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Hard-core smokers

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Mark Easton | 15:20 UK time, Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Since the ban on smoking in public places swept across Britain in 2006 and 2007, the number of adults who smoke has fallen by about one million.

But the 11 million remaining are a steadfast band - banished from offices, pubs and restaurants, you will see them huddled in doorways, sheltering from wind and rain as they light up.

Smoker with cigarette

Within this al fresco routine, a camaraderie often develops; a spirit of solidarity and doggedness with undertones of rebellion. Loyalty grows, to each other and perhaps to the weed which unites them.

Today's attitudes survey from the Office for National Statistics finds that among Britain's smokers, there is a larger proportion who smoke heavily - up from 24% to 29%.

The proportion of male smokers who consume 20 or more a day has gone up from a quarter to a third. What's more, they are less likely to say they want to quit. Two years ago, 72% of smokers said they planned to give up - now it is 67%.

This is partly because, as smoker numbers fall, a greater proportion of those that do are more reliant on cigarettes and more reluctant to stop. They are, increasingly, the hard core.

But the statistics also suggest that the total number of smokers who want to give up has fallen from about 8.6m in 2007 to 7.4m last year - a drop, therefore, of around 1.2m people.

Why? The smoking population is a fluid group including new smokers and those who considered stopping but changed their mind. So one cannot say that a million people who were once determined to quit have now decided to smoke to their (probably early) grave.

Nevertheless, I wonder whether an unexpected consequence of strict rules on smoking has been to harden attitudes.

Smokers may increasingly feel like victims of social exclusion and discrimination, a recipe for radicalisation in other contexts. Denied their legal pleasures in public, except under uncomfortable even humiliating conditions, it is conceivable that frustration and resentment manifests itself in a determination to smoke more not less.

The public smoking ban, for which today's survey finds overwhelming support among all but the heaviest smokers, coincides with a significant drop in the proportion of adults who consume tobacco. Broadly, smoking rates were stuck at around 24% for six years or so but the last two have been recorded at 22%.

In public health terms this must be a welcome change, but achieving further reductions will probably need to come from convincing fewer young people to take up cigarettes rather than hoping the hard core can be bullied into abstinence.

Comments

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  • 1. At 3:49pm on 28 Jul 2009, John Ellis wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 2. At 4:08pm on 28 Jul 2009, U14074320 wrote:

    PROBLEM = S.O.P.
    -> Save Our Pubs

    SOLUTION = A/C 4( S.F.R.) + F.F. + E.S.B.
    -> Air Conditioning For Smoke Filled Rooms + Family Friendly European Style Bars

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  • 3. At 4:18pm on 28 Jul 2009, PWS1950 wrote:

    So; 2 years ago I stopped smoking, a painful and difficult task after nearly 40 years.
    My breathing has not got better.
    NOTHING tastes better.
    I have lost an "edge"
    I am now a miserable, aggressive old man.
    I have put on 40Lbs 18.8Kg and am now being told I am fat & should give up eating!
    I am fed up with do gooders (& that includes the government) telling me what is best for me.

    Bugger off and let me live (or die) by the choices I make

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  • 4. At 4:35pm on 28 Jul 2009, CComment wrote:


    While the health benefits of the smoking ban are obvious, imagine if some other minorities were treated in the way smokers are : -
    Gays huddled outside pubs - Muslims huddled outside offices - Catholics banned from cinemas. The compensation claims would be enormous. Class A drug users are treated better than cigarette smokers in the "social pariah" stakes. And all the time the official hypocrisy, because why don't they just ban cigarettes and forgo the tax revenue if they're so concerned? Caledonian Comment

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  • 5. At 4:35pm on 28 Jul 2009, Ernie wrote:

    Frankly, once the public have been educated on the dangers, and those who don't smoke (such as bar workers) are protected, I don't see that it's anyone's business.

    I resent this social engineering from the British government. Why is it their job to mould us all into perfect citizens? Surely they should be helping us live as we want?

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  • 6. At 4:44pm on 28 Jul 2009, archie_f wrote:

    If the number of adults who still smoke has gone down by about a million, surely most of these people would have been part of the 8.6 million who said they wanted to give up ?

    So it's no surprise that the number who *now* say they want to give up has dropped by a million.

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  • 7. At 4:52pm on 28 Jul 2009, pandatank wrote:

    As far as I can work out, the public smoking ban was the only ban that actually reduced the incidence of the activity targetted by the ban. It now appears not be working and unless more can be done to prevent new recruits to smoking, the current trend is likely to reverse. So what you're saying is that back door prohibition doesn't seem to work either?

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  • 8. At 5:14pm on 28 Jul 2009, virtualsilverlady wrote:

    Perhaps it's the thought of getting too old and infirm in an uncaring society that persuades me. After all who worries too much about reaching 100 years old if you do not even know you are there or you are left to sit in a chair forgotton in some nursing home.

    Figures are forever being bandied about on smoking related deaths but none of us are immortal so if one thing doesn't get you another one will.

    Then there is the stress factor. The biggest killer of all.

    When feeling agitated or under stress I can light up a cigarette. Take time out and calm down. Who can say that this has not saved me from a stress related illness.

    Smoking may be unfashionable to some but for the hard core as you put it it does provide some pleasure. It is an easy target and takes the emphasis off the government's inability to do anything about drugs and the crime that goes with them.

    The vested interests of the 'stop smoking products' can also be clearly seen. How much do they make out of the NHS?

    They can try to make us into outcasts and have done so in certain areas
    but they cannot make us stop unless we choose to.

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  • 9. At 6:05pm on 28 Jul 2009, ex-publover wrote:

    The three most striking things I have observed now we are two years in to this ban are
    1: Opinion Polls and statistics rarely covey the true facts
    2: The likelyhood of Labour gaining power again within the next 100 years is NIL
    3: There is a deeply disturbing presence of seething, smouldering anger ready to erupt at the diabolical way decent, honest people in this once great country are being treated.

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  • 10. At 6:13pm on 28 Jul 2009, Secratariat wrote:

    virtualsilverlady wrote:
    "Perhaps it's the thought of getting too old and infirm in an uncaring society that persuades me. After all who worries too much about reaching 100 years old if you do not even know you are there or you are left to sit in a chair forgotton in some nursing home."

    I couldn't agree more.

    I'm often told by non-smokers that smoking will result in me dying seven years earlier, my response has always been that it's only time I'd be spending in a nursing home anyway so what's the big deal ?

    Let's be honest, who wants to live forever ?

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  • 11. At 6:17pm on 28 Jul 2009, iNotHere wrote:

    I gave up a tobacco habit of 42 years 3 years ago mainly because I was diagnosed with the beginnings of emphysema and my breathing was only getting worse and would never improve all the time I did smoke.
    I must say, and it seems I could be a minority in this, but I found it really easy to give up and was proud of myself when I did. I wouldn't go back to it now but I don't begrudge anyone else smoking, it's their choice. I do however prefer that I can now go into buildings and be able to breath freely, something I couldn't do before.

    Pubs are a far more pleasent place to frequent although I cannot see why a room isn't set aside for people who want to smoke. I think it's wrong to discriminate this way and although it is more pleasent for me not to have breath someone elses smoke I still believe in free will, something that our government seems to have forgotten we have.

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  • 12. At 6:35pm on 28 Jul 2009, davidwhite44 wrote:

    "Gays huddled outside pubs - Muslims huddled outside offices - Catholics banned from cinemas"

    Errrr, the last time I looked, the aforementioned groups didn't cause cancer by standing around in groups?

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  • 13. At 7:20pm on 28 Jul 2009, iNotHere wrote:

    @11 Sorry couldn't count.....tobacco habit of 32, not 42 years DOH!

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  • 14. At 7:38pm on 28 Jul 2009, John Ellis wrote:

    #12 nope but we pay for our treatment on the NHS none smokers want and expect NHS treatment for free. So please remember who pays the medical bills.

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  • 15. At 7:40pm on 28 Jul 2009, John Ellis wrote:

    iNotHere

    pubs used to be laid out in such a way
    family room.
    lounge.
    smokers room.

    and there was no discrimination.

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  • 16. At 7:47pm on 28 Jul 2009, SBReboot wrote:

    14: Yeah, but - speaking as someone with asthma which is horribly aggravated by smoke (not just cigarette smoke, although that's the most common for obvious reasons) - I'd rather not have to go to the hospital to get nebulised in the first place, thanks very muchly...

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  • 17. At 7:53pm on 28 Jul 2009, Rob wrote:

    I am a smoker and I am in favour of the ban. It is nicer to go into a bar that doesn't smell of smoke. I tend to smoke less when I am out drinking. I think the intention of the ban was to create a more pleasent atmosphere for people. However, I do think bars should be allowed to make provisions for smokers. A smoking room or a garden would be fair for all.

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  • 18. At 8:04pm on 28 Jul 2009, Dave__G wrote:

    I suppose we'll never really know what proportion of the plummeting decline in pub attendance is due to the financial crisis and how much is the fault of the smoking ban, but my guess is that it's mostly the smoking ban.

    I recall being in a Cornish pub on a Wednesday evening in October a few years ago, after all the tourists had gone home, and there were 10 people in there, nine of whom were smokers. Whatever the reasons, the non-smokers who pushed for the ban haven't been going to pubs in great enough numbers to keep pubs in business, after telling us all that they would if smoking was banned in pubs.

    In my view, it's time to find a way to reintroduce smoking into pubs, in order to rescue as many pubs (and the jobs in those pubs) as possible. It may already be too late.

    Yes, smokers like me feel persecuted. We want to be able to perform a legal act (smoke a cigarette) in a place owned by someone who would allow us to smoke that cigarette in their pub. I really can't see what that has to do with anyone else. If people don't like smoky pubs, then use one of the many non-smoking pubs that demand would create. If people don't want to work in smoky pubs, then go and work in a non smoking pub.

    Whatever happened to supply & demand? If the demand for non-smoking pubs is there, then smoking pubs should have been in a minority even before the ban was brought in.

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  • 19. At 8:07pm on 28 Jul 2009, kaybraes wrote:

    I stopped 5 years ago before smoking stopped me permanently. I sympathise with those poor souls still struggling to stop, but I can assure you that after about 4 days, I stopped coughing and can now breathe almost normally again. I can now swim and walk further than I could 20 years ago and just wish I had stopped before my lungs were damaged. I,m now 70 and if I had not stopped smoking, without a doubt I would not now be around.

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  • 20. At 8:15pm on 28 Jul 2009, Mike Stanford-Eyre wrote:

    It would be interesting to know why you think there are a million less smokers

    I think sales and tobacco duty may reflect that figure but its only because more people are buying tobacco products abroad to evade Gordons grasping levy. Or has the NHS found a steep fall in the nubers falling ill. I wonder still its fairly academic -we see 52 pubs a month( or was it a week) going bust and in my case it is definitely the smoking ban and not gordons economic miracle that keeps me out of pubs.

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  • 21. At 8:36pm on 28 Jul 2009, John Frewen-Lord wrote:

    As an asthma sufferer (and never having smoked - other than a few Wills Wiffs when I was 16, some 50 years ago), today it is so nice to be able to go into a pub or restaurant and not have to wonder whether I am going to suffer an asthma attack (not to mention the distasteful stench) because of others' thoughtlessness in lighting up in my vicinity. I used to live in Canada, and was shocked at the level of smoking here in the UK on my visits back. Canadian smokers now number around 15% - at least 7 percentage points lower than the UK (Canada banned smoking in restaurants etc long before the UK).

    Having said that, I have no problem in allowing pubs to provide indoor sealed off smoking rooms for those that HAVE to smoke 24/7 - as long as those rooms can never contaminate the rest of the pub (and the air I have to breathe).

    As regards paying for the smokers' health problems, while I hate the thought that I might be paying for someone's self-inflicted health issues, there is a lot of tax on cigarettes, and hopefully this pays for the extra health care smokers require (at least it should if it currently doesn't). Perhaps smokers should be required to pay an additional health premium, levied in some manner that makes it transparent - smokers can SEE what their habit is costing them over and above the price of the cigarettes themselves. This health premium could be administered by smokers having to buy coupons that they have to hand in when they buy their cigarettes.

    As has been proved over and over again, smoking IS addictive. Is there some way of altering this? Can a chemical be added (by law) that reverses a smoker's craving for tobacco? Then perhaps the number of smokers will reduce - and more importantly, will, via this chemical process, prevent young people from taking up smoking in the first place.

    Just some thoughts on what to me is a societal issue that probably reflects a degree of malaise in the way we humans exist in today's world.

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  • 22. At 8:42pm on 28 Jul 2009, John Ellis wrote:

    #14 the mixed bar is the brainchild of the 80's before that smoking was segregated in all pubs. I support the ban in the work place and resturants.

    My problem with the smoking message and the NHS is that its run on the back of the people being ridiculed in post 12 so none smokers gain health care through the exploitation of addiction so its nothing personal .

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  • 23. At 8:45pm on 28 Jul 2009, ex-publover wrote:

    Davidwhite44----Errr the last time I looked the aforementioned groups did,nt cause cancer by standing around in groups---

    Errr how old are you ?? It,s a total fabrication that smokers do and herein lies the problem. It,s amazing how a little government propaganda and a lot of bias publicity can fool so many young minds.

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  • 24. At 9:09pm on 28 Jul 2009, Secratariat wrote:

    Dave__G

    The collapse of our pubs started way before the recession and coincides quite closely with the introduction of the smoking ban.

    I've got to agree with what you're saying though. For me, the smoking ban was when I stopped going to pubs regularly, our group of friends would go to the pub a few times a week for a few hours at a time, we now meet up at each others homes instead with the drinkers bringing alcohol from the supermarket.

    We do still go to pubs but now it is for a drink when we meet up before going on to the cinema, restaurant or similar, we never just go to the pub any more. Pubs have gone from being a place to go for the evening to being a place we meet up before doing other things, this is also the case for a lot of people I work with.

    Where I work we have over 2000 staff and before the ban every Friday would see hundreds of them meeting up in the bars around our offices, since the ban this number has reduced dramatically, so much so that one of the bars on the street we work on has since closed. The others now have constant promotions, something that used to be unheard of before the ban.

    The ban doesn't seem to have reduced the number of smokers at work either, the smoking area outside of work is just as busy as the smoking rooms used to be. There's always some people trying to give up, but then, there always has been.

    I'm sure there are plenty of people who will tell you they go to pubs more often now but there must be far fewer of them than the smokers who have reduced the amount they go otherwise the pubs wouldn't be closing at the rate they are.

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  • 25. At 10:41pm on 28 Jul 2009, SBReboot wrote:

    23: Ah. I expect you also believe that global warming is a fraud, markets work perfectly and that you can turn back time by spinning the planet the wrong way round...

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  • 26. At 10:48pm on 28 Jul 2009, Gergiev wrote:

    I gave up smoking and drinking thirteen years ago; I go to the gym 3 or 4 times a week and work out hard, I eat a low fat, high protein diet with plenty of vegetables and fruit; I know how to relax and I keep my mind active. According to everything we hear from the government and the BBC and given a bit of luck from genetics and freedom from accidents I should live a long long time...long enough perhaps to reach the age for compulsory euthanasia and wish that I had kept on smoking and drinking and died earlier and had a few more laughs along the way. You think I'm joking but it's coming. Can't you just anticipate it? You know, it will be so unfair with all these old ones working until they're eighty, holding back the youngsters, keeping all the cash locked up...they've had their turn...now they must get out of the way...wait for it...and Mark Easton or more probably one of his successors will be arguing for it on a blog just like this one...lots of stats, talk of social justice, equality of opportunity etc. etc. etc.

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  • 27. At 10:49pm on 28 Jul 2009, Rick S wrote:

    "Frankly, once the public have been educated on the dangers, and those who don't smoke (such as bar workers) are protected, I don't see that it's anyone's business."
    I completely agree with your sentiments about it not being anyone's business, but in my experience a very large number of bar workers do smoke. In my local pub it's not uncommon on a quiet night (like they've all been since July 2007) to see the landlord, the barmaids and most of the clientele outside having a smoke - how ridiculous is that?

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  • 28. At 11:06pm on 28 Jul 2009, mirkle wrote:

    Yet another asthma sufferer concurs that going to a club or pub has been made immeasurably more pleasurable since the law came in.

    It is interesting this idea of a hard core of smokers - I have noticed that my smoking friends appear to be more combatative when the issue of giving up is raised. The ban seems to have created a clear distinction between those who smoke and those who would smoke but cant be bothered with all the standing in the rain etc; and the true smokers have embraced their identity - proud to be a smoker.

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  • 29. At 11:21pm on 28 Jul 2009, captain_sensible wrote:

    I WISH people would check stats before they print them... smokers will not 'probably' die early of smoking, the last figure I saw was 1 in 7 early deaths were contributed to by smoking, which hardly qualifies as 'probably'.

    What it 'probably' means is that if anyone who smokes dies (and lets face it, we all do sooner or later) then de facto they must have died because they smoke which is rather putting the cart before the horse!

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  • 30. At 11:45pm on 28 Jul 2009, carl2407 wrote:

    On a Friday or Saturday night are our A&E departments full of smokers ? Does smoking make you violent,break the law and cause liver damage ?

    The Health Authorities know that most Cancers bought on by substance abuse are a mixture of something and alcohol.

    Is there something nice to die of ? Should we all become a burden to the taxpayer and Health Authorities by living to 120 ?

    I am an addict of tobacco, which is as bad as Heroin to get off. Ban it or don`t but stop fudging around. Don`t give me hypocrisy, you let me smoke but spend a fortune in taxpayers hard earned on ads etc., trying to get me to stop. I`m not going to stop, I`m an addict...It`s bad for me...yeah so is life.

    I don`t drink but society is making my kids addicts of alcohol and you cannot alcohol doesn`t affect others...It does perhaps more than smoking.

    Life is a risk but it`s your choice to get in the car, step in the road, have that drink, get on a bike, fly on a plane...at the moment. Utopia is a place of extreme boredom without risk, with little grey people.

    And when that Doctor tells me I have Cancer is he really 100% sure it`s because of cigarettes ? No because hundreds die of it who never lit up.

    Ban it completely or shut up and whilst you`re at it ban the planes that are giving out toxic fumes that kill our kids, the cars, the toxic waste from numerous products etc.,....Oh but of course it`s about industry, it`s about pound notes really not our health.

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  • 31. At 01:01am on 29 Jul 2009, deamon138 wrote:

    "I'm often told by non-smokers that smoking will result in me dying seven years earlier, my response has always been that it's only time I'd be spending in a nursing home anyway so what's the big deal ?"

    Actually, you will just end up in the nursing home 7 years earlier instead. You won't miss out on your time there, you will instead lose 7 years (on average, assuming the figure is correct) of regular life.

    "So; 2 years ago I stopped smoking, a painful and difficult task after nearly 40 years.
    My breathing has not got better."

    You've been smoking for 40 years. Did you really expect your breathing to get better after all that? Stopping smoking after that length of time doesn't make your breathing better, it merely stops it getting WORSE.

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  • 32. At 02:40am on 29 Jul 2009, Joan Olivares wrote:

    Hi Community Criminal!
    Did you know that smoking can make you impotent.

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  • 33. At 02:46am on 29 Jul 2009, Joan Olivares wrote:

    Dear Gothnet,
    The problem is that one person's addiction affects another as in side stream smoke. I don't think its such a bad thing to marginalise people who take harmful substances. Especially when those substances can negatively affect my life.

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  • 34. At 03:03am on 29 Jul 2009, Joan Olivares wrote:

    It's funny I had forgotten the awful after smell cigarettes leave in a room like something from the 1940's then I happened to be in Las Vegas last week and walked into a casino and as soon as I opened the door I was suddenly assaulted by that smell that reminds of Tom Waits playing the piano in a flop hotel in the Tenderloin. Its like basting pork in butter. Do people really do that anymore?

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  • 35. At 05:16am on 29 Jul 2009, tarquin wrote:

    4. CaledonianComment


    While the health benefits of the smoking ban are obvious, imagine if some other minorities were treated in the way smokers are : -
    Gays huddled outside pubs - Muslims huddled outside offices - Catholics banned from cinemas

    ---

    Except you aren't a minority with a viewpoint or personal belief, you are a minority that actively engage in a practice that harms other users of a public place

    Were you forced outside because you simply *believed* in smoking then you might have a case for discrimination, but you aren't - you are merely asked to go outside to light up or do it in your own home

    sensible post, Mark

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  • 36. At 07:13am on 29 Jul 2009, remarkablejojojo wrote:

    My husband is a hardcore smoker. The more pressure thats put apon him by bans etc, the more determined he is not to quit! It may be right to let people choose what they do with their lives and target the young not to start smoking. However watching my husband killing himself is painfull and of course when he has the stroke or heart attack it will be me who will be taking care of him. I don't know what the answer is i just know what it feels like living with a relatively young man who coughs all the time and gets short of breath.

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  • 37. At 08:07am on 29 Jul 2009, craziequeen wrote:

    #3.......I thought I was reading about myself....

    Gave up a 20-a-day habit 2yrs, 9 months and 14 days ago - yep counting..
    I have since been tested for asthma because I began to wheeze (which I never did when smoking)
    I put on three stone
    Which put increased pressure on my knees which has resulted in arthritis
    Already had my first minor knee surgery - looking forward to a decade of pain resulting in more surgery...
    I am now told I am too fat and must lose weight
    Which means now I have to give up chocolate as well
    I am miserable more often than not
    I am sick with envy when other people light up

    Apparently, I am healthier and happier - but I just don't see it.....

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  • 38. At 09:19am on 29 Jul 2009, SwissDunc wrote:

    #21: The revenues on cigarettes pay for the NHS many times over including the increased needs for smokers.

    If this is wished then there should be an additional levy for all self-induced harm but then, where do you draw the line (drinking; eating; sports etc.)

    I'm a smoker and living in a "smoker friendly" country. The bans are coming slowly here but it's currently left to the establishments at large to decide if they wish to be smoking or non smoking. The majority are still smoking but a few have moved to be non-smoking.

    What I think is:

    1. Yes it's unpleasant if you're a are non-smoker. Been there when trying to stop. Whilst it remains a legal personal choice/addiction then non-smokers have to put up with it. If they don't like it, find somewhere else to go. If there are enough stay-aways, things will change.

    2. Establishments should be free to choose. If there is only 22% of the population smoking then I would have thought that it's in the best interest to make an establishment more pleasant for the majority of their client base.........does this mean that it's the same 22% who go out more?

    3. It should be banned if the government are serious about it as a health risk. It won't be as they need the revenue. The last estimates I heard was if it stopped, it's around 10p hike in income tax to make up for the loss in revenue unless they hit other cash cows (alcohol & petrol for instance)

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  • 39. At 09:43am on 29 Jul 2009, Secratariat wrote:

    Joan Olivares or anyone else really:

    Could you please name five people who have died from second hand (or side stream for our American friends) smoking ?

    The British Heart Foundation and Action on Smoking and Health were asked this several years ago, as yet they have failed to find a single person who had.

    Could you also explain why someone smoking near you is any more dangerous to your health than walking along the side of a busy street breathing in all of the traffic emissions ?

    Everyone seems to be convinced that second hand smoke is killing them, mainly because they then have someone else to blame, but ask people if their car is damaging people's health and you get a very defensive answer, because they can't possibly be responsible for damaging people's health, it is always someone else's fault, not theirs.

    And how about all of the emissions from power stations, factories, crematoriums and other industrial sites, doesn't this contribute to what are referred to as smoking related diseases or is the only smoke that harms you cigarette smoke ?

    Then we have background radiation, some highly populated areas have very high levels of background radiation yet no-one ever seems to consider this as a contributing factor to health problems either.

    The list could really go on forever but just a few more important contributors to keep you going;
    Air traffic emissions
    Radioactive & toxic industrial waste
    Toxins in paint, varnishes & other protective materials
    Toxins in the food chain
    Electromagnetic radiation (man made & natural)
    High stress lifestyles
    Dust & pollen

    All of these, and many more, are also contributing to cases of cancer and respiratory diseases yet little or nothing is being done about them because second hand smoke is the easy scapegoat.

    Are there any non-smokers out there who are willing to admit they are also damaging people's health or would you all like to cling on to the idea that it's all the fault of smokers ?

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  • 40. At 09:44am on 29 Jul 2009, dancecrasher wrote:

    All i see here is more phoney figures in support of those against freedom of choice for adults, equality and divercity, walking along the streets and mixing with people i have not noticed any change in peoples smoking habits, all this governments smoking ban have succeeded in doing is to force thousands of pubs and clubs out of busness, caused thousands of people to loose there jobs in pubs, clubs and the entertainment sector, caused the destruction of freedom for adults to choose for themselves, to destroy equality, divercity and social justice, and what have really been gained by the people of this country? NOTHING.

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  • 41. At 09:52am on 29 Jul 2009, AlexR4444 wrote:

    Maybe the 1.2 million gave up smoking?

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  • 42. At 10:02am on 29 Jul 2009, Secratariat wrote:

    @ deamon138 #31

    My great-grandmother started smoking when she was 14, back in the days before filters and other safety measures were brought in. She lived to be 104, lived in her own home till the day she died and lived an active life until the very end.

    I took a few friends up Ben Nevis last year, even though I was the only smoker in the group I was the only one not needing to stop every 20 minutes for a rest because unlike my non-smoking friends I live an active life.

    I think you miss the point that smoking isn't the only contributing factor to our health, just saying that because someone smokes they are going to have worse health than a non-smoker or end up in a nursing home any earlier is absolute rubbish.

    I am a fit & healthy person who happens to smoke, I haven't been to the doctor for years and I'm in much better shape than most of the people I know, including the non-smokers.

    Try seeing the bigger picture and look at everything you do, if you sit at home eating loads of chocolate, crisps, cakes & fatty food, do no exercise, drink a lot and also smoke then you're going to have some serious health problems.
    If on the other hand you are very active, eat lots of fresh meat, veg & fruit, drink a little and smoke too then you're probably not going to have any serious health problems.

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  • 43. At 11:09am on 29 Jul 2009, Mister_Mike wrote:

    I just want to add a little light to the comments here regarding smokers' financial burden on the NHS and the state.

    On average, smokers die much younger than non-smokers and they thereby save the state billions in pension payments and elderly care. In many cases, such as lung cancer and heart attacks, they die quickly and relatively inexpensively from a treatment point of view. Of course, some smoking related diseases are expensive to treat, but then so are many of the diseases such smokers may have succumbed to had they lived longer. And then there is the tax revenue from tobacco...

    There seems little doubt that if all smokers quit tomorrow, the state would be considerably out of pocket in both the short and the long term.

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  • 44. At 11:29am on 29 Jul 2009, williejohnisgod wrote:

    I would like to say, as a former smoker, that having given up the weed (which was much harder than I thought) I am strongly in favour of the smoking ban in pubs as it now allows me to catch up with a couple of mates at the station bar for a refreshing pint or two before heading home to the family. A packet of mints can see off eau de Stella, but the ciggie smoke was always a dead giveaway. thanks Gordon (lungs feeling better, liver slightly peaky)

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  • 45. At 11:34am on 29 Jul 2009, tarquin wrote:

    Mark, I know you never respond but maybe you read comments

    I was wondering if you will be following up on your criticism of Harman's dodgy stats earlier in the year - here is another government report using those same stats

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8173445.stm

    Maybe you could highlight those who use this issue merely to promote their own feminist agenda - who want women out of stereotypical jobs but never even mention the vast amount of men in stereotypical roles

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  • 46. At 12:17pm on 29 Jul 2009, joe strummer wrote:

    At 6:13pm on 28 Jul 2009, Secratariat wrote:
    "I'm often told by non-smokers that smoking will result in me dying seven years earlier, my response has always been that it's only time I'd be spending in a nursing home anyway so what's the big deal ?"

    I totally agree. Even if you do lose seven years it's not going to make much difference if you're old anyway. Who wants to spend time just waiting to die at the end of your life? Everyone's going to die one day, it's their choice if they want to smoke. fair enough smoking will most probably ensure an 'early' death, but then the chances of dying in a car crash are relatively high in transport terms but no-ones asking for that to be banned.

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  • 47. At 12:27pm on 29 Jul 2009, newSweetMonkey2 wrote:

    I agree regarding drinkers who should bear a far greater responsibility for their habit. They are the ones who are draining the NHS of resources - as well as the violence that comes from a Friday/Saturday night out in any city around the UK with hoards of drunken youths causing havoc.

    This is all about saving money - but as somebody mentioned people will be living far longer so it's all swings and roundabouts. The lost of jobs this is causing also means keeping them on benefits if they don't get another job - more expense.

    Society is being phased out with the entertainment industry brought to it's knees with this ban - working mens clubs closing, no bingo halls etc. Who wants to live like this with crowds of people outside pubs smoking and empty inside? It's obvious that the majority of people using pubs were smokers which has brought about this decline.

    It just doesn't make sense.

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  • 48. At 12:43pm on 29 Jul 2009, englishcharlie wrote:

    Isn't it strange that the smoking rate has decreased and the obesity rate has increased. Obesity is now the biggest health problem in the UK.

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  • 49. At 12:58pm on 29 Jul 2009, grahame-s wrote:

    My grandfather was a master pipe-maker and I smoke a pipe. Years ago, I used to joke that, one day I would be arrested whilst sitting on a park bench for "illegal possession of a briar pipe" whilst the drug-addict on the next bench was whisked away to a nice clean hospital and given a fix while a freshly starched nurse mopped his brow. Doesn't seem so funny nowadays. Frequently, the UK laws are the result of pressure groups and knee-jerk reactions viz the ban on hand-guns (making an Olympic sport illegal), fox-hunting, smoking plus alcohol-free zones encompassing whole towns. Soon it will be 4x4s, fishing, and photography in a public place. I am glad to be in the final quarter of my life and not the second.

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  • 50. At 1:04pm on 29 Jul 2009, virtualsilverlady wrote:

    I feel so sorry when I pass the local working men's club and see the old retired miners standing outside in the cold with their pint of beer and cigarette.

    This the only place they can meet up with their old mates and they have now been deprived of the only comfortable place to do so.

    A blanket smoking ban was ill thought through and is closing down pubs in their thousands and putting many more thousands out of work.

    Swathes of good people are being victimised for a habit that is visible.

    For those who write on here with asthma perhaps they should be asking why cases of asthma are increasing at a worrying rate when they now have cigarette smoke free zones. Perhaps they will find out that cigarette smoke was the easy excuse to cover up for the many other pollutants and cancer causing agents being pumped into our atmosphere.

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  • 51. At 1:07pm on 29 Jul 2009, Uganda Tim wrote:

    I have found that I smoke more when I'm out since the ban came in. the main reason for this is that as a 'rolly' smoker I used to light up have a puff or two and then hold the ciggy for a while, re-light for a puff, and so on. That way two rollys would last me an evening in the pub. Now i go outside and quickly puff the whole ciggy, probably four times in an evening, doubling my intake.

    How to save pubs and high streets. Stop supermarkets selling booze. The price will rise slightly, but this may help reduce teenage drinking and will make pubs relatively less expensive. Off licences will reopen, which may make it worthwhile to have a grocers, bakers and butchers nearby on the high street. I can't see a major downside to this. Let me know if I'm wrong.

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  • 52. At 1:07pm on 29 Jul 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    It may well be true (although I think I need better evidence than this before I'm convinced) that an unintended consequence of the smoking ban has been to harden attitudes among hard-core smokers and make them less likely to quit.

    But so what?

    The point of the ban, surely, is to protect others from the carcinogenic fumes given off by smokers. I now thoroughly enjoy being able to go to pubs and enjoy a pint without coming home smelling of an ashtray and increasing my risk of cancer and heart disease.

    If smokers want to carry on smoking somewhere where they're not contaminating the rest of us, that is absolutely their right. It's a shame that, as #10 shows, some of them (maybe most of them?) don't truly understand the health consequences of smoking, but that's their problem.

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  • 53. At 1:08pm on 29 Jul 2009, John Ellis wrote:

    Hi Joan :)

    So can a Ugly nagging partner :D

    But yes its one of the risks and must be accepted as inevitable with smoking and old age.

    Did you know healthy spreads good for the heart are now accounted as one of the causes of cancer in the bowel and lower intestines.?

    you cant win so why try just enjoy life im 40 in a few days, 100 years ago to this year I would be celerbrating one of the last years of my life.

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  • 54. At 1:10pm on 29 Jul 2009, grumpynotoldman wrote:

    Declaration of interest: Parents smoked, so "passive" smoker till 16 then had my own habit ever since. Given up 3 times at aged 30, 40 and 50, for 9, 6 and 3 months, with groupwork, carrot sticks and oral nicotine spray, respectively.

    Now smoking 30 tailor-made's per day, and slowly increasing consumption, due in part, I believe, to manufacturers' varying nicotine levels in each cigarette. Random reinforcement and dose adjustment. See Addiction Journal. Don't currently have an Athens' account so can't get a ref.

    Proper multi factorial analysis would help if this was hard verifiable data, rather than a survey, but the industry, (research, public health, and tobacco), all have a vested interest in continuing with the status quo, and the non-hypothecated part of the tax is paying for lots of stuff that no one wants to stop.

    Current stop smoking services and campaigns have come up against the hardest to reach and to help change. The first part was always going to attract those who self-select to stop.
    Long term stopping (5+ years) is another ball game.
    Current campaings have good underlying theoretical base. Robert West's PRIME Theory.
    Look him up! it's all about nudges which Robert Peston has talked about with regard to finance and economics.

    Relapse into stimulant use is all about opportunity.
    So for cigarettes it remains relatively easy to access the drug.
    I have lots of "non-smoking" friends who regularly cagde a cigarette or two. I occasionally charge a £1 each just to test their resolve versus need for the drug. They are often quite pissed. So resolve is weaker.

    A(n) Holistic approach might help the hard core element, but actually the resources required to assist them with all the underlying issues that will be identified, just don't exist, and anyway, the current single issue (fags) approach, isn't designed or expeceted to manage the undelying issues.

    Targets, used to be for practicing the real thing.

    When the ONS start to rely and report on "attitude" surveys, we know the hard data is just too contentious.

    Shame really as we could actually identify those most at risk, ( poor kids who's parents still smoke at home) and support a sea change in "targetted" interventions.
    The fact that poor people spend a much larger proportion of their "disposable" income on cigs and tobacco usually means that their access to 5 a day, alternative exercise, etc will also be further limited, and gaps in life expectancy will be about your postcode and your genes.

    Look at the health profile maps:

    http://www.apho.org.uk/default.aspx?QN=P_HEALTH_PROFILES







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  • 55. At 1:23pm on 29 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    27. At 10:49pm on 28 Jul 2009, Rick S wrote:

    "...In my local pub it's not uncommon on a quiet night (like they've all been since July 2007) to see the landlord, the barmaids and most of the clientele outside having a smoke - how ridiculous is that?..."

    Rick, you've taken the words right from my fingertips....

    My local has been trying to keep its' head above water for a long time now - coincidentally, since around the time that the smoking bad came in.

    They've tried loads of promotions and events to attract people back, but to no avail. I was there one night recently when they put an act on stage, and comically, when the act took a mid-set break, the bar emptied of all the customers, bar-staff and the manager, plus the act, and we all went outside into the garden for a smoke. Not one person was left inside. Comical! People were placing drinks orders with the staff outside, and eventually, the bar-staff were so overwhelmed with orders that they went back inside and brought the drinks out for the punters. At least it wasn't raining!

    I'm a smoker, and an ex-publican.

    These days I smoke roll-ups and as #1. At 3:49pm on 28 Jul 2009, CommunityCriminal wrote:
    "...must admit though i do like my hand rolling tobacco tailor made are horrible and burn to quick so you smoke more. My GoldenV Roley will last a lot longer and tends to go out more so i smoke less :)..."

    I'm not a big fan of ready-mades any more - used to go through 20 or so per day before but I can make a 50g pouch last me a week now - much cheaper financially, maybe more costly on health grounds, but it's my choice and I'm enjoying smoking still.

    One other aspect, of the pubs being smoke free, that often gets put to me is that pubs smell different now, but not in the way that some of the anti-smoking proponents would tell it. Many publicans that I still associate with have said the same thing - when they walk into the bar first thing, the overwhelming smell is that which comes from the toilets, and that is not to say that the toilets are dirty, moreso that a room that was occupied by 30 people, maybe, the previous evening, each having to use the toilet at least once, will generate a certain amount of (for want of a better phrase) spillage, and that becomes the overwhelming smell in the bar the following morning. It was always the way, and as an ex-publican, I can appreciate that problem, but before, we had smoke to mask the smell. Not in itself an argument to bring back smoking, but an unexpected result of the smoking ban.

    The health argument does not work for me. I want to live my life, and enjoy the time I have, not spend every waking moment being 'careful' so that I can arrive at the other end bored out of my head, just waiting for the end to come. I want to go at full speed, having enjoyed the rush, skidding into a handbrake turn, laughing and screaming all the way, saying to anyone that will listen, 'wow, now that was a ride'.

    People argue that freedom is choice, and use that in the anti-smoking arena. You have the choice to smoke or not. Absolute rubbish. Go outside if you want to smoke. Why?

    I'm not so ignorant to ask that I may smoke in the office. I'm not so rude to light up on a train. I'm not so selfish that I'd smoke in someones home without their permission, but when it comes to public spaces, whether it be restaurants, bars or even a taxi, there should be choice. The law can still be applied, as reinforcement to that choice, but the basic choice should still be there.

    I know many venue owners who would like a return to smoking in bars - some of them non-smokers. We need a choice. The venue owner should have that choice and customers will vote with their feet. Unfortunately, current voting with feet is causing 52 pubs every week to close in the UK. That, compared with 36 per week last year, shows an accelerated decline in the pub which cannot be fully attributed to the smoking ban, but is certainly being affected by it, and it relates to a loss of 24,000 jobs in the past year alone.

    Yes, pubs are certainly nicer environments since smoking was banned. You can get a nice sandwich and read a book in comfort. I vote that the library starts selling food and soft drinks and let the pub go back to what it was, a drinking establishment for social means, a place to meet your friends, enjoy good company and have a smoke and drink at the same time. Thank you.

    PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK

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  • 56. At 1:37pm on 29 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    30. At 11:45pm on 28 Jul 2009, carl2407 wrote:
    "...Life is a risk but it`s your choice to get in the car, step in the road, have that drink, get on a bike, fly on a plane...at the moment. Utopia is a place of extreme boredom without risk, with little grey people..."

    Carl, go for it mate, live that life to the full and enjoy it. When you get to the end, if you can say, 'man, that was worth the ride' then you've done it.

    I smoke, I enjoy smoking and I will continue smoking until I (if I could capitalise that I, I would) will decide when I stop, or it will be decided by an authority bigger than I, and bigger than the Government too. My choice, but it isn't is it? I'm told where I can smoke, who I can smoke with or around, and personal choice has been replaced with legislation.

    Smoking is becoming demonised, much like other, more illegal, drugs. It won't be long before alcohol goes the same way, and we all live on 'all-natural' lemonade and freshly squeezed orange juice. Eating meat will be anti-animal rights and we all live to the same 100 years, being sent to 'the clinic' when our time comes, to keep the population in check. Does anyone remember 'Logans Run'? Once you reach 30, you go to the Carousel - well that's me 13 years too late then.

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  • 57. At 2:25pm on 29 Jul 2009, AqualungCumbria wrote:

    The whole exercise was flawed from the start,led by a failed government who could abuse its power to force through something to deflect peoples attention....every few months they find a health official who is due to retire and they spout the same old rubbish and concocted figures for risk.

    Yes there is a link with increased risk but so is there for most things that we do,one day people are going to wake up and realise that many if not all and more toxins come from burning petrol and shovelling it out of an exhaust pipe in amounts that make having a smoker next to you pale into insignificance.Now guess who has the bigger pull in parliament,the tobacco industry or the oil industry ???

    But while we allow people to spout poorly managed statistical analysis,we have no hope of being told the truth.

    BTW i do agree with a ban in principle but the way it has been handled is very poor....ther was no reason at all that a smoking room couldnt have been provided and air condition to a certain standard.

    And it should be noted that MP's are still able to enjoy a pint and a cigarette in there place of work,they per usual find loop holes to hide behind while telling the rest of us what to do.


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  • 58. At 2:28pm on 29 Jul 2009, quogirl2 wrote:

    Phew - what a read for a Wednesday!
    I am a 51 year old femalewho has had a couple of 'smoking spells' in my life. They both lasted about 6 months and I stopped when I realised it was disgusting and I actually didn't like it! I obvously wasn't addicted so maybe I should consider myself lucky. My ex-husband was/is an ardent anti-smoker, which probably explained my second 'spell' after we split up. However his father died from lung cancer at the age of 58, missing the births of tw of his grandchildren and the lives of them all. Our children do not smoke (as far as I know - and I believe them) and all say they never will.
    I now have a parnter who I love dearly but who has been a smoker since she was 10. I have a greater understanding of the addictive nature of this drug and its creation of selfish attitudes in its victims. Yes you we all have a right to smoke/drink/take drugs and damage ourselves but we don't have the right to have its effects take their hold on others. As a matghematician I am dubious about statistical evidence, bearing in mind D'Israeli's comment, about passive smoking. But lets face it, it can't be doing non-smokers any GOOD can it? Never mind the unpleasantness of the smell and nicotine soaked walls. Yes, I drive a car etc etc. We all have guilts, but I don't like being sidetracked from the smoking issue. I am sorry if pubs shutting creates a higher level of unemployment, but there will always be some pubs and at least it means less of us are paying ridiculous money for a pint when we can buy it cheaper from the supermarket.
    I will continue to snigger at the people who refuse to give up and are determined to continue their right to smoke, thereby spending time huddled under umbrellas tryihng to keep their cigs alight. Good on you - just do it in the cold and rain. Suits me!

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  • 59. At 2:33pm on 29 Jul 2009, J A Woods wrote:

    The same old chestnuts of spurious simplistic argument keep appearing from tobacco addicts that are basically selfish and willfully ignore the facts of heart and lung damage from tobacco smoking. They can all be summarized in the phrase "you've got to go some way". Those who have lived with and cared for anyone dying from lung cancer or chronic emphysema know how awful it is (remarkablejojojo is right to be worried!). The regression coefficient for squamous cell carcinomata (the commonest form of lung cancer) against smoking is around 0.97, or nearly a perfect correlation. The effects of tobacco in producing bronchiectasis, emphysema and heart problems are incontavertable. For the diehards who wish to continue - no-one is going to stop you but you have been stopped making life a misery for everyone else with the notable exception of those who will look after you when you yourself are miserably sick, maybe for years.
    Mark, I think you have raised this suject just a little too soon. Give it a few years more and then return to it.

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  • 60. At 2:44pm on 29 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    32. At 02:40am on 29 Jul 2009, Joan Olivares wrote:

    "...Hi Community Criminal!
    Did you know that smoking can make you impotent...."

    Hi Joan.
    I guess he does - we're reminded of it every time we buy a pack of fags / cigs in the UK - they put pictures on the packs now, with a drooping cigarette to represent impotence. They are disturbing pictures, meant to enforce a point, but I find them plain wrong. One of them shows a hyperdermic needle, full of brown liquid, with a statement that smoking is highly addictive, don't start. My complaint was that it is likening tobacco smokers to heroin addicts - I think it is that kind of negative 'propoganda' that causes smokers to become so 'hard-line' about their habit.

    I remember when I first visited the US, and smoking was still allowed, I'd been to LA and knew about their laws in advance. It was an inconvenience, but LA is on a much nicer line of latitude than NYC, and smoking outside wasn't much of a problem, especially around the Santa Monica Blvd area where there seemed to be many outdoor bars. I then visited NYC, and they still allowed smoking (it was a few years back) and even some New Yorkers couldn't imagine ever going to California because of the law there. Strange how California has the largest Cannabis production in the US - wrong blog, ok.

    The best I ever saw was a restaurant in NYC, central Manhattan, can't recall the name, but it was nice, clean and very well ventilated. It had a smoking section and a non-smoking section, separated by a full, floor to ceiling, glass wall. Odd thing was, the non-smokers were at the back, and had to walk through the smoking area to reach their table.

    I still stick by the idea that a return to split venues or owners choice would be better, for business and social needs, than a blanket ban. Our pubs (in the UK and ROI at least) used to have both a public bar and a lounge bar, sometimes more. The two rooms were distinctly separate and in general, the public bar was a male dominated place, very smokey with a pool or snooker table and dart board whereas the lounge was softer furnishing where you might take your significant other to sit in comfort. What would be wrong with allowing smoking in one bar - say the public bar, and no-smoking in the lounge bar.

    I know where I'd expect to find more people, a better atmosphere and meet more friends. The choice would still be there for everyone to use either bar, or venue, but it would be a free choice for all, not a forced choice for our 'sins'.





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  • 61. At 2:56pm on 29 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    57. At 2:25pm on 29 Jul 2009, AqualungCumbria wrote:

    "...And it should be noted that MP's are still able to enjoy a pint and a cigarette in there place of work,they per usual find loop holes to hide behind while telling the rest of us what to do..."

    Well said - I forgot about that little gem.
    Yes, the members bar in the Palace of Westminster is exempt from the smoking ban - they can enjoy a nice cool pint of whatever they fancy with a cigarette or cigar, and don't have to stand outside on Parliament Square. Good for them. Perks of the job eh? And we elect these people!!!?

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  • 62. At 3:00pm on 29 Jul 2009, blueskyan wrote:

    I remember a few years ago the Lancet was calling for an outright ban on tobacco and its criminalisation.

    How they expected that to work god only knows, imagine 11 million people one day told - go cold turkey or your a criminal.

    Perhaps that didn't get very far because it would have been certain to open a can of worms. People might have begun to seriously question what government chooses to ban and why.

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  • 63. At 3:01pm on 29 Jul 2009, heenanc wrote:

    Well I live with 2 friend's (all 3 of us smoke) and due to a licensing law (I think it could be the HMO licence but could be wrong) passed I can't legally smoke in any rented house/flat that we rent as long as the 3 of us want to live together.

    So even in my own home I would be forced to stand outside on the balcony if my landlord wasn't such a reasonable guy (and a smoker). It would be different if one of my friends moved out and my brother moved in as we would be related.

    Gone to the dogs springs to mind!!

    (it may be the health and safety law that has been passed but the landlords around the Chester are very aware of this law)

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  • 64. At 3:14pm on 29 Jul 2009, Secratariat wrote:

    DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:
    "If smokers want to carry on smoking somewhere where they're not contaminating the rest of us, that is absolutely their right. It's a shame that, as #10 shows, some of them (maybe most of them?) don't truly understand the health consequences of smoking, but that's their problem."


    What makes you think I don't know the dangers of smoking ?

    Everyone knows the dangers of smoking, especially now the manufacturers have big warnings printed on the side of the packets.

    Frankly, I'm more concerned about the arrogant & dictatorial attitude displayed by the anti-smoking brigade who wish to impose their choice onto the rest of us. You say we have the right to smoke as long as we're not harming anyone else but this is a blatant lie, as the hordes of smokers outside every bar will tell you.
    The dangers of passive smoking have been blown out of all proportion and the lies spread by the anti-smoking groups are just as bad as the ones the cigarette companies were using in the 1950s.

    I know full well what affect smoking is having on my health but as an adult I have the right to decide if I consider that to be an acceptable risk. The introduction of ventilated smoking rooms could have protected all non-smokers.

    Just a quick reminder though, only 50% of smokers die from smoking related diseases but 100% of us will die eventually. As SHLA2UK says, some of us would rather enjoy our lives, even if that means we are increasing our risks and ultimately living a shorter life.
    Personally I'd rather carry on smoking, eating meat, riding my motorbike and all of the other things we're told are dangerous because I enjoy them and they make me happy. A shorter and happier life is far better than a longer and less enjoyable one in my opinion. You may make a different choice and frankly I couldn't care less either way, you're an adult and it is your body and life so therefore it should be your choice, not mine, not the governments, yours.

    Try reading my post at number 39 and see if you can answer the question raised:
    Could you please name five people who have died from second hand (or side stream for our American friends) smoking ?

    Or maybe you could try addressing some of the other points I raised in that post and that others have raised in other posts on here.

    You may well enjoy going the pub but unfortunately the non-smokers are obviously not making up for the smokers who have been going less since the ban was introduced, as was widely predicted by almost everyone before the ban came into force, and now many thousands of people are losing their jobs because of it.

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  • 65. At 3:56pm on 29 Jul 2009, virtualsilverlady wrote:

    58 Quogirl 2

    You may giggle when you see smokers having to stand under umbrellas but when people feel oppressed it provides the sort of cameraderie that you will probably not be able to experience.

    I have met many nice decent folks outside who I would not otherwise have talked to. Non smokers too for it's not much fun being in an empty pub when most of the customers are outside

    Crazy world isn't it?






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  • 66. At 3:58pm on 29 Jul 2009, iNotHere wrote:

    #39
    I can name one very high profile person who died from passive smoking....Roy Castle, died from lung cancer and had never smoked but played his trumpet in smokey clubs for most of his life. If you give me long enough I'll probably be able to come up with more.

    ---------------

    Obviously polution must cause a lot of problems I don't think anyone is denying that but I cannot see what that has to do with smoking. Everybody knows it's bad for your lungs. If some people want to carry on smoking even after knowing the health problems then that's their choice, we certainly don't have the right to try and take away somebody's free will. What annoys me is the defensive way some smokers act if there addiction is questioned at all. YOU know you're doing yourself harm, non smokers know you're doing yourself harm, why the defensivness (if there is such a word)?

    I have emphysema, I have caused this problem with my lungs because I smoked from the age of 10 until I was 42. I don't want to breathe in other peoples smoke as I don't want my lungs to get any worse than they already are.

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  • 67. At 4:26pm on 29 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    66. At 3:58pm on 29 Jul 2009, iNotHere wrote:
    "...What annoys me is the defensive way some smokers act if there addiction is questioned at all. YOU know you're doing yourself harm, non smokers know you're doing yourself harm, why the defensivness (if there is such a word)?.."

    Of course people are defensive - just as much as non-smokers are about their right to fresh air! That is the nature of argument and discussion.

    What annoys me, iNotHere, is the fact that so many people, including our 'policy makers' cannot see that there is middle ground, compromise, rights for ALL.

    It seems to be so much a part of 21st Century thinking that things are either black or white, on or off, 1 or 0 - very binary. What happened to grey, blue, red and yellow, 2, 15, 25 or 63. Why can't there be compromise so that everyone is happy.

    Do all non-smokers want to go to every pub in town? There is room for everyone I think. I'd rather make my own choice of how I'm segregated from society - in that I'll go to a non-smoking venue if that is where I want to be, if my friends are there, and it fits my plans, and then I know that I can't smoke there, but then it's my choice. If I then decide to go to a smoking venue, I can, and then I can meet my smoking friends and smoke if I wish, again, it's my choice and no-one is hurt.

    My non-smoking friends can make the same choice and that is their business. Everyone is happy, we all get along, a compromise is reached, and a couple of million less people (at least) feel so disaffected.

    Defensiveness IS a word :-)
    It's also a perfectly natural human emotion.

    PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK

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  • 68. At 4:28pm on 29 Jul 2009, johnwilkes wrote:

    Tell me, hand on heart, whether you really believe that a smoker dying in their fifties, having paid tax all their lives and never living to draw a pension, is a more serious financial drain on the economy than an octogenarian sucking up the health and social services budgets year after year after year of their totally unproductive existence?

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  • 69. At 4:28pm on 29 Jul 2009, Joan Olivares wrote:


    Dear SHLA2UK,
    Yeah , I agree it is strange that they ban smoking in California public places and yet marijuana is the #1 cash crop here. It makes no sense to me. People are illogical when it comes to their own addictions. They've recently banned smoking in New York too and trans fats in restaurants. To me, these are positive changes but to others its unwelcome governmental intrusion.I think its funny how they dance around the lighter addictions but don't address hard core drug abuse. Personally, I believe the world does need to become a healthier place. Smoking reminds me of how women put mercury on their faces as a beauty treatment years ago. They didn't have that knowledge then to know it was harmful but today we do. Why people don't change their habits in response to proven knowledge is interesting to me.

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  • 70. At 4:31pm on 29 Jul 2009, johnwilkes wrote:

    Roy Castle, nice guy, so often cited by the anti-smoking fascists.
    Can anyone with any intelligence state as a fact that no one ever died of lung cancer before tobacco was first used. No one has ever proved that Roy Castle died from playing in 'smoky', clubs. They simply put 2 and 2 together and came up with 35 to further their agends.

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  • 71. At 4:33pm on 29 Jul 2009, Joan Olivares wrote:

    Dear Community Criminal,
    That's so funny and your answer was correct to my last query a while back. Newspaceman1 was wrong again as usual. They say that nagging, bitchy wives and girlfriends actually helps loved ones to quit smoking.
    The most effective is when children nag their parents to quit because most parents can't resist that.

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  • 72. At 4:37pm on 29 Jul 2009, Joan Olivares wrote:

    P.S. Dear Community Criminal,
    They say that about Oleo buttery spreads but is that do to ingesting it or topically applying it?

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  • 73. At 4:40pm on 29 Jul 2009, Secratariat wrote:

    iNotHere

    I'm afraid not mate.
    Roy Castle's doctors refused to confirm that second hand smoke had caused his cancer, despite the best efforts of the anti-smoking lobby to convince them they should.

    If you look into this you'll see that he lived most of his life in an area of very high Radon radiation, a known cause of cancer. Sadly, when he made more money he moved to a nicer area that actually had even higher levels of background Radon radiation. He also had a history of hereditary cancer in the family as well as other contributing factors.

    From the BBC:
    Domestic exposure to radon gas is responsible for a significant number of lung cancer deaths, research has found.

    Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4113765.stm

    I'm not saying second hand smoke didn't contribute to his cancer as I'm sure it did, what I am saying is that it was not the only, or even the predominant, cause of his cancer.

    There has never, ever, in any country been a single doctor willing to confirm second hand smoke as the main cause of someone's cancer or death. This may surprise people who are used to hearing rather different stories from the likes of ASH, but then if you look into the numerous complaints made against ASH from various scientists and research bodies about their miss-use and misrepresentation of their scientific data then this wouldn't surprise you at all.

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  • 74. At 4:43pm on 29 Jul 2009, iNotHere wrote:

    SHLA2UK

    I agree with you whole heartedly, I don't see why there cannot be a middle ground, why all sides cannot be taken into consideration.
    I don't take hard drugs and would never touch 'em but I defend to the hilt the rights of the person that wants to.

    PROHIBTION DOES NOT WORK

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  • 75. At 4:45pm on 29 Jul 2009, Joan Olivares wrote:

    Dear Secretariat,
    You make a good point because I can honestly say that I don't know of anyone who has actually died of side stream smoke although my friend died from a lifetime of tobacco addiction. Though he seemed to really go down hill after the doctor prescribed asthma medication. Maybe this type of information is all hype but if people actually quit a bad habit as a result, isn't that a good thing?

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  • 76. At 4:51pm on 29 Jul 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    #64:

    "What makes you think I don't know the dangers of smoking ?"

    What you wrote in your earlier post:

    "I'm often told by non-smokers that smoking will result in me dying seven years earlier, my response has always been that it's only time I'd be spending in a nursing home anyway so what's the big deal ?"

    Do you seriously think that all that will happen to you as a smoker is you'll die earlier, but in perfect health? It doesn't work like that. Chances are you'll end up in the nursing home earlier. You're not going to enjoy life very much if you have emphysema, lung cancer, heart failure, impotence, leg amputations resulting from peripheral arterial disease, or many of the other things you're putting yourself at risk of by smoking. Of course you could be lucky and die suddenly of a heart attack in your mid 50s. Or be even luckier and live in perfect health until you're 120. It's all down to probabilities, not certainties, so in the immortal words of Clint Eastwood, "do you feel lucky?"

    All that, of course, is your decision. If you understand the risks (or, actually, even if you don't) and you want to take those risks, that is entirely up to you. I won't try to stop you.

    I just don't want you smoking round me. Your question about "naming 5 people" suggests that perhaps you don't have a very thorough understanding of epidemiology: that's not how causal associations are determined. Actually, I couldn't name 5 people who have died of asbestos poisoning, so does that mean that asbestos is safe?

    But if you want a serious answer to the question "does passive smoking really cause lung cancer?", then there is plenty of scientific literature in peer-reviewed journals that will tell you. Try, for example Taylor et al, Int J Epidemiol 2007;36:1048-59, or Stayner et al, Am J Public Health 2007;97:545-51. Sorry if they don't agree with what you've read in the tobacco companies' press releases and apparently believed.

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  • 77. At 4:56pm on 29 Jul 2009, stnylan wrote:

    It's not unexpected. Intelligent people were predicted the pogram against smokers would have this result.

    No wonder the BBC is surprised by it though.

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  • 78. At 5:02pm on 29 Jul 2009, iNotHere wrote:

    Secretariat

    I stand corrected regarding Roy Castle, didn't know about the Radon issue.

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  • 79. At 5:09pm on 29 Jul 2009, Joan Olivares wrote:

    Ferroussideblogger is right. When my friend knew he was dying from a lifetime of smoking he was very remorseful. He left his beautiful wife, my beautiful daughter, he was a father figure for her and me, his sailing partner. Smokers leave a lot of sad people behind after they go.
    SHLA2UK and Community Criminal please stop smoking. because I'm certain there are people who love and depend on you. It's so painful to lose someone you love.

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  • 80. At 5:11pm on 29 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    75. At 4:45pm on 29 Jul 2009, Joan Olivares wrote:

    "...Dear Secretariat,
    You make a good point...but if people actually quit a bad habit as a result, isn't that a good thing?.."

    I see your logic, but it is a flawed logic. I'd rather the correct and true reasons were given. Yes, if people quit a bad habit it IS a good thing, but only if for the right reasons. The 'mis-information' angle is used by anti-smoking people as an argument which is simply untrue or at least, unfounded.

    Yes, the world might be a better place if everyone gave up smoking, but then so would it be if we all gave up driving, flying, burning fossil fuels, using palm oil, cutting down the rain forests and on and on. If the environmentalists put their case across to form untrue public opinion in order to protect the rain forests, that would be immoral, no matter the outcome. I prefer an argument based on fact and public opinion that is based on truth - the 2nd hand smoke or passive smoke or side stream smoke or any other such smoke is just that - smoke (as in smoke and mirrors), or a more familiar term, propaganda.

    :-)

    Like I say, I see your point, but I feel it is flawed (IMHO).

    PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK

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  • 81. At 5:29pm on 29 Jul 2009, Agent Eighty wrote:

    I am a fairly happy ex-smoker, but sympatise with the plight of todays smokers. We all know that smoking causes far less damage to society than alcoholic yobs but its easy to demonise smokers because you either like smoking or you hate it. The smokers, being the minority, naturally lose their place. To drinkers who are in a majority, the right to get wasted, smash up A+E units and take a day off work/school with a hangover, their place is secured.

    What amuses me most is now that second hand smoking has all but been eradicated at work and in public, we are starting to hear now of 'third hand smoke'! That is the SMELL of someone who has smoked being a hazard to health. Once legislation is in place to reduce this I will watch on with genuine awe at what the anti-smoking brigade come up with next. Actually, I will predict that 'Fourth hand smoke' (THINKING of or about cigarettes) will also become illegal in the work place and in pubs.

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  • 82. At 5:38pm on 29 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    69. At 4:28pm on 29 Jul 2009, Joan Olivares wrote:
    "...It makes no sense to me. People are illogical when it comes to their own addictions..."

    Oh yes, and isn't that what makes us all wonderfully human? Unpredictable? Individual? I love it. That's why some of us are able to have grown up sensible and rational discussions and some just end up getting all upset and never come back. For my part, I enjoy the difference of opinion, and the chance to discuss, debate and resolve issues. Sometimes people might sway my opinion and open my mind to other ways of thinking about a problem, and sometimes I might sway others, but that's the point. I love it.

    In a way, I'm kind of addicted to these blogs, and I smoke (tobacco and cannabis) and I work, and drive and do all the wrong things that make this world right. Better that than doing all the right things to make it wrong I suppose.

    Where I disagree is the micro-management of population by the government, mis-information and propaganda / rhetoric used to manipulate the people into agreeing with what THEY want. Aren't they supposed to be the elected minority in place to represent the people.

    "...I think its funny how they dance around the lighter addictions but don't address hard core drug abuse. Personally, I believe the world does need to become a healthier place..."

    Agreed - I've read your posts on the drug blogs too, and current policy is driving smoking (tobacco), and to an extent, alcohol, into the same 'underground' drug categories that are currently illegal. I know of market traders and convenience store owners who sell 'under the counter' tobacco cheaper than retail, but the quality is rubbish, and making the purchase is much like buying cannabis - very cloak and dagger, but in this case the substance is legal (just) and it is the action of buying it (under the counter) that's shady, at the very least.

    Where there is reason to blanket ban things, like Asbestos, Radium and lead in Petrol / Gasoline, I can whole-heartedly see the reasoning, but a blanket ban on an activity that could just as easily have been settled by compromise is out of order in my opinion. Make it illegal if that is what it's to be, but as the human race and human history and human individuality and human resourcefullness and human inventiveness and just plain humanity will show, that will not stop us.

    PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK

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  • 83. At 5:46pm on 29 Jul 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    #80:

    I agree with you that if a desirable outcome is achieved by lying to people, that's unethical (at least in general terms: you could get into some very detailed philosophical and ethical debates on the finer points of that one if you want to, but I don't).

    But what, exactly, do you think are the lies that are being told here?

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  • 84. At 5:50pm on 29 Jul 2009, John Ellis wrote:

    Wow I'm shocked that saying what i did in post one broke the house rules
    hmmm lets see
    tobacco is addictive so it creates DRUG addicts.
    tobacco is smoked so it may act as a gateway DRUG to other DRUGS.
    tobacco is another form of pleasure.
    tobacco doesn't make you fat.

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  • 85. At 6:01pm on 29 Jul 2009, John Ellis wrote:

    Joan thanks for the concern over smoking and yes it may be sad to leave loved ones for some people but then that depends on if you belive in one world and many gods or one god and 2 worlds, the latter allows you not to fear life and accept your time. the other 'one world' will have you waiting for death and fearing everything in life.

    So as SHLA2UK says "Oh yes, and isn't that what makes us all wonderfully human? Unpredictable? Individual? I love it."

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  • 86. At 6:07pm on 29 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    83. At 5:46pm on 29 Jul 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:
    "...But what, exactly, do you think are the lies that are being told here?..."

    It's not simply about lies being told here, what I was trying to show was that if opinion is created, changed, bolstered or reinforced by untruths, then the opinion itself is flawed.

    The opinion I refer to is that of the general public. Even smokers have been taken in by the so-called 'passive smoking' or 'side-stream smoking' argument. That argument makes up such a large part of the anti-smoking movement but the fact that it is mostly propaganda, and untrue propaganda at that, surely weakens the entire argument it underpins.

    I'm not saying that passive smoking is totally misunderstood, but in general, in a ventilated room, the particles generated by a cigarette are minute compared to other pollutants in our air.

    I'm a proponent of non-smoking, where it is necessary. I can remember when we used to smoke on buses, trains, aeroplanes. I wouldn't expect a return to those days at all, but realistically, the anti-smoking lobby has used flawed arguments in it's case to get smoking banned completely, when compromise was a much fairer way forward. Compromise, when offered, was quickly shot down by the likes of ASH and then they began to use the 'passive smoking' argument, none of which has been completely verified.

    PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK

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  • 87. At 6:09pm on 29 Jul 2009, Joan Olivares wrote:

    Dear SHLA2UK,
    If my argument is flawed then so wouldn't your reasons for becoming addicted to cigarettes be flawed too? Many people start their cigarrete habit to impress their teenage friends or to fit in at a very difficult time in their development. Teenagers have undeveloped brains. So essentially people are making a decision to smoke when they don't have the capacity to understand its full effects.

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  • 88. At 6:09pm on 29 Jul 2009, blueskyan wrote:

    Agent-82

    I think you can see quite well where this is all heading.

    Its a piecemeal approach. The more you can get the people to accept government interference in their lives, the more you can then start trying to add on top.



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  • 89. At 6:44pm on 29 Jul 2009, carl2407 wrote:

    Joan Olivares said

    "Smokers leave a lot of sad people behind after they go."

    Does that not stand for the child who dies of cancer ?

    The end results of life are never great, smoker or not. Will banning fags from pubs etc., end cancer ? Nope !

    Does giving up smoking carry risks? There is plenty of anecdotal evidence it does. Weight gain and obesity, the blood suddenly thickening can cause vascular problems, mental health problems, depression, aggression etc.

    In the late 60`s when I started smoking it was commonplace and acceptable, the Government have always accepted my taxes from it. I was not to blame for this acceptable addictive substance being readily available to me.

    I defend it because I am an addict, as much as you are to alcohol or your car, your air holiday, after all I thought it was a democratic society with choices. It`s bad for you ? Yes I agree but after 40+ years of being sold it by Government sponsored dealers would it do me any good to stop ? Do I want your expensive(apparently) cancer cures when it happens ? Nahhhh just give me cheap strong pain relief and I`ll bid you goodbye, I`ve no wish to get to the stage where I`m totally useless and can`t have a laugh....and a fag as long as it`s legal.

    Best you anti-smokers move onto the young chaps thinking of joining up...Ooooh it can kill or main you getting sent to Afghanistan. Oh but of course it`s not harming you is it ?

    Life ends the same way always.
    Some smokers get ill and die. Non-smokers get ill and die.
    Heroin is an addictive drug.Tobacco is an addictive drug.

    Ban it or shut up, the pictures, the ads, my kids, pubs, restaurants aint enough...I am an addict and you expect me not to defend my addiction? Nag all you like, it`s not going to happen. Yes I`ve seen all the "educational" material stating "facts" and ?


    Warning
    Life causes serious diseases, see your Doctor or Pharmiscist to stop now !

    UK DUTY PAID

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  • 90. At 6:45pm on 29 Jul 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    #86:

    If I've understood your post correctly, you believe that it's not true that passive smoking is harmful to health?

    I think you may have been taken in by the propaganda coming out of the tobacco companies. The scientific evidence is pretty clear about the harms of passive smoking. Sure, it's nowhere near as dangerous as actively smoking, but it's harmful nonetheless. Have a look at the papers I referred to in my earlier post (#76) for a good place to start.

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  • 91. At 7:32pm on 29 Jul 2009, quogirl2 wrote:

    PROHIBITION WORKS FOR ME.
    I can now go into pubs and other public places and enjoy being smoke free. If its aim was to protect non-smokers then it works! If it was to stop people from smoking, then presumably not for the ones still doing it. But I suspect they'd still be doing it even if it was made illegal and the government stopped their taxes. The hardened smoker won't stop for anyone, least of all themselves.

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  • 92. At 7:47pm on 29 Jul 2009, Joan Olivares wrote:

    I'm sorry Community Criminal you say that now but when you're on that hospital gurney looking up at your wife and children's teary eyes, after they've injected that last dose of morphine, you may regret your actions and philosophy. Why so adamantly hold onto such an unjustifiable stance?
    Why not at least try to give up your harmful addiction for the sake and benefit of those who love you most? Your position makes no sense.

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  • 93. At 7:48pm on 29 Jul 2009, delminister wrote:

    the painful truth is the government is not interested in stopping smoking on the grounds they would loose too much revenue.
    smoking is a legal pass time much the same as drinking but i notice smokers get a rough deal from the media where drinkers in general do more damage but seem to be left alone, i think its about time drinkers were targeted just as smokers.
    i am a smoker that has been thinking of quitting but i am not a drinker out of choice.
    tax on tobacco should be fully diverted to the NHS along with alcohol tax then the NHS wouldnt face a shortfall in funding.

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  • 94. At 7:53pm on 29 Jul 2009, delminister wrote:

    at 89 i agree with you on that.
    where will the government get the loss in revinue if every one stopped smoking today, raise in income tax, vat, duty on fresh air etc etc.
    anti smoking groups should look at the facts before pushing their will on others.

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  • 95. At 8:08pm on 29 Jul 2009, Joan Olivares wrote:

    Dear Carl2407,
    I agree that the government is culpable for helping all manner of addicts and for people like the Queen to have profitted from American tobacco plantations. What I don't accept is that in knowing the deleterious affects, people continue to destroy themselves through all kinds of addictive substances. As an addict you're left alone to decide what's best for you but how does your addiction help your community, family, the people who love you most? Your addiction hurts and weighs on the people who care about you. That alone should give you cause to want to quit.

    Dear SHLA2UK,
    The world is changing and so are beliefs that people hold tenaciously onto. If you never knew a life without cigarettes, why wouldn't you at least try to change your "wicked" ways. No one can tell you to do anything but sometimes people try to change old habits and they're happier because of it. I'm not telling you to change, I'm asking you to at least honestly try something different and then judge the difference.

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  • 96. At 8:29pm on 29 Jul 2009, quogirl2 wrote:

    I would just like to point out that I hardly drink either and hate the drinking culture and the damage it does. However I suspect, though don't know, that there are more smokers out there than alcoholics!

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  • 97. At 8:56pm on 29 Jul 2009, John Ellis wrote:

    Hmm joan not really an answer that one as most of the people i know who have died through old age have been on morphine as well to 'aid and make them comfortable' even some of those i know that died young. One through liver cancer, my granddad got so old he forgot who he was before he died my other one never smoked tea total dropped dead of a heart attack age 57. So giving up smoking may or may not prolong my life but will it make me happy? youll be happy you've expressed that with your concerns, there in lies the problem lifestyle and life choice.

    also that unhappy paradox of my eventual illness saves lives through a well funded NHS so maybe its a moral choice? well someones morals.

    Just giving 2 pound a month to cancer research helps save lives. Smokers are more generous than that lol. o.O

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  • 98. At 9:38pm on 29 Jul 2009, carl2407 wrote:

    @Joan Olivares who said

    "why wouldn't you at least try to change your "wicked" ways"

    Would you like to change into a nervous wreck, have temper tantrums, go through withdrawals and know at the end you MAY be an unhappier albeit healthier person ?

    I like me, unfortunately the me I like smokes profusely. Do I want to change ? Not at present !

    My addiction has always been me, the same as my wish not to grow old and infirmed and when I`m looking up from the gurney at that last dose I`ll say...." Boy didn`t we have fun and throw caution to the wind, it was great. See ya" Perhaps you don`t believe me but then you don`t me ! Everyone has to learn to stand on their own two feet sooner or later as my kids will undoubtably.

    Don`t wrap me in a bubble and protect me from life it`s too much like death.

    I am an addict there is no logic that can change that, it`s not I want...It`s I need ! And right now I need to be me, the one I know. It`s my comfort zone and if you try to take it away, I will fight tooth and nail. Try to understand addiction, you have them, try to change them.

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  • 99. At 11:02pm on 29 Jul 2009, ReginaldJeeves wrote:

    Ahhhh!

    A good book...

    A single malt...

    The organ music of J.S.Bach...and a...

    Rafael Gonzalez, fresh from the humidor.

    Perfect.

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  • 100. At 11:09pm on 29 Jul 2009, metalmentalist wrote:

    To DisgustedOfMitcham2:


    I am a research scientist and I'd like to share a little story with you.
    Several years ago when I was working in Britain we were asked by various groups to conduct a study into the effects of second hand smoke, this was to be a multi-million pound study taking several years.

    Two years into the study we were asked to provide our interim assessment to the groups funding the research.

    When we told them the results were tending to show a negligible risk to most people they weren't too impressed. Obviously we didn't have all of the results but those we did have were suggesting that those most at risk from second hand smoke were the children of smoking adults and people with underlying respiratory problems who lived with smokers.

    The next group most at risk were those working in an unventilated enclosed area where people were smoking for prolonged periods (Bar staff being the classic example) but we also found this risk was reduced significantly when proper ventilation systems were being used to extract the smoke.

    People coming into occasional contact with smoke were facing very little risk and certainly no more than they would from other sources of air pollution they'd experience on a daily basis.

    At the end of our presentation we faced over two hours of hostile questioning that bordered on the offensive with our techniques and abilities being called into question (by a group of people without a scientific degree between them). We left that meeting with a clear impression that those funding the research were not happy with the results that were being produced.

    Over the following months we were getting constant visits from those funding our research and every time the project leader would be taken to one side and asked if he could change the direction of the research so that it would give the results they wanted. He refused to co-operate and after a while the head of our institution started to pressure him to make the changes he'd been asked for, again he refused and this lead to him being bullied by the management to the point that he eventually quit. Several of our team quit in protest at his treatment and the last I heard the project had been quietly dropped.


    I now work in the U.S. and things aren't much better over here, an important study conducted by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) into this subject was also buried by the government after it found there was a much lower risk than was being suggested by the government & anti-smoking groups.

    Many of my colleagues refer to this as the LaLonde effect, Marc LaLonde was formerly the Canadian Minister of National Health and Welfare. He argued that everything should be done to link smoking with ill-health, even if there was no scientific basis for the claims being made. To him any study, no matter how flawed, that showed a link between smoking and any disease should be used to support the banning of smoking.

    The U.S. government releases figures each year showing the number of people who had died from smoking, you'd assume there was some scientific basis for this number but unfortunately this isn't so. They simply take a set percentage of all people who had died from a number of diseases and claim that this is the amount who have died from smoking. No tests are done on any of these people, no autopsies no toxicology reports, nothing, they just assume that this is how many of them would die from smoking.

    Most studies around smoking are based on an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) study on ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke) that was done in the mid 1990s.
    This study compiled research from 30 studies done in several countries into the effects of ETS on a non-smoking spouse from their smoking partner, of the 30 studies 24 showed no statistical link between ETS and lung cancer but the EPA only used the data from 11 U.S. studies to influence their conclusions and even though ten of them showed no statistical link between ETS and lung cancer, one of them did.
    They then did some statistical gymnastics by combining the results of all eleven studies, even though their methodologies had been different, added a little weighting to the results they liked and then proclaimed that ETS was a carcinogen.


    The anti-smoking industry is now very big business, most of my colleagues who work on public health projects are being funded by one anti-smoking group or another and the money available for research showing a link between smoking and ill-health is far higher than most other areas of public health. I know colleagues who have phoned up anti-smoking groups and pitched an idea for a study to them and within days have been given a cheque to start the study without having to jump through any of the usual hoops, including standard due-diligence tests, that you have to go through with other projects.
    Anti-smoking has now become the easiest and most well rewarded field to work in.

    I'd also suggest you take a look in those peer-reviewed journals and see how many adverts they run for smoking patches and other such products, not to mention all of the other medical products sold by the people who make anti-smoking treatments. Then also check who funds the research done by those reviewing the papers in them.

    Just like every other area of our lives, science has become commercialised and these days very little research gets published that disagrees with the current Zeitgeist, especially when people are making a lot of money out of it.


    Smoking is damaging to your health and can contribute to some serious health problems but in most cases it is those who smoke heavily (20 a day or more) over a prolonged period (15 years or more) who tend to suffer the more serious effects although there are plenty of people I've met during my work who have been smoking for over 40 years and they show very few of the symptoms you'd expect to find, I've also met many non-smokers who have had very little contact with ETS who have some of the worst problems normally associated with smoking. The picture is a lot more complicated than some make it out to be.

    There are some people who have tried to question the campaign against smoking publicly and they have all been ostracised by the scientific community and denied funding for any other research, most people I know who have doubts about the claims around smoking & ETS in particular now just keep their mouths shut and try to find work in other areas of public health. You may find the odd anonymous post on blogs like this but no serious researcher will go public for fear of their careers, sadly everyone has a mortgage to pay and kids to put through college.

    If you want to reduce your risk of disease then I'd recommend eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables with some fresh meat, fish & dairy, for a variety of reasons food produced locally is better for you as is preparing food yourself instead of eating pre-prepared or processed food. As far as food is concerned, variety really is the spice of life, a varied diet with lots of fruit & veg is good for your digestive system and this is your first line of defence against infection and disease. Do plenty of exercise, preferably in the park or anywhere else there's lots of trees and other plants and try your best not to worry too much. Stress is one of the biggest killers and something few people do something about, taking part in activities that provide a release of frustration while also being good exercise a couple of times a month will improve your mental and physical health a lot. Smoking and drinking aren't good for you but in moderation they're also not that bad for you either.

    Sorry to go on so long, I know this is a bit more than most people want to read but I felt it was worth sharing.

    Just so you know, I do not smoke cigarettes and have never worked for any tobacco companies either directly or indirectly.

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  • 101. At 11:12pm on 29 Jul 2009, annanan wrote:

    Maybe the hard core would be helped by :
    Looking into N(ew)S(moking)M(aterial)s again , which could carry decreasing quantities of nicotine , down to zero .
    Being offered new ideas on giving up . I guess most smokers understand the health risks and rue the money they burn . But if you're an addict its not about logic and the future , its about needing.a.ciggy.now .
    Like needing the toilet or a drink . For me the patches , gum dont work as I am allergic to them ! I also find my lungs are less sensitive when I smoke , I can cough and clear my lungs , but when I gave up smoking for 15 yrs my asthma ( had since a child )crippled me , felt I was drowning .A ciggy also helps me organise my brain - like a kalidoscope picture falling into order . Also gives me anger control . Maybe I have genetic defects make me like this , I dont know .

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  • 102. At 11:43pm on 29 Jul 2009, ReginaldJeeves wrote:


  • 60. At 2:44pm on 29 Jul 2009, SHLA2UK...

    I will certainly light a Tabaquero to that Sir...

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  • 103. At 00:16am on 30 Jul 2009, Steve wrote:

    I had to watch my father die of lung cancer this year as a direct result of his smoking habit.
    Were it not for tobacco, he'd have lived to see his 5th and possibly 6th grandchildren born.
    Anyone who thinks it is better to get a few more fixes of their drug at the expense of the comfort of all around them and then dying in pain like that is an idiot.

    In another ten or twenty years smoking will be the social equivalent of eating 10lb of beans and then spending a hour farting... and even that is better as it doesnt kill you.

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  • 104. At 00:49am on 30 Jul 2009, Joseph Postin wrote:

    Here in Australia they have similar restrictions on the consumption of cigarettes as in the U.K. This is now a nation that pours scorn on those that smoke to such an extent that the state actually facilitates class 'A' drug taking by providing little yellow tin boxes for the disposal of hypodermic syringes in public toilets, yet does nothing to provide for people to dispose of discarded cigarettes. So it seems the government would prefer me to sit on a train toilet and inject heroine into myself rather than have a few puffs on a cigarette.
    All around Melbourne in the heights of summer rubbish bins are set alight because they are universally designed not to cater for cigarettes. The fire service is on constant call.
    So all employers have legally been required to expell smoking from their buildings. And what provisions are these employers required to make for their smoking employees. None. Stand outside (most frequently on narrow streets obstructing pedestrians), not even an ashtray. Then the government complains about the number of cigarette butts being dredged from port Phillip bay.
    Oh, and of course let us not forget that of all the places where smoking was banned, the casinos (those great government revenue earners of our society) were excluded.
    A smoking ban in public is a justifiable action. The health and personal comfort of a none smoker is paramount. I understand my dirty little habit, is just that, mine and mine alone. I accept that it is not my right to make other suffer for my habit, however, I expect that some consideration and provision be made by society to accomodate me, after all, the taxes I pay engaging in what is a legal consumption of a mass marketted product does entitle me to a few rights, surely.

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  • 105. At 01:00am on 30 Jul 2009, Joan Olivares wrote:

    Dear Carl2407,
    Yes, I had a shopping addiction which I've gladly given up and maybe you'd say that that's not the same as tobacco or any other addiction but I think it all stems from the same emotional base. I understand your reasons for not wanting to give up just now but if you could find a safe place to vent those negative emotions and really explore your compulsion, you'd find wonderful relief. Its very painful to explore and look at one's childhood and life but once you get through it you feel really alive and free. I'm just asking you to try to feel something new without judging it. Open yourself to change and let yourself feel a different emotion. It helps not to do it alone.

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  • 106. At 01:14am on 30 Jul 2009, Joan Olivares wrote:

    Dear Community Criminal,
    You're absolutely right it is a lifestyle choice and any of us could drop dead at any moment but family members do suffer from their loved one's addictions. Why would you let your family persistently worry about you and take on that emotional pain when you could effectively be addiction free? Family memebers suffer a lot even though it may be unspoken. By showing children you're better than your addictions it helps make their way clearer in life. As a father, the family usually looks to the father for guidance not to feel sorry for his weaknesses.

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  • 107. At 08:55am on 30 Jul 2009, urnestview wrote:

    I agree with all that Mark Easton says. Its what he doesn't say that troubles me. Everything is logical; decision making at a pragmatic level for instance. The fact that 'hard core' smokers use the most addictive drug on the planet is blanked out of the argument. This is a curious lack of understanding for our 'home' correspondent. Yes hard core smokers are faced with logical decisions about their habit and its consequenses. The truth is that they are not operating on a purely logical level when they crave nicotine and persue the habit. At that time, this is the only driver and everything else is irrelevent to them.

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  • 108. At 10:06am on 30 Jul 2009, John Ellis wrote:

    Sorry Joan but family members suffer in all walks of family life from the parent that feels that they don't own enough and work every hour god sends to provide for children that don't know them as they are never there. Fat parents Single parents etc etc. All cause stress and concern to family members. As has been said many times if they don't want us to smoke then ban it take away lifestyle choice and make our lives sterile.

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  • 109. At 10:30am on 30 Jul 2009, CaptainRN wrote:


    Here's some facts about "smoking"
    In 2006-07 (lastest available audited figures) the government raised 10 billion in revenue from the sale of tobacco products.
    For the majority of smokers, tobacco is as addictive as heroin and provides both a physical and a psychological effect.
    Tobacco is both a stimulant and a relaxant.
    It affects the body's ability to process food by about a third.
    So when you stop smoking you must reduce your calorific intake by a third and or exercise, or gain weight. Not too many are told this.
    If you're a heavy smoker you may find you cough up disgusting stuff and not necessarily feel better for up to a year after quitting.
    It may take up to 10 years, but your body can repair damage done to your lungs no matter what age you are.
    A smoker who inhales takes in at least 1,000 different chemicals.
    There is a proven link between smoking, various forms of cancer and heart disease caused by hardening of the arteries. But, not everyone who smokes will develop cancer or heart disease. Numbers unknown.
    The science concerning passive (sidestream smoking) is not proven. Why?It's impossible to say what other factors have contributed to any disease a non smoker develops. E.G. Parts of our towns, cities and countryside are regularly hot spots of carcogens caused by traffic and other pollutants, chemicals in processed food, agricultural chemicals etc.
    I was an addicted heavy smoker who gave up 40 years ago and I'm not a fan of smoky rooms anywhere. But I absolutely despise the current trend of officaldom to interefere in what we can and cannot do in our lives.We are all going to die and if some of us want to run the risk of dying "earlier" by smoking, drinking, over eating etc aren't we allowed to have the freedom to make that choice? Whatever happened to good old fashioned British compromise and commonsense not to mention the freedom, rights and responsbilities of every citizen? Why can't there be a suitably ventilated room for smokers in places like pubs and restaurants. Why can't pub management employ smokers as bar staff to serve in these areas? There is an old saying, "you don't know what you've got until it's gone". The pub is one of the few places where genuine community can be found, but for how much longer?

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  • 110. At 10:59am on 30 Jul 2009, 1963Tiger wrote:

    Beer at nearly 5 quid a pint and fags at nearly 10 for 20, I have a feeling thats what's killing pubs and not smoking bans.

    When will UK Gov Ltd make fags a tenner each?

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  • 111. At 11:39am on 30 Jul 2009, Max_81 wrote:

    Caledonian. I understand the comparison with other minority groups to smokers but surely deciding to smoke and deciding on a religion is a different sort of choice than to deciding to smoke.

    Other minority groups do not have a direct impact on our physical health the way that secondary smoke dose, just because I'm stood next to Christian doesnt mean I'm going to be converted equally the same scenario if I'm stood next to a homo sexual but my chances are greatly increased in catching cancer if Im stood next to a some one smoking.

    I have been a heavy smoker and given up, my friends still smoke and I join them out side out of my own choice. I also think that all this talk of discrimination would go away if the weather was better; a group of people smoking in a sunny beer garden is a different picture to a bunch of smokers underneath an awning in a torrential down pour. I just think it's s simple choice that everyone is free to make and understands what they are signing up for, if you don't like it don't do it.

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  • 112. At 11:54am on 30 Jul 2009, The_Hess wrote:

    @110 - Beer at nearly 5 quid a pint - clearly you are drinking in the wrong pubs, or are you choosing the really expensive stuff? the only time drinks get that expensive is in the clubs on Friday and Saturday nights. During the week its not difficult to pick up a pint of tennants for less than £2 in the centre of Glasgow.

    Being only 19 I was never really in pubs when the smoking ban came into effect in Scotland, but since I'm a non smoker I have to say I do enjoy a smoke free environment. If pubs are given the option of choosing smoke free or not, then all pubs will revert to smoking, and the non smokers will just have to put up with those intent on poisoning those around them. Even my friend who is a smoker agrees with the ban, as he says it makes places more pleasant when everyone around you isn't choking on lethal gases.

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  • 113. At 12:01pm on 30 Jul 2009, macachat wrote:

    I think it's funny how so many smokers get upset because the "government is stopping us smoking". You can smoke, just go outside!

    Why do they think it acceptable to release harmfull fumes from cigarettes in public when they would frown on someone releasing a natural harmless gas from their behind?

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  • 114. At 12:05pm on 30 Jul 2009, mikecawood wrote:

    I stopped smoking 35 years ago and I welcome the government's ban on smoking in publis place. I find the smell of cigarette smoke unpleasant and nauseous. I would like to see smoking banned in the street and in cars. From a safety point of view, car drivers specifically should be prohibited from smoking. Surely when people know what smoking does, everyone should pack up the fags.

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  • 115. At 12:38pm on 30 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    87. At 6:09pm on 29 Jul 2009, Joan Olivares wrote:
    "...If my argument is flawed then so wouldn't your reasons for becoming addicted to cigarettes be flawed too?.."

    Fair point Joan, and I can't blame you for firing that one back at me. I think, to clarify my point, that many of the arguments / reasons that are often cited as good reason to quit are based on falsehoods, inflated or manipulated results and propaganda rather than the truth, that being, smoking is bad for your health, and that is it.

    It is bad for me. I am doing myself harm, but I'm happy. I will live my life happy, and when my time comes, I will know that I've done it my way. That may be seen as selfish, it may be seen as short-sighted, it may be seen as ignorant, but the fact is, it's what makes me happy.

    If I was a murderer, and that made me happy, I would be wrong. Smoking is not in the same category as murder, and the fact that the anti-smoking brigade have used the passive smoke argument suggests that those individuals have tried to liken smoking to murder for too long. So long in fact, that it has become a way of thinking for many people.

    I do agree with you, Joan, that smoking is bad for my health, and I also agree with you that people, particularly the impressionable young, should be dissuaded from ever starting, but we cannot mould everyone into perfect replicas of ourselves, either smoking or non-smoking. We are all individuals, and surely, you can argue that by smoking, I am far from an individual, but that is simply one aspect of me. I don't promote it, and I don't recommend it, but I DO do it.

    This blog isn't about why we started smoking, but more about why we are so stubborn about giving up. Yes, it's an addiction. I also like chocolate and that is addictive too, albeit in much lesser a way than the addictive properties of nicotine.

    Why did I start smoking? Because it was what we did in the mid '70s. For that reason, I agree with you that we need to protect the young from the evil weed, but as I said, that is not the basis of this debate.

    Why am I being so stubborn? Because I believe in me. I believe in my right to purchase a legally available product, consume it in the legally prescribed way, and enjoy my life. I believe in free will, the freedom of others and I respect anyone who lives their lives the way that makes them happy.

    Live life for yourself, first, then your partner and loved ones, your friends and neighbours, your colleagues and co-workers and lastly, the rest of humanity, in that order.

    Selfish? I've never been called it in my life.
    If I'm happy, I can be there for others. If I'm not, THEN I would appear selfish.


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  • 116. At 12:51pm on 30 Jul 2009, Curryking wrote:

    Why is the BBC allowed to bully smokers as a minority group just like the nazi's bullied the jew before and during WW2. SHAME ON YOU BBC!!!!

    Don't forget that the tax revenue is four time that of the cost to the NHS for smoking related deseases so shouldn't you be thanking them for keeping the country running and reducing your tax burden?

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  • 117. At 12:59pm on 30 Jul 2009, grumpynotoldman wrote:

    100. At 11:09pm on 29 Jul 2009, metalmentalist wrote:

    To DisgustedOfMitcham2:

    Excellent post! Thanks!

    I seem to remember that the "passive" smoking cause was founded on the case when a non-smoking air stewardess sued her employer when she developed lung cancer. Can't remember the outcome.

    The "defensiveness" mentioned, is called "Cognitive Dissonance" in the addictions counselling trade.
    You can hold polarised views about anything.
    It just hurts a bit, and often sends people off to use their substance of choice to manage the uncomfortableness.
    On that point I'll take a break and have a cig in the garden.
    Should I be considering my neighbours?
    They are all out there smoking too!

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  • 118. At 1:06pm on 30 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    90. At 6:45pm on 29 Jul 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:
    "...If I've understood your post correctly, you believe that it's not true that passive smoking is harmful to health?.."

    No, that's not what I was saying. I did, however, say 'I'm not saying that passive smoking is totally misunderstood, but in general, in a ventilated room, the particles generated by a cigarette are minute compared to other pollutants in our air.'

    Smoking is bad for MY health. Passive smoke is a contributing factor in poor air quality in an enclosed space, with no ventilation, but the weight that is put upon the passive smoking argument is unfounded. There are reports, and there are reports, but not all reports are true. It is the untruths that offend my sense of justice. Smokers are unjustly demonised and made scapegoats for bad air quality and that is plain wrong.

    The more lies are told about me, the harder I will push to refute those lies. I think there is more truth in that statement, relative to the reasons why there is a hard-core of smokers today, than any other reason of addiction or peer pressure.

    PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK

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  • 119. At 1:13pm on 30 Jul 2009, Lorne2 wrote:

    As someone that has smoking down on my CV as a hobby, I have to agree with the smoking ban in public places.

    But now that I have agreed to do things your way, how about some of you sanctimonious people give us a bit of a break.

    I understand that smoking will kill me early, but my pension is worth jack thanks to morons that work for banks, so whats the benefit of living till im 120 and eating cat food?

    Also, how much polution that causes cancer does your car give out compared to my 10 smokes a day, or your flights to some poorly built bit of spain?

    Tidy your own house first, then come and comment on how dirty mine is.

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  • 120. At 1:16pm on 30 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    91. At 7:32pm on 29 Jul 2009, quogirl2 wrote:
    "...I can now go into pubs and other public places and enjoy being smoke free..."

    Fantastic. So what has changed? For many years before the smoking ban became law you were able to go to smoke-free bars in most towns up and down the land. As an ex-publican myself, I took part in a survey in the early 1990s about smoking and smoke-free areas within pubs. There were some retail groups that opened their version of the perfect pub with cheaper drinks, no music and smoke-free. They took the enjoyment factor out of pubs and replaced it with cheap beer and crap food.

    Then there were some that had 'no smoking' at the bar. Many pubs had that in the 90s, and gradually it spread to a good mix of smoking and non-smoking venues. Those that allowed smoking, clearly displayed a sign on the entrance that said 'you may smoke in this venue'.

    Why we had to continue to a complete blanket ban is beyond me, and that is the point here. We were convinced by corrupted reports that were falsified to show that apparently anyone who came within a few feet of a smoker was going to die a horrible excruciatingly painful death.

    We've banned smoking in all enclosed places, irrespective of either ventilation or choice. Give the choice back to the owner of the business to run it how he wants. Give the choice back to smokers who want to enjoy their indulgence with others who do not object. Give the choice to the non-smokers to go to a non-smoking venue if they prefer.

    Everyone is a winner

    PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK

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  • 121. At 1:53pm on 30 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    95. At 8:08pm on 29 Jul 2009, Joan Olivares wrote:
    "...The world is changing and so are beliefs that people hold tenaciously onto..."

    So true, but it is the way that things are changing, and the pace that those changes are being forced (particularly those forced by untruths and propaganda) that I personally find objectionable.

    "...If you never knew a life without cigarettes, why wouldn't you at least try to change your "wicked" ways..."

    Yes, I've known life without cigarettes, both before I started, and during when I attempted to give up. The problem is, I've never really wanted to give up and only tried because of pressure on health or peer grounds. I decided that it was not what I wanted, and even after having been 'weed-free' for almost 6 months, I did go back to cigarettes. The point is, I'm not ready to give up just yet. As for 'wicked', are you trying to get on my good side? LOL!

    "...I'm not telling you to change, I'm asking you to at least honestly try something different and then judge the difference..."

    I appreciate that Joan, I do.
    I'm happy to stop smoking when I'm out with people who don't smoke. I won't smoke in the company of someone who starts 'coughing' as soon as they see the lighter, and I won't impose my smoking on ANYONE under the age of 18, but I will take the opportunity be 'wicked' when I am in the place that I'm currently allowed to be 'wicked' and that is in my own 'wicked' home :-)

    Seriously though, I do see your point about health, and hope you can see my point about choice. I do understand that actions have consequences, and I also realise that what I do affects others, but I don't force it, and the law doesn't allow me to parade it in public. My argument is 'why cannot others, who also wish to partake in this wicked deed, do so together in a place of social relaxation where it is understood by all that enter such a place, that there are evil smokers within.

    ....and so we must mourn the death of the traditional British pub

    PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK

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  • 122. At 2:04pm on 30 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    104. At 00:49am on 30 Jul 2009, SoapboxJoe wrote:
    "...Here in Australia...a nation that pours scorn on those that smoke...does nothing to provide for people to dispose of discarded cigarettes...the government would prefer me to sit on a train toilet and inject heroine into myself rather than have a few puffs on a cigarette..."

    The world has gone upside down mate - no pun intended.
    Tobacco consumption is being demonised and it is akin to being a heroin addict in many peoples eyes, it seems.

    That is either because they have absolutely no idea what it means to be a heroin addict, or because they believe the hype purported by the anti-smoking lobbyists, or both.

    Putting all drugs into the same category, or bundling them all together in some veiled attempt to 'cure' the addicts is pointless. On another blog, related specifically to drugs here on the BBC, I've been saying for ages that all drugs need to be dealt with separately, and likening nicotine addicts to heroin addicts (much like the UK Government have done with their 'smoking kills' poster campaign) is dangerous. They're not frightening the smokers with this corrupt propaganda, they're frightening the non-smokers - hence my tack that smokers are being demonised.

    PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK

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  • 123. At 2:10pm on 30 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    100. At 11:09pm on 29 Jul 2009, metalmentalist wrote:
    "...I am a research scientist and I'd like to share a little story with you..." and much much more - read it at #100

    Sir, I applaud you.
    If we shout of corruption too much, we are marked as conspiracy theorists, but I like to think that smoke without fire is rare, and your post at #100 has certainly proven that, if all what you say is correct.

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  • 124. At 2:30pm on 30 Jul 2009, chowbelanna wrote:

    I'm a smoker, I smoke a lot. I also hate the smell of cigarettes and am therefore quite considerate towards others. I wish people would be considerate towards me! I only smoke in well ventilated rooms, in the car I always have the windows open. I always ask permission before lighting up in front of non smokers. Now tell me this: why do I have to put up with drunken yobbery on the rare occasions that I go out in the evening? I loathe the smell of alcohol and I hate the effect it has on people. I also detest the smell of most scents and aftershaves, they make me sneeze! People smell nasty, they fart, they have BO, cheesy feet etc.
    On a more serious note, in all my 45 years on this earth I can say, honestly, hand on heart, that I have seen more people die prematurely as a result of drinking than I have of smoking. I have seen countless people damaged severely by excessive drinking, both within the family and without. I have seen, all too often, the tragic results of cannabis use -two cases of schizophrenia and a suicide in my family alone- having said all that I have no wish to completely ban anyone indulging in these 'vices', I would just like some acknowledgement that smoking, while obviously harmful, causes a great deal less damage to society as a whole than, for instance, excessive consumption of alcohol. Smoking has not, as yet, been implicated in child abuse, domestic violence, driving impairment, increased risk of industrial accidents or an increase in crime. We smokers pay through the nose for the 'privilege' of indulging our habit, at a rough guess the tax on tobacco provides 4 times the revenue needed to pay for our NHS treatment. please, give us a few inside areas where we can relax and puff and then LEAVE US ALONE!

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  • 125. At 2:33pm on 30 Jul 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    Secratariat,

    So your great-grandmother smoked all her life and died at the age of 104? Well, I once dropped an egg on the floor at home. Believe it or not, it did not break. It was not boiled, it was a perfectly normal egg. But it did not break. Unfortunately, this was not the case with all the other eggs I have dropped before or since.

    The whole point about this story was to show that single examples of people smoking and living long lives are just curiosities. Just visit a pulmology ward in hospital and ask the people attached to ventilators due to COPD how many of them are smokers. You would be surprised by the answer. Smoking does not only cause lung cancer. What it also causes is bladder cancer, arterial disease, COPD. However, when people speak about smoking they always refer to lung cancer. This is not the full picture- a lot more people die each year from COPD and artery diasese caused by smoking than by lung cancer. Just because somebody did not get lung cancer by smoking does not mean they were not harmed by it. Just look at post #3- smoked all his life, developed COPD, stopped- his breathing did not get better. Of course not, 40 years of smoking have made sure of that.

    Reagrding passive smoking- even if it does not cause lung cancer, it is still unpleasant. Cigarette smoke stinks, especially to a non-smoker. I used to work as a carer- looked after a disabled person, who was a heavy smoker. Used to roll fat cigarettes for him myself. As I had to stay with him all day inside the house I was exposed a lot to passive smoking. I have never smoked and after about 8 months I could tell the results- I was coughing all the time. Although this is my own experiense and a single example I still maintain that passive smoking is bad and unplesant. It is harmful and it must be avoided. If people want to smoke- fine. Do it outside, away from non-smokers.

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  • 126. At 3:21pm on 30 Jul 2009, delminister wrote:

    we of the modern era are so thick in reality, when sir walter Raleigh brought back tobacco and potato from the new world they some how got mixed up and we should eat tobacco and smoke spuds.
    ah next to grow your own spuds then shred them roll in paper and light up, wheres the government profit lol.

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  • 127. At 4:04pm on 30 Jul 2009, virtualsilverlady wrote:

    100 metalmentalist

    Thanks for such an informative post. It tallies with what a friend who's a microbiologist told me several years ago.

    The debate on this blog far supercedes anything we have ever seen in parliament for truthfulness and stark reality.

    I concur with you that anti smoking product lobbyists have capitalised on peoples fears about smoking to make lots of money from the NHS.

    I myself was given so many of these products from my own GP and none of them worked.

    We all know the risks of smoking but we are in the main intelligent people who do respect others rights to clean or should I say smoke free air if they want to. Unfortunately they do not respect our rights to make a choice.

    I do wonder how clean and pure some of these objectors really are.

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  • 128. At 4:21pm on 30 Jul 2009, Fatbob70 wrote:

    Good blog Mark, and yes I agree on your points especially around exclusion and discrimination. Looking at the blog comments, many propose a live and let live attitude which I wholeheartedly support. However some other comments show a real nasty side to people that would not be tolerated towards any other minority group in a civil society.
    The zealots worry me intensely - a poster has already mentioned third hand smoke being raised as the latest 'proof' that my hobby is harming others. It just goes to show how some are prepared throw all sense of reason out of the window in their rabid pursuit of smokers and the promotion of anti smoking propaganda.
    Great post #100 from metalmentalist - it rings true with an article I read recently in the NewScientist (http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20227021.300-have-the-tobacco-police-gone-too-far.html) concerning Michael Siegel, who dared question the impartiality and accuracy of passive smoking claims. It would seem the anti's have a fear that some of their wilder assertations on the dangers of second hand smoke (SHS) may be proven either exaggerated or just outright lies.
    We already have a ban that goes beyond 'protecting' others from the alleged risk of SHS. Sole traders in their own work vans prosecuted, banning of smoking in hospital grounds, no smoking on open air station platforms - who is that protecting from what exactly ? There are others pushing for further discrimination by advocating banning lone drivers smoking in private cars, or outside public areas, in the street etc. This is where the anti's show their true colours and their nastiest side. Is my mere presence smoking going to bring people out in sympathetic lung cancer ?! Piffle ! It just goes to show them up for the small minded fun police that they are.
    It's like me saying that I don't want to see fat people in the street in case it makes me want to eat more burgers.
    Whilst my habit is still legal, lets have some plain common sense instead of the wild hysteria that some adopt. We already make enviromental adjustments made for other minorities, headscarf/veil security allowances, disabled access, induction loops etc, so who says smokers shouldn't have adjustments made for them also ?
    A pet peeve of mine is the no re-entry policy of many concert venues - I can no longer enjoy a full evening at a concert without going through uncomfortable early stages of nictine withdrawal as I can't go outside to smoke without being denied re-entry.
    I'm happy to have the majority of enclosed places non-smoking as they are now, restaurants, cinemas etc, but why can we not also accommodate smokers with a well ventilated smoking room in the local pub for instance. The average local is not a health club - alcohol, fatty snacks etc so why try to make it one ? What happened to the pre-election promise that non food licensed premises would be exempt from the ban ?
    Lets remember we are members of a so called 'civil' society - it would be nice if we started acting like one and accommodated the needs of all.

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  • 129. At 4:51pm on 30 Jul 2009, Mister_Mike wrote:

    Personally, I think that the blanket smoking ban was dictatorial and thoughtless and some kind of compromise would have been a better way forward. Smoking is on its way out anyway and would have gone eventually - all that the ban has achieved is to close businesses and generally aggravate.

    That said, I've got a thought for a few of the defiant smokers posting here. Sadly you believe, as I once did, that your lives will be miserable without smoking. That is just not so. The 'pleasure' of smoking comes from the relief of cravings - a non-smoker has no cravings and so feels that 'pleasure' all the time. I smoked for many years but stopping was the best thing I have ever done - my life is much much more pleasurable now. If you don't believe me, try and remember your lives before you smoked - were you really that unhappy ?

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  • 130. At 5:27pm on 30 Jul 2009, carl2407 wrote:

    Ok let`s look at some logic from myself an addict.

    Assisted suicide is illegal in this Country, even possibly if the deceased did it abroad yet according to everyones opinion by smoking I am commiting suicide. I am doing this with the blessing of the law/Government who even tax me on my chosen poison. Is the Government then commiting a crime ? Certainly in the way it taxes me !;-)

    It`s a fudge yet again, the popularist poisons are fine by majority rule and you may commit suicide to your hearts content with the Government`s help provided there`s something in it for them. Alcohol is popular yet the cost of the effects of it possibly outweigh those of smoking.

    Smoking is bad for me, I fully understand that but lets be seen to be fair and not hypocritical there are a lot of things equally bad. If I choose to smoke and one pub in my area is licensed to allow smokers, where obviously non smokers would not like to be, that should be fine shouldn`t it? After all I`m not going to affect you there as long as you don`t wish to come. You have that choice, I no longer frequent restaurants because I don`t have that choice.

    Let`s be realistic and stop being so draconian with the law. Smokers are not going to go away. I see more of the younger generation take it up daily. We are not pariahs and don`t deserve to be treated as lepers. Most are only asking that fair treatment is applied, a licence for say one pub in ten to allow smokers surely must seem fair. How much cocaine and other drugs are done in pubs and clubs albeit illegal ?

    And if you should decide you are assisting my suicide then by all means make it totally illegal but lets stop this fudging around. Even those here who are passionate non-smokers and totally anti-tobacco must surely believe the current position makes no sense and needs to change ?

    It has to be one way or the other not this Government fudge simply to accrue more taxes which they then go on to state is not enough to cover the effects.

    If the majority really can see it`s bad and killing people unnecessarily then why in a democratic society is it legal ? Taxed ? And ok to do around children albeit your own ? If secondhand smoke is damaging to children why can I do it ? After all I can`t smack them but I can make them part of my assisted suicide and perhaps theirs.

    Please don`t attack me the victim of an age where the Government said ok you can commit suicide in THIS instance provided you give us a few quid. It should be the importers, dealers and those who benefit from importing addictive drugs that should really be to blame, I`m just an addict whose habit came from those that said it would be ok by means of availability.

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  • 131. At 5:29pm on 30 Jul 2009, Joan Olivares wrote:

    Dear SHLA2UK
    I accept your wishes to continue to smoke but it still makes no sense to me.
    Dear Community Criminal,
    What you say is true but working is necessary to survive whereas smoking is not.

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  • 132. At 5:47pm on 30 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    125. At 2:33pm on 30 Jul 2009, Isenhorn wrote:
    "...Cigarette smoke stinks, especially to a non-smoker. It is harmful and it must be avoided. If people want to smoke- fine. Do it outside, away from non-smokers..."

    Isenhorn, long time no see/hear.
    Agreed, but with a caveat - 'stale' cigarette smoke stinks - and not just to non-smokers, but I think all smokers would agree that smoking in an already stuffy environment, like a busy pub, creates a smell that not only sticks to the inside of your nose, but also to the clothes, hair and skin, particularly fingers. No-one is exempt and smoke is indiscriminate.

    Smokers, however, in my experience, are very discriminate. Even in the open air, outside, with 60 miles of sky above me, I will still blow the smoke away, upwards, out of the way of others. When inside, this is not so easy, but good ventilation is all that is needed to clear the smoke. It rises and is so easily disposed of into the atmosphere. There are many more harmful things pumped into the atmosphere in much larger quantities than cigarette smoke.

    As for the 'smoke outside' argument, why?
    At work, yes. In a non-smoking home, yes. If there are children, or if anyone objects, yes, but I just cannot include a bar in that logic.

    If the bar owner wants a smoking venue, and the customers of that venue are predominantly smokers and those that are not do not object, then what is the problem?

    If the bar is clearly marked as a smoking venue, then you and all the other non-smokers out there have the choice of not going in. Similarly, if the bar is clearly marked as a non-smoking venue, I have the choice of whether or not I wish to go in. I'm not barred from non-smoking venues, and you aren't barred from smoking venues, but the choice is given back to the people.

    That's all we're asking for.

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  • 133. At 5:55pm on 30 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    128. At 4:21pm on 30 Jul 2009, Fatbob70 wrote:
    "...It just goes to show them up for the small minded fun police that they are..."

    LMAO, really, that is quality. Thanks for cheering my day.

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  • 134. At 5:55pm on 30 Jul 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    #100:

    Do you have a reference for the study you cite from the mid 1990s? I'd be interested to read it.

    In any case, the references I quoted earlier are much more up-to-date (both from 2007), so I'd probably take more notice of the more recent research anyway.

    I must say I am rather amused by the conspiracy theories about how all the research is hobbled by the multi-billion dollar anti-smoking industry. Do you have any idea just how much money the tobacco companies spend on PR to try to discredit the research that shows passive smoking causes lung cancer? Clearly it's money well spent, given how many people here (even a research scientist!) seem to think that the health risks of passive smoking are a myth. This is exactly what they used to do in the 1950s in an attempt to convince people that active smoking didn't cause lung cancer: history is repeating itself.

    Given that you're a research scientist, you should be able read the papers I cited earlier and draw your own conclusions about them. Have you read them? If you read them and are still not convinced of the dangers of passive smoking, I'd be interested if you'd post back here and tell me in what way you think they're flawed.

    Oh, and just in case you're wondering, I'm not in the pay of all those evil anti-smoking people. Whoever they are.

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  • 135. At 6:03pm on 30 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    128. At 4:21pm on 30 Jul 2009, Fatbob70 wrote:
    "...I can no longer enjoy a full evening at a concert without going through uncomfortable early stages of nictine withdrawal as I can't go outside to smoke without being denied re-entry..."

    Sorry, I should have read on before posting my last one there Bob.

    I can sympathise with this - I was at the O2 recently and if you've ever been there, it's a fantastic venue. We arrived early - around 5.30pm for a 7.30 show start, had a bite to eat and then made our way up to the 4th floor, in the nose-bleeds. They even provide a bar up there so you can have a beer - appropriate really - we were there to see Al Murray as the Pub Landlord. In the break, the foyer was mobbed and a few of us fancied a ciggy - it was close to 9pm now, and we'd been indoors for 3.5 hours, so it wasn't an unrealistic request, but we were told that if we went outside, we would be refused re-entry, even if it was before the start of the 2nd half.

    I can go a few hours, I'm not a nicotine junkie, but once you get it into your head that you're going for a smoke, you don't need some bureaucratic authoritarian overgrown marquee owner (the marquee being overgrown, not the owner) telling me if I leave, I can't come back.

    That rule, by the way, not only affects smokers, but ANYONE who might want to pop outside for a bit of fresh(ish) air.

    Rules, rules, rules.

    PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK

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  • 136. At 6:35pm on 30 Jul 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    #132:

    The problem is the staff. They don't have a choice about going in: they have to work there or they don't get paid. As I understand it, the main motivation behind the legislation was to protect the health of bar staff, which actually seems perfectly reasonable to me.

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  • 137. At 8:33pm on 30 Jul 2009, ZarembaZwoman wrote:

    I agree with PWS1950. As long as tobacco is a legal substance, we should be able to smoke it wherever we want. After all, exhaust fumes from vehicles is poisonous and they are everywhere. Imagine if the government said you could own a car and use petrol, but you couldn't expel any of it into the air! It's ludicrous. And yes, I will also become a crabby old fat person if I am forced to quit.

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  • 138. At 9:17pm on 30 Jul 2009, Joan Olivares wrote:

    Dear Carl2407,
    I think Carl makes an excellent point. The government always plays things both ways and as citizens we fall for it everytime. I don't understand why we allow people to stay in power who don't have our best interests at heart. The corruption has shortened our lives, prostituted our children, lowered our incomes and stolen our retirements. Get the Mafia out of government once and for all. That really is the issue.

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  • 139. At 9:41pm on 30 Jul 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    #137:

    Your analogy with cars isn't very well thought through, is it?

    I think you'll find that:

    1. It is still perfectly legal to smoke a cigarette in a public highway

    2. Revving up the engine of your car while inside a pub is generally frowned upon

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  • 140. At 10:52pm on 30 Jul 2009, iNotHere wrote:

    The impression I seem to be getting is that the medical profession don't know the causes of an individuals lung cancer but because they know smoking can they leap on it as the probable cause. Just because someone dies of lung cancer and they smoked doesn't mean to say it was smoking that caused it.
    My late husband could've had his lung cancer growing for up to 20 years before it became a problem according to his consultant. He only became a heavy smoker a lot later in life when the tumour was probaly already established.

    One thing I'm realising more and more is that this government is as corrupt as they come and they seem to me to be in perfect company with Berlusconi.

    PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK

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  • 141. At 11:04pm on 30 Jul 2009, AugustCallanderGirl wrote:

    Who cares if it is bad for you or not? It just smells really bad. If someone urinated, deficated or broke wind beside you in the pub you'd want them as far away from you as possible......can you get cancer from smelling these things.....Who cares.... it's just disgusting.....just like smoking. That's why it is nice to have a drink in a pub without having to smell the smoke. Next stage is to stop smoking altogether as anyone who comes to speak to you after having a smoke outside just smells repulsive.

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  • 142. At 11:07pm on 30 Jul 2009, BritinLALAland wrote:

    Whether 1 million smokers have given up due to the smoking ban or the recession, or even if they have in fact given up bearing in mind the stats come from our beloved govt, smoking was, is, and always will be part of British culture. Try finding a photo of Winston Churchill without his cigar. And as roughly 75% of the population don't smoke, naturally the draconian public places ban is popular. But with 52 pubs closing a day, a compromise must be found, where smokers can smoke inside pubs, without causing non-smokers to inhale smoke. Spain, Germany, Italy, most US states, even health conscious California have indoor smoking in areas inside bars, or certain bars are fully-smoking. Why not the UK? The freedom to live your life as you please used to be part of our culture. As Henry Allingham who died recently aged 113 said, "cigarettes, whiskey, and wild, wild women" were the secret to him living to be the world's oldest man. Enough said.

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  • 143. At 02:11am on 31 Jul 2009, petermc0151 wrote:

    Please smoke as many cigarettes as u want to (not allowed 2 say fags)/
    but when u have c.o.p.d. dont be complaining, u did not know.
    U cough, u stink of smoke, who would want to take to B-d someone who stinks of ciggies.
    U smokers use all the excuses under the sun to justify ur habit.
    Ask ur self one Q, what does a none smoker do in times of stress, when things go wrong, ur body is telling u what 2 do.Smoke, stink, spend money, taxed, MPs living off ur taxes,expenses, THINK
    CAN U NOT CONTROL UR OWN BODY?
    Smoked 4 50 years, bought 100s and 1000s as a coach driver, in Belgium
    Been there, do that,got the T shirt. Control ur own body, tell it what u want it 2 do. Mr Will Power is on holiday, having done what was asked of him. Ex smoker after 50 years.
    Control ur own body, u pathetic person

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  • 144. At 08:37am on 31 Jul 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    #140:

    Your post suggests you have a rather imperfect understanding of epidemiology. It's true that in an individual case of someone with lung cancer, no-one knows whether their lung cancer was caused by smoking or not.

    But we don't therefore conclude that smoking doesn't cause lung cancer.

    Suppose that in 10 smokers who get lung cancer, their cancer was caused by smoking in 9 of them and was just bad luck in the other one (I'm not saying that those are the actual stats, although they're probably not too far off). You don't know, if you are a smoker with lung cancer, whether you are one of the 9 or the other one. So for an individual smoker, you can't say whether certainty smoking causes lung cancer or not.

    But at a population level, which is where the statistics come in, the answer is pretty clear.

    But the fact remains that most

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  • 145. At 08:38am on 31 Jul 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    #132
    SHLA2UK,

    Well, as to bars or clubs for smokers- that could be possible, if the owners are prepared to accept that they would loose a lot of the non-smoking customers they might get otherwise. My wife for example would not go into a place where there is a cigarette smoke, and she was occasional smoker at one point. However, this still has its problems- for example the staff that works in the bar would have to be smokers themselves, otherwise you are exposing non-smokers to harm. And if you offer somebody a job just because they are smokers, then you are oppening yourself to potential law suits for work discrimination. You could ask a staff who is a smoker in a non-smoking bar to go outside to smoke, but you cannot ask a non-smoker in a smoking bar not to breath. Thus we are with the one size fits all legislation.

    Air conditioning and ventilation are useful, but sometimes this just cannot work- all of my local pubs for example do not have separate areas and there is no way you could provide an area for smokers only. Nowadays all the trend seems to be to turn all the pubs in gastro-pubs, which rely more on people having dinner in there, than on lonely drinkers. People having food do not appreciate cigarette smoke and the pub owners tend to keep the image of their venue as a familly friendly place, thus banning smoking. I suppose at the end the law just reflected the wishes of the majority and the rules of the market economy took care of the rest.

    I know it is not nice having to go outside to smoke and leave your friends inside, but this has had positive effects. I have got a friend who quit smoking (for other reasons as well), when the ban was introduced and in her opinion non-smoking pubs are really helping her to keep up with the non-smoking. My own brother, a heavy smoker, had to cut down quite drastically when he came to visit me (he lives abroad). That at least is good to them.

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  • 146. At 12:34pm on 31 Jul 2009, Stalbansboy wrote:

    To me, the bottom line is the fact that we (apparently) live within a democracy, though this is also a matter which could be up for serious debate. I'm a smoker because I choose to be, as are most. I accept that nicotine is addictive and for some, this addiction is just too difficult to kick, even with the various avenues of 'support'. But it is still a choice that is made by the consumer as to whether they begin to smoke or not. I also accept (as do many other smokers) that it is also the non-smokers choice whether to put themselves in an environment whereby they inhale second-hand smoke and the majority choose not to.

    It is certainly possible to accomodate both smokers and non-smokers alike in pubs, clubs and restaurants without too much more initial financial outlay than providing a suitable outdoor area. The blanket ban of smoking in public places was pushed through parliament without sufficient research on the potential social impact on the pub industry and further implications on the licensed trade that this would have, hence the reason we are where we are now with pubs closing down at an astronomical rate. If the research was carried out, it was certainly not given the proper consideration. The blanket ban satisfied the government's (misguided) need to show that they are (apparently) doing the right thing and win some votes. Simple maths and history shows that government simply cannot ban tobacco as the income from tobacco tax makes too significant a contribution to the state coffers and prohibition is not successful.

    Education on the perils of smoking is now considerably more widespread and available, thus enabling the potential new smoker to fully arm themselves with all the facts before the take up the habit. If they then choose not to fully educate themselves beforehand, they cannot (and most smokers do not) then bleat and moan about the damage this pastime then does to their body. However, if the potential dangers are accepted and the decision to smoke prevails, again that is their choice. I certainly envisage that smoking numbers will fall as a result of the increased visibility of the 'smoking perils' though this obviously will not have the immediate impact on smoking stats that's needed for the spin and propaganda machine.

    I guess my main point is the element of choice, whether to smoke, or not. If I choose to, I should not be victimised, but neither should non-smokers as that is also their (freedom of) choice.

    Finally, there is much debate currently regarding sunbathing and the potential onset of skin cancer as a result... Is banning sunbathing for more than an hour a day an upcoming legislation for the future??

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  • 147. At 1:24pm on 31 Jul 2009, powerslave wrote:

    These smokers just give the same reasons for not quitting that any other addict of any other substance does. Its pointless arguing or debating,they will only understand how daft their views are when they cease their addictive ways. They will only do that when they are ready. You may as well be angry at the weather.

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  • 148. At 1:29pm on 31 Jul 2009, Jilkes wrote:

    Although this debate does underline the complete hypocrisy surrounding the 'socially acceptable' vs. 'socially unacceptable' drugs issue, it has to be said that smoking is, as far as I am aware, the only drug habit that forces complete strangers to participate without choice.

    Snuff, chewing tobacco, anyone?

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  • 149. At 1:33pm on 31 Jul 2009, Rowan wrote:


    I enjoy smoking. I've smoked for 32 years, stopped once and didn't like the person I became. Before the smoking ban, unless I was in a designated smoking area I voluntarily went outside.

    I can't think of any other minority group whose legal pastime has been so demonised that anyone who feels like it can bully them with impunity.
    Then people wonder why smokers are defensive. We're defensive because the bullying won't stop until we adopt sackcloth and ashes and renounce fags and its time people minded their own business.

    Now that non smokers have their smoke free pubs, rather than the reasonable compromise of a smoking area, they can't produce the predicted volume of custom to keep them open. So no one wins.

    It is still - allegedly - a free country. Bugger off non smokers and leave me to enjoy my legal habit in peace and I promise in return not to come anywhere near you.

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  • 150. At 1:36pm on 31 Jul 2009, swyves wrote:

    So, about a million people used to want to quit smoking, and a million people have quit smoking. Couldn't they just be the same people?

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  • 151. At 1:40pm on 31 Jul 2009, BrownbankruptsBrits wrote:

    I`m more worried about the chemical filth and covert G.M.O additives that are being added to food.Not to mention the M.O.D spraying the population with barium/swine flu.

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  • 152. At 2:18pm on 31 Jul 2009, tagr30 wrote:

    I have just come back from Germany, where a much more balanced view of the non-smoking laws is taken.

    While railway stations there are advertised as 'non-smoking' there is, at the end of each platform, an area of around 2x2 metres with an ashtray which smokers can use quite legally. They are not bothering anyone, and you do not see piles of dog ends outside the entrance to stations.

    Furthermore, the law there allows for bars where no food is served to have a separate, ventilated room where owners can choose to provide indoor facilities for smokers.

    Can't we do the same here? And why, while I'm about it, are there so few public ashtrays smokers can use? We seem to have put in place a law that is both discriminatory and unnecessarily harsh.

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  • 153. At 2:44pm on 31 Jul 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    #146,

    Stalbansboy,

    No, you BECAME a smoker because you chose to. Your ARE a smoker not because you have chosen. This is a often repeated argument that smoking is a choice and that smokers can stop whenever they choose. No, they cannot, at least not when they choose. To believe otherwise is just to delude yourself. Smoking is addictive and once the addiction kicks-in there is no choice anymore.

    Regarding the sun-bathing and skin cancer. This might seem a good example to support the opposition to the smoking ban, but it is wrong. A lot fewer people die from skin cancer every year than die from COPD. In the USA COPD is the fourth biggest killer per year, and 90% of it is caused by smoking. Skin cancer is nowhere near. So, even if there is a ban on sun-bathing, that would bring a health benefit nowhere near as big as from the ban of smoking.

    I understand your point about personal freedoms, but after all smoking is not banned. Smoking IN PUBLIC PLACES is banned. If it is your choice to smoke, you are free to do it. But in a regulated way. If I can use the example with the sun-bathing- it might be someone's choice to sun-bathe in the nude, but they can do it only in their own garden or in special areas on the beaches. Otherwise they will be breaking the law. Nude sunbathing is not dangerous to anyone, yet we do not have pubic campaigns to make it legal. Why should it be different with smoking?

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  • 154. At 3:26pm on 31 Jul 2009, mrs_moppe wrote:

    Isenhorn - smoking pubs wouldn't have to specify smokers in the job description, they'd just have to say that it was a smoking pub, and then potential employees would have the choice whether to apply to work there or not. I'm a non-smoker, but in my opinion, if smoking is legal and smokers pay tax on it, then they ought to have somewhere to gather together and do it in comfort, where they're not bothering anyone. Frankly I'd rather they were all inside a pub than standing in mobs on the pavement, blowing smelly clouds at me.

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  • 155. At 3:37pm on 31 Jul 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    #149:

    "leave me to enjoy my legal habit in peace and I promise in return not to come anywhere near you"

    Actually, that's all we're asking. And now that the smoking ban is in place, we can be sure you won't come anywhere near us.

    So we're all happy!

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  • 156. At 7:51pm on 31 Jul 2009, BritinLALAland wrote:

    This debate about smoking/non-smoking bar staff having to work in potentially smoking pubs is idiotic on three fronts. Firstly, we all know most bar staff smoke themseleves. But that aside, secondly, there's always the option of say Italy, where seperate, fully-enclosed ventilated areas exist in bars,where bar staff do not go. Thirdly, there is also the option of Holland, or California, where bars that do not employ any bar staff(in California where I live it includes other family members not sure about Holland) may permit smoking inside, as the law is written to protect bar staff, and if the owner doesn't employ any, and if fine with smoking himself, the courts have rightly ruled the inside ban therefore doesn't apply. The courts ruling based on the forgotten in Britain principle of freedom to run your business as you choose.
    As many pubs is Britain(my local in kent when I am back in UK for instance) are also family owned and employ no bar-staff, I'm surprised no publican in the UK has challenged the indoor smoking ban on that basis alone.
    The overall point being there are plently of examples world-wide how smokers and non-smokers can exist together, with no inconvenience to non-smokers. And once non-smokers are assured they can go to the majority of pubs and never encounter smoke, quite why they would object to an ammendment to the ban is beyond me. As Sir Liam Donaldson, the minister who drafted the smoking ban legislation has alreay mentioned the phrase "second-hand drinking" to describe the effects of alchohol abuse on society, and wants to tackle obesity too, any non-smoker who can't see beyond the benefit to them personally of all pubs being non-smoking, to what's coming next that will effect them personally over food and drinking, might want to think very carefully about what sort of society they wish to live in.

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  • 157. At 11:46pm on 31 Jul 2009, dyansis wrote:

    whats got my goat is now that smokers are now forced outside like lepers the non smokers have the audacity to complain out it. Fair enough in the winter its a miserable existance huddled under pub porches keeping out the rain and wind, but in the summer its actually quite pleasent. Standing in the beer garden pint in one hand smoke in the other and the sun shining (or at least not raining on us). And smokers have discovered like ghettos in the 70's that exclusion breeds inclusion. Smokers knowing that we are social outcasts now stand outside chatting to each other whilst enjoying our poisons. AND THEN the non smokers get up in arms about how we are smoking in the beer garden which was where we got sentenced to in the first place. They were quite happy for us to be there in the winter but now they dont want us there because its ruining THIER ambience. Or having them complain when they walk down the street and the smokers they wanted out of buldings are out of the buildings having a smoke.

    I am in favour of the smoking ban, even though i live alone i dont smoke in my house as i hate the smell of stale smoke, and ive always felt it was foul having to eat whilst someone is puffing next to me.

    But to those self righteous holier than thou non smokers think on this
    you wanted smokers in the rain - they went
    you wanted smokers outside - they went
    you wanted smokers away from your precious (now dying) pubs - they went
    you wanted smokers away from offices - they went

    now deal with it and hold your breatha s you go past all those horrible evil lepers standing outside enjoying thier vice. It will take you ten seconds to move away from them.

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  • 158. At 01:43am on 01 Aug 2009, J A Woods wrote:

    Metalmentalist, I sympathize with you in regard to pressure being put on you to get "the right results", this should never happen. However,I can't believe that this has been the case with all such research - If so it would be in the public arena long ago.
    Carl2407, thickening of the blood is not a consequence of stopping smoking. Polycythemia (thickening of the blood) is a direct consequence of prolonged smoking and may appear long after the smoker has stopped.
    sshipway, I sympathize with you. I also had to watch my father die slowly due to many decades of smoking.
    Finally, to all the proponents of "smokers' rights" - stop whining whether you're a Pom or an Ozzie - it's all over, you've lost and the bad old days will never come back. As Augustcallandergirl says : it's a filthy revolting habit whether it kills you or not and the majority will not tolerate it anymore.
    What intrigues me is: What exactly DOES Mark Easton think that he HASN'T written?

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  • 159. At 06:59am on 01 Aug 2009, rapidlaser wrote:

    I just hate these same old same old lines, "drug addict" 70% of the adult population are "drug addicts" Alcohol is a drug, when I was in my teens I was too stoned in my bedroom being creative to be out on the street causing havoc like today's teenagers and their binge drinking habits, Alcohol kills more people than any other "drug" on the planet but because we "all" love it so much, it's a good drug!

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  • 160. At 12:01pm on 01 Aug 2009, clovisguy wrote:

    At the end of the day, in my opinion it is all down to freedom of choice. And I choose to smoke. Instead of the draconian all-out ban, there should have been smoking and non smoking pubs and clubs. I'll admit it is a joy to be able to have a meal in a smoke free pub, BUT there should still be a place where smokers can enjoy a fag, without being made to feel like a criminal, something we are NOT. Also, since the ban came in, I have seen more than a few pubs close. Why ? Because most smokers now drink at home. If any other minority group were treated the way smokers have been in the last few years, there would be an uproar. I smoke on and will NEVER give up.

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  • 161. At 2:47pm on 01 Aug 2009, blogwarts wrote:

    Speaking as a 20 a day smoker, the reason I gave up giving up was simple....all the idiotic restrictions have curbed the actual amount I smoke, but that has dramatically increased the pleasure I get when I can have one. This makes the things more precious than gold and not easily left behind! Maybe there's 1.2 million more like me?

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  • 162. At 3:34pm on 01 Aug 2009, firemensaction wrote:

    Remember Germany in the 1930s?
    Groups of people began to be discriminated against in their intolerant society thanks to a government wishing to control.
    Look what happened there!!
    New Labour are well on the way down the slippery slope!
    As a non smoker and an individual, I feel that politicians should reflect on the fact that they are OUR EMPLOYEES!!
    As those who pay usuallly get the desired result in other areas, when this authoritarian and out of touch shower come to next May, they will see what I am getting at.
    If a British citizen wishes to smoke , drink, eat waffles all day (Inc the "E" numbers), swear and have sex, and NOT diet or exercise, then this is the total responsibility of the citizen.
    Government has NO PART to play in these areas.
    Was the action against smokers legal?? As personal choice has always been dear to British hearts, have this administration actually strayed into areas beloved of Stalinists the world over??? For to restrict what a citizen does in public or private in areas never before contemplated strikes at the source of democracy.
    with the state of pubs so dire, the commonsense way to help guarantee their survival would be to repeal the smoking ban, but New labour would rather deny god than back down on a coveted policy!

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  • 163. At 4:24pm on 01 Aug 2009, firemensaction wrote:

    Earlier this year, it was reported in the USA that nicotene patches have been looked into by scientists, and the findings have leant towards the view that they could also be causing cancer.
    Where is the maniacal "ban it brigade" demonstrating outside the nicotene patch factories???
    As this report has not been aired in Britain yet, perhaps the official truth repression is greater in Britain thanks to our Nanny State government.
    Perhaps if some smoker millionaire funded "Private Smoking clubs" across the country he/she would make even more millions.
    For it is obvious there is a market out there, being ignored.
    Anyone with the necessary dosh could make £Billions, as "Public premises" are the ones affected by this noxious law!!
    Obviously this could upset the anti smoking brigade, as it would effectively have to BAN nonsmokers!!Just like a golf club, it could be only paid up subscription "members only" which would effectively ban the killjoys!! Any millionaire takers to a sure thing????

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  • 164. At 6:40pm on 01 Aug 2009, i_amwillsmith wrote:

    I think smoking is a habit for the poor and weak, its a dirty way of life for people with no self respect and no pride. Its funny how the majority of people that are on low incomes and who support the Labour party smoke, If these types of people didnt just collect the giro and go to the pub all day maybe this country could be a nice place to live. Long Live David Cameron!!!!

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  • 165. At 7:05pm on 01 Aug 2009, BritinLALAland wrote:

    Re: Firemanaction: Your suggestion someone set up a private members only smoking club, while of course am oubvious and good solution, would be illegal under the current Labour government's indoor smoking legislation, should any money exchange hands. If someone set it up free of charge on their own private grounds, charged nothing for drinks etc, with no membership fees, that would be possibly legal. I say possibly because last year I remember reading about a couple who erected a tent for a wedding on their own property, had to seek council permission, and were told because it had four sides and a roof, they could erect it but it had to be a non-smoking tent. Either way, if there is no money to be made in a private smokers club, who would bother?

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  • 166. At 7:23pm on 01 Aug 2009, disident wrote:

    Well I smoked since I was about fourteen till I was 70. No one made me give up I just begrudged the tax I was paying to the MPs expenses and fiddles. I worked hard all my life. It had got nothing to do with anyone. At least I never killed anyone by drunken driving, I never assaulted murdered raped or killed anyone after downing ten fags unlike some of you honest drunks. Now I think drink should be banned along with fags. Now 72 I have more money in my pocket but I do not fear smokers, I do live in fear of boozed up thugs out of their minds on drink.

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  • 167. At 09:07am on 02 Aug 2009, andie99uk wrote:

    I am 38.
    Smoking nearly killed me at 35.
    After 3 strokes, I quit & have never looked back. Yes I put on a couple of pounds, but other than that, I have had a new lease of life thanks to quitting.
    I have no doubt though that if I hadnt had the strokes, I would probably still smoke.

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  • 168. At 10:41am on 02 Aug 2009, carl2407 wrote:

    From the Beeb today

    "Some studies show that alcohol, in moderation, can reduce the risk of heart disease.

    In terms of damage to the liver, the risk begins when regular weekly consumption exceeds about 30 units, said Dr Sheron.

    But for other conditions, like cancer, the risk starts at zero and goes up proportionately with the amount of alcohol is consumed.

    A person who regularly drinks 50g of alcohol a day - around 6 units or three pints of normal strength beer - has nearly double the risk of stroke, high blood pressure and pancreatitis as someone who abstains. "


    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8172982.stm


    Where are the warnings on the bottles ? Where is the ban against doing it in public because innocents suffer because of drinkers ?

    Cigarettes smell but a smoker doesn`t beat up your son/daughter cos he had too many. He doesn`t career into a bus queue because he can`t control his vehicle. As for the smell, I moved out of London partly because I could no longer stand the stagnant smell of vehicle fumes, which are also toxic I might add. However in the height of summer I get to smell the sewage works a mile or so away, the manure that goes on the farms not to mention the various, possibly toxic, sprays the farms use on their crops.

    I`m not saying the ban is wrong, as I have stated all along I think there should be a complete ban, but there should be some parity. The inequality of the arguments is what is wrong and the fact the Government supports and taxes slow suicide is wrong.

    As a parent I wouldn`t say to my children you can smoke but not in my house, I do say "You can`t smoke". I also make them aware of the dangers of alcohol but I`ve no chance of stopping them there because I`m not backed by the Government stating the dangers on TV ads, on bottles and on BBC blogs.

    Smokers are not the only addicts harming themselves and others. A bit of equality would not be amiss. Or you can kid yourselves as smokers have done for years, it`s what addicts do.

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  • 169. At 2:07pm on 02 Aug 2009, princey100 wrote:

    I am and have been a regular pub user for many years and i can say since the smoking ban how nice it is to come home after a pleasant evening and a couple of pints to find you can enjoy a late snack before going to bed without having to change or shower first.

    The smell of your clothing can only be described as sickening to a non smoker....now if could find away to stop smokers crowding the door ways and taking all of the outside tables and chairs.....

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  • 170. At 2:13pm on 02 Aug 2009, casbackfm wrote:

    i get a bit narked with this continual twittering on about the tax payer paying for other people's stupidity. I take on board that smokers cost the NHS a hell of a lot of money, but they also provide the government with loads of cash through tax. likewise, people that drink too much and eat too much may be a burden on the NHS, but they also pay their way. I'm not saying it's ok to do whatever you like and take no personal responsibility, but I do think that everyone should be catered for by the NHS without discrimination. Strictly speaking, people don't need cars, but the NHS still treat people who have been in road traffic accidents. The NHS would be rightly criticised if it refused to treat people who had attempted suicide, so why should this be any different for smokers?

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  • 171. At 4:04pm on 02 Aug 2009, General_Jack_Ripper wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 172. At 5:15pm on 02 Aug 2009, iNotHere wrote:

    168. At 10:41am on 02 Aug 2009, carl2407 wrote:

    "As a parent I wouldn`t say to my children you can smoke but not in my house, I do say "You can`t smoke". I also make them aware of the dangers of alcohol but I`ve no chance of stopping them there because I`m not backed by the Government stating the dangers on TV ads, on bottles and on BBC blogs".

    Why not find your own evidence for the dangers of alchohol online and present your children with it? You don't need the back up of the government etc. Your children probably don't believe the government anyway.

    When my son was getting interested in the drug culture (mid teens), I told him what I knew (which wasn't a huge amount) and to teach him the rest I trawled the internet for research, statistics, medical and anecdotal evidence and then presented him with it. We sat down and discussed the pros and cons of drugs with the evidence we had and that has allowed him to make an intelligent and informed decision.

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  • 173. At 10:49pm on 02 Aug 2009, iluvsmokin wrote:

    I agree that smoking probably does you in quicker than we like to admit. I admire those who are sticking with it while their lungs and teeth rot and they will no doubt have painful and unpleasant deaths, but like the majority of reformed smokers who have given up (I smoked from 20 years so cannot really be called a 'non smoker') but are a tad jealous of those who still do, I have to admit I ABSOLUTELY LOVE SMOKING!! There are few more pleasurable things than a good cigar after dinner, or a cigarette after some strenuous activity, or a few puffs before a stressful meeting. It gives you time out, a chance to mull things over, a shot in the arm when you need it, and often you meet people who you would never normally meet. I stopped smoking because I couldn't run up stairs, had tight pains in my chest, couldn't bear the thought of not seeing my kids grow up and had, at the age of 42 probably no more than 10 years to live. Sometimes you have to forget the personal pleasures but think of those you would leave behind. I don't regret giving up. I now run upstairs; in fact I cycle 100 mile races and have lost weight rather than put it on. I feel fantastic, but I miss smoking. Something tells me maybe, however, its just as well I miss it, rather than enjoy it at the moment. When the kids are grown up and I have grand kids and have had a happy smoke free 30 years, I can always take it up again when I'm 72!



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  • 174. At 00:58am on 03 Aug 2009, woodhouseian wrote:

    What about the hidden benefits of being a hard core smoker? I'm thinking for example of the little social and gossip networks they develop in the workplace. Why are non-smokers discriminated against in this context, and why isn't more being done about it?

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  • 175. At 10:25am on 03 Aug 2009, fillandfrowpist wrote:

    If you look at the history of tobacco and its consumption as a privilege of understanding nature's many gifts you get a rather different picture to the ones peddled by pig-ignorant meddlers. Indians had consumed tobacco for countless centuries without addiction, without health risk, and without social exclusion.

    As with most things western commerce gobbles up an "idea" and turns it into a business model, makes it convenient, hypes it up and then, because there are always problems with unseen "side effects" in any commercial design, attempts to dismantle what it has created. So after the pro-hype comes the anti-hype.

    There are many tenuous links made to tobacco that simply do not stack up if the science remains pragmatic. Heavy smokers do not always die young. There is no evidence that nicotine is addictive. There is no evidence that risk of secondary or passive smoking is "real". Many heavy tobacco use cultures have hugely different morbidity profiles to other heavy smoking cultures.

    Bullying an alcoholic would achieve what exactly? Bullying a heroin addict would achieve what exactly? Bullying a fundamentalist would achieve what exactly? Bullying a pacifist would achieve what exactly? Bullying a homosexual would achieve what exactly? Bullying a blind person would achieve what exactly? Bullying a person with a different colour to their skin would achieve what exactly?

    Oh yes, we have come so far, ignorant brothers and sisters of this universe. We know so much don't we, but we understand so little!

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  • 176. At 11:00am on 03 Aug 2009, BikeAdvocate wrote:

    Davidwhite44----Errr the last time I looked the aforementioned groups did,nt cause cancer by standing around in groups---

    Ex-Publover - Errr how old are you ?? It,s a total fabrication that smokers do and herein lies the problem. It,s amazing how a little government propaganda and a lot of bias publicity can fool so many young minds.

    -------------------

    Sorry ExPublover but I am not sure as to the relevance of Mr White's age, since I happen to be 54 and completely agree with him. Moreover, as a non smoker, I have absolutely no wish to be in a room where other people are smoking. For me it is not a question of freedom, but more one of common courtesy.
    I have a little anecdote on this subject that might amuse you:
    I live in France and a few years ago, when smoking was allowed in public places here, I was in a restauant with my (French) boss (called Jacques)and one of our English partners, a straight talking gentleman from Chesire, called Stuart. At the end of the meal, Jacques asked Stuart "Do you mind if I smoke?", to which Stuart replied "Do you mind if I f*rt in your face?".
    As Jacques was not familiar with this basic English verb, it was down to me to translate it for him!!!


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  • 177. At 2:42pm on 03 Aug 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    #175,
    fillandfrowpist
    'There are many tenuous links made to tobacco that simply do not stack up if the science remains pragmatic. Heavy smokers do not always die young. There is no evidence that nicotine is addictive. There is no evidence that risk of secondary or passive smoking is "real". Many heavy tobacco use cultures have hugely different morbidity profiles to other heavy smoking cultures.'

    This is one often repeated argument, which does not bear any resemblance to the truth. Evidence exists. A lot of evidence exists. Please have a look at the links below:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez

    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pubmed&pubmedid=19440278

    There are no facts which 'do not stack up'. It has all been proven beyond doubt. Just because some people want to believe that there is no evidence will not make it disappear.

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  • 178. At 3:55pm on 03 Aug 2009, ShelfsideN17 wrote:

    With all these "facts" being branded about on this subject, would someone like to give me a "fact" as to why smoking is not illegal?

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  • 179. At 4:13pm on 03 Aug 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    #178,

    Good question. However, do you think making smoking illegal would make anybody stop smoking? Consider the situation with the drugs.

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  • 180. At 5:37pm on 03 Aug 2009, fillandfrowpist wrote:

    #177

    I did use the expression "pragmatic science".

    Perhaps when you understand what that means AND read some of the pragmatic scientific studies there have been (see World Health Organisation on Passive/Secondary smoking and morbidity in Asia) you will not be quite so sure of your "truth".

    Life is a risky business and we must all die from something. I do not claim tobacco to be any healthier than anything else we consume from refined processing methods. As I said before, "we know a lot but understand very little". Tobacco may be completely innocent but the processes less so.

    As a little taster of what "pseudo science" has delivered to us consider the plight of the honey bee, now dying in collapsed hives at a truly alarming rate. In the interests of economies, and with the blessings of the scientists, mobile hives were introduced to overcome the problem of changes to scale in agriculture (again economies). Now no one understands what is going wrong and why the bees are dying. Only in Australia are honey bees thriving; everywhere else the problem is truly serious. When our orchards collapse and our vegetables remain infertile we will truly be in trouble. A possible culprit, which remains largely unproven, is a tiny mite that is not present in Australia. However this mite has not been present in all collapses so we simply do not understand what the problem is.

    As the opening remarks suggest, as a species, we "evolve" on the flimsiest of whims.

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  • 181. At 6:04pm on 03 Aug 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    #180:

    So let me see if I understand your logic:

    "Honey bees are dying, and we don't really understand why, so we don't really know whether smoking causes cancer."

    Does that pretty much sum up your reasoning? If not, then what on earth do honey bees have to do with anything?

    BTW, I took your recommendation to look up what the WHO has to say about passive smoking. Here is a little quote for you from their document "Protection from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke. Policy recommendations":

    "A clear scientific consensus on SHS exposures
    dangerous health effects has developed, based
    on accumulated evidence and copious new
    data, which show that SHS causes serious and
    fatal diseases in adults and children."

    (SHS =second hand smoke)

    Or do you know of an alternative WHO that thinks that passive smoking is perfectly harmless?

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  • 182. At 7:03pm on 03 Aug 2009, sheffosprey wrote:

    I am a committed smoker, and probably some of my motivation is bloody mindedness.

    However, I have played a variety of sports throughout my life, am 5'8" and about 11.5 stones. Am I (potentially) a greater drain on NHS resources than an obese couch potato.

    I also believe that there is an element in society that revels in given smokers a verbal 'kicking' as we are just about the only target, outside of the grouse moors, that doesn't enjoy a panoply of support groups.



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  • 183. At 8:13pm on 03 Aug 2009, monkeyGibson wrote:

    Sorry, Since the ban one million have given up smoking. The number who want to quit has fallen by a mysterious million also. Its not rocket science. They actually quit. I'm digging hard to find a story here. Stop press : Smokers are stupid shocker ! Put up their National health contrabutions so they dont become a drain on us all when they eventually end up with serious illnesses.

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  • 184. At 8:15pm on 03 Aug 2009, monkeyGibson wrote:

    At 7:03pm on 03 Aug 2009, sheffosprey wrote:
    I am a committed smoker, and probably some of my motivation is bloody mindedness.

    Atta boy, you show us all. Smoke your self to death I'll sign up to your support group...........some day.

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  • 185. At 00:24am on 04 Aug 2009, fillandfrowpist wrote:

    #181

    You clearly have a problem with comprehension. That is truly sad and I would help if I thought it would achieve something.

    Evidence from a comprehensive survey of millions of medical records found no risk. Sad for the anti-smoking regime but true. I leave you to work out where the new "evidence" and the "scientific consensus" came from. Clue: It has connections with the research done on the honey bee prior to the introduction of large scale agriculture and mobile hives.

    Perhaps you are not familiar with the very human convenience of making things fit. BTW I have no interest in tobacco one way or the other.

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  • 186. At 05:21am on 04 Aug 2009, mscigcat wrote:

    Forced to stop smoking, I have made do with a cigarette, one cigarette, not one pack, every once in a while, and I am absolutely miserable. I've gained weight tho I basically eat lettuce stuffed with lettuce, coffee is no fun without a cigarette, and I never ever go out anymore. I may as well be dead. Thank you for nothing, self-satisfied smug eco-maniacs of the world.

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  • 187. At 08:24am on 04 Aug 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    #180,

    I am still at a loss as to what you mean by pragmatic science and how that is better than the science developed by proper research methods and published in peer-reviewed journals. I hope that by pragmatic science you do not mean examples such as the case of the honey-bees, as it is not only not supported by any facts you have given, but is also completely irrelevant to the topic at hand.

    Evidence exists which shows smoking to be harmfull to people. Whether you chose to adopt the policy of 'hear no evil, see no evil' dose not matter. It is there. Just to keep you happy, however, I have given another link to a report by the WHO.
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    P.S. 'Life is a risky business and we must all die from something.'
    That is an interesting assertion. What is even more interesting is the fact that you do not see smokers dying quitely at home, but rather spending their last days in hospitals, trying desperately to find cure for their health problems. Just because people like to delude themselves when healthy and young that they do not fear death, does not mean they would think the same when faced with a real health problem. Can you give me an example when somebody has said the above when told they have got COPD or lung cancer, knowing that they have children still at school and a mortgage to pay?
    Did not think so.

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  • 188. At 08:28am on 04 Aug 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    #186,
    Is that life is all about to you- smoking a pack, drinking coffee and going out? If yes, than you are indeed in a very bad state. But not due to stopping smoking.

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  • 189. At 08:59am on 04 Aug 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    #185:

    "Evidence from a comprehensive survey of millions of medical records found no risk."

    Are you serious? Are you really trying to claim that smoking is perfectly harmless? I'd love to see this so-called "evidence". I suppose citing your sources would be out of the question?

    As for my powers of comprehension, I must admit you've got me there. I still have absolutely no idea what you're talking about with your references to honey bees. I'm not aware of a single piece of research linking honey bees and the effects of smoking on human health. If you know otherwise, perhaps you could enlighten us?

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  • 190. At 10:01am on 04 Aug 2009, phillshed wrote:

    I gave up smoking last november 08,after 40 years.
    I have had six courses of antibiotics and steriods three visits to the hospital.
    The truth of the matter being the medical proffesion dont have a clue how to help long team smokers remain healthy.
    1, health has not really improved, nor will it.
    2, doctors fed up at lack of progress but most doctors know the score anyway.
    3, Im fed up and am considering returning to smoking, at least I will be able to have a fag.

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  • 191. At 10:31am on 04 Aug 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    phillshed,

    I am sorry to hear about the problems with your health. But it is not that the medical profession does not know how to help you. The fact is that 40 years of smoking have made that extremely difficult. Yours is a good example of how dangerous smoking is. It takes time for the harmfull effects of smoking to appear and also it takes time for them to resolve after cessation. I understand that you feel angry that your breathing has not improved after quitting. But 40 years of smoking cannot be reveresed in half a year. Do not loose faith and do not return to smoking. It is not going to solve anything. Only make matters worse.

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  • 192. At 11:12am on 04 Aug 2009, fillandfrowpist wrote:

    This was Lord Wakeham's comment on the smoking ban:

    "The foremost authority in this area - Sir Richard Peto, professor of medical statistics at Oxford - told the Committee that the risks from passive smoking are small and difficult to measure.

    "Given the miniscule level of risk, the blanket ban on smoking in public places is a case of using the proverbial sledgehammer to obliterate, rather than crack, a rather small and insignificant nut.

    "As the risks from passive smoking are tiny, the direct impact on public health is likely to be so small as to be immeasurable."

    In 1998 the WHO undertook a huge survey of medical records to establish risk from secondary smoke. The initial report was withdrawn because it could not quantify the risk - it was just too small to give as a figure of one in so many hundreds, thousands, millions, or billions. The WHO were unhappy with their findings being "misused" and quickly stated that there was evidence without actually producing it.

    In the honeybee project an early fear was the effect of pesticides and fertilizers - an age old debate that still isn't resolved. Ninety nine point nine percent of the toxins in these products were found in dissected honeybees; most of the toxins found in most smoke (including barbecues, cooking, and tobacco) are similar chemicals to those in the honeybees because they are in the food we eat and the plants we grow. The chemicals are everywhere. Honeybees from perfectly healthy hives are carrying these chemicals around as well as those from collapsed hives. You, I and everyone who buys veg from a store will cook those toxins into the atmosphere; it doesn't matter because they are present in our bodies anyway, but it does make life difficult for those who want to identify passive smoking risk. That is the statistical nightmare.

    But the problem gets even more difficult when we take chemicals that are in the food chain from, for example, oestrogen excretion (Oestradiol) which is known to cause certain cancers. There are also chemicals produced by plants that add to the mix of what harms and what does not.

    So, my stance is this. Tobacco may or may not harm the user although mass produced cigarettes are likely to have harmful effects because of the processes and chemicals involved in making them. However the argument about passive smoking simply does not hold up. Likewise the studies of morbidity suggest that diet may be a major factor in cancer risk, perhaps more so than smoking. The work has not been done because cigarettes have been a convenient scapegoat for almost a hundred years.

    I would like to see tobacco banned, although it is very unfair on smokers, because in two to three decades when cancer rates are still rising the medical profession will have much to answer for. The pity is that agriculture, food and processing industry scientists could be doing valuable work now and smokers and non-smokers could co-exist in a much friendlier environment than they currently enjoy. Honeybees may also enjoy a return to conventional farming practices.

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  • 193. At 12:00pm on 04 Aug 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    #192,

    I do not understand why you insist on referring only to cancers when talking about the dangers of smoking. Lung cancer (or any other cancers) caused by smoking (active or passive) is relatively rare. COPD caused by smoking (active AND passive) is very commom. I have previously addressed this in my posts 125 and 177. The link in post 177 is for an article which explains the true prevalence of COPD burden and the fact that in many countries its prevalence is not even measured. Thus your argument about the effects of passive smoking being impossible to measure in the WHO report is absurd. I also suggest you read post 190. It is a clear example of smoking-related COPD.

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  • 194. At 12:01pm on 04 Aug 2009, ZAwoman wrote:

    I smoked for 51 years and stopped without too much difficulty. My breathing has not improved and I lose my temper easily. My husband still smokes. I feel for him as he is finding it difficult to give up. Why, if one is an alcoholic or drug addict, can they go into rehab but a smoker can't. Everyone recognises it as an addiction so I don't understand why so much discrimination. Surely if the government really wanted us to stop they would make this available to strugglers.

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  • 195. At 12:37pm on 04 Aug 2009, Brin wrote:

    davidwhite44 - Well said!

    Smokers - you have the right to smoke.
    Non smokers - you have the right to a smoke free environment.

    Solution - Smokers smoke but don't exhale. Simple.

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  • 196. At 12:41pm on 04 Aug 2009, DeniseCullum222 wrote:

    People are smoking in their homes and cars I do not smoke from chose and I do not mind others who do if I do not want to go were they are smoking I do not but they have the right to chose as for the NHS cost well get ride of the trustees and pen pushes and making huge nasty look hospitals if people which to smoke inform them what can go wrong and clean up how cigarettes are produced and what goes into them we need cyanide and other poisons in them? No so put on the pack the ingredient that is in a pack also what is in booze as they two go together and stop writing about how the Govenment cares about its subjects it does not it cares about money.

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  • 197. At 1:09pm on 04 Aug 2009, buffonia wrote:

    Smoking is great, I love it!
    I started smoking aged 20, and I'd been told that it doesn't really do you any permanent damage until you've been smoking over 10 years and get to age 30. So, I thought 'if I'm still smoking when I'm 30, i'll give up'. I thought I would care, but I turn 30 next month and have no intention of giving up!

    Being a smoker is like being in a club. I've made so many friends and met so many interesting people by smoking. And I like the smoking ban - it's great taking some time out when you're out at the pub and having a chat with a few fellow smokers outside....and if you're single, it's a great way to meet men/women as well.

    And I agree with this blog: persecuting smokers only makes us more determined to smoke. When people tell me not to, or the government targets smokers yet again, I think: "screw you, I'm off for a fag...." I don't tell people they're killing themselves by being fat or drinking too much, so what makes people think they have the right to tell me what to do?

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  • 198. At 1:57pm on 04 Aug 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    buffonia,

    Nobody said you could not smoke. You are free to do so.
    But outside.

    P.S.
    'Smoking is great, I love it!...but I turn 30 next month and have no intention of giving up'

    This reminded me of the anecdote about the guy who fell from the roof of his house. When he was about 1 meter above the ground he said: 'So far, so good...'

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  • 199. At 2:44pm on 04 Aug 2009, buffonia wrote:

    Hi Isenhorn

    I think you misunderstood what I meant when I say I don't like people telling me to smoke. I don't have a problem with the ban - I actually said in my post that I like the ban, it's a great way of meeting other smokers and having a good chat. I agree with the ban, and have no issue with smoking outside.

    But some people don't care where you are smoking, they have a go at you. Recent experiences: I was smoking on the way to the station only yesterday and some man said to me 'It's bad for you, you know', to which I sarcastically replied 'really? I never knew that, you're the first person to tell me'. A few weeks ago, I was smoking in the passenger seat of my boyfriend's car, and a man waiting in traffic on his bicycle had the nerve to say to me through the window of the car 'You shouldn't smoke, it will kill you', at which my boyfriend promptly wound the window up. What gives a complete stranger the right to lecture me about my personal habits when I'm in a private vehicle? This is what I have a problem with; not being asked to smoke outside.

    I wouldn't stop a random fat person eating some chips and tell them they're going to kill themselves, because it's none of my business - why do some people think it's acceptable to speak to smokers like this? And I can tell that there are a few people like this on this board - some people are really malicious, rude and nasty about their opinions: whatever happened to live and let live?

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  • 200. At 3:05pm on 04 Aug 2009, iNotHere wrote:

    @199

    I agree totally, I don't smoke anymore myself but everybody has the right to decide for themselves what they put into their bodies, be it tobacco, cannabis, heroin, or alchohol etc. Nobody likes to be preached at and it does no good anyway, just makes people dig their heels in more.
    I find it difficult walking past smokers on the street as my breathing isn't that great down to 32 years of smoking....for me to hold my breath for ten seconds as I walk past them (as somebody else mentioned) makes things VERY uncomfortable for me, it makes my trip to the high street very unpleasent. Even though that is the case I still defend the right for others to smoke if they want to.

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  • 201. At 4:10pm on 04 Aug 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    169. At 2:07pm on 02 Aug 2009, princey100 wrote:
    "...now if could find away to stop smokers crowding the door ways and taking all of the outside tables and chairs..."

    I think that we should get the govt. to ban smokers from breathing the same air as non-smokers. Fact is, smokers breathe out just as much as non-smokers, so there is a good chance that non-smokers might breathe in smokers air.

    How dare smokers go outside and use the public places to exercise their habit.

    While we're at it, why don't we have a go at beer drinkers. The smell of stale beer is vile. Beer breath. Worse if they drink coffee too - and garlic - oh no, and baby-sick cheese with blue bits in it.

    Life should be sterile, clean, no variation and definitely no choice. Ban anything that brings enjoyment (does that include sex?) and we'll all look, sound and act the same - what a wonderful world it will be.

    Sound stupid? Yes?

    PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK

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  • 202. At 4:34pm on 04 Aug 2009, Secratariat wrote:

    SHLA2UK wrote:
    "Life should be sterile, clean, no variation and definitely no choice. Ban anything that brings enjoyment (does that include sex?) and we'll all look, sound and act the same - what a wonderful world it will be."


    You'll probably be allowed to have sex, but only if you promise not to enjoy it too much :-)

    Although I'd bet there's a few on here who'd lecture us that sex is purely for procreation and isn't something that should be enjoyed in case it leads to promiscuous behaviour and diseases !

    Come to that, if I'm not allowed a smoke afterwards then do I really want to have sex or do I have to do it outside ?
    This is getting complicated now mate, you've opened up a whole can of worms here...

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  • 203. At 5:09pm on 04 Aug 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    202. At 4:34pm on 04 Aug 2009, Secratariat wrote:
    "...This is getting complicated now mate, you've opened up a whole can of worms here..."

    Oh dear - have I brought it to this?
    Maybe that is what it is all about? It is very complicated, but could have been oh-so-simples.

    And Mark is doing a great job of opening all these subjects to discussion, but to be honest, they're all blurring together. Smoking, Pubs Closing / Evolving, Drugs - Legal or Kill everyone dead - I think the can of worms is, and always was, a much bigger can of much bigger worms than anyone, at first, imagined.

    Was that your point, Mark? If so, you've done a blinder. Are they all tied together, 'joined at the hip', so to speak?

    In a land, not far away, not too long ago, there was a population of free-thinking but mainly law-abiding people. Bit by bit, those people were being eroded, eaten away by silly legislation to keep us all in line. Free-thinking was being outlawed, slowly.

    We wanted more choice. We wanted to drink when we wanted to drink, not confined to ridiculous WWI and church dictated opening hours, and the all-day pub was born. We wanted to be in the pub more, and so demanded cleaner pubs where we could be with family and maybe have a bite to eat and so the gastro/family pub was born. Not satisfied with that, we took it one step too far, and banned smoking anywhere that has more than 1 wall.

    Why do we need this one-size-fits-all approach? Why not choice.

    We've turned pubs into licensed restaurants. Nothing more and nothing less, but what we have not done is fill the void. Restaurants do not promote 'standing at the bar' so you are inevitably sat at a table, and so there is no interraction. Restaurants are very unsociable, apart from the company you are with. They aren't places to meet people, so where do we meet people?

    No longer the pub, but if there are any more 'do / don't' laws preventing free thinking, free action and free speech, we'll be doing our socialising during the exercise period only.

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  • 204. At 5:29pm on 04 Aug 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    #192:

    I notice that you mention Richard Peto (although those quotes are not from him). Since you acknowledge that he is such an authority in this area, perhaps you'd like to look at Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2004 96(2):99-106 (http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/96/2/99), which is a paper co-authored by Peto.

    You'll find he summarises a great deal of evidence about how smoking, including passive smoking, causes cancer.

    I notice you still haven't given a citation for your supposed study by the WHO that found no risk of passive smoking. However, it still appears to be just a single study. The paper I've cited by Peto and colleagues is a review of worldwide evidence, and so can lead to far more robust conclusions than a single study.

    The evidence is clear. Passive smoking causes cancer. You can choose to believe it or not believe it as you wish, but please realise that if you choose not to believe it you're basing your beliefs on faith rather than evidence.

    Oh, and do read post #193 as well. Some wise words there: cancer isn't the only bad thing that smoking does to you.

    BTW, I think I understand the point you're making about honey bees now: am I right in thinking you believe that agricultural pesticides are basically just as harmful as cigarette smoke, and so everyone who eats commercially-produced vegetables will be doing just as much damage to themselves as if they went into a smoke-filled room?

    Interesting theory.

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  • 205. At 7:37pm on 04 Aug 2009, Kevin Tubb wrote:

    I am a smoker and although I do feel slightly agrieved at being a social pariah, I can understand that I should not inflict my bad habit on others. Smoking afterall is a dirty, smelly and dangerous past-time. I would however like to make a a small point with regard to this debate.

    Many are argueing that the smoking ban had had a terrible effect on pubs and that many are being forced to close, many however argue that they can now enjoy their pubs and bars more in a smokeless atmosphere etcetera.

    No one has questioned the reason that people are in these bars and pubs in the first place - and that is for the express purpose of imbibing alcohol. Alcohol is a drug, not unlike nicotine, responsible for amongst other things, Sclerosis, Diabeties, Pancreatic Cancer, Bowel Cancer, Mouth Cancer and Throat Cancer, not to mention, Drink Driving, Agressive Behaviour, Unprotected sex, Date Rape, Unconciousness and Death.

    Perhaps we should have a rethink and introduce a drinking ban and replace Public Houses with public smoking rooms instead.

    Just a bit of Blue Sky thinking for the Government to ponder!

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  • 206. At 11:13am on 05 Aug 2009, fillandfrowpist wrote:

    #204

    Nearly there Disgusted.

    The reason why the studies of the honeybee are important is not just the presence of fertiliser/insecticides in plants, the ground, the rain, the rivers and so on, neither is it just the presence of large scale industrial, pharmaceutical, fossil fuel based waste products in the same. There is a much deeper moral.

    The actual task that Peto and others face (and the quote from Wakeham, according to Hansard, is accurate as to what Peto said) when attributing smoking (especially secondary smoke) as a cause of cancer is "where did the chemical that caused the cancer come from" and "was that the actual trigger that started the cancer" and "is there a random factor we cannot see"? These questions cannot be answered unequivocally which is what Peto highlighted. Statistics can be used to prove what you want but they are not evidence.

    In 1998 the WHO study was on the front page of all the tabloids before the report was officially released because the link establishment between secondary smoke and cancer had "failed" (where were you?). The WHO and all the anti-smoking lobbies (who are also entitled to their opinions) then produced their counter claims over a period of time. But are these studies reliable or just more of the same attack on the tobacco giants?

    To put your mind at rest let me put my view this way:

    Smoking can cause cancer but so can many other things we do like cooking, cleaning, eating food, walking down the road, getting stressed out, participating in sport and so on. Cancer appears to thrive on a "random" factor that we do not understand. It can strike the very healthy down just as easily as those who take risks.

    The honeybee project demonstrates that it is never wise to scapegoat apparent pests in the drive to have good crops.

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  • 207. At 11:13am on 05 Aug 2009, goodun77 wrote:

    I agree with the ban in principal and agree that it does indeed make pubs/clubs/bars/ you name it, more pleasant to be in. I am a smoker, and there is just one thing I'd like to highlight.

    When we do now go outside as we are compelled to do so, there are certain people who very much annoy me (and my friends) with some of their comments and behaviour.

    An example was recently, I was outside in a pub garden with a group of friends, all three of us were smokers. It was clear we'd firstly, been there for a while, and secondly, that we were smoking from time to time.
    Apologies for using this term but, two "middle-aged" ladies came and sat down very near us, within about 3minutes the first comment about how "it's nice to be outside on a sunny day, if it wasn't for all that smoke" was heard. Furhter comments and gesticulations ensued, and finally, I had to say something.
    I politely reminded them that we were in a sizeable pub garden and if it was sooooo terrible they could move, or could have sat further away when they first arrived, and that if it was really too much for them, they had the whole of the inside of the pub.

    I consider myself to be a considerate person, and was actually in that example trying to stop as much smoke as possible going in their direction, and in general if sat outside near families etc, I may even get up from the table and move while I smoke. But to receive what was basically "polite/indirect" barbed comments every 30 seconds really annoyed me!

    Sorry this has been what may seem like quite a long rant, but it's still on my mind now!

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  • 208. At 11:53am on 05 Aug 2009, bigsammyb wrote:

    There is no evidence whatsoever passive smoking is any worse than normal contamination in the air we are all exposed to daily ie: car exhaust fumes.

    Yet smoknig was banned in ALL public places. totally unjustified and facist.

    For sure there is a strong courtesy issue so why didn't the government restrict smoking in public places? ie: every town can have X number of smoking pubs? Those who work in them can choose if they want to just like numerous other jobs where there is a potential risk involved.

    The governments failiure to do this proves it has nothing to do with fairness and everything to do with a puratanical facist theology that is imposed upon us without our consent.

    Ergo i will not give up smoking, i will save up until i can live in france where nobody takes any notice of the smoking ban.

    Speed camaeras, CCTV, DNA database, phone/email tapping its all one of the same thing. Welcome to Nazi Britian.

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  • 209. At 12:24pm on 05 Aug 2009, Carl Showalter wrote:

    The need for a smoking ban is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy: we all know it's detrimental to health, it's addictive, laced with hundreds of supplementary chemicals which carry their own health risks and serves the sole purpose of making others richer at your expense, namely the government and the tobacco companies, who by virtue of their actions have placed a price on your life, which you then gladly pay. I could understand it if a hardened tobaccophile cultivated his or her own supply, dried and cured it without chemicals because that way entities that you hate like big corporations and government don't profit from your death. the reality that people still don't grasp the fact that the profiteers of the smoking industry don't care a rat's behind about you or the risks you take means that a smoking ban is desperately needed. people still haven't worked it out. you're the fall guys in an incredibly macabre plot involving you, addiction, your money and your eventual, slow, painful and ultimately pointless demise.

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  • 210. At 1:26pm on 05 Aug 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    209. At 12:24pm on 05 Aug 2009, LuftHamza wrote:
    "...you're the fall guys in an incredibly macabre plot involving you, addiction, your money and your eventual, slow, painful and ultimately pointless demise..."

    Is that not just the meaning of life.
    We are all involved
    We all have an addiction, one way or another - something we like
    We all spend our money upon it
    We all die, some quickly and suddenly, most slowly, painfully and pointlessly.

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  • 211. At 2:13pm on 05 Aug 2009, Secratariat wrote:

    SHLA2UK wrote:
    "Oh dear - have I brought it to this?
    Maybe that is what it is all about? It is very complicated, but could have been oh-so-simples."


    How right you are.
    I remember when the ban was being debated writing to my MP about the ban and asking why legislation could not be brought in requiring separate smoking rooms to be set up with proper ventilation systems so that smokers could still smoke while non-smokers would be protected from whatever dangers passive smoking presents.

    She replied that the government had asked the industry to do this on a voluntary basis but at the time, very few had complied and no voluntary code of conduct had been set up so the government was instead pursuing the total ban in all public places.

    I found this astonishing, can you imagine the government banning cars because manufacturers didn't voluntarily fit safety belts ?
    Of course they wouldn't (and didn't) the use of seat-belts was written into law and now all cars must be fitted with them.
    In any other situation the necessary legislation would have been brought in forcing the industry to comply if they failed to self-regulate so I wrote back asking why this situation was different.
    Several years later I'm still waiting for a reply.

    This has confirmed my suspicions that the ban was never based on health and safety grounds but was just another New Labour anti-freedom law.
    They don't care about anyone’s health, they just want to force their way of life and opinions onto the rest of us until we're all docile little sheep who do as they're told and never question anything.

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  • 212. At 2:41pm on 05 Aug 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    211. At 2:13pm on 05 Aug 2009, Secratariat wrote:
    "...She replied that the government had asked the industry to do this on a voluntary basis but at the time, very few had complied and no voluntary code of conduct had been set up so the government was instead pursuing the total ban in all public places..."

    So, the government asked for a certain amount of 'self-regulation' to attempt a compromise. I remember a certain amount of such self-policing and I know of many pubs that had 'no smoking at the bar' or no smoking restaurants, etc. As few had complied, govt just bullied their law through, without any consideration for the fact that it didn't work was because, maybe, it was too much, too far, too soon?

    IMO, the self-regulation was a half-hearted affair by govt - a peace-meal stop-gap until their ban could be effected.


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  • 213. At 2:50pm on 05 Aug 2009, soniarun wrote:

    I gave up smoking 12 years ago, best gift I ever gave my family! I now run 20km every week, play cricket and table tennis, and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. I carry no access weight.
    Anyone trying to give up, I recommend they take up gym and sports.

    Non smokers should be protected from smoke, children above all should be protected from smoke. I know two families whose children have suffered serious ilnesses due to parents smoking.

    Smoking should be banned in cars, certainly for drivers. It is hazardous to drive whilst lighting up and smoking. There should be a heavy penalty for people throwing theirs cigarette ends from cars.

    I hate walking into a restaurants through a cloud of smoke! Smoking outside entrances should also be banned.

    Above all.... children must be protected... give your child a chance.

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  • 214. At 3:43pm on 05 Aug 2009, fillandfrowpist wrote:

    #213

    I am delighted that giving up smoking worked so well for you, but "giving your child a chance" must go much deeper than personal habits. Are you prepared to give up your car, cheap food, cheap clothes, cheap products generally? Are you prepared to ration your use of water, electricity, gas and fuel? Are you prepared to have the number of child births in any given period controlled by an authority?

    Smoking has become a scapegoat issue that hides a huge number of other much more serious matters that human beings face. What are you going to do when tobacco, alcohol and drugs have all been banned and children still die of cancer?

    Life is a lottery. Problem is we don't know what a winning ticket looks like so we have to make our own.

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  • 215. At 4:01pm on 05 Aug 2009, puddingandpi wrote:

    I regularly see a little old lady, stood outside a pub, smoking away.
    Her legs are not in a good state & she has hollowed cheeks, but she's always there! I have such respect for her - it's the Dunkirk spirit! She's not giving up, no way, no matter what!
    That's what being British is all about: carrying on, regardless of the obstacles, with pig-headed determination. Good for her!
    Or rather not.

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  • 216. At 4:46pm on 05 Aug 2009, fillandfrowpist wrote:

    To Mark Easton and the BBC.

    I am delighted that the subject of honeybees has made it (at last) onto mainstream news in the guise of "urban hives". Anyone who has witnessed the King's Cross hive will be truly amazed that healthy bees thrive in such an apparently hostile site, especially compared to the plight of country based hives.

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  • 217. At 5:28pm on 05 Aug 2009, Squaremind wrote:

    One thing I find very interesting, working as I do in a variety of major organisations as an external consultant, is the fact that I quickly get to know and like a lot of the permanent employees... Because we all hang outside smoking together and talk to each other.

    This has created huge jealousies with some of my colleagues who feel excluded from a club that was born of the very fact that as smokers we are supposed to be excluded, in the naughty corner if you will, not enjoying it! Which kind of beats the point.

    The second thing I'd like to raise is the fact that to sell alcohol, pubs and the like need a license. I don't know about the rest of the country, but in London the number of licenses is quite controlled and not just automatically granted. Couldn't we do the same for smoking? Have a 'smoking license' for pubs, and those with them are permitted to let tobacco products be consumed on the premises, those without aren't.

    This means that non-smokers could go to smoke free pubs, where lighting up would be illegal and they would be within their rights to demand a smoke free atmosphere. Us smokers could go to smoke-licensed pubs and puff away our short and merry lives.

    I can only see one problem with this: my forecasts predict that every pub without a smoking license would go out of business within 3 years.

    People vote with their feet, given half a chance, and my knowledge of the people that go to pubs is that they are the aforementionned 22% of the population that smoke!

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  • 218. At 10:49am on 06 Aug 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    #206:

    You can get your information on the effects of smoking from the front page of the tabloids if you wish. As for me, I'll stick to peer-reviewed scientific journals.

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  • 219. At 1:07pm on 06 Aug 2009, Big Trev wrote:

    The smoking ban has done nothing to encourage me to stop. Quite the reverse in fact. I feel a stand should be made against such norrow minded, intolerant, restrictive legislation. Especially when the justifaction given for it is very thin scientific evidence.

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  • 220. At 2:33pm on 06 Aug 2009, pageybe wrote:

    This is a long thread. If you are still reading, you are part of the blogging hard-core. Be prepared to stand outside and be persecuted for your legal activities. You are spending time in the day reading this blog and not contributing towards the economy. This has a negative effect on others around you and you will be punished for it.

    I agree with compromise and balance on this ban. Why is it not permitted to smoke in a dedicated area where you do not affect non-smokers? There is middle ground where everyone can be happy and do what they choose.

    Why do fish-eaters not get told to eat outside the restaurant when the smell physically repulses me? This is a negative externality, as is driving a car, eating popcorn in the cinema etc. You can't negate the effects or regulate all of them. What about alcohol? A drunk on a night out may violently attack an innocent person - this is an unaddressed health risk.

    I would agree that being told you should not or cannot do something makes you feel defensive. A year or so ago I considered giving up smoking as I was not too bothered about it and it was MY CHOICE. Now that discretion is being pulled away from me and I feel more resistant and do want to quit less and certainly not becuase of increased addiction.

    I think about my grandfather who smoked 40+ per day. Enjoyed it, considered it almost a hobby. He lived to 84. I think what he would have felt to being told to pick himself up from the bar and stumble outside for the preference of the intolerant non-smokers. I have every respect for those that don't smoke but accept the fact that others do. If I ever quit, I will be tolerant of those around me in the same way I am about other things in life.

    If non-smokers didn't want to be in a smokey environment then they had the choice not to enter a smokey environment. You have a choice. Smokers no longer do.

    Some things from my previous discussions on this topic:

    Air quality on aeroplanes has reduced after the airlines banned smoking. Before, the operators were forced to take air onboard and now it is purely filtered and recycled.

    After the ban on smoking in bars in the Norway, customers are now forced outside in to the (seriously) cold to have a cigarette. They are even provided with blankets to do so.

    You have to be a certain distance from public or workplace buildings to smoke in the California. Park right outside with your V8 chugging out exhaust towards the doorway and no-one will blink an eyelid.

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  • 221. At 5:29pm on 06 Aug 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    220. At 2:33pm on 06 Aug 2009, pageybe wrote:
    "...You have to be a certain distance from public or workplace buildings to smoke in the California. Park right outside with your V8 chugging out exhaust towards the doorway and no-one will blink an eyelid..."

    I do like this analogy. I don't even care if it's true, but it just illustrates the hypocrisy of so much of society today.

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  • 222. At 11:18am on 07 Aug 2009, carl2407 wrote:

    Sorry this blog has become so long now that Health and Safety have stated it may harm you. The need to keep scrolling down has affected some peoples hands and the amount of time in front of the screen needed to read it goes beyond what is deemed safe.

    You can carry on reading at your own risk outside these premises. A 90% tax will be levied on your internet fee.

    There has also been a great deal of complaints from the working classes that these people who have nothing better to do than complain are spoiling their lives and stressing them out resulting in illness. Therefore the Government will be implementing a ban on whingers in public places. They can still whinge but must do so outside, preferably in the cold and rain, where they will cause far less stress and inevitably illness.

    Scientific evidence states quite clearly that most scientific evidence is not and that fact is not the same as scientific evidence. Source "The Layman Report" Feb 30th 2010.

    You want to cut the risks in life ? Don`t live.

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  • 223. At 09:45am on 12 Aug 2009, binturong wrote:

    Smokers contribute to global warming. The exhaled fumes and carbon monoxide of the atmosphere must be rising as a result of years of sustained smoking; think of the rainforrest clearance to make matches and paper to roll the tobacco in; then there are the countless house fires(...and deaths) caused by smouldering cigarette butts. A very un green habit for all concerned...

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  • 224. At 4:57pm on 12 Aug 2009, FatPeace - A Promise to Heather wrote:

    It's immensely problematic to compare the demonisation of smokers with 'gays, Muslims or Jews' (#4), partly because these are protected classes, and partly because of the concept of behaviour versus characteristic and the choice dynamic. A better similarity might be with the relatively recent reaction to so-called obesity, something which is both a characteristic (some activists, 'radicalised' by exactly the OTT demonisation process Mark Easton discusses, have made their noncomformity to social weight rules a central part of their identity) and - albeit disputed by said activists - a 'behaviour'.

    In other words, rather like smoking (maybe we'll eventually see something similar amongst heavy drinkers, as they appear to be next in the line of fire).

    Both smoking and obesity are considered negative personal behaviours - and this notion (obligation?) of control is the crux of the matter; the distinction between aspects of a person's identity that are (rightly or wrongly) considered 'changeable' - their weight, smoking / drinking habits etc) and things they either can't alter (skin colour, height) or shouldn't for whatever reason be expected to (ie religion, sexuality).

    Whilst I wouldn't want to get drawn into the debate about whether someone can or can't change a stigmatised aspect of their identity; I'm far more interested in the idea of why in certain cases they should be obliged to conform to wider social mores yet in others that same society prides itself on its tolerance.

    It's interesting to note how the increased focus on obesity (along with 'binge drinking' has coincided with a drop in the levels of recorded smoking, suggesting that those who spearheaded previous campaigns may be seeking to turn the experience gained to new fronts.

    Both are seen as something that is disgusting, uncool (although this was always the case with being fat, smoking was until relatively recently promoted) and generally *wrong* and as such are subject to campaigns and legislation intended at reducing measureable rates. Those opposing both frequently invoke rhetoric relating to lack of willpower, immorality, notions of attractiveness and disgust, not to mention the burden on the 'collective' (via costs to the NHS) in order to stoke social disapproval of their particular target group.

    Of course some will argue that the main difference is in passive smoking; ie you can't make another person fat by being fat at them, whereas if you sit around in smoky environments long enough you might develop some of the problems linked to smoking. Similarly binge drinking CAN (though not always does) trigger anti-social and violent behaviour against third parties and their property. Of course the result of this is that some branches of obesity research are now trying to demonstrate (so far without substantive success) that fat is somehow 'contagious' - either literally, through a virus, or through its normalisation by thin people being exposed to increased numbers of fat people in society - in order to justify the same punishment previously meted out to smokers.

    As for statistics and reliance on them, people set too much store by peer-review; have you never come across the concept of 'herd mentality' or consider that many researchers have a vested interest in declaring something an 'issue' which then attracts vast sums of Government and other funding, keeping them and the mass media employees that 'report' their findings in work? the threat of professional and peer censure and resultant loss of both income and more importantly standing within the community must act as a powerful motivator for many potential 'dissenters' to toe the line and not challenge the work of other academics? I actually think peer review is a major part of the problem.

    Besides, it's always been very simple to conjure up a scientific justification for virtually any point of view or course of action: the inferiority of women / black people / Jews, smoking bans, prohibition, wars on drugs and on obesity, frontal lobotomies on 'uppity' teen girls, 'stolen children', 'straightening' therapy for gay people, etc etc. In most societies, scientists are rich white men and distinctly Establishment; now why I wonder might they might see a threat in those who don't conform for one reason or another?

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  • 225. At 9:13pm on 12 Aug 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark:

    The reduction in future smokers Will only come if the taxes on the cigarettes are higher and, also, discouraging young folks from picking up this habit.....

    =Dennis Junior=

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  • 226. At 5:04pm on 14 Aug 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    #224:

    "Of course the result of this is that some branches of obesity research are now trying to demonstrate (so far without substantive success) that fat is somehow 'contagious' - either literally, through a virus, or through its normalisation by thin people being exposed to increased numbers of fat people in society - in order to justify the same punishment previously meted out to smokers."

    Really? Do you have a source for that, or did you make it up?

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  • 227. At 7:22pm on 14 Aug 2009, FatPeace - A Promise to Heather wrote:

    Why would I make it up (particularly when that's the job of the likes of Weight Concern, the National Obesity Forum, and the Department of Health)? It never ceases to bemuse me how the very same 'progressive' types who'll interrogate and question pretty much anything else the Government and media sell them unblinkingly buy into half-theories and exaggerations that allow them to justify their aesthetic and moral dislike of fat people. The Beeb itself is a prime example; if I want to consider the other side of the story, I have to look elsewhere, for Auntie has a line to toe.

    Here's some BBC links (or more to the point, the same story recycled several times over a period of almost a decade) about the 'obesity adenovirus' theory:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/854584.stm
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6956543.stm
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7851031.stm

    And here's a couple about the frankly ridiculous notion that exposure to other fat people (including all those thousands of fat celebrities in the mass media) is making people seek to emulate them by refusing to compliantly strive for thinness:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8123741.stm
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7524944.stm

    All these 'theories': the hand-wringing, the guinea pig initiatives of weighing babies and teaching teenagers to declare war on their own bodies, the billions spent on research, point to the likelihood that they haven't actually got a clue what causes some people to be bigger than others. However I personally believe that definition is absolutely everything, and the common measures of both obesity and its most commonly cited risk, diabetes, have been 'revised' downwards in the last ten years. The motives behind this may be even more complex, but I certainly wouldn't rule out the size of the health promotion / research / treatment industry that's thrived on this latest moral panic - an industry that would have otherwise declined with rapid falls in the number of tobacco smokers - being a major factor. Remember we're all still living longer, generally healthier lives, and yet we've somehow allowed ourselves to be convinced of the exact opposite.

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  • 228. At 04:17am on 18 Aug 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    *In public health terms this must be a welcome change, but achieving further reductions will probably need to come from convincing fewer young people to take up cigarettes rather than hoping the hard core can be bullied into abstinence*

    I think that the authorities should be doing more Public Services Ads to advice that smoking in the "younger" years, is simply dangerous...

    =Dennis Junior=

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  • 229. At 10:26pm on 20 Aug 2009, grandcent wrote:

    Something else to take into account is this - it's often more fun being outside with the smokers than inside with the non-smokers. I find this a huge disincentive to giving up smoking. If no one smoked outside it would be easy, but as it stands outside is 'where it's at'.

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