Let me start by saying that I DO NOT smoke. I have smoked a grand total of two cigarettes in my lifetime, and I didn’t particularly enjoy either one. I smoked the first on the day my beloved Monte Carlo bit the dust on the side of the road ten years ago. The second was after my best friend had gone through a nasty breakup and we sat on a brick wall talking into the wee hours of the morning. Both cigarettes made me sick to my stomach and the smoke stung my eyes. Suffice it to say, I have not felt the urge since.
I do, however, keep a single cigarette on my desk. When people ask me what it’s for I tell them it’s “In case of Armageddon.”
Now that we are clear on how I feel about smoking we can move on to the point I wish to make: I am fucking tired of the Tobacco Police!!!
Back in the 90s there was a movie with John Hurt that for the life of me I cannot remember the name of. In the movie Hurt was riding in a taxicab and lit up. The driver promptly pointed to a sign on the partition between them and said, “Hey, the sign says ‘NO SMOKING!’” John Hurt’s response was priceless, “No, it says ‘Thank you for NOT smoking.’ Since I am smoking I don’t expect to be thanked.” Bravo, John. Bravo.
I’ve found, during my own personal inquiries, that anti-smoking campaigns tend to only offend non-smokers, while people that do smoke tend to laugh and light up out of sheer spite. Tobacco protestors have got to be some of the most obnoxious people on the planet, second only to the whackjob members of the Westboro Baptist Church. One Iowa-based organization, JEL (Just Eliminate Lies), has some of the worst anti-smoking ads out there. One ad in particular featured two women teasing a smoking man in a bar, calling him “limpy” until he started crying and went away. Apparently, the point of the ad was that smoking causes erectile dysfunction. That has got to be the most absurd statement I have ever heard. Nine out of ten roommates I’ve had over the years smoked like chimneys, and those loud bastards would all fuck like bunnies all through the night until someone called the cops, usually stopping for the occasional smoke break.
Even more annoying are those non-smoking zealots who will go out of their way to put themselves into your smoke, just so they can fan the air and cough like they’re practicing for their next ball-squeezing physical exam. I had this “friend” once who liked to pester my guests with his anti-smoking propaganda. My friend and collaborator, Libby Sumner, respectfully went out onto the back deck to smoke a cigarette during a visit. My “friend” proceeded to follow her after she’d been out there for a couple minutes, fanned the air, and began shrieking statistics about secondhand smoke to her, demanding she put it out. Her response was priceless, “Then go the fuck back inside.”
People like that are all over, and they will purposefully walk into the only room in an establishment where smoking is allowed, and demand you put it out. Billy Connelly knows what I’m talking about.
In Iowa it is now illegal to smoke in bars and restaurants. There are now whispers of national bans on smoking altogether. I know, these whisperings have been going on since the Clinton administration, but now it seems more and more likely every day. Let me say that this is a horrible fucking idea. A national ban on smoking will only result in a repeat of the Prohibition era. Tobacco will become the new marijuana. Now, if I may quote one of the characters from my latest novel:
And it is. I guarantee, make smoking illegal and you’ve just made it cooler than ever to the kids. Established smokers will light up in spite of the laws. Organized crime will create the supply for the demand created by the government. People will resort to growing tobacco in their basements and you’ll see headlines like, “Sunday School Teacher Arrested In Raid Of Illegal Tobacco Farm.”
Again, do I smoke? No. Do I condone it? No. It’s filthy, it stinks, and it’s unhealthy. But do I bother my friends about it? No. Occasionally I’ll say to my best friend, “I really wish you’d quit.” He usually nods, takes a drag, and says, “Someday.” I believe him.
So do us all a favor, Jel, the truth, and all you other hippie anti-smoke crusaders out there. Get off the fucking TV and let me get back to watching House. Your ads are obnoxious, disgusting, and filled with more misinformation than a White House press release. And if you start waving the First Amendment in my face I’ll exercise my right to throw it right back at you with a resounding, “Get fucked!”
Do anti-smoking ad campaigns bother you? Do you salute the efforts of these organizations? Please, let me know in the poll to the right. And smoke if ya got ‘em.
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