Judge John Hodgman Episode 75: Cigarettiquette


YOUR ATTENTION, PLEASE: This episode includes references to and discussion of smoking and drug use, which you may not find suitable for children.

This week: a case of Cigarettiquette.

Robert brings the case against his good friend Bradley. Bradley, in an attempt to quit smoking, has substituted electronic cigarettes for the use of real, tobacco-filled cigarettes. He'll "smoke" the e-cigarettes wherever they're technically allowed. Robert worries about the appearance of the "smoke" and thinks Bradley should show more discretion when e-smoking in public places, whether they're hanging out at a sporting event or a concert. Who is right, and who is wrong? Only one man can decide.



Blowing Bubbles

Just thought I'd let you know about a london based soccer/football team called West Ham United, their club's anthem is 'I'm forever blowing bubbles' and the club's fans will often blow bubbles during a match. Bizarrely they also have one of the worst histories of hooliganism in Britain, there are even a few films based on the teams (and others) not so friendly supporters. Strange world.

Here's the song:

Tobacco use triggers

This was a super interesting discussion, in part because I do some work in public health and tobacco control. The "fart doctrine" makes sense in terms of whether or not it's acceptable to produce disruptive odors in a public place. Another dimension to consider, though, is that using an e-cigarette in a public place can be disruptive to others in more than one way: tobacco use is an addictive behavior, and often smokers are triggered by particular smells, sights or situations. A smoker, or more importantly, a smoker trying to quit might see someone else "smoking" in public where actual smoking is prohibited, and that may trigger the urge to smoke. Allowing e-cigarettes in public places where smoking is not allowed does a disservice to anyone who is trying to quit, and where they would not have otherwise expected to be triggered by others' smoking. That information alone isn't necessarily enough to affect the ruling, but should be considered since the issue at hand is whether using an e-cigarette is socially acceptable in a public place, not whether they are a good idea for anyone to use.

This holds no weight. By

This holds no weight. By your logic, nobody should be allowed to drink alcohol in the presence of anyone else, for fear of tempting a recovering alcoholic. Likewise, nobody should eat a hamburgers just in case there are vegetarians nearby. People can't be held accountable for other peoples' habits.