Sunday, March 27, 2011

Why Are Americans So Anti-Smoking?

People from other countries often wonder about the reasons of the American anti-smoking hysteria. American tourists frequently berate local smokers in the countries they visit and throw hissy fits if a whiff of smoke reaches them. Even though most of the world smokes American cigarettes and enriches the US with the habit, many Americans who travel overseas fail to see how little sense it makes for them to lecture foreigners on the ills of smoking. Especially since countries where smoking is ubiquitous often have a longer life expectancy than the US.

The reason for the current anti-smoking hysteria is simple. First, there was a strong smoking lobby that inundated every public space with the cigarette advertisement. The shameless tobacco companies even went so far as to market cigarettes as slimming. Then, a new, much stronger lobby arose: the pharmaceutical lobby. It needed to peddle all kinds of anti-smoking remedies, pills, patches, gum, prescription medication, etc. In order to sell its junk, pharmaceutical companies needed to vilify smoking. Which it did very successfully. Whether the smoking is bad for you, good for you, indifferent for you is completely beyond the point. If the pharmaceutical companies could make a bundle by condemning tea drinking as an evil pursuit you need to be cured from, so they would.

People mistakenly believe that anti-smoking laws represent the authorities' promotion of healthy lifestyles. This is a ridiculous belief. If anybody cared about the health of the citizens, handing out pills at coffee-shops, prescribing anti-psychotic medication to small children, pumping tiny kids full of drugs to make them more manageable, promises to cure shyness with medication would be outlawed. Come to think of it, so would be the fast food joints. Cardiovascular diseases are still the main cause of death in the US, if I'm not mistaken, and the contribution of MacDonald's and Co to that is huge.

I have no doubt that people who have been infected with the anti-smoking hysteria will get all self-righteous on me and condemn this post from promoting smoking. That, of course, will be the best testimony one could ask for to the success of the brainwashing engaged in by the pharmaceutical companies.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


Spanish prof said...

Ok,I'll take the bite (do you say it like this in English) and be the first.

As a former smoker (13 years) I have no problem with anti-smoking laws. I have never preached on anybody not to smoke (they are adults), and I kindly open the door to the back staircase when they come to my apartment and want to smoke.

However, smoking does kill. And it is better for public health is less people smoked. That is why the rest of the world (or Europe and Argentina, which are the cases I know) are following with similar laws. They just don't have the "hollier than thou" attitude that Americans have towards the issue. Which is great.

As a last note, as bad as pharmaceutical companies are, so are tobacco companies, who would deny until just a short time ago the evidence that smoking cause cancer. This doesn't mean that pharmaceutical companies do not benefit from anti-tobacco laws, but that I do not care if they do.

Greenconsciousness said...

You fail to recognize and therefor credit the fact that some reforms come from the grass roots who recognize their own exploitation and are supported by professionals who have to clean up the mess.

For instance, there is now a re-recognition that those who will suffer from nuclear power are not those who are profiting from it and who are discouraging the widespread use of clean energy.

There is now a grassroots movement to get off toxic food which is more and more supported by professionals. Yes, non profits are formed and researcher paid but it takes money to fight big money.

Hooray for the people insisting on clean air. Eventually, more and more people will understand they are deliberately addicted and their environment damaged by global hit men who exploit them for profit.

Greenconsciousness said...

BTW, the resistance became hysterical when at congressional hearings tobacco executives admitted they deliberately added carcinogenic additives to tobacco because they caused smokers to become addicted.

Rimi said...

Greenconsciousness -- I work with and am all for grassroots knowledge bases and activism. But almost always a well-researched and well-meant grassroots movement is captured and turned into a profiteering industry -- that's why corporate capitalism is the perfect example of a hegemonic system. You might express dissent and still be drawn back into the system via a different channel.

The organic food movement is an excellent example. Not where people grow their own, but in organic markets. I do think the anti-smoking hysteria in the US has been taken captive entirely by commercial interests. That, apart from the sheer arrogance of lecturing adults and banning images of smoking in films (doesn't get more hysterical than that), is what bothers me the most.

el said...

Clarissa, did anti-smoking campaigns reduce it or were as effective as fat shaming tactics and advertising unhealthy diets, iow not at all? If the first, I am for them. Americans would eat fast food, smoking or no. At least, now they would be less likely to smoke 10 cigarettes before (not instead!) visiting MacDonald's to lessen the appetite.

There's another question: Why might religious people be obese yet still have good health? The fact that fewer are smokers might help explain that, Feinstein said.

From this Pandagon thread, comment 15:

Anonymous said...

My view on this is more pragmatic. Cigarette smoke as well as gas and diesel fumes triggers migraines in me -- in addition to being a contributor to very large numbers of premature deaths (my grandmother died at 59 of COPD from 35 years of smoking).

So I don't really care why/how smoking is not permitted in most public places -- I am just glad it has largely been done away with.

I can actually go out in public or to a concert without reeking like cigarettes and without a vicious migraine now, and that is a great thing indeed.


Anonymous said...

People mistakenly believe that anti-smoking laws represent the authorities' promotion of healthy lifestyles.

- Strawman argument. I don't think anyone believes this, especially given most peoples' distrust of the government. Anti-smoking laws are there not to protect smokers, but to protect the *non*-smokers. Your eating at Mcdonalds or drinking a gallon of vodka at a party doesn't affect my health so you have the right to abuse your body every which way you want. But you can't say the same for smoking. Besides the health issue, it's just annoying to go to a nice restaurant and not being able to enjoy your food to the fullest, the sense of taste being strongly connected to the sense of smell.

I don't think it's fair to characterize non-smokers as naive idiots conned by some sort of a marketing machine. I support your right to do whatever you want with your body and I've never made a snide remark to any of my friends who are smokers. Just have the courtesy not to do it around me or in my house. I don't think I'm being 'hysterical' in taking this position.


Greenconsciousness said...

What about the sheer arrogance of blowing stinking smoke into other peoples air? Or the sheer arrogance of selling cheap toxic food which causes obesity, relying on addiction and ignorance to increase your profits as ignorant adults addict their children?

I think it is excellent that research and pollutant alternatives become commercially viable, create jobs and make alternatives available for mass consumption. There is nothing wrong with commerce or profit.

Clarissa said...

Americans condemn smoking as passionately as they defend driving cars everywhere, downing handfuls of pills every two hours and eating junk. I hope I will be excused for finding this extremely funny.

Can't answer comments more in depth because I'm still traveling.

Greenconsciousness said...

Americans? Pretty general -I don't pop pills or eat toxic foods. I leave that to the smokers. The truth is that evolution is a continuum. It is invalid to say if you cannot be 100% perfect, everything you do is invalid. Any and everything you do to help the earth is critical and good.

Maybe you are more comfortable in a culture that smokes everywhere and disparages "Americans". If not, the other way is to explain the concerns and benefits. But that not going along is always uncomfortable for everyone, even for "Americans".

Clarissa said...

Are you really going to deny that this is the most obese nation in the world? Or the most dependent on cars?

Greenconsciousness said...

Clarissa, first that does not matter. You can still talk about cigarette smoke being an insult even if you are not perfect in every other way. You don't need cancer and obesity.

Those other movements are organizing in the face of big money corporate disinformation campaigns to maintain the status quo.

Cars are not bad -they give the poor freedom --the greed of the petroleum barons and greed of the hybrid manufacturers are the problem. Cheap cars could all burn switch grass and electricity except for that greed.

Food is a big subject. US citizens have become obese as natural foods were replaced by high fructose,sodium and additive toxic substances. Meals became red and processed meat and processed potatoes dripping with fats and processed dairy.

Children were force fed in school and at home. Children's stomachs were stretched abnormally large. Once that happens the stomach will drive the host crazy until it is filled.

Then yo yo dieting puts on ten pounds a year. People become trapped in this cycle and blame them self.

Most protein will kill cravings especially fresh tofu but children are not told that. They are given potato chips instead. And the diet industry fights to keep this cycle going along with Agri business.

The amount of predators has limited the ability of children to be free outside.

This happened to US citizens before they became aware because of advertising. But people are becoming educated. It is a trap that others may fall into if unaware.

Anonymous said...

Are you really going to deny that this is the most obese nation in the world? Or the most dependent on cars?

- How is this related to the topic in hand?

Americans condemn smoking as passionately as they defend driving cars everywhere, downing handfuls of pills every two hours and eating junk. I hope I will be excused for finding this extremely funny.

- Useless caricatures aside, your point being? Americans don't condemn smoking, they condemn people blowing smoke in their faces, which, to me seems extremely rational and intelligent.


Clarissa said...

Why don't they object just as passionately - or at all - to exhaust fumes being blown in their facews all day long? Or to being fed disgusting, hormone filled food?

Greenconsciousness said...

We do object-it is the green movement and it is changing the world. But we face big money opposition - multi national criminal billionaires who own the media. But we are telling the people, spreading the word, trying to regulate. Why don't you join us instead of finding reasons to discredit the movement?

Greenconsciousness said...

Worried about car fumes? Try the air in China.

Clarissa said...

The most important question for me is why does an anti-driving and anti-crappy foods movement need to be found while the anti-smoking movement is so vociferous. The answer is provided in my post: such movements only happen when certain lobbies want them to, when these movements help people consume more junk.

Anonymous said...

Why don't they object just as passionately - or at all - to exhaust fumes being blown in their facews all day long? Or to being fed disgusting, hormone filled food?

- I didn't realize that objecting to getting disgusting-smelling cancer-filled cigarette smoke blown in my face means now I have to be completely perfect in other parts of my life and take to the streets to protest against every single act of injustice ever perpetrated in human history.

Why don't you join us instead of finding reasons to discredit the movement?

- Because you ate a burger once. You have no moral high ground whatsoever, I guess.

BTW, Spain is in the process of banning smoking in public places, too. Those naive, impressionable Spaniards.


Clarissa said...

I find it sad that so many Americans cannot discuss this issue on the level of logic and reason without getting intensely emotional about it. Stringer, don't you find your militancy against people blowing smoke in your face a little outdated since drakonian anti-smoking laws have been adopted everywhere in this country?

Isn't it time to stop being appalled at something that is a non-issue nowadays and become concerned over things that are actually still taking place?

Anonymous said...

The most important question for me is why does an anti-driving and anti-crappy foods movement need to be found while the anti-smoking movement is so vociferous.

- An 'anti-driving' movement doesn't exist -- at least not in a big way -- because, hey guess what, Americans prefer driving to taking public transportation. For reasons of convenience, safety, or whatever else. And, you know, fossil fuels are bad and all, but energy is the backbone of any nation's economy. Don't think you can make that argument about cigarettes. It's not even worth comparing the two.

An 'anti-crappy foods' movement does in fact exist, and I'm surprised you're asking this question. The organic foods market is a multi-billion dollar industry now. Even low-end cereal makers now advertise whole grains, increased fiber content, etc. in their crappy cereals, something unheard of a few years ago. What is this in response to? I think people are getting aware, albeit slowly, about what goes in their food and the corporations are reacting to it.

In fact I'd say the anti-crappy food movement is making much more noise than the anti-smoking movement right now. So I don't know where you get the idea about this 'vociferous' anti-smoking lobby. Smoking's not even a subject worth debating these days. It's over.

Greenconsciousness said...


Do you smoke? or live with a smoker? Because it seems you can't smell. You are not being your usual objective self. I find it strange. Stringer is not all the names you are calling

Anonymous said...

You do realize that a variant of this insult ("you're being emotional, those crazy girl emotions are clouding the rational bits of your brain") is a pet tactic employed by sexist men in arguments. I'm surprised you'd use that. In fact, throughout this discussion, Greenconsciousness and others have provided plenty of sound arguments for their position on anti-smoking, only to be brushed off with a non sequitur.

Please point to any of my views in this discussion that could be classified as 'militant.'


Clarissa said...

What bugs me is that people don't see how misplaced their anti-smoking rants are in response to this post. This is not a pro-smoking post. This is a post denouncing the pharmaceutical lobby and the unhealthy lifestyles that are pushed on us. I have no interest in whether people smoke or not. That's a complete non-issue to me. Nobody smokes in public places any more, so this is a total non-issue. Why are people discussing this non-issue with such a passion? Because it allows them to feel self-righteous and pretend that real issues do not exist.

The need to screech "smoking is bad" repeatedly and insistently when something completely different is being discussed is what I call the American anti-smoking hysteria.

If tomorrow pharmaceutical companies decide to make money off smoking, people will chant "smoking is ggood" just as passionately.

Anonymous said...

Well, in that case, it would be nice to have some evidence in your post supporting your hypothesis. A magazine article exposing the link between these two lobbies, perhaps? Are we supposed to take this pronouncement at face value without needing any facts or figures to judge for ourselves whether it is true or not?

By the way, it's nice that you clarified that your post was about the pharmaceutical lobby, because frankly, it didn't come across that way to me. And I suspect people are discussing this issue with this passion because the tone in your original post, including your comments, seems to have this overwhelming 'everyone except me is a stupid sheep who is unable to think for oneself' vibe to it, which is rather rude and not conducive to a healthy debate.


P.S. Forgot to sign my name in the earlier comment, right before greenconsciousness's question about you living with a smoker.

Rimi said...

Three things:

"Cars are not bad -they give the poor freedom --the greed of the petroleum barons and greed of the hybrid manufacturers are the problem."

Ah, yes? So... planning cities such that coloured people and poor white neighbourhoods couldn't access markets and malls by walking isn't the problem. Keeping public transport out of nearly all of the US so that this problem is not overcome unless even the poorest family is forced to buy a car just to be able to get fresh food and milk, is not the problem. The fact that several of these people opt out driving a few miles for vegetables and fruits, and eat corner-store pre-cooked meals and jeopardise their health is not the problem. But the greed oil barons who sell oil cheaper in the US than anywhere else in the world except the Middle East is the problem.

Of course, the greed of indiscriminate drilling does jeopardise the world, but the danger is environmental, not fiscal, and not directed exclusively at 'the poor'.

"Or the sheer arrogance of selling cheap toxic food which causes obesity, relying on addiction and ignorance to increase your profits as ignorant adults addict their children?"

That is, of course, the same demography that swirls up mass hysteria about smoking. So bringing up that hysterical line of defence is absolutely crushing to the point of this point. I find, however, that sticking to the same group or at least the same logic that governs that group's behaviour, is a more credible form of conversation.

"I find it sad that so many Americans cannot discuss this issue on the level of logic and reason without getting intensely emotional about it."

Quite so. Somewhow, the people who've pointed out the profiteering behind this rigetousness have been immediately assumed to be pro-smoking. In my case, at least, this is precisely the opposite. I can breath cigarette smoke and it gives me severe headaches, but I don't see why my personal discomfort should compel me to be blind to the obvious social exploitation going on. This binary "if you're not wholly for it you're completely against it" logic -- or lack thereof -- makes me genuinely sad.

And then there's the defensive refusal to enagage with other problems along similar veins. Driving appears to be red flag to most -- not all -- Americans. "We prefer it" seems a logically adequate answer, but "You coming to our country and lecturing us on how to behave in a civilised fashion reeks of colonial supremacy" seems ridiculously far-fetched to them.

It's weird. These are not like any Americans I ever knew personally. Where do these people crawl out from?

Clarissa said...

Well, Rimi, Greenconsciousness used to regale us with stories about how all the world's ills were caused by immigrants and inhabitants of 3rd world countires who keep breeding and consuming all the world resources. So anti-smoking diatribes are a welcome change. :-)

I also don't allow people to smoke in my house. It doesn't, however, prevent me from analyzing the issue. After the collapse of the USSR, the first American business that came to my town was a tobacco factory. I remember how the air around it smelled vividly. So excuse me for not taking it seriously when people who enriched themselves by exporting their tobacco to us now berate us for using it.

Rimi said...

"... all the world's ills were caused by immigrants and inhabitants of 3rd world countires who keep breeding and consuming all the world resources."

Perhaps Greenconsciousness is George W. Bush in disguise. He has blamed the unprecendented rise in food grain prices -- caused by unsupervised, deregulated speculation on produce in the commodities market and illegal withholding and destroying of edible produce -- on the greedy third-worlders. In his opinion, they gobbled all the food and created a deficit, that sent prices up for the third world.

It seems to have escaped him, somehow, that food prices went up by nearly 250 per cent in some third world markets (my own, for example). I'm not sure, but I don't think the price rise was that dramatic in his homeland.

Spanish prof said...


You say that militancy against people blowing smoke in your face is a little outdated, since non-smoking laws have been adopted everywhere in the country. That is actually not true. The county where I live has non-smoking laws (where you can't smoke in restaurants, bars, etc, which I don't find draconian). Most of the counties that surround us do not have those laws, and a few local politicians have lost their re-election trying to propose them. You could argue that the people living in those communities have decided. Fine. But that doesn't mean that non-smoking laws are everywhere in the country.

I think there is a growing movement regarding GM products, and I welcome it. I also agree that people should invest more energy trying to get their communities more wakable. But that doesn't make anti-smokers hysterical nor is their cause wrong

Greenconsciousness said...

You are lying about my position because your position is reactionary. I am losing respect for your ability to reason. I notice you use slander a lot. Soon there will be no one left to challenge your assumptions and prejudices. I wonder if you will really enjoy that.

Clarissa said...

This is an entire post with detailed quotes from greenconsciousness on immigrants:

Clarissa said...

I would like people to answer 2 simple questions:

1) Why don't Americans object as passionately to exhaust fumes being blown in their faces? I wrote several anti-driving posts and there was almost no response to them.

2) Why is it that no other people on the planet have such an intense response to this issue? There are anti-smoking bans in many countries in the world (and I support them wholeheartedly) but people don't blaze with passion on the issue.

Greenconsciousness said...

Although the comments you chose do not explain fully my position that the US policies related to immigration favor only the corporate elite at the expense of the working class (as well as set back US rights gains), I am not ashamed of them. They certainly dd not prove I HATE immigrants and blame the 3rd world for all the ills of the world.

Your arguments are ridiculous. My positions are complex and nuanced. Your reductions are foolish. yes, it is true that most people use these tactics when they feel threatened but you constantly brag about your intelligence and objectivity so you have an obligation to avoid the cheap shots. If people really want to know me, they can read my blog posts from the last eleven years.

Clarissa said...

When exactly did I brag about my "objectivity"? I don't even think such a thing exists.

Greenconsciousness said...

You are correct that objectivity does not exist. Perhaps I am wrong but I took it as bragging about your own when you claim that others like Stringer and anti smokers are emotional and hysterical.

Greenconsciousness said...


The material below explains the concepts of exponential growth and doubling time - the time it would take a population to double if it were growing exponentially at a constant rate.

Throughout human history, human population has generally grown in an exponential manner, and discussion of exponential doubling times has been appropriate (see chart at the end of this page).

Now, the dynamics of population growth are more complex and growth can no longer be considered truly exponential.

The issues of the 21st Century are migration, aging, the youth bulge, urbanization, and all of the very new and very serious socio-economic-political consequences, as well as continued growth in the developing world and, of course, pressures on resources and the environment - global and local.

This does not mean that countries will not double their population. Many will. For example, the U.S. is projected to double its population this century, practically within the lifetimes of today's children. So it is still appropriate to reference the time in which these countries will double their population, which is perhaps the most illuminating manner of presenting population growth to the lay person.

But it should be noted that the explanations below refer to a constant rate of growth, which is not as applicable to countries now as in the past.


Finally, divide 70 by 2.3 to give a doubling time of 30 years.

-- Mathematical explanation by Dick Schneider

Clarissa said...

Are we back to the Malthusian scary stories?

Can anybody explain to me how this is related to pharmaceutical companies and their brainwashing, which was the initial topic of the post?

Greenconsciousness said...

In that post you referred to above in order to condemn me, you and your commenters had a rant about how stupid my population concerns were so I gave you one of thousands of articles my concerns are based upon.

You opened the door by referring to that post ridiculing and condemning as hate and racism my position on immigration policies.

How do my positions on immigration relate to this post on smoking? Yet, you felt you had to bring them up to discredit my arguments on smoking. Look at your self Clarissa.

Rimi said...

The way it related, GreenC., is by underlining how blindly irrational and closed to introspection you ideas how, and how they have a strong undercurrent of racism.

And it takes a special kind of idiocy to call your own ideas complex and nuanced, when you say cars give poor people freedom, and hybrid car manufacturers 'a problem'. In short, you come across as a blustering, sputtering, defensive, and vituperative person who feels incredibly threatened because her absolute ignorance on most matters she speaks on (urban planning, the auto industry, big pharma money in anti-smoking) has been exposed.

This, of course, is my subjective idea of you from the comments you have posted on this thread. And I notice in your hysterical splutterings, you haven't answered Clarissa's questions.

Clarissa said...

I don't see any point in discussing anti-smoking laws because they exist, we are all happy about it, what's there to discuss, really?

But it is true that Americans have a very intense emotional response to smoking. I have witnessed American tourists in several different countries lecture locals about smoking in a very hysterical way. So I'm surprised why these same people have no objection to being bathed in exhaust fumes every single day. This is what I'm trying to analyze. Yet people prefer to resuscitate the outdated discussion of the anti-smoking bans.

Pen said...

I don't know what the conversation has morphed into, so I will simply add my comments as are relevant to the post. I have no qualms with smokers, and yet I'm all for the anti-smoking laws. The smell of smoke gives me bad headaches, and I have relatives who have asthma, both genetic and as a result of cigarette smoke in the environment. But I believe that everyone should simply follow the rules of the specific place in which they happen to be; if a person smokes in a place where smoking is allowed, then that situation is very different from the person who smokes in a place where they are not allowed to smoke.

That said, I have never experienced lectures on others' lifestyles, but I have no reason to disbelieve you, Clarissa. That said, this sort of attitude might be due in part to the negative stereotypical images of people from other countries. For example, the stereotypical image of a French male (at least where I live) is a guy who wears leather and smokes. Even though the majority of French men probably don't wear leather all the time. If we compare that image to the stereotypical image of the rebel as it has evolved over the last sixty years, we might see that there isn't much difference between the two. Therefore, it might be concluded that as this "rebel" image now has a negative connotation associated with gangs and violence, our own stereotypes have associated "smoking" with "bad." And people--especially in large groups--generally have a very strong reaction to something perceived as "bad." The other fumes--exhaust, if I'm reading your last comment correctly--do not have this connotation, and so they are not perceived as overtly "bad." Hence the lack of response by the American public.

That, and we hear stories and see pictures of little kids choking on smoke than we do exhaust fumes. And people are suckers for little kids. Just think about how the advertisements are made to catch the eye: they're either made for the cute/sad factor (little kids, probably with dirt on their faces, frowning at the camera), or the horrifying/shock factor (the interior or exterior of the lungs, heart, or brain).

Anyway, that's my twenty-five cents. Is something like that what you were looking for?

Greenconsciousness said...

This is a response to Clarissa charge that we do not complain about exhaust. The post belowis one of 5 or i get everyweek. The tactic for exhaust is not to eliminate cars -which is sostupid i cannot even discuss it. We are usiong other tactics which are moreappropriate. If you care there are plenty of ways to do it. This is from EarthJustice.
The nation's biggest polluters have convinced their friends in Congress to author a wave of bills aimed at exempting their dirty energy friends from strong air pollution limits.

This league of Dirty Air Act authors in the Senate and House are looking to give their polluter pals free rein to dump carbon dioxide pollution and other climate change pollution into the air—at the expense of public health and the American quality of life.

The Senate will vote on a few especially ugly Dirty Air Acts as soon as this week—we must take action now to stop these attacks on our clean air and to save existing air pollution protections!

These clean air attacks are being led by a few members of both the House and the Senate who are especially cozy with polluter industries: Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), James Inhofe (R-OK), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Max Baucus (D-MT); and Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY) in the House.

Sens. Rockefeller, McConnell, Inhofe, and Baucus are all trying to pass their Dirty Air Acts on the back of an unrelated small business bill that is slated for a vote by the Senate very soon.

They have introduced separate amendments to the bill which would wipe away limits on carbon dioxide pollution and block the Environmental Protection Agency from being able to reign in the climate change pollution of the nation's biggest polluters.

Meanwhile, over in the House, the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee passed its own Dirty Air Act authored by Reps. Fred Upton and Ed Whitfield, with help from Sen. James Inhofe.

This bill is expected to come to the House floor for a full chamber vote in the next few weeks. It is critical that our representatives in the House and Senate stop these bills and amendments!

We must take action now to tell them that obstructing these protective pollution limits is not only hurting us, but moving our country backward.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is trying to do what it was created to do: protect Americans from pollution.

There is currently no limit on the amount of climate change pollution that polluters can pour into the air, and that needs to change, particularly for the worst actors.

Volumes of science prove that wiping away limits on pollution and the health benefits these limits will provide will hurt Americans all over the country.

Most Americans recognize the importance of these pollution limits and agree that science, not politicians with political motives, should be followed when setting these pollution controls, as the Clean Air Act requires.

Tell your House Representative and Senators to oppose these attacks on clean air in America and vote against these Dirty Air Acts and any other bills or amendments that block or delay the EPA from limiting climate change pollution:

Clarissa said...

This is all great but I have no doubt that if I publish a post on the toxic nature of exhaust fumes, I will hardly get a single comment. See my anti-driving posts and how many visitors they got.

The very existence of this thread proves that I am right and smoking excites people a lot more than exhaust fumes, nasty food, pollution, etc.

Greenconsciousness said...

But that is for a different reason then you posted. The issue of cigarette smoke can be immediately dealt with by getting the guy next to you to stop. As I have said before, clean air, food solutions, have more remote offenders and are more difficult to comprehend.

The offenders are not anywhere they can be confronted. That is why you don't hear it on the street. But there is a large mass of people fighting for clean air.

Clarissa said...

Are you suggesting that an addiction to nicotine is weaker than an addiction to driving? It isn't like people drink gas or anything. :-)

Greenconsciousness said...

I have said I do not think driving is the problem.

Clarissa said...

Quod erat demonstrandum.

Pen said...

Is that Latin? May I have a translation?

Clarissa said...

It means "what was to be demonstrated." I set out to prove that the most virulent anti-smokers don't care about exhaust fumes and I proved exactly that. :-(

NancyP said...

Should government promote smoking as a budget reducing measure, on the theory that it will reduce the population living to and beyond retirement age? Of course, in order to work, the level of affordable health care would need to be reduced as well.

On a non-snark, reality-based level, the pharmaceutical anti-smoking remedies are newcomers (late 1990s) compared with the long (1960 onward) chorus of epidemiologists and physicians condemning smoking on the basis of actual evidence. It is striking that the pharmaceutical companies took so long to spot an obvious opportunity.

Smoking IS a serious health hazard, contributes greatly to cardiac disease, lung disease, various cancers (lung, urinary bladder, oral and laryngeal, pancreatic, and peripheral vascular disease (amputations).

Second-hand smoke is a real health hazard. As with all risk factors, intensity (concentration), duration, and frequency of exposure, plus the inherent susceptibility of the exposed person, will govern the degree of risk to a particular person.

Anti-smoking laws are a combination of health-regulation and anti-nuisance laws. An example of health regulation laws are those governing restaurant inspection - does the restaurant handle food in such a way that customers are not going to get hepatitis or food poisoning? Another example of health-regulation law is the emissions control laws governing cars. An example of anti-nuisance laws are laws against excessive noise.

What might be a nuisance to a healthy person might be a real problem for someone with a respiratory problem like asthma. Here's an area where anti-smoking laws may overlap with laws ensuring access of disabled people to public spaces. It seems perfectly reasonable to restrict smoking in public offices, polling places, hospitals, etc - it also seems reasonable to permit a designated ventilated separate smoking area in or around public facilities.

I am not at all concerned about smoking in bars, restaurants, etc - just don't go there!

Anonymous said...

No you didn't prove that.

I am one of the anti-smokers who favor improving public transit, want biking lanes (and more importantly, auto drivers who are willing to share the street), and drive a 4 cylinder car. This is not Europe. We screwed up our infrastructure, and few cities have reasonably good mass transit.

Clarissa said...

Please look at the number of comments to my anti-driving posts and to this post, and then tell me what exactly I did not prove.

I've been living in North America for 13 years without driving. In the US I have lived in six different places and managed to do so very well without driving. So please, take these tales of how impossible it is not to drive somewhere else.

Greenconsciousness said...

and electric hybrids that sell for under $12,000

Clarissa said...

Noxious car fumes make people talk to themselves. . .

The entire green movement is now just an attempt to sell people more stuff. Bleh.

Greenconsciousness said...

midstrieIf you are going to make such claims you should not post about having to call someone because you couldn’t find your car in the parking lot. Bleh

Clarissa said...

I don't have a car, buddy. because I don't know how to drive. You need to learn to read more carefully.

Greenconsciousness said...

but you do have someone to do it for you

Clarissa said...

Normally, I have a bus driver to do it for me. :-) :-)

Pagan Topologist said...

Driving is a chicken and egg problem. Most places in the U. S. are not very convenient for non drivers. When I was in high school, for example, I had to walk about a mile and a half to get to a bus stop to get to the nearest city. The bus ran about four times a day. There was no way to get to the other nearby city via bus, as far as I know.

As an ex smoker, I am also very determined to avoid indoor smoke. (I never want to go to Las Vegas again.) I also often ask the following question: In a civilized state where indoor smoking is banned, how is it possible that decaf coffee is legal?

Clarissa said...

Do they smoke indoors a lot in las vegas? That's good to know because we have been thinking about going there but that will be a big argument against.

Decaf coffee is one of those perversions I'll never understand.

Anonymous said...

Clarissa, this is hilarious. You must have a very good bus service in your town. How far is the stop from your place and how far can you feasibly go on the bus? Personally, it is impossible for someone to go to community college in my community without access to a car because the buses do not run that late and the classes are in the evening.

It's class and marketing, dear. Smokers and public transport users and people who suffer the most from pollution fumes (because they live by the highway, and can't afford breathing meds) are more likely to be poor. Also, public transport users are more likely to vote for Democrats or Independents, for various reasons.

People get to feel puritanical about those smokers because they're doing it to themselves. They can choose to stop, or if they can't they are addicts, and everyone knows that addicts just don't exercise their willpower properly. Like fat people.

They don't really feel puritanical about driving because you have to own a car in many parts of the US to get to work. Public transportation is considered the province of poor people, so why fund it? If you are poor, it is your fault, and if you are rich, it is because of your personal values and work ethic and smarts. A gas guzzling car is aspirational and people buy into the idea that will be zipping around hairpin curves on mountain tops even if they spend most of that time in rush hour traffic. If you feel mildly environmental, you can have an electronic/hybrid car and feel some extra thrill of affording an environmentally sound car on top of that.

Pagan Topologist said...

The problem with decaf is that one can drink it unsuspectingly. When this happens to me, I get a stomach ache. I cannot tell the difference by taste, only by the physiological effect.

Clarissa said...

Do you think they add something nasty to it?

I don't even know how a decaf works.

Pagan Topologist said...

Indoor smoking in Las Vegas was universal when I was there. But it was almost ten years ago. I went to a friend's wedding there in September 2001.

Pagan Topologist said...

I think decaf is created by a chemical process beginning with salt water. I don't know any more than that.

I have suspected that caffeine stimulates my stomach to process coffee fairly quickly. When the caffeine is absent, it just sits in my stomach and some other substance in the coffee has time to irritate me. This is just a guess; I really don't know.

Jenn said...

"The entire green movement is now just an attempt to sell people more stuff..."

Not all of it. Please, not all of it. Some of us get incredibly pissed off about all the pseudo-green marketing and greenwashing all over the place now.

Clarissa said...

Of course, I exaggerated. I was understandably annoyed by a so-called green person who wants to get rid of immigrants and put us all in hybrid cars.

Greenconsciousness said...

Slander me one more time and you will regret it. What annoys you is your own desire to be the queen bee know it all.

Pen said...

Pagan Topologist does have a point, though, when it concerns cars and public transportation.

Buses come to a single stop within a two-mile radius of my house twice a day. Because school buses aren't the issue, let's pretend I want to go to my friend's house, or the library in the town in which that friend lives, for the weekend. Now, these buses, while they do go past the town I speak of, have no stops there, and so always end up going around the town. The next stop puts me about twenty miles in the opposite direction from which I wanted to go, and the whole trip takes much longer than it has to. And no, I can't walk to this town, because we're connected by very busy roads, often with no sidewalks. (Also, twelve to fifteen miles is quite a ways to walk--how would I ever get home?) Add in the factor of a car, however, and the whole adventure (which would undoubtedly take several hours) turns into fifteen minutes.

There are other instances too, like how if I wanted to get to a town across the city so I could meet with someone on time (and yes, it has to be in person due to the nature of the appointment), I would have to leave in the very early morning, which would mean that I miss school. Not to mention that for the public transport buses to go to this specific town, they have to stop several times in the city first. Going around this city by way of car is forty minutes, and we take the thruway and an interstate to get there. Walking--or even biking--would no doubt take several hours, and result in me having to go through some of the worst parts of the city. And I won't even mention my family in the boondocks, who have to drive seven to fifteen miles to get to the nearest grocery store, let alone a bus stop. Walking in that situation--let alone transporting one or more horses to competitions (meaning they should be resting, not walking)--would be more than a simple inconvenience.

So while I agree that the exhaust fumes are a legitimate concern, and that the green movement is being exploited by advertisement, there are instances when one does have to accept it. I wouldn't be able to stay after school at the library and get home the same night without cars--add to that the fact that very few of my teachers live in the town in which I go to school, and without cars our district would either have very few teachers or the school day would start and end with the public transportation schedule, assuming the city could be convinced to add a bus stop somewhere in town.

And no, I don't consider taking a day off from school, meeting with someone else (due the nature of the appointment, there is no one else in the county to meet with--we've checked several times over), or mandating that all teachers live in the town in which they teach are valid solutions. Even changing the days of my appointments isn't always a viable solution, because my schedule is so dependent upon the schedules of other people. So I agree with Pagan Topologist that it's a chicken and egg sort of problem: yes, exhaust is a concern, but in some cases the risks have to be accepted. Doing without cars is much easier for your than it is for others, most likely because of proximity to important places and consistent and frequent availability of public transportation systems. However, these luxuries simply do not exist for some people.

Clarissa said...

Pen: I took the bus to work and back today. It was empty. In the meanwhile, all of the students and professors ran to their cars. many of these people live right where I do. The bus stops whenever you want it too. It takes you straight to campus. Still, nobody uses it. On top of that, these same people keep complaining that life is impossible in our town without a car. They are shocked when I inform them of our great public transportation system. This happened in absolutely every single place I lived in in North America.

So even when these public transportation luxuries do exist, people don't use them. So why would anybody invest in the public transportation system if even when you have one readily available, people are still addicted to their rusty, smelly clunkers?

Clarissa said...

Greenconsciousness: why don't you give it a rest, buddy? You disagree, we got it. What's the point of hanging around so obsessively on the blog you dislike? This is not the end of the Internet, you know. I'm sure you can find people who think like you do and enrich their blogs with your insights.

Pen said...

I would invest. I have no desire to drive, and my limited experiences with the public transportation system were actually very good, despite the fact that odd scheduling prevented me from staying at the city library from opening to closing time. It's just their limited availability that I find problematic.

I would invest for the following reasons: I don't drive, having never even acquired the desire to learn; in all of the colleges to which I have been accepted (and the one to which I have been wait-listed), it is strongly discouraged that freshman bring their own cars; and the campus-provided transportation will often take me back home (or at least close enough for me to meet a family member or catch another bus).

I'm honestly surprised that people with such availability don't take advantage of such a system more often. I know that if it were available to me now, I probably wouldn't have to hurry to get everywhere--and I certainly wouldn't have to feel guilty about dragging a friend or family member all the way across the city.

I might be singing a different tune when I have to drag heavy objects back and forth, though. The good thing about cars is that they have extra storage space. Though if I had to take public transportation, then I might also be more picky about organization, and about which items really need to be brought back and forth from anywhere. This could be a good thing, especially for someone who tends to pack too much for day trips.

Then again, these people could own large pets that require private transportation. I can just imagine trying to take my dog on the bus, or explaining to the driver exactly why I need to attach a horse trailer.