June 06, 2011

You sell them, I'll smoke 'em

Doesn't matter if I want 'em or not. It's called solidarity, and smokers seem uniformly despised, albeit their tax dollars are still welcome. Oh, and by the way? It's harder to kick a nicotine habit than heroin. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Mayor Mike really went bonkers this time: Now he's Captain in Chief of his very own Police State, one of his making. As of last week, smoking -- not clearly defined as "no cigarettes, no pipes, no cigars, no drug paraphenalia" specifically, has been banned in New York City's parks, on our beaches, our boardwalks, and probably a thousand other places that my tax dollars support. So, along with knowing that the police here can essentially search you at any time you are on public property, i.e., bring a large tote bag on the subway, and you have lost the right to keep the contents private, remember that you've also lost a few Constitutional rights along the way.

For the civic-minded nicotine addict, it's the sidewalk, the middle of the road (so long as it hasn't been claimed for plaza space), or the parking lot as a choice of smoking venue -- 'cause if it's not the parking lot -- of which we have fewer and fewer now that real estate is so valuable you can build a glass box and convince people to spend $1 million-plus essentially to live in a glass house -- it's that or the middle of the road.

As for the parking lot, I don't own a car. Never have, and doubt I will. My carbon footprint is a size 6. So chances of my screwing up the environment with car emissions is very slim. Can you say the same? (Try to tell me that car emissions are good for you, and I will laugh you into the East River.)

So I'm basically headed to the parking lot to stay, because it's that or the middle of the road. And which would you prefer? Fatal car accidents -- for when woman meets speeding car, she loses -- or a slight willingness to concede some air space for those of us not using up any of our other pollution credits. Fortune 500 companies have been trading their pollution credits since the mid-1990s, so I see no reason not to apply that logic on a personal level.

You don't want me smoking in your office, well, I can live with that. You don't want me smoking in your home, well, if you can offer a nearby indoor venue, I can live with that. But the idea that you can't light up in Central Park is beyond me. This is, after all, the park where, in the 1970s, people smoked a lot more than cigarettes.

These days, it's hide and seek with a cigarette. I think people would prefer I brought a loaded gun to any nonsmoking venue than that I dare light a cigarette. This is, after all, still New York. You want clean air, move to Vermont.

Oh, and as for smokers creating high medical expenses? We all know we're dying one day or another -- unlike the anti/non-smokers, who seem to think this is a world without end. Ultimately we cost the country less in health costs than you might think, for the simple fact that a) we die sooner and b)what we have already kicked into Social Security will leave more for you. I'd like a little bit of gratitude for what I'm doing on that front.

You might also want to check the stats for how much money smokers cost in medical vs., say, obese people. One in five smokes, but one in three is obese, at least across middle America. And it is no fun sitting next to a person overflowing her seat in economy class on a plane.

What's next, a ban on sugar?

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Anonymous Teresa said...

I was interested to learn recently, via neuroscientist David Linden's interview on Fresh Air, that nicotine is also easier to get addicted to than, say, heroin, the logic being that 10 puffs x 20 cigs per pack will more quickly rewire the brain than a giant hit of heroin, however dissimilar the dopamine release. For raw chances that a one-time user will grow addicted to the substance, I think he cited statistics in the neighborhood of 30% (heroin) vs 70% (nicotine). Linden is charmingly nerdy and interesting at once. Here's the podcast if you care to listen: http://www.npr.org/2011/06/23/137348338/compass-of-pleasure-why-some-things-feel-so-good

5:24 PM  

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