“What Can Smokers Do To Fight Back?”

Tobacco Control always presents itself as being on the side of the angels. They see themselves as knights in shining armour, riding out from their hilltop castle to fight and kill the smoke-belching dragon of tobacco.

But the way I see them, they’re actually just plain evil. They do far more harm than good. In fact, I’m not even sure they do any good at all. They don’t really have an idea of “good”, except a highly restricted concept of “health”, which boils down to “longevity”. For them, the good life is the long life. Nothing more, nothing less. Anything else – happiness, freedom, wealth, community, truth, honour, or whatever else you might care to mention that might have something faintly “good” about it – simply doesn’t count.

But if they have a diminutive, abbreviated idea of “good”, they have a vast and elaborate concept of “evil”, in the form of the tobacco plant, and its attendant Tobacco Company distributors, and its countless millions of devotees (or “addicts”, as TC prefers to describe them).

And they are far more concerned with stamping out evil than they are in doing any positive good. For they only ever measure their success in terms of numbers of “addicts” who they have managed to get to stop smoking.

I think one of the most important tasks in fighting Tobacco Control is to drive them off the moral high ground.

Of relevance to this was something I came across yesterday

“Perpetual repetition.” “Unqualified environmental groups.” “Sensational headlines.” This is what mass movements are all about. From his book, The True Believer, here is Eric Hoffer on mass movements:

“Hatred is the most assessable and comprehensive of all the unifying agents.… Mass movements can rise and spread without the belief in God but never without the belief in evil.”

…There are two things necessary for a mass movement to succeed: true believers and a well-defined enemy. The enemy of the climate change mass movement is fossil fuels and the Industrial Age, with the “deniers” being the enablers of planetary destruction.

…Here is Hoffer’s warning on the role of the true believer: “where mass movements can either persuade or coerce, it usually chooses the latter.”

It’s about climate change, but as is very often the case with climate change, the logic transposes easily to Tobacco Control. And in fact I think this is because climate change activism is the bastard offspring of antismoking activism, right the way down to the trace amounts of dangerous gases. It’s the Tobacco Control playbook with “tobacco smoke” crossed out and replaced with “carbon dioxide”, and “premature death” replaced with “catastrophic global warming”, and “Big Tobacco” replaced with “Big Oil”.

But the main thing I noticed about Hoffer’s mass movements was that he had seen that they all have a greater belief in something evil than they ever do in something good – much as I had imagined in The Sistine Chapel of Tobacco Control, whose walls were covered with a Hieronymus Bosch vision of hell, with a dwindled, distant heaven relegated to a corner.

Not irrelevant to all this is my upcoming half hour TV interview tonight. I’m going to be live on air in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It’ll be my first time on live TV anywhere.

I usually turn down invitations to appear on TV or radio whenever I get them, which is hardly ever. But this time the invite was from some fellow smokers who have a weekly slot on a local TV station. So it’s going to be one smoker interviewing another smoker. And I will be actually smoking.

I’m expecting the interview to be more like a half hour friendly chat. But some questions have been lined up in case the conversation dries up. Including this one:

“What can smokers do to fight back?”

And that’s a tough question. It’s one I ask myself every day: what can I do to fight back? And I fight back, in my way, by writing this blog. And by thinking about how to fight back, every day.

I think that the first thing that people can do to fight back is to recognise that they’re in a war. I think most smokers don’t really see themselves as being caught up in a war. I don’t think many of them even identify Tobacco Control as their enemy.

But, going back to my blog, I don’t see my task in writing it as being one of attacking the enemy, but instead much more one of reaching out to smoking friends. I’m much more interested in talking to smokers than antismokers. Because I think that if one is to fight Tobacco Control one must first raise an army. And that must be an army of like-minded friends or companions. They might not agree about absolutely everything, but they will be agreed about a number of core concerns.

And also, I’m interested in reaching out to smokers all over the world. Because the war on smoking is a global war. That’s why I’m always very pleased to make contact with people in Europe and America and Canada and Australia and New Zealand and Russia. Because there needs to be a global army, made up of English and French and German and Russian and American and Canadian and Australian smokers (or smoking sympathisers). And also Indian and African and Chinese and Brazilian smokers.

And I think that such an army won’t need to be “organised” in some formal sense. I think it’s self-organising. I think that such armies only appear when enough people believe that they’re going to have to fight – i.e. when they recognise that they’re in a war, whether they like it or not. And the harder that Tobacco Control presses down on smokers, the more of them are going to realise they’re in a war.

For example, at the outset of WW1, the British army was a small professional army. But when there was a call for volunteers, they stepped forwards in droves. Why? Because a lot of them had realised they were in a war, and were going to have to fight. If that hadn’t been the case, the call for volunteers would have fallen on deaf ears, and the recruiting offices would have been empty. The army, in a sense, already existed before it was called upon. And it was made up of people who’d been talking to their friends and companions, in pubs, or restaurants, or family gatherings. It self-organised as a dispersed population of like-minded people, each of whom had separately come to their own separate conclusions. Their subsequent “organisation” in the British Army was really all about training them and dispatching  them to France. And this is probably how it is in every war, wherever it’s being fought.

Anyway… you should eventually be able to see the programme. It’s going to be posted up on YouTube

 

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About Frank Davis

smoker
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57 Responses to “What Can Smokers Do To Fight Back?”

  1. nisakiman says:

    And it was made up of people who’d been talking to their friends and companions, in pubs. …

    And there, in a nutshell, we have the reason why TC were so keen to ban smoking in pubs. No social intraction = no semi organised rebellion against the illiberal and divisive laws.

  2. chris says:

    What’s the name of the program you’re going to be on?

  3. Vlad says:

    First thing that smokers have to do to fight back is to get out of the anti-smoking matrix (addicts, 1 in 2 smokers killed by smoking, smoking related diseases, science settled, all that nonsense) themselves. Then help others (smokers and non-smokers) to get out too. You’re doing a great job in that respect with this blog Frank.

  4. The first thing any smoker can do to fight back is not patronise pubs, bars, restaurants, night clubs…and churches. Every new Tesco’s Express Quickie market is a victory for smokers. The next thing is pay as little ‘UK Duty’ as possible…even if you can afford to, even if it means dragging one’s arse over to the EU or points west regularly or buying from dubious men on street corners.
    Then there are everyday acts of defiance- like lighting up slowly, exquisitely, when walking past a school or buying cigarettes for your own underage kids and when you’re outside in the cold and wet of a british summer, smoking that hurried ciggy like it is the last one on Earth. Let everyone see how much pleasure you get from it. Watch some old films to see how actors used to make a ‘sex thing’ out of smoking. Never wear day old clothes and never smell of smoke if you can avoid it…you want people to proclaim “you’re a smoker?! I never knew, you don’t smell”. If you’re into sport make a point of lighting up after your run or even while you run.
    The possibilities for defiance are endless. Hit the borg and sheeples where it hurts, right in their preconceptions and misconceptions and prejudices. Hit the government where it hurts…between their tax and duty revenues.

  5. Showing up at public hearings and speaking openly of the pleasure and comfort you derive from tobacco and carefully analyzing and criticizing anti-smoking pressure group propaganda is helpful. Cambridge Citizens for Smokers’ Rights did that Monday evening at a City Council hearing which was considering banning smoking at construction sites. We did not prevail, but the Councilors did at least hear and understand that there is “another side.”

  6. junican says:

    Good luck with that, Frank.

  7. Smoking Lamp says:

    Frank, This is an outstanding essay. I agree on two major accounts. First, tobacco control is evil; second we must fight back in every way possible. Tobacco control must be destroyed and the persecution of smokers must stop.

  8. Vlad says:

    A smoker fighting back:
    Radja Nainggolan admits he smokes and insists he’s ‘not ashamed’ of his habit

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4334830/Radja-Nainggolan-makes-admission-smoking-habit.html

    Good to notice that the best rated comments are supportive.

  9. Lisboeta says:

    For many years now, I’ve taken sufficient cigarettes with me to span the annual visit to my dwindling family in UK (cigarettes are far cheaper where I live). Indeed, I always take my permitted allowance of ciggies when I go on holiday anywhere.

    And, when I visit a particular friend in this country, I make a point of patronising her nearby café: the only one that I know of that still allows smoking indoors. The capacity of their air extraction system — which also covers the lucrative adjacent pool/billiards room — apparently meets some given standard. But I’ve no idea whether it’s a local or EU standard.

  10. waltc says:

    Live stream not working–at least not for me. YouTube page only lists past broadcasts. Any other ideas for seeing it?

  11. Frank Davis says:

    Well, that seemed to go off OK. No technical difficulties with Skype. Nice conversation with Emily Wieja. She said she thought it had gone off well. Did anyone get to see it live in the USA?

    And I smoked the whole way through.

    • Joe L. says:

      Glad to hear it went well, Frank! Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to try the stream. I’m looking forward to watching the YouTube video!

    • margo says:

      I’ve just this minute seen it, Frank, with no problem at all. Well done!
      About how to fight back: I don’t believe in defiant actions (as Blocked Dwarf suggests). I believe in dignified honesty – never lying about it (to the doctor or anyone else), never missing a chance to answer back (as calmly as possible) if other people comment rudely, engaging in conversations and passing on knowledge and observations (such as we do in this blog), explaining why you don’t buy the propaganda, and so on. I personally think that, at the root of anti-smoking laws, is scape-goating: smoking has been used since the 1950s to explain the ever-rising incidence of cancer and other killer illnesses in order that the true causes are kept off the hook. (For instance, once you realise how successfully the frequency and seriousness of nuclear accidents are kept out of the mainstream press – Japan has passed a law banning journalists – this becomes very believable). Sugar and alcohol are gradually joining the scape-goat group. But it’s impossible to keep truth covered up forever. Mainly, what smokers need to do is wait patiently. And it helps if you can take trips to countries where tobacco’s cheaper, or you’re lucky enough to know a smuggler. I’m forever looking for one.

    • I saw it .. but I think it was not live.. afterward .

  12. waltc says:

    While waiting for the video, came across this by Pierre Lemieux on plain packaging, “coercive elitism” and “lifestyle apartheid.” Stick with it and read the whole thing

    https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/serials/files/regulation/2017/3/regulation-v40n1-4.pdf

    • Joe L. says:

      Thanks, Walt! It’s great to see a piece like this get published today! Other than on blogs like Frank’s, it’s not very often you see reasonable quotes like this:

      Who knows what ugly, government-imposed packaging can do to people’s sense of aesthetics over the long run? And who knows how sociability has been hurt by banishing smokers from private venues labeled “public places,” and what are the long-term consequences of this lifestyle apartheid? (Note that it is illegal to open restaurants or bars “for smokers only and secondhand smoke tolerants.”)

      It may be my own confirmation bias, but it seems like the anti-antismoking (anti-nanny-state in general) sentiment of the nonsmoking public is finally starting to grow. Here’s hoping this trend continues!

    • Rhys says:

      Good article, Walt. I like how he draws the parallel to tyranny when officials of some sort are making our decisions for us, because we can’t be trusted; we’re not responsible adults. We’re addicts, not rational, not capable of making good choices. And as he pointed out – where does it end?

      Look at the reasoning for sugar taxes now that PH is going after fat people. Sugar is – addictive. So we have to make it so expensive people don’t buy it, as they wouldn’t choose not to. Hey, some would, some wouldn’t, and public health neglects to mention that sugar consumption is *falling* in this obesity epidemic. Apparently addiction (whatever that might mean) is the magic catch-all that turns us all into infants and wards of the state *shudders*.

      Is that particular ‘epidemic’ any more real than the smoking ‘epidemic’ (another word that’s been woefully pressed into service where it ought not to be)? I don’t see many fat people around here.

  13. junican says:

    Hi Frank.

    It seems to me that all conflicts have only two possible results.
    1) Genocide. The complete eradication of the opposition.
    2) Compromise.

    WW1 resulted in a compromise.
    WW2 was ‘genocide’ in the sense that Germany surrendered and the Nazi party was exterminated.

    I trust that you will accept that my use of the word ‘genocide’ means the same thing as ‘prohibition’ as far as smokers are concerned.

    So the machinations of Tobacco Control, over the last few decades, have produced smoking bans and high taxation. But what is critical is that ASH ET AL have distorted our freedoms. Those freedoms are the essential elements in the argument. The argument has nothing to do with the NHS or children – it is about our freedoms, both to enjoy tobacco without being massively taxed, and to set up enterprises such as smoking bars and pubs.

    It is hard to know how such overwhelming odds, in the sense of military might on the side of TC, can be beaten. But there is a chink. That chink is in the principle of ‘diminishing returns’.

    The matter of smoking bans in mental establishments is far from over. I cannot see how TC, that remote dictatorship, can rule over mental establishments for much longer.
    Pressure from such places, and prisons, etc, will eventually overturn the prohibitionists, once the ‘authorities’ in charge of such places realise that ‘their duty’ to the patients transcends anti-smoking dogma. It will happen, but it will require courage to overcome TC. Further, once TC has been driven off in one sphere, it follows that it will be driven off in other spheres.
    There is no magic bullet. We must keep on keeping on.

  14. OSHA also took on the passive smoking fraud and this is what came of it:

    Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence: Third Edition

    This sorta says it all

    These limits generally are based on assessments of health risk and calculations of concentrations that are associated with what the regulators believe to be negligibly small risks. The calculations are made after first identifying the total dose of a chemical that is safe (poses a negligible risk) and then determining the concentration of that chemical in the medium of concern that should not be exceeded if exposed individuals (typically those at the high end of media contact) are not to incur a dose greater than the safe one.

    So OSHA standards are what is the guideline for what is acceptable ”SAFE LEVELS”

    OSHA SAFE LEVELS

    All this is in a small sealed room 9×20 and must occur in ONE HOUR.

    For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes.

    “For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes.

    “Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

    Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up.

    “For Hydroquinone, “only” 1250 cigarettes.

    For arsenic 2 million 500,000 smokers at one time.

    The same number of cigarettes required for the other so called chemicals in shs/ets will have the same outcomes.

    So, OSHA finally makes a statement on shs/ets :

    Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.” -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA.

    Why are their any smoking bans at all they have absolutely no validity to the courts or to science!

  15. Lepercolonist says:

    Congratulation Frank on your Skype interview. I was actually excited to see you on video. Emily was very intelligent, polite and casual. Loved when you lit up those cigarettes. Emily seems to admire your beautifully written blog. You’re going to go viral on YouTube !

  16. Rhys says:

    Great vid, Frank, I very much enjoyed it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEMS4l-8kZw if anyone’s looking for it.

  17. Rose says:

    Nice to see you, Frank.
    I enjoyed the interview very much.

    But the first person I remember killing themselves because of the smoking ban was the the taxman, Lawrence Walker, I think his friends summed it up very well.

    Taxman kills himself ‘over smoking ban’
    4 DEC 2008

    “A taxman killed himself after the smoking ban left him a virtual recluse, an inquest heard yesterday.
    Lawrence Walker, 61, barely went out when cigs were barred from his local pub.

    Friend Robert Lye said: “He felt insulted to have to stand outside and smoke.
    “We think the ban killed him. He was so depressed about it he hardly went out.
    It made him very solitary.”

    Mr Walker, of St Columb, Cornwall, leapt to his death from cliffs at Porth beach, Newquay, in June. Coroner Dr Andrew Cox recorded a verdict of suicide.”
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/taxman-kills-himself-over-smoking-363784

  18. Oh my….my mental image of you was way off, Frank. You sound rather well bred and well educated. I had you down as an ageing hippy, 60’s survivor, beard, baggy jumper with holes in it and slight Mummerset accent or bur to your voice.
    You sound very minor,but good, “public school” and at least one strata of middle class above me.
    Pity the skype/voip connection couldn’t have been better cos you have a touch of the Jeremy Irons which makes an impression.

    • Frank Davis says:

      ageing hippy, 60’s survivor, beard, baggy jumper with holes in it and slight Mummerset accent or bur to your voice.

      Well, I actually am a bit of an ageing hippy and 60’s survivor. And I’ve got lots of baggy jumpers with holes in them (it takes about 2 weeks for my razor-sharp elbows to go through the arms of jumpers). And I did once sport a beard, many years ago, for about 6 months. I have no idea what a Mummerset accent is, and whether I’ve got one. I think I have one of those unplaceable southern English accents, which indicate that their speakers come from nowhere – because wherever I go, people ask me where I come from, and I reply that I come from nowhere in particular in southern England, because I’ve lived all over it, at one time or other.

      And I did actually go to a very minor, but good, Public School. It was run by Benedictine monks. I have no idea which stratum of the middle class I belong to, except that I’ve been downwardly mobile all my life to the point that I think of myself as borderline working class. Smoking roll-ups is pretty working class, I reckon. So, in fact, is smoking anything.

      And what, pray, is “a touch of the Jeremy Irons”? Whenever I hear myself speaking, I always seem to have a pronounced drawl (although not on this occasion, somehow or other) as if I’m simply too bored to talk.

      P.S. Has the Jeremy Irons thing got anything to do with this?

      • There is no way your accent could ever be considered any kind of working class nor can one really ever sink to a ‘lower class’ just as one can’t climb. Smoking and smoking roll ups is, I would contend, a classless pursuit-although the middle classes will take care to be seen smoking ‘acceptable’ brands …preferably using cigarettes papers they found in a dear little shop on the Dordogne and are hand cut from c16 century bibles . (I’m poking fun at myself here cos my preferred brand of cigarette papers come from Germany and I pay over the odds for them).

        Mummerset btw is that fake southern rural accent the BBC is famed for. Think Ramblin Syd of Round The Horne. A medley of all and sounding like none.

        I’m not quite sure what I meant by “Jeremy Irons”, it’s as much an impression you give as hard science. But his famous phrase ‘stupid thinking’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSdGI2-vUAE&ytbChannel=33Crazydude
        is something I can imagine you saying, with the same degree of passion and intonation.
        He too went to a minor public school I believe and is the about as southern English as it get, being born to an accountant on the Isle of Wight…and you can’t get much further south, can you?

        • Frank Davis says:

          Yes, I could use the phrase “stupid thinking”, although I’m not sure I ever do. And I’m not quite sure I agree with what Jeremy Irons was saying before he came out with the phrase: I don’t think anyone really knows what causes cancer. Right prat he was talking to, though.

          “hand cut from c16 century bibles.” Wonderful! My preferred brand of cigarette papers used to be Job (or Columbus). Unobtainable now.

      • Only just seen the PS and no.

      • nisakiman says:

        That’s interesting, Frank, because I also have an undefined accent (I went to private schools before I went to grammar school), and I also answer “I don’t know” when asked where I come from, as my father was an officer in the REME and we moved around a bit. In fact my awakening years (ages 4 – 6) were spent in Singapore, so I don’t even feel particularly English. I seem to have a greater affinity with Asia than I do with the UK. When I arrive in places like Bangkok, with all the cacophony and olfactory assaults, it’s kind of like putting on an old jacket. A familiarity that feels comfortable.

  19. ” My preferred brand of cigarette papers used to be Job”
    Mine too! But mainly because, I fear-snob that I am, they weren’t Rizla and came in a double pack. Nowadays I use http://www.rollingpapersexpress.com/search/muskote-rolling-papers.html
    although I know full well it is just another ’16th Century bible’ thing and red rizla would probably taste no different.

    • nisakiman says:

      My preferred papers are Rizla light blue, the Dutch ones. I find Job and Rizla reds are very thick and not only make the cigarette taste of paper, but also seem to burn faster.

      • As I think we’ve spoken about before (over at Leggy’s place a couple of years back?) I dislike the ‘blue’ and , even worse, the ‘silver’ papers intensely. I find a thicker paper actually compliments the taste of the tobacco and that if you smoke ‘blue’ you might as well take up a pipe :P
        That said, years ago in Holland, I got given some blues-don’t recall which make- with my tobacco purchase (you, i’m sure,recall the good old days on the Continent when if you bought a carton of cigs or a 10x5g gramme you got a free lighter or free papers) and they were see-through but also embossed/water marked with some flowery design shite, looked totally ‘gay’ but were a joy to roll….almost ‘rolled themselves’.

        • nisakiman says:

          :) Ha! I agree that the silver are just too thin, can’t get on with them at all. Aren’t the watermarked ones Belgian? Double packs. OBD or something similar. I remember finding them too thin, too.

  20. Great interview Frank! Emily did a yeoman’s job as well! (What the Q is a yeoman anyway? hmm… googletime after this…)

    Good note there on the delegations of smokers to the “nonperson” category in the news media, although they do occasionally show a “token smoker” — usually one who’s either sickly looking or one who’s headless…

    – MJM, smoker with a head… :>

    • @MjM traditionally a yeoman was a Free Man and a small holder/small farmer who owned his land…and had to work bloody hard…even by the standards of the day. It also has the by-meaning of a Free man who was liable to his overlords for military service. Hence terms such as ‘Yeoman Guards’.

      • Thank you BD! I never knew that! For some reason I’d always assumed it was some sort of nautical term… similar to “first mate” or such.

        • Probably from watchign old ‘Hornblower’ type movies. Before there were ‘marines’ on board ships, I believe, there were often ‘yeoman’ as fighting men on board. Although I know very little naval history so may be wrong on that one.

    • According to Wiki I was wrong and it was also a naval rank : “A specialized meaning in naval terminology, “petty officer in charge of supplies”, arose in the 1660s.”

  21. Oh… and also regarding the balcony collapse. Check out what’s described as “a very nice campaign against smoking” from 2006: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zu9iRE1LDdk

    • Frank Davis says:

      It probably took a lot of money to make that murderous little video.

      The global warming alarmists made a similar one a few years ago. I think it was called “No Pressure”, in which kids in a classroom who questioned global warming were blown up.

  22. I should know I have to deal with the VA hospital crap myself. I went outside on the front sidewalk where smoking had always been and I was pissed over waiting 4 hours on an emergency dental extraction and still hadnt been seen after 38 people went thru before me and the lady tells me well sir everyones left for the day! So I go outside and am facing the road when a hand comes up to grab my lit cigarette and I grabbed the hand thumb first twisted it around behind his back and shoved him into the wall. Turns out he was a VA cop………I told him $%^&*&%$$ AND i WALKED OFF to the new so called smoking area was and 2 doctors and 4 nurses were at and saw what happened. So he bothered you too ehh, I said he wont be so quick to mess with a smoker again

  23. Funny how no one complains about being geoengineered to death by spraying . Much more toxic than walking past a ‘smokers only bar’ . It’s nonsense . GMOS are far more dangerous and the Round up pesticides they use . It is just so hypocritical. Not. Ring tolerant of the smell of smoke more often is the culprit than the real dangers they automatically throw in ones face . Thet use he danger of second hand smoke in arguments where it does not apply . A catch all . We live in a global prison .

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