The release of a classically loved festive poem that has removed all mention of Santa Claus smoking Pipe Tobacco has caused great outrage amongst smokers and scholars.
Santa Claus has long been depicted as a man who enjoys humble activities and fancies such as smoking a pipe and eating mince pies. Now anti-smoking lobbyists are attempting to blur out this beloved character's smoking habit.
Anti-smoking activist Pamela McColl has edited the 189 year-old poem 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, removing all references that it makes to Santa Claus being a smoker. This edit has been met with severe resistance.
The 54 year-old Canadian claims that she had heard stories of parents who had torn out the pages containing the perceived incriminating evidence and children who cried about the health effects that smoking have upon the health of Santa Claus.
She explained that a smoke-free version is more in keeping with the modern view of smoking.
Her decision was met with severe opposition. American political satirist lampooned the edited version with a parody. Journalists from all over the world received the news negatively; from the New York Times to The Daily Telegraph, the edited book was treated to derisory reviews.
University academics have accused Ms McColl of censorship. Ann Curry who researches censorship and intellectual freedom in books and media described the act as 'dreadful' and Gail de Vos, a professor in Canadian children's literature and storytelling, called it 'disturbing.'
Many of the world's foremost intellectuals and esteemed professionals have moved to provide support for Santa Claus' freedom of choice and the tobacco industry.
The tobacco industry is one that is steeped in history and tradition. With many different cultures enjoying the plant in a variety of different mediums, tobacco has had significant impact upon the modern world. Storytelling, music and the desire for knowledge have all been shaped and affected by tobacco throughout generations.
An unprecedented number of fictitious characters have been created through various mediums that identify themselves as smokers. Tobacco in its many forms has been sewn into the very fabric of beloved fictional artefacts. The crusade of the anti-smoking campaigners will be a long and hard one if they hope to censor the act of smoking from all publications and releases.
With Gandalf, one of the world's most beloved fictitious pipe smokers about to take to the big screen in the new Hobbit film, smoking seems set to enjoy another surge in popularity.