Anti-Smoking Efforts

I have recently come across an article on the blog site Jezebel.com, which discusses some new (and quite radical) efforts to further restrict smoking in the public atmosphere. Well, that’s if you can even call it “public,” considering it is in your car.

The article announces that the British Medical Association’s Board of Science recently released a report in the UK urging politicians to ban smoking in personal vehicles. They seek this regulation in an effort to “achieve a tobacco-free society by 2035,” and it appears that the surest way they can reach this goal is to constantly chip away at smoker’s rights. Now, I have a vast range of opinions on the idea of smoking in public, especially when kids are concerned or it is inside of buildings/restaurants/etc. However, I think that outside of a building, at a reasonable distance from the main entrance, the air dissipates and makes the “nasty smoke” a relatively non-issue. Furthermore, inside someones PERSONAL VEHICLE, I think that it is an individual’s right to smoke (which is still legal, remember) if they so choose.

It is mentioned that the Association is trying to persuade lawmakers through the whole “it’s distracting” cause. Okay, I’ll admit that smoking a cigarette might be a bit distracting to a driver (especially one that is inexperienced or young). Sometimes you can’t get it lit quickly and you have to fiddle with a lighter or matches, getting the ash outside of the window if often a pain and more than once you get ash all over yourself, and God forbid you accidentally drop the cigarette in your car and have to have an en-route manhunt before it burns up your upholstery.

But, let’s all get real for just a second. It is my opinion that nearly everything you do while driving is a distraction. Talking to a passenger, trying to eat fast food, sipping a hot coffee, opening a water bottle, changing a cd or song on your ipod, fixing your hair, digging around for that long-lost pair of sunglasses, browsing the line up of stores at a strip mall, fixing an unruly contact, taking off a sweater, etc etc etc.

Yes, big distractions like texting while driving should be made illegal and attempted to be enforced at all costs. But honestly, I’ve never heard of some horrific accident caused by someone taking a drag of a cigarette. And if I had, I’d definitely chalk it up to some freak accident and asked what other strange factors were present to also cause it. “It would be good for road safety if we could demand that people drive in total silence and keep their hands on the wheel at all times, but that’s an unreasonable expectation.”

In a society that increasingly views cigarettes as the enemy, I guess this sentiment shouldn’t really come as a surprise.

The end of this article underscores how well of a rhetorical job the blogger has done in analyzing this topic and presenting their own argument. At first, they present the facts, pepper in some opinions about those facts, demonstrate the negative aspects of the proposed regulations, and then offer their own solution (while underscoring the fact that this solution is not an appropriate one, nor is it reasonable).

It is not the most effective to continually keep narrowing “smoker’s rights,” in hopes to irritate the smoking population enough that they finally throw up their hands in frustration and defeat. As it would happen in some cartoon-like, giant unison, nation-wide. Instead, those seeking a “smoke free society” should refocus their efforts away from the consumer towards the producer. “However, if governments are truly committed to ending smoking, they have to stand up to the tobacco companies and ban cigarettes. If we’re going to keep letting people buy cigarettes, we can’t tell them that there’s absolutely no place where they’re allowed to smoke them.”

Taking away an individual’s ability to smoke on their own time, in their own personal vehicle would probably push some to “just quit already.” But is that what the British Association and other’s championing this cause is really seeking? Go for the tobacco companies.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. I found this to be a very interesting article. I had no idea so many other countries were also working to slowly dilute the amount of people who smoke. I personally don’t like smoking and I have never done it, although I have family who do. I do however have to agree with you that smoking in someones personal car should be legal. It is their possession and they should be able to smoke in it if they want to. Now if they wanted to ban some sort of smoking in a car when there are other people in the car I could see that slightly more reasonable. Only for the main reason that second hand smoke these days have become such an alarming issue. Regardless of the laws they make I don’t see smoking to ever become a non existent thing even if they make it illegal.People have their ways of getting their fixes. Look at under age drinking and smoking marijuana. Although illegal, people still do it. This was very well written.

    Reply

  2. I agree with Tyler, no matter what happens, I don’t think smoking will ever be completely eliminated. That being said, do I think it is smart for people to smoke while driving? No, of course not. But do they have the right to do it? Yep, they sure do. I don’t think a law will fix this, only gaining common sense will.

    Reply

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