19/06/09 Smoking Rates Continue to Rise

In a spectacular display that the smoking ban has failed on every level, the Irish smoking rates have continued to rise.[1]

According to the Department of Health, smoking rates have increased 2% over the past seven years:

The proportion of people who smoke in Ireland has increased over the past seven years despite the introduction of the workplace smoking ban and significant increases in the price of cigarettes.

New figures from the Department of Health put the overall smoking rate at 29%, compared to 27% in 2002.

The rate of smoking is higher among women at 31%, compared to 27% of men.

Smoking is also more popular among younger age groups, with more than one-third of 18- to 29-year-olds now engaging in the habit.

Pretty funny, when you think about it. We were told that the ban has saved lives and was successful as a result – it hasn’t saved any, so it failed. We were told businesses had boomed, so it was a success – they didn’t, it failed there too.  Perhaps, though, we could believe that the smoking rates would genuinely decrease; after-all, it provided an incentive for many to give up if they had to stand outside. But, again, no. Not only did the rates not decrease, they did not remain constant either, they went up.  And this is not a one-off rise either.  The rates went up in the U.K, with B.A.T reporting increases in profit they had not seen in years.

Statistically speaking, one could wonder if ASH and the other zealots are tobacco industry fronts – because they worked damn hard to get a ban instated which led to more support for Big Tobacco than the industry itself could have garnered through other means. Yes, that’s right: the anti-smoking movement has ironically been good for the tobacco industry.

The British people may be an apathetic bunch, all bark and no bite. Then again, that is what we always did best: sit in the pub, cigarette and a pint in hands, and put the worlds wrongs to right. Despite that apathy though, it appears that when the chips are down and our freedom is at stake, we don’t take it lying down. Okay, I’ll admit it, most of us are not being warriors over this. Hell, most of us haven’t done a damn thing, whether it be a march or signing a petition most of us ‘have better things to do’ than save our liberties. But the great thing about action is it can take many forms, and a simple stroll to the shop, an exchange of money and the purchase of as little as 10 paper-sticks of tobacco is doing your bit.

We always knew ASH were stupid, and that’s forgivable. Less forgivable, though, is their extending that stupidity to assume we are also morons. They may believe a wisp of tobacco smoke will kill them while 24 hours of vehicle fumes are harmless; they may believe that smoking bans have succeeded at every turn. They are reminiscent of Creationists: clinging to their belief against the tide of evidence.

In a great display of irony though, it appears trying to harm the tobacco industry serves it well. So if ASH really want to lower smoking rates, rather than just line their pockets under the pretense of such, then they must campaign for the ban to be overturned. Because that is when the smokers who smoke out of liberty-saving defiance will give up.

[1] http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/breaking-news/ireland/article14340106.ece;jsessionid=2D0BF44E3B47B448FDD4F59531A68E46?postingType=posting&mode=thanks&postingId=14340268#postcomment

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