Whingeing smokers

A smoker
This man is a smoker. Do you really want to be associated with HIM?

I hate smokers. Not because of the habit: no, it’s the endless whingeing, the dreadful and utterly unwarranted claims to victimhood, the going on and on, tediously, like 15-year-olds, “’Snot fair! Why can’t we smoke in pubs? ’Snot fair!”, the hysterical over-reactions against anyone who suggests that, actually, pubs (and restaurants, and cinemas, and workplaces) are vastly pleasanter places now that smoking is banned, the constant attempts to use the “slippery slope” fallacy to get drinkers to support the campaign to end or amend the pub smoking ban, the false claims that it’s all the fault of supporters of the smoking ban that so many pubs have been closing.

Let’s deal with the “slippery slope” first. It is claimed that the attack on tobacco, if allowed to be successful, will be followed by an even greater attack on alcohol, and therefore drinkers should support smokers in opposing tobacco bans – “It’ll be you next.” But if a slippery slope going from complete freedom to choose our own risks to complete risk regulation exists, shouldn’t the smokers have been fighting further back up that slope years ago, defending the rights of drivers who didn’t want to wear seatbelts, and, before that, motorcyclists who didn’t want to wear helmets? If, somehow, everyone from moped riders to Harley-Davidson owners was still allowed to ride around the UK with the wind rushing through their hair, the government and safety campaigners having conceded the right of every rider to choose to wear a helmet or not, would that have helped prevent the smoking ban? Of course not.

And if drinkers need to be defending smokers’ “rights” as an important step in defending their own right to consume alcohol, how exactly would that have helped prevent, eg, prohibition in the United States? Was there a smoking ban in the US first, which led inexorably to a drinking ban as well? You’ll not need to look up the answer, I think.

What about the “it’s your fault pubs are closing” argument? Here we have to go into some lengthy historical analysis: stick with me. First, pubs have been closing at greater or lesser rates for the past 120 years. It’s difficult, unfortunately, to give precise figures for pub numbers in the past, in large part, over recent years, because of the problem in deciding what proportion of premises with full on-licences are actually pubs and not, eg, hotels, and partly because commentators do not always make it clear if they are talking about the UK total or the England and Wales one. But looking back, between 1894 and 1904 the number of public houses in England and Wales fell by almost 4,000, from over 105,000 to 99,500, 7.7 closures a week. Between 1904 and 1914, when there was a concerted drive by licensing magistrates to cut back on licensed outlets, the number dropped again to 87,700, a rate of 24 a week.

The First World War and after saw pub numbers continue to fall at a rate of more than a dozen a week, so that by 1930 there were 77,300 left. During the 1930s the rate of closure slowed to eight a week, leaving 73,600 pubs in 1939. Despite the Second World War, though, when hundreds of pubs were destroyed in bombing, the arrival in the 1950s of the New Towns seems to have helped stabilise pub numbers, so that in 1953 the total was just 400 lower than it had been 14 years earlier.

From the mid-1950s, however, the increasing pace of brewery mergers seems to have led to a requickening in pub closures, so that from 71,000 in 1956 – the year Britain finally received its second television channel, giving people even more reason to stay at home – the total slipped to 69,000 in 1962, a loss of just under 10 pubs a week, and fell at a slightly higher pace to 1972, when there were some 63,700 pubs in England and Wales.

However, as the “baby boomers” reached drinking age, the pub closure rate slowed dramatically again, to barely 3.5 a week, though even so by 1988 the pub total for England and Wales had fallen to 60,800, less than two thirds the pre-First World War total.

Closure rates stayed at more or less the same level for the next decade and a half, so that in the UK as a whole in 1989 there were some 68,000 pubs, and by 1996 that figure was down to 65,000 – 3.8 closures a week. Over the next six years, however, perhaps under the impact of the growth of the giant pubcos, the pace picked up considerably, rising more than fivefold to an average of 20 a week, so that by 2002 there were 58,600 pubs remaining. The rate then slowed again, to around only four a week, so that in 2007 – the year the smoking ban was introduced – national pub numbers had dropped to 57,500.

Quickly the closure rate picked up again, so that, according to the British Beer and Pub Association, pubs were closing at a rate of 27 a week in 2007. By July 2009, the BBPA was saying that more than 50 pubs were closing every week in Britain, equal to more than seven a day, leaving just 53,500 still open. However, in the past three years the closure rate has slowed dramatically again, with Camra stating last month that it had fallen to 12 a week.

Assuming some 4,500 pubs in Scotland, there are now around 49,000 pubs in England and Wales, a number that has fallen at an average of just over nine pubs a week for the past 118 years. You can argue – and I’m sure many will – that nine closures a week as a proportion of 105,000 pubs is only half the same number of closures as a proportion of 49,000 pubs. But it’s unarguable that closures, sometimes faster than today’s rate, sometimes slower, have been a feature of Britain’s pub scene since before Queen Victoria had her golden jubilee. The period from the beginning of the 1970s to the mid-1990s, when most of today’s smoking pub-goers started using pubs, was actually an anomaly, a 25-year period when pub closures were only a third of the long-term rate.

So: was the surge in pub closures between 2007 and 2011 because of the smoking ban? The problem is that just as the smoking ban came in, pubs were attempting to deal with a host of other problems, some medium to long-term, which had already (remember) caused a surge in pub closures in the years either side of the Millennium, some sudden – the Great Recession, as I suspect history will call it, which hit in 2008 and does not look to be over yet. Those other problems include:

  • Continued vicious competition from supermarkets for the “alcohol pound”
  • Constantly rising costs, from taxes to wages to rents to utilities
  • Falling levels of alcohol consumption
  • Rising pressures on consumers’ leisure time and leisure spending

With all that and a howling recession, working out what proportional part the smoking ban may have played in pub closures after 2007 is, I suggest, somewhere between tricky and almost impossible. The peak closure period was when the economy was suffering most. Would more pubs have survived if smokers had been allowed to smog up the snug? The pub-going smokers’ lobby acts as if no pubs at all would have closed in the past five years, Their claim is that a total of just over 10,000 have put up the shutters in that time: I don’t know where that figure comes from, since this month Mike Benner of Camra said 4,500 pubs had closed since 2008. That’s 21 a week: not much more than the closure rate between 1996 and 2002, when you could still puff away freely inside the pub if you wished. So: evidence that the smoking ban is a major cause of the pub trade’s woes is a very long way from conclusive. Case not proved.

Of course, the pub smokers’ lobby will insist that in this case, correlation and causation line up, though, curiously, when it comes to the impact of second-hand smoke on the health of non-smokers, they will insist that correlation doesn’t prove causation at all. Indeed, it’s the insistence on their own “rights” as smokers while refusing to admit that non-smokers have the right to not have their health placed in jeopardy that angers me most of all. Earlier this year a young Irish boy called Fionn O’Callaghan, aged seven, spoke to the Irish Senead as part of a campaign to ban smoking in cars when children are present. A pro-smoking blog immediately labelled the event “nauseating”, with commentators demanding “forcible sterilisation of this repulsive child’s parents”, and attacking “disgusting anti-smoker exploitation of children”, with one smoker declaring: “Smoking bans are born from snobbery and hate and they have no basis in health.” A few days later the following news item appeared:

Children exposed to their parents’ cigarette smoke are at greater risk of suffering serious cardiovascular health problems later in life, a study showed Wednesday.
The Menzies Research Institute in Tasmania collected data from a Finnish and Australian study following children first examined 20 years ago who are now in their mid-30s.
It found that those exposed to passive smoke as youngsters have less elasticity in their arteries, an indicator of poor cardiovascular health.

The saddest problem with the pub smoking lobby is that they will not simply stick their fingers in their ears and insist they can’t hear you when presented with evidence like that. They will instead attack the messenger as “ignorant and bigoted”, a “pathetic smokerphobe”, a “hateful and spiteful zombie”, and, gloriously, a “self-righteous bigoted intolerant left-wing sycophant for Stalin”.

Indeed, I look forward to seeing precisely how long it takes for the comments section below to fill up with bulging-eyed, red-faced responses from smokers attacking my ancestry, my manhood and my (presumed) politics. Even though I’ve just outlined how predictable their response will be, they won’t be able to resist: they’re smokers, after all. They won’t hear what they don’t want to, and they can’t turn down any chance to present themselves as poor sorry victims of “anti-smoking Stalinists”.

336 thoughts on “Whingeing smokers

  1. Excellent post. There aren’t many articles that I’ve seen that praise the fact that you can now enjoy your meal in a pub, and for the forward thinking publican that’s resulted in a massive business opportunity to improve a food offer that will net you far more GP than simple wet sales.

    Couple this to the fact that without bars being full of smoke you can actually taste the beer, which must contribute to the raising of standards in breweries and bars, and I think there are more than just health benefits for pub-goers.

    Cheers Martyn, well ranted!

    1. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Pubs (if they are not shut) are empty! Nobody goes to them any more! Especially not Holy Zealots! It is clear that you, Gareth, never got to pubs, otherwise you would have noticed. Besides, there were always restaurants with no smoke other than that emitted by the kitchens. Have you never smelt the aroma of cooking food? Those thousands of chemicals!

      What a twerp!

  2. First, I cant stand being around smokers, especially when drinking. I supported a local beer bar who went smoke free in advance of a ban on smoking (He did it at the request of his employees, no one would work the smoking section as the tips were significantly lower than in the non-smoking section). But, that said, I support the fundamental property right of the pub owner to decide smoking policy themselves.

    That argument probably works less well in the UK than it does in the US (not very well at all), but unlike the points you countered, its one the pro-smokers should be able to win with, because they would be right.

      1. No, not at all. It’s just that some of them who comment in the blogosphere come across either as borderline certifiable or at the very least seriously obsessive monomaniacs. I would add that a sense of humour bypass also appears to be de rigeur.

        1. And the anti-smoking brigade are all sane, rational people who have the best interest of mankind at heart? Yeah, right!!

  3. Its good to see an article that lays out the facts on pub closures chronologically to disconnect it from the smoking ban.

    IIRC the other big factor in 2007 were a wet summer resulting in fewer people attending pubs in favour of drinking at home. There was also poor hop harvest on the continent due to freak hail storms as well as rising barley prices in the UK contributing to an above average rise in the wholesale prices of beer, followed in April 2008 by the alcohol duty escalator.

  4. Great post. We have had a smoking ban in bars/pubs/restaurants here (Erie county, NY state, USA) for over a decade, and I find I enjoy the flavor of my food and beer better when it is not altered by the second hand smoke. And we now have more good beer bars than ever before, because people can appreciate the product better.

  5. I’ve worked in bars here in New Zealand for long enough that I remember the Bad Old Days before our (indoor) smoking ban. They were horrific, and good riddance to them. Us staff were in an even worse position, second-hand-smoke-wise, than non-smoking customers given the much-longer time we spend in the place, obviously. I just don’t get how anyone can straight-face the claim they they have a right to do something that so clearly effects other people — and you don’t even *need* to lobby too hard on the health factors; smoking’s just *gross* to (many) other people, especially when they’re trying to enjoy something sensory like a nice beer. We don’t let anyone sit at the bar and varnish their nails or polish their boots or anything else that stinks up the place. Same damn thing. Your rights end where other peoples’ begin. Simple.

    1. Indeed: over an hour and no smokers. Maybe my call-out there actually worked, and they’ve decided to prove they CAN resist temptation. Or they’re all outside having a fag …

  6. me! me! I’m a smoker!

    However I also think you’re entirely right! whilst i missed lighting up inside for a while, I was aware that it was very selfish, particularly as I became the last one of my group of friends who was a regular smoker.

    I actually quite like a calming 5 minute break outside every hour or so and it’s *definitely* cut down my consumption (of fags, not my TB!), I used to be two a pint and now it’s less than half that…

    interesting to see the pub closure figures over time as well…

  7. I miss smoking. I preferred the tobacco smell of pubs to nothing/farts/toilet cleaner and I miss my friends when they go outside for a fag.

    And I’m sure the 1890s pub museum will have smoking!

    Still, I could just be being nostalgic. Now I’m not used to smoking in pubs I’m not sure what I’d think if I did suddenly find myself in a smoky pub.

  8. Sad piece; you seem to have lost it here. Anyone can come up with statistics from any angle to prove almost any argument, but the trouble here is that your evident vehement hatred of smoking seems to have been your starting point, not a calm look at the problem. Yes, by rights smoking is a silly thing to do, but your prescriptive moral tone does you no favours here.
    Also, I remember being told by members of a very successful campaigning consumer movement in 2007 that there were legions of people who had been effectively barred from going to pubs by the presence of evil smokers. It’s nearly five years now and they still have yet to appear! Perhaps all these missing customers actually just don’t like pubs full stop?
    Before you ask, the past pack of Marlboro I purchased was in 1999 and is still on the mantlepiece half finished!

    1. I’m a non-smoking beer drinker who now enjoys drinking in smoke free pubs, never mind the end of potential damage to my health. I used to have an old coat that I only wore when I went to my local because it was so smoky. You’re right though that the mythical hordes of drinkers who didn’t go in pubs because of the cigarette smoke haven’t materialised. The people who drink in my local haven’t changed at all, it’s just that most of them now disappear outside at regular intervals throughout the evening.

  9. I am an ex-smoker, who quit after the smoking ban had been enforced.

    I quite enjoyed going to the pub and leaving my friends in a Smoke Free environment. There is another area that hasn’t really been explored anywhere. Gigs.

    When the ban came in, I was a regular attendee at gigs all around London. At a number of them, I could quite clearly smell the attendees, who had been travelling around the country following their favourite band.

    I can categorically assure you that the smell of a million cigarettes is vastly more pleasant than the smell of 40 – 50 unwashed bodies . FACT.

    Now people just run the risk of smoking in a crowded audience. I still prefer it 4 years down the line to the smell of some of the patrons.

    When I quit, I vowed I would never be one of “Those” non-smokers.

    Have you ever smoked?

  10. First they came for the smokers
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a smoker.

    Then they came for the overweight,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t overweight.

    Then they came for the Drinkers,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Drinker. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18262608)

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.

      1. Well, if you can’t see that drinkers are rapidly heading down the same slippery slope as smokers, then more fool you.

        And expressing a generalised hatred of a whole group in society very much falls into the same category, dontcha think?

        1. It was expressing a view on the attitude that appears to be endemic among militant smokers, not actual hatred of the entire class of smokerdom. And if you have evidence of the actual existence of the slippery slope leading from smoking bans to drinking bans, I’ll happily let you have a guest slot on the blog.

          1. Are you serious? I don’t smoke but don’t really care either way and from a position rather more objective than the one that you have taken I would be happy to objectively examine the facts behind your post and provide examples as to how the anti-drinking lobby are learning from their anti-smoking brethren. It is not hard in some cases as they are the same people. it really will not be long before we have warning labels on wine, advertising bans and the rest.

            Your inappropriate citing of Godwin who made an observation not a law does you
            no credit. It is simply a juvenile form of censorship intended to silence opponents equivalent to the claim “you lose!” delivered by a five year old. Godwin never intended to make one of the most significant periods of human history unmentionable in debate. That would be idiotic.

            I think that non-smoking establishments are fine but fail to see why the ban had to be absolute. What is wrong with having some licensed bars that allow smoking? I think that it is the totalitarian nature of a complete ban that draws the Nazi analogies.

          2. The lesson from Godwin’s Law is that someone always comes up with the “Reduction as Hitlerum”, and at that point the argument is effectively over. If all you can say of your opponents is “You’re just like the Nazis”, really, you don’t have a case.

          3. Firstly, before you start foaming at the mouth. I’m a non/never smoker. However I am a libertarian.

            Dehumanising any group in society is wrong. It’s “successfully” (if that’s the right word) happened to smokers in the UK who anyone can now denounce in the most radical terms without any comeback. Indeed ASH have threatened physical violence on smokers – not a whisper from the the forces of Laura Norder. No other group can be treated that way. Pick your minority of choice and try them out in a few of ASH’s press release/anti smoking ads and you’ll be surprised how plain wrong it sounds.

            The problem you now have is when they come for you the smokers who might have helped will just stand idly by and applaud as you join them in the camps.

      2. Ahhh. “Godwins law”. An excuse used by communists, or “Greens”, or anti-smokers, or anti fattists, or any other scumbag hippy grouping, to deflect, or “defeat” any reasoned argument/discussion away from the clear fact that there IS no difference between them and the nazis, when that reasoning comes dangerously close to proving the fact. And used by Nazis, who are loosing their argument, but can not be seen to be “throwing-in-the-towel.”

        1. I always loved the way the Franco regime used to blame all its problems on “masons and communists”, two totally different groups who had only one thing in common, that extreme right-wing catholics hated them both. Now it’s hippies, Greens and Nazis, apparently. If you don’t have an argument, name-calling won’t convince.

          1. And I have yet to hear YOUR reasoning, why my counter to idiots that quote “Godwins law ” (Stop sniggering behind the bike sheds there!), is wrong.

            It was the joint forces of the Green scum, and commy idiots (Although the two are mostly not seperable) that brought about the smoking ban (PARTLY! They LOST in Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden…etc):-)) ) in Germany.

            The link is confirmed.

      3. I agree with your comment below Martyn in that inappropriate references to Nazis do tend to end debates. The classic is “Hitler was a vegetarian so vegetarians are evil” Utterly absurd and a surefire debate killer

        I have two points however:

        So do arguments like “your smoke is killing me” and “my mum died of lung cancer” and “its for the children”. They end or suppress debate for very similar reasons and are often used inappropriately to do just that.

        The Niemöller argument is not inappropriate in that it is an analogy for the slippery slope rather than a direct comparison between Nazis and health policies. It is a bit overused and therefore open to criticism but it should not be subject to Godwinism.

        It is possible to reference Nazi and communist regimes in context without actually calling people names and the right to quote appropriately from these important sources should be respected.

        Wasn’t Hitler teetotal?

      4. The hysterical fear of environmental tobacco smoke started with the Third Reich. Your irrational hatred of people who enjoy something that you do not is undermining a culture of tolerance. Your reward? Well, we’ll see in due course.

        1. I DO understand, Thomson – you’re a sad addict desperate to try to ignore your inability to kick something that’s probably killing you, and instead displacing your self-loathing by kicking out at others who don’t share your addiction.

    1. “First they came for the smokers
      and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a smoker.

      Then they came for the overweight,
      and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t overweight.”

      Also I didn’t speak out because I was enjoying the lack of smoke and fatty stink…

  11. Mr. Cornell,
    From Ohio.USA.
    I concur completely. I love beer, brew beer, even judge beer and look forward to enjoying it with the like-minded in a friendly bar or tap room. Unfortunately,in a smoky atmosphere I can’t fully taste or enjoy the brew. I’m also asthmatic, which has meant needing a good reason – or the prospect of an excellent brew – to get in in the door to begin with. I don’t begrudge smokers their enjoyment, but object to the proximity of theirs making mine difficult or impossible.
    We lost the only area brewpub when the smoking ban went into effect. The owner used the claimed loss of traffic as a pretest to close. Of course, the better bars have seen a growth in business with the ban and bars specializing in craft beer are all doing a brisk business. (Of,course, the brewpub owner had previously closed the other four in his chain, with no pretext other than taking the money and leaving – with no warning to his employees or clients.)
    There is now a move afoot to get a waiver to the anti-smoking law for bars. If it happens, I will be drinking at home or with friends/homebrewers and expect it to be an additional incentive for folks to take up homebrewing.
    I’m glad that searching for your book (recommended by a fellow BJCP judge) I stumbled across your newsetter; I enjoy it and find it an excellent resource.

  12. I’m a smoker and I don’t see any problem with the smoking ban. Passive smoking is harmful, there’s no such thing as passive drinking. I very quickly got used to the smoking ban and now no longer smoke in my own home, it actually feels odd to smoke inside. I cant believe that anyone would take the ‘smoking lobbyists’ seriously. It’s difficult to give up smoking but that doesn’t mean we should inflict it on other people in the mean time.

    1. “there’s no such thing as passive drinking”

      Tell that to some of the wives & kids I have to deal with in the ER.

      “It’s difficult to give up smoking”

      I don’t know what you’re smoking, but giving up tobacco is incredibly easy. Especially if you don’t use those pharma-con products, like the death sentence that is Champix

      1. Saying that someone who violently attacked and injured by a drinker is a victim of “passive drinking” is rhetorical nonsense. They’re the victim of violence: the attacker is a thug who chose to hurt. In addition, almost nobody in the vicinity of a drinker is in danger of being attacked. Everybody near a smoker is under threat. Smokers, however, can only place their fingers in their ears and chant: “La, la, can’t hear you, it’s not true, there’s no proof.” Happy to promote cause and effect when arguing about pub closures: totally unwilling to accept cause and effect when presented with the facts about passive smoking.

        1. Way to disconnect cause and effect, just go into town on a friday night, personnaly I’d licence tobbacco and alchol, the technoledgy is there to limit consumtion of both. 10 a day cigarettes, 2.5 units a day alcahol.

          drinking more than that isn’t good for you.

          I’d save the rest of us a fortune.

  13. Good to see the long-run historical perspective. An informative view. Let me say I have never smoked, can’t stand the smell and agree pubs are – for me – vastly better places. But we have to acknowledge that the socio-economic profile of smokers is pretty skewed, and the profile of recent closures is pretty skewed too, in a similar fashion. Of course there are many other economic and behavioural factors at play but surely the ban has accelerated the underlying demise of the working class boozer. Not many current closures are in leafy/affluent suburbia (yes some are in rich villages). Not seeking to undermine your argument but beneath the overall numbers it’s a very unequal picture. Conspiracists would see this as part of the authorities’ attempts to subtly manage the poor’s unhealthy behaviour ( the same has been argued about minimum pricing) but that’s probably getting a bit fanciful!

  14. I think the indoor smoking ban recently put in place in Springfield, Missouri has significantly improved the infrastructure of the downtown area. I believe that bars in Springfield had become complacent as far as improvements went over the years because of the 40-50k college students running around. Now that the ban is in place, almost every bar in town has added an outdoor patio of some sort, which greatly enhances the bar going experience and over all appearance of the entertainment district!

  15. I totally agree with all of this. I work in a pub and love my job but I wouldn’t do it if smoking was allowed, for starters I’d have to spend all my time washing my clothes in order to get the stink out. To claim that if people were allowed to smoke in pubs there would be significantly less pub closures is pure nonsense and ignores things like disgraceful pubcos, the fact that pubs are often on prime sites that can be used more profitably for other uses even if a pub is making money and the fact that the government wants to tax pubs out of existence anyway.

  16. The vast majority of non-smokers, and a significant minority of smokers are in favour of the ban, that means a conservative estimate is 10% of the adult population are against it. Surely we as a nation are smart enough to come up with a way of allowing 5% of public houses to be allowed to be smoking? We can have controls, regulation, ventilation minimums etc. This would have many advantages to non-smokers as well, the complaint that you can’t go into the garden on a sunny day as it is thick with smoke is becoming more and more common.

    As with all modern issues, it is nuanced and complex, so maybe the solution should be the same?

      1. Steve, Sadly you make a very very good point! It is time for wholesale change in the way the country is governed, this issue displays that perfectly!

    1. Actually that’s not true. A recent survey by Mintel found that 7 out of 10 pub goers thought that pubs were less pleasant after the smoking ban. And Mintel, as far as I know, are a reputable company without an axe to grind (unlike YouGov, which is run by a Trustee of ASH).

      1. That’s not actually true either – you’re bending the facts. The April 2012 Mintel report stated that 3/10 people thought attending pubs after the introduction of the smoking ban was more pleasant.

        You can’t infer that the other 7/10 people think it’s less pleasant – it’s not the same thing. Those other ‘seven’ respondees might have said their pub-going experience was just the same, or decided not to respond. Or they might have polled a load of smokers.

        (report below, but requires payment – sentence summarised by the Telegraph)



  17. I’m in complete agreement with your sentiments Martyn. I’ve never smoked and I have no objection to anyone smoking, provided that they do it away from unwilling participants. Many smokers are unbelievably selfish: their self-righteous indignation at being asked to stop doing something that’s harmful and unpleasant for others beggars belief and my ‘favourite’ argument from them used to be that I can choose not to go to the pub! The only issue now is from the piles of cigarette butts (let’s not forget their god-given right to litter) or clouds of smoke around the doorways. Is it Orange County that’s about to ban smoking in public?

      1. Ok, agreed. Then you go to a pub that’s non smoking and I’ll go to one that is smoking. great

        Oh, hang on a mo…….

  18. It’s a property rights problem – very plain, very simple. Publicans should have the right to choose whether to allow smoking in their establishment, just as patrons are fully allowed to avoid pubs that offend their sensibilities. Allowing the government to mandate a particular situation is the slippery slope. Those who work tirelessly and maniacally to limit personal choice are also those that are working hard on other neo-prohibitionist causes – like banning booze, sugar, fat…

    I think you need to read more Christopher Snowdon:

  19. Good one. And besides, the idea that anyone has any “right” to do [b]anything[/b] in a public (or perhaps better, “shared”) space is bonkers. Collectively, we permit, or tolerate, certain behaviours. We used to permit smoking in pubs, now we don’t. So what. For that matter, in a democracy, our “rights”, even in private, are limited. I didn’t notice the pro-smoke lot standing shoulder to shoulder with the magic mushroom aficionados when “they” came for “them”.

  20. I am a non-smoker who opposes the blanker smoking ban. And I’m certainly not the only one.

    The whole concept of freedom is about putting up with people doing things you don’t like.

    There has never been any prohibition on running wholly non-smoking pubs – surely the lack of them before 1 July 2007 tells you something.

    1. It’s not about putting up with something we just don’t like, it’s about putting up with something that is a health hazard with the potential to cause serious health problems to non-smokers. Roy Castle?

        1. Ah, that old one. Death certificates don’t record smoking as a cause of death. But if far more smokers die of certain diseases than non-smokers, only an idiot would try to completely deny a link. And if people who have been exposed to second-hand smoke die of certain diseases at greater rates than people who haven’t been exposed to second-hand smoke, you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to suspect there might be a connection.

          1. Are you aware, that 99% of people that die, have consumed milk or a milk product within the week before they snuff it? And, when you take into account, that 100% have been in the same room as a milk drinker?

            Now THAT is dangerous!

          2. It would be easier to debate with you if you had any clue at all about how health statistics are derived, and what statistics mean. There are no illnesses statistically associated with being in close proximity to milk drinkers. There is a range of illnesses statistically associated with being in proximity with smokers. Your point is nonsense.

          3. XX There are no illnesses statistically associated with being in close proximity to milk drinkers. There is a range of illnesses statistically associated with being in proximity with smokers. .XX

            Still not seen your death certificate proof either.

            WHAT statistical eveidence?

            As much as there is for milk drinkers, I sugest.

            Or….Go on, SHOW us the death certificates.

            OR you are full of bull shit.

            No certificate, no death.

      1. “with the potential to cause serious health problems to non-smokers. ”
        The aggregated increased risk for heart disease in shift workers is ~40% , with passive smoking at a mere ~25% .

        Ignoring arguments about statistical significance for the moment let us assume that both these numbers are on the button.

        Clearly this risk for shift work can be eliminated by preventing the hosptiality industry (non essential businesses) from opening for business
        during evenings and weekends. This way pub staff can enjoy the same risk as people that work week days and day time only.

        So do we take the position that passive smoking is safer than shift work and therefore there is no need to ban either and keep more pubs open.

        Or do we take the position that because passive smoking is almost as dangerous as shift work that we should ban shift work in pubs as a matter of urgency and close yet more pubs.

        If we did ban shift work, people would just have to accept that it is a sensible public health measure and learn to socialise at home in the evenings and weekends.

        Or are we saying that it is OK for people to kill bar/restaurant staff by going out whenever it pleases them just so long as they don’t smoke while they do it?

          1. That is irrelevant. What does it matter if staff die from passive smoking or from shift work? A death is still a death and both can be risks eliminated.
            Pubs can be smoke-free and close during evenings and weekends thus eliminating both risks.

          1. “It matters because passive smoking is the result of someone else’s actions.” – Martyn

            I don’t follow your logic.
            Are you saying that it is wrong to kill staff by smoking where ever you to want but it is ok to kill people by drinking whenever you want to?
            The deaths from the action of drinking in pubs evenings and weekends results from people exercising their freedom to drink in the evenings and weekends. If no one did this there would be no deaths.
            The deaths from passive smoking in pubs results from people exercising their freedom to smoke in pubs. If no one did this there would be no deaths.
            Both risks can be eliminated and thus no deaths.

        1. The same Roy Castle who developed lung cancer not from cigar smoke but from the poisonous substance used to clean his trumpet mouthpiece.

      1. I tried that but Martyn ignored me. You have to be utterly blinkered not to believe that there are people at this moment trying to do to alcohol what they have done to tobacco. Exactly the same methods are being used by, in many cases the same people. The concept of passive drinking is now being explored using the “cost to society” model developed by tobacco control, the “no safe level” has been claimed with respect to cancer and only last week epidemiologists were crying out for the government guidelines to be lowered to one unit per day. The idea that there is no slippery slope is so crazy that I forgot my manners. Sorry.

        1. The point about the slippery slope argument is less about whether there is or is not one – and none of the arguments you claim are being imported from the tobacco campaign to the alcohol campaign are anything like mainstream in the alcohol campaign – but the use of the slippery slope argument to claim that drinkers should therefore support smokers. THAT I utterly reject.

          1. I agree with you in that if you dislike smoking as much as you say, it would be wrong to ask you to support smokers simply because you face a common “enemy” in the public health industry. However, I would take issue with you if you used the very dubious claims made by that industry to attack smoking whilst denying similar claims made about alcohol. That would be unethical and a bit unreasonable.

            Whether we say slippery slope or parallel development, it is very apparent that the methods used to “de-normalise” tobacco are also being applied to alcohol and obesity. I can provide you with references from the NHS, BMJ and Lancet to support my point if you are interested I consider these to be mainstream sources but you have to actually read the papers rather than the media headlines to see the trends emerging.

          2. “very dubious claims”

            Really? Hundreds of thousands of medical experts have been duped by “very dubious claims”?

            And the point I’ve been trying to make is that the “slippery slope” argument that the same tactics are being used against drinkers are being used against smokers is not a good one to use to say that drinkers must support smokers. Where’s your evidence that stopping moves to “denormalise” smokers and fatties will be good for drinkers?

  21. ‘But if a slippery slope going from complete freedom to choose our own risks to complete risk regulation exists, shouldn’t the smokers have been fighting further back up that slope years ago, defending the rights of drivers who didn’t want to wear seatbelts, and, before that, motorcyclists who didn’t want to wear helmets?’

    Well, apart from anything, the claimed risks of SHS are barely measurable. Not so with the examples cited above.

    BTW, are you aware of Nutt’s call to have ‘breathalysers’ fitted to cars. Seems reasonable, don’t you think? After all, I guess no one could argue that alcohol has never caused injury or death to drunks themselves, responsible drinkers and non drinkers. Not only regarding RTAs but also in/outside pubs and private homes. Indeed, anywhere. Don’t know the precise figures, but I’m assuming there are ever so slightly more alcohol related injury admissions to A & E (of sober people) than passive smoking related ones.

    Please don’t assume I’m one of those warning about any slippery slopes towards draconian alcohol control. Personally, I don’t give a flying f**k. Won’t really impact on me – I don’t drink much and abandoned pubs nearly five years ago. Though thinking about it, it would of course – fewer people would pose a threat to my safety.

  22. The dreadful and utterly unwarranted claim to victimhood.Let’s put the boot on the other foot. I’ve no idea if the slippery slope argument has validity though there is an increasingly vocal constituency for prohibition of alcohol. How would you feel Martin, if the full force of the media, government and the law were brought to bear on your appalling beer drinking habit? It’s only because it’s not happening to you that you lack the insight to understand how we feel. If you did, perhaps you might find it a bit easier to avoid calling us crazy. Even if we are.. I haven’t been to the pub since 2007 and I’d guess there are many like me. We may be crazy but we’re not that crazy.


    1. ” … there is an increasingly vocal constituency for prohibition of alcohol …”

      Historically – that is, compared to even before the Second World War, let alone during and before the First World War – any call today for the “prohibition” of alcohol is vastly muted. I would be unconvinced that the number of column inches devoted to the “problem” of alcohol is much greater in 2012 than in 2002, or 1992 – when “lager louts” were the folk demon of the hour – or any other period of the “modern” era.

      1. Nor was the press publishing calls to restrict drinking to the equivalent of three small glasses of wine/week. Nor were the puritans suggesting alcohol advertising bans, minimum pricing, and in the longer term hidden displays and plain packaging. They’ve already got the stupid warnings on bottles and cans. One (until recently) head start on tobacco are the laws banning under age purchase. Only a fool would argue it ain’t going the same way as tobacco. Granted, it’ll be harder and take longer, but the smoking ban and all the other shit has provided the template and infrastructure. It is the experiment that’s paving the way for the assault on the demon drink. For the fecking children. You might understand how smokers feel in a few years. I, for one, will have no sympathy when you start bleating about your loss of freedom. You could always join forces with the fatties, who are also well and truly on the hit list.

          1. You reap what you sow Martyn, Must be a record number of comments for your blog (can’t be arsed to go look).

            Thing is, what you said just adds fuel to the fire. Of course, you knew that would happen.

            Guess you hate us even more now. Hope so 😉

          2. Not yet – the record response was when I slagged off people who promote “extreme” beers to the exclusion of ordinary, enjoyable, everyday beers. Still several dozen responses to go before we beat that one, I’m afraid.

            And if you read my piece properly, you’d have seen that what I hate is the name-calling, the petulance, the whingeing, the demands that drinkers MUST support smokers or “it’ll be you next”, the refusal to accept that the opponent is entitled to a viewpoint, that seems to characterise so many militant smokers – including the overwhelming majority who have commented here. The militant smoker lobby has responded exactly as I said it would, by repeating the name-calling, the petulance, the whingeing, the demands that drinkers MUST support smokers or “it’ll be you next”, the refusal to accept that the opponent is entitled to a viewpoint : rather sad, really.

          3. No reply option below your latest comment.

            Who named called you before you stated that you hate smokers?

            ‘I hate smokers. Not because of the habit: no, it’s the endless whingeing, the dreadful and utterly unwarranted claims to victimhood, the going on and on, tediously, like 15-year-olds, “’Snot fair! Why can’t we smoke in pubs? ’Snot fair!”, the hysterical over-reactions against anyone who suggests that, actually, pubs (and restaurants, and cinemas, and workplaces) are vastly pleasanter places now that smoking is banned, the constant attempts to use the “slippery slope” fallacy to get drinkers to support the campaign to end or amend the pub smoking ban, the false claims that it’s all the fault of supporters of the smoking ban that so many pubs have been closing.’

            Those childish insults apart, even trade bodies are publicly saying the the smoking ban had a significant impact. But the trade was told by ASH that this would not happen. I’m not denying that there are other major factors, but the likes of you will not accept that the smoking ban has had a significant impact. Of course it’s not just the ban. But many people don’t find pubs pleasanter places post ban. What’s wrong with that? Why shouldn’t we express an opinion? My God, the antis even have a hit list of people who oppose them. And what’s wrong with separate smoking rooms? You could, at least, offer support for those. Besides, the ban was ushered in on the back of something totally unrelated to customers – reduction of exposure to staff of SHS. One reason why pubs have closed/suffered and continue to do so..I was a non smoker for most of the last five years, yet when my smoking friends went less often pubs lost something. I don’t expect you to understand what -you’re anti smoking in pubs. But it wasn’t just the smoke. It was many of the people who made pubs ‘tick’. Now most are simply dull, not fit for purpose.

  23. Like Curmudgeon, I’m a non-smoker. I didn’t campaign for a smoking ban, but it came in after I’d been drinking in smoky atmospheres for 36 years. I am certain smoke in pubs hasn’t helped my lifelong sinusitis, which has eased a bit since the ban came in; I accept that isn’t proof of cause and effect, but there is a fair chance there’s a link. Even if there isn’t, I still find smoke-free pubs more comfortable. Among my circle of friends, which has been described by some as very wide and includes smokers, I know of only one person who stopped going to pubs because of the ban. On the other hand, I know quite a few who go to the pubs less or have stopped altogether because of the prices. I wrote about those who argue that the smoking ban is the sole or main cause of pub closures on my own blog, but my attempt to explain the multiple factors at work was met with accusations that I was burying my head in the sand. Funnily enough, that comment came from someone who says he doesn’t go to pubs any more since the ban, whereas I usually go about 4 to 6 times a week. And I’m the one who’s out of touch!

    Curmudgeon, good Tory that he is, likes to quote the market demand argument (as he has above), which goes like this: there were few non-smoking pubs or rooms in pubs because there was little demand for them. This is faulty reasoning. When my local introduced a smoke-free room years ago, our group, which had 2 or 3 smokers, tended to drink in the smoking room, even though most of us didn’t smoke, in order not to inconvenience the smokers, and not split the group. On the other hand, if it happened that no smokers had turned up, we’d usually be in the non-smoking room. It only needed one smoker in a group to ensure that we all ended in the smoking room. In fact, I can recall us moving from one room to another when one of our smoking pals arrived. I know from talking to people (including the licensee of the pub concerned) that we weren’t unique in behaving in that way.

    I become impatient with opponents of the ban who deny that the current recession or the behaviour of some pub companies has anything to do with pub closures, and assert it’s only because of the ban. But then conspiracy theorists do tend to be single-minded.

  24. Having said all that, I’ve just re-read your post and I don’t like the tone of some of it: “I hate smokers” is unequivocally intolerant and as Curmudgeon points out on his own blog, with some justice, “he has the cheek to complain about people quoting Pastor Niemoller against him!” I don’t know any smokers in real life who whinge and complain as you suggest. Either you are mistaking the extremists of the blogosphere for the reality, or you are exceptionally unlucky in your choice of smoker friends.

    1. Nev, some of the unbelievably aggressive quotes from smokers I put into my post are from past comments on Mudgie’s blog. So you may not know personally people like that, but if, as I assume you are, you’re a reader of his blog, you’ve read those sorts of comments. And, of course, “I hate smokers” was polemical and attention-getting, but as the subsequent paragraphs should have made clear, what I actually hate is the refusal by so many smokers to accept that there could possibly be another side to the argument.

      1. The commenters of Mudgie’s blog are not what you might call the average smoker or pub-goer* (I once saw them memorably described as his ‘nutjob followers’ which while lacking in subtlety does seem to hit the nail on the head). It’s interesting isn’t it that despite Mudgie flagging up your post on his blog (with a post titled “Hate Week is Here” – oh puh-leese) few of his loopy followers have joined in the fray here – perhaps because they know they will get a vigorous counter argument rather then just have their prejudices confirmed. Keyboard warriors, the lot of ’em.

        * in fact most of them seem to be militant non-pub-goers usually spouting something along the lines of “I used to go to the pub every day until the ban came in but I’ve not set foot inside one since”. My favourite is the one who bangs on about disabled war veterans haveing to stand outside in a blizzard to have their Woodbines, or some such nonsence. Nev will know which one I mean.

      2. XX what I actually hate is the refusal by so many smokers to accept that there could possibly be another side to the argument.XX

        It is nor smokers that have consistently campaigned to have whole sectors of social meeting places, work places, and even open land made totaly forbiden for another section of society.

        Remember those good old signs “Jüden unerlaubt”, Nicht für Juden”, “Whites only”, “blacks must sit at back of bus”????


        Aye. How history repeats.

        WHAT was that about it being SMOKERS that can not see that there is another side to the argument?

          1. And who the HEL are you to deny me that free choice?

            Myself, and I think most people who smoke, are not objecting to the fact that there are places we can not smoke, but that a shower of nazis want us banned OUTRIGHT, regardless if it effects THEM, or not. (Which could virtually be the DEFFINITION of “nazi”.)

            WHAT stops the Brits from having smoking and non smoking pubs, as here in Berlin?

            Bit ironic, don’t you think, that all the nazis have gone from here and moved to Britain?

          2. “Smokers choose to be smokers.”

            If people could choose not to be gay would that justify homophobia?
            If people could change their skin colour does that suddenly make racism ok?
            People can choose their religion but that does not justify abolishing their places of worship for example.

          3. The pub is not a temple to smoking but a temple to drinking, which is in many ways compromised by the smoke.

  25. “Indeed, I look forward to seeing precisely how long it takes for the comments section below to fill up with bulging-eyed, red-faced responses from smokers attacking my ancestry, my manhood and my (presumed) politics.”

    I will do no such thing. But, Martyn, you have a number of points terribly messed up.

    “….how exactly would that have helped prevent, eg, prohibition in the United States? Was there a smoking ban in the US first, which led inexorably to a drinking ban as well? You’ll not need to look up the answer, I think.”

    Martyn, I’ll help you with the answer.
    Antismoking is not new. It has a long, sordid history, much of it pre-dating even the pretense of a scientific basis and long before the more recent concoction of secondhand smoke “danger”.

    The two major antismoking crusades of the last century were in America and Nazi Germany. The “connecting thread” between these crusades was eugenics (driven by, for example, doctors, biologists, pharmacologists, statisticians). The Nazis didn’t invent eugenics. It was popularized in America. The Germans were students of American eugenics.

    Anti-tobacco/alcohol went hand in hand in the USA. They were pushed by the Temperance (mostly religious leanings) Movement since the mid-1800s. Yet the TM, for whom alcohol was the primary target, had little success with the legislature. Everything changed in the late-1800s with the appearance of the Eugenics Movement. In addition to the racial/breeding dimension that it is notorious for, eugenics also has a behavioral dimension – anti-tobacco/alcohol, dietary prescriptions/proscriptions, and physical exercise.

    The eugenicists were wrongly viewed as scholarly and scientific. They were embraced/funded by the mega-wealthy, the wealthy, and the “educated” classes. And with the eugenics influence that also harnessed the anti-tobacco/alcohol stance of the TM came almost immediate legislative action. The first target was tobacco. There were a variety of restrictions on tobacco in quite a number of states years before Prohibition. Following Prohibition, there was a concerted attempt at a tobacco version of Prohibition. The only thing that seems to have “saved” tobacco was that the military spoke highly of tobacco, that it was indispensable on the battle field.
    These antismoking “crusades” follow a typical pattern. Lawmakers are duped by fanatics’ incessant inflammatory rhetoric. Fanatics typically deteriorate into a litany of baseless, inflammatory lies, i.e., propaganda, in order to achieve smoking bans. The idea of tobacco or “nicotine addiction”, for example, was pushed, without basis, since the 1850s by the Temperance Movement. This idea was also picked up by the Eugenics Movement from the late-1800s. Post-WWII, smoking was – reasonably – not considered an addiction. It took the US Surgeon-General in 1988 to “resurrect” the nicotine addiction myth, a throw-back to the 1800s. The Office of the Surgeon-General, together with many other organizations, has been committed to the smokefree “utopia” since the 1960s: The Office is ideologically compromised/corrupted.

      1. That’s it? ……That’s all you’ve got, Martyn. For someone so cavalier in their derogatory claims, you ain’t got much. That’s all you’ve taken from all that information? You obviously didn’t notice that I didn’t even refer to Hitler; that’s what you read into it. I just pointed out that in the entire world there were only two countries aggressively pushing anti-tobacco (and anti-alcohol) earlier last century. Anti-tobacco/alcohol don’t just pop up out of thin air, which is what many antismokers would have us believe. It takes people with very particular beliefs within a very particular framework with considerable access to lawmakers to get to the point of bans. In America and Nazi Germany, the connecting thread was eugenics, a social-engineering framework peddled by doctors, biologists, statisticians, etc.

        At this point the antismoking reaction is usually to mangle Godwin’s Law, rather then go down the “reduction ad Hitlerum” track: Delusional as it is, at least it has a semblance of relevance. They argue that anyone referring to “Nazism” immediately should be disqualified from a discussion, invoking Godwin’s Law. Interesting is that Godwin’s Law makes no such suggestion. So, let me save you the embarrassment of probably going down the Godwin’s Law path.
        GL is a point of humour, indicating that the longer a discussion goes, the higher the probability that a Nazi reference will be introduced, usually without basis. GL is not a criticism of uses of the Nazi reference where it is relevant to the discussion.
        In the case of antismoking, the Nazi reference is entirely relevant. Anti-smoking/tobacco (and anti-alcohol) makes an appearance in Nazism. And, it didn’t just pop-up out of thin air. It is central to the eugenics framework, and eugenics was a foundational layer of Nazism:

        Eugenics is a peculiar fascist framework; it has [only] biological health – racial and behavioral – as a central tenet. The citizenry, which is viewed as a human “herd” and the property of the State, are expected to conform to [biological] health edicts, even to coercion, as their duty to the State. The [unfounded] promise of the eugenicists was that, under their control, disease, poverty, and crime would be eradicated. Rather, in that it entirely disregards psychological, social, and moral dimensions, the framework brought out the worst in people along these dimensions, e.g., bigotry, racism, cruelty, brutality.

        The current antismoking crusade, the Godber Blueprint, was put into motion by the standard eugenics personnel, e.g., physicians, biologists, statisticians, behaviorists. It has the same absolutist, social-engineering intent that is eugenics. It uses the same vulgar eugenics methodology of denormalization/propaganda to achieve its questionable goals. It relies on flimsy statistics developed by eugenicists for population control – it was the British statistician, Francis Galton, that coined the term “eugenics”. Post-WWII, the word “eugenics” is rarely used given its negative connotations. The obsession with physical health – at the expense of all else – that emerged post-WWII has been referred to as “healthism”. Yet, healthism is really the behavioral dimension of eugenics: It is eugenics by another name. The antismoking crusade, which is a part of the “healthist” push, is also eugenics in motion. It is the eugenics framework that has made antismoking a societal ideal with a view to the eradication of tobacco use. It is the medical administration again attempting social engineering with the taste of medical madness from earlier last century still in the air. Yet many just don’t get it; very painful lessons of only the recent past have been dispensed with.

        1. Curse those biologists and statisticians, those physicians and behaviorists, they’re all closet eugenicists, you know. Probably Masons, members of the Illuminati and Rosicrucians, as well.

          1. Not biologists Martyn. There is a distinct lack of “hard” scientists in the anti-smoking /anti alcohol industry. Public health “research” is often the antithesis of science in that it starts with a doctrinal conclusion and then tortures the data to fit that conclusion.

          2. …and that, magnetic01, is why you won’t win this argument. Snide personal attacks won’t convince anyone. You can preach to the choir as much as you like, but if you were convinced about the value of your argument you’d seek to persuade the unconverted. Be happy in your little world.

        2. Your arguments are absurd. Medical studies, by scientists, have shown that inhaling the smoke is harmful to anyone who inhales it, not just the smoker. I don’t think anyone has a problem with nicotine gum, which has the same drug as cigarettes, because it does not effect people who are standing next to the chewer. Similarly, I don’t suffer the effects of alcohol consumption when somebody next to me is drinking a pint. The delivery system for the nicotine is the problem, and people who don’t want to smoke should not be forced to by someone who is standing next to them.
          And as for the temperance movement being promoted by eugenics, it is purely rubbish. The ‘movement’ here in the USA was driven by women who were tired of their husbands coming home drunk and broke on paydays, because they were paid in cash in bars where they were expected to buy a round before leaving. If you didn’t buy the round, you wouldn’t work the next week. These women didn’t care less about the health effects of the alcohol on their husbands, they just wanted to have them bring home the money.
          I stopped going to bars years ago when smoking was still allowed because I hated the effects of the smoke on my health, my clothes and the taste of my beer. I now go out frequently to bars that serve the best beers because smoking has been banned and I can enjoy the beer.
          Tonight I am going to have Sierra Nevada Hoptimum double IPA (cask on handpull), which I would not have bothered to do 10 years ago.
          If a smoker is in need of his nicotine fix while in a pub, he should pop a piece of nicotine gum into his mouth instead of lighting up.

          1. The demand was so great pre ban non smoking pubs were everywhere, weren’t they? As I said above, if you don’t like smoke then go to a non smoking pub and I’ll go to a smoking one.

            Oh, hold on a sec.

  26. 2
    The current antismoking crusade had its formal beginnings in the mid-1970s and is also an “extermination” crusade, i.e., social engineering, in the eugenics tradition.
    See the Godber Blueprint

    Rather than ban the sale of tobacco, the plan this time has been to ban smoking in essentially all the places where people typically smoke. Again, through inflammatory propaganda, the plan has been to “denormalize” smoke/smoking/smokers, to remove them from “normal” society. This group of fanatics planned indoor and outdoor bans back in the 1970s and spoke of secondhand smoke “harm” years before the first study on secondhand smoke. It is an eradication plan that masqueraded for a time as the attempt to “protect” nonsmokers from secondhand smoke “danger”. Yet with the sorts of bans attempted currently, the charade can no longer be maintained. Most antismoking groups will now openly make reference to the ideological goal of the “tobacco free” or “smoke free” world which has been the goal all along.

  27. “The use of tobacco, in any form, is a dirty, filthy, disgusting, degrading habit….
    You have no more right to pollute with tobacco smoke the atmosphere which clean people have to breathe than you have to spit in the water which they have
    to drink.
    …. use of the filthy, nasty, stinking stuff [tobacco]”

    Sound familiar? These are the sorts of sentiments that are common amongst contemporary antismokers. Interesting is that the quote above is from an anti-tobacco billboard (photo circa 1915) on the road leading into Zion, Illinois, USA. When considering the sentiments appearing on the billboard, it must be remembered that this was many, many decades before the concoction of secondhand smoke “danger”. Zion City was a “utopian” community established in the early-1900s by John Alexander Dowie representing a so-called “Christian” sect (Christian Catholic Church). Tobacco, alcohol, and gambling were banned within Zion.

    Serious, dangerous fanaticism/extremism was rife in America right up to WWII. The Temperance (religious leanings) and Eugenics (physicians, physicalists)
    Movements, both having dictatorial tendencies and a delusional emphasis on and obsession with physical health (at the expense of all other dimensions of health), wreaked considerable damage in America.

    The EM was by far the most influential in America and eventually produced catastrophe in Nazi Germany with global consequences. The Temperance and Eugenics Movements shared the anti-tobacco sentiments in the quote above. While they attempted to change society with destructive consequences, Dowie chose to create his own “protected” community.

    1. “A custome lothsome to the eye, hatefull to the Nose, harmefull to the braine, dangerous to the Lungs, and in the blacke stinking fume thereof, neerest resembling the horrible Stigian smoke of the pit that is bottomelesse.” I reckon this predates (1604) the Temperance and Eugenics Movements.

      1. Jon, you’re correct. I wasn’t attempting to give the impression that anti-smoking/tobacco started with the Temperance and Eugenics Movements. Antismoking has been occurring over the last 400 years, as the first of my links indicates. Why I particularly noted the Eugenics Movement is that it is most relevant to the current crusade.

        Just a note on James I whom you are quoting. He took a different approach to typical antismoking crusades which is to ban the sale of tobacco or tobacco use. Rather, he banned the growing of tobacco in England and set up his own tobacco plantations in America; he then imported the tobacco back into England, charging extortionate prices for it. A true gentleman 🙂

        1. My mistake, I thought conflating the anti-smoke, temperance and eugenics movements was precisely what you were trying to do. You say Eugenics is “most relevant to the current crusade”. But I can’t see why, or how. It’s a weaker, but no less fallacious, form of the “anti-smoking Nazis” thing. Yawn.

          1. I’ve already given you plenty of information for you to get started – if you were genuinely interested. Are all eugenicists Nazi? No. Nazism was a particular, extreme regime that had eugenics as a central aspect. Is eugenics dictatorial? Absolutely! It involves a self-installed medical elite that believe they know everything and should be running society. The real danger enters when politicians start listening to them. It should be no surprise that eugenics fitted in perfectly with the rest of the Nazi mentality.

            “But I can’t see why, or how.”
            That’s a failure on your part. Most couldn’t see “why or how” even when it was occurring the first time.

          2. Sigh. No, it’s not whether eugenicists are nazis, or vice versa, Or indeed whether anti-smoke campaigners are like eugenicists. Simply, an argument based on saying (in effect) “you would say that, you’re a nazi / eugenicist / whatever”, is a fallacious one. As is the weaker form: “well that’s just like the nazis / eugenicists / whatevers said” . These are not valid arguments. On my planet we argue by introducing pertinent facts, or pointing to errors in logic. Given that the argument is logically invalid, no-one need argue with your “facts”.

          3. Well might you sigh, Jon. Disturbing is that you seem to believe that you’re saying something coherent.

            I suspect that if you were in the middle of the road with a large truck bearing down on you, that you would just stand there debating with yourself whether it’s really a truck; maybe it just looks like a truck; it could be a bird that looks like a truck. Then when you regained consciousness, you would be debating with yourself whether you’re really in traction, lying in a hospital. Maybe you could save much time by driving a truck into a hospital wall just to see what happens…… just for the heck of it; maybe it’s not really a wall.

          4. Heck, magnetic01, you really can’t do anything but ad hominem and other faulty rhetorical gimmicks can you? It doesn’t matter if I’m a dick who couldn’t see a truck if it were bearing down on me. That doesn’t make your argument convincing. Only your facts and your logic can do that. Your point of view can always be dismissed because you won’t do the work, preferring easy tricks. It’s this lazy thinking that’s allowing your opponents to take the ground. If you were serious, you’d try harder. Shame.

        2. Jon, what gymnastics of your peculiar planet’s “reasoning” give you the impression that you have any grasp of “my argument”? [rhetorical] In your current state of mind, you are not capable of understanding “my argument”.

          One thing I must say, Jon…. dear Jon, is I’m sorry…. truly… if I made you cry. Go to mumsy and she’ll fix booboo (all better now?).

  28. Martyn, your idea of the “slippery slope” is overly simplistic. There are two issues here. One concerns how far along the slippery slope anti-tobacco has been allowed to proceed. The second issue pertains to the extrapolation to other matters such as alcohol, food, etc.

    Here is a brief timeline of the antismoking madness over the last few decades, particularly in English-speaking countries.

    The first demand for a smoking ban was in the late-1980s concerning short-haul flights in the USA of less than 2 hours. At the time, the antismokers were asked if this was a “slippery slope” – where would it end? They ridiculed anyone suggesting such because this ban was ALL that they were after.

    Then they ONLY wanted smoking bans on all flights.
    Then the antismokers ONLY wanted nonsmoking sections in restaurants, bars, etc., and ensuring that this was ALL they wanted.
    Then the antismokers ONLY wanted complete bans indoors. That was all they wanted. At the time, no-one was complaining about having to “endure” wisps of smoke outdoors.

    While they pursued indoor bans, the antismokers were happy for smokers to be exiled to the outdoors. Having bulldozed their way into indoor bans, the antismokers then went to work on the outdoors, now declaring that momentary exposure to remnants of dilute smoke in doorways or a whiff outdoors was a “hazard”, more than poor, “innocent” nonsmokers should have to “endure”.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans within 10 feet of entranceways.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans within 20 feet of entranceways.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans in entire outdoor dining areas.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans for entire university and hospital campuses, and parks and beaches.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans for apartment balconies.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans for entire apartment (including individual apartments) complexes.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans in backyards.

    On top of all of this, there are now instances, particularly in the USA, where smokers are denied employment (also seen early last century), denied housing (even the elderly), and denied medical treatment. Smokers in the UK are denied fostering/adoption. Involuntary mental patients are restrained physically or chemically (sedation) rather than allow them to have a cigarette – even outside.

    At each point there was a crazed insistence that there was no more to come while they were actually planning the next ban and the brainwashing required to push it. There has been incessant (pathological) lying and deception. Many medically-aligned groups have been committed to antismoking – their smokefree “utopia” – since the 1960s. They have prostituted their medical authority to chase ideology. All of it is working to a tobacco-extermination plan run by the WHO and that most governments are now signed-up to.

    This has all happened in just 20 years. If it was mentioned 20 years ago, or even 10 or 5 years ago, that smokers would be denied employment and housing, and smoking bans in parks and beaches, it would have been laughed at as “crazed thinking”. Yet here we are. Much of it has happened before and it has all been intentional, planned decades ago. We just don’t learn or we’re going to have to learn the very hard way because it has to do with far, far more than just smoking.

      1. If you can not see the similaritys between how the anti tobacco campaign was run in the begining, and how the anti alcohol campaign is being run now, I suggest youtr guide dog needs a good kicking.

      2. They won’t ban it outright Martyn. The current campaign is for minimum pricing, massively increased taxation, a ban on all advertising or sponsorship and restrictions on shop displays. There are already moves to portray passive drinking as more dangerous than passive smoking. any idea how many rapists have had a drink first? The DH has. Warning labels already exist in Australia on alcohol. At present they are small and specific but they were like that on cigarettes not so long ago.

        If you truly believe that there is no increase in the volume of negative alcohol news then please do me the simple favour of typing “alcohol” into the search box on the BBC news website and count. I have nothing against you but as a non-smoker I did find this piece a bit offensive and with respect to the slippery slope, the facts seem to be stacked against your argument.

        I do agree with you that some people on both sides of the tobacco debate are a bit OTT. One of the reasons why the public health industry will find alcohol tougher going is that they will be without the support of those who simply don’t like tobacco smoke and feel strongly about not being exposed to it ever.

        As I said above, I cannot see why society needs to be so confrontational and intolerant. Surely the sensible solution is to have a restricted number of licensed bars were people can smoke and drink if they prefer and keep the majority of public spaces non-smoking.

      1. That’s it? ……That’s all you’ve got, Martyn. “Parallel development”? “Parallel development”, you say. Is this occurring in a parallel universe? I can’t say I’ve heard of “parallel development” in this context, probably because you’re making it up, a strong theme through much of your writing. Martyn, could you address why there is even a move against other products following the tobacco control template when Tobacco Control’s argument has long been that this could never happen (no slippery slope) because tobacco was such a “unique” product? Why are those wanting to control other products invoking tobacco as their precedent? Why is it that in some countries the very same people long involved in Tobacco Control are now at the forefront of pushing alcohol control?

        1. you’re making it up, a strong theme through much of your writing. Martyn

          Ad hominem. Tackle the ball, not the man.

          The “slippery slope” fallacy claims that it’s necessary to argue the pro-tobacco case to argue the pro-alcohol case. Logical nonsense.

  29. XX if smokers had been allowed to smog up the snug? XX

    And the fact that, in Britain, it is not possible, shows admirably that you are simply a load of nazi shite control freaks, who deserve the same fate as Streicher Co at Nürnberg.

          1. I can assure you laddie, you do not know what a “rant” is. NOR do you have the SLIGHTEST clue as to what “viscious”, or “intemperate” is, if you call my comments that.

            I guess you are one of these that calls a small smack on the kids arse “a beating”, or a dropped bottle of milk “a desaster!” are you?

          2. It’s the sign of someone who is losing the argument when they start calling their opponent “laddie”. Particularly since I’m 60 in two weeks’ time, and most definitely not your “laddie” or anybody else’s.

          3. Aye, and the sign of a biggoted nazi rascist that can not accept that in various parts of the world, people use terms and phrases thjat may differ to their own area.

            Thank you for proving that you are not only a nazi, but a BIGGOTED nazi.

  30. Your next ,Pastor Niemoller syndrome doncha know?
    Here’s the usual sort of blackmail video ,only this time it’s the horrible uncaring drinkers turn.
    Got you home brew kit ready to go?
    Who’s the crazy now ,the drinks industry is showing the same suicidal tendencies the tobacco industry did.
    Safe units ,they are already saying it’s half a glass of wine.
    Same old template” there is no safe level”,plain labels,out of sight, etc.


    1. ‘They are already saying” – no, a small number of totally unrepresentative people managed to get themselves massive amounts of publicity precisely because their demands were so clearly ludicrously unworkable.

      1. Oh dear, Martyn. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

        No slippery slope? I’m sorry mate, but you are deluding yourself. Take a look at that bottle of wine you have in the rack. See anything on the back label? About units of alcohol? Anything about “drinking responsibly”? Were they there ten years ago? No, Martyn, they were not. But I hear you say “Ah, but they are just sensible advice, nothing to worry about there…”

        Do you really, truly not see that those little bits of advice are just the thin end of the wedge? Have you not lived long enough to realise that that’s how all these things start. For the prohibitionists, this is a well worn path, and and no they know it intimately. They can play the long game.

        And you are now in their crosshairs. They’ve done the smokers, now it’s the drinkers. There will be no escape. Soon you will understand why there are so many angry smokers out there. But it will be too late for you then.

        And now I’m going to go to my local bar, where I can sit at the bar and enjoy a beer and a fag, with no disapproving glances, or faux hand waving. UK used to be civilised like this, but they lost the plot.

        1. So where were you when bikers were forced to wear helmets? When motorists were forced to wear seatbelts? Surely if the slippery slope applies to smokers and drinkers, it applied to drivers and smokers, to bikers and drivers?

          1. Personally I was collecting points on my licence, for not wearing a helmet. And campaigning with the Motorcycle Action Group, against ALL anti biker descrimination.

            But that is irrelevant. A red herring.

            Relevant is, that it was part of the lesson that we must learn from and NOT allow to happen again.

          2. Where I live, I don’t wear a seatbelt nor do I wear a crash helmet when I’m out on my motorbike. The laws are there, same as smoking bans, forced on the nation by the chronically risk-averse, but they are generally ignored and seen as an infringement on personal freedom.

            That said, road traffic laws cannot be compared with the subject under discussion.(Although there is indeed mission-creep there too, because the zealots are never satisfied.)

            And you haven’t explained to me why the warnings are starting to appear on bottles of alcohol. Do you really not see what’s happening? Don’t you read the newspapers? Minimum pricing? You don’t think that’s the top of a slippery slope? Do you honestly think that once the principle of minimum pricing is established it will stop there? If that’s what you believe, Martyn, then you are quite remarkably naive.

            I would make a bet with you Martyn, that in ten years time if you want to drink you will have to apply for a smart-card permit, which will be loaded with a predetermined number of units, and every time you buy alcohol you will have to present your card to be swiped. Once you reach your limit (as mandated by the government at the behest of Alcohol Concern) that will be it. No more booze for you until the start of next week. Far fetched? Have you seen that a nutjob antismoker called Simon Chapman is calling for smokers in Australia to have to apply for licenses to buy cigarettes?

            “Under the proposal, a license would give the smoker a right to a limited quota of tobacco supply, say 10 cigarettes a day or 20 cigarettes a day and so on. There is a fee payable to government to give the consumer the right to use tobacco. The more tobacco the license holder pre‑commits to smoke, the higher the license fee involved.”


            And you still think you, as a drinker, will be immune from these loonies?

            I think you need to get out more, Martyn, and see what’s going on around you.

  31. Substitute the word “Jew”, “Kaffir” or “Paki” for smoker and we see exactly the vile nature of Martyn Cornell.

    1. Henry, what exactly have I said against smokers that is in any way the equivalent of what racists say? I’m attacking militant smokers for their stupid arguments, designed to try to convince themselves that the moral high ground is theirs, and their complete refusal to admit their opponents have any case at all.

      1. XX I’m attacking militant smokers for their stupid arguments, designed to try to convince themselves that the moral high ground is theirs,XX

        TOTALY unlike the “militant non smokers” of COURSE!

        Look in the mirror laddie.

          1. So therefore do we ban shift work in pubs then? Make pubs close during
            the evenings and weekends. Surley, the right of staff to not die of heart disease trumps someones right to drink in pubs whenever it pleases them. People could drink at home where they only put themselves at risk. Bar staff would be able to enjoy the same working hours as most people and enjoy a lower heart disease risk becuase of it.

      2. It’s the same “gotta have someone to hate” self-righteous sentiment. It’s no longer PC to “hate” those of different ethnicity, nor is it PC to hate lesbians or homosexuals. So the self righteous turn their attention to smokers because in the eyes of the self-righteous they are “not like me”. They are filthy, unwashed, unhealthy untermensch; a stain on society – so you see, the sentiment is the same when you replace the word “smoker” with “jew”, “kaffir”, “paki” or “queer”.

  32. I agree that to a non smoker, pubs and restaurants are vastly more pleasant. However, to many smokers they are not and many have stopped visiting them. In the Netherlands, the ban has recently been relaxed so that owner-staffed bars can choose to be either smoking or non-smoking. According to one of my Dutch work colleagues, this has resulted in a good choice for smokers and non-smokers alike. I don’t like loud music in pubs, but I wouldn’t advocate a complete ban. 79% of the population do not smoke. Surely this is sufficient for market forces to supply a good choice of non smoking pubs. In fact, just prior to the smoking ban, non-smoking pubs had appeared in increasing numbers. The Laurel pub chain, in the North West of England, was completely non smoking. Smokers “whinge” because they are banned from smoking indoors on non-residential property – even in private clubs staffed by volunteer members. Why does this not surprise you?

  33. I have yet to meet face to face any anti-smoker who has dared to express any of the views in this thread to me personally. That’s not only in this country but many of the countries in the EU. One has to wonder if these anti-smokers venture out from the safety of their keyboards.

    l have to say that the smoking ban has effected me very little, if at all. Our MC clubhouse remains smoking despite the smoking ban coming in. The pubs that l use have lock-ins where the ashtrays come out. There’s a couple of speak-easys that l know of that exist solely because they allow smoking.

    Nor does the display ban or the proposed plain packaging effect me or my friends … all our tobacco/cigarettes come from abroad in the EU.

    We are now in the process of forming a social club that will take members abroad to purchase tobacco. The minibus will have something that none of the current coach companies doing a similar thing have … smoking will be allowed in the minibus. What’s even more satisfying is that it will be 100% legal. The minibus will also be used for members going to social events in the UK

    The anti-smokers are correct in their belief that passive smoking etc is damaging to health … but their health, not mine … if they decide to tell me to my face that l stink etc.

    Nope, none of the anti-smoking laws/regs, proposed or otherwise, actually effect me or my friends. The pubs that close because they cannot financially survive have no sympathy from me. They did little, if anything, to fight to keep my custom.

      1. Martyn,
        I think I have a post that maybe in your spam box. I don’t know why it has not appeared but I would be greatful if you could dig it out.

        1. It did. It has now been fished out. Anyone else who feels they may have ended up in the spam bin – I get more than 250 spam emails a day, and I don’t check every one to see if “ham” has been misidentified – please comment again.

  34. Forget it people, Martyn is just a lame-brained horse’s ass, he can’t come up with any words that match the spirit, volume, and reason of magnetic. Tiny little pat answers is what he’s been reduced to. Losing the ol’ grip there Martyn?

    There’s also another factor that Martyn doesn’t consider, and most folks don’t either – it’s because we’re all locked in the present, in the here-and-now of the instantaneous commentary of blogs:

    Time. Time is definitely on the side of the smokers. We’re all obsessed with the present, but a new generation is pushing the current one out of the way, and things will change. Martyn needs to think on this, he and all other fanatics just see their “Utopia” in about 25 years, where there’s no smoking, drinking, and everyone loves sitting in front of the telly watching bicycle races…religion will be gone, and we’ll all walk in straight lines.

    Hey, bring it on! Except don’t forget that the new generation will mature and bring in their own ideas – and more restrictions for everyone, right? Don’t think that’ll be their battle-cry.

    But let’s wait and see.

    A fine quote: “Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits. Fanatics will never learn this, though it be written in letters of gold across the sky” – Mark Twain

    1. “Martyn is just a lame-brained horse’s ass …”

      Thank you, Barry, you’ve made my day. That’s marvellous.

      “Time is definitely on the side of the smokers.”

      Um – Barry? Even among young people, smokers are still a massive minority, and the evidence clearly shows that as people get older, the numbers smoking shows a sharp decline. So no, time is definitely NOT on the side of the smokers.

  35. In view of your conviction that the ‘Action on Smoking and Health’ group is telling the truth, can you explain why it was that ASH was unable to convince the judge (even at the lower level of proof of ‘on the balance of probabilities) in the McTear V Imperial Tobacco case (concluded 2005) of the merit of any of ASH’s claims? If I may quote from the case:

    The pursuer can succeed in this case only if she proves all of the following:
    (1) that cigarette smoking can cause lung cancer;
    (2) that cigarette smoking caused Mr McTear’s lung cancer;
    (3) that Mr McTear smoked cigarettes manufactured by ITL [Imperial Tobacco] for
    long enough and in sufficient quantity for his smoking of their products to have
    caused or materially contributed to the development of his lung cancer;
    (4) that Mr McTear smoked cigarettes manufactured by ITL because ITL were in
    breach of a duty of care owed by them to him; and
    (5) that such breach caused or materially contributed to Mr McTear’s lung cancer,
    either by making at least a material contribution to the exposure which caused his
    lung cancer or by materially increasing the risk of his contracting lung cancer.

    In his judgement, the Judge, Lord Nimmo Smith, castigated the ASH expert witnesses for not providing him with any sort of ‘proof’ at all – not even their epidemiological findings.

    The fact is that ASH’s ‘truths’ are nothing but propaganda.

    Here is the link to The Judgement:


    But that Judgement is some 600 pages long. If you would prefer a condensed version (only 60 pages or so), go to:


      1. Convinced on the basis of what evidence? ASH ET AL had no evidence, nor do your hundreds of doctors. As for medical experts, where is their evidence? There is no evidence – just propaganda.There are far, far too few smokers who get lung cancer for a direct causal link to be true. That is what is wrong with the (non-esistent) ‘evidence’.

  36. Smokers only ‘whinge’ because there’s not ONE single drinking establishment in the whole country where they can have a smoke and a pint out of the wind, rain etc. Simple as that.
    If, say, a quarter of pubs were allowed to cater for us disgusting whinging stinking selfish vile addicted idiotic sub-humans there wouldn’t be a problem.

    1. “If, say, a quarter of pubs were allowed to cater for us disgusting whinging stinking selfish vile addicted idiotic sub-humans there wouldn’t be a problem.”

      And how exactly would the unlucky 25 per cent be chosen, Merv? What about the higher health insurance costs that would undoubtedly be imposed on companies running “smokers’ pubs” to cover the greater risks to the health of the bar staff working in them? To name but one problem …

      1. It would be the owners choice to pay such premiums Martyn should they wish to cater for smoking clientele. It is doubtful if the insurance premiums would be especially high because unlike public health fanatics, insurance companies tend to be realistic about risk and the reality is that the risk to bar staff from passive smoking is almost unquantifiable based on current research. Why are you so insistent on denying bar owners of the right to choose their clientele?

      2. They have the choice here, in nazi free Berlin. (Unlike Britain, where it appears all the nazis found assylum in 45).

        And guess what laddie? You will have to hunt all MONTH to find a pub that ISN’T, smoking. Because those that tried it, my local for example, closed down due to lack of custom within three months of their SELF IMPOSED(!) “ban”. It is now re-open, with new non nazi owners, and is once again a booming bussiness WITH SMOKE! :-))

          1. XX And how exactly would the unlucky 25 per cent be chosen,XX

            The CUSTOMER chooses. And the customer has spoken. “We want pubs where one may smoke. The rest can fuck off.”


            No one is forcing the bar staff to work there either.

          2. Notwithstanding that a lot would consider themselves the ‘lucky few’. It seems as though that maybe a difficult concept for you, Martyn. It’s difficult to see it happening at the moment as the fear is that trade would migrate, as in Germany.

  37. Martyn, the idea of “passive smoking” is just one of many inflammatory myths.

    The idea of “passive smokING” (which originated with the Nazis, by the way) is just another baseless inflammatory term. There have even been jokes and comments made in films, for example, that a nonsmoker has “passive smoked” a pack a day.

    The term “secondhand smoke” (highly diluted) is OK, but SH smokING or passive smokING are not. There are some nonsmokers who believe that when they are exposed to SHS they are being forced to smoke, that they are effectively smokING. Being exposed to SHS, which is breathing air with highly dilute remnants of smoke, is nothing like smoking. Those who believe they are passively “smoking” have obviously never smoked a cigarette. Having never smoked, and therefore unable to tell the difference, they have been manipulated into the deranged belief that SHS exposure is equivalent to smoking. The quickest way to resolve the issue is to borrow a cigarette, light it, take a drag and inhale (drawback) the concentrated “packet” of smoke. That’s smoking. It should be noticed immediately the incredible difference between smoking and simply being exposed to SHS which cannot be equated in any way with smokING. There is no active and passive smoking. There is only smoking which involves inhaling a concentrated packet of smoke.

    For those not prepared to test the hypothesis, it should dawn that if smoking was simply being exposed to SHS, then why don’t smokers just leave their cigarette lit and breathe the ambient air? No. They actually take a drag on the cigarette – a concentrated packet of smoke – and inhale. That’s smokING.

    For gullible nonsmokers, when you are sitting by an open fire, do you believe you’re “smoking” then? If you’re close-by to lit candles, do you believe you’re “smoking” then? If you’re close to cooking or BBQ smoke, are you “smoking” then? Etc. See the point?

    The only term that has a modicum of meaning with little/no application is “involuntary smoking”. This would refer to the situation where a person is forced (e.g., at gunpoint) to take a drag on a cigarette and inhale the concentrated packet of smoke.

    Referring to SHS exposure as a “fraction” or a “degree” of smoking for statistical/causal extrapolation has no meaning. SHS exposure and smoking are two entirely different phenomena.

    1. If you want to test the hypothesis of the dangers of SHS, here’s a simple experiment. Lock 6 people in a garage with a packet of cigarettes. One of those 6 people then smokes the full pack of cigarettes over a 12 hour period. After that 12 hour period expires open the garage and count the dead people.

      On the next day, take the same six people and lock them in the garage. Only this time there is a car in there with the engine running, After 12 hours open the garage and count the dead people.


      1. I have tried hard to not actually insult anybody here, because I don’t want to lower myself to the level adopted by militant smokers, but that really is one of the stupidest responses I have read so far. I’ll offer you another suggestion. Lock the same six people up in a garage while one of them saws up sheets of asbestos for 12 hours. How many will be dead when you open the garage door? Why, none of course. Would you like to volunteer for that experiment, Henry? I’d suggest not – one of my uncles died of asbestosis, a horrible disease, 20 years after he stopped work as a carpenter. During the time he was at work, sawing up asbestos sheets was normal practice in the building industry, because nobody knew any better. Nobody died right away. Nobody knows which particular sawn-up asbestos sheet killed my uncle, decades later. But one of them did.

        1. Martyn, don’t blow a gasket.

          Are you seriously likening asbestos fibres to secondhand smoke (or, rather, smoke remnants)? You do realize that they are very ….. let me emphasize that… VERY… different phenomena? You are arguing by incoherent analogy.

          1. Sorry, you’re the one with the completely incoherent analogy, and the asbestos scenario was designed to point that out. Yes, you’ll be dead the next morning if you spend 12 hours in a locked garage with a car engine running, and no, you won’t be dead the next morning if you spend 12 hours in a locked garage while someone smokes a pack of cigarettes – or while someone saws up asbestos sheets. There’s a good chance you won’t be dead in 40 years after a lifetime’s exposure to either second-hand smoke or asbestos. But there’s enough of a chance that you would that I don’t want to take the risk, and I won’t agree to stay out of pubs to avoid smokers putting me at risk.

          2. “…I don’t want to take the risk, and I won’t agree to stay out of pubs to avoid smokers putting me at risk.”

            A sensible decision for someone inclined to swallow the propaganda hook, line and sinker. So you stay out of the pubs that allow smoking and only patronise those that are non-smoking.

            Simple, really, isn’t it?

            Or are you saying that as a non-smoker, you want to have access to EVERY pub in the land, even though you won’t actually visit even a small fraction of them? And those that actually want to have a smoking pub can’t have it, because there is an infinitesimal possibility that one day, you MIGHT want to visit that pub.

            That rather puts me in mind of the old “dog in the manger” fable. You remember that one, Martyn?

          3. “someone inclined to swallow the propaganda hook, line and sinker.”

            Look, I know you don’t want to accept the truth of the glaringly clear statistical links between smoking and ill health because you can’t accept that your pleasure in smoking makes you, for example, more than 20 times likelier to die of lung cancer than a non-smoker, but chanting “la la it’s just propaganda” only makes your state of denial obvious. And you’re not very good at constructing logical counter-arguments, either. According to you, it would be all right for you to do 100mph in a 30mph zone because the chances of me being on that same road are infinitesimal. Have you not noticed that only one in five adults smoke? It’s not me who passed the smoking ban into law.

          4. “And you’re not very good at constructing logical counter-arguments, either. According to you, it would be all right for you to do 100mph in a 30mph zone because the chances of me being on that same road are infinitesimal”

            I’m afraid you are the one who is poor at constructing logical counter arguments.

            I wouldn’t do 100 mph in a 30 mph zone because, simply, it is a 30 mph zone, and to do 100 mph would be inconsiderate and foolhardy. A more accurate analogy would be to say that I wanted to do 100 mph on a racetrack, but you objected because you wanted to poodle round the racetrack at 30 mph, even though you had plenty of other alternative places to do your 30 mph. But you like 30 mph, so everybody has to do 30 mph, everywhere.

            Dog in the manger mentality, as I said.

            What you seem yo be unable to grasp, Martyn, is that I would vociferously defend your right to smoke free pubs. If you don’t like smoke, then you shouldn’t be forced to endure it. It’s called freedom of choice, something I consider very important. Unfortunately, people like you don’t extend people like me the same courtesy.

            As for your assertion that I, as a smoker, am “more than 20 times likelier to die of lung cancer than a non-smoker” (sic), I’m afraid you’re way off the mark.

            “a US white male (USWM) cigarette smoker has an 8% lifetime chance of dying from lung cancer but the USWM nonsmoker also has a 1% chance of dying from lung cancer”
            “lung cancer accounts for only 2% of the annual deaths worldwide and only 3% in the US”
            “That means that even using the biased data that is out there, a USWM smoker has only an 8x more risk of dying from lung cancer than a nonsmoker”


            The author is a non-smoking doctor.

          5. “on average, current smokers are 15 times more likely to die from lung cancer than lifelong nonsmokers (never smokers)” (Lung Cancer Occurrence in Never-Smokers: An Analysis of 13 Cohorts and 22 Cancer Registry Studies). That’s pulled from the executive summary. Wikipedia summarises that report as saying that “The risk of dying from lung cancer before age 85 is 22.1% for a male smoker and 11.9% for a female smoker, in the absence of competing causes of death. The corresponding estimates for lifelong nonsmokers are a 1.1% probability of dying from lung cancer before age 85 for a man of European descent, and a 0.8% probability for a woman.” And even on your figures, the risk of getting lung cancer is substantially heightened for smokers.

            Freedom of choice, something I consider very important. Unfortunately, people like you don’t extend people like me the same courtesy.

            It’s not “people like me”, it’s the overwhelming majority of people in the country. You don’t like it, don’t moan on my blog, organise the UK Smokers’ Party and get yourself 300-plus MPs.

        2. XX I have tried hard to not actually insult anybody here,XX

          WHAT? You demand out freedom of choice is taken from us, and that we be treated as second class citzens, and you “have not insulted” any body???

          1. Thank you for the conformation that you are nohing better than a piece of nazi scum.

            How is smoking in a pub “endangering YOUR health”?

            You don’t like it, DON’T GO IN AND OPEN YOUR OWN NON SMOKING PUB.

            Is that clear enough Himmler?

          2. If I may be allowed the liberty to quote myself, “I hate … the hysterical over-reactions against anyone who suggests that, actually, pubs (and restaurants, and cinemas, and workplaces) are vastly pleasanter places now that smoking is banned.”

        3. XX Look, I know you don’t want to accept the truth of the glaringly clear statistical links between smoking and ill health because you can’t accept that your pleasure in smoking makes you, for example, more than 20 times likelier to die of lung cancer than a non-smoker, XX

          You just don’t get it, do you?

          We know that. and we do not GIVE a shit. What we DO give a shit about is other people sticking their bloody noses into OUR free choice.

          What the HEL has what I choose to subject MYSELF to, to do with ANY other bastard?

    2. The term “secondhand smoke” (highly diluted) is OK, but SH smokING or passive smokING are not.

      Well, semantics are a great smoke screen. It is too bad that you don’t understand the effects of SHS. My father, who never worked in a factory, never smoked, was never a coal miner and never worked with noxious chemicals, has a 35% loss of lung capacity from emphysema. Doctor attribute it to the many years he spent in meeting rooms, restaurants, airplanes, etc. that allowed smoking. The level of tar and ash from SHS is appreciable enough to cause damage, even if the person isn’t “SMOKING”.
      And I’m still trying to figure out how my liver will be damaged by someone else drinking a beer.

      1. Tim, it’s difficult to figure if you’re serious or you’re trying to pull one of those antismoking “swifties” (I can give you an example of that, if you’d like). I’ll take your comment at face level and my good wishes to your dad.

        Your comment is exactly what I mean about medicos becoming a dangerous entity when they venture into social engineering. They adopt a mantra en masse that, for example, SHS “causes” all sorts of things. And then they start making these statements to specific patients.

        Firstly, if you had any grasp of the statistics (e.g., relative risk) that epidemiology generates, you would understand that they are population-level and involve tiny baselines, such that their application at the individual level is essentially zero. For doctors to make those sorts of causal claims at the individual patient level is delinquent, abominable. Yet they are doing it with greater frequency – it’s all for the “good” antismoking cause, apparently. I, too, have heard on national TV a game-show contestant stating that her doctor told her that her lung cancer was “caused” by years of smoking being permitted in the lunch room at work. Doctors doing so should be fronting a medical board to answer serious questions. Or, better still, in a court of law where his claims can properly be dissected.

        Secondly, I’d like to know what epidemiological evidence the doctor was using for the claim. I doubt that there is even epidemiological data for emphysema, let alone delinquently extrapolating to the individual level. Ask the doctor for a link. I’d be very interested.

        Here’s a question for the doctor. Ask him if he is willing to put up all of his worldly goods that he can demonstrate that your dad is not part of a baseline rate (i.e., emphysema occurring in nonsmokers not exposed to SHS). I can guarantee you that he’d be running for the nearest exit, and that’s if he can understand the question.

        The only consequence of this delinquent medical conduct is promoting mental dysfunction, i.e., irrational belief.

        The other matter that is troubling about your post is that you are claiming that tar and ash is causing damage in nonsmokers. I’d really like a link on that claim. What do you mean by “tar”? And do you seriously believe that people are breathing in ash and that it’s causing emphysema. You can understand why your entire post sounds suspicious?

        1. I think that the real problem is that this is an issue of what people believe or want to believe. My opinion is that SHS does cause damage to people who breath it. I also know smokers who until their death from lung cancer denied that smoking was harmful. Our society has changed with regard to smoking in public enclosed spaces, so in 20 years if there is a drop in lung cancer and emphysema rates, I will send you the data. If you believe that SHS is harmless then I will never convince you.
          You should think of this as the right of the beer drinker to enjoy what he is drinking. I’m sure that if I served you all of your pints at 0 degrees or 37 degrees that you would send them back because they won’t taste right. Maybe you would prefer that the publicans never clean the beer lines so that every beer you get is sour from lactobaccilius. Personally, I prefer to have my pints where I can smell all of the aromas and taste all the flavors, unimpeded by cigarette smoke. I enjoyed several glasses of Sierra Nevada cask conditioned hoptimum imperial IPA last night with several friends. We all were able to appreciate the bold and subtle aromas and flavors that were in the beer. It wouldn’t have been possible to do so in a smoke filled pub. When our smoking ban went into effect, smoker screamed and owners wrung their hands that the world was ending and that no one would ever go to a bar ever again. Since then more bars are serving better and higher priced beers than ever before. Things like barleywine, imperial stout, old ale and porter are now common place as are bars with 20 different taps to choose from. It seems obvious that part of the reason that people are willing to pay for these beers is that they can appreciate what they are paying for, even in a bar.

  38. I just wonder why, if the ban is so ‘popular’, more pubs didn’t go smoke free prior to it. I’ve heard that some did but I, in several cities, never saw one. If it is now so ‘popular’ it must be that the Govt. knew more about pubs business than they did themselves. What an admission!

    I feel that after smoking for over 50 years – yep, I’m still here – and smoking in pubs for 45 years, I’ve every right and reason to complain. Whether that’s thought ‘whingeing’ or not is completely irrelevant.

    Some like it some don’t. Some pubs are doing ok and good luck to them but some are not and many have closed so what’s the problem with Publicans having a choice? I think I know the answer. Those that chose to stay smoke free would lose trade, follow the money,eh? They didn’t have the balls to do it pre ban and now have to rely on nanny state to wipe their backsides for them. Bless ’em.

    The recent Mintel survey is available on site. It surveyed 1000 people online. It found that, of that 1000, 3/10 thought pubs a more pleasant place since the ban. 3/10 didn’t use pubs anyway and of the remainder, 1/7 had stopped going since the ban, i.e. 14.28% (I’m one of that seven). So, of the remaining 6, the present pub users, 50% thought them more pleasant. Sounds about right to me. Of course, as usual, it didn’t ask the ‘pleasanter’ 50% if they thought that smokers should be catered for inside, an obviously taboo suggestion. RedNevs idea that the sharp spike in closures from late ’07 until mid ’08 (pre recession) is down to a ‘wet summer’ is a real belter. I’ll certainly chalk that one up and reuse it. It’s a cracker.

    Relating to bar workers that didn’t like smoke, why the hell did they choose a job in a Pub? Don’t like the heat, don’t go in the kitchen in the first place. I always thought that a place of business traded on its custom, you know, for the benefit of its customers. Its some arrogance to assume a position and then expect the customers to change for the worker’s benefit. They’re not nationalised industries, are they? Comments like that from Pub workers defy description and are, truly, an irrelevance.

    This ban was imposed, ostensibly for health reasons namely SHS and, supposedly, not because some didn’t like smoke. Peter Lee, Oxford statistician from the same school as Sir Ronald Fisher in a meta analysis, recently reported that 85% of all surveys into SHS showed the null hypothesis i.e. no change. He found that 3% showed a beneficial effect (inoculative) and 12% showed a slight increase, none of it statistically significant. I could also go into the McTear v. imp. Tob. case, judgement 2005 by Lord Smith where, after evidence from the likes of Doll, Hasting and Friend,the Court even found that a link with direct smoking was unproven. I could quote the judgement where he found Doll in partic. to be arrogant and dismissive, failing to answer questions but it would be too long.

    All in all, Martyn’s piece belongs in a Student rag week magazine. It’s patronising, condescending, petulant and childish. A pile of rubbish.

    1. Arrogant: “Relating to bar workers that didn’t like smoke, why the hell did they choose a job in a Pub? Don’t like the heat, don’t go in the kitchen in the first place.”

      Condescending: “Publicans having a choice? I think I know the answer. Those that chose to stay smoke free would lose trade, follow the money,eh? They didn’t have the balls to do it pre ban and now have to rely on nanny state to wipe their backsides for them. Bless ‘em.

      Petulant: “after smoking for over 50 years – yep, I’m still here – and smoking in pubs for 45 years, I’ve every right and reason to complain.”

      Childish: Martyn’s piece belongs in a Student rag week magazine.

      Marvellous. Thanks, Frank, another great laugh.

      McTear versus Imperial Tobacco: the smoking lobby loves this one, because ONE judge said he wasn’t convinced by all the expert witnesses he had heard. Doctors seem pretty convinced, though: in the United States, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, smoking rates have dropped among doctors from 15 to 20% in the 1970s to around 5% or less. Given the choice, I’d rather get my health advice from a doctor than a judge. And Mrs McTear didn’t lose her case because of a failure of the evidence against smoking, she lost it because there was every evidence that her husband carried on smoking in the face of the published statistical links between tobacco and ill-health: so if he DID get lung cancer because of smoking, the judge ruled that it wasn’t the tobacco company’s fault that he took no notice of the risks, any more than you could blame a car manufacturer for someone killed while speeding.

      1. I must have missed your point, Martyn. I can’t see the join and, in any event, you have not answered any of my points. Let me acquaint you with the McTear case judgement. McTear had to prove 3 things, the first being that smoking caused Lung Cancer in the general population, the second being that it caused McTear’s lung cancer and the third being that, resultantly, Imp. Tobacco were negligent.

        In spite of the learned witnesses called such as Doll, Hastings and Friend, in the Judgement, Lord Smith stated that he was unimpressed by any of them. Friend and Hastings had done no work on the subject that they could quote and only related to others. Doll was cross examined and failed to answer any of the many criticisms of his work, preferring to state only that they were wrong. In open Court, when they had their chance, the anti movement was found extremely wanting and failed to even pass the first hurdle. The next two requirements, therefore, collapsed and that’s why they lost the case.

        I trust you noted that at the recent meeting of the health committee in Parliament, the last item on the agenda was “plain packaging and alcohol”. Look it up. It’s there to see. I don’t blame you for not wanting to believe it, 5 years before the tobacco ban I wouldn’t have believed it, either. Wasn’t a minister quoted as saying to the suggestion of a ban 2 years prior, “No chance, Pal” Yeah, right!

        Sweet dreams.

        1. I repeat: one judge found the link unconvincing as to actual definite proof. Hundreds of thousands of medical experts over the past 60 years have decided that the statistics are compelling enough for it not to be worthwhile taking the risk. Yes, I have read the case, and as I pointed out, Mrs McTear didn’t lose on the link not being proved, she lost on the fact that her husband should have known there was a potential link between smoking and cancer and it wasn’t the tobacco company’s fault that he ignored that statistical link. And drinkers can and will fight their own battles: but don’t tell me I have to fight yours as well, because whether you win or lose is irrelevant to the future of drink, however you try to argue otherwise. Or did a smoking ban come in right after US prohibition?

          1. “Or did a smoking ban come in right after US prohibition?”

            Martyn, did you read the links in my first comment? There were smoking bans in a variety of American states on both sides of Prohibition. Anti-cigarette/smoking bans began to occur some two decades before Prohibition. Following Prohibition, the antismoking goal was to introduce a national ban on tobacco. This ultimately failed. Those who pushed anti-alcohol also pushed anti-tobacco.

          2. As you well know, it was not just ONE judge. There have been several cases in the UK where actions have been taken from the ex Landlady in Middlesbrough who tried to sue in the County Court for a bad throat when she retired right through to Lord Smith in the High Court. None have succeeded. McTear is significant as it is the ONLY time that the so called ‘experts’ including St. Richard Doll have appeared and been cross examined and these ‘learned’ people failed to convince the Court. You’re clutching at straws here.

            I. too, used to believe every word a medic and/or pseudo medic came out with until this rubbish started. Close examination of the reasoning and ‘evidence’ indicated that the studies and conclusions were far from watertight. You don’t have to be an expert to be able to see if research is well founded and the conclusions are supported.

          3. Frank, you don’t understand the nature of epidemiology, or of risk, or you wouldn’t be saying things like “the studies and conclusions were far from watertight”. “You don’t have to be an expert to be able to see if research is well founded and the conclusions are supported.” Well, yes, you do, actually. That’s why I prefer to believe the opinions of medical researchers and statisticians and epidemiologists than the opinions of judges – or you. Particularly as you, and other smokers, have a clear emotional bias.

          4. I’m sorry, Martyn, you have obviously not read Lord Smith’s judgement. The case fell at the first hurdle on proof of general causation. What you mention is related to the third hurdle of negligence by imp. Tob. It didn’t reach that far. I’m grateful to you for keeping this piece open but you are just plain wrong.

          5. I told you, I have read the judgment, and you don’t appear to have read what I said: one judge says he finds the case against general causation unproved, hundreds of thousands of medical experts find the link between smoking and cancer/other illnesses sufficiently statistically convincing to stop smoking themselves and/or advise others to stop. I repeat: I’d rather take my medical advice from an army of health experts than one judge.

          6. Sheesh! “Hundreds of thousands of medical experts” have NOT found any link. This is what Judge Smith said. “Hundreds of thousands” have read it, NOT found it. There are a limited number of people who have conducted work on the subject. This is precisely why Friend, Hastings and McTear’s own Doctor were not considered by Smith. They had just read it and spouted forth as ‘experts’ on that basis. Look, Martyn, I’m not denying the existence of an indirect link but I seriously doubt the existence of a ‘direct’ link. If you take Doll’s own figures of a lifetime risk of 7.9% of smokers to LC, that leaves 92.1% of all smokers who DO NOT develop it. No way does that indicate a ‘direct’ link. When mixed with personal unknowns and variables, maybe, but no way can that be determined ‘direct’. If that risk frightens you, so be it, but that’s purely up to you.

            To the matter in hand, how would you feel if something you had enjoyed for a long time being accepted as reasonable and social, was curtailed, based on dodgy ‘science’, where you had no access to any consultation, the results being even more curtailment, being accused permanently of being in somebody else’s pay and were dismissed by the MSM who seemingly copy and paste any old rubbish issued by the health dept. without question? Now don’t tell me you’d just accept it and’move on’. I wouldn’t believe you.

            You only have to look at the comments under any press article on this issue to realise the deep disgruntlement that exists.

          7. So on your own admission, one in 12 smokers will get lung cancer (why can’t you people write out “lung cancer” instead of “LC”) against a background for non-smokers of what, one in a hundred? If you don’t think that indicates a direct link, really, you genuinely don’t understand statistics. Go and take a course.

          8. Not only do I question Doll’s figures on the basic data input but no, I would not consider 7.9% or 1/12 to be proof of an unequivocal, exclusive, direct link. Nearer 12/12 would show that, not 1/12. And that 1/12 is top heavy, 2% of it at 30 he quotes rising to 8% at 50 and 16% at 70.

            It’s no coincidence that the holes shown in work of this nature come from statisticians. The medics will peer review themselves forever but I’ve not seen too many statisticians involved in this process. In fact I’m not aware of any. You would have thought that with epidemiology being the application of statistics to medicine there would be a fair number involved in the process. Maybe there’s a reason.

            Enough now, I’m tiring of the knowledge filter, the cherry picking, the distorted interpretations, the discarding or ignoring facts that you don’t like and your general failure to answer points. You’re a typical anti. I don’t believe you’re worried about the health implications, at all, given what they are, who would be? You just don’t like the smell of what in your mind, is a filthy habit.

          9. I would not consider 7.9% or 1/12 to be proof of an unequivocal, exclusive, direct link.

            Then you’re a fuckwit. Sorry, I really have no time for people too stupid, or too much in denial, to grasp statistics. It was idiots like you that refused to admit a link between cholera and poor sanitation, because curing poor sanitation affected their pockets.

          10. “I would not consider 7.9% or 1/12 to be proof of an unequivocal, exclusive, direct link. Nearer 12/12 would show that, not 1/12. And that 1/12 is top heavy, 2% of it at 30 he quotes rising to 8% at 50 and 16% at 70.”

            Then you simply don’t (or is it won’t?) understand how statistics works, and it is clearly pointless having a discussion with you. If you want to choose nicotine addiction over your own health, off you go, but you don’t have the right to choose your nicotine addiction over my health.

          11. I strongly dispute that assumption. its an ‘indirect’ link, not a direct link! In this case, the reaction and development of the illness depends on the various (and unknown) individual, physiological factors that vary from human to human. A smoker with a family history of cancer is more at risk of LC than a smoker with no family history of cancer because of their particular genetic circumstances. The ‘entire point’ of the use of statistics is to assess the risk. It does not know how or why in this case. It, and you, ‘assume’ a direct link without any evidence at all. The anti industry is very good at assuming things, most of it, in fact.

            This really is the basis of the whole thing. You say ‘it is proved’ and I say, ‘hold on, there is a statistical risk indicated in certain circumstances we don’t know about, but we cannot say it is proved’ That’s what Sir Ronald Fisher (and initially the DoH) said about Doll’s work, that the best it shows is the need for more thorough investigation. Statistically, to Fisher, it could not stand on its own. To us, that position has not changed. If the risk is that 12/100 have a chance of development, it means 88/100 do not. Why not, is the question.

          12. Frank: I’m bored with this. It’s like “arguing” with a proponent of “intelligent design”. Emotionally you don’t WANT to accept the idea of a link, and thus you reject all the evidence that strongly suggests the possibility. Good luck with that.

        2. Oh, dear. You really don’t like being questioned, do you? I don’t accept your premise so I’m a ‘fuckwit’? Well, you see, many of us do not share your view that SHS affects your health or certainly no more than any other common allergen and with good justification given the ‘surveys’ that have been conducted. (see P. Lee above) Because we question it, we are ‘fuckwits’ and don’t understand what it’s all about.

          Doll stated that 1/12 is ‘at risk’ of LC. If there was a direct link why don’t the remaining 11 develop it? put it another way, all 12 are at risk but why do only 1/12 develop it? sorry, this proves anything but a direct link. If it did all 12 should develop it. Am I missing something? Sorry, saying that ‘you don’t understand’ shows only the paucity of your position. You should try answering points instead of appealing to authority.

          To conclude, if you don’t wish to believe that they’re are now coming for alcohol in the same manner as tobacco, then you are the biggest ‘fuckwit’ on this board. (to qualify, that is just an opinion)

          1. “If there was a direct link why don’t the remaining 11 develop it? put it another way, all 12 are at risk but why do only 1/12 develop it? sorry, this proves anything but a direct link. If it did all 12 should develop it. Am I missing something?”

            Yes, you are missing the entire point of epidemiology/statistics/probability, and it’s extremely tedious trying to explain something to someone who simply refuses to exercise their intellect sufficiently to grasp a concept that is essential to understand the debate. If something occurs more often in people who are exposed to an event than it does in people who are not exposed to that event, chances are the exposure and the occurrence are linked. It simply doesn’t have to be that A follows B 100 per cent of the time. That kind of probability analysis is used all the time in engineering, in manufacturing, in marketing, as well as in science and medicine: even in police work. What you are saying is the equivalent of “I’ll never make a bet unless I’m 100 per cent certain of winning.” Smoking cigarettes doesn’t give you a certainty of losing: but the odds are sufficiently poor for most people to not want to gamble.

        3. “Emotionally you don’t WANT to accept the idea of a link,”

          Emotionally, you WANT to accept the idea that 11/12 are the exception and not the rule.

          “Frank: I’m bored with this.”

          So am I. Read today’s Telegraph? Don’t worry, it’ll never happen.

          1. Emotionally, you WANT to accept the idea that 11/12 are the exception and not the rule.

            No, Frank, intellectually I’m able and willing to understand how the world really works. You’re not. But that’s your tragedy.

  39. “Careful Martyn – you know that stuff like this on blogs usually brings the crazies out to play”

    Well, I did warn you…

    1. Actually it has simply exposed Martyn as a bit of a bigot who is not prepared to seriously defend a mildly offensive rant.

      The best his supporters appear to be able to manage is to call those who oppose him names.

      Martyn clearly hates smoke and smokers which is fair enough. He is not alone. He is entitled to his opinion but not to the facts.

      1. “not prepared to seriously defend a mildly offensive rant.”

        Really? I’ve made more than 40 responses so far. Or are you doing the usual militant smoker thing of ignoring the facts in front of your face? The statistical evidence of the risks of smoking to smokers themselves and those around them is clear. You can argue that nothing proves passive smoking kills, but nothing proves running across the M1 kills, either. In neither case am I willing to take the risk. The statistical evidence for the impact of the smoking ban on pub closures is poor. The brief, though dramatic, rise in closures in 2008-2009 against the general background level of closures occurred in the middle of a raging recession and at a time when pubs were under a fair number of other pressures as well, from cheap supermarket drinks to much greater competition for leisure time. The argument that drinkers must support smokers or go the same way themselves is nonsense. And if you’re offended by having your arguments held up and exposed, here’s a more offensive response – piss off and try to find some better arguments, instead of evidence-free assertions and ad hominem attacks.

        1. I don’t smoke Martyn. I happen to agree with you that there is a strong link between smoking and lung cancer based on the available evidence. Using the same analysis I and many others argue that there is no such strong link between SHS and lung cancer or anything else very much. That does not mean that there is no risk and that there is OK to smoke wherever smokers please but it is reasonable to say that some people have at the very least rather exaggerated the “risk” in order to back their causes.

          One of us in this exchange has a degree in “hard” science and has read the research papers involved and the other has started swearing.

          This piece is a mildly offensive rant and I have no problem with that. I even have some sympathy with your main point but you clearly have not studied your subject matter in any depth and are relying on media /pressure group sound bites rather than hard data. It is also clear that your hatred of smoking makes it hard for you to be rational about the subject. I find your comments on pub closures odd and although I agree that other factors are involved, only dyed in the wool anti-smoking campaigners can twist the data far enough to claim that the smoking ban had no impact at all. It just doesn’t make sense.

          I do commend you for putting so much time into responding even if I do not agree with most of your responses. I accept that I made the above point after a quiet spell that presumably meant you were sleeping. However, in my defense, I have raised some serious evidence based points above and you have not responded to them.

          Do you not think that it would be better to allow some licensed smoking establishments based on the owners choice? I think that the vast majority of places given the option would stay non-smoking but smokers would stop whingeing, you would not write about it and I would not upset you be commenting on your blog. Just a thought.

          1. XX Do you not think that it would be better to allow some licensed smoking establishments based on the owners choice? I think that the vast majority of places given the option would stay non-smoking XX

            The evidence in Berlin, where we have the choice, has shown differently. Those pubs, very few, that chose to be “non smoking” closed. Turned into Kabap shops, or nail studios, or some such rubbish.

            Those that got new owners, and re-opened as “smoker pubs” are bouncing along with full houses every night.

            Those that stayed “smoking” never had the “blip”. EXCEPT for the NEW customers, that emigrated from the “no Smoking” pubs. And a “blip” in THAT direction is the dream of EVERY pub owner.

          2. Oh, really? Ahlfeldt G., Maennig, W. (2010), Impact of non-smoking ordinances on hospitality revenues: The case of Germany, Journal of Economics and Statistics, 230(5), 506-521, preliminary version here, says there were negative impacts on pub, bar and restaurant revenues from the German smoking ban, if any, only in the very short run. In the medium and long term, incomes recovered. If you have stats to back up your claims, let’s see them. Meanwhile, despite the patchy implementation of a health ban in Germany, heart attacks are down.

          3. I never said I hated smoking – I dislike being in the company of heavy smokers, and I think anybody who still smokes in the face of the health evidence is an idiot, but I’m married to someone who was a smoker for all but the past three years – until she was hospitalised at Christmas 2009 with double pneumonia and decided that risking her health, especially when she has a young daughter, wasn’t worth it. What I said I hated – an opinion which everyone, as I knew they would, has chosen to twist – is the continual whingeing, the claims of Nazi-style oppression, the airs of persecution and paranoia, and the vicious attacks on anyone who disagrees with them that militant smokers constantly indulge in. As evidenced in the comments here.

            Studied my subject matter in any depth? How much depth of study do you need? I have two university degrees, including an MBA, which indicates, I hope, that I’m quite good at extracting relevant information from documents. No, there’s no STRONG link between second-hand smoke and health problems, but (1) there’s a very clear link between smoking itself and health problems – that’s enough to make me wary of breathing in someone else’s smoke, and (2) a weak risk posed by someone else’s actions, as opposed to a weak risk I choose to take myself, is a weak risk I find completely unacceptable.

            Should there be “licensed smoking establishments”? On the whole, I think not, since, for one, despite all the claims of the denialists, there would be a risk to staff, who would not be totally free to turn down the work if they objected. And how much demand would there be? I’m intrigued by the fact that a Google search for “smokers’ lock-in” gets only about 10 relevant hits.

          4. XX Oh, really? Ahlfeldt G., Maennig, W. (2010), Impact of non-smoking ordinances on hospitality revenues: The case of Germany, Journal of Economics and Statistics, 230(5), 506-521, preliminary version here, says there were negative impacts on pub, bar and restaurant revenues from the German smoking ban, XX

            Well he is obviously full of bollox. THER IS NO GERMAN SMOKING BAN

            There are states, cities, towns where smoking is banned. THAT is the CHOICE (You obviously dpo not know what that word means, however) of the seperate city “councils, or country parliaments.

            Berlin YOU WILL NOT FIND A “NO SMOKING” PUB! Outside of the “tourist areas”, where they are VERY few and far between ANYWAY.

            We don’t NEED figures. Just go out of your door and try and FIND one.

          5. Martyn,
            If you are interested in the theory that smoking bans an immediate drop in heart attacks, Dr. Siegel of the Boston University School of Public Health has blogged
            aboout this subject on many times.


    2. John, that’s an interesting, unexplained perspective. From where I stand, Martyn and Jon K have been found terribly wanting. Martyn went for the usual mangling of Godwin’s Law and conjuring “parallel development” (next to the rabbit) out of the top hat. In the face of considerable evidence challenging his infantile view, Martyn was still more than willing – enthusiastic even – to invoke “that don’t mean a thing…… if it ain’t got that swing (couldn’t help myself  )”. How do you reason with that? While he defends his “I hate smokers” and a host of other baseless, derogatory statements as innocent, good-natured “polemic”, he is ever so quick to pull the “look what they done to me, ma” blather, e.g.,
      “You don’t make a convincing argument by insulting your opponent.”
      “Thank you for completely proving my point about ranting pro-smokers and their vicious, intemperate attacks on their opponents.”
      “Thank you, too, for completely proving my point about ranting pro-smokers and their vicious, intemperate attacks on their opponents.”

      Then we have little Jon K pulling the “I’ve done Logic 101½, so I know everything” stunt. Little Jon hasn’t a clue what eugenics refers to, its philosophical foundation, the main players, the critical symptoms – regardless of what the activity is called. He hasn’t the slightest inkling of what sort of damage the medical establishment can do when it goes on its social-engineering ventures. He’s in way over his [inflated] head. Jon needs to grow up a bit and learn more stuff. At the moment he is suffering the affliction of “all form and no substance”.

      So, John Clarke….. dear Sir, the way I see it, the antismoking fanatics represented here have been caught with their proverbial pants down….. embarrassing air-conditioning of the lower region. And, given your non-existent contribution to the discussion and your latest inane comment, I imagine that you, John, would be feeling a draft below the midriff around now, too. And, please, don’t go running off to mumsy.
      now, too. And, please, don’t go running off to mumsy.

      1. I predicted responses exactly like yours, and I’m actually rather sad that you’ve proved me correct. If you tell your opponents: “Now you’re going to come out with the usual militant smoker-style ad hominem insults, attempts at dismissive put-downs and refusals to tackle your opponent’s evidence,” and they them go ahead and do just that, there is only one conclusion to draw. You’re not listening to anything you don’t want to hear, and you’re so mired in confirmation bias, there’s no point in trying to engage with you.

  40. Predictably, the exchange of comments has heated. I can only point out that most of the smokers posting here have actually bothered to research to topic and, as such, are not ‘whingeing’ merely because they feel victimised but because they have studied both sides of the argument. The smoking ban is a scam, pure and simple. Designed to create divisiveness – fear and hatred amongst non smokers, guilt and feelings of persecution amongst smokers. If you haven’t bothered to delve beneath tobacco control propaganda how can you present a balanced argument? If you accept what your being told by anti smoking groups as the truth, then the same must apply with regard to alcohol. Basically, it’s the same people spouting the lies FFS – all too often at the behest of The Royal College of Physicians (via the likes of ASH). Some of the anti smoking beer bloggers are already condemning the science behind the war on alcohol. Would you regard these as whingers? Expect to see yourself labelled as one in the future if protesting on an anti alcohol blog, or on your own.

    1. “The smoking ban is a scam, pure and simple.”

      Just like the ban on running across railway tracks. I don’t want to roll dice every time I go into a pub, and I object to you telling me I should do, or stay out of the pub.

      1. XX I don’t want to roll dice every time I go into a pub, and I object to you telling me I should do, or stay out of the pub.XX

        Unfortunately for YOU laddie, there is such a thing as “PRIVATE” premesis. However, your sort appears to forget this. YOU are quite free to come into my smoky pub. Would I be equaly as free to come into ypour non smoky pub?

        IF you want a non smoking pub, BUY one, and run it yourself. Do NOT take the choice to run a pub otherwise, away from the PRIVATE owner of such establishments that choose smoking.

        THAT is what makes you a nazi. The fact that you impose YOUR will upon others, regardless of whether the will, or the mere existance, of the other effects YOU or not.

        1. It wouldn’t affect me if someone tried to smack you upside the head with a baseball bat, but I think I’d try to stop them if I was there – under your logic, my imposing my will on your attacker to stop you being hit would make me a Nazi.

      2. Er, only difference here is that trains are dangerous, whereas SHS is not. Drunks are also dangerous, they pop up everywhere often maiming or killing people. Probably far more than those ROBT. And some people don’t need much to get drunk, so how we gonna control these? Do you think more draconian alcohol control is the answer, or responsible drinking campaigns? Go figure.

        1. “only difference here is that trains are dangerous, whereas SHS is not”

          But most of the time, when you cross the railway track, there won’t be a train coming, so there’s no danger and you’ll be safe. And most people exposed to second-hand cigarette smoke (I love that euphemistic TLA, but let’s give the phenomenon its full, honest name) won’t fall ill. However, the evidence is that some will.

          1. What evidence would that be? As far as I’m aware there is NO direct ‘evidence’ or link to any death whatsoever due to ETS. There are finger in the air opinions by medics due to what they may have read, and even stronger assertions by politico medics for their own agendas, but nothing else. When Peter Lee has stated that only 12% of ‘surveys’ show an insignificant increase in risk, it’s hardly surprising no evidence can be found!

            Try being a proper hack for once, you know, ask questions and investigate.

    2. You have had the balls to create your own lion’s den and let everyone have their say. And then you go and spoil it all by saying something silly like I don’t want to roll a dice every time I go into a pub.That must be a terrifying world you inhabit.In the article you cite a study which found that children exposed to SHS were found to have reduced elasticity in their arteries, an indicator of poor cardiovascular health. All of these studies are peppered with words like could, might, perhaps, maybe, indicates. A bit like a lawyer covering his bottom when advising a client and is not sure of his ability to obtain a positive result for him. It isn’t really like that. It is merely an acceptance that, given the complexity of the subject matter, it is not possible to be certain. Real scientists possess that degree of humility. You accuse others of presenting no evidence and then ignore it when it is presented to you. You have introduced this evidence. May we have a look at it please?.


      1. “given the complexity of the subject matter, it is not possible to be certain”

        Given the complexity of the matter – the fact that a chamber with a bullet in it is more likely to come to rest at the bottom, for example – you can’t be certain exactly what the risks are when you play Russian Roulette. But given the consequences if you get it wrong, I wouldn’t take the risk. And I don’t like you telling me: “Well, my smoking only could, might, maybe harm your health, it’s not possible to be certain, why don’t you possess a degree of humility and suck my second-hand smoke in?” You want evidence on the potential dangers of second-hand smoke? Here’s four megabites for you.

        1. Thank you Martyn. I thought you had ignored me. I think you might have to agree that you are guilty of paraphrasing me in a manner which suits your own perspective. I wiil look at all 4 megabytes with interest.


          1. Only 3.8 megs to go. I do hope you’ve read this yourself Martyn. I’d hate to feel that we’re wasting each other’s valuable time.


      2. No, it wasn’t the balls to create a lion’s den, it was a successful experiment, the results of which I actually predicted in the post itself, to show that the smoking lobby cannot stop itself whingeing, ranting, putting forward illogical arguments, scrabbling desperately at half-straws in the face of a mountain of evidence against them, declaring that black is white and insisting that (1) their opponents are Nazis (2) anyone who doesn’t support them is a dupe and a fool. All amply demonstrated here, and I’d like to thank all the smokers for proving my case.

  41. Just for the giggles, I’d like to point out that (a) I’m a smoker,(on and off) & (b) My personal choice would have been for the “smoking carriage” option, had it been practicable. I’m also not a “supporter” of Mr Cornell – he doesn’t need my support – indeed, I’ve disagreed with him elsewhere on another matter and questioned his debating style in that context.

    I can’t see that the pro-smoke types we see here are likely ever to make any progress with their “argument” as they (for the most part) seem to have a poor understanding of what it means to argue. Or of the value of a well-formed argument. Name-calling, cherry-picking and mindless repetition serve no-one well. Not the pro-smoke, nor the anti-smoke. To get things done, it helps (this being a democracy) if we can get a majority on our side. Given that smokers themselves form a diminishing minority in the population, this seems an impossible target for the pro-smoke. Which is why, I guess, they attempt to hitch their concern to a more sympathetic subject (i.e. the booze, which we all love).

    Speaking again for myself, I’m revolted by the repeated assertion that the anti-smoke public health types are “nazis”, “stalinists” or “eugenicists”. Anyone who can say such a thing clearly has a terrifyingly poor understanding of the god-awful horrors perpetrated by those “nazis”, “stalinists” & “eugenicists”.


    1. There’s nothing to argue about. We want our freedom back. We do not want to be dictated to by such as yourself. The smoking ban was the most despicable piece of legislation enacted for many a year, based as it was upon junk science, deliberately exaggerated, and surveys of people who never go to pubs. The most despicable thing about it was the forced recruitment of publicans to do the bidding of the Holy Zealots. You are indeed nazis! If only because you blindly follow the dictats of a very small number of Holy Zealots who have misled you. You would have done very well as a member of the gestapo.

      1. I’m not trying to dictate to anyone – I’m merely pointing out why you all won’t convince anyone (or enough people, or the right people) to get anything changed.

      2. “We want our freedom back.”

        YOUR freedom to pollute MY air? And “junk science”? If the result’s not to your liking, then of course you’re going to call it that. Your qualifications in medical science, epidemiology and health statistics are what, exactly?

        1. XX “We want our freedom back.” YOUR freedom to pollute MY air?XX

          WHO wants to polute “your” air??

          You don’t come in my smoking pub, if you do not choose to, and I will DEFFINATELY not come into YOUR boring little “temple to fresh air”.

          Easy. Problem of “your” polluted air solved.

          But that is not good enough for you, you want free access, under YOUR terms, to every pub in Britain.

          1. A pub near us. Plays the shitest music at the loudest volume you can imagine. Do I campaign to ban it, because I can’t go in there without my hearing being damaged?

            Starting to see the comparison now?

            No. I don’t complain about their music. I just don’t fucking GO there.

            NOW you can see the comparison, if not you guide dog did not recieve enough of a good kicking last time I told you.

    2. XX poor understanding of the god-awful horrors perpetrated by those “nazis”, “stalinists” & “eugenicists”. XX

      The end result does not a nazi make, the way in which the end result is achieved, however DOES.

      And as someone who due to their university degree in the history and research of the entire third Reich “final solution”, from the political and propoganda system, and everything through to the technology of the “cremation ovens”, on a volunteer basis, has worked at the “Topographie des Terrors” here in Berlin, and as a guide at the Sachsenhausen/Oranienburg, and for two years (“Seasons”) at Auschwitz concentration camps, your assertion, that I have a “poor understandingh”, is really rather pathetically laughable, and your state of ignorance is deserving of pity.

    3. Thank you for the lesson in critical thinking. If that is the best you can come up with – invalidating comments because they haven’t followed the rules of the arguing game, then you, sir, are a fuckwit.

      1. You’re welcome. Learning is fun, huh? It’s not that there’s a set of arbitrary rules for this “game”, rather, I’m pointing out that an ill-formed argument can always be dismissed by your opponent without them having to take the trouble to contest your data. This is why you need to be sure that your logic is sound if you hope to convince. If on the other hand, you’re content to name-call and bully, by all means, have your fun – but you do your cause no good.

        1. It’s not about convincing others on the rightness or wrongness of the argument, it is about wanting to be left alone by nannying fussbuckets whose sole raison d’etre is hatred of people who aren’t like them or don’t behave like them. It is the use of flawed studies and propaganda against smokers, drinkers and fat people that galls; the use of the word “epidemic” as if smoking, drinking or hamburgers are a communicalble disease that galls. So you tell me who is being bullied…

          I will eat, drink and smoke whatever I like, whenever I like and that is nobody else’s business but mine.

          1. That would be lovely, wouldn’t it? Sadly (or not, if you’re a sociable type), given that we don’t live on “Little Prince” type individual planets, what we each choose to do is indeed other people’s business, somewhat. We all have to, you know, get along. And obviously, you wouldn’t smoke in a non-smokers presence without asking permission, would you? That would be terribly rude.

          2. No I would not be as rude as you suggest. But by the same token it was rather rude of the health fascists to start sticking their beaks into my life.

  42. 23.30 6th June 2012. Place? … a public house. All the customers gone home except those in the know. Curtains closed, lights turned off in front bar. 13 customers retire to the back bar where ashtrays are being brought out. Not all the customers are smokers. Drinks ordered and supplied as cigarettes are lit up. An enjoyable few hours beckons.

    lt’s rather fun being an outlaw. You’ll have to roll that dice Martyn, we are in one of many pubs that do this. Just when you thought you were safe too and now all that 3rd hand smoke is awaiting you for when you walk in to your ‘non-smoking’ pub during ‘normal’ hours. 🙂

    1. There you go, then – the smoking ban has had the unexpected benefit of bringing you the pleasures of the rebel. “We are in one of many pubs that do this.” Really? Statistics, please, or you’re just making that claim up.

      1. Hahaha … You seem to think that by having no-smoking regs everyone will simply comply. Feel free to carry on thinking that. What we now have is smoking and non-smoking pubs etc albeit you and fellow acolytes don’t know their location. Whether you believe they exist or not, really doesn’t bother us at all. ln fact, l’m pretty certain that you believe they don’t exist … which suits us fine. 🙂

        As for the smoking ban making me a rebel … silly man. l’ve fought injustices all my life, the smoking ban is just one of them.

        1. Good grief, it’s the Nelson Mandela of nicotine addicts. “l’ve fought injustices all my life” – I don’t think trying to preserve the ability to take your pleasures wherever you want quite places you up there with, eg, Rosa Parks. Instead you come across as sounding like a prat.

          1. Hahaha … you have to resort to insults, you sad pathetic man. Injustice comes in many forms and not only your obvious obsession with famous black activists that you only know from books etc that you spout because you think it makes you look important. You, my little keyboard warrior, ARE a prat.

  43. What the smokers and their slippery slope theory (including those equating the ban on smoking in pubs to banning drinking/ holocaust etc) seem to forget is that pub and restaurant workers deserve protection from smoke more than your so-called right to smoke in a pub. Your pleasure is someone elses health problem.
    Having spent many years working in pubs as a youngster breathing in their fumes I am glad this generation won’t have to. Before anyone suggests that everyone has a choice to work in a pub, young people looking for work often have little or no choice, especially in small towns and villages where the local is often one of the few places that employ school leavers.

    1. pub and restaurant workers deserve protection from smoke
      Really? ‘Deserve’? ‘Protection’?
      Mr Beer Wrangler has been brainwashed beyond comprehension. If someone opens a new bar, owned and staffed by smokers and designed for smokers (without excluding non-smokers if they wish to enter), of what interest could such a place be to Mr Brainwashed? Why should he want to go into that place? And if other pubs, clubs, bingo halls has smoking sections and non-smoking sections, why should Mr Brainwashed wish to enter those smoking sections?

      The silliness of the Brainwashed people of this country is beyond belief.

    2. XX Your pleasure is someone elses health problem.XX

      Ahh, there goes another one.

      EVIDENCE it is called. Your sort never provide any.

      Show us a death certificate from ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, just ONE death certificate, that lists “second hand smoke” as “cause for death”.

      Go on, you KNOW you want to.

      1. AGAIN with the CAPITALIZING certain parts of your COMMENT in an effort to seem really CONFIDENT in what you’re SAYING.

        1. Repeat after me “WHEN this site provides an italics/bold option, then people will use it. Until that point CAPITALS will have to replace the missing option.

          Understand that tosspot?

          1. Italics are achieved by typing a left angle bracket followed by em followed by a right angle bracket in front of the part you want to italicise and a left angle bracket followed by a backslash followed by em followed by a right angle bracket after the phrase you want to italicise, which results in this, OK?

          1. I can’t decide if you’re actually stupid or you simply don’t want to understand. Let my try again. Epidemiology doesn’t work like that. It looks at probability. It won’t give you a specific answer in any specific case, but given enough cases it will give you the likelihood of different sorts of answers. It’s a very powerful tool – except when you’re trying to explain it to fuckwits.

  44. It doesn’t really matter how Martyn and friends regard those speak out against the war on tobacco. There are many anti smokers out there already squealing about minimum pricing and other efforts to restrict their drinking habits. Bottom line is that ultimately we will all be tarred with the same brush. Hating each other is counter productive, it makes the puritans job so much easier. Divide and rule, it’s a classic strategy. Politically (and militarily). However, the primary target of prohibitionists is alcohol, an intoxicant. Unlike nicotine.

    1. The attempt by the pro-smoke to link their declining and broadly disliked hobby with the popular enjoyment of alcoholic beverages (along with the efforts of the prohibitionists to brand drinking as the new smoking) is exactly what’s getting us “tarred with the same brush”. But we are divided, these are different interests, and the cheerful enjoyment of the booze is in danger of being dragged down by those who seek to present an association with smoking (on both sides of that argument). God forbid that the irrational rabble we meet here should be arguing for my interests – It would be all over for the booze.

      1. I’m not arguing for your interests in particular. Ultimately most people will be affected by the healthist agenda. But the alcohol issue doesn’t really directly affect me. My social life has already been spoilt – I only occasionally take a drink these days. I think some of us are only responding to insults. I don’t go around slagging off those who suspect junk science might be part of campaigns against alcohol. Even the anti smoking types. And what about the Save our Pubs and Clubs campaigners? Are they swivel eyed loonies by requesting a change in the law to permit separate, well ventilated smoking rooms?

        Fact: pubs are struggling, 10,000 have closed since 2007 and the list is growing.

        Fact: fewer former smoker customers are spending as much in them. The precious anti smokers have not come to the rescue (contrary to ASH predictions).

        Fact: if given a choice, many licensees would cater for both groups.

        Fact: the claimed risks of SHS are barely measurable. Forget the smell, the taste of beer and food, these are irrelevant as far as the law is concerned.

        Fact: the evidence put forward to enable the ban was cherry picked to suit the pro ban agenda.

        Fact: studies showing no link are buried or delayed in publication (there’s been a study quoted in the medical publications showing the latter).

        What on earth makes you lot think such tactics won’t apply to alcohol? Perhaps they won’t in Cloud Cuckoo Land…

        1. Don’t get me wrong, I’m broadly pro-choice on smoking and drinking. Particularly drinking (disclosure: I’m an alcohol producer). The tactics of the anti-smoke lot are rather suspect and some of their evidence questionable. Sure. There’s evidence of overlap between the anti-smoke and the anti-alcohol lobbies. Sure.
          I’m certain questionable tactics and dodgy evidence are being marshaled against alcohol consumption. That doesn’t mean we have to respond in the same illogical and incoherent manner that many (not all) pro-smoke commentators have done. It’s failed them. They’ve made themselves a laughing stock with their “you’re all nazis” nonsense. Let’s not have more of that.

        2. “Fact: pubs are struggling, 10,000 have closed since 2007 and the list is growing.”

          Clearly you didn’t read what I wrote at all. The number of pub closures since 2007 is nothing like 10,000. And the current pub closure rate is now only 60 per cent that of the period 1996-2002, before the smoking ban.

          Fact: the claimed risks of SHS are barely measurable.

          “Don’t worry about what I’m doing, it won’t kill you – probably …” Thanks, that’s MY health you’re gambling with.

          Forget the smell, the taste of beer and food, these are irrelevant as far as the law is concerned.

          They’re not irrelevant as far as I’m concerned.

          1. Well, at least they don’t need crap epidemiological studies to ‘prove’ that drinkers cause injury and worse to innocent third parties. Furthermore, If alcohol was banned, there would be no drink related assaults, murders, accidents. No cost to the NHS at all. Well, apart from those incurred by consumption of home brew and bootlegged booze. Other countries prohibit alcohol (among other things) but, interestingly, not tobacco. Must have got their priorities wrong….

            Of course, it won’t be banned, just increasingly controlled, partly for financial reasons, partly to reduce long term consumption . Same as tobacco. That hasn’t been banned, nor is there serious discussion to that end. Yet we’re constantly being told it kills half its users and tens of thousands of non smokers. Surely grounds to remove it from the market immediately? What do you think Martyn, at the very least should it be banned anywhere that non smokers are present or live, even in private homes?

          2. “Other countries prohibit alcohol (among other things) but, interestingly, not tobacco.”

            You’ll find that, eg, the UAE is bringing in a ban on public smoking to match its ban on public drinking. There are probably others, I CBA to investigate.

            You’re confusing me – as many others have here – with a fanatical anti-smoker. What I hate is the whingery, the falsely based appeals for support, the false logic, the vicious attacks on people who disagree with them and the denialism militant smokers seem to exhibit. As I said, I am married to someone who was a smoker for much of our marriage. I never asked her to stop: she stopped because she decided it was bad for her own health, and if she died, that would badly affect our daughter.

  45. Jon, you do persist, don’t you? Your latest rant is a repetition of your previous ones. You routinely fail to address information that has been provided. Am I assuming too much? You are able to read? You are able to comprehend basic information? At the moment you are in denial of critically relevant historical facts. We could have discussed far more information, but we can’t get past the first step of the sort “1+1=2” because you simply will not acknowledge historical facts. This renders your perspective nonsensical.

    While you pontificate that the “pro-smoke” people are failing to convince, it is you that fail to comprehend. And it is you that has not only failed to convince with your disjointed appraisal of the circumstance, but have been utterly lame, not addressing any of the contrary information pertinent to your claims.

    Others can speak for themselves, but, for the record, I am not “pro-smoke”. If I am “pro” anything, I am pro-sanity.

    1. Oh, sorry man, the pro-smoke are convincing? Their argument is getting through? The case is being successfully made here or anywhere? They’re winning the battle?
      No. Why? Because they’re crap at arguing or making their case. Which is one reason why they’re losing this battle. This isn’t pontification, it’s my observation of how things are. In the actual real world. As evidenced by the complaints from the pro-smoke here, and elsewhere.

      I’m glad you’re “pro-sanity”. Whatever that means. I’m sure sanity is pleased you’re on its side.

      1. “….it’s my observation of how things are”

        I’ll try again. Jon. You’re blind. Look at what you’re claiming – those pitiful “pro-smokers” are trying to drag wonderful alcohol consumers into the mire with them. Jon, you’re delusional. It’s not the “pro-smokers” that are trying to “force” the link. They have been trying to point out that those trying to de-normalize smoking also consider alcohol-use as pitiful, if not more so. And this was also the case early last century involving the same sort of medically-oriented personnel, using the same physicalist perspective: There is a clear continuity over the last century. But apparently this doesn’t fit Jon’s puny perspective where he “observes things as they are”.

        “Oh, sorry man, the pro-smoke are convincing? Their argument is getting through? The case is being successfully made here or anywhere? They’re winning the battle?”

        Are you utterly daft, man? You have no clue what has been occurring over the last 30 years. You are woefully, and seemingly intentionally/willfully, uninformed. Medically-dominated Public Health has long infected government health bureaucracies. Smoker de-normalization is State sponsored. It involves obscene amounts of funding (in the billions of dollars per annum) on a global scale with unquestioned access to the media. It operates like a cult. It involves numerous medically-oriented (and other) groups committed to the ideological smokefree “utopia”, for which to do so is also financially lucrative. A closed propaganda loop has been created. Attempt questioning this out-of-control State-sponsored bandwagon, particularly in the mainstream, and you attract immediate, aggressive smear – at the very least. In the face of this juggernaut we have a few (although growing) unfunded bloggers/researchers around the world that have taken the time to scrutinize this unfolding situation over many years, simply attempting to warn of the situation through very limited channels (i.e., internet) to anyone willing to listen. That’s the situation! Yet you’re attempting to argue that “pro-smokers” haven’t been successful because they’re not “arguing right”. For heaven’s sake, Jon, have you lost all sensibility! That’s the situation, not the drivel you’re spouting.

        Please, spare us any more infantile stupidity.

        1. And why does smoking attract such strong opposition? Because of the health problems it clearly creates, both for users and those in the vicinity of users. Does drinking cause health problems too? It can do. Should campaigners in favour of drinking therefore support smokers’ rights to endanger their own health and the health of others? No, absolutely not. Only a fool would say saving smoking will help save drinking.

          1. Oh for god’s sake man. We know the health implications – that’s not the point. The point is we aren’t even being given the option to make up our own minds. It’s like your mum saying “it’s for your own good”. And as for the SHS debate, even the WHO report states that the incidence of lung disease in those not exposed to SHS vs those who are is negligible – 10 in 100 000 vs 12 in 100 000.

            If you don’t like the smell of cigars, cigarettes, pipe tobacco, that’s perfectly fine. But please don’t come crawling to the smokers for the support wehn those same health fascists use the same methods of disinformation and made up statistics to ration your alcohol intake or stipulate that it may not contain more than say 2,5% abv – because there “are no safe limits”. Or indeed, that alcohol may no longer be produced in the British Isles because “it is for our own good.

            And no amount of arguing according to your rules will make the blindest bit of difference. So when drinkers are castigated as filthy outcasts or denied work because they have admitted to being a drinker or have been a drinker or workers suspended because they have tested positive for alcohol in their bloodstream perhaps then the scales will fall from your eyes.

          2. But if that happens, Henry, it won’t be because smoking is banned in pubs. And if smoking is reintroduced into pubs, that won’t automatically halt attacks on alcohol. And that’s the point smokers seem totally unable to grasp.

          3. “if smoking is reintroduced into pubs, that won’t automatically halt attacks on alcohol. “

            Has anyone ever claimed it will? But a bit of solidarity and recognition of the parallels between the campaigns against tobacco and alcohol would help both causes.

          4. Mudgie, don’t you understand? Yes, you do understand, and that’s what makes you angry, and I do appreciate that – drinkers don’t care about smokers. You can call that selfish, you can call that short-sighted. But that’s how it is. And they’re just not interested in the calls for “solidarity” because they really don’t see what’s in it for them, except the return of smoky pubs, which many are pleased to see the end of.

          5. “Drinkers” do not speak as a coherent body, and it is noticeable how many, including non-smokers, have voted with their feet and forsaken pubs in recent years, while there has been no more than a trickle of new non-smoking customers.

            But, yes, I do find it very disappointing how many drinkers fail to appreciate the principle that “If you value the freedom to do the things you enjoy, you had better defend the freedoms of others to do the things they enjoy too.” And, if those who enjoy various non-politically correct activities are all squabbling with each other, then the enemies of liberty will pick them off one by one. Slippery slope, extending the principle, call it what you will.

            I am, of course, a non-smoker of many years’ standing so can’t be accused of acting in pure self-interest.

  46. On another note entirely, this just in from the BBC:
    Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics for the British Medical Association, said: “We have to start de-normalising alcohol.

    July 8, 2011 at 8:40 pm.
    Supermarkets urged to keep alcohol separate
    “Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics for the British Medical Association, said: “We have to start de-normalizing alcohol – it is not like other types of food and drink.”

    Nathanson is an arch-zealot of Tobacco Control.

    1. No worries J, we’ve already been denormalised. If I was less tolerant, I’d say bring it on. Mind you, I’m a lot less tolerant than 5 years ago.

      Can’t wait to see the whingeing really kick off….

      1. Oh, Martyn….. dear MARTYN ……. you poor….. misguided… fool. That was the same sort of comment that some smokers were making about thirty years ago, even twenty years ago.

        1. Ah, the patronising tack now. So why have smoker numbers fallen so much? It wasn’t because of “denormalisation”, but the recognition of the clearly heightened health risks associated with smoking. Despite several decades of effort, drinker numbers are holding up in this country, even if the amount of actual alcohol drunk, having climbed steadily since the post-Second World War period, is now dropping again. And do remember we have a prime minister who admitted to his biographer that he “chillaxes” at the weekend with several glasses of wine above his own government’s recommended daily guidelines. (Yes, that does make him a hypocrite …)

  47. 1
    Martyn, many of the points that follow have already been made, but I’ll add some additional information. The hope is that it might be useful in understanding some basic points.

    It seems that many don’t understand how inflammatory propaganda, for the purposes of denormalization, works. Whether it’s targeting ethnic groups or behaviours, it typically proceeds in the same steps. First, there is a wave of repetitive media messages that a target group/behavior is a threat/burden to society. With saturation of this message, typically conveyed as authoritative, progressive punitive measures are then instigated against the target group. It usually starts off small such as bans from particular areas. For example, long before the Holocaust, Jews were denormalized in progressive steps. They were depicted by [fake] scientific studies as disease carriers/spreaders. In the early phases, they were banned from parks, from entrance ways, etc. lest they “contaminate” the normal folk. With punitive measures, the rest of society will then sit back with the rationalization that these punitive measures may not be “savory”, but it has to be done to “protect” the rest of society. In subsequent phases, the propaganda and punitive measures get progressively nastier.

    It shouldn’t be difficult to see that this is what has been done with secondhand smoke. Inflammatory propaganda now has many nonsmokers reacting to SHS as if they are being exposed to a bio-weapon-like phenomenon such as sarin gas. So if you look at the comments by the antismokers on this board, you’ll see the same theme over and over again – smokers needed to be kicked out of the indoors to “protect” the nonsmokers; nonsmoking drinkers shouldn’t be standing up for smokers because they needed to be tossed out – they’re a threat to my health. That’s exactly what the propaganda intended, and these nonsmoking drinkers are demonstrating that they have lapped up the propaganda.

    The current crusade, like most before it, is an eradication crusade that has nothing to do with secondhand smoke “danger”; this was simply a concoction for the first steps of smoker denormalization and to impose indoor bans. But now we’re seeing outdoor bans in large tracts of land such as beaches, parks, university campuses, hospital grounds. It should be obvious by now – surely – that these steps have nothing to do with secondhand smoke “danger”. They are the typical steps of a social-engineering eradication crusade, which this crusade has been from the outset. The intent is to give those who smoke no accommodation whatsoever in coercing them to quit or suffer the indignity. If there was time, it could also be indicated that there are also vested financial interests (i.e., pharmaceutical cartel) in forcing this situation.

    1. See my comment below on conspiracy theorists. I’ve tried very hard to resist saying this, but really – what exactly is it you’re smoking? I haven’t “lapped up” any propaganda – I worked out for myself that the “slippery slope” fallacy was nonsense, as much nonsense as your idea of a worldwide conspiracy of eugenicists.

  48. 2
    More information that SHS is not a hazard and not what this entire antismoking crusade is about.

    The bulk of the secondhand smoke “research” has been produced by America. There are many groups, e.g., EPA, Office of the Surgeon General, that have gone to great lengths to promote the idea of SHS “harm” indoors. Such groups have been committed, ideologically [neo-eugenics], to a smokefree society since the 1960s, long before any research on SHS, as has the World Health Organization. They are peddling an ideological agenda. Also not recognized is that such groups are advisory/activist organizations, not regulatory ones – particularly concerning indoor air quality. They can essentially say whatever they want, however outlandish or absurd, because no-one is compelled to pay any attention to anything they claim. This is their legal defense. There was an attempt to bully the actual [Federal] regulatory authority governing indoor air quality – Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) – into declaring SHS an indoor hazard. OSHA spent a decade – from early-1990s to early-2000s – scrutinizing the available evidence (see Godber/WHO Blueprint http://www.rampant-antismoking.com ). Although it had an antismoking leaning and there were initially antismokers on the review panel, OSHA finally concluded that it did not consider typical encounters with SHS indoors as hazardous. The only American *regulatory* authority does not view indoor exposure – let alone outdoor – as problematic. This is why there is no Federal indoor smoking ban in the USA. Unfortunately, most governments around the world have bought into the claims of American advisory groups (and their ideological agenda), committed themselves to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and entirely disregarded the important regulatory authority.

    So what do the antismoking fanatics do? Remember, we’re dealing with fanatics/zealots. They disregard the regulatory authority. They create advocacy manuals that never refer to the regulatory authority. Rather, they refer only to the claims of activist groups and present them in a way that connotes that these are authoritative. They then approach individual [American] councils/states parroting the inflammatory propaganda from these manuals. If councilors or the public are not familiar with OSHA – and most aren’t – councilors assume that they are hearing authoritative/scientific claims about SHS, and there have now been many instances where councils have voted unanimously not only for indoor smoking bans, but outdoor bans as well. The circumstance has been hijacked by well-funded activists that have no concern for facts, only that bans get passed. The same thing occurred early last century. What it actually produces is irrational fear and hatred, enmity, discord, social division, bigotry/supremacism: It wreaks havoc.

    Consider the situation in the UK. In a 2006 report, the Health & Safety Executive also had reservations concerning SHS “danger”. This report was not due for review until 2011. Yet following the indoor smoking ban in 2007, the 2006 (OC255/15) report was withdrawn and replaced by another (OC255/16) that modified the wording concerning SHS hazard, all done without explanation:
    A quotation from the original report:

    “The evidential link between individual circumstances of exposure to risk in exempted premises will be hard to establish. In essence, HSE cannot produce epidemiological evidence to link levels of exposure to SHS to the raised risk of contracting specific diseases and it is therefore difficult to prove health-related breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act”

    Even ASH conceded that the ban campaign was a confidence trick:

    If you read the Godber Blueprint you’ll see just some of the deception and shenanigans – with links – by fanatical activists to manipulate the public into believing that SHS was SO hazardous that only draconian smoking bans would suffice. SHS “danger” has been critical to the antismoking onslaught. Without this concoction, the crusade would have stalled in the late-1970s before it began.

    1. “The evidential link between individual circumstances of exposure to risk in exempted premises will be hard to establish … HSE cannot produce epidemiological evidence to link levels of exposure to SHS to the raised risk of contracting specific diseases” All that means is that you can’t prove exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke gave any particular person a particular illness. But enough studies suggest the possibility of a link for people to deserve to be worried. Smokers’ demands that they be allowed to puff away in public for their own pleasure because nothing’s actually been proved about the dangers to other people doesn’t impress: since smokers obviously aren’t bothered about the potential harm they’re doing to themselves by smoking, it’s obvious they’ll play down the potential harm they might be doing to others.

      Even ASH conceded that the ban campaign was a confidence trick

      Not in the sense that you’re trying to pass it off as. The actual quote is: “It is essential that campaigners create the impression of inevitable success. Campaigning of this kind is literally a confidence trick: the appearance of confidence both creates confidence and demoralises the opposition.”

      “SHS “danger” has been critical to the antismoking onslaught.”

      No, what’s been crucial is the fact that people don’t like sitting in smoky places. That’s what smokers can’t accept: more and more people actively disliked sitting in smoke-filled offices and bars. The perceived risks from second-hand cigarette smoke were what solidified public dislike of exposure to other people’s smoking. You can complain about “fanatics” and “zealots”, but what you need to recognise is that a substantial number of people don’t like being near smokers.

      1. “It is essential that campaigners create the impression of inevitable success. “Campaigning of this kind is literally a confidence trick: the appearance of confidence both creates confidence and demoralises the opposition.”

        Why would they have to do this, then?

        “You can complain about “fanatics” and “zealots”, but what you need to recognise is that a substantial number of people don’t like being near smokers.”

        Then you go to your smoke free, pub and I’ll go to one that is smoking. Oh, hang on a sec….!

    2. And will be particularly hard to prove now that most workplaces ban smoking regardless of legal smoking bans.

  49. From Tim, further above: “I think that the real problem is that this is an issue of what people believe or want to believe.”

    So what are you saying, Tim, that you made up that whole story above? In other words, you’re lying for “effect” [eyes rolling round in disbelief] And now you’re rambling on with more snobbish, snotty, antismoking nonsense.

    Here’s a fact for you, Tim. Yeah…. yeah, Tim, sorry, but I’m going to have to expose you to facts. Sensory accommodation typically occurs within 4 minutes. When you enter a place, it may have certain smells, aromas, sounds, a clock ticking. Your sensory system, which is attuned to changes, will quickly accommodate them into the background. There are a number of things that override accommodation, the major one being danger. You can appreciate that inflammatory propaganda, which is a constant play on fear – danger, has messed up many people’s perception.

    Sorry, Tim, but in decades gone by, people didn’t go around pubs screaming that the stink of smoke had jammed up their sensory apparatus. These claims started coming when the inflammatory propaganda kicked right in. All you’re telling me is that you’re a beer-connoisseur snob attempting to rationalize their snobbery/bigotry, and probably irrational fear, by claiming that smoking in a pub clogs up your sensory system. Moreover, you want ALL pubs to cater for your snobbish, neurotic ilk. Have I got it right this time?

    Here’s some more information for you, Tim.

    From Bayer & Stuber
    “…..In the last half century the cigarette has been transformed. The fragrant has become foul. . . . An emblem of attraction has become repulsive. A mark of sociability has become deviant. A public behavior is now virtually private. Not only has the meaning of the cigarette been transformed but even more the meaning of the smoker [who] has become a pariah . . . the object of scorn and hostility.”
    This change from fragrant to foul has not come from the smoke which has remained a constant. The shift is an entirely psychological one. Unfortunately, the way the shift is manufactured is through negative conditioning. The constant play on fear and hatred through inflammatory propaganda warps perception. Ambient tobacco smoke was essentially a background phenomenon. Now exposure to tobacco smoke (SHS) has been fraudulently manufactured into something on a par with a bio-weapon like, say, sarin gas. There are now quite a few who screech that they “can’t stand” the “stench” of smoke, or the smoke is “overwhelming”; there are now those, hand cupped over mouth, that attempt to avoid even a whiff of dilute smoke. This is a recent phenomenon. It says nothing about the physical properties of tobacco smoke. These people are demonstrating that they have been successfully conditioned (brainwashed) into aversion. They are now suffering mental dysfunction such as anxiety disorder, hypochondria, or somatization. Questionable social engineering requires putting many into mental disorder to advance the ideological/financial agenda.

    1. No, there is nothing made up in what I wrote. And yes I am a snob when it comes to beer, as well as a brewer, and a beer judge. None of that changes the fact that I find SHS harmful. And my snobbish preference is to smell the beer not the smoke. I understand that the brain may push the sensor perception of the smoke to the background, but it does not remove the smoke from my olfactory receptors. They stay clogged and won’t permit the sensing of the beer. Should those who like beer have to periodically run outside with their pint so that they can clear their senses to catch the beers aroma? There might even be a law that says I can’t take my beer outside the establishment. And everyone should be campaigning to allow drinking wherever we feel like. I feel abused by the ban on drinking in the middle of the street. And let’s get rid of the driving on one side of the road while we are at it.
      And the Bayer & Stuber commentary, I could care less about glamorization or degradation of smoking. My first request to have someone stop smoking was about 45 years ago, because I didn’t like the smell then and I don’t like it now. That was back before I would have noticed any propaganda or been conditioned to aversion. Perhaps your enjoyment of cigarette smoke is a conditioned response to your own psychological failings. Did your father smoke? Or all of your peers?

      1. So how do you cope with all the other smells around you when sniffing your pint? In particular the CAMRA types whose overcoats smell of wee and dirty laundry.

        1. I don’t have to smell them, as I am several thousand miles away. The smell of ‘wee and dirty laundry’ would put me out as well, and I would move to another part of the room away from the offensive odor. It is the same thing I do when having a brew outside and someone is smoking nearby.

  50. I’m one of those hypocritical ex-smokers who quit easily & now hate the habit. What I want to know is where are the 70+% of non-smokers who said they’d go out to pubs more after the smoking ban? Answer: Still at home because they can’t afford the huge amount of taxes on drinks & would rather spend money on film & gaming subscriptions.

  51. But I’m so good at “infantile stupidity”, just as you show a real gift for name-calling. “pro-smokers” haven’t been successful because they’re not “arguing right”? There’s more to it than that, but yes, that’s a part of it. As evidenced above. And elsewhere, ad infinitum. Of course, the fact that smokers are a shrinking minority has a lot do do with it as well. You’re surely not saying that the pro-smoke lot are actually prevailing on the strength of their robust and considered arguments? The truth is, like it or not, they’re fighting a losing (lost) battle.

    While there’s no true link between the smoke and the booze questions, much as some would like to make such an association, we can learn from the failure of the pro-smoke lot.

    The response of booze fans (and producers) to their particular dangerous crackpot prohibitionists, needs to be an intelligent and authoritative one. We don’t need a whingeing clique of internet experts, a minority of a minority. We’re the majority, the prohibitionists are the odd ones out. Not nazis, just a bit strange and out of touch.

  52. Ah, it’s you again, Jon….. maintaining your obliviousness and making up even more things, I see.

    But while you’re here, Jon, allow me to ask a question.

    Now we’re dealing here with one-time relatively free societies, such as the UK.

    What would you make of a self-installed, ideologically/financially-driven network, involving government health bureaucracies, that believe they know how people should be living their day-to-day lives, having a list of approved/desired and disapproved/undesired behaviors. They have no regard for individual autonomy – the hallmark of a relatively free society, i.e., they are dictatorial. They believe that you do what they say, or they’ll make life difficult for you. But they present themselves to the public as caring only for your health, i.e., wolves in sheep’s clothing, and they dictate a closed propaganda loop. Despite them believing that they know everything, they have to constantly lie to coerce conformity, i.e., pathological liars. And they have no hesitation in pitting groups against each other on baseless pretexts to achieve ideological goals (and keep the money rolling in). In other words, they have no regard for actual health, particularly mental, relational, social, and ideo-political. They are mostly from the “educated” class, able to conjure agenda-driven studies at short notice, and are well remunerated for their work/allegiance.

    So, Jon, what would you call such people and their conduct, particularly in one-time relatively free societies……. “the prohibitionists are the odd ones out. Not nazis, just a bit strange and out of touch.”

    $%^$&(^ Sorry, Jon, I just had to pick myself off the floor from the sad laughter/crying. Again, Jon, at the risk of repeating myself, you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about or what mentality/infrastructure you’re dealing with. Jon, don’t you think that there were “pro-smokers”, and others, who tried – repeatedly – to reason with these people many years ago? But, Jon, don’t let me stop you from your noble attempts to reason with the “bit strange and out-of-touch folk”. You go rrrright on ahead. I’ll just keep an ear out for a noble squishing sound. Maybe then, albeit too late, you’ll understand what I and others are currently talking about.

    No, really, what would you call such people and conduct, Jon?

    1. Yep, me again. What was it I was making up? A secret conspiracy of public health workers and academics? Oh wait, that was you. Is the Vatican involved?

      1. Probably not the Vatican Jon but public health is a multimillion dollar industry these days and you underestimate it at your peril. It is more like a religion than a science and it tolerates little deviation from its dogma even by its own. That is one reason not to trust everything that you read, especially on tobacco control websites or through publications from “authorities” like Alcohol Concern who are quoted by the media on a regular basis despite having no noticeable expertise at all. Lack of expertise and plenty of media spin are hallmarks of the industry which employs virtually no real scientists but plenty of people with degrees in politics and psychology together with media studies spin doctors.

        Public health people are paid to do what they do and you are right to recognise that alcohol will be a target for many idle hands once they run out of ideas on the tobacco front. The main thrust of the attack on alcohol will be the link to cancer. The evidence will be dubious and based mostly on epidemiology but there will be meta-analyses and reviews that eventually show “compelling evidence” that “there is no safe level of consumption” At that point CRUK and other activists will begin campaigns to de-normalise drinking, dying breast cancer victims and if at all possible children will be paraded and before you know it the alcohol industry will be on the back foot.

        I am researching the public health phenomenon at present and can even take a guess at where the first publications will come from. Hopefully, the alcohol industry will be better organised than the tobacco industry and carry a bit less baggage

        These people are neither Nazis nor Illuminati but they tend to be dour, very dogmatic, very single minded and not averse to using tactics previously perfected in less enlightened times. I wish you luck not least because I like a good pint and the odd drop of single malt myself.

  53. Dear Jon, where has your penchant for inferential rules gone, your category error pick-ups, your syllogistic “mastery”? You’ve wobbled, staggered to Martyn-esque “reasoning”.

    One final shot. Jon, you, Martyn, and a few others are arguing by “appeal to authority”. Yet it has been demonstrated many times, most recently in American and Nazi eugenics, that authority, officialdom, and particularly the medical establishment can be dangerously corrupt. Stanley Milgram conducted some experiments in the 60s exploring the abuse of authority. These sorts of experiments wouldn’t make it past ethics committees these days. He wanted to know why people did the horrendous things they did as say, soldiers in the Nazi military. Post-WWII the most common “explanation” by perpetrators was that they were told to do so; they were only doing as ordered; they were obeying authority. In other situations, people would say “they were doctors. I was only doing what they [authority] told me. They must know what they’re doing”.

    If the medical establishment is properly functioning, then there is no major problem. However, when the medical establishment is not functioning properly – and it is highly prone to not functioning properly, it demonstrates particular symptoms. And not only is the contemporary medical establishment displaying these symptoms, they’ve been blaring on the radar for the last 30 years and only getting worse. The same can be said for peer-review in Public Health research. It demonstrates terrible symptoms. And Public Health has been used as the primary instrument of persecution and oppression in the past.

    I don’t think delving further into these would make any difference to you and the aforementioned. You’re too superficial, closed of mind, and terrified of questioning authority at this time.

    Other than that, I wish you well.


    1. “the medical establishment … is highly prone to not functioning properly” examples please, or you’re making it up.

      Your belief in a conspiracy of medical professionals with a eugenicist agenda intent on wiping out smokers reminds me of the people who deny the moon landings took place, and insist all the “evidence” for the moon landings was constructed by a conspiracy involving NASA and Hollywood. Like other conspiracy theories, it falls down on the fact that far too many people would need to be involved for it to work: and in addition too many people have an interest in uncovering that sort of conspiracy. Do you not think the tobacco companies (who know all about conspiracies to suppress the facts), journalists (who contain, believe me, a high proportion of smokers) and others would have uncovered such a plot had it been going on? No, I’m sure you don’t think that. You’ve clearly got too much emotional investment in the idea that you’re the victim of a terrible world-wide plot.

  54. OK, people, that was an interesting experiment in deliberately exposing myself to abuse, not all of it on this website – apparently, for complaining about bigoted, spittle-flecked nonsense, I am myself guilty of bigoted, spittle-flecked nonsense, an ironic circularity the Pub Curmudgeon fails to recognise, and I am now “off his Christmas card list”. Strange, I don’t remember a festive greeting from PC ever gracing my mantlepiece – perhaps he sent it under his real name, and I didn’t recognise it. Anyway, militant smokers, you’ve had a week now to expose your lack of training in logical argument, your inability to marshal facts to back your case, your reliance on name-calling and your bonkers conspiracy theories, and I’ve tried to respond as civilly as possible to it all, but unlike, it appears, many of YOU, I do have a life, and I’m now going to get on with it. There’ll be no more responses from me on this thread to anything except the most outstandingly egregious nonsense.

  55. Martyn. How do you do.

    Why don’t you admit it? You have totally and completely lost the debate. All your zealots (“Smokers stink!”) have gone home in the face of facts as ably described by Magnetic and others. You can try to avoid ‘the truth’ as much as you wish, but it will always come back and bite you. The propaganda of ASH ET AL is no more than that – unsubstantiated scare-mongering. Propaganda. You know that it is true. In your heart, you MUST be aware that SHS is as near harmless as is possible, in much the same way that spores, pollen, dust, tiny bits of radio-active stuff is harmless, because the human body is perfectly capable of dealing with these substances and excreting them. Heavens! It may well be that the human body REQUIRES such substances to maintain its self-repair systems! What do you know?

    I shall draw your attention, once again, to the McTear Case. Why did Doll and the other ‘expert witnesses’ refuse to provide the epidemiological evidence to the Judge? What was the problem? After all, by the year 2000 ish, the Doctors Study was complete, and the Hospital Study was still there as evidence, even if it was old. True science does not become wrong because of age.

    They did not produce the evidence (their studies) because they knew that they would not stand up to scientific scrutiny. It is a scientific truism that ‘an effect’ must ALWAYS follow a ’cause’, UNLESS some other ‘force’ stops it. Would it not be more sensible to try to find out why it is that only a small number of smokers get squamous cell lung cancer while the vast majority of smokers do not?

    1. You have so totally missed the point. Go and read the post again. This post was never about second-hand cigarette smoke, and its effects, alleged or otherwise – that’s the red herring the smokers tried to introduce. It was about the slippery slope argument, the claims of 10,000 pub closures because of the smoking ban, and the whingeing, moaning, vicious personal attacks and the rest of it that characterises so many militant smokers. So no, I haven’t “totally and completely lost the debate”: I wasn’t debating whether second-hand smoke is dangerous. Your side introduced that. That’s irrelevant to the slippery slope debate, and how many pubs have closed because of the smoking ban, which are the issues I was raising and the issues you have failed to tackle.

      Meanwhile your inability to actually understand science is frightening. “It is a scientific truism that ‘an effect’ must ALWAYS follow a ’cause’”. Really? So if exposure to, eg, someone who has smallpox doesn’t always lead to everyone so exposed who hasn’t been inoculated getting smallpox, then exposure to smallpox isn’t the cause of someone getting smallpox? “spores, pollen, dust, tiny bits of radio-active stuff is harmless, because the human body is perfectly capable of dealing with these substances and excreting them“. Good grief, where are you getting this nonsense from? Don’t try telling any of that that to an asthma victim, or someone with a nut allergy, or someone living in an area, eg Cornwall, with high levels of natural radon gas concentrations in homes.

      Fundamentally, smokers clutch at anything to try to prove their case, that they should be free to smoke anywhere, and since the violent emotional reactions are coming from the smokers’ side – see here, I suggest that it’s smokers who in their hearts know what the truth is.

  56. I don’t agree Junican. Nobody won or lost here except perhaps the public health industry and the prohibitionists. They do very well out of this kind of divisive nonsense. It will be harder for Martyn and others to defend their freedom to consume alcohol from the public health “professionals” having essentially accepted the questionable ethics and methods that industry has used to de-normalise tobacco. There are many people within science who question those ethics and methods. There are even people from within the public health industry who do likewise but the hatred some feel towards tobacco blinds them and these voices go unheard or are dismissed as belonging to conspiracy theorists or cranks.

  57. 1
    Martyn, I’m interested in your take on two particular documents.

    The first document – some background.

    In the mid-70s, where the current antismoking crusade formally begins, the fanatics did what their predecessors did. They held the [fake] moralistic view that no-one should be smoking and called for all sorts of restrictions on smoking. There was very little interest in this extreme view. Nonsmokers didn’t buy into either. They viewed the fanatics as extremist bullies and it would have been heard many a time in the late-70s USA – from nonsmokers – to leave the smokers alone.

    Two things occurred in the early-80s that changed the fanatics’ “fortunes”. One was the idea of secondhand smoke “danger”. The fanatics noticed that there were nonsmokers willing to change their stance if exposure to ambient tobacco smoke posed a threat. Normally in lifestyle epidemiology, flimsy enquiry as it is, one needs a coherent reason to pursue a line of enquiry. For example, a particular disease may be significantly on the rise. There was nothing indicating an epidemic of lung cancer, say, in nonsmokers that warranted looking into potential risks, let alone specifically looking at ambient tobacco smoke. This line of enquiry was entirely forced by the fanatics. Repace, a rabid antismoking fanatic, had to convince his superior at the [American] EPA to establish a separate department looking into ambient tobacco smoke. Until then, no-one except antismokers viewed tobacco smoke as problematic for nonsmokers; it wasn’t remotely on the radar. And through the 80s, although there were only a few flimsy studies, the fanatics got to work on the media spreading the word of secondhand smoke “danger”.

    Second was the 5th World Conference on Smoking & Health in 1983. A particular presentation by Chapman is noteworthy of highlight. Chapman is a high profile antismoker in Australia that has made a lucrative career from antismoking. In the 70’s, he was best known as a member of a group that went around de-facing tobacco advert billboards. Chapman’s presentation at the conference had to be repeated due to high interest. The presentation revolved around his article “The Lung Goodbye”.

    This article is interesting because it details propaganda tricks to advance the cause. And quite a number of the tricks (i.e., deception) have been used profusely, ad nauseam, over the last three decades, and still used today. For example, although he didn’t invent the trick, he suggested the use of the following.

    We’ve all seen some variation of this “information”:
    Acetone (nail varnish remover), Ammonia (cleaning agent), Arsenic (ant poison in the USA), Benzene (petrol fumes), Cadmium (car battery fluid), DDT (insecticide), Ethanol (anti-freeze), Formaldehyde (embalming fluid), Hydrogen Cyanide (industrial pollutant), Lead (batteries, petrol fumes), Methanol (rocket fuel), Tar (road surface tar).
    This trick was suggested by Simon Chapman (an antismoker) at the Fifth World Conference on Smoking & Health (1983) while presenting his “manual of underhanded tricks & tactics”.
    “A glance through any copy of the Smoking and Health Bulletin of the U S Department of Health and Human Services shows an entire indexed, section on ‘Tobacco Product Additives’ . Citations are included from patent office registrations of new chemical applications to tobacco processing and from the specialist chemical literature. Both these sources are virtually unintelligible, let alone normally accessible to the average person but are rich in potential for anyone willing to translate them into news items with popular interest . Polysyllabic chemical names should be checked through a reference book that lists common usages and toxicological data for chemicals . Look for usages that will connote revulsion or concern . For example, well known chemicals found in tobacco include cadmium (as in car batteries), ammonia (as in toilet cleaners), cyanides, formaldehyde and so on ……” (p.15)

  58. 2
    The Chapman Trick is to associate trace levels of particular chemicals in tobacco smoke with industrial-type uses of the same chemicals that involve extraordinarily larger quantities of these chemicals. It is lying by omission by removing any coherent context. It violates the toxicological maxim that “the dose makes the toxicity”. It plays on the public’s ignorance and fear, knowing that people will typically read from right to left, e.g., there is ant poison in cigarettes, there is embalming fluid in cigarettes, there is road tar in cigarettes, etc. This is not true. The only purpose of this trick is to deceive. It is intended to promote outrage and revulsion in, particularly, gullible nonsmokers at whom it’s directed. This trick has been used, ad nauseam, since the mid-1980’s by medical organizations, antismoking groups, and governments because it is highly effective. It is highly effective because, like most antismoking propaganda, it is inflammatory and false: It outrages because it is misleading. Its only purpose is to mislead, i.e., inflammatory propaganda. This trick has been instrumental in manufacturing tobacco smoke into a bio-weapon-like substance akin to, say, sarin gas.

    Just to be sure, the air we typically breathe has many of the same chemicals as in tobacco smoke, and more, and in higher concentrations.

    Again, these chemicals are typically at trace levels and are not problematic.
    If you do a google search, you’ll find similar chemicals in raw food and from cooking, and in drinking water.

    He also suggested using “good vs evil”/ “David vs Goliath” mythology – the good antismoking fanatics battling the evil tobacco industry – for its drama appeal to the public.

    At the time, the number of rabid antismoking fanatics was small. So he suggested that if asked by the media on the number of antismokers involved, they should not commit to a number but use the term “Movement” which gives the impression of a large/larger membership.

    And he indicates other tricks and tactics.

    It is at this conference that the fanatics did what their predecessors also did – they gave themselves license to lie through their teeth to advance “the cause”, to which the barrage of inflammatory propaganda ever since is testimony.

    Martyn, comments on Chapman’s “The Lung Goodbye”.

    1. Just a few more thoughts on the “Chapman Trick”.

      As Chapman notes, most people are not familiar with chemistry and dosimetry. Concerning the trick, they don’t pay attention to the chemical names because they don’t understand them. Rather they focus on the English words that they do understand. And, as the information is presented, people conclude that there is ant poison in cigarettes, embalming fluid in cigarettes, anti-freeze in cigarettes, etc. So let’s be clear, there is no ant poison, embalming fluid, or anti-freeze, etc, in cigarettes. And there certainly is no road tar in cigarettes. The conduct is similar to the fanatics of earlier last century that claimed the tobacco companies were lacing tobacco with cocaine and that plantation workers urinated on tobacco leaves: Concerning alcohol, a century ago, the Scientific Temperance Department taught schoolchildren that a few glasses of alcoholic drinks could burn a hole in the stomach and that alcohol drinkers were prone to spontaneous combustion. The fanatics’ goal is to incite revulsion/fear/hate to conformity, usually by lying.

      A national current affairs program a few years ago ran a story on smokers using hypnosis to quit the habit. The opening scene was 5 or 6 smokers seated in a room. The hypnotherapist enters the room carrying a tray. On the tray were a box of ant poison, a bottle of industrial detergent, and a number of other industrial-type products. He smiled at the smokers and declared, “this is what you’re smoking!” This hypnotherapist had lapped up the propaganda, hook, line, and sinker. Unfortunately, most people have done so. It should then not be surprising that there is a significant number of nonsmokers who believe that tobacco smoke is a weapons-grade poison able to kill with a whiff, and that requires draconian bans for “protection”. They are now suffering somatization or anxiety disorders such as phobia. And it is ideologically/financially-driven Public Health that has produced this very sick circumstance.

      Consider a recent Surgeon-General report (2010) further highlighting the “perils” of exposure to ambient tobacco smoke. There at the very beginning, on page 3, it starts with the Chapman Trick, i.e., inflammatory propaganda.

      How seriously should we take the remainder of the report when it begins with inflammatory propaganda? (In fact, this report is an agenda-driven, inflammatory propaganda piece par excellence, the contribution typically made by high-profile, long-standing antismoking activists). These fanatics are still pulling the same tricks 30 years on – and still getting away with them. As we go from antismoking website to antismoking website, we see essentially the same variant of the trick, i.e., a simple cut and paste. Those trained in [mediocre] Public Health courses over the last 20 years wouldn’t know where this trick originated or that it is even a trick. It wouldn’t be surprising if there are many in Public Health that are themselves deceived by the trick.

      Some might well ask how there can be fanatics in Public Health, or academia, or the medical establishment. Not only are there fanatics in these groups, but there are the worst kind of fanatics – the society/world fixer fanatics. These believe that they have a definitive world view that all must abide by, i.e., “god complex”. Over the last three decades, these fanatics have been seriously messing with people’s minds.

      The issue of vested financial interest has not been discussed (e.g., extortionate taxes, pharmaceutical cartel), suffice to say that there are obscene amounts of money to be made by certain parties in maintaining the “con”. It can well be described as an elaborate racket. And this massive racket managed to get the tobacco industry in America charged with racketeering – that’s how much ill-gotten influence it has.

  59. Second document – some background

    If you read antismoking documents through the 80s and 90s (see Godber Blueprint), the fixation is particularly with the media. The fanatics have all sorts of strategies on maintaining a high media profile. They need catchy slogans and sound bites. And these need have nothing to do with fact. The critical interest is in their attention-grabbing potential, usually inflammatory. The growing antismoking industry is a propaganda machine.

    The fanatics also develop advocacy manuals for activists. As indicated elsewhere, they bypass the views of regulatory authorities and copiously quote the inflammatory rhetoric of antismoking organizations. The only interest is with what will get antismoking policy, e.g., bans, enacted. Facts play very little, if any part.

    Martyn, the document (advocacy toolkit) that I would appreciate your comments for concerns an advocacy manual for outdoor smoking bans. Bear in mind that there is no evidence of hazard for exposure to whiffs of outdoor smoke.

    It highlights the tricks/tactics used to contrive appearances – from flooding comments boards with inflammatory rhetoric, to conducting their own “polls”, to giving the appearance of wholesale public support for smoking bans – to manipulate the public and politicians/law-makers.

    There are very few facts in the advocacy toolkit. The main theme is how to manipulate legislators through perception. For example, advocates should appear in numbers. They should wear name tags, say, which make them look organized, etc, etc. The advocates then parrot inflammatory rhetoric that has nothing to do with outdoor smoke. It gets really interesting if the advocates have been successful in manipulating legislators into enacting a ban. The goal then is in maintaining the ban:

    “For the next few months, strive to ensure there are positive media stories, letters to the editor, etc., that tout how well the bylaw changes are working. There will no doubt be a backlash from smokers in the beginning until they get used to the changes.

    In the meantime, you have to counter their negative comments in the media, in comment sections of online news pieces and blogs, on radio call-in shows, etc.

    Your job is to make politicians continue to believe that they did the right thing.”

    It is not unheard of for councillors to backtrack on their decision and water down legislation.” (p. 48)


    It wouldn’t matter if bans, for example, produced terrible consequences. The goal of the advocate/activist is to reassure law-makers that a ban is doing wonderfully, and that even smokers are ecstatic about it. It is all vulgar political activism. It is like a supremacist group coming into town, attempting to impose its will through fraud.

    Martyn, comments?

  60. More on the “slippery slope” …. or the slide/extrapolation……. or whatever you want to call it, Martin.

    The Public Health racket is cranking up on multiple fronts – alcohol, sugar, salt, fat. And it will get quicker, sooner, if there’s much money to be made, e.g., government funding, lawsuits, pharmaceutical substitution products.

    And, if I may repeat, all of the above represent the behavioral dimension of eugenics. These days it’s called “healthism”. I don’t particularly care what we call it, as long as we understand the tyrannical, social-engineering mentality involved.

  61. I dont smoke,and i dont think smoking is good for anyone, but then again i’ve never been attacked by some idiot who smoked 5 cigs 1 after another, but by somebody thats necked 5 lagers thats happened a few times

  62. Do you know what really upsets me when I read stuff issuing from the propagandist and advertising agents at ASH ET AL? It is the thousands of chemical stinks of hypocrasy. I do not know how they can go to work and write the press releases which appear in newspapers, knowing full well that the are spouting unscientific junk. No one believes the junk science any more. Why did not Tobacco Control bring their evidence of smoking danger before the court in the McTear Versus Imperial Tobacco case in Scotland? And that is full on smoking, not just second hand smoke. I have discover why – the fact is that Doll’s Doctors Study was hogwash as is clear when one reads it carefully. Hardly anyone dies from lung cancer until they are very old, and then in very small numbers.. Had Tobacco Control brought that ‘evidence’ before the court, it would have been torn to shreds.

  63. Coincidentally reading this load of wild arguments late 2019 is pretty amusing.
    Lots of traditional pubs have now turned into either more profitable business, housing or our days requested cafe’s and restaurant’s.
    Luckily smoker’s of today has no possibility forcing their weird habit upon others in public places.
    Only very few are still complaining about this obviously fair and reasonable ban of a disgusting and dangerous habit.

    Some +10 years it has now been possible eating and drinking (and working) in public without arriving home stinking days after, as an forgotten ashtray.
    What a pleasure!

    Skål to that 🍻 🍻

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