Capnophobia and Fumiphobia
Part 3 of 4
Why Won’t We Kick Their Butts in the UK?
- If you are waiting for a smoking ban, don’t hold your breath.
- There are some fundamental principles with which the true libertarian can never
- One of them is the inalienable right of idiots to smoke themselves to death.
- We are entitled to wonder why apparently rational men and women knowingly increase
the risks of cancer and heart disease as the willing price they pay for inhaling
the fumes of burning leaves.
- We are allowed to regard the sad little groups of tobacco addicts, smoking in the
rain outside nicotine-free office blocks, as both pathetic and ridiculous.
- If some strange people want to behave in these bizarre ways, we have no right to
- Compassion requires tolerance to be matched with care, and the availability of medical
treatment should no more be related to intelligence than it is to income.
- So the health service has a duty to treat smokers, free of charge, when they succumb
to one of the ghastly self-inflicted illnesses.
- Neither John Stuart Mill nor William Beveridge obliges the sensible majority to
accept second-hand doses of the diseases which smokers gratuitously endure. In short,
Sir Liam Donaldson, the chief medical officer, is right. Smoking should be prohibited
in public places.
- Sir Liam’s report also identified another cause of medical concern.
- Britain is growing fat.
- One reason for our increased obesity is record consumption of confectioneries and
- For once I am part of the fashionable trend.
- I am a stone overweight and addicted to Burgundy and chocolate; but, foolish though
I undoubtedly am, I encompass only my own destruction.
- I do not go into restaurants and force the family at the next table to share my
- Nor do I pour cheap wine down the unwilling throats of people who sit next to me
in theatres; yet smokers insist I inhale their tobacco fumes.
- The government argues that bans on smoking in public places should be voluntary—a
contradiction in terms.
- Nobody who has ever sat in a restaurant next to inveterate smokers will believe
that slaves to nicotine have the sense or the sensitivity to stop, of their own
volition, polluting the air around them.
- If they were susceptible to the demands of common sense and courtesy, they would
not behave like that in the first place.
- Blowing cigarette smoke into the face of a perfect stranger is antisocial behaviour.
By definition, antisocial behaviour has to be prevented by society as a whole.
- The vested interests complain that banning smoking would be to curtail the freedom
of Englishmen, whose homes are castles that stink of smoke.
- There can be no freedom to spread disease. In any event, the government should not
take advice from people who consciously attempt to encourage addiction among children
and tried to achieve that aim by marketing a product which, when chewed, developed
both a taste for tobacco and cancer of the mouth.
- Ministers who, after a little hesitation, had the courage to limit tobacco advertising,
will recoil from the public ban which would protect us all from other people’s
- A ban on advertising, which protects the young and impressionable, is universally
- Not even the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph could represent safeguarding children’s
health as repressive.
- Prohibiting smoking in public would influence the conduct of adults.
- So put aside the distinction between the smokers’ right to harm themselves
and to harm others; the newspapers which influence the government are not interested
in moral philosophy.
- If you are waiting for a ban to become law, do not hold your breath—unless
you are in a public place. Then it is essential to your health and well-being.
When I don’t smoke, I scarcely feel as if I’m living. I don’t feel as if I’m living unless I’m killing myself.
It is now proved beyond doubt that smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics.
Reader’s Digest, December, 1961
A custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous
to the lungs, and in the black, stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible
Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless.
—King James I of England (1566-1625)
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