Smoking in Scotland
The headline to an article in the online The Scotsman (4 April 2018) laments that ‘Smoke-free Scotland goal stalls as one in five fail (sic) to quit’.
This is blamed on funding for smoking cessation campaigns being cut by the Scottish Government. The article elaborates:
About one in five Scots, equivalent to 850,000 adults, are (sic) still lighting up and numbers have stabilised in recent years following a decade of steady decline.
(The writer, who has the splendidly Scottish name of Scott MacNab, should really try to get his verbs to agree with a singular subject.)
Smoking is a serious problem in Scotland, because more than 10,000 people die in that country due to tobacco use every year, according to the charity Action on Smoking and Health. This is the unfortunate situation even though a government spokeswoman reported ‘We have maintained funding for health boards for stop-smoking services since 2013 at around £10 million,’ and she added that in spite of this:
The number of people attempting to quit is falling across the UK. Indeed, it has fallen twice as fast in England than in Scotland since 2015…We would encourage any smoker to try quitting.
What to do about it? Well, I couldn’t resist responding to point out the obvious, that the concept of ‘trying to quit’ is meaningless – you either smoke or you don’t – and in my view the only way to deal effectively with the smoking problem is to ban tobacco.
Perhaps predictably, I was immediately attacked by another reader who accused me of being like the dictator of North Korea. Pity he didn’t confine himself to commenting on the substance of the article. The comments then degenerated, as they so often do on this kind of medium, to insults going back and forth between those in favour of smoking and those against. One contributor even said he was glad the money ran out because smoking cessation campaigns are a complete waste of money and the people working in them are a bunch of killjoy spongers. And someone else threw in
The reason I smoke is because I enjoy smoking. Just like the reason I drink is because I enjoy drinking. Just like the reason I eat cheese and onion crisps (potato chips) is because I enjoy eating cheese and onion crisps. Etc.
Legalised drug addiction
All this misses the point. Smoking is not something that’s ‘naughty but nice’ and if people want to ‘enjoy’ smoking then they jolly well should be allowed to. Smoking should be seen for what it is: legalised drug (nicotine) addiction. So what’s wrong with that? As already noted, it kills 10,000 people every year in Scotland, that’s what.
But the man who thinks he enjoys smoking should ask himself what, exactly, is enjoyable about it. If one looks into this question honestly only one reason emerges. Offering enjoyment, like eating crisps, doesn’t make sense. Does he eat a pack of cheese and onion crisps every day and get in a panic if he runs out?
The alleged enjoyment of smoking is merely an excuse to cover the real reason smokers smoke: their perceived inability to quit due to nicotine addiction.
How to escape nicotine addiction
Scottish stop-smoking services, underfunded though they might be, undoubtedly help some smokers to quit. But there is an another way to be cured of nicotine addiction – easily and quickly. You can read about the Symonds Method here.
Text © Gabriel Symonds