Tobacco Control Out Of Control

Today’s piece by Frank Davis is called The Tobacco Control Mentality. It concerns a Canadian study by their Tobacco Control industry. Frank sums up the gist of part of their “reasoning”,

“For Tobacco Control, it seems that the ideal individual is one who lives life in a prudent, calculating way and is ever-vigilant of risks, self-regulating and productive – and in accordance with expert advice.

“The “self-managing” or “self-governing” or “self-regulating” individual is one who exercises iron self-control. He resists the temptation to take up smoking. Or indeed anything else. He doesn’t take risks.

“Smokers, by contrast, exhibit lack of self-control. They don’t regulate or govern or manage themselves properly. Worse still, their propensity to engage in risky behaviours like smoking extends elsewhere…”

But, as he points out,

“After all, everybody engages in self-regulation of one kind or other. Nobody ever does exactly what they like the whole time.

“The real crime of the self-regulating smoker is to disregard experts and other authorities, and be an autonomous individual. And once he has disregarded authority in respect of smoking, it’s quite likely he’ll disregard it in respect of pretty well everything else as well.

“Tobacco Control’s ideal individual is one who believes what he’s told, and who does what he’s told, by authorities of one sort or other.”

He then gets to the reason for their zealotry,

“One might say that Tobacco Control is primarily about top-down moral regulation. This used once to be the concern of religions of one sort or other. But with the decline of religious observance, Tobacco Control (or Public Health) has stepped in to fill the moral vacuum. The virtues and vices of the old religions have been adopted wholesale, but renamed.  The bishops and priests have been replaced by “experts” and “researchers”, and the old theology by “reason” and “science”. Good conduct has been replaced by “healthy living”, and failure to conduct one’s life in accordance with its tenets results in “premature death”. The “true believers” in this new pseudo-religion believe everything they’re told, and live in fear of a variety of new hobgoblins in the form of tobacco, alcohol, sugar, salt, fat, and carbon dioxide, which they live as much in fear of as the Devil himself.”

I had to read more of this ‘study’. It is very interesting. The language and attitudes are astounding.

Firstly, when did ‘tobacco control’ start calling themselves by the name? I consider it a derogatory term. When did it get to the stage where their superiority permitted them to be unapologetically forthright? Was it after the compliant “low-hanging fruit” they mentioned had been largely picked off with TC’s propaganda (incl. guilt trips)?

Not only is there a tobacco “epidemic” (according to the WHO), but there has been a “war on smoking in Euro–American societies” and of course, the first casualty in war is truth. But it’s a war, so lying is OK and in an age of moral relativism, truth is whatever you want it to be.

We know that a lot of TC’s coercion revolves around thinking about the cheeeldren, yet, “The popularity of smoking among young people challenges the progress of cessation and prevention campaigns.”

They note that (like elsewhere), smoking is more prevalent among poor people. Of course it is. The punitive taxes will make you poor(er) than the non-smoking, non-risk taking, weigher-upping, intelligent ones who listen to TC.

But I’m sure they mean people from lower-income families, meaning that their ‘war’ is against the financially worst-off in society. Part of that war is lobbying for increased taxes and ever more ingenious ways of dehumanising smokers. These are the people Tobacco Control are now trying to “reach”. Then there’s all their preaching. Hardly surprising that,

In recent years it has become clear that Canadian tobacco control faces a particular challenge with regard to youth smoking, with the prevalence of smoking in Canada highest (21%) in people aged 20–24 (Health Canada 2010).

Talking of preaching, I agree that these modern crusades are a replacement for religion; their ‘studies’ and edicts are the new scriptures. Except that they don’t seem to do forgiveness and they definitely don’t do ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’, although they probably think that their constant propaganda and impoverishing and making life difficult in many other ways is a tough kind of love which has to be done to make those at TC feel ‘spiritually’ awake.

You can tell by their language how they see their role and they admit their use of mind control like the cultists they are, “Not only are there age differentials with regard to smoking prevalence but interventionists are becoming increasingly concerned with the imbalanced effect of their programming across socially differentiated youth.”

I had thought that propaganda was their forte, yet they invented this:

In Ontario, ‘Stupid.ca’ is a well-known provincial programme targeting youth smoking.

Calling your ‘target’ (harder to reach fruit: unreceptive to TC) ‘stupid’ sounds, er, stupid. Or are they referring to themselves?

Anyway, type in that and you go directly to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care. The second tab in is “About the Ministry”. Just like you would find on a typical religious website!

Back to the ‘study’. TC have various projects going on to try to influence the youth, in this vein,

They suggest that with the right kind of knowledge, young people can be made responsible and thereby make the right choices: that is, with the help of these tools, self-controlled and smart youth will be able to stop smoking.

It’s the same tried and failed method as used for curbing drug-use and teenage pregnancy/STDs. The result is that it encourages experimentation and guess what, it produces more adults engaging in what the do-gooders are supposedly railing against, so it keeps the social engineers in business for evermore.

It’s something I have noticed recently that people’s number one priority with their job is their salary rather than their service. I have lately experienced it personally in several fields, particularly in the ‘caring’ professions. And yet, I have had far more support and consideration from the least likely of sources.

Frank’s initial quote from the study about “‘the self who is expected to live life in a prudent, calculating way and to be ever-vigilant of risks, self-regulating and productive…” is a strange tactic to try to reach “the socially marginalised youth smoker”, who think they will live just about forever and are often prepared to take risks because that’s what young people do, whether knowingly or through ‘peer pressure’ or some other cue.

It doesn’t follow that they cannot also be “productive”.

It’s the constant nannying/bulling/restraints/legislation that seems to be causing people to be less productive. TC just haven’t a clue. They think they’re clever talking about “Foucault’s biopolitics of population” but when it comes down to it, they don’t understand how to reach the youth who continue to smoke. Worse (from their point of view – or is it – as I’ve previously hinted at?), their ideas seem to be meaningless at best and probably counter-productive.

I found this interesting, Youth smokers are thus not only framed as smokers: smoking appears to engender other deviant social and behavioural tendencies. So, smoking is “deviant”. I suppose it would be, according to their religion.

Then there’s this cracker,

A number of interviewees made comparisons between tobacco and illicit drugs, particularly crack cocaine, expressing the view that in Vancouver tobacco use was seen to be on par with smoking crack.

Many years ago, in the UK, I noticed that tobacco and alcohol were being bundled in with illicit drugs. Again, weird propaganda which may have encouraged those normal smokers and drinkers to experiment with these ‘other drugs’?

So confused are they now in Vancouver that they don’t seem to know the difference between a cigarette and crack. Does this kind of weirdness go part and parcel with the dumbing down of ‘education’? Or just the constant bleating about cigarettes being a ‘drug’?

Don’t choke on your coffee at this next bit,

The one thing that we most desperately need in this province is funding for NRTs, nicotine  replacement therapy or pharma, pharmacotherapy – [Zyban, Champex]…

The nicotine replacement therapies are well-known for being practically useless. Champix/Chantix and Zyban have been linked to hundreds of suicides. In July 2009, America’s FDA ordered the makers, Pfizer and GSK, to put warnings on the boxes about the risk of “serious mental health events”

“The US Food and Drug Administration said that the warnings on Chantix (varenicline) and Zyban (bupropion) will highlight the risk of changes in behaviour, “depressed mood hostility, and suicidal thoughts when taking these drugs”.”

Yet doctors still prescribe these killers.

You will choke on this one. These are the thoughts of one practitioner:

I think that it is more the … not lobbying, I am using the wrong term, but this kind of demonisation that we have done of smokers that has made people stop smoking. The smoker is the ‘big bad guy’, after the paedophile comes the smoker practically, these days, in our society, the bad guys. You see a smoker outside smoking a cigarette, children, ‘Oh’ and they look at the smoker with big wide eyes as though he was going to kill a baby seal in Alaska. It’s the same thing for them, it is really the demon. They are really viewed, we marginalise, we really, really do marginalise smokers, the more we do, the less place smokers have.

They do acknowledge the “unintended consequence”, “that tobacco control discourse and
policy may even be creating a bond among those leftover people who smoke.”

The strange reasoning throughout seems to be that if you stopped the youth from smoking then all their other ‘risky’ behaviour would go away, that their ‘mental issues’ would be healed and that their ‘socio-economic’ status would be improved.

Maybe this shows, more than anything, that these social engineers live on a different planet?

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