Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

On smoking

Each trip to California reminds me how pleasant life is in Ohio. Dine on some exquisite fare here, then step outside for a smoke. Stand on a corner, with other aficionados of the art, reflect on what is noble and what ignoble, what pleasure is worth the having, and what the habit might reveal about the man, never mind Lauren Bacal. Is this the end of the sublime art of smoking?

A.S. Hamrah asks, does the apparent triumph of smoking bans from Boston to Bhutan prove that if the 20th century was a century of smoking, the 21st will end up smokeless? Not necessarily he argues, note how smoking was outlawed in Japan in 1629 (along with kabuki, with which it was associated), but smoking did not stop. And this from King James I in 1604: Smoking was "a custom lothsome to the eye, hatefull to the Nose, harmefull to the braine, dangerous to the Lungs, and in the blacke stinking fume thereof, neerest resembling the horrible Stigian smoke of the pit that is bottomelesse." So he increased the tobacco tax by 4,000%. His subjects, however, continued to smoke. A worthy essay. Note the few good books on smoking he mentions.

Discussions - 5 Comments

As a Peter Schramm fan, I wish you would quit. I hope you don’t mind my unsolicited but well intentioned comment.

Thanks. It’s perfectly OK. I’m used to it. My youngest child scolds me often. Remind me to tell you about my grandfather sometime, and how he died.

Ah, what a perfect time for a smoke...

When smokers were in the majority they never objected to the provision of non-smoking rooms, cars and sections. Non-smoking nazis, on the other hand, refuse any such accomodation to today’s residual of smokers. Instead of one smoke filled room, they have all outdoors smoked. I guess nicotine has a politeness gene.

Yea, the smoker-hegemony had so much to fear from all that non-smoke pouring into their smoking areas! Second-hand air...frightful!

I’m willing to allow that America’s most recent Puritanical purge has gone too far. Smokers should have areas where they can comfortably smoke so long as it is well ventilated and doesn’t violate others’ rights to clean(er) air. But as a society we really have no business encouraging people to smoke...I smoked for nearly two decades, and I lost relatives to COPD as well. Nasty habit, and deadly as well.

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