22/10/08 Liars, Damn Liars, and Anti-Smokers

Ok, so we all knew perfectly well what anti-smokers are capable of. After all, it’s not many people who can, or would, manipulate their entire country into ousting and rejecting an entire group of people – a group which is a considerable amount of the population.  Even less people would let this happen around the entire world, and fewer still would do all this because the habit of the aforementioned group annoyed them.  Who else could it be besides the notorious anti-smokers?  The people who recently tried to ban smoking on the streets and even in one’s privately owned home unless it was detached. The people who are forcing taxes up by lowering revenue made from obscenely priced tobacco products.  The only group of people to do all this because they despise a habit.  You would be excused for thinking we learnt our lesson with the last prohibition, but alas, sadly not.

So, what have they done this time? Made up more numbers, bastardised more studies or reeled off another entertaining, but ultimately damning, yarn about how many perfectly innocent non-smokers die each and every day as a result of standing next to a smoker for a whole minute? Perhaps I am exaggerating, but I think the point gets across. The answer is no, they have broken out of their well-worn trend and pulled something new out of the bag – although the trend hasn’t been left too far behind, as their new trick is still relying on trickery and a passively accepting public.

L.A. Times recently released an article concerning the graphic-picture warnings on cigarette packets (recently decided to be used in the United Kingdom, after their amazing success elsewhere…)[1].  I’m sure most people are familiar with what these pictures look like now, but they invariably show a person who appears to be suffering from a terminal smoking-related disease, such as lung cancer or emphysema.  Of course, there is no contact details or biography of the person on the packet so we cannot check their health status, and merely assume they are ill.  More fool us! Once again, the anti-smokers have duped us. Despite it being pretty easy to find someone actually suffering from cancer, they decided to use a perfectly healthy man instead. Oh, did I mention he is also a heavy smoker?  That’s right, a heavy smoker in perfect health. I’m surprised the anti’s took the risk, after all aren’t they perpetuating that all smokers will get some terminal disease as a result of smoking, at a young age too?

Hamdy Balala, an Egyptian taxi driver, is “a heavy smoker with no health problems, who wanted to earn extra money posing for a public service advertisement. Now he’s teased by friends. Strangers accost him on the street.”

Thankfully the Egyptians have someone willing to defend the public. A lawyer by the name of Khaled Shaaban intends to sue the Egyptian Health Minister for trickery, speaking wise words: “The simplest thing we want to see in an authority figure is credibility.  If he deceived the public then he will never be credible, and he will never gain the public’s trust in any of his actions.”  Never was a truer word spoken.

Only time will tell what the outcome of that will be, but perhaps it will serve to shake the anti’s into flirting with the truth.  Who knows what their next trick will be? So long as we all continue to realise that each word they utter is completely untrue, it should be rather entertaining.

[1]http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonbeyond/2008/10/egypt-hey-youre.html

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