Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Pack Police

"There will be many cities that will follow, I'm certain of that," said Julia Robinson Shimizu, spokeswoman for Breathe California of Los Angeles County. "It may be the next step to ban smoking in private homes and single-family houses, because smoking doesn't just affect the smoker."
"Calabasas council bans smoking in apartments"

Big Brother is at it again. I don't smoke, and I don't plan to start. But I think that this is getting out of hand. While people have made the argument that it's a slippery slope, I don't really buy into that. There is a large anti-smoking advocacy in this country that really doesn't exist for some other possible "second-hand" dangers, like painting, for instance. (Some modeling paint is really nasty to use indoors, and if you're painting on your porch, other people in the vicinity will be exposed to the fumes.) The issue here is going to be enforcement. Banning smoking in private, unattached homes simply for it's own sake won't fly - you'd likely have to make tobacco illegal, and I can bet how well THAT would work. There are going to have to be other people in the home for any ban like this to be enforcible. But that's going to be hard - is it illegal for you to smoke in your home if I show up unannounced? What if I don't care that I'm being exposed to second-hand smoke?

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like this is starting to take on a hysterical tone - something like peanut allergies. And the problem with hysteria is that sooner or later, the pendulum is going to swing back the other way.

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