Monday, 29 September 2014

The smoking ban didn't work, did it?

The smoking ban in pubs, the thing - the silver bullet - that would suddenly change the world and stop every one smoking was introduced in 2007. And look folks - it didn't work, there was no accelerated decline in smoking and one-in-five of us still smoke. So we've shut down thousands of pubs, destroying business and creating unemployment to achieve almost nothing at all.

And now because that hasn't worked, the public health fanatics want plain packs for fags. Let me tell you now - it won't work, no even a little bit. And those ban-fans will be back with their next wheeze (which, of course, won't work). Look guys, we're grown ups. We know the risks. We know smoking increases our chances of dying a premature, painful death. Some will make the choice to smoke. It's their choice too, and they should be allowed to make it.



Junican said...

The whole idea of starting with smoking bans in pubs etc is the reverse of what ought to happen if the claims of the Zealots are true regarding the dangers of smoking. Obviously, the logical consequence of the 'discovery' of 'smoking related diseases' should have been the definition of tobacco as a Class A drug.
That did not happen and is evidence of the incompetence of our political system.
But what has astonished me, and continues to do so, is that the smoking ban forced people like publicans to act as 'State Enforcement Agents'. It is one thing to tell employers that they must insist that their employees do not smoke in the workplace (including the Owners and Managers of pubs), but it is another thing entirely for publicans to be required to suddenly become the enemy of some of their best customers - for that is what happened in 2007.
It really is incredible that this Nazi-like extension of State power has never been properly tested in court.
Imagine a situation. Suppose that you knew that your next-door neighbour was running a brothel, for which the penalty was a fine of £50, and that you were obliged by law to stop him from doing so, and that the penalty for failing to do so was £5,000. That essentially is what the smoking ban law is.
A couple of publicans tried to contest this law but received no backing from any of the businesses which have subsequently been targeted with the same sort of vehemence as has the tobacco industry, or indeed by the tobacco industry itself. Appeasement has been the order of the day.
As we know, appeasement has never produced anything but further demands.

Geoff Cliff said...

Even more amazing to me is the way that some concerns, having been forced to ban smoking in pubs, have now taken it upon themselves to ban vaping - with no legal requirement to do so! St Austell Brewery recently imposed such a ban in 24 of their houses. Whilst we all know that they have a right to decide what is permissible in their pubs, I question their sanity is exceeding legal requirement, and further alienating a growing proportion of their remaining clientele.

Anonymous said...

Smoking Ban is Based on Bad Science - 2006

"The Government takes more notice of scare stories than of evidence, a Lords committee has said

THE ban on smoking in pubs was an over-reaction to the threat posed by passive smoking and symptomatic of MPs’ failure to understand the concept of risk, a House of Lords committee has said.

The Lords Economic Affairs Committee accused the Government of kneejerk reactions to scare stories about health, saying it did not weigh the risks. Ministers placed insufficient weight on available scientific evidence and relied instead on “unsubstantiated reports” when formulating policy."

Select Committee on Economic Affairs Fifth Report - 2006

Passive Smoking

76. The recently introduced bill to ban smoking in public places illustrates a number of worrying features connected with the formulation and promotion of legislation[49]. The stated objective of the bill was to ban smoking at work and in enclosed public places, because passive smoking imposes a significant health risk on workers and others exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS)."

78. Given the evidence about the impact of passive smoking, we are concerned that the decision to ban smoking in public places may represent a disproportionate response to a relatively minor health concern. It may be that the unstated objective of policy is to encourage a reduction in active smoking by indirect means. This may well be a desirable policy objective, but if it is the objective, it should have been clearly stated.”

83. Another aspect of this issue that concerned us was the Government’s attitude to the possible trade-offs between personal liberty and risk reduction inherent in many areas of legislation. In the case of the legislation to ban smoking in public places, we were concerned that the preliminary stages of policy formulation appear to have given little or no weight to this important factor. We note that government risk guidelines do not emphasise any requirement to assess the impact of legislation on personal freedoms or civil liberties. This is something that needs to be considered further.”

But the previous government had already signed us up to FCTC so reason, civil liberties and good science didn't matter any more.

[Article 8]
24. This creates an obligation to provide universal protection by ensuring that all indoor public places, all indoor workplaces, all public transport and possibly other (outdoor or quasi-outdoor) public places are free from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke.

No exemptions are justified on the basis of health or law arguments.

If exemptions must be considered on the basis of other arguments, these should be minimal. In addition, if a Party is unable to achieve universal coverage immediately,

Article 8 creates a continuing obligation to move as quickly as possible to remove any exemptions and make the protection universal.”

It's a way of doing things we are just not used to and no it hasn't worked.


Anonymous said...

The reason we got a pub ban and why we still have it is glaringly
obvious,a total lack of guts,bollocks and grit,a cowardly
apathy from the majority of publicans and their crawling subserviant clientele,stooped apologists and whimpering half men.When a few made a stand, where were the others,hiding in cellars and ladies toilets, dismal shadows not fit to be classed as Britons,cap doffers,kneelers and Judas Goats.

The Ferryman

Jonathan Bagley said...

Thanks for reminding us of that Lords document, Rose. I've got it filed away somewhere. The Lords probably didn't just speculate the ban's intention was to denormalise smoking, rather than protect employers, they probably knew for sure, as the Anti Tobacco Industry would have been gloating about their "con trick" - their own words. The fact that the ban covers private smoking clubs staffed on a voluntary basis by their members supplies more evidence for this.

The truth is, that by direct measurement, 4 hours a day in a smoky bar is equivalent to smoking just 10 cigarettes a year. The best the anti tobacco industry could come up was a "study" claiming a risible 3 cigarettes a week; and believe me, that wouldn't be through lack of trying. Anyone new to war on tobacco should commit these four words to memory. TEN CIGARETTES A YEAR. The true harm from passive smoking.

I have now switched to vaping and the male smoking rate increasing to 22% despite the million vapers shows the effect of the ban to be even worse than on the face of it.

Jonathan Bagley said...

Correction. I see the graph ends at 2012, so the ecig effect wouldn't have kicked in by then.

Greg Burrows said...

This is what Lord Skidelsky said in Hansard 2006.
"Since banning smoking outright would seem to be too gross an interference with liberty—there are still too many smokers around—the idea is to reduce it by claiming that it harms others. If there are fewer places in which people are allowed to smoke, it seems to follow that fewer cigarettes will be smoked. That seems to be the rational basis for this Bill.
What is wrong with that basis? If the attack on passive smoking helps to rid society of tobacco, is that not a good aim? The answer is that it is corrupt".