Washington, DC joined a growing list of localities that have banned smoking in public places. It’s hard to oppose the trend. No one seriously believes any more than cigarettes won’t kill you or that second hand smoke is harmless. Still, there is a part of me that sees these high minded anti-tobacco advocates as little more than meddlers. That may only be because I am a devoted cigar smoker (having given up the insidious white cousins about 35 years ago). I may be just resisting the coercion of bans, even if they are for my own – and others – good.
Still, there is something that nags me.
I am of an age where in my youth “everybody” smoked at home, at work, virtually everywhere it was not a fire hazard. At a party you would have a foot of smoke hanging from the ceiling by 11 PM. If the party lasted into the wee, small hours you would have to survey the room through a thick fog of exhaled smoke. Talk about second hand smoke. That stuff was third and forth hand.
That doesn’t happen any more. Most people do not smoke. I know smokers who even go outside to light up … in their own homes. You can’t find a smoke-filled room anywhere – not even in the seat of political wheeling and dealing, the US Capitol. And all of this happened without any government coercion. There was an educational campaign – much of which was not government sponsored and warnings on cigarette packs which was. But by the time the anti-smoking forces appeared, smoking was on the run in the US. As fewer and fewer people smoked, more and more business responded to the marketplaces signals and limited or banned smoking.
So one has to wonder what these folks are doing with their bans except coming down out of the hills after the battle and shooing the wounded.
A Dollar’s Worth of Wisdom
Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.”