We smokers at the pointy end of the propaganda and persecution constantly emanating from ‘Public Health’ and its various hangers-on are familiar with the clarion cry that it’s all about ‘The Cheeldren!”
We are constantly being told that all the draconian rules and bans are primarily to protect ‘our’ kids, even when it comes to banning smoking in pubs, which aren’t (or shouldn’t be) places for kids anyway.
No, they aren’t ‘our’ kids, they are (or in my case were, when they were young) MY kids.
Not yours, not the government’s. Not Public Health’s.
My kids. My responsibility. My decision how best to raise them. My decision to act in what I see as their best interests. My decision whether or not to lend any credence to the shrill hectoring from the prohibitionist zealots.
But of course ‘The Kids’ are a very effective cudgel to wield when you want people to bend to your will. We instinctively wish to protect our children from harm; more so than we care to protect ourselves. Our children are our future; our sole means of genetic immortality; our Achilles Heel. The prohibitionists know this, and exploit it to the maximum.
So when we are subjected to a blizzard of propaganda about ‘protecting’ the children in our care from all things tobacco and alcohol related, many people take it all on board uncritically, believing that if the people who are propounding these measures are ‘experts’, then their directives must be correct, and adhered to.
Not satisfied with trying to coerce parents into quitting smoking and drinking for the sake of the kiddies who are already running round the house, the zealots also target the as yet unborn, telling women that if they smoke or drink during pregnancy that it will have dire effects on the foetus.
“It is well established that expectant mothers who smoke are exposing their baby to harmful gases such a carbon monoxide and other damaging chemicals.
Smoking during pregnancy leads to greater risk of a range of complications including premature birth and the baby being born underweight.”
It is, of course, all scaremongering tosh. Yes, if a pregnant woman is necking a bottle of vodka every evening and/or smoking five packs of ciggies a day, then there is a possibility (a possibility, note, not a certainty) that it will be detrimental to the child she is carrying; however, cases like that are the rare exception, and in no way warrant the blanket propaganda that is directed at all women. It’s all based on the old ‘no safe level’ shibboleth so beloved of the prohibitionists.
There is an interesting article from a few years ago by someone who was asked to analyse the data of pregnant women with respect to smoking for a major health insurance company in the USA.
“They were running a campaign to get pregnant women to stop smoking and they expected to find interesting data to support their case.”
Contrary to expectations, he found that there seemed to be no indication of detriment to either mother or baby when the mother smoked during pregnancy. If anything, the data showed better outcomes for the children of smokers (and their mothers) than of non-smokers.
Unsurprisingly, he concludes:
“You might be interested in knowing that this information was not used. I was told that the medical insurance business is highly regulated by the government. The company was not allowed to tell the truth about these results even though it was better for the insurance company and for the patients.”
Another research article starts with the mandatory ‘smoking is really bad, especially when you’re pregnant’ meme, and then goes on to say:
“…smoking is the only environmental exposure known consistently to reduce the risk of preeclampsia and gestational hypertension…”
Preeclampsia is a serious condition which affects 2 – 8% of pregnancies wordwide, and can lead to the death of both mother and child, so you’d think that ‘Public Health’ would weigh up the pros and cons of the situation and not persecute pregnant women for smoking. Of course, if you thought that, you’d be wrong. ‘Public Health’ would much rather see women and children die than admit that the benefits of smoking during pregnancy outweigh any perceived potential harm.
But the worst aspect of this demonisation of smoking via ‘the cheeldren’ is the societal changes it has inculcated in the people who swallow all this guff unquestioningly (which unfortunately is most people). The media, naturally, condemn loudly any pregnant ‘celeb’ caught smoking or enjoying a glass of wine, but it’s in the comments that you really see the effects of the propaganda, with commenters regularly referring to the ‘guilty party’ as a murderer, unfit to have children, children should be taken into care, etc etc. And it’s not just in newspaper comments sections. I’ve read on several occasions of pregnant women being roundly abused by strangers if they’re seen in public smoking or drinking.
This creates a poisonous dynamic in society, and does nothing to help anyone, least of all the pregnant woman who is the target of the serried ranks of sanctimonious busybodies who think, for some reason, that what other people choose to do is somehow their business.
Anecdotally, I have four children born of two mothers, both of whom smoked and drank (not excessively, but not sparingly, either) during pregnancy, and all four children went full term and were normal birth weight, with no health issues whatsoever.
So, teacher, leave those kids alone.