Tempting as it is to use another word that starts with "i"... A very small group of "individuals" recently protested outside an anti-tobacco conference in Niagara Falls, at which the topic of 100% smoke-free multi-unit housing (apartments, condos, etc.) was discussed. The protestors' message: "Tobacco control is out of control!"

Supposedly representing all 6 million* (give or take a million or two) Canadian smokers -- a huge percentage of whom, it must be noted, actively support tough smoking controls -- this '6-pack' of idi... I mean, individuals.. represented their puppet-masters at the nicotine cartel quite well. Hey, come on, "Tobacco control is out of control!" is pretty creative and catchy! If I were a snake-in-the-grass nicotine cartel executive, I'd certainly send those people a few thousand bucks for their efforts... for doing our dirty work for us. A small price to pay, indeed! And it certainly wouldn't be the first such cheque the cartel has sent out to its puppets. In fact, the list of cartel blood money recipients is truly long and distinguished (Sylvester Stallone being one of the more notable recipients of at least $500,000 US on one occasion).

In any case, tobacco control will only be out of control the day it goes beyond prohibiting smokers from smoking anywhere that their smoke drifts and affects innocent bystanders! Let me assure you, as one of the most "radical", "fanatical" and "militant" anti-tobacco "zealots" (just a few of the politer adjectives that have been hurled in my direction) you'll ever encounter, I have absolutely no interest in restricting smoking beyond the point where it only affects the user. And I'll challenge anyone who does.

In other words, as long as smokers accept full responsibility for their disease-causing, debilitating and deadly addiction... and always ensure that they keep the equally-deadly airborne residue of their addiction (second hand smoke) to themselves, they don't have to worry about "out of control" tobacco control. It just won't happen, period!

* Note, re "6 million Canadian smokers" figure:

We all know that some under-aged kids smoke, drink and engage in all sorts of other "exciting"/"illegal" activities. To some extent, that's just part of being a kid; we've all "been there, done that." But 19 is the minimum age for the purchase of cigarettes. Who decided that, when calculating the number of smokers in Canada each and every year, we'd include 18-year-olds, 17-year-olds, 16-year-olds and 15-year-olds? And why? By including everyone up to 4 years younger than the "legal" age -- bearing in mind, of course, that teens and even pre-teens are the tobacco industry's target market (and we all know how fun being a target is, don't we... especially when we're so young, vulnerable, gullible, adventurous, confused, innocent, immature, with hormones raging, impressionable, susceptible to peer pressure [even if only 15% or 20% of our peers smoke], searching for role models, desperately wanting to be all-grown-up adults ASAP, etc.) -- we get a false high number, even further reinforcing the myth that everybody smokes! Oh, and did I mention that those underaged nicotine cartel targets are confused? "Oh, what the hell? Even though I don't really want to smoke, I'll do it for a little while, just to get me through this phase, to ease that pressure, etc., then I'll quit." NOT!

Whether any smoker (or other/non-smoking nicotine cartel puppet) cares to acknowledge it or not, we are nowhere near the "out of control" point. Trust me, we're in a much better position to know when we approach that point... and we'll let you know. Until then, don't tell us that tobacco control is out of control, okay? Because there are a lot of drunk drivers out there who think that drunk driving laws are out of control too!

If you want to talk about out of control, look no further than the nicotine cartel itself. It's products, when used exactly as intended by the manufacturer, prematurely kill more than 5 million people, worldwide, each and every year! And despite all of this so-called "out of control tobacco control", that toll is expected to double over the next 15 years, as the cartel gains an ever-stronger foothold in Third World countries.

To put it into perspective: Tobacco currently kills more people worldwide EVERY 6 HOURS than were killed in all of the 9/11 attacks. Sort of makes you wonder who the real terrorists are, doesn't it?