NYC to Outlaw Smoking in Apartments? Bullshit!!!
Mayor Bloomberg, the petit tyrant, can bite me.
Now they're (in effect) trying to tell us that we can't engage in a perfectly legal activity in the privacy of our own homes!?! That's taking it too goddamn far. It violates the rights of private property owners. It violates the rights of tenants. It violates basic decency. It violates logic and spits in the faces of science and civilization. It is one of the most offensive proposals ever.
HIzzoner's latest hare-brained nanny state scheme to "protect the health" of New Yorkers pisses me off and makes me want to keep smoking just to exercise my right to kill myself in the way I see fit. One thing about smokers is that we're a hell of a lot more realistic than non-smokers. We're OK with our own mortality. We enjoy an activity that we know is bad for us. We do this of our own free will, addicts though we may be.
But that's neither here nor there.
First of all, the "science" behind the notion that secondhand smoke is harmful is deeply flawed. Look at childhood asthma, for example. Asthma rates have skyrocketed as smoking rates have fallen over the past few decades. Far be it from me to argue post hoc ergo propter hoc, but a preponderance of evidence suggests that exposure to secondhand smoke is actually a deterrent to the development of asthma. Don't believe me? Childhood asthma rates happen to be lowest in the countries with the highest rates of adult smoking. Yes, it's true: the United States has the second highest asthma mortality rate in the world and one of the lowest rates of smoking. Heavy-smoking Poland, Croatia, Slovenia can't hold a candle to us anti-smoking petite tyrant American assholes. The heaviest smokers in the world -- Greeks -- don't even make the top 58 in the asthma department, and they regularly smoke in their own homes in the presence of children, no less. One French study supported the hypothesis that secondhand smoke leads to the development of a thin layer of mucous in kids' lungs which protects the lung tissue from more harmful particulate matter, the kind emitted by diesel trucks and power plants and the like.
And I could go on about rates of heart disease, cancer and a bunch of other shit that cigarettes are supposedly the sole or primary cause of which are, in reality, not that high in the heavy-smoking regions and quite high in the light smoking regions.
But I won't.
For the sake of argument, let's just say that secondhand smoke is really, really bad for you. You know what else is bad for you? Benzene in your water supply. Oddly enough, I don't hear about anyone arguing for the outlawing of gasoline. Not having drinking water at all is probably pretty bad for you too, but I don't hear anybody talking about criminalizing golf. What does that funky smell that emanates from every fast food outlet have in it? I don't know, but I'd be willing to bet it's not good for you.
As for smoke itself, cigarettes are not the biggest source of it by a long shot.
Your neighbor's backyard barbecue puts hundreds of packs of cigarettes worth of smoke in the air. Oddly, I don't hear anyone screaming out for a ban on backyard barbecues.
The fact of the matter is that this is a personal vendetta by a crazy billionaire who thinks smoking is icky and thinks he knows what's best for everybody. The fact of the matter is that what we have is a basic breakdown of civility. My neighbors smoke and don't mind my smoking, but if they did mind, I would hope that they would mention it to me. If they did, I would get an ionizer or something, you know, like the ones at Narita Airport in Tokyo that have been shown to clean the air so well that the cleanest air in the airport is found in the smoking lounges. I mean, can't we all just talk to each other and work things out? Must we fucking regulate and control every goddamn thing?
As for me, I am a proud smoker. I don't give a fuck if you think I'm a pathetic addict or if you think I smell bad. I don't give a fuck if I die a few years premature, but I suspect I'm going to outlive most of the well-intentioned busybodies who lectured me about how bad smoking was as they munched on Big Macs.
If New York City passes this regulation, I will move to Jersey and take my tax dollars -- the ones I pay in city income tax and the ones I pay on my smokes -- to Hoboken, and New York City can continue its sad slide into bland, conformist mediocrity. I'm sure it won't miss me, but I already miss it.