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Saturday, 17 March 2012

Much Ado about “Snipers and Flappers!”

A recent post entitled ‘Sniper the Flappers’ appeared here. The purpose of the post was to be satirical and the author meant it to be light hearted. If some readers took the post seriously and were offended then it is a matter of regret.

Some of the offence can only be described as faux. A recent report* from the Department of Health authored by Professor Hilary Graham has criticised anti-smoker organisations - by implication, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) - for turning smokers into lepers, stigmatising them and making them into a despised underclass. Quite rightly this situation would never be allowed to happen to ethnic minorities and gay people.

Not only that: since Kenneth Clarke was Chancellor in 1994, tobacco taxes have specifically been ring fenced to pay for the NHS via the Department of Health. Hence smokers’ own taxes are being used to demonise their pastime against themselves, and to offer anti-smoker groups like ASH an income to discriminate against a lawful product and its customers.

Any offence is regretted, but similar regrets would be welcomed from the anti-smokers for the appalling way they have treated and are still treating people who smoke.

*Smoking, Stigma and Social Class.

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