I read an article in the paper yesterday.
It's an excellent article, written I might point out by a non-smoker, and well worth a read.
What amused and saddened me though were some of the comments that came after.
I have been berated before for using the term "sheeple". Well, I make no apologies for using the term, representing as it does the mindless herd instinct of those who will read some sensationalist headline and will then take that as fact to be repeated ad nauseam at every available opportunity. The Urban Dictionary sums the word up fairly well – "People unable to think for themselves. Followers. Lemmings. Those with no cognitive abilities of their own."
Smoking killed a relative
Take for example the oft cried "I know smoking kills because my mother/father/brother/sister died from smoking". Even our ex-minister for health Fatso Reilly quotes that one, and gives it as his reason for being such an Anti. My question to them is how do they know that smoking caused the death? Whatever they died from is not unique to smokers so is there a chance they would have died anyway? I would also ask them what kind of death they would have preferred for their relative. And even in the event that smoking did contribute to the death, what right does that give them to interfere in others lives?
Another "argument" that is possibly topping the bill for feeble excuses is the smell factor. One of the best I have yet come across –
"I'm just glad I can now walk into a pub and still be able to see and breathe. They banned smoking indoors when I was a kid so I don't remember it too well until I go abroad and I'm stuck in a room full of smoke, which happened in Amsterdam. It left my clothes smelling so bad I had to wash my entire suitcase, even the clothes I hadn't worn."
Cold we have a new phenomenon here? The ability of cigarette smoke to leave a pub, travel a fair distance [presumably] and then seek out and "infect" clothing hanging in a wardrobe? Wow!
There are three points I would like to make here.
The first is that I have an allergic reaction to artificial scents. Most perfumes and after shaves cause a reaction that can leave my eyes streaming and my sinuses blocked. I particularly abhor those so called "air fresheners" that come in sprays, plug in yokes and even dangle from car mirrors. Do I complain? No. I just avoid them. Do I demand laws to protect me? No. That would be beyond foolish and incredibly selfish. I just tolerate them because I can practice tolerance – an art form nicely killed off by the Puritans.
The second point is that back in the days before the Puritans took over, I cannot remember any outcry about the smell of pubs or offices? Very few complained because it wouldn't have occurred to them. Now of course the Puritans have given free licence for everyone to complain about anything that annoys or irritates them.
The third point is a question I would like to ask these people. Do they think that the thousands of publicans [and their staff] who lost their livelihoods over the ban are worth the cost of not having to wash hair or clothes [that presumably are going to be washed anyway]?
Toxic fumes and carcinogens
A frequently used ploy is to refer to smoke as "toxic fumes", "toxic carcinogens" and the like.
I would ask these people their opinion on scented candles, barbeques and open fires. All these [and thousands more] produce "toxic fumes", some at much greater levels than a puff of cigarette smoke. Traffic fumes pump out carcinogens by the liter and are thousands of times more toxic than a smouldering bit of leaf. The levels of carcinogens found in cigarette smoke are at the microscopic level, where one would require sophisticated laboratory equipment to detect them.
And of course there is the simple argument – if secondary smoke is so "toxic" how come heavy smokers last so long?
Smoking costs the state….
The article above, and the comments under adequately answer that. I would add that if every smoker quit suddenly, the overall tax rate would have to rise considerably for everyone, to make up the massive shortfall.
In the pay of Big Tobacco
In the article I started off with, the author stated quite clearly that he has no vested interest in writing his piece, yet there are still accusations of being "an apologist for Big Tobacco". If he is not anti-smoking he is de facto in the pay of Big Tobacco?
This is one of the last lines of defense for the Puritans. If you disagree with them then you must be in the pay of someone. It is the equivalent of giving the reason "just because…".
I drive a car. Does that make me an apologist for Big Auto?
I eat food. Am I in the pay of Big Supermarket for saying that?
It is however known that the Tobacco Control Industry receives a lot of funding from the Pharmaceutical Industry so they need to be careful. People and glasshouses and all that?
Sadly the two things that the Puritans have killed off are truth and tolerance.
Do you believe in truth and tolerance?
Or are you one of the flock?