Evan and Gordon Talk Extra: Smoking and Society, Cont’d

EVAN: So our good friend Stew mentioned something that I should have when we first did this talk, and it has to do with second-hand smoking.

It’s something I should have mentioned because when I was in middle school a man with a hole in his throat showed up to talk to us; he’d had lung cancer and never smoked a day in his life, just been married to a woman who did often.

GORDON: I’m not going to deny the danger of second hand smoke. However, as the man you mentioned does demonstrate, for that to you happen you have to be exposed to second hand smoke in huge volumes for massive periods of time.

You can’t stand down wind of a smoker one sunny spring day and then BOOM- cancer. Besides, with the vicious regulation we have today, you can go pretty much anywhere and not have to deal with it; smokers can only really smoke in a few places.

EVAN: How do you feel about that, given the justification already presented?

GORDON:  I feel people are paranoid about it. For the most part, smokers won’t smoke if you simply ask ’em not to. Again, there are plenty of carcinogens coming out of car exhaust pipes.

Manila on a clear summer day.

EVAN: Right, but most places are not Manila.

GORDON: Or Syria, or plenty of third world countries. Though in their defense, smoking is pretty far down on the chain of life problems.

EVAN: Very true.

GORDON: Heck, when faced with war, police, corruption, disease, imperialism, environmental destruction and the general collapse of whatever facade of society exists- taking away that little vice seems inhuman.

Anyways, jumping back to what I said about car exhaust: if people were actually concerned about carcinogens, we’d be up to our necks in vegetarians bicyclists. Whining about smokers when pretty much EVERYTHING else is giving you cancer is just people trying to feel superior through misplaced self-righteousess.

EVAN: Let’s be fair, man. Car exhaust is released out in wide open spaces, it’s not pouring into restaurants and bars and lingering there.

I was in a bar in Switzerland where they did allow smoking indoors, and it was what I imagine standing in a chimney would be like.


Seriously, though, there are lots of nonsmoking bars out there, and bars with non-smoking sections. Heck, bars are one of the few places left where you can smoke.

EVAN: Actually, all bars are smoke-free in Canada.

GORDON: Well there you go. Where can a person smoke in Canada?

EVAN: Outside, in our fresh Northern air.

GORDON:  Exactly, the only place in Canada they let a smoker smoke is outside, i.e. the punishment they threaten Siberians with. And isn’t the great, freezing outdoors well ventilated enough for a poor smoker to smoke in what little peace you’ll give him?

 I hardly think being asked not to smoke inside a restaurant inside a restaurant is persecution.

GORDON: Or bars, or cars, or lobbies, or offices, or hotels, or parks (depending), or even the parking lots of certain stores and businesses. I could keep going.

EVAN: So what sort of changes do you want made?

GORDON: More than anything else, I want people to stop looking down their noses at me as if I’m somehow a brainwashed slave of Marlboro. I want people to stop jumping up on a soap box full of self-righteous indignation simply because tobacco is the one awful thing they don’t consume. And there is such a thing as moderation.

I mean, we’re not all Charlie Sheen.

And maybe, just maybe, they could allow smoking on restaurant verandas/balconies/etc. Because I like sunsets too.

EVAN: They don’t allow smoking on decks and things in the US?

GORDON: Not to my knowledge, no.

EVAN: That is pretty bad, then. When I worked at a club we had a patio where people could go out and smoke.

GORDON: Like I said, I can’t say for sure. Fines are heavy enough that I’d rather not experiment with it.

EVAN: Well, I agree with what you’ve said about social stigma, and certainly don’t find the request to smoke in open air areas out of the question.

GORDON: And with that, it’s officially 10:30 PM for me and 1:30 AM for you. We are, despite what you may think, o readers, only human. Verily, we are flawed and imperfect creatures, and not always able to close out these things with a witty observation summarizing our points.

Have a good night.

EVAN:  And you can still take the time to vote for next week’s topic down below. I’m goin’ to bed.

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