Tuesday, June 27, 2006

New truth replaces the old truth, again

What people will believe these days…

There is no risk-free level of exposure to second-hand smoke — and the only way to protect nonsmokers is to ban smoking completely in office buildings and public places, concludes a report by the U.S. Surgeon-General released Tuesday.
No risk-free level? Good lord! The inescapable conclusion from the Surgeon-General's report is that, despite increasing longevity and standards of living, we are all doomed! It is clearly too late for current generations who must have been exposed to second-hand smoke at some time during their life, but future generations benefiting from overbearing government legislation may at least be spared having to die someday.

No risk-free level? Can one really be expected to credit this statement as an incontestable fact? If there is no risk-free level of exposure to second-hand smoke, there ought to be no risk-free level of exposure to second-hand car exhaust, factory pollution, agricultural pesticides, flouridated water, carbohydrates, guns, clowns, etc. When governments engage in this sort of hyperbole it is when its authority over those commodities and exchanges can be safely expanded with minimal risk to its own revenues.

The only people who flout their belief in this sort of hogwash are the activists who share a vicarious interest with the government in confining individual behaviour to circumscribed bounds. Where governments do it for the sake of exercising authority, activists do it for the sake of claiming moral authority, by legal default if necessary. But both are utterly self-serving in all their pronouncements.

But wait… according to StatsCan, Canadians are smoking less already but are getting fatter. One cannot expect, however, any compensatory balancing of the government's claims upon the incidents of individuals' health. As proprietor, the government will simply add to the benefits it can claim from its human resources. "There is no risk-free level of exposure to second-hand carbohydrates," anyone?


Alex Singleton said...

It really does border on the victimisation of smokers.

Mike said...

In Toronto there are anti-smoking ad$$$ on the sides of many streetcars. (They are occasionally visible behind foreign flags being waved from car windows by horn-honking soccer cretins driving around in circles for want of a less third-world-style pastime.)

The ad$$$ read something to the effect of, "If these two people each smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, one of them will die from it." with two arrows coming from the ad, each pointing at a window seat.

Presumably then smokers have a 50% chance of living forever, just like non-smokers do. Or at least, like the non-smokers do who are fortunate enough to avoid second hand smoke all their lives.