Sunday 10 May 2020

Something in the air

With discussion about coronavirus now moving to talk of the programme for unwinding the lockdown, one idea that has been floated is to allow pubs to open their beer gardens, but not inside bars. It’s doubtful how many pubs would find this viable, especially if the customers were expected to adhere to strict social distancing, and in any case it’s likely that, as soon as it was permitted, we would end up with a prolonged spell of rainy weather.

However, this has prompted MP Mark Pritchard to call for restrictions on smoking in beer gardens if it is implemented;

If cafes, restaurants and pubs with outside areas open next week, then new rules on smoking in external public areas should be introduced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. "Outside seating should not be dominated by smokers exposing customers to secondary smoke.”
Not surprisingly, Simon Clark of smokers’ rights group Forest has criticised this demand:
Mr Clark said businesses should be free to choose their own policy on smoking outside.

"Imposing new rules that may reduce the number of customers who are tempted back after the lockdown restrictions have been eased could hinder their ability to get back on their feet," he said.

"If Mr Pritchard has evidence that smoking outside poses a risk to non-smokers he should produce it.

"Smokers should obviously be considerate to those around them, but we don't need more rules to govern our behaviour."

Mr Clark added that in the past Mr Pritchard had expressed a personal dislike of breathing in cigarette smoke.

"It is quite wrong for Mr Pritchard to use the Covid crisis as an opportunity to tackle one of his pet hates, especially when there is no risk to the public."

It should be remembered that smoking continued to be permitted in outdoor areas because it was felt that there was little or no risk to others from environmental tobacco smoke. (The same is true indoors, of course, but that’s another matter). If people don’t like it, that’s up to then, but it seems a warped sense of priorities to be more worried about the risk from second-hand smoke than from coronavirus. There’s also plenty of evidence that smoking actually acts as a prophylactic against the disease.

For most of the year, the only people in beer gardens are smokers, and their tolerant friends, because they simply have no alternative. Then, every year, as regular as clockwork, antismokers see that the sun has come out, emerge blinking into the light, and to their horror find that there are already smokers in the beer garden.

There’s nothing to stop licenses voluntarily choosing to ban smoking in all or part of their beer gardens, if they feel that their business will benefit. But they should remember that smokers, over the course of a year, are the people most likely to use beer gardens in the first place. Can they really afford to lose that trade? Despite the ban, smokers on average still spend more time and money in pubs than non-smokers, presumably because many non-smokers are prissy, health-obsessed people who don’t find pubs attractive in the first place. On cool, overcast days, non-smoking sections of beer gardens are deserted.

If smoking in outdoor areas was to be wholly or partly prohibited by law, it would make it much harder for the pub trade to recover. And what’s the betting that, once imposed, it would never be relaxed again?


  1. For once, 'mudge, I entirely agree with you :-)

    Whilst I don't share your view that the smoking ban is the major cause of the decline in pub trade I do feel that it was a step too far.

  2. " Despite the ban, smokers on average still spend more time and money in pubs than non-smokers".
    Is that actually a fact? Not sure I believe that, maybe 10 years plus ago.

    "presumably because many non-smokers are prissy, health-obsessed people who don’t find pubs attractive in the first place."
    Although I agree there are many such people, I would suggest they are not the majority of non smokers.

    "On cool, overcast days, non-smoking sections of beer gardens are deserted."
    I'm not surprised, so would the smoking areas be empty were the smokers allowed to get their fix indoors on such days.

    Regarding measures to ban smoking in gardens where its currently allowed, to do so would be a crime itself.

  3. Mr Pritchard really needs to wake up and catch up.
    Smoking has a protective effect, pubs should be open but only to smokers as its smokers who are protected.

  4. An insight into the antismoking mentality. Antismoking is dysfunctional - neurotic, bigoted, obsessed with control. Antismoking in ascendency indicates that society more generally has deteriorated into superficiality, i.e., loss of insight. Antismokers have worked themselves into a neurotic frenzy. They have manufactured tobacco smoke into a "virus-like", "military-bioweapon-like" phenomenon. Left unchecked, antismoking claims become progressively more absurd and hysterical, and demands progressively more draconian and inhumane.

    Excellent example of antismoking fanaticism/hysteria in the workplace at Kimball Physics (see comments by magnetic01)

    1. For somebody "whose allergy is so bad that a person who had a cigarette six hours previous still exhales smoke that effects him" to ban tobacco from his gaff seems perfectly rational rather than fanatical.
      No different from someone with a peanut allergy not allowing peanut butter sandwiches in the kitchen.

  5. I think outdoor smoking bans are coming. The goal of the anti-smoking lobby is not so much about creating non-smoking paces for non-smokers to got to but to eliminate places for smokers to smoke in. This was clear after they managed to have smoking carriages in trains eliminated. Three out of four
    carriages were non-smoking , there was very little public support for eliminating the one remaining smoking carriage but it happened anyway.In addition many pubs , especially the larger one have , massively enclosed outdoor smoking areas that are completely illegal but people do not realise that they are because they give the impression of being outside (these pubs do very well). It won't be long before these are used as an excuse for outdoor bans to 'level the playing field'.

  6. Unless of course we shutdown PHE and the mini-me's and the WHO for the egregrious pursuit of smokers, eaters and drinkers when they were supposed to be looking after public health.
    Their particular obsessive behaviour rested in the deaths of thousands of peple that might have been saved.
    There is a stronger case for charging PHE with manslaughter than there is for banning smoking indoors.

    1. The anti-smoking industry has been killing non-smokers for decades now. The majority of lung cancers in never smokers is caught when they are being tested for some other thing. By the time it has been detected and the cancer has metastasised they, health professionals, then have to determine whether it is primary lung cancer or a secondary, when they see the smoking status of the patient it influences their decision making. This is because health professionals are hypervigilant when they know that a patient smokes and therefore sends the patient off for tests etc, if a patient does not smoke they send them home or similar. This has been known for decades. It's a scientific scandal. Everything I have said I would happily say in front of a judge and jury. I would not think twice because it's all true.
      But shutting down the PHE would make difference. This has happened before. What happens is that the same men and women that worked in the old organisation re apply for the same jobs in the new organisation because they all know each other. So nothing would change (sadly).
      It's no good replace one public health industry body with another one. What we need is to recognise that public health industry is and industry and treat it accordingly.

  7. Professor Pie-Tin12 May 2020 at 03:55

    And don't think it's not a coordinated effort.
    This pandemic is the money shot for the Fun Police.

    1. An Irish article about a potential Irish law

  8. Professor Pie-Tin12 May 2020 at 04:37

    One of the upsides of being a poor sleeper is listening to the dawn chorus.
    For the last three mornings the same bird, or at least I think it is, has started singing at EXACTLY 4.28am.
    Every morning.
    It makes that second bottle of wine worth all the effort ...

    1. There's a bird in my street whose "song" sounds like a squeaky hinge that needs oiling.

    2. Great Tit. There's been a colony of the little b'stards over the road from me for years. Incredibly loud for such a small bird.

  9. Ban those vape things aswell as smoking. It's all a nuisance we can do without
    If you loved pubs you'd give up, not insist on making them grotty

    1. Quite right cooking. In addition ban northeners from drinking in pubs (they can drink outside so long as they don't talk), anyone with a beard (including women) and scientists on the TV who insist on starting sentences with the word 'So'. Once this has been achieved we will have truly made grotty pubs history.

  10. to dcbwhaley

    You obviously missed this part:

    It should also be noted that “allergy” to tobacco smoke is an inflammatory myth; there are no allergens (proteins) in tobacco smoke to be “allergic” to.
    Regarding smokers’ breath:

    “in 2007, a group of researchers showed that the mean time it took for a smoker to stop exhaling residual tobacco smoke particles after finishing a cigarette was 58.6 seconds, corresponding to about nine subsequent breathings.”

    Giovanni Invernizzi et al., Residual Tobacco Smoke Measurement of its Washout Time in the Lung and of its Contribution to Environmental Tobacco Smoke, 16 TOBACCO CONTROL 29, 31 (2007)

    And there is no evidence of these smoke “residues” constituting a health hazard to others. Crawford’s claims, going back to 1993, that smoke residues “cause” particular health issues is a venture into insanity.

    Crawford is a capnophobe/misocapnist. His fear/hate are irrational. You'll note, too, that his "smoke residues" is the forerunner of "thirdhand smoke", the term originating in 2008; the antismoking habit of trying to scientifically rationalize their madness.

  11. It might not be an allergy but it is still a detrimental effect.
    But a ice bit of cherry picking there. You can find one scientific paper to support vitually anything. That climate change isn't happening; that vaccines cause autism, that sticking a lump of rock up your arse benefits digestion.
    But science is about consensus and there is widespread scientific consensus that exposure to secondhand smoke is harmful. The link between passive smoking and health risks is accepted by every major medical and scientific organisation.

  12. Hey dcbwhaley.

    What does a phobia refer to? Ever heard of psychosomatic, psychogenic? Do you know what capnophobia refers to?

    Can you explain smoking bans on entire beaches, parks, university campuses? What is the "science" behind these outdoor bans? Would love to hear it.

    And what about smoking bans outdoors for entire suburbs, e.g., North Sydney in Australia, Laguna Beach in California. What's the "science" behind that?

    Sorry, dcb, but you're a brainwashed disciple of the antismoking cult. You're a sucker for "appeal to authority".

    1. No 'mous I am not brain washed and not a disciple of any cult. I am a smoker and I would like to see pubs with both smoking and smoke free rooms. And, as my first post said, I am not in favour of banning outdoor smoking.
      And if quoting the discredited Giovanni Invernizzi et al isn't an appeal to authority on your part I don't know what it is.
      I am merely supporting Crawford's right to set the rules in his own gaff, jut as I set them in mine.

    2. And I appreciate that this is Peter's blog and that he is entitled to set his own rules. But his tolerance of ad hominen attacks does rather reduce the considerable respect I have had for him.

    3. Can I suggest that you reacquaint yourself with the comment policy, in particular the sentence that says “I am the judge of what is acceptable - do not make complaints to me that ‘Freddy said a bad word’”. I do not consider that the policy has been broken and will not enter into any further debate on this subject.

      I would add that one or two of your recent comments have fallen into the category of borderline trolling, i.e. posting primarily to provoke a reaction. I do not expect you to agree with me on everything, but I would hope you will be able to make a more constructive contribution going forward.

  13. " But his tolerance of ad hominen attacks..."

    Wasn't intended as an "ad hominem" attack but a description of your [repeated] failure to grasp the circumstance. Crawford placed quite a few requirements in place specifically for smokers based on health claims that have no scientific support. Ultimately, these measures are an attempt to circumvent anti-discrimination laws in New Hampshire.


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