Thursday, 10 July 2008

Freak Scene

"By-election stage collapse fears" reports the BBC. Nothing to do with saving DD embarrassment, I'm sure.

45 comments:

Terry said...

Kerry

A straightforward question:

Recession YES or No?

Kerry said...

And a straightforward answer - blog rules, number two.

Terry said...

Kerry

Thank you for admitting there will be a recession.

Next straightforward question:

How deep?

Nigel Saint said...

Kerry

You will see from the by-election results that Hamish Howitt, the darling of the pro-smoking movement, polled 91 votes.

Be warned that your stance on the smoking ban might lose you 0.13% of the vote in the next election.

Terry said...

Nigel

You silly Billy.

That means the BNP will get 3.58% based on Henley.

I'm sure you wouldn't accept that now would you??

Oh yes Labour were below this, oh dear.

Poor old Roger has just confirmed what we know about Labour, they are finished.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Nigel: Darling of the pro-smoking movement? What pro-smoking movement?

Do you mean people who favour choice for all citizens unlike Kerry? ;-)

Nigel Saint said...

Dick

Do I mean people who favour choice?

No. Many smokers are addicted and have no choice.

Hamish is the darling of Freedom2choose, who say they are about a lot of things but only ever seem bothered about smoking.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Nigel: Whether they are addicted or not is immaterial, it is THEIR choice whether they wish to give up or not, not Government.

And the anti-smoking candidate, Tony Farnon, gained 8 votes. ;-)

Jay said...

So, Nigel, Hamish polled more than 11 times the number of votes polled by the anti-smoking candidate.

Just as we pro-choice people always knew: only an intolerant and selfish minority wanted and want a comprehensive smoking ban, most people want there to be choice in which both smokers and tolerant non-smokers and intolerant, anti-smokers can be accommodated without having the misfortune to run into each other.

colin said...

Nigel,

I wondered if you could show me one instance of F2C supporting Hamish in the recent by-election? Members of F2C have the freedom to choose whether or not to support any candidate in any by-election. Many of those in our North England Group decided to support Hamish.

We are apolitical. Which leaves us free to speak well, or badly, of any political party, but we have not thrown our weight behind any single party.

We admire Hamish for his stance on the inhumane treatment of smokers.

We admire UKIP for publicly stating that they will amend the smoker ban.

We admire the two-thirds of Tory MP's that did not vote for a blanket ban.

Check your facts before posting.

It's one of our golden rules.

Just to reiterate Jay's words: if the numbers are extrapolated to show UK-wide sentiments, pro-choicers outnumber the ban-fans by 11 to 1.

Looks to me like Labour have scored a spectacular own goal in their support of this vindictive legislation.

I guess I have just broken one of Kerry's blog rules.

I dared to go off-topic.

Nigel Saint said...

Dick
When you said "Whether they are addicted or not is immaterial, it is THEIR choice whether they wish to give up or not" were you being
a) Ironic?
b) Funny?
c) Thick?

Nigel Saint said...

Ken
You wanted one instance of F2C supporting Hamish in the recent by-election.
"HAMISH HOWITT, ‘rebel landlord’, contests Hull by election, called by former Shadow secretary David Davis. We applaud Hamish's efforts to bring the smoking ban experiment into the political arena and support his efforts to highlight the need to include it alongside wider civil liberties issues raised in this by election."
Freedom2choose newsletter 4, 2008.

Anyway, I didn't say you supported him, I said he was your darling. Check your facts before posting.

colin said...

Nigel,

That statement in our newsletter echoes exactly what I said in my post above.

Support can take many forms. It has been implied that we were behind him, all guns blazing, during his by election campaign. We offered no financial support, no press support, and we did not ask our membership to turn up in numbers. We still support his stance on the smoking ban.

Oh, and my name is Colin.

Check your names before posting.

Nigel Saint said...

Colin

He didn't get many votes, did he?

And I only said he was your darling, you have read something into that which wasn't intended.

Getting a little paranoia creeping in there Colin?

colin said...

"
Getting a little paranoia creeping in there Colin?"

Possibly. Perfect paranoia is perfect awareness.

He may not have got many votes but he DID get 11 times more votes than the only man running under an anti-smoking banner.

Like I said, check first, post second......

Jay said...

I'd like to take issue with a comment made by Nigel who believes that people who are addicted have no choice.

If, Nigel, you care to go along to an AA meeting, you'll find people who believe that they were addicted to alchohol and exercised their choice to quit drinking.

Never before has there been so much help available to smokers who want to quit. If there are still smokers roaming the land it is because they do NOT WANT to quit. As adults, they are perfectly entitled - in a free society - to exercise that choice, no matter how strange to you that choice might seem.

It would appear that eleven times more people agree with this right than agree with the anti-smoking lobby which arrogantly and sanctimoniously clings to the misapprehension that all smokers are hopeless addicts begging to be saved from themselves.

Nigel Saint said...

Jay

Not all of the people who are addicted to alcohol are able to stop drinking.

Not all of the people who want to stop smoking are able to stop.

Some people who are addicted can exercise a choice, but many of them can't, possibly a majority. Most of my friends who smoke would like to stop.

If you think about what you said "If there are still smokers roaming the land it is because they do NOT WANT to quit." you clearly don't understand addiction.

Or you don't want to.

Jay said...

So why don't you enlighten me, Nigel. Why is it that some alcoholics can decide to stop drinking but others can't? Why can some smokers stop smoking while others can't? How would you suggest dealing with those who want to stop smoking but can't? What do you say to those smokers who don't want to stop smoking and don't believe that they're addicted?

colin said...

No ethical scientist uses the word "addiction".

It is meaningless.

If smokers were mere addicts, hooked on nicotine then nicotine patches would deal with the "addiction" admirably. They do not. NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy) has a documented failure rate (over 12 months) of 94.6%. (For the life of me, I cannot see why those thieves at Big Pharma haven't been prosecuted yet. it's just the dumb smokers getting ripped off, right? If it were happening to blacks, or gays, or lesbians, or any other minority group, the PC Brigade would be up in arms. Protection would be granted in a nanosecond).

Imagine, if you will, going on holiday, for, let's say, 10 days. You hire a car but it fails to start on 9 1/2 days of your holiday. Would you still pay the car hire company?

I thought not.

Yet hundreds of thousands of smokers are ripped off in this fashion every single year.

And Nigel here, our addiction specialist, seems to think all smokers are addicts. I know this is not the case. The truth is that very few smokers want to quit. They don't want to quit because smoking tobacco is highly pleasurable. It has been for over 8,000 years. Like it or not, tobacco is a miracle herb, and wards off dozens of ailments, including, but not limited to, some nasty cancers. The human body is an amazing structure and has the ability not only to self-repair, but at a molecular level, it learns how to deal with toxic chemicals. It has to. We live in a toxic environment. We are surrounded every minute of every day by carcinogens. Real nasty carcinogens. Our own bodies protect us. It will send out squads to eliminate the nasties. Those that are too big to attack are excreted.

Comparisons are always useful to put things into context: filling up your car with unleaded petrol (unless you hold your breath for the duration) delivers more benzo(A)pyrene than there is in 15,000 cigarettes. bAp is a Class A carcinogen. Drinking a glass of ordinary tap water delivers more arsenic than there is in 800 cigarettes. Eating broccoli (or any other broad-leafed vegetable) delivers more polonium 210 (P-210) than several cartons of cigarettes.

You will never learn this stuff at ASH Central. You have to find an honest scientist and ask him/her. Honest scientists are as rare as hens teeth. And no, none of them are on the SCoTH team. I checked.

But to get back to the point.

Addiction? No. That is usually the script of an ex-smoker trying to convince him/herself that he/she is now somehow superior to smokers, or a never or anti-smoker continuing to believe he/she is still superior to smokers.

Nigel Saint said...

Jay
You need much more education on the complexity of addiction than I can give you.
You have an awful lot to learn before going around giving the world the benefit of your opinions on this matter.

Jay said...

Nigel, if the education that I need is beyond your scope, then may I suggest that you're in no better a position to offer your opinions on the subject.

The fact remains that, however complex you wish to make 'addiction', people who believe that they are addicted to alcohol do stop drinking and they do this by making a decision and exercising the choice. Some smokers do the same.

If, perchance, there are people who believe that they can't stop smoking, isn't it extremely cruel to bully and harass them for their 'addiction', to treat them with contempt? After all, it is a fundamental of our system of justice that people can't be blamed for something over which they have no control. Leaving aside the complexities of 'addiction' how do you suggest that such people are dealt with?

Pat Nurse said...

I have to take issue with smoking "addiction".

Yes, smoking is phycologically addictive - IE : You want it but don't need it and your body will have no ill physical effects if you give up.

Compare this to alcohol or heroin - both Physically addictive. Your body goes into cramps, sweats, and you get terrible pains if you stop. Even if you want to, your body won't let you hence why such addicts steal and committ crimes to feed their addictions. I've never once heard in 10 years of court reporting of a smoker who was so addicted it nessitated theft, fraid or criminal action to secure a cigarette.

Perhaps someone would care to answer that if smoking is so addictive then why are passive smokers not addicted if it is really true that smoking harms others because they involuntary inhale a smoker's second hand smoke?

The answer has to be that smoking is not addictive and SHS has no effect on non-smokers.

If you put a heroin addict, an alcoholic and a smoker in a room together and deny them their "drug" for two days. Both the alcoholic and heroin addict will be very ill and require hospital treatment. The smoker will probably be just short-tempered depending on personal temperment.

Nigel Saint said...

Pat
If it isn't addictive, how does it create wihdrawal symptoms that go away when you have a cigarette?

Pat Nurse said...

Hi Nigel,

It doesn't for me anyway. I can go all day without wanting a cigarette and I don't have physical effects.

Likewise, long plane trips - 11 hours to the USA - doesn't make me feel any physical effects. Could a heroin addict or alcoholic manage an 11 hour flight without their drug of choice? I very much doubt it.

Also, can you answer the question that if smoking is so addictive, and SHS is such a danger, how come everyone isn't addicted to cigarettes?

As I said before : The answer has to be that smoking is not addictive and SHS has no effect on non-smokers.

Nigel Saint said...

Pat
I'd suggest that many long term smokers get significant withdrawal symptoms - I guess you are just lucky

Pat Nurse said...

I'm not sure that luck has anything to do with science but I can only speak from 40 years' experience as a long-term smoker.

Certainly those smokers that I know who have decided to give up have managed without too much difficulty because their minds are set and made up. That really is the key to giving up smoking. You really have to WANT to. Giving up for other people - or because the Govt tells you to - is not enough of an incentive.

I also know of heroin addicts who are desperate to give up but haven't got that choice because of the physical nature of their addiction.

It is wrong to lump a so-called "addiction" to smoking with the same kind of drug addiction as above.

Jay said...

Nigel states that most of his friends who smoke would like to stop but can't (and I suspect that the legitimacy that Nigel claims for his opinions rests on this).

How do you know that they want to stop? How do you know that they don't state this because it is the acceptable position du jour now that smokers enjoy the same social status as lepers?

How do you know that they can't? Have they tried different methods of giving up? Have they tried at all?

One way of looking at smoking is that, during the time when someone who smokes isn't smoking, he or she is, to all intents and purposes, a non-smoker and remains so until he or she chooses to smoke again. Your friends give up smoking every time they stub out a cigarette. Each time they give up their non-smoker status they do so because they want to smoke more than they want not to smoke. No-one forces them to smoke again nor are they people on the brink of suicide or lunacy without the next cigarette.

The BMA wants smoking eradicated by 2035. I hope that before then there will have been an almighty backlash against today's joyless, sanctimonious puritanism - the backlash is growing. If not, I will go to prison because I won't give up in obedience to Government diktat; your friends will have given up.

Nigel Saint said...

Pat
One person's experience is hardly scientific - try this article to learn how different people react differently http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1613447.stm

If it isn't addictive, why is the smoking ban a problem?

People on this blog use all sorts of emotive language about how unfair it all is, even invoking hitler and the nazis.

But you say it isn't addictive and you can go all day without one. So why is this a draconian, nazi measure if smoking is just a habit?

Jay said...

Nigel,

I realise that your last post was not addressed to me and I'm sure that Pat will respond, but I would like to also reply. No emotive language, no edge.

'Smoking' is a strange beast: I knew one person who smoked one cigarette at the end of the day but felt disgruntled if he didn't have that one cigarette; I've known people who smoked only when socialising and who would have felt that their pleasure was incomplete without smoking; I've known friends struggle to quit their 10 a day habit, trying and failing a number of times and I hear of 60 a day smokers who just decide to stop, and do. Some smokers feel that they are addicted, some don't.

The ban has caused anger for a number of reasons. The reason that concerns me the most is the injustice of it so I'll leave that until last.

Some people feel betrayed by the Government because, in its
manifesto, it promised exemptions. Those people feel that their votes were 'stolen': if the Government hadn't promised exemptions, they wouldn't have voted to return it.

The ban's impact has been felt most in the hospitality trade, in particular, wet-led, community pubs where a high percentage of the customer base smokes (one of the categories of promised exemption). These pubs are going out of business because their smoking customers have deserted them for several reasons: the pub can't provide a smoking 'shelter'; the smoking shelter provides inadequate protection against the elements; people prefer to drink and socialise in the comfort of their own or friends' homes without having to go outside for a cigarette where they are seen to be a category of person whose behaviour ostracises them; people have reacted to a hospitality trade which they believe refused to fight their corner and, therefore, doesn't deserve their custom.

Many people, both smokers and non-smokers, believe that, in the society in which we live, it is not the legitimate and proper concern of Government to interfere in private property when there is no illegal activity. Tobacco products are every bit as legal as cream buns. It should be the prerogative of business owners to determine their policy on smoking. This has particular resonance, again, with publicans whose smoking policy relates not only to staff but to the actual viability of their businesses.

The ban ignores the wishes of those who find the risk of 'passive smoking' an acceptable one. No-one is forced to work in a particular job or for a particular organisation. If no ban had been introduced, those who dislike smoking would have chosen to work in the increasing number of smoke-free venues while others would have exercised the choice to work in those which allowed smoking.

Private clubs were also to be exempted from the ban. We now have the ludicrous situation where members of pipe-smoking clubs are prohibited from meeting in any room that is not the home of one of its members.

People are angry at the hypocrisy of a Government which has spent millions in promoting the message that justifies a comprehensive ban. If 'passive smoking' is so dangerous that non-smokers have to be protected from it by extreme measures (and it is an extreme measure to say that ETS in any structure that is more than 50% enclosed is too dangerous to be tolerated), then active smoking must be so dangerous that it surely warrants immediate and complete prohibition by a responsible Government which is concerned about the nation's health. Instead, the Government continues to enjoy the 10 billion pounds a year that smokers contribute to the Treasury while continuing its policy of denormalising smoking. One MSP has pointed out that revolutions have happened on the grounds of governments extorting tax from those whose interests they refuse to represent.

And now to the injustice of the ban. Its justification was that 'passive smoking' endangered the health of non-smokers to such an extent that the only solution was to ostracise smokers. Neither separate smoking rooms nor modern air technology would suffice. The problem is that the 'science' which the tobacco control lobby has produced as evidence of the dangers of ETS quite simply is not sound. I've enclosed the word science in inverted commas because it's not science as most people understand it. The research was not conducted in the laboratory, there were no experiments, the methodology was not subject to the established rigours of the scientific method.

The studies consist primarily of anecdotal memories captured by interviewers asking questions. Some questions invite a quantitative response (where the interviewee has a limited number of response options, designed to establish 'facts'), others invite a qualitative response (where the interviewee is encouraged to talk, designed to measure attitudes). Examples would be "How many cigarettes did your father smoke when you were a child?" and "How did you feel when your father smoked around you as a child?"

The first flaw in the methodology is glaringly obvious: answers that rely on memory of events in the considerable past are unreliable (for several reasons). The second flaw is that it is incredibly easy to manipulate the responses of interviewees and it's done in a number of ways: the questions asked; the phrasing, vocabulary, and tone of the questions; the preamble to questions; the order in which the questions are asked, and in the response options of quantitative questions: whether the scale used is a continuum or discrete, the number of discrete options and their wording and tone.

(I realise that, if I haven't already done so, I'm in danger of boring the pants off readers so suffice it to say)

These studies yield statistical data from which population information is projected (eg if 1 person out of 1000 with asthma interviewed said that their fathers smoked 20 cigarettes a day at home then it can be presumed that exposure to 'passive smoking' is responsible for 5,000 cases of asthma in a population of 5 million asthma sufferers.

Even leaving aside the flawed methodology of the data capture, no such conclusion can legitimately
be drawn: the sample size might be too small to be representative or, even if representative, because there are other factors involved in asthma which the research doesn't and can't address. It might be the case that these other factors play a more important role than 'passive smoking'. In fairness, the studies do not state a causal relationship but a statistical correlation. The correlation is, however, so weak that the tobacco control lobby has had to change the internal rules of this kind of study in order to present the level of correlation as being significant.

It's rather like someone noting that on five days one week when he eats cornflakes the sun shines and on the other two days it doesn't and then presenting the case that there a link between eating cornflakes and the sun shining then talking this up into eating cornflakes causes the sun to shine.

The tobacco control lobby knows full well that its studies fail to prove that 'passive smoking' is a significant risk to health and has had to resort to trickery to make its case stick such as the aforementioned change to internal standards and where that failed because the weakness of results was so great, cherry-picking studies and presenting the stats in such a way as to appear alarming.

On the basis of 'evidence' of such poor quality that it requires manipulation, legislation has been passed that denies 12 million adults the right to partake of a legal substance in company, in comfort. The message 'passive smoking kills' fabricated by a lobby and promoted by Government has resulted not just in a ban but in the demonisation of a group of people. If smokers harm people who are exposed to their smoke then they are guilty of "a crime against the person". Do victims of such crime hate the crime but not the criminal? Only if they're saints, I suspect and I think it naive or disingenuous to believe otherwise.

But why all this pantomime? Surely the tobacco control lobby would be pleased if 'passive smoking' really were harmless?

Many people share my view that 'passive smoking' has been dreamt up as a clever way of trying to reduce the prevalence of active smoking: smokers quite happy to ruin their own health would respond to society's opprobrium. The commitment was made at a conference of the WHO following the suggestion that "it would be necessary to foster the perception that smokers harmed not only their own health but that of those around them, in particular that of children" (I've paraphrased).

I find this odious. The consequent studies intended to build the necessary case were cynically commissioned and their failure to produce the required results demanded the trickery I mentioned above. People abused positions of trust to arouse fear of a non-existent danger and the vilification of the perpetrators of the non-existent danger.

Nor do I believe that the end justifies the means. It is no business of the Government, NGOs or self-appointed guardians whether the individual, in a free society, elects to run risks that they consider ill-judged. There is no legitimacy for denormalising smoking and, if smoking is an addiction, rather than an indulgence, then the drive to denormalise it through deceit, fraud, coercion and harassment is utterly reprehensible.

Finally, I would like to address the issue of references to Nazism. I doubt that anyone has intended a comparison to be drawn between the ultimate solution used by the Nazis towards those considered undesirable and the demands of the tobacco control lobby. There are, however, real and uncomfortable parallels between their attitude towards smokers and the waves of anti-smoking measures being introduced globally today. In endorsing the demonisation of smokers - and I genuinely believe that this has happened - the Government has opened floodgates: smokers are now routinely treated with disdain and are sometimes the object of verbal and physical assault. The comfort of smoking is now denied to those in extremis, NHS treatment is being withheld, employers run job adverts which discriminate against smokers with impunity, social services departments that have adopted a policy of refusing to place children in foster homes in which the parents smoke send the message to many that smokers are no better than child abusers...

If there are lessons to be learned from Nazism, surely one must be that it is easy for those in powerful positions to demonise a group and reinforce the message until any treatment meted to the maligned group is considered acceptable.

I genuinely believe that smokers in modern society are such a group.

Nigel Saint said...

Jay
On 15th you said "If there are still smokers roaming the land it is because they do NOT WANT to quit."
Today (19th) you say "Some smokers feel that they are addicted, some don't."

Why the change of heart?


With regard to your obsession with Hitler, dare I suggest you have a look at the history of smoking bans on Sadireland (an anti ban site) http://sadireland.com/smoking1.htm

You have to scroll down the history quite a long way to get to the nazi ban, which came towards the end of their regime and after they had started genocide.

Why don't you compare the government to Sultan Murad IV of Turkey or Czar Alexis of Russia who banned smoking in the 17th century, and backed it up with the death penalty?

Is the answer something to do with the fact that the anti ban movements aroud the world are being carefully guided to use hitler as the comparison? And wasn't it the tobacco industry who promoted that strategy?

Jay said...

Hi Nigel,

This is an issue about which I feel very, very strongly because I truly believe that its basis rests on grounds that don't fall far short of outright fraud and I believe that it is morally wrong to incite hatred towards any group in society even if the grounds are true. When the grounds are baseless as in "Jews eat Christian babies", "All Muslims want to kill Westerners" or "Smokers endanger the lives of those exposed to their smoke" it is outrageous. I am extremely tired of having to counter the same old objections of people whose views are based on prejudice and naive, cursory acceptance of the case presented by the various factions of the tobacco control lobby which they consider to be high-minded and paragons of integrity. I forget that they haven't been inclined to trouble to read the arguments and evidence of those who criticise the TCL, I presuppose that they simply refuse to see the evidence and I write in shorthand. I spent considerable time framing the reply addressed to you. I can seldom afford such time. On the 15th I wrote shorthand, today I didn't.

Incidentally, I understand the various strands of the prejudice towards smoking, smokers and the tobacco companies and the positive predisposition to believe the anti-smokers. I used to be one.

I don't have an obsession with Nazis. I addressed the referemces to Nazism because...there had been references made (by other indignant people who have commented on various threads of Kerry's blog). You are absolutely right in pointing out that various regimes have prohibited smoking, enforced by measures ranging from mutilation to the death penalty. The most recent historical regime, however, which was vehemently anti-smoking, was that of the Nazis. I stated in my previous post why it may be considered apt to refer to them.

I do not belong to an orchestrated group, nor do I know of others who speak out against the anti-smoking movement, who do. We are simply people who, for various reasons, believe that what is happening is wrong. Personally I consider tobacco companies to be no better or worse than any other companies because all companies are amoral: essentially they exist to make profits. If they are successful it is because they offer a product or service that is wanted or needed. It follows that pharmaceutical companies, which offer nicotine replacement products, conform to the internal logic of this model. As such they don't deserve the imputation of morality assigned to them

It is now very late so, Goodnight, Nigel.

Nigel Saint said...

Jay
I repeat:
On 15th you said "If there are still smokers roaming the land it is because they do NOT WANT to quit."
Today (19th) you say "Some smokers feel that they are addicted, some don't."

Why the change of heart?

Jay said...

Nigel,

No change of heart. Please refer to other comments to work it out.

Nigel Saint said...

Jay
No offence but your posts are so long that I suspect I could never get to the reason that you have changed from a position of 'smokers only smoke 'cos they want to' to 'some smokers believe they are addicted', the latter being the point I was trying to get across to Pat.

Could you perhaps provide a precis of how the two statements mean the same to you?

Jay said...

Sorry Nigel, I've made only two posts of any length. If this is a point that is of great concern to you, then, with respect, I expect you to take the trouble to work it out for yourself - if nothing else it might provide food for thought.

Nigel Saint said...

Jay
I think the difficulty I have in trying to work out why you have changed your tune about whether smoking is addictive is because you haven't addressed it in your long posts.

This was, after all, in response to a post from me to Pat about why, if nicotine isn't addictive (as she believes), the smoking ban is a problem to smokers.

You respond about your philosophical problems with the ban, which is a different thing altogether.

I come back to the point that I believe nicotine is addictive to some/many smokers.
I believe that this addiction helps to stop them giving up smoking when they want to.
I believe that this means that many smokers are not 'free to choose'.

I don't believe that smokers are bad people, who should be persecuted. ( I wouldn't have many smoking mates if I held that view).

I do believe that many or most of the anti-ban movement have been (or are being) cleverly manipulated by the tobacco industry to spread a carefully orchestrated set of messages.

Pat Nurse said...

Hi Nigel,

I ask again if smoking is so addictive, and passive smoking is so harmful, then why is everyone, including yourself, not addicted to tobacco.

I can't speak for the pro-choice movement and what motivates them but as far as I am concerned, I don't even know what the "Big Tobacco" message is. Neither do I know what "Big Pharma's" message is. I just know that after 40 years as a smoker that "smoking kills and harms others" just does not add up so simplistically as Govt and anti-smokers would have us believe.

The reason I hate the ban is because it's not necessary and in a free country, choice should not be such a problem. Isn't choice the main plank of a democratic society? I worry more that my grandchildren will not live in a free world in the future than I worry about them starting to smoke.

Another reason I fight is becaise I will not be coerced into behaving how others want me to when I honestly believe that what I do harms no-one else.

I believe the research that says passive smoking is not a risk to non-smokers and therefore don't understand why there is a ban unless it's because of a dislike for tobacco... or the class of person who smokes it. There are plenty of things I don't like but I would never advocate a ban. Live and let live is my motto.

Even if I accepted the passive smoking argument, choice, ventilation and segregation would address it. Let's face it, it's worse now that we are all on the street and in beer/cafe gardens all together when before we were nicely segregated out of that way.

The ban, in my own opinion, is unjust. It has nothing to do with not being able to smoke - or going cold turkey without a cigarette.

How can we expect today's problem youth to respect older people if we are also asking them to throw them out on the street should a pensioner dare to light a cigarete in public. Something has gone so tragically wrong.

It is spiteful ban because it aims to make smokers as uncomfortable as possible. It throws old people in nursing homes into the street and mental patients are denied the choice to smoke or not in a lot of instituions.

I also fight it for all the reasons that Jay has stated - pub closures, exclusion, intolerance towards s minority group which likes that which others dislike - and I am just as frustrated as others that such a trivial thing has become such a huge issue.

But don't forget that smokers didn't make it an issue, they have just been forced into a position of self-defence after years of one-sided evidence from "junk science" which claims they are suicidial serial killers.

As for emotive arguments, let's not also forget that we have had 30 years of emotive arguments from the anti-smoking lobby throwing death in our faces, exploiting young people to cry in front of cameras for the sake of an anti-smoking advert, etc.. etc.. while always exploting the truth of course.

Yes, I agree, there are more important, worthy issues, such as oppression, starvation, wars across the world but there are also plenty of organisations fighting those corners. Who will stand up for smokers if we don't stand up for ourselves and what other simple freedoms will we lose if we stand back and accept this unecessary ban?

I would feel exactly the same if Govt tried to tell me that sugar and cream are to be banned from cafes from July 1 next year for "health" reasons... and I think we would both agree that neither of them are addictive ... if both could be habit forming or physcologically addictive.

Smokers can easily choose, and often do as figures suggest, to give up. I honestly believe that addiction has nothing to so with the choice that they make.

Jay said...

Ah, Nigel, now you're becoming philosophical!

I said that some smokers feel addicted, not are addicted. Alcoholics who go to AA state that they're addicted to alcohol no matter how long since their last drink. They believe that their alcoholism is a disease that is incurable. There are professionals who don't share that view. They might say that there is a behaviour (drinking) that is triggered by an event (say, a stressful day at work) and that the behaviour can be changed by removal of the triggers or the learning of new responses. It could be argued that alcoholics who claim 'addiction' could be using the belief as a tool to hold their resolve because of the fear of alcohol.

It's possible that smokers who claim 'addiction' use it to excuse a lack of desire or strength of resolve. In fact, I've never heard a smoker claim that they're addicted, only anti-smokers and ex-smokers who've become intolerant. There are, of course, many smokers who really don't want to give up.

I'd be interested to know where you've got the idea that a) there is a pro-choice/anti-ban movement and b) that it's a movement carefully orchestrated by tobacco companies? Is this another one of ASH's lies or a lie from another group in the coven?

Nigel Saint said...

Jay
Here's one early strategy example from RJ Reynolds.
http://tobaccodocuments.org/rjr/505740534-0665.html

There are loads more if you can be bothered to look.

Jay said...

Nigel, it seems that I have done the anti smoking lobby a disservice in presuming that the idea must emanate from it! This reflects my complete distrust of it - I know that it's guilty of trickery, downright lies and unjustifiable vilification and that its zealotry is total so I expect no better - the opposite of the 'halo effect', if you like.

It's clear from the document that Reynolds felt that action needed to be taken against unfairness and discrimination. I see nothing wrong in that - they are simply defending their interests (and those of their customers (although this customer doesn't believe that they give a toss about my interests!) against unfair assault.

As Pat eloquently said, who else will?

The only group of which I'm aware that has any connection with the tobacco industry is Forest. It makes no secret of this fact and exists to challenge the claims and demands of the tobacco control lobby. There is nothing improper about this.

Smokers (and tolerant non-smokers who can see further than the end of their own noses)find Forest - Forest doesn't conduct campaigns to 'recruit' foot soldiers to spread 'a carefully orchestrated set of messages'.

It would be difficult, in fact, to mobilise 'smokers'. Smokers are only non-smokers who just happen to smoke: they're not a homogeneous group. For some 30 years now they have quietly accepted increasing restrictions, so they haven't seen anything to fight against. The wave of global smoking bans, however, has proved for many to be a step too far.

If there is an orchestrated strategy going on it's on the part of the tobacco control lobby. Having accomplished the obviously huge milestone of smoking bans they're now cutting to the chase and being quite overt in their objective of total prohibition (interesting link on Kerry's thread 'Insight', posted by 'Dick Puddlecote')

BTW if you're interested in a professional endorsement of criticism of the 'evidence', a copy of a letter to "The Lancet" is on one of the comments.

Nigel Saint said...

Jay
I'm sure you've heard the comment made to the model who was the Winston man by a Reynolds executive.
He asked a group of Reynolds execs "Don't any of you smoke?"
One shook his head and said "Are you kidding? We reserve that right for the poor, the young, the black and the stupid."

Jay said...

I hadn't heard that quote, Nigel, but it reminds me of a story that I heard concerning a pharamaceutical company that had, as a by-product of its research, 'discovered' NRT.

The execs were discussing how to market it, given that it delivered nicotine, as smoking did, but without the pleasure of smoking. They knew that smoking rates were falling but people were quitting without using pharma aids. They came up with the idea of approaching the tobacco control lobby which, they knew from their close association with it, was keen to promote the idea of passive smoking as a way of encouraging smokers to quit. The pharmaceutical company could provide the means by which a case could be built from research, the tobacco control lobby would promote the case to Government and Government would create a huge market by legislation and endorsement of NRT by offering it free of charge through the NHS.

A rooky to the company asked whether NRT wouldn't become a victim of its own success. Of course not, replied a senior exec. Legislation can't stop people taking up smoking but harassment of smokers will lead to some to use our products. They won't really want to give up smoking so. when they've finished their course of NRT. because it's still delivering nicotine, they'll either start smoking again then switch to NRT amd continue to veer between the two or they'll persist with NRT. If legislation outlaws smoking altogether we've got them for life.

But isn't that cynical and dishonest, asked the rooky. We're not in the business of morality, replied the senior exec. We're in this to make money.

Nigel Saint said...

Jay
Both the pharmaceutical and tobacco industries are big, profit driven and cynical.

I think the tobacco industry quote shows a much greater contempt for smokers than yours.

The quote was made to David Goerlitz.
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CE7D8113FF93BA15752C1A965958260

helend498 said...

You really must keep up Nigel!

Dave Goerlitz has today abandoned the anti-tobacco movement. He cant stand the lies anymore. He cant stand TC stealing peoples money to line their own pockets.

http://www.tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/

Read it and weep.

Carlos said...

By the way Nigel you have to scroll down a bit on Helen's link to find the quote. Just being helpful and kind!!