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Author`s name Michael Simpson

The War Against International Smoking

In both the UK and Russia for example, levels of alcoholism are on the rise, so who is to say that this isn't as much a health menace as smoking?
First there was California, then New York and now it's time to spread the fight and tackle the problem in Europe too starting with Ireland. However, disgusting and all a habit as smoking may be it, all of this does pose the question of where do you stop once you get into the realm of legislating for public health?

In both the UK and Russia for example, levels of alcoholism are on the rise, so who is to say that this isn't as much a health menace as smoking? In the USA levels of obesity are at an estimated staggering level of 60% amongst the population at large. Some health activist groups have even proposed a "Fat Tax" on junk foods. Heart disease is another growing problem too. So, can we move on then to ban the eating of red meat in time?

Anti-smokers will doubtless point to the unique dangers from second hand smoke but that argument can be extended into other areas too. The actions of a drunk driver can cause equally lethal damage to the lives of innocent third party bystanders around them. Similarly so, the treatment of alcoholism can put enormous strains on the health service of any country.

And yet we saw what Prohibition did in the early 1920s in America arguably achieving little more than providing organised crime in that country with one of it's biggest pay days ever before it was repealed.

Even more worrying than this is the questionable sincerity of anti-smoking campaigners in the first place who claim that their efforts are for the benefit of society at large. Where are these people when it comes to more important issues such as housing, employment and education? If, as some people predict, a ban on smoking in bars results in staff being laid off because of loss of revenue, where will those same campaigners be then to help them out whilst they seek alternative employment?

New York City was a recent recipient of such ban and shortly before it happened, cigarette manufacturer Phillip Morris & Co. shut down their offices in the city with the lose of 6,700 jobs (although they denied it was in retaliation). One had to wonder how such a ban improved their lives.

Then there was the doorman who was stabbed to death trying to eject a customer who smoked in a bar in Manhattan recently. How improved is his life now? Not very much apparently, according to his family who blamed the smoking ban for his death and who have threatened to sue the city since.

With all the publicity over the years about the ills of smoking then, it's hard to believe that there can be anyone out there by now who doesn't know that it's bad for you. Yet if you choose to do it or stand beside someone who does then that's your decision ultimately.

Of course if it's not your decision, then we are back to where we started with you letting someone else decide for you how much of this, that and the other you can have from now on in life.

Is that what we want then or can we just use our own common sense and decide for ourselves?

John Bourke
Special to PRAVDA.Ru

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