This is one of many mantras the professional anti-smokers repeat over and over in the footsteps of "if you repeat it often enough how can it not be believed?"

In addition to the fallacy of this claim, it's offensive in its nonchalant paternalistic and oppressive nature.  Paternalistic in treating us like dismissed children, with no choice about taking our medicine and liking it. Oppressive in the way that one group will simply "get used to" having another group restrict one of their liberties.

Banning smoking was first introduced on airplanes.  That was likely when the phrase "they'll get used to it" was first put into practice as we see by this 1988 NY Times article:

April 17, 1988

Airlines will encounter hostility from a few smokers caught unaware or angry about the smoking ban, said John F. Banzhaf, executive director of Action on Smoking and Health, which started a drive to curb smoking in 1969. 'People Will Get Used to It'

''But after a while,' he said, ''people will get used to it, just as they did after the beginning of smoking and no-smoking sections on airplanes in 1973.''

He said smokers might be appeased by two options. Because many long trips are now broken into segments, people can get off the plane to smoke during stopovers; nicotine-based chewing gum could satisfy some smokers.

In 1988 Congress voted to ban smoking on all domestic flights of less than two hours (effective 1988).

In 1989 Congress voted to extend the ban to all domestic flights of less than six hours (effective 1990).

In 1997 almost all U.S. airlines adopt a ban on international flights.

In 2000 President Clinton signs The Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act banning smoking on all flights between the U.S. and foreign destinations, effective that year.  (In other words, the U.S. dictated to other country's airlines that they will not be allowed to land on U.S. soil if they allow smoking on their plane).

Fast forward to today (2006 at this writing) where smoking bans have extended not only into private bars and restaurants but onto beaches, streets, and even private homes.  Where people are being denied employment or not allowed to foster parent even if they smoke off-duty or not in the house with the kiddies.   And still they say "They'll Get Used To It":

For example, this year Ohio residents voted to ban smoking everywhere:

"[Maxine Lewis, Lawrence County Health Department community prevention and media coordinator] said smokers may not like the new law, but she expects everybody to get used to it soon." [Statewide smoking ban starts today]


Planes, Trains, & Movies

As the bans on smoking overtook more and more places the anti-smokers took up the defense "They used to say that smoking bans on planes, on trains, and in the movies would be a disaster.  But people didn't stop traveling or going to the movies.  They got used to and they'll get used to this too."  Observe:

On the Washington, D.C. ban, a Washington Post staff writer fielded this comment:

"The ban is just something that people will get used to. It's hard to believe that there used to be smoking in airplanes, but that has been outlawed for so long that nobody complains about that anymore." [D.C. Smoking Ban]


It's 2006.  Eighteen years have passed since smoking was first banned on airplanes -- the first ban we were all supposed to "get used to" and has long past stopped being an issue for smokers, according to smoking ban activists.  And, according to them, that's proof enough that smokers will just "get used to" whatever other bans they have or wish to impose.

So can someone please explain this?:

Thwarted male smokers identified as the archetypal air rage passengers
October 6, 2006

THE typical plane passenger who carries out air rage is a male in his 30s who is angry at not being allowed to smoke, according to a new study.

Research by Britain's air watchdog, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), analysed over 3,600 air rage incidents since 2001 to find the typical profile of an air rage incident.

The main findings included:

More than three-quarters (78%) of incidents involved male passengers.

The largest single age group involved in offences were travellers in their 30s - accounting for 35% of incidents.

About a third of examples involved people travelling on their own.

Four out of 10 incidents involved passengers being banned from smoking.

More than four in five smoking-related incidents involved smoking in the aircraft's toilet, often including an attempt to sabotage the smoke-detector there.

A British Airways source said: "The study turns the conventional image of air rage somewhat on its head. The idea that they are all groups of drunks is quite wrong; smoking is actually just as significant as a cause of air rage incidents."

It's 2010.  And we have this update:
In-Flight Smokes Entice Hundreds 20 Years Following U.S. Ban
April 9, 2010

Passengers smoke on U.S. jetliners at least twice a week, according to authorities...

The Federal Aviation Administration has brought 696 cases, some for civil fines of thousands of dollars, against people caught smoking aboard airliners in the last five years, said Diane Spitaliere, an agency spokeswoman. Lighting a cigarette on a plane has been banned for 20 years.