Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Smoking (yes, again).

Over at Subrosa's, war is breaking out in the comments because a post she linked to here mentioned the smoking ban. It wasn't about the smoking ban, it was about banning in general, but two commenters have fixed on smoking as the greatest evil ever to be banned since America banned alcohol (never happen here? Ha ha).

Since it would be rude to whip out the blades over at Subrosa's, I'll do it here instead.

One commenter has decided that smoking is filthy and disgusting, end of. He doesn't like it therefore it must be banned absolutely everywhere, whether it can affect him personally or not. Even if that extends to my own home where there is nobody else who can possibly be affected. That's fine with him. Even the ban on empty windswept station platforms is fine because he doesn't want his diesel particulates contaminated with burning leaves. I'll bet he'll be first in line to sign up for a ban on smoky-drinky places. Which is what a home ban would, in effect, be. A ban on a group of adults engaging in a legal activity in private and bothering nobody in the process.

Another states that the ban is good even though he smokes because it helped him cut down. If you want to smoke less, smoke less. If you want to stop, stop. It's not compulsory. You don't need a government to ban everyone else from doing something just because you don't want to do it any more. Just stop.

I don't like driving so I don't do it any more. I still can, I've never had an endorsement or points on my licence, I just don't want to. So should I call for a ban on all drivers because I don't want to do it? Should I trumpet about the contents of exhaust fumes 'for the cheeldren'? Of course not. That would be selfish and spiteful.

The second commenter also states that the ban is complied with by consent. He seems to have forgotten the severity of the fines involved with non-compliance, for both the smoker and the owner of the premises upon which the Leaves of Satan were burned. Consent? Really?

Here's a link from a commenter who claims good news - declining tobacco consumption. What it actually shows in the final column is the percentage consumption of non-UK-duty paid cigarettes (which must, by necessity, be an estimate) every year since 1990. Read 'em and weep, taxman.

The same site also has a similar table for handrolling tobacco. Read that one and scream, taxman.

And yet the tax revenue keeps going up because those who buy at the supermarket are being charged more and more tax. That's right, if you buy the UK product you are paying to be abused, and paying a lot for it too. Madame Whiplash would be cheaper.

The table that matters is of course the one on smoking prevalence. At the bottom of this it states:

"When considering trends in smoking, it is usually assumed that any under-reporting remains constant over time. However, since the prevalence of smoking has fallen, this assumption may not be entirely justified. As smoking has become less acceptable as a social habit, some people may have become less inclined to admit how much they smoke – or, indeed, to admit to smoking at all."

Indeed. If you smoke, you can expect verbal abuse, sanctioned by the same government you pay taxes to. You can expect a lecture from your doctor, who is paid from your taxes. You will find that some job openings exclude smokers and that some landlords won't rent to you. If you try to sell your house or car and admit to being a smoker, you'll be offered less than if you didn't. You are a pariah, an outcast, filth, scum, not worth knowing. Just because you smoke. So are those figures accurate or are they akin to asking, next week, whether someone is a member of Islam4UK?

You don't see smokers in pubs anymore. It's not because the pub owners were scared of being sued about 'passive smoking'. There has never been a proven case of anyone getting anything from passive smoking. It's not because the pub and its customers had a bit of a chinwag and decided they'd go non-smoking. It is not down to consent. It is because a few people decided that all pubs would be non-smoking whether they liked it or not. It is because any pub that allows anyone to smoke indoors will be fined heavily.

There was never any question of allowing smoking and non-smoking pubs. Anti-smokers wanted them all. They could not allow some pubs to remain as smoking pubs because the subsequent collapse of the non-smoking ones could then be compared with the smoking ones and that wouldn't look right. Because we can all predict the result, even the antismokers, which is why they did it. Currently, pubs that allow Electrofag are busier than pubs that don't. Electrofag contains nothing harmful at all. ASH want it banned. Work it out.

That is also why we cannot have a private club, staffed by smokers and open only to smokers. There is no health risk to any non-smoker in such a place because non-smokers would be barred. Don't like that? Why not? Does it make you feel as if you are being unfairly picked on just because you don't smoke? Hold on to that feeling and the anger it causes because that is how we smokers feel every fucking day.

The reason we cannot have such a club is that it would be a success and would show the smoking ban up as an ill-considered nonsensical idea. There can be no other legitimate reason for preventing such a place.

Meanwhile, a commenter here, Aus_Autarch (a non-smoker), points out that in Australia, they already have a ban on smoking in cars if there's anyone under 18 in the car whether they object or not. It's a crime that carries points on the driver's licence. Australia is also way ahead of us on the 'smokers keep going outside to smoke so should have their pay docked' meme. It's been building up here for years. In fact, it's high on the agenda for those thirty-minute breaks in coffee rooms that smokers can't use. Penalise the smokers by forcing them outside, then penalise them for going outside. Good, eh?

Good old ASH, continuing to promote their own existence and continued funding now that they've banished us from any indoor space. They continue to attack us in our own homes and by setting co-workers against us. Don't be under the illusion, non-smokers, that they are doing this for your benefit. They work only to continue their funding from your taxes - and the taxes paid by smokers too. If we all stopped smoking tomorrow, what do you imagine ASH would do?

They'd find something new to ban. Their only interest is in keeping that easy money flowing.

So, how about a ban on consuming alcohol in public places? Oh, but it can't happen here.

If you don't like smoking, don't smoke.

If you don't like me smoking, stay away from me.

If you don't like to be in a house where someone smokes, don't visit my house. You won't be staying after your first fake cough anyway. And you can sleep easy because I won't be visiting you.

Just keep the hell out of my life, okay? It's my choice to smoke, it's not illegal to do so, and I affect nobody at all, anywhere, ever, by doing so. I am barred from the pub, the train, the bus, the aeroplane and all associated buildings and areas whether they are enclosed or not. I cannot affect your antismoking life and don't even want to. I don't even have any employees and if I did, they'd be smokers or I would not employ them. Don't like that? Why not? Is discrimination permitted in one direction only?

If you are so weak as to need to feel superior by sneering at me, be my guest.

Just stop trying to control my life.

Oh, and if you want to hide tobacco under the counter, sell it in plain packs or even ban its sale completely, you just go ahead with that but take a look at this table again first.

Hiding tobacco will push up the percentage. A total ban will simply shift that last figure to 100%.


roy castle said...

There have been cases of people proving they ' got something' from passive smoking.
A quick google showed up quite a few. Like this lady in Australia.

Anonymous said...

I think smoking should be compulsory.

1. Save on all those CFCs from deodorant, cos our nostrils won't work. Damn, be able to enjoy good old fashioned British cruisine too. And come on, if you've sat on a bus full of sweaty African mamas, you're bloody glad if the nostrils don't work!

2. Help catch criminals due to the dropped fag butts.

3. Reduced the Pension Bill and give doctors something to do.

4. Cos it costs me a fortune!

Of course, have an opt-out, run 50miles a day or something. Keep those heart attack guys in a job too.

Frank Davis said...

Another states that the ban is good even though he smokes because it helped him cut down.

I had a friend of mine tell me, prior to the ban, that he welcomed the ban because it would help him stop smoking.

Last time I saw him, he was back smoking again.

Only now, most of my respect for him has gone. Like you say, if you want to give up smoking, give up. Don't ask the government to legislate for you to do it.

In this manner old friendships die. And I bet they're dying all over the country under the impact of this divisive legislation.

13th Spitfire said...

Myself, I prefer cigars and a glass of proper good old British ale. If I ever commit some awful crime in a America where capital punishment is allowed that is what I shall order as my last supper.

Anonymous said...

I note that few of the antis from Subrosa’s have taken you up on your invitation to play. Maybe you’ve simply done too good a job of proving that their charts, statistics, “indisputable facts”, and figures are – well – just wrong, really. How very mean of you!

subrosa said...

Smoking seems to be such an emotive subject, mainly for those who don't smoke.

Like you LI I see the smoking ban as the start of a roller coaster.

John Pickworth said...

roy castle said...

"There have been cases of people proving they 'got something' from passive smoking."

Proving something in a court isn't the same thing as proving it medically. In any event, the case you cite (from your exhaustive Google search) didn't prove anything except that the expert witnesses were tainted by tobacco money (I've actually read the case transcripts see). The plaintiffs lawyer didn't prove a link to passive smoking but did convince a jury that it was at least possible in the absence of credible testimony from the defense... hence the win. But proof? No.

Same thing with Roy Castle, who's name you chose to post under. It is nothing more than an opinion that many hold true simply because the entertainer claimed he used to work in smoke filled clubs. There is NO PROOF either way whether he became ill due to environmental smoke or one of the many other causes of lung cancer.

Yes, smoking certainly is a major factor in many cases of lung cancer. It would also follow there is a theoretical risk for those exposed to so called second-hand smoke, but its likely to be very small and probably less risky than many other causes of the disease... none of which are seriously investigated these days (another unintended consequence of the smoking ban).

The fact is, some 20-30,000 Americans who have NEVER smoked contract lung cancer each year. It kills more of them than AIDS, leukemia or a host of other serious cancers. Why? Are they all victims of passive smoking? Or could there be other causes?

I'm afraid the atmosphere in most people's living rooms is more toxic than the smoke you get from standing next to a smoker. But the Government would never tell you that though. Something for you to think about the next time you get a slight cough!

Leg-iron said...

Anon- they might not have found it yet. Or maybe they won't come here in case of virtual smoke. People really are that scared of us now.

Subrosa - the Tories have just announced plans to speed up that roller-coaster as soon as they take over.

JP - Aberdeen University is setting up a study on air quality in the homes of smokers. they don't want anyone who cooks with gas and they are not investigating the air in non-smoker's homes at all. There is no control group. There is no paired sampling protocol (smoker and non-smoker - rural, in town, beside motorway, with or without gas, with or without coal fire etc).

Only smoke is to be studied. It's an obvious stitch-up and if that's science, so is telling the future in goat entrails.

It'll be held up as 'proof', as always.

Leg-iron said...

Roy castle - JP covered it. The 'proof' you cite is goat entrail reading. Not science.

I could equally argue that since I have spent an entire career working with dangerous bacteria and chemicals, some of it involving radioactive materials, and have smoked all that time and have no cancer, then that's 'proof' that none of those things cause cancer.

It's the same level of argument and it's equally nonsense.

snowbird said...

The controversy of second hand smoke could be ended quickly by a simple act of legislation. Anyone presenting information represented as science or health reliant information, which is later found to be false or misleading, would be rewarded with a mandatory ten year jail sentence.

I can guarantee the bandwagon of smoker hatred would end overnight and the profiteers would be making deals in self preservation convicting each other. Similar to the last time their ilk rose to prominence and Doctors were hanged at Nuremberg. The laws of Autonomy created in the wake, are largely being minimized by the bigots and zealots of Public Healthism, they are laws we found at the expense of millions who died without them. No one has the right to make health choices for others and no one has a right to demand rights to the detriment of others, especially with the convenience of a lie, as we find in the “toxic effect of second hand smoke”.

banned said...

Slightly O/T but I understand that NHS trusts have been given targets to improve their employees health by reducing the incidence of smoking, drinking and obesity. Good thing natch?
Nope, NHS staff turnover is huge and they will automatically achieve those targets simply by not employing smokers, drinkers or fatties in the future.
Other Government Departments, Local Authorities, quangos and fake charities to follow?

Giolla said...

just to continue with the theme you might "like" this comment over at Tom Harris's place. All of your non-smoker righteous views in a single comment:

John Pickworth said...

Wow Giolla!

I wondered if you'd missed the point for a moment. While I wouldn't support his drugs=good, booze=bad tirade I can see where he is coming from, almost.

Until I read this...

"and as for suggesting people could smoke in a pub, which i assume you are...

... i have to walk down high streets now with my 2 children and we have to endure the crowds of selfish smoking individuals who have now decided to stand outside these pubs and blow there smoke all over us as we walk past."

Selfish? Huh!

Giolla said...


it does start out reasonably doesn't it. And yeah little bit selfish and missing the obvious point that if people could actually smoke _in_ the pub they'd not be on the pavement and everyone would be happy.

WV: cookede - well it is a friday

Mr A said...

I've seen the "selfish smokers deciding to stand outside" argument before. It's mind boggling isn't it, how self-absorbed, blinkered and crushingly stupid some people are.

It should also be enough for any reasonable person (regardless of the lack of evidence for passive smoking, regardless of the massive pub closures, regardless of the divisiveness it's stirred up) to say, "These are the sort of people who are for the smoking ban? Right, that's all I need to know.... repeal it now!"

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