Today is that day, a day when anti tobacco lobbyists have their moment 15 minutes.
I am a cigarette smoker. I buy my own cigarettes with my own money, which I have earned. This is my choice, admittedly not a good one and not entirely voluntarily, since I'm so foolishly addicted, but my choice nonetheless. As it is smokers are victimised, although we contribute generously to GDP. We are treated like outcasts, forced to stand on pavements out in the cold to indulge our foolish habit. "No smoking" signs must be such a hot seller.
I am not arguing against the demerits of smoking, I accept those. I also accept that if I drink 12 beers at my local, I will be intoxicated and bear the biological consequences of my indiscretion and the ear ache when I get home. I also accept that if I ride my motorbike at 200km/h (ideally not after the 12 beers), that I am risking serious injury or death and possible that of others. I accept that I have to lock up my house and arm the alarm and feed the dogs and close the gates and leave security lights on, which is part of the price we pay for living in this glorious country. (I'm sure you can pick up that there's a BUT coming, but not yet.) I accept that I have the right to vote, which is not dissimilar to throwing a ping pong ball against a battle ship, but I feel empowered doing it and proudly display my ink stained thumb nail. I accept that I have the right to conduct business and make money within the framework of government legislation and free market principles, and hence, I accept that I have the right to do whatever it is I choose with the money generated from my efforts.
BUT, I have difficulty accepting that I have to defend my race, my gender and my lifestyle or my choices, when these are challenged by people who make very little contribution towards improving our country. I am not dependent on the government for my well being, but I do depend on their maintaining the roads (so I can do 200km/h when the mood hits me) and their maintaining my right to live out my remaining years in a country that I fought for (whether the border war was farcical or not), and that they maintain a realistic semblance of good governance going so I can continue doing business and funding my outrageous lifestyle.
I am South African, not always proudly, but always loyal. I will uphold the constitution and adhere to the law as best I can. There is no black and white in this argument and there is no rainbow either, it's simply grey. But it is our grey.
So if you're a non-smoker and you want a tobacco free day, be my guest, knock yourself out!