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Smoking - an act of aggression?
Should smoking in the presence of unwilling recipients of carcinogens be considered an act of aggression?
In the United States alone, approximately 50,000 people die from second hand smoke every year. That's FIFTY THOUSAND PEOPLE.
Second hand smoke is similar to a sort of delayed Russian roulette. You might get lucky, or you might not. Every time a smoker smokes next to you, they're creating a toxic environment around you. An environment that houses numerous carcinogens, as well as lethal doses of radioactive isotopes.
Short of wearing a gas mask (which would probably get you arrested) there's no way to effectively avoid smoke while walking around town (I try to hold my breath, but I still get lung-fulls of the stuff).
If a criminal assaulted you with a syringe of deadly poison that may or may not kill you a few years from now, would you not have the right to retaliate? How is releasing four thousand chemicals into the air you breath any different?
I think on their own property, and as long as this smoke doesn't get anywhere else (in apartment buildings it does), smokers should be able to smoke whatever substances they wish.
But outside, in a public place, when statistics show that second-hand smoke annually kills more people than car crashes?
As a libertarian, I consider smoking in my vicinity, when not on your own property, to be an act of aggression. I am an unwilling, non-consenting recipient of carcinogens. Unfortunately, right now there's nothing I can (legally) do about it.
And waiting for the average smoker to gain some sense of compassion for others is asinine. Why would they care about the lives lost by second-hand smoke, when they don't even care about their own lives?
How many more millions of people worldwide will die of second hand smoke before something changes?
I think that if the smoke enters someone else's property, and they disagree, they ought to be able to sue for health damages. Not only are smokers not bearing the full brunt of their health decisions because of socialized medical care, but they're not footing the bill for all the negative externalities they're causing to others in the form of health problems, either!
I would love to hear what you think. If you leave a comment, for full disclosure please specify whether you're a smoker or not.
(This post has been edited since it was originally posted, because I've had a second look at my wording and realized it might seem as though I'm advocating an initiation of aggression against smokers, which is not the case.)