Who kisses a smoker has… already lost!
This daring thesis comes not from one the militant antismoker websites, but is quasi completely official. Feel Free to Say NO! “is an initiative of the European Union, which wants to curb curiosity about smoking for young persons. If it concerns smoking complete censorship is required, except for the sermons against this innocuous pleasure, of course.
What does one expect from an information campaign? Facts, obviously, and information. It is important to explain to people over possible risks of thise or that behavior. Thus „The Feel Free “- campaign of the European Union has a certain honorable intention.
The devil, however, is in the details. Apart from the obligatory warnings about the bad tobacco industry there is loads of stuff such as amusing computer games like "Don’t kiss a smoker “. In the words of the gamemaster:
A smoker sexy only from the distance. If you come near a smoker you smell not only the cigarette, which he smokes, but also all other butts of the day. The hands, the mouth. Those who kisses a smoker has already lost. Friday night in the city. During your club route you meet different people. Your task is it to separate wheat from chaff. You know already that the cool people are the ones without cigarettes. Thus check them out and make sure that you don’t kiss the wrong people.
We forgot very fast that dignity for smokers is still the right attitude. Those who want to create a smokeless lifestyle for young people can emphasize the advantages of nonsmoking, if such exist and work with provable facts, if existant. Attacking and mistreating the smokers is an unworthy goal. The idea of smoker as chaff, the wrong person to kiss, originates obviously from the basest propaganda level. If we replace simply the term "smokers “in the quoted text by any other minority – the outcry would be intense, and rightly so. From the responsible agency, "Media Consulta “comes a more exact explanation of the concept:
Since the long-term is meanlingless for young people, the teenagers should be informed about characteristics that are associated with smokers, like bad skin, bad teeth and bad breath. They insured us these messages are not to contribute to discrimination of smokers.
How this can be true will remain a secret of "Media Consulta “.
An individual case? Not at all, because the German Cancer Society seems to join the propaganda club. "Trough science to life “is the impressive slogan of the association, whose duty its to support cancer research and work both by prevention and by information for the well-being of cancer-ridden people. Yet this bit of nastiness comes fomr its website:
"In the top management it has become practically impossible today to smoke in public. Who would entrust to a man the well-being of many coworkers, if he obviously cares nothing for his own? How is he capable of independent decisions, if his behavior signals dependence?"
It is alarming that the statements of authorities adapt increasingly to the jargon of a loud minority, which would like to exterminate tobacco from the face of the earth. Witch hunts and American Prohibition once were regarded as a good idea. The similarity of these events with the current hate towards smokers consist of the sad fact that wild speculations are used to build extreme action and radical solutions at the expense of parts of the population. Is useless to point out that there are good and bad smokers, just like good and bad nonsmokers. Is also useless to say that media like the cinema or the television reflects the reality. Their task as "propagandist, agitator and collective organisator“ has been lost with the fall of communism, finally: It is not their task to convey ideal behavior given by the state.
The United States of America is the large outrider in smoking prohibition. The idea that the United States is modern and progressive is as been established for too long, and that everything introduced there should be an example for the world. The hook here: USA is only partially modern. On the other side of the coin we see quite a different picture. Like that the people in United States are deeply religious: In the World Values Survey it came out that 86% the Americans believed in the actual existence of heaven, just like a remarkable 69% in that the devil exists. The reference values for Germany are about 67 and 18 per cent. A third of all American children don’t receive at school information about risks of the sexual intercourse with referring to contraceptives, like in other industrial nations. Instead the state promotes abstention up to marriage. The debate about the validity of abortions led in the USA to a series of attacks on abortion hospitals with numerous injured and dead and the question whether the schools teach evolution or only the Biblical creation have led to an amazing conclusions: "
Americans are utopian moralists “ writes Seymour Martin Lipset, and: "You tend to regard social and political dramas as moral plays, as battles between God and the evil, so that a compromise is practically inconceivable. “ We should be careful not to copy such errors, because we falsely regard it as progress – and examine exactly whether we have to do it with signs of a modernization or the relapse into Puritan times.
Copying of goals and methods proves to be useful. We must deal carefully with dangerous strategies of national interest, which want to take influence over the detour "of the social pressure “on completely personal decisions. In the USA smokers have been demonized for years, and the debate over, whether films with smoking protagonists should be released only for adults, is in full course. Both misjudge however the reality, and at least at the efficacy of the American "war against the tobacco. “ The rate of smoking teenagers, for instance, rose as the time of hate campaigns in the schools and the excessive employment of the tobacco taxes. As these were initiated, as reaction to it the portion of the juvenile smokers went dramatically upward.
Publications, like the official policy of fanatical anti-smoker movements, whose ideas are shameful for an open, liberal and democratic people, don’t do any good for the society. We must ponder thorougly the advantage of reasonable regulations and material information, before it is too late and we lose also the freedom to make personal decisions for us.