The smoking ban is the 'compassionate' approach

Laurie Penny: The smoking ban shows the best way to deal with addiction

This hideous article starts off with the smoker hatred from the first words. The smoking ban does not deal with addiction, it marginalises adults taking part in a legal activity.
There are lots of terrible ways for a state to deal with drug abuse. There's total prohibition, pushing the trade underground and driving addicts into the hands of gang lords. Then come legal crackdowns as a way of entrenching social division, hunting down and locking up enormous swathes of young men and women from deprived backgrounds and pushing users to the margins of society. Those approaches work really well if you've got a class war to prosecute and a lot of empty prisons. They work less well, as Professor David Nutt explains in his new book, Drugs – Without the Hot Air, if you actually want to stop people stuffing themselves with dangerous chemicals.
She's talking about drug addiction. That's another argument for another day as far as I'm concerned. So is the question of if drugs should be illegal at all.

Drugs are illegal though, and it's a good way to begin a hate piece by comparing your targets to junkies.
Then there's the compassionate approach.
You can bet your wallet that her version of the compassionate approach differs to ours.
Five years ago yesterday, the Government banned smoking almost everywhere it could.
Told you so.
Despite the kvetching of addicts across the land,...
 I think she means people who enjoy smoking did not like the ban
...the cultural change has been enormous and largely positive – even for residual smokers.
The cultural change has been huge because nobody had any choice but to change, the fines for ignoring the ban were so draconian. One landlord I know about even went to prison for it. If you want to talk about the positive affects of the ban, ask the landlords who have been forced to leave their homes and the staff who lost their jobs. Ask the people whose social lives have been ruined, particularly the elderly.
I started guzzling down dirty roll-ups by accident 18 months after the ban, and have loved the filthy little habit ever since, which is precisely why I'm trying to quit.
This is the bit I can't understand. She claims to be a 'dirty smoker' herself, yet her hatred of smokers is deep and obvious. Does she think she can relate to us in some way with this?
Because of the smoking ban, not only have I never had a cigarette in a club, a pub or a waiting room packed with people, it simply wouldn't occur to me to do so. If I want to poison myself in little glowing stages, that's my own lookout, but it's no longer polite to force others to do the same. 
If you've never smoked in a boozer with a drink then that's not a good thing, you don't know what you've been missing. And we don't force others to smoke. Did we used to stand outside the pub dragging non smokers through the door then making them sit next to us while we blew smoke in their faces? Of course not. Smokers and non smokers alike had the choice of which venue they entered. That choice has now gone. At least for the smokers.
Similarly, if I want the heart attack I'm 50 per cent more likely to have to be treated in a public hospital, I shouldn't whinge when an extra tax is slapped on my packet of artery-hardening death-sticks.
Artery hardening death sticks? One really does have a bug up ones arse, doesn't one.
Will you still be happy with the extra tax on fags when others of your ilk succeed in having smokers denied treatment on the NHS?
Imagine what would happen, though, if you really did ban tobacco. Nicotine is one of the most addictive, compelling and pointlessly dangerous of all common intoxicants, and even civilised people have been known to rummage through the bins in search of a nasty fag end when the shops are shut. Three days after tobacco prohibition, most of the major cities would be on fire, and nicotine addicts would be shambling through the streets mugging tourists for half-smoked Marlboros, red-eyed and shuddering from cold-turkey tremors, mass irritability taken to its logical conclusion of total social breakdown.
I'm going to assume that entire paragraph is a poor attempt at satire. If not, her idea of smokers is way off. And she pretends to be a smoker herself. Judging by her comments in this article it's quite possible that she is so weak willed that she does imagine the above scenario as reality, as that's how she imagines herself behaving in that situation.
Right now, tobacco is precisely as illegal as it needs to be. It's just about illegal enough to make smoking tiresome and impolite, but not enough to stop people enjoying the taste of an early grave if that's what they really want. 
I think she may be trying to relate to the Libertarians there too. Fail!
People may still be able to enjoy an 'early grave' if they want to but they can no longer enjoy the freedom to associate with other like minded adults and they can no longer enjoy property rights.
To my mind, that's a precious scrap of evidence that human beings can sometimes, in the face of an enormous corporate fightback that monetises our own worst habits, get things right. 
Of course the only reason we smoke is because of evil corporations. Perish the thought that we may enjoy smoking and the corporations are simply supplying something that we want to buy.
It is actually possible to work out reasonable solutions to intractable social problems and looming health crises without throwing large numbers of people in prison or, indeed, ruining anyone's fun.
Nick hogan was thrown in prison. If all the smokers and landlords who wanted to ignore the ban chose to do so, then yes, there would be large numbers of people in prison.

As for ruining anyones fun, that statement is pure bollocks on a stick. Many smokers (Most even) who used to enjoy socialising in pubs have had their fun ruined. Many landlords who have had to close their doors have had their lives ruined.
Some smokers complain about having to stand in the cold when they could be fumigating themselves in enclosed spaces. To those people, I'd say: you're lying and you know it. Part of the point of smoking is solidarity with your fellow smokers, and now you have to huddle outside together in the English rain, you'll never be stuck for something to bitch about. 
That really sticks it to ya doesn't it. Smokers are little more than lying bitches.
Anyway, heart attack rates in the UK have fallen by as much as 26 per cent since the smoking ban started, so you will have your fag in the rain and you will like it.
Heart attack rates have fallen (Yawn) so you will do as you're told. Heart attack rates have been falling since the turn of the century and it has nothing to do with smoking bans.
Breathe in those damp, sooty fumes. That's what social responsibility tastes like. Are you having fun yet?
And now we descend into hatred. To me, social responsibility would be not putting people out of work and home and not ruining peoples social lives just because you don't like the smell of fags and can't stand people having the freedom to do something you don't like.

Anti-smokers talk a good talk about social responsibility but they wouldn't know it if it jumped out of a smoking shelter and offered them a Benson and Hedges.
In a capitalist world, smoking is a little sub-economy of communism. You share cigarettes, matches, lighters, papers. When strangers come up to you in the street and ask you for a cigarette, you give them one, because you understand. 
Once again you show your lack of understanding of the subject you spout about. Smokers share stuff because they are nice people. Both smokers and non smokers can be nice people, although as in any group there are bad apples, but it only appears to be the rabid anti-smokers who can be evil bastards all the time.
I once gave a homeless man half a Lucky Strike out of my own mouth, even though he was wearing a Libertarian T-shirt.
Confused again. Isn't what you claim to have done a Libertarian act?
There's a sweetness to those brief, brilliant connections addicts make. It's the belief that we have anything in common other than wanting something that's bad for us. Yes, it says, I'm stupid and reckless and a little bit disgusting – and hey, so are you. Yes, it says, we're killing ourselves, but we're doing it together. Smoking is a different, darker social ritual now than it was 30 years ago, when some people could kid themselves that it was anything but a way of bartering present pleasure against the possibility of choking to death before one's time.
You may hold such beliefs about yourself, you may have such a problem with you own esteem, maybe you were abused as a child or something. I certainly don't feel like that and neither do the smokers I know and those who read this blog.
It is for this reason that the twin forces of romance and the smoking ban have conspired to produce the modern epidemic of Lovers' Lung – the tendency for two smokers, wishing to know one another biblically, to consume far more cigarettes than usual as an excuse to spend time alone. Every affair I've ever had has done more damage to my chest than it has to my heart, and as with sex and stupid haircuts, so with smoking: guilt and shame don't stop us, even when they should. What we seem to have here is a public health policy that actually understands human fragility, and manages it without useless cruelty.
I can only answer that rambling nonsense with this quote from Tobacco Control Tactics:
The “science” on long-term exposure to ETS/secondhand smoke/passive smoking is statistical blather. The “science” on short-term exposure is simply a representation of the inability of compulsive blatherers to stop themselves from blathering on to infinity.
That, dear readers, is a prime example of blathering on.
Compassion is the key. Compassion, and understanding that some addicts have a deep emotional connection to smoking,
Compassion? The smoking ban is not about compassion. On the contrary, it's all about hate.
[...] but 50 per cent of people with a serious mental health disorder smoke more than a pack a day, compared with eight per cent of the rest of us. In fact, one of the few major failings of the smoking ban is its application to locked mental health wards, causing enormous stress to patients and their carers alike.
Yep. Most of us are ga ga. Well after all that, why not descend into name calling?
The electric cigarette, my personal quitting crutch, may yet save us. As a nerd, if there's anything more uncomplicatedly cool than a robot cigarette that exudes puffs of uplit nicotine vapour in glowing, silvery black, I've yet to hear about it. The only real drawback, apart from the insufferable smugness of addicts puffing – sorry, vaping – on our little battery-powered drug-delivery units in the warm, is that they do not taste of death. What's missing is the sharp burn at the back of your mouth, the soothing flavour of socially acceptable self-harm. Once people accept that that's all smoking really is, we may not be any closer to kicking the habit, but we'll understand a whole lot more about human beings.
She even has a pop at vapers. Get around the ban with an e-cig and you're smug.

This hideous anti-smoker, who claims to be a smoker herself, has no idea about human beings. All she can do is hate.

She's a very sad person.

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