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Iclamae's avatar

Should the current regulations against smoking and illegal drugs be reversed in the US?

Asked by Iclamae (2409points) June 23rd, 2010

After the discussion about the lawsuit against McDonalds, there seemed to be a consensus that it’s not the government’s place to regulate advertise for the fast food industry and that it’s the parents’ responsibility.

So, I want to know, do you think the regulations on smoking, advertisement for smoking, and the regulations on illegal drugs like cocaine and marijuana should be lifted or challenged in the US? I know it’s different for other countries.

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24 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

From what I have seen on Fluther there are many here who thing it’s perfectly OK to simply pick and choose what laws they want to follow, and would just as soon do with out most of the “Nanny” laws completely.

My personal feeling is that if I don’t think a law is necessary, I will try to use the system we have in place to change it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Well for one thing it’s not always personal responsibility vs. blame the advertisements. I am for these regulations not because they impose on an individual’s right (they do) but to stick it to the corporations that take advantage of people for profit’s sake and disregard facts agains their products that prove their harm.

Seek's avatar

I am 100% in favor of decriminalizing street drugs, and instead increasing education and rehabilitation resources, and requiring further testing and regulation before approving pharmaceutical drugs for distribution to the public.

JLeslie's avatar

I also am in favor of decriminalization of drugs. However when it comes to being able to advertise, I do not equate a happy meal with marijuana.

HungryGuy's avatar

I favor decrimninalization. What consenting adults do in private is their own business. And I favor freedom of speech.

But I also favor some regulations. It should still be illegal to drive while drunk or under the influence of drugs. Smoking should be prohibited in offices and most public buildings. Though it should be allowed in bars and nightclubs after some arbitrary time, say, 10PM.

JLeslie's avatar

@HungryGuy Sometimes I think laws against smoking in bars and nightclubs helps the owners not have to worry about the competition. Let’s say they prefer no smoking, but are afraid of losing business to the guy down the street who allows smoking. If the law prohibits it, it just is. The thing about smoking is it affects the comfort of the people around the smoker, it’s not the same as drinking or eating unhealthy food.

Iclamae's avatar

@JLeslie As in the other question, I’m playing devil’s advocate. How are the happy meals and drugs different? Both have bad effects on the body and present potential dangers to other people. The drugs are more immediate and more severe but where do we draw the line?

When it comes to advertising, what makes drug advertising different from alcohol advertising? Alcohol is more of a middle ground. It’s a socially accepted drug that is advertised for heavily and has a ton of immediate and long term effects on the individual and those around him.

HungryGuy's avatar

@JLeslie – I see your point, and I agree. That’s why I chose some arbitrary time. You and I can go into a restaurant or a bar after work to have a meal or a drink without having to suffer poisonous smoke all around us. But the “party animals” can smoke all they want in the wee hours.

JLeslie's avatar

@HungryGuy Well, I like the wee hours. I’m actually not too bothered by the smoke, because it is not like I go out every night, however I would prefer smoke free. My husband can’t stand it. In Vegas and here in Tunica I am disgusted by the amount of smoke in the casino hotels. I wish one would bite the bullet and go smoke free. I’ll never forget being in a ver very smokey hotel in Tunica and the woman working at the registration desk looked 7 months pregnant to me. I don’t see how OSHA is not involved in the smokey environment for employees. I guess one could argue people can choose to work somewhere else?

@Iclamae Well, first I should say that I am not super-opinionated on the subject, and the devils advocate approach I have going on in my own mind also. Trying to be consistent and logical seems to not be easy on this topic. Food to me just is different. I really don’t think a McD’s hamburger every so often as a meal choice is so bad. Mind altering drugs aren’t a good idea in general for me. For me alcohol and marijuana are pretty equal. If I had my way I would prefer no advertising for either and I am ok with both being legal. I am also in favor of putting alcohol back to 18 (I know this is a little off topic) but getting even stricter on drinking and driving and pot and driving for that matter.

I can see the argument both ways. What if fast food just can’t market to young children, similar to alcohol, then are we in agreement?

ETpro's avatar

I think that decriminalizing drugs would be good public policy. Just as prohibition produced the mafia and kept it rich, the criminalization of drugs has produced the drug cartels with all their wealth and violence.

I do not favor lifting the ban on advertising for tobacco or lifting the ban on use in public settings where non-smokers must breathe in the air. I would support a ban on advertising recreational drugs or using them in inappropriate settings where that use might interfere with the rights of non-users.

I was at a local park today and while there picked up some trash and tossed it in a trash bin along the trial. As I was doing my tiny bit of civic service, I was struck by how much of the refuse there was from smokers. There were cigarette butts and filters, packs, even empty cartons discarded in this place set aside to enjoy nature’s beauty.

I am basically libertarian and prefer to let individual people decide for themselves what they wish to do with and to their own bodies. But their right to swing their fist stops at my nose. Why should I have to live in a smoker’s ashtray and empty if for them because they are too lazy or inconsiderate to do it themselves?

The same goes for heroin. If somebody wants to shoot up and puke their guts out, fine. Just don’t do it on the trail all the rest of us want to enjoy for a beautiful walk on a bright summer day.

Iclamae's avatar

The thing is I’m really really torn. I hadn’t thought about the issue much and then I started recently.

~I think people should have the choices and should take responsibility for their actions and their parenting. I worry when I meet terrible parents and am reminded of the actual casualties here. I also worry when some people manage to skip out on their responsibility because of some number of loopholes or other things.

~I used to think “eh, it’s just fast food. These people are only hurting themselves and the heart disease is their consequence for it.” But I went to a science research seminar a month or two ago and these two scientists were doing a lot of research on the effect of parenting on eating habits and ways they could help it. They ran a program through a clinic where the family would come in together and talk over family menus, family exercise, individual exercise, and the consequences of eating poorly without exercise. They wanted to focus on the idea of “it’s your choice what you eat but you need to know how to balance.” So if you really want some chocolate cake, go ahead. But balance it by doing some extra exercise or avoiding sweets for the rest of the week… etc. It was an interesting program and it’s how I personally think about eating habits. What was interesting about the whole thing was the research that made them want to run this family clinic. They had legitimate numbers about how parental eating habits tend to heavily affect their children’s future eating habits. That combined with all the studies coming out about how the mother’s health can affect her baby made me worry a bit more.

I don’t want to live in a country that dictates how everything runs. But I appreciate the regulations on smoking, drugs, and alcohol. I just don’t understand why I’m ok with the regulation of those dangerous things and not this dangerous thing.

JLeslie's avatar

@Iclamae I am all for educating the population on healthy food choices. But, I want to be able to have a quick burger once in a while if I feel like it. Maybe nutrition should be in our public education like drugs, smoking, and alcohol.

Iclamae's avatar

@JLeslie I agree. In general our current education system needs a boost about life choices. Education about sex, alcohol, and drugs is mostly stuck at “don’t do it” which isn’t helpful.

Jeruba's avatar

For one point of view, there’s the advice reported in the closing paragraphs of this Ann Landers column of June 1990. This stuck with me from reading this column when it was published. I remembered the exact words and found it in seconds via Google.

Seek's avatar

I’m wondering what exactly “we lost a whole generation” means, especially considering the end result was “managed to do such a good job cleaning up the drug problem”.

Unless they’re referring to mandating the death penalty for drug dealers, which is straight-up barbaric, and not in the least “decriminalizing” or “legalizing”.

john65pennington's avatar

You think the crime rate in America is bad now, legalizing street drugs would lead to people arming themselves to the max and living in armored cars and trucks, just to protect their families from the criminal drug addicts.

john65pennington's avatar

HungryGuy. i agree that people should be able to do what they want in their own home, as long as its legal. but, how many alcoholics and drug addicts actually stay in their home, when on drugs? leaving the property is the problem. this endangers you and i…...the public.

ETpro's avatar

@john65pennington Where is your evidence to support such alarmist statements? Did prohibition result in a downturn in crime or an upswing?

Seek's avatar

@john65pennington Most of them, actually. How many stoners do you see on a daily basis? They’re all at home watching Yo Gabba Gabba and eating Doritoes.

HungryGuy's avatar

@john65pennington – I disagree. Alcohol probition in the USA created speak-easies (equivalent to modern-day crack houses) and a dramatic upswing in crime. The prohibition created a black market that made it profitable to traffic in illegal alcohol. The repeal of prohibition had the opposite effect. Likewise, drug prohibition today is what makes it profitable for drug gangs to profit from drugs. Decrimninalize drugs and regulate them like alcohol, and let legitimate companies manufacture them, and there will be no more huge profits that enable drug gangs and cause drug-related violence.

Iclamae's avatar

@HungryGuy The drugs would probably be marginally safer too. A lot of street drugs are laced with other drugs or chemicals that cause unexpected side effects. Legal industry production might cut that or prevent it.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Jeruba I’m really curious too. I looked around on the internet trying to find out exactly what lost an entire generation meant, but I couldn’t find any supporting information.

mattbrowne's avatar

Regulations to protect others make sense. Being exposed to smoke against your will is unfair. Being hit by a drunk driver can be deadly.

If no harm to others is done, the individual should decide what to take or not. And good education should help people to make wise decisions. Warning labels help too.

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