Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Might want to check your reasoning there, son.

Now that Scott Stroud is gone from the Express-News, it seems that Brian Chasnoff has stepped into his Blithering Idiot shoes.  To wit, his column from this past Sunday's paper (h/t to the morning Facebook guy on WOAI for misspelling Carlos & cigarettes & reminding me to write this) contains some pretty twisty logic:

I was a teenage smoker.

The first nauseating drag was inhaled at 16 to impress a girl at a high school party. And although this cigarette did not spark romance, I succeeded in becoming addicted to cigarettes. Five years later, as a senior at Tulane University, I'd increased my consumption of tobacco to two packs a day...

But for reasons both moral and fiscal, Senate Bill 313 deserves support...

“Every year, we complain, and rightfully so, Texans complain that our Medicaid budget is continuing to grow and increase and we can never get our arms around it,” Uresti says. “Well, here's one way we can get our arms around it, and that's by raising the age limit for smoking.”

Uresti's bill would sacrifice about $20 million in annual state revenue for the same reason it would save lives: The new age limit would prevent about a third of young adults from smoking who otherwise would likely become addicted.
Now, are you following along with this?  Brian Chasnoff started smoking at age 16.  He quit smoking in 2001, five years later.  This means he started smoking in 1996.  Guess who else was 16 in 1996? Yours truly, which means I can tell you this without any hesitation: the legal age for buying cigarettes back then was 18.

On the off chance any of my readers are as dense as Chasnoff, I'll spell it out for you: When he started smoking, he was two years younger than the legal age for buying cigarettes.

And yet he somehow thinks that raising the legal age for buying cigarettes is going to magically stop people from illegally smoking, even though it didn't stop him(Why yes, he's in favor of stricter gun control laws.  But you probably guessed that already, eh?)

Look, I'm not in favor of smoking.  I think smokers, at least those my age and younger who had a steady diet of anti-smoking messages in school, some of them very graphic, are dumb.  Smoking is my nanny-state thing; I was happy when City Council passed an anti-indoors-smoking ordinance, because it meant I could go to restaurants and breathe without getting sick.

Something else I'm not in favor of, though, is laws that won't make a lick of difference.  Though I have never even considered smoking, I am well aware of the fact that people still do it and are gonna keep on doing it.  And a significant portion of those who start are going to be teenagers who are well under the legal age for smoking.  Make it more illegaler! just isn't an intelligent idea, no matter what the topic of legislation may be.


Anonymous said...

Who many people start smoking because some nanny-state government type tells them they can't?

Dave said...

I think one of the unspoken theories is that, knowing people will obtain smokes & beer earlier than the age it is legal, if you raise the legal age, it raises the age that kids illegally obtain it. If it is 18 and 16 year-olds are smoking, raise it to 21 and maybe they will wait until they are 18. Raise it to 25 and they will wait until 21. But we know, it just doesn't work that way.

In general, I oppose the nanny state. Though I don't smoke anymore (it has been over 25 years since I stopped cold turkey from 2 1/2 packs a day) I was against San Antonio efforts to ban smoking in restaurants, on the principal of telling owners how to run their place. Now, I am so glad I was wrong because it has suddenly become safe to enjoy a meal without some inconsiderate jerk stinking up the place.

The answer is not to raise the age limit, the answer is to continue to make it exceedingly tough to be a heavy smoker.

At Lackland and most military bases, you can only smoke in designated areas and it requires a walk to get to them. Anyone who smokes more than a few cigarettes a day is seen as a slacker since it takes a good 15 minutes to walk out, smoke, then walk back.

Eventually, between the cost of smokes ($5.00 a pack!) and the limited places you can smoke in public, smoking will just be too much of a hassle.

Chasnoff and Uresti should spend more time looking for waste in government, not trying to limit the rights of adults.

Mattexian said...

The fun thing to do would be to point out to the anti-smoking crowd, that if smokers stopped completely, then the taxes for all the children's health programs would go up in smoke (no pun intended), and have to come from somewhere else, such as their favorite alcohol. I find smoking itself to be a disgusting habit (I was married to a smoker, and kissing her was like licking an ashtray!); that said, I point out that smokers and gun owners are MORE patriotic than everybody else, because we willing pay more taxes to support out habits.