Kevin Hoover: No More Tyranny Of The Smoking Minority

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Imagine that you could quantify – maybe using a 10-scale – the  pleasure from smoking downtown, and from breathing clean air in public. In determining which group – smokers or non – gets its way with the smoking laws, you could just compare the two and go with the higher number.

Let’s say the amount of pleasure one gets from smoking downtown is equivalent to the displeasure a non-smoker experiences getting pelted with cigarette smoke.

There are fewer smokers than non-smokers these days. In 2011, only 19 percent of the adult populace smoked (CDC). It’s less now. Lots of Plaza users are children, so that further diminishes the proportion of people out there who smoke.

So right away, even if the individual pleasure/displeasure measure is the same, there are still at least four times as many people experiencing displeasure as pleasure.

Add the negative health impacts and resulting burden on society, negative environmental impacts (the smoke and butts), plus the quality of life being stunk up for children and non-smokers, and smoking decisively loses.

All the “leave me alone” arguments smokers make also apply to the non-smokers, who want to be left alone to breathe Arcata’s naturally clean air.

The smokers are introducing the conflict with their impactive habit. It is they who have to take responsibility, and Arcata’s new anti-smoking law makes those responsibilities clear.