Sunday 8 March 2009

Smoking ban poll

I recently concluded a poll with the question:

Should pubs and clubs be allowed to set aside a separate indoor smoking room?

Yes: 37 (79%)
No: 10 (21%)

Now, obviously the readership of this blog is somewhat self-selecting, but that’s a pretty overwhelming majority.

The blanket smoking ban remains a gross affront to individual liberty and the issue is not going to go away. I would remind all readers that I am a non-smoker, but not someone who believes anything he doesn’t like should be banned.

To anyone who argues that the smoking ban is a fact of life and pro-pub campaigners should move on, I would respond “if we had alcohol Prohibition, would you not fight it as long as you lived?”


  1. It may be self-selecting PB, but it's uncannily close to the ONS statistics both before the ban (Table 6.20, page 86), and after the ban (the corresponding table table isn't there as it wouldn't have been helpful to Labour, but other related stats were unchanged - Table 7.1, page 93).

    I know you've seen these PB, but it's amazing how government spin can be woven from no real corroborating stats.

    There is no majority in favour of a blanket ban, and never has been. In fact, the complete opposite.

    Your poll is entirely in keeping with public opinion. If you were bankrolled by a major special interest lobby group, this would be in 2,000 press reports by tomorrow morning. ;-)

  2. Personally I'm happy that the ban helped my pub to become smoke free and helped me to give up. Now don't they say the ex smokers are the worse?

    I still think that a complete and utter blanket ban is wrong. A separate smoking room with x air changes per hour kept slightly under atmospheric pressure to ensure an inward flow of air and occupying less than 25% of the licensed areas would have done the trick.

    I'd still maintain a smoke free establishment but the ones that need smoking could have it.

  3. I like the SB - I suspect it'll never be repealed thankfully. It's akin to the fox hunting debate, anachronistic.

  4. "It's akin to the fox hunting debate, anachronistic."
    Yes, BUT they are still fox hunting though , aren't they?

  5. Well personally, I HATE the smoking ban. I never had any problem not smoking where it wasn't permitted, also never needed gvt legislation to help me quit either. This total indoor ban is way too heavy handed, and every business owner, not just publicans, should be free to set their own smoking policy just like they always were. Decent ventilation is all that is required, because no-one likes it when it gets too smoky. Mind you, I vaguely recall things called windows and doors, yes that's right, we used to open them! Sorry about the sarcasm, I just get so annoyed that over the years, the places where one could smoke have been whittled away until there are none left. The antismoking trash are now coming for our homes and private vehicles, and I have trouble understanding why some people feel the constant need to insist that everything, everywhere is exactly how they would like it. If you don't like smoking, fine. No-one's asking for the right to smoke on your premises, only for the right to set their own policy.

  6. Government Poer the real health hazard

    The bandwagon of local smoking bans now steamrolling across the nation -
    from sea to sea- has nothing to do with protecting people from the supposed
    threat of "second-hand" smoke.

    Indeed, the bans themselves are symptoms of a far more grievous threat; a
    cancer that has been spreading for decades and has now metastasized
    throughout the body politic, spreading even to the tiniest organs of local
    government. This cancer is the only real hazard involved - the cancer of
    unlimited government power.

    The issue is not whether second-hand smoke is a real danger or a phantom
    menace, as a study published recently in the British Medical Journal
    indicates. The issue is: if it were harmful, what would be the proper
    reaction? Should anti-tobacco activists satisfy themselves with educating
    people about the potential danger and allowing them to make
    their own decisions, or should they seize the power of government and force
    people to make the "right" decision?

    Supporters of local tobacco bans have made their choice. Rather than
    attempting to protect people from an unwanted intrusion on their health, the
    tobacco bans are the unwanted intrusion.

    Loudly billed as measures that only affect "public places," they have
    actually targeted private places: restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shops, and
    offices - places whose owners are free to set anti-smoking rules or whose
    customers are free to go elsewhere if they don't like the smoke. Some local
    bans even harass smokers in places where their effect on others is obviously
    negligible, such as outdoor public parks.

    The decision to smoke, or to avoid "second-hand" smoke, is a question to be
    answered by each individual based on his own values and his own assessment
    of the risks. This is the same kind of decision free people make regarding
    every aspect of their lives: how much to spend or invest, whom to befriend
    or sleep with, whether to go to college or get a job, whether to get married
    or divorced, and so on.

    All of these decisions involve risks; some have demonstrably harmful
    consequences; most are controversial and invite disapproval from the
    neighbours. But the individual must be free to make these decisions. He must
    be free, because his life belongs to him, not to his neighbours, and only
    his own judgment can guide him through it.

    Yet when it comes to smoking, this freedom is under attack. Cigarette
    smokers are a numerical minority, practicing a habit considered annoying and
    unpleasant to the majority. So the majority has simply commandeered the
    power of government and used it to dictate their behaviour.

    That is why these bans are far more threatening than the prospect of
    inhaling a few stray whiffs of tobacco while waiting for a table at your
    favourite restaurant. The anti-tobacco crusaders point in exaggerated alarm
    at those wisps of smoke while they unleash the systematic and unlimited
    intrusion of government into our lives.

    We do not elect officials to control and manipulate our behaviour.

  7. You know the trade were their own worst enemies here. No real attempt to make things pleasant for the non smoker, usually extractors not switched on or long since ceased to function, doors and windows firmly shut no matter how smoky it got, air purifiers switched off because nobody could be arsed to buy or change the filters, non smoking areas being a tiny % of the pub with no attempt to stop smoking in them or to stop smoke getting in them, smoking permitted where people were eating, the best reas being reserved for smokers etc etc.

    If you don't put your own house in order, of course the Government steps in. It's no use now saying we'll have hermetically sealed smoking areas in the pub - any non smoker who drinks would have been up for that. It is too bloody late.

    Maybe it is selfish, but for most of my drinking life, I've had to come home stinking like an ash tray. I don't now. End of.

  8. Tandleman, I think you underestimate the proportion of pubs that did have non-smoking areas, although they tended to be more the food-oriented ones rather than urban locals. It isn't reasonable to expect businesses to voluntarily provide facilities for which there is no demand. And, however far the pub trade had gone in providing non-smoking areas, it would never have been enough to satisfy the antismokers.

    Where wet-led pubs did have non-smoking areas, it was always noticeable that they were the quietest part of the pub and the last to fill up. You may well feel happier that you are not going home smelling of smoke, but that obviously wasn't sufficient reason for you to shun smoky pubs – as presumably you have no difficulty avoiding the numerous pubs that don't serve real ale.

  9. "Where wet-led pubs did have non-smoking areas, it was always noticeable that they were the quietest part of the pub and the last to fill up."

    That (where so)was because they were usually situated in the least attractive part of the pub. I am a pub man and where I could I used pubs that weren't so smoky, had ventilation or just had beers I liked. My own local has almost no smokers anyway for example. I picked different times to go there, when for example, it was quieter, just to avoid smoke. I put up with the inconvenience and unpleasantness of it all because I like pubs. I didn't like to stink of smoke. Not a health thing in my case - a smell thing. Why are smokers so precious that they can't put up with things now the boot's on the other foot?

    I am generally against anti libertarian legislation, but not this one.

  10. I am generally against anti libertarian legislation, but not this one.

    Therein lies the problem Tandleman, and why you are really up against it with the anti-alcohol lobby. As PB mentions elsewhere, once you agree with one method of people control, you are immediately handicapped in defending your own corner.

    There will be the next group saying "I'm generally against anti-libertarian legislation, and want us fatties to be left alone, but I agree with restricting alcohol consumption, it's a danger to health" (fights, drink-driving etc., always taken to extremes, and it will be pushed incessantly by the likes of Alcohol Concern)

    What I always find surprising is that those who agree with the ban seem to think that smokers were so miltant that they made non-smokers' lives misery on purpose. If they'd known this was on the horizon, they would have been more thoughtful.

    The simple fact is that it wasn't in any agenda and wasn't in the Labour manifesto of 2005. It was sprung before anyone had time to react.

    If smokers were so very aware, and deliberate in their actions, there would be 9 million of them marching on London to protest on July 2nd.

    The fact is that smokers are supine. Most had no clue of the irritance to non-smokers. After all, it was a pub and that's what happens in pubs.

    Non-smoking areas were scrupulouly respected IME.

    And before you say that smokers must be stupid and deserve it as they don't stand up for themselves, it's not just in that one area. People are increasingly reticent to object when bombarded with propaganda.

    We've had an incredible amount of laws inflicted on us, and freedoms stripped away since 1997 (see the film Taking Liberties for example) but most aren't even the slightest bit aware of it ... they can tell you who is shagging who on Eastenders though.


    BTW: Love your stance Woolpack Dave, very fair comment.

  11. Dick

    While I agree with much of what you say on an intellectual level, on a practical one, I don't. Of course you can pick and choose your issues. There is no point in being "agin" everything on spurious libertarian grounds though I do agree that one thing CAN lead to another. There are far more worrying aspects of our totalitarian Government I'd campaign against, but this isn't the forum.

    I agree with what Dave says too. I just wish that pubs had done it then the Government wouldn't have had to. The idea that smokers had no idea of the problems they were causing to non smokers is risible. They just didn't care. Smoking is out of touch with society's direction these days.

  12. "Smoking is out of touch with society's direction these days."

    Hmm, many would say the same of boozing...

  13. ""Smoking is out of touch with society's direction these days."

    Hmm, many would say the same of boozing..."

    Not really. It may be that the government treats it as such, but there is one very important difference. Alcohol is a pastime still enjoyed by a large majority of the country. Smoking isn't and hasn't been for some time. Of course the pro smoking lobby have always been vociferous and, until recently, very influential. That is one lesson the alcohol lobby could learn.

  14. The ban on smoking in enclosed workplaces is not an "affront" to individual liberty. By the same token pretty much any law relating to human activity would be such an "affront".

    What this law - or indeed any regulation of its kind - is in fact is a restriction on individual liberty.

    You can debate whether or not this particular restriction is justified or not - that's a valid and indeed vital subject debate - but don't use terms like "affront to personal liberty" because they make you and your argument appear foolish.

    I don't mean to be unduly harsh, but there you have it.

  15. Of course the pro smoking lobby have always been vociferous and, until recently, very influential.

    May I challenge you on that, Tyson?

    Since this judgement, the tobacco industry has been very quiet worldwide. It's been over 10 years since the tobacco industry has said anything at all, in fact.

    The pro-smoking lobby consists entirely of grass roots people who think that the bullying is wrong.

    There is no organised pro-smoking lobby. FOREST are the supposed champions but have their hands tied (see above). Smokers themselves are pretty pissed off that they aren't being backed up by those who could have influence.

    Of course, the influence is non-existent anyway. The EU are even trying to stop tobacco companies from talking to them.

    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.

    Now, last time I looked, tobacco was a legal product with suppliers quoted on stock exchanges around the world. Yet they can't advertise, and have no say whatsoever in legislation.

    In light of this, where, exactly, do you get the idea that the pro-smoking lobby is influential? It hasn't been for over 10 years!

    The fact you believe that guff is a huge warning sign. You're next and the recent increase in activity is already palpable. That should worry you.

    Jeffrey: Would you not agree that a business, selling a perfectly legal product, being denied recourse to defend itself, is an 'affront to liberty'?

    And as for this garbage:

    "We need to protect young people from the aggressive marketing techniques employed by the tobacco industry"

    Err ... what aggressive marketing techniques? Tobacco advertising is entirely banned. It doesn't exist. Anywhere.

    Jeffrey, you're correct in saying that this is "a restriction on individual liberty", but the simple fact is that they wish to impose the same on you. It doesn't matter whether you are in the majority or not, Tyson.

    Alcohol advertising ban coming soon. You may not even have noticed that it is already severely curtailed. Majority or not, you are in the cross-hair and I am bloody disappointed that so many of you are so very naive that you under-estimate the threat.

    PB is correct in saying that "many would say the same about boozing". They are doing exactly that, right now.

    Wake up FFS!


Comments, especially on older posts, may require prior approval by the blog owner. See here for details of my comment policy.

Please register an account to comment. Unregistered comments will generally be rejected unless I recognise the author. If you want to comment using an unregistered ID, you will need to tell me something about yourself.