By Bob Tate
There is a world war going on right now. It is a war against tobacco. It sounds silly doesn’t it? Unfortunately it’s true. The anti tobacco supporters have waged war using one of the oldest strategies, Divide and Conquer. And it’s working to perfection. Tobacco users are allowing this to happen. Not only are they allowing it to happen, they are helping it and sometimes support it. Let me explain a little.
Smokers and tobacco users in general, have fallen victim to the strategy and have been self segregating ourselves. Some of us have forgotten the fact that it shouldn’t be about personal opinions and health issues. It is about our right to choose to enjoy ourselves in a legal activity. The majority of tobacco users have started turning on the other forms of tobacco that differs from the one(s) that they enjoy. They are trying to separate themselves from other people who enjoy the same thing they do, but in different ways.
For some reason, within the past ten years or so, cigarette smokers have become the devils spawn according to those who do not smoke cigarettes. Other smokers and tobacco users have been separating themselves from cigarette smokers and some are even jumping on the antis’ bandwagon about the dangers of cigarette smoking. Let’s be honest, there are health risks involved with all types of tobacco use. If you think otherwise, you are naive and deluding yourself.
As you see, it is easy to get sidetracked on the issue of health instead of the real issue; people imposing their thoughts and opinions of what they think is right and wrong on others and infringing on other peoples rights to choose for themselves.
I have heard and read many negative things from pipe and cigar smokers about cigarette smokers and cigarettes. Are cigarettes the worse form of tobacco use? It’s possible. But I would attribute that to the inhalation of the smoke. Don’t forget that back in the olden days, people used to inhale the smoke from their pipes and cigars. Some still do. One of the things that I constantly hear complained about is how bad cigarettes smell. Well, I am quite sure that there are a lot of people who think cigars smell horrible and I know that there are quite a few pipe tobacco blends that don’t smell too pleasant either. Some pipe and cigar smokers actually blame cigarette smokers for all of the anti tobacco laws that are put in place. This is preposterous. The reason that cigarette smokers were the first ones attacked by the antis is because cigarettes are the largest and most popular form of tobacco used these days. Regardless if you think cigarettes are the worse form of tobacco use or not, or if you think they really stink; if people choose to smoke them they have that right. It is still legal and we must support their choice. We are all fighting the same war, the anti tobacco war.
Some smokers are starting to believe some of the anti’s fact less propaganda. Once again, forgetting the actual point of people having the right to choose and not being forced to do something based on other people’s opinions. Just because someone believes something does not necessarily make it true or a fact. A lot of the antis claims and propaganda are based on theories, opinions, and scare tactics; not facts. There are no hard facts on second hand smoke and now they are starting another theory on third hand smoke that is pretty unbelievable. Well, it is unbelievable if you use some common sense and stop being part of the herd.
Then there is all of the ‘For the Children’ propaganda. Like all of the talk about smoking around children and the second hand smoke theories. According to the antis, it “could” cause all kinds of problems for the children, from respiratory problems all the way to SIDS. If you believe all of that propaganda, the human race should be on the edge of extinction due to generation upon generation of children having all of the problems associated with second hand smoke. Adults have been smoking around children for a couple of hundred years and the children have grown up, reproduced, and their children have reproduced.
I “could” get hit by a car walking across the street. Just because it “could” happen does not make it a fact that it will happen. Keep in mind that smoke is smoke, whether it is from a cigarette, a pipe, or a cigar.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying to go and smoke around children and blow smoke in their faces. Most people should know that it is not a good idea to smoke around kids. I am just using this as an example of the scare tactics that the antis are using without any actual facts to back them up. If they don’t get people to do what they want, they start scaring them with other things.
We have to stand up for other peoples rights to choose to enjoy whatever type of tobacco that they want to enjoy. Whether or not we agree with their choice, we have to stand up for their right to do it. We need to get rid of the mentality that is consuming the world, the mentality of ‘Allow what I like and what I do, but outlaw those things that I don’t like’. This goes for all things, not just tobacco. If you allow one group of peoples rights to be trampled because it doesn’t affect you and you don’t care, or you don’t like what they are doing or don’t agree with it, it won’t be long before your rights are trampled and something you like is no longer allowed.
We have to become united! We have to stop self segregating ourselves! We are all brothers and sisters of the leaf; the tobacco leaf. We have to stop looking at other smokers in a different light. Pipe smokers look at cigar smokers differently. Cigar smokers look at pipe smokers differently. And both groups look down their noses at cigarette smokers. This has to stop! We are all smokers and we are all fighting the same war!
We must ban together and become united. We must stop saying “I don’t care if they raise that tax or ban that type of tobacco because I enjoy a different type”. Tobacco is tobacco, pure and simple. From cigarettes and pipes all the way down to chewing tobacco and nasal snuff. Another thing to keep in mind is, if the antis are really only worried about non-smokers and second hand smoke, why are a lot of school campuses and work places becoming tobacco free zones? Not smoke free, tobacco free. This includes dip, snus, chewing tobacco, and nasal snuff. These tobacco products do no harm to anyone that does not use them. There is no second hand affects with those types of tobacco. The reason why is that they are ANTI TOBACCO supporters and they want ALL tobacco gone!
We must stop helping the antis divide and conquer us. We must stop the self segregation and start banding together before it is too late, and that point is fast approaching. Here is a good website that has a lot of information about tobacco legislation and banding together. Please check it out.
I am going to close now by quoting two people. The first is Pastor Martin Niemöller and the second is Dylan Thomas.
First they came for the Communists,
But I was not a Communist,
So I said nothing.
Then they came for the Social Democrats,
But I was not a Social Democrat,
So I did nothing.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
But I was not a trade unionist,
So I did not speak out.
And then they came for the Jews,
But I was not a Jew,
So I did little.
Then when they came for me,
There was no one left who could stand up for me. ~ Pastor Martin Niemöller
Do not go gently into that good night.
Rage, rage, against the dying of the light. ~Dylan Thomas