The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Why No Smoking in Public is Good.

No-one should be allowed to smoke in public, anywhere in the world. Smoking should be a private pursuit only allowed in places where no-one else but the smoker - or other smokers - can be affected.

Now, these might seem harsh statements. They might even seem like an interference in the basic rights of people to pursue the lives they choose. Yet, they are not. You see by smoking in public, smokers are deletriously affecting the lives of others and that should not and cannot be allowed.

Associated Press has recently carried a story about a city in Colorado, called Pueblo, which instituted a workplace smoking ban. Two neighbouring towns did not institute such a ban. Three years later, Pueblo's hospitals have noted a whopping 41% drop in heart attacks. Neither of the two neighbouring towns (in which workplace smoking is still permitted), noted such a change. It seems, from this evidence, that smoking is far more dangerous to bystanders than had previously been supposed. That secondhand smoke that you find so irritating, could, in fact, be killing you.

Far from newly healthy Pueblo, lies Singapore. Here, a new kind of smoking restriction is being brought to pass. Smoking will no longer be allowed within five metres of public buildings. This, in my view, is a welcome change. Too often have I had to endure the wafted noxious fumes from smokers clustered outside buildings. Now, that we know of the Pueblo study, this issue is about far more than the unpleasant smell - it is about life itself. It is a good step forward to reduce the health risks to Singaporeans of secondhand smoke. It is probable that the national rate of heart attacks will fall, as a consequence, as it has in Pueblo - and that can only be a good thing.

I realize that smokers will grumble. Smokers will feel that their "rights" are being eroded. However, no-one has the right to harm others - and that is what smoking does. If a smoker chooses to smoke, knowing that they are foreshortening their own life, that is fine. That smoker, though, does not have the right to inflict a shortened life on others. Thus, it is most reasonable that smoking should, step by step, become something only possible where there are no innocent bystanders.

This is one piece of legislation with which I agree. It is actually legislation that will save lives. Well done.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:17 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a STATEWIDE ban. Did they send all of the heart attack patients to hospitals outside of town????

3:17 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi. The AP article didn't say whether the "two towns nearby" were inside the state or outside it.

Then again, you need to look at the facts: when did the statewide ban come in? Did it begin with just a Pueblo ban? You see the articles seem to be talking JUST of a Pueblo ban. Check Associated Press.


8:54 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I have just checked. I was right. The Pueblo ban was in place for at least three years on its own WITHOUT a statewide ban. The statewide ban is a NEW step based on the results of the Pueblo experiment.

Thanks for your comment.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that smoking in public should be banned - I come from South Africa and we have had a ban on public smoking for years (since 1995) - I believe that South Africa was the first country to legislate Tobacco laws.

I believe that it has saved a lot of smokers too as with the rules in place it has been easier for many to give up smoking. The newer laws they have passed here have been harder to control than the original laws (rather than just not smoking inside a building you are now not allowed to smoke within 50m (I have not checked this figure so it may be inaccurate) of a public place which means in some public buildings you can no longer smoke in a quad outside. I am very grateful for this ban and having visited other countries before they adopted a smoking ban, but after South Africa had made me realise the difference it makes.

4:29 AM  
Anonymous ks said...

I wonder how easy it will be for non smokers (with a conscience) to ask smokers to stop smoking if they are transgressing near a public place. Many times people pretend that they don't understand and just turn their heads away.

With this law will I be able to go downstairs and ask my chain smoking neighbour to stop smoking on his balcony on occassional evenings? The smoke wafts into my house and continues for hours on end when he decides to smoke there. Do you know if condos fall into the law or are they not 'public' places since they are 'private'?

10:01 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I imagine, KS, that many smokers will continue to ignore the restrictions until they are actually fined/charged etc. Smoking tends to take a grip on its addicts.

As for asking them to stop: I imagine that could lead to conflict with some people, despite the law being in your favour. Perhaps you could get building security to intervene.

As for condos: I don't know if the legislation includes them. I see, however, in Singapore a progress towards a complete ban, step by step. It is becoming a much more restricted practice. This could lead to thousands fewer heart attacks per year.

Best wishes.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you for your example of a place (South Africa) where such a ban is working.

People do not know how much harm smoking does to the health (smokers are in denial): government intervention and restriction of the exposure of the public to secondhand smoke will impact many diseases, from heart attacks, to cancers, to pulmonary diseases. It is a public boon, to make smoking a private matter, exclusively.

Kind regards

6:48 PM  

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