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:
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.