I’ve been thinking a lot over the past few weeks how to connect up all the disconnected smokers scattered all over the world. It’s something I’ve always wanted to see happening, and it’s something I’m sure will happen: smokers will start to swarm like angry wasps. In fact, they already are.
In a small way, the ISIS International Social Impact Study will help to hook people together. We’ll be interviewing smokers, and handing out website addresses. I’m sure some of them will be interested, and follow up. We’ll also be collecting email addresses. And it’s a survey which is being organised by a tiny little bunch of people from all over the world. People in Britain and America and Germany and Holland and Spain and Greece, who have never actually met each other, or know what each other look like. This study group is a little bit of international connecting-up-togetherness in itself.
But the principal purpose of the study is to find out how smokers are getting along with (or not getting along with) the tidal wave of smoking bans they’ve been hit with over the past 10 years or so. And so, quite separately, I’ve been wondering how to hook smokers up together, and build them into the political entity they’ve never been before, but which they must now become if they are to defeat the antismoking juggernaut that so grievously persecutes them.
My first idea was the Smokernet, which would be a mobile phone app that would store email addresses and phone numbers of identified smokers, creating a network through which messages could propagate, just like the internet. It’s attracted a great deal of interest from one person, who’s been actively working to set up something along these lines on an ipad or iphone. The interesting thing about him is that he’s a lifelong non-smoker. It’s something I tend to forget: most non-smokers don’t mind smoking at all. They’re not antismokers. And many of them can see what’s being done to smokers, and are as appalled as anyone. We smokers have many friends.
Anyway, him and me (and rather more him than me at the moment) have been investigating peer-to-peer network systems of the sort that are needed. If we can get something going, it has the potential to grow very rapidly. It’s the sort of thing that could go viral.
But I had another idea today. I noticed that two New Zealanders had encountered each other in the comments of my blog, and I asked if they’d like each other’s email addresses. After all, New Zealand isn’t a very big country, and they might live a couple of blocks from each other in Christchurch or someplace. It’s something I’ve done before. I had a small hand in hooking up some of the members of Junican’s Bolton Smokers’ Club. I’ve got the email addresses of quite a few smokers all around the world, and I can (and do) act as a hub.
So today’s idea was for a hub website (which would get advertised on my blog, and maybe on quite a few others) where smokers could leave their email addresses or phone numbers, just like they do with me. The smokers would arrive at the site and be presented with a world map, and be taken to their country or state’s section, where, once they’d registered, they’d be given the names or avatars of other registered smokers in their country/state, and asked if they’d like to meet them online or in person. If two people wanted to meet up, the hub would issue invitations, and help organise times and places.
It would be a sort of smokers’ dating agency. And in fact, male smokers would probably use it to find female smokers, and vice versa. The hub would essentially do what I occasionally do, but would do it all day every day for a growing number of smokers. And it would be totally automated. The hub would spend all day comparing the records of its registered smokers, and then suggesting that A meet up with E, because they both like Duane Eddy and cheeseburgers and Hunter S Thompson.
And here’s where it would be a bit like Smokernet. If smokers met up with other smokers, they’d be able to confirm to the website that the people they’d met actually were smokers. Smokers would accrue points in this manner. Any antismoker who got into the system, and pretended to be a smoker would lose votes, and eventually get thrown out of the system.
Unlike the Smokernet, this central hub system would grow pretty slowly, because it would probably only be advertised on the internet, and only on smokers’ blogs and maybe places like Forces and F2C. And it would actually complement the Smokernet, and outfits like Forces and F2C, and bloggers like me.
I haven’t managed to think of a name for this new idea. Smokerhub?
And together they’d all serve to gradually bring scattered smokers together. Into a swarm.
For I’ve come to believe more and more that smokers must come together, all over the world, male and female, black and white, Christian or Muslim. The only reason that Tobacco Control have been so successful in ramming through antismoking legislation all over the world is because smokers have never been a cohesive social unit, and don’t have a political voice. Now that they are under attack, it’s time for them to gain one. And until they do, politicians aren’t going to listen to them. Smokers are going to have to do what African-Americans in America did to recover their dignity with Martin Luther King and co. They’re going to have to do what Jews did in creating Israel. Because they’re essentially facing exactly the same existential threat.
But the difference is that while there’s only about 10 million Jews in Israel, and 40 million African-Americans in the USA , there are about 1,300 million smokers worldwide, many of them being royally screwed by thieving, predatory Tobacco Control. If just 1% of those smokers can be hooked up together, that’s 13 million people. If 10% can be hooked up, that’s 130 million people. Numbers of people of this sort aren’t going to want to create an Israel for smokers: they’re going to want their own countries back. And they will get them back.
The tobacco companies could help out here. They could put, as I’ve already suggested, a little card in their cigarette packets inviting their customers to “Join Team Benson & Hedges” or “Ride the Winston Cult”. Big stores like Tesco and Asda all have their loyalty cards. Why don’t the tobacco companies do it too? In the process, they’d be demonstrating something of the social conscience that their detractors say they don’t have. I hope Deep Smoke is listening.
And then, when we’ve got about 200 million smokers all hooked up into an angry swarm, we can go and screw Tobacco Control and the WHO and all the Nazi doctors in it right into the ground.
In other news, two famous singers died
young prematurely this week. Donna Summer and Robin Gibb. And they both died of cancer. Donna Summer had lung cancer, and Robin Gibb had colon cancer.
I guess they must’ve been smokers. After all, everybody knows that only smokers get lung cancer. And everybody knows that only smokers get any sort of cancer at all.
She may have been the Queen of Disco, but Donna Summer wasn’t one to light up a cigarette.
On Friday, one day after the Grammy-winning singer’s death at age 63, her family confirmed to Us Weekly that she succumbed to lung cancer, as was rumored. But, defying common misconceptions about the disease, her loved ones explain that the “Last Dance” singer’s cancer “was not related to smoking.”
“Ms. Summer was a non-smoker,” the new family statement says of the chart-topping “Last Dance” crooner.
The late Robin Gibb had famously avoided alcohol, drugs, smoking and unhealthy foods throughout life, so many are wondering how this all could have happened to him.