Five years after the smoking ban we are all smokers now

I hope you are reading The Commentator an online magazine newspaper for which I am an ‘umble writer. Covering politics and economics in the UK, USA and the rest of the Anglo-sphere, it is described as “conservative and libertarian news, opinion and blogs. Established April 2011 by @RobinShepherd1, @RaheemJKassam & @DaneVallejo they have some damn good writers, me excepted.  Here are the Facebook and Twitter links.

So I thought I would post one of my articles and give you a sneak preview of next weeks. Next week’s piece is on the liberalisation of prostitution and gambling.

“Las Vegas …. reluctantly in sympathy with many American States made gambling illegal on October 1st 1910. Not to be outdone inevitably the underground gambling industry flourished and like Alcohol Prohibition a secret password was needed to get in. ”

“Firstly fifty five police forces in the UK took part in operation Pentameter 1 to track down trafficked women working in prostitution. Out of an estimated 80,000 sex workers, 88 or 0.11% were victims.”

Now my article on the smoking ban.

When I was asked to write articles for The Commentator I was determined not to bang on about smoking. However, five years after the ban came in on July 1st 2007, it seems relevant to raise my head above the parapet.

My thesis and hence the title, that flushed with the ‘success’ of smoking restrictions, a tidal wave of non-governmental organisations (many state funded charities), ‘something must be done’ politicians and an all-too-compliant population have opened themselves up to their own version of stigmatisation, vilification and Acts that receive the assent of the Queen.

The ultimate irony is we have the Guardianista, left wing, Islington dinner party set sanctioning state led bigotry against smokers.

In a remarkable paper by Professor Hilary Graham, commissioned by the Department of Health, society’s attitudes toward smokers is reviewed. It makes grim reading. Smokers are now a despised underclass. She does not mince her words in comparing the plight of smokers to racially discriminated immigrants.

“Across the 19th and 20th centuries, poorer communities, including migrant and indigenous groups, were cast as the contaminating other whose habitual behaviours were seen to threaten ways of life that were in contrast presented as normal and desirable.”

The history of public health is scarred by policies which, pursued in the name of health protection and promotion, have served to intensify public vilification and state-sanctioned discrimination against already disadvantaged groups.

The smoking rates between the classes are 14 percent for the middle classes and 28 percent for the working classes and they have also been most affected by pub, bingo hall and Working Men’s CIU club closures and subsequent unemployment. The ban has led to upwards of 10,000 pubs closing which would be trading if smoking was still allowed.

The British pub’s Bible, the Publican’s Morning Advertiser, even before the ban was one year old in April 2008 said, “as many as 78,000 full and part-time jobs may have been lost if the survey results replicate the situation across the 50,000 pubs in England and Wales.”

What has been one of the more corrosive aspects of the Tobacco Control Industry is the abuse of science. The heart attack ‘miracles’ invented by Professor Jill Pell of Glasgow University and Professor Anna Gilmore of the University of Bath are a prime example. Pell’s study was awarded top ten status in The Times’ ‘The worst junk science stats of 2007.’

Professor Pell was guilty of selecting the months and hospitals she chose for the study. Professor Anna Gilmore was guilty of describing a methodology in her paper and then appearing to abandon it. Her paper in the British Medical Journal said ‘Conclusion. This study adds to a growing body of evidence that smoke-free legislation leads to reductions in myocardial infarctions.’

The three years preceding the smoking saw drops in acute myocardial infarction of 1.33 percent, 3.1 percent and 5.19 percent. Post ban 3.21 percent and 4.26 percent. Draw your own conclusions.

It would be also be pertinent to comment on the social isolation and dislocation caused by the smoking ban, especially the aged and infirm. Do you really expect an eighty year old pensioner to hobble out on their walking sticks in the middle of January to puff on their pipe? The pub, bingo hall and CIU clubs might have been their only interaction outside their home.

As I infer at the start of the piece, if you do not smoke but like a drink and have love handles, Pastor Niemoller is preaching at your door; the neuro-linguistic programming speak is coming to a place near you.

A leader in the Guardian, from Friday June 29th, was sub titled ‘The smoking ban was far too long in coming – and the next campaign for public health will be harder still to sell.’ (I am sure they will try their best.) And went on to say, “the next campaign for better public health is in a different league. Alcohol and obesity – what we eat and how much we drink – these are the stuff of our very souls.”

The Royal College of Physicians wrote in 2007 “The ‘passive effects’ of alcohol, misuse are catastrophic – rape, sexual assault, domestic and other violence, drunk driving and street disorder – alcohol affects thousands more innocent victims than passive smoking.”

We also have this gem: “Supermarkets are exhibiting the morality of a crack dealer”, House of Commons Select Committee on Health as told by Professor Martin Plant.

In an article by Dennis Gottfried, M.D. entitled ‘Anti-Smoking Tactics Can Squeeze Obesity’ he opines: “When people with whom we are closely associated gain weight, such as a spouse, sibling, neighbor or friend, we are also at an increased risk of gaining weight. For example, if your friend becomes obese, you have a 177 percent increased risk of becoming obese. If your friend’s brother becomes obese, your risk is still increased’

Yes that is passive obesity.

San Francisco has banned free toys with McDonalds Happy meals, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is banning large cups of soda (fizzy drinks) in retail outlets of more than 16 ounces.

Big Pharma in the shape of The Robert Wood Foundation have funded this study, “Soda and Tobacco Industry Corporate Social Responsibility Campaigns: How Do They Compare? The conclusions included: “As they did with tobacco, public health advocates need to counter industry CSR with strong denormalization campaigns to educate the public and policymakers about the effects of soda Corporate Social Responsibility campaigns and the social ills caused by sugary beverages.”

Believe you me I am just poking a scalpel underneath the epidermis of the bully state.

Many people find smoking uncomfortable, perhaps in some cases even a little obnoxious. However after coming for the smokers, the bully state. shamelessly embraced by David Cameron, has been rolled out to you.

You too will be a second class citizen. In a phrase first coined by IEA Fellow Chris Snowdon, ‘Utopia is only one ban away.’

David Atherton is Chairman of Freedom2Choose, which seeks to protect the informed choices of consenting adults on the issues of smoking





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11 Responses to Five years after the smoking ban we are all smokers now

  1. lysistratatheoriginal says:

    Nice article, Dave.
    Can you make one correction please? I’m in ‘edit’ mode this morning.
    “they have some damn good writers, me accepted.”
    Er, it should be “excepted”, not accepted. lol 😉

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    Dave spot on again,denormalization tactics sooner or later will leave not only politicians going oh not again but the people too. You can only sale a lie the same way so many times before you get taken to task by the ones your trying to bullshit with the same old doom and gloom message. Can you imagine being the fool trying to sell denormalization time and again with the same damn introduction while trying to keep a straight face………….Knowing they know your full of shit yet again.

    Anti-tobacco tactics used in every other social stigmatization program time and again.

    The same junk science linked to studies no doubt using the same junk researchers time and again but always they leave their calling card as you stated;

    This study adds to a growing body of evidence that smoke-free legislation leads to reductions in ………………………. fill in your favorite claim in the blank spot.’

    A mountain of junk science is still a mountain of junk science no matter how hard you try and sell it!
    Oh but its peer reviewed,ya by the same junk scientists if they are scientists as their fellows who created it. It particularly bothers me about whom they call researchers,with these denormalization folks its defined as anybody they can shop out to put their name on it. Ive actually got evidence of them creating a study and then shopping for a person to create their methodology for what they are trying to state in the so called study!

    But then arent all their studies pre-determined they just have to look for gullible clinicians to put their name on it!

  3. churchmouse says:

    Thanks, Dave — Unfortunately, I don’t think the rest will be as hard a sell as the Guardian thinks it will be. People will just roll over, as they did with tobacco.

    Re the Cambridge abstract, just as great a problem as the stigmatisation of poor people who smoke is the stigmatisation by middle-class anti-smokers of their smoking (soon-to-be-ex-)friends in the same socio-economic group. (Presumably, as there are fewer middle-class smokers, it’s less of a problem. But are there actually fewer middle-class smokers?) It also seems as if the author ignored the elderly, who, as you mention, have had the fun sapped out of their sunset years by these authoritarian fake experts.

    You’ve probably seen it, but Dick Puddlecote links to the PDF from the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies (emphases mine):

    Click to access report201112.pdf

    p. 4: ‘FP31 – Application of tobacco control experience to alcohol and food: In progress: Funding secured to develop independent alcohol strategy for the UK, building on tobacco control lessons; group of tobacco and alcohol researchers (including UKCTCS members), advocates and clinicians is developing the strategy for publication late 2012.’

    In closing, I have read articles in three different countries’ media about lack of exercise on the part of their citizens: UK, Ireland and France. These seem to have appeared in the media this week. Therefore, an internationally co-ordinated effort with these campaigns appears to be in play.

  4. Forest says:

    There is an open invitation for everyone to turn up for a pro smoking protest march on sunday 29 july, washingborough Road Lincoln, we are hoping for a couple of hundred to turn up with local press and local radio confirmed, drinks and nibbles laid on.

    53.21965,-0.52227 copy and paste those coordinates into google maps

    see you at st swithins at 1pm, for a march down washingborough Road from st swithins to toll bar lodge.

  5. Forest- Lincon smokers march update says:

    We are hoping the president of the Lawn Tennis Association and also lord and lady Trethgaron and several other v.i.p’s will be arriving at the canwick park golf club opposite st swithins shortly after the march for a (special invites only)lunch to hear a speech about the benefits of joining the British airways executive club.

    Unfortunatley i may miss the actual march but i will be available for a short chat after the lunch in the golf club car park- weather permitting.

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    Dave youve got to read this story on the AUSSIE PLAIN PACKS BEFORE YOU GO ON CNN.


    although it has withheld its reasons for the judgment until later this year.

    They dont state why because their ruling breaches international trade TREATIES which are a higher court and law than the Aussie supreme court!The fact is this shows just how illegal the courts have become in their alliance with tobacco free advocacy. Plainly the courts are no longer impartial but more a JUDGE ROY BEAN hang em high sort of law! Dont expect the laws to be upheld in any court any longer! Big tobacco should immediatly shut down all operations within Australia and let the chinese bootleggers take over the void and the revenues the government would lose!

  7. carlos says:

    you are a cunt dave..phil johnson was the best

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    My blog has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my permission. Do you know any solutions to help stop content from being stolen? I’d really appreciate

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