Chris Snowdon has written extensively and convincingly about how anti-tobacco, once an idealistic volunteer movement that was the David to industry’s Goliath, is now a tax-funded, wealthy, professional operation that is a Goliath that bullies those of us who do not toe their line and even bullies the industry. Apparently this guy did not get the memo: He is nearing the end of his cross-Canada running trek to raise money for anti-tobacco. I really doubt that the rich anti-tobacco movement in Canada was really worried about whether they would get the $47,000 that he was hoping to gather in donations (which is good for them since he is 90% short of his goal).
On a brief serious note, this should remind us of a class of victims of the anti-tobacco extremists that is often overlooked, those who are duped into volunteering their precious time and idealism for a misguided, cynical, billion dollar activist industry. Presumably this guy was just looking for an excuse to run across Canada, though if not duped, he could have found a cause more in need (the only thing that would have been a comparable waste of grassroots idealism on a so-wealthy-it-just-throws-money-away cause would have been running for “breast cancer awareness”). But whatever you might think of that guy, I have seen a lot of idealistic students get suckered into pointless and often dishonest volunteer work for the extremists.
On a less serious note (and, I will admit, my real motivation for this post), from the article:
“It’s a huge struggle,” Povah said from Ottawa Tuesday, adding the lack of support crew or sponsors is a major disappointment.
After the trek ends in Montreal, Povah hopes to make a dogleg through the U.S. in November to visit the New York City headquarters of the Philip Morris cigarette company.
Would it be cruel to donate a few dollars to him so he can make it on to NYC, just so we could see his face when he got there and discovered that he was running a few years too slow and he has most of another 600 km to go. (PM moved its headquarters from NYC back to Richmond almost a decade ago. Its parent company, Altria, followed in 2008.) Even if he has no money to bring the cause, at least he has proven he has anti-tobacco-extremist-quality research skills.
(Oh, and yes it would be cruel. So never mind — that is just not us.)
– Carl V. Phillips