Saturday, 19 February 2011

The impact of the smoking ban on the old...


For all my opposition to the smoking ban, I never really thought about how it would create loneliness, depression and illness in the old. Here's one real example (lifted from here): 

“I am getting too old to stand outside pubs or restaurants. Plus I was taught that it was only 'ladies of the night' that stood in the street smoking. 

I have been 3 years away from any social contact other than the odd hello with neighbours. 

Being a widow with no family it was always going to be hard to get back into some semblance of normality with regard to socialising, but I didn't think that it would be this bad.

I used to meet up in a cafeteria with some lady friends, but now that has stopped as a few of the ladies were smokers and didn't want to stand in the street to have a cigarette. 

I went to a quiz night at the local pub as there were quite a few elderly 'singles' there. That has stopped. I also played bingo once a week and that too has stopped as there is no pleasure in having a drink there with no cigarette. 

I am now on anti depressants and wish that I had the courage to kill myself and join my dear husband.
Thank you politicians for making my life not worth living after working from age 14 until 68. I am now 74 and have lost my soul and will to live in this lonely place.”

Depression, loneliness, even suicide - what have we done to these poor folk with our insistence on a total ban. The 'Freedom2Choose' site records a dozen of so examples - real examples of real people with their pleasure destroyed by the smoking ban. Plus this comment from some kid:

“OMG these ladies are my nans age and its people who are younger than them who made these horrible laws that make them stand out in the cold and they should be ashamed at throwing their parents in the street, my nan smokes and says she would rather be at home and i thought it was because she was old but now i think its because she dont want to stand in the street, i cried when i read this letter and wish that my nan could go out to see people and not sit indoors unhappy, they are bastards who do this to old people.”



Alex B said...

What would you think of a tax incentive approach?

E.g. a business can state that it is going non-smoking for the next financial year, and if they make a loss (adjusted for the state of the wider economy), then they get a tax rebate to compensate for that loss and can switch back to being a "smoking" establishment (probably with some prominent signage)

Angry Exile said...

Why not an even simpler profit incentive approach? If a business can attract more customers by being non-smoking, and since we non-smokers outnumber the smokers by about 3 to 1 no smoking establishments certainly should lack for trade, then it gets to make more profit than the ones catering to smokers.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Those examples are just the tip of the iceberg, Simon. Talk to elderly members of any CIU club and they'll give you a long list of friends who used to use the club but don't anymore because of the ban. There's one I visit once a month to see an elderly relative and even his friends who still do go always bemoan the fact that it's just a miserable place since 2007, they mostly go there because of routine nowadays.

Leg Iron has a sensible solution for politicians, but I'm not sure they'll like it ;)

Anonymous said...

Social isolation is really the whole point of the smoking bans, to encourage smoking cessation.


"However, internationally, the term is also used to encompass efforts challenging notions that smoking ought to be regarded as routine or normal, particularly in public settings.

Hammond et al state that "social denormalisation" strategies seek "to change the broad social norms around using tobacco—to push tobacco use out of the charmed circle of normal, desirable practice to being an abnormal practice".

Smokers as malodourous
Smokers as litterers
Smokers as unattractive and undesirable housemates
Smokers as undereducated and a social underclass
Smokers as excessive users of public health services
Smokers as employer liabilities

"For the individual, an obvious escape from this negativity is to quit smoking, as hundreds of thousands do each year."

Prepare to be ostracised, all you smokers of England

"The organisation Ash hopes that four million people, or almost 40 per cent of smokers, will stop because of the ban."

And no one is officially allowed even to listen to their plight under the provisions of the FCTC that the previous government signed us up to, incase it should alter policy.

"The measures recommended in these guidelines aim at protecting against interference not only by the tobacco industry but also, as appropriate, by organizations and individuals that work to further the interests of the tobacco industry."

It's hard to know what can possibly be done about it, as everyone who disagrees with this treatment of the elderly, has been effectively silenced.

Anonymous said...

Always read the blog, but have not ever made a comment.
This time however the blog hit a raw nerve as I realise that I am one of these lonely people that smoke and do not go out any more. As it is 8 p.m. on a Saturday night I would have always been getting a bit dressed up and heading out for a meeting with friends. They mostly smoke and don't bother going out any more. We would catch pneumonia standing outside a restaurant or bar. Nothing much on the t.v. So another early night I suppose.

auntieban said...

Thanks for the f2c link, Simon.

To anon just above, the blogger Frank Davis is asking for people's stories - (yellow box on side-bar). Many of the quotes on the f2c blog were taken from there.

F2c is trying its best to make the politcians aware of what is happening. This horrible law is impacting disproportionately on older people who are being forced to abandon much-loved social habits and, with them, their old social networks. And as pubs close (around 7,000 now), their non-smoking friends are finding themselves in the same position.

All to satisfy the demands of a sociopathic minority.