7th September 00:35
Anti-Smokers WAR on PLEASURE (tobacco)
Stuffed face - One Man's War on Pleasure - activist John Banzhaf
Reason, Dec, 2002 by Charles Paul Freund
SAMUEL HIRSCH ISN'T taking on McDonald's alone [see story above]. Law
professor John Banzhaf, best-known as an antismoker obsessive, is serving as
an adviser and researcher on his case. This summer he turned up on one of
Charles Osgood's folksy Gas Radio reports, telling listeners that the
various claims made by the fast food industry in its defense were no
different from those offered by tobacco companies, "and we beat them."
But Prof. Banzhaf, his vainglory notwithstanding, didn't "beat" any tobacco
companies. Big Tobacco remains hugely profitable and is even benefiting from
the investment of state "tobacco windfall" funds. What Banzhaf and his
smoker-hating allies did was to use Big Tobacco and state power to beat up
on smokers, taking money from mostly low-income people while marginalizing
them socially. That's one of Banzhaf's specialties: using the courts to hurt
relatively powerless people, then claiming a mantle of courage for it.
The key to Banzhaf's repellent career is his effort in the mid-1990s to
stamp out "Ladies' Night" promotions in Washington, D.C., bars. On Ladies'
Night, women get a price break on drinks. That means more female customers,
and thus more male customers anxious to meet them. The long-established
practice satisfies everybody involved.