Opinion //

The More Wretched of the Earth: Anti-Smokers

Smokers ON campus.

Assorted images found or made by Ellie Stephenson.

When Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 305 landed in Reno, Nevada on 24 November 1971, federal agents boarded the plane in order to apprehend D. B. Cooper, who had hijacked the plane and received $200,000 (USD) in ransom money only hours earlier. It was not to be; he had leapt from the plane’s ‘aft airstair’ approximately 30 minutes after it departed from Portland, Oregon with the money. In his place he left only a black clip-on tie, a mother-of-pearl tie clip, and eight filter-tipped Raleigh cigarette butts. 

“Cigarettes, on a plane?” I hear you exclaim. Indeed, just like quaaludes, this veritable Sangraal, this unparalleled heaven on Earth was taken from us, first in 1987 when smoking was banned on Australian domestic flights and finally in 1996 when smoking was banned on all Australian international flights. Perhaps more egregiously, smoking was banned in “enclosed public areas”, sans bars and licensed premises, in 2001. 2006 saw the completion of perhaps the greatest curtailing of civil liberties since the Accords when smoking was finally banned in enclosed areas of pubs and clubs. It’s no wonder the union movement is in the state it is today, when the gentle labourer cannot even appreciate a cigarette with whatever Australian piss beer he is drinking with his mates. 

D. B. Cooper was never found; it can be assumed that he did not die in the fall, for his body was never found in the vast stretch of wilderness that his estimated drop point encompasses. You know what else? D. B. Cooper was never diagnosed with any kind of cancer; since he has never been found it is also very possible he is still alive. Now, am I saying that smoking on planes allows you to evade federal authorities working at maximum capacity, survive dangerous falls from moving airplanes in the black of night, lessens your chances of developing cancer, and grants you eternal life? Not at all, this would be phenomenologically unsound and medically irresponsible. But it would be equally irresponsible for me to claim that it definitely doesn’t do any of these things. Ultimately I believe the most intellectually rigorous conclusion is that smoking on planes might allow you to evade federal authorities working at maximum capacity and survive dangerous falls from moving airplanes in the black of night, lessen your chances of developing cancer, and grant you eternal life. 

Now, I hear you, my sniveling reader, ask “but uhhhh doesn’t smoking cause cancer?? Can you cite your sources?”. To that I respond, not according to my research it doesn’t. I haven’t googled it, but I did ask my 106-year-old great grandmother. She has dementia, and when I asked her she replied that she believed that allegation to be Soviet propaganda, and that her children have been replaced by ASIO informants for the purposes of surveilling her. I can’t speak to the veracity of the latter claim, but I would be willing to stake my life on the former. 

Notable jazz musician David Lynch claims: “Now, house pets are treated way better than smokers.” Are anti-smoking laws a grave human rights violation that demand an immediate appointment at the Hague for all members of the Australian government? The law restricts me from answering that question in a publication such as this, so I’ll let you decide. 

I also have reason to believe that vaping causes immediate death in all who partake in that Satanic pastime. I am pro-life and take no pleasure in reporting this.