Axver (axver) wrote,
Axver
axver

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There is one thing I dislike rather a lot about university, or more precisely, UQ in particular. It is the fact that while smoking is prohibited indoors, it is permitted outdoors on campus. I am frankly rather surprised that it is permitted at all. I know I'm not the only person on this planet who finds smoking to be a tremendously smelly bother at the best of times and nausea- or asthma-inducing filth at not-so-positive times. Frankly, I don't see why it hasn't just been written off as illegal already, besides perhaps for the obvious politicians with their hands in the till who have a vested interest in keeping a big business operating, and profitably at that. Of course, there is the classic liberal argument that people should be free to exercise their liberty and partake in the actions of their choosing, and if that happens to involve putting cancer sticks in their mouths, then that's their right and it's a gross abuse of power to stop them. That argument's complete bollocks in the public sphere, even by the logic of the hero of liberalism, J. S. Mill and his "no harm" principle. I happen to subscribe to that principle (though I would take it a step further). The principle itself states that one should be able to partake in the actions of their choosing with consenting adults, even if that action is detrimental to their wellbeing or that of other consenting individuals, as long as it does not infringe upon the liberty of any other individual. This logic can obviously be taken to absurd extremes, but I wholly reject any notion that it is being used in an absurd or even remotely extreme manner when applied to smoking. I personally would like to enjoy the liberty of living in a smoke-free environment. The health risks of smoking, not to mention the nuisance, nausea, and asthma factors, should certainly mean that it qualifies as something prohibited by the no harm principle. This means that the entire classic liberal argument that smoking is a harmful but permissible activity is renderred false and invalid.

So what if it's just confined to a person's home? Alright, sure, let's invoke the no harm principle again. The principle would prohibit smoking in the presence of minors as they are not of age to offer valid consent to the activity, and you wouldn't want that smoke wafting over the fence to bother the family playing cricket in the back yard next door. Is it not obvious that a law permitting smoking solely in situations where only consenting adults are affected would be ridiculously impractical to enforce? Let's just make life easier for everyone and ban it outright.
Tags: liberalism, smoking, university
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