“Here be thy sword, feel free to fall on it at your leisure.”
I’m no fan of cigarettes. One friend is trying to quit (thus far unsucessfully), one roommate is a chain smoker when not at the house, half of my coworkers take smoke breaks about as often as they inhale, and it just seems impossible to escape them. However, I’m also a free-market capitalist.
To be clear, smoking is not a universal issue of morality. It’s unhealthy, it smells bad, and is just somewhat unattractive… but it isn’t a moral issue. Public smoking is a slightly different matter, due to second-hand smoke and children… but even then I don’t think it is a serious moral issue. What drives me nuts is the anti-smoking lobby driving the issue through the courts like a Ferrari on a Formula 1 track.
It started with making cigarette ads illegal on radio and television. Then we start shooting tabaco taxes through the roof in an effort to make it financially impossible to smoke. After that came the bans on smoking in public. Then, finally, the court system ruled that Phillip Morris Tobacco Co, and the American Tobacco Industry needed to pay for websites and on-air advertisements telling everyone to not use their product. So now, instead of using the powerful medium available (television) to advertise their product like they used to in the 40s and 50s, to using the television to put themselves out of business. How is this fair, free-market economics?
Just yesterday, NPR made a triumphant report about how smoking amongst teenagers in the US dropped from the 1-in-2 stats in the 1980’s to a mere 1-in-5 with the biggest drops coming in the last 10 years. However, these watchdog nuts are now focusing on the developing world. While the numbers of smokers is falling in the USA, the numbers are skyrocketing in the poorer economies of the world. What is the cause for this? “Because the governments don’t have the money to put forth intentional, large-scale anti-smoking campaigns!” So… we should have those governments, which are ruling over already-extremely poor individuals, raise taxes even more to put together their own saftey-conscious nanny-states? I think people tend to forget that there are fully-capable, fully-functioning adults in those “developing countries”.
The problem, as I see it, is not trying to get people to not smoke. The problem, as I see it, is making an entrepeneurs pay a federal fee to put themselves out of business… instead of just making public service announcements and government funded education campaigns. How far will this go? Will the court system force religions to advertise how dangerous and subversive their doctrines are? What would that public service announcement look like?
“There is no such thing as a safe cult. If its time for you to regain your sanity, go to http://www.weloveatheists.com…… and don’t drink the Kool-aid…”
PS: For the record… seppuku is the ritualistic suicide (note, usually by disembowelment) by Japanese Samurai as a response to a devastating loss of honor.