Why Tobacco Control Has Had Its Day

A comment from Roberto in the last post set me to thinking. Here is his comment:

Yes, it may take some time but sooner or later reality overcomes myths, even if the latter are peddled by powerful bureaucracies. Think of mccarthyism in the 50’s in the USA: it was overwhelming and super-powerful but ran out of steam and fell by its own hubris and excesses. It is a good analogy because tobacco smoking has been subjected by TC (a powerful bureaucracy) to a similar fear mongering as communism was by mccarthyists (another powerful bureaucracy). The end of mccarthyism did not make communism more appealing to the the public in the USA (which remained anti-communist), but the public realized that mccarthyism was a worse option than tolerating a communist minority. I venture saying that something like this may happen with smoking in the future: the ideologues of TC will loose the war against the pragmatists. Tobacco smoking indoors will remain very restricted, but outdoor smoking tolerated, the “quit or die” approach and the “de-normalization” will be slowly phased out and replaced by a “harm reduction” strategy (it is starting to happen with e-cigs). In the end, I (and millions like me) will continue smoking regardless of these bureaucracies. Maybe in 30 years there will be a renaissance of tobacco smoking.

I don’t disagree with the bulk of his comment, but I do not accept the projection of thirty years. But it may be true.

My problem with the thirty years forecast is that modern times are much different from previous times. Everything happens much more quickly. The Roman Empire lasted for several centuries before its eventual collapse. The Chinese dynasties also lasted for centuries. I don’t know enough history to know about the Mongol Empire, but it certainly lasted for a long time, as did the Arab invasion of Spain.

In more recent times, Empires have not lasted as long. The British Empire started to build up a few centuries ago, but it was small beer until the beginning of the 19th century. Its creation and collapse occurred within a relatively short time, as did the Communist Empire.

Have you noticed? There are now no territorial Empires.

Empires have morphed into idealogical Empires. I include Multinational Corporations in the idea of ideology. The ideology is seated in the importance of multinationals in the economic systems of nations. They provide employment and tax incomes. They contribute to the wealth of nations. Even developed countries welcome ‘inward investment’ by such companies when a multinational decides to locate its activities in those countries.

It is somehow weird when a Government Minister and his shadow, congratulate each other about how they have forced a multinational out of the country, as has happened with tobacco companies in the UK. The rejoicing was purely ideological because people who enjoy tobacco will continue to do so. The manufacture of tobacco products will continue, but it will be in Bulgaria or somewhere where it is welcomed. The loss of jobs and wealth in the UK will be a gain for Bulgaria. Nothing else will change. The two Ministers were the Health Minister and the Labour shadow minister. Would they be equally happy if Big Pharma closed its operations in the UK and moved them to Bulgaria? Why not?  Big Pharma kills more people than Big Tobacco has ever done.

Empires come into existence, grow, and then collapse rapidly these days. The EU is one such. Whereas, in the past, it might take decades for weaknesses to become apparent, the weaknesses of the EU are clear for all to see right away today, now, immediately. Only the fact that the vast majority of people are busy, busy trying to look after themselves and their families obscures general sight of the weaknesses of the EU.

The EU is a pretend Empire. It is unreal. France, Germany, Italy and Spain, being the biggest countries involved, could easily have abolished border control. Perhaps other countries could have applied for similar treatment. Not all countries, and their populations are the same. A great influx of cheap labour might be great for some industries, but is awful for the indigenous population. Border controls are needed when such invasions damage the wealth of the indigenous people.


What is weird is that economically important multinational industries are being pushed out and being replaced by destructive industries such as The Tobacco Control  Industry. We know that there are other similar destructive industries such as The Climate Control Industry.

They are not only Industries but also Empires. The reason that they are Empires is because there are no controls over them. Politicians do not do their duty, which is precisely to block such destructive invasions, especially if they have the effect of brainwashing the People.


Indoor smoking bans are weak, even though they are universal. The universality is not important. What is important is that they are based upon junk science, propaganda, parliamentary trickery, the ‘feel-good’ propensity of MPs, the ease of persecuting minorities (especially the poorest amongst us), the criminalisation of people who refuse to be enforcers, the waste of taxpayers contributions to State income, etc, etc.


There comes a point where everything comes together. I do not pretend to have the whole picture, but it is obvious that Cameron and Corbyn, interchangeably, are ‘extras’ on a world stage. But that is only so because they have allowed it to be so.

What the EU should have been doing is building the economies of countries such as Bulgaria, but not at the expense of the people of better-off countries. But how can it do so when it is, itself, hopelessly wasteful and corrupt?


I was reading something today. It suggested that the reason that people like Johnson and t’other fellow were coming out in favour of Brexit was that they expected that the vote would galvanise change in the EU, and that a later, repeat vote would keep us in the EU. It would not surprise me if all of it was organised. We vote for Brexit, but do not get it. The Brexit vote promotes concessions, and we have to vote again.


I’m not sure that Corbyn is such a disaster. Who says that he is? He may not be smart, but he may break the Eton-type hegemony. Whatever you might think about Thatcher, she certainly broke the Elite for some time. Needless to say, the Elite regained control eventually.

The Americans have Trump to break the hegemony. I am not a socialist, but I see only Corbyn as a person who can break the Eton hegenomy. I was a socialist in my youth, but only upon the basis of ‘fair do’s’.

Perhaps, on another post, we could go into the question of ‘wealth’. Wealth does not necessarily promote consumption. When a family commits to a mortgage loan to buy a property, it automatically inhibits its ability to consume. as time passes, and the mortgage is repaid, that family gains ‘wealth’ in the form of the property.

One must to bed.

I think that I have lost my own plot via red wine. I’ll try again tomorrow. We must not forget that we are not well-financed, pretend university-based propagandists.


3 Responses to “Why Tobacco Control Has Had Its Day”

  1. Roberto Says:

    I thought of 30 years because this is roughly the time it took for anti-smokers to pass from being activists against “Big Tobacco” to becoming an all powerful self-preserving bureaucracy (TC) that has recruited most of organized medicine to impose authoritarian puritanical policies on tobacco, and corrupting medical science in the process. Perhaps it will take 30 years to reverse all this, even if not returning to the all-smoking free days of the past. I believe that after undoing the TC madness indoor smoking bans in public buildings will remain as a publicly accepted measure, but perhaps a legal framework will be established for allowing indoor smoking in private premises (restaurants and bars) to be decided by owners, not by the authorities.

    TC cannot last forever. Nothing lasts forever. At this point after more than 30 years of anti-tobacco hysteria, all of us who continue smoking only counter this madness with resilience. We keep smoking regardless of bans and “de-normalization”, and we are millions quietly doing this. Though smokers have not yet mobilized, there are now traces of opposition to TC emerging in the blogosphere, and in those medics who propose the “Tobacco Harm Reduction” strategy, mostly suggesting the introduction of e-cigs as a replacement of cigarettes. Perhaps these are signals that an effective and organized anti-TC movement is beginning to take form. However, even if this is true, this incipient activism is still ignored by the media, so it should take a long time until it is able to make itself heard and to challenge TC junk science, bans and attitudes. Unfortunately, the puritanical and superstitious approach to tobacco (the “evil substance that kills”) is not confined to a clique of ideologues in TC or the organized medical profession. This attitude has gained a lot of ground among the public, specially in English speaking countries. Likely, it will take a long time until the medical profession and the broad society starts to approach tobacco without the massive exaggeration of its damage and the present ideological blinders.

    • junican Says:

      Well said. The only objection that I have is that history is replete with instances where some tyranny has built up slowly, slowly over many years and then collapsed suddenly. Communism is a recent example. Remember the Berlin wall? There seems to be a curve where the tyranny builds up a little at a time and then reaches a level state which persists for some time, and then suddenly collapses.

  2. slugbop007 Says:

    This current Tyranny is not collapsing fast enough.

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