BBC: “Basic right” to Smoke

I was away from home last night, and using my little Asus netbook, and I thought I’d posted up a new blog post, but when I got home today there was no sign of it at all. I must’ve pressed some wrong button. So here it is again.

H/T Joe L for this BBC report:

IS conflict: Manbij residents celebrate liberation


Residents in the northern Syrian city of Manbij have been celebrating new freedoms after being liberated from the rule of so-called Islamic State.

They have poured into the streets enjoying basic rights they had been denied for two years, including shaving off their beards and smoking.

Good to see the BBC saying that smoking is a “basic right”. And now that smokers in Manbij have been liberated from Daesh (aka Islamic State), can we now have some air strikes to liberate the Western world from its Western secular proxy, DeASH? (H/T Tony for spotting that one.)

Also Fidel Castro was 90 years old a day or two back, and a 1994 interview of him by Cigar Aficionado was republished.

Castro:  …I was always a cigar smoker, as far as I can remember, since I was 15 years old until I was about 59 years old. That’s about 44 years of being a cigar smoker. On two occasions in my life I didn’t smoke. Once was during the Revolution because there was a great movement against cigars as a result of an uprising of the peasants on the plantations, and tobacco production went down. There was a great spirit against cigars. In order to be in solidarity with them, I quit for some time. But that was the only reason. Soon production recovered, and I started smoking again. Later I did not smoke because of reasons of health. Many people in our country were against smoking. I didn’t not smoke because I didn’t like cigars. I was very much in the habit. But there was a whole national movement against smoking.

Shanken: In what year was this?

Castro: I can’t remember exactly. It was ’84 or ’85. No. It was on Aug. 26, 1985. It was when there was a general health issue in Cuba against smoking. At first, I thought that I would simply try not to smoke in public for this campaign against smoking, and I did not make a commitment to it. I used to be with a cigar in my mouth all the time. I always had a cigar. When I was with a foreigner in a meeting like this, I would be smoking my cigars. Pictures would show me smoking cigars, or in an interview on television I was smoking cigars. And then the interview would be shown on television here, and you can imagine what people would think watching me smoke my cigars. Then I came to a decision that to really launch a campaign against smoking, I had to set the example and quit smoking. That was why I quit smoking. As I had a very strong motive, it was easier for me. I not only had a strong commitment; I had a strong motive. So, it was not so hard for me to stop smoking. People used to ask me if I still smoked when I was alone because it seemed impossible to them that I could quit smoking cigars after all those years. I must be smoking at home.

It seems he believes whatever the WHO tells him.

Castro: I did it for reasons of health, even though my health was OK. It was a moral duty to contribute to the campaign against smoking. The World Health Organization had a campaign against smoking, and we were the first ones to support it. One day, in the same place that we are sitting now, a representative of the WHO came here to present me with two medals—one for not smoking and the other one for the government programs after the Revolution, which have turned Cuba into one of the countries with the best health ratings of Third World countries in the world. So, you see, I can’t smoke anymore. My commitment is very strong. It is final. It is a kind of commitment that I can’t change.

Despite this, he’s very proud of Cuba’s cigar industry. It seems that the Cohiba brand is his own Cuban state brand, and that “cohiba” is the native Cuban name for a cigar.

So he sells cigars, but campaigns against smoking.


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18 Responses to BBC: “Basic right” to Smoke

  1. Very interesting. I never knew the story or circumstance of why he quit until reading this. Interesting indeed…

    • …I quit because it was a moral duty to contribute to the campaign against smoking…

      I suppose I see it as my ‘moral duty’ to keep smoking in order to contribute to the campaign FOR smoking. Actually I’m being quite farcical, because I feel no moral duty to anyone or anything except my own happiness. I don’t wish to ever contribute to anything that involves groups, or titles, or wears badges and hands out honors of achievement. I just want to exist and be myself with the freedom to be what and whoever I want at any given moment. I think that should be the goal of any decent and good person. That is the ultimate ‘moral duty’.

  2. Roberto says:

    My wife is Cuban and I’ve been in Cuba many many times. I am also a veteran cigar smoker. The notion that smoking is very restricted in Cuba is not true. While Public Health does campaign against smoking, it is not an aggressive campaign fashioned as a moral crusade. There is no “de-normalization” BS. People are aware of the health hazards but as a smoker you are never stigmatized nor made feel as an undesirable. Smoking is allowed in a lot of bars and restaurants, mostly in terraces but many times also indoors. Lots of folks allow you to smoke inside their houses, even if they don’t smoke (they open a window). The whether is warm/hot, so (as in all Latin America) a lot of socializing takes place outdoors, and thus smoking outdoors does not feel like being exiled.

    On cigars: the notion that cigars “stink” is a myth, only low quality cigars (factory made) smell badly. Good prime cigars (hand made) smell nicely (something non-smokers agree, save for antismoking fanatics). Also, you never inhale when smoking cigars, the pleasure is not getting the fast nicotine hitch by a deep inhalation, but enjoying the taste and flavor while the smoke lingers in your mouth and nose. Nicotine is absorbed at a much slower pace through the oral mucosa. Cigar smoking is far less hazardous than cigarette smoking (lots of studies show it), though it produces a lot more smoke, so those obsessed by the allegaed harms of SHS hate it more than cigarettes. Of course, the differences between cigars and cigarettes do not cut the ice with the anti-smoking fanatics, for whom even the almost odorless e-cigs are “killing babies”. F**k these zealots.

    Finally, the rumor that Fidel kept smoking cigars privately is very widespread, and likely to be true because in Cuba he is (or at least was until 10 years ago) a totemic figure. Whether you like him or hate him, he is always talked about. At least he may have smoked privately before he had his major health breakdown 10 years ago, which by the way had nothing to do with smoking (it was officially a crippling intestine problem).

  3. Lepercolonist says:

    “I did it for reasons of health, even though my health was OK. It was a moral duty to contribute to the campaign against smoking.”

    Whose morality ? The WHO ? Please….

    As we have been saying, it is not health.

  4. junican says:

    The ‘cognitive dissonance’ is astonishing. But has that not always been true about Zealots? A perfect example is Glantz’s whingeing about Master Settlement monies not being spent of stopping people smoking. You cannot have the monies and have very few smokers at the same time. But, philosophically, it goes further than that. Excessively taxing certain people is intrinsically wrong. What sort of outcry would there be is black people were taxed more because they were black?
    It made some sense when tobacco, alcohol, petrol, etc, were taxed more, within reason, because they were considered to be ‘luxuries’. Many other things were similarly taxed as luxuries. But, at some point in the past, the idea of ‘luxuries’ was dropped and universal VAT replaced it. And yet tobacco etc were still excessively taxed.
    It is a serious ‘dissonance’ which can only be resolved by claims of ‘sin’ taxes. Without the word ‘sin’, there is no justification.
    It is weird, but seems to be true, that taxation justifies the health scares re tobacco and alcohol. But how is excessive taxation of petrol justified? Well, lo and behold, along comes global warming and the vilification of Big Oil. Fuel taxes justify the vilification of Big Oil.
    How are the attendees at the FCTC conference going to get to India? Will they swim or row a boat? No, those UN delegates, who want Big Oil to be destroyed, with fly in aeroplanes. Those UN delegates are UN delegates whatever the ostensible specifically named department of the UN is. They are all the same.
    Their strategy is The Millennium Goals.

    • prog says:

      They usually fly, taking advantage of relatively cheap international transport that isn’t subject to fuel duty.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Cousin in America the law states for a tax to be legal it must be equitable and fair against all other forms of tax. Sin taxes have never met that definition anywhere.

  5. StevenL says:

    Cohiba cigars were originally reserved for diplomatic gifts, they were first sold to the public in 1982. The great big ones are too much for me, but I do like the ‘mini’ and ‘club’ size, which are reasonably priced in Spanish airports. I’ll probably pick up a 100 pack of Cohiba Club at Ibiza Airport in a couple of weeks. This will see me through to at least Christmas and probably a bit beyond.

    • beobrigitte says:

      I do vaguely recall one of my uncles receiving for his birthday a box containing 3(!) Cuban cigars and everyone being in awe.
      But then, all my friends and family know that the best loved birthday present for me is tobacco, so every year I am in awe of the sheer amount they all present me with on top of e.g. a ticket to see a band.

  6. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Appears Obama forced Castro to play the game to get the embargo lifted

    • beobrigitte says:

      Legally, no. However, the current fear society is susceptible to whatever nonsense “experts” spout, therefore they send out the “expert” lobby and their lap dogs initiate the laws…..

      Talking about sugar and the fear bla-bla-bla. It is easy to shut up a health-fearling advocating good old fashioned foods (whining: ‘people didn’t eat processed sugar’) by asking how much sugar you need for 500g of e.g. blackcurrents to make 3-4 small jars of jam. (And nowadays you do get processed sugar ESPECIALLY for making jam.)
      Common sense can’t win when fear and interest groups direct invasion into people’s lives.

  7. beobrigitte says:

    Good to see the BBC saying that smoking is a “basic right”. And now that smokers in Manbij have been liberated from Daesh (aka Islamic State), can we now have some air strikes to liberate the Western world from its Western secular proxy, DeASH?
    Good to read that the BBC states that smoking is a basic right. I would like to be given a room in e.g. a pub to exercise my basic right, especially as I am a PAYING customer! Until this happens my visits to such establishment(s) are limited to twice or three times on a warm, sunny day, when I can sit – as a human being – with an ashtray on the table.

    DAESH’s western secular proxy, DeASH, indeed, needs to be gone. This can be achieved far cheaper than air strikes. We need ONE government who sends them on their way and all the others will follow suit.

  8. Think a UK campaign to “Liberate Our Pubs From ISIS Control!” could have any swing? Posters of the ISIS folks beating/beheading smokers etc, along with “ISIS *OUT* OF OUR PUBS!” posters? Should the “smoke police” that enforce the antismoking laws be investigated for ISIS connections? It would certainly be a natural job opportunity that ISIS operatives would seek out for a cover while in Britain. What percentage of those jobs are currently filled by ISIS agents establishing a network that will be in place for a planned takeover?

    These are all good questions for the citizens of the UK to face!

    – MJM

  9. Pingback: The Litmus Test Of Freedom | Frank Davis

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