Anti-smoking propoganda – smokers have no rights

I’d written about people pestering smokers, now its the government doing it. There’s a whole list of “public places” that people can’t smoke in, in Mumbai. Apparently, some people are more equal than others. If you don’t want to inhale smoke, you don’t even need to move away a little anymore. The government takes care of it for you.

I was really surprised to know that you can’t smoke in the premises of the society you live in. Open air really blows all the smoke away, so where is the logic in this? Its not like smokers find vulnerable non-smokers to blow smoke in their faces, you know?

I find this quite disgusting the way some people (read government) think they can decide for an entire population. Has the number of people dying from passive smoke exceeded those dying from diseases spread by mosquitoes and flies and rats? Where are the fines for lack of pest control – not newsworthy enough?

I see India going the phobia way straight into paranoia. Everything that scares you (whether real or imagined) needs to be destroyed. Smoking causes cancer. Awesome. Get rid of smoking, quick! Project every fear of ill health out of your control and get rid of smoking and fantasize that you will now not get any illness.

A few decades ago, it was the Hindu-Muslim riots, where Hindus thought all Muslims were basically killers who would get them one day and vice versa, and went ahead to get rid of them. Look what a beauty that was.

The desi ghee that was once liberally served for promoting good health, is missing from the tables of many families I know – for good health. No one is really bothered to know how that uncle of theirs could drink a glass of it everyday and lived into a bright old age.

People want black and white. If I do this, I will always remain safe. Never mind if it is an illusion. I want it to be true.

So now, it is the turn of smoking. Something that has survived centuries is bad for your health, until the next hype hits – it prevents Alzheimers. Then I guess, health conscious people will begin smoking that one or two cigarettes a day as “medicine”, like many heart patients have their glass of brandy (or whatever).

I’m feeling really disillusioned with this tendency to not just be a part of the herd, but get rid of all the non-herd possibilities.

Can we face it people? We are not immortal, there are no guarantees. We all have one life which each of us would like to live how we want. Can we stop making unnecessary rules without first researching their need, the impact of their lack and their consequences and only make them where we are convinced that their lack is a bad thing and making them will resolve the issue? For example, I wouldn’t be whining so much, if I had data on how harmful my cigarette smoked in open air is to the people living in the house nearby. Don’t give me guesses. Give me data. Tell me how many people in lung cancer wards are there because of the presence of a smoker in their immediate vicinity. Compare that with an estimated number of all passive smokers and give me that dangerous percentage that convinces me I’m killing people.

While you are at it, do put a ban on the religious fires with people sitting right next to them, or you’ll count their victims as passive smokers and ban cigarettes again. Went to a ceremony last week, and my seasoned smoker’s lungs near burned out in the smoke in that hall. I was certain I was going to faint. I actually walked out till the fire business was done. I wasn’t the only one. People were heading out for a breath of fresh air at regular intervals, eyes streaming, make up washing away. So now what? Any one want to take an initiative into measuring the carbon monoxide levels in that ill ventilated hall?