235,000 Protest Plain Packs

So the Plain Packets Protest has got itself 235,000 signatures. That’s a pretty good haul. And it seems that the antismoking zealots have responded by getting people from all round the world to sign in favour, in one case using the photo above. Which I think I’ll keep and use to illustrate a short story: (e.g. “Emily lit another one of her mother’s cigarettes, and gazed thoughtfully into space…”)

I don’t know why the antis are so alarmed. The public consultation is a fraud anyway. It’s just being done to go through the motions, before announcing the predetermined conclusion: which is presumably that plain packaging will be required by law.

And then they’ll move on to the next measure. Which is probably smoking in cars, or something. The whole sequence of ever-more-intrusive bans is probably proceeding according to a timetable (with ‘public consultations’ at every stage).

I was wondering yesterday whether there’s actually any stop line in the process, where the antis declare that It’s All Over. And I thought there probably wasn’t one, if only because if they ever declared Game Over, they’d lose their funding. And they wouldn’t want that, would they?

No, it’ll just go on and on. And it won’t stop even when smoking has been banned everywhere. They’ll then have to install cameras in every home to make sure nobody’s not sneaking a quick puff. And having got rid of all smoking, they’ll have to eradicate all the toxic ex-smokers (because with no tobacco available, there’ll be no smokers left). And then all the words associated with smoking, like ‘tobacco’, ‘cigarette’, etc, will have to become prohibited words. It really can go on and on.

But in the process, it’ll become abundantly clear to everyone what mean-spirited little shits these people really are, if it isn’t clear already. It won’t just be smokers like me that will hate their filthy guts: everyone will.

And perhaps some of the antismokers will start hating themselves, and what they’re doing. Because I imagine that quite a few of them actually believe they’re doing something good, in which case it’s possible that they’ll stop believing.

A very good friend of mine worked in Tobacco Control. She ceased to be a friend when I found out. But I’m sure she believes she’s doing something good, and not in the least bit ‘Nazi’ like I wrote and told her. I occasionally wonder if she ever has any qualms about anything she’s doing, or that Tobacco Control is doing. Like ‘denormalising’ smoking, and marginalising and demonising smokers. I told her to let me know when she’d stopped persecuting smokers. I haven’t heard back. So I guess that she still is. Although I think she’d probably say that she was ‘helping’ smokers.

Anyway, sooner or later, everybody is going to hate Tobacco Control. And the economic damage that smoking bans do will also become obvious to everyone. And the social damage as well.

It’s probably what happened in the USA during Prohibition. At the outset, probably a lot of people thought that the prohibitionists were saintly do-gooders. By the end they’d probably finally figured out what a bunch of hate-filled bastards they actually were, and what tremendous damage they’d done.

And I suppose that David Cameron and Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband do realise that people like me are never going to vote for them or their parties again. There’s going to be no forgiveness from me for what they’ve done. Not even if they repeal the smoking ban, and hand out £10,000 of compensation to every smoker in Britain. I’m never going to mark my cross beside any of their filthy parties again.

I guess that, if they realise it, they just don’t care. Because they reckon they’ll always be able to get enough votes to be re-elected. After all, they always have, so far.


About Frank Davis

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17 Responses to 235,000 Protest Plain Packs

  1. jaxthefirst says:

    I guess the only time they’d ever have to call it a day would be if, having banned smoking everywhere and anywhere so much that virtually no-one is doing it any more, there would then be very little to lose (unlike now) by making tobacco an illegal substance like cannabis or cocaine. At that point it would then fall under a whole different set of authorities (i.e. the police and the courts) and would be out of the hands of the anti-smokers’ funders – the health authorities. After all, there can be no greater “ban” than illegality itself, so there’d be nothing else to campaign about and the game would really be all over. Which, of course, is precisely why they aren’t – and never have – called for such a measure. Why hasten their own demise when there are still so many enjoyable salami slices to be had?

    I often hear that one of the reasons that Prohibition was lifted was because of the Depression. Clearly, someone somewhere finally worked out that the Depression was at least due in part to Prohibition – or at least that maintaining Prohibition meant that recovery from the Depression would be crucifyingly slow. But who was it who made that connection? How long did it take? And how did they manage to turn the opinions of the politicians of the day – many of whom had, I guess, voted in favour of it (didn’t it only last for 13 years or so?) – to voting against it?

  2. raymond barfoot says:

    dear frank, i will never vote for anyone who treads on the rights of anyone.republican or democrat or absolutely anyone who champions treading on the rights of any group.i absolutely will be in favor of the anti-smokers going to life sentences in prison when the full nature of their fraud is at last found out.my only question is how many will get lynched when all said and done.?????? i would say a great many of them should be afraid the tide is turning.MAY THEY ROT IN HELL FOR WHAT THEY HAVE DONE. they are spineless cowards.i feel no pity for them or theirs. i wish they would just go away. i dont trust them or like them they act like NAZIS!!!! godwins law does not apply to them for they truly are nazis.herr hitler would be so proud of them, anyway i have had my say.thank you for your time and consideration reading my letter. raymond t. barfoot

  3. magnetic01 says:

    Frank, a hospital smoking ban is up for review (from Rose’s comment a few threads ago). There is a link at the bottom of the news article below to a short, anonymous survey that will supposedly guide the review. You and others may be interested in completing that survey:


    • beobrigitte says:

      There are 2 issues here:
      “We discourage smoking because it is very harmful to health, but at the same time we recognise that many smokers are addicted and will feel they need a cigarette while at the hospital, especially if someone they care about is extremely unwell.

      Hang on!!
      we recognise that many smokers are addicted

      “We also don’t like to see patients from the wards leaving the site to stand on street corners in the cold and rain.
      Tobacco Control is not interested in people. They stamp their feet and want a tobacco free world YESTERDAY. Nothing else matters.

      There are days I wish to see Deborah Arnott and all the other minions of tobacco control being tried and condemned to pay all the money they have scrounged back to the tax payers!!!
      To “New Labour”: you lot ARE RESPONSIBLE for this mess, so STFU!!!!!!!!!!!

      (needless to say, today is one of these (many) days.)

  4. Margo says:

    Perhaps the tide is finally turning, as more and more people (including those who initially supported the bans) realise how illogical and without compassion the whole thing has become. A situation in which someone can be fined or even go to prison for using a legal substance is truly bizarre.
    I think it’s all about economics, in the end. Didn’t Prohibition have something to do with wanting to keep the barley for bread(?) and not wanting to deal with German brewers? and the repeal came when the government needed more tax revenue because of the Great Depression? So I don’t think tobacco will be made illegal because it wouldn’t make economic sense. They might even legalise other drugs eventually, control the supply and tax them.

    • Rose says:

      The Chemist’s War

      “The little-told story of how the U.S. government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition with deadly consequences.”

      “It was Christmas Eve 1926, the streets aglitter with snow and lights, when the man afraid of Santa Claus stumbled into the emergency room at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital. He was flushed, gasping with fear: Santa Claus, he kept telling the nurses, was just behind him, wielding a baseball bat.

      Before hospital staff realized how sick he was—the alcohol-induced hallucination was just a symptom—the man died. So did another holiday partygoer. And another. As dusk fell on Christmas, the hospital staff tallied up more than 60 people made desperately ill by alcohol and eight dead from it. Within the next two days, yet another 23 people died in the city from celebrating the season.

      Doctors were accustomed to alcohol poisoning by then, the routine of life in the Prohibition era. The bootlegged whiskies and so-called gins often made people sick. The liquor produced in hidden stills frequently came tainted with metals and other impurities. But this outbreak was bizarrely different. The deaths, as investigators would shortly realize, came courtesy of the U.S. government.”

      “Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people.”


      “BY NOW, it was not only liberal Eastern wets like New York Gov. Al Smith who were calling for modification of the Volstead Act. A growing number of Republican leaders were abandoning the dry chorus: Nicholas Murray Butler, the distinguished president of Columbia University, had denounced Prohibition as evil and inhuman; even the saintly John D. Rockefellers, senior and junior, solid Baptist teetotalers both, had withdrawn funding from the Anti-Saloon League fanatics.

      In referenda in New York and four other states, voters had overwhelmingly called for relaxation of the pious laws that the farm belt had successfully imposed upon all America seven long parched years earlier. In early December 1926, New York’s federal grand jury went on record as opposed to the national prohibition laws, arguing, among other things, that they had all by themselves created “a ruthless and dangerous set of criminals.”

      And still the federal sleuths mounted large prosecutions; still the Dry Navy prowled the coast for rum runners; a week before Christmas, President Calvin Coolidge went before Congress to request still another $30 million for enforcement. For all the diligence, there were said to be 22,000 thriving speakeasies in the city – this number came from an assistant U.S. attorney who had quit his job in hopeless despair – and it was estimated that a good 100,000 cases of whisky continued to arrive every week.

      This, of course, translated into somewhere between four and 14 times that volume on the street, depending on what degree the fresh deliveries had been cut by local bootleggers and then rebottled. Only the very well-to-do were privileged to enjoy the uncut stuff. The average 75-cent glass of speakeasy liquor was not quite the real thing. In lesser dives, most of a 25-cent shot was denatured industrial alcohol – government-regulated wood alcohol, full of pyridine and diethylpthalate. Or, to put it another way, poison.

      The official Health Department numbers made it plain that more and more people were dying of bad alcohol in New York City every year, not even counting the off-the-books deaths: 127 in 1921, 233 in 1922, 370 in 1923, 499 in 1924, 585 in 1925. The city’s 1926 death toll was expected to surpass 750. Nationally, the number was nearly 4,000.
      Every Christmas, the Anti-Saloon League’s general counsel, the odious Wayne Wheeler, made a public point of expressing satisfaction at these figures.
      “If a man wishes to violate the Constitution of the United States,” Wheeler liked to chuckle, “he should be free to commit suicide in his own way.”

      On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the city, reported Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Charles Norris, 11 more merrymakers died, and 55 were committed blind and sick and raving to hospital wards.”

      “Merry Xmas from Uncle Sam,” observed the Daily News.
      ON FRIDAY the 31st, there were 43 dead, and it wasn’t even New Year’s Eve yet. By midnight, two more people were gone and another 28 were hospitalized. And it was only midnight.

      UNCLE SAM, said The News, “is sound and fine at heart. But he is controlled, just now, by a gang of blackjackers cloaking themselves in the sacred names of law observance, civic and national duty, patriotism. The Washington administration knuckles under to these daughters and sons of witch hunters of olden days, because it fears them.”

  5. Rose says:

    Because alcohol is sometimes used in herbal medicines, it had an effect there too.

    Medicine: Paralyzing Jake?

    Monday, Mar. 24, 1930

    “Cold, sore throat, numbness in legs, paralysis in legs, violent illness. . . . Through this course 400 people in Oklahoma have run, 160 in Tennessee. Georgia and Mississippi. They suffer from a new paralysis for which doctors have been unable to determine either cause or cure. One sufferer, a four-year-old Oklahoma City girl went one step further, died.

    Jamaica ginger, which almost all of the stricken confessed drinking, has been mentioned as a cause. Jamaica ginger is an infusion of the peeled and ground roots of he ginger plant in alcohol.

    In medicine its used internally to remove gas on the stomach. Many women use the candied root or the extract to soothe their periodic griping. Because Jamaica ginger gives a lot feeling to the stomach and because it contains alcohol it is like lemon extract, favorite tipple of inland drinkers unable to buy normal imported alcoholic beverages. They call Jamaica ginger “jake.”

    Oklahoma Health Officers suggested that metallic poisoning from the ginger was the cause. Analysis of several samples failed to disclose any trace of common metals.

    Providence, R. I. health officers reported 20 cases; blamed wood alcohol in Jamaica ginger. In two of their cases partial blindness was found.”

    Medicine: Jake Ester
    July 28, 1930

    “The U. S. Public Health Service last week announced the nature of the poison in the Jamaica ginger which last spring paralyzed hundreds of tipplers in all parts of the country (TIME, March 24). The poison appears to resemble a phosphoric acid ester of tricresol. It numbs and paralyzes the joints of the limbs, particularly the joints of fingers and toes.

    The U. S. Public Health Service and the Prohibition Bureau traced the poisonous Jamaica ginger (colloquially called “ginger jake,” “jakey”) from the consumers to distributors in Cincinnati and Johnson City, Tenn., then to the Manhattan and Boston manufacturers, who were indicted for violation of the Prohibition Amendment. The inclusion of the phosphoric acid ester of tricresol in the Jamaica ginger was an accident of careless manufacture.

    The discoverers of the contaminated ginger extract cooperated with members of the Tennessee Board of Health. Although the poison now is known, doctors as yet have no cure for its paralyzing effects, which have rarely been fatal.”

    Ginger Jake
    “In 1929, due to the large amount of [alcohol] bootlegging during prohibition in the United States, the production of bootleg drinks was never regulated. In the Ginger Jake incident, an alcohol tonic was laced with a paralyzing chemical TOCP and 50,000 adults were affected by it after consumption”

    The Jake Walk Blues. A toxicologic tragedy mirrored in American popular music.

    “In 1930 thousands of cases of muscle pain, weakness of upper and lower extremities, and minimal sensory impairment occurred in the United States. The illness was caused by the consumption of an adulterated Jamaica ginger extract (“Jake”), an illicit beverage then popularly used in the southern and midwestern United States to circumvent prohibition statutes. The additive tri-ortho-cresyl phosphate caused severe, only partially reversible damage to the spinal cord and peripheral nervous tissue. Victims with resultant gait impairment, sometimes permanent, were said to have the “Jake Leg” or “Jake Walk.” Twelve commercial phonographic recordings made between 1928 and 1934 by southern rural artists, white and black, refer to Jake or Jake-induced infirmity.

    These reveal preepidemic cultural familiarity with Jake, and the later, postepidemic performances reflect a whimsical, even cynical, cultural attitude that those with “Jake Leg” were suffering the wages of sin and should not be regarded as objects of pity or sympathy.”

    Jake Walk Papa – The Jake Walk Blues 1933
    http: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgfvzDEKTso

  6. Marie says:

    The rank dishonesty of using images involving children who cannot legally access tobacco products just beggars the imagination. Lies, lies, lies.

  7. beobrigitte says:

    Anyway, sooner or later, everybody is going to hate Tobacco Control.
    By the looks of it it is “sooner” . (Not soon enough for me!)
    Non-smokers begin to object vocally to being abused by tobacco control for their aim of a “smoke-free world”. Most striking is that they feel being “infantisized” (how is this spelt correctly?) by being told they need “protecting”.
    A life long non-smoker whom I regarded as just as “one-of-a-friend’s-friend-who-turns-up-with-this-friend” presented me with an ashtray in his house and said: “For ****’s sake, it’s MY house, I DECIDE. Now, let’s play cards as we do in your house!!!”

    And the economic damage that smoking bans do will also become obvious to everyone. And the social damage as well.

    Economic and social damage with certainty – another quite disturbing experience of mine is a section of our society we only hear about now as the Para-olympics will begin the end of this month.
    Near where I live there is a centre for para/tetraplegic people, so it’s nothing unusual to meet and talk to wheelchair users. Recently, one of them asked me for ” a light” outside a local shop and – of course – I supplied it. We ended up talking for a bit – about the smoking ban. He spent 2 month on a ward after his accident bed bound – he asked to have a cigarette and was told that there is a smoking ban also for paralysed people. “It’s for your health…”

    He was probably the angriest person with respect to the smoking ban that I ever met!

    • junican says:

      The territory here is very tricky, but a person in a hospital is not a captive. That person has no CONTRACT with the hospital authorities, and is therefore not obliged to conform to their rules. I must admit that it would take a lot of courage to light a fag in a hospital ward, but perhaps not as much courage to do so in a private room. “I want a fag! Call the police if you wish to, and let them accuse me of a crime, but otherwise, leave me alone”.

      Such events must and will occur eventually. Human nature will ensure that, sooner or later, courage will overcome propaganda.

      • Rose says:

        “I want a fag!”

        There’s the problem.

        If you had explained that you urgently needed a top up of low dose carbon monoxide for it’s anti-inflammatory properties, a little low dose nitric oxide for it’s antibiotic and vasodilating properties, coupled with a spot of vapourised niacin and a modicum of ubiquinone, though all these things are currently available separately, the only way that they can currently provide them all together at your usual dosage, is by offering you a cigarette and handing you a lighter.

  8. Junican, you bring up an interesting thought. A hospital of course is free to throw you out if you flaunt its rules. HOWEVER… it is fairly strong standard procedure for them to insist that you sign out on discharge papers, particularly if you are leaving against “medical judgment.”

    What if you simply refuse to sign and just relax with another smoke?


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