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Discussion of the Societal Harms of Smoking and Tobacco

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posted on Feb, 16 2015 @ 12:43 PM
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Is the personal behavior of the individual, the business of the government and th/
e "collective"
www.johnlocke.org...




To challenge — indeed, refute — the above beliefs, we have Unlucky Strike by Duke University neurobiology professor John Staddon. In this book, he shows that the conventional wisdom about smoking is almost completely mistaken. Staddon is neither an industry flack nor an apologist for smoking. He’s a scientist who can’t tolerate the misuse of science and specious arguments that anti-smoking zealots use to get their way.





His first target is the belief that smoking is a societal issue. “Quite apart from any supposed ‘rights’ of smokers, smoking is not in fact bad for the common good. Smoking is a private health problem, not a public health problem,” Staddon writes. Anti-smoking advocates will declare that statement to be nonsense because there’s proof that smoking lowers life expectancy, which certainly makes it a social, public health issue. That conclusion doesn’t follow from the premise, Staddon argues. A longer lifespan may be better for each individual (or maybe not — people make many trade-offs that might decrease their longevity), but the abstraction called “society” is not necessarily better off just because the people who comprise it are living longer.


This article speaks to the heart of the "public health" argument that individual health is the business of government and society. Substiute the words "alcohol" and "obesity" for the words "tobacco and smoking" and you will see what I mean.

My argument is that we pay taxes to the government in order to maintain schools, roads, secure the peace. In the last 2 decades, public health organizations have argued for a far-reaching role in personal health to the point of over-riding even the rights declared in the constitution. I beleive that if we do not stand up to these "experts", we will find ourselves living in a state of jack-booted health tyranny.

Tired of Control Freaks




posted on Feb, 16 2015 @ 01:05 PM
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Well in a way I kind of agree with you. The goal was to stigmatize smoking in order to protect the health of non-smokers. Had they been honest and scientific in their campaigns to end smoking, they would have discussed and explored the negative physical effects of quitting on the pulmonary blood vessels, for instance, which we never heard about.

To forbid smoking outdoors is something I find ridiculous, and in my area they are all gung-ho on enforcement. At this point, it is crossing over into stigmatizing the smoker.

Alcohol consumption is legal, and I have no doubt that the coffers of many a lawyer are full thanks to defending drunk drivers who kill and maim because they make bad judgment calls. There have to be boundaries on public behaviours though, so why do you substitute alcohol in your argument?

As for obesity, it has zoned in on the person who is obese rather than on the causes and remedies. If processed, pre-packaged foods are the culprit, or too much sugar in products, then why not go after those things at the source rather than nailing the consumer? I understand that obesity has all kinds of complications that incur costs on the health care system, but I do feel that some of their awareness campaigns are misplaced.



posted on Feb, 16 2015 @ 04:00 PM
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a reply to: TiredofControlFreaks

When an inch is given, a mile is taken.

All such conflations of personal bodily property and state interests are horrific.



posted on Feb, 16 2015 @ 04:47 PM
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a re

Are you a smoking lobbyist ???

I want a job !!



posted on Feb, 16 2015 @ 05:39 PM
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a reply to: IntastellaBurst

No I am not!! But give me two years, after I retire, and the anti-smokers are going to have fight on their hands.

Tired of Control Freaks



posted on Feb, 16 2015 @ 06:02 PM
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a reply to: TiredofControlFreaks

His first target is the belief that smoking is a societal issue.

If people smoke in society, it's a societal issue. If I went around burning little bundles of weeds, generating noxious odors that offended people and stuck to their clothing, I would be cited for disturbing the peace. Smokers want special treatment for themselves, for reasons never cogently elucidated. It's up to society to decide how to deal with noisome public behavior, so it's a societal issue.


This is the biggest weapon on the anti-smoking arsenal, but Staddon shows that smoking does not in fact add to total medical costs. The problems smoking causes are mostly “fast-acting killers” that reduce the much greater costs of lengthy treatment for other, inevitable, health problems.

So why not legalize, or even encourage, some even faster killers? If we can kill people fast enough, they'll never need medical treatment, and our healthcare costs will be reduced to zero.


Smokers are making a trade-off — an increased risk of severe medical problems at an earlier age in exchange for the enjoyment they get from smoking. The latter point almost always is overlooked by those who want to stamp out smoking. Many smokers report that they find it relaxing and that it helps them concentrate.

Of course they do. They're addicts. Addicts always report that their drug of choice makes them feel good, at least as long as the addiction is active. I don't think relying on addicts to characterize the health implications of their drug is the wisest move.


He is similarly disdainful of the widely accepted statement that there is no safe exposure level to smoke. There is no scientific evidence for that claim and, Staddon points out, it’s impossible to see how such an assertion ever could be proved. Human beings, he observes, have lived with some smoke in their environments since the beginning of time, so it’s just not credible to maintain that we must now go to extraordinary lengths to get rid of every wisp of tobacco smoke.

It is true that the dose makes the poison, but this "beginning of time" argument is pure silliness. Humans have not lived with tobacco smoke since the beginning of time. Tobacco is not native to Africa. And even if we had been around tobacco smoke since the beginning of time, we've lived with lots of things since the beginning of time that we're trying to get rid of or have gotten rid of. Smallpox, polio, starvation, war, rape, etc.



posted on Feb, 16 2015 @ 06:03 PM
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a reply to: TiredofControlFreaks

Tobacco should follow the same regulations that are imposed on marijuana, and vice versa.



posted on Feb, 16 2015 @ 09:25 PM
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a reply to: FurvusRexCaeli

Your first arguement - public nuisance.

Before this round of punishing, draconian bans, smoking was already banned in every place where people needed to go. Government offices, public transportation, retail stores etc. The current bans intrude government power into private spaces - ie privately owned hospitality venues. It was and is the property owners right to determine what customers he wishes to target - extreme anti-smokers and athma diva or smokers and those non-smokers who are tolerent. Even if it was the meanest coffee shop in town that served only rough, tough smokers, it was somebodies livelyhood and anti-smokers had no business interfering with the livelyhood of others.

If smoking bans were as popular and loved as anti-smokers would like us to believe, there would be absolutely no need for enforcment. Private hospitality venues would ban smoking on their own. Instead the government has to enforce smoking bans, even 10 years after they were implemented. Both the owners and the public hate it!

This is why, ultimately, the bans will fail. Governments are running out of money to enforce the bans~

Your second argument - public nuisance - If you have the right to burn candles, wear perfume, operate bbq's and wood burning stoves, spray chemical air fresheners, cook foods that generate odours objectionable to others, use cleaners and paints that others may be allergic to, drive a car with noxious and toxic emissions - then I have just as much right to burn 19 grams of dried leaves for my pleasure!

3. Addiction argument - whether tobacco users are addicts or not is arguable. According to the current definition of addiction, everything is addictive and everyone is an addict of some sort. Regardless of this issue, tobacco is a legal product. Everytime a smoker buys a pack of cigarettes, a contract is negotiated. There is an offer (to sell the product), there is acceptance of the offer (agreement to purchase) and there is money, with taxes paid to the senior partner in the tobacco business, the government. This fulfills all the legal requirements of a contract.

Now implied with the contract, is the asssumption that I will use the product, exactly as intended by the seller. I will smoke it! That means that I have a legal right to consume the product I have purchased.

4. Fourth arguement - we are trying to get rid of tobacco - that argument implies consent to an action. I have never consented to such an action. It is forced on me by threat of violence. It breaches my right to consume the product I have purchased. I pay taxes on such product and society as a whole, benefits from my taxes. I have the right to be equally represented on the tobacco issue and I have not been. I also have a right to benefit equally from the taxes I pay and I do not.

Tired of Control Freaks



posted on Feb, 16 2015 @ 09:27 PM
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a reply to: AlaskanDad

Tobacco IS the most regulated product on the market. It has been so since the 1970s or so - that was 40 years ago! What exactly is your point?

Tired of Control Freaks



posted on Feb, 16 2015 @ 09:30 PM
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a reply to: TiredofControlFreaks

to all - this thread is supposed to be about the societal costs of smoking

Tired of control Freaks



posted on Feb, 16 2015 @ 09:42 PM
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nytimes.com


The researchers found that from age 20 to 56, obese people racked up the most expensive health costs. But because both the smokers and the obese people died sooner than the healthy group, it cost less to treat them in the long run.

On average, healthy people lived 84 years. Smokers lived about 77 years and obese people lived about 80 years. Smokers and obese people tended to have more heart disease than the healthy people.

Cancer incidence, except for lung cancer, was the same in all three groups. Obese people had the most diabetes, and healthy people had the most strokes. Ultimately, the thin and healthy group cost the most, about $417,000, from age 20 on.

The cost of care for obese people was $371,000, and for smokers, about $326,000.


The cost to society is not from smokers. Seems healthy people cost us more.

forbes.com


“Obese men rack up an additional $1,152 a year in medical spending, especially for hospitalizations and prescription drugs, Cawley and Chad Meyerhoefer of Lehigh University reported in January in the Journal of Health Economics. Obese women account for an extra $3,613 a year. Using data from 9,852 men (average BMI: 28) and 13,837 women (average BMI: 27) ages 20 to 64, among whom 28 percent were obese, the researchers found even higher costs among the uninsured: annual medical spending for an obese person was $3,271 compared with $512 for the non-obese.”

...

Making the cost impact all the more troubling is the fact that, unlike smokers, obese people tend to live almost as long as those who keep their weight under control. ”Smokers die early enough that they save Social Security, private pensions, and Medicare” trillions of dollars”, said Duke’s Eric Finkelstein. “But mortality isn’t that much higher among the obese.”


Obesity apparently costs us more than smokers as well.



edit on 16-2-2015 by Elton because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 16 2015 @ 09:55 PM
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a reply to: Elton

That's a fascinating post bunch of quotes! Thanks for giving me something to research for the next hour or two. Could be cherry picking, but it piques my interest.

I'd think it matters most how many ill years someone remains alive. My thought was those seemed to be the most fit would die suddenly of natural causes and be the least burden to society, but it seems this may not be so.



posted on Feb, 16 2015 @ 10:01 PM
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a reply to: Elton

You are right...and the government knows it, so they are going after the fat people too.
Then they will find something else to go after, when that tax money runs out.

Some may not agree with the OP on his affection for smoking, but his arguments about freedoms and government control are spot-on.



posted on Feb, 16 2015 @ 10:09 PM
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a reply to: Elton

You also need to consider the saving in pension money from smokers and obese people dying sooner than healthy people

Tired of Control Freaks



posted on Feb, 16 2015 @ 10:11 PM
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a reply to: lakesidepark

its easy to stand up to the government for rights that you agree with. But if you don't stand up for the rights of private citizens when you don't agree with them, than rights are merely constructs of social fads and have no enduring meaning what-so-ever!

Tired of Control Freaks



posted on Feb, 16 2015 @ 11:09 PM
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a reply to: FurvusRexCaeli

Once upon a time "public behavior" was someone simply doing something outdoors.

Therein lies the problem: when humans want their constructed "society" to usurp the planet that was here already. Its bad enough that I am part of the only species that has to pay to exist. No other species on Earth is summarily enslaved into a lifelong trade of labor for baubles.

But now, even just being outdoors is considered "public", and therefore subject to the whims of a collective desire for "society"?

No thanks. When "society" can avoid pumping oil and radioactive waste into the oceans en masse...society will possibly have a moral leg to stand on.



posted on Feb, 16 2015 @ 11:21 PM
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originally posted by: bigfatfurrytexan
a reply to: FurvusRexCaeli

Once upon a time "public behavior" was someone simply doing something outdoors.


You realize that more animals than human beings have behavior which can't be done the same around the group as in private, right?


Therein lies the problem: when humans want their constructed "society" to usurp the planet that was here already. Its bad enough that I am part of the only species that has to pay to exist. No other species on Earth is summarily enslaved into a lifelong trade of labor for baubles.


All life pays for existence. Not sure why you think it's just humans? This labor you speak of affords all the luxuries you partake in.


But now, even just being outdoors is considered "public", and therefore subject to the whims of a collective desire for "society"?


That's not entirely true. If you have private land, you can walk around naked, crap out in the open, pretty much whatever as long as the neighbors can't see you.


No thanks. When "society" can avoid pumping oil and radioactive waste into the oceans en masse...society will possibly have a moral leg to stand on.


Thousands of years ago, human beings still had an impact. It's not just industrial civilization, and all it's excesses which have caused troubles. We've been crazy hairless apes for quite a while. Thankfully, we'll leave this planet before the point of no return. Just as you enjoy your life dead on a plate, we enjoy the fruits of this planet as a whole to be consumed by our will.




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