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Big Anti-Tobacco?

Those with vested interests in smoking cessation somehow avoid scrutiny. Hmm.

by
Theodore Dalrymple

Bio

December 25, 2011 - 12:00 am
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It seems to be beyond the imagination of anti-smoking campaigners that someone might support the right to smoke on grounds of principle and not of narrow personal interest. The item, brief as it is, gives a flavor of the often bile-filled writing of anti-smoking campaigners:

It would be a matter of no little shame to a country that prides itself on a compassionate and inclusive ethos if its government were to abandon smokers to their fate. Every death that ensued would not just be the responsibility of the tobacco industry, which continues to promote its lethal product, but also of every politician in the Dutch Government who chose to look the other way and allow it to happen.

What of the responsibility of the smokers themselves?

Of this, not a word: they are putty in the hands of the tobacco companies and their government, scarcely human in fact. Apparently, Dutch smokers would stop if they knew about the effects of secondhand smoke, which are harmful additionally to first-hand smoke. A strange psychology indeed!

What if someone wrote a theoretical defense of the right to smoke, but put at the end that he had received money from the tobacco companies and indeed was employed by them? A cry of “vested interest!” would deafen.

Let me declare my interests: I have no shares in tobacco companies, I detest smoking and support the ban in public places, with the proviso that there should be places indoors, including restaurants and bars, where smokers can go and freely indulge their filthy habit.

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Theodore Dalrymple, a physician, is a contributing editor of City Journal and the Dietrich Weismann Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. His new book is Second Opinion: A Doctor's Notes from the Inner City.
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