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News ::
Youth Join Fight For, Against Smoking (english)
03 Jun 2003
Modified: 04 Jun 2003
A self-described libertarian, Hannula fought a now-defunct anti-smoking program for Minnesota youth called Target Market because he disapproved that public money was used to influence the choices teens make about smoking.
Youth Join Fight For, Against Smoking
Martha Irvine, Associated Press, June 3, 2003

CHICAGO - You could say 14-year-old Kyle Damitz helped pioneer a movement that has snuffed out smoking in many restaurants and bars nationwide. More than eight years ago, he and his brother talked the owners of their local bowling alley into a ban on cigarettes and cigars during youth leagues - a minor coup in smoker-friendly Chicago.

Now the eighth-grader is helping push proposals that would make it illegal to smoke in many public places in his city and neighboring Skokie, Ill. He's among the young people nationwide getting involved in the tobacco debate - an issue that resonates strongly with them since many take up smoking during their teen years, while others make a conscious decision not to. "If I'm around it, I start wheezing and sometimes I just can't breathe," says Damitz, who is severely asthmatic.

Erik Horne also is involved, though he's on the other side of the issue. The 21-year-old smoker has been campaigning for sheltered smoking areas at Western Washington University, where school officials recently banned him and others from lighting up in or directly outside their dorms. Now, he says, he must walk the length of two football fields, often in the rain, to smoke. "It's harassment," says Horne, who's circulated petitions and built a Web site dedicated to his cause.

As more campuses, cities and states impose anti-smoking measures, the debate is only likely to heighten. California, New York and Connecticut are among the states that have banned smoking in restaurants and, in some cases, bars. And hundreds of cities - from Boston to Dallas - have done the same.

Ashley Sobrinski, a 16-year-old from Seaville, N.J., helped get smoking banned on much of the boardwalk in nearby Ocean City, after discarded cigarette butts started several fires there. Since then, the high school sophomore - who lost a grandfather to lung cancer - has testified in favor of a statewide ban in New Jersey restaurants. "Really, people underestimate the power of kids all the time," she says of her anti-smoking work. "And I think we make a big difference."

Some colleges - including the University of California, Davis - have gone as far as to ban the sale of tobacco on campus. The decision has drawn some complaints, including editorials in the UC Davis student newspaper. "The argument is something you'd expect from students - that you're taking away their rights," says Allison Bordsen, a senior who is now working to get ashtrays moved farther away from entrances to campus buildings. "But smoking is not a right; it's a privilege," Bordsen says. "And we have a right to breathe."

Matt Hannula, a 16-year-old from Duluth, Minn., disagrees and says smoking should be a choice for anyone 18 or older. A self-described libertarian, Hannula fought a now-defunct anti-smoking program for Minnesota youth called Target Market. He says he disliked that public money was being used to influence the choices people his age make about smoking.

"I don't smoke. The only thing that made me want to was Target Market. I just wanted to go up to their building and smoke in front of it," says Hannula, who built his own Web site aimed at counteracting Target Market, which was scrapped recently due to a state budget crunch.

Some officials credit Target Market with helping reduce high school smoking rates in Minnesota by 11 percent since the program began in 2000. Nationally, high school smoking rates dropped from 36.4 percent in 1997 to 28.5 percent in 2001, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.

Still, Kristen Williamson, a 14-year-old anti-smoking activist from Harvey, Mich., says it's been difficult to persuade her peers to shun cigarettes. "If you're with a group of friends and you say 'no' they think you're weird or something," she says, noting that smoking is a fairly ingrained part of life in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Organized by their county health department, she and other teens have been placing warnings about second-hand smoke on tables at local restaurants. Rory Carlin, an 18-year-old from Montgomery County, Pa., is doing similar work, including distributing "tip cards" asking restaurants to go smoke-free.

Such intrusions bother smokers like Horne, the Western Washington student, who already feels inundated with anti-tobacco messages."We know smoking is unhealthy," he says. "We get taught that by schools, our parents, children's TV shows, the surgeon general. They even banned tobacco ads from TV. But that's not enough for these activists."

He expects tensions to rise.

"The next civil war won't be North or South," he says. "It will be smoking or nonsmoking."

Hornes's site:
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:
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Thanks but no thanks (english)
04 Jun 2003
frankly i am not pleased with efforts to ban smoking in public places. Though it may be a bit trite to mention by now, but the National Socialist German Worker's Party was one of the most strong proponants of anti-smoking legislation. Hitler's idea was that smoking in public places would damage his precious master race or something to the like. Yet still, it is that sort of regime that was the most affective in stamping out the rights (and lives) of huge portions of the country. This is a legacy that should not be followed.

Though i understand and empathize with the non-smoking employees of smoking establishments, I must side with the rights of bar owners and bar frequenters who would like to choose what sorts of activities they engage in, in these places. Really, what goes better with a beer than a cigarette.

puff, puff, peace
Anti-Smoking kids being badly hoodwinked (english)
04 Jun 2003
Some "kids" are badly hoodwinked


...for more on this issue.

These "anti smoking" youth are kind of like those recruited into the "DARE" "anti drug" scams. They are shown the RESULTS of all sorts of vicious corporate and gov't crimes and told to "swat the flies" that gather around the inevitable garbage...and to IGNORE the causes.

From all the evidence, it is clear that virtually all the "anti smoking" groups either knowingly or ignorantly serve the very industry, "Big Tobacco" that they pretend to oppose. This is the Pretend Enemy tactic...used to control the debate, and absolutely minimize indictments and PR damage to an industry. It's the essence of Jack Nicholson's comment about the cops at the end of "Chinatown"; " Little As Possible". Well, this current campaign that ONLY hits Big Cig with the charge of providing a natural plant, tobacco, is As Little As that it utterly ignores SPIKING the products with some of the world's worst industrial elements and defrauding people via the lie that it's just "tobacco".

Imagine an "Anti-Al Capone" group righteously calling for suspension of his driver's licence for unsafe driving...while ignoring the homicides and booze. If you criticize them, you'd be said to be "Pro-Gangster", I suppose.

There's a THIRD "side" to the "smoking" brouhaha. The cig makers and the "anti-smokers" are putting on a show, as seen daily in CORPORATE Media. It's like the fake battle between most Repugs and Dems...both being on the same Business Party side. It's like Pro Wrestling.

Using youth for this charade is particularly sick. The still-legal dioxins in typical cigarette smoke are especially harmful to growing bodies, and fetuses. The recruited kids may well have already been damaged permanantly by chlorine/dioxins in their own cigrette smoke or their parents'...or by other dioxins in their environment. Yet here they are working to hide and distract from the complicity of the chlorine industries in typical processed cigarettes.

"Concerned" gov't officials still, incredibly, allow hosts of sweet, flavorful, aromatic and soothing non-tobacco cigarette additives to all the better ATTRACT kids to the products. Who gets punished? Not those who ADDED these untested, often toxic/carcionogenic kids get hit with the laws if they dare to sneak a smoke.

The "crackdown" on kids' smoking (instead of a crackdown on putting kid-attracting stuff INTO cigs) has another rarely noted down-side. Kids are being busted for "POSSESSION"!!! in some places. So...this means that cops can, and will, stop anyone who's smoking who the cops believe to be maybe "under age". You may be anywhere from 18 to late 20s...and be stopped...with all the related checks of ID and papers and maybe peek into the car trunk or ashtray. Non-drivers may be detained for lengthy periods if they don't have ID on hand.
This "protect the kids" scam has greatly expanded power of police to monitor an entire age bracket...especially the "disobedient" ones who don't obsequiously OBEY even the most preposterous laws.
It's no crime to POISON kids, to lure them to toxic products with sweets and scents, to use them as Guinea Pigs for all the secret cig adulterants, and to evade liabilities and prosecution for doing all that...but it's a crime to become a victim.

Moral of this story: Private Industrial Interests OUT of our PUBLIC regulatory system, now.