Thursday, September 16, 2010

Are non-smokers too dumb to avoid secondhand smoke?

New York City's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is proposing a smoking ban for the city's 29,000 acres of parks and 14 miles of beaches. Apparently, the mayor thinks that non-smokers are simply too dumb to avoid secondhand smoke on their own, even in the wide open spaces of Central Park. At least, that's the inference to be drawn from claims made by “officials” announcing the proposed ban.

According to a Globe and Mail article, “Officials claim they are basing the proposed law on claims that even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can pose health risks”.

But, what, exactly, do they mean by “brief exposure” and what possible “health risks” might result from this brief exposure?

Since the unnamed officials gave no definition of “brief”, we shall assume that they mean a period of time which is short or fleeting in duration. But, we'll have to use our imagination to determine exactly what they mean by “health risks”. Will “brief” exposure cause non-smokers to break out in a rash? Lose their lunch? Die of fright?

And, who is likely to be susceptible to the health risks posed by this brief exposure? Is a twenty year old jogger likely to die of a heart attack while jogging past a smoker? How about a sixty year old jogger?


OK, maybe an 80 year old jogger suffering from emphysema, lugging an oxygen tank and jogging very, very slowly? Well, maybe. But, then, what the fuck is an 80 year old, suffering from emphysema and dragging an oxygen tank, doing jogging in Central Park?

The Globe and Mail article also notes: “Officials cited a May, 2007, Stanford University study that found a person sitting within three feet of a smoker outdoors can be exposed to levels of secondhand smoke similar to indoor levels.” Huh? Does the person have to be sitting before keeling over from the effects of secondhand smoke? Are they safe if they're standing?

Is Central Park usually that crowded that users are sitting within three feet of one another? That really would be one crowded park. Just how in hell would an 80 year old jogger, suffering from emphysema and dragging an oxygen tank, manage to weave his way through all that pedestrian traffic?

Now, I must confess that I've never been to New York City. The closest I've ever come is visiting the in-laws in Jamestown, NY and Boston, Mass. So, obviously, I've never visited Central Park.

But, I saw the original “Death Wish” with Charles Bronson, and Central Park was painted as a pretty scary place; full of muggers, rapists . . . and, apparently, smokers. So I have a few questions.

If a twenty year old jogger encountered a man wearing a balaclava and brandishing a knife in Central Park, wouldn't his/her first impulse be to run, preferably in the other direction, to avoid being mugged or raped?

Let's face it, that mugger is probably an alcoholic crackhead and likely a smoker to boot. It should be easy to outrun him. So, running away would seem to be the prudent course of action, in most cases. Of course, the 80 year old dragging his damn oxygen tank would be just plain fucked, but life has it's little ups and downs.

The point is that Central Park covers an expanse of 843 acres; roughly 2.5 miles long and a half mile wide. That translates to 1.31 square miles; over 36 million square feet. Why would a non-smoker have to be within three feet of a smoker if they didn't want to be? Why couldn't he/she just walk (or run) away?

And, if non-smokers can just walk away and avoid the risk of exposure to secondhand smoke, there's no need for a smoking ban. Unless . . . non-smokers are just too fucking dumb to stay away from smokers and avoid the alleged hazards of secondhand smoke.

No other inference can be drawn.

And, Mayor Bloomberg and his “officials” seem to be reading from different pages of the anti-smoker manual. Says the mayor: “The science is clear: prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke, whether you're indoors or out, hurts your health.”

Actually, the science is not as clear about the effects of prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke as the mayor suggests. As a matter of fact, it's still a highly controversial topic. And, at any rate “officials” say the proposed legislation is intended to protect non-smokers from brief exposure to secondhand smoke, not prolonged exposure.

But, if there's no compelling reason for a non-smoker to be sitting, standing or hanging upside down from a tree, within three feet of a smoker and exposing themselves to the alleged hazards of brief exposure, there's no need to be exposed for prolonged periods. Not in a park the size of Central Park.

The mayor's proposed legislation is obviously not about any threat to public health. The mayor, like most followers of the anti-smoker cult, simply doesn't want smokers seen in public places. Someone might get the impression that smoking is a normal behaviour.

The mayor should drop his proposal to ban smoking in the parks and on the beaches. He would probably save more lives if he banned 80 year old joggers suffering from emphysema and dragging oxygen tanks from the damn park.


selsey.steve said...

Why is it that no-one ever mentions bonfires in the context of "second-hand smoke"?
Why isn't the combustion of ANY form of vegetable matter viewed as equally "evil" as smoking some for of vegetation?
Just asking, is all.

Anonymous said...

They banned outdoor smoking in San Francisco several years ago and plastered huge - huge - signs touting $500 fines for outdoor smoking and even managed to graphically depict the cigarette on those signs as if it were as scraggly looking as a joint and depicted the smoking as black and billowing out like a deadly plume - psychological details matter when it comes to the propaganda to support to hard-nosed outdoor smoking ban restrictions.

To make matters worse, San Francisco now extended the outdoor smoking ban to anywhere within 30 feet of any building containing a door or a window - meaning everywhere - and the only legal place remaining to smoke is in the middle of the street standing on the yellow line between two lanes of opposing traffic.

New York is only doing what San Francisco implemented several years back, San Francisco being more remote from the rest of the country and an ideal location to experiment with social engineering before hawking it elsewhere.

In Santa Cruz, 60 miles south of San Francisco, their parks and sidewalks are not only smoking banned, but "possession" of tobacco is strictly banned as well - with a $50 fine and confiscation for a first time "offender".

New York's is trivial in contrast to San Francisco's. San Francisco's Golden Gate Park is probably much larger than Central Park yet is smoke-banned the same as everywhere else outdoors is these days.

"No Smoking Within 25 Miles of City Limits" - is what they are ultimately aiming for, as they are banning it inside individual homes currently, city by city out here.

This New York thing is obviously nothing new. Just look at the West Coast and realize in a few years' time they will be implementing it outside the West Coast once they have made it "normal".

Michael J. McFadden said...

Excellent points as always Rambler, and I *LOVE* yer way with words:

" Of course, the 80 year old dragging his damn oxygen tank would be just plain fucked, but life has it's little ups and downs."


Anonymous said...

You're a fucking idiot. I don't like jogging through clouds of smoke emanating from brainless fucks like you.