Hating The Smoker

Something that has crept into mind recently.

Back in January 2007, the Guardian published a piece by Deborah Arnott with the title: Don’t hate the smoker. I keep a link to it in the right margin, because in the piece she wrote:

When the smoking ban comes into force in England in July smokers will be exiled to the outdoors.

She was quite right. On 1 July 2007, we smokers were indeed exiled to the outdoors. And I for one have remained there ever since. That exile has had an enormous impact on me. It made me into a different person than the one I was before.

But all that aside, it’s the title of the piece that I’ve been thinking about:

Don’t hate the smoker.

This may not have been her title. After all, newspaper editors tend to write their own headlines for pieces written by contributors. But regardless of whoever wrote it, it’s a revealing title, because it’s really saying:

Hate the smoker. Don’t.

It’s referencing hatred of smokers. And enjoining people to not hate smokers, because…

If smokers are marginalised in our society there is a danger that they will begin to see their habit as a badge of honour.

But what’s implicit in it is the fact that some people hate smokers. There’s a real hatred of them out there.  And in my right margin I keep a copy of Michael McFadden’s Wall of Hate, which is made up of hundreds of expressions of hatred and contempt for smokers of a kind that are often found online in comments.

And this hatred of smokers was also present in the title of the 2007 Deborah Arnott piece, albeit as a warning against such hatred.

But the plain fact of the matter is that antismokers are filled with exactly this hatred. It’s a hatred that I first encountered in the house of Dr W, the very first antismoker I ever met. The last time I ever saw Dr W, he was speaking on television on behalf of the BMA. And that means that this hatred of smoking and smokers is found in the highest ranks of the medical profession.

We’re not dealing here with science or medicine or reason: we’re dealing with hatred. We’re dealing with a hatred as deep as hatred of Jews or any other social group. Antismoking is exactly like antisemitism. It just has a different object of hatred.

Another reason why we may know that we’re faced with hatred is because everything that is done to smokers is invariably nasty. The smoking bans are nasty. The taxation of tobacco is nasty. Bullying messages on “plain” packaging are nasty. Smokers are driven outside, and then they are driven further outside. There’s never any consideration for smokers. And there’s no consideration because all these actions are driven by nothing but hatred.

Where does the hatred come from? I don’t know. There seems to be a lot of hatred around these days. Antisemitism has been on the rise in recent years. I don’t know why.

And what is it that many people feel about Donald Trump?

Hatred.

Some people really, really hate him.

And, as far as I can see, they hate him for no reason whatsoever.

Which is also how it is with both antismoking and antisemitism.

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about hatred. Today is just the day when I noticed the barely-concealed hatred in the title of a piece by Deborah Arnott that I had read many times without seeing it.

About Frank Davis

smoker
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Hating The Smoker

  1. Frank, very true: The title, likely merely suggested by Arnott in an aside comment to the effect of “We don’t REALLY want to encourage people in their natural hatred of smokers…” was simply a clever double-play.

    First of all, and the primary reason for it, was to implant the idea, the “brain-worm” as I’ve been lately calling these things from the Antis, that the response that was growing in society was indeed to “hate the smoker” as a normal and widespread thing. By gracing the concept with a size and strength that merited a “warning” by one of the official-figurehead Antismokers, Arnott was sending the message: “Look, we know most people naturally hate smokers. But we don’t want you to go around killing them and leaving their icky bodies on street corners and such, because that’ll cause a mess and there’s no need for it: we have our own plans in place to take care of The Smoker Problem without outright violence at this stage of the game. Right now, just make clear that you feel “sorry” for them because they’re helpless and diseased people who were victimized by Evil Big Tobacco when they were innocent children.”

    And second, of course, was simply a distancing of themselves, as the figureheads, from whatever hatred and violence they did manage to bring about with their bans and policies of hatred, discrimination, and pressure. It’s like the head of the Ku Klux Klan going on TV to announce “We’re having a big rally tonight for all White employers who will likely be firing their lazy black employees now that it’s allowed, and we want to emphasize that we shouldn’t actually HATE blacks, we just feel they’re better off doing their own traditional jobs, shining our shoes and cleaning our houses and changing the diapers of our squalling brats. We’d like to remind all our good God-fearing hard-working White Christians out there to have sympathy for those poor unfortunate dark folks. Even though we know we need to replace them in our work-force due to their genetic lack of intelligence, competence, reliability, and ability to handle money, we still care about them as human beings of a type. We just need them to stay in their “proper place” and let us good White folks continue to build society and provide them with tasty crumbs after we’ve had our dinners.”

    Antismokers are sophisticated, clever, and professional. They won’t be the ones waving the torches, and doing the lynchings… they just make sure the materials are there for convenience while reassuring the racists that their feelings are “understandable” given the reality of the “vermin” that they’re dealing with.

    Remember, back in the early 2000s, they were not yet willing to admit their support for firing/banning smokers from types of jobs, from housing accommodations, from types of medical care, or from keeping their children in custody battles. Support for such things back then would simply been unacceptable to most, and would have created a counterproductive backlash. BUT… by coming out with statements implying that “rumors of (such things) are growing” they succeed in creating an aura of acceptability around (such things)… thus ensuring that (such things) actually WILL come about… once the ground is properly tilled and fertilized.

    And over the last 15 years we have indeed seen that tilling and fertilization, and we have indeed seen the growth of such things as people have perceived them to increasingly be the new norm. It’s just people like us who keep rippling the waters and rocking their boats.

    – MJM, Itinerant boat rocker, along with Stephanie Stahl (founder of The BRA (Boat Rockers Assn.) and many others!

  2. Frank Davis says:

    to implant the idea … that the response that was growing in society was indeed to “hate the smoker” as a normal and widespread thing.

    Yes, that’s definitely part of it. And that was the suggestion implicit in the title.

    But I wonder how well it’s working. Because here in Herefordshire I see next to no overt expressions of hatred for smokers and smoking. Pub gardens are full of people smoking, and nobody complains about it. I think it’s different in some places in the USA (e.g. Boston).

    And I wonder whether it’s possible to implant counter-messages. For example I regularly say that Tobacco Control Must Be Destroyed. So I’m beaming that message out onto the web. And quite a few people agree with me. So it can work both ways.

  3. waltc says:

    Because human beings are always ready and willing to hate. We seem to have a built-in Hate button that only requires someone to push it, or fear to trigger it. The hatred of smokers has been a marvel of social engineering, a true testament to Goebbels’ methods, only more so because anti-semitism had an established grounding that merely had to be reignited. The hatred of smokers had to be manufactured from scratch, and secondhand smoke was the brilliant invention that created the fear that triggered the hate.

  4. jaxthefirst says:

    “Antisemitism has been on the rise in recent years.”

    I don’t think it’s any coincidence that antisemitism in the UK has begun to rise in the wake of the smoking ban, along with all sorts of other hate-based views which, until the hate-driven anti-smoking movement became so powerful, had been either legally or socially (sometimes both) outlawed and rightly so. It’s one of the less glaringly obvious negative effects of allowing a single-issue pressure group of this nature to have its own way so widely and for so long. I long suspected that many avowedly anti-smoking people were in fact just closet racists/sexists/homophobes/ antisemites who had been kept increasingly quiet through social and legal sanctions over the last few decades but who as a result had become increasingly frustrated at not being able to express their hatred. Then along came the anti-smoking movement with all their lies and propaganda and negative spin about smoking and – hey presto! – all of a sudden here was a minority group who it was actually socially acceptable to openly despise, and – better still – that was then enshrined in law by the Health Act. How wonderful it must have been for all those frustrated haters to suddenly be able to give vent to their anger and bile at someone else! What a relief! OK, so it wasn’t the group that they really wanted to persecute, but it was the only one available. Any port in a storm and all that …

    The problem was that by allowing (indeed enforcing) prejudice against smokers, the government tacitly allowed prejudice per se to become more acceptable. They continue to witter on about being against racism or sexism and all that jazz, and they make a big fuss about being tough on things like hate crimes and hate speech to the point of absurdity, but all the time they allow all those things to continue – indeed support them – in respect of one minority, then whether they like it or not, prejudice will continue to have one foot in the door of society’s mindset. And to continue the analogy, if one prejudice has its foot in the door, then that keeps the door open for a whole host of others to get in, too.

    So it’s hardly surprising that there’s been a rise in anti-semitism, at the same time as there’s been a rise in Islamophobia, general xenophobia, homophobia and a whole range of other little nasties. And until those in power realise it and actively embrace the view that prejudice of any kind is wrong, with no exceptions, i.e. regardless of whether it is directed at someone because of how they were born or because of some currently disapproved-of lifestyle choice or habit, then I would predict that we’ll see more and more people “coming out” as prejudiced against other groups, even including the ones supposedly protected by law. On the positive side, now that all the haters are becoming increasingly emboldened, thanks to that first step facilitated by the anti-smoking example, to feel more confident about expressing their genuine views, rather than proxy ones aimed at smokers, that’s likely to take the heat off us somewhat, simply because we will no longer be the only “permitted” target group.

    • waltc says:

      The public health (“they’re killing us”) argument has always been used to rationalize discrimination against groups–in fact, especially against Jews and blacks. A fascinating and well-worth reading book about that is “Silent Travelers” by history professor Alan Kraut. It may even give you interesting ammo in arguments.

    • “hey presto! – all of a sudden here was a minority group who it was actually socially acceptable to openly despise, and – better still – that was then enshrined in law by the Health Act. How wonderful it must have been for all those frustrated haters to suddenly be able to give vent to their anger and bile at someone else! What a relief!”

      EXACTLY!

    • smokingscot says:

      Here you really don’t want to be a poor, fat, pregnant female. And if she smokes and enjoys a tipple, then the INSTITUTIONAL gloves are off. At every contact point with authority the lady’ll hassled, chastised, finger pointed and just generally given grief.

      The rest of us’ll mind our own business, while family and friends’ll do as always, support her.

      • Frank Davis says:

        I’ve asked a couple of fat female smokers (and drinkers) to write about what life is like for them, because they had been saying that it was worse for fatties than it was for smokers. So I’m hoping to publish their thoughts when I get something from them.

  5. Smoking Lamp says:

    Meanwhile in Pennsylvania the antismoker cult is seeking to ramp up the persecution of smoker by removing exception to the current smoking ban: “Sen. Dan Laughlin seeks tougher smoking ban for Pennsylvania” https://www.goerie.com/news/20190614/sen-dan-laughlin-seeks-tougher-smoking-ban-for-pennsylvania

    • waltc says:

      I note that according to this PA article, we’re back to killing over 50,000 innocents a year–a number that was long ago busted by the Congressional Research Service and even recanted by its original instigator.

    • smokingscot says:

      Link’s blocked, “for security reasons”.

      • waltc says:

        The link I just posted? Works when I tried it.

      • RdM says:

        In my (OK, limited) experience that could be a browser message – security certificate.

        You might see a possibility to proceed anyway? Be risky, try that? Else …
        Just try again, sometimes the site doesn’t renew its certificate in time and the browser blocks it.
        I have no trouble (except the troubling thoughts!) in viewing it here in Oceania …
        _

        But here is the text if you can’t see it again (but do try again) – so you can comment.
        Only one superficial comment so far, so research and attack, demolish, shame, educate, enlighten, provide facts, overwhelm, back in to a corner, change minds, comment?
        _

        https://www.goerie.com/news/20190614/sen-dan-laughlin-seeks-tougher-smoking-ban-for-pennsylvania

        The senator’s proposal would close most loopholes in a 2008 law.

        Past efforts to strengthen Pennsylvania’s smoking ban haven’t gained any traction with state lawmakers, but state Sen. Dan Laughlin continues to push for changes to that law, the Clean Indoor Air Act of 2008.

        Laughlin, R-49th Dist., of Millcreek Township, plans to introduce legislation this year that would eliminate the exceptions to the law that permits smoking in private clubs; full-service truck stops; drinking establishments where food sales are 20 percent or less of business receipts; on outdoor patios or decks of bars and restaurants; in the workplaces of manufacturers, importers and wholesalers of tobacco products; at fundraisers held by nonprofit or charitable organization; and at residential facilities that provide long-term care or adult care services, or which provide treatment programs.

        His proposal would also add e-cigarettes to the Clean Indoor Air Act.

        “This isn’t so much about customers,” he said Thursday. “As a customer, you have a choice not to go into a business that has smoking. This is more about the employees not having to work in smoke. There’s still a lot of little kind of mom-and-pop bars that still allow smoking. Their employees shouldn’t have to work in that.”

        Laughlin said his proposal has garnered some interest, but not much, from fellow lawmakers. Laughlin, too, noted that the bill has not been among his top priorities of late. Instead, he’s focusing on ways the state can help cities like Erie capitalize on federal Opportunity Zones.

        Still, he believes the bill is worth championing and has been looking for co-sponsors for the pending legislation.

        Laughlin said groups like the American Lung Association and American Heart Association have expressed support.

        According to American Lung Association statistics, secondhand smoke kills 7,330 people from lung cancer and 33,950 people from heart disease each year. In its 2018 State of Tobacco Control report, the ALA gave Pennsylvania failing grades when it comes to prevention, coverage and access to cessation programs, and efforts to raise the smoking age to 21. It gave the state a C grade on the strength of its smoke-free workplace laws.

        Under the Clean Indoor Air Act, exceptions for drinking establishments, cigar bars and tobacco shops specifically require review and approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Other businesses, like hotels and motels and casinos, do not require review and approval.

        The PA Post first reported Laughlin’s proposal. It noted that the number of exceptions under the law has decreased statewide, from about 2,900 in 2009 to 1,700 today.

        In Erie County, 67 drinking establishments, cigar bars and tobacco shops received exceptions between Dec. 1, 2017, and Nov. 30, 2018. That number has fallen in each of the past three years. From Dec. 1, 2014, to Nov. 30, 2015, there were 91 businesses exempt from the law, according to state health reports, about 25 percent more than there are now. Complaints of smoking ban violations have also fallen, from nine to five during the same span.

        Bruce’s Pub & Grub at 1002 W. Eighth St. and Darcy’s Pub & Grub at 3746 W. 12th St., are two of the drinking establishments exempt from the Clean Indoor Air Act. Bruce Hoffman, who owns both establishments, said he’d lose a large portion of his businesses if smoking was banned. However, he said that if existing exceptions were eliminated it wouldn’t necessarily change how he does business.

        “I’m glad people have a choice of where they can go,” he said. “Whatever our state legislature does I will support and I will actively pursue ways to make it more comfortable for smokers and non-smokers like I do now. We’ve got the coldest air conditioning in town. I’ve installed new windows. I have a 36-inch fan and a smoke-eater machine. I pay extra for air conditioning because I also have windows open. I do whatever I can to eliminate smoke from my bars, but I respect my patrons’ right to smoke in the bars under the current laws.”

        Laughlin would keep exceptions in place for the state’s 12 casinos, including Summit Township-based Presque Isle Downs & Casino.

        “They felt pretty strongly that it would really hurt their business,” he told the Erie Times-News. “Plus, they do a pretty good job of (circulating) air and keeping smoke from getting in people’s faces.”

        Asked about the effect that eliminating exceptions might have on small businesses, Laughlin said: “If none of them are allowed to have smoking, then smokers aren’t going to favor one over the other.”

        Laughlin first made known his intentions to pursue legislation at the end of March. A bulletin on his official state Senate web page says, in part, that the current exceptions “create confusion and make it harder to implement the law. They also leave some individuals unprotected from secondhand smoke. Furthermore, they provide for an unlevel playing field when some establishments must comply while others do not.”

        The revision, the web page notes, is similar to what’s been enacted in Philadelphia’s Clean Indoor Air Worker Protection Law.

        Matthew Rink can be reached at 870-1884 or by email. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/ETNrink.

        (I note no comment on his twiitter feed re this at all)
        _

        Some of those comments should be bolded, highlighted, and commented on on.
        _

        “Laughlin would keep exceptions in place for the state’s 12 casinos, including Summit Township-based Presque Isle Downs & Casino.

        “They felt pretty strongly that it would really hurt their business,” he told the Erie Times-News. “Plus, they do a pretty good job of (circulating) air and keeping smoke from getting in people’s faces.”

        Asked about the effect that eliminating exceptions might have on small businesses, Laughlin said: “If none of them are allowed to have smoking, then smokers aren’t going to favor one over the other.”

        Yeah, right!

        https://imgflip.com/i/33l0ow

        But what I wonder is – we know that Big Pharma lobbies Government in general.

        Can someone closer to the action submit an Official Information Request as to what meetings Senator Laughlin has had with any tobacco control advocates, and what funds he has received from them or any associated pharma companies prior to this?

        OK that needs to be refined a bit, but perhaps the idea can be pursued.

      • RdM says:

        “This isn’t so much about customers,” he said Thursday. “As a customer, you have a choice not to go into a business that has smoking. This is more about the employees not having to work in smoke. There’s still a lot of little kind of mom-and-pop bars that still allow smoking. Their employees shouldn’t have to work in that.

        Who will politely, courteously, and with authoritative evidence, scientific and statistical back up, write to the senator, privately and or publicly, to show him that this is wrong?

        There needs to be a massive database of easily referenced references to draw upon.
        These people need to be refuted such that they change their minds on the evidence.

  6. Pingback: Monstrous Lies | Frank Davis

  7. DP says:

    Dear Mr Davis

    You were mentioned in dispatches again by Smoker Against Discrimination on Facebook yesterday:

    https://www.facebook.com/pg/choose4freedom.sad/posts/

    I cannot link to the post directly, if it’s possible, so a bit of scrolling will be necessary, and presumably more scrolling as time passes.

    Also worthy of note is Chris Snowdon’s latest:

    https://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.com/2019/06/prohibition-doesnt-prohibit-prison.html

    Very apposite. If there is any karma in the world, that nice Ms Arnott will be arraigned to answer for her crimes, tried and found guilty, and sentenced to a long period at Her Majesty’s pleasure, where she can regale her fellow inmates with her exploits and on the evils of (anti-)smoking.

    By the time they release her in 50 years or so, she ought to be able to roll a cigarette with one hand.

    DP

No need to log in

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.