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City-wide smoking ban

Max Habibi
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So, in my fair city of Columbus, Ohio, City Council has recently passed a bill banning smoking in public areas. does this seem a bit like an overstep?


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Jessica Sant
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I don't think so -- I wish they had that here. You can't argue that 2nd hand smoke is an unhealthy thing -- so why if I go to some public place, do I have to breathe all that nasty air?

They've had a public clean air act (aka smoking ban in public places) for awhile in Salt Lake makes going to dinner and what not much more comfortable.


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Gregg Bolinger
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    6

I have to agree with Jess. It was nice when they removed smoking from inside the buildings but now when I walk in I have to walk through a cloud of smoke mixed with other peoples breathe just to get through the door. I hope they pass an act like that here pretty soon.


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Chris Mathews
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Smoking is banned in public places throughout my entire state (Delaware)... and it is a great thing!
[ July 12, 2004: Message edited by: Chris Mathews ]
Thomas Paul
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We have had that here for awhile. The nice thing is that I can now take my wife, an asthmatic, out to a restaraunt without her spending the meal sucking on her puffer.


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Max Habibi
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I'm conflicted on this. As a 2 1/2 pack former smoker (some 11 years ago), I'm all for encouraging people not to smoke. However, as a Libertarian, I'm inclined to think that people should be allowed to smoke as they wish.

There are restaurants and such that are supported by non-smoking clientele. The non-smokers who can't tolerate smoking have the choice of not going there. In the alternative, the smokers don't have the choice of going anywhere to smoke. What's next, requiring drivers to wear safety harnesses? Banning sky-diving?

M
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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  34

Originally posted by Max Habibi:
What's next, requiring drivers to wear safety harnesses?


They're called "seat belts", and dunno about the Cuyahoga valley, but here on the East Coast, they been after us to wear 'em fer some time now.

And motorcycle helmets, too!


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Gregg Bolinger
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Originally posted by Max Habibi:
What's next, requiring drivers to wear safety harnesses? Banning sky-diving?

M


Kansas already has a seat-belt law. You have to wear one. Not sure how sky-diving indangers the health of those around them which is what smoking tends to do.

The non-smokers who can't tolerate smoking have the choice of not going there.

I think it should be the smokers who can't stand to not light up while eating at a resturaunt have the choice.
Gregg Bolinger
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    6

This thread seems slightly meaningful.
Warren Dew
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Max Habibi:

However, as a Libertarian, I'm inclined to think that people should be allowed to smoke as they wish.

I think this is one of those "your freedom to swing your fist around ends at the tip of my nose" things. I'd think the libertarian view would be that one has the right to inhale the smoke into one's own lungs, but not to blow it out into air that other people breathe.

I wonder if it would be difficult to design mask or filter that would filter the cigarette smoke out of exhaled breath....

Smokers can still smoke in the privacy of their own homes.

What's next, requiring drivers to wear safety harnesses?

Doesn't Ohio have a seat belt law? Most states do. The libertarian solution there would probably be closer to what I once heard Australia did (don't know if it's true): if you aren't wearing a seat belt, you aren't allowed to sue the other guy for injury in an accident. That wouldn't work in the U.S., though, as lawyers are too politically powerful here.
Max Habibi
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Kansas already has a seat-belt law. You have to wear one.

As does Ohio: to be honest, I disagree with that legislation too, even as I would suggest that people wear their seat belts.


Not sure how sky-diving indangers the health of those around them which is what smoking tends to do.

My wife is a physician, so I have no medical knowledge whatsoever(unless such can be absorbed through osmosis). But. My understanding is that the second hand smoke you're exposed to in a restaurant is much, much less deadly than, say, the poisons belched out by buses and trucks, and no one is working to ban those.

Let me rephrase: if you were to assume that there are no health risks from second hand smoke, would you change your mind about a ban?



The non-smokers who can't tolerate smoking have the choice of not going there.

I think it should be the smokers who can't stand to not light up while eating at a restaurant have the choice.

What choice? it's not like they can go to smoking only restaurants. By law, these are now illegal. It seems that the consumers have already cast a vote by supporting businesses that allow smoking and supporting that do not. I'm not sure the public interest is being served when people are "protected" in this way.

M
Max Habibi
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Warren:
I think this is one of those "your freedom to swing your fist around ends at the tip of my nose" things. I'd think the libertarian view would be that one has the right to inhale the smoke into one's own lungs, but not to blow it out into air that other people breathe.

I don't think so: I think the libertarian view is that you have the right smoke in a place designated as smoking, and non-smokers have the right not to go there. So long as there are places where they can go, this wouldn't seem to present a problem.

It's similar to the libertarian views of drug use and/ or prostitution.

Warren:
I wonder if it would be difficult to design mask or filter that would filter the cigarette smoke out of exhaled breath....

Smokers can still smoke in the privacy of their own homes.

This, while important, is irrelevant. The context of the discussion is public activity.
Warren:
What's next, requiring drivers to wear safety harnesses?

Doesn't Ohio have a seat belt law? Most states do.

I should have said "safely helmet", as it emphasizes the point more clearly. I'm inclined to the opinion that the state should not be in the business of protecting citizens from their own stupidity.
Warren:

The libertarian solution there would probably be closer to what I once heard Australia did (don't know if it's true): if you aren't wearing a seat belt, you aren't allowed to sue the other guy for injury in an accident.

This does not seem unreasonable.

M
[ July 12, 2004: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
Marilyn de Queiroz
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  10
Boulder, Colorado, has had a similar law for several years whereas Denver merchants (restaurant and bar owners) fought the introduction of this about 6 months ago tooth and nail. Thus, Denver, a more conservative city still allows smoking in most public places while Boulder, a more liberal city, requires smokers to use specified "smoking areas".

It seems that the people in Boulder are more into freedom from having to breathe second-hand smoke than freedom to smoke.


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Max Habibi
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Originally posted by Marilyn de Queiroz:

It seems that the people in Boulder are more into freedom from having to breathe second-hand smoke than freedom to smoke.


It does indeed. I feel awkward opposing a smoking ban, because I think that smoking's a fairly dumb thing to do. That being said, it does seem a little 'Big Bother' to me to ban it. I wonder, how was the ban passed in Boulder? In Columbus, a seven member city council passed it. Was there a popular vote in Boulder?

M
Thomas Paul
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In NYC they went with the idea that second hand smoke creates a hazardous workplace. They don't even allow smoking in bars.

I'm sort of divided on the issue. For my wife and daughter, second-hand smoke can put them in the hospital because of their asthma. But this may be a little bit of big brother government.
Helen Thomas
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Ireland has introduced a non-smoking ban in bars and restaurants and all public enclosed places. That's a Country-Wide ban.
The Irish usually take their cue from New York. If New York banned Guinness the Irish probably would too.
As a consequence of the ban,Irelands bar sales decline and they don't hold much hope of attracting non-smokers.
[ July 12, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]

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Warren Dew
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Max Habibi:

But. My understanding is that the second hand smoke you're exposed to in a restaurant is much, much less deadly than, say, the poisons belched out by buses and trucks, and no one is working to ban those.

It's the particulates that cause cancer, and it's the particulates that you can see and smell. It's true that poorly tuned diesel engines can emit a higher concentration of particulates than cigarette smoke, but it's usually emitted further from where people breathe. On the other hand, I've definitely been blasted in the face by big clouds of diesel smoke from poorly tuned buses on occasion (bleah!). I figure any time I'm breathing something that smells bad and makes me cough, it's probably bad for me.

There actually are people working against diesel emissions. While diesel engines are currently permitted to pollute more than gasoline engines, there's a big effort right now to get the EPA to stop that, and require diesels to be as clean as the gasoline engines. It's not just the cigarette smoke people are worried about.

On the subject of diesels, there are also some recent studies that indicate that the slight albedo decreases from soot deposited on the polar ice cap are as big a contributor to global warming as CO2. So while a diesel may save money by consuming less fuel than a gasoline engine, it's actually worse for the environment in pretty much every respect.
Jeroen Wenting
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Sales in European bars had been down significantly already due to bar operators raising prices to insane levels during the Euro introduction.
Not as bad in Ireland, in the Netherlands and Germany prices often doubled overnight.

I'm all in favour of a complete ban on smoking. If a smoker wants to produce his poison gasses, let him do it somewhere where he doesn't poison others with them.


42
Paul McKenna
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The UN conducted a study on the harmful effects of second hand smoke. They supressed the report because they found no evidence of any harm caused by second hand smoke.


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R K Singh
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Originally posted by Paul McKenna:
The UN conducted a study on the harmful effects of second hand smoke. They supressed the report because they found no evidence of any harm caused by second hand smoke.


Thats surprising .. :roll:
Ashok Mash
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Originally posted by Paul McKenna:
The UN conducted a study on the harmful effects of second hand smoke. They supressed the report because they found no evidence of any harm caused by second hand smoke.


Don't know about that, but here's a page from WHO titled "Comprehensive reports on passive smoking by authoritative scientific bodies" (link)


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Andrew Eccleston
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Well, let's see how badly I step in it here.

It seems to me that government is supposed to serve the best interests of the citizens who support it. These citizens, essentially "everyone", are known as the "public".

This said, I think that as long as the laws regarding such personal preferences are restricted to public places, not private ones, then government is not really "Big Brother"ish.

Remembering that the public is "everyone", everyone should be able to enjoy a meal in a restaurant, or a drink in a bar, etc. However, not everyone wants to be inhaling smoke while they do these activites, only a portion of people do. Banning smoking in public places doesn't prevent ANYONE from enjoying the activites these public place are operating for. A smoker can still have a meal or a drink. They still can smoke in private places. They just no longer have the right to FORCE non-smokers to inhale their smoke in a public place. (They CAN actually force them to in the privacy of the smoker's own home, however. That is still their right. :roll: )


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Max Habibi
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Andrew Eccleston:
It seems to me that government is supposed to serve the best interests of the citizens who support it. These citizens, essentially "everyone", are known as the "public".

This said, I think that as long as the laws regarding such personal preferences are restricted to public places, not private ones, then government is not really "Big Brother"ish.


Would you feel the same way if the government decided that you shouldn't eat chocolate, or that you should wear a safety helmet at all times, or that you shouldn't drink? In not, you should modify the statement above.

Andrew Eccleston:Remembering that the public is "everyone", everyone should be able to enjoy a meal in a restaurant, or a drink in a bar, etc. However, not everyone wants to be inhaling smoke while they do these activities, only a portion of people do. Banning smoking in public places doesn't prevent ANYONE from enjoying the activities these public place are operating for.

That's not accurate. These public places, now and in the past, are operated so that people can eat, drink, and smoke there. Why not let people decide for themselves if they want to patronize a restaurant that allows smoking, in the same way that they can choose to patronize a restaurant that allows drinking? That is, why not allow the people who choose to inhaling smoke while they do these activities to do so?

Andrew Eccleston:A smoker can still have a meal or a drink. They still can smoke in private places. They just no longer have the right to FORCE non-smokers to inhale their smoke in a public place.

They've never had the right to force anyone to inhale second hand smoke, AFIK. The smokers choose to support business that allow smoking. The non-smokers who go there also choose to support these businesses. If they did not, they( the non-smokers) could leave: thus, there is no forcing. You might as well go to a comic book shop and try to ban the funny pictures from the books .
[ July 13, 2004: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
Warren Dew
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Max, I'm with you on preferring that the government not legislate against people's doing stupid things to themselves, as long as those people don't harm others in the process. I'd prefer to see my (possibly apocryphal) Australian seat belt law rather than the ones we have. As a practical matter, I finally caved and started supporting seat belt laws some years ago, but only because it seemed that our government / insurance companies are unable to avoid letting other peoples' unbelted condition affect my insurance premiums.

That said, I don't think smoking is 'victimless', unlike the other examples in this thread, because second hand smoke does affect people other than the smoker. Some of us are very sensitive to the smell - for example, I can tell if my wife had lunch with someone who smoked, because I can smell it in her hair when she gets home.

The antismoking laws are about public places. Let's first consider a publicly funded public place, say a park. Suppose I (a nonsmoker sensitive to cigarette smoke) sit down on a park bench to enjoy the fresh air. Now a smoker sits down next to me and lights up. Is that 'forcing' me to breathe cigarette smoke? If not, what if all the other benches also have smokers sitting on them, and this is the only park in my city? Without a smoking ban, this could easily happen, and the lack of such a law essentially favors 'enjoying a smoke' over 'enjoying fresh air'. The existence of a smoking ban simply reverses that existing favoritism. From a utilitarian philosophical standpoint (greatest good for the greatest number), it may well be justifiable (and yes, in some Massachusetts towns, smoking bans were actually passed by referendum against objections from the governments); even on contractarian philosophical grounds, lighting up next to a stranger is quite questionable.

Now let's take restaurants. Restaurants are public places, and as a condition of being granted a license to do business, they implicitly agree to abide by the rules the government sets. These include, for example, not storing the milk overnight at room temperature, not refusing to serve people on the basis of race and, where a smoking ban has been passed, not permitting patrons to smoke. A libertarian might disagree with the need for the license to open a restaurant, but from a practical standpoint, licenses are required everywhere I know of.

Note that a ban on smoking in public does not usually apply to private clubs. If you want to get together with like minded friends, I think it's likely you can buy a club house and only admit your friends as members, even if that means you only admit smokers, or only admit Japanese, or only admit women, should you desire.
Thomas Paul
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Would you feel the same way if the government decided that you shouldn't eat chocolate, or that you should wear a safety helmet at all times, or that you shouldn't drink? In not, you should modify the statement above.

As long as they applied to public places only I wouldn't have a problem. And we do have laws like that. No chewing gum in the subways... no alcohol at the beach... must wear a helmet while riding a bicycle on public streets. Since you and I are the government, you and I get to make rules about how you and I must act on public property.
Gregg Bolinger
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Technically speaking a resturaunt is not a public place. It is a private establishment that allows the public to dine there. However, it is still under some regulatory control in that a resturaunt cannot discriminate against it's patrons (race, religion, etc).

So I guess the real question is what kind of control does the government have over the issue of smoking? How are they able to tell Billy Bob who owns Billy Bob's BarBQ that his patrons can or cannot smoke in his place of business?

While I would prefer not to be around smoke, I can see the other sides argument.
Andrew Eccleston
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Max:
Would you feel the same way if the government decided that you shouldn't eat chocolate, or that you should wear a safety helmet at all times, or that you shouldn't drink? In not, you should modify the statement above.


This was in regards to my not finding government to be like Big Brother with this law. My understanding of "Big Brother" is that it referred to government stepping way beyond maintaining the public's welfare, by monitoring and controlling every aspect of their lives, including in the privacy of their own home. So if my understanding is correct, this law does not make them Big Brother. Nor your examples above, IF they were restricted to public places and were looking at the best interests of the people. I may not like those laws. I may thing it's wrong to enact the law. But, I wouldn't quite consider it Big Brother.

Max:
These public places, now and in the past, are operated so that people can eat, drink, and smoke there.


I'm not sure I entirely agree. Before this law I don't recall seeing businesses advertise smoking as the reason to go there.

Max:
Why not let people decide for themselves if they want to patronize a restaurant that allows smoking


Actually, I agree here. I never minded going to restaurants with seperate smoking and non-smoking sections, as long as I didn't have to smell their smoke while I was there.

Max:
They've never had the right to force anyone to inhale second hand smoke


Not force explicitly, but I suppose by eliminating options, it sort of does. If a non-smoker's only choices are to either breathe the smoke, or leave, does that seem fair to non-smokers? After all, the law bans the ACT of smoking in public places. It doesn't ban the PEOPLE from going into public places. If people who smoke feel they can't go into public places any more, then I think, IMHO, that they are placing a higher priority on smoking than they are on enjoying a meal out, or seeing a movie, etc.


Greg:
So I guess the real question is what kind of control does the government have over the issue of smoking? How are they able to tell Billy Bob who owns Billy Bob's BarBQ that his patrons can or cannot smoke in his place of business?


I think I agree with you here, mostly. Unfortunately, if it's left up to individual owners to decide for their establishment, I doubt that many will be concerned with the welfare of their patrons. More likely, they will be most concerned with their wallet, allowing smoking (or whatever else) if they think it will bring in the most customers.


As I said above, the law only bans a certain act, not people. Most places have laws that ban certain acts in public places. Public drunkeness and public nudity are illegal in most places in the US. But, preventing the acts doesn't prevent the people from going out in public. Anything that prevents certain people from going into places is, at some level, a form of discrimination.

I'm not trying to upset people. This may be a topic that's too complicated to solve here. So, I'll be happy to agree to disagree.
[ July 13, 2004: Message edited by: Andrew Eccleston ]
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Gregg Bolinger:
Technically speaking a resturaunt is not a public place. It is a private establishment that allows the public to dine there.
Actually no. Technically speaking, a restaruant is a place of public accomodation.

A public accommodation is any building, office store, tavern, restaurant, club, or other structure whose privileges and facilities are open to the public. It is unlawful for any proprietor or any employee, keeper, or manger of a place of public accommodation to deny any person the full enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges based on the bases of race, sex, color, religion, age, marital status, national origin, disability, or ancestry.
Max Habibi
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Warren,

I agree with you, of course, if a law is passed, then restaurants should abide by those laws. That really isn't the issue under contention. The issues are these.

1. If second-hand smoke were harmful, would you still advocate a smoking ban for everyone? If so, under what principle?

2. If second-hand smoke were not harmful, would you still advocate a smoking ban for everyone? If so, under what principle?


Tom: Since you and I are the government, you and I get to make rules about how you and I must act on public property.

Yes, but if you, Patty and I are the goverment, do we get to make a rule saying that all persons should pee standing up whil e in public bathrooms? Surely there's a limit?
Jessica Sant
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I kind of think that the main difference with smoking in public places and soem of the above examples is that by smoking, you're imposing on other people.

Healthy or not -- second-hand smoke is a nasty nasty smell and I hate walking into a room full of it, and worse I hate coming home with it permeating every inch of my clothing.

There are laws about how loud someone can play their music -- because the sound imposes on other people.

Growing up I remember playing softball at ball parks where there was a law that the lights had to go out after 10 pm because the bright lights imposed on other people.

What gives one person the right to do something if by doing so they impose on other people? It's a public space right? everyone should have equal right to enjoy the space -- but if someone is playing their music extremely loud, it imposes on the people around them (who have no choice but to listen to it) and those other people may be forced to leave the area...
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Max Habibi:
Yes, but if you, Patty and I are the goverment, do we get to make a rule saying that all persons should pee standing up whil e in public bathrooms? Surely there's a limit?

That would probably be a violation of equal access but, in principal, yes, we have the right to tell people how they must behave in public. Just as you have the right to tell people how to behave on your property, we have the right to tell each other how to behave on public property within the constraints of equal access. So it would be illegal to pass a law that says that women can't use a public park but it would probably not be illegal to say that lawyers can't use a public park since they are not a protected group.

By the way, NYC has a law that prohibits someone without a child from sitting in a park near a children's playgroud.
Helen Thomas
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Adnan Kadhum of the Baghdad traffic police says he noticed the change about 10 days ago: The city's notoriously unruly drivers suddenly started obeying his commands. They stopped when he signaled for them to stop; they went when he signaled for them to go.

"Before, you found hardly anyone listening to you," the 27-year police force veteran says. Kadhum, 48, spent his days flailing around in 105-degree heat, sometimes waving his pistol in a futile attempt to make motorists follow his commands. "Now, by barely moving my hand, I get respect."


It seems that in Argentina, the people regularly speed through red traffic lights. Odd, since that's the most sure-fire way of getting killed. But they explain that as the government ruined their lives they don't feel they have to obey the government rules.
Max Habibi
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That would probably be a violation of equal access but, in principal, yes, we have the right to tell people how they must behave in public.


Yes, but there are limits, as there should be. I can't stop you from listening to Sinatra, nor can you stop me from listening to Rage Against The Machine.


Just as you have the right to tell people how to behave on your property, we have the right to tell each other how to behave on public property within the constraints of equal access.


..and other constitutional protections. By and large, you can't stop me from wearing a stinky cologne: why should you be able to stop me from smoking a stinky cigarette? You don't have to come to my stinky cologne permitting club, but there should be somewhere where I and like minded people can wear our stinky stuff.


So it would be illegal to pass a law that says that women can't use a public park but it would probably not be illegal to say that lawyers can't use a public park since they are not a protected group.

I'm not sure how I feel about "protected groups", but that's probably a door we shouldn't open here.

Speaking of...

By the way, NYC has a law that prohibits someone without a child from sitting in a park near a children's playgroud.

Interesting how I've changed. Ten years ago, I would have been up in arms about this. Now, I can see it. I guess you really can't trust anyone over thirty :roll:

By and large, I think this law(smoking ban), as well-intentioned as it is, is designed to protect people from themselves. That, IMO, is inappropriate.
[ July 13, 2004: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
Max Habibi
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Originally posted by Jessica Sant:
I kind of think that the main difference with smoking in public places and soem of the above examples is that by smoking, you're imposing on other people.

Healthy or not -- second-hand smoke is a nasty nasty smell and I hate walking into a room full of it, and worse I hate coming home with it permeating every inch of my clothing.

There are laws about how loud someone can play their music -- because the sound imposes on other people.

Growing up I remember playing softball at ball parks where there was a law that the lights had to go out after 10 pm because the bright lights imposed on other people.

What gives one person the right to do something if by doing so they impose on other people? It's a public space right? everyone should have equal right to enjoy the space -- but if someone is playing their music extremely loud, it imposes on the people around them (who have no choice but to listen to it) and those other people may be forced to leave the area...


This is a pretty good argument, especially the loud music compression. I guess my feeling is that if there's a party at which you know there will be loud music, then you shouldn't go and then insist that everyone there not listen to music so loudly.

You knew it was loud music party: you knew there were other parties that didn't have loud music. Why not let the headbangers(and the people who can stand the music) have their fun @ their thingo, and simply choose to go elsewhere? That way, there's compromise. You don't get their dirty smoke, and they get to do their thing. It seems like the most egalatrian solution, to me.

M
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Max Habibi:
You knew it was loud music party: you knew there were other parties that didn't have loud music. Why not let the headbangers(and the people who can stand the music) have their fun @ their thingo, and simply choose to go elsewhere? That way, there's compromise. You don't get their dirty smoke, and they get to do their thing. It seems like the most egalatrian solution, to me.
And what if you live next door to the loud music party?
Thomas Paul
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Yes, but there are limits, as there should be. I can't stop you from listening to Sinatra, nor can you stop me from listening to Rage Against The Machine.

I can stop you from listening to anything, however. My local beach has a no music rule.

..and other constitutional protections. By and large, you can't stop me from wearing a stinky cologne: why should you be able to stop me from smoking a stinky cigarette? You don't have to come to my stinky cologne permitting club, but there should be somewhere where I and like minded people can wear our stinky stuff.

You are welcome to have a private club where you can wear cologne and smoke cigarrettes. But the law can stop you from wearing a stinky cologne. Oddly, however, the law can't stop you from having bad body odor as a library in New Jersey found out when they tried to keep a homeless man out because he stunk.
Max Habibi
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Sheriff

Joined: Jun 27, 2002
Posts: 4118
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
And what if you live next door to the loud music party?



I'm not sure how this is relevant? Metaphors only stretch so far, unless you're suggesting that the law is justified in that it protects those who's houses are next door to restaurants that allow smoking?
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
I guess I didn't understand what you are talking about. Jessica made the point that the law allows us to prevent you from imposing on other people and used anti-noise laws as an example. I don't think she was talking in terms of any metaphors.
Jessica Sant
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 17, 2001
Posts: 4313

Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
I guess I didn't understand what you are talking about. Jessica made the point that the law allows us to prevent you from imposing on other people and used anti-noise laws as an example. I don't think she was talking in terms of any metaphors.


I agree, it wasn't a metaphor -- if the person living in the apartment/house next door is having some crazy loud party (or, insists on practicing on their drum set at 2 AM) I can call the police and they can be cited for a noise violation. I see that as being very similar to me standing next to some guy in a restaurant who is smoking -- the house next door is imposing on me by forcing me to listen to their incredibly loud music, and the smoking guy standing next to me is imposing on me by making me breathe all the nasty air he's producing.
Warren Dew
blacksmith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 04, 2004
Posts: 1332
    
    2
Max Habibi:

I agree with you, of course, if a law is passed, then restaurants should abide by those laws. That really isn't the issue under contention. The issues are these.

1. If second-hand smoke were harmful, would you still advocate a smoking ban for everyone? If so, under what principle?

2. If second-hand smoke were not harmful, would you still advocate a smoking ban for everyone? If so, under what principle?


I'm not actually advocating the law; I'm just arguing that it's legitimate within the framework of our society. To me, a smoking ban in restaurants has a similar ethical standing to a ban on refusing to serve minorities; it prevents the restaurants from discriminating against nonsmokers. And like Jessica, I don't think the second hand smoke needs to be harmful to be an objectionable imposition.

I don't see it as an issue of 'protecting people from themselves' at all; I see it entirely as an issue of protecting the nonsmokers from the smokers.

If I were dictator of the universe, I would prohibit smoking in publicly owned places (like parks), but I'd permit restaurant owners to set whatever rules they wanted for what happened within their establishments, as long as the rules were clear. I would encourage, but not require, them to serve all ethnic groups, and I would encourage, but not require, them to prohibit smoking in favor of drugs that didn't impose on third parties.

I might require them to look at the results from the smoking bans here in Massachusetts before setting their rules, though. Apparently if you actually ban smoking, the total tips from all patrons combined doesn't go down. Presumably smokers are 'better tippers' in establishments that permit smoking only because nonsmokers tip poorly when their dining experience is spoiled by smoke drifting over from the smoking section. Prohibit smoking, and it seems the nonsmokers become the good tippers and the frustrated smokers the bad tippers. The good experiences of restauranteurs in towns that had passed bans was instrumental in getting a statewide ban passed here this year.
 
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subject: City-wide smoking ban
 
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