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June 2, 2006 11:47 AM   Subscribe

With all the public smoking bans coming in effect over the past few years, the anti-tobacco movement seems en route to achieve its favored objective: prohibition. Michael Siegel keeps a careful eye on them at The Rest of the Story.
posted by daksya (238 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
If you have a link, the text of which is "The Rest of the Story", it better damn well go here.
posted by ND¢ at 11:53 AM on June 2, 2006


It is not acceptable to bring a hot, steaming turd with you into a restaurant, home, mall, etc. It is perfectly legal to carry one around with you in your home. Taking smoking out of public places is not the road to prohibition. It is the road to civilization.
posted by flarbuse at 11:54 AM on June 2, 2006


That Washington Post link throws an error.
posted by Captaintripps at 11:54 AM on June 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


Ah well, Tobacco companies will always have the 3rd world...
posted by Artw at 11:58 AM on June 2, 2006


I fail to see how N. Korea's policy re: smoking would-be college students is an "inhumane practice." Can someone explain how it's inhumane?
posted by JekPorkins at 11:59 AM on June 2, 2006


And insisting that private property is a "public place" is the road to oppression.
posted by Kwantsar at 11:59 AM on June 2, 2006


Maybe this is the WashPost link?
posted by peeedro at 12:02 PM on June 2, 2006


I'm a second-hand smoker.
posted by Floydd at 12:03 PM on June 2, 2006


Smoking is a horrible habit, and people shouldn't have to breathe scrofulous fumes if they don't want to, but the hypocrisy (at least in America) is staggering--we'll tax the supply and stigmatize the demand, but just so long as we don't actually put tobacco companies out of business cuz, ya know, we ourselves are addicted to the tax revenue.

FWIW, I smoked my first cig when I was 17. If those godawful "truth" commercials had been around, I probably would have started at 13 just to spite them.

But it is funny to see (as I have) a 400-pound person lecture a smoker on how they need to be more health-conscious.
posted by bardic at 12:05 PM on June 2, 2006


From the first paragraph of the Washington Post article: "Tobacco is not deadly; the harm is in the smoke."

When did the Washington Post become a shill for the chewing tobacco industry?
posted by JekPorkins at 12:06 PM on June 2, 2006


Occasional pipe smoker here...I think the "turds" and "civilization" bombthrowing is a bit much, but having recently visited somewhere that's still allowing smoking pretty much wherever, I realized I actually prefer being able to pick and choose when I'm going to be exposed to tobacco smoke....in my car, or out in the park without anybody close by, or in a tobacco-store lounge with other pipe & cigar smokers. (Having been loud, fat, and stupid at times, I wish I had that kind of option with loud people, fat people, and stupid people, but oh, well....)

The linked article abt banning smoking in North Korea* got me wondering how much longer before US health organizations start getting really draconian about tobacco consumption...either a two-tier system with random testing or just flat-out denying coverage to people with a proven history of usage within the last x years.


--------------
*I wish 'em luck with that...the DPRK strike me as a bunch of lemmings anyway...

posted by pax digita at 12:06 PM on June 2, 2006


There's always somebody out there who wants to tell you how to live your life, make that force you.
posted by caddis at 12:07 PM on June 2, 2006


Ah well, Tobacco companies will always have the 3rd world...

And actors.
posted by O Blitiri at 12:09 PM on June 2, 2006


I smoke about 7 to 8 cigarettes a day, and I live in California, where smoking bans are just about as stringent as they are anywhere in the country. No smoking in bars, in card rooms, in restaurants, etc.

My feeling about this sort of back-door prohibition? I wish there was more of it. It would make it easier for me to quit. In fact, if there was outright prohibition, it would be fairly easy for me to quit -- I wouldn't be able to get cigarettes at the gas station or the corner store, and after two weeks of nail-biting, I'd be okay.

My suspicion is that these public smoking bans are as successful as they are because even a lot of smokers have enough sense not to view themselves as an oppressed minority, but instead as suckers who have become addicted to a nasty habit. I don't think I've personally heard a smoker complain about not being able to smoke on plane flights, in movie theaters, or in restaurants (I have heard complaints about bars, but even those are somewhat half-hearted). Because with the exception of professional complainers for the tobacco companies, most smokers realize that bans on smoking in these places make sense.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 12:09 PM on June 2, 2006


The working WP link.
posted by daksya at 12:14 PM on June 2, 2006


@UrineSoakedRube (what a handle!):

Out in Cali, can tobacconists have smoking lounges, or is that proscribed for them as well?
posted by pax digita at 12:14 PM on June 2, 2006


UrineSoakedRube: You probably only hear half-hearted complaints about not being able to smoke in bars because the bars' enforcement of such bans is pretty half-hearted. By half-hearted, I mean the first half of the night before the local anti-smoking bureaucrats have gone off the clocks.
posted by Captaintripps at 12:15 PM on June 2, 2006


pax digita: check the first link.
posted by daksya at 12:15 PM on June 2, 2006


I'm an ex smoker and I think it's stupid to ban smoking in public venues that exist in such a number as to provide one with a choice.

Don't want to go to a smoky bar? Go to a non-smoking bar.
Don't want to work in a smoky bar? Work in a non-smoking bar.
posted by lyam at 12:17 PM on June 2, 2006


Tobacco will never be banned outright in the States--too much tax revenue, especially for counties and states, and too many lobbyists not just from Altria and co., but from the agriculture lobby itself, one of the largest and most lavishly state-supported industries in America (e.g., think "farm bill", which is an annual, multi-billion dollar government supplement for big AG masquerading as something aimed at helping so-called "family farmers," not many of whom exist any longer. Which is a shame all around.).

I mean, oh benevolent Federal Government, if you really love me, you'd ban the stuff outright, correct? But no, lawyers and insurance wonks have done the number crunching to figure out just how much I can be milked for before my lungs turn black. But that's cool, since it's my own damn fault.
posted by bardic at 12:20 PM on June 2, 2006


Thanx, daksya. From the link:

Calabasas, 2006 banned in all indoor and outdoor public places. Believed to be the strictest ban in the United States.

If that means you can't even walk on a sidewalk or drive on a city street smoking...wow. Puts even the DPRK to shame, doesn't it?
posted by pax digita at 12:22 PM on June 2, 2006


pax digita: see Bhutan.
posted by daksya at 12:27 PM on June 2, 2006


Well, to be fair, prohibition of alcohol didn't exactly go so well. A few people stopped drinking, a few more didn't. The last thing we need is to create a new industry for organized crime to take over.
posted by GuyZero at 12:28 PM on June 2, 2006


See Friendship Heights (a suburb immediately adjacent to DC).
posted by bardic at 12:29 PM on June 2, 2006


See Bhutan? (shudder) Sure, but only from outside its borders...flarbuse might like it okay, though....
posted by pax digita at 12:32 PM on June 2, 2006


Etiquette and good sense are the solution to public smoke exposure, unfortunately neither are to be had easily.

If I'm in the park smoking my pipe and it bothers you, ask me politely to extinguish it and I will.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 12:34 PM on June 2, 2006


I fail to see how N. Korea's policy re: smoking would-be college students is an "inhumane practice." Can someone explain how it's inhumane?

Well, it's insanely hard to successfully quit smoking. If a student quits and then relapses (which most smokers do at least once), do they get kicked out of school? What if they just can't quit in the first place? Deny them the opportunity to attend college? Seems pretty harsh. Especially considering all of N. Korea's other problems, like the fact that everyone is starving.
posted by 912 Greens at 12:39 PM on June 2, 2006


And insisting that private property is a "public place" is the road to oppression.

False dichotomy. There's a middle ground between a fully private space like somebody's home and a fully public space like a park or sidewalk. A business that serves the public on a walk-in basis may be on private property, but is still required to take certain reasonable actions to protect the health and safety of its patrons and customers.

Out in Cali, can tobacconists have smoking lounges

I'm not a lawyer, but my understanding is: Yes, as long as tobacco is the primary purpose of the business. Bars don't count.

Also, some bars just violate the law and allow smoking anyway, and some police departments turn a blind eye as long as it's only one or two bars in town.

Don't want to go to a smoky bar? Go to a non-smoking bar.
Don't want to work in a smoky bar? Work in a non-smoking bar.


Except that out in the real world, non-smoking bars (and restaurants) don't exist unless there's governmental intervention. In a completely laissez-faire economy, the benefit to allowing smokers in your business far outweigh the benefit to not allowing smokers. Why? Because smoking is an addiction - asking a smoker to give up cigarettes for a few hours to patronize your business is far more likely to be met with resistance than asking a non-smoker to tolerate cigarette smoke for the same period of time. Therefore, it becomes a community action problem - no individual establishment is going to enact a 100% no-smoking policy because it is not individually advantageous to do so.

Does 'governmental intervention' in the above paragraph mean 'outright ban on smoking in all businesses that serve the public?' No, not necessarily - I would support, for instance, a law that says that bars and restaurants are allowed to serve smokers, as long as they pay additional income and payroll taxes; or alternatively a law that requires a business owner to take out a special permit to allow smoking in their business. I live in California and I believe that the smoking ban here is far, far too restrictive - there should be some option for business owners to allow smoking if they want, as long as there's some incentive for them to bar it as well.
posted by Feral at 12:42 PM on June 2, 2006


The link about the US Surgeon General suporting a tobacco ban got me thinking: Prohibition worked so well in the US (not!), and the War On (Some) Drugs is filling US prisons to overflowing...just imagine the fun we could have by making tobacco illegal with tobacco-legal countries bordering us on the north and south...
posted by pax digita at 12:43 PM on June 2, 2006


What angers me is the argument that "people shouldnt have to be exposed to 'nasty cigarettes' if they don't want to be". What would be wrong with legislation that permits bars, restuarants, and other public places to decide if they would like to allow smoking or not. Thus, if you don't want to be exposed to cigarette smoke, go to a non-smoking bar.

If I don't want to be around drunks, I go to a restaurant that doesn't serve alcohol.

If I don't want to be around caffinated talkers, I get a coffee somewhere other than a social cafe.

Public space is exactly what it is: public. I understand that people shouldn't be forced to inhale harmful smoke, but recent legislation isn't addressing that, it is simply banning smoking altogether.
posted by Raoul.Duke at 12:46 PM on June 2, 2006


I'm looking forward to the total prohibition of cigarettes so I can get in on the ground floor of a brand new black market. Thanks, nanny-state liberals! Don't forget to take video games and bacon next!
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:46 PM on June 2, 2006


Feral, I agree. I never said some intervention was intolerable. Outright banning, though, is outright ridiculous.
posted by lyam at 12:47 PM on June 2, 2006


@UrineSoakedRube (what a handle!):

Out in Cali, can tobacconists have smoking lounges, or is that proscribed for them as well?
posted by pax digita at 12:14 PM PST on June 2 [+fave] [!]


Tobacconists can have smoking lounges. I have to say, though, that smoking with cigar aficionados is my idea of hell.

My handle comes from an old saying of my people: "If you get in the middle of a pissing contest, you're going to end up a urine soaked rube."


UrineSoakedRube: You probably only hear half-hearted complaints about not being able to smoke in bars because the bars' enforcement of such bans is pretty half-hearted. By half-hearted, I mean the first half of the night before the local anti-smoking bureaucrats have gone off the clocks.
posted by Captaintripps at 12:15 PM PST on June 2 [+fave] [!]


In San Francisco, where I mix my bar-hopping with outside smoking, people take the bans in stride. And these bans are very well-enforced. I have to say that I haven't been to a bar up here in the Bay Area where people openly smoke indoors, even late into the night.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 12:47 PM on June 2, 2006


And yea, Bardic, I do chuckle when a 350-pound man tells me my smoking habit will kill me.
posted by Raoul.Duke at 12:47 PM on June 2, 2006


It is unwise to downplay the need to change jobs. Many of us do not have the luxury of changing at will. Thus, to say to a person who works in a bar that they either have to get used to the increased risks (whatever they might actually be) or find another job is overly simplistic. In addition, changing jobs is also a stressful experience, among the highest of ordinary life events.

The exposure of employees to me is the crux of the matter. Employers are required to undertake a variety of actions that they might not otherwise in order to protect their workers. When I started working in the real world, one could smoke in ones cubicle, but that came to an end. By the time I left for academe, there wasn't even a smoking lounge, so no one was being exposed at work. Why this should not be so for restaurant and bar workers is a puzzle.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:55 PM on June 2, 2006


All the bars and restaurants in Austin went out of business when the smoking ban took effect.

I don't smoke. I enjoy not having to go to a smokey restaurant to eat. I don't mind if others want to smoke. Just not in my house or my car. I'll go to smokey bars any time to hear a band I like but wouldn't mind if it wasn't smokey. And about 90% of my friends light up when they drink.

I am against a prohibition of smoking -- it worked so well with alcholol didnt it? It works so well with weed, doesn't it? Instead, the government should tax the fuck out of it and use the money to pay for the millions of people that will have smoking-related illnesses [or smoking cessation programs].
posted by birdherder at 12:56 PM on June 2, 2006


I've said this before.

If you're a vegetarian and you hate the smell of cooked meat - because the only thing that you notice when someone smokes is the smell - don't go to a steakhouse and order me to stop eating my meat because it disgusts you. Similarly, if you're a carnivore, you're not going to get served meat in a vegan restaurant. Both sides have to deal with being "separated but equal".
posted by ruelle at 1:05 PM on June 2, 2006


Why this should not be so for restaurant and bar workers is a puzzle.

Every job has it's ups, downs, perks, and risks. If I'm going to be a construction worker, I know my body will take a toll. If I'm going to be programmer, I know my back will have to put up with sitting at a computer for eight hours a day. Likewise, if I apply for a job at a bar that allows smoking, I shouldn't be suprised or upset that I will be exposed to smoke. It's not like people are forced to hold any particular job; occupations are a choice, and you must deal with the consequences of your choice to work in any given job.
posted by Raoul.Duke at 1:06 PM on June 2, 2006


UrineSoakedRube: You're not going to the right bars.
posted by Captaintripps at 1:08 PM on June 2, 2006


And insisting that private property is a "public place" is the road to oppression

Do you mean someone's house, or a private business that is open to the public? A private house is one thing, but this is about private property that is being used as a "public accommodation" which as I understand it make that private property a public place under law, and as such subject to regulation.

Example article Civil Rights in Public Accommodations and Facilities (sorry, couldn't find a good def with google - maybe one of the lawyers can)

All the bars and restaurants in Austin went out of business when the smoking ban took effect.

That assertion smells like bullshit, and is provably false.
posted by illovich at 1:15 PM on June 2, 2006


Believe it or not, it is possible to change people's attitudes to such things and even a whole culture. When the smoking ban came into force here in Ireland it was originally met with unbelievable opposition (mostly from the Vintners federation), many thought it simply wouldn't work and that the law would be opposed in some sort of non-violent protest sort of way. However a couple of months into the ban and the compliance was found to be over 97%. The public actually embraced it, many pubs decided to adapt by developing beer gardens etc where punters could still enjoy a pint and a smoke, very few pubs did not comply and even these fell into line again quickly. It did not turn out to be the doomsday scenario predicted by the vintners federation.

Nowadays the practise of going outside for a smoke is simply considered normal and does not cause undue stress for the majority of smokers, it has even had some unforeseen benefits. It's hard to imagine it any other way these days and it is a bit of a shock to the system when you go into a foreign pub where smoking is still permitted!
posted by TwoWordReview at 1:16 PM on June 2, 2006


All the bars and restaurants in Austin went out of business when the smoking ban took effect.

That assertion smells like bullshit, and is provably false.


Actually, that assertion smells like a deliberate play on the hysteria of the initial FPP, and not a serious statement of fact.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:19 PM on June 2, 2006


Governments step in to regulate where self interest and market forces fail. The best regulations are those agreed on by the majority in principle but difficult to achieve in particular. Smoking is bad for the health of smokers and those around them, yet polite western society generally requires non-smokers to tolerate smokers to the detriment of their health. Regulations give us an excuse where politeness denies us, to tell someone to stop smoking.

Of course, if smokers were polite themselves (instead of relying on others to be so), they wouldn't smoke near non-smokers whether or not those people complained, because smoking is bad for everyone in the vicinity. If you must contaminate the atmosphere, ask first and accept refusal with aplomb.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:22 PM on June 2, 2006


polite western society generally requires non-smokers to tolerate smokers to the detriment of their health

No. If you don't want to go to a smoking bar, don't go. You're not being required to tolerate anything.
posted by Raoul.Duke at 1:27 PM on June 2, 2006


[fixed wp link]
posted by jessamyn at 1:32 PM on June 2, 2006


I've yet to hear the smoking/non-smoking status of a bar used as a rationale for visiting one bar over another. Of course, my sample size is tiny, but I get the feeling that this is something that most think about only after the fact.

The philosophy and politics behind smoking bans are dubious but, man, I love it when I come home and my clothes don't stink.
posted by mullacc at 1:39 PM on June 2, 2006


Laws requiring the public not to pollute public areas are a general good. I class them with laws requiring dog owners to pick up after Fifi, laws requiring people not to pour motor oil down the storm drains, not to dump bloody syringes on public beaches, etc.

There are the usual arguments: "If you don't like this dog-poop-filled street, just move to another one." "If you don't like drinking this motor-oil-flavored tap water, buy bottled water." "If you don't like this syringy beach, wear boots." But they're pretty silly. Smokers shorten the lifespan of everyone nearby, provably. Society *exists* to manage such things.

Or to put it another way: if you don't like the anti-smoking laws, you can move.
posted by jellicle at 1:41 PM on June 2, 2006


UrineSoakedRube: You're not going to the right bars.
posted by Captaintripps at 1:08 PM PST on June 2 [+fave] [!]


I don't know what that means, frankly. I've been to bars all over San Francisco, and people aren't smoking inside. And when I join the smokers outside, I don't hear any serious complaining. I've been to dives in the Dogpatch and upscale bars in Cow Hollow, and it's the same thing.

Are there bars in San Francisco that are violating the smoking ban? Probably, but I haven't found one.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 1:44 PM on June 2, 2006


I can't go to a pub and light up a stick of Nag Champa because I like the smell. It's about shared air. I can still burn incense at home. I can still burn it outdoors. I can't do it in public indoor places.

I'd like to know what the difference between this and cigarette smoke is. I believe that the difference is one of social tolerance. Smoking is a common habit, so it has been allowed. Smoking in pubs has been tradition.

Social tolerance is dropping for smoking indoors around other people. I say that smokers have to deal with it. Your rights aren't being taken away. Just step outside to smoke.

Complete prohibition, comparisons to North Korea, problems with employment ... I'm with you there, smokers. Those are actually issues about rights, and personal choice. I just don't like it when these get confused with indoor smoking laws. I think equating that as a loss of rights dilutes your overall argument.

The right to smoke as part of your lifestyle? Absolutely. The right to burn tobacco indoors, around others, in a public place? No. Demanding that right makes me want to ignite an old tire and drag it into your neighborhood bar, to illustrate your disregard for others. (You can always choose to go somewhere else, right!)
posted by adzuki at 1:44 PM on June 2, 2006


mullacc, now you have heard. There is a certain place I will not patronize because of the smell. If I meet people who have that telltale stink in their hair and clothes, I do not have to ask them where they have been. pee-yoo.
(Yes, I am an ex-smoker.)
posted by Cranberry at 1:46 PM on June 2, 2006


Every job has it's ups, downs, perks, and risks. If I'm going to be a construction worker, I know my body will take a toll. If I'm going to be programmer, I know my back will have to put up with sitting at a computer for eight hours a day.

These risks are inherent to their respective positions. There is no way that you can be a construction worker and not physically exert yourself. Smoke exposure is not inherent to a position that involves serving food or alcohol to people.
posted by Feral at 1:47 PM on June 2, 2006


jellicle: Smokers shorten the lifespan of everyone nearby, provably

Wow. You do know that the deaths of half of all continuing smokers are attributed to smoking, most of them being long-term heavy smokers. Yet, somehow, the lifespan of "everyone nearby" is shortened, "provably", by secondhand smoking.
posted by daksya at 1:48 PM on June 2, 2006


No. If you don't want to go to a smoking bar, don't go.

I've lived in cities with no bans on smoking in public places and in cities with very strict bans. In the cities without bans I never found a single "non-smoking bar." The reasons for that are pretty easy to understand. If I own a bar and I have to choose "do I make it smoking or non-smoking" then I'm cutting my throat, financially, if I make it non-smoking. If a group of people decide to go out together after work for a drink, and four of them are non-smokers are two of them are smokers, where will they go? They'll go to the smoking bar--the non-smokers can "non-smoke" there, after all, can't they? To make a place "non-smoking" is to exclude a certain percentage of your potential clientele AND their friends. You can't recoup the lost revenue from the added attractiveness of being a smoke-free venue.

So in practice, the whole "if you don't want smoke, just go to a place that doesn't allow smoking" is about as sensible as "if you don't want smoking on airplanes, just wait for a flight that doesn't happen to have any smokers on it."

Just imagine for a second that smoking was a recent invention. Imagine that cigarettes had just been brought onto the market for the very first time--no one had yet smoked one, but we did know (from lab testing) just how poisonous they are. If you were in a position to establish the legal restrictions on their use, what would you have them be?

For all of you who laugh at the absurdity of being lectured to about smoking by some fat person (whose increased risk of fatal illness from being so fat is miniscule compared to your increased risk from smoking, I might add), just think about the irony of listening to a smoker complain about evil corporations who pollute our environment...
posted by yoink at 2:05 PM on June 2, 2006


Contaminate the atmosphere? Now smokers are responsible for global warming too? Oh, I forgot, global warming is not happening...

Seriously, if we had at least half the effort and money of the anti-smoking campaigns and laws applied also to car fumes, industrial fumes, chemical plants, etc. etc. maybe we'd all breathe better?

I guess it's just easier, practically and most of all politically, to focus so much on an individual behaviour that can be condemned as addiction, rather than seriously dealing with the consequences of actual major pollution.
posted by funambulist at 2:08 PM on June 2, 2006


P.S. The Washington Post story is from 2003. The Surgeon General said, in an off the cuff way, that if Congress sought an outright ban on tobacco products, he'd support it.

It's a pretty bizarre leap from that to the claim that prohibition is the "favored objective" of the "anti-tobacco movement." I've hardly ever heard anybody argue for an outright ban on tobacco, and even the tobacco executive quoted in this THREE YEAR OLD piece said "I've never heard anything like that from any public official."

Actually, in my experience it's only ever smokers who talk about prohibition. They need to sound as if they're being harrassed by moralistic wowsers in order to generate some sympathy. The fact is that most people who support restrictions on smoking could give a toss whether not you smoke yourself into an early grave. They just don't want to have the smell the foul and sickening smell of tobacco smoke and be subjected to its dangers themselves.
posted by yoink at 2:12 PM on June 2, 2006


just think about the irony of listening to a smoker complain about evil corporations who pollute our environment

Ha. The irony indeed... There you have it, now smokers have become the foulest source of pollution. We should be so lucky, if all it took to have a cleaner environment was for the nicotine addicts to quit.
posted by funambulist at 2:13 PM on June 2, 2006


rather than seriously dealing with the consequences of actual major pollution

funambulist, name a single pollutant other than tobacco that kills even one-hundreth the number of people that tobacco does.
posted by yoink at 2:15 PM on June 2, 2006


Actually, if tobacco smoke were treated as an industrial contaminant, there would be a de facto federal ban on smoking in the workplace, as it would be impossible to use ventilation systems to reduce indoor tobacco smoke to acceptable levels.
posted by Feral at 2:16 PM on June 2, 2006


(whose increased risk of fatal illness from being so fat is miniscule compared to your increased risk from smoking, I might add)

Debatable. Granted, there are degrees of fatness and degrees of smoker--I try to be a "social smoker," i.e., light up with my friends at a bar or on the back deck of a party. If I only had 5-8 smokes per week, I'd put my longevity well beyond that of someone who was morbidly obese. Anecdotally, having lived in Japan and travelled in smoker-heavy European countries like France and Spain, even the smokers look much more fit than many non-smoking but overweight Americans. As countries, they live longer than Americans as well. Which is to say, vices are, by definition, bad for you, but bacon and television can kill you too. But my bar-crawling days are mostly behind me, so I don't lose too much sleep over cities banning smoking in bars and restaurants. I just think it's an affront to property ownership--if you own the joint, you should be able to make a profit by catering to the crowd you want. If they happen to be smokers, so be it. GYOB (where "blog" becomes "bar").
posted by bardic at 2:17 PM on June 2, 2006


(Feral, I thought smoking in a Federal workplace was already banned? Hmm. I can't even fathom working in an office, government or otherwise, where someone smoked inside the building, though I've heard it's encouraged at Altria.)
posted by bardic at 2:19 PM on June 2, 2006


Between 1962 and 1970 I lived 8 years in NYC. It was considered okay for everybody to smoke pretty much anywhere, movies, diners, buses, cabs, all offices and waiting rooms, elevators, hospitals, airplanes, trains, restaurants etc. Those were the days of the (asbestos filled) micronite filters and commercials that said cigarettes are good for you (still going on in some places), stopped bad breath etc.

My mother smoked 2 to 4 packs a day. She is slowly and painfully dying of emphesema now. My father died of lung cancer at 51. I started smoking at 15 and stopped at 27, after 6 years of attempts, 3 years after my father died. I do remember momentarily enjoying a handful of cigarettes in my life though, when I wasn't suffering from the short-windedness and increase in asthma. I enjoyed the harsh little bastard Players No. 6 in days of London poverty in the early 1970's. They were stingy (very cheap) little things the size of overgrown matchsticks. In 1975 Greece I liked the oval Karelia, which came in an elegant, old fashioned box. In India I enjoyed Ganesh bidis, which have been apparently banned from import because child labor was used to make them.

Anyone officially trying to keep people from their addictions seemed futile. But after 15 years abroad I came back to NYC late in 1985. The no smoking thing was partially underway and has steadily increased over the years. I have to say that now if I go out with a friend who smokes and put my jacket back in the closet I can smell the smoke residue reeking days later. It's such a relief to go to places and not smell smoke. Smokers seem to not be aware their hacking into the phone or while one is talking to them is pretty obnoxious. It's wonderful not to hear smokers constantly hacking up phlegm. I think stopping smoking in public places really was an excellent thing, for everybody.

Not polluting one's own lungs is a good place for many people to start thinking about, waking up to the reality and value of breathing fresh air.

People were once duped about cigarettes being not that bad and have also been duped about non-fat, high carbohydrate diets, about the impact of processed sugar intake. Maybe it's time to have warnings on Twinkie packages.
posted by nickyskye at 2:21 PM on June 2, 2006


By the way, I also find it a bizarre leap to claim that prohibition is the "favored objective" of the "anti-tobacco movement, and the comparison to North Korea a wee bit stretched, as what's happening there with the university admission policy (if true?) has obviously more to do with the nature of that regime than with the nature of anti-smoking campaigns.

Aside from all pro and con arguments, I also like the effects of smoking bans in bars and restaurants, I'm very tolerant of smoking and enjoy an occasional ciggie myself, I just don't want to be stuck in smoke-filled rooms (and yeah, the 'you could go elsewhere' argument would work in a place where laws had been enacted to force all bars and restaurants to have well separated smoking/non smoking sections, but apparently that turns out to be more costly than bans, if I'm not wrong?).

However, hearing talk of smoke as pollution contaminating the atmosphere, and the level at which the zeal can degenerate into a matter of 'my personal lifestyle is healthier than yours', it's all kind of depressing politically speaking.
posted by funambulist at 2:30 PM on June 2, 2006


(Feral, I thought smoking in a Federal workplace was already banned? Hmm. I can't even fathom working in an office, government or otherwise, where someone smoked inside the building, though I've heard it's encouraged at Altria.)

No, I mean if OSHA treated tobacco smoke the same way they'd treat, for instance, airborne asbestos, even private workplaces would be required to maintain smoke-free workplaces.
posted by Feral at 2:33 PM on June 2, 2006


caddis writes "There's always somebody out there who wants to tell you how to live your life, make that force you."

Ya I hate how smokers want everyone around them to smell like an ashtray.

lyam writes "Don't want to go to a smoky bar? Go to a non-smoking bar.
"Don't want to work in a smoky bar? Work in a non-smoking bar."


Let me guess, you have a nice portable profession making more than minimum wage? Or do you honestly think the solution to health risks in the workplace is caveat employee? Coal miners should just get another job if they don't want black lung? Mill workers should just find another job if they don't want to work around machines with no guards?

Raoul.Duke writes "What angers me is the argument that 'people shouldnt have to be exposed to "nasty cigarettes" if they don't want to be'. What would be wrong with legislation that permits bars, restuarants, and other public places to decide if they would like to allow smoking or not. Thus, if you don't want to be exposed to cigarette smoke, go to a non-smoking bar."

In BC your allowed to permit smoking in your business as long as you don't have any employees.

mullacc writes "I've yet to hear the smoking/non-smoking status of a bar used as a rationale for visiting one bar over another. Of course, my sample size is tiny, but I get the feeling that this is something that most think about only after the fact."

Your hearing it now; in my college days when the last non smoking club in my home town shut down I stopped going to clubs.
posted by Mitheral at 2:36 PM on June 2, 2006


Meh, I really need to buy a thesaurus.
posted by Feral at 2:36 PM on June 2, 2006


Re: anti-smoking movement moving towards prohibition.
posted by daksya at 2:42 PM on June 2, 2006


yoink, I don't know, we haven't been hearing many updates on this sort of thing lately. Maybe they should all be classified as smoke-induced illnesses and deaths, that'd be handier.
posted by funambulist at 2:46 PM on June 2, 2006


I remember when they started banning smoking in offices in the late 80s and early 90s. It wasn't because they were concered about their employees health, it was because the cigarette smoke was damaging the computer's disk drives.

Priorities.
posted by Jatayu das at 2:47 PM on June 2, 2006


caddis writes "There's always somebody out there who wants to tell you how to live your life, make that force you."

Mithereal writes "Ya I hate how smokers want everyone around them to smell like an ashtray."

My point is that there is always someone out there who wants to make it illegal for you to smoke at all, because of course they know better than you what is good for you. On this issue they would probably be right, but that should not be their decision to make. Lots of people smoke without fatal or even dire consequences. If you want to take the risk, fine. You would be a fool, but fine. I think limiting smoking areas in public places is fine, but to be fair there should be some. I am against eliminating them entirely.
posted by caddis at 2:50 PM on June 2, 2006


I'm still anticipating the day that they make it illegal to smoke in the presence of a child. I can't wait to hear the dumb arguments that smokers will come up with against that one.
posted by JekPorkins at 3:07 PM on June 2, 2006


Have to agree with bardic.
Down here in Florida you see a plethora of old smokers.
70's - 90's. Very few old people in that age range who are NOTICEABLY fat.
posted by notreally at 3:16 PM on June 2, 2006


Second hand smoke makes my eyes water, throat burn, and clothing reek. I feel bad for smokers who are being corralled into ever more remote and smaller areas for their habit and addiction, but from a purely selfish standpoint, I applaud the move toward smoke-free "public" areas.

Toronto just increased the ban yesterday to include patio's that are semi-covered. This means that it will be a nice patio summer for me. ;)
posted by purephase at 3:34 PM on June 2, 2006


Are there bars in San Francisco that are violating the smoking ban?
I haven't been there in a couple of years, but Dylan's Pub (on Folsom south of Market) was very lax about the ban.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:35 PM on June 2, 2006


I'm still anticipating the day that they make it illegal to smoke in the presence of a child. I can't wait to hear the dumb arguments that smokers will come up with against that one.
posted by JekPorkins at 3:07 PM PST on June 2


Probably that the alleged dangers of second-hand smoke in an open area are wildly overblown. Facts are dumb.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:36 PM on June 2, 2006


Probably that the alleged dangers of second-hand smoke in an open area are wildly overblown. Facts are dumb.

Sufficiently overblown to overcome the public interest in safeguarding the health of children? Facts are facts. The argument based on those facts is dumb.
posted by JekPorkins at 3:38 PM on June 2, 2006


I have been quoted and dissected enough. My main point is this: Legislation should work for both sides of the issue. Strict prohibition is going to upset the smokers, and a complete lack of control will upset non-smokers. Certain businesses should be able to decide for themselves what kind of atmosphere they want, after all, it is their business. Restaurants seem like the kind of business that would fall into the "reasonably banned" category; families, children, people of all walks of life go out to eat. Bars, however, are places where people obviously go to drink and smoke. If there is such a movement of people that can't stand smoky bars, then surely a bar that advertised "no smoking" would get enough business.

There is a way to compromise here. It's a touchy issue becuase smoking is somewhat of a lifestyle choice, and yet, it does harm others. For reasons I mentioned, it is possible for a middle ground to be reached; complete prohibition is absurd, and complete (even though i'm a smoker) lack of control is even more absurd.
posted by Raoul.Duke at 3:45 PM on June 2, 2006


People who smoke around kids are assholes. Then again, so are people who feed them Coca-Cola and Doritos.
posted by bardic at 3:47 PM on June 2, 2006


Can we ban perfumes and colognes too? I go into serious sneezing fits and sometimes get short of breath when I'm stuck around people with perfume on. It's really annoying.
posted by ryoshu at 4:01 PM on June 2, 2006


Can we ban perfumes and colognes too?

Just the ones that cause cancer.
posted by JekPorkins at 4:03 PM on June 2, 2006


yoink, I don't know, we haven't been hearing many updates on this sort of thing lately

Funambulist, your link gives an estimate of "tens of thousands" of deaths from traffic pollution each year. Frightening. Of course the estimated deaths from smoking in the EU make that look like almost laughably small:

"Each year smoking kills over 1.2 million people in Europe (450,000 from CVD) and about 650,000 people in the EU (185,000 from CVD). The numbers dying in Europe from CVD due to smoking rose by 13% between 1990 and 2000."

You make much play out of the absurdity of people claiming that cigarette smoking pollutes "the atmosphere." But the person who used that word (not me) clearly meant it in the local sense ("the atmosphere of the room") not in the global sense. Cigarettes are pollutants. No, they are not a threat to the entire ecosystem. They are a threat to people who are trapped in a small enclosed space with their smoke, however.

Bardic, your concern about obesity is wildly overblown. According to the latest CDC figures, obesity kills 25,814 people in the USA each year. Here's what they have to tell us about cigarette smoking:

"Each year, more than 400,000 Americans die from cigarette smoking. In fact, one in every five deaths in the United States is smoking related. Every year, smoking kills more than 276,000 men and 142,000 women."

Raoul.Duke, you argue strenuously that "complete prohibition is absurd." Well--sure. Who the heck here is arguing for "complete prohibition"? The fact that the FPP had to troll back THREE YEARS to find someone saying not "we should have complete prohibition" but "sure, if someone argued for prohibition I'd have to support it" suggests that this is the feeblest of straw men.

No one wants to take away from you your precious right to poison yourself. They just want you to spare those around them from the obnoxious stink and the secondhand poisons.
posted by yoink at 4:18 PM on June 2, 2006


All you arrogant anti-smoking ******** (pick any derogatory phrase, it probably fits) need to get a little FACT into your arguments. I have yet to hear any of you site the study that shows the effects of second hand smoking. In fact, I'd love to have you show me the scientific results of that study. Numbers and stuff. You know, the kind of stuff that backs up your arguments rather than just repeating the same lines that you heard in a FUCKING TOBACCO SPONSORED PSA COMMERCIAL!!!

Yeah, that's rght. All those great TRUTH ads are created by the American Legacy Foundataion. See them here.

Pulled from their own website:
"The Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) is an agreement signed in November 1998 by the attorneys general in 46 states and five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry. The agreement resolved lawsuits filed by the attorneys general against the tobacco industry and provided funds to the states to compensate them for taxpayer money that was spent on patients and family members with tobacco-related diseases. Among many other provisions, the agreement required that tobacco billboard advertising be taken down, that tobacco companies stop using cartoon characters to sell cigarettes, and that tobacco companies make many of their internal documents available to the public. The tobacco companies also agreed not to target youth in the advertising, marketing and promotion of their products. The MSA also called for the creation of a foundation -- the American Legacy Foundation -- to counter the use of tobacco."

Thank you ladies and gentlemen. The same companies that were lying to us about the possible harm of inhaling particulate matter into your lungs is also paying to have just as much FUD spread about the actual effects of smoking.

I'm sure you are going to argue that they are spreading the reality now instead of the lies from the past. But let's look at the truth they are touting.

Remember I asked for scientific facts? Well, what government report is constantly touted as the de facto proof that second-hand smoke causes cancer? Just about every single anti-smoking advocate will point to the EPA report from 1993 that states "second hand smoke is a Class A carginogen" and that it "causes 3000 deaths a year". Scary stuff, right?

Now go read this and this.

Also, let's go look at some anti-smoking sites. Follow as many links as you can and try to get some kind of scientific fact or study hosted on a site not related to the anti-smoking crusaders. Just try. Most of the sites are nicely laid out with definitions and links to other pages on the same site or other anti-smoking sites. It's a huge fucking echo chamber of "scary facts" and minimally grounded assertions that "everyone knows second hand smoke causes cancer."

I'm asking for the proof that "second hand smoke causes cancer." Please. I'll shut up and won't smoke near another human being for the rest of my life if you can prove that to me. Otherwise, kindly shut the fuck up.

(Many, many, many apologies to Penn and Teller and their show Bullshit for making me question the overbearing assertions of pompous rictus assholes who feel their comfort is more important than my rights).


And if they every tried to ban smoking in Vegas, the whole town would up and hock a tobacco filtered loogie on the legislators. Though I swear it's going to happen one day with how stupid most people are.





If you repeat a lie often enough and with enough pigheaded stubornness, eventually people will believe it is true. Just look at the Bush Administration (both of them).
posted by daq at 4:30 PM on June 2, 2006


Frankly, I'm not concerned. Smokes kill people. Cars kill people. Television kills people. Some poor sod living beneath the wrong set of power lines is getting cancer as we speak, as is the rest of his family.

Smoking is stupid, no doubt. It's also far too easy a target upon which societies, especially America, pin a whole panoply of other problems regarding various lifestyle choices. I guess I'm a victim of circumstance, since I've had non-smoking loved ones who've died of cancer quite young, and known smokers who've lived past the national average. In my experience, they tended to compensate by watching what they ate, getting a decent amount of exercise, and not taxing their hearts and minds becoming shrieking uber-nannies hellbent on saving the rest of us from ourselves.
posted by bardic at 4:32 PM on June 2, 2006


Bars, however, are places where people obviously go to drink and smoke.

They are? Bars are, in my area, places where people obviously go to eat and drink. They're all smoke-free, and they all seem to be doing a booming business. I think we've got almost as many bars here as we do churches...
posted by five fresh fish at 4:33 PM on June 2, 2006


Some poor sod living beneath the wrong set of power lines is getting cancer as we speak, as is the rest of his family.

??! Sez who? Latest I've heard is that the meta-studies of the studies indicates that there's no connection between power lines and cancer.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:34 PM on June 2, 2006


Just the ones that cause cancer.
posted by JekPorkins at 4:03 PM PST on June 2 [+fave] [!]


Show me the studies about ETS causing cancer and we can compare notes. I bet the causal links between perfume and cancer can be just as strong given enough meta-study massaging.
posted by ryoshu at 4:37 PM on June 2, 2006


Dear daq:

"In 1992, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a review of the evidence available from epidemiological and other studies regarding the relationship between secondhand smoke and heart disease and estimated that passive smoking was responsible for 35,000 to 40,000 deaths per year in the United States in the early 1980s." Here's a link to the JAMA review.

See also the Helena Study (PDF link) (showing that exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of heart disease among non-smokers by as much as 40 percent)

According to the W.H.O., "there is a statistically significant and consistent association between lung cancer risk in spouses of smokers and exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke from the spouse who smokes. The excess risk is of the order of 20% for women and 30% for men and remains after controlling for some potential sources of bias and confounding."

But honestly, the whole argument that second hand smoke must not be dangerous because nobody on MetaFilter today has posted a link to a study is just so completely [pick any derogatory term, it probably fits].
posted by JekPorkins at 4:42 PM on June 2, 2006


daq: here's a couple hundred scientific studies that show that secondhand smoke causes cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and a host of other ills.

Here's a summary of the science.
posted by jellicle at 4:48 PM on June 2, 2006


I've had non-smoking loved ones who've died of cancer quite young, and known smokers who've lived past the national average. In my experience, they tended to compensate by watching what they ate, getting a decent amount of exercise, and not taxing their hearts and minds becoming shrieking uber-nannies hellbent on saving the rest of us from ourselves.

A) To repeat: I don't want to save you from yourself. Take risks, go rock-climbing, jump our of airplanes etc. Just don't ask me to either pay for your long, slow, painful death from lung cancer (which, given the taxation on cigarettes, you're probably not) and don't ask me to put up with the noxious smell and poisonous effects of that smoke.

B) If you had friends who played russian roulette, some of them would live longer than the "average"--it wouldn't make it a sensible lifestyle choice.

C) smokers "balance" the risk by eating right? I'd ask "what are you smoking"--but I guess that's pretty obvious. Anyway, with deaths from smoking so vastly outnumbering deaths from obesity in this food-obsessed country, it's pretty clear that there isn't enough "healthy eating" in the world to offset the damage done by smoking.
posted by yoink at 4:52 PM on June 2, 2006


JekPorkins,

iirc, that particular WHO study's scientific conclusions greatly diverged from its summary, e.g., you are quoting the summary but the actual relative risk shown was statistically insignificant. Again, iirc, that was the same study that cherry picked from numerous studies and still couldn't come up with a statistically significant RR with data that would most likely prove their case. But since most people feel that ETS is bad, it must be bad.
posted by ryoshu at 4:54 PM on June 2, 2006


Is there any study, funded by a group not already on the record as opposed to smoking that has proven that second hand smoke causes cancer?

please provide links.

Additionally can abybody please document why your personal preferences and .00000001% chance to get an illness in 10 years trumps my personal liberty.


Also please document how cancer deaths cost more than Alzheimers, Diabetes, and other diseases which are more common in people who get older (this is prevented by smoking related heart disease and cancer)

bottom line, my smoking harms me, and saves you money.

Cancer is cheaper and faster than 20 years of nursing home bills.
posted by Megafly at 4:55 PM on June 2, 2006


Oh boy, this is going well.

Can we talk about obesity now? Do people bring it on themselves? Should overweight peole get "special" rights? Should we target fatty foods like we do cigarettes?




If you answer these questions you are a bigger ass than I am for asking!
posted by caddis at 4:58 PM on June 2, 2006


While daq is working on his message of gratitude in which he thanks JekPorkins and Jellicle for providing him the information he sought so eagerly, I thought I'd just point out that I, for one, don't base my argument for smoking bans in public places on the health risk posed to casual passersby.

That is, I doubt that by going into a bar occasionally and breathing in second hand smoke I would significantly raise my risk of illness (it's another story for the people who work night after night in those bars, of course). But even so, I don't see what right someone has to fill the air with foul smelling smoke that makes me feel like throwing up. Even if the smoke could be genetically engineered so as to be quite safe for me to breathe, why should I have to breathe it? Should I be allowed to drag a rotting fish around with me into bars and other public places? At least the rotting fish smell doesn't get into your clothes and linger there for days afterwards.
posted by yoink at 4:58 PM on June 2, 2006


i just love a roomful of hate. ya know, i don't hate the sinner, just the sin. the shrill and strident anti-smokers remind me of the hate-filled christan right preaching and whining about the gays and abortion. the real argument should be about freedom and liberty and personal choice. unfortunately the anti-smokers have hijacked the real debate. the smoking bans are simply about CONTROL, the government trying to control personal behavior, marginalize smokers and de-normalizing smoking. there is NO reason on this good earth that both smokers and non-smokers cannot be accomodated. how much power do you really want to give government?
posted by brandz at 4:59 PM on June 2, 2006


oh yeah, i forgot, who is going to save the poor highway toll booth collectors?
posted by brandz at 5:01 PM on June 2, 2006


Fucking nanny state
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 5:04 PM on June 2, 2006


Is there any study, funded by a group not already on the record as opposed to smoking that has proven that second hand smoke causes cancer?

Do you have the same skepticism about global warming?

Yoink is right. If this were about a law that made it illegal to carry a steaming bucket of excrement to a restaurant, the tone of the smokers' comments would be dramatically different.
posted by JekPorkins at 5:07 PM on June 2, 2006


Additionally can abybody please document why your personal preferences and .00000001% chance to get an illness in 10 years trumps my personal liberty.

Can I ask, do you think that the only things that should not be permitted in public are those that pose a direct threat to someone's health? So, for example, you would support someone's right at a restaurant to stand in front of you masturbating? Or to bring in 20 incense sticks and light them? Why not? Just because of your "personal preference"?

Also please document how cancer deaths cost more than Alzheimers, Diabetes, and other diseases which are more common in people who get older (this is prevented by smoking related heart disease and cancer)

bottom line, my smoking harms me, and saves you money.

Cancer is cheaper and faster than 20 years of nursing home bills.


Cancer is only the most dramatic of the diseases that smoking causes. Lots of smokers will trail out of life with 15 years slow strangulation from emphysema, or slowly losing their extremities from aggravated diabetes (yes, the "smoking or diabetes" choice you offer is a false one--smoking makes diabetes much worse). Yes, smoking removes, on average, 12 years from your life (hence all those spry middle-aged smokers that Bardic knows) but it's not that you live a happy, healthy, fit life until you're 70 and then BAM, you're dead in a week from cancer. Smoker's deaths are slower and more costly than non-smoker's deaths are.
posted by yoink at 5:09 PM on June 2, 2006


there is NO reason on this good earth that both smokers and non-smokers cannot be accomodated.

Except that in cities without smoking bans, every single public space becomes a miserable experience for me. Not because I'm "disapproving" of all the smokers having their fun, but because the smoke makes me feel sick (literally--you know, "oh my god I'm going to throw up" sick).

So where's my "freedom and personal choice" in that situation, brandz? Currently, we have a situation where, if you want to smoke, you can do so in your home, in your car, in outside seating areas for bars and restaurants, and on the public streets. You can't do it inside enclosed public buildings where I, and other non-smokers might be trapped with the consequences of YOUR decision. So how, exactly, is that infringing on your "liberty" any more than your decision that I have to "enjoy" your smoke is an infringement on mine?
posted by yoink at 5:17 PM on June 2, 2006


So, for example, you would support someone's right at a restaurant to stand in front of you masturbating?

Justine's turned into a Tiki bar years ago, but Paddles may still have ice cream parties.

Or to bring in 20 incense sticks and light them?

Is there a law against that? Last time I checked you can do it as long as the owner agrees and you aren't violating any fire codes.

But smoking is much like bukkake. I love how this topic brings out the rational side of people.
posted by ryoshu at 5:18 PM on June 2, 2006


yoink, I'm not a big fan of Republicans generally. But I love me some Nasker. If I ever get to go to a race in person, I certainly won't expect everyone there to wear Michael Moore t-shirts.

You do know what a bar is, right? A place where adults go to engage in vice--alchohol, tobacco, maybe even attempts to (*gasp!*) get laid. Again, why can't a bar-owner decide for herself what type of clintele she wants to have? If smoking makes her patrons happy, and her waiters and bar-tenders are aware before they're hired that they'll be exposed to second-hand smoke, so what?

As for the rest of what you're saying, well, this thread proably isn't about to sprout wings and a halo, so I'll go there--why not ban alcohol too? Why not encourage a healthcare plan that punishes those who are genetically disposed to cancer, Parkinson's, epilepsy, what have you, cuz ya know, your precious tax dollars pay for those people too if they don't have insurance. Why be so selective in your outrage? Sick and fat and mentally ill people in general are a drain on society's resources, and they should be treated as such, no?
posted by bardic at 5:18 PM on June 2, 2006


Is there any study, funded by a group not already on the record as opposed to smoking that has proven that second hand smoke causes cancer?

When the American Cancer Society, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the WHO, and the National Cancer Institute get called out for bias, that's when I start handing out free tinfoil hats.
posted by Feral at 5:20 PM on June 2, 2006


well, we know who the shrill and strident anti-smokers are now. i love it when they compare smoking in public to masturbation in public. grow the fuck up.
posted by brandz at 5:21 PM on June 2, 2006


So where's my "freedom and personal choice" in that situation, brandz?

I have the same problem with perfumes. They make me physically ill. Are perfumes like bukkake too?

The problem with the issue is that the anti-smoking crusaders keep pushing the lines. One town passed an ordinance that you can be fined if someone can smell cigarette smoke from your house.

If people want to ban tobacco, go for it. But stop peddling junk science and using ridiculous hyperbole. You sound like a bunch of fundies.
posted by ryoshu at 5:25 PM on June 2, 2006


Except that in cities without smoking bans, every single public space becomes a miserable experience for me. Not because I'm "disapproving" of all the smokers having their fun, but because the smoke makes me feel sick

well, we used to have what we called smoking and non-smoking sections. but that wasn't good enough. for some reason, the line keeps getting moved, like give them an inch and they want a mile. so now we have indoor smoking bans everywhere and the stridents are calling for outdoor bans now, like in parks and on beaches and on college campuses and twenty feet from a building (shakes head in amazement). i remember when the shrill anti-smokers only wanted the back opf the plane.
posted by brandz at 5:28 PM on June 2, 2006


Yoink, yr out of control. As I noted above, there are countries where smoking is much more prevalent than in America, and yet they live longer than the average American. As I'll state for the third time, smoking is bad for you. But a lot of things are--health is a series of personal choices, not just one. Here's a hypothetical bet--if we could snap our fingers and totally outlaw tobacco products in the US, we'd still have a lower life-expectancy than in other countries/cultures that value moderation and a slower-paced lifestyle. Without tobacco (the use of which is dropping, of course), guess what? Perfectly healthy Americans are finding others ways to ruin their lives, ranging from obvious no-no's, including meth and heroin, to more mundane but IMHO greater overall killers like McDonald's, high fructose corn syrup, and cars, or rather, a car culture where the idea of walking anywhere is anathema.

You've chosen your pariah upon which to heap blame for all things--fine. I agree it's a nasty habit, but hardly the only one turning out a generation of American youth that's overweight and suffering greatly from diabetes by the age of 15. But you're right--it's all my fault. I've ruined your social life, and now I'm ruining the rest of the world. Oh, the humanity.
posted by bardic at 5:28 PM on June 2, 2006


As for the rest of what you're saying, well, this thread proably isn't about to sprout wings and a halo, so I'll go there--why not ban alcohol too? Why not encourage a healthcare plan that punishes those who are genetically disposed to cancer, Parkinson's, epilepsy, what have you, cuz ya know, your precious tax dollars pay for those people too if they don't have insurance. Why be so selective in your outrage? Sick and fat and mentally ill people in general are a drain on society's resources, and they should be treated as such, no?

"As for the rest of what I'm saying"? Why not fucking READ what I'm saying? I'm NOT saying that smoking should be banned! I'm also saying that NOONE ELSE is saying that smoking should be banned! Jesus H. Christ! I'm saying that you should be allowed to smoke. Go smoke a cigarette right now. Draw all those toxins deep into your lungs and hack up a great big loogie of Personal Freedom Juice. I don't care! So, no, I DON'T think alcohol should be "banned." And no, I don't think other recreational drugs should be banned. If I go into a bar and don't want to drink, then the fact that you are drinking won't bother me. Why? Because drinks don't fill the room with an overpowering, nauseating smell that will linger in my hair and clothes for days afterwards.

And the claim that people go to bars to "drink and smoke" is just absurdly question-begging. It is also, in cities with smoking bans, demonstrably untrue. Business at bars has not been adversely affected at all. People go to bars to socialize and to drink. They still get lucky (or not), and those of us who don't want to be enveloped in clouds of smoke, aren't.
posted by yoink at 5:33 PM on June 2, 2006


more mundane but IMHO greater overall killers like McDonald's, high fructose corn syrup, and cars

Bardic, with cars you have a point. But McDonalds. For God's sake--just look at the research. Sure, the CDC may be off by 10 or 20%, but do you really think that they're completely fabricating the figures for deaths caused by smoking? I'm sorry your chosen vice is so toxic, but that's no reason to just lie to yourself about it.
posted by yoink at 5:37 PM on June 2, 2006


So you're saying I shouldn't hand out filterless Camels on Halloween?
posted by bardic at 5:37 PM on June 2, 2006


You do know what a bar is, right? A place where adults go to engage in vice--alchohol, tobacco, maybe even attempts to (*gasp!*) get laid.

Hm. That's not what a bar is in California and New York. I guess California and New York don't know how to party.

And smoking at the beach? Do you really have to ruin everything nice with that awful crap? Quit leaving butts everywhere, and you'll make a little more headway with the no smoking at the beach or the park crowd.

My favorite thing is that there's not a single smoker here defending against the fact that their smoking stinks everything up and ruins other people's clothes.
posted by JekPorkins at 5:40 PM on June 2, 2006


My favorite thing is that there's not a single smoker here defending against the fact that their smoking stinks everything up and ruins other people's clothes.

If that was the threshold for banning something no one would be allowed to live in New Jersey.
posted by ryoshu at 5:44 PM on June 2, 2006


JekPorkins, I had a cigarrette today. That smoke must have travelled really fast to get to your clothes.
posted by bardic at 5:44 PM on June 2, 2006


well, we used to have what we called smoking and non-smoking sections. but that wasn't good enough.

Smoke doesn't pay attention to the line across the floor that says "non-smoking area."

the stridents are calling for outdoor bans now

Every single day when I go to work there are anywhere from three to ten people standing outside the main entrance to our building and smoking. They don't work for my company, they work for some other company that rents another floor in our tower.

And every day, they stand against the door, blocking it, directly underneath the signs that say "No smoking within 25 feet.' Ask them to move, and they'll refuse. "Too windy," they'll say. Do they bother to move out of the doorway? No, because then they'll be in the wind. Do they bother to even open the door for you when you walk in carrying boxes? No, who knows why, maybe it's part of the same attitude that lends to "it's my body, I'll do what I want to." So they stand there, and every day I have to squeeze in between them because they can't be bothered to move two steps.

If that's the attitude of the typical smoker, then no wonder the rules keep getting more restrictive. If you can't be bothered to keep your smoke away from people who don't want it, you really have no right to complain when the privilege you abuse gets taken away.

Ironically, I smoke, too. But I don't consider myself in that socioeconomic class of people who calls themselves "smokers," which to me just means that I'm not an addict. On occasion I've gone months between a cigarette without cravings. In fact, there's a pack and a butane ligher sitting on my coffee table right now. It's been there since September. I think the most frequently I've ever smoked is a pack a week. See, I understand that smoking is a privilege and I shouldn't force my decision upon others. I also understand that if my "right" to smoke is someday taken away, I'll be perfectly fine, I may even be healthier for it, and gee wasn't it fun while it lasted but it's time to grow up now.

The smokers I know who are most gung-ho about smoker's rights and stopping those evil pseudoscientific antismoking lobbyists like... the American Medical Association and... um... the American Heart Association... also happen to be the heaviest smokers I know, the ones who have smoked the longest and have had the most trouble quitting. The most heavily addicted seem to be the most vocal in protecting their right to be addicted.

Addiction is a funny thing, it leads to all kinds of rationalization and denial. Why is it that heavy smokers, when defending their habit, sound so much like alcoholics? "It's my right. I can do whatever I want to my body. I'm not hurting anybody but myself. I don't think it's as dangerous as people say. My grandfather smoked/drank until the day he died at the ripe old age of 95." You know when you listen to an addict and all you hear is the addiction talking, not the person? That's what I hear when heavy smokers defend their "right" to smoke despite all reason. If that makes me a shill and strident anti-smoker, I'll ponder that the next time I bum one of my buddy's American Spirits.
posted by Feral at 5:53 PM on June 2, 2006


We have bars in my town that violate the smoking ban. We have other bars that don't. Everyone knows which bars these are, and we all seem to get along. Well, except for this one crazy motherfucker who started posting flyers saying we should kill all the smokers, but that guy was a kook.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 6:01 PM on June 2, 2006


Except that in cities without smoking bans, every single public space becomes a miserable experience for me. Not because I'm "disapproving" of all the smokers having their fun, but because the smoke makes me feel sick

yeah, this is why we should ban smoking in public, cuz it stinks. if you don't like smoke, DO NOT ENTER, nobody is forcing you or your precious clothes to be around smoke or smokers. i, for one, am glad i don't have to be near you, work with you or hang with you. you sound just miserable.

but because the smoke makes me feel sick

i forgot the world was made for you and you alone. that damn hazelnut coffee smell makes me feel sick. especially in the morning. it make the whole place smell crummy too. maybe i should push for a ban on that.
posted by brandz at 6:02 PM on June 2, 2006


Feral, you nailed it. Even in this thread, yoink is being attacked as a rapid anti-smoking enthusiast when all he's claimed is a personal preference against being around clouds of smoke. So have the majority of the people in the thread who said that they understood the plight of smokers, and sympathize, but are fed up with having this particular habit invade not only their external personal space (clothes etc.) but lungs, throat and eyes. There are not a lot of other habitual products that have the same invasive qualities as smoking on people who are not interested in participating.

The common argument of either just dealing with the annoyance, or opting out of the activities that have historically involved smoking is just as restricting as both the soft/hard restrictions on smokers. Fortunately, common sense is prevailing. All you addiction riddled smokers can just suck it up and deal with it. It's not like it's going to kill you, and it may actually help in the long run (same money, stop smoking etc.).
posted by purephase at 6:31 PM on June 2, 2006


Can we ban perfumes and colognes too? I go into serious sneezing fits and sometimes get short of breath when I'm stuck around people with perfume on. It's really annoying.

I've been in a number of work environments where perfumes and colognes were disallowed. Awareness is growing, and people are becoming more considerate.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:36 PM on June 2, 2006


Should I be allowed to drag a rotting fish around with me into bars and other public places?

Yes!

At least the rotting fish smell doesn't get into your clothes and linger there for days afterwards.


Does if you do it right!
posted by five fresh fish at 6:38 PM on June 2, 2006


[er, de-italicize that "Yes!" there, kthxbye.]
posted by five fresh fish at 6:39 PM on June 2, 2006


So let's keep the bans on publicly offensive things rolling--I mean, governments are best at deciding what given citizens should and shouldn't do, participate in, wear, interact with, etc.

Pussies. ; )
posted by bardic at 7:39 PM on June 2, 2006


and it may actually help in the long run (same money, stop smoking etc.).

see, that's the problem. it sounds like you're preaching. in fact, all the antis do is preach. i happily stay at home now and save money and still smoke. no sense in being marginalized to the curb.

common sense is prevailing

no, common sense is not prevailing. the propaganda is prevailing. common sense would be to accomodate everyone.
posted by brandz at 7:43 PM on June 2, 2006


Bullets for my beast. Online addiction recovery.
posted by nickyskye at 8:38 PM on June 2, 2006


the shrill and strident anti-smokers remind me of the hate-filled christan right preaching and whining about the gays and abortion.

They remind me of Hitler's minions, killing the Jews.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:00 PM on June 2, 2006



Do you mean someone's house, or a private business that is open to the public? A private house is one thing, but this is about private property that is being used as a "public accommodation" which as I understand it make that private property a public place under law, and as such subject to regulation.

Example article Civil Rights in Public Accommodations and Facilities (sorry, couldn't find a good def with google - maybe one of the lawyers can)


I'm not claiming that a private home and a place of business are identical (I don't need a civics lesson)-- I'm claiming that ownership of either ought to convey the right to determine whether smoking is acceptable therein.

Unfortunately, it seems that majoritarianism once again trumps property rights. I'm surprised how quickly the prohibitionist movement has spread, but my team has been losing the war for 80 years or so, and I should know better.
posted by Kwantsar at 9:02 PM on June 2, 2006


Documents about the medical impact of second hand smoke. The bad news about second hand smoking. 10,600 Britons Die Due to Tobacco-Smoke Pollution.
posted by nickyskye at 9:16 PM on June 2, 2006


Reading a lot of the comments on this thread just reinforces my belief that smokers (and those that are tolerant of smoking) tend to be more thoughtful human beings than the anti-smoking crowd. I hope more than a few of you are not furrowing your brows in a vain attempt to understand the situation.

I'm all for banning smoking in places like post offices, courthouses, hospitals, (most) workplaces or anywhere else where a human might reasonably need to be in order to function and where choice is venue is more restricted. But the day that the government tells a private restaurant owner that he can't have any smoking in his place is the day that we lose just a bit more freedom in this great nation. Oh wait, that already happened now, didn't it?

And I'm not even going to go into the ridiculously high taxes that smokers pay. I'm all for paying some tax for increased smoking cessation programs and (within reason) certain general health concerns. But much of the revenue generated from tobacco sales gets sent to parents who can't afford to get day care for their own children or politicians who can't balance the budget. When was the last time YOU thanked a smoker?
posted by dhammond at 9:31 PM on June 2, 2006


What bothers me the most about the anti-smoking Nazis is the ease with which they lie. It reminds me of the Bushies and WMDs. "Oh, don't worry about the drop in revenue when we ban smoking from bars and coffeehouses. Once the smokers leave, we'll come in to make up the loss. Yeah ... right. Our once vibrant downtown is now a ghost town. Several bars have closed entirely. Surrounding businesses have all taken hits. Where are the anal-retentive nannies who promised to "make up the loss"? No where to be seen, of course.

I'm sick of these sanctimonious twits and their puritanism that H.L. Menken once described as "the haunting fear that somebody, somewhere, may be happy".

Thanks to them, the incidents of loud all-night private parties (and the accommpanying noise, vandalism and fights) has utterly sky-rocketed. Local police are scratching their heads wondering why. Golly, Officer Fife ... do you suppose it MIGHT have something to do with the fact that no one wants to go to biddy-approved bars anymore?????
posted by RavinDave at 9:34 PM on June 2, 2006


What bothers me about the anti-smoking Nazis is that they don't sound nearly as loony as the adamant smokers.

Jesus, guys, get a grip! Y'all aren't allowed to run about in public drunk, and you seem fine with that. A whole lotta people — by far the majority — prefer a smoke-free environment. So like the drunks, you are rather restricted in where you can enjoy your chemical fix. Rather like the stoners, shooters, and pill-poppers, for that matter.

The only addicts really escaping some form of restriction are the caffeine junkies.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:41 PM on June 2, 2006


The only addicts really escaping some form of restriction are the caffeine junkies

not the alkies, fff?
this country was founded as a republic. that means the minority opinion should be heard and protected. this country is like mob rule now.

as an aside, just last week the head of WHO died suddenly of a stroke at age 61. this is the same man who imposed a rule that the WHO would no longer hire smokers. i'm just assuming here he was a non-smoker. but yet he died 14 years prematurely, given that the male life expectancy in the US is 75.
posted by brandz at 9:55 PM on June 2, 2006


Anti-smoking Nazis have the EXACT same obsessive mindset of the anti-Choice evangelists, as FFF just amply demonstrated (above). There is no one more irritating than someone who imagines they know what's best for everyone else. Follow my morality or be consigned to purgatory. (This hysteria is the stuff of "Reefer Madness". Reminds me of ultra-moralists like Tolstoy, who once protrayed a character working himself up into a homicidal fury ... by puffing on tobacco!)

Here's four words that make'em squirm, sputter and mumble: Let Market Forces Decide. If smoking in bars is so odious to a clear majority, then surely I'm make bags of money by opening a non-smoking bar, right? Right?? Right???
posted by RavinDave at 10:02 PM on June 2, 2006


Only in America is a casual smoker in good health considered an addict. Same for an occasional drinker. FFF, are you saying that only alchoholics frequent bars? Of course not. Some people like to engage in medium-risk behavior during their free time--relaxation, leisure, a night out, what have you. Bar owners make a living catering to this (IMO) rather innocuous desire. Along the lines of what Kwanstar is saying, if you own a business it's not your job to cater to everyone evar--sorry, but the world is not designed around needing to conform to your standards, or anyone else's for that matter. I guess the bar/restaurant thing could create some issues, but most people who own a succesful business are smart enough to know whether or not to allow smoking is in the interest of their patrons, and hence their pocketbook. Why should any government agency, local of federal, make that decision for someone else? If a given bar or restaurant is so filled with smoke that no one can handle it, well, that place will go out of business.

What's so hard about that?
posted by bardic at 10:05 PM on June 2, 2006


Man, it's really hilarious to see addicts get on their high horse about something that is killing them. Such rage. It's sad too.
posted by nickyskye at 11:24 PM on June 2, 2006


I'm an addict?
posted by bardic at 11:39 PM on June 2, 2006


And insisting that private property is a "public place" is the road to oppression.

Except that it is. Unless they don't invite the public in to do business. Or are you arguing that health codes shouldn't apply to restaurants that are on private property?

All the bars and restaurants in Austin went out of business when the smoking ban took effect.

You're either lying or joking. I can't tell which.

well, we used to have what we called smoking and non-smoking sections. but that wasn't good enough.

Well, yes, because if you don't have two completely separated areas with completely separate ventilation systems, the non-smoking section fills with smoke promptly when a smoker in the smoking section lights up. There's also the issue of smokers smoking in the non-smoking section just to be ornery.

If that was the threshold for banning something no one would be allowed to live in New Jersey.

Not all parts of New Jersey are that bad.
posted by oaf at 11:39 PM on June 2, 2006


Oh, I see--I'm an angry, bitter addict. Better lock up your car nickyskye, cause I might just bust in a window to steal your stereo in order to get my weekly 4$ fix of that sweet, sweet tobacco.

God, you people realize this is why Europeans make fun of Americans and our nanny state all the time, right?
posted by bardic at 11:42 PM on June 2, 2006


Reading a lot of the comments on this thread just reinforces my belief that smokers (and those that are tolerant of smoking) tend to be more thoughtful human beings than the anti-smoking crowd.
posted by dhammond at 11:31 PM CST on June 2 [+fave] [!]


What bothers me the most about the anti-smoking Nazis
posted by RavinDave at 11:34 PM CST on June 2 [+fave] [!]


(sigh)
posted by evilcolonel at 11:59 PM on June 2, 2006


evilcolonel: (sigh)

You left out the part about: "I'm sick of these sanctimonious twits ... "
posted by RavinDave at 12:09 AM on June 3, 2006


(apologies for the unusually long post, but comment link clickthrough rate doesn't seem too high)

nickyskye: Documents about the medical impact of second hand smoke.

One of the cited 'named persons' "Siegel, M.", in your link, is the Michael Siegel I've linked to, above, and whose blog is the focus of this post.

From his blog, which focuses on the tactics of anti-smoking organizations:
----------
In an internal strategy document entitled "Building Public Awareness About Passive Smoking Hazards," the American Cancer Society and International Union Against Cancer offer suggestions to anti-smoking advocates about how to increase the emotional appeal of secondhand smoke health hazard claims. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids appears to also have been a part of this strategy guide, although it is not listed as a primary author but instead, referred to in the document's introduction:

"On behalf of the American Cancer Society, The International Union Against Cancer, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and the many wise and experienced colleagues who contributed to this lengthy project, we are deeply pleased to offer this series of guides, Tobacco Control Strategy Planning to the global tobacco control community."
...
The strategy guide reiterates the message that advocates should communicate to the public that a single acute exposure to secondhand smoke causes heart attacks and strokes: "There are immediate and substantial effects from secondhand smoke. For example, 30 minutes of breathing secondhand smoke makes blood platelets get as activated as in habitual pack-a-day smokers. These activated platelets damage the lining of arteries, which leads to heart disease. If they form a blood clot that lodges in a coronary artery, we call that a heart attack. If it lodges in the brain, we call it a stroke."
...
The message that the immediate effects of secondhand smoke exposure include "arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) or heart disease" is blatantly false on its face. Such an effect is clinically impossible, since it takes years for atherosclerosis and heart disease to develop. You simply cannot develop atherosclerosis as an "immediate" effect of secondhand smoke exposure.

I have been quite clear about my opinion that chronic exposure to secondhand smoke does cause hardening of the arteries and heart disease. But it takes years of exposure. It certainly does not happen immediately.
...
The claim that 30 minutes of exposure to secondhand smoke "is enough to reduce blood flow to the heart" is also false, or at least misleading.

It's not accurate to claim that a 30 minute exposure to secondhand smoke reduces the blood flow to the heart because what the Otsuka study actually showed is that there was no reduction in coronary blood flow (see Otsuka R, Watanabe H, Hirata K, et al. Acute effects of passive smoking on the coronary circulation in healthy young adults. JAMA 2001). In other words, 30 minutes of secondhand smoke exposure was documented not to reduce blood flow to the heart.
...
This story has a number of important implications.

First, it lets some of the 65+ organizations that are making fallacious scientific claims off the hook slightly. It suggests that there is perhaps a more centralized source for these untruthful claims, and that perhaps many anti-smoking groups were just blindly following the advice of the anti-smoking leadership. That still doesn't justify, in my mind, misleading the public, but it at least lessens the degree of responsibility because it suggests that some of these groups may simply have been following a strategy issued from above.

Second, it makes it more difficult to rationalize this fiasco by arguing that it was simply a series of innocent mistakes made by anti-smoking groups. Instead, it argues for an impression that there was an intentional, centralized effort to make the hazards of secondhand smoke seem more emotionally stimulating by over-stating the acute cardiovascular effects of exposure in order to garner greater support for smoking bans.

This appears not to be simply an innocent misinterpretation of scientific evidence. Instead, it appears to be an intentional manipulation of people's emotions through the manipulation of scientific findings in order to make public claims that are more startling than they would otherwise be, in an effort to promote a desired public policy outcome.

Finally, the rest of the story suggests that the anti-smoking movement is in quite a crisis. Because there are really only two possibilities I can think of to explain what is happening.

One possibility is that anti-smoking groups are lying to the public about the science in order to promote smoking bans. If this is the case, then we face an ethical crisis. Such misconduct would represent a serious violation of accepted ethical standards of public health practice.

The second possibility is that anti-smoking groups are not lying, but that they actually believe that hardening of the arteries can occur in 30 minutes. If this is the case, then we face a crisis of scientific credibility. Because if we do believe that the process which leads to heart disease can happen in just 30 minutes, then I don't see any reason why the public should trust us in the future to provide scientific judgment on health issues.

----------

You should read the whole post, he examines few other claims as well. And then the rest of the blog.

Siegel's not a pro-tobacco shill, either:

"a 21-year veteran of the tobacco wars, who has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles in leading scientific journals on tobacco science and policy issues, testified more than 10 times in tobacco cases, serves as a statistical editor for one of the leading tobacco control journals, and who has testified in more than 100 hearings for smoke-free workplace laws"
posted by daksya at 12:14 AM on June 3, 2006


daksya, thanks for posting that. I read his blog page thoroughly and commend him for his outing what sounds like a ridiculous urban legend kind of hysteria, instant atherosclerosis, puhlease. I wonder how that started and if it wasn't disinformation meant to foment disbelief. Who knows? What's your take on it?

I like his humility and maturity: It is embarrassing to me as a tobacco control practitioner. Yet I myself bear some of the blame and responsibility for this problem. Perhaps I could have been more aware and more attentive to the claims that were being made back in 2001 and 2002 and perhaps I could have done something to point out the errors in interpretation of the scientific evidence before the situation got completely out of hand.

and

I don't think this is necessarily a fatal problem. I think the anti-smoking movement can recover from it. But it is going to take a rather massive job of acknowledging the mistakes, apologizing to the public, and correcting the inaccurate and misleading communications.
posted by nickyskye at 12:26 AM on June 3, 2006


nickyskye, having examined the propaganda by the govt. & private organizations on illegal drugs, forgive me for being cynical. But this is 'Reefer Madness' adapted for a 21st century audience with the new constraint that statements, strictly parsed, should be 'legally' "accurate". The underlying strategy of demonization, hyperbole & context-stripping isn't different from the drug war approach.
posted by daksya at 12:34 AM on June 3, 2006


daksya, Deceit sucks. Demonization basically implies it's a con and cigarette smoking doesn't need to be demonized. Honest information is enough.
posted by nickyskye at 1:01 AM on June 3, 2006


nickyskye: Demonization basically implies it's a con and cigarette smoking doesn't need to be demonized. Honest information is enough.

The honest information in this case doesn't have the emotional impact. And it is that the risks of cigarette smoking accrue from long-term heavy use. According to the landmark 50 year long British Doctors Study, those with upto 20 years of substantial smoke exposure didn't show much excess mortality; those upto 12 years, didn't show any (that's more than 60,000 cigarettes, based on stated use patterns).

That's the dirty little secret. You need to smoke a lot to start showing any increased risk of mortality. But since most smokers start in adolescence, a cohort not particularly known for mature assessment, and nicotine is addictive, the messages that have an impact are drug-war style demonization and hyperbole. Of course, that ends up stigmatizing all cigarette users and even users of other much-lower risk tobacco products.
posted by daksya at 1:38 AM on June 3, 2006


You guys pay $4 for a pack of cigarettes?
Lucky.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:05 AM on June 3, 2006


God, you people realize this is why Europeans make fun of Americans and our nanny state all the time, right?

You know that the Europeans are the ones with the nanny state, and that we make fun of them, right?

Oh no, my iPod might hurt my precious ears! Let's make it illegal to sell iPods that go past a certain volume!
posted by oaf at 5:46 AM on June 3, 2006


This thread would be pretty hilarious if it wasn't so downright sad to see people furiously rationalizing their own addictions to a poisonous product. I love all the faux-rad "those anti-smoker people are just servants of the Man trying to keep us down" stuff. Yeah, true radicals fight for the right of giant corporations to sell an addictive product that slowly poisons people.... Viva la revolucion!

Just a couple of points:

1/ There is an old saying in discussions of personal liberty that "your rights end where my nose begins." All those who are arguing so passionately for their "right" to make any public place they choose stink and be unbreathable for a large proportion of the population are almost certainly hypocrites. That is, they are claiming protection under a "right" that they would in no way extend to others. Let me give an example:

RavinDave (not perhaps the person you would expect to be most upset about all-night parties) writes:


Thanks to them
[i.e., the people who have banned smoking in bars thence causing the entire collapse of the bar business in the town in which he lives], the incidents of loud all-night private parties (and the accommpanying noise, vandalism and fights) has utterly sky-rocketed.

Now, let us brush right past the fact that no study of actual tax-receipts (rather than subjective impressions) has been able to demonstrate ANY negative impact on the bar business caused by smoking bans in ANY country in which they've been implemented (here's a source). But let us consider the nature of RavinDave's complaint against these "loud parties." If I have a right to make any public place stink, why don't I have a right to play music as loudly as I like? Why, for that matter, don't I have a right to follow you around all day with a boom box on my shoulders playing at top volume? What, it annoys you? Gee, you must be a humourless, joyless wowser who is one step away from joining the Nazi party! No--we allow for reasonable restrictions on our "right" to free action and expression in public places when that "right" conflicts with other people's "right" to free enjoyment of those public spaces.

2/ There has been, in fact, only one remotely valid objection raised in all the furious self-justification in this thread, and that was by ryoshu who writes:

Can we ban perfumes and colognes too? I go into serious sneezing fits and sometimes get short of breath when I'm stuck around people with perfume on. It's really annoying.

Clearly Ryoshu means this as a reductio ad absurdam, and as such it does pose a reasonable question: clearly not all smells are regulated, why should the smell of tobacco smoke be singled out?

Of course, if we think of other public nuisance ordinances, we will immediately see that Ryoshu's point is not as strong as s/he thinks: for one thing, there's a question of degree: it's quite o.k. fo you to walk around listening to a little transistor radio. It's o.k. for you to take a radio with you to the park and listen to it. But if you bring a gigantic boombox that drowns out everyone else's conversation, then it's reasonable for someone to show up and ask you to turn it down, and reasonable for them to force you to do so if you refuse. In the vast majority of cases, perfume is comparable to the little tinny mosquito-sound of someone's iPod earbuds, whereas tobacco smoke is pretty much always the full-volume boombox (if we're in an enclosed space).

But, Ryoshu asks, what about those cases where someone has drenched themselves in perfume? Or perhaps Ryoshu says "no, in fact I'm allergic to even the faintest whiff of perfume! It makes my life miserable!"

Well, in the latter case, one can only say, "that's really tough." But there are lots of similar cases where we have to ask "what's a reasonable accomodation"? We hold restaurants responsible for not putting things into their food that will poison people--but people with specific allergies are held responsible for ensuring that what they eat does not contain allergans that are specific to them. We ask "could someone reasonably expect to trouble other people with this behavior?" And when it comes to smoking the clear answer is "yes."

But what about the person who has drenched themselves in perfume to such an extent that everyone is nauseated by it? Why isn't there a law against that? Well, as someone pointed out above, there actually are many businesses now which make it company policy that excessive perfume is not allowed in the building. So, Ryoshu, your suffering is being heard (I'm not sure if you'll respond to that with "at last" or "Oh no, first the nazis came for the cigarette smokers, now they're coming for the stinky-lady on floor 2"). But why not a general "law"?

The answer to that is that there's little point in making broad regulations for exceptional cases. If there was suddenly a fad for people to drench themselves in perfume (or to carry rotting fish around with them) then it would be worth regulating the practice. As it is, I have the experience about 2 or 3 times in a year of, say, having to change seats in a movie theater because of someone's excessive perfume. If smoking weren't regulated, it would be a problem for me every single day of the year.
posted by yoink at 6:29 AM on June 3, 2006


If I'm in the park smoking my pipe and it bothers you, ask me politely to extinguish it and I will.

You may be OK with it, but most people will tell you to f**k off, or just ignore you.

FWIW, pipes don't bother me, but I am extremely sensitive to cigar and cigarette smoke. The latter make my sinuses seize up and cause weird feelings in my lungs.

I walk a lot. 3+ miles a day through city streets. Sometimes I get to trail a cigarette smoker. Man, I can tell you, it's unpleasant (see above symptoms). My choice? Change direction. So, if I'm walking the scenic way home around the lake, go through some other hood where there isn't a smoker walking... until there's a smoker walking there, too. Why should I not be able to walk where I want, without having to endure very uncomfortable symptoms of inhaling second-hand smoke?
posted by e40 at 6:32 AM on June 3, 2006


*lights up a thick, filterless, and lovingly handrolled Bali Shag, blows enormous cloud of blue smoke out, sighs deeply*
posted by loquacious at 6:44 AM on June 3, 2006


Europeans make fun of Americans and our nanny state all the time, right?

Bardic, you're a really smart guy (I know I'm new here, but I've been a lurker for a long time, and I've read a lot of your stuff). It's a sure sign that your addiction is warping your judgment when you write something that bizarre. America is the "nanny state"? Europeans mock lots of things about America (lawsuits, overweight people, Disneyland) but being a "nanny state"? It's the US which has the "devil take the hindmost" philosophy. You instanced (above) how much longer people in Europe live than people in the US as if this proved that smoking was no big deal, healthwise. Dude, it's Europe's socialized medicine that's responsible for that. If only the US WERE more of a nanny state--you'd all live longer.

Oh, and by the way--smoking bans are being instituted all over Europe now (even in Spain, recently!). This isn't something they "mock" America for--it's something they're imitating. And why? Because they looked at the health statistics.

posted by yoink at 6:53 AM on June 3, 2006


Seriously, ban tobacco. I can't wait to see what kind of gourmet illicit home grown and cured tobacco comes out of a prohibition like that.

Just look at what marijuana prohibition has done for the quality of herb here in the US. Jesus. Just last week I met a nug that was more mineral than vegetable, had a Ph.D in badass headfuckery and cracked jokes better then David Chapelle. The fucking thing did my laundry and taxes, cooked a spaghetti dinner for 4 and then promptly crawled into the ornate and opulent blown glass pullout in the 3 foot house bong.

Within a year after tobacco prohibition I'd fully expect to find microproduced organic hydroponic dark chocolate-cured Virginia-Turkish hybrid blends that tasted like golden-toasted cocoa butter available from private dealers all over the city.

Ban tobacco. Next they'll come for your Martinis, your Cosmos and even your hoochy Mudslides. They'll come for your Shiraz and Merlot, your Chardonney. Then it'll be your espressos, your papery tasting Denny's drip coffee, your foofy $5 whipped and ice-blended carmel sugar bomb machiattos.

So, what, eh?

Next it'll be your Echinacea. Your Saint John's Wart. Your Valerium Root, or your Kava Kava, your Ma Huang. Then they'll discover you can get high and mighty relaxed after chewing a clove of raw garlic, and they'll ban that, too. Sage, Salvia, Mint? What's next? Nutmeg and Cinnamon. Ginsing. Habenero peppers. Yohimbe. Yerba Mate?

And in the end... in the end, after you sanctimonious preachy twats have nestled up good and tight against the suffocating bosom of institutionalized, goverment mandated safety, sucking at the treacly teat of mediocrity, there will be nothing left...

Nothing left but mealy, tasteless pabulum and - if you're lucky - State-approved soma to obliterate the overwhelmingly soul-numbing boredom of... being saved from yourselves.

You can have my mind-stimulating, wholly pleasurable, memory infused blend of licit and illicit drugs, plants and herbs after you pry them from my cold, dead hands.

If it wasn't for tobacco I would have stove my own goddamn head in with a fucking shovel already.
posted by loquacious at 7:04 AM on June 3, 2006 [5 favorites]


You make much play out of the absurdity of people claiming that cigarette smoking pollutes "the atmosphere." But the person who used that word (not me) clearly meant it in the local sense ("the atmosphere of the room") not in the global sense.

Well duh. But sometimes it sounds exactly like smoke is being treated as a global pollutant. My point was that if there was half the same zeal and effort and money put into reducing emissions, facilitating use of public transport over cars where possible, facilitating production and purchase of hybrid cars, controlling industrial contamination, developing alternative energy sources, etc. then that would be a good thing.

All this focus from governments (don't see much difference between US and Europe on this, except maybe Europeans still have a more laid back attitude about smoking itself and it's just less frequent to hear people get all preachy and zealous and 'you're a disgusting addict' about other people's smoking, well at least in my experience) on anti-smoking campaigns is politically more convenient than dealing with all that other stuff.

It's easy, it's entirely focused on changing very small-level personal choices, it doesn't impose dramatic changes in lifestyle (as a ban on cars in a city centre would, or a ban on certain cars), it doesn't require imposing strict limits for industrial pollutants, it doesn't touch any big corporate interests (tobacco companies know they'll always have a market anyway).

I am not interested in any smoker vs. antismoker arguments at personal level, and I don't care much for poeple getting a kick out of looking down on all the unhealthy habits of others. There's also an implied classist element at play in that kind of attitude, but nevermind.

I'm all for sensible approaches to reducing illnesses related to smoking tobacco, and I think bans in bars and restaurants (as well as other workplaces and public buildings etc.) are a good thing.

I just find it depressing so much is invested on the antismoking campaigns while so little is on actual pollution - not that they're mutually exclusive areas of intervention, of course, but in practice, sometimes it sounds like they have become so.

There's been studies on urban pollution that found children living in cities can get to inhale as much crap as lifelong heavy smokers. But what can you do about that? Nothing that wouldn't require a massive, unpopular government interevention. So it's not done.

And yet, there's talking of smoking outside in the open as if it was almost on a par with breathing in car fumes.


They are a threat to people who are trapped in a small enclosed space with their smoke, however.

Well, lots of governments have enforced bans in enclosed spaces already and most people have accepted them, even those who were against in principle.

The problem, as highlighted by daksya's links, is when hyperbolic unsupported statements are made about the effects of one-time exposure to smoke outside, and calls for banning smoking even in the open, and for people to be required non-smokers to apply for a job, or for kids to be removed from their parents care if their parents are smoking - I've never even heard of such proposals in Europe, but if that's what anti-smoking advocates in the US are calling for, then I think Siegel has a point in saying taking it to such extremes undermines the credibility of anti-smoking efforts and is becoming a sort of religious fanaticism of its own.
posted by funambulist at 7:14 AM on June 3, 2006


Why should I not be able to walk where I want, without having to endure very uncomfortable symptoms of inhaling second-hand smoke?

Oh for fucks sake. I hate cars. They're everywhere I go. I think they should be outlawed or at least heaviliy taxed. They fuck up the air and make it smell and are generally gross. Plus they mess up the environment with myraid waste products and are one of the chief causes of global warming. Fact: Carbon monoxide and gasoline fumes kill more people then cigaret smoke. People should ride more trains and clean public means of transportation to work. The oil companies are as unethical and greedy as the tobacco companies if not more so. I won't even get into the geopolitical hypocrisy that a nation addicted to the stuff is capable of (just look at the headlines). One smoker could never in a lifetime produce as much pollution as an SUV can in a month. Intensely ignorant, stupid and/or hateful people should not pollute my thoughts and speak around me. That stresses me out and stress causes high blood pressure and weakens the heart. Being exposed to second hand stupidty kills. Caffeine junkies are too damned perky and talkative for their own good. They should shut up and drink their coffee in private (except in the morning when I enjoy a cup). Caffeine should be heavily taxed. Fat people who eat fast food like McDonalds everyday are ugly and smell like grease. They're usually stupid as well. They should keep their mouths shut, eat their food in private and pay heavy taxes for the burden they put on the health system with their obese bodies and fucked up livers choked with oil, sugar and salt. As well as the mounds of trash produced by fast food packaging.

Smoking is no good and people should cut down and quit, of that we can be sure, but this zero tolerance attitude is just bullshit. As are those TRUTH ads which are so fucking patronizing, to me they are just as manipulative as cigarette ads. It's okay to help people quit smoking, just can it with the high and mighty evangelical frevor already.
posted by Skygazer at 7:49 AM on June 3, 2006


Why should I not be able to walk where I want, without having to endure very uncomfortable symptoms of inhaling second-hand smoke?

the same reason i shouldn't have to put up with people yapping on their cell phones incessantly, or listening to babies cry and carry on. but i am a reasonable person. i have to endure with this inconvenience because we all live together in society. i notice you conveniently ignore the fact of inhaling automobile fumes wherever you walk. curious as to why you single out cigarette smoke.

even in Spain, recently

i just returned from spain. the smoking ban is a joke and is totally misrepresented by people here. you pretty much can still smoke anywhere, in bars, restaurants and even indoors at the airports.
posted by brandz at 7:52 AM on June 3, 2006


or what Funambulist said...
posted by Skygazer at 7:53 AM on June 3, 2006


loquacious writes "And in the end... in the end, after you sanctimonious preachy twats have nestled up good and tight against the suffocating bosom of institutionalized, goverment mandated safety, sucking at the treacly teat of mediocrity, there will be nothing left...

"Nothing left but mealy, tasteless pabulum and - if you're lucky - State-approved soma to obliterate the overwhelmingly soul-numbing boredom of... being saved from yourselves."


Yeah, because buying nicotine-laced tobacco products from corporations who deliberately accentuate the addictive qualities of their product and through government lobby have managed to keep their lying asses out of prison by allowing tax revenue to flow from said product is "sticking it to the man". Right.

Besides, the government is reacting to popular opinion and not just questionable science proselytized by the anti-smoking lobbies.

Smokers (and this will sound like preaching, because any counter-argument in this respect is immediately labelled as such by most smokers), you should direct your opposition to bans to the right people -- the corporations who manufacture this product. Why is it that natural tobacco smells considerably different? And, is so less irritable? I have a friend of mine who's father grows his own tobacco and I would almost characterize it as a pleasant smell (as I would pipe tobacco and marijuana). But, corporate tobacco is so vile smelling and invasive that it burns my eyes and the smell lingers on my clothing for days.

I would posit that the additional chemicals added to corporate cigarettes in order to induce the effects of nicotine faster and much heavier are what causes the effluent to turn into the noxious gas that it is. If the noxious gas were taken away (say, by removing the chemicals I mentioned above) wouldn't everyone win? You would be free to smoke without the targeted and manipulated chemicals that cause addiction to the extent that corporate cigarettes have been designed to create, and the anti-smoking groups would have far less complaints about being any where in a smoker's vicinity.
posted by purephase at 8:15 AM on June 3, 2006


And there all along I thought metafilter was dominated by liberals. But this thread has convinced me otherwise. Y'all are in bed with the tobacco companies, right?
posted by JekPorkins at 8:31 AM on June 3, 2006


Skygazer writes "Fact: Carbon monoxide and gasoline fumes kill more people then cigaret smoke."

Fact: Smoking is a consumer choice in our society. It's arguable, but vehicular transport is a necessary evil. Without it, even the cigarettes would disappear. Here in Canada, a Gasoline tax is levied against most fuel-related transactions. The revenue collected is used to fund everything from road repair, public transportation, and hospital funding. Cleaner burning fuels are not taxed in order to lower cost and encourage use and/or technological investment in alternative fuel strategies. Also, the Drive Clean program forces motorists to check their emission control systems in their cars in order to ensure that they are working properly.

These are steps, but I'm sure that once viable alternatives exist to the carbon-based fuel economy you can be damn sure that bans similar to cigarette ones we're seeing now will be put into effect.

(I'd also like to go on record saying that I do not agree with some of the more restrictive bans that some of the anti-smoking lobbies are pushing for. I realize that it's a slippery slope, but I believe that the situation in Ontario now is fine. Briefly, no smoking in enclosed areas that are publicly available establishments.)
posted by purephase at 8:36 AM on June 3, 2006


Jek, a lot of us liberals are way closer to libertarians than you think. The idea the the government can tell a private business owner that he or she can't accomodate smoking is fucking insane.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:43 AM on June 3, 2006


purephase, while I agree with you, and while I personally can't even smoke domestic premade cigarettes, even so-called premium brands - your argument is orthogonal to the issue at hand, which is outright tobacco prohibition.
If Congress chose to go that way, that would be up to them," he said. "But I see no need for any tobacco products in society."
Yeah. Tell it to the artists. Tell it to the truckers and workers who use tobacco as a stimulant and an anti-stress drug.

Imagine how much our society would suffer culturally and artistically, how many books that would never have been written, paintings that would have never been finished.

Arguably, our culture and society already suffer similar effects from the war on some drugs. It might go a long way towards explaining why our mainstream creative output has been utter crap for, oh, 10, 20 years.

Drugs - tobacco included - play an important and essential role in thinking, and thinking differently, and seeing things from new perspectives and approaching problems from new angles.

They're an inherent part of our culture, and we've been doing it since the dawn of civilization. It wasn't bread that inspired the foundation the first agrarian societies - it was beer! It wasn't just flavorful spices that fueled European world exploration, it was drugs! Mind-altering drugs like nutmeg and clove, coffee and chocolate! It wasn't simply social upheaval that fueled the rapid and drastic social and cultural changes of the 1960s, it was powerful psychoactive drugs that afforded the mental flexibility to be empathic enough to see things differently and not simply think selfishly!

It has even been theorized that the leap from primate to the symbol-speaking, tool-using, language-infected modern human was instigated and catalyzed by - you guessed it! - drugs! Wild mushrooms in the forest inscribing glowing memes on the closed eyes of some poor, confused monkey who learned to draw in their mind's eye the shapes and symbols that became the foundation of symbolic language and thought.

I for one am not going to turn a blind eye to the importance of this relationship to intoxication to the advancement of our culture, and I refuse to be ashamed of it.
posted by loquacious at 8:47 AM on June 3, 2006


*lights another smoke, sits back and ponders widely*
posted by loquacious at 8:49 AM on June 3, 2006


yoink: All those who are arguing so passionately for their "right" to make any public place they choose stink and be unbreathable ...

Strawman much?

Since no one is arguing for that, your "argument" pretty much collapses on it's own weight, doesn't it.

We both know (because it's been proposes countless times and swatted down by hysterical busybodies) that smoking rooms completely sealed off from main areas with intervening foyers and independent ventilaton systems won't satisfy draconian nannies. Nothing further is needed to demonstrate their deceit. They don't seek reasonable accomodation. They seek to dictate. Fuck'em.

And, by the way ... chirp all you like about bogus economic stats. Our city was so swayed by these fatuous arguments and so convinced that we wouldn't be hurt that they commissioned a study to summarize the effects, confident it would vindicate their obsession. It was supposed to have been made public several months back, but they're quietly shelving it.

I wonder why.
posted by RavinDave at 8:50 AM on June 3, 2006


nickyskye writes "it's really hilarious to see addicts get on their high horse about something that is killing them. Such rage."

bardic replies "Oh, I see--I'm an angry, bitter addict. Better lock up your car nickyskye, cause I might just bust in a window to steal your stereo in order to get my weekly 4$ fix of that sweet, sweet tobacco."

Are you seriously arguing that the majority of smokers aren't addicted to nicotine?
posted by Mitheral at 9:00 AM on June 3, 2006


And there all along I thought metafilter was dominated by liberals

that's right. no liberals smoke, none at all, evar! the liberal-banning nanny state has so much in common with the far-right banning christian state and you don't even see the it. they're bumping into each other. wake the fuck up!
posted by brandz at 9:25 AM on June 3, 2006


Mitheral ...

If your professed concerned is "second-hand smoke" in bars, what possible bearing does addition have ... except maybe to underscore a more draconian ulterior agenda?
posted by RavinDave at 9:29 AM on June 3, 2006


yoink: All those who are arguing so passionately for their "right" to make any public place they choose stink and be unbreathable ...

Strawman much?

Since no one is arguing for that, your "argument" pretty much collapses on it's own weight, doesn't it.


RavinDave, I don't have any idea what you mean. This is precisely what everyone who is arguing against reasonable bans on smoking in enclosed public spaces is arguing. So, no, it's not a strawman, it is precisely the argument I am opposing--in not even the most mildly exaggerated form. Or do you think you have some kind of "special" cigarettes that don't smell?

All those of you (like Brandz or Funambulist) who see reasonable limitations on smoking as somehow equivalent to Nazism or the first sign of a new dystopian 1984-type world really make me wonder. I guess I must have been lied to about the Nazis all these years! So what they said to the Jews was "we don't care that you're Jewish. You can go right ahead being Jewish and have every right to practice your religion and otherwise go about your lives unmolested. Just--please--no forcible conversion of other people to Judaism against their will: that's all."

Oh and Funambulist, can I (futilely, no doubt) point out ONE MORE TIME, that NO ONE IS ADVOCATING PROHIBITION. All anyone has argued for is that they should have the right not to be forced to share your cigarette against their wills. Prohibition banned all consumption of liquor--what "anti-smoking" people want would be more equivalent to a law that says you may drink all you want, but you can't pour drinks down other people's throats against their will." Yeah, I know--jackbooted thugs!
posted by yoink at 10:02 AM on June 3, 2006


your argument is orthogonal to the issue at hand, which is outright tobacco prohibition.

loquacious--the FPP did drum up scare-talk about prohibition. The line you quote is from a story from 2003! The Surgeon-General saying "sure, if Congress went for a ban, how could I argue against it." Yeah, well--how could he? But NO ONE in this thread has made an argument for prohibition. It is not in any meaningful sense "the issue at hand."

As for your claim that without tobacco we would have no artists...man, why do you smokers clutch at such desperate straws? Yeah, look at the crap that was produced by non-smokers like Leonardo, Giotto, Raphael, Cimabue, Botticelli, Boccaccio, Shakespeare, Rabelais, Chaucer, Spenser, Petrarch, Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles, Pindar, Sappho, Aristophanes etc. etc. etc. Thank God for tobacco--what fools we were before it came on the scene.
posted by yoink at 10:08 AM on June 3, 2006


All anyone has argued for is that they should have the right not to be forced to share your cigarette against their wills.

nobody is forcing anybody to breathe anything they don't want. if you don't like smoke just make the choice not to enter a smoking establishment. is that so hard? my arguement is very consistent. i advocate choice, not draconian government intervention where none is needed. it's choice, just like abortion, just like gay marriage. why marginalize groups in society? how much power are you willing to give the government? the banners are exactly like religious zealots.
posted by brandz at 10:15 AM on June 3, 2006


All those of you (like Brandz or Funambulist) who see reasonable limitations on smoking as somehow equivalent to Nazism or the first sign of a new dystopian 1984-type world really make me wonder.

Thank you for damning me with faint praise but honestly, get bent. No one here that I can see has said that limitations are a problem--I, for one, should make it clear that I'm talking about bars (with the requisite complication of bar/restaurants). By definition, they're places where adults go to socialize and canoodle. Owners of bars have a right to cater to their patrons, and that often includes smokers. But the weenies have taken over the hen-house these days. I happen to think property rights by themselves should dictate the issue, but I'd also make an appeal to our common sense of respect for one another. To complete the circle, a person who lights up in a crowded public space and blows it in your face is an asshole (I've never had this happen to me personally). Someone who comes into a goddamn drinking establishment and asks for everyone to adjust their night out accordingly is, IMHO, a great big asshole as well.

As for addiction, fine. That fulfills your stereotypes of someone who likes something that you don't. I'm addicted to a lot of things then, probably books, music, and sex most prominently. I look forward to what you mother hens are working on for those three. As for smokes, in small doses they put a smile on my face, in conjunction with a few drinks and human interaction on occasion. I guess mean Mr. Corporation has me by the balls. Just look at my miserable, capitalistically ruined life--Honda, Absolut, Dell, Verizon, Nike, Blundstone, Bass, Camel. Please nannies! Save me from myself! I live in a world of potential danger and need others to protect me! Wah! Wah! Wahhhhhhhhhhh!

And by the way, if any of you making the "big bad corporation" argument isn't typing from a coconut keyboard on an island commune and rowing a palm-leaf to work, I shan't begin to take you seriously.

Weenies. Utter weenies. Must be all the anti-social chemicals I took in when I had one cigarette yesterday, and man, it was good. I'd suggest some of you look into it, because you certainly aren't getting high enough off of life.
posted by bardic at 10:44 AM on June 3, 2006


brandz writes "f you don't like smoke just make the choice not to enter a smoking establishment."

The economics of that argument do not hold water. No business is going to choose a smoking vs. non-smoking environment willingly as it cuts a line down the middle of their customers. Without the bans, nothing would have ever changed in regards to smoking restrictions and every establishment would still be filled with smoke. It's strange, but the majority of the people I know who smoke actively support these bans. They agree that without the clouds of smoke, they usually have a far more enjoyable experience.

I think RavinDave's claim (and I'm not questioning it's legitimacy) regarding the low turnout to bars and/or restaurants due to smoking bans is by far the exception to the rule. Here in Toronto, bar and restaurant business is booming even after all of the claims that the bans would put those establishments out of business.

bardic writes "And by the way, if any of you making the 'big bad corporation' argument isn't typing from a coconut keyboard on an island commune and rowing a palm-leaf to work, I shan't begin to take you seriously.

The 'big bad corporation' arguments are strictly related to the 'big bad government' rhetoric being thrown the other direction. The all-or-nothing retort is tired and seriously lacking.

"Weenies. Utter weenies. Must be all the anti-social chemicals I took in when I had one cigarette yesterday, and man, it was good. I'd suggest some of you look into it, because you certainly aren't getting high enough off of life."

Because smoking equals the enjoyment of life. Personally, I prefer some of the other 'vices' you listed earlier than the ones that make me physically ill, but I guess that just makes me square.
posted by purephase at 10:58 AM on June 3, 2006


Only in America is a casual smoker in good health considered an addict. Same for an occasional drinker. FFF, are you saying that only alchoholics frequent bars? Of course not.

WTF?

I'm saying there's a time and place for everything. You want to have a drink, you're gonna have to do it at home or in a licensed establishment. (Unless you're in bits of Europe where they sanely allow not-getting-drunk drinking in some public areas.) You want to smoke a joint, you're gonna have to do it at home. (Unless you're in bits of Europe where they sanely allow geting stoned in some public areas, aka cafes.)

And so it should be with smoking. Smoke at home, or smoke in a smoker's den. (And, if we were as sane as Europe, smoke in some public areas.)

Here in Toronto, bar and restaurant business is booming even after all of the claims that the bans would put those establishments out of business.

Likewise BC, where even after the no-smoking rules were relaxed slightly, a good number of pubs remain smoke-free. Certainly my visits to drinking establishments has increased since the ban — I can actually enjoy being in the pub now!

We need smoking dens, that's all.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:04 AM on June 3, 2006


And opium dens!
posted by Skygazer at 11:16 AM on June 3, 2006


SUV's should get their own highways.
posted by bardic at 11:28 AM on June 3, 2006


Personally, I prefer some of the other 'vices' you listed earlier than the ones that make me physically ill

sex doesn't make you physically ill? tell that to my dead boyfriend buster!

The economics of that argument do not hold water. No business is going to choose a smoking vs. non-smoking environment willingly as it cuts a line down the middle of their customers

this is why we had smoking and non-smoking sections. to satisfy and accomodate everyone. but that wasn't good enough. the antis want it all and they won't stop until they get it all. religious zealots, fundies i say!
posted by brandz at 11:44 AM on June 3, 2006


this is why we had smoking and non-smoking sections. to satisfy and accomodate everyone. but that wasn't good enough.

Non smoking sections didn't satisfy anyone except smokers. Why? Because smoke doesn't magically stay within a two-foot radius of the smoker. If you light up on your "smoking section" side of the room, I'm still going to be stuck with the stink, the asthmatic reaction, and the nausea over on my "non-smoking" section of the room. Hence, as a co-customer of the establishment, my enjoyment of the meal / drink / music / whatever is ruined. So, no, they weren't "good enough."

(This leaves entirely out of the question, of course, everybody's right to a safe, non-polluted workspace--which even if you could have a "real" nonsmoking area would still leave the smoking area unsafe for the waitstaff.)
posted by yoink at 12:03 PM on June 3, 2006


bardic writes "SUV's should get their own highways."

One that ends abruptly at a steep cliff.
posted by purephase at 12:11 PM on June 3, 2006


So, yoink, why can't a particular business, say a bar, decide if it wants to be a smoking bar or not?

But even so, I don't see what right someone has to fill the air with foul smelling smoke that makes me feel like throwing up.

If I open a hookah bar, where people come to smoke tobacco out of hookahs, I don't see what right you have to walk in and start b*$ching about the smelly, nasty smoke that's in the air.

You act like you're being forced into doing something you don't want to do, inhale second hand smoke, but it's your choice to go to a smoke filled venue.

And don't make the argument that there is a clear cut business advantage and that all bars would opt to allow smoking if they had a choice. If there REALLY are SO MANY people, or, as you say, MOST people, that REALLY can't stand a smoke-filled bar, then i'm sure that a bar that bans smoking will get plenty of business.
posted by Raoul.Duke at 12:15 PM on June 3, 2006


(This leaves entirely out of the question, of course, everybody's right to a safe, non-polluted workspace--which even if you could have a "real" nonsmoking area would still leave the smoking area unsafe for the waitstaff.)

you never did answer my question about who is going to save the poor highway toll booth collectors. of the construction worker. or the biohazard worker. or the chemical worker. all jobs have inherent dangers. you know what you're getting into before you take the job, knowing the risks and benefits.

Non smoking sections didn't satisfy anyone except smokers

in this day and age there are technologies like walls and ventilation that can solve problems that really don't exist.


majorities don't rule, they oppress.
posted by brandz at 12:17 PM on June 3, 2006


majorities don't rule, they oppress.

Exactly.

1) Businesses should be able to choose if they are to allow smoking or not.

2) Cigarettes are not illegal. If there is a man that wants to open a bar and allow smoking, and there are people that want to work in a smoking bar, and a crowd of people that want to go to a smoking bar, there should be nothing wrong with that.
posted by Raoul.Duke at 12:28 PM on June 3, 2006


yoink, please stop addressing me as if I said things I actually didn't, or as if you didn't read what I actually wrote, or both. It's extremely rude and uncivilised. I already said I don't believe anyone is actually aiming for prohibition, which would be impossible anyway, not least for all the taxes governemnts take from cigarette sales. I also said I'm in favour of reasonable restrictions on smoking in closed places, as have been already applied. You apparently missed all that, and missed the distinction between those approaches and NK-style employment/uni enrolment policies, social service intervention for kids, or banning smoking in the open. Distinction that was pointed out in the blog linked by daksya in this very FPP.
posted by funambulist at 12:44 PM on June 3, 2006


If I open a hookah bar,

If you open a hookah bar, then I, for one, think that should be perfectly legal. If the purpose of the establishment is to provide smoking to the clientele, then of course smoking should be allowed. But the purpose of a bar is--demonstrably, as it happens--not to provide a venue for smoking. The bar sells booze, and provides a place for people to sit and chat while they drink. Smoking just happens to be something that some people like to do while they sit and drink. Of course, when those same people are at home, they might also like to listen to their favorite music incredibly loudly while they drink, or they might like to sit around naked in a hot tub while they drink, or they might like to roast marshmallows over an open fire while they drink. That doesn't mean that they can bring their stereo into the bar, it doesn't mean that they can get undressed in the bar, and it doesn't mean that they can light a bonfire in the bar. You like to smoke while you drink, that's cool; but it's not cool if that means you force me to participate in your habit.

It's really not that complex, is it? Why do you have a right to force me to share your cigarette?
posted by yoink at 12:49 PM on June 3, 2006


yoink, please stop addressing me as if I said things I actually didn't,

Funambulist--I went back and re-read your post and I realize I did misread it before. I do apologize--just scanning too many posts too hastily. I think we basically agree: bans on smoking in bars and restaurants are fair, bans on smoking in private houses, cars, or public streets would be excessive.
posted by yoink at 12:53 PM on June 3, 2006


loquacious, remind me to buy you a drink and offer you a smoke if we ever end up on the same continent.
posted by slimepuppy at 12:59 PM on June 3, 2006


Fact: Smoking is a consumer choice in our society. It's arguable, but vehicular transport is a necessary evil

Yes, true, obvious, self-evident, but, in well-paved urban road environments, it's just as obvious that there are kinds of vehicular transport that are also a pure consumer choice, a status symbol, a 'because I can' thing, and they do unarguably have a much more dramatic impact on the atmosphere, local and global. There are many other consumer choices with similar impact and much harder to change than quitting smoking. So the argument that it's a consumer choice is pointless. It's the impact and damage on others that is relevant, and there's no way second-hand smoke has anywhere near the impact of real pollutants, at individual and wider level, not unless everyone is being locked in a closed room with no ventilation and ten other people puffing in their face all day. Some perspective, please?
posted by funambulist at 1:01 PM on June 3, 2006


you never did answer my question about who is going to save the poor highway toll booth collectors. of the construction worker. or the biohazard worker. or the chemical worker. all jobs have inherent dangers. you know what you're getting into before you take the job, knowing the risks and benefits.

So, Brandz, do you accept any OSHA regulations of any kind whatsoever? If I employ people in my factory and they regularly lose fingers in some machine, is it acceptable for me to say "well, they knew the risks"? If not, why not?

Do you have any statistics whatsoever on the rate of lung cancer for highway toll booth collectors? Personally I guess that they are much less at risk than waiters in smoky rooms (a smoke-filled room is a visible fug of known carcinogens--even LA on a bad day is much less smoggy than that). If the risks are comparable, then yeah, sure, I would support a law that said that they had to be provided with breathing apparatus of some kind. You wouldn't? As for biohazard workers--have you really never seen a biohazard suit?

Non smoking sections didn't satisfy anyone except smokers

in this day and age there are technologies like walls and ventilation that can solve problems that really don't exist.


Cute, very cute. Except that decades of actual experience tell us it doesn't work (what do you do in a small, cosy bar? What do you do when one member of the party whines like the little addict s/he is if we all want to go to "smoke free" room rather than the "smokers" room? What if you get the "sorry, sir, the non-smoking section is full, but we can put you in the smoking section...")

majorities don't rule, they oppress.

So you admit that it is the majority of people who want clean, breathable air in their bars and restaurants. And yet you insist that despite the desires of the majority, you should have the right to stink that air up for them? Classy. Oh, and sure--you're really oppressed. I hear that in Iran, they're going to make all the smokers have to wear special colored clothing soon. Of course, we all know that that's secretly the plan of the UN World Government, who will soon be sending in their jackbooted thugs to take away your guns, your right to vote, and your precious, precious freedom-cancer-sticks. Or something.

Maybe 9/11 was really the work of the anti-smoking lobby. Didn't the twin towers look kinda like two big cigarettes? And then they LIT THE ENDS OF THEM!!! Yes, we must all fight to keep everyone smoking, whether they want to or not, because otherwise the terrorists will have won!

Man, isn't the nicotine supposed to help calm you down?
posted by yoink at 1:07 PM on June 3, 2006


yoink, thanks, apology accepted, and yes, I largely agree with that. I just dislike the mentality and tendencies criticised in the blog daksya linked to.

I actually can see both side of the debate pro and con the bans in restaurants and bars, but I think the winning argument is the one based on the rights of people working there, since choosing where to work is a lot more difficult than choosing where to go for a drink or a meal. An ideal solution would have been separate well-ventilated rooms for smokers/non smokers, but that would have left the worker problem, and it would have probably been too expensive anyway, especially for small establishments.
posted by funambulist at 1:16 PM on June 3, 2006


it's just as obvious that there are kinds of vehicular transport that are also a pure consumer choice, a status symbol, a 'because I can' thing, and they do unarguably have a much more dramatic impact on the atmosphere, local and global.

Funambulist, while we're agreeing--let me agree with that, too. I don't see any reason on earth why the CAFE standards aren't raised in the most draconian way the technology would allow. Why is anybody allowed to buy a new car for ordinary commuter purposes that gets fewer than 50mpg? Crazy.

So, yes, freedom-smokers, we in the Anti-Smoking Taliban are out to get your freedom-SUVs next. Where will it end? Oh, God, where will it end?
posted by yoink at 1:25 PM on June 3, 2006


funambulist writes "So the argument that it's a consumer choice is pointless. It's the impact and damage on others that is relevant, and there's no way second-hand smoke has anywhere near the impact of real pollutants, at individual and wider level, not unless everyone is being locked in a closed room with no ventilation and ten other people puffing in their face all day. Some perspective, please?"

Perspective was already skewed when the comparison was made between regulated smoking vs. our carbon-based fuel economy. The more important aspect of my argument was not the impact of industrial pollutants against smoking (which is obviously negligible in comparison) but that limiting personal consumed goods is much, much easier to do then overhauling our entire transport or industrial economy. The comparison is not valid in it's current tense, but the efforts being put forth to curb carbon emissions in some countries does contain some parallels with this argument (read my post above regarding the gas tax and emission programs). The cultural shift, however, is much larger.
posted by purephase at 1:29 PM on June 3, 2006


So, Brandz, do you accept any OSHA regulations of any kind whatsoever

OSHA remiains silent on the issue of second-hand smoke because they know there is no evidence to back up the antis skewed junk science. again, there are NO OSHA rules regarding second-hand smoke. I happen to have to comply with OSHA rules on a daily basis in my job as i happen to work in the biohazard industry and have for 20 odd years. i accept all risks that go with my job.

Do you have any statistics whatsoever on the rate of lung cancer for highway toll booth collectors? Personally I guess that they are much less at risk than waiters in smoky rooms

i have no statistics, but neither do you. my point is you want to protect ALL workers ALL the time. your arguement is untenable because it is impossible. if you want to protect waiters, why not toll booth collectors? life is not without risk. just accept that and leave your fucking rules behind. you indeed sound so miserable, blah, blah, blah.
posted by brandz at 2:03 PM on June 3, 2006


You like to smoke while you drink, that's cool; but it's not cool if that means you force me to participate in your habit.

It's really not that complex, is it? Why do you have a right to force me to share your cigarette?


Where does this idea of "forcing" you come from??? My point is that bars should be able to choose whether they allow smoking or not. If there are smoking bars, and there are non-smoking bars, it is COMPLETELY up to you to decide where you spend your time. Nobody is forcing you to partipate in their habit, so DON'T make that argument.

And yet you insist that despite the desires of the majority, you should have the right to stink that air up for them? Classy.

If the desires of the majority are what you say, then bars that choose to ban smoking will have no problem staying in business.

You have no argument.
posted by Raoul.Duke at 2:04 PM on June 3, 2006


I happen to have to comply with OSHA rules on a daily basis in my job as i happen to work in the biohazard industry and have for 20 odd years. i accept all risks that go with my job.

When you say "accept" you actually mean that you take a large number of government-ordered steps to minimize those risks. The government has to make it a law, so that someone can't come along and say to your clients "hey, I'll charge you a lot less to deal with these biohazards because I won't bother to protect my employees." So tell me why the government then has no right to say the same thing to bar owners?

if you want to protect waiters, why not toll booth collectors?

Dude, I said that if the toll-booth operators are at risk, then I DO want to see them protected. So, what was your point, exactly? And, no, I'm sorry, but the risks to people working in enclosed spaces with high incidence of smoking are very well established. Lung cancer rates among people who work for a long period of time as waitstaff are markedly higher than among people who were not exposed to so much second hand smoke.
posted by yoink at 2:17 PM on June 3, 2006


If there are smoking bars, and there are non-smoking bars, it is COMPLETELY up to you to decide where you spend your time.

A) but in an unregulated environment there aren't "smoking bars and non-smoking bars" we know that for a fact--decades of experience has proven that that's the case.

B) even if there were, that doesn't address the problem of the waitstaff (again, unless you think all OSHA regulations of any kind are unwarrented, the "let them work somewhere else" argument carries no weight).

C) smokers and nonsmokers socialize together. Smokers are addicted to one of the most addictive substances known to man. Smokers will always say "oh, do we have to go there...I know this place--it's really well ventilated, trust me..." every time. Just look at this discussion: the nonsmoker who says "I'd really prefer to breathe clean air" is instantly cast as a joyless Nazi (and, bizarrely, that's not even a tiny exaggeration!). So, no, an unregulated system is NOT a level playing field.
posted by yoink at 2:30 PM on June 3, 2006


And opium dens!

I am, honestly, in full support of that. We have a population that is addicted to heroin and suchlike. It makes perfectly good sense to provide them a safe environment in which to do their deed.

In BC:
The economic impact, however, is only one aspect of Ontario's smoking debate. The other is the health of employees who are exposed to tobacco smoke in the workplace environment. The province of British Columbia has addressed this issue directly with objective, science-driven legislation administered by its Workers' Compensation Board (WCB).

British Columbia tried a province-wide smoking ban in 2000 but in the end replaced it with WCB regulations that set a provincial standard for the construction and operation of DSRs. These rooms are separate from the rest of the facility and must meet a ventilation standard set by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Customers outside the designated smoking room are protected from exposure to tobacco smoke. Employees have the right to refuse to work in the designated smoking room and those that choose to do so must limit their time there to no more than 20% of their shift.

B.C.'s legislation proved to be a major step toward making the province's hospitality operations smoke-free, since 92% of establishments chose not to make capital investments in DSRs. The vast majority of businesses that did install DSRs are pubs, bars, taverns, legions, bingo halls and nightclubs: adult-oriented establishments that tend to have a significant smoking clientele.
The majority of pubs & restaurants in my town remain smoke-free and, in fact, advertise the same. This leads one to a single conclusion: they make more money by not supporting smokers than they would if they did support smokers.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:41 PM on June 3, 2006


five fresh fish--that sounds like a very fair system. Smokers can get a place to socialize outside of the home, no one is forced to work there, and non-smokers are protected from the noxious byproducts of their addiction. Cool. I wonder if the smokers think that's fair, or if it's just Fascism with a friendly face?
posted by yoink at 2:45 PM on June 3, 2006


Jesus H Christ yoink, why is everything either fair or Fascism? It's that type of polar thinking that gets people so frustrated in these arguments.
posted by dness2 at 2:50 PM on June 3, 2006


why is everything either fair or Fascism? It's that type of polar thinking that gets people so frustrated in these arguments.

Er, dness2 the "fascism" claims come from the smokers. They're the ones suggesting that bans on smoking in bars and restaurants suggest that we are entering an age when all creativity will be extinguished, and all diversity will be eradicated. I'm referencing their argument parodically, because I think it's just hilariously overwrought. So, no, I don't think things are "fair or fascism." But then, I don't think it's "fascist" to suggest that you don't smoke in an enclosed space with people who find that smoke distressing.
posted by yoink at 2:56 PM on June 3, 2006


"Bars, however, are places where people obviously go to drink and smoke."

I thought bars were places where people obviously go to hear good live music. And drink. And (depending on the bar) eat good food.
posted by litlnemo at 3:01 PM on June 3, 2006


sorry, my annoyance was misplaced. We're fighting the same fight. Which, funnily enough, is less about fighting smoking and more about the absolutists who don't understand the idea of moderation. Yeah, the BC compromise does sound smart.
posted by dness2 at 3:03 PM on June 3, 2006


I think people should only be allowed to leave their house while wearing a helmet. And a ventilator.
posted by bardic at 3:10 PM on June 3, 2006


dness2--de nada; it's a long and convoluted thread. I'm still blushing over misreading Funambulist so utterly.

Yours in solidarity with the Joyless Taliban Movement for Fascist Fun-Killing (TM). Hey, when we've finished oppressing the smokers, shall we start oppressing frisbee players--you know, just for shits and giggles?
posted by yoink at 3:12 PM on June 3, 2006


I think people should only be allowed to leave their house while wearing a helmet. And a ventilator.

Yes, Bardic, you keep on insisting that this is all about our desire to prevent you doing harm to yourself. Just keep on ignoring the people who tell you that we don't care how many cigarettes you smoke, as long as we're not forced to share them with you.

Do be careful about one thing, though--smoking while arguing with straw men could be a fire-hazard.
posted by yoink at 3:15 PM on June 3, 2006


Umm, I was kidding. Didn't want anyone to think you were a humorless weenie or anything. Because over 25% of your comments in mefi so far have been in this thread.

Well played sir.
posted by bardic at 3:21 PM on June 3, 2006


Yoink, you did not respond to what I am saying:

A) Cigarettes are not illegal. If a certain business, such as a bar, would like to allow smoking that should be completely legal. If there is such an overwhelming majority of people that can't stand this, there will be a popular demand for bars that don't allow smoking. And, as you say, if there really is such a majority, the bars that ban smoking will do even better than the bars that allow it.

B) The staff.... There are risks working in ANY job. If someone is deadset on being a bartender, yet they don't want to be exposed to harmful smoke, they can look for work at a bar that doesn't allow smoking. There are millions of jobs out there.

C) Yes, smokers and non-smokers like to socialize together. This is probably the biggest problem with my argument. If bars are allowed to choose whether they'd like to allow smoking or not, there will certainly be situations where half of a group wants to go to the smoking bar, and the other half doesn't want to, and someone will have to do something they don't want to, if they want to spend the evening as a group.

As far as the legality:

Smoking. Is. Not. Illegal. If a given business like a bar wants to run their businuess such that they may provide a place for people to come and drink, smoke, and socialize, this should be legal. Like a hookah bar, customers would fully understand the consequences of their decision to go.

For legislation on a city, county, state, or federal level to make it illegal for certain businesses (namely, bars) to allow smoking IS infringing on the rights of that business. The smoking ban in place in the city I live in prohibits smoking an any public domain: restaurants, bars, anything. And, the law is such that a hookah bar is considered illegal here. Does this not seem absurd? Tobacco is not illegal. If the sole purpose of a private business is to provide a safe and comfortable, if not exotic, environment for people to smoke tobacco, what is wrong with this???

To ban smoking in all businesses is absurd. Bars should have the choice to allow it or ban it. If the aim of legislation is to completely remove the presence of tobacco from society, then make tobacco itself illegal.
posted by Raoul.Duke at 3:24 PM on June 3, 2006


Umm, I was kidding.

Yes, it was a joke. It was a joke that tried to make a point. In other words, you were continuing the argument in the form of a joke--a reductio ad absurdam, to be precise. Just as my comment about the "strawman" was a joke--but also intended to further my argument.

Didn't want anyone to think you were a humorless weenie or anything.

Cool: argumentum ad hominem, the trademark of the person who has run out of valid arguments. Got any more forms of argument to offer?

Because over 25% of your comments in mefi so far have been in this thread.

Ah, the weirdly pointless irrelevancy. Always worth a try. Hey, guess what--after my very first post (what, about a week ago) 100% of my comments were in one thread! Boy, did I have egg on my face!

Well played sir.

No, well played to you! Your arguments for your right to force smoke down my lungs in public spaces are just so watertight I clearly have no possible comeback to them.
posted by yoink at 3:30 PM on June 3, 2006


Raoul.Duke: sure, smoking is legal. So what? It's perfectly legal for you to store meat above your vegetables in your fridge at home. It's not legal for you to do that if you are serving food to the general public, however. It's legal for you to play your music loud at home, it's not legal to take your stereo into the local mall and turn up the volume full blast. There are lots of perfectly "legal" activities that are regulated by the state for the greater good of all the citizens. What's your point?
posted by yoink at 3:35 PM on June 3, 2006


I've made my point.

Bars should be able to choose.

To prohibit bars from making that choice is absurd.

Part of living in a society is compromise. Letting bars decide if they will allow smoking or not is a compromise. You're not being forced to do anything in this case.
posted by Raoul.Duke at 3:52 PM on June 3, 2006


It's legal for you to play your music loud at home, it's not legal to take your stereo into the local mall and turn up the volume full blast.

I think concerts should be banned from all public businesses. Because hell, I want to be able to go to my favorite bar without being "forced" to hear the band that's playing that night.
posted by Raoul.Duke at 3:54 PM on June 3, 2006


I think concerts should be banned from all public businesses. Because hell, I want to be able to go to my favorite bar without being "forced" to hear the band that's playing that night.

Thanks--now you're doing the reductio ad absurdam for me.

You have a right not to have me swear at you in a public place. I have a right to use those swear words at home. If I am in a play where the swear words are part of the script, and the audience has been warned of that fact, you have no right to be offended by my swearing. Now, can you figure out the analogy to playing my music at home, playing my music unasked in a restaurant, and going to a restaurant in order to hear a band, or do I have to connect all the dots for you?
posted by yoink at 4:00 PM on June 3, 2006


Yoink, do you think that hookah bars should always be illegal? That is, a business that only exists as a place for people to smoke tobacco?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:07 PM on June 3, 2006


If I am in a play where the swear words are part of the script, and the audience has been warned of that fact, you have no right to be offended by my swearing.

If legislation were such that bars may or may not allow smoking, how is this any different from a bar that chooses to allow smoking? Like you say, you have no right to be offended.
posted by Raoul.Duke at 4:12 PM on June 3, 2006


Ah, a humorless weenie who knows some Latin. Are you available for weddings?
posted by bardic at 4:47 PM on June 3, 2006


Yoink, do you think that hookah bars should always be illegal? That is, a business that only exists as a place for people to smoke tobacco?

I've already stated above that I would have no problem with such a thing.


bardic
--thank you for "Help[ing] maintain a healthy, respectful discussion." Your contribution is so valuable.
posted by yoink at 5:05 PM on June 3, 2006


Like you say, you have no right to be offended.

Please read the post again. I did not say that one has no general right to be offended. I said, in fact, that you DO have a right to be offended if I swear at you in a public place. Similarly, I have a right to be offended if you smoke in an enclosed public place which I am sharing with you. I would not have a right to be offended if I went to a "smoker's lounge" and you lit up there.
posted by yoink at 5:16 PM on June 3, 2006


Oh, and P.S. Raoul.Duke. If you're at that play, not being offended by the swearing, why don't you have a right to light up? Surely if people don't want the (remote) risk of a fire in a theatre, they can just choose some other form of entertainment, right? Ditto for patrons who find the smoke noisome, and ditto for the actors who might be adversely affected by the smoke. Why, they should just choose to work for theaters that ban smoking--right?

If not, then how is requiring an establishment that offers theatrical entertainment not to permit smoking on the premises different from requiring an establishment that serves drinks not to permit smoking on the premises? You can't argue "but people like to drink and smoke"--after all, once upon a time people smoked at the theater.
posted by yoink at 5:48 PM on June 3, 2006


Yoink, what you're forgetting is that theaters, museums, and malls are all within their rights to forbid smoking on the premises, and pretty much all of them do regardless of local law already - why do we need the government to make that decision for all businesses?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:14 PM on June 3, 2006


Is this really about "there's no place I can drink where people don't smoke" or more about "there's no good place to go where people don't smoke? Do we dare suggest a correllation? For many, the smoky atmosphere of a bar or club is part and parcel of the experience - along with near-defeaning levels of music and noise and shortage of available seating. Most people know what bars to go to when they want to quietly sit and chat and which to go to when they want something more riotous. If you asked, "would it be better if the music was a little lower," people might say yes. If there were more seats? Maybe. If we kept people from smoking? Sure.

And suddenly, every place is like the bar at the Airport Marriott.

Me, I like my bars seedy, smoky, loud and crowded, mostly because everyone else there likes it the same way. And if somebody ever came in carrying a bucket of shit, we'd make sure they thought long and hard before doing it again. Consensus isn't always on a municipal level, and certain rules remain unwritten.

So, please, haters of cigarette smoke, avatars of healthy living, take what you will. Keep your own law in your own favorite haunts. But leave me a token dive bar. You'll never have to see me. Or smell me. Keep the hotspots and give me the grimiest, rudest, smokiest joint on the outskirts of town.

But don't be offended when it's the most popular spot around.
posted by uhnyuftz at 6:20 PM on June 3, 2006


As said upthread: Except that out in the real world, non-smoking bars (and restaurants) don't exist unless there's governmental intervention. In a completely laissez-faire economy, the benefit to allowing smokers in your business far outweigh the benefit to not allowing smokers. Why? Because smoking is an addiction - asking a smoker to give up cigarettes for a few hours to patronize your business is far more likely to be met with resistance than asking a non-smoker to tolerate cigarette smoke for the same period of time. Therefore, it becomes a community action problem - no individual establishment is going to enact a 100% no-smoking policy because it is not individually advantageous to do so.

And to prove the point, BC has gone from outright prohibition of public smoking, to one where establishment owners can allow smoking if they meet specific worker health safety codes.

The result? Most places remain smoke-free: once everyone had a real opportunity to find out what a smoke-free pub/restaurant/entertainment establishment was like, the majority decided they really like it. Even most of the smokers agree

There is little attraction to running a smoking-allowed establishment once the public gets used to having a smoke-free environment.

Smokers are, thankfully, a dying breed.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:38 PM on June 3, 2006


unless you think all OSHA regulations of any kind are unwarrented

once again yoink ignores the fact that OSHA remains silent about second-hand smoke, does not regulate second-hand smoke, makes no claim about second-hand smoke, has no rules about second-hand smoke. it is convenient when your side ignores simple facts, and then spins and recycles lies to truth, and if you lie enough, people start to believe you. just look at bush and company.


Smokers are, thankfully, a dying breed

i always knew the banners were angry and self-righteous, and now we know they're hateful too. too precious!
posted by brandz at 8:00 PM on June 3, 2006


From osha.gov: A wide spectrum of health effects have been associated with exposure to ETS. These effects include mucous membrane irritation, decrease in respiratory system performance, adverse effects on the cardiovascular system, reproductive effects, and cancer. The following section also presents more detailed information on these health effects.

From the "following section:" Available biomarkers of ETS, such as nicotine, clearly show that nonsmoker exposure is of sufficient magnitude to be absorbed and to result in measurable levels of these biomarkers. There is sufficient evidence in the literature to indicate that several components of sidestream smoke are rapidly absorbed and widely distributed within the body.

And more: The weight of the evidence shows that exposure to ETS results in decreases in pulmonary function indices and increases in respiratory symptoms in otherwise healthy men and women who are exposed to ETS for periods of 10 or more years. The risk of developing COPD appears to be increased in passive smokers with lifelong exposures to ETS.

These are from the proposed rules for indoor air quality, published 1994. These proposed rules were withdrawn in 2001... why?

"In the years since the proposal was issued, a great many state and local governments and private employers have taken action to curtail smoking in public areas and in workplaces."

In other words: OSHA does not regulate tobacco smoke - not because it's not dangerous - but because tobacco smoke in the workplace is already sufficiently regulated by local and state governments.

brandz: "it is convenient when your side ignores simple facts"

Indeed.
posted by Feral at 8:52 PM on June 3, 2006


These are from the proposed rules for indoor air quality, published 1994. These proposed rules were withdrawn in 2001... why?

OSHA does not regulate tobacco smoke - not because it's not dangerous - but because tobacco smoke in the workplace is already sufficiently regulated by local and state governments

i like how you cut and paste the sections you deem necessary to make your point. you omitted this: approximately 21% were explicitly in favor of a regulation on ETS. which means nearly 80% were not in favor of regulating indoor smoke. 3 anti-smoking groups forced OSHA to come up with rules and standards. OSHA refused and left it up to the states and locals. the fact remains that OSHA does not regulate indoor smoke.
posted by brandz at 9:47 PM on June 3, 2006


Wow. Project much?

The 21% figure you mention wasn't a vote. It doesn't mean that the remaining 79% "were not in favor" of regulating tobacco smoke. The 21% came from comments submitted by external interested parties.

Beyond that, your comment wasn't merely that OSHA does not regulate indoor smoke. Your comment was that OSHA "makes no claim" and "remains silent" in regards to second-hand-smoke, which is demonstrably untrue from the link above.
posted by Feral at 1:18 AM on June 4, 2006


Smokers are, thankfully, a dying breed.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:38 PM PST on June 3


Also they're subhuman and they shouldn't be allowed control over their bodies, just like women.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:55 AM on June 4, 2006


Cigarette smoking is linked with a wide range of psychiatric diagnoses...
posted by nickyskye at 7:49 AM on June 4, 2006


my point is what we're left with are a patchwork of rules and regulations and laws that are as inconsistent as all of the second-hand smoke studies. the feds bowed out of the debate, for whatever reason, and now we have pitted smoker against non-smoker, bar against bar, restaurant against bar, restaurant against restaurant, town against town, city against town, etc. the hate is palpable over an issue that i see as a non-issue, a mere annoyance to some. for every study that claims second-hand smoke is deadly i can show you a study that shows the opposite. anybody can prove a point if they play with statistics enough. those who fund such studies are bias to begin with. why take choice away? why not let adults make their own decisions? what happened to diversity? what's happening is a growing nanny state and what i call 'the mallification of america.' so boring where everything is the same, everywhere. i'm happy to know you willingly trust the government. i see government oppression growing every day. it's not a scenario i like and i fear for the future of this counrty, step by step, oppression by oppression. when the government steps in and takes away something you enjoy please don't whine. and my point still stands that OSHA does not regulate second-hand smoke as stated in the thread several times.
posted by brandz at 8:22 AM on June 4, 2006


thanks nickyskye for linking to ASH, the most bias and vitriolic of the anti-smoking nazi groups.
posted by brandz at 8:24 AM on June 4, 2006


does ASH pay your salary, nickyskye?
when the antis start to compare public smoking with public masturbation, as stated in this thread, we know who the psychos are. perhaps dr. siegel, the point of this entire thread, is correct when he states that the antis have an agenda that goes way, way beyond smoking in a barroom.
posted by brandz at 8:51 AM on June 4, 2006


In a review of the evidence to assess the links between tobacco smoking and mental disorder, two public health researchers concluded that nicotine dependence is indeed a mental disorder, from which most smokers suffer. They found that nicotine dependence was strongly associated with a variety of other mental disorders. Mental disorder was linked with an increased propensity to smoke and a reduced likelihood of cessation.

That's just about the nicest most pseudo-scientific way I've ever been called crazy, NickySkye. Neat.

It also happens to be completely meaningless bullshit. With that sort of shoddy "scientific" reasoning any dependence can be construed as a mental disorder. Hell, someone with low blood sugar, can be classified as suffering from a "mental disorder".

Oh well. It's is open season on smokers and any spurious half-assed claim will be given serious regard as long as it's worded to sound like a "scientific study". Since smokers are now dehumanized 2nd-class citizens (i.e., scapegoats) it's okay to have increasingly invasive laws, stigmatization, the sad in your face hysterical TV commercials (from the anti-smoking cults). All of it just fine and dandy because (high pitched Monty Pythonesque school marm voice and wagging finger):

It's for your own good....

Almost makes me want to smoke more just out of spite. (And I think people should moderate and/or stop eventually, especially if they have kids.)

Look. If the government can legislate what you can't put into your body, it can also legislate what you must put into your body. And from there we're even firther down that slippery slope towards a govt/Pharma industrial complex that dictates we all need to take some synthetic that makes us happy shiny acquiescent "productive" consumers. (and BTW I think libertarianism is deeply stupid and just plain mendacious on most of it's points).

Anti-smoking fanatics need to deal with their own hostility and anger (physician heal thyself) before they begin telling (or legislating) how others should lead theirs.
posted by Skygazer at 9:49 AM on June 4, 2006


Smokers are, thankfully, a dying breed

i always knew the banners were angry and self-righteous, and now we know they're hateful too. too precious!


Sorry, what? Did you make an effort to misread that statement?

Smokers are, thankfully, a dying breed. Which is to say that smoking is on a decline in most populations on our continent, which is to say that smoking-related diseases are on a decline, which is to say that fewer people are being harmed by smoking.

And that can only be a good thing.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:06 AM on June 4, 2006


Business at bars has not been adversely affected at all. - yoink

This is one of the most ridiculous things that has been said, in a thread where lots of Worst-of-the-Web has taken place.

Now, let us brush right past the fact that no study of actual tax-receipts (rather than subjective impressions) has been able to demonstrate ANY negative impact on the bar business caused by smoking bans in ANY country in which they've been implemented (here's a source). - yoink

First, your "source" is biased. The studies are almost all biased, for both sides. Anyone who hopes to be takenly seriously in the smoking-ban debate has to cite only legitimate sources -- and special interest-funded "studies" don't count. Also? American Cancer Society? A special interest, lest we all lose our heads and forget. They have an agenda to execute, just like the National Association of Realtors, the gay/lesbian lobby, Greenpeace, and the GOP.

Next, this particular plank of your argument is totally flawed. Studies of bar revenue in two major cities (one in Arizona and one in Wisconsin) 1 - 2 years after a total ban was enacted, showed two things:

1. If you looked at particular establishments' pre-ban and post-ban receipts, annual revenue DID go up.

2. Conveniently, most importantly, none of the anti-choice activists ever mentioned that the reason for it was that, although overall city-wide revenue went down, several bars closed their doors completely, so they weren't taking a piece of the (now smaller) pie. Those who could afford to remain in business did see increased revenue as a result.

This leaves entirely out of the question, of course, everybody's right to a safe, non-polluted workspace--which even if you could have a "real" nonsmoking area would still leave the smoking area unsafe for the waitstaff. - yoink

Yes, yes, won't someone think of the poor college students, coughing through their shifts. The most important thing to have on the table about OSHA is their 2001 statement that a) the physical and medical effects just can't be proved enough to justify a workplace ban, b) enough non-smoking options are in fact available so that hospitality workers can reasonably choose for themselves, and c) so many of the hospitality businesses in America are considered "small business" and could not weather that sanction, that it would put undue economic hardship on the entire industry.

OSHA didn't choose not to ban SHS because the local governments were already taking care of it. They made the choice because the health evidence was not compelling and bars and restaurants would be financially killed by it.

Bans on outdoor locations are just silly. And, I'm for a ban inside any business where children are allowed, including restaurants, and even bars if they serve food and allow minors in. And I'm for requiring bars to purchase a license, pay fees, and explicitly state on their doors that they are a smoking establishment, if they choose to stay on board for smokers.

But telling the owner of a private establishment that he can't allow smokers inside his 21+ bar is a perfect example of the nanny state. I haven't seen an argument to the contrary here yet that wasn't specious and shrill.

Austin, for which live music is a multi-billion dollar industry and the city's biggest tourism draw, with hundreds of clubs and dozens of shows every night of the week, should have enough people to support a smoke-free venue, right? One opened in 2000, before the total ban. It was on Barton Springs, a downtown thoroughfare full of restaurants and bars, in a high-traffic location. It had good backing, good advertising, and good bookings. There were NO economic or market obstructions to the venture.

It lasted three months. The anti-smokers, who always promise they will support smoke-free clubs, simply didn't come out.

Total-ban advocates will get further faster when they acknowledge that their science isn't; that the histrionics are strategy, not facts; and that they go after local bans because no one has the stones to go after Big Tobacco.

I might not agree with their objectives, but at least I'd respect them more.
posted by pineapple at 10:39 AM on June 4, 2006


pineapple wrote: 1. If you looked at particular establishments' pre-ban and post-ban receipts, annual revenue DID go up.

In the case of the Tempe, Arizona smoking ban, overall tax collections went up, not just receipts from particular establishments. This is the only free source I could find in my quick search, but I know I've read this other places. This still overshadows the fact that some bars did close. But I would be suspicious of any claims that blamed the smoking ban alone. In my opinion, the Tempe bar scene has always struggled and only a few bars manage to keep going for more than a few years--it's a fickle college town.

Remember, this is not a state-wide ban, but just a ban in the city of Tempe. It is a college town with Phoenix and Scottsdale sharing its borders--neither Scottsdale nor Phoenix have a smoking ban, and Scottsdale has a superior nightlife anyway. If the comment about overall tax revenue going up (or at least not dropping) can be trusted, then that would prove a lot of the smoking ban opponents wrong---they predicted that people would flock to Scottsdale. Well, college kids with cars were already flocking to Scottsdale and those without cars aren't going to stop going to bars.
posted by mullacc at 11:40 AM on June 4, 2006


OSHA does not regulate second-hand smoke as stated in the thread several times

O.K., even I got bored with this argument. Addicts rationalize their addictions--what are you going to do? But I just want to point out that Brandz is completely misunderstanding my point about OSHA. He (along with many other of the smokers in this thread) wants to claim that the restaurant or bar, as a private establishment, has an absolute right to determine what happens on its premises. I am saying that if he accepts ANY form of OSHA oversight of what goes on in private bars and restaurants (REGARDLESS of the fact that OSHA does not currently regulate second hand smoke) then he in fact does not believe in any such "right." Clear enough for you Brandz?

You agree that the government has the RIGHT (you are the ones who want to couch this debate in terms of "rights") to legislate matters pertaining to the health, safety, and wellbeing of their clientele. I take it that you wouldn't say, a propos of the Americans with Disabilities Act that bars should not be required to make reasonable accomdations for disabled people, right? You wouldn't say "well, fuck, those cripples can just go patronize businesses which choose to advertise their accessibility." I take it that you wouldn't say, if a bar refused to serve black people "well, fuck, those black people can just go patronize businesses which choose to serve them, and advertise that fact!"

So, in other words, you do not believe that the bar or restaurant has a RIGHT to determine who it serves and under what conditions. Ergo, all that is left to determine is whether it is wise policy for government (federal, state, or local) to enact regulation. You have already conceded that the MAJORITY of potential customers would prefer to have all bars smoke-free; the majority of customers wish to be able to patronize drinking establishments without being forced, against their will, to share other patrons' cigarettes. In the absence, then, of any "right" of the bar owner to arbitrarily determine their own practice in this regard, what principled argument to you have to offer against such a regulation?

Oh, and pineapple, I love the fact that you can make a study showing that revenue went UP in bars after a smoking ban into evidence that the bar business was adversely affected by it. I think that link of nickyskye's may not be entirely irrelevant.
posted by yoink at 1:19 PM on June 4, 2006


There are many places where smoking bans increase sales.

New York banned smoking in 2003. Tax receipts in restaurants and bars is up nearly 10%, and employment in same has increased by over 10k. Heck, there are now more bars than before.

Florida's banned started in 2003. Revenues are up 7%.

California started its initiatives back in 1995. Revenues increased significantly.

Same thing for Delaware. Massachusetts, too.

BC's ban was re-introduced in 2002. Revenues were in decline prior to the ban. Revenues are now stable.

Ireland, with seemingly more pubs than people, banned smoking. It looks good.

Italy, too.

And when cities have done the same thing, they frequently see increased revenues and employment. Minneapolis, f'rinstance. El Paso. Montgomery. Ottawa.

And finally this: Review of the quality of studies on the economic effects of smoke-free policies on the hospitality industry.
In studies concluding a negative impact, the odds of using a subjective outcome measure was 4.0 times (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.4 to 9.6; p = 0.007) and the odds of not being peer reviewed was 20 times (95% CI 2.6 to 166.7; p = 0.004) that of studies concluding no such negative impact. All of the studies concluding a negative impact were supported by the tobacco industry. 94% of the tobacco industry supported studies concluded a negative economic impact compared to none of the non-industry supported studies.

Conclusion: All of the best designed studies report no impact or a positive impact of smoke-free restaurant and bar laws on sales or employment. Policymakers can act to protect workers and patrons from the toxins in secondhand smoke confident in rejecting industry claims that there will be an adverse economic impact.
Or in short, while you can undoubtedly find studies to contradict the results I've just posted, those studies are bad science.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:51 PM on June 4, 2006


See, fff, your just proving pineapple's point: the higher the receipts, the worse the effect of the smoking ban has been. Similarly, the fewer public spaces I can occupy without having to breathe other people's cigarette smoke, the more free I am. Oh, and according to Bardic, the more cigarettes I smoke, the more health-conscious I must be.

I'm sorry--I mean your studies look really well-designed and everything, but obviously they conclusively demonstrate that the smoking bans will lead to the end of western civiliation as we have known it.
posted by yoink at 1:57 PM on June 4, 2006


American Cancer Society? A special interest, lest we all lose our heads and forget.

Yeah. Just think of all the money those doctors won't be making from all the patients who won't be getting cancer from all the tobacco smoke they won't be breathing.
posted by Feral at 2:12 PM on June 4, 2006


You agree that the government has the RIGHT (you are the ones who want to couch this debate in terms of "rights") to legislate matters pertaining to the health, safety, and wellbeing of their clientele. I take it that you wouldn't say, a propos of the Americans with Disabilities Act that bars should not be required to make reasonable accomdations for disabled people, right? You wouldn't say "well, fuck, those cripples can just go patronize businesses which choose to advertise their accessibility." I take it that you wouldn't say, if a bar refused to serve black people "well, fuck, those black people can just go patronize businesses which choose to serve them, and advertise that fact!"

I don't agree that the government ought to have such powers. The costs of such meddling can't be quantified, but you can be damn sure that the glazier jumps for joy as the army of petty tyrants and meddling bureaucrats marches onward in its neverending war against the varieties of free association of which it does not approve.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:24 PM on June 4, 2006


Can any of the anti smoking crowd tell me how you can be in such an overwhelming majority yet still claim that landlords would be cutting their own throats by going no smoking?

Surely if there are so many of you, a killing could be made out of no smoking joints while smokers could have a few places proportionate to their number and the demand for them.

Yes there would still be workers but plenty of bar workers couldn't give a fuck, if enough of them could be found to staff smoking bars then where is the fucking problem?
posted by Reggie Knoble at 3:09 PM on June 4, 2006


Yeah. Just think of all the money those doctors won't be making from all the patients who won't be getting cancer from all the tobacco smoke they won't be breathing.

This is exactly the sort of kneejerk specious argument I'm talking about. The American Cancer Society is not a doctors' organization.

fff: your "authoritative" study is presented by a self-proclaimed tobacco control group. I'm sorry, but it falls into the category of questionable and likely biased.

There are three kinds of "studies" out there regarding secondhand smoke: those funded by tobacco control interests, those funded by smoking rights interests, and those funded by neither. Only the latter can be treated as remotely valid. Maybe more than any other hot topic, this one is rife with bad science on both sides -- but picking the science that aligns with your own view and proclaiming that the valid stuff doesn't make it so. Even if you preemptively accuse someone else who disagrees with you.

Still, for grins, let's assume fff's source is only using valid and scientifically sound methodology and statistics: the cite is still vague about what cities they examined, what they measured -- and they didn't measure anything before 2002, so their claim really can't be considered valid for the U.S., can they, since California would have been the only sample at the time?

I'm not a smoker, therefore I'm not an addict, therefore this is not just my addiction talking. Histrionics and fearmongering are always going to win in public matters. It's just important that smoking-ban advocates understand that they sound like wild-eyed zealots.

Three years ago, I was smack in the middle of the ban debate in Austin. I volunteered for the group of bar and restaurant owners opposing the proposed total ban. I spoke before the City Council. I spoke before all kinds of people, and I got petitions signed and I could give you the whole smokers-rights party line.

And I knew full well when I was using questionable science to make a point. And I was willing to acknowledge it when I got called on it.

My point is that if you're going to push the Kool-Aid, you really shouldn't drink it too. Be histrionic, or expect to be taken seriously, but don't think you can have both.

I notice that no one is addressing the liberty argument that if there are truly that many non-smokers out there to support non-smoking venues -- without it being by governmental force -- then why aren't those out there in the market as well? The argument that smokers would simply coerce their non-smoking friends all the time is pretty silly. Unless the implication is that non-smokers are all milquetoasts who go along to get along and that all smokers are inconsiderate and selfish boors.

I also notice that everyone is glossing right over my point that the "revenue goes up!!!!!! look!!!! it really does!!!!" arguments never seem to compare the number of venues that have to close down as a result of the ban alongside.

I get why anti-smokers would rather not breathe smoke in bars. I just don't get why they won't admit that they fully believe their wishes should take precedent over everyone else's, everywhere, always. There are lots of things that are legal for adults that I don't personally like, and I choose not to expose myself to those things. Where's the personal responsibility?
posted by pineapple at 4:35 PM on June 4, 2006


forgot to say,
mullacc, your cool-headed reason and lack of hyperbole and ranting as you presented your counterpoint was quite appreciated.
posted by pineapple at 4:37 PM on June 4, 2006


Which is to say that smoking is on a decline in most populations on our continent

parse words much? if truth be known, smoking rates have stayed relatively constant for close to two decades. if you look at whole numbers, it's like 50 million smokers in the US. please don't use bogus percentages that the banners like to use, as those are intentionally midleading.

I take it that you wouldn't say, a propos of the Americans with Disabilities Act that bars should not be required to make reasonable accomdations for disabled people, right? You wouldn't say "well, fuck, those cripples can just go patronize businesses which choose to advertise their accessibility."

no, i support the american with disabilities act. these poor souls now have to leave the barroom to smoke, no matter what, in rain, sleet, snow and cold. isn't that fucking precious!

the whole point of the entire thread, which has been totally derailed, is that a dr. michael siegel, a self-described smoke banner, has to keep a close eye on the anti-smoking taliban as they lie and cheat to impose their will on the entire population. we now have fucking smoke police people! so much for liberty and freedom.
posted by brandz at 4:59 PM on June 4, 2006


Mithrael said :
Let me guess, you have a nice portable profession making more than minimum wage? Or do you honestly think the solution to health risks in the workplace is caveat employee? Coal miners should just get another job if they don't want black lung? Mill workers should just find another job if they don't want to work around machines with no guards?

No, I merely think it's stupid to apply for a job in an environment you consider unsafe. Is anyone still reading this?
posted by lyam at 12:34 PM on June 5, 2006


"U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona today issued a comprehensive scientific report which concludes that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke."

Nice wording. "Risk-free", as opposed to "harmless".
posted by daksya at 9:31 AM on June 27, 2006


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