The inverted logic of Healthism can be seen in many manifestations and alarms that have nothing to do with smoking. Take the case of diesel particle emissions.
The logic goes like this. Apparently scientific study shows that people with asthma are aggravated by diesel emissions, and then there is the story of the particles: “the smaller the particle, the deeper it can be inhaled into the lungs and very small particles may even be absorbed into the bloodstream.” What such infinitesimal particles actually do to the body no one knows, but it is always good to launch a scare and an alarm, anyway. There are a lot of suckers out there who need to feel under siege, so the market cannot be kept waiting!
Now comes the interesting part. “Public health” speaks: “"With over five million people in the UK suffering from asthma, it is important that we that we urgently consider practical ways to reduce harmful emissions from diesel vehicles. … we don’t know if you would find the same effects with petrol traffic or in people without asthma". The passion of Healthists for big scary numbers is indeed unbounded. Also, have you noticed that wherever healthism comes to power, entire nations all of the sudden get immensely sick, as they were not before the ideology took the helm? Don’t ask for a scientific or logical explanation for that: hysteria and corruption never needed them and never will.
Health is important, but business is first: “Further research like this will provide the answers to help us improve the lives of the millions of people with asthma in the UK who are affected by traffic fumes every day”: a clear message — and a threat — to the evil motor vehicle industry.
It would be interesting to ask these “experts” how they would design an engine that does not pollute to satisfy the needs for normal life and economy, or how lives may be "improved" by social and economic upheavals Healthist policies typically and blithely impose. Useless questions, not their department. Engineers have to deal with science, doctors don’t. The “solution” for these tunnel-vision people is inevitably: eliminate motor vehicles in the name of “public health”. What that does to society and the economy is not, once again, their department.
The real answer is, of course, the one that they don’t have: instead of blaming the cars, do research and find ways to heal the malfunctioning individuals who suffer asthma which, just by the way, has increased enormously as smoking has declined. The trouble is, really helping the situation would entail practicing science and medicine, far too much trouble, when carping and criticising and alarming can ennoble health crusaders while disguising their genuine incompetence. Finding a way to cure asthma (and many other conditions for which research funding is truly languishing) would also demonstrate that they know what they are doing, but of course, they don’t.
Blame smoking. Blame cars. Blame anything and anyone but yourself. Such is the philosophy of Healthism. It’s easy, it’s profitable, but some fine day it’s going to catch up with the vicious dopes, and that day cannot come too soon.