Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Banning smoking in homes: the final insult

Anti-smoker rhetoric becomes more shrill with every passing day as they call for ever-increasing sanctions on smokers. The objective of all anti-smoker initiatives, of course, is legislation meant to establish a new norm for what they consider anti-social behaviour; smoking. Smokers must be de-normalized; reduced to second-class citizens.

Their declared motivation is to save smokers from themselves, and to protect non-smokers from the alleged hazards of secondhand smoke. And, naturally, they want to “protect the children”, not only from the alleged hazards of secondhand (and now third hand) smoke, but from smokers.

Children tend to emulate the behaviour of those around them, especially adults and older siblings. And, if they see people around them smoking, then they will be more likely to pick up the habit themselves. That's the basis of the anti-smoker theory that, to protect future generations from the alleged harm of tobacco consumption, adult smokers must be forced to quit. That's why the UK Department of Health (and similar bodies around the world) are so insistent on smoking bans, higher taxes and other draconian interventions to “motivate” people to quit smoking.

Or, as noted in a UK Department of Health report entitled A Smokefree Future: “We need to focus on preventing young people from taking up smoking in the first place. The home environment is very important: young people are much more likely to smoke if they live with smokers. For this reason, supporting adult smokers to quit is a key aspect in encouraging young people not to take up smoking.”

In simpler terms, if children don't see people smoking, they won't take up the habit and tens of thousands of young lives will be saved compliments of the anti-smoker crusaders.

To this end a number of interventions have already been put in place, or are being considered, in jurisdictions around the globe. There are age restrictions on the sale of cigarettes to minors; tobacco products are hidden from the view of children and adults alike in retail outlets; tobacco advertising is prohibited in most forms of mass media; and efforts are afoot to curtail smoking in the movies and on television.

In addition, bans are being considered (or have been implemented) in outdoor areas such as parks, beaches, sidewalks, etc, not because of any real health hazard, but to protect children from the sight of a smoker. "One of the biggest impacts of smoking around children is that adult smokers can be seen as role models, increasing the likelihood that the child will, in due course, also become a regular smoker.”

Ignored is the fact marijuana use among teens (in Canada, at least) is claimed to be greater than cigarette use. Cannabis is an illegal substance which is not advertised in any venue. And, I suspect the number of parents toking up in front of their kids is miniscule.

So what's the driving force behind kids adopting the marijuana habit? It's not advertising. It's not exposure to misguided adult (parental) role models. You seldom see anyone toking up in the movies or on television.

At any rate, the latest anti-smoker initiative in the UK is to a ban smoking in private homes with children. Watch for similar campaigns in your little corner of the world, wherever that may be.

Not surprisingly, one of the arguments being put forward is that, since smoking bans have been implemented in so many other areas, it is perfectly reasonable to impose smoking bans in homes to protect the children. After all, the home is the major source of exposure and a ban on smoking in private homes would reduce the likelihood that adolescents will pick up the filthy habit and become (shudder) smokers themselves.

Of course, such legislation would be difficult to implement and almost impossible to enforce. But, that won't stop the anti-smoker fanatics from trying; for the good of the children, mind you.

But, given the anti-smoker penchant for draconian solutions, I can envision several ways by which a ban on smoking in the home might be enforced.

For example, snitch lines could be set up to allow concerned neighbours and relatives to report parents suspected of exposing their children to secondhand or third hand smoke. The children themselves could be “encouraged” to report offending parents, perhaps to teachers or other school authorities. Or, urine samples could be collected from the kids on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to allow authorities to check cotinine levels which might indicate exposure to secondhand smoke.

Physicians could be instructed to notify public health authorities whenever they treat youngsters with asthma or middle ear infections. After all, according to many in the anti-smoker cult, exposing children to secondhand smoke is tantamount to child abuse.

Once a child has been identified as being “at risk”, offending parents could be ordered by the courts to seek counseling and/or enroll in a smoking cessation program. To ensure compliance, parents could be fitted with personal monitoring devices to detect the presence of tobacco smoke. Whether they actually smoke in the presence of their children or not is immaterial since the kids would still be exposed to the hazards of third hand smoke.

If parents can't or won't comply with a court ordered directive to quit smoking, children could be made wards of the state. Or, in those cases where only one parent smokes, the offending parent could be incarcerated in a reeducation facility until they learn to control their abnormal urge to smoke and are deemed fit to return to respectable society.

The final solution, reserved only for the most incorrigible smokers, of course, would be a chemically induced frontal lobotomy. I'm sure the pharmaceutical industry can come up with an appropriate remedy.

The loss of a a little freedom is a small price to pay to protect our children. Don't you think?

1 comment:

e-liquid said...

Smoking is a hard habit to break. If you've done everything to cut it off but there aren't any changes, well I guess you need try coaching and counseling.