I noticed this somewhere:
Smokers in Norway, steadily losing ground as their habit is banned from more and more public areas, have received some much-needed support from Dr. Per Fugelli who says it’s time to stop harassing them.
The outspoken Dr Per Fugelli thinks restrictions on smoking have gone too far, and warns against portraying smokers as an “underclass”.
Fugelli, commenting on fresh proposals to extend smoking bans in restaurants and railway stations to city streets and public parks, warned against depicting smokers as inferior people.
“If an allergic person is bothered by smoke whole waiting for the tram, it’s possible to move away,” Fugelli told newspaper Aftenposten on Sunday. He warned Norwegians against the dangers of “health rage” and claimed the way smokers are being treated in Norway had “an unpleasant element of class.”
I’ve recently been toying with the idea that antismoking zealotry is a form of class warfare – but without managing to develop it very far.
One line I was pursuing was that while big Havana cigars are associated with ostentatious people in power (e.g. Winston Churchill), pipes used to seem to be more associated with the prosperous (and thoughtful) middle classes. And cigarettes are the soldier’s and working man’s tobacco product, providing a quick fix. Also cigarettes come in cartons just like bullets in a clip: ready to fire. Cigarettes are Fast Tobacco, a bit like burgers are Fast Food (which the zealots detest almost as much as tobacco).
If so, the rise of cigarette smoking in WW1 and WW2, particularly in the military, may have been seen as something of a cultural revolution by the working classes, just like Bolshevism or Anarchism. And it had to be resisted. And the long war on cigarettes has been a top-down counter-revolution against the working class, and part of the Cold War.
However, while the War on Smoking was initially directed solely against new-fangled (and therefore dangerous) cigarettes, it has now extended to all forms of smoking, and to all tobacco products.
Quitting smoking is one of the rites of passage into the middle classes.
These are just a few fragmentary thoughts I’ve had along these lines. For whatever actually is driving antismoking zealotry, it certainly isn’t any concern with health.