Jacob Grier’s The Rediscovery of Tobacco shows how the war on smoking has been built on junk science, class snobbery and plenty of cash.
Jacob Grier doesn’t like cigarettes. He doesn’t smoke cigarettes. He advises people against smoking cigarettes. And yet he believes that adults should be allowed to smoke cigarettes without being harassed, demonised, over-taxed and thrown out of every building in America, including, in some cases, their own home. This view, which was once so uncontroversial as to go without saying, makes him virtually a libertarian provocateur today. In The Rediscovery of Tobacco, Grier explains how this cultural revolution happened.
It is unusual for governments in modern democracies deliberately to encourage intolerance and animosity towards a large group of fellow citizens, but that is effectively what happened when ‘denormalisation’ was embraced as a tobacco-control strategy. The restraints of the US Constitution mean that many of the policies available to anti-smoking campaigners elsewhere, such as advertising bans and plain packaging, are out of reach, and so, rather than targeting the product, American crusaders have forcefully targeted the consumer.
It is the petty vindictiveness of America’s ever-expanding network of smoking bans that really irks. There will soon be nowhere left to hide. If it is not obvious to you that most ‘smoke-free’ laws are contrivances to force smokers to quit, rather than to ‘protect’ nonsmokers, this book will surely persuade you. It is almost comic to watch the quackademics of ‘tobacco control’ garrotting science to justify bans on smoking outdoors and in private dwellings. When the dubious epidemiology of secondhand smoke outlived its usefulness, the concept of thirdhand smoke was invented to persuade the public that they are at risk from anything that had ever come into contact with smoke: furniture, carpets, wallpaper and, most pertinently, the clothes, hair and skin of smokers themselves. In the land of the free, campaigners would rather encourage mass hypochondria than admit to being paternalists.
Christopher Snowdon – Sp!ked – July 8, 2020.