Smoking is unhealthy
Yes, smoking is unhealthy -- but not as unhealthy as most other things in our society (your life). The point being not that smoking is good for you, but that there are many other factors that are a far bigger influence on your health -- especially your diet, exercise, genes or your attitude. So attacking smoking for health reasons, is just a rationalization. And if society can rationalize intrusion on such a minor health impact, they should be able to (and eventually will) do it for more pressing issues. Remember the following things have greater impacts:
- Genetics: we know some people are going to die of lung cancer with or without smoking, others won't die of it, no matter how much they smoke. The same with fatty foods and a dozen other behaviors. Genetics matter. If you care about public health then let's have government breeding programs making humanity better and avoiding those weaklings that are predisposed to cancers, obesity or sickle cell anemia. (Where have we heard that before?)
- Exercise: we know this is one the largest contributors to health and healthcare costs behind genetics. You stay fit, you live longer and cost less. So government mandated fitness would have a bigger impact on public health than smoking laws.
- Diet: next in importance is diet. If you think smoking is bad, you should see what too much cheesecake and bacon can do. We have to start legislating the publics diet. Lets outlaw meat. (I'm mostly vegetarian, and my wife is complete -- it'd be no sweat off my brow). That single act would save dozens of times as many lives as outlawing smoking.
- Stress: if we're playing nanny-state that cares about the public, lets require people to take meditation, stress management classes or see counselors (especially if they are know-it-all busy-bodies, trying to regulate others lives). That too would have a bigger impact on public health than smoking laws!
- Japanese men have the highest smoking rates in the world, and the BEST life expectancy of any country. They smoke something like twice the world average (or more), and have for generation. They also live longer than countries where they smoke far less (or none at all). Tell me again how smoking is a large risk factor?
Smoking is way down the list of your biggest health impacts, but we NEED the health police, along with the fashion police!
Of course, that was meant as satire -- even if some are trying to make it a reality. If you believe in freedom, then perhaps it is right for us to allow people to do what is wrong and that we don't approve of. We should encourage others to make better choices, but lets leave the government guns (laws and other tools of force) at home. Lets also stop the hypocrisy that we care about health. We don't, or else McDonald's would have been outlawed a generation ago. This argument is an excuse for persecuting other people's vices -- while usually ignoring our own.