Monday, December 8, 2008

Anti-smoking drug pushers

It was a brief article, not much more than 100 words, written earlier this year. Quebec’s Public Security Minister Jacques Dupuis was announcing that his government was relaxing a recently implemented smoking ban in provincial prisons.

The smoking ban had been implemented prohibiting smoking inside and outside detention facilities, despite warnings from prisoner advocates and guards who predicted it would create tension and unrest among the prison population. Within days, some prisoners at the Orsainville prison rioted, setting fires in their cells, presumably because of the ban.

According to Dupuis, the decision to allow smoking outside was made to ease prisoners into the ban.

It was also noted that: “Nicotine patches and gum are available to the inmates who pay out of pocket and must apply for reimbursement from the Quebec drug plan.”

The fact that the riots and the eventual back-tracking of the government occurred in a prison setting is immaterial. What struck me was the number of times I had read similar comments from authorities in other institutional settings.

For example, when rationalizing smoking bans in senior’s homes, hospitals, palliative care units, etc, you’ll get the same comments being made by the anti-smoker element: “Nicotine replacement therapy and smoking cessation drugs will be made available.” But, it’s empty, anti-smoker rhetoric, designed to demonstrate to the public their kind-hearted, compassionate nature.

The crusaders will tell you they don’t force the ill or elderly outside into the cold and damp, they go there, of their own free will, to smoke. If they don’t want to go outside, all they have to do is quit smoking. Once they quit, presumably, they can be treated as normal human beings.

And, the anti-smoker crowd stands ready to help. They’ll make sure there’s a ready supply of nicotine gum and nicotine flavoured gum drops available.

In fact, people in institutional settings are being coerced into using drugs that most of them don’t want. Granted, they’re not being physically restrained or force fed drugs, at least not yet. But it is force nonetheless. Those confined to an institution are being told that as long as they continue to smoke, they will continue to be punished for their abnormal behaviour. Not much of a choice, really. Keep smoking and be treated like a piece of shit, or take the drugs and be treated like a human being.

The simple truth is that anti-smoker crusaders, and the politicians they lead around by the nose, have become pushers for the pharmaceutical industry peddling nicotine replacement and smoking cessation drugs.

And it’s happening at all levels of the anti-smoker campaign. The World Health Organization, Health Canada, and government provided health services around the world, are all promoting the use of drugs to curb smoking. Pressure is being applied to governments to have smoking cessation aids made available through, and paid for by, national health care services; one gigantic sales promotion for the pharmaceutical industry.

It kind of makes you wonder if that wasn’t the intent of the “de-normalization” campaign initiated by the anti-smoker brigade in the first place. Make life so miserable for those who choose to smoke that they are obliged to turn to drugs or spend their lives as second class citizens.

More and more, it appears as if efforts to denigrate and demean smokers are really meant to turn them off smoking, and turn them on to pharmaceutical nicotine products.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

here here,right on the money.
harleyrider1978 freedom fighter for
all americans.......join the fight and denounce socialism thru health facism.