The Chron (paywall) reports that the University of Houston has will officially ban smoking on June 1st. The ban will include “cigarettes, cigars, pipes, water pipes, electronic cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco…” While smoking in all buildings is already banned, the new measures announced the past few days will prohibit smoking in most outdoor areas, except for a few specially marked “designated open areas” for smoking, which are ostensibly far away from sidewalks and buildings.
No good deed goes unpunished, however. The Libertarians, Objectivists and the rest of the cupcake cadets call the regulation “fascism at its worse.” What is really concerning is not only their neurological disorder which prevents them from EVER being told what to do (that is expect, at the point), but the fact that opponents of such a ban dispute the notion that secondhand smoke is harmful. When you start believing the FDA is undergoing some sort of massive conspiracy about secondhand smoke in order to deprive your liberty, then I have a tin-hat I’d like to sell you. This is just another example of how far the goalposts have been moved to the right in this country. I remember an old Lewis Black routine, where he said “I never thought that during the course of my life, a president would be elected who didn’t believe in evolution,” in, of course, an obvious jab to then-President George W. Bush. In similar shock and disbelief, I did not believe we would ever have a significant political movement comprised of so many theoretically educated members that disputes such clear science.
For what it is worth, I find it to be overkill banning smokeless tobacco, but I am very happy to see that there will not be so much actual cigarette smoking on campus anymore. No matter what the idiot Libertarians will argue, secondhand smoke really is quite harmful. Accordingly, when you smoke a cigarette in public, especially in a place with a lot of young people, you are not just physically harming yourself. I tend to make one very strong exception to my rule that “people should be allowed to basically do what they want”: harm to others. If your personal choice carries a strong risk oh physical harm to innocent bystanders, then I air on the side of preventing harm. Hence, why I am pro-Gun Control.
My college up in Boston basically allows smoking anywhere outside (including like 5 feet away from the doors). It is not an annoyance, it makes it painful to walk between the buildings. Also, when it is 10 degrees (farenheit) outside, it does not help to hold your breath and run. When I visited UT last month, I found their smoking ban to be quite nice. It is a good step for UH to follow.