I found this on my old Myspace page, from when I used to put blogs up there. If I were to write it now my language may be less aggressive, but it’s fair to say that my attitude to smoking hasn’t softened in the intervening years.
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I heard a programme on the radio today – very intelligent and articulate people talking heatedly about the erosion of civil liberties in our “nanny state”, how the government takes a patronising and condescending view of the public and how we no longer trust the public to make their own decisions.
They pointed to emotive use of crying children by a graveside in a TV ad, horrific visual imagery of damaged body parts designed to shock, and the way the government talks down to us and tries to manipulate us. All very laudable sentiments apparently promoting freedom of expression and individual responsibility, except that they were only talking about SMOKING!!
I think a few points need to be made here:
- Smoking is bad. You already know this, because anyone who doesn’t is probably a deaf-mute hermit who doesn’t own a telly or radio, can’t read and hasn’t held a conversation with an intelligent human being since the 1940’s.
- Trying to persuade people not to smoke is one of the most valid uses of public money I can think of, and smokers are CRAP at giving up just because they know they should. Apparently knowing it’s going to kill you, and that your last couple of decades will be much less fun, and that you’ll get much less sympathy when you get ill because frankly we’re all fed up with your deluded self-pitying whinging, is not enough. You’re committing slow suicide and we would rather you didn’t.
- If images of orphaned children, slices of blackened lung, and bullying, haranguing and making you feel like a leper are effective in making you stop smoking, then they are justified. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT SAVING LIVES HERE, so worrying about whether we are exploiting children or that we may shock some sensitive old dears is like complaining that ambulances are too noisy.
- There’s no point in feeling that we are patronising you when we try to persuade you not to smoke. You can’t tell us you’re an intelligent adult capable of making your own life choices, because by smoking at all you prove that you are NOT. At some point in the past you got up in the morning and thought, “Mmm, what shall I do today? I know! I’ll take up smoking!”
This is about as sensible as “I know! I’ll saw off my left leg!” which in fact would probably be less painful in the long run. (Sorry…) We have the right to talk down to you as if you were a small child or suffering from some mental condition, and to take any steps necessary to make you stop, just like we have a right and even a responsibility to stop a child in the street from repeatedly hitting himself on the head with a hammer. We don’t need to justify our stance or prove that you need guidance, because we just watched you doing probably the STUPIDEST THING YOU CAN POSSIBLY DO.
- Smokers continually evade the question, and use arguments about civil liberties and freedom to mask the fact the fact that they are doing something truly, outrageously stupid. The real question is, “Why do you smoke and why don’t you stop?” The answer we most often get is, “It’s none of your business and you are infringing my personal freedom by even asking.”
GET A GRIP.
COME OUT OF DENIAL.
IF YOU HATE YOURSELF AND WANT TO DIE, THERE ARE QUICKER AND LESS PAINFUL WAYS.
IF YOU SMOKE IT’S BECAUSE YOU ARE STUPID. ACCEPT IT, FIX IT AND MOVE ON.