A Grand Death…

11 03 2009

Today, I have been reliably informed by the radio, is no-smoking day. A day designed to encourage people to give up the disgusting habit so as they don’t kill themselves early. I was listening to an interview with a young man about the day. He smoked, and dismissed the day as a gimmick, something designed in absence of anything better. He also said that he didn’t care about the health effects of smoking as he wasn’t feeling the effects yet.

I was appaled by his attitude. This, apparently, is the sort of ignorant, self-harming, worthless individual we should be helping out. Right. Forgive me while I struggle to find any degree of compassion. I get that many people take up smoking due to peer pressure, and do not fully realise the risks when taking up the habit, but for someone to be so stupidly nonchalant about the whole thing is beyond me. I do not get why any full grown adult would take up the habit knowing full well the risks and consequences of smoking. I’m wondering if anyone can explain it to me.

Secondly then, the campaign seems to be the last chance saloon for anti-smoking campaigns. It has got to the stage where the only thing people will listen to is money. It is no longer about cancer, or death, or the appearance, or the anti-social aspect, or the smell. It is about money. Cold hard cash. The campaign suggests that in one week you will have saved enough to have a cheap flight abroad. In one month £176 will have been saved. In a year £2111. I sort of wish I had this sort of money to burn as quickly as smokers do. In fact, this money is only if you smoke 20 a day. There are many people who smoke much more. What sort of careers do these people have that lets them burn over two thousand pounds a year?

My final gripe is much simpler. The campaign, in Birmingham, is taking place in Victoria Square. It is a day full of fun and festivities, with one of the local radio stations offering those who turn up to try to stop smoking the chance to win £1000. I’m sorry, but what? Win a grand by giving up smoking? Seriously? It’s not even giving up, it is merely the promise of giving up. I remember Ned Flanders’ comments about ‘good intentions’ and think that this applies here. Why should anyone be rewarded for promising to kick a disgusting anti-social habit that was entirely their choice to take up in the first place? “Here you are, you were either stupid or ignorant. Let us reward this. Have a grand.” Why should there be a financial incentive? It is beyond me. All it does is seem to trivialise the issue of smoking into some form of competition where everyone has the same chance of winning.

I’m sorry, but I think smokers get what is coming to them. It serves them right. There are enough places to learn about the risks and consequences, yet still people take up this habit. This woeful lack of intelligence, or foresight, or sheer stupidity all deserve to be punished, not rewarded.

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One response

13 03 2009
Claire

It pays to be a smoker- in any job I’ve ever had they’ve had more (paid cigarette) breaks throughout the day than everyone else-so they’re probably almost breaking even!

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