August 27th, 2007
01:50 PM ET
6 years ago

Clinton: public smoking ban a 'good day for America'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - New York Sen. Hillary Clinton promised to fight to reduce smoking during an appearance at Lance Armstrong’s presidential forum on Monday. The presidential hopeful also said she thinks smoking should be banned from public places.

"Well, personally I think so," Clinton said when asked if banning smoking in public in public places would be a "good day for America."

Calling tobacco an "an addictive, deadly substance," Clinton said the FDA should be able to regulate tobacco products and advertising for cigarettes. She said a national ban on smoking was impractical because of local zoning laws, but said it's possible to further limit it by increasing taxes and prices for cigarettes.

"We'll eventually get there," she said. "We're lowering the rate of smoking now, and I think over the next decade we'll really push it way down."

–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. Stan, Bellingham, Wa

    Ah, the smoking ban subject again. Let this be clear, brief exposure to secondhand smoke poses no health risk. Do the research please. Working in a restaurant and inhaling smoke for prolonged periods of time can pose a health risk. What we are forgetting is that we have a choice. I am a non-smoker and I do feel smoking should not be allowed in public buildings such as offices and government buildings. Restaurants, bars, pubs, casinos etc... these should be the choice of the owner. Don't like the smoke where you wait tables? Tough. Work somewhere else. What needs to be controlled is the chemicals put into processed tabacco. These are the real dangers in the smoke that comes from it. I've got a feeling that amonia and arsenic(sp?) are not naturally accuring substances in tabacco. So while we sit here as hammer it home to all these smokers we watch our children go to school and eat prepackaged food stuffed full of preservatives and other unsavory additives. We take them to fast foods joints because it's easy and allow constant mindless entertainment to relieve us of our parenting skills. Then we wonder why our youth is overweight, unhealthy and has no attention span. Go on and make a huge deal over smoking. That Big Mac and those video games will cost you must more than a cigarette hanging off someone else's mouth. We need to get over ourselves and leave other people alone. There are obvious places to not smoke and most smokers know that. It has been my experience that the majority of smokers do not smoke in there own homes. Making smoking illegal will be amusing at best. We are too young to know prohibition but by all accounts it was laughable. The government did nothing except make criminals. In short, I'm tired of extreme left and right thinking they know what is good for all of us. You know who you are, stop pretending, everyone sees right through you. I know you also doubt your own positions. This is a society you morons. Take care of your own before you throw stones. I now open the floor to the radicals. Please make it good as I have probably heard your rantings many times over.

    August 27, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  2. John NC

    I agree with Andy in regard to Kim in St. Louis? What did the comment have to do with the subject?

    August 27, 2007 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  3. Felipe, Silverthorne, CO

    Jon, Woburn, MA- You can't compare banning fast food, banning video games, and talk radio to public smoking because all three of those only affect the person who eats, plays, or listens to it. Smoking affects everybody around the smoker and second hand smoking has been scientifically proven to be just as hazardous to those around the smoker. If everybody chewed instead of smoked i'm sure the argument wouldn't be as large. And for anybody who says smoking is a right, it's not, it's a privelidge earned when you turn the age of eighteen and can be taken away if abused, just like drinking if you drink and drive.

    August 27, 2007 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  4. Dan, TX

    It isn't defined here exactly what "public smoking" means. Is it smoking any place someone might be exposed to smoke, or any place someone might see someone else smoking? Some parks have smoking bans. Does Clinton support a ban on smoking on any public property outside since this is in the public. Would smoking on a college campus be banned? Would smoking be allowed in your own fenced yard?

    You can argue that no one would choose to die prematurely. Particularly since tobacco is an addictive substance and many people would have a hard time choosing to quit. It is as though tobacco takes away free will. But does banning smoking take away a right to choose? MY RIGHT to choose?

    Clinton supports the right of a woman to choose an ABORTION (I put this in bold only to catch the eye of casual readers, it is not meant as an internet shout), so clearly the right to choose, even if others find the choice an unwise, even horrifying choice, can be defended. Why shouldn't I be able to have a choice? If a woman can choose to have her own unborn child terminated, why in the world can't I choose to smoke a cigarette! Which is more detrimental to health!

    August 27, 2007 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  5. Dan, Castle Rock, NJ

    Smoking isn't right or wrong. It's simply an option. Options and choices are freedoms we have as Americans. It's not just that smokers should be allowed to smoke. It's that everyone, you and I, are entitled to the inherent, unalienable right to smoke. It's time we give smoking the right it deserves!

    August 27, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  6. Terry, El Paso, TX

    If a corporation produced a children's cereal with addictive ingredients, should parents feel free to serve it to their kids? If a corporation produced an addictive perfume, should women be allowed to wear it? If a hamburger chain produced curly fries with an addictive ingredient, would that be ok? Of course not.

    A simple solution offers itself. Require all tobacco products to be nicotine free. This will separate the addicts from those who just like a good smoke. If cigarettes cost $50 or $100 a pack, smokers would be breaking into our houses and stealing our stereos to support their habit, just like other junkies.

    Those individuals who speak of our right to damage our own health have a point though. The medical bill for all those fatsos out there will be enormous. The health of obese people deteriorates steadily. Should we outlaw fat? Round up all those chubbos and put them in boot camp environments until they are healthy again? Ditto for alcohol. We can predict that drinkers will cost the public a fortune in health care, car repairs, road repairs, etc. etc.

    A lot of people do self-destructuve things that the public will end up paying for. Telling people to buck up and develop some will power has not worked for the last hundred years, but if we keep doing the same thing, maybe the problem will go away.

    August 27, 2007 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  7. Scarlett, Richmond, VA

    I'd love to see an end to smoking - having lost both grandparents to lung cancer (and believe me - it is a tough way to go). But, the answer is NOT raising taxes on the product. That isn't going to stop someone with an ADDICTION from smoking. All it does is make it harder on the working poor (who are a large market for the tobacco companies).

    I have a couple of suggestions for "liberal" Clinton:

    1. If tobacco is so freaking bad - force tobacco companies to take it off the market. How many other industries are allowed to keep a product on the shelf where there is absolutely no safe level of usage and even non-users who happen to just be in the vicinity are exposed to harm? The fact is this will never happen. Not just because the tobacco lobby has bought enough politicians but the major reason is that all that tax revenue will have to be replaced with increased taxes in other areas and people hate politicians who raise their taxes.

    2. Force the tobacco industry to at least clean up their product. Regulate them. Don't allow them to increase the level of nicotine to make it more addictive. A great deal of what is so dangerous in cigarettes isn't necessary to the product. The additives and pesticides are a major factor in the danger of smoking. While smoking itself still wouldn't be safe, it would be a whole lot safer if the product was regulated and since the industry can't be trusted to do it themselves, it means governmental regulation.

    This is just political pandering on Clinton's part. Trying to appease some voters but sending a clear message to the lobby that they have nothing to fear - it will be business as usual. Clinton isn't even a real Democrat. The only priority Clinton has is getting herself elected and she'll sell out to anyone who can help her get there.

    I'd love to see a woman president, but a REAL woman - not a woman who is trying to ooze more testosterone than the male candidates by being a war hawk and helping to usher in a police state in the US. I hope women won't feel pressured to vote for her just to try to break the glass ceiling. We need it broken - but the stakes are just too high right now to break it with the wrong woman. And Clinton is definitely the wrong woman.

    August 27, 2007 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  8. Ernie Bennett, Sylvester, West Virginia

    Well, there goes my support for Hillary. I don't mind banning some smoking in public places, but bars and the like should only have to put in non-smoking areas. Futhermore, cigs are taxed enough. And I am about fed up with govt officials MANDATING health policies. Warnings are fine, but this is a FREE country. If you start banning cigs, then how bout carpet with thier secondary fumes? Or paneling? Or people who have had the aforementioned installed, from breathing withen 15 feet of you (secondary chemicals!). Oh, we are SO getting to be like RUSSIA !

    August 27, 2007 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  9. Lou, Pebble Beach CA

    Smoking isn't right or wrong. It's simply an option. Options and choices are freedoms we have as Americans. It's not just that smokers should be allowed to smoke. It's that everyone, you and me, are entitled to the inherent, unalienable right to smoke. It's time we give smoking the right it deserves!

    August 27, 2007 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  10. VanReuter NY NY

    I can summon up Hillary Clinton in one sentence; Presumptive democratic nominee for president!
    Even better, Lance-
    Did you know that Hillary is ahead by THIRTY PERCENT(OMG!!!) in (say it with me) CALIFORNIA! That primary can't come too soon can it?


    August 27, 2007 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  11. Michael, Aspen CO

    Let's ban people with bad breath.

    August 27, 2007 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  12. Merl, Chicago IL

    Typical left-winger. Democrats attempt to ban things that are "bad for us" in order to compensate for their overall lack of faith and morals. If only they had more faith in God and the individual and less in government spending, taxing, and regulation. If only everyone did.

    August 27, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  13. Rick, Chicago Illinois

    Smokers DON'T have the right to contribute to other people's health problems as second hand smoke has been proven to do. If I want some of your smoke, I'll ask you for a drag.

    No one is saying you CANT smoke, just don't make others who DON'T deal with it. Keep your ignorant behavior to yourselves. You guys are the same morons who increase the cost of everybody ELSE'S insurance and then turn around and sue tobacco companies for your own continuous stupidity when you get cancer or emphysema.

    I think the next time some ignorant moron smokes in front of me (therefore making the decision FOR me that I should breathe in HIS cigarette smoke), I think I'll start picking my nose and wiping it on him.

    Maybe then ignorant smokers will start getting the picture.

    August 27, 2007 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  14. Steve, Chicago, IL

    Smokers aren't being discriminated against...they're simply not being allowed to contaminate the air shared by others in public places. I mean, if you think it's that big a deal, you could always quit.

    August 27, 2007 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  15. Dan, TX

    Hey Van, you can tell us all about the polls in California, she's gonna finish third in Iowa. And then, people are actually gonna pay attention, and then she's gonna start to lose that support in California. I could be very wrong about all this....but so could you.

    August 27, 2007 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  16. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    Ban and Veteo the most popular political words in todays society.

    Ban overweight citizens and tape their mouths shut.

    Ban junk food so kids and teens can be healthy.

    Ban guns so people can be safe.

    Ban cars run by petro vs. hybrid models so people can breath cleaner air.

    Ban violence on TV, in Video Games, in Theatres to save our children.

    Ban Rap and like music to protect our children from lewd language.

    Ban certain religions that do not meet the required scriptures of those in power.

    Ban muslims as they are presumed to be terrorists.

    Ban knives, sharp objects, aerosol containers from flights to provide paying flyers safety.

    Ban racist comments from public airways to preserve our moral fibre.

    Veto everything that is not productive to the Republican Party.

    Ya gotta love our Democratic Society. Justice and Freedom for all!

    But Alcoholic Beverages are alive and well!

    Senseless Insanity.

    August 28, 2007 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  17. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Dear smokers; there's nothing to say if you say that you live in free country and right to smoke. I volunteer at Hospital so I have seen thousands of sick patients, I was very sad. If you think you are in free country why don't you enjoy your life without serious illness. Prevention is the best for your health, non smoking is a part of prevention of sickness and cancers. Life is the blessing, health is a better blessing, we all deserved to be happy. Hillary Clinton trys to help American's health. I think smoking is a part of environmental disruption. I stop to breath when I smell smoking because it stinks.

    August 28, 2007 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  18. Igor, Mineral Wells, TX

    I don't smoke, but I'm fat, and I'm going to blame this on the fast-food companies who make it too easy for me to pack on weight.

    I really hope the Democrats will outlaw fast food as well and make it easier for me to sue the ones who marketed this fatty food and made me buy it against my own free will.

    And while we're at it, let's put a $2.00 gallon tax on gasoline, so the poor won't be able to afford driving their cars and only the rich will have the option of private transportation.

    August 28, 2007 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  19. Chip Celina OH

    Totally insane!

    Since it's 'politically correct' to go after people that smoke...(because we all know they're such bad people) this type of stuff comes out. Why not ban cars, they contribute far more to 'global warming' than cigarettes.

    Or, since it's in our "best interest" not to smoke, ban cigs or make them illegal.

    It's time for politicians to put up or shut up! I'm a smoker, and since moving to Ohio from Florida, I notice the proce on my carton of smokes has gone from 28 dollars to about 40. On top of that, we have the ban in Ohio that prohibits smoking indoors at "public places" (read bars). The bar owner has no right to establish HIS/HER local policy and run their business the way they wish, the government tells them what to do.

    I say that this is a perfect example of how freedoms in this country are being eroded. Does a non-smoker have the 'right to choose' when it comes to patronizing an establishment with such a policy? If you don't like it, don't go there. Likewise, a proprietor has the right to not allow smoking in their establishment.

    But, you'll never see any politician on either side go for an all out ban on smokes. Why? Too much revenue for them to spend on pork-barrel projects.

    I just wonder if she really feels this way or said that because the crowd was definitely and anti-smoking crowd.

    Have a good day,


    August 28, 2007 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  20. Mary, Beaver, PA

    See, I told you that she was a socialist who wanted to limit your freedoms "for your own good, because she knows what is best for you." We don't need more laws forced down our throats by professional nannies, busybodies, and health nazis. Limiting choice is not what freedom is about. How about less laws and more courtesy and accommodation on both sides of this issue? I don't smoke, but I respect your right to do so.

    August 28, 2007 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  21. Larry

    Hillary would support NAMBLA if she thought it would get her more votes.

    I second Andy's post, what does Kim mean by Bush fooling people in regards to smoking? Another minor point, how could Abe Lincoln say something about the current President aprox 150 years ago. Yes, I am making a stupid point, but not near as stupid as Kim's post.

    August 28, 2007 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  22. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Ok... to recap Mrs Clinton's positions:

    1) Voted FOR the war with Iraq
    2) Voted FOR funding the war
    3) Voted AGAINST funding the war
    4) Says progress is being made in Iraq
    5) Wants the democratically elected leader of Iraq removed
    6) Criticizes Obama for engaging in hypotheticals
    7) Says (hypothetically) a terrorist attack will help Republicans
    8) Wants to ban smoking in all public areas of this country

    WHY is she considered the "front-runner"??

    No wonder all the states are pushing forward the democrat nomination... the longer Hillary campaigns the more she loses support!

    August 28, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. Dan, TX

    Starting to smoke is a choice. Stopping is very difficult for some people as there is the addiction issue. However, without knowing what the definition of a public place is here, it is difficult to say how invasive she is proposing to be. Can you see college campuses with total bans on smoking? I can't. People should be free to make choices even poor ones. Seems hypocritical to be anti-choice for smoking because it has health risks that people can be well informed about and PRO-CHOICE for other things that have health implications.

    August 28, 2007 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  24. Mary, Mountain View, CA

    I have asthma. When I inhale secondhand smoke, my lungs tighten. If I am exposed to this long enough, it becomes an asthma attack, from which I can DIE from.

    Why are you people defending a habit that not only kills you slowly, but harms non-smokers as well? You smokers are being incredibly insensitive and selfish. My right to breathe clean air and not DIE from an asthma attack trumps your supposed "right" to smoke in public.

    And by the way, perhaps some of you should check your reading comprehension. No has said anything about banning smoking outright (i.e., in your own home). This is not about going after you smokers or discrimination or anything like that. This is all about protecting those who DO NOT SMOKE. So get off your high horse.

    So go ahead, smoke. Just don't bring me down to the grave with you.

    August 28, 2007 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  25. Bob, Long Beach, CA

    So Mary your okay with the idea that smokers should pay for poor childrens health care by paying even more taxes? Those smokers didn't make those children poor but of course they should pay more taxes just because.

    When I think public places I think parks and other open places. Is anyone making you stand next to a smoker and inhale the fumes? People always seem to ignore the fact that the air isn't exactly clean to begin with and want to blame smoking for 100% of the respiratory problems.

    Now if she was talking about smoking in your car when your children are present I would be all for banning it in this case because of the fact that someone else is being forced to put up with it.

    So before you start talking about who is selfish and who isn't I suggest that you take a look in the mirror ma'am. I am sick of people who think that the Constitution allows for the banning everything under the sun. This is supposed to be a free country but some people seem to have forgotten that small detail that our founding fathers paid for in blood.

    August 28, 2007 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
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