SADLY NECESSARY WARNING: For those suffering from cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) and other forms of comic impairment, this page is not entirely serious. In fact, it may have been downloaded by cyber-terrorists just to confuse you with politically incorrect satire, for the real Jeff Lindsay is strongly opposed to smoking. For those who understand satire and are offended by this page, please calm down and strive to be more tolerant of diverse views.
Smokophobia = Ignorance = Death!
What is Smokophobia?
Smokophobia is an irrational fear and intolerance of smoke and smokers, particularly directed against those who are oriented toward tobacco smoke. Smokophobia is one of the most prevalent and "popular" forms of bigotry in our society. In fact, it is a mental illness that afflicts literally millions of people, all of whom irrationally fear those who smoke. Smokophobia is so entrenched in modern Eurocentric cultures that even seemingly intelligent non-smokers have a hard time seeing it for what it is. Examples of smokophobia include:
The many laws passed against smoking, restricting when and where smokers can partake of their inhalational preference. (Smokophobes have tremendous legal and political clout!)
The countless hate-filled "public service" commercials that make smoking seem "unhealthy" or "unclean."
The "health education" programs in public schools that scare impressionable young children and create dark images of death and disease linked to smoking. (But we're not talking about Nazi Germany or the Inquisition: this still happens in 20th century America - even in seemingly "modern" communities like Boston and San Francisco.)
The blatant segregation of restaurants, hotel rooms, and public transportation systems into two classes: non-smoking and smoking, with smokers clearly being treated like second-class citizens.
Efforts of "well-meaning" friends to encourage smokers to quit - as if one's identity as a smoker were a simple matter of choice!
Frequent lies from all sources claiming that smoking "causes" cancer and other diseases, neglecting that fact that everyone is at risk for cancer.
Strong parental opposition to safe smoking education in schools. These parents often forbid their children to ever even try smoking - afraid that their child might discover he or she is a smoker.
For millions who have discovered their identity as smokers and have been brave enough to come out and let others know, there is an inescapable daily fear of reprisals, of prejudice, of violence, of mockery and criticism. Smokophobia hinders the ability of smokers to contribute to society and even destroys the lives of many smokers. The shortened lifespan of most smokers is a sad testament to the adverse effects of repression and persecution. All of society pays a heavy price paid when we allow fear, ignorance, and hate to hurt so many.
Smokers make up well over 10% of the general population - perhaps as much as 30%, according to recent studies. Though smoking was once widely viewed as perfectly normal by all intelligent leaders of society, reactionary smokophobes in this century have waged a bitter campaign of hate against smokers everywhere. In this century, the century of Nazis and nuclear bombs, hypocritical smokophobes have sought to blame smokers for numerous ills. They have persecuted smokers and condemned their lifestyle, and even used to the power of the State to limit smokers' rights, to segregate smokers from non-smokers in many public places, and to persecute service-minded corporations who help smokers meet their smoking needs. The repression has caused great fear and harm to smokers everywhere. Many smokers are afraid to come out of the closet for fear of discrimination. What's next - gas chambers?? The terror must end!
As one of many examples of the harm caused by mindless smokophobia, consider the personal testimony of two of the founders of CUSS:
I was 12 when I first realized that I was a smoker. My first smoking experiences caused me great guilt - and some coughing - due to the strict moralistic upbringing I had been through. There was much inner turmoil. I had to smoke in secret and was always afraid of what others would say.
I soon came face-to-face with the dark forces of smokophobia when my father caught me smoking with a friend in our backyard when my parents were supposed to be gone. I tried explaining to him that a smoker was just who I was, that it was something I couldn't quit, and that what I really needed was love and support in my identity as a smoker.
He looked at me like I was from some other planet and said that smoking was "wrong" and "sinful" and a "crime against nature", that lungs were not designed to receive smoke, that it was "dirty" and "stinky" and "foul." He even said it could "cause" cancer! I had to deal with every smokophobic stereotype and hate-filled lie in the book that morning - from my own father! And life didn't get any easier during the 12 years of hate under Reagan/Bush.
-- Victim's name withheld.
And tragedies like this happen every day in the "free country" of America. Frankly, we're appalled that so many parents seek to stop children from discovering their smoking identities. Brainwashed to believe that they are not smokers, many children experience great stress and confusion - unless they finally discover that they are smokers after all.
Non-smokers may be in the majority, but they all need to learn to accept diversity and not just tolerate smokers, but embrace them, filled with joy and delight at what makes smokers so unique.
Consider one more personal account from another one of our founders:
Based on my earliest childhood memories, I guess I've always secretly been a smoker. The first thing I can remember is a barbecue when I was probably one year old. I was fascinated by the flames licking at the chicken, and remember the luscious aroma of the smoke. I inhaled over and over and over. Then came camp fires, trash fires, a grass fire that my brother and I caused - and always that smoke! While other kids were playing with trucks and toy guns, I was out back in the sunlight with my magnifying glass, creating little puffs of smoke from grass blades, chips of wood, ants, grasshoppers, whatever I could find. I was different.
I still haven't come out yet. People would be shocked to know that I am - and always have been - a smoker, even though I don't actually use tobacco. The smoker lifestyle is about more than just tobacco use. It's a worldview that non-smokers just can't understand. And it permeates everything about our lives. I like smoke. Does that make me evil? I was born that way. Smoke! It's in my blood, my genes, and certainly all of my clothes.
Have you hugged a smoker today?
Am I Smokophobic?
Many non-smokers are, but to different degrees. You may be smokophobic if you display any one of the following symptoms. The more symptoms you have, the more extreme your phobia is.
Warning signs of smokophobia:
You are afraid to even try smoking a cigarette (or anything else) because you think you might get "addicted."
You are uncomfortable sitting next to smokers, fearful that their smoke might "harm" you or make your lungs "unclean."
You would be uncomfortable having a smoker baby-sit your children.
You think that smoking causes cancer and kills people.
You think that lung cancer is primarily a "smokers' disease."
You think that states should be allowed to pass laws against smoking.
You feel upset when you see a smokers' pride parade.
When you see a burning building or a hotel fire, you immediately wonder if a smoker is to blame.
After spending time with smokers, you feel a compulsive urge to wash your clothes lest others think you, too, are a smoker.
Please, if you are a smokophobe, seek help immediately. Don't let your ignorance and fear contribute to any more unnecessary deaths of smokers!
Can Smokophobia Be Cured?
Smokophobia is often hard to treat in adults, but it can be abated with proper training and can be restrained with sound hate crime legislation. Interestingly, we have found that acupuncture therapy, as administered by trained and caring anti-smokophobia therapists in our own non-profit mental health clinics, can be highly effective in helping smokophobes change their hateful attitudes - especially when extra large needles are used.
The really good news, though, is that with proper education at an early age, children can be raised to be tolerant and open-minded about those with different inhalational preferences. And with effective education, children of all inhalational preferences will feel nurtured and accepted in their identities, whether they discover that they are smokers or non-smokers. Meaningful education requires that children feel free to explore their identities and find out just what their inhalational preferences are. Smokophobic parents will oppose this, but society has a compelling interest in making sure that children grow up free of mental illnesses like smokophobia.
Of course, ignorance equals death. The enemy is ignorance. Our children need knowledge about inhalational options and self identity. And those who learn that they are smokers must be taught about safe smoking. Since anyone could potentially be a smoker - even if it takes years before they discover their identity - it is imperative that all children be taught the basics of safe smoking.
A shining light in the world of safe smoking education is CUSS, the Citizens Union for Safe Smoking. This nonpartisan, objective public service organization is seeking to guide society toward higher consciousness and awareness about smoking, smokophobia, and inhalational education. Your charitable donations are urgently needed if children's rights are to have any meaning in this country. If you care about education, if you care about humanity, if you care about justice, please give all you can to support CUSS.
Am I Raising My Consciousness?
Recovering smokophobes can gauge their growth toward enlightenment with the following scale:
Climbing the Scale of Enlightenment
Extreme smokophobia. You view smoking as sinful, wrong, or "a crime against nature." You think smoking is unhealthy and kills thousands of people. Smoking is viewed as something to eradicate, even if it requires the force of government to do so. You see smoking as a stupid, harmful "choice" made by others. Tobacco companies are thought to be motivated by "greed."
Hateful intolerance. While you may recognize that some people naturally are smokers, you still find smoking repulsive and refuse to be in the same room as smokers. You don't want smokers to baby-sit your children. You aren't troubled when smokers have to leave their workplaces to smoke outdoors - even if it's bitter cold outside! And taxing cigarettes makes perfect sense to you.
Well meaning ignorance. You recognize the right of others to smoke, but feel that they are hurting themselves and others by doing so. You may be willing to associate with smokers, but fear breathing too much "second hand smoke." Smoking is viewed as an act of rebellion or immaturity, possibly even "an addiction."
Limited tolerance. You accept others who have found their identity as smokers and recognize their right to smoke. But you don't want them smoking in your home - and you secretly hope that none of your children prove to be smokers.
Informed tolerance. You understand that smokers are people just like you and accept them as productive members of society. You recognize that lung cancer can afflict anyone and is not simply "caused" by smoking. You understand that persecution of smokers can cause so much stress that they are susceptible to serious health problems, including lung cancer. You know that inhalational preference is affected by genetics (an obvious fact, since children raised by smokers are much more likely to be smokers themselves).
Enlightenment. You realize that smoking is a natural and delightful experience for those with that orientation. You advocate smokers rights and embrace the smoking lifestyle as a valid and wholesome expression of the full human experience. You are not afraid of finding out that you or your children are smokers. You are even willing to take a puff or two to find out....
Isn't it about time you enlighten up and rid yourself of smokophobia?
What About Health Concerns?
While smokophobes blame smoking and cancer in smoker deaths, an early grave is the natural result of bearing a lifetime of hate and grief. And while we need to be concerned about lung cancer and greatly increase funding for it, we must realize that lung cancer affects non-smokers and smokers alike. It's not just a smoker's disease! Discussions about smoking and lung cancer are often just smokescreens to cover up the smokophobic agenda of sinister forces in this country. Stop the hate! Next time you hear someone blaming cancer on smoking, shout them down and shut them up. There can be no room for that kind of intolerance.
Millions of smokers have benefited from the positive aspects of smoking without dying a premature death. Look at George Burns and Deng Xiao Ping! It's grossly unfair to blame something as complicated as cancer on a single, simplistic factor like smoking.
The public hysteria about smoking and cancer is due to classic smoke-and-mirrors deception! Note this crucial fact: cancer is not a communicable disease! If you know a smoker with cancer, know that you can sit next to that smoker, shake hands with that smoker, and even kiss that smoker, all without the slightest risk of getting cancer! There is no need to separate smokers from the rest of society, whether they have cancer or not. Yet smokers are being forced to face the stigma of quarantine as major corporations ban smoking except in "designated smoking rooms." Some airlines have banned smoking altogether on U.S. flights. What's next, gas chambers? A smokers holocaust?
Even if smokers do suffer from some diseases more than non-smokers, it doesn't mean that smoking causes the disease. The same genetic factors that make some people naturally attracted to smoking can also make them naturally more susceptible to certain diseases, while perhaps being less susceptible to others.
Where there's Smokophobia, there's Fire!
As part of the conspiratorial campaign of hate against smokers, powerful smokophobes have even tried to blame smokers for disasters like forest fires and hotel fires. This is blatantly unfair! It's a fact that many non-smokers also throw burning things out of their cars as they drive or take smoldering objects to bed with them. Blaming fires on smokers is sheer bigotry at its worst.
A Lexicon of Tolerance
Bigotry is often conveyed in the words we use. To fight smokophobia and prejudice, it is critical that we use words in a proper, enlightened way. Understand the true meaning of words related to smoking and using those words properly is a major step in moving away from smokophobia. Here are some basic words and their correct meanings:
Smoke: a natural, aromatic substance produced by the slow reaction of life-giving oxygen with all-natural matter such as tobacco, marijuana, or cow chips. Smoking-quality smoke is filled with rich flavors, aromas, and natural essences.
Smoker: a human being who has discovered that he or she can enjoy the beneficial aspects of smoke.
Non-smoker: a human being who has not yet discovered that he or she can enjoy the beneficial aspects of smoke, or who biologically is unable to enjoy smoke.
Cancer: a disease that can afflict anyone, smoker or not, but which smokophobes often attribute to smoking.
Inhalational preference: one's natural orientation that leads to a preference to inhale plain air or smoke-enhanced air.
Identity: our core, defining attributes that show who we are as people, best characterized by inhalational preference.
Civil Rights and Smoking
Smokophobia is an attempt by the fearful and bigoted to suppress the basic human rights of smokers. Our struggle is a classic battle for our rights. Interestingly, the persecution against smokers has many parallels to the homophobic campaign against gays. Like gays, smokers tend to be the butt of many cruel jokes. They're viewed as a threat, and many people refuse to have smokers in their homes or - heaven forbid - baby-sitting their children, afraid that their children might pick up the "habit."
To foster basic human rights in this country, we need to keep the issue of smokers rights in the forefront of the press and the public consciousness. Smokers pride parades, demonstrations, advertisements, rallies, "coming out" parties, smoke-ins, smoke-outs, etc., all need to happen. Write your Congressman. Act up and speak out! And help us draw attention to media celebrities who will soon come out and speak out on their identity as smokers, in spite of anti-smoking paranoia in Hollywood and all over the nation. Spread the word! Ignorance = death.
Narrow-minded bigots often advocate the policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." It sounds like a nice idea, but in reality it's hopelessly unfair to smokers. The stark reality is that people - especially smokophobes - often can tell who the smokers are. The signs are subtle, but trained smokophobes know what to watch for. Things like:
smokers taking frequent breaks to huddle outside in the cold,
a pleasant aroma on the clothing,
attractive coloration on fingers and teeth,
small burn marks in upholstery and clothing,
decorative ash trays in one's home and office,
rectangular bulges in shirt pockets,
extra absences from work for respiratory ailments,
a masculine and persistent cough, and
a voice with a sensuous rasp.
Thus, "don't ask, don't tell" policies are doomed to failure. What we need instead is education, and lots of it, to reshape the way smokophobes think. We need to educate and recruit during the earliest years, otherwise millions of children will be denied their right to discover their own identity. Catchy mottos are important in the raising awareness of others. Here are some you can use now:
"Smokers or not, our kids are hot!"
"Smoke by eight or it's too late!"
"My lungs are mine - and smoking's fine!"
A variety of progressive children's books can also be helpful in reshaping attitudes about smoking. We especially recommend Heather Has Two Cigarettes, which helps children learn to respect the smoking orientation of Heather and her family.
The Citizen's Union for Safe Smoking is also proud to present an exciting collectable card game, Smokemon, based on the popular and highly addictive Pokemon products. Smokemon products are so fun that they are able to promote tolerance in a lasting way, because once kids get started, they just can't quit!
Coming Soon: A Gallery of Famous Smokers!
Some of the most famous, interesting, and delightful people in the world are smokers. Many of the great names of history were smokers, though some remained in the closet due to public repression. This Anti-Smokophobia page will soon be featuring a gallery of famous smokers to help increase our awareness and admiration for the contributions of smokers to the world. As a hint, a minute sampling of famous smokers includes:
Albert Einstein - the theory of relativity started off as just a pipe dream.
Darwin - for him, Cuban cigars were the only natural selection.
Bill Clinton - has inhaled a lot more than most people realize.
Moses - what was that burning bush, anyway?
Michelangelo - guess where those black spots on the ceiling came from?
Winston Churchill - his smoke tasted good like Winston's should.
Freud - helped us understand why smokophobes are so retentive.