Volume 93, Issue 64

Tuesday, January 25, 2000


Fraternity friendship at what cost?

What's in the water at Brescia?

Smokers unite - fight the power

Smokers, shut up - no need to whine!

Smokers unite - fight the power

It seems surprising that in an age so concerned with establishing common codes of equality amongst all peoples, groups are still finding themselves subjected to persecution as a result of their actions.

No, I'm not talking about gender groups or sexual preference groups and I'm certainly not referring to religious groups, because God, Allah, Yahweh, Buddha, Barbara Streisand, or whoever you choose to worship is none of my business.

I'm talking about a small, unassuming sect that I belong to called the smokers' coalition.

We've found our rights to convene and associate steadily decreasing over the years. Now we are forced to worship in secret areas of buildings, darkened doorways and bitterly cold locales. So why must we continually be oppressed by the non-addicted?

The recent decision by the Canadian government to subject us to horrific images of the effects of long-term smoking on every pack of cigarettes is just another step towards this damaging pattern.

Perhaps other groups should bear the brunt of such faceless and harsh persecution from the citizen groups who have our so-called "interests" at heart. Alcoholics should be forced to turn their countless bottles of vodka and rye around to discover pictures of David Crosby's ravaged liver. Coffee consumers should be forced to look at a series of stills picturing someone suffering a heart attack. After all, aren't these the long-term effects of such practices?

Let's be reasonable – the practice of smoking isn't as harmful to non-smokers as it was 20 years ago. No longer will you encounter smokers in the restaurants you eat in, the planes you fly in, or the office buildings you frequent. You'd be hardpressed to find a smoker rude enough to light up without first asking your permission.

Think about what will happen to the next group that will be targeted in this Nazi-esque persecution. Isn't this just another step in a Big Brother-like oppressive desire to make all of us into the same habitless, personality-free citizen?

Remember, sitting back on your communal haunches while our rights are being revoked will ensure there will be less people around to defend you when the government decides that whatever habits you're involved in are objectionable.

I'm off to the back stairwell to have a smoke in the pouring rain. After all, it's my prerogative.

To Contact The Opinions Department:

Copyright The Gazette 2000