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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.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Cry Freedom!

In memory of Gill and Ray, former landlords of the Painters Arms, Drighlington near Leeds who have given up the fight to stay afloat after the imposition of the smoking ban here in the UK.

So you want to be Prime Minister Nick Clegg? Put that fag out!

Nick Clegg wishes for a stash of cigarettes on his desert island. The below recording is 45 minutes long and about 10 to 15 minutes in there is a short gap where I foolishly muted the sound as I was about to go for a preverbial leak...

The recording is a facinating insight into the Lib Dem political mind.

Oh Nick, you'll never get the top job if you smoke, will you.

                    Video thumbnail. Click to play                   
                    Click To Play                   
You can read more about Nick Clegg and his 'smoking gaff' over at Chris Snodown's place.   

Monday, 25 October 2010

Angry? Don’t make me angry, you won’t like me when I’m angry!

Old woman pleading for her life [to the Nazis] but to no avail.
You scrimp and save for your old age, you do without yourself to make sure your children have everything you did not and pass on information that you have stored all your life and impart that information to your children in the hope that they will be better people when they attain adulthood.

Some of us were born in the fifties and knew nothing of what happened just a few short years before. And as we grew up we relied on our elders to educate us with truths, not lies or homilies, just truth as it unfolded to our parents just a few short year before we were born.

We were taught at school that we learn by history and to make sure it never repeats itself. But then that was yesteryear and time dims the memory for some, if not most people.

CALGARY — Friends and family of an 88-year-old Calgary woman say the lifelong smoker is "ashamed and embarrassed" after she was told to find another place to live because her residence has gone smoke-free.
The church (and its priests) is, so historians tell us, a sanctuary, a place where you will not be persecuted and kept away from those that would persecute you…
Philipina Schergevitch, who has smoked for 73 years, has been living at the Francis Klein Centre for a decade.
The centre is run by the Bishop O'Byrne Housing for Seniors Association, which banned smoking in July.
I guess your persecutors come in sheep's clothing. And the old lady’s daughter is angry, very angry:
Schergevitch's daughter, Liz Daniels, said her mother is devastated over the news she has to find a new home by the end of this month as her lease isn't being renewed.
Daniels said her mother is so stressed out, she hasn't yet told her she'll be forced to move.
"Who expects to be evicted at age 88?" Daniels asked.
The association provides affordable housing for people who are functionally independent.
Exactly Liz, I live hundreds of miles away from my mother (a moderate smoker,) in Soviet Scotland, who have a history of persecuting smokers, safe in the knowledge that she is safe and well with a daughter nearby in my absence to look after her wellbeing if my mother needs help, but she does not, she also is an independent pensioner.

How long will her wellbeing last if such a draconian measure against smokers is implemented there? Oh it couldn’t happen here in the UK, could it?

And as ever these Nazi types are NEVER repentant.
Myrt Butler, the association's chief administrative officer, wrote in an email that because of provincial privacy laws, the association couldn't comment on tenants. (ed: It’s not our fault, we are only obeying orders! now where have I heard that before?)
Butler said the association's board of directors voted five years ago to implement a no-smoking policy in all 519 of its Calgary units.
In 2009, residents were given a one-year notice there would be a ban on smoking in suites, effective July 31, 2010, said Butler.
She said short-term leases were signed with smoking tenants so they could either adjust or find alternative housing.
Tenants are allowed to smoke in designated exterior areas, Butler said.
A couple of points here I would like clarifying, or am I missing something?
Butler said the association's board of directors voted five years ago to implement a no-smoking policy in all 519 of its Calgary units.
In 2009, residents were given a one-year notice there would be a ban on smoking in suites, effective July 31, 2010
The old lady in question has been living there since the year 2000, ten years ago, so why does this apply to her?

Tenants are allowed to smoke in designated exterior areas, Butler said.
Remind me again the temperatures in Canada in the depths of winter? Is it also against Canadian law to smoke in what is effectively your own home?

For non smoking pigs only! 
Daniels said her mother has been smoking since she was 15 and has tried to quit, but at age 88, it's hard. She's been smoking in her suite since she moved there in 2000.
"I understand no one likes smoking, but are these people lepers?" said Daniels. "It's not fair. These people have contributed all their lives and now they're treated like this."
You said Liz that “no one likes smoking” but I beg to differ, one quarter of the UK population smoke, most of them like smoking and I will assume that Canada has a similar ratio of smokers to non smokers. But the point is that the Board of Directors running your mothers life home are ANTI SMOKERS and will use draconian Nazi like tactics to make sure she conforms or she WILL suffer the consequences. Anti smokers are in a tiny minority but unfortunately they have the ear of the powerful and have hearts of steel, their cruelty knows no bounds.
Neighbours Joan Poulin and Carol James have appealed to the association to make an exception to the no-smoking policy, because Schergevitch moved into the residence before the ban was imposed.
James, who has lived at the centre for a year, said Schergevitch will have trouble finding a home.
"There's no place for people to go," said James, 66. "These are independent apartments, subsidized for low-income seniors and they have to find something like it, but there's very little out there."
Poulin, 73, has lived at the centre for 10 years. She said Schergevitch is a much-loved friend, and if she leaves, it'll be like losing a family member.
Joan and Carol, you are trying to appeal to hard hearted individuals that are ruled by hatred and have a twisted love of cruelty. They will not listen, they need to be exterminated (metaphorically) until their existence is no more. We have tried appealing to their humanity but they have none. Anti smokers are steeped in the lies and misdirections told by 'esteemed' anti smoking 'scientists', if they didn’t make up the lies themselves, and will not bend one iota and we that fight these lowlifes must also not bend one iota. When these lowlifes see any weakness in us they go for the kill, and take no prisoners.

Don’t forget that the all pervasive, but minute, anti smoker started off by pleading sheepishly for  non smoking sections in public places just a few short year ago and now they smell blood. Now where are we? Oh yes…

By law there is no smoking in pubs and clubs or bingo halls. there is no smoking in some parks and children's playgrounds. aeroplanes, trains and now they want a ban on smoking in automobiles. Hey, I’m sure you can add some more areas were you are persecuted for your choice of relaxation. And don't forget they are calling for a smoking ban in your own home...They won't let up, and nor should we.

Don’t ever think the anti smoker is finished until they have reached their goal. They are never finished until they get to the final solution. And that day is not to far off…unless we fight back, it will be bloody but we MUST fight back. The outlook doesn’t bear thinking about if we don’t.

You can find out more about a campaign for Philipina at Freedom2Choose’s (Scotland), or The Smoking Doctor’s blogs.


Some commentators may ask “why is he blogging after he said he wouldn’t?” Well I did say in that post that I should “never say never again” and, apart from copying and pasting others words, I have never had the time to research or sit at my comp for any length of time because of my circumstances which keeps me away from my beloved internet and computer. But this story hit me with a “G” ten force.

You see I live in a high rise block where, many years ago, I/we were asked if it was ok to go ‘warden controlled.’ I/we agreed. Now there seems to be a certain degree of control seeping in. Every six months or so the warden comes to every flat (there is ninety of them) and has a ‘form’ to fill in from his paymasters, the council. Oh it is dressed up with concern. It asks if we have any special needs and it will cater for them, which, I must say it does, but alarm bells started ringing when one of the questions was “do you or your partner smoke?” You see it’s health and safety and fires and all??? Yeah right. There’s never been a fire in these flats since they were built in 1968!

So I can see what is happening to Philipina Schergevitch will eventually happen to us here at BigYin towers.

Update: This is the lady concerned with the post above.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Play it again Sam

By Guest writer, John Watson.

This short clip from the film Casablanca has attained over the years an iconic status, it stands in tribute to a very small minority of exceptionally brave  French men and women  many of whom perished or suffered severe treatment at the hands of what is considered to be one of the most vicious occupations by a foreign power in history.

Today a similar war is taking place, there are no armies, no occupational forces, there are not yet any mysterious camps, people have not yet disappeared from our streets, yet the perpetrators of this war are every bit as evil, every bit as capable of the style of oppression that the men in black, or those who wore the long black leather  coats were perpetrating when Casablanca was made.

As it was then, it is now that a small resolute band of people are fighting for the cause of freedom, they are not fighting against an army, but the same ideology that the Marquis, those mostly amateur freedom loving individuals who so selflessly put their country and their countrymen above all else fought, this ideology that permit’s a minority to be victimised, that is being wielded by some politicians, by some charities and even some from that bastion of caring for ones fellow man, the medical profession just as it was in the days that Casablanca portrayed.

The homage that Hollywood paid to  the French Resistance in those far off dark days finds renewed purpose, it pays as much homage to those who distribute leaflets, go online to protest at the loss of our heritage, for every pub that dies a little of our heritage dies with it, with some of those cast onto benefits goes partners and children which defeats the mantra of its “for the children”  every time the ersatz science is trotted out in defence of these ideological monsters it helps destroy the credibility of genuine scientists, it destroys faith in our doctors some  of whom have so little compassion for their patients that they even imply that a small minority of parents actively harm their offspring  and that is after a coroner states that there is no explainable cause of death  their cause is so weak that they have to resort to kicking grieving parents who have just lost their child!

I hope that you will watch this clip, that those who smoke those who enjoy food, or alcohol take heart for the spirit portrayed by the Marquis here lives on in those fighting for freedom no matter what the cause, for those in the anti-smoking lobby, to those who believe they can emulate the apparent victory of the Health Nazis I say take note, the spirit of the Marquis was never broken, no amount of brutality physical or mental defeated them, neither will it defeat true believers in freedom, history bears this this out, today you have your ban, today your quasi National Socialism rules, but what of tomorrow, the next day or the days, months or years to follow?

Friday, 22 October 2010

What comes around goes around-The Orwell Prize.

George Orwell

It is that time of year, blog reading folks, where you get to nominate your favourite blog for the prestigious Orwell Prize and I, and no doubt you, will have difficulty in nominating the plethora of excellent writings out there in the blogosphere.

Top of my list this year is the excellent, and ever topical, blog at Freedom2Choose (Scotland.)

But if the smoking debate leaves you cold then there are brilliant blogs out there. In no particular order here are my top ten "must reads" every day.

All Seeing Eye
Mark Wadsworth
Big Brother Watch
Mr Eugenides
Pavlov's Cat
The Angry Exile
Frank Davis

Ok, Frank Davis admits to "bashing on about the smoking ban" but there is more to him than that, he is a must read. Of course I have missed out a few gems above but that's for you to discover, I have the best links on my sidbar.

So get nominating, now!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Defender of that faith called freedom!

I have some time on my hands tonight to blog this, and I make no excuses for robbing the text below from a true parliamentarian, David Nuttall:

Strike a Light and Reverse a Ratchet. It may be your round, but thanks to Labour, it’s no longer your choice.
As I entered Parliament for the first time earlier this year, I was not able to vote for or against the smoking ban which came about in the last Parliament. I have always felt that it was completely wrong for the ban to extend to private clubs and public houses and have been increasingly concerned about the effect it has had on them. I have also, perhaps even more importantly, been worried about the further erosion of our freedoms that the ban has caused and I was delighted, therefore, to be able to seek leave to introduce my Bill – the Public Houses and Private Members’ Clubs (Smoking) Bill – to the Commons.

The Labour Party’s 2005 manifesto said that
all restaurants will be smoke-free, all pubs and bars preparing and serving food will be smoke-free; and other pubs and bars will be free to choose whether to allow smoking or be smoke-free. In membership clubs the members will be free to choose whether to allow smoking or to be smoke-free.
Alas, the blanket ban that was actually voted through remains. If only they had stuck to their manifesto commitment on the latter points then there might never have been the need for a bill like mine, as this is precisely the element that it seeks to reverse.
I am a non-smoker and would cheerfully encourage others to give up smoking or not to start at all. But as a Conservative, I believe in devolving power to the lowest possible level and the matter of smoking in pubs and clubs is one of those very issues which should surely be decided by publicans and, ultimately, their customers or club members.
The strongest argument for the smoking ban is that smoking causes diseases and even death. I don’t deny this but then car drivers injure and kill people too and we haven’t, yet, got to the point where ‘liberal minded’ people want to ban cars. I believe the principle of freedom ought to be consistently applied by politicians who claim they believe in it, and its outcomes, and that was why I decided to highlight this matter in Parliament yesterday.
I know that some pubs and clubs would remain non-smoking places if the ban was lifted – that’s the whole point. It should be up to them to decide. The value of this freedom of choice should never be underestimated as those who habitually want to ban things and roll on with the nanny state will simply move on to their next target. There’s clearly a ‘ratchet effect’ at work here, with personal freedom the target, just as there was one with earlier forms of socialism, and too many Conservatives having been willing to tamely accept those left wing gains. Under Mrs Thatcher we reversed the industrial and economic ratchet effect, but it’s now long past time to challenge this one. It’s quite wrong to ban something which is a perfectly legal pursuit just because you don’t like that something and Tories need to fight those who do go down this route with vigour.
In addition to the issue of freedom there is the economic argument. The ban has had the effect of hastening the closure of many pubs. And it’s not just smokers who have suffered as a result, non-smokers have too. Since the ban was introduced, thousands of public houses have closed down. As ever with statistics, it’s possible to argue with the ones that best suit the desired conclusion but few could credibly contest the fact that since the introduction of the smoking ban, many public houses have closed down. I do not claim that the smoking ban is the only cause of all those closures as other factors, such as the availability of lower-price drinks from supermarkets, the cost of satellite television and the general economic climate no doubt have all played a part. For many, however, the smoking ban has been the final straw.
One does not have to travel very far in my constituency to find a public house that has called time for the very last time. There are closed public houses in Bury and in Ramsbottom that are now for sale and “To let” signs outside pubs are becoming increasingly commonplace. This picture appears to be replicated in constituencies throughout the country. I believe that when a rural pub or a local community pub closes down, everyone loses out, not just those who wish to smoke.
86 MPs voted in the House of Commons yesterday for the motion to introduce my bill which would have restored some of the freedom lost under the last Labour Government. Unfortunately, 141 voted to continue this anti-choice measure. I would like to thank all those who supported me in this battle and to assure them and others that the fight will go on. My bill would have been a great way to start to put into practice the principle of localism that David Cameron set out in his speech to the Conservative Party conference last week. It would have transferred power from the state to the citizen, from politicians to people. It would have put the “local” back into localism and I sincerely hope that one day Tory words will lead to Tory actions.
You have restored my faith in democracy David and I hope there are more like you in that den of iniquity called parliament.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

A very sad day for Drighlington, Leeds.

A sad farewell to friends.
n23158401230_5193The Painters Arms, Drighlington, Leeds.

I joined Freedom2Choose in March 2007 because I was disgusted by my then Labour party for it’s wanton vilification of smokers and the hospitality industry we frequented before the odious smoking ban experiment, an experiment in social control, came into being on the 1st of July 2007. By the end of 2008 we had decided to become a membership organisation and had formed various sub groups to reflect the various regions where we could meet up, chat and have a drink or three.

In the North East of England I got the first meeting off the ground at the Tardis pub in Redcar Cleveland. Around ten of us turned up. The Tardis is no more, it fell on the sword of the smoking ban two years ago.

We only had one meeting at the Tardis before Ray and Jill McHale offered us the use of their pub, The Painters Arms, in Drighlington near Leeds.

It took me over an hour and a half to get there by train and bus, where you are, as you know, not allowed by law to smoke on public transport, but it was well worth the journey. We would all bring various foodstuffs for a buffet and Jill would make a cuppa for the drivers amongst us. There was camaraderie and friendship amongst the sterner debate and challenges to the smoking ban. There was laughter too. Jill and Ray were atypical hosts compared to the gastro pub types. They were warm and sincere to their customers. They were the crème de la crème of landlords, a rarity these days.

Now it’s all gone, they have hung up their aprons and walked in the face of financial ruin.

Farewell my friends, I hope your future gets better now that you are no longer at the mercy of heartless governments.

You can pop along to Facebook and say goodbye to Jill and Ray.

Here’s a pic from a video I took. From left to right: Ray McHale, Godfrey Bloom, Nick Hogan and Jill McHale.
Jill, Ray and Godfrey Bloom

Friday, 15 October 2010

141 v 86

In the aftermath of David Nuttall's valiant effort I think a few questions need to be asked of Mr Barron's objections to reviewing/reforming the smoking ban law; ie, why are MPs allowed to blatantly lie in the House to further their cause?

 David Nuttall with David Cameron PM

Ten Minute rule Motion

Mr Kevin Barron (Rother Valley) (Lab): I oppose the Bill. The same argument was put to the House not so many years ago in a debate that resulted in the current legislation. The hon. Member for Bury North (Mr Nuttall) was right to say that the original legislation, proposed by the then Labour Government, did not provide for a comprehensive ban in areas of all public houses or private members’ clubs. In 2005 the Select Committee on Health, which I chaired, conducted a detailed inquiry into the issues before the Bill that became the Health Act 2006 had completed its passage. When it had done so, the amendments that had been tabled were put to the vote. Labour Members were eventually given a free vote, as, I understand, were Opposition Members.

Indeed it was a “free vote” but most MPs had already had their heads filled with misinformation; ie, ASH propaganda & junk statistics.

Let me give the House a flavour of the results of that vote. The hon. Gentleman described this as a contentious issue. The result of the vote on clause stand part, as amended—there had been an attempt to remove the amendment—was 452 Ayes and 127 Noes. At no time did any Member trying to defend the hon. Gentleman’s position manage to persuade more than 200 Members into the Lobby. It followed a great tradition that in the other place, shortly after the votes in February 2006, Lord Tebbit rose to defend the Labour party manifesto of 2005. At the time some of us, although we had stood on that manifesto, thought it was nonsense from the point of view of public health.

In the same year that the House made that decision, Spain implemented a smoking ban exempting small bars and restaurants. The law has not been seen as a success, and as a result of public dissatisfaction with the exemptions the Spanish Government have proposed to extend the ban to all pubs and restaurants, although they are considering an exemption for private smokers’ clubs. An evaluation of the Spanish law found that levels of second-hand smoke were reduced only in bars where smoking was prohibited by law, and that
“Most hospitality workers continue to be exposed to very high levels of SHS”—
that is, second-hand smoke.

That was the issue then, and it is still the issue today: people who work in the leisure sector are exposed to people’s life-threatening habits. It was the issue in 2006, when the original legislation went through the House, and it remains the issue today. Unless bars contain NHS operating theatres with doors that are rarely opened, it will never be possible to avoid the effect of Bills such as this on workers. Evaluations of other partial bans have found limited evidence of health gain, and they are believed to aggravate health inequalities.

Again, basic lies are being uttered in the House of Commons! The smoke ban is working very well in Spain for there is choice, hence those that choose to smoke attend smoker friendly bars & clubs. Far from what has been reported, the people of Spain see the implementation of their particular brand of smoke ban as very successful for workers who did not wish to work in a smoky atmosphere simply did not apply for such positions. “An evaluation of Spanish Law......utter bilge! Common sense alone tells you that smoke free bars obviously had much reduced levels of second hand smoke-because, amazingly, it was a smoke free bar! There was no ‘infamous’ study to support this conclusion.

“Most hospitality workers continue to be exposed to very high levels of SHS”

Hospitality workers in Spain now only work in smoky atmospheres if they want to or enjoy doing so. There are plenty of non smoking bars for non smokers to work in-it’s called freedom of choice!

....: people who work in the leisure sector are exposed to people’s life-threatening habits.

When 83% of the world’s leading studies found no correlation between SHS/Passive Smoking & mortality (including the WHO and our own Health & Safety brigade, what exactly are you referring to by ‘people’s life threatening habits’-walking our towns & cities with the voluminous and highly toxic exhaust fumes?

I remind Government Members that they have just fought and won a general election criticising the then Labour Government for not ending health inequalities in this country. I agree: they did not do away with health inequalities, and some 50% of health inequalities are created by tobacco use. 

Explain in detail the term ‘health inequalities’. Is a rich man certain to be healthier than a poor man. Is a northerner likely to be more healthy than a southerner? Is a non smoker guaranteed to be more healthy than a smoker. There is absolutely no evidence that ‘50% of health inequalities are caused by tobacco use’, this is merely an estimation in order to raise eyebrows and ‘strengthen’ anti tobacco’s ‘case’. I would be highly interested to espy your methods of measurement concerning health inequalities!

If Members on the Government Benches are going to continue saying what they said when in opposition, this Bill is the last measure I would expect their Front-Bench team to support, because health inequalities are writ large in tobacco use in this country.

An Australian study of 2004 found that no-smoking areas in licensed premises contained as many tobacco toxins as smoking areas. Even in clubs with completely separate no-smoking rooms there was no material reduction in the levels of harmful toxins in the air. Ventilation systems in smoking areas in rooms that are not fully segregated will not protect people in non-smoking areas. The Select Committee on Health—an all-party Committee, I might add—came to that conclusion.

Ah, at last we get to the SCOTH Committee! All party maybe, but ‘cherry picked’ so as to ensure an overwhelming majority decision that was required before the committee was set up. Two members of the sixteen selected may as well not have bothered turning up as the rest were, in some way, connected to ASH, CRUK, Labour or just plain simple anti tobacco zealots. There was never ever any doubt as to the outcome of that enquiry, especially when the top 26 studies in the world were ignored and the most bizarre results imaginable, produced by a little known scientist (?) Jamrozic were employed. Jamrozic’s statistical work of fiction has been rubbished by many senior, respected statisticians over the years.

 It is also the finding of research by D. Kotzias and others at the European Commission Joint Research Centre. We cannot isolate smoking in smoking rooms and think it has no effect elsewhere. That will not work, and it is the reason why the original Health Bill put before the House in 2005 was changed in the House in 2006.
Let us look at the health gains, because that is what this is about. It is not about leisure; it is about the health of the public. Hospitality industry workers have benefited most from the UK legislation. Evaluation (guesswork yet again!) of the Spanish partial ban found that the law had failed to protect them significantly. The most notable health gain for members of the public is the fall in the number of admissions for acute myocardial infarction. Researchers at the university of Bath have calculated that there has been a 5% drop in the number of heart attacks in England, attributable to smoke-free legislation. [Misinformation] This ‘statistical result’ was immediately ‘taken apart by Dr Michael Siegel-himself an anti tobacco zealot, but a gentleman who signed the Brussels Declaration of Scientific Integrity!

The figure was higher for Scotland and it was measured within 12 months of the ban coming into force—as Members will know, the ban was introduced earlier in Scotland than in the rest of the UK.

[Misinformation] And as many MPs ought to be aware of is the fact that the Pell study (Dr Jill Pell) was completely rubbished within 3 days of being released to the world’s media. So embarrassing was the flawed statistical method that the BBC had to issue an apology for using such.

Similar reductions have been observed in other jurisdictions with a comprehensive ban, including New York, Ireland and Italy. Indeed, the Health Committee went to Ireland when taking evidence for our report.

[Misinformation]....None of the three showed any significant reductions in hospital admissions-except when you juggled the figures!

It has also been suggested that having more people smoking out on the street might increase young people’s perception that smoking is a normal adult activity and so increase the number of under-age smokers. In fact, international research shows that smoking bans are associated with reducing smoking among teenage boys in particular, possibly because it is seen as less normal.

[Misinformation]..In actual fact youth smoking is on the increase after decades of slowly diminishing. Tobacco sales are up, smoker prevalence is up and tobacco shares are now considered the safest option for out Council pension funds. Youth smoking in Ireland rose to its highest level ever last year (2009). A recent survey showed that only7% of youth population believed SHS to be any form of threat.

This topic has been debated in the House throughout the decades during which I have been a Member, and I have frequently argued for legislation to de-normalise smoking.

Yes it has Mr Barron and the problem is that ASH have always ruled supreme and you have had very little informed opposition. Now, you cannot stand in the House and tell blatant lies to further your cause. And why should smoking/smokers be denormalised, is denormalisation not a form of dictatorship/tyranny? Is tobacco an illegal plant/substance or is it simply that you find it easier to have a go at smokers than you do heroin addicts?

Some 50% of people who smoke will die a premature death, (and some 50% of non smokers will die prematurely) as well as having suffered from various diseases and all the other burdens they will carry throughout their life (and what burdens may they be Mr Barron?) —and that taxpayers will carry for the rest of their lives in having to treat these people in the NHS. It is sometimes argued that we must recognise that smokers put money into the Treasury as opposed to looking at the ill health that is suffered as a result of tobacco use. That is a ridiculous argument.

Pray tell me what is ridiculous about smokers placing £11bn per annum in Treasury coffers yet only costing the NHS (Treasury funded) £2.7bn per annum? Surely a surplus of £8.3bn is a good business in anyone’s book! You mention ‘the ill health that is suffered as a result of tobacco use’ but are you 100% certain that all diseases contracted by smokers (especially respiratory) are caused solely by smoking? Dr Kitty Little’s extensive research showed that toxicity from our overburdened roads was a major cause of such in the very youngest and frailest of our society. Further to your comment, the overweight members of our society cost the NHS approximately £4.6bn per annum in treatments-do I hear you calling for taxation on beefburgers or banning fatty junk foods, I think not!

It was claimed at the time of the Health Bill that banning smoking in pubs would displace smoking into the home, thereby increasing children’s exposure. The reverse has been true. The proportion of homes in England where smoking is prohibited throughout has increased to 79% and children’s exposure has fallen because of that.

[Misinformation] Where is the nationwide study to back up that assertion Mr Barron? Or are you referring to the totally biased questions on the YouGov internet survey (Peter Kellner-and of course we all know with whom he is partnered!)

I have not got the figures to hand, but recently—within the past 12 months—research has found a link between cot death and smoking. [Misinformation]...SIDS is known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome for the simple reason that there is no known cause for this unfortunate circumstance. The RCP (Royal College of Physicians) came up with this to add weight to the no smoking in cars policy they want implemented). If a baby was found to have died from SHS/Passive smoke inhalation then it would have a determining cause of death on the death certificate-therefore it would not be SIDS!

That affects young children who do not have anything directly to do with cigarettes, but who are exposed to them through passive smoking. It is irresponsible for any Member to stand up in this House and say we should reverse this measure which has led to such great health gains in this country. [Mental pressure on MPs by using the children fallaciously]

Support for smoke-free legislation in England has risen to more then 80% of adults, many of them smokers themselves who agree that this legislation is right. Support has risen fastest among smokers, half of whom support the legislation as it stands. Most smokers believe the law has been good for their health, good for the health of the public and good for the health of most workers.

[Misinformation] 25% of the population still enjoy smoking Mr Barron would have us believe that every single non smoker AND 5% of smokers think the ban is a wonderful thing. This 80% figure came about as a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction by ASH to a survey which asked this question: When socialising, do you object to being in the company of smokers? The response was an emphatic 78.8% NO.

It is stated that over the next 10 years the smoking ban will save 40,000 lives.

now just how can that be measured? How does anyone know when they should have died but are still here? This is merely an estimation produced for propaganda purposes that has no proper scientific basis whatsoever. You also say ‘Most smokers......’, have you actually surveyed ‘most smokers’...say eight or nine million people out the fifteen million smokers resident in England? The answer is no, nobody has because nobody ever bothers to ask the smokers themselves-the questions & answers are predetermined by ASH et al and then passed through the media and credited as ‘kosha’.

There is an issue with the effect on business(How deeply?). I have looked at all the evidence and I must say that trying to introduce smoke-free rooms ventilated to the level that would be necessary would have a negative effect on business; there is no way that will benefit businesses.

[Disgraceful Misinformation]...Air Quality management Systems (AQMS) have the ability to filtrate the air to such an extent that the air returned back into a room is 4 x’s cleaner than the air we breathe every day! Hospital theatres already use them to rid the air of such as MRSA. In fact, any venue using such a system would have cleaner air in the smoking section than the non smoking section (proven-Dr Andrew Geens, Glamorgan University and a leading expert on ventilation).

‘.....there is no way it will benefit’ Misinformation yet again.....when Kerry ....... set up her research room in a Barnsley pub the word soon got round that you could smoke & drink in a pub again. By the 5th night she had 48 paying customers as opposed to the one or two she usually served-sheer proof that smokers are needed in pubs. Further proof is the 6,000+ closures since July 1st, 2007. Pubs have suffered war, plague, pestilence, recessions and even drug abusers but have never been forced into closures at anywhere near the rate the smoking ban has caused

Let me finish by discussing the issue of trusting the people. This morning, I found the following words on the hon. Member for Bury North’s website—he has a blog and people post things on it. He said that we should trust the people, and these are the comments of someone called Jim:

“Mr Nuttall, I am a tory voter and a pub landlord, you are so wrong on this and I suggest you use your common sense to drop this headline catching cause.

The smoking ban was one of the few things labour got right in their last reign.”
I dispute that, to some extent. He continued:

“To even suggest undoing it in this manner brings yourself and the party into disrepute. As a landlord my biggest fear about the smoking ban was the proposal you are advocating. In my humble opinion it will create an unfair playing field, that panders to the weak and stupid.

Many people because of the ban have given up smoking, myself included, I do not want to go back to the days of smoky pubs, the blanket ban has worked. My business is proof, I am still trading and making a living”.

I shall not read out the rest, but there are many other comments on the hon. Gentleman’s blog, including some from nurses in his constituency. One of them says that they wished he had put this proposal in his manifesto when he stood for election in May, because they may have then had a different view about the Conservative candidate. I would like to oppose this.

So, Mr Barron has been clever enough to pick the only two anti smoking comments from the blog to present to the house, but does this mysterious “Jim” have a full name or address that can be verified or is it just a ‘plant’ for the glorification of Mr Barron’s argument against reform? Further, did Mr Barron mention any of the hundred or so comments in favour of reform! I don’t think so. It would seem that Mr Barron has total empathy for ‘gay rights’ yet none for ‘smokers rights’-how strange. Perhaps one, or both, contributed to his majority being slashed by 9,000 votes in May.Bill. [Interruption.]

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Smokers are destroying the planet ... apparently

I suppose it was only a matter of time before smokers were accused of threatening mankind itself.

Cigarettes: A Secondary Cause Of Global Warming

Cigarettes produce two gases, methane and carbon dioxide, which are responsible for global warming through green house effect.

Smoking produces two green house gasses that are altering our atmosphere and are directly related to climate change; it is just one more challenge for the world to over come.
We can now confidently say that we have heard it all.


Monday, 11 October 2010

The gain in Spain

Entertainment news.

The director of biopic Mr Nice has revealed several scenes had to be faked due to the UK's strict smoking laws.

Mr Nice tells the story of the rise of drug smuggler Howard Marks (played by Rhys Ifans) and his eventual imprisonment in the US in 1988.

"In Wales, where we shot half the film, it is illegal to smoke a cigarette on a movie set," said director Bernard Rose.

"So in Wales we had very elaborate special effects devices to simulate smoking, I kid you not!"
Hey! We believe you, Bernard. Crackers, isn't it?

He added: "All the smoking close-ups we shot in Spain, where it's perfectly legal."
And I'm sure Spanish businesses were happy for the boosted income in these hard times.

Money that Welsh people are crying out for.

Well done, Welsh Assembly.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Freedom2Choose: Smoking Ban Survey of Licensees (2010)

There is no doubt that the smoking ban experiment (an experiment in social control) was pushed onto the hospitality industry, as well as the much maligned smoker who frequented their establishments, with some collusion by the big Pubco bosses.

There is also no doubt that they are suffering financially for that collusion but where there is vast sums of money involved any big business can ride out the lean times when they can live off the fat from good years gone by, but during a famine the fat is eaten into, and as long as the famine does not go on to long they can survive on a meagre diet.

But what about their tenants? How do they survive as the Pubco robs them of a living with high rents and the beer tie, and the government robs them of smokers money? And the free house publican? How does he/she survive without customers who now feel shunned so drink at home or a smoky drinky place where both drinking and smoking can be done in the warmth away from the elements?

What I have mentioned above is the reasons why pubs are closing at an unprecedented rate, not cheap supermarket booze, not the credit crunch but the smoking ban experiment.

So what is the real state of our pubs and clubs? What do the people at the sharp end who face, or have faced bankruptcy have to say? Well freedom2Choose, with its network of members throughout the UK, asked the men and women at the coalface, and they were more truthful than any trumped up ‘third hand smoke’ survey or cherry picked nonsense from ASH.

Below is the main text of the survey but some charts are missing but that does not detract from the survey, you can read the full text in the YuDu document to be found at the bottom of this post. This post will coincide with the press release of The Licensees View.

Press: For more information on the survey you can contact John H Baker, office, Freedom2Choose on 08456 439 469 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              08456 439 469      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or email

The Licensees View

A survey of 570 public houses across England
Completed in July 2010

The Nation's Leading Pro-Choice Organisation

Freedom2Choose seeks to protect the informed choices of consenting adults with sensible and achievable goals on the issues of smoking. We actively campaign to prevent victimisation of smokers, social division, social isolation and to alleviate the negative social and economic impacts of the smoking ban. We are funded entirely by donations from the general public and have no connections whatsoever with the tobacco or pharmaceutical industries.

Our membership comprises of smokers and non smokers.

Supported by:

Working Men’s Clubs and Institutes Union (WMCIU)
The Freedom Association
Justice for Licensees
C.Gars Ltd. London
“theedgwareroadassociation” Shisha bar community

This survey was carried by freedom2choose executive members,
members and trusted supporters.

Over a period of two months 570 venues were surveyed in five different regions, comprising:-

North East          118
North West         120
Midlands            112
London              106
S Coast              114
Total                  570

Respondents came from all types of Public Houses, ie, Managed, Tenanted, Freehold. Approximately 70% were pub visitation surveys while the remaining 30% (distanced) were via telephone during the months of May, June and early July 2010.

All respondents were guaranteed total anonymity for:-

a)...concerns of repercussions from Brewery/Pubco.
b)...totally honest answers.

With less than 60,000 pubs remaining in this country the survey represents approximately 1% of those remaining pubs. It is well documented that in excess of 6,500 pubs/clubs have closed down since July 1st, 2007.

This survey mirrors the situation in Scotland where 11.5% of pubs have closed down since implementing their ban:-


After 3 years of the total smoking ban, freedom2choose, the nationwide organisation concerned with giving people choice undertook a survey of remaining public houses. A total of 570 licensees were interviewed with the results summarised on the following pages. Under guarantee of anonymity all respondents willingly gave their views.

General view of licensees to the ban

More than 80% of pub operators want improvements to be made to the law to accommodate smokers.
They are strongly opposed to the outright ban as laid down by law and implemented 1st July, 2007. The initial expectancy of “millions of new drinkers” filling the pubs has long since died and has been replaced with the knowledge that 5%-10% of non smokers followed in their smoker-friends footsteps.

Of the 570, only 45 licensees - 8% - want a full ban with 72% proposing that the outlets should be split into
smoking and non-smoking areas or rooms.

Interestingly, 172 licensee’s (30%), or their partners, were smokers which means that 253 NON smoking licensees wanted change to the ban!

Has the industry retained its traditional Structures?

There has been a significant change in the way pubs are run since the smoke ban was implemented in 2007. Many have felt forced into the food side to survive. This does not guarantee good food!

In excess of 95% of English pubs surveyed had more than one room, making separation of smokers and non-smokers relatively simple and effective.

Although food has become more important in recent years 35% of pubs serve no food at all and a further 29% rely on it for less than a quarter of their turnover. The general consensus was that providing there was a smoke free area/room in which to serve/eat food smokers could still occupy other parts of a pub.

The importance of smokers to the industry

In this relatively traditional community market customers who choose to smoke are a very important part of the business. 68% of licensees believed that over half of their ‘regular’ customers (who visited at least twice a week) were smokers: – 

37% of them believed that three quarters or more of their regulars smoked Now that they, and a proportion of their non smoking friends have ’walked,’ pubs are generally bereft of clientele. Pre July, 2007, there were considerably more smokers using pubs than non smokers. Estimates ranged from between 65%-75%.


This survey has highlighted the fact that many pubs relied heavily on smokers for their trade. As much as 90% of core customers were smokers in many northern/midland pubs, which is reflected in the closures figures.

Although smoking rates had steadily decreased by the decade since the 1950’s anti smoking bodies saw fit to force more legislation through, using ‘protection of workers’ as the driving force. The unintended consequence of ‘protecting the workers’ is that 100,000 have lost their jobs in the hospitality sector. Of course, it is well known that losing one’s job is a very stressful occurrence. According to the British Heart Foundation (TV ads) stress is the biggest single cause of heart attacks.

It should be noted that the anti smoking bodies carefully hid the true facts of the unemployment & misery caused by smoking bans.

There were many that suggested bar staff, if concerned by passive smoking, should have an option of either serving smokers or not.

The impact of the smoking ban on jobs

Sadly pre ban judgements  have proven to be extremely lightweight as the industry has seen almost 100,000 lose their previously safe employment. This figure also includes businesses allied to the pub trade; i.e., BellFruit-Gum (Nottingham) were forced to lay off 50% of their workforce just before Christmas 2009. (Gaming machines usage/repairs fell  dramatically.) One licensee, having run two pubs simultaneously, was forced to shut the ‘landlocked’ premises, losing 5 staff and reduce his other option by 3 staff.

None of those interviewed considered increasing staff as a possibility in the foreseeable future, with many being reduced to husband/wife only. It has also been revealed that many licensees now fail to earn anywhere near the minimum hourly wage and many pubs, especially in the north are only opening part time to save costs.
Quote:- I was talking to a former pub landlord from Wetherby a couple of nights ago and he thinks the smoking ban has destroyed pubs. One of Wetherby's main pubs near the river closed down earlier this year. In that region there used to be 40+ pubs and now they are down to 11. Thanks, Jenny.

Worse still, the smoking ban has brought Britain’s major Pubcos to their knees. Both companies built considerable empires, but both built on debt/loans. The smoke ban has seen the Pubcos closing outlets at an unprecedented rate,-many being sold to property development companies in order to reduce vast debts.

It is obvious that the smoke ban has wreaked havoc in the employment area as many northern & midland pubs have been forced to cut staff (i.e., wages) to a bare minimum. Indeed, many of the pubs are now run as husband & wife teams only. The S/Coast was the only area where any significant change had
occurred but this was found to be because large outdoor areas had been created for eating & drinking purposes-thus non smokers ate & drank alongside smokers anyway!

It was also noticed that the ‘gay bars’ on the South Coast seemed to hold their own with the smoke ban-but having said that, the gay community are a notoriously ‘closed-knit’ community.

Obviously staff numbers reduced again in the winter.

This survey of 570 public houses fully supports industry figures of 100,000 job losses since the ban, with 544 pubs reducing staff levels (approximately 94.5%).

The cost of the smoking ban

One has to ask the question, just how much money is any government prepared to lose in benefit payments;

Unemployment Benefit
Jobseekers Allowance
Income Support
Family Credit Tax
Housing Benefits
Re-Housing costs etc

before they admit that a law was poorly thought out and badly implemented?

At the same time one has to ask just how much lost revenue are they willing put up with as pub closures steadily rise? Yet simple changes to the existing law would obliterate most of the above! WMCIU have seen bar takings drastically reduced since July, 2007. It is reported that each Gala/Mecca Bingo hall that closes costs the government £785,000 per annum in revenue.
Last year alone saw £253m spent on smoke cessation programmes alone, yet the results were negligible with only a 4 week quit figure as any form of guidance.

The impact of a smoking ban on the local community

Pre ban there was considerable concern that a ban would lead to problems in the local community with smokers forced outside or into the street. This has proven to be a major problem as over 41% did not have an outside area that could be used as an area for smokers.
Quote:- If it’s sunny day lad, ah can fill yard 3 times over wit’ smokers, but can I do same with innards-no chance! (Northern licensee)
The result being that many formerly viable businesses have been forced to close. Many have had complaints recorded against them because of smokers outside. One licensee is being sued for loss of value to property (£50,000) because of this consequence.

Noise disturbance for neighbours has been another unintended consequence and councils have become more and more involved in such complaints. One licensee has a 9pm curfew imposed by his local council concerning outside drinking.

Another licensee, in Hastings, (The Fox Inn) held an external disco for her customers (90% smokers) only for 1 neighbour to complain. The ensuing court appearance cost her £3,000 in fines & costs. She sold the pub.

Many non smoking pub goers have complained about “having to walk through a wall of smoke” to actually enter a pub; a simple example of an unforeseen consequence of smoking bans.

Further complaints have rolled in about smokers using the beer gardens to smoke & drink, but where has this law put them?

On the other hand, smokers have complained bitterly about the so-called ‘smoking shelters’ allowed, as they have to be 50% open to the elements. This of course means that, being basically useless as shelters, the elderly and the infirm (smokers) cannot visit the pubs/clubs in colder times.

The smoking ban has led to a dramatic increase in drinking in the home.

Obviously it is impossible to arrive at a definite figure but looking at the decline in customer pub usage against the rapidly rising beer sales at supermarkets it would seem that pre ban concerns were right.

One northern police force has indicated that this has resulted in a rapid increase in domestic violence cases. Yet another ‘unintended consequence’ of an overly zealous ban.

Whole communities are now denied a focal point for meeting and socialising as village after village pub closes down through lack of custom. Many council estate pubs have closed for similar reasons. Thousands of elderly and infirm members of our society have been isolated throughout the winter months due to the ban. In short, the ban has divided communities nationwide.

Responsible alternatives to a total destructive ban:

As already shown, 80% of licensees surveyed want a change in the law (Similar calls for reform in Scotland.)
However, implementation has been very difficult for many pubs. With many pubs venturing into the ‘eatery’ market we will soon have an overpopulation of cheap food houses which, inevitably, will bring more closures.
a) A reasonable option put forward is to allow smoking (multi-room premises) in at least one room. If this sensible option were adopted all pubs would have at least one, and most several, non-smoking rooms. Note here that the WMCIU provided a 98% vote in favour of this option. (Survey 2009)
b) A second inexpensive option would be to allow large single roomed pubs to divide that room by the simple means of a newly created ‘stud’ type wall, plastered and decorated with a dividing door. 92% were favour of either option.
c) For the very smallest pubs (1 single room) where this would be impractical, allow the licensee the freedom of choice to decide for him/herself. The owner knows his/her business best. Note:- The European measure has worked extremely well; i.e., premises of a less than ‘x’ sq metres floor-space are exempt. Customers, especially non smokers, have a choice of whether to enter or not.
d) The most popular option is to improve the level of ventilation in the premises at an average cost of up to £3000. Modern Air Quality management Systems (AQMS) are of such high quality that they are used in hospital theatres to rid the air of such as MRSA etc. AQMS filtrate the air to such a degree that the air returned is 4 x’s cleaner than the air we breathe in on a daily basis. (Prof: Andrew Geens of-Glamorgan University)

The 2010 survey of English pubs has proven that the smoking ban implemented 1st July, 2007 has been a social & economic disaster.

As a tool used to cull the hospitality sector the smoking ban has been a resounding success!

At the time of this report 6,500 venues have closed down and this figure will  undoubtedly continue to increase the longer the law stays in its present format. (closures averaging 32-45 per week)
There are many options open to Government for reforming the legislation which can accommodate both smokers & non smokers, owners & staff. Many licensees may wish to remain smoke free due to increase in food sales and/or they have decided to go ‘food orientated’ and have invested accordingly.

However, thousands of pubs have neither the space nor facilities to do so, therefore must remain wet led. They must have choice.

It is obvious that the majority of licensees want to see a reform of the smoking ban as their business is unsustainable in its present format.

On the question of staffing arrangements the answer is simple. Any prospective staff have the choice of whether they apply for smoking environment or non smoking environment re employment.

It is now beyond any reasonable doubt that smokers in pubs and pub survival go hand in hand. The pre-ban lies (blatant) and empty promises were merely a fabrication to ease the passage of the bill through parliament as the closures below prove:-

Annual Pub Closure Figures for 2005 to 2010
2005: 400
2006: 400
2007: 1,409
2008: 1,973
2009: 1,352
2010: 1,466 (to date)

The proof of smoking ban damage to pubs/clubs was already there; ie; Scotland, S Ireland and America but ignored for non alarmist/propaganda purposes.
It should also be noted that Punch Taverns share-price stood at £13.68 immediately before the implementation of the ban. They can now be purchased at around 70p per share. Smoking bans are bad for investors as well as businesses.

What is clear is that F2C have uncovered a deep vein of dissatisfaction with the smoking ban as it now stands. It's seen as far too all-embracing, draconian and makes no allowances for variations or choice. Even where pubs have a separate room which could accommodate smokers, as many in the survey pointed out, they are simply not allowed to. The wishes of many pub goers are not taken into account by the law and the results have been bad news for many pubs. Choice- this is what F2C is all about.'

The Licensee’s View
(presented by

Review of ‘The Licensees View’ by Dr Ruth Cherrington. Produced by Freedom to Choose.

This report offers information about the negative effects of the smoking ban on public houses including loss of clientele, sociability and closures. The stated source of information upon which the report is written is given on the title pages as ‘as a survey of 570 public houses across England, completed in July 2010.’

The regions of the pubs involved are given clearly with a spread across the country. The report then details how pub operators are ‘strongly opposed to the outright ban as laid down by law and implemented 1st July 2007.’ Some details of the opposition is provided in the pages that follow as well as views from pub users such as the problem created by non-smokers having to walk through the smoky beer gardens and outside areas of pubs. This is certainly an unanticipated consequence of the ban which has turned inside into outside and perhaps shifted the smoke problem somewhere else.

Other useful information is provided about the closures of pubs since the ban and the bleak looking future that lies ahead, not only for pub operators but clientele. Many non-smokers, it is stated, have ‘walked’ with their smoking friends because they don’t want to socialise without their friends presumably and no longer find that pubs have a social atmosphere.

This is a useful and interesting document which clearly shows there is plenty of room for change within this law which would ensure a fairer 'playing field' for all and a virtual cessation of closures.

It is also abundantly clear that freedom2choose have gone to great lengths, in this survey, to amplify the above.

Dr Ruth Cherrington, Snr Lecturer, Media & Cultural Studies,
Cultural Consultant to The Nation's Leading Pro-Choice Organisation.

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