Aside from Ireland beating the Springboks in rugby and the soccer lads drawing with Sweden in the Euros, it has been a relatively quiet summer for smokers in Ireland.
There is so much money to be made from persecuting honest smokers however that condemnation and lies are always bubbling just under the surface. We have become a soft target, all 800,000+ of us.
Today, for example, under the headline 'Anti-smoking laws contributing to de-normalisation of smoking' the Breaking News website quotes the the Institute of Public Health.
I'll bet you didn't even know there was any such thing as the Institute of Public Health but we have more quangos and double-jobbing here than almost anywhere. Their comments are a glorious example of creeping prohibition.
According to Director of Policy Helen McEvoy, "It is part of a trend to ban smoking from all public places, to reduce the harm caused by second hand smoke." Innocent readers are presuming she is referring to public indoor spaces but in fact this sleight of hand is trying to slip into our heads that secondhand smoke poses a danger outdoors. It is not so much a blatant lie as a misleading untruth. Cigarette smoke in any outdoor setting has never been shown to pose any risk to those around it and that is the scientific fact of the matter. Sneaky, though, isn't it?
Elsewhere the new Minister of State for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, is interviewed in the Irish Independent. In recent weeks she has hosted meetings with several anti-smoking groups and Forest have written to her asking for an audience too.
We are still holding our breath. But in the great tradition of Irish Health ministers Marcella is, ahem, a bit portly. In the Irish Independent interview she freely admits she is obese and if I do get the chance to meet her I intend to freely admit I am a smoker.
The tone of the interview is light-hearted but what interested me was that when she was diagnosed as obese "She wants to take a sensible approach to getting more of us off the couch by setting realistic goals and making it easier for people to be active and aware of healthy food choices."
What is this cult of interfering in other people's lives because you are fighting issues of your own? I find this most prevalent among ex-smokers as well. I know a couple of seriously obese lads near me who are happy and cheerful and couldn't give a hoot about their weight. Tackle your own problems, Marcella, and let other people decide for themselves what they want to do, and I include smoking and drinking in that also.
Meanwhile, on the international front that giant quango known as the World Health Organisation is demonstrating just how divorced from reality it has become. As reported by Robert Fisk in the UK Independent, 'The UN has failed to protect Syrians from war and hunger. Now it’s telling them to stop smoking'.
That blighted people are subject to bombings, rape, murder, arbitrary drone strikes, family deaths and torture even as their country disintegrates around them. Their daily plight is a blot on the rest of us. And while ISIS is actively flogging and burning any smokers they find the ridiculous WHO wants those poor people to ignore everything and quit smoking as their sole priority.
Robert Fisk says it all in his article but readers should remember that the same organisation has become a private club of unelected individuals. It says a lot about the lavish cocoon they inhabit that they could make such an outrageous statement as this right now.