Following on from my last post, the way I see it is that the War on Smokers is a kind of low-key civil war in which one bunch of people (antismokers) is to trying to get another bunch of people (smokers) to quit smoking. And this sort of civil war isn’t sustainable for very long, because it brings deepening social division and accompanying economic stagnation. It’s not a dynamic, vibrant society that is at war with itself. It is instead a society that is deeply conflicted. And since the war is largely being conducted using tax revenues from the same declining, war-torn society, these revenues are sooner or later bound to dry up. And at that point, the war must come to an end. So I see this sort of civil war as self-limiting.
Much the same could have been said of Prohibition in the USA in the 1920s. That was also one bunch of people trying to get another bunch of people to quit doing something (drink alcohol). And eventually that attempt was also abandoned.
What’s open to question are the driving forces behind these wars. And the way that I see that is that there is a combination of puritanism and eugenic social engineering that’s driving it. It’s a form of idealism, in which antismoking zealots believe that the world would be a better place if people didn’t smoke, and didn’t drink, and didn’t do all sorts of other things too. It’s an essentially moral crusade, largely led by senior doctors who seem to have taken over from the churches is defining morality.
Other players in these wars – like the pharma industry – seem to me to have joined in belatedly and purely opportunistically in order to make a few bucks. If Big Pharma is in favour of smoking bans (and e-cig bans) it’s because it wants to sell NRT products to smokers who are being forced to quit smoking. It’s not because it’s high-minded.
Governments mostly seem to me to have given way to high pressure lobbying from senior doctors, NGOs, and pharma companies. Most governments haven’t historically ever been antismoking, if only because tobacco provides them with big tax revenues.
That’s how I see it, and I don’t claim to have any special inside knowledge.
Others see it a bit differently. Nightlight regards the politicians in government as having been bought by Big Pharma.
It’s the money, in the case of smoking the pharma money flowing under and above the table, that buys the laws and regulations, not the little diversionary puppet show put up by the advocacy groups and politicians for the oversized children making up the increasing fraction of the electorate. The crooks walking over us daily are all bought off and are merely doing what the guys paying them want them to do. Nobody is duped but us.
Smoking Scot said that the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control was the main culprit:
Frank’s given a broad overview that I agree with.
Unfortunately he seems to have overlooked the practical effects of the FCTC treaty. That OBLIGES all governments, that sign it into law, to avoid any contact with those in the tobacco industry.
Britain has done that (the US has not, though they are a signatory to the treaty) and this is why “they” make such a fuss whenever any MP meets anyone from the tobacco industry – even informally. And scream blue murder if they dare accept free tickets to a flower show.
I agree with Nightlight’s comment in all but the oversimplification of the motivation of politicians. Not all politicians are corrupt or only motivated by money. I’m sure that many politicians DO want to make a difference to society for the good, it is just that many of them have been deceived, pressurised and coerced by anti-smoker nutters and the alleged ‘overwhelming evidence’ – which is nothing of the sort. We must remember that politicians, in general, are no more than laymen who have little expertise in medical science etc. and rely on advice from ‘experts’, senior civil servants etc.
I set out these different views for discussion. They all seem to be valid. And I’m as interested as anyone to get to the bottom of it all.
But I’d go back to what I wrote at the top, and repeat that – however the War on Smokers got started, and whoever is driving it – we now have a low-level global civil conflict as a consequence of all the smoking bans that have been introduced. We are seeing societies gradually dividing into the parties of the smokers and the parties of the antismokers. And this is a division which is, in my view, set to deepen and intensify.
Which brings me to a further remark by Nightlight:
If you want a policies and regulations to change, you got to buy the current crooks the other way, or put in your crooks. Either way, to get there, you need millions righteously enraged folks behind you.
As I see it, as social divisions deepen, and acrimony rises, smokers actually are going to become enraged in ways they have yet to. Particularly when they’re treated like Pavlov dogs:
Government hopes to ‘provoke disgust’ with £3m anti-smoking push
“The campaign launches on 30 December and centres around a TV ad, created by Dare, showing how smoking “dirties the blood” that then travels around the body affecting the organs, which are shown in a dark close-up.”
“PHE marketing director Sheila Mitchell told Marketing Week there is a “fine line” between achieving cut-through and generating complaints: “This is not a ‘return to shock advertising’ [as we know people said of last year’s campaign], because we know that can be a turn off for people.
Instead we want to provoke disgust, a kind of Pavlovian repulse trigger in people.”
These fools are playing with fire. And, the way they’re going, it’s all going to blow up in their faces. If they don’t let up, the low-grade civil war will become a high-grade civil war.