The Global Empire of Tobacco Control

I suppose that it seems to me to be about as likely that Britain will leave the EU as it is that Britain will repeal the smoking ban.

It’s not going to happen. Or at least not any time soon.

The way I see it, once things are made into law, it’s very difficult to unmake them. Or, to put it another way, the status quo possesses its own inertia: if things have been going in the same direction for a long time, it’s very difficult to change direction. And so even if there are strong forces acting to get Britain out of the EU, there are equally strong forces acting to keep it in.

The Remainers haven’t given up. And they’re a very powerful force in Parliament. And also in the House of Lords. And throughout the British government. And of course the EU doesn’t want Britain to leave either.

The Remainers wish to maintain the status quo, and in this respect they have a powerful advantage. It’s always much easier to keep things exactly as they are than it is to change them. Changing things requires work: keeping things the same doesn’t.

Nevertheless, even when things are kept the same, pressures slowly build up. And inside the EU, pressures have slowly been building up since its inception. And the principal pressure is the natural desire of people everywhere to govern themselves, and not be governed by remote, faceless, and unrepresentative bureaucrats. It’s exactly this desire that powered the American revolution in 1765, as Americans fought for self-government, and to escape from the British Empire. And the EU is a new European empire, one of a long succession of empires. And in all these empires there always build up centrifugal forces that act to tear them apart, and usually eventually do so. They seldom last longer than a few hundred years. They seem to last longest if they grow slowly, and the EU is showing signs of having grown too fast. And it’s this rapid expansion that has also set up internal stresses within it.

One big difference between Britain leaving the EU, and Britain repealing the smoking ban, is that there are a lot of people who want the former, and very few who want the latter. After all, most people in Britain don’t smoke, and so were never directly affected by the smoking ban. And only those smokers who went to pubs and clubs were directly affected by the ban. It was only those smokers who went to their local pubs to sit and drink beer and smoke cigarettes who were most strongly impacted: they were the ones who found themselves exiled to the outdoors on 1 July 2007. And nobody (or almost nobody) spoke up for this minority. They were almost entirely voiceless, and entirely powerless.

But that’s really exactly what Americans were finding back in about 1700. They were voiceless and powerless in the corridors of power in London. Nobody (or hardly anybody) spoke up for them. But it was precisely this voicelessness and powerlessness that generated the slowly mounting pressure that eventually culminated in the American revolution.

And the same is going to happen with smokers all over the world who find themselves voiceless and powerless in the face of the now-global empire of Tobacco Control. And this is an empire which has grown far more rapidly than even the EU. The EU expanded to its current size over about 50 or 60 years. The empire of Tobacco Control has expanded to its current global dimensions in only 20 or 30 years. And both expanded in exactly the same way: by signing treaties. The empire of Tobacco Control came into existence when some 168 countries became signatories to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, leaving only a handful outside. It’s very arguably both the largest and fastest-growing empire in human history:

The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is a treaty adopted by the 56th World Health Assembly held in Geneva, Switzerland on 21 May 2003. It became the first World Health Organization treaty adopted under article 19 of the WHO constitution. The treaty came into force on 27 February 2005. It had been signed by 168 countries and is legally binding in 181 ratifying countries.

In such manner are tyrannies born: with the stroke of a pen. And it’s a global tyranny which will only end when every single one of those countries revokes its signature.

But, once enacted in law, nearly everywhere in the world, it becomes very difficult to reverse direction. For all laws are intended to have an inertia that makes them difficult to change, because otherwise the law would be changed every day, and become as fickle as the wind. It’s also why laws are very often written in stone: they are intended to never be changed. It’s going to take a long time to destroy the upstart global empire of Tobacco Control

So also when Britain entered the EU, the treaty that was signed became written in stone, and Britain is going to have a long struggle before it manages to escape from the EU. Remaining is far more likely than Leaving.

About Frank Davis

smoker
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12 Responses to The Global Empire of Tobacco Control

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Frank, have received this from the department of health? “Have your say on the impact of tobacco legislation”
    It closes in September….

    • Frank Davis says:

      That sounds like the one that Roobeedoo mentioned recently.

      They don’t really want to know what we think.

      • beobrigitte says:

        It has been made difficult to get a response. Therefore it looks like the anti-smokers are aware of that their public sympathy is over.

        I have downloaded the form, unable on clicking on “Yes” or “No”, filled in the “reason” part and forwarded this (+ the link to get this form) to as many people I can.
        My non-smoker friends are asking me where to post this form to. My reply: “You tell me”!
        (Btw, my non-smoking friends were appalled)

        They don’t really want to know what we think.
        Why should they?

      • Elizabeth says:

        Well, we need to do our duty!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    “Have your say on the impact of tobacco legislation ” IS BEING REQUESTED FROM The Dept of Health….

  3. beobrigitte says:

    I suppose that it seems to me to be about as likely that Britain will leave the EU
    It will. In bits. The first thing, though, the anti-smoking lobby has achieved is the amount of tobacco to be brought into this country from travelling citizen as from 31.10.2019 to be reduced to 250g with the view of Zealand/ Australian policies.
    Brexit will come in uncomfortable bits. The Brexiteers never told the smokers about that bit.

    as it is that Britain will repeal the smoking ban.
    Of course it won’t. Quite the opposite. We soon will encounter a crack-down on the existing black market as well as the anti-smokers’ ruling this country.

    I wish I was wrong – and if I am I take every insult with a smile!!!

  4. slugbop007 says:

    Prohibition was finally repealed some 80 years ago. Don’t give up yet.

    I would love to know how much money has been lost with the closure of so many pubs across Britain in the past twelve years and compare it with the tax on tobacco since then. I wonder if they match? Perhaps the Ex-Chequer could tell us? Here in Quebec the TC gang insists that tobacco-related deaths cost the government over 1 billion dollars per year. That averages out to about $100,000 Canadian dollars per person affected. They never tell us what kind of treatment or programs are being used to save these people’s lives, they just throw out numbers and hope it sticks on the wall. Most of the people don’t care, they believe most of what their governments tell them. They are being bamboozled. I just saw a little message below an anti-tabagisme (yes, here in Quebec smoking tobacco is an ism, like Communism, Fascism, etc) sticker on a café window this morning. In French it was on fait avancer le Québec. Tranlated it would read something like Advancing the future wellbeing of Quebec. For me it should read Advancing Totalitarianism in Quebec.

    I saw a young man on the bus yesterday. He had a copy of Orwell’s ‘1984’ in his hand. I said to him that it was a scary book and he agreed that life here is getting out of hand. Those 160 + signatories were all given an ultimatum. Sign or lose subsidies. That’s blackmail. And that’s illegal.

    slugbop007

    • Rose says:

      Prohibition lasted 13 years before it was repealed, in England we are just entering our 12th.

    • here in Quebec smoking tobacco is an ism, like Communism, Fascism, etc.

      The French word “tabagisme” was coined circa 1896 (apparently in the Charcot/Bouchard’s Treatise of Medicine), and taken up by other Romance languages, including Italian and Portuguese. It was shaped after words such as alcoolisme (1858) & saturnisme (1877), refering to alcohol & lead poisoning, respectively.

      Interestingly, the claims about tobacco in that 1896 treatise concerned chiefly the cardio-vascular system, while the respiratory tract didn’t even get a mention!

  5. Smoking Lamp says:

    Tobacco control must be destroyed. That means the FCTC must be abolished. The first step is exposing the numerous tobacco control lies and resisting the persecution of smokers.

  6. RdM says:

    OT, Off Topic ;- Just an oddball image, click through several times to magnify to full size.

    Two men at a fireside table taking snuff; remarks on snuff-taking below.
    Coloured etching, c. 1825.
    https://wellcomecollection.org/works/bwezucb9

    More might be found from the home page.

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