Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Evolving Tenor of the Smoking Debate

Care of 3QuarksDaily, an article by a physician posits that lung cancer sufferers are the lepers of the twentieth century.

It is a sign of the times that there has been no storm of protest over the increasingly manipulative and moralistic character of anti-smoking propaganda. In the crusade to reduce mortality from smoking it is considered legitimate to exploit the deepest fears of parents and children. While the law seeks to prohibit smoking in public, the new anti-smoking advert seeks to proscribe it in the private sphere, fomenting domestic strife to achieve this objective. At a time when a wide range of civil liberties are under threat it is alarming that the strategy of using children to police their parents' behaviour - reminiscent of totalitarian regimes - provokes so little public disquiet.

The whole article, which isn't terribly long, warrants reading by any smokers and by anyone who's concerned about the degree to which anti-smoking fervor has displaced all semblance of tact in most contexts; people are very nearly comfortable spitting on smokers (and I speak from experience; the vitriol is sometimes astounding) and in general denigrating those addicted to tobacco in a way they'd blanche to see anyone denigrate, say, an alcoholic, an also-deadly, also-safety-jeopardizing addiction that garners considerably more sympathy than opprobrium.


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