Prog #23: Get that Weed Out of Your Mouth! (Smoker’s Crime)

Case File

Dredd investigates a bank robbery, and uses a cigar to track the perps down to a tobacco store. A quick chase later, and Dredd’s smoked another lawbreaker.

Ol’ Stoney Face

Dredd describes cigarettes as weeds and “disgusting objects”, but lets a couple of potential perps off with a warning as he stops them before they actually light up.

Dredd uses a rifle here (possibly the Law Rod?) instead of his normal pistol.

The Big Meg

Smoking on the street is now illegal. All smoking supplies have a Mega-City brand on them so they can be traced. Stores can still sell smoking products (and display “genuine wooden Indians”) even though there’s only one place in the City they can actually be used – the Smokatorium.

This fine establishment has smokers packed in like sardines, and helmets must be worn to ensure you don’t choke and die.

The City has something called the “Carribean Zone”.

The Law

Dredd’s Lawmaster includes a “street-scanner” that can identify nicotine (and other pollutants) nearby.

The Meg has some sort of “Bank Squad” force that appears to be part of the regular police. They defer to Dredd and the Judges.

Creeps

Crazy Al and his gang are in the bank-robbing business – and possibly even worse they smoke while they do it! For some completely unknown reason they wear old-timey spacesuit helmets.

Al has no hesitation in wasting one of the bank tellers. Rather than sensibly making a break for it with their bank heist haul, Al sends one of his goons, Dave, to pick up some cigars. Dave is perfectly happy boasting of their recent bank job to anyone who’ll listen. Dave ends up on the receiving end of Dredd’s fist.

Al makes a run for it, but runs into the Smokatorium by mistake. Without a helmet he is quickly overwhelmed by the fumes, but refuses to go down without a fight.

Resyk

Al kills a bank teller, but Dredd then blasts Al away.

Verdict

I’ll keep this short. This might be the first actively terrible issue. I can’t really find anything to like about it. I personally don’t like smoking and would gladly see it banned, but even I think this blatant attempt at “teaching a lesson” is cack-handed and ridiculous.

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2 thoughts on “Prog #23: Get that Weed Out of Your Mouth! (Smoker’s Crime)

  1. I think you need to put this in the perspective of when it was published – the 1970s.
    People smoked in restaurants, cars, work places, aeroplanes, just about anywhere. This was also a time when the first efforts were being made to curb cigarette smoking with advertising restrictions, and warnings being added to packs (hence the punchline “smoking can damage your health”). This story takes the anti-smoking lobby to what would have seemed like ludicrous extremes at the time.
    Here we are, over 30 years later, and we are not so far away from a complete public ban on smoking and the idea of a smokatorium doesn’t look so ludicrous anymore.
    Although not a classic Dredd story, the concept of the smokatorium is very memorable.

    Like

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