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Archive for the 'Smoking Ban' Category

Oregon AG Blocking Sale of E-Cigarettes

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

As I’ve noted before, when it comes to nanny-state paternalism, Oregon is always ahead of the curve. Via the AP:

Oregon Attorney General John Kroger has gone to court to block sales of electronic cigarettes made by a Florida company.

Kroger said the company, Smoking Everywhere, made false health claims about nicotine and targeted children with sweet flavors such as bubblegum and chocolate.

Manufacturers say electronic cigarettes are safe because they use a water vapor mist to deliver flavor and ingredients, unlike the burning tobacco that creates smoke in a real cigarette.

Electronic cigarettes have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which says they contain some cancer-causing ingredients.

Kroger said Oregon is the first state to take legal action against an e-cigarette manufacturer.

Of course, the hypocrisy is that normal cigarettes, which contain a lot of cancer-causing ingredients, are approved by the FDA. From Reason:

Given the enormous differences between this vapor and tobacco smoke, the companies that sell e-cigarettes online and from shopping mall kiosks are on firm ground in advertising them as safer alternatives to conventional cigarettes that can be used in places where smoking is banned. The arguments of e-cigarette opponents, by contrast, reek of red herrings.

The critics warn that nicotine is addictive, that it may contribute to cardiovascular problems, and that smokers may use e-cigarettes as way of coping with smoking bans, continuing their habits instead of quitting. All of these objections also apply to the nicotine gum, patches, sprays, and inhalers the FDA has approved as safe and effective smoking cessation tools.

E-cigarettes are less expensive than those products and may be more appealing to smokers looking for an experience that’s closer to the real thing. Although they have not been subject to the sort of rigorous testing the FDA demands for new drugs, the drug they contain is not new. It’s the same one delivered, in a much dirtier manner, by the cigarettes that the government says kill 400,000 Americans every year.

As Michael Siegel notes on his tobacco policy blog:

What the Oregon Department of Justice is saying is that they would rather have Oregonians smoke cigarettes — with their more than 10,000 chemicals and 57 carcinogens — than inhale electronic cigarette vapor, which has not been shown to deliver any of those 10,000 chemicals or 57 carcinogens in anything more than trace quantities.

From a public health perspective, this is the most absurd, non-science-based, and potentially damaging policy decision by a state government that I have witnessed in a long time.

Way to be, Kroger. Way to be. I razzed on Kroger back when he was running for AG here. Also, check the archives for more on our long, quixotic fight against smoking bans.

Data Points

Friday, June 12th, 2009

First, they came for the smokers…”

Next, they came for the Earth-killers…”

Then, they came for the greedy, fat-cat kulaks…”

Right-wing rhetoric incites domestic terrorism!

State Senate Voting on Butts Bill

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Senator Carolyn Tomei has introduced a new bill to the Oregon Senate Tuesday proposing  a law that would make cigarette butt littering illegal. The law is proposing a fine of $90 dollars and possibly 60 days of community service.

Opponents are calling it a waste of time, and I have to agree. Oregon is going through its worst unemployment rating in twenty years and a budget crisis that will lead to state agencies being cut by 20% .  It seems the Oregon government is more into pet projects than helping out our failing economy.

Eugene’s Draconian Smoking Ordinance Strikes Again

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

The back deck of Espresso Roma, a favorite haunt of UO riff-raff and one of the last true smoking dens in Eugene, is now a no-smoking area thanks to the city’s asinine smoking ordinance. (You may remember when the city fined the Horsehead Bar and Grill for its offending row of shrubbery.)

After walking out on the back deck and seeing the multitude of no smoking signs, I managed to get the story out of one of the employees through my rudimentary Spanish:

“Hey, guey, por que no fumar?”

“Porque la ciudad.”

“iPinche ciudad!”

Apropos of Nothing

Monday, April 20th, 2009

I hope everybody is having a good day.

Just make sure not to shoot your friend in the face, which, of course, is very likely to happen when you’re smoking The Devil’s Harvest!

Less Freedom, Not More, OR “Excuse Me, Sir, But Do You Have a License for that Cigarette?”

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

For decades, people have been bemused by the fact that adults under the age of 21 can, in the United States, buy a lottery ticket, smoke tobacco, and even die for their country — but they can’t consume alcohol. Carefully noting this inequity, Oregon legislators have decided to rectify the situation by attempting to raise the legal smoking age to match the drinking age. Not only that, but one of the bill’s co-sponsors wants to make nicotine available by prescription only.

I’d like to say that I don’t think this has a chance of passing, but given the legislative successes that the anti-tobacco crowd has enjoyed of late, I think I’d be premature in doing so.

In related news, the Oregon Commentator will be holding its Second Annual Great American Smoke-In sometime during Spring Term (preferably when the weather gets a bit nicer). Watch this space and keep an eye on the magazine for details.

(via Radley Balko)

More On The Smoking Ban

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

For those interested, you can read the Smoke Free Task Force’s full report to the administration here. It’s worth a read, if just to see how biased and asinine the whole process has been. Join me as I wade through document and pick out some of my favorite parts. For example, this is part of the recap of the “forums” held to discuss the smoking ban:

A staff member stated we needed to look past the glamorous side of smoking. The smell of smoke makes him ill. He made the comparison of secondhand smoke to someone who is HIV positive spiting [sic] on another individual and being charged with assault.

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Smoke-Free Campus proposal

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

It seems that the Anti-Smokers group on campus finally has a time-table for getting rid of those dirty, evil smokers, two years. This according to an article in today’s Ol’ Dirty.

The Smoke-Free Task Force recommended to the University administration Monday that the University become a smoke-free area within two years. The University Senate will discuss the report during its March meeting, but the ultimate decision lies with the administration.

The decision lies with an administration that I think could choose to “enforce” this.

Ahh, it’s fun when people want the University to waste money. Instead of having DPS not do anything when crimes and such actually happen on campus now we can have them not do anything when someone smokes on campus.

I don’t remember when the last smoke-in was but I’m thinking another one might need to be called to order.

Ri-God-Damned-Diculous

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

A Pennsylvania township has banned smoking in outdoor areas. South Heildelberg Township located outside of Reading Pa., (and 10 minutes from my house) has disallowed any smoking on township property including parks, playgrounds and the parking lots adjoining public buildings.

Perhaps the most hilarious part of this ban is that the one exemption is the parking lot next to the police station. “Police are on duty 24/7, and it was felt they should have a place to smoke if desired,” said Township Manager Ronald R. Seaman.

The story cites Seaman’s reservations about the loophole in the law, but Seaman claims that the loophole will save the Township time and money in the long run. “They could jump in a cruiser, go to a supermarket parking lot and have a smoke. This way, they go outside, have a quick smoke and get it over with.”

Yes, God forbid we inconvenience the cops. I am more concerned about the displaced high school students who will no longer be able to congregate in the parks en masse to smoke once school lets out. In the words of Helen Lovejoy ‘What about the children. Won’t someone please think of the children?”

Smoke ‘Em While You Got ‘Em

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

As you’re probably all aware, Oregon’s new smoking ban goes into effect on the 1st, meaning tomorrow is your last day to enjoy delicious tobacco in a bar. (Of course, smoking is banned in all bars in Eugene already. We’re way ahead of the curve in overbearing nanny-ism). But would you believe that the Oregonian had the cojones to run an anti-smoking ban opinion? Check it out:

The state could have considered offering tax breaks to smoke-free businesses, for example. Instead, it’s taking the most restrictive course possible, banning smoking in all but a few specialized shops and lounges. The fact that smoking gets such harsh treatment while workers in far more dangerous fields receive not an ounce of notice suggests that the ban actually has little to do with employee safety. Protecting workers is simply the polite fiction by which nonsmokers have imposed their will on an increasingly unpopular minority.

However, I liked the Willy Week’s more blunt take on the matter:

Congratulations, you busybody neo-Puritan health-crusade fuckwads: You win again. You have assured that the people who make a living distributing poison to addicts will not have to breathe the poison of other addicts. And the only collateral damage is the neighborhood dive: the hole-in-the-wall joint where beautiful people never congregated anyway. So one of life’s little consolations—a beer and a cigarette—is now illegal in Portland. Good work, team.

For the record, we at the OC have taken many firm stands against smoking bans local, state and national.

P.S. Don’t be too surprised to see newspapers coming out against the ban. Journalists are rather notorious smokers. See also: Edward R. Murrow, Hunter S. Thompson and apparently every reporter in China.

Penn Universities Ban All Smoking

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Some students at the 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education are fuming over a decision announced by their chancellor last week. On Wednesday, the day before a state law that prohibits smoking in any public place in Pennsylvania took effect, Chancellor John Cavanaugh informed them that the ban would be enforced everywhere on the system’s campuses, even outdoors.

I’m sure all the nannies in the Oregon State Board of Higher Education are stroking their chins thoughtfully.

Tobacco Might Help Fight Cancer

Monday, July 21st, 2008

That’s right. According to some early studies, tobacco might help fight certain forms of lymphoma. Clearly, supporters of the smoking ban hate lymphoma patients.

Campus Smoking Ban Set to Go

Friday, July 18th, 2008

According to one of our nefarious sources, the Smoke Free Task Force is recommending to the administration that campus become completely smoke-free. Once enacted, the ban would not actually be enforced for a couple of years. (This would be the transitional “culture change”). However, after this there will be $15 fine if one is caught lighting up on campus.

To read the sordid history of the smoking ban, check the archives.

Metal Mondays: Sweet Leaf Edition.

Monday, July 7th, 2008

The U.S. Government has a patent on medical marijuana. Go figure.

(Via The Agitator)

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Ol’ Dirty Weighs in on Smoking Ban

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

The ODE issued an editorial today criticizing plans to make campus smoke-free. However, it didn’t take an absolutist stance on the issue. Instead, the editorial suggests placing designated smoking areas on campus. From the article:

Further regulating the areas where people can smoke on campus would be a more reasonable, effective and generally welcomed change. People who smoke cigarettes right outside of campus buildings are a nuisance to non-smokers who must pass through the toxic cloud on their way to class, but they shouldn’t be forced from campus. Smoking is a vice and an addiction. This is common knowledge, and as a society we have chosen, as illustrated by our laws, to maintain cigarettes as a legal right to citizens who choose to consume them. If cigarettes are indeed banned on campus, smokers will simply go elsewhere when their nicotine cravings strike, or more likely will just flout the law and light up anyway. Nevertheless, they won’t stop smoking. University officials need to realize when their attempts to regulate student behavior will have palpable effects, and when they will fall on deaf ears.

Many of the other Commentators and I believe that a much better solution than both of these proposals would be to simply enforce the existing rules that ban smoking within a certain number of feet from a building entrance. The majority of complaints about smoking on campus are due to people smoking in front of doors. If the rules were actually enforced, I don’t think the smoking ban would have half the support it does.