It’s Official: Smokers Are Discriminated Against – And No One Cares…

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by: James Dunworth

There’s a story behind this blog post.

The post was originally  a press release which we circulated around newspapers (hence a different format from normal). We’ve had lots of coverage before in the media, having being featured in the Sun, The Mail, The Scotsman (our press releases have even triggered mentions on I’ve Got News for You and a BBC news report).

However, this one was rejected. And the feedback is the same as we’ve had before: that stories that project smokers in a positive light, or even as victims, are of no interest to the media.

Smokophobia Increasingly An Issue

No smoking allowed.

No Smoker Sign – note the sign says No Smokers, not No Smoking.

Image above from http://fightantismokertyranny.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/no-smokers-allowed-at-royal-oldham.html

Almost nine out of ten smokers feel they are discriminated against by society according to a new survey.

The poll by ecigarettedirect.co.uk found 87% of smokers feel their habit makes others look down on them.

The survey also found that 61% of smokers had encountered discrimination at some point during the past year.

A man holds a cigarette to the camera.

Incidents cited range from being asked to put their cigarette out in the street to being dumped by a partner for failing to quit.

It’s believed the smoking ban has hardened the attitude of many against smokers and particularly those who light up in the street.

Only 13% of the smokers questioned believed their habit didn’t make others view them negatively.

Almost half of all the smokers – 46% – said they felt their habit put them at a disadvantage in their career.

And more than one in ten- 11% – said they did their best to keep their habit a secret at work.

Smokers also believe their habit limits their options in the dating game with more than a third – 35% – stating they believed smoking limited their chances with the opposite sex.

A cigarette butt replaces a nipple.

Anti-smoking ads frequently make smokers appear abnormal.

One male respondent said: “When I was a student 20 odd years ago, it felt like everyone smoked and it was totally normal to face the world with a fag between your lips.

“Now though it’s different. There are days when I feel like a leper if I dare light up in the street. I even had a lady ask me to put it out the other day. She said my smoke was blowing into her baby’s face.

“They’ve banned us from smoking just about everywhere. It’ll be a street ban next. It’s almost enough to make we want to quit.”

Mouth used as ashtray.

A female respondent said: “My ex boyfriend was a smoker who managed to quit cigarettes. He kept nagging me to give up and I tried a few times but always gave in and had a cigarette after a few days.

“Then one day, quite out of the blue, he told me he just couldn’t be with me anymore. He said kissing me reminded him of smoking and he had to break free of me in order to stay off the ciggies. I was devastated.”

A dog breathes out smoke. Caption reads:

A spokesman for ecigarettedirect.co.uk who conducted the survey said: “The results of the poll highlight how factors such as the smoking ban have led to a change in public attitudes.

“A decade ago smoking was seen as much more socially acceptable than it is today.

“Now it seems a majority of smokers feel others perceive them negatively and many also feel their habit is holding them back in both their love lives and career.

“Everyone know smoking is bad for you. However, what smokers really need is support to help them quit or switch to a safer alternative rather than ill judged discrimination which is simply not tolerated in other areas of life.”

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28 Responses to “It’s Official: Smokers Are Discriminated Against – And No One Cares…”

  1. Michael J. McFadden March 13, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    That hospital sign is interesting because, although I had seen wording like that noted once or twice before, it always seemed that it was likely just a case of poor choice of language.

    But… I can’t see a special sign for a particular room in a hospital referring to the ACT of smoking. So it would seem likely that they are indeed saying “No Smokers” — as in, “People have complained about being contaminated by being near you kind of people.”

    Anyone over there in a position where they could contact or visit the hospital to check it out? Or do we already know that that’s what they’re aiming at?

    :?
    MJM

  2. James Dunworth March 13, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    HI Michael, I have had a look through several blogs on the issue but can’t see anyone who has actually popped in to check. Might be interesting to find out!

    • Michael J. McFadden March 13, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

      Well… you’re a few thousand miles closer than I am! :>

      You might want to check with the F2C folks: maybe one of them knows… or might actually be the source of the pic!

      – MJM

  3. Shanon March 13, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    In the US, a few companies have started requiring a blood test proving you are not a smoker before they will hire you.

    A conservative radioshow talked about how lazy smokers are and that he would not higher one if it’s up to him All they do is leave to go smoke a cigarette and do not get much work done compared to there counterparts, the non smokers.

  4. Lisa Belle March 13, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

    Dear Shannon, James and Michael. Then, if you suffer from low-self esteem, BIG PHARMA will fix you right up… but you may suffer a heart attack, or if you feel more depressed, or suicidal, or if your eye sight worsens, and on……. and the United States Food and Drug Administration, allows, those drugs with green lights…….turn on the tele, watch the prime-time news in the USA, every commercial, is a drug company telling us how sick we are, and what they can do for us, never mind the side effects (sounding deadly at best)… If you have low self-esteem, if you’ve been victimized, (YOU ARE THE PROBLEM) not the abusers!!!

  5. Scot McKirahan March 14, 2013 at 2:22 am #

    Smokers have nobody to blame but themselves. As of 2010, 20% of the adult population in Great Britain smoked. That is far more people than many “minority” groups that political parties cater to have.

    Smokers sit idly by and watch their rights being trampled on. They may grumble, whine, and complain under their breath and amongst themselves, but they do absolutely nothing about it.

    Nothing is keeping smokers from uniting and becoming an ultra powerful voice that politicians would have no choice but to listen to and fear. Nothing except their own will, that is. That same “will” is the power that so many claim smokers lack. Maybe they are right …

    • James Dunworth March 14, 2013 at 9:21 am #

      When I read your first sentence my hackles were up, but actually I agree with you, although of course there are exceptions. Fortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case with vapers.

      • Scott McKirahan March 14, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

        I was hoping I’d get somebody’s hackles up; it’s what I do!

        No hackles; no opposition to oppressive legislation!

    • Tom March 14, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

      Scot, I totally agree with you. Well said. Smokers have them selves to blame for their own health. There are alternatives for traditional smoking like electronic cigarettes.

      Smokers need to open their eyes and see they are not only harming their health but also their wallets. E-Cigarettes are statistically 60-75% cheaper and it’s legal to smoke anywhere.

      It is smarter not to follow the pack and make your own choices about your well-being.

      • James Dunworth March 14, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

        It’s still a free country, and smokers are enjoying a legal habit which provides huge tax revenues for the country. Of course there are benefits to switching/quitting, but surely that’s up to the smoker – they shouldn’t be discriminated against because of their choices.

        • Scott McKirahan March 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

          I totally agree with you John. Tobacco cigarettes are a legal product sold everywhere and it is hypocritical to say “you can buy them, you just can’t smoke them anywhere.” All the while, governments large and small are legalizing marijuana. Again, I don’t care what you smoke; it’s your business. Just don’t try to tell me that smoking weed is better for your health than puffing on a personal vaporizer.

          It’s insane that, at least in the USA, we have non-elected officials at places like the FDA making decisions that totally violate our liberty.

          I switched because, frankly, I liked e-cigs better. I have no plans to stop using e-cigs and never saw them as a smoking cessation product.

      • Michael J. McFadden March 14, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

        Tom, in terms of health I’d generally agree. The chances of e-cigs being significantly bad for your health are almost vanishingly small, while the chances that regular smoking is bad for your health is pretty undebatable.

        In terms of wallet — well, it’s a different story if you’re a poor smoker who rolls their own with pipe tobacco, or simply smokes a pipe and likes cheap pipe tobacco. A pack of roll-ups ran about 50 cents before Obama’s 2000% tax increase, and if a smoker switched to pipe tobacco a pack is still not much over a dollar.

        – MJM

      • Michael J. McFadden March 14, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

        Tom, in terms of health I’d generally agree. The chances of e-cigs being significantly bad for your health are almost vanishingly small, while the chances that regular smoking is bad for your health is pretty undebatable .

        In terms of wallet — well, it’s a different story if you’re a poor smoker who rolls their own with pipe tobacco, or simply smokes a pipe and likes cheap pipe tobacco. A pack of roll-ups ran about 50 cents before Obama’s 2000% tax increase, and if a smoker switched to pipe tobacco a pack is still not much over a dollar.

        – MJM

        • James Dunworth March 14, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

          Taxes are generally higher here than in the US, but most people buy rolling tobacco down the pub. In fact, one tobacco rep told me had hadn’t managed to sell any of a new brand because shopkeepers said hardly anyone bought rolling tobacco from shops any more. That brings its own problems – for examples, rat droppings have been found in smuggled tobacco.

          • Michael J. McFadden March 14, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

            Quite true about the rat droppings, but two points there as well. :>

            1) There are rat droppings of some particle size in just about everything you might buy to eat or smoke. Same with insect parts. The trick is keeping them to a minimum, and obviously small-time smugglers aren’t going to quite adhere to the same quality inspection standards as BAT HQ.

            2) It’s hard to know how much of the “rat droppings” story is simply put out by the Antismokers and the government in order to discourage people from buying on the black market. Note the stories put out a week or so ago about the clay that’s used in cigars and the headlines screaming “They’re Putting KITTY LITTER In Your Smokes!” Or the stories from a couple of years ago aimed at discouraging Muslims from smoking by telling them there was pigs’ blood in the filters. Both stories probably have some small elements of truth, but they’re deliberately played up and distorted for their psychological/sociological effects.

            Give the rats the right electric shocks ‘n teach ‘em to jump.

            :/
            MJM

            • James Dunworth March 14, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

              Always impressed by your encyclopaedic knowledge of smoking issues, Michael :) Is that going to make it into the next book?

              • Michael J. McFadden March 14, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

                To some extent. :) I’m going to have a rather extensive section on the New York Times terrorizing parents with images of their infants and dead Russian spies about the polonium 210 in thirdhand smoke and refusing to even communicate about correcting the issue.

                The element of truth there is that yes, if you smoke in a room regularly and your baby crawls on the floor it will come in contact with polonium 210. The element that’s NOT the truth is that any sane person would worry about it. In order to get the dose that the Times featured in its story, the child would not only have to CRAWL on the floor, they would have to LICK the floor, absolutely clean…

                Ten square feet a day (just about a square meter)…

                for over 2.74 **TRILLION** years.

                You’d also have to suspend the laws of physics regarding polonium’s 3-month half life, AND…

                (and here’s the sticky part…)

                … the kid would have to hold its poop for all those 2,740,000,000,000 years.

                At the end of the experiment you could give an Antismoker a grant to change the diaper. They’re used to handling that sort of stuff.

                ;>
                MJM

              • James Dunworth March 16, 2013 at 8:27 am #

                I agree!

              • James Dunworth March 16, 2013 at 8:32 am #

                I absolutely agree!

              • James Dunworth March 16, 2013 at 8:32 am #

                You are right!

              • James Dunworth March 16, 2013 at 8:36 am #

                Well said!

  6. Michael J. McFadden March 14, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    Scot, the Antismokers pulled off two very clever tricks that have paid off big time for them.

    (1) The relevant one here: They convinced smokers, using the Godber blueprint, that they were harming those around them. Once they had that victory under their belt they wiped out 90% of the resistance. Unfortunately the tobacco companies had thrown away all their credibility in not admitting that smoking might be bad for the smoker’s own health. By the 1980s/90s no one believed that anymore and pretty much no one believed ANYTHING that the tobacco companies had to say. And, until the late 90s, there was virtually no other voice out there to question the Godber claims of the Antismokers — so smokers believed them and surrendered. When I began really getting active in the mid 90s, it seemed like there was NO ONE fighting the Antis EXCEPT the tobacco companies. I was wrong in that perception — there were a few groups like FORCES out there — but it shows how thoroughly the Antis had succeeded in their psych game.

    (2) Their second big coup was in realizing that smoking ban laws couldn’t be aimed at smokers. Smokers would just ignore them. So they aimed the club at the heads of the business owners and tricked them into believing that they had to act as unpaid, untrained, uninsured, unarmed, and unempowered Citizen Vigilante Enforcers drafted by the State on pain of losing their businesses.

    The Vapers are lucky because they got organized BEFORE the Antis were able to pull the “You’re killing your loved ones” trick on them, plus, since most of them HAD been smokers and KNEW how relatively “innocent” their vaping activity was, they weren’t as ready to swallow the lies.

    The problem you face now is mainly #2: they’re pushing laws through as fast as they can, hoping to get enough in place that by the time the lawmakers are educated enough about the insanity of “passive vaping” that they’ll already have a plethora of laws in place.

    You’ve also got other factors in play — you’re basically facing the same hydra-headed enemy that smokers have been dealing with for years (See: http://www.sott.net/article/128768-Recognising+Anti-Smoking+Types )– but if you can learn from the lessons of the smokers you’ve got a good shot at beating them!

    :)
    MJM

    • Scott McKirahan March 14, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

      There is no doubt that you are right about what the anti-smoking crowd, politicians and lobbyists have done. The fact is, smokers have not organized in the same manner that many other minority groups that are far smaller and far more powerful have.

      The shame of smoking apparently is worse than the shame of being a doormat.

      And I agree, the vaping community is an entirely different group that does seem to be very motivated in protecting its rights.

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