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Re: “Smoking: Whose choice is it?

Everyone who has talked to Ethan as though he is a child has demonstrated a repulsive degree of arrogance, self-righteousness, and pettiness. The last time I checked, the choice to smoke was and is something available to any free American over the age of 18, which also happens to be the age when one is considered an adult. Simply because you don’t agree with someone who is obviously younger than you doesn’t mean you can treat him as if he’s an infant. Adults should speak to other adults as such. To do otherwise is shameful.

Now, let’s return to the issue of constitutionality. It’s blindingly clear that the government IS taking away business owners’ rights in disallowing smoking in public establishments. This infringement on our liberties in the name of health has not invaded too many other markets, but this sets a bad precedent. If someone doesn’t want to eat or drink in a smoking establishment, then guess what? He can go somewhere else, like maybe Chuck E. Cheese’s. How dare he use his bully pulpit to damage someone else’s livelihood, lifestyle, etc.?

Something that was once treated as an individual liberty has now been taken away, and smokers are understandably upset about it. With all the other terrible things that Americans do to their bodies (and other people’s bodies), I am surprised that smoking is considered such a vice. Obesity kills considerably more people in equally terrible ways, and no one is outlawing eating KFC in public, no matter that it might make others want to eat KFC, which will cause further obesity. It’s not OK to hector someone by saying, “Hey, you’re really fat, and your oozing sweat smells like dead yard bird. Would you please leave the classroom? And while you’re driving home, think about the terrible example you’re setting for your shiny, precious children. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

Smoking doesn’t make one any more misguided than many who take on other high risk hobbies, like drinking alcohol, gambling, or attending hard-core fundamentalist churches (which is worse for the mind than smoking is for the lungs). I also take offense to those who assume that smokers cannot have an informed opinion on the issue. I smoke, but I am constantly aware of my surroundings and try to keep my smoke from harming others. I have had so many hostile experiences with non-smokers that I am now paranoid. I go to great lengths to stand as far away from others when I smoke as possible, and still I get evil looks. Non-smokers like “pokey” obviously demonize us for enjoying a cigarette out in the open, in a public place such as the street. Such hostility and condescension are ludicrous.

Posted by lindenwa on 05/24/2009 at 11:37 PM

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