As part of its drive to encourage people to adopt a healthier lifestyle, the Government is introducing its "Kick a Smoker" campaign. TV and billboard adverts will say that if you see person lighting up a cigarette anywhere, then, since he hasn't kicked the habit, you can kick him.
Everyone agrees that smoking is a dirty habit that costs the NHS billions of pounds a year treating tobacco related diseases, and it affects the health of non-smokers through the passive inhalation of cigarette smoke. For years, smokers arrogantly refused to stub out in public, saying why should they be bothered about other people's health. The big tobacco companies denied that cigarette smoke is harmful to other people. The average chainsmoker would spend 40 years annoying everyone around him then getting public transport to the nearest hospital for tens of thousands of pounds worth of free medical treatment for lung cancer or other smoking-related diseases.
Now that things have changed, smokers frequently whinge about not being able to light up in front of other people. Some idiots like former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy, break the law, lighting up when and where they feel like, knowing that society won't really punish them.
The "Kick a Smoker" campaign is aimed particularly at these selfish people. Junior Health Minister Alison Tonowun said:
"This campaign will encourage those few remaining smokers to finally kick the habit, otherwise they will be kicked by other people. It encourages everyone to get involved and helps people to get exercise and stay in shape. We recommend that everyone should deliver at least three kickings a day, apart from elderly people, who can make do with one. As my old dad used to say before they carted him off to the funny farm, A good kickin' never hurt no-one. However, we emphasize that fists, guns and knives must not be used. Just one single thwack to the posterior should do the trick."
The Justice Secretary has confirmed that people who kick smokers won't be prosecuted for assault. But he warned:
"You can only kick a smoker if you see him lighting up. Except for Charles Kennedy, who can be kicked on sight."