Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Hate campaign breeds hatred shock

One academic has boldly put her head above the parapet of political correctness and pointed out what people have been saying for years, that the government-sponsored campaign to stigmatise smoking inevitably results in the growth of an unsavoury prejudice against smokers themselves.

Anti-smoking campaigns and laws have turned smokers into a despised underclass, a study by a Department of Health adviser warned yesterday.

It said smokers have come to be seen as disgusting and dirty and are increasingly becoming regarded as outcasts.

The vilification is also stoking up prejudice against the poor because those who are already on low incomes or at a disadvantage are most likely to be smokers, the report by Professor Hilary Graham found.

Smokers are like ‘migrant and indigenous groups’ in past centuries who were seen as contaminating the rest of society and threatening the way of life of normal, healthy people, Professor Graham, of York University, added.

Her report calls for anti-smoking campaigns to be redrawn so they try to help the poor improve their lives.

The study, published by Cambridge University Press, suggests the tightening of laws controlling smoking, mean smokers are held in contempt by the non-smoking majority.
I wonder how long it will be before her government research grant is withdrawn. And she doesn’t go quite as far as suggesting that the best way to combat this prejudice is to encourage the re-integration of smokers into society. Some of the comments clearly demonstrate how successful the hate campaign has been: “Smoking is disgusting and dirty. And so are smokers. I think I'd prefer to have the lepers.”

I have also seen the argument made in several places that the official policy of treating smokers as outcasts has greatly reduced their participation in the “leisure economy” and thus may have exacerbated the recession.

The same is happening in a more subtle and insidious way towards drinkers, especially those who drink in pubs. The constant campaigns about the evils of drink have a slow, drip-drip effect.

I’ve mentioned in the past how just going to the pub for a drink has come to be seen in recent years as somehow less normal and socially acceptable than it once was, at least amongst “respectable” people. Just think how often you and your work colleagues used to go out to the pub at lunchtimes twenty or twenty-five years ago, compared with today, and, if you do ever go today, how many of them religiously stick to soft drinks.

39 comments:

  1. This must be a London thing. The people at my workplace who smoke appear to get along with their colleagues just as well as those who don't. There is no evidence for smokers being generally regarded as disgusting or outcasts. People watch Simon Cowell's tv shows, Brad Pitt's films and Wayne Rooney's football games. Apart from a small, vocal section of the population, smoking doesn't figure in most non smokers' thoughts. I think the writers' agenda is class, and smokers are just a pawn in her game.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "I wonder how long it will be before her government research grant is withdrawn"


    I don't see why it should be, after all she didn't deny any of the slurs made against people who smoke, in fact she got a chance to repeat them all, with a few more besides.

    "Her report calls for anti-smoking campaigns to be redrawn so they try to help the poor improve their lives."

    See how often she repeats the words poor, disadvantaged and low income.

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Jonathan: That's a bit of a "some of my best friends are Jews" comment. Many people are happy to watch Eddie Murphy's films, but that doesn't mean there is no prejudice against black people on the ground.

    You may know some very nice smokers, but that doesn't stop the increasing trend for people to see a group smoking around a pub doorway and instinctively think "scum".

    ReplyDelete
  4. You certainly have a point, Mudge. The UK is the only country I have observed someone complain about smoking in a beer garden. None smokers are preferred by many employers & workplace drinking is now an annual xmas event. The lunchtime or after work pint is a feature of our history, not present. Whilst smoking is an activity best consigned to history, the same path of gradual prohibition is occurring with drink and you are correct in observing it.

    In other European countries, smoking bans have been amended. Hamburg is full of smoking pubs. The notable difference has been those that sought amendment. A coalition of reasonable mainstream opinion brings change, I see nought but a bunch of fringe loons banging on about it in the UK, raging against the dying of the light. Mudge, old bean, do not go gentle into that good night.

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  5. I see what you mean Curm. I smoke so I can't imagine what goes on in anti smokers minds. Perhaps a great many are extremely disapproving.I think "scum" is too strong. When I see a very obese person eating a big chocolate bar at coffee break, I'm thinking, eat a few nuts instead for Christ's sake, but I'm not wanting to exterminate them.

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  6. Cooking Lager, how, apart from being less organised, does opposition to a total smoking ban differ in the UK to the rest of Europe? We all want smoking pubs and use the same arguments. So why are we in the UK fringe loons? One of my German work colleagues pointed out that smoking is less of a class thing there. More middle class and educated Germans smoke. This may be what you mean by "reasonable mainstream opinion".

    ReplyDelete
  7. Jon,

    Regular mainstream opinion in the UK and America is one of "don't poison me or my kids with your cancer stick".

    In other countries no one bats an eyelid at 2 parents, sat outside a bar, with 2 kids, lighting up and drinking.

    The mainstream is the majority.
    Values are different here. To rage against the reasonable majority is to be a loon. It's relative to current values, not an absolute.

    Miss a change in the zeitgeist, you can become a loon and not even know it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "see a group smoking around a pub doorway and instinctively think "scum".

    If you are running a campaign to denormalise a normal behaviour, you have to at least make the "deadly" threat of secondhand smoke look real.

    If the smoke wasn't "deadly" the government wouldn't have made people stand outside to smoke would they? Stands to reason.

    I wouldn't dream of standing outside smoking myself, I have no desire to help ASH with their campaign.

    Rose

    ReplyDelete
  9. I must have misunderstood your original post CL. I thought you were saying that German smoking ban protesters are a "coalition of reasonable mainstream opinion", yet UK smoking ban protesters are a "a bunch of fringe loons." I was saying that we all use the same arguments. That the USA and continental Europe have different proportions of health neurotics doesn't affect the validity of these arguments.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Smoking in work places including pubs is illegal. Some of you want it reinstated, it was part and parcel of the pub experience. Should we reintroduce opium? How do you feel about legalising drugs such as hash? Buying it only enriches criminals.

    The last time I mentioned the smoking ban I was accused of causing the deaths of restaurant staff by going for a meal and forcing them to work shift. I have since going to any establishment that requires its staff to work shift. I am clean!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Bit of a straw man there, LC. FWIW I do support legalising hash. But it would of course be up to the individual publican whether to allow smoking it in his establishment.

    Just as it should be with smoking tobacco.

    ReplyDelete
  12. No straw man, merely looking at the debate from a different view.

    ReplyDelete
  13. "The last time I mentioned the smoking ban I was accused of causing the deaths of restaurant staff by going for a meal and forcing them to work shift."

    You did more then mention it , LC, you leapt in with a justification.

    "The ban was introduced to protect the health of staff not to persecute smokers."

    It's good that you now confine your cinema,pub,church and restaurant going to normal weekday working hours.

    Do you think a law should be passed to make sure everyone else follows your good example?

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have seen the denormalisation become demonisation during the last couple of years. I am fairly thick skinned but sometimes feel like screaming out loud when the pious make extremely hurtful comments to me. As for the demise of the British boozer; that is an essential component of the plan to neuter the British people. Our pubs are our parliaments, places where ordinary folk discuss topics and organise themselves to fight injustice. Now we can't have any of that, can we?

    ReplyDelete
  15. I dont think the two things conflate, alot has changed in the workplace in the last 25 years
    regular surveys throw up stats like more than half of UK workers never take a lunch break, and of those that do the large majority have it their desk or take less than 20mins, people increasingly work more than their contracted hours.

    this isnt anything to do with pubs/beer or the social acceptability of drinking, these are things that have come about due to pressures in the work environment employees feel they are now in, fear of losing a job is much greater fear than conforming to somekind of anti drinking movement, weve simply become a nation of workaholics.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Stono is right to an extent - irrespective of time taken to do so, if I announce at work that am having a pint at luchtime people gasp and start assessing me for yellowed skin. And going for one on my own - what am I? a sot? Seems so...

    I think the anti smoker hate campaign suggested is present but not prevalent yet. Maybe its more noticable in social settings where a minority smoke?

    Almost everyone i go drinking with smokes, most of my house guests do and most of my colleagues do. Since i Have lots of really good friends who smoke its pointless for me to demonise them. Maybe ostracising smokers is a means to an end. The less support for smoking the easier the habit is to condemn.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I know this view of smokers as an oppressed and reviled minority suits the theme of this blog, but that doesn't reflect real life as I see it, and I mean that in relation to the many of my friends who smoke. No one took much notice of the staff in my office who went for a fag, and the people I know who revile smokers are few and far between. In fact, I can't think of one, and I know a lot of people.

    Either I live in an unreal bubble (a very large unreal bubble), or some people are exaggerating for effect.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This piece is just another angle of the 'trash' view. Note it's accepted we're trash so now let's start to feel sorry for us poor addicts.

    We understand you're the poor, uneducated, helpless, morons and we're now here to help you.

    F**k off!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Fred, I've stopped going anywhere that employs people outside of "office hours". I couldn't have mass deaths on my hands. But because I'm otherwise occupied during said hours I haven't contributed to my local economy or community since you highlighted my murderous ways. May even chane my sogn in to Pol Pot.

    Mudgie when it come to smoking in pubs you and others seem to have a wee bit of a chip on the ol shoulder. I maintained that the ban was to protect workers health.
    This article seems to agree, it's not the Daily Mail, but still
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/jul/27/smoking-ban-human-rights-act

    Even if you all you smokers are the most persecuted section of society the health benefits are there for all to see. From the redoubtable Dail Mail, therefore it must be true
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1213180/Smoking-ban-led-dramatic-fall-heart-attack-rates.html

    ReplyDelete
  20. Lapsed Catholic,
    Smoking bans do not cause a drop in heart attacks.
    It's is completely untrue.

    Fredrik.

    ReplyDelete
  21. You didn't misread me Jon, you are a bunch of fringe loons.

    The truth isn't an absolute, it's a relative based on a perspective within a zeitgeist.

    You wouldn't be a bunch of loons on mainland europe.

    Whether you win is not based on the quality of your argument, it is based on how your argument is received. You need to stop making the argument, alter the zeitgeist, then make it again.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Lapsed Catholic

    You may find this one particularly interesting.

    Analysis Reveals that Institute of Medicine Report Failed to Include Data that Found No Effect of Smoking Bans on Acute Coronary Events in 3 Countries

    “I have analyzed the data which the Institute of Medicine included and failed to include in its report and today, I reveal that the report failed to consider data from three countries England, Scotland, and Wales which seem to clearly show that the smoking bans in these countries had no significant short-term effect on acute coronary events.

    These data are all national data which include all hospital admissions at all hospitals in these countries.

    Thus, they represent a better source of data than what was used in some of the published studies (which only included a sample of hospitals).

    Moreover, they cover large populations, with a sample size greater than that of all other studies combined. Thus, the data from these countries are critically important an carries much weight in the overall analysis.”
    http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2009/10/analysis-reveals-that-institute-of.html

    I trust his calculations because for some inexplicable reason, he'd really like the secondhand smoke/heart attack theory to be true.


    Rose

    ReplyDelete
  23. The links provided by Anon are not to the Daily Mail, therefore they cannot be true.

    I am not anti smoking, if you want to smoke then that is your business. As for smokers being thought of as "Scum" that's just more of the persecution complex that some people suffer from. I don't want to inhale your second hand smoke. I believe it damages my health. Is that a hate crime?

    ReplyDelete
  24. "I believe it damages my health. Is that a hate crime?" - Lapsed Catholic.
    No, it is a speculation. What arguably makes it a hate crime is when a speculation
    is used to abolish the pubs and restaurants smokers use in order to force smokers to subsidise the pub and restaurants
    you want to use.
    Pay for your own life style choices and leave us alone.
    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Who is forcing you to subsdise pubs and restaurants? I do pay for my life style choices, I am not trying to dictate your choices to you.

    Do you seriously think that the governments of the countries with smoking bans are forcing their smoking citizens to subsidise the pubs and restaurants used by their non smoking citizens? Or is it only the UK government?

    Not only are you persecuted, I'm afraid you have become delusional.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Lapsed Catholic,
    If smoke-free restaurants and pubs were abolished then that would force people to either stay at home or
    subsidise places that they would not go to were there smoke-free alternatives. To my knowledge no government has ever abolished smoke-free restaurants and pubs in the history of this species. Even when smoking prevalence was 90% males and 50% females - no such laws were passed. Publicans did not ever go to prison if they refused to put ash trays on the tables when smokers were the voting majority.
    These are facts and not delusional.
    If you have evidence to the contrary, please provide it.

    Fredrik

    ReplyDelete
  27. Cooking lager, I'm sorry to disappoint you but truth is not "a relative based on a perspective within a zeitgeist". No wonder I couldn't make head or tail of your comments. I had my mathematician/scientist head on.

    LC, I am jon56 who back in 2010posed the question in the Guardian which you linked to at

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/jul/27/smoking-ban-human-rights-act

    I regretted not wording my question tightly enough. As I said in one of my comments below the article, I was trying to elicit a response to why private smoking clubs with membership by invitation only, staffed by volunteers, are banned; yet I can get together with a few friends and attempt a very dangerous rock climb. The answer, of course, is that the purpose of the smoking ban was not to protect employees. It was, as has been later admitted by several of those involved, to lower smoking prevalence, which here, and in many other countries, it has spectactularly failed to do. All it has achieved is to to lead a group of people to think it now their right to be able to walk into any non-residential building and object if things are not exactly to their liking.

    ReplyDelete
  28. "It was, as has been later admitted by several of those involved, to lower smoking prevalence, which here, and in many other countries, it has spectactularly failed to do. "
    JB,

    And evidence from before the ban

    "I hope that in 10 years’ time we
    will be much closer to the situation where smoking is no
    longer as socially acceptable. That’s what this ban is about -
    cultural change.
    " - Dr Linda Bauld, April. 2007.

    Not protecting staff after all but deliberate stigmatisation of a minority.

    Fredrik.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Jonathan, as already stated I have nothing against smokers / smoking. I smoked myself for years. I think it's unfair that you should be prevented from forming a smoking club as you described above. I also agree that an intolerent / prohibitionist brigade are getting louder and louder. If smoking pubs were to reopen it wouldn't bother me.

    Every report that I have read has stated that passive smoking adversely affects peoples health. To call it speculation is disengenous. To accuse non-smokers of thinking of smokers as Scum is childish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jonathan, as already stated I have nothing against smokers / smoking. I smoked myself for years. I think it's unfair that you should be prevented from forming a smoking club as you described above. I also agree that an intolerent / prohibitionist brigade are getting louder and louder. If smoking pubs were to reopen it wouldn't bother me.

      In which case, you are in the vast majority. About the only people who can't see this are daft MPs who are browbeaten by the massed ranks of health bullies. The same ones - and I mean the very same people in many cases - who are now going after normal, respectful beer drinkers.

      To accuse non-smokers of thinking of smokers as Scum is childish.

      This, however, is a bit naive. When a government adviser begins recognising what we have all seen first hand, there is little left to defend. The campaign of 'denormalisation', instigated by the CMO Liam Donaldson, has done exactly that with smokers. The same principle is being openly promoted towards alcohol.

      You're clever enough to see through it, without doubt, but the policy relies on the weak-minded not to be as intelligent.

      Delete
  30. LC,
    Here is a report that you missed.
    The 2006 Surgeon General's Report says that SHS/ETS exposure does NOT cause:

    1. breast cancer.
    2. a risk of nasal sinus cancer among nonsmokers.
    3. a risk of nasopharyngeal carcinoma among nonsmokers.
    4. the risk of cervical cancer among lifetime nonsmokers.
    5.for persons with nasal allergies or a history of respiratory illnesses to be more susceptible to developing nasal irritation from secondhand smoke exposure.
    6. acute respiratory symptoms including cough, wheeze, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing among persons with asthma.
    7. acute respiratory symptoms including cough, wheeze, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing among healthy persons.
    8. chronic respiratory symptoms.
    9. an acute decline in lung function in persons with asthma.
    10. an acute decline in lung function in healthy persons.
    11. a small decrement in lung function in the general population.
    12. an accelerated decline in lung function.
    13. adult-onset asthma.
    14. a worsening of asthma control.
    15. risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(emphysema and chronic bronchitus).
    16. morbidity in persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

    Gary K.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Gary here's some facts from the NHS, maybe you missed it.

    Is passive smoking dangerous?

    Yes. Breathing in someone else’s cigarette smoke (passive smoking or secondhand smoking) can increase your risk of cancer and other health problems. It is also particularly harmful for children.

    Smoke stays in the air
    When someone smokes a cigarette, the smoke from the burning tip stays in the air. So does the smoke they breathe out. Smoke can stay in the air for up to two and a half hours. It may still be there even if you can’t see it or smell it.

    This also applies in small enclosed places, such as cars. Smoke may still be present in large amounts even after the person has stopped smoking.

    Risks of passive smoking
    Passive smoking can damage your body because secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 toxic (harmful) chemicals, many of which are known to cause cancer. Passive smoking from all forms of tobacco is harmful, including:

    •cigarettes
    •cigars
    •pipe tobacco
    •hand-rolling tobacco
    Frequent exposure to other people’s smoke can increase your risk of lung cancer, even if you’re a non-smoker.

    Passive smoking also increases your risk of other smoking-related conditions. These include:

    •coronary heart disease
    •heart attacks
    •angina (chest pain)
    •heart failure
    •strokes
    •chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
    •pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs)

    This could go on for ever, lets agree to disagree.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'Smoke can stay in the air for up to two and a half hours.'
      Propaganda can stay in simpletons brains for ever.

      Delete
  32. LC,
    2006 SG's Report also says that stroke in not proven to be caused by SHS/ETS exposure.

    As for all those toxic chemicals:

    Here is a list of 33 of the 188 toxic pollutants the EPA has found will be in CLEAN smoke free, air.

    Some you may recognize as being in cigarette smoke and there are some that are not found in cigarette smoke.

    http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/nata/mapconc.html


    Acetaldehyde-Acrolein-Acrylonitrile-Arsenic Compounds-Benzene-Beryllium Compounds-1,3-Butadiene-Cadmium Compounds-Carbon tetrachloride-Chloroform-Chromium Compounds-Coke Oven Emissions- 1,3-Dichloropropene-Diesel Particulate Matter-Ethylene dibromide-Ethylene dichloride-Ethylene oxide-Formaldehyde-Hexachlorobenzene- Hydrazine-Lead Compounds-Manganese Compounds-Mercury Compounds-Methylene chloride-Nickel Compounds-Perchloroethylene-Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB)-Polycyclic Organic Matter (POM)-Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (7-PAH)-Propylene dichloride-Quinoline-1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane- Trichloroethylene-Vinyl chloride

    Gary K.

    ReplyDelete
  33. As for SHS and lung cancer deaths:

    Lung cancer is a very rare disease and only(USA) 2/10,000 per year never smokers will die from it.

    SHS exposure causes a 25% increased risk of death to 2.5/10,000 deaths.

    Not dying = 9,997.5/9,998 = 99.995%

    SHS exposed never-smokers have 99.995% of the non-exposed never smokers chances of not dying from lung cancer.

    Gary K.

    ReplyDelete
  34. "Lapsed Catholic said...

    Gary here's some facts from the NHS, maybe you missed it.

    Is passive smoking dangerous?

    Yes. Breathing in someone else’s cigarette smoke (passive smoking or secondhand smoking) can increase your risk of cancer and other health problems. It is also particularly harmful for children."


    LC, I am 62 years old, and so, like the rest of my generation, grew up in the fifties and sixties. In those days, Tobacco smoke was inescapable. Virtually everyone smoked, so the vast majority of kids grew up in a home with at least one smoking parent. Who smoked in the home, in the car, and everywhere else they went. There was smoking in buses, trains, planes, libraries, hospitals, cafés, government offices, restaurants; in fact pretty much everywhere. So us lot who are now in their sixties quite literally grew up in a constant fug of tobacco smoke.

    So how do you reconcile the fact that we are the healthiest and longest-lived generation yet?

    How do you reconcile the fact that when we were kids, childhood asthma and multiple allergies were almost unheard of? In fact, as smoking has decreased, childhood asthma has increased.

    Odd that, isn't it? You would almost imagine that exposure to tobacco smoke is actually not harmful to kids, but on the contrary, it is beneficial. The evidence would certainly indicate that that is the case.

    Doesn't it ever occur to you that the actualité doesn't quite tie in with the propaganda? Has it never occurred to you that this whole debacle might be happening because a bunch of puritanical zealots have managed (with massive funding) to get into a position to lobby government about their pet mania? Are you unaware of the fact that the pharmaceutical companies, for whom NRT and smoking cessation products are a billion dollar industry, have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to organisations worldwide that lobby for smoking bans?

    Do you not smell a rat?

    ReplyDelete
  35. Lapsed Catholic1 March 2012 at 18:54

    And Elvis works in a chipper in Blackpool!!

    And the Magic Bullet theory was proven to be true!!

    So smoking doesn't cause cancers, isn't bad for you general health and the medical authorities are in numerous countries are lying, to help cessation product companies make millions. Look, it's a Gloucester Old Spot behind that cloud.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hook, line and sinker...

      They love people like you.

      Delete
    2. Now, you're being silly, Lapsed. It isn't what's being said. It's a MASSIVE exaggeration that doesn't warrant the authoritarian clout that's been applied. Even you must see that some are benefiting from it, Pharma, Taxpayer funded rent seekers such as Sandford, Pell, Arnott, etc. and last, but not least, Govts. seeking to spread control of your, and my, life and lifestyle.

      Even your old granny could have told you that too much of anything isn't too good for you and she was right. But note, 'too much' not none at all. If they had insisted on strict, powerful, filtration systems (or close down) it could be understood but a total ban? It stinks of other agendas and isn't justified by the 'research'. I will not go into the so called 'research', I could write reams on how rubbish it is!

      Delete

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