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Time to lay off them now and let common sense prevail

21 Jun 2007 - JG

When exactly did smoking become the new paedophilia? They are the pariahs of modern society, and all common sense and decency can go to hell if it means the government and media can whip up a frenzy about these evil doers. There is the tale (it may well be true) about the paediatrician who had a baying mob outside his house calling for his blood and parents refusing to let their children out of the house until this man was removed from society, all because he had a brass plaque outside his home which doubled up as his place of work stating he was paediatrician. They had got themselves so worked up they either couldn't be bothered to check what a paediatrician was or they genuinely thought it was one and same as a paedophile. Why in the name of sweet Moses would a paedophile invest in a brass plaque and put it on his gateway for all to see that he was some sort of sick monster?! It's amazing what a frenzy can do to people's senses.

Now don't get me wrong, paedophilia is deeply wrong and offenders should be locked up out of harms way, but when it gets to the point that parents won't let their children out to play and mob rule flourishes, surely something has gone awry. And I fear the same is about to happen with smokers. Yes it is a filthy habit; yes it is does make those around the smoker smell like an ash tray and yes it does seem that it can cause secondary lung cancer (though Roy Walker is the only person I have ever heard of who has actually succumbed to lung cancer for passive smoking and he spent years in dark, smoky pubs playing a trumpet - though I am happy to be educated on the matter if anyone knows of anyone else). But let's not lose our heads here. They are still human beings and are not the devil's off spring. They should also not be fair game every time the government feels it wants to preach a bit of righteousness to the masses, as it does from time to time (the environment is another good one for that...). A little bit of common sense would be nice to hear every now and then, which leads me on to my point (thank you for the patience all who have made it this far)...

Smokers will be prevented from fostering children under the age of 5 once the smoking ban comes into force on July 1. No ifs, no buts. Now already I can hear people shouting "Here, here! Well done the government, these sick fag junkies are killing our kids - they don't deserve the chance to bring up a human life". But there is more to a smoker than his or hers smoking. They might actually be bloody good parents for a start and conscientious ones at that who go outside to have a quick ciggie or at least not around the kids. What next? A complete ban on smokers having children altogether? Most people I know with kids who smoke (I do know some and I scorn them behind their backs, don't you worry) would never dream of smoking around the child - believe it or not a smoker can love their child too.

Even more worrying is the fact that there is a mass shortage of foster parents in this country - 10,000 in fact. That figure looks set to rise in a week or so now. Where is the common sense in this policy?! The government would rather kids don't have a family at all than have a family with a smoker amongst its ranks. Who is the government to say a child is better off without a family than in the evil grip of a smoker? It also worries me that a lot of people will have been taken in by this and support the measure. Things are beginning to go a little too far now; the anti-smoking lobby have got their way and it's time to lay off a little and ensure some common sense remains before baying mobs start knocking down the door of some poor smoker who happened to advertise his affliction on a brass plaque outside his home... as you do.

Topics: Health

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