Dying for a smoke

Last month I wrote about how Washington’s smoking ban forced elderly smokers out of the well-ventilated smoking lounge inside their retirement home and into the cold and rain of the “Butt Hutt” located 25 feet outside the building. Today the Evening Telegraph and Post reports on how an eighty-five-year-old man in Scotland died just two days after a smoking ban went into effect as he tried to step outside a pub to have a cigar.

As he walked across the lounge of his local, Mr Donachie stumbled forward and hit his head on the bar top before falling to the ground in front of shocked regulars…

His son Stewart said today he was angry his father, who he described as a “cheery lad” who enjoyed a couple of drinks, had been forced outside for his cigar.

He called for new provisions to be made for the elderly and disabled under the terms of the smoking ban.

He said, “During the day I’d always gone outside with him to have his smoke to make sure he was OK.

“I didn’t see him getting up that once and he fell and cracked his head against the bar. He died of a brain haemorrhage.

“I believe if the ban hadn’t come in then he would have been sitting at the table and he would have still been here today.

“I think there should be leeway for older and disabled people not to have to go out in the rain for a cigar or cigarette.

“A prime example was on Sunday night when the ban came in. I was in a bar when the staff had to push an old lad outside in his wheelchair. It is ridiculous.”

What do you think, nanny staters? Sounds like a good idea to me. Or should eighty-five year old men and people in wheelchairs be perilously forced out of doors to save healthy young bar workers from the ravages (ravages, I say!) of second hand smoke? If I haven’t run all of you off yet, answer in the comments.

And don’t forget, Jason’s “Smoking is healthier than fascism” t-shirts are available here.

[Via Leonardo at To The People.]


9 thoughts on “Dying for a smoke”

  1. I’m not sure it’s accurate to blame his death on the smoking ban. As I understand from the linked story, he died when walking across the room to go smoke, stumbled, fell, and hit his head. It’s tragic, to be sure, but if he had instead been headed to relieve himself or answer a phone call, would his death have been blamed on those things or instead labelled a terrible accident?

  2. That’s a valid point and it was obviously an accident regardless of what he was on his way to do. But forcing elderly smokers to take trips outside and be exposed to the weather (a la the Butt Hutt) makes it more likely that such accidents will occur. I think it’s fair to consider unintended consequences like these when evaluating the effects of such policies.

  3. Y’know, if I thought about it, I probably would come out against a smoking ban for reasons similar to my opposition to the War on Drugs.

    But honestly your attitude really doesn’t make me want to think about it. It makes me defensive about something I never really supported in the first place. “Nanny-staters”? That your new term now that the non-existent bogeyman “Collectivist” has gone out of style?

  4. Having seriously covered smoking bans many times before on this blog, I decided to be antagonistic with this post. Perhaps I shouldn’t have indulged the impulse.

    However, “nanny stater” is far from a non-existent bogeyman. It’s an intentionally negative name for supporters of a very real political movement that is becoming increasingly effective and well-funded. At a time when tolerance for individual lifestyle choices in sex, religion, etc., is on the rise, support for restrictions on how and when people eat, smoke, and drink is a notable countertrend. If you care about liberal values, you ignore this movement at their peril.

    Similarly, while the term “collectivist” was (and is) thrown out too broadly by some Ayn Rand types, collectivism was no bogeyman in the previous century. If it seems quaint now, that’s only because few people propose serious alternatives to market organization for the bulk of social institutions, whatever changes they may want to make at the margins. But at the time, belief in national economic planning and identity had huge ramifications. The changes wrought were manageable in the US and extremely tragic in less fortunate countries. Unless you’re just reacting to the term’s abuse by Objectivists, I’m not sure why you’re so dismissive of it.

    In any case, thanks for the honest feedback regarding my tone.

  5. As I write this comment, I curse my upstairs neighbors who are annoying the living heck out of me by playing loud music. Loud classical music. Hasn’t anybody heard of heavy metal?

    I’m dismissive of the term “collectivist” (especially after reading Rand’s “Anthem”) because it seemed to describe nobody I’d ever met. Somebody who thought there was no room for individual achievement and progress cannot be made except through collective action. The term seemed to replace individual analysis of policy proposals in a lot of the Objectivist or libertarian literature I’ve read. (Admittedly, I have not read much of the former.) Much the same way that Bush supporters tend to label anyone who disagrees with them as a “terrorist sympathizer” or, worse, a “liberal”, I felt Rand’s followers carelessly used the term to villify anyone they disagreed with.

    1984 and Brave New World struck me as frighteningly prophetic visions of an oppressive future. Anthem struck me as laughable.

    As for your tone – hey, it’s your blog. While the tone annoyed me, maybe my bigger beef was that smoking was all you seemed to talk about on this blog lately. Of all the personal blogs I visit, yours was the most varied, the most interesting, and had the biggest readership. Having little interest in coffee and none in cigarettes, I guess what I’m saying is…..I miss the old “Eternal Recurrence.” [sniff, sniff]

    Maybe part of the reason is that you use that Del.icio.us links thing to point out all the random stuff that used to merit individual blog posts and commentary. Ah well. This blog does not exist for my benefit.

  6. Del.icio.us indeed. They taste like chocolate. Yummy, yummy e-chocolate.

    And I’m not sure I see what is inherently wrong with a community-centered worldview as opposed to an individual-centered one. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

  7. Because there is no such thing as a common communal interest, only collections of individual interests.

  8. I check in occasionally. Until you start posting about things other than coffee and pesky regulations that might cramp your pleasant lifestyle, I won’t indulge you by contributing very often.

    What about immigration, or the use of military force to promote liberal values on oppresed peoples, you know, stuff that actually matters, rather than wine taxes and smoking bans (which are stupid policies, but hardly pressing matters).

    It angers me that a person of your intellect and writing ability indulges in such petty fancies.

  9. This is such a farce of hypocracy!
    The elderly who smoked all their lives forced out in the wheather elements just because they want a smoke? I just saw a video of a man who lived to be 113 & smoked all his life. The bans should be lifted they are just a matter of power & control by retarded people! John Lennon said it best: life is controlled by insane people doing insane things.. people could die just sleeping!

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