Thursday, 25 February 2010

Deep in denial

There’s a quite astonishing statement from Home Office Minister Gillian Merron that the smoking ban has not resulted in pub closures.

Merron said: “The pub trade does have challenges and I am aware of that but it isn’t the case that the ban had led to pub closures.”
Really? Not even a single one? This completely flies in the face of the vast weight of anecdotal evidence that the ban has had a severe impact on the trade of pubs, and the statements from virtually every brewer and pub company reporting their results that the smoking ban has hit their profits. It is given short shrift by Mark Daniels who by his own admission isn’t the most diehard opponent of the ban:
The smoking ban has certainly caused most pubs, especially those that were traditional drinking outlets (like mine, for example), a lot of pain - and it has caused a lot to close, too.

To say it hasn't is, frankly, ridiculous and shows a severe lack of knowledge of the problems the pub trade is facing right now.
He also makes the very salient point that the ban has made the trade of pubs much more dependent on fine weather than it used to be.

It is difficult to decide whether Merron is a self-deluding moron, or a blatant, bare-faced liar. Either way, she is clearly totally unfit to hold public office – but, regrettably, one or the other of those qualities seems to be a requirement for serving in the current government.


  1. You really need to stop all this pro smoking drivel. The smoking ban has not resulted in any pub closures. Lack of business, cash flow and partronage has resulted in pub closures. Has the smoking ban had an effect on this? It's not relevant as smoking is not a business activity of the pub.
    Blaming the ban on pubs closing is like saying that Enron went under because they cleaned the carpets.

  2. Is that the most stupid comment ever made on this blog?

  3. What is so hard to understand?? Most people don't like the smell of fucking cigarette smoke. It gets in your hair, your clothes, lungs, etc.
    I could care less if you smoke. I'm just not interested in inhaling the shit, or having the stench of it through my clothes. Get the patch for fuck sake and just quit!

  4. Hmm, your callling me stupid. The moron who bangs on about smoking rights - calling me stupid? hahaha

    Pubs are businesses that sell booze and food. Pubs go out of business when revenue on sales of these products are less than operational overheads. What does this have to do with smoking? It has a lot to do with having more pubs trading than customers who require the goods and services they offer. Basic supply and demand.

    Next there will be ban on darts. Golly gosh what an impact that will have as well.

  5. Yes, Pigman, and what has reduced the demand for pubs' services?

    And if you look above the door of a pub you will notice that amongst the things they are licenced for is the sale of tobacco.

  6. Curmudgeon - GET OVER IT!!! move on, its over. start adapting to life in the 21st century. Try making your pub more relevant to this century - not try and bring back smoking FFS...

  7. Oh my.

    They're all crawling out of the woodwork tonight.

    Has someone poked a stick in the rats' nest?

  8. I work in the pub trade i sell beer for a living and trust me the smoking ban has had a major effect on the profit margins of our pubs,especially small village and traditional working mans pubs.So because you dont like the smell of cigarettes therefore they should be banned from our pubs? That is just completely irrational,there are many many people in this country whos social lives have been completely ruined by this draconian ban surely in a so called democratic society there is room to cater for all pub users ie smoking pubs/non smoking pubs or smoking rooms why cant this be left up to the individual landlord to decide? In fact we didnt see too many landlords going down the non smoking route before July 2007.

  9. Beerseller - its not the smell that most people object too (although it is horrible) its the chemicals and other shit that we dont want to breathe in after youve exhaled your disgusting smoke breath.

  10. @Pigman: smokers who don't go to pubs or go less often *are* the lack of patronage, so less business. Your arguments fly in the face of reality.

  11. How sad are some people, I don't like something so no one can do it!

    That's it really isn't it...

    I don't like Rugby League, how many of these Rugby League players fill up our hospitals with there self inflicted injuries every week! Pity the poor chiiiildren who have to wait for hours in casualty because these selfish sportsman demands the right to run around a pitch chasing a silly shaped ball.

    Think of the carbon footprint that the disgusting fans of this so called 'sport' rack up driving to and from these games.

    I think that Smokers are the new Jews/Blacks it's now unacceptable to persecute these groups so the bigots have just moved onto smokers, it makes them feel superior, pity them, sad little feeble minds ~ they will always feel the need to look down on someone to feel better about themselves.

  12. Oh boy Nanny hen has really given her chuckies a run out tonight.
    I'de partly sympathise with them
    if it was'nt for their blatant denial of the obvious.
    Get back to your Beano and Guardian
    or get a real mans job.
    If you dont like the content of this site ,go and haunt a jessy blogsite.


  13. Hal and pigman

    Sound like a pair of hop sniffers from schhhhhhhhhhhhh,you know who.

    Pathetic small time yonners

    Tetley Tea Man

  14. Anon: Its my horrible smoke breath you dont want to smell? Well that would be difficult being as i dont smoke!, as i said i sell beer for a living i know how this ban has affected my buisiness also i hate it when having a conversation in the pub when all my mates get up and go out for a fag, the whole atmosphere of my local has changed its boring now and when my mates dont come out nor do i,since the ban the smell of B.O and bad breath have bothered me a lot more than the smell of tobacco ever did.

  15. Well said, Beerseller. This is the truth from the front line. Mind you, I doubt whether Pig-ignorant-man and his bigoted chums actually go in pubs much...

  16. This is hilarious. Armchair economists stepping up with half truths.

    If a pubs business model is not sustainable within the confines of the law then the business will fail. Less than 20% of the UK population are now smmokers. Are you honestly trying to argue that 80% of the population are now avoiding pubs because they are a more pleasant place?

    My arguments may fly in the fact of reality, but business is about making money. Lack of money is what closes pubs. Pubs were closing before the smoking ban, and they continue to close after.

  17. Why do the non-smokers get *all* the pubs? What would happen if, say, HALF the pubs allowed smoking, according to the landlord's wishes.

    Don't like the smell of smoke? Don't go to a pub that allows smoking. Everybody's happy, right? Wrong. It's never been about offering a choice. It's about coercive nannies forcing others to behave a certain way.

    At least here in Philadelphia, some bars have exemptions. I spend my money only where I am welcome. There are still people who have the balls to whine about smoke in a smoking bar when they have the other 90% of the bars to "breathe free" in. You should see what happens to them when they do.

  18. I think everyone who likes to go to pubs to drink and smoke and have a good time should set a date for some time next month and when that day arrives, they should all boycott and simply not show up at their locals.

    Then we will know for certain the answer as to whether a smoke ban can result in less customer base at the pubs and also to what extent.

    Oh, wait. It seems that has already happened, without having a particular day announced and declared - it's simply what resulted immediately following the smoking ban, when prejudice and hate become formally legalized and endorsed.

    So now we know.

    Smoke-haters sound like hateful bigots the likes of Hitler, who hated smokers too. If they knew how ignorant and hateful they appear to others, they wouldn't go about stirring up their hate.

    Second hand smoke has not been proven harmful, no science has ever proven such a thing, not even close. The stuff in the papers is just propaganda to endorse a political crusade, nothing else.

    I'm not a smoker. Smokers don't offend me. Smoke-haters do. The pubs are closing down directly as a result of the smoking ban. Only someone blinded by hate would be unable to discern the obvious truth.

  19. I think that smoking bars and non-smoking bars would be an interesting way of seeing what way the land lies for this issue. I can *just* about remember some pubs having these, although as I recall the reason most pubs got rid of the non-smoking side was because of most people sitting in the smoking side regardless of whether they smoked or not.

    As a non-smoker I don't object to people smoking around me and with a decent air flow system the pub shouldn't be that smoky in any case. One thing that makes pubs nicer though is the improved cleaning that happens now.

  20. "Is that the most stupid comment ever made on this blog?"

    Well, I've never seen one to challenge it, so quite probably.

    Only one government/ASH injected myth cliche so far though (pubs were closing before etc), but give it time. ;-)

  21. Is to call Merron completely unfit for office on the basis of one comment (albeit a bit silly as the smoking ban is one of myriad factors effecting the pub industry)not a little harsh Mudgie?

  22. Mark, it is my role to be harsh :P

    Any, anyway, it wasn't just a chance silly remark – she was commenting on an area of policy under her jurisdiction as a minister, so you would expect her to have knowledge of the subject. So, she is either a fool or a liar and thus unfit to hold office.

    I understand she only has a majority of 4,000-odd in Lincoln so she should be gone come the General Election.

  23. When engaging with people who, for whatever reason, want smoking banned in ALL pubs, you can pin them down a little by suggesting that smoking be allowed in private members smoking clubs, staffed by smoking members. It is difficult to argue that something legal should be banned in a place you would not choose to frequent. Of course the fear is that smoking clubs would be full and non-smoking pubs empty, but they won't admit it.

  24. As mentioned previous, just fucking quit, alright?? It's a disgusting habit, that will no doubt cause your lungs to shrink into a couple of shriveled raisins at some point.

    Mr. Curmudgeon, you seem to be an argumentative little bastard. As soon as someone mentions they're pro-smoking ban, you get all verklempt. Why can you not accept that your actions(smoking) can directly have an effect on someone? It's called secondary smoke.

  25. Second hand smoke is simply not true it is pure junk science.
    I suppose you believe in AGW as well .
    You get these anti smoking ranters like this on blogs .
    They are usually sad lonely people aho are missing something in their lives and want to punish someone else for it.
    Bet he hardly ever goes in a pub.

  26. Hal, obviously you didn't read the bit in the sidebar that says "I'm a non-smoker, but not an antismoker."

    Anyway, if you can't come up with anything other than insulting crap I'll delete any future comments from you.

  27. Hal,
    Blimey! Calm down! Speaking as someone who does choose to smoke and could be described as pro-smoking;
    Having given consideration of your suggestion that I/we should "just fucking quit, alright??"; I have decided, after deliberation, to turn that particular opportunity down.

  28. I think Simon Clark put it very well here:

    Now, I can understand why the government might think that the ban has been a great "success" (see above), but to suggest that the ban is not responsible for any pub closures is unbelievable. I would have far more respect for her if she said, "We accept that the smoking ban has resulted in some pub closures but we believe that this is a small price to pay for the sake of the nation's health." Or words to that effect.

    It would at least have a ring of truth to it. Instead, like so many politicians, she tries to brazen it out and ends up, well, lying.

  29. "junk science?" You're insane. Do you work in the medical field? Are you a doctor???

    That's good enough me, but apparently you know more than a physician.

  30. Instead of citing government propaganda, cite the studies themselves, including the original WHO study that was buried upon pharmaceutical industry's entry into the WHO playing field and the British Medical Journal's Engstrom study which was the most comprehensive ever done - both of which, along with literally dozens of others concluded there is no measurable or statistically significant correlation between second-hand-smoke and any of heart disease, cancer or other illnesses among non-smokers exposed to second-hand-smoke - none - zero. In a few such studies, an inverse correlation was measured, in which the second-hand-smoke could be seen to have resulted in an improvement in health, a lessening of the dreaded diseases among non-smokers - this being less a testament to the benefits of second-hand-smoke but more of a revelation of the inability to do mass measurements on a population using statistical formulas and proving but a thing.

    But cherry picking the data and putting the outcome before the study has even begun and then using pure and utter propaganda and politics to prove the case, is no different than what has been done with the anthropogenic global warming studies - and with equally invalid results.

    Reading government propaganda derived from cherry picked statistics run through spreadsheets and databases accompanied by political proclamations designed to outcome one result and only one result do little to prove anything, other than a grand manipulation has been played out upon the general population - and the consequences have resulted in undesireable loss of freedoms, that does not end with only the smoke-bans, but only begins with them and then proceeds into the thousands of other areas from which the same game plan is then implemented, affecting all, not just "the filthy smokers".

    A Non Smoker

  31. Mark the real ale reviewer
    Hal Bernstein

    Without being to specific would
    you like to tell us smoke ridden
    chavs,what you do for a living.
    Ever been in a real workplace
    where "smoke" burns your eyes,
    where the flames singe your trousers,where you cough up carbon
    on your lunch. Real smoky work
    producing articles you are quick to
    purchase.Get of your high altars
    and get some reality before
    pontificating about a subject
    dominated by lies and deception.
    If you own cars,check your model's
    emmissions,you know, the stuff
    which comes out at the rear.
    In the meanwhile Buzz off and
    stop being silly Billies.

    Iron League

  32. Hal Bernstein
    Occupation: Rabbi
    Vehicle: Toyota Prius

    I have yet to find any information regarding the health benefits of inhaling secondhand smoke. So, I will take the advice of my physician.

    Hal B.
    Cask Ale is Kosher!

  33. Hal,
    41% of Chinese Doctors smoke (2005). That's ~1,000,000 smoking doctors. The longest living human ever was a chronic smoker who smoked two cigarettes a day, one could not hope to second hand smoke two cigarette in a day, it would take much longer!

  34. Hal Bernstein,
    you're apparently not aware that medicos (and lawyers) were prime movers in the Nazi regime, responsible for some of the worst conduct that humans are capable of. The medical establishment is again becoming dangerous. Hal, you might be concerned that your mind might already be shrivelled (brainwashed).

  35. Am I the only one getting deja vue here???

  36. The smoking ban is responsible for closing pubs? You've obviously been smoking something illegal.

  37. On the contary, I would suggest anyone who doesn't accept that the ban has led to widespread pub closures has been smoking something illegal (and very strong).

    I think this is now a record for a comment thread on this blog :-)

  38. Let me make this clear again. I DON'T CARE IF YOU SMOKE! I just don't want to be around the stuff when I go out for a drink. It makes me sneeze, stinks up my clothes, gets in my hair, etc. If the powers that be want to designate certain pubs for smokers, fine by me. I just won't visit those pubs. So there you go, I'm not a anti-tobacco jihadist.

  39. Hal,
    Thats fair enough! That is why prior to the smoking ban , if you were to visit Brighton, I could have taken you to any number of smokefree restraunts, I could have taken you to two smokefree pubs and any number of pubs that had inside smokfree areas. That is a compromise that benefits everyone. The problem is now I could not take you to a single pub or restraunt where people can smoke. That is why pubs are suffering because the smokefree restraunt market is massively over supplied. It is also why people find it an insult to reality when a minister claims no pubs have shut because of the smoking ban - it's a nasty lie.

  40. I see you're finally seeing sense, Hal. Let's have pubs for smokers (and their tolerant non-smoking friends) and pubs for antismokers, and see which prove more popular :P

  41. "I think this is now a record for a comment thread on this blog"

    I think that the anti-smoking fanatics are starting to realise the damage they have done. It seems from the comments here that they have reached the 'denial' stage, whereby they realise that they have been lying, but aren't quite ready to face up to the damage they have done.

    So they carry on citing preposterous 'scientific' studies in the desperate hope that they can justify themselves.

  42. I don't think it needs to be a matter of proving smoking or non-smoking, one being more popular or less popular than the other.

    It shouldn't have to come down to a war, which is what it's been turned into - a war caused by the smoking ban interfering into the private business owner's and individual's choice.

    If there was freedom of choice then none of this discussion would be happening and everyone - everyone - would be free to setup and run their businesses as each sees fit, based on local market conditions and customer preferences.

    As it is, there simply is no such choice and that is where the problem comes from.

    I might add, who is responsible for setting this and a myriad other separating factors up among individuals and thusly creating all these little wars and battles of opinion, mandated into laws designed basically to serve those from whom they originated was none other than the leading party in Parliament.

    But that is a different issue.

    Prohibition, which in America was both anti-alcohol and anti-smoking (tobacco illegal in 15 US states at the time along with alcohol nationwide) was essentially pre-fascist leading to a time whenever fascist regimes rose to great power in many areas of the world. It's a warning sign of great danger, a harmful outcome much worse than any purported and unscientifically proven claims about the fear and dangers of second-hand-smoke, the vehicle upon which the politics of prohibition this time is being built and upon which fascism normalized as per past history.

  43. Curmudgeon and his mates - 'Deep in denial'

  44. Big deal.A chart of pub closures. Where ezactly does it say that they are closing because of the smoking ban? Oh, that's right it doesn't.

  45. The said chart also happens to indicate a large increase in pubs closing in 2008 where the financial crisis kicked in. Over 12 months after the smoking ban was introduced.

    Also there is plenty of evidence which links passive smoking to cancer and other health issues. The href=""> Wikipedia article for passive smoking contains plenty of references, links and info. But I guess its all just anti-smoking propagandha??

  46. Pigman,
    May I say, having looked at your blog, how very impressed I am by your dedication to beer! As for pub closures, yes there was
    12 month gap between the financial crisis and the smoking ban and clearly pubs started to drop like flies in that time. Wether there is an additive or multiplicative effect from the smoking ban is hard to say. But the only way it
    could have zero effect is if it exactly zero effect on bums on seats. Given that entirley smokefree pubs were unpopular, most people preffering mixed or entirley smoking, it is unlikely that the effect is precisley zero.
    And as we all know little numbers when multiplied quickly turn into big numbers, add just one zero, we still get zero. So I think it unlikey that there is zero effect but of course it could be true.
    But as I can list pubs that I used to drink in that are now closed and that there is no doubt in my mind that it is because they lost core customers such as my self because of the smoking ban. Therefore, think it extremely improbable that there is zero effect from the smoking ban. It is also my experience that in 1986 when unemployment was ~3,000,000 , that I do not remember a single pub closing (although I am sure they did), this time round I could name any number of closed pubs that I used to drink in. As for the wiki on passive smoking, I don't know if that should be characterized as propaganda but it certainly seeks to demonize the tobacco industry as the only group of people who doubt that science on passive smoking is less about health and more about a means to an end. But it is clear to me that anti smoking groups had this in mind all along. But as I am not aware of a causal link between smoking and any disease whatsoever, I don't tend to spend a lot of time looking at ETS science. I don't really buy this idea that cryptogenic diseases are only cryptogenic in non-smokers. In my mind saying smoking causes lung cancer is akin to saying gay sex causes AIDS. It's an ignorant an misleading position motivated by prejudice. Non-smokers are at much lower risk of lung cancer but I doubt vey much that this is achieved by not sitting next to me in a pub. Sir Richard Doll, is reported as saying "The effects of other people smoking in my presence are so small it doesn't bother me". It is also worth noting that even Sir Richard Peto has refused to add his name to the virtual death count of passive smoking. You, see pigman, unlike the others I really am pro-smoking!

  47. Playing around with my Kabbalah tables, it would appear that smokers one day will get their smoking pub. This will not happen until we have a change in leadership. While waiting, it may be best to invest in some chewing tobacco. No mess, no fuss, just pure impact!

  48. Result! - the lying cow is out on her ear.


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