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Smoke Laws

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  • Smoke Laws

    Mike, as I know you're allergic to smoke and Linda takes the puff on occasion, I'd like to open a thread to discuss a social absurdity.

    Smoke and mirrors. We know the term. On July 1st Colorado followed California again like a neurotic calf following a cow and enacted a smoking ban. Already, the news yesterday revealed the flaws in the law.

    First, there is the group that wants to extend this smoking ban (no smoking in any public facility indoors, save for casinos and the smoking lounge at DIA) to no smoking in public!

    Second, the Colorado economy expects a multi-million dollar hit (loss) of huge amounts of funds generated by tobacco taxes. This loss will mean lack of funding to cancer and lung treatments - and a general loss to the general fund directed for medical care. They just found out that the millions of dollars per annum are paid by smokers, not general taxes.

    Third, this ban affects BARS. Right, facilities in business primarily to sell alcohol. Therefore one bad drug (booze) is legal, another bad drug (tobacco) is illegal. Not only are we now another target for Irish comedians, but the absurdity is now glaringly apparent.

    Fourth. The City of Denver rescinded a law against marijuana possession for personal use, making less than an ounce legal. However, this did not make Denver a Mecca for potheads, the police simply began to enforce State and Federal laws (with multi-decade incarceration as penalty as opposed to a small fine, around $100). Even so, theoretically one could smoke a joint and have a drink in a bar, but if one lit up a cigarette the bar could be shut down for - get this - "health violations".

    Fifth. California found that the restaurants and bars most affected were those of private ownership. In other words, McDonalds thrived with no change in policy, but private cafes, lunchrooms and bars quickly shut down due to lack of business.

    Sixth. The most common violation of any law in Colorado is Drinking While Intoxicated (DWI). Two years ago the blood alcohol limit was lowered from 0.10 to 0.08. Therefore, people who refuse to drink only infacilities because they cannot smoke and be comfortable with their drugs are going to drink and smoke where they can. Like, in their vehicles doing 70mph.

    Seventh (last). Not one penny of California taxes from tobacco, intended for education support, ever went to the children. Every penny went into the General Fund and vanished into the massive debt California was amassing. Colorado is in the exact same economic circumstance. Therefore, any time a politician says "It's for the children" the true translation of this statement is "We are going to steal this money." And the lemmings follow, all starry-eyed, their entire medical education gleaned from 15-second sound bytes from the "news".

    Oh, the humanity! All this is so wrong in so many ways I despair!

    Comments and critique, please!
    Miqque
    ... just another sailor on the seas of Fate, dogpaddling desperately ...

  • #2
    Um, you do know that Ireland has a general smoking ban ?
    Smoking in public -- still means if I'm behind the wrong person in the street I get enough of a big whiff to give me at least a mild headache.
    Elsewhere in public I'm guaranteed to get affected by a smoker.
    That said, I'm not for an overall ban. I think people should be allowed to enjoy their personal poison as long as it doesn't affect others. By and large tobacco doesn't make you drive erratically but I've never heard of passive drinking, so the 'both drugs' argument doesn't convince me. It's not that both are drugs, but that one drifts on the air and causes immediate discomfort (or worse) to another person. Also most people have a harder time giving up tobacco than they do either booze or marijuana.
    What do your cops do in Denver that they need to be pursuing potheads who are legal as far as locals are concerned, play checkers, eat more doughnuts ? I thought the idea of legalising pot was to free up cops for more important work.
    So far nobody's actually shut down, that I know of, because of no-smoking bans in the countries I know. Austin, come to think of it, seems to do okay. But remember those old 'Smoking Room' signs they used to have in bars or (at least in the UK) railway waiting rooms etc. ? Why can't we simply return to the old courtesies around smoking which existed at least up to fifty years ago. Small restaurants can choose to alienate the smoking or the non-smoking customers. I know there's a lot of places I favour because they have a non-smoking policy and I am these days part of the majority. So who's losing business and for what ? I'm not sure about such figures, while seeing no point in penalising smokers.

    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

    Comment


    • #3
      True, booze does not waft in the air. Drinkers merely come hurting at one at high speed in several tons of metal. Many smokers are impolite, caring not where their exhales end up. Just as many are polite, making sure they are downwind of others.

      I do (of course) have a solution that won't happen. Divert all funds from cigarette and tobacco taxes to the Human Genome Project. Find the "off switch" for addiction. Could also cure addictions to heroin, alcohol, and other stuff. (Gambling? Probably - there are studies indicating a shift in neurochemical activity.)

      What stuns me is that the organization known as "Smoke-Free Colorado" has SO MUCH MONEY that they can sponsor television programs on ALL networks at all hours of the day or night. Somebody is making the Big Bucks off of this, somebody as politically powerful and financed as Big Tobacco. The only culprit I can think of is the pharmaceutical companies, making money off stop-smoking products - which are only a different means of nicotine administration. Sure, a transderm patch does not waft smoke, but it does not do anything positive towards ending addiction, either.

      As Dennis Leary' response to "Don't you know second-hand smoke kills?" goes, "I'm counting on it!" Perhaps harsh, but if the powers-that-be do not have an effective means to treat addiction to a legal substance, it follows that such laws serve only to create yet another class of persecuted citizens.

      My cancer was caused by hydrocarbon emissions - smog. Do I demand that no fossil fuels be burned, so I am "safe"? No, it would be absurd. Do I know anti-smokers with lung and other cancers? Absolutely. If western medicine were not so hellbent on blaming the victim, some progress might be made. Cancer is a genetic disorder, triggered by stress. The alleles must be defective, causing mutant cells to grow unchecked and parasitic to the body. The stress can be a substance (tobacco smoke, hydrocarbons, radiation, nasty in-laws) or more globally social. We live in a stress-driven society. No wonder the cancer rates grow! Plus, finding that certain forms of cervical cancer can be completely prevented by a vaccine indicates that there are effective means of prevention.

      I sorrow that some are so negatively impacted by smoke, but I cannot equate the random headache to the torture of withdrawal symptoms. Using myself as a bad example, I cannot endure such withdrawal as the muscle spasms such withdrawal induce would tear at my spine, which is so damaged that such torque would quite literally paralyze me. And not temporarily. I cope by smoking in appropriate areas, and being very aware of non- or anti-smokers nearby. But I got hooked by a family of smokers, and the environment (media) that actively encouraged - even may I say demanded - it. Not a slippery slope, a dead drop off a high cliff.

      The only real solution at this point is to never start smoking. I heartily encourage this. Spiritually, I realize it is a bondage. Spiritually, also, it has not been broken by Divine intervention, nor have the tools been made available to me to have success in stopping. I do have high hopes for a laser acupuncture treatment I have heard is available in Canada and is awaiting USDA approval; but with so much money being made from both smoking and anti-smoking I don't give it a chance.

      It's always "follow the money".
      Miqque
      ... just another sailor on the seas of Fate, dogpaddling desperately ...

      Comment


      • #4
        True.
        If we have smoke detectors, it would be good to have booze detectors in cars so they wouldn't start if you were drunk. I don't believe in stopping anyone enjoying whatever substance they like so long as it doesn't create pain for someone else. Of course, if we do heroin or cocaine we're probably part of the chain which keeps the growers in thrall to the big dealers, so we're always making some moral choice. By smoking, we're probably keeping Virginia tobacco growers in business. By drinking, we're helping the hop, barley or wheat farmers... If smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol were made illegal, we'd probably set up similar situations for those who grew the basic ingredients... Lot of reasons for making it all legal. But a lot of reasons for developing a decent code of behaviour around the use of those various drugs.
        What I can't work out, by the way, is why big drug companies can't buy the crops of the opium growers and so get them out of the hands of the warlords. Is it that they pay too low a price ?

        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
        The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
        Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
        The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
        Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
          True.
          If we have smoke detectors, it would be good to have booze detectors in cars so they wouldn't start if you were drunk.
          These actually exist. Based on the breathalyzer principle.
          Best/Mario

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Michael Moorcock

            What I can't work out, by the way, is why big drug companies can't buy the crops of the opium growers and so get them out of the hands of the warlords. Is it that they pay too low a price ?
            Follow the money!
            Miqque
            ... just another sailor on the seas of Fate, dogpaddling desperately ...

            Comment


            • #7
              As a musician and sometimes club dj in the Pacific NW, I can tell you it's a fucking joy to play in Washington State now and not have to breathe other people's toxic stink (I prefer to choose that sort of thing myself, filtered through water in the van, thanks.) We don't even have a singer, I can't imagine how people do that in those smoke filled places, it must kill their throats and lungs.

              I saw Eartha Kitt play a few years ago, and at 70 something she was performing two shows a night! Of course she's never drank or smoked. And she banned smoking in Jazz Alley up in Seattle for both sets. Now she wouldn't have to bother as the voters have already taken care of her.

              I have to admit, most of Portland is pretty damn progressive, in that most clubs are now not allowing smoking where the band actually plays (unless of course the band smokes when they play, but that sure seems to be diminishing too.) I never knew of a single place in Washington that did that before the ban. Maybe if Portland stays smart and the rest of Oregon matches suit, there won't have to be a ban here.
              My Facebook; My Band; My Radio Show; My Flickr Page; Science Fiction Message Board

              Comment


              • #8
                Quite a few performers who didn't smoke themselves reckoned they got lung cancer from inhaling the audience's smoke. Also true of airline staff before they started banning smoking on planes. From my point of view, this was one of the best things that's happened in years (airline smoking ban). You can't rely on good manners, these days. I remember asking an old bugger on a bus if he would mind not smoking since Linda was feeling pretty ill (long story) and he point blank refused. He was prepared to put up with the disapproval of every other passengers. That's addiction for you. All the guy had to do was go and smoke near a window at the back.

                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                Comment


                • #9
                  I hate the fug smokers inflict upon others.

                  Here in Scotland we recently enacted a Smoking ban, and I'm very supportive. However...

                  I live next door to a wine bar, and everyone pops outside for a smoke whenever they feel the need, which is often. That smoke now drifts in my window, where before it would have been confined to the bar.

                  I fully support the ban, but it's bloody annoying. Especially as my wife is pregnant at the moment. Worse, whenever some smokers are directly outside my window, and I go outside to politely ask them to move away, most look at me like I'm the one being unreasonable and anti-social, as if breathing smoke into my house is a good thing; a service, perhaps.

                  Fortunately, I'm bearded and tall, which is intimidating enough to make most move without argument. That said, some complain (why?), and would you believe that they still tut at me when I tell them my wife is pregnant, and their smoke is making her feel sick, and harming my unborn child?

                  That, I think, deserves use of an emoticon:

                  Hapimeses.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    In Franbce, we have the same problems. A ban against smoking in public places is under discussion.

                    The problem is that most of smokers are very egotist and some coffe/bar owners also. For instance, there is a law according to public places as bar must have a no smoking area and most don' t give a dman .

                    On the other side, there are places, even non smoker and allergic to smoke, i don' t understand why smoking is prohibited.

                    But the first law would be to prohibit smoke industry to put poison and addictive products in their tobacco ! and that ios not even under discussion ?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Other people's "right to smoke" stops at the end of my nose. It really peeves me off - having to leave pubs at a certain time each night because of the selfish activities of others who, even if you make your displeasure obvious, insist on continuing.

                      What really bemuses me is how some of the most staunch anti-capitalist types, who wouldn't be seen dead in a pair of Nike trainers, are addicted to smoking (almost invariably roll-ups). They obviously think its cool to be paying some multinational death corporation for their own extinction by cancer, and possibly that of those around them. "Collateral damage" or what???

                      An interesting fact gleaned from watching The Century of the Self (a series of TV documentaries about the contribution od psychoanalytic theories to mass culture / indoctrination - check it on emule) is that Freud's evil nephew and founder of "public relations", Edward Bernays, who apparently almost singlehandedly invented consumerism by the judicious application of his uncle's theories to marketing and political propaganda, first experiment succeeded when he managed to get women to smoke. Noting that this wasn't socially acceptable at the time, he arranged for a group of debutantes to light up at a carnival as a kind of bogus feminist gesture (basically, as a freudian, he thought the cigs were penis substitutes) - given them max possible publicity as "torches of freedom" (great resonance in the US with the Statue of Liberty, of course). Hey presto, it worked! Look even today, the number of young women who smoke as a mask for insecurity (well, this has always been my (female) partner's theory, which was amply born out by the documentary).

                      Anyway - smoking ban - the one thing Blair has got right, and the sooner the better in my view!
                      \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        [quote=Dead-Air] I can't imagine how people do that in those smoke filled places, it must kill their throats and lungs.[/quote]

                        I was thinking of that when I last listened to Motorhead's 'Hammered' CD.

                        The last track, 'Serial Killer,' is a spoken word piece, done by Lemmy, and you can hear those thirty-plus years of Marlboro Reds:
                        "I am the serial killer [RASP] I am the chosen one [RASP] . . .''

                        I'm pretty anti-smoking myself, but if bars/restaurants want to have smoking areas, in part or in whole, that's fine with me. I just don't go to them.
                        Madness is always the best armor against Reality

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DeepFixer
                          I'm pretty anti-smoking myself, but if bars/restaurants want to have smoking areas, in part or in whole, that's fine with me. I just don't go to them.
                          The counter-argument against designated smoking areas in pubs/bars/restaurants is the 'Health & Safety' of the employees who have to wait/serve in those areas.

                          Of course, the Judge Dredd comic strip predicted the day when smoking would be outlawed in America (or in Mega-City One at least) some 30 years ago.



                          The only place where smoking is allowed in MC1 is the Smokatorium, where the atmosphere is so poisonous that smokes have to wear 'gas masks' (with an aperture for their cigarettes) in order to smoke.

                          Mind you, the judges have also banned coffee, tea and sugar so we caffine/sugar addicts shouldn't think we're going to get off lightly either.
                          _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                          _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                          _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                          _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Here in New Zealand, the no-smoking in bars ban was enacted around two years ago. The big casinos and bar chains predicted economic disaster, but you hear nothing about that now. The net effect on the economy has been zero.

                            My feeling on a product like this, where large multinationals are profiting off the health of individuals, is to tax the living daylights out of it. If cigarettes were $1 each, a lot more money would be available for health research, and more people would choose to quit or not start. I may be in the minority, but I never had a problem with "sin taxes," especially if they underwrote salient research.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The ban on smoking in the U.S. was predicted by a S.F. author in the sixties, the situation being similar to prohibition .

                              I remember this book as there were 3 levels of reality ........ The hero of the book being in fact in a virtual reality ..... experimental ....

                              Simulacron 3 Daniel Galouye.

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