I’m Voting Against The Antismoking EU

The next few days are all set to be dominated by EU elections and Brexit once again.

We were supposed to have Brexited months ago, but it didn’t happen. Our Prime Minister, Theresa May, prevented it from happening. And while she remains Prime Minister, she’ll carry on preventing it from happening. I think she only became Prime Minister in order to prevent it happening. It’s become her sole task in life. She’s a true believer in the EU. She thinks, like many other people, that Britain’s place is inside Europe, not outside it.

I used to be like her. I used to be a believer in the EU. I wanted to belong to it. But now I want to escape from it.

And I want to escape from it for a reason that many people – most people – simply won’t understand.

I want to escape from it because I smoke cigarettes, and the EU is an antismoking political organisation.

I don’t know why the EU is antismoking. I just know that it is. I only found out early in 2010 that the EU had declared war on smokers. And I only found out a few months ago that it had been at war with smokers since at least 1989, 30 years ago. For all I know, it’s been antismoking from its very inception, 70 or more years ago. In fact, for all I know, the EU’s sole purpose is to stamp out smoking in Europe. And that’s why I’ll be voting against the antismoking EU tomorrow.

It seems crazy to me that a political organisation which seeks to unify Europe should have declared war on millions of European smokers. How can you possibly unify a land if you make enemies of half its population? You can’t unify it. You can only divide it. There can be no European union with antismokers in charge of it.

My revolt against the EU is a smoker’s revolt. And I see the current growing revolt against the EU as the revolt of smokers all over Europe against the antismoking EU. For they were always bound to revolt. It was utterly predictable that they would revolt.

But I’m the only person who sees the current revolt against the EU this way, as a smokers’ revolt. Most political pundits see it as a revolt by “nationalist populists”. But I’m not a nationalist. I don’t keep a union jack in my home. I’m English, but not aggressively so. Nor am I a populist. I tend not to espouse popular causes. I tend not to believe what everyone else believes. I’m in revolt against the antismoking EU because I’m a smoker, and for no other reason (although I can easily think of other reasons).

I’m a smoker who was expelled from society – “exiled to the outdoors” – on 1 July 2007. And smokers all over the world have been sharing my experience, usually on different dates. I last visited Spain a few weeks before its existing mild smoking ban was to be intensified on 1 January 2011, and have never wanted to go back. There are hundreds of millions of smokers all over the world who are experiencing the profound exclusion of smoking bans. I’ve been experiencing it myself for the past 12 years.

But most non-smokers simply have no idea at all about the exile taking place around them. Because nobody ever talks about it. And because nobody ever talks about it, they think it isn’t happening. It’s a silent exclusion. Smokers aren’t being arrested, imprisoned, or shot. They’re just being quietly exiled. And also quietly robbed.

But I live the life of one of these exiled smokers. I experience it intensely. I know what it’s like to be expelled from society. And in my small way I fight back. I write about it. I write about it because I wake up thinking about it every morning. I wake up thinking about it every morning like amputees wake up thinking about their missing legs.

And I learn from it. I’m a very slow learner. Even after 12 years of exile, I’m still learning about life in exile.

And I think that, when they find their voice, smokers are going to become a very powerful force in the world. As powerful as blacks and gays and women and all the other people who have been excluded and persecuted for one reason or other.

And they will find their voice. For I think that the current “nationalist populist” uprising in Europe is in large part a revolt of Europe’s smokers against the antismoking EU. Is it entirely accidental that Nigel Farage and Marine Le Pen and Matteo Salvini are all smokers? I don’t think it is. I think they’re all people who know what it’s like to be an exile in their own countries. And they’re all angry about it. And that’s why they’re finding it easy to form alliances with each other.

I once stood three yards away from Nigel Farage on the high street of Stony Stratford. We were both holding beers and cigarettes. At the time I could think of nothing to say to him, but if I were to find myself there again, I’d ask him whether, like me, he only turned against the EU when he found out, long before I did, that it was a radically antismoking organisation.

And I suspect that he would take a sip of his beer, and a pull on his cigarette, and reply immediately:


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13 Responses to I’m Voting Against The Antismoking EU

  1. Lizzy says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I find it encouraging to know that I am not alone. Thank you.

    I am writing this comment to point out that women have never been excluded or persecuted. You included them with people who have been, and while this perception does seem to be a prevalent one, the result of probably over a century of feminist propaganda, it simply isn’t true. Different roles, different gender-based expectations and restrictions, different privileges… but not anything like exclusion or persecution, and nothing worse than what men have had to live with in the way of gender prejudice and enforcement of gender roles.

    Again, thank you for writing this stuff Frank. I live in exile as a result of these smoking bans too, and reading your blog tends to fortify my spirits a bit.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Women didn’t get the vote until about 100 years ago. Before that there weren’t any feminists. It’s rather strange that (apart from the Suffragettes) it’s only been since they got the vote that highly vocal feminists have abounded.

      Much the same seems to have been true of blacks in the USA. And gays after it became legal. They all got vocal after they’d been granted rights. Perhaps it’s only when you get granted rights you never had that you realise that you never had them.

      With smokers it’s the other way round. We used to have lots of rights, and now those rights are being removed. Perhaps that’s why there are so few vocal smokers. You fall silent when your rights are removed, and only get vocal when they’re restored.

      • Lizzy says:

        There most certainly were feminists in the 1800’s, and probably long before that too. Check out some Mark Twain novels. His social-commentary style of writing provides an interesting view of what things were like in the USA in the last half of the 19th century.

        For instance, in The Gilded Age, which Samuel Clemens co-authored, one of the characters is a feminist. Incidentally, in that book they comment that women are “the privileged sex”. What should we make of that?

        I think the common knowledge about how women were treated in the past is as muddy and agenda-driven as the common knowledge about the effects of smoking on health. And as with smoking, if you look more closely at the history of the matter you find that things are not quite what we’ve been led to believe.

        The whole voting thing can’t be judged without knowing the history of voting before women had the right to vote. When did men get the right to vote? Are men to be considered an excluded or persecuted class of people before they got the right to vote? What did men have to give to in order to obtain the right to vote? Who were the feminists who lobbied for the right for women to vote? Did they represent the desires of most women at the time? What did women have to give to in order to obtain the right to vote?

        If you can find the answers to those questions I’m pretty sure you’ll notice that what we’ve been told about the social status of women in the past is generally pretty far from the truth. We have most definitely been lied to by feminists. Big lies, and lies that most of us take for granted as being true… just like the lies about smoking. We are so vulnerable to this kind of manipulation.

        But this is all kind of off topic at the moment. Sorry Frank. Your concerns lie with Brexit. And these smoking bans have to go!

        • Barry Homan says:

          The battle between the sexes rages on. Who’s really in power? The above post triggered a memory about something I read about the wealthy, illustrious, Victorian beauty Lillie Langtry. Once, in an alleged hot-headed dispute with one of her husbands, he bellowed at her:
          “I’ve spent enough on you to buy a battleship!”

          Her reply?
          “Yes, and have spent enough in me to float one!”

  2. Tom Macaulay says:

    I am surprised that your vote against the EU is only because of their anti smoking agenda.
    I voted to join the EU in the initial referendum because then it was only about free trade. Since then it has become a European super state imposing laws from Brussels and overriding the democratic rights of individual countries.
    We have to leave and regain control of our democratic rights.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I was all in favour of the EU until 2010. It was only when I then discovered that the EU had an antismoking agenda that I became super-critical of it – much in the same way that I become super-critical of people when I discover they’re antismokers.

      Prior to the UK smoking ban I was almost apolitical. I didn’t have much interest in politics at all. So I paid little or no attention to it. I had no strong political views at all. I tended to dislike all politicians. None of them had anything to say to me. And, but for the UK smoking ban’s radicalising impact on me, that’s probably how I’d still be today. I’m a classic case of the “liberal who has been mugged.”

  3. DP says:

    Dear Mr Davis

    ” …that Britain’s place is inside Europe, not outside it.”

    That should read eu, not Europe. Pro-eu people love to conflate the eu with Europe.

    Der Speigel is peddling a ‘leaked’ diplomatic cable from the outgoing German Ambassador to the Court of St James from 1988, claiming “Queen Outed Herself as a Fan of the EU”.


    “The cable, originally written in Germany, states that Queen Elizabeth II left “no doubt that the future of Britain lies in Europe.” “

    Another conflation of the eu and Europe. Perhaps Her Majesty did mean the eu, or was merely stating a geographical fact. I suspect she was, and is, very careful with her choice of words, which raises questions about the remaining quotes.

    I assume der Speigel is pro eu, as was the German Ambassador.


  4. Fredrik Eich says:

    We can’t vote against anti-smoking China but then neither can the Chinese.

    TFBoys: Wang Yuan sorry over illegal smoking

  5. waltc says:

    Actually, here in NYC , for gays the horse did come before the cart. Not allowed to assemble in “public places,” raided and busted if they did, they staged the famous (“I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it any more.”) Stonewall Riots ca 1969, which themselves were a major factor in, not just changing the laws but turning the national tide. Oddly (or barometrically) when the first bar smoking bans hit the city, Audrey and I tried to organize a smokers riot at the Stonewall site and while 100s of Clash’s smokers said they’d attend, only about a dozen ever showed up. Whatever that tells you.

    As for women, as recently as the same 60s, they were barred from many universities, private clubs, even some restaurants or the Men’s Grilles within them, and from most “respectable” bars unless accompanied by a man. The corporate assumption being that one or two attractive women who entered alone were likely to be hookers. And though there were no organized marches, let alone riots, women became activists–,the Women’s Liberation Movement, Gloria Steimen, Betty Friedan, Helen Gurley Brown, the morphing of “women’s magazines” from compendiums of recipes and clothes to tracts about politics and orgasms, to MS and Cosmo and the dawn of the Sexual Revolution and from there, to the later phase of militant feminism. So though it wasn’t one thing,it was a many-pronged groundswell that got the society to where we are now–and then went over the top or out on a limb into metrosexuality, open male-bashing and culminating now in “toxic masculinity.” and trans-sexuality.

    The nature of the pendulum of all such movements (gay and women’s) is to swing to extremes in which inches turn to miles and reason to absurdity. But my thesis was that –in both those cases–, change was initially propelled by activism (not the other way around) though I’ll agree that each “right” that was gained by each movement led to the demand for ever more “rights.” The applicable analogy, however, seems to be to the anti-smoking movement–inches into miles and then miles beyond reason. Smokers, by that measure, have not begun to fight.

  6. Clicky says:

  7. mandy vincent says:

    I will vote for the Brexit party, I dislike Anna Sourbry because she dislikes the smokers and she ran to the EU to get involved with it “smokers” I loved it when she was horrified we dare to vote out, I loved it when was booed down on QT a couple of weeks ago. They cannot of all been smokers who booed her either, but people have a hatred for her anyway. Either way Nigel Farage was my hero of the day for even daring to smoke when the cameras rolled, he will get my vote. He woke me up to the EU and what was going on.

  8. Pingback: The Metamorphosis of Europe | Frank Davis

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