Paragraph of the year

The other week David Hockney coined the term ‘professional anti-smoker’. He was describing ASH media face Deborah Arnott, but I think the definition can be extended.

Professional anti-smokers can be found way outside the smoking debate. They are active in local government, in private industry, in academia, in the emergency services and the arts. They can be found across the political spectrum and in all walks of life. In any organisation, they tend to rise instantly to a minor supervisory role, and stay there until they retire. They don’t have much going on in their lives, and are happiest when dominating a long, boring meeting, or writing an indignant letter to the local paper. They dedicate vast amounts of energy and time to trivial causes that they inflate to life-and-death importance. (Smoking, of course, is what everyone’s worried about in 2009.) They are not creative or destructive, they don’t leave legacies, they aren’t well remembered but they do, in some indefinable way, stain the life of everyone they come into contact with. They are the people that Sartre called ‘smug little bastards’. You have met them.

Which brings me to Duncan Bannatyne’s piece on CiF. Money quote:

In my view smokers who currently stand outside a pub or restaurant having a fag should have to stand at least several yards away from the front door, to save the 79% of us who don’t smoke from breathing in their smoke when we go in or out. We should curtail the rights of the 21% and increase their responsibilities towards the 79%. In other words, we should stop them killing us and our children.

Emphasis is, of course, mine.



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