Information icon.svg Our Community Standards are under review. Your comments and inputs are welcome on the relevant project talkpage.

Essay talk:Smoking violates human rights/Archive1

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

This is an archive page, last updated 8 August 2011. Please do not make edits to this page.
Archives for this talk page:   , (new)(back)


Although it's perfect common sense to reduce the harm caused by second hand smoke by restricting tobacco usage in enclosed public spaces, I find most of these arguments to ban smoking altogether both wrong and unrealistic. Lazy bullet points:

  • Smokers are polluting the air around them with an addictive drug (nicotine), and with cancer-causing chemicals. Other people have the right not to breathe in their noxious emissions.

Hence laws that are already enforced that restrict smoking in enclosed (and very often open) public areas.

  • Smokers walk down crowded city streets, forcing others to breathe in their noxious emissions.

Even if there were no smokers, crowded city streets are not the place you want to be if you are worried about harmful emissions. For instance, that bus stop you mention, well, if it's not your bus that comes and it sits there belching diesel fumes while it collects passengers and then it chugs off in a plume of even more fumes, you've taken in very many cigarettes' worth of cancerous emmissions.

  • A total ban on smoking would be great for the environment - not only would it reduce harmful air pollution...

Should charring a steak be illegal too? More seriously, fireplaces are very popular. How many smokes' worth of pollution is released in one single evening from a fireplace? They should be banned?

  • What about smoking in the home?

Education. Already, most smokers are smart enough to not subject others to their smoke in the home.

  • The only solution is a total ban on smoking, and on the sale of nicotine or any other drug in smokeable form.

Prohibition doesn't appear to have dented the enduring popularity of that other smokeable drug. Prohibition has been a failed experiment for a long time as it doesn't reduce demand. It puts the means of production and supply in the hands of profiteers with no regulators controlling or seeking to minimise harm that may result from usage.

Those are my rebuttals (get it?). They are hopelessly incomplete and probably full of holes but at least it gets your debate rolling.--Brendiggg (talk) 10:46, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Hence laws that are already enforced that restrict smoking in enclosed (and very often open) public areas - agreed that these laws are a good start, but they don't go far enough.
well, if it's not your bus that comes and it sits there belching diesel fumes - that is another problem, and it too has solutions (hydrogen or electric vehicles). But, this seems to me to be the fallacy that because we can't solve all problems at once, we shouldn't try to solve any of them at all. Smoking is not the only air pollution problem, there are others; we should try to solve those others too, but that there are other problems is no excuse for not trying to solve this one.
Should charring a steak be illegal too? More seriously, fireplaces are very popular. - do you seriously think cooking steak produces anywhere near as much air pollution as millions of chain smokers do? As to fireplaces, yes, there is an argument for restricting their use in built up areas (and governments are starting to do so) - but again, just because there are other problems is no excuse not to solve this one
Education. Already, most smokers are smart enough to not subject others to their smoke in the home. - education can only achieve so much. And, I think many middle-upper class smokers will so refrain, but the same does not apply to many poorer smokers. And lower class children are already more likely to experience health problems due to other causes, so their parent's second-hand smoke is only adding to their difficulties.
Prohibition has been a failed experiment for a long time as it doesn't reduce demand. - as I point out in my essay, you can't compare this proposal to a ban on marijuana or alcohol or other drugs, since those are bans on drugs, this is just a ban on a particular mode of administration. I do not propose any restrictions at all on the drug nicotine in other modes of administration --(((Zack Martin))) 10:59, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
A better comparison isn't alcohol or marijuana prohibition, but the US governments ban on Cuban goods (including of course Cuban cigars). Is there a black market in Cuban cigars in the US? Yes, there is. Is it a major problem? No, it's not a big issue. Why? Well, because although the good is banned, easily substitutable goods are still available. If we ban smokeable tobacco, but still permit non-smoking forms of administration of nicotine, nicotine addicts are more likely to turn to the legal and easily available alternative sources of nicotine than the illegal and harder to access cigarette black market. --(((Zack Martin))) 11:03, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
(EC)I love the way that the old not as bad as X or X is worse always comes up when smoking is the issue.
Secondly it's surely just common sense that people should not be obliged to breathe carcinogenic gasses. I'm not sure that a complete smoking ban is practical - but I agree that it should be very severely limited.--BobSpring is sprung! 11:08, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Well at least I didn't say smoking isn't as bad as instigating a genocidal holocaust.--Brendiggg (talk) 11:30, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Someone used tq? Weird. Otherwise, I don't remember the quote exactly, but my favorite paraphrase on smoking is "Having a no smoking section in a restaurant is like having a no peeing section in a pool. Any way, if you smake, I don't want to pay for your healthcare. sterile classified ad 14:20, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Fuck this bullshit[edit]

Ace of Spades 12:01, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

This. Life is too short --DamoHi 13:31, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
A very eloquent, well-argued, rational response. --(((Zack Martin))) 10:17, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

A comment[edit]

While I am not in favor of completely banning it, my little sister is nearly deathly allergic to cigarette smoke, and I think your club idea is interesting. What is your take on electronic cigarettes? ТyTalk. 02:41, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

My understanding is electronic cigarettes don't produce smoke, just nicotine vapour - and the vapour is much more targetted to the user than traditional cigarettes. As such, I support them - although there is still some risk of nicotine inhalation by third parties, it is greatly reduced compared to traditional cigarettes, and it is also minus the carbon monoxide and the carcinogens. The real problem with smoking isn't nicotine - as a drug, nicotine is not that harmful, certainly less harmful than alcohol - the real problem is all the other compounds that cigarette smoke contains. --(((Zack Martin))) 02:53, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

Getting round to brass tacks...[edit]

..."I don't like hence no one should be allowed to do it". Sorry dude but man the fuck up. Complaining because someone is smoking in the car next to you at a red light? You violate my human right to do as I god damn please. Ace of Spades 02:49, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

No, my argument is not "I don't like hence no one should be allowed to do it". And you don't have a human right to do as I god damn please. Human rights must always be limited in order to protect the rights of others. For example, if you have a right to free speech, that implies I lack the right to censor you. So, human rights can only exist when others don't - a system in which everyone has every possible right is the same as a system in which everyone has none. --(((Zack Martin))) 02:56, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
you would disallow me to smoke in my own home. That isn't on buddy. Ace of Spades 05:22, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
there are many other things you aren't allowed to do in your home too. Actually, I am not allowed to smoke in my own home (not that I'd want to), it was a condition of my lease that I didn't (although probably that only means indoors - I didn't read it that carefully since it's irrelevant to me). The big problem I see with smoking in one's own home, is if one lives in close proximity to others (such as an apartment), even if one smokes outdoors the smoke still can enter the neighbour's residence. If one lives in a nice big house on an acre block, that's not so much an issue. --(((Zack Martin))) 05:26, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
You are either extremely paranoid or extremely weak. Shit happens that you don't like? Welcome to life. Ace of Spades 05:29, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
It is neither paranoid nor weak to try to change the things that one does not like about the world. If anything, weakness is just saying "it can't be done" and not even trying. Admittedly, nothing much is going to change here in the short term. But the way things are going, with ever increasing restrictions on smoking, some form of prohibition is not an impossible outcome, albeit probably a few decades away. But getting the idea out there now is an important foundation for one day achieving the goal. --(((Zack Martin))) 05:32, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
Do you go to the supermarket? Probably...hence your going to the supermarket pollutes the planet (via your car emissions, waste packagings and emissions required to get produce from the land to your plate) and is therefore a violation of my human rights. I didn't choose to breathe in your emissions. Ace of Spades 07:29, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
You are right that driving a petroleum-based car to the supermarket causes pollution. And there are potential solutions to that problem to - e.g. switch to a hydrogen-based car, or an electric powered one (with a low GHG electricity source like renewables). But, as I've said before, the fact that there are other issues to be solved is not an argument not to solve this one. This seems to be an example of the Not as bad as falacy. Given, as I've said, a total (or near-total) ban is realistically a few decades away, there is a fair likelihood that by the time we've solved the smoking air pollution problem, electric cars may well have solved the vehicle air pollution problem too --(((Zack Martin))) 07:38, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
What kind of car do you drive? How do you heat your home? How do you light your home? Ace of Spades 07:46, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
And don't forget the space shuttle. I've actually heard "What about the space shuttle?" from pro-smokers before.--BobSpring is sprung! 08:41, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
I drive a petrol car. I have natural gas heating (haven't used it since moving in though), plus natural gas hot water. I use grid electricity for lighting, which I believe comes from a mixture of coal-power and hydro-power. So, yes, my own life could produce less air pollution. But I actually expect as the years go by it will. Next car I buy, I will certainly consider an electric car; whether or not I get one will depend on a few things, but I'm sure as they grow in popularity the price will come down, and the government will implement a taxation/subsidy structure to make them more preferable to petrol cars, in order to try to meet Australia's Kyoto protocol commitments. Likewise, I expect electricity generation will become less GHG intensive over time. And natural gas is one of the least air polluting forms of fossil fuel-based heating there is; yet still, it could potentially be replaced by grid electricity, using a non-air polluting electricity generation source. But, you are kind of missing the point here - I agree completely we need to do things to reduce the air pollution from the energy sector, and I support measures underway to do so. But, just as we should reduce the air pollution from the energy sector, we should also reduce the air pollution from smoking too - and a ban on smoking would be a good way to achieve the later. --(((Zack Martin))) 07:55, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

Problems with a total ban[edit]

While a total ban might seem attractive I think there are some practical difficulties.

The main one would be the problem of illicit sales. When alcohol was banned in the US it produced a criminal underclass in the US which supplied it. Many recreational drugs are also currently banned - but it is quite clear that "banned" is not the same as "unavailable". And their provision also generates a lot of crime.

Consequently banning cigarettes:

  • would not actually make them unavailable
  • but would have the undesirable effect of creating a criminal class to cater for the demand.

Another issue which occurs to me is enforcement. What should the the legal penalty for smoking a cigarette? Prison? A fine? House arrest?

One could argue that cigarettes are more damaging than marijuana so the punishment should be at least as severe as for having or smoking that drug.--BobSpring is sprung! 07:11, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

The problem is sentences like You stop in your car at the traffic lights; your senses are suddenly bombarded by the smoke from the car stopped next to you. Ace of Spades 07:25, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
OK to respond to Bob first - I don't think it is quite the same as banning alcohol or marijuana. I make no proposal to ban nicotine - just to ban one particular method of administering it. I am all in favour of the free availability of nicotine (among other drugs) in a non-smoking form. Secondly, I don't propose harsh punishment for illegal sale of ciagrettes - inevitably, no ban can be watertight, so it still will happen. But, from my point of view, if cigarettes were illegal, people would stop smoking tobacco in public (just how they don't smoke marijuana in public either). And that would stop non-smokers from breathing in smokers' smoke, and thus the ban would achieve its objectives (even if some people continue to smoke illegal cigarettes in secret). Actually, there is already a lot of illegal sales of cigarettes and related crime now anyway - since they are heavily taxed, those who sell them illegally stand to make a lot of money. So organized crime is already into illegal cigarettes, but I don't think that's a good argument to lift cigarette taxation. (If organized crime evading taxation is an argument against taxing something, then it's an argument to abolish taxation entirely too.) As to Ace's point, how many people smoke marijuana while driving their car? Very few. Yet lot's of people smoke tobacco while driving their cars. Even if some people still smoked illegal tobacco in secret, if they stopped doing it blatantly in public places the ban would be a success. --(((Zack Martin))) 07:45, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
how many people smoke marijuana while driving their car? Totally irrelevant. My point was you are trying to tell me what I can and can't do in my own vehicle. Not the government, police or any other body where I might have a say or vote on the outcome but a person that is getting all pissy because someone dares to indulge in a vice they don't like and would ban the next door neighbour from smoking in their own yard. Ace of Spades 07:50, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
You complain I have no right to tell you what to do in your car, but you admit the government does? All I am proposing is that the government stop you from smoking in your car, among other places. In most of Australia, it is now illegal to smoke in a car if children are onboard (source) - it is not inconceivable it might be extended in the future to a total ban on smoking in cars period. I can't personally do anything to stop you smoking anywhere, but I can advocate that the government stop you, which is exactly what I am doing. If you have a say in government policy, so do I, and I'm exercising that say right now. --(((Zack Martin))) 08:01, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

Well if you had a ban, that would only stop people smoking in public if the penalty was something to make people sit up and take notice as they are so used to doing it at the moment . I'm not sure what that would be I, but I'd imagine it would have to be more than a smack on the wrist.--BobSpring is sprung! 08:38, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

Well, at a minimum any person found posssessing cigarettes would have them confiscated. Fines could be in order - I am not a big fan of fines in general (I think it is unfair that a billionaire gets a $200 fine, and it's nothing to them, but a poor person gets a $200 fine and it's a very big deal) - but that said, if we are going to have fines for other things we can have them for smoking too. Repeat offenders could be arrested and taken down to the police station - the inconvenience and the embarassment of being arrested would deter a lot of people, even if they only get a slap on the wrist at the end of the day. Those smoking in cars - that could be treated as any other traffic offence, and repeat offenders could have their licence suspended. I don't think prison would be the right approach, except for bigger players (like cigarette traffickers) - actually, illegal cigarette vendors and traders get prison now too. In general I don't approve of the prison system, but if we have prison for other offences then we should have it for serious smoking offences too (trafficking and posession of commercial quantities), but not for mere individual use or possession (or even smallscale trafficking, such as selling/giving a pack of cigarettes to a friend). --(((Zack Martin))) 09:04, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
In other words, you are all for penalizing the addict and not the tobacco industry for making the addictive product? Kinda like blaming the victim and not the predator? You think people who are addicted to cigarettes should be locked up forever, but don't think the tobacco industry should be shut down? Hmmmm.... And you actually think your idea would work? On a problem that, on a global scale, is minute.... Interesting. Conservative Punk (talk) 20:32, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
Um, obviously a total ban on cigarettes would be end of the line for the tobacco industry. They would no longer be, shutdown and no longer permitted to operate. --(((Zack Martin))) 01:16, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
Okay. But you'd still be creating another form of prohibition. Unless you've been living under a rock for some years, you'd know that prohibition of any form of drugs (no matter what the politicians say) never works. Also, it'd be just as hard to go on a witch hunt as it is for the DEA to go on witch hunts for domestic pot smokers. And, when imposing fines is the maximum penalty you propose, then the odds any cop would waste their time cracking down on tobacco smokers is extremely low (at least here in a city like Minneapolis, where cops have far better things to do). And you also be setting up another excuse for cartels like the cocaine drug cartels to be setup, which would lead to more organized crime and, as a result, more senseless gang violence and death. Seems like a huge price for society to pay to protect anti-smoking bigots from one form of pollution, even though there are forms of pollution we are exposed to just as, if not more, regularly than tobacco and which are far more dangerous to society at-large than tobacco smoke. Don't believe me on that point? I know factually that you'd be better off trying to end pulverized coal electrical generation than smoking. It produces the same pollutants (and then even more, too) as smoking, but in far larger quantities. And yet it's the #1 form of electrical generation in the United States. So, why aren't you focusing your energies there first? Gooniepunk2010 Oi! Oi! Oi! 03:53, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
It's very different from previous prohibition proposals. Alcohol prohibition, marijuana prohibition, and other drug prohibitions, were/are prohibitions of particular drugs. This is not a prohibition of nictoine, just of one method of administering it. Nicotine would still be available in non-smokeable forms - such as gum, lozenges, patches, electronic cigarette. A nicotine addict is just as likely to turn to one of these other (still available) forms of administering the drug than to go to illegal tobacco. Whereas, other forms of prohibition, being prohibitions on a substance rather than a means of administration, don't give those addicted to the substance any alternative other than stop using it or getting it illegal. Also, illegal drug traffickers already have far more lucrative and exciting substances to be pushing (marijuana, cocaine, heroin, crystal meth, etc.) Will they bother with cigarettes?
The point of the prohibition is not to reduce the incidence of smoking to absolute zero. No ban can every be perfect. The point is simply to stop smoking in public being an everyday occurence. If it ceases to so be, then the ban is a success. If a few people go on smoking illegal cigarettes in private, its not a big deal. The very fact they are doing it in secret rather than out in the open means the ban has been successful.
You'll find cops will crackdown on whatever their political masters tell them to. Give them fifty thousand laws to enforce, they may choose to ignore a few. Order them to crack down on X specifically, they will.
And yes, there are other problems (including other forms of pollution) that need to be solved. But the fact that there are other problems is no reason not to try to solve this one. --(((Zack Martin))) 05:19, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
Wouldn't a more effective solution to the problem be to outlaw using nicotine as an additive in tobacco products? Nicotine is, after all, an artificial additive to tobacco, and if smoker could no longer get nicotine by using tobacco, it would be far easier to quit smoking. Mind you (as a former smoker myself), tobacco addiction is not just the result of nicotine addiction; it is also psychological, as smoking gives you something to do. Lord of the Goons The official spikey-haired skeptical punk 16:20, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
Nicotine occurs naturally in tobacco leaves. Maybe cigarette manufacturers sometimes add extra (I'm not sure about that), but it is present even in pure natural tobacco without any additives.
Nicotine contributes to addiction; but most of the harm from smoking is caused by the carcinogens in the smoke, not by the tobacco.
My primary concern is the health and amenity of non-smokers, not the health of smokers - if smokers want to kill themselves, its an open question whether we should stop them - but, when they expose others to cancer-causing tobacco smoke (and it's not the nicotine which is cancer-causing, it's the chemical products of the process of burning), they have stepped across the line.
If they are looking for nicotine or something to do, they could try an electronic cigarette or nicotine gum or lozenges. All of them give them both addictive nicotine and something to do, with vastly reduced negative impacts on the health and amenity of others around them (and their own health too). --(((Zack Martin))) 07:38, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

"The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins."[edit]

Or, "the right to smoke ends where the other man's nose begins," as it were. While I share the anti-"total ban" sentiment that some have voiced here, I agree with Maratrean's premise. Smoking in public should be disallowed the same way other safety hazards are disallowed in public places. Chthonios (talk) 04:02, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

But, would you extend this to private businesses (such as bars) to decide for themselves, or would you impose upon them their choice? I have no problem with non-smoking establishments. But I take issue with anti-smoking bigots imposing on my favorite establishments whether or not they should be non-smoking. It's all about economic choice: if you bigots don't like smoking, patronize non-smoking establishments and leave private businesses that allow smoking alone, bearing in mind that you can choose NOT to patronize places that allow smoking. Gooniepunk2010 Oi! Oi! Oi! 04:07, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
And, again, why doesn't the anti-smoking crowd work this hard to fight other, more prevalent forms of pollution? I bring pulverized coal generation back into this mix. Similar pollutants, plus extra pollutants (like mercury runoff), and in faaaaaar greater quantities? Plus, you wouldn't have the side effect of illegal cartels being created to generate coal electricity. The Goonie 1 What's this button do? Uh oh.... 04:12, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
It comes down to location. If a smoking establishment keeps the smoke contained, then personally, that would be fine. Again, I say smoking should be banned in public places. The difficulty comes with children, who have no choice but to be subjected to their parents' secondhand smoke.
Your second point is a fallacious argument, but to address it, I hate coal much more than smoking. Just because I argue against smoking doesn't mean I don't argue against coal. Chthonios (talk) 04:32, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
A workplace which permits smoking is an unsafe workplace. Employees are being subjected to cancer-causing fumes. Any other workplace which subjected its employees to cancer-causing fumes would be required to take preventive measures (e.g. breathing apparatus, protective clothing); otherwise they would face major potential liability from the employees, and difficulties in gaining insurance. Employees should not be put in the position of having to choose between their health and their paycheck. The simple solution, which has already been adopted in many countries around the world, is to prohibit smoking in all workplaces (including bars, cafes, clubs, etc.) --(((Zack Martin))) 05:22, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

"The only solution is a total ban on smoking"[edit]

To risk flogging the same dead horse as Ace above, this is a ridiculous infringement on human rights. To clarify, I'm not a regular smoker (less than 20 a month, if any at all), and when I do smoke I appreciate that other people don't want to breathe it in, so I compromise by moving away from them and I smoke by myself. When I have the occasional ciggy I smoke it outside because I hate the smell that lingers in my room and reeks out my clothes. More often than not when my non-smoking friends see me smoke, they begin coughing loudly for hilarious comic effect or chant "dirty fucking smoker" at me, and I have to resist the urge to tell them that I am a grown man and can smoke if I want to, and failing that, for them to go fuck themselves.

I don't entirely agree with the widespread scope of the current smoking ban, but I can appreciate why it was brought in. It's forced the smoker in the pub - that wonderful refuge of working/lower-middle class British life - to go outside after a long day dealing with a bunch of wankers in the office, at the worksite, in the van, whatever. You've already taken away the freedom for smokers to smoke in public buildings, and now the occasional one that walks past you in the street, forcing you to breathe in a tiny amount of smoke when you come within a few feet of him, has put you out to the extent that you feel a ban on smoking outside is necessary? As for banning smoking in privacy, a lot of small apartment blocks today have a ban on smoking anyway, which their tenants are made aware of upon signing the lease - I can't smoke in my current rented property. But banning smoking in owned property? I can't think of a more ridiculously painful ultra-liberal, "it's-for-your-own-good!" health scare tactic than that. Forcing kids to breathe in smoke is something that disgusts me - my dad smokes and when I was growing up he smoked in one room only and I wasn't allowed in there when he was - but ultimately that's down to how much of a clueless fucking idiot of a parent one is. Smoke going through non-existent air vents between adjoining properties? Seeping through walls into the house next door? The only way for that to physically happen would be for a room to have a higher ratio of carbon monoxide against oxygen and natural air. The fact is that smoking enthusiasts have already made compromises to fulfil the wishes of the super-duper-we're-so-goddamn-fucking-healthy-and-better-than-you-dirty-smoking-cunts anti-smoking lobbyists, and to go one step further and ban it in homes is to go one step further in taking away a basic human right to do as one pleases within a free society. Your very first sentence in this essay is "I believe that a basic principle of human rights, is that everyone has the right to control what goes into their own body", and this ban you propose is in direct opposition to that statement. If someone told me that I couldn't smoke in my own house, in which I live, which I own, which I saved up for, and which I paid for with my own money, I would happily tell them to stick their ban up their arse, because that's where the noxious gases are coming from.

All the best, SJ Debaser 09:15, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

Goodpost.gif Gooniepunk2010 Oi! Oi! Oi! 16:12, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
I think Chtonios put it very well above - "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." - Your right to smoke ends at my nostrils.
You claim that smoke can't travel between walls? How then is it that I can smell cigarette smoke in my unit? No one inside my unit is smoking; I know my next door neighbours smoke. Are they doing it in their unit, and somehow it is spreading through cracks in the wall or roofspace or floorspace? Or maybe they are doing it in their backyard, and it is drifting into my yard and then entering my unit through the external airvents? I don't know, but I know I can smell it.
Despite your disbelief, smoke spreading between apartments or units in high or medium density living is a real problem, and there have been a number of court cases, bylaws, regulations, etc., about it. See for example see [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6]
Your distinction between rented and owned property is irrelevant. The evolving situation in Australia (and I understand also the US and Canada, not so sure about the UK), is that where smoking has been prohibited in apartment buildings, it has been done so either by strata/owner's corporation/body corporate/condiniminum/whatever-it-gets-called-in-your-country bylaws (which apply equally to owners and renters), or via court orders (which likewise apply equally to owners or renters), or via government regulation (that likewise equally applies to owners or renters). The distinction between owning and renting is irrelevant in this case - what matters is the impact of one occupier on adjoining occupiers, not what type of occupier they are.
I really don't care what harmful chemicals you want to put in your body. If you want to drink yourself to death, so long as you aren't a bad drunk or cost the public purse (or private health insurance) a fortune in the process, it's not my problem. I certainly would prefer you didn't drink yourself to death, and would encourage you not to (actually, my aunt died of alcoholism), but I'm not proposing legal measures to you from doing it. But when you smoke, you are putting harmful chemicals, not just in your own body, but in mine too; so I will propose legal measures to stop you from smoking.
If smokers stopped smoking in the presence of non-smokers, I think they'd find non-smokers wouldn't care. But, even if you are careful not to smoke around non-smokers, plenty of smokers aren't so careful. The only way to protect the rights of non-smokers to be free of smoke is to ban smoking entirely. --(((Zack Martin))) 07:56, 11 April 2011 (UTC)--(((Zack Martin))) 07:57, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
I appreciate you'd hate it when your neighbour's smoke travels into your house (I would as well) but if you're living in a high-rise or apartment where rooms are close together and some tenants are smoking, that happens. However, a lot of buildings like this nowadays have no-smoking rules. If it's travelling through walls alone rather than through airvents or open windows, then the walls are probably shitty and have a bunch of cracks in them. I'm sympathetic to those in the articles you've linked to who have first-hand experience of second-hand smoke, but their neighbours are obviously just bastards. Do I think all non-smokers should be punished because of those who are inconsiderate? No. Generalisations like that are what causes car insurance in the UK to be twice as expensive for men as for women, or for the government to put extra taxes on booze because of the wasters who binge drink themselves to death.
I should have been more specific about the renting/owning thing; when I hear "rent" I think of close-quarter apartments, when I hear "own" I think of a terraced/semi-/detached house. If you own a house, which is not overseen by a board like you would have in an apartment, then you should be able to smoke in it - newer houses generally speaking don't share air vents with other houses, and if you're being affected by smoke from a neighbour in a house like this, you'll have to go and talk to them and just hope that they respect your wishes. Close-quarter apartment blocks run by a strata board are fair enough, but I still think that if you own, not rent (if you can do that in those buildings) you should be able to smoke within reason - obviously puffing away and blowing it directly into a common airvent at any given time is out of order.
There are enough anti-smoking regulations already IMO, and your solution to ban it entirely is a violation of smokers human rights. Apart from this it is immensely impractical - what would the fine be for smoking outdoors? In your car? In your own home? Would you be imprisoned for multiple offences or straightaway on the first one? When you think about how many people smoke ("Around ten million adults in Britain" and I'll bet the real number is much higher than that) and how many would successfully give it up under a full smoking ban, the judicial systems wouldn't be able to reprimand (I'm thinking of prison overcrowding here) and stop-smoking helplines, which would have to evolve into detox clinics given the extent and length of so many people's habits, wouldn't be able to cope - it'd be far too expensive. In that same vein, over £10m was raised in tax revenue last tax year from tobacco sales - this is not to encourage smoking at all, but simply to point out how financially implausible it would be.
I know we're not agreeing on anything here, but it's always interesting to hear an opposing viewpoint. SJ Debaser 11:37, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
Well, there is a legal doctrine that your right to use your own property does not include the right to use it in ways which pose an excessive nuisance to neighbours. This is a general rule of law, nothing specific to smoking. It doesn't inherently draw a difference between owning vs renting, detached vs semi-detached vs apartment, strata vs non-strata. In some cases some of those issues may be factually relevant (the legal situation of whether there is a strata, and whether one owns or rents, isn't, but the factual matter of the physical type of housing can be); but in themselves none of them are legally decisive. If your neighbour's smoke annoys you (or any other behaviour by your neighbour annoys you, like playing loud music or so on), one has the ability to file a nuisance suit. And, as the articles I've mentioned above, in at least some cases these suits have been filed over smoking and been successful. So, there is already legal precedent to say that if a smoker's smoking in their own home annoys the neighbours, the neighbours can get a court injunction banning that smoker from smoking in their own home (or garden), and the legal situation of own-vs-rent, strata-vs-non-strata, is not relevant. Physical type of property is not in itself legally relevant either - but of course the nearer the neighbours physically, the more likely this will be a problem rising to the level the court's will be willing to act. But there is no formal legal rule to that effect, it is just a reflection of differing factual situations.
the walls are probably shitty and have a bunch of cracks in them - quite possibly true. Cracks and so on will develop with time; many newer places aren't built like they used to be. But as I said, I don't think it is legally relevant. A tenant has no control over cracks in the walls, and in an apartment situation even the owner often doesn't either. Generally, in an apartment, the walls between apartments - and structural internal walls, and sometimes even non-structural internal walls - belong to the strata, not the individual owner(s). So, even if the owner wants to do something about it, often they can't unless a majority of the owners want to do something (and are willing to cough up the expense). But, where walls cannot be fixed, nusiance lawsuits against neighbours can result in injunctions to prevent them from smoking. In a nuisance lawsuit, a defect in walls etc., may be a mitigating factor (especially when it could be affordably remedied by the complaining party), but it's not in itself a decisive one.
your solution to ban it entirely is a violation of smokers human rights. If you look at all the main lists of human rights going around - the US Bill of Rights, the European Convention, the ICCPR, the Canadian Charter, the EU Charter, the Inter-American Convention, the African Convention, so on we go - I don't think none of them recognize a "human right to smoke". There is no human right to smoke. Or, if there is, as I said above, it ends at my nostrils.
I agree in practice an immediate full-on ban is unlikely to be successful, a better strategy is to never stop tightening the restrictions, ban smoking in more and more places, push tobacco taxes up more and more, impose ever stricter government regulations on smoking and tobacco products. After a few decades of continuous increase in smoking regulation, we'll reach a total ban, or at least one which is tanamount to one in practice. Viewed from this viewpoint, rather than my position being one which has a snowball's chance in hell of being implemented, it is one being implemented in the here and now. Here in Australia, in the last few years we've had bans on indoor smoking, bigger and more graphic health warnings on cigarettes, significant tobacco tax hikes, bans on smoking in cars containing children, new government regulations prohibiting open display of tobacco products in shops, and now plain packaging being introduced nationally, and some local government areas have introduced outdoor smoking bans (i.e. ban on outdoor smoking in certain designated precincts) - an idea sure to spread. I reckon a total ban on smoking in cars, ban on cigarette vending machines, and increased bans on outdoor smoking in major shoping/dining/entertainment precincts in the coming years. Further down the track, I wouldn't be surprised if they raise the smoking age to 21 from 18, following on from the earlier rise from 16 to 18. Taking a long-term view, I think spreading today the idea of a total ban is useful - doing so is likely to make it more likely we will eventually reach the desired end result, and make it more likely we'll get there sooner rather than later - even if it is not a live option for the short or medium term. --(((Zack Martin))) 10:28, 15 April 2011 (UTC)