Coffeehouse Thread

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Tobacco companies ordered print confession on packages

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  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , Maddus Mattus wrote

    @evildictaitor: But inflicting physical damage onto your teenager is.

    You can argue before the courts that she full well knew that is was harmfull to all occupants.

    Hang on - are you for or against smoking in cars where children are inside being illegal? Just a second ago you were quite clearly stating that it shouldn't be illegal. But now you are saying that since smoking in a car clearly causes harm you should be able to take him/her to court.

    Which is it?

  • User profile image
    Maddus Mattus

    , evildictait​or wrote

    Hang on - are you for or against smoking in cars where children are inside being illegal? Just a second ago you were quite clearly stating that it shouldn't be illegal. But now you are saying that since smoking in a car clearly causes harm you should be able to take him/her to court.

    Which is it?

    Against. But you can sue for damages non the less.

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , Maddus Mattus wrote

    Against. But you can sue for damages non the less.

    What damages? It's too hard to prove that when she gets lung cancer 50 years later that it was because of that car journey. Smoking doesn't cause cancer in the same way that falling off a ladder causes a broken wrist. It skews the probabilities against you in your future life.

    When you sue you need to prove damages, so you won't be able to successfully sue.

  • User profile image
    Maddus Mattus

    @evildictaitor: The flipside would be that the mother would go to jail or pay a fine and you are left with nothing.

    And you can point to prior cases to make your argument, hard but not impossible.

  • User profile image
    JohnAskew

    Litigation is to be avoided at all costs, unless happiness is not important to you.

    I would never sue for that, good lord.

     

  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    , Blue Ink wrote

    *snip*

    That was obviously an hyperbole, but the issue is quite serious.

    If you accept the concept that it's right to sanction people not just for the consequences of their risky behaviors (as some of my preposterous examples suggested), but for engaging in a risky behavior in the first place, you would set a dangerous precedent, not to mention a basic social inequality. If you don't see what's wrong with that, we can stop our discussion right here.

    I point you to the drunk driving laws found throughout the world.  We quite often sanction people for their risky behaviour.

    Taxation is a milder version of the same; milder, but still equally wrong. So no, I don't agree with that at all.

    Aside from my moral objections, there are a few more practical problems, among which the fact that it's not always easy to distinguish between use and abuse (alcohol and other dietary products can be used safely in moderation, for instance), then the notion that price can be a cure or a deterrent for addictions and compulsions is just weird. Finally there's the fact that substance abuse and unhealthy lifestyles are frequent (if not more frequent) among the least affluent population groups, so a flat tax would not be appropriate at all.

    Anyone who knows my shtick knows that I'm about as big of a bleeding heart liberal as possible, but I'm never going to say "lets keep bad behaviours cheap so the poor can afford to do them".  Taxes are a tool, we should use them. 

    If you really want to tax, use progressive taxation, and use the extra revenue to finance better education (the more educated population groups are those with the lowest levels of tobacco consumption, and it's also the one that's declining the fastest), promote awareness of the risks and consequences of unhealthy lifestyles, provide accessible counsel for the early treatment of addictions, subsidize healthier food. Your pick.

    I'm confused.  Are you now saying that we _should_ tax bad behaviour?

  • User profile image
    Blue Ink

    , ScanIAm wrote

    *snip*

    I point you to the drunk driving laws found throughout the world.  We quite often sanction people for their risky behavior.

    That's not even remotely the same thing: drunk driving is illegal, which means it's not just a risky behavior, it's a criminal one. It's not a matter of semantics: firstly, drunk drivers are not punished because they may hurt themselves, they are punished because they could end up killing someone else. Secondly, the law distinguishes between the bad behavior (DUI) and its ultimate consequences (manslaughter). Thirdly, the punishment is more socially fair (or should be, let's not get there just yet).

    Not that I would support a law that made smoking and eating greasy cheeseburgers a criminal offence, for an unrelated set of objections. But that's not what we were discussing.

    *snip*

    Anyone who knows my shtick knows that I'm about as big of a bleeding heart liberal as possible, but I'm never going to say "lets keep bad behaviours cheap so the poor can afford to do them".  Taxes are a tool, we should use them. 

    You are extrapolating it wrong. What I was saying before is that price is not a deterrent against bad behaviors (at least some of them). If you slap an excise tax, the poor will be worse off as they will keep buying - say - tobacco and alcohol, and end up with less money available for more healthy stuff.

    I agree that taxes are a tool, and a tremendous one, but I think they should always be used to level the playing field, which is why I oppose non progressive taxation.

    *snip*

    I'm confused.  Are you now saying that we _should_ tax bad behaviour?

    Again, no. I was saying that if you are dead set to eradicate bad behaviors, it would make more sense to tweak income taxes (which are progressive) and use them to fund initiatives that can reduce said behaviors without causing more harm. I don't know the numbers, so I won't speculate on the returns, but at the very least a part of those taxes should be offset by the benefits of a healthier and more educated community.

     

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , Blue Ink wrote

    *snip*

    That's not even remotely the same thing: drunk driving is illegal, which means it's not just a risky behavior, it's a criminal one. It's not a matter of semantics: firstly, drunk drivers are not punished because they may hurt themselves, they are punished because they could end up killing someone else. Secondly, the law distinguishes between the bad behavior (DUI) and its ultimate consequences (manslaughter). Thirdly, the punishment is more socially fair (or should be, let's not get there just yet).

    How is that different to criminalizing smoking in a car with your children forced to inhale the smoke? Here, let me help - imagine for a second that smoking in a car with your children is illegal, and then we'll try your paragraph again with the nouns changed:

    That's not even remotely the same thing: smoking in a car with your children is illegal, which means it's not just a risky behavior, it's a criminal one. It's not a matter of semantics: firstly, smokers who smoke in a car with their children are not punished because they may hurt themselves, they are punished because they could end up killing someone else. Secondly, the law distinguishes between the bad behavior (SIACWYC) and its ultimate consequences (manslaughter). Thirdly, the punishment is more socially fair (or should be, let's not get there just yet).

    price is not a deterrent against ... behaviors

    I don't see how that view is consistent with the fundamental lemma of Capitalism, i.e. that rewarding good behaviour with money encourages that good behaviour.

    And it also doesn't seem to reflect reality. In the UK, for instance, we've been increasingly taxing the use of petrol more and more with really unpopular fuel taxes - making a litre of gas in the UK more than three times as expensive as an equivalent one in the US. And people drive their cars less because of it.

    Taxes aren't popular, but claiming that they are ineffective at driving behaviour is another thing entirely.

  • User profile image
    androidi

    I did about a month of full time research on electronic cigs and the results suggest that for those trying to quit smoking but have not had success so far, it was eased considerably by transitioning to e-cigs first before trying to quit completely.

    Analysis of tobacco smoke and the anecdotes from those who have transitioned points to that there are substances in tobacco smoke that can cause strong withdrawal symptoms when you move from tobacco to pure nicotine. (To lessen the non-nic withdrawal symptoms some have tried lessening the real tobacco use over several weeks rather than immediate and complete switch but I didn't find enough data points to say how much this helps)

    In many cases (youth in schools) also the pressure to smoke is more about being in some group where someone is setting a bad example. I think in that scenario it would be preferable to use plain e-cig with just the vapour producing substance (VG), though personally when I was in that situation I just hated the real tobacco smoke so much that I chose to spend time in the library where as everyone else were hanging with the smokers. (thus my Agenda is to atleast convert smokers to the non-smelly e-cig if I can't make them stop entirely)

    Of course, there are also some people smoking due to liking the effects of the nicotine minus the addiction. I think e-cig is quite obviously better solution and there is no doubt if I had to stand near someone puffing VG+nicotine I'd any day pick that over the hundreds of substances in "analog" tobacco smoke.

    edit:

    As somewhat interesting side note, during the research I acquired some most typical substances used in e-cigs and found that the ones that are used to make e-cig "taste" like real tobacco also smell horrible and the smell sticks to even hard surfaces. If anyone tried these e-cigs I would caution against any additives unless you take the time to research them - the flavours typically come in a carrier/base fluid and the retail shops do not mention what that is and some of the substances used in the flavours could be just as bad or worse than smoking regular tobacco. << That's why I haven't pushed these e-cigs on any smokers beyond seeing if they'd be interested enough to research them thoroughly on their own - while plain VG+nic is probably relatively safe compared to regular tobacco smoke, there's a high temptation for e-cig smokers to experiment with additives and then there's risk of going from "known to unknown risk".

  • User profile image
    lensman

    My 2 cents on the smoking "problem" is that while I am personally opposed to smoking, I also feel we are reaching a point where we are persecuting folks way out of order of the risks involved.  Nobody, with half a brain, does not know smoking places you at a higher risk.  As long as the product is legal it should also be legal to consume it.  Imagine if they treated alcohol with the same fervent attitudes they do smoking?  Going to a pro football game one may be exposed to second hand drinking even when you yourself do not imbibe a drop.  Yes, this is ridiculous but so is most second hand smoking rules.  A business owner should be able to have a sign on the door "this is a smoking establishment".  If I choose to be employed there, as long as I was told up front, then I made the choice to accept the risks.  If I walk in the door as a customer then I assume those risks, again as long as it is a known smoking establishment.  If I believe that second hand smoke imperils my life then I have the free choice to eat at another establishment.  If I as a business can't make it on "smoking" customers only then the market has weened me out of business as it should do.  The idea that government, be it local  or national, says to everyone that "it is now illegal to consume a legal product because it might offend a third party" is insane.  There are now areas of the country where it is now illegal to consume a tobacco product in your own home.

     

    I support people living by the results of their own choices.  If we want to start printing "this product will kill you" on all tobacco products that will preclude people from buying them.  I would point out that life causes death after all.  There is nothing we can do about it.

  • User profile image
    androidi

    @lensman:I think you are putting too much faith in people taking the time to consider and acknowledge risks when there's some type of social setting/peer pressure involved when you are 10-15 old and are offered something new for free. I suspect there's enough awareness in western countries by now but smoking has greatly increased in some countries in last 20 years and I suspect the risk awareness for first timers isn't quite universal.

    No doubt the companies have had time and money to research how to make the first smoke addictive enough so that you're hooked immediately.

    edit:

    If e-cigs were to really take off (so tobacco companies would start selling them), no doubt we'd see these additives that truly make the addiction make their way into e-cigs as well.

    wikipedia:

    Technically, nicotine is not significantly addictive, as nicotine administered alone does not produce significant reinforcing properties.[54] However, after coadministration with an MAOI, such as those found in tobacco, nicotine produces significant behavioral sensitization, a measure of addiction potential.

  • User profile image
    Blue Ink

    evildictait​or wrote

    *snip*

    How is that different to criminalizing smoking in a car with your children forced to inhale the smoke? Here, let me help - imagine for a second that smoking in a car with your children is illegal, and then we'll try your paragraph again with the nouns changed:

    That's not even remotely the same thing: smoking in a car with your children is illegal, which means it's not just a risky behavior, it's a criminal one. It's not a matter of semantics: firstly, smokers who smoke in a car with their children are not punished because they may hurt themselves, they are punished because they could end up killing someone else. Secondly, the law distinguishes between the bad behavior (SIACWYC) and its ultimate consequences (manslaughter). Thirdly, the punishment is more socially fair (or should be, let's not get there just yet).

    I don't know if that's a straw man or you just didn't read what I wrote.

    I oppose preemptive taxation of bad behaviors on the ground that people might hurt themselves. I do not oppose outlawing behaviors that physically harm others, especially minors. If you want to ban smoking in cars altogether, be my guest: it would be consistent with other existing laws anyway.

    *snip*

    I don't see how that view is consistent with the fundamental lemma of Capitalism, i.e. that rewarding good behaviour with money encourages that good behaviour.

    I'm all for rewarding good behavior. The problem is we are talking about punishing bad behavior which is an entirely different thing; it's the hairy cousin with social issues.

    And it also doesn't seem to reflect reality. In the UK, for instance, we've been increasingly taxing the use of petrol more and more with really unpopular fuel taxes - making a litre of gas in the UK more than three times as expensive as an equivalent one in the US. And people drive their cars less because of it.

    Taxes aren't popular, but claiming that they are ineffective at driving behaviour is another thing entirely.

    My experience is that those prices are way off. As in way, way off, but let's move on.

    Taxes are the crudest tool of social engineering there is: the fact that you obtain some average goal doesn't tell the whole story and might hide some unintended side effect. I cannot speculate on your example without further data, but I would be really surprised if it turned out to be the first case in history of a socially fair excise tax.

    Point in case: tobacco is heavily taxed in most countries, and increasingly so. Yet, consumption data indicate that it is less prevalent, and declining more rapidly, in the more affluent groups. That's inconsistent with price being the driving factor.

    That's not surprising: as I already said before, the notion that you can cure an addiction with taxes is preposterous. In general, trying to pressure people to change their ways without consideration for the underlying causes and conditions, is ineffective and misguided. It's the lesser evil when there's the health or freedom of others at stake, but unacceptable otherwise.

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