Sunday, 27 June 2010

Ban me!

Smokers, apparently, love the smoking ban and want it extended right to the backs of their throats. We adore the fresh feeling of sub-zero gales in which the only way to light a cigarette is with a welding torch. We really don't feel we've been banned hard enough yet and we want to be beaten more.

That's what the Guardian says. We really are turkeys voting for Christmas.

I know a good few smokers who have just accepted that smoking is banned and honestly seem to have blotted out their memory of the past. They don't recall that we were thrown off buses and trains long before the ban anyway and have just accepted that we are now thrown off the platforms and bus stops too. That does not mean they like it and it does not mean they want it to be made harsher. Those comments below the article along the lines of 'I'm a smoker and I love the smoking ban' are not written by smokers at all.

Would you believe a comment saying 'I'm an animal rights activist and I think foxhunting is good?' Would you nod in sage agreement at a comment that says 'I'm an illegal immigrant and I think I should be sent back?' Or would you be thinking 'Shill'?

A long time ago, I have a fuzzy recall of a report from Apartheid-era South Africa in which the white ruling classes insisted that the black people supported apartheid and wanted it that way. I remember thinking: 'A whole swathe of their society actually wants to be oppressed? Doesn't sound likely to me'. Yet this was reported without a hint of disbelief, even though it was patently nonsense.

This is the same. Some smokers might have accepted that we are to be shunned and despised by people who have never met us and never will, but most have not and never will. The Dreadful Arnott can claim that we really like being beaten up and spat on but it's not true, never was and never will be.

Three years after the smoking ban controversially came into force in England, a substantial proportion of smokers want to see restrictions extended to children's play areas and smoking in cars. Just under half of smokers support a ban in play areas, while 61% support a ban in cars with children.

I wasn't asked. A few smokers read this blog. Were any of you asked? How about nonsmokers or even antismokers? Anyone out there who was asked, or who knows anyone who was asked?

I've never been to South Africa and I'm not black so you could argue that the lies about apartheid didn't affect me and I should shut up and leave it alone. Likewise, with no car and no kids, you could argue that a ban in cars and play areas won't affect me - and it won't - so why am I bothered?

Two reasons. First, this ban is now at my own front door and any advance it makes means that I will soon have to go outside my own house to smoke. Then they could designate every garden as a 'potential play area' and I won't even be allowed in my garden.

Second, this is based entirely on absolute lies. When I was a child, my father smoked in the car. When I grew up, I spent a lot of time and money in smoky pubs. There is no comparison. You could see the smoke in some pubs as soon as you walked through the door. There was never a smoke haze in the car. With a window open you couldn't even smell smoke.

Dame Helena Shovelton, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said the findings showed the government had to act.

Why do we have a British Lung Foundation? My internal organs are not autonomous beings. There is no discussion between brain and stomach over what to have for lunch, nor is there a meeting between brain and liver to set the drinking agenda for the evening. My lungs are my lungs. They will inhale what they are damn well told to inhale and they will not be writing letters to Shovelface to complain.

"Smoking just one cigarette, even with the car window open, creates a greater concentration of secondhand smoke than a whole evening's smoking in a pub or a bar," Shovelton said. "A ban on smoking in the car with children would prevent some of the 22,000 new cases each year of asthma, caused as a direct result of passive smoking.

Absolute lies. Total and absolute made-up nonsense. There is absolutely nothing to suggest a link between passive smoking and asthma. Nor is there any evidence to suggest a link between passive smoking and anything else. It is all made up. Here is how it is done.

This overwhelming evidence of public support can no longer be ignored, and as the only UK charity supporting everyone affected by lung disease we are calling for this legislation."

You are calling for legislation, Shovelface? Who voted you into government? Who elected you into a position to write the law? The ones we did vote for were not granted the right to order us around, so what makes you think you have the right to decide what the law should be?

An early day motion in parliament demanding a ban on smoking in cars where children are present has been signed by 40 MPs.

Name them. Then sack them. They are not there to play God with their constituents' lives. They are public servants. If they are playing around with this nonsense they are not doing their jobs and if they believe this rubbish then they are too stupid even for public office. Their IQs are evidently well below the level required for effective shoelace-tying and they should be dismissed at once. And preferably locked away for their own safety because they cannot be trusted to cross the street on their own.

Ash said that despite the legislation one non-smoker in eight continues to be exposed to tobacco smoke during their work, often at the entrances.

And why would that be? When there was a designated smoking room indoors, nobody walked past a smoker unless they wanted to. Now that smokers are forced to go outside, ASH complain that we are outside. You want a reasonable attitude and fair play and consideration from smokers? Look at what we get from you and expect exactly the same level of fair play in response.

The group also claimed there was no objective evidence the hospitality industry overall had suffered as a result of smoke-free regulations.

Well, there's this for a start.

Then they repeat the 'reduction in heart attacks' lie and list some 'facts' they have dredged up.

2m children live in households where they are exposed to cigarette smoke.

Really? Smokers must be extraordinarily virile, mustn't we? Proof positive that smoking increases fertility, wouldn't you say?

One smoker emits five times more fine particles into a car than are emitted per mile by the car's exhaust pipe.

A nonsense comparison unless you have a car where the exhaust pipe vents into the cabin. In any car that can pass an MOT, there should be no exhaust gas at all entering the cabin. Do any of you antismokers really believe that running a car for a mile produces less smoke than half a gram of leaves wrapped in paper? Even if it was a Prius? Some of you actually do, don't you?

It is estimated that every year passive smoking causes 25,500 new cases of respiratory tract infection in children under three, as well as 121,400 new cases of middle-ear infection and 22,600 cases of wheezing and asthma.

Estimated = we made it up. There is no scientific evidence for any of this. Infections are caused by bacteria and viruses, and smoke is burned and therefore sterile. You cannot catch any form of infection from any kind of smoke. It is simply not possible. As for middle ear infection - what? How the hell does smoking get blamed for bacterial infections of body parts that smoke can't even reach?

About 1 in 8 boys and 1 in 10 girls have a long-term respiratory disease.

They have classed a cold as a long-term respiratory disease. They offer no link at all to smoking, neither active nor passive. The link is to be made in your own mind, which means they can say 'We didn't claim that' when they are proved to be lying.

And which impartial scientific organisation produced these 'facts'?

Source: British Lung Foundation

Good God, how bloody stupid are you people? How the hell did they get 40 MPs to fall for this, along with a huge swathe of wannabe gas-chamber operators and potential camp guards?

Oh, go ahead. Cry 'Nicotine Fiend' and bleat about the smell and believe that they are not going to go any further and are not coming for you too.

These Righteous have the country well under the heel now. So go on, antismokers, give that jackboot one more lick before it aims for your own preferred form of relaxation.

When it does, don't ask the smokers for help.


TTC said...

Awesome post. I couldn't read it without leaving a satisfactory exclamation of 'hurrah' in response. Good piece of writing. Well done.

Conan the Librarian™ said...

I enjoy your rants LI.

But tell me this; would you smoke
in the presence of a new born baby?

Leg-iron said...

Conan - I have always avoided smoking around young children and close to people who don't like it. I have always tried to be reasonable with those who don't like smoke.

Much good it's done me, eh?

The way ASH and this new Shovelface woman are going, I'll be blowing smoke into prams soon.

Well, I'm treated as if I do that anyway so why bother being reasonable any more? I get nothing at all in return, just more abuse.

I'm already getting the punishment. Might as well do the crime I'm being punished for.

Mrs Rigby said...

How can they explain the increase in the number of people with asthma when fewer people smoke, and cinemas, buses etc have been smoke free for years?

Surely 'we' should all be healthier by now.

Oh, and nobody's ever asked me for my opinion either.

Anonymous said...

would you smoke
in the presence of a new born baby?

Any woman that had babies in the 50's and 60's will remember that next to every bed in the maternity ward was an ashtray !! Most women smoked during pregnancy and while their children were growing up.
These were the healthy children that did not have all these diseases that seem to affect most of the children
born to non smoking Mothers.
Childhood diseases like asthma and ear disease were virtually unheard of as their Mothers cigarette smoke introduced babies lungs to a harmless irritant that paved the way for immunity from serious pollutants. Now the blue pump is a fashion accessory in schools carried by the feeble sterile smokefree children.
My Mother born 1921 is a smoker and her 8 children that were born between 1941 and 1955 are all now in their 50's and 60's. Not one case of asthma or lung disease between us.
Myself and six siblings are smokers and our Mother still is a smoker.

naturalnoble said...

I have met smokers who seem to agree that the smoking ban is a good thing.

It's not a turkeys voting for Christmas deal, but more of a complete misunderstanding the role of the state. Lots of people really think that a government intervention that means lots of people have to wash their clothes less is a good thing. This can't be surprising even if it is depressing. If lots of people were libertarians then the big three wouldn't have maintained their stranglehold this year in spite of blogs and message boards. And if it's not too self-regarding to say so, "libertarian" and "capable of rational thought" are pretty much interchangable in that sentence.

Anonymous said...

Irritating though it is, I really believe that this story is no different from any of the other stories and scares which have been shoehorned into sympathetically-minded newspapers since the ban came in, i.e. a desperate attempt by the whole anti-smoking movement to keep it in the forefront of people’s minds, and thus keep the whole issue alive and contentious.

With this new Government clearly nailing its colours to the mast in terms of their chosen bogeyman (i.e. booze), anti-smoking campaigners know full well that this could be the end of the gravy train for them and are frantically trying to whip people back into the anti-smoking frenzy of yesteryear. In fact, the vast majority of people who dislike smoking are happy with things as they are; the vast majority of smokers (and many hitherto-supportive-of-the-ban non-smokers, in my experience) don’t like the ban now that it’s here, even if they accept it; and the vast majority of the rest simply don’t give it much thought. In short, then, the public enthusiasm for all things anti-smoking simply isn’t there any more.

If the anti-smoking movement weren’t so darned addicted to the money they’ve been getting for all these years they’d be hanging up their hats, patting themselves on the back for “a job well done” in getting the ban into law, and nipping off to their newly smoke-free pubs for a celebratory drink. But that’s the trouble with addiction, isn’t it? You just can’t stop, even when you know you should ……….

JuliaM said...

"I wasn't asked. A few smokers read this blog. Were any of you asked? How about nonsmokers or even antismokers? Anyone out there who was asked, or who knows anyone who was asked?"

I've never been surveyed for anything. And I don't know anyone who has, either.

Snakey said...

I've never been asked for my opinion about anything by any politician, or lobbying organisation, EVER, and I'm now in my mid-forties. Neither has anyone I know ever been asked for their opinion about anything. During the recent election not ONE politician knocked on our door. They merely shoved propagandist leaflets through our letterbox, which were promptly disposed of for fear of 'infection'.

When Shovelface states "the government has to act" what she really means is the government has to threaten us. It's time ASH/BLF and their ilk stopped dressing up their bullying and nastiness as well-meaning when in actuality it is lie upon lie upon lie spewed out in order to obtain funding.

No doubt Shovelface and Arnott would be happy if the called-for legislation threatened the removal of children from parents who smoke, shoveling them into the already f*cked up care system. But, of course, they are only thinking about the chiildren.

I'd like to drop these bitches into the middle of Pakistan and have them shovel up the bits of disassembled children after the Predator drone has visited. Then they can tell me how much they really care about children. When they take on that particular nastiness I might have a smidgeon of respect for them (but oh, that's right they don't want to fight the statist military death machine because there's no funding for that, so they'll pick on an easy target - us smokers).

I don't see Shovelton doing any anti-war work in her bio.

"Dame Helena Shovelton lists her hobbies in Who's Who as "looking at the garden" and "golf"."

The real damage being done to children in this world isn't via a cigarette. The hypocrisy and complete moral bankruptcy of these people is breathtaking.

/rant over

Simon said...

Hey Leg, sounds like the YouGov survey I did in March!

I liked the attitude of a granmother last year when I realised my cigarette was right at her grandchild's face in the pushchair.

After I apologised she said:"Oh don't worry dear, the pollution he's getting from the diesel fumes is far worse than a single fag."

It is the big question though - why are cancers and breathing diseases increasing when surely the UK should be getting healthier?

AJ said...

There is this EDM started by Bob Russell " Deaths From Smoking"

That this House expresses concern that 100,000 people across the UK die each year as a result of smoking; further expresses concern that smoking kills half of its long-term users, causes half the difference in life expectancy between the richest and poorest in society and that over 80 per cent. of smokers start before the age of 19; notes that it takes on average three to eight attempts to stop smoking; and urges the Government to be unrelenting in its efforts to protect children and tackle inequalities through effective tobacco control.

Signed by ]
Russell, Bob
George, Andrew
Simpson, David
Hancock, Mike
Williams, Stephen
Vaz, Keith
Hermon, Lady
Mearns, Ian
Heyes, David
Brooke, Annette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Burt, Lorely
Leech, John
Sharma, Virendra
Birtwistle, Gordon
Hodgson, Sharon
Lazarowicz, Mark
Flynn, Paul
McCrea, Dr William
Francis, Hywel
Barron, Kevin
Alexander, Heidi
Caton, Martin
Ward, David
Blenkinsop, Tom
Reeves, Rachel
Cunningham, Alex
Gapes, Mike
Hemming, John
Bruce, Fiona
Skinner, Dennis
Miller, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Blears, Hazel
Williams, Roger
Lloyd, Tony
Coaker, Vernon
Laws, David
Donaldson, Jeffrey
Gilmore, Sheila
Berger, Luciana
Dobson, Frank
Doran, Frank
Howarth, George
Crausby, David
Eagle, Maria
Owen, Albert
Clark, Katy
Smith, Nick
Reevell, Simon
Thornberry, Emily

Authotarian Bastards the lot of them

AJ said...

Or there is this one

Breathe Easy Week 2010

Mearns, Ian

That this House congratulates the British Lung Foundation (BLF) on the launch of their Children's Charter during Breathe Easy Week 2010; praises the Charter for outlining what is required to make a substantial difference to the lung health of children in the UK; notes that the most commonly reported long-term illnesses in children and babies are conditions of the respiratory system; further notes that children with any respiratory problems have the right to have access to a professional who is suitably qualified and that all children and their parents and carers should be given the opportunity to learn how to keep young lungs healthy; further notes that the BLF's survey of users found that 86 per cent. of respondents support a ban on smoking in cars, where minors are present, to protect the health of children; and urges an increase in awareness of the dangers of passive smoking to children's health.

Signed by

Mearns, Ian *
Glass, Pat
Glindon, Mary
Bottomley, Peter
Russell, Bob *
Durkan, Mark
Corbyn, Jeremy *
Dobbin, Jim *
George, Andrew *
Blenkinsop, Tom *
Lavery, Ian
McKinnell, Catherine
Elliott, Julie
Simpson, David *
Jackson, Glenda
Brooke, Annette *
Campbell, Gregory
Campbell, Ronnie
Caton, Martin *
Barron, Kevin *
Anderson, David
Gwynne, Andrew
Illsley, Eric
Lazarowicz, Mark *
Hancock, Mike *
Flynn, Paul *
Gapes, Mike *
Williams, Stephen *
Owen, Albert *
Paisley, Ian Jnr
Dodds, Nigel
Hopkins, Kelvin
McCrea, Dr William *
Hamilton, David
Greenwood, Lilian
Hugh, John
Hughes, Simon
Baldry, Tony

The asterixed ones are on both EDM's.

Again Bastards the lot of them

Anonymous said...

Simpson, David *
Jackson, Glenda
Brooke, Annette

Isn't she the one who smokes in her HoC office? Allegedly

Dick Puddlecote said...

Quality fisk, LI. Your suggestion deserved action.

Paul said...

Mostly Labour and Lib Dem MPs. Oh, and Northern Irish fundamentalist lunatics who still think it's 1690.

banned said...

These pollsters clearly do not speak to the same people as I do, I've never met a smoker who supports the ban and many, if not most, non-smokers seem to agree that the ban goes too far, especially as it relates to pubs.

I accepted the ban on public transport (even if I didn't accept the blame for the Kings Cross fire which started it); it had already become socially unacceptable to smoke in shops and many restaurants (those that permitted it generally having designated zones) and nobody ever did smoke in Church yet they are still required to have those silly misworded "in these premises" signs.

As the list of the Righteous' targets increases (ta for the link L-I) will we band together or sit smugly on the sidelines poking fun at each other?

NB Subrosa has a piece on Scottish hospitals banning suger.

Leg-iron said...

Might have known the desperately moronic Paul Flynn would be in there. He who wants all drugs legalised but tobacco banned.

He knows those drugs will never be legalised. It's his sop to doped-up Newport voters.

He just wants to extend the ban to tobacco. If you're in Newport West and voted Labour, mate, you've been had. Again.

Leg-iron said...

Banned - considering what's happened since, it's hard not to wonder if that Kings Cross fire might have been set up.

Would they? I'm beginning to think they would.

DaveA said...

It has never been proven that a cigarette was the cause of the Kings Cross fire. Even then in the ticket hall, the seat of the fire, smoking was banned. One theory which I saw on a documentary was on the escalators, the grease on the wooden rollers as they were moving in opposite directions caused the fatal spark and ignition.

Anonymous said...

I HAVE been surveyed by these people. The questions that they asked me were loaded beyond belief ("How aware are you that second-hand smoke causes the following diseases?" - with no option of saying "I am fully aware that second hand smoke causes NONE of them") and I wasn't given the option of writing in a comments box at the end of the interrogation, sorry, "interview", where I could have written "This entire questionnaire is bollocks."

Junican said...

I need to break this post into two parts Here is part 1.

As Anon 22.01 says, these surveys can be so loaded – but not only by random street surveys, but also by ‘official’ surveys. I remember a survey by Liverpool council regarding its intention to ban under 18s from seeing films with smoking in them. One of the questions in the survey was (words to the effect): “If you disagree with the council’s intention, please state the reasons that you believe that it is a good think for youngsters to see films with smoking in them”.

I was interested to read Simon’s post (12.01). I have been searching YouGov’s archives for the details and results of the survey mentioned by the Guardian and can find nothing. Simon’s post suggests that there WAS a random survey in March. I D0 believe that the survey would have been random because I have just recently signed up to be a panellist on YouGov and I note that there are no questions asking about me. The only things required were my email address and a password, although, having registered as a panellist, I could have added my name and address. However, there is random and RANDOM, is there not? In the sense that some people are more equal than others (to quote Animal Farm). It is certainly possible that there were people who knew that this question was ‘coming up’. After all, ASH commissioned the survey, and therefore it is reasonable to assume that members of ASH were aware of it.

During my search of YouGov, I noticed certain interesting facts:

1. Searching for this particular survey, I looked at quite a lot of YouGov surveys (on the off chance that a survey on, say, ‘drinking habits’ might also have included something about smoking). I noted that most surveys involved about 2000 people. A few were about 1000 and one was 4000ish. But YouGov claims to have about 280,000 participants! One can see that around 2000 is around 10% of the panellists. But, the ‘around 2000’ is the number of people whose opinions were actually taken into account. That is, one supposes, the number of people who replied. The surveys do not say how many people were polled. It is therefore possible that a large number of people were surveyed and that many of them knew in advance that this survey was ‘coming up’, for example, members and friends of ASH. I am not saying that YouGov was guilty of any malfeasance, but, since ASH commissioned the survey, it is reasonable to assume that members of ASH knew that it was coming up. Coupled with question distortions (as Simon indicates), it is very easy to see how the poll results could be distorted (especially if some people claim to be smokers when they are not).

Junican said...

Here is part 2

2. Again, connected to Simon’s comment, I noticed one survey in particular (taken Nov 2009). The question was: “Which, if any, of the following do you think increases your risk of getting cancer? (Please tick all that apply)” We should note the use of the word ‘getting’ – very odd in a serious survey on account of the word’s lack of precision. The first item on the list was SMOKING. Note that when I say that, I mean it. Putative ‘increase risk factors’ were listed and the first was SMOKING. Others were ‘stress’ and ‘bad diet’ and, lastly, ‘none of these’. I find it incredible to believe that 90% of respondents listed SMOKING as a factor. But wait – nowhere on the list was the word ‘genetic’. Nowhere were the words ‘old age’. ‘Not being physically active’ was on the list and gained 47%, would you believe. Also, there was a factor ‘alcohol’ which gained 51%! So, 51% of respondents thought that you can ‘get’ cancer by drinking alcohol! Weird or what?

There is more that one could say, but I think that this post is already long enough. I think that there is a panic in the ranks of ASH and co. (fear of losing their funding) and I think that the have gone too far on this occasion. I think that that there is a ‘Climategate’ here, if only if only enough people (and, preferably, some enquiries by seriously big names in politics and science) WOULD MAKE AN EFFORT TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THESE STATISTICS!

I have emailed YouGov to ask for the details of the ASH survey (people who want the ban extended). I have emailed The Office of National Statistics to get details of the survey which shows a NET increase of 3% in pub goers. I will probably be fobbed off, but I will continue to press it. I wish that others on these sites would do likewise.

Junican said...

Oopst! 2000 is not 10%ish of 280,000 - it is very approximately 1%ish! Actually, that makes my arguement even better. The greater the number of 'questionaires' sent out, the greater the potential for ASH to ensure that their members are the ones who reply!

Simon said...

Hey Junican

don't know if this will help but I am on the YouGuv Oracle surveys as well as its polling points surveys - unfortunately I cannot remember now which one of these was the smoking one but I suspect it was the polling points one.


Junican said...

Thanks, Simon. I will try to find it.

Anonymous said...

ASH say the survey details have not been published.

"We have currently no plans of publishing this information for practical reasons - mostly the shear amount of data. This also not common practice. "!/posted.php?id=36849242420&share_id=126195140755667&comments=1#s126195140755667

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