Two somewhat unconnected stories but on the same theme.
1. Requiring cigarettes to be fire safe compliant.
There is no doubt that cigarettes do start fires and there is nothing wrong with looking for solutions to this problem. However, in the numbers game, the effects of smoking on the health of smokers still far outweighs the effects of the fires set by unattended cigarettes. Though, just like the source article here focuses on whether these are pleasant or not, what is missing from the debate is whether these are better or worse in terms of health to smokers.
I do not know the answer to that question but I think anyone promoting fire safe compliant cigarettes should. (I would be interested if anyone out there knows of any research on this.)
2. Traditional, ethnic or financial exemptions from no smoking regulations.
Some of these exemptions may have merit but there is dissonance at play. If you argue that smoke free spaces exist to protect not only nonsmokers but also workers (smoking and nonsmoking) but then allow certain defined groups exemptions on the basis of tradition, then you are actually saying that members of those groups are not as valuable as “normal citizens”.
Recently certain casinos have been granted exemptions since not to do so would leave them disadvantaged in competing with tribal (or smoking allowed) casinos (link here). Again, a reasonable argument but one that conflicts with other manifestations of this regulation, and one that is saying that financial health outweighs physical health; one could even ironically suggest that this maintained the time honoured principle of the exploitation of the lower classes, money is being made through the sacrifices of the lungs of the workers and consumers.
(It is odd enough that we willingly accept tobacco use as traditional among certain groups and not among others. I remember years ago reading an article on smoking stigma having a negative impact on an American immigrant group of Vietnamese for whom exchanging tobacco was a ritual and denoted honouring the other, and also thinking that really was it so different that any group of smokers offering each other cigarettes? )
I do not argue for the ultimate priority of health over all other concerns. I am just pointing out that though there is an appearance of health being the driving concern, it does not always play out that way.