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A Lot Of Hot Air: Smokers Deserve Fair Treatment Too

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A long time ago, there was a letter to my campus newspaper about smoking at Alfred State. This was early 2004, before the anti-smoking craze picked up steam within New York's state university system. The letter was written by your typical anti-smoking zealot spouting off about their constitutional rights to breathe clean air, and how they were leading a great life that other students should strive to emulate.

You could smell the pure arrogance coming off this letter like it was yesterday's leftovers. I hoped at the time it was just some idiot spouting off about a non-issue in a newspaper no one took seriously. Unfortunately, as the years went on, I was proven wrong as this person appears to be part of a wider group of wackos looking to tell me and you how to live our lives.

I am not a smoker. I hate the smell of cigarette smoke, and I'm more than happy to offer support to someone who is attempting to quit. But I have severe problems with the aggression that smokers are facing from this vocal minority of non-smokers. Smokers are not on the same level as terrorists, but you wouldn't know it by watching television. Let's pretend you're a space alien that just landed on earth. You're walking around in a Charlie Chaplin-looking get up, trying to pass by unnoticed, when you see a string of anti-smoking commercials playing on a storefront TV. You see ads depicting people who have suffered horrible consequences from smoking, you see ads of young school children telling you why “tobacco is wacko”, and you see ads of people being asked to leave restaurants because they were about to smoke. Assuming your mission isn't to kill all of the humans, you might think these smokers are pretty rotten people.

Last time I checked, we weren't supposed to discriminate against people for whatever reason, especially on college campuses like New York's state universities. So what then is all of this jibber-jabber about tolerance, diversity, and acceptance when the same people who preach that line target a group of people because they do something that they don't find acceptable? Under what authority do these people make decisions that affect how we live our lives? Heck, I want to get a hate militia together and beat up people who use air fresheners because they could give me lung cancer. Isn't that the same reason we don't like smokers? And hey, while we're at it, let's go round up some of those computer nerds. When they dispose of their old computers, it will hurt the environment with its mercury. Hurting the environment is going to hurt me because it'll kill trees that provide us with oxygen and provide protection from the sun, and (very soon) the ice caps are going to melt causing me and some of my buddies to live with Aquaman for the rest of our lives.

What's that you say? The Constitution gives them the authority to tell us what to do? Oh, right, that garbage about having the constitutional right to clean air these people claim. Well you can tell them that according to the Supreme Court's ruling in Tanner Vs. Armco Steel, you don't have the constitutional right to clean air. They won't listen, they want to make the constitution fit their small-minded needs. It really doesn't matter today because we operate on the philosophy that the loudest group of idiots win, not on what is written in the Constitution.

Who cares if you're wrong? Just keep shouting, protesting and blogging! Eventually, the louder you get, the people at the top without any spines will cave to your every whim. And that's what's happening to smokers. A vocal minority, not unlike Mothers Against Drunk Driving and their push to raise the drinking age to 21, are bullying everyone into following their philosophy. Are smokers doing something some of us don't like? Sure. But what about their rights? Don't we all have the right to live without harassment as we pursue happiness? Did Will Smith's movie teach me nothing?

Consider this. Smokers are the only group of people we expect to accommodate everyone else by standing outside in the rain or cold. Can you imagine if looking at pornography was deemed harmful to people around you, and you were forced to go outside and stand in the rain or snow just to look at it? Talk about killing a fun date! Not to mention people would ultimately riot in the street over that one.

Cigarettes are bad for you, we all know that. But we are too quick to forget that smokers, because they are exercising a choice to smoke, have rights as well, and whether we like it or not, we should respect their choice. We expect the same from them, which should allow for the common courtesy of not smoking around those who choose not to, so why should non-smokers treat them any differently?

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About Brandon J. Mendelson

  • Smoking bans do not discriminate against anyone. They discriminate against the voluntary act of smoking.

  • So Matt, not to throw a monkeywrench into the argument but —
    Using your philosophy, suppose we passed laws that discriminated against people, who for example, “voluntarily” chose to engage in certain sexual practices such as homosexuality?

    Doesn’t this follow the same line of reasoning?

    And yes, I am a smoker.


  • Using the same philosophy it would also be illegal to have homosexual relations in bars and restaurants.

    The wrench falls harmlessly to the ground.

  • Brandon:

    I’m always pleasantly surprised when non-smokers come to the rights of smokers. I mean, my boyfriend and I both smoke, and sometimes we can’t even stand each other’s second hand smoke smouldering in our respective ashtrays. How wack is that? So I can sympathize with those who find secondhand smoke to be an annoyance.

    The thing is that until relatively recently, smoking was not only tolerated but glamorized and advertised. Yes, it is a horrible unhealthy habit, but it is also extremely addictive–many say it’s harder to quit than heroin. It’s heartening to know that many young people are heeding the message and not taking up the habit, but back when I started it was not un-PC to smoke anywhere.

    I guess my point is that yes, quitting is definitely the way to go if one can, but us smokers have been provided with a legal fix which can put an expensive deadly monkey on our back for a lifetime. Like any addiction, one can know logically that it is bad and unhealthy, but the part of the brain that craves the nicotine is like a two year old child–sometimes no amount of reasoning can stop it.

  • Filix

    Brandon, Thank you for the excellent blog. If you wrote about killer bees, deadly spiders, and horney african ants for sure homosexual relations would come into play. If they choose to stick cigarettes up each others ass so be it. Just keep the homo out of the home-o.

  • MCH

    “Smoking bans do not discriminate against anyone. They discriminate against the voluntary act of smoking.”
    Matthew T. Sussman

    Two questions:
    1) Are cigarettes an illegal product?
    and 2) So you believe in banning a legal substance in privately owned businesses?

    And no, I don’t smoke.

    (the wrench falls to the ground and lands on Sussman’s toe, causing him to cry like a little baby and yell for his mommy)

  • amie

    Thank You! I am a smoker and I am continually criticized by others because I should know how dangerous it is. Unfortunately, obesity is the number one killer in the US beating out smoking. But we can’t shut down McDonalds or tell people they are fat because that is rude. And now overweight people think they should get special treatment because of their size. So smokers should go to hell and overweight people should get bigger chairs. What is wrong with The Land of the Free?

  • Amie (#7), there are several factual problems with your comment. Obesity is *not* the #1 killer by a longshot. Year to year, the #1 killer tends to be heart disease, very little of which can be tied to obesity (and some of which can be tied to smoking). #2, very close behind, is cancer.

    Including, of course, the sort of cancer that comes from inhaling poison into your lungs several times a day.

    Also, I’m guessing you’re a thin smoker, because if you were fat, you’d notice that fat people are actually one of the few groups of people in America more looked down upon than smokers! At least among groups in which association is to some extent voluntary.

    I don’t understand the bile some people have toward smokers, but most attempts to compare smoking to, well, anything else, break down based on a few factors:
    + smoking really does kill people
    + smoking is something that can be quit entirely (unlike, say, eating)

    Smoking is kind of like drinking because of point #2, except that drinking — by itself — doesn’t kill everyone eventually like smoking does. There’s also a certain amount of danger to those around you as a smoker, which leads some people to make a comparison to drunk driving. That is, however, bogus, because second-hand smoke inhalation is of dubious danger unless you’re exposed to it frequently (say, by family members), while drunk driving is dangerous to everyone around you.

    Anyway, there are problems in the article, too, but your comment struck me as especially false. 🙂

  • Brandon, one paragraph in your article strikes me as a summary of the problem with your thesis:

    Smokers are the only group of people we expect to accommodate everyone else by standing outside in the rain or cold. Can you imagine if looking at pornography was deemed harmful to people around you, and you were forced to go outside and stand in the rain or snow just to look at it?

    I don’t expect anyone to stand outside in the rain or cold. As far as I’m concerned, they’re welcome to smoke anywhere in their homes, just as they can sit at their own dining room table reading porn. Heck, they can light up and watch porn on the tv all they want — in their own homes.

    The reasons most smokers end up smoking outside are at least two-fold: smoke makes things stink, and repeated or prolonged exposure to second-hand smoke is unhealthy. The reason most smokers end up smoking outside in the rain or cold is that they’re addicts, and choose the suffering of extreme weather over the suffering of nicotine withdrawal.

    Most arguments in favor of public smoking end up conflating issues of law with issues of society/culture and with issues of family/friends. The legal justification for smoking bans in most cases is concern for employees who would otherwise be exposed continuously to second-hand smoke. As a patron, inhaling someone else’s exhaust over dinner may be obnoxious, but it’s not especially unhealthy. As an employee, inhaling others’ exhaust for an eight-hour shift five days a week is actually dangerous.

    But culturally, there’s a bigger problem. I really don’t understand why there is such bitterness from some people against smokers. I note that the same bitterness seems to apply from some people against fat people. Some of it is because the activities (smoking and overeating) are seen as entirely voluntary. Some is because the activities are seen as self-destructive. Some of it is just that we’ve been programmed by all of those PSAs.

    And of course family/friend issues are the ones mostly illustrated in the paragraph I quoted.

    As it happens, I smoke every Friday night. Usually a cigar or a pipe, though sometimes my Friday-night guests have cigarettes. We smoke outside on the back porch, to avoid stinking up the house. And oh yes, it stinks, and the smell takes a long time to fade. Of course, this time of year it’s getting to be quite cold, so last night we tried the garage. Sheltered from the wind, we were much more comfortable.

    Interestingly, cigar and pipe smoking are viewed with much less opprobrium than cigarette smoking, and are even celebrated!

    The differences might be illuminating: one should not inhale cigar or pipe tobacco, making both much less unhealthy than cigarette smoking, and therefore much less self-destructive. Also, cigar and pipe-smoking tend to be less addictive (and are perceived as much less addictive.

    Of course, from a legal perspective, both are banned everywhere cigarette smoking is banned, but from a cultural perspective, they’re much more accepted. And your family and friends, well, note that I still smoke outside. 😉

  • OK..I’m a smoker, have been for years. It’s a vile, dirty, nasty habit that stains the fingers and teeth, can damage your lungs and can add to the factors leading to an early death.

    Just so happens, I like vile, filthy habits.

    That being said, I have always considered it a matter of manners, I go outside to smoke , even in my own house, since my wife does not.

    As long as no one tries to tell me I can’t have a cig in my car, or outside in fresh air, I’m not bothered by the bullshit. In those environs my hobby is my own business and can bring no harm to anyone else.

    But I have no problem with all the bans in public places over the last 20 years. Hell I remember being able to smoke in a mall (but not in the stores), or in an airport and on a plane.

    As long as I can step outside when I want to, or light up in my car while driving…what’s the problem?

  • Bliffle

    Why are non-smokers so severe? Because for many years they had to struggle with rude smokers who would lightup in an elevator, or even in the non-smokers own house, ignoring requests/demands not to, leaving the non-smoker gasping for air. Because many non-smokers are ex-smokers and having once indulged are now doubly sensitized to the noxious fumes.

    Now, at last, they are empowered by social opprobrium and even the law, to confront the smoker and demand cessation. To them, smokers long ago forfeited any right to civil consideration.

  • Jared

    I am a non-smoker and I have no problems with someone that chooses to smoke, just so long as they don’t do it in my presence in a confined area. It bothers my contacts, makes _my_ clothes smell bad and irritates my senses.

    My city recently banned smoking in bars and it’s finally I can go out without coming home with my eye stinging and smelling like I rolled around in an ashtray.

  • Greg

    I am consistently amazed at the number the EPA pulled on the American public by convincing them that secondhand smoke had any proven health effects at all.

    The EPA, in 1993, deliberately doctored and spun results to make it look as if secondhand smoke had effects it did not. The entire study, which every subsequent policy created cites as the basis for the “Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer” assertion, was ordered thrown out by a federal judge because there were so many egregious scientific errors in how it was carried out. That decision was later overturned on a procedural technicality, but the point remains that the ONLY study ever done that provided a link to passive smoking and lung cancer had falsified results and tenacious conclusions.

    Smoking bans ARE another example of a loud, whiny minority screaming for “their rights” that they don’t have. Yeah, secondhand smoke is annoying. It makes your clothes stink. It sucks in general. If you don’t like it, don’t go where people smoke. You do NOT acquire a constitutional right to go to a bar or restaurant just because you are loud and whiny about it. If the patrons there smoke and you don’t like smoke, then go somewhere else!

    I don’t like screaming children either, but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t get a screaming child ban passed, where if you had a screaming child with you, you had to sit outside the restaurant.. or that you couldn’t have a screaming child within 100 feet of the doors, because it would pollute the environment with noise pollution. Why is secondhand smoke any different, other than health claims that have been proven spurious?

  • Greg, one has the intrinsic right to do what they like up until the point where it infringes upon another person.

    Therefore I have the right to light up, as long as it’s not fucking with someone else, when it does..I go outside, where no one can tell me I can’t have a smoke.

    As for the “spurious” health claims, there’s data on both sides, and better to err on the side of caution. In the cases of bars and restaurants and airplanes, the reasoning was that it was harmful in the long term to those that worked in those closed environments.

    Now, do I think a business should be able to hire all smokers for staff and let folks light up? Sure, and it’s being done in NYC as well as other places by calling the facilities “private clubs”.

    Money to be made by the first company that sets up a national bar/grill franchise as a “private smokers club”.

    This whole thing is a bunch of sound and fury , signifying nothing, imo.

  • Smoking bans ARE another example of a loud, whiny minority screaming for “their rights” that they don’t have.

    Since smokers now number fewer than 25% of the adult U.S. population, I’m not sure how non-smokers constitute a loud, whiny minority.

  • JR

    If we could just get smokers to stopped littering the landscape with butts, I’d be pretty happy with the way things are now. Maybe they should pass a law against filtered cigarettes so smokers could smoke the entire cigarette like pot-smokers do.

  • scooter

    Discussion of smoking bans always makes me wonder why we don’t try to deal with the problem. Cigarettes in their current form should not be legal. When this country’s government works, it does not let its citizens consume products that with scientific certainty will kill them. Of course it doesn’t work in the case of the tobacco industry because of history/money. We mask the problem by taxing the crap out of cigarettes, enacting smoking bans, fighting court battles where tobacco companies are forced to fund non-smoking initiatives while they raise the nicotine content of their product. duh. Cigarettes should either be fixed (better filters, different ingredients, ?…I don’t know the science involved) or outlawed. Of course I don’t mean cold turkey…there will have to be a long transitional period for helping people break their addiction, but cigarettes (in their current form) need to go. For society to continually and with increasing fervor punish people for using a product which the same society sanctions the use of is such a waste of energy.

  • So , scooter, does that mean doing away with booze and guns too?

    Both are also legal, and both can kill people.

    Your reasoning is flawed in your basic thesis.

  • scooter

    Guns don’t apply since we don’t ingest/consume them. I get you on booze, but I don’t think it’s the same. There is a safe level of consumption for alcohol. Even light smoking, if done consistently can give you lung cancer. That is why cigarettes carry a surgeon general’s warning. Alcohol does not contain a warning about liver disease. Alcohol must be abused to kill you biologically (ie drunk driving accident doesn’t count.) Obviously not black and white here, but I liken cigarettes more to a drug that is proven to cause cancer and is taken off the market. FDA vs. ATF, I know. That is just my opinion…lots of shades of grey.

  • You imply the assumption that smoking ALWAYS kills, such is not the case. Thus my asking. and while guns are not consumed, they are specifically made for only one purpose, killing, and thus should be considered more deadly than a cig or a drink, don’t you think?

    I was just tossing those out there for something to think about, due to the blanket statements you had made.

  • @#11

    Quote: “Now, at last, they are empowered by social opprobrium and even the law, to confront the smoker and demand cessation. To them, smokers long ago forfeited any right to civil consideration.”

    Worded differently, this is a mighty argument for the death penalty.

    For the sake of enlightened democracy, I hope you did not really intend to say that you support the curbing of people’s rights in the name of an abstract livelihood (abstract, because some non-smokers don’t like smoke, some don’t mind it. I am of the latter) issue.

    And for the record, there is not a single death certificate on the planet which says ‘Death by smoking’. I challenge anyone to find one. Smoking doesn’t kill. In certain people, smoking increases the possibility of lung disease, and in every case, smoking is detrimental to physical condition. Nobody has ever died from ‘smoking’ just as nobody has ever died from ‘obesity’.

    To smoke the equivalent of one cigarette by breathing in ‘second-hand smoke’, one would have to stand in a 10 m2 room, with 20 packets worth of smoke a day pumped in for 40 days straight. This certainly amplifies the evident dangers of smoking – it devalues the argument that ‘passive smoking’ is a health hazard.

    If people choose to engage in a dangerous vice, they have every right to do so provided they are fully aware of the risks involved. Just like people have the right to engage in other dangerous activities, such as alcohol consumption, sex, skydiving and driving cars.

  • scooter

    Oddly I don’t have the right to install asbestos ceiling tile in my house…or the right to take Fen Phen for weight loss. I can’t go to Wal-Mart and buy some Vicodin off the shelf. Regulation is everywhere in the USA. There are many ‘dangerous activities’ that I do not have the right to engage in, even if I am aware of the risks and accept them. Yes I can consume alcohol and I can drive a car…but I cannot do them both at the same time. That has been deemed too dangerous to my health and the health of others, and thus is against the law.

    I don’t understand the intentions of the point that no death certificate lists “Death by smoking”. Agreed, contributing factors to a disease/condition are not held as ultimate cause of death. But the jury is not out on this one…smoking (and prolonged exposure to second-hand smoke) is hazardous to your health. It is a contributing factor to many diseases that cause death.

  • STM

    Aah, this is my pet subject … I gave up my 30-year, packet a day Benson & Hedges habit (“when only the best will do”) last year after the Australian Government decided it was a good idea to put graphic pictures of gangrenous toes, mouth cancers, lungs stricken by emphysema, fatty arteries, and the like, on cigarette packets.

    While not being bothered too much by the pictures (I just bought a ciggy case and transferred them to that), the federal government also funded a series of similarly graphic anti-smoking ads on TV. Foolishly, they decided to start running them in the 8pm prime time slot, and my 11-year-old daughter saw one and went into hysterics.

    To say she was traumatised by the mouth cancer pictures would be an understatement. She was inconsolable, and rang me on my mobile phone while I was driving home from work. She begged me: “Please stop, Daddy, I don’t want that to happen to you … I love you; please don’t smoke.” I promised I would, but I love smoking so much and it was hard …

    A couple of weeks later, I went for a surf and while paddling out, got washed out of the channel in a big, powerful swell. I copped a monster, four-wave set on the head and was held under, and was able only to find my way through the foam to get to the surface for a quick breath once in that period before getting slammed back to the bottom again.

    I honestly thought I was going to drown. It’s happened before, and in worse situations, but I never felt the air running out of my lungs like I did that day. Smoking … After retrieving my board, miraculously still attached to my leg rope despite the power of the surf, I just spun around and rode the white water in to the beach, where I lay down for 20 minutes before I felt I had enough breath to go back out.

    That day, I decided to honour my promise to my daughter and haven’t had one since. I loved cigarettes though, and I respect the right of anyone to smoke as I understand why they’d want to.

    Here’s my view: while cigarettes are reportedly harder to give up than heroin, they don’t lead to crime and murder. In a comparison with alcohol, they don’t lead to domestic violence, gross irresponsibility, traumatised children, broken dreams and dysfunctional families or car smashes that kill innocent people.

    It’s harmful on a personal level, perhaps much less when you are young, but it doesn’t have a huge impact on society. My father died from a smoking-related illness at the age of 76.

    In America some years ago, I got fined for smoking in an outdoor area run by the New York Port Authority. A woman 20 feet upwind and not even getting a whiff of my smoke complained about it – after trying to manipulate me by coughing histrionically first and muttering about the selfishness of smokers. I suggested she move another couple of feet to the left if she was THAT bothered. Later, as I walked through the city, I passed a gun shop where you could buy automatic weapons and bullets that would pass through body armour.

    I thought: “Yep, America. Fine me for smoking and not hurting anyone but me, but legislate for the legal sale of weapons that give this country the highest rate of homicide in the western world, and use a 200-year-old piece of law designed to maintain a standing militia (don’t you have the National Guard now?) to justify what is essentially an absolute crock.

    I know how Americans are protective of their constitution, and rightly so, but this amendment’s gone awry somewhere along the line and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that somewhere along the line, someone has their priorities wrong.

    At least that’s how the rest of the world sees it ….

  • gunguy

    STM, Please give me the name and location of that gun store you speak of. Im wanting to buy a full auto gun and get some bullets that pass through body armor. Of course just fer target practice only from the back of my pick-up. You go girl.

  • STM

    Oh hello SR, you bloody old ‘bama girl red-neck share cropper. Before you go off half-cocked, dear, as usual, here’s my last ever post to you on this issue (perhaps on any issue): I don’t object to guns per se, as I have lived in the bush and have had cause to use them. However, selling them en masse to any bastard without any controls is the height of madness.

    Given your obsessive penchant for picking little fights on this site to make whatever point it is you’re trying to make (well, you fu.cken’ lost me, mate – I wouldn’t have a clue what you’re trying to say), I’d almost certainly include you on the list of people I wouldn’t give a gun to.

  • STM

    “You go girl.”

    Lol! I’d love to come over here and say that. Tell me when you want to come and I’ll ring the ambulance first to save time. Clown …

  • The village Idiot

    STM. Goodnight and dont let the tasmanian devils bite.

  • STM

    VI said: “STM. Goodnight and dont let the tasmanian devils bite.”

    Thanks mate … but it’s mid-afternoon here, and I’m in New South Wales, about 2000kms from Tasmania. They are dangerous little critters though – but you can’t shoot ’em.

  • Etaoin Shrdlu

    Smoking would not be a big deal and would not raise the ire of people if the smoke did not reek and cause headaches.

    Whenever I am in the company of people who smoke, I fart. Real noxious smelly farts that feel oily (to me) and which I do not attempt to hide that they come from me.

    Of course they complain! To which I answer:

    — You smoke? I fart.

    And no, I am not ashamed. But you should see their shameful faces…

  • JR

    STM: In America some years ago, I got fined for smoking in an outdoor area run by the New York Port Authority. A woman 20 feet upwind and not even getting a whiff of my smoke complained about it – after trying to manipulate me by coughing histrionically first and muttering about the selfishness of smokers. I suggested she move another couple of feet to the left if she was THAT bothered. Later, as I walked through the city, I passed a gun shop where you could buy automatic weapons and bullets that would pass through body armour.

    Yep. Buying guns, like buying cigarettes, is legal in America. However, shooting people, like blowing smoke in their faces, is illegal. See how that works?

  • STM

    “However, shooting people, like blowing smoke in their faces, is illegal. See how that works?”

    Ah, a bit of NRA logic here (“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” – yes, people with fu.cking guns). No, I don’t see the correlation mate. I’ve had smoke blown in my face by a drunken nut. I survived. Thank f.ck he didn’t have a gun.

  • This is only just become 2007 so I’m not sure how 2004 is such a long time ago and I wonder what the person really said since I think this writer is bitterly biased.

    People have a right not to breathe tobacco smoke and not to have their clothes smell of tobacco smoke.

    If the person sitting next to me drinks, my clothing doesn’t smell like alcohol unless that person spills it upon me.

    No where in the constitution does it guarantee the right to smoke.

    BTW, it was the Declaration of Independence which gave white American landowners the unalienable right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” and not the Constitution. Those rights were later extended to minorities and women.

    All of those unalienable rights come with responsibilities and one’s rights extend up to the point where they restrict the rights of others.

  • The village Idiot

    STM. I like hot sperited women like you. If ya all ever come to Florida we can drive around in me pickup, drink some Billy Beer, shoot a few armadillo and possum. My Ma will make a great possum pie for ya. Even show ya some big gators. Cat fishen is good this time of year.

  • Melita Teale

    “While cigarettes are reportedly harder to give up than heroin, they don’t lead to crime and murder.”

    We’d see if they would if cigarettes were as hard to get as heroin. But that’s another story.

    Anyways, you know what happened to smokers? Some of them couldn’t be polite enough of their own volition to spare other people the grossness of their exhalations, so they got slapped with laws to make them polite.

    Welcome to human civilization. They can join all the nudists, ephebophiles, and people who want to wear jeans to the office who are already crying themselves little rivers over how *oppressed* they feel.

    At least their drug is legal – I’d hate to think how they’ll squeal when it’s not.

  • STM

    “At least their drug is legal – I’d hate to think how they’ll squeal when it’s not.”

    Ah, we have a rabid anti-smoker in Melita … I’m surprised by that. In the great scheme of things Melita, it’s a far more benign drug than alcohol.

  • STM

    VI (SR) Thanks mate, but I’ve already been to Florida and I don’t need to go to America to drive around in a pick-up (we call ’em utes (yootes) here), drink beer (plenty of that), shoot stuff, fish in creeks, and see gators – well, we don’t actually have them, just crocodiles. Plus, I much prefer kangaroo pie to possum pie.

    See mate, why would I bother going all the way to Florida to be a redneck with you when I can stay home and do it? I’ll save my money for extra beer, because as you know all redneck love getting on the squirt, but look, thanks for the kind offer.

  • No, STM. I’m one of the less militant former smokers I know. I let people smoke in my flat and don’t make fun of them or tell them how radically my life has improved since I quit or that they’re going to die, as 100% of us eventually will.

    But you know, STM, in the great scheme of things, reefer is a far more benign drug than tobacco – fatality wise, anyways. And I don’t whine that I’m not allowed to smoke it at work or restaurants or around children. I don’t even whine that it’s illegal. Because I know reefer smoke is smelly, carcinogenic and really annoying to lots of people, and I’m not a selfish bastard.

    So I guess what I’m saying is, suck it up. Or in, or whatever.

  • The village Idiot

    STM. Your welcome. I also have a great deal of respect for your country. You guys down under helped us Yanks big time in wars past and present. What do you know of the late great croc hunter, Mr Steve Irwin? What the hey lady, Im being to nice here. Dont expect any liberal kisse kisse words from me in the future. Glocks rule. G-day. VI(sr).

  • STM

    Glocks? Just a piece of Austrian plastic. Their previous manufacturing experience was – wait for it – in plastic curtain rods. Get a proper gun VI (SR), if you’re going to persist in being a poor deluded gun lover

  • The village idiot


  • STM

    Hate possum pie … tastes too gamey for me. Now kangaroo pie, mmmmm …. finger lickin’ good. Love a good bucket of ‘roo wings too, or giant ‘roo drumsticks with the secret coating of one herb and one spice from KFR.

    But alas, sorry VI, I’ve already got a wife.

  • STM

    You know what the most bizarre part of this argument is? People invoking their constitutional rights in relation to not having to breathe the air puffed out by smokers.

    What a crock. Is there any issue in america that can’t be invoked under the heading of constitutional rights? Please, tell me, as it crops up so often I’m starting to wonder whether this innocuous piece of paper designed to nail down a few good rules for a new nation is imbued with some magical quality that the rest of us don’t know about.

  • JR

    STM: You know what the most bizarre part of this argument is? People invoking their constitutional rights in relation to not having to breathe the air puffed out by smokers.

    Near as I can tell, nobody here arguing for the right to breathe clean air has invoked the Constitution yet.

  • STM

    It’s in the article VI

  • Melita Teale

    You understand it wasn’t really the point of the article to prove non-smokers have a constitutional right to non-smoke, right? Might have been rhetorical and all? Might have been . . . you know . . . a bit of whiny bullshit?

  • STM

    Yes, Melita, I do … I’m just having a bit of fun.

    I agree with the writer. But I do believe America has its priorities wrong: Ban smoking, but not guns.

    Bizarre stuff.

  • Melita Teale

    STM, as you’ve pointed out, the right to bear arms is written into the constitution of the United States. Kicking smokers to the curb is something that can be legislated at the city or district level. Just because a city can’t fix one shitty thing because it’s a federal competence doesn’t mean it shouldn’t fix other shitty things that it’s capable of fixing.

    An unreasonable comparison like that is no argument for smoker’s rights, whatever the hell those are supposed to be. And while it may point to a problem with the way federal legislation works there, it doesn’t really prove “America” as a whole has its priorities out of whack. There are better ways to do that then complaining about people complaining about you smoking in Port Authority.

    Especially considering, ease of access to guns in the States notwithstanding (and I don’t live there, but I’ll bet it’s easier to get a pack of smokes then a gun that can pierce body armour), people like the woman who was however many feet upwind of you are far likelier to have lived through the premature death of a loved one due to their smoking habit than to the death of a loved one from gunshot wounds.

    Apples and oranges, STM. Or rather, apples and chimpanzees.

  • Zedd

    This is an odd article. I am missing the point.

    Smoke from cigarettes is deadly. Who cares about people doing it in the rain. If they choose to participate in an activity that will more than likely compromise their health, THAT is where their RIGHTS come in. They are free to live dangerously.

    They however don’t have the right to endanger others.

    Is it just me???

    Why are we even talking about this?

  • Zedd

    Oh BTW it REALLY stinks. HOW is it a right to stink people up???

  • RedTard

    Maybe there should be a law to force coffee drinkers to brush their teeth afterwards as well. Seriously, this is the way the world is going. People are getting used to, and rather enjoying, having the government dictate every aspect of their, or more importantly other people’s, lives.

    As for those who point out the similarities with obesity, that issue is already under considerations. The do-good nazis are after them as well. My crystal ball says that within this century the eating of meat will be outlawed barring some serious unforeseen shakeup of current trends.

  • The village idiot

    Speaking of stink. Mayor Menino of Boston wants to pass house bill 47 to help with the war on global warming. Should it pass the Bosten Bean will become a thing of the past. Flatulence is a cause for global warming and the smell is offensive for our community the Mayor stated. He calls for a $500.00 fine should anyone release these gastric pollutants weather heard or smelled. The honorable mayor’s guest was Rosie O’ Donnell. Thats when big Rosie cut the cheese and the foul smelling air evacuated the building. The mayor also called for the new technology used on bovine at present and transfer it to the people of Boston. It’s a flatulence suppressor that is attached to the rear of cattle and humans can also wear it. Think its a tube inserted into the rectum with gasmask type thing at the other end. Some of the men folk in Boston were quick to try it out. Will be interesting to follow this story. GLOCKS ROCK

  • The village idiot

    More on smoking. We all know smoking is not a healthy endeavor. Since Im the village idiot I smoke myself. What is it about walking up to any facility with NO SMOKING SIGNS but they have no disposable waste containers to put out your cigarettes. Ever wonder why you see all the smoke butts on the ground, up in the Fall foliage and God knows where. For me, I flip the burning hot butts on dry grass and hope for a forest fire or smash them into the pavement at their front door. Until smoking becomes a criminal offence, just keep posting your no smoking signs without a proper container and you will find my smoke butts offending your customers. What dumb fucks

  • Gregory

    Freedom is not just the right to do the smart or healthy thing. That kind of freedom is no freedom at all.

    Property owners should decide, and post their policy on the exterior of the building.

    Anti-Smokers can frequent the other 99% of establishments that have a policy of a Smoke-Free environment.

  • Gary

    People do have rights, that’s for sure. What I have found it’s really a matter of “follow the money”.
    Money is at the top of the list of the “powers that be”.
    The only reason tobacco is not classified as a dangerous illegal drug is the tobacco companies have the money to buy the politicians.
    That doesn’t stop the lawyers though, they smell money, so armed with the latest scientific research force the tobacco companies to cough it up. Of course the state gets their share to “educate the public to the dangers” and the shell game starts of redirecting this large sum to others “projects”.
    Now the reason those people are standing in the rain smoking is not because of complaining, whining non-smokers, that’s a johnny come lately.
    The real reason is someone could have the grounds to sue the pants off of the business owner if it is allowed. The Airlines have already had to go through this.
    And as insurance cost rise and people dieing of smoke related diseases go through their insurance, they end up with unpaid hospital bills the state eventually has to pick up and they start complaining they can’t afford it and call in the lawyers.
    The money go round is in full operation.
    The only thing that changes is, higher taxes, costlier cigs until you reach a point that the cig companies can no longer afford to buy the politicians. They know this as they diversify as fast as possible.
    So enjoy the sidewalk smoking while you can because it will only be a matter of time before the city is hauled in and sued for allowing it to happen. And don’t think they won’t enforce it.
    I would say it will be $100 a pop citation. The city will need the easy money.

  • karla

    Smoking ban is one way of preventing the occurrence of early death. We know from the fact that smoking does a huge distraction in our body and to the other people as well. If you want to stay alive for many years then better stop smoking!