Category Archives: tobacco

The good old days

Dalrymple is old enough to remember a time when people freely enjoyed their pipes or cigarettes in London Underground carriages and everyone ‘took the fug for granted, as a quasi-natural phænomenon’.

Smoking kills, but not quickly enough

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 08.57.11Such is Dalrymple’s view, so much does he

detest the filthy habit.

On the other hand,

I detest the anti-smokers, the Savonarolas of public health. I want people to spite them by smoking, though not in my breathing space.

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The people’s right to illness

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 20.55.35Resistance to the health dictatorship

In Juli Zeh’s Corpus Delicti: Ein Prozess (2009), health as defined by the WHO (‘a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’) has, Dalrymple explains,

become the ideology of the state – all other ideologies, religious, social, political and economic, having failed miserably. Citizens are implanted with a chip under their skin; they are obliged, under pain of prosecution, constantly to monitor their blood pressure and biochemical parameters. They are not permitted to stray beyond the limits of areas that have been bacteriologically sanitised, and if they do, they are punished.

The protagonist Mia Holl, a bacteriologist,

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 20.58.14is in rebellion against the supposedly beneficent dispensation. A shadowy, and probably fictitious, terrorist organisation is called the PRI (People’s Right to Illness), and she is accused of being a member.

Mia is put on trial for

having consumed illicit substances such as caffeine and tobacco.

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Champerty and the rich rewards for a certain kind of lawyers

 The Flemish Milch-Cow. Crispijn de Passe the Younger, 1646

The Flemish Milch-Cow. Crispijn de Passe the Younger, 1646. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Dalrymple does not consider commercial concerns

incapable of wrongdoing: on the contrary. But neither should they be treated as milch-cows.

Litigation lawyers do not seek to shut down the companies they target, he points out. Their aim to to transfer some of the profits to themselves from shareholders.

Let corporations do what they want so long as we get our cut.




Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 23.56.43Dalrymple behaving badly

He settles down to enjoy a movie at the cinema, having been dragged there by his chums. A notice from the British Board of Film Classification, shown before the start, warns gravely that the film will contain possibly corrupting scenes of tobacco ingestion.

I guffawed: not only could I not stop myself, I considered it my public duty to do so.

The Dalrympian law of conservation of prohibition

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 23.56.43The law of conservation of prohibition, or Dalrymple’s theorem, states that if one substance is permitted after having been prohibited, another will be prohibited after having been permitted. Thus ineluctably,

just as a more permissive attitude to cannabis gains momentum, so does a more restrictive attitude to tobacco.

Of tobacco and fiscal responsibility

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 23.56.43Smokers, Dalrymple points out,

  • by their admirable habit contribute lavishly to the Exchequer; and
  • by dying early, reduce pension costs.

Of criminality, smoking and tattoos

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Burman, from Customs of the World, ed. Walter Hutchinson (1912)

The statistical association between criminality and smoking is very strong, observes Dalrymple (from 06:08 in the video).

The association, he points out, is

much stronger than the connection between criminality and poverty. It’s much stronger than the connection between criminality and unemployment. It’s very nearly as strong as that between criminality and tattooing.