As the apotheosis of prohibition grows nigh, a peculiar phenomenon engenders hope.
One of the paradoxes of the anti-tobacco agenda is that the imposition of smoking bans on private property met with acquiescence, no matter how sullen, while smoking bans on truly public property are routinely ignored by smokers and those charged with enforcing the law. In San Francisco, a city that imagines itself eternally on the cutting edge, banning smoking in parks and playgrounds has been met with an encouraging indifference. Officious building managers who plaster entrances with no smoking signs are resigned to see their beloved signs ignored as smokers puff with impunity.

Hospitals, many of which are public and all imbued with the aura of health, fare no better than the parks polluted with no smoking signs. The article to which we link concerns itself with so-called smoke-free hospitals in north Texas but could be about any location in the country. The news is good. Visitors, patients and employees are blithely oblivious to the outdoor smoking bans imposed by a medical establishment that has forgotten how to behave itself. Why, the reporter asks, are the scofflaws allowed to get away with it?

No answer is forthcoming from the hospital authorities who nonetheless persist in asserting that smoke-free is the only alternative. One hazards that ensuring compliance requires an enforcement mechanism. Despite being fully on board the anti-tobacco agenda, it seems that hospitals are reluctant to waste valuable health-care dollars on policing parking lots, sidewalks, or even hospital entry ways. Anti-tobacco has come up against public opinion, which, at least for now, is completely unconcerned about smoking around hospitals.

Near the top of the story is a sad commentary on the medical establishment’s shameful violation of its mission to relieve human suffering. At one of the supposedly smoke-free hospitals the reporter encountered a smoker clad in a hospital gown, hooked up to an IV device. Whatever his ailment it is outrageous that he was obliged presumably to shuffle through halls, and perhaps onto an elevator, all the time wheeling an IV through the foot traffic to the exit. Smoke-free is medical care-free. No wonder people view the Nazi no smoking symbols disfiguring hospital exterior walls with contempt. Doctors who attach themselves to the brutish anti-tobacco agenda are doing themselves no favors. There shall be a day of reckoning.



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