Is the anti-smoking movement getting it wrong?

Even though I am against smoking, and the tobacco industry, I don’t judge smokers because of this. In fact, I never go around preaching about the dangers of smoking. If I did, I wouldn’t make any progress whatsoever. That being said, I have more than a few objections with the way smoking has often been opposed.

stoptober

I’m quite sure that going around plastering the word “stop” everywhere isn’t very productive.

In case you’re wondering, this is about the Stoptober campaign. Every year, this government campaign attempts to encourage smokers to quit smoking, using only an annoying ad campaign backed up by regurgitated government statistics. This year, meanwhile, the government decided that this campaign needed Paddy McGuiness to promote it. If I were a smoker, and saw Paddy McGuiness telling people to stop smoking, that’d make me want to smoke even more.

For me, the way the campaign is being marketed is ridiculous, mainly because the people advertising the campaign are basically idiotic comedians who I don’t think I could stand being around. If you go to the official Stoptober website and hover over the thumbnails of the celebrities shown on the website, you’ll see a speech bubble where they say something incredibly stupid. For example, Andi Osho’s argument basically compares giving up smoking to life in a hip hop video. On top of being just plain stupid, it doesn’t even come close to being a logical argument.

To be fair, I’m not at all surprised. The government apparently thinks they can convince a generation of young people to give up smoking by using media personalities. For me, the “no smoking” mentality has become mainstream, and the anti-smoking movement is no longer about public health. Now that the anti-smoking movement is seen as “the good guy” in almost any discussion about smoking, the anti-smoking movement is basically about politics, and making sure that you can’t smoke, even if you enjoy smoking.

Of all the publicly funded anti-smoking campaigns, how many of them are even aware that people actually choose to smoke? The anti-smoking movement survives on the notion that all smokers started smoking because of peer pressure, or because they were “brainwashed” by advertising. While that might be true in some cases, the reality is that most smokers started doing so on their own free will, which brings me to the biggest problem with anti-smoking campaigns – they apparently have no regard for smokers’ freedom of choice.

When it comes to freedom of choice, I find that there anti-smoking movement can be hypocritical. They don’t mind if you want to quit smoking, but if you smoke and enjoy it, they’ll probably preach down your throat about how smoking is unhealthy. What’s worse is that anti-smoking campaigns only focus on the fact that it’s bad for you, and since a lot of anti-smoking campaigns in the UK are funded by the government, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it’s basically a socially acceptable way for the government to tell you what you can and can’t do, all under the banner of “health and safety”.

anti-smoking

Just in case you thought they weren’t that bad.

In conclusion, while I despise the tobacco industry, I find that the anti-smoking movement isn’t exactly better, especially if the government is willing to have some of the most unlikable “comedians” I know to endorse the Stoptober campaign. In general, I simply don’t have a lot of respect for most of these anti-smoking campaign. After all, what’s the point of getting on the anti-smoking high horse if you don’t respect people when they choose to smoke?

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