Uruguay has put a ban on smoking in public spaces (similar to bans already in place in some European countries) and now has the stiffest restrictions on smoking in Latin America. President Tabare Vazquez is a practicing oncologist and is clearly a firm supporter of the ban.
About one third of the population smokes, but now they won’t be able to smoke in any enclosed public spaces, including bars, malls, and office buildings.
3 thoughts on “No More Smokes”
Cheers to Uruguay…although I always feel vaguely uneasy about limiting people’s activities that don’t clearly harm others.
Actually, this reminds me of an interesting idea I had with respect to taxing tobacco. We tax cigarettes because they’re bad for us and put a strain on the public health system, eh? But obesity and poor diet cause a lot more damage – after all, heart disease and strokes are the biggest societal killers. So what about taxing calories? We could tax food on a sliding scale based on calories per unit weight.
Hmm…although this might then unfairly include calorie-rich staples such as rice and bread.
Another thought about banning smoking. This is an action which goes beyond the standard liberal notion of only banning things that hurt others. In fact it is the imposition of a given set of values (in this case, that of not smoking) on a deviant segment of the population. All good and well, except that Canada has declared itself a multicultural nation. If we can’t agree on a culture, we can’t agree on values, and then we lose the moral ability to impose a single set of values on the population. So that, morally, all Canada could do would be to go to a pure, Enlightenment-style liberalism.
It’s alot harder to prove that specific aspects of diet affect health than it is to prove that smoking does.
Well…yes. (Although certainly the anti-smoking crusade is not motivated by scientific considerations). But at a certain point you have to ask yourself whether you are satisfied with the evidence before you. Can the case be made beyond reasonable doubt, as it were. I myself am satisfied with the basic correctness of the notion that high-calorie food = poor health.
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