Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Insight

In the interests of openness, seeing as Freedom2Choose restrict access to their site to those who agree with them, here's some more extracts (bad spelling and typos theirs, not mine). They've also been urging their members to vote in my website poll on CCTV cameras in Bristol - which was fairly obvious given the way the pendulum had suddenly started swinging.

"If she is foolish enough to argue that comparing labour policy to National Socialism is wrong and scaremongering then I'm afraid that her stand is indefensable, historical fact bears that out with a simple comparison of policies".

"Operation Barbarossa was Hitler's invasion of Russia, Hitler coined the term Totaleskrieg. It is historical fact, just as my points in reply to Mz Mcarthurs point are historical fact, they cannot be disputed and to try to do so would make her look like a nazi sypathiser."

"I have updated some of the points already made so please keep that in mind and I am still digesting Scaemes comments with a view to limiting Kerry's response while still beating the point she has made any thoughts on that would be helpful."

"[Suggested comment:] 'Why are you arguing about the Nazis Kerry? While I concede that the history of the Third Reich and Hitler's policies have a valuable place in the history of polititics and how they should not be conducted but where is the relevence here?'

I think that turns the issue around to her and kills the Nazi argument dead."

"I tend to agree with the above, although many can see the parallels with Hitlers SBE & health fanaticism, when dealing with people like McCarthy & other politicians & antis it's better not to give them the chance to fob us off as loonies, and I think F2c should always be promoted for what it is a PRO-CHOICE organisation.

I know it's hard not to get wound up, I get angrier by the day, but I'd leave out any reference to Hitler or nazi and just stick to a polite letter and present them with the evidence which totally debunks ASH.

Although I've referred to the SBE as a nazi policy on here, I haven't done so when writing letters. Any mentioin of Hitler or nazi just plays into their hands, to them mentioning these things, you've lost the argument before you started."

182 comments:

Terry said...

Kerry

Why are you so against CHOICE? Do you think Ash have a forum where people can question them, I think not. Seems like they only accept views identical to theirs. Now aren't you being hypocritical about Freedom2Choose?

Dick Puddlecote said...

You could be even more balanced by mentioning that ASH don't have a forum at all Kerry. Also, I think you are using the age old Labour tactic of verbal spin by saying that Freedom to Choose "restrict access to those that agree with them". As I have said before, I'm a member of a darts forum that restricts access to those who have become members, it is a standard policy replicated a million-fold on the web. What you SHOULD have said is "Freedom to Choose restrict access to registered forum members".

There ... isn't it better to have the truth instead of twisted spin? ;-)

Right, now that's been cleared up, what do you make of the EU plan to ban tobacco entirely? Wouldn't that fly in the face of your assertion that you aren't "interested in forcing smokers to quit"? I take it you will be opposing the measures in the interests of your constituents who enjoy the choice to smoke or not to smoke?

Dick Puddlecote said...

On the subject of people being urged to make their views known on polls (I took it from your post that you think this is not a good thing to do), would they not just be taking a lead from your own Department of Health who have a 'public' consultation going on at the moment, but are PAYING regional smokefree sites to whip up support for just ONE option via an 'e-postcard' which doesn't allow dissent?

http://www.smokefreenorthwest.co.uk/tobacco-free-future-e-postcard.html

Now forgive me for thinking that this is pretty rotten Government, but isn't a 'public' consultation meant to be unbiased? Why are the DoH paying DoH satellite organisations to skew statistics to return the results that the DoH want to see? Seeing as this is OUR money you are spending, isn't this Governmental fraud?

You know those statistics you say you have seen about the smoking ban saying it's all good and everybody is happy, no pubs are closing, hundreds of millions of people are now immortal, all that stuff ... well, how do you expect anyone to believe them if this is the way your Government gains its figures?

Terry said...

Kerry

Why are the Labour lunatics thinking of creating smoke free city areas, like in the case of Birmingham? Do you intend to lock up people for smoking outside? Where is your passive smoke argument on this point? You have said previously that it's only an inconvenience to go outside for a smoke, now they will need to walk outside the city limits. This madness gets worse by the day. Are you proud of this bullying?

soapy said...

Hi Kerry

It's kind of you to acknowledge my work, I would however appreceate it if you quote my work you actually quote it in context.

Please find below the entire document which I trust you will permit your posters to read and decide for themselves


First point - my comment about these responses being orchestrated by Forest, or other pro-smoking/ pro-choice groups. I was merely noting that these were people who already had a very fixed position on this issue, rather than representing a cross-section of views. Incidentally, it's interesting to note that recent press articles about the success of the smoking ban, citing the figures on heart attacks, public support, etc, have attracted only a handful of comments. Is this because they're moderated? Or is it more fun doling out abuse to an MP than to an anonymous journalist?

In response I would argue that the same is true of your position, I am sure that the idea of a compromise (Separate Licenced smokers facilities) was raised and ignored. Further points regarding the definition of democracy were also ignored, is that because you have no legitimate argument?

As for Freedom2Choose, we want to have the law amended to allow landlords to choose their own smoking policy, in their own private property.

We would like to facilitate some compromise with those who dislike the smell, and to give a better quality atmosphere for all concerned, we recommend that this amendment take into account an indoor air quality standard coupled with the use of modern air management systems which will allow both smokers and non smokers the opportunity to enjoy each others company inside an environment where the air quality is far better than that found outside.

After all the only sign and regulation that was ever needed, was one on the door which says "smoking pub", or "non smoking pub".

As for the press I find it absurd that you think the public can moderate them, it is true though that governments can either via the Official Secrets Act or a D-notice they also provide the figures which as we all know can be made to say whatever you like!

Personally I take an extremely dim view when a Member of Parliament cannot tell the difference between legal and constitutional criticism and abuse! It tells me that said MP’s have no place in government.

Second point - Godwin's law. The references to Nazis, etc are appalling. We're talking about a ban on smoking in pubs and clubs which means people have to stand on doorsteps - possibly in the cold and rain, admittedly - if they want to have a cigarette during an evening out. And - arguably - some pubs and clubs closing down. And that's comparable to millions of people being rounded up and sent to concentration camps and starved and gassed and shot? (See also the 'Hitler was a vegetarian argument').

Why are you arguing about the Nazis Kerry? While I concede that the history of the Third Reich and Hitler's policies have a valuable place in the history of politics and how they should not be conducted but where is the relevance here?

Third point - the scientific evidence on passive smoking was debated and discussed at great length before Parliament voted on the ban. I considered it carefully, particularly the evidence on whether or not better ventilation or smoking areas would achieve the same objective. I was, and remain, convinced that passive smoking is a genuine risk to public health. I've blogged before about the perils of citing scientific evidence in politics, as each side can usually find facts and figures which support its own prejudices (e.g. on the badger cull, on GM crops, on nuclear energy, to name just a few issues). All we can do as politicians is to try to be as open-minded as possible, read the available information, try to determine which evidence is genuinely independent (as opposed to being funded by the tobacco industry or the pharmaceutical industry) and take a steer from people whose opinions we respect (e.g. in this case, Dr Ian Gibson and Doug Naysmith, two MPs with a huge amount of experience in the health field and both with scientific backgrounds). Which I have done. I don't think the quote from ASH negates anything I've said here or on previous posts. To summarise, I haven't changed my mind about (a) the dangers of smoking, (b) the health benefits of giving up smoking, and (c) the dangers of passive smoking. You will no doubt accuse me of ignoring the evidence; I haven't, I just don't think it's authoritative or compelling.


Accepting your view that the scientific evidence is unreliable lets try a few facts:

The ASH SCIENTIFIC DATA is partly funded by the PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES!

Parliament is willing to accept the word of TWO scientists against views of their electorate, which on YOUR OWN BLOG is clearly ANTI NO-SMOKING BILL!

Are you really telling the public that even though ASH HAS ADMITTED THAT EVERYTHING YOU WERE TOLD IS A LIE AND A CON JOB that it DOES NOT NEGATE ANYTHING YOU’VE SAID OR BELIEVE?

Since you are DISPUTING YOUR OWN SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE then tell us what POSSIBLE DANGER IS THERE IN SMOKING?

IF THERE IS NO DANGER IN SMOKING THERE IS NO POINT IN GIVING UP SMOKING!

IF THERE IS NO DANGER IN SMOKING THEN WHERE IS THE DANGER IN PASSIVE SMOKING?

ACCORDING TO LAW SMOKING IS NOT A PRIMARY CAUSE OF DEATH AND NEITHER IS SMS ASK YOUR OWN CORONER GENERAL!

Kerry, did parliament and ASH use the 1988 Froggart Report to claim that ventilation doesn't work ? A report which anyone would guess is woefully out of date by now! Ventilation technology has advanced in leaps and bounds since then, while smoking prevalence has certainly reduced.

Modern systems are more advanced, also ventilation is deemed an acceptable alternative in the currently exempt premises including the bars in the House of Commons!

Have you considered the use of air curtains?

The main uses of air curtains are threefold. First, they increase the energy efficient operation of a building by preventing or reducing the unwanted exchange of hot and cold air at an entrance. Secondly, they improve comfort conditions in the entrance area by preventing or warming any incoming cold draughts, thus creating a pleasant and welcoming environment that is comfortable for staff and visitors alike. Finally, air curtain technology can be used to separate atmospheric zones within a building. For example, between smoke free and smoking zones; to keep out air that has been polluted by traffic fumes, smells, dust, pollen etc; to repel insects and also between areas of high and low humidity.

On the subject of toxins this is from Brighton Council on incinerators and the health implications. When you consider what is going to be put out into the air a bit of tobacco smoke pales into insignificance:

http://www.brighton.co.uk/inci....._Facts.asp

Also please consider this from the Lancet

The Lancet 2000; 356:336
DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)73616-3

The Lancet - Vol. 356, Issue 9226, 22 July 2000, Page 336

Correspondence

Setting the tobacco record straight?

P Karnauchow a

Sir

Reading the paper by Elisa Ong and Stanton Glantz,1 reminded me of the way in which the Canadian public were fooled by the Cancer Society in the 1960s, when the lung of a Cape Breton coal miner with anthracosis was presented as that of a smoker. Thus, neither side is entirely trustworthy. I can understand the desire of the tobacco industry to survive but fail to see the advantage to the public's health if tobacco lands in the hands of criminals as an illicit substance.

I was a pathologist for over 30 years and paid special attention to all I read about smoking so I could make a sound decision?to smoke or not to smoke. I have entered the tenth decade of my life, am retired, and have no connection with the tobacco industry other than being a consumer of their products. It is strange that there is so much written about ill effects of smoking and so little about the quality of research on the subject. Also, there are very few publications criticising that research, which suggests a presence of strict censorship. In 1985, Fielding reviewed the existing evidence on association of second-hand smoking and lung cancer, and found it wanting.2 Feinstein in 1989 criticised the existing epidemiological methodologies and suggested that they needed ?substantial improvement to produce trustworthy scientific evidence?.3 The 1992 US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) report was found by the judge of a South Carolina Superior Court, not by the peers, that it showed no significant association of lung cancer and second-hand smoke. Furthermore, he said that the EPA ?publicly committed to a conclusion before research has begun?.4 Should environmental and health and safety regulation be allowed to deviate from statistical standards? Why bother with statistics at all?

I have seen small-cell carcinoma of the lung in several true non-smokers, first or second hand. There is some confirmatory evidence that nonsmokers can have lung cancer.5 Clinical colleagues do not seem to have observed that fact. Because it is difficult to prove from the death certificates, and many medical records, who was not a smoker, putting all deaths down to smoking is scientifically improper. To speak of smoking, first or second hand, as a cause of cancer, is a prevarication.

A penchant to speak of lung cancer as if it was a single entity, is regrettably incorrect. One type, bronchioalveolar adeno-carcinoma, has shown an upsurge since 1955 and is still dominating the incidence charts. It has little, if anything at all, to do with smoking?its histology mimics a viral disease of South African sheep, jaagsiekte.

Now we know of several human neoplastic disorders caused by viruses and that in 1914 Rous discovered a chicken sarcoma virus. Is there anybody brave enough to try to repeat his experiment injecting filtrates from human cancers into suitably transgened mice? Not a chance, eh?

References

1. Ong EK, Glantz SA. Tobacco industry efforts subverting International Agency for Research on Cancer's second-hand smoke study. Lancet 2000; 355: 1253-1259. Abstract | Full Text | Full-Text PDF (106 KB) | MEDLINE | CrossRef

2. Fielding JE. Smoking: health effects and control. NEJM 1985; 313: 491-498. MEDLINE

3. Feinstein AR. Scientific standards in epidemiologic studies of the menace of daily life. Science 1988; 242: 1257-1263. MEDLINE

4. Science scope. Science 1998; 281: 497. MEDLINE

5. Davis DL, Hoel DG, Sterling TD, Rosenbaum WL, Weinkam JJ. Tobaccoassociated deaths. Lancet 1992; 340: 666-668. MEDLINE | CrossRef

Toxic gases inhaled in city centres and areas of heavy traffic-buses, lorries etc. are 60 x's more dangerous than any cigarette. Is heavy traffic banned?

Why was the SCOTH committee was fundamentally biased with 14 of the 16 members being in the pay of the pharma's?

What about the McTear case where Lord Nimmo-Smith ruled against smoking causing lung cancer?

I HOPE YOU FIND THE FACTS AUTHORITATIVE AND COMPELLING!

Fourth point - for me, passive smoking and its effect on bar/ restaurant staff was only one of the factors influencing my support for a ban on smoking in public places. This obviously isn't going to make me very popular with the Forest supporters, but I subscribe to the view that smoking is something that should be discouraged. Can any of you argue that smoking is a good thing, that it ought to be encouraged? Are you comfortable with the fact that British American Tobacco are now pushing their wares on children in the developing world, selling single cigarettes in a bid to get them hooked? You say it's a matter of choice. For you, yes. But my priority is young impressionable people who I don't want to see taking up smoking. They are more likely to do so if they see it as something which society tacitly encourages. And on the McDonald's point - I think it's a bad analogy; the Government is criticising junk food manufacturers and taking some steps against them as part of the obesity drive (e.g. the ban on pre-watershed junk food advertising, and vending machines in schools). The difference is that smoking is addictive. If someone is told their consumption of junk food is harming their health, they can give it up with a modicum of willpower. When my grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer she was completely incapable of quitting, after nearly 60 years of smoking. I remember her on her death bed, as she wasted away, asking 'how long does it take to die?' She died at 73; her three sisters died at 98, 100 and 101. My uncle's partner, who spent most of her working life on a production line in a factory where everyone smoked, died of lung cancer a couple of years ago, in her fifties, a few months after diagnosis. My dad - who smoked roll-ups and always insisted that the link between cancer and smoking, or cancer and diet was 'not proven' - died of cancer ten years ago this week. He was 56. So that's where I'm coming from.

To start, given your point of view you would not be popular with Forest anyway , and besides if you wanted to be popular why did you enter politics?

Now if you and your fellow MP’s are so concerned about passive smoking and its alleged effects why are you poisoning your bar staff in the Houses of Parliament by smoking?

I can and I will, Countless others and I suffer from depression. Cigarettes actually help keep me calm and stable along with the medication (which as a responsible adult I do not drink alcohol with) if you like I could give up smoking but how would you and your colleagues in the House and in ASH feel if I lost the plot and some innocent soul got hurt or worse?

The Pharmaceutical companies of course would love it, a nice little earner on the drugs needed to keep me from mangling the community!

Of course you will forgive me if I don't comment on the other depressants
points of view, Depression is pretty much a 'personal' illness and to speak for all depressants would be grossly misleading.

Foul snooker that little African child argument, firstly there are too many homeless and needy here which YOU are paid to MAKE SAFE, it sounds cruel I know and honestly I do sympathise , I agree they need help too but your FIRST PRIORITY IS THE PEOPLE YOU REPRESENT,

Let me ask you, are you comfortable passing legislation to stop smoking thus forcing BAT to target these unfortunate people?
It’s cause and effect Kerry, and since I come from an aviation background I know what happens when you ignore cause and effect PEOPLE DIE!

Some of the nicest, happiest people I know are overweight, most are a lot more content with their lives than us stick insects! Why make them miserable?
Speaking of food, do you intend banning bacon because of its links to cancer?
How about hamburgers for the same reason?
Bacon & sausages - why do they not carry health warnings?
Did you know that water, yes our very own H2O! Has more arsenic than cigarettes?

I can understand where you are coming from, my father recently died from stomach cancer, he was a fireman for 30 years half of which was working without Breathing Apparatus in fires, House fires have 100’s of times more carcinogens, toxins than all the cigarettes I’ll ever smoke tell me did my father die in the line of duty or did cigarettes kill him?

Fifth point - I was involved in discussions on this issue prior to Labour's 2005 election manifesto; in fact I argued for a full ban at Labour's National Policy Forum a few years prior to this, but John Reid won the day on that occasion. I agree it would therefore have been wrong for Government whips to have pushed the full ban through Parliament, given that it wasn't a manifesto commitment, but they didn't; there was a free vote. Parliament votes all the time on issues which aren't in the governing party's election manifesto - e.g. the recent free votes in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. So we were pledged to introduce a partial ban, and had a free vote on whether to take it further.

It is nice to see that the art of compromise is not completely lost in Parliament. Forgive my ignorance but this appears to be an end run to push through legislation that is neither mandated nor supported by the people who employ you. In the interests of fair and open government give the people a written statement as to how this situation came about?

Sixth point - John Reid frequently made the 'class' point, describing smoking as one of the few 'working class pleasures'. I didn't agree with him then, and I didn't agree with him now. I actually think it's just as patronising to say you're defending a working class pleasure as it is to say that the working class need to be saved from themselves. I don't draw a distinction between who smokes. I just think it's a bit disingenuous of Forest to push this line when their idea of effective political lobbying is to congregate in private members clubs in Belgravia and host champagne tea parties in the Commons.

Would you not agree it is just as patronising to legislate that smokers need to be saved from themselves? Worse still you dress it up as concern for non-smokers! As for Forest I cannot speak for them as I personally have no connection with them, however I will ensure that Forest gets a copy of this so that they may exercise their own right of reply.

Seventh point - public support for the ban. I was quoting figures widely reported in the press, and I don't think in any case you are saying you have majority support? I can only base it on published figures (and I've cited references for those) and what I've seen in my constituency. I've had virtually no complaints - two, I think - since the ban and one of those was from someone who said he wasn't allowed to smoke in his own home anymore. It doesn't come up on the doorsteps either (once, I think). As I've said, my office is based above a labour club, in which we hold our local party meetings. Customers there haven't complained to me. I have, I admit, had a couple of letters recently about the potential impact on corner shop profits if cigarettes have to be kept under the counter and packets of ten are banned; shop owners tell me that 25% of their profits are based on cigarette sales. I have some sympathy with them if they're facing a threat to their livelihood, but given that I think smoking is something which should be discouraged, I can't exactly condone the fact that their profits are made from selling cigarettes. We can't continue to promote cigarette sales just to keep them in business. (And just to reiterate, I'm not saying people should be prevented from smoking; I just don't think we should facilitate it. I'm not interested in forcing people to give up, but I want to make it easier for them, and I definitely do want to discourage young people from taking it up.) I think this also answers the point about why I don't think separate bars for smokers is a good idea.

I believe I have already commented on what gets into the press, and as is often heard in the house I refer the Honourable Member to that. I cannot comment on the response from your constituents, I do not live in Bristol, I will however refer back to my comment regarding BAT selling cigarettes in Africa and say my view of that is no different from yours on the potential impact on corner shop profits, but then I am not the one implying that corner shops deserve to go out of business because they sell cigarettes!

Our youths who are, have been and always will be naturally rebellious are more likely to take up smoking just because you say they can’t your law is counter productive, wilfully destructive and an affront to any one with a sense of morality, right, and common decency, it cost the NHS millions to implement while the government loses millions in cigarette and alcohol duty. Tell me Kerry who is going to make the shortfall? The hard pressed taxpayer is, every time you raise taxes part of them will go toward this folly, the very people you seek to protect will be forced to pay extra taxation to make the up the losses that the smokers and drinkers provide. You can have healthy voters or you can have happy voters who will vote for you ,YOU CANNOT HAVE BOTH!

Eighth point - I know quite a few smokers, and they all support the ban. Some didn't support it before it was introduced, but do now. Some have actually said they prefer being in non-smoky pubs, even though they are smokers themselves. I have not been approached by a single landlord in east Bristol about the impact on their business. I'm told dry-cleaners' business has also been affected, as people's clothes no longer stink of smoke after a night out. So should we reverse the ban just to keep them in business? It doesn't make sense. As for Ireland, my father lives in a very rural part of Carlow (not to be confused with the 'dad' I mentioned earlier, who was my stepfather from the age of two) and he says that it's actually a Government crackdown on drink-driving which has had the biggest impact on his local pubs, not the smoking ban which came in earlier. Old boys who would drive from their villages to the pub in the evenings now stay at home and drink alone. Which is sad, but does it mean Irish authorities should turn a blind eye to drink-driving?

Well I know a few smokers too, I also know a lot of non-smokers too most of whom are really nice tolerant people! Out of courtesy I choose to smoke away from the few that object, for most it is a question of choice they may socialise with me or not this does not offend me in the least. What does offend me is that the freedom to choose has been removed from smokers, non-smokers retailers and the hospitality trade in fact it is has been removed from every responsible adult in the country (Except MP’s who are apparently above the laws they create!) . I think the phrase RESPONSIBLE ADULTS is an excellent phrase don’t you? That is what we are, RESPONSIBLE ADULTS NOT ERRANT CHILDREN HAVING A TANTRUM BECAUSE YOU TOOK OUR TOY AWAY! Show us the respect that we have earned as citizens of this country then you may begin to earn ours!

As for dry cleaners well if the government does not give a damn then why should we? We give a damn all right, these are innocent traders caught up in a cold blooded war perpetrated by a government that does not care ( if they did they would not have enacted these foolhardy laws) fed by egotistical bigots who’s self confessed sole aim is to rid the world of people who exercise a legal right they do not approve of , thank you ASH for the destruction of innocent businesses (Dry cleaners launderers et al) and a very special thank you for the destruction of the Labour Party!

Like you I do not condone drink driving, but would you not agree that if the Garda and the British Police Authorities were not persistently bombarded with political interference and allowed to do the their job their way and actually police the country they would actually achieve something?
Without all the red tape and the poor ill brought up persecuted criminal rubbish that government has imposed on them over the years and to be fair Kerry it is not just the Labour party but all parties that are responsible for this, they could actually hunt down real criminals murderers and rapists, burglars and all the other assorted villains that your employers like to whine at you about.

In short no the Irish authorities should not turn a blind eye to drink driving, they should like the BPA’s be left to carry out their duties without continuous political interference.

Well Kerry there is plenty of food for thought on both sides of the divide shall we try to find some middle ground?

John Leslie Watson

DaveA said...

As the Scousers say, calm down. Lets get a few things straight here. F2C does not restrict any access to anybody, and it is impossible to do so. You are misleading people to say we pick and choose opinions, members and who can use the site. After all someone unfriendly has obviously supplied you with the information. I can't see any evidence on our site that your CCTV poll has been rigged. I can only think that you are sulking because it has the wrong result. Could you also point to where on the form that post is made as I read most of it. Also being burdened by a Labour Party Comprehensive education I fail to see many typos and spelling mistakes. May I suggest a large Merlot and a red Marlboro.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Terry, you have to realise that this is the party that gave us "Baa Baa Green Sheep", their lunacy knows no bounds. Their spots are still there so you know they are leopards. ;-)

By the way, if I've made any typos or spelling mistakes Kerry, I apologise. I'm just a dirty stupid smoker so it's to be expected.

(Bad Netiquette Kerry)
http://gemstate.net/gemstate/netiquette.htm

Kerry said...

On the issue of my website poll... The point of those polls is to gauge the opinion of my constituents (indeed, I'm only allowed to conduct polls on local issues). The exercise becomes completely pointless if a pressure group from outside the area mobilises its supporters - who have no idea what the situation re crime/ security is like in Bristol - to vote in line with a particular political agenda. I think there is a genuine debate to be had about the value of CCTV cameras in preventing or solving crimes, and whether this is outweighed by concerns about invasion of privacy. I know that some people who are strong advocates of the need to protect civil liberties are also quite keen on CCTV when it comes to their own neighbourhoods. But I think I'll do a postal survey of them instead - that way I'll know that the responses, although self-selecting to a point, are a fair reflection of my constituents' views.

Are you saying that Freedom2Choose doesn't block/ moderate comments from what you term 'antis'? If so, why are there references on your site to weeding out such people?

I have no idea what ASH do. Contrary to what you seem to believe, I've got no connection with ASH, haven't met with them, and have never looked at their website.

Soapy - I didn't quote your entire piece because I didn't see it all -(and even if I had, it's pretty long and rambling - not sure many of my readers would have stuck with it till the end). Also, I think you should make clear that the line "The references to Nazis, etc are appalling" is actually my quote, not your comment. But perhaps you could take this opportunity to say whether or not you agree with me on that, or do you think the Nazi comparisons are valid and proportionate and not at all distasteful?

Kerry said...

I'm not sure many of you have been following the 'bad netiquette' guide. How about: "Keep it short, yet concise"? Or "Follow the same standards of politenesss as you do in any other aspect of your life"?Although maybe you are doing the latter....

Terry said...

Kerry


You wrote

But perhaps you could take this opportunity to say whether or not you agree with me on that, or do you think the Nazi comparisons are valid and proportionate and not at all distasteful?

I write

If prohibition comes in, and this is where it's heading, and people are rounded up and locked up, it would be a good comparison.

Kerry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dick Puddlecote said...

I see nothing that is impolite Kerry. You seem to be out of touch with the anger that is prevalent in modern Labour society. Perhaps when you realise that you are making people very angry, you may understand how to counteract anti-social behaviour.

Do you not see that pressuring people to live to your expectations all the time will only serve to push some into giving up trying to be civil at all?

So, if you are accepting Netiquette (which I presume you are as you have thrown accusations at posters here), I expect you will be doing the decent thing and apologising for the spelling & typos slur? ;-)

Dick Puddlecote said...

"Or "Follow the same standards of politenesss as you do in any other aspect of your life"?Although maybe you are doing the latter...."

My you are a polite individual aren't you? I think insults are covered in the 'respect' part of the Netiquette rules. ;-)

And I fully understand that you meant to type "when" instead of "wehn" so I won't mention it. Nice, aren't I? :-)

Kerry said...

Sorry - should make it clear that when I say "I have no idea what ASH do' I mean regarding having a web forum or whatever.

You see nothing that is impolite? Is calling someone "hypocritical", "naive", "ditzy" (would you use either of those two words about Alan Johnson, or other male MPs? I suspect not), a Nazi, a bully, etc, etc, your idea of politeness?

Terry said...

Kerry

You asked a question I answered it. Your question was

But perhaps you could take this opportunity to say whether or not you agree with me on that, or do you think the Nazi comparisons are valid and proportionate and not at all distasteful?

I replied

If prohibition comes in, and this is where it's heading, and people are rounded up and locked up, it would be a good comparison.


Now Kerry if this was the case, would you agree it would be a good comparison??

Dick Puddlecote said...

"You see nothing that is impolite? Is calling someone "hypocritical", "naive", "ditzy" (would you use either of those two words about Alan Johnson, or other male MPs? I suspect not)"

I was talking about the comments you have pasted in your original post, none of those above are present there. I take it you mean that those words are on Freedom to Choose's forum, which I haven't seen. I was referring to the fact that it has to be said the quotes you provide are very eloquent and polite compared with the vast majority of internet Forum posts. (you're on Facebook, compare and contrast).

As for calling Alan Johnson such names. 1) Hypocritical - check! 2) Naive - check! 3) Ditzy - maybe not, but seeing as he is of the opinion that the smoking ban actually HELPED the pub trade despite 2,000+ recorded closures, I would replace the 'it' in that word with a simple 'o', 4) Bully - check! 5) Nazi - I don't think anyone here has called you or anyone else a Nazi, it's disingenuous of you to say so. They have drawn parallels with Labour anti-smoking policy and the proponents of the first ever European smoking ban. If you don't like the comparison, perhaps the problem lies in the policy.

westcoast2 said...

Kerry wrote:
In the interests of openness, seeing as Freedom2Choose restrict access to their site to those who agree with them

Clearly not, if you obtained these comments. The person who sent them to you is probably unlikely to fully agree at this time.

Still rather than obtain your comments indirectly, please feel free to join the forum. There is a wealth well researched information to be found there.

Of course Freedom2choose has a wide diversity of opinion and some people are more forthright than others. The one common thread though is tolence.

You would be welcome.

west
----

westcoast2 said...

spelling not my strong point...

Tolence=Tolerance

The common thread is tolerance of course.

west
---

soapy said...

Soapy - I didn't quote your entire piece because I didn't see it all -(and even if I had, it's pretty long and rambling - not sure many of my readers would have stuck with it till the end). Also, I think you should make clear that the line "The references to Nazis, etc are appalling" is actually my quote, not your comment. But perhaps you could take this opportunity to say whether or not you agree with me on that, or do you think the Nazi comparisons are valid and proportionate and not at all distasteful?

To clarify the document they are responses to your blog 'smoking it' in which I copied your responses under which I wrote my own by section, I apprecieate that as a busy MP you do not have time to read every word and that that 'skimming documents' is how it done in parliament I would submit that it is bad practice borne out by the fact "I didn't quote your entire piece because I didn't see it all" As for my comment on "Totaleskrieg" that was never even connected with your 'smoking it ' blog.

which brings me to the meat in the sandwich, Nazism.

What the Nazi's did went far beyond appalling! they removed peoples rights to vote, they persecuted minorities experimented on jews, gypsies and other minorities in the name of health care, murdered millions in the name of health and racial purity. You mentioned Totaleskrieg on this blog I would like to see if your definition is the same as mine, perhaps you would enlighten me?

Of coures HItler ordered the motorways builtreducing his unemployment problem and the Volkswagen Beetle,of course which still is a firm favourite car in many countries!

On comparisons would you not agree that state interference was a major facet of life under the Nazi's?

Would you also not agree that Hitler instituted a smoking ban on health grounds in 1941/2 and second hand smoke is based on the nazi concept of 'passivrauchen'.

I will allow that campaign smearing bacon and sausages as cancer threats and Hitler being a vegitarian are coincidence.

Most critical is the removal of the right to choose, is the removal of the right to smoke any less reprehensible than Hitler removing the right to vote?

Yes I think they are valid, yes they are proportionate and yes both the Nazi and Nu-Labours policies are not only distasteful but that there is little difference between them.

My Grandfather fought with montgomery and the Desert Rats he distinguished himself and his regiment winning the George Cross (Scond only to the Victoria Croos by the way)and for what? you tell me for what?

Finally these are my own personal views I actually am not a member of any organisation so these views are not representative of any organisation.

Kerry said...

I don't think removing the right to vote is what Hitler is primarily remembered for, or associated with, is it?

soapy said...

If the standard of education was not so deplorable they probably would!

soapy said...

sorry perhaps a little unfair but yes when Hitler made himself Chancellor and Fuerer elections were stopped allegedly for him to restore order, the order was never recinded by Hitler.

soapy said...

Actually may I refer you to Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler?

Kerry said...

I've read the former, and bits of the latter as part of my politics degree. What are you suggesting I would learn from them?

Terry said...

I repeat

Kerry

You asked a question I answered it. Your question was

But perhaps you could take this opportunity to say whether or not you agree with me on that, or do you think the Nazi comparisons are valid and proportionate and not at all distasteful?

I replied

If prohibition comes in, and this is where it's heading, and people are rounded up and locked up, it would be a good comparison.


Now Kerry if this was the case, would you agree it would be a good comparison??


I can only deduce you are stuck for words Kerry.

Terry said...

Kerry

I will continue to repost this until you answer.

soapy said...

Iam suggesting that you revisit them then compare Hitlers views in
Mein Kampf replace the word Jew with smoker then take very hard look at your party's policies!

Terry said...

Kerry

I am calling you a liar. You have refused to comment on my point as it might incriminate you. You believe prohibition is the aim. If you are right, you will arrest and lock up SMOKERS just like Hitler did with the Jews. Mass discrimination against a certain group of people. I hope you can sleep at night.

soapy said...

well I would like to thank you for taking time to debate this issue with me, appreiciated all the more as I am not even one of your constituants.

I hope that given the sensitivity of the subject you found the debate healthy and civil.

Finally I look forward to further debate person to person as opposed to Person to politition if you have the time.
good night

Jay said...

Kerry,

If there are lessons to be learned from Nazism, one surely must be that it is very easy for those in positions of trust and authority to demonise a group of people and re-inforce their unacceptablility until the majority tacitly accepts that any treatment meted out to the group is acceptable.

The Government has accepted disreputable evidence, cynically presented by the tobacco control lobby, and has passed legislation that says that people who smoke are endangering the lives of others to such an extent that they must not be accommodated in a structure that is more than 49% enclosed. People who endanger others' well-being are committing a 'crime against the person'. Do victims of such crimes hate the crime but still love the criminal? Not unless they're saints - witness the quotes provided by another poster, all along the lines of hating smokers, hoping they die in agony, and so on.

The floodgates have been opened, by the Government's legislation, for prejudice and discrimination against smokers to be practised with impunity. It ranges from the ridiculous, such as open air car parks displaying signage that it's against the law to smoke, to the serious: social services deciding to refuse to place children in foster homes where the parents smoke (smokers are no better than child abusers); employers running job ads that say that only non-smokers need apply (smokers don't enhance our company, they're less productive) and the NHS refusing treatment (smokers don't deserve it).

I see parallels.

Dick Puddlecote said...

"On the issue of my website poll... The point of those polls is to gauge the opinion of my constituents (indeed, I'm only allowed to conduct polls on local issues). The exercise becomes completely pointless if a pressure group from outside the area mobilises its supporters"

On the issue of Department of Health 'public' consultations ... the point of these consultations is to gauge the opinion of citizens with an interest. The exercise becomes completely pointless* if a pressure group who has been paid by Government mobilises its supporters**

* not to mention an expensive waste of tax-payers' money

** the pressure group in this instance being the Labour Government itself, and no doubt backed up by the heavily pharma-funded usual suspects.

Kerry: You want the Bristol East electorate to give you their views on CCTV in your constituency and I make you absolutely right on that. So, by the same token, will you fight for the public to actually have a say in health legislation or will you continue to allow single interest groups to hijack the whole process for their own ends?

If you REALLY want the truth and aren't just taking the mickey, why not have a word with Alan Johnson and get him to run a proper 'public' consultation rather than paying 'SmokeFree {insert region here}' money to circumvent democracy?

Terry said...

Kerry

This is not an insult, but a question. Are you a coward?? If not you will answer a simple question. Here goes again.

I repeat

Kerry

You asked a question I answered it. Your question was

But perhaps you could take this opportunity to say whether or not you agree with me on that, or do you think the Nazi comparisons are valid and proportionate and not at all distasteful?

I replied

If prohibition comes in, and this is where it's heading, and people are rounded up and locked up, it would be a good comparison.


Now Kerry if this was the case, would you agree it would be a good comparison??

Kerry said...

Terry - I've been with the Immigration Minister, talking about constituency issues. I hardly think your point is worth answering though - you raise the spectre of people being prosecuted for smoking (not on the political agenda at all) and you compare this with what happened in Nazi Germany, i.e. being rounded up en masse, taken to labour camps, starved, experimented upon, gassed in huge numbers or buried alive in mass graves. Previous posts also compared what is happening to smokers now - being made to go outside to have a cigarette, paying tax on their purchases, being 'disapproved of' I suppose, what else? - with what happened in Nazi Germany.

Jay is the only person who has raised what I would regard as serious, debatable issues - "social services deciding to refuse to place children in foster homes where the parents smoke (smokers are no better than child abusers); employers running job ads that say that only non-smokers need apply (smokers don't enhance our company, they're less productive) and the NHS refusing treatment (smokers don't deserve it)." Do you have examples of this? Difficult to comment without knowing circumstances, but my initial response would be: (a) I believe passive smoking harms children's health, but if prospective foster parents were aware of that and took appropriate steps - e.g. smoking outside - I don't think smoking should be a bar to fostering; (b) presumably being in favour of freedom of choice, you'd support employers' rights to choose who they employ? and (c) if smokers have been denied NHS treatment, as with the obese, it would be because their smoking/ weight means that treatment wouldn't be successful, or could even endanger their lives - or it would be that the best cure for their ailments would be to stop smoking.

I'd need convincing that discrimination in these areas is a widespread problem; never been contacted by a constituent and as far as I know, it's not been raised by any other MP in the House.

But comparable to the fate of Jews and others in Nazi Germany? I don't think so. (A better comparison, if you really feel that discriminated against, might be with black people during segregation in the deep South - though even that would be a gross distortion).

So Terry, to answer your question. Do I think it's a good comparison? No, I think it's a bit sick.

Terry said...

Kerry wrote

you raise the spectre of people being prosecuted for smoking (not on the political agenda at all)

Here we go then Kerry

An Irish MEP has called for a total ban on tobacco products across the European Union within 15 years.

Avril Doyle, head of the Irish faction within the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), on Tuesday told a Brussels conference on how to prevent the tobacco industry from lobbying EU politicians that she wants cigarettes and cigars illegal in Europe by 2025.


Earlier this week, the European commission unveiled plans to make Europeans pay a lot more for cigarettes by hiking excise taxes (Photo: wikipedia)
Print
Comment article
"I would be happy to see a long-term target date, say 2025, when it would be illegal to sell tobacco products in the EU," she said to an applauding crowd of parliamentarians and global health experts.

"That would give them 15 years' notice for all our citizens to realise just how serious we are about not allowing their continued sale in the EU, and hopefully elsewhere," she added.

Ms Doyle, who sits on the steering committee of the EPP, the largest political group in the EU assembly, organised the conference, which was tasked with developing ways for the EU to comply with what anti-smoking campaigners call the most important article of the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, Article 5.3, which requires its signatories to prevent lobbying by tobacco companies on any public health policies.

The current EU health commissioner, Androulla Vassiliou, also in attendance, declared to the audience of health professionals and anti-smoking campaigners: "I am ready to commit today to not accept any invitation coming from the tobacco industry or those working in its interests so long as I hold office."

She said she expects a European Commission and member state decision on how to implement the article to be achieved by September, adding: "It wouldn't make much sense if only the commission acted in this way," and called on other public bodies to not talk to tobacco lobbyists either.

Talk of banning tobacco and tobacco lobbyists came as the commission unveiled plans to make Europeans pay a lot more for cigarettes by hiking excise taxes.

The commission wants to harmonise tobacco taxes across Europe in order to discourage smoking and clamp down on smuggling.

Terry said...

Kerry

Is it also not on the agenda to ban smoking OUTSIDE in city centres?

Carlos said...

Kerry
At the moment yes the treatment of smokers is more like that of Blacks in the Southern states or in Apartheid South Africa. Being denied places to go and even places to congregate with threats of being made criminals. I am sorry but that is NOT a minor inconvenience. Similar also given they both are based on dodgy science.

Not to mention what you failed to answer in an earlier blog- that restaurants, pubs and the like arent public places they are privately owned. The owner pays taxes, runs the cost of business and pays his/her employees. Thus a business owner should have the right to offer amenities such as the luxury of smoking on their premises to better serve their customers. This is not as much about smoking or not, this is about government taking away the freedom and right of a business to serve a particular type of customer that is participating in a legal activity. Tobacco control always tries its best to go against private property rights as it knows it stands no chance. Now about the so called poor "innocent" hospitality workers-ok a lot of them smoke anyway and perhaps want to be in smoking environments. Then of course there are some nonsmokers most of which dont mind smoking. The antismokers in any sane person's view are thus unfit to hold such jobs. They should seek work in a voluntarily nonmsking environment and there were plenty before the ban including most restaurants and plenty of pubs. Why wasnt the property rights issue addressed in the 3 hours of the St Valentine's Day massacre(14the February 2006 vote)?

Now can you name 10 people who have been proven to be killed by passive smoking(ie written on their death certificates) in your constituency??

Kerry said...

One Irish politician says something... You should see what Iris Robinson has been saying lately. Doesn't mean it's 'on the political agenda' (thank God).

http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2008/07/meet-most-anti-gay-mp-in-house-of.html#links

And Labour doesn't belong to the European People's Party (EPP); we belong to the PES.

The death certificate point has come up a number of times. Obviously if someone contracts lung cancer through exposure to SHS, or dies of an asthma attack, it's going to say cancer or asthma on the death certificate, not passive smoking. In the same way that if someone contracts lung cancer, oral cancer, or emphysema through smoking, it's not going to say smoking. I've actually taken the time to check this out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cause_of_death

Carlos said...

Kerry

precisely- meaning the "smoking-related" deaths cant be legally proven as such. There could be a variety of other factors in that person's lifestyle. A bit different as direct cause to showering with a lit cigarette in petrol.


Iris Robinson is Northern Irish, this MEP is from the South. I know PES is a different grouping but if one looks at them closely their policies are almost the same. Things in the European Parliament are often determined through "intergroups" that can vary from finance to animal rights. These have members from different groupings(for example the EPP-ED or the PES)and conduct agenda separate from the groups. So it kind of has to do with every MEP including our(F2C's) allies.

Anyway links for Birmingham: http://www.birminghammail.net/news/birmingham-news/2008/07/22/smokers-face-street-ban-in-birmingham-97319-21381960/

for the Irish MEP: http://euobserver.com/9/26515

Carlos said...

Kerry

one more thing check out the court case of Alfred McTear where it was impossible in court to establish active smoking as a cause of lung cancer.

Terry said...

Kerry

You find the comparison to Nazi Germany sick. How about a comparison to Waco, and the complete mind control of David Koresh over people. They still believed he was right while they were burning to death. Modern day Ash and their followers are no different. Evidence is there to prove SHS is a lie but they and you refuse to believe it.

Nigel Saint said...

Carlo
About smoking on death certificates, do you really not understand or are you being obtuse?

Can I give you a nice easy analogy?
If someone jumps out of an aircraft without a parachute it is the hitting the ground part that kills you.

By your way of thinking you would presumably argue that there is no proof that jumping out of planes without a parachute kills people?

Belinda said...

Nigel

I don't think you understood that Carlo answered Kerry's point that smoking is not a cause of death on a death certificate. The whole point is that you can't say for certain that a specific cancer or heart failure was caused by smoking to the exclusion of all other factors including genetic ones ... like you can say that someone was carried off with a smallpox virus, for example.

Kerry - I was interested in the observation that an employer ought to be able to choose whether to employ smokers or not. Actually I don't accept that point, for at least two reasons: 1. that by the same argument you should be allowed not to employ black people, gays, women or disabled people and 2. you (the government) have made employing smokers more difficult by forbidding employers from providing a smoking room or even allowing people to smoke at their desks if no one else is present. Why is an employer encouraged to express a preference for non-smokers, but not allowed to provide reasonable facilities for smokers?

I would have thought it clear to someone in the Labour movement that many employers will fall gladly on any excuse to control workers. I have heard about supermarket workers sacked for smoking during working hours while on extended night duty, under contractual terms that prevented them leaving the building during working hours.

I would also point out that in the desert state of Niger, smokers can face up to three months in prison for smoking at work ... I wonder if Amnesty International would object to this kind of thing these days. Could that kind of thing take place in a country like ours?

Pat Nurse said...

Hi Kerry,

I can tell you that I have been refused NHS treatment because I smoke. My GP tells me that the op that was refused is a difficult one - nothing to do with smoking - and the consultant who refused the op probably did so on smoking grounds because it is a very difficult op to perform and to use smoking as an excuse meant he didn't even have to attempt it.

Secondly, I have seen many times job adverts for "non-smokers only" and I have heard of smokers being sacked because of being smokers. I can give the name of an accountancy firm in my town which does this regularly.

Yes, employers have the right to choose who they employ, but they don't have the right to discriminate against anyone, black,asian, muslim, white, working class, fatty, or smoker if that person is qualified and able to do the job efficiently.

I frightens me that you appear to back those employers who discriminate. I'm sure you wouldn't say it was an employers right to choose if a job was advertsied to "Whites only" or "men only".

Please respond. I'd like to know your thoughts on this as a Labour MP.

Terry said...

Could someone please help me with this. Kerry believes passive smoke kills, people must be protected. However Prison Warders are not protected, now surely this is negligence and will lead to the govt being sued for manslaughter or murder. Perhaps Nigel can help.

puppet freezone said...

Nigel,

I don't think your analogy works at all. If someone dies as a result of a parachute jump, and the death is directly due to damage on impact, then that leaves no room for doubt of the cause of death.

However, the term 'smoking-related diseases' is bandied about and mistakenly believed to mean that only smokers die of these diseases, which is patently untrue. I have lost a relative to lung cancer who never smoked, avoided smokers and smoky environments all their life and lived in the countryside, I have also known people who have died from stroke and heart disease who never smoked, as well as a non-smoking woman who has emphysema. On the other hand, I've had relatives who smoked well into their 90's with no apparent ill-effects, and the press carried a story recently of (yet another) elderly person who just turned 100, with no chest, lung or heart problems and has been smoking most of his life.

My point is that the actual cause of whatever results in death is not absolute when it comes to smoking. If it were then no-one would survive the act, let alone reach extremely old age with no ill-effects.

Every day it seems something else that was previously considered innocuous is announced to be a cancer risk. How do we know that the hike in lung cancers that has played itself out in recent decades doesn't actually correlate with exposure to asbestos, or radon, or pesticides, or diesel pollution, or the high levels of radiation experienced by frequent flyers (I'm reliably informed by someone in that area of work that pilots are restricted in terms of the amount of time they can spend 'up there' because of the known dangers of exposure to solar radiation at those high altitude frequencies), nuclear fallout radiation, etc. etc.

It's obviously easier for everyone to just blame smoking, but common sense and a bit of objectivity tells us that diesel pollution, industrial output, fires, barbecues etc. must be a far greater threat.

Which of the following would you be most likely to survive - being locked in a sealed room with a smoker for a day, or being locked in a sealed room with a running car?

Nigel Saint said...

Belinda and Puppet
I posted in a hurry and should have gone on to say that the death certificate for the person who fell from a plane would record something like 'multiple injuries'.

In extremely rare cases people survive falling several miles - in the 2nd world war a bomber crew member jumped from a burning plane without his parachute, hit some young trees on a slope before falling fell into a soft snowdrift and surviving.

In Carlos's world this would mean that falling from planes can't be proved as a killer, because the plane isn't mentioned on the death certificate and occasionally someone survives. That is an awfully long way from saying that it is safe.

"In patients who have squamous carcinoma of the lung, 98% of them are cigarette smokers, 2% of them are never-smokers." (from the McTear case). You might not be able to prove from this that smoking causes squamous carcinoma of the lung, but you'd be pretty silly to draw the conclusion that smoking has no role in the development of this form of tumour.

There is a long way between something being proved to cause death and something being safe.


And Soapy, "ASH HAS ADMITTED THAT EVERYTHING YOU WERE TOLD IS A LIE AND A CON JOB "

They have never "ADMITTED THAT EVERYTHING YOU WERE TOLD IS A LIE "

Belinda said...

So the statement bandied about by the likes of ASH that 'passive smoking kills' may he hyperbole, then?

Belinda said...

I think we could say, Nigel, that there are umpteen factors that we could leave out of death certificates but this would not mean that they were not a factor in the death. Just because the genetic factor is not mentioned on the death certificate in the case of a lung cancer death, does this prevent it from being critical in any specific case? What about a lifetime's work exposure to toxic substances, or living near a busy road? None of these things are mentioned on death certificates yet all are factors in conditions that we are taught to call 'smoking related'.

This is why it is nigh on impossible to say categorically that a death is caused by smoking. We are dealing with vagaries and speculation.

Kerry said...

Re employment - I was making the point that Freedom2Choose seem to have a libertarian agenda, that people should be free to make their own choices. So does that include employers?

I am also intrigued as to whether you all regard yourself as 'smokers' or just as 'people who smoke'. There's a difference. You seem to be saying that smoking is your identifying characteristic, that it is what you are - rather than something you choose to do (or carry on doing against your better judgment, depending where you stand on the addiction issue).

Is it really the most important thing about you? Is it as important to you as a black or Asian person's racial identity would be to him/ her, or a Muslim's religious identity, or a woman's gender, or a blind person's disability?

To take this further - I follow a vegan diet. I don't see my prime identity as being "a vegan". It's just a very small facet of who I am. It means I'm restricted in terms of choices - as to what restaurants I can eat in, what shops I go to, how much I pay for things, going without food on occasions - but I accept it as a consequence of the choice I have made and work around it.

Terry said...

Nigel

Stop avoiding the question that scares you.

I repeat

Could someone please help me with this. Kerry believes passive smoke kills, people must be protected. However Prison Warders are not protected, now surely this is negligence and will lead to the govt being sued for manslaughter or murder. Perhaps Nigel can help.

Terry said...

Kerry

You haven't answered many questions, one being about Birmingham banning smoking in the city centre, will this just be another inconvenience added to the certain death of prison warders?

helend498 said...

Kerry
If passive smoking is so bad, why then is it allowed in the Stanger's Bar in the Houses of Commons? Why has the ban been overturned in places within the EU Parliamentary buildings? Could it be that the 'inconvenience' of popping outside is a bit more of an 'inconvenience' than people envisaged, so there are different rules for the MPs and MEPs?

Also, the EU has just responded over the amount of deaths due to passive smoking - their response was 'None'.

There are also many boroughs that have begun to adopt or are considering adopting policies to prevent smokers being foster carers. Discrimination again. Bracknell Forest Borough Council is just one of many examples

Terry said...

You can guarantee one thing, Kerry and Simon Templer will not answer questions about prison warders. What can they say, well yes it's murder or don't be silly there is no risk. Come on Kerry you're an MP answer the question.

Belinda said...

Kerry

I am not sure if you have visited the F2C forums or just had things reported to you, but I would not describe myself as libertarian and I am not alone.

As far as smokers are concerned, yes I would expect to take on the 'best person for the job', and if they were a smoker, to provide them with reasonable facilities.

As for the identity thing: I am not sure that being a vegan is a valid comparison. It would be closer if the government had taken action to close health food shops and vegan restaurants! One thing that makes people identify themselves as a group is being attacked, and you had quoted to you in another thread some of the insults that are regularly levelled at smokers. If the public attitude to smoking is benign there is no need for any kind of defensive behaviour.

Veganism is a deliberate choice and it must seem implicit in being vegan that you pass up on eating out frequently with friends unless you are all vegans together.

Smoking on the other hand is something that many people have grown up with as a social thing: it has been commonplace in households and community gatherings. Removing smoking from such gatherings is an attack (probably unintentional, but shocking nevertheless) on people's social routines, and it is unsurprising that they are angry about it. The government has even prevented people from running smokers' clubs. You bang on about smoking being addictive and then take away people's right to associate in public while smoking except in a shelter that would be illegal to house animals in ... this could be described as calculated inhumanity and it may be that some people in your constituency are grateful but maybe they have nice homes and gardens or something like that, so not too severely inconvenienced. To get back to the comparison with veganism however, it is the government that has attacked the opportunity of smokers to mix with each other in a way that makes them comfortable. This has not happened to vegans. But I suspect that any publicly sanctioned attack on vegans' life choices would make you very unhappy and seek to identify with other vegans.

Pat Nurse said...

Hi Kerry,

I can't speak for others but I consider myself a smoker. It does define who I am. It is very much a part of me. I feel personally abused, neglected and ignored when smoking is treated as a trivial issue. I don't feel that my country wants me or that I am any use to anyone when I'm excluded from jobs or public places because of who I am. That's how I see it.

Smoking certainly isn't trivial to me (it is not an issue of my making). It is the main part of my life and the main thing that I do. I simply ask for respect and tolerance even from those who don't like "smokers" in the same way that I tolerate and respect those people who are alien to me.

Some smokers might be "people who smoke". I have smoked all of my life. I can't accept the argument that smokers are non-smokers without a fag in their hand as has been suggested.

I have considered giving up but to be honest, I've dug my heels in more since the anti-smoking propaganda - worse over the last 10 years - has made people see me as a suicidal serial killer and akin to a child abuser.

If I didn't smoke, I wouldn't be me. I believe that being a vegetarian is part of what makes you the person you are even though you may have other aspects to your life. If it wasn't, you'd do something else more in line with your character. It seems logical and natural to me that an animal lover like yourself should be a vegetarian. Evil people abuse animals because their nature dictates it. I'll bet none of them are veggies.

All my friends are smokers. I feel awkward with those who don't smoke. I work to buy cigarettes. It is one of my main motivators. Being unable to buy them as a single parent was what led me to better my employment prospects. I don't go on holiday to places where there are draconian bans. I wouldn't enjoy myself or feel comfortable because I couldn't be me.

Am I addicted? I believe that I am physcologically addicted - IE : it's a lifelong habit that I'd hate to do without. I would need a personality change. (I've smoked from the age of 8)

Am I addicted in the same physical way as a heroin addict or an alcoholic? Absolutely not. I don't get cold turkey without a fag. I don't get ill. I don't feel a physical need to steal for cigarettes if I haven't got any. I never have even in harder times..

I hope this helps, at least from my point of view, to explain why as a smoker - which I find even more descriptive of who I am than my ethnicity - I am so upset at the discrimination which could lead to my unemployment, one day not too far away in the future, if action on equal opportunities for smokers is not taken now.

I always believed that if a smoking ban became a reality, the Govt would have to make laws to protect smokers from discrimination because the ban, in my opinion, encourages people to practice it.

Kerry said...

Smoking isn't allowed in the Strangers Bar. I've seen the video of people smoking in there and it seemed pretty obvious to me that they knew they were being filmed and were performing for the camera. Of course they should have been stopped by the bar staff, but that doesn't mean it's allowed.

Terry said...

Kerry ducks the question yet again. You are showing yourself up Kerry.

Kerry said...

I'm not replying to you Terry because I don't like your tactics or your manner (on this and previous posts). I could answer your questions in less time than it takes me to type this, but if I do you will no doubt start harranging me about something else.

Terry said...

Kerry

You say passive smoke kills, you are therefore killing prison warders. What is so difficult to understanding about this point? You are afraid to answer.

puppet freezone said...

Bravo Pat,

I've been contemplating that question and your answer saved me a great deal of time. You have described exactly how I feel.

It's something I've done my whole life too, it's often been the only thing that has enabled me to survive the very hardest of times, and the current anti-smoker climate makes me feel as though I am being forced (by something I can only describe, from the receiving end, as psychological battery) to change who I am. Not only to change, but to change into someone/something that I do not want to be.

Terry said...

Well everyone I've heard it all. Smokers are now discriminated against, insulted, isolated, laughed at and Kerry doesn't like my manner. All I can say is absolutely pathetic. God only knows how she would feel if she was a smoker.

Dick Puddlecote said...

A superb post Pat. I think the main problem in all of this is that non-smokers will never understand smokers and ASH (and their 'coalition' their words not mine) are exploiting this for their own selfish agenda. The result is an extremely ugly attitude toward smokers from people who have to have someone to look down on and discriminate against. With Labour (quite rightly) having eradicated discrimination of a whole host of different froups, smokers are the target of vile abuse emanating from those who are just spiteful by nature and should be marginalised themselves. It's a shame that Labour are pandering to these types and giving fuel for their anti-social behaviour.

I still find it incredibly that Shisha bars are banned too. I mean, what sort of 'defending the staff' argument can one make for people who apply for work in a place in which the sole point of the business is to smoke?

As for the point about a hypothetical smokers club for smoking-only members being disallowed, that is simply because the whole pack of cards law would come crashing down if it WERE allowed - in short, freedom of association with like-minded individuals being limited for political reasons.

Dick Puddlecote said...

"Jay is the only person who has raised what I would regard as serious, debatable issues"

Kerry, this is extremely disappointing as it means you somehow don't think the DoH fraudulently manufacturing anti-democratic statistics with taxpayers' money is a serious, debatable issue.

Jay said...

Kerry, Here are two links wrt the issue of foster carers:

http://www.bracknell-forest.gov.uk/non-smoking-policy-for-carers.pdf

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article703574.ece

DaveA said...

Kerry you wrote "Re employment - I was making the point that Freedom2Choose seem to have a libertarian agenda, that people should be free to make their own choices. So does that include employers?"

You are making my point. Pubs are employers and they should have the right to choose their own smoking policy. BTW I have not smoked in an office since 1991, so have accepeted, albeit reluctantly restrictions.

Terry: If you are reading this post, keep the language and vitriol down to reasonable standards. You are not doing your or our cause amy favours.

helend498 said...

Kerry

You ask "I am also intrigued as to whether you all regard yourself as 'smokers' or just as 'people who smoke'. "

I can assure you that not everyone involved in F2C is a smoker. There are many non-smokers fighting for smokers rights, and the site is actually a pro-choice one, not a pro-smoking one.

Although the smoking ban is probably the main issue at the moment, a person's freedom to choose is more important, and all citizens should be catered for without being bullied and discriminated against.

Terry said...

Davea

I beg your pardon, you mean the ever growing lost cause. I have asked reasonable questions and received no reply, this is not acceptable, I would further note all polite posters are receiving no reply.

Because smokers have sat back and been apathetic we are where we are. Had 20 odd million marched on the capital this would have never happened.

Kerry said...

It's gone 9pm on the first day of recess - and I am still in the office. I simply don't have time to pick up on all these points - so I'm exercising my freedom to choose which ones. (And I wouldn't still be here at this time of night if I'd ignored everyone!)

As I've said before - if you're a constituent you can contact me in the usual way and will receive a full response. I can't do the job of every other MP in the country.

Jay said...

Here is a link about NHS discrimination towards smokers:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2007/oct/01/health

The article deals with the issue of non-emergency surgery. The rationale behind denying smokers treatment is that, as non-smokers, their outcomes would be better. It follows that smokers are being denied treatment in favour of non-smokers whose outcomes will be 'better'.

This is discrimination, no matter how you dress it. I would also like to see the evidence which supports the case that outcomes for non-smokers are 'better' than for smokers. I wouldn't be surprised if none actually exists. It now seems to be accepted that no proof is needed to justify action in relation to smokers.

What does 'better' mean, anyway, and for whom? A smoker who is in pain because he needs a hip replacement has every right to decide, say, that he would prefer to carry on smoking and take longer to recover, than stop smoking and take less time to recover. A smoker who is in pain has as much right to be free of pain as a non-smoker. The only justification for refusing to treat a smoker would be if the treatment couldn't possibly work.

WRT, certainly, major surgery, patients sign a disclaimer which states that they understand the risks of surgery and are willing to accept them: responsibility rests with the patient. It seems that the same burden of responsibility doesn't apply to minor surgery. The inconsistency suggests that the real reason isn't a clinical one, but a political one.

Only a few years ago the GMC had to remind the NHS that it was supposed to be non-discriminatory and non-judgmental.

Kerry said...

I thought Pat's post was very well expressed. She's obviously an articulate, intelligent woman - so to hear her say "It is the main part of my life and the main thing that I do" is really quite sad.

And this bit:

"I work to buy cigarettes. It is one of my main motivators. Being unable to buy them as a single parent was what led me to better my employment prospects." So that was more of a motivation than being able to offer the kid(s) a better life?

Terry said...

Dear Kerry

I am an individual not part of a movement as Davea proves. Right lets get it right.

45 minutes (how many deaths) for what?

Knives
Heroine
Cocaine
Ecstasy
Bla Bla Bla


Prostitution
Gang crime
Lack of respect for parents
Schools no discipline
Kids telling parents their rights.
Thought shall not smack.



People more insecure than when Ronnie and Reggie ran London

Fundamentalism
Race hate

Now Smoker hate.

these to name a few.


Labour sais SMOKING IS THE EVIL.

Go away you pathetic people.

timbone said...

Dear Kerry

I first came across this site when referred to it by another of the many sites I visit. This referral was the one supposedly engineered by Forest.

First, may I say that I am impressed by your obvious dediction to your job. I respect your opinions, even if I do not agree with some of them. I also respect the fact that you give valuable time up to write a blog, read the comments, and reply to some of them. Added to all this, if I may say, you also find time to look attractive to your constituents and the public at large!

I was prompted to revisit this site by discovering that you have been taking a look at the Freedom2Choose website. Does this mean that you have also seen any of Tim Paton's Front Page articles? If so, then I am flattered.

I am trying to avoid bringing up comparisons which have been made between the SBE and a particular 20th century regime. If I may though, could I just say that the comparisons are not about what actually happened, they are about certain principles which run on a similar thread. If you have time Kerry, have a look at something I did on youtube last year. Yes, I will admit that as with any creation, one can look at it and think, 'I am not sure whether I would have done it quite the same', it does however show what I meant earlier in the paragraph.

Here is the link

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=-1j3DMjnVv8

Thank you

Belinda said...

Kerry

You asked people how important smoking was in their lives and to what extent they perceived themselves as 'smokers'.

If a single parent smoker can't afford tobacco I can only assume that it is because she is putting her children's needs first.

Pat Nurse said...

Hi Kerry,

I must respond. You may think my life is sad. I don't. I wouldn't dream of making any assumptions about you personally or your life.

My life is what it is and I believe I've made the best of it despite being born into abject poverty.

Since having children I've had to make certain sacrifices for my family. Perhaps my life would be a bit more exciting if I could become an MP. As it is, I happily put up with my lot because that's how it is.

Watching Coronation St the other night, I noticed the character Fizz was eating cream cakes for comfort. That's what cigarettes did for me when I lived with my children' violent alcoholic father.

Running away with my children, who had little more than a few clothes, was the best thing I did for them - but to cope with the stress, I smoked.

I did say smoking was ONE of my main motivators to better my prospects. Of course my children's welfare and improving their quality of life and prospects were paramount. I could have given them an adequate life - according to the Govt Social Security hand-outs - and not smoked. But I chose to be able to be able to do both.

Do you not agree that parents are also people too and their needs are just as important to maintain a happy and balanced family life. ... and that doesn't mean to the selfish exclusion of what their kids need and want.

Despite the fact that Labour certainly priced me and my children out of a university education, my children have done very well for themselves and no-one is more proud of their achievements than I.

Motivated and talented, my two eldest children have professional careers in high paid employment by working hard and rising through the ranks.

My youngest daughter is now a mum herself and despite being poor and living on a council estate, she is the best mum I've ever known. She smokes. I don't condemn her for it. She is a good mother and has always been careful not to smoke around her baby who is now a healthy toddler. I take it you assume I do/did smoke in front of my own...?

I wouldn't expect you to sit up all night answering this post or others and I'm sure that most people who have posted on your blog would agree that you do have a busy life and an important job to do.

But it would be nice if you could apologise for making such awful asumptions about me.

Carlos said...

Kerry

How often do ou go to Strangers bar?? Thing is I know of some MPs who smoke there.

As for the "smokers or people who smoke" question you asked I think it has been covered by other posters.

Jay said...

Might I just make another point about NHS treatment and smokers?

The clinical outcome of a treatment, for example, surgery would have been the same in the past as it is today, yet until now 'clinical outcome' has never been considered a reason to deny treatment. I think that this is another reason to believe that clinical outcome is a prevarication.

My own view is that increasing medical sophistication brings with it an insatiable demand for money. There is now a system of rationing. It is politically acceptable and convenient to discriminate against those whose 'lifestyle choices' can be presented as contributing to their ailments or as contraindications of the effectiveness of treatment.

Among the powers that be there might be a change in attitude towards the NHS, but the public perception is the traditional one -treatment for all, on a first- come, first-served basis - understandable when those who are the victims of rationing are still expected to contribute to the system that discriminates against them.

Kerry said...

Pat - I apologise if you think my use of the word 'sad' was meant in a pejorative sense (i.e. in the sense that some people might describe trainspotters as 'sad'). In honesty, I was a bit worried when I used that word. What I meant was, it sounds like you've had a tough life, given the things you describe - being born into abject poverty, escaping a violent relationship, bringing up three kids as a single parent - and that's sad in the conventional sense of the word. I've not made assumptions about whether you smoked in front of your children - although I'm glad that you, unlike many of the other posters here, accept that passive smoking is a risk. It sounds from what you are now saying that you have brought them up well. But your penultimate post gave the impression that cigarettes were the most important thing in your life - and even if that is because you've needed them as a way of escaping stress, that's a bit sad (in the conventional sense) isn't it?

On one other point - admittedly I don't go into Strangers much, but I know there was a debate when the laws were passed about whether bars on the parliamentary estate should be exempt, and most of us were very firmly of the view that they shouldn't be. So if MPs have been smoking in there it's a question of enforcement rather than 'one rule for them, another rule for us'.

Terry said...

Kerry wrote

I've not made assumptions about whether you smoked in front of your children - although I'm glad that you, unlike many of the other posters here, accept that passive smoking is a risk.

You never give up, Pat never said passive smoke is a risk, stop making false assumptions Kerry.

I don't drink alcohol in front of my kids, so according to Kerry I do this because I accept there is a passive risk from alcohol. Really Kerry very poor stuff from you.

Pat Nurse said...

Hi Kerry,

Thanks for that and apologies also if I misunderstood your intentions.

I have to say that cigarettes during those awful times were as important as my kids, and to be honest, were the crutch that got me through such hard times. That's why I believe that choice is important and bullying people to give up through propaganda and bans is completely and morally wrong.

To quote Frank Gallagher in the TV programme Shameless - "Make Poverty history - Cheaper drugs now!" Certainly lowering the price of cigarettes would be of great benefit to the poor who may not be as lucky as I was to escape a bad situation. It's a question of getting through as best you can and it doesn't help to have someone telling you that you're too poor to make your own choices.

If I had given up smoking during those times, and I could have chosen to, then I would have sought support from my GP who probably would have given me prescription drugs which would have turned me into a zombie and then what sort of mum would I have been?

My own mother went down that route - when she died she was 42 different tablets a day. When she was admitted to hospital, her drugs were taken from her and she was left to go cold turkey which I believe played it's part in her demise. My point is, there are much worse things out there than cigarettes and some of them are not only legal, their use is encouraged to detrimental effect

I actually don't believe that passive smoking is a risk but I can understand how you got that impression from my last post.

My children don't like smoke and so I don't smoke in front of them out of sheer good manners - in the same way that in a pub, before the ban, I would always ask if someone minded me lighting up next to them. Most times they didn't. If they did, I'd move.

I don't smoke in the presence of my grandchild because her mum doesn't like it and I respect her wishes.

That is all I've got to say about that. Believe me, I would not put my personal life up here for public scrutiny if I honestly didn't believe that the cause to eradicate cigarettes, discriminate against smokers and take away a fundamental freedom to choose was wrong.

Btw, changing the subject completely, I did wonder, in light of what you say about the Strangers Bar, if the owner is to be fined £2000 for allowing people to smoke in there as was seen on the video recently.

Kerry said...

Pat - I have to say I do genuinely enjoy reading your posts; you put your case far better than any of the other posters here, and I do understand now why smoking is important to you. We might not ever agree on this topic, but if the smoking issue is brought back to the House I will, I am sure, remember some of the things you have said on here. (I think some of the others who have commented on here could learn a lot from you!)

I'm not sure who owns the Strangers Bar - I think technically the Palace of Westminster is one of the Royal Palaces...(!)

Terry said...

Kerry

I know you don't like me but please remember I once had a social life, now my wife and I are recluses (she doesn't smoke). The only escape is to holiday abroad as often as possible. Now I'm not religious, I have one life which has been torn apart by this legislation. Remember I don't want to force non smokers to breath in smoke, the problem would have been solved by seperate smokers bars. Now do you really expect me to happy about a law that has destroyed my social life as well as my wife's and millions of other people?

Pat Nurse said...

Thanks Kerry. It's very nice of you to say that. My motive has only ever been to be heard by those of you who make decisions and to try and get the message across that smoking is very important to some of us and any fears on passive smoking could be addressed by segregation, ventilation, tolerance - on both sides of the argument - and perhaps a campaign promoting this instead of eradication, discrimination and condemnation of smokers.

I'm very grateful that you have engaged with not just me but other people on here whose anger at the current prohibition is sometimes all too obvious but none the less valid.

Even though the smoking issue brought me to your blog, I will continue to check it out and comment on other aspects that you write about - although as someone who was never political before the smoking ban, I have to say that I probably wouldn't be able to speak with the same authority as I can on this subject.

Thanks again for taking the time to listen.

BTW, Does that mean the Queen owns the Stranger's Bar ...?

puppet freezone said...

Well, I for one would like to show my appreciation for Pat in achieving something the rest of us have failed to.

It is gratifying to see that measured, well-articulated honesty can still have a positive impact, when so much of what occurs in the smoking 'debate' in online forums is nasty mud-slinging, knee-jerk reactions, name-calling, etc. Simply because it has taken on the form of 'winners' and 'losers', when all that was really needed was a compromise to satisfy the moderates on both sides.

I also want to thank Pat again for expressing so well what I, and many others feel.

But Kerry, your last comment does leave me with one concern, in that it suggests that only those that articulate well, and in a way that elicits some empathy can truly get the 'ear' of their MP. Where does that leave everybody else?

Kerry said...

Pat - Yes, I think it might be her!

As to the last post - you have to bear in mind the distinction between this blog, which is open to everyone, and my role as a constituency MP. Anyone who writes to me as a constituent - whether they're articulate or barely literate, polite or abusive, rational or completely off-the-wall, gets the same treatment. In fact we can end up spending a disproportionate amount of time on the more 'difficult' constituents. But on this blog I have the choice whether to respond or not, and I'm going to be more likely to respond to people who strike a chord with me, as did Pat.

puppet freezone said...

Ah yes, I see the distinction. Thank you for clarifying that.

Terry said...

Kerry

Pat has expressed herself very well. I would however advise you that anger is building more by the day. It would of been silly to say coalminers shouldn't have got angry about losing their jobs. Make no mistake the anger will intensify, Labour are not listening and will feel the wrath. I have non smoking friends incensed by this, especially the latest madness in hiding fags under the counter. You may call me what you want but there are many like me and many more to come.

Nigel Saint said...

Terry

I'm sure you have an issue of principle with hiding cigarettes under the counter.

But do you really NEED to see them? Do you switch brands regularly based on the colour of the packets?

It might be a big deal to you idealogically, but is it a real, practical problem?

Belinda said...

I work in a supermarket kiosk (as a hobby) and I can tell you that it will be a real practical problem for many shops ... in any shop you will have upwards of 60 different versions of cigs, baccy, papers, lighters and so on. At a busy time in the shop you are reaching for them several times a minute. Now imagine having to open a cupboard and/or stoop down under the counter (there certainly wouldn't be space under the counter where I work and the whole thing would have to be replaced) several times a minute. Not everybody knows what they want when they come in. Cupboards are dark, unless fitted with lights (more expense). And before you say the supermarkets can afford this kind of expense, many smaller shops can't and in any case staff don't want to have to keep going down under the counter to retrieve items for sale.

People do need to see what you have. Often in a city you get customers who want a brand that you don't normally stock. So they need to see the alternatives.

'Ideology' aside, I see enormous practical problsms in a retail display ban for tobacco.

Terry said...

Nigel

Why are they putting them under the counter? If it's to prevent temptation why not take all the sticky labels off all the shops brandishing a cigarette. Now a youth can go into a shop and stare at the top shelf, I can only assume they will end up in the sex industry. Nigel this is about demonising smokers even further, like I've said we have friends that are non smokers some hate it, but as far as the erosion of freedom question goes they've had enough. As Daniel Craig the new Bond said, I can blow someone away at close range but not smoke a cigarette. Nigel it's crazy and getting worse by the day.

Jay said...

I'm afraid that I consider the issue of 'ideology' to be sufficient grounds for the idea to be shelved (sorry).

Why should tobacco products be considered more tempting when displayed than others, such as alcohol? To many, it's another assault on the smoker, another tactic to denormalise smoking, another sledgehammer to crack a nut.

Marketing people always say that it's incredibly difficult to gauge the effectiveness of advertising. How can those in favour of this idea possibly produce compelling evidence that point of sale advertising is heavily responsible for the take up of smoking in the young?

Pat Nurse said...

As a child smoker I can say with authority that cigarettes for sale in shops, and TV or billboard advertising were not responsible for me taking up smoking.

What led me to it was my friends. It was a laugh to be so rebellious. I remember one occasion when we found a pound note at the bottom of a phone box at the end of our street.

Back then it bought loads of stuff and the three of us bought a packet of fags each (20), as well as sweets, pop and fruit. However, we were so scared of getting caught with cigarettes that we hid in our den and smoked the lot in a very short time - sometimes two or three at once and stubbing them out after a couple of drags and then lighting another immediately to get through them!

I didn't start because my mum smoked either. She would have crucified me if she'd known what I was up to!

The point is, isn't being rebellious what young people do? .. Or at least a phase they go through which is why I believe that to say smoking is wrong and that smoking in public is illegal, is enough in itself to encourage young people to start.

MakeMeTop said...

May I firstly complement Kerry on taking the time to respond to many of the posts in this thread in such measured tones - some of the postings were very heated but you argued your position (which I don't completely agree with) well. Let me try and explain why some smokers react in the way they do - with a lot of anger at the current situation.

I had my first cigarette at the age of 7 - given one by my grandmother to (she said) make me sick and not want one in the future. It obviously didn't work - nor did the beatings I received from my father and school teachers put me off from becoming a smoker.

During the 1980s I lived and worked in California USA, I accepted their advice on not allowing smoking in offices if non-smokers were present (even though it was my business - I provided an outside smoking area - but, then the weather was a little better than here), then the law against smoking in planes, and then in places who did not explicitly allow smoking. These displayed large notices to say that smoking took place on a premises and could cause innumerable illnesses.

I fully accepted these rulings and was in agreement that non-smokers were fully entitled to not feel "polluted" by the residue from my habit and felt they were reasonable - although I did not agree with some of the pseudo-science justifying the laws.

Then the total ban in public places came in. My local "pub" (or the nearest thing to a pub in California) pretty much ignored it - except during lunch periods when food was served and no complaints were received. Almost 100% of the regulars were smokers but then the rules were strictly enforced. I felt this was a step too far - I had accepted that the majority of public places should be smoke free but the denying of my ability to congregate with like minded individuals in a place that previously had huge signs saying it was a smoking establishment to warn non-smkokers (and - just in case someone was illiterate - with a picture of a smoking cigarette on the door) just seemed too extreme.

I sold my business and returned to the UK (around 10 years ago).

Never would this form of extreme prohibition take place here (I thought). How wrong I was.

Freedom of choice is really at the heart of this. Even in New York, I can go to a cigar club, sign my life away to become a member (free of charge), relax, listen to fine live music and smoke away. Why can't I be allowed to do this here?

I've read the issues on "protection of workers" - but can not such establishments request "smokers only need apply" - in the same way that some jobs specify that non-smokers can apply?

Hong Kong has introduced a smoking ban and I am denied the pleasure of sitting in the cigar bar of my usual hotel and enjoying a smoke at the end of the day as children are allowed in hotels but, I can go to my usual pub in Hong Kong. It displays a large sign warning smoking is allowed and that no-one under 18 is allowed on the premises.

There is freedom of choice there - and in many other countries where smoking bans are in place. Even California has retrenched slightly and now allows "Cigar Clubs and Smoking Lounges". Maybe I should move back again.

All reasonable smokers want to do is live our lives and have the freedom to congregate in a convivial atmosphere with our peers. Surely we have not become so totalitarian that consenting adults cannot do a perfectly legal occupation together in a business set up for them specifically?

It appears that this law has gone way too far in the restrictions and that is why normally mild-mannered people are saying "a step way too far".

Dick Puddlecote said...

Nigel Saint said:

"I'm sure you have an issue of principle with hiding cigarettes under the counter.

But do you really NEED to see them? Do you switch brands regularly based on the colour of the packets?

It might be a big deal to you idealogically, but is it a real, practical problem?"

Nigel, your question is very understandable and it certainly wouldn't have caused any problem at all before the smoking ban experiment. The problem is that this is the latest in a long line of Labour Government measures that appear to be designed to bash smokers.

Before July 1st last year no-one would have cared but after that, everything changed and now the idea is extremely sinister. One of the lines that ASH pushed to get the ban enacted was that there wouldn't be more smoke inflicted on children in the home. A few months later, their pub ban successful, ASH blamed the Labour Government for CAUSING more smoke for children in the home.

Then the craze was graphic pictures of dead people on cigarette packets, followed quickly by the idea of smoking licences. The banning of cigarette vending machines followed soon after, along with hiding packets of fags under the counter and making all tobacco products being sold in plain packaging.

All these ideas were in the manifesto of ASH and have been taken up by Labour as policy without so much as a single vote on the matter. Labour are now pushing for law on this by paying their own provincial web-sites to provide feedback with only one answer. It's very unfortunate that Kerry doesn't find this in any way undemocratic but that's Labour really.

I don't care if they stick fags in a hole in the ground as long as I can buy them, but you know full well that if this is allowed to go unchallenged, before long we will have the ridiculous situation, as they have in parts of California, where people are not allowed to amoke in their own homes and you can be fined $100 for having 20 Benson & Hedges in your pocket while out shopping. I haven't made this up by the way, it is very true unfortunately.

The Yanks may be a bit mad and especially in CA, but it's time it was stopped here, and it's time Labour woke up and realised the rubbish they are throwing at its own citizens, smokers or not.

We 10 million plus smokers won't ever forget the treatment we have received from Labour. Just think of 10 million voters with a grudge. All it would take from Labour would be a reform of the Smoking Ban Experiment to allow smokers clubs/pubs or cigar clubs/pubs (as allowed in hard-line US states) and they could trump the Tories who are more likely to offer something when they get in power (seeing as their MPs voted 2:1 against a blanket ban).

Nigel Saint said...

Dick

"We 10 million plus smokers won't ever forget the treatment we have received from Labour. Just think of 10 million voters with a grudge."

Hamish Howitt, of Freedom4choice (not Freedom2choose, but he's still their darling) received 65 votes in yesterday's Glasgow East by-election. What's going on?

SNP, the winning party, haven't promised to amend the Scottish smoking ban.

Jay said...

Nigel,

I'm Glaswegian and know that, even in the more affluent areas of Glasgow, Labour has been strong. In an area like Glasgow East, one of the most deprived in the UK, they weigh, not count, Labour's votes. The result suggests that disenchanted Labour voters made a point of voting to ensure that Labour lost. You don't ensure that by voting for anyone other than the closest rival.

Hamish Howitt polling so few votes doesn't mean for a minute that voters don't care about the smoking ban in Scotland. There will be a high prevalence of smoking in Glasgow East, an area dominated by wet-led pubs whose customers want a pint and a cigarette, but voting for Hamish would only have meant more Labour, evidently a prospect so awful that people, unexpectedly, got off their backsides and voted SNP.

Nigel Saint said...

Jay

You should be a spin doctor, that is superb!

So why did he get only 91 votes in the Haltemprice by election - no labour candidates there?

And what about the Publican Party's pitiful voting record in the last elections?

Belinda said...

Single issue parties/candidates don't do well in elections ... constituents want at least the impression that the MP/MSP etc is able to represent them on a range of issues, not that s/he is completely comnitted to furthering one issue.

I don't think the Publican party showing was pathetic actually: not nearly good enough to get a result, but I knew three of the candidates, and none of them had much political experience, and the Publican Party itself was badly organised. However those three candidates polled around 1,000 votes each. The message is not to treat the smoking ban as a single issue on which to base a political party!

andy said...

Nigel

Your comments demonstrate you are quite adept at spin yourself.

A single issue candidate running on the smoking issue who comes last doesnt suggest that no one cares about smoking bans.

If Hamish Howitt had run on the single issue of re-introducing the 10% tax threshold he would still have come last.

If the campaign was solely against the war in Iraq he would still have come last.

A campaign to lower petrol prices, still last.

A campaign against rising food prices, still last.

A campaign for more dustbin collections, still last.

It didn't matter what he was campaigning for; single issue, independent candidates stand no chance when the overriding issue is opposition to the government.

The only way to send a message to the government is to vote for whoever has the best chance of defeating them.
The yorview survey and increased tobacco smuggling are examples of where you need to look to judge attitudes towards the smoking ban.

Jay said...

It was an extraordinary result. Ten years ago I would never have believed that it could possibly happen.

Then again, ten years ago I would never have thought that a Labour Government would have listened to spin and banned smoking in every pub and club in the land.

But you know what they say, salesmen are the easiest people to sell to.

If this doesn't waken up Labour, nothing will. It might already be too late. I would vote for them again only if I saw a dismantling of the pursuit of 'politically correct' policies which seem to me to stem from a deep class hatred and ideology not shared by the majority, nannying, and punitive legislation that barely disguises stealth taxation, a sensible approach to the issue of terrorism, and an ability to keep promises. I'd like to see some real honesty and integrity instead of the patronising authoritarianism which is now prevalent and the defensive petulance displayed by its MPs when challenged.

Terry said...

Kerry

Can I give your party some advice. Stop blaming everything on economic woes. Do you really think everyone believes Cameron will solve this overnight. No the problem is deeper, it's Orwellian, stop this madness get back to politics and you might regain something,I doubt enough. However dignity is something.

Carlos said...

Nigel

Immagine this- if lets say 10 years ago an antismoking campaigner and an ASH member were to stand in a by-election on a single-issue platform of banning smoking in pubs and restaurants for a party called "Action on Smoking and Health". This person would have no manifesto whatsoever and so people would have no idea what this person's other policies would be. Now how many votes do you reckon he/she/it would get? Do you really think they'd gain the seat?

Pat Nurse said...

Bravo Jay,

That says exactly how I feel about the party I used to consider as my own. Who do we working class/underclass now have as our representatives? Labour abandoned us and that is why they are being so heavily defeated at the polls.

I'm sure Cameron won't have any miracle cures for Britain's aiments but if he does at least remove some of the oppressions that we have endured under Labour, then I'd vote him back for a second term.

Let's face, it, like it or not, we will have a Conservative Govt after the next election so I hope that power doesn't go to Dave's head and he puts the people of this country first and steers clear of divide and rule policies. I also hope that unlike Labour, a con govt doesn't take sides in the smoking, hunting, or any other choice issue but we can only wait and see.

It wouldn't make any difference to me if Labour got rid of Gordon Brown. Sadly the damage was done by Tony Blair and I couldn't put up with the likes of the sanctimonious Pat Hewitt, Harriet Harman, Alan Johnson, or any of them. There is not one name or face in Labour that I would want to see as leader. ... although I've quite warmed to Kerry because she has at least listened - unlike Gordon Brown who removes comments he doesn't like from the PM's "listening" web site.

Let's hope that the new era, when we all hope and pray for a fresh new start as we did in 1997, doesn't turn out to be yet another hoodwink, damp squid or set of broken promises from Cameron's Conservatives.

puppet freezone said...

Oh I wish I still had some faith in politicians, but I'm afraid that I no longer believe that changing the party in power changes anything. They're all the same to me now.

As long as policies are based on inadequately investigated numbers, and not the real life stories behind them, it has no connection with me as a person. As long as our lives are dictated to us by people who have totally lost the concept of 'life' and focus entirely on longevity as some kind of measurement of success and happiness (have you ever taken care of someone with Alzheimers? I have. It tore me to pieces), I will continue to feel that the lunatics have taken over the asylum. This is exactly the way I felt in the 80's - when the value system of those in charge was equally skewed, for different reasons.

I will vote, purely to honour the sacrifices of the suffragettes in making that possible - at a time when people power actually counted for something - and I will vote against Labour (even though I was one of those who was weeping with relief and joy when the Tories were finally ousted in 1997). However, I won't be voting FOR anything. Certainly not for 'change' - because I don't believe it will come. I think it's a case of 'different faces, same agenda'.

I say that with great sadness, and wish I could feel differently - but I am a smoker, and no-one speaks for me now.

Jay said...

More evidence of NHS discrimination of smokers:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19990314/ai_n14207425

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2454581/Smokers-should-not-have-IVF-treatment.html

There is never, ever, even an allusion to the evidence on which these decisions rest.

Are journalists just too lazy to find it?

Are readers considered so dumbed-down that they won't require, want or understand it?

Does the medical profession no longer feel obliged to provide it?

Nigel Saint said...

Carlos
Of course not.
But I'm not claiming there were millions of people out there who were angry about other people smoking.

Jay said...

puppet,

I feel exactly as you do.

This Government slavishly listens to a self-important, over-mighty medical profession that needs to be reminded that its job is just to treat the sick. It oversteps its remit when it foists a very narrow definition of health on others and seeks to engineer behaviour to promote it. I can only guess at the frustration of psychiatrists in a profession that largely disregards mental health, or at least subordinates it, when it is arguably every bit as important as physical health.

Nor should the Government use the medical profession to implement political decisions as it does when it discriminates on the basis of clinical outcomes.

It's probable that mental health is disregarded because it's impossible to quantify it. WRT to the smoking ban, the damage done to the pub industry is clearly measurable (although, typically, the Government is refusing to acknowledge the impact of the ban), the damage done to the mental well-being of elderly people who've smoked all their lives and who suddenly find themselves kicked on to the street, is not. Rather than suffer the 'inconvenience of popping outside', and the feelings attendant on ostracism, many will opt to stay at home thereby increasing feelings of isolation and depression. I have great admiration for Hamish Howitt who has, at great personal cost, stood up to this dictatorial, heavy-handed Government and refused to police this unjust law.

Post-ban, the war on smokers continues (and it's simply disingenuous to insist that the war is on smoking), and, of course, it has an effect on smokers' mental well-being which is damaged by continual low-level harassment. This is, after all, the point of denormalisation. It is yet another reason why I find the tobacco control lobby, and the Government, which endorses these tactics, morally reprehensible.

puppet freezone said...

Thank you Jay, I agree with you too.

I don't feel so much that they have denormalised smoking, as denormalised smokers. Whereas, when I was a teenager, the notion of being 'different' was a badge of honour, as a middle-aged woman it is making me feel lonely and ostracised, and this is a recipe for making me smoke more, not less.

The government have not factored in those of us who do not want to quit at all, no matter what they throw at us. They have not considered for one minute how it affects our mental health to be treated in this way.

All they had to do was pay less attention to extremists and provide accommodation for both sides - whether by separate rooms, separate pubs/clubs, ventilation solutions.

I remain incredulous that a 21st century democracy - indeed the 'mother' of all democracies, has inflicted such a nasty, intolerant, ostracising law on a (huge) minority of people who don't want to hurt anyone, they just want to be accommodated and treated like human beings with hearts, minds, feelings and histories.

I don't see anyone rushing to protect me from the repulsive stench of barbecues in the Summer, or from the traffic fumes that come through my window every day. I neither use barbecues nor drive, since I do not wish to inflict these (truly) dangerous fumes on others. I'm a vegetarian because I don't want to be responsible for the death of a creature who has done me no harm - and yet, I've become classified as a 'murderer' and 'not normal'.

It's preposterous.

Carlos said...

Nigel

at least you do realise there werent millions who thought it that important to ban smoking. F2C on the other hand seek to get back at least some of what has been lost and is seen as rather important given people's livelihoods and social lives have been trashed by this authoritarian piece of legislation.

Nigel Saint said...

Carlos

That's not exactly what I said.

The vast majority of people I come across, including most of my smoking friends and colleagues, think is is a good thing.

I don't find that about 20 - 25% of the people I come across are angry and want it changing. 1-2% is probably more like it.

Nigel Saint said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
puppet freezone said...

I didn't realise you were carrying out scientific surveys Nigel. Can you state the questions you're asking, what geographic area you're covering, and how many people are in your sample size? Are they people who are welcoming the push to help them quit, or are they people who have no desire to quit?

Nigel Saint said...

Puppet
I didn't say I was being scientific, just noting what people say when the smoking ban comes up in conversation.
And very few people I've come across have had a grumble about it.

Remember, I say this in response to people who hold your views about the ban being a bad thing that claim there are 10 million angry smokers out there ready to vote out the labour party. I dont think there are.

andy said...

Nigel

How many of the people you asked prefer a blanket ban to an element of choice- separate rooms/separate venues?

How many of them have been exposed to the research statistics regarding SHS?( 6 out of 7 studies reveal no harm the rest less harm than olive oil)

How many of them are aware that bans increase smoker prevalence, not reduce it? (See NHS figures not CRUK's custom built study. And of course the Irish figures post ban).

Nigel Saint said...

Andy
I said I wasn't claiming to be scientific.
I don't know how many would prefer seperate facilities, I don't think that many of them have any views about whether passive smoking is safe or dangerous (most just say they prefer the cleaner air) and I don't think any of them care about whether it increases or decreases prevalence.
In my experience, this isn't something that smokers and non-smokers get excited about. Most of my friends, colleagues and acquaintances have far more important things going on in their lives.
Sorry

Pat Nurse said...

Hi Nigel,

Isn't that the point? Very few people would object to separate smoking and non-smoking facilities and ventilation so why do we have this uneccessary ban?

Clean air inside is possible without kicking smokers outside.

Unfortunately I also have other things going on in my life but I'm obliged to spend valuable time on this issue in defence of my own profoundly held beliefs on freedom and non-discrimination.

It pains me when I hear people say they like the ban because they don't like smoke, or the smell of it in their clothes. This is not enough to take away someone's freedom. If it were, I'd be advocating for a ban on cheap perfume being worn in a public place. ... or banning cars so I can remember what the smell of grass is like.

Smoking has been banned in public on the grounds that it is a danger to other people's health when the evidence doesn't back that up. That has to be wrong and the beginning of a slippery slope in terms of other freedoms we could lose for absolutely no other reason than someone doesn't want you to do that which they personally don't like.

Carlos said...

Maybe Nigel they want to avoid having an argument with you.

Carlos said...

Now Nigel you really must keep up!

Dave Goerlitz(ex-Winston man) 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.

Nigel Saint said...

Carlos
I read it, I didn't weep. I couldn't find anything on that link about him.

I did find this

Dave Goerlitz -- Former "Winston Man"

Dave Goerlitz climbed mountains and posed next to helicopters while smoking cigarettes as the "Winston Man" in R.J. Reynolds Co. advertisements in the 1980s.

"I was the live version of GI Joe," said Goerlitz. "My job was to make tobacco look good and to entice young boys into smoking."

He was surprised during a photo session when he found out that none of the R.J. Reynolds executives attending were smokers. "Are you kidding?" one of the executives said. “We reserve that right for the poor, the young, the black, and the stupid.”

Goerlitz, now in his 50's, who used to smoke 3 1/2 packs a day, has also suffered damaging health effects. He was disabled by a stroke in his mid-30s. He lost feeling in his left leg, left side of his face, and lost his sense of taste.

He's spent his recent years speaking to students, revealing the truth about tobacco advertising, exposing the tobacco company lies, and atoning for his earlier actions.

He apologizes to young people for pushing what he calls"the deadliest drug of all". He says, "The image that I projected is nothing but a bunch of lies made up by executives and the tobacco industry."

He's the author of "Before the Smoke Screen."

A man who once earned hundreds of thousands of dollars promoting cigarettes is now telling them to stay away from tobacco.

Goerlitz said he became hooked on cigarettes at 13 and it took him 24 years to kick the habit. For the past 15 years, he has been smoke-free and sharing his story across the country trying to undo the damage his ads may have done.

"I use humor to let kids know that they have to take responsibility for themselves," Goerlitz said.

The tobacco industry targets young people, he said. His job as a model for Winston was to make smokers appear to be cool and full of fun.

"There's nothing fun about having emphysema with tubes up your nose," he said. "You become addicted to this drug for life and then you start justifying it: 'It's my right to smoke. You've got to die from something.'"

Goerlitz said students need to think for themselves.

"Tobacco companies don't care about you," Goerlitz said. "They care about money. "

Young people need to use common sense and logic, he said.

"Open up your mind to the common sense and logic and you will see it's not logical," he said. "It kills you. It's expensive. It's nasty. You're made to feel like a second-class citizen."

Pat Nurse said...

Hi Nigel,

I'm obviously going to object to the word "hooked" based on what I've said before in this post about smoking "addiction."

The word was used during the TV anti-smoking ad which literally "hooked" smokers out of sight and was subject to a complaint which was upheld by the advertising standards authority.

Yes, it is true that as a smoker you are made to feel like a second class citizen but it's not because of smoking - it's because of the slander levelled at smokers who have been ousted from decent society by those who don't like what they do. That doesn't make it right.

As for the tobacco executive's comment about stupid, black and poor, well he obviously didn't like smoking and was in it for the profit .... much the same as the antismoking Big Pharma is now.

I'd disagree anyway, of course. I would say it is the foolish, the weak and the stupid who believe the nonsense about passive smoking.

Can you really call smokers like Joe Jackson, David Hockney and inventor Trevor Bayliss stupid? I don't think so. The argument doesn't hold up.

What many people don't seem to realise, or want to take on board, is that many smokers don't give a toss about tobacco companies and it is not their case that they are debating or their cause they are fighting for.

Smokers have chosen to continue to smoke and they want to be left alone to enjoy what they do in peace, without prejudice or fear of discrimination and exclusion. That is what we fight for.

They are being penalised by Govt, Big Pharma and anti-smoking groups because they won't conform and that is what is upsetting them. Nothing more, nothing less.

Carlos said...

Nigel

Those were his comments. Not that I agree with him as he does come across later on as a complete self opinionated prick but still he does have the balls to critisize some of the antismoking circus' actions.

Nigel Saint said...

Pat
If I was better at this I would have had everything in my post after "I did find this" in quotes as I copied the whole lot from another site - those aren't my words.

I don't think smokers are stupid, it was a tobacco employee called Dale Zane who made the comment to Dave Goerlitz.

Carlos
You seem to be under the impression that Goerlitz has fallen out of love with the tobacco control movement in a way that furthers your case. (hence read it and weep?)
He hasn't. He thinks the american tobacco control movement aren't moving fast enough, are in-fighting and are compromising their positions with tobacco companies.

He said this earlier today "James Austin, You find it difficult to believe that the tobacco executive Dale Zane would tell me the right to smoke was reserved for the young, the poor, the black and the stupid. He also said when asked why he didn't smoke, as I was on oxygen at 11,000 ft. on top of Mt. Evans, he said,"we don't smoke the shit..we just sell it". I testified to this in Congress in July of 1989. Look it up. Funny how you people have time to criticize others and you weren't even there. After testifying it was corroborated by 4 other people including the ad agency.
With regard to stats, The attorney generals looking for free money told their constituents the money was needed to develop the new programs from getting new smokers hooked. The CDC gives information that has not been accurate nor have the states recommended the guidelines brought forth by the CDC. I think one state was close. Hmmm ...49 others just do what they want. Glad your mom quit. The truth of the matter is I know what the Tobacco Industry is capable of. I also know what the other side is capable of. Point in fact, the Anti-tobacco movement is not lily white either. If everyone who started to use tobacco was 18 or older, you would not hear a peep out of me, but when all the documents show Mr. Claude Teagues from R.J. Reynolds saying the market they need is 14-17year olds, sombody should speak up. Actually, I don't care if an adult eats and swallows their cigarettes, just don't tell me what you find hard to believe. It may be your perogative, but go online and check all the marketing strategies available that proves what you find difficult to believe is FACT. These papers are all available for your review. Maybe you should check them out. As far as the other writers are concerned, I am in no way enraged that the Tobacco Control movement didn't turn out the way I wanted. The truth is, in my opinion, TC went from hopeful in the late 80's to the disappointing, then finally to the absurd. It's out of control. G.W. Bush wouldn't know crabgrass from Kentuck Bluegrass, so I wouldn't look to him for your answers. The media won't fix this, the government won't fix this and neither will I fix it. Too many people out there who are allowed to reproduce and have children of their own. I'm sure tobacco will be around for a long long time.
dave goerlitz"

Pat Nurse said...

Fair enough, Nigel.

I didn't take offence that you were saying it --- just that it had been said and I felt it needed to be addressed. x

I don't quite get goerlitz's point about "people being ALLOWED to reproduce..." After all, I thought it was only in China where human beings were restricted from doing that which is most natural to humans - having children - so I hope there is not now a new movement aimed at preventing smokers from reproducing "to protect the young and vulnerable."

Forgive me if I'm paranoid, but nothing surprises me where this issue is concerned. I would never have thought 10 years ago that we would get to the stage we are at now.

As for the tobacco execs, I agree with goerlitz view that it is wrong to aim tobacco products at the underage but thanks to stricter restrictions these days, there is much less chance of the young getting into smoking in the way that others did a generation ago.

I know there are issues about Big Tobacco in third world countries selling to children but I also believe these are outweighed by the imprisonment and execution of those who smoke in some of those same countries.

I have no reason to doubt goerlitz when he says what the execs told him about their view of smokers but he didn't say it at the time he was, presumably, employed and paid by the tobacco company to do those ads.

Carlos said...

Nigel

do look below at his reply to Lightning Boy where he actually says he doesnt support smoking bans.

It doesnt go far enough for him? Well I dont know what the hell he wanted in the first place. The reason he left however is because their are more toward attacking the smoker and Im sure Philip Morris has made an agreement so as to buy in to their lies. Why you may ask?? Id say because they supply the nicotine for the pharmaceutical quit smoking products. These products have low success rates but nonetheless people buy them. In the case of Chantix they might get a heart attack or a smoke.

timbone said...

"He was surprised during a photo session when he found out that none of the R.J. Reynolds executives attending were smokers. "Are you kidding?" one of the executives said. “We reserve that right for the poor, the young, the black, and the stupid.”

I remember that from a programme in the 1980's. It was on the set for the advert where he was abseiling. I also remember the Marlboro man, who had lung cancer, and the lady who used to advertise Lucky Strike who had had a.....wait a minute, not sure about the spelling, and I don't want Kerry to think I am one of those illiterate smokers, and can't be bothered with google, so......had had her larynx removed.
Anyway, I still smoke, because it is my personal choice. By the way Pat, I smoke roll ups too, the tobacco is much purer. No smokers cough in this house, and I still play the trombone and sing very well, well, the public think so. Just think of all that passive smoking I used to do, in addition to my own very pleasuarable habit.

Jay said...

This thread began with criticism of those who drew parallels between the current war on smoking and the attitude of the Nazis towards smoking.

The Telegraph (hardly a byword for extremism) has reported that a German court has overturned their smoking ban and remarks,

"Under the Nazis smoking was frowned upon. After 1945 smoking became a symbol of a post-war freedoms and broadmindedness."

(Telegraph.co.uk)

timbone said...

Yes, and here is another one from the Mail on Sunday:

"Around a third of the adult population smoke in Germany, where lighting up became a badge of freedom and tolerance after Hitler's Nazi regime cracked down on the habit in the 1930s."

Nigel Saint said...

Jay
With regard to Nazis and smoking bans, the Germans should have had a good idea about how evil hitler was long before he brought in his smoking bans. I think the smoking bans came very much towards the end of his regime, long after he had started exterminating people he didn't like.

If you really must draw a parallel to government policy and nazis, perhaps you can point out the evil monstrosities that the labour government carried out in the run up to the ban being brought in last year?

Otherwise there aren't any real parallels are there?

You could also say that the government and the Nazis had police forces to enforce laws, forced citizens to pay taxes, provided public transport and so on.

Smoking bans and evil deeds like genocide do not go hand in hand. And, from history, smoking bans do not lead to genocide - hitler did it the other way around.

Thats why using the nazi analogy to fight the smoking ban is so unpalatable.

Jay said...

The MSM's apparent moratorium on even the most slender of criticisms of the ban appears to be weakening.

Now the percentage of the 12 million smokers who don't access the net and who are angry about the ban can make the connection between Nazism and anti-smoking.

Not looking good.

Nigel Saint said...

From Sadireland, an anti ban site:

Bans And Restrictions in Nazi Germany

The Luftwaffe banned smoking in 1938.
The German Post office introduced it's own ban
Smoking was barred in many workplaces, government offices, hospitals,and rest homes.
The NSDAP (National sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) announced a ban on smoking in its offices in 1939
SS chief Heinrich Himmler announced a smoking ban for all uniformed police and SS officers while on duty in 1939
Hermann Goering's bans soldiers from smoking on the streets, on marches, and while taking rest periods.
Sixty of Germany's largest cities banned smoking on street cars in 1941.
Smoking was banned in air raid shelters. Some provided separate rooms for smokers
Tobacco coupons were denied to any woman who was pregnant
Blanket smoking bans were introduced in many cafes, bars and restaurants
Women below the age of 25 were banned from smoking
Restaurants and cafes were barred from selling cigarettes to all female customers
In July 1943 it became illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to smoke in public.
Smoking was banned on all German city trains and buses in 1944. This initiative coming from Hitler himself,who was worried about exposure of young female conductors to tobacco smoke."


So, the more wideranging bans came in between 1941 and 1944.
The Nuremburg laws ( "Legislation to remove the Jews from civil society") were brought out in 1935
Internment and concentration of European Jews began in 1939.
A million Jews were killed prior to the commencement of the "final solution" in 1942.
After that, a further 8-10 million people were killed.

Probably 8 million people had been exterminated before hitler introduced his ban on smoking on trains and busses to protect female conductors.

Don't any of you think the nazi comparision with the english ban is sick?

Jay said...

Nigel, My comment referred to the fact that the Telegraph made reference to smoking and Nazism. Whatever you might think of the Telegraph, it can never accused of hyperbole.

I commented on what I saw as the parallel about 20 posts ago and it's NOT between the Nazis' deliberate extermination of 'undesirables' and the Government's war on smoking.

I think that there are two issues. One is that the tobacco control lobby's attitude towards smoking mirrors that of the Nazis. The second issue is that the Nazis quite deliberately set about demonising certain groups of people until society tacitly tolerated whatever treatment was deemed appropriate by the authorities. In passing the legislation that it has, on the basis which it has, the Government has demonised smokers. I am not saying that this was the intention of the Government but I do think that it was extremely naive if it didn't realise that this would be a consequence or if it believed the TCL's assurances that this would not be a consequence.

The TCL is ruthlessly and single-mindedly committed to global extermination of smoking. It doesn't care what damage it causes in the process to people's social life, to their mental health, to businesses or to society's prejudicial treatment of smokers. If you want to see just how far it's prepared to go have a look at this from ASH New Zealand:

http://www.freedom2choose.info/news1.php?id=764

ASH stinks.

Nigel Saint said...

Jay

I don't think smokers are stupid or are second class citizens. (Remember it is Dale Zane of R J Reynolds who thinks that smoking is just for the young, the poor, the black and the stupid)

I don't know anyone who does think that.

I don't think smokers are demonised as you put it. I can see why, if you believe that passive smoking is safe, you would be annoyed about having to go outside to smoke.

However, if you accept that it can harm people I'm sure most people would accept that going outside to smoke is reasonable enough. This view seems to be born out by the atitude of the friends and colleagues I've spoken to, and on Kerry's attempts to get people's views on the ban.

You say the TLC is intent on the global extermination of smoking

The nazis were intent on the extermination of people.

A habit/addiction is not the same as a person, drawing the comparison is in very poor taste.

Dave Goerlitz seems to feel a lot of guilt in being a tool in getting children addicted on smoking. Do you not think it would be a good thing if children somehow stopped taking up smoking?

timbone said...

nigel, I don't think you have quite got the jist of this. If a person or an organisation wants to eradicate something, or exterminate it, however large, however small, whether it be living or or not, it is still the desire to dispose of it.
Let me use an analogy about something else. There may well be a lot of difference between a corporation deliberately embezzling a million pounds to a child taking a safety pin from a sewing box which does not belong to them, but it is still stealing.

There are so many similarities between what happened in Germany with regard to smoking, and what is happening in this country, the rest of Europe, and other parts of the world.

Nigel Saint said...

Timbone
I don't think it is me who doesn't get this.
Habits aren't people - eradicating smoking doesn't involve killing anyone, eradicating Jews in nazi occupied countries did.
Hitler murdered millions of people BEFORE his smoking bans.

Pat Nurse said...

I would slightly disagree with that when you look at the discrimination being levelled towards smokers by the NHS which is saying that smokers - who pay taxes and therefore should receive care when they are ill - will not be treated.

What is that if it's not leaving someone to die because of who they are .... although I accept smokers are not being gassed to death ..... yet.

Belinda said...

In 1975, the World Health Organisation stated 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.”

Nigel, I think you have missed Jay's previous point which was that the ban has been based on the passive smoking issue, which has been created in a bid to drive down smoking.

This means that people are encouraged to believe that they are harming people around them. This is not a recipe for social harmony as you can imagine. Whether or not Hitler employed these methods I can't say as I wasn't there, and whether he went anti-smoking before or after killing all those people is of no interest to me whatever.

The fact is that the intention existed to make people believe that smokers were poisoning everyone. As an intention I have to say this is pretty low, but the fact that they have only proven their point in dubious statistical models and that there is no basis for it in fact makes it far far worse.

Forget good intentions about improving people's health: the intention is to make people feel low, dirty, selfish, in the pursuit of a social engineering/public health goal. As an 'aid' to quitting smoking it is not done in a spirit of care or kindness but one of emotional blackmail and bullying.

As for the young I would want them to feel interested, involved, to care about their contemporaries, their elders, younger people, and to keep away from harmful substances. Smoking is not a particularly smart thing to do, but it is very, very far from being the worst thing that people can do.

Global initiatives to halt smoking in the young are a waste of time. Give kids something to get involved with, and teach them about the REAL threats facing their communities.

Pat Nurse said...

Very well said Belinda!

Nigel Saint said...

Pat

I agree that smokers shouldn't be denied treatment just because they smoke, but is that what is happening?

There has to be a degree of rationing in the NHS otherwise they would spend their budget half way through the year.

I think it might be more acceptable to deny treatment to some people (whether they are smokers, overweight, heavy drinkers, old, suffering from another condition) if the treatment either won't work on them or if there is a significantly greater chance of serious complications. That's just one of the hard choices you have to make when you ration something.

I have a friend who lost her 40 year old brother after a road accident. He actually died from lung complications that didn't respond to treatment because he was a heavy smoker (they still treated him, obviously). When she talked this through with the medical staff afterwards they said this was relatively common, and was one of the reasons they aren't keen to have heavy smokers under anaesthetic for prolonged operations. Nothing to do with discrimination, just different outcomes to the risk assessment of surgery to a non-smoker and a heavy smoker.

I don't think smokers should get special treatment just because tobacco taxes are so high. Like all of our taxes, we lose the ability to dictate how they are spent once the government gets its hands on them.

And Pat, in relation to your final comment, do you REALLY think our society will ever tolerate smokers being gassed to death? - I wouldn't and I don't know anyone who would. In my view, comments like this diminish your posts.

Jay said...

I'm afraid that we have to agree to disagree, Nigel, about what constitutes demonisation. I consider that the discriminatory behaviour of social services, the NHS and employers is an effect of demonisation. I consider that comments from members of the public wishing agonising deaths upon smokers, expressing the desire to kill smokers and so on reflect the demonisation of smokers and I consider the physical and verbal assaults to which smokers are subjected also exemplify demonisation.

I think that it must be quite clear by now that I don't accept that passive smoking is a danger to health. I have even taken the trouble to explain in great depth why I don't believe that it's a danger. I believe that it can cause annoyance and irritation but that is hardly the same.

You seem to have misinterpreted my comment on the subject of the comparison between Nazis and the TCL. I said that the Nazis' attitude towards smoking mirrors the TCL's attitude towards smoking. I did not say that the Nazis' attitude towards people mirrors the TCL's attitude towards smoking or smokers. You, yourself, wrote a post that details restrictions that the Nazis put in place. These restrictions and their underlying rationale are mirrored by the present day TCL.

If a young person were to ask my advice on whether he should take up smoking, I would discuss the issue and leave it up to him to make a decision. I don't consider the demonisation of people to be a justifiable method of protecting the young.

I'd also point out that before the ban came into force, smoking rates were falling anyway, year on year, and that prohibition simply doesn't work in discouraging or eradicating a behaviour. The more anti-establishment something is, the more likely young people will want to try it as part of the rebelliousness of growing up. The evidence strongly suggests that smoking bans are a spectacular own goal by a TCL motivated by prejudice and vested interest.

Pat Nurse said...

Nigel - if you had endured 30 odd years of constant bullying, oppression and name calling because of being a smoker, I think you would feel exactly the same as I do on seeing the whole issue became intolerably worse year on year.

Yes, I do agree that gassing smokers was an exageration ... but I was trying to make the point that things have become so bad for us that the kind of propaganda that we see today can only lead us to the above action in future ... even if both of us are not around to see it happen by then.

You only have to look at ASH NZ's current campaign comparing smokers to the terrorists that brought down the twin towers. Can you honestly say that if this approach doesn't change in the future, hypothetically, killing smokers can be justified on account that they are as bad as those who committed the worst ever terrorist atrocity in the world.

There are people out there now who feel justified in abusing smokers because of the ban which promotes the view that smokers are all murderers.

Yes, I have been denied treatment, unfairly according to my GP, because of being a smoker. It is wrong to talk about rationing the NHS to a particular group of people no matter who they are - young, old, black, white, smoker, non-smoker.

Just as an example, I tend not to give information about my ethnicity because I feel it helps to highlight the differences between us. We are all people after all.

I was told that the information is important because certain races, such as Asians, are liable to get illnesses which people from other races don't. We don't talk about not treating Asians because "the outcome might not be good" (and neither should we!)

It is all subjective where smoking is concerned and that is the very point I am trying to make.

Some health professionals would not agree with the outcomes being inevitable for smokers as you describe.

It is all just part of the hysteria aimed at justifying discrimination towards smokers in the NHS which needs to start rationing it's services to survive in some form. But what good is it if it only treats the healthy.

If we are truly a tolerant, equal and caring society, denying treatment to smokers is just not acceptable under any circumstances at all.

The facts of a person's health should be put to them ... but only they should decide what treatment they are willing to risk or not and not an on-message anti-smoking health professional who looks at an ill smoker and thinks "serves you right".

Nigel Saint said...

Jay
I've learned a lot about the history of smoking bans since finding Sadireland earlier today.
There is an excellent history at http://sadireland.com/smoking1.htm

There were loads of bans all over the world going back over 400 years. Why not say that nulabour is like the Massachusetts regime o 1632, or the legislature of Governor Kieft of New Amsterdam in 1639? Or the french government of 1719?

These were surely more like the current English ban than the nazi one because their regimes had not embarked on massive genocide before banning smoking.

I'm sure you prefer to use hitler coz he's horrible?

Nigel Saint said...

Pat
I'm really sorry to hear you have "endured 30 odd years of constant bullying, oppression and name calling because of being a smoker"
I have never come across any other smoker who has suffered this. I don't think your terrible experience is typical.
Nor do I think that "the kind of propaganda that we see today can only lead us to the above action [gassing smokers] in future", and I suspect not many other people would agree that this is inevitable.
And I think you misinterpret the new zealand advert if you say "Can you honestly say that if this approach doesn't change in the future, hypothetically, killing smokers can be justified on account that they are as bad as those who committed the worst ever terrorist atrocity in the world." The advert isn't saying that smokers kill millions of people,it is saying that tobacco kills millions of smokers.
With respect, you seem to have a very jaundiced view of life as a smoker which I don't see in any of the smokers I know.

And as for being denied treatment due to being a smoker, which your doctor beliees was unfair - make a complaint and stop them doing it again. I do believe that there can be good medical grounds to differentiate between the treatment given to one patient and someone else based on whether they smoke or not. I do recognise that there are arrogant and prejudiced medics out there, but you have it in your power to deal with one of these people by making a complaint.

Jay said...

Nigel,

Hitler's genocide has absolutely nothing to do with the issue. Zilch, Zero, Nowt.

You've asked this question before and I'm giving you the same answer - because the Nazis' ARE THE MOST RECENT example of a vehement anti-smoking group.

Nigel Saint said...

Jay
The American anti tobacco movement are the most recent example of a vehement anti tobacco movement, not the Nazis.

Jay said...

I dudn't realise that there had been an American anti-tobacco movement, Nigel (apart from the present one).

Pat Nurse said...

Nigel - I am troubled that you seem to think that it's ok to compare smoking/smokers to the worst terrorist atrocity in the world. That cannot be justified under any circumstance whatsoever and I am not the only person/smoker who thinks this.

If the campaign wasn't born from a hatred of smokers and their lifestyle then all I can say is that the person who came up with the idea to use the twin towers in this way has absolutely no idea of what taste and decency mean.

If you and other people like you think this kind of campaign is justified than all I can say is God help us ... My nightmare vision of the future is just that one step closer.

My only comfort is that you appear to be the only anti-smoking person in Kerry's blog, which has attracted hundreds of posts on all smoking related issues, and your views do not truly represent how the majority of people (both smokers and tolerant non-smokers)truly feel.

Nigel Saint said...

Pat

Please don't be troubled. I didn't say I approved of the advert (I don't). I did say you had misinterpreted it as an attack on smokers, which it isn't.

It IS an attack on the tobacco industry, whose products bring about the premature death of many times more smokers than terrorists ever will.

I think the advert is sick. But I do understand its message.

Pat Nurse said...

Thanks for that, Nigel. I appreciate that you don't approve because I think it really is below the belt.

As for premature death, well, I know a 91 year-old smoker who is being harrassed to give up but her view is : "What's the point."

I don't believe that smoking does, neccessarily, cause premature death.

I'm also against the recent campaign that puts anti-smoking messages on cartons of milk. Surely this resource would be better used in a way that children grow up reading daily that "heroin does kill - don't take it," for example.

There are many, many worse things to health and the environment out there but they are being ignored because of an obsession with anti-smoking .. as other issues relating to a person's health are ignored if that person happens to be a smoker.

Nigel Saint said...

Pat

Never get fooled by the fact that many very old people are smokers meaning that smoking doesn't kill some people prematurely.

I know a woman who smoked from 14 and died from lung cancer at 44, but that doesn't mean it will happen to all smokers. Her surgeon told her he was yet to meet a lung cancer patient who didn't regret smoking, and he'd treated about 500.

People have different genetics and I think the claim is that smoking kills about half of smokers prematurely, with the other half living to a ripe old age and dying from other things.

I saw somewhere that about 75% of heart attack deaths of people in their 40s were in smokers, and I think it is these people who die very early who contribute greatly to the reduction in average life expectancy in smokers of about 10-15 years.

I don't know where you get your information from Pat, but there is no other habit out there that causes so much illness. I'm sure you will choose to dispute the figures, but 86,500 people are claimed to be killed by smoking each year, with the biggest proportion of them coming from poorer communities and the smallest from affluent communities (remember R J Reynolds "we reserve the right to smoke to the young, the poor, the black and the stupid")

This is about 60 times higher than drug related deaths, so the milk carton people do have the right message.

Pat Nurse said...

You know I won't agree with those figures and the reason I don't is that I can't find a study anywhere that has looked into other environmental factors - traffic fumes being the most obvious and harmful to others- and what part they play when assessing whether a smoker or non-smoker has died of a "smoking related" illness.

Certainly asthma rates are rising but the number of people taking up smoking is falling and those giving up is rising. How can that be explained?

I know that lung cancer is not caused simply just by smoking. I do have a whole list of confounders - other things that cause lung cancer and their relative risk factor - genetics being the highest. If I hadn't found this out for myself, no-one - and certainly not medics - would ever have told me.

If smoking kills full stop, then how is it that in countries with greater numbers of smokers (Italy/Greece) people generally live longer?

I still disagree about the milk cartons and I for one will remove them before I even take my milk to the counter for payment.

Drugs are far more destructive to communities and health than smoking ever will be and even the Govt admits that it can only "manage" the drug problem rather than solve it.

If the same kind of campaign aimed at stopping smoking could be used in the same way to stop the young from getting involved in drugs, that really would be a campaign worthwhile.

I think that you and I could go round in circles forever debating the smoking issue. Whatever evidence/ experience or anecdotes we throw back and forth to each other, we will never see eye to eye on this.

These debates have sprung from the blanket smoking ban which was introduced because of fears (unfounded in my view and many others') of passive smoking which could be adequately addressed by means discussed in length in many of these posts.

What the Govt should have said is that they don't like smoking, they don't like smokers, and they are going to stop smokers whatever happens.

Some democracy.

Nigel Saint said...

Pat
Re lung cancer, I saw something that said that about 85 - 90% were in smokers, about 10% and rising in non-smokers due to passive smoking and diesel fumes and a small number due to radon and other factors.
Genetics do mean that you can throw tons of car and cigarette pollution at some people and they don't get lung cancer, while susceptible people succomb much more readily.
But you can't escape the fact that around 85% of people with lung cancer have been smokers for long periods.

soapy said...

neither can you escape the fact that 100% have been subjected to vehicle exaust!

Belinda said...

Perhaps some people have to work in very toxic environments and decide on that basis that smoking is not going to put them in much more danger than they are in already.

Correlation is not causation, Nigel.

Nigel Saint said...

Soapy
100% of the population are exposed to exhaust fumes.
Belinda
What, all of them?

I agree that correlation isn't causation, but 85% is a pretty good indicator that smoking plays a crucial role in the development of lung cancer isn't it?

soapy said...

Would you not agree that every time you breathe outside you are breathing in trafiic fumes?
There is always traffic around ins't there?

Last I did Math 100% is a greater proportion than 85% and given there are more carcinogens in vehicle exaust than cigarette smoke I would say your chances are greater getting cancer from traffic fumes even if the figures for cigarette smoke are accurate which personally I don't believe.

When have you ever heard of suicide by cigarette? suicide by exaust is very common.

Nigel Saint said...

Soapy
I'm struggling with your logic.

We agree that 100% of the population is exposed to exhaust fumes.

We agree that 100% is greater than 85% (although I don' know why that is important to you)

Do we agree that about 25% of the population smoke?

The statistics say that 85-90% of lung cancer sufferers have smoked for substantial periods.

And it's here we diverge. Surely, if your argument is right, there should only be 25% of lung cancer victims who have smoked.

But, in reality, it is 85-90%.

Don't you think this indicates that smoking has to be pretty important in the development of lung cancer, although we don't yet know why?

soapy said...

Last I did Math 100% is a greater proportion than 85% and given there are more carcinogens in vehicle exaust than cigarette smoke I would say your chances are greater getting cancer from traffic fumes even if the figures for cigarette smoke are accurate which personally I don't believe.

When have you ever heard of suicide by cigarette? suicide by exaust is very common.

Well Nigel that is what I said in context in fact exaust fumes have over 60 times more carcinogens than tobacco smoke, 6o times more chance of giving you cancer and thats even before we get to the imbeciles who drive under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, the havoc they reap is greater by far than us mere smokers!

Finally Nigel I know your are not about to use the NHS/ASH garbage about Cot Death, you obviously are not a monster who would imply the father of a SIDS baby is a murderer are you?

You are clearly a decent man and reading your posts I have some respect for your position, thank you for a civilized debate even though we do not agree in full.

Pat Nurse said...

I would agree with what Soapy says about Nigel.

Nigel - It has been very interesting debating with you and you always put your argument well.

It's such a shame that ASH doesn't conduct themselves with the same quiet dignity - if they did, we might all be inclined to believe their figures more.

After having my first encounter with one of their members, I am inclined to believe that they have moved from a position of concern on smoking and health to one of hatred of dedicated smokers who will not give up despite Ash's best efforts.

I do hope, though, that Nigel at least understands now where we are coming from more than he perhaps did when this very long debate began.

Thanks must also go to Kerry for allowing us to use her blog for this purpose.

I'd like to think that he does also now believe that the blanket smoking ban is unfair, uneccesary and exclusive, and based on figures that many people here can dispute.

There needs to be more real and undisputed evidence, in my view, to take away a person's freedom and right to choose how they live their own lives.

timbone said...

"There were loads of bans all over the world going back over 400 years. Why not say that nulabour is like the Massachusetts regime o 1632, or the legislature of Governor Kieft of New Amsterdam in 1639? Or the french government of 1719?"
Nigel, because Nazi Germany were the ones who coined the term Passive Smoking, 'das Passive Rauchen'. many of their 'research' documents survived. Is it any coincidence that this term came up again in 1975?

Nigel Saint said...

Soapy
The lung cancer figures are for direct smokers, not non-smokers exposed to tobacco smoke. (the ratio of smokers to non-smokers getting lung cancer is 9:1)

There are much higher concentrations of carcinogens in vehicle exhaust, but these are more dilute by the time you actually breath them than what a smokers draws in when they are smoking.

Nigel Saint said...

Timbone
Do you think that feeble explanation justifies comparing the smoking ban to the nazi regime?

Clinging to the 'smoking ban is nazi' line of argument just alienates most normal people.

Pat
Sorry but I don't "now believe that the blanket smoking ban is unfair, uneccesary and exclusive, and based on figures that many people here can dispute"

Most anti-ban posters here refute the fact that nicotine is addictive, so it can't be cruel to ask people not to smoke inside.

The scientific arguments have been confused and unconvincing. Some have been absurd.

If there was a good case, why would people still need to make the link to nazis? ["see that Hitler? that's you that is" is a line of rgument that most boys grow out of at about 14]

I find it worrying that so many smokers say they are against measures to reduce the likelihood that children will start smoking, like putting cigarettes under the counter or in plain packaging. To put future generations at risk of illness on a matter of principle seems a bit sick to me. (are any of you willing to admit that it would be better if children didn't start smoking?)

So no, I don't think that a ban that protects people at work from tobacco smoke is out of order. I sympathise with the difficulties it causes having to go outside to smoke, but remain of the view that this is necessary.

soapy said...

There are much higher concentrations of carcinogens in vehicle exhaust, but these are more dilute by the time you actually breath them than what a smokers draws in when they are smoking.

Nigel, Would you not agree in the inner cities where you are never mord than 10 feet away vehicle exhaust that:

A the dose you recieve is not diluted but almost pure exaust?

B this is not a healthy environment for asthmatics and children?

Would you not also agree that modern ventilation systems that are
capable of filtering toxins like Tabun Vx, spores like airbourne anthrax, smallpox (Which by the way is not totally eradicated as some governments keep stocks)and of course nuclear radiation are more than capable of keeping cigarette smoke out?

Given that information would you not support at least giving landlords the option of a room or making their premises safe with such systems?

Pat Nurse said...

Hi Nigel. I think ventilation and segregation means no-one has to breathe in other people's smoke and owners of pubs, clubs, restaurants etc .. should be able to choose whether they allow smoking throughout or not at all.

Both smokers and non-smokers should be able to choose which establishment they want to go in based on its smoking policy. I still don't see what is wrong with choice.

I don't think children should be encouraged to smoke, of course I don't, but I honestly don't believe, as a child smoker myself, that the measures you mention will have the right effect.

Forgive me if I'm wrong but I sense that you want smoking eradicated. It won't be - ever - and bullying people to comform just simply won't work... all it does it make people angry and more determined to fight for the right to live their own lives in peace.

The best way to stop children smoking now and in the future is to enforce the law we have already - not make new ones.

If I had been unable to buy cigarettes as a child, I might not be smoking now. Children today cannot buy cigarettes as we could and if shopkeepers sell them to the underage they are rightly prosecuted.

I wouldn't want to see any children smoking in the future but as informed adults, I would rather they be free to make their own lifestyle choices.

The comment you made about traffic fumes and carcinogens seemed convenient. I don't agree that traffic fumes are diluted to a point where it causes little effect to those who have no choice but to inhale them while walking down the street. Congestion is so bad in my city I can taste it.

A friend's GP has told her that her asthma, which co-incided with the expanison of her city, is caused by traffic fumes. If traffic is not a greater harm than cigarette smoke then why are cases of asthma rising when the number of cigarette smokers are going down?

Jay said...

Nigel,

WRT your remarks about measures aimed at discouraging children from taking up smoking:

The world isn't and shouldn't be child-centred by which I mean that consideration for children can't be the only consideration in a world in which adults live. I say this in the knowledge that it's deeply unfashionable these days to consider that 'children have their place', and it's not at the centre of everyone's world.

There also seems to be an attitude that we are all responsibile for children. No, we're not. People often talk about rights entailing responsibilities. With regard to children, the obverse is that only a parent has the right to discipline a child therefore only a parent has the responsibility of that child.

Tobacco products are adult products and we shouldn't approach their use and sale with disregard to the adults who use and sell them, 'for the sake of the children'. Responsibility for discouraging smoking rests with the parents of children, not other people, be they smokers or retailers.

There is no evidence that the measures that are proposed in the name of protecting children actually work and it's not good enough to adopt them 'just in case' they do or on the basis that 'if it stops one child from becoming a smoker then it will have been the right thing to do'.

At any rate, children can't be protected from all the dangers of life. Are we to hide alcohol in case children become alcoholics? Has hiding illegal drugs stopped children becoming drug addicts?

Doesn't it seem more sensible to educate children with the facts - and I mean facts, not propaganda - about smoking, and stop the overt and hyped-up public disapproval which only makes it more enticing to them?

So, Nigel, I don't want to encourage the young to take up smoking but neither do I think that inconveniencing or demonising millions of adults is acceptable in a campaign to discourage it.

timbone said...

Dear Nigel. I have been reading this stimulating debate, and once or twice added a comment of my own. I don't know whether there is a grammatical problem, but you asked a question, to which I provided an answer. You proceeded to belittle me, and said that I had given a feeble explanation. There was nothing feeble or personal about my answer, it was simply answering your question from the many letters, articles and videos I have read and watched. I personally have never likened the SBE to the Nazi regime. I would never say that ASH, who are in my opinion the main perpetrators of this global obsession, share the evil intentions of a regime controlled by a madman. I have seen however similarities in their methodology, which is why I did create a video for youtube called "The Final Solution", which you may have seen.

Jay said...

Nigel,

Re-reading some comments brought me to your comment that, if smoking is not addictive, then it isn't cruel to insist that people smoke outside.

You haven't struck me, at all, as a callous person, but isn't it callous to demand that an 80 year old, who has smoked for 60 odd years, stand outside in the rain and cold to smoke? For many people, life is pretty dismal and, although you might find it incomprehensible, for some people, the little pleasure that life offers amounts to a coffee and a cigarette in a cafe. The young might find it a bit of a giggle to have to go outside - it provides the opportunity for a bit of smirting - older people find it humiliating.

Smoking doesn't have to be addictive for it to be cruel that people have to 'pop outside' and it is a fact that, as a non-smoker, you cannot be expected to appreciate that.

Nigel Saint said...

I think this will have to be my last post for a while, I’m off on holiday and have to prepare.

Soapy
If exhaust fumes didn’t get diluted dramatically before they reach the pavement, people would die from carbon monoxide poisoning. They don’t.

As for ventilation, there are some phenomenal systems out there. Do you know how much it would cost each month for a pub to replace the HEPA and toxic gas filters in the sort of system you describe if the system is exposed to the smoke from thousands of cigarettes a day? I suspect you don't.

Sadly soapy, I’m struggling to get your logic to fit reality again.

Pat
I don’t think it is possible to eradicate smoking. You have said eloquently over these threads about what it means to you, and I don’t think the state would ever try to force someone like you to stop.
However, I do think it is appropriate for the state to stop you harming third parties in workplaces and public places with your smoke. That’s just what I think because I am unconvinced that tobacco smoke is harmless.

I’ve never said that traffic pollution is harmless – it looks like it might cause about 5-10% of lung cancers. But the on street monitoring results that councils publish are way below the levels of pollution that were reported in pubs before the smoking ban, and obviously smoke directly inhaled by smokers is hundreds of times more concentrated than that.

85-90% of lung cancers are in smokers. Not even soapy’s dodgy logic can convince me that directly inhaling smoke from a cigarette stuck into your mouth hasn’t a big role in that disproportionate figure.

Jay
“So, Nigel, I don't want to encourage the young to take up smoking but neither do I think that inconveniencing or demonising millions of adults is acceptable in a campaign to discourage it.
Nice attitude!

Timbone
I do owe you an apology.
I’ve checked back and you are right, you have never linked the smoking ban to the evil deeds of the Nazis. I’m sorry for treating you so dismissively.
To everyone else who has suggested that smoking ban is like being in nazi germany - you are sick!

Jay, again
If not addicted, why does the 80 year old person need a cigarette at that time?
People have said that smokers aren’t addicted and have choice. Surely the 80 year old can simply wait until it is nicer to go outside. Of choose not to have a cigarette until they get home?

Or are you saying that nicotine IS addictive, and smokers have no choice in whether they smoke or not?

You can’t have it both ways.

Pat Nurse said...

Hi Nigel.

I hope you have a nice holiday and the weather holds up wherever you are.

Now, there is the bone of all contentions - passive smoking. I don't believe it's harmful based on studies I've seen, Scientists I've talked to, and experiences I've had myself and of other smokers.

I respect your views on passive smoking and, as I said before, you have argued your case for the blanket ban exceptionally well.

However, you still haven't persuaded me that I would be harming other people if we had segregation or ventilation and choice.

That has to be the bridge between our views, doesn't it?

This has been a very informative debate which I've enjoyed taking part in very much.

I hope you've found it just as enlightening.

soapy said...

Fine no one says you have to accept my logic I just rely on years of practical experience with engines.

So lets try a fact i efer you toi Labatte vs the European Union the hague which directly affects British law, Mrs Labattes husband worked for many years for the EU during those years he inhaled a great deal of second hand smoke.

When the EU said Second Hand Smoke caused cancer she decided to sue the European union as her husband died of cancer.

The Courts decision was that she was NOT ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION AS SECOND HAND SMOKE DOES NOT CAUSE CANCER!
The very same EU WHO SAID IT DOES CAUSE CANCER.

With respect Nigel it's time you woke up and realized you are being lied to! not just you but everyone by the very people we elect to protect us.

Feel free to look up the case, Labatte Vs the EU.

Nigel Saint said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nigel Saint said...

Soapy
My discussions with you have never been about passive smoking causing lung cancer?

I have said that 85-90% of lung cancers are in smokers.

I don't think I've even claimed that active smoking CAUSES lung cancer as the causal relationship is very difficult to prove, even with such a massive correlation.

I think it was Belinda who said 'correlation does not equal causation' and I agreed with her.

Why you choose to introduce a court case about passive smoking into the debate I do not know. But, like I keep saying, I do struggle with your logic.

Jay said...

Nigel,

You've chosen to disregard that I think that there are better ways of discouraging the young than by ways that involve inconveniencing adults but, yes, I stand by my assertion that adults have to be considered in a world in which they live.

WRT to the '80 year old', it isn't a question of addiction but one of pleasure. There is simply no pleasure in having a cup of coffee without an accompanying cigarette. In practice, the 80 year old will be more likely to simply stay at home. Non-smokers just can't understand this, how can you?

Anyway, I hope that you have a good holiday, Nigel. It's been interesting 'talking' to you.

soapy said...

Nigel, the logic is a law has enabled based on a lie, it is a matter of public record that Mrs Labatte was denied compensation for the loss of her Husband from cancer due to passive smoking. the court of human rights contradict the european parliant also on public record who say passive smoking causes heart attacks and cancer.

Now they are lying in one of these cases, the government have based a law on a lie, a law that has segregated 25% of the population, forces our elderly into the street to smoke risking them to death by hypothermia (A very unpleasant way to die)in winter. they have wrecked hospitality industry increased unemployment by over 78000 in pub staff alone. It also increases the tax burden on the non smoker which I don't mind since non smokers pick 75% of the loss in revenue! The price of demonising smokers will be increasingly met by the very people who demonise them, Poetic Justice.

So Nigel we've exercised our right to exchange views myself I'll continue to "defy logic" until they remove the right to smoke, drink and eat unless it's what they tell us, and one morning I'll wake to find my thoughts and speech are illegal too because I am only a smoker.

One day we'll be dead and our children will have to suffer what we've left them, you want to subject the children to a life like that fine we'll be beyond caring and they'll hate one of us for not stopping it. So as do as you are told by ASH and HMG and think of the children or give them their freedom. Up to you and your conscience.

Nigel Saint said...

Soapy
The law wasn't based on a lie, which you would see if you understood the whole subject better.

The science on which the ban is based only anticipates a small number of people succombing to lung cancer following exposure to other people's smoke - note I don't say 'caused by'. Far more victims of passive smoking will fall to heart disease, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

People aren't addicted to nicotine (I'm told) so they have a choice about when to smoke. The law therefore doesn't "force our elderly into the street to smoke risking them to death by hypothermia (A very unpleasant way to die)in winter".

I have been once at death's door with hypothermia and wouldn't recommend it. It is however a million times LESS unpleasant than lung cancer, stroke or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - yet another logic failure I'm afraid.

soapy said...

So are you saying the Labatte case is a lie then?

If is is not then the premise of smoking causing lung cancer is you cannot have it both ways! the Labbate case is public record it says smoking does not cause cancer, SHS on which this law is based does not cause cancer therefore the law is based on a lie! why would would the EU deny liability that SHS causes cancer and then encourage governments to make law based on the fact that it does does that not seem to be a contradiction in terms to you?

Enjoy your holiday!

Nigel Saint said...

Soapy
The ban is also based on heart disease, COPD and stroke - are you deliberately ignoring these? And it wasn't based on passive smoking being a cause of lung cancer, but in it being something which increased the risk of developing lung cancer. If you don't understand the difference, go and ask someone who does to explain it to you.

As for active smoking 'causing' lung cancer, the development of lung cancer is such a complex process that I doubt if they will ever identify something that everyone is happy to call a cause. I doubt if anyone who understands cancer formation would deny that smoking is a major factor in the development of 85-90% of lung cancers, but that is subtly different from saying it is the cause. Perhaps you should further your knowledge in this area, it might help your theories relate more to real life.

soapy said...

The law is based on the premise that it definately is as you say it may not be the case then the law is wrong and should be reviewed or repealed until it is proved one way or the other you cannot legislate on "maybe"

Nigel Saint said...

Soapy
How many times? - the law is not just based on the increased risk of cancer.
The law is not based on it being a cause of cancer.
The law is just fine, your logic isn't.

soapy said...

cancer is indeed part of it! if that is wrong what else is?
your reply can wait until you return from holiday as I would not like to see you suffer a STRESS RELATED cardiac areest or stroke!

enjoy your holiday,

regards Soapy

jamesburkes said...

Firstly, I'd like to thank Kerry for free discourse on her blog. The Smoking Ban is an issue that has angered many people and will surely cost this Government the next election.

However, Kerry's point about veganism is an interesting one, and a good example, I think, to highlight the divisiveness and hypocrisy of the Smoking Ban.

I too, have seen adverts for non-smokers in job adverts and know of one person (personally) who was sacked because of being a smoker. (This was not the reason given, of course, but as she had worked in her post for 9 months with no problem, then her manager saw her smoking one lunchtime and said, angrily, "You didn't say you were a smoker at the interview!" ....approx 3 weeks before she went, I'd say it's safe to draw conclusions here).

So you are a vegan. This is a personal choice and does not affect your work, so I assume that if MPs were suddenly told to be "non-vegan" you would not object? After all, you could pretend to eat meat and take a packed lunch and eat vegan food at home, just not at Parliament. (As smokers are expected to do.)

But what if a busybody employer saw you eating your illicit meat-free food and you were sacked because of it? Is that fair? It's happening to smokers.

What if, as an adult professional, the Government had fostered anti-veganism to such an extent that you felt compelled to, while not at home, enjoy your food by lurking behind bushes or hiding in alleyways. This too, has happened with smoking. Despite ASH's best efforts smoking outdoors is still legal but the Smoking Ban legislation seems to make many people think that anti-smoking "regulations" can be passed willy nilly. I am a University lecturer and my campus is now wholly non-smoking despite its being 90% playing fields and car parks. I now lurk, like a criminal, behind bushes to have a cigarette.

What if anti-veganism was so widespread anyone felt it was their God-given duty to look into your tupperware dish and point, and shout, and proclaim, "Tofu! You dirty, smelly vegan. Too thick to eat meat!"?

That happens with alarming regularity to smokers - dare I point out your own comments about typos etc in the original blog post.

What if these people who were harrassing you then started screaming, "Government studies (funded by the British Meat Council) prove that meat-eaters live 3 times as long as vegans and that vegans emit a noxious odour which can kill me and my children! It's true!" Before spitting at you?

What if you and others decided to get away from this and set up a vegan bar/diner only to find that it was now illegal and you had NO CHOICE, despite all of you wanting to have one, but to surreptitiously eat in doorways or locked away at home?

Now what if there were 15 million of you, being vegan had been part of the cultural fabric of the nation for centuries, you paid for the NHS four times over and there was no democratic way of overturning that divisive legislation because your elected representatives just seemed happy to ignore you and accept the easily proven lies of the "British Meat Council".

Now do you understand the anger directed at you. It's too easy to point at smokers and say, "Addicts. If they can't go to the pub and not smoke for a few hours then they are truly pathetic." However, I am not an alcoholic, yet believe me I wouldn't go to the pub if I couldn't buy a beer either.

soapy said...

Well said Jamesburkes an eloquent statement made with dignity and a lot of thought.

I look forward with interest to the reply you recieve from Kerry.

jamesburkes said...

Kerry,

Apologies for this long post. If I may, I'd like to tell you something about myself, as it seems all too often people who complain against the Ban are stereotyped as either raving loonies who'd be complaining about the "Lizard people" if it weren't for the Ban, or as paid stooges of sinister "pressure groups" or "Big Tobacco."

Until, 12 months ago I did not define myself as a smoker. I was a husband, a son, a brother. Secondly, I was a writer and a lecturer. Smoking was probably in my Top 30, somewhere between "liking long, hot baths" and "reading the novels of the Beat generation." Similarly, to most people smoking was a non-issue - a request to smoke being met with either a hearty, "of course!" or a good-natured, "I'd rather you didn't." Yet in 12 short months the whole issue has been radicalised to the point where pulling a cigarette from a packet in a public area results in the same looks of horror you'd get if you unstrapped a ticking backpack with wires sticking out of it. People think it's their God-given right to herd you into "designated areas" or shout abuse (sadly I can confirm that this really does happen). And it even seems to be grounds for discrimination in the workplace and the sort of filth in print, that if applied to any other section of the population, would be considered as incitement to violence.

When the Ban came in, I, like so many others, simply moaned and whinged in the best British tradition, but carried on with my life. But I distinctly remember the two things that have, despite my only other previous political activity being a sole anti-Poll tax march whilst at University and making sure I voted in every election, resulted in my becoming as active as I can be in overturning this Ban.

The first is the aforementioned rise in sheer hatred. Never has any law in the UK been so socially divisive.

The second, and I remember it distinctly, was when I heard on the Today programme that the smoking Ban had resulted in a fall of heart attacks in Scotland. Even as I drove to work I remember thinking, "How can they say that? I know from bitter experience that it takes up to 12 months for articles to be peer-reviewed, then an additional few months for it to be edited, typeset and published. Let alone actually giving the variable you are observing enough time to actually have an effect!" It seemed impossible, implausible. As indeed, it was, later being labeled as Junk Science in "The Times" (despite its being constantly repeated as fact since). It was at that moment that I turned from a slightly peeved, getting-middle-aged academic, to someone who sought out these press releases and studies, growing increasingly horrified at the glaringly obvious flaws in their methodology. Like so many others I typed "Smoking Ban" into Google and found the Freedom2Choose site, that demonstrated the excesses of ASH - their "airbrushing" of cigars from photographs of Churchill and Brunel; their desire to erase a whole period of history by reclassifying films. The Nazi label has been thrown around before... what is this rewriting of history if NOT a Nazi ideal? It certainly isn't health promotion!)

So now, where only 12 months ago I was someone who had a job I enjoyed, a loving family, hobbies....and I smoked, I am now shocked by each glaringly flawed study (or even the repeated crowing about previously discredited ones); I watch with sadness the jobs being lost, the business closing, the socially vulnerable being victimised. I see political outrages perpetrated to "denormalise" smokers (where demonise would be a better word), and I see shocing rises in drink spikings of vulnerable young women, assaults on smokers and non-smokers alike....

And all for the want of a cigarette.

Please Kerry, can you see what this horrible, vindictive law is doing to the country?

Can you not see what a laughing stock you and your colleagues appear to be when proclaiming it to be a success?

No, I never defined myself as a smoker. But now I am defined by Society and my own Government as a "filthy smoker" despite everything else I do or have done, and so it's hardly surprising that I, like so many other, NORMAL PEOLE, find ourselves becoming, for want of a better word, radicalised.

Again, apologies for the long post, but there is so much wrong with this Ban, and the "reasons" behind it, that I am frankly appalled when someone can glibly proclaim it to be a success.

jamesburkes said...

Also, apologies for the typos - it was a long post, after all!