June 08, 2011

rights and responsibilities

Under the social contract we are all pretty much aware of our rights and responsibilities, but Carmel wants to make it known that the only right that smokers have at present is the legal right to buy tobacco products - they have NO rights relating to discrimination against them shown when they actually use their legal product.

“When I returned to work after a long break I was shocked by the change in attitude of the people around me,” says Carmel. “I thought I had a legal right to challenge anyone who used smoking as a reason to hire, fire or vilify someone – but that isn’t true at all.”

“I agree that cigarette smoking is a health hazard to smokers and those caught in the slipstream of cigarette smoke; and I am well aware that it is a dirty, highly addictive and expensive habit having been banned world-wide in workplaces - and public buildings,” says Carmel. “I not only uphold that law but also consider it to be an excellent law, but I am adamant that the choice to smoke is personal and I should not be discriminated against, or vilified, because of that choice.”

“What’s the good of being able to buy a legal product that you can’t use?” asks Carmel. “And why is it okay to discriminate against and vilify smokers when it is not okay, for instance, to behave that way towards someone else who is different in some way?”

“What sort of society are we living in that allows this situation to exist?” asks Carmel. “I pay my taxes like everyone else – actually a whole lot more tax because I smoke – and I expect to be protected by my government under the social contract. It is taking my money but not protecting me!”

"If governments worldwide banned the sale of the substance, and ceased reaping a profit from nicotine addicts like me," says Carmel, "then I’d have a real chance to face my addiction and conquer it."

“I grew up within a generation that thought drugs were groovy and smoking cigarettes was a sign of sophistication,” says Carmel, “so I am not only dealing with nicotine addiction but also a powerful emotional factor supporting my smoking habit.”

“The more authorities dictate to me what I can and cannot do, the more likely I am to dig my heels in,” says Carmel. “I know it is no longer fashionable to smoke, but giving up cigarettes is not going to be as easy for me as discarding my flares and platform shoes – and why should I when I actually enjoy smoking?”

“Unlike drivers who have a god-given right to emit noxious vehicular fumes, smokers have NO such right because smoking has no 'social utility'; and, unlike drinkers, smokers can't even smoke 'responsibly' because cigarette smoke apparently never dissipates and always offends.”

“Furthermore, because smoking is a ‘choice’, smokers have NO redress against discrimination in employment and accommodation and vilification from the public at large (unless, of course, they also belong to a 'real' minority group).”

“The ONLY right smokers have is the right to purchase tobacco providing they’re 18+ and can afford it – but there’s absolutely nowhere in a built-up area where we can smoke in peace and quiet without being vilified,” says Carmel. “I guess the next obvious legislation is to ban smoking beyond city limits – forcing all smokers to sell up and move.”

“Hey guys, we vote and we pay a sin-tax for smoking so how about giving us a break?”

Read more by Carmel on this issue:

  • workplace nicotine nazis

  • sniffing out smokers

  • smelly co-workers

  • Is smoking a choice or a need?
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