The Rain

It’s raining, and little rivulets of water are running down the window pane.

The rain has no force, no power. A single raindrop has little impact on anything.

But once the rain has fallen, it starts trickling downhill. That’s when it forms little rivulets. And the rivulets merge to form streams, and the streams converge into brooks, and the brooks unite into rivers. It takes a while for the raindrops to do this. It takes hours or days or weeks.

And once every now and again, when the rain falls hard for a long time in one area, the streams grow stronger, and the brooks grow wider, and the rivers burst their banks or become raging torrents, and sweep away trees and rocks and bridges and roads and houses.

And then the harmless raindrops unite with other raindrops to become an unstoppable force of nature.

It’s been raining hard everywhere for smokers, and it’s been raining for years. And the smokers are themselves like raindrops. They have little power on their own.

And at first, just like rainwater, they just trickle slowly downhill in one direction or another. How fast they flow depends on how steep the slope on which they lie. Some of them just lie in pools, inactive. Others form little streams here and there. And in the streams they flow faster.

My blog is a little stream or brook. It flows fast and angry. And its comments are little tributaries, feeding into it, and adding fresh impetus to the stream. And it’s one of a growing number of similar streams, that have sprung up everywhere.

Not all the comments add fresh impetus. Some of them try to slow the stream, or try to dam it. But when that happens, the stream soon finds a way around the obstacle, and keeps on flowing.

But the streams have little more force than raindrops. They can carry away leaves, but nothing much bigger than that.

But as the rain keeps falling for smokers, it’s not hard to foresee what’s going to happen. The streams will merge into brooks, and the brooks will flow into rivers, and the rivers will become torrents. That’s what always happens when it rains hard everywhere for a long time. And for smokers it’s been raining all over the world for years. And what’s going to happen is that they will form a torrent that will sweep away everything in its path.

Tobacco Control  lies on the downhill path of these multiplying streams and brooks. And Tobacco Control is like a rickety wooden bridge. It’s going to be swept away. There will be no stopping the force of nature that Tobacco Control has itself helped unleash, and whose nature it doesn’t understand. They can’t see what’s coming down the hill for them.

Tonight I’ve been wondering just how powerful that torrent will become, and how much it will sweep away. Because it might not just be Tobacco Control, but also much of the medical profession as well. And quite a few uncharitable charities. And rich foundations like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. And maybe even the multi-million dollar pharma industry.

Because a lot of rain has fallen on smokers. They’re being reviled and demonised and excluded all over the world, all at the same time. And there’s something between a thousand and two thousand million of them in the world, all being beaten with sticks. There’s a lot of fast, angry water in that.

So tonight I wondered whether even more might be swept away by tens of millions of angry smokers. Like the mendacious mass media, and the corrupt political parties, and even the EU.

In fact, I began to wonder what wouldn’t be swept away. And began to draw up a list. Here in England, the Crown isn’t in danger from the torrent. The Queen hasn’t joined in kicking the smokers. Nor have any of the other royals. And the Churches aren’t in any danger either. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope haven’t joined in the attack on smokers either. Neither have the police, or the army. So they’ll probably be safe. And so will most honest business enterprises. And most families.

The politicians and the pundits can see that it’s raining for smokers. It was, after all, them who helped make it rain. And they can see the smokers huddled outside the pubs they once belonged inside. And they can even see and read minor streams like my little blog.

But they haven’t yet seen what’s coming. And so they’re not worried. And they keep making it rain harder and harder on smokers. They keep pissing on them, just because they can, and because that’s all they know what do.

One day though, they’ll start to get worried, when they start to see things being swept away here and there. But by then it will be too late to do anything to avert the coming disaster. Because nobody will be able to stop it.

About Frank Davis

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25 Responses to The Rain

  1. raymond barfoot says:

    dear frank, raymond b. here i agree 1000% with your observation.just as the hard-core nazi s could not believe anyone could violently object to the third riech or their fuhrer,and if any one did to the camps with them! They could not see what was coming. tc does. It terrifies them for their victims will not have forgiven nor forgotten whom they are and what they have done. it will not happen for some time yet, but when it does look out will hit like GODs owm wrath.they could have done otherwise but did not so they will suffer for it. i will have no pity for any of these nu-prohibitionists.and yes i plan on being alive to see them get their just deserts. thank you fir chronicalling our (smokers) trials at this time. i hope to meet you someday when these life style wars are past. you have been a constant scource of inspiration to myself and others. your fan, raymond b.

  2. waltc says:

    Well, here’s a little thunderstorm for you. They’re rioting (or at least demonstrating) against the ban in Beirut. OTOH, the Lebanese aunts seem to be reading from the same international aunt playbook (I wonder what it looks like written in Farsi) claiming that the 60% drop in business and the bankruptsy of bars merely stems from “other things,” and claiming a miraculous decline in illness (and in only two months!) which the press dutifully quotes.

    One thing we need if we want to rain on the aunts’ parade would be some buddies in the press.

    • margo says:

      Yes, that is what we need, some buddies in the press. Have we got a single one? I don’t think so, and that’s very strange, as I always used to think “journalists” had a reputation for being hard-drinking, hard-nosed, smokers-out of the truth (think of all those old 1950’s movies). That’s completely gone, hasn’t it. Now they’re just obedient, non-thinking, bleating little sheep writing what they’re told to write. When did that happen?

  3. harleyrider1978 says:

    In a corrupted political system polluted with prohibitionists and their policys it wont take long for those same crazy ideologies afflicting the political body to usher in its collapse from those same destructive forces. Insanity breeds insane policys it also bankrupts society financially and for decades to come. Its the financial bankruptcy that will bring about real change………and a return to commonsence!

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    It’s genetic: Some smokers have biological resistance to anti-tobacco policies

    By Michael Greenwood – Despite concerted government efforts to curtail tobacco use, the number of smokers in the United States has remained stable in recent years, rather than declining. The reason: genetics.

    New research from the Yale School of Public Health suggests that individuals’ genetics play an important role in whether they respond to tobacco-control policies. The study appears online in the journal PLOS ONE.

    Smoking dropped sharply after the Surgeon General’s landmark report on the dangers of tobacco was published in 1964, but rates have plateaued during the past two decades despite increasingly stringent measures to persuade people to quit. The study found biological evidence that may help explain why some people respond to anti-smoking inducements, such as higher taxes and the expansion of clean-air laws, and why others do not.

    “We found that for people who are genetically predisposed to tobacco addiction, higher cigarette taxes were not enough to dissuade them from smoking,” said lead researcher Jason M. Fletcher, associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Yale School of Public Health. Fletcher, also a former Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar, examined the interplay between state-level tobacco taxation and a nicotinic receptor gene in a cross-section of U.S. adults.

    The “gene-policy interaction” study, the first of its kind, found that variations in the nicotine receptor were linked to the influence of higher taxes on multiple measures of tobacco use. Individuals with a specific genetic variant decreased their tobacco use by nearly 30 percent when facing high tobacco taxes, while individuals with an alternative genetic variant had no response.

    “This study is an important first step in considering how to further reduce adult smoking rates,” said Fletcher. “We need to understand why existing policies do not work for everyone so that we can develop more effective approaches.”

    The gap in the effectiveness of tobacco-control policies remains poorly understood. The findings suggest that strategies that do not rely on financial or social consequences may be needed to persuade a still-significant segment of the population to quit, notes Fletcher.

    Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and is responsible for more than 400,000 deaths each year, according to the study. Tobacco taxation, meanwhile, has been credited with helping to reduce use by more than 50 percent since the Surgeon General’s report.

    The paper can be viewed online. Funding for the study was provided by a seed grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars Program at Columbia University.

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    The findings suggest that strategies that do not rely on financial or social consequences may be needed to persuade a still-significant segment of the population to quit, notes Fletcher.

    Somebodys got more ideas,could it be criminal sanctions,smoking liscences,total prohibition perhaps. This is a lead in to more abuseive laws to come.

  6. garyk30 says:

    “Tobacco taxation, meanwhile, has been credited with helping to reduce use by more than 50 percent since the Surgeon General’s report.”

    Ah, but it hasn;t!!!

    In 1965, there were about 50 million adult smokers(cig) in the USA and about 16 million ex-smokers..

    In 2010, there were about 46 million smokers and about 48 million ex’s..

    The number of smokers(users) has declined by ONLY 8%!!!!!!!

    If raibdrops were square and 1/4 inch on a side:
    A cubic meter of water might contain about 2.3 million raindrops.

    A stream that is 3 meters wide and 2 mters deep and 1 KM long would contain
    twice as many raindrops as there are people on the Earth.

    We probably should find a different analogy.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      The anology is right on,when we remember its only a handfull of these activists around the world that forced thru the smoking bans and the FCTC treaty via blackmale to signatory countries. How a few raindrops led the charge to create a flood………….How a gathering of raindrops pushed back a TSUNAMI!

  7. garyk30 says:

    “Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and is responsible for more than 400,000 deaths each year, according to the study.”

    Modern Health Care, hospitals and nursing homes, kill about 550,000 per year(USA) and abortions kill one million per year(USA).

    Using data from Doll’s 50 year study of doctors’ deaths, never-smokers in equal nmbers to the ever-smokers would have 396,000 deaths per year from the diseases said to be ;caused’ by smoking.

  8. junican says:

    “Fletcher, also a former Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar

    Re-interpreting his words:
    “Smokers who are genetically inclined to become easily addicted to nicotine will not be affected by bans and such. What they need is MEDICATION to combat the genetic addiction….”

  9. lysistratatheoriginal says:

    Friday night. My only response is Tom Waits’ ‘Make It Rain’.

  10. lysistratatheoriginal says:

    Oops. Did I really post the entire full on video link? Have to log out and in again to see. Wow. Sorry Frank…

  11. kin_free says:

    Hi Frank,
    I note that this has not been mentioned on your blog or in the comments (that I can see) and it is, in my opinion, one of the most important articles that needs to be spread around.

    “Nearly 80% of people diagnosed with lung cancer now, in 2012, are non-smokers.”

    Michael Siegel picked it up and attempted to discredit it;

    I see also that articles have since appeared claiming that lung cancer deaths are reducing due to better treatment etc AND the reduction in smoking – but cancers are increasing! this one does not mention the rise in cancers – except in the link ;

    You can bet that the TCI are working on more propaganda to write this down.

    ps.I wrote a blog post too.

    • lysistratatheoriginal says:

      Unfortunately, kin_free, Siegel does have a point this time. The 80% includes both never-smokers and ex-smokers. How many of that 80% are ex-smokers, how much they smoked, for how long, and when they stopped, we don’t know.

  12. smokingscot says:

    “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

    Love it!

  13. harleyrider1978 says:

    States Spend Anti-Smoking $$ on Other Things
    GETS OUT FIDDLE and plays!
    States will spend less than 2% of their annual tobacco tax and settlement revenues to fight smoking next year, according to a new report.

    Only 1.8% of the $25.7 billion states will collect from both taxes on cigarettes and the 1998 tobacco settlement — about $460 million — will go to tobacco prevention and treatment programs in 2013, according to an annual report from several public health organizations, including the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

    “The states have an obligation to use more of their billions in tobacco revenues to fight the tobacco problem,” Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a statement. “Their failure to do so makes no sense given the evidence that tobacco prevention programs save lives and save money by helping reduce healthcare costs.”

    Healthcare costs relating to tobacco use total about $96 billion annually, according to the report, which is issued annually to take a look at how states are using funds from the tobacco settlement, a deal that was struck with tobacco companies in November 1998.

    It awarded states some $246 billion over the first 25 years.

    In addition to those monies, states also collect billions each year from cigarette taxes. The total 2013 figure of $25.7 billion comes from $18.4 million in tax revenues and $7.3 billion in settlement funds.

    Tobacco prevention spending peaked at nearly $750 million in 2002 and again at $717 million in 2008. But after the recession, such spending fell into a downward trend, with a 36% cut — about $260 million — through 2012 that has now stalled spending at a historical low.

    The report blasted states for failing to reverse the budget cuts to tobacco prevention programs that occurred after that time, calling them even more problematic in light of recent surveys that show smoking declines in the U.S. have slowed.

    Across the country, 19% of adults and 18% of high school students still smoke, those surveys show.

    The $460 million being spent this year amounts to just 12.4% of the $3.7 billion that the CDC recommends on tobacco prevention spending for all states combined.

    It would take less than 15% of total state tobacco revenues to fund programs at CDC-recommended levels, according to the report.

    Only two states – Alaska and North Dakota – will fund tobacco prevention programs at CDC-recommended levels, while only three – Delaware, Wyoming, and Hawaii – will spend at half the recommended level, the report said.

    Four states — New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Ohio — have allotted no state funds for tobacco prevention programs next year.

    The states’ failures to reverse cuts to tobacco prevention and cessation programs “have undermined the nation’s efforts to reduce tobacco use,” the report said. “Given such a strong return on investment, states are being truly penny-wise and pound-foolish in shortchanging tobacco prevention and cessation programs.”

    The study was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the American Cancer Society, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, and by Americans for NonSmokers’ Rights.

    Primary source: Coalition Report
    Source reference:
    “Broken promises to our children: The 1998 state tobacco settlement 14 years later” Coalition Report 2012

  14. nisakiman says:

    You can see their claims becoming ever more extreme and strident as their funds start drying up. Expect some new “research” soon showing that the money now not being spent on anti-tobacco is dwarfed by the cost to society of millions of preventable smoking deaths, and that this can only be remedied by giving the antis loads of money to further discomfit smokers with. It’s an expensive business, demonising smokers, doncha know.

  15. garyk30 says:

    Hmmmm, nothing from Frank today.

    I wonder if the cat got him?

  16. Pingback: So Long, Sir Patrick | Frank Davis

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