're talking about someone who goes to Central Park and sits on a bench somewhere and smokes a cigarette somehow being a material factor in causing asthma in already-smog-breathing-city-dwelling-children - who what, pass by him ten feet away, I guess? Once, and then never meet him again in their seething-with-chemicals environment lives? At that point, you're being batshit insane off the deep end crazy and yes, an alarmist.
posted by XMLicious at 9:26 AM on February 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am a NYC smoker and this makes me livid. (Bloomberg is a former smoker and clearly a Crusader.)

That said, maybe all NYC area MeFi smokers need to get together!
posted by sdn at 9:58 AM on February 3, 2011


tzikeh: " No, it's in New Jersey."

Her ass is facing New Jersey. She's still in New York Harbor. ;)
posted by zarq at 10:00 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Look, guys... there's a smoker in the White House now. ONE DAY OUR PEOPLE WILL BE FREE!
posted by XMLicious at 10:23 AM on February 3, 2011


I'm a non-smoker, someone who had childhood asthma and this is a ridiculous, nanny-state law.
posted by zarq at 10:25 AM on February 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


At this point in history it's obvious that all smokers are, by definition, disabled. Insofar as they deliberately chose to knowingly take up, and now continue, a habit which makes them; unattractive, disgusting to smell, sexually unappealing, really poor decision-makers, financially irresponsible, callous about the environment, thoroughly self-entitled, lacking in self-control, lazy, smug, tone-deaf, angry, infectiously toxic, and likely to die a self-inflicted, painfully-slow death, the answer is obvious.

Smokers are tone-deaf?

Wow, just wow.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:25 AM on February 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


People'll say the stupidest things sometimes too, "Hey, man, if you quit smoking you get your sense of smell back." I live in New York City, I got news for you-I don't want my fucking sense of smell back. (Sniffs) Is that urine? (Sniffs) I think I smell a dead guy! Honey, look, a dead guy! Covered in urine, check this out! Someone just pee'd on this guy, that's fresh. Just think, if I'd been smoking I never would have found him! A urine-covered dead fella, what're the odds? Thank God I quit smoking, now I can enjoy the wonders of New York, honey, look!

-Bill Hicks
posted by Twicketface at 10:26 AM on February 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm along the lines of either make cigarettes illegal - and we've seen how well that works with alcohol and other recreational drugs - or stop trying to ban the otherwise legal act of smoking. By all means, mandate fireproof butt urns wherever possible, and make use of existing littering laws. When I'm bartending, it's a relief to breathe freely and merely stink of sweat, beer, and piss. And no more winter pneumonia since the local smoking ban. But also no more quiet evenings in front of the club fire with cigars, pipes, old booze, and new friends. Lost my job as a cigar bar steward, too.

Maybe the solution is requiring organic tobacco and ingredients, with biodegradable filters, or none at all? The tars might still be a problem, but much less so than the current waste (see below).

I'm a cigar and pipe smoker, and while my leavings are biodegradable (and reusable - there're at least two roll-your-owns in every cigar butt, if one can bear the taste), they are still a significant fire hazard. I carry a sealed pocket tin ashtray (errr, candy tin), and dispose in compost. I've burned the lining of my jacket a few times from the heat of a smoldering cigar butt or pipe bowl. I tend to smoke a pipe while waiting for the bus, as there's no waste - just cover it until it goes out, stuff into pocket, and re-light the next time. Re-lit cigars, in spite of charcoal canisters, are disgustingly stale.

My despair is marijuana smoke - a whiff of it causes hours-long asthma and skin rash; more than that sends me to the ER with anaphylactic shock. From a civil liberties POV I support decriminalization of all drug possession and use, but I dread the time when I can no longer go to any densely populated public place and many homes, without endangering my life. Visits to Holland, British Columbia Canada, and California have become ordeals due to street smoking. Please, encourage folks to eat, drink, or otherwise enjoy cannabis without nonconsensual sharing!
posted by Dreidl at 10:37 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was just going about my day and being a productive citizen, when an innocuous little device attached to my belt started buzzing. That's when I knew that I had to come back. To this thread.

Someone is wrong on the internet.
posted by tempythethird at 10:37 AM on February 3, 2011


Look, guys... there's a smoker in the White House now. ONE DAY OUR PEOPLE WILL BE FREE!

Don't forget about the Speaker of the House, although he gets testy if you ask him about it.
posted by electroboy at 10:44 AM on February 3, 2011


I never said that someone smoking on a bench in Central Park caused asthma. In fact, I said "Parks are actually safer, in that there's lots of public space, and it's a lot easier for those who are sensitive to smoke to avoid it."

...but hey, if you want to attack a straw man, go ahead.

As the Surgeon General has said, there is overwhelming evidence that "secondhand smoke exposure causes heart disease and lung cancer in adults and sudden infant death syndrome and respiratory problems in children." But does someone smoking on a park bench *cause* someone to develop asthma? Probably not, other than in a possible cumulative effect.

However, there is ample evidence and numerous incidences which show that being around cigarette smoke can trigger all sorts of existing health ailments, both inside and outside a building.... and not only when someone is smoking, but even simply by being around those sensitive to cigarette smoke after smoking, in elevators, hallways, the workplace, etc.

Those are just the simple facts of the matter. And frankly, I take offense at the suggestion that the scientifically-established facts are "alarmist", as opposed to alarming. I've already had to point out that what nasredin referred to as "handwave bullshit" about second-hand smoke was straight from the Surgeon General, based on overwhelming evidence.

The effects of secondhand smoke should alarm people. A significant amount of people get sick or develop permanent problems because of secondhand smoke exposure... and, yes, thousands die too. There are several studies that indicate very significant decreases in numerous health problems, from asthma, to heart attacks, to stroke, to pre-term births, simply by implementing restrictions on smoking in public places. But somehow, we're supposed to believe that concentrated levels of smoke outside of buildings aren't capable of triggering the same problems, despite thousands of hospital admissions that argue otherwise?

For most people who suffer from an environmentally-caused breathing problem, showing the exact cause of their ailment is difficult, because there are likely to be multiple possible causes and multiple possible triggers for that problem. But while the exact cause on a case-by-case basis is hard to prove beyond doubt, what's clearly established is statistical causation. Cigarette smoke isn't the only source of air pollution. It's not even the e largest cause of certain lung ailments. But it is clearly one of the most widespread causes of such ailments, and many, many people are vulnerable to it.

So, let's see how this ban works... I suspect we'll find out in a few years that it's saved lives and reduced hospital visits.
posted by markkraft at 10:54 AM on February 3, 2011


Oh thank god. I just hope they ban sweat-pants, home heating and cars next. Carbon monoxide / NOx exhaust and depression must be at least as bad as public health problems.

Although, I must say, this is probably going to seriously screw up social security as all those ex-smokers end up living longer.

In the future, nobody shits, curses or smokes!
posted by mr.ersatz at 11:21 AM on February 3, 2011


Yikes. What a terrible and stupid law.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:22 PM on February 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow markkraft, it took you an awful long time to mention that you weren't saying that smoking in Central Park might cause childhood asthma, especially considering that I basically directly asked you if that was what you were saying. I wonder why you seemed to be responding to my statements about such claims being alarmist by saying things like "there's nothing alarmist about..." In fact:
I take offense at the suggestion that the scientifically-established facts are 'alarmist'
Wait, what are you taking offense at, again? I thought you just said you never made the claim that I've been referring to as alarmist.
But somehow, we're supposed to believe that concentrated levels of smoke outside of buildings aren't capable of triggering the same problems, despite thousands of hospital admissions that argue otherwise?
I don't know - didn't you just say that this very idea was a "straw man" I was attacking?

I wonder if, instead of it being some straw man I came up with, you tried to imply, or let it be assumed, that smoking out in the open air had some risk of causing childhood asthma, and then over seven-odd hours scoured the net trying to find some link to support the implied claim, only giving up when you couldn't find one? But are now still trying to imply it was true with some half-assed argument that you know can't be backed up with any evidence?

I mean, I'm not saying that's what happened, I'm just wondering. I might very well come back seven hours from now and say it's not the case.
For most people who suffer from an environmentally-caused breathing problem, showing the exact cause of their ailment is difficult...
They crystal ball is... murky. The science is unclear.
So, let's see how this ban works... I suspect we'll find out in a few years that it's saved lives and reduced hospital visits.
But hey, if it doesn't, who cares? Anti-smoking interests got their way anyways and probably never cared in the first place whether there was any actual science behind it. You're obviously pretty comfortable with legislation based on a straw man.

Damn it, I hate it when conservatives are actually right. You guys in New York and California could help us in the redder states alot by not validating their crazy idiocy.

You realize that people fucking around with falsely claiming that science backs whatever it is they want, and then forcing their will on others based on that, is one of the things that drives people into the "vaccines cause autism" type camps, because they end up unwilling to trust actual science, right?
posted by XMLicious at 12:24 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Smokers may not actually be tone deaf, but damned if I don't hate it when people are tone deaf too!
posted by ChipT at 12:34 PM on February 3, 2011


'How you stop smoking'- william burroughs
posted by clavdivs at 12:47 PM on February 3, 2011


Y'know, I hear about stupid laws like this and I think they're stupid, but then I listen to smokers go on and on about how their very rights as human beings are being trampled on by whiny nonsmokers who dare ask them to pick up their cigarette butts and not smoke in other people's faces. and my outrage at the stupid law just sort of... evaporates. What is it about smoking that makes both sides of this debate so damn irrational?

If your average smoker had a little more respect for other people, then ridiculous laws like this wouldn't get very far.
posted by geegollygosh at 12:57 PM on February 3, 2011


If your average smoker had a little more respect for other people, then ridiculous laws like this wouldn't get very far.

"If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary."

The amount of respect to non-smokers offered by smokers is why laws like this aren't ridiculous.
posted by kafziel at 1:01 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


And in countries with sane, govt-subsidised health care systems smokers pay far more into the system through tobacco taxes than they cost.


Just got to jump in and say, whilst it's true that - overall - smokers cost the health system less than non-smokers because of high mortality, the notion that their cigarette taxes - in Australia, at any rate, with its high tobacco taxes - is really really wrong. Their tobacco taxes - which amount to a few thousand dollars over a lifetime - don't even come close to paying for their smoking related illnesses.
posted by smoke at 1:50 PM on February 3, 2011


guys, someone quoted a bill hicks rant related to the current topic CLEARLY THE DEBATE IS OVER
posted by Mikey-San at 2:14 PM on February 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't smoke. I live in New York. This is a perfectly ridiculous law. Frankly, I'm half-inclined to start smoking just so I can ignore it.

See, I understand banning people from smoking in enclosed public places -- it's not like people can just leave airplanes, trains, restaurants, whathaveyou. But the great thing about being outside is that there's always more "outside" for you to go to. Parks are big. Beaches are big. Nobody is chaining you to that bench or umbrella.

And saying smokers should just stick to indulging their habit in their own private domiciles ignores that it's New York -- most of us live in apartments, and guess what I can smell you doing if you're my neighbor?
posted by Amanojaku at 2:31 PM on February 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


This law does nothing about smoking on sidewalks...just city parks and other public places. I foresee this actually increasing the problem, rather than fixing it as smokers will probably congregate around the entrances to parks etc. creating a thick cloud rather than the previously diluted cloud of smoke.
posted by schyler523

You say that as if you've never heard of aerial pesticide application.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 2:59 PM on February 3, 2011


If your average smoker had a little more respect for other people,
The amount of respect to non-smokers offered by smokers is why laws like this aren't ridiculous.

I'm a current smoker.

I properly dispose of 90+% of my cigarette butts, and have been working on increasing this percentage since being alerted to the large percentage of litter consisting of cigarette butts. If there is no ashtray (which is increasingly common due to the changing social norms) I will put the but out and put it in a trash can. If there is no trash can, I will often put it in my pack or the cellophane, despite the disgusting stale smoke smell it imparts to my clothing and other cigarettes. I recently purchased a portable ashtray.

I have non-smoking friends and friends with children and will go out of my way to smoke elsewhere when I am around them. I have never insisted that I have a right to smoke cigarettes in anyone's home or vehicle, even if it is an inconvenience for me (going out in the cold, long road trips, etc). When smoking was allowed in restaurants and I was accompanied by non-smokers, I would give up my ability to smoke to join them at a non-smoking table if it was their preference. I have accepted the recent ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, even though it is not my preference.

From my perspective, I have changed my behavior and and given up some of my favorite activities (coffee shops are not quite the same, especially in winter) to respect the desires of non-smokers. I have never asked a non-smoker to stay out of my home if they are not smoking, nor have I degraded anyone or called them names for not smoking. If there is something I am not doing to respect the desires, opinions, and rights of non-smokers, I am sorry, but I do try. Can you say the same for yourself?

I will continue to politely respect the decisions of others to not participate in my smoking. Now the questions is, will you respect my decision to politely and respectfully smoke my cigarette away from you, in the outdoors, in a public park?

By the way, if you're interested in the science and history behind tobacco and its role in health, I highly recommend "The Chemical Components of Tobacco and Tobacco Smoke". It is over 1700 pages and intended as a comprehensive overview of tobacco science; no matter what your opinion, you will learn things. No I have not read the whole thing, but it is a refreshingly objective source.
posted by nTeleKy at 3:04 PM on February 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


There should never be a need for a non-smoker to accommodate a smoker's need to smoke.
posted by jabberjaw at 3:47 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


nTeleKy-- okay, that's great, but it doesn't make you the average smoker. When the average smoker is as considerate of their habit as you, I doubt that a law banning smoking in public parks would be able to gain enough momentum to be passed.
posted by geegollygosh at 3:55 PM on February 3, 2011


Ugh. I'm glad that people are getting pissed off about this, because this is an absurd nanny-state law that will penalize minorities and the lower-class. This is enough to make me want to smoke in a park, even though I usually make a pack of cigarettes last an entire year.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 4:26 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


nTeleKy-- okay, that's great, but it doesn't make you the average smoker. When the average smoker is as considerate of their habit as you, I doubt that a law banning smoking in public parks would be able to gain enough momentum to be passed.

I think there's a crowd of True Scotsmen trying to light up over there.
posted by Amanojaku at 4:31 PM on February 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I pretty much do what nTeleKy does. (I should buy a portable ashtray!)

A question for smokers reading this: Do random strangers, when they see you smoking in the street, tell you to quit, or that smoking is bad for you? If they do, what do you say? I ask because it happens to me. (And I suspect this law will make it happen more.)
posted by sdn at 4:51 PM on February 3, 2011


"A question for smokers reading this: Do random strangers, when they see you smoking in the street, tell you to quit, or that smoking is bad for you? If they do, what do you say?"

When I have time, I say: "I know it's bad for me. We all have personal habits that are bad for us, proven to shorten our lives in various ways. Food, lack of exercise, drink, extreme sports, or even too much stress. And we all choose which battles are worth our health, and which are worth surrendering for pleasure. Each of us. I am educated. I am aware. I've made a choice." I would love to add, "And if you'd thought half a second you would know that."

Telling a stranger in this day and age that smoking is bad for them is like walking into a graduate philosophy lecture and proudly proclaiming that the color blue you see might be different from the color blue I see. It's elementary and insulting.

Of course, I never have the time for such a full response, so I usually just smile politely and say, "I know."

I smoke pipes and cigars, by the way, or the very occasional cigarette if someone is offering a Nat Sherman.
posted by gilrain at 6:39 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have never asked a non-smoker to stay out of my home if they are not smoking, nor have I degraded anyone or called them names for not smoking.

You are truly a saint.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:42 PM on February 3, 2011


(That's not to say, "I may be a smoker, but not one of them." I've had times of smoking cigarettes more and less frequently in my life. I truly enjoy pipes and cigars more. They're also a bit less of a health risk in the long run, but as I said... I've chosen pleasure over health in this case anyway. We all do in our own ways.)
posted by gilrain at 6:42 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I wonder if, instead of it being some straw man I came up with, you tried to imply, or let it be assumed, that smoking out in the open air had some risk of causing childhood asthma..."

But clearly there *IS* a very real risk that even outdoor smoking can cause childhood asthma, even as there's proof that indoor smoking does cause such asthma. The level of that risk isn't clearly quantifiable as yet, but there is serious concern in the medical community, and that all the evidence suggests cigarette smoke is unsafe at any level.

At the same time, I still wouldn't say that a person smoking on a park bench wouldn't definitively cause someone else's kid to develop a case of asthma... but given that outdoor levels of exposure seem to reach indoor levels associated with increased risks for childhood asthma, it's very likely there is an increased risk. But even if somehow the outdoor levels or the length of exposure wasn't quite high enough or long enough to cause a single case of childhood asthma, you still don't seem to be disputing the evidence and numerous case studies suggesting that outdoor smoking can trigger asthma attacks and other serious -- even fatal -- health problems in those around it.

How many people had to die over the course of decades, in order to get the tobacco industry to stop denying that they *knew* their product exposed the public to great danger? To me, it seems like you're trying to fight the same deceptive battle over again. The fact is, I don't see you denying the potentially serious risk of outdoor secondhand smoke to those nearby... you know there's a risk. But what we both know is that the nature of that risk is really hard to precisely quantify in a scientific way, because people are also exposed to other forms of air pollution.

There's a real shortage of good scientific case studies for smoking bans in entire communities, because a lot of the proposed bans that would prevent smoking in public outdoor places are so new. There was, however, one such ban in Helena, Montana back in 2002. It only lasted six months, but during that period, the number of hospital admissions for heart attacks from people living or working in Helena dropped nearly 60%... at the same time, there was no significant change in heart attacks for those from outside the Helena area.

So, will NYC legislation against smoking in some public outdoor places result in a noticeable reduction in hospitalizations for asthma cases too? I suspect so, and would be more than glad to take anyone's bet on it. I have a few thousand dollars I could spare, and I could use more safe investments with a high rate of return.
posted by markkraft at 8:45 PM on February 3, 2011


"this is an absurd nanny-state law that will penalize minorities and the lower-class."

Because only minorities smoke in Central Park, and lower-income people -- and their communities -- do so much better when given easy, convenient, unrestricted access to harmful, highly addictive drugs.
posted by markkraft at 8:52 PM on February 3, 2011


(Oh, and those lower-class people? Well... $9 for a pack of cigs in NYC is pretty standard, last time I checked.)
posted by markkraft at 8:56 PM on February 3, 2011


Do random strangers, when they see you smoking in the street, tell you to quit, or that smoking is bad for you? If they do, what do you say? I ask because it happens to me.

Sometimes I like to go all ashen-faced and yell "OH REALLY?" and throw my cig on the ground and stomp it. Then me and my friends all point and laugh.

Only if I'm in a mean mood and I'm not broke though.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:22 AM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Because only minorities smoke in Central Park

I think suburbanbeatnik meant that the only people actually getting in trouble for smoking in parks will be minorities and (more likely, imo) the homeless. Rich-looking white people will get away with smoking in parks like they do now with drinking in public (i.e. with a warning).
posted by oinopaponton at 8:36 AM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, will NYC legislation against smoking in some public outdoor places result in a noticeable reduction in hospitalizations for asthma cases too? I suspect so, and would be more than glad to take anyone's bet on it.

I doubt it. In addition to banning smoking, they would also have to ban going outside in the south Bronx to get your desired effect. Air pollution from automobiles is still one of the major causes of asthma hospitalizations, etc.
posted by fuq at 11:22 AM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yup, a search of relevant studies indicates major factors in asthma in children is especially mouse and roach feces and living in a high-rise housing project building. Residing with a smoker, especially someone who smokes indoors in their apartment or house (which is still legal and not targeted by this law) with children present is obviously a major factor, but this legislation isn't targeting the major sources of unhealthy, carcinogenic particles in the air that is really causing the asthma. Also: 9/11. Never forget... it has tremendously and will continue to contribute to asthma, so I don't think this particular law will have a strong definite effect like you think it will.

But I can't predict the future so we will have to wait to see the total effect of this law. I think the effect of the law will be people won't be smoking in NYC parks, except in the lawless regions where asthma is actually a really big problem.
posted by fuq at 11:38 AM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


markkraft: But clearly there *IS* a very real risk that even outdoor smoking can cause childhood asthma...

Then again, why at one point did you yourself refer to this notion as a "straw man"?

The fact is, I don't see you denying the potentially serious risk of outdoor secondhand smoke to those nearby... you know there's a risk.

I don't deny that in the same way that there are people who can have a medically serious reaction to consuming a snack food that was merely manufactured in a factory using equipment that at one point in time handled peanuts, it is possible that someone could have a medically serious reaction to a one-time inhalation of extremely diluted cigarette smoke, basically to merely experiencing the scent of cigarette smoke. These sorts of issues would justify forced labeling of snack foods that were manufactured in a factory with equipment that has handled peanuts and would justify forced establishment of public areas in which someone can be guaranteed to not even accidentally run into a smoking smoker that they didn't see ahead of time.

So yes, I think that non-smokers should have a right to be able to never even have a chance of encountering a smoking smoker if they don't want to or if it represents medical risk to them, just like people should have a right to never accidentally eat peanuts if they don't want to or if it represents medical risk to them.

These issues do not, however, justify complete banning of public consumption of peanuts or cigarettes, which are legal activities. Nor, for example, should extreme skiing be banned, even though you could easily kill or catastrophically injure yourself or have a minisule chance of colliding with and killing someone else, costing the medical system immensely. (Which all actually applies to normal non-extreme skiing to a lesser degree, for that matter, now that I think of it.)

The instances you talk about of smoking bans being correlated with reduced hospital visits may be true - but without specific investigations of the reason for changes in general public health figures correlated with smoking bans, they may well result from bans having forced habitual smokers to reduce or curtail their smoking. You can't just mix all of this stuff together and say that SCIENCE! supports this NYC ban.

The supposed basis of this NYC ban - that it is done in the general interest of protecting the health of non-smokers, non-smokers who in NYC are breathing smog all the time and as fuq points out, many of whom were present during 9/11 and breathed the resulting airborne particulates for weeks or months - does not appear to me to be scientifically supported. And indeed I wonder if it would even be casually argued by serious scientists that smoking in these circumstances could have a statistically material effect on the health of non-smokers.

I guess I would even be a little more okay with it if they had still sought out and acheived the ban and just justified it by saying that a majority of NYC's population doesn't like smoking. Falsely invoking science to get what one wants has consequences like those I mentioned above, it's the sort of thing that pushes people who don't know better into anti-science camps like the "vaccines cause autism" people.

geegollygosh: Y'know, I hear about stupid laws like this and I think they're stupid, but then I listen to smokers go on and on about how their very rights as human beings are being trampled on by whiny nonsmokers who dare ask...

If your average smoker had a little more respect for other people...

jabberjaw: There should never be a need for a non-smoker to accommodate a smoker's need to smoke.

sdn: Do random strangers, when they see you smoking in the street, tell you to quit, or that smoking is bad for you? I realize sdn is not arguing in favor of the ban.

At the point when you're trying to ban everyone from performing a legal activity in every public place, you are targeting a great many more people than the average smoker, people who need to smoke, or even habitual smokers in general. You're targeting people like me, who qualify as a smoker because I smoke a handful of times a year most (and always have smoked that infrequently since I started smoking in my late twenties) and who has never in my life smoked in a public place, and you're even actually targeting non-smokers who simply give a damn about their rights, like the many who have piped up (tee hee ;^) in this thread or like the non-smoker NYC city councilman protesting the ban mentioned in the OP's link.

On preview, I guess you can still smoke on sidewalks in NYC. This is weird to me, since per the supposed concerns about the health of nonsmokers cited as motivation for the ban under discussion, as markkraft pointed out it's actually "safer", easier to avoid a smoker in somewhere like Central Park than it is on a sidewalk.

Indeed, as markkraft (who definitely brings up lots of good scientific information that is relevant to smoking as a general public issue, even if I don't agree with him on this particular topic) points out with the links about how indoor smoke lingers and causes second-hand smoke health issues, it's actually safer for others if smokers smoke outside. I always smoke outside for reasons like this, personally. So it seems to me that people who have genuine concerns about the public's risks from second-hand smoke should want there to be comfortable, enjoyable public places that smokers might go to smoke.

As I said above I would be okay with designating smoking and non-smoking regions of public parks so that non-smokers could walk around and be completely certain they weren't going to run into a smoking smoker, it's the complete and total ban that I find ridiculous.

I actually was not exaggerating or being rhetorical when I used the term "moralistic" to describe radical anti-smoking speech that goes beyond reason. From observing some people who talk this way (mostly on MeFi), it is apparent to me that they internally regard smoking to be a sin, a moral fault, even if they're the type of person who would never use the word "sin" about any topic or whose personal theology lacks that concept. (I could also easily understand some people unconsciously developing an attitude like this, if they've had a loved one die due to disease or complications from smoking for example.)

Believe me - I have personal reasons to hate habitual smoking in general; my mother will probably die well before her time due to a lifetime of multiple-pack-a-day smoking (thankfully quit now), it's the reason why I didn't even try smoking until my late twenties. But we have to be adults about public issues like this.

(Thinking about the revisions I've just made to specify that it's an encounter with a smoking smoker that's posing any possible risk to general public here, and my side notes about moralizing among radical anti-smoking people, is "smokers" the left's version of "illegals"? ;^} One of several, anyways, and without the racist dimension, of course.)

(When I just went to put a normal smiley in the middle of a parenthetical statment there I couldn't because I'm a coder and my brain screamed UNBALANCED PARENTHESES!)
posted by XMLicious at 8:46 PM on February 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


(When I just went to put a normal smiley in the middle of a parenthetical statment there I couldn't because I'm a coder and my brain screamed UNBALANCED PARENTHESES!)

You're fine with the unbalanced curly braces, though? ;P
posted by gilrain at 8:10 AM on February 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


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