Up in Smoke?
September 13, 2007 4:56 PM   Subscribe

Step by Step How do you define private property? Apparently the city council of Belmont, CA has their own definition.
posted by brandz (169 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Obligatory Bill Hicks
posted by M Edward at 4:59 PM on September 13, 2007


Obligatory good for them.

About 10 years ago, I lived in an apartment in Austin directly above from a chain smoker and I'm still scraping the tar off my lungs.
posted by item at 5:07 PM on September 13, 2007


Also, brandz, apartments aren't the private property of those who live in them. That's why they're apartments. Condos can go either way.

I actually don't think that it is the government's job to dictate this, but I wish every apartment building owner would implement a like ordinance on their own.
posted by item at 5:09 PM on September 13, 2007


Obligatory deja vu. Seems like just last year ... I'm not sure if it's a double or not. I just remember the discussion ...
posted by mrgrimm at 5:11 PM on September 13, 2007


Sadly, we need laws like this. They're largely unenforceable, and do tend to create needless hassles between neighbors.

That said, it's very annoying to be downwind of a cigarette smoker, and not so cool to have second-hand smoke wafting into a dwelling with small children.

Why not just outlaw cigarettes? That would be easier.
posted by MetaMan at 5:12 PM on September 13, 2007


Smoking? Thats not the problem. The problem is that the neighbors are too loud while having sex. Which would be ok if they were good looking, but they are not. Really, the mental image of them going at it keeps me awake at night and is ruining my health. I demand an ordinance!
posted by R. Mutt at 5:13 PM on September 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


This is outrageous and pretty damn sickening.
posted by davidmsc at 5:15 PM on September 13, 2007


Personally, I'm in favour of a total prohibition on cigarettes. I know there are practical reasons why that wouldn't work, etc. But unless we have an actual ban on cigarettes, this seems way over the line to me.

Now, a law that didn't ban smoking in your private home but did impose fines for allowing your second hand smoke to escape from your own space into someone else's? That I could get behind. It's splitting hairs, but they're really important hairs.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:15 PM on September 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


brandz posted "How do you define private property? Apparently the city council of Belmont, CA has their own definition. "

I (a layman) define it as property you own. So, things like houses and condos. Things unlike apartments and parks. What definition is the city council using? The only reference to private property in the article is by a councilman who voted against the law, and it's not clear whether he's talking about apartments, condos, or both.
posted by Bugbread at 5:17 PM on September 13, 2007


There's no way we're going to have a happy consensus on this issue. So I'll just point out; isn't it astonishing how fast the attitude has shifted against smoking?
posted by Nelson at 5:17 PM on September 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


The problem is that the neighbors are too loud while having sex. Which would be ok if they were good looking, but they are not.

As long as they sound hot, I have no problem there. The woman across my lightshaft is quite a moaner--middle of the day frequently. I never hear anyone with her though ... what were we talking about again?
posted by mrgrimm at 5:19 PM on September 13, 2007


And, actually, looking at the article:

"The ban in the San Mateo County city would be complaint driven, meaning residents whose units are getting secondhand smoke can call police."

...makes it appear that the law, while technically outlawing smoking on one's own private property or rented property, actually prohibits ones' smoke from entering anothers' private or rented property. Which seems pretty much the definition of "eminently fair".
posted by Bugbread at 5:21 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


What a funny discussion. You guys make me laugh.
Though, I do not recommend talking on the phone using the same phone as someone who smokes! Pee Ewwww, You suck in the smell and your brain actually stops for a moment. I thought I was going to die!

Sorry smokers; no offend, but it's true.
posted by nkaujnom at 5:25 PM on September 13, 2007


By 1921, the year after alcohol prohibition, 14 states had laws prohibition cigarettes, and 92 anti-cigarette bills were under consideration in 28 more state legislatures (Brecher, 1972).
posted by telstar at 5:26 PM on September 13, 2007


I (a layman) define it as property you own. So, things like houses and condos. Things unlike apartments and parks.

It's all relative. Someone owns the apartment building, and the question is whether the government should be telling them what policies to enforce on their property.
posted by tepidmonkey at 5:29 PM on September 13, 2007


There have been at least two AskMe questions where this law would've applied.
posted by pompomtom at 5:31 PM on September 13, 2007


Around the world, private property just ain't what it used to be.
posted by zamboni at 5:35 PM on September 13, 2007


Personally, I'm in favour of a total prohibition on cigarettes.

That's what this is about. We know better than you what is good for you. No smoking, and by the way no dope, no gambling, no driving without your seat belt, yada yada yada. We are your nanny. Please listen little children. (oh how long before someone chimes in with that silly tripe about the state paying for your health problems from these bad decisions, just put down the hamburger fatso)
posted by caddis at 5:43 PM on September 13, 2007 [10 favorites]


I am perfectly OK with this, as long as I can also report to the police any other activity that may expose me to carcinogenic substances.

So hear this neighbors: No more pesticides in your lawn, no more insecticides in your house, no more perfume and deodorant. And please turn off your cars engine a block away from my windows.
posted by Dr. Curare at 5:44 PM on September 13, 2007 [6 favorites]


Sue me? Sue everybody.
posted by mattbucher at 5:47 PM on September 13, 2007


Sue me? Sue everybody.

Punitive damages!!
posted by billysumday at 5:50 PM on September 13, 2007


This is government regulating housing conditions, and is not different than prohibitions on unsafe tap water or requirements that lead paint or asbestos be removed -- or that maximum decibel noise levels not be exceeded. It may be innovative to protect tenants from secondhand smoke, but it is not qualitatively different from other examples of such regulation.

To construe this as a new and novel threat to private property rights is absurd.
posted by gum at 5:50 PM on September 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


"It's to give people who are intolerant of secondhand smoke a chance to say, 'Please stop - you're violating the city's ordinance,' in the same way that if your neighbor has a loud rock band, you can say, 'Please stop,' " City Councilman Dave Warden said Wednesday.

Well, I hate to say it, but this actually makes a lot of sense. It's actually fairly easy to have cops bust up a noisy party next door, or get a cop to knock on someone's door if they've got the Mariachi music blaring at 2am. Nobody really questions if you have the "right" to use the government to stop anti-social behavior that technically takes place completely on your neighbor's property.

So, if you're going to play this OMG PRIVACY OUTRAGE FILTER card, feel free. But just remember that the PRIVACY OUTRAGE horse left the barn a long, long time ago.
posted by Avenger at 5:54 PM on September 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


can't apartments and condos institute their own rules? do we really need nannies and laws and government getting involved? especially condos.
posted by brandz at 5:55 PM on September 13, 2007


Avenger states:
stop anti-social behavior

do you really consider smoking anti-social behavior?
posted by brandz at 5:57 PM on September 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


do you really consider smoking anti-social behavior?

Not smoking per-se, just as listening to music, by itself, isn't anti-social. Second hand smoke? Yes. Very much so.

In fact, SSM is actually worse than my neighbors blasting Los Lobos at 1am on a weeknight, since Tex-Mex folk rock generally doesn't cause cancer.
posted by Avenger at 6:04 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


uh, I meant SHM (second hand smoke). See? This is what happens when you have anti-social neighbors. They keep you up at night and make you post stupid mispellings to Metafilter.
posted by Avenger at 6:06 PM on September 13, 2007


just put down the hamburger fatso

Given my sometimes painfully honest participation in fat threads on metafilter over the years, I hope to god that was just general hurf-durfing and not actually directed at me specifically.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:13 PM on September 13, 2007


It is better to be free than to be correct.

I treasure my right to make mistakes. I treasure my right to do things that others think are stupid. If I am only free to do that which others approve of, then I am a slave.

Anyone who thinks they know better than I do what I should do, and who attempts to use the power of law to force me to behave as they think I should, are tyrants.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:22 PM on September 13, 2007 [10 favorites]


Anyone who thinks they know better than I do what I should do, and who attempts to use the power of law to force me to behave as they think I should, are tyrants.

Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins, buddy.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:33 PM on September 13, 2007 [9 favorites]


The problem boils down to perspective: 1) Smokers lose their sense of smell from smoking, so they have no clue at all how bad they make the space around them smell; 2) Smokers obviously don't give a shit about their health, so why should they care if they hurt people around them with secondhand smoke and burned lung tissue?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:33 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Anybody who blows cigarette smoke in my face (including my father when I was a child) is assaulting me. Fortunately, my father quit smoking after i developed childhood asthma, but he's been a total grouch ever since.
posted by wendell at 6:36 PM on September 13, 2007


general hurf-durfing, most definitely, as in what's next for the nanny state to regulate, hamburgers and fries (no personal offense intended)
posted by caddis at 6:37 PM on September 13, 2007


Also, brandz, apartments aren't the private property of those who live in them. That's why they're apartments. Condos can go either way.

Legally, that's not exactly true. Tennants have some property rights. A landlord certainly does not have the same rights to rented property as they would too their own home, or something they are not renting out.

Anyway, the question here isn't who owns the apartment, but it's who owns the air in other people's apartments. Every once in a while I come back to my building and the hallway reeks of marijuana smoke. I wouldn't want to get my neighbors in trouble, but it's still pretty annoying. Pot smoke is like 100x less nasty then cigarette smoke, too.

(Actually, I had a neighbor who toked up, then they moved out, then a year with no weed smoking, and now it seems like a new tenant moved in who smokes weed, but not as often)
posted by delmoi at 6:51 PM on September 13, 2007


vi is better than emacs.
posted by everichon at 6:54 PM on September 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins, buddy.

I'm not on cigs and I think it's a dumb filthy habit, but all you motherfuckers better stop driving cars because I am sick and tired of inhaling all the exhaust.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 6:57 PM on September 13, 2007 [6 favorites]


This is the kind of crap that undermines any argument I could possibly make that the left *doesn't* actually want a nanny-state. It's a sad world when the left is becoming (and gladly, I might add) the caricature that the right has used to describe them for years.

and seriously, nkaujnom is dead-on. sharing a phone with a smoker is one of the worst things around.
posted by god hates math at 6:58 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


2) Smokers obviously don't give a shit about their health, so why should they care if they hurt people around them with secondhand smoke and burned lung tissue?

This is nonsense. Some smoker don't care what they do to their bodies because they know that is their right. That does not mean they are all bad meanies who care about nobody else's rights.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:58 PM on September 13, 2007


About ten years ago I was walking around Berlin during the Love Parade and found myself in the midst of some very funny smoke. Based on the effects, some very experimental friends have suggested that it might have been PCP being smoked by the skinheads I walked past. Not a fun day at all.

I'm just saying: airborne drugs bring special problems. Why not switch to chewing tobacco or nicotine water?
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:59 PM on September 13, 2007


I treasure my right to make mistakes. I treasure my right to do things that others think are stupid. If I am only free to do that which others approve of, then I am a slave.

Oh come'on. You know the external effects of smoking are significant, yet this issue is constantly framed as a "my body, my choice" issue. It's a "how much of my place can my neighbor pollute" issue. And to those of us with lung disease, it's a very important issue.

If smoking had no external effects, no one would have a problem with it, and you know this. On the other hand, if someone were pumping your house with gasoline fumes, I assume you'd say your right to clean air is more important than your neighbor's right to park their car's exhaust outside your window.
posted by null terminated at 6:59 PM on September 13, 2007


I'm also remembering my right to drop LSD in the reservoir. What's the big deal?
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:00 PM on September 13, 2007


jacquilynne writes "Now, a law that didn't ban smoking in your private home but did impose fines for allowing your second hand smoke to escape from your own space into someone else's? That I could get behind. It's splitting hairs, but they're really important hairs."

What about your nasty barbecue that's spilling toxic fumes my way? Or your car?
posted by krinklyfig at 7:01 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


anotherpanacea writes "I'm also remembering my right to drop LSD in the reservoir. What's the big deal?"

Well, for one thing, what a waste.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:04 PM on September 13, 2007


The point is that we non-smokers don't give a shit if you smokers choose to give themselves lung cancer. Be my guest.

The rest of us, on the other hand, shouldn't be forced to smell your air pollution.

Put in an air purifier in your apartment. Viola. No smell complaints.
posted by MythMaker at 7:11 PM on September 13, 2007


I find that many people are extremely ugly and I don't think they should be allowed to pollute the space in front of my eyes with their hideousness. I'd like a law, please.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 7:11 PM on September 13, 2007


"Put in an air purifier in your apartment. Viola. No smell complaints."

If you're playing a viola in the next apartment, I am definitely going to complain.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:18 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Anybody who blows cigarette smoke in my face

nobody is blowing smoke in your face, wendell.
i'm just smoking in my privately owned condo.

the bigger issue is the government intruding into your private space, particularly when you are consuming a legal product. this is a very slippery slope folks.
posted by brandz at 7:26 PM on September 13, 2007


MythMaker writes "The point is that we non-smokers don't give a shit if you smokers choose to give themselves lung cancer. Be my guest."

Not only am I not a smoker, I'm a quit smoker who used to smoke 1-2 packs a day.

People treat smokers like lepers. I'm damn glad I quit, but anti-smokers are a chore. They're much more annoying than secondhand smoke.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:31 PM on September 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


I find that many people are extremely ugly and I don't think they should be allowed to pollute the space in front of my eyes with their hideousness.

It's called beer. Lots and lots of beer.
posted by jmd82 at 7:32 PM on September 13, 2007


I find that many people are extremely ugly and I don't think they should be allowed to pollute the space in front of my eyes with their hideousness. I'd like a law, please.

Does looking at ugly people give you eye cancer?
posted by aldurtregi at 7:32 PM on September 13, 2007


People treat smokers like lepers.

Smokers are worse than lepers, because they give themselves chronic illness and smell like shit deliberately.
posted by everichon at 7:34 PM on September 13, 2007


What about your nasty barbecue that's spilling toxic fumes my way? Or your car?

I don't have a nasty BBQ, but I'd say if your neighbours are constantly BBQing in their apartment and it's seeping into yours, then yeah, an anti-fucking up my air quality law should apply to that, too. Similarly if my garage is not well enough ventilated and my car fumes are seeping into your apartment -- even more so in that case, because car fumes are actively toxic.

On the other hand, both BBQs, which cook things and cars, which allow goods and people to be moved about, have actual benefits to them. Whether those benefits outweigh the downsides as compared to other methods of cooking and moving things is a trickier question to answer. Smoking, on the other hand, has no real upside.

I don't think I've ever met a cigarette smoker who was actually glad they started smoking. A few who are resigned to their addiction, many who claim to enjoy the actual cigarette but regret the fallout of and wish they could quit, and many more who try on and off to quit all their lives but just can't kick it. If someone was trying to bring cigarettes to market today, as a new product, and it had the addictive qualities and side effects it does, it would never be allowed on the market, and no one would care. But because there's an industry and a lobby behind it, tobacco gets to stick around.

Here's my half-baked proposal for banning cigarettes. No more incremental steps, no more gradually creating smokers ghettos. People can smoke in their homes, they can smoke in their cars, they can smoke in bars and restaurants in places that haven't already banned smoking in bars and restaurants. But only people who are already born--they get grandfathered in. Anybody born after the legislation is passed, or some nice round number sort of day (say, Jan 1st 2010) is never allowed to smoke. Selling cigarettes to them would be a misdemeanour with a hefty fine (not a frigging felony that would send them to jail, the war on drugs is already sufficiently stupid, thanks).

In this, my dream scenario, the market would gradually dry up to the point that smoking was expensive and inconvenient (since every gas station, grocery store and bar wouldn't stock cigs anymore) and many fewer people would start. Big tobacco would become increasingly small tobacco but have many years to figure out what to do in the interim.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:34 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


There may be lepers who became infected deliberately, but I propose that they are statistically insignificant.
posted by everichon at 7:35 PM on September 13, 2007


And also my antipathy towards smokers should not be interpreted as a blanket endorsement of nanny-state type legislation, cos I am kind of ambivalent about that. It can be interpreted as "Everichon is an asshole".
posted by everichon at 7:37 PM on September 13, 2007


I don't think I've ever met a cigarette smoker who was actually glad they started smoking.

You haven't met enough people. Sometimes a cigarette is the most delicious luxury mankind has created. A ciggie can be pure bliss with a cold, cold beer, and as Hollywood has taught us, and I know to be fact, they are wonderful after an energetic fuck.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 7:41 PM on September 13, 2007


A ciggie can be pure bliss with a cold, cold beer

Yup. Bars just haven't been the same for my friends and I after the smoking bans were passed. I never got addicted, and I enjoyed smoking while we drank the night away. I was quite happy to smoke.
posted by jmd82 at 7:47 PM on September 13, 2007


My meth-making neighbor should have the right to turn the garage along our property into a Superfund-quality chemical wasteland. Doesn't affect me.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:58 PM on September 13, 2007


"Everichon is an asshole".

I figured that one out on my own, everichon.
posted by brandz at 8:01 PM on September 13, 2007


Here's my half-baked proposal for banning cigarettes.

Why do you want to exert authority over my private behavior? What difference is it to you if I smoke, toke, practice sodomy, use birth control, eat unhealthy foods, drive without my seatbelt, etc.? Whether I hurt me is up to me and if I decide that the flavor of a nice cigarette is worth the risk of lung cancer who are you to tell me you know better? Get off it. (I don't smoke by the way.) Next thing you will be telling me that I have to go to church to save my soul. Stop.
posted by caddis at 8:01 PM on September 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


This is dumb. First, I don't think it will stand up to a legal challenge, as a blanket ban.

Second, we already have a "complaint-driven" method of resolving problems when someone is infringing on your ability to enjoy your property -- you sue them.

Here's how it works: if you're smoking in your apartment, and the smoke is drifting over into mine, I ought to be able to sue you. Not for smoking in your own apartment, but for allowing the smoke to enter mine. At issue is not whether you're smoking -- nobody's challenging that -- but that it's drifting into someone else's home. So the remedy could be either to stop smoking, or do something to your apartment so that the smoke doesn't enter anymore.

That requires no additional legislation, and probably even has some basis in Common Law. It wouldn't violate anyone's Constitutional rights, and doesn't actually require regulation of what people do in their own homes, except insofar as it affects others.

But of course, since that doesn't provide an opportunity for a bunch of idiot politicians to make a few sound bites in front of the cameras, they'll never bother to go down that route.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:05 PM on September 13, 2007


half-baked proposal

Speaking of half-baked, I find it funny how California is the state probably closest to both legalizing marijuana (seriously, my friends and I visited SF and the first thing we see after settling into our hotel room is some dudes openly sitting getting baked in the park - it's surprising coming from the East Coast where people aren't blatant about it like that) and criminalizing cigarettes.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:06 PM on September 13, 2007


Why do you want to exert authority over my private behavior?

Because I have asthma. And because my asthma is almost certainly directly attributable to my father's addiction to cigarettes. And because he has emphesema, which, no almost about it, is certainly directly attributable to his addiction to cigarettes.

If smoking was really a private behaviour with no effect on other people (like, say, eating fatty foods or taking birth control or not going to church (and despite my earlier mention of the word god, I'm in no way an advocate of going to church--I'd rather see that banned than cigarettes, to be honest)) I really wouldn't give a shit. I mean, I'd still think anyone who took up smoking at any point in, oh, the last 30 years was a complete idiot, but I don't think there should be laws against that.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:16 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Anybody born after the legislation is passed, or some nice round number sort of day (say, Jan 1st 2010) is never allowed to smoke.

So basically, you just want to make tobacco an illicit drugs, like all those other ones that nobody uses and you can't find around anymore? Great idea, I'll call Congress.

Look, I don't smoke, and I can't stand being around people who are. The stuff drives me nuts, irritates the hell out of my throat. But I don't give a damn if other people do it. I just want a non-smoking section where I don't have to stew in it, when I go out to eat or go to a bar. I'm not even supportive of the smoking-ban laws -- I'd much prefer that they just enforce non-smoking sections in bars, like they do in restaurants, and let bar owners retain smoking sections if they choose. And exempt smoking-related diseases and medical care from all government welfare programs, so I don't have to pick up the tab.

Aside from that, I don't believe that I have any moral or ethical right to regulate other people's smoking (or any other activity) in their own homes or in businesses that choose to allow it, while also providing a means for people who don't want to be exposed to avoid it.

I swear this country started going down the shitter with mandatory seat-belt laws and this just confirms my suspicions.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:18 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


And because my asthma is almost certainly directly attributable to my father's addiction to cigarettes.

Almost certainly. Right.
posted by Kwantsar at 8:25 PM on September 13, 2007


So basically, you just want to make tobacco an illicit drugs, like all those other ones that nobody uses and you can't find around anymore? Great idea, I'll call Congress.

Yeah, exactly like those. The ones that are used at much lower rates than tobacco, something that's got to be significantly attributable to the fact that you can't just buy them at the corner store for $5 a pack. While we're banning the sale of cigarettes (while not making it a felony), we should decriminalize all those other drugs, too. Make it a pain in the ass, but not such a pain in the ass that organized crime and Colombian drug cartels can profit from it to a ridiculous degree. Make it something people don't want other people to know they do so they keep it to themselves. We're a convenience based society, I figure making this stuff inconvenient should drop the consumption rates substantially, and the public consumption rates almost entirely. And that, in my half-baked dream world, would make me happy.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:27 PM on September 13, 2007


Because I have asthma.

then stay away from me, jacquilynne.

And because my asthma is almost certainly directly attributable to my father's addiction to cigarettes.

do you have father issues?
posted by brandz at 8:28 PM on September 13, 2007


Other than that he's a grouchy jerk now that he's trying to quite smoking? No.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:32 PM on September 13, 2007


And that, in my half-baked dream world, would make me happy.

in my half-baked dream world people could become happy without telling other people how to live or what they should put into their bodies
posted by pyramid termite at 8:39 PM on September 13, 2007


And because my asthma is almost certainly directly attributable to my father's addiction to cigarettes.

Please don't take your daddy issues out on me.

I really don't understand why cigarettes have become the most hated product on Earth. When car exhaust is killing all of us and the planet, various electronics are giving you cancer and making you sterile, is it really that big a deal for ya'll to SMELL my Camel? Seriously, you've got much bigger problems than SHS, I promise. If you want to open the door to people having to be cautious about what they poison your air or body with, this thread could go on all night.
posted by Roman Graves at 8:39 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've always enjoyed the Black Books-take on people who freak over SHS:

Customer: You know, I'm probably getting a lot of secondary smoke from you.

Bernard: Don't worry about it. Get me a drink sometime.

posted by hototogisu at 8:44 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


The multiple accusations that I somehow have 'daddy' issues are way more creepy and personal than this discussion warrants, so I'm going to bow out.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:46 PM on September 13, 2007 [6 favorites]


"Daddy issues?" WTF people.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:58 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dammit, now we're going to have to outlaws daddies.
posted by Peter H at 9:04 PM on September 13, 2007


In this situation, the condo owner should be able to make the decision whether or not to allow smokers in their units. The government should never be able to outlaw a legal act in a private business. This should always be left up to the owner.
posted by markulus at 9:24 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Anyone who thinks they know better than I do what I should do, and who attempts to use the power of law to force me to behave as they think I should, are tyrants.

I should be able to pop the heads off of babies and drink their sweet, sweet blood! And fuck the nanny-staters for making that illegal!

IOW, typical libertarian "privatize benefit, socialize cost, and externalities don't exist" bullshit.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:47 PM on September 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


Cigarette smoking rates have dropped like a rock in BC.

Quite literally, I live freely in a smoke-free environment as big as my province. You wouldn't believe how pleasant that is. It's exceedingly rare that I ever smell cigarette smoke these days, and it's always a surprise to see a young or healthy-looking person smoking or purchasing cigs.

The number I'm recalling is we're down to a 20% smoking rate, with recent years having provided a 5% drop alone. Almost everyone I know who used to smoke, no longer smokes; and of those who used to smoke, the smell still triggers cravings. They must be even more appreciative than I that we don't have to smell it.

As far as I can tell there are nearly no downsides to smoking bans. There is no shortage of pubs, restaurants, bars, lunch rooms, quickie marts, or cigar shops in BC. Things seem to be working out even better than expected. No one seems to really miss it; there's no activist group that matters. Seems the democratic majority are pretty damned tickled about it all, in fact...

kids are apparently replacing nicotine with tetrahydrocannibol, though. maybe we should start them on coffee at a young age, see if it substitutes for pot as pot is for ciggies...
posted by five fresh fish at 10:34 PM on September 13, 2007


One downside: when one does encounter cigarette smoke, it is a horrid experience.

Maybe you've experienced a similar thing: visted a town with water that's different from what you're used to? Especially if you're used to bottled water or an excellent quality of city or well water; and visit a city that is still on a chlorine treatment system. Makes you gag, horrifies you that people can drink that shit, leaves you stuck drinking tea, if you're really lucky, or fruit juices and pop for the week.

Or maybe you've visited a working farm, especially one of those industrial pig or chicken farms. Smell just knocks you off your feet, yet the workers there don't even seem to notice it. Makes you want to puke, damn you're glad you work downtown!

Protesting smoking bans is like protesting heroin laws: fucking stupid.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:41 PM on September 13, 2007


Roman Graves: "I really don't understand why cigarettes have become the most hated product on Earth. When car exhaust is killing all of us and the planet, various electronics are giving you cancer and making you sterile, is it really that big a deal for ya'll to SMELL my Camel? Seriously, you've got much bigger problems than SHS, I promise. If you want to open the door to people having to be cautious about what they poison your air or body with, this thread could go on all night."

Kyle? Is that you?

Anyway, I don't know if your hyperbolic statement that ciggies are the most hated product on Earth is true, or if it would stand much closer scrutiny. I will tell you, however, that cigarettes are certainly a very hated product, and the reason why is not only because they claim lives and because big tobacco companies sell them to us and get rich on the back of that misery, but because, as you say, they flat out stink.

It's a big deal to 'smell your camel' because I don't want to smell your fucking camel.

If I fart next to you, you'll react for sure, but why? It won't kill you, especially when my gas is pitted against all the other evils you ramble on about. So why would it be such a big deal for you to smell my noxious methane? By your ridiculous logic, it shouldn't be. But when you apply sanity to your shrieks of hysterical pro-smoking nonsense, you'd agree that the reason you don't want to smell my fart is because it stinks. And so does your cigarette. And that has the added bonus of helping to give me lung cancer.

I can't tell you how many times I, a non-smoker, have had to walk behind a herd of smoking office workers who don't have the common decency of smoking where no one else, least of all the throng of annoyed humans walking behind them, will have to smell their habit. And I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to grab that stick of death they have in their fucking mouth and shove it right in their inconsiderate faces. But I haven't. Because we live in a society, and I'm not an animal, like they seem to be.

So keep away from me, Stinky. Smoke that shit if that's what you want but keep it the hell away from me.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:42 PM on September 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


"Daddy issues?" WTF people. She brought him up as a basis for her argument. Don't throw into the ring what you don't want wrung. That is what the fuck.

But yeah, smoking is gross, destructive, and becoming highly anti-social. Smokers are ostracized socially, and they are beat up economically. They should be.

I was. I smoked for a dozen years before quitting.

I know smokers that see me as a non-smoker now and say with a smirk, "Huh, well I'm going to sit here and chain-smoke in front of you. Quitter! Haha!"

It is sad. They are damaging themselves extra-hard just to try and make me feel something. Envy? Whatever.

It is like living a new life to be a non-smoker. I wish I could communicate that to people that still smoke without sounding like a complete prick.

Oh well.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 10:44 PM on September 13, 2007


And I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to grab that stick of death they have in their fucking mouth and shove it right in their inconsiderate faces.

I think you have greater problems than just some errant cigarette smoke.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:57 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese: "I think you have greater problems than just some errant cigarette smoke."

You and my parole officer. You're so... alike.
posted by Effigy2000 at 11:05 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


People treat smokers like lepers. I'm damn glad I quit, but anti-smokers are a chore. They're much more annoying than secondhand smoke.

Uh-huh. Boy, you hit the nail on the head. Cancer: so... annoying.
posted by dreamsign at 11:12 PM on September 13, 2007


The scientist/immunologist in me just wants to point out that asthma is a result of immunological dysregulation. Not smoking.

CONCLUSIONS---The excess incidence of wheezing in smoking households appears to be largely non-atopic "wheezy bronchitis" with a relatively benign prognosis, but among children with established asthma, parental smoking is associated with more severe disease. This apparent paradox may be reconciled if environmental tobacco smoke is considered a co-factor provoking wheezing attacks, rather than a cause of the underlying asthmatic tendency.

Thank you.

posted by kisch mokusch at 11:13 PM on September 13, 2007


You're all wrong! All!
Smoking is sexy and free-ing. Chicks dig it, they find men who smoke Le-Sex-Ay. If we all smoked all the time, like back in the good old days, well, life would just like in those old movies... black and white...

I smoke I'm smoking to freedom and independence and beauty. When I smoke I'm reaching out into the world and giving it a big, huge, half-hard very creepy Group-Hug. And it's hugging me back.

I dream about smoking.
I dream about my kids smoking........

waitaminutewaitaminutewaitaminute. (/music)

Smoking is more bad than good. This is, unfortunately and unless your head is so far up your ass that you can't back out your colon, the tedious truth. I smoked for about twenty years, starting when I was fourteen, and pretty much loved it. But there was no up-side. At all. Some personal pleasure, but not even really that much.

It's a dumb habit and the fact that it reaches out to the people around you makes it obnoxious in ways that you have to be an ass not to recognize.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:40 AM on September 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


As Nelson said upthread, "So I'll just point out; isn't it astonishing how fast the attitude has shifted against smoking?" And how will they legislate it?

I lived and smoked in NYC when the smoking ban went into effect there and missed it less than I thought I would. Now here, in Berlin, they are about to implement the same ban. I can't wait.

But how to handle situations like the one cited in the original link? And how the fuck did this whole thing come about? Tobacco companies lose all their lobbying mojo? I think the cultural shift away from smoking is a really interesting thing...
posted by From Bklyn at 12:48 AM on September 14, 2007


I don't know if your hyperbolic statement that ciggies are the most hated product on Earth is true, or if it would stand much closer scrutiny.

Forgive me, Captain Literal. Let's hope I never describe a "shit load" of something.
posted by Roman Graves at 1:28 AM on September 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


For those of you calling for the criminalization of cigarettes, have you paid any attention to the drug war? Do you really want to see government power, which will include the power to recklessly imprison and destroy lives, expanded? Knowing that once it is expanded, it will be hell to ever get it to contract?

For a bunch of people who probably despise everything the current American presidency stands for, you want to put a lot of trust in the goodness of government to protect you. That, to me, is far more distasteful than the occasional smell of something I dislike.
posted by pandaharma at 2:08 AM on September 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


@five fresh fish: actually, I heard we were down to 15%.
posted by lastobelus at 2:17 AM on September 14, 2007


In real life, listening to people who are so desperate to deny that they're slowly committing suicide that they will think up comical arguments in favor of smoking is sad and upsetting. On the internet it's kinda hilarious.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 3:06 AM on September 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't think any of us are doing that, game warden, and I resent the shitty implication. I'm fully aware of the slow death that the tasty lung dart currently hanging from my lips is bringing. This is an argument about the legality of where I can enjoy it and where I can't. But your comment really drives home the point that not only do some people think they know what's good for others, you even know what we're thinking!
posted by Roman Graves at 3:37 AM on September 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty happy with the strategy so far. The health groups have convinced most parents that smoking makes you a bad person and dangerous to be around. We've gotten the liberal people of the world to be willing to act like total assholes. We've portrayed smoking as simply pathetic to the youth, and put on decent enforcement against the young getting continuous tobacco supplies. This has all worked phenomenally well, and should probably be continued as-is. The idea of making people aware of smoking externalities is a good idea in my view.

Ah, the my-pet-addiction-libertarians. In case you missed the last century, there is no more principle of the thing in favor doing whatever you want because it's yours. Yes, we should be really dispassionate and non-interfering once you miraculously eliminate the external damages of your behavior. On the other hand it's fairly difficult to sit back and watch people knowingly poison themselves. Because we're all flesh and weak to addicting substances, it doesn't seem so bad when the state makes killing yourself modestly inconvenient.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:00 AM on September 14, 2007


Sorry if I came across as an asshole.

I'm fully aware of the slow death that the tasty lung dart currently hanging from my lips is bringing.

In many countries including mine, the UK, if you were at very serious risk of killing yourself, eg by slashing your wrists, the state would be able to intervene in your life, for example by forcibly requiring psychiatric treatment. I don't think this is in principle an indefensible role for democratic states to have in regard to their citizens, and most people (fantasyworld libertarians aside) would agree I believe. So the question is: why should speed of suicide be a determining factor in the legitimate powers of the state? That seems ridiculous.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 5:30 AM on September 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I used to smoke. I liked it. I still like a cig now and again. I think both sides tend to be a bit overdramatic about the effects of smoking to those around them.

However, if America wants to ban smoking and transfats and the consumption of completely legal products and activities, and do this sort of thing with 'our health and best interests' in mind, by all means do so.

However, if you do, go all the way and give us universal health care, else you're just removing rights, and frankly, given the fracas surrounding things like the PATRIOT act, wiretapping, and the like, I don't understand why that concept doesn't scare the crap out of more people.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:57 AM on September 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


"It's a big deal to 'smell your camel' because I don't want to smell your fucking camel."

Well, the main purpose of government is to legislate away all the things we don't want, right? Let's outlaw big cars. And fat people. And old people. And that bitch at work that doesn't know how to control the volume of her voice. Yelling in my ear while I'm trying to do my work? That's definitely worth 2 years on the inside.

So the question is: why should speed of suicide be a determining factor in the legitimate powers of the state? That seems ridiculous.

I want to write a snide, snarky response to this, but the basic argument that people should be institutionalized for smoking is just so fucking stupid that I'm not even going to start. I find it hard to believe you're not just trolling with that shit.

Listen, people. I'm not a smoker. I'm not even a libertarian. The one thing I just don't understand is how people decide that they can tell other people what to do. What in life leads people to think that when they're forced to deal with something they don't like, it's the government's job to fix it?
posted by god hates math at 6:10 AM on September 14, 2007


For those of you calling for the criminalization of cigarettes, have you paid any attention to the drug war? Do you really want to see government power, which will include the power to recklessly imprison and destroy lives, expanded? Knowing that once it is expanded, it will be hell to ever get it to contract?

I don't care if people smoke, i just don't want them doing it around me.

Why not use a nicotine pill or inhaler?
posted by delmoi at 6:18 AM on September 14, 2007


I want to write a snide, snarky response to this, but the basic argument that people should be institutionalized for smoking is just so fucking stupid that I'm not even going to start. I find it hard to believe you're not just trolling with that shit.

No, the point is the principle: why should the state have life-saving powers in regard to quick suicides but not in regard to slow ones? Obviously, I'm not suggesting the powers should be exercised in the same way. In the case of slow suicides by smoking, measures like the one proposed in the FPP seem sensible; institutionalization would be absurd.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 6:30 AM on September 14, 2007


The one thing I just don't understand is how people decide that they can tell other people what to do.

Oh, and this? This is called democratic government.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 6:31 AM on September 14, 2007


Oh, and this? This is called democratic government.

Damn. I never realized that Democracy was about catering to my personal whims. I should get on that. I mean - I would love to be independently wealthy. So would most people, I think. Let's legislate it!
posted by god hates math at 6:42 AM on September 14, 2007


Well since smoking for years pretty much ensures you're going to spend the later part of your life wasting medical resources treating preventable cancer or heart disease or whatever else smoking gives you, I think making it difficult to smoke is a big plus.
posted by chunking express at 6:45 AM on September 14, 2007


I live in a state that has banned smoking in bars and restaurants, and life is good. The only times I am ever around smokers is when talking outdoors with friends and neighbors, or sitting at outdoor cafe seating, and I don't mind smoke outdoors, so that's just fine. The smokers still get to smoke, just not indoors at the bar, and I get to go to the bar and not come home reeking of smoke and having black stuff coming out my nose.

Three people I know well have quit smoking in the last couple of years, and I think that the bar/restaurant ban was a factor. The bar owners industry association is screaming blue murder, claiming reduced profits, but the bars I go to still seem to have people in them, so not every bar in the state is in imminent danger of going under. I'd guess that bars that serve food will do better than the ones that just serve drinks, but time will tell.
posted by Forktine at 6:47 AM on September 14, 2007


I never realized that Democracy was about catering to my personal whims.

Jesus wept. There are things you can't do in a democracy. That's what laws are. We are debating whether or not these laws should extend to not smoking, and why, and in what circumstances. It does not advance this debate for Ayn Rand worshippers, anarchists, extreme libertarians and crazy people to keep pretending that "telling someone what they can or can't do" is some fascistic concept that's currently unheard of in America or the UK or wherever.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 7:02 AM on September 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


wow. there are some anti-smokers with some serious sand in their vaginas. could y'all be any more self-righteous?
posted by snofoam at 7:12 AM on September 14, 2007


jacquilynne writes "the war on drugs is already sufficiently stupid, thanks"

Yeah, great idea, except for that part.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:15 AM on September 14, 2007


a robot made out of meat writes "We've gotten the liberal people of the world to be willing to act like total assholes. We've portrayed smoking as simply pathetic to the youth, and put on decent enforcement against the young getting continuous tobacco supplies. This has all worked phenomenally well, and should probably be continued as-is."

Except that I increasingly find myself at odds with the growing number of liberal assholes.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:19 AM on September 14, 2007


game warden to the events rhino writes "So the question is: why should speed of suicide be a determining factor in the legitimate powers of the state?"

Hey, next time you eat something bad for you, think about what it would mean to be institutionalized for it. Or, imagine being treated like an adult.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:21 AM on September 14, 2007


five fresh fish writes "Protesting smoking bans is like protesting heroin laws: fucking stupid."

Hey, you hit the nail on the head. Prohibition of cigarettes would be very much like another drug war. How is that working out? What countries have laws relating to drugs which actually do something positive and don't treat people like criminals for medical issues?
posted by krinklyfig at 7:28 AM on September 14, 2007


I think making it difficult to smoke is a big plus.

Oh yeah, absolutely. Since the warden seems dead set on calling me crazy, or libertarian, or whatever, I'll add to this - I think smoking should be expensive. It should be taxed all to hell, and every cent of that money should go towards fixing the gawdawful mess that is American health care. There should be huge, gaping, toothless, cancerous mouths staring back at you from the pack you're about to open. But outlawed? That's idiotic.

Except that I increasingly find myself at odds with the growing number of liberal assholes.

Amen.
posted by god hates math at 7:30 AM on September 14, 2007


This is called democratic government.

yes it is - that's why the founding fathers, when they wrote the constitution, decided to found a republic instead of a democracy

hth
posted by pyramid termite at 7:31 AM on September 14, 2007


The bar owners industry association is screaming blue murder, claiming reduced profits, but the bars I go to still seem to have people in them, so not every bar in the state is in imminent danger of going under.

Restaurants, Bars Gain Business Under Smoke Ban in Massachusetts.

Smoking Ban in Arizona Hasn't Hurt Business as Customers Adapt.

Also ...
“The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's 2004 study of the impact of a 2002 ban on smoking in El Paso, Texas, included the following conclusions:
‘Restaurant and bar revenues account for approximately 10 percent of total retail revenues in El Paso, Texas, and this percentage showed that no statistically significant changes in restaurant and bar revenues occurred after the smoking ban was implemented on January 2, 2002.

‘These findings are consistent with the results of studies in other municipalities that determined smoke-free indoor air ordinances had no effect on restaurant revenues.

‘Despite claims that these laws might reduce alcoholic beverage revenues, mixed-beverage revenue analyses also indicate that sales of alcoholic beverages were not affected by the El Paso smoking ban.’
A 2004 study of Florida's smoke-free workplace law flatly concluded:
‘We could not find a significant negative effect of the smoke-free law on sales and employment in the leisure and hospitality industry in Florida.’
It further claimed that there was no evident net migration of sales from restaurants (where smoking was banned) to bars (where smoking was still allowed).

A 2003 review of 97 studies reported:
‘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.’’’
posted by ericb at 7:34 AM on September 14, 2007


A previous thread on the smoking ban in England.posted by ericb at 7:35 AM on September 14, 2007


I live in a condo. I do not smoke. And I'm fine with people smoking in their own units AS LONG AS they can keep all of the smoke inside their unit. Unfortunately, that's a near impossibility. Smoke gets out.

If you are going to smoke, keep your smoke to yourself. If you can't do that, go smoke somewhere else. It's that simple. If I can smell your smoke, your smoke has invaded *my* property or the common areas. Go outside and smoke.

Thus ends my Friday rant.
posted by Possum at 7:37 AM on September 14, 2007


Hey, next time you eat something bad for you, think about what it would mean to be institutionalized for it. Or, imagine being treated like an adult.

I never suggested institutionalizing smokers, but the power to institutionalize people at immediate risk of suicide is analogous in important ways to banning smoking, even perhaps in private residences, to stop people killing themselves slowly. If you're going to support one kind of intervention and not the other, you need a better reason than mere speed of suicide.

The US trans fats bans are examples of state (or city) intervention in eating, so applying this to food isn't the absurd idea you seem to imply.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 8:14 AM on September 14, 2007


Protesting smoking bans is like protesting heroin laws: fucking stupid. Nice strawman. Those junkies smokers are always sticking me up to get enough scratch for another fix. Anyway, maybe if junk weren't illegal it wouldn't be so expensive and the junkies wouldn't have to stick us up to get a fix.

It's OK. Authoritarianism is just as much a part of many liberal agendas as conservative ones. A lot of people just like telling other people what to do, how to live their lives. Same old, same old.
posted by caddis at 8:49 AM on September 14, 2007


I'll tell you what - let's ban cars and bonfires and air conditioners and coal power stations and cows and feces and fertilizer and horses and unfiltered air. If you doubt that we will, wait until there's an alternative to automobiles, which replaced horses, which ARE now effectively banned from their old roles in the US. It's only the Amish who still use them to get around. Even though they're a hell of a lot less of a headache in tons of ways and cheaper in just as many as cars.

Here in Beijing, you do see horses, mules, and bonfires. And coal. Alongside Priuses. And in this city, there's a registration limit of 13 years on cars. If your car is more than 13 years old, it's effectively scrap, because it pollutes too much. Draconian, no? What about the poor who can't afford to spring for a new car? What about the retail value of those who own them? You own a Golden Shepherd? You gots to get out the city or give your dog away, because those mangy beasts endanger public safety. In Singapore you can't chew gum.

What I'm saying is that we've all got things we consider rights. And there comes a point where a society has to decide which ones it won't infringe on and which it will. Tobacco's probably a good thing to ban, but in China no one would have it. And it's also interesting to note just how FEW people smoke in the US despite the lack of laws banning smoking. That'd be public education at work. In Beijing people drink the tap water untreated/unboiled, which is public education too. In Beijing, ALL THE TIME, I'm asked to put out my cigarette in smoking establishments, on the street, and by people I live with. And I put it out, because we're trying to have a society, y'know? And never on the job, never in traffic, never around kids, and around strangers I ask. Everybody knows it's bad here, but 60% of the men and a good 20% of the women do anyway. But my right to have one is never challenged. There are places that are simply open to whatever, like the stairwell. There are times and places for everything. And we all tend to respect each others' right not to have things be a pain in the ass. I know the slippery slope is an old one, but c'mon - how many of us get impaled along with the irresponsible assholes? If you ban shit from happening, the world gets constipated.
posted by saysthis at 8:57 AM on September 14, 2007


This law strikes me as just a bad idea. Where are these designated smoking areas going to be? In the next town? If all the advocates of this ordinance want is to limit or eliminate second-hand smoke in others' apartments, I don't know how telling smokers to go outside is going to help anything. I currently live in an apartment complex that is non-smoking, and the smokers who live there invariably step out onto the lawn outside for their smoke breaks, and the smoke invariably drifts into my apartment, especially if I have the windows open or fans blowing. I'd rather they stayed inside.
posted by deadcowdan at 9:02 AM on September 14, 2007


I've been living in apartments for ten years. My neighbors in the unit below me? Colombian brothers, and young, at that. They dress all funky and they get the bass amps going in the parking lot just about every day. They like to drink and smoke and party. They're entertaining, in their way. Sometimes their partying floats up to my window: Swisher sweets and probably a blunt or two. I don't care about the bass amps. It's a competition between them and its entertaining to see the nasty looks the neighbors give them when they start bumping the parking lot. I don't care about the partying either. It's not my business. Even when it comes in my window, it's not. Because it's just isn't my place to say anything, at all, about it. Their bodies, their business.

*BUT*

On Sunday, they like to cook a fish stew. I think it's a tradition to them. Not sure if that's cultural, it doesn't matter. The point is that it's every Sunday. Every.SUNDAY.

That shit smells SO BAD. Every Sunday. They start around 11 AM with cooking the fish, and the smell lingers for hours and hours and HOURS. The smell is somewhere between frying panfish and boiled shellfish, it changes throughout the day. It goes from greasy-batter-fishy to strong, strong fishy, followed by some kind of vegetable-stinky. Bleah.

I used to smoke. I understand smoking, I get the secondhand smoke argument, too.
I don't care about SHS. The smell doesn't bug me at all.

But those brothers, their fish: Ban that shit. My god. I have to light candles to try to mask that crap.
posted by disclaimer at 9:05 AM on September 14, 2007


i say we divide the country into whining and non-whining sections
posted by pyramid termite at 9:48 AM on September 14, 2007


i say we divide the country into whining and non-whining sections

Kinda like Red States vs. Blue States.
posted by ericb at 9:50 AM on September 14, 2007


I say we divide the country into smoking and non-smoking states.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:57 AM on September 14, 2007


Let's put the pedophiles and the smokers in the monkey cage and have them fight.
posted by disclaimer at 10:26 AM on September 14, 2007


"The limitation in number, for instance, of beer and spirit-houses, for the express purpose of rendering them more difficult of access, and diminishing the occasions of temptation, not only exposes all to an inconvenience because there are some by whom the facility would be abused, but is suited only to a state of society in which the laboring classes are avowedly treated as children or savages, and placed under an education of restraint, to fit them for future admission to the privileges of freedom."
posted by klangklangston at 10:30 AM on September 14, 2007


There are all kinds of regulations on what you can and can't do in your own home/apartment/condo/cave/whatever. Playing loud music is the most obvious analogy. Or what if the person in the apartment next to you enjoyed taunting skunks?

. . .

No, really, it could happen.
posted by Outlawyr at 10:33 AM on September 14, 2007


I don't get the rather sudden disgust people have with smokers. Its all "Don't get near me!" rather than nonsmokers avoiding smokers. Really, if it bothers you, that is YOUR issue.

I am not talking about housing or whatever, but say on a bench at the park or at the picnic table in the Smoking Area at work. Don't come site here and give me the stink eye. Did you ever wonder why there are 10 ash trays out here?

I think the ban on smoking in eating establishments is complete bullshit. This is a market driven society. If people really didn't want to eat where there is smoke they would eat at another place. It should be up to the owner to decide. However, I do place a caveat on kids. Kids should never be allowed around smoke. Ever. This is because of course they don't have a choice, they can't mosey on over somewhere else.

I don't smoke around kids, I rarely smoke around young adults after a young lady who thought I was "awesome" said "You look so cool smoking, I wish I smoked". I never smoked around her again.

But adults, lets be adults. I don't say something with your gross Vanilla Fields perfume causes my eyes to swell shut. I go somewhere else. I for one, realize the world doesn't revolve around me and my quest for ridding the world of fake vanilla.
posted by stormygrey at 10:44 AM on September 14, 2007


Hopefully banning the loud ass 'home dj' is next. Christ, move to the suburbs or learn about soundproofing. Then the "boomcar" and finally some rest. Trash + technology = no good.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:50 AM on September 14, 2007


This is a market driven society. If people really didn't want to eat where there is smoke they would eat at another place.

What makes you think that the invisible hand of the market stops at the register? There have always been smoking complaints. Patrons always ask to be moved around at restaurants. Patrons (and owners too) supporting this legislation is part of the market. Owners saying "we love smokers, its those fat cats in Washington" is how you dont lose your business. Yep, they're lying to you and the employees are happy they dont have to clean your ashes and do laundry 2x a day to get the smell out.

Heck, I'm finding myself more willing to go to shows nowadays because I can come home not smelling of your cancerous addiction! Amazing how that works. My eyes dont burn and maybe I even buy more drinks.

Also when then Maitre'de says you look great or hes happy to see you, well, he's lying too.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:55 AM on September 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I quit smoking earlier this year and have been amazed at how much more I notice the smell of smoke now. Really, if you are currently a smoker, odds are that you have no idea how strong the smell actually is. The best analogy I can come up with is that you are walking around with welding goggles on, but you don't notice, because you have been wearing them for years. Then one day, you take them off and wander out into the bright sunlight, it's stunning how much brighter and more vivid everything is.

I really have come to hate the smell of tobacco smoke as a result.

However, I always tend to lean towards the 'what you do in your house is your business' school of thought.
posted by quin at 11:04 AM on September 14, 2007


Well since smoking for years pretty much ensures you're going to spend the later part of your life wasting medical resources treating preventable cancer or heart disease or whatever else smoking gives you, I think making it difficult to smoke is a big plus.

In the states, the money lost by Medicare/Medicaid is less than the money saved by Social Security. We ought to be giving the families of people who smoke themselves to death a fat refund.

And the link between secondhand smoke and disease is tenuous, and not nearly as large or robust as many people in this thread think it is.
posted by Kwantsar at 11:14 AM on September 14, 2007


posted by quin if you are currently a smoker, odds are that you have no idea how strong the smell actually is.

Word. And smoking in restaurants? I believe Herb Caen said it best: "Having a smoking section in a restaurant is like having a peeing section in a pool."
posted by fandango_matt at 11:17 AM on September 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


No Damn Dirty Ape, I work in a bar. We are not lying, we hated the new smoking bullshit. So did our customers. Fortunatly, Georgia gave us an out. So we just kicked the kids out and we can smoke as much as we want.

Even when I worked a regular old Italian place every server hustled to try and get to wait on the smoking section. They are happier, more laid back, and generally cooler. Who knows why? Perhaps they had something to occupy themselves if the appetizers were taking a while.

So don't pretend to speak for employees or owners, you are just creating your own little mythology that jives with what you want the world to be like.
posted by stormygrey at 12:16 PM on September 14, 2007


And the link between secondhand smoke and disease is tenuous, and not nearly as large or robust as many people in this thread think it is.

That's what people said about the link between smoking and disease. I really can't imagine living with a smoker being good for your health.
posted by chunking express at 12:20 PM on September 14, 2007


stormygrey, different strokes for different folks. After spending my teens and part of my twenties in the restaurant business i can tell you that:

1. smoking was this little shitty corner we put in all the old people. People clamored for the non smoking section. People in non sitting next to the smoking section always complained.

2. When we gave up on the smoking section its like this smog was lifted. The back of the restaurant was suddenly this nice usable space for families when before it was just old codgers waiting to die, trashy people, and hipsters.

They are happier, more laid back, and generally cooler.

Not in my experience. They were always more trashy, loud, and annoying compared to the non-smokers. Most smokers i meet tend to be neurotic too. Are you seriously equating happiness and smoking? Do you work for big tobacco?

No one I know has said anything but positive things about the smoking bans. I have yet to hear "OMG I wish I smelled like Marobrough!!" I have a feeling one of us is very much out of touch with reality and its not me.
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:28 PM on September 14, 2007


It may be regional, but considering I am still working in the biz so to speak and I have been for the past eight years. I am speaking from first hand accounts that are pretty recent.

I was of course not arguing that smoking equals happiness. That is the kind of statement made by someone who is just ignoring what is actually being said. I even offered a reason why they were nicer, they tipped a lot better too. Perhaps its just that place and those people, but they rocked. It made the difference in a 75 dollar night and a 120 dollar night.

You are the one making weird broad claims like smokers are neurotic, thrashy, and loud.

It reminds me of militant vegetarians or meateaters who try to characterize all those that eat meat/or don't as a slew of perjoritives even though there is no link there.
posted by stormygrey at 12:38 PM on September 14, 2007


Are you seriously equating happiness and smoking? Do you work for big tobacco?

Are you seriously believing that people don't enjoy smoking? Are you a fool?

There's an extremely good reason why smoking is so popular: Because nicotine, like other drugs, can be very enjoyable. It works. There's that little jolt of electricity in your nerves when the nicotine hits.... mmmm, it feels goooood. And at certain times, for example, after a big meal, with a nice glass of wine, or maybe an espresso: a cigarette is marvelous.

Now we all know that it can become an addiction, and an unpleasant one at that. But then there are millions who can enjoy cigarettes without getting addicted, who do so privately in their own homes, and who can appreciate the drug without becoming a slave to it.

Oh, and you can't deny smoking can be glamorous, which also makes people happy. I'll refer you to Carole Lombard and Myrna Loy for irrefutable evidence of that.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 1:08 PM on September 14, 2007


You are the one making weird broad claims like smokers are neurotic, thrashy, and loud.

I stand by my generalization. If you constantly need an influx of nicotine there's something wrong with you. If you need this stimulant to get through the day there is something wrong with you. Its like people who are downing 8 starbucks drinks a day. There is something wrong them, it is obvious, and covering it up with stimulants is stop-gap measure that will eventually fail.

On top of that its addictive, so you have the usual intake and withdrawal symptoms which affects people moods. To non-smokers its obvious youre losing your shit.

During 1983--2002, adults with household incomes below the poverty level and those with less than some college education consistently had higher smoking prevalence.

Sounds pretty trashy to me.

Sounds like your young hip, smart, cool, wealthy, etc smoking world is straight out of a cigarette ad.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:11 PM on September 14, 2007


But then there are millions who can enjoy cigarettes without getting addicted

If they suffer any withdrawal from quitting they are addicted. Thats how addiction works. Very few smokers are not addicted.

Because nicotine, like other drugs, can be very enjoyable.

So is weed and blowjobs. I don think the restaurant I go to should have weed and a blowjobs section. Cant you addicts keep your shit at home? Not asking much here, just asking you people to act like responsible adults who dont want to stink everything up. Or at least have the decency to chew some tobacco and keep your distance from me. I dont see why I should acommodate your filthy little habits. No one should.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:16 PM on September 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


SO smoking is cool and not addictive. Whoa, I didnt know philip morris's people were on metafilter. Smoking is so addictive people routinely fail trying to quit:
In 2002, an estimated 45.8 million adults (22.5%; 95% CI = ±0.6) were current smokers; of these, an estimated 37.5 million (81.8%) smoked every day, and 8.3 million (18.2%) smoked some days. Among those who smoked every day, an estimated 15.4 million (41.2%; 95% CI = ±1.5) reported that they had stopped smoking for >1 day during the preceding 12 months because they were trying to quit.
So, the only time these people werent smoking everyday was their failed attempt to quit. Yes, Virginia, that's called addiction.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:25 PM on September 14, 2007


I don think the restaurant I go to should have weed and a blowjobs section.

Then don't go to a blowjob bar or a hash cafe. And if you don't like restaurants with smokers, then don't go in them, either. But it sounds like we're basically on the same page here: allow the smokers to smoke in the privacy of their own homes as long as it doesn't disturb others -- within reasonable limits, of course. My problem is with the nanny abolitionists who would like to outlaw smoking altogether.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 1:26 PM on September 14, 2007


Yes, damn dirty ape, you'll note that I did say smoking can be addictive.

I hope I never have to endure you as a server -- you don't seem capable of understanding.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 1:28 PM on September 14, 2007


I would be surprised if smokers were as costly to the health care system as the obese. They are certainly easier to care for. I'm in favor of encouraging all apartment dwellers to smoke up and smoke often.
posted by docpops at 1:31 PM on September 14, 2007


You said this line of regrettable bullshit:

But then there are millions who can enjoy cigarettes without getting addicted

Wrong. We're seeing adicts failing to quit. 80% smoking everyday. Half of all daily smokers tried to quit in the past year and failed. Incredible! Thats addiction.

And if you don't like restaurants with smokers, then don't go in them, either.

Double bullshit. Smokers got into restaurants because no one stood up to them. Then then co-oped all public spaces. People are just justly fighting back. Society is finally coming to terms with those little cancerous fires you people are so find of lighting.

If that means a ban everywhere except the property you own, then so be it. Best solution imaginable.

Whatever, this is just a whote lot of smoke. You guys lost. Badly. Now its just the bitter hold outs aping cigarette ads embarassingly on the internet.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:33 PM on September 14, 2007


Smoking is the nigger of contemporary politics.
posted by ed at 2:25 PM on September 14, 2007


We're seeing adicts failing to quit.

Yes, of course. Nobody is arguing that cigarettes are not addictive. But remember there are many millions of people out there who have had a cigarette or two and never got addicted. And there are people who smoked packs daily and quit without a problem. Me, for example -- I don't even smoke at all anymore. Just gave it up because I calculated the unpleasantries and health risks outweighed the joys. And it wasn't difficult to do.

So please don't fall for the Nancy Reagan hysteria over it all: there are people who can smoke responsibly and in moderation, just as there are people who can drink responsibly and in moderation.

But again, we seem to agree that smoking should be legal, and done in private or where it won't disturb non-smokers.


Now its just the bitter hold outs aping cigarette ads embarassingly on the internet.


Come on. You are just being silly if you refuse to understand that there are pleasures to be had from cigarettes. Even monkeys know this. It's got nothing to do with advertising the product, this is just a plain fact.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 2:27 PM on September 14, 2007


And the link between secondhand smoke and disease is tenuous, and not nearly as large or robust as many people in this thread think it is.


My last two lung cancer fatalities were middle-aged female non-smokers who grew up with two smoking parents. I'm sure there's at best a tenuous connection, as you said. RIP, asswipe.
posted by docpops at 2:29 PM on September 14, 2007


RIP, asswipe.

Is this how you refer to all your dead patients?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 2:44 PM on September 14, 2007


What an enlightening, productive discussion this has been. By which I mean, can we add this to the list with teh fat, declawing, and viking parsing?
posted by everichon at 3:03 PM on September 14, 2007


RIP, asswipe.

Is this how you refer to all your dead patients?


I may be wrong, but I think he was referring to Kwantsar as the "asswipe."
posted by ericb at 3:06 PM on September 14, 2007


What an enlightening, productive discussion this has been. By which I mean, can we add this to the list with teh fat, declawing, and viking parsing?

Don't forget circumcision!
posted by ericb at 3:07 PM on September 14, 2007


KAC - I don't think anyone here is really having a problem with smokers smoking. Smoke away. Smoke often, heavily, and with gusto. But smokers need to stop deluding themselves that their habit is less noxious and harmful to the public than if they were to simply defecate on the floor of the restaurant/office/plane/bus/bar they are occupying. Even the smokers in my practice admit their smoking is foul, and every one of them smells like crap and looks ten years older than their peers. The smokers under thirty, though, seem more likely to be able to hold onto some fragile self-image of 'cool' when they think of themselves with a butt dangling from their mouth.

I think the reason no one gets more agitated over smokers, once they aren't a direct public nuisance, is that there is a tacit realization that the habit itself is generally synonymous with the sort of self-destructive stupidity that usually directs people away from consuming health care dollars and into an early grave. If people stopped smoking, they would likely just add exponentially to the total burden of diabetics and other lifestyle-induced health disasters.
posted by docpops at 3:11 PM on September 14, 2007


Blazecock Pileon writes "My meth-making neighbor should have the right to turn the garage along our property into a Superfund-quality chemical wasteland. Doesn't affect me."

Personally, I thing they need to do something about those goddam gheys, spreading teh AIDS all about. Some bisexual sticks it into a nice straight chick, and the next thing you know, we're all dead meat.

I suggest we herd 'em all into leper colonies where they can have teh ghey sex to their hearts consent. Or alternatively, we could just ban it, on the public health grounds.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:35 PM on September 14, 2007


I really don't understand why cigarettes have become the most hated product on Earth.

Because the average person has a severely limited amount of time and resources to devote to leisure, and you fuckwits with your smokes seem to inevitably show up right at the time when we're about to settle into a rare few minutes of repose over a nice meal. Or at least you did before we cancelled your sorry asses off the reservation list. Good riddance. And please stop ranting about the burgeoning nanny state when it comes to your sadly shrinking access to public smoking. No one's buying it.
posted by docpops at 3:45 PM on September 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


Haha...wow, docpops. Didn't stormygrey say something about smokers being more laid-back? Cause you are one tightly wound asshole.

I also like how apparently cigarettes are the only crutch out there that's bad for you, and therefor we're weaker people. I'm sure no one commenting on this is a drunk, or loves Big Macs.
posted by Roman Graves at 4:30 PM on September 14, 2007


I like to drink my Big Macs. But I can totally maintain.
posted by everichon at 4:38 PM on September 14, 2007


Tightly wound asshole is my middle name. Or it should be. Maybe if I lived in Guam where they name their kids Beaver and Volkswagen. Again, it ain't about anything but the stinking cloud of shit you create around you. Not the addiction, not the health effects, nononononnononono - you smell worse than ass, and I shouldn't have to wonder when my evening out gets a nice subtle dose of said ass. These are great days to be alive, indeed.
posted by docpops at 4:46 PM on September 14, 2007


I'm a non-smoker. Well, I don't smoke tobacco. And as one who enjoys smoking non-tobacco products, I rather enjoy my personal freedoms. At the same point, smokers really smell bad. Really bad. So I kind of see-sawed for a while.

I think one of the points which I found hardest to understand was that of taking away cigarettes was treating people like children. Quite the reverse, I think that people who are smoking are acting like children, which causes some people to reactively treat them like children.

Food has taste and nutrional value. Few will object to someone eating a piece of cake. But if all you ever do is eat cake, or if you see a cake, you have to sit down and eat the entire thing, that's being a bit childish. After all, what do 5 and 6 year olds say? When I grow up, all I'll ever eat is cake and ice cream. Monkeys will develop quite the smoking addiction if they want, and if I constantly left cookies on the ground my beagle (never own a beagle!) would be 80 lbs with her stomach dragging on the ground.

Now, from time to time, it's fun to act like a child. From time to time, I go on a swing set, we go watch animals, I'll do hand stands and cartwheels in the back lawn. I get high, and I laugh hysterically while watching Family Guy (something I'm realizing might not be the most kid friendly show). Going back a bit, it's fun to eat a slice or two of cake.

I think the objection that we should take as a society, is when it gets out of control (I.E. one loses one's adult-like ability to way risks and rewards). My nightly toking isn't out of control, as I can afford it, and when I needed a blood test for immigrating, we both quit cold turkey, with no regrets. And as we wanted to be ready for me to take the blood test, and we didn't know exactly when that would be, we ended up quittings for 4 months.

Once one hits the point where one can't quit, it's out of control. One can say that they intentionally don't want to quit (after all, they didn't want to quit up to the point that they were addicted, and one or two cigarettes will not leave one jonesen for their next ciggy). At the same point, one can't know that it's not just rationalizing away the effort required to quit.

In the end tho, I think it's fine for one's loved ones to do an intervention, but just as I think the drug war is wrong, it would be wrong to throw cigarettes in the mix as well. Despite the horrible smell, my memory of the current knowledge of the stats of the health risks doesn't make them dangerous enough to society to outlaw them. Please provide good links to educate me if this is wrong.

I think it would be much better for the health of society to stop allowing registration of automobiles. Let people drive them on their private property, but otherwise, only busses, bikes, and maybe a small number of licensed taxi's. This would cut greatly down on the death by accident rate, and increase air quality. Plus, it would free up a fair amount of income to go into "better" places in the economy.

As far as smoking in apartments and condos, I think that adequete filtration and ventilation (to pull air from rooms to vents and exhaust from the roof) should be required in all future buildings. This will not only deal with the smoking issue, but also with the stinking food, and increase privacy. Similarly extensive retrofits of existing buildings should require ventalation/filtration considerations since a large amount of work is already being done (similar to how if you're rebuilding the transmission, you might as well replace the $90 clutch while the $500 of labor has already been done).

For existing structures, the best solution I can think of in the case where there's a problem, the complainer, the smoker(s) (the plural would be where 3 apartments are causing grief to one non-smoker), should have to split the costs to most cost efficiently solve the air direction problem. Once that cost is divied, the land lord should take 1/2 of each tennet's cost.
posted by nobeagle at 4:47 PM on September 14, 2007


Would that make my middle name Stinking Cloud of Shit? I'm glad I wasn't born in Guam.
posted by Roman Graves at 5:23 PM on September 14, 2007


What an enlightening, productive discussion this has been. By which I mean, can we add this to the list with teh fat, declawing, and viking parsing?

Don't forget circumcision!


We are talking government enforced circumcision. It is proven to lower AIDS transmission, so if you are uncut, come down by next Friday, or then be dragged down, to your local penis cutting center. Chop, chop, do not delay. This message brought to you by your friendly government central scrutinizer.
posted by caddis at 6:05 PM on September 14, 2007


five fresh fish writes "Protesting smoking bans is like protesting heroin laws: fucking stupid."

Hey, you hit the nail on the head. Prohibition of cigarettes would be very much like another drug war. How is that working out? What countries have laws relating to drugs which actually do something positive and don't treat people like criminals for medical issues?


Well, surprise surprise, another vapid argument.

Lessee, where to begin? There's the safe injection program in Vancouver, which has been a remarkable success in both reducing users' risk and increasing addiction treatment participation. There's the argument I favour, which is 100% legalisation of all drugs, with regulations on the sale and use thereof. There's the increasing legality of marijuana, which is going pretty damn well. There's the decreasing usage rate of tobacco, which is going pretty damn well. Might as well mention the school curriculum is bringing physical fitness back into the foreground, as a preventative against future obesity healthcare problems.

So, y'know, from my perspective the drug war is going pretty damn well: sensible policies seem to be slowly taking root.

But, hey, you continue fighting for the right to smoke whereever you damn well please, damn the consideration of others' enjoyment of public spaces. After all, the "fuck you" attitude defines American culture.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:19 PM on September 14, 2007


I really like that the brainwashing of the American young against smoking has worked so well. I went through D. A. R. E. as a kid, and while they made most drugs sound pretty fun (I remember all my friends in 5th grade having arguments over which drug would be the awesomest to try...I think we decided on LSD after one of us found a copy of Go Ask Alice) they really didn't even present a positive side of smoking.

I'm generally pretty skeptical about brainwashing (might be a contradiction in terms, but what can I say, if you're even vaguely clever as a kid you know when you're being sold a bill of goods) and took most of the pro-America and anti-drug stuff with a grain of salt, even in elementary school, but I can't look at a smoker and not think "That person is pathetic". It's saved me from a lifelong addiction, because I spent a lot of my teenage years totally idolizing various old movie/music stars who smoked, and the whole "x is cool, x smokes, therefore perhaps smoking will help me be as cool as x" progression totally didn't feel right to me. I thought x looked very cool while smoking, but it was because x him/herself was cool, not because x was smoking. Because, thanks D. A. R. E., smokers just aren't cool. Even though I knew from smoker friends that it would help me keep weight off and concentrate better, it just couldn't combat the whole "I'm imagining myself smoking and I look like a colossal tool...plus I smell rank and almost nobody else smokes so they'll all blame me" issue. Oh, peer pressure.

I know too many people my parents' age who started smoking because it was sexy. If we bring up whole generations of kids who just think it looks lame, then this is a problem that will solve itself.
posted by crinklebat at 7:18 PM on September 14, 2007


Ah, the heady stench of class war! Chicago (of all places!) has banned smoking in bars (effective '08), but it relieves me to know that while the privileged tightasses plan their next crusade I'll always be able to find a dive where me and my "trashy" friends can smoke and drink and eat vitners chili lime pork rinds. Or whatever vitners are available.
posted by generalist at 7:38 PM on September 14, 2007


When I was a wee nipper in the 1970s I read Judge Dredd religiously because it was, you know, critical to know what 2000AD would be like. I remember one early episode where Dredd was chasing some fugitive blackmarket fag traders (public smoking being of course banned in Mega City One) and they thought they escaped him by hiding in a "smokatorium", a kind of leper colony where smokers could all hang out together and puff away. Needless to say, they died, or were overcome by fumes and tried to escape whereupon, as customary, Dredd shot them in the back with his trusty heat-seeking bullets... the results were the same. Anyway, it made a great impression on me and, of course, is coming true as have so many other things in 2000AD, especially Halo Jones.
posted by meehawl at 7:42 PM on September 14, 2007


My last two lung cancer fatalities were middle-aged female non-smokers who grew up with two smoking parents. I'm sure there's at best a tenuous connection, as you said. RIP, asswipe.

ya know, i love certainty. absolutism. docpops, how do you know for sure it was SHS? you don't, you come into the arguement with a clear bias. prove to me it was SHS. you cannot as there are oh so many confounders. you've been brainwashed just like the masses. asswipe.
posted by brandz at 8:05 PM on September 15, 2007


You know, the ugliness that some of the anti-smoking smoker people have displayed in this thread is more offensive and repulsive than a bonfire of rotten skunk corpses stuffed with cigarettes, patchouli, dog shit, and vodka vomit.
posted by Devils Slide at 5:14 AM on September 17, 2007


And yes, a few of the smokers/smoking apologists have been way out of line too, but most of the venom seems to come from the anti-smoking corner.
posted by Devils Slide at 5:21 AM on September 17, 2007


people get pretty strident atop their high horses, especially when they start telling everybody else how to live their lives; they are just high on authority, how sad and pathetic they are
posted by caddis at 5:33 AM on September 17, 2007


That's it in a nutshell, caddis. I wish that they'd remember there are fanatics (e.g. religious fundamentalists, vegans, etc*) of every persuasion who'd look at them and their lifestyles in the same unforgiving judgmental light as they themselves look at smokers, and these fanatics would be just as gleeful about the "sinners'/carnivores'" ultimate fate as the anti-smokers have been about the future that (they hope) awaits all smokers. It's just hate and prejudice, pure and simple.

*not that I'm equating fundies with vegans, I'm just using the more militant factions of these groups as an example
posted by Devils Slide at 7:01 AM on September 17, 2007


I don't care about anyone's lifestyle, I just don't want to smell bad smells.
posted by everichon at 12:00 PM on September 17, 2007


>It's just hate and prejudice, pure and simple.

If we're on our horse youre on the cross. We dont care about your 'lifestyle' (as if buring and inhaling smoke can be a lifestyle). I just dont want to smell your stinky burning tobacco when Im enjoying life and trying to not get cancer, thank you very much. Eat 100 big macs a day, make out with your same sex partner, pick a fight with a midget, etc . I dont care.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:41 PM on September 17, 2007


that would be "little person."
posted by caddis at 2:13 PM on September 17, 2007


You know who else smoked?
posted by docpops at 2:55 PM on September 17, 2007


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