Off Topic Messages

Thu Apr 20, 2006 2:08 am

I'll try to find something more recent. I'd be suspicious of anything
coming out of either an industry group (Bar & Restaurant Association)
or any "anti-smoking" lobby group....

I'll review what you sent and look more into it, but the basic sense that people are over-reacting still stands.

Incidentally, how did you ever tolerate the "glory years" of smoking in the last century - or did you just always head for the hills when people lit up?

Thu Apr 20, 2006 3:20 am

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote: I'd be suspicious of anything
coming out of either an industry group (Bar & Restaurant Association)
or any "anti-smoking" lobby group....


And you'd be right to be. I spend most of my working life trawling through the dubious rhetoric spouted by such organisations. If you want a balanced view on something, don't go to a source which has a vested interest in presenting a one-sided argument.

Thu Apr 20, 2006 10:46 am

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:Incidentally, how did you ever tolerate the "glory years" of smoking in the last century - or did you just always head for the hills when people lit up?


Well, it was just accepted everywhere.

I remember going to dances or parties when your eyes would start stinging before the evening was up due to the build-up of smoke.

Even pregnant mothers smoked.

We are lucky to be so well-informed and aware these days.

Although the message is taking a little while to sink in with some, even now.

Thu Apr 20, 2006 11:41 am

Colin- But they are saying you can't smoke when they are saying you can't smoke in a privately owned establishment. That's my big point. It's a place you have to choose to go and most often you have to pay. My argument would be the same if the government forced smoking on a privately owned business. However, both options are available. And I do say as I've said before the non-smoking sections work quite well. If smoke is getting, I don't see it. There are places that have the sections glassed off.

I have no objection to no smoking in a publicly owned building. That's the government's building belonging equally to all taxpayers. Government should be able to dictate terms of use. I have no objection to any establishment going non-smoking. That business will probably get my business. But I just feel wrong to begrudge another business that gets people to come in through allowing smoking. And if that business for whatever reason has something that I want, I realize that I have to make the sacrifice.

I think sometimes we think we can have our cake and eat it too. (Bizarre saying by the way but you get my point.) Sometimes to get one thing you have to sacrifice another. That's just life.

Thu Apr 20, 2006 11:55 am

likethebike wrote:Colin- But they are saying you can't smoke when they are saying you can't smoke in a privately owned establishment. That's my big point.
It's a place you have to choose to go and most often you have to pay.


You are ignoring the employee's right to work in a safe environment.

Don't say they can work elsewhere.

Imagine a building site where the bosses said:

"Oh, we don't supply any helmets, goggles or safety equipment, if workers want that they can work somewhere else"


Things simply don't operate in that way.

Thu Apr 20, 2006 1:17 pm

likethebike wrote:I think sometimes we think we can have our cake and eat it too. (Bizarre saying by the way but you get my point.)


True that! You can't have your cake and eat it? :) Bit like saying you can't have your shower and wash in it. Er, yes you can or not much point in having it :)

ColinB wrote:You are ignoring the employee's right to work in a safe environment.

Don't say they can work elsewhere.

Imagine a building site where the bosses said:

"Oh, we don't supply any helmets, goggles or safety equipment, if workers want that they can work somewhere else"


Things simply don't operate in that way.


And Colin highlights the only really reasonable argument supporting a ban. The notion of there being any harm to customers is very flimsy, but daily and lengthy exposure of employees is more relevant. There's also something to the point that if Government can legislate on one health and safety issue, they can and should legislate on another.
Last edited by TJ on Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:59 pm

I've not yet gone back and looked for the science to back up the claim I made, but I do know I've seen articles that suggest the evidence against second-hand smoke as a "killer" is rather lacking.

I do agree that there is something to the "protect the workers" argument but it also seems a bit insincere and all too convenient. However, I'm big on worker saftey and health being respected (and the right of government -the people- to regulate private enterprises), so I don't want to be dismissive.

It seems to me that (in the US at least) ventilation systems are much better than 20 years ago. And perhaps bartenders (except for the real "old school" long-term variety), tend to have high-turnover and do not anticipate a 30-40 year turn behind the bar.

Bike is onto to something about that all encompassing "ban" aspect of this.

There ought to be a way for businesses that choose to also accomodate those who like to drink and smoke together (long a great way to unwind - however unhealthy) or would like to have that relaxing cigarette after a meal in a restaurant - in a non-smoking section.

There's an absolutism to this that betrays another "control all vices" mentality. It does go back to foisting others values (health above vice) on others, even places one never would go to. That said, in a society, we must create a framework for what we all agree on - and I think we can agree that it's ludicrous to begin to ban smoking, which is what this is all about.

How many champions of "the public health" in the U.S. who hate smokers and smoking also probably gas up a monster SUV, and don't recyce their garbage, as well as vote for Republicans who vote against worker safety (in the US, that's the OSHA)... I bet quite a few.

There's certainly a distasteful, elistist aspect to this trend.

And again, I rather dislikes cigarettes for myself and avoid overly-smoky bars and know first hand just how it can shorten a life of someone near and dear.
Last edited by Gregory Nolan Jr. on Fri Apr 21, 2006 11:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Fri Apr 21, 2006 11:12 pm

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:....And perhaps bartenders (except for the real "old school" long-term variet), tend to have high-turnover and do not anticipate a 30-40 year turn behind the bar.


Oh, well, they won't need protection then, will they ?

Going back to my building site scenario the bosses might say:

"Well, yeah, our workers are exposed to asbestos, but to be honest, things are so arduous here, nobody stays long enough to develop lung problems, so why bother to protect them ?" !


Not good enough.

I don't believe that Jewish medics know more about the effects of passive smoking than others, but this is one of the most up-to-date reports I've found
[Feb, 2006]:

http://www.nationaljewish.org/disease-i ... dhand.aspx

Fri Apr 21, 2006 11:39 pm

ColinB wrote:
Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:....And perhaps bartenders (except for the real "old school" long-term variet), tend to have high-turnover and do not anticipate a 30-40 year turn behind the bar.


Oh, well, they won't need protection then, will they ?

Going back to my building site scenario the bosses might say:

"Well, yeah, our workers are exposed to asbestos, but to be honest, things are so arduous here, nobody stays long enough to develop lung problems, so why bother to protect them ?" !


Not good enough.


Neither is allowing people to drink themselves to death. Let's ban that
next, too, like Texas' recent experiment with prohibition-style tactics.

It does go against my grain as I'm a big time worker advocate and pro-union type of guy but in the US at least, worker safety is hardly the main reason behind this legislation.

Besides, industrial workers still face air-quality issues. No one has suggested banning manufacturing. Instead, they regulate and use common sense, balanced principles in controlling such factors.

I think it's a power play of a certain group of people of often smug people who think cigarettes slowly but surely should (and can) be banned because they find them annoying.

Office buildings? That's one thing. Pubs, taverns or bars?

Total over-reach and over-reaction, in my view.
Last edited by Gregory Nolan Jr. on Mon Apr 24, 2006 6:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Fri Apr 21, 2006 11:49 pm

Colin- My point is that you don't have the absolute right to work anywhere you want in the absolute conditions you want. Some jobs are for some people and some jobs are not. You wouldn't object to placing an employee on the midnight shift even if that person is used to sleeping at night and most of the rest of the world operates on an opposite schedule. This is not a safety concern but it shows the way some jobs are for some people and some jobs are not. Plus, we don't concerns for people who work in far, far more dangerous jobs from the army to coal miners.

Your point about not wearing helmet confuses the point because generally those jobs are more dangerous than working around smoke. Yet the protections only mitigate the danger they do not eliminate. I'm not against regualtions imposing certain ventilation standards but to me you can only go so far.

Greg's point about the tangential of the jobs is a valid one because the danger in smoking is not immediate. It is done over the long term. If someone smokes an entire pack of cigarettes today and never smokes again they're not going to be developing cancer just because of that.

Fri Apr 21, 2006 11:57 pm

The protect the employee argument does have some merit, but really how long will their exposure to smoke be? And the non-smoking waitresses/waiters can always switch serving the smoking section with a smoking waitress/waiter.

But you know what bugs me? This whole notion of 'the war on smoking.' 'The war on drugs.' 'The war on poverty.' This is such a colossal crock of sh*t! Instead of this 'war on' stuff, which is just political horse manure let's get our elected officials to just work on solving these type of problems without declaring war on them.

Sat Apr 22, 2006 12:57 am

Greg wrote:
Neither is allowing people to drink themselves to death.
Let's ban that next, too, like Texas' recent experiment with prohibition-style tactics.


Well, yes, but those drinking themselves to death aren't taking the barman along with them for the ride, are they ?

Pete mentioned workers' exposure, have a look at this UK research:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/2925633.stm
Last edited by ColinB on Sat Apr 22, 2006 1:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sat Apr 22, 2006 1:00 am

The bans on smoking are working well, so why complain.
Business is up.
I don't see the argument.
Most smokers respect and understand the fact they can't smoke where ever they want to.
They find a place for it when they need to.
Lets here from the smokers on this forum and get there reactions.
How can we non smokers argue for them???
Most smokers that I've met wish they could kick the habbit!!!

8)

Sat Apr 22, 2006 10:49 am

sam wrote:The bans on smoking are working well, so why complain.
Business is up.
I don't see the argument.
Most smokers respect and understand the fact they can't smoke where ever they want to.
They find a place for it when they need to.
Lets here from the smokers on this forum and get there reactions.
How can we non smokers argue for them???
Most smokers that I've met wish they could kick the habbit!!!

8)


Well, Sam, in the US, there is a powerful pro-tobacco lobby group, headed by and funded by the wealthy tobacco industry.

They are dedicated to rubbishing any research that concludes that smoking is a bad thing.

They managed to keep the news that it is linked to cancer 'under wraps' for years.

They've lost that fight now, and have moved onto passive smoking and its effects on us.

Sat Apr 22, 2006 11:22 am

Yeah, that's it Colin.........we're all just hoodwinked :wink:

For me, the issue of smoking isn't the crux of the issue. It's Government encroachment. I know you Brits can't get enough of that, but I'll pass. :lol:

Sat Apr 22, 2006 11:48 am

Scatter wrote:Yeah, that's it Colin.........we're all just hoodwinked :wink:


Well, if you're starting to realise that, there's hope yet............

Sat Apr 22, 2006 11:51 am

Awww go get a free check-up and some Government cheese :lol:

Sat Apr 22, 2006 4:50 pm

Scatter wrote:Awww go get a free check-up and some Government cheese :lol:


Yeah terrible those free check ups. What a bloody outrage! :wink:

Sun Apr 23, 2006 1:24 am

Pete Dube wrote:The protect the employee argument does have some merit, but really how long will their exposure to smoke be? And the non-smoking waitresses/waiters can always switch serving the smoking section with a smoking waitress/waiter.

But you know what bugs me? This whole notion of 'the war on smoking.' 'The war on drugs.' 'The war on poverty.' This is such a colossal crock of sh*t! Instead of this 'war on' stuff, which is just political horse manure let's get our elected officials to just work on solving these type of problems without declaring war on them.


How about the war on lowering taxes? Oh yeah, that's one war the government wants no part of.

Sun Apr 23, 2006 1:34 am

Joe Car wrote:How about the war on lowering taxes?
Oh yeah, that's one war the government wants no part of.


Hadn't heard of that one !

If we want to live in a civilised society, with free medical care, financial help for the unemployed and sick, free education etc. these things have to be paid for out of taxation.

It's kinda like paying an insurance premium.

We don't particularly like paying it out, but we like the protection we get if something goes wrong.

Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:31 am

ColinB wrote:
Joe Car wrote:How about the war on lowering taxes?
Oh yeah, that's one war the government wants no part of.


Hadn't heard of that one !

If we want to live in a civilised society, with free medical care, financial help for the unemployed and sick, free education etc. these things have to be paid for out of taxation.

It's kinda like paying an insurance premium.

We don't particularly like paying it out, but we like the protection we get if something goes wrong.


Colin, we in Canada get taxed unmercifully. Yes I understand the need for taxes, up to a point, but the Canadian goverment is frickin brutal.

Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:30 pm

Joe Car wrote:Colin, we in Canada get taxed unmercifully. Yes I understand the need for taxes, up to a point, but the Canadian goverment is frickin brutal.


I'm not aware of the tax position in Canada [or much else there really].

But I do believe in the principle of taxation.

My favourite option is income tax.

Those in the strongest position in society pay the most.

The weakest pay the least.

And if people move from one group to the other or back throughout life, their tax contribution changes to suit !

Other forms of taxation take no account of ability to pay.

BTW: I read that four Canadian soldiers have been killed by a Taleban bomb in Afghanistan.

We sometimes forget that your boys are involved out there.

So this came as a timely yet tragic reminder.

Sun Apr 23, 2006 3:30 pm

Part of this comes down to numbers. If seventy-five percent of a country’s population smokes, then it’s conceivable that seventy-five percent of business establishments would allow smoking (if no government regulations were in place), simply because that would be advantageous from a business perspective. I agree with likethebike that citizens should be given a choice of where to go; for the government to regulate every aspect of citizens’ lives is undesirable. However, if such proportions existed, citizens would no longer have a (realistic) choice, because only one out of four establishments would be ‘safe’ for them to visit. I don’t know what the actual numbers are, but it’s something to consider.

Perhaps the best solution is not to force public establishments to be smoke-free, but instead to force them to have a smoke-free section that covers at least X percent of the establishment’s surface area. This would accommodate all arguments, because citizens still get to choose for themselves where they want to go and what risks they want to run (i.e., if the non-smoking section is full at their favorite club, they can choose to enter the smoking section instead – or go elsewhere), businesses will have to make minimal adjustments (compared to the all-out no smoking rule), and potential employees can still work wherever they want to, the only catch being that – if the aforementioned proportions were in place – employment would be more scarce than if all establishments were smoke-free.

Colin and likethebike are not discussing the same issue, though. Whereas Colin is focusing specifically on smoking, likethebike is tackling a bigger issue, which is intrusive government regulation. I agree with likethebike that there should be stricter limits on what governments allow and do not allow their citizens to do, because more and more citizens are now being babysat instead of being allowed to make their own decisions. A lack of regulation is then being used as a scapegoat for law-breaking and accidents. But then you’re getting into issues like television censorship and banning the sale of violent videogames, for example, discussion of which may cloud the issue at hand. (The hottest issue currently being that violent videogames supposedly produce violent children – which is nonsense, of course – and that law-breaking, game playing youths and their parents try to shift the blame to the sale of such games, which is ludicrous.)

Sun Apr 23, 2006 3:43 pm

Peter Franks wrote:Colin and likethebike are not discussing the same issue, though.
Whereas Colin is focusing specifically on smoking, likethebike is tackling a bigger issue, which is intrusive government regulation.


Well, the thread is supposed to be about smoking.

Although I did wander off into talking about taxation in general.

[Nobody took the bait, though]

Mon Apr 24, 2006 7:01 pm

Good points, Peter Franks. And Pete Dube, I assume LTB used "war" in as much as it's a common shorthand these days. And it's accurate that there is a "war" (a strategy to kill off) the habit of smoking.

"
"Do you ever notice in this country that when we have a problem with something, we always have to declare WAR on it? The War on Illiteracy, the War on AIDS, the War on Homelessness, the War on Drugs... We don't actually DO anything about it, but we've declared war on it...."
- George Carlin


The rest of this stand-up comedy piece is still worth hearing.


Colin,

First off, I share your general instincts about the role of government (and paying for it) in society, but on this issue, I part company to some degree.

Objective (non-tobacco) sources that I recall seeing (again, I'll have to curl up with "Google" sometime and find some examples) make the case that second-hand smoke just is not a proven killer the way actual smoking clearly is.

And I still think the movement is less motivated by worker safety than from a sense of "hey, this is annoying and potentially cancerous, take it outside!"

I think I'd prefer that kind of honesty. After all, as a one-time vigilent anti-smoker (back when I lived with smokers, that is growing up), I made the argument that the air is not naturally filled with cigarette smoke. I once made the case to the chagrin of my older brother that my new habit was to walk around squirting "windex" window cleaner in the air, so I pulled up a seat on the same couch, and began my own "relaxing habit." :lol:

I got chased around the house after that, but he knew I was right!

Having witnessed lung cancer victims near and dear who clearly got it from cigarettes, I think the second-hand smoke debate trivializes and distracts from the main problem of cigarette smoking itself.

To the degree that there's an "anti-tobacco" "public health" agenda here (we know what's good for you), well, on one hand, I applaud it (and we should give up greasy hamburgers and beer, too) and one another hand, I tend to say, mind your own business and can't we all compromise?

The technology, and sense of fair play described by Peter Franks is something that could be used. I just see smokers as being out-numbered at this point. Now that the indoor air will be "clean," I do hope more pressing matters will garner the half of the zeal they aim at smokers.
:wink: