Skip to comments.Burned out by butt-inskis
Posted on 05/21/2006 4:00:08 AM PDT by SheLion
As a physician who has devoted 21 years to advocacy in tobacco control, conducting research and publishing a number of studies on the hazards of secondhand smoke, it is not surprising that I favor a wide range of anti-smoking measures. But anti-smoking tactics adopted by some municipalities, companies and organizations do not serve smokers or the public. The methods are mean-spirited, unsupported by science and attempt to stamp out smoking by punishing and marginalizing smokers. They go too far.
The City Council in Calabasas, Calif., recently enacted an ordinance - supported by several anti-smoking groups - that bans smoking in just about all outdoor areas of the city, including streets and sidewalks, unless there is no other person within 20 feet.
The expressed purposes of the ordinance are to protect nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke and to reduce the potential for children to associate smoking and tobacco with a healthy lifestyle.
The hazards of exposure to smoking in the workplace have been proven, but there is no scientific evidence that shows that small, transient exposures to secondhand smoke in outdoor areas - places where people can easily avoid prolonged exposure - represent any serious public health problem.
The argument that these policies are needed to prevent children from seeing people smoke in public would ostracize citizens for pursuing a legal activity. What comes next? Laws that ban fat people from the public square so that children wont associate obesity with public acceptability? Laws that prohibit people from eating fast food in public so children wont see this behavior and associate it with a healthy lifestyle?
Frustrated by its inability to outlaw smoking, this arm of the anti-smoking front seeks to outlaw smokers. Im all for efforts that make smoking seem less glamorous, desirable or cool, but it is wrong to restrict peoples rights because you do not like what they do.
Equally disturbing is another trend applauded by the anti-smoking movement that would have employers fire or refuse to hire smokers. According to Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), a Washington, D.C.-based anti-smoking organization: Firing smokers is an appropriate and very effective way to stop burdening the great majority of employees who wisely chose not to smoke with the enormous unnecessary costs of smoking by their fellow employees.
Michigan-based Weyco Inc., announced a policy of denying employment to smokers last year, and it has been followed by the World Health Organization, Scotts Miracle-Gro, Crown Laboratories, the city of Melbourne, Fla., and Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, Mo.
ASH, along with these employers, argues that these policies are appropriate because they will reduce the increased health care costs associated with smoking. But what they also do is make smokers second-class citizens, depriving them of the right to make a living to support themselves and their families.
Is ASH serious? Should smokers not be allowed to hold jobs? Does it somehow promote public health to make the families of smokers go hungry? Should our society have two distinct classes, one that can work and another which cannot, simply because of a lawful, off-the-job behavior?
An appropriate public health policy for work-site health promotion would provide smoking employees with smoking-cessation programs, not fire them.
I fear that the anti-smoking movement is on the verge of running amok. Ultimately, what is at stake is the credibility of the tobacco-control movement, as well as the integrity of its evidence-based approach to the protection of the publics health. If we lose that, then the truly legitimate, science-based aspects of tobacco control will be undermined. And then it will become difficult, if not impossible, to advance any policies to protect the public from the hazards of tobacco.
As a person with severe Asthma, I appreciate the smokefree businesses but I agree that banning smoking in outdoor areas is wrong. My workplace is smokefree inside but there are outdoor smoking areas and I am free to avoid them. My asthma is triggered by cigarette smoke and my pulmonary specialist says that I could have a fatal attack if confined indoors where people are smoking.
It's my choice to never patronize businesses that allow smoking. I'm not talking about businesses that have smoking areas because those don't work. If there isn't a notice on the door that the establishment is smokefree, I don't go in. That is my choice. I would never consider supporting a law to force private businesses to ban smoking on their property.
*sigh* I see you let your NYT/Boston Globe subscription lapse again.
Those are GOOD Hates!
Oops! Too late...
Maybe if there's enough of this, people will realize that letting your employer control your health insurance is a bad idea. Of course, many people still think government schools are a good idea, so maybe they won't connect the dots on this issue, either ...
I STILL REMEMBER THAT WHEN ALL THIS STARTED, BREATHING THE AIR IN MILAN WAS THE EQUIVALENT OF SMOKIONG 20 PACKS OF CIGS A DAY. (opps sorry about caps)
You said a mouthful!!! The general public has very little tolerance today for Christians, smokers, meat eaters AND fathers! You are right!
And there is the answer! It should be left up to the business owner and his patrons to have smoking or not. NOT the government!
heheh! High Five!!!
People don't like change. The only way to get them to accept an idea is to promise them more unfortunately.
Nothing more politically or socially disgusting than a prissy prude who sniffs her nose at smokers as she dismounts from her V8 powered SUV.
The hypocrisy remains since those businesses that have banned smoking have not cut their insurance costs and they cannot guarantee they will not go up.
If smoking makes health care more costly then health care cost should be at their lowest historical rates since the 50's, since smoking has decreased per capita since then.
I love the smell of a good cigar or pipe but my condition (see post #4) doesn't allow me to sniff. LOL Some of my favorite childhood memories are of helping my grandfather roll his own Bugler cigarettes. Of course at that time, we didn't know why I was so sick when around the smoke.
I think it should be a personal choice and not a ban by the government. I mean, where does it stop? Things like that should be left up to the people, business owners and patrons.
Next time walk up to her and fart and some how smoke won't smell so bad tell her she has an option.
I put that in bold so it would catch the eye. But you know what I mean. Smoking has reported to have dropped over the years, so blaming higher health care on smokers shouldn't be the problem anymore.
It's all the illegal aliens that our hospitals have to treat that is forcing us to have higher health care costs.
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