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June 29, 2008

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andy

http://allencarr.com/central/article/136/allen-carr-organisation-launches-blistering-attack-on-nice-ash

This provides a prime example of the real agenda behind smoking bans and other prohibitive measures against tobacco smoking.
Allen Carr's method has been criticised by groups who(like ASH and NICE) who prefer to recommend drugs and other forms of Nicotine delivery -the products of Big Pharma.

Why would these organisations support NRT (96% failure rate) and drugs with a proven track record of harm, over a more successful and clean alternative?

andy

Double the investment?
Sounds good until tou break down where the investment has gone.
Bureaucracy(managers and quangos) and paying back the debts from PFI agreements.
As usual actual health care is bottom of the health policy priority list.
The same goes for tobacco control. Its all very well saying you want to reduce tobacco use. The means you use is counter-productive as they all point to replacing smoking with pharmaceutical alternatives that do more damage and are more costly.

I note your latest blog criticising Big Pharma, yet you fail to see that they sponsor all the anti-tobacco propaganda that you choose to believe simply because you dislike smoking.

paulflynn

In 1993 I made a speech in Parliament about the spread of MRSA - mainly caused by the Tory insistence on contracting hospital cleaning to the cheapest tender.

labour has doubled the investment in the NHS and the nation's health has improved. Having founded the NHS against Tory opposition, Labour is the only party that will keep it in good shape. I use it and am grateful for the world class services that are available to all on the basis of need not ability to pay.

Part of the health agenda is to reduce the use of the addictive killer drug tobacco. That is the view of all serious political parties.

Johnny Boy

Paul Flynn,

An NHS hospital has a 1 in 300 risk of damaging your health. Smoking for decades has a 1% lifetime risk.

You want to address problems in some kind of priority? How about sorting out your filthy hospitals that are a REAL ddanger to public health.

Why don't you shout from the roof tops your governments incompetance, despite throwing £££billions at the NHS, to deal with real public health issues?

Alan Thrower

"It can only become a political issue if a major party proposes revoking the ban. Who will do that?"

Paul Flynn being extremely naive! The Smoking Ban IS a political issue for the party that brought it in. Labour will die as a party as a result ... and very much good riddance! :-)

Paul Flynn

Okay. Okay. if it's thought that Huw and I have lost the debate, I will blog again later today. That is not how I see it.

It will be on 'Anatomy of a fable' or the myth about passive smoking and the WHO.

J Stewart

Paul,

Thank you for taking the trouble to read the comments.

In the past, were legislation scheduled for review, I would have trusted politicians to consider all angles of the issue, both sides, and to evaluate the evidence presented. With regard to this issue, I believe that the review will amount to no more than the tobacco control lobby presenting highly suspect figures (such as the 235,000 quitters) which will be accepted at face value while the case of its critics will be have been dismissed before it is even presented. There is not one MP who voted for this ban who can present a compelling case for it and there is no reason to suppose that the review will not be approached in the same spirit of cynicism and prejudice.

Steffi

It would be a good idea to remember that the UK is still a democracy and as such, smokers have a vote too. It may well be that in the next general election, a lot of those smokers will choose to exercise that privelige and vote against health nazi dictatorship.

Health might be an important issue, but freedom to choose how to live one's life is also important and for a lot of people, maybe even more important.

With regard to the 235,000 people who 'quit' smoking. Has there been any follow up to this research to check how many of these 235,000 are still not smoking? If my personal experience is any guide, there would have been an enquiry after a few months to see if the 'quitter' was still stopped, but nothing further. People can, and do, start smoking again even after 'successfully' completing a smoking cessation course. It's alltogether possible that the 'success' of the smoking ban may not be quite as resounding as the anti-smoking lobby would have us believe.

andy

Paul

Perhaps the debate wouldn't be circular if you actually took time to look at the evidence presented, and god forbid, even provide some semblance of critical analysis.
Its far more productive than vacuous dismissive comments, and adds far more to a reasoned debate.
However, thanks for your participation, and I hope your mind is sufficiently open to give this more objective thought come 2010.

andy

Huw

I see you ignore all the valid arguments posted her and once a there is a chance to discredit, you pounce.
What Carlo was referring to was the 2nd largest study ever conducted. This was commissioned by the World Health Organisation. Its aim was to present compelling evidence of the dangers of SHS.Instead it produced, quite the opposite, and as a result they tried to bury the study.http://www.data-yard.net/2/12/1440.pdf
One of the findings was that SHS has a protective effect on children(negative relative risk).

You see Huw, if you understand anything about epidemiology, you will realise how it lacks enough substance to provide sufficient evidence to warrant legislation based on its findings.
Now i am sure you wouldnt want to legislate based on this supposed protective effect.
So why legislate of equally flawed findings?

Smoking bans are based purely on extrapolations of Epidemiological studies.In other words the evidence is so weak,it should be ignored, as it would be in all other scientific fields.
Look at the relative risks attributed to SHS. Anything below 2.0 is statistically insignificant. Anything below 3.0 cannot indicate causation.
In any respectable field of science, the figures for SHS wouldnt require any any health warnings let alone bans, and demonisation of smokers.
The fact that this has happened is a result of nothing short of epidemiological fraud.
One thing the pro-choice lobby cant be accused of.

paulflynn

THAT IS ENOUGH - FROM ME AT LEAST.

There have been 117 comments and replies. To do them justice, I have looked up about 50 references. The offensive comments has been deleted. As far as reasonable the others have had replies. The argument is now know going round in circles.

Thanks to you all for dropping into the site. Call again - but on another subject.

Let's see what happens in 2010

Basil Brown

Huw and Paul F, check out the following link to an IARC study on ETS, produced for the WHO. An extract:

"ETS exposure during childhood
was not associated with an increased risk of lung cancer (odds ratio [OR] for ever exposure = 0.78; 95% confidence
interval [CI] = 0.64–0.96)."

This is a statistically-significant result indicating a protective-effect to children from ETS.

http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/jnci%3b90/19/1440.pdf

Helen

HUW
I do believe that it was the World Health Organisation that confirmed that 'second hand smoke has been proven to be beneficial to the immune system of children'.

They also stated in 1975, that to reduce smoking – quote:
“It would be essential to foster an atmosphere where it was perceived that active smokers could injure those around them.”

Helen

Carlos, a recent EU Green Paper (March 2008) also confirmed that passive smoking was harmless, so why do we have a smoking ban based on grounds to protect people from the 'harmful effects' of second-hand-smoke?

I can understand that some people do not like the smell of smoke, just like everyone has likes and dislikes as we are all individual. However, this is not a reason to impose a blanket-ban.

Choice should have been given to accommodate all individuals. There is no arguement here. Non-smokers could then have their smoke-free environments and smokers could continue to socialise in comfort.

Huw O'Sullivan

Well congratulations Carlos,
you have truly ended all debate.

The ban on smoking in public places must go, as second hand smoke has been proven to beneficial to the immune system of children.

It's a bit radical but I look forward to seeing your nationwide campaign with the endorsement of medical professionals and parents.

Carlos

PaulFlynn, OK in a post I must have missed about your family members dying of lung cancer Im really sorry for your losses but that doesnt mean they were caused directly by smoking- you state 3 of them now could that be genetics?? Plus what sort of lifestyles did they live apart from their heavy smkoking?? I agree smoking isnt exactly the healthiest thing on Earth but neither are alcohol and the drugs you want to legalize. Neither are fatty foods or even salt!!

Carlos

PaulFlynn I think J. Stewart has pretty much gone through what yousaid about the smoking ban "saving lives". Do not harm others?? Passive smoking has been proven by many studues to be nothing more than an irritant- especially the largest- Enstrom and Kabat. Also the 1998 IARC study showed children exposed to SHS to have developed better immune systems.

Basil Brown

You puritan-authoritarians have such a lovely way of debate:

1/ I'm right, you're wrong and because you're wrong you're either a hopeless addict or in the pay of Big Tobacco*. And you smell, so ner.

2/ Any dissent from correct-opinion will be referred to as "whingeing and whining".

3/ I will not address any of the substantive points raised, but just restate what Sir Liam said in that DoH pamphlet and remind you of my own prejudice. It's all for your own good, peasants! Are your smoke-addled minds incapable of seeing that?

* Oh dear, Paul. So you did a bit of digging about F2C and found that the group was started by publicans and is a membership-organisation funded by it's members. Not quite the result you were hoping for, was it? Backfired somewhat. Your lack of any contrition over your unresearched slur has been noted.

Stewart Cowan

"Freedom to poison"

Has anyone mentioned the proposed poisoning of Southampton's water supply with fluoride?

Despite two-thirds of people against the proposal - http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/fluoride/display.var.2330351.0.over_25_000_votes_cast_in_fluoride_debate.php -

"FLUORIDE could be added to Southampton's tap water even if a majority of residents say they do not want it.

Under the rules of the three-month consultation due to launch in August, health chiefs will not just look at how many people say yes or no to the controversial plans.

Instead they will also examine who has said what, and how they have arrived at their opinion." - http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/fluoride/display.var.2334604.0.fluoride_could_be_added_to_water_regardless_of.php

What about the increasing evidence that fluoride damages teeth and bones and internal organs and can reduce the IQ by as much as 20 points?

Rick

Personally I find it slightly disturbing when language starts to be used in new ways by governments. In all the time I've been around, saving someone's life has meant rescuing somebody from imminent death - for example, hauling somebody from a burning building or fast moving river, giving someone medication without which they'd die, disabling someone who was about to shoot them, or carrying out an emergency surgical procedure.

It has never, to my mind, meant "preventing someone from doing something because there's a possibility (although it's by no means a certainty) that, if they carry on as they are, they may die a few years earlier than they otherwise might have done assuming nothing else happened to them in the meantime".

Belinda

Huw: Lost for words here:

"The smoking ban perhaps is forcing people to confront the actuality of the addiction and it is not pleasant. To leave comfort and company [read 'safety'] to stand in the rain because you are driven to smoke does seem so much sadder than simply lighting up and having the gang all laugh with your next bon mot."

Truly a nice way to describe the denormalisation of the smoker. You are clearly thinking about the young here and not considering the ramifications for older smokers, and elderly, smokers who are not part of a 'gang'.

"To break off from a romantic encounter because you simply must burn 26 pence worth of tobacco and inhale the smoke into your lungs, rather puts in perspective exactly who or what is in charge and that your element of choice is a great deal limited."

That must have been very sad for you, Huw. What is in charge here is the authority. Not the smoking. Speaking of the ban as some impersonal agency is disingenuous. You are a non-smoker applauding a policy that is designed to interrupt the conversations and social intercourse of smokers who are perverse enough to wish to smoke in spite of your agenda.

"The anger seems misplaced, even displaced, from the addiction that exercises its veto on the free choice of the smoker and onto the government and health agencies as if they are the ones who somehow cause the cravings."

What if someone decreed that anyone reading the Guardian was to be subject to some kind of ritual humiliation, and they still chose to do it in spite of the threats? Would that be proof of addiction to reading the Guardian, or just determination not to be intimidated?

George

Paul

"This is not sensible. Bad people do bad things. Those who committed these crimes would probalby done something similar in other circumstances."

I am sure this rationale will offer absolutely no solace to victims or their families. Unintended consequences are still consequences and still directly attributable to the route cause.

"Are you suggesting that smoking should be allowed in hospitals to stop nurses being attacked."

This is a disingenuous response, there are many compromise solutions that were possible to strike a reasonable balance between segregating non-smokers from smoke and ensuring the safety of staff. Anyway a separate well ventilated staff smoking room within the hospital would have zero affect on patients or staff not even the offending sight of someone smoking, whist offering warmth, comfort, shelter and safety. Is the reduction of attacks on NHS workers not one of the governments goals? Yet you cast out an emotion laden comment, conjuring mental images of nurses caring for patients and smoking at the same time to justify exposing young women to greatly increased risk.

"These are desperate excuses and expose the poverty of the arguments."

Perhaps you would be less dismissive and more substantive if it was your wife or daughter not only exposed to unnecessary risk but also the innocent victim thereof.

Are you aware that instances of drink spiking is up well over 100% since the ban? Maybe you would like to visit these rape victims and tell them to get over it as it was going to happen anyway.

Your compassion is an inspiration.

Frank Davis

I confess that I'm also puzzled that Paul Flynn wants drug legalisation at the same time as he hails the smoking ban as a "wonderful success".

I too have been modestly active in seeking drug legalisation. That of cannabis in particular. Among other things, I wrote to Flynn's compatriot Howard Marks while he was languishing in Terre Haute a decade and more ago. When I met him at the Polish Club in London after his release, he was smoking cigarettes. And I read in a newspaper report last July or August that the smoking ban was his current "bugbear". So my best understanding is that Mr Nice doesn't like the smoking ban any more than I do.

Flynn says that smoking bans save lives. Does he mean that the lives of some non-smokers who had until now been inhaling environmental tobacco smoke have been saved? Or does he mean that the lives of smokers who have been obliged to give up smoking have been saved? If the former, I am sure he must be aware that the epidemiological evidence is, to say the least, rather scant, given that most studies show little or no risk among passive smokers. Even one of the government's own health advisors, Julian Le Grand, said as much on Radio 5 earlier this year. When Sir Richard Peto (who, oddly enough, also knows Howard Marks) said last year that the ban would save 500,000 lives, I'm sure he did not mean among passive smokers. What he meant was that the ban would force - sorry, encourage - smokers to give up smoking, and this would save lives. There's certainly a much stronger case to be made for this than with passive smokers (although even this is surprisingly contentious). But wouldn't it save even more lives if tobacco was made entirely illegal, just like cannabis and opium?

For there can be no doubt that, regardless of the protestations otherwise of antismoking zealots, this is where we are going: tobacco will join cannabis as an illegal drug in the next 20 or 30 years, maybe less. What better prelude is there than to first outlaw smoking in public, and 'denormalise' smokers? And at that point, it will probably become illegal to buy tobacco-related 'impedimenta' - papers, lighters, and so forth. There will, after all, no longer be anything that anyone will be able to smoke legally.

It seems to me, as a one-time cannabis campaigner (I now devote my attention to tobacco), that the cause of cannabis is not helped by suppressing tobacco. Denormalising smoking tobacco ultimately also means denormalising smoking cannabis. I'm sure that Flynn is perfectly well aware that most cannabis is smoked rather than eaten.

I grew up, like Flynn, in the Sixties. It was at that time common for cannabis smokers to complain bitterly that tobacco was addictive, dangerous, and yet legal, and cannabis was non-addictive, harmless, and yet illegal. I wonder if he has carried through these youthful dogmas into later life. For myself, I no longer believe a word of it. If cigarette smoke kills people, then so does the smoke of cannabis joints. And if tobacco is addictive, then so is cannabis. The differences are so slight that one cannot hold a cigarette paper between them.

In my view, the present onslaught against tobacco is simply part and parcel of a long war that is being waged against all drugs. They are being picked off one by one. It is hardly likely that, when tobacco is made illegal (or more illegal than it already is) that cannabis or any other drug will then be legalised. No. They will become even more illegal and unobtainable than they are now. The long term goal of the drug warriors is not only to make drugs like cannabis and opium illegal, and to keep them illegal, but to also in the long term to make tobacco, and finally alcohol, entirely illegal as well. And to the extent that Paul Flynn campaigns against tobacco, to that extent he campaigns against all drugs, and is himself a dupe of the drug warriors.

west2

Paul said in quotes
"This is not sensible"
What specifcaly is not sensible?
"Bad people do bad things."
Agreed.
"Those who committed these crimes would probably done something similar in other circumstances."
Agreed, though is this an admission that restrictions on smoking created the circumstances in which these crimes were comitted? Surely, in the realms of public health, the golden rule is 'first do no harm', isn't it?
"Are you suggesting that smoking should be allowed in hospitals to stop nurses being attacked."
This is irrelevant.
"These are desperate excuses and expose the poverty of the arguments."
What 'desparate excuses' are you refering to here?

The ban was brought in under a health measure. You have claimed that lives will be saved (prolonged may be more accurate), yet are you able to point to sources that demonstrate this is the case. Even in California where they have had bans for the past 10 years they are still not the healthiest state in that nation. As a result even more draconian laws are passed because of an obsession that is not justified.

west
----


J Stewart

"Smoking bans save lives". Presumably, because lack of smoking bans entails exposure to SHS and exposure to SHS causes death. So, since the 16th century in Britain every death of an individual who has been exposed to SHS can be attributed to this exposure? The myriad substances to which people are exposed throughout their lives have no effect - just SHS? Poverty and its attendant ills, poor diet, lack of aspiration, poor living conditions are not contributory factors - just SHS? Not drug and alcohol abuse - just SHS? Unless it can be proven that SHS, and SHS alone, causes death then it is absurd to say that non-exposure to SHS prevents it. No-one has, or can, provide such proof.

If you take the view, Paul, that people should be allowed to destroy their own health if they want to, then you must disagree that the Government should be engaged in trying to reduce active smoking rates.

Paul Flynn

This is not sensible. Bad people do bad things. Those who committed these crimes would probalby done something similar in other circumstances.

Are you suggesting that smoking should be allowed in hospitals to stop nurses being attacked.

These are desperate excuses and expose the poverty of the arguments.

The ban in the Commons is the same as anywhere else. The new ban on smoking outside on half the terraces as introduced recently by popular demand. Smokers can still use one half of the terraces. This is compromise. I thought you wanted.

George

Paul,

2 years ago my wife was seriously assaulted by a youth while she was outside a charity event having a cigarette. The out of control youth (14) was undoubtedly responsible, however the Scottish smoking ban was a major contributing factor. She would never have been outside at that time without it. Just like Nurse Allot would never have been in that secluded spot without the Hospital ban on all their grounds. Just last week a 72 year old mentally ill hospital patient was critically injured after setting herself on fire smoking, the national and local ban at that hospital resulted in her being outside unsupervised and the quote from the hospital admitted they did not know where she was and that she had been "smoldering" for some time.
Additionally the fear and hatred of smoking generated by the anti-smoker campaign has also led to direct violence, not only in this country but all over the world. We have had smokers in the middle east having their fingers chopped off, and floggings in Africa.

We have had a young boy committing suicide rather than face his parents after being caught smoking in school. A young girl tortured by her friends because they blamed her smoking for another girls miscarriage. A man in America cut his wifes throat because he caught her smoking, a pregnant teenager shot for refusing to extinguish her cigarette. The list is very long and growing every day. Promoting fear is not a good thing, I hope you agree.
A few examples

http://www.nypost.com/seven/03082007/news/regionalnews/pool_cue_bouncer_faces_slay_rap_regionalnews_ikimulisa_livingston.htm

http://www.bromsgroveadvertiser.co.uk/news/banewsroundup/display.var.1080397.0.four_hours_of_torture.php

http://www.smokersclubinc.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=4077

http://www.justrage.com/article.php/i_hate_smokers#comments


paulflynn

It's entirely rational Carlos. I have already explained. Drugs laws kill people. Smking bans saves lives. All drugs are harmful - but people should be allowed to destroy their health in they ant to - as long as they do not harm others. Clear? If not have a tral through my site.

Carlos

You are right PualFlynn about the populism and Im sure there are plenty of examples of such in your own party. However what I find absolutely impossible to understand is why you support legalisation of illegal drugs whilst supporting the smoking ban?? To me such people(not just you I know others) make no rational sense whatsoever. What do you mean by unconvincing in relation to my views and those other bloggers??

OK I wont identify myself by my actual name but I can tell you I am a student in Politics and International relations approaching his final year. My Uni is Reading.

Tim Clarke

"Just is case anyone believes these claims. There is a smoking ban in the Commons. Recently it was restricted to one part of the Terrace because those who enjoy the fresh air have the right to breathe it when most of the drinking is done on the Terrace."

I know there is officially a ban - but it seems you can get away with it.

Oh, great, so now you support outdoor smoking bans as well?? Fresh air? In LONDON????!!!!!!!

Another microcosm of the gov't sponsored hatred of smokers is the deaf man beaten to a pulp for smoking in a bus station (in Mr Flynn's native Wales nonetheless).

"I don't think that anyone is asking, let alone expecting, the ban to be reversed."

No, we are not, J. Stewart. We are asking for the ban to be REFORMED.

west2

Paul,

I appreciate your reading the comments here and your willingness to enage.

I raised the Boxer and Nurse cases because you had criticized Helen based on the ""After this, therefore because of this" fallacy. Indeed you leveled the same criticism at the examples given because, in the case of the Nurse, it occured preban.

Neither example was meant to be conclusive evidence, though they are indicative. It is extremely difficult to show direct cause/efect in social situations as you know.

The point was more general than the specific English/Welsh ban. The point was that Bans cause people to act in ways they would not have done had a ban not been in place. The Nurse case was the result of a local ban that should have raised alarm bells with regard to a more wide spread ban. It was not presented as a direct result of the English/Welsh ban.

The Boxer case was raised to show again that people behaved in ways they may not have done had a ban not been in place. The Boxer probably would not have asked the group to stop smoking pre-ban. I am not suggesting the reaction by the thugs would have been any different and they ultimately carry the blame.

The Nurse case showed there was a possible link between restrictions (local ban) and the second a more direct example that could have been foreseen.

You could argue that Nurses are murdered anyway. You could argue that Boxers are murdered by thugs anyway. I accept that the blame lies with the perpetrators yet this does not address the point, that being people's behaviour has been changed. Indeed you have agreed when claiming people have quit. The behaviour changes, as others have highlighted, are not all as beneficial as you claim though.

You seem to apply the same argument to economic damage. Pubs close not because of a ban, they close because of cheap supermarket booze, changing fashions etc. Yet the evidence is that the decline has accelerated. I accept that some closeures were due to these factors yet the acceleration occured after a wider ban was imposed.

Indded you say that people can smoke in the confort of their own home as a reason that choice is not restricted (?). If people choose to do this pubs will close. I think you need to move beyond 'addiction' to explain this.

Smoking at home, in confort, with freinds is not the same as meeting a wide variety of people from all backgrounds in a preban pub though is it? It is not just choice that has been removed.

west
----

J Stewart

Huw,

I find that quotation somewhat peculiar. I suppose one might make a conscious decision to become addicted (although that's hardly an admirable decision) but, once addicted, the addict has no control and I'm sure that there are addicts who are still very surprised when death comes - it comes to many of us unexpectedly!

I doubt that successive governments would reduce taxes were it to be shown that reducing them resulted in more people quitting.

Speaking personally (and, probably, on behalf of the customers of those pubs and clubs that have gone out of business since the ban) I find that the ban has removed my choice: I don't want only to smoke alone in the comfort of my own home and I don't want to be barred from smoking in the company of others inside every single pub, club, restaurant and cafe in the entire country, and as I've already said, it's an unnecessarily heavy-handed policy that disregards the wishes of the majority.

In a free society adults have the right to make choices that others find ill-judged. A government that tries to engineer choice through severe legislation backed by punitive enforcement has overstepped the acceptable limits of its remit. Active smoking rates have been falling year on year. An approach based on common sense would have left well alone and allowed the natural consequence of falling rates to take effect, which was, in fact, happening. Instead the Government listened to an over-zealous lobby which long ago abandoned common sense and, in so doing, has alienated many of its core supporters.

There are non-smokers as well as smokers who disagree with the ban because they, like myself, consider it to be an issue that exemplifies the erosion of civil liberties by an authoritarian Government.

Good luck with the quitting. Many ex-smokers seem to have found Allan Carr helpful, but take care with NRT - users have found themselves simply transferring to another method of nicotine delivery.

paulflynn

Carlos, the saddest, most useless politicians are those that seek popularity. They achieve nothing. The movers and shakers throughout history have not courted popularity. Serious politicians hold the crowd pleasers in contempt.

I never read anonymous criticism-especially from the blogs that are populated with mean minded racist nutters. But after being elected more than 20 times with views that do not pander to the lowest common denominator of public opinion (drug legalisation)
I am very content in sticking to my own views. I have had a great life of politics and long may it continue.

The views that have come in on the smoking ban are generally rational but unconvincing. But I am happy to engage with them. No other Welsh Labour MP is on the blogosphere.

Would you like to identify yourself Carlos?

Carlos

PaulFlynn do you think you are popular as there are plenty of blogs around the internet critisizing you.

Stewart Cowan

Btw, I know it was the Tories who introduced us to the Lottery. I didn't like that lot either!

Stewart Cowan

What about the nastier addictions that can lead to financial ruin and breakdown of families; both legal: namely alcohol and gambling?

The Government ignored evidence and advice from every angle and allowed pubs to open round the clock.

The Government started state-sponsored gambling (National Lottery, incl. addictive scratch-cards). They have eased restrictions on betting shops (when I first started going there were no seats - but you could smoke!). They want to introduce more casinos and they want to make the UK the world's online gambling capital.

To call it double-standards would be an understatement.

Huw O'Sullivan

J.Stewart
The government has done nothing to remove your choice to socialise in company and comfort.
You are simply banned from also smoking if doing so indoors in a public place.
It is and has been the declared policy of many successive governments to regularly increase the taxes on tobacco products as part of the attempt to reduce the numbers of smokers.

The government did not ban tobacco products and so has not removed from you any choice as to whether you smoke or not. They have moved to protect non-smokers, who are the majority from any harmful effects of your choice to smoke, it still remains however your choice.
It would seem unlikely even when the primary motive is in the interests of the non smokers that the government would go for the kind of concessions to smokers that you suggest would have been a solution, when such measures would be in direct contradiction to their aims to reduce the numbers of smokers.

The smoking ban perhaps is forcing people to confront the actuality of the addiction and it is not pleasant.
To leave comfort and company to stand in the rain because you are driven to smoke does seem so much sadder than simply lighting up and having the gang all laugh with your next bon mot.

To break off from a romantic encounter because you simply must burn 26 pence worth of tobacco and inhale the smoke into your lungs, rather puts in perspective exactly who or what is in charge and that your element of choice is a great deal limited.

The anger seems misplaced, even displaced, from the addiction that exercises its veto on the free choice of the smoker and onto the government and health agencies as if they are the ones who somehow cause the cravings.

Quitting is hard I know but after the the last few days I am once again reconsidering it for myself.

On the offchance anyone else is also doing so I am told it is easier to quit with support and the NHS do offer support to do so.
http://gosmokefree.nhs.uk/?WT.mc_id=ilevel_search_08

To quote a man by the name of Chuck Palahniuk
“I admire addicts. In a world where everybody is waiting for some blind, random disaster, or some sudden disease, the addict has the comfort of knowing what will most likely wait for him down the road. He's taken some control over his ultimate fate, and his addiction keeps the cause of death from being a total surprise.”

J Stewart

Huw,

I agree with you that there are many issues that are assaulting our freedoms. The difference between us is that I consider that the smoking ban is one of those issues.

In a democracy such as ours, elected representatives are expected to represent all their consituents, not just those of whom they approve. In enacting such a draconian ban, the Government has disregarded the right to socialise in company and in comfort, the 25% who smoke. It has been willing to accept the huge taxes paid by that 25% whilst refusing to represent their wishes. And this is not a zero sum game. A solution was perfectly possible which satisfied all but the tobacco control lobby. I don't remember anyone voting for the tobacco control lobby.

In a free society, adults have the right, and are expected to, make decisions based on personal judgment. The smoking ban that was implemented removed the responsibility from adults and the right to exercise choice.

Compared to a state database, the undermining of habeas corpus and extradition, the smoking ban is a minor issue, but a Government that is prepared to ride roughshod over minor freedoms and meets no opposition, will progress to more major freedoms. It is only a matter of degree, not principle.

Stewart Cowan

J Stewart, I can't see any of the mainstream parties reversing the betrayal we have suffered under the guise of political correctness, health & safety and the "war on terror".

While it will be super to see Labour get its just desserts at the election (and hopefully treason and war crimes trials - wishful thinking), I fear it will be more-or-less business as usual.

On your post about wanting 'choice' - the Government is all for choice when it suits it, for example it gives women the 'right' to choose to kill their unborn babies (two million of them) yet demands smoking is banned in case a few people who work in pubs get sick because of it.

Has there ever been greater hypocrisy in the history of politics?

J Stewart

Paul,

I don't think that anyone is asking, let alone expecting, the ban to be reversed.

People are asking that an element of choice be introduced. Choice would protect those who object to smoking while accommodating those who don't. It seems absurd that in a supposedly tolerant society this wasn't done in the first place by a Government that prides itself in protecting minority groups. Joe Jackson, the musician, succinctly put it: "Smokers are now the only minority whose minority status is quoted as justification for abuse."

Stewart Cowan

Mr Flynn, as I have already told you - and it is indisputable as both Bonesmen are on video refusing to comment on their 'club' due to its secret nature:

To reiterate:

>>>You accused me of having a "hate-filled website" by stating that Bush and Kerry are both members of Skull and Bones.

How can it be 'hatred' to state the FACT that the last US election was between two candidates, both part of the same Luciferian fraternity that only admits 15 new members a year.

I think that's pretty important when you consider the secrecy of these organisations and the often shady world of high level politics, most of which you are probably unaware.

Doing the work of the Devil?

Bush, the winning "Bonesman," told whopping lies and worse in order to start these bloody wars for geopolitical and financial reasons. What side do you think he's on in the spiritual war?

Have you read "Profiting from Iraq's occupation" by your colleague, Harry Cohen?<<<

Why do MPs have such a problem when people state facts?

The link to Mr Cohen's article: http://www.poptel.org.uk/scgn/story.php?articleID=24211

Paul Flynn

Just is case anyone believes these claims. There is a smoking ban in the Commons. Recently it was restricted to one part of the Terrace because those who enjoy the fresh air have the right to breathe it when most of the drinking is done on the Terrace.

One MP lit up a cigar in a Virgin chauffeur driven car and opened the window. The driver stopped, put his cases out on the pavement, ordered the MP out and drove off. Virgin agreed with the driver. MPs are subject to the same rules as anyone else.

Whatever problems this Government has, the smoking ban is the least of them. You have lost tough with reasons and commonsense because of your opposition to the ban.

The nonsense about 'masters' and 'rulers' is sad victimhood.

The ban may well be amended in 2010 if experience justifies it. But does anyone have any evidence that any party that is likely to wield power will reverse the ban?

Anyone thinking of following the lead of Stewart Cowan would do well to find out that he believes that prominent politicians worship the devil :
On his website he says:

'The elite knows that Christ is real - but they follow the Antichrist. Think of the implications of that!! They are members of Freemasonry and other secret societies. They participate in occult ceremonies at Bohemian Grove in California. The last U.S. election was between George W. Bush and John Kerry – both members of Skull and Bones – a Luciferian cult based at Yale University that admits just fifteen members per year. They really do have an organised control grid."

Huw O'Sullivan

For heaven's sake, we have gone from the silly to the utterly ludicrous.
It is an insult to anyone who has been harmed, never mind killed by vicious hooligans on the streets to claim it is due to the legislation.
By the same warped logic we would also have to hail the ban on smoking as a major boon against terrorism given that John Smeaton, whilst out for a smoke break in Glasgow airport has been acclaimed for his physical interaction with a burning bomber.

There are many issues in this country which are assaulting our personal freedoms, proposed ID cards, holding suspects without charge for appalling lengths of time, the craven and spineless extradition policy with the U.S.

Real issues as opposed to this increasingly far-fetched nonsense.

J Stewart

Stewart Cowan,

I think that it's fairly clear that this Government is going to be reminded at the next General Election just who its masters are. I live in a region which is traditionally Labour but there is widespread disenchantment with the Government even here - and it pre-dates the credit crunch.

This Government arrogantly clings tenaciously to its 'politically correct' beliefs and to its authoritarian style despite protest from its electorate, and this will be its downfall.

Despite assurances after every recent election defeat, it still isn't listening.

Carlos

Paul please go to this site:

plenty on this site: http://www.heyjoclub.co.uk/

go toward where the petitions are and youll find a link on his death.

Tim Clarke

Mr Flynn - a response to your points:

"So is the claim that smoking is causing 'deaths'." Good Lord. And I thought I was a sceptic.

"The ban is virtually universally respected and obeyed." Unless you are rich and famous (Prince Harry, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Jack Nicholson, the rolling stones, Tony Benn, etc.) Or are frequenting the Commons Bar:

http://dunhillmonster.blogspot.com/2008/07/just-in-attempted-murder-in-house-of.html

Threats to safety - particularly that of women - posed by the ban:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/north_yorkshire/7106467.stm

You have been an MP for a long time, Mr Flynn, and you have seen the economic devastation under Tory gov'ts of the past. According to the BBPA, 27 pubs are closing a week, compared with 4 a week last year. Make sweeping statements that 'pubs have been declining for 10 years' all you like - but in no sense does this explain the biggest decline in a short period of time. Compared to the devastation of other recessions this country has endured, the credit crunch is a mere blip - it's not even a recession yet, is it? In the 1970s, 80s and early 90s, pubs were not closing en masse as they are today. 'Cheap supermarket booze' is often blamed, but that's been around for some considerable time before the smoking ban.

'Wholesome and healthy' - yes, that's exactly why pubs were invented. I suppose hospitals are bastions of hedonism?

You claim the ban has been a spectacular success - under what measurable criteria? The number of pub closures? The devastation to the hospitality sector as a whole? The number of people giving up - even if you obdurately continue to maintain that 235,000 people have given up (which they haven't, because the study cited is fundamentally flawed), 400,000 people gave up between 2003 and 2004: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/17968.php

Smelly pubs? Yes, I must say, I particularly enjoy the eau de stale fart, stale urine and stale beer which permeates pubs post-ban.

The murder of Cheryl Moss was a result of an outdoor smoking ban, which are sure to follow in future as a 'next logical consequence' of the smoking ban.

"The peer pressure to smoke has been reduced among young people by the ban." Evidence? An equally plausible hypothesis is that the ban has made smoking more illicit, more rebellious, to young people. Cast your mind back to when you were young, Mr Flynn. Was that not the case then as it is now?

And please start replying to some of my points!!!!!

Stewart Cowan

I remember that case, Jim. I'm sure there is tension everywhere with the ban. I also remember a desperate smoker being in trouble for having a smoke out the door window of a train. It seems our humanity is under attack from officialdom. What harm was he doing to anyone but himself?

None; but he was disobeying his 'masters'.

The agenda is to keep the population in line by divide and rule.

If they can get us calling each other names, like 'racist', 'homophobe', 'anti-Semitic', 'Islamophobe', 'misogynist', 'androphobe' (or more common words describing women who hate or fear men), 'junkie', 'murderer' (i.e. meat-eater!), filthy smoker, or whatever, then we are fighting among ourselves while those in power are the ones getting away with murder.

This discussion has probably gone on on every message board and comment section there is.

What good does it do us?

We need to bring those who lord over us in government directly to account and remind them that they are our servants and not our masters.

How many people commenting have faced their MPs and reminded them that they work for us?

How many people are in action groups?

How many people are prepared to take legal action?

There is constant talk of HATE, whether real or perceived, but generally way out of proportion, but genuine hatred seems to be increasing the longer the Government's social engineering project rolls on.

And yes (before anyone else says it!) I know black people needed more protection in the past and I am not arguing against this at all, BUT now we have so-called positive discrimination (oxymoron) where white, heterosexual men can and are being discriminated against.

Of course this has the effect of causing more resentment in our society, which is the reason, I believe, it is being encouraged.

I realise a lot of people are fooled by political correctness because they truly believe the agenda is to bring us together, but this theory can easily be demolished with the reality of the current climate.

At the next election I hope we all discriminate against those parties who continue the destruction of our country and morals through political correctness.

paulflynn

Let's get this straight Jim.

Some evil characters killed a man after an argument in a pub.

So the blame is on the smoking ban not on the killers? It's all the fault of the ban.

Is this the best you can do?

This exchange of comments has blown away any claims there are that the ban hvs not been a success.

Jim

James Oyebola was shot in the head and leg in a courtyard at the back of Chateau 6 in Fulham Road, south-west London, in the early hours of Monday.

His attackers opened fire as they left the club and fled on foot.

The provocation for this act of deadly lunacy appears to be that James asked some customers to stop smoking on the premises.

Det Ch Insp Scott Wilson said police believe the three black suspects, aged between 19 and 25, ran from the club in separate directions.

"The altercation takes place, someone pulled out a gun and shots are fired, I can imagine it was over in 20 seconds," DCI Wilson said.

"It is a horrible crime to happen anywhere but over nothing - an incident such as smoking - these people need to be caught," he said.

http://www.britishboxing.net/news_2549-Obituary-James-Oyebola.html

J Stewart

Paul,

You state that the ban is universally respected and obeyed. It's obeyed because the punishment is harsh and, of course, we Brits are very law-abiding. Obedience does not imply respect.

"Pubs are now more wholesome and healthy places". Good God, if I saw a pub in a tourist guide described as 'wholesome and healthy' I'd avoid it like the plague! I don't think people expect pubs to be 'wholesome and healthy' - juice bars, yes, but not pubs. Have you asked the publicans who are going out of business, "Which would you prefer, a wholesome and healthy pub, or customers?" Incidentally, despite being a smoker, I have never liked smoky pubs that stank of beer, but I can't remember the last time I was in one. Looking back, the pubs that I've been in must have had some kind of extraction system. I would avoid those that looked as if they didn't. I wouldn't, however, want them to close because they don't meet my personal preferences and nor would other tolerant people. Why couldn't the ban have been implemented along the lines of the Spanish model?

The answer is because the ban was never about 'passive smoking' was it, Paul? Passive smoking was simply the justification used to accelerate the 'denormalisation' of smoking.

I would repeat the suggestion made by a previous poster: lift the ban - if it's the roaring success that you and the Government claim, it's unnecessary and business owners and their customers will voluntarily abide by it.

Paul Flynn

No more information on the boxer who died.???

You appear to have greatly exaggerated your case, Helen in several different directions. No devastation to point at and no information on the deaths you claimed resulted from the ban.

Paul Flynn

No more information on the boxer who died.???

You appear to have greatly exaggerated your case, Helen in several different directions. No devastation to point at and no information on the deaths you claimed resulted from the ban.

Helen

Thank-you for your response Mr Flynn and setting out your position on this matter. It is clear that your views on this matter differ immensely from mine and that of many other people.

Personally, I would find that deaths as a result of your legislation is somewhat devastating, but you are entitled to your own view. Those whom you describe who are now benefitting as a result of the smoking ban, could have also benefitted just as much with segregated smoking areas (with modern air management systems) or with non-smoking venues. So, again it appears that our views conflict. My view is to cater for all our citizens, whereas yours obviously appears not to.

There have been many studies on second hand smoke, 5 in every 6 stating that it is harmless. In fact an extremely recent one commissioned by the EU in March 2008 has also confirmed that SHS is harmless. Yes, it may 'reek' (to use your wording), but does this constitute it being dangerous? People are diverse and have different tastes Mr Flynn; what 'reeks' to one person may be an entirely pleasureable smell to another. It would be an extremely boring world if we were all forced to have the same viewpoint and live the same lifestyles.

Paul Flynn

The murder was BEFORE the ban. That neatly proves the opposite of what you are trying to say.

I have reread my Latin and it is correct. You appears to want to blame the smoking ban for bad things that have nothing to do with it - like the nurse's death.

In what way was the boxer's death related to the smoking ban?

The ban will be re-assessed in 2010. Plenty of chances then to examine its consequences

west2

Paul I think you meant: "Post hoc ergo propter hoc.". Also I think you questioned that smoking bans 'caused' deaths.

The murder of boxer James Oyebola in July 2007 was directly linked to the smoking ban.

In April 2006 a Nurse was mudered in an Essex hospital while 'stepping' out for a cigarette. This occured before the Ban and should have been a warning and a cause for concern.

You could use your latin, though in these cases people would not have acted in the way they did had some form of ban not been in place.

One issue you fail to address adequately is that relating to social lives. Why can't a group of smokers get together to form their own club and socialize indoors in a warm, safe and comfortable surrounding?

west
----

Paul Flynn

You asked for a response Helen. Your list of 'devastations' are wild exaggerations in my view. So is the claim that smoking is causing 'deaths'. A Post hoc ergo propter hoc mistake, I believe. Your answer is vague and unconvincing. Very little to set against the gains. There sound like wishful interpretation

Regardless of the quibbling about figures, there are certain broad results of the ban after one year - a bit longer in Wales.

The ban is virtually universally respected and obeyed.
Pubs and other places are now more wholesome and healthy places to visit. Smokers little realise the problems they create for asthmatics and other with breathing difficulties. Secondhand hand smoke is still carcinogenic even after it has passed through someone else's lungs. That's common sense.

Pubs have refurbished and got rid of their furnishings that reeked of smoke. Return to the smelly past ??? I don't think so.

Smokers find it easier to give up now they can have a drink without the pressure to join in with their smoking friends.

Decline in pub trade has been going on for at least ten years. Very few are busy now except at week-ends. They are many reasons for this, apart from the ban.

Trends in smoking and other drug use are largely determined by fashion - especially among young people. In a short period in the 90s smoking among young women increased by a vast 40% in Ireland, Malta, Canada and the UK. All attributed to the fashion to imitate stick insect models, smoking was seen as an aid to dieting.

The peer pressure to smoke has been reduced among young people by the ban. All the figures I quoted in my original posting are positive. If they are not believed, it's up to your group to conduct their own surveys.

I have no wish to dictate to anyone on how they run their lives. I have campaigned for 26 years for a legal market in all drugs. I believe that the drug laws are killing people.

Tobacco has led directly to the premature deaths of three of my closest family members. They were all heavy smokers. I bitterly regret that their lives were cut short by lung cancer in all three cases. One died aged 43. That certainly influences my opinion. I believe that smoking is more addictive than many illegal drugs. It was my experience as an inveterate smoker and I found it very, very difficult to give up. I have campaigned for Snus to be legalised here as it provides the fix and eliminates 90% of the health risks, without interfering with the health or comfort of others.


The original posting was provoked by a preposterous claim that the smoking ban was NOT a success. It has been a spectacular success.

Incidentally, I have never met Huw O'Sullivan but I am very grateful for the way he has taken up this debate against people who have their positions deeply ingrained. Thanks Huw.

Helen

Huw
I must disagree. Buying my tobacco abroad is a protest for me and it is costing me more when you add on travel costs and accommodation etc. It certainly wasn't something I'd considered before the ban. But that is my choice, and I also pay for the enjoyment of these trips. I have no intention of paying HMG my high taxes that I have paid all these years, to be treated as a second-class citizen. I know of others who are doing the same as well.

I have never taken part in any of these surveys that you mention and I also don't know of anyone else who has, so I am now classed as a 'non-smoker' for the purpose of these publications, seeing as the sales of tobacco in the UK are directly linked to the numbers quitting.

If you read the aims of freedom to choose and not just the article and comments made by Paul Flynn, you would realise that the group is not wishing to repeal the smoking ban. The group is campaigning for all citizens to be catered for, including those requiring a smoke-free environment. Isn't this what a tolerant democracy is all about? Afterall, the smoking ban was not introduced to reduce smoking prevalence, a stand that this government vehemently defends.

J Stewart

Huw,

I am not a member of any group and I come across other people who are very unhappy about the ban who are not members of any group - my point being that it is impossible to estimate just how many people really are unhappy about this. You can't surmise that every unhappy person has found his way to freedom2choose. Polls commissioned by those who have a vested interest obviously can't be trusted. It seems to me that a good indicator is the drop in trade/closure of pubs and working men's clubs and these are in crisis. So, although the number of people being vocal about the ban may be small, it looks as if there is much anger among many who are silent.

I have posted on this blog because of its tone and content. People in Britain today seem to live in a state of collective hysteria. Delays at the airport are "horrendous", they're "devastated" when something thwarts them, they're ready to take offence at the slightest thing. I'm not, usually, one of them but I take exception when an MP treats members of the public with derision and contempt, and I think that Paul's post very clearly does.

As for its content, there are impressive figures, baldly stated. It would seem that at least one of them, the 235,000 quitters, is utterly meaningless, if it is the case that people are considered by the NHS to have quit after two weeks. There is no reason to believe that any of the others is more reliable. I realise that Paul is blogging here in an 'unofficial' capacity, but I think that he still has a responsibility not to contribute to the hyperbole surrounding the current anti-smoking mentality. I, for one, expect better from an elected representative.

Huw O'Sullivan

Hi Helen.
No, the relatively small number of you who do that would be counted as smokers, as that is estimated from surveys, asking people if they smoke.
Be honest though Helen, buying your tobacco abroad is less about a protest against government and more about it simply being cheaper for you to do so.
There is nothing wrong with that, it is understandable.

Many non smokers would argue that the treatment they received from smokers over decades was abhorrent and they would be right.
It would indeed have been nice for us smokers to have had the option of special rooms with decent air treatment, however we failed to push for it when we had our own way and the time is past for it now.

With regards to figures from Ireland.
There are always small movements against overall trends, I think you are reading too much into the situation in Ireland.
Don't forget that Ireland is a tiny market relative to Britain.
Not to mention of course that the statistics given related to Britain not Ireland and that they were in response to a claim that illicit sales were a constantly growing figure, which was at odds with reality.
What effect the smoking ban has on illicit sales we will not know for a further year or two and it may indeed cause an uptick against the trend, but it is unlikely to last long.

While governments send mixed messages about cigarettes, they will have difficulty getting smokers like ourselves to stop.
I would be opposed to an outright ban on sales, for the same reason I am opposed to outright bans on sales of marijuana and other drugs, as it would simply guarantee criminals an income and an opportunity to get their claws into the lives of ordinary decent people, whilst criminalising the same ordinary decent people.

The principal issue that governments need to address is the takeup of smoking by young people and every effort should be made in that direction.

So I am for the banning of cigarette displays, I would be in favour of eliminating sales of packs of 10, for uniformity and dullness of packaging and indeed for having to have a licence to purchase cigarettes or tobacco products.

We may be addicts, but I firmly believe we have no right to claim the right to impose the sights and smells of our habits on others in enclosed spaces.

There is no question that the product is bad for us and the likelihood is it is bad for others too, especially those who are most vulnerable. People with heart conditions, lung problems and the very young.

Government is of course conflicted, the health reasons mean they have to take action but the revenue implications mean they would rather move slowly.

The main point that both Paul and I have been making is that while people may have been willing to oppose a change in the status quo, the new status quo is that smoking is banned in public places and that there is no political will to change that.

Those who oppose the ban are in a tiny minority even amongst smokers and simply overwhelmed by non smokers.

Most astounding is this orchestrated attack on Paul as if he is going to change his mind about supporting the smoking ban because a tiny minority of smokers behave like petulant teenagers.

If freedom2choose were mounting a meaningful campaign or even had any hope of carrying out a meaningful campaign, they would be targetting politicians who were not strongly in favour rather than wasting time simply being annoying to someone whose position is quite clear and is not in the slightest bit liable to flip on the issue.
The man regularly goes agsinst his own party whip when he believes in an issue and I think he has made it quite clear he strongly believes in this issue.

It is for the sheer pointlessnes of this strident belated group whine that I have compared their behaviour to a tantrum.
If they wish to be seen differently, tactics would have to change.


Tim Clarke

Helen - anyone who uses an NHS quit programme and quits for 2 weeks after the date they set to quit is a non-smoker.

I might do just that. Then if my doctor asks me if I smoke, I can say 'no, not according to any official statistics in operation in the UK'.

Helen

I suppose Huw that you have conveniently forgotten the fact that the recent figures from Ireland showing a 2% rise in smoking prevalence since the ban (the first rise in decades) is meaningless then, given your above statistics.

By the way. I smoke, like you. I however refuse to buy my tobacco in this country due to the treatment of smokers here. I have always bought British and paid my way to help others not as fortunate as myself. But, the treatment I have received from my fellow citizens and government over this issue, is abhorrent.

I always buy sufficient tobacco for my own personal use abroad now. I know many others who do the same, and don't blame them either. I suppose that I, and these others that I speak about, are now classed as non-smokers.

Huw O'Sullivan

Of course you are bored with statistics, they fail to back up your argument.

Key points
Overall Tobacco sales are down
Overall Cigarette sales are down.

Illicit share of cigarette sales, the largest part of the market are down from 20% to 13%.

Illicit share of HRT has bumped up by 1% point between 2001 and 2005.
Yearly as you must know by now it has varied by more

year %(mid)market value (upper estimate)
2001 55% 880 million £
2002 54% 870 million £
2003 52% 820 million £
2004 58% 950 million £
2005 56% 900 million £

So basically the illicit component of HRT has remained basically static, on static sales.
Which means of course, it has no relevance and has no impact on the the figures for the overall market.

There is no point in me arguing with you about whether I am a smoker or not, I have clearly stated that I am and you refuse to accept that because it does not suit your mentality, this is your problem not mine.

Helen

Mr Flynn
You asked me a direct question, to which I have responded. I would appreciate your response and comments, if any, to my answer.

Paul

Here we go again.

Huw, you were talking specifically about illicit imports, not total consumption. Unless I am incapable of checking a Tesco bill, the precise (mid point) figures are:

Loss of revenue on pre-packed cigs: 1.6bn
Loss of revenue on rolling tobacco: £0.75 bn

The latter is not "less than 1%" of the total - it is almost 32%.

Anyway, I am bored with statistics. Of far greater importance are the ethical issues which you and Paul Flynn neatly avoid. Please read Wolfie above for a summary.

At least you have been honest in one respect: you are not still trying to kid us that you smoke. My guess is that, like Paul Flynn, you are an ex-smoker who has taught yourself to hate tobacco as the only way of maintaining your abstinance. By extension, you also hate people who smoke. By further extension, you also hate a quarter of the population.

Right or wrong?

Helen

"No fun is coughing up your lungs with smoke-induced Emphysema
Posted by:Pauline Goddit | August 01, 2008 at 08:28 PM"

This is exactly the type of comment and hatred that your government has funded and encouraged. Totally inaccurate and so un-called for. This is harrassment and is turning British citizen against British citizen and friend against friend. I must point out though that this comment is extremely mild compared to many of the insults and horrendous 'death wishes' directed at those who choose to participate in a perfectly legal, highly taxed, highly pleasurable and highly therapeutical social activity

west2

How much annual revenue was lost to HMG as a result of the alleged 235,000 giving up? How will it be replaced?

Huw, strange that non-smokers follow the people who smoke outside to continue the conversation and enjoy the company. Would it not be better, socially, to come to an accomodation?

west
----

George

235,000 quitters due to the ban a huge success?

2004, pre ban England 400,000 quit smoking

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/17968.php

Spin (lie), spin (lie), spin (lie). Paul must be a modern politician!

Pauline Goddit

No fun is coughing up your lungs with smoke-induced Emphysema

Carlos

Wolfie- so I figure you want to outlaw fun- what a nice world you'd have us live in!!

Wolfie

Huw O'Sullivan wrote: "You are right, smokers do have conversations outside, but the point is that they are compelled by their addiction to leave conversations that they are having with non smokers, conversations they are interested in or are just plain enjoying to go feed their habit. If they were not addicted, they would wait until it was finished, they are addicted so they go when the cravings hit no matter how inconvenient it is to them."

I entirely agree with you, Huw. It's a sad reflection on their addiction. But they're not the only ones. The drinkers too are compelled by their addiction to leave conversations that they are having with slow drinkers like myself (a pint of lemonade and lime will last me an entire evening), conversations they are interested in or are just plain enjoying to go feed their habit. If they were not addicted, they would wait until it was finished, but they are addicted so they head for the bar when the cravings hit no matter how inconvenient it is to them. And as soon as they have finished one pint than they want another. And there's always a scrum of them round the bar. It's four or five deep at times. And when they're not feeding their addiction at the bar, then they're off down to the jakes. I'm hoping the government bans or restricts alcohol soon. Pubs would be quieter and more civilised places, and I'd be able to have a decent conversation without it being interrupted by people getting up and ordering another drink or going out for a cigarette or putting a record on the juke box. Did I mention the juke box? I didn't? Well, that's another conversation killer if you ask me. You're in the middle of trying to say something important when Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody starts up at full volume, and you have to sit there for 10 whole minutes before you can get another word in edgeways. Worse still when people sing along with it. Bleeding earsplitting. Don't get me wrong now. I'm all in favour of people going out and having a good time. But do they have to do it every day? I wouldn't mind if people went to a pub once a week, but do pubs have to be open every day? Why not once a week, on Saturdays, between 6 and 7 in the evening? Surely that's enough for most ordinary decent hardworking people. I entirely agree with Paul Flynn that the smoking ban is a brave and progressive and wildly popular piece of legislation. But it's only a start. There's plenty more out there to ban, Paul. Now get to it, lad.

Tim Clarke

Actually, I seem to remember an ASH document stating that their policy in care homes and hospices - if the event that throwing dying and infirmed people out into the cold sticks in the craws of the management - is separate, ventilated smoking rooms!

These are in operation in various countries, including Spain, Portugal, Finland and Germany - countries which favour compromise over the clumsy bludgeon of the total ban.

Huw O'Sullivan

"Gosh - impressive stuff. But perhaps you'd like to look again, Huw. That was only for pre-packed cigs. You will find the trend in hand-rolling tobacco is UP. In fact it accounted for a remarkable 56% of the market in 2005-6. "

In 2001, the market for cigarettes in the UK was worth 75 billion pounds
the market for handrolling tobacco was 0.6bn

In 2001/02 the mid point of the illicit market share for Hand rolled tobacco was 55%
in 2005/06 it was 56%
A marginal one per cent increase in a market that is less than 1% of all cigarette sales.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmselect/cmpubacc/874/87405.htm

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/pbr2007/mitl.pdf

I am sure you thought you had a point PaulD but whatever it might have been is not apparent.


PaulD

Huw O'Sullivan has just blown what little credibility he had. "To everyone else though the trend shows real decline in sales of illicit tobacco products" he says, going on to quote Customs & Revenue figures showing they have dropped from 20% to 13% in the five years to 2006 (the most recent figure given).

Gosh - impressive stuff. But perhaps you'd like to look again, Huw. That was only for pre-packed cigs. You will find the trend in hand-rolling tobacco is UP. In fact it accounted for a remarkable 56% of the market in 2005-6.

I accept the combined trend is still down but, with the margins of error they admit to, it's a close call.

Using whatever figures suit them is so typical of the anti-smoking lobby, just as they crow "75 per cent in favour of a smoking ban in pubs" while ignoring important bit.

We all know what the answer would be to "Would you object to a separate, well ventilated room for smokers?", which is why they don't ask the question any more.

(Or perhaps we should take a tip from ASH and word it: "Would you object to a separate room for smokers to prevent pubs closing by the hundred and stop pensioners being thrown out in the snow and beaten up by drunken yobs?")

Huw, you will find that the pro-choice lobby is passionate about facts, truth, robust research and boring things like liberty, tolerance, conviviality and the preservation of our beloved pubs. To me, these ride way above any affection for the weed. You banners seem more hooked on fairy tales, posturing, dictating and hating.

By the way, I don't believe you're a smoker either. Credibility double blown.

Helen

There have been several reports in the press of smokers who have had to leave the safety of premises to have a smoke, and who have been attacked, raped, and sadly, in some extreme cases, murdered.

This is not only happening in this country, it is also happening in other countries where smoking bans have been implemented.

Our own police have also advised of the increase in violence since the introduction of the ban (not surprising really seeing as the anti-smoking lobbies are portraying smokers as 'murderers' anyway!) A new minority group has now been created for those who believe the flawed science to hate and attack. What a wonderful country we leave in when our own government actually encourages this by continually pushing the extreme propaganda.

You could at least insist that when the lies that have been vividly displayed across the press are discovered to be lies (which many have and even ASH have admitted to it), that at least some sort of correction and apology should be given.

Paul Flynn

How has it caused deaths?

Helen

Mr Flynn. I find it hard to comprehend that you agree that the ban has been an 'enormous success'. I even cringed with embarrassment when the PM of the UK stated as much in Parliament, with our elected MPs agreeing. This makes our country look a 'laughing stock' in the eyes of the rest of the world. He was stating 'successes' only a few days ago that have since been proved greatly inflated (even ASH have admitted this), and something that many already knew.

As far as I'm concerned, the ban has caused social devastation, economic devastation and political devastation. It has even caused death in certain extreme cases. Go and tell the victims how successful this ban has been, I don't think that they would agree.

I cannot to this day see why separate rooms or venues could not have been used so that businesses and their customers could choose where to work and socialise. This would have catered for all our citizens - just like they do in many other European countries.

By the way, I also have never been involved in any of these cherry-picked polls of stake-holders, but I do read the polls in many of the local newspapers, which tell an entirely different story.

Tim Clarke

"no smoking in enclosed public places and it is government policy to continue to reduce the numbers of smokers."

You seem to link the two, but longer-term analysis of the impact of bans in two other countries - Ireland and New Zealand respectively - gives rise to doubt over whether smoking bans elicit a fall in smoking prevalence:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10494758

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2008/0429/breaking65.htm

Tim Clarke

The ICM poll in May this year reported 38% of licenced premises reported positive impacts of the smoking ban for their companies as opposed to 12% reporting a negative impact.
The lowest level of support for the ban from the general public was in relation to the ban on smoking in pubs, only 75% being in favour.
"67% of people do not allow smoking in their own homes.

http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_085811

The arguments being used by you against the second hand smoke argument are exactly the same as those used by the tobacco companies against the health risks of smoking itself."

Studies commissioned by / performed on behalf of DoH, Cancer Research, etc., have always yielded markedly different results from independent surveys (presumably because of who pays for these results).

In the ONS smoking related behaviour and attitudes survey of 2006 (published after the ban had been voted on by Parliament), when asked specifically about smoking in pubs, only 33% of the British public supported a total ban, with 48% supporting pubs being mainly non-smoking with smoking areas.

How are the arguments 'exactly the same'?

PaulD - you're quite right not to believe statistics from the anti-smoking lobby - a prime example of their problematic nature is in evidence from a recent news story:

http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/search?q=New+Research+Article+Concludes+that+Smoking+Ban+in+Scotland+Caused+a+17%25+Reduction+in+Acute+Coronary+Events%3B+Comparing+Apples+to+Oranges+

http://www.velvetgloveironfist.com/index.php?page_id=58

On passive smoking (if Mr Flynn or Mr O'Sullivan are prepared to read with an open mind), I suggest you have a look at this:

http://www.velvetgloveironfist.com/pdfs/PassiveSmoking.pdf

Huw O'Sullivan

I believe Mr Flynn is in place called reality, somewhere you lot might care to visit.

The trade in illicit tobacco, imported and/or counterfeited accounted for;
going by the midpoint of the range
20% in 2000/2001 down to 13% in 2005/2006, there was a blip upwards in 2003/4, so I guess if there is a blip up again in 2007/2008 you will at least temporarily be able to blame the ban on smoking in public places.
To everyone else though the trend shows real decline in sales of illicit tobacco products.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/pbr2007/mitl.pdf

In 1948 8 in 10 British Men smoked, now it is less than 3 in 10.
Women peaked at 5 in 10 smoking in the mid 60's now they are less than 3 in 10 and marginally fewer than men.

Welcome to planet Earth, this is reality, no smoking in enclosed public places and it is government policy to continue to reduce the numbers of smokers. Whether they will succeed at a level higher than natural attrition is one thing but if they can prevent people taking it up at all then they will be serving their constituents well for a change.

J Stewart

"It can only become a political issue if a major party proposes revoking the ban. Who will do that?"[Paul Flynn]

"The gov't is committed to a review of the legislation in 2010, when it will invite 'stakeholders' to comment on the success of the ban (or, more pertinently, its lack thereof). If the gov't of the day is flooded with responses demonstrative of the economic devastation the ban has wreaked on the hospitality sector are you saying they will be ignored? What if it is a Tory gov't? Tory MPs did, after all, vote 2 to 1 against the total ban."
[Tim Clarke]

Tim, I suspect that the proposal that has been touted, that pubs should be subsidised, is an attempt to mitigate the devastation and expected backlash from the industry when the review comes up. At a time when taxpayers are finding it increasingly difficult financially, it is hardly an idea that will win support for the Government.

Paul, it seems very likely that the Government will not be returned at the next election. The Tories are certainly minded to repeal the hunting ban and there will be uproar if they then fail to revisit the smoking ban. Criticism of the evidence of the grounds for the ban - passive smoking - is not confined to a few ranters, as you appear to believe. Scientists, who are very protective of the integrity of science, have spoken out against the shoddiness of the studies which, they believe, calls into disrepute the discipline of epidemiology as a whole. Those who realise that passive smoking is little more than a scam are very determined that the truth will out. Smokers, who have been demonised by 'passive smoking', and who have been denied the right to smoke in company, in comfort, will be, rightly, furious that they've been used as pawns in the tobacco control lobby's war on smoking. Many already are.

Without a case for the dangers of passive smoking there is no case for a ban of the nature implemented by this Government. The ban will be seen as an example of the "Big" government we've come to expect from Labour from which the Tories wish to distance themselves.


PaulD

Mr Flynn, all I see here is the usual litany of "Don't poison me with your fumes" and a lot of quibbling over who funds what. This is a disingenuous argument as it assumes no-one supporting Freedom2Choose can make up their own minds, and that only the health lobby - a multi-billion operation in itself with vast commercial interests - is correct.

I am a smoker and I accept the desirability of a ban in enclosed spaces where the public HAVE to go. The big sticking point is pubs, traditionally a place for a pint and a smoke. Despite their name, they are private premises; the owner has property rights and government has no business telling him that his guests cannot use a legal product within.

If you are concerned about the health risk to others, why do you flatly refuse to accept the simple solution of allowing the landlord to set aside a separate room, well ventilated and unstaffed, where smokers can go without troubling anyone else?

Let us forget for a moment the welter of evidence showing that occasional exposure to secondhand smoke is NOT dangerous. You call the ban a "wonderful success". How successful do you call its other consequences? Try these:

- Pubs closing by the hundred; the end of another cherished British institution.

- Pensioners chucked out on the street

- Bingo halls, the only form of social contact for some lower-income folk, closing en masse

- Younger people deprived of the chance to learn how to behave in civilised company, leading to an explosion in the number roaming the streets on supermarket booze

- The patio heater farce

- Neighbours disturbed, more disputes

- Social isolation; suicides recorded as a direct consequence of country pubs closing

- Decent folk turned into hate figures

- More state interference in our lives

- A new army of snoopers and enforcers on the public payroll

And further knock-on effects....

- An increase in smoking among the rebellious young who cannot resist the forbidden fruit

- Friends and neighbours turned against each other

- The truly frightening distortion of medical research and abuse of opinion polls by public authorities

- Hysteria whipped up to the point where we now see a builder fined for having a quiet smoke while parked in his private van.

To be honest I do not trust any of the figures you have quoted above. We have seen so many wildly inaccurate statistics, trick questions and bogus claims thrown about by the anti-smoking lobby that I have ceased to believe any of them.

As J. Stewart asks, how many of these supposed quitters have stayed quit? How can the ban take credit for every quitter when more people were giving up of their own accord? And what about all those who would have given up but now refuse to do so in defiance of government nannying?

You must know that your own party has lost an enormous number of votes among people who can see the injustice of the blanket ban in pubs. The damage it has done to social cohesion and to the relationship between the state and the individual is very real and tangible. Labour knew this when they made a manifesto promise to introduce only a partial ban - something you may not like to be reminded of.

For all that, you continue to call it a "wonderful success". What planet are you on?

andy

Huw

I hope your earnings arent performance related.
The ONS surveys up until this year all resulted in around 70% of support for partial bans(as per Labour manifesto).
This was spun post ban to suggest the support was for the blanket ban.
This year the option for choice was left out all together, thus those favouring any restrictions counted towards blanket ban supporters.

As for tobacco sales. Of course, i havent bought any since July 07. Well in UK anyway. Duty free sales have rocketed as has smuggling. Go figure as the americans say.

Ireland revealed a similar pattern post-ban.
Only now, even with increased smuggling and imported tobacco, the sales based smoking prevalence figures reveal the first increase in modern times.

Getting the idea now?

Huw O'Sullivan

The onetime freedom2choose leader Paul,
Robert Feal-Martinez,licensee, is a Swindon would be council member for UKIP.
So perhaps it is UKIP they expect to deliver the numbers they need.
Mr Feal-Martinez may yet turn out to be a political force to be reckoned with having garnered 239 votes in 2007.

Their current leader Colin Grainger
has stated
* Not one single death has ever been scientifically proven to have been caused by tobacco
http://www.forces.org/tavern/viewtopic.php?t=1236&sid=442bce25a32bec5aef67b617240d8079

So there we have their state of mind.
Sad really.

andy

"Is Freedom2choose putting up candidates?"
What and risk splitting the anyone but nu-labour vote. Dont be daft.

andy

Smoking was demonised well before the 50's and 60's as has already been demonstrated in previous bans.
Tobacco has been condemned for centuries on various grounds. Morality, religious conviction, fire hazard, racial superiority, political doctrine and it was Hitler in the 40's actually, who with the invention of passive smoking(passivrauchen)began the anti-smoking crusade on health grounds.
Please actually do some research(of your own) before exposing your unfounded bias on this blog. With each post you discredit yourself further and encourage this public outing of your ill-informed views.

I used to admire you for your brave stance against drug prohibition. Im now dumfounded by your hypocrisy when it comes to your support for prohibitive measures on smoking and what is approaching persecution of smokers.

Tim Clarke

"The irrelevance of the historical comparison is because smoking was promoted as healthy until science proved otherwise in the 50s and 60s. The tobacco lobby denied the link with cancers for decades even when the evidence was overwhelming."

Not strictly true in all cases. Actually, Nazi scientists were the first to suggest a link between smoking and lung cancer. Incidentally, the term 'passive smoking' was calqued into the English language. It was coined in Nazi Germany - 'passivrauchen'. If you do not believe me, have a look at the work of tobacco control advocate Robert Proctor. Smoking was deemed anything but healthy in Germany in the 30s and 40s.

Smoking was not promoted as healthy in 1920s and 1930s America, although obviously the link between smoking and disease remained unproven. However, there were hysterical prohibitionist groups who said that smoking caused all manner of ailments such as sex mania. The point about learning from history is that anti-smoking groups will wreck their credibility (as these groups did) by making claims that are equally hysterical - although admittedly less comical: sensationalist pronouncements such as '30 mins exposure to second-hand smoke raises a person's risk of a heart attack to the level of a smoker'.

In the case of the Ottoman Empire and Catholic Church, smoking was deemed to be unhealthy, albeit in a theocratic sense (spiritually unhealthy).

In all cases, smoking was banned because it was seen as morally undesirable. This differs not one jot from the current gov't sponsored anti-smoking campaigns smokers are faced with constantly. They all have one thing in common: guilt, guilt, guilt.

"It can only become a political issue if a major party proposes revoking the ban. Who will do that?"

The gov't is committed to a review of the legislation in 2010, when it will invite 'stakeholders' to comment on the success of the ban (or, more pertinently, its lack thereof). If the gov't of the day is flooded with responses demonstrative of the economic devastation the ban has wreaked on the hospitality sector are you saying they will be ignored? What if it is a Tory gov't? Tory MPs did, after all, vote 2 to 1 against the total ban.

Huw O'Sullivan

What you believe Carlos is irrelevant.
Your belief has no effect on reality.
I smoke superkings, appx 20 a day and have been smoking for the last 23 years.
What you perceive as hatred is simply a recognition and understanding of reality.

You quite smoking twice in the last four years, for 2 months each time but took it up again as a backlash against anti smokers.
There are no end of epithets qeueing up for that one, but I shall limit myself to pointing out as no doubt most others would do that that is the kind of immature response you don't expect from anyone past their middle teens, very much cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Do you also drive the wrong way on one way streets to protest the curtailment of your right to drive where you like. Perhaps you deliberately drive on the wrong side of the road too.

The anti smokers are now in the position the smokers used to be, in that now all establishments do cater for them.
They have no need to throw tantrums, as indeed some of them did used to do, however they got their way not from that but from the overwhelming evidence of the harmful nature of smoking, the undesirability of the habit and the declining number of smokers.
I will point out that just like most non smokers, most smokers also do not throw tantrums. Just the very few, probably most of whome are affiliated in some way to freedom2choose. What are your membership figures like now ?

Tobacco sales, which are probably the most accurate way to determine if people are quitting or not, fell 4% last year to January 26, 2008 as reported by Nielsen.

The ICM poll in May this year reported 38% of licenced premises reported positive impacts of the smoking ban for their companies as opposed to 12% reporting a negative impact.
The lowest level of support for the ban from the general public was in relation to the ban on smoking in pubs, only 75% being in favour.
67% of people do not allow smoking in their own homes.

http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_085811

The arguments being used by you against the second hand smoke argument are exactly the same as those used by the tobacco companies against the health risks of smoking itself.

To sum up, you are flogging a dead horse.
You do not have the support to overturn the ban and there is no reason to believe you ever will have.

Paul Flynn

The irrelevance of the historical comparison is because smoking was promoted as healthy until science proved otherwise in the 50s and 60s. The tobacco lobby denied the link with cancers for decades even when the evidence was overwhelming.

It can only become a political issue if a major party proposes revoking the ban. Who will do that?

Is Freedom2choose putting up candidates?

Michael Peoples

Should have read 'the smoking ban alone will NOT be the only reason'.
Sorry but I am not that naive.

Michael Peoples

I am not a member of Freedom 2 Choose or Forest but totally agree with their aims. Mr Flynn uses junk science to justify his arguments for the ban in the same way as his party used lies to justify the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq which it appears he does not support.
Does he pick and choose which lies he believes? Is he trying to choose which policies he thinks are the most popular to defend his majority of less than 5500? If so, did he not read that the smoking ban was voted the 3rd biggest reason for the battering Labour took at the local elections, just behind the wars and the 10p tax rate abolition?
The smoking ban alone will be the reason that Labour will be decimated in the next election, but Mr Flynn should be aware that a quarter of the adult population is a smokerand there are also numerous businesses closing or on their knees as a direct result. A lot of these people will be voting down their politicians regardless of party if their views do not allow for some compromise. Ultimately, it has gone too far and smokers can be discriminated on in employment, health treatment and even targeted for harassment by council officials fof drivving their own vans. Why are politicians not defending our equality rights?

Tim Clarke

"Only the stupid and gullible would set up a campaign to fight for their rights to self harm without constraint in indoor social situations." See you at the bar. You're buying.

"The freedom2poison campaign really have been scraping the bottom of the barrel. It's desperate stuff going back to the days of the Ottoman Empire. I am talking about the here and now."

Why? Is this how you regard all history, Mr Flynn? I never realised Labour MPs (who, in the past, I have had considerable respect for) had become so shortsighted. No comments on the more recent smoking prohibitions in 1920s America and Nazi Germany? Or indeed the recent victory over the smoking ban in modern day Germany? Or the numbers of local bans which are frequently repealed in America?

The point stands - smoking bans are nothing new, and their failure, one way or another, is inevitable.

Tim Clarke

"A good portion of the twentieth century was taken up with lots and lots of medical studies seemingly denying what should have been blindingly obvious at least to anyone who smoked that smoking was bad for you and caused serious harm. It certainly was obvious to medical people dealing with cancers and heart disease, lung problems etc."
It wasn't obvious to doctors, etc, because tobacco had been in use for hundreds of years prior to the lung cancer epidemic of the twentieth century. Richard Doll, who first linked smoking with lung cancer, was actually very surprised. He smoked himself at the time!

"Can this perhaps help you to understand why it doesn't matter how many reports you can come up with that are unclear or claim there is no proof of second hand smoke causing medical problems."
So, removing second-hand smoke, the rationale behind the ban is that it damages the smoker. Let us ban fast food restaurants then!


"Now with the smoking ban we hear about people cutting interesting or enjoyable conversations short so they can go out and smoke."
You're right - good point. A total ban was an idiotic idea.

"It robs you of time spent doing things with people you care about. How much time have smoking parents or relatives, failed to play with their children, either because they could not, or because rather than play with them they stood back and watched and smoked instead."
Ah, 'think of the children', the last recourse of a debater with palpable deficiencies in his discourse.


"Smoking in other words is not a pastime, it is a habit and an addiction, costs a ton of money and does no good for anyone."
It doesn't cost me a ton of money - although I would imagine the Spanish treasury are very grateful for the contribution I make to their coffers.

"I challenge all of you who want the freedom2choose, to choose to not smoke for 6 weeks. You won't of course, because you cannot make that choice, because you are addicted. Interesting concept of freedom you have."
I've done that before. Can I have my prize please?

You quantify smoking as purely nicotine addiction - but when quitting smoking, the nicotine leaves the body after 72 hours. Therefore, do people return to it out of addiction (given that the physically addictive properties of nicotine do not take long to extirpate), or active enjoyment?

"On the other hand, stick your fingers in your ears, close your eyes right up tight and sing nah nah nah over and over while wishing very hard to get what you want. Perhaps threaten to hold your breath for 5 minutes or stamp your feet really hard. Honestly, if you tantrum hard enough, you just might get your way.
Saying it's not fair in an elaborate drawn out and whiny manner will undoubtedly meet with equal success."
Good idea. That is, after all, how ASH got their way with the total ban.

andy

Regarding the 'mountain' of evidence you mentioned. Whre is this?
The only 'evidence' about harm from SHS is vastlt outnumbered by the evidence that suggests the opposite. A ratio of 7:1 in fact. 6 oout of 7 studies indicate no risk of harm from SHS. Not 1 study can reveal causation. So where is this mountain of evidence to justify a ban?

I suggest your support for the ban is based on your dislike of smoking and you think that the state has a valid role in controlling people's lifestyles.

Carlos

Mr O'Sullivan for one I dont believe you are a smoker- you show too much hatred towards them. And stuies? OK a fair few came on obesity, alcohol and even salt causing those health problems. About smoking damaging things- ok breath- depends how much. Not platying with kids- you arent doing it all the time. Money? A lot is wasted on even more silly things. With the smoking ban many nonsmoking friends of the smokers have the choice of either joining them outside where the fun is or staying inside all alone looking after the drinks.

We can quit smoking- I have in the last 4 years done so twice for 2 months on average. I took it up again out of backlash to the pro-ban propaganda I was hearing- complete garbage. Inspired?? Strange inspirations.

Tantrums?? I think it is the antismokers that throw them given they want all establishments to cater for them.

J Stewart

I'd like to pick up Paul's comment that in all European countries bans have been acclaimed after their introduction.

I believe that other countries haven't both implemented such a draconian ban as the UK has and enforced their bans with such vigour. The system in Spain allows the element of choice that satisfies both smokers and those who find smoke irritating. The French would appear to be simply disregarding the restrictions. I suspect that where a ban is acclaimed it is in countries which have implemented the ban with a sensible and light touch.

The pub trade in the UK is now in such dire straits that a group has been set up to address the issue. Although other factors have been playing their part in the decline of the industry, the introduction of the ban has corresponded with a sudden and very significant drop in trade. This suggests that the ban is unpopular with a significant percentage of smoking customers. This is endorsed by the experience of people who are involved in working men's clubs. After one of the by-elections in which Labour suffered a huge defeat, I visited the "Gordon Brown is Listening" site where such people were warning the Government - in no uncertain terms - that it was making a huge mistake in clinging to the belief that the ban is popular. Instead there was real anger among many of Labour's core voters, especially because of the broken manifesto promise of exemptions.

Belinda

Since I'm not interested in the health of tobacco companies, Huw, I did not pick up on what studies you were referring to. However there is junk science on the pro smoking ban side too. You must have heard of the study claiming that heart attacks fell by 17 per cent in Scotland following the ban. This was demonstrated to be based on flawed statistics many months before it was published, when the official health statistics were released late last year.

We are not scraping the barrel, we are showing that these and other studies show that risks associated with passive smoking are not signficant, and do not merit the kind of legislation we have here - I have not heard that any European legislation goes as far as ours does in denying smokers any social outlet.

Commenting on why and when people leave the room to have a conversation is interesting but has no bearing on the need for this legislation. If you tell smokers they can't smoke inside, they will continue the conversation outside. If you are talking about lone smokers leaving a conversation, I am talking about groups of smokers, or groups in which smokers dominate. Why shouldn't they have continue the conversation outside and have a friendly smoke while they are at it? Life is short, so they keep being told!

I can't think of anyone in our movement who holds a candle to tobacco companies. Their morality is not the issue, and nobody sees the smoking bans as likely to reduce smoking rates. Members resent the interference with their soclal lives and also use of pub landlords to enforce the legislation.

I find it hard to believe that most smokers agree with the idea that both landlords/employers and themselves should be left with so little leeway in the matter of public smoking.

Huw O'Sullivan

The dialogue being, you want the freedom to smoke indoors in social situations outside your home, which the government has banned and which opinion polls show to be a popular decision even with smokers.

I do not intend to be insulting when I say you are tantruming, merely pointing out as you seem to be unaware that, that is what you and your group are doing.

You are right smokers, do have conversations outside, but the point is that they are compelled by their addiction to leave conversations that they are having with non smokers, conversations they are interested in or are just plain enjoying to go feed their habit.
If they were not addicted, they would wait until it was finished, they are addicted so they go when the cravings hit no matter how inconvenient it is to them.
The government legislation that does not allow them to smoke in the pub, club or restaurant, simply demonstrates to any who care to analyse themselves that they are addicted. You do not go outside because the government forces you to, as you have the choice to not smoke while you are indoors.
Now if the government were to ban anybody who smokes at all from entering these places you would have a cause to fight and many supporters, including I dare say, Paul, certainly myself.

I find it hard to believe that you are unaware of the vast amounts of money spent by the tobacco companies in the 2nd half of the twentieth century to fund "research" into the effects of smoking. Ones that muddied the waters and cast doubt in peoples minds were released, the ones that they funded that clearly demonstrated the connection between smoking and diseases, were not released.
It was one of the reasons why big tobacco have been hit hard a few times in courts in the US.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Tobacco_Industry_Research_Committee

Of course you are not funded by big tobacco,
you are fighting your tiny little corner on their behalf for your freedom to continue using and therefore continuing to provide funds to those vultures.
It is a lost cause, you are wasting your time, but god knows if it helps you to feel picked on then carry on.
Why you would think anyone would take you seriously however is a bit of a mystery to all.


Belinda

I'm not aware of masses of medical studies trying to claim that smoking isn't bad for you. I don't think you are very familiar with the literature, Huw. The fact is that smoking is one of many, many things that make people ill, with varying degress of efficiency.

As for smoking taking parents away from their kids ... absolute nonsense. My mother was a determined non-smoker and had plenty of other things to keep her occupied other than playing with the children. Reading, writing and other activities. All parents need to do their own thing and not spend all their time with their offspring. Smoking is social. Forcibly removing smoking is not.

Smokers carry on the conversation outside. It's what the government requires them to do. Government policy puts them in the situation where they have to go outside. Since you have no faith in people's ability to stop smoking for any specified length of time, you have to realise that they adapt and the rest of their lives carry on.

Whether it is a habit, pastime, addiction or whatever is for the individual smoker to deide.

As for shouting nah nah nah, you think Freedom2choose is doing it, we think the government is doing it, so how about we both stop doing it and learn to engage in dialogue without trading insults ...

Huw O'Sullivan

Only the stupid and gullible would set up a campaign to fight for their rights to self harm without constraint in indoor social situations.

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