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Smoking stats.

Eddie Mair | 17:47 UK time, Tuesday, 28 July 2009

What do you think?


  • 1. At 7:53pm on 28 Jul 2009, reasonstobecheerful wrote:

    The BBC recently reported that smokers are less likely to be picked up for high blood pressure


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  • 2. At 9:32pm on 28 Jul 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    Statistics show that loneliness in old age is just as likely to lead to poor health as smoking - is the Government going to try and ban that ?

    I am no fan of smoking or the tobacco companies, but let us not kid each other that the crackdown on the weed is to do with public health.

    Giving old people enough food and warmth and company would cost a lot of money, whereas penalising smokers boosts their revenue - so which do you think they are going to choose ??

    Of course, if smoking became so unpopular that it looked likely to lead to a huge increase in those pesky, expensive pensioners you can bet your bottom dollar the reverse ferret would be done more quickly than dropping the link between pensions and earnings...

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  • 3. At 10:39pm on 28 Jul 2009, Mrs Effingham wrote:

    Eddie pictured how many fags does David Miles smoke a day? About 60 I'd say.

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  • 4. At 06:52am on 29 Jul 2009, Expatoldman wrote:

    I was astonished that the feature on the smoking ban was given entirely over to promoters of the ban. British pubs are in meltdown, along with working mens clubs, private clubs and bingo halls, but those spinning in favour of Government policy would have us believe the legislation as passed is "popular" - a notion that flies in the face of the evidence.

    There are serious questions to be answered about the veracity of much that is put out in the anti - smoking propaganda war, and to me personally the BBC destroys its own credibility by putting out one-sided nonsense which seems to take everything the anti - smoking lobby say as gospel, and ignore those opposed to nanny-state authoritarianism.

    I hope an incoming Tory government will either scrap or amend the ban as soon as they come into office. Campaign supported by all major parties under way -


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  • 5. At 08:16am on 29 Jul 2009, Ctrl_Alt_Doh wrote:

    Expatoldman (4)

    What is this evidence that the legislation is not popular?

    What are the serious questions that need to be answered about the veracity of the anti-smoking "propaganda"?

    The first ban the tories would be interested in scrapping would be that on hunting.

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  • 6. At 10:03am on 29 Jul 2009, Uncle wrote:

    I shall continue to smoke but have chosen to give up going to the pub: I couldnt put up with the smells of bad breath, BO and bad feet any more.

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  • 7. At 10:08am on 29 Jul 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    A quick comment.

    When the initial research that showed lung cancer to be caused by smoking was done, back in the 1940s and 1950s, they were very careful to use the best control sample they could, and what they chose when possible was people who apart from themselves smoking cigarettes shared the lifestyle of smokers as regards diet, residence and so forth. In other words, people who lived in the same house as a smoker.

    This indicated that the smoking gave the smokers lung cancer while the people who lived with them didn't get it.

    So secondary smoking was not a consideration in lung cancer, according to that research -- which has been acccepted ever since to show that smokig is bad for you.

    I found it interesting that the person banging on against secondary smoking represented a lung cancer organisation, therefore.

    Ctrl_Alt_Doh, a serious question *I* would like to see answered is what the difference is between the effects on health of different sorts of smoking: pipes, cigars, ready-rolled cigareetes and roll-your-own ones smell quite different and contain different chemicals in differing proportions, and as far as I know there has been no research done to find out whether for example the raate of mouth and throat cancer is higher for one than another, or lung cancer, or respitory diseases. I would also be very interested in research into the effects of benzine in petrol fumes, and of the chemicals in some soft drinks, because I do not think it likely that either of these is harmless and I suspect they may be more linked to cancers than is at present acknowleged. Benzine is after all known to be carcenogenic.

    When the last smoker has died of a "smoking related illness" (measles, say) and there are no more secondary smokers, while the incidence of cancer continues to rise, we shall need to know what else is causing the condition.

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  • 8. At 10:19am on 29 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Chri (7): I do remember some years back there having been research done of the type you suggest (pipe, etc.) and, as I recall, the outcome was that pipe smoking was deemed to be the most hazardous particularly with regard to cancer of the mouth, followed by cigars and untipped cigarettes. I remember this because my father, who originally smoked cigarettes, had foresworn these for a pipe and cigars believing them to be safer, on the grounds that he smoked less, but then that research came out, forcing a BIG rethink by him. I'm glad to say that he then gave up smoking altogether.

    A family friend who was a big smoker (cigarettes) developed cancer of the mouth and throat. It was hideous - first her tongue had to be removed, and eventually she died anyway as the cancer had spread. I may have already said this on the Blog on another occasion, but I used to be involved in health education and ran the local Give Up Smoking Day here which opened my eyes to the enormous risks posed by smoking, including passive smoke. I've never been a smoker (well, I have possibly smoked as many as twenty cigarettes in my lifetime and even smoked a pipe on a few occasions - no, not herbal ;o)) but having lived with smokers I know how addictive it is and how difficult to give up. I strongly believe that people have the right to make the wrong choices, as long as they don't adversely affect others, but I also think anyone who smokes should seriously reconsider what they are doing to themselvs.

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  • 9. At 10:19am on 29 Jul 2009, Expatoldman wrote:


    The evidence that the ban in its present form is not popular has actually been broadcast even by the BBC - the destruction of the pub, club and bingo businesses. In the 6 months immediately following the imposition of this odious piece of legislation, the rate at which pubs went bankrupt increased by more than 600% - this of course being Real People not some mickey mouse opinion poll (where can we get to see the actual questions and the responses).

    here are the figures -

    "Pubs have been closing at the rate of 27 a week - nearly four every day - over the past year, according to the latest figures released by the British Beer & Pub Association. The current closure rate is seven times faster than in 2006 and 14 times faster than in 2005."


    The other reason I do not believe the notion that the ban in its present form is popular is the utterly deceitful way the clim was made - we were told that in other countries the legislation has been accepted, but the ban is partial in every country other than the UK. Why deceive unless you are presenting lies from start to finish ?

    The serious questions that need to be asked about the anti-smoking propaganda centre around the fact that no genuine scientific research has done other than demonstrate that "passive smoking" is a myth, dreamed up by media consultants engineering a political outcome. Two sets of genuine research were commissioned - one by the WHO the other by the US Heart Foundation - both confirmed that there is no such thing as "passive smoking" and were repudiated by their commissioners who were of course no longer seeking accurate science, but campaigning material.

    When people tell me cynical lies in the fashion ofthe anti-smoking campaign, all their stuff is worthless. The BBC should not be treating ASH and other political anti-freedom campaigners as though they represent a truthful source any more than they woulsd a political party or other biased organisation.

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  • 10. At 10:19am on 29 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Doh! Here's your 's' back, Chris!

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  • 11. At 10:34am on 29 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Expatoldman: Pub closures are related to a number of issues, not least the current economic climate. To put the blame on the smoking blame is perhaps premature, don't you think? A lot of people who didn't go to pubs pre-smoking ban are now regulars ....

    And before you say it, I'm not speaking as someone who is antismoking, but as somebody who lives with a person who has been 'in the industry' (brewing) for nearly forty years.

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  • 12. At 11:09am on 29 Jul 2009, Expatoldman wrote:


    Firstly, we should remember that in Ireland the ban had already reduced pub turnover by 20 - 40% (the BBC 24hr news featured on the destruction about a year ago), secondly the UK government commissioned a risk assessment which predicted the same (it was argued down by the antis claiming there are millionswanting to go to pubs but dissuaded by the smoke therein). Thirdly it seems even Government ministers are starting to admit it -

    "Chancellor Alistair Darling has admitted the smoking ban is forcing pubs out of business and immediately come under fire from Preston landlords.
    This year alone, 27 pubs in the city have closed, and licensees blame not only the "disastrous" ban, but also the high duty levied by the Government on alcohol."


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  • 13. At 11:31am on 29 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    (12): I see from your link that this refers to a story from the Preston area. I'll freely admit that my information comes from South East England where, perhaps, there is a different approach to pubgoing and also, possibly (though I don't know), a different approach to smoking.

    I notice, too, the reference to the high duty levels. I think you (and landlords) will find that this is much more relevant, along with the way the pub trade now operates, particularly with regard to the high rents and other onerous penalties that pubcos place upon their tenants. These factors, combined with the recession, have indeed affected the Trade.

    There is definitely an issue with clubs which have indeed experienced real problems as a result of falling trade following the smoking ban.

    I don't think it works to compare the Irish situation with the English one as pubgoing in Ireland as the cultures are not entirely comparable with regard to pubgoing.

    Pubs are increasingly moving into the food side of the business as the mark ups are much higher. From that point of view, the smoking ban improves trade as families can now use the pubs for a 'treat' without the worry of the risk posed to young children by heavy smoking.

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  • 14. At 12:00pm on 29 Jul 2009, Uncle wrote:

    "Risks posed to young children for an (occasional) "treat"""??!! Meanwhile the pub remains empty awaiting the arrival of the little darlings who probably run a greater risk on the journey to the pub rather than from the (unproven) secondary smoking aspect.

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  • 15. At 12:02pm on 29 Jul 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    I would have thought passive smoking would be preferable to all that passive drinking the rest of society has to put up with at the weekends when the clubs are turning out.

    I gave up smoking a few years ago after being a chain smoker for over 35 years. No smoking aids, chewing gum or the like. It was making me poor. I just chose a day in the future and quit that day. One of the best things I ever did. I never felt comfortable as a smoker. I began to like myself much better after giving up. My clothes and house and furniture don't stink any more and I became more confident in public,(cause I didn't stink). I no longer have to stand out in the cold faggin' it when I visit friends.

    Warning...it will hurt for a bit when you quit, but the thought of all the money I was saving strengthened me through. I guess if your rich money saved isn't an incentive. But, seeing as most people who smoke are working class, money saved is an issue for them. I save over 40 quid a week now. My only regret...I wish I'd been able to do it years before I did.

    PS are there any threads going at the moment were people are not comparing ailments and life battles?

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  • 16. At 12:27pm on 29 Jul 2009, Expatoldman wrote:

    "I don't think it works to compare the Irish situation with the English one as pubgoing in Ireland as the cultures are not entirely comparable with regard to pubgoing."

    Why not ? The person on PM last night supporting the ban claimed acceptance in other EUcountries as "evidence" of its popularity in the UK. If the BBC bothered to research anything, they would have discovered (from their own archives) that all the evidence points the other way. In Ireland (the only country with a total ban like the UK) the licensed trade has been butchered, andin the rest of Europe the ban was partial in the first place.

    "Pubs are increasingly moving into the food side of the business as the mark ups are much higher. From that point of view, the smoking ban improves trade as families can now use the pubs for a 'treat' without the worry of the risk posed to young children by heavy smoking."

    Well of course, a partial ban was what was originally proposed, and indeed put before the voters at election time. That would have been ideal for the situation you mention. The destruction of the licensed trade basically stems from yet an NuLab broken election pledge just like the EU referendum.

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  • 17. At 12:45pm on 29 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Joe (15): If you're obliged (for example, because you work in a pub or restaurant pre the smoking ban or because you're a minor living in a home with parents who smoke - and, of course, this is still an issue for many!) to be exposed to tobacco smoke, you are put in a position in which there is a real risk that your health may be compromised. Cancer, of course, is not the only risk from ingesting tobacco smoke. If you are in a street where there are a number of drunken people who are feeling beligerent, or if you have the misfortune to be hit by a drunken driver, you could indeed find yourself a victim as a result of somebody else's behaviour. I suspect, however, that the number of victims in the latter case is less than those who are the innocent victims of smoking because the danger from smoking comes from inhaling the smoke, and therefore the number of potential victims is necessarily higher.

    Personally, I think we all need to behave responsibly, i.e. with due consideration for others. It is, imho, extremely selfish to argue for a case where the behaviour of the individual is supreme irrespective of its effects upon others.

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  • 18. At 1:42pm on 29 Jul 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Big Sis (17)

    Yes of course, I agree with you. What you refer to was my attempt at some (probably miss-placed) humour. Not done too well. However, I do sympathise as an x smoker with those who do smoke and struggle to quit.

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  • 19. At 1:53pm on 29 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Oh Joe, sounded like I was having a go at you - not intended, believe me!

    I agree with you - giving up smoking is a huge challenge, but your story illustrates how worthwhile it can be.


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  • 20. At 4:19pm on 29 Jul 2009, PaleJade wrote:

    Is it true that people who smoke are not being affected by swine flu?

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  • 21. At 4:32pm on 29 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    PaleJade: Highly unlikely. The received wisdom seems to be that smoking increases the chances of catching swine flu. Smokers are generally more prone to flu infections and upper and lower respiratory tract infections than non smokers.

    I've also found this information:

    When a smoker inhales, the toxic components of smoke irritate the delicate bronchial tubes leading into the lungs. To lessen the irritation, the body will coat the bronchial tubes with mucus, which is a nice warm breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.

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  • 22. At 4:46pm on 29 Jul 2009, Ctrl_Alt_Doh wrote:

    Have to agree with Big Sister especially the point about pub closures being the result of a number of different factors and not just the smoking ban. The following comments from the British Beer and Pub Association, (BBPA), illustrate this too:-

    (Pub closures accelerate towards 30 per week - 05.03.2008) Rob Hayward, Chief Executive of the BBPA, said: Britains pubs are grappling with spiralling costs, sinking sales, fragile consumer confidence and the impact of the smoking ban.

    (New UK Quarterly Beer Barometer shows accelerating decline in beer sales - 27.10.2008) BBPA Chief Executive, Rob Hayward, comments:
    The accelerating decline in beer sales is a clear sign of a worsening economy, worried households and weakening spending.

    Expatoldman #12 quotes the newspaper spin put on the Alistair Darling statement, his actual words are contained later in the article :-
    Mr Darling told journalists: "There is no doubt the smoking ban has made a difference.There is whole range of things that are making a difference."

    Given this complex mix of reasons for pubs closing I don't see how anybody can reasonably claim that it is all down to the smoking ban.

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  • 23. At 4:56pm on 29 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    I know I posted something similar not long ago on the Blog, but it is worth reiterating that the role of the pubco's (high rentals, high markups on their beerlists) and the lack of expertise by some people who have moved into the Trade, whether because they're fulfilling a life's ambition or in order to make a living following a redundancy, or for whatever other reason, are probably bigger reasons than the smoking ban for pub closures. If Alastair Darling, or whoever else, really wants to make a difference they could (a) regulate the pubcos and (b) offer good small business training programmes to publicans. There are some excellent examples of how a good pub should be run, but unfortunately too many publicans are not good businessmen, let alone good managers, and in a time of recession and tighter margins, they unfortunately will fall by the wayside.

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  • 24. At 5:17pm on 29 Jul 2009, Ctrl_Alt_Doh wrote:

    Big Sister (23),

    Another nail hit on the head, it is a real shame how many dreams are shattered by the harsh reality of a downturn in the economy, but as Warren Buffet said:-

    "It's only when the tide goes out that you learn who's been swimming naked."

    I think Business Link can provide some free training workshops on topics of interest to people starting up in business, though I'm not sure if they can always provide advisors with specific sector knowledge.

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  • 25. At 6:38pm on 29 Jul 2009, Expatoldman wrote:

    "Given this complex mix of reasons for pubs closing I don't see how anybody can reasonably claim that it is all down to the smoking ban."

    It started to fall off a cliff in the six months following the imposition of the ban (I have already posted a link to the figures which show a 600+% increase in that period), and has of course been exacerbated by the recession. This as I said above makes the claim by Gov't stooge on PM that the ban is popular patently absurd.

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  • 26. At 7:33pm on 29 Jul 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    There *are* other carcenogenic substances than tobacco smoke. I also want to know about the benzine that has been used to replace lead in petrol. The lead was clearly harmful, but is benzine really any better?

    See also "if mercury is so dangerous when it is from thermometers why is it not dangerous when it is from broken lightbulbs, when there are so very many more of them?"

    A small aside about the innocent victims, one which I may have used here before: I have never heard of anyone smoking too much tobacco in the evening, and as a result going home and beating up his wife and children. Can the same be said about alcohol?

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  • 27. At 01:40am on 30 Jul 2009, The Wrath Is Come wrote:

    24, 25 & 26 I agree with you all.
    Does that make me indecisive?

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  • 28. At 07:10am on 30 Jul 2009, Expatoldman wrote:

    It is interesting to read the account of those who actually fabricated the so called "passive smoking" scare. There was no scientific reason to suspect its existence, and to my knowlege that remains the case. It was madeup in order to justify persecuting smokers in a fashion which would be deemed entirely unacceptable in another group of citizens. Reminiscent of Goebbels' depiction of Jews as rats, in fact. Here it is from the horse's mouth (note there is no mention of passive smoking being detected by clinicianc, the writer is a political campaigner)

    "First, frame the argument. For years, action on smoking in public places was mired in discussion about the claimed "freedom" and "rights" of smokers, and the need for "voluntary" shifts towards compromise solutions, particularly in pubs, restaurants and clubs. We changed the terms of the debate to health and safety at work. We argued that secondhand smoke is a killer - making a smoke-free workplace a right for everyone, and that there is no "compromise" solution"


    If I still had the misfortune to live in the UK, I would find it terrifying that people such as those are allowedanywhere near the levers of power.

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  • 29. At 10:05am on 30 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Expatoldman: So you are a passive-smoking-is-harmful denier, eh? Given your earlier posts, I suppose this isn't surprising However, you'd have a very lively argument with bodies like Cancer Research who are quite clear about the risks posed by passive smoking. For example, a study published in the BMJ in 1997, conducted by Hackshaw and colleagues, analysed 37 passive smoking studies and found a 24 per cent increase in lung cancer among people living with smokers. Tobacco specific carcinogens found in the blood of non-smokers provided clear evidence of the effect of passive smoking. And generally, the evidence from more than 50 studies now published have shown non-smokers married to smokers have an increased risk of lung cancer. In addition to these health risks, tobacco smoke is known to be a trigger for asthma attacks and in children, passive smoking increases the risk of pneumonia, bronchitis, and reduces lung growth, as well as both causing and worsening asthma.

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  • 30. At 11:25am on 30 Jul 2009, Expatoldman wrote:

    9. At 10:05am on 30 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:
    Expatoldman: So you are a passive-smoking-is-harmful denier, eh?

    Strange how people lobbying for intolerance feel the need to try and denigrate those who dare question their orthodoxy, the more wrongheaded that orthodoxy the more kneejerk such denigration becomes. I will allow a professor of maths to tell you one reason it matters -

    "It may be argued that this is news about an old and settled subject. And who cares about smoking anyway. But smoking is really a secondary issue. The primary issue is the integrity of science. This has no use-by date. When the processes of science are misused, even if for what seems a good reason, science and its practitioners are alike degraded."


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  • 31. At 11:37am on 30 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:


    "It is interesting to read the account of those who actually fabricated the so called "passive smoking" scare. There was no scientific reason to suspect its existence, and to my knowlege that remains the case. "

    I rather think you inflamed the discussion in that comment, don't you? And by your comment you appeared to be saying (and I'm sure you'll correct me if I'm wrong) that you don't believe in the health issues surrounding passive smoking.

    I'm not a smoker, but I've never tried to stop anyone else from smoking - it is a matter of choice. I do, however, have an issue with being around tobacco smoke. I suffer from allergic asthma, and tobacco smoke is the worst irritant in my case. Despite this, I have never, ever tried to stop my smoking friends from smoking, just asking that they don't smoke near me.

    Now, just to illustrate how selfish some smokers can be, this is a true story. Two friends once subjected me to an evening of exposure to their smoke, in my own home, because they chose not to respect my request that they didn't smoke. I was, as a consequence, ill for two days afterwards with severe breathing difficulties. When I told them this, very politely, they became defensive and a big barrier suddenly appeared between us.

    Most smokers I know are far more considerate than these, now ex-friends, of mine.

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  • 32. At 2:33pm on 30 Jul 2009, Fifi wrote:

    You are well rid of them, Big Sister (31). 'Friends' would never be so rude, and particularly not in your own home.

    Two of my closest friends are smokers. I have in emergencies bought fags for them. But they don't smoke indoors when I'm around, and there is never any need to ask them not to.

    It's such a pity that smoking, even in moderation, results in bad smells, litter and pollution. Otherwise I'd be all for letting the smokers get on with it wherever they liked. Why can't someone invent a ciggie that a) doesn't make people ill; b) smells pleasant?

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  • 33. At 2:36pm on 30 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Fifi: The same friends had, in the past, helped me move home twice and done various other lovely things. Believe me, this was a single issue problem, and I still miss them.

    Unfortunately, because smokers have been made to feel pariahs, I think some are very oversensitive about anything relating to the issue. Which is, perhaps, why it can be so difficult to hold serious conversations on the issue that reflect both sides of the story.

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  • 34. At 2:46pm on 30 Jul 2009, Fifi wrote:

    Big Sister (33): This reminds me of another form of similar militancy I experienced the first time a group of us organised a folk festival in a castle in Lincolnshire.

    It was pouring with rain when a singing duo arrived, lovely people who were scheduled to perform in the ballroom on the first floor. Only when I offered to help them fetch their bass amplifier from the car did I learn that he was in a wheelchair.

    Regency castles don't have lifts. They'd known for weeks that their allotted venue was up 4 flights of stairs. They deliberately didn't say anything 'to make a point'. I'm afraid 'the point' looked very much as if they were too selfish and arrogant to realise that we wouldn't think of everything the first time we organised a festival in a castle!

    Luckily it was possible to squeeze them into the schedule in a different room on the ground floor, and they had a good audience. Someone else benefited from the wonderful acoustics of the Ballroom instead. We all stayed friends ... but I've never quite forgiven them for that bit of avoidable stress.

    Needless to day, we organisers did learn from the experience. But it also taught us that even the nicest people can have their moments of utter awfulness.

    ...present company excepted, of course! ;o)

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  • 35. At 3:41pm on 30 Jul 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:


    Many smokers have to be reffered to a consultant specialist in heart/pulmonary disease before reality begins to hit home about what they have been doing to their bodies. Sadly, for many by that stage its probably too late to undue the damage. Wouldn't common sense suggest, if a person can cause their own slow sad demise by sucking chemicals from fags,is there any difference weather or not you held the fags in your own hand or not!?

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  • 36. At 3:46pm on 30 Jul 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:


    Are you David Hockney?

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  • 37. At 5:14pm on 30 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Joe :oD

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  • 38. At 5:36pm on 30 Jul 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    Wot's a stat? Ain't never smoked a stat.

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