Wednesday 10 May 2017

It's time to close down public health and get our lives back

It has to stop. There is no basis in protecting health. It is quite simply driven by the mission of public health to treat smokers as pariahs, people to be pushed to the margins of society:
The smoking ban should be extended to include all outdoor public areas, according to health experts.

Exclusion zones should stop smokers lighting up in parks, pub and restaurant gardens, at public events and shopping areas.

All university campuses and schools, beaches and sports and leisure facilities should also fall under the crackdown.
Imagine Glastonbury, Reading or Leeds Festival without smoking (of any kind). Consider what will happen to your local when smokers have to move half a street away to enjoy a fag. Those smokers - getting on for a fifth of the population - won't be there. And what happens when a fifth or more of your business goes away? No more local pub. Half the nations festivals and concerts unviable. Empty bars. Closed restaurants. Hundreds of thousands more jobs destroyed by public health.

I'll say it again - there is no health ground for this at all. None. Banning smoking indoors at least had the merit of a very marginal health benefit to non-smokers working in a smoky environment. These proposals from the Royal Society of Public Health are quite straightforwardly an attack on smokers and their right to make the personal choice to inhale tobacco smoke.

I haven't smoked for over ten years but I don't see why those who choose to smoke should be ostracised, excluded and treated like pariahs. In fact I find such an idea to be offensive and the people making it to be the worst sort of hideous fussbucket. The fanatics of public health aren't going to stop until all of the pleasures on their list of sins are marginalised - booze, fags, burgers, fizzy drinks, red meat, bacon, cheese, chocolate, boiled sweets, jam, cheese, cake, cream: all labelled, resitricted, controlled, hidden away, taxed and if they can get away with it banned altogether.

Children will be force fed a grey, dull vegetable diet washed down with tepid water. The legion of tutting health worrywarts will peer over their specs at mums who let their kids have a Happy Meal. We'll be weighed, measured, lined up, checked and made to fill in forms describing, in ever more detail, our bad habits. All so some public health "nurse" can lecture us about eating or drinking the grey uninteresting pap that the Church of Public Health recommends.

None of this is about making our lives better. It's not about our health. It's about an ideology of control. A belief that because the state provides healthcare this somehow gives them the right to tell us how to live our lives, to ostacise us for smoking, to denormalise drinking, to tax sugar, and to force manufacturers to take anything approximating to taste out of the food we buy.

It's time we stopped indulging these nannying fussbuckets. Time we told them to butt out of our lives. Time to point out that whether we smoke, drink, eat cake or go to a burger bar is absolutely none of their bloody business. Time to close down public health.



Mac said...

May I add my much used comment when reading posts such as this;

Some people will choose to smoke and drink. Some will die youngish, some will die very old. Some folk will choose to eat a lot of what they like, some will die youngish, some will die very old. This could go on for ever with everything, right?

Then there are those who will live what the state decrees to be a safe, protected and healthy lifestyle. Surprisingly, some will die youngish and some will die very old.

However, as stated before, it’s a 100% certainty we’re all going to die and as the last lap gets underway, some will be wondering what they missed and why, while others will be wishing they’d done just that little bit more.

So all you, ‘it’s bad for you - I don’t like it so you can’t do it - it’s not healthy - we have to stop it now!’ fellows, let me assure you that while you’re possibly just passed ‘start’ on life’s highway and it looks like a long, almost never ending road ahead with time aplenty to foist your pettiness upon others, try to take on-board wot’s below....

Trust me, when you get to my end of the road two things will become obvious. One, it’s cluttered to hell an’ back with tin cans and, two, when you look over your shoulder, back down the road of life, you’ll realise just how short a journey it actually was. Then you’ll understand, too late, what a complete and total waste of your brief time it was being so miserable, hating the enjoyment of others and trying to foist your misery on those who had a little zest for life and who were attempting, against all the odds, to enjoy their brief moment in the sun.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you say but I have no power to stop them. The people who have the power are politicians such as yourself, but which Party should I vote for ?. All the major parties seem to be signed up to increasingly controlling us, both at the national and local level.

Anonymous said...

The time to close it down was when they brought in the comprehensive ban on the basis of the totally exaggerated claim of danger to non-smokers' health; it was no more about health then than these proposals are now, the ban was a tactic in the war on smokers which has continued and will never stop. For the lobbyists, it's about keeping their funding rolling in, so they must keep demanding that something more must be done whilst ensuring that the next something will be ineffective, for PHE it's about manipulating behaviour. The irony is that if they could so change lifestyle such that every individual only ate the right foods, drank the right drinks, didn't smoke and exercised at the optimum level the NHS's budget wouldn't cover the consequent mental health issues because mental health suffers when individuals live a controlled, grey, joyless life in which they feel that they have little autonomy.
The problem is how to put the brakes on the lobbyists and PHE - who will take the decision to simply cut their funding? I would campaign to have them done away with but the health lobby seems to be absolutely protected.


Curmudgeon said...

While I'm sure Labour would be *worse*, it's disappointing that all this is happening under a Conservative government.

Especially when your ranks include Nanny-in-Chief Dr Sarah Wollaston and a guy who thinks the North Korean diet is an example to be followed.

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear.

I am not sure I agree the State provides healthcare but I am sure they think they do.

I also see Oxford Council want to ban smoking in people's homes. Perhaps if we can't scrap Public Health we can scrap the excuse for interference and scrap the NHS.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely spot on. It's getting ridiculous.

Unknown said...

And so, it seems, say all of us!

Yvonne said...

Belated comment but felt I needed to get it off my chest.

Children today are being instructed day in and day out on what they have to do or not do.

They must eat healthily, i.e. 5-a-day, despite there being little to back up this command and history has proven that the experts haven't always been right. They must do physical exercise. Yet exercising their expanse of knowledge seems secondary to the instruction to exercise. Heaven help them if they acquire critical thinking skills.

Then there are all the instructions of what they must not do, again often related to diet, don't smoke, don't drink, sugar bad etc.

Children need adventure and challenges to build confidence and self-esteem, some like reading more than exercise, each is an individual.

However, my main concern is that they are being nagged so much that they are tuning out warnings. They get their adrenaline rush on railway tracks or taking chances in all sorts of other dangerous ways. They are nagged so much that they no longer take notice of valid warnings.

Every generation has youngsters swimming in the lakes and reservoirs on hot summers days and tragically lives have been lost. The difference is that now they are not taking the warning signs seriously. The No Swimming signs are just another 'don't do this' sign, rather than a legitimate warning. Sadly a week ago another life was lost on just such a day and friends have said they just thought that the notices were just more nannying.

Robert Harvey said...

its coming a little late but it seems the George Orwell totalitarian society depicted in the movie "1984" is becoming more of a reality every day.