The Self-Righteousness of the Anti-Smoker

At the time of writing (Tuesday) it is World No Tobacco Day –  whatever that is supposed to mean. Does this mean that as a non-smoker, I can indulge in a  nice fat Cuban cigar?

I’ve written a few times over at mine about the anti-smoking brigade. I’ve reminded readers that ASH is a fake charity and nothing more than a campaign group set up to lobby government to do what it was planning to do all along, meanwhile taking our money at gunpoint to fund its activities.

Elsewhere, Dick Puddlecote has a collection of anti-smoking psychoses that makes for some enlightening reading –  if reading the inner turmoil of those who can hate irrationally is your cup of tea. Today however, I want to revisit this phenomenon.

Unlike Tanya Gold, I am not a smoker. I have never smoked. Never wanted to and never tried –  no, not even a sly drag behind the bike sheds. Anyway, weren’t bike sheds for more entertaining recreation?

Tanya writes today in the Groan about her addiction and appears to be wanting to give up. My advice, for what it is worth, is just do it, if that is really what you want. Go cold turkey. On the other hand, if you don’t want to give up, if you enjoy the hit it provides, well, carry on. It’s your body, you decide what you imbibe –  well, as things stand, that is. How much longer that will be the case remains to be seen.

Tanya bemoans Big Tobacco. I am aware that they have been in the news lately because they have been campaigning against the removal of identifying packaging. Well, damn me, ain’t that a shokka! Who’dathunkit, turkeys don’t actually want to celebrate Christmas after all. Bugger me sideways with a broomstick, ain’t that a surprise. Tanya Gold seems to think that plain packaging will cause people to either quit or not take it up in the first place based upon this evidence of Big Tobacco’s resistance to the idea. Either way, there is this deluded belief that it will somehow make a difference to tobacco consumption. The reality is that it will be much simpler for the counterfeiters to do their dirty deeds –  one less thing to have to fake, so an increased profit margin. I would suggest that this is an unexpected consequence, but, frankly, it is entirely foreseeable, so hardly unexpected, unless you are some sort of rabid anti-smoker who is blinded to both common sense and reality.

What is interesting with these discussions is not so much the article itself, which is somewhat confused –  does she want to give up or doesn’t she? Is she opposed to smoking or not? Does she like it or is she addicted? No, it’s the predictable stuff that comes up below the line. The nonsense that is oft repeated despite it being abject nonsense every time the subject is raised; the twaddle that says that smokers are a burden on the NHS –  like this one, for example:

No, we also have to breathe in your smoke and get cancer ourselves. You are murdering me with you habit. Many studies have shown that large numbers of non-smokers have harmful levels of nicotine in their blood. I am sorry, but it is not acceptable. If my hobby was walking around London spraying the yellow gas Sulphur-dioxide into the street from a canister, I would likely be arrested for terrorism. This is despite the fact that it is a far less harmless than smoking. Yet you can go around with your chemical-weapon cancer sticks and expect to be treated with respect for it? Sorry, it isn’t going to happen. Your choice to smoke became a problem when it affected my health too.

A subsequent commenter merely responded with the pithy “bullshit”, which is probably all that this nonsense deserves. The use of the word “murder” is fairly typical of the hysterical hyperbole observers of the anti-smoking psychosis have come to expect. And of course, if smokers are murderers, any action taken against them becomes justified for the greater good. It makes the irrational hate that little bit easier to justify.

Another little delight comes later in the thread:

In an ideal world, people killing themselves with cigarettes wouldn’t affect us non-smokers and we could just let them get on with it, but, contrary to what many smokers would say, this is simply not the case.

The real victims of the tobacco industry are those non-smokers whose health is affected by passive smoking, who are burdened by higher taxes to pay for smokers’ healthcare.

Smoking is the single most anti-social activity since it negatively affects the health of those around you, not just your own.

Again, the lies trotted out with apparent gravitas. There is no evidence that passive smoking is killing those of us who abstain. I live with a smoker and have done so for twenty-five years. My health is fine and I breathe easy –  well, apart from a few weeks in early spring when the pollen’s about. Indeed, I am barely aware when Mrs L smokes as roll-ups seem to spend more time out and being re-lit than actually producing smoke anyway. I sometimes wonder why she bothers. I swear she gets through more lighter fuel than tobacco.

But, yet again, the egregious lie is repeated that smokers are a burden on the rest of us. What part of the heavy taxation on tobacco products do these people not understand? The reality is that smokers do not affect the rest of us and more than pay for any health consequences caused by their habit. Occasionally we might get a whiff of tobacco smoke and the anti-smoker will scream blue murder about the “stink” (not the great stink –  then they would have something to complain about). Okay, so when I was a student working though college in a busy city pub, my clothes would smell of stale smoke the following day. But, then, I could  smell beer on them as well. As they were going into the wash, I didn’t care overmuch anyways. My reaction is and has always been; so what? It does me no harm –  yes, really, it does no harm despite the hysterical fact-free propaganda trotted out by the anti-smokers. And when I am around people who I know smoke, I cannot tell from any olfactory corroboration.

For those who may wonder why I observe this example of human behaviour, I would remind them that this is the misanthropic monster that lurks beneath the apparently still surface of humanity waiting for a suitable outlet whenever there is an “other” to target. Without wishing to invoke Godwin, in the early days of the Nazi regime, the Gestapo was short handed. They relied very much on the population reporting their neighbours for being the “other” and it wasn’t just Jews, gypsies or homosexuals who were the targets. After the war, the Stasi took up the baton and didn’t they play a blinder? People will readily engage in such behaviour given the opportunity. Look at the bile, the hate, the sheer misanthropy on display and you see how the likes of the NKVD, Stasi and Gestapo were so successful. There will always be those willing to turn on others because they are different for whatever reason. It is easy to be complacent –  well, I don’t smoke”. And as I said earlier, I don’t, but I stand alongside the smoker when faced with the anti-smoking zealots every time, as one day I might need them to stand alongside me when I am the target.

Today it is the smoker and the drinker. Those who enjoy a nice juicy hamburger are also in the firing line and the same propaganda and denormalising techniques are in use and the rabid antis learn nothing from history. They are on the side of might –  at the moment, little realising that all too easily they could one day be on the receiving end of what they so willingly dish out today.

If people can be actively encouraged to a point where they snarl with smug, self-righteous superiority at their fellow citizens in the street for doing something that is perfectly legal, if they feel empowered to bully and harangue others for nothing more than smoking a cigarette today, what will they feel empowered to do tomorrow? A brief retrospective of Twentieth Century European history answers that question and we forget it at our peril.

34 comments for “The Self-Righteousness of the Anti-Smoker

  1. john in cheshire
    June 3, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Longrider, I don’t smoke but like you I am totally opposed to the attitudes of the smoker-hating cult that has been allowed to gain so much influence over our recreational activities. The ban on smoking in pubs, particularly, annoys me intensely. If pubs had the option to be smoking or non-smoking establishments, then I would see that as a civilised compromise. But socialists never want compromise, it’s all or nothing for them; and usually these days, they get all.

    • June 3, 2011 at 12:41 pm

      Indeed so – if a publican wanted to have a smoke-free environment, then his gaff, his rules. Equally, if he wanted to have one bar available for smoking, then that would be a reasonable compromise.

      • June 5, 2011 at 6:33 am

        As John points out, they don’t DO ‘compromise’…

  2. June 3, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Very well put post and you haven’t left me anything to add, so I’ll just go with this:

    “Anyway, weren’t bike sheds for more entertaining recreation?”

    You were supposed to have a smoke after that..

  3. June 3, 2011 at 11:19 am

    On holiday down here in Cornwall I have heard radio adverts telling people that if they smoke in their own homes then all sorts of nasties, including arsenic and cyanide, will be deposited on the walls, the furniture and, of course, EVEN TOYS. So they should smoke in their gardens only. I too am a non smoker but I stand with you on this.

    • Maaarrghk!
      June 3, 2011 at 11:56 am

      Wot? Do they send someone round with boxes of arsenic and cyanide if you are spied smoking at home?

      Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

      • June 3, 2011 at 12:43 pm

        I’m not sure I approve of giving them ideas…

    • June 3, 2011 at 12:42 pm

      It’s amazing the cack they will come out with. But people fall for it.

      • Xopher
        June 4, 2011 at 12:42 am

        I see these ads each day on the telly – people are so gullible and fail to realize this isn’t agent orange or nuclear fallout.
        Ask them about that scary level of formaldehyde, a chemical used to preserve bodies, and ask why they buy pharma products and rub the same scary stuff on their babies!
        The levels are so minuscule but the scare tactics are huge.

        • June 5, 2011 at 6:34 am

          The same people who run in terror over a little bit of cigarette smoke seem blithely unconcerned about diesel fumes from public transport. What’s more dangerous?

  4. June 3, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    I wonder what percentage of the anti-ban lobby [us] are non-smokers? I also don’t.

    • June 3, 2011 at 2:13 pm

      That’s an interesting question. Despite being an abstainer, I am frequently incensed when I come across the anti-smoking propaganda. It would be interesting to know just how many others who feel this way are also abstainers.

      A straw poll, perhaps?

      • Paul
        June 3, 2011 at 6:37 pm

        I’ve never smoked and I feel much the same way.

      • Ivan D
        June 3, 2011 at 7:54 pm

        Count me in. We are not dealing with sane or rational beings here; we are facing zealots who don’t understand why the Newspeak word smokefree is so offensive to those of us who love freedom, diversit and non-conformity. I find the insistence of ASH and their followers that all those who oppose their brand of authoritarianism are in the pay of “big tobacco” especially offensive. They are simply lying, but that is what they do so well.

        • June 5, 2011 at 6:34 am

          Count me in too.

  5. June 3, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    There is probably some survival value in harming other people even if they don’t actually threaten us. I think this primitive urge lies behind much anti-smoking propaganda. It isn’t the propagandist’s desire for a healthy society, but more to do with attacking a group of people without incurring a risk to themselves. We used to call it spite.

    I’m a lifelong non-smoker btw.

    • Monty
      June 3, 2011 at 5:07 pm

      I agree with your theory that there is some sort of basic drive in human nature, to stigmatise some group and attack them. Children do this quite a lot, and they do it openly. When adults do it, they seek some kind of cloak of respectability, and that usually requires some pretext, however fatuous, that their targetted victim is harming them.

      I’m a smoker by the way. But I’m also alarmed and disgusted by those who campaign against people who happen to be overweight. In this case, the pretext is “they are costing me money”. I suspect this is just another fabrication, because I reckon the most expensive folk are the ones who live well into their late eighties and nineties, all the while drawing their pensions, and still require expensive medical interventions for the illnesses of old age.
      And I’m skinny. But I won’t back down on defending the big folk.

  6. June 3, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    In the United States, tobacco kills 435,000 people every year. If people want to die, use tobacco. What I object to is the enormous costs to every citizen.

    Healthcare related cost are greater than $150 billion annually in America.
    Lost productivity costs exceed $167 billion per year in the United States.
    Each American household spends $630 a year in federal and state taxes due to smoking.

    I once smoked more than two packs per day. It took years to break this addiction.

    • June 3, 2011 at 3:39 pm

      I can’t comment on the situation in the States, but the tobacco tax in the UK more than compensates for the “drain on the NHS”.

    • Geo
      June 3, 2011 at 4:34 pm


      Didn’t take long to find a troll or are you just brainwashed?

      Well done Longrider you caught one first cast.

      On the off chance Rick, would you care to detail your claims? The cost to society caused by smokers have been debunked thousands of times.

      If you really want to reduce medical costs in the USA cut out medical fraud and medical errors. Check out medical errors, more real people die every year in the USA from Doctor mistakes and prescription drugs than the computer generated 435,000 fictional deaths.

  7. Sackerson
    June 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Geez, the communazis are taking over in every way and we’re still whimpering about fags.

    • June 3, 2011 at 3:39 pm

      The two are related.

      • June 3, 2011 at 4:57 pm

        Hand in hand

        • June 3, 2011 at 6:33 pm

          I am certain that the purpose of the “denormalising” of alcohol, tobacco, red meat, all meat, heterosexuals, etc, etc is to deliver the “sheeple” necessary for our would-be rulers.

          The politicians who would rule over us know nothing about right and wrong, moral integrity, leadership or any other qualities that were obvious in the great leaders of old. Instead they know about databases, datamining, control, and ensuring that they are obeyed.

          Just like the followers of a certain religion, our politicians take any concession, grudging consent, or turning the other cheek as a sign of our weakness that they are then duty bound to fully exploit to their own advantage. As the Yanks found out in 1776, oppression will continue until we the people turn round and INSIST that our “No” becomes the word that counts.

      • June 3, 2011 at 7:38 pm

        More than that, the methods employed are being replicated in every sphere of human existence. Anyone who hasn’t spotted that yet is rather blind to current affairs. Perhaps willingly.

  8. June 3, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    I love reading the (r)anti commenters. All pumped up with self-aggrandisement as they arrogantly pronounce how very knowledgeable they are on the matter … when all they’ve done is read a few cleverly-drafted articles pushing dodgy science. Ironically, they don’t realise how loudly they are broadcasting their ignorance and gullibility. 🙂

  9. Stephen
    June 5, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Get this. I don’t give a shit whether you smoke or not. I do care when you smoke where I can breath it. Fortunately the law now prevents you from smoking where it might most affect me, in enclosed public spaces where I wish to eat my expensively procured restaurant meal. Hell I’d actually give you money to buy more cigarettes if that would hasten your death and lessen the incessant whining.

    • June 5, 2011 at 10:04 pm

      You’d be wasting your money – I don’t smoke. Unlike the “incessant whiners” who are the ones spouting the hate filled anti-smoking propaganda and approve of illiberal legislations so long as it affects the other, I am aware that other people smoking does me no harm.

      The owners of restaurants should have the freedom to choose whether to allow smoking or not and you would have the choice whether to patronise them or not. In a liberal society, that is the only ethical approach.

      Interestingly, at least seven of the people who have commented here are also non-smokers.

      • June 6, 2011 at 10:33 pm

        Ever noticed how rancid, mentally-unbalanced, borderline psychopathic anti-smokers always turn up a couple of days after the debate has moved on?

        Never thought I’d find a selfish, ranty, violence-encrusted example of smoker hatred for my catalogue here, but in it most definitely goes.

      • David A. Evans
        June 6, 2011 at 11:40 pm

        You’re wasting your time even talking to anti-smokers.
        I’ll admit, I’m a smoker but I’ve worked in clean room environments. Extraction works, differential room pressures works. It’s all down to do as I say.
        Their time will come when it’s something they want that’s targeted.

  10. Humph
    June 13, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Though a committed smoker and libertarian for as long as I can now remember, I have somewhat ambivalent feelings on this whole debate. Sure, I hate the fact that the ability for me to smoke where and when I want has been withdrawn from me overnight, but on the other hand, on my flight to Dubai last week it was actually quite nice not to be sitting in the flying cylinder for six and a half hours surrounded by cigarette smoke.

    The same goes for my 40 minute train commute home each night.

    The same goes for my house – my wife, who has never smoked, ‘encouraged’ me to start smoking outside about 20 years ago and frankly I’m glad she did. Stale smoke in the house starts to smell really shit pretty quickly.

    Restaurants the same. Yeah the first thing I want to do after finishing my starter, main or dessert is to light up, but I’m happy enough to just remove myself outside for 5 minutes.

    The one place I really do miss it is in pubs – beer without fags doesn’t really work for me, so I just don’t go to pubs anymore. That the prevalence of this attitude has led directly to vast numbers of pubs closing all over the country is inescapably the truth, this is not really part of this discussion.

    Now when we start getting all Californian and ban smoking in parks and any other public open air spaces, that’s when I just think I’ll chuck a spaz. Harm from second hand smoking is, I guess, in theory, possible. But not fucking outside. If I haven’t suffered from anything worse than a mildy irritating smoker’s cough after 30 years of proper smoking, I hardly think someone catching the odd whiff of smoke in the open air every now and then is going to do a lot of damage.

    One last thing. Any bansturbating anti-smoker who gives me grief is told that they are causing me brain cancer from second-hand mobile phone radiation. The likelihood is about the same as second-hand smoking n’est-ce pas?

    • June 13, 2011 at 5:43 pm

      All of these examples can be managed without a ban though. Airlines and train operators, property managers and owners can all provide a smoke-free service should they so wish and the majority of their clientèle prefer it. Prior to the smoke free trains, smoking was restricted to one carriage. The same could apply elsewhere with smoking and non smoking accommodation.

      • Humph
        June 22, 2011 at 11:33 pm

        The sheer weight of opprobrium directed towards smokers now makes acquiescence a natural course of action. I loathe this new natural order, but struggle to see how it will ever be reversed now.

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