Thursday, June 01, 2006

Where there's smoke there's ire

New Zealand news reports a politician's move to ban tobacco in the country. This takes the anti-smoking movement to new heights, or should I say lows. Here were are with the new cigarette packets bearing approved graffiti - graphic images of blocked arteries and gangrenous toes. It does not stop smokers from smoking. Smoking is an addicition, not an indulgence. It simply puts an edge on the smokers' hostility towards the hypocrisy of the anti-smoking lobby. Smokers know that smoking is bad. They wish it was not. They wish the tobacco companies did not put so much crap in the cigarettes, too. But, once hooked, smoking is harder to quit than heroin. Few smokers have not tried - many times, most of them.

Now, with few places to smoke, exiled to streets, they have the added pious insult of defaced cigarette packs.
It is an odd thing that the anti-smoking campaign can only see smoking as the societal ill. Yet one never hears of a man beating up his wife because he had one cigarette too many. Or maiming and killing complete strangers because he had too many cigarettes before driving a car.

Why don't they put images of battered wives, diseased livers and crumpled cars on booze bottles? Is booze not also a dangerous drug which costs society a lot? I suspect alcohol costs society a great deal more than tobacco in terms of the consequences of its consumption. And yet it is advertised and encouraged.

Meanwhile, the smokers have philosophically adapted to the grotesqueries inflicted on their cigarette packets by discarding them. They have simply turned back the clock and purchased old-fashioned cigarette tins. And the anti-smoking lobby has just made smoking more fashionable.

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