9:12 AM, May 11, 2015 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
The crusade against public tobacco use has long been predicated on protecting people from “secondhand smoke.” Sparing non-smokers from tobacco fiends’ cariogenic emissions was the logic that compelled cities from Paris to New York to even Richmond, Virginia (home of Phillip Morris!) to kick smokers out onto the curb. And whether or not public smoking bans went too far in terms of dictating to private businesses how to conduct their affairs, there was, at least, a somewhat compelling justification for imposing them: Why, after all, should smokers be permitted to poison those who consciously chose not to inhale?
But public smoking bans have wafted ever farther into areas where “secondhand smoke” seems an unlikely scourge. Parks, beaches, public streets – all have been increasingly deemed smoke-free. Some places have even banned the public “vaping” of electronic cigarettes, even though they contain no tobacco.
Now San Francisco has gone ahead and banned the public use of something that emits no smoke at all. The Associated Press reports that, “San Francisco has become the first city in the nation to outlaw chewing tobacco from its playing fields, including AT&T Park, home to the San Francisco Giants.”
The AP continues, “The San Francisco ordinance is part of an overall push by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, based in Washington, D.C., which targeted the city and California to promote its anti-smoking efforts. An even more expansive bill outlawing all tobacco use, including electronic cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, wherever an organized game of baseball is played in California is making its way through the Assembly.”
That last paragraph, by the way, is a masterpiece of misdirection. 1) Targeting chewing tobacco has nothing do with “anti-smoking efforts.” And, 2) electronic cigarettes have nothing to do with “tobacco use.”
San Francisco’s new ordinance is revealing. It shows that public tobacco bans, increasingly, have nothing to do with protecting non-smokers, but rather coercing smokers, dippers, and vapers (vapists?) into changing their habits. That may be a worthy aim of the government, but a modicum of honesty on the part of the anti-tobacco movement would be appreciated. The smoke has cleared, in more ways than one.
1:36 PM, Oct 9, 2014 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Not The Onion:
The 1875 work by Georges Bizet is one of the world's most popular operas and the heroine, Carmen, works in a Spanish cigarette factory.
Carolyn Chard, General Manager of the [Western Australia] Opera, said the company made the decision not to program the opera after it secured the two-year deal with Healthway, the state government body that sponsors arts and community organisations to promote health messages.
Sep 29, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 03 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Undoubtedly much to the chagrin of the former mayor, more New Yorkers are smoking these days. According to the latest data from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, adult smoking rates in New York City have risen to 16 percent, from an all-time low of 14 percent in 2010.
May 26, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 35 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
New York enjoyed a mid-season subway series last week with four games between the Mets and Yankees. Seeing the two teams play every year instead of once in a generation is one of the upsides of Major League Baseball’s recent experiment in inter-league play. But for the hometown TV audience, it means enduring grotesque public-service antismoking ads. New York State promotes nonsmoking by showing gory surgeries, rotting lungs, and a man struggling to breathe: “Dying from smoking is rarely quick . . .
9:01 AM, Apr 24, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
A study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that "[m]arijuana use makes tobacco use more pleasurable and may increase the user’s risk for becoming addicted to nicotine." Experiments involving rats found that those animals exposed to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, self-administered nicotine at higher rates than rats with no such exposure. This connection raises concern that pot may be a "gateway" drug to nicotine.
7:01 AM, Feb 19, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The Department of Defense (DOD) has just announced that the public will be invited to vote in a video competition called "Fight the Enemy." In this case, the enemy is tobacco. The innovation office of the military's assistant secretary of defense for health affairs is sponsoring the competition among U.S. service members around the world who were invited to film and submit "tobacco countermarketing" videos.
Jonathan V. Last, non-tokerJan 27, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 19 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
As Colorado’s new law permitting—encouraging?—the recreational use of marijuana went into effect, many of our country’s finest journalists felt the need to share the details of their experience with the ganja. Some came to celebrate the state’s new liberality, others to condemn it.
Australia’s doomed effort to kill tobacco sales.Dec 16, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 14 • By P. J. O’ROURKE
I'm sitting at my desk, looking at a photograph of a gangrenous foot. It is a bloated thing in hues of phlegmatic gray rot, sanguine inflammation, melancholic black bile, and choleric open sores—exhibiting all the humors of a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
1:14 PM, Dec 2, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
In a routine, short-run economic downturn, people tend to adopt more healthy behaviors. You quit smoking and cut back on the drinking because … well, maybe to save money and maybe because you tend to focus more on the essentials and live less indulgently. But our current long, lingering economic malaise seems to have pushed people toward unhealthy choices. For release, perhaps, or from a fatalistic sense that things may not get better and so what.
9:56 AM, Apr 2, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The federal government will now allow companies that sell "nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products," such as Nicorette, not to put warning labels on their merchandise, the Food and Drug Administration announced. The change, the FDA now admits, is because the warnings, which were mandated for the last 30 years, were misguided from the very beginning.
And move to prevent the rise of the next Barack Obama.1:13 PM, Aug 31, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
One would not expect that college campuses would go out of their way to accommodate the habits of the Republican speaker of the House, John Boehner. But how respectful are colleges of the current occupant of the White House? Not very, it would seem.
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