Friday, March 23, 2007

Smoking Ban, Politics, & Lies

Things are really heating up on the New Hope, PA Smoking Ban front. In the last week, several articles have been published with varying opinions and positions. As the local Tobacconist in the area, I have accidentally become the voice of the Smoking population. Whenever a reporter needs a "pro-smoker" perspective they call me. I am used to it, but often it seems like the local Tobacconist is the only voice of dissent on the Smoking Bans. In reality, many "non-smokers" are against these bans and many other citizens have just "given up" and accepted that 'this is the way the world/country/state is going'. I have plenty of postings that relate to this issue, so please feel free to read those if you want commentary on the who, what, and why of Smoking Bans and our apparent apathy. Ultimately, much of the Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) hysteria is fear driven feel-good politics and legislation. It is a sad reflection of the world we live in. But today I simply want to outline the un-truths, spin, and potential lies that have emerged in the recent past, with regard to the New Hope Smoking Ban. It is a microcosm of what has happened around the country and the way the public has been manipulated by fear and nonsense.

Here are a few links to our local newspapers in NJ & PA and the articles that were published:

There are some other articles and when I reference them I will quote the article with absolute accuracy. I tried to link them, but they have been archived and are not available to the general public.

As I have said before, comprehensive Smoking Bans are feel-good laws intended to make politicians look good and get re-elected. Obviously, I do not think people should be subjected to ETS in enclosed spaces where they do not have a choice to be. So, with that said.... here are some quotes from Richard Hirschfield, President of the New Hope Borough Council.

- "We got two or three responses about it, all of which were positive" (meaning the Smoking Ban Proposal)
In the next line in the article, the reporter, Riley Yates writes "Well, not all of them." And then he proceeds to talk about and quote directly from the letter I wrote Mr. Hirschfield.

- "Its a dirty habit"
What can I say about someone making such disparaging and moral judgements? I must let this statement stand for what it is.

- "I can empathize." "But they don't have the right to smoke in other people's living room so to speak"
PRIVATE BUSINESSES ARE NOT OTHER PEOPLE'S LIVING ROOMS!!! "so to speak" : This is a disgusting example of political, emotional, biased, and distorting language. Unless of course the legislation is going to extend into people's living rooms, which it is not, just yet.

- "Mr. Hirschfield said officials have received complaints about smoking in public places such as restaurants, although he could not say how many."
How Convenient that you cannot say how many. Yet I don't doubt that some very self-involved people feel it is their right to never be exposed to any kind of ETS or odor-annoyance. So rather than patronize establishments that cater to them, they would rather force businesses and their politicians to enact ridiculous rules and laws.

- "He also noted some establishments in town voluntarily went nonsmoking, but were persuaded to revert to smoking by pressure from fellow businesses. He declined to name the businesses, not wanting to add more pressure to what they're already experiencing."
This might be true: I have heard of the marauding bands of smokers going around and strong arming reputable businesses into allowing smoking. Obviously, I jest. This is one of the more absurd, ridiculous, and artificially contrived statements I have ever read. I patronize nonsmoking restaurants when the food is good. I know they exist and I have never heard of this kind of "pressure" being exerted on any establishment to allow smoking!!! Businesses cater to their customers, plain and simple.

- "If we can't depend on the state to protect us, we have to protect ourselves"
How about protecting yourself by not going into smoking environments: that is your prerogative. I wonder what our founding fathers would have thought about Mr. Hirschfield's revolutionary fascism. Or perhaps we are protecting your chances of re-election.

Anyway.... I could go on forever, but I have real work to do. I will be at the New Hope Borough Council meeting to address the issue on May 9; will you? Maybe we can have them add a no-trans-fats measure to this bill.

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