[FoRK] Welcome to the American Totality. You've been warned.

Ian Andrew Bell <hello at ianbell.com> on Mon Feb 4 15:31:29 PST 2008

On 4-Feb-08, at 3:12 PM, Jeff Bone wrote:

> On Feb 4, 2008, at 2:06 PM, Ian Andrew Bell wrote:
>> The logic that is in practise used to justify the prohibition of  
>> smoking has much more to do with "Second Hand Smoke".
> Bzzt, thanks for playing.
> One of the more "sophisticated" arguments that's been used e.g. in  
> Texas and other more conservative parts of the country to sell  
> smoking prohibition to people who are inherently anti-regulation is  
> this:  that smoking-related disease costs *everybody* whether or not  
> you smoke, are exposed to second-hand smoke, or none of the above.   
> It's a public concern because it's an economic concern;  i.e., it's  
> a pocketbook issue.  From the primary costs (burden on public  
> subsidies of health care) to the derivative costs (using up  
> healthcare "bandwidth," effects of absenteeism, etc.) --- so the  
> prohibitionists say --- it's a serious enough economic burden that  
> it warrants an otherwise-unacceptable regulatory response.

Right, so you have refuted someone else's argument here, or rather  
worked to substantiate it quite nicely.

My argument though was that second hand smoke, ingested involuntarily  
in the presence of smokers, is inherently hazardous and dangerous to  
one's health.  It's an argument largely copied from the rhetoric  
underpinning workplace smoking bans in restaurants and bars, etc.   
Therefore, and based solely on that premise, it's been a public health  
and safety concern.

	To wit:  http://www.bcfed.com/node/352

The economic issues are the reasoning underpinning super-high taxes on  
cigarettes, and are largely unrelated to the public health issue.  As  
you could rightfully argue, the actual effects on the health care  
systems of any society are difficult to track right down to the  
individual smoker / disease and therefore it's unfair to regulate  
WHETHER you can smoke or not.

I think most of those of us who are rational, thinking human beings  
and understand that voluntarily lighting a bunch of chemicals wrapped  
in paper and sucking the offal into your lungs is a bad idea, and a  
few of those among us are strong-minded enough to suggest that if you  
do it near me, I have a more direct model in mind for the infusion of  
those chemicals into your system.

Second hand smoke causes cancer.  Some argue that with the more  
effective filters on cigarettes it's even more dangerous than actually  
smoking, with comparable prolonged exposure.  You don't have the right  
to give other people cancer.

If smokers are feeling persecuted, perhaps it's because they should  
be.  What alternative would you suggest.. that the rest of us all be  
forced to wear rebreathers?


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