This is really a response to a comment
on one of my earlier posts, but my cheapo haloscan comments engine doesn't do notifications so if I posted this as a comment in response, there's no guarantee it'd ever be read. Why does that matter? well it doesn't really but for one thing this is my website and so it's all about what I think... besides someone
who I love as a dear friend and respect for his intellect said a really
staggeringly dumb thing in response to my elation at Scotland's imminent public smoking ban* and I feel the need to respond.
In one of the most blatant displays of self-delusional rationalisation I've seen (even from a smoker!) Pete complained that this ban was "veering towards the prurient
" because it wasn't matched with "providing real, practical help for any smoker who wished to quit
Do you mean stuff like this
I could go on linking to any of the hundreds
of companies, charities and government agencies whose primary purpose is to provide support to smokers who want to quit, but you get the point: There's simply no excuse for not quitting, and certainly not this excuse! There's bags
of support available, especially here in Scotland where smoking is frighteningly prevalent
and where the damage
is particularly well documented.
As you might have gathered Pete's comment riled me a little bit** and that got me thinking: what exactly about it bothered me? The answer's simple: I'm sick and tired of hearing smokers rationalising an objection to the ban, particularly when it takes this form (though don't get me started on the "it's my right..." bunch!)
If you smoke. the only
thing stopping you from quitting is that you don't want to. It's that simple. I appreciate that it's an addiction but help is available. Lots of help, you just have to make the difficult decision to stop doing something you really enjoy because it's killing you and those around you. If that isn't incentive enough (and for some it evidently isn't) then making it illegal for you to smoke in places where it will harm others is both a necessary public safety measure and an added incentive to quit.
If you're addicted to something and it's harmful, it shouldn't be socially acceptable to indulge that addiction in public. Smoking is the exception to this rule. If the consequences of you indulging your addictionin public include harming others it should be illegal
. Smoking is the only clear exception to this rule too. Stopping people from causing harm to those around them is a matter for legislation pure and simple, It's what law is for it its most basic form. The smoking ban is a long overdue law and there's simply no argument (least of all this one) against it.
*happily since I posted, the English government has begun making noises that it'll follow suit with a similar, but less wide ranging ban
**which is and always has been one of the things I love about him - his capacity for making me think. Thanks Pete.