Simon Clark has asked me to be a guest speaker at a webinar on smoking and pubs next week. I shouldn’t have too much difficulty: I’ve been writing about it since 2009.
What might I say?
I suppose the main thing about 1 July 2007 (a day I still vividly remember) is that it was the day that I was expelled from society. I’ve never been able to accept the smoking ban that was imposed that day. I’ve been an outsider ever since. And I’m still as angry about it as I was back then. The anger is never going to go away.
I was born in England and I’ll always be English, but England ceased to be my country that day. I became an exile in my own land.
I had a wide circle of friends and acquaintances before 1 July 2007. The acquaintances all vanished that day, and the friends all followed the one by one over the next 10 years, usually when they banned smoking in their own homes, and I no longer wanted to know them.
I’m not a believer in the supposed health risks of smoking. In large part this is because the first antismoker I ever encountered – Dr W – referred to it as a “filthy habit” – which indicated that his was an aesthetic rather than medical objection. But I also don’t think that so-called antismoking “science” is any sort of science at all. To me antismokers seem to be no different from antisemites who also hate an entire class of people for what they are. They are people who think more of themselves by thinking less of others.
I don’t know why it is that some people are so concerned about what goes into people’s mouths, whether eaten or drunk or inhaled. But I think Jesus had it about right:
And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
I don’t think the antismokers will ever succeed in stamping out smoking. I instead think that it will be the antismokers who will be stamped out.
I belong to the pot-smoking generation of the 1960s. They couldn’t stamp out pot back then, and they won’t succeed in stamping out tobacco now.
I’m sure that there’s much more that can be said, But those are a first few thoughts.