Friday, December 13, 2013

San Francisco Freedom-Haters and the Sale of Cigarettes

San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar says he plans to introduce legislation next month that would set caps on the total tobacco sales permits allowed in neighborhoods with existing high concentrations, such as the Tenderloin, Bayview, Chinatown and Mission, reports the San Francisco Examminer.

When there is business turnover, new tobacco permits won’t be issued if they exceed those caps.

Keep in mind, this isn't about smoking in public places, this is simply the prevention of a voluntary exchange between a cigarette dealer and someone who wants to buy cigarettes. This is really about people who can't mind their own business and want to lord over others---freedom-haters.

Bizarrely, the freedom-haters are even promoting the plan as a method to keep the streets clean!

SFE reports:
Department of Public Works spokeswoman Rachel Gordon said cigarette litter remains a problem.
“It is one of the major causes of litter in San Francisco,” Gordon said. She added that the problem is most prevalent around places that sell tobacco products, such as mom-and-pop shops in the Tenderloin, Muni bus stops and outside of bars.
Is this woman out of her f'ing mind? The Tenderloin  is one of the greatest human pits on the face of the earth. One would wish cigarette butts were the only problem in the Tenderloin.

The Tenderloin, where freedom-haters think there is a cigarette butt problem.

These same freedom-haters are against real progress that would actually clean up these areas.

Then, of course, there are the freedom-haters, who just think they know what is good for you and that cigarettes are not.

Here's SFE again:
For anti-tobacco advocates such as Mar, the sale numbers only reaffirm the need for increased measures to try and curb smoking. “We need to do much more,” he said. 
Recent past efforts include increasing no-smoking areas and banning the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies.
I have made the point many times before, the banning of any product for health reasons shows an incredible amount of hubris on the part of those demanding such bans. Just who the hell are they to have the say on what is good and what is not good for you? Science is always evolving to reach new conclusions, sometimes opposite those of earlier views. Why can't we leave decisions up to individuals?

Indeed, as far as cigarette smoking, the science suggests that cigarette smoking may not necessarily be bad for everyone. Peter Brimlow points out:

Well, what are the rewards of cigarette smoking? Apart from intangible pleasure, the most obvious is behavioral. A battery of studies, such as those by British researcher D.M. Warburton, show that cigarettes, whatever their other effects, really do stimulate alertness, dexterity and cognitive capacity.
And alertness, dexterity, etc., can be useful. Such as when driving. Or flying – as Congress recognized when it exempted airline pilots from the ban on smoking on domestic flights.
These behavioral benefits suggest an answer to the Great Tobacco Mystery: why almost a third of adult Americans continue to do something they are told, incessantly and insistently, is bad for them. (Duke University economist W. Kip Viscusi reported in his 1992 book, Smoking: Making the Risky Decision, that survey data show smokers, if anything, exaggerate the health danger of their habit.)
Smokers, according to numerous studies such as those by University of Michigan researchers Ovide and Cynthia Pomerleau, are different from nonsmokers. They tend toward depression and excitability. Current understanding is that nicotine is “amphoteric,” that is, it can act to counter both conditions, depending on how it is consumed. (Quick puffs stimulate, long drags calm.)
The implication is fascinating. A large part of the population seems to be aware of its significant although not pathological personality quirks, and to have discovered a form of self-medication that regulates them.
Of course, this explanation for the stubbornness of smokers is not as satisfying as what Washington prefers to believe: mass seduction by the wicked tobacco companies and their irresistible advertising. Nor would it justify huge rescue operations by heroic politicians and bureaucrats.
Beyond its behavioral effects, smoking seems also to offer subtler health rewards to balance against its undisputed risks:
Parkinson’s disease. The frequency of this degenerative disorder of the nervous system among smokers appears to be half the rate among nonsmokers – an effect recognized by the Surgeon General as along ago as 1964.
Alzheimer’s disease. Similarly, the frequency of this degenerative mental disorder has recently been found to be as much as 50%less among smokers than among nonsmokers for example, by the H studies reviewed in the International Journal of Epidemiology in 1991.
Endometrial cancer. There is extensive and long-standing evidence that this disease of the womb occurs as much as 50% less among smokers as documented by, for example, a New England Journal of Medicine article back in 1985. The triggering mechanism appears to be a reduction of estrogen levels.
Prostate cancer. Conversely, smoking seems to raise estrogen levels in men and may be responsible for what appears to be a 50% lower rate of prostate cancer among smokers, although this needs corroboration.
Osteoarthritis. This degenerative disorder of bone and cartilage is up to five times less likely to occur among heavy smokers as documented, for example, by the federal government’s first Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Colon cancer, ulcerative colitis. These diseases of the bowel seem to be about 30% and 50% less frequent among smokers as documented, for example, by articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association and in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1981 and 1983, respectively.
Other benefits that have been suggested for smoking: Lower rates of sarcoidosis and allergic alveolitis, both lung disorders, and possibly even acne. Smokers are also lighter ironically, because obesity is a leading cause of the cardiovascular disease that smoking is also supposed to exacerbate. So you could quit smoking and still die of a heart attack because of the weight you put on[...]
But consider this theoretical possibility: Should 60-year-olds take up smoking because its protection against Alzheimer’s is more immediate that its potential damage to the lungs, which won’t show up for 30 years if at all?
A theoretical possibility and likely to remain theoretical. Research into possible benefits of tobacco and nicotine is widely reported to be stymied by the absolutist moral fervor of the antismoking campaign[...]he extirpation of smoking had become another “moral equivalent of war” as President Carter called the energy crisis in the 1970s, and as price and wage controls were viewed earlier. There is no role for tradeoffs, risk-reward calculations or free choice.

Why don’t tobacco companies point out the potential offsetting rewards of smoking? Besides the usual corporate cowardice and bureaucratic inertia, the answer may be another, typically American, disease: lawyers. Directing the companies’ defense, they apparently veto any suggestion that smoking has benefits for fear of liability suits and of the possible regulatory implications if nicotine is seen as a drug.

Which leaves smokers defenseless against a second typically American disease: the epidemic of power hungry puritanical bigots.


  1. The control freaks. Sometimes I don't know which is worse, the "religious left" (their god is government) or the "religious right". Both want to impose their value system on everyone else at the end of a gun. Such loving and compassionate people. Not.

  2. I personally think smoking is disgusting, and I don't understand why people do it. However it's not the role of government to stop people from smoking or try and stop them. These nanny staters go up in arms when people try to get around their rules and regulations. Recently I heard about people getting around cigarette taxes by buying tobacco and having the smoke shop use their rolling machines to make cigarettes for them on the spot. The outrage from the nanny staters over this was nuts!

  3. Another thing is, nicotine isn't addictive to everyone. They never tell you that.

  4. Of course it should not be banned. But neither is it good for you. It has been a disaster for my whole family, me, my father, my uncle (who didn't even smoke, but his wife did); and my mother died because of it. It is not good for you!

    A scientist where I work believed he had A.D.D., (another fight, another day), but he self medicated by using nicotine lozenges. He believed that it helped him, and told me that his administrative assistant had notice it too.

    I use nicotine gum to replace smoking, and I agree that it is helpful mentally.

    But advocating smoking for 'health reasons', well that is a no-go. Nicotine may have its uses. Smoking? No. I suggest you don't do it.

    1. :-) One could make tobacco use appear healthy.Just omit anything "bad" & enhance the supposed benefit.Much the same method used by what has become so called tobacco control to denormalize smoking.There actually are some benefits from tobacco use but the risks are greater.

  5. Can't wait until these progressive retards manage to make marijuana legal and tobacco illegal. Of course they won't see the irony.

  6. Merely more stupidity from the anti-tobacco zealots.They should be banned to save everyone from the secondhand effects of this stupidity.Restricting tobacco will raise smuggling rates even higher than the increased levels they have already created with high tobacco taxes.The financial cost will be high.These people want to further decrease revenue in their quest to drive up healthcare costs.

  7. Cigarettes are awesome, but I quit smoking them 7 years ago for "political reasons". Eventually, someone is going to get their kids taken away by Social Services for the crime of smoking at home or in the car.

    1. No crime has been committed.The kids aren't being harmed.Now the deaths,rapes,robberies etc. caused by smoking bans should be a crime.Hate crimes already exist but,as yet,no ban fans have been charged.Just a matter of time.