Anti-Smoking Moralists Seek New Ally: Hipsters
Truth.com has come out with a new hipster ad that encourages its anti-smoking legions to #finishit. (Sorry about the embedded curse word, but that’s the hash tag.) They claim this is the generation that will end smoking for good.
“We have the numbers.… we have the power,” they say, as scenes of rioters and anonymous protesters are carefully splashed across the scene.
It appears the true agenda of groups like Truth has always been to ban smoking altogether. That is their end game.
What started as a movement to help people make better choices and reveal the true dangers of smoking has morphed into an all out war — not just on big tobacco, but on smokers themselves. Exaggerated studies on second-hand smoke suggest imminent danger for anyone near a cigarette.
Some states have already gone ahead and banned parents from smoking in their cars if they have children with them. While that sounds good and feels good, the reality is otherwise.
Children have been killed by airbags, seat belts, cars while riding in cars, cars while not riding in cars, and by automobile-exhaust fumes. Yet no child in all human history has ever been killed when faced with second-hand smoke, be that while riding in a car or not riding in a car.
The irony is that those purported safety devices, along with the exhausts that automobile manufacturers use, are all regulated if not mandated by government. In other words, government kills, not second-hand smoke.
A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and covered by Forbes found no link between passive smoke and lung cancer. The only exception was spouses who lived for 30 years or more with a smoker. In other words, if you don’t smoke and your only exposure to smoking is occasionally passing a smoker on the street or sharing a drink in a bar that allows smoking, you suffer zero risk.
At this point, many will say, “well smoking is disgusting/smelly/annoying, and I hate it and have a right to be free of it.” Yes, you do.
You do not, however, have any right or moral authority to tell a business owner or homeowner not to smoke in his home, car, business, or property. The same goes for anywhere on the street where automobiles pass by with their deadly smoke, which most anti-smokers usually ignore.
While working in the Puerto Rico Senate in the late 1990s, I suggested to the president of the Senate (who hated smoking), a licensing system for bars and restaurants, instead of bans. While I don’t like the idea of licensing for this sort of thing, it appeared on the surface to be a reasonable compromise.
Assuming one out of every six people smoke, the state could sell licenses to one sixth of bars — those that wanted to allow smoking, much like a liquor license. The annual fee could then be divided between the state and municipal governments, and help generate revenue. I also proposed a pay-to-sit smokers lounge in the airport.
The ideas were rejected outright. That is not surprising, and it shows the intent of the nanny staters has always been to ban it.
Yet no one seems to consider what would happen if it were banned. Hundreds of thousands of people in Puerto Rico would be instantly considered criminals (millions in the United States); to buy cigarettes you’d have to go down to the projects; drug dealers would have a whole new product to sell; and just like alcohol prohibition and the endless drug war, violence and corruption would find a new and expanded role in our society.
It does not matter how much you hate smoking. You have no right to use government to control others with whom you are not compelled to be around. It is the same as New York City banning trans fats or limiting soda sizes. The power you grant government officials over something you hate will be the power you grant government over something you love. It is not a slippery slope, it is historical fact.
Part of the reason government costs so much is that it attempts to be all things for all people and cater to the whims of all special-interest groups. Sometimes those in government should have the courage to tell the nanny-state enthusiasts to “mind their own business.”