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Message started by Belinda on Oct 22nd, 2005 at 5:36pm

Title: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Oct 22nd, 2005 at 5:36pm
I am interested in the question whether a smoking ban can be said to contravene human rights legislation.

The case is as follows. There is much recent research about the dangers of passive smoking. I have done a few calculations that demonstrate that the risk from passive smoking is neglible as reflected in the mortality statistics for the UK. This risk seems to underpin the legislation in the perception of most people.

Assuming my figures to hold water (I will supply details if anyone is interested in this thread) my feeling is that the ban contravenes rights of association in European and other human rights law. Smoking is not illegal, and smokers who want to be in company in public places now risk being in contravention of the law. The fact is that millions of UK citizens are actually social smokers, and smoking is an addictive product.

I foresee enormous difficulties for smokers in maintaining social relations, both in general and especially in groups such as people with mental health problems, former prisoners, asylum seekers who have left home in fear of their lives. Free association is not free if people are in fear of the law when they pursue lawful activities.

I find it hard to see that there is an imminent threat to public safety or order by allowing smoking.

To summarise the figures I worked out, if you take the mortality figures and compare them with the number of 'exposed' non-smokers dying from four major smoking-related conditions you get about 1.5 percent in total, and there is only a link: no proven causation. In addition, two thirds of deaths across the whole UK occur over the age of 75, including smokers, with respiratory conditions killing three-quarters and strokes four-fifths. Only lung cancer kills more than two-thirds (actually about a half) of its victims under the age of 75.

I would be interested in any opinion on this question. Thank you


Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Princess Analia on Oct 31st, 2005 at 7:07pm
I haven't done any formal research on this subject.  However, before I studied law I was a nurse and I can tell you beyond any reasonable doubt that passive smoking affects people's health.  There is plenty of research that I don't have to hand at present to show that passive smoking is dangerous.  There is a strong correlation with cot death for instance.  I am extremely tired of people (usually smokers or people from the tobacco industry) trotting out this rather limp human rights argument.  It is actually common sense that passive smoking affects others.  It is an established medical fact that smoking makes smokers ill, therefore, how can breathing in smoke in the environment not affect a persons health????  What about people with respiratory conditions? asthma for instance.  What of the scenario where an asthma sufferer is in a restaurant and someone lights up?  Are you telling me that the smoke will not affect the asthma sufferer?  Should the asthma sufferer leave the restaurant so as not to infringe the "human rights" of a person to inhale noxious fumes  and exhale them without a care in the world into everyone elses environment?  What about people who work in the hospitality industries?  Or in small businesses where they are forced to inhale second hand smoke?  Should they quit their jobs to prevent their health being affected?  God forbid that the smokers should be affected!

"the fact is that millions of UK citizens are actually social smokers and smoking is an addictive product"

The fact is that millions of people who started smoking in the last 30 years were aware that it is an addictive product and that it is extremely harmful to their health.  They made that choice, I believe that it is an incredibly stupid one but I agree that it is their right to make it.  I do not agree that they should be allowed to foist that choice on other people and affect them.  That idea is abhorrent to me.

That is a more emotional argument.  If you want to consider substantive law, I take it that you are referring to article 11 of the ECHR - the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association.  Does not being able to smoke in a place which serves food stop people from peaceful assembly and getting together?  I think you may be reading this in a rather broad manner at any rate, I don't think it means the right to sit in the pub with other smokers, however even if it did, can your average smoker not go to the pub for a couple of hours without dropping dead from lack of a cigarette???  Secondly, the second part of article 11 allows these rights to be restricted inter alia for the protection of health or the protection of rights and freedoms of others.  So here we are back at the beginning again with smokers and the tobacco industry trying to prove that smoking isn't harmful.  The policy behind the legislation is not just to reduce the risks to non smokers, its to improve the health of smokers which also nullifies your argument.  You also talk of mortality statistics, what of morbidity?? Not every smoker DIES of a smoking related illness, just as every passive smoker doesn't.  But they can and do get ill.

I have personal experience of developing a smokers cough after 3 months of working in a smoky bar as a student.  I had to leave after my GP advised me that my health was suffering.

Smoke in your homes, that is your perogative, but let others have the right not to have their coronary arteries constricted by you.

 I also suggest you read the evidence presented to the Scottish Parliament when they were considering the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Bill.  The MSP's seemed convinced.  As do the consultants at the Beatson Oncology Centre where I worked as a nurse and the consultant anaesthetists in intensive care where I also worked.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Princess Analia on Oct 31st, 2005 at 7:24pm
Another thing,

contrary to what the general public realise, smoking doesn't just cause lung cancer, heart disease and stroke, it affects all the systems of the body.  Maybe you should visit a vascular ward and see the patients with 40 a day habits and no legs, or try plastic surgery and visit the guys who've had their tongues removed.

Smoking can cause terrible misery and any attempt by the government to legislate to try and reduce either the amount people smoke or the number of people who start in the first place is sound policy in the eyes of most health professionals.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Oct 31st, 2005 at 8:51pm
Hello Analia, and thanks for your comments.

This is a legal discussion board and I didn’t really want a detailed discussion about health. I don’t think health professionals are more important that others in determining an issue like smoking, because it is not only a health issue. However, I will try and answer your posts.

In the first place I am not actually a smoker, and I think you will find that opposition to smoking bans is not restricted to the tobacco industry and to smokers. I have seen people with emphysema writing to the press to oppose a smoking ban here in Scotland.

My viewpoint is coloured by the fact that when I visit my local I see people of all ages having discussions, keeping in touch with each other, listening to gigs, taking in part in quizzes etc including smokers quite advanced in years. Yours is coloured by the fact that you saw ill people on a daily basis in a hospital. Both are partial views but both have validity.

I am absolutely not trying to say that smoking is good for you. The difference between smoke inhaled by a smoker and by a non-smoker is its concentration. Most environmental tobacco smoke is water vapour. You are right to point out that I have no facts on morbidity. But in fact there is a lot of research on the effects of second hand smoke and most of it (certainly what I have been recommended to read by Scottish Executive officers responsible for the legislation) does not demonstrate conclusively that the second hand smoke caused the illness. The numbers and risks involved are not big enough.

Are you trying to say that the matter of sitting down over a cigarette and a pint is a matter too trivial to be supported by human rights legislation? I hope you are wrong. Smoking does not stop people getting together whether food is present or not because people are social smokers. It does affect some people’s willingness to come into smoky environments, but there are abundant non-smoking environments where people can meet.  Frequent air changes and filtration can remove the majority of particles. But to get back to the legal aspect, the threat of legal sanctions against people with a dependency on a legal product does affect their willingness to be in public environments. You can argue that people still have the right to come, without smoking. But I know from experiencing other medication, once you need a dose of something, it really stops you from thinking about anything else until you have taken it. So that will deter people from being in public space as it is their right to do. Not because they feel unwell if they come but if they try and resolve it in the time-honoured fashion they will be prosecuted.

You should also consider whether the fact that ‘passive smoking’ is such a hot political issue now that people might imagine it is harming them when it is not, simply because they are forgetting about other possible factors.

Anyway I hope that clarifies the position.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Princess Analia on Oct 31st, 2005 at 10:09pm
Firstly I apologise for assuming you were a smoker, you are right to say that it is not all smokers who are opposed to the ban. While I appreciate what you are trying to say and respect your opinion, this may be a legal discussion board but the debate on whether smoking should be banned in enclosed places not simply a legal one either.  It is multi factorial and has much of its basis in health and social policy. It is inextricably linked with health. I would not be so arrogant as to say that since I am a health professional my opinion is more important than anyone who isn't, everyone in society has a right to participate in this debate, which is why there was public consultation on the matter.  However I'm not just a health professional, I don't live in a hospital, I too go to the pub!  As I said, I used to work in a pub and it did affect my health despite having extractors in place.  I'm not saying that people wont be put off going to places that they cannot smoke.  They will.  However I still believe that this is a small price to pay for the health and environmental benefits to everyone who enters environments where people previously smoked. What of the people who have to work in smoky environments, they have no choice other than to give up their jobs.  Incidentally there is more research than you are quoting also, in any discipline there are two camps and the passive smoking debate is no different.  You quote research which says that second hand smoke is just water vapour.  There is just as much research to say that it is not.  Cigarettes are also not just lit then smoked, they burn when they are sitting and not being inhaled.  Is this smoke ok for others to breathe in?  

As far as sitting in the pub having a cigarette and a pint goes, yes I do think its a tad trivial to be covered by human rights legislation.  Go back to the reasons the ECHR and international rights treaties like it were ever in existence in the first place. What are we protecting here?  Again, no one is preventing from people congregating and having a pint.  It will simply be the case that then they cannot have a cigarette too.  

While I can see your argument and having worked in a local, know that this is all the social life some older people have and I honestly have a lot of sympathy for that, I know how isolated some of them can be, but there are also many people I know personally, including myself, who have walked out of restaurants and bars when in there for food due to people smoking beside them.  A smoky environment would absolutely stop me going into a place.  In fact there is a cafe in the west end that I and a number of other law students that I'm friendly with have stopped going to because people smoke in it and it's just not pleasant to be in.  I personally feel nauseated in a smoky environment.  Perhaps if there was more choice for non smokers who mind about smoke this wouldnt be such an issue but there really isn't at the moment. Wetherspoon pubs is about it I think if you want a drink without smoke around you.  Not a great choice.  I don't know if there is a compromise here, I haven't seen anything satisfactory but if there was I'd be all for it.

Finally, as I said before, the ban is not just about the risks of passive smoking, it's a decision about the health of smokers aswell.  

Again, I respect your views but I and a lot of people I know are really looking forward to being in a restaurant and not worrying about your meal being ruined when someone lights up beside you, feeling embarrassed to ask someone at the next table if they mind not lighting up till you've eaten your dinner, the absolute last thing I'd want would be to hassle anyone on a night out for smoking beside me but it would spoil my meal.  

I also don't think passive smoking is bad for me on the basis that its a bit of a hot potato at the moment.  I tend to base my opinions on more tangible stuff than that.

I'm sure this debate could go on and on, but the Scottish Executive obviously found the evidence compelling enough to go further with the bill, and indeed pass it as legislation.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Gasdoc on Oct 31st, 2005 at 11:16pm
Well I must say this is quite disappointing, a legal question posed and someone using it to post their extreme anti-smoking opinions. Someone who admits having done no research on the subject. How very helpful. Someone who believes smoking must harm non-smokers despite the evidence to the contrary.

I have no explanation for why the various government bodies and many health professionals seem to be convinced otherwise. I don't think they are really, I believe they think it is acceptable to use what ever means possible to stop smokers smoking.

A wise senior medical colleague of mine is convinced that the human rights issue is the way forward. He thinks if Judges are forced to review the evidence they cannot but come to the conclusion that there is no link between smoking and ill-health in non-smokers.

Its perfectly alright to hate smoke and smokers and perfectly OK to try and educate smokers into stopping their dangerous habit. However it it not acceptable to use NHS money to pedal lies about "passive smoking" which only serve to scare the living daylight out of people.

Oh by the way Belinda I personally cannot respect the views of any extremist and I'm not sure you should!
Princess, we don't want a debate with you we wander if there is someone who knows any law.
Princess check these out:


Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Princess Analia on Oct 31st, 2005 at 11:35pm
I am not an extremist.  I clearly stated that if there was some compromise that I would be all for it.  I don't hate smokers at all!  I can see very clearly what Belinda was saying about social networks.  I think you will find that I did address the ECHR issue.  Human rights is about protecting the rights of the minority against the majority.  Smokers are in the minority, so prima facie it appears that this is a human rights issue.  I don't think it is as simple as that. I respect others opinions and I stated that.  You seem to be the only person on here who doesn't respect others opinions and dismisses them as extremist because they don't tally with yours. There will always be disagreement on this issue, anyone who is being stopped doing something which is legal by making it illegal to do it on some occasions has a right to be upset by this.  I can see that very clearly.  It is not always the case that legislation is the best way to solve a problem.  It may not be the best way in this situation.  However I don't think it is fair to try and resolve this by saying "passive smoking doesn't harm people so you lot in the majority who don't smoke can just get on with it."  There is a lot of evidence to show that it can harm people.  You have included two links to newspaper articles.  This is not evidence.  If you show me proper studies, which aren't funded by tobacco companies which show that passive smoking is not harmful then I will look at it with an open mind.  
Does anyone have suggestions for alternatives to the ban?  I'd be very interested to hear them.  I for one do not have strong feelings about smoking in pubs.  When sending in my opinion for the consultation process I stated this, I only recently realised that it was to be a ban in all enclosed spaces, I had been under the impression that it was only where food was served and was happy with this.  It is only restaurants that bother me. So again, I think the label of extremist is rather arbitrary.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Gasdoc on Nov 1st, 2005 at 12:11am
I spose you're right really P. I apologise if I offended you. I just think its a bit extreme to react in the way you do to smoke around you. I'm all for respecting the individual and would certainly not inflict my smoke on people eating nearby. I would hope not to be sitting anywhere near a non-smoker as it would make me uncomfortable too and I probably wouldn't light up. There are plenty things other people do that are irritating and rely on tolerance and understanding to live together in harmony. I don't think banning things is in general a very constructive tool, there has to be another way.
Also, what will be will be, and if I have to go look for somewhere I can smoke without breaking the law then I will. However there will be a limit to how far I will walk so I will inevitably upset some sensitive people.
Choice wise, where I live, I've got a job to find anywhere I can have a coffee and a f*g. I don't drink so pubs are not of much interest to me. I find people under the influence of alcohol possibly as iritating as you find other peoples smoke.
I don't apologise for directing you to newspaper articles as you continually use anecdote and personal stories. It's a milestone in history that two relatively smoker friendly items have been printed in the media.
You are quite right about the passive smoking research being quoted to suit the interpreter. But my balanced view is that the evidence is exagerated beyond the pale and certainly does not prove a definate link at present.

I think that the human rights route is a perverse one to pursue but it's in desperation that I might use it. Its not a fair fight..multimillion propaganda machine against individuals with no organisation and no money.

I won't quote any one study because I cant spare the time and I need a f*g.
But I recommend "Dissecting the Antibrains" by Michael J Mcfadden.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Princess Analia on Nov 1st, 2005 at 1:02am
Thanks for your reply.  You do make some very salient points.
 It's funny how people's perceptions are different, I sometimes feel as if everywhere allows smoking but that's obviously not the case since you have trouble finding anywhere to sit in peace, have a coffee and a cigarette. As I said before, I'm not sure what the answer is, I think there is definitely a case for having some places where people who are smokers or don't mind smoke are happy to work and that people can smoke in. A blanket ban must be a horrible situation for a smoker who is now wondering where they can go.  I still think as you do that legislation is not always the best way.  To be criminalised is quite an extreme outcome I feel.  It's a rotten situation when people are kind of segregated in this way and I'm sure a lot of the heated debate is due to the fact that smokers are feeling increasingly marginalised and indeed they are.  

However as regards human rights,  I can't really see how it would work in your favour for reasons I gave in another post.  The European Court of Human Rights also gives a fair margin of appreciation (depending on the article concerned) to member states to do what they think is right in their own country.  Of course it's only my opinion based on the little I know, I could be wrong and I'd be absolutely fascinated to see how the EctHR dealt with the issue.  

I'm actually glad I was involved in this  debate as it certainly opened my eyes a bit more to the other side of things.  You're right a lot of what I said is anecdotal, but I did read all the evidence that the Scottish Executive looked at while the bill was going through all it's stages. How do you trust research though?? On either side! It's difficult to know what is accurate, biased, whether other factors have influenced outcome.  The truth is usually somewhere in the middle isnt it?  

Thanks for your posts and I'll certainly have a look at your "dissecting the antibrains"

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Cantiloper on Nov 1st, 2005 at 3:40am
This is very annoying.   I just spent about a half hour thoughtfully replying to a number of points the Princess and Belinda and the Doctor raised....  only to bump into a "your message was too long, go back and shorten it" screen and find that my message had been disappeared into cyberspace.



OK, let me just post two of the links I mentioned along the way and go nurse my sore typing fingers.   Analia, I wish my message hadn't disappeared: I think I had some friendly and helpful things to say.  Maybe if you visit my webpages for a bit you'll get a feel for the general gist of what I might have said though.



Re the second link: read the responses, then the study.  If you want to see more, click on the webpage linked to my Cantiloper name and read about "The Great Helena Heart Fraud."

Darn but losing that post was really REALLY annoying.


Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Nov 1st, 2005 at 10:57pm

It is funny but when I heard the ban was coming in the words 'freedom of association' came to mind almost unbidden. Every time I raised it in the first few weeks people thought I was talking about freedom to protest. But I was talking about freedom to be together on terms of our own choosing without accountability to a third party. Just be, which means being resourceful, finding things to talk about, music to play, or whatever, or watch sports or play darts. If we can't do that without looking over our shoulders for an inspector to check we are not smoking, how much more difficult will it be when actual political protest becomes necessary. This legislation cuts across every social interaction in the land, or if not all a significant majority of them.

I am a little puzzled that you felt that the human rights line is 'perverse' because I feel it is quite fundamental.

Analia, I wonder if any of your fellow students might be interested in this thread? On either side of the debate of course!

I don't remember quoting any research about cigarette smoke being water vapour. I just asserted it! But also I said it was mostly water vapour, and I don't agree with its classification as a Class A carcinogen. Likewise I am wary of your comment that you are open to research that is not funded by tobacco companies. Provided the funding is acknowledged, all research has to show sound sources, methods and results. If all this passes peer review what does it matter where the funding comes from. All research costs money and much of it is driven by quite strong competitive commercial interests. Non-profitmaking sectors of the economy like health are dependent on these for their operation. But the debate is presented by some as if it were a health v wealth issue, as if there were no money interests in health.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Cantiloper on Nov 2nd, 2005 at 8:27am
Belinda wrote: "I don't remember quoting any research about cigarette smoke being water vapour. I just asserted it! But also I said it was mostly water vapour, and I don't agree with its classification as a Class A carcinogen."

I respond: Actually Belinda according to the 1989 Surgeon Generals' Report (Figure 13) about 87% of the weight of cigarette smoke is a combination of water, carbon dioxide, and ordinary air.  I believe its classification as a Class A carcinogen was far more a political than a scientific move.  As of about 5 years ago when I last researched the particulars there were 6 Class A carcinogens in tobacco smoke, adding up, both mainstream and sidestream to a total weight of slightly less than one thousandth of a single gram.   An ordinary martini puts out almost two thousand times that amount of a Class A carcinogen (ethyl alcohol) into the air in the space of an hour.


Most of the basis for the Class A designation came from meta-analysis of epidemiological studies that showed a very small absolute risk increase in lung cancer among those heavily exposed to secondary smoke for a lifetime: an increase of about one lung cancer for every 10,000 persons.  Given the efficiencies of modern ventilation and filtration systems its likely that, EVEN IF we accept the EPA's figures as accurate and causal in nature, that secondary smoke would cause between 1 extra lung cancer per 100,000 exposed workers and 1 extra per 1,000,000 exposed... provided they worked in that environment for 30, 40, or more years.

Likewise I am wary of your comment that you are open to research that is not funded by tobacco companies. Provided the funding is acknowledged, all research has to show sound sources, methods and results. If all this passes peer review what does it matter where the funding comes from.

Knowing the funding source simply gives you a warning that you need to examine the research and the "slant" of its interpretation more carefully if it produces conclusions in line with the funders' interests.  It's VERY important that researchers be open and honest about this for that reason though.  In the past a lot of "tobacco industry" research wasn't, and today most of the "antismoking research" isn't (Antismoking researchers will usually state the sources openly but deny that they represent possible conflicts of interest.)

Don't put too much faith in "peer review."   Princess, if I am wrong on this please correct me, but I believe "peer review" usually consists of just having the article read and reviewed by two or three people who are "experts" in the field and then returned to the journal with crticisms and a recommendation about publication.  The British Medical Journal provides a somewhat truer "peer review" process through its "Rapid Response" mechanism in which many peers (and non-peers) can review, comment on, and criticize the research in question.  If you follow the link on Helena in my previous post you'll see this process in action and also see one of its weaknesses: the authors of bad piece of research are not obligated to defend their work.

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by snooks on Nov 2nd, 2005 at 7:05pm
I always think this talk of "proof" is somewhat moot. I know that when I am forced to be in a smoky environment I feel extremely ill, and have difficulty breathing, for several days afterwards. I suppose you could argue that the two are unrelated and that I am the victim of an eery coincidence, but I seriously doubt it. Talk of smokers' rights cuts no ice with me. The right to breath surely precedes the right to indulge in a legal but morally questionable substance.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Nov 4th, 2005 at 4:07am

Are you studying law? I think your demand for evidence must get a bit more stringent. Few surveys of 650 self-selected agents can prove any matter under the sun, never mind a sample of one. Whether you like it or not there is evidence that the damage caused by second hand smoke is exaggerated and it is quite easy in these circumstances for other causes of breathing difficulties to lose ground in public awareness. You ‘know’ that being ‘forced’ into a smoky environment results in these symptoms. But if your symptoms are so common, how come it took at least nine decades for people to start linking them with tobacco smoke (taking the First World War as a possible beginning of people smoking in large numbers)?

We are looking for proof of a hypothesis (passive smoking) that justifies legislation designed to threaten about 25 million smokers in the community with criminal sanctions, including imprisonment for non-payment of fines for smoking in public places. The fact that that youdo not recognise ‘smokers’ rights’ as a concept  is worrying, especially if you are a law student. Everybody has rights, such as employment, custodial, marital and inheritance rights. Why should smokers be denied them?

I am sorry that smoky environments make you feel ill and I don’t disbelieve your discomfort. But I don't accept that this is an argument for enforcing a smoking ban.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by snooks on Nov 4th, 2005 at 2:42pm
I am actually a lawyer. Top 4, before you ask. I'm sure you're very proud of passing your half course in undergraduate Evidence but it's actually not as impressive as you might think in the Real World.

It is commonly known, at least to anybody who has carried out the most elementary of research on the subject, that the link between smoking and ill health has been known since the 1950s but this evidence was suppressed by the tobacco industry and the governments they subsidised.

Of course people were aware from anecdotal evidence that smoking makes them unwell. My grandmother, a smoker, died of cancer in 1953 and there was never any doubt as to the cause of her death. I suppose the fact that people have continued to smoke since then is testament to the stupidity of humankind, and to the need for "nanny state"-style intervention.

In any event, in a right-thinking society, the burden of proof should be on the person who wishes to carry out the offensive activity in a public place. What does it matter if the effects of passive smoking are "exaggerated"? Only the most obstinate mule would argue that it has no negative effects at all. The interests of the toxic minority should always take second place.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Nov 4th, 2005 at 3:21pm

You are a lawyer. Even better.

I never disputed a significant association between smoking and ill health. I am disputing it in the case of second hand smoke.

I am not defending any attempts by the tobacco company to cover up the harmful effects of tobacco smoke. But that does not happen to be relevant to any discussion about a smoking ban, which is largely justified by the harms allegedly caused by second hand smoke.

You will be telling me next that there are no big financial interests in smoking cessation sponsoring health authorities.

Since you view the humanity as ‘stupid’, I suppose you will not accept any evidence that does not coincide with your obviously firmly held views. Exaggeration and distortion of the facts does matter to most of us even if we are stupid. Look at the mess in Iraq!

I am still concerned by your tendency to trot off subjective impressions as if they are fact. Though I am not a smoker I can still tell you quite categorically that smoking is not offensive. The most you can say is that many find it offensive, but this does not justify a ban either

For the record, I have no training in law, and I came to this site because I was worried about the human rights implications of the legislation.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by snooks on Nov 4th, 2005 at 7:40pm
I assume you have no training in statistics or biology, either? Your “calculations” are at odds with the findings of the vast majority of researchers in this country. The commonly accepted estimate is that several hundred people die each year of lung cancer that has resulted from passive smoking. Sure, it’s not a statistically significant cause of death but I would argue that just one person dying so that others can carry on with their anti-social hobby is indefensible. I think Roy Castle, were he here today, would have a fair amount of scorn to pour on your position.

The invocation of “human rights” arguments in this context revolts me. It is an affront to the very concept of human rights.  After you have viewed the horrendous smoking-related ailments in Princess Analia’s hospital, you might want to take a trip to Zimbabwe or Chechnya or Iran (or Belmarsh?) etc etc ad nauseam to gain a little perspective on real human rights abuses.

Your argument in relation to freedom of assembly is frankly risible. Smokers can easily meet in public places without smoking. They might be grumpy and provide poor company (although I would argue that they will still be better company than they would be with a cigarette in hand) but they have only themselves to blame for their reliance on nicotine. Those vulnerable to cigarette smoke (of which there are many – you may wish to note the article in today’s Guardian regarding the British asthma epidemic) cannot enter places where cigarettes are being smoked. You argue that there are plenty of places for non-smokers to go, but I have yet to find a pub in Edinburgh that genuinely enables me to avoid other people’s smoke. Non-smokers are treated as an afterthought.

You should be aware that many things are legal but have necessary restrictions on their use. Would you argue that the ban on drink driving restricts freedom of assembly because it prevents drinkers who are reliant on their cars from getting to the pub and back?

Your comment regarding “big financial interests in smoking cessation sponsoring health authorities” is poorly worded. Do you mean to say that the health authorities have a vested interest in discouraging smoking? Of course they do. This is because smoking ravages the body and places an enormous burden on the taxpayer.

Assuming that we define “offensive” as being something disagreeable to the senses, smoking is unquestionably and objectively offensive. It smells foul (and causes those exposed to the smoke to smell similarly noxious), it causes the eyes to sting and throat to close up. Certainly, some people have a greater ability to tolerate these effects, but human beings all share the same physiology, which responds poorly to the inhalation of airborne poisons.

Finally, please don’t bring Iraq into an unrelated discussion.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Nov 5th, 2005 at 2:13am

Several hundred deaths from an annual mortality of over 600,000 are not 'statistically significant' and do not demonstrate a causal effect. Saying 'even one' person dying is just emotive talk. Roy Castle was one of thousands upon thousands of performers who worked in smoky environments, so why is he the only one who is ever quoted? I really find it extraordinary how a trained and presumably practising lawyer expects us to draw conclusions from slender numerical evidence, and to say that exaggeration doesn't matter.

You express so much contempt for my feelings about human rights, that I can only say I disagree with your approach to arguments, and if I were faced with you in a courtroom, I would be certain to have to endure a combative if not insulting approach. We are not in a courtroom now and I see no need for such tactics here.

You also display almost complete contempt for smokers, blaming them for their addiction when many started before they were old enough to appreciate the dangers, discounting their rights. I don’t see that enjoying a legal product in public is a trivial matter in the context of human rights. I know things are worse in other parts of the world, but what have you to say to immigrants from some of these countries who have left home in fear of their lives, are traumatised and perhaps separated from their families, and expect to be able to enjoy a coffee or beer and a f*g. Sorry guys, step outside the door. You are not allowed to smoke. That is not the kind of country I want to live in.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Gasdoc on Nov 5th, 2005 at 3:37am
Snooks can't have read much of the thread. Extremists will not be tolerated and I'm sure no-one would disagree with the label this time.

I am actually a doctor, TOP DOC! What does Top 4 mean? Sounds like it was supposed to always helps to be ignorant when resisting arrogance.

Smoking kills..yes OK..but only smokers..and probably not to the extent we are made to believe. Other than that the only questionably obnoxious thing is the smell and plenty of people would protest that that is a subjective issue.

I object most strongly to your tone.
The best I can come up with is I don't know who you think you are!

Your understanding of statistics is nonexistant, who is this one person dying of passive smoke. Statistics say he probably doesn't exist.

You either know no smokers or some very boring ones.

The "reliance on nicotine" thing is a little overstated. People who want to give up have very little difficulty doing so. I have no thoughts of giving up as I enjoy smoking and do so in the knowledge that I am not hurting anyone but myself. I can now do it knowing it really annoys you and that will make me feel so good.

"The commonly accepted estimate..." so are all "Top 4's" as easily taken in as you? That would be a very sorry state. In fact while I'm there, "commonly", that's a popular word of yours, what does that mean? Doubtless you are aware of the meaning of the word "estimate". To be helpful I will explain that estimates are based on assumptions. If the assumption is flawed then the estimate is hogwash.

The drink driving analogy is sick. Drunks are killers in cars. There's no proof smoking kills non-smokers. That's a fact.

Hear Hear Belinda!

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Nov 6th, 2005 at 3:00pm
On a more technical note (because I know nothing about law) does the fact that the police are not enforcing this have any bearing as to whether smokers and their patrons are committing an offence under criminal or civil law if smoking occurs after a ban is passed.

If it will be a civil offence to smoke does this have any bearing on the weight of evidence required to impose a fine? For instance can an enforcement officer take action for finding ashtrays stored on the premises of a pub? I believe this has happened in New York.

If it is actually a crime to smoke, that means smokers and/or licencees who contravene the ban will have a criminal record.

There is much talk of trying to empty prisons of non-violent offenders. It seems imposing fines without the possibility of imprisonment if fines are not paid, would render the ban unenforceable.  

Imprisoning people would go against this welcome direction in public policy. This seems to demonstrate that the law itself contravenes other areas of public policy for the sake of a social engineering goal that will be extremely unpopular in many UK districts, especially Scottish ones where there is no exemption for wet-led pubs.

This is especially disturbing if (for example) two smokers are caught together, one in the act and the other making a roll-up, ready to smoke outside. The enforcement officer decides on the available evidence that the rollup maker intended to smoke inside too.

Michael, do you know about the US situation here (or the Irish one for that matter?) Any help on this would be appreciated.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Blaggarde on Nov 6th, 2005 at 8:39pm
Actually, I'm not a lawyer either, so that probably puts me in the Bottom 4 ;) but I am aware of the old legal maxim that "hard cases make bad law".

I note that some respondents here are prepared to indulge any instance of a "hard case" in support of a bad law, as long as it supports their pro-ban instinct.

Here in Ireland we have had bad law for the past eighteen months. The central issue is most certainly a human rights one: not alone have people who smoke been relegated in society to second class or worse, there has also been a frightening rise in open and hostile contempt of people who happen to be smokers, because - amongst other things - the state has given licence to the intolerant and the hateful.

In an era where the world at large is moving towards being more inclusive and respectful of minorities, it is quite unbelievable that any modern state should be in the business of creating a new social apartheid and permitted to do so - albeit by default - by its citizens (and lawyers). I can assure you that is what has happened here. And it happened because we were caught sleeping, too ready to assume that the government would treat the rights of ALL citizens as its prime concern, making provision for all in an acceptable way.

Unfortunately, none of this may become apparent to my Scottish friends until AFTER your bad law has been introduced. When you wake up one morning to find that another piece of your freedom has been stolen, the penny may begin to drop - but by then it will be too late to put any genies back in their bottles - you will have succumbed through disbelief, or indifference, just like we did.

There are other ways of resolving the smoking/non-smoking issue to the satisfaction of all, without demonising one-third of society and taking their lives away. I urge you, smoker and non-smoker alike, to unite and find it - and not see your beautiful country ruined by social division -  freely, but perhaps unwittingly, accepted.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by snooks on Nov 7th, 2005 at 2:11pm
Smokers aren't an oppressed minority! They are a selfish and anti-social one. As far as I can see, short of an outright ban in public places, there is no way of ensuring that a non-smoker will never be unwillingly subjected to a smoker's pollutants. If you can suggest a feasible alternative I am happy to hear it. A "voluntary" system will never work because pubs favour smokers, who tend to drink far more.

Gasdoc, if you are a real doctor I will eat my hat. You are a bad fake.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Nov 7th, 2005 at 3:17pm

I am puzzled by what you said in your earlier post about it not being difficult to give up smoking - so why does everyone say it is difficult?

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Princess Analia on Nov 7th, 2005 at 7:23pm
This has certainly turned into a heated debate!  Despite not being a fan of smoking - Note I said smoking not smokers!  I have after reading other's opinions attempted to keep an open mind regarding this argument.  I have had a look at both sides of the fence here and have still to find any major doubt about the research showing that passive smoking harms people. This is the point that I have the biggest problem with.  I had a conversation with a close friend of mine who is a research scientist in cell biology and she was aghast that people doubted in any way that passive smoking was harmful.  Couldn't conceive of how anyone could come to that conclusion.  Obviously this is not convincing for any of you guys who's opinions oppose mine but I just can't see the big conspiracy here although I have looked.

While as I said before, I don't believe that smoking in public is a "right" and am very uncomfortable with smoking being linked to any human rights talk at all,  that said I'm not entirely comfortable with smokers being criminalised.  Is there no middle ground? Does anyone have any suggestions of compromise?  Obviously this is rather a moot argument since the legislation has recieved Royal Assent but it would be interesting to hear everyone's views.

Am also as puzzled as Belinda regards Gasdoc's comment on smoking cessation, I obviously have no personal experience but was under the impression that it was a bit of a nightmare to quit!  You must have incredible willpower Gasdoc!!

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Princess Analia on Nov 7th, 2005 at 7:29pm
Sorry Belinda, I forgot to answer your previous question. It doesn't make any difference that the police are not enforcing the ban.  It is still criminal sanctions that apply.  The criminal law regulates the relationship between the individual and the state. Civil law regulates relationships between individuals.  
Oh and "top four" are the four biggest most succesful law firms in Scotland -  Dundas & Wilson, Maclay Murray & Spens, McGrigors and Shepherd + Wedderburn I think!  You have to be good to get a job there - competition is pretty stiff it seems.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Nov 7th, 2005 at 8:00pm
Princess Analia

If you read Professor Hole's report (Health Education Board for Scotland), you will find that in a year he attributes 44 deaths from lung cancer to second-hand smoke, and the total deaths from second hand smoke at 865. He is vague about years but I take this to be an annual figure. It is one and a half per cent of Scottish mortality, spread across four vastly different conditions. It proves nothing in statistical terms. This does not take into account morbidity but one also has to ask how these figures are collected. When people are ill, is a person's smoking/non-smoking status all that is relevant? Is the information always given truthfully?

I am not sure about why you feel the smoking should not be a human rights issue. Do you associate human rights exclusively with issues such as unfair imprisonment, torture and so on, in conditions where people are not free to join unions or express themselves politically?

Smokers are people! Many of them with considerable and onerous responsibilities either in the family or in their employment, or the armed services or whatever. They pay duties to consume a product that is acknowledged to be damaging to their health. This legislation is announced, that disrupts their social arranegments and (if they happen to be licencees) their livelihoods, and means that they can NEVER sit with their friends or family and smoke in a public environment again. If they do they will face a fine and if they don't want to pay the fine because they DISAGREE with it and refuse to pay they will be IMPRISONED (I suppose or there is not a lot of point in fining them).

My concern is that they have a legal product, they want and need to be with people, and I want my interactions with my smoking friends not to be policed for all eternity. I love being with them and I don't want to see them standing outside in the rain.

I am not a smoker but it would really challenge my tradition of behaving like a law abiding citizen.

You do seem to want to treat smokers fairly without acknowledging a human rights issue. It does seem strange.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Nov 7th, 2005 at 8:07pm

Thanks for the civil/crinimal offences post. So parking offences are crimes, I thought they were some sort of offence against the municipality rather than the Crown or something like that.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Gasdoc on Nov 7th, 2005 at 8:59pm
My views on addiction are flavoured by experience. I naturally being a puritanical scientist listen to the theories. However I always remain open minded as I believe we understand the workings of the human body in a very limited way. I believe the function of understanding is limited by our current ability to harness the infinite potential power of the brain/mind.

An example of this limited understanding is the function of the neuro-muscular junction. This is the join between nerve endings and muscle cells. We analyse what happens at this miniscule site on the molecular level and have a very detailed knowledge of what happens there. Its status depends on a balance of the levels of many chemical elements inside and outside the cell membrane, importantly calcium, and many hormones and neurotransmitters. All are controlled by the level of other elements and chemicals. To have an overal understanding of just how we are able to maintain a standing position for example is not possible with our brains current information processing ability. The individual components have many different effects on the site and are changing in concentration at a rate unimaginable and instantaneous. This process is one of millions occuring simultaneously throughout the body all of which are in a continuous state of flux. Neurological components including the higher control of these functions by the brain are also occuring simultaneously. Our mind can understand individual components and effects of multiple factors on these components. More agile minds might even manage to imagine the overal function a single component. Mostly science as assimilated by the human mind relies on isolating these components in order to attempt an understanding, if you like, simplifying or producing models. This isolation itself hinders the understanding of the whole process.

The function of nicotine receptors is a similar model and to adopt a simple understanding of such a system is naive. Nicotine receptors have important functions within the body and receptor science is still an expanding area. That is we continue to find out new things about the milieu within which receptors function. Addiction itself is a complex area which firstly can be broken down into physical and psychological. There is little doubt that extrinsic nicotine ingestion will have an effect on nicotine receptors and that physical addiction occurs. There is little doubt that the problem when it comes to withdrawal of any substance is the existance of the phenomena of "craving". The sensation that makes you feel you wish to indulge in that substance.  This craving and how it is produced is also a complex physiological process with many factors involved including physical and psychological.

So to say that addiction is an overriding and all powerful unsurmountable force is too simple to be true, I believe.

My experience is with alcohol, where I became aware that it was mucking up my life and making me unpleasant. So my need to give it up became so important as to make the cravings and withdrawal effects insignificant. I was driven to continue my abstinence.

I have no such force to assist my giving up smoking as I enjoy it and it doesn't make be horrible. There is no fundamental need for me to give up. If I thought giving up was going to guarantee my longevity and a pleasant method of death I might give up but it won't! People say its hard because they try to give up when they are in fact not motivated to do so. If you want to give up you simply have to decide that's what's going to happen. Addiction is not as powerful as the mind.

Well that's the end of the Gospel according to FakeDoc.

Do fake solicitors where hats or just real lawyers?
Anyway hope it tastes nice, it might be more flavoursome with some humble pie!

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Princess Analia on Nov 7th, 2005 at 9:31pm
Hi Belinda,

I think that for statistical purposes, things like parking tickets are categorised as "offences" rather than crimes, but it amounts to the same thing, just less serious.  I do appreciate very much what you are saying about friends and family being smokers and the new laws being onerous in terms of smoking in public.  I think this will be difficult for a lot of people but I can't think of a compromise.  Can anyone else?  I appreciate also what you are saying about 865 deaths being attributed to passive smoking not being statistically significant but forgive me for again being emotive about this but thats 865 too many.  I can't be objective about it, I keep thinking of the human cost in terms of losing friends and family, the suffering of the people who died weighed up against the inconvenience and upset to people not being allowed to smoke in enclosed spaces.  

As regards human rights, again, I think the legal way of thinking about these is a bit different from the laypersons way of thinking about them.  Please don't think that this is a patronising statement, it is by no means meant to be!   I agree smokers are people, with no less status than anyone else, but are rights automatic???? Where do rights draw the line?  Do people have a right to employment?  I think so, does this mean that the government has to provide everyone with a job? I don't mean this analogy to transfer to the smoking debate, all I am trying to say is that some things are not automatically "rights" and the ECHR is there to protect fundamental rights.  I don't think that smoking in public is a fundamental right which should be enshrined in law.  I mentioned before about the reason the ECHR came into being in the first place after the world wars.  I'm aware that things evolve over time and so should the law, this has happened by way of the jurisprudence of the ECtHR but I very much doubt that they would agree that anyone's rights under the convention were being breached.  You stated freedom of association as being a possibility, I still think that you are looking at this Article too broadly.  

But I'm still a lowly student!  So what do you think Snooks looking at things objectively?

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Gasdoc on Nov 7th, 2005 at 9:38pm
Sorry, I forgot...
Snooks you can find me in the Medical Register under Philip Donald Button. If you really want to get angry you can visit my blog at:

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Princess Analia on Nov 7th, 2005 at 10:00pm
Liked the Maude and Mable joke Gasdoc!  Just out of interest, I take it you're an anaesthetist from your name?  I worked with you guys in ITU and (am honestly not crawling here) found anaesthetists to be the most knowledgeable doctors generally (and a very friendly bunch to boot!)  Also found them to be anti smoking fanatics and fitness freaks!  Well the consultants anyway. There was one very nice SHO who smoked. Just interested if you are in a minority as a smoking anaesthetist or if the guys and girls I worked with before are not that representative.  No ulterior motive honestly! Am not trying to prove that you're in a minority regards your smoking opinions. Just interested to see what your colleagues think.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Nov 7th, 2005 at 10:36pm
Dear Princess

I hope you don't think I meant that 865 actual deaths are not significant in themselves. I meant that in terms of epidemiology you can't say that they amount to a signficant association and certainly can't be considered proof that it was tobacco smoke that killed those people. Remember the age factor.  A UK stats table tells me that four fifths of the stroke deaths, two thirds of the heart disease deaths, and three quarters of the respiratory disease deaths were over 75. Lung cancer is the biggest killer of younger people (but far fewer than stroke or heart disease) with just over half the deaths occurring under the age of 75 but I think you will agree with me that by far the greater number of deaths will be in smokers, and they are likely to succomb more quickly.

My parents are both over 70 and actually my father is over 80 and I don't mean that deaths at their age don't matter, but to pin any death at an advanced age down to a single air pollutant seems to be erring on the side of simplicity. I would contend that the premature deaths in Scotland associated (by that particular report) with passive smoke would be about a third of 865. That is unless Professor Hole already allowed for age when he reached that figure, but he made no mention of the ages concerned.

'Just one death is too many' is totally true. But what of a house fire started because people are smoking and drinking at home that kills people? Whatever happens there will be accidents, illness and people will die. It's a fact.

I appreciate your difficulty with smoking as a 'right'. I think more of it as, yes, people do have a right to use legal products, and I would limit the smoking if there was a fire risk somewhere. But refusing them social opportunities where they can smoke is quite severe. I happen to believe that everybody has a right to public social space, whether or not they smoke. Not giving social space to smokers is abhorrent. It is a matter of survival. How can society be aware of the toll that isolaton takes on people and then say oh well if you smoke it's all your own fault. Nobody would say that to anybody who had any dependency on insulin. You can't think straight without it so if you insist that smokers do without it becomes abusive.

I hope you don't think I am using strong language but I am trying to explain how I feel the issue.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Nov 7th, 2005 at 11:00pm
Princess A

What about bringing your colleagues in?

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Princess Analia on Nov 7th, 2005 at 11:01pm
Hello again,

I agree with you about being denied a public space.  I really do, but I'm not sure what the answer is.  As things stand there isn't much choice for people who don't want to be in smoky environments regardless of whether you believe passive smoking is harmful.  If we are simply talking about choice then that's how things are at the moment - regards pubs, clubs and restaurants at any rate.  Gasdoc quite rightly says that there aren't many places where you can have a coffee and a cigarette. But otherwise if you want to avoid smoke, you're stuck.  Snooks had mentioned that he didn't think that a voluntary scheme was the answer, I'm not sure it would work either but maybe it would have been better to start out that way and see how things panned out.  Perhaps incentives could have been made available?
I'm really not sure if comparing insulin requirement to smoking dependence is fair.  if you don't get your insulin, your body chemistry goes to pot, you feel absolutely ghastly and ulitimately you can end up with ketoacidosis and death. That's not going to happen for lack of a cigarette.
I can see that you feel really strongly about this to use that analogy.  I don't think that you have a legal remedy though.  I haven't looked into any challenges to legislation passed in other jurisdictions, what did people do in New York and the Republic of Ireland by way of challenge?

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Gasdoc on Nov 7th, 2005 at 11:04pm
I do like that name! Well lots of questions!
In my department of Anaesthesia there are 28 members of staff. One consultant has recently given up and I believe that leaves no consultant smokers.
There are 6 other members who actively smoke.
I am most definately in the minority as a smoking doctor and almost on my own, as regards my views, amongst doctors.
However my colleagues seem to have given up suggesting I give up smoking and are not aware of my views as they just simply don't come up in conversation.
Doctor's generally have a mind set and generally that has to be compatible with what they preach. They are brainwashed to an extent and aim to pass on that brainwashing to their customers.
I don't really mix well with doctors as I find them patronising, arrogant, bossy, judgemental and narrow minded. Whoops!! However I love my work and regard myself as a good one because I do not judge and I have maximum compassion.
I do not enquire of my patients whether they smoke or not because I believe the effects on my anaesthesia are negligible. I have advised patients that they should consider stopping when I believe they might benefit but will not nag and will be understanding of the difficulty they might face stopping.
I hope that helps. My the way I think you are right about anaesthetists in general, I find them to be the most agreeable of doctors.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Princess Analia on Nov 7th, 2005 at 11:19pm
I take it you mean the other law students??? I brought it up at university last week and everyone seemed to be in favour of the ban!  So they weren't that interested in debating it with me.  Will try and get some of them on here reading the threads and get them involved in the debate.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Nov 7th, 2005 at 11:35pm

sorry insulin was a bad example. However the one I do know about is thyroxin as that is what I take. If I need a tablet I cannot think of anything else. Ultimately of course I would get ill and I dread to thnk of national emergency situations where getting tablets would be difficult.

But in normal circumstances yes I have a very strong empathy with the idea that this feeling might be accompanied by a feeling that you are not wanted in society.

Don't know if you have seen press reports that the Swallow group are mounting a legal challenge. How far it will get I don't know.

I would have thought that air quality standards could be enforced, (so many air changes, filtration and so on), or that licenses should be obtainable but I also think the lawmakers should be asked why the dangers of second hand smoke do not show a signficant reading in mortality statistics.

I do think the interference aspect is wrong too. Legally wrong. If people want to meet in a public environment because they enjoy smoking and want to do it in company and talk about quaint brands of tobacco, and meet new friends in the community, as things are they will not be allowed. This will discriminate against poorer people without large living rooms and/or internet access to advertise their association. I really can't see how many people's lives wil be made easier by this.

Sorry that your fellow students are convinced that the ban is such a good thing but hope you can get one or two of them in anyway.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Nov 8th, 2005 at 1:50am
i think we used to think of pubs/licensed premises as 'dens of iniquity' where we could do naughty things in public places, drinking and tobacco being milder examples of such things. Opium is no longer allowed. Prosititution is an area of the law I don't know much about but it's not generally associated with pubs. The point is that these were adult environments enabling people to take drink and smoking etc away from the home.

I see no reason whatever why licences should not be allowed to the majority of licensed premises. We can't make all of life into a child-friendly environment. Adults endure a lot of stress in modern life and they need an outlet for it. I really don't accept the government's right to allow the sale of a product and then not care for the customers of that product or threaten them with criminal sanctions. It should make use of all the community resources it can in order to find a solution.

I note that you are saying that there is nowhere that non-smokers can go for a drink and avoid smoke. Actually to correct Snooks there is a non smoking pub in Edinburgh beside the central job centre off St Andrew Square. I believe there is another in Leith somewhere. But this tells me that you appreciate the importance for smokers to have somewhere to go too. It is hard to regulate, but the answer is not to punish people.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Cantiloper on Nov 8th, 2005 at 4:24am
Analia wrote: " I had a conversation with a close friend of mine who is a research scientist in cell biology and she was aghast that people doubted in any way that passive smoking was harmful."

Analia, there are two reasons why a biological scientist might feel that exposure to secondary smoke (I'm sorry, I will not use the "Passevefruggin" terminology developed by the Nazis in the 1930's here.) was harmful.

The first reason is toxicologically based: smoke, whether from tobacco or almost any other source, has chemicals in it that are harmful: things like benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, acetone, etc.   However, "harmful" very specifically denotes that such chemicals are present in sufficient concentration that the person exposed to them is "harmed" in a meaningful way...  for purposes of law here we're talking about harm in the sense of long term disease or severe (rather than simply annoying) short term reactions.  Referring to OSHA standards and CAL EPA TLV standards for the various chemicals in tobacco smoke there are no grounds for arguing that normal people are "harmed" in any real sense from the low levels of exposure to secondary smoke that would normally be encountered in any decently ventilated bar or restaurant.

In terms of "exceptional" people, those who might be overcome by asthma or such problems at even small whiffs of smoke, dust, dander, perfume, aftershave and such, it's a toss up whether simply banning smoking will help them more than insisting upon air cleaning and ventilation standards sufficient to render smoke exposure undectable or nearly undectable.  If you've read Antibrains by this point you'll remember the findings of the air quality studies in aircraft in the 1980s: the concentrations of colony forming fungal units TRIPLED when the planes banned smoking and reduced their fresh air replacements!

2) The second reason is epidemiological, and as a cell pathologist your friend is unlikely to have actually read and analyzed a significant number of the epi studies that have been done.  If she had I think she would have a much more questioning attitude toward what the Antismokers conclude they show... particularly with regard to the levels of exposure encountered nowadays as opposed to the periods those studies were based on.

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Cantiloper on Nov 8th, 2005 at 4:30am
Snooks wrote: "Smokers aren't an oppressed minority! They are a selfish and anti-social one. As far as I can see, short of an outright ban in public places, there is no way of ensuring that a non-smoker will never be unwillingly subjected to a smoker's pollutants. "

And this is where the Snooks and the Princesses diverge.   The Snooks will never be happy with anything other than a total ban because they don't like smokers and insist upon an absolute right to an absolute zero-tolerance for this one aspect of "infringement" upon a perfect life.

Princess Analia on the other hand would, on a personal level, probably be quite content with arrangements whereby she could be assured that she would rarely have to deal with situations in which smoke was obvious enough that it bothered her.

One view is that of a fanatic antismoker, the other of a reasonable nonsmoker...  a very, very important distinction!

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Nov 8th, 2005 at 2:53pm
Princess Analia

I was interested in your question about whether rights are automatic. In the early days one or two people said they had a 'universal human right to clean air'. But you can only have something that exists. There is no such thing as a right to employment in a situation where the economy has gone belly up and there is no work. What there might be in that situation is a claim that rights to work should be equal (assuming other things to be equal) and that if a job comes up it should be open to any capable person whatever their gender, creed etc.

I read a bit about South Africa in the Steve Biko years where banning orders were the way to deal with journalists who annoyed the government. They had not broken the law in the course of their work, but just annoyed the authorities, (I may have got this wrong but I believe people were informed by the police of a banning order which was imposed without due legal process) but the restrictions were irksome and led many to breach them and that was when they fell foul of the law.

I think smokers have good reason to ask in this sense, we have not done anything wrong but you are imposing conditions on us that really means that our presence in society is not valued because of a code of conduct that is very uncomfortable. Our friends don't mind us lighting up, nor do the people selling us drinks for the night, but if we do we will be in breach of the law.

I still think the fact that smokers are taxpayers to HMG gives the government a duty of care to smokers. The 'right' to clean air is somewhat artificial considering the state of the air outside, and that filtration systems and air changes can clean up the air to at least the standard it is outside in may districts.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Nov 10th, 2005 at 12:16am
I have been sent a link to the McTear case. Alfred McTear died of lung cancer after smoking all his life, began an action in the last year of his life against Imperial Tobacco. His wife continued the action following his death in 1993, which she famously lost in March this year. The judgement was heavily criticised, but was made on the evidence available to the court. The judge was careful to point out that this was not a judgment in general about the links between tobacco and lung cancer but was a judgement on the liability of Imperial Tobacco.

Interesting but lengthy:

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by snooks on Nov 10th, 2005 at 7:16pm
Gosh, Belinda - two whole pubs in Edinburgh for non-smokers! Gee, aren't I lucky. If I can just find "somewhere in Leith" I will finally have the privilege of enjoying a night out without a hacking cough and a stinking wardrobe.

Smokers are the minority and it is they who should be expected to trail across town to find a suitable place to drink.

I consider smoking in public tantamount to assault, therefore I consider criminal sanctions to be eminently reasonable.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Nov 12th, 2005 at 12:52am

Go to
and you will find quite a few references to non-smoking venues. The site celebrates the forthcoming ban while also pointing out places where ventilation systems are very effective. The Black Swan is at 23 Sandport Place in Leith.

If you are an internet-friendly professional resident in Edinburgh I can only assume that your desire to find non-smoking pubs is not very high, or you could have easily found them. I found the website within seconds.  

Social smokers enjoy the company of friends and neighbours and for that reason don't need to cross town to find what they want. It is right there. Anti-smokers want to avoid that section of the community that smokes, and adopt a canute like posture wondering why the seas don't move for them.

Anyway this is trivialising the discussion. I hope you enjoy siliconglen and enjoy a smoke-free drink very soon!

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by RFM on Nov 12th, 2005 at 7:31am
Hello Belinda,
From a straight legal point of view the problem is what to do about a merchant, or several merchants, who sell a product that kills their customers? There is certainly something unseemly about allowing one group of sellers in the market place to profit from the weaknesses or addictions of their buyers in those circumstances. For instance heroin comes to  mind. A good argument could be advanced by the heroin addict about his or her right to do whatever to themselves in the name of personal freedom, but should the community stand by and turn a blind eye to that sort of commerce and trade? If so why outlaw the sale of high explosives, or poisonous gases or require homeowners to install sewer systems and use sanitary garbage disposal? The laws are supposedly enacted by the community for the collective good of the community. Personal rights come into effect when the government is unable to show a compelling government interest which appears to conflict with that individual's pursuit of whatever they deem to be their personal rights or freedoms. But in this discussion of personal rights and freedoms the whole concept of personal responsibilities appears to be overlooked for reasons that continue to elude me.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Nov 13th, 2005 at 5:16am

Hello! You raise a lot of points in your post.

My experience of discussions on sites like these, and letters to the press and so on is that many refer to smokers as a bunch of helpless addicts. If they protest and say, ‘But I like smoking’, they are told, ‘No you don’t, that’s just the talk of an addict’. In other words, if they try to take responsibility for their own habit, it is denied them.

As far as everyday social interaction is concerned, the ban removes the responsibility from people to decide whether smoking is or is not acceptable in their immediate circumstances. You say that responsibilities are being left out of the equation, but the conditions imposed by the ban will remove responsibilities from people at many different levels.

The government taxes cigarettes, and it seems that the government therefore has a responsibility to its taxpayers that should preclude penalising them from being used as intended. I am not sure where you think responsibilities are being ignored, but I would agree that they are being ignored somewhere.

It may be that the word ‘responsibility’ is causing a problem. It is used in a judgemental way, as in ‘it is irresponsible to smoke’, or it is used an in a more open way, as in ‘taking responsibility for one’s decisions’.

‘A product that kills their customers’. Many people add the qualifier ‘when used as intended’, because knives, motor cars and lengths of rope can also kill people. There is no denying that smoking has a strong statistical correlation with deaths from lung cancer and stroke, but this not prove causation. I am 41 years of age and the only stroke death I have known in my immediate circle was a 48-year-old non-smoker from a non-smoking family who spent most of her time as a market gardener in the open air. Four-fifths of stroke deaths occur over the age of 75. The most you can say is that smoking may be a factor in some deaths.

Asking what to do about a trade dealing in products that ‘kills its customers’: heroin is different from tobacco because it is not legally on sale to the public. The tobacco industry is not the only interest that benefits from addiction. ‘Dealing with it’ will only leave an immense hole in a ruthlessly competitive market. Tobacco has the advantage over many drugs available for many mental health conditions in that it is associated with quite normal socialisation and leaves people relatively autonomous.

There are many other points but I think long posts get truncated so I will try and address them later.

Thanks for joining the discussion

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Nov 13th, 2005 at 6:07am

You have said twice so far that ‘freedom of association’ was not relevant to this legislation because I was interpreting it too broadly. I am not sure what this means.

Say a regional smoking association is set up, not for the sale or distribution of tobacco but for organising social opportunities. There are far too many members to accommodate them all at an AGM and so they have to hire somewhere but they will not be allowed to smoke at their chosen venue. Is this sort of restriction really in the public interest? It seems to me to stop people from coming together to pursue a legal activity. It also stops people like me enjoying the company of smokers in public places.

People who act as befrienders to those with mental health problems are usually advised to meet their clients in public places while they are establishing a relationship. How much more difficult is that going to be in situations where smoking is outlawed? Is this really in the public interest? You can tell heavy smokers with chaotic and unpredictable lives that they should give up smoking, but the threat of financial penalties and the prospect of continued loss of social opportunities is not likely to help many smokers to give up.

Free social interaction is a fundamental and basic need. It is not a luxury, it is a necessity. The important thing in life is that people learn how to live together rather than expecting those in authority to decide what risks are and are not acceptable

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Cantiloper on Nov 15th, 2005 at 6:36pm
A product that kills its customers when used as intended....

Hamburgers?  Certainly it's been pretty well shown that a healthy vegetarian diet will not kill one off as fast as one heavy in beef.

Cars?  Not just drunk driving here: driving a car is inherently dangerous due to our human limitations of attention and reflex when dealing with speeds of 30 to 80 miles an hour.  And sadly, many of the deaths are indeed among the young and innocent who get struck by the cars.

Alcohol?  Alcohol kills in a variety of ways when used "as intended."   One doesn't have to be falling down drunk to lose just that touch of coordination that keeps one from mis-stepping and falling down a flight of stairs, or just that touch of extra attention that would have kept one from crossing in front of that speeding car.  And we shouldn't forget that alcohol, just like tobacco smoke, is a carcinogen, and is one that is shared in vapor form with all those around the drinker... including the children with their parents at the nice smoke-free bar/restaurants.  See:

Cigarettes are not unique in the dangers they pose when "used as intended" though it could be argued that their risks are greater.

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by snooks on Nov 15th, 2005 at 9:04pm

Free social interaction is a fundamental and basic need. It is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

I absolutely agree. And three places in central Edinburgh that cater for non-smokers who would like to be spared exposure to the cancer stick every time they feel like a quiet drink is not sufficient to provide that necessity. Besides which, I think if you have ever been to any of them you will know that "young professionals" are not exactly the target customers.

I absolutely think that the sea should move for me. I am neither anti-social nor dangerous in public places. Smokers are both.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Princess Analia on Nov 16th, 2005 at 4:53pm
Hi Belinda,

I'm sorry that I am perhaps not making myself clear as regards the Human Rights issue.  I found a report from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission in relation to a proposed ban on smoking in certain public spaces there.  I think it may explain the issue in a far more articulate way than I attempted to.  Whether you agree with their findings or not, it does explain the position well.  Here's the link and here's the relevant passage in case you don't want to read the whole thing.

"There are many rights that are not “human rights”, such as legal rights, and moral rights that can be of a much lower and even very trivial order. There are uncontested rights to do many things that it would be quite inappropriate to enshrine in a law. Where laws are concerned, it is an ancient precept that anything not prohibited is permitted, so that when and where there is no legal ban on smoking, everyone can be said to have a legal right to smoke, though it might be better to call it a civil right or a freedom to smoke in that it is defined by the absence of a ban rather than by a positive statement in law. But because smoking is injurious, it would certainly violate human rights to force anyone to inhale smoke, at least to a degree that could harm their health. In that sense, everyone has a human right not to smoke. As a human right, the right to be protected from exposure to smoke is of a higher order than the civil right to smoke."

As regards strokes, quite a lot of strokes especially in younger people like the poor unfortunate lady you knew Belinda are caused by pre-existing problems such as aneurysms.  However, if you visit a vascular ward where people have nasty problems with the blood supply to their heads caused by occlusion and stenosis of their carotid vessels these people are almost to a man, all smokers.  You're right, most medical conditions, especially ones like ischaemic heart disease and cancers are caused by more than one factor, but a big proportion of the time, one of the factors is that of smoking too.  I think I said before, it's smoking I hate, not smokers, I have close friends and family who smoke and I love them very much - which is the main reason I hate smoking in the first place - because those smokers are precious to me and I would hate to see them ill or to lose them altogether the way I lost my parents.  I wholeheartedly respect their right to smoke in their own homes and in fact, never mention stopping or cutting down their habit to them.  Or god forbid complain about their smoking when I visit them and they light up.  I'm just not that happy about the idea that I have no or very little choice about avoiding smoke in public.  I feel it's also a problem for people who work in the hospitality industry and have no choice about being exposed either.  Whether you believe passive smoking is harmful or not and I still do believe that.  We're all influenced by our life experiences - and indeed our take on those experiences, as a 31 year old who lost both parents to smoking related diseases by the time I was 20- (one parent on home oxygen for 5 years), and I spent the rest of my twenties working as a nurse and seeing all sorts of horrors, I'm in favour of any harm reduction in relation to smoking, although not criminalisation or heckling people who smoke.  On the other hand, people who smoke and enjoy good health or people who are lucky enough not to have experienced ill health of themselves or their loved ones due to smoking will wonder what all the fuss is about, will not particularly find the health risks worrying and will see the civil rights of smokers as a more important issue.  There's the main reason none of us on here are going to agree!  I've really benefitted from hearing other's points of view however and would like to think I'm a bit more tolerant now.  Thanks for that!


Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Nov 17th, 2005 at 5:23am

You have raised some very interesting points in your post, I more or less agree with your conclusion that our experiences will very much colour our approach to the smoking issue. You must have had a really distressing time with your parents. By contrast in my family there was an almost complete non-smoking environment and to be blunt I have not had to watch anybody die.

I have no difficulty in accepting that there are many conditions aggravated by smoking, nor to minimise the impact of what you witnessed. I do have serious doubts about the evidence presented about second hand smoke, and you will understand by now that I’m also bothered by the impact it will have on people who have pressing problems that they want to discuss with their mates while sharing a drink or coffee and a smoke with them. I feel that you acknowledge now that the health problems are not the only issue here. I don’t want anybody to feel that they can’t get out and enjoy themselves, in comfort, and this goes for non-smokers too.

There seems to be an epidemic of ill health in the last two or three decades to do with diet, sedentary lifestyles and so on. This might make people more vulnerable to various conditions, and at present much of the blame is heaped on smoking. There is little doubt that people living in the forties and fifties before the advent of junk food and in wartime conditions were much better off health-wise – probably also less vulnerable.

Anyway I have enjoyed your posts and hope you’ll keep in touch with the site. I have read the document in your post above, and have a couple of problems with it that I explain in the next post.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Nov 17th, 2005 at 5:52am
17 November

This post relates to the report of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

First of all, any talk of ‘rights’ to smoke has to be taken in the context that tobacco is a legally traded product. My standpoint is that people have a right to be together in each other’s company in public places, smokers and non-smokers alike. Banning smoking undermines that right in the case of smokers, (and of non-smokers who want to be in their company). It does not remove it but it substantially erodes the ability of a large minority to forge relationships with others in public places.

Para 6.1: Evidence for ‘unequivocal’ damage from exposure to tobacco smoke may be clear and unambiguous. It is not uncontested, as is suggested in paragraph 24. The numerical evidence is too slim to suggest an actual causal relationship.

Exposure to tobacco smoke is no more harmful than a trip to the newsagents in January in terms of skin cancer.  

I am quite intrigued by the text in brackets at paragraph 24.

Why float this idea that passive smoking may not be harmful when they have already stated that it causes death and disability?

'... the fact that people are not just intolerant but genuinely fearful around smoke could be enough to engage their human rights.'

Are the authors of this report seriously suggesting that, in the absence of any supporting evidence, fear of ETS would be sufficient to establish a breach of the human rights of non-smokers? Since when has unsubstantiated fear of danger been a sound basis for policy? That fear would justify repression of any minority under the sun, either by allowing people to indulge in fear of the unknown, or their caving in to their stubborn refusal to examine the facts.

Finally, nobody is enforcing anybody to ‘inhale smoke’. Breathing smoky air is not inhaling smoke in concentrations comparable to the smoke inhaled by a smoker. In many pertinent situations, we are dealing with large, nearly empty bars, where one smoker will no longer be able to get a quiet drink and smoke. But even in busy smoking environments there is a large distinction between the amounts of smoke that smokers.

This is quite a long document and this was my first reaction to it. Thanks very much, Princess, for supplying this link.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Blaggarde on Nov 17th, 2005 at 6:26am
The state has a duty to cater for all citizens equally. At a very minimum this implies preserving smoker-friendly venues for adults smokers (or anyone else) who desire such places, in addition to ensuring non-smoking venues for those who desire non-smoking venues. That is, of course, predicated on the very dubious idea that the state has any right to engage in social engineering in the first place, because that is what this law is. In any event, such an outcome would preserve the primacy of individual choice, including the freedoms and responsibilities associated (up to now) with such adult choice concerning a legal product in a free country.

Snooks, I laughed out loud reading your declaration that you are NOT anti-social, when you would have it that over one third of the adult population be effectively banned from normal everyday social intercourse. The most up-to-date research on sea-moving is also well documented. Canute says no.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by snooks on Nov 17th, 2005 at 2:06pm
Well, luckily for me, Jack McConnell Says yes.

Smokers aren't "banned" from social interaction any more than heroin addicts or the uncontrollably flatulent (both of whom are arguably more worthy of sympathy than the smoker).

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Blaggarde on Nov 18th, 2005 at 2:22am
Well that adds up. One small mind engaged in a total abuse of political power, backed up by an equally small mind on an ego trip the size of Ayrshire.

Have no doubts about it, smokers are being banned under this proposed law. Smokers smoke. If they continue to do so in their local pub, then by the diktat of the first minister, they will be criminalised, fined and possibly jailed for using a legal product in a so-called free country.

There is an urgent need for right-thinking people (smoker and non-smoker alike) to come together on this issue and strongly voice their opinion, before ordinary decent law-abiding and worthy citizens are permanently excluded under the law.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Nov 19th, 2005 at 8:45pm
Snooks - who is asking for anyone to have sympathy for  smokers? This is a conversation about the law!

As for the situation south of the border, a report in the last couple of days tells us that a number of rebel MPs have signed a commons motion to overturn the partial ban on smoking into a total ban. There are various justifications for doing this, but one of these is the pressure from parts of the community, including some of the licensed trade, to make the ban a 'level playing field'.

It should alarm everybody that people are thus reduced to being players in some economic game of fair competition between pubs and clubs. In this scenario their independent rights as citizens are not even considered. It is only their situation as consumers that gives them any significance. This is not good law. Even those who don't that smokers have any rights should be aware that citizens have rights, and the law should not be framed only around the principles of 'fair' competition.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Blad on Nov 20th, 2005 at 7:16am
It's very interesting to read the posts placed by Snooks because they show how well the anti-smoker lobby have done their work.  I refer specifically to the degree of venom that comes across in those posts, accompanied in addition by such righteous indigantion.  This is not attractive nor conducive to rational debate amongst civilised human beings.

Moreover, as someone who undertakes a significant amount of legal work himself, such an approach cannot be considered objective.  

It is this objectivity that I wish to highlight for there are many issues at stake here.  To begin with, despite the reports of the popular press and despite the assertions of many medical professionals, it is also the case that the foundation on which smoke bans are built is that which claims that second hand smoke, or to give it its more professional title, environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), in the quantities that we normally experience it, is a deadly toxic substance.  This is highly debatable and there are many reasons for saying this based on the careful scrutiny of reports which  appear to be not as accurate in their findings as their authors might wish to claim.  In fact there is a growing body of opinion that questions these claims.

Now for the purposes of brevity, it is not my intention at this point in time to go into this, but, if these claims about ETS are truly unfounded, then the removal of human freedoms on the back of them would not be just.

Simultaneously, we must consider personal likes and dislikes, but things should not be banned simply because some people do not like them.  Normally we would all recognise this and instead of seeking to ban something, look for sensible compromises and accomodations.

With regard to the claims about ETS which seem to grow more fantastic by the day so that even the most unimaginative become skeptical, this next 12 months will prove very interesting indeed as the public at large becomes more aware of the issues involved.  This is now inevitable due to the vast increase in pro-choice advocates, many of whom are well resourced and well studied.  And, whether you agree with their assertions or not, what is now of paramount importance is that the whole debate becomes truly public (which it has not been so far) in order that the everybody is finally placed in the position to make up their minds in a calm and rational manner, armed with all the facts and details as opposed to the rather limited knowledge which we all possess at the present.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by snooks on Nov 21st, 2005 at 2:08pm
How can I be objective about something that causes me harm! It's like asking turkeys to be objective about Christmas. Self-aware turkeys. You expect everyone to be a fence-sitter who will happily go along with whoever shouts the loudest and spouts the greatest volume of meaningless "research" , but non-smokers are increasingly sick of being marginalised.

Gosh, though, am ever so glad that you warned me that my "venom" is "unattractive". Better shut my mouth lest the boys don't fancy me. Pah.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Nov 21st, 2005 at 5:13pm
Dear Snooks

Objectivity is absolutely to be expected from the only professional lawyer in a discussion about the law.

What do you mean, non-smokers are sick of being marginalised? I am a non-smoker and do not feel in the least marginalised by smokers. Smokers are about to be subject to criminal penalties, if they smoke in public places.

You said there were no non-smoking pubs in Edinburgh and when told where they were you said they were not catering for your section of the market (young professionals). It seems to me you are margainalising yourself by expecting a small niche market to dominate every pub.

Title: To Snooks Regarding Smoking Bans
Post by Blad on Nov 24th, 2005 at 1:10am
Snooks, with regard to your post of November 21st, I am sorry if you took it that I was suggesting that you were not attractive to the boys, as I'm sure you have lots of boyfriends.  I also just loved the "Pah" at the end of your post, for you must have been a real star of the drama at school.

However, and joking apart, you stated that you cannot be objective about something that causes you harm.  By that, I take it you mean second hand smoke.  However, how do you know it is doing you harm?

No doubt you may reply because you have been informed of such by sections of the press and medical opinion.  But, how do you know this is right and what proper research have you undertaken?

For instance, there is absolutely no excuse for a Scottish lawyer with an interest in smoking issues not to be familiar with the McTear case.  It is located here at:

Part of what was revealed during this case was that Sir Richard Doll never actually proved that primary smoking causes lung cancer. What Doll demonstrated was that there was a statistical correlation between smoking and lung cancer, but that is not proof. Proof requires the demonstration of a clear biological pathway which is much more than a statistical correlation.

Secondly, you should perhaps look at the trial transcript of the 1998 Federal Court case regarding the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  This is obtainable here:

The outcome of this landmark case was that Judge Osteen decreed that the EPA strike out two key clauses from its report, these being:

1) that 3,000 Americans die each year from second hand smoke (ETS), and
2) that ETS is a class A carcinogen.

Next, you might care to look at the Australian Federal Court's decision whereby The Australian National Health & Medical Research Council was taken to task by the tobacco industry for deliberately suppressing scientific evidence.  Justice Finn's findings were eloquent.  He made subsequent orders that the recommendations contained in the draft report on the estimated costs to the community of passive smoking, and for the elimination of environmental tobacco smoke in public places, to be taken out, as those recommendations could not be inferred from the evidence contained in the report.  This document is available here:

Finally, you might like to check out some of the work of Michael Fumento, a non-smoking advocate who has regularly criticised the claims made about ETS.

Fumento's profile is obtainable here:

and one of his articles here:

The problem with your current approach to this issue, Snooks, is that you are not well researched and there is far more data than I can offer that penetrates the heart of many of the claims made about ETS.  Yes, the emotive and rhetorically powerful approach might work in some legal circuses, but it would not work against an opponent well schooled in both sides of the debate.  Under such circumstances you would probably find yourself in the ignominious position of being used to wipe the floor.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Nov 30th, 2005 at 4:56am
As I understand it European human rights law declares a right of free association except in cases where public health or safety are endangered.

RFM said, 'Personal rights come into effect when the government is unable to show a compelling government interest which appears to conflict with that individual's pursuit of whatever they deem to be their personal rights or freedoms' (November 12). Is that what people understand to be the purpose of government ... to restrict what people might recognise as 'fundamental human rights' in the public interest? This seems to suggest a model of government that is more authoritarian than we might expect in a representative democracy.

It should be the case that in a representative democracy, anybody should have the chance to be elected to represent the people. I am not suggesting that the MSPs who voted for the ban were all non-smokers, indeed I know this is not the case. But we have a situation where a people who are supposedly all able to handle the responsiblities of representative government, either as representatives or as voters, are so infantilized that like wayward children they have to be told that their smoke harms other people or that other people's smoking will harm them. At a time when other minorities are gaining ground in many areas, smokers may well find themselves out of favour if they can't accept the concensus on so-called passive smoking. How does this affect the law in practice? In some parts of USA I believe you can't be a juror unless you support the death penalty, quite clearly because if your conviction was strong you would not agree with a guilty verdict on the grounds that the penalty would be death, regardless of the evidence. You need an ideological commitment to the law as it stands before you can participate in the judicial system.

This is one kind of pressure that can lead to discrimination against smokers. They are, however, citizens and the jury is still out on 'passive smoking'.

This is getting into the realms of social policy and politics, as well as law.

What is actually to protect the rights of Scottish people in these areas, since in devolved areas we have no 'second chamber', or 'law lords' - have we? An American smoking discussion I encountered months ago was full of references to their Bill of Rights. I am not aware that we have anything like this either.

Incidentally, it does actually worry me that there are lawyers around like Snooks. If somebody were arrested for battering someone senseless with a baseball bat, while smoking on a park bench, Snooks would bang him up for smoking and drop the battery charges as smoking in public would amount to sufficient 'criminal assault' to merit incarceration???? (I know she is not a judge yet.)

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by snooks on Dec 1st, 2005 at 2:20pm
Don't be an idiot, Belinda. Self defence has to be proportionate to the threat encountered. I probably wouldn't "bang someone up" for hocking a loogie on said smoker, though.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Dec 1st, 2005 at 2:53pm
Sorry Snooks, didn't word that very well. I meant that the attacker was smoking on a park bench when arrested. Sorry again but I don't know the what 'hocking a loogie' is either. Belt round the ear? Does that mean assault on smokers is justified? What happened to equality before the law?

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by snooks on Dec 1st, 2005 at 6:42pm
It means spitting on them. But not a clean spit.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Dec 1st, 2005 at 7:32pm
Thanks. Hope you wouldn't bang somebody up for spitting on anybody!

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by snooks on Dec 2nd, 2005 at 2:58pm
Why not? Spitting is filthy and the sort of person who spits at strangers usually has all manner of disease.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Dec 2nd, 2005 at 4:09pm
I've no idea what the penalties are for anything like this. But you are obviously saying that smokers are fit targets to be treated in this appalling manner. What IS your concept of equality before the law? You don't really seem to have one!

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by alastair on Dec 2nd, 2005 at 7:09pm
Hello Belinda,
I think its a good idea if you give the details of the Enstrom report out on this site. Choice that is the main issue, giving choice of venues for both Smokers, Non Smokers & places for both Smokers & Tolerant Non Smokers, we are supposed to be in a democracy after all, adults should not be treated like children, they should be able to make their own decisions in life

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Princess Analia on Dec 2nd, 2005 at 7:58pm
Hi Alistair,

this is just a minor point.  While I agree with you about choice, I would be one of the ones who would choose not to be in a smoky environment.  This does not mean I'm intolerant - I'm just unsure of your use of the phrase "tolerant non-smokers."  Sorry if this seems rather picky but I don't want to be put in the category of "intolerant" I don't hate people who smoke!


Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by alastair on Dec 5th, 2005 at 1:47pm
Hello Princess A,
What I mean by tolerant Non Smokers  is people that dont smoke but really are not botherd at all by tobacco smoke and have smoking freinds and do not mind going to smoking environments with them.



Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Dec 7th, 2005 at 12:42am
The Enstrom and Kabat report can be easily reached by entering their names with 'BMJ' and 2003 in a search engine. It is worth reading because of the conclusion and the rapid responses and the kind of remarks that are made. The editor also justifies his publication of the article. The issue of publication bias is an interesting one. Anyway you have all been talking about it in the pages of the Publican!

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by RFM on Dec 7th, 2005 at 5:50am
Hi Belinda;
 I was trying to state the general rule of law applied in those instances where government is compelled to act through its representatives and those actions intrude on the claims of the citizen to be free of such governmental interference. The paradox of democracy is that we generally form government to handle those responsibilities that are beyond the resources or abilities of the individual or even a few individuals. As you point out quite well even though this is a delegated responsibility ( and can therefore be modified or even taken away) government often moves into the realm of trying to govern matters it should stay out of, such as morals or taste. Ideally the combined wisdom of the legislators will prevent or retard attempts to govern preferences but often not. It is therefore the role of an independent legal system to strike the balance between  the freedom of the citizen and the needs of the community. To do this the system propounds rules.
  If you consider however the notion of priority because government like the rest of us operates with limited time and resources, and among the really serious problems facing all of us today, smoking is not very high on the list of serious issues.
By the way don't be so hard on Snooky; you both seem to share more in common than in difference.
Best regards,

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Dec 7th, 2005 at 3:23pm
Hello RFM

That is interesting. Do you know why it is that we have no 'second chamber' in Scotland to act as a check on the Parliament? Since the government majority was so strong you would have thought there would be a strong case for it.

Snooks and I have a belligerent approach to each other and I blame myself for this to an extent since I went right on the offensive as soon as she started posting. But I do find her attitude puzzling, since she denounces smokers so whole-heartedly. It would be entirely unPC to make the same kinds of generalisations about women, black people, gays or whatever you like that she makes about smokers ('selfish and anti-social' for example). Even people who make reprehensible choices in life, like the criminal fraternity, are a diverse bunch and can't all be painted with the same broad brush. Far from being selfish and anti-social (we are all this to some extent anyway) some of the smokers I know have gone to extraordinary lengths to demonstrate their commitment to others, to their families and for the good of their communities.  Many of the friends I have had for longest are smokers.

Anyway I apologiise for any unpleasantness, Snooks, but I would like to understand your extreme aversion to smoke. Incidentally do you know what distinguishes cigarette smoke from any other kind of smoke? Or can anybody else help with this?

Leaving Snooks aside for the moment, if you start from the assumption that government has an obligation to provide for all its citizens equally, I don't recall any smoking fraternity urging the government to impose punitive sanctions on non-smokers or even anti-smokers, that might ultimately lead to imprisonment for breach of a court order. This is quite extreme, since smokers have their rights, responsibilities, dependents and so on.

Any politician who calls this 'just a health issue', as many MSPs did when I wrote to them, is being quite naive. Nothing is that simple and the threat of criminal sanctions is the first thing that will make it far more than a health issue.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by RFM on Dec 8th, 2005 at 5:45am
Yes Belinda;
No need to apologize. My observation is that both of you are very adept and skilled at forensic debate. As for smoking, first some factual background.
Anybody who does not know that smoking causes serious harm to the user, including premature death, is simply not very bright. The people who are attracted to smoking are really the victims of a very sophisticated and expensive campaign by Madison Avenue, mainly the young and adolecents who are struggling with the problems of self esteem, maturity, identity and social acceptance. They have been for many years and still are being conned into using a very health deleterious product that is promoted by manipulating those insecurities. Somewhere  later on when they reach their fourties, if they survive, they will have a clearer understanding about cancer and what it really does to people. From the seller's viewpoint that means a large market of willing buyers for at least 20-30 years. The real legal question people ought to be asking is given what we know and what the manufacturers have done and are still doing, why is it not outlawed outright like arsenic or heroin? The sad answer is that too many people make a lot of money from it and I mean a lot. For instance consider the American tobacco litigation which has cost the tobacco companies hundreds of millions if not somewhere in the range of billions of dollars. That  cost has not even caused a small dent in their profit margins. They have simply redirected their marketing efforts to other countries and I'll let you guess which ones the next time you walk down the street in any large city in Scotland. Is costs less than $0.10 to make a pack of twenty cigarettes in USA. People pay about $4-$5 per pack. It is federal, state and local government that gets the rest., including the local merchant who actually does the selling. There also exists an large federal government agency to police the manufacture and tax on cigarettes and it is second only to the FBI in size. So does each state in America as well by the way.
Against that background you wish to raise the issue of some sort of civil or human right to annoy at least, frighten at most, those people who know and understand exactly what tobacco is all about and don't want to be bothered with it? Like Terry Schaivo and abortion some people simply like to concern themselves with silly issues that have no real meaning.; I suppose as a way to avoid discussion of the real problems that beset them, like poverty, lack of health care, unemployment, corruption in government the AIDS epidemic, etc. But you should reconize that your considerable (and Snooky's) intellectual skills would much better serve your country if they were more advantageously directed.
Peace and goodwill to all,

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Dec 8th, 2005 at 2:16pm
Dear RFM

The government is attacking an entire section of the UK population for using a product that is associated with poverty and ill health. It gets money from the sale of this product, and money from duties. It is the government, not citizens like me, who are getting the emphasis wrong as far as the relative importance of other things like poverty is concerned. If they want to reduce the impact of poverty on their citizens they should not threaten them with punitive measures for wanting to maintain their social relations in public. That is a right that should be open to everybody, not just those who happen to be PC enough not to smoke.

I don't condone smoking but your figures are overblown. Two-thirds of people survive to over 75 years of age in the UK. It may well be that the other third is entirely made up of smokers but I have doubts about this. The major killer associated with tobacco is lung cancer, and the deaths from this really kick in in the middle 50s to middle 60s, so surviving to the 40s is commonplace rather than otherwise. I agree that even the 50s is much too young to die, and so I am not denying that tobacco is a problem but the problem should be stated as it is. Basically I think people have enough difficulties in everyday life without frightening them with needless exaggeration.

It should be fairly obvious that it is against everybody's interests to criminalise tobacco use outright. Tobacco dealers are not going to go away. I am not aware that tobacco consumption is associated with uncontrolled spending, hence increased crime, in the way that illegal drugs are. It does not have the same mind-altering qualities as many drugs that are illegal. People who 'know what tobacco is about' are hiding their heads in the sand if they insist that fear and banning things is the only correct response. The reason that tobacco is tolerated is not only money. It is because if it were banned, it would be more dangerous to buy, sell and use it. It is not going to go away.

Social contact is an absolute lifeline, especially for people in difficult circumstances, and to say this is a trivial matter is just not true. In the meantime people are exposed to airport extensions, more roads and limitless sources of other pollution because of the need to maintain infrastructure. The end result of this is increasing international insecurity as fuel resources become scarcer. Quite frankly the government has better things to do than create policies based on fear and making everyday conditions more difficult for its citizens than they are already.

Title: Re Smoking Ban:Passive Smoking Doesn't Cause Cance
Post by BillGee on Dec 8th, 2005 at 3:15pm
Passive Smoking Doesn't Cause Cancer - Official
UK Sunday Telegraph...
Byline: Victoria MacDonald, Health Correspondent

The world's leading health organization has withheld from publication a study which shows that not only might there be no link between passive smoking and lung cancer but that it could even have a protective effect. The astounding results are set to throw wide open the debate on passive smoking health risks.
The World Health Organization, which commissioned the 12-centre, seven-country European study has failed to make the findings public, and has instead produced only a summary of the results in an internal report. Despite repeated approaches, nobody at the WHO headquarters in Geneva would comment on the findings last week.
The findings are certain to be an embarrassment to the WHO, which has spent years and vast sums on anti-smoking and anti-tobacco campaigns. The study is one of the largest ever to look at the link between passive smoking - inhaling other people's smoke - and lung cancer, and had been eagerly awaited by medical experts and campaigning groups. Yet the scientists have found that there was no statistical evidence that passive smoking caused lung cancer.
The research compared 650 lung cancer patients with 1,542 healthy people. It looked at people who were married to smokers, worked with smokers, both worked and were married to smokers, and those who grew up with smokers. The results are consistent with there being no additional risk for a person living or working with a smoker and could be consistent with passive smoke having a protective effect against lung cancer.
The summary, seen by The Sunday Telegraph, also states: "There was no association between lung cancer risk and ETS exposure during childhood." A spokesman for Action on Smoking and Health said the findings "seem rather surprising given the evidence from other major reviews on the subject which have shown a clear association between passive smoking and a number of diseases."
Dr Chris Proctor, head of science for BAT Industries, the tobacco group, said the findings had to be taken seriously. "If this study cannot find any statistically valid risk you have to ask if there can be any risk at all. "It confirms what we and many other scientists have long believed, that while smoking in public may be annoying to some non-smokers, the science does not show that being around a smoker is a lung-cancer risk."

So now we have the truth at long last.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Dec 8th, 2005 at 4:20pm
'... in law any increase in relative risk is considered a causal association. Because passive smoking might cause pulmonary or cardiovascular disease is interpreted,for legal purposes in court, that it did'

This is from the pages of the BMJ (rapid responses to report by Enstrom and Kabat, 2003). I would be interested in reactions to this especially from the legal community. Never mind 'absolute' proof, or 'on the balance of probability': the slightest risk constitutes proof in a court of law?


Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by alastair on Dec 9th, 2005 at 1:32am
I was very interested to see the previous post by Mr bee gee, who can argue with this. I am south of the border and really do feel sorry for you scots  :( You must fight this draconian law that has been rail roaded into Scotland, the majority of people really do not want this legislation.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Freia on Dec 9th, 2005 at 8:15pm
Can't for the life of me see how a smoking ban in public places affects people's right of assembly. There is no impediment to rightful assembly. The idea that some folk need a f*g in order to assemble is like saying that comfy sofas should be provided, or else some categories of the public will be 'prevented' from rightful assembly... the f*g, like the comfy sofa, is an amenity which is voluntary on the part of the smoker/sitter and not essential to their assembly. It is quite different with wheelchair access, though even here, the person could presumably be carried into the premises if need be. But providing access would be a courtesy to this type of customer. Plus, why do people have to rightfully assemble in a pub? What's wrong with a car park? The rights of assembly relate to topic of discussion not the amenity under which public forums operate. ::)

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Dec 10th, 2005 at 2:31am
I think we are thinking about this in different ways! I am thinking that people will be deprived of their social contacts as a result of the legislation, and also the autonomy to decide how people will behave in social situations. In public places, there will always be the spectre of an environmental officer haunting their social interactions.

For me the starting point is that tobacco is a legal product and its use should be allowed unless the demands of etiquette dictate otherwise. This can only be decided on a case-by-case basis and not by government for everybody.

What do you mean that rights of assembly ‘relate to topic of discussion’? Don’t they relate with people’s decision that they want to be together, even if just for a social purpose? Technically you are right that it does not  refer to any specific public amenity. But we are generally talking aren’t we about social contacts and opportunities, not a meeting about a motorway extension. Nobody wants to pursue social relations in a car park rather than over a pint or a coffee (or a meal).

Four weeks ago we were in a pub playing cribbage: six smokers and myself. The pub was enormous and we were some distance from the exit – it was winter. I had actually no objection to any of smokers smoking during games or when they were sitting out. The nearest bar staff were nearly 30 yards away. What is going to be improved by sending one of our middle-aged-to-elderly group outside every so often to smoke on a winter’s night? It is ignoring the fact that all we wanted was a game over a drink: they had no problems, the landlord had no problems, I had no problems. This is ‘association’ at a more basic level than the political freedoms we are more used to campaigning for with the likes of Amnesty International. Groups of friends and families have to sit at home if they want to smoke and this makes social life poorer for those with limited space at home, or whose family lives are not comfortable.

Finally I don’t see a parallel between a cigarette and a sofa! i.e. people bring their own cigarettes.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by RFM on Dec 10th, 2005 at 7:58am
Hi Belinda,
You might want to review a little of the American tobacco litigation discovery which is generally available on the web at the site
For the past sixty years or so the tobacco companies  (the largest are in America and have been since colonal days) have gone to unusual lengths to suppress medical data concerning the terrible health problems that tobacco use invariably brings to a human, sooner more often than later. In some cases prestigious physicians were handsomely paid to "find" no scientific evidence that smoking was harmful. Yet when people would visit their family physician they were all told to stop smoking if they wanted to live. By the end of the 1950's people knew, without being told by a doctor that smoking was harmful,but since science did not know what caused cancer and  other than the fact that prominent public personalities who smoked were dying from cancer, there was reason enough for thoughtful people to figure it out themselves. Interestingly it still took over 50 years for enough people to realize they were simply being taken advantage of by a lucrative large business. Do people still smoke? Of course they do! Do people still ride motorcycles without helmets? Of course they do! Do people still experiment with potentially life threatening drugs? Of course they do! Do they pay the price for indulging their whims and fancies? Of course they do!
My adolescent daughter always used to argue that every person had a right to their own mistakes. That is true as long as the price for learning what everyone else knows to be true is paid only by that person. Unfortunately, we all have mothers, fathers, spouses, lovers, friends, relatives, people who depend on us and people who love us. Asking those people to bear the burden of the loss for something so trivial and stupid is simply dumb. My daughter is now older and thankfully sees a different world than the one she was looking at when she was 12.
So democracy means we all vote on an issue. We can all vote to be dumb or we can all vote for healthier, better lives. Step up and vote and be counted ladies and gentlemen; you may or may not live with the result.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Dec 10th, 2005 at 3:18pm
Thanks RFM

I may very well have a look at this issue from the point of view of the tobacco companies lying to us about the damage from smoke. But I don't actually believe smoking to be harmless anyway. Nor do I believe that it justifies this campaign to prove that tobacco smoke is lethal.

I agree with your daughter's wisdom of her earlier years, in that you can't actually learn from anything without making mistakes. And that is what our loved ones have to cope with, as we accept that they all have a steep learning curve in life. If everything were very simple, for if smoking were the only danger in life, I would agree with you that it would be far better not to smoke. But I read that non-smokers who are exposed to tobacco smoke get lung cancer at the rate of 2 in 100,000; and smokers at about 142 in 100,000. But getting assaulted at work is more common: 900 in 100,000 cases, going up to 1,700 if you include threats. This does not include industrial accident. So you can see that in the lives of many people, far more frightening things might happen tomorrow at work, than are likely in the next two or three decades as a result of smoking.

There is no point in saying that because other people depend on us we have no right to do anything anyone might regard as reprehensible. We can't please all of the people all of the time, and at times there are conflicting demands on our time and loyalties. Smoking is only one of the things at issue, but it is something around which much valuable social interaction hinges. If you ban smoking you will demoralise many people who deserve better. None of us is perfect.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by RFM on Dec 11th, 2005 at 2:25am
Hi Belinda,
Yes smoking certainly seems to be a kind of social exchange and sharing of sorts. I've noticed that when smokers get together they tend to smoke more frequently. The same thing is true about drinkers though. The question that needs to be asked is whether it is possible to enjoy the company of others socially without tobacco. For many years for example alcohol has been a social problem among many members of society. If what I read in the online Scots newspapers is true it certainly is in Scotland as well as in America. Surely nobody would contend that social gathering and celebration  is impossible without alcohol? Some people might contend that alcohol is a social lubricant and taken in moderation adds to social conviviality. That's true but when taken to excess, and that is indeed a very fine line, it makes things ugly. The distinction we make about alcohol, even though harmful, is that it is imperative to avoid addiction at all costs. That is not so about tobacco. In fact I notice that all of the discussion about smoking is much like a discussion with an alcoholic, there are no rational arguments put forward in support and argument in favor adopts the basic "I don't believe it" or "It can't hurt me" line the alcoholic relies on for justification.
My observation about our relationships with others conferring responsibility is a bedrock standard as any married person knows. Whether we please others is  not the issue, we find we have a responsibility to take care of them. Our parents find themselves with the same responsibility which often extends long beyond childhood and adolescence. The same with other people in our lives. While we all face a number of dangers just getting out of bed in the morning and going to work or school, there is no intelligent reason to gratuitously increase the risks we all face on a daily basis. The insurance companies put it best, taking risk deserves compensation and taking risk without compensation is for the fool. If there is any compensation in taking needless, unnecessary risk, such as smoking, I for one am unable to see it.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Dec 11th, 2005 at 8:03pm

I think it is a fact that people take different views of what risks are acceptable and proportionate to get by. Not only they are entitled to take different views, the differences are inevitable given people's different conditions and circumstances. It is more dangerous for some people than others to cross roads. I used to go scrambling in the hills with a friend who had epilepsy. People are entitled to come to different conclusions about risks.

I don't see why it is necessary to ask if it is 'possible to enjoy the company of people socially without tobacco'. Of course it is easy for some people, less easy for others. The ban will make some people make more effort in that direction, but I expect that the majority find that everyday pressures (not to speak of resentment of the ban itself) will render this more effort than it is worth and make their social arrangements in their homes.

I am not sure what you mean by smokers smoking more when in the company of other smokers. Surely (as with drink) smoking is a social activity that people do together in their leisure hours, more than when they are working in offices or wherever during the day. Furthermore how on earth can you know how smokers behave when they are by themselves. It may well be that smokers smoke more when alone. Maybe when they smoke and drink together they smoke less, and drink less, than if they were undertaking either activity by itself. I have not measured this. But I feel that stopping smoking in pubs will fuel alcohol abuse because smokers will be more tense.

Not everybody is guided in life by doctors and health authorities: many people follow their peers and relatives in their life decisions. Not everybody gets the same enlightened advice from the people they look up to. Everybody is entitled to fall and recover. Everybody is warned not to do things, and sometimes they go against advice and are glad they have done so. Some of us follow advice and regret it. Just because there is a lot of public advice about smoking does not make it a very important issue relative to other issues in people's lives.

What about 'to err is human; to forgive, divine'? What happened to compassion and humility in this debate? Who is the government to decide how their electors should go about their social relationships?

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by RFM on Dec 13th, 2005 at 5:40am
Hi Belinda.
I guess I have a small confession to make. I too was once a smoker. I enjoyed it very much until I learned what it could do to me. My observation about smokers smoking more comes from some collective experiences and I am sure that most smokers would agree.
 When I entered this discussion I made the observation that government has the right and the duty to do those things for its citizens that citizens can not do for themselves very well or efficiently. Public health is one of those things. For instance the Church in the 19th century opposed small pox vaccination because it interferred with God's will. Yet history has several grim examples of what happens when plague and communicable disease runs unchecked. Cancer is not the most virulent killer around, but it is when you get it and it is one disease that changing your lifestyle can do something to prevent.
Most lawyers know that when there is disagreement about societal values, the group that is able to attain political prominence or power will adopt laws that give their values and choices the force of law. That is a crude definition of democracy if you will. The problem becomes what of the differing or competing values of the minority? Ideally an independent legal system scrutinizes those competing choices against the the expressed will of the majority using certain legally defined rules. For instance black American citizens were denied their right to vote or hold public office for over 200 years in America. It was not until 1964 that Congress finally enacted laws giving them the right to vote and a President turned up who was willing to enforce that right did it have any meaning. The former Chief Justice William Renquist was one of the Justice Department lawyers who worked very hard to overturn  racial integration and civil rights. Today most black Americans vote without a second thought, but witness the past two American elections in Florida and Ohio where charges of a more sophisticated black voter disenfranchisement are being raised.
The moral of the story is that if public opinion is strong enough people will generally continue to do what they want. Cancer is like good health in general, that is you don't really know what you have until you lose it.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by alastair on Dec 16th, 2005 at 2:57am
Hello RFM,
This is about Freedom of choice. What is wrong with having venues for everyone to choose from. There are still a lot of Smokers out there so throwing them all out on the streests is not helping anyone, if anything it is only going to cause trouble, can no body see that, the worst hit places are going to be Wet lead Pubs and Labour clubs etc, wake up everyone a blanket ban is NO GOOD, Why oh Why does it have to be Total. ASH is certainly getting a grip of people. I blame the Irish for starting this Draconian law in the first place.....

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Dec 16th, 2005 at 7:42am

Please tell us what you know about THE LAW that will help you defend your position, that it is better for people to be able to choose, than have choices made for them.

I think choice is more a political issue and I would love to start a discussion in a political arena. However here we need to think whether the available evidence justifies this legislation and whether it is viable without scrutiny by an independent body of legislators since we don't have a second chamber in Scotland.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by RFM on Dec 18th, 2005 at 3:30am
Hi Alasdair.
Democracy in its ideal form is that form of government which grants all freedom to the citizen to do whatever he or she might choose, without impinging on the rights or freedoms of other citizens. As Justice O.W. Holmes put it. your right to swing your fists about stops at the end of my nose. You certainly could argue with a great deal of merit that the right to smoke in a public place is not necessarily exclusive of the right not to be bothered or made ill by "second hand " smoke. That is an issue that requires the establishment owners to provide segregated seating areas however. That entails expense. Personally I have always thought it to be a very short-sighted policy by the tobacco industry not to offer the establishment owners some compensation for doing so, but, profit we must.
  As Belinda notes quite correctly there appears to be no direct, second legislative body or chamber in Scotland under the current scheme of things, to impose an additional check on legislation, but it is not clear at all that a second body, particularly one not chosen by popular vote, would do that anyway. Such second chambers are often populated with the upper and ruling classes and the vested interests. Look at America and its Senate for an example and that body is chosen by direct ballot. Worse still they rarely see themselves as responsible to a general electorate as representatives from defined geographic districts do.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Dec 18th, 2005 at 2:15pm
I agree that the business of a second chamber is a difficult one for the reasons that you mention, RFM. People are quite ambivalent about them because the best way to select who these people should be is never resolved to everybody's satisfaction. As you say they have been traditionally bound up with conservative interests. I guess that is in nature of any kind of power.

Off the top of my head I can't think of much legislation where the two chambers have not been able to reconcile their differences. However, if there is one body of legislators where one particular political party is dominant, they can pass whatever legislation they feel like. A small country where the economy is particularly vulnerable to the power of investment and jobs is vulnerable to powerful interest groups who can put a lot of pressure on legislators. This can mean that ordinary voters get forgotten if they don't speak the language of the professional middle class. In this situation a second chamber might be helpful simply because they are not in the first line of fire of the lobbyists and may get the chance to exercise a wider view. They are also not part of the same system of political horse trading that goes on in the world of politics. (But of course they are still part of the same power structure but I guess we are stuck with that.)

Legislation can be passed for reasons that are not sensible but as a result of pressure from lobbyists. An example of this in England is the motion that some MPs are trying to push in order to outlaw smoking everywhere as in Scotland and Ireland. This is because it is supposedly 'fairer' if everybody is trading on the same footing. All the civil rights implications, and the critical point that many of us do not even accept that second hand smoke is not even dangerous, are ignored in this situation. Also missed is the point that private clubs are not trading for profit, and the issue of trading is not relevant if you are concerned about the effects of second-hand smoke.

I am still sure, by the way, that a comprehensive view of the research on second-hand smoke would reveal that the supposed danger is not borne out in the mortality figures.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by alastair on Dec 19th, 2005 at 1:39pm
Todays breaking news. Extensive research now released that a full Smoking ban will put Children more at risk due to more people especially poorer parents Smoking in the home because they will not bother going out to Pubs and Cafes etc if a ban comes in.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Princess Analia on Dec 19th, 2005 at 8:32pm
That argument rather contradicts the point that a lot of people on this forum have made about second hand smoke not being dangerous does it not?

As regards the second chamber point, the House of Lords can only delay legislation that they do not agree with.  They cannot block it, the bill may be passed using the authority of the Parliament Act 1911, as amended by the Parliament Act 1949 without the House of Lords consent.  

Another point is that before this legislation was passed in Scotland, there was massive public consulatation on the matter.  How many of you filled in the questionnaire? I did!  It was open to everyone in the country to do so, if no-one had wanted this legislation to be passed, this would have come out in the consultation.  

I have stated on here before that I do agree with freedom of choice.  It is true that we have gone from a  situation where there is little or no choice for non smokers who do not wish to be in smoky atmospheres, to one where there is no choice for smokers.  After listening to all of the opinions on here, it is my view that this situation is perhaps no better now than it was before.  

I agree wholeheartedly that people should smoke if they want to and that they should also be able to do this in public to the extent that there are also places that non smokers can go.  

As a footnote, I was speaking to my GP this morning and he told me that he would ban smoking all together!  Unfortunately, that's what you guys seem to be up against!

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Dec 19th, 2005 at 10:54pm
Princess, you are quite right that there are difficulties with this argument for us: that 'smokers will stay at home and endanger the children'. I have not used it myself since I started doubting the evidence that second-hand smoke is dangerous. But so ingrained is the belief that it is dangerous, that any report like the one Alastair mentions will get a lot of attention. Indeed it was on the radio this morning.

A woman was speaking of research from Australia, Canada and Ireland that apparently discovered that parents subjected to a ban dutifully desist from smoking in front of their kids because they become more aware of potential damage. I treat all this with a fairly large pinch of salt because I am a little bit cynical about the idea that people usually go along with what the authoriities say is good for them.

Faced with a family of four who can't get through Sunday lunchtime without parents having a smoke, I fail to see why it is better that they are forced on their own company at home, rather than getting out and about, perhaps meeting up with friends or family, all too probably in a room in a bar or restaurant that may have more smokers in it but is actually much bigger. I do know of people who don't go out in Ireland any more, and I do think it likely that in the new conditions many people will be forced on their own company more.

I really think that some people don't appreciate the importance that 'togetherness' has for people. This three-drinks-a-night proposal does not deal effectively with the idea that people go out together, buy drinks together, fail to meet up on time for each other, and can go on to the next bar (if they live in cities). Pub traders deprived of their income from smokers are not likely to take kindly to the idea that they have to limit their sales to drinkers: beyond what they already do when people are clearly over the limit.

Does the House of Lords have any power to propose amendments? I know nothing of the constitutional rules at all really. Any delay to this piece of legislation would be helpful!

I filled in the Consultation too and it came out on the radio that well over half of those answering the consultation did not support the inclusion of pubs and clubs. It is not the case that the Executive is carrying out 'the will of the people': far from it.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Cantiloper on Dec 20th, 2005 at 9:08pm
RFM wrote: "The same thing is true about drinkers though. The question that needs to be asked is whether it is possible to enjoy the company of others socially without tobacco."

It's quite possible.  I have a friend who is uncomfortable with smoking for reasons not his own fault at all and I generally refrain for hours while hanging out with him at local pubs.  I also manage quite comfortably not smoking during plane flights or at the movies.  These are situations where I am either refraining by my own choice or where such refraining seems to reasonable.

The difficulty lies not in the act of refraining but in the resentment at being singled out and having an enjoyable and harmless (at least to others in any real sense of the word when we're talking reasonably well-ventilated bars/pubs) activity limited and frowned upon.

Picture if, as part of your main social life, you were out with your friends for dinner, most of whom were teetotalers, several nights a week, and you and two of those friends used to split a bottle of nice wine at the end of the meal over conversation.   Now picture if suddenly, for no good reason, the government stepped in as part of a campaign to reduce alcohol consumption, and decreed that you'd have to get up from the group and stand outside while drinking your wine.  They might even set up a little shelf outside for you to leave your wine glasses on between sippings so that you could wander back in a rejoin your companions intermittently.

Think about how you might feel about the government taking the power to do that to your social evenings and think about the resentment you might feel toward both that government and toward the people who pushed for that regulation.  

It's the resentment, at least as much as any "nicotine addiction" that comes into play here.   Of course the standard Antismoker response is that "your wine isn't hurting my health."

Unfortunately that's not true.  You could argue that it's not hurting it as much, but since ethyl alcohol is a Class A Carcinogen (i.e. a "known human carcinogen) for which "there is no known safe level of exposure" (the same as sunshine and tobacco smoke) the wine drinker is indeed conceivably hurting your health.

For more on this idea see the BMJ response from me at:

So there would indeed be grounds for "simply asking the winos to step outside for a while" but I can assure you that many of those tipplers would resent the treatment enough that it would spoil a good bit of their evenings and reduce the number of nights they spent out with their friends.

And *that* is social and personal damage.

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Dec 27th, 2005 at 9:51pm

is there any reason why you selected martini in your contribution above? Or would any drink do the same?


I expect you saw the reporting of the guidelines issued to care authorities advising the setting up of smokers' registers and sending out letters to smokers asking them to refrain from smoking for up to an hour before receiving routine visits from council staff. I don't know how the Herald reported it but the Scotsman went to town on it in the leader and on the front page.

The problem they saw was that a smoker might say no, and continue smoking, in which case staff who have been led to believe that they are at significant risk from second hand smoke might well feel they have a right to withhold their services. Actually withholding services from members of the community, including council tax payers and so on like the elderly awaiting meals on wheels is quite a serious business. (the editorial raised the possiblity of leaking pipes also but to be fair the guidelines don't apply to emergencies).

I feel this does go beyond what was passed in law. I've now read UNISON's answer to the consultation and feel that this might have had a large part in the idea of issuing advice to people in their own homes. Andy Kerr said in his defence in the Scotsman that people are not authorised to tell people not to smoke but doesn't explain how he digs himself out of the hole if lots of elderly people say they are going to continue smoking.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Dec 31st, 2005 at 5:15am
Also health and safety at work is not a devolved policy area, is it?

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Princess Analia on Dec 31st, 2005 at 8:59pm
Hi Belinda,

There are nearly always these kinds of issues in relation to  legislation.  It is impossible to legislate for every eventuality.  I can understand why people would be angry about being asked not to smoke in their own homes while health professionals or carers were attending to them. I can also see that things could get rather ridiculous if they were taken to extremes and I can understand the anxiety people may feel about this. In my own experience, it has simply never came up.  To be honest, people who have leg ulcers don't want to let the nurse see them smoking!  In all seriousness though, I've never had anyone smoke while I've been caring for them and I'm sure most patients would ask if they really wanted to do so and would respect the answer that they got.  I feel torn in two directions by this argument, on the one hand, I think people's choices should be respected and that state interference should not go too far.  On the other, I really dislike smoking for the horrendous illness it causes (and I mean for the smokers!) so I find it difficult not to welcome some policy decisions that make smoking less attractive to kids who may start and less accessible for people who already smoke.  But where do we draw the line??  I think that the executive is finding that difficult.  If you protect bar workers, how can you not protect health workers?  If I was pregnant, I wouldn't be delighted at attending a patient at home who was smoking. It's a hard one isn't it?  

As for employment law being a reserved matter, it is.  However, the legislation itself is not employment legislation.  It is health legislation which is not reserved.  The only health matters that are reserved are those in relation to genetics, xenotransplantation and abortion law etc.  I can see where you're coming from however since the lines appear to be blurred.  I'm no expert yet but it seems that this is why it is within the Scottish Parliaments powers.  Anyone else got any ideas?

Oh and happy new year to everyone!

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Jan 1st, 2006 at 12:21am

Just for information this is the final paragraph of UNISON's answer to the consultation.

'Unison Scotland support a ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces and not just in terms of the general health benefits to non-smokers but also with regard to the implcations on worker health and safety. With this in mind, UNISON Scotland believes that there should be further guidelines for staff who have to work in service users' homes (home carers and others) regarding their health and safety at work from ETS.'

I have not read the actual guidlines but it seems to me they were probably drawn up with 'workers' health and safety' in mind.

here's to a good 2006

Title: [b][/b][i][/i]Re: Smoking ban
Post by Blaggarde on Jan 6th, 2006 at 8:24am
The issue in this debate really centres around where and how to draw the line, when the State insists on a right of interference in the affairs of informed adult citizens.

The disturbing aspect of it is that there is no referee and it would appear that not even the hallowed legal profession can protect ordinary citizens, from a government determined to push through [any] legislation on the basis of flawed, unproven supposition.

The legislation as it stands is branded and packaged in a way designed to give the impression that the state is acting in everybody's best interests, but inbuilt is the de facto disenfranchisement of over one third of the electorate. People are not being informed that this is the case. That is a very discomfiting proposition indeed.

A further disturbing feature of the proposed legislation is that citizens of all persuasions, by permitting it to be passed, are agreeing to surrender freedoms in an unprecedented fashion. The question must arise "what or who will be next?".

Arguing the pros and cons of "smoke" at this point is almost irrelevant compared to the major, alarming and unprecedented developments about to take place. [State control over informed personal life choices]

I urge people to put aside disagreement and unite in defence of a very important First Principle - freedom. There are other ways of addressing divergent views on the smoking issue, but as RFM said recently in a different context, you do not know what you have lost until it is gone.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by alastair on Jan 6th, 2006 at 1:59pm
Hello and happy new year everyone.
I think the previous post hit the nail on the head. WHAT OR WHO WILL BE NEXT. Already in Scotland they have not only put a date on the Smoking ban in enclosed public places but now have moved on from that to cover some outdoor areas and then turn to drink and one source said that there should be a three drink limit per person, ladies & gentlemen if we allow this ban on Smoking to happen can you not all see where things are going.. Ban Ban Ban Ban. Government rules your life.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Annette on Jan 8th, 2006 at 12:42am
I am totally opposed to the ban as it is outlined on smoking in public places.

As far as smoking around food, I think in the main, those more considerate smokers tend not to do so for fear that it either annoys or is uncomfortable for others who are eating, of both the smoking and non-smoking fraternity.

I am a smoker, but I have many friends I visit who are not smokers.   I am quite happy and comfortable to visit them in their homes, and not have a cigarette until I reach my own home - there are many others like me.  Equally, I can enjoy an evening out without a cigarette, and some may be forgiven for thinking that perhaps I only smoke one or two a day - nothing could be farther from the truth.

I enjoy smoking, which is why I do it and  I shall continue to do so.

The question arises here, what about drunk peoople and drug addicts who pester and annoy one on evenings out?

I absolutely hate this, it has reached the stage where I won't even use the train after 5 or 6pm because of them.    Indeed, I don't think it is a wise for a woman travelling alone nowadays to use the train after that time.     This was said to me by a male friend, no less than 2 weeks ago.

Drunks and drug addicts, one could argue are not harming my health, perhaps this is so in a direct way.  However, they certainly upset, anger and annoy me.   They would certainly damage my health if I chose to argue with one who, for all I know, is carrying a weapon.

Sorry for the verbosity, it is a subject I feel very strongly about.

Before we know it, wheelchairs will be banned in certain places, drink will be totally banned in certain places, and drug addicts will not be allowed to wander the streets.

I use this to illustrate a point - where does it all end?

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Cantiloper on Jan 8th, 2006 at 7:56am
Hi Belinda!  :)   You asked: "Michael is there any reason why you selected martini in your contribution above? Or would any drink do the same?"

I chose a martini because the actual figure of 1 gram per hour that I derived was from a small glass with a shot of grain alcohol in it.  Obviously liquid temperature, air movement over the surface, and area of exposed liquid will all affect how quickly evaporation takes place.  I have no funding of course, so no way to measure actual variable ratios of alcohol vs. water evaporation in mixed drinks or iced drinks or such, so it seemed most honest to pick a martini, often drunk at room temperature and with a wide surface area and high alcohol content, as my standard.  With that standard I feel fairly confident in the 2,000 times figure.   With an iced drink in a narrow glass that's mainly mixer?   I dunno...  still be at least 500 or so... but the point would be just as valid even if the figure were only 5 or 10.

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Jan 13th, 2006 at 6:05am
Hello Annette

I think you are quite right that there is an imbalance between alcohol and tobacco. It is messy really: they liberalise the licensing laws (or was that just England), but in a supermarket you still can't buy alcohol after 10pm. But the damage from alcohol is much quicker and more immediate than possible danger somewhere down the line in 20 years' time. It hits now, while the person is drinking, anybody who gets in the way of a violent or irresponsible drinker, their families who have to cope with the financial aspect etc. Furthermore if drinkers are stopped from smoking (and they are habitual smokers), I would not think this likely to make them drink less.

I have another legal question for Princess Analia if she is about: if you can't raise a petition in Scotland against legislation that is sub judice, can you still pass the legislation? It would seem quite wrong if that were possible, since it would mean that the legislators could refuse as a body to reconsider legislation when its legality was being challenged and yet they would still be able to implement potentially illegal legislation.

Any other views on this would be welcome, thanks.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Princess Analia on Jan 16th, 2006 at 9:02pm
I thought that sub judice meant that the matter is under judicial deliberation at the time.  I.e. that the legislation in question is the subject of court action.

If you mean should the legislation be passed when it is not amenable to judicial review, well there is the point that the Scottish Parliament is democratically elected, bills that are introduced have to be declared within competence by the presiding officer, there is also a four week period after a bill is passed where Scottish Law Officers have the opportunity to challenge the Bill if they believe it to be outside powers. this can be referred to the Privy Council for consideration, so there are checks and balances on the legislative powers of the Scottish Parliament.  However the decisions in Whaley v Watson and Adams v Scottish Ministers do clearly show the Court of Session's views on these kinds of petitions.  They feel that the MSPs are better placed to make decisions which are moral etc since they can receive consultation, have access to information that judges don't and are democratically elected.  Hope I'm answering the right question here!

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by RFM on Jan 17th, 2006 at 8:00am
To Princess Analia;
For those of us who are not familiar with the Scot's legal system I would like to impose on you for some clarification. You say a bill must be determined to be within competence by the presiding officer of the Parliment. What guage or standard does he or she use to determine competence? What if the majority of the members disagree with his determination? Whose view  ultimately prevails?
  If a bill does pass, how does it become law? Must it be signed or approved by the executive, i.e. the Crown, or does it become law upon passage?
You also say that a bill can be challenged by the Scots Law Offiicers. Who are they and who decides what they shall challenge and who pays for the litigation? You say  that the legal challenges could also be referred to the Privy Council, but isn't that another branch of the Parliment located in England? Can a challenge to legislation actually go to the Privy Council or is that simply the ultimate court of appeal within the litigation system? Lastly, if I may be so bold, the Court of Session is an appointed body isn't it? And the appointments are made by the executive or the legislative branch? If they are appointed by the legislative branch of the government, wouldn't one logically expect that they would perceive their function to be interpreting the application of  legislation rather than deciding  a dispute between the  citizen and the government?
Whew! That's an awful lot, but I hope you can shed some light.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Princess Analia on Jan 17th, 2006 at 6:47pm
I’m not that familiar with the Scot’s legal system myself!!!! Still just a student, but I’ll try and answer your questions within the limits of my knowledge. The presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament is George Reid who is an MSP as well as presiding officer.  (and a really nice bloke although thats kinda irrelevant!)  I expect that his standard when deciding whether a Bill is within competence is the Scotland Act 1998 since this is where the information regarding reserved matters lies. The written statement declaring whether the Bill is within competence is actually required by s.31(2) of the Act and there it says whether the Bill is within competence “in his view.”  If the Bill is an Executive Bill there also has to be a statement of competence from the member of the Scottish Executive in charge of the Bill along the same criteria.

If George Reid feels that the Bill’s provisions would not be within competence this would be influential but would not normally prevent progress of the Bill.

Stage 1 of a Bill in the Scottish Parliament basically covers whether the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the Bill and whether it should proceed.  The debate and decision on this takes place on the floor of the Parliament but only usually after the lead committee of the Parliament provides a report on the Bill and the policy memorandum to assist the Parliament in making up its mind – the committee can also take evidence at this early stage.

At stage 2, if the Parliament agrees to the Bill,  it is debated on a section by section basis and amendments can be proposed, stage 2 happens either at committee or on the floor of the parliament.

There is then stage 3 which takes place in the full Parliament and a decision is then made following debate on whether the Bill should be passed, amendments can still be proposed and the Bill can be sent back to stage 2 for further committee consideration .

So you can see that it is fairly well scrutinised.  I actually did a study on this last year and the procudure for scrutinising Bills in Scotland is far better than it is in Westminster for lots of reasons including less time constraints, better committees, more open to outside opinion and better consultation of interested parties. All the MSPs get explanatory notes in relation to the Bills aswell with financial memorandums indicating cost of implementation etc, so they are actually making more of an informed decision when they vote on Bills.

To become an Act the Bill must receive Royal Assent in the same way that Westminster legislation does.  As I said before, there is a four week delay between the Bill being passed and the presiding officer submitting it for Royal assent to enable intervention by either a Law Officer to secure a reference to the Privy Council or by the Secretary of State to prohibit submission of the Bill for assent.  The law officers are either the Advocate General or the Attorney General on behalf of the UK government or by the Lord Advocate on behalf of the Scottish Executive.  However this is pretty unlikely since there is a political partnership between the UK and Scottish governments and prior consultation on the terms of Scottish Bills is routine.  Its not litigation as such, just a reference to the Privy Council.

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is the court of first appeal for overseas UK territories and it also can make determinations on devolution issues.  When it is a reference from a Law Officer that is at issue, it is a court of first instance.  Otherwise it can receive a reference on devolution issues from the Court of Session or the House of Lords. Membership of the Judicial committee consists of Law Lords who sit on appellate committees in the House of Lords, Lords of Appeal and the Lord Chancellor.

Finally, it is for the Prime Minister to make recommendations for appointment to the two most senior judicial positions in the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary, however, a nomination is made first by the First Minister and the First Minister is required in turn to consult the Lord President and Lord Justice-Clerk first before he does this.  In the case of other judges it is for the First Minister after consultation with the Lord President of the Court of Session to make recommendations on appointment.  So the appointments are made by the executive branch although they are made on recommendation by the judges themselves.

Hope this helps a bit.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Jan 17th, 2006 at 10:34pm

Thanks for the above information. The legislation is actually the subject of court proceedings at present. Please see:

for details. It is this case that I had in mind when I used the term sub judice. So do you know whether this would stop the implementation of the Act, and if not how is public protest to be expressed if a petition is not permissible in the circumstances?

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by RFM on Jan 18th, 2006 at 7:24am
To Princess Analia.
Your explanation is clear and incisive. Thank-you for taking the time.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by BeeGee on Jan 19th, 2006 at 3:54pm
In view of the judgement made by the Supreme Court of Canada on the 21st December 2005 where it was ruled that Private Members Clubs are exactly that..PRIVATE where does the Scottish Executive get the idea that they can steam roll through powers that sweep aside agreed club constitutions .

What is the legal definition of a Public Place as within the Hospitality Sector most of the businesses are owned by private companies or individuals. They then invite patrons to participate in hospitality, they can also refuse the public that same hospitality and go as far as ejecting them from the premises

Even locations such as Airports are owned and operated by private companies e.g. BAA and under the legislation smoking will be banned there as well..a location that is an extremley high stress point for us all, which may result in a breach of Airport and therefore National security should someone have a fly puff in a toilet area. The cost of evacuating an airport terminal currently runs at £10 000 per minute, figures obtained from BAA Heathrow.

Again I return to my original question...What is the legal definition of a Public Place?

In addition we hear so much about the fact that the Smoking Ban was a democratic decision how this can be derived is anyone's guess.

Several MSP's placed ammendment proposals in front of the Health Committee for consideration all were rejected and the reason why is very plain to see.

This piece of legislation formed one of the central planks of Executive policy and they wanted to ensure that it was passed exactly as they had seen it drafted.

Whilst the Committees are supposed to act as the 'check' to the Executive, in essence reviewing proposed legislation through its scrutiny... in the same way as The House of Lords is seen as the check or revising Chamber at Westminster, in reality, the Executive Parties have an inbuilt majority on each and every Committee meaning that, regardless of the merit of an amendment if it does not fit with the current view of the Executive then it can be voted down.

This is not democracy or am I missing something here.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Jan 19th, 2006 at 6:03pm
I think this is a very important question, as to whether any hospitality venue aside from muncipally owned museum cafes for example can be described as a public place.

Offering hospitality - within the law - should be goverened by social custom, good manners or whatever you want to call it.

Refusing hospitality to smokers by law in cafes in hospital grounds also should not be allowable by law. I am not sure whether the voluntary sector still runs most of these, or if that also is in the hands of the private sector, but whichever it is, the government should not be saying to the distressed relatives of those in hospital that smoking is bad for you.

The only reasons I can imagine the voluntary sector wanting to deny smoking to these clients that they want to offer their befriending services to, are if they have swallowed the propaganda about secondary smoke, or if they are offering smoking cessation support.

The government fails to see that the big smoking bogey is far down the list of urgent priorities in most people's lives.

Hence I feel that this question needs to be answered: Is there a legal definition of a public place?

As I understand it the law can interfere in private affairs in order to protect public health, but since it acknowledges it is unable to stop people smoking, and is unable to prove damage from secondary smoke, it seems to me that the Executive is on thin ice. Attacking people's civil rights before taking the logical measure (logical but probably unenforceable) of stopping tobacco sales is draconian.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by grumpy on Jan 19th, 2006 at 7:47pm
So much for adult debate-all this petty slagging.

The real point that was attempted in the first place was that a government that bans us from doing something that is not illegal is infringing our human rights. The nanny state is waht it is dubbed.

However the whole argument could have been stopped by having a licensing system where pubs could be smoking or non smoking. If you don't want to go to a smoking pub you go to a non smoking pub. If you don't want to work behing the bar of a smoking pub, don't. That way everyone is happy, smokers and non smokers alike.


Title: Smoking, Health and Social Care (ScRe: Smoking ban
Post by BeeGee on Jan 19th, 2006 at 8:03pm
But Grumpy...that is exactly what was proposed to the Health Committee and had rejected because of the undemocratic make up of the committee.

To make it clear this is what was proposed:
Margo MacDonald’s Amendment
On the 13 May 2005, Margo MacDonald MSP, Independent member for the Lothians, lodged an amendment to the Executive’s Bill.  The amendment seeks to balance the Executive’s, and indeed Parliament’s, desire to effect change in the health and habits of the people of Scotland, while maintaining the right of those people who smoke to continue to practise a pastime that is not illegal.

The amendment seeks to maintain the proposed ‘default’ position of all licensed premises being non-smoking as standard; however, an owner of a licensed premises can apply for a ‘smoking licence’ from the Licensing Board.  In deciding whether or not to grant a license for smoking, a Licensing Board must:

a)      take into consideration the views of the employees of the licensed premises;
b)      only make a grant in respect of those premises which have adequate ventilation;
c)      consider any other smoking licenses that have been granted in the locality;
d)      have regard to the level of demand from the public for smoking licensed premises;

furthermore, the Licensing Board is expected to award smoking licences ‘only exceptionally’ and with a view to the above conditions.

In order to ensure that the public is able to make an informed choice as to which licensed establishments allow smoking, provision is made in the Bill to allow licensed premises to advertise their status as smoking premises.
Statutory Powers
Subsection 6 provides Scottish Ministers with the powers to make regulations, by order, on the making and determination of applications for smoking licenses.

And in its full form within the Bill would read:
Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Bill – Stage 2
After section 4
Margo MacDonald

33      After section 4, insert––
<No-smoking premises: further provision for licensed premises
(1)      This section applies where, by virtue of regulations under section 4(2), licensed premises are no-smoking premises.
(2)      The owner of, or person who holds the licence for, the licensed premises may apply to the Licensing Board within whose area the premises are situated for the premises to be treated as if they are not no-smoking premises.  
(3)      The Licensing Board may grant applications under subsection (2) only exceptionally and in determining such applications must have regard to—
(a)      the views of any employees who work in the licensed premises;
(b)      the adequacy of ventilation in the licensed premises;
(c)      the number and capacity of other licensed premises in the locality in which the licensed premises are situated in respect of which applications under subsection (2) have been granted; and
(d)      the level of public demand for licensed premises which are not no-smoking premises.
(4)      Where the Licensing Board grants an application under subsection (2), the licensed premises are, for the purposes of sections 1, 2 and 3 and despite any regulations under section 4(2) by virtue of which the premises are no-smoking premises, to be treated as if they are not no-smoking premises.
(5)      Licensed premises which are to be treated as if they are not no-smoking premises by virtue of this section may advertise that fact.
(6)      The Scottish Ministers may by regulations make further provision about the making and determination of, and the effect of granting, applications under subsection (2).>

The proposal that I put to various Health Ministers was the ultimate solution to all the issues surrounding Smoking and Passive Smoking namely to introduce Indoor Air Quality Standards.

An example of a current Standard in operation providing a safe and healthy environment is:

1.      Particles                        -      Below 0.15 mg/m3
2.      Concentration of Carbon Monoxide      -      Below 10 part/million per 8hrs
3.      Concentration of CO2                  -      Below 1000 parts/million per 8 hr
4.      Room Temperature                  -      Between 17ºC and 28ºC
5.      Room Humidity                               -            Between 40º and 70º
6          Incoming air velocity                                -            0.2m/sec
7.      Air velocity in the room                         -      Below 0.5 m/sec per person
8.         Air Exchange                                             -            6-10 times/hour

Our European neighbours are moving fast towards such standards while the Executive drags Scotland backwards, based on manipulated, dubious data and ministerial spin. There has not been much thought as to the full effects that a ban on smoking will bring, however this in itself is typical of a fledgling Parliament with limited professional expertise that sometimes borders on sheer incompetence.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by BeeGee on Jan 19th, 2006 at 9:17pm
Having just entered into the debate I would like to track back on an earlier posting by Princess Analia regarding the Consultation Document.

The questions within this document were actually loaded in favour of a ban, it is not the answer but how the question is worded that is the key to a good marketing strategy.

I attended one of these Consultation meetings on the 19th August 2004 in Stranraer. The initial reaction to the very first question in the document resulted in an overwhelming ‘yes’ to a ban.  However as the evening evolved the net result was that by debate, the participants left the meeting accepting that Controlled Designated Smoking Areas were probably the most appropriate way forward.  As I was later to learn, similar results have been noted at other meetings throughout the country. It is therefore a huge mistake by ministers to be so bold as to proclaim that an outright ban on smoking is in the best interests of the country.

The final result of the study showed that most people were in favour of more restrictions on Environmental Tobacco Smoke but that 75% were against a ban on smoking in Pubs and Clubs.

Now the leading question is how did the Executive arrive at and continue to spin the yarn that the people of Scotland are in favour of a total ban.

My message is a simple one, introduce Indoor Air Quality Standards in the Workplace.

·      Set up a steering group headed by the Health and Safety Executive consisting of representation from the Hospitality Industry, Trade Unions and the suppliers of Air Filtration Equipment to work together to provide Standards of Air Quality that can be met and sustained within the workplace on a national scale.
·      Freedom of Choice is the key to success, with these Air Quality Standards in place; business owners then have the choice to purchase the equipment necessary to maintain clean air or in consultation with employees make their premises ‘No Smoking’ venues.  All installations could be issued with Certificates of Conformity and regularly checked and monitored by an agency such as the Environmental Health Department.

The solution is so simple....

I expect further debate will rage on the issues surrounding smoking and passive smoking in the coming weeks, it is worth noting the content of a book by Professor Stanley Feldman, Department of Political Science, SUNY at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York called ‘Panic Nation’ and published by Blake Publishing.

Within the book Prof. Feldman writes:
There is no evidence or studies that prove passive smoking causes lung cancer.
Statistically it can be shown that if from 1 million people, 500,000 were subjected to passive smoking, the increase in lung cancer may be 10 percent. But, the actual increase would be from 10 cases to 11 cases. The same statistic would show from the 500,000 who were not subjected to passive smoking. In other words 2 additional cases in 1,000,000 persons!!!

But even more interesting, there is no evidence that the increase can be attributed to passive smoking, it may be due to other factors.   Dare I suggest Outdoor Air Quality?

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by BeeGee on Jan 24th, 2006 at 10:55pm
Replies have dried up and I have another question.

Whthin the Hospitality Sector a Pub or Inn ,may also be the home of the owner...again I raise the question regarding the legal definition of a Public Place as in effect this legislation will directly affect a person's home.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Jan 25th, 2006 at 5:24am
Petty slagging, Grumpy? I ;) - I have seen much worse in discussions on smoking. I was trying to understand the finer points of the Scottish legislative system (for which thanks, Princess Analia) when I reached your comment. I agree with your observation about licences. After all pubs are licensed premises are they not? But food establishments, or any establishment that so chooses - my local hairdresser is always offering ashtrays to people while they are waiting - could acquire such a license if the powers that be really require even more revenues from tobacco than they are already getting ...

Beegee - we have put the question about whether pubs are private or public places three times on one page. I think we could start writing to law associations and advising them of our existence if we seriously want some answers to these questions.

I started reading about another issue that is on the face of it unrelated, that of a policy in Sweden which criminalises the users of prostitutes rather than the prostitutes themselves. It does seem illogical that I approved of this when I don't agree with criminalising the users of cigarettes! This is an absolute minefield of a topic. Prostitution has much nastier and more desperate elements within it than has the smoking of tobacco.  

Tobacco smoking and prostitution are two activities that the government wants to restrict. As far as I am quite aware prostitution is quite illegal and local policy (Edinburgh) does not permit tolerance zones, though I believe there is some sort of review.

Will continue in next post

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Jan 25th, 2006 at 5:59am
I think the Swedish government took the view that if pimps and prostitutes could be prosecuted it seemed unreasonable to let users of prostitutes go free of charges. I felt this was entirely laudable, and it did make a dramatic difference to demands on prostitution in Sweden. (But once in the black market I guess those people traffickers will move on, and once everybody gets the hang of it, they will just traffic people to some other exploitative activity.)

So why am I so against the use of restrictions against consumers of cigarettes? I'm not pro-smoking, just excessively tolerant of it, but if smokers tell me not to start I take them seriously because they are the ones who can feel the effects.

It is partly that tobacco policy is quite out of kilter with licensing policy with respect to alcohol. It is illegal to buy alcohol off-license after 10pm in Scotland yet you can buy cigarettes round the clock. Licensed premises can reclaim the drinks of people who have not finished drinking within 15 minutes of 'time'. It is illegal to drink on the premises after that time. There are no such restrictions on cigarettes. So far anyway.

So what's that about? Using prostitutes should be illegal, mostly because of the exploitation involved but also because of the potentially destructive impact that prostitution has on family life, where the user has a family - although this is a more private matter. Alcohol and gambling also have enormous destructive potential both in terms of violent and uncontrolled behaviour in the case of alcohol, but also because they encourage compulsive spending.

Aside from the annoyance factor, and the unconvincing health claims regarding secondary smoke, I absolutely can't see why anybody who doesn't smoke should object to smoking, at least as the law currently stands (pre-ban).  They are expensive but nobody is going to go and lose their house if they've had a few too many, as they might when gambling, or driving home under the influence. They seem to have no specific record in wrecking relationships or marriages.

Indeed my own feeling is that smoking does encourage a form of empathy, at any rate with other smokers - and they are a broad church - and will more often than not share their last half ounce of tobacco, or last few papers, or give their bus fare to the person huddled in the street. Of course they have their hangups like the rest of us, I'm not trying to be over-sentimental, but exactly what is it that the government is trying to do away with in public places?

It is doing away with the right of people to smoke together in public - and the operative word is together. With a drink and a smoke and company people lose the need for TVs, computers play stations, microwaves, fancy cars or boats and can just be themselves. Instead we are being encouraged to say that this is not as important as OUR right to clean air and not to have to put the washing machine on after a night out. Instead of enjoying other people we are being taught to fear smoke. Instead of listening to others we are led to believe we should hector them to stop smoking if they want social acceptance, although we would dearly love to accept them as they are.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Feb 4th, 2006 at 1:06am
Two extracts from a recent post elsewhere:

'In Ireland, the media in general are pro-ban. It should come as no surprise that they do not now report the disastrous effects, and no surprise either that no one outside the country hears a measure of reality. One ludicrous instance of the utter stupidity at work here, was in a summer report by a national newspaper, so desperately pro-ban that when a West Cork town claimed takings down 50%, with photographs of empty streets, the reporter could not find the objectivity (or wasn't "allowed" ) to ask if the smoking ban was in any way responsible. Nearly two years later, pub closures and job losses continue. Hundreds of pubs have closed and are lost permanently. Thousands of jobs have gone in the hospitality industry and in effect, smokers have been thrown out of society.'


'Ireland has become a sad unwelcoming place, and with some exception for some major centres, the "success" claims for a total ban are categorically untrue. Specifically, smoking has increased and the revenue-take from cigarettes is substantially up, while tourism including native tourism is substantially down.'

This is somebody's view of what has transpired since the ban was imposed nearly two years ago.

Obviously people have various views as to whether the ban has 'succeeded'. Whether it has succeeded or not really depends on what it set out to do. For instance if it could be demonstrated that tobacco sales have risen it might be said to have failed in one of its objectives, but this might involve getting figures on under-the-counter, unofficial sales and this might not be easy. Or if mortality rates remained stable.

I am not sure whether it is clear from the legislation what its aims are, other than to eradicate the possiblity of 'passive smoking'. I believe the First Minister said recently that he expected that smokers would still be at 20% in Scotland after ten years. Twenty per cent of people with no, or at any rate, no reasonable social amenties!

If we are not allowed to appeal the ban, are we not allowed to insist on tangible results ... ? Can't we force an acknowledgement that depriving people of social space is at the very least regrettable and a measure of last resort?

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by BeeGee on Feb 6th, 2006 at 6:46pm
We now find that the Smoking Ban will apply to HGV drivers as smokers are allowed to smoke in hotel rooms as it is considered a home from home, but hey that applies to the cab of a lorry as well. Some HGV drivers will spent more of their working life in their cab than at home and even have bunks to sleep in. Now where is the legal definition as to when is a home not a home...remember the cab is only a place of work while the wheels and tachograph is turning. Someone out there come up with the legal answer ....please.

Also, we have Owner/Operators of HGV vehicles and their vehicle cannot be classed as an Enclosed Public Place as it is very much PIVATE. Within the Supreme Court of Canada ruling on the 21st December 2005 a private business is just that and should be free from Government interference. In particular the interference from the Scottish Executive is impinging on the Health & Safety at Work Act which is still governed from Westminster within the Department of Trade and Industry

Title: e sleeper: Smoking ban
Post by Blaggarde on Feb 7th, 2006 at 7:37am
I can certainly vouch for your earlier post Belinda, about what has happened and continues to happen here in Ireland.... Our local pub, which is a sizeable but rural premises, finally closed its doors for the last time after Christmas - the owners just couldn't withstand the losses anymore.

Those who still visit pubs tell me that the atmosphere is gone and Irish pubs, once famous for their welcoming reputation, have gone cold, clinical and dreadful.

I cannot understand why the people and business leaders of Scotland have not learned the harsh lesson that our experience shows [of course, our media do not report it], and how, once your ban is permitted you will find it impossible to reverse the damage it inflicts, both socially and for business/tourism.

I can only assume that the Scottish press is as biased there as the irish press was here - sweeping the downside under the carpet and, head in sand, pretending that not much happened, when in fact there is considerable aggravation and huge losses.

Quelling smokers has its roots in Naziism. The following link from the BMJ makes interesting reading. I'm taken aback that the legal profession has not been more alert to this, and that people in general do not grasp the significance of what is happening.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Feb 11th, 2006 at 3:08am
I wonder if anybody has any suggestions on the following case that I have been asked to post?

'I wonder if you could offer some advice. I am a confirmed non-smoker with two young children - Josh, 11 and Noah, 8. My partner and soon to be husband is a confirmed smoker. We are very careful about where and when he smokes particularly around the boys.

My extremely hectoring ex-husband is now making a huge fuss about the alleged smell of smoke on Noah's soft toy and is playing the passive smoking card big time, demanding to know details of Andy's smoking habits and reassurances about the boys' health. His line is to make us out to be uncaring unsuitable parents - not for the first time. Court action has been threatened.'

I wonder if we will see more of this sort of thing. I know many children of smoking parents who are more than happy and far from seeing themselves as victims of 'abuse'. Other issues around children's lives in general, including maintaining relations with both parents where possible, are far more critical in this difficult phase in the lives of children and parents, than whether or not a parent smokes. I would be very interested to hear comments about this story, or if anybody knows of actual potential sources of advice I've also posted it in the legal advice section.


Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by BeeGee on Feb 12th, 2006 at 12:58am
Refer your friend to the Enstrom & Kabat Study on Environmental Tobacco Smoke (Passive Smoking) This study has been acknowledged by both the World Health Organisation, the American Cancer Society and the British Medical Association when it shows that ETS is not the high risk that is being presented by the Scottish Executive who by their actions have create this mass hysteia evident in the public and media.

The study was backed by anti-smoking crusader Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. "There is simply no convincing evidence linking second-hand smoke to lung cancer and heart disease," said Whelan, an epidemiologist and president of the American Council on Science and Health. Whelan, author of "A Smoking Gun: How the Cigarette Industry Gets Away with Murder," said her group's research has reached the same conclusion as the new study.  While Whelan said she's delighted by New York City's smoking ban, she labels "patently absurd" Mayor Bloomberg's claim that it would prevent 1,000 deaths of bar and restaurant workers.

The worst thing about a cigarette is the residual smell.. Costco sell a product called OUST and it is the tops as an odour eliminator. Also consider the purchase of a small air filter details of an example can be found on

This way due dilligence can be demonstrated should legal action be initiated.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Mar 22nd, 2006 at 2:36am
my thoughts are, what are the checks and balances on the councils' powers in making laws/regulations etc?

Does this alter the purpose of their employment beyond any reasonable recognition? For example, why are Environmental Health staff involved in enforcing legislation that is meant to be on personal health grounds, not those of environmental health (health and safety in the workplace).

Is there any limit to their 'lawmaking' powers? And of course why are smokers paying taxes for these people to enforce laws against them? The community are their employers and it should not be assumed that people in positions of authority can suddenly be given additional powers at public expense.

I know in this case we are talking about a public employer's rights against its employees, and not a council's rights in relation to local residents. However in the matter of lighting up at home while awaiting council care staff etc, Andy Kerr insisted that the legislation was not designed to reach into people's homes. But what does that then matter if councils (and other public bodies as employers) have unlimited powers to stop people from smoking and the Executive is doing nothing to encourage restraint. More seriously, is it clear to the public what is legislation and what is advice without any legal force?

As one of our Irish friends has pointed out in an earlier post, this is taxation without representation.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Mar 23rd, 2006 at 3:45pm
Michael says (lifted from other thread)

forget smoking being good or bad. is it not our right to smoke if we choose to . people have been smoking for centuries in most places . people have the right to choice so shouldnt the landlords of bars, clubs and resteraunts and bussinesses be able to say yes or no  
there is also a plan to ban smoking from parks aswell . THE question at hand is there anyway to fight this without violance I think there must be some sort of cival or human law to for[ lack of a better] word stop this . IT MUST BE violating either our human or cival rights. i personally think a lot of people are going to get hurt through this ...

I think this is a very important point, about how people can state that their rights are being violated since the goal posts defining our rights appear to be moving. This may be something on which we have to consult bodies like Liberty.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by highlander on Mar 25th, 2006 at 12:31am
Belinda, thought this may be of interest.

From Here

We get this quote
"Outdoors and shelters

Does the ban extend to outdoors? Have heard that playgrounds and parks may be affected.

Smoking is prohibited by law only in wholly or substantially enclosed public places. Open air playgrounds and parks will therefore not be affected. Employers, including local authorities and the NHS can, however, determine whether their smoke-free policies extend to external areas, but they will not be subject to the law. We know, for example, that second hand smoke is particularly harmful to the health of children and young people, so local authorities may wish to consider efforts which not only protect the health of children, but help to denormalise smoking and stop young people from taking up smoking in the first place."

What is the point of smoke free policies that are not subject to the law? If they are not subject to law surely they can be ignored? Is this just to hoodwink the public?

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Mar 25th, 2006 at 1:59am
Highlander, I raised precisely this point with my MSP in correspondence over a month ago and am overdue a reply.

'Since the "guidelines", advising people not to light up, are not enforceable ("there is no question of residential premises coming within the scope of the legislation" [quoted within the letter from Health Minister Andy Kerr to the Scotsman]), I really cannot see the point of them. If they are guidelines to remind people of their manners, this is interference in the professional relationship with the health care visitor and the resident. Provisions in guidelines of this kind that contradict the terms and intention of legislation are confusing. This is a serious fault with the implementation of the legislation. There is no need for any of this, ...'

I remain confused about the limits of council powers to make the laws locally. And what the checks are.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Mar 25th, 2006 at 2:06am
Above refers to guidelines advising councils to write to residents who receive services from council workers that they should not light up for at least an hour before their arrival. The possiblity remained open that council workers could refuse services to residents if they detected smoking had occurred in that time. The provision covered routine calls, not emergencies.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by highlander on Mar 25th, 2006 at 3:37am
Just found this link

In case the link goes here is the full text. Looks like we were right!

Hospital smoking policy cannot be forced on public

By Marjory Inglis, health reporter

BANNING THE public from smoking in the grounds of hospitals is unenforceable, a Tayside health chief has admitted.

Paul Ballard, one of the architects of NHS Tayside’s smoking policy which includes strictly no smoking in hospital grounds, said the health authority would rely on the goodwill of the public to adhere to the health authority’s policy and foster a “culture of no smoking.”

However, Mr Ballard agreed that staff caught flouting the policy could ultimately be sacked, but he did not believe it would be necessary to take disciplinary action that far.

Last month, health bosses approved a smoking policy that will go beyond the requirements of the national ban on smoking in public places that will come in to force on Sunday.

From November 23, NHS Tayside’s policy will ban smoking on all sites, including private cars parked in the grounds. That particular move proved highly controversial and met with resistance from staff groups but health bosses overruled staff advisers and approved the policy in full.

The only exemption from the smoking ban will be hospital in- patients who will be allowed to smoke in designated shelters in the grounds. All members of staff, out-patients and visitors will be covered by the ban.

But Mr Ballard agreed members of the public could only be asked not to smoke in the grounds when the policy came in to effect. It had no legal basis—as the requirements of the ban in enclosed public places coming in to force did have.

He said that from Sunday environmental health officers could “have a wee wander” round hospitals and make sure signs were in place, smoking shelters complied with the new legislation and nobody was smoking inside the buildings.

“In terms of the November launch of our extended policy, people smoking in NHS grounds which is what our policy covers, that is not a legal requirement,” said Mr Ballard.

“All we can do (if a member of the public is smoking in the grounds, either out in the open or in a car) is go up to people and say ‘We would be very grateful if you would not do that because it is contrary to NHS Tayside’s smoking policy’.

“If the person says ‘Fine, but I am still going to keep on smoking’, there is nothing else we can do.

“We cannot fine them because it is not part of the national legislation.”

Mr Ballard said the extended smoking policy was part of the health authority’s drive to “set an example” and to contribute to fostering “a no smoking culture” where it became the norm for people to choose not to smoke and live in a smoke free environment.

“Basically the less people who are smoking in sight of other people, the more we will contribute to that,” said Mr Ballard, NHS Tayside’s consultant in health promotion.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by micheal1489 on Mar 25th, 2006 at 4:24am
i have totally lost the plot with all the arguements,[I AM NOT A LAWYER DOCTER OR ANYTHING ELSE I AM JUST ME ] .but please tell me this is this a facsist country or SCOTLAND i have read some interesting things on theese pages but you all seem to keep losing the plot . if there is a TOP 4 LAWYER out there please help whith two simple questions .1 ] freedom of association seems a possibility , but what about freedom of choice doese this exist in this country and can i use it ? there must be away . I am slightly fishing but if i get what i need i will fight this ,thakyou

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Mar 25th, 2006 at 8:37am
This is very interesting - do you know the position re council directives? as to how legally binding they are ...? If you find any similar evidence about this please post it on!

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Cantiloper on Mar 25th, 2006 at 6:01pm
Belinda wrote: "I think this is a very important point, about how people can state that their rights are being violated since the goal posts defining our rights appear to be moving. This may be something on which we have to consult bodies like Liberty. "

Belinda, American Supreme Court Justice William Douglas said it best and it struck me so strongly that I saved it for the final quote in Antibrains:

"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression.  In both instances there is a twilight where everything remains seem-ingly unchanged.  And it is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of darkness. "

Look to America to see your future if you don't stop the crazies now before they get a real foothold: it'll move through the following stages indoors:  theaters, offices, restaurants, bars, clubs, condominiums, apartments, and finally private homes where children under 21 might live or visit.

Outdoors they'll play the "Save The Children" propaganda trick to grab playgrounds with nonsense stories about poisoned toddlers eating butts, perimeters around playgrounds with tales of children imitating adults they see, beaches  by using litter as an excuse, then parks, then 25 foot zones from businesses or from "normal human beings in public" and then finally streets altogether.

Of course if you can't smoke at work, in the park, at the bar, on the streets, or in your apartment you've then arrived at the Prohibition they keep saying is NOT their goal: they lie.  Of course you will always have clandestine smoking and this will give the government that golden card governments always want: make sure a good bit of the population is always engaged in a criminal activity and you can always control their behavior with threats.

That's your future if you don't stop them.

Michael J. McFadden
Author of Dissecting Antismokers' Brains

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Mar 29th, 2006 at 3:05pm
It occurred to me last night that a problem with councils enacting directives against smoking in open areas is that they are acting as effectively both 'legislators' and enforcers, since police do not have involvement in enforcement. I think this runs counter to our tradition of separating legislative, judicial and administrative functions of the state. If the police are not involved that is one problem. Further, if on-the-spot fines turn into court cases, the penalties escalate and that seems to me to penalise somebody for insisting that the state functions adequately with all checks and balances in place?

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Apr 4th, 2006 at 7:53pm
Thanks to Michael McFadden for the following canny observation made on another site.

'Laws in democracy customarily stand or fail on the basis of popular support and cooperation. In dictatorships the state requires on snitches and secret enforcers and rewards citizens acting as vigilante enforcers.

Scotland is a democracy: enforcement of its laws should stay in the hands of its law enforcers. And if information is being disseminated to wrongly pressure citizens into thinking they are liable for penalties if they don't volunteer to be conscripted police then that misinformation should be corrected.'

This is an excellent point and I will look at comparing the guidelines in the official website with the legislation to see if the guidelines do actually reflect what is in the legislation.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Apr 12th, 2006 at 2:47am
The following is included in the guidelines entitled 'Smoke-free Scotland' addressed to NHS, local authorities and care service providers, ie providers of statutory services. In Section 2 (How to comply), managers are urged to ...  

‘Consider if it is appropriate to refuse service to individuals who are contravening the law, depending on the nature of the service being provided’.

This is surely expecting people to take the law into their own hands. Either smoking is a crime or it is not. Even if it is a crime because the government says it is in a certain situation, that does not entitle a health authority to withdraw services as a penalty.

This really seems a little bit messy.

Title: Council guidelines
Post by dcbrainstorm on Apr 12th, 2006 at 6:33pm
This is impossible to understand!  on one hand, the scottish executive has said that the smoking ban only exists in enclosed public spaces.  Surely your own home, whether it is bought or rented from a council or the likes, is personal space and therefore does not even come under the legislation.
I wonder how they would decide to withhold the services if they appeared at my door - enter council plumber - 'Can't help you madam.  I smell smoke and it seems you might have smoked in your own home in the last hour'.  Have these people got ESP or something that will let them know when the last f*g was stubbed out.
What a nonsense.  But thanks for highlighting it.  

Just another chapter of the debacle which is the smoking ban.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by highlander on Apr 13th, 2006 at 1:31am
I asked clearing theairsotland the legality of e.g local authorities and NHS banning smoking outdoors.

Here is the response.

"You are correct in stating that the smoke-free legislation only covers
'wholly and substantially enclosed' public places.  However, proprietors
of premises can develop smoke-free policies which go beyond the scope of
the legislation, if they wish to do so, although this should done  in
consultation with staff and customers/patients.  More comprehensive
policies would not, of course, be subject to proceedings under the law,
as it would not be an offence to smoke in these areas, only 'company'
policy.  So any signage should not say that it is an offence to smoke in
these areas.
The NHS and local authorities, of course, have a clear obligation to
provide leadership on this issue.  We issued guidance on smoking
policies to these organisations December last year which you can view on
the Clearing the Air web-site at

So, it's almost deliberate muddying of waters in the pursuit of "smoke free"

I further asked whom should i contact if i had concerns about the above. I was advised to take it up with my MSP or, the chief executive of whichever authority these policies were being applied to.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Cantiloper on Apr 14th, 2006 at 9:53am
Belinda wrote: "I further asked whom should i contact if i had concerns about the above. I was advised to take it up with my MSP or, the chief executive of whichever authority these policies were being applied to. "

In other words, "Don't BOTHER us!  Just don't smoke if someone, ANYone, tells you not to!"


Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Blad on Apr 24th, 2006 at 3:53am
It is now beyond and irritant when one hears the mendacious and shameless nonsense repeated time and time again by the anti-smoking lobby and the British government concerning the fictional numbers of people who have died from the effects of second hand smoke.  When this lobby, along with our government, is asked to name anyone who has actually died from it - let alone three people - they are unable to do so.

However, we can name three people who have already died as a result of smoking bans in the UK.  There was the elderly pensioner - Jim Donachie - who fell against a bar in Dundee when trying to go outside for a smoke;  the nurse - Cheryl Moss - who was murdered at Hornchurch Hospital when she was forced to go outside to an unsafe area for a smoke.  And lastly, there was the patient at Doncaster Hospital - Philip Hoe - who accidentally set himself on fire as a result of sneaking outside for a crafty puff.  If there hadn't been smoking bans but instead properly controlled and properly ventilated interior locations for smokers then all those three would still be alive now.

Proven deaths in the UK from second hand smoke          = 0
Proven deaths in the UK as a result of smoking bans      = 3

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by dcbrainstorm on Apr 26th, 2006 at 8:52pm
You are right Blad.  I heard about all of those deaths too.  I think it is a terrible way to treat people, especially those who are in hospital for whatever reason.  There is nothing worse than seeing a patient having to struggle through the car park to get off NHS property to have a ciggie.  So much for caring eh?

If there are really any lawyers on here, I wonder if they could answer this question.  

The ex-servicemens home, Holybush, on the West coast, should be exempt from the smoking ban thus allowing the elderly residents to smoke in what is effectively their own home.  Because of the level of scare-mongering led by this Government, the staff have decided that they don't want these elderly men to smoke in the home but instead go outside.

My question is, where would these men stand in a court of law with regards to their right to smoke in the home which should be exempt, being withdrawn?

Again, won't hold breath waiting for a reply, but if anyone has any idea, your reply would be most appreciated.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by dcbrainstorm on May 16th, 2006 at 10:00pm
So now it's your turn - the lawyers - to have your thoughts on matters which concern you fall on deaf ears!

How does it feel to be on the receiving end of the Scottish Parliament's big ideas for the future when they pay no attention to those who it will affect most?

Just wanted to know if any of you now wanted to possibly try to help answering the questions which we have been asking on this thread for six months now......since it looks like one day we may all end up in the same boat if this Government insists on stamping around like a bully.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by highlander on May 20th, 2006 at 3:19am
Well said dcbrainstorm where are the lawyers on this board? This thread has been viewed 4213 times!! still no answer.

Probably too busy in their nice smoke free pubs to come on here now.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by kirstin...oh yeah on Jul 3rd, 2006 at 8:48pm
three with it ;D

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by highlander on Jul 9th, 2006 at 5:01am
Kirstin, how do you propose that people "Deal with it"?

Any suggestions to someone like myself who now has to face the utter indignity of standing like a novelty act in a circus  since my workplace introduced a total ban on smoking anywhere on their premises, going far and beyond any legislative requirement? How should I deal with that?

Or what do you feel while watching elderly peolple, many of them war veterans, struggle to walk being forced to make their own way outdoors, as their carers are instructed not to help them go outside to smoke, even thought the legislation excempts care homes? How should they deal with it?

What about the Nurse who, because her employer instigated a premisis smoking ban was brutally murdered while smoking on her break off the premises? How should her family deal with it?

Would like to know your thoughts.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by kirstin...oh yeah on Jul 11th, 2006 at 5:20pm
My thoughts on that....
For those people who stand outside to smoke, abide by the legislation, understand and accept why it was introduced and don't constantly think the world owes them something because they can't give it up...I have the greatest of respect.
It is the people who feel the need to whinge at every opportunity about having to leave their friends on a night out becasue they now HAVE to go outside to continue their addiction, that I have a distinct problem with.
You really want my suggestion as to how you deal with 'the indignity' of standing outside for a f*g? stop smoking. I undersand why your trip outdoors may not be fill you with the greatest of self respect, so why don't you do yourself a favour?
If the legislation exempts care homes, and the carers have been instructed not to help them go outdoors then surely this is a different issue entirely since from what you have said the legislation is not being followed correctly.
To refer to the nurse who was killed, for her family I have the utmost sympathy. However, she was simply filling the role as a law abiding citizen. You might say that if there wasn't such legislation she wouldn't have been killed, but anyone could be killed standing in their own. I don't believe for one minute that the nurse was targeted becasue she was a smoker. You can't use this as a reason to justify not having the ban.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Jul 12th, 2006 at 3:53am
So according to you, dignity means suspending judgment and coming automatically to the conclusion that government has one's best interests at heart.

And is your purpose to humiliate smokers, as your advice to Highlander suggests the logical course of action is to stop smoking if he doesn't want to endure humiliation.

Let me remind you that you don't know the thoughts of these thousands of people standing outside doorways smoking, but let me assure you that a lot of them feel as much irritation at being there as I do at being left in the bar by myself, automatically being asked to mind drinks.

Is the government's aim to improve the quality of social discourse? Because if it is, it is going a very strange way about it.

As for the death of the nurse Cheryl Moss, it is perhaps a little academic to ask whether she would have died had a workplace ban not been in place. Likewise whether her killer identified her as an easy target because she was a smoker. What is certain is that ban conditions make life in an already stressful situation (a hospital) worse for workers, patients and visitors. Forcing people right off the grounds is quite unwarranted, and any health trust that passes such policies should be ashamed. I know for a fact that many smokers will suffer at home rather than put themselves and their loved ones through the ordeal of attending hospital.  

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Freedumb on Jul 12th, 2006 at 5:31am
It seems smokers are allowed no dignity even if they continue a legal habit.
What has happened is that a minority have built a massive propaganda machine to denormalised smokers and demonise smoking. They have managed to intrude their wishes onto the lives of smokers and non-smokers through flimsy evidence published by single minded health professionals who pay little heed to other valid studies. Their evidence is tainted by self interest and a pre-determined desire for a specific outcome.
A clear example of this is the highly publicised 71% in favour of a total ban yet the official figure published by the Office of National Statistics is only 33%. Why the discrepancy? Oh yes, it was an Internet poll commissioned by ASH and Cancer Research UK.
If a record of the individual contributers is available it might be interesting to learn how the result was so far from the truth. Far be it from me to suggest anyone might have abused the privilege of prior knowledge.
This health lobby has assumed the right to fashion private businesses yet make no personal investment and suffer no loss.
I have never sat in a pub and felt it move towards a non-smoker. They have a right not to enter the premises if they don't like what's in there. It is the owners right to run his business in the manner he wishes and a workers right not to accept employment if the conditions are not acceptable.
Still the ban's working ----- there are no workers suffering poluted air in at least 5 Bingo Halls because they've closed (with more to come). No smoker has to suffer the indignity of standing outside to smoke since they can join the maybe 2,000 other smokers and non-smokers sitting at home without their simple pleasure knowing that they dispensible in New Scotland.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Blaggarde on Jul 12th, 2006 at 9:45am
Kirstin...oh yeah?

Oh yeah what ??

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by kirstin...oh yeah on Jul 12th, 2006 at 7:02pm
kirstin...oh yeah...oh yeah i'm not gonna get lung cancer!can't grumble can i?

i appear to have mistaken this thread for one discussing odd  ???

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Jul 13th, 2006 at 2:03am

You are right: rather than talk about our names, let's talk about what we are going to die of as this is far more relevant. Nobody is told what they are going to die of, but I am happy that you don't feel that you are at any particular risk from lung cancer.

However these figures are taken from 2003 statistics:

Total deaths 610,871
Total deaths from heart disease 113,895
Total deaths from stroke 65,764
Total deaths from lung cancer 33,420
Total deaths from respiratory disease 84,405

Total deaths from these four major 'smoking related' conditions 297,484

Smokers account for max 25% of population therefore they account for about a quarter of total, that is 152,717. This leaves 144,767 non-smokers dying from so-called smoking related conditions. And before you say that they are all victims of secondary smoke you can think again. The only premature stroke death I know of was of a non-smoking market gardener aged 49 who spent most of her time outdoors. Anecdotal but true.

Lung cancer is the only one of these conditions that kills more people under 75 than over it, and it is impossible to pin down the cause of conditions that have no single known cause, especially in people of advanced age: a variety of factors is known to contribute to all these things.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by dcbrainstorm on Jul 17th, 2006 at 9:01pm
Kirstin....oh yeah.

Surely you are not a lawyer or training to be a lawyer?  God help us if you are!!
You should be ashamed of yourself - you are either what we call 'a silly wee lassie' or a 'troll'.  Whichever it is, you add nothing to the debate other than your hatred of smokers...........nice that isn't it.

Sure your parents must be so proud of you........Not.

Go and get yourself a real life - That's what most of us do.  It is only poor souls like you that depend on Government to decide what you need to do with your free time. Sucker!

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by kirstin...oh yeah on Jul 19th, 2006 at 3:21am
'dcbrainstorm' who do you think you are?

what does it matter if i'm training to be a lawyer (which i am) or are a lawyer already...this is a subject in which i have both particular interest and concern. I'll be going through the same degree as what every other lawyer has done, so God help us all eh?
I have absolutely NO reason to feel ashamed of myself whatsoever, i am glad i was brough up by non-smoking, anti-smoking parents...who i believe would be very proud of me.
I might be younger than yourself and probably others who have posted comments but i still have an opinion which i believed was asked for? i don't think i'm the silly one throwing personal attacks about and deflecting from the discussion.
And for the record i'll say it again, i don't hate the smokers, i hate the smoke.
As for me adding nothing to the debate:
Have people replied to what i've said? on more than one occassion?... so i've not added anything to the debate?
The government in my eyes have done a pretty good job with this specific issue, that is my opinion. Whether you chose to accept that or not is up to you, but there is absolutely no need to be offensive towards me or anyone else for that matter.
Take your personal insults and childish name-calling elsewhere.

One last question...what do you think of the ban?;)

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Freedumb on Jul 19th, 2006 at 5:43am
You're the one who can look (a long way) back to a judgement about a child being injured when falling off a toilet wall.
The judgement ran something like -- It is better that a child break his arm than break.his spirit.
What will happen is that  the majority of the country will be 'inconvenienced' by the bill. they enjoy the thrill (probably should have written are glad to escape the pressures) of their lives yet their pub will not offer the mental medicine it offers now. Many pubs will not survive.
Think about the pleasure that many scots people have lost because the bingo club has closed.
The whole thing hyas been worked as a

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by kirstin...oh yeah on Jul 19th, 2006 at 5:09pm
I don't think I quite understand what you are trying to say about the child breaking his arm?

If Dublin is anything to go by, then pubs will more than survive, they have seen a huge increase in takings since the ban came into force.
Your right, its a shame about the bingo halls, but it could have been prevented very easily...

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Freedumb on Jul 19th, 2006 at 6:33pm
Better to break an arm than break his spirit is quite simple.
Similar to it's better to try and fail than never to try at all.  
Simple obedience to rules is an enemy to creativity, invention and personal development. A designer quite some years ago told me that the best designers in his company didn't come from art college; they were punks, people who kicked against society's rules.
People have free will, they like to explore, take risks etc in order to learn and stretch their realities.
A Ban based on risk but goes against public opinion and in the case of the smoking ban hits what most people think of as legitimate valuable recreation cannot be good. Many people looked forward to their simple pleasure of going to the 5 Bingo Halls that closed in Scotland but many now sit at home with that pleasure gone. This is damaging their spirit.
What's the point of carrying on if pleasure has gone.

What people would have willingly accepted was better ventilation or similar which may not have been the 'total' solution demanded by ASH etc but it would have helped, smoking would continue to fall and become less of the norm.
A total ban is too much like the big stick just so a minority can have their total way and commonsense tells us that people, communities and society will suffer unnecessary damage.
The ban in Ireland has resulted in rising smoking levels and even pro-ban people have sympathy with and happily accomodate smokers.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Jul 19th, 2006 at 6:48pm

No doubt some Irish pubs have done well but I am not sure that the overall picture for the licensed trade is good. Even more serious is the upturn in cigarette sales following the ban in Ireland, where they were declining before. This was reported in March when our ban came in and continues to be reported. See And yes Sadireland is a smokers' advocacy group in Ireland but they are quoting trade figures and these are independently verifiable. You also have to bear in mind that many Irish people go out of their way to buy cigarettes overseas when they go on holiday (to escape the ban) and the upturn in Irish tobacco revenue as a whole does not take this into account. So if the intention of the ban was to discourage smoking it has failed, and if it was to limit so-called passive smoking it has probably also failed since so much social smoking still obviously goes on.

What was your easy solution for the bingo halls?

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Jul 25th, 2006 at 2:42am
This question was put by MEP Catherine Stihler in response to a query about Philip Tobin (smokers need not apply). She sent me the answer today (see below). This is quite horrifying and needs a response.

by Catherine Stihler (PSE)
to the Commission

Subject: Smoking and discrimination

The EU has valuable anti-discrimination legislation in place.

Would an advertisement which appeared recently in Ireland (which has a workplace smoking ban) with the heading 'Smokers need not apply' breach this legislation?
Answer given by Mr Spidla
on behalf of the Commission

EU anti-discrimination law (Directives 2000/43/EC and 2000/78/EC ) prohibits discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin, disability, age, sexual orienation and religion and belief in employment and other fields.

A job advertisment saying that "smokers need not apply" would not seem to fall under any of the above mentioned prohibited grounds of discrimination.

The Commission strongly supports banning smoking in workplaces as a measure to protect smokers' and non- smokers’ health. It has also the indirect impact of helping people to stop smoking.

Quite apart from recent recorded increases in Irish tobacco revenue there are at least two serious problems with this answer.

1. Discrimination in employment is not desireable, because it implies that an arbitrary judgment has been made about somebody's suitability for employment based on irrelevant considerations. The Commission's response suggests that except in the case of the above mentioned groups discrimination is acceptable and I don't believe this was intended by the legislation. The groups mentioned are in other words examples of groups that have been discriminated against in the past, not the only people that anti-discrimination laws are meant to be applied to. It is not intended to imply that discrimination is acceptable at all. If this is not the case, the Commission should explain on what grounds discrimination is considered to be good practice.

2. The fact that smoking is discouraged at work is not a justification for refusing smokers employment. This kind of provision fosters an atmosphere of distrust between employers and staff.

If anyone agrees with the above I would suggest protesting to your MEP (easily found by entering in search engine). You should have a number of European representatives. I am appalled that they are approaching the legislation in this way ie let's discriminate by denying that smokers are part of a specific group – NO ONE should be subject to discrimination.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Princess Analia on Jul 27th, 2006 at 2:24pm
I am perhaps playing devil's advocate here Belinda, but what if the advert stated 'alcoholics need not apply' or 'drug addicts need not apply'   Would this be discrimination also??  I have to say that when I was working full time I got rather peeved at all the 'smoke breaks' that smokers would have - breaks which I never got.  It's not as if the non-smokers could mosey on outside for a wee walk a couple of times a day.  So basically the smokers were earning the same as I was for less work.  If you add these breaks up over a reasonable period of time, they are significant.   Smokers are also more prone to health problems than non smokers.  Perhaps employers are trying to reduce the risk/cost of absences and ad hoc breaks.  I agree that what you do outside work is none of your employer's business if it doesn't affect your work but there may be some valid arguments for employers not wishing to employ smokers.

One final point.  I get a little rankled hearing about 'discrimination' of smokers.  Women can be discriminated against.  Chinese people can be discriminated against.  Muslims can be discriminated against.  None of these groups of people can change who or what they are, they are powerless in the face of the discrimination. Smoking is a lifestyle choice, like drinking or drug taking, not something that the smokers just 'are.'  I can't in all good conscience have the same sympathy about them being 'discriminated' against.  Nobody is stopping anyone smoking.  Just in public places.  Seems a little trivial compared to race hate or religious prejudice.  

I haven't posted on here for a while and I have to say that it seems this debate has got a little out of proportion.  It's like there's some great big conspiracy theory that the non smokers and the government have against the smokers and that this is wrong, evil and has it's roots in some kind of vindictiveness.  Smoking is bad for people!!  You might not agree with the means of reducing it's harm but look guys, there's no conspiracy, the result that is wished for is better health and less needless death for smokers.  I've said this before and others have too.  I don't hate smokers, they're all individuals and as worthy and important as non smokers. It's smoking I hate and I would love to see less people smoking as I don't want to switch off any more ventilators attached to COPD patients who wish they'd never started the rotten habit in the first place.  

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Jul 27th, 2006 at 4:26pm
Hi Princess, nice to see you again and I am sorry if you think we are getting fanatical and unbalanced! Thanks for your comments anyway.

With all respect I think you missed the point about discrimination. The legislation is against discrimination in principle rather than encouraging it with exception to certain groups. Also if you feel choice in general can be used as an excuse to discriminate, this might undermine the value of choice in society, which I believe Tony Blair is now defending.

I am not sure about excluding addicts and alcoholics from employment, you may very well find that that they are covered under disability. However the main criterion should be suitability to do the work in question. Smoking is irrelevant. People work at different speeds. For all the time spent at a desk, a smoker can be much more efficient than a non-smoker (not necessarily of course) and when I was office bound the issue of smokers taking breaks was never a problem for me. I just trusted that they would get through their workload and I would get through mine, and their breaks were none of my business. Finally lots of employers don't see smokers because many of them are self-employed too and you can't do that if you are sick all the time.

Excluding smokers from employment opportunities will do nobody any favours. It certainly won't stop them spending money on tobacco!

I think it quite wrong if employers are allowed to discriminate against smokers supposedly in the interests of their business, but if they feel that it would be in the interests of their business to supply a smoking room, that would be illegal.

WE ARE NOT PRO-SMOKING – please understand this. The intention of the legislation may have been to protect people from smoking and to discourage smoking. Firstly we feel that the dangers of passive smoking have been exaggerated out of all proportion, and two we have noted that Irish smoking revenues, after an initial dip, have risen. This means that both smoking and passive smoking have increased.

We were at a meeting in Fife last night where licensed premises have suffered devastating losses. This means that people will lose their social amenities in a former Urban Aid area, the result being more social isolation and more anti-social behaviour as people smoke and drink more at home.

Conspiracy or not, this legislation will not meet its stated objectives.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Jul 27th, 2006 at 7:02pm
Also the way to resist discrimination is not to wish you were something else, and you imply that the way to stop being discriminated against as a smoker is to stop smoking. Is the way for a Chinese person to avoid discrimination to avoid looking Chinese, or a woman to pretend to be a man? No it is to say I may be a Chinese woman who smokes but I can do my job as well as you do your job.

Discrimination is making judgments based on irrelevant information and that is why there are laws against it.

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by kirstin...oh yeah on Jul 31st, 2006 at 2:43pm
Here here Princess Analia!! Nice to hear some sense for a change!

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Belinda on Aug 1st, 2006 at 4:53am
The whole of human history seems to be filled with struggles against arbitrary ill treatment, and now we get this astonishing backlash. Human rights legislation is meant to protect against discrimination: against arabitrary judgments that affect people's civil rights and ultimately livelihoods. The European commission is interpreting it to mean that discrimination is absolutely acceptable – except on grounds of race, disability or gender. So you can make up any other excuse you like, and people have realised that they can pick on people who smoke.

And that is just what discrimination is: the employer, you say Princess, may wish to save costs resulting from sickness. That is prejudicial. They might be ruling out employing somebody with exactly the right skills and temperament required for the needs of the company and working with its other employees. How is that sensible?

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Blad on Sep 27th, 2006 at 4:08am
When you say there is no conspiracy going on guys Analia I'm afriad you couldn't be more wrong.  You are indeed not well researched nor well informed preferring instead what seems to you like an easy explanation.

I suggest strongly therefore you challenge your preconceptions and visit:

This is the web blog of Dr Michael Siegel.  Siegel is in fact a tobacco control advocate and  is now a Professor of Social and Behavioural Sciences at Boston.  Siegel is now so dissillusioned with the tobacco control movement and its excesses and lies that he has decided to expose their activities.  As a result he has been persecuted extensively but has nevertheless persevered with remarkable courage.  

Take a good look at this blog Analia and scan through its archives.  What is revealed is a catalogue of abuse and mendaciousness which may be hard for some people to comprehend, yet it is truly happening.

Same goes for you kirsten... oh yeah for at the moment you are very good on the throwaway comments and using words like "common sense" whilst in fact knowing nothing.  So let's see if you really have any backbone!

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by poster on Oct 24th, 2006 at 6:38pm

Print it, post it as many places as you can!

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by MRab2 on Oct 31st, 2006 at 10:43pm

wrote on Jul 27th, 2006 at 2:24pm:
I am perhaps playing devil's advocate here Belinda, but what if the advert stated 'alcoholics need not apply' or 'drug addicts need not apply'   Would this be discrimination also??

Cigarettes are different from drugs or alcohol as there's no impairment associated with their use. No one is rendered unable to work because of a recent nicotine fix.
So perhaps a better comparison would be; what if the company insisted that only tee-totalers applied and that drinking alcohol in the privacy of your own home in your own time became a sackable offense?
Or how about if the company insisted you maintained your body mass index below a certain level or face disciplinary action.
This may sound a little far fetched just now but no more so than the current situation with smoking would have appeared 15 years ago.
Smoking is just the thin end of the wedge. The government is ALREADY shifting its focus towards drinking, with a senior advisor of the Scottish parliment suggesting legislation to impose a "three-drink-limit" in pubs. I also have confirmation that MPs are currently discussing a "fat tax" of some description. But I'm digressing.
Back to the point in hand. I would defend the company's right to not employ a smoker BUT if that person should start smoking after they begin their employment that is not sufficent reason to sack them (providing they don't smoke during working hours).

Smoking is a lifestyle choice, like drinking or drug taking, not something that the smokers just 'are.'  I can't in all good conscience have the same sympathy about them being 'discriminated' against.

Alcoholism is a lifestyle choice? That's what you were compariing smoking to at the beginning of your post. Can't have it both ways. Either its a lifestyle choice, in which case it is NOT within the governments scope of power to discourage people from making this choice, or its an addiction, in which case smokers should not be discriminated against when it comes to things like medical treatment.

It's like there's some great big conspiracy theory that the non smokers and the government have against the smokers and that this is wrong, evil and has it's roots in some kind of vindictiveness.  Smoking is bad for people!!  You might not agree with the means of reducing it's harm but look guys, there's no conspiracy, the result that is wished for is better health and less needless death for smokers.  I've said this before and others have too.  I don't hate smokers, they're all individuals and as worthy and important as non smokers. It's smoking I hate and I would love to see less people smoking as I don't want to switch off any more ventilators attached to COPD patients who wish they'd never started the rotten habit in the first place.  

Point is, assuming its a lifestyle choice, that its none of the government's business. Anymore than cutting down the needless deaths due to hillwalking or wind surfing, or boating or any of the other miriad of choices adults make that wind up getting them killed.
Pressure groups want tobacco banned, they're usually quite open about this and each successive piece of legislation takes us one step closer to a total ban and therin lies the conspiracy, it might not be intentional, but it doesn't matter. If thing keep on going the way they are then the £8 billion in revenue current gained from tobacco tax is going to turn into an £8 billion deficit from fighting illegal importation and non-smokers the country over get to watch their annual tax bill climb even higher.
And even IF there's a total ban, smoke related illnesses will STILL continue to climb as they have unabated despite the proportion of smokers dropping by 2/3rds.

Title: Choice or Addiction
Post by Gasdoc on Nov 2nd, 2006 at 11:47pm
Hi all

Just thought I'd wax about whether smoking tobacco is a choice or an addiction.  I think it is both in different amounts in different people.  In no small measure dependent on some genetic material.

It becomes a choice however because it exists.  Put another way a legal choice because it is legal (different but similar statement).  If it was illegal it would be a different choice dependent on the same and some additional genes, which influence our tendency towards illegal behaviour.

No doubt the tendancy towards liking smoke or smokers has some genetic basis as well as indeed being an anti-smoking lobbyist must have some flawed genetic trait.  Also the likelihood of being harmed by tobacco has some genetic basis whereas the likelihood of being harmed by passive smoke has no genetic basis other than the genes governing gullibility and unfavourable personality traits.

It would appear that something within those prone to depression and other forms of mental illness are more likely to chose to smoke..genes again.  This is rewarded by the relief of the symptoms of mental illness, particularly anxiety.  Arguably it becomes less of a choice in these individuals.  So the choice angle is complicated enough and not easy to simplify for the case of legal arguments.

It would apear that a substance in tobacco can produce a state of craving that substance..Nicotine.  So smoking is labelled as addictive.  The habit of putting something in one's mouth is thought to have some psychological addiction. I would rather explain this simply by habitual behaviour.

Addiction perse is not a problem unless the addict wishes or must stop the habit so can only be used as a relevancy in those people.  Morphine, which I prescribe on a very regular basis, is said not to be addictive when used to treat pain.  The proof for that is easily available.  It does however cause withdrawal symptoms in these people when the drug is no longer necessary.  Withdrawal symptoms are a physical reaction by the body to the absence of the substance and occur in addicts but are not synonymous with addiction.

So nicotine withdrawal causes cravings and withdrawal symptoms but that does not mean the individual is addicted to nicotine.

Addiction is usually diagnosed on the presence of addictive behaviour an it is diffficult to apply this thinking to tobacco users in my opinion.  Perhaps when it is illegal to smoke it will be easier as addictive behaviour will be easier to recognise.  Going on the game to fund your tobacco habit for example.

Smoking for me is a choice and I do it because I enjoy it.  I don't see myself as addicted to it because it isn't a problem to me.  I do so in full knowledge of its potential to harm me and not to harm others.

Oh and by the way, I have just read something in New Scientist. This is only tenuously connected but worthy of note...
Professor of Medicine of the University of California, Drummond Rennie has coined the term "Astroturf" rather than "Grassroots" to describe organistions that practice the business of "Disguising an orchestrated campaign as a spontaneous upwelling of public opinion".  This term fits well with ASH.  Is this an illegal activity?

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by rob_tomkins on Dec 2nd, 2006 at 4:47am
Can anyone hlep please?

We bought a number of wall mounted ashtrays for our business from on online retailer a few months back, but now a lot of the employees are complaining about there not being enough shelter.

All the smoking shelters I've seen are either too expensive or look awful!! Can anyone recommend a decent shelter compny?


Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by Thereismore on Dec 16th, 2007 at 11:41pm

Belinda wrote on Oct 22nd, 2005 at 5:36pm:
I am interested in the question whether a smoking ban can be said to contravene human rights legislation.

The case is as follows. There is much recent research about the dangers of passive smoking. I have done a few calculations that demonstrate that the risk from passive smoking is neglible as reflected in the mortality statistics for the UK. This risk seems to underpin the legislation in the perception of most people.

Assuming my figures to hold water (I will supply details if anyone is interested in this thread) my feeling is that the ban contravenes rights of association in European and other human rights law. Smoking is not illegal, and smokers who want to be in company in public places now risk being in contravention of the law. The fact is that millions of UK citizens are actually social smokers, and smoking is an addictive product.

I foresee enormous difficulties for smokers in maintaining social relations, both in general and especially in groups such as people with mental health problems, former prisoners, asylum seekers who have left home in fear of their lives. Free association is not free if people are in fear of the law when they pursue lawful activities.

I find it hard to see that there is an imminent threat to public safety or order by allowing smoking.

To summarise the figures I worked out, if you take the mortality figures and compare them with the number of 'exposed' non-smokers dying from four major smoking-related conditions you get about 1.5 percent in total, and there is only a link: no proven causation. In addition, two thirds of deaths across the whole UK occur over the age of 75, including smokers, with respiratory conditions killing three-quarters and strokes four-fifths. Only lung cancer kills more than two-thirds (actually about a half) of its victims under the age of 75.

I would be interested in any opinion on this question. Thank you



I have not read all the anti-smoking comments, but does any expert question why someone live`s quite happily  till well into his 80`s smokes and drinks.. He dies, we all got to die sometime.
None of his aliments are diretly attrubuted to smoking, just old age.

Meaning if he had not smoked he could of live another 10-20 years being super fit.
Yes some peope get cancer smoking  cigarettes but their genes and other environmental factors play a part.
The combine effect of chemical (Nanoparticles) and electropollution is perhaps the real reason.
Internal radiation, was disregard as a hazard until resently.
But if small particles of chemical cross the cell membrain and cause cancer, those particles are just as likely to be in the environment from industy, even your office air conditioning unit.

In treatment for some cancer doctors inject small particles of Gold: Then apply apply radiation to kill the cancer.. Cigarettes or smoking the weed was a cure for ills.... Its all things in moderation:

Title: Re: Smoking ban
Post by frankbenji on Feb 6th, 2008 at 12:17pm
Allowing smoking is a threat to public safety because it will have adverse effects on public.Even though mentioned figures are right we can't expect same result always.I don't want any one to get addicted to that dirty habit.

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