By A.B. Thomas
There I sat on the park bench having a cigarette after a rousing game of tennis -well two well bosomy endowed women had been playing tennis, I had been engaged in a game of pocket pool – when a woman sat down next to me. I nodded and said, “afternoon”, which she harrumphed at, ignoring my attempt to be friendly. I took another drag from my cigarette, blowing the smoke away from my new tennis observing compatriot. Nevertheless, She shot me a dark look.
“Do you mind,” she snarled.
I asked about what to which she responded by pointing sharply at the cigarette between my fingers on the opposite side of where she sat.
“Nope,” I answered.
“Well, I do,” she said huffily, “And you should extinguish that foul thing.”
I thought that perhaps I had mistaken my surroundings, so I took a gander around. I was not imagining things: the park was empty with the exception of the tennis players and the occasional walker. All along the path there were empty benches and vacant picnic tables. I had not seen a plaque on the bench when I first sat down stating that it was privately owned and maintained. The wind was blowing the smoke away, not towards her, so the aroma would not be her tickling her nose though the gallons of cheap perfume she must of bathed in was certainly assaulting mine. Given the information that I had gathered, I responded in the appropriate manner:
“Go fuck yourself – if you don’t like it, move your ass elsewhere.”
I did not say in whose estimation of appropriateness. From the expression on the woman’s face, this was not response the woman was expecting.
“I did not come to this park to breath in your poison,” she stated. I told her that much the same could be said about the bear repellent she was doused in.
“I do not appreciate my right of being healthy being endangered by someone the likes of you. Do you realize that you could kill me with your second-hand smoke?”
I looked at her for a brief moment, and then blew a smoke ring in her face. She coughed and waved her hands wildly to disperse the oval.
“That’s just rude!” She exclaimed.
“That’s rude? You said that it’d kill you, yet you’re still breathing,” I retorted, “Just hurry up and die, will ya?”
I’m sure that the clucks that she made afterward were meant to be insulting or menacing, but I had already turned the woman out. Without any further response from me, the woman rose from the bench and haughtily stomped off – to an empty bench where she continued to stare at me with utter disgust.
At first I was irritated; the park had more than ample empty seating in its area. Surely if cigarettes were that offensive to the woman, she should have chosen alternate seating in the first place. Then it dawned on me, and I became bemused: she was a pissant brown shirt of the anti-smoking fourth Reich. Her goal had been to intimidate; having failed to do so, she was left no other options – much like the organized anti-smoking lobbies – but to pout and decry sorrowfully that they are only valiantly attempting to be the matriarchs and patriarchs cutting the costs on the health care system. What the anti-smoking lobby and the associated peons are, however, are wanna-be aristocracy believing they are the architects of social construction under the delusion that they serve as the Utopian role model for the betterment of all citizens of civilization. How noble, how downright saintly…how hypocritical, these ash holes truly are.
To put to rest any misappropriation of context that the term “Fourth Reich” may create, it is not a minimalization of the events that occurred against European and African peoples by the Nazis by akinning the current pressure being applied to those who smoke today. It is the paralleling of tactics employed where the term is ruminating within to out. Step one; find a patsy. Step two; propaganda. Step three; create an event. Step four; legislate constrictive conditions to the target group so that the general public accepts that the action is necessary for the good of society, and then introduce measures to eradicate that group. Step one, obviously has been to target smokers as the root of all societal behaviour by the anti smoking lobbyists.
On Canadian cigarette packages, it is mandatory for the tobacco companies to place “information” to b displayed on almost have of one side. An example of this packaging would be one that has a bar graph with the following information:
“Estimated Deaths in Canada, 1996
Alcohol – 1,900
Car accidents 2,900
Suicides – 3,900
The source is identified as Health Canada, which in defining the 46,000 deaths caused by cigarettes as “While the adverse health effects and the health risks of tobacco use are well established, data collection has focused on certain medical conditions, notably lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Other illnesses that are known to be associated with smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke, such as asthma and middle ear infections, require more refinement in data collection” – through the pooling of the medical conditions without providing the information that it is opinion that the related (though not directly linked, cardiovascular diseases, for instance, can be caused by numerous factors) the numbers are intentionally deceptive in order to create alarm. It is not exclusive to the anti-smoking lobby, Bush Jr. used the same strategy for the invasion of Iraq by proclaiming Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction”, but the results are the same: forward their agenda whilst increasing funding by changing their ‘wish list’ to a national ‘necessity’.
The anti smoking lobby has taken two routes an event to mobilize their shock troops to action: health care costs and, surprise, surprise, children. Smoking is unhealthy, and ultimately a burden on the health system – but it has to be noted that the very act of existing results in being a burden to the health system, whether the person wishes to be a burden or not. Sexually transmitted diseases, genetic flaws, unmannerly sexual behaviours, drinking, driving, breathing, living in a denser populated area, working in certain fields, too little sun, too much sun, tainted water, tainted food, food allergies, high bad cholesterol food choices, too much fibre, too much fibre, eating disorders, mental condition, balance, coordination, all are factors on the health care system – and the largest burden on the health care system?
Doctors will hook a person up to machine after machine to prolong that person’s life, they will inject drugs, chemicals, electricity, artificial organs or transplant organs in order to elongate the path that one takes to death’s door –and with examples of several cancer patients in recent years, will do so against the will of the person – could it not be said that the most burdensome lade of the health care system is the medical community’s belief that they are the hands of fate? The anti-smoking lobby, whether it be intentional or incidental social conditioning, are using the delusions of grandeur in the medical disciplines in order to affect others that do not share the same belief system as they do.
Anti smoking lobbyists bedazzle the mainstream media with their astounding tricks of the children jumping through the fiery hoop of second hand smoke; create ohs and ahs with the standing on a ball whilst juggling kittens of adult behaviour modelling. Second hand smoke is a concern, as is modeling behaviour, however, by pointing at smoking as the Great Satan, the anti smoking lobby has no standing by having blinders on to the other factors that have affect on the health of children. If there were any true concern, these lobbyists would be funding events that would engage children in activities that show why smoking is bad, for example, track meets and other physical events that would encourage healthy lifestyle choices rather than attempting to guilt-trip adults. It is a cowardly action to hold up a child as a body shield rather than let the snipers have a clear shot at their target. No legislator, or Joe or Jane citizen wants to stand up and say, “look, you’re being quite ridiculous” lest be painted with the label as someone who advocates the abuse of children, which the anti smoking lobbyists prefer as the message of their advertisements to be.
In Alberta the first legislative measure was to enact a minimum age to purchase tobacco products. This is an acceptable piece of legislation, though age does not necessarily define maturity. The second phase in Alberta was to legislate separate smoking areas in all public buildings and places where children could be at (example: a restaurant). Businesses complied, spending money on renovating their places so that there was separate ventilation in the smoking areas as opposed to the family orientated areas. It cost each business hundreds to thousands of dollars for their renovations. Two years later, the anti-smoking lobby would once again have the ear of the government who would then ban smoking from all public buildings and businesses out right. Businesses that had just spend capital on becoming compliant with government regulations were now expected to eat those costs. In the spring of this year, the anti-smoking lobby is not pushing for legislation to ban smoking from all public park areas, citing smoking should be banned wherever there is a possibility of a child could be influenced by the modeling of adults.
Some provinces, such as Newfoundland, have legislated bans on smoking in vehicles that have children in them. In Alberta, truckers are not allowed to smoke in their trucks, even those with sleeper cabs, as they are classified as a workplace. While personally I agree with not smoking in a vehicle with a child on board, I don’t smoke in the house but no matter the weather have my cigarette outside, how much of a stretch will be for the anti-smoking lobby to legislate a ban on smoking within family dwellings? It would be a much harder sell for those who own their own homes, but already there are ads from anti smoking groups to rental management companies to make their buildings smoke free and adding rental incentives to those who do not smoke. ASH, a anti smoking group in Western Canada, has gone as far as to form their own home insurance company geared to give non-smokers breaks on insurance costs.
Why are the anti smoking lobby groups taking the legislative route over the educational route? The smoke Gobels of Alberta, Les Hagen has stated that “people are law abiding…they do not want to break the laws”. In lieu of allowing the public to make informed decisions, the anti smoking lobby don’t feel that the public has the competency to understand what THEY do, therefore must be forced to accept what has been decided is best for them. The question that the actions of the anti smoking lobby raise for me is this: Why are they spending so much time on squashing individual choices? The answer is that cigarettes, whether the groups like it or not, are legal and there does not seem to be any real push tobacco as a controlled substance by even the illustrious Health Canada. It further raises the question that since alcohol has reins upon it, why has there not been an allowance for the same for cigarette consumption? Why do all businesses, specifically the bars where no one 18 is supposed to be in, have to be non-smoking? Why not have smoking bars and non smoking bars, where patrons have a choice? If it is an indication of why there has not been this allowance, it would be in the example of Bingos in Calgary. Bingos were given longer to comply to the total ban on smoking, to which club owners cried foul as their profits fell as the Bingo’s did not. Perhaps it is time to push for a smoking bar, just to see what the reasons the anti smoking lobby would give for not allowing the behaviour to be done in the same manner as alcohol ideally is – done by adults in an adult only setting.
If the anti-smoking lobby truly wishes to be seen as being the moral compass for the public and private health systems then it ethically must pursue a multi-linear path of legislative hooglanism:
i) The banning, or limiting access to, restaurants, particularly ones classified as “fast food”,
ii) Rationing out food purchases at grocery stores based on family unit demographics. It would go without saying that there would be a ban on the production of anything with the commonest of allergies: peanuts, shellfish, yeast and milk,
iii) The banning of alcohol consumption (Sound familiar America? How effective was that?),
iv) The eradication of sex without first signing out –in triplicate- the government copulation license that would have to be pushed through on a federal level to create a national data-base on STD, fertility cycles, there would have to be legislative ‘acceptable’ homosexual, bisexual and heterosexual couplings – which would have to include a racial and cultural committee on a reasonable ratio for these types of pairings, sperm count, a full physical to determine if there may be the awkwardness of pre-mature ejaculation, whether vaginal secretions are at a ‘safe’ level for activity, which then would have to be sub-divided into oral, and/or vaginal penetration with each having an age percentage tied to the okaying or denying of the single act of fornication, because of the time variables with each male ejaculation, it elongates the allotted time therefore causing the price of said license to appreciate in value,
v) A 0% emissions policy – which would mean the immediate shutdown of most all production plants, the immediate cessation of air, motorboat, train, and personal vehicular transport. It would also entail the disposal of most plastics and other products that could be considered cancerous or potentially dangerous those are currently in use today.
vi) There are concerns with power lines, the radio wave transmissions and other electronic devices, thus there would have to be an immediate shut down of all electronic devices not excluding computers, cell phones, televisions and radios.
vii) The forced plugging of all urinary and fecal elimination orifices, mouths and nasal passages and skin pores to avoid any accidental release of airborne diseases that may lead to the use of the health care system.
viii) The final bill would be for the execution of anyone in the medical professional: you can’t cost a system any money if there is no one serving in that particular field of study.
The anti-smoking lobby will not be pushing for any of these routes to be taken in the legislative vein – without media, the lobby cannot garner more funding to pad the pockets of those whose pockets get greased. No, the anti-smoking lobby cannot be congruent with the “health issue” because the answers would place negative consequences upon the anti-smoking lobby’s lifestyle, which is unacceptable. What a bunch of ash holes.