The Slovenia Times

Smoking can Cause Impotence



The war on cigarettes started about six years ago. To begin with, restaurant owners were the ones most affected, having to separate smoking from non-smoking areas. The fine for not doing this is a minimum of 250,000 tolars. Now, as a result of the latest law, 14 different warning labels have appeared on cigarette packets in large bold letters including: Smoking Kills, Smoking can Cause Impotence or Smoking Causes a Slow and Painful Death. Representatives from the Ministry of Health claim the anti-tobacco campaign has already proved to be effective. According to their statistics the number of smokers has fallen by a third (from 600,000 smokers to 400,000). However sales statistics claim that the number of cigarettes sold has fallen by only two per cent in the last five years. Alarming Numbers "We are all paying the price of smoking and the damage caused by it is very high," Ministry officials said. According to the World Health Organisation "Smoking killed 4.9 million people last year and this figure is forecast to double by the end of 2020 if no action is taken." As a result the European Union is pushing anti-tobacco legislation to the limits. From September 20th cigarette producers are banned from putting labels such as mild or light on packets; since they misguide consumers into thinking they are buying healthier products. Taxes on cigarettes are getting higher and advertising is now completely prohibited. Prohibition Era Slovene officials claim they have to abide by EU laws as does neighbouring Italy which, must introduce an anti-tobacco law by July 2004. Smoking will be banned everywhere, even in bars and restaurants, unless they are private and not open to the public. Italians joke about it, saying they might end up in Bhutan, which was the first state in the world to completely prohibit smoking in its entire territory. However prohibition in Slovenia doesn't stop with cigarettes. Similar actions have been taken to limit alcohol consumption as well. Ironically at the same time as state officials are issuing strict prohibition laws, similar to those from the last century in the USA, other groups are trying to legalise marijuana. A Price Tag on Your Health "Its mostly the lawyers fault for making big bucks in compensation suits, and the effort of pharmaceutical companies selling their de-toxication products has effects too," an activist against prohibition legislation claims. "They are exaggerating! Would putting pictures of car wrecks on cars prevent further accidents? It's absurd!" So are smokers becoming an endangered species? Many feel their basic human rights are at stake, especially when they have to move outside to enjoy a cigarette. Its not long ago, that smokers violated the rights of non-smokers when they smoked during work, no matter how loud non-smokers protested. Today it is the other way around, but it seems the tolerance of smokers is being tested too. "You are the ones being intolerant if you prohibit me from doing what I want with my health," is their most common argument, "And to label the packet I buy with my own money with a death sentence is offensive." So can you really put a price tag on somebody's health? And can prohibition force a smoker to give up his unhealthy habits? Not necessarily. The state of California has prohibited smoking in jails. Extreme measures tend to ban smokers to the entrance of clubs and discos. No wonder they feel deprived and are starting clubs where smoking will become a sort of fetish. The Protection of the Unprotected Alarming statistics warn of the damage smoking causes to embryos and young children as passive smokers. But can the state interfere into your private life too much? In some districts of California it is forbidden to smoke in front of your house, which in my opinion is absurd. So can prohibition really protect non-smokers? First of all, it is a question of culture. In my own experience some smokers are polite and blow their toxic fumes the other way, while some are not, claiming they have every right to be there and do whatever they want. Secondly, I don't believe that prohibition will have any real long-term effects unless people's attitudes change.** Although I do enjoy my meals in restaurants more now than I did few years ago.


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