Monday, 5 August 2013

Jersey contemplates the 'next logical step'

Sigh. From the Beeb...

Smoking in homes and cars could be banned under proposals being discussed by Jersey's health department.

The move to extend the smoking ban has been suggested as a way of protecting children from secondary cigarette smoke.

Lighting up in parks, shopping areas and beaches could also be banned under the proposals, suggested in a report.

There isn't much point commenting on this. If you're the kind of fascist (and yes I will use that term, not least because of Jersey's inglorious past, because the shoe fits) who thinks people shouldn't be allowed to smoke in their own home, I doubt there is anything I could say that will bring you to your senses. Aside from being an outrageous assault on property rights and personal liberty, it is a law that could only be enforced by police forcing their way into people's homes or by children being encouraged to denounce their parents.

I was, however, interested in the justification given...

Martin Knight, senior public health officer, said the aim was to stop people taking up smoking in the first place.

He said: "There is evidence around role models and smoking, we know young people exposed to smoking behaviour are more likely to take up smoking themselves."

Quite extraordinary. This is the logical extension of the idea that smoking in movies should be banned because it sets a bad example. I mentioned this kind of mentality in my 2009 book Velvet Glove, Iron Fist...

To the anti-smokers, preventing children from seeing smokers with their own eyes is just another ‘logical step.’ If the portrayal of cigarette smoking in movies is to be censored then why not keep real smokers out of sight too? It is the extension of the idea that smoking is an ‘epidemic’; that it can literally be transmitted by contact with the afflicted. If smokers are, as Lennox Johnston once said, a “living advertisement for tobacco,” then they have no place in a society that prohibits the marketing of tobacco. Hiding them from view—and, above all, from the view of children—sends a powerful message of what is and is not socially acceptable. But if all this appears logical in the context of anti-smoking rhetoric, it is only because that logic has long-since become hopelessly twisted. Smoking is not an epidemic. Smokers do not carry disease. Lung cancer is not contagious. People are not advertisements.

If ASH is right in what it says, then the law should also prevent the eating of pizzas and the drinking of Coca-Cola in public, lest children see such unsanctioned behaviour as ‘normal.’ Such a proposal might seem far-fetched, but the history of anti-smoking shows us that yesterday’s satire frequently becomes tomorrow’s policy. In 2007, yet another ‘seminal study’ reported that “when an individual becomes obese, the chances that a friend of theirs will become obese increase by 57 percent.” One of its authors, Nicholas Christakis, said: “What we see here is that one person’s obesity can influence numerous others to whom he or she is connected both directly and indirectly. In other words, it’s not that obese or non-obese people simply find other similar people to hang out with. Rather, there is a direct, causal relationship.”

It's all getting rather scary, don't you think?

1 comment:

James Burr said...

That this was even suggested in a meeting, let alone put forward to consultation, is nothing short of terrifying.

Yet some people still come out with the "Your right to smoke ends when it affects me" line. I commented on the site saying that since I never had fascists in my home that argument had no sway as such idiots would never be exposed to my smoking as they would never be in my home. Truly they have reached the end-game when even anti-smoker logic (twisted a it is) cannot be sufficiently distorted to cover their claims.

Truly frightening.