But for a news cycle or two, those up-close images of Block blowing a blue cloud of smoke into the camera filled the airwaves.
It became a matter of some consternation about Cain’s curious way of campaigning. How could he release an ad featuring his campaign manager smoking?
The fact is, it’s not just a matter of politics. American tolerance of smoking in public is ebbing faster than ever. Pressure to ban smoking on the public square, even outdoors, is increasing.
The Maricopa County Community College District has become the latest public entity to ban smoking entirely. By decree, Chancellor Rufus Glasper announced all 10 of the district’s campuses will be smoke-free by July 2012, affecting 142,000 students and nearly 9,000 faculty and staff.
Other colleges, like Arizona State University, are attempting to let students decide smoking policies. But there is little doubt where most of them are headed. At least 381 U.S. colleges and universities already prohibit smoking anywhere on campus. And other public entities such as cities and towns are not far behind.
Like it or not, libertarians arguing for autonomy and freedom of choice have lost the smoking debate, mostly to health advocates, but also to those non-smokers who just plain find it a stinky annoyance unworthy of accommodation.
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