thumping the tub
Tub-Thumper - 1. A speaker or preacher who for emphasis thumps the pulpit; a violent or declamatory preacher or orator; a ranter. (from This blog will be a combination of reasoned posting somedays and an occasional rant.
Friday, January 06, 2006

I want to talk about a filthy habit here. It is smelly, it causes illness and the death of thousands every year. The industry that profits from it is known to cover up information about the detrimental effect it has and it means millions of pounds of taxpayers money has to be spent to pay for its after-effects. Yes, you've guessed it -it's driving a car.

Seriously, a smoking ban is going to take effect in Scotland this year. Smoking is banned in all bars, restaurants and even football (I refuse to say soccer) stadiums from 26th March onward and it has occurred to me that almost every argument you can make against smoking you can make against the car.

I should make clear that I am a smoker but I am not entirely against the ban. It's just the hypocrisy that surrounds the issue that irks me.

The main reasons given for the smoking ban are that

1. - It damages the health of those who do not wish to participate in it.
2. - It damages the health of those who do wish to participate in it.
3. - It costs the health service too much money to deal with cancer and other smoking related health problems
4. - It smells

This is all true with the possible exception of number 3 as the level of taxation on smoking means that smokers are paying for a decent chunk of the national health service. They also die young and therefore give everyone else the benefit of using it. 'National benefactors' as Sir Humphrey from 'Yes Minister' said.

So what about the car culture?

1. - It damages the health of those who do not wish to participate in it by either the effect from car fumes/smog, people being knocked down and most importantly being one of if not the biggest contributing factor to global warming.
2. - It damages the health of those who do wish to participate in it when they crash, when they don't walk anywhere and become unhealthy and also global warming.
3. - It costs the health services too much money to deal with road accidents and it will cost them a hell of a lot more when there is no ozone left and we are all regularly having melanomas the size of apples hacked off of us.
4. - It smells

Again, most of this is true with the possible exception of number 3 as drivers are, just like smokers, more highly taxed in the UK than anywhere else and pay for a whole number of things.

The horrible smell of bars full of smoke has to be weighed against another factor. Have you ever been in a non-smoking bar? The smoke is gone but the smell isn't. Instead of smoke you can smell 50 or so sweaty drunk people. Trust me, it isn't any more pleasant.

I am not wholly against the ban. It will mean that half the party will be outside the bar from now on and all the pubs will have to buy those little umbrella heater things (it gets damn cold in winter here). I just get fed up with people who have two cars sitting in the garage lecturing about the evils of smoking. If polluting and causing death to others by smoking is wrong then doing it by driving is too. You can't have it both ways. I can put up with a smoking ban. Are they going to put up with a driving ban?

People die from smoking related illnesses every day. A car kills someone more often than every 2 minutes. Smokers, due to their addictive habit often leave others or are themselves left unable to breath properly. Perhaps, when there is no air left to breathe anywhere and nowhere to go without getting skin cancer thanks to their filthy habit, maybe then drivers will understand why the rest of the world grumbles about their selfishness.

posted by michael the tubthumper @ 2:31 pm  
  • At 6:09 pm, Blogger GraemeAnfinson said…

    I agree there are a lot of people who choose to drive and don't need to. They deserve our scorn more than smokers. Especially those hummer drivers.

    Sometimes you have to drive a car though. I grew up on a farm, 30 minutes from the nearest stoplight and had to drive to get anywhere. You never have to smoke, sometimes you have to drive.

  • At 6:26 pm, Blogger Amelopsis said…

    When approaching drivers of idling vehicles (where I live there's a 3 minute limit in the summer) VERY POLITELY, a few have been downright insulted and confrontational - arguing that my smoking isn't healthy either, etc. Jackasses, I say. I've simply pointed out that smoking aside (and legal in the location), they are breaking a public bylaw; all while stifling my desire to lay into a long diatribe that would more or less paraphrase your post today.
    Thanks for bringing this issue some clarity.

  • At 6:34 pm, Blogger michael the tubthumper said…

    sometimes its more useful but cars have only been round for 100 years and look to have managed to fuck things up for the forseeable future. people got by in other ways.

    my solution is that everyone gets 2 huskies and a skateboard. though this could lead to a problem at traffic lights when the dogs come on heat.

    seriously though, car usage needs cut severely, and quickly at that. everyone knows it but no politicians are going to say it because it will lose them votes and the road lobby is so powerful.

    i do smoke and it has/will have consequences for me. i don't drive a car but i have to put up with the problems associated with that.

    finally, things like electric cars and more fule economy do not make cars 'green'. it's the difference between being shot in the head 5 times and being shot in the head 4 times ie none at all. this is because of all that goes into building roads and cars. mining for metals, plastics, chemicals have to be made for batteries etc.

    not getting at you - i should really have put all this in the article.

    oh well, it's here now

  • At 6:40 pm, Blogger michael the tubthumper said…

    sorry amelopsis - must have been typing at the same time.

    how does the 3 minute limit work.

    also, my husky theory needs ironing out. everyone knows that moosh means go but does anyone know the word for stop?

  • At 7:41 pm, Blogger creature said…

    You are so right Michael. I live in Manhattan, don't need a car what so ever, and it's great. Keep thumping that tub!

  • At 8:49 pm, Blogger michael the tubthumper said…


    i borrowed this from huhnoshit so thanks to IndyGirl

    and i think it is one of the funniest things i am ever likely to see. you absolutely need sound

  • At 9:00 pm, Blogger michael the tubthumper said…

    i don't know how trackback works - thats why i haven't done it!

  • At 2:56 am, Blogger mikevotes said…

    Yeah, I always go back to the food argument. Where I live(US) fat people are a far greater health risk and burden on the system than smokers.


  • At 8:00 am, Blogger Brewski said…

    You do not need two Huskies and one skateboard. I am in possession of one Husky and one skateboard, eminently sufficient. And for my Husky, a simple 'stop' seems to do the trick. I still can't do a clean kick-flip though.

  • At 5:36 pm, Blogger michael the tubthumper said…

    brewski - that still doesn't solve the traffic light problem.

  • At 8:21 pm, Blogger Amelopsis said…

    Sorry I didn't make it back sooner!
    The 3 minute rule for idling is that unless there is an ailing passenger (old, newborn, or infirm) you cannot idle your car for longer than 3 minutes or face a bylaw ticket.(I think its around CDN $80)
    I've never once seen it enforced and find that many many people are entirely oblivious to its existance. Great to have the bylaw, but what's the point if it's never enforced? I find it truly maddening.

  • At 6:36 pm, Blogger Quixotematic said…

    Damn right about the cars (I don't drive). A common argument against 'traffic calming measures' like speed bumps and road-narrowings is that cars produce more pollution when accellerating away from them than they would if unimpeded. This 'get out of my way or I'll poison you' argument doesn't wash with me.

    As for smoking (I gave up 5 years ago):

    This is all true with the possible exception of number 3 as the level of taxation on smoking means that smokers are paying for a decent chunk of the national health service. They also die young and therefore give everyone else the benefit of using it.

    I take issue with. Visit any cardiopulmonary ward and you will find it full of old smokers who have, rather than dying young and cheap, been expensively dependent on the NHS for many years. Sure, they _start_ to die young, it just takes a very long time as they are kept alive by medical intervention. I honestly don't know the real stats, but I'm betting that we all make a loss on it.

  • At 6:41 pm, Blogger michael the tubthumper said…

    fair enough. i wasn't entirely serious with that bit

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What is Tubthumping and who is doing it?

Name: michael the tubthumper
Home: Glasgow, Scotland
About Me: Tub-Thumper - 1. A speaker or preacher who for emphasis thumps the pulpit; a violent or declamatory preacher or orator; a ranter. This blog will be a combination of reasoned posting somedays and an occasional rant. 28 years old, I write and research for a couple of websites and also do my own stuff.
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