Opinions

Stick this in your pipe and smoke it

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We've seen it all before. Good versus evil, the light side versus the dark side, the Liberals versus the Conservatives. But there is a new dichotomy in Calgary dividing citizens like no other. It's causing fights between businesses and has the people rising up against their government. It is, of course, the anti-smoking bylaw.

Cue the villainous music.

By now, everyone's in the loop on the issues surrounding the bylaw. Alderman Diane Colley-Urquhart the Brave has come out on top. She's fought for a public smoking ban in all restaurants, bars, casinos and bingo halls to come into power in 2007 instead of 2008. Despite much opposition from other aldermen and many local businesses, smokers who patronize Calgary restaurants or bars will now have to enjoy their poison outside. It's a mighty step on the way to a smoke-free Calgary and a big win for anti-smoking activists.

Personally, I say it's a terrible idea. And it's not because I'm a smoker, either. I'm not. Regardless, I can see why smokers would want to keep this bylaw away from Calgary, and it's not just to selfishly preserve their precious habit.

Firstly, there will be fewer places for smokers to spread their glory. Unsuspecting teenagers who go to bars or clubs to dance or grab a drink with their friends won't get to have their lungs filled with the smoke that was once in someone else's lungs. Fewer people will see the light and begin smoking. The wealth just won't be spread! On top of that, laundry machine companies will undoubtedly go out of business as well, as club and bar patrons will be less inclined to strip out of their smoke-infested clothing and toss it in the nearest purifying machine. We can't send the laundry business downhill, we just can't!

Furthermore, if Calgary continues to stick with this silly bylaw, it will cause detrimental effects to the cigarette companies of the country. The smoking population of Calgary--around 200,000 people, according to the latest polls--will buy fewer packages of cigarettes because they will no longer be able to enjoy them in restaurants or bars. The bylaw may even help smokers who have been trying to escape their addictions succeed. Ergo, it will definitely harm cigarette companies. If Calgary sticks to the bylaw, not only will a prosperous, hardworking industry meet its demise, but fewer tax dollars will be going to the government to blow on jaunts to the Cayman Islands.

Finally, we get into the really important stuff. Everyone knows that smoking cigarettes has always had a way of making the smoker look cool. Without cigarettes to rely on, John Travolta wannabes just won't be cool anymore. People will have to work harder to pick up a lady at a bar or impress a date at a restaurant. As a woman, I know that the standard pick-up line just doesn't cut it anymore. The true sign of a man is when he can blow smoke literally--not just figuratively.

Also, it will make getting cancer and chronic illness so much more difficult, which isn't a good sign for the masochistics of Calgary.

From these arguments, I can definitely see why a smoking ban is such a concern for smokers. They don't just want to smoke in restaurants; they want to save companies, enhance the lives and coolness of teenagers, and let the masochists of the world do what they want, where they want. Their altruistic arguments to maintain the status quo are impossible to ignore.

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Comments

No worries about destroying Big Tobacco Companies. They will be replaced by the Big Pharmaceuticals who fund Cancer research to promote their own products. Rather than demonise tobacco company research it's about time people checked out all the 'experts' and committee members who are so against smoking: So many of them have used pharmaceutical money to further their own anti-tobacco agenda.
"Those anti-smoking charities, non-profit groups and other organizations have close ties to pharmaceutical companies that make smoking-cessation products. However, they rarely disclose those relationships or the fact that they receive large donations, research grants and sponsorships from the makers of drugs they often promote." from http://www.canada.com/topics/bodyandhealth/story.html?id=c59ba41e-772e-470a-a94e-130644177b38.

We are pointed towards the health of bar workers etc but they are grownups and just like emergency service, police, forces and rescue personnel have the right to choose what may be regarded to be a dangerous job. Just for a change we should look at the damage these pharmaceutical driven campaigns are doing to the smokers and community. NRT therapies have a massive, over 90%, failure rate yet they are promoted above the more successful cold turkey methods.
Is it right that a fifth of the population are forced outside to smoke in freezing weather because of the smell of tobacco? Some scare tactics suggest that tobacco smoke is the only substance that when diluted many thousands of times becomes even more dangerous than it is to the primary user.
It's about time we removed pharmaceutical interests from science and look for unbiased truth.
A good start would be to read "Beyond conflict of interest" http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/317/7154/291

I agree with the article and the posts.
Land of Liberty, that's a laugh, taking the Liberty more like.
I have been with my family three times to the USA, but that was before you became dictators of peoples lives.
Smokers do have more power than they think they have, it is in their wallet or purse. I hope they use it.

The problem with using scientific rationales for acting (or not) in these kind of situations is thus: the science is often controlled or funded by deep-pocketed special interests.

There's a breadth of research on global warming, tobacco health issues and other things that are contradictory, perhaps because half is done by Average Joe Scientist and the other half is done on behalf of Big Tobacco, Big Oil or the Automotive Industry.

This may be the economist in me talking, but the market will ultimately decide whether or not regulations aimed at curbing these things live or die.