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The opinions expressed by the authors on this blog and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Freedom2Choose organisation or any member thereof. Freedom2Choose is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the blog Authors.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

If Gordon wants NHS savings, here are a few examples which won't threaten 'frontline services'

Look at the savings you could make, Gordon.

HOSPITAL bosses have performed an amazing U-turn on Great Western Hospital’s no smoking policy – all in the name of staff safety.

It's a policy now, not a ban.

That could be because Freedom2Choose pointed out to all NHS trusts in the country that their bans were nothing of the sort. The Health Act 2006 contained no provision whatsoever for banning smoking in the open air, and for a very good reason. Even by the hysterical standards of the anti-tobacco dullards, there is not even a germination of an inkling of an idea that outdoor smoking is remotely dangerous. The presence of cars on the roads where smokers are herded would tend to show that notion up as quite laughable.

We are talking about rather backward lunatics here, though, so I suppose some slack must be cut for their cerebral inadequacy.

Of course, any purported 'ban' is nothing of the sort as it is entirely unenforceable in law.

It is the quite giggleworthy 'voluntary ban'. Something that you aren't allowed to do ... except that you are. By law.

You see, these people are consumed with hatred for smokers. They don't care as we are deemed de-normal. We are outcasts and a danger to polite society (except for their friends though as, just like the most digusting of racists, they will all say that they have a 'smoking friend', who quite agrees, to exempt themselves from being single-mindedly hateful bigots).

Oh, I see. You think I'm exaggerating here, yes? Well, not really seeing as they don't seem to be able to distinguish between normal people enjoying a legal product and an unsightly outbreak of cockroach infestation.

Mr Bagnall confessed that feedback from visitors also suggests that the sight of smokers at GWH’s entrance is damaging the hospital’s reputation.

He said: “Naturally we are concerned about how people outside of GWH perceive the hospital and with little else outside the main entrance other than a group of smokers, it doesn’t give the right impression.”

The BNP would argue that a few 'pakis' hanging around their town is 'giving the wrong impression' too. The fact that Bagnall is insulting his staff and his patients by even entertaining such baseless complaints is quite telling.

And Bagnall, haven't you got better things to be busying yourself with on our taxes than this? I dunno, I just thought that the people who are dying from MRSA, C-diff and appalling healthcare might be more deserving of your time than the views of a few anonymous, prejudiced cranks. Just a thought.

Still, at least this hospital have decided that allowing smokers to die is a bit too far, unlike other 'health professionals' I could mention.

But with more staff trekking out to the outskirts of the site at all hours to get their nicotine fix, Carillion managers are concerned that it might not just be their health they are putting at risk.

Mark Bagnall, Carillion’s director of estates and facilities management, said: “Anecdotally we have heard that Wiltshire police have approached staff standing alongside the road and asked them to move further back onto the hospital site for safety reasons.

“We are, of course, constantly reviewing staff and patient safety and don’t want anyone being put at risk from passing vehicles”

So the ban which wasn't a ban is being relaxed, but only in somewhere a long hike away from the rest of those nice, civilised, non-smokers.

“For this reason we have decided to re-erect two smoking shelters toward the boundary area of the hospital site,” he said.

And it still isn't law that you have to restrict yourself to them. Remember that. So therefore no need for smoking wardens.

Don't be silly.

... hospital management is looking into possible adjustments to the roles of its two smoking officers who monitor smokers on site.

Here's a suggestion of an adjustment you could make, Bagnall. How about making them redundant? It won't cost much, they've been around so briefly that it's no more than a week's wages according to redundancy rules. I mean, what else are they going to do? Walk around the grounds pretending to be Bodie and Doyle?

We are in a recession, remember, and money in the public sector must be squeezed, or did you not notice as you were spunking our taxes up the wall of the out patients block?

You want savings in the health service, Gordon? You could start with handing P45s to two irrelevant smoking wardens, and times that by the number of hospitals which still cling to this illegal restriction of perfectly normal activity.

If you could see your way to cutting spending £43m pa on adverts that no-one is interested in watching too, you might start on the long road to being welcomed back by 22% of the voting population as well.

Or you could continue being a dangerous national laughing stock and upcoming general election also-ran. Your choice.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Holyrood Smoking Conference: Same old lies, same pack drill…

…no, I said Holyrood, Scotland, not Hollywood, US of A, or maybe you thought Bollywood?  Oh, I don’t know though, I can see a resemblance to all three!
On Wednesday the 23rd of September the great and the good of Tobacco Control in Scotland met at the Holyrood Smoking Conference organised by Holyrood Magazine at the Sheraton Grand Hotel, Edinburgh.  The sub heading of this effete conference was:
Examining the impact and enforcement of the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Bill.
Freedom2Choose (Scotland) was represented in the audience, especially the question and answer session, as was Forest by their  irrepressible Director Simon Clarke.  Simon has his own account of that day, as published on his blog Taking Liberties, here is but a flavour:
Anti-tobacco speakers included Shona Robison MSP, minister for public health; Sheila Duffy, chief executive of ASH Scotland; Dr Laurence Gruer OBE, director of public health science, NHS Health Scotland; and Eamonn Rossi, chief executive of the Office of Tobacco Control in Ireland.
On the other side, however, we had John Drummond of the Scottish Grocers Federation; David McLetchie MSP, former leader of the Scottish Conservatives; and Patrick Basham of the Democracy Institute.
The result was an event that was far more balanced than anyone could have expected. (Credit here to broadcaster Mark Stephens who was chairing the event.)

 But he also said:
That's the positive spin on proceedings. The bad news is, on the eve of today's debate in the Scottish Parliament on the Tobacco & Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Bill, only three MSPs bothered to turn up. Exclude Robison and McLetchie, who were speaking, and the number of MSPs present can be counted on one finger.
Attending this fallacious, nay bogus, ‘conference’ is not cheap.
Still, Freedom2Choose (Scotland) rose to the occasion.  In particular about the myth (Tobacco Control’s) about ‘age restricted’ items being sold through vending machines and gave out leaflets whilst there:
Scottish Ministers and senior civil servants disregard the facts but are happy to make decisions that will put 60 Scottish citizens out of work and close 15 companies.
Public Health Minister Shona Robison and her Scottish Government officials have argued that:
“Given the very serious health risks associated with smoking, this is clearly unsatisfactory and we concluded that it is unacceptable for such a dangerous age-restricted product to be sold from a self-service machine.”
Health and Sport Committee convener Christine Grahame told The Scotsman:
"Most members also believe that cigarette vending machines should be banned, bringing them into line with other age-restricted products like alcohol."
Alcohol, lighters and aspirin are all legally vended through machines across Scotland. These products can pose significant health risks yet the Government is singling out tobacco vending machines and wants to ban them under the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services Bill. As a consequence, 60 people in Scotland will lose their job and 15 companies will close down.
Cigarette vending machines account for just 0.8% of cigarette sales in Scotland. Banning them will have next to no effect on the issue of underage smoking.
The National Association of Cigarette Vending Machine Operators has invested in a new system to stop under 18s buying tobacco from our machines – anyone wanting to use our machines will have to prove their age and only then will they be allowed to a single purchase activated by a Radio Frequency Control system. This will stop young people accessing tobacco products and avoid losing jobs in Scotland.
Scottish Ministers have not considered this solution fairly and refused to even see it in action. MSPs are being asked to vote without knowing all the options.
As you can see Shona Robison MSP, Christine Graham and their cohorts at Tobacco Control are downright liars or totally inept in their positions  as ‘leaders’ of the people they were elected to govern.  So much so that Freedom2Choose (Scotland) want heads to roll for their lies and/or ineptitude, and they make no bones about it in their press release:

Minister Misleads Parliament and Should Resign

Freedom To Choose (Scotland) demands the resignation of the Minister for Public Health, Shona Robison, for blatantly misleading MSPs in the Health and Sport Committee in Stage 1 of the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services Bill.

Here fucking here says I, now what about those deceivers elected to Westminster?

Friday, 25 September 2009

Anti-smoking whores don't care whose bed they get into

Just to revisit that recent viral anti-tobacco ad. You know, the one where some sick NHS fuck thought it wise to depict the hatred of smokers by the righteous, and their dreamed method of violent response, via the medium of film.

The blurb on YouTube describes it thus.

Hard hitting new campaign filmed by renowned directors Rankin and Chris for NHS Birmingham East and North.

And renowned they very much are. Especially Rankin. He has been commissioned by the likes of Kylie Minogue, Madonna, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, U2, Mikhail Gorbachev, Tony Blair, and - bugger me sideways - The Queen!

One must assume that he doesn't come cheap, then. Doesn't it warm the cockles of your over-taxed heart that the NHS are so awash with money that they can afford such fees? The rest of their operation must be going swimmingly, obviously.

Of course, it could be that he is so very anti-smoking that he would donate his services gratis. But then, if that were the case, wouldn't he object to being associated with images such as these?

Well, considering these pictures, of people who don't appear to be subject to any kind of gruesome physical abuse, are being proudly exhibited in promotion of Rankin's work on his web-site, one must draw one of two conclusions.

Either the NHS are spunking a hell of a lot of money, which could be better directed towards front line services, on this disgusting advert. Or Rankin is a quite egregious hypocrite.

Or maybe both.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Special Offer-crap Punch pubs!

Punch Taverns, backers of the smoke ban and a supposedly level playing field (pardon?) have fallen on their own sword yet again as it is today announced that 300 of their pubs are now up for sale with Christie + Co, "many at revised prices, to stimulate interest and secure buyers.” Revised prices? Well upon my soul!
"and most are available with vacant possession."
Vacant possession? Well upon my soul!

It would seem that Mr Thorleys masterplan of a level playing field, whilst simultaneously sucking up to this government is backfiring dramatically. Is it any wonder that " most are available with vacant possession" when more than 4,000 pubs have now gone forever thanks to the smoke ban. Who in God's name would contemplate financial suicide by buying a 'vacant pub'?

It's vacant because it couldn't make any money.

It's vacant because the previous licensee probably went skint.

It's vacant because smokers have said 'up yours Thorley'.

A Punch spokesperson said: “Some of these sites have already been on the market but they are being relaunched....."

err....they are being relaunched because no-one has had the stupidity to purchase any of them from the once proud Punch empire. I say once proud empire because pre ban their shares were sitting at £13.79. On the 18th Sept, 2009 they rocked precariously at £1.24 having bottomed out at £0.38p in March 09!
To say that Giles Thorley should have been captain of the Titanic is no understatement as he has steered Punch Taverns into the iceberg known as financial oblivion.

'Clean air pubs' mean absolutely nothing when they are virtually empty.

'Clean air pubs' mean even less when most of the customers sally forth to the nearest supermarket for cheapo beers.

'Clean air pubs' means sweet sod all when nearly 100,000 employees are now jobless within the hospitality sector.

It would also seem that Punch have reduced their own 'national debt' from £4.5bn to £3.5bn-but how are they to achieve the latter debt payments when they are already reducing property prices - as they hadn't sold in the first place?

Has it not occurred to the business genius known as Giles Thorley that perhaps admitting he was WRONG might be the best course of action and start campaigning for choice - that way he might actually salvage half his remaining 'empire'.

There you go Giles, a simple man on the street has just saved your crumbling empire!

An answer to Birmingham Bullies

Sally BrooksActing
Head of Communications and Involvement
NHS Birmingham East and North.

Dear Ms Brooks,
I have read with great interest your somewhat garbled reply to Mr Martin Thornton of Kent in his objection to the vile video released against smokers. I'm afraid to say that Mr Thornton is 100% correct in his view-it is nothing but inciting hatred and violence toward smokers, no less, complete discrimination against a minority. Is that not illegal?

Quote:- " One in five people in this country die as a result of smoking, but in our area that figure is higher, and we are committed to supporting these communities to live healthier and longer lives."
Let us put this ridiculous statement to bed immediately Ms Brooks! You cannot categorically state that one in five people die as a result of smoking, it is merely an alarmist figure to inspire fear (you hope) into smokers. The air from heavy traffic is far more polluted than that which a smoker creates.Secondly, and this truly shows how ignorant your 'team' are in pursuit of taxpayers money which funds your own puritanical lifestyles, why do people want to live longer in misery and poverty? Are you not aware that the government is spending more on benefits than actually raking in from NI contributions? Are you not aware either that the government would be exceedingly pleased for every male in this country to actually die the day after their 65th birthday for we have no pension funds to speak of?

Quote:- "The stop smoking campaign is aimed at hardened smokers who have so far been unaffected by previous advertising campaigns".
"Hardened smokers"-has it not occurred to your 'think tank' that perhaps hardened smokers are just that-hardened smokers! They don't want to 'quit', 'give up', bow to pressure' or however you would term it. People enjoy smoking thus it is not for the likes of your publicly funded (my money) organisations to instruct on individual lifestyles. If smoking is THAT dangerous why is a 20 per day smoker now celebrating her 102nd birthday?

Quote:-"We tested it thoroughly with focus groups, and feel we have created something that has a good chance of working."
And exactly which 'smoke free' focus groups did you test this on?

Quote:- "The campaign is indeed shocking, but so is the impact smoking has on the body."
Thank you for admitting the campaign is shocking, indeed it is distastefully shocking, not your usual 'shock/horror'. The film is an absolute disgrace to all law abiding citizens of this country for it does nothing but incite hatred and violence. Would you produce this in a campaign against Moslems/Gays/Disabled etc? I don't think so, for you would be prosecuted and severely penalised, even by our now somewhat dubious legal system!

"...but so is the impact smoking has on the body"
Ms Brooks, please allow me to inform you that smoking has had a great impact on my body (& mind!) for my body, having survived 48 years of smoking is a very happy body! It's now 58 years old but it functions perfectly well thank you. As for the mind, well, I think by this letter you can see that it also works rather well! As for death the day after my 65th birthday, well sobeit Ms Brooks, if my time is up-it's up! You may clap and dance in glee as I will not have cost this, or any other, government any pension funds they have not got yet I will go to the crematorium knowing that people like you have wasted my taxpayers money throughout my life-sad last thought isn't it!

Quote:- "As a local NHS trust, we are responsible for the health of our local community."
You are responsible for the care of your community-should that community, singularly or as a whole, become ill-not dictating how to possibly avoid the many illnesses we may succumb to, whether caused by air pollutants or not! Should I mention genetic diseases here that can be fatal? I would have thought that 'as a NHS Trust' you would be more inclined to improve hospital 'beddage' not cuts, decrease the immense amount of departmental managers within the NHS not create more and more desk jobs.Get your own house in order woman and leave lifestyles to those who enjoy them.
Yours sincerely
Phil (the smoker) Johnson

Smokers blood are on your hands Birmingham PCT

And do you care?  Not one jot you don’t!

Remember my blog item on Birmingham PCT’s latest onslaught  on the smoker (part of the worlds denormalisation of the non conformist smoker, which has yielded the most comments as well as  over a thousand ‘day one’ page hits on this blog so far) and while you are reading this don’t forget the dirty filthy drinker, who have been on the “healthist” hitlist ever since they brought the UK smoking ban out, and thought they had us culled, not a bit of it!

The drinks industry must be quaking in their boots as they await similar treatment  ( It has already started, as if you never noticed) by the righteous among us, you know them, they do not drink or smoke!  I don’t blame the drinks industry for quaking in their boots, it is justified, they just know they are at the healthist’s mercy (as if they have not been here before, they have just forgotten,)…as are those that like a bit of junk food, just like you or I.

In disgust at the Birmingham PCT video below , Martin Thornton from Kent, sent this email to Ms. Brooks (he is just one of many):


I will start by saying that I am a smoker, so was quite interested to see your latest campaign against smoking.

Do you really think that it's appropriate to show such violence against one particular group in society? The campaign is almost an incitement to violence against smokers. Which group will you target next? Alcohol users, the overweight, road users, the elderly? They all use up a lot of NHS resources.

What is the state of mind of the people who came up with such a bullying campaign?

I dread to think of how you might address teenage pregnancies!

I'm sure you'll  try and justify this vile, hateful and sickening video, but can you justify my tax money being used in this way? 

Martin Thornton

The  grandiosely named  Acting Head of Communications and Involvement (PR to you and me) commissar, Sally Brooks, using the full plethora of Chairman Mao’s little red book, and following the party line philosophy, when replying to  Martin Thornton from Kent’s email, Sally Brooks rose up to her salary (which you paid for)  and, the obviously under educated Ms. Brooks, not having a thought to the taxpayer, and your money, replied in the time honoured tradition of “on message” drivel my department needs more of the public’s money, I want my share of the public purse brigade, (ED: But did not say this.)  So she replied to Martin thus:

Dear Mr Thornton,

I am writing in reference to your email of 22nd September 2009 in relation to the stop smoking campaign we have recently launched in NHS Birmingham East and North.

I am sorry to hear that you are not comfortable with the way in which we are targeting resources on smokers in our area. Perhaps an explanation of the wider campaign will put the Youtube film, which is just one part of the work we are doing, into context.

In east and north Birmingham the incidence of smoking is in some areas twice the national average – around four in ten. This means that men in our patch, who are disproportionately affected, die in some cases six years sooner than others, of devastating conditions such as heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. One in five people in this country die as a result of smoking, but in our area that figure is higher, and we are committed to supporting these communities to live healthier and longer lives.

The stop smoking campaign is aimed at hardened smokers who have so far been unaffected by previous advertising campaigns. We tested it thoroughly with focus groups, and feel we have created something that has a good chance of working. The video is just one part of a wider campaign that involves posters, billboards, leaflets and on-street marketing. These posters and leaflets will encourage smokers to text for support in giving up.

The campaign is indeed shocking, but so is the impact smoking has on the body. The aim of the campaign is to target men aged between 35 and 55 in our area. We want to demonstrate to them how much harm smoking does to them, and we have used violence to demonstrate this. In no way would we wish to incite violence of any kind against any members of our communities. Our priority is improving life expectancy.

As a local NHS trust, we are responsible for the health of our local community. We already know that smoking disproportionately affects our communities, so we feel it is absolutely the right thing to do to invest in a marketing campaign that hopefully will bring more people in touch with NHS Stop Smoking services. In stopping smoking, their lives will be extended, preventing a wide range of life threatening conditions. In our view, this is a responsible way to spend tax payers’ money.

Kind regards

Sally Brooks

Acting Head of Communications and Involvement

NHS Birmingham East and North

Bilge, pure bloody bilge!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Yes, Minister…Oh No, Minister!


Scottish Ministers and senior civil servants disregard the facts but are happy to make decisions that will put 60 Scottish citizens out of work and close 15 companies.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison and her Scottish Government officials have argued that:

“Given the very serious health risks associated with smoking, this is clearly unsatisfactory and we concluded that it is unacceptable for such a dangerous age-restricted product to be sold from a self-service machine.”

Health and Sport Committee convener Christine Grahame told The Scotsman:

"Most members also believe that cigarette vending machines should be banned, bringing them into line with other age-restricted products like alcohol."

Alcohol, lighters and aspirin are all legally vended through machines across Scotland. These products can pose significant health risks yet the Government is singling out tobacco vending machines and wants to ban them under the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services Bill. As a consequence, 60 people in Scotland will lose their job and 15 companies will close down.

Cigarette vending machines account for just 0.8% of cigarette sales in Scotland. Banning them will have next to no effect on the issue of underage smoking.

The National Association of Cigarette Vending Machine Operators has invested in a new system to stop under 18s buying tobacco from our machines – anyone wanting to use our machines will have to prove their age and only then will they be allowed to a single purchase activated by a Radio Frequency Control system. This will stop young people accessing tobacco products and avoid losing jobs in Scotland.

Scottish Ministers have not considered this solution fairly and refused to even see it in action. MSPs are being asked to vote without knowing all the options.


Freedom To Choose Press Release:

Sep 22, 2009 – Exposure of blatant misleading evidence by Health and Sports Minister Shona Robison MSP will be distributed outside the Scottish Parliament prior to the Stage 1 debate on the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services Bill.
“Documentation(1) produced by NACMO (The National Association of Cigarette Vending Machine Operators) clearly illustrates how the Scottish Government has been provided with fiction,” states Eddie Douthwaite from pro-choice group Freedom To Choose (Scotland).  “The quality of their evidence and decision-making must be put into question.”
Public Health Minister Shona Robison provided the misleading statement(2) to the Health and Sports Committee evidence sessions stating, “For me, the fundamental question is whether tobacco is an appropriate product to sell in a vending machine.  We would not sell other age-related dangerous products in vending machines, so why do we sell cigarettes in that way?”
This statement was also endorsed by committee convener MSP Christine Grahame who claimed(3), “Most members also believe that cigarette vending machines should be banned, bringing them into line with other age-restricted products like alcohol.”
Despite the claims of Shona Robison, other age-restricted products are not banned from vending machines - as NACMO correctly points out, “alcohol, lighters and aspirin are all legally vended through machines across Scotland.  These products can pose significant health risks yet the Government is singling out tobacco vending machines.”
In addition to forcing shops to conceal tobacco displays from public view, the Tobacco and Primary Services Medical Bill proposes to ban the use of tobacco vending machines, immediately closing 15 businesses and putting 60 people out of work.  NACMO have since invested in a Radio Frequency Control System for their vending machines that would prevent young people accessing tobacco products and avoid the loss of these jobs.
MSPs must be made aware of these facts before the Stage 1 debate takes place on Thursday 24 September.
Notes to editors: ... ... ...


A non-profit making voluntary organisation funded solely by the contributions of our members, and are united in their determination to expose the myths about smoking that are currently leading to the removals of the freedoms of people in our nation.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Violence against the smoker…it gets worse and worse!
Warning: video contains scenes of graphic violence Link to this video
An NHS trust in Birmingham has recruited the photographer Rankin to help with a new hard-hitting viral anti-smoking ad, part of a multimedia campaign that launches today.
Rankin has co-directed the ad with Chris Cottam, which shows a smoker suffering an assault from an invisible assailant as he walks down the street.
"Smoke and your body takes a beating," a voiceover says at the end of the minute-long film. "Fight back. Quit now."
The video will be shown on a mobile exhibition unit that will tour parts of Birmingham and also offer tests of patients' lung ages and carbon monoxide levels.
Rankin and Cottam's ad is also being distributed virally on YouTube and other websites as part of the marketing campaign surrounding the initiative.
The theme is also taken up on posters and leaflets that feature three different men who have been beaten up, with the slogans "Smoking: GBH to your insides", "When you smoke, it's your insides that get beaten up" and "Cigarettes attack you. But in ways you don't always see".
This campaign is being run by the Dr Foster agency, which was able to secure Rankin's services free of charge.
NHS Birmingham East and North is hoping the campaign will get through to "hard to reach" smokers – specifically white males aged 35-55 in the C2DE socio-economic category – living in the most deprived parts of the area.
"People have been seeing stop smoking ads all their lives and everyone knows it's bad for them. It's old news," said Joanna Mawtus, creative director at Dr Foster.
"Unless we give people a new perspective on it, they're not going to take any notice. We think this idea does that.
"In testing, people thought the images they were being confronted with were hard hitting, but also acknowledged that it's what they need to see in order to change. They're quite shocking, but then so is the damage smoking causes."

Never, in my entire 56 years on this earth have I seen such putrid, outright hatred in one video made on behalf of the righteous!  If I were anything other than a smoker would I be allowed to make this statement on film???

Update: Courtesy of Dick Puddlecote and YouTube here is the video:

They will NOT control us! are not old enough to have lived through the civil rights movement, women's liberation, Viet Nam War, and other conflicts that have happened in this country. You have no right to call anyone a RETARD!!!! In the early 80's we were on the brink of revolution due to the bad economic times. It never happened. Things got better and people put their heads in the sands and ignored others who were not so well off. Our country was started with a Revolution. History check it out!

H/T to chas from the F2C forum.

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Friday, 18 September 2009

Freedom To Choose (Scotland): Responses to be Heard by Public Petitions Committee

Freedom To Choose Press Release

Sep 18, 2009 – A comprehensive petition submitted by Freedom To Choose (Scotland) is being debated at Holyrood on 21 September.(1) The petition requests the Scottish Government to review the consultation ‘Achieving Smoke-free Mental Health Services in Scotland’, which ran between January and April this year, because the consultation as it stands reflects poorly on the Scottish Government.
Eddie Douthwaite, spokesperson for the pro-choice group, has cited numerous flaws in the consultation document. He complains that it has a pre-determined outcome, lacks supporting evidence and uses leading questions to misguide the public and mental health service users.
He says, “Our petition states that the consultation document failed to put the issue of removing the smoking ban exemption from mental health wards and hospitals fairly before the public.”
Freedom To Choose (Scotland) shows that factual inaccuracies have been used by both ASH (Scotland) and the Scottish Government in their claims – many of which claims are hotly disputed(2),(3) within scientific circles. The consultation document, for example, quotes the claim that the smoking ban caused a 17 per cent drop in heart attack admissions in Scotland, an assertion that was widely ridiculed almost as soon as it hit press headlines in September 2007.(4) Because there was no reference list, the public was led to believe that the 17 per cent figure was based on fact, rather than being the result of a single study that was contradicted by official discharge statistics, and that contained important methodological errors.
“In defending the 17 per cent and other claims, neither Ms Duffy (ASH Scotland) nor Ms Cuthbert (tobacco control department) has addressed the inherent bias in the whole document towards a service that does not tolerate any smoking. They should have designed an open consultation in which all policy options were given equal weight,” continues Eddie Douthwaite.
“ASH also claims that the omission of references does not make any of the evidence less robust. How can the robustness of evidence be judged without the provision of references? This is absurd.”

Comments from the Royal Edinburgh Hospital Patients’ Council(5) corroborate the petitioners’ position that limited efforts were made to inform service users of the consultation, with restrictions being placed on the number of information packs available. Feedback from the Patients’ Council also confirmed that the questions were felt to be loaded, and that there was widespread feeling amongst service users that the government’s mind was made up before the consultation even began.
The petition itself raises the inadequacy of the questions, which should have been based upon the available options, namely whether to retain the exemption or not, rather than asking whether the ban should be extended to hospital grounds.
Freedom To Choose (Scotland) is confident that the public petitions committee will agree that a consultation should be based on accurate information and data, and be free of clear bias in favour of the government’s preferred outcome.


1 Petition PE1246 – ...
2 Sargent, Shepard, Glantz ‘Reduced incidence of admissions for myocardial infarction associated with public smoking ban: before and after study’: rapid responses: this link illustrates the controversial nature of the claims made about links between smoking and heart attacks:
3 Siegel, 9 April 2009, ‘New Study of Heart Attack Admissions And Mortality Shows No Evidence of a Link to Smoking Bans’ ... (includes link to the study, which is available to subscribers only).
4 See ‘The facts in the way of a good story, Michael Blastland, BBC, 14 November 2007,
5 Royal Edinburgh Hospital Patients’ Council, Promotion, Collection and Feedback on consultation (2009), p. 2.
Freedom To Choose (Scotland) is:- A non-profit making voluntary organisation funded solely by the contributions of our members, and are united in their determination to expose the myths about smoking that are currently leading to the removals of the freedoms of people in our nation.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

It's too late now!

Oh dear. It looks like Labour have noticed that they are pissing us all off.

The instruction to start clearing-out measures — dated August 28 — sets Lord Mandelson on a collision course with Harriet Harman and the unions, who are championing many of the new laws that he most wants to shelve.

In the letter, sent to other members of a Cabinet sub-committee, Lord Mandelson wrote: “I support the approach that where measures appear without a planned implementation date — and on the assumption they are not planned for the near future — we commit to not imposing these measures until after April 2011.”

A delay to the much-vaunted statutory crackdown on pubs and clubs will also be an embarrassment for Gordon Brown, who promised to bring in the code just five months ago.

“We are going to bring in a new mandatory code on the sale of alcohol,” he said on May 12. The code would “tackle binge drinking, targeting the kind of promotions like ‘drink all you can for a fiver’ which can turn some town centres into no-go areas.”

Unelected Lord Mandelson, it would seem, in the face of inevitable defeat at the next election, is trying to head off the prospect of Labour being remembered as the government which not only imposed a ludicrous smoking ban, but also banned 'Happy Hour'.

The party of misery would have a certain attraction to opposition parties, would it not?

Lord Mandelson has already succeeded in delaying the implementation of a ban on cigarette displays: supermarkets will not be forced to put tobacco products under the counter until 2011.

For delaying, read consigning to history, as the Tories (who will undoubtedly be in power by then) are already committed to killing the idea stone dead. That's if the lies and outrageous misleading of parliament don't result in the silly addition to the Health Bill being thrown out before that.

Have Labour finally realised that kicking the nation's working class in the nuts is not the way to gain approval amongst their core vote?

A couple of years too late, Mandy. A handbrake on illiberal crap is not enough. Try looking for reverse gear at full revs and you may be more successful.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

David Goerlitz, ex “Winston Man” turns on Tobacco Control









As I mentioned back in June:

David Goerlitz, was the "Winston Man" for a tobacco brand in the USA before turning on his bosses and throwing his hand in with the anti tobacco lobby. He soon found out how these rabid zealots would stop at nothing to get their own way, and how! David Goerlitz could smell the hypocrisy more than any amount of second hand smoke.

In the latest Press Release from Freedom2Choose David comments:

“There is no reason in the world with all our technology and brainpower that we have not been able to come up with something more reasonable, fair and logical than the junk science the anti-smoking power hungry zealots are throwing at us. The media has to be held accountable as well, as more and more evidence has been uncovered showing the lies and corruption being used by tobacco control as we know it.”

Goerlitz concludes his comments by vowing to work with TICAP, Freedom2Choose and Forces International to “help make the changes necessary so that dignity and respect can once again replace control, prohibition and coercion.”

You can listen to an interview given by David Goerlitz to Christopher Snowdon, author of Velvet Glove | Iron Fist.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Virgin on the ridiculous


Richard Branson, ex-smoker and druggy, backs moves to annihilate  a legitimate business because he does not like their product, a product that he once used unhindered from cigarette vending machines and/or tobacco displays in shops or supermarkets.

The Virgin boss, an exsmoker, says more has to be done to stop children being sucked into "lethal addiction".

This is the same Richard Branson that smokes pot with his children:

Virgin tycoon Sir Richard Branson has revealed that he has taken drugs with his son.

The extrovert billionaire says he smoked cannabis with model son Sam, now 21, during a surfing holiday in Australia.

Sir Richard, 57, "I went with my son on his gap year. We had some nights where we laughed our heads off for eight hours."

He goes on to insist:

"I don't think smoking the occasional spliff is all that wrong. I'd rather my son did it in front of me than behind closed doors."

Is that with or without tobacco?  Or do you prefer anything a little harder?

He said: "I took ecstasy once. But it didn't have a massive effect on me". Of cocaine, he said: "I suspect I've tried it, yes."

Na, that shit is not my bag either Sir Richard and I don’t suspect I've tried any of them either, in fact I know I haven't.  You must have been off your face so you wouldn’t remember, would you!

In a further bid to dehumanise smokers and where they get their LEGAL fix he urges us all to write to our MP’s:

In a letter to newspaper editors, Branson writes: "Getting rid of cigarette vending machines will help save lives. And plain packaging will help take the glitz and glamour out of tobacco."

He also urges voters to write to their MPs to ask them to support the Bill.

Sorry Sir Rich, won’t be doing that but might just write to them about your companies carbon footprint, after all, if you can jump on a bandwagon so can we.  What is the biggest part of your business again?  Ah yes, gas guzzling aeroplanes that are choking us all to death just as much as the flashy cars you drive.  It won’t stop my flying off for my hols though, just the same as killing off the Cigarette Vending machine industry or wrapping fags up in plain covers will have no impact on incidences of smoking or underage smoking.

If you really want to know how you have been scammed by the bansturbators I really would urge you to read Chris Snowdon’s blog on the Plain Packaging ruse, you might bloody learn something!

Now go do something useful, go play with a balloon, the bigger the better and keep going up, and up, and up and…

Monday, 14 September 2009

Velvet Glove, Iron Fist: Tricks of the trade

Chris Snowdon does it again, explains statistical fraud to the statistically challenged like me...

Velvet Glove, Iron Fist: Tricks of the trade

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Fact or Fiction

Today, Leicester experienced the full power of the Pfizer propaganda machine as New Parks had been designated the most deserving area, the most depraved, the most smokey lung busting area in the country with a smoker rate of 40.5%! Hence the commencement of the 'quit smoking' caravan which included free water (water? yes water) and pedometers for all those who attended the aid to quitting smoking jamboree. Due to start at 10pm, all was duly prepared by the QS team.
By 9.55am 10,000 fanatical, screaming New Parkians clamoured for the doors of the caravan to open so as to gain the much needed gems from the team-and of course get free water and pedometers. The car park was full to bursting point as thousands more strode purposely up Aikman Avenue to be availaled of this new Pfizer backed streetwise quitting programme.
Never before had this normally quiet, mainly council housed estate seen such a furore-it really makes one wonder how this estate ever managed to keep the smoker numbers down to only 40.5%!
Louise Ross, NHS LeicesterCity's stop smokingmanager put forward New Parks initially, she said, "it seemed the perfect place." She was expecting to 'convert' 5,500 of the areas smokers into non smokers but after todays immeasurable success and massive turnout she is now "extremely confident that the number will be 55,000!" She further commented, " our frontman walking the streets with our placard has been inundated with requests for information and freebies, it has been a tremendous day all round. Incidentally, I wrote the press report out last night as I knew it would be so busy today-but that doesn't really matter."
So there we have it folks. Pfizer has pulled a trump card out of their bag of tricks and we can now look forward to seeing these one-day quit smoking events springing up all over the country as more and more estates suddenly find they inundated with 40.5% of smokers. This allows of course, for the smoker rate being only 25% nationwide-but nevermind eh!

Simple Simon was also in attendance in the afternoon for a couple of boring hours, here is his view:-
Went over to New Parks to see what all the hullabaloo was about to find 5 women sat in one of these openable sided caravan trailer things under nice big signs saying "bring out the smoker in you". The whole thing looked shabbily done and it was mostly hidden behind the 'sally army' building on Aikman Avenue.

I wandered up and down New Parks Boulevard shopping precinct and spoke to many people who thought that 'this was a step too far' and most were genuinely surprised that my T-shirt was of an organisation against all this prohibition! I actually bumped into a gentleman who had been sporting a banner proclaiming "bring out the smoker in YOU". We chatted and got on very well. He informed me that he had suffered plenty of abuse since 10am and would be glad when 4pm arrived. Apparently he was the only unpaid operative of the day (poor fool).
I dished out plenty of hastily arranged leaflets & business cards and met a poor lady suffering from MS-who's Dr had told her to give up smoking! FFS! She was one feisty lady I can tell you.
Bannerman disappeared on a phone call only to reappear and inform me I was duly invited to the 'inner sanctum'-said shabby caravan thingy-to meet with the apostles of health & vitality. Now this was interesting indeed.
Apparently (believe this if you will) none of the quintet had actually read last nights article!
None of the quintet knew anything about 'knocking on doors'.
Four of the five expressed actual fear at knocking on doors-the fifth refused point blank!
They declared they were not forcing people to quit smoking but were merely 'there for people to come and talk to them'.
One lady, a nurse, told me that smoking was a filthy habit and she didn't see why she should have to care for patients with lung cancer, bowel cancer & emphacaema (?) because they smoked and therefore caused self harm. I asked her why she was a nurse then?
I chucked my wifes family cancerous trait at them (5 aunts & 4 of the husbands-all non smokers) which flummoxed them completely and the subject was changed rapidly.
On to NRT. They totally disbelieved the NRT FAILURE rate and said I was making it up-I left them to check the D of H website for confirmation.
They wouldn't have it that smokers self funded their own treatments and were generous enough to help all other parts of societies medical bills.When I mentioned freedom of choice they agreed there should be freedom of choice (yes! I nearly got lost there too ) but their idea of it was that people should have freedom of choice to quit.
Now who the hell is forcibly making people smoke?
When I asked why New Parks had been selected the answer came out like a bullet- "because 40.5% of the population smoke". "But that is their choice", said I, "why are you interfering in peoples lifestyles? will you be on the highly paid alcohol bandwagon next?" I think that comment narked a couple of them.They couldn't tell me how much Pfizer had invested but did say it wasn't much.
They were gobsmacked when, after declaring Champx was a wonder drug, I told them of the hundreds of law suits stacking up in America because of champix related suicides. One commented that 200 people die per annum because of aspirins ???? - pass!
All in all my question would be this-just what sort of propaganda shite are these people fed before 'going out on the road' because my brief foray, at their behest, has shown me that they know very little of what lays behind these bans. They can only spout that which has been force fed to them. It was also interesting to know that 'they' thought doorstep counselling was not a viable option, interesting because it was 'they' that would have been doing it and not the desk jockeys who come up with these idiotic notions.
It was not quite so interesting to observe small packets being exchanged for money in a most furtive manner on a street corner which really makes me wonder which 'evil' this government should really be concentrating on?
It was also highly interesting to find out the level of anger on the street at the notion that New Parks was a 'deprived area'-Debbie Arnott take note girl. You start denegrating ordinary people and you start a war! If they wanted to 'hit' a deprived area then they should have attacked the St Mathews Estate but then they would have been taking on approximately 23 different nationalities and probably cast as racist!
A short walk to the New Parks Club revealed the usual suspects outside having a fag. I will not print some of their anatomical comments on the roadshow some 400 yards away-and what they could do with it! The smoke ban has slaughtered the clubs turnover, the club wants choice for smokers & non smokers alike. The club wants to survive.

The jury is out folks, I leave you to judge which is fact and which is fiction.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Pfizer's community service

The local authority in Leicester have seized a 'free lunch' with both hands.

A Leicester estate with one of the highest smoking rates in the country is to be targeted in a major drive to help people quit the habit.

The plan is to persuade more than 5,500 smokers in New Parks to stub out their cigarettes by Christmas.

New Parks was chosen for the launch after drug company Pfizer, which has developed and paid for the campaign, invited people across the country to say why their neighbourhood deserved to benefit first from the project.

Hold on. Rewind that a tad.

Did someone mention convicted fraudsters, Pfizer?

Pfizer would not say how much it was spending on the campaign because the information was said to be "commercially sensitive".

The company manufactures the stop-smoking drug Champix, but will not be promoting it during the campaign.

It seems they did. So we can happily take them on their word that they won't be promoting their drugs during this campaign. After all, we all trust fraudsters, don't we?

It's undoubtedly the truth. Why lie when they don't need to promote their depression and suicide causing drugs because ... the local NHS trust will no doubt do it for them, aided by Pfizer cash, like elsewhere.

Gawd bless their charitable hearts, eh?

Thursday, 10 September 2009

From one religion to another

When you're paid to be fanatically anti-smoking, there isn't a day or occasion goes by without an opportunity to justify your salary.

Ramadan is the best time to stop smoking

NHS Tower Hamlets has sponsored a calendar setting out the timetable for Ramadan 2009

The calendar carries the message ‘Ramadan is the best time to stop smoking’

Ramadan starts on 22 August and lasts for 30 days. Every day during this month, Muslims around the world fast - abstain from food, drink and tobacco use - during the daylight hours.

It's also the best time to stop eating fatty foods and drinking wine, one would assume, but then the NHS doesn't receive pharma cash advocating that.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Outbreak of common sense in Holland

The Dutch have always sought out sensible compromise when it comes to battles between the righteously indignant and the frowned-upon minority. Solutions which exclusively favour the prejudices and whims of the finger-waggers are never successful and inevitably lead to unintended consequences which can spiral out of control. The government in Holland seemed to have recognised this a long time ago and implemented common sense policies to very emotive subject material - as anyone who has ever visited Amsterdam can confirm.

That's why it was all the more baffling that the Dutch fell so laughably, and so comprehensively, for the fantasies of the anti-smoking berserkers last year.

After their particular brand of 'smokefree' legislation, you could legally get off your tits on wacky baccy, but if there was so much as a spindly shred of Drum halfzware rolled up with it, you could be frog-marched from the premises and the coffee shop owner issued with a fine. Fancy going behind a curtained window for a €50 bump ugly session? Geen probleem, but the post-coital fag would get you punished.

Nowhere else in the world were such ridiculous restrictions more starkly shown up as farce.

Fortunately, their courts also thought it was pretty indefensible too, as they ruled in July.

Smoking ban abandoned in small cafes

Health and safety inspectors will no longer check if small bars and cafes are observing the smoking ban, health minister Ab Klink said on Wednesday.

The decision follows a second court ruling which said the ban did not apply to bars without personnel.

So now, the Dutch health minister had a problem. A significant minority in his country were rejecting the smoking ban and had been vindicated in the courts. Did he do as UK elected representatives would do, that is, stick their fingers in their ears and sing loudly while happily still taking smoker cash?

No, actually. Ab Klink has realised that a compromise has to be found. Much like the ones that work very well with cannabis and prostitution. Rather than push for an unenforceable and, in places, wildly unpopular full prohibition, he has wisely looked for an alternative solution ... and come up with something that is, and has been, available to every legislature on the face of the planet.

Ventilation systems possible ‘solution’ to smoking ban

The health minister will present a research proposal during Friday’s cabinet meeting to investigate how ventilation systems could be used by the hospitality industry.

Klink may then decide businesses with adequate ventilation systems would not be required to create separate smoking rooms. In other words, smoking would be allowed throughout the premises.

Crikey! Ventilation. Now why didn't our government think of that?

Probably because, as is customary, they didn't bother to research it, merely left the decision up to {cough} unbiased organisations like the Smokefree Coalition to dismiss it out-of-hand for them.

Proper ventilation is a central plank of Freedom2Choose policy. It restores choice (remember that?) to both bar owners and customers alike and is a sensible, eminently workable, alternative to blanket smoking bans.

While ASH and their kind were/are quick to obsessively promote up-to-date junk science in support of draconian bans, their research into ventilation options were based on systems nearly two decades old. According to the bansturbators, technology had stood still since the 80s in that area - extractor fans were the best available and that just wouldn't do.

It won't surprise you to know that modern ventilation technology and air curtains are actually rather advanced in the 21st century. They are used in the control of toxic gases in many fields of industry. The control of a few wisps of smoke won't even make them break into a sweat and will leave the air circulation within licenced premises more safe than what you breathe in the street.

Ab Klink (if he isn't already aware, which I suspect he is) will no doubt find this out for himself and Holland will have, yet again, come up with an ingenious way of accomodating all their citizens - not just the ones who shout the loudest - whether they be raving puritan or indulgent hedonist.

Choice prevails. Job done. Everyone happy.

Wouldn't it be great if, one day, the lazy professional politicians we are saddled with in the UK also decided to devote an adequate proportion of their time to something that is relevant to 21% of their electorate, instead of viewing compromise as some sort of dangerous heresy?

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Have you spotted Richard (call me Dick) puddlecote recently…

…if not it’s because he’s been bansturbated, that’s why!  Ok, I’m having a larf at Dicks expense (giggle) but surely this just has to be a joke also?

SPOTTED Dick has been banned from a staff  canteen for being "too rude" — and replaced with Spotted RICHARD.

I’m sure someone at the Sun newspaper is pulling my pud!  So I checked on the ‘interweb’ thingy.
I got my Spotted Dick out of my girlfriend Fanny. I know many chaps who got Spotted Dick whilst on visits to Bangkok, but there's really nothing like the traditional English version.
Case solved, the Sun story is a load of old chocolate…
It melts quickly but leaves a distinct aftertaste.
Case solved!
(Can’t stop giggling for some strange reason!)

Stats the way to do it!

This humble blog has just seen over twenty thousand visitors, (20,o14 in fact, at this time of writing,) which is not bad going since we only started blogging around mid April this year.
Our humble blog has, so far, been visited by sixty countries, excluding our own, from all over the world, (where else would they be? :))
Who would have thought a humble blog like ours, talking about tobacco, it’s users and illiberal bansterbators with their junk science backed up by fake charities, would have attracted such attention?
Of course this is no time for the authors of this (did I mention humble?) blog to be slapping ourselves on the back, we should be slapping you readers and commentators on the back with a heartfelt “thank you!”
And of course it is not forgotten that you all put us on the blogging map by voting for us.

Page Loads    Unique Visitors    First Time Visitors    Returning Visitors
Total     20,036     10,494     6,079     4,415
Average     4,007     2,099     1,216     883
Month    Page Loads    Unique Visitors    First Time Visitors    Returning Visitors
Sep 2009     1,457     855     527     328
Aug 2009     5,163     2,936     1,759     1,177
Jul 2009     5,525     3,011     1,690     1,321
Jun 2009     5,423     2,527     1,410     1,117
May 2009     2,468     1,165     693     472

What a difference a few short months make.

PS: Thank you all the bloggers out there that have linked to us.  Looking at your blogs tells me that this country is not doomed after all!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Velvet Glove | Iron Fist-A new kid on the blog


Christopher Snowdon, a much respected writer amongst much respected writers (Michael J. McFadden springs to mind) has started his own blog.  Both writers don’t make it onto the MSM because they are a rarity these days, they take the science and put it under the microscope to see if it can pass muster, and often it does not!  Yes, they talk about all things tobacco but we smokers and non smokers need to know the truth about these things, we need people who can explain the science of tobacco control in simple terms we plebeians can understand.  Chris (and Michael) do this.

Read Chris’s blog here.  And you can find Michael J. McFadden here


Sunday, 6 September 2009

Anti-smokers need to find a new argument, concludes top statistician

Renowned statistical crap-buster, Michael Blastland, has again been pulling fraudulent healthist propaganda to pieces on the BBC web-site (they'll be gagging him soon, no doubt). Arguing against the oft-repeated myth surrounding the cost of smoking to the NHS, he points out ...

Treating smokers costs the NHS in England £2.7bn a year, compared with £1.7bn a decade ago, it was said recently.

Except that there's strong evidence that the best financial value to the nation is if smokers really go for it, feed the Inland Revenue's coffers with excise duty, get lung cancer and die quickly at 65 before they cost us a packet in social care in old age.

Indeed. Tobacco duty alone dwarfs even the mightiest manipulations by tobacco control freaks, £8.1bn according to a recent House of Lords question to parliamentary treasury secretary Lord Myners, and that figure doesn't include notional savings in palliative care. You know, those costs which won't be incurred because all us smokers die so very young as the anti-smoking loons tell us on a daily basis.

This outbreak of common sense is becoming a bit of a summer theme with regards the economics of alternative lifestyles, after former government health adviser Julian LeGrand admitted the same just a fortnight ago.

"It is true that, on the whole, healthy people cost the National Health Service, and indeed the pensions sector, rather more than unhealthy people." [mp3 sound file below]

See, this is the problem when a product is disproportionately taxed over a long period of time. No matter how many so-called costs are lumped onto the debit side of the smoking equation, they are always going to be outweighed by the credit side, in the form of punitive sin taxes which the righteous have inflicted for decades.

Likewise, if ASH and their colleagues produce statistics exaggerating the early deaths of smokers, a statistician is quite within his rights to use the same figures to assess cost savings to the NHS as a result.

Hoist by one's own petard, I believe it is termed.

Blastland comes to a conclusion which is eminently sensible.

Does that mean we should encourage smoking? Hardly. But it might mean we should get another argument, for example that a smoking habit can be smelly and dirty, that other people don't like it, that it's about the worst thing you can do for your health short of running under a bus, and that maybe other people who love you care about you not killing yourself early and you should think about their interests too.

Which, of course, are the real reasons behind the irrational and hysterical hatred towards smokers. We know this, they know this, it's just that such arguments aren't very compelling when it comes to encouraging the bullying of smokers by the general public.

And that really is the sum of it. Rather than produce truthful data, the hugely pharma-funded tobacco control lobby would prefer to use junk science, fraudulent statistics, bullying, and threats to promote their agenda, rather than hold an honest and inclusive debate.

All we freedom-lovers can do is keep highlighting the propaganda, emotive brow-beating, and downright lies, because however shrill the righteous doom-laden voice becomes, the truth is always on our side, as is the moral high ground.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Shooting ASH tiddlers in a barrel-The ASHITE myth busting continues-a not so occasional series

Following on from Dick Puddlecote’s Shooting ASH tiddlers in a barrel...
Myth: It will be bad for bingo
In the lead up to the smoking ban, pro smoking groups argued that the smokefree legislation was going to be particularly detrimental for both the profitability and long term outcomes of Bingo, with smokers more likely to stay home and use online gaming sites.
Reality: Gaming group Rank, which has 86 clubs in England said it was encouraged by performance at its Mecca bingo, with company shares up by 8.75%.5
Reality: Smoking ban is killing off bingo halls
Just three short months after the introduction of the smoking ban in England  Bingo halls were feeling the wrath of the ASHite smoke haters in parliament as their venom spread.
New Century Bingo in Woolston, Southampton is the latest bingo hall to close despite having 4,500 members and having 1,500 regulars each week. It seems it cannot continue with people going outside to smoke or staying at home playing online bingo.
New Century Bingo follows in the footsteps of other bingo halls which have been forced to close due to the smoking ban.  Stardust Bingo in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire saw takings fall by 16 percent after the introduction of the ban.  It had to close in August with the loss of 19 jobs.  10 bingo halls have closed in Scotland since the ban was enforced there in April 2006 and Rank have closed 9 of its Mecca bingo halls across England.  It is likely more bingo halls will close due to the smoking ban.
Bingo players would travel long journeys across Southampton to go to the New Century Bingo hall which was converted from a Picture-house cinema in the 1970s.  Many elderly players would attend the bingo hall and now they feel they have lost a community centre.
It was no surprise then, because of the smoking ban experiment, that there is an upsurge of interest by land based bingo enthusiasts who liked a smoke whilst playing their favourite game,  turned to online bingo.
Assistant manager Rachel Edwards was also sad that the bingo hall had to close but believed it was inevitable.  She said, “We have suffered since the smoking ban and there’s also the problem of online bingo everywhere and that has hit everyone.  It is a sad day for people in Woolston.”
Paul Redwood acting manager of New Century Bingo in Shirley added, “Unfortunately the smoking ban is affecting bingo halls around the country.  Many independent places have closed or are closing.”
Eight months later; the carnage continues:
The bingo industry generates billions of pounds in stake money, and employs 20,000 people throughout the UK. However, since the smoking ban has been introduced, we have already seen a number of closures with experts predicting even more disaster, with up to one in three clubs facing possible closure.
And north of the border, in my home country, now renamed the Soviet republic of Ashland:
It is estimated that half of bingo players are smokers, and many are in the habit of puffing and playing bingo at the same time, something that is longer possible. Neil Goulden, chief executive of Gala Bingo has stated "The effect of the smoking ban in Scotland has been a lot worse than we thought it was going to be," adding "We've actually lost 8% of our customer base who have stopped coming altogether."
What the hell are Gala worried about, after all your company shares are up, aren't they?
Industry figures suggest that the number of clubs has slumped from more than 700 to about 590 in recent years as the impact of social changes has been exacerbated by the smoking ban, changes to gaming machine rules and the recession. Analysts are predicting a further 100 closures as a result of the recent tax rise.
In March, Gala's backers conceded that their investments had become worthless, only a year after pumping in a further £125 million of equity.
The company has closed 13 bingo clubs and four casinos since the smoking ban and the scrapping of Section 21 gaming machines set the gaming industry on a long losing streak.
Oh how the bingo industry just loves you ASH (spit) for your truth and wisdom!
I can see nothing but the reality instead of the lies spat out so venomously by fake charities like ASH, CRUK  and their ilk, realities like my good friend Martin Carroll, who is the proprietor of  the Vogue Bingo Hall in Lanark (pics below), in the Soviet republic of Ashland.
Bingo hall
A lovely old building that reminds me of the TARDIS in Dr. Who, small and unimposing on the outside but, oh boy, how elegant and majestic it is in the inside, I was overawed.
I was privileged to be at the Freedom2Choose (Scotland) AGM in 2008, which was held in Martin’s bingo hall.  After the meeting I sat down with Martin and, with my dodgy video camera, I took two videos while we chatted.  Warning, lighting is not very good and the inebriated interviewer is me. (Martin does not drink.)
Cause and effect:
Where do we go from here:
I salute you Martin for your knowledge and dedication to your industry, businessmen/women like yourselves should not have to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fake charities and dumb politicians, you are worth more, much more than that.
I also would like to send my best wishes to your good lady wife and hope her illness regresses, my heart is with you both.


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