Monday, May 10, 2010

Smoking Ban

The Pleasure Police declare martial law on another state in the union. 

That's right ladies and gentlemen... Michigan, one of the hardest hit economies in our fair land, decided that May 1, 2010 was perfect timing to decrease tax revenue and put a hitch in the giddy-up of the already struggling restaurant/bar scene with a public smoking ban (The Dr. Ron Davis Smoke Free Air Law). I say, "why stop there?" Let's take alcohol out of the bars too. About 300 people die as a result of drunk driving each year in Michigan. This is about 300 more people per year than die from secondhand smoke and nicotine impaired driving combined (despite what the cooked stats might tell you). The fact of the matter is, if bars and restaurants didn't benefit from allowing smoking... they wouldn't allow smoking.

Let's be real. There has never been a concrete study that has proven that smoking tobacco causes cancer. There is a correlation that suggests that more people that smoke end up with varying lung disorders to include cancer, but at the end of the day some nonsmokers end up getting lung cancer and some hardcore smokers just end up coughing a lot and having awful skin. There is plenty of data suggesting that smoking (yes, all types of smoking hippie-boy) is bad for humans. The most important and accurate of this data is feeling like there is a truck is parked on your chest and an invisible troll hitting you in the head with a mallet the morning after a great night at the bar. Truck = too much smoking. Troll = too much drinking. Quantifiable, qualifiable and the effect can be reproduced 100% of the time. That is solid science.

Now, more real. The reason for this ban is claimed to be public health and safety; even though you have never heard about, read about or seen anyone die from exposure to secondhand smoke. This ban doesn't have the foggiest, dare I say smokiest, thing to do with "public health" and everything to do with "public smell". Cigarette smoke is one of the most recognizable and most common god awful smells on earth. Most people, to include many smokers, don't want to smell smoke or smell like smoke. I can relate to that as one of the smokers that really doesn't dig the smell. Now the real part. If you are going to legislate against offensive odors, you are going to have to ban the following in public places as well: garlic breath, flatulence and flatulence producing foods, fish, dead people, compost, patchouli, restrooms, the French, diesel fuel, porta-johns, many people named John, perfume, road kill, garbage trucks, skunks public transportation and fat people. And that is just the beginning. Good luck spinning that bill into something PC for the greater common good.

Instead of focusing on common good, let's focus on common sense:
  • If you subject your children or other people's children to extended contact with secondhand smoke - you are an idiot.
  • If you stand next to the door of a hospital, school or convalescent home and smoke - you are an idiot.
  • If you stand outside a health food store and smoke - you are an idiot.
  • If you are a person in a bar drinking, smoking and generally enjoying yourself - you are normal.

I guess what really annoys me is that I was never asked to vote on whether to ban smoking in public places or not. I was not asked, I was told. If there was a vote and the majority of Michigan residents said, "no more smoking in public" I would be totally fine with it. If an establishment became nonsmoking of its own accord, I would respect it. If the government (you know, those folks meant to be representing us) says, "this is what we say you want unless you are pouring your hard earned dollars down the drain at a casino"... I have a huge problem with that. Don't tell me what I can or cannot put into my body. Don't tell me I can't do something perfectly legal in public. Keep your gag out of my mouth, your nose out of my bedroom and your long arm of the law to yourself. I tried to tell people years ago that the air tax was coming and that you were nuts to vote for a Canadian democrat... seems my smoker's breath fell on deaf ears.

-End of Rant-

Now for the solution...

My personal solution is an electronic cigarette. I love the damn thing. In fact, gasp, I like it more than tobacco (analog) cigarettes. Digital smoking is the future of smoking in my opinion. You can do it anywhere you are still allowed to breathe normally, and there isn't much anyone can say to stop you. You are merely exhaling water vapor.  It tastes good, the nicotine delivery is exceptional, there is little to no smell at all and I have found no information what-so-ever to indicate that it is harmful in any way (1st or 2nd hand). Vapers, as we are called, are the smokers that truly enjoyed the art and feel of smoking. The product below is a near perfect substitute for the real thing, in my experience. I don't condone the use of the products sold by the good people at Totally Wicked and you do so at your own risk, but I will tell you that I have found them to be a very pleasurable way to stick it to the man.  ;)

Happy vaping,


  1. The government has implemented smoking bans before. We all used to light up in grocery stores, airplanes and hospitals, too. No one stopped using hospitals, or boycotted air travel or started growing their own food so they could continue smoking without government intervention. To me? The tobacco industry is a far greater criminal than our government. The taxes that the fed and the states receive (in the hundreds of billions) are a penance compared to what the big tobacco makes off us killing ourselves… Interestingly, a good percentage of the taxes fund health care and education - another 2 corrupt industries that seem to pull the strings on some level of our lowly government. In fact, I’ve come to see “the government” as the biggest Patsy of all time. But that’s another blog…

    The government routinely intervenes in our lives. Everything from child labor to domestic violence to seatbelt laws. It’s kind of what government does. Whose right is it to say that I can be pulled over for not wearing a seat belt? If I choose to take my own life in my hands, given the statistics of surviving a car crash without one, who gives a shit? It’s not hurting anyone else if I don’t want to wrinkle my Versace blouse… (if I may state the obvious: very similar arguments to opposition of the smoking ban) It’s a law because it saves lives. It serves the greater good and survival of the species, blah blah blah…

    It’s not just about CANCER and DEATH - it’s about heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, emphysema and general quality of life. One set of results, from a very brief search of articles: “For example, in the 18 months after smoking was banned in bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, and other businesses in Pueblo, Colorado, there was a 27 percent decline in heart attacks -- down from 257 to 187 cases per 100,000 people per year. There was no drop in the surrounding communities.” Taken from this article: It’s not clear from the article (but would be from the research) if that 27% were smokers, or subjected to second-hand smoke or what… and it’s still unclear if the money saved from health care interventions will offset the money spent on the cigs, but hey… fewer heart attacks is better than more, right? It’s kind of even better than the same number of heart attacks. So, less money spent at the hospital, less stress for self and family members, less time missed from work… seems like not such a bad deal.

    Bad breath and bad skin? That’s a smoker who got off easy… and yes, they exist. But they are the exception. Over the statistical sense of time, the majority of smokers suffer myriads of health concerns that nonsmokers just don’t. As a former (and when in GR) smoker, I am still at a greater risk for various forms of cancer (not just lung), strokes, etc. And I struggle with the Nazi Ex-Smoker Syndrome, but as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I can’t drive down the fucking street with my windows open and not get a mouth full of someone else’s death wish. It’s nice to sit and enjoy a meal or a Guinness without the same. Of course, here in Miami, we have the option of outdoor seating pretty much year-round, so I get that it’s a different beast in colder climates.

    I think one of the main issues (with much that happens in this life) is that all we look at is a snapshot. All we see is what’s in front of us. Sure, a little context of what and whom has come before us can color our snapshot, but we have almost no way of incorporating the infinite number of ripples that become possible by taking one action…

    Most studies suggest that there is a dip in profits and businesses like bars, restaurants and bowling alleys will feel a shift at first - but that it typically rebounds. There’s a whole philosophical side to this, too - we’ve all been trained that we cannot enjoy things like beer and bowling without smoking. Only when we HAVE to experience them smoke-free do we believe it’s possible. And that, my friend, is expanding consciousness. So, sign me up.

  2. "Let's be real. There has never been a concrete study that has proven that smoking tobacco causes cancer." After completing a good hardy gut laugh I have this to say about the above statement. Firts: pretty sure there has. Second: "proof" can be dece1ving... It can be proven mathmatically impossible to hit a golfball with a club.

    First there was fresh air.... Hugs buddy. :)

  3. My point was mainly that I am not a fan of increased governmental control over personal freedoms without it being on the ballet. The individual establishments were handling this issue just fine on their own. Those that wanted to provide smoke free environments did. Those that did not, did not. The free market solves these problems on its own. The government stepping in typically has larger, unforeseen consequences that overshadow the intended outcome if it is ever realized in the first place.

    As far as the tobacco/cancer thing goes... I think that I made it clear that I was not saying it didn't cause cancer. I was saying that there is no impartial study (not backed by Big Tobacco or Big Med/anti-tobacco special interest) that proves causation rather than correlation narrowed to tobacco vs all the rest of the crap pumped into the major brands. If it is out there, I WANT TO READ IT! "Proof" is indeed deceiving.
    As far as fresh air...tobacco in its current form started growing here c. 6000 BCE. Europeans got here a bit later than that. tobacco was here first and played a significant role in building this nation from meager beginnings to the greatest nation in the world.

    Lastly, it is mathematically impossible for me to hit a golfball with a club. ;)

  4. How can we stop smoking?? One option for the smoking without health problem is e cigs, electronic cigarettes.The e-cig can hopefully help you to escape the terrible health consequences that await most smokers.