The frontier for antismoking nannyism is the attempt to make all outdoor smoking impossible. One activist has suggested that Manhattan's Central Park be marked as a no-smoking zone, presumably because a gust of deadly secondhand smoke might waft from the park's 840 acres into the window of a distant apartment and kill somebody. And New York City's health department has just issued a severe nanny warning: It announced that doctors could face malpractice suits if they don't push patients hard to stop smoking.
Maybe doctors will also be sued if patients don't lose weight. In Britain, a feminist author is planning to sue Weight Watchers on grounds that many women and men in the program failed to slim down. Public-health officials in England want the government to control the size of chocolate bars, making large ones illegal. Some American schools have removed soda machines, and California restricts soda sales in some schools and is due to consider a bill to ban them in all schools. No Cokes. The nannies disapprove.
One of the great triumphs of nannyism has been programs around the country that conscript hairdressers to become domestic violence inspectors. The city of San Francisco and the state of Nevada have them. The hairdressers surreptitiously check scalps for bumps and faces for scratches. The hairdresser-surveiller is supposed to study what a customer says and how she says it. Then the hairdresser may glide into counseling, though one Nevada salon owner "wonders whether 20-year-old hairdressers are qualified to counsel their clients," according to a news report. Not to worry. Of course they are qualified. They're nannies.