I have just been skimming through the UK’s Tobacco Control Plan.
There isn’t that much to it really. It’s the same old same old. We know how you should live your lives and you had better conform.
One piece did give pause for thought though.
Smoking rates have remained stubbornly higher amongst those in our society who already suffer from poorer health and other disadvantages. Smoking rates are almost three times higher amongst the lowest earners, compared to the highest earners.
The Prime Minister has spoken about the burning injustice that sees some of the poorest in our society die on average nine years earlier than the richest. Smoking accounts for approximately half the difference in life expectancy between the richest and poorest in society. This injustice in the variation in smoking prevalence can be seen across England; from places where adult smoking is as low as 5% to others where smoking remains above 25%. The prevalence remains even higher in people with mental health conditions, where more than of adults with a serious mental illness smoke.
“Smoking accounts for approximately half the difference in life expectancy between the richest and poorest in society“? So it’s the smoking that does it and not the fact that they are poor? They seem to think that there is a clear case of causation here. There is the implication that people are poorer because they smoke, which in a sense is true thanks to the punitive taxation levied by the very people who wrote the report. A nice touch of hypocrisy?
The poorest live a considerably different life from the wealthiest. Generally they live in poor housing in the inner cities, surrounded by noise, crime and stress, and breathing nicely polluted city air. On the other hand the wealthiest tend to live in the place of their choice surrounded by leafy suburbs in a more spacious home where the only noise is young Samantha playing games on her iPad. [If the report writers can make sweeping generalisations, then so can I.]
Stress is known to be one of the biggest factors affecting health and longevity. It affects people both mentally and physically. And one bit of relief can be found in a cigarette. Poorer people tend to smoke more, simply because it eases the stress.
Equally people with mental health problems find relief in a cigarette. It calms them. It gives them a moment of relief from mental anguish.
But the Bully State doesn’t give a damn about the poor or the mentally ill. It has its agenda and the individual can suffer as a result. Force people off cigarettes and if the suicide rate goes up, well, it wasn’t the tobacco that killed them so that’s all right.
So prisoners can riot, the poor can be denied one of their little pleasures and the mentally ill can go hang themselves.
But at least it’s a “smoke free” society.
And it’s also a nasty sadistic society.