The Antismoking Epidemic

Another Smoking Section interview of me by Emily, this time about the Smoky Drinky Bar.

I still hadn’t recovered from a hangover after the party in the Smoky Drinky Bar the night before, and I thought my thought processes and speech were both a bit slow.

The Smoky Drinky Bar is an evolving project. It works very well when there are a few people in there. But most of the time there’s hardly anyone there, because too few people know about it. And also I can’t spend all my time there, and neither can anybody else.

My current idea is to show up regularly at 7 pm UK and stick around a while. But I may try other approaches. So might other people.

Something I heard in the Smoky Drinky Bar a few days ago – about how smokers in someone’s family had fallen out with antismokers in the same family, and were no longer on speaking terms with each other – set me thinking that it must be something that’s happening in almost every family. What are the chances that any extended family is entirely made up of smokers, or non-smokers, or antismokers? Pretty well zero.

And that will mean that the families of more or less anyone you care to mention, including Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Philip Hammond, etc, are likely to be experiencing the same divisions to one degree or other. Or are likely to have knowledge of such divisions. Maybe that’s why government is beginning to show signs of disenchantment with the antismoking drive: government ministers and civil servants are beginning to see the cracks in society opening up around them in their own families.

In the past, families were made up of smokers and non-smokers who got along with each other. Antismokers didn’t exist. The first antismoker I ever encountered was Dr W, in whose house I once lived when I was aged 17, before I started smoking.

Smokers and antismokers can’t co-exist. The smoky environments that the smokers like are the ones that the antismokers don’t like, and vice versa. There’s no compromise environment that they can share. It’s either one or the other. And that’s why the antismokers are so utterly uncompromising in trying to stamp out smoking everywhere.

I thought Dr W was mentally ill. And I still do. There were a lot of weird things about him – like, for example, his inability to laugh. Being antismoking was just one symptom among many that he presented.

Unfortunately it’s a mental illness that seems to be very catching. Most of my former friends succumbed to it at one time or other. It was like watching the plague stalking the land. One day they were perfectly OK, but the next day they were covered in spots, and coughing and sneezing. And I would flee.

But I think I’m immune to the disease. I think that Dr W vaccinated me against the antismoking disease. So much so that it was largely through meeting him that I started smoking a couple of years later.

We’re living in a time of plague. The antismoking plague is now a global pandemic. It seems to particularly afflict the medical profession.

And it may be a plague that has been around before. Sat with a beer and a cigarette in a sunny pub garden yesterday, I was entertaining the idea that the Protestant Reformation that had started in the early 16th century was actually an antismoking epidemic. For it started at almost exactly the same time that tobacco began to be introduced throughout Europe. What were the Protestants protesting about? What did they get rid of in their churches? Smoke. They got rid of the smoky candles and incense that filled Roman Catholic churches. They also got rid of the paintings and sculptures that cluttered their walls. And they also got rid of all the Latin mumbo jumbo, and replaced it with their native language. They set out to purify and simplify and modernise and clean up the church, perhaps in the same way, and at the exact same time, that Nicholas Copernicus was also purifying and simplifying the solar system with his new heliocentric model of it. Protestant churches were smoke-free churches. They wouldn’t have said that smoking was like pissing in a swimming pool, because they didn’t have swimming pools back then: but they might have complained of people “pyddlinge in ye fonte”.

It almost seemed a plausible hypothesis: the Protestant reformation as antismoking epidemic.

And speaking of smoke, has anyone heard of the time When Doctors Literally Blew Smoke Up Your Arse?


About Frank Davis

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36 Responses to The Antismoking Epidemic

  1. Rose says:

    Medical Uses of Tobacco Past and Present

    Tobacco smoke enemas

    “Inspired by an American First Nations custom, tobacco smoke enemas were administered by medical practitioners in the 18th century to treat everything from colds to cholera.

    Drs William Hawes and Thom­as Cogan, who practised medicine in London, England, around 1774, formed The Institution for affording immediate Relief to Persons apparently dead, from drowning. This group later became the Royal Hu­mane Society, and presently is spon­sored by Her Majesty the Queen of England. In the 18th century, the society promoted the rescue of drowning people, and paid 4 guineas (about $160 today) to anyone who successfully brought a drowning victim back to life. To that end, Drs Hawes and Cogan began the practice of a unique type of holistic medicine.

    At around this same point in his­tory, tobacco had been imported to England from Virginia to be inhaled, chewed, smoked (usually in a clay pipe), or smoldered as “bum cigars.” American First Nations people used tobacco as a medicine and pioneered the use of tobacco smoke enemas. Word of this treatment crossed the water to England, and volunteer medical assistants with the society began to use the procedure to treat half-drowned London citizens who were pulled from the Thames River. Initially the “pipe smoker London Medic” inserted an enema tube with rubber tubing attachments into the victim and blew smoke into the rectum. This was erroneously thought by the practitioners to accomplish two things; first, warming the drowned person, and second, stimulating respiration. Artificial respiration was used if the tobacco smoke enema failed.”

  2. buckothemoose says:

    My family is made up mainly of smokers, but none of the non-smokers have fallen out with us. In contrast, most of our circle of friends are non-smokers, but again, none of them have fallen out with us. Just lucky I guess

    I get the impression (and others can correct me if I’m wrong) that Northerners tend to be more tolerant of others vices than southerners, along with enjoying more of those vices themselves

    • Frank Davis says:

      Smokers and non-smokers have always got along. It’s antismokers who are the problem. Do you personally know many of them?

      • buckothemoose says:

        Personally? No. Only the internet ones

      • natepickering says:

        The problem, specifically, is that militant anti-smoking became the societal default position. This results in otherwise reasonable people saying horribly bigoted things that, in any other context, they would be able to recognize as horribly bigoted.

        • Joe L. says:

          Exactly. Through social engineering, Tobacco Control has made it socially acceptable to release one’s deep-seated bigotry and hatred toward smokers. It seems that smokers are currently the only minority group which it is “Politically Correct” to openly hate.

        • buckothemoose says:

          I think what they’ve created is fear. People are scared of something they weren’t scared of before. Frightened people do extreme things
          It kind of separates the sheep from the humans, doesn’t it?

  3. Emily says:

    Just a warning, there are some technical issues in the aired video that seem to have originated with CCTV- a couple of times the screen goes black and once there is a random interlude of some unrelated video. Ah well, I never let these things bother me ;\

    I think what I have seen in family and friends is less outright division, but more that the smokers will hide or downplay their habit to avoid discussion and derision.

    • nisakiman says:

      I thought the brief interludes with the rather odd looking band and the guy rabbiting on about recycling were great! It added a somewhat surreal touch to the whole affair! :) Slightly Pythonesque. It made me smile.

      Great interview again, Emily. Keep ’em coming!

      With regards family and smoking, I have to admit that I don’t avoid discussion at all. I’m well known in my extended family (siblings, nieces and nephews, children and grandchildren etc) for being very vocal on the subject. I’d like to think that although the majority of them are non-smokers, they will never be anti-smokers. They listen to what I say, and they are intelligent enough to separate fact from fiction.

      That acceptance of my views doesn’t, however, extend to letting me smoke inside their homes! Oh, if I insisted, I expect they would acquiesce, but I know they prefer that I decamp to the rose garden for a ciggy. So on that level, I guess I’m sort of ‘hiding’ my habit, although when I visit, I’m rarely alone when I go out for a smoke. I’m generally followed out by someone I was talking to.

      • Emily says:

        …brief interludes with the rather odd looking band and the guy rabbiting on about recycling…

        That was very “Cambridge”. Trust me when I say you don’t want to truly understand all that that entails. But it made me smile too, though it was closer to a grimace :)

  4. Rose says:

    Monday, Dec. 03, 1928

    “Dr. Raymond Pearl, famed biologist of Johns Hopkins University, was born and reared in Farmington, N. H. He well remembers two outstanding facts about New Hampshire society as he knew it during his young years:

    1) There was a State prohibition law, desired and admired by the leading citizens:

    2) There were plenty of saloons, run openly and comfortably, desired and patronized by the leading citizens.

    After pondering these facts maturely and examining certain statistics relative thereunto, Dr. Pearl wrote a paper, published in the December American Mercury, called “The Psychology of Prohibition.”

    1) As more and more of the U. S. population was brought under State prohibition laws between the years 1870 and 1917, total consumption of alcohol in the U. S. increased almost three times as fast as the population.

    2) During the same period, per capita consumption of alcohol was multiplied more than two-and-one-half times.

    3) The deathrate from alcoholism,* the only index to per capita drinking when the sale of liquor is illegal, was at its lowest point in 1920, the year after national prohibition became effective.

    4) After five years of national prohibition, the alcoholism deathrate had more than tripled, surpassing its 1918 level, almost regaining its 1910 level, when only 16-96% of the U. S. population lived under prohibition.

    “Dr. Pearl made a psychological explanation: “To call our people names, and accuse them of hypocrisy because they want both prohibitory legislation and liquor too is the favorite attitude of Europeans generally, and of a good many persons in this country as well.

    But . . . the American psychology regarding Prohibition is basically only a form of the sort of make-believe and dressing-up that every child indulges in.
    No one would think of calling a child a hypocrite because he dresses up as a cowboy or a policeman. Other peoples are, in other respects, just as childlike and naïve in their psychology as the Americans are about Prohibition.

    For example, consider the problem of why Englishmen wear silk hats. (They still do.) It is apparent to the meanest intelligence that a silk hat, considered as a hat, is a poor and ridiculous thing. It is uncomfortable, it is ugly, it is easily damaged by the elements against which it is supposed to be a protection.
    Why then do Englishmen generally, and American undertakers and politicians in particular, wear it? For a simple reason. The silk hat is a symbol of respectability. Expensive as silk hats are, they still offer the cheapest of all known ways to achieve the outward semblance of respectability.

    “In a precisely similar way national Prohibition is the silk hat of the American people. It ensures our respectability and has never so far interfered with the desired consumption of alcohol.

    * Not to be confused with the deathrate from wood or denatured alcohol poisoning.,9171,928255,00.html#ixzz0gBKgs4tm

    The Psychology of Prohibition
    Raymond Pearl

  5. Rose says:

    If Dr. Pearl was right in his theory on Prohibition, “As more and more of the U. S. population was brought under State prohibition laws between the years 1870 and 1917, total consumption of alcohol in the U. S. increased almost three times as fast as the population”. then we should see a rise in smoking both legal and illicit tobacco.

    Oddly enough it seems that Plain Packaging maybe the final straw

    Smoking on the rise in France despite rollout of plain packaging
    2 May 2017

    “Attempts by the French government to discourage the population from smoking appear to have burnt out as new figures reveal a rise in the number of smokers.
    It’s perhaps a cliché that the French love their cigarettes, but as they say, there’s no smoke without fire.
    In fact new figures reveal that even despite the French government’s controversial efforts to turn the population off cigarettes, the number of people smoking has gone up.

    Since France introduced a ban on branded cigarettes in January 2017, more packets of cigarettes have been sold compared to last year when branding was allowed, according to the country’s Customs Office (L’administration des Douanes).
    In March alone the French bought four million packets of cigarettes, over four percent more than during the same period last year.”

    • nisakiman says:

      There must surely come a point when the politicians become aware of these facts. I don’t really understand why they are unaware now, although I guess they are fed all their information via the Tobacco Control lobby.

      There must come a time, and soon, when they (the lawmakers) can’t avoid the facts that are being published in the news outlets (albeit perhaps not the MSM), What will they think, I wonder, when they realise that at the behest of the fanatical anti-smoking lobby, they have legislated a huge and costly mistake? Will they take steps to rectify that mistake? Or will they just try to ignore the fact that they made a right royal fuck-up and brush the facts under the carpet?

      The former would be nice, but I fear that the latter is the more likely…

  6. C.F. Apollyon says:

    Since difference(s), division(s), fire(s), and smoke(s) are topically pertinent amongst associations and distinctions…I’ll pull out some Bible quotes that are prolly less standard fare because of the book(s) in which they originate….
    Jeremiah 23:1, 2-3
    Jeremiah 23:23
    Joel 2:20
    (I linked the entire chapters because they are both quite interesting reads)

    Joel 2:15 is also interesting…
    Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly.

    I guess I don’t read that “solemn assembly” bit as some…erm…”meeting to be qualified.” Thinking about it now, and how to express my feelings on it…more of a “come without prejudice or pretense, and let’s see what happens” kind of thing. Kinda like SmokyDrinky. Or the comments section @ Merovee. Or the lack of comments on a lot of other blogs where some would prolly like to comment, but do not comment since their comment will stand out/cannot be buried within the noise of an active and well-populated comment section.

    When we get to know “one’s faults”…a person is going to become those faults, and the person themselves…will disappear. You are not Frank…you are not Emily…YOU ARE FAULT!!! YOU ARE SMOKER!!! FAULT BAD!!! SMOKER BAD!!! YOU BAD!!! ALL OF YOU….BAD!!! Even successes cannot surmount these “evils” as you fade from humanity behind the layered veils of your own smoke that is topped by the rhetorical smoke of others (current bullshit rambling of mine included) to where even your life no longer matters.
    “Join us, or die” kinds of thinking.
    Yeah…psychologists, law enforcement, profilers and the like are prolly shitting themselves as to some of the connotations of their own standards and methods, and how they apply to themselves and their own efforts. To be fair tho, some do not deny it. I wonder how much further they are willing to take those thoughts from there?
    Killing to prevent killing that never happens.
    Justified in the margins of greater good(s), better service(s), and better product(s) for all.

    Confusing stuff to be sure.

    ^Jay Lumen – Babel (Original Mix)^

    • buckothemoose says:

      Daffy Duck and Porky Pig are not wearing seatbelts. What kind of a message does that send to ‘our’ young people? Shame!

  7. Pingback: Flying Blind… – Library of Libraries

  8. Smoking Lamp says:

    I agree it is an ‘antismoking epidemic’. The ‘epidemic’was nurtured by tobacco controllers using false or exagerrated research tofurther thier agenda. The second hand smoke lies were key to fomenting today’s antismoking hysteria. It seems the foundations of their prohibitionist crusade are starting to crack. We need to find ways to hasten their demise.

  9. Smoking Lamp says:

    Just found this article at the Los Angeles Times showing how the new Laguna Beach outdoor smoking ban is resulting being enforced resulting in overt persecution of smokers. “Laguna’s new public smoking ban leaves a stink”

    • Joe L. says:

      Very sensible article regarding a completely nonsensical, extremely draconian law. Hopefully there are more people in Laguna Beach who agree with this author, and we soon see a repeal. Until then, I will never visit Laguna Beach.

    • Rose says:

      Very good article, when I researched the beginnings of the modern antismoking movement in England, it all lead back to the activities of the Socialist Medical Association, Godber, Doll, Joules. So Corbyn is still keeping the faith.

      Gosh, I’ve just found that the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has recently deleted it’s article, that I’ve posted so often, on how smoking was used to cover up the lung cancer epidemic caused by air pollution and it’s now nowhere to be found, except as a memory on blogs.

      Fear of political embarrassment led to government cover up of link between air pollution and lung cancer

      “Delegates attending an international conference in London today to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Great London Smog of 1952, which caused an estimated 12,000 deaths, will hear how governments from the late 50s onwards deliberately downplayed the huge threat to public health caused by air pollution, and sought to shift the blame firmly onto cigarette smoking instead.”

      Thank you, who ever put that on the wayback machine.

      • Rose says:

        Richard Doll’s socialism did not please everyone

        “Doll was a member of the Communist Party until May 1957. He resigned, due to his difference with the conclusions of the Communist Party’s commission on Inner-Party Democracy. He and his wife were members of the Norland branch in Kensington at least for most of the 1950s but had probably joined in their youth.”

        “His communism had so antagonised Professor John McMichael at the Hammersmith that he was told after the war, “You’ll never work here.”
        Now behind a paywall.

  10. RdM says:

    There are so many things wrong with this … the attack continues

    Rose, you remember Dickie Ed interloping on Forest a while back?
    For it is he… I wondered whether he was pleased to remain ‘icognito’ after his foray there, or vain enough to worry that he wasn’t immediately recognised, and whether he would have engaged.

    But his references were flawed, as were other essays… more detail later or privately.

    If you look carefully, can you see the incipient horns about to grow out from his temples? ;=})

    {another @#$%! ex UK TC expat trying to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond!}

  11. RdM says:

    OOPS! ~ I did NOT mean to embed a ‘live’ tweet feed, I hadn’t realised that it worked like that
    (well I’d forgotten after the Americas Cup one….)

    Frank, delete it if you like, or leave it as a an insight into a TC mindset… with references.

  12. Rose says:

    Hull Royal staff say ‘we are being treated like lepers over humiliating smoking ban’ as cigarette butts litter Anlaby Road
    7 JUL 2017

    “Staff at Hull Royal Infirmary claim they are being ‘victimised’ and ‘bullied’ by a smoking ban on hospital grounds which is forcing them out on to the street to light up a cigarette.

    On June 1, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust imposed a ban on smoking across its sites at Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham, leaving many workers infuriated.

    Lynn, 60, who has worked at Hull Royal for 16 years, called the smoking restrictions ‘humiliating’ and claimed the hospital is treating staff like ‘lepers’ by forcing them onto Anlaby Road to smoke.

    “I think it’s disgusting,” she said. “They treat us like lepers and it’s just humiliating. It doesn’t look very nice to the public either who are walking past.”

    Now that’s another pressure I hadn’t even considered.

    More nurses and midwives leaving UK profession than joining, figures reveal
    3 July 2017

  13. Smoking Lamp says:

    New article at the Hull Daily Mail about outdoor hospital smoking ban: “Hull Royal staff say ‘we are being treated like lepers over humiliating smoking ban’ as cigarette butts litter Anlaby Road “

    The typical antismoker astroturf comments abound…

  14. Juliet 46 says:

    Under the “Well, it made me laugh” column:
    A heavy-smoking disabled friend of mine was visited by two health professionals. They said that they would prefer him not to smoke in their presence. He told them that he would prefer them to F**f off… He won!! They stayed.

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