Radicalism : Manifesting on both sides of the Fence

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pipingmike

New member
Jul 27, 2011
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This will be my first topic started on this particular forum, and I suppose I've never been one for lackluster entries. The subject at hand is "Radicalism on both sides of the Fence" in regards to the anti-smoking movement and us, the smokers.
It is of my personal opinion that people on both sides of the debate are too black and white in their views. It seems to be my way or the highway for most people, and that simply won't cut it. Many anti-smoking lobbyists want to make tobacco so highly taxed that it is simply not economical to obtain it, or ban smoking all together. Inversely, many smokers want to be able to smoke whenever and wherever. I think the matter is not so dry cut.
I firmly believe that people have rights up to the point when they step on another's. Somebody should be able to punch their fist into the air as much as they want, no problem, but as soon as their fist connects with another's face, we have a situation. This analogy can also be used for the smoking debate. I remember, as a kid, going to restaurants and being able to choose between a smoking and non smoking section. This seems fine and dandy until you realize that the sections weren't all that separate, and you could still smell the smoke from the smoking section. I did, and still do hate the smell of cigarettes, and couldn't stand when some of the smoke wafted over to our area. Saying this, I am of the firm belief that in situations like this, smoking in public buildings should not be allowed. If there was a whole separate room with an exhaust and a door in between, the case may have been different, but that was rarely the case. We all have the right to smoke, but that right ends when it infringes another's right to not have to be exposed to it, regardless of if it's harmless or not. In an indoor space, at a restaurant perhaps, it's not as simple as getting up and moving away, and this is what infringes on the person's rights. As an example : When my aunt was pregnant, she worked at a desk across from a chain smoker, and was exposed to her smoke all day long, 5 days a week. Whether or not the smoke was harmful to her or not, she shouldn't have had to put up with smelling that all day if she didn't want to. In this situation, it wasn't a matter of getting up and leaving, and could damage her ability to concentrate and work efficiently.
That beings said, I think outdoor smoking bans, such as bans in parks, on beaches, or on the street, are taking it too far. Let's say I'm sitting on a park bench, smoking my pipe, and another person is sitting on a bench 8 feet away from me. A couple of situations could occur.

1. There is enough open air that they don't smell my smoke. All is well.

2. They smell my smoke, and can leave. All is well.

3. They smell my smoke, but can't leave. Say they are watching their kid on a jungle-gym. They politely

ask me to move away, and I would, because I'm not about to infringe upon his or her right not to smell my

smoke. All is well.
In each case, both of our rights were afforded. I could smoke my pipe, and they didn't have to be bothered with it if they so chose. All in all, I think that if another person doesn't want to put up with me smoking, they shouldn't have to. In an enclosed space where there's not much that they can do about the situation, smoking should not be allowed. In an open air environment when they either can't smell my smoke, or can move away, neither of our rights are affecting the others.
What do all of you think about this topic?

 

juvat270

Preferred Member
Aug 1, 2011
558
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I must respectfully disagree with your argument for the following reasons. The battle between the anti-smokers and the smokers boils down to two different points of view and the situation you gave about the restaurant is a perfect example of why one point of view is wrong and the other is not. Allow me to explain.
You mention that, when a restaurant has a "smoking section" the non-smoking crowd can still smell it. My answer to that would be..."So what?" Extreme? No and for this reason alone. If the anti-smoker doesn't like it, why do they go there? People often confuse the term public place with the idea that they have a right to be there. Restaurants for example are "public places" yes, but they are still private property and that is what the debate is really about, property rights and personal responsibility.
As a property owner, shouldn't it be up to me whether I allow smoking on my property or not? Why do people, some of whom may not or would never set foot in my establishment get to tell me what I can and can't allow on my property?
If enough people complained about smoking and it affected their profits, most if not all business owners (smart ones at least) would ban smoking in a heartbeat. But, you cannot ban something just because you don't like it. It's like the old television analogy. If you don't like whats on t.v., its up to YOU to change the channel. But these day's people would rather ban things than "change the channel." Smoking is just another. You mentioned punching your fist in the air is fine until it connects with someones face. But that is a poor analogy. You would have to actively target someone to do that and that would violate their rights. However, no one is forcing anyone to breathe second hand smoke. If you hate smoking but choose to go to an establishment that allows it, you're choosing to breathe second hand smoke regardless of whether you like it or not.
Anti-smokers know this of course, which is why they cooked up the whole "it's a public health issue" in order to get city, and in some cases state wide smoking bans. But even that argument has no merit. Not only is the science behind the effects of second hand smoke spotty at best, but the numbers the government gives concerning people who died as a result of exposure to second hand smoke are inflated. For example, if a person dies of alzheimers and also lived with a smoker, bingo!!! He/she is now counted as someone who died from second hand smoke. Mr. John Doe, who weighed 500lbs, has a heart attack and dies. Whats that? He lived with a smoker? Must have been that exposure to second hand smoke that did it. And on and on and on.
And again, we come back to rights and personal responsibility. Too few people these days seem to want to own up to it. In it's place we now have people brainwashed into thinking that they're entitled to things. Hate smoking? Then I guess your choice of working as a bartender wasn't a wise one was it? Oh wait, I'm sorry, you're "entitled" to work there.
Your argument slides down that slippery slope of emotion rather than logic. Tyranny of the majority is not democracy ( or freedom for that matter); it's the antithesis of it, and far too many these days seemed to have mistaken one for the other.
If my way of thinking is "extreme" or too "black and white" then I will gladly be labeled a radical.

 

markw4mms

Preferred Member
Jun 16, 2011
2,177
0
Bremen,GA
I agree that it should be up to the individual business owners as to allow smoking or not, and I know plenty of places that took great care to try and make sure that smoke from the smoking section didn't interfere with the people in the non smoking section. The bottom line is, you know it's gone too far when you go into a tobacco shop and there is a no smoking sign on the door.

 

rigmedic1

Preferred Member
May 29, 2011
3,892
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When I took Civics in high school, I was taught about the legislative process. One of the things that made it work was the concept of compromise. Don't know if anyone has noticed, but compromise has gone the way of the dinosaur. Reminds me of spoiled kids, who keep at it until the parents finally give in, and the kid gets his way. Shame though, because the legislators no longer have a parent. Smoke 'em if you got 'em, and lay in a stock for when you can't get 'em anymore.

Of course, prohibition didn't work for alcohol.

It's a shame too. People don't realize the contribution of tobacco to the forming of our nation. Or hemp, lol.

 

marmal4de

Preferred Member
Feb 20, 2011
2,320
0
Richmond, BC
juvat270 You and cortezattic should be the smokers rights representatives for the whole world, hauntedmyst can come too, for comic relief. Well put!

 

admin

Smoking a Pipe Right Now
Staff member
Nov 16, 2008
7,914
52
St. Petersburg, FL
This is a good discussion. If the debate gets heated at all, please remember to keep it civil and no personal attacks.
I would also suggest reading the articles in Carter's column. We have a new about ready to go too.
http://pipesmagazine.com/blog/category/tobacco-policies-legislation/

 

forsooth

Member
Feb 18, 2011
151
0
Rush told this story a little while back.
He and some friends were in an expensive restaurant. After their meal, Rush took out a "cigarette" and started "smoking." Before long, the manager came over and said that, well, he was very sorry, but a customer had complained about his cigarette.
Rush explained that he was actually smoking an electronic cigarette, not a real cigarette. No cigarette odor at all. The manager was very relieved, said thank you, and left.
A short time later, the manager slowly returned and, with embarrassment, explained that the same customer had lodged another complaint about the electronic cigarette. That is, the customer complained that the electronic cigarette should be disallowed because it made one "think" of a real cigarette being smoked.
Wishing to avoid any sort of scene and in order to take the pressure off the manager, Rush put the electronic cigarette back away.

 

pipingmike

New member
Jul 27, 2011
6
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forsooth : That reminds me of a social experiment I just read about, although I can't remember where. A man entered a bar and pulled out an unlit cigarette. He put it in his mouth but never lit it, and still got complaints, including people "coughing" at the non-existent smoke. It just goes to show that many people hate the idea of smoking much more than the act itself.
juvat270: You do indeed make some very good points. You said that although it is called a public place, a setting like a restaurant is still under private ownership, and the owner should be able to decide if smoking is allowable or not. This I can't really disagree with, although were there any restaurants pre-ban that disallowed smoking anyways? I am actually curious about that, as I was very young when smoking was still allowed in places like restaurants, although I always remember being asked "smoking or non smoking". Maybe there were also non-smoking restaurants, and I just hadn't been to one. One flaw that could occur is this, though I can't say it would necessarily happen, it's just a hypothetical. While maybe not happening in mom and pop shops, I could see large chain restaurants (I'll just be using a restaurant as an example the rest of this post) crunching the numbers and figuring out if allowing smoking or not would be most profitable. This would lead to a large number of restaurants with the same stance, whether it be pro or anti smoking, which would undermine the rights of the other group.
Second, the whole premise of your argument is that "I can smoke where I want, and if you don't like it, you shouldn't be in the same place as I am" is the null hypothesis in this debate. In a matter like this one, there really is no clear cut answer as to what the null hypothesis truly is. An anti-smoker could just as easily say, "I have the right to not smell your smoke while I'm eating, and if you don't like it, stay home and you can smoke all you want." This is what makes this debate so hard to define. Each side has an argument that is equal and opposite the other. Both sides have arguments with essentially the same reasoning, but diametrically opposed ideals. This is why it can't be seen in black and white. We can't say, "People can smoke anywhere," or ,"People can't smoke anywhere." This is a situational problem that should be treated as such. If a person had been going to their favorite restaurant every day since the smoking bans, and then the bans were repealed and smoking was allowed, his right to go to his favorite place and enjoy a meal smoke free have been trampled on. The same can be seen from the opposite viewpoint, though, which complicates the matter entirely.

 

kcvet67

Preferred Member
Jul 6, 2010
968
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If a person had been going to their favorite restaurant every day since the smoking bans, and then the bans were repealed and smoking was allowed, his right to go to his favorite place and enjoy a meal smoke free have been trampled on.
The only real validity that I can see to this argument would be if that restaurant were government-owned. Quite frankly, I can't imagine trusting the gevernment to prepare a decent meal.
Assuming that the restaurant is privately owned, then it should be the owner's right to decide how that establishment is to be operated. He or she is the one who has invested their time and money to make it what they want it to be. As a customer, I have the right to give or withhold my patronage. I do not have (nor do I want) the right to tell a business owner that they must paint the restaurant only in colors that I approve of or that they may only serve dishes that appeal to my palate. If I don't like the decor or the menu or anything else about the establishment, then I have the absolute right not to go in.

 

lordnoble

Preferred Member
Jul 13, 2010
2,678
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Years ago, when I had just reached drinking age, I went to a bar named Smokin' Joe's (or something like that) and their motto was like, "The only smoking here is in our name". They were frequented by MANY people who wanted to go to the bar but didn't want to come home smelling like an ash tray. Then it was illegal for bars to allow smoking. Smokin' Joe's went out of business because now they weren't any different than any other bar. Kinda funny, yet sad. The ban made many a bar close its doors due to loss of clientele, but it made this one close for the same yet different reason.
I agree with your viewpoint about outdoor bans. In your example of the park, if someone gives me crap about my smoking, I'm going to give them crap about their talking. What a crock. I smelled your smoke, waaa. It's going to ruin my health. You annoying me is going to make my blood pressure go up and ruin my health. It's outside. Do they tell people who are camping to put out their fire because the smoke is bad for their health? No. How is my tiny pipe any worse?
On another note, I've NEVER been told that my pipe smoke stinks, but then I smoke 1-Q or Mac Baren 7 Seas or another equally crowd-pleasing blend when I'm out. I only smoke latakia and other "smelly" blends (as my wife puts it) at home. By myself. Which I prefer anyway. The more complex blends, I want to savor and concentrate on whereas light aromatics such as 1-Q don't require as much attention to enjoy and make great "out-and-about" smokes.
-Jason

 

pipetrucker

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2010
939
0
Following the white rabbit
I also view this as a private property issue.
No person has a "right" to enter private property or to make demands upon that property owner. What type of customers that property owner caters to (smokers vs non-smokers, adults vs children, etc) should be entirely up to the property owner.
As a customer the only "right" you have is to choose to go there, or to not go there. To say you have a "right" to go into that business is absurd. You are being allowed to enter there and do business purely by the pleasure of the business owner. You have no "right" to be there and the business owner has every right to refuse to allow you to be there if he or she chooses.
These bans do not trample the rights of smokers, nor does repealing them trample the rights of non-smokers. The bans trample the rights of the business owners who have invested their money, time, and effort into building that business and rely upon it for their livelihood.
As to the question about whether any restaurants were smoke-free prior to these bans, the answer is yes. While it wasn't as common, there were both bars and restaurants all over the country who's owners chose to cater to non-smokers (which was their right) as they saw a profitable niche there. I ran across them here and there and exercised my right to go elsewhere.
In my home state of Florida you can still find smoking and non-smoking bars, often right next to each other. They each choose to cater to certain customers, and there are plenty of customers to go around. And yet, even though they can easily choose to go elsewhere, you still have the antis going into places they know perfectly well are smoking establishments and complaining about the smoke. I have seen them tossed out on their ear more than once.
I think a reasonable compromise has been reached by states like Georgia and Arkansas. Their bans effectively give the business the owner the right to choose in that they ban smoking in any establishment that allows minors. There they can choose to allow children, and thus no smoking, or not allow children, and thus allow smoking. This applies to any type of business. This seem perfectly reasonable to me as children often do not get to choose where they go and have to go where their parents take them. That strikes me as a more common sense approach to the issue.

 

mike68

Junior Member
Jul 25, 2011
87
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I'd love to say that letting the owner of the establishment decide would fix the issue but that opens the door for all the other crap, don't wanna let hispanics eat in your restaurant, no problem - it's yours. Don't want to allow whites to come in to your night club - cool, it's yours.
It's unfortunate but too many people DON'T make the effort to "police" themselves, so then big brother feels like he needs to...which of course gets out of hand as well but at least if the policies are applied to ALL then it keeps the playing field level. I can see both sides unfortunately...
As for smoking outdoors - the recent rulings seem really stupid...IMHO.

 

ace57

Preferred Member
Jun 21, 2011
2,148
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Pipetrucker, You hit it on the head, thats the way I see it and it should be up to the owner.

 

pipetrucker

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2010
939
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Following the white rabbit
I'd love to say that letting the owner of the establishment decide would fix the issue but that opens the door for all the other crap, don't wanna let hispanics eat in your restaurant, no problem - it's yours. Don't want to allow whites to come in to your night club - cool, it's yours.
Sorry Mike, but that's a straw man argument. Racial discrimination is against Federal law, whereas this discussion is about using a legal product in a privately owned business. There is a world of difference there.

 

marmal4de

Preferred Member
Feb 20, 2011
2,320
0
Richmond, BC
Sorry Mike, but that's a straw man argument. Racial discrimination is against Federal law, whereas this discussion is about using a legal product in a privately owned business. There is a world of difference there.
Damn Mason, I was just thinking that.

 

mike68

Junior Member
Jul 25, 2011
87
0
But we all know how humans work, right? Should we even NEED these federal laws in place to prevent discrimination? Should we NEED to make discrimination illegal at all??
I don't think so and strawman or not - one WILL lead to the other. In fact, hasn't the whole argument FOR banning smoking in these places been made based on an individuals "right" to not be subject to secondhand smoke?
I'm not saying I agree with the bans at all..don't get me wrong.

 

marmal4de

Preferred Member
Feb 20, 2011
2,320
0
Richmond, BC
But we all know how humans work, right? Should we even NEED these federal laws in place to prevent discrimination? Should we NEED to make discrimination illegal at all??
I think that this is extremely off topic, and is a discussion for another forum.

 

mike68

Junior Member
Jul 25, 2011
87
0
Ok - well IMHO, we should be allowed to smoke in parks but I could care less about restaurants or movie theaters. I don't go there with smoking in mind so whatever....