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Has Big Brother Gone Too Far? US Wants Cell Phones & Soda

Has Big Brother Gone Too Far? US Wants Cell Phones & Soda

When it comes to letting the government watch out for public safety, some things are off-limits for Americans. A new survey shows that while 62 percent of US adults think there should be a national ban on smoking in public locations, only 38 percent support a ban on cell-phone use while driving, and 70 percent oppose a tax on nondiet soda.

Despite the fact that smoking, driving distractions, and soda all pose health risks, Americans seem to single out smoking as a vice not protected from government control. And while drinking soda has a personal impact, driving on a cell phone and smoking both pose risks to innocent neighbors. Perhaps the distinction has something to do with the fact that the majority of Americans do not smoke, while many people do drive and drink soda.

Many things could be (and are) regulated in the name of public and personal safety. So what do you think makes Americans all right with banning smoking in public, but not other dangerous activities?


Join The Conversation
jessr1214 jessr1214 8 years
i actually think a soda tax is a great idea. with childhood obesity such a huge problem, and soda companies putting vending machines in schools, if the tax wasn't prohibitive like someone else said and the money was used for obesity prevention programs i think it could do a lot of good. arkansas has (had? cant find any current info on it) a 1 cent tax on soda...most people arent even going to notice that but it raised a LOT of money that was used for childhood obesity prevention programs. sorry i dont have more specific info on it right now but i cant find any good articles...i'll keep digging.
geebers geebers 8 years
Jude- YES And I actually don't understand the seatbelt law either- except for children because they are being affected by an adult's behavior. I would never sit with someone who did not wear their seat belt in the driver and passenger seat - I am a little less stringent about the back seats because sometimes I can't find the belt.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Incidentally, has anyone but me noticed that it's always the people who insist that they don't have a problem with talking and driving, and insist they drive just as safely as if they weren't talking on the phone, who are the worst drivers while talking on the phone?
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
* sorry I meant can't
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
Everyone wants a ban on something that doesn't apply to them. Cell phones can cause accidents while driving because you're not paying attention but everyone talks while they drive so we can ban that
Leene Leene 8 years
Jude C - I refuse to drive with people who aren't wearing seat belts too. I would not want my friend, who is 150 pounds, slamming to back of my head should I have to slam the brakes.
PinkNC PinkNC 8 years
I agree with banning smoking in some public places, but smokers should not be forgotten even though most of us hate their dirty habit. And I completely support a ban on cell phone use while driving. Some people cannot do two simple things at one time.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Yep yep.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Jude, I agree. I also don't have a problem with children being required to wear helmets.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I actually refuse to drive with people who aren't wearing seat belts.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Well, I think it should be a law that children are buckled up--child endangerment is illegal for a reason--but I do agree that adults should have the choice to wear seatbelts or not.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Hain, I completely agree with you about seat belt laws. It's my mother's job to make sure I wear my seat belt (and she did her job well because I always do), not the government's job.
kasey009 kasey009 8 years
Tax on Non-Diet Soda?!!? That is insane, and I while not a soda drinker myself, if I was I would want the real stuff and that is my right!!!! No one should be singled out for drinking non-diet over diet!!!!! Everyones bodies are diffferent, and not everyone is going to get obese from drinking soda. But even if they did, it's their right to get fat!! When are people going to take responsibility for themselves?
StolzeMama StolzeMama 8 years
Jude... aww you agree with me . lol I wonder what everyone thinks about seatbelt and motorcycle helmet laws? They only affect that 1 person and don't protect others from being harmed. Why are they law? Just wondering. I am personally against requiring those. Although I wear my belt 24/7. I just think if a person wants to die, that is their personal right.
geebers geebers 8 years
I actually support banning texting and using a cell phone while driving. People are reckless drivers with it- and I have seen accidents nearly happen several times where the driver was on the cell phone. They are banned in NYC and NJ - you can use a hands-free though. I think a hands-free should be allowed. I did read studies that show that driving with a hands-free is still dangerous but I would question that. If driving with a radio and fiddling with that is safe than I think a hands-free depends on the driver and how responsible s/he is to begin with. I am against banning anything that is a personal right however smoking affects those around you so I do support banning it in public places. People mentioned that it seems smoking is being banned left and right and still legal. It is legal because the tobacco industry is extremely wealthy and lobby hard. Tobacco is also an American product so that is why it is legal and probably will remain that way. The ban on smoking is a work-around. Finally, I drink non-diet. I drink it rarely but that is what I drink when I want soda. I cannot stand diet sodas. So I think this tax does not really address the issue of obesity and health.
lildorothyparker lildorothyparker 8 years
Agreed with karlotta. In my province, smoking is banned in all enclosed public places and in enclosed workplaces - for which I am entirely grateful. As a non-smoker, I believe that I have a right to be out in public without having my air contaminated. I'm sure bars would greatly appreciate the loss of business associated with non-smokers not showing up because they don't want to risk being around second-hand smoke. When the ban was implemented here, bar owners gripped about experiencing a loss of business from smokers. It didn't happen. I don't have an issue with banning cell phone use while driving. Let the call go to voicemail.
karlotta karlotta 8 years
They should legally prevent you from harming others (i.e. smoking and driving while on the phone), but as far as sodas go, you're the only one ingesting diabetes-inducing, fattening, carcinogenic substances, so go right ahead and have fun ruining your health on your own - as long as you don't make me share your 30-oz cup!
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
"I think that if a bar wants to be smoking, they should have that right. You have the choice on whether or not to go into that place." Agreed, Hain, and also with Mich's opinion on the same subject. As for cell phones and driving, as others have already pointed out, that's a lot different from making oneself fat with too much soda. Driving while talking or texting can kill others as well as oneself, just like driving and drinking, therefore it should be banned. The bans don't seem to be working in my part of Cali so far, though. I still see damn fools every day weaving in and out of lanes without any idea where they're going because they're talking on their damn phones.
Meike Meike 8 years
I absolutely hate it when people talk while holding their cellphones up to their ear. Get a bluetooth ear piece or cell headphones. Sorry, but the potential accident a distracted person might cause is not worth it and there are lot of accidents here in Las Vegas due to a combination of distracted, aggressive, and DUI drivers. They all contribute to the driving death toll here. In fact, today a man was not paying attention to who had the right of way. I had it but he didn't notice the yield sign while he was on his cellphone and nearly hit me. As for the smoking ban, I think it's wonderful although there are still people who don't follow the regulation. Occasionally, I'll meet the thoughtless person who lights up near me outside and I'll start tearing up or gagging depending on the amount of I accidentally breathe in. Taxed soda? I realize people here can't get their act together when it comes to dieting but ultimately it's a person's own responsibility to do what is right for them.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
I think it's only a matter of time on the cell phone ban. It's just like to put up a signal light or not to at a cross walk. Once enough people get hit by a car at an intersection, there's a new signal light.
margokhal margokhal 8 years
I was involved with a few research studies on cellphones and driving, and every bit of evidence we found pointed to the conclusion that it is a terrible idea to use a phone (even if you have handsfree!) while driving. I would go into detail, but basically the cognitive task of conversation interferes with the primary task of driving [each task needs to use the same parts of the brain for them to be executed] - and when you're not focused on driving, you tend to miss things (like road signs), causing all kinds of accidents and general unawareness. [Yes, there are people who can drive and talk at the same time without losing cognitive abilities in either task, but they are few and far between - most people can't!] So, while I would actually oppose a ban on cell phones while driving [I mean, it's terribly inconvenient to have to stop on the side of the road all the time to find out where people/businesses are...not all of us have iPhones or TomToms!], I know why one should be in place, and I could accept that. It's for the safety of everyone else, not just yourself. That's the same premise used with the smoking ban [which I wholeheartedly agree with] - even secondhand smoke harms others. We're all in danger when people release carcinogens in public places. I shouldn't have to be exposed to that if I want to walk around outside. The others AREN'T like that. Soda and junk food are still personal choices that only affect the people that choose to consume them.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
I agree that smoking should be banned in (public owned) spaces. As for banning cell phone use while operating a vehicle I don't understand the strong resistance. There are plenty of hands free alternatives to meet the demand. I say ban hand held devices. Now as for taxing poor dietary habits that is a slippery slope. IMO it would be more worth our time and effort to promote a healthy way of life from the get go (K-12). Parents most of all need to get on board with that one. I absolutely cringe when I see toddlers in strollers with bags of chips, candy bars etc. It litterally stops me dead in my tracks and I think to myself that poor child, lol, I really do.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
Did I mention the smell of diesel exhaust? That can't be good for you either.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
I don't like the smell of tar, and it's carcinogenic. I think we should outlaw its use on roadways and roofs.
Katie-Kat398180 Katie-Kat398180 8 years
I think these are just steps toward the government controlling every part of our lives. It's really none of their business if I happen to enjoy non-diet soda. What's next? Weight limit for dining out? As for cell phone usage while driving, there are all sorts of distractions when people drive. We have the radio, people eat and drink (non alcoholic beverages), we have conversations with people in the car, along with a myriad of other possible distractions. Now, texting is right up there with reading a book or watching television while driving. Probably not the safest thing to do. And while I don't particularly appreciate the smell of cigarettes and I think it's rude to smoke out in public, it's not the government's business to tell people they can't smoke in public. If they're not going to outlaw the practice of smoking, they shouldn't outlaw the practice of smoking in public. It's not like alcohol where it affects your judgement and behavior. /rant
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