One Day They Will See.

I was thinking today how Tobacco Control must have imagined smoking bans would work. I guess that if you’re a fully paid up Tobacco Controller, you probably see tobacco as pretty much the most evil thing in the world, killing millions of people. You probably never question this. For you, that’s a known Fact Of Life. You have no doubt whatsoever that, if human society could rid itself of its tobacco addiction, the world would be a much, much better place. People would be healthier, fitter, happier, and so on.

And so you probably readily agreed with the idea that tobacco should be depicted as being more and more dangerous, and smokers as less and less likeable or acceptable people to have around. The vile habit of smoking would slowly but relentlessly squeezed out of society, like pus out of an infected wound. It would mean changing the culture.

And this is more or less what has happened. Smoking has been depicted in an ever-worsening light. Back in the 1960s, it was only said to cause lung cancer. Now is is said to cause all cancers, heart disease, and every other disease as well. Furthermore even secondhand smoke is now said to endanger those who breathe it. And, at the same time, limited smoking bans began to be introduced. First on some carriages in trains, and then all of them. First the lower levels of double-decker buses, and then both levels. First the forward seats on airliners, and then all the seats. And then, when smoking rates had fallen from 60%+ to 25% or less, smoking was banned in all pubs and cafes and restaurants. And the demonisation of tobacco and the vilification of smokers rose to a scream.

The idea was to gradually ‘denormalise’ smoking, and make it an ever-more-marginal habit practised by an ever-more-marginalised subculture, which nobody wanted to belong to. In this manner, with steady nudging in the right direction, a formerly smoke-filled society would gradually be converted into a smoke-free society. And gradually everyone would get used to the new smoke-free culture.

Of course, there were bound to be a few die-hard smokers. But these would simply be ignored. In time, they would have to give up smoking too. Or just be let to die out, like some strain of malaria persisting in one or two marshes here and there.

And nothing else would change. Society would continue exactly as before, minus the tobacco smoke. People would still have pubs and cafes where they would meet up, but they would be smoke-free pubs and cafes.

It was all going to be a great success. And in fact, Tobacco Control has been trumpeting the success and popularity of smoking bans so much that the Controllers have started to introduce similar measures to gradually demonise and denormalise alcohol and sugar and salt and all the other great scourges of human health.

But I don’t think that it’s been a great success.

I think it’s been a disaster. And one day it’s going to be seen to be disaster.

One day they will see how much damage has been done.

Because what I think has happened is that smokers have been more or less expelled from society, and we now have a divided society. It’s divided into ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’. The insiders are the non-smokers who sit inside the pubs and cafes. And the outsiders are the smokers who stand outside. And this is a profound division to have introduced into society. And it’s a division that extends far beyond pubs and cafes. It’s a division that extends into people’s homes and workplaces. It reaches almost everywhere. And it’s a division that sets people against each other.

The response of smokers to smoking bans has not been to give up smoking. They have instead carried on smoking as much as ever. Smoking hasn’t been denormalised at all.  But now they stay home much more often, visit pubs and cafes less often, and see less of friends and family – all of which signify social division. And very often they have retreated into a home culture where they meet up with friends at ‘smoky-drinky’ gatherings. And of course the more smokers stay home, the less money they spend, not just in pubs and cafes, but everywhere else too. All this is documented in the ISIS survey report.

And the social division that has been created only gets deeper. because when one person stops going to pubs and cafes, their friends also become less likely to go. And when they stop going, then their friends will go less too. And so on. And that’s why pubs are still closing, coming up on six years after the introduction of the UK smoking ban.

The division extends elsewhere as well. Perhaps as part of the denormalisation process, none of the main political parties speaks up for smokers, or pays any attention to them. And so support for mainstream political parties ebbs away. And since much the same goes for the press and the broadcast media (smokers aren’t allowed to appear in studios), smokers are bound to feel that the media doesn’t speak for them or to them.

Yet there is no public recognition whatsoever that anything like this gradually widening social divide is actually happening. It is simply supposed that the smoking ban has been a wildly successful measure like Tobacco Control insists it has been. And that society as a whole is just the same as it was beforehand, only now largely smoke-free. That there remains a uniform, common culture, shared by everybody.

In large part, aside from Tobacco Control’s raucous propaganda, it is probably that most non-smokers have largely been unaffected by the smoking ban, and so fail to see the gradually deepening division it has engendered. After all, if 20% of UK citizens are smokers, and they lost all their non-smoking friends (I’m not suggesting this actually happened), they would have lost 80% of their friends, while their non-smoking friends would have lost only 20% of theirs. And so non-smokers are likely to continue to believe that nothing has really changed, long after many smokers have concluded that a very great deal has changed.

But because I believe that the social division generated by the smoking ban is of a progressive nature, and the divisions are always slowly deepening, I think that a few non-smokers and pundits and politicians will gradually start waking up to it. They will start to question whether the smoking ban was such a great success after all.

I’m quite sure this going to happen, although I wouldn’t care to say exactly when. What I do wonder, however, is whether, when they finally address the matter, there will be anything that they can actually do to heal the divisions. Because, for the life of me, I can’t see what will ever achieve that.

Because, speaking for myself, I can say with 99% certainty that I’ll never be reconciled with the erstwhile antismoking friends of mine who applauded the introduction of the smoking ban. I simply don’t want to know people like that any more. I don’t want to know any antismokers at all. And regardless of whatever measures they might introduce, I’ll never vote Labour or Lib Dem or (most likely) Conservative again in my life. Nor am I likely to buy a TV set and watch the BBC or Channel 4 again, as I once did. And as my sense of exclusion gradually deepens, I’ll most likely keep on adding further sanctions.

So, even if the smoking ban is lifted one day (and I firmly believe that it will be), I think we’ll find that we are left with a permanently divided society. There will be pubs for smokers, and pubs for non-smokers. Jobs for smokers, and jobs for non-smokers. And so on.  Nobody will have any illusions about there being One Nation or One Culture any more. It’ll be just like Catholics and Protestants. One side will be true believers in Tobacco Control. And the other side will be complete disbelievers.

Because, while antismokers see tobacco as the root of all evil, I now think that Tobacco Control is the root of all evil.

As does Nannying Tyrant’s Jay:

About Frank Davis

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23 Responses to One Day They Will See.

  1. Reinhold says:

    There’s a logical mistake in the second to last sentence.

    • Junican says:

      I saw that too.
      The sentence should read: “Because, while anti-smokers see tobacco [omit ‘control’] as the root of all evil, I now think that Tobacco Control is the root of all evil”
      I would go further. I would say that ‘academia’ has become destructive rather than constructive. It is no longer about ‘improving ‘public health’ – it is about using the MONOPOLY of the UK Health Dept, and the EU Health Dept, and the WHO for charlatans to enrich themselves.
      It is a pity that our Prime Minister, despite his own personal wealth, and despite the personal wealth of his mates, cannot see that he is being treated like a servant or slave.

      Finally, I STILL do not understand how the Smoking Ban got through Parliament. It is like power stations being replaced by windmills. Erm….

      • Frank Davis says:

        So there is. Now corrected.

      • Frank Davis says:

        And no, I don’t understand either, Junican.

        • Supergran says:

          I work for a council and we REGULARLY have to have diversity training. Par for the course. Been having it for years. The MAIN reason is and always has been:

          Whatever minority a person comes from (is involved in), gender, transgender, ethnicity, religion or whatever, MUST be treated as equal human beings. (Natch)! When I worked in a home for elderly, in the event we MIGHT get a lady from somewhere in the world that necessitated she have her hair oiled and plaited – well it would be done. If someone was to be buried within 24 hours of death due to religeous beliefs, it would be done. If a person only ate certain foods (due to religion or any other reason), it would be done. If you see a guy with a full beard and moustache, with a dress and high heels, its HIS life, we must treat him fairly and with dignity. Hundreds and hundreds of things are drummed into you when you do Diversity training. Dont say deaf – say audibly challenged. Never use the word golliwog for a golliwog. Never allow children to sing Baa Baa Blacksheep – FGS my grandchildren have to sing Baa Baa Wooliesheep!! Never ever make anyone feel uncomfortable due to whatever way they want to live their lives. If you are a black rastafarian, you are fully allowed to answer the question of Ethnicity as White British, all these things are constantly drummed into you. And lo and behold, if you smoke, you are a dirty filthy smoker. Get outside. They can sniff, cough, waft their hands in front of them and say the MOST disgusting things to you. There are even certain offices (up quite a few flights of stairs) where they have a notice saying “DO NOT SMOKE outside this building as smoke comes inside”. Just the other day a colleague of mine said “God I STINK putrid of smoke – they had been somewhere with someone who had been kind enough to give them a lift!!!

          As for the Health Service ….. well, soon enough, they will have a blonde, blue eyed Aryan race, who neither smoke, are more than 10 stone wet through, eat sugar, salt, drink yada yada yada. See where Im coming from???……..

  2. Walt says:

    I think they don’t give a damn about the social divisions that they do know they’ve caused. And are quite happy to cause more of them. (For the past several years there’ve been an increasing number of “studies” to indicate that obesity is literally as well as atmospherically contagious. Wait for it to go mainstream) Divided into ever smaller groups, we are ever more conquerable and conquest is their aim, mostly along the lines of seeing The Gospel According to Them made the rule of the land.. The given reason is “the rising cost of health care”– which is how they got employers to sign on to this and how they get Joe and Jane Average to bitch about :”why should I have to pay for your–(fill in the blank)” –but lurking under the pretense to rationality is the will to power, the power to create their vision of Utopia, a Utopia they’ll run.

    I believe we are, as 20%, dispensable; the eggs that have to be broken, “good riddance to bad rubbish”– a credo shared by all totalitarians, eugenicists and other utopians. And like all such regimens, once they have the media– and they’ve had them locked for years– they own the zeitgeist. And we simply become more and more irrelevant. Not till the media changes, do we have a shot. Otherwise we (like the closing pubs) are those trees falling in the forest with nobody hearing.

    When NY state passed its first major cigarette tax hike in the early 90s (specifically to fund the pensions of a public union), a reporter reported that the then-governor had calculated mathematically that there were more votes among union members than among smokers so he’d come out fine. And the fewer of us there are, the more they’ll come out fine. Not that smokers can even be counted on to vote in anything near to a bloc.

    • Frank Davis says:

      once they have the media– and they’ve had them locked for years– they own the zeitgeist.

      I don’t think that’s quite true. The 1960s zeitgeist wasn’t media-driven. In my experience, it was spontaneous, grassroot, person-to-person. Because then (and also, strangely now too) I didn’t have a TV set, or read newspapers, and so was not amenable to media manipulation. The media was almost uniformly opposed to us.

      I think the media are only as powerful as there are people paying attention to them. And most people pay attention out of sheer boredom.

  3. Walt says:

    After that long and partly rambling post, I apologize for popping back in– like the dinner guest you finally get rid of who forgot his hat and comes back for another hour– so I’ll be quick. But I just read an article (on the subj of our Memorial Day) that contained this line, “When we have memories we feel gratitude, realize our obligations, and recognize how to exercise our rights. We remember how to be a free people.” What this made me think of was that it appears that most of us who hang out here seem to be over 50 and our attitudes and our feeling of “obligation” to fight this contemporary crud come from our memories of being a free people. I worry about a future in which few remember that, or even know what it means.

    • Rose says:

      How right you are, Walt.

      I did feel a crushing obligation to speak up, though it’s very much against my nature.

      Nowadays most people will have no memory of the choking industrial smogs that we had to endure, the black soot in your handkerchief from a visit to town.

      I knew the rudiments of the plant chemistry before I even got my first anti-tobacco lecture, if it was safe in vegetables it was safe in smoke.
      The smoke I had before me to compare at the time was the yellow smogs full of sulphur dioxide and the blackened walls of the buildings.
      At school we were taught to reason, so that conclusion was easy to come to, regardless of their earnest words about “road tar”.

      It never mattered to me what anti-tobacco said, brought up in a free country , people are entitled to their own views and so what if they embroidered it a little to get their point across? We were used to old wives tales like, don’t swallow apple pips or a tree will grow in your stomach, or get too close to that television or you’ll go blind.

      I didn’t blame the government or the oil companies indulging in a bit of misdirection, I too believed that pollution was the price of progress. At that time, I also believed every word that Dr Doll said when he was wheeled out to allay public fears if there was concern about lead in petrol or some new manmade chemical or other, I didn’t know about them, it was just that bit about tobacco that I didn’t believe .

      If lung cancer was down to inhaling the smoke from a nightshade plant, why wasn’t the country laid low by bowel cancer from eating them. Stands to reason.

      But when it got to the smoking ban and the no safe level, the same things can be applied to our staple foods.
      I waited and waited for proper plant biologists to stand up and say enough, but when they didn’t, I realised that in a very minor way I had to at least attempt to do it myself.

      Who knew that all opposition had been effectively silenced years ago, you just don’t expect that.

    • mikef317 says:

      “…most of us who hang out here seem to be over 50…”

      I’m over 60. Looking back to my 20’s, I was a naive kid. I wasn’t much more sophisticated in my 30’s. (I seriously don’t want to think about my teenage years.)

      As people age they accumulate experience. I don’t know how many health scares I’ve seen in the news – but I know most have been found groundless. Ditto global warming.

      Pre 50 I never even registered to vote. I never researched the “smoking causes lung cancer” theory. Post 50 I’ve done both.

      Age and experience changes your perspective.

      Frank doesn’t like the European Union. I never thought about that before I read this blog. But I have decades of experience where I’ve devoted at least some time to learning / thinking about economics and democracy, and, subject to counter arguments, I’ve decided that I don’t like the EU either. (A statement I would not have made five years ago.)

      Maybe we should re-define the word “adult.” Given 50 years of experience / thinking, you can say some statements are obvious bullshit (and argue facts) vs some snot-nosed 49 year old kid who can only cite an Eminent Authority on the absolute truth of some theory.

  4. Rose says:

    Civil disobedience in England

    Cheese Rolling competition goes ahead despite health and safety fears

    “An international field of daredevils have defied health and safety zealots to take part in the annual Cheese Rolling competition.”
    “Rebel cheese rollers staged their own unofficial event after the world-famous competition, which sees people chase an 8lb piece of Double Gloucester down a steep hill, was cancelled in 2010.

    This year organisers had replaced the cheese with a lightweight foam version in order to make the event safer.
    The first race was won by American Kenny Rackers, who donned a US stars and stripes morph suit, to sprint down the hill.”

    “They were forced to chase a foam version after cheese maker Diana Smart, 86, broke with a 25-year tradition by not supplying this year’s cheese when police warned her she could be liable for any injuries.

    “The event is thought to have its roots in a heathen festival to celebrate the return of spring.

    The official event was cancelled after more than 15,000 people turned up as spectators to watch the 2009 competition.
    Since then it has been held unofficially.”

    And here’s a particularly interesting part –

    “This year, Gloucestershire Police warned those who could be deemed “organisers” of the event – including Mrs Smart – that they could attract legal liability.

    A police spokeswoman said: “We felt, and still feel, that it is important that those who, by law, could be constituted as organisers of the event are aware of the responsibilities that come with it so that they can make an informed decision about their participation.

    “The same information was given to others who could be deemed as ‘organisers’.”

    There was a large police presence at entrances to Cooper’s Hill, at Brockworth, near Gloucester, but the event went ahead as planned.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/10082729/Cheese-Rolling-competition-goes-ahead-despite-health-and-safety-fears.html

    Sound familiar?

    The same threat of legal liability, but now it includes organisers and contributors rather than just being limited to employers.
    Now, you wouldn’t think that an 86 year old lady could be threatened with litigation just for making a cheese that gets rolled down a hill, any more than you would have expected a publican to be sued for letting people smoke in a pub 10 years ago.

  5. Supergran says:

    Yawn……..

  6. Rose says:

    Yes,dear.

    Meanwhile

    England legend Brian Close ‘angers Geoff Boycott’s wife by smoking’
    http://www.sportsmole.co.uk/off-the-pitch/news/brian-close-angers-boycotts-wife_86500.html

    A famous old boy of our school.
    Well done him, he must be into his 80’s by now.

    • Supergran says:

      Oh Rose, PLEASE dont think my “yawn” comment was directed at you!! Absolutely not. It was one of those smokerphobics saying you’re all a dying breed I replied to with a yawn! But since I posted its disappeared!!!! How has that happened Frank!!! Please dont think I would be so rude Rose. I love reading your posts!

  7. cherie79 says:

    I hope you are right but does anyone have any idea what might turn the tide? I see a lot of young people smoking so perhaps their rebellion is a signal or again it might be just the usual teenage desire to do what you are told not to and they will stop when they get older.

    • Barry Homan says:

      The fundamental flaw in the anti-smokers’ plan is, in my view, this: they’re trying to get rid of smoking.

      But how do they get rid of smokers?

      That’s their big problem, and it doesn’t go away. Anti-smoking is the current fad (or fetish), ask yourself this cherie: who’s gonna be around longer, the smokers or the bansturbators?

      I figure it’s all a matter of time.

  8. nisakiman says:

    Off at a tangent slightly, but I just came across <a href="http://cdn.acidcow.com/pics/20130528/acid_picdump_42.jpg&quot;.this rather delightful photo.

    How times change…

  9. Rick S says:

    Completely O/T but I found a little card in my Marlboro packet yesterday with the legend “Overtaxed!” on the front. On the reverse side it says:

    “About 75% of the price you pay for cigarettes goes towards taxes.
    How much more should smokers be forced to pay?
    Tax increases. Smoking bans in pubs and possibly cars and homes. Cigarettes hidden behind closed doors in supermarkets and stores.
    Isn’t it time to say enough is enough?
    Know the issues and take action at: Know-more.co.uk”

    This is something that I’m fairly certain has been mooted on here before, and it looks like Philip Morris have finally taken the plunge. Does anybody have any more information on it?

  10. Chris Whittaker says:

    As long as there are Tobacco plants in the world there will always be Smoking,the Anti,s are wasting their time !

  11. Pingback: Big Tobacco Shifts its Ground? | Frank Davis

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