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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Continuing the conversation

You know, it's interesting... but in reading through the comments from yesterday's post I feel like I tapped into a vein of latent frustration on the part of many readers.    Apparently, for whatever reason, many of you have felt the need to sit quietly and simply 'take it' in the face of line-cutters and other bad behavior you/we encounter on a daily basis.

Lest anyone accuse me of being too hard on Israelis, I should point out that bad/rude public behavior is far from an exclusively Israeli trait.  In fact... in continuing down an avenue of thought prompted by some of yesterday's comments I'd like to ask your advice about something that - while certainly an ongoing cause of friction in Israeli society - is also a point of friction pretty much everywhere in the civilized world.

I'm talking about the ongoing struggle between smokers and non-smokers for protection/freedom from one other.

I should begin by letting on that I am a lifelong non-smoker with most of the knee-jerk puritanical intolerance that comes with that.  But I am also intellectually honest enough (I hope) to admit that both sides of this particular debate have been terribly unfair - often deliberately so - to the other.

Therefore before we get to the substance of what I'd like to ask you, let me place a couple of well-ground axes out where everyone can see them:

1.  Smoking is not something that only impacts the smoker.  It has both immediate, and far-reaching, consequences ranging from second hand smoke-related health issues to staggering long term health costs directly linked to entirely preventable smoking related diseases.

2.  Smoking is a perfectly legal indulgence/pleasure for those who partake, and as such should not be viewed as criminal or deviant behavior.  But like alcohol consumption, there must be clear acknowledgment of the potential consequences to both the participants and secondary/tertiary bystanders.  People who are forced to breathe in secondhand smoke in the workplace, public spaces and homes are at risk for many of the same health issues as those who have made a conscious decision to smoke.  By the same token, those who share the roads and workplace with drinkers are forced to assume many of the same dangers as those who chose to imbibe.

Having said all that, I generally trust the effectiveness of lively public debate and the resulting fair legislation to help minimize the impact that smokers and drinkers can have on those who choose not to partake.  By the same token, I think it is perfectly reasonable that pressure be exerted from the opposite direction to ensure that concern for public safety/comfort doesn't wander into the realm of puritanical zeal in such a way as to prohibit the ability of individuals to enjoy these perfectly legal pastimes.

Looking back on the past three or four decades should convince anyone who has been paying attention that a balance  - albeit imperfect - can be achieved over time.  But when viewed through the lens of only a few months or years it can be frustrating to those who feel that not enough - or too much - is being done.

The two things that conspire to make the issue of public smoking much more fractious here in Israel than in, say, America are:

1.  A larger percentage of Israelis smoke than in the US.

2.  It is much more common in Israel than in the US for legislation to be enacted without providing effective mechanisms or funding for enforcement.

These two things make the public smoking issue much more visible and contentious to those who come here from abroad... and this is, IMHO the logical jumping off point for soliciting your reasoned (and reasonable) input.

I can't tell you how many times I have been confronted in a bus station, shopping mall or restaurant with smokers puffing away within plain sight of signs proclaiming that it is forbidden to do so. 

The proprietors/management of these spaces generally feel their responsibility ends with posting the signs.  I can sort of understand this.  Fearing unnecessarily alienating customers, they leave enforcement to municipal authorities and/or police. 

However, the government, under whose authority the municipalities and police function, tends to pass anti-smoking legislation without regard to the cost of enforcement... dooming such laws to the status of well-meaning-but-unfunded (i.e. toothless) initiatives.  This tends to leave management/proprietors to police their own spaces.  While not a classic Catch-22, it does cause a frustrating bit of circular blame-storming.

The end result is that it often falls entirely to those who are bothered by public smoking to either sit quietly and take it or appeal to the smokers to abide by the law. 

Unlike line cutting and other anti-social/rude behavior, the smoking issue is nominally backed up by law... so one would think it would be easier for people to speak up.  But in my experience this is not the case.  You see, regardless of who you are or where you were raised, lodging a complaint directly to someone who is causing offense is never an easy thing to do.  Even if the recipient is responsive and immediately takes steps to abate the subject of the complaint, the complainer risks coming off as being argumentative and unnecessarily confrontational. 

On the other hand, anyone working up the nerve to complain to someone smoking in a public space is faced with the 'what if...' scenario... as in, 'what if the person simply says, "Piss off, I don't feel like stopping/moving to another area and there is nothing you can do about it"'.  Even if the response is couched in more polite terms than that, a flat refusal to comply with a request/complaint leaves the person who has complained feeling angry and impotent.

So I put it to you... without being overly shrill or strident... what is the the best working solution in a situation where the authorities abdicate their responsibilities and leave public compliance/enforcement to the public?

[I'll share my own thoughts -of which I have many - later in the thread.  I'd prefer to hear what you have to say before jumping in and potentially preempting anyone]

Posted by David Bogner on October 9, 2007 | Permalink

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Hi,
I usually do speak up when the smoke bothers me in a public place. Most of the offenders give me a dirty look and put out their cigarettes. I think everyone should act accordingly i.e. complain when bothered by the smoke.
My only problem is I don't exactly know what the law states. Can people smoke in a privately owned restaurant? Can one complain to a policeman to get involved?

Hopefully with time and knowledge Israel will become more like America with regard to smokers.

Posted by: Avigayil | Oct 9, 2007 12:38:07 PM

David, I think I have an interesting perspective. I grew up in a house where my mother smoked (she quit cold turkey on her 60th birthday) and I have always LOATHED it. When I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease at the age of 22, the first question she asked the doctor was if the smoking caused it. Unfortunately, he told her truth (there is no specific correlation between the two), because she probably would have quit right then and there had he lied. Still, I am a completely non-confrontational person, a "freyer" if you will, but I have no tolerance for people blatantly thumbing their nose at the law in this country. When I inhale other people's smoke, I feel FEAR running through my veins. Last year when we here on vacation/pilot trip, we were eating dinner at the malcha mall. A group of young girls (14? 15?) were smoking right under the no smoking sign. I walked over to them and pointed to my daughter, 13 years old at the time, and recovering from chemotherapy that she suffered through due to HER Hodgkin's disease. Her hair was just starting to come in. I told the girls, in hebrew. "You see my daughter over there? The one who is practically bald? She just had cancer. Do you really think it's right for you to smoke here in public? You read, right? If you girls want to make yourselves sick and suffer terribly, that's your business. But the rest of us have a right to breathe clean air." I didn't say it angrily, but I was practically in tears. The girls had the grace to look embarrassed. They apologized and put their cigarettes out. They left a few minutes later and I saw them looking back at my daughter.

I will never hesitate to use my cancer card for this situation. I think I understand why so many Israelis smoke. Life is stressful here. It's hard to quit. We're all stressed, aren't we? I eat from stress, but the cholesterol I ingest doesn't affect anyone else but myself. Smoke if you have to, but do it with other smokers away from ME AND MY CHILDREN. I will never be a freyer when it comes to this issue, even if I have to say it with sign language. I don't think any of us should be quiet on this issue. We have a duty to speak up in this situation to protect both ourselves and our children.
Sorry so long, but you can see you've touched a nerve here.

Posted by: Baila | Oct 9, 2007 1:20:10 PM

David, are you using smoking as a metaphor? Are you REALLY asking what to do about a group of people who selfishly flaunt the law leaving good and "right" minded people to suffer the consequences of the selfish destructive behavior?

We know there is a spectrum of responses from both sides. Of course you know that some smokers... reasonable intelligent people... will gladly move away or stop so as to avoid discomforting others. For them a simple short dialog works fine. But what about the angry smoker, at the other end of the spectrum, who has been told once too many times how to live and decides he's not going to take it any more? The one who deliberately fills the space with as much smoke as he can, even blowing it directly in your face? To him the complainer is a fascist... what are we to do?

Posted by: oceanguy | Oct 9, 2007 1:46:28 PM

In addition to polluting the air, smokers pollute our environment by throwing their cigarette butts all over the place. Israeli beaches have become giant ash trays. It's truly embarrassing.

Posted by: A | Oct 9, 2007 3:12:32 PM

Avigayil... Not being too familiar with the law either, let's just assume for the sake of this discussion that it is only illegal to smoke in areas where you see a sign stating so. Now what? How do you deal with the problem?

Baila... OK, that is a pretty unique (albeit effective) approach. But the rest of us need to deal with this issue in a way that works for us... and in terms that balance our needs against those of the smokers. What then?

oceanguy... No, what I've written should be taken at face value. That having been said, do you think the angry smoker or the reasonable one is the norm? This is really the point on which our response must hinge since we are really guessing what kind of a reaction we'll get.

A. ... Yes, we all know what smokers do, but this isn't meant to be a forum for rants against the evils of smoking. It is meant to be a discussion of how to balance everyone's needs/wants without resorting to gunplay. Any ideas? :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Oct 9, 2007 3:27:23 PM

Trep, you can now call 106 to report businesses that don't enforce smoking rules. I think there are also newly instituted fines for businesses that don't enforce the rules. So, you can start complaining to business owners about smoking.
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull&cid=1185893683840

Takes the pressure off! My favorite Israeli smoking story: A group of middle aged adults sitting with their BACKS to the toddler pool at Breichat Yerushalayim (Emek Refaim) (clearly not watching any vulnerable toddlers) smoking away and who laughed in my face when i asked them to stop. When i complained to the manager, he shrugged and said it was a open air business, nothing he can do.

Posted by: Abbi | Oct 9, 2007 3:37:18 PM

I'm not suggesting that everyone should use the cancer word to make their point. But I am saying is that we shouldn't be quiet about it, even if it means having Israeli's laugh in our faces. Whether telling them directly (and I think that's where we should start) or speaking to a manager, or calling 106 (as Abbi said), we shouldn't just let it go and sit there uncomfortable, and more importantly putting ourselves at future risk. Balancing our needs against those of smokers? sigh. I should add to the story that I ended up marrying a smoker (he quit 9 months ago, but everyday is a struggle). We balance our needs like this: He is never allowed to smoke indoors, and when he smokes outside it has to be far enough away from the house so that I don't smell the wafting smoke coming in through open windows. He never smoked in public either. Smokers need to smoke--let them, but not in my space. If we don't say anything, we make it easy for them. Most smokers would love to quit, but can't. We shouldn't enable their addiction by being quiet when there are laws supposedly protecting us.

Posted by: Baila | Oct 9, 2007 5:46:34 PM

by the way, it IS like kissing an ashtray. and nobody is happier than me that he quit....

Posted by: Baila | Oct 9, 2007 5:50:08 PM

Hi David,

I generally find it easier to move on than wrangle with smokers. Smokers often tend to be both militant and violent while I've found anti-smokers to be just militant. I have a family with both. The agreement my mother and father found was that she doesn't smoke indoors and only smokes in the garage or outdoors.

And I've been thinking about lines too... especially the unspoken line ettiqette that existed in the former Soviet Union. Somehow people knew how to queue and there were unspoken rules that made it work... so much of the time. There was definitely a social peer pressure motive... people would let you have it if you tried to cut in... unless someone was saving your spot... sort of like in those Israeli supermarkets you mentioned. I'll think about it.

As a side note, a friend of mine, a professor named Yuri Druzhnikov, wrote a book called "I was born in a line." And he was. Great book.

Shalom,
Maksim-Smelchak.

Posted by: Maksim-Smelchak. | Oct 9, 2007 5:53:22 PM

I think that restaurants should be aware that people will not frequent their establishment if the no smoking areas are not free from second-hand smoke. Money talks louder than words - everywhere.

Posted by: westbankmama | Oct 9, 2007 6:26:57 PM

How about more advocates in Israel against smoking. How about t-shirts in hebrew condemning smoking with the picture of a black lung.Maybe a web site dontsmokeinisrael.com? :)

Posted by: Jewish Blogmeister | Oct 9, 2007 6:30:18 PM

I recently attended the birthday party of one of my daughter's Israeli classmates. Her parents had forgotten to bring matches to light the birthday candles, and no one in attendance had any. One of the Israelis wondered aloud "All these Israelis here and no smokers?!"

Having grown up in the polite US Midwest, I must admit I don't think I could hack living in Israel. Or Paris, for that matter. I need my smokefree areas and orderly queues.

Posted by: Kayla | Oct 9, 2007 6:37:14 PM

Recently I was in the Malcha mall and encountered a woman smoking, effectively ashing into my son's baby carriage. When I asked her to stop, she simply moved 2 feet away. I remember that there is a recently new law whereby if the proprietor fails to enforce no-smoking bans, one can have a fine issued to the manager/proprietor. So I immediately went to the closest security guard and said, "Please make that woman stop smoking" So he told me, "I don't do anything. You call 106 (the municipal hotline) and they'll said a clerk over and make them stop. Apparently Malcha has one that sits somewehre in the mall all day. But rather than call the clerk directly, you have to call the municipal hotline, wait until they take your complaint, then they dispatch the clerk in the mall, and wait til s/he gets there. And the average cigarette takes how long to smoke?
I did all this, and needless to say, the cigarette was gone long before the clerk showed up. Where was she? Outside, on her smoking break. I kid you not, I saw her lighting up (albeit outside).

Posted by: noa | Oct 9, 2007 8:57:02 PM

It is against the law in New York State to drive and use a cell phone. Millions disobey this law and I have never heard of anyone getting a ticket for this!
They pass hundreds of environmental laws in the USA but do not give local governments funds to enforce them.

Posted by: Gil | Oct 9, 2007 10:39:07 PM

Let's look at what comprises the typical case- and work-load of an urban police department: murder, assault, domestic violence, emergency medical assistance (blood in the streets after auto collision and bombings and public disasters), armed robbery, burglary, larceny, theft, vandalism. How many readers think enforcing a smoking ban is going to make it onto a cop's top ten list of things-to-do-today?

I used to smoke, and I quit. Have the zeal of a convert. I engage in self-help. To enforce bans, first, I ask politely; second, I insist; third, . . . well, you don't wanna know.

Posted by: antares | Oct 10, 2007 3:54:01 AM

Hey, I did a get a ticket for being on my cell phone while driving (in New York). And so did several of my friends. And it did serve as a lesson, because I don't want to have to go through that again.

Posted by: Baila | Oct 10, 2007 6:50:22 AM

True, enforcement is sadly lacking, but there are other ways to promote change. One is by lawsuits, quite a few of which have been successful. At least one Hebrew-language anti-tobacco website (linshom.co.il) has a form that assists people who want to sue establishments that flout the law. Another site is avir-naki.co.il. I find it encouraging that both of these sites are in Hebrew, which means that quite a few Israelis want change themselves and it is not just "American nonsense." Another way, though slower and steadier, is to keep on insisting on our rights, which I do. I admit to having a big mouth, and I don't hesitate to use it. I also ask about restaurants' smoking policies up front, and if I hear any answer other than "We don't allow smoking here at all," I tell them that I won't patronize their establishment until they obey the law.

Things here are far from ideal, but I hear from my friends who have been here for several decades that they are much better than they were twenty years ago. There are certainly more awareness and consideration than there were when I moved here at the end of 1991.

Posted by: Rahel | Oct 10, 2007 8:06:24 AM

I carry a fire extinguisher and a pit bull with me for this purpose. If they choose not to put out the cigarette I am happy to do so for them. And if they have a problem with it I refer them to the complaint department, all of 86 pounds of him.

Posted by: Jack | Oct 10, 2007 9:04:13 AM

Rahel, things are much better indeed than they were. In the 80s people smoked in movie theaters, and in the 70s they smoked on busses.

In Tel Aviv, smoking seems to be in a steep decline in the last few years.

Posted by: JonathanInTelAviv | Oct 10, 2007 10:09:41 AM

In the Kanyon Hagadol in Petach Tikva I have often seen policemen walking around enforcing the no smoking law.

I have never seen that even once in Malcha in Jerusalem.

It's a conscious decision on the part of somebody (authorities, management) whether to help ensure that the law is enforced or not.


My wife will say her mind whenever we go to a public place with clear no-smoking signs above the head of the smoker. Half the time they listen, half the time they tell her where to go.

Posted by: JoeSettler | Oct 10, 2007 10:34:51 AM

Trep,

You point out (I think this is what you meant) that one of the ways smokers can affect non-smokers is by racking up "staggering long term health costs directly linked to entirely preventable smoking related diseases." In a country with public health care these costs are in great part funded by public monies; it doesn't seem fair that they should be spent on someone who was fully aware of the health dangers of smoking and then expect you and I to pay for his angioplasty forty years later.

Well, that used to bother me but no longer. It turns out that smokers may actually help the public health care system. It's true smokers generally incur great costs on the health care system, typically in the 6th and 7th decade of their lives. However, these costs do not last for that long. Once a person has contracted a smoking related disease they are usually dead in a few years. Non-smokers on the other hand, typically live longer than smokers, long enough to contract Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease which occur later on in life. Treating these diseases usually costs the public much more because they last longer than smoking related diseases (i.e. patients can live longer with these diseases) and they also incur expensive 24 or 12 hour home care/nursing costs. Additionally, since smokers live shorter lives than non-smokers, they collect less pension, and are less of a burden on National Insurance.

I know this sounds very cold and an unemotional. I am not advocating that people be encouraged to smoke. On the contrary, I hope everyone chooses not to smoke, so that they can live full and healthy lives. And of course, non of this has much to do with second hand smoke.

Posted by: Moshe | Oct 10, 2007 10:51:35 AM

Listen people, I've just come back from Spain. Civilized country, EU... etc...

Believe me, in comparison, Israel is a non-smoker's HEAVEN!

The guys mentioned above - from linshom.com (http://linshom.com/sue.htm), have the right idea. They make a point of going round bars and restaurants and sueing the owners for allowing smoking and thus infringing on their rights. Apparently they're doing very well, and are winning cases and being awarded damages by the court. The bar owners have to cough up.

Also, if I understand correctly, they're ammending the law in November, which will hopefully aid enforcement.

Posted by: Imshin | Oct 10, 2007 11:55:58 AM

David,

I think the reasonable smoker is the norm... My (classical) liberal belief in the goodness of humanity... and, being reasonable, their wish is not to offend, but to enjoy a private pleasure. The reasonable smokers [yes, I know, smoking is not particularly "reasonable"] are feeling under siege with fewer and fewer places to puff away, still they will generally cooperate when they realize they are making others uncomfortable.

But even though MOST smokers are reasonable, it's the fear of finding the odd UNreasonable person that has most of remaining silent. So unless you are willing to make a scene... unless more of us are willing to risk making a scene... then even the reasonable folks remain in ignorant bliss believing they are not bothering anyone.

The only real answer is enforcement by designated authorities... unfortunately there are none... at least there are very few. So it's left to those willing to take the step and risking confrontation with the unreasonable. If it's a "militant" anti-smoker who speaks up and a shouting match ensues, most of us silently accept and even applaud the bad manners that restore the peace of a smoke free space.

Whether you intended it or not, you've asked a metaphorical question.

Posted by: oceanguy | Oct 10, 2007 2:29:22 PM

Oh, yes... remembering a story that happened just yesterday. My friend and I were looking for a place to eat, and we went into a restaurant that had just opened, figuring that we might try it. We saw four men were sitting in a booth and at least one of them was smoking. When my friend and I asked the waitress about the policy on smoking at that restaurant, she answered, "It's not allowed." But when I pointed out the men who were smoking, she made no move toward them and said, "They are friends of the chef." I said, "That makes no difference. Cigarette smoke is cigarette smoke." She said, "If you're staying here to eat, I'll ask them to stop." At this point my friend, who feels pretty much the way I do about this issue, told the waitress: "You told us that smoking isn't allowed here, but here are people smoking. It's obvious that you're not obeying the law." And we left.

That's another way to deal with the problem: wherever possible, voting with our feet (and our wallets).

(Jack, does your complaint department accept bellyrubs when off-duty?)

Posted by: Rahel | Oct 10, 2007 3:42:21 PM

The worst place that I've seen smokers is in the entrance way to a hospital ward in Hadera. and of course when you complained - people looked at you like you were crazt. that was 2 years ago since then the police actually come into the hospital and give tickets and fines and yes it does work there are no smokers in the hospital but to get to the front door you are basically walking across an ashtray.
so go ahead and fine those people - citizen arrest!!

Posted by: deborah | Oct 10, 2007 4:02:55 PM

Maybe they should revive the old slogan from my time in Israel - "Al tiftach peh l'sartan." (Apologies to the non-Hebrew speakers out there - it's totally untranslatable. But Israelis will get the point.)

Posted by: psachya | Oct 10, 2007 4:21:22 PM

we were in mitzpe ramon one weekend this past summer and had signed up for a jeep tour of the canyon. at the appointed time, we walked over the truck/bus where our guide sat waiting. we asked him if we could board and he gestured with a smile that we should go on up. he did not say one word, which actually did not seem all that strange to me at the time as his smile was so friendly. after our bus was loaded, one of the passengers sitting in the front (we were all the way in the back) announced that it was absolutely necessary for the guide to have complete silence as he could not speak loudly. in actuality, he could not speak at all. as soon as he took the mike, we all heard a faint buzzing and then an inhuman robotic voice, devoid of any inflection whatsoever. our guide had an electric voice box and needed to speak through a hand-held transmitter. it was very unsettling at first and my kids starting asking tons of questions, as kids will do. my husband and i explained to them that smoking is one the main causes of throat cancer and this was one end-result of smoking. after all of our explanations, my husband and i looked at each other and i said to him,"we couldn't have given them a better anti-smoking lesson than this one."

i will say something to a smoker, even if we are outside. if someone wants to smoke, or needs to smoke that is his or her right, but it is not their right to make me smoke along with them, and second-hand smoke is just as bad. we have left restaurants over this issue, even after ordering if a situation is not dealt with to our satisfaction. as a matter of fact, a restaurant closed it's doors in our town over their refusal to comply with the law. when word got out that the restaurant was nonchalant in their dealings with smokers, non-smokers simply didn't go -- and there were not enough smokers in town to keep them afloat. if enough non-smokers stand up for themselves by speaking out with their wallets, businesses will get the message, or suffer loss.

Posted by: nikki | Oct 10, 2007 7:33:59 PM

please spread the word about babyaliza.com

Posted by: the sabra | Oct 11, 2007 12:28:41 AM

I am a smoker, and the son of smokers. Both of my parents died of cancer. And I live in California, which is perhaps the most meddlesome and puritanical state of the union. In San Francisco, which is filled with vicious-minded anti-smokers.

All of which serves to indicate what my perspectives are.

In general, I agree that smoking should not be permitted in restaurants of any type, including those with outdoor seating. Food and tobacco do not go together - though some people may choose to follow the one with the other. In any case, most patrons cannot be assumed to be smokers, and children should be not forced into passive smoking by being in a smoke-filled environment.

Bars are quite the opposite. And as an alternative to bars, there absolutely must be coffee houses which permit smoking. Nothing destroys the taste of fine pipe-tobacco faster than some kvetching asthmatic runt bellyaching, hacking, and choking - it is only fitting that they have their place, I have mine. We should both have a safe and child-free environment.
And, rather than leaving it to the coffee house operator, perhaps the businessperson intending to open a coffee shop should apply for a license to run "a coffee shop with smoking on the premises permitted" - that way the city could ensure that the number of smoking permitted coffee shops does not vastly outnumber the smoke-free coffee shops.

Retail establishments (other than tobacconists and liquor stores), bus-stops, theatres, and similar environments validly should be smoke-free.

On the other hand, not providing hospital patients and nursing home residents with a smoking room seems capricious and cruel, and I am not at all sure having sick people in hospital gowns struggle to find a spot out on the street at least fifty feet away from all hospital doorways, in all kinds of weather, and even in the middle of the night, is productive. It certainly cannot be healthy. Especially not if, as is likely in San Francisco, they might get mugged.


As it stands now, with there being nearly no places where I can smoke my pipe and others can smoke their cigars outside of our own homes, our tolerance for non-smokers and anti-smokers has sunk to an all time low.
Have you pesky lot considered moving to the suburbs? Or at least minding your own business? And crossing the street? Walking somewhere else?

And I say that with love. Lots of smoke-filled love. Lots of angry smoke filled frustrated love. C'mere and let me prove it by 'hugging' you.

Posted by: Back of the Hill | Oct 11, 2007 1:29:46 AM

Oh, and by the way. Now I really am looking forward to visiting Israel some day. It sounds like a wonderful place.

Posted by: Back of the Hill | Oct 11, 2007 1:31:07 AM

Jack, does your complaint department accept bellyrubs when off-duty?

Absolutely.

Posted by: Jack | Oct 11, 2007 6:16:32 AM

"It is against the law in New York State to drive and use a cell phone. Millions disobey this law and I have never heard of anyone getting a ticket for this!"

here in brooklyn these tickets are given out with zeal and regularity

Posted by: moah kemo efroah | Oct 14, 2007 10:25:20 AM

I feel your pain, on the other side of the fence. I'm a smoker, I've been a smoker since I was 16. And I love it, yes. But, I always am considerate about it. When I smoke in public, I always ask if anyone minds before hand, because I know many don't like it. But most smokers don't seem to give a damn, and this bothers me. Because when they do this, it makes me feel as though when people see me smoking, they think I'm the same sort of asshole. And don't even get me started on those that just throw their butts where-ever. Uy.

Posted by: Yitzhakofeir | Nov 2, 2007 5:46:28 AM

Standing near a smoker on a(n outdoor, thankfully) subway platform in Brooklyn, I took my drink (no, drinking's not allowed, either, but at least it doesn't harm anyone else's health) and poured a drop on the end of his cigarette, extinguishing it. He didn't do anything about it (to me), or light up again.

Posted by: x | May 16, 2011 7:58:00 PM

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