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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Germany to Smokers: Light 'Em Up

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (TDB) -- Got this tidbit via the Christian Science Monitor. Reporter Mariah Blake filed a report out of Hamburg that German officials have backed off a plan to ban smoking in bars, restaurants, nightclubs, schools and other public buildings. They intended to impose the anti-smoking regulations last Friday, then decided the central government lacked authority to enact them. According to Blake, "The plan is now on hold indefinitely."

What really rocked me about the story is that a large segment of German society and officialdom equates a smoking ban with the Nazi Party and an assault on individual liberty. ''The nation's politicians have long argued that strong curbs on tobacco place too much constraint on personal freedom -- a message that has resonated here since Adolph Hitler tried to stomp out smoking." Blake also reported that Germany ''also has agitated against international smoking regulations and defied EU rules on tobacco advertising."

I was at Xavier University today listening to speakers talk about everything from abortion rights to immigration policy, and one was quite animated in denouncing Ohio's new smoking ban, which took effect Thursday. "I think people should be free to do what they want to do," he said, adding that he's a smoker who is defying the government every time he lights one up. This freedom fighter never mentioned the Cigarette S.S.

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