We’re taught early in our school years that tobacco was first discovered upon European’s adventures to North American Indian territory. Cheek and jowl with its addictive quality, tobacco use quickly went ‘Internationale,’ pretentiously inhaled among the upper classes.
It wasn’t until the late 18th century that smoking was perceived as vulgar by, “the arbiter of high fashion in high society in London, Tunbridge Wells and Bath, George Brummell. Beau Brummell, succeeded in making it unacceptable for nearly 80 years. Then in the 1860’s smoking reemerged, influenced by royalty and the aristocracy.”
Now, nearly a century and a half later, smoking is once again under siege, for reasons unbeknownst to the earlier pretenders of fashion and spiritualistic tradition. Scientific advances, health research and taxations are culminating to produce mixed signals regarding the use of tobacco products.
In Maryland, a clash between the American Heart Association, Environmental Protection Agency, restaurant owners, state officials and smoking advocates plays out like a quid pro quo labyrinth. The scuffling resides in health issues like increased susceptibility to cancer and heart attacks. Of course the former and latter affect insurance policy and the health care system, working their way in and out of fuzzy statistics and ‘snap judgment’ policies.
Also on the table is the well being of businesses across Maryland, the hardest hit being bars and restaurants. Now at the end of years-long debates and research, effective today a statewide smoking ban in most public places hits Maryland. It is essential to go to this web-site and research more about the effects of smoking
Undoubtedly what set this ball in motion are health concerns tied to tobacco products. On both sides of the table agreement surrounds the chemical capacity of cigarettes. Where the agreement ends is the exact harm of these, approximately 4,000 strong, chemical agents.
SAMMEC, a computer derived model designed to detect various chemical compound levels, is at the center of this debate. What is not common knowledge is the level at which this device reads 3,950 of the chemicals in a single cigarette. This level is known to chemists as a picogram, or 1/millionth of a gram. For example, a single grain of salt weighs around 100 million picograms. Naysayers of the harmful effects believe the numbers to be falsely increased, but for no apparent motive other than taking away ‘our rights.’
Leading researchers for the American Cancer Society, weigh in with hospital statistics claiming, “Cigarette smoking accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths.”
This debate grows more confusing in the political scene. Recently in a special session called by Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, clashing tax breaks and tax increases kept with tradition of a confusing ‘Elect.’ As of today, businesses statewide will be swept by a non-smoking ban aimed to decrease health issues. Understanding that businesses will be affected negatively, a tax break, with a cap of $5,000, was set in place to help already struggling business owners prepare for a decrease in business. But a saving grace for tobacco dependent businesses lay in the form of a ‘hardship’ waiver.
This allows a business with proof of at least 15% decreased business, over three months to apply for a smoking permit. So long as the claim can be justified as due to the ban, a two year extension of smoking privileges will be granted. Smokers have also been targeted by an increased tax effective January 2008.
The reform also eliminated a previous provision stating that federal tax increases on tobacco would be countered by matching state decreases. These contradictory policies will all unveil the complications aligned with smoking, its roots in the community and its economic impact.
Spoon-fed ad nauseam by posters, billboards, media, and signs we are suffocated in relentless charges of the harmful effects of cigarette smoking: its first-hand and second-hand effects. What has not been mentioned, so prolifically, is the fact that alcohol emits a Class A carbon in 500 times the amount that cigarette carcinogens do.
As a smoker myself, I remain more an advocate of the ban than impartial participant. I can recognize that my stamina has diminished somewhat in the eight years I have been smoking. I can also still run circles around healthy 19 year olds in an hour-and-a-half basketball game. But in addition, having lost a sibling to cancer, I maintain a certain level of skepticism to the carelessly tossed around statistics.
On every document signed by doctors and my parents, it is noted that my brother was not a smoker, when in fact he smoked on average two packs per day from age 16 to his death at 21. This and other inconsistencies leave me with little faith in our capacity to understand what’s best for the public. In addition, the perception that night-goers prefer smokeless environments would be better left to business owners themselves.
There’s also that contradiction within the law and its motives. If the state is advocating a decrease in its smoking population, than why rely on increased tobacco taxes for revenue? Tobacco is an addictive drug and no decrease in New York’s smoking population, after its increased taxes, suggests that people will not be willing to pay the ‘jump’ here in Maryland.
[image courtesy of Skip The Budgie]
I just moved back to Harford County from the DC suburbs. When the ban came to Montgomery County a few years ago (I was working at a bar at the time) there was a similar outcry of support/nonsupport. Obviously it was mostly the drinking establishments. Bars were complaining that they’d lose business, everyone was looking for loopholes and ways to “grandfather” their businesses in to avoid the ban. They were afraid everyone would go to DC bars instead. The reality though, is while there may have been an initial hit, people adjusted. No one wanted to drive that far–especially drinking. They want to keep going to the places they always go, the places they know people and that are convenient. After a month or two, it was business as usual.
The same thing will happen here. No one will want to drive downtown. It will become second nature to suck it up (no pun intended) and walk outside in pairs like the smokers do elsewhere.
vietnam vet says
as a smoker 40+ years and one who quit, 5 years ago. I say’ phooey on second hand smoke. that’s a joke.
cancer causeing agent’s? 99% percent very likely. 10 years off your life? highly likely.
but we the people use to have right’s. we don’t anymore. I have no problem with smoker’s.feel free to light up.
With that same rationale, would you be fine with people going out in public places and throwing asbestos particles into the air?
I am glad Maryland finally passed this law. I smoked for nearly 12 years, and I am 23 days smoke-free. Even when I visited Delaware establishments a few years ago, as a smoker then it was nice to be in an environment where no one was smoking.
As a former somker, I applaud the decision to ban smoking. It’s a terrible habbit and it effects everyone. I know several people who still smoke that this will effect. But I don’t feel sorry for them. I wish they would raise the price to $10 a pack.
(I know that’s a hard statement, but I’ve seen what smoking does to people)
vietnam vet says
I suggest you mention, fiberglass insulation. brake dust used motor oil ddt most if not all pesticide’s. and lead particle’s that are airborne. you might be surprised to find what you have lurking’ in your home. mold spoor’s ? maybe some radon in the basement. no smell no odor. I would say the odd’s are stacked against us. how about the fruit you eat. well treated with pesticides. I suggest you check your window sill’s for lead dust. kit’s are available in most hard ware stores. or maybe a surplus gas mask.
I currently take precautions to minimize the dangers going into by body. I proactively purchase fruits and vegetables that have not had pesticides or fertilizers used on them. I also purchase meats of animals that have not been injected with hormones and antibiotics that are surely harmful to our body chemistry.
You are merely suggesting that since there are so many dangers that people are putting into their bodies, we should just say screw it and throw our hands up. This is an irresponsible reaction. Smoking is something we know to be a carcinogen, so why not take care of what we know harms us. You may not care about your health, but I do. And I care about the health of others. A person’s decision to smoke should be their own. And in the case that they do, they should be the only ones inhaling the smoke, unless others really want to or do not mind it.
The bottom line is that having such a careless attitude about second hand smoke is fine if it affects just that one person. But when you make a blanket statement that everyone should be exposed to it, you are showing that your compassion for others and concern for their health is lacking.
This ban was very important to people like my mother, who has severe asthma and when exposed to second hand smoke has life-threatening asthma attacks. One person’s desire to smoke should never endanger a person’s life, like it does in the case of my mother. That is the biggest reason I am in favor of this ban.
vietnam vet says
may I suggest we ask our goverment,what they are subjecting us too. it’s apparent the dangers of agent orange were not known. the jungle’s were known to ” sweat ” at night. no less than defoliant orange….
we are paying for the bay clean up. for what purpose? here’s for the navy”
sweepers sweepers man your broom’s. make a clean sweep down fore & aft all ” trash” over the fan tail. do you drink bottled water? or do you’ prefer tap water no less than ( clorine bleach) and then there’s the cell phone’s, our power line’s are under suspicion of cancer produceing flux. and of course there’s our air plane service, subjecting our airway’s with no less than human waste and if you’ were one of the lucky one’s to be selected in the 60’s as a marine guinea pig you would have been subjected too experimental dosage’s of as yet untested vaccines. don’t sweat the small stuff we all are going to die.
Fatalistic. Just enjoy your time while you can. No doubt we are all going down. The entire human race is. And when all humanity ends, we deserve it. But in the meantime, I just prefer to think globally and act locally. Extend your life if you want to. Care for others if you dare to. The harsh realities of the world are depressing, but like Thich Naht Hahn says, “there is always a reason to smile.”
vietnam vet says
fatalistic? I don’t think so.may I remind you’ the optimist designed the air plane the pessimist the parachute.
smokers welcome.it’s there life. not mine. as a matter of mention our troop’s in world war 2 were incouraged to smoke cigarette’s.
the german scientist were saying’ just the opposite. there was a study’ done in the 1930’s about green house gas’s
nobody payed any attention. maybe the pessimist can come up with a solution. not much legacy, for our children to look forward too.
That is a 100% fatalistic view. And I know at one point people were encouraged to smoke. But people were also encouraged to consume mercury at one point. Should we still be doing that?
I’m not saying that we should make people who smoke quit smoking. They can do what they want. I’m just saying let only them deal with the health risks involved. If a waitress or waiter does not want to smoke, they should not have to breathe in second hand smoke just to pay the bills.
You argue for someone to have the right to smoke. Well, you can easily argue for someone to have a right to not have to inhale second hand smoke.
vietnam vet says
I can assure you’ second hand smoke is far less dangerous than a woman driveing a car with cell phone in hand. or a crazy’ on his way to work reading the news paper while driveing his car. or the women who hit me in the rear end trying to get her cat to a vet. her car was a shambles, I was of no concern.
I have been stomped tromped & cussed. I see no reason to change.
smokers draw one.
Your points about the dangers of other people and driving are good ones. And I fully agree. But it is completely irrelevant to the discussion. People revert to bringing up irrelevant points once they run out of valid points to make. Or when they have no real argument in the first place.
You argue about not changing the laws on smoking in public. Bottom line is this is society moving forward for the safety of those who choose not to smoke. You say you see no reason for society to change. But at the same time you argue that these other things should change like people speaking on cell phones while they drive. Would you like to see that outlawed in public? Sounds like you would. It would be like the same thing as this smoking ban.
vietnam vet says
what is valid, is the fact and accident occured that could easely have been avoided. second hand smoke has no conclusive evidence.and even if it did it will be a long time killing any body.
lady’s injoy your phone’s driver’s continue reading the morning paper. drunk drivers please continue. nothing will be done. about what is important.
When everyone has that same attitude, yes, nothing will be done. Silence is acceptance and when someone just throws their hands up and says screw it, there surely will be no change. The problem with this country and this world right now is that too many people think it is beyond repair. It is much easier to screw something up than it is to fix it. Doing what is right and just takes a lot more work and it meets a lot more resistance because of those too lazy to care. As our society progresses, the masses become less and less concerned with the health and safety of themselves and others. And as long as these attitudes continue, things will continue to decline.
vietnam vet says
the point being made is just that. the issue’s that are likely to impact more than one life are being ignored. I personally reported a drunk driver.
who repeatedly continue’s to drive on revoked license. 4 time’s I might add.
it’s my responsbility to report it. somebody’s else’s to stop it. may be the next time we will discuss the mayor’s new leather chair’s.
My point is that we were never talking about drunk driving in the first place. We were talking about the smoking ban. You merely reverted to the drunk driving argument for some other reason. I was trying to argue the validity of keeping second hand smoke out of the lungs of people who do not want to smoke. It has been proven that it harms your health. You merely chose to try and take the argument down an unrelated path to sound as if you were making points, which you were. Just not points tied to the original argument.
vietnam vet says
drinking & smoking are related. drinking kill’s often on impact. smokeing maybe over the long term. a ban should be started on drinking. the life you save may be your own. drinker’s have one for the road, you may kill a smoker & save the world from second hand smoke!
I am not arguing in favor of letting people drink and drive. I am totally against it. You have taken the debate to an ignorant level when you make the comment “drinker’s have one for the road, you may kill a smoker & save the world from second hand smoke!” By saying this you insinuate that I am fine with people drinking and driving. It is obvious you never had a leg to stand on in this discussion since you keep going back to such ridiculously extreme comments. Next time I will look to have a discussion with someone who can present some real arguments. This is my final post on the subject.
vietnam vet says
I was surprised you were still here.of all the thing’s we should fear’ second hand smoke is the least.
smokers stand up for your right’s. but don’t drive your car. carbon monoxide is destroying the ozone. polar cap’s are melting’. do you operate’ your lawn mower in humid weather? well your destroying the ozone as well.
matt lake author of ( weird maryland ) say’s he think’s theres hope for the human race.
I think he should pay a visit to some of our less friendly country’s. BUT the smokeing lamp is lit !
Beau Brummell may have been anti-smoking, but he wasn’t anti-tobacco. Brummell was a (nasal) snuff user, specifically Fribourg & Treyer which he and his friend, the Prince of Whales, bought in bulk. “Prinny’s” mother, the queen, shopped at the same store, buying 12 pounds(!) at a time. It marked the first royal endorsement of a tobacco product, writes Iain Gately, in his book “Tobacco: A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization.” He goes on to say “Twenty years after the victory at Waterloo, not only was the cigar well established in polite [British] circles, but the pipe had been revived. … Beau himself did not witness the revival of smoking. The paragon among snuffers was forced into exile in Calais by his creditors whence he wrote begging letters to his old London Suppliers, assuring them that there was ‘not a good pinch of snuff to be had throughout France.'”