Sunday, 12 July 2009

The Jihad Against the Smokers!

Some people have a perverse conviction that they know what is good for all the people. They try to convince everyone that by banning some activity we shall all live happily ever after.

Photo source: NHS campaign

What is wrong if some people are happy to use their penis for what they use it for?

Do all people want to live potent lives?

If some people live a healthy lifestyle in a manner prescribed by some experts, will this make everyone happy? Or shall we soon discover new ways of getting unhealthy and being unhappy?

Telling people to think with their penis is a tall order, even for people who think they have too short willies. 

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In the first place, many people do not like to be told how to think with their brains either.

Despots and divine rulers do not need to justify their actions. Decisionmakers in democracies don’t have that privilege. They need scapegoats just like dictators and despots, but they have to justify their actions by the findings of "science". Smoking, especially second-hand-smoking or passive smoking is on the firing line in many countries.

The Nazis blamed the communists and Jews for introducing smoking to the German Aryan master race and trying to corrupt them (Proctor, 1999:179). Hitler (a heavy smoker who gave up smoking as a waste of money), personally believed smoking as decadent and a revenge of the Red Man against White Man (Proctor, 1999:219).

Modern Mechanism of Smoking Bans

Nowadays scientific studies by “independent” committees give the arguments. Then politicians deny that any measure for banning a popular activity like smoking is ever going to see the daylight. “Suddenly” comes the ban. But behind the scenes, a vampire army of lawyers in search of someone to sue has already been active and won landmark cases before any politician in his/her sane mind even thinks of a ban.

Britain’s public health minister Caroline Flint (who admitted smoking cannabis as a student but not liking it) said in June 2005 that any suggestion of a smoking ban was “false speculation”. Then the British parliament voted for total ban just nine months later.

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Smoking (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc) is a universal habit nowadays. 

  • China is the king of the tobacco league – 30% of the planet’s 5,5 trillion cigarettes are produced and consumed in China. 
  • The USA comes second with 12% production, though tobacco is produced in about 100 countries globally. 
  • The largest tobacco company in the world, China National Tobacco Co. belongs to The State Tobacco Monopoly Administration or STMA, which is the organisation responsible for enforcing the tobacco monopoly in China. They don’t have even a website.

History of Smoking Bans

  • The first recorded ban on smoking is from 1575 in Mexico, when the Catholic Church bans tobacco usage in any form throughout the Spanish colonies.
  • The first country to ban smoking totally is Bhutan.
  • The first global ban is by Pope Urban VIII (1623-44). He threatened with excommunication anyone using tobacco (smoking or snuffing) in any holy place.
  • The first ban on using and cultivating tobacco is from China 1612.
  • The first death penalty for smoking is from 1617 in Mongolia. 
  • In Russia from 1634, for the first offence one got whipping, a slit nose and exile to Siberia and death sentence for the second offence.
  • The first use of the term “passive smoking” is by the Nazis.
  • The first building in the world to have a smoke-free policy was the wooden Old Government Building in Wellington, New Zealand in 1876 due to the threat of fire
  • The first country in the world to have a comprehensive nation-wide smoke-free workplace is Ireland with its law of 29th March 2004. 
Since the early 2000s most of the developed countries have some form of ban on smoking in public places.

Medieval Punishment Back in Anti Smoking

In some cultures like Finland, where they had the medieval punishment called pillory, anti-smoking has traces of the old punish-by-public-shaming element in it. Though these modern gas chambers are comfortable state-of-the-art in ventilation, the non-smokers can gaze publicly at the smokers practising their vice and feel holier for not being an addict of the vice.

Anyone really interested in the history of anti-smoking could read this excellent book Velvet Glove, Iron Fist by Christopher Snowdon. Little Dice; 415 pages.

I am not a smoker. I totally agree that passive smoking is a nuisance. Nowadays in countries with public smoking bans, your clothes don’t reek anymore if you go out and I appreciate that greatly.

But I am amused to see how smokers have suddenly become the underdogs and well, sinners have rights too. By the way, where is the government going to get revenues from if everyone stops smoking? Are they going to bring in taxes for breathing fresh air?

Which Countries Allow Public Smoking?

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Where in the world is smoking in public allowed? Hardly anywhere, legally that is. These countries officially allowing smoking in public places are becoming rare.

  • Madagascar - Except in taxis and Antananarivo International airport and Air Madagascar Flights
  • Malawi - no legislation
  • Namibia - smoke free law planned
  • Romania - Bars and restaurants have to carry signs if they are smoking or non-smoking
  • Russia - No country-wide smoke-free law

Famous Sayings about Smoking

  • I kissed my first girl and smoked my first cigarette on the same day. I haven't had time for tobacco since. Arturo Toscanini

  • To cease smoking is the easiest thing I ever did. I ought to know because I've done it a thousand times. Mark Twain, attributed
  • I thought I couldn't afford to take her out and smoke as well. So I gave up cigarettes. Then I took her out and one day I looked at her and thought: "Oh well," and I went back to smoking again, and that was better. Benny Hill


  • Proctor, Robert (1999), The War on Cancer, Princeton University Press.

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