Smoking is one of the great anachronisms of the 21st Century. It is, as
far as Friendly Help For Fucking Idiots is aware, the only means by which
it is legal in the UK to knowingly inflict actual bodily harm on someone -
right up to and including causing their death - when not acting in
self-defence against a deadly threat. (Ironically, attacking a smoker to
prevent this potentially lethal assault on your person IS a crime.)
Thankfully, this anachronism is well on the way to being eliminated, as
anti-smoking legislation slowly but surely makes inroads on this
astoundingly anti-social habit, but there's still quite a way to go.
Amazingly, however, many
smokers actively protest against anti-smoking legislation on human
rights grounds. Let's take a comprehensive look at the arguments,
"Smoking causes less
damage to health than pollution from cars, buses etc."
- Well, this one's obviously pretty fatuous. Unless we're going to go back
to the horse and cart, we need motorised transport. Nobody needs to
smoke. And anyway, since when did two wrongs make a right? If you're
worried about pollution of the environment, what kind of idiot makes it
worse by also polluting indoors?
"Why pick on smokers?
Drunks and heroin addicts hurt people too."
- Smoking is unique among vices/leisure pursuits in one crucial respect.
Smoking causes direct harm to people other than the smoker, even when
used exactly as directed on the packet. Any harm that results to a
third party from someone else drinking or using illegal drugs is a result
of abuse of that substance, not normal use. Someone drinking in a
moderate way will cause no harm to anyone other than themselves. Someone
could inject themselves with heroin six inches away from you, every day
for a decade, and you'd never directly suffer from it. (And any indirect
effects, like crimes committed to feed a drug habit, are (a) not related
to the act of drug use itself, and (b) already dealt with by existing
laws.) Smoke even one cigarette in the presence of a non-smoker and you're
hurting them, making them miserable and risking their life.
"Drinking and smoking
go together, so you should be allowed to smoke in pubs."
- This is a particularly poor argument. Drinking and smoking
actually cancel each other out (alcohol being a depressant and nicotine a
stimulant), so you might as well do neither and save yourself money and
everyone else a lot of misery. People only associate drinking with smoking
through habit, and habits can be changed. And sometimes, to change
people's habits, you have to enforce the new behaviour in law rather than
rely on people's goodwill. (How many people would pay income tax if it was
voluntary?) Smoking in public is absolutely morally indefensible. The
medical evidence that it causes serious harm to others is beyond dispute.
Beyond that, it simply causes discomfort and misery. Yet smokers defiantly
cling to their "right" to inflict their lethal pastime on unwilling
bystanders. Evidently, relying on their sense of decency and consideration
for others isn't working. It's time to call in the law.
"But if smoking was
completely banned in public places, smokers would stop going to them and
they'd all go out of business."
- Rubbish, quite evidently. Smokers didn't stop going to the cinema when
smoking was banned there. Restaurants with smoking bans didn't go out of
business. Smokers didn't stop going on trains or aeroplanes when they
became non-smoking. They didn't all leave their jobs when their companies
implemented anti-smoking policies. The proven fact is, smokers know only
too well how disgusting their habit is, and have very little resistance to
bans once they're in place.
"But there's nothing
stopping people from opening non-smoking pubs if they want. Why do they
ALL have to be non-smoking? That's just inconsiderate."
- It would be hard to find a non-smoker anywhere in the country who didn't
have some smoker friends. And because non-smokers are - by definition -
far more considerate people than smokers, they'll tend to put up with the
anti-social behaviour of smokers and risk their own physical wellbeing in
order to be with their friends. Therefore, if some pubs allow smoking and
others don't, the smokers will go to the smoking pubs, the non-smokers
will go with them for social reasons, and then the non-smoking pubs
will lose business and close. A public smoking ban can only possibly
work if it's applied across-the-board.
Nobody, as far as FHFFI is
aware, has ever seriously proposed a total and outright ban on all
smoking. Individuals should be free to do whatever they want as long as
they don't force it on anyone else. If you want to smoke yourself to death in your own
smelly, yellow-stained home, go right ahead. But keep your poisonous,
acrid, carcinogenic fumes to yourself, you anti-social, inconsiderate