The stigma of smoking

“As the smoker has become a pariah, sufferers from lung cancer have become the lepers of the twenty-first century.”

Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick in Spiked:

The advert features a young mother, clearly in the terminal stages of lung cancer, who expresses her feelings of guilt and remorse that a cancer caused by her own smoking will soon take her away from her children. In turn, her daughter expresses her anger and grief at the fact that her mother is expected to die shortly as a result of a disease resulting from her smoking. This advert is clearly designed to make parents who smoke feel guilty – and to make children of parents who smoke feel angry. Its objective is to use children as an instrument of the campaign to deter adults from smoking…

It is a sign of the times that there has been no storm of protest over the increasingly manipulative and moralistic character of anti-smoking propaganda. In the crusade to reduce mortality from smoking it is considered legitimate to exploit the deepest fears of parents and children. While the law seeks to prohibit smoking in public, the new anti-smoking advert seeks to proscribe it in the private sphere, fomenting domestic strife to achieve this objective. At a time when a wide range of civil liberties are under threat it is alarming that the strategy of using children to police their parents’ behaviour – reminiscent of totalitarian regimes – provokes so little public disquiet.

The immediate casualties of the war on smoking are people with lung cancer and other smoking-related diseases.

More here.

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