September 27th, 2006

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01:51 pm - on banning public smoking...

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on banning public smoking... - graffiti.maverick — LiveJournal

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[User Picture]From: zyrain Date: September 28th, 2006 - 06:00 am (Link)
Two disagreements:

"But if I allow the government to protect me from voluntary exposure to
this dangerous activity, then they are can absolutely protect me from
voluntary exposure to heart disease by drinking alcohol"

This is an assertion that you do not back up. This 'slippery slope' is exactly what we need to put government controls on. I think it is possible to put a very high threshold on how dangerous something has to be before givernment intervention is allowed. We can debate IF smoking meets this threshold seperately from if there should be a threshold (as I'm arguing now). Incidentally, skydiving causes the death of far, far fewer people year, and again, can be conducted safely.

"I assure you that when I smoked my first cigarette I knew full well
the risks and I knew full well what I was doing. I am also quite willing
to bet that 9 out of 10 smokers today will tell you the same."

Two replies, sure, you took your first puff knowingly, but not everyone is like you. 70% of smoking addicts want to quit, and cannot, also polls on teenage smoking suggest that peer pressure is the reason for nearly a third of teens to start smoking, and 20% is for coolness/image reasons. Therefore, you'd likely lose that bet (assuming you meant that the decision was a wholly independent one).

[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: September 28th, 2006 - 07:22 am (Link)
1) sure its possible. I (or you or Bush, or whoever) can simply say "no slippery slope, smoking is within our rights to ban abortion is not." or "abortion is within our rights to ban, guns are not" or "guns are within our right and fuck it, so is everything else." But that is by definition what a slippery slope is. I do not trust anyone to make those decisions for me, and I shouldn't have to. I believe in a minimalist government which does what it needs to in order to ensure the public safety and the day to day running of society. At the end of the day, no matter how much the non smokers bitch and moan, your safety is not infringed upon by the existence of smoking bars. You are well within your rights to not go. But you need to understand something, the very fact that we are even having this conversation is pure evidence of the fact that you among others are discriminatory against smokers. You are saying I don't have the right to go somewhere and be left alone to my dirty filthy habit. And that's all that I am asking for. I'm not asking the government to give me a place to smoke. I'm not asking them to force a non-smoking place to give me a smoking area. I'm simply asking them to stay the fuck away from the Cage, a bar that pretty much only exists for people to come in and relax and have cigarettes and beers in peace and not be judged by the non-smoking world around us. Please understand, and this isn't personal, but if you look below at the comments of max1975, another Cage patron, you'll see. And I assure you that every other regular patron of the tiny little bar feels the same way. We don't want you at the cage. Not you personally, but we don't want non-smokers there. The Cage doesn't want non-smokers there. We don't want bands. We don't want dancing. We don't special consideration. We just want to be left to our coffee, tobacco, beer, pinball, poetry, sketching and misery. You can go into any of the other 20 restaurants on Forbes Avenue between murrary and shady and breathe clean air all you want to. But all anyone in that bar wants is one place where they can go and smoke in peace. And until yesterday, we had that. Now tell me how that's fair. And tell me how tomorrow the government can't make the same decision about gay bars. And the next day about black ones? The fact that smoking isn't healthy is irrelevant. What's relevant is that you are trying to determine when its ok to discriminate against someone. The answer is, it never is.

2) Why I started smoking isn't relevant. Nor is whether or not I want to quit. Yes, actually, I do. Yes, its hard. Yes I am an addict. None of that has anything to do with whether or not its my personal responsibility or why this law was passed. It is not the government's job to help me. And for the same reasons I detailed before. If my addiction to nicotene is a flaw that the government should seek to eradicate, then why shouldn't they do the same thing with an alternative sexual preference, or with african american culture. At the end of the day, you know what, people who smoke are cooler than people who don't. You know why? Consensus reality. But that's subjective. If you don't like smoking, you're going to say we're not cool. And you know what else? It totally doesn't matter. Because you know who else is cool? People who wear leather jackets. But the government doesn't owe PeTA a damn thing.
[User Picture]From: max1975 Date: September 28th, 2006 - 07:46 am (Link)
Amen to all that.

A point that's being missed in this thread: this isn't at all a question of the government protecting the health of smokers. If they wanted to do that, they'd ban cigarettes (oh, but what would happen to all the tax revenue? bastards). Smokers will still smoke, just never again in comfort. (Remind me to thank county council for watching out for my health in January when I'm freezing to death becaue it's illegal to smoke indoors).

[User Picture]From: zyrain Date: September 28th, 2006 - 08:03 am (Link)
I wholly agree with you that it's not fair. I agree that the Cage and similar places should be able to continue on as they are. The fact that such places will be affected is evidence that this particular solution to the issue is not optimal. This ban, in my view, is a large hammer. Wielding the power in this way will help "the problem", but it will do so with many casualties. This impingment on individual rights is lamentable and tragic. I wish better solutions existed, but frankly, this one is DAMN effective. I see it much like chemotherapy for cancer. A Phillop Morris study in 1960 concluded this about bans: "Smokers facing these restrictions consume 11% to 15% less smoking products than average and quit smoking at a rate that is 84% higher than average."

You and other smokers like you are a victim to the government in that they can't come up with a better solution that doesn't violate individual rights to such a large degree. This is a right you're giving up for the benefit of your idiot fellow man who was hoodwinked into smoking. In any society we give up rights for protection in various forms. Some loss of privacy is necessary to prevent crime. Similarly, some rights of tobacco use are given up for the health welfare of all. We can do better, but no one has figured out how, yet.

"If my addiction to nicotene is a flaw that the government should seek to eradicate, then why shouldn't they do the same thing with an alternative sexual preference"

GLBT men and women aren't killing people. On this point, there is no disagreement, and it's central to why this is an exception. My views are otherwise almost wholly libertarian. Unfettered capitalism in a truly free market doesn't lead to the best welfare for all, it leads to monopolies, a stifling of innovation, and exploitation. Everything, even freedom and choice, has a level that is TOO MUCH that it becomes harmful. One can die of of dehydration, but also of hyperhydration. There is much new research showing that our society's nearly unlimited choice of consumer products is making us miserable. Any society with no socially acceptable way to divorce one's spouse has a high suicide rate, but one where divorce is ubiquitious has low rates of happy marriages. Everything has a compromise, a sweet spot, even personal freedom.

A personal anecdote: I've personally witness someone who was trying to quit, fall off the wagon. It was in response to someone else at another table lighting up. Without that trigger and stimulus, she might not be smoking today. These are her views, not my judgements. I know many people who like going to a place (e.g. the Cage) where they know people, feel comfortable, and fit in. I also know many people who freely say the "Have to" smoke when people around them are.

I'm willing to bet that you will continue to haunt the Cage, and that a year from now, by any objective measurement, you'll be having just as much fun there as you do now. It's regrettable that you have to adapt, but you will, and hey, maybe it'll help you quit, which is what you say you want to do, so there's be a little benefit to it for you after all.

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