Nicotine Nazism: It’s Not About Health, It’s About Money and Control

by Thomas Knapp

Nicotine Nazism: It’s Not About Health, It’s About Money and Control

The late, great HL Mencken defined puritanism as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere is having a good time.” I haven’t visited Michael Bloomberg’s New York City in more than a decade, but if I landed at LaGuardia tomorrow, I’d half expect to be greeted by officials right out of Tompkins Harrison Matteson’s painting “Trial of George Jacobs of Salem for Witchcraft.”

When they’re not banning tobacco they’re banning trans-fats. When they’re not banning trans-fats they’re banning large soft drinks. And when their soft drink ban gets quashed, their next target is electronic cigarettes. “For the public health!” is the new “I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Good Osburn with the devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!”

If you don’t believe me, believe the politicians who voted to extend the city’s smoking ban to “not smoking, but kind of looks like smoking if you’re really, really, really stupid.”

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn doesn’t cite any actual health concerns in explaining her support for the ban on “vaping.” Rather she simply asserts that it will be harder to enforce the actual smoking ban if it’s not also illegal to do something a blind, deaf, mentally challenged cop who happens to be high on crack at the moment might mistake for smoking.

That justification being obviously sketchy, she retreats to her real reason: “Very few people feel uncomfortable now saying you can’t smoke in public. We don’t want to step backwards in that.” In other words, not banning e-cigarettes might cause New Yorkers to re-think letting Christine Quinn run their lives. Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!

Councilman James Gennaro and “Health Commissioner” Thomas A. Farley refer to the absence of a ban on exhalations of vapor containing 1/5 the potentially toxic content of “second-hand smoke” as a “loophole.” “We see these cigarettes [sic] are really starting to proliferate, and it’s unacceptable,” says Gennaro. “I get reports of people smoking cigarettes [sic — they’re not cigarettes, they’re not “smoked,”
and what he really means is “I get reports of people living
their lives without consulting, and genuflecting before, me”] in public libraries. Certainly, they’re becoming more common in restaurants and bars.”

But of course it’s not fair to attribute all this solely to the control complexes of sociopaths like Quinn, Gennaro and Farley. There’s also money involved. Big money — $1.50 in city taxes on every pack of “real” cigarettes legally sold (about 60% of cigarettes are smuggled in to avoid the city’s most enthusiastic muggers, its politicians), plus whatever portion of the $4.35 per pack state tax gets piped through to Quinn, Gennaro and Company.

It’s about control. It’s about money. What it most certainly is not even a little bit about is “public health.”

That’s not to say that e-cigarettes are “risk-free.” They may not be; the few studies done so far suggest that there may be minor (a full order of magnitude less severe than those associated with “real” cigarettes) risks involved.

But there’s no reasonable doubt whatsoever that electronic cigarettes are safer than smoke tobacco. Nor is there any doubt at all that electronic cigarettes are among the most effective ways of getting smokers to stop smoking tobacco — dinging the Quinn/Gennaro slush fund by $1.50+ per pack of cigarettes not smoked, and until the passage of the new ban, ever so slightly loosening the dog collars that Quinn/Gennaro and Company have spent so many years putting around every New Yorker’s neck.

New Yorkers will be worse off for the electronic cigarette ban. And they’d be a lot better off without “their” city government.

flattr this!

18 responses to “Nicotine Nazism: It’s Not About Health, It’s About Money and Control

  1. Back with a regular theme here. It’s about the puritan urge in Anglo society; and puritanism with a small “p” is the direct, lineal descendant of Puritanism with a capital “P”.

    It’s largely useless trying to engage these people in rational argument. If somebody developed a 100% safe, totally non-toxic cigarette or equivalent tomorrow, these people would still ban it. They would be horrified by such a thing, because it would “undo all their good works”. Indeed, there appear to be no health consequences at all to “vaping”, so we are already there.

    The origin of course is Calvinism. The idea that pleasure should only be obtained from the transcendent, and that pleasure in the mundane is of corrupt origin. The slightly more weak form of that tells that if one must have pleasure, it should only be taken from labour (which some have indeed argued was the source of Adam Smith’s preference for the Labour Theory Of Value). So there is a particular hatred of drugs of any kind, which provide pleasure “for free” (and also for theatres, dancing, music etc which provide similar “easy” pleasure). Since most people are more liberal than this, health arguments are trotted out. But there is not even a pretence these days of analysing health effects before new recreational drugs which appear are prohibited; the mere fact that they are recreational is enough.

    All we can do is try to find a way to exclude these people from power. How that’s to be done, I just don’t know. But we have to find a way, or lose all of our liberty, one campaign at a time.

    I will reel out my usual GK Chesterton quote from 1922, which is from a passage discussing the Temperance Movement’s attempts to snatch away the working man’s pot of beer-

    But it is none the less relevant to remember that, as his masters have already proved that alcohol is a poison, they may soon prove that nicotine is a poison. And it is most significant of all that this sort of danger is even greater in what is called the new democracy of America than in what is called the old oligarchy of England. When I was in America, people were already “defending” tobacco. People who defend tobacco are on the road to proving that daylight is defensible, or that it is not really sinful to sneeze. In other words, they are quietly going mad.

  2. I would not say that New York City is Calvinist Ian – nor has it ever been known as a centre of Calvinism (not as far as I know).

    New England Puritans (Calvinist and non Calvinists) did have influence outside New England – but New York City was not one of their big places.

    No Thomas (much though I have disputed with him on other matters) is correct – this is about money (tax money) and the lust for power.

    Even “Teddy” Roosevelt (who first made New York known for statism) was not really a Calivinist – he was a follower of German philosophy (both directly – he was a reader of it, and indirectly as a follower of Richard Ely).

    There is a inbuilt desire for power in humans beings (call it original sin if you like) – but philosophy (bad philosophy) takes this dark (evil) desire to rob people and order them about, and pretends it is something good and noble. Bad philosophy JUSTIFIES this dark desire – says to people that is O.K. (indeed good) to behave like this.

    And New York (both State and City) is only going to get worse – as the recent election of a Castro loving “Occupy” type as Mayor shows. Taxes will go even higher.

    The real question is how New York City continues to carry on – why does it not look like the cities of Upstate New York (which are wastelands – with fewer people than they had a century ago).

    The answer is the Federal Reserve – it really is.

    When people talk vaguely of “the increase in the money supply” they forget that the money comes out in a specific place and is spent in a specific place.

    And, for most of the money that place is New York City – it comes out of the New York Federal Reserve (the create it from nothing) and goes into the New York Banks and the New York Stock Exchange (and so on).

    New York City (not the State in general) may be a place where it is actually rational to be a statist – after all the city depends on this vast slush fund (which is what it is).

    However, this can not carry on for ever.

    And it can not carry on for ever in London either.

  3. To those who say “The City of London is different – it is based on voluntary cooperation and my-word-is-my-bond”.

    The City of London has not been like that since 1986 – the so called “deregulation” of the “Big Bang” was actually a GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER (mandated by the courts – and their crazy idea of what markets should look like).

    The City of London is now just as much a “crony capitalist” (not real capitalist) operation as New York City is.

  4. As we know it is nothing about health. In a recent footnote on history the state of North Dakota considered banning the sale of tobacco in 2003.

    The bill’s sole sponsor, Grand Forks Republican Rep. Mike Grosz lost 88-4. Think of all the revenue lost for the state to spend. The interesting matter was that all the anti-smoker groups did not want a complete ban either:

    “The North Dakota Medical Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, North Dakota Public Health Association and North Dakota Nurses Association were of one voice in saying that there’s no evidence banning tobacco would prevent and reduce tobacco use because no such approach has been implemented, the groups argued. The ban also could take away certain funding for these groups for tobacco control programs.”

    So they didn’t want to ban tobacco, because banning tobacco would cause all the anti-tobacco types to lose their jobs? As we now know with the “health” lobby, it is never really about children and saving souls. Just purely about power and money.

  5. I’m a 54-year-old lifelong nonsmoker who holds that all antismoking restrictions imposed in my lifetime should be repealed.

  6. harleyrider1978

    Hitler was a Leftist
    Hitler’s Anti-Tobacco Campaign

    One particularly vile individual, Karl Astel — upstanding president of Jena University, poisonous anti-Semite, euthanasia fanatic, SS officer, war criminal and tobacco-free Germany enthusiast — liked to walk up to smokers and tear cigarettes from their unsuspecting mouths. (He committed suicide when the war ended, more through disappointment than fear of hanging.) It comes as little surprise to discover that the phrase “passive smoking” (Passivrauchen) was coined not by contemporary American admen, but by Fritz Lickint, the author of the magisterial 1100-page Tabak und Organismus (“Tobacco and the Organism”), which was produced in collaboration with the German AntiTobacco League.

  7. harleyrider1978

    Heres a time line starting in 1900,dont be surprised to see the same thing playing out today nearly 100 years later.

    1901: REGULATION: Strong anti-cigarette activity in 43 of the 45 states. “Only Wyoming and Louisiana had paid no attention to the cigarette controversy, while the other forty-three states either already had anti-cigarette laws on the books or were considering new or tougher anti-cigarette laws, or were the scenes of heavy anti- cigarette activity” (Dillow, 1981:10).

    1904: New York: A judge sends a woman is sent to jail for 30 days for smoking in front of her children.

    1904: New York City. A woman is arrested for smoking a cigarette in an automobile. “You can’t do that on Fifth Avenue,” the arresting officer says.

    1907: Business owners are refusing to hire smokers. On August 8, the New York Times writes: “Business … is doing what all the anti-cigarette specialists could not do.”

    1917: SMOKEFREE: Tobacco control laws have fallen, including smoking bans in numerous cities, and the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Idaho and Tennessee.

    1937: hitler institutes laws against smoking.This one you can google.

  8. harleyrider1978

    We have defeated them yet they have political power and that’s the only way these bans stay alive anymore or even how thye get more restrictions. Its one of those things that becomes a political hot potato in the end as it was before about 1917. It eventually comes down to who can repeal the stupid laws the fastest as what happened last time the prohibitionists did this to tobacco……..Utah was the last in 1922 amid great embarrassment to the state for about 2 weeks. Even the News papers in California and New York were chastising them over still having an indoor ban on smoking and arresting local politicians for it……………

  9. harleyrider1978

    LRC Seal



    WWW Version

    BR 298 – Senator John Schickel (12/13/13)
    AN ACT relating to the prohibition against implementing the United Nations Agenda 21.
    Create a new section of Subchapter 1 of KRS Chapter 224 to prohibit a state agency or political subdivision of the state from implementing any part of the United Nations Agenda 21 that is contrary to the United States or Kentucky Constitution, or being a member of or expending any public funds on a group or organization that will implement any part of the United Nations Agenda 21.

    (Prefiled by the sponsor(s).)

  10. Paul-

    The argument is that over time, puritan ideas have spread far beyond their “homelands”, just as Marxist ones have. Another example is Freudian/psychonalytical ideas which are, for instance, now deeply embedded in our establshment and legal system. It’s a “meme” thing (some people don’t like that word, but I think it is quite useful).

    We understand that many ideas in the modern “politically correct” synthesis are derived from Marxism. But it is hard to see where from Marx one can find the hatred of smokers (for instance) and I think a puritan origin is more explanatory. It is of course about power, it’s always about power. It’s to some degree about money. But it’s mostly about ideology.

    My example here is always Adolf Hitler. He doesn’t seem to have been much interested in money. Even power was a tool for him, not an end goal; the power enabled him to implement his noxious beliefs to a monstrous conclusion. In that sense, he was probably one of the most honest politicians of the 20th century; he said what he intended to do in Mein Kampf, and then sought the power and the money to achieve it. Most ideological tyrants are the same, I think.

  11. Errr people remember the basic point that Thomas is making.

    Even if one believes that the state has a right to stop people doing something that is a terrible threat to their health (and I do not – otherwise I would be in favour of a law against suicide – and there used to be such laws) E.Cigs are NOT a terrible threat to health – not of the person who uses them, and certainly not to other people.

    Remember the original excuse (sorry “reason”) given for restrictions on smokers – “passive smoking” that would reach out and give other people cancer.

    No one pretends that E.Cigs produce such an alleged threat – no one.

    This ban had nothing to do with health – NOTHING.

    It is about tax money – fear that people will switch to E.Cigs and cost the city tax money

    Please understand that – the “caring” City government WANTS YOU TO SMOKE (as long as you buy highly taxed cigarettes) even if it kills you – so much for “public health”.

    And it is also about POWER – power for its own sake, lust for power.

    E .Cigarettes are not regulated to bits “therefore” they must be.

    Arguing with these people is pointless. – they have no interest in public health (any more than Pope Francis has in economics – he talks about economic matters for his own reasons, not out a real interest in the subject).

    These people (the City government of New York City) are interested in power – power for its own sake, and power without limits.

    • harleyrider1978

      This pretty well destroys the Myth of second hand smoke:

      Lungs from pack-a-day smokers safe for transplant, study finds.

      By JoNel Aleccia, Staff Writer, NBC News.

      Using lung transplants from heavy smokers may sound like a cruel joke, but a new study finds that organs taken from people who puffed a pack a day for more than 20 years are likely safe.

      What’s more, the analysis of lung transplant data from the U.S. between 2005 and 2011 confirms what transplant experts say they already know: For some patients on a crowded organ waiting list, lungs from smokers are better than none.

      “I think people are grateful just to have a shot at getting lungs,” said Dr. Sharven Taghavi, a cardiovascular surgical resident at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, who led the new study………………………

      Ive done the math here and this is how it works out with second ahnd smoke and people inhaling it!

      The 16 cities study conducted by the U.S. DEPT OF ENERGY and later by Oakridge National laboratories discovered:

      Cigarette smoke, bartenders annual exposure to smoke rises, at most, to the equivalent of 6 cigarettes/year.


      A bartender would have to work in second hand smoke for 2433 years to get an equivalent dose.

      Then the average non-smoker in a ventilated restaurant for an hour would have to go back and forth each day for 119,000 years to get an equivalent 20 years of smoking a pack a day! Pretty well impossible ehh!

  12. Ian I agree with you that Puritan ideas have mutated from religion into a secular desire to order people about (often among people who have no religion) – and I also agree with you about the basic wrongness of the Calvinist position.

    But then of course I would, I am a semi Pelagian heretic – I have even less in common with the Calvinists than I do with the Roman Catholics (they are all followers of Augustine from where I stand).

    Where I disagree with you is that I think this desire to order people about “for their own good” is universal – Cato the Elder did not Christianity to pass “Puritan” regulations (in his spare time from working his slaves to death – his lack of concern for his slaves disgusted even Roman opinion, and calling for genocide against Carthage).

    What bad philosophy (whether it is Plato or Fichte – or whoever) does is take this evil (and it is evil) desire – and pretend it is something good and noble.

    People do not need bad philosophy to be evil (again Cato the Elder was famous for rejecting it) – but it sure helps in you want an intellectual justification for power.

    And people can make a choice to resist evil – if they really make an effort and good philosophy can help them (help us).

    We have an evil side – but we can resist it.

    Bad philosophy (including bad theology) makes this task more difficult (by giving us intellectual excuses for wickedness – for using force and fear against others) and good philosophy (including good theology) makes it less difficult.

    As Thomas Aquinas maintained – bad philosophy can not be good theology, because reason and faith are different but can not (at a fundamental level) contradict.

    For example, charity is (by definition) voluntary – to hold that the virtue of charity must be enforced by law (with punishments) contradicts the basic nature of what the virtue of charity is.

    If a Church (including Thomas Aquinas’; own Church – indeed even him as an individual) denies this, they are guilty of a contradiction – and a basic confusion (such as confusing the virtue of charity with justice – a fundamentally different thing).

    One can not save souls by coercing bodies – because faith must be voluntary (or it is not faith at all – and it just a pretence motivated by FEAR).

  13. I’m not sure that there needs to be a philosophical reason any more. You could say that Richard Doll had a genuine philosophical reason for his antagonism to tobacco. and it might well have been that philosophy which drove him, but even he had no fear of SHS since he said that it would not bother him to be in a room where people were smoking.
    I think that it has been the gradual build up of the massive Tobacco Control Industry which is responsible for removal of morality from Tobacco Control. The Industry needs to ensure its own survival. The only way to do that is to ensure that smoking cessation is a gradual process. If they control a) the tobacco industry, and, b) smokers, they can raise or lower their game (their propaganda) to speed cessation up or slow it down to suit themselves.
    So, Yes, it is about money, power, eugenics and all the rest, but more importantly, it is almost a physical thing. The Industry is a THING, which needs to be protected.
    Ecigs are a massive threat to the Industry because they hand back control of themselves to smokers, which also weakens their control over tobacco companies. Ecigs are a lose-lose for The Tobacco Control Industry which is why it wants to get control of them.
    The UK Government could stop this at a stroke, simply by handing control of ecigs to the Health and Safety executive.

  14. Although it seems to many to be less justified, the opposition to e-cigs comes from the same group of crazies that formed the main push for smoking bans. Google “V.Gen5H” and read the pdf booklet, “The Lies Behind The Smoking Bans,” you’ll find there and you’ll see the same pattern of exaggerations, techniques, manipulations, and outright lies.

    Vapers and vaper supporters need to learn from and ally with the long-standing Free Choice movement. There has never been a sound reason for government to step in and ban all indoor smoking rather than leave the decision up to businesses and perhaps set up a reasonable set of air-quality standards for *all* businesses — smoking AND non-smoking — and there’s no sound reason for the e-cig ban either. Both can be defeated if the vapers and the smokers and the friends of both groups work together. Vapers need to learn from the history of the grassroots fight against smoking bans, see what approaches were eventually developed to slow down and, sometimes, even reverse their spread, and to keep the vaping bans from gaining the same sort of foothold.

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of “TobakkoNacht — The Antismoking Endgame”

  15. harleyrider1978

    Kabats making statements that seem to only perpetuate the lie…….The question is WHY!

    Ive taken his statements to task here on a few notes:

    The most careful studies that have evaluated the actual exposure of non-smokers to tobacco smoke in the home, at work, and in other settings indicate that the average exposure of a passively exposed non-smoker is roughly equivalent to smoking about 10 cigarettes PER YEAR.


    The 16 cities study conducted by the U.S. DEPT OF ENERGY and later by Oakridge National laboratories discovered:

    Cigarette smoke, bartenders annual exposure to smoke rises, at most, to the equivalent of 6 cigarettes/year.


    Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, Vol. 14, No. 1. (August 1991), pp. 88-105.

    However, even assuming similarities on an equal mass basis, ETS-RSP inhaled doses are estimated to be between 10,000- and 100,000-fold less than estimated average MSS-RSP doses for active smokers. Differences in effective gas phase doses are expected to be of similar magnitude. Thus the average person exposed to ETS would retain an annual dose analogous to the active MSS smoking of considerably less than one cigarette dispersed over a 1-year period.

    Id just like to know the source of the other studies putting it at 10 cigs a year when everything else Ive seen says much less..

    10,000- and 100,000-fold less than estimated average MSS-RSP doses for active smokers……………….This is approximately one-thousandth the exposure of the average smoker

    Really how did he come to such a conclusion

    Even at 10 ciggys a year it still comes to 14,600 years of exposure to equal 20 years of smoking at a pack a day and still be able to donate your lungs…………

    Then Their own study showed after the 39 years basically the same outcome no effect and only a slight raised risk for 30 years or longer with a smoker in house. That was during the highest possible exposure time period. So to state that because theres less smoking since the 90s and exposures a lower outcome would be expected its just posh junk and bending to the anti-smokers…….It makes one think they bought Kabat off!

  16. Agreed – this is not about health, and it is not (at bottom) about philosophy (let alone theology) it is about power, the lust for unlimited power.

    Bad philosophy (and bad theology – and bad culture) may give justifications for it (help the dark side of our natures) – but the base desire is not philosophical, it is just wickedness.

    It really is as bone simple as that. These people (the activists, the City Council, the ….) are just plain bad.

  17. The City Council in New York (at least the head of it) has now moved on from “Nicotine Nazism” to supporting the idea of releasing the Marxist Cuban spies who conspired to murder anti Communists and are presently in jail.

    National Socialism or Fascism (Black Flag stuff) or Marxism (Red Flag stuff) at bottom it is the same – unlimited power for the collective (ditto COLLECTIVIST, Social Justice, “anarchists”). And whether they use the word “state” or not does not matter either – if a criminal gang (for example the “Black Panthers” or “the Weather Underground” or “Occupy”) burns down the supermarket it is just as burned down as if the government had done it. Ditto if it is a private gang who makes the threat “do not sell this – or else we will smash you up”.

    The people who think up this stuff (such as Rousseau who inspired the Jacobins, or Sorel who inspired the Fascists) may be personally gentle – but they do not escape moral blame for the thugs they inspire.

    Ditto with the “libertarian paternalists” (oxymoron-r-us types such as Cass Sunstein of “Nudge”) – the silk glove may be nice, but the iron fist is still inside it.