Like most people who value looking cool and hastening their departure from this flawed, cruel world, I’m a smoker.
It’s not big, nor clever, but it’s something to pass the time and sap away at my ever-dwindling third-year student loan. I also feel it’s my duty as a supporter of free markets to do my part to help the tobacco industry survive the illiberal onslaught of public health crusaders, regulators, and annoying busybodies. So I soldier on, voluntarily decimating my lung capacity, making my clothes stink, and selflessly standing outside in the pouring rain whenever the mood strikes me.
With that in mind, imagine my surprise when I, a stand-up guy, a supporter of this ethical, organic industry, asked the guy in my local corner shop for a pack of 20 Rothmans (beloved of Farage and Orwell – friend to all and breaker of ideological chains) and, upon checking the cellophane, found I’d actually been given a pack of 17.
I wondered how my beloved fags had managed to stay the same price in the face of rising cost of living and egregiously high sin taxes, and now the answer was clear as day – I was being screwed. By Big Tobacco. The horror.
They say never meet your heroes, but I think the sentiment is more aptly phrased ‘don’t look too closely at what you love’. You might realise it’s actually a load of dishonest scheming, wrapped in honeyed words.
I thought we were on the same side. It was me and Louis Rothman against the world, brothers-in-arms, crusaders for freedom and questioners of public morality everywhere.
Turns out I’m just another stooge who’ll pay hand over fist for something that’s actively killing me, and the business responsible doesn’t even have the decency to look me in the eye while it screws me. What a revelation to end third-year on.