March 6th, 2006

Brad @ Burning Man

It's All about the Smell (and What Causes the Smell)

In all probability, you will never in your life do anything as dangerous as your daily commute to and from work. If any one thing is statistically most likely to put you in the hospital, that'd be it. And yet, oddly enough, we don't pass laws requiring everybody to walk to work or take mass transit. The only thing you're likely to do in your life that's anywhere nearly as risky as commuting by automobile is stepping into or out of your bathtub or shower. And yet, even less comprehensibly because it would be so cheap to do so, neither the national building code nor local housing codes mandate grab rails in and near the tub, and non-slip bathroom flooring. The last set of statistics I saw said that every year a professional football player plays in the NFL takes an average of two years off of his projected lifespan. And yet, not only is football still legal, given the huge financial subsidies that are given to NFL owners it's practically mandatory. I can come up with as many examples of highly risky, life shortening behaviors that are perfectly legal as you want. Not a few of them endanger others who didn't volunteer. Not only are hardly any of them illegal, none of the legal ones attract such passionate attempts to ban or control them as smoking. Why is that? I'll tell you why:

Smokers smell bad. Collapse ) And that being said, this is the number one piece of advice that I would give to the tobacco industries if they called me up and asked: the smell is almost entirely under your control, and you're morons for not fixing it. Collapse )

And that, I guarantee you, will pull the rug right out from under the smoke nazis, and leave them thrashing around just as helplessly and ignored just as thoroughly as the Center for Science in the Public Interest's campaign against movie theater popcorn and Chinese food.

One last more of these, tomorrow, because I know that those of you who are allergic and those of you who just plain don't like the smell, alike, are still going to insist that public places all be smoke-free so that you can enjoy them, too. Tomorrow I'll explain why that's an unreasonable request, at least some of the time.