Banning Smoking Could Lead to Banning Smoking

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Michael Siegel, an anti-smoking activist whose whither-the-movement blog is must reading for people interested in tobacco policy, starts to see the movement's critics have a point when they decry its prohibitionist tendencies:

When I used to hear smokers' rights groups claim that the anti-smoking movement was really about prohibition, I thought it was complete crap. But within the past few months, I'm starting to see that there is an element of truth to those claims. There is a faction within the tobacco control movement that I believe is motivated primarily by a hate for smokers and nothing short of prohibition will ever satisfy this element….This element now seems to be the driving force, or a major driving force, within the movement. I think, therefore, that it is not inaccurate to state that the anti-smoking movement is now on a path towards advocating prohibition.

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  1. Of course, here in WA state, we have the most restrictive smoking ban in the country. But go figure: since the ban was enacted, sales of cigarettes have actually increased.

  2. History…not learning…doomed to repeat…how does that go again?

    It’s good to see rational people coming around to the obvious. I think people are starting to wake up to the prohibitionist leanings of MADD as well, as every reduction in the legal blood-alcohol limit is met by another call to go even lower, and fast. We are living in a busy-body age, where people, instead of looking at the legacy of alcohol prohibition and realizing that all such measures are doomed to create havoc and little else, instead try to argue that Prohibition wasn’t nearly as bad as the history books would lead you to believe.

  3. That seems on target.

    I’m a non-smoker who thinks that second hand smoke is harmful too. But I’m also 100% for smokers’ rights, which is owing to the fact that I’m 100% for property rights.

  4. ” looking at the legacy of alcohol prohibition ”

    Sheep don’t know how to use machine guns.

    “We are living in a busy-body age,”

    We always have been. Government was just too busy elswhere.

  5. Yes, Jeff, it’s good to see rational people coming around to the obvious, but bad to see that irrational people are setting the agenda.

    Reasonable libertarian-leaning citizens face a difficult choice: Purity, or accomodation? I submit that given the deep evil motivating the party currently in total power of all American institutions, we must join forces with the Democrat party, at least as long as it takes to restore some sanity and accountability. This may not work, but the only alternative is to remain purely Libertarian in word, thought, and deed, which empowers the Republicans and their nightmare vision of our future.

  6. Yes, Jeff, it’s good to see rational people coming around to the obvious, but bad to see that irrational people are setting the agenda.

    Reasonable libertarian-leaning citizens face a difficult choice: Purity, or accomodation? I submit that given the deep evil motivating the party currently in total power of all American institutions, we must join forces with the Democrat party, at least as long as it takes to restore some sanity and accountability. This may not work, but the only alternative is to remain purely Libertarian in word, thought, and deed, which empowers the Republicans and their nightmare vision of our future.

  7. Of course, here in WA state, we have the most restrictive smoking ban in the country. But go figure: since the ban was enacted, sales of cigarettes have actually increased.

    Yeah, Sage +P, I noticed the same thing. I think at least part of it is psychological for smokers: you’re smoking MORE because you might as well enjoy it while you still can, before they de facto ban it completely. I know it is for me.

    And of course there’s lots of people going to the Indian casinos, and hanging out on the sidewalks. Until they crack down on that, too.

  8. “we must join forces with the Democrat party, at least as long as it takes to restore some sanity and accountability.”

    Like hell.

    I’ll consider voting for a Democrat as soon as I see one have a campaign plank that hinges on repealing the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the removal of sound suppressors (mufflers) from the list of highly regulated NFA Title II items.

  9. “we must join forces with the Democrat party, at least as long as it takes to restore some sanity and accountability.”

    Like hell.

    I’ll consider voting for a Democrat as soon as I see one have a campaign plank that hinges on repealing the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the removal of sound suppressors (mufflers) from the list of highly regulated NFA Title II items.

  10. May I suggest that, before tossing in with the Democrats, “libertarian leaning” citizens do some homework to see whether their ballot will contain the names of independent or third-party (especially Libertarian) candidates, whom they would be willing to support?

    Once more, as it has happened for the past several election cycles at least, an apocalyptic battle of Good vs. Evil is being staged. If you don’t support the “good side,” you’re with the “evil side.” In the context of Shawn in Texas’ comment, if you don’t vote for the Democrats, you are enabling the evil GOP. I’ll even grant that, in many places, as a practical matter, Shawn’s assertion may very well be true. But in other places, good, alternative candidates are on the ballot. We know that we’re in deep trouble whether GOP or Demos drive the bus (over the cliff, apparently). So shouldn’t the “vote for democrats” be a FALLBACK strategy, if there are no Libertarians or libertarian-leaning independents worthy of your vote?

    What would REALLY rock politics — especially on the national level — would be to get just a few third-party representatives into Congress and the state legislatures. The actual establishment of a VIABLE ALTERNATIVE to the fake Good vs. Evil wrestling match, even on a very small scale, would be a seismic shift that would put the fear of the electorate into our politicians.

    My strategy for major offices in the 2006 and 2008 elections at least:

    1. Do not vote for any incumbent elected before 2006. The MOST IMPORTANT thing we can do now is to send a message to the pols that the voters are still in charge. We put ’em in, we can take ’em out, just like that.

    2. Of the non-incumbents on my ballot, find serious, competent candidates who are pledged to ending the Wars: the War in Iraq, the War on Terror, and the War on Drugs. These projects are the biggest threats to American liberty, not to mention solvency: There are much better ways of dealing with the real problems that instigated each operation. Once these offensives are ended, other issues (social security, medicare, etc.) will regain priority and we can turn back to them.

    3. If the acceptable candidates determined at step #2 include any third-parties or independents, eliminate the major-party candidates. If the remaining acceptable candidates include any libertarians or libertarian-leaning independents, keep them only.

    4. Choose, support, and vote for the candidate I like best out of those who survive steps 1-3. In case of a tie (unlikely, as is even getting to step 4 with more than one candidate!), favor the Libertarian.

    Mine is not an airtight, mechanistic procedure, but the priorities are clear: Remind “our servants” who is boss; get some new blood and shift the balance of power in the capitals; punish the two major parties; and stop the bogus wars that are consuming way too much of our blood, treasure, and liberty.

  11. I submit that given the deep evil motivating the party currently in total power of all American institutions, we must join forces with the Democrat party, at least as long as it takes to restore some sanity and accountability.

    If you think the Democrats are going to stand in the way of tobacco prohibition, then you’ve really been smoking something.

  12. These people get juiced off their anger; and since they don’t own all the locations they want to control, they turn to government to do it for them, a fascist impulse.

  13. we must join forces with the Democrat party, at least as long as it takes to restore some sanity and accountability.

    You must have missed the subject of the thread: Smoking bans.

    Now, if this were say, oh, hell, I can’t think of anything at the moment, but something other than a Smoking Ban(tm) then I might entertain the idea. Well, ok, no I’d never entertain the idea– but for the sake of the discussion, Smoking Bans are the brainchild of Democratic forces– so that about wraps that up.

    I’m not sure where you live, but I live in an area that’s quite a ways left of Chairman Mao… way left, really, and prohibition and government intrusion into every aspect in your life (for benign reason, though, we promise) is the order of the day.

  14. Most political “movements” have extreme ambitions, because people don’t usually become activists in order to achieve some modest, incremental goal.
    Most medical marijuana activists really want drug legalization.
    Most people that rally to ban partial birth abortion want all abortions banned.
    People that cry to close the “gun show loophole” want to ban all private ownership of firearms.

    Oh, and most libertarians are really anarchists.
    Woohoo!

  15. “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”

  16. James M-yours is a logical way of choosing and I shall use it here in WI come November 06 and on. I agree totally.
    Picking a Democan/Republicrat is not an answer.
    Hillary and Bill are in the news everyday-“fixing” us. Bill is Numero Uno on the bandwagon for getting the NONdiet sodas out of public schools.
    I like what I read recently: “Chelsea is grown up so Bill and Hillary have decided to “raise” the rest of us.” Sorry don’t remember where I read that.
    And Hillary’s Healthy People agenda (2010-2015-2020) HEAVILY financed by Robert Woods Johnson Foundation is what is REALLY going on in this country today.
    Here in WI-RWJF is King/Queen of their counterfeit realm.
    THE SMOKER BANS have nothing to do with “SHS/ETS”. It’s always been about control of the masses. And I submit the Democans/Republicrats are hand in hand with the bablyon whores of RWJF and the RFP’s that have become the norm in doing “business” here in the ol USA.
    Thanks for “listening”

  17. We seem to have become a brainwashed society.
    We protest each new law but eventually it just becomes accepted. We have lost so many freedoms since I was a teenager that you believe there is nothing more the government can do to restrict us. However, by listening to the anti this and that group, the government passes laws stating it is the will of the people in a democracy. How very convenient. Our freedom is being eroded
    by the government using fanatics to spearhead each phase. As your car fails it’s E test you are forced to lease or buy a new one. You need planning permission in our town to alter or renovate any part of your house inside or out.
    Now smoke detectors are compulsory on each floor and your house will be inspected to make sure you comply. Food restrictions in schools are the norm. Our noise by law is now 24 hours a day.
    There are so many restrictions and bans I have lost count. All began with lobyists fighting on
    health or safety grounds. Noise, air and light pollution have become common phrases. I wonder how we survived before our freedoms were so eroded. Now we live in a sad world, losing our freedom at home and fearing assaults from abroad.
    When we marched to ban the bomb the whole world was apparantly threatened with extinction. When we fought aparthied we meant equality for every one with all our hearts. Now we live in a world of unrest, dissatisfaction and discontent. So all you lobbyists who would ban this and that, be careful what you wish for. Everyone has a pet peeve, and the government is using you to control every aspect of our lives. I would also like to point out two things from history. In Victorian times smokers were not welcome in most places, and at home wore smoking jackets and caps and were not allowed to smoke in many places at home. But when the world wars came along everyone lit up. In war torn countries today everyone smokes. If we have a crisis here I will be counting the non smokers, it will be easier.

  18. Are these smoking bans ever passed by a vote of the citizens? I ask because my local anti-smoking group has been pressuring my city council (Champaign, IL) for the last couple of years to enact a ban on smoking in public places, including bars and restaurants. As far as I know, they have never attempted to get the question put on the ballot, nor, in all the discussion of this issue, have I ever heard anyone propose putting it on the ballot. Personally, I think the business owner should decide whether or not to allow smoking, but I guess that makes too much sense.

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