Monday, November 27, 2006

'Pass Us A Ciggie', by Kathleen Rowsome

This is an article I was asked to write in the style of Jonathan Swift as part of my coursework. Please note that nothing contained in this article represents my personal opinion on the subject discussed.

"Smoking is soon to be banned in public places across the UK. Such a bizarre move is clearly another example of the government succumbing to the pressure of a few eccentric activists in the name of political correctness.

"We are to be stripped of one of our only solaces in a world with more daily stressors than ever before. Shopping in an over-crowded supermarket of blithering fools blocking aisles with their trolleys; festering in a traffic jam at five p.m. on a Monday night; attempting to put the kids to bed just as they develop a sudden case of acute hyperactivity; these are the times when the cigarette is our saviour.

"Many a public brawl in the cornflake aisle has undoubtedly been prevented by the prospective perpetrators popping outside before throwing a punch to smoke away their stress.

"Without these merciful sticks of sanity, we will be reduced to a mob of edgy lunatics in desperate need of some anger management therapy (much pricier than a couple of packets of Marlboro Lights a week). The number of car accidents would also be bound to increase due to irate motorists taking to ramming cars off the road like dodgems.

"Indeed, some scientists have even gone so far as to suggest that smoking may prevent the onset of dementia. ‘So if your time is nearly up anyway, and you have somehow managed to steer a course past the Scylla and Charybdis of heart attacks and tumours, smoking might just help you retain your marbles.’

"But smoking is not just beneficial to national Mental Health statistics. An obesity epidemic is sweeping the Western world. The UK is one of the biggest culprits, with 46% of men and 32% of women overweight and 17% of men and 21% of women obese. The solution to the problem is blindingly obvious, yet widely ignored: smoking.

Yes, there are a few negative implications associated with the habit. Similarly harmful associations also apply to driving cars, but we have yet to see the mass pedestrianisation of the UK in a bid to minimise crashes - which will be necessary if the ban goes ahead (and this will pose problems in itself, as many smokers suffer from asthma already. Surely it is an abuse of human rights to force people with delicate chests to hike everywhere on foot?)

"Obesity causes all kinds of health worries in itself, such as heart disease or even heart attack. Surely the discerning British public would prefer to look trim and have lower stress levels than to be fat, angry and prone to heart attack at any minute?"

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