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Why I cannot attend

Gunter Ropohl
21st January 2009

Günter Ropohl, Professor Emeritus of General Technology at the University of Frankfurt on Main, Germany, explains to TICAP why he will not be able to attend to the international Conference Against Prohibition.

Why I cannot attend: The structural inequality of weapons

This conference is of utmost importance in the fight against tobacco prohibition. Anti-smoking activists pretend that non-smokers have to be protected, but in reality smoking prohibitions are intended to drive smokers out of public life or even to wipe them out altogether.

Smokers already are inhibited from protecting their constitutional rights through such efforts as attending an event like this conference. As far as I enjoy smoking I am not allowed to travel by plane or railway, and I am not allowed to visit public facilities for eating and drinking unless I am willing to forsake smoking. If I want to travel I am prevented from smoking by excessive bans. So while I would like to support my right to continue smoking by attending the conference, I would be forced to give up this right just at this very occasion. This is a fundamental contradiction in terms, terms which have been established violently by the anti-tobacco movement.

The tobacco prohibitionists are engaging in structural violence as they impede the efforts of defenders of smoking to assert their human rights, the freedom of lifestyle and the freedom of assembly (including the unhindered access to public rallies and meetings). Smoking bans reduce the ability of smoking people to resist effectively against these inhuman machinations. That is what I call the structural inequality of weapons.

A fundamentalist minority of “public health” activists has been successful in creating discrimination against millions of people. Hypocritically they say they would not discriminate against anybody as long  as he or she does not smoke.

This translates into an acknowledgement that they do not regard smoking people as human beings and is an outrageous offence against democratic cul-ture and human dignity.

It is high time for the Supreme Courts of nations everywhere to wrest these weapons of structural violence from that militant and intolerant minority.


-- Günter Ropohl


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