Thursday, 21 July 2011

Non-smokers’ survey – the results

As a counterpoint to the smokers’ survey, I ran a survey of non-smokers’ experiences of pubs and pubgoing since the smoking ban. This attracted 80 responses over 7 days, so fell a bit short of the maximum of 100.

As ever, I make no claim for the results to be scientific or representative – it’s merely done for interest and to stimulate discussion. It’s clear there is a wide range of views, especially in the comments section. There were certainly more comments per response than for the previous survey.

It’s perhaps significant that 57.5% of non-smokers (46/80) believed there should be some relaxation of the ban, either to allow separate smoking rooms (27) or to repeal it entirely (19).

The full results are below (I can’t be bothered to work out all the percentages):

1. Have you smoked in the past?

Yes, regularly: 20
Yes, occasionally/socially: 21
No, never smoked: 39

2. How often did you visit pubs prior to 1 July 2007?

Daily or most days: 12
2 or 3 times a week: 44
Weekly: 17
Fortnightly: 1
Monthly: 0
Occasionally: 6
Never: 0

3. How has the frequency of your pub visits changed since 1 July 2007?

More: 14
About the same: 41
A bit less: 9
A lot less: 16

4. Do you feel it is reasonable to expect smokers to go outside for a smoke?

Yes, I support the current law: 34
No, they should be allowed to have indoor smoking rooms: 27
No, there is no need for any legislation on this issue: 19

5. Have you noticed any pubs closing in your area since 1 July 2007?

No: 18
Yes, a few: 39
Yes, a lot: 23

6. Have pubs you know that are still open lost trade since 1 July 2007?

Not that I have noticed: 31
Some are a bit quieter: 21
Some are much quieter: 28

7. Have you noticed pubs in your area providing improved smoking facilities?

Not at all: 13
Yes, a few have: 45
Yes, quite a lot have: 22

8. Have you noticed smokers that you know changing their pubgoing habits? (choose all that apply)

No, not really: 43
Yes, some still go as often but spend less time in the pub: 14
Yes, some go less often: 21
Yes, some have stopped going entirely: 21

9. Have pubs become more or less welcoming and sociable since the smoking ban?

More so: 31
About the same: 16
A bit less: 12
A lot less: 21

10. Any other comments?

Reproduced verbatim as received. I've numbered them so they're easier to respond to.

  1. I've certainly noticed they don't smell any more.

  2. Pubs had 30 years of falling smoking rates to do something. Instead they ignored the non-smoker and pandered to a shrinking minority. Now pubs have to cater for the very people they spent all those years ignoring. The real problem though isn't the ban but the cost.

  3. I lived in California when they introduced the first smoking ban and bars got busier. I have been back here a while now and things will settle out. We need to get over the thinking that smokers are the life blood of pubs. They are not , it is people who want to go drink and socialise that are the ones keeping bars open. If a thing like stopping smoking in a pub ( but still around it ) stops someone going then they were not that great a customer. You can see it practically the amount of time smokers spend not buying drink ( now outside smoking ) and they didnt buy theie cigarettes in the bar anyway. So the best customers for bars are people who want to socialise and not these magical super happy smokers you paint pictures of. Bars are businesses not a community service provided for some minority to dominate. One person smoking imposes their smell on everyone in an enclosed space. NB the next thing they will alow to get passed is by littering cig. stubs. Smokers were finally banned from CA state beaches , not because of the smoke, but because they gave an excuse from the amount of litter they caused. Think of other people .

  4. What was wrong with separate smoking/non smoking areas. when adequately ventilated it was fine.

  5. The solution can be found here

  6. There are some people I see much less often in my local simply because they choose to stand outside. I think they're sad. They'll go an hour or two without a cigarette for a train or plane journey, so why not in the pub? They've had it their way all their adult lives up until four years ago, now it's my turn. Just accept it.

  7. I can't be bothered with the pubs anymore-they have lost their atmosphere, their charisma and their appeal. All my friends have stopped going bar one, and he only pops in for a pint every night to get out of the house for half an hour. As an exercise to cull smoking/smokers the ban has been an abysmal failure but as an exercise to cull the hospitality sector it has been a raging success!

  8. The smoking ban has ripped the guts out of the pub trade. Around here, loads have closed, and those that are left are empty and soulless. The only future for pubs seems to be as restaurants.

  9. As a non smoking ex-smoker (heart attack) I do now notice that smoke does make your clothes stink. It's being short of breath that keeps me off the fags

  10. Not been to a pub since the ban.

  11. I no longer go to the pub as my smoking friends don't go. What's the point of going to a pub and paying pub prices when there's no one to talk to? I stay at home and entertain people here or go to their houses now.

  12. Occasional smoker - once a year I have a cigar on National no smoking day

  13. The proper solution would be to allow pubs to choose to be smoking or non smoking and then their clientele can also choose.

  14. Many of my regular pubs feel empty - regulars who used to spend hours everyday at the bar no longer go, or if they do they only stick around for one pint. No more long games of chess or working together on crosswords.

  15. In general, pubs feel less sociable since the smoking ban, and smokers were often the real characters in pubs.

  16. Yes my clothes smell cleaner, but most of the pubs I loved have closed. Guess I'll have to console myself with yet another can of crappy supermarket beer!

  17. A few local pubs have gone, but not really because of this ban. The remaining pubs seem to stick all smokers outside on bench seating under parasols, regardless of weather. One pub has patio heaters. It wouldn't bother me if the law was loosened to allow smoking rooms, but it strikes me that groups would still be segregated on and off during a visit, though the smokers will still be able to stay inside in bad weather.

  18. Most people that have stopped going to the pub have done so due to price differences between on and off trade

  19. I used to smoke a pipe but gave up as decent quality tobacco became harder to obtain and specialist outlets closed. I think the main cause of pubs closing is the prices charged but the smoking ban definitely worsened the situation. Where pubs might be gaining trade seems to be in food but I suspect some of this is because restaurants are pricing themselves out of business. In my area (London E11) pubs closing tend to be in the more working class parts, which also have a lot of East European immigrants from countries that don't have much of a pub going tradition and who probably don't want to regularly pay over twice what a bottle of beer would cost from a local corner shop. In the more affluent parts I can't think of any pub closures but I do know of some restaurants that have gone under. Incidentally and off the subject, some corner shops seem to undercut Tesco on things like Polish beers, so why isn't CAMRA banging on about them?

  20. There are lots of reasons why pubs are less busy or closing: change in people's social habits, supermarket alcohol, PubCos etc.. The smoking ban might be one factor but don't try and use this survey as 'proof' that the smoking ban is bad for pubs! It's really time to move on from this old issue.

  21. I used to smoke, am a non smoker and in favour of the ban. So that's where I stand. I'm also - for want of a better way of putting it - a 20s professional from the educated middle class, so the question about my friends is moot (i.e. none of my close friends smoke at all You'll have to take my word for it that this is coincidence - I don't go around wishing to alienate smokers). I also feel the survey is likely to produce quite a 'post hoc ergo propter hoc' result - the latin phrase is a logical fallacy ('after it therefore because of it'). My pubgoing has decreased since the smoking ban - but then so, with relatively high inflation, has my disposable income. The latter has far more to do with my pubgoing habits than the former. Thanks for putting up the survey.

  22. I support the "smoking carriage" option, as long as the smoke doesn't drift out into the rest of the pub and you don't have to walk through it to get to the Gents. There's no reason why sufficient extractors can't be put in to allow non-smoking staff to get in to clear glasses etc (though clearing the ashtrays was always my least favourite part of the job!) Some pubs have done a good job with their smoking areas - the Duke of Cumberland Arms in Henley, West Sussex springs to mind (outdoor fireplace, comfy seats, and not so far from the entrance that it's a huge trek to get another pint). Worst part about the smoking ban is a 5 minute wait between games of bar billiards as my opponent now has to leave the table for a fag :)

  23. I was a dedicated smoker for fifteen odd years before I gave up. I'm glad I did and I don't want to go back but I will always stick up for smokers rights. I find it amusing that some non-smokers bang on about how selfish smokers are and yet they demand that every indoor space and place of entertainment conforms to their own wants. We're all adults and it should be about choice. No reasonable smoker wants to go back to every pub allowing smoking but as users of a legal (heavily taxed) product they should have somewhere they can go. Other countries have stood up this appalling little piece of legislation and won concessions, I would love it if it could happen here but I don't hold out much hope.

  24. "Smoking rooms only, where landlords and staff agree" is the reform that should have been tried. (It was in the 2005 Labour Manifesto, apparently.)

  25. Smokers outside can be a nuisance, blocking pavements and leaving litter and can sometimes be intimidating, depending on the venue it seems.

  26. Question 8 is flawed, I don't go to the pub with anyone who smokes.

  27. The next frontier is banning smoking outside of pubs and in pub gardens so its possible to enjoy sitting outside too. Resistance is futile.

  28. I fully support peoples choice to smoke but not where it has a clear and demonstrable effect on those around them. I think the law should be changed slightly to allow for an indoor smoking license for pubs that can achieve a specific level of air quality.

  29. Need to consider economic climate

  30. Some leading questions I thought, but overall a good survey. Nice counterpart to the smokers survey.

  31. Pub closer is about badly run pubs and increased competition from alternative leisure activities. The smoking ban doesn't change anything in the long run. As a 23 year old I can count the number of smokers I known on one hand.

  32. Any discussion of the issue is clouded by bad-tempered and intolerant comments on both sides in equal measure. A minority, no doubt, but their abuse ensures rationality goes out of the window. And I do wish people would debate rather than just post links to websites that they claim "proves" their point. My experience is you can find a website on the internet to "prove" virtually any point you like.

  33. I really don't like pubs anymore. They are usually so sterile. It's like having a beer in a Dr's waiting room. Then again smoking never bothered me. I like smoke in pubs and most restaurants I go to hadn't allowed smoking for 15 years or so anyway. Now we tend to go to other people's houses as everyone is more relaxed.

  34. The pub experience, I feel, is far more impoverished than it ever was pre-ban. I believe that repealing the ban is the only sensible option but this will not happen for a long time yet, by which time it will probably be too late to limit the damage, not only on the smoking ban but the entire idea of going out to drink here in the UK. Repeal the ban.

  35. Smokers who say pubs are closing because of the smoking ban are twats

  36. Most of the guys I know smoke outside and there was one bloke a smoker who switched to another pub cause it was nearer to him — he liked Greene King as well…

  37. It's been striking how many of my smoking friends have quit since the ban though I wouldn't conclude there is a direct cause/effect.Similarly, although I prefer non-smoking pubs the ban is not the reason behind my increase in pub-going. For me there are a whole range of factors that are influencing pub-going in the UK, the ban is clearly one but I think not necessarily the most significant, economic and societal change (which of course also impact on attitudes to smoking) are probably of greater consequence


  1. That's very interesting and gives the lie to the idea that anti-smokers promote about all non-smokers being anti-smokers.

    I was in the 'repeal it entirely' movement. Private property rights and all that.

    Which way would you go OP?

  2. Sorry - noticed your sidebar: "I believe the owners of private property should be entitled to choose whether or not smoking is permitted on their premises"

  3. Interesting results. I am a smoker and I do still visit pubs, but less often.
    In my area if the smoking ban was dropped tomorrow without doubt some pubs would still stick with the no smoking option. But all of them have changed to food.
    I have sat outside the two closest to me and they are grim. Inside the 'pub' the drinking area is restricted and not designed to stay in. Its there choice, I have no problems with it.
    Of all the other pubs they would opt out overnight. Many are simply dying and its not just the price, its the social aspect which has died.
    Thanks for your efforts with both surveys.

  4. "Which way would you go OP?"

    See here: "Let me make it quite clear that my personal view is that there was no need for any form of legislation restricting smoking in licensed premises. Prior to July 2007, the market was already responding to meet the demand for non-smoking areas. "

  5. And of course there are non-smokers who strongly oppose the ban and smokers who support it, wishing it to go even further (though how much of that is denial/self-loathing we'll never know) which is even more bizarre. Nowt so queer as folk.

  6. I have spoken to smokers who broadly support the ban, although I would argue much of that stems from the constant stream of anti-smoking propaganda inducing a feeling of self-loathing.

  7. I've pointed out on message boards to anti-smokers that have actually come round to the idea that perhaps the treatment of smokers is a bit extreme, even amongst some of the mad psychosomatic stuff the post. They've even suggested smoking rooms but I, like yourself, have pointed that such a creed will never be allowed to gain traction as the anti-smoking organisations will never allow it to occur because they have too much to lose.

    I do think that perhaps some of the anti-smokers are starting to think that things are going too far. The main part of it is making them aware that they're after you too.

    They, nor the politicians, will never countenance any compromise unless it is forced on them.

  8. My favorite argument is:

    Replace "smoking" with "masturbating in the corner" and see how the responses change... There are plenty of things in the world that people would *like* to do.

    Frankly, as a person with severe allergies to smoke, the masturbater would be less of a bother to me...

  9. So set up a separate wanking room and the problem is solved ;-)

  10. To point 31, as a 26 year old, I can count the number of non smoking friends I know in one hand.

  11. @Anon 22:48
    I'm afraid there are no allergens in tobacco smoke so technically it is not possible to be allergic to it. However I can understand that you find it unpleasant. As Curmudgeon said, separate rooms or premises and everyone can be happy.:)


  12. There are many comments I could respond to here, but 31 is so innocuous in it's appearance it needs taking to task.

    "Pub closer is about badly run pubs and increased competition from alternative leisure activities."

    Pubs have been declining since 1980 or so. VGIF did a piece on this during the last couple of months or so and, if memory serves (can't find the link, sorry), weekly pub closures were in single figures per week for most of the last 30 years. Notable exceptions were the economic downturn of 1990/91 when closures hit double figures per week, and 1997/8 when closures went negative (ie, more pubs opened than closed). By 2007 and the ban, closures weren't just in double figures, they were, and still are, in the 20s or greater. The overall fall in the number of pubs mirrors the fall in manufacturing and the working class. It's the "spit-n-sawdust" type of pub that have suffered the most, and the ones in my area that are no more are those that didn't have the means to diversify, they didn't have kitchens to provide food, bedrooms to let out, beer gardens out back, etc.

    "The smoking ban doesn't change anything in the long run."

    It's changed the nature of the variety of pubs available for sure. To believe it's had no effect or change is deluded.

    "As a 23 year old I can count the number of smokers I known on one hand."

    Ah... (with a nod to tom mann above). When I was 23 I could say the same about non-smokers I knew. In fact, when I was 15 I could say the same about non-smokers I knew.... In fact, I can say for certain that many non-smokers that I didn't know, I didn't know precisely because I was a smoker. They didn't like the smell. Some people are like that, see? They refuse to engage with you because you smell; some just back away, some are just plain rude. One wonders... would it be ok to make similar value judgements about someone based on the colour of their skin, or their sexuality, or their religion?

    Ok, time to invoke Godwin, my apologies. Take a 23yo white male in Germany, 1933. How many Jews do you think he knows? At this time the Jewish population was about 0.75% of the entire population and they mostly lived in urban areas. For many 23yo white Germans, they could count the number of Jews they knew on no hands. By 1938, the Nazis were in Austria... Ah Vienna, well-known for its intellectual cafe culture, cafes patronised by both Jew and non-Jew alike. But then, the Jews became denormalised, and were taken away. And the cafes? In the long run, nothing changed, they are still there.

  13. One thing this survey suggests, unscientific though it is, is that the the intolerant anti-smoker often invoked by the more vocal of the opponents of the ban is rarer than they suggest.

    In my opinion, to equate the position of smokers in Britain today with that of the Jews in Nazi Germany is both inaccurate and utterly tasteless.

  14. RedVev,

    A little research and you may find that the denormalisation of smokers scarily mirrors the early persecution of the Jews. Denied healthcare, denied employment, sacked from employment, deemed not fit to adopt or foster, denied decent shelter from the elements. Random attacks on smokers increasing.

    Government sanctioned hatred and denormalisation is not healthy for anyone.

  15. I do think that the treatment of smokers in this society is bordering on the extreme. But please don't blame the anti smoking pressure onto all non smokers.
    I think that trying to equate this issue to 30's Nazi Germany is both tasteless and hopelessly disingenuous.
    As I said in a different pub, ventilated smoking carriages would be a perfect compromise, but do we all want to pay for the massive cost of extra bureaucracy it would entail?

  16. Why not allow all non-food pubs to be smoking if they have ventilation? The trendy bars can go the non-smoking route; the backstreet boozer can go the other way. Happiness prevails all round.

    In fact, there are many, many, many different solutions to this - even the Danish solution of having smaller owner-operated bars, though this probably wouldn't work in a British pub context - but none are seriously being talked about.

  17. "@Anon 22:48
    I'm afraid there are no allergens in tobacco smoke so technically it is not possible to be allergic to it. However I can understand that you find it unpleasant. As Curmudgeon said, separate rooms or premises and everyone can be happy.:)


    @Tony - bullshit. For people with asthma or other such conditions tobacco smoke is massively abbrasive and reduces their ability to breathe properly. Whether the technical definition of this is 'allergic' is a moot point. The cause and effect are plain to be seen.

    An ex-girlfriend of mine couldnt go to pubs which were particularly smokey (low ceilings etc) prior to the ban for this very reason and I saw first hand how much of a misery it was for her. Of course I appreciate for the vast majority of people this wouldnt be the case, but to deny the 'allergy' on a technicality is shortsighted.

  18. From Dave Atherton

    I have been doing some research into asthma and smoking. Firstly nicotine suppresses asthma, see study on Norwegian rats.

    Secondly there are numerous studies that show that smokers and children of smokers have substantially less asthma, please see Swedish study.

    Thirdly there is a condition called psychosomaticism. It is where the mind believes something is going to happen and the body mimics the physical effects even though there is no exposure. Scientists believe that asthma itself has a psychosomatic facet in its adoption. They found that many asthmatics had and overbearing and controlling parent. See link.

    Fourthly the amount breathed in by non smokers is minimal, 0.1%-1% at the very most.

    So in conclusion it is quite possible that asthma attacks brought on by smoking are literally in the mind of the athmatic.

    "To ascertain the effects of nicotine on allergy/asthma, Brown Norway rats were treated with nicotine and sensitized and challenged with allergens. The results unequivocally show that, even after multiple allergen sensitizations, nicotine dramatically suppresses inflammatory/allergic parameters in the lung including the following: eosinophilic/lymphocytic emigration; mRNA and/or protein expression of the Th2 cytokines/chemokines IL-4, IL-5, IL-13, IL-25, and eotaxin; leukotriene C4; and total as well as allergen-specific IgE."

    "Children of mothers who smoked at least 15 cigarettes a day tended to have lower odds for suffering from allergic rhino-conjunctivitis, allergic asthma, atopic eczema and food allergy, compared to children of mothers who had never smoked (ORs 0.6-0.7)

    CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates an association between current exposure to tobacco smoke and a low risk for atopic disorders in smokers themselves and a similar tendency in their children. 11422156

    "The most common psychosomatic respiratory illness is asthma. Marked by recurrent bronchial constriction, edema, and excessive secretion, the clinical picture is manifested by recurrent attacks of dyspnea and prolonged expirations with wheezing and coughing. During the attack, the patient usually is tense, anxious, and frightened in the face of experiencing a lack of availability of vital air."

    “The most highly exposed workers, both living and working with smokers, would potentially inhale over 20 cigarette equivalents (CE) per annum as based on the upper decile levels. Housewives living with smokers could inhale up to 11 CE per annum as based on the upper decile levels. Locations outside the workplace, including the home, contribute most to overall RSP and ETS particle exposure. Consideration should be given to extending the personal monitoring period in cities where levels appear to be quite low.”

  19. "As I said in a different pub, ventilated smoking carriages would be a perfect compromise, but do we all want to pay for the massive cost of extra bureaucracy it would entail?" Saga.
    No one is suggesting that restaurants and pubs can not go smoke-free, so those that choose to do so would not bare any posible costs. I am perfectly happy to walk past them and pay more
    to go somewhere that lets me drink and or dine where smoking is permitted. But it has to be remembered that before the smoking ban the only cost to pubs and restaurants going smokefree was the cost of a no smoking sign, but clearly, in the case of pubs but not restaurants, they were never going to be able to compete
    with the places that made efforts to accomodate both smokers and non-smokers. So this is why I remember there bieng two non-smoking pubs before the ban and any number that had designated smoke-free and non-smoking areas, or designated smoking areas (depending on your point of view!).
    I had no problem with that because I would just sit in the room where smoking was permited or go to a pub where smoking was welcomed through out.

    I am happy for people to masturbate in pubs so long as it is clearly signed as such outside, you never know, I might even pop into one time and try my hand at it! But I would guess that masturbating pubs would not be as popular
    as pubs that accommodate smokers.

  20. Pubs are private businesses. Why does anyone think that a private business should be run to suit their exact needs? Nobody demands that all restaurants serve Indian food, or Italian food. The more of these anti smoker comments I read, the less sympathy I'll have when smoking rooms or smoking pubs are reintroduced and these people are left sitting on their own.

  21. Fredrik Eich: Perhaps if you go to certain extreme swinger's bars, though these are rare.

  22. Paul, I have often thought that it would be great to get into a Lesbian bar but I have always thought that my being male and not very gay puts me at disadvantage. I am still waiting to be invited to the Babestation christmas staff party but still no luck! Oh well!

  23. Anon.

    1. smoke doesnt realy make people with asthma cough, its all in their mind.
    2. infact, smoking helps people with asthma because nicotine supresses asthma.
    3.If you smoke your kids will be healthier and less likely to have asthma, even if you smoke around them.
    4.It is a good idea to smoke around your children.

    Are you really putting these forward as facts? Really!?

  24. Say them outloud to someone and see what their reaction is. I'm guessing it will be shock, laughter, or both.

  25. "but do we all want to pay for the massive cost of extra bureaucracy it would entail?"

    Why would this need any more bureaucracy than any other law relating to pubs such as food hygiene or weights and measures?

    And I fail to see why the law needs to law down any requirements on ventilation anyway. Surely you could simply say that pubs can allow smoking in an indoor room that is separated from the rest of the pub by a self-closing door, does not contain a bar counter and where under-18s are not admitted.

  26. @Neil, Eating isn't Cheating:

    I do accept that some people find that smoke can exacerbate breathing problems. And I'm not trying to down play the 'misery' it can cause. My point was that contrary to what many people believe, it is not technically an allergic reaction. I also advocated separate rooms/venues as a solution to this.

    I'd also like to add to the info Dave provided above. I know several people who suffer from asthma and who find smoking very therapeutic. Indeed doctors used to recommend smoking as a treatment for asthma as recently as the 1950s.

    But that is not to say that it would work or even be advisable for everyone.


  27. Strange that people keep harping on the "separate room" concept. Maybe in an old timey English pub that actually might have physically separate rooms this could work, as long as a strong negative-suction HVAC system was in place that only drew air into the smoking section at a very high volume.

    But in practical terms, prior to outright smoking bans, I found "smoking sections" - which were really just a roped-off part of a completely open restaurant with an underpowered, uncleaned filtration system haphazardly stuck in the ceiling somewhere - to be absurdly ineffective.

    I don't know if it is "technically" an allergy, all I know is that my "psychosomatic' responses to even small amounts of cigarette smoke are miserable. Hopefully less so than the hit to the smoker's brain that makes them keep reaching for the fags...

    But the problem here is that smoking is an addiction. And like most mental and physical addictions, the addicted will take great lengths to excuse, rationalize, and defend their continued action.

    And crying about "choice?" Let's not forget here that there was a choice. Publicly debated policies, enacted legally by publicly elected officials have chosen to ban smoking from public areas for the general health of a population which increasingly relies on public funds to care for medical issues - hence, a public issue.

    Actual scientific polls show that increasing numbers of people support smoking bans. The number of smokers in Western nations continues to fall from the minority that they already are. In fact, smoking increases are generally only seen in countries with lower education levels, and public health policies akin to Western nations' many, many decades ago. Not a picture to aspire to, I should think.

    But I never shy away from hearty debate! And people are welcome to disagree with whatever they please. I myself gleefully urinate in public pools (only in the marked section) since science shows that urine is actually quite clean, and I believe the chlorine levels in the pool are sufficient.

    Ah, history is littered with behaviors that, once fashionable, are shown to be ill-advised. And we always see some level of people willing to cling on to the old ways of doing things. Having an addiction to it surely helps. :)

  28. Curmudgeon, the way the law was introduced was to protect employees. Employees are always going to have to clean and tidy these smoking rooms, and yes there will be pressure from some landlords to go into areas that they do not like.
    The extra bureaucracy is to pay a council or gvmt team to regularly visit pubs to ensure that they are complying with the regulations. Because otherwise, people will always push the boundaries, and with a sympathetic landlord, some pubs will just ignore the ban, if half measures are the law.
    The current system is the cheapest way to do it. I'm not saying it's the best, but definitely the cheapest.

  29. The "pissing section in the swimming pool" argument is thoroughly debunked by Michael J. McFadden in his book Dissecting Antismokers' Brains. The relative concentrations of urine vs ETS are so different that the comparison is effectively a lie. As soon as anyone trots that one out, I know they're not worth arguing with.

  30. "the way the law was introduced was to protect employees"

    No it wasn't, it was explicitly stated that the objective was to reduce the incidence of smoking (which it has signally failed to do). If the protection of employees had been the sole objective, there are plenty of ways to do that without a blanket indoor smoking ban. After all, people continue to work in hotels, care homes, prisons and private houses where smoking is still allowed in private areas.

  31. "But the problem here is that smoking is an addiction[sic]. And like most mental and physical addictions, the addicted will take great lengths to excuse, rationalize, and defend their continued action." - Anon.

    And what is wrong with that? If people tried to ban drinking in pubs in the interests of public saftey, I would try to excuse, rationalise, and defend drinking in pubs - addict that does not me make.
    Do you beleive that it would cause a certain amount of cognitive dissonance for someone to advocate a ban on drinking in pubs by accusing drinkers of being addicts for simply disagreeing with banning drinking in pubs?

  32. "I myself gleefully urinate in public pools" - Anon.

    Anon, now we know why you like to remain anon. Further to your point about people that like pissing in swimming pools. Any square is divisible by two. So for example a swiming pool can be divided into two seperate swimming pools, hence allowing a piss free pool and a pissing pool. But they can further be divided making four pools, one for pissing and one for masterbating in. This would leave two pools left, one could be for swimmers that smoke and one for swimmers that do not smoke. But in addition , given space, more pools can be created with out division, so addition could be used. So for example instead of dividing the pool twice and twice again, one can just build three more pools the same size as the first pool. So people that are into masturbation or pissing or both can have their own pools just to themselves.

  33. This reminds me of a story in the press some months ago about a man with a peanut allergy who was suing an airline because people sitting near him were served with snack peanuts.
    He felt no responsibilty to look after himself but expected the whole world to bow to his demands.
    I gag on perfume and aftershave,I don't know why. Let's ban it!
    On second thoughts, I simply move away.

  34. "Smoking is allowed in a private house, but one must not smoke in areas that one works in, or in "public" areas such as shared corridors."

    The ban was at least partially implemented with an eye to the workplace. The law was not just a smoking ban in pubs, but for indoor public places and places of work. Therefore a taxi driver is technically allowed to smoke in his cab as it is a workplace. Smoking bans in prisons would lead to riots all over the place, and hotels are a funny exception, which don't fit into the rest of the ban.

    There is no way to protect a pub employee from the effects of smoke, unless the smoking area is fully enclosed with good ventilation.

  35. RedNev: "One thing this survey suggests, unscientific though it is, is that the the intolerant anti-smoker often invoked by the more vocal of the opponents of the ban is rarer than they suggest."

    No, we suggest exactly the opposite, Nev. It's very clear that the vast majority of non-smokers couldn't give a tuppenny toss about banning smoking in pubs prior to 2007. It was the tiny minority of professional anti-smokers - financed by government and the pharmaceutical industry - who got it passed. You have to remember that ASH was set up by the government in the 1970s because there was simply no anti-smoking lobby at all, and they thought there should be one. Even to this day, ASH are funded by the taxpayer ... no-one else really cares.

  36. Saga of Nails: "Curmudgeon, the way the law was introduced was to protect employees."

    No, it wasn't. If you glance occasionally at government literature, you'll see that the bar worker justification was classic bait and switch.

  37. Will people get over the focus that it was a bill banning smoking in pubs ? It was a bill, banning smoking in all places of work and indoor public places. Pubs just happened to come under that area.
    Honestly, sticking your head in the sand and pretending facts don't exist just doesn't help your cause at all.
    Dick your 'facts' are just plain wrong. I didn't 'glance occasionally' at gvmt literature. As I was running pubs in the run up to the ban I followed the issue very closely because it was likely to change my professional career.

  38. "Will people get over the focus that it was a bill banning smoking in pubs? It was a bill, banning smoking in all places of work and indoor public places. Pubs just happened to come under that area."

    Who has ever said on here it was solely a bill banning smoking in pubs? Obviously it was a more general law, but as this is basically a blog about the licensed trade and the drinks industry that is the particular bit I am interested in.

  39. My attitude to the way the smoking ban appeared to have been accepted, changed when I first found this.

    ASH and Thompsons' Tell Employers: Don't Say You Weren't Warned Over Secondhand Smoke
    Monday 12 January 2004

    "The hospitality trade faces a rising threat of legal action from employees whose health is damaged by secondhand smoke, after a new tie-up between health campaigning charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and the UK's largest personal injury and trade union law firm Thompsons was announced today.

    ASH has sent a registered letter to all the UK's leading hospitality trade employers, warning them that the "date of guilty knowledge" under the Health and Safety at Work Act is now past, and that employers should therefore know of the risks of exposing their staff to secondhand smoke. Employers who continue to permit smoking in the workplace are therefore likely to be held liable by the courts for any health damage caused. ASH and Thompsons intend to use the letters in any future court cases as evidence that employers have been fully informed of the issue."

    "ASH and Thompsons are also planning further steps to encourage employees who believe their health has been harmed by smoking in the workplace to seek legal advice on making a claim for compensation. These will be announced shortly."

    Publicans may well have thought that passive smoking was complete nonsense, but could they really afford to take the risk of some ex-employee twenty years down the line taking them to court with any ailment that might have developed, caused by who knows what?

    That threatening letter from ASH left them like sitting ducks.


  40. I have great sympathy with the pub trade, it all just seems so sad.

    ASH Political Bulletin 2004 Page7
    Letter to the Publican

    From Peter Linacre Managing Director of The Massive Pub Company

    "The only ultimate provision and safety for us will be a smoking ban.
    We all need to be forwarned that the next growth area for the legal system will be prosecutions of publicans for not protecting staff from the dangers of ETS.Since April 27 cases have been taken on - this is the start of a tidal wave - in my view.

    The industry, through the various trade bodies is looking for a voluntary ban with 80% of premises having smoke free areas by 2007.
    Having attended the conference I am of the clear view that far too many of us could be fighting legal battles by then, and perhaps we will be preferring a total national ban.

    We need to take a very close look at what is happening elsewhere and learn from their experiences.The clearest message from this conference is that on health and legal grounds a ban is an absolute must and an absolute certainty.
    That frightens us and requires us to change will, ultimately, be irrelevant.

    I would strongly recommend that every trade body and industry representative invites some of the speakers from this conference, or workshop.
    At least that way acknowledge of the dangers of ETS and to our livelihoods and businesses will be more widely available."

    Massive Pub Company calls in the administrators
    28 January, 2008


  41. Well, as often said, you just cannot appease these people, as they have no interest in compromise or rational accommodation. Exactly the same is true of the anti-drink lobby.

  42. @Carmudgeon

    Michael J. McFadden? Really? That tips your hand as someone not to argue with. Mr. McFadden is quite zealous in his insistence that the volume of work showing second-hand smoke is bad is overshadowed by the handful of questionable reports he has dug up.

    It seems everyone in the rational world has been taken in by an anti-smoke temperance movement, which people like Mr. McFadden are out to open our eyes to the conspiracy?

    You take his word over volumes of sound scientific findings?

    Let's see what Mr. McFadden has accomplished:

    1. He published a (I'm guessing not peer-reviewed) book through a tiny publishing house that specialized in publishing anything that was pro-smoker. Though I can't find a record of it existing today. The quotes in support of his work suffer from the Appeal to Authority fallacy, as someone with a Dr. in their name and heading up some imaginary "thinktank".

    2. He signs his name to any newspaper comment board he can find where an article about a smoking ban was covered, being sure to plug his book and use words like "fraud" and "coverup" and other words that make you really trust a guy...

    As for the pissing in the pool analogy, I take it to be a lighthearted attempt to get people to look at their world in another light and maybe see why pro-clean air supporters are so passionate. And yet people take it as a "fact" and mercilessly try to debunk it. I mean, the fact that people on this board cheerfully suggested that yes, there should be a separate pissing pool, and a special bar only for masturbaters tells me that they missed the joke!

    And that they are very much in love with their little smoke sticks.

    The day that me responsibly enjoying a beer causes as much harm to those around me (currently: none) as what one cigarette can cause to those around it (currently: a lot, remember Anonymous quoting Dave Atherton, cigarette smoke contains more than just nicotine!) then we can talk about equating beer with cigarettes. Stop using a slippery slope logical fallacy, please.

    And @Fredrick Eich: I think you need to lighten up... scientifically dissecting jokes will put you in line with looneys like Michael J. McFadden!


    "Many plants of the Solanaceae family, which includes the genus Nicotiana, of which the tobacco
    plant is a member, contain solanesol; particularly those that contain trace amounts of nicotine.
    These include the tomato, eggplant, potato, and pepper.

    The potential interference due to these sources is negligible, cooking being the only likely potential source of interference. An interference of this type would bias results high, overestimating the contribution of ETS to RSP."

    "Nicotine is an alkaloid found in the nightshade family of plants (Solanaceae), predominantly in tobacco, and in lower quantities in tomato, potato, eggplant (aubergine), and green pepper.

    Nicotine constitutes 0.3 to 5 percent of the tobacco plant by dry weight, with biosynthesis taking place in the roots, and accumulates in the leaves."
    Science Daily

    "With secondhand smoke, the main concerns are exposure to levels of carbon monoxide and respirable particulate matter.
    While air nicotine metabolised as cotinine provides a marker for measuring exposure to tobacco smoke, the nicotine is not present in such quantities as to present health concerns".

    ASH Scotland non tobacco smoking materials

    Scary huh?


  44. @Anon, if you don't think I'm worth arguing with, then why do you bother?

    Whatever the "science", the pissing in the pool and wanking in the corner comparisons are ludicrous, hyperbolic, foaming-at-the-mouth arguments that discredit anyone advancing them. It's a bit like people who say driving a car is like toting a loaded gun.

    The "slippery slope" argument cannot be regarded as fallacious when it is enthusiastically taken up by those campaigning against alcohol - they see it as the logical next step from tobacco, and who am I to argue?

  45. "I take it to be a lighthearted attempt to get people to look at their world in another light and maybe see why pro-clean air supporters are so passionate." - Anonymous.
    I really don't know why anti-smokers are so obsessed with the human excretory system but it's their analogy and I think it fair to point out that there can be more than one swimming pool. This concept is somthing that anti-smokers find hard to conceptualise. So for example in th UK prior to the smoking ban , I would walk past any number of smoke-free restaurants in order to find one where I could dine where smoking is permited. Now I walk past smoke-free restaurants to find yet more smoke-free restaurants. So in the pissing anology , it's a bit like walking past pissing pools to find yet more pissing pools. I too am passionate on this subject, I passionatly believe that any pub or restaurant should ba allowed to go smoke-free because other wise there would be no places for people that do no like smoking to go to, this would make people unhappy and I beleive it is wrong to make people unhappy. So this is the way it would work, if you like going to smoke-free restaurants then you go to those and I go to the restaurants where smoking is permitted, that way we are both catered for. It would not be my responsibility to make smoke-free places popular and it would not be your responsibility to make non-smoke-free places popular. To get to this happy situation the law needs to be repealed or at the very least amended and this will not happen.

  46. @ Fredrik Eich, you do seem to think that the only people who support the smoking ban are (possibly rabid) anti-smokers. I am a publican, and support the smoking ban, although I do find it a pity that some kind of compromise couldn't have been reached with 'smoking carriages'. And I'm typing this with a fag in my hand.
    I have met PLENTY of smokers who support the ban, and I have met PLENTY of non smokers who oppose it.
    Curmudgeon, I raised the point about the wider remit for the ban in order to try to 'prove' my point that the indoor smoking ban was essentially brought in to protect employees against smoke, and employers against future lawsuits from employees. It was not just a ban on smoking in pubs but a ban on smoking in ALL places of work.

    The ban is here to stay, I'm afraid. There is absolutely no way that it is going to be repealed. The Tories are not going to do it. Labour are certainly not going to do it, and the Lib Dems don't actually have enough influence to do it. How many MP's support a repeal of the ban ?

  47. "the indoor smoking ban was essentially brought in to protect employees against smoke"

    Oh no it wasn't. This one could run and run ;-)

    "The ban is here to stay"

    A phrase only used by those who want it to be here to stay. No doubt the likes of Billy Sunday said the same about US Prohibition in the early 20s when people started pointing out its negative consequences.

    Smoking bans have been relaxed or amended in other countries, most notably the Netherlands. No reason why it can't happen here, given time.

    And if it doesn't happen, the ban will go down in history as the measure that kick-started the decline of pubs from a national institution to a tiny, irrelevant rump.

  48. Slippery slope?

    It looks to me like you are on the edge of a precipice.

    Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Financier of Temperance

    "The temperance-oriented Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) "seeks to drive adult beverage consumption underground, away from mainstream culture and public places."
    "It attempts to stigmatize alcohol, de-legitimize drinking, marginalize drinkers, and create a de facto quasi-prohibition of the legal product"

    WHO gets nod to tackle harmful use of alcohol- 2008

    "The blueprint, to be presented in two years, should include a set of recommended national measures for states. These could cover guidance on the marketing, pricing, and distribution of alcoholic drinks and public awareness campaigns.

    In 2003, WHO clinched the first global public health treaty which targeted tobacco through stronger warnings on cigarette packages and limits on advertising and sponsorship"

    Guidelines For Alcohol Consumption Are Inadequate For Cancer Prevention
    12 Jul 2011

    "Several evaluations of this agency as well the joint 2007 report of the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research warned of the link between alcohol and cancers in the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon-rectum and breast cancers. Based on the evidence,

    "there is no level of alcohol consumption for which cancer risk is null."

    The boarded up windows,metal fencing and dead flowers in tubs makes the High Street look terrible.

    Somehow I don't think "But alcohol is different" is going to work.


  49. @Neil from Dave Atherton

    The point is that the harm of second hand smoke (SHS) really has been an invention of the anti smoker organisations. To give you another example childhood exposure to SHS and lung cancer. There are 22 papers conducted into it and 3 suggest a small risk, 11 suggest a small level of protection and the remaining 7 the null hypothesis.

    The most famous one is the World Health Organization's Boffetta 1998 report which on childhood exposure to SHS concluded:

    "Results: ETS exposure during childhood was not associated with an increased risk of lung cancer (odds ratio [OR] for ever exposure = 0.78; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.64-0.96)"

    In epidemiological terms the figures are known as "statistically significant as the CI boundary is <1.0.

    Neil, ASH and the Department of Health have consistently refused my request for a debate. Speaks volumes.

  50. Curmudgeon, I am at least trying to put forward an argument as to why I am correct, backed up by what I see as facts. You are not trying to 'prove' my argument wrong, or sully my 'proof'. You are just saying that I'm wrong, and not elaborating in any significant fashion.

    That's why it could run and run.

    Your argument about other countries doesn't equate if you look at their attitudes towards other controlled substances. Weed isn't about to get legalised here, but it is legal in Holland.

    Do you at least accept that it would cost a lot of money in bureaucracy to get a ban amended ?

  51. "Do you at least accept that it would cost a lot of money in bureaucracy to get a ban amended?"

    No, it wouldn't cost any money whatsoever beyond Parliamentary time to repeal the relevant provisions of the Health Act 2006. And local authorities would save money by no longer having to employ smoking enforcement officers.

    Incidentally, I'm sure this is a record for number of comments on a post on this blog ;-)

  52. Curmudgeon, at the moment I'm fairly sure that local councils don't actually have to employ any smoking enforcement officers, because 99% of pubs and customers are adhering to the ban. Pubs which don't are swiftly going to get reported to the authorities. Anybody smoking inside a pub at any time is breaking the law, and all customers know this. The law is simple, and it's easily noticed if it is broken. It's basically self policing.

    If you had either some smoking pubs and some not, or separate carriages, then customers are not necessarily going to know what the specific status is going to be for a particular venue.

    Currently the distinction is clear. People cannot even go inside to pick up their pint if they have a fag in their hand, but I'm pretty sure that the temptation to do things like this will increase if the law was less strict and clear. Are other customers going to report pubs if this kind of thing happens, or just sit and grumble in the English manner.

    If the law is altered, then the boundaries are going to be much blurred, and this is why I think councils will have to start employing smoking enforcers. I know a licensing officer, and the next time that I see him, I'll ask whether Bristol Council spend any significant money enforcing the smoking ban. I strongly suspect not.
    Well done on the record comments. (I need to make my journal more interesting, so that I attract such visitors as yours.) :)

  53. "The law is simple, and it's easily noticed if it is broken. It's basically self policing."

    Only because the burden of the law falls on licensees - see here.

    "If the law is altered, then the boundaries are going to be much blurred, and this is why I think councils will have to start employing smoking enforcers."

    They never needed to before July 2007. Then non-smoking areas really were self-enforcing.

    Oh, and keep on posting this drivel - I do love swatting full tosses to the boundary.

  54. Saga of Nails said: "I need to make my journal more interesting, so that I attract such visitors as yours."

    Well, so far it seems to be stultifying boring :p

    Post something about the wider pub scene and drinks market and someone may be interested.

  55. Pre 2007 I worked in a pub with a separate non-smoking are and pretty much every day we had to tell people to stop smoking there. Occasionally people would actually refuse to do so. I'm sure that it was the same for pubs where you couldn't smoke at the bar. So no, in my experience pre 2007 the ban was not self policing at all.

    My journal is primarily going to be about the coming adventure of turning a derelict pub into something special with not much money in the bank. The journal is hopefully going to get a lot more interesting when I actually get the keys for the pub, and have to start doing it up. Currently all I am doing is acquiring essential things, and waiting for legal issues to settle.

    I'm far too opinionated to write a pub blog that incorporates my thoughts about the wider drinks industry. Nobody would touch me with a barge pole. :)

  56. "Dick your 'facts' are just plain wrong."

    Not really, no. You see, I can back them up. You said that the ban was about protecting bar staff, I said that government literature never says that apart from Hansard where MPs attempt to candy-coat it. When you look at actual government documents, they never hide the true reason.

    Here's one from just last week (page 10).

    "Regulation of the individual

    Interventions category: Restrict choice

    Samples of policy interventions: Restricting the options available to individuals e.g. outlawing smoking in public places"

    Nope, don't see anything there - in any of the 111 pages - about protecting bar staff.

  57. Kudos to the Curmudgeon for fostering a proper pub atmosphere in here: a bunch of bitter, vaguely conspiracy-theorist, blowhards yammering on about things they think they know everything about and yet can't be arsed to take the time to try to change anyway!

    Puff on, my grumpy brothers. The ban will still be in effect when you lot kick the bucket.

  58. Dick, it would seem that your point about the smoking ban not bieng about protecting health of bar staff was clearly stated by Dr Linda Bauld before the smoking 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 [smoking] ban is about - cultural change." - Dr Linda Bauld, April. 2007. HERE
    So Dick, it would seem that ASH UK board member Dr Linda Bauld is in agreement with you!

  59. Anon at 21-39, and also in the pub are anons who offer no evidence of any note except to yammer the sum knowledge of the world they read in the Sun. Go back to trying to solve the crossword from Monday last week if you can keep your eyes off page 3 for long enough.


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