Morpheus on… Anti-Smoking: A Tale Of Paranoia – And Hypocrisy

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if, during the ’60s, a time-traveler from THIS period had told me that by now, we’d all be going to work with jet-packs strapped to our backs – I’d’ve BELIEVED them. But if they’d told me that in 2015, you couldn’t SMOKE in a BAR – I’d’ve LAUGHED at them. So how did this ridiculous situation come about?

Well, during the ’50s, apart from hospitals, libraries, art galleries, theatres, churches and fireworks factories, you could smoke ANYWHERE. Even people who were NON-SMOKERS kept a full cigarette-box, lighter and ashtray for VISITORS.

Happy days – but by the ’60s, the rumblings had begun. However, no-one took them SERIOUSLY. After all, James Bond, The Beatles and all the other COOL people still smoked – so how bad could it be?

Well, in the ’70s, people found OUT – or so they THOUGHT. First, the US government commissioned a research programme to establish the risks presented by Second-Hand Smoke. The scientists announced they had been found to be SIGNIFICANT.

Then the story concerning “The Boys” emerged. Richard Levinson and William Link were Hollywood’s TOP television writing team, responsible for Columbo and many other fine shows. They worked together for HOURS each day, in a small, ill-ventilated office. Link smoked like a chimney, FILLING the office with a FOG of smoke, while Levinson was a non-smoker.

And when Levinson DIED, from LUNG CANCER, his widow tried to SUE Link – who then wrote a TV movie about the events. Only in Hollywood…

Then popular British multi-instrumentalist, comedian and TV presenter, Roy Castle died – also from lung cancer. He too had never smoked, and his death was blamed on years of playing in smoky jazz-clubs. Roy was a nice guy and people were appalled.

So by the ’80s, people were understandably treating tobacco smoke like NERVE-GAS.

And as the ’90s and “Oughts” progressed, smoking was progressively banned in ALL public places – even OUT OF DOORS.

It became ACCEPTABLE to abuse and segregate smokers in a way which, had it been applied to BLACK people, would have sparked race-riots that would have made Watts look like a picnic. But given the DANGERS of Second-Hand Smoke, the public’s fears were justified, right?

Well…NO!!! THE PUBLIC WERE CONNED.

Let us examine the three seminal events described above – first, that “research programme”. Several years AFTER the findings were released, it was revealed that ALL of the tests had been BOTCHED and the results were BOGUS. There never WAS any significant risk from Second-Hand Smoke.

Doctors had been saying so for YEARS. If you think about it, when were you EVER in a smoky club where you couldn’t see one side from the other, due to SMOKE? And yet, if you blow a mouthful of smoke into a brandy-glass, the smoke will completely obscure the view through it. And while the club might be, say, a hundred feet from side to side – the brandy-glass will only be a few inches. Unscientific perhaps, but surely a fair indication of the difference between First- and Second-Hand Smoke.

Then there’s the sad tale of Levinson and Link. Except it NEVER HAPPENED!! It was just a STORY. Oh, Levinson died alright – from a HEART-ATTACK. And HE was the smoker! Link merely based the FICTIONAL characters of his FICTIONAL TV movie on his memories of how he and Levinson had worked together.

And what of Roy Castle? While it’s true that certain people CLAIMED he’d developed lung cancer as a result of  his playing in smoky jazz-clubs – it actually seems highly unlikely. By the time he contracted the disease, he was a TELEVISION PRESENTER and hadn’t played in jazz-clubs for DECADES. And it’s known that just TWO YEARS of ceasing exposure to smoke – SLASHES the risks of health problems from it.

Plus, despite most people now having been brainwashed into thinking you can ONLY get lung cancer from smoking, it simply isn’t TRUE. Certainly, your CHANCES of contracting the disease as a smoker increase dramatically. But a non-smoker living alone on a desert island can still come down with it.

So given the above FACTS, what REALLY promoted all of the Second-Hand Smoke hysteria? MONEY, that’s what.

Oh, pubs and clubs have taken a CANING over the smoking bans.  A quarter of their customers smoke and few feel like standing around outside in the rain like naughty schoolboys, preferring to drink at HOME – where the booze is much cheaper and they can smoke NAKED if they choose.

Thus, many watering holes which were running on slim margins have gone UNDER.

And many governments make BILLIONS from the exorbitant TAXES they glom. If all Britain’s smokers suddenly STOPPED paying their THOUSAND-PERCENT cigarette taxes, their National Health system would COLLAPSE overnight.

So who’s making the money I spoke of earlier? Big Business, that’s who (aside from the tobacco companies). Any company or organisation owning vehicles – from cars to planes – and/or offices, shops, etc. And that’s where the hypocrisy comes in.

When Second-Hand Smoke first became an issue, the owners of buildings and vehicles LEAPT upon it. Realising that modern surfaces and equipment are mostly PLASTIC, these days – and that plastic absorbs smoke-stains like a SPONGE, making it look old before its time – they moved QUICKLY.

In The Old Days, redecorating meant merely the annual task of moving desks and filing cabinets out into the corridor for a day or two, slapping some green, cream or beige paint on the walls and opening the windows for a bit. But NOW, it meant STRIPPING an office of EVERYTHING and REPLACING it.

On the other hand, if in the name of “Heath And Safety” you could ban smoking (or have a referendum, knowing seventy-five percent of the staff would vote YOUR way) you could reduce that task from an ANNUAL event to a once-in-a-DECADE event.

AND you’d save on fire insurance, air-conditioning and cleaning as well. Then if you could stretch the ban to your company cars by classing them as “work-places”, when you came to sell them they’d be worth more. Brilliant!

As for airlines, have you ever wondered why you feel so DOPEY after a long flight?

And often develop a VIRUS a few days after?

It’s thanks to the smoking bans. In addition to the planes’ interior decors – plastic again – looking younger for longer, they’re also able to back off their air-circulating systems. Despite being pressurised, all aeroplanes still have the facility to slowly change cabin air. But with the outside air temperature being, at 35,000 feet, around minus fifty-five degrees (Centigrade OR Fahrenheit – at that temperature, the scales cross) it costs MONEY to HEAT it.

And when after TWELVE HOURS without a smoke you finally get OFF the damn thing and enter a flashy terminal large enough to PARK one in, you have to search for the “smoking facility” – which more often than not, turns out to be a room the size of a garden shed. Thus, despite representing 25% of their customers, you’re lucky if you have 0.05% of their SPACE. Reason? It’s those cleaning, decorating, insurance and air-con expenses again.

Finally, a while back, when (then) London Transport had a deadly fire in their tube (Underground) train service at Kings Cross, instead of facing up to their monumental shortcomings with cleaning and staff instruction, they blamed it on a dropped fag-end and banned smoking throughout their whole NETWORK – even the SURFACE sections.

Thus OUT-DOOR platforms had bans also. Which obviously made NO difference to “Heath And Safety” – but again, it cut their cleaning bills and the cost of redecorating their “smoking” carriages. And naturally, it didn’t take other train companies long to follow suit.

Of course, it is fair comment to say that many non-smokers find just the SMELL of cigarettes objectionable. And that has always been so. But back in The Good Old Days, companies recognised the problem and so, considering the comfort of ALL their customers, wherever practical they provided FACILITIES for smokers. Cars, bars, offices, etc. ALL had “smoking areas”.

But when they saw the chance to SAVE themselves all that trouble and EXPENSE – they TOOK it!

So there it is. It’s a CON, people. And thanks to BAD INFORMATION, YOU’VE ALLOWED THEM TO DO IT!

Thankgawd for VAPING…

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