Wednesday, February 27, 2008

a small bit of crow pie re: public smoking

In my widely debated post on the 100% cigarette-banning actions of nanny states around the world and how Israel's 95% solution makes more sense to me, I made a lot of interesting points and drew attention to an innovative and perhaps more sensible approach to a worldwide problem.

I also somewhat minimized the health impacts of smoking and the cessation of smoking in all public places. As it turns out, the number of patients being admitted for myocardial infarction in France has fallen by 15% in just over 1 year since the 100% ban was enacted. While the source of the data is one of the proponents of the legislation and has every reason to massage data to support their own opinions, it is probably best to accept it at face value, since similar data has been collected elsewhere.

The weird thing is how the 15% reduction happened. According to the article, the number of smokers in France hasn't changed. I would guess that the number of cigarettes smoked probably has fallen. But my impression is that it takes a lifetime of smoking to cause something like myocardial infarction, so how could you have a meaningful drop in cases after just one year. Did they, in fact just remove the final trigger for some set of people?

In any case, I still think that a collection of consenting adults should be able to gather in at least a few public places around a city and smoke, so long as every reasonable effort is made to eliminate their impact on everyone else.

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