Where is the Line

27 Jun

Today the question that is playing round and round in my head is “where is the line for what’s appropriate to do even when you know what’s right?” What this question relates to is smoking. Now I am not pro-smoking by any means, and it’s indisputable that smoking is bad for you. My discussion is not about that. What’s more, I agree with educating people to stop smoking, to think about their habits, and to choose lives they really want. I even agree with regulating smoking, or banning it altogether, indoors, as well as controlling where it’s ok to smoke (as in not around children and the like.)

However, what I’ve seen lately is beyond educating.

What I have heard said (and I work in the healthcare profession so I’ve heard a lot) is that it’s ok to do whatever it takes, including stigmatizing people, using scare tactics, exaggerating the facts, and manipulating people to get them to not smoke/stop smoking. This is beyond the pale for me.

Keep in mind, if people want smoking to be illegal, then make it so. Otherwise, if it’s legal, let people make the wrong choice. Freedom isn’t about letting people only do what’s appropriate or good for them. (I’m talking about adults here.) The thing is that makes me nervous about the near religious certainty that any and all tactics are equally valid in order to get people not to smoke. My problem with it is that same fervency can translate to ANYTHING that is deemed “wrong.” I’ve already seen it spread to obesity and other social issues.

Keep in mind, even if everybody stops smoking, people will still die of other things. The argument that smoking makes people die expensively is ludicrous to me, because dying of old age in a nursing home is by far the most expensive route. If people quit smoking of their own free will because they’ve looked at the facts, then I applaud them, but being manipulated into that decision out of wanting to be more acceptable, well that’s a kind of social engineering that I don’t want to happen.

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3 Responses to “Where is the Line”

  1. Shez June 29, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    More people die from overeating or choosing the wrong foods than die from smoking. No one would stand for a mandate that people have to eat healthy. But I do find it hard to see people that can hardly squeeze in the booth at a fast food place have more in front of them to eat at one meal, than I eat in several days. I find it hard because I have spent many hours around people who suffer the affects of all those calories and then want medicines to cure them. That is so sad because at one point they had a choice, it is too late for them now. 😦 I do eat healthy and enjoy the results and I also recognize that does not guarantee immunity from disease. But it does change the odds for many type of diseases. 🙂

    • pewterbreath June 29, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

      I agree that people should be educated about healthy lifestyles, I just think taking people’s choices away is a bad idea even when that means that some people will make bad choices. I also think, from seeing things at the hospital, that a lot of the cheapest food is terrible nutritionally which is why the poorest feel the obesity epidemic more keenly.

      • Shez June 29, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

        Beans stretch farther than mac ‘n cheese, cost less and are nutritionally sound…Yes, I agree completely that many people will always make bad choices, some people will make choices that seem sound at the time and then go bad. We all just have to do the best we can. And we should always have the choice.

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