Smoke This


"Sometimes when you're in government you have to do things for the people whether they like it or not. That's what governing is all about."

So said New York State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno to The Buffalo News.

The matter at hand? A statewide smoking ban that the News calls "the strictest crackdown on smokers in New York in two decades." The law, which goes into effect in 120 days, "will end smoking in public places from rural coffee shops and downtown nightclubs to racetracks, Off-Track Betting parlors and bowling alleys."

[Link courtesy of Jeremiah DeWitt Weiner]


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  1. It’s not about health and welfare. It’s about fascism, totalitarianism. and tyranny. It’s just another way for the state to exert its authority over the lives of its citizens. i don’t smoke nor do I live in New York. but I hope the people there will simply ignore the law. What are they going to do? Go into every night club every night and arrest everyone in there that is smoking? Shut down all of the establishments that ignore the ban? That would affect their tax revenue and you can’t have that. I would call for a massive act of civil disobedience. If EVERYONE simply ignores this idiocy there really isn’t a lot the state could do about it.

  2. “What are they going to do? Go into every night club every night and arrest everyone in there that is smoking? ”

    No, they are going to selectively enforce it, just like they do with traffic laws and all the other prohibitions that are widely ignored. Just another screwdriver in the corruption toolbox. Bad laws need to be repealed, the fact that they are routinely unenforced makes the situation worse not better.

    You had it right to begin with;
    “It’s about fascism, totalitarianism. and tyranny. It’s just another way for the state to exert its authority over the lives of its citizens. “

  3. I vaguely remember a quote uttered by some now forgotten politician during a heated argument:

    “We can’t allow the will of the people to get in the way of the smooth workings of democracy.”

    If anyone could provide a URL to the quote and quotee…

  4. An interesting moment in the life of a young liberterian: For the first time, I get towitness an utterly absurd law get passed before my eyes that directly affect me. I’m going to school up here in Rochester, and now they want to tell me I can’t go to the diner, in the closed off smoking section, and light up a butt? The diner I frequent is probably screwed. If I can’t go out and smoke over pancakes and bacon, I’m not very likely to go out. Same thing for many of their other patrons I suspect. I suppose it might be a good time to quit (it always is…), but then damn it, they’ve won haven’t they?

    I could take consolation in the fact I come from another state, and at least in the summer, I’ll be able to smoke and eat. But that state is Connecticut, so its only a matter of time…

  5. If this entirety of this absurd legislation rests upon the plight of the poor, working-class waitress, why haven’t any proponents of this ban produced any complaining barworkers? Do smoke-friendly establishments not have a right to face their accusers? To the best of my knowledge, no barmaid unions are behind this, not that any such unions exist.

    But if these waitresses have it so rough, can’t proprietors just get them to sign waivers? Should be able to put together a good civil case that way. If the supposedly harmed parties accept that risk willingly, then who exactly are we saving here?

  6. Where will the inmates who defy the ban and smoke in jail be sent?

  7. So the County Health Care Department is now a police force?

  8. Any predictions on what the Law of Unintended Consequences will shuffle up after this one goes into effect? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

  9. this is great. “governing” is the particular side’s buzzword for “intruding”.

    didn’t you hear, though, what the next big fear is?

    di-hydrogen monoxide….

    happy friday!

  10. There was an interesting piece featured on the local NPR affiliate this morning on how the NYC smoking ban will apply to city prisons (Rikers Island being the most notorious facility). I sure wouldn’t want to be a guard at a prison once the ban goes into effect on Sunday. That, I’m kind of sure, was probably an unintended consequence, though a similar ban is in effect in Philadelphia apparently.

  11. As Newsday points out, the ban is not 100% complete – it exempts “cigar bars”, a limited number of “tobacco night” promotions, and a few other places. But these exceptions make no sense if you look at the stated motivations for the law.

    “Smoking kills innocent bystanders.” — Sen. Eric Schneiderman, D-Manhattan.

    So it’s OK to kill innocent bystanders…if they work in cigar bars? Twice a year at special promotions? At Indian casinos? (First firewater and infectious blankets, now tobacco, I guess. *g*)

    I know, I know, politics is all about what you can get away with, and probably Schneiderman would have pushed for a 100% ban if he thought he could get away with it, but I suspect that even the most diehard statist has a little trouble reconciling the “innocent bystander” concept with knowing that people are fully aware that there is smoking in bars when they choose to work there.

  12. This is the kind of crap that gives us lefties a bad name. Kinda like alcoholics giving boozers a bad rap.

  13. Politicians in general and Lefties in particular think the average American is too stupid to take care of himself and must be taken care OF. I’m not sure I disagree with the first part, but I think Darwin can handle the second part.

  14. Well, in NA Casios cases, it’s probably only because the state doesn’t have enough jurisdiction to enforce the ban. The tribes are, after all, Domestic Dependent Nations.

  15. When i first read the lead quote, I thought it was something that Saddam said.

  16. Nah, Lefty, y’all had a bad name way before any of this stuff. But, how is government control of our bad habits (what were once vices*) any worse than government control (redistribution) of hard-earned income, government control and limitation of property rights, government control of arms for self-defense, ETC …?

    Those are most of the definition of left-wing, lefty. Maybe you’ve got a different definition, or are maybe not leftwing and should change your handle, good buddy.

    BTW, I don’t think left vs. right plays any part in the smoking bans, drug war, and the PATRIOT act BS. It’s simply about the politicians and the people not giving a damn about the US Constitution, which is not something you will learn anything about in government schools.

    * Doobie Bros.

  17. We have totalitarian laws like that here in California (including local ordinances here in Santa Cruz). I don’t smoke, and never miss a chance to persuade my smoking friends and relatives to cut down or quit, but I have never liked those laws. California has also participated in tobacco company lawsuits, and imposed onerous taxes on smokers/nicotine addicts. These actions, far from establishing sancrosanct funds for addiction treatment and education (as originally promoted), are being diverted (raided!) more and more routinely, to balance the general budget, as the bills for years of fiscal mismanagement come due. It all seems like a scam, and the people who are being lost in the shuffle (actually, trampled in the politically correct lemming run) are the smokers.

    The demonization and subjugation of smokers is shameful. There are numerous non-coercive, private-sector remedies available to non-smokers, many of which were in common use throught California before anti-smoking became the law here. The draconian laws and taxes that California and many of its localities are imposing make me embarrassed to admit that I am a native Californian. I would be interested to know how many people, born and raised in this state, actually endorsed this silliness. It is my experience that long term residents, those with a stake in the California society, tend to exhibit common sense and a live-and-let-live attitude. On the other hand, the desire to reform and correct in strange and ridiculous ways, or to impose a particular sanction or burden on others, often seems to be “imported” by transients from other states or countries. I wonder what a scientific study of this phenomenon would reveal?

  18. Mostly New Yorkers and the like, James. I lived in southern California in the 80’s. Most of the natives are laid back and cool, as you would expect. All of the hyper drivers and hyper people in general that have ruined the atmosphere are from the Northeast and brought their sick political (left-wing, pro-union, totalitarian) views with them. They wouldn’t know freedom if it came up and bit them on the ass.

    Damn shame, I tell you, as California used to be the promised land.

  19. Bob, YOU ASKED: We can’t allow the will of the people to get in the way of the smooth workings of democracy.” [could anyone provide a URL to the quote and quotee?]


    Joe, YOU ASKED: Where will the inmates who defy the ban and smoke in jail be sent?

    (Too bad, though. A general uprising is more likely.)

  20. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/26/2004 06:02:14
    That which does not kill us makes us stranger.

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