Yes, it's another smoking rant. Antismokers might want to skip straight to the comments as usual and leave the standard responses.
Smokers are portrayed as the spawn of Satan these days. We are terrible people whose main aim in life is to seek out nonsmokers and infuse their hair and clothing with tobacco scent. One whiff of the deadly smoke will kill a nonsmoker instantly, but we smokers are a different species, born and bred in the sulphurous fumes of Hell, so we are immune. If we do get sick, we must not be treated by the NHS because we will only persuade the patients and staff to take up smoking too, with our silver tongues and yellow fingers. Children? We eat your children and our own too, roasted over a fire of tobacco leaves and phenol and flavoured with benzene and tar.
None of that is true. It is the description put out by the Book of Righteousness and the one favoured by those who take up the torch and pitchfork of the antismoker's league. Smokers are just ordinary people who happen to like a smoke. We are not all ravening addicts who want to stop but can't. If we were, there would have been many cases of violent nervous breakdowns on trains and especially in airport departure lounges when flights are delayed or cancelled. How many such cases have you heard about?
We are not heartless. We do not laugh at the deaths of others. We don't want to break into your house, decapitate your children and use their heads as ashtrays. We don't want to lay seige to any non-smoking venue and demand everyone start smoking in there. We don't care if you don't smoke, we are not going to force you to live like us and we are not interested in 'converting' your children to our 'cause'. We just want a quiet smoke now and then, and when it's -10 C outside, we'd quite like a place where we can do it inside. It doesn't have to be any place you antismokers visit.
Not good enough, though, is it? There must be no smoking in any indoor place at all, just in case you antismokers might one day travel hundreds of miles to a new town, bypass the fifteen non-smoking venues and insist on visiting the one smoking venue. Just in case that were to happen, no smoking can be allowed anywhere, ever.
Every time I put up one of these posts I can guarantee I'll get at least one comment along the lines of 'Smoking is filthy and vile and you must be prevented because I don't like it'. 'Smoking is dangerous to non-smokers so you have to be killed'. 'Smoking harms the cheeeldren.' Then there is always 'I watched a relative die of smoking and it was horrible and you are horrible because you are just a filthy addict who wants everyone to join you in hell'. No I don't. I am the very definition of a solitary individual. I don't see much of other people and I like it that way. I certainly have no wish to spend eternity in the company of the Righteous or their brainwashed pets because that would be Hell indeed.
Let's play smoker's advocate for a moment. Suppose I told you that pot-pourri was filthy and vile and I don't like the smell. Or perhaps certain brands of aftershave or perfume. Suppose I objected to leaving a cat-owner's house smelling of cat. Should all those things be banned just because I don't like them?
Answer: No, but not for the obvious and sensible reasons, but because smokers' opinions don't count. Only those who don't like the smell of smoke have a valid objection. Smokers who don't like other smells are only saying that out of spite. And then they wonder why smokers get angry.
I am, in fact, allergic to cat fur. So should cats be banned from everywhere because they make me ill? Not some imagined connection between meeting a cat today and a possible illness twenty years in the future, but actually and really ill, right now. Surely that is a stronger case than second-hand smoke?
Answer: No, because smoking is the only thing that causes harm. Besides, if you're a smoker, it doesn't matter what else affects you because the smoking will kill you anyway. So just put up with it. And then they wonder why smokers get angry.
Cars harm cheeeldren. Ban all forms of road transport. Trains, too. In fact, children harm each other so let's ban them all and that's that sorted out. Well, if smoking is banned because of the possibility of harm, involving a vague and unspecified form of harm at some unspecified future time, surely it is only common sense to ban all forms of immediate and definite harm?
Answer: No, because that's just silly. The risk to children from traffic is acceptable even though it causes hundreds of child deaths, while smoking has not been shown as a cause of even one, because we need to get around. We need cars and buses and trains. We don't need people smoking at all on any part of them because it's dangerous to children. That's Righteous logic. And then they wonder why smokers get angry.
Finally, the dead relative ploy. I smoke. I have never killed anyone. If someone you know is dying of a smoke-related illness, try to remember that the only reason it's a 'smoking related illness' is that it has been defined as such by people who start from the premise that smoking is bad. It might be caused by smoking or it might not be. Whether it is or is not caused by smoking, I didn't do that. I'm not the car driver who ran over your relative. I'm not the armed burglar they disturbed. I didn't even sell them the cigarettes and I certainly didn't encourage them to start smoking.
Lung cancer, in particular, is always billed as a smoking related illness. I recall a study which demonstrated a high risk of lung cancer from hot showers because the chemicals added to the water supply are vapourised and inhaled in the shower. That seems to have been sidelined. (I recall another that had strong evidence to show that smokers are at lower risk of diseases like Alzheimer's, but that one vanished under a ton of Righteous disapproval too.)
Cancer is not the sole preserve of smokers. Non-smokers get it too and not from associating with smokers. If you want to put cervical, rectal and prostate cancer down to smoking then you must have an unusual lifestyle indeed. Lung cancer is linked only because the lungs are where the smoke goes. They are also where the traffic fumes go, and where the air fresheners go, but these airborne chemicals are blameless for some reason. If a smoker gets lung cancer, no other possible cause is investigated. Smoking did it and that's that. If a non-smoker living in the same house or working in the same building gets lung cancer too, it was the smoker who did it. No other possible cause is investigated or considered. That's why cancer research is making little progress - it's all blamed on one cause these days, with no investigation and no consideration of the possibility of other causes. Even if every smoker stopped, there'd still be lung cancer. Who would you blame then?
I'm sure I sound like a heartless bastard who doesn't care that your relatives are dying of cancer. I am not heartless - but I don't care. If I were to take on the burden of worrying about the six billion people I've never met I'd be in a padded room within a month. It's not that I am unsympathetic, but I don't know you, I don't know your relative and we'll probably never meet. I have no idea whether your relative's illness is due to their smoking or not, and no way of finding out. I cannot feel guilty about it, nor can I make or suggest any form of restitution, because I played no part in it at all.
Likewise, antismokers, you don't know me. Yet you presume to tell me, with absolute conviction, that I am an addict in denial, that I am responsible for making your clothes smell and I am responsible for the second hand smoke you claim is killing you. Oh, and third hand smoke too, which apparently involves pathogens attached to clothing in some Mail reader's minds. If only the schools taught - well, anything.
I know a lot of people who stopped smoking. The ones who didn't go back were not the ones using patches and gum, nor the ones on the NHS programmes. The ones who stopped for good are the ones who stopped because they wanted to. Those who, one day, thought 'I'm not enjoying this any more' and just stopped. Addicts? Really? Can an addict just stop like that?
Many smokers believe they are addicted, not because they are, but because the antismokers tell them so. Many attempt to stop not because they want to but because they have been guilt-tripped and harassed into it. They are told they have an addiction and must be cured. So they react as if they were addicted. As one of those who stopped told me; 'It's easy to stop smoking. Just stop putting cigarettes in your mouth and lighting them'. He's right. It is easy to stop if you're not enjoying it. If you are, you don't want to stop. If you are harassed into stopping, the natural human reaction is to resist. If you are convinced it's an addiction, you will produce psychosomatic withdrawal symptoms which are not real, but feel real.
Why do you imagine it's billed as an addiction? To sell the cures. Nothing more. You can't sell cures to people who don't believe they are ill. Allan Carr had a stop-smoking method that worked well but involved nothing more than reading a book or attending a seminar. It worked so well because those who tried it were those who wanted to stop but believed the addiction hype. Patches and gum don't work because they are foisted onto those who don't want to stop but feel pressured to do so. The NHS programmes all start from the premise that we are filthy addicts who all want to stop but can't. That's why they don't work.
They aren't supposed to work, of course, because the government don't really want to lose all that revenue. So we have a situation where a non-illness is classed as an illness to sell a 'cure' that won't work. The revenue streams from both sources just keep coming. The antismokers are primed to spread the addiction meme and instil guilt in smokers so the smokers think they can't quit but should. It's all a scam, and a very profitable one. Allan Carr was prevented from advertising his stop-smoking method as 'doesn't require willpower' and Electrofag, the best alternative to tobacco so far, is banned all over the place, because they encroach upon the Righteous profit machine. If you want to stop smoking, those things are your best bet (speaking as a smoker, not a drone) but they are not feeding money into Righteous coffers so they must be silenced.
I smoke because I like it. I have Electrofag because I like that too, but I still like real smoking as well. If the day comes when I don't like it any more, I'll stop. Until then, just leave me the hell alone.
No matter what those 'experts' tell you, I am doing you no harm at all. I'm not even allowed near you any more. You have every public space to yourself. Soon the ban will extend into my own home, even though it's child-free and will remain that way. Isn't it enough? You have won.
Yet I know I will get at least one 'filthy smoker' comment. The same ones, over and over and over. Continuous nagging from the people who have banned me from every pub in the land and whose laws will not let me set up a club for smokers anywhere, ever, and who want to encroach upon my home with their ban in the future. No matter that they experience no inconvenience at all from my smoking, they will berate me for it anyway.
And they'll wonder why smokers are angry.