The more I think about smoking bans and the War on Smokers, the more I think it’s got nothing to do with health. I’m very far from being the first person to say this. Quite a few people seem to have drawn the same conclusion.
In the first place, the effect of smoking bans is to drive smokers outside. And the antis knew that this was going to happen. Deborah Arnott predicted it would happen, saying that smokers would be “exiled to the outdoors”.
But if you exile people outdoors in cold, wet weather, you’re not improving their health prospects. In fact, you’re lowering their health prospects quite a lot. After all, it’s not for nothing that we live in warm, dry houses with roofs over our heads. It’s a primary survival requirement. Driving people outside pretty much amounts to condemning them to death. And I’m quite sure that smoking bans have cost quite a few lives this way. There are a number of cases of people in old folks’ homes going outside to smoke, and freezing to death. I would expect that in hospitals where smoking is banned, and patients trudge miles to have a smoke, the same thing happens. It can’t help your chances of recovery from heart surgery if you have to walk half a mile to have a smoke, can it? No.
But when the antis look at the health benefits of smoking bans, they only consider the supposed benefits for non-smokers. They don’t consider smokers at all. They don’t consider the health effects on smokers standing outside in all weathers. And they don’t consider the social divisions that smoking bans create – all of which follow on logically from standing outside. Smokers don’t count at all. They’re non-people. They’re sub-human addicts.
So, quite obviously, the antis aren’t really interested in health. Or at least, not the health of the entire community. Only the health of the non-smoking community.
And then yesterday I considered sport, and all the injuries associated with that. The injuries are real, not like the imaginary projected injuries from passive smoking. But there’s no call from senior doctors to ban sports. If they were really concerned about health, wouldn’t they ban activities that were manifestly dangerous?
And then of course there are now the calls to ban smoke outdoors, and in people’s own cars (whether there are children in them or not). And this quite clearly has nothing to do with health. They don’t even want to see anyone smoking.
And perhaps that’s the give-away. It wasn’t ever about health. Or rather, what they mean by “unhealthy” is really “unsightly”.
Smoking is unsightly. They don’t like the sight of people smoking.
And the same applies to obesity. Obesity is unsightly.
And so also drinking alcohol. Drunken people are unsightly, as they stagger around and fall over and throw up.
‘Health’ is just a smokescreen for a set of aesthetic preferences.
And it’s part of a package. These people are usually also fond of the colour Green. And they think that people should eat lots of green foods. They also like Brown. So they think people ought to eat brown bread, and brown rice, and stuff that’s brown. Or green. What people mustn’t eat is anything that’s Red or White or Black. Most meat is red, so that’s out. So is tomato ketchup. And white things include sugar and salt and white bread and milk and cream and cheese and fish (after it’s been cooked). And black things are overcooked, burned foods.
It’s colour-coded cookery.
And its colours are the colours of the natural world, which is mostly green and brown. You know something’s ‘natural’ if it’s green or brown.
And these are aesthetic preferences. The antis are aesthetes who would go into an art gallery and feel sick if they saw paintings with too much red or white or black in them. They like pictures of green woodlands and prairies, with brown or sandy earth or stone. Their ‘sickness’ is what they feel when they see something they don’t like.
And what they want is a world in which only things they like seeing appear. And that excludes smokers and drinkers and fat people, because they’re unsightly. And it also excludes a whole bunch of unsightly foods. And it excludes smoke of any sort, because this is usually black or white. If factories billowed dark olive green smoke, they’d probably love them.
These antis are sensitive artists. For them the world is a picture, a composition, and all they are trying to do is to get matching colours.
Well, that’s what I’m beginning to think. For I think that these people are more concerned about beauty than they are about any sort of physical health. They want a beautiful green-brown world. With nice matching colours. The last thing they want in their ideal world is for some fat, drunken smoker to stagger in from stage left. It would completely spoil everything.
I feel sure that I’m on the right track here. But I don’t think I’ve fully explored it all. I think I’ve barely scratched the surface.