1984 is a Novel, not a Guide

1984 is a political novel written with the purpose of warning readers in the West of the dangers of totalitarian government. In 1984, Orwell portrays the perfect totalitarian society, the most extreme realization imaginable of a modern-day government with absolute power.

So why on earth are fuss-buckets still insistent on interfering with our everyday lives?

Smoking should be banned in all parks and playgrounds to reduce the chances of children growing up thinking that using cigarettes is normal, environmental health officers have told ministers.

So, none of the usual “no safe level of second hand smoke” or any other rubbish, the nannying fuss-buckets have decided that smoking isn’t normal (hint, it is) and they must pressure the Government Big Brother to do something about the precious Children™.

As I’ve written about before imposing an outdoor ban on smoking is neither practical, nor is it in slightest way sensible. Heck, if even Simple Simon thinks that banning smoking outdoors is a bad idea, then it probably is a doozy:

However, outdoor smoking does not harm staff or other patients, and because health care workers do not employ or somehow control patients and their visitors, there can be no justification for requiring them to not smoke outdoors.

If any message is sent to the community by an outdoor smoking ban, it may well be one that says health policy makers do not care about evidence of harm, but are more concerned to impose standards cut loose from any evidence base and indifferent to a vital ethical principle of respect for autonomy.

Oh, and don’t think Simon has changed – he hasn’t. Not in the least, but for once he actually makes some sense rather than wibbling all over the place:

The level of ETS exposure a nurse would encounter in an outdoor setting while escorting a smoking patient would be minimal. If downwind of the plume, the nurse could move upwind, and so on. Concern about such levels of exposure borders on fumophobia. Nurses would be daily exposed to far greater risks from infectious diseases, despite infection control protocols.

Then there’s as part of his conclusion:

The world is full of people who do not like the “aesthetics” of others’ different religions, race, sexual expression, modes of dress, or music. Too often these doctrines have found expression in paternalistic or downright oppressive regimes. We do not need authoritarian doctrines in tobacco control.

Which is exactly what we have with the recent declaration of wanting “voluntary” (which also means it is unenforceable) bans on smoking outdoors in parks, or anywhere else that the kids “might see” a smoker.

Banning it in those locations would also protect children from secondhand smoke, it says.

Yet, this is the great outdoors, a place that even Simple Simon recognises and being outside of any “harms” from the wisps of tobacco smoke.

Smoking has been illegal in enclosed public places such as bars, nightclubs and restaurants, as well as public transport and work vehicles, across the UK since 2007.

Once upon a time, the indoor smoking ban was all about protecting the staff from the “risks”. But as time has marched on, and people start wising up to the ridiculous claims being made by the “public health lobby” they’ve had to start playing the Children™ card.

“It is abundantly clear that the vast majority of people would support restrictions on smoking in children’s play areas. We would like to see smoking being stubbed out wherever children play or learn,” said Anne Godfrey, the CIEH chief executive.

“This would not only include children’s playgrounds but could see no-smoking zones extended to public parks, zoos and theme parks. Children should be able to have fun and enjoy themselves without seeing someone smoking and thinking this is normal behaviour,” she added.

This is more than just imposing limits of individual liberties, this is the opening of the Ministry of Truth, and an incredibly dangerous step towards the Thought Police.

“Public opinion – and not just among parents – has swung heavily in favour of protecting children from exposure to tobacco smoke and from the behavioural cues children pick up from seeing adults smoking. This is a real opportunity to make it easier for children to grow up healthy,” said Jim McManus, the director of public health at Hertfordshire county council.

Who sways public opinion Jim? It’d be the mainstream media of course. Just look at any smoking (or vaping) article, be it positive or negative and you’ll always find the zealotry anti-smoker (note, not anti-smoking). These are the folks that are incredibly militant in their approach to smokers (and by extension vapers, ‘cos “it looks like smoking”). These are the folks that would harass unwitting “ban breakers” – that’s the kind of thing that these zealots are just waiting for an excuse to do.

Capitulating to the insane demands of the CIEH and imposing bans (voluntary or otherwise) will give these folks free rein to harass smokers (and vapers ‘cos it looks like smoking). That’s a marvelous unintended consequence right there.

This “pronouncement” from the Ministry of Truth is nothing more than an attempt to add more stigma to an already heavily ostracized group of society and it needs to bloody stop. One day, the Proles will revolt.

4 thoughts on “1984 is a Novel, not a Guide

  1. “These are the folks that are incredibly militant in their approach to
    smokers (and by extension vapers, ‘cos “it looks like smoking”). These
    are the folks that would harass unwitting “ban breakers” – that’s the kind of thing that these zealots are just waiting for an excuse to do.”

    This is very true. These folks claim to represent the majority view on smoking, but as far as outdoor exposure is concerned they just represent the extreme views of a very neurotic minority. Even in very anti-smoking places (California or Canada) most non-smokers are willing to tolerate outdoor exposure to smoke and will not go out of their way to harass a smoker, even if children are nearby. Most non-smokers are ordinary peaceful folks and while they may dislike the smell of cigarette smoke they are not stupid: they do realize that an occasional “plume” of outdoor smoke may bring a few seconds of inconvenience, but the concentration is too small to cause any harm, even to children or to delicate non-smokers who could possibly be harmed by heavy indoor smoke.

    However, a small noisy minority of non-smokers are sufficiently obsessed and fanatic to welcome outdoor bans and will, without doubt, actively harass smokers, specially when **the children** serve as the pretext. All smokers and vapers can recount unpleasant experiences with such neurotic jerks.

    The notion that “outdoor smoking bans protect non-smokers and children from health hazards” completely lacks any medical justification whatsoever. Therefore, it simply reduces to a nakedly authoritarian coercive “eugenesic” measure that violates the human rights of smokers. It should be legally challenged on the basis of human rights violations. Pure and simple.

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      • I fully agree. However, after decades of tobacco control propaganda the “indoor ETS is harmful” sound bite is too ingrained in people’s perception. On the other hand, it is more feasible to oppose outdoor smoking bans because only a minority of neurotic non-smokers believe that outdoor ETS is harmful. Also, a lot of folks seem to tolerate vaping indoors.

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