About half a year ago I gave up being a smoker. Apart from the fact that for a while a lot of things seemed to trigger a great sense of aggression – like crammed trams, hard-to-open cans and small dogs – it feels great not to be smoker anymore. Especially at the moment, for as I am writing this in California. In California they treat smokers as the enemy. They treat them as criminals. Cold-blooded killers, even. I won’t get into detail on the extreme bans of the butts in social life, but I do want to talk a little about the anti-smoking campaigns that you are forced to watch forty-seven times during a Judge Judy rerun.
Of course, the US has always been the number one nation in the world for advertising to its people what horrible diseases and disfunctions one can get. But with smoking California has gone mad. Don’t get me wrong; I am all for the fact that in California they create policies to protect the public from the deadly effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke, and encourage other states and countries to do the same. But just don’t give off a message that it is ok to think of smokers as criminals that can be yelled at.
First off, there is this – rather beautifully shot – ad on TV that tells us that smokers kill not only themselves, but that they also kill animals. This because when you throw your butts on the streets, it will leave toxic material on the ground that will KILL ALL LIVING ANIMALS. How dare you smoke, smoker?!
Also, this toxic waste will eventually end up in the water we drink and our children will DIE. So, if you smoke, you kill yourself, a bunch of animals and some sweet innocent children that will be born 35 years from now.
Then there is this TV ad that shows children telling when and how much they smoke. Because, when you, you sorry excuse of a parent, smoke, your children will smoke just as much. Even if you step outside. Even if the kid is at school. “I am up to two packs a day”, says the little toddler. Come on – you ain’t smoking shit, little man.
Ads like this have led up to a huge aggression towards smokers. People feel it is not only ok to frown upon the smoker, but also yelling and swearing at them is totally fine, with an occasional punch in the face. The ads make it ok to bully smokers. It is never ok to bully anyone. Even the ‘hedonistic squirrel and baby killers’.
I could only imagine what will happen when the cigarette battle has been fought and won, and these hardcore campaign sponsors move on to the next serial killer: a fat ass. It’s a public health risk. So is the sun. It’s been giving good, honorable people skin cancer for years! Let us bully the shiny smiley face right out of that sucker.