This Is NOT Big Brother

From the Chicago Tribune and writer, Steve Chapman, comes a strange article: Big Brother Gets Really Ugly

Well, I’m not a smoker but my health and most definitely my brother’s health (he died from lung disease ) was made worse by other smokers.  That is accountability.  It is manslaughter being accepted because of bullies who value their bad choice above that of another’s good choice.   Nowhere on the warnings before were there any visceral facts about second-hand smoke and the diseases it causes and the numbers of the  very real deaths smokers were and are causing to others who made a choice not to smoke.  Once it was understood what it did, it should have been outlawed immediately.  Ah, but there were jobs involved and money to be lost.  People in Victorian times were getting cancer of the jaw and other hideous consequences from which even the dullest of minds were able to draw a connection to tobacco use.  But that was not enough.  Not when there was money to be made.

Let us choose another example though: Alcohol.  My chances of dying from another’s alcohol consumption are greatly reduced if 1) I don’t consume with him and/or 2) I’m not on the road at the particular time he/she drives drunk and makes a fatal mistake. In other words, my chances of survival are greatly improved under second-hand alcohol consumption than they are under second-hand smoke.  It is possible, if the laws are obeyed, for one to consume alcohol and not impinge upon my health or the health of another.  That is not possible where smoking is concerned.  There are no barriers in the air.  We all have to share it.

Now why is the government getting involved so much in reminding people of what they already know, of what any kid making a field trip for the past 6 years to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry can see on display at the Human Body exhibit?

For this simple reason, for the reason discussed on Public Radio over 15 years ago: When the business health care costs related to smoking began to outweigh the money to be made from it, lobbyists from a number of different agendas against smoking would reach agreement and were going to seek the help of government intervention.  The time its taken has given the big tobacco cos time to diversify their income streams and seek new markets outside the US.  They won’t be (and aren’t) hurting. 

The smokers see themselves as victims, strange victims, who want their “right” to smoke upheld even when shown the diseased liver, the missing jaw, the man on an E-tank gasping for air, the child with an early diagnosis of pleurisy, all of those who didn’t smoke but are suffering unwillingly the ailments of smoking.  Watch their angry reaction, as I have, in many situations from real life to TV of people being shown the actual consequences of their behavior on others.  This is not Big Brother.

This is the reaction of people on a very powerful (and underestimated) drug.  This is not the reaction of those who are truly being oppressed and their rights stolen. Those would be the disabled and the dead of second-hand smoke. This is the reaction of people under the influence of a drug, nicotine, which for years was being enhanced by cumerin, a little known substance until Dr. Jeffery Wigand, a researcher with Brown and Williamson, one of the larger tobacco companies, blew the whistle.  

It is a sad tale that has gone on for far too long and rambled around in the heads of those who are not thinking clearly because of being under the influence and are desperate to keep it going around the smoking end of a butt.  There is no Big Brother here.  Big Brother is present elsewhere and he will and has and is shadowing many things to oppress the people.  But he is not here, not with smoking.

Of the 9 people I have known in my lifetime who have been or are currently smokers, all but 1 have been visited with a smoking-related illness or death.  

When someone impaired is harming themselves, the kindest thing to do is to intervene.  When someone impaired is harming others, the diligent thing, the only right thing to do is to put an immediate stop to it.

Strongly drawn pictures seem to do neither and one is left wondering what all the fuss was about.

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