the pro-smoking argument that smokers "human rights"
are damaged by laws that prohibit smoking in public places
is "no" for an answer..
is no longer a debate for whether or not smoking cigarettes
or exposure to second hand cigarette smoke is harmful: everyone
knows cigarette smoke is harmful to human health, carcinogenic,
research has shown that it only takes one single puff of cigarette
smoke to damage human cells.
is no question that smoke from cigarettes is harmful to humans.
of this, governments at the civic, provincial/ state, and
national level over the last few years have been implementing
by-laws and laws that prohibit smoking cigarettes in public
places for the purpose of protecting people from the known
harmful effect of cigarette smoke.
are effectively two groups of people who are directly effected
by these new laws:
who smoke, and those who do not smoke.
nonsmokers are happy that don't have to be faced with potentially
inhaling cigarette smoke when they go to or work in shops,
restaurants, indoor sports events, and virtually any building
that has public access.
pro-smokers believe their individual human rights are being
revoked because the new laws prevent them from exercising
their free will to smoke cigarettes, despite the fact that
doing so causes harm to them and to others who inhale smoke
from the smokers cigarette.
find this point interesting. The smoker understands they cause
themselves harm by smoking, and therefore they smoke with
their own informed consent. - I don't have a problem with
What I have a problem with is that the smoker who knows that
their cigarette smoke will harm others around them as well,
has decided that the individual right to smoke is more important
than an individuals right not to be harmed by the actions
of another person, such as inhaling second hand smoke from
the very specific interpretation of the very spirit that forms
human rights laws and articles - everyone has the right to
life, liberty, and security of person; and, nothing within
the articles of human rights may be used to support actions
that engage in the destruction of the rights of others. -
Meaning that for instance one could not interpret the right
to free assembly of people means that assembling a group of
people to burn buildings down is OK because free assembly
is a basic human right. You can assemble, just don't hurt
a person wants to smoke themselves into oblivion they can,
so long as it does not harm others that don't want to partake
counter this point the pro-smokers have argued that those
who don't want to inhale cigarette smoke should then decide
not to go to places where second hand cigarette smoke may
be. In presenting this argument the pro-smokers are attempting
to demonstrate that it is the free will of nonsmokers to inhale
second hand smoke. For the nonsmoker to avoid inhaling second
hand smoke, they need only exercise their own free will to
not expose themselves to secondhand cigarette smoke. This
sounds very egalitarian at first.
this asinine contortion of what "free will" is,
and what exercising inalienable human rights is, cannot withstand
we accept that people have the right to enter public places
without harm coming to them,
we accept that one group of people cannot use their beliefs,
practices, policies, or religions, to supersede the rights
of free access to public places for all persons regardless
of their beliefs, practices, policies, or religions,
it follows that the practices of smokers - producing secondhand
smoke that is harmful to others - cannot supersede the right
of others who will be harmed by the secondhand smoke to access
the same public areas.
caveat here is that beliefs, practices, policies, or religions
of groups or individuals cannot bring harm to others. Do what
you want, just don't hurt anyone.
isn't right for a smoker to enter a public place, empty smoke
into it, and then say, "Hey you nonsmokers, you can take
it or leave it." It is not up to the smoker to decide
by their will or by their actions to decide for others or
to prevent others from entering the same publicly accessed
pro-smokers selfishly and incorrectly interpret that it is
their rights that are infringed upon. Lets make this as crystal
clear as it can be:
that spraying toxic compounds directly into the path of people
was the self-elected pass time of a group of individuals.
This group of individuals enters a public building and starts
spraying. The toxic sprayers then announce to all others in
the building, "We're here now, if you don't like our
spray, you have the freedom to leave." Is that freedom?
going to fire a gun in your direction, if you get yourself
in the way of the bullet, you only have your self to blame
for shooting your self." This is one of the lines of
reasoning that the pro-smokers use. There is no freedom here.
The smoker does not need, despite their desire, to smoke in
a public place, but a public place needs to be free of smoke.
isn't about the right to smoke, as the pro-smokers have made
it out to be in another of their lines of reasoning- this
is not a tragedy of the human rights of smokers. This is about
recognizing that smoke from cigarettes is harmful to humans,
and to remove this harm from the majority, smoking is prohibited
in places that have public access to all persons, those who
smoke and those who do not smoke.
smoking is allowed in places of public access, then the only
way to gain access to those places would be to be harmed by
the smoke, should smoke from cigarettes be present. The purpose
of the bylaws is to completely eliminate this cause of harm
to health. The pro-smokers show their true colors when they
outright dismiss the right to not have personal health harmed
quantify any perceivable harm done to smokers who are prevented
from smoking in public places;
smoker wants to feel they can light up with when they choose.
Since they can't in public places, it is their feelings that
are harmed, and that is all that is harmed. Our feelings are
not unimportant. The feelings of smokers are not unimportant,
but when it's temporary hurt feelings verses long term harm
to health caused by cigarette smoke, I declare the winner
by knock out, to be harm to health. The smoker feels very
strongly about their right to choose, and they trumpet this
like they are the only ones with a sense of rights. The feeling
of the "right to choose" or exercising free will
is held very strongly by all persons in a democracy, not just
fact, in their supporting arguments, pro-smokers abuse the
emotional and psychological paradigms that are born out of
the visceral concept of human rights and liberties. These
are powerful emotions that reflect very important societal
laws. Pro-smokers cloud the true health issue with their emotional
appeal on how smoker's rights are damaged. This results in
the focus being exactly where the pro-smokers want it: away
from the true issue of health and onto the visceral and emotional
issue of human rights. Ironically it is the right to health
of those who don't smoke that is being upheld with these laws,
and in no way are the rights of smokers being harmed.
hand smoke from cigarettes is harmful to humans. Therefore
where people are expected to visit or gather publicly, smoking
is not allowed, the intent being that no harm may come to
people by inhaling secondhand smoke from cigarettes. I don't
see any intent or result of these smoking laws, implied or
otherwise that effects the basic human rights of those who
smoke. A person can smoke, so long as the act of doing so
does not bring harm to others. Do what you want, just don't
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2004 Cris LaBossiere Rhino Fitness www.rhinofitness.ca