Saturday, November 05, 2005

Anti Anti-Smoking

Nobody hates smoking more than me. Cigarettes killed both my parents—Dad, heart disease, Mom, lung cancer—and my mother-in-law, whom I adored, succumbed to smoking-induced emphysema. The world would be a much better place had tobacco never been cultivated and I’d be happy to see the entire industry go up in smoke (pun intended). Smokers are pathetic; it’s a dirty, nasty, lame habit that reveals not only a weak character but also a regrettable tendency to be swayed by advertising. Anyone who thinks smoking is cool is a fool; smokers are all simply pawns of a massive public relations hoax perpetrated by the worst elements of capitalism. They are literally killing themselves so a handful of multi-national corporations can make massive profits with no regard whatsoever for the lives of those upon whom their blood money depends.

Nevertheless, I am opposed to the current Washington State ballot initiative 901, which would “prohibit smoking in buildings and vehicles open to the public and places of employment, including areas within 25 feet of doorways and ventilation openings unless a lesser distance is approved.”

For me, it is a case in which my values trump my preferences. While, personally, I would prefer to be able to go out to nightclubs without having to come home with clothes that stink and eyes that burn, it is ultimately more valuable to me that people—both smokers and owners of business that permit smoking—have the liberty to indulge in their foul and disgusting habit should they choose to.

I’m most sympathetic to the appeal to workers’ rights, but frankly, the non-smoking server or bartender can seek employment elsewhere; it’s hard cheese, but once again, in a conflict of liberties (the freedom to permit smoking vs. the freedom to work in a smoke-free environment), it seems to me that liberty should prevail.

Besides, we don’t need to vote smokers out; we just have to wait a few years; they’ll all be dead, anyway.


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