The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Monday, January 23, 2006

More on Smoking Bans 

My recent post on the smoking ban in Wauwatosa, and Elliot's comments, reminded me of a discussion I had a while a go with my friend Nicole. Speaking of which, thanks for conceding my points Elliot... its always a nice ego stroke.

First a bit of background. Nicole has the skilled nose of a blood hound, and an absolute hatred of smoking. This is no exaggeration. Right now she's a high school teacher, but I have no doubt that if she ever lost her job there, she could work for the DEA sniffing out drugs, or for airport security finding bombs. I'm not saying this to insult her. I just say this to tell you how uncanny her abilities are. I've lost count of the number of times we've been out walking somewhere... and suddenly she'll just say... "somebody was smoking here". I'll look around and see nobody... anywhere. Then I'll catch the distant, almost barely discernible whiff of something... and realize that whoever was smoking here, probably did so an hour or more ago. It's truly amazing, but I digress.

Nicole and I were going out to dinner, and happened to be behind a car where the driver was smoking. The faint but distinct odor of cigarette smoke was wafting out of his car, and through the vent of my car. As soon as the scent hit my nose, I knew what was coming next. I won't try to quote the conversation, because as I said in the beginning, it was a while ago, and I don't want to misquote her. But we hit everything from, "Why should someone be allowed to smoke in their car", to smoking bans in restaurants. Her biggest point, which in retrospect was damn honest of her, was that it annoyed her, and so why should she have to put up with it?

Of course, I quickly pointed out that big rig trucks (which are all over Racine) put out a hell of a lot more disgusting smelling exhaust than a single smoker in a car, which she had to concede. I quickly followed that up with, "Well, you don't have a right not to be annoyed", which she agreed with.

But the whole conversation put the entire smoking debate in sharp focus. For all the talk of public health, cancer, etc... it is my firm belief that the only real reason anyone wants to ban smoking in public is because it annoys them. Everything else are secondary reasons they searched for, or made up, to justify laws to stop something they just don't like. That's why for all the research into increased risks of this, or the possibility you might get that, I've never heard of a case where someone got cancer that could be linked to second hand smoke. I'm sure that if there is one, all of you will quickly correct me. I'll sit here waiting patiently.


I don't like it when someone out argues me, but I always respect it. ;)

  Posted at January 23, 2006 7:49 PM by Anonymous elliot  
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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.

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