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« Voices of Freedom 2011 | Main | Best smoking area? No thanks! »

Health is the new religion

Abomination, abhorrent, despicable.

Just been on The Stephen Nolan Show (BBC Radio Ulster) and those are just three of the words used by callers to describe smoking in the open air.

Funnily enough, when I hear those words in a Presbyterian accent I automatically think of the Rev Ian Paisley.

Well, they say that health is the new religion.

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Reader Comments (11)

yes you are right. In religion, however, there is a place for blind faith without any evidence. That is just what faith is. It doesn't work that way when it comes to health.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 11:00 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda

When I read the stuff from Australia, I wondered why the big tobacco companies just don't get together and refuse to supply in plain packets. There's nothing like a bunch of angry smokers with no 'smokes' to upset the apple cart!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 11:32 | Unregistered CommenterChris

May I suggest one more for tobacco companies to do in Australia.

Stop production, close the factories/offices down, fire all the staff, refuse to supply cigarettes to Australia and leave it to the black market if people want to smoke. It is Simon Chapman's aim anyway, make his day.

The Australian government can then deal with plummeting revenues, increased crime, especially organised. There are 80,000 people directly or indirectly employed by tobacco companies, and with Australia having a population of 22 million would equate to 25,000 people.

My advice for tobacco companies would be to do it now as an experiment to the rest of the world.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 13:50 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

I've been saying that for a while, Dave. Withdraw from Australia, and while your at it, withdraw from Ireland. Why suffer death by a thousand cuts? Put up a fight in self defence and win or die now.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 20:00 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

The tobacco industry here in the UK should fight for things now and not leave things until we go the way of Australia.

Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 17:40 | Unregistered CommenterMark

The Religion of Healthism explored by Mat Coward. Forty Lashes is a long piece, but well worth the effort of reading.

Friday, May 27, 2011 at 7:53 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Interesting idea, Dave -

But would the accountants be prepared to forgo even the diminishing profits to make a point ?

God, I'd love to see it happen, though !

Friday, May 27, 2011 at 12:03 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

I don't think of withdrawing as simply 'making a point, Martin. I see it more as protecting their income everywhere else. If the Aussie Gov suddenly find themselves suddenly losing their tobacco revenue, they are going to have to find the money elsewhere - ie. put up other taxes. No amount of propaganda will hide that fact, and maybe the ordinary man in the street will have second thoughts about the demonisation of smoking and smokers (Obviously, the zealots will no change, but at least their lack of numbers will be revealed as they start to have to justify their claims.

Also, the message might get through to other governments that the persecution of smokers is reaching a point of no return.

Friday, May 27, 2011 at 19:55 | Unregistered CommenterJunican


We can sneer at the Australian Government. But we do not know what they are trying to achieve. They seem to have contradictory aims.

The following thought is difficult, and not for politicians to contemplate.

If the enjoyment of tobacco is as harmful as Tobacco Control say, why did the Government not start at the other end? That is, why was it that the enjoyment of tobacco was not banned in the presence of children in every circumstance as a beginning? Why start with public places when the most dangerous place (as regards children, and any other person) is in the home? Why not start with the home?

Think about that. Have Tobacco Control already worked that out? Did they decide that attacking smoking in the home, regardless of the presence of children, was a non starter - for the time being? Was the 97% result on Mumsnet against smoking in the presence of children (ostensibly, in cars) just a warm up? To what extent has the 'progression' already been thought through?

And are our MPs aware that they are being used to progress the intentions of Tobacco Control? And are they also aware that, despite the fact that taxpayers are contributing to the salaries of this hidden agenda, that these 'fake charities' are protected from 'Freedom of Information' enquiries? How can it be that organisations which are in receipt of taxpayers funds, either directly or indirectly, can be immune from 'Freedom of Information' Enquiries? Either they refuse to accept taxpayers money, or they accept 'Freedom of Information' enquiries, and publish their accounts in full.

The present situation stinks. Organisations which the Taxpayer is funding have hidden agendas. It will not do and is contrary to our constitution.

Saturday, May 28, 2011 at 3:09 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

Junican -

I cannot say with any certainty why the Australian Government didn't 'start at the other end' (the home) - but I've a bloody good idea.

It's standard Fabian practice - incrementalism. If you acclimatise people to the idea of 'change' gradually, then you are far more likely to achieve your ultimate objective (and we all know what that is in Tobacco Control's case).

More subtly, by directing people's minds (and grumbles) towards the step-by-step effects of such change, you divert their attention away from THE crucial consideration: what RIGHT does the Government have to order us around in this way in the first place ?

How many times have you heard that question in the past few years ? It simply never occurs to anyone to put it these days - exactly what you'd expect from a dumbed-down, infantilised electorate, conditioned to ask 'How high ?' when told to jump.

Conversely, if you go for the jugular from the beginning - at least in countries whose political culture involves certain notions of 'liberty' and 'choice' - then you're much more likely to encounter (at least some) politically significant opposition (maybe even violent, at that).

Seduction versus Rape.

It's the simple Psychology of Power. And it works like a dream !

Especially in the increasingly emasculated (or androgynous) West.

Saturday, May 28, 2011 at 9:56 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Karen -

Thanks for that splendid Mat Coward link, by the way.

I find it tragically ironic that so many of those who publicly claim to believe in a Life of the Spirit (as I do) act in such a mean-spirited way towards others. Nothing new there, alas.

For the 'scientific' fanatic, of course - there's no such contradiction to confront.

Saturday, May 28, 2011 at 10:21 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

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