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How quickly the anti-smoking virus spreads

I didn't have time to comment on this last week but I don't want to let it pass without saying something.

According to the Guardian:

The French Socialist senator Nadine Grelet-Certenais has fired up a heated debate in France over the depiction of smoking in the movies. She wants it stubbed out, for good, on the basis that Gallic heroes puffing away on the silver screen makes the filthy habit seem cool and provides the evil tobacco industry with free advertising.

The story was first reported by a single French news source on Saturday November 18 but developed legs partly because the call was supported by health minister Agnès Buzyn who said she was in "total agreement" with the senator, and partly because it attracted so much ridicule online.

Before we knew it papers such as the London Evening Standard were running the story with headlines such as 'Smoking could be banned in French films' almost as if it was a fait accompli.

Nevertheless things may have ended there had it not been for a further comment by European Commission spokesperson Anca Paduraru who told

"The Commission welcomes all measures taken by EU countries that deglamorise smoking, and reduce uptake, particularly amongst young people."

Within the space of a few days therefore a single comment by an opposition socialist politician in the French parliament during a debate about tobacco price rises had escalated into a headline that read 'Commission backs French idea to ban on-screen smoking'.

A few weeks earlier a company in Japan announced that it was giving non-smoking employees an additional six days' holiday a year to compensate them for the extra time smokers allegedly take for smoking breaks.

Needless to say this 'story' went worldwide without a word from anyone pointing out that:

Smokers are as entitled to breaks as anyone else and if some are taking additional breaks to smoke it's a sign of weak management.

If some employees are taking unauthorised breaks to smoke they're not alone, they're simply more visible. Other employees may be spending time on social media, private emails, personal phone calls or an excessive number of coffee breaks, but that's less obvious.

Since relatively few people work on conveyor belts these days it's difficult if not impossible to judge a person's productivity through time spent at their desk.

We all know people who work longer hours but are no more productive than those who work fewer. As for creative people, we need thinking time and who's to say that a period of contemplation at your desk is more or less effective than a smoking break (if you're a smoker)?

The point is, both of these anti-smoking stories went global yet one began with a comment by an opposition politician in a debate about something completely different, while the other was prompted by a relatively small company (120 employees) based the 29th floor of an office block in Tokyo.

How quickly the anti-smoking virus spreads.

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Reader Comments (3)

The smoker skiver lie is one of the most vicious. Its aim, of course, is to make smokers unemployable by using such slander that encourages employers to prejudicially discriminate and refuse to employ them.

In places I have worked in the past where smoking was banned on genuine practical grounds such as handling food, no one, smoker or non smoker, ever thought about taking a break outside of the legally required 10 minutes in the morning and afternoon.

Where smoking is banned in offices I work in these days, I never take a break until lunchtime and hometime. I am unsure if legal breaks still exist but I never take them. I do not get the time.

I confess nipping out on a couple of occasions on what I count as my longest ever working day from 8am to 12midnight some years ago, but I felt justified after putting in more hours that I was going to be paid for just because personally I wanted to get a few jobs done on one day.

More people skive at work checking social media than they ever did then or now by smoking.

This is just smokerphobic hate campaigning. Govt must do something to stop it.

Monday, November 27, 2017 at 17:52 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

The virus spreads because anything negative about smoking becomes a story and exploitative companies like the Japanese one know that beating up smokers results in coverage over acres of newsprint and hours of screen time.

They probably wouldn't have been able to afford the advertising otherwise. There is wealth and tonnes of money in beating up smokers - just ask lobby groups like ASH.

Monday, November 27, 2017 at 17:57 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

The antismoking meme does indeed gravelly quickly. Several factors ply into this. First, a global political elite orchestrates the press coverage in several ways. They promote their agenda via press releases, they write stories masquerading as news that are actually biased activist tracts (aka propaganda), and they stimulate a cadre of astroturf commenters that relentlessly attack smoking (and this attract readers and clicks that sustain advertising revenue for the media outlets). The globally co-ordinated antismoking propaganda scheme is also supported by the quest for profit by pharmaceutical companies that promote the antismoking line and the quest for power by antismoking activist groups. The desire for humans to fit in and be popular helps suppress dissent and magnify the persecution of smokers and the vilification of tobacco interests (based on lies, exaggeration, and suppression of dissenting options and facts).

Monday, November 27, 2017 at 19:19 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

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