September 26th, 2007
10:52 PM ET
11 years ago

Majority of candidates want national smoking ban

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The majority of the Democratic presidential candidates said in Wednesday's New Hampshire presidential debate they would support a national smoking ban in public places.

When asked the question, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama only said they supported efforts at local levels to prevent smoking in public places. The rest of the candidates indicated they would seek a national ban to do so.

Meanwhile, when it comes to the drinking age, only former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich said they were in favor of lowering it to 18 - an answer that was well received by the Dartmouth College crowd. Kucinich added that he supports lowering the voting age to 16.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: New Hampshire
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Zeke, Las Vegas, NV

    Unfortunately, Hillary is loathe to take any stand that might be deemed radical or controversial. As much as I admire her intelligence, her lack of courage disappoints me. If she can't take an unpopular stand now, will she ever when she leads us?

    Mr. Obama, an ex-drug user and a smoker himself, does not surprise me either.

    He's a bad role model for our children and for America

    September 26, 2007 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  2. Laura - Tulsa, OK

    I don't smoke but I figure it's a free country and if someone wants to kill themselves that's their business. Just don't stand so close to me. No government can tell me what to eat or ingest or smoke.

    September 26, 2007 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  3. Moe, NY

    Last I checked this was still a free country. Politicans have no right to pass laws that dictate what personal choices people should make. If people want to smoke, eat what they want, dress as they please, then it is absolutely none of the governments business. That people do not mind their own business in this country is part of the problem. If individuals and politicans choose not to smoke, eat fast food, etc. that is their choice...but do not dictate to others regarding their right to choose. Individuals have a right to be different.

    September 27, 2007 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  4. Sam, IA

    Speaking of fantasy worlds.Sounds like ole Bring It On revisited, Good plan Rudy.

    September 27, 2007 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  5. Lee, Estherville, IA

    The Dems aren't trying to shoot themselves in the foot this time...they're aiming a somewhat higher and to the rear....if they want to stop people from smoking, they need to stop subsidizing the tobacco industry instead of courting their campaign contributions.

    September 27, 2007 04:58 am at 4:58 am |
  6. Dan (Columbia, MD)

    Typical and disappointing.

    The "party of the people" doesn't trust the American people to govern themselves at the local or state level so they'll support legislation to do it federally.

    Just kick back and relax. They know what's best for us.

    September 27, 2007 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  7. Mary, Beaver, PA

    Democrats, the Nanny party. Don't you know, America, that you are too irresponsible and stupid to make your own choices? When are we in America going to stand up to these busybodies who want to thrust their lifestyle choices down our throats?

    September 27, 2007 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  8. Terry, El Paso, TX

    Cause of Death (Annual) Count
    Tobacco 435,000
    Poor Diet-Inactivity 365,000
    Alcohol Consumption 85,000
    Infection/Microbes 75,000
    Poison/Toxic Agents 55,000
    Prescription Drugs 32,000
    Suicide 30,622
    Gun-related incidents 29,000
    Traffic Accidents 26,347
    Homicide 20,308
    Sexual Behaviors 20,000
    Other Illegal Drugs 17,000
    Non-prescription Drugs 7,600
    Marijuana 0

    These are pretty persuasive statistics on the danger of tobacco use. I'm really glad I quit smoking years ago and I really wish everyone would. If cigarettes cost $100 a pack, cigarette smokers would be breaking into our houses to steal our jewelry so that they could buy cigarettes. If cigarettes were illegal, there would be a flourishing underground market in smuggled coffin nails and rival tobacco gangs would be shooting each other and the cops. Tobacco is a very dangerous drug.

    That said, we must acknowledge that the War on Drugs, launched by tricky Dick Nixon 35 years ago is a bigger failure than the war in Iraq. There are a lot more drug smugglers than ever before, whole countries have had their governments subverted by drug cartels, the price of street drugs has gone up, and any 14 year-old kid who wants to try cocaine for the first time can probably find a drug salesperson who will accommodate him within a day of making inquiries.

    Our prisons are filled with drug users who are housed at great expense in facilities where drugs are routinely available. If everyone who has tried illegal drugs was caught and tried, most of our population would be in jail.

    Our nutty drug laws are written to please the pharmaceutical, tobacco, and alcohol lobbies, who see the two most destructive drugs – alcohol and tobacco – as major sources of income and who view less harmful drugs as potential competitors.

    I'm depressed now just thinking about it. I'm going to go take my valium and my effexor.

    September 27, 2007 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  9. freetobeme, Rochester, PA

    Maybe the majority of citizens want a ban on hypocritical Democrats who think they are our mother.

    September 27, 2007 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  10. Linda - Albany, NY

    I must respectfully disagree with Gravel's proposal to lower the drinking age to 18. Our society can hardly drink responsibly at 21, let alone 18.

    As for the smoking ban in public places – I'm all for it. Being asthmatic, I can not tolerate smoke without being sent into a coughing fit/asthma attack, which usually ends up with a trip to the hospital. If someone wants to smoke in their home, car, etc., fine. Light yourself on fire for all I care. Just don't force me to breathe those toxins.

    September 27, 2007 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. James, Phoenix AZ

    Good thinking, Dennis Kucinish. Yeah let's give our young teenagers a license to drive AND buy liquor!

    Why would ANYONE be against that???

    I'm really starting to think Edwards and Clinton were on to something when they discussed eliminating the 2nd tier candidates.

    September 27, 2007 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  12. anon, new york, NY

    But Hussein Obama is a chain smoker....

    September 27, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. Steve H.

    To freetobeme in PA,

    Go ahead and kill yourself with cigarettes, just don't poison our air, too.

    Also, don't expect us non-smokers to foot the bill for irresponsible people like you when you lay dying in a hospital from lung cancer.

    September 27, 2007 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. KLHA KC,MO

    Steve H, universal health care will take care of Freetobeme's medical needs, so in essence, you will actually foot the bill for his irresponsiblity.

    Again, Dems propose legislation banning the same thing (tobacco) they want to increase taxes on to fund another initiative (healthcare).

    Round and round we go...where we stop...who knows??

    September 27, 2007 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  15. Terry, El Paso, TX

    KLHA KC,MO is right when he says, "Round and round we go ... where we stop...who knows?"

    I also have the feeling that our governments are following a meandering policy with no real goal in mind. No one is describing to us the ideal society that we are working toward. Without a goal in mind, policy is a random activity, like a drunken man, that stumbles first in one direction, then in the other.

    For example, should government protect the Global Economy's losers and victims? The winners of the global enterprise game are raking in their billions while complaining about taxes and the cost of health care for kids. Those who are displaced, unable to compete with Chinese and Indian labor, are asked to lower their expectations.

    Or should government just say to the unfortunate citizen that life is not fair to all and there is no expectation that government should try to make it so.

    Or, should corporations be untaxed and unregulated? This is what the supporters of the new global economy desire. They oppose every tax and every regulation. They suggest that voluntary compliance to an unenforced standard will work when it never has in the past.

    Or should we require overseas corporations with whom we do business to pay a good wage and provide health benefits, accepting the fact that the price of goods will go up?

    We have no idea what kind of world we are trying to build. We are pretending that it will "evolve" unplanned and unexpected, and that the magical processes of the market will always produce the best possible outcome.

    It is sort of like putting the car in drive and falling asleep in the back seat, expecting to wake up parked in the driveway.

    September 27, 2007 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  16. bprossersme

    COMMUNISM do you really want that in America?

    September 27, 2007 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  17. Cheryl, Tacoma, WA

    I have been a strong Obama supporter since his campaign's inception - yet, his comment during the debate that he would support a federal ban "if we're not seeing enough progress at the local level" stopped me dead in my tracks. Never mind that I happen to be a smoker - the larger issue, to me, is the extent to which the federal government wants to micromanage my lifestyle. If, as Clinton asserted during the same debate, New York businesses prospered after a city-wide smoking ban, why not allow private businesses to make this decision for themselves? If it truly does boost the bottom line, why does it take an act of Congress to banish tobacco smoke from public places?

    And if a nationwide smoking ban is instituted, what's next? Obesity has become a national crisis - are we then prepared to outlaw mayonnaise, french fries, and 1000-calorie latt├ęs? Not that I ever consume such products myself - but I oppose a government ban on them! It's a question of individual liberties and personal responsibility - are we looking for a president, or a babysitter?

    September 28, 2007 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  18. JimmieFromDayton

    Obama 08! Once we stop you clowns from robbing us blind we're going to put you in a smoke filled room as well.

    September 29, 2007 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  19. Sam Papagianakis

    I can't count the number of pics of Hillary and Obama in here, is there a problem with Fred? it would be sufficient for me to see at least one photo of the republican front runner but I guess I am asking too much of CNN. What are you afraid of?

    September 29, 2007 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  20. D Guytup, San Antonio, TX

    The "issues" listed below come from CNN Politics page. Are these the main issues? No wonder not a single politician ever mentions "Congressional reform"; "Cleaning up congress"; etc as an issue.

    I doubt the CNN is as "trustworthy" (i.e. "the most trusted name in news") as they would have us believe. CNN most likely is just a front for the powers that be.

    Abortion Policy
    Immigration Policy
    Same-Sex Marriage
    Tax Policy
    Iraq War
    Economic Issues
    Education Issues
    Health Care Issues

    September 29, 2007 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  21. Bob Laythe

    Ok, so you don't like the smell of tobacco smoke, or you fear it. That doesn't mean you should have the right to be mean to those who enjoy it. If you honestly believe that anyone who pollutes the air should have to be out in the rain, sleet, hail, snow and excessive heat when thay do it hasen't envisioned a world full of over polluting SUV's with no tops or a heater or an airconditioner. If you try to tell me that your SUV doesn't pollute as bad as cigarettes, then take this challenge. Close yourself and your vehicle in a one car garage and idle the engine for 45 minutes and I will close myself in a one car garage and chain smoke for 45 minutes. Guess which one will emerge alive?

    There is no reason except meanness that business owners cannot be allowed to provide an climate controlled area for their smoking customers. If the workplace must be made safe for the employee, then how will you do that for firemen and police officers and soldiers? If you don't like the risk, don't apply for the job!

    January 10, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |