OUTDOOR SMOKING BANS
A DEBATE BETWEEN QUESTIONABLE SCIENCE AND ETHICS
Culled from Tobacco Control Online
we present a three-sided debate on whether smoking bans outdoors is reasonable
and called for. As much as we disagree with two of the opinions presented,
in fairness we include them for review and reserve the right to bash them.
The ultimate goal is to demonstrate how completely unreasonable and self-serving
these other two views are and which do not comprehend the extent to which
they threaten freedom in general to attain their goal. In other words,
they believe it's perfectly all right to discriminate against a behavior
as long as they don't like it.
Banning smoking outdoors is seldom
SIMON CHAPMAN [Full Text]
Summary: Such proposals "push the envelope" of tobacco control into areas where questions need to be asked to ensure tobacco control policies are firmly anchored to scientific evidence and especially concern those who value the freedom of individuals to do what they please to the extent that this does not harm others. They invite consideration of whether zero tolerance of public exposure to toxic agents is a reasonable policy for civil societies and whether the loudly proclaimed exquisite sensitivities of a small minority should drive public policy.
Further, they invite us to reflect on the extent to which these policies
risk alienating a large number of people who might
otherwise be supportive of efforts to reduce environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure in situations where there is
significant risk or reduced amenity. In short, we need to ask whether efforts to prevent people smoking outdoors risk
besmirching tobacco control advocates as the embodiment of intolerant, paternalistic busybodies, who, not content at protecting their own health, want to force smokers to not smoke even in circumstances where the effects of their smoking on others are immeasurably small. Such alienation may undermine support for other tobacco policies which, if implemented, may bring profound public health benefits to communities.
Why should smokers not be allowed to smoke in hospital grounds or other
designated outdoor locations, well away from any
reasonable prospect of harming (as distinct from visually offending) anyone? Advocates for outdoor bans advance a number of
arguments, each of which raise significant ethical concerns. In this paper, I will rehearse their arguments, comment on why I
believe they are ethically unsustainable, and conclude that there is justification for banning smoking in outdoor settings only in
circumstances where exposure is sustained and significant such as in crowded spectator stadia.
A minority of people in tobacco control do not like to even see people
smoking. Australian non-smokers rights activist Brian
McBride wrote recently to some of his colleagues about outdoor smoking: "We must be prepared to fight the aesthetics and
personal standards argument as well as the health argument, and that is what I intend to do. We should not underestimate the
public awareness value of having smokers found guilty of negligent actions in all situations indoors or outdoors. The more cases
we run the better."
I would argue that the two need to be kept thoroughly apart. Mixing
"aesthetics" arguments with health arguments risks infecting
tobacco control with the accusation that it is fundamentally the providence of people with capricious authoritarian proclivities,
caring little for the scientific bedrock on which public health ought to stand.
The world is full of people who do not like the "aesthetics" of others'
different religions, race, sexual expression, modes of
dress, or music. Too often these doctrines have found expression in paternalistic or downright oppressive regimes. We do not
need authoritarian doctrines in tobacco control.
Banning outdoor smoking is scientifically
JAMES REPACE [Full Text]
Summary: Simon Chapman has argued that smoking should not be banned in outdoor public venues such as hospital patios, beaches, and outdoor sporting areas, and this might also encompass building entrances, waiting lines for cinema tickets, and outdoor cafés. However, failure to ban smoking in such venues may expose non-smokers to levels of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) as high or higher than received in indoor spaces where smoking is unrestricted.
Have you ever had dinner in an outdoor café in Paris, Athens,
Las Palmas, or Salt Lake City spoiled by smokers at adjacent
tables? Have you ever had to move your blanket on a public beach because someone suddenly started smoking upwind,
replacing clean salt air with irritating smoke? Smoking has no social value other than to create unnecessary work for physicians,
and windfall profits for morticians. Even if outdoor environmental tobacco smoke were no more hazardous than dog excrement
stuck to the bottom of a shoe, in many places laws require dog owners to avoid fouling public areas. Is this too much to ask of
|NYC C.L.A.S.H. Comment: Anyone who can stand there with
a straight face and tell you that tobacco smoke outdoors can reach levels
higher than those indoors and then regale you with his explanation is suffering
from delusions. And anyone who believes it at face value is a lost
cause in all manners of sensibility.
The true goal behind Mr. Repace's call for outdoor smoking bans is elucidated in his closing remarks, "Smoking has no social value." Here it is, his personal disgust of a behavior which allows him to believe it's his right to find a way to stop it.
Outdoor smoking bans: more than meets
MICHELLE BLOCH and DONALD R SHOPLAND [Full Text]
Simon Chapman argues that outdoor smoking bans are seldom justified because they can rarely be supported from a health standpoint, and they invite backlash from the community. We disagree. Rather, we believe that outdoor smoking bans are reasonable in a number of instances and that such bans can be justified for reasons other than health.
Communities also have the right to ban nuisances --things that are generally
offensive, though not necessarily harmful -- so long
as fundamental individual liberties are preserved. In this regard, loud noise, billboards, public drinking and other activities are
frequently regulated or banned entirely. Many people consider outdoor exposure to ETS an annoying nuisance and have
pressed for bans in areas in which exposure cannot be easily avoidedsuch as at entrances to buildings. Should non-smokers
who dislike ETS be required to tolerate it to preserve the "right" of those who smoke to satisfy their dependence? We think not.
Chapman argues that it is wrong to completely ban smoking on hospital
grounds because doing so would force some patients to quit against their
will and violate patient autonomy. But many patients are in the hospital
for illnesses caused or exacerbated by their smoking! We believe it is
wrong to allow patients to harm their health and interfere with their treatment
while under medical supervision. Hospitals do not permit those confined
to bed to walk the halls, or encourage patients on restricted diets to
visit candy or soda machines. Neither should they allow patients who smoke
to do so while hospitalised.
|NYC C.L.A.S.H. Comment: They say, "...such bans can be
justified for reasons other than health." Our point is proven once again
that the underlying reason for anti-smokers to call for smoking bans has
less to do with health and more to do with curbing the behavior of others
they find distasteful (to put it mildly) and flailing wildly to support
When they continue to pose the outrageous premise that some "right" that may be annoying to others should not be tolerated then it is time to pack up the bags and move far away from this totalitarian freight train barreling towards everyone's rights that has the anti-smoker slogan on the side of each and every car. It's unimaginable to anyone who believes in the Constitution that they do not see what is wrong with what they are saying. Hate is blinding and it is that hate that should not be tolerated.
"We believe it is wrong to allow patients to harm their health and interfere with their treatment" WHAT?!? Who appointed them as guardian to strangers? Who gave them the power to dictate how we live or how we die? Their invasion on our privacy knows no bounds. It's disturbing to say the least and 3rd Reich to say the most.