A few times recently I have seen mention of Human Rights.
ASH in America seem to be campaigning hard to "link tobacco and human rights" and keep dancing about it as if it was the ultimate sanction against smokers.
Personally I think the two should be linked, but maybe not quite the way they mean.
Their view is that tobacco is a threat to fundamental human rights, especially health and life. A threat to fundamental human rights? What are fundamental human rights? The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Seeing as the Puritans don't believe in liberty or the pursuit of happiness, I find this a little contradictory?
And their argument that tobacco is a threat to health and life is just a wee smidgen over the top? A threat to life? What about all those other things that are a threat to health and life such as the internal combustion engine, pesticides and even electricity? Why aren't they included in ASH's little submission?
I would see things a little differently.
I think tobacco should be linked with human rights, and in particular the area of discrimination.
I use tobacco. It is a perfectly legal product and the tax man does very well out of it, yet I am being treated like a leper by that very same ASH crowd. They encourage ostracisation, discrimination, abuse, intolerance and even violence against me. Where are my rights there? And if I own a business I am forced to not only to apply their laws within my business but am actually forced to police those laws myself. I would consider that a considerable breach of my rights as a business owner.
My religion, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation are all protected by law, yet I am heavily and openly discriminated against purely on account of my choice of a legal pastime. I would see that as a fundamental breach of my human rights?
So which is the greater abuser of human rights?
Or a leaf off a plant?