There are for sure some well meaning people who truly believe that smoking is so bad for people’s health that any effort to prevent people smoking is worthwhile, good and in the public interest. I don’t really agree with them but I understand and respect their motivations. However there are another group of people who just don’t like smoking or smokers and who use concern for people’s health as a front and, dare I say smokescreen, for blatant and quite nasty prejudice. Some people in this group may not even recognise themselves or their prejudice because the health concern issue is such a convenient cause to hide behind. The truth is however that even if smoking was proved to be good for health, there are a significant minority who would still be against it and who would still do everything they could to limit people’s freedom to smoke.
I have to admit that to a large degree I can’t prove what I have just said. It is subjective opinion. It is something I feel strongly; something I may have some anacdotal evidence for, and something I believe to be the case. But I don’t think I can prove it. After all if I asked somebody who was rampantly against smoking if they really cared about my health or if they were just prejudiced against smokers, what would they say? It would be a bit like asking, “do you beat your wife?” But strangely the growing phenomenon of E Cigarettes may shine a light on that sector of society that is just prejudiced against smoking.
I am not a “vaper”. I have never tried an E Cigarette although I suppose I will do at some point. But it does seem that the use of E Cigs is growing steadily and speedily in some places. Some people use them as a means of cutting down or quitting normal cigarettes. Other people “vape” regularly for enjoyment as an alternative to smoking. In either case virtually all medical opinion seems to agree that while some E Cigarettes contain nicotine, they do not contain the tar or other chemicals which make regular cigarettes potentially hazardous to health. So in the worst case scenario those who use the type that contain nicotine may become addicted to something which is virtually harmless!
Chicago and New York have recently banned E Cigarettes from all public places… Why? In the UK a recently leaked document indicates that the government is considering doing the same and banning E Cigs from all public and enclosed spaces where they are presently allowed. One of the reasons stated was that there is a danger that E Cigarettes could “re-normalise” smoking. So what? If people decide they like vaping e cigs which do no harm to themselves or others why ban or restrict it? Those who genuinely fear that real cigarettes damage the health of society surely cannot be displeased that some smokers are turning to a much healthier alternative. And if there is a fear that some people who are not attracted to smoking might take up vaping, again, so what? What harm is being done? Why does it need to be limited or controlled?
Unless you are just prejudiced against anything which even resembles smoking cigarettes.
A prejudice is an irrational dislike or hatred of things, individuals or groups of people. A prejudice against smokers is no less despicable than any other prejudice.
I think that for too long outright bigots have attached themselves to groups who have a genuine concern for people’s health. In so doing they have gained much power against the group they despise and hate, and have been quite successful in reducing our rights and freedoms and generally persecuting us with impunity the way all bigots and fascists would like to be able to do.
I think scientists and people in the medical community have a right, perhaps even a duty to inform smokers like myself of the potential dangers we are inflicting on ourselves by smoking. I think they have a right to prevent children from being tempted to take up a habit that could have life threatening consequences. I am not very convinced by the arguments against passive smoking but I would defend the scientific community’s right to warn against its dangers where there is evidence. I don’t however think that anyone has the right to determine how I choose to enjoy myself and what risks I can choose to take so long as I am not hurting anybody else. In fairness, it is probably not the scientific community that is mainly responsible for that. It is the other breed. The prejudiced ones. The ones who get a kick out of controlling others.
Or the ones that just don’t like us.