back to article Hoax: German IT boss sacks three non-smokers

Update 10.55pm 14 Jan: Hamburger Morgenpost, which reported that a computer company owner had fired three disruptive non-smokers, today said it had been hoaxed by a pro-smoking activist. Reuters has more here. Our story, based on the original Morgenpost report, is below. The boss of a small German IT outfit is being sued for …

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Legal Action

Hope they take the guy to the cleaners!

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Name and shame

I think we need names here - it's disgusting that the CEO of a company could think that it's acceptable behaviour. Non-smoker's can't discriminate against smokers when it comes to job applicants, so why should it work the other way round?!

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Paris Hilton

We will have revenge!

Oh revenge is so sweet!

Although I think it was a bit harsh firing them, it's refreshing to see non-smokers being treated like second-class citizens for once.

Now they know what it feels like.

*Cue flaming*

Paris icon because...no real reason.

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No way I would work there...

I'm old enough to remember when smoking was accepted as the norm in the workplace and it was often a terrible place for a never-smoker like me. Meeting rooms so full of fug that I could barely see anything through the tears that stink caused (my eyes have always been sensitive to fag smoke, both parents and most of the family smoked. Most of our photo album is full of family photos which have me red-eyed and crying EVEN if I'm enjoying myself!)

This arsehole should be locked in a room and choked with his own fag ash.

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Ash

Silly, silly man...

What he MEANT to say was "When they joined the company, they were fully aware that it was a smoking environment. The law change did not affect that status, and as such it remains a smoking environment. Their demands were therefore, considering set president, unreasonable, and their contracts were terminated immediately."

Think I should get a job with HMRC?

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Comment from a non-smoker

I'm a none smoker and I love this story. Smokers take a lot of flak these days so I can understand this guy's frustrations.

Awesome.

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Mature reaction

Well he has nicely illustrated the maturity level of most smokers if nothing else.

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booking my plane ticket.

As it's his company it's quite correct that it should be up to him whether or not smoking is allowed, or even mandatory!, on HIS company premises. If only other countries would allow their citizens the choice.

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Article

Here's the original article, if your German is up to it :P

http://archiv.mopo.de/archiv/2008/20080108/hamburg/panorama/chef_kuendigt_allen_nichtrauchern.html

His name is "Thomas J.", not just J. It's usual in German papers to abbreviate the surname to a single letter to protect the privacy of the people mentioned.

His lawyer has now apparently told him to shut-up and there's a final comment on the article by a employment law expert who says people cannot be punished (specifically by sacking) for insisting on the right to healthy working conditions.

I hope they throw the book at him... or drop a container full of imported fags on him.

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Go on my Son.

Bloody non-smokers should be forced to work outside 24/7/365 if they are that keen on Fresh air.

Whingeing health-freaks.

Here's an amazing fact, and I know for CERTAIN most non-smokers aren't aware of this:

Are you ready for this?

Non-Smokers? Paying attention?

Non-Smokers die every day.

Sorry to burst that Immortality hope you had going there.

But you're going to die too.

Hopefully while out jogging.

Sick of smokers being treated as the new Paedophiles.

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@ Anonymous Coward

Well that’s abit of a generalisation really isn’t it, surely I could say the same the amount of people who cough on purpose when someone within a 10m radius is smoke is ridiculous therefore all none smokers are petty?... and its good to see the roles reversed for once and people do believe it or not discriminate against smokers.

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Job Application form please...

Sounds like an ok guy to work for - gotta be better than the holier than thou non-smokers...

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CancerSoft

> Sounds like an ok guy to work for

> it's refreshing to see non-smokers being treated like second-class citizens

Your job is waiting for you at CancerSoft GmbH.

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RE: Mature reaction

"Well he has nicely illustrated the maturity level of most smokers if nothing else."

Can't help but wonder what motivated such an obviously absurd post? Read it back to yourself and see if you're still proud.

On a lighter note I can't wait until people do give up smoking in huge numbers. I bet the anti-smoking crowd will be really chuffed when their taxes are hiked across the board to cover the massive cash shortfall.

In the meantime let them smoke as much as they want, give them comfy lounges to do it in and seperate rooms in pubs. After all they're smoking for Britain.

Clammy (ex-smoker but not an evangelist)

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Pirate

eh?

"Well he has nicely illustrated the maturity level of most smokers if nothing else"

eh?

"Well he has nicely illustrated the maturity level of most smokers if nothing else"

what?

Smoking makes you immature?

You write the warning messages on cigi packets, don't you?

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If only my German was good enough...

I'd be applying for a job there!!

As a smoker, I can appreciate the fact that non-smokers don't want to work in a smoking environment.

But, as Danny above stated, these people were aware that it was a smoking environment when they started there. Tough cookies. They shouldn't have gone there. If only we could get away with this in the UK.*

(*OK, maybe not sacking them. But at least telling them that if they don't like it, they know where the door is)

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Heart

Brilliant!

Love this story. Shame the boss in question will get his arse handed to him on a plate when it gets to tribunal. Many (not all) non-smokers are the most awful damned, small minded, petty, small-c conservatives walking the Earth and I'm delighted one man saw fit to stick it to three of them.

@ Martin Jones - my sentiments exactly.

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Coat

Puff.

I'd have been fuming.

Mine's the smelly jacket.

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Non smokers, pain in the arse

It had to happen, someone finally took a stand against the non smoking gestapo. They have persecuted smokers for so long, come up with so much whining that we cant even have a drink in peace from them. I havent been in a pub since July 2007 cos I cant enjoy a fag with my pint.

Who said non smokers arent discriminating ? Cant you read ? they wanted to be isolated from the smokers, if that isnt clear cut discrimination I really dont know what is.

Now with soft arse trying to pinch our organs, wonder who paid for that policy to be introduced, where will it end.

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mwahahaha

from here we claim back our god-given rights, our manifest destiny!

say YES to smoking on buses

say YES to the smoking carriage on trains

say YES to smoking in pubs and clubs

On a more serious note, I smoke, like a chimney, but I try to be respectful of others (even when I have friends visiting my home I ask if its ok to smoke..in my own house!) as I appreciate its not the most pleasant habit.

Still get tarred as a "dirty ignorant smoker" though. sheesh, yes, how mature am I, eh?

I for one think that the "no-smoking" bit is just a touch OTT. What is wrong with having smoking clubs and pubs? give the customers choice. If you can manage it at work, a "smoking outhouse" isn't a bad idea, either. We still smoke at work (round the back, hidden out of sight) because when they started with a full-on smoking ban everyone went outside the front, in full view of customers, ublic etc, and when we got moved away (down the street) it took everyone 30 mins to have a 5 min smoke break. Now its just come full-circle and we're back to smoking were we were when we started.

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Good on him!

If it was a smoky work environment when they started, why should they be complaining now?

It sounds like those idiots who buy houses next door to Heathrow then complain about the noise.

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Dead Vulture

RE

'Non-smoker's can't discriminate against smokers when it comes to job applicants'

HAHAHAHAHAHA

It happens all the time in this day and age. Citing such dubious reasons as 'you take more time off' and 'you have more breaks' What BS.

Good on him, it is his company and he should be allowed to run it as he wants.

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Ian

Hope he doesn't pay for employee health care

Or he's soon gonna go under with all that lung cancer treatment to pay for!

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Joe
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Re: Brilliant, etc. etc.

Most people are non-smokers, don't you know?

Never mind the health issue, smoking stinks, it reeks, while not smoking doesn't make everyone around you smell like ashtrays. So I think people should be able to expect to work in an office without going home smelling like crap.

Finally, I'd silently put up with smoke in clubs for long enough. It's our turn now, get used to it! (By it, I mean freezing outside in the rain like an outcast, while we're inside :P )

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Extremists on both sides

I can't see why they thought they could demand a change now, but equally I don't see how he thought he was justified in sacking them for asking.

Just to keep the extremism alive, next time a smoker annoys you, spit on them, if they complain (which I'm sure they will) tell them that it's a myth that 2nd hand spit kills people and that you have every right to spit where you want, they should go elsewhere if they don't want to get spit on them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re Name and shame

I agree; it's disgusting that somebody can chose who works at his own company. We need to stop this sort of thing now.

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re: Go on my Son.

Yeah, I'm sorry but this is idiotic. I agree that the demonisation of smokers has gone a little bit overboard recently, but this is just as stupid. Because there happens to be a slight majority of smokers in an office, the non smokers must be forced to sit in an enclosed space full of carcinogenic smoke making their hair and clothes stink and making breathing more difficult (which I do find happens when I'm in a smoky room, and I don't even have asthma) - not to mention the increased health risks - simply so that a smoker can enjoy his habit without getting up from his desk?

I'm sorry, but while smokers have a habit that pollutes everyone else's environment, they should at least have some consideration for others. Why should others have to suffer for something you choose to do? If you're in an enclosed space, the comfort you get from being able to light up is at the direct expense of the comfort of the person next to you. Since you're the one choosing to light up, common courtesy dictates that you should take it outside.

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Nice one

As a smoker I KNOW its bad for my health - I am an adult and its my choice, same as you joggers who die from heart attacks and the guys who drink too much (possibly guilty of that too).

If the Govt were that concerned with our health they would ban the sale and importation of fags, but then there would be the small point of our taxes creating a HUGE gap in NHS funding and everything else they spend out tax money on.

I applaud the man and would love my firm to become big enough to be able to do the same thing

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Paris Hilton

RE: Citing such dubious reasons as 'you take more time off' and 'you have more breaks'

Absolutely. Used to hear this one trotted out all the time, then promptly followed by said tosspot wandering downstairs for a half hour coffee and a natter. I'd normally spot them while I was standing outside grabbing a 5 minute cig with some notes to get the ideas flowing.

@Mature reaction

It's been said already but I hope you realise that you're an idiot.

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He went too far...

... but I completely agree with his sentiments. Firing them was OTT, although I'd just have told em "like it or lump it, you knew the smoking policy when you started!" There is only one minority you can still discriminate against, and thats smokers.

Back to the smoking ban debate, I actualy think it's part of a clever ruse by the government to get rid of the local pubs in "working class" areas. I know that my local, and many other pubs in brighouse, have suffered greatly by the smoking ban. They have lost most of the through the week trade. People used to come in for a pint + a chat, but now stay at home through the week. The majority of the pub-going public in our area is smoking. And where are all the non-smokers who were supposed to start going to the pub because they werent smokey anymore? There arent any. So my local is struggling to stay open, the landlord is pissed off because he can barely afford his lease, he's had to lay off staff... Cheers. If this continues most small pubs will end up closing.

And when they add the extra tax on beer "to stop kids buying it"... thats gonna be the end!

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Smoke where you like

as long as you don't fuck-up the air we ALL need to breathe.

Smokers = suckers...monkey see, monkey do at school & you're hooked.

As for the "all the tax we pay" - it goes to the NHS to treat smoking-related illnesses - lung diseases, heart attacks, strokes etc.

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@Paul Talbot

and common sense SHOULD keep you from applying to working there but since you are the one who chose to come work here I think you should shut up or take yourself outside. Think about it, or are you one of these joes who buys a house next to Heathrow and then complains about the noise. Think about it.

Think!!!!!!

Anyway, I agree with the German, smokers seem to be more attentive to their duties and less concerned with poking their noses where they don't belong, unlike air-fairy, non-smokers who tend to be attentive to everyone elses duties.

mmm funny that. Look around where you are, your office at the non-smokers, health nuts, veggies etc what do you see?

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@ Lineswine

"As for the "all the tax we pay" - it goes to the NHS to treat smoking-related illnesses - lung diseases, heart attacks, strokes etc"

Erm... dunno where you get your information from, but the last thing I read on this said that the annual cost of smoking to the NHS was about £1.7 billion. Smokers pay about £7 billion in tax. (http://www.politics.co.uk/issuebrief/opinion-former-index/health/smoking-$481625.htm)

When you actually have something informed and constructive to submit to the debate, feel free to join in, until then, crawl back into your ignorant hole.

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We would not buy from such a company

Of course we have that silly American idea that we are entitled to breath clean air - even in the work place!

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Stop

Smokers, stop whining..

I'm surprised how many people are on the side of this 'J'. Beening in a smokey area isn't very nice when you'r a non-smoker.

I can understand that smokers get lectured ALL THE BLOODY TIME by non-smokers, but that's just part of deal, like the health risks.

Put up with it or stop smoking, just don't lash out at non-smokers.

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@Lineswine

Do you drive? I don't but I do smoke. Smoking causes far fewer harmful chemicals to be released into the air than driving. Tell everyone to get off the roads to stop fucking the air up.

As for all the tax we pay, this is a repeat of a previous post so please STFU

I both smoke and drink but live a quite healthy lifestyle compared to most people I know. I have regular health checks and the doctor tells me everything is fine while warning me about the dangers of smoking.

I know the dangers, I am an adult and capable of making informed choices. I realised long ago that no amount of exercise, healthy eating etc is going to stop me dying so I might as well enjoy my life.

Now consider how it will affect the country if everyone gives up:

Total tax revenue from tobacco sales per year - £9.3bn

Total money spent on tobacco related illness by the NHS per year - £1.5bn

Therefore, I have paid for my stay in hospital should I need it as well as any treatments while at the same time contributing far more to the economy than a non-smoker. Why should I have to pay more when I already have?

Total tax revenue from alcohol sales and excise duty - £14bn

Total money spent on alcohol related illness by the NHS per year - £1.7bn

Again, as a drinker I have paid for any stay in hospital many times over while providing much needed tax income for the treasury

Total NHS budget 2006/07 £95bn

So total tax revenue from these two things provide enough tax for just under a quarter of the entire NHS budget.

Total spend on illnesses related to these two things is about just over 3% of the entire budget.

This is just taking into account for the alcohol and tobacco. It does not take into account the amount of income tax etc paid by the thousands of workers involved in manufacture, distibution and supply. Given the above figures which are taken from official government and NHS sources, people who smoke (and drink) are doing the whole country a massive favour. Do you want your income tax/fuel tax/any tax increasing to pay for the shortcomings in the budget? Thought not. What about all the additional costs that come afterwards? - Extra housing, care etc for the elderly. Shortage of housing for the young driving prices up as you have to wait for someone to be carted off to a home or die if everyone lives to 80+ or 90+. The government cannot afford for people to quit, now or in the future.

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Persecution of smokers

I love the way smokers think they are 'persecuted' these days.

Until recently, non-smokers never had a choice. If you wanted to go to the pub you had to smoke, whether you lit one up yourself or not. I realise its a difficult concept for a smoker to get their head around, but when you're a non-smoker sat near a smoking table your nose itches and you find your breath catches in your throat. Makes it kinda difficult to enjoy an evening.

I still put up with it in an effort to socialise and not piss people off, but I find smokers take it for granted and their attitude toward how what they do affects others is generally totally self centred and ignorant.

Perhaps best embodied by the young lady sitting at the next table in 'The Ship' in Soho last year - as smokers often do, she didn't smoke much of her repeated cigarettes at all. No, instead she sat there gossiping with her mates, holding lit ciggie off to her left to keep the stream of smoke pouring off it from going in her face. The damned thing was going straight in my face instead, and she was completely oblivious. The best bit is when I'm actually having trouble breathing and politely asked her to hold it away from my face - what a look I got.

Also, as a cyclist and motorcyclist - I also get to see smokers attitudes to others. Lit butts get thrown out of vehicles without a thought to where they land. I copped a lit cigarette right in the face the other day. Thats what the ashtrays in your cars are for you ignorant m+++f+++rs.

You lot also seem to think its unreasonable to be asked not to stub out butts and leave them in great piles all over the ground in communal smoking areas. In fact a lot of you are also so lazy you can't be bother even stubbing them out.

The thing is, I don't have anything against anyone smoking if they want to. A lot of my best mates are lifelong smokers. It only becomes a problem when people who do make it clear they don't give a feck about anyone doesnt. The issue for most people (except for the minority of health freaks) isn't really about smoking at all - its about peoples attitudes toward each other.

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Smokers

If you want to poison yourself thats fine, but what gives you the right to subject people who don't smoke to the same shit. Just because you chose to do something so incredibly stupid doesn't mean the rest of us should have to pay for it as well. The "smokers rights" idea is a bunch of bullshit. I hope this guy burns for this.

Have a nice day :)

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To those who would like to work at this company..

The company had 10 employees, and he's just illegally fired 30% of them. Knowing German labour law, they will take him to court and win big time. The compensation will probably bankrupt the company.

So if you want a job there, you havd better be quick because the company will not be in business much longer...

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yawn @ Martin Jones

It might have been funny if you hadn't so blatantly stolen it from Bill Hicks

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puff puff squeak

I always enjoy face-offs between smokers and non-smokers*, chiefly because of the hilarious pomposity and lack of self-awareness of the former. Throw around your whining/wheezing accusations of 'discrimination' all you like - as far as I'm concerned your right to do what you like (which I absolutely defend) ends at my eyes/lungs/hair/clothes.

Really, though.

*Of course non-smokers are pretty obnoxious ourselves, but the crucial difference there is... we're right.

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Anonymous Coward

Smoking bans

I remember when they banned smoking at my first place of work, around 1987. Funnily enough, the person that moaned about the ban most was the Health and Safety Officer. He was a chain smoker and used to stink-out our entire open plan office. (Although he claimed his objection was due to the increased fire risk from the shop floor operators nipping out the back for a quick fag and accidentally setting something fire).

Anyway, he retired a couple of years later and died soon after that (yep, due to smoking related lung cancer...).

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For all the non-smokers

SHOCK NEWS: SMOKING DOESN'T KILL YOU

Life is a terminal disease. You can avoid alcohol, smoking, drugs, eat healthily, exercise everyday but you WILL STILL DIE!

Some people will do everything that is bad for them and live to 100+

Others will live the 'ultimate healthy' lifestyle and be dead before 40 due to unexpected illness or accident.

The point is you cannot claim that something is shortening your lifespan because you really don't know. Your expected lifespan is purely speculative. You can look at the average and say 'oh I would live til 70+ if it weren't for the passive smoking' and then drop dead a day later because of the unexpected clot that got to your heart or the car that you didn't see hits you.

@DR Mouse

'And where are all the non-smokers who were supposed to start going to the pub because they werent smokey anymore'

Well said. Most of our pubs are now empty the majority of the time, some have even closed. Instead, the non-smokers whinge about having to walk past groups of smokers who are stood outside. It was the non-smokers who caused it, you can't have it all your own way. We still have something in this country called 'Freedom of Choice' although that is rapidly being eradicated.

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Anonymous Coward

@sub vulture

Smokers are discriminated against. They are also in the minority and as the government in Britain is all in favour of positive discrimination....so how about a bit of it...Smoking back in the workplace, pubs, clubs, public transport etc...and non-smokers at the back of the queue when it conmes to getting treatment on the NHS after all, us smokers pay more for it than they do!!!

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Woody Allen

Obviously he thinks "Sleepers" is a documentary.

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Freedom of Choice

"We still have something in this country called 'Freedom of Choice' although that is rapidly being eradicated."

Hey moron, non-smokers have freedom of choice too. We don't want to breathe your shit.

I think I might start going to bars (I don't because of the awful stench of smokers) and bring a few cans of Raid bug spray. Just spray a few seconds in the air every ten minutes or so...see how many smokers have a problem with that. Go to a few restaurants and spray it around dinner. See how many idiot smokers have a problem with that. I'll just tell them:

"Freedom Of Choice"

Asshole!

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just stupid

I hope he beaten to death by a hurd of angry non-smokers all armed with nicotine sticks!

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Yawn x2 @ Chewwie.

Congrats for spotting the Bill Hicks quote! You're probably the only person on the planet would have got that one.

(that was sarcasm btw).

Anyway, Bills been dead 13 years now. His material belongs to the world.

In fact, I've heard rumour that Hollywood are planning to remake him, with slightly more FoxNews oriented views this time.

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Happy

Re: For all the non-smokers

'And where are all the non-smokers who were supposed to start going to the pub because they werent smokey anymore'

In the houses of their smoker mates, drinking bottled booze that they don't have to pay through the nose for, having a laugh and sticking two fingers up at moron landlords who didn't have the bottle to fight off a piece a draconian legislation. Think that about sums it up.

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Boffin

Flawed argument

I fully agree with the 'persecution of smokers' post.

The main argument the 'pro-public-smoking' camp employes hinges on a faulty comparison: they are not like the person who listens to their own choice of music on a walkman (with decent earphones), they are like the yob on the bus who loudly plays their own choice of music on a mobile phone.

There is a general tendency to shout about rights and personal freedom, while failing to mention duties. Whose freedom are you shouting about when your neighbour plays techno at 4 in the morning? Whose freedom of choice would you defend when you've just stepped in a dog turd?

When it come to 'whingeing non-smokers': they are not 'whingeing' about people smoking - it can easily be argued that there are other, generally accepted, unhealthy habits - they are 'whingeing' about the lack of respect that is shown towards non-smokers.

If the government needs to introduce laws to safeguard non-smokers from other people's smoke, then this is not the fault of non-smokers, it is the fault of (the majority) of smokers.

I may not die because of second-hand smoke, but my eyes will hurt, I will have trouble breathing and my clothes and hair will stink. I don't know why someone would ever consider it acceptable to do that to other people, especially to the point of calling it 'their right'

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