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previous: Arn C. Just wondering what it is called wh... -- 7/21/2003 5:53 PM View Thread

Re: How about "socialized medicine"?

7/21/2003 7:15 PM
Mark Hammer
Re: How about "socialized medicine"?
"...what it is called when the government of New York State decides to stop all smoking in bars, pubs and restaurants without using a democratic vote on the subject..."  
It's called either entrusting/empowering your public health department to look out for you or not.  
Their business is to look for the things that make the biggest difference in morbidity and mortality rates for the money and effort invested. That's what they are legally authorized and paid to do. Whether smokers or bar-owners like it or not, one of the best investments in public health you can make, next to things like making sure people in a variety of critical occupations wash their hands, making sure fod products are identified with respect to expiry dates, and making it hard for people with seriously contagious diseases to mingle with the general populace, is to reduce smoking by any legal means necessary since it is one of the leading causes of the leading cause of death and illness. It would be nice in a practical sense if the stuff could be banned outright, but obviously that isn't going to happen because of the substantial number of jobs that would be lost, and the substantial fisco-legal power of the tobacco companies. Much like alchohol, as well, it is a fact that plenty of people can partake of either without abusing it and without making life generally miserable for those around them, so you won't see such laws anytime soon. Armed with the wisdom of the ages, legislation which effectively captures abuse behaviour and exerts no control whatsoever over benign behaviour is still extremely difficult, if not impossible, to draft.  
DO NOT confuse the general improvement within one's community and society as a whole, with how much pleasure a given habit/activity does or does not bring. Moreover, why should your regional public health authority have to sort through every single potential restriction or by-law and figure out whether it will piss off too many people or not. Either it's for your benefit or it isn't, either these people are working for your health, or they aren't. You can't suddenly turn them off or disenfranchise them because it isn't convenient or fun.  
From another perspective as well, bar-owners probably stand to lose more from having successful union-supported individual or class-action lawsuits for unsafe working environments launched against them than from loss of revenue to people who'd rather smoke than go out. At least part of the impetus for banning smoking in public environments/establishments is so that people have more access to jobs that won't make them sick. If a single mom needs to wait tables to make ends meet, she shouldn't have to be a smoker or change her exposure to second-hand smoke to do it. Second-hand smoke has a lot more impact than many folks realize. Indeed, it accounts for a not insignificant chunk of the risk entertained by smokers themselves. Those of you who do smoke, how smoke free is your car even when you don't light up? How much time fo you spend with a lit cigarette in your hand otr someone else's and the fumes just wafting around around you, without even directly inhaling? Doesn't make you a bad person, but the fact is that there often isn't a huge difference in exposure and risk between someone who intends to smoke and someone who just has to be around it all the time.

an angry old man amen.the one part of perfor... -- 7/21/2003 11:09 PM
Johnny The I.C.P. "It's called either entrusting/empo... -- 7/22/2003 7:38 PM