disease prevention

Slate: We Used Terrible Science to Justify Smoking Bans

Like many of my essays criticizing the healthcare industry’s intrusion into gun rights, this very well argued and written essay at Slate deconstructs the supposed evils of second-hand smoke. I don’t smoke, but I do recognize the right of people to engage in activities I don’t enjoy as long as their pursuit does not hurt me, and, clearly, second-hand smoke is not nearly the evil we were taught it was.

Tobacco is still one of the world’s most important cash crops, and I find it sleazy and dishonest that American health authoritarians constantly want to stigmatize tobacco, but fail to simultaneously admit that they need to people to continue smoking because exorbitant taxes on tobacco products help to fund the tobacco settlement. Should you pay a risk premium for life and health insurance if you smoke? Absolutely. Should the activity be squashed in the public square because because it’s politically incorrect? Absolutely not. Let the marketplace decide the issue: if a bar or restaurant you enjoy allows smoking, vote with your feet and your wallet.

I admit to enjoying a good cigar once in awhile. Paired with a great Scotch, it can be sublime.

While science can inform, though not fully determine, the boundaries of where people are allowed to smoke, the debunking of the previous decade’s heart miracles should provide some grounds for humility. It may be neither feasible nor desirable to set back the clock and permit smoking everywhere, but laws in a liberal society can accommodate the rights and preferences of smokers and business owners far better than they do now.

Slate: We Used Terrible Science to Justify Smoking Bans. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2017/02/secondhand_smoke_isn_t_as_bad_as_we_thought.html