Overheard: Jeremy Irons against smoking bans
April 8th, 2011
01:56 PM ET

Overheard: Jeremy Irons against smoking bans

Secondhand smoke may kill 1 in 100 people worldwide each year, and harm unborn babies, but some people are still in favor of allowing smoking everywhere.

Actor Jeremy Irons, for instance, doesn't think people should be restricted from lighting up in public places. Irons told Parade that such bans are "appalling" and are effectively "bullying a minority."

Because if you say, ‘I really think I should have the right to smoke in the street or in the park or at the beach,’ people will say, ‘You shouldn't be smoking at all. It’s bad for you.’ Well, I think we can choose what’s bad for us. I mean, there are many other things in life that are bad for us. Being surrounded by boring people is very bad for us - it attacks the heart. And being surrounded by mass consumerism, as one is in most urban areas, is bad for you, making you believe that if you buy something, it'll make you happy. But all those things people are allowed to get away with.”

But boring and people and mass consumerism don't cause cancer, do they?

soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Jen

    Here, here Jeremy! We will continue to finance the schools, roads, taxes, etc. in this country with smoking. If you don't like it, don't smoke!

    April 8, 2011 at 16:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Allergic to smoke and it makes me sck

      Considering that I have been in fancy restaurants when smoking was legit. After a person next to me lit up, I no longer could taste or smell a very expensive meal. I also had an allergic reaction that lasted for hours with the usual symptoms.

      April 8, 2011 at 19:42 | Report abuse |
    • Audrey Silk

      @Allergic to smoke and it makes me sck... You canNOT be allergic to smoke. There are no allergens in cigarette smoke. I'm so sick of hearing this hypochondriacal complaint. I believe you feel sick but it's only because you THINK it should be so.

      April 9, 2011 at 03:31 | Report abuse |
    • collegemom

      I have no problem with people smoking for the most part as long as I am not subjected to the smoke and you don't want me to save your life everytime you nearly die from shortness of breath. Smoking has place a great burden on the cost of medical care. People that want to be alive need to not put their bodies in the path of an oncoming car, or cigarette or anyother well known health hazard. I smoked and I quit.

      April 9, 2011 at 03:50 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Indeed you CAN have allergic reactions to smoke!

      Cigarette smoke contains many toxic chemicals and irritants. Children have undeveloped immune system so they can become allergic to many things. If your child already has an allergy, he will be more sensitive to cigarette smoke. You should stop smoking inside completely, because your child already has breathing problems and asthma. Smoke additionally irritates his respiratory tract and makes breathing more difficult. Even, researches justified that children and spouses of smokers develop more respiratory infections and asthma than people living in non-smokers surrounding. It also increases the risk of other complications like sinusitis and bronchitis.

      April 12, 2011 at 07:21 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Audrey Silk you are very poorly informed and totally wrong.

      April 12, 2011 at 07:30 | Report abuse |
    • Scribbles

      I developed asthma from my parents' second-hand smoke, which has left scar tissue on my lungs. When I breath in the smoke from your ciggarette on a public street, it feels like tiny needles are poking all around my lungs. Your ciggarette is causing me PAIN! And I woln't always tell you, or let you know. But please, do not smoke in public.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:00 | Report abuse |
    • dom625

      No, Mike, you cannot be allergic to cigarette smoke. Allergic reactions stem from the body overreacting to what it perceives as foreign proteins in the body. There are no proteins in cigarette smoke. Sure, the chemicals can cause irritation, but not a true allergy.

      April 15, 2011 at 16:03 | Report abuse |
    • Patricia Joubert

      All I know is that the world was a much happier, more relaxed fun place to live in when almost everyone smoked almost anywhere. It was the one thing that connected us, gave us freedom. Yes it is bad to be sick and people don't want to die. However so many of us are sick anyway, and we become old, and we are forced to live in a world where most people are unable to care about others. There is no real answer. What about ?Coca-Cola, sugar, cream puffs, athlete injuries, car deaths, war deaths, the loss of everything interesting, golden and intelligent. ?So there is no need to pick on smoking. It's a small drop in a huge bucket. I don't want to blow smoke in your face if you don't like the smell. That is fair. But now you have made the who,e world a sad place in your own way. Is that fair?

      August 9, 2017 at 21:28 | Report abuse |
  2. OldPhysio

    Bless Mr Irons. It just proves again that acting talent and common sense are not genetically linked.

    April 8, 2011 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • danzer

      "I would rather suffer the consequences of too much freedom, than too little." thomas jefferson.

      April 8, 2011 at 18:04 | Report abuse |
    • Alice

      OldPhysio – failed, you can sit down and think it again. What he had to say is more general and profound than you managed to comprehend. :/

      April 10, 2011 at 18:22 | Report abuse |
  3. JB

    Irons is right. I'm an adult and I'll do as I please.

    April 8, 2011 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Care a little about others, please

      It pleases some people to drive after drinking or to break into your home and steal from you, but those are examples of thoughtless actions that may hurt others, and so society is against them. What is the difference?

      April 9, 2011 at 10:33 | Report abuse |
    • Gary Ugarek

      @ Care – did you just link Cigarette smoking to breaking into someone's house... My god the posters on this site truly are brain dead

      May 6, 2011 at 18:07 | Report abuse |
  4. Harry Ball

    Too bad our government doesn't believe in freedom anymore. And it's even more unfortunate that the general public believes these BS second hand smoking statistics. It's a bigger scam than that vaccine study. Everyone needs a boogey man I guess.

    April 8, 2011 at 17:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Allergic to smoke and it makes me sck

      What about freedom to not be made sick by someone else's habit.

      April 8, 2011 at 19:46 | Report abuse |
    • Care a little about others, please

      Even if the statistics are wrong, 2nd-hand smoke is definitely harmful to pregnant women, children, people with certain illnesses. You know this is true.

      April 9, 2011 at 10:35 | Report abuse |
    • Alice

      Even if someone is smoking in the park when nobody's around??? Because yes, he's not even allowed to do that. THINK, for God's sake.

      April 10, 2011 at 18:12 | Report abuse |
    • hannah1

      What about the freedom of the rest of us not to be subjected to your noxious, toxic habit? I used to work in an office full of smokers. I was CONSTANTLY coming down with colds and bronchitis. When it was FINALLY banned, I didn't get sick anymore!!! You know where you can put your cigarettes, lit end first!

      April 11, 2011 at 08:20 | Report abuse |
    • Jujubeans

      you're a hypocondriac, Hannah

      April 11, 2011 at 11:04 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      It's not just our government. It is many governments in 1st world countries. Funny thing is some are right wing some are left so it isn't really political. Even China is coming to see smoking is a bad idea.

      April 12, 2011 at 07:23 | Report abuse |
    • Scribbles

      I developed asthma from my parents' second-hand smoke, which has left scar tissue on my lungs. When I breath in the smoke from your ciggarette on a public street, it feels like tiny needles are poking all around my lungs. Your ciggarette is causing me PAIN! And I woln't always tell you, or let you know. But please, do not smoke in public.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:01 | Report abuse |
  5. Cyndi

    I could care less if people want to smoke, but when it comes to smoking, people aren't just hurting themselves. I don't want to be a 2 pack a day second hand smoker.

    April 8, 2011 at 18:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jujubeans

      can't we compromise and find a way for non-smokers to not be exposed to second hand smoke?

      April 11, 2011 at 14:25 | Report abuse |
  6. Mia

    Seriously, do harm to yourself if you want, but the fact is that smoking causes other people harm, particularly those who are asthmatic, allergic or have other lung issues. Simply smoking outdoors does not cut it (I've had smokers blow smoke in the direction of people, not knowing if those people are allergic or not, but they didn't care). It's almost like saying, "I'll urinate or defecate where ever I want in a public place." Health hazard, right?

    April 8, 2011 at 20:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jujubeans

      most smokers bend over backwards to be considerate.

      April 11, 2011 at 14:26 | Report abuse |
  7. Sylvie

    Government should not be allowed to legislate our bodies, period. Where's the ban on getting drunk? It's certainly not in the booze ads with the perfect people, encouraging you to be like them. It's not in the frat houses, where you are considered uncool if you don't get raging drunk. How many people are killed by "second hand drunks" in car crashes? The statistics would frighten you. Do NOT tell me whether or not I can smoke. And those of you who don't smoke and fuss about how it makes you sick? Leave the room. Why do YOUR rights supercede mine? I don't think so. And, by the way, your perfume makes me ill and the smell of your dinner choice is nauseating. Should we send you outside in the cold and rain to eat because you offend? Shall we make a law against whining brats who intefere with our quiet dinners and send them outside because it offends? It's simple: Government needs to stay out of our lives. I will make informed decisions on my own.

    April 8, 2011 at 20:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • hannah1

      There's no ban on getting drunk because you can't hurt anyone else doing it. Unless, of course you get into a car and drive, and there IS a law against that. There is also a law against public drunkenness! (Do you live in a vacuum?)
      The governmant is not strict enough about non-smikong! And if you blow smoke in MY face, I'll shove the cigarette up your ignorant nose.

      April 11, 2011 at 08:26 | Report abuse |
  8. Jennifer Blanchard

    I'm sorry, I don't get it. I can get highly sick because of someone's perfume but they won't ban that! I am allergic to a lot of things but I don't get to stay inside my entire life. Although I don't smoke – I feel that smokers are unfairly targeted. You can have someone's vehicle spewing obnoxious smells....but that's ok. Someone lights up a cigarette and all of a sudden we get high and mighty..... I don't know. I think there is a double standard going on and the government is getting waaaay too involved. I

    April 8, 2011 at 20:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jujubeans

      hear, hear!

      April 11, 2011 at 14:26 | Report abuse |
  9. Bartender Martin

    I have been bartending for 37 years, in smoking allowed bars. I have owned a bar for 30 years, and I allow smoking on my private property. You may come in only with my permission, and if I don't like anything about you, I will tell you to leave my property. I would prefer, if you don't like the air, or the music, or the other people who are there, that you would leave, before I have to tell you to. In my little bar we do not like whiners and liars. I have never seen or heard of, from other bar owners, ANYONE ever falling over dead from a whiff of tobacco smoke. These people are lying about second hand smoke. And they are doing it because they are getting grant money to, from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, who's stock in Johnson and Johnson, (Nicorette, Nicotrol, Nicoderm CQ, Nicoderm, and Commit Lozenges) goes up after the demonizing and ostracizing people smoking ban passes. As usual, follow the money.

    April 9, 2011 at 10:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nora W

      Well said.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:10 | Report abuse |
    • Scribbles

      I developed asthma from my parents' second-hand smoke, which has left scar tissue on my lungs. (I use to go to pubs similar to your bar, most likely!) When I breath in the smoke from your ciggarette on a public street, it feels like tiny needles are poking all around my lungs. Your ciggarette is causing me PAIN! And I woln't always tell you, or let you know. But please, do not smoke in public. But no worries, I woln't be in your bar any time soon 🙂

      April 12, 2011 at 12:03 | Report abuse |
  10. Sandy

    Nicotine addicts have my sympathy, but please don't force your fumes on me. Stay at home or frequent areas where smoking is permitted, but please don't force me to pollute my body with your trash. How anyone can continue to harm themselves knowing how it affects your health is beyond me. By the way, the loss of your "financing" of roads, schools, etc. would be offset by the savings our healthcare system would reap by not having to treat all the disease caused by your "non-boring" habit.

    April 9, 2011 at 11:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Wellduh

    An addict will reach for even the most feeble justification for his self-destruction; add to that their defensiveness over their odor, and it only gets more pathetic.

    April 9, 2011 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. JEN


    April 9, 2011 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alice

      Pretty subjective my dear... I think he looks great. 🙂 A lots of man would kill for a body like that at the age of 62.

      April 10, 2011 at 18:16 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I have no doubt that if he is a heavy smoker we will be reading about his hospitalization in the not too distant future. One more idiot going far sooner and than they need.

      April 12, 2011 at 07:29 | Report abuse |
  13. skarrlette

    The only people that realize how disgusting cigarettes are NON SMOKERS!! WHen I smell a cigarette I can't belive people smoke, It smells like DEATH period!!! Smokers get numb to it and don't even notice. I can smell someone smoking a park when it drifts over into my face and then I HAVE TO BREATHE IT IN.

    Would it be ok if I walked down the street with a large piece of asbestos insulation with fibers flying off and everyone had to breathe it in? WELL I CAN'T ASBESTOS IS ILLEGAL TO CARRY AND IT CAUSES CANCER!!

    And guess what so doesn't smoking!!!!!!!!! TIRED OF HYPOCRITES!!!!!!!!!

    April 9, 2011 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nora W

      I'm interested in how you feel about the poisons you ingest every day from cars. I would think you should be complaining about that since it affects your health much more than an occasional brief waft of cigarette smoke. CO2 emissions pound your system 24 hours a day. Well?

      April 11, 2011 at 11:09 | Report abuse |
  14. skarrlette

    Oh and to the poster above, your an idiot if you don't think second hand smoke being breathed in is not dangerous. Myabe not for a cuople of minutes but for hours!!!!! Are you kidding? Maybe that is what happens when you work in a F bar your whole life.

    April 9, 2011 at 14:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. skarrlette

    Oh and if you look at Jeremys face their is no color in it, wonder why? he is a smoker and smoking constricts the blood vessels especially at the surface of the skins, and it turns smokers skin like sallow yellow sandpaper after a number of years. Which is why he already looks dead!!

    Keep smoking Jeremy!!!

    April 9, 2011 at 14:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. asmoker

    Everyione is exposed to auto exhaust, and indistrial pollution hassening death for everyone, but then adding 2nd hand cigarette smoke appears to be a bigger issue. Someone has to explain that logic to me. Which would be worse being in a locked garage with 1 running car, or in the same garage wih chain smokers?

    Until they police pollution, unhealthy eating and drinking habits we smokers are unjustly singled out and easy, visible targets.

    April 9, 2011 at 15:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Lauren

    Thank you Jeremy Irons. Adults get to choose to smoke or not – period. Others do not get to dictate that for me. I do not smoke – for all those of you out there – but my husband does.

    April 9, 2011 at 18:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Rachel

    Drinking alcohol doesn't physically make the people around you drunk. But creating second hand smoke for people who choose not to smoke can kill them. It's not a question of the 'right to smoke', but more of a question of why are you causing harm to someone else?

    April 9, 2011 at 22:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alice

      We're talking about a ban in ALL public places, HELLO!! You are not causing any harm to anybody if you are sitting on the beach alone smoking or in the park while nobody's around and yet, you're not allowed to do it. If it seems okay to you, it is high time to sit down and think...

      April 10, 2011 at 18:03 | Report abuse |
  19. stinkydoo@hotmail.com

    Wow, take a look at how ugly Jeremy Irons is. Like most smokers he looks like a hideous wrinkly rat. No, thank you if you want to pollute your lungs do it at home. But, for those of us who want to stay youthful looking, and wrinkle free GIVE US OUR CLEAN AIR PLEASE!

    April 9, 2011 at 23:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. bobbie

    I believe everyone should mind their own business and have some manners.If ur a smoker be curteous and blow smoke away from people,don't put out cigerette butts n peoples yards or all over the patio somewhere at a bar...can't anyone smoke and just be respectful of others and be considerate?I live n vegas where u can smoke everyhwere but I am a respectful smoker!Does anyone have manners anymore from saying Thank u to opening a door ..people r just so selfish to think of others anymore with everything n general

    April 10, 2011 at 09:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. bobbie

    I agree with a comment a few paragraphs up..I can't stand the smell of any seafood it makes me gag and dry hiev and feel very ill so should I complain that it makes me ill? No I don't I plug my nose and deal with it!people need to stop being such whiney babies and just learn to deal with things.things can't always go ur way so suck it up we all have smells that make us feel ILL...brush it off!!

    April 10, 2011 at 09:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. asmoker

    I still question why people can drive around creating leathal exhaust, and industry can turn our skies brown but people blames the smokers. If you drive or ride in a combustion engine vehicle, or buy anything made in a factory, or even BBQ at home please don't suggest you are not a contributor, causing harm to others.

    April 10, 2011 at 10:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. spiritrider

    I do not smoke and have never smoked.

    However, this country has become one big concentration camp run by the tyranny of the majority.

    We preach freedom to the world, however, there is no freedom here at home. Do yourselves a favor, travel the world and look at the daily lives of the citizens of many other countries.

    On a day in and day out basis, we are the frogs in the pot. One day we are going to be boiling alive. We are so driven by our personal agendas, that none of us will have any freedoms left.

    This is not a partison issue, because tyranny of the left is no better than tyranny of the right. The only thing we seem to do is pass more laws, day after day,year after year.

    April 10, 2011 at 18:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Sunshine Girl *

    Just another way for the government to tell me what to do with my body. As a woman, I'm already under enough restrictions. Pretty soon, they'll be saying we can't even smoke in the privacy of our own homes. All in all, it comes down to money. And the big tobacco companies. They are behind everything that has to do with smoking, in some way or the other. Yes, I am a smoker. I say if your against smoking/don't smoke/have a problem with smoking, don't blame me. Go tell it to the big tobacco companies. Smoke on

    April 10, 2011 at 22:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Sunshine Girl *

    Someone above earlier said why would a person continue to smoke knowing it was bad for your health? The same could be asked of alcohol. Yet millions of people continue to drink everyday, knowing this. And noone says anything about it. How many accidents have you heard of caused by smoking driving? Yeah, thats what I thought. Yes smoking may be bad for us, but so is alcohol. Everyone should let people do as they please. Thats whats so great about America! The freedom of choice. I choose to smoke. Lv me alone

    April 10, 2011 at 23:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. MK Lane

    What most of you are missing here is not the loss of our freedom to smoke, but the loss of our right to own a business,(resturant, bar) and run it the way we choose. The owner of a resturant should have the right to decide if smoking will be allowed or not. If it is smoker friendly and you don't like smoke, don't go there. If it is non smoking and you smoke, don't go there..It's really quite simple.

    April 11, 2011 at 05:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Considerate Smoker

    I live in Canada where smoking inside any restaurant, bar, nightclub, theatre, coffeeshop, whatever is completely illegal. It is also illegal to smoke within 10 meters of any government building entrance, and completely illegal to smoke on hospital property. When I light up, I make sure I'm not surrounded by people, as I don't want to bother them with the smell of my smoke.
    Having said all that, if you make a big issue because i'm quietly sitting alone on a bench enjoying a cigarette and a coffee I will say this to you (and I have) – "If you hate my smoking so much you have two options: get smoking banned altogether and watch hospitals close due to the lack of funding provided by the tax on my cigarettes or blame the folks who lobbied to get smoking out of every bar/restaurant/nightclub/etc and forced me to smoke outside."

    I read someone comparing smokers to people who drink and drive and it reminded me of when I was younger and growing up gay, when people used to group gay folks in with necropheliacs and pedophiles. I'm SO happy THAT finally stopped.

    April 11, 2011 at 09:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Earth to Fattys

    If your gonna forbid me and tax me to smoke, than I forbid you to eat crappy food and cost me a FORTUNE to send you fattys to get medicine for you heart disease!!!! Number one killer in America due to obesity, not cigarettes. Its all about control and making money.

    April 11, 2011 at 09:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cathy W

      Your analogy is flawed. Yes, both obesity and smoking cause taxpayers money (and yeah, obesity more). But someone else's obesity doesn't force me to ingest poisons whether I like it or not. Smoking does.

      April 11, 2011 at 10:06 | Report abuse |
    • Nora W

      I smoke because I like to smoke. I don't drink because I don't like alcohol. I don't eat fast food because I don't like fast food. That said, I feel it's unfair tax smokers unless taxation is applied equally to alcohol and fast food restaurants. Alcohol has destroyed many, many more lives than smoking because of its negative impact on the drinker's family. Drunk driving kills and maims innocent people. Fast food causes obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. I do not understand so many people try to make smokers feel like crack addicts when there are other societal ills that cause problems much more serious than smoking.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:05 | Report abuse |
  29. Daithi mac curtáin

    Some of his movies are bad for your eye sight and can cause head aches .

    April 11, 2011 at 10:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Resonable Smoker

    No one said anything about smoking in restaurants. Mr. Iron said "street or in the park or at the beach,’. All of these are outside and not in a confined space like a restaurant. If the area is ventilated, smoking should be allowed. Especially on porchs and patios. Not having outside smoking areas is definitely "bullying a minority".

    April 11, 2011 at 11:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. angeles

    MK Lane is correct, there is a much larger issue at stake here: that a private business owner is not allowed to run his/her private business the way they want to. The best example is the bar industry. I have worked in this industry on and off for years. At least 80% of regular bar patrons are smokers (I really think it's higher). I'm not talking about you people who frequent a bar a few times a month (or even less for some of you). I'm talking about the bread-and-butter patrons who are there 2 or 3 times a week... which is the bulk of bar business and certainly the part of the clientele that makes a bar successful or not. Nearly all bar employees smoke as well.

    A bar is not a place any one HAS to go, its not a government building or a plane, it makes sense to me that smoking is banned in places like that.

    We live in a society that is market driven and supposes that if there is a demand for something, that something will be provided by someone. If there had been a big demand for non-smoking bars, there would have been non-smoking bars before cigarettes in businesses were banned (and maybe there were a few somewhere, which only proves my point).

    The market and the desires of the business owner should dictate how a private business is run. Don't like cigarette smoke? Don't go to businesses that allow it. Again, going to a restuarant or bar is a luxury, not a necessity. Find a business owner who runs his/her place smoke-free out of personal choice if you don't like smoking. If there is a demand for that sort of business it WILL come to be that such businesses exist. If not, then it's smokers who are supporting such businesses and keeping them running, so too bad for non-smokers.

    I never thought I'd ever say this, but Florida got it right on this one: smoking is banned in all buildings except those who's sale of alcohol is 60% or more. To be honest, I don't actually remember what the exact percentage is, but whatever it is, it was set up to exclude bars from the smoking ban, which is appropriate. Bars and smoking go together like peanut butter and jelly. Smokers keep a bar open and successful, not non-smokers.

    Oh, and while I am at, how come none of you proponents of a worldwide smoking ban have not addressed the many comments made about how much more dangerous car fumes are and why you are not in favor of THAT being banned?

    And to the person who compared smoking to breaking and entering and other crimes, the difference is that those things are illegal while cigarettes are a legal product. Smoking does not make you a criminal.

    Finally, those saying that the stats about second hand smoke health dangers are bogus are right. It's been demonstrated that smoke is almost all water vapor and none of the toxic parts of tobacco are present in it. So, yes, it may be unpleasant to smell, (but as others pointed out, so are many things out in the public world), it is not a threat to your health - unless you are the one actually doing the smoking.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Wanda Ryan

      So true about bar establishments. When we had our no smoking ban for bars it hurt the owners who had previously paid lots of money to create ventilated smoking rooms and then when the full ban became in effect they were empty because the few that complained were not regular bar goers. Also, the same businesses in major cities that may have continued to have clientele after the bans were not hurt as much as small towns where no one was complaining and the regulars chose to stay at home to visit friends. Perhaps they should have had the choice to be private clubs allowing entrace to whomever they chose and not allowing non smokers that had a problem with their house rules. Would that have been any different than nightclubs that pick and choose their clients based on whatever criteria they choose?

      April 11, 2011 at 14:10 | Report abuse |
  32. Wanda Ryan

    Mr. Irons is speaking about outdoor smoking bans, which is not really related to risks of second-hand smoke. I wonder if they have done studies on the ill effects of car exhaust. Meanwhile, doughnuts and hamburgers are as much of a health concern as smoking is to an individual. Yet it is okay to snub smokers but it is not socially acceptable for me to coment to an an obese person having creapes smothered in whipped cream washed down with a diet coke. To me that is bullying one group.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • angeles

      Brava Wanda

      Some posts here addressing the issue say it's different because someone else's obesity doesn't put them at risk. Perhaps it doesn't do so directly, but it does increase the cost of health care, and therefore everyone's insurance premiums, astromically. Did you know that it's been shown that smokers who excercise regularly are healthier than obese people who don't?

      The obese are taking over and expect to be treated like some put on upon minority group.. boo hoo hoo! You can't say a damn thing to them. So called obesity advocates fight the idea that if they take up two airplane seats, they should pay for two airline seats, even if they are just one person because its so unfair to their rights. As I said boo hoo hoo!

      So I say, smokers deserve the same rights and privileges... after all they are a minority.

      Don't argue to me it's different due to it affecting others: the statistics on the dangers of second smoke are bogus. It's unpleasant, yes, but it does not pose a health hazard to anyone but the smoker.

      April 11, 2011 at 13:02 | Report abuse |
  33. Wanda Ryan

    There are so many things on these issues. If you tax cigarrettes for health care cost then trans fat should be taxed. Most smokers tend to be modest and discreet because they are the pariahs and are not likely to infringe on other people's space, unlike the inevitable obese person who thinks nothing of raising the arm rest to spill onto another person's airline seat. Recently I thought how unfair of a 100 year old woman who had to quit smoking at her nursing home. She is 100 – let her be. As long as it is not making another person uncomfortable by smoking in a restaurant, a home or a vehicle with other people and subjecting children and non smokers to smoke; live and let live. And if that obese person on the plane buys two seats that is also being respectful to others.

    April 11, 2011 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. smokie The Bear

    The reason we don't have as many freedoms as we collectively think we deserve is that we are morons. Let us do as we please and we will pollute the very Earth we call home, mow down innocent by standers with our drunken driving, make our children fat with our over indulgent feeding, and taint baby formula with deadly chemicals.
    Unfortunately, the notion of individual freedom goes hand in hand with the notion that all humans have an acceptable intelligence level. And that simply isn't true.

    April 11, 2011 at 19:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. sag coopersmith

    years ago I had a friend who smoked and was told with regularity that her smoke was bothering those around her. I loved her reply once, in a restaurant (it was years ago, she was in the "smoking" section). A man came over and said "could you please put out your cigarette? it's ruining my meal"...she shot back with this: "Look. make smoking illegal, or leave me alone". She makes an excellent point. Smoking is not illegal and if the people who are so upset about it want it banned..they should do that. In the meanwhile, it is a civil liberty to smoke.

    April 11, 2011 at 21:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Detroit Pete

    I think the whole thing has turned into a battle of the extremists. On one side, you have the anti-smoking nazi that will go out of their way to find a burning cigarette then stand there screaming about how smoking is making them sick. On the other side you have the smoking freedom fighter that will light up in a nursery and demand that you respect her right to smoke. I don't think that either position is valid. I think the world is big enough to handle both smokers and non-smokers. I am a very heavy smoker and my personal policy is that if it's bothering someone then I either put it out or move.

    At the same time, I'm glad to see most kids are not picking up the habit. I'm glad that the majority of smokers will probably die off with my generation. In the meantime though, I'd like it if people quit treating me like a criminal for engaging in a legal activity.

    April 12, 2011 at 04:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Bill Hannegan

    Secondhand smoke deaths are merely statistical deaths. Handle the data a little differently and they disappear. We are still not sure that anyone dies from secondhand smoke exposure.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Dan

    At the very least, cigarette smoke smells awful. And, let's be honest here, cigarette smokers want to smoke everywhere and non-smokers don't want to have to encounter second-hand smoke. "Freedom" arguments and Thomas Jefferson quotes aside, smokers need to get over themselves. Just because you want to look "cool" doesn't make you a freedom fighter trying to preserve the very fabric of America. If you are so addicted that you can't go into a public place for over a half-hour without smoking, you have more serious issues at hand than protecting American Freedom. Smoking is a ridiculous habit that should not be transformed into this esoteric issue. If you smoke, you should quit and save your health and your money. Not to mention you'll smell a whole lot better.

    April 21, 2011 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
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