It’s Not About Health

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.

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24 Responses to It’s Not About Health

  1. Reinhold says:

    I feel sure that I’m on the right track here

    I think so, too.

  2. Tom says:

    In olden days, if a politician applauded apple pie and kissed babies, that was all “good” in the public eye and nobody could dare say anything wrong against him for that, so he got the votes, and won the elections.

    In modern days, if a politician calls for more bans and says it’s for “health and safety”, that is unquestionably supported by the media and indoctrinated into everyones’ minds as “good”, thus nobody could dare say anything wrong against him, so he gets the votes, so he wins the elections, as does his party and there’s no resistance en masse against his power and thus he wins control.

    Smoking bans are really nothing about “health” – but they are everything about disguising evil as “goodness” and then evil, manipulative, greedy, selfish, controlling, meglomaniacal upper class people taking full power and control with an indoctrinated public unable to come together and ever defeat the dictatorship. And if it comes in the guise of “liberalism”, then that means even the evil rulers themselves are convinced they are “goodness wrapped in glory” as did the kings of olden days feel they were appointed by God.

  3. harleyrider1978 says:

    Only the health of the non-smoking community

    Thats always been their trumped up angle,their excuse for the bans,create a fear!

    Its been our chosen jobs to destroy that myhtological fear and put truth back in the mainstream.
    We are doing a fantastic job of it. Antis wont even bother to debate it any more it leaves them looking like fools when we arrive if they dare! We are soldiers,we fight for our own survival and in a way we are fighting to prevent deaths,real deaths of those smokers forced into the weather to freeze or to contract pnuemonia from the elements…. We truly are the working in the public best interests,saving life,destroying fear tactics and preserving freedom for OUR kids.

  4. Walt says:

    I’d commend to you the book “Silent Travelers,” by historian Alan Kraut (Johns Hopkins Univ Press, 1995) whose thesis is that the prejudice comes first and the health risks to others are trumped up later to justify the prejudice. He illustrates this with examples from American (or mostly American) history showing how groups (racial, ethnic) that are already prejudiced against in a particular time and place (Chinese, Jews, Italians, blacks, etc) are subsequently said to be vectors of disease as a way to rationalize their ejection from society. Obviously, this was most notably true of the Jews in Nazi Germany, around whom a whole “scientific consensus” about their innate disease-causing nature led to laws like the ones them banned them from sitting on public benches , walking on public sidewalks and ultimately led them on a walk to the showers.

    Quote, Kraut: ““The medicalization of pre-existing prejudices occurs when the justification for excluding members of a particular group includes
    charges that they constitute a public health menace.”

    Somewhere, this is at the heart of the matter, though in our case it’s more like a vicious and ever more turbulent circle, since the prejudice against smokers didn’t pre-exist (or not since the days of Lucy Page Gaston) and had to be manufactured anew with a few vague threats about secondhand smoke. But once they were seeded and abloom in the public mind, there was simply no “menace” too improbable to pitch. And so we get the menaces of “30 minute heart attacks,” contaminated sofas and overcoats and hair, and the need to have smoking bans in meadows and fields.

  5. manwiddicombe says:

    People have frequently complained a lot to me that companies are increasingly being run by accountants who make decisions based purely on figures. These companies aren’t interested in customer experience or service, just the perceived benefit to the numbers they’ve got in front of them. There is a definite parallel between ‘accountants’ and ‘health campaigners’.

    There seems to be this idea that living longer is the only goal. I’d rather live better, with more enjoyment and fun, than live a long, dull, life.

  6. Geo says:

    Spot on Walt, it has nothing to do with non-smokers health either. They are being used to justify the anti-smokers pathological hatred (prejudice) of smoking and smokers by extension. We are indeed beneath consideration, in fact, have to be, to allow the fanatics to utterly disregard the real consequences of their actions. I have been asking Siegel for years to publish his cost / benefit analysis in an attempt to generate the debate in public. As you know he has steadfastly ignored me.

  7. Woodsy42 says:

    “In olden days, if a politician applauded apple pie and kissed babies, that was all “good” in the public eye a.”

    Ha! Nowadays Tom he would be considered as a sugar and fat craving paedophile.

  8. Belinda says:

    The banning smoking in all cars is to do with easing enforcement of banning smoking in working vehicles because it removes the loophole: no one can get off with it by saying that it’s private and so legal.

    Ease of enforcement: as you say, nothing to do with health.

  9. Radical Rodent says:

    Yes, manwiddicombe, that has long been my belief, too. It all began in the 1980s, and now leads to the most bizarre logic: “80% of accidents are caused by human error…” Solution: reduce the number of the humans – but now the accidents are caused by fatigue. My question: “What causes the other 20%?” Answer: “Design fault.” “So,” I ask, “you are telling me that no humans are involved in the design?” (Actually, in my industry, that is believable – some of the design is more what a monkey would think up!)


  10. Lou says:

    And they’re the last people to frequent a club or bar or bingo hall. People smell as well and they don’t wash their hands properly and that’s why we have to hang around at check outs so they can use one of their cards rather than carry dirty, smelly cash.

    That’s terribly frustrating and wasteful for those of us who know there is no absolute black or white, just various shades of grey.

  11. harleyrider1978 says:

    Ahh shades of grey,like the rebel forces uniforms of the confederacy……..Rebellion from the hands of big governments control! For the ” cause” fight on!

    The CAUSE, was a one word discription during the war between the states to fight against an ever expanding and controlling federal government,not neccisarily over slavery,slavery was but one reason for the war. To this day,we still fight that civilwar over nannys ever growing arms!

  12. harleyrider1978 says:

    Frank youve got to watch this out of belgium

    : Smoking Kids Photography by Frieke Janssens

    When I was a little kid, both my parents smoked. Movies made smoking aspirational. And it wasn’t unusual to go into public spaces and come out smelling like a dirty ashtray.
    Now, utilizing the glamour, lighting and drama of a 1940s Hollywood portrait shooter, Brussels-based photographer Frieke Janssens confronts us with the unexpected shock of seeing children smoke, posing in very adult vignettes (with, uh, cheese substituted for cigs). After getting over the initial jolt and settling on the images themselves – part of a series called “The beauty of an ugly addiction” – the shots beg a few questions.

    Its loaded with pics! Talk about in the NAZIS FACE! I wonder what ARNOT will have to say.

  13. harleyrider1978 says:

    freedom has no regulations except in the mind,nanny cant win without owning our minds thru moral dilema that ties to emotional outrage. Safety is up to the individual not the government by mandate nor thru propaganda. Nancy reagan started just say no, I said mind her own damn business and I was right. See what its grown into!

  14. Jay says:

    on the right track ;)

    “Eating by colour literally means that an individual will only eat foods of a certain colour, or will reject foods based solely on their colour. For example, a disordered eater may decide that (s)he will eat yellow foods, so yellow peppers are acceptable, but that (s)he may not eat orange foods, orange peppers are not. Similarly, a disordered eater may eat green foods, so broccoli and peas are acceptable, but not red foods, so red peppers and strawberries are not. Some disordered eaters may even eat all foods except for one colour. The defining characteristic of this eating habit, however, is to accept or reject foods based on colour rather than taste, texture, nutrition or any other variable.”



  15. GDF says:

    Last year I accompanied someone close to me for her cancer surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. (She is, btw, a non-smoker, actually, she smoked for a short time and quit over 30 years ago and then became an anti-smoker). Anyway, while I waited, I went out to the streets of Baltimore for a smoke (Hopkins is completely non-smoking, including the grounds). . I was astonished to see patients in hospital gowns, folks with lines attached to IV poles, patients in wheelchairs — you can imagine the scene on the Baltimore street corner. — A security guard even insisted that one wheelchair bound patient roll all the way out to the street rather than staying in the shade of a building overhang,

    It was a hot July day — a bit muggy… But nonetheless – the atmosphere on the corner was so uplifting. Patients actually spoke with each other — folks complained to each other about the heat, people talked of their illnesses, other shared their sympathy (as well as their matches. lighters and smokes). People were laughing and joking… Even the nurses who were there suddenly became human. In addition, (and I think this often in the summer) I figured these folks were probably getting the best medicine (in addition to human contact and laughter), as they were refueling their vitamin D supplies. In the time I spent at that hospital (including later taking my friend for chemo) — I had to conclude that that street corner was the healthiest and most humane place there.

    There is no question that the intent of kicking folks to the curb is evil. But I’d just like to suggest that it’s an evil that can (sometimes and in some ways) backfire.

    • db says:

      I think that, on average, smokers are more sociable animals. Perhaps only slightly, but enough to explain why pubs/bars have become somewhat lacklustre. The extra conviviality was the catalyst that made pubs function in the way they had for 100s of years. It may well be that taking up smoking enhances sociability. Makes it particularly hard when the very places where people have traditionally interacted are no longer fit for purpose. A smoke free world would be ‘colder’. Unless the puritans are reined in the future looks pretty bleak….

  16. harleyrider1978 says:

    Like an Irate son or father kicking a security guards ass! Theres been 3 fights I know of at vanderbilt hospital university over the smoking ban out on the sidewalk involving security guards in the last year.

  17. Jax says:

    Totally OT, here Frank, but did you happen to hear on the news today about the new EU proposals to hand all fiscal control of all EU states (including the non-Euro ones) to Germany?? Seems like the “rumour” which you highlighted here a few days ago is turning out to be horribly likely to be true. Needless to say, the part of the plan which involves taxing all citizens of the EU into extinction in order to prop up the Euro, to make up for current creditors’ backpedalling hastily away from it, has been conspicuous by its absence in any of the reports. Even Nigel Farage, when interviewed on LBC about it today, didn’t mention it.

    Apparently Cameron’s over in Paris discussing the whole thing at the moment, but given the fact that he so unashamedly showed his Euro-phile credentials over the whole issue of a referendum, I don’t hold out much hope that he’ll be fighting our corner with much determination.

    This is truly scary stuff.

  18. Pingback: Real Worlds | Frank Davis

  19. Jason Thirus says:

    Yup, antis don’t care about my safety when it comes to me smoking outside. I heard of smokers getting murdered, raped, and robbed over the years while simply smoking outside. Ot’s a lot more safer for smokers to enjoy a cig inside than outside for reasons that deal with more than just their health. I aint risking my life to just smoke outside late at night.

    Antis got their smoking bans wish. What they need to do is patronize these smoke-free places to make up for the huge loss of smoking patrons. Smoking bans in general is more about greed from antis. Health is more of an excuse to me.

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