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View Diary: But You Don't Understand, You Don't Smoke - Update (394 comments)

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  •  No; that's as silly as outlawing marijuana. (28+ / 0-)

    A better solution is to simply restrict smoking to private residences and facilities that aren't open to the public (with restrictions for the latter when employees are involved).

    •  I agree (9+ / 0-)

      prohibition does nothing but scream big goverment.  Inform people of the dangers, and let them decide without harming anyone else.

      95% of all life forms that once existed on earth are now extinct. It is only a matter of time until the Republicans follow suit.

      by PRRedlin on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 11:11:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I like big government. I think big (23+ / 0-)

        government that works for the people is among the most important thing we all should be arguing for.

        I don't like stupid government, and that's what prohibition is. I consider there to be a difference between "big government" and "stupid, paternalistic government."

      •  Playing devil's advocate (6+ / 0-)

        because I agree to a point.  The problem is more complex though.  Even if you only smoke in your house, you are much more likely to get sick and since many smokers so not have quality health care, we end up paying for them through higher premiums and taxes.  As a liberal, i tend to want to help people either way but you can't say that it isn't affecting us.  

        A big part of the problem is our antiquated for-profit health care system which is messed up beyond repair.  I wanted to quit for many many years but couldn't until I got a job that provided me with great prescription drug coverage and I was able to get help (tobacco free 6+ years now).  I think that there are a lot of people out there like me that would quit but it is easier for them to come up with $5 to buy a pack of cigarettes than $100 or more to get the medication they need to quit.  

        How about we make sure everybody has great insurance?  People could smoke if they wanted but I am willing to bet that most people will eventually choose to quit if we make it easier, saving us billions in health care costs.

        As for being the same as prohibition on marijuana, it would actually make sense to outlaw tobacco and legalize pot since most people (my college roommate excluded) do not smoke that much or use it in ways that are not as physically harmful.  


        •  by that definition though (7+ / 0-)

          we'd have to outlaw everything.  Saturated fat, sugar, soda, etc etc.  Even air since it contains carbon dioxide, and that clearly is harmful.

          I like big government that collectively pools goods and means to provide the best help and care and benefit to society.

          But i do not like intrusive government one bit.

          95% of all life forms that once existed on earth are now extinct. It is only a matter of time until the Republicans follow suit.

          by PRRedlin on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 12:18:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I never said anything about air (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JerryNA, Heart of the Rockies

            I am just saying that there is more at stake.  It isn't a simple matter of "they can do it if it isn't hurting anyone."  

            There are economic realities at play.  If we decide as a society that we are going to pay medical bills for people that get sick through over indulging in smoking or saturated fats or sugar, it is fine but we have to pay for it.  We can't pretend that the person would be sick even if he/she didn't smoke/eat and let hospitals and insurance companies pass the cost onto us.  On the other hand, if we are going to restrict those items, then we should restrict them and accept the infringement on our personal liberty.  There is a balance that we can strike but we have to take all of the factors into consideration.

            I tend to lean toward allowing people to do what they want within reason and then find a way to help people when they get sick but the way we do it now is not sustainable.  I concede that there are people that will refuse to quit no matter what we do but even in that case they are better off being able to go to the doctor immediately when they get sick instead of waiting until the ambulance has to get them.  

            I am only suggesting that we do something we have lost the ability to do as a society: face reality.

          •  This is why people on the other side. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tripodisblack, JerryNA

            think we are hypocrites.
            but so are they.

            they said:  "i built it."
            government had nothing to do with it.
            when they failed thought, they wanted help from the government.

            you like big government to give help and care and benefits.
            you are for that.
            but when government says "since we are giving you all this, this is what you have to do.."
            you are against that.

            if i have to pay taxes to give people health insurance.
            fine. i do i without complaining even though i work really really hard and am not part of the one percent.
            but to have people go "i eat what i want. when i want. how i want it. no matter the fat, sugar, bad side effects etc. and when i get sick you take care of me. "

            is getting too hard for me to swallow.
            i have to do a lot of things at my job to get my paycheck and benefits. a lot of requirements have to be met.
            i'm fine with it.

            if you want me to pay for your health insurance - stop eating garbage and smoking till you drop from cancer or obesity.

            we'd have to outlaw everything.  Saturated fat, sugar, soda, etc etc.  Even air since it contains carbon dioxide, and that clearly is harmful.

            I like big government that collectively pools goods and means to provide the best help and care and benefit to society.

            But i do not like intrusive government one bit.

            We consume the carcasses of creatures of like appetites, passions and organs with our own, and fill the slaughterhouses daily with screams of pain and fear. Robert Louis Stevenson

            by Christin on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 02:04:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Skiing, horseback riding. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kcc, peregrine kate, Larsstephens

            What I don't like about this argument, and it's used against other behaviors as well, is that it pretends to be objective and it's really a value judgment. Perhaps we should police people's sexual behavior because when they contract venereal diseases it costs money.

            If we start writing laws about things that can be hazardous to your health because we all pay for it in some way, we're down a slippery slope to an incredibly invasive government. Outlaw cars, motorcycles, and, of course, guns.

            I'm not arguing against restricting access to tobacco. I'm arguing against the rationale you're using.

        •  I know people (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          commonmass, splashy

          That love their cigarettes and told me that they will NEVER quit.

          •  well, you only live (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            a billion times, so it doesn't matter anyway.

            95% of all life forms that once existed on earth are now extinct. It is only a matter of time until the Republicans follow suit.

            by PRRedlin on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 12:30:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Ultimately, Cancer cures smoking (6+ / 0-)


            The Democrats create jobs. The Republicans create recessions.

            by Tuba Les on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 01:37:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  People with COPD cycle in and out of the (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JerryNA, Tuba Les, emeraldmaiden

              hospital in their later years - not necessarily because they are so old, it's their lungs being destroyed.

              I knew 3 "frequent flyers" a few years ago who were in and out of the hospital where I worked and will never forget the week all three said they regretted smoking. They'd never even hinted at such a thought in the years preceding that, but they were coming in more often.

              They didn't die at the same time, but within the same year.

              "I believe more women should carry guns. I believe armed women will make the world a better place. Women need to come to think of themselves not as victims but as dangerous." Anna Pigeon

              by glorificus on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 04:24:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  I said that too (5+ / 0-)

            when I smoked.  It is easier to accept the status quo and say it is your choice than to admit that you want to quit but can't.

            Still, I did not mean to say that we were going to reduce the number of people that smoke to 0.  I am just saying that we can bring the number down if people have proper medical care and medicine available.  21% of Americans smoke today.  How low can we get that number if we provide smokers with medication.  16%? 15%?  How many billions would we save in medical expenses?  How many more can we save by allowing people to get to a doctor instead of waiting for the ambulance to show up when they are in the advanced stage of a lung or heart disease?

            •  Interesting thought. (0+ / 0-)

              I'm taking the medication and am six months from my last cig.  I would love to smoke, actually have no interest in quitting.  I'm doing it because I'm sick of getting yelled at by my family.  That dying thing?  I couldn't care less.  Losing my children's good will and support? Can't live with that.

              Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

              by Smoh on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 05:05:18 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Smoking has gone down in my lifetime. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              It used to be considered glamorous.  Just look at any old movie.  

              Since the move to ban smoking in public began in the 70's, I believe the percentage of smokers has dropped sharply, except in the female teen demographic.

              •  Nope, down among female teens too. (0+ / 0-)

                Has been declining since the late '90s, though declining at a slower rate in recent years. Rate is lower where cigarette taxes are higher and there is more of an effort to enforce carding underage kids who try to buy smokes.

                (I track this info as part of my job, so I have very up-to-date info.)

                "When did it fall apart? Sometime in the '80s / When the great and the good gave way to the greedy and the mean." - Billy Bragg

                by Vacationland on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 12:34:06 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Interesting. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  I follow but don't "track" this and what I recall reading is female teens are increasing their smoking, contrary to all other groups.  Could it be a subset of teens--a region of the country or racial or ethnic group that I have read about?

                  The anti-smoking campaign has certainly been a success story in my adulthood.  Along with other efforts to improve air quality such as control of auto emissions.

                  •  Might be a local thing. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Heart of the Rockies

                    Statistics can be sliced and diced every which way, but in no youth group is the rate of smoking rising nationwide. You may be remembering stories reporting that more teen girls that boys start smoking in the first place, which is true, and there were some UK studies a while ago that showed that more young teen girls (12-15) were smoking than in previous years, and more girls than guys in the same age cohort, but that is not the case in the US or Canada in recent years. The last spike for teenage girls smoking rates took place here around 2000-2001; the percentage has dropped since.

                    Young people still make up a significant chunk of smokers (most people start in high school or college and quit later on) but youth smoking rates have declined over time -- though they seem to be plateauing a bit over the last couple of years (not coincidentally, as the settlement money from Big Tobacco that funded a lot of state-level smoking cessation programs has declined or ended).

                    "When did it fall apart? Sometime in the '80s / When the great and the good gave way to the greedy and the mean." - Billy Bragg

                    by Vacationland on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:17:06 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  My mother-in-law said that too (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JerryNA, BYw, emeraldmaiden

            She smoked for about 50 years, said she had no intention of quitting, and would only admit how much she was smoking when it was less than three packs a day, which it usually wasn't.  Any time we'd visit her, we'd have to air out the suitcases and clothing after we left.  

            When she would visit us, we'd ask her to only smoke outside, and she'd constantly whine about how cold it was (and would stay in a nearby motel so she could smoke.)  By contrast, I asked my father once not to smoke inside in our place, and it was never an issue again.

            Eventually she caught a cold, didn't like the taste of cigarettes, and decided not to smoke until she was better, by which time she was no longer addicted.  And after the next time she moved, we could visit her without smelling like stale smoke.

          •  My grandmother used to say, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            "Smoking doesn't kill you. STOPPING smoking is what kills you."

            She had friends, see--old sorority sisters and Bridge partners--each of whom had quit smoking only to die in a year or two from cancer or heart failure or some other nasty, easily-avoidable ailment caused by tobacco.

            She was convinced that a smoker's body became so suffused with nicotine that stopping smoking caused it to become sick. "I started before we knew better," she said. "Now I'm in it for the long haul."

            She had a logic all her own.

            She never quit smoking. At 63, she died when her heart stopped while taking a nap--her ever-present half-empty pack of More's Full Flavor Premium Tobacco Cigarettes on the table beside her.

            There are two types of Republicans: millionaires and suckers.

            by Phil T Duck on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 02:38:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Actually (9+ / 0-)

          In the long run, smokers do not  cost society more than non-smokers. Smokers die younger and receive less benefits. Plus, I pay about $3.50 a pack cigarette tax.  That amount is usually not included as a reduction in the "cost of smoking" to the government.  

          I do not smoke in my own house. I smoke outside on the deck. If even this isn't good enough for non-smokers, they can just stay away from me.

          I know many people who do not smoke in their own houses.  So please don't vilify all smokers.  And don't claim that we end up costing society tons of money in health care costs.  Non-smokers need to be reasonable too.


          by jennybravo on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 01:15:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  It's not a matter of big government, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but a matter of being realistic.  Prohibition generally doesn't work.  It only drives drugs or alcohol business underground where criminals can become rich.

    •  No. It isn't. (5+ / 0-)

      Don't get me wrong: I don't think outlawing cigarettes is a good idea. But saying it's as silly as outlawing marijuana is just nonsense.

      Marijuana is, if it's addictive at all, dramatically less so than cigarettes. It is quite possible to use marijuana socially every once in a while, without becoming an obligate user.

      Marijuana is dramatically less harmful than cigarette smoking. Even if someone were as heavy a user as the average cigarette smoker was, something that is more or less unimaginable, the health effects are dramatically smaller, even if it is smoked (the least healthy way to use it.) Indeed, drug prohibition is designed to keep DANGEROUS drugs out of the hands of the public. By that measure, tobacco is dramatically more reasonable to ban than marijuana.

      The marijuana plant, and its close (non-intoxicating) relative, the hemp plant, could solve an enormous number of major problems in the US if it were legalized. Indeed, one of the major drivers for outlawing and keeping illegal the marijuana plant is so that cotton and several other products are not challenged in their hegemony over several major segments of US agriculture and manufacturing.

      Just as a bonus, growing hemp and marijuana is actually fairly good for the soil. And it would cut down on growing cotton and tobacco, both of which are awful.

      So no. The two are not equivalent. Not in any meaningful way.

      •  They're equivalent in the only meaningful (2+ / 0-)

        way in this narrow context: if a person wishes to consume it, the government ought not restrict his right to do so. I'm pretty "permissive" in this regard--if a person wants to ingest something, there ought to be an extraordinarily compelling reason for the government to have a law against it. "He'll hurt himself" isn't extraordinarily compelling.

        •  What's your take on "hard drugs"? (0+ / 0-)

          Cocaine, PCP, ecstasy, etc?

          I think we're wasting time and money on marijuana, but when it comes to other drugs...  I support decriminalization, but not legalization.

        •  Too easy (0+ / 0-)

          I think that's a little too easy.

          The reason we have the FDA is because otherwise people can be misled into taking drugs that aren't safe, aren't effective (c.f. Sudafed+, which has managed a neat end run around the FDA), or both.

          If you allow people to take whatever recreational drugs they like, then where is your justification for denying them the ability to take insufficiently tested curative/palliative drugs? Hell, what's to stop companies from marketing their 'new miracle cancer cure' as a recreational drug and saying 'we're not allowed to tell you it cures cancer wink wink wink'. (We already have supplement manufacturers who do exactly that... 'this statement has not been evaluated by the FDA'. And that's perfectly legal, in the case of GRAS (generally recognized as safe) items.)

          I think the 'if a person wishes to consume something, they should be able to do so' is a vast oversimplification of a complicated problem.

      •  Marijuana vs. Tobacco vs. Caffeine (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Melanie in IA, kamarvt

        What, you're saying that smoking two packs a day of marijuana would be "unimaginable"?  By the time you've had the first dozen joints, you'd be able to imagine all kinds of things, though figuring out how to get your lighter to work to light the next one might be a bit difficult...  

        You might have an easier time with ganja brownies, but I've found that if I eat a whole one, I'll be asleep pretty quickly.  (I slept through the occasional Grateful Dead concert that way, back in my mis-spent youth.)  Only way I'd have more is if I wake up with the munchies and there's a tasty-looking brownie nearby (oops.)

        They're not really comparable drugs.  Caffeine, on the other hand, is actually addictive, and some people like the taste while others don't.  I assume that wanting a cigarette after a meal is about like wanting a cup of coffee after a meal, so I've got some sympathy,

    •  The problem is that (5+ / 0-)

      if you're in a multi-family "private residence", your neighbors are subjected to second-hand smoke.

      For years we had to keep our windows closed in the evenings no matter how hot it got in here -- smoking was not allowed in the apartments but was allowed on the patios, so we were inundated with the neighbors smoking outside in the evenings. About a year or so ago though, Santa Clara County passed an ordinance prohibiting smoking in multi-family residences (such as apartments and condos) -- since then we can let the fresh air in and it's so much better.

      "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

      by Cali Scribe on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 02:23:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's great, I had no idea things were improving (0+ / 0-)

        so much in some places, I hope this spreads all over. Does it also apply to 'transient residences' like motels, etc.?

        About a year or so ago though, Santa Clara County passed an ordinance prohibiting smoking in multi-family residences (such as apartments and condos)

        "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen im Vierten Reich! Sie haben keine Bedeutung mehr.

        by Bluefin on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 07:52:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I lived in apartments my whole life until (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JDWolverton, indubitably

        very recently, so I know  exactly what kind of situation you're describing. I think that ought to be regulated, too.

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