Look, I’m not going to take a high and moral position here. I smoke. This kind of agressive anti-smoker campaign targets me. I know that in the eyes of any non-smoker, I immediately lose credibility to my argument. However, this is actually ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.
Smoking is a personal choice. Regardless of your stance upon it - that you hate it, that you don’t care, that you smoke - I don’t believe that anyone, anywhere, has any authority to tell us what we do with our own bodies. To remove the choice is absolutely an infringement, a denial of free-will. Yes, I am aware that their are health risks involved in smoking: everybody on the fucking planet knows that. It’s still my choice and, frankly, I don’t care what anyone thinks of that.
The obvious argument against this is - that bugbear to all smokers - passive smoking. Right, fine. I agree. Just because I smoke it doesn’t mean that you should get cancer too. However, let’s look at this objectively: passive smoking is not really as terrible as you think. Unless you actively inhale cigarette smoke, then it will not have any effect on you. At the very most, it will have a minute effect. The only reason that you could, possibly, suffer from long-term health effects from passive smoking would be if you were in a situation with a smoker for a long time, if you had to breathe in the smoke. The only situation that this is, really, possible is indoors. As we have laws against smoking indoors in Britain, the only place that this is really possible is in a house, if you live with a smoker.
Furthermore, it’s rather ironic for anyone to take an anti-smoking campaign up whilst simultaneously promoting everything else under the sun that could kill us, ever. Our government is doing that. Seriously, look at their policies: cutting benefits to the most vulnerable people in our society; cutting the budget for and privatising our health care (so, yeah, if you do get cancer - you’re fucked - not because of smokers, but because no-one will look after you anymore); promoting war and Imperialism. Fuck it, even the basics of what this campaign is focused on is hypocritical: packaging. Let’s look at a small range of products that are absolutely fine with the Conservatives quickly.
- Cars/Planes: Okay, so this is pretty obvious. Cars/Planes release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is causing Global Warming. Global Warming will, eventually, kill each and every human being on the fucking planet, bar none. Already, this is causing droughts (in England! possibly the most watery place on the planet besides the fucking sea). So, instead of banning cars/planes, we ban hosepipes. Does the current government even once think to put a limit on how much people can advertise holidays or new XW23-whatever-brand cars? Of course it fucking doesn’t. Why? We’ll get onto that soon. Just as a quick aside, back to that whole cancer thing, I’m pretty sure that sucking in car-fumes all day, wherever you go, is more likely to kill you than maybe sniffing one drag of a cigarette after it’s already been inhaled.
- The Army: Okay, so you know those adverts that make the army look like a big-ol’-laugh? Yeah, I’m pretty sure that they’re much more lethal than a cigarette pack. I mean, I know it’s difficult to believe and all, but a bullet or a bomb is far, far more likely to end your life than a cigarette. But, of course, in the mindless patriotism of an Imperialist nation, advertising certain death is fine as long as it serves your country. Or, rather, as long as it secures your country more fuel to put into cars and slowly suffocate you death with.
- Fast Food: The health dangers of fast-food are ridiculous. Watch Morgan Spurlock’s Supersize Me and you’ll get a pretty good grasp on exactly how bad for your body McDonald’s can be. I know the film is pushing the concept of fast food to it’s limit and, really, people don’t actually eat that much shit all that often, but the effect isn’t going to go away over-night. Bear in mind that the latest McDonald’s advert shows us that a “Big-Mac” (sic.) is actually the perfect break from work, even more desirable than the office girl you really, really fancy (sex is excercise: McDonald’s are anti-excercise). Furthermore, McDonald’s is actually one of the worst companies in the world. Honestly, look it up. They kill indiscriminatly. (Oh, and as a side-note: THEY PUT SUGAR IN THEIR FUCKING SALADS).
I think three products is enough to show you what I’m talking about: there is a lot more out there, waiting to kill you, than a fucking cigarette. Yet, our government is fine with letting them advertise constantly, every day, invading every inch of our brains. Why is this? I’ll get onto that in a minute. First, I just want to quickly get a couple of quotes from the article cited analysed. Just to show how much smokers apparently need to be hated.
"We don’t want to work in partnership with the tobacco companies because we are trying to arrive at a point where they have no business in this country." -Andrew Lansley.
How on earth does this work, at all? I’m sorry to break it to you Andy, but your government supports one of two things: free-market Capitalism or Fascism (I’d obviously be more inclined to say that the Conservatives actually represent the later; Cameron looks a little like Hitler if he were hit on the head repeatedly for his entire childhood and neutered so he couldn’t grow facial hair). If you want to pretend that you represent the former then, honestly, you have to let the tobacco companies do what the fuck they want. I hate Capitalism only a little bit less than I hate Fascism but I do understand it. You can’t select which industries you do and don’t want in a free-market society. That’s akin to walking around Germany and killing everyone who doesn’t look exactly like you.
Mr Lansley told the Times he was open-minded, but that he believed attractive packaging helped recruit smokers from a young age.
Really? Shit man, I thought it was hanging out with your friends, wanting something to do or just plain liking a smoke every now and then. Honestly, this is just bullshit. I came late to the smoking game: my first cigarette was when I was eighteen. I bought a pack of Windsor Blue because they were the cheapest things I could afford. In case you don’t know, Windsor Blue cigarette packets are the ugliest things on the planet. They’re made out of cheap cardboard which, invariabley, has failed to print properly. Ideally they’re meant to look a little like a shit blue car from the eighties, but they don’t. They look like a child’s attempt to construct a box. This is the design:
And you see that sexy ‘Smoking seriously harms you and others around you label’. Man that made me want to smoke when I was younger. So. Fucking. Much.
Still, I’m sure the back can’t be as ugly.
Right, that’s enough dicking on the quotes. I’ll get to my point now: why are smokers being targetted? Well, this is a two-fold issue. The first reason is simple: it’s a PR campaign that, if it succeeds, won’t really damage any profits to our country. The article itself admits that only a little over 21% of adults are smokers. The profits don’t matter. The people employed in making cigarettes don’t matter. What matters is getting re-elected, stopping protestors wanting to kick Dave’s head-in and just generally calming everyone down. Smokers are an easy target because, well, we’re “giving you cancer”, stunting your children’s growth and we smell funny. It’s easy to hate us in principle, so demonising us might work in winning over a few well-mannered suburbanites.
The second reason? This is a broad definition but, generally, it’s the working-classes that smoke. I know that seems contradictory, given that we have less money and all, but it’s true. Why? Because working-class life is shit, stressful and tiring - cigarettes go a long way in relieving the stress. So, ultimately, this is another way of controlling the working-class in Britain, limiting what they can and can’t do and putting the power back, with the money.
But what do I know? I smoke. I’m clearly an agent of Satan.