Start A New Graveyard?

Via Smoking Lamp a few days back:

Six years ago, more than a dozen men with AK-47s shot their way into Akinbode Oluwafemi’s home in Lagos, Nigeria. They killed his house guard and his brother-in-law, and briefly held a muzzle to the head of one of his year-old twins.

“I do not know why I was not killed that day,” said Mr. Oluwafemi, who as deputy director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria has been one of his country’s leading antismoking activists.

He was one of several tobacco control advocates at last week’s 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Cape Town who in telephone conversations described violence or threats they faced as they fought the expansion of smoking in their countries.

No arrests were made in any case, and none of the victims could prove that the men assaulting or threatening them worked for the industry. But the pattern was consistent.

They were first quietly warned that they were upsetting cigarette companies, tobacco farmers or government officials connected to the industry. If the activists persisted, threats or violence escalated suddenly and unpredictably.

In 2012, Tara Singh Bam, deputy regional director of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, discovered “wanted” posters with his face and those of nine other antismoking advocates — including Indonesia’s national health minister — pictured under the headline “Ten Enemies of Tobacco Farmers.”

A year later, he said, an intruder pushed into the lobby of his Jakarta apartment just as he was taking his children to school.

“He grabbed my hand and said ‘You must leave my country as soon as possible,’” said Dr. Bam, who is from Nepal. “Then he blew smoke in my face. My children started crying — and he left.”

And just two years ago, he said, he received a Facebook message warning: “Do not interfere in our tobacco affairs.” It ended with “Your coming made the atmosphere not good.”

When he looked up the sender’s name, Dr. Bam said, he found an official of the Indonesia Tobacco Growers Association.

Mr. Oluwafemi said he could not prove that his attackers were linked to the tobacco industry in his country, but he strongly suspected it. They were far better dressed and better armed than typical robbers in Nigeria, he said, and his modest home was an unpromising target in a neighborhood of mansions with Mercedes-Benzes.

Also, he added, they started firing even before they cleared the outside wall. He may have survived, he said, partly because of the chaos caused by all the shooting — the police later counted 75 empty shells.

I’m not in the least bit surprised. If anything, what’s surprising is that this sort of thing hasn’t been happening already. And been happening for a long time.

But I’m a tobacco smoker, not a tobacco producer or distributor. I spend most of my time thinking about smokers and what’s been happening to them. I hardly think about tobacco producers at all. I just buy their product. Apart from that I have nothing to do with them. Just like, apart from buying their products, I have nothing to do with dairy farmers.

And tobacco producers and distributors have been far more demonised by Tobacco Control, and for far longer, than smokers have been. Big Tobacco has been demonised for the past 50 years, if not longer. Smokers have only been feeling the heat for the past 10 or 20 years.

And people who are in the tobacco trade are people who earn their living growing and packaging and distributing tobacco products. It’s a very old business. It’s been going on for 500 years, pretty well. And now they’re probably being portrayed as being as bad as slave traders. Maybe even worse. What happens when you tell people that you’re an executive in some tobacco company these days? I bet a lot of people blanch and refuse to shake your hand. Maybe they even tell you that you should be ashamed of yourself for killing 400,000 people a year.

If you’re in the tobacco business, Tobacco Control isn’t just excluding you and demonising you: it’s also doing you out of your living, doing you out of your job. And not offering you any compensation, most likely.

If you’re a smoker, you’re merely being robbed by punitive taxation, insulted by warnings on your tobacco packs, and exiled to the outdoors. They’re small injuries, even if they slowly add up to a very large injury.

But if you’re in the tobacco business, you face losing your livelihood, and quite likely your home and everything you possess. You stand to lose everything.

And maybe in places like Nigeria or Indonesia, they don’t have well-established legal means of seeking redress when they’re injured in some way. And so you just send some boys round, armed with AK-47s, and get your redress that way.

I doubt if Philip Morris or R J Reynolds or BAT do things that way. They’ll be fighting back with lawyers through the courts. That’s the way things are done in civilised countries, much like they hold elections rather than have revolutions.

But there’s essentially a war going on. It’s a war between Tobacco Control and the tobacco business, and now a war between Tobacco Control and the world’s 1.5 billion smokers. Maybe it’s just a war between Big Pharma and Big Tobacco over who gets to sell nicotine products. Maybe Big Pharma simply wants to medicalise nicotine, and sell it as a prescription drug. Maybe Big Pharma would like to do the same with alcohol and sugar and salt as well.

But it’s a war either way, and in wars people die. I’ve already got a graveyard full of smokers who have died in this war. And the people in Tobacco Control should realise that, if they’re going to fight this war, they’re going to suffer casualties too. Some of them are going to die as well.

It’s a low level civil war. And it’s a low level civil war that’s slowly getting hotter. And it’s a civil war that is pitting Englishmen against Englishmen (most of my worst enemies are English people working in Tobacco Control), Frenchmen against Frenchmen, Spaniards against Spaniards, Americans against Americans, Russians against Russians. It’s the same everywhere, including Nigeria and Indonesia. It’s just that it’s in places like Nigeria and Indonesia that the shooting has started.

I’m hoping that governments will one day wake up to this gradually mounting civil war. Does the British government really want Englishmen killing Englishmen? Does the French government want French people killing French people? I don’t think any government anywhere wants that to happen. And so I think they’ll have to intervene to stop the war before it gets much worse.

There’s little sign of anything like that happening. Because none of these governments see this as a civil war. They see it as a Public Health campaign. And they’re on the side of Public Health. What government isn’t on the side of Public Health? Because Tobacco Control has sold them this war on tobacco (and on tobacco companies and tobacco smokers) as a Public Health initiative. They don’t know, most of them, that the Holocaust was also a Public Health initiative.

Perhaps I should start a new graveyard. A graveyard for antismokers. Antismokers who were shot dead or strangled. Or who died prematurely under suspicious circumstances. I can’t think of anyone who needs to be interred there. Sure, George Godber is dead, but he died aged 100. So is Richard Doll, but he died aged 92. And C Everett Koop too, but he died aged 96. But I’m sure the body bags will start arriving soon.

About Frank Davis

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19 Responses to Start A New Graveyard?

  1. Vlad says:

    Considering that Richard Overton ( smokes and he’s 111 old, I think the deaths of Doll, Koop and Godber are premature. :))

  2. Timothy Goodacre says:

    What a remarkable film. Thank you !

  3. Rose says:

    FDA Statement
    Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on efforts to reduce tobacco use, especially among youth, by exploring options to address the role of flavors ‒ including menthol ‒ in tobacco products
    March 20, 2018

    FDA seeks to limit menthol, fruit flavors in tobacco products

    March 20 (UPI) — The Food and Drug Administration is taking the first step toward possibly limiting fruit flavoring and menthol in tobacco products in an effort to reduce the appeal for children.

    On Tuesday, the agency issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, called ANPRM. In receiving data and research, they want “to consider the most impactful regulatory options the FDA could pursue to address this issue” in cigarettes, e-cigarettes, little cigars and snus.”

    Considering that tobacco originally arrived unflavoured, plaited in ropes and packed into wooden barrels, it’s a great wonder that the practice of smoking ever took off.

    • Joe L. says:

      Why is the FDA even concerned with eliminating flavored tobacco? I thought they were planning to “fix” the “problem” of smoking by forcing tobacco producers to lower nicotine to so-called “non-addictive levels.”

      Therefore, even if children were attracted to tobacco solely because of flavorings (where’s the scientific evidence to support this?), they won’t possibly continue to smoke because they will no longer be able to get “addicted,” right?

      This is clearly nothing more than a poorly-disguised precursor to prohibition.

      Also, if they eliminate flavorings and reduce nicotine levels in e-cigarettes (again, not a tobacco product, yet conveniently considered one whenever it comes to regulation), vaping will literally be reduced to sucking on a fog machine. I hope the community of Antismoking vapers are happy.

  4. Joe L. says:

    Perhaps you should create a new graveyard dedicated to all the prominent Antismokers/Healthists who died “prematurely” or from “smoking-related” illnesses.

    Also, I still believe you should dedicate a section of the Smokers’ Graveyard to the suicides and homicides that were believed to be caused by Chantix/Champix, before the media suddenly stopped reporting similar cases.

  5. smokingscot says:

    I take the whole lot with a pinch of salt. I know people who have been on the receiving end of real threats and they do not talk about it. They don’t even want to remember the event, in some cases that’s because they wet themselves, or worse.

    It leaves the person knowing they’re essentially emasculated, powerless and incapable of protecting themselves or their family.

    What’s quoted is little more than grandstanding and they mix apparent personal, one on one threats with “threats” on social media. Two very different things, though it plays well with the intended audience, so it’ll help boost their personal standing amongst their peer group “brave tobacco controller fights the good fight” type stuff.

    Frank has been quoted by Tobacco Tactics as follows:

    Davis penned a “letter to Linda Bauld” including the lines: “Those nasty emails and phone calls you’ve been getting weren’t organised or planned by anyone. I shouldn’t worry about them too much. It’s just the trailing edge of the swarm, like the zephyrs on the perimeter of a hurricane. But they’re not going to stop. They’re going to become more and more frequent. You should start worrying when bricks start getting thrown through your window, or messages daubed on your door. They won’t be planned or organised either. They’ll just happen.”

    “Better still would be to leave the country .. That way you’ll be out of the country and maybe even living under a new name when your old university department gets torched, and your old colleagues are strung up from lamp posts.”


    “You didn’t really think you could continue forever kicking people in the face with unanswered blows did you? No more hiding behind your protected academic immunity status while raining gutter level vitriol down on right decent folk. All the while you sit back reading and drooling over all of the ‘you stink’, ‘you’re filthy’ and ‘good riddance’ comments you’ve purposely incited. You love it, you cold blooded, majorly-credentialled snake … The dam is about to burst. You have no idea of how much pent up hostility is going to spill over the top when it finally breaks.”

    All available here:

    And Mike Daube stated:

    The Curtin University professor, who chaired the committee that recommended plain packaging of tobacco in Australia, says the vitriol dished out by nameless attackers could have a chilling effect on individuals’ readiness to speak out about the health impacts of alcohol, tobacco and other social ills.

    “I do think it’s getting to the stage where people in public health are at risk of being intimidated out of it,” Professor Daube told Medical Observer.

    “I have certainly been the target of very unpleasant blogs, tweets and direct emails, replete with [obscene language]. It’s no fun having those coming into your in box.”

    He cited the example of a young Australian researcher who stopped commenting publicly about electronic cigarettes after being lashed by “internet vermin”.

    All available at my place, May 2015.

    They do try to make mountains out of ant hills. They LOVE being seen as the victims.

    To date the only person remotely associated with tobacco control who has died early was an Australian who was killed in Tasmania by their own son, who happened to be a heavy drug user.

    I felt nothing for the parents; still don’t. Both were your standard issue “salary person”.

    The son, well they painted him as a severely fucked up kid who did it because of drugs. My take’s quite different, I felt for the kid, being brought up by pointy fingered parents who didn’t remotely match up to the high ideals they claimed. In short utter, contemptible hypocrites.

    Judging from the outpouring at the time, I think Frank’s wasting his time on anything to do with Tobacco Controllers and their deaths or demise. Myself I won’t even bother urinating on their graves.

    Best leave that lot to mourn their own. They get paid (handsomely) to do that – and it’s so transparently fake it’s almost amusing.

    As it was when the Aussie couple were topped. The outpouring and the plaudits were astonishing. UNTIL they sussed it was the sprog what done it. THEN silence.

    WHY? Too damned close to home for them.

    Would you believe, even the great Bloomberg has problems with one of his own spawn?

    As you’ve probably gathered, many of them make absolutely useless parents, so the African chap and the one from the Far East, who claim their kids were there, did they care? No they didn’t, the kids were purely coincidental.

    Want to talk about using kids? Speak to ASH, get lots of twinks they do, to do their bidding, for a day off school and a bit of screaming, oh and lunch kicked in as well.


  6. waltc says:

    “Only the good die young.” – Heminway

  7. Smoking Lamp says:

    Now the antismokers are moving to ban outdoor smoking on NYC sidewalks. From the Daily News: “Councilman’s bill would ban smoking while walking on city sidewalks” The antismokers are going far beyond exiling smokers to the outdoors; they’re seeking persecution and prohibition. It’s time to ramp up support for NYC C.L.A.S.H.

    • Joe L. says:

      This must be fought tooth and nail. Antismokers currently have unbridled power to persecuted smokers, and they need to be stopped now.

      Also, this article follows the pattern most recently used in the NYT article about Austria’s Freedom Party by closing with the following quote from a smoker with a guilty conscience:

      A Staten Island smoker who gave his name as Rosario, who was puffing a mini cigar as he walked in Midtown, agreed with the bill.

      “We’re victims of this stupid habit,” he said, adding of the potential $50 fine, “It should be $100. And that opinion comes from a smoker.”

      Which support’s Walt’s comment,

      Unfortunately, there’s one of those people everywhere. The writers just ask until they find him.

      In this case, it appears they had to hike down to Staten Island to find one, but find one they surely did, and they closed with it.

    • Re both flavorings and sidewalks: both fit right in with the norm for them: (A) attack on EVERY front — sexism, environmentalism, child-protection, litter, smell, example, bereavement-grief, pregnancy, sexism, racism, economics, even religion; AND (B) step by step: they’ve been shoved out of businesses and apartments and cars, but the sidewalks and private detached homes are still available. So… time to move on those:

      There’s no real reason for any of it, but taking it all one slice at a time on every conceivable front is the method.

      – MJM

    • Just left this at the NY article:

      I grew up in Brooklyn, worked and partied in Manhattan, visited in Queens and S.I., and went to college in the Bronx. In all that time I do not have a single memory of walking behind any individual pedestrian, smoking or not, for ten minutes straight. Yet Councilman Koo says he has followed people like this “many times” while suffering from his follow-hobby.

      Does this seem both strange AND creepy to anyone else?

      The normal course of behavior for 999 out of a thousand New Yorkers if someone nearby is bothering you in some way unintentionally is to move a bit to a non-bothered space, whether the problems is radios, smell, pets, arguments, bad language, smoke, gaping holes in the buttocks of jeans, or a Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton button… you do NOT creep up behind them and follow them closely for ten minutes “many times” as you walk around New York unless you are some sort of psychopath or a just a really, really, REALLY creepy creep.

      – MJM

  8. Lepercolonist says:

    New York, New York
    I want to wake up in a city, that doesn’t smoke

    • Joe L. says:

      This is bad news. The coincidental timing and abrupt nature of these public smoking bans in New York and Quebec is a blatant indicator (as was the international flood of comprehensive indoor smoking bans of a decade ago) that this is absolutely not an organic trend, but rather a coordinated plan to synthetically gain momentum and drum up public support for similar bans worldwide.

      These Antismoking cretins have already stolen our livelihoods, yet they still aren’t content. They are utterly despicable people who harbor contempt for their fellow man. They are no different than racists, sexists and homophobes. Sadly, smokerphobia is cuurently the only form of prejudice that is Politically Correct and socially acceptable.

      Tobacco Control must be destroyed.

      • Rose says:

        Not that it helps the smokers plight but it’s important to see things in context.

        By the Numbers: Air Quality and Pollution in New York City

        “New York City is known for many things, but having clean air isn’t one of them. The smell of truck exhaust and the sight of smoke plumes rising up from rooftops are all too common experiences for Gothamites. Though it can be easy to take the air we breathe for granted, air pollution poses serious health risks for city dwellers, including heart disease, lung cancer and asthma. The city recently estimated that up to 2,700 premature deaths a year could be attributed to fine particulate matter and ozone in the air—more than eight times the number of murders that took place in 2013.”

        “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.”

        And it’s still working, though over the years it’s seriously got out of hand.
        Reason has never been any defence against a full blown witchhunt.

      • Douglas Hall says:

        Yes – Tobacco Control and smokerphobia has to be stopped. How about starting with peaceful legal public protests?

        • Rhys says:

          In Vancouver, that gets you a fine of $1000 and 90 days in gaol, and I honestly don’t know if we could get any number of people who’d do it. How bad is it where you live?

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