Cheyenne20 wrote:I agree that is really lame. Utah has a long record of tramping on the rights of the minorities.
In this case, I'd suggest we are talking about the rights of the majority not to be subjected to others' noxious habits. While vaping is almost certainly less offensive and less harmful than smoking, that doesn't mean that an office of non-smokers should be required to endure the smell of cig smoke all day.
I freely admit that I think the whole indoor clean air act was taken too far when we required bars to ban smoking. I do think bars should be able to cater to the clientele they want and be either smoking or smoke free. Plus, if people are going to smoke, I'd rather they do it in the bar with ashtrays rather than on the sidewalk flicking their butts as litter.
But considering that 80% of Americans and 91% of Utahns don't smoke I see no reason to require them to bear the costs of the externalities of others' smoking. While I am dubious of any claims of measurable health risks to most persons (those with asthma or allergies or other respiratory problems excepted) from occasional exposure to modest amounts of second hand smoke, there are additional and unpleasant externalities that nobody should be allowed to force onto me. The smell of most all tobacco burning is offensive. It interferes with the taste of a meal. It prevents enjoyment of natural aromas including flowers, pollen, fresh rain, etc. It penetrates clothing and hair requiring washing or even dry cleaning depending on the garment in question. And in my entire life I've known exactly ONE smoker who never littered his butts. Some are better than others, but with this single, notable exception who was a Korean war vet and was trained to field strip his butts while in the US Army, every cig smoker I've known has littered if it wasn't extremely convenient not to.
On this last front, I'd actually like to see public policy encouraging e-cigs over the real thing. I'm guessing nobody litters their e-cig when they are done with their fix. But there are other considerations. To whit:
snaggle wrote:Our state is known for hiding vises out of the sight of the children. i.e. The Zion Curtain.
We force business to hide the preparation of alcoholic drinks, could this just be the next victim in the state telling people what they will and will not allow our children to see?
After all, the children may grow up thinking e-cigarettes are cool and we all know it is the gateway to shooting heroin between your toes. Yes, sarcasm intended.
I think it was more about hiding it then public health. I am sure there are many products that off gas more harmfull chemicals then e-cigs that we use every single day.
UtahJarhead wrote:I'm GUESSING that this is a feel-good measure. Think about it... they want to ban the PRESENCE of smoking from kids just as they do drinking. Can't pour drinks in front of customers. Can't have more than a single beer on a table per patron (not counting pitchers). In the area of vices, we are indeed a draconian state.
I think there is a lot to this (ignoring the sarcasm and claims of being "draconian").
Consider this, while an e-cig is likely less harmful than a real cigarette, it is almost certainly more harmful than nothing. If nothing else, what are the advantages of a nicotine addiction?
How various behaviors are portrayed is a legitimate concern well beyond Utah. Notice that even the MPAA now considers smoking (and other depictions of drug use) in deciding ratings. Classic movies that would qualify for a PG or even G rating on every other account, may well get a PG-13 rating simply because they portray smoking in a positive light. Maybe that is silly. Or maybe it makes really good sense. How behaviors are portrayed both reflect and influence public perception. Consider how the depiction of racial minorities and homosexuals in popular media have changed over the last 3 decades. Members of those groups certainly think it matters a lot how they are portrayed and they don't want portrayals to be negative.
Like popular media, laws are both a reflection, and an influencer, of the culture in which they exist.
Can one really argue that laws limiting the locations where smoking is legally permitted, and requiring warning labels have not been a part of the change in cultural views toward smoking? Certainly educational efforts and bans on TV advertising have also played important roles. But laws have been a part of that.
Obviously, an e-cig (or hooka) is not a direct gateway to hard drug use. But might they be gateways to using real cigarettes? Does it not make some sense, as a matter of not only dominant culture, but also good public health policy, to take measures to make clear to young minds that e-cigs are not toys, they are not something to play with, they pose some of the same risks as real cigarettes (nicotine addiction at least), etc?
As for the so-called Zion curtain, sure in isolation it is silly. But when looked at holistically, it can actually make a little sense. We don't want to ban alcohol in Utah (as is done in any number of cities and counties in other States). But neither do we (the majority) care to live in a culture where alcohol is dominant. As I often say, it is one thing for alcohol to be available to adults. It is quite another for it to be viewed as a requirement of adulthood. The various, seemingly silly, restrictions on alcohol help to send a social message about the place of alcohol in Utah culture. It is permissible for adults to use in moderation; but adults are not required to use it in order to be seen as adults, it does not dominate, and in fact important business can and is conducted without the presence of alcohol. In total, I think this cultural standard--difficult as it is to reflect in law--is better than either the dry counties of the South or of the free flowing atmosphere of NYC, LA, New Orleans, or Vegas. Which is one reason I live here.
I think this is actually less Draconian than dry counties while simultaneously being far more respectful of majority culture and mores.