Monday, 19 October 2015

Give Smokers a Break!

Tonite on the news we had our State Health Minister sanctimoniously announcing stricter smoking regulations in Queensland and the possible introduction of a licence being required for the vendor selling cigarettes. I assume a licence would also come with a hefty fee (how suspicious of me) which would duly be passed onto those addicted to nicotine. All this is done under the guise of the burden of health costs of those unfortunate enough to be smokers. Now, I am not a smoker – I have never even tried smoking. My Dad was an 80 cigarette a day man, and fortunately I have never felt the need to smoke.

I must admit I think it is the very best thing they have ever done to ban smoking in enclosed public premises and I think I would be pretty safe in saying that most smokers agree with me. However, I cannot believe that smokers are now almost completely ostracized from society as there are fewer and fewer places where they can top up their nicotine level legally. Really, I think that smokers are a pretty harmless bunch and nicotine as a drug, although very addictive, is pretty innocuous. You do not see cigarette smokers rushing off in a drug induced psychosis doing terrible things to people and property. Every day, we see on the news increasing incidences of domestic violence, random violent attacks on people and property due to the perpetrators being ‘high’ on ice. Our emergency services people are at very real risk as these people (though I do not know if they qualify as people any more) display super aggressive behaviour with super human power. I would love to see them pull out a tazar and zap the crap out of them. They deserve nothing less.  And yet, we are seeing cigarette smokers increasingly being treated like criminals depending upon where they choose to light up. Does the same thing happen to Ice users? I have seen some pretty spaced out individual, with all the hallmarks of an Ice addict, and all that seems to happen is everyone gives them a wide berth!

Are any of these people charged? If not, why not. I thought taking drugs was illegal. I thought assaulting people and destroying people was illegal. I genuinely do not know if they are charged and I certainly hope they are. However, instead of cluttering up our jails, our psychiatric hospitals or our emergency departments with these scourge on society, how about we drop them off on a desert island for a couple of months and let them fend for themselves. They will either kill themselves, kill each other, or get clean and learn some resilience at no cost to the tax payer. I have a feeling that all that happens is that they are fixed up and sent on their way. No fine, no nothing! But you light up in the wrong place and the happy police will be there in a flash with their miserable little fine book out and ready.

One of the people I know has a daughter who is a heroin addict. She is a blight on society and my friend often tells me not to donate to the Salvos as they feed these addicts which allows them to spend every cent of the social security on drugs. This is as well as all that they steal to feed their habit. When was the last time you saw a cigarette smoker doing break and enter to buy a packet of ciggies. Though, this may begin to be more common as the price continues to rise. Drug users who inject are also at very real risk of Hep B and C and HIV. I have yet to see one single case of cigarette transmitted HIV or Hepatitis B or C!

When you fly, no-one mentions the dreaded ‘F’ word. That is ‘F’ for fat! How politically incorrect is it to complain about the obese requiring two seats and only paying for one resulting in them squeezing themselves into their space and yours. Oh sorry, they all suffer from a medical condition that makes them fat. Yes they do, it is called eating too much. I am of an age where I can remember the time when people actually smoked on planes. Shock, horror, the plane never fell out of the sky either!!! I do not know of a single aircraft that has crashed due to someone smoking, yet aircraft are in very real danger of being overloaded due to obese passengers. The finding of one aircraft crash in the Mississippi was the plane was unable to successfully take off due to overloading because the passengers were too heavy. 

All this persecution of cigarette smokers is apparently due to the cost on the health care system. What about all the obese people and the problems they cause for the health system? I am sure the health system is buckling under the weight (excuse the pun) of the obese in our society. There are complications from operations, diabetes, pregnancy complications, joint problems and the list goes on. So if we are going to tax smokers out of existence because they are costly patients, how about we start taxing fat people for the same reason. It has got to the point where we actively discriminate against smokers. I do not know of another group of people who are actively legislated against! Yes, I think everyone agrees that smoking in confined spaces is a no no! However, smokers should be allowed to light up outdoors wherever they are. Most are very conscious of how their habit affects others and are fairly considerate. How would anyone else like being told where they can go, what they can do, and where they can do it!

With all the hoopla surrounding smokers and the evils of their habit I find it increasingly interesting that government see smokers as an easy cash cow for their coffers. On the pretext of pricing cigarettes beyond the budget of most, the government raises huge amounts of revenue from this tax. How much of this tax actually goes back into programs that help the addicted give up smoking. None I bet! So the sanctimonious politicians will continue to take the God approach and ban smoking just about everywhere, even in prisons. And yet they turn a blind eye to drug use and steroid use in society and prisons. Smoking keeps everyone more placid so it makes sense to ban it and condone the use of steroids. NOT!

We are the nanny state! We no longer take responsibility for ourselves and have squandered all our freedoms to the state. Politicians love this, as it gives them a feeling of power and doing something, and we are stupid enough to allow it. It is time that we all took responsibility for ourselves. If we smoke, we pay for our healthcare (I know many who do) so if we need medical attention the government does not pick up the tab. If we make choices that mean affect us adversely, then the responsibility is ours  and ours alone, be it drug taking, be it overeating, be it riding a bike without a helmet. Get the government out of our lives and for goodness sake – give the smokers a break!

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