Friday, January 30, 2009

Are smokers evil & insane?

Anti-smoker rhetoric is obviously becoming more shrill and strident; in fact, it’s reaching an all time high. And, if January is any indication, smokers are in for a rough ride in 2009.

First there was the third hand smoke nonsense, with the insinuation toddlers were at risk from smoke residue they licked off the floors smoking parents apparently never clean. The press ate that one up, with headlines from coast to coast, and a brand new hazard has been created. A brand new public menace for which smokers, of course, are responsible

Then there were attempts by the anti-smokers to scuttle the TICAP conference in Brussels and silence freedom of speech and freedom of association. The mainstream press, the unofficial cheerleading wing of the anti-smoker movement, ignored the European Union’s assault on democracy.

Then, there was Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) putting down smokers as baby killers and such and inciting hatred against those of us who choose to smoke. John Banzhaf, leader of the fanatical anti-smoker group, was quoted as saying:

"Smokers pollute the air the public and their children are forced to breathe with toxic carcinogenic fumes, inflate taxes and the costs of health insurance, start the blazes which are the major cause of residential fire deaths, kill thousands of their own children every year, and are a major contributor to litter on beaches, streets, and elsewhere. Isn't it time we stopped tolerating if not encouraging this outrageous behavior and harm to the public."

I keep wondering when Banzhaf will start advocating frontal lobotomy as a means of controlling a smoker’s undesirable behaviour?

If you’re a smoker and into self-flaggelation you can read about it and find a number of links on Dr. Michael Siegel’s blog, Tobacco Analysis. Siegel thinks the Tobacco Control movement may be “going off the deep end.” Uh-huh. I think that’s called understating the case.

And then . . . earlier this week, Dan Hawkins of Harrison, Arkansas, recent appointee to the state Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Advisory Committee, declared his belief that 70% of cigarettes are smoked by people who are mentally ill.

Something tells me smokers down in Arkansas are in deep shit.

Hawkins further claims that: “30 percent of smokers have an Axis II personality disorder, i.e., they not only have one or more serious psychiatric illnesses, but may also be bad people.”

Rep. Dan Greenberg, of Little Rock, revealed the contents of Hawkins e-mail, which was addressed to members of the State’s House of Representatives. In an article in the political blog, The Arkansas Project, Greenberg said “When you start talking about the high incidence of criminality and insanity among smokers, I think that’s probably not the message that (Governor) Mike Beebe wants to send out.”

The article was entitled: “Beebe Appointee: Smokers are Evil and Insane (And Lawmakers Who Disagree are Stupid, Corrupt and Just Like Nazis)” Catchy little title. The text of Hawkins e-mail is available here.

As might be expected from an anti-smoker fanatic, Hawkins saved some of his vitriol for legislators who don’t fully agree with the anti-smoker message. Says Hawkins: “According to the unbiased medical epidemiological research literature, pro-tobacco legislators have both lower-rated intelligence & integrity.” Yeah. That’s sounds like he's saying they’re stupid and corrupt.

And, he’s apparently got a scientific study to back up his claim. But, then, don't they all.

Hawkins wants to sue, and possibly jail, any legislator who doesn’t support anti-smoker initiatives. “Explorations are currently underway to see if legislators, in their lifetime(s), can be held legally accountable (both civilly & criminally) for pro-tobacco (pro-death for profit) votes injurious to the public health.”

Says Hawkins, who has a PhD from some Cracker Jack company or another: “I describe here some of the worth of increasing the state cigarette sales tax increase.” Huh? All this ranting and raving is in support of an increase in a proposed sales tax increase on smokes.

I guess the Governor must really want this tax increase if he’s willing to appoint this attack dog to the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Advisory Committee. There’s no mistaking where he stands.

But, does the Guv really plan on letting him run around unattended?

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