Saturday, May 29, 2010

No Smoking

My response to Arby's post about laws restricting smoking:

1. Politicians are liars and hypocrites. I think we all know that by now.
2. That doesn't make it right.
3. We as citizens have the right, nay, the duty, to call them on it, and make some effort to correct it.
4. Smokers have the right to slowly kill themselves.
5. Non-smokers have the right not to be poisoned by their neighbors.
6. Good manners would dictate that smokers not smoke where other people are trying to breathe. That would pretty much limit smoking to inside their own homes and cars (assuming no children or non-smokers are present), or outdoors AND downwind, or in indoor areas designated as smoking areas. Any area not designated a smoking area should be assumed to be a non-smoking area.
7. I have met a number of polite smokers who follow these rules automatically. The vast majority of smokers, however, do not. They have deadened their sense of smell to the point that they think their sh.. er, smoke doesn't stink. That's why most public spaces have rules permitting smoking in some places and not others. (Cigar smoke is the worst, cigarette smoke is second, and pipe tobacco can actually smell pleasant if it's not too thick. IIRC, they're all equally unhealthy, though. And heavy smokers stink even when they're not smoking.)
8. I would rather let property owners decide if and where smoking is allowed than turn that decision over to the government. The government tries to micromanage too much of our lives already.
9. Private property owners have done a better job of setting reasonable smoking policies, and have done it more quickly. When I was a kid, you could count on coming back from any public building, except possibly church, stinking of smoke. Even doctor's offices and hospitals had ashtrays in their waiting rooms. First came non-smoking sections in restaurants. Then local fire marshals began giving orders or getting ordinances passed against smoking in department stores. Next, individual doctors and hospitals began restricting smoking to designated areas. Then local, state, and federal government offices began to follow suit. Private colleges and universities had long limited smoking to designated areas or been smoke free. When my father went back to school to work on his master's in the late 1970's, professors at the state university were still smoking while lecturing. By the time I enrolled, smoking was only allowed outdoors. You had to run a gauntlet of smokers to get to the building, but once you were inside, you could breathe. Non-smoking restaurants began to appear in the 1990's. Since then, I have seen non-smoking skating rinks, bowling alleys, laundromats, and even bars. People can choose to patronize the businesses that meet preferences, smoking or non. The government came late to the party, and now wants to take credit for hosting it.

BTW, the choices for eternity are not smoking or non, but incense or brimstone.

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Blogger Arby said...

The post started a nice dialogue.

May 29, 2010 at 8:37 PM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...


May 30, 2010 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger Arby said...

I'm thinking about writing a blog suggesting that we outlaw driving in public in order to prevent the ill effects of second-hand bumper, because it's rarely your own bumper that hits you. It's always the other guy's bumper that does all the damage.

May 31, 2010 at 12:32 PM  
Blogger Arby said...

So, where's the angry screed? I love a good angry screed!

June 3, 2010 at 7:57 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

I know you! I was the kid who was always into mischief, and you were the kid who was egging me on. You get entertained, and I get in trouble for it.

June 3, 2010 at 10:17 AM  

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