My thoughts on smoking...

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*Props to Drudge for this link*

Now, I don't pretend to speak for this site or any of my colleagues' position on smoking, but if you want to see how limiting the rights of smokers is a slippery slope to communist ideology, here you go. I was reading an AP article about a 107 year old man who attributed his long life to forsaking sex. While that's a different barrel of worms altogether, the man made a statement that really struck me when questioned about his persitent penchant for the occasional cig.

But the centenarian, who's had no difficulty living a monastic existence for nearly 80 years, admits the pleasures of tobacco have been harder to resist.

"Now I want to quit," he was quoted as saying of his decades-long cigarette addiction. "Maybe the government should ban cigarette sales so I can give it up," he added.

This is the mentality of a man who's lived under communism for more than half his adult life, and he thinks it's the duty of the state to save him from himself. My point is this: when you catch yourself thinking that the state should take away your freedom to help you, you need to take a hard look at why you want an authoritarian state.

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14 Comments

I agree, but I would also say if you live to over 100 and you want a nanny state to make decisions for you, they by god you deserve a nanny state.

Up till 99, though, you are entirely on your own.

Singleton said:

Haha, agreed.

Kevin said:

woohooo! My nanny city finally arrived! Maybe now I'll be able to quit!

Kevin said:

p.s. Please charge me $11 a pack and give $8 of it to the schools, they need help!

jacob said:

What ever happened to personal responcibility? I do not ever remember ever hearing form anyone that they thought smoking is good for you.

As for 2nd hand smoke you get more carcinogens sitting in traffic. Yes, you can get cancer from someone else smoking but you also can get cancer from driving or walking down the street of a bushy city.

The question is not a good or bad choice but which evil do you want to live with? Do you want to have o put up with smokers OR do you want the government to be given that much MORE power. Govnernments kill way more people than cigarettes.

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:

personal responsibility went out the window the day they invented spell check

Kevin said:

well, I smoke and I'm not even for "smoker's rights".

As for the "more carcinogens sitting in traffic", I'm not sure you're accurate about that, but what do I know? Basically nothing. Out of what very little in this world I do know, I know that secondhand smoke is killing you. Maybe we should also stop efforts to curb carcinogens emitted by cars and cities. Or if you like you can come up and I'll give you a tour of the nanny city, sit in traffic with the windows rolled up while I puff away, and you'll finally get your breath of fresh air once we get into the bar! Cheers!

HA! Spell check and the calculator, turned us into a nation of mental softies.

jacob said:

Marshmallow,
I think personal responsiblity went kaput long before the spell checker. The spell checker only meant that the death of personal responsiblity had been institutionalized. I am so lame I do not even bother to use a spell check bout half the time.

jacob said:

Kevin,
I remember reading how the fumes in many stop and go traffic situations are load with bad stuff and were described as worse than 2nd hand. Do not ask for a citation, this was over 15 years ago, right about the time when the hysteria over 2nd hand smoke really took hold.

As for cleaning up the air in our cities, well they are better than they used to be. So who knows. Once they get them there newfangle hydrogen powered cars going all our troubles will be gone (yeah right).

Kevin said:

Ok, ok. Also, I saw a 60 minutes (all of this, by the way, I've just realized, is completely off topic. Ha!) a number of years back where there was this hospital that served 4 different counties or 4 different areas of the city it was in, or something like that, I can't recall. But in either case, one of the areas it served banned smoking in restaurants and bars (this was around the time when there was all that hysteria about whether it would actually make a difference to businesses to do so). After a year there were two results...heart attacks in the area, measured by how many people went to the hospital (which was the only hospital serving whatever area that was) dropped something like %50. This went on for a year or so and in the mean time, the businesses revolted, swearing that the smoking ban was killing their profit, etc., formed a grassroots group, lobbied, etc. and had the smoking ban repealed. The next year the number of reported heart attacks went back to . . . . EXACTLY that which it was before. The arguments, of course were, that it wasn't a scientific study, it wasn't long enough to say that it the drop was due to the smoking ban or at least to say that it was scientifically significant (though technically it would have been a scientifically significant difference if it had been a controlled study). At any rate, ban advocates were arguing, why not ban smoking and let us do our study at the risk of saving lives. Ban opposers argued, not on the backs of our businesses you don't! Pretty interesting, and fair, piece.

Kevin said:

Now, whether I think this city should ban sales of cigarettes so that I can quit smoking? Goodness, I wish it would. And tax me outrageously and give my money to a good cause (I can think of a couple hundred in this city) but in the end it's not this govt's responsibility, it's mine. I'm all for encouragement though, I must say.

An argument more on topic is that I know any number of harmful substances that governments ban. I suppose, Singleton, your argument wouldn't be with the ban on cigarettes as much as your disdain of Mr. 107 year old's philosophy of government dependence? Otherwise we could just as easily argue for legalization of crack cocaine.

jacob said:

Taking any argument to its logical extreme does expose its flaws. Some actually have argued for the legalization of ALL drugs on the grounds that it is none of the guv'mints business as to whether or not I want to kill myself. Either slowely with tobacco or more speedily with cocaine.

Where this does breakdown is that the individual smoking cigarettes does not engage in violent anti-social behavior to get more Marlboro's. Crack addicts have been know to very physical for the next $5 worth of rock.

Do not bother me with the exception to the rule allegory. I am talking about the wider trend. While most cigarrette smokers want to punch the do-gooders in the face, for taxing their cancer sticks, they won't. A frightening percentage of drug addicts eventually achieve a state where they cannot spell "do-gooder" or any other word for that matter but the will sell their body, or kill for the next high.

Kevin said:

Jacob, I couldn't agree with you more. Coffee falls in the same category and while I have quit caffeine for an experiment in undergrad. . .and after a week it was probably quite honestly the most peaceful 5 weeks in my life. . .I have never killed anyone, robbed anyone, sold my body (for which I would probably score only enough for one cup anyways, I might add), or assaulted anyone to get it. I did, however, sneak a couple of scoops out of my roommate's stash without telling him but the consequences of such action would probably only result in minor irritation.

I've tried before, I can't tolerate for long the argument for legalization of drugs. Others might argue for it, but I can't, even with Mary Jane.

". . .none of the guv'mints business as to whether or not I want to kill myself. . ." (which I do not take as your argument but someone else's) is absolutely, positively, inaccurate and incredibly, drug addledly, short-sighted and self-obsessed.

And heck, yeah, tax the crap out of those cancer stix, the same way as with the VA Lottery. If anyone chooses not to smoke because of that? Well, the law of unintended consequences. A healthy byproduct is never a bad thing. I mean, here you got a group of people who are CLEARLY addicted, now that's a cash cow! Particularly now that cig companies are increasing the levels of nicotine in the same brands of cigs that people have been smoking all their life? Now that's guaranteed $.

Unlike alcohol and other drugs, just about anyone can be a functioning nicotine-aholic and a functioning caffeine-aholic.

I do take issue with the statement that "drug addicts eventually achieve a state where they cannot spell 'do-gooder' or any other word for that matter" but it would be persnickety to bother with it. Alcoholics, possibly. I've never seen brain damage in people other than myself from any other drug the way I have from alcohol, hands down. It is truly the destroyer.

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