Thursday, 16 December 2010

A Non-Smoker Writes...

A year to 18 months ago I was a non-smoker who was anti-smoking - not to the extent where I would challenge strangers who were smokers or seek to embarrass them, but certainly someone who supported the evermore restrictive practices placed upon those wishing to smoke.

So it was one of the most unexpected shift in my thinking over the past year to become pro-smoking - or rather pro the right to choose to smoke.

I don't like the smell of cigarette smoke; in fact I find it disgusting. Now, that might be a learnt response, it may be a natural response, whatever, it doesn't matter; I still find it disgusting. And I find the effects disgusting too such as working in clothes that stink of 'secondhand' smoke or (especially) having the aroma of good food masked by drifting smoke and the overall tasting experience ruined by the unwelcome assault on my senses whilst those smoking seek to enhance theirs.

There are also physical reasons. As a non-smoker, I will involuntarily cough/choke if caught directly in an immediate 'smoke stream' - not an over-reactive attempt to embarrass the smoker, but a genuine reaction. Certainly too, the morning after the night before at a smoke filled venue, I will be coughing my guts up until late afternoon as my lungs self-cleanse. This might be because I have mild asthma or might be a physical reaction that would've occurred anyway - who knows. Point is it is real.

Psychologically, there are aspects too. The deluge of one-sided information that has perpetuated throughout my lifetime must have had an effect too. I also recall my mother giving my father a ultimatum to give up smoking or get out of the house - his 40 a day a habit was making it hard for 5 year old me to breath (probably owing in some degree to my mild asthma). In the end, he compromised and never smoked in the house again and I found it easy to breathe again - and yes, these are directly linked, which I attribute to my lungs not having a sufficient respite to self-cleanse. So maybe from this experience, I automatically associate smoke with dirty / poisonous air and it produces a immediate negative reaction.

However, none of these, I repeat NONE of these are reasons for the state to get involved and infringe upon one's right to choose to smoke or not.

I am an adult. I am able to choose restaurants that give me a smoke free option over those that do not. I can even politely ask my fellow patrons if they wouldn't mind holding off lighting that cigarette until I'd finished the course I was on. Never had a problem doing this.

When I used to stand at football matches and was directly down wind of a smoker I moved. When we were then made to sit to watch football and I was directly down wind of a smoker, I would ask if they minded swapping seats while they enjoyed their tobacco of choice. Then when smokers were moved out of the seating arena in to dedicated back of house smoking areas, I avoided going through those areas. Never had a problem.

I stopped going to nightclubs regularly when the inconvenience of the next day's coughing and spluttering outweighed the value of the evening's entertainment. Of course there were other factors, such as everyone was looking much too young for me and I met my wife and soul mate (same lady for avoidance of doubt!) and we prefer to go to other places together. But the point is once the inconvenience / benefit value tips the wrong way, the choice to stop going will be exercised.

And I've no doubt, that most parents would do similar to mine if they saw one of their children being affected by a smoke filled atmosphere. You, as a parent, can see the direct effect it is having (if any) on your child.  Some children it doesn't affect all - I have plenty of friends who grew up fine and healthy in such environments - and some are affected like I was. I have faith that most parents seek to do their best by their children and would make the right decision accordingly. It certainly their right and responsibility to make that choice.

Yet we have dehumanised smokers to such an extent that we willing support and impose bans on smoking in public places and now the movement that I once supported is clearly seeking to ban smoking in one's home or ban smoking completely.

You may argue that the medical evidence provides an overwhelming case to introduce such bans but I don't accept this. Having had my eyes opened to all the pseudo-science that currently is awash throughout 'the case for banning / the case for introducing more powers' industry, I have revisited the purported science over the period and much to my surprise (as I thought the smoking science to be irrefutable) the damage to others by second-hand (and the dubious third-hand and extremely dubious fourth-hand) smoking is statistically insignificant. There might be the tiniest evidence that in certain extreme circumstances (i.e. lock someone in a room for a smoker for a number of years without a supply of 'fresh' air) that second hand smoke may have a very small effect - but would be less than exposure to harmful emissions than one would get through regularly using a car. So that only leaves the smokers themselves and whether or not smoking causes the smoker terrible harm or none at all is entirely the smoker's problem. Nothing to do with me or anyone else.

And the dehumanising has another effect: we are ostracising our fellow man. The fact that someone smokes is not an indicator of whether or not they are decent human. Yet many smokers are being talked to and treated like, well, shit, by anti-smokers (and increasingly non-smokers) and when they respond in kind, their attitude is taken by the anti-smokers as validation of the smoker's selfish attitude rather than a reflection of perhaps an understandable reaction to aggressively impolite approaches.

There is, of course, a bigger picture here. First it was the smokers, now the pseudo-science is ramping up the 'evils' of being overweight and of enjoying a tipple or two. Next (I suspect) it will be activities that regularly cause personal harm - so I hope you don't like cycling or playing rugby or football. And don't undertake any home improvements by yourself, as why should you expect the rest of us pay for you dropping that hammer on your foot - especially as you're unqualified. The point is obvious: once we start dehumanising those aspects that make us human we can find any excuse to make our fellow man sub-human and second-class; that's real discrimination.

So whilst, yes, whilst I admit I prefer smoke-free environments and would love it if we had such environments as a result of a genuine desire to have them, the fact is they are at the cost of liberty, and that harms us much more than any smoke could ever do...

To non-smokers I ask you to treat your fellow man with respect. He is not smoking to annoy or harm you, he is smoking to enjoy one of life's pleasures, just as you might when you have a cold beer on a hot day. You'll be surprised how human man is if you treat him as such. To smokers, I ask for your understanding and forgiveness that it has taken so long for me to realise the implications to your liberty and the further liberties of us all.

By way of comfort, I believe that (ahem) the smoke is clearing for more and more people on the pseudo-science and the wider implications for us all. So, by way of repentance - and I urge all who value their liberties to do the same - I've signed the Forest petition (which closes tomorrow).

FAV

With special thanks to Leg-Iron. Dick Puddlecote and the Velvet Glove for opening my eyes...

27 comments:

  1. Good job. Blessings to you for your honesty. You might look at the Godber Blueprint – a brief history of the current antismoking crusade ( www.rampant-antismoking.com )

    Nonsmokers are not the problem. Nonsmokers are simply those that do not smoke. The problem is antismokers. These hate smoke/smoking/smokers. Their only interest in nonsmokers is if they can psychologically poison nonsmokers into antismoking bigotry.

    One does not need to spend too much time with antismokers to understand that they are not really troubled by smoke. Their hyper-sensitivity/hyper-reactivity to smoke is so inordinate, so disproportionate, that smoke cannot be the source of their troubling. Antismokers are disturbed minds: It is a fanatical mentality. They harbor much fear and hatred which is projected onto smoke. The smoke then appears to be very fearful and is much hated. To date, secondhand smoke has been manufactured into a “danger” on a par with a bio-weapon.

    Antismoking is not new. It has a long, sordid history. There was a major crusade (together with Prohibition) in the USA that was eugenics-driven in the early-1900s.
    http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/1981/2/1981_2_94_print.shtml
    Dillow points out that the crusade was predicated on a plethora of inflammatory lies. This pathological lying creates outrage in nonsmokers who then do not question bans on smoking and the persecution of smokers. Unfortunately, Dillow fails to highlight that eugenics was mainstream in the USA at this time.

    The current antismoking crusade – also eugenics-driven – formally began in the mid-1970s under the auspices of the World Health Organization. The intent from the outset was to eradicate tobacco use. The idea of indoor/outdoor bans and the denormalization/”leperization” of those that smoke was planned well before even the first flawed study on secondhand smoke. It could well be argued that the “research” and conclusions over the last three decades have been manufactured to fit the agenda. (see the Godber Blueprint)

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  2. Anonymous

    Thanks for the info and the links - I will check them out. Very interesting.

    I also recently found an article regarding eugenics and the Fabians that I will write about at a later date.

    Cheers

    FAV

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  3. Just wanted to say thanks for helping to expose the lies and deceit.

    Tobacco, in and of itself, and this includes nicotine, is not dangerous. You might want to take a look at the tobaccoharmreduction.org website for some good information.

    Thanks again,
    Jac

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  4. Jac,

    I appreciate the sentiments, thanks - one never knows (despite site traffic stats) if one's posts are really reaching anyone.

    I'll check out the link...

    Cheers
    FAV

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  5. You've echoed many of my thoughts on the subject, though I did smoke for years before giving them up. Like taking up smoking in the first place it was my choice to stop, and in the time since I last had a ciggie I've also grown to dislike the smoke and the smell. But here's the thing: I'd often have to work hard to get enough smell or smoke to bother me, and of the small number of times it comes my way without be diving towards it there's nothing to stop me taking a couple of steps to get out of the way again.

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  6. Oh, and BTW, I admire the way you fronted up and admitted your change of mind over at Leg-iron's. Good for you for being honest enough not to stand by something you know is a lie.

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  7. Angry,

    You've hit the nail on the head. Instead of expecting the state to intervene, take respectful action yourself.

    BTW, Leg-Iron's deleted my commment - he must have thought I was whoring myself! Still, at least he has credit for my Damascus like conversion within this article...

    Cheers
    FAV

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  8. Dr. Brian Oblivion16 December 2010 at 23:16

    Using the process of denormalisation, anti-smokers poisoned the well with propaganda intended to turn enough non-smokers against smokers by converting smokers from a nuisance to an immediate toxic danger with no safe level of exposure. No longer was the second hand smoke a danger to non-smokers and their children, the smokers themselves were to be viewed as the walking dead, capable of bestowing death to all by mere proximity.

    This makes the smoker less than human, someone to be reviled, feared and hated. You may recognize the use of stigma. AIDS patients were viewed this way before how it was contracted was understood. Stigma was useful during World War II, turning the German people against a feared and hated scapegoat, simplifying the removal of the 'other' from society.

    I am not making any claims of equivalence, but the technique is similar in effect -- turning a larger group against a smaller one in a very poisonous way. Meanwhile the public is receptive to any number of steps used to further marginalize and punish those in the subgroup who fail to internalize the negative propaganda and become ready to accept new programming.

    Denormalisation is a psychological assault justified for questionable 'public health' gains. It's also a convenient method of increasing state control. It's amoral in my view.

    I welcome you, Found a Voice, back to sanity. Although smokers are the intended victim, the non-smokers are victimized as well. Recognizing the propaganda fed poisoning of civil society is an important step in regaining self autonomy.

    Elimination of smoking is not the endgame. So the sooner all of us become aware of the manipulation, the sooner we can take control of our own destinies and work out our own solutions.

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  9. "so I hope you don't like cycling or playing rugby or football"

    Already started. Stories have appeared in the press (supported by dubious evidence) that cycling will make men infertile if they do it for more than five years.

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  10. well donr , to stand up for the rights of others is the only way to ensure that we all retain all our rights!

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  11. In regard to the e-cig discussion and pious high drama;

    The safety of e-cigs is a straw man diversion, to undermine the fact that not one of the voices at the head table designing the autonomy of others, gives a hoot about the smokers or their risks.

    Their concerns are blatantly obvious and self serving. Robert Wood Johnson spends hundreds of millions annually, promoting the charities who sing along with their promotions of [approved] alternatives, to suit the millions of shares they hold in their benefactor; Johnson and Johnson. It is no state secret they promote what suits their very existence, as the medical institutions and body part charities have been doing for a century, in service to their well heeled investors. Keeping the dreams alive, while hoping that cures are never found.

    The "no such thing as a safer cigarette" was entitlement to open the regulatory floodgates to imports, grown with no regulation, to compete on even terms with the more expensive domestic products in North America.

    The demands for RIP cigarettes, which by physiological principles, have to increase toxic loads by the temperature adjustment, which will increase the volumes and number of toxins you will find, as a direct result of that adjustment.

    It is no small wonder "the magical smoke" is always calculated and referenced as state and stable product, when it is well known to be anything but. The 4000 - 100,000 "deadly toxins" are said to be a cause for alarm, yet no one anywhere is even monitoring what is in the many brand offerings and evaluating which could carry a greater or lesser risk and relaying that useful information to those actually at risk, in less than alarming tones depicting quit or die.There is no greater determinant of health risk than personal economy, so where is the caring or compassion attached to taxing an addiction?

    If we even take a moment to understand what extra risks someone will face, being designated as a lesser person or a less deserving soul [non-normal] and the level of increased risks millions of law abiding citizens will face, for being treated as something else, the damages should be obvious to anyone with a calculator and a humane bone in their body. Blaming the victim has become all the rage in the gotcha headlines business. Risk is always a useful tool of fear, or the stick to drive people where you want them to be, even if they never wanted to go. The groups at the head of the pack are there for reasons much less than a concern for the milk of human kindness. Who else could afford to buy that seat? Primarily they are speaking in support of increased profits and market-share, with a following attached to self sanctimony and moralist aversions.

    There is nothing noble, valuable to society or humane in what has become of tobacco control, its bullies or its social manipulations. All that is left to be decided is which of the cabal should be shamed to set an example and which of them should be convicted for leading others astray. Insanity has proven to be consistent in its result once again, no matter how many iterations are repeated.

    TC is an out of control social experiment, who's day has come and who's damages can no longer be tolerated, its time to find a cure and re-balance. Before the profiteers and power mad dictators residing at numerous "Health and Safety" UN appendages, take control of us all, by our own inaction in the face of unfettered madness. This was never science or scientific, it was just a major mistake, exaggerated by gossip and innuendo to suit political puppeteers and their profits.

    Can anyone still deny, it was always about the money?

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  12. I am a smoker, and to me the simplest answer to the entire issue would have been for local councils to award smoking licences in the same way that they currently award drinks licences.

    That way there would be both smoking and non-smoking premises available for everyone to choose what suited them best - and the councils could even have limits on the number or percentage of premises that could get a smoking licence to guarantee there would indeed be non-smoking places.

    If that is not to be an option I would rather see them banning the sale of cigarettes completely (and taking on the chin the inevitable loss of taxes that would bring). Seriously. I'd just move onto the black market and smoke, and save myself the expense of going out. Likely take Leg-Irons 'smoky-drinky' route.

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  13. SBML - doesn't surprise me. They're onto a winning formula to exert control and increase their client state base. I enjoyed your 'Disable the Tube' post, BTW( http://sbml.wordpress.com/2010/12/18/disable-the-tube/). I'm not sure if I'm going to do a regular links feature (a la Dale or Puddlecote), or individual links to others posts, but whilst I muse, hopefully others will use the above link.

    Nomine - it's such a basic principle, isn't it? Yet, it is forgotten (including me, obviously) so easily. You've found a good variety of videos on your blog recently. Interesting stuff.

    Hugh - I tried numerous times to answer your interesting proposition, but kept thinking that I wasn't going to do it justice in a comments section. In principle, that in non-residential places a council licence is needed sounds a reasonable solution. However, I hesitate as (1)it means that we concede that we are unable to resolve it without the need for the state's help; (2)it allows the state to decide the level of freedom you have to choose and; (3) I have no confidence whatsoever that in order to mitigate risk / H&S liability, the council politians wouldn't impose licence limits at inappropriate levels to satisfy their political agenda not what is right for Joe Public. What I would say, is that if you (as a smoker) has already conceded the above, then you've found the solution!

    I also would say that I very strongly agree with your final point - the state has to stop being so hypocritical when it comes to the availability of cigarettes (for tax streams) versus the portrayal of them as man's worst enemy (after climate change, of course). The irony is, you'd probably find me as one of the 'smoky-drinky' hosts!

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  14. Thank you.
    Seeing the truth is important, but seeing the other persons point of view is priceless, and you have done both.

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  15. Anonymous - thanks. 'Much appreciated.

    FAV

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  16. Other links to this article (in addition to the two in the links section below) are:

    http://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.com/2010/12/something-for-weekend.html

    and:

    http://theviewfromcullingworth.blogspot.com/2010/12/dehumanising-or-more-from-new-puritans.html

    (this is for my future reference but both are worth a visit)

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  17. Tried to leave a comment but Firefox messed it up. Trying again on IE.

    Basically, I didn't delete any comments. There's nothing in Blogger's random spambox either. If something didn't appear, it's some kind of glitch.

    Thanks for this post, FAV, it'll get full credit frome me.

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  18. Thank you for a very honest post.

    As a smoker I do feel villified at times, when I am abused by passers-by merely for smoking in the street (as this is now the only place I can smoke!)

    I have always considered the views of non-smokers and respect their right to be 'smoke free'.

    I am in complete agreement with Hugh - what could be more sensible and fair?

    I am so glad you found your voice!

    Anna :o]

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  19. Leg-Iron, (have posted similar on your site) I owe you an apology - I was looking at the wrong post! Sorry! :) I'm new to all this blogging lark...

    Anna - loved the website; when I was setting up last month, I was thinking of having an open forum too for posts, but decided (for now) to keep it as my own whilst I get started. As an aside, given your medical profession background, my wife works as neo-natal nurse and midwife, and given the frequent perceptive 'rants' at the way things are within the NHS, I have suggested that she start blogging as a release! I'll send her over to your place to give her some ideas (if she'll let me LOL!).

    Cheers
    FAV

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  20. Angry Exile, I couldn't have stated my sentiments any better. 43 year, 2-3 pack a day smoker until a little over 17 months ago. I spent 7 mos. with E-cigs smoking a handful of regular smokes and the last 10 on Swedish snus and occasionally a puff on my PV.

    I always thought I liked the smell of smoke until I quit. However, it's not that difficult to avoid if it starts to bother you and that case for SHS is so weak compared to other health risks.

    Very good blog which I was going to read and leave until FAV commented about feedback.

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  21. Rothenbj - thanks for kind comments and feedback. One of my closest friends was a 20 a day smoker and couldn't understand the objection to smell of smoke. He quit and now finds it even more objectionable than me! But I've noticed this, born again non-smokers are often akin to born again Christians in their newly found life...

    Cheers
    FAV

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  22. Dr. Brian Oblivion and FXR - apologies I have just found your posts in my spam file and have posted immediately.

    Dr. O - I couldn't disagree with what you have written. I believe that the step has been taken from denormalising behaviour to dehumanising smokers - both overlap, but the latter is much more dangerous (and can only exist with the former).

    FXR - an interesting argument and not one I'd considered before - I've certainly not looked at the e-cigs issues and will put that on the back burner for another day. What I would say, is that I don't think it is JUST about the money but more about the righteous exercising their beliefs over others; that some saw the opportunity to profit or encourage behaviour to further profit is inevitable but I believe the rigtheousness came before the profiteering activities (however close apart they may have been).

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  23. Found, I appreciate your acceptance of consideration for DO's and FXR's points but would add a bit. It's important to recognize that the denormalization almost inevitably leads to the dehumanization. The people who were behind the Denorm campaigns most assuredly knew this but just didn't care. Why? Because in their minds "The End Justifies The Means." As far as e-cigs... yep, certainly worth looking a bit deeper.

    You are certainly a phenomenon that the Antis were not expecting but which indeed has come to surface: someone who was simply normally a nonsmoker and someone who might have been supportive personally of individual establishments putting up "No Smoking" signs and such and of campaigns to discourage children from smoking; but who, because of the extremism evinced by antismoking campaigns, has actually been moved to being a supporter, in a sense, of smoking!

    I would like to recommend that you take a few minutes to take a look at a free booklet I have written and put online. I spent a lot of time and effort putting it into a format that would have maximum impact in printout form (It's meant to be a printout to be bound in student term paper type covers and left on bars for patrons to read in quiet periods.) so I'd ask you to try printing it out for reading. It's available at:

    http://kuneman.smokersclub.com/PASAN/StilettoGenv5h.pdf

    :)
    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

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  24. Michael, thanks for taking the time to post.

    Some piece of work that you have done there. I'm new to blogging and I think I'm going to try and create some pages a repository / reference on certain subjects - junk science (whether Climate Change, Smoking, etc...), lawful rebellion and Freeman of the Land. If you don't mind, I will host a link to it if and when the time comes. I don't know how you found this blog, but if it wasn't through Mssrs Puddlecote, Velvet Glove or Leg-Iron, then I would suggest visiting them as they have the same passion as you.

    On the denormalisation / dehumanisation argument, we are probably debating the same elephant. I have no doubt that there are a influencial number of people deliberately seeking to dehumanise smokers. However, I would say that most anti-smokers (or at least in my case and there were many that I knew that hold this view) do not think of the dehumanising effect on the actual soul in question, but rather think it is a harmless denormalising of a dangerous (to others) habit. One of the reasons that I changed my position was the sudden realisation that we were dehumanising our fellow man. The problem is, of course, that so many don't realise this and accept the evidence, which is coming from sources that they should usually and reasonably be able to trust. My scientific awakening in this regard started from the faux climate change science and I quickly looked at the next big 'sin' on the list and it was smoking.

    Cheers
    FAV

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  25. We're in complete agreement Found, and indeed I think it was either Dick's or Leg's blog, or one of their close brothers and sisters that led me here. :)

    Re climate change: you've probably already read it, but Crichton's State Of Fear is a classic. All the way through I kept thinking, "Damn! If only he'd done this on the Antismokers!" (Although there is an internet video of him someplace casting the same thoughts in their direction!)

    :)
    Michael

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  26. Michael - I'm glad to hear that you know Dick's and Leg's blogs - I'm sure you find plenty there to agree on!

    Crichton's a very under-rated social commentator as often his very pertinent message(s) is overlooked by the reader who is appreciating his ability to write a good story. I'm never disappointed when I read one of his books, so I'll put it on the reading list.

    Cheers
    FAV

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