Monday, September 26, 2011


I heard two very different stories this week about kids who harass their smoker parents. One is quite shocking, so be prepared, but both say something about the myth of a smoking "addiction" and even more about the dangerous misleading messages on the Tobacco Control trademark graphic images.

The first concerned a child of seven years old. His mum is a lifelong smoker given that she's now in her late 20s and has smoked for more than half of her life. Her son was harassing her continually to let him try her cigarette. So much did he go on and keep going on about it that she relented thinking that one taste - bearing in mind how foul the antis say everyone thinks smoking is - would be enough to shut him up, turn him off, and steer him away from wanting to smoke once and for all.

The kid liked it. She immediately took her cig from him and all he has done since is harass her for another smoke which she hasn't given to him. Her fear is that he has become immediately addicted from just one puff. What other explanation could it be? she asked until I pointed out that if you give a child a bar of chocolate for the first time, what is the child's response thereafter? They want more because they like it very much. I think the kid just liked the taste of the tobacco. Whether the antis like it or not, it does taste nice and it is a pleasurable thing to enjoy.

I think the boy would have tried it anyway whether his mum allowed him to or not but probably at a later stage, behind her back, when he is more of an independent child. He probably does get just about enough pocket money, as I did as a kid, to buy from man with a bag which the Govt has given licence to sell very cheap, dangerous and contaminated tobacco on his estate because of its paranoia and over restriction of the legal and regulated product only available from responsible shopkeepers who do ask for ID.

The second story relates to a 16 year old daughter of another friend who is an on and off smoker depending on when she feels like it and recently, because of some personal stress, she took it up again to get her through a hard time.

She said she really enjoyed it but her daughter was a complete arse about it and she ended up having to smoke in secret to avoid the abuse. Her daughter even told her that she was "dirty smelly skeffer because that's what smokers are." The teenager then told her mum that if she didn't quit smoking, the kid was going to take up heroin because "it's just the same".

Her mother, like all smokers and sensible non-smokers knows that heroin is addictive and is not something you can choose to quit easily. It takes clinical intervention, a change of life, often with a user having to move away from their neighbourhood and usual routine to ensure a modicum of success. And heroin does kill young people. I've seen first hand the destruction it causes to families, communities, and the addicts themselves.

There is not one parent who has had to suffer a child with a heroin addiction who would even think of putting smoking in the same category. However, thanks to TC's trade mark graphic of a heroin needle implying that smoking and taking heroin is the same, kids are being dangerously misled.

After a week of taking it up again, and following the minute by minute harassment of her daughter, my friend quit - again very easily.

Her daughter, taught to hate smokers at school I suspect, may chose to take up heroin if it crosses her path because state health education has failed her. She will think that she can quit after a week just like her mum did with smoking. She would be tragically wrong. A week is long enough for the physical addiction to heroin to take control over every single aspect of someone's life down to when they go to sleep to when they wake up.

Smokers without tobacco will go without it. Heroin addicts without heroin will steal, sell their bodies and their soul for another fix. It is a wretched addiction and should not be minimised by this misleading comparison to smoking. The Govt should remove that image for the safety of our children in future.

I wonder how long it will be before the Govt encourages kids to snitch on their smoking parents as they do in Honduras. There the children can call the cops on parents who refuse to quit.

And the dickhead in the above linked post thinks that's a good idea. The world and its morals are upside down.