Jun 28, 2006


The Surgeon General released a report this week that claims that secondhand smoke is definitely the killer that some always suspected it to be. This determination must rationally lead to one of two courses of action by the federal government:
  • Ban smoking completely, or
  • Legalize marijuana
Now you may be saying, well how can both of those be rational consequences of a finding of the lethal nature of secondhand smoke when they are so diametrically opposed to each other? Let me explain.
If smoking primarily or secondarily is so dangerous that it raises health risks with even the mildest contact, then there is no justifiable reason for it to remain legal. It has no significant health benefits, contributes nothing substantive to life or society, causes trash and air pollution, and is an all around nuisance. The only benefit that it provides is billions in tax dollars every year, yet it remains legal. This is not a rational situation on a purely cost-benefit basis. Fortunately, I don't form my opinions on cost-benefit rationality alone. I hold the freedom to kill oneself slowly to be more important.
So if tobacco remains legal even after it is determined to be unhealthy even for secondary smokers, then the only rational next step is to then legalize marijuana. Smoking marijuana, unlike tobacco, does not cause lung cancer (or any other cancer), so it cannot therefore raise the risks of cancer for secondary smokers either. It is no more incapacitating than alcohol, which remains legal, so for that argument, current laws prohibiting driving under the influence would be sufficient (if they are for alcohol, that is). The only remaining argument against marijuana use is that it is a gateway drug. This is an anecdotal argument at best, and my all accounts it is no more relevant than to say that alcohol is a gateway drug. Otherwise why would anyone only smoke cigarettes when they drink?
So if the Surgeon General's report does not lead to a nationwide ban on smoking tobacco, then it must necessarily lead to a nationwide legalization of marijuana. If one of these things does not occur, then our government is not being run rationally. ...but you already knew that.

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