Isn’t Antismoking Anti-American?

The smoker Petunia Winegum, writing sympathetically about smoking on Anna Raccoon..

Virginia tobacco plantations provided a fast track to a fortune for enterprising British colonists as, regardless of the odd voice raised against the practice, the smoking of the addictive plant quickly permeated every strata of society back in the Mother Country. Its widespread popularity inevitably saw the price drop, dealing plantation owners such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson a severe economic blow they perceived as a conspiracy on the part of London. As much as taxation on tea gets the credit for lighting the fuse of the American Revolution, it’s feasible to speculate tobacco had as significant a part to play on the road to independence; I wonder if American health fascists have ever considered that possibility?

…reminded me of my first ever Skype conversation, with Winston Smith of New York state, who told me that America had been “built on tobacco”.

I often see smoking bans as primarily part of a cultural war, masquerading as a health campaign, on absolutely everything that ordinary people regard as normal and right and good. I see the UK smoking ban as primarily a cultural war on a British beer-and-cigarettes way of life, currently personified by Nigel Farage of UKIP. In fact I rather suspect that he’s as much hated as he is for his cultural identity as his politics. His is the world these malcontents grew up in, and which they most want to tear down and consign to history. They want to be rid of not just beer and cigarettes, but also double-decker London buses, bright red post boxes, fox-hunting, and both the Crown and the Church. All must be blown away, perhaps with the help of an army of windmills.

But if there’s a cultural war going on in Britain, how much more so in America? Aren’t American antismokers engaged in a profound cultural war on America and American values? Isn’t antismoking something that is profoundly anti-American? The same can’t be said of Britain or Europe, because neither of them were “built on tobacco”. But if America was built on tobacco, as Winston Smith told me, then it seems to this Briton that American antismoking zealots are making war on the history and the idea and the very essence of America. And that for Americans to defend smoking is to defend America itself from its enemies.

I write this on a day when thousands of people lined the streets of Leicester to welcome the return of King Richard III, where he was met by representatives of the Crown and the Church, and accompanied by knights on horseback, in what was a both a reminder and a re-affirmation of a deep English culture and history – the very sort of thing its enemies wish to denormalise and eradicate.

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About Frank Davis

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22 Responses to Isn’t Antismoking Anti-American?

  1. Well I know we can trace our English ancestry back to about 1640 here in America. In Virginia and other linage in South Carolina/Geogia penal Colony. We found much on taxes collected by the crown on tobacco that was still listed. At least what my 2nd Cousins wife said who live on the original Homestead from the 1830s and still a tobacco producing farm. Even my direct family I know of thru 3 generations raised Kentucky tobacco even when they were in ten in 1790 with a revolutionary land grant my greatx4 grand father had. Then He packed the whole clan up in the 1830s and led his family via wagon train to Madisonville ky and settled just south of it about 15 miles on 640 acres or a section as they called it. I visited there with my great gramps and gramps and the pennyrile freeway came thru the middle of the homestead and the old original log home was still there stacked up where they had set it back in the 1960s so the freeway didn’t take it.

    They had owned a few slaves I discovered by chance there before the civilwar came about. The cabin actually had housed chained slaves and the chains with shackles were still on a few of the logs. This happened after the family had built a fame home later on. Anyway I took those 6 logs and had them bagged and cleaned to save as they were still in pretty good shape even after being air stacked and covered with tin roofing thru those years.

    During the civilwar all my family both sides mom and dads fought for the south and one set of brothers were so for the rebellion even after being wounded they got well and rejoined their old units in the field. One was captured at gettysburg and incarcerated til the wars end.

    They returned home and raised families and was so spectacular was the names one of the brothers gave to all his 12 children. All the boys were named after great civil war confederates.
    Robert E Lee…………stonewall Jackson……….john hunt morgan……. It just went on and on and I have the birth records to prove it.

    I guess I inherited quite bit from those brave boys………..I mean 7 years of daily fighting back and 3 fights with anti-smoking Nazis over the last 10 years. Im talking fists in restaraunts.

    Its not really worth it because its usually not just smoking with these idiots they have more pet peaves than anyone.They simply look for trouble and push it to no end. Bullies not me,I aint standing for it.

    But as long as good men fight injustice and remind those seduced by propaganda what freedom is and point out the freedom to be free we cant lose. Each generation has their fight and well. The strong stand up while the meek abide the BS. I might yet end up in jail over some Nazis mouth.

    But we don’t have to put up with their shit,we just have to say NO!

    Then back it up if we have too………..by whatever means you have.

    Oh and the family left Tenn over the Trail of tears and forced movement of the Cherokees and well a lot of the wives at the time were Cherokee and I am about 1/4 Cherokee myself the rest English Irish and scotch………..Hell of a pedigree ehh!

  2. waltc says:

    Its present demonization aside, I don’t know that most Americans today would think of tobacco as profoundly American, even tho historically it is, though many would see it as Formerly Normal. But it seems as though a lot of our cultural icons, not just Camels and Lucky Strike, have been snootily nominated for oblivion — the ones we approaching dotage remember fondly as, yes, part of American identity but also part of normal everyday. What, after all, is more American that Coke? Followed by hot dogs, hamburgers, Hershey Bars, peanut butter, Good Humor chocolate-covered ice cream on a stick, and even–a final blow to the nation– Mom’s Apple. Pie. OTOH, I have to admit that my country has rarely been an actual bastion of tolerance. In turn, Americans have serially hated/excluded every “race, color and creed.” So I can’t say the easy habit of hatred isn’t itself “profoundly American.” We just seem to switch its victims and targets as fashion dictates.

    • waltc says:

      Should have read ” normal everyday life” (I hate when that happens.)

      • Rose says:

        If they want to get rid of all traces of tobacco, they’ll have to demolish part of the Capitol Building.

        Small Senate Rotunda – Capitol Building

        “Desiring columns that were more slender than the Ionic order but not so elaborate as the Corinthian, Latrobe designed a capital with the leaves and flowers of the native American tobacco plant; they were modeled by Francisco Iardella in 1816.”
        http://www.aoc.gov/capitol-buildings/small-senate-rotunda

  3. chris says:

    The US has a strong puritan streak, so there’s nothing really all that anti-American about deriving enjoyment from denying pleasure to others. “Freedom for me but not for thee”
    One of our greatest comics, the late George Carlin, epitomized it by describing the Founding Fathers as “slaveholders who wanted to be free”.

  4. The Blocked Dwarf says:

    USA- a place where, you can walk into Starbucks with a Sig on your hip but not a Cig on your lip. If you want to know why that should be then you need look no further than Fred and Westboro Church Of Crazy. Whatever else he is and whatever else you might think of him, he is closer to being one of the Founding Fathers than Abe Lincoln was. He , Fred, is the Founding Fathers’ spiritual successor not Obama.

  5. Actually Starbucks jumped right on the anti-gun ban wagon too! Just about the same time they dumped on smokers and their outdoor sidewalk seating areas………….Though they did say that some of their locations used public sidewalks and those zones were out of their control.

    The starbucks CEO is a bigtime Obama supporter and pretty well plays ball with whatever the leftists say or demand even doing it before they make any demands.

    I haven’t been in a stabucks in probably 8 years………..over priced fast punked service.

    Id love to see them post about the 2000 chemicals in coffee and 50 carcinogens! LOL

    • nisakiman says:

      The Starbucks ‘no smoking at outside tables’ policy has even extended to Bangkok, where all the outside tables have these dinky little ‘No Smoking’ signs on them. Happily, the denizens of Bangkok, although they abide by the indoor smoking bans mostly, totally ignore the outdoor ones, and walking past Starbucks and seeing lots of people smoking at the outside tables is the norm. And of course, because ashtrays are not provided, the staff have the job of sweeping up the butts that litter the floor around the tables.

      Personally, I never use Starbucks on principle, same as I would never buy an Apple product. If they have a bad attitude towards smokers, they won’t get my business.

  6. The shit just keeps on dragging out!

    4D ultrasound scans show the harmful effects of smoking during pregnancy on babies

    PREGNANT women have long been urged to give up cigarettes because they heighten the risk of premature birth, respiratory problems and even cot death.

    http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/565738/Smoking-during-pregnancy-harmful-effects-babies-4D-ultrasound-scans#

  7. Rose says:

    a re-affirmation of a deep English culture and history – the very sort of thing its enemies wish to denormalise and eradicate

    According to the BBC, the wait to file past Richard 111’s coffin is now four hours long.

    • Frank Davis says:

      http://www.channel4.com/programmes/richard-iii-the-reburial

      Rose, I reckon that if you take an interest in Richard III, it’s because he was a Yorkist, and you’re a Yorkshire lass. And if Junican in Bolton doesn’t have much interest in him, it’s because Henry Tudor was a Lancastrian and he’s a Lancashire lad (Bolton was historically part of Lancashire).

      In addition, I came across this yesterday, which had a “genetic map” of the UK. Which left me wondering whether the Wars of the Roses between Lancaster and York were actually as much a cultural war between two quite distinct regions of England as wars between rival nobility.

      genetic map

      • Rose says:

        Frank, how well you know me.

        I nearly told the irritating Lancastrian to button it yesterday.

        “Who actually, really, really cares? “Please speak up at the back – I cannot hear you!”

        ME! : )

      • beobrigitte says:

        How interesting! I did avoid the saxons and settled with the britons…. me, a half-saxon….

  8. mikef317 says:

    Was America “built on tobacco”? In colonial days, we didn’t have great cities like London or Paris. We had lots of land suitable for growing tobacco – a crop that citizens of London and Paris wanted to buy. At the time of the Revolution, Washington, Jefferson, and most signers of The Declaration Of Independence were tobacco farmers. (By the Civil War, many tobacco farms [plantations] had switched to growing cotton.)

    Built on tobacco? My (next to nothing) knowledge of economic history says that England was a “manufacturing” nation. U. S. colonies were “resource rich,” selling agricultural products, and using the money we got to buy English goods that we could not have made ourselves. Built on tobacco? Maybe. Or worded differently, tobacco was the foundation that allowed the U. S. to enter the “world” (English / European) economy. It enabled us to build our own manufacturing facilities.

    ==========================

    Petunia Winegum is wrong in calling the Nazis the “first” anti-smoking lobby. Not to mention King James, we’ve had zealots in America for a long time.

    Much like English anti-smokers airbrushing cigars from Winston Churchill’s pictures, the history of anti-tobacco in America is something U. S. fanatics would rather not see.

    Magnetic might appreciate this. One of the signers of The Declaration Of Independence was Benjamin Rush – an MD.

    http://medicolegal.tripod.com/rush1798.htm 1798, pg 268. “Who can see groups of boys of six or eight years old in our streets smoking cigars, without anticipating such a depreciation of our posterity in health and character, as can scarcely be contemplated at this distance of time without pain and horror!”

    I’ll quote two more from the early 20th’ century. (To avoid the dungeon, links are given below as a separate comment.)

    Henry Ford, 1916, pg 5. (That Ford, with an introduction by Thomas Edison [that Edison], who, like Ford, wouldn’t hire cigarette smokers.) “If you will study the history of almost any criminal you will find that he is an inveterate cigarette smoker. Boys, through cigarettes, train with bad company. They go with other smokers to the pool rooms and saloons. The cigarette drags them down.”

    And they died of “smoker’s heart,” a truly horrific disease.

    John Kellogg, 1922, pg 123. (Cornflakes guy, another M.D.) “Prof. Wilcox of Cornell University in a paper read before the Race Betterment Conference held at Battle Creek in 1914, showed by carefully compiled statistics that if the birthrate shall continue to decline at its present rate of decrease, no babies will be born in the year 2000. No doubt a close inquiry into the matter will show that the increase of the tobacco habit among women is a contributing factor to this phase of race degeneracy.”

    Race degeneracy > eugenics > Nazi Germany?

    ==========================

    “I often see smoking bans as primarily part of a cultural war, masquerading as a health campaign….” Agreed. And I’d think you’d agree to add global warming. Was U. S. prohibition also a cultural war? If not, what else was it?

    ==========================

    “Isn’t antismoking something that is profoundly anti-American?”

    Not to this American.

    If anti-smoking is anti-American, it is, it also anti-British, anti-Canadian, anti-Australian, and anti-any democratically elected government. It is also anti-Russian, anti-Chinese, and anti-anyone who opposes its will. The Tobacco Control movement is worldwide. It is profoundly anti-democratic, and anti-scientific, and always has been.

    But is it specifically anti-American?

    Even at the time of the Marlboro Man, only about half of American men smoked. I think the percent in England was much higher. Women in both countries smoked less.

    When I was reaching adulthood (back in the 60’s) except for an occasional doctor warning about lung cancer, smoking wasn’t an issue. Like drinking, you either did or you didn’t, and except for keeping “adult” substances away from children, average people weren’t overly concerned. I certainly didn’t consider people who didn’t smoke (even the occasional person who expressed disdain for tobacco) in any way “anti-American.”

    Guns are probably more of a symbol of our national character – but, back in colonial days, and long after, if you lived in a cabin in a wilderness where dangerous animals roam, a gun would be as necessary as a food and water supply. (The same can be said today if you live in more rural parts of the country. Hell, coyotes still occasionally show up in New York City – like wild foxes in London.)

    Infringing on other people’s freedoms might be “profoundly un-American,” but we did quite a bit of that with the slave trade. And we voted for prohibition.

    Idealism is something I’d consider an American trait. We ended slavery. And prohibition. And I’m sure that we will eventually end the current anti-smoking hysteria.

    ==========================

    “King Richard III….a reminder and a re-affirmation of a deep English culture and history.”

    As an American (on rare occasions) I have rather condescendingly looked at the Royal Family’s ceremonies and the Changing Of The Guards At Buckingham Palace, and thought – nice show, but hell, it’s the 21st century – get rid of this stuff. The British people, however, obviously don’t agree.

    As an American, I was born into a “semi” deep culture and history. What is it like to visit a pub that was in business before my parents were born? Damned if I know. If I have a sense of tradition, at its height, it is Thanksgiving Dinner. (Relatives I don’t want to see. A dozen vegetables I’d rather not eat. Young children who would be happier with macaroni and cheese in front of a TV.) I’m not big on Thanksgiving; I’d rather be home, all alone, watching TV, and eating mac and cheese (and I’m not a M&C fan).

    I don’t think I have a sense of tradition, or deep culture and history. It’s something I don’t quite understand. Maybe something that people in England do understand.

    This turns me to zealots. They are always 100% correct. Anyone who disagrees with them is 100% incorrect. There is no middle ground. No compromise. No sense that other people might have different but equally valid ideas.

    Which leads me to an idea no zealot can think….

    Perhaps the fault lies with me, rather than thee.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Built on tobacco? My (next to nothing) knowledge of economic history says that England was a “manufacturing” nation. U. S. colonies were “resource rich,” selling agricultural products, and using the money we got to buy English goods that we could not have made ourselves. Built on tobacco? Maybe. Or worded differently, tobacco was the foundation that allowed the U. S. to enter the “world” (English / European) economy. It enabled us to build our own manufacturing facilities.

      That’s pretty much how I see it. The UK industrial revolution was fairly well under way by 1750. It had become the “workshop of the world”, but using mostly imported raw materials. The American colonies (as they were then) exported tobacco, sugar, cotton, and probably a whole bunch of other stuff (fruit, furs?) to the UK, and got various kinds of manufactured goods in return.

      we’ve had zealots in America for a long time.

      Many of them may have been exported from the UK to start with. The Pilgrim Fathers were a group of English Puritans who escaped from the reign of James I to America in 1620. Some 20 years later, there was the English Civil War between Puritans and Royalists, which resulted in the execution of James I’s son, King Charles I.

      “I often see smoking bans as primarily part of a cultural war, masquerading as a health campaign….” Agreed. And I’d think you’d agree to add global warming. Was U. S. prohibition also a cultural war? If not, what else was it?

      Yes, I think global warming is part of an environmental/Green cultural war on industry/capitalism. And yes, Prohibition was a cultural war too.

      “Isn’t antismoking something that is profoundly anti-American?”

      Not to this American.

      If anti-smoking is anti-American, it is, it also anti-British, anti-Canadian, anti-Australian, and anti-any democratically elected government….

      Most of the countries you mention didn’t produce and export tobacco. But America always did (and still does). It’s in that sense that it seems anti-American to this Briton, much as being anti-pasta would (maybe) be anti-Italian, and anti-wine would (maybe) be anti-French.

      As an American, I was born into a “semi” deep culture and history. What is it like to visit a pub that was in business before my parents were born? Damned if I know.

      There’s a pub up the road from where I live which may well date back to the reign of Richard III. Living in Britain, we’re surrounded by stuff which goes back hundreds of years, or 2000 years (Roman roads) or further (Stonehenge). That sense of a “deep history” is probably just as true in much of Europe, particularly Rome or Greece. It’s a heritage which most Britons are aware of and want to preserve. But it’s also a heritage that some people find rather stultifying. I’ve really only begun to appreciate it as I’ve gron older.

    • Smoking Scot says:

      And to add insult to…

      If you smoke then don’t keep a parrot!

      http://www.examiner.com/article/does-your-parrot-smoke-if-you-do-the-answer-is-yes

    • Smoking Scot says:

      Oh dear, best not tell these guys.

      Steven Tyler, Frank Zappa, Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picasso, Winston Churchill and Mickey Rourke.

      And there are others. Here:

      http://classicsbythesea.blogspot.com/2013/08/famous-people-with-parrots.html

    • beobrigitte says:

      – Heather Goddard left devastated when pet dog Clover got lung cancer
      – Vet informed her harmful chemicals from tobacco smoke were to blame
      – It meant her ‘extra special’, eight-year-old rescue dog had to be put down
      – Now speaking out to protect more pets from the toxic chemicals in smoke

      THAT made me laugh!!! Tobacco Control stops at nothing – abusing the most unfortunate people in our society.

      So, the dog was a rescue dog. WHY did the animal have to be rescued?
      As for the vet – my advice if you are taking your animals to this vet would be: find a vet who knows his job!!!! But then, the vet must be hard up to come out with this utter nonsense. NONE of my pets ever had cancer (I do smoke IN my house); the only cat with cancer (at the age of 18 years, owners smokers, too) was a rescue cat….

      Common sense will return when Tobacco Control alongside the healthists are being kicked out.

  9. Rose says:

    Was America “built on tobacco”?

    Yup, or at least our bit was, it was the only thing the early colonists could trade that would make the long journey across the Atlantic to England, not only in good shape but improved.

    America’s First Cash Crop: Tobacco

    “The year was 1614, and the sailing ship Elizabeth was setting off from the young English colony of Jamestown, bound for London with a cargo that included four barrels of tobacco, about 4,000 pounds. Few probably knew that those four barrels would change the entire economy of Virginia in less than a decade.

    The barrels were a test batch, grown by an enterprising settler named John Rolfe who wanted to see if Virginia could break the tobacco monopoly then enjoyed by Spanish plantations in the Caribbean and South America.

    The reaction to that first modest shipment was huge. By 1617, tobacco exports from Virginia to England totaled 20,000 pounds. Colonists sent 50,000 pounds back home in 1620, and production exploded 30-fold to 1.5 million pounds by the end of that decade.

    It would be hard to overstate the importance of tobacco’s sudden explosion onto the Virginia scene. Rolfe, also remembered in the history books for marrying Pocahantas, planted his first crop along the James River around 1612, at a time when the Virginia Colony was riding a long streak of failed commercial ventures including timber, silver, gold, iron, pitch, tar, potash, glass, silk and wine.

    In tobacco, though, Virginia finally stuck the jackpot. ”
    http://modernfarmer.com/2014/05/americas-first-cash-crop-tobacco/

    Tobacco: Colonial Cultivation Methods

    “By 1640, London was importing nearly a million and a half pounds of tobacco annually from Virginia. Soon English tobacconists were extolling the virtues of the colony’s tobacco with labels bearing such verses as:

    Life is a smoke! — If this be true,
    Tobacco will thy Life renew;
    Then fear not Death, nor killing care
    Whilst we have best Virginia here.”
    http://www.nps.gov/jame/learn/historyculture/tobacco-colonial-cultivation-methods.htm

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