Friday, March 31, 2006

A Response to Joseph L. Bast of Chicago, IL

Re: 2 posts ago.
First, it made no mention of the thousands of proposed smoking bans that have been defeated by concerned citizens...
Thousands? Really? The fact remains that the more progressive parts of this country are doing the exact opposite.
...who see them as unnecessary violations of individual freedom and private property rights.
This is NOT the issue. The issue has never been about individual 'rights' to smoke, it's been about the publics RIGHT to health and their freedom to breathe clean air. It's a public health issue.
Second, it did not mention the hundreds of millions of dollars being spent by the anti-smoking movement to demonize smokers and tobacco products.
I'm sure it didn't mention the BILLIONS of dollars spent by the tobacco industries to keep the smokers as the puppets that they are. Any monies spent by the anti-smoking movement pales in comparison to the clout of the marketing divisions of huge multi-nationals.
They are the outcome of a deliberate campaign to shape public opinion by exaggerating health threats and ignoring values such as self-responsibility and privacy.
Exaggerating health threats? I don't think any reputable scientist or person would question the health risks involved.

I absolutely agree that it ignores the values of self-responsibility and privacy. However, it promotes the values of courtesy and respect for your fellow citizens.

The truth is that people wised up, they saw their parents and grandparents dying painfully.
There is nothing inevitable about the spread of smoking bans, and it is entirely likely that we will look back on the recent spate of bans with guilt and remorse, just as alcohol Prohibition is now viewed as having been a deadly mistake.
It's entirely unlikely that we will look back on smoking bans with guilt. The parallel to alcohol Prohibition is entirely unreasonable. No one has completely outlawed tobacco (which I'd be in favour if it came to it), just keep it out of public. One can drink/smoke all they want, it's perfectly within their right. However, once your drinking/smoking becomes a personal issue to other people, well then we have a problem. Smoke all you want in your own place/car.

If we want to keep on the alcohol topic, the education and cracking down of impaired driving has reduced the amount of incidents, and nowadays it's socially unacceptable to get behind the wheel whilst intoxicated. The law is not about infringing the rights of the drinker, it's about protecting the public at large.

The doomsayers have always pointed to the sky and claimed that no one would patronize bars or restaurants anymore. That's been shown to be wrong, and most establishments in NYC have reported increased revenue since the smoking ban took effect (granted, there are far more variables involved).

Smoke all you want, but stop with the self-righteousness by thinking that your 'rights' are more substantial or fundamental than others.


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