Tobacco Control always presents itself as doing good. It’s full of do-gooders. And the good that they’re all doing is Improving Health and Saving Lives.
But do they actually save any lives? There are some very strong arguments that the smoking bans that they’re always demanding don’t save any lives at all, but instead cost lives. After all, when smokers have been “exiled to the outdoors” by smoking bans, they have been put in harm’s way. There are a lot of good reasons why us humans live inside houses rather than outside. The outdoors are cold and wet and windy, and also often dark and slippery and treacherous. To exile people to the outdoors is to increase the likelihood that they will suffer some mishap, as I have attested in the Smokers’ Graveyard, in which many people have died from exposure, or fallen out of windows, or off roofs and balconies or fire escapes, simply because they had been driven there by smoking bans.
And these are real deaths, with real dead bodies lying on streets. They’re not like the phantom “lives saved” by smoking bans, all of which are numbers conjured out of published death rates, the products of statistical manipulation.
How many people must there be who caught their death of cold, contracted while puffing away outside one icy night, dying a few days or weeks later? How many people lost their footing on an icy street, fell down and broke an arm or leg, and never recovered? We don’t know. There are no records of such things for statisticians to analyse. So it is imagined that they never happen. And yet they most certainly do happen.
And what of the other harms that smoking bans do? There is an inevitable and obvious social division that arises when the smokers exiled to the outdoors are separated from the non-smokers who remain indoors. It’s a social division that results in the loss of friendships, and the shattering of communities. And in societies made up of mutually dependent people, relying on each other for their survival, the shattering of community brings its own health risks: when the smoker outside falls and breaks an arm, there will be nobody there to help him to his feet, and call an ambulance, precisely because he was exiled to the outdoors where nobody could see him.
And then, when the smokers who have been exiled to the outdoors stop going to the pubs and cafes and restaurants from which they have been exiled, these venues lose valued customers, and quite often go bankrupt. That’s an economic cost of smoking bans that is usually ignored.
And does a ceaseless campaign of demonising and marginalising smokers do them any good whatsoever? Doesn’t it actually do them a lot of harm? Once the medical profession set out to rid the world of smoking – and therefore of smokers -, didn’t that make the medical profession the enemy of smokers, and something to be avoided by them? How many smokers no longer regularly visit their doctors for routine check-ups, because they don’t want to be lectured about smoking? And as a consequence, how many fail to have some incipient malady or other diagnosed in time to treat it? There are no records of this either, for the statisticians to mull over.
And what of the general loss of faith in public institutions and authorities that must follow when any social group is excluded and marginalised, and ceases to feel that it is part of the wider society from which they have been exiled? Isn’t it likely that excluded smokers will lose faith not just in the medical profession, but all other professions as well, including the statisticians that have enabled their persecution, and the politicians who have enacted it, and the mass media who have called for it?
Add it all up (and you can’t add it all up, because there are no numbers available, so you can only guess), and if smoking bans save a handful of lives, it’s very likely that they cost a great many more, for a whole variety of fairly obvious but undocumented reasons. That’s to say that, most likely, smoking bans do far more harm than good.
And if Tobacco Control really was concerned with saving lives and doing good, wouldn’t they at least be concerned that they might be doing social or economic or political damage. They seem to be completely uninterested. Their “evidence-based” medicine is entirely based on documented evidence: death rates. If something isn’t documented, it can’t be happening.
Tobacco Control is rather like a car driver who relies solely upon the documented evidence provided by the speedometer in his car, and its fuel gauge, and its light switch positions, while ignoring the undocumented evidence in the trail of bodies that he leaves behind him. They don’t show up on any dial on the car dashboard, so they can’t be happening.
Furthermore, isn’t Tobacco Control much more concerned with Fighting Evil than doing good? Tobacco Control sees itself as a dragon-slayer. And the dragon it has set out to slay is tobacco, and the tobacco companies that sell it (and now their many millions of customers as well). Tobacco Control has set out not so much to do good, but to rid the world of evil. It’s like an army which, in the process of fighting some enemy, lays waste the land on which it is fighting, destroying cities, poisoning wells, slaughtering animals – with all of it undocumented “collateral damage”.
Tobacco Control really only pays lip service to public health or the public good. It is far more concerned with fighting evil. The eyes of Tobacco Control are fixed upon something evil rather than something good. It is filled with hatred of a singular evil rather than love of any good. In a Sistine Chapel of Tobacco Control, there would be no God or angel in sight anywhere in the frescoes covering its walls, but instead numerous depictions of the Great Satan of tobacco, wreathed in smoke, dragging the souls of men and women (and of course chiiildren) to their tormented deaths. It would be, in short, a depiction not so much of Heaven (which would be almost out of sight in one distant corner), but of Hell. And instead of singing hymns or praying to any God in that chapel, they would be shouting imprecations and obscenities at the monstrous demon depicted above its altar.
And any outsider who chanced to enter that chapel, and saw the chanting, baying congregation shaking their fists at the huge demonic figure above the altar, would be immediately convinced that they were witnessing a satanic rite being conducted by devil-worshippers, and would say as much (if and) when they ever managed to escape.