“Oh my god they smell sooo gross”

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We’ve seen a lot of anti-smoking propaganda in the news of late and this really bothers me because I don’t think anybody is asking the right questions. Yesterday, Tau Henare made an absolute idiot of himself for arguing that smoking while pregnant is okay, but I reckon he’s on to something by suggesting that smokers are the new lepers. We have an over emphasis on the evils of smoking and we have also managed to completely vilify and character assassinate the smoker. According to ‘cool’ messages from ‘cool’ New Zealand celebrities, smokers are stupid, selfish and very unattractive. Now I say to this, why not take these messages and apply them to those who abuse alcohol on a regular basis. Yeah ‘cool’ celebrities I’m pointing my finger at you…and the rest of New Zealand. I think this self righteous attitude aimed at people who smoke cigarettes is unhealthy and hypocritical. Don’t get me wrong, smoking is bad for you and thanks to serious tax hikes, a waste of money. But I think we need to reconsider what needs emphasis in our society today.

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The use of tobacco clearly has high health risks, but I strongly believe alcohol is more damaging and dangerous than tobacco. Yes, it is true that 5000 New Zealanders die each year from tobacco related causes in comparison to 1000 New Zealanders dying each year from alcohol. However, what those statistics don’t tell you is the damage done by the abuse of alcohol on a daily basis that isn’t fatal but lasts a lifetime. Statistics show half of all violent crime in New Zealand is related to alcohol. It’s a societal virus and it destroys our communities and families because we don’t know how to treat it appropriately.  

Thanks to the government’s propaganda messages, smoking is becoming more and more unpopular and the number of smokers is reducing at a delightful speed so their efforts are working. I think taking measures such as prohibiting smoking in cars and inside homes where children are most vulnerable would be positive. But I don’t think banning smoking in general is a healthy option for the future of human rights. New Zealanders love to call “nanny state” when they’re told they can’t hit their children but this is the same issue of control in a different form. Banning smoking will be an erosion of our civil liberties. If you’re going to ban tobacco use, then bloody well ban alcohol and fast foods and then tell us how to live our lives. Prohibition never works, and it certainly won’t stop smoking, it’ll just clog up our legal system. It’s a pipedream of the truly hateful.

Smokers are not hapless victims preyed upon by evil tobacco companies. They have the choice to consume the product and in this day and age you couldn’t be more aware of the dangers of smoking. If you want to point the fingers at hapless victims of advertising and evil corporations, try makers of fast foods and fizzy drinks.

All in all, yes smoking is bad for you.  Just like McDonalds and Fish’n Chip shops and extreme sports and high sugar content products and being an athlete and joining the army. But at least you aren’t going to do a million stupid and potentially horrific things because it impairs your judgment like alcohol does.

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Side Note: If you are a smoker and you want to quit, statistics show the best way to give up this habit is by paying someone a weekly amount of money and if by the allotted time you have successfully given up smoking you get all that money back. If you fail to quit smoking, you lose the money. 

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