Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Sheep and goats

Although the protection of workers was often used as a “smokescreen”, the underlying motivation behind smoking bans has always been an attempt to reduce the prevalence of smoking in society through a process of “denormalisation”. However, in many places where bans have been imposed, that doesn’t seem to work, and very often the steady decline in smoking rates that has occurred until the ban has stalled or even reversed.

That has certainly been the case in Ireland“there was a slight increase in the percentage of smokers since 2002, with 29% admitting to being a smoker in 2007, compared to 27% in 2002” – the Irish ban having come in in 2004. And the latest figures from Scotland show that the same is happening there.

The number of Scots smoking has risen since it was banned in public places – and the vast majority live in our poorest housing estates.
Arguably a key reason for this is that the bans in effect force people to identify as smokers, and once they have done that they become more committed to sticking with it. You can’t really be a casual smoker any more.

One of the comments rings all too true:
Billy Dunn, 68, Parkhead, Glasgow

The retired factory worker has smoked for 60 years.

He said: “Scottish people have always smoked and it’s not going to change.

“I still come out for my pint every other day and I still manage to have a cigarette.

“However, the pubs are a lot quieter now than they were about four or five years because a lot of people aren’t able to stand outside smoking like I can.

A lot of smokers have difficulty coming down out of their homes to go for a drink and the last thing they want to be doing is having to get up every 30 minutes and go outside.
It’s also quite instructive how readily smoking and drinking are linked together:
Also, people living in the most deprived areas have very few things to indulge in which are theirs. Smoking is one of them. They might say, ‘I can light up a cigarette or drink a pint – that’s my thing.’
They have become all too often joined in a figure of speech like the proverbial horse and carriage. And, while the aficionado of craft beer, or claret, or malt whisky, may jib at the suggestion, if the Righteous choose to tar you with the same brush there’s nothing you can do about it.

Also well worth reading is this article by Dave Atherton (a regular commenter here) on The Commentator in which he argues that “smoking bans in pubs and bars, and now proposed car smoking bans constitute the most sinister assault on private property rights outside of an authoritarian regime.”


  1. Good point Curm. I am 54. Before the ban I was close to making a serious attempt at giving up. My father gave up when he was 50 and he's now 83. Now, giving up would be admitting defeat. If pubs were allowed smoking rooms, I like to think I'd make use of them for a while, to celebrate; and then give up - even easier now I've discovered snus. As smoking prevalence had been falling consistently prior to the ban and active smoking is around 60 times as harmful as passive smoking, the increases in smoking in Scotland and Ireland show that the smoking ban is causing premature deaths. Take note ASH UK and your ilk.

  2. It is hardly surprising smoking is
    the increase after 40 years of decline
    With the product being proclaimed
    and promoted OUTSIDE every building in the UK the attraction to the young is obvious
    Totally free advertising for the Tobacco Companies
    "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions"

  3. I've recently started a new job in a South Yorkshire call centre. We are only allowed to smoke in one shelter at the side of the building.

    At any time of the working hours, the shelter is full of people puffing away - I have not seen as many smokers for years! and most are under 30!!

    Out of the team and trainers I have been working with, 14 out of the 18 are smokers, the three bosses immediately above me are smokers and I would reckon 70% of the workforce are smokers.

    Smoking is still en vogue in certain areas probably as an 'up yours!' to the powers that be.

    It is a shame that these people cannot enjoy their activity - inside - on a night out - in a pub! They have found a way around it though,,,,they drink at home :(

    Alcohol is the next attack of the antis, they are bigging up the dangers now - making up the statistics that many people believe - we need to make a stand at some point.

    My stance is to encourage more people into pubs by using ecigs. I get slagged off by by some active smokers on the forums as playing into the antis hands - this is not the case!

    If I could, I would give every smoker an ecig to have a night back IN a pub and enjoy what they have to offer. Once WE are back and enjoying the delights a Real Ale House has to, we may have more of a voice to topple the irrational and none-sensical legislation that undermined our fun in 2006/7 (depends where you live)!

    It might sound like a load of boo-larks but I've had some beer 'n' tabs so I don't care!!

    God bless freedom of choice and the LEGAL drugs that are alcohol and nicotine (plus I like my caffeine too!)

  4. @Anon 20:30 - yes, and it is the smokers who come across as the cool, edgy, anti-authority outsiders, while the dull conformists are inside chomping away at their politically correct Jamie Oliver slop.

  5. I still am a regular commentator, thanks for the mention.

    Dave Atherton


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