The Surgeon General declares war on second-hand smoke

June 27th, 2006

If what the Surgeon General says about second-hand smoke being unsafe is true…does it change your opinion about the validity of smoking bans in public bars and restaurants?

edit: For people who aren’t familiar with my opinion on smoking bans, viagra salve here it is.

Entry Filed under: Observations

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Scott Mehring  |  June 27th, 2006 at 12:48 pm

    Nope. Doesn’t change my position one bit. That’s because I’ve been for smoking bans all along. Being an asthmatic and survivor of cancer (5 years), I strongly support the ban that lets me: 1. not have asthma attacks when I walk into a restaurant or bar and 2. reduce my risk of getting that life threatening disease again.

    Whenever someone is smoking in a public place, on a street corner, etc. I make a large path around them, avoiding coming close to them as if they had leprosy and were ringing a bell and yelling “unclean!”. In actuality, leprosy looks like a mild thing to get when compared to cancer. I actually hope it my avoidance of them makes them feel just a little bit disgusting. Not to be mean, but they are disgusting. I would have no problem with people smoking, if they could somehow keep their smoke to themselves. Most people however make no attempt to do so.

    Oh yeah, and new rule in Mehringland: Smokers can afford to smoke and therefore no smoking-related disease will be treated using government dollars. If you choose to get lung cancer, then face the consequences. I won’t be paying to support the life you decided to throw away.

  • 2. Surgeon General: No Safe &hellip  |  June 27th, 2006 at 12:49 pm

    […] From Where I Sit wonders: If what the Surgeon General says about second-hand smoke being unsafe is true‚Ķdoes it change your opinion about the validity of smoking bans in public bars and restaurants? […]

  • 3. Jenna  |  June 27th, 2006 at 5:29 pm

    Nope. People still have the right to be stupid, no matter how stupid government offiicals deem it to be.

    If the surgeon general said that watching someone eat a big juicy hamburger caused others to want fatty burgers and subsequently become obese, would you ban eating fatty foods?

    Freedom…liberty…no matter what the surgeon general pretends he knows.

  • 4. Administrator  |  June 27th, 2006 at 5:44 pm

    I love freedom, but I don’t think anyone should be free to cause physical harm to others.

  • 5. Jenna  |  June 27th, 2006 at 6:24 pm

    I’m free to drive a car, aren’t I? Isn’t there a chance that I might harm someone while driving a car? (I have no idea, but the statistics could be comprable.)

    I’m free to have a gas grill on my porch, aren’t I? And that gas grill might suddenly explode, injuring those in the apartments around mine.

    There are tons of things that I have the freedom to do that might hurt others…do you propose the government ban them all?

  • 6. Administrator  |  June 28th, 2006 at 9:57 am

    Jenna, as I’ve said before, either second-hand smoke is harmless, in which case I’m not in favor of banning smoking in public places.

    Or it is harmful, in which case I view it as a physical assault on everyone exposed to it.

    If there is any legitimate use of government at all, it is to prevent one person from knowingly causing physical harm to other citizens of that society.

    As a wise man once said, your right to swing your fist ends at my face.

    Your right to poison your own system ends when you begin to poison mine.

    (Neither of the “yours” above are a reference to you, Jenna. Just generic second person pronoun.)

    I don’t see why you don’t get that.

    I can understand your stance if you just refuse to believe that second-hand smoke is harmful. (As I said in the beginning, if it is not harmful…I have no objection.) But if it is harmful, your stance boils down to a person’s right to smoke takes precedent over his neighbor’s right not to be physically assaulted by the smoker. I know of no political or moral system of thought that would support that conclusion.

  • 7. Jenna  |  June 28th, 2006 at 10:20 am

    For the sake of the argument, let’s say it is harmful. I’m not 100% convinced of the direct effects of second-hand, but let’s go with that.

    Following your reasoning, everything and anything I might do that might harm someone else should be banned.

    Let’s say I agree with you, and one person’s smoking should be banned because it can cause physical harm to others.

    But what about all the other things I do that could cause physical harm to others? I can’t even begin to name all of them–driving, etc. Should all of those things be banned?

    If not, who draws it and where does the line belong?

    (Side note: these are serious questions, I’m not just trying to make a point.)

    (Side note two: What about smoking bans that also outlaw chewing tobacco? What about cigar exemptions? What is your take on those things?)

  • 8. Administrator  |  June 28th, 2006 at 10:44 am

    There is always a risk/benefit evaluation with any activity.

    Some things are clearly high benefit, low risk:

    • Commercial flight.
    • Anesthesia.
    ‚Ä¢ etc…

    Others are clearly low benefit, high risk:

    • Drinking and driving.
    • Dumping chemicals into rivers.
    ‚Ä¢ etc…

    Most things fall somewhere in between:

    • Driving in general
    • Gas grills
    ‚Ä¢ etc…

    We tend to ban or penalize high risk/low benefit behaviors. (A practice I agree with when the risks are not private. In other words, I don’t care what you do to harm yourself. I’m only interested when what you do can harm me (or others).)

    My personal opinion is, if it’s proven that no level of second-hand smoke is harmless, smoking in public places would be more like drinking and driving than like driving in general.

    But I think reasonable people could disagree about exactly where it would fall on the risk/benefit scale.

  • 9. Administrator  |  June 28th, 2006 at 10:46 am

    I forgot about your question about chewing tobacco and cigars.

    I don’t see how chewing tobacco could hurt anybody but the chewer.

    I have no interest in protecting anyone from themselves.

    Cigars would probably fall under the category of hurting other people.

  • 10. Peter  |  June 29th, 2006 at 8:46 am

    I am afraid you are all wet. I can say that as an ex-smoker. Smoke free for 3 1/2 years having quit a 4 pack a day habit. You can do all the silly comparisons you want. The bottom line is this; you are trying to ban people from engaging in a legal activity based on disputed scientific evidence. I know we like to think our scientists are infallible but we all know that that just isn’t true. So, rather than force one view on everyone, why don’t we just let the establishments themselves declare if they are smoking or non-smoking facillities. You shouldn’t have the right to dictate a far reaching policy like this just so you can go to some restaurant that you think is too smokey.

  • 11. Leaning Blue » Blog&hellip  |  July 2nd, 2006 at 5:22 pm

    […] elliot presents The Surgeon General declares war on second-hand smoke at From Where I Sit. […]

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Being in a wheelchair gives you a unique perspective on the world. This blog features many of my views on politics, art, science, and entertainment. My name is Elliot Stearns. More...

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