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If I owned a restaurant I would not permit people to smoke in it. The majority of modern day smokers seem to be lower class, week-willed, unkempt bludgers who would not be able to afford the high qual

certainly its less restrictive than Ireland's ban on smoking in your own home office!

but I suppose thats not much comfort :)

I dont like cigarette smoking and I hate the manipulative tactics the tobacco Companies have used in the past, and I hate that bar owners havent invested more in an improved situation,

but that doesn't mean I advocate anything that went down in NY

BTW, I think its funny how this adversity has provided us with the "nicotini" has anyone tried it? is it any good? Necessity really is the mother of invention.

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I get into arguments with my mother about this all the time. She insists that smoking is a health hazard, and she shouldn't have to jeapordize her health by attending resturants and bars where the air is filled with smoke. By this logic, she deems it "unfair" to allow smokers to indulge their habit in such settings as the smoking ban now covers.

But the property rights of the owners of bars and other establishments come before the "right" of anyone else to go there. Certainly people are free to attend any establishment they choose, but the owner's property rights come first. They get to decide what goes on in their own resturant, bar, or whatever - no one else has a "right" to tell them how they must run their establishment. Your enjoyment does not supersede another's rights. If you don't like smoking, find a resturant that doesn't allow it - of their own accord. (After all, if enough people have a problem with smoking in resturants, that's a lot of business an exclusively non-smoking resturant could scoop up.)

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This is one of those policies that really test one's principles. I lived in CA for 6 years and they passed their ban not long after i moved there. i was against the ban based on the business owner's right to set the conditions for his business, but i got very used to smoke-free establishments. i moved to NY just before they banned it, and i was so overwhelmed by the smoke the first time i went out, i had to leave early. Now i'm in CT and they just banned it here.

I'm still against the ban and state my opinion when it comes up in conversation. Smoke-free is great, i just wish it could have been acheived through persuasion rather than force of law.

I wrote this short piece back when CA was passing their ban. I was new to Objectivism and just getting into writing about such issues.

http://home.earthlink.net/~bnittoli/pragmatic.html

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It seems like it is becoming an issue of extreme minutia, whether my personal rights are being infringed upon by you smoking X amount of feet away or leaving smoke in the air X hours after you're done which I will then inhale, and avoiding the scope of business rights altogether, much like prohibition did. Because the anti-tobacco lobby group can't sue every individual who smokes for injuring others they're supporting this as the next best thing.

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Well, I quit smoking roughly 3 weeks ago. When I did go into a bar, I would always ask if someone minded if I smoked. I really didn't care where I sat, just as long as I could smoke somewhere inside. If they chose to say no, (which they never did), I would have happily moved to another location to smoke.

Is that moral, or no? Should I have told them to go somewhere else if they didn't like it, instead? Now if people smoke near me, I could care less. I doesn't really bother me that much.

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If I owned a restaurant I would not permit people to smoke in it. The majority of modern day smokers seem to be lower class, week-willed, unkempt bludgers who would not be able to afford the high quality food I would sell and would only deter respectable customers, who either don't smoke or who can go two hours without lighting up, from dining at my establishment.

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Lucent, I think your policy of asking if anyone minded your smoking was perfectly "moral." You recognized that other people don't always appreciate being around a smoker, and since your smoking was something you could control with little inconvenience to you, you were just being considerate of those around you.

On the other hand, the smoking ban is absolutely ridiculous. I hate cigarette smoke (most kinds of smoke, actually)--it bothers my eyes, makes me cough, and I despise the smell of it. But for the government to go to privately owned businesses on privately owned real estate, and tell those businesses that they can't allow smoking by their customers, who choose to patronize their establishments, is a huge abuse of government power. Furthermore, the effects of secondhand smoke aren't even well enough established to justify such regulations on something like the harm principle. (I believe Dr. Binswanger cited a statistic at a Q&A session that someone who is around secondhand smoke all the time--like a child with parents who smoke--has his chances of getting lung cancer increased by something like 1/2000th.)

The problem is solved easily enough by proprieters exercising their private property rights. Plenty of places (before the smoking bans) didn't allow smoking for one reason or another; others had separate sections for smoking and non, and others still allowed smoking. No one needs to go to a bar or restaurant. Those who wish to remain in smoke-free environments, may do so by only patronizing smoke-free establishments.

Letting the market handle things like this is so obvious to me, I wonder how anyone can think otherwise. Oh well... :lol:

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  • 2 months later...

I smoke, and I do not have a problem with people who smoke around me. I usually do sit in the non-smoking sections in resturants, however. I dont like smoke around my food. I do not agree with the ban on smoking in buildings for the reasons stated. It interferes with property rights. Now, I have a different idea to bring into the thread.

A person I met recently entered into a debate with me about smoking. He thought it was immoral because the person smoking knows they are slowly killing themselves, and are therefore committing suicide. He concluded that it was wrong to do something to yourself that you know to be harmful.

While I see his point, if you took that thought consistently, you would have to give up red meat, junk food, television, etc... A lot of things we have in this world are not good for you, persay, but they bring you enjoyment. In this instance, I would say it was an argument of values.

What's more important, eating that steak, or knowing with every steak you eat you are adding to your cholesterol?

I'm only 19, and do not plan on smoking my entire life. (I rarely do it now.) But I thought his stance was completely irrational. The slight buzz I get from one cigarette is more of a value to me than the slight bit of lung capacity I loose from smoking it. I am pretty athletic, so I feel as though they slightly cancel each other out. Even if they dont (as I suspect they dont.. or wont after I reach about 30 anyway) I dont think I would give up smoking if I didnt want to. It's my choice, I want to live life, and I want to live a quality life, I do not think I am constantly committing suicide.

That's the main point I wanted to get some opinions on. Is smoking committing suicide? I do not think it is, as suicide denotes the intent to kill oneself. I do not want to kill myself.

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A person I met recently entered into a debate with me about smoking.  He thought it was immoral because the person smoking knows they are slowly killing themselves, and are therefore committing suicide.  He concluded that it was wrong to do something to yourself that you know to be harmful.

That person is not distinguishing between committing suicide and taking a risk. He ought to because that is an important distinction.

Life itself is risky. Achieving values involves expending time, effort, and resources and the possibility of failure. If someone tries to lead a risk-free life in an attempt to avoid loss, he won't have much of a life.

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That's the main point I wanted to get some opinions on.  Is smoking committing suicide?  I do not think it is, as suicide denotes the intent to kill oneself.  I do not want to kill myself.

Clearly not every person who smokes dies as a result of his smoking. However, the evidence in regard to health risks in smoking has accumulated over the years, and there is little doubt that, in general, the risks are substantial. If you are aware of the risks, and find that the value you get from smoking is truly greater than the possibility of living a shorter life, or of living a life of reduced capacity, then such is your decision.

I just want to point out, since you say you are only 19 years-old, that when we are young we tend to think that we will live forever, at least metaphorically speaking. We also tend to think of ourselves as being more invulnerable than we are. Look around in the world sometime, and search out the effects that smoking has had on others. Actually see what the various effects on the lung is like, and see what it does to the quality of life of some. What I mean is, if you are going to weigh your smoking in terms of the pleasure of the act and the value you receive from that, against the possibility of harmful effects, at least do so with full knowledge of those effects, and try to make them real in your mind.

My own personal advice, for whatever that is worth to you, is to throw your cigarettes away and have a happy, healthy, and long life. There are so many other pleasures in life that await you, of far more depth and significance than smoking.

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My own personal advice, for whatever that is worth to you, is to throw your cigarettes away and have a happy, healthy, and long life. There are so many other pleasures in life that await you, of far more depth and significance than smoking.

A someone who quit smoking a couple months ago, I second Stephen's advice. But I would go further and argue that there is no pleasure associated with smoking, and therefore that quitting smoking is easy. I addressed this issue in depth here, if you're interested:

http://angermanagement.mu.nu/archives/025605.html

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A someone who quit smoking a couple months ago, I second Stephen's advice. 

I disagree with you and Stephen. Smoking occasionally probably has close to zero, if not zero, negative physical effects. Strolling on the streets of NYC and in the process imbibing bus and car fumes is probably much more damaging to the lungs - or for that matter living in Southern Calif.

The more serious effects of smoking probably don't kick in unless you graduate to a pack or two or more a day. Even that will vary considerably from person to person. As for it being a "death sentence", that is utter nonsense. It does increase one's risks of developing certain diseases, but it will not necessarily kill you. There are people who chain smoke into their 80's and 90's.

Does anyone ever consider that there might be benefits of smoking, not just psychological, but physical? Can you imagine the gov't ever funding a study to show such possible benefits? To even suggest such a thing in the hysterical environment today on the subject would turn one into the equivalent of a "witch in Salem" and you would probably be burned on the proverbial stake for the mere idea.

Fred Weiss

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I disagree with you and Stephen.

I have not read Don's (DPW's) essay -- though usually he is quite a reasonable guy -- but what does "Smoking occasionally probably has close to zero, if not zero, negative physical effects" have to do with my advice? What exactly did I say that you disagree with, and why?

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The more serious effects of smoking probably don't kick in unless you graduate to a pack or two or more a day. Even that will vary considerably from person to person.

I was a three pack a day smoker.

Does anyone ever consider that there might be benefits of smoking, not just psychological, but physical?

Sure. That's why I was smoking.

It is what I call a "vest pocket pleasure." In the Old Days, before they banned smoking in office buildings, I could sit at my desk and enjoy a smoke while I worked. Also, there was nothing like a cigarette after a meal or a cup of coffee.

It also seemed to sharpen my thinking and I understand that it is due to the fact that nicotinic acid, related to B vitamins, is a mental stimulant.

But I did have asthma, bronchitis, a family history of heart disease, and an Objectivist MD who convinced me I was on the short end of the risk-benefit seesaw. That's why I quit cold turkey over thirty years ago.

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Smoking disgusts me, however the government obviously has no right to ban it on private property. I suppose I will defend this in the same way that some others defend the existence of NASA; although there would ideally be no restrictions on property rights, given that there are, this is a pretty cool restriction to make.

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I have not read Don's (DPW's) essay -- though usually he is quite a reasonable guy -- but what does "Smoking occasionally probably has close to zero, if not zero, negative physical effects" have to do with my advice? What exactly did I say that you disagree with, and why?

"My own personal advice, for whatever that is worth to you, is to throw your cigarettes away and have a happy, healthy, and long life. There are so many other pleasures in life that await you, of far more depth and significance than smoking."

You might as well stay "stop driving on the freeway" or "stop eating hamburgers" or "stop using potentially dangerous tools", etc. Almost anything pleasurable we do carries some risk and I would argue that smoking occasionally is no more dangerous than any of those.

Fred Weiss

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The majority of modern day smokers seem to be lower class, week-willed, unkempt bludgers

Wow! "Lower class?" is that some sort of British Royalty thing going on? Or somehow you judge people's "class" by the money in their wallet? Or if their habits somehow agree with yours? You must be really high class yourself, yah-sure. Besides, cigarettes cost a fortune now, with all the taxes.

"Week-willed?" Well, perhaps, but then again, perhaps they proofread their writings, too. Or, in fact, can actually spell.

"Unkempt?" smokers are unkempt? Maybe they only bathe once a weak? :D

"Bludgers?" is that like a Blogger who fell down in the mud? Is that why they are unkempt? And you know that mud is attracted to folks of low class status...

For real, in a free capitalist society, market forces would take care of the whole issue. Some restaurants would be non-smoking, to get that clientele, some would be smoking, for the others. One of the main driving forces on smoke bans is the employees, who are exposed to "work place hazards" but in a free economy - they could quit if they didn't want to work there! In our mixed economy there is some idea that you are entitled to your job so you couldn't possibly have to make the decision to quit if you thought it was dangerous.

Anyway, I figure this is just a joke post, because no real person could possibly be this ignorant and still remember to feed themselves. :D

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"My own personal advice, for whatever that is worth to you, is to throw your cigarettes away and have a happy, healthy, and long life. There are so many other pleasures in life that await you, of far more depth and significance than smoking."

You might as well stay "stop driving on the freeway" or "stop eating hamburgers" or "stop using potentially dangerous tools", etc. Almost anything pleasurable we do carries some risk and I would argue that smoking occasionally is no more dangerous than any of those.

Fred Weiss

But you need to distinguish between risk within a valid acitvity versus risk apart from one. Food, travel, tools: all of those fulfill legtimate needs. What need does smoking fulfill? Do we need smoke in our lungs? Do we need nicotine? Do we need to smell badly? Remember, I'm not a smoking Nazi. I've only recently quit. I'm just saying that the perception that smoking is pleasurable is false. It is a mis-identification of reality. Given that fact, any amount of risk wipes out the possibility of having a good reason for smoking (in a normal context).

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I disagree with you and Stephen. Smoking occasionally probably has close to zero, if not zero, negative physical effects. Strolling on the streets of NYC and in the process imbibing bus and car fumes is probably much more damaging to the lungs - or for that matter living in Southern Calif.

The more serious effects of smoking probably don't kick in unless you graduate to a pack or two or more a day. Even that will vary considerably from person to person. As for it being a "death sentence", that is utter nonsense. It does increase one's risks of developing certain diseases, but it will not necessarily kill you. There are people who chain smoke into their 80's and 90's.

Does anyone ever consider that there might be benefits of smoking, not just psychological, but physical? Can you imagine the gov't ever funding a study to show such possible benefits? To even suggest such a thing in the hysterical environment today on the subject would turn one into the equivalent of a "witch in Salem" and you would probably be burned on the proverbial stake for the mere idea.

Fred Weiss

Well put, Fred, and thank you. I agree with you.

In addition, I am alarmed by the amount of rash condemnation of smoking as immoral by members of this board. I can see someone mistakenly thinking that it was careless behavior. But immoral? For pete's sake.

The answer to Don's question, "What need does smoking fulfill?" is pleasure. Just that. Doesn't fill your stomach, doesn't help you get somewhere, doesn't help you make something--you're right. Just makes you feel good. Kind of like sex. Kind of like alcohol (although you could argue that this provides nutrition, you could easily get that from juice, instead. You cannot deny that there is a special aspect of alcohol that is all about pleasure, and that--not any possible health effects--is why most rational people drink it.) There is absolutely no reason for smoking except that you like to experience pure, physical, bodily pleasure. And this is exactly why the witch-hunters are after it. They are utterly anti-body and anti-pleasure.

Now, if a person smoked three packs a day or something ridiculous, it would almost certainly not make him feel good anymore. If I ran for thirty minutes three times every day, running wouldn't make me feel good anymore, either. If I drank a bottle of wine every night, I wouldn't feel good anymore, either. Perhaps this is why Don claims that there is no pleasure in smoking.

I have found, as a general rule (although not across the board, of course), that the people who smoke or have smoked in the past are the ones I want to be around more often than the ones who don't smoke, have never smoked, and/or say it's a disgusting habit. The smokers are relaxed, interesting people who are in touch with their own bodies and emotions. The non-smokers are uptight, negative, and repressed.

The whole point of being healthy is to be happy and successful at life. If you eat right, sleep enough, and exercise regularly, smoking occasionally can only increase your quality of life, and, as such, probably quantity, too--although, as Fred said, who would know? No one's ever studied the benefits of smoking.

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I agree with you Ramare, and I do appreciate the warnings of Stephen and Betsy. I understand that smoking has bad long term effects, and I do appreciate the experience of those who have been there before me. If I find myself dependant upon a three inch roll of leaves, I will emphatically quit. I do not want to be dependant upon anything. I was a very anti-smoker person when i found that my mother would lie to me about when and if she smoked, but I now think it was because I was so damn adament about it. Once I left her alone, she never lied. She's been smoking for a while, but its always so rarely. I see myself as the same. At best, I'd smoke 4 cigarettes a week. It is all about physical pleasure, and those who would deny that pleasure to others is wrong. All you can do is offer your advice (which you have done, and I do appreciate) and leave us alone to make our own decisions.

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In addition, I am alarmed by the amount of rash condemnation of smoking as immoral by members of this board. I can see someone mistakenly thinking that it was careless behavior. But immoral? For pete's sake.

By my count, only one member called smoking immoral. I certainly did not, nor did Stephen, and we've been the posters most critical of smoking besides Invictus.

The answer to Don's question, "What need does smoking fulfill?" is pleasure. Just that. Doesn't fill your stomach, doesn't help you get somewhere, doesn't help you make something--you're right. Just makes you feel good. Kind of like sex. Kind of like alcohol (although you could argue that this provides nutrition, you could easily get that from juice, instead. You cannot deny that there is a special aspect of alcohol that is all about pleasure, and that--not any possible health effects--is why most rational people drink it.) There is absolutely no reason for smoking except that you like to experience pure, physical, bodily pleasure. And this is exactly why the witch-hunters are after it. They are utterly anti-body and anti-pleasure.

But I deny they get pleasure from it, which you would have known had you read the bulk of my comments, i.e., my post on the subject. You weren't obligated to do that of course, but so long as you're going to argue the point with me, it would have been the decent thing to do.

Even if we agreed that smoking was pleasurable, and I certainly do not believe it is, that still wouldn't get you far, because best I can tell, sleeping with a prostitute can be pleasurable, as can taking ecstasy, or smoking crack. The problem is, those things are destructive: they aren't pleasurable long range. Remember, we are not hedonists. Pleasure is a value, quite a high one, but it is not the standard of value, and not a justification for anti-life actions.

Now, if a person smoked three packs a day or something ridiculous, it would almost certainly not make him feel good anymore. If I ran for thirty minutes three times every day, running wouldn't make me feel good anymore, either. If I drank a bottle of wine every night, I wouldn't feel good anymore, either. Perhaps this is why Don claims that there is no pleasure in smoking.
Perhaps it is...except it isn't. What is certain, however, is that it's not a good idea to speculate as to my views while ignoring my explicit statements regarding the subject.

I have found, as a general rule (although not across the board, of course), that the people who smoke or have smoked in the past are the ones I want to be around more often than the ones who don't smoke, have never smoked, and/or say it's a disgusting habit. The smokers are relaxed, interesting people who are in touch with their own bodies and emotions. The non-smokers are uptight, negative, and repressed.

Even if this were true, what exactly is that supposed to prove?

The whole point of being healthy is to be happy and successful at life. If you eat right, sleep enough, and exercise regularly, smoking occasionally can only increase your quality of life, and, as such, probably quantity, too--although, as Fred said, who would know? No one's ever studied the benefits of smoking.

That last point is completely arbitrary, so toss that. As for the rest of it, you keep saying smoking is pleasurable. I'm asking you: how? In what way? I promise you: any specific claim you make will not stand up to scrutiny. Believe me. I had to ram down them all in order to convince myself to quit.

You know what I find really interesting though? The loudest defenders of smoking, in Objectivist circles anyway, are non-smokers! Doesn't that tell you something? Smokers know smoking is no good: it costs too much, it makes you smell bad, it ruins your teeth and your hands, it literally takes your breath away, and can often kill you. But its worst sin, in my view, is that it makes you wish away your life. I'll tell you what really made me want to quit. When I found myself lying next to a girl who was very naked and very in the mood to cuddle, and all I could think about was pulling myself out of bed and running out into the rain to take a few drags. I mean...really!

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You might as well stay "stop driving on the freeway" or "stop eating hamburgers" or "stop using potentially dangerous tools", etc. Almost anything pleasurable we do carries some risk and I would argue that smoking occasionally is no more dangerous than any of those.

And you base your conclusions on what?

At any given time occasional smokers are a small percentage of overall smokers, for good reason. A large percentage of smokers start off smoking occasionally, but over time a rather large percentage of those morph into regular smoking.

Ten times more people die yearly from smoking then die from automobile accidents.

The non-fatal effects of smoking on health and well being are astronomically greater than the non-fatal effects due to automobile accidents.

Read the medical journals and the statistical reports.

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