Rotten Smokers


Jim Quinette, a member of the board that oversees a low-income apartment complex for the elderly in De Pere, Wisconsin, explains the reasoning behind a proposed smoking ban there:

There's not that many that smoke. It's like a rotten apple in the bushel, one spoils it for the rest of them….I'm sorry they have to put a cigarette out. But at that age, what do you need a cigarette for?

Given how long it takes for smoking-related illnesses to develop, you might think that old age would be the ideal time to take up the habit–or to continue it if you've beaten the odds so far. Apparently not.

Nor is smoking for the young: "Tobacco is wacko if you're a teen," as Lorillard used to remind us.

Maybe it's OK if you're middle-aged, provided you don't work indoors, go home to an apartment building or townhouse, or live with anyone.

That includes pets, by the way. The CDC says if you give up smoking, "Even your pets will be happier. For example, secondhand smoke increases the risk of lung cancer in dogs."

How long before PETA latches onto this issue? Surely a dachshund with lung cancer is more sympathetic than your average beaver.

[Thanks to Linda Stewart for the link.]

NEXT: A Theocracy, If You Can Keep It

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Why must there be some heinous disease associated with somebody else’s bad habit in order to prevent the obnoxious results of that habit being forced upon others? Cigarette smoke stinks worse than hog lots, deposits that stink in other people’s clothes, hair and on the skin – in short, there is nothing good about it. If smokers can’t be civilized enough to realize that and curb their noxious habit around others, they are asking for someone to step in with some sort of sanction.

    As Steve Martin says: “Mind if I fart?”

  2. Where I went to high school, there was a restaurant called “The Sub Shop” that mainly just did deliveries, because it was a tiny building, but they had three or four tables squished inside. On the door was a sign that said “Never has a non-smoking section not been unavailable.” If you didn’t want to deal with smoke, then you didn’t go in. No one has *ever* been able to explain to me why a restaurant owner shouldn’t be allowed to make his own decision on whether to allow smoking in his restaurant. I completely sympathize with people who find that cigarette smoke in the air ruins their dinner. So don’t go to that restaurant. It’s not like you’re forced to eat there. My parents avoid restaurants that allow smoking. I avoid restaurants that don’t. My own parents desire to avoid smoke trumps my desire to have a cigarette, but this isn’t about who has to make the greater sacrifice, it’s about who owns the property.

  3. I couldn’t agree more.

  4. Seems to me, this is all recently LEARNED BEHAVIOR. No one complained about any of this 50, 40, or even 30 years ago.

  5. /piggy humor on/

    girl scouts learning how to skin a beaver…

    okay… hmmmmm. um… no, i can’t make any comments here. some things are just out of bounds…

    girl scouts learning how to skin a beaver

    (good thing there’s a difference between an indefinite article and a possessive pronoun)

    /piggie humor off/

    happy friday,

  6. Too bad there weren’t more “liberals” of this type:

    “Lately, the language of government, always revealing, grows more and more fierce and commanding (due to so many wars lost? so much money wasted?), and the military metaphors abound as czars lead all-out wars on drugs. Yet, at the risk of causing both offense and embarassment among even the not-so-faithful, I feel obliged to say that I do not accept the authority of any state- much less one founded as was ours upon the free fulfillment of each citizen- to forbid me, or anyone, the use of drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, sex with a consenting partner or, if one is a woman, the right to an abortion. I take these rights to be absolute and should the few persist in their efforts to dominate the private lives of the many, I recommend force as a means of changing their minds.”

    Gore Vidal, Decline and Fall of the American Empire

  7. You mean the ones that hide in sunny Rome when things don’t go their way? Those “liberals”?

  8. Is Gore Vidal the most perceptive critic of the modern american tyranny or just a crochetty old fag?

    I find I have trouble with reconciling his his view the federal government has expanded its powers far beyond the founders’ intentions with his view that the fedgov is supposed to give us free medical care and a guaranteed high-paying job.

  9. …or anon posts, you might add. Thanks for missing the point: he’s the last “liberal” worth the name.

    Have nice weekend everyone! Outta here

  10. no, but it’s funny that livin’-in-Italy Vidal “recommends force”. Whatta tuff guy!

  11. Chief,

    LOL–point taken 🙂 (OK, now I’m outta here)

  12. This is a tough one. Being a smoker, I stand by the right to smoke in ones own space, that one has paid for with one’s own money. If someone inside this space (apartment, house, car etc..) doen not like the smoke, they can open the door and leave. It is that simple.

    However, I feel that people who complain about carcinogens being introduced into thier system in a public place is a different story. Remember folks, I am a smoker, not some anti-cigarette chode jumping on the latest bandwagon.

    Many times, even as a smoker, I have been driven out of a bar or other nightlife establishment by an absolute overload of smoke, so I can see the point some of these people are making.

    Like I said, it’s a tough one..

  13. Reminds me of my grandfather, a habitual pipe smoker. My grandmother was always nagging him to quit, even well into his 80s. His doctor, of all people, finally got her off his back. “He’s 84, and he’s earned the right to smoke,” Doc told my grandma.

    This was 20 years. I’m sure today’s heavily-anti-tobacco-indoctrinated medicos would rather die than utter such words. Or maybe not. My own doctor, who’s my age and an occasional cigar chomper, was aghast when I told him that life insurance physicals now include routine testing for nicotine, and administer a right financial cornholing if you have any of the evil stuff in your veins or piss. I had a surprise insurance physical two days after a rare cigar smoking binge and was confronted by quite an angry wife about the increase in premiums. So I basically have decided that, fuck it, I’m now considered a “nicotine fiend” and I can regularly enjoy cigars or a generous dip of Skoal with little guilt.

  14. There is nothing liberal about Vidal when he “recommend[s] force as a means of changing their minds”. Sounds like a Pol Pot re-education camp tirade. Clinton hired a retired four general to head up his “war on drugs”. There’s plenty of illiberalism to go around on that topic. I wonder what Italian justice would be should Vidal get “jammed up” with a drug arrest.

  15. It’s a subsidized public-housing complex. Regular smoking over a period of years permeates floors and walls with a smell that’s expensive to get rid of. It’s a significant fire hazard too, one that’s quantifiable on actuarial tables, likely more so in a building housing nothing but the elderly.

    Thus it increases the cost of insuring and maintaining the building. Seems like a smoking ban in subsidized housing — as with bans on having large dogs or more than two cats — might make good fiscal sense. The better question from a responsible-government standpoint might be why any long-term public housing facilities allow smoking without at least imposing a user fee on smokers.

    If a resident has a strong nicotine addiction, offering treatment (gum, the patch, etc.) at taxpayer expense may well be cheaper than letting them smoke.

  16. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/20/2004 12:27:11
    Hello, this is a nice site you have

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.