Have cigarette, won’t travel

I was quoted yesterday in Christopher Elliott’s MSNBC travel column, which this week is about the travel industry’s crackdown on smokers. A non-smoker himself, Elliott argues that many anti-smoking policies now go too far in denying accommodation to nearly a quarter of the industry’s clients. It’s a solid piece and I’m glad he’s bringing attention to the issue.

One complaint: At the end he lumps all smokers together as addicts, unnecessarily stigmatizing them as helpless users of tobacco. Many of us smoke only occasionally and because we enjoy it, not because we’re dependent on nicotine. The constant association of smoking and addiction is one reason anti-smoking policies have spiraled out of control without any regard for smokers’ rights or preferences.

Smokers in exile
Taking the LEED on smoking bans


13 thoughts on “Have cigarette, won’t travel”

  1. What do you have that backs up your claim that “many” of the smokers out there are only occassional smokers? Off of just my experience I’d have to guess that you’re actually in a pretty small minority.

  2. My father smoked 2 packs a day for 40 years but quit cold turkey in 1972. To this day he still dreams about smoking. The scientific studies are out there, JG, and I’d suggest you seriously study them to see just how addictive and damaging nicotine and other cig ingredients are. If you smoke, you’re addicted; if you quit, you’re still addicted because you can’t get the craving out of you. You can control it but never eliminate it. The reason you have an “occasional” cig, JG, is because the occasional craving for a cig becomes so overwhelming that you have no recourse BUT to smoke. Smoking is an insidious habit that destroys too many lives and leaves too many so physically incapacitated that walking a mile is out of the question for them. Oh yeah, remember the Marlboro men? Two of the originals, Wayne McLaren and David McLean, died of lung cancer, but not before McLaren could testify in favor of anti-smoking legislation. No doubt you’d have a difficult time convincing McLaren just how good an occasional cig is. McLaren was 51 when he died. Keep occasionally smoking, JC. And if you don’t live until 51, and if you die of lung cancer or some other smoking-related disease, just remember how good that occasional cig was that got you there. That should be a very comforting thought indeed.

  3. @Matt: I don’t have any hard numbers, but I’d put anyone who smokes cigars or pipes less than every few days or so and anyone who smokes “only when they drink” in that group. Nicotine is processed in the body fairly quickly, so the only people who can plausibly be said to be addicted to it are those who smoke throughout the day. People who go days, weeks, or months without tobacco aren’t maintaining nicotine levels in their system — they’re just doing something they enjoy.

    For that reason cigarette smokers are the most likely to be “addicted” (a very loaded word that I use only loosely) and cigar, pipe, and hookah smokers the least likely. Since Elliott was talking explicitly about all 3 groups of smokers, calling them all addicts was out of line.

  4. ”Evidence Suggesting the Role of Specific Genetic Factors in Cigarette Smoking,” psychologist Caryn Lerman, Ph.D., of the Georgetown University Medical Center and her co-authors demonstrated for the first time that a link exists between smoking behavior and the dopamine transporter gene (SLC6A3-9). In their study of 289 smokers and 233 nonsmokers, they found that individuals with an SLC6A3-9 genotype were less likely to be smokers than individuals without that gene. Furthermore, those with that gene started smoking later and were able to quit for longer periods of time than other smokers.

  5. Like it or not, smokers are going to smoke, period. Before the social engineering begun by the big pharmaceutical companies, everyone co-existed peacefully. Now the anti-smokers have pitted themselves against the smokers and the smokers must defend themselves against the riducule and governmental tyranny of oppression. All in the name of corporate greed. Big pharma would have smokers use their brand of nicotine only with a 98% failure rate of quitting. They don’t want anyone to quit, it is too profitable. Imagine AA with their own brand of alcohol. Unimaginable! But now big pharma has a drug for alcohol imbibers. It’s just a matter of time before even social drinkers are targeted for their “vice”.

  6. As in all cases against Tobacco, the proof of harm is all circumstantial and no positive proof is ever presented.. Not one person has been proven to have died due to SHS and Smoking is only one of dozens of possible causes. It is impossible for Epidemiology to pinpoint any single cause and that is the specific reason it is used. Studies find the predetermined cause or funding will be withdrawn. Without funding from the Government and the Pharmaceuticals no studies would be done and this is the reason fraud can be found in at least 29% of all studies.

  7. The Scientific Scandal of Antismoking

    “This refusal to consider conflicting evidence is the negation of the scientific method. It has been the hallmark of fifty years of anti smoking propaganda and what with good reason may well be described as one of the greatest scandals in 500 years of modern science.”

    This one of the best in-depth studies of how studies are done and their conclusions are reached. To say the least, this will open eyes to the truth of Smoking and Second Hand Smoke. It is long but more than worth the time. The conclusions will surprise all who finish it.

  8. I read the study and one glaring fact stands out: The most recent study cited is 1991, clearly 18 years old. The majority of the studies cited were conducted before 1980, at a time when the tobacco industry clearly had its grip in controlling smoking studies to show not only the minimal health effects of smoking but just how beneficial smoking is. It would be interesting to know how many of these “studies” received any monies from the tobacco industry. Of course if I searched long and hard enough, I could find studies of just how beneficial sucking on a tailpipe to breathe in exhaust is. You may smoke and live to be 122, but don’t count on half that long if you’re lucky. Spin it any way you want, but an 18 year old study is desperate. Next thing we know, you’ll refer us to studies during the time of Copernicus.

  9. And you can’t argue with the Flat Earth Society. Why they’ve got the proof the earth is flat and has been since the time of the oldest people.

  10. Domenyk – perhaps you’d be interested in an interview with the Marlboro Man. Oops, sorry, can’t give you that, he died at 51 from your choice of death.

  11. What is meant by occasional? Smoking only on special “occasions.” Smoking occasionally means different things to different people. I could say I smoke occasionally…every hour!

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