Friday, 4 November 2011

Bitter harvest

Apparently, Call Me Dave reckons that the smoking ban has been a success.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Cameron said: “As a former smoker and someone who believes strongly in liberties and someone who did not support it at the time, it has worked.”
Someone who believes strongly in liberties? Come on, pull the other one. And in what way has it “worked”? The long-term decline in the proportion of smokers in the population has actually slowed, while thousands of pubs have shut and their licensees and staff been deprived of their livelihoods. As he tours the country, does he see the legions of closed and boarded pubs and smugly think to himself “what a success”?

In contrast, no prizes for guessing which North-West MEP said the following:
Pubs are local parliaments and are a very important part of our society. Once the traditional pubs have gone they will never return.

There is no simple answer, but it is certainly time to rethink the smoking ban. The political powers of this country dealt pubs an absolute hammer blow four years ago with the total smoking ban. It has taken 20% off pub takings.
Well, absolutely, spot on Mr Nuttall.


  1. I suppose that pubs closing is a success of the smoking ban as far as he is concerned as it forces the evil of alcohol into the home and makes it an anti-social drug: The next drug in the firing line of the 'we know what's best for you' brigade :(

  2. I think he's scared of the anti-smoking brigade. But their reach is out of all proportion to their popularity. The amount of money the public give them is almost nil - all their support comes from pharmaceutical companies, other charities and - Dave's government.

  3. Oh dear, straws and clutches comes to mind when Mr Nuttall is held up as any sort of hero.

  4. @Tyson. I take it you might agree with Cameron that the ban has worked. If so, how? Where's the incontrovertible evidence that the health of non smoking staff has improved? Because if there isn't, how can anyone claim it's been a success? Wasn't that the whole point of the exercise - to reduce risk/improve health of staff by eliminating exposure to SHS?

  5. The protection of bar staff was always just a "smokescreen". In any case, even if the argument about SHS is accepted, this could have been achieved simply by confining smoking to separate rooms without a bar counter.

    But the real reason underlying the ban was an attempt to reduce smoking prevalence through "denormalisation". And in that respect the ban has spectacularly failed.

  6. "This could have been achieved simply by confining smoking to separate rooms without a bar counter."

    So presumably those rooms would never have their empty glasses collected, their tables wiped, the furniture put back after customers had moved it, rubbish and litter removed, be monitored for bad behaviour or be cleaned.

  7. "So presumably those rooms would never have their empty glasses collected, their tables wiped, the furniture put back after customers had moved it, rubbish and litter removed, be monitored for bad behaviour or be cleaned."

    Well yes, because even very brief exposure to SHS is absolutely guaranteed to give you lung cancer.

    Oh come on, Nev, you can do better than that.

  8. @PC. Yea, I think most of us knew it had little to with the health of staff, but I wanted to know how someone with anti tendencies was able to claim it has been successful with reference to its legal basis. The health argument was the only justification offered at the time it was discussed in parliament. If there have been no health improvements it has, indeed, been a spectacular failure. As such, it should be totally repealed as being a useless, pointless and unnecessary law. There should be no legal grounds to permit compromise, no separate rooms. Such arrangements should be wholly at the licensees discretion. Let the market decide.

  9. You're missing the point, CM, and I never said one whiff would lead to lung cancer - YOU can do better than that. People in their workplace are entitled not to be exposed to smoke unnecessarily, because second-and smoke is unpleasant, gets in your clothes, hair, sinuses and contact lenses, even after fairly short exposures. I drank in smoke-filled pubs long enough (since 1972, in fact) to know I'm not exaggerating.

  10. RN, folk music and real ale obsessives get up my nose.. can we ban them too?

  11. Let's not get personal, chaps. I'm with @15.55 on this one. If there is enough support for non-smoking pubs, there will be non-smoking pubs. Anyone on here ever been to the Three Fishes in Shrewsbury? A stonking good pub and entirely non-smoking for years before the ban. (Mind you, this meant I always went to the Loggerheads, an equally good pub but one where you could have a fag)

  12. I never knew bar staff were forced at gun point to take the job. There was me thinking it was voluntary.

    Well, you learn something knew every day.

  13. Erm, New, not 'knew'. Don't want to look like a thoughtless, uneducated, anti.

  14. Dear Curmudgeon

    "There is no simple answer, " (Mr Nutall, MEP)

    How about 'get the government out of our lives'.



  15. Nev, without the harm element, tobacco smoke is a matter of taste. I washed up in a restaurant and my hair got caked in grease and my clothes smelled. I didn't like it much but it was no biggy. The next summer I got a job in a warehouse, so problem solved. I'm sure there are sufficient smoking bar staff prepared to spend a few minutes in a smoking room with an extraction system, collecting glasses; and most cleaning can be done a few miutes after the customers have left, or the next morning. You, and bar staff who don't like smoke, will have sufficient choice among the pubs which choose to be completely non smoking. Don't worry, there will be a choice. There is in Berlin and there is in Holland. Many of the Dutch pubs which could elect to allow smoking, choose not to.

  16. Also bear in mind that smoking is still legally permitted in hotel rooms, private rooms in care homes, and prison cells, all of which have to be serviced by employees from time to time.


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