Hello everyone and thanks for stopping by. We are childhood friends who grew up, graduated college, and now have our very own blog. Living the dream, right? Since kindergarten, we’ve tackled topics ranging from travel to science to sports to food to politics to technology to religion. Expect posts on all of the above and more from us, as well as a guest column or two.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Tobacco ban should go up in smoke
First off, I would like to acknowledge that this is a post about chewing tobacco and dip in baseball. I know neither of those involve smoke - I just needed a good title.
Since it is bad, America does not want its children to pick
up the habit. Happy to play the part of Helen Lovejoy are Reps.
Henry Waxman and Frank Pallone. They want Bud Selig*, Major League Baseball, and the players union to ban
smokeless tobacco from the field.**
*Seriously, if you
haven’t read this kid’s writing before go do it. Don’t worry. I’ll wait.
**They are also
pushing for HGH testing, but that is another subject for another time.
The problems with Reps. Waxman and Pallone’s stance range
from the philosophical to the practical, and three main ones seriously cripple
First, you’d think Congress – particularly the Energy and
Commerce Committee chaired by Rep. Waxman – wouldhavebetterstufftodo.
(Ok, those last two were jokes.)
Second, how far can government go in telling companies how
to regulate their employees? Sure government has been involved in private
business for decades if not centuries, but that intervention has always
entailed expanding employee rights (no, you cannot make that seven year old
work for 60 hours a week in a slaughterhouse without eye protection), not curtailing them. Even bans
on traditional smoking tobacco have been passed under the auspices of
protecting non-smoking workers from the poor decisions of their customers and
coworkers. But that logic doesn’t really work in this case – there is no such
thing as second hand dip.
Now, the sports fans out there are probably hopping up and
down shouting “anti-trust exemption” at the tops of their lungs. The argument
goes that since major league baseball is allowed special privileges by the U.S.
Government, the government ought to get a bit more say in what goes on in the
sport. Except what would axing the exemption really do? Well for starters it would abolish the
remnants of the reserve system, meaning that players would be completely free
to negotiate contracts. This doesn’t sounds like something the players’ union,
likely the main opponents of Waxman’s measure, would be concerned with. So if
Waxman and company are looking for an effective stick,
they should keep looking.
Third, will baseball players still be allowed to chew gum?
Sunflower seeds? Pebbles? If one of the goals of this move is to influence the
decision making of kids, we better find a way to make sure they know that
bulging cheek is definitely not filled with tobacco. What happens when baseball players suddenly start eating tomatoes in the dugout*?
*There's no way I was gonna write this post and not make a tomacco reference.
Come to think of it, if we are going to make these athletes
teach our kids the right way to live (because, you know, we’re too busy or
whatever), should they be allowed to endorse pop? McDonald’s? And what about
old movies? Casablanca was awesome but Humphrey Bogart was always smoking a
cigarette – somebody had better get Rep. Waxman an airbrush. Or we had better
realize that there comes a point where such crusading becomes shrill and
Again, tobacco is bad. But do you know what else is bad
for our children? Creepy mustaches – maybe Congress should pressure employers across the country to
ban those instead.