THE SMOKESCREEN OF LIES
THE LIE: Non-smokers are intolerant of smokers rights.
THE TRUTH: This is one of the most used misrepresentations of the truth. This is propaganda promoted by the tobacco corporations. Every so-called smokersí rights organization is a front created by the tobacco industry. They accumulate names of smokers by offering free cigarettes when smokers send in coupons. The smokers then become part of the bogus membership list of smokersí rights advocates. The concept of smokersí rights is ludicrous. Smokers can go to non-smoking environments, they simply have to leave their lighted cigarettes behind. A non-smoker becomes an involuntary smoker when in a smoking environment. The lie of intolerant non-smokers is perpetuated even more by drawing ridiculous parallels to other addictions. "Why not ban alcohol then?" they will say. The truth is that tobacco is the only unregulated drug in terms of harm to non-participants. It is illegal to consume alcohol and drive, for example. Smoking in public places is comparable to a heroin addict injecting heroin into other people on the street.
THE LIE: Non-smokers who ask smokers to please not smoke in their presence are militant non-smokers.
THE TRUTH: In Europe this is one of the most abused, backward concepts. One really has to wonder why politicians and even some non-smokers could be so out of touch with reality. In some cases it is clear that lobbyists for the tobacco companies have intervened to stop legislation which would hurt tobacco sales. This is a moral issue that has been deliberately confused with personal rights. The only thing militant about the issue of smoking in confined public spaces is the act of forcing unwilling participants to inhale secondhand cigarette smoke. Every smoker who does not care about where his smoke goes or who it harms is a MILITANT SMOKER.
THE LIE: If we make all restaurants and bars non-smoking no one will come.
THE TRUTH: Non-smokers are the majority. The reason this myth exists is the fact that most non-smokers stay home to avoid public smoke. In places where smoking has been banned in all public buildings, restaurants and bars are surviving very well. The major effect of the ban is that persons who have tried to quit smoking in the past have succeeded when they can live and work in a smoke free environment. This is very dangerous for the tobacco corporations and they have spent millions of dollars trying to stop these laws from being enacted because it cuts their profits. The cultural acceptance of public smoking is a gross injustice to all people who wish to breathe fresh clean air and is especially unjust to those with respiratory diseases. Non-smokers have been intimidated into silence by the idea that they are intolerant.
THE LIE: Restricting smoking in some businesses will hurt them financially and may even put them out of business.
THE TRUTH: This is another example of backward logic that comes from decades of tobacco industry control of information. No self-respecting CEO would suggest that his corporation should market to the smallest segment of the population. For businesses that sell liquor or food to claim that their customer base should remain only among smokers is insane. Once decades of habits are destroyed the customer base of all businesses, except tobacco shops, will be unlimited.
THE LIE: The only fair way to treat the smoking issue is to provide places for both smokers and non-smokers.
THE TRUTH: This has never worked anyplace it has been tried. Smoke does not stay in the smoking area. Non-smokers still do not go to these places and it only helps to perpetuate the lie that non-smoking rules are bad for business. In places where total bans on smoking are enforced the debate on smoking should end because the new rules are fair to all. Smokers simply must go outside to smoke. The biggest problem smokers have with smokefree laws is that they become very aware of the extent of their addictions. The rate of people who quit smoking increases dramatically when smokefree environments are the rule. In California for example less than 20% of the population smokes.
THE LIE: Smokers want to smoke because it tastes good and a smoky room provides good atmosphere. There is nothing better than a good cigarette after a meal.
THE TRUTH: The bottom line is that nicotine is addictive and addicts are famous for using rationalizations. Even now there are secret documents that have been leaked from the tobacco companies themselves that verify the addictive quality of tobacco. People who have quit smoking will tell you they could not taste their food when they smoked. A careful check of train reservations in Europe will show that even smokers reserve non-smoking seats because even they cannot tolerate the deadly second-hand smoke. The idea that sucking smoke into oneís lungs is somehow romantic is absurd.
THE LIE: The Non-smoking Movement is a fascist movement trying to control peoples' personal freedoms.
THE TRUTH: In America some of the most Fascist Right Wing politicians have been supported by money from the tobacco companies. Also from the perspective of a person with asthma or other respiratory diseases it is tobacco and second-hand smoke that takes away the personal freedom to hold a job, eat in a restaurant, or socialize in a public place, or even sometimes to do something as simple as taking public transportation. Every concept of modern democracy is based on the premise that personal freedom is something one is entitled to when it does not take freedom from someone else. Fascism could be described as a minority who wields financial or political power through intimidation, fear and the manipulation of truth. One characteristic that rings true of most fascist oriented movements are the repeated attempts to portray themselves as the victims. They believe they have a "right" to hate or to pollute the air or to make profit regardless of the consequences to others.
THE LIE: My Grandmother has smoked three packs of cigarettes a day for the past fifty years and she is alive and healthy at 80 years old.
THE TRUTH: The statistics about smoking related diseases are staggering. In most countries in the world smoking is at the top of the list for the major cause of death. Perhaps the Grandmother has smoked three packs a day for fifty years and she is alive at 80. Is she healthy or lucky? Perhaps only she knows the truth. For every one of these Grandmothers there are thousands of people who have died horrible painful deaths from smoking related diseases.
THE LIE: It will take at least five years or more to convince smokers to quit smoking in public.
THE TRUTH: In most places where non-smokers laws have been passed the changes took place virtually overnight. The secret is to educate the non-smokers to be less passive. Once you get non-smokers to believe that the government is willing to enforce the law, then they are less intimidated by aggressive smokers who are unwilling to stop polluting the air. It is no different than the struggle to make corporations clean up their emissions from factories. The idea that we must somehow consider the rights of smokers to pollute, instead of the right for everyone to breathe clean air is wrong.
THE LIE: If you donít smoke you donít belong in a bar or tavern.
THE TRUTH: This is another lie that is perpetuated by the tobacco industry to protect one of the last places where the right to breathe smokefree air is challenged. In most places in the world smokers are outnumbered by nonsmokers by margins of more than two to one. The idea that smoking and drinking go together is only perpetuated by the fact that many people who might drink are simply unable to tolerate the extreme smoke in bars, therefore only smokers and secondhand smokers go to bars. We mistake the habits and routines created by indoor smoke pollution as being personal choice, when in fact it is a case of discrimination against non-smokers.
THE LIE: The issue of smokefree laws is a matter of non-smokers against smokers.
THE TRUTH: The tobacco industry depends on this concept to continue its deception and manipulation. They donít want the issue to be seen as people against the tobacco industry. They donít want it to be seen as a struggle for clean air in the workplace. They dupe hardcore nicotine addicts into representing themselves as "smokersí rights advocates", then distance themselves from the battle. The result is a group of angry, desperate, inarticulate drug addicts who need to protect their pushers at all costs. If you were to compare the death rates, the addictive qualities of tobacco, or the methods of the tobacco industry with any of the so-called illegal drugs, then all tobacco industry executives would be in prison and their property would be confiscated. Instead we talk about their "right" to continue to make a profit. We assure them they will not have to assume full responsibility if it means putting them out of business.
THE LIE: Smoking is masculine, a sign of virility. There is nothing better than a cigarette after sex!
THE TRUTH: Smoking tobacco is one of the leading causes of impotence. Tobacco use can also cause problems in the mouth and with teeth and gums that makes kissing a smoker comparable to licking an ashtray.