March 7th, 2006

Brad @ Burning Man

Pushing Back, a Little, against "Smoke Free" Spaces

Smoke Free Workplaces? I argued yesterday for my position that while there are a few people with chemical sensitivities or tobacco smoke allergies who have legitimate medical reasons not to be around second-hand smoke, such people are no more common than any people with any other allergy. Now, here's the question I'd like to pose: what's so special about this one allergy? Collapse )

Smoke-Free Recreation? You know that impulse you have, when you discover a new social scene or a new activity or a new subculture? The one that says, "Wow, this is just perfect! Now if I could only change this one thing, it'd be even better!"? Learn to distrust that impulse. I did, the hard way. You're the new person. There is no meaningful way for you to predict whether making that one change will, in fact, improve the situation -- or kill it dead. Collapse ) Making those activities smoke free will not enable you, the smoke-allergic person, to enjoy what everybody else does. It will enable you to stand around in increasingly empty venues with other smoke-allergic people, wondering why everything seems so dead lately. Collapse ) I say that it is impossible for you to predict whether or not a social activity will still be fun after all the smokers are forced to leave.

Anyway, I'm done with this subject, once I finish replying to the inevitable flames. I don't actually have a dog in this fight. OK, that's not entirely true. I'm in favor of anything that guarantees that the volunteer activities and subcultures that I'm active in are fully equipped with people in all three of the essential roles, and I'm very dubious about the prospect of what ever-expanding smoking bans might do to the "fun maven" population. But I'm a non-smoker myself; if the scene goes smoke-free and still survives, all it will cost me personally is that it will persecute about a quarter of my personal friends. This all started as a thought experiment, I remind you: this has been what I would tell a cigarette company, and what I would be willing to say on their behalf for pay, in the profoundly unlikely event that they wanted me to be one of their Merchants of Death.
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