In a comment a couple of days ago, Brigitte drew attention to Professor Romano Grieshaber, whom I’ve mentioned several times in the past. Grieshaber was effectively working for Tobacco Control [see note 1 at bottom] until he retired and started speaking out against it. [see note 2] He has recently written in protest against the EU’s proposed Tobacco Products Directive. He wrote (translation courtesy of Brigitte):
In recent years, indeed, changes were serially made which were intended, and in any case had the practical effect, of smokers being made step by step more and more socially contemptible and letting them feel this contempt. This [social denormalisation of smokers] begins with school education (where children are taught that they are not only not to smoke, but that they should abhor smoking adults – which leads to, of course, that they react adversely to smokers) and does not end with old people’s homes where the right to be allowed to smoke in many old people’s homes stands and falls with their [residents] own ability to hobble to the door. You can provide such measures with the even most innocent-sounding names, yet those who are affected by it, understand quite right, as what it is actually meant, namely as – undeserved – punishment.
I’ve said myself several times that smokers are being punished. It’s good to know that a non-smoker from “the other side” also sees it as punishment.
Grieshaber also thinks that it won’t work (Google translation):
I am convinced with absolute certainty that tobacco control through humiliation, verbal abuse, threats, and punishment of smokers, will prove socially and politically counter-productive.
I agree, of course. It’s bound to fail. ‘Counter-productive’ is perhaps a bit of an understatement.
It is an absurd notion to use horror images to convey “consumer information”. These images do not convey information, but emotions, and these emotions are: fear, disgust, anger. The EU was founded to relieve those emotions over former opponents of the war, which had also been deliberately created once and again rekindled. Whoever thinks it is healthy for a community to now produce such emotions in relation to another group, which is easily done, sooner or later faces a rude awakening.
Indeed, it’s disgusting to see fear, disgust, and anger once again being kindled against a social group. We all know who did that. Unfortunately, whatever its original purposes, the EU now promotes such fear and disgust and anger.
Is it actually perceived in Brussels that EU-skepticism is increasing in Europe? The Tobacco Products Directive and its possible consequences may look harmless in comparison to the possible consequences of the debt crisis and its impact on people’s attitudes to the European Union. Nevertheless, it may be the straw that breaks the donkey’s back, if only because it is perceived as patronizing of the EU by a growing number of people, in whose eyes it has become intolerable, so that every new regulation is perceived as harassment…
This is perceptive of Grieshaber. I don’t know whether the Tobacco Products Directive will be the last straw, but why should any European smoker welcome the EU when smokers are already not welcome in the EU?
That is, after all, exactly how I feel: The EU doesn’t want me – and I don’t want the EU.
The EU declared war on smokers years ago. And yet some 30% of the adult population of Europe are smokers. That’s one hell of a lot of people for EU bureaucrats to make enemies of. And these days it’s pretty much my principal reason for thinking that the EU is bound to fail. Grieshaber may have it the wrong way round: Debts can be written off with the stroke of a pen, but the kind of animosities that are aroused by undeserved, unjust punishment are likely to last for a very long time.
Because I for one am never going to forgive the filth that started this war on smokers. I’m never going to forgive the antismoking zealots and their enabling politicians and pundits. There isn’t anything they can ever do now to regain my respect. There’s no way back. The boats have been burnt. And I suspect that more and more smokers feel the same way that I do.
1: There’s disagreement from my German readers about this.
2: There’s disagreement from my German readers about this too.
3: You make up your own minds about it. But I suppose the way that I see it is that anyone who goes looking for health risks associated with tobacco is following the footsteps of Tobacco Control into a very dark forest. Fortunately, Grieshaber found his way back out before he got completely lost. Most people don’t.