Action and Reaction

I suppose that one of the puzzles for me in recent years has been: Where did all these antismokers came from?

After all, 60 years ago there weren’t any, as far as I could see. Smoking was completely unremarkable.

The first antismoker I ever came across, in 1965, was the dismal Dr W, a man who seemed not only incapable of enjoying anything at all, but incapable of laughing or smiling as well. I guessed that in his childhood there was some traumatic event from which he had never recovered. And he absolutely detested smoking – particularly smoking by his teenage eldest son.

I thought (and still think) he was a bit of a nutter. But I now believe that he was a force to be reckoned with inside the BMA. The last time I ever saw him was speaking on TV on behalf of the BMA. And he was one of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of antismoking doctors who’d come to infest the BMA, the RCP, and the WHO, and who eventually took control of all of them.

I suppose that many of them were true believers in Doll and Hill’s 1950 claim that smoking caused lung cancer.

But I wonder whether theirs was also a visceral response to living in what was probably the smokiest half century in human history, thanks to the invention of the cigarettes that were readily adopted by soldiers on both sides in WW1 and WW2, and then by many women as well. And they smoked everywhere. They smoked at home. They smoked in pubs. They smoked in restaurants. They smoked in trains.  They smoked in cinemas. It was probably impossible to get away from cigarette smoke. But the few antismokers found kindred spirits here and there.  How wonderful it must have been to learn in 1950 that smoking caused lung cancer. How readily and gladly must they have accepted those findings. And from then on the numbers of antismokers gradually but steadily multiplied, and their influence grew. The first UK partial smoking bans in trains came in about 1970. And other bans soon followed. Tobacco advertising bans started around 1990 in the UK. And then of course the big one – the ban on smoking in all enclosed public spaces – in 2007. From a few isolated individual cranks they’d risen to hold the whip hand. Smoker were now on the run.

But how many people can remember the smoky world that existed 50 or 60 years ago? How many people have a visceral response to that experience still driving them? It must be fewer and fewer. Dr W died 15 years ago. And I imagine that many of his antismoking cohort have followed him. Anyone who has grown up in the increasingly smoke-free world of the past 20 or 30 years can’t share that experience. The driving motive force of the antismoking movement must be seeping out of it, to be replaced by greed and avarice.

And if smoking was a curse 60 or more years ago, antismoking has now become an equal and opposite curse. Tobacco Control has become a monster straddling the globe, driving smokers out of everywhere, shattering communities, bankrupting pubs, depressing economies. And now the increasingly corrupt and destructive global antismoking movement has created a few individuals here and there who are sick, not of smoking, but of antismoking. And they’re finding kindred spirits here and there. And they will be delighted when they learn that smoking doesn’t cause lung cancer. And their numbers will multiply, and their influence will grow. And then they’ll start repealing all the smoking bans, one by one.

The pendulum has swung one way. And now it’s starting to swing back. And the peak-to-opposite-peak swing period is about 70 years. Action brings reaction, and reaction in turn brings action.

In another 70 years the world will probably be as smoky as it was 70 years ago.

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32 Responses to Action and Reaction

  1. Some French Bloke says:

    Tobacco advertising bans started around 1990 in the UK.

    Off by a quarter of a century, I’m afraid! From a biographical note concerning George Godber: “When he took over as Chief Medical Officer in 1960, he became determined to alert the public to the dangers of tobacco. Initially his campaign was treated as a joke in the Department of Health, but his efforts were rewarded when cigarette advertising on television was banned in 1965.”

    • nisakiman says:

      Likewise British Rail had non-smoking compartments well before the 70s. I used to go to school on bus and train when I was about 8, which would have been about 1957, and there were non-smoking compartments on the train (a small red triangle with a white border, if I remember, with ‘No Smoking’ written on it), and on the (double-decker) bus, you could only smoke upstairs.

      • Frank Davis says:

        I’m speaking from personal memory. I think trains certainly did have smoking and no smoking carriages for a long time. But it only hit me around 1970 when London underground trains that I was using became completely non-smoking.

        Buses used to non-smoking downstairs upstairs and smoking upstairs. It was a shock when they went non-smoking throughout. Although I can’t remember when that was.

        As for planes, I well remember flying back from Luxor in 1990, and smoking in the rear end of the cabin, That had ended by 2000.

        And the advertising ban on TV I wouldn’t have noticed, but I did notice that in the early 1990s (I think) newspapers couldn’t advertise cigarettes openly, but Silk Cut used to have ads showing pieces of purple silk being torn by blades that looked liked sharks’ fins, which was an artful way round the advertising ban.

        • Roobeedoo2 says:

          Anti Smoking (natch) but some dates included here because they are so very, very proud of the destruction bans:

        • nisakiman says:

          I think the last flight I took which had a smoking section in the rear was about 2000. It was an Aeroflot flight from Heathrow to Bangkok, via Moscow. I chose it because I’d searched the internet to find out which airlines still permitted smoking, and Aeroflot was one of the only ones left.

          Terrible flight. Probably (no, I’ll amend that to ‘absolutely, by a long chalk’) the worst airline I’ve ever flown with.

          Awful service, awful food, and the leg between Moscow and Bangkok (both ways) was in a clapped out old jumbo jet. The carpet in the aisle was like the carpet you find at the bar in some pubs – sticky from having so much beer slopped on it over years. The plastic mouldings on the side of the seats was broken and jagged, and the fabric on the seat backs had worn so thin that the sponge was poking out. It was dire! And to top it all, the landing in Bangkok was the scariest I’ve ever known. There were strong crosswinds, and the plane came down sideways, so when it hit the tarmac it was at the completely wrong angle of approach, so pitched and veered violently. I really thought the damn thing was going to flip.

          In the magazine in the seat back pocket, I read that they were intending to ban smoking on all flights the following year, which made it easy for me to vow never, ever to fly with them again.

    • slugbop007 says:

      One step at a time. Empty promises that the latest step is the last one. Then, more to follow. Almost inexorably. There are many more steps to come. It’s going to be a difficult slog.

  2. Smoking Lamp says:

    Yes, the push back against tobacco control lies is starting. There are still plenty of people who believe that smoking causes lung cancer as well as other ailments as seen in the antismoking comments that often accompany antismoking propaganda pieces, but the tide is beginning to turn. In fact, I suspect there are few actual antismokers posting antismoker attacks, it is likely the bulk of the posters are employees of the so-called tobacco control charities. After all there never was an actual public outcry of smoking bans. The demand was manufactured and grown by astroturf campaigns. Hopefully we can all enjoy a smoke in a pub (indoors or on the patio) in most places around the world soon. Until then, we must continue to expose the tobacco control lies.

    • Smoking Lamp says:

      And now the seeds of push back in Chicago… According to the Sun-Times, “Emanuel’s plan to raise smoking age, tobacco taxes snuffed out.”

      • slugbop007 says:

        Emanuel is a Fascist. Chicago mobster.

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          emanual is obamas boy! Just like all he other anti-smoking bigots in his administration like HUD aka Castro…….sebelius cdc friedeman………….the list goes on and on

        • Joe L. says:

          Here in Chicago, our public school system is a disaster, our murder rate is up and our police force is in turmoil (currently under a federal investigation), yet Emanuel is concerned with increasing the smoking age and hiking tobacco taxes yet again (when we already have the highest cigarette prices in the nation). Everything’s wrong with this picture. So glad to see Emanuel get stomped down on this. It’s about fucking time!

  3. waltc says:

    Yeah, there were the old guys like Repace, a whnging neurotic who blamed all his childhood misfortunes on his parents’smoke. But not btw, a lot of contemporary anti comments on newspaper articles come from the bitter children of smokers who blame their own physical and existential problems on daddy’s cigarettes (and whose real complaint is really “daddy didn’t love me ” ) and additionally from the now middle-aged children whose smoking parents died of some “smoking-related” disease. And their real complaint is “Daddy abandoned me” or “Daddy chose cigarettes over me.”

    I’m serious in thinking this is deeply psychological. Their desire to punish smokers is a straight projection of wanting to publish Daddy (or Mommy, as the case may be.)

    But that aside, the temper –the bent, the sensibility– of the Me Generation is starkly different from the looser model of earlier times. The national personality has changed. for the worse. There’s a new timidity, an ur-hypochondria. Fear of Flying has become Fear of Frying –(as in eating fried chicken or eating French fries). Would the older generations have been scared of a Coke? Or geared up their kids like outgoing astronauts before allowing them to mount their tricycles? The newer lot are overwhelmed with mortal fears and they shun smokers because, as we know, there’s no safe level of secondhand smoke.

    You postulate a global return to sanity. I hope you’re right but too many have gone down the germ-free, fat-free, salt-free, and righteously pleasure-free path and it’ll take some kind of a seismic shift to get them off it.

    • waltc says:

      LOL. Publishing’s on my mind since my book comes out next week. I meant “punish Daddy” not “publish” him . (I think that counts as a Freudian slip.)

    • Frank Davis says:

      it’ll take some kind of a seismic shift

      I think small seismic shifts are gradually taking place all the time, just like in the earth’s crust. I don’t think anything ever stays the same for long. The Me Generation will go the way of every other generation.

      The War on Smoking is a war on trivia. Without big things to worry about, people instead worry about little things. But when really important things happen, I suspect that they start worrying about them instead. An hour or two before the Titanic sank, there were probably passengers complaining vociferously about the undercooked haddock they’d just been served at dinner: an hour or two later the same passengers had a great many far more important things on their minds.

    • slugbop007 says:

      Watched several episodes of Last of the Summer Wine this week, circa 2007. There were several jokes about the phobia of cooking with lard and the whole health food movement, etc. This purity movement has been around for quite awhile.

    • Joe L. says:

      …a lot of contemporary anti comments on newspaper articles come from the bitter children of smokers who blame their own physical and existential problems on daddy’s cigarettes (and whose real complaint is really “daddy didn’t love me ” )

      I couldn’t agree more, Walt. This type of projection is a common theme among antis.

      …and additionally from the now middle-aged children whose smoking parents died of some “smoking-related” disease.

      Exactly – this is used as the ultimate validation/closure for these miserable people. (“Not only did smoking take my daddy away when I was child, it took him away from me forever.”)

      Also, there are the virulent ex-smokers, who have convinced themselves that daddy stopped loving them because they took up smoking. Take Richard Doll, for example: he lost that bet £50 with his father when he started smoking. It bothered him so deeply that he set off determined to eradicate smoking altogether.

    • RdM says:

      There’s the “Halifax perfume ban” too which a search will apprise you of.

      No safe level of scent? ;={))

      Wonder what they might have made of Perfume (the novel) if they’d had the wit to read it.

  4. wobbler2012 says:

    I’ve mentioned this before but it is the huge influx of “public health” groups that have exacerbated the anti-smoking sentiment. People are bombarded morning noon and night by these charlatans for the last 8 years or so, this is what is helping to perpetuate the anti-smoking sentiment even among people that 20 years ago would have been completely indifferent to smoking.

    And the more of these bastard groups that form the worse it is going to get, and there seems to be more and more of the fuckers every year.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      wobbler Id say weve created a pretty good number of blogs and sites against the Nazis.
      Look at franks links list and many other sites. You cant even type up smoking on google without our comments or blogs showing up in the listing anymore.

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    Bunch of the Nazis on their claiming oxygen as an excuse for no smoking……………I hit em with this if it gets put up…………….Those claiming oxygen is flammable it is not!

    It takes 3 things for a fire to result or explosion

    1. fuel source
    2. Heat

    Most all hospital rooms save ICU do not have flammable gases in them nor anywhere close by. So you are in no danger. Operating rooms are classified as CLASS 3 locations by the NEC national electrical code book where ACTUAL FLAMMABLE GASSES ARE USE FOR PUTTING PATIENTS UNDER.

    100% O2 will only make a cigarette coal burner brighter ot a lighter burn higher. You have to have trapped gasses of sufficient amounts for an explosion to happen. One lousy cigarette lighter isn’t going to do it!

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      JET FIGHTER pilots are on 100% oxygen chalk to chalk and they smoke all the time in the cockpits. I know I use to clean those cockpits out at VA15 at NAS cecil field………butts all over the floor even though they had a big ashtray in the black box control panel.

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