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What If Somebody Sprayed Lysol In Your Eyes?
Granted, the health hazards do come a bit more slowly when somebody blows smoke in your face, but they're there just the same. Hey, smokers...don't you read any science?

fleidermaus.jpg
A smoking-induced asthma attack led to the death of my friend Marlowe.

My friend, the London-based Jackie Danicki, is sick and tired of people who smoke in public. She's a libertarian, so she isn't complaining about people smoking in bars and other privately owned establishments. What gets her is the smoker sitting between you and somebody else at the bus stop, or the smoker trailing their toxic fumes down the street, breathers be damnned:

I think I have reached the end of my tether with people who smoke in public in a way that proves they have no consideration for those around them. On a daily basis, I encounter someone who lights up while sat between two or three non-smokers at a bus stop, blows smoke in the direction of those standing down wind from them, or is otherwise rude in their smoking. One day last week, I was walking up Shaftesbury Avenue towards my office when a man walking in front of me flicked hot ash behind him - and straight at me. I didn’t say anything, but now wish that I had.

And I think that, from now on, I am going to say something. I have always resisted such confrontations with people, strangers or otherwise, partly because I hate to live up to the stereotype of the stroppy Yank. But really, I could not care less if those with such cretinous behaviour think poorly of me.

My only remaining reservation is that embracing negativity is not my thing, and I am not the sort of person who can have an unfriendly confrontation with someone, instantly forget about it, and move on with a smile on my face. This is probably the biggest reason I have for not ever saying anything to these jerks.

That said, I feel I have a duty to show these people that they are the reason nanny staters want to bar them from being allowed to smoke in public at all. The responsibility I feel is not to the smokers, but to myself and my children and their children, for whom I want a world free of state intervention in the personal lives of individuals, and a world where people are not so unabashedly rude to one another.

So I think I may go down the Amy Alkon card route. Of course, handing someone a card that they may find patronising and nosey at best, and insulting and offensive at worst, is inviting a lot more involvement than merely sticking a card on someone’s windshield. But I really do not know what else to do, other than start a blog encouraging considerate public smoking (when in doubt, blog?). As she’s an advice columnist and a friend, I may just go ask Amy.

Here's what I emailed back to Jackie:

Smoking in public goes against the libertarian "Your right to punch me in the nose ends where my nose begins." It's a willful lapse in logic (or any thought or consideration whatsoever) on the part of the smokers. Smoking is a totally anti-science activity. These days, there's no doubt that it causes lung impairment, emphysema, and very likely, cancer, in smokers...and it's obvious that it can't be good for others sucking down the smoke in the vicinity! People who smoke would turn to you indignantly if you (well, not YOU, Jackie...I know you!) passed a big, loud, smelly cloud of gas while seated next to them on the bus stop, yet see nothing wrong with blithely forcing you to inhale their toxic fumes from their ciggies. Buttheads, indeed.

I think people who smoke should go into cone-of-silence-like lucite boxes where they fume only themselves.

In the past, I've tried to reason with smokers (even trotting out the gas example) but I've been writing like mad all weekend, so I have yet to brainstorm any solutions to this. You have any ideas? One problem to consider: A public smoker is engaged in an aggressive, aggressively stupid act, and they'll often (if not generally) do just about anything to deny they're harming themselves or being rude or harmful to others.

My current bottom line on this? I think one-on-one action is probably useless and overly stressful to almost anybody who isn't me. This probably has to be a public campaign, using humor, to give public smokers a look in the mirror, revealing their remarkable resemblance to a small, puckered area found between the cheeks.

Posted by aalkon at October 18, 2005 7:24 AM

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Comments

But, wait a minute...

Smokers are just engaging in drug use, which, according to another discussion right here on this blog, should be allowed.

Thank you for making my point for me: Drug use is not just about the user!

Posted by: Radwaste at October 18, 2005 2:16 AM

If you're taking mushrooms on your floor, I'm not breathing them in. If you're taking coke at a club, my throat doesn't get sore. Making your point for you? Nice try. I'm doing no such thing. I haven't a problem in the world with anyone using nicotine...providing they get it from "the patch" or some other way that it doesn't get into my lungs.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 18, 2005 4:48 AM

"One problem to consider: A public smoker is engaged in an aggressive, aggressively stupid act, and they'll often (if not generally) do just about anything to deny they're harming themselves or being rude or harmful to others."

The very essence of being stupid is not realizing that you're stupid.

When someone makes a mistake, they'll usually correct it when you point it out to them. Hey, we all make mistakes.

But true idiots, like smokers, are incapable of recognizing that they are, in fact, idiots. If the case were otherwise, they would not be idiots.

What this means is that, while I enjoy tremendously Amy's confrontations with idiots out in the field, those confrontations do nothing to address the problems produced by such idiots. You'll never convince these people that they're idiots and you'll never change their behavior in the slightest. I wish it were otherwise, but some people will never listen to reason.

Posted by: Jason Ginsburg at October 18, 2005 5:04 AM

Amy isn't against smoking in general, just in public.

I've never had a problem asking someone to smoke downwind. Usually the person is very polite about moving and embarassed by their thoughtlessness. Just ask in a polite, friendly way and 99.9% of the smokers will respond positively.

Posted by: nash at October 18, 2005 6:46 AM

I do have to say that I resent having to ask, just as I resent having to remind people sitting next to me in restaurants that they might take their cellular shouting outside. Having consideration shouldn't be something that "takes a village," just a few good years of parenting.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 18, 2005 7:06 AM

While I agree it would be nice if people were consistently considerate without being prompted, I'm not holding my breath. Like Nash, I usually have good results with polite requests. And then I say thank you. Not everyone has had the benefit of engaged parenting, and a little positive reinforcement may make a difference in the long run. What I go out of my way to try to avoid is causing a defensive reaction, since that's the least likely way to get people to willingly modify their behavior in my experience.

Posted by: Alan at October 18, 2005 8:06 AM

As a scrupulous down winder myself (tip to Nash for the phrase), I must point out a problem.

When the irate non-smoker faces off with a public smoker, it's not just the latter's errant, temporary, wind-whipped donation of second-hand poison that's the rub.

The cringing smoker becomes the de facto for all thoughtless smokers from the dawn of time.

Talk about a "remarkable resemblance to a small, puckered area found between the cheeks".

Yep, that's often the non-smoker's unhinged expression in a snapshot, as she mentally rages against what you're inflicting not just on her, but her 'children's children's children ..and..and..your STUPIDITY..and..and...that awful fuggy time at the pre-Bloomberg restaurant when my boyfriend was a creep...just DISGUSTING..and...and..worse than passing gas in an ELEVATOR for crissake..and..yes, my shoes are too tight today...but that's not the point'...before she finally spits out an intemperately withering rebuke.

Any anti-social behavior that summons the inner despot is probably worth a visit to the therapist.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at October 18, 2005 9:20 AM

> ...I resent having to ask...

A frank and productive comment. The smoke fanatics (with whom I don't mean into include you here) are troubling because they seem to be working out private dramas of disputation and control with guys who are just trying to enjoy a smoke on the loading dock at lunch. Emotionally, it's a slam dunk. Same with PETA. If the fight was actually winnable they'd have chosen another fight. They want to be (simply, simply, simply) right and they want to be confrontational, and they want to keep on being that way until the day they die.

Posted by: Crid at October 18, 2005 9:24 AM

Jody & I (posting in the same moments) are on the same wavelength.

Posted by: Crid at October 18, 2005 9:26 AM

This instance of being wedged on a bench between two smokers doesn't occur. When you smoke on a bench you give yourself room so you don't accidentally burn anyone.

>Smokers are just engaging in drug use

So are joggers, needy boy/girlfriends, proponents of meditation, news junkies, escapist book readers and Christians, to name a few. Let's have government curb all of those. Anyone who says he/she is not an addict is lying. What's your addiction?


>If you're taking coke at a club, my throat doesn't get sore.

I can't name one thing that a person can do at a club that isn't potentially threatening to one's health. This is like me swimming in the east river and marveling at how bad I smell when I get back home.


>the smoker trailing their toxic fumes down the street, breathers be damnned

Amazing that these toxic fumes can be discerned over the exhaust of all the vehicles. Does anyone think that their lungs are damaged more from standing next to a smoker at a bus stop than from, say, living in Los Angeles? Look at the horizon recently?


>But true idiots, like smokers, are incapable of recognizing that they are, in fact, idiots. If the case were otherwise, they would not be idiots

Is this supposed to be one long double entendre?


I can't help but marvel how otherwise sane people make such a big righteous deal where there is no issue.

'My daughter is being harmed because she has to hear the words under God in the pledge.' Ooh.

'Restaurants should be smoke-free because the employees should be able to work in a smoke-free environment' Sorry, anyone who's worked in the service industry knows that just about everyone behind the bar or with the waitstaff is a smoker.

'Could you put out your cigarette at this bus stop?' Are you not breathing in more carcinogens in the three seconds it takes to actually board the bus than the three minutes you stand next to a smoker?

'We shouldn't legalize pot because that's sending a message of approval' So let's just keep putting people in jail so we can look like we have the moral high ground.

What's next? Can we put a woman with a perfume we don't like in one of these 'lucite boxes?' How about fat people? Why don't we make the unconsiderately ugly louts wear cloaks around their voluminity and bags on their heads so they don't damage our eyes? Do we then outlaw public displays of handicap so our children aren't disturbed by these bizarre rolling creatures? How about people with rough, leathery skin from overtanning? Shall we make them wear a silk bodystalking to prevent us from accidentally brushing up against those coarse hands?

Leave us alone, we don't bitch at you nonsmokers for all this uptight antismoking faux righteousness until we're attacked.

Posted by: little Ted at October 18, 2005 3:51 PM

I drive a hybrid that's a SULEV -- Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle. More people should. Or biodiesel, if they're savvy enough.

Again, I might not like looking at people who dress like they rolled out of a dumpster, but a sight for sore eyes and sore lungs are two very different things.

Your logic is a bit lite here. The above is the crux.

And overdoing it on perfume is rude. As is any perfume on airplanes or, the absolute worst -- people who polish their nails!

Ted, don't tell us...you smoke...publicly?

I do my best not to offend people. Not to talk too loudly, not to let my dog bark and disturb my neighbors, not to pollute with my car, and to generally be aware of and considerate of the others on the planet. In short, I don't want to do physical harm to anyone. Such as, for example, by forcing them to breathe in toxic fumes.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 18, 2005 4:32 PM

>Such as, for example, by forcing them to breathe in toxic fumes.

If tobacco were wiped off the face of the planet tomorrow, breathing in toxic fumes would still be unavoidable unless you chose to buy Ted Kaszinski's (sp?) cabin out in the middle of nowhere. Even then, you'd probably have fallout from a power plant.

The appropriate question is not whether or not smoking in proximity to others is rude. In my opinion, standing too close to strangers is rude enough that I won't stand closer than ten feet away from someone I don't know unless absolutely necessary, smoking or not. The appropriate question is whether or not the two seconds of walking past a person who is smoking is so unbearable for you that you would feel vindicated making someone hotbox in a plastic bubble. Who's putting who out more? Those few seconds are so much more damaging to your lungs than a standard breath of LA air? Whose logic's a bit lite here?

Kudos for driving a hybrid. Would you be willing to bet that your Prius (Insight, whatever) spews less carcinogens into the atmosphere than my lungs on an annual basis? I thought not.

I just don't understand why it's so uber-acceptable to moralize about smokers, even among those who claim to disdain moralizers.

Posted by: Little Ted at October 19, 2005 12:35 AM

Tragically, Little Ted, because insulting smokers FOR THEIR OWN MEDICAL GOOD neutralizes any twinges of shame.
And if you dare venture "perhaps non-smoking is your ONLY virtue?", they hit you with personal recycling, driving toy cars, donations to disaster funds, adopting shelter kittens and owning up to a youthful flirtation with absinthe.

Which is, frankly, not the sort of conversation you want to have when you're already standing 300 feet from the bus stop in heavy traffic and a high wind trying not to "kill" strangers with your furtive poison.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at October 19, 2005 6:04 AM

Unfortunately, I need transportation. When I could afford to buy a new car, I did, and chose the least polluting and best mileage car I could find. Nobody needs to smoke. This isn't moralizing. I don't care if you take drugs, as long as you don't break into my house to afford them, or if you sell sex -- as long as you don't get any fluids on me. Your smoke, thank you, does not belong in my lungs.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 19, 2005 7:36 AM

It's hard to win an argument about smoking with a smoker. How can you reason with someone who insists on poisoning himself on a regular basis? I mean, if someone is willing to turn his own lungs into coal, why would he care about how his smoking affects you? He's just doing unto others what he's done to himself. Isn't that the Golden Rule?

Posted by: Jason Ginsburg at October 19, 2005 10:03 AM

And hey, whaddyoo mean by this?:

> This probably has to be a public campaign...

Will participation be compulsory, i.e., are you spending tax money to do this?

I hate 'public' stuff.

Posted by: Crid at October 19, 2005 11:56 AM

Talk about preaching to the beaming choir, Jason Ginsburg!

And, do tell: when you roll out your climactic, faux-rhetorical question -"He's just doing unto others what he's done to himself. Isn't that the Golden Rule?" - do you triumphantly raise your right eyebrow? Or your left?

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at October 19, 2005 12:33 PM

Is there really such a thing as a "faux-rhetorical question"? Would that be just an ordinary question? Are these questions themselves real or faux? My head hurts...

Anyway, the expressions I make upon reaching my climax are none of your business, buddy.

Posted by: Jason Ginsburg at October 19, 2005 1:37 PM

Mais, non, Crid...I don't believe in government funding of NPR or schools (except for poor children...if you're middle class, pay for your own damn brats!)...by "public," I simply mean widespread. And the truth is, if you're clever, you can do a public campaign cheaply or even free. My anti-SUV campaign cost $35 (making business cards at Staples), and garnered media attention from here to England, with a bit in Japan and Germany, too. Plus loads of radio here in the USA. You just need a sticky concept.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 19, 2005 3:11 PM

My favorite smoker/non-smoker moment was when a guy with a cigar got into an elevator and asked me whether I minded if he smoked. When I politely said that not only did I mind, it was illegal to smoke in elevators (pointing to the sign on the wall), I got treated to 20 floors of verbal abuse.

Oh, sorry - I didn't realize that what you really meant was "I'm pretending to be polite but actually am a raving asshole who cares for nothing but indulging my asshole-ness." And yes, this is my general view of smokers who smoke near anyone who hasn't given explicit permission.

Posted by: Melissa at October 19, 2005 5:42 PM

And the moral is...when a non-smoker meets a smoker, one of them will be an asshole. Make sure it isn't you!

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at October 19, 2005 7:28 PM

>It's hard to win an argument about smoking with a smoker. How can you reason with someone who insists on poisoning himself on a regular basis?

That's right, the old 'when you can't make your point convincingly, try to make the other guy look bad' argument. What's next, are you going to out my CIA agent wife or insist that I only object to your viewpoint because I was passed up for someone else's job?

Amy, the infinitessimal annual sum of smoke inhaled by passing smokers on the street is probably a lot less potentially damaging to your health than the bacteria that you receive from each and every handshake. A handshake isn't something one must do. If you reached out your hand to shake mine, would it be appropriate for me to call you a germ spreader and condescendingly insist we bow?

Be honest here, walking past a smoker on a sidewalk doesn't make your lungs hurt and waiting at a busstop in proximity to a smoker doesn't hurt you in any quantifiable or significant way anymore than your ANTI-SUV campaign hurt the environment by all the littering it surely caused.

Posted by: little ted at October 19, 2005 10:29 PM

Jody, do you consider somebody an asshole if they refuse to take abuse, but consider them polite if they just sit and stuff it?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 20, 2005 12:26 AM

Nope.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at October 20, 2005 5:43 AM

The comments here have been interesting. I note how keen some of you are to read authoritarianism into the sentiments of someone who is saying clearly that:

I don't want to restrict public smoking by law.
I think it is stupid to try to regulate manners.
I want people to be free to smoke in public.

I just want them to be polite in doing so. If you think that the bus bench scenario "does not happen," you may be able to convince yourself, but to those of us who have had it happen, your denials are laughable.

As for exhaust fumes - sorry, I don't care if bus exhaust is damaging my lungs more than cigarette smoke. The fact is that cigarette smoke stinks more, is more irritating, and makes me cough much more than the world's vehicles. Just who are you trying to kid?

Posted by: Jackie Danicki at October 20, 2005 12:56 PM

Thank you, Jackie, for clearing all of those points up so neatly!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 20, 2005 6:41 PM

>I don't want to restrict public smoking by law.
I think it is stupid to try to regulate manners.
I want people to be free to smoke in public.

Guess I missed that. If you can add 'I think it's stupid to tell complete strangers that one of their lifestyle choices is bad for them without an invitation to do so' then I have no problems whatsoever.

>I don't care if bus exhaust is damaging my lungs more than cigarette smoke. The fact is that cigarette smoke stinks more...Just who are you trying to kid?

Is this a joke? And besides I thought all this was started over the grave health epidemic caused by mere seconds of secondhand.

Posted by: little Ted at October 21, 2005 12:19 AM

"If you can add 'I think it's stupid to tell complete strangers that one of their lifestyle choices is bad for them without an invitation to do so' then I have no problems whatsoever."

It's a "lifestyle choice" to sit on pillows on the floor instead of furniture -- not to spew toxic fumes into others' eyes, hair, clothing, and lungs. Right now, public transportation isn't as clean as it could be. This is no justification to smoke up somebody else's airspace.

Little Ted...spoken like a smoker. Am I right?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 21, 2005 12:27 AM

Amy,
A true libertarian should be able to crush a point of view about obnoxious personal choice without demanding to know whether it is personally practised by the other person discussing it.
Otherwise the libertarian ends up sounding like my dreaded sister-in-law who prides herself on her "reasonably" relaxed attitudes (ha!), but always wants to know "but are you a homosexualist yourself" before kindly explaining "because if you are, of course you won't understand what I'm saying. You see no one NEEDS to be a homosexualist".

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at October 21, 2005 4:11 AM

I hope everyone realizes that Little Ted's argument includes the "two wrongs make a right" fallacy. That's the part comparing bus fumes with cigarette smoke. Neither is an excuse for the other.

Posted by: Radwaste at October 21, 2005 3:05 PM

Homosexualist?

And thanks, Rad..exactly right.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 21, 2005 3:57 PM

I find it foolish and nitpicky to complain about being forced to whiff smoke from a cigarette while engaging in an activity (waiting at a busstop) that inescapably involves breathing smoke. That's like complaining that one percent of my Coke tastes like Pepsi and demanding Pepsi do something about it.

No fallacy here.

And both Pepsi and Coke do kill you.

Posted by: little Ted at October 22, 2005 9:53 AM

Amy, I don't know exactly where it is that you're going or what it is that you're doing that you become completely engulfed in mushroom clouds of tobacco every time you step outside and strangers breathe into your hair, eyes, clothes and lungs, but this neighborhood sounds creepy and whatever it is you're doing sounds dangerous.

Posted by: little Ted at October 22, 2005 10:01 AM

Ted, try any urban area. Chicago, New York, Los Angeles -- any part of any place that isn't suburban; ie, people are on the streets and not just whizzing by you in their cars. You are working so hard to avoid the nut of this argument -- perhaps the smoking has addled your brain? How, with all the science out there can anybody smoke and not confess to themselves that they're an utter moron for doing it. Emphysema sound fun to you? Chemo therapy? (Get your blood changed with Janitor In A Drum, and you'll have some sense of it, I think.)

Pepsi and Coke kill you? Perhaps you're smoking something stronger than cigarettes. Again, see Rad's argument above. Your logic and your consideration level leave much to be desired. Of course, there is one study out that says smoking kills brain cells. Let's wait for some others on that before we take it as more than interesting. But, from the smokers' "logic" we see here -- I'd say there's a pretty good argument for that.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 22, 2005 10:22 AM

I didn't say smoking wouldn't kill me; I acknowledge that it probably will. In fact, I don't know why anyone would logically prefer to die in a diaper talking to his/her plant while under the impression that that plant is some friend who was run over by a train seventy-five years ago. I'll gladly take emphysema and heart attack over senility, impotence and incontinence any day of the week. Better to go out before I'm completely useless and do my future kids a favor.

What I'm saying is that living in a city, which I do, one's health is not damaged by walking past a smoker on a sidewalk or standing at a bus stop with one in any quantifiable way. Furthermore, the notion that strange people in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago breathe into each other's eyes is something that I can't quite picture or get my head around.

A little while ago, I saw a doctor on television who was talking about how bad cigarettes are for you and how sidestream's even worse. He's right. When asked what one should do to prevent from being damanged by others' smoking, he said that sidestream and second hand aren't a problem unless you are in an enclosed space, unlike a sidewalk or bus stop. And if you live with a smoker ask them to smoke outside.

Let's be honest here instead of melodramatic. I'm betting that the only time you've ever come home with your hair smelling like smoke is from a bar, a club, a restaurant (in years past but doubtfully now) or a smoker's home-none of which are places you would have been compelled to go. I'm also betting that you haven't walked in from a bus, a sidewalk, the park or any other outdoor public place/service and been told by a friend or family member that you smell like cigarette smoke.

If you think smokers are so inconsiderate, tell it to the guy in the elevator, and leave the one in the alley alone.

I don't know how anyone can deny that Pepsi and Coke are contributing to diabetes, obesity and therefore, premature death. Then again, I'm high aren't I?


>there is one study out that says smoking kills brain cells...But, from the smokers' "logic" we see here-- I'd say there's a pretty good argument for that.

If the logic's so poor, then why attack the smoker and not the logic? All I see is a diatribe about how dumb I am.

Posted by: little Ted at October 22, 2005 11:47 AM

Just this morning, I was seated in an outdoor café enjoying the sea air when, whoops, I was breathing in some rude assclown's ciggie.

You'll take emphysema, huh? Why don't you talk to an emphysema patient before you say that. And you're conveniently omitting lung cancer -- go to a chemo factory one of these days and see what people go through -- and see if you remain smugly convinced of what a genius you are for smoking.

The Pepsi and Coke contention is just moronic. I drink a Coke every day, and I defy you to find many women as healthy as I am. Moreover, when I drink a Coke, I don't spew it on those around me.

If you smoke, you're dumb. If you smoke around anybody else, you're rude and dumb.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 22, 2005 2:23 PM

Wow, you're really mad. But you're still not listening. I never said I was a genius for smoking. I said smoking on sidewalks and bus stops doesn't affect you to an extent anywhere near what you are claiming.

When you caught this horrible whiff at a cafe, did your lungs ache as you've suggested they do everytime you pass a smoker? Did you have to fumigate your hair? Did you blink back his hot breath from your retina? Of course not.

You don't spew pepsi on people? Good, I don't burn people with my red apples. We're finally on the same page.

There's nothing convenient in my omission of lung cancer, I just hadn't noticed it mentioned yet. I am unfortunately too well acquainted with death by lung cancer having lost six uncles (four coal miners and two who owned an insulation business and stripped asbestos) some of whom smoked some of whom didn't. Not all were blood and some of them were extended family, so they didn't mean a whole lot to me, but I started getting accustomed to seeing people dying of lung problems at a pretty early age.

However, I also lost a nonsmoking mother (whom no one in my family had even a single cigarette around in my recollection so that good old second hand and sidestream argument isn't going to fly) to a rare form of genetic lung cancer that hits the occasional person on her side of the family. I had to nurse her through that disease all day every day. I know how bad it is to see a fitness nut reduced to a skeleton who's lighter than her oxygen tank. I know what it's like to have to carry someone you love to the bathroom which is three feet away from the bed because they can't get out of the bed under their own power. I was barely a teenager.

A year later I had to do some of the same things for my grandfather whom we suddenly noticed had advanced alzheimer's until we had the money to put him in a nursing home. I found what he was subjected to by the unforgiving laws of nature to be much more insulting to him.

I've seen both deaths firsthand. I've seen both final breaths. An invitation to a death of lung cancer when presented with a choice between that and a drooling, embarassing senility is one that I will make without need for even a moment's consideration. There is no smugness or ignorance on my end, merely experiential preference.

And there're no names you can call me to make me say otherwise.

But if you wish to take the path of the splenetic: to keep calling me "dumb" and decide any explanation you disagree with is "moronic," I ask that you please do so while looking deep into the mirror to make sure that you haven't turned into that small puckered area between the cheeks that you so condescendingly suggest that we loathesome, odious, murderous smokers are.

Unless you have a productive point, I'm done here. I have no inclination to comment on repetitive name-calling.

Posted by: little Ted at October 22, 2005 8:34 PM

I'm not mad at you, and anyone who smokes is a moron.

And the pretense at lung cancer as a less horrible way to die isn't cutting it either.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 23, 2005 12:32 AM

PS See the picture of my friend Marlowe? She writhed brain-dead in a bed for a year and a half, in her mid 40s, thanks to cigarettes.

Anyone who smokes is a moron.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 23, 2005 12:34 AM

I'm rather late here, but I'll say my piece anyway.

This discussion wasn't started about people who smoke in public. It's about people who smoke in public and are rude. If you're a smoker, you're not particularly bothered by smoke, so probably don't notice the people who light up in non-smoking areas and deliberately blow their smoke at everyone else's faces. That doesn't mean those people don't exist. I assure you they do.

So the issue here isn't health, and it's a red herring to compare cigarette smoke to background exhaust fumes in this context. What the comparison should be is between rude inconsiderate smokers and people who, rather than just driving their cars from A to B, back their cars up to bus-stops and rev the engines for five minutes, deliberately pumping exhaust fumes over everyone waiting there. No-one does that, of course, because to do so would be thoroughly obnoxious. And the important point is that, even if car fumes were good for you, such behaviour would still be obnoxious.

Posted by: Squander Two at October 25, 2005 6:27 AM

"The very essence of being stupid is not realizing that you're stupid."

So... wait, then I'm not stupid? Holy shit.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at October 25, 2005 4:21 PM

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