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Stogie Commentary: The Truth About Anti-Smokers

21 Nov 2006

I heard it again the other day. Listening to a cigar podcast, someone upset at smoking bans referred angrily to the “liberals” who want to impose them.

It’s a common perception — or, I should say, misperception — that those who favor smoking restrictions are “liberals.” Sure, some of them are. But the truth is that the issue, like most, is not so simple.

Name a group that’s been officially opposed to tobacco for decades. How about the Southern Baptist Convention, which, according to its Web site, adopted a measure in 1984 that calls for, among numerous other actions, taking “leadership in encouraging our people, pastors, and SBC leaders to refrain from using tobacco in any form …”

Or look at the states with fairly extensive bans. Sure, you’ll find Massachusetts and New York. But you’ll also find Utah and Idaho. And Florida, where voters have chosen Republicans for nearly every statewide office for quite a while – including George W. Bush’s brother as governor twice – approved an extremely restrictive smoking restriction.

Which governor said the overwhelming majority of residents in his state “don’t want to have someone else impose their habit upon them, whether it’s spitting or whether it’s vomiting or whether it’s smoking”? And also said he’d support a ban on all cigarette sales in his state? Arkansas Republican Mike Huckabee, according to news reports. He’s also known for this quote: “The country was better off with Leave it to Beaver than Beavis and Butthead. We were better off when the Gideons gave Bibles to the fifth graders than when school nurses gave condoms to the sixth graders. We thought it was better for fathers to take their sons hunting than sons in urban areas hunting for their fathers.”

Even in California, often associated with liberal nanny-staters eager to take away smoking rights, it isn’t as black and white as that. Among the first communities that moved to ban smoking on beaches and piers were those in Orange County, where, I believe, the last Democratic presidential candidate to win a majority was FDR — before WWII.

Of course, political labels tend to be pretty meaningless, anyway. That’s probably why politicians are so fond of tossing them around. The truth is that there are lots of people who want to stop others from smoking, for whatever reason. Some see themselves as liberals, some as conservatives, some as centrists, some who knows. Perhaps we can just call them what they are: anti-smokers.

George E


14 Responses to “Stogie Commentary: The Truth About Anti-Smokers”

  1. Maurice Tuesday, November 21, 2006 at 5:34 am #

    I am unaware of smoking bans here in Idaho. I work at Micron where we have many smoking breakrooms.

    What smoking ban are you refering to in Idaho?

  2. George E. Tuesday, November 21, 2006 at 7:14 am #

    Maurice –
    According to the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare, a ban on smoking in restuarants went into effect in 2004, making the state, at that time, one of only 11 to "designate restaurants as smoke free." To me, that constitutes a fairly extensive ban.

  3. Jerry @ Stogie Revie Tuesday, November 21, 2006 at 8:19 am #

    Great article George…even in your former state of MD, guess what party has introduced state wide smoking bans in the state legislature? Thats right, the Republicans. Luckily, the proposal has been defeated in committee that past three years. But then you look at the county level and its Democrats at the local level introducing local smoking bans. So you're absolutely right, it varies by state and locality.

    I was listening to episode 25 of the Blowin Smoke podcast and was just irritated with the one lady on the show bashing liberals and how liberals how trying to take away our freedom etc,.

    Great article! 3 thumbs up!

  4. Anonymous Tuesday, November 21, 2006 at 8:41 am #

    You might want to be more careful about writing thoughtful, balanced, and considered pieces. People like to read things that reinforce that prejudices, not things that might make them think. As a smoker I am comfortable with the desire of non smokers not to experience the effects of my smoking involuntarily, and even support the long term goal to bring about the complete cessation of all smoking. Neither of these issues is 'right' or 'left', but both sides of the debate have been hijacked by irrational extremists from across the whole political spectrum. Perhaps what we need is a label for people who can only think in labels.

  5. Anonymous Tuesday, November 21, 2006 at 8:52 am #

    Please forgive my hasty and sloppy writing; I intended to say "the desire of non smokers not to experience involuntarily the effects of my smoking". Nor did I intend "irrational extremists" to read like a label, which just shows how hard it is not to label!

  6. Anonymous Tuesday, November 21, 2006 at 8:56 am #

    Mike Huckabee has no problem with smokers. He has a problem with smokers who get themselves sick and expect the taxpayers to foot the bills for their healthcare.

    You have a right to smoke. You don't have a right to make others pay for it.

  7. Padronnie Tuesday, November 21, 2006 at 9:13 am #

    "Mike Huckabee has no problem with smokers. He has a problem with smokers who get themselves sick and expect the taxpayers to foot the bills for their healthcare.

    You have a right to smoke. You don't have a right to make others pay for it."

    That's a good argument against socialized medicine… but it isn't a good argument in favor of tobacco prohibition!

  8. Anonymous Tuesday, November 21, 2006 at 1:34 pm #

    I agree it does go both ways and does depend on where you live. I am a Christian and smoke cigars everyday as do many of my fellow believers. I also like to drink a good beer, scotch, etc. I am a conservative politically, but am also a Deadhead, tattoo covered artist, who has probably a more open mind than many “liberals” in certain social circles. So yes, we come in many colors, or to keep it cigar related, we come in many “wrappers”. But, I always find when the room is cleared by cigar smoke, the only ones left behind tend to be more conservative politically- just my own experience.

  9. Cigar Rob Friday, January 19, 2007 at 8:34 am #

    True, the politics of this issue cut both ways and I suppose both sides could cite incidence of the other being "wrong". I will say, however, that Huckabee's or anyone else's assertion that smokers are a heavier burden on the health care system are incorrect. When you factor in the astronomically high taxes that smokers are forced to pay that others are not just because they smoke, we never draw that much back from the system…so to speak, individually or collectively. That kind of taxation is unufair at best. What is it for? Check out the book "Please Don't Poop On My Salad" for some facts on the anti-smoking movement presented in a simple and often humorous way.

    You can buy the book or download it free.

    Long ashes…


  10. Vassilis Tuesday, November 20, 2007 at 5:43 am #


  11. Stelios Friday, January 25, 2008 at 9:58 am #


  12. Aleksiu Wednesday, February 6, 2008 at 12:10 pm #


Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. The Stogie Guys » Blog Archive » Stogie News: Stogie Year In Review - Wednesday, December 27, 2006

    […] – On November 21 we explained that trying to restrict the freedom to smoke isn’t a liberal or conservative thing…It’s an anti-smoking thing. […]

  2. The Stogie Guys » Blog Archive » Stogie Guys Friday Sampler XXVII - Friday, January 19, 2007

    […] 1) In the interest of seeing who actually supports and who opposes smoking restrictions, we further looked into that Bangor, Maine City Council vote to ban smoking in vehicles with children. You’ll remember this story from last week’s sampler. According to the Bangor paper, the vote was 6-3. Now, the council is nominally nonpartisan, but, naturally, most members are politically affiliated. The three who opposed the measure were one Democrat, one Republican, and one politician who emailed to say that he has “not been enrolled in any party for many years.” 2) Tuesday’s commentary noted the article by Professor Thomas Lambert titled “The Case Against Smoking Bans” from the winter issue of Regulation Magazine. At the time that issue wasn’t yet online, but now it is (we’re so far ahead of the curve). You can download the article for yourself here (warning pdf). […]