Friday, 24 June 2011

Don’t let society scapegoat smokers

Peter Guillam argues here that calls to ban electronic cigarettes reflect a deep-rooted prejudice against smokers and our death-denying culture. In the Guardian, of all places. “You will see in the thread below vitriolic comments about smokers being disgusting, revolting, even sub-human; for smokers are now fair game for just about any sort of abuse,” he says. It seems that stigmatising smokers is the new fashionable prejudice. Read the full article.


  1. He rightly predicted the arrival of the deranged, but they still came. Says a lot, that. ;)

  2. They said it was true, but I refused to believe it. The PC quoting the Guardian?! The first sign of the End of Days. Can the Rapture be far behind?

  3. I think the article is a gross exaggeration, no doubt to make a point. I am a non-smoker and was a trade union rep. Our workplaces used to allow smoking throughout, until they introduced smoking rooms, and later a complete ban in advance of the legal one, and once restrictions were introduced, I'd get complaints from certain union members. The complaints might be about smokers having extra breaks, or spending too long on their smoking breaks.

    I refused to take forward their complaints, inviting them to go to management themselves, but they didn't, preferring me to fire their bullets. I pointed out the positive aspect of having a a smoke-free office, and asked whether they really wanted to work alongside a desperate smoker not allowed to go for a cigarette? I also pointed out that everyone had breaks, for a drink or a chat, and reminded them that some smokers actually took work with them to the smoking room, something that became impossible when a complete ban was brought in and smokers had to leave the building.

    You may think that all this supports the article, but it doesn't, because in a workplace of well over 100, only the same half dozen or so whinged about smokers. The attitude of most people was to shrug and let the smokers get on with it.

    In my experience, the view of many non-smokers is similar to my own: smokers can smoke all they like as long as I don't have to share the smoke. Not a moral position: just one of personal comfort.

    Yes, there are bad mannered non-smokers as described inthe article, but there are bad mannered smokers too - and you'll often see both varieties when the topic of smoking is discussed.

  4. "In my experience, the view of many non-smokers is similar to my own: smokers can smoke all they like as long as I don't have to share the smoke."

    Fine, so give pubs the freedom to provide smoking and non-smoking areas proportionate to the demand.

  5. You're not really a one-trick pony, CM, so why pretend to be one?


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