Friday, July 16, 2010

Wauwatosa Potential Nicotine ban

Got some potentially bad news today in the form of this article:

'Tosa (which isn't that far away from me) is considering strengthening their smoking policies for City Workers.  Well, that's good, to a point, but the way they're going about it has me worried...first, the inconsistencies in their approach.

They quote the damage from second-hand smoke (SHS) as their major reason for considering tightening up their policy.  Well, first, any anti-smoking ordinance is going to quote the old standby of SHS, the clean air act, and all that rot.  The SHS mythos has gotten a lot of mileage, and, while I don't deny that there are people out there who are, indeed, extremely sensitive to SHS, I seriously get tired of the exaggerations.  There are militant groups such as ASH who claim that as little as a 30 minute exposure to SHS will have an otherwise healthy individual dropping dead of a heart attack, and this is what is fueling most of the hatred.

Let's keep it real, people.  SHS is NOT as dangerous as it's being made out to be to the general population.

Need to get back on point.  The inconsistencies.  Their primary focus is SHS - but then they go on to include smokeless tobacco products and non-smoking alternatives such as my PV in their ban.  Tell me how these products affect clean air?  Anyone?

I hear crickets.

If they want to focus on the last remaining smokers to force them to quit their habit, they realistically have to look at the history of the anti-smoking movement, and see what it has done before.  Education.  Scare tactics.  Demonization and denormalization.  For the smokers that are left, die hard, loyal to their products, and more than a bit armored against all the social engineering aimed at them already, these aren't going to work...they haven't worked so far, what makes anyone think their going to work now???

These last remaining smokers are, in other terms, the antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria, the 'super virus's' of the world of nicotine/tobacco use.  They will not give up their vice.  Period.  Some simply need the nicotine to function, some are just stubborn, and some have the whole REBEL thing down to a science.  They've taken the anti's 'quit or die' approach with zeal, and are committed to DYING for their cigs.

Clearly, the force has met the irresistible object.  Neither are willing to concede defeat...and so the dance goes on in all its macabre glory.

If this country truly wants to eliminate smoking in the US, they need to switch tactics.  The education has happened.  Everyone, everywhere, is aware of the dangers of smoking.  The health risks.  The denormalization, the demonification of these products.

We get it.....smoking is BAAAAAAAAAD.

The tobacco giants finally get it, too...they are starting to develop and sell alternate products - American snus is gaining popularity.  E-Cigs are starting to go mainstream.  Camel's putting the orbs, sticks, and strips in test markets.  ALL these products are developed as alternatives to smoking, safer by far, because none of them involve lighting a carbon-based substance on fire, and sucking the results of that combustion into your lungs, and NONE of them share those hazardous by-products with bystanders around them.

We need our Gov't to embrace these new products.  Push them as alternatives, cheaper and acceptable.  Educate the population that there are products out there that CAN still give smokers the taste, actions, and nicotine spikes in their bloodstreams that they need, want, desire, and wish to continue doing, while minimizing the risks and eliminating the social stigmas attached to smoking.

They give smokers these alternatives, and they'll see the smoking rates decline rapidly, without all those messy side effects, like death.

It's called compromise, and needs to be on both sides of the fence.  Smokers need to use these alternative products.  Gov't needs to embrace them.


  1. Good post! The concept is called "tobacco harm reduction." Experts estimate that the risks of smoking-related disease and deaths could be reduced up to 99% by switching to some type of smokeless alternative. First and foremost, the government and the organizations that have the word "health" somewhere in their mission statement need to stop telling half-truths to mislead the public into believing that smokeless products carry the same health risks as smoking. If more of the public knew the facts, we would not be seeing proposed bans on use of smokeless products.

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