Via Walt, a couple of pieces about Tobacco Control featuring some antismoker called Ronald Bayer. First:
BAYER: The question now is, how come public health officials can’t come out straight and say the reason we’re banning smoking on parks and beaches is we want to protect smokers. We want to get them to give it up, we want them to smoke less and we want to make it more difficult for people to begin smoking.
In making the case for banning cigarette smoking in parks and on beaches, public health officials, tobacco control advocates, and environmentalists have routinely appealed to the need to protect children, other nonsmokers, and wildlife from potentially injurious exposure. The specter of third-party harms has been invoked as the rationale for public health interventions. In doing so, despite relatively weak scientific evidence, advocates have sought to avoid the charge that outdoor smoking bans represent yet another case of overreaching by the “nanny state,” of unjustified paternalism that lacks any respect for adults’ fundamental autonomy.
Advancing claims that mask the underlying public health goal of denormalization is a perilous strategy. Public health must, in the end, rely on public trust. That trust is threatened when the case for interventions depends on weak evidence and involves degrees of dissimulation. Advocates for outdoor smoking bans should be candid about the limits of arguments based solely on third-party harms as they confront the lethal consequences of tobacco use.
So Bayer is wondering why Tobacco Control won’t stop pretending that outdoor tobacco smoke is harmful, that cigarettes butts harm wildlife, and that smoking in public sets a bad example to children, and instead just come out straight and say that they’re simply trying to make smokers stop smoking.
Actually that’s not quite what he said. What he actually said was that the real reason we’re banning smoking in parks and beaches is because “we want to protect smokers.”
In what way do park and beach smoking bans “protect smokers”? They don’t protect them at all. It’s an outright lie to say that park and beach smoking bans protect smokers.
Bayer can see that the claims that outdoor tobacco smoke is harmful, that cigarettes butts harm wildlife, and that smoking in public sets a bad example to children, are all just a pack of lies. So he comes up with a new lie to replace these old lies. And the new lie is that outdoor smoking bans protect smokers.
This is the Tobacco Control mindset at work: just Keep Telling Lies. If one lie doesn’t work, try another. Tobacco Control is a giant lie machine.
The real reason they want outdoor smoking bans is not that they want to protect smokers. It’s that “We want to get them to give it up, we want them to smoke less and we want to make it more difficult for people to begin smoking.”
In fact it’s not that they want to make it more difficult for people to begin smoking, but that they want to make life difficult for smokers. They want to make life as difficult as possible for all smokers everywhere. And they’re doing it because they hate smoking and they hate smokers. It’s got nothing whatsoever to do with health or wildlife or children.
But they know that if they come out and say that they hate smoking and that they hate smokers, they’ll reveal themselves to be the nasty bullying bastards that they really are. They have to disguise themselves as something other than what they are. They have to pretend to be protecting non-smokers, protecting wildlife, protecting children, and now even protecting smokers.
Tobacco Control is a protection racket. They’re no different from the Mafia demanding “protection money” from businesses, when the only thing those businesses really need is protection from the Mafia. Tobacco Control is just a way of robbing smokers. It’s a way of robbing smokers of their good name, of their standing in society, and of their money. But it can only be done if Tobacco Control can manage to present itself as being something essentially good and benign and helpful. The moment the mask slips, they’re done for.
Say it again: Public health must, in the end, rely on public trust.
But when Tobacco Control just tells lie after lie after lie to advance its cause, people are eventually going to realise that they’re being lied to, and they’re going to cease to trust Tobacco Control.
And distrust spreads easily. If you’ve ceased to trust Tobacco Control, you’ll next start distrusting the wider Public Health institutions with their dietary advice. And if you distrust Public Health, you’ll next start distrusting the medical profession. And if you distrust the medical profession you’ll distrust government, and mainstream media, and science, and pretty well everything else as well.
And that’s pretty much exactly where we are today: all trust is vanishing, like water down a drain.