This really ridiculous idea that some smokers like to bring up. They seem to think they have a right to give themselves cancer and pollute the air.

I suppose they do - at home.

The second I have to breath your smoke, you've violated my rights. I don't want to breath that garbage and I don't want you to make me.

I'd compare it to whether I have the right to wear a plutonium suit in public. Sure, I'm going to hurt myself, but those people around me are going to fall prey to radiation and all the fun that can bring. Even better, I'll wear it in line at the amusement park for that two hour wait, with you standing next to me.

The problem is too many people that don't have enough respect for other people to care if it bothers them or not.

In Finland the smoker's rights were reduced in March 2000 when the new law regarding smoking in the public was issued. Smoking is prohibited near bar counters if the workers can't be protected from the smoke. Restaurants over 50 square meters in size must be declared smoke-free after a transitional period of one year. Separate rooms may be arranged for smoking customers but they shall not take more than 50% of the restaurant's overall size. Several other limitations also exist, making this law the most strict in its kind in Europe.

Since tobacco single-handedly saved colonial America from financial ruin all those years ago, Big Tobacco can prevent the government from banning it outright. If tobacco was introduced today, it would never pass the FDA. But since you can't get rid of it, lets think of alternatives.

In open air, go and smoke. I don't care. The situation Saige mentions is far from a common occurence, don't quote rare incidents as examples. Don't compare tobacco smoke to plutonium. It isn't on the same scale. Just as Saige says guns kill, knives kill, doesn't mean they're all the same, the same principle applies to tobacco versus plutonium. It's dumb.

In restricted space, it's different. For example, last year, on the flight from Shanghai to Amsterdam via Austrian Airlines, a supposedly non-smoking flight, they all lit up. In a plane. Twelve hours of a blue haze. I got sick fairly quickly. That situation was unacceptable.

Anti-smoking zealots tend to be extremely intolerant of all smokers, in all situations. With that kind of radicalism, I have to side with the smokers. If you're going to bitch about every smoker in every situation, then you're being plain annoying. Seriously, tell me how many times you had to spend extended periods of undesired time directly adjacent to a smoker, inhaling the smoke. No, across the other side of the restaurant doesn't count. The amusement park ride example Saige provides is pretty rare I have to say, and does not qualify as an example to ban smoking. In fact, I can say anti-tobacco fanatics are disrespecting the rights of the smokers by refusing them the pleasure of a cigarette, even if it abides by the rules. You can take a tiny bit of second-hand smoke, just as you can absorb radiation from a TV.

Why not ban fat foods? Maybe you should ban sales of Peking Duck, milkshakes, and curly fries because they cause "slow death by the clogging of arteries". If you're so concerned with the health of others, you should crusade against that too. Oh please, don't say second-hand smoke harms others. You can take two small wifts of smoke. America is not permanently surrounded by a blue haze like some other countries are (such as China). The current rules are fine. No smoking indoors and in small enclosed spaces is good enough for me. If you're going to complain endlessly about a smoker 20 yards away in an open bus stop, shut up. Let them kill themselves in peace. You're not going to get a case of instant lung cancer by inhaling two bits worth of diluted smoke.

overdrife, you're right. Smoking is useless. Furthermore, noding is useless. Falling in love is useless. Babies are useless. Music is useless. You and I are useless.

Everything but eating, sleeping, and shitting is useless.

In an ideal world -- a world without uselessness -- we would all eat identical algae paste, because that is the most efficient way to produce protein. Appetizing food is useless! The only "useful" purpose it could possibly serve is to tempt people who just aren't hungry, but you know what? People like that are useless! Hell, are people with asthma and allergies useful? Frankly, I doubt it. In your ideal utilitarian paradise, those people could easily be replaced with more efficient units, units which require less upkeep and waste less gasoline driving to the doctor's office.

What the hell are you doing in a restaurant anyway? What useful purpose does that serve? If you can't justify restaurant-attendance on strict utilitarian grounds, I'm not at all sure that I can take you seriously.

overdrife: Sorry, I misunderstood. You're not suggesting that utility is an absolute moral yardstick; you're saying that your convenience is an absolute moral yardstick. That's different.

The mere existence of sanctimonious health zealots raises my blood pressure and shortens my life. Furthermore, my life is worth vastly more than yours because I do not spend every moment of it working to prolong it. I enjoy what I've got instead of wasting it getting more (which you'll also waste once you get it, so why bother?) Your life is worth absolutely nothing, because you devote it to crawling up my ass instead of living. What I'm saying is that your behavior is repulsive and antisocial, and it does physically harm me. My only recourse is to lower my blood pressure and elevate my mood by indulging in a nice relaxing rant, but what does that lead to? It's a vicious circle! Now I need a cigarette. My poor little head is spinning.
I do think that people have a right to harm themselves. If you want to go in your house and smoke 50 packs a day and kill yourself, be my guest. But just don't do it near me.

Your right to swing your fist ends where my face begins. I agree. But if we are sitting inside somewhere, and you start smoking, you are violating my rights. I already have asthma, and I really have no desire to add lung cancer to that.

Saige is right, in that this isn't a question of your right to hurt yourself, but of your right to cause direct harm to others. And since studies have shown that second hand smoke is dangerous, when you smoke near me it is infringing on my rights.

Now, the more sticky question is whether the government should be allowed to regulate smoking on private property. IOW, if I own a restaurant, shouldn't I be able to decide whether or not people can smoke in my building? But, to be honest, I really don't care for economic liberties that much, and I say that the health concerns outweigh whatever rights you have to conduct your business without interference.

When I was in high school, one of my highly conservative non-smoking friends asked if they could have a ride home from school. "Sure," I said. "But I'm going to warn you right now that I smoke in my car. If you're okay with it, then I don't mind." She agreed profusely that she wouldn't mind me smoking, as long as I rolled down the windows. That done, I lit my cigarette and started driving. After about three minutes, she stuck her head out of the window and pretended to make gagging noises for the rest of the ride home. What the hell??
My point is this: If you don't like people who smoke, don't put yourself into the situation. When you go into a restaurant, you have OPTIONS. If you sit in the smoking section, or near it, and you don't smoke, you have no right to complain, since it was you who decided on sitting there. So unless you have reason to complain, like someone sitting down next to you and blowing smoke in your face repeatedly without you asking them to do so, please keep your comments to yourself. I go outta my way to keep to myself when I'm smoking in public, don't make all of us out to be evil just because you've had a bad incident before.

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