Trying to be Realistic about the Effects of Anti-Smokers

There has only been one effect of anti-smoking activity that has really, really mattered to me personally. That was ‘being exiled to the outdoors’ – especially, at the pub. Other places were not places where I spent any significant amount of time. Even airports and aircraft were not a problem since one uses those places very infrequently.

Regular readers will recall that I used to frequent my local nine times per week – every evening and Sat and Sun afternoons. Now, I go only on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday evenings. Further, even when I do go, I do not drink as much as I used to. I went there tonight at about 10 pm. Apart from staff, there was only one person in there – a guy named Eric. I had two pints and then returned home, and here I am, drinking a glass of red and quite content.

So let’s do a few sums. By ‘sums’, I do not necessarily limit the process to actual figures.

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A. Over the last several years, I have lost loads of acquaintances at the pub, but gained an equal number, if not more, via the net.

B. Prior to the ban, my main hobby was playing golf.  Now, it is growing baccy plants. Playing golf as a hobby was massively expensive, but was worth the cost. What buggered everything up, as far as I was concerned, was when the golf club made no provision whatsoever for members who enjoyed tobacco. That pissed me off no end, and I quit as a member at the end of that year (about 2012).

C. When we went on holiday abroad, I would bring back a couple of sleeves – say, 400 fags. I was content with that because, although the cost of cigs abroad was dirt cheap, I did not regard the cost of cigs at home as particularly horrid. There have been some peculiar movements in prices of stuff which have had a big relative effect. Thus, as prices of most stuff have fallen in real terms (think TVs and Computers), the price of cigs has become silly. £7 for 20 small paper tubes filled with dried leaf matter? Those 20 small tubes weigh about 20 grams. You can buy 31 grams of Asda sage for 70p.  The important point, however, is that I no longer pay taxes in the UK since I give Spain the tax monies (at half the rate).

D. Growing the plants is not difficult, but there are dangers, such as slugs. Curing can be tricky. But, even so, as a hobby, it is rewarding. I am painting the worst scenario!

E. I foresee the possibility that one might have to go on a trip to Belgium or somewhere to get whole leaf. From an EU ‘common market’ point of view, the position will be curious. Everywhere on the land-mass of Europe, tobacco leaf is a simple agricultural product. Only when it is processed does it become a tobacco product. There are funny things going on in tobacco control/the border agency. What tobacco control is proposing (registration of importers) conflicts with the powers of the Border Agency. What if a person who is not registered imports leaf? What law is there to stop him? A simple test case could easily be organised and the importer would almost certainly win because EU law demands free, unhindered movement of goods. That is a fundamental principle.

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Despite all the exaggeration and gloating, one might reasonably ask what tobacco control (the WHO FCTC treaty) has achieved. Did it stop ebola, malaria, AIDS, starvation, malnutrition, etc, etc? What has the vast cost actually achieved? The answer is – NOTHING. In fact, all that money and effort have distracted attention for the past couple of decades from real problems, such as ebola, which have been bubbling for a long time. Such things happen when a special interest group, such as the Doll et al gang get control of a wide-open, innocence like the WHO.

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I would contend that The Tobacco Control Industry has achieved nothing at all. It has created nuisance, but little else.

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