Mill, harm, smoking

Here is an article about a recent book on J.S. Mill, which raises interesting points about public debate.

The author of the book thinks Mill would be pleased with various bans on public smoking, which made me think about ASUSU’s recent ban on smoking on USU’s campus. What do people think about this ban? My own view — and yes, I am a pipe smoker! — is that the ban wasn’t really driven by public health concerns. To get harmed by second-hand smoke, the research says that you need to be about 18 inches from the smoker and inhale deeply for a long time. Walking past at a 10-foot distance really doesn’t harm you; sunburn should be a far greater concern. Anyway, I think the ban was lifestyle-driven: mainly, self-righteous LDS students, in conjunction with ill-informed public-health zealots, put the hurt on counter-cultural smokers. Tyranny of the majority, as Mill would say.

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4 thoughts on “Mill, harm, smoking

  1. Mike

    At least it can provide the data for some interesting studies about cigarette withdrawl in relation to grades and class attendance.

    I’m not a smoker but my first good friend at USU was one and he went on to start his own company which he has since sold. He’s probably retired somewhere now. He wouldn’t have attended USU if that ban were in place at that time, he was the type of guy who wore encryption algorithms on his t-shirts because of inane federal laws (most have since been overturned). I’ll let him know in case he donates to the university. That is if one of his old email addresses works.

    I think there should be some sort of pamphlet called “Fair Warning!” handed out to any students considering going to USU from out of state just to give them some idea of what they’re getting into. I think most students going to USU from out of state have no idea what the religious demographic data means in regard to ordinary living and making friends in Logan. Most people think USU is a state college, not BYU north.

    Don’t get me wrong, there’s lots to love about Logan and USU but I went into culture shock when I first got there and I was only moving from Salt Lake.

    And it has to be said… what would Joe Doupnik (chain smoker extraordinaire and primary author of Kermit) do if he were still a prof at USU?

    If USU really wants to save the students from themselves they should ban Styrofoam.

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  2. Heather Albee-Scott

    Bold post Charlie, I like it. I came to USU when The Briar was still in existence, and it was a gathering place for people, mostly from out of state, who smoked and drank coffee. There were plenty of people who didn’t smoke who also hung out in The Briar, because you could relax between classes, converse with other students as well as faculty members, and get a decent cup of coffee in a non-disposable container (good for the environment). What makes me laugh is the lack of a bar on campus, not to encourage underage drinking, but because the adults who work at and attend USU should be allowed to have a beer or glass of wine, because it is legal.

    Your post has inspired me. I’m going to bring a coffee maker to the public school where I work, because really, how can a teacher’s lounge be a teacher’s lounge without one! Thanks for the inspiration.

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  3. Doug

    Finally, a real topic that is
    locally addressed! I attended USU for nearly six years (I know, a real long time) and I was able to see the many things students and teachers tried to do in order to shun or even expel those that either did not believe in the predominat religion or did not choose to follow those “great moral standards” in which that particular church subscribes too.

    I watched an organization sell cookies to minorites for cheaper to prove some sort of political point on affirmative action, but they said very racist things to close friends of mine. I watched students dress up in wedding clothing, showing that a marriage should be between a man and a woman-they gave out cake and insulted the gay students. I watched the greek organizations ultimatly get wiped out due to students exercising their rights as adults, and I have even watched a friend leave USU for getting a swearing ticket. I have seen a movement started by many students to silence professors academically and politically saying that they are too liberal and need to be fired. Finally, now USU has chosen to ban smoking and make it so that students have lost their final right as an adult on campus.

    Granted, I have cited politcal demonstrations and questions of health. However; there are ways things could be done if there were legitmate concerns. Honestly, i am not a smoker, but I find it interesting that students are worried about inhaling smoke, but not about the constant push for guns on campus….

    Anyway, I would really like to say that I will find it most unfortunate if students from all diverse backgrounds cannot attend USU because the university has lost its academic and personal freedom (meaning a place for growth, maturity, and lessons of life) and replaced it with religious facism. This would mean a decline in intellectual growth for the university, as well as rankings, funding, and legitimacy. If we wanted to go to BYU or Jerry Falwells school we would have chosen to do so.

    Ok, I am done ranting now! You can exhale….

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  4. Pingback: Finally! Be free from smoking » Mill, harm, smoking

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