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Traditions like smoking are not worth defending

The Local · 8 Jul 2010, 16:13

Published: 08 Jul 2010 16:13 GMT+02:00

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The tough new smoking ban in Bavaria gives reason to hope German cities will soon be free of graffiti, dog poop will eventually disappear from our sidewalks, and video replays will finally be used in professional football. Of course, such high hopes need to be explained.

It helps if we remember how the discussion began. The debate used to be about banning smoking in the metro, in planes and on train platforms. The United States took the lead while Europe dragged its heels. ”Never!” an aggrieved Old World cried, ”We’re different, more individualistic, more anarchic, not as health-obsessed. Europe and smoking bans – it’ll never work!”

As if guided by a secret signals, European traditionalists stood up and protested. ”What would films, pop music, talk shows be without a cigarette? They’re a part of our culture and our identity. Banning them from restaurants, bars and public life – imagine Parisian cafés without a pack of Gitanes! – would be a symptom of the decline of our culture, and a betrayal of the nature of Europe.” Everyone knows what happened next.

But it’s interesting that other debates seem to follow the same pattern. The rule is clear: if one side has strong interests (for instance, its own health) and justifiable arguments, it always has a mid- to long-term advantage over the side that resorts to nebulous terms such as tradition, culture, identity or human nature.

The statement ”We’ve never done it that way” is a feeling, not a reason. It can whip up a short-term mood, but it will never make a particularly convincing argument.

So many debates in which something new has slowly and tortuously won out after a long struggle have the same structure. The loosening of retail shopping hours in Germany were fiercely opposed by both trade unions and churches. Germans letting go of impractical pacifism involved getting over our post-war identity. Likewise, gay marriage and reproductive medicine still come up against resistance based on an inflexible image of human nature.

Similarly, a lot of people still can’t accept that Germany is a country of immigration. And those people opposing the Bavarian smoking ban dig up the same tired terms – tradition, culture, identity and nature. But they are fighting a losing battle against something clearly in the right.

That’s why it might be somewhat optimistic to predict that other outdated taboos will soon be broken, but it’s not wholly unrealistic. Like in Berlin now, there used to a massive graffiti and dog poop problem in New York City, but draconian enforcement measures soon got both under control. It’s all a question of will-power.

And it’s the same with video replays for questionable calls in professional football: to dismiss it on the grounds of tradition (suggesting refereeing errors are part of the game) is taking refuge in dogma. It’s just a shame that so many people like to remain so set in their ways.

Story continues below…

The new is not always good, of course. It has to be backed up by reason. But when it is, then no tradition can help win the argument.

This commentary was published with the kind permission of Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, where it originally appeared in German. Translation by The Local.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:02 July 8, 2010 by Mary1980
A good alternative to smoking might be the Electronic cigarette. This device feels just like a cigarette and yet only contains 16 chemicals, contrary to the 4000 chemicals in regular cigarettes.

Nevertheless, it's much much cheaper. I gave it to my father on his birthday and since then he saves around a hundred Dollars each month. He tells me its great that he can decide on his own how much nicotine he inhales (the cartridges come in 0-16 mg nic.).

My mum also loves it, because the "smoke" is mainly composed of water-vapor, so now she doesent need to send my dad outside each time he wants to smoke, haha. You can check them out on www.greensmoke.com/disc10-18621 , this link contains a 10% discount.

There is an upfront cost for the starters kit, but the cartridges are more than 50% cheaper than cigarettes, so in the end you'll only save money. Try it, I cant see how you'll be disappointed. Furthermore, they offer every customer a 30 day money back guarantee, meaning if you dont like it you can return it without having to pay any cost.
18:20 July 8, 2010 by Hoosier Dave
Going out to eat with all that smoke, then the car ride home smelling like a dirty ashtray. ..
18:27 July 8, 2010 by harleyrider1978
Then Dave simply choose one of the more than 70% of the smokefree restaraunts out there.You dont have to smell anything if you use your own freedom of choise,as it seems you choose to eat with smokers of your own choosing.That in itself is incriminating against your own selfish claim of smelling like an ashtray.
18:41 July 8, 2010 by OkieinBerlin
Mr. Harleyrider, That we should defend smoking because Nazis opposed it is a ridiculous argument. And "Hitler was a Leftist" -- what the hell is this supposed to mean and what bearing would it have on this issue anyway? And are you suggesting that modern medical science demonstrating the health dangers of smoking constitute massive fraud, some sort of anti-freedom conspiracy? I'll need a little proof of this... Anyway, equating the right to free speech with smoking privileges is a joke -- where are these "smoking rights" clearly outlined in any national constitution? But, you know, any government founded on the individual's right to smoke, as you advocate, might be an interesting experiment -- too bad James Madison didn't think of this. You and your fellow freedom-fighters might want to keep working on this.
19:22 July 8, 2010 by Rossi82
Of course smokers should have the right to smoke if they choose,so long as:

1) NO ONE NO WHERE does anyone need to endure the second hand smoke smokers produce and

2) Smokers forfeit the rights to any publicly funded health care.

There you are, to simple...
19:31 July 8, 2010 by harleyrider1978
I am not suggesting a fraud.I am saying there is fraud in the public health sector on second hand smoke studies.

¦#39;They have created a fear that is based on nothing¦#39;¦#39;

World-renowned pulmonologist, president of the prestigious Research Institute Necker for the last decade, Professor Philippe Even, now retired, tells us that he¦#39;s convinced of the absence of harm from passive smoking. A shocking interview.

What do the studies on passive smoking tell us?

PHILIPPE EVEN. There are about a hundred studies on the issue. First surprise: 40% of them claim a total absence of harmful effects of passive smoking on health. The remaining 60% estimate that the cancer risk is multiplied by 0.02 for the most optimistic and by 0.15 for the more pessimistic … compared to a risk multiplied by 10 or 20 for active smoking! It is therefore negligible. Clearly, the harm is either nonexistent, or it is extremely low.

It is an indisputable scientific fact. Anti-tobacco associations report 3 000-6 000 deaths per year in France ...

I am curious to know their sources. No study has ever produced such a result.

Many experts argue that passive smoking is also responsible for cardiovascular disease and other asthma attacks. Not you?

They don¦#39;t base it on any solid scientific evidence. Take the case of cardiovascular diseases: the four main causes are obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes. To determine whether passive smoking is an aggravating factor, there should be a study on people who have none of these four symptoms. But this was never done. Regarding chronic bronchitis, although the role of active smoking is undeniable, that of passive smoking is yet to be proven. For asthma, it is indeed a contributing factor ... but not greater than pollen!

The purpose of the ban on smoking in public places, however, was to protect non-smokers. It was thus based on nothing?

Absolutely nothing! The psychosis began with the publication of a report by the IARC, International Agency for Research on Cancer, which depends on the WHO (Editor's note: World Health Organization). The report released in 2002 says it is now proven that passive smoking carries serious health risks, but without showing the evidence. Where are the data? What was the methodology? It's everything but a scientific approach. It was creating fear that is not based on anything.

Why would anti-tobacco organizations wave a threat that does not exist?
19:39 July 8, 2010 by sorochin
Rossi82--if smokers get no health care it would stand to reason they wouldn't have to pay the taxes that support the health care system wouldn't it.

Simple's the word, alright!
19:56 July 8, 2010 by harleyrider1978
The anti-smoking campaigns and higher cigarette prices having failed, they had to find a new way to lower the number of smokers. By waving the threat of passive smoking, they found a tool that really works: social pressure. In good faith, non-smokers felt in danger and started to stand up against smokers. As a result, passive smoking has become a public health problem, paving the way for the Evin Law and the decree banning smoking in public places. The cause may be good, but I do not think it is good to legislate on a lie. And the worst part is that it does not work: since the entry into force of the decree, cigarette sales are rising again. Why not speak up earlier? As a civil servant, dean of the largest medical faculty in France, I was held to confidentiality. If I had deviated from official positions, I would have had to pay the consequences. Today, I am a free man. Le Parisien
23:25 July 8, 2010 by Hoosier Dave
Smoking is dangerous, My Grandfather and Father both died of small cell cancer. I stopped in 1990 after many years, I too was for smokers rights until a coworker (who gave up smoking about 1990) was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. I believe the connection is in the smoke...
23:56 July 8, 2010 by harleyrider1978

7 October, the COT meeting on 26 October and the COC meeting on 18

November 2004.


"5. The Committees commented that tobacco smoke was a highly complex chemical mixture and that the causative agents for smoke induced diseases (such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, effects on reproduction and on offspring) was unknown. The mechanisms by which tobacco induced adverse effects were not established. The best information related to tobacco smoke - induced lung cancer, but even in this instance a detailed mechanism was not available. The Committees therefore agreed that on the basis of current knowledge it would be very difficult to identify a toxicological testing strategy or a biomonitoring approach for use in volunteer studies with smokers where the end-points determined or biomarkers measured were predictive of the overall burden of tobacco-induced adverse disease."

In other words ... our first hand smoke theory is so lame we can't even design a bogus lab experiment to prove it. In fact ... we don't even know how tobacco does all of the magical things we claim it does.

The greatest threat to the second hand theory is the weakness of the first hand theory.
07:14 July 9, 2010 by sorochin
Who exactly is Malthe Lehming (Lemming?) to decide what is worth defending and what isn't? I would say what's really worht defending is the right to make one's own decisions and be an adult.
08:33 July 9, 2010 by JAMessersmith
People in today's age fear death even more so than previous generations... perhaps because the standard of living is higher? Whatever the cause, I would argue we are allowing this fear of the inevitable to cloud our reason. Yes, I know people who have died of cancer, and had an uncle, who was more like a father to me, who died specifically of tobacco induced lung cancer... but the fact of the matter is, he was old and would've died anyway. You can't live forever. He liked to smoke, so he did. If smoking cigarettes makes certain people feel good and get more enjoyment out of their limited time on Earth, let them smoke away. This idea that everyone should be perfectly healthy at all times is an impossible goal, first of all, and kills much of the fun available to us, secondly. I ask, is a life free of vice even worth living? My only vice are all my favorite things in life... so maybe I'm not the person to ask.
12:49 July 9, 2010 by icemonkey
Having to breath in someone else's cigarette smoke is like having to eat someone else's snot (to paraphrase Stephen King)
14:36 July 9, 2010 by OkieinBerlin
So now I see the truth -- that medical science has been engaged in a decades-long, ingenius conspiracy to deceive us all regarding the health dangers of tobacco smoke, while the tobacco industry has been telling us the truth all these many years! Thanks for shining the light! Any doctors out there willing to apologize to us?
15:14 July 9, 2010 by sorochin
Okie--apt moniker, BTW. It's not doctors so much as self-appointed "health advocates". Some doctors, like the one in #8 above, have pointed out the lies and exaggerations.

Icemonkey: not exactly. lots of people ae willing to be around others who are smoking. I don't know anyone who'd like to eat snot. You perhaps?
15:46 July 9, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
Anyone who tries to deny me my Sunday cigar on the patio will face deadly force. We are a free republic, and I will do whatever I damned well please.
17:35 July 9, 2010 by martinjohn
Germany has to get rid of smoke. It makes you retch, makes you cough, it makes your hair, clothes, breath, house smell foul. You cannot get rid of the smell. Sprays/chemicals to neutralise it only make it worse.

Some are addicted and perhaps it is not their fault. Even so, does everyone else have to suffer the smells and the coughing that goes with it?

The most lethal cancers that kill young people are those due to smoke.

Service industries like restaurants, casinos, bars and the like always say they are worried that they will lose business if they ban smokers. No-one seems to consider the poor folk who stay away from such places because they know that the air will be foul. Some places may increase business by excluding smokers. I would not go near a club, cafe, restaurant, shop, cinema, pub, art gallery, shop where there are people fouling the air outside the place let alone inside the place.

If people wish to smoke, they still can. As yet there is nothing illegal in manufacturing, selling and smoking the products that are one of the main causes of sickness, suffering, and premature death. But if they cannot or will not beat the addiction, they must do it by themselves. Other people have an absolute right to expect the air they breathe to be clean, not poisonous.

It makes you old faster. You die younger. But when you die you look old. In 10 years time, people will vomit when they see an image of a young woman with thick carcinogenic smoke lingering between her lips. Take action now and reduce suffering. There is no cure except prevention. Prevention means getting rid of it.
17:40 July 9, 2010 by sorochin
JAMessersmith: Great posting and absolutely on the mark. Abraham Lincoln said, "Those with no vices tend also to have few virtues."

I'm really curious about something: Bavaria right now has loads of non-smoking pubs and restaurants those who dislike smoke can patronize. In fact, aren't the majority smoke-free? So why would all those people vote to deprive their smoking neighbors of places they can go???
18:01 July 9, 2010 by harrylatour
Look here lads,,just stop p*^"ss*^g about,,,,smoking will kill you,,drinking will give you mouth cancer,,,riding a racing bike (pedal) will give you arse cancer and/or piles working down a mine can cause lung disease,,,and so on and on,Just how long DO you want to live,,,,well whatever figure you want,,,you wont get!! So let people have a choice for after work fun,,,a smokers room,,,and a non smokers room/pub/club etc ,,,is that sooo difficult to manage?
21:56 July 9, 2010 by OkieinBerlin
sorochin -- I'm glad the moniker amuses you. But tell me, are you willing to dismiss the years and years of scientific research that prove that tobacco smoke is harmful to human health, or do you just deny it all? You base your stupid argument and lame insult on a couple of random statements pulled from a ridiculous, uncited webposting -- You're going to have to do better than that.
04:52 July 10, 2010 by sorochin
The "years of research" are based on epidemiological speculation. Look up Le Parisien and Evin Law. The article is, in English, "they have made a fear out of nothing" he states that any damage done to nonsmokers is incnsequential. As for damage to smokers, that's their business, not that of the government.

And that's the big issue. Maybe you'll apppreciate this recent quote from a more famous "Okie":

"I had more freedom as a parolee in 1962 than the average citizen has today." --Merle Haggard

Harry: You said iit
09:21 July 10, 2010 by OkieinBerlin
sorochin, FYI, Merle Haggard is not an Okie. He was born in California, about 2000 miles away. It took about 4 seconds of internet research to discover this, about 6 more to confirm it. You should doing your own research sometimes -- you might come across as a little less misinformed.
15:26 July 10, 2010 by dmacvicar
- About the electronic cigarette, I stopped smoking using it, but the lobby from tobacco/pharma industry will most likely make it illegal in every country because it does not pay the big taxes tobacco does.

About "freedom":

- I don't care. Smokers (including myself) have acted like children when it comes to responsibility in order to excercise that freedom.

- Look at the streets, you will see cig butts everywhere. You don't see as many bottles of drinkers, or people peeing on you as you get the smoke from other people. It is so hard to take the cig butt to a trash can?

- Go outdoors to enjoy a pizza, and you will have a guy smoking a big cigar with a so strong smell that will just ruin your evening.

- You still see people smoking in the elevator or the subway station, just because it is forbidden but not enforced.

Smokers just don't deserve the freedom to smoke because they have pissed off everyone else's freedom for a long time.

So may be it could had been possible for smokers and non-smokers to live together in a "partial ban" system". But it did not work, because smokers just do not care. I would even forbid smoking on the street just to avoid having it full of cig butts. If you want to smoke, use your living room.
16:15 July 10, 2010 by sorochin
That's why I put "Okie" in quotes, Einstein!!! Are you from Oklahoma yourself? In my experience, someone whose debating style consists mainly of hurling insults is one who has no argument.

dmacvicar: so why not have a public campaign to encourage smokers to ditch their butts in proper places--and provide proper places to do so. As for the guy with the cigar, do the wonderful new laws ban him from smoking outside as well? One thing all you folks seem to have forgotten is that once you force smokers outside, they become a lot more noticeable. And you'll have to deal with a lot more smoke. And you'll still complain.

And as far as your living room do you think the Smoke Nazis will leave you in peace there? There are places in the US where you can't smoke in your living room if you live in an apartment.

I assume you don't enjoy anything that other people disapprove of, do you? What will you do when the forces of moral uplift and healthy living decide society would be nicer without alcohol? (like they did 1920-33?) Or that deliciously fatty Bavarian cuisine? Again, the US already has food bans in some places.
08:21 July 11, 2010 by farstars
"..... have lost, just like most people whose arguments are based on tradition rather than reason..." well then , that's the end of religion !
20:56 July 11, 2010 by sorochin
Oh, and about those butts...

there are going to be many more of them now that smokers can't be inside where there are proper ways to dispose of them.

Also, many places that have adopted stringent antismoking policies, like Ireland, Scotland and Italy have actually seen the rate of smoking go UP as smoking becomes more visible and the age-old human tendency to crave Forbidden Fruit kicks in. Tobacco company profits are way up, BTW, as their product gets a new "outlaw" image.

Viel Spass!
21:22 July 11, 2010 by Ian_rw
As a non smoker I have to say it does not bother me when people me smoke. I grew up in the UK and British pubs where smoking was normal. If we are talking about cost to the health system, then chocolate, sugar filled soft drinks, and other fat makers should be banned. Fatties cost the heath system more than smokers.
02:51 July 12, 2010 by Edmond Schindler

02:55 July 13, 2010 by Johnny Cash
Lets just have the non smoking drinkers, who have put up with this dumb,filthy air polluting stinking habit long enough, to start loading the byproduct of their habit on smokers. Send the smokers home with their hair,clothing and skin stinking of stale urine. I think this might help with the attitude adjustment they don't seem to want to make.
18:26 July 13, 2010 by sorochin
Johnny: So now do you want more prissy little bedwetters getting together and proposing a referendum to ban drinking?

Question I've been asking that hasn't been answered: aren't the majority of bars in Bavaria currently non-smoking? So why don't you go to them? And why is it so imprortant to deny smokers their places?
16:12 July 14, 2010 by slawek
@rossi82 smokers do help save public money. They simply die in their 50s, most likely from a heart attack, not cancer - no money needed to care for them when they are old. Only imagine the savings.
17:32 July 14, 2010 by Bishopbayern
Scotland banned this a few years ago and it has been a huge success. Hardly anyone would go back now to the way it was.
00:26 July 15, 2010 by sorochin
Bishopbayern: Do all those pubs closing meet your definition of "a huge success"? And if "hardly anyone" would go back to the way it was, why not make it optional?

Slawek: that's right: we're doing everyone a favor. Now leave us alone.

Still waiting for an answer to the question in #31.
15:29 July 16, 2010 by Rocket_J_Dawg
I spend 6 months living in Ontario Canada, and the other 6 months in the southern Black Forest and I can tell you the smoking laws in Ontario are much stricter than in Germany. In Germany, at least where we live, you can smoke outside on a restaurant patio which is forbidden in Ontario.
15:32 July 16, 2010 by Gaffers
God this thread gets tedious. It has already been discussed in another thread when the vote was taken.


If you don't like smoke chose one of the many many bars that don't allow smoking and not those that do. Take responsibility for your own actions. There is such a thing as a compromise.

If smokers are to be refused medical treatment so are drinkers (alcohol related costs on health services far outway smoking related ones if you include the average hospital on a weekend evening !), fat people, high stress workers who have bad blood pressure and heart attacks, people who cause accidents, extreme sports fanatics including skiers etc. etc. Don't single out one group because of your own prejudices. Look to history. That never ends well !

Smoking is bad for you. We all know that but so are many other things. Smokers chose to smoke. That's up to them not you. You go your way and let them go theirs. Just avoid them if you don't like it. Again, take your own responsibility instead of bleating about it...
16:57 July 16, 2010 by martinjohn
Smoking is a sad problem. Almost guarantees a young, unpleasant death. Beggars belief we can make and sell stuff so lethal. Ban it. Look at a 20 year old puffing and you think 'they'll be diagnosed with cancer/coronary disease when their kids are tiny and they never even thought it possible at their age'.

But worst of all, we have to walk past banks, shops, and inhale the foul fumes. We go inside and the stale odour pervades everythink. Go to a non-smokers' hotel, and the room still reeks from past users of the room. Businesses should put smokers on the roof of buildings. They should not advertise hotel rooms as non-smoking unless they have been gutted and totally refurnished. Many businesses, and including places like bars and casinos, just do not know how many folk stay away because they know the place reeks of you know what. And yet you hear some saying they do not want to lose the business of the pathetic addicts. Some day we will look back in anger and disbelief.
23:26 July 16, 2010 by sorochin
martinjohn: Like most antismokers, you don't know what you're talking about. Japan has the world's highest rate of adult smoking and also the world's longest life expectancy. Germany, long before there was any hint of a smoking ban, had a longer life expectancy than the health-obsessed USA. Also, if businesses thought they'd make more money by forbidding smoking, they would.
09:55 July 17, 2010 by Rossi82
Well Boo Hoo.... I am sorry, maybe I should show a little more compassion for smokers, but I am sorry I just can't! Maybe when the day comes when I cop a mouth full of smoke by just walking down the street or by standing at a bus stop and the smoker would turn around and apologise for it then maybe I could see the benefits of segregated smoking pubs/restaurants...
16:35 July 17, 2010 by carliecutie
I thnk that many of us are missing the point. Cigarettes are bad for you, healthwise and money-wise. Secondhand smokers also have to deal with the smell and the harmful effects of smoking. Those of us with asthma, like me, suffer even more. I think it is great that smokers have to stand outside a restaurant or a hotel in order to smoke.
00:15 July 18, 2010 by sorochin
Rossi82: how do you get a "mouthful" of smoke? Do you walk down the street with your mouth open? Anyway, if you live in Bavaria, prepare to get even more now that moe smokers will be forced onto the street! Same goes for you, "Carlicutie", you're still going to complain about the "cloud" of smoke you have to endure to enter your smoke-free paradise.

As far as smokers being apologetic, or even considerate, given the level of hostility and gloating by nonsmokers, that's a non-starter. Viel Spass!

"Other people's habits are always in need of reforming"

--Mark Twain
10:05 July 18, 2010 by ArthurR
Gaffers, you forgot one other thing (could not think of another word) that receives free medical treatment, even though it is not a desease, nor an illness, infact it is natural, and normally a choiceof the people involved, and that is childbirth, and I as a smoker, think that a high proportion of my Krankenkasse, and taxes (child support) that pay for this should be used for other purposes, why do I have to contribute to this. if people want children, they should pay for that themselves. I have been smoking since I was 14, I am now 63, and very rarely visit my doctor, 3 times in the last 5 years, and two of those visits where due to a broken leg, and included a stay in hospital, and funnily enough nothing to do with smoking.
13:44 July 19, 2010 by sorochin
"I just hate it when I'm in a public place and someone's kids start crying or making noise. Can we have a referendum to ban children from anyplace I might be? No, we can't have 70% child-free and 30% child-friendly, because I think I have a right to have my standards met even in places I never go.

While we're at it, can we ban anything else that I dislike?"
15:56 July 19, 2010 by martinjohn
sorochin If you're Japanese, lived all your life in Japan, eat nothing but fish, low fat diet, smoke activated charcoal filtered Japanese cigs, and Japanese tobacco, what you say is useful. But for a Caucasian in Europe/N.America there is a very high chance of cancer amongst other things. Susceptibility to diseases varies around the World, nothing new about that. And even in Japan, even with a very much reduced rate of lung cancer deaths, there is still an excess of deaths among smokers. ArthurR - sounds like famous last words. Keep the fingers crossed, things change very fast. Try breathing clean air. It's addictive. Visit some country where you can walk past the shops, go in a hotel, bar or restaurant without tobacco smoke hanging in the air.
14:09 July 20, 2010 by So36
@ArthurR - Because those children are going to pay your fat pension while you wheeze your way into the sunset.
18:13 July 21, 2010 by sorochin
martinjohn: You only read part of my post. Germany and other European countries with high smoking rates also have high life expectancies. But you've unwittingly agreed with me that smoking is far from the only factor in lifespan or health.

Personally, I feel much healthier in an environment where I have the freedom to make my own choices, within reason. Those ugly little "No Smoking" signs are most certainly a blight on the psychic landscape. Since you're such a devotee of clean air, I assume you don't drive, do you?

So36: Right, just as smokers are paying for the health care of nonsmokers with cigarette taxes.

By the way, which is it?: do smokers die early, which seems to bother some on here, or do they live on using up health care resources that should go to the more "deserving"?, which also seems to rankle some?
12:02 July 22, 2010 by zzzxtreme
sure, councils should provide smoking area, so the whole city won't be littered with ciggie butts and also provide smokers the "freedom to smoke".

I for one, wants to smoke a stick of ciggie or two every few days to stay sane in this mad world.
22:18 July 22, 2010 by OkieinBerlin
Dear sorochin, Okie is back -- sorry, I've been away from my computer for a while. But I have to point out that you hurled the first insults in our little exchange (July 9, 2010). I hope we can avoid them in the future. But I'd like to point out, in response to your last posting, that you still have the right to make your own choices about smoking, within reason. The current smoking bans we're discussing say only that you cannot smoke in enclosed, public places like bars and restaurants. You will still be allowed to smoke just about anywhere else you might want to -- at home, outdoors, or in your own car. No one is trying to deny altogether your freedom to smoke. Honestly, what is unreasonable about this arrangement? The ban in Bavaria is a result of a democratically decided public referendum -- given its outcome, is not the ban, as written, a reasonable compromise?
01:02 July 23, 2010 by sorochin
Saying I can't smoke in ANY enclosed public place is unreasonable, especially given that as of now 70% of bars are non-smoking, so people like you have plenty of places to go and revel in how superior you think you are. Are you greedy as well? Is having the majority of public indoor space somehow not enough? I have a right to socialize and I don't think I should have to step out into the elements like a leper just because a bunch of bullies has decided to use the democratic process to beat up on smokers (this is known as the "tyranny of the majority"; if you were really from the States you'd be acquainted with the concept). Your argument might have some merit if Bavaria were a tropical paradise and one could sit outside on comfort all year, but that is not the case.

As far as "still" being able to smoke in my home or car or even outdoors, I suggest you study what antismokers in other places are doing in regards to these areas. Like all fascists, they're never satisfied and once they achieve one of their intolerant victories in one place, they look for another. Give it a year and they'll be howling about outdoor smoking and how there has to be a ban on that.

A truly democratic solution would be to let the patrons of each bar vote on whether smoking should be allowed and under what circumstances. I wonder why, since the antismokers claim a democratic majority, they didn't do this at their own bars? Maybe they don't go to bars. Or maybe having smoke-free bars is not really the goal, so much as punishing smokers?

Be proud you live in Berlin, where people are still allowed to be people and if you don't want to be insulted, don't be so smug.
06:03 July 25, 2010 by thequeen09@att.net
As a smoker I do not agree with the law. It should be a choice. If the owner of an establishment wants smoking then so be it. Clearly marked and people can make a choice of which establishment to patronize, I have read too many of these comments that non smokers wrilte and all of them are vendictive and nasty. Now that you got what you want you are still being sarcastic. It seems that the non smokers like to kick a dog when it is down. This is why there is such an uproar here. Non smokers you won another piece of the pie and you still can not stop your complaining. What habits do you have that are not good for you? Are you so perfect that you can preach and condemm others with out haveing any faults of your own? For all you non-smokers that walk around with your mouths wide open inhaling someones smoke, you may want to try to close your mouth. I think once there is some type of freedom is taken away from a nonsmoker then the situation will be different and they would not like being treated as they are treating the smokers. Wait until the government takes away some more freedoms, I thinkit is coming. You can not make people quit smoking, lose weight, stop drinking, unless THEY want to. So here is my message to all complaing non-smokers "stop blowing smoke out of your a_ _ and realize this is the government slowly taken our freedom from us, a little at a time."
18:27 July 25, 2010 by sorochin
Queen: Amen. I have noticed that the more victories antismokers (as opposed to nonsmokers) achieve, the nastier they become.
02:29 July 26, 2010 by thequeen09@att.net
#51 18:27 July 25, 2010 by sorochin: Thank you for your comments. It is too bad that there are so many people in the world that are quick to cast the first stone. Now is see the government is targeting heavy people. I wonder how many of them are non smokers who had their mouths open complaing? I think between the insurance companies and government there is too much power. But as much as I do not like the law for reasons of taking away a choice, I alone can not do much about it. I think people need to accept that all of us live on the planet together and not all of us are perfect. We all have a vise and it would be wise to keep your mouths closed more that open!
15:41 July 30, 2010 by sorochin
Exactly. It's been said that smokers are the last minority group it's OK to openly hate. What people have to realize is that it won't stop at smoking. Now, here's my idea: if you put all the smokers, drinkers and people who eat "unhealthy" food together (not to mention those who use "illegal" drugs), we have a clear and overwhelming majority of society and can stop these little fascists from ruining everything. The key is we must support the rights of others, even though we don't share their particular vice.
00:45 August 3, 2010 by thequeen09@att.net
sorochin: You hit the nail on the head. I am waiting for a movement to start and I will join in a flash. Did you notice that all the complainging on this page stopped? Is it because the complainers got it out of their system (I think not) or because they read yours and my comments? Interesting.
18:22 August 4, 2010 by sorochin
Oh, they're like vampires--they always come back. Maybe they're all in Bavaria, savoring the first few days of their intolerant triumph, yet still dismayed that there are still smokers everywhere. I notice there are no stories here about how the new smoke-free paradise is going and how "happy" everybody is!
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