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Smoking, Freedom and all things (ob)noxiouxs

June 28th, 2011 Posted in Culture, drugs, freedom, health, Nannying, Personal Freedom by

Last week, Angela kicked off a firestorm with her article about abuse of public money by Action on Smoking and Health, the anti-tobacco pressure-group.

Now, Liberal Vision does not need to dwell on tobacco regulation. There are countless infringements on individual liberty out there to discuss, and we don’t want to develop some single-issue hobby-horse. But tobacco regulation is a good proxy for plenty of other government interventions, and the activities of the anti-smoking lobby are echoed by paternalists in other parts of the public health establishment and beyond. It is therefore worth teasing out some of the issues that tobacco regulation raises so that we can better understand liberty in general.

It seems to make sense to begin with a comment from Martin: “Why on earth is [Angela’s] article listed under ‘Personal Freedom’?”. Martin argues that:

Smoking harms human health, as does secondary smoking… Poisoning other people irrespective of their wishes makes an absolute travesty of the term ‘personal freedom’. A more appropriate article tag would be ‘Blinkered Self-Interest’.

Much to the chagrin of some libertarians, it is a fair question and it deserves a response. It is also not enough to deny the effects of second hand smoke: whether or not you question the belief that evidence of the dangers of passive smoking is conclusive, it is clear that the evidence is not conclusive that it is not dangerous. Furthermore, it is smelly and unpleasant for many non-smokers and so some form of negative externality results even if the health one does not.

Having said that, I do believe that this is a matter of personal freedom, and I hope to explain why.

In a follow-up email to Angela, Martin explained why he felt that smoking was not a matter of personal freedom or one compatible with liberalism:

Liberalism has always been about personal freedoms that should only extend up to the point before they start to harm others…. you are bastardising the central plank of liberalism by linking the slow poisoning of others with some sort of human right.

The first point is clearly a reformulation of a sound principle, best captured by Oliver Wendell Holmes when he said that “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.” However, this must surely be situational: if Holmes is already swinging his fists about when Martin walks up to him, and Holmes therefore breaks Martin’s nose, it is Martin who has invaded Holmes’s personal space and responsibility rests with Martin for the pain he has suffered. Similarly, if Angela is sitting on a bench enjoying a cigarette and Martin comes and sits alongside her, it is Martin, not Angela, who is responsible for any perceived aesthetic or medical consequence. The alternative would be either to ban Angela from smoking altogether (which is the response taken by ASH and the government in banning smoking in many areas) or to empower Martin to force her to stub out every time he approached her.

Of course, it is not simply enough to say “s/he who arrives first gets to decide” (though that is exactly the approach that has traditionally been taken to ownership of resources). Martin may not have to sit next to Angela on the bench, but he may have to sit next to her in a train or a pub. So who should arbitrate in this case?

ASH clearly believes that this is the role of government – which it has encouraged to ban smoking in just about any venue where two strangers might meet indoors. However, it is that which is at odd with liberalism; not the “slow poisoning of others.” This is my second point: that ultimately, the right to decide what takes place in any locale should be at the discretion of the owner of that property. (A unhelpful and circular argument results from adding “as long as the activity is legal” which encourages paternalists to point out that the government can make it illegal on private property, which is true but not liberal. It’s a long-winded diversion, however. Read The Constitution of Liberty if it is troubling you).

Imagine Angela, Martin and I are on Come Dine With Me. When we all go to Martin’s house, he is entitled to tell Angela that she cannot smoke anywhere on the premises. At my house, I might say that it’s up to them whether they smoke, or that they can smoke, but only in the garden. When we visit Angela, she is within her rights to say that we are only allowed in her house if we smoke. Martin will refuse to enter Angela’s house – and mine if I let Angela smoke at the dinner table – and similarly Angela may refuse to set foot in Martin’s. That’s fine. It’s their house; they make the rules.

Why is a restaurant different from a house? Why is a taxi different? Or a pub (which, despite it’s unfortunate name, is a private, and not a public, space)? The answer is that there is no difference. It should be up to the restaurateur, the taxi driver and the publican to set the rules.

Anti-smokers usually fear that this will result in a free-for-all with smoking everywhere. This is unlikely. Truly “public” (or quasi-public) spaces, those run or regulated by public bodies, would undoubtedly remain smoke free. As for the rest, it is unlikely that they would all now revert to allowing smoking: non-smokers like smoke-free spaces, and there are costs to cleaning up after smokers. However, if the balance tipped too far towards smoking establishments, this could be managed by a licensing system: taxi licences would either forbid smoking or regulate the number of smoking cabs; local authorities could license smoking as they do on- and off-licence sales of alcohol. This still undermines property rights, but it is a better solution than the current blanket provision. Why, after all, can the members of a private club that centres around the enjoyment of cigars not smoke in their clubhouse?

The third point, then, must address what is often portrayed as both the main argument and the one hardest to refute – though ASH admitted it was in fact merely a tactical ploy – which is that something must be done to protect the health of workers. This, again, is a property rights issue: every man has a property in his own person, and is able to make an informed decision as to the costs and benefits of any employment. The idea that no person should be allowed to take employment that carries a risk is absurd. Instead, the risks should be made clear and individuals should be free to determine the balance for themselves. If people are able to evaluate the risks of going to war or space, of running into burning buildings or driving 40 tonne trucks across a thin layer of ice above the Arctic Ocean, they are presumably able to evaluate the risks, and the potential rewards, in terms of wage premiums, higher overall levels of employment, and so forth.

Some might not mind working in a smoky bar; some might actively enjoy it; and some might value the extra income more than they fear the health risks. But it is their choice to make. They do not need ASH or the government taking decisions for them. It is that removal of individual choice, discretion and responsibility that is “bastardising the central plank of liberalism”.

39 Responses to “Smoking, Freedom and all things (ob)noxiouxs”

  1. Millitant Says:

    This is a more intelligent post than the Harbutt one, and therefore deserves a more considered response.

    There is weasel wording at the heart of it, however, specifically:

    “Whether or not you question the belief that evidence of the dangers of passive smoking is conclusive, it is clear that the evidence is not conclusive that it is not dangerous. Furthermore, it is smelly and unpleasant for many non-smokers and so some form of negative externality results even if the health one does not.”

    So: the post suggest a range of possibilities from a) secondhand smoke is a significant health hazard to b) secondhand smoke is smelly and unpleasant. But it is obvious to any (genuine) liberal that defensible policy responses would vary widely depending on which of these possibilities is in fact true.

    So my question to you is this: let us suppose for the sake of argument that you are presented today with scientific evidence on the dangers of secondhand smoke that is clear and which, as an intellecutally honest person, you find it impossible to ignore or deny. Let us suppose that repeated exposure to other people’s smoke increases a non-smoker’s chance of getting lung cancer or heart disease. Let us further suppose, for the sake of argument that the number of excess deaths in a year from exposure to secondhand smoke in workplaces across the UK can be roughly qunatified at 600 – or about three times the number of deaths from workplace accidents.

    Now, give me a clear and convincing libertarian argument why regulation of secondhand smoke in the workplace as a health and safety issue would be unacceptable.

    If you can’t do this then I suggest you lack the courage of your libertarian convictions, and in fact have to rely either on claiming vagueness or controversy in relation to the scientific evidence or on denying it altogether.


  2. Tom Says:

    The argument against regulation of second hand smoke as a workplace hazard is presented in the article.

    “This, again, is a property rights issue: every man has a property in his own person, and is able to make an informed decision as to the costs and benefits of any employment. The idea that no person should be allowed to take employment that carries a risk is absurd. Instead, the risks should be made clear and individuals should be free to determine the balance for themselves. If people are able to evaluate the risks of going to war or space, of running into burning buildings or driving 40 tonne trucks across a thin layer of ice above the Arctic Ocean, they are presumably able to evaluate the risks, and the potential rewards, in terms of wage premiums, higher overall levels of employment, and so forth.”

    The risk of working in a smoke filled room are well known. The long-term risks to employment prospects as bars and clubs shut down is less well known. Forcing a blanket ban on smoking to improve staff health while not seemingly ignoring the effects on employment seems like a problem.

    Assuming you accept that adults are capable of making value judgements, it seems strange to legislate for something that the staff or customers could achieve via collective bargaining or voting with their feet.


  3. Dave Atherton Says:

    @Millitant

    The dangers of second hand smoke (SHS) is at the heart of the argument. Firstly Millitant do you believe the government tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

    The late Professor Alvan Feinstein was a Yale epidemiologist who was a major sceptic and he wrote a whole paper on SHS junk science which can be read below. The main purpose of the Legacy Library was to put into the public domain the dealings of tobacco companies to show them in a bad light. Alas it contains also the shady dealings of the anti tobacco faction too.

    “The inconvenient failure of the evidence to comply with a prime requisite of scientific reasoning for causality, however, has not inhibited the causal accusations. The “prosecution” has simply ignored the inconvenient results and emphasized those that are (in a memorable term) “helpful…”

    “I recently heard an authoritative leader in the world of
    public health epidemiology make the following statement:

    “Yes, it’s rotten science, but it’s in a worthy cause . It will help us get rid of cigarettes and become a smoke-free society.”

    Finally the original provenance for what I consider was a fraud was in 1975 when the then British Chief Medical Officer Sir George Godber addressed the World Health Organization. He was fanatical anti tobacco and he said:

    “It would be essential to foster an atmosphere where it was perceived that active smokers would injure those around them, especially their family and any infants or young children who would be exposed involuntarily to smoke in the air.”

    Millitant there is empirical evidence that possibly (I believe almost certainly) the WHO, the government and scientists have invented and perpetuated a lie. Some people’s motivations maybe altruistic in wanting to reduce smoking, some are admiring the Emperors New Clothes, as they have not read into the subject themselves. However some are willfully and knowingly misleading us on a Biblical scale. Their motivations are greed, power, ego. The saddest matter is that it has corrupted a whole section of science and scientists as they publication bias their findings as they chase funding.

    From a freedom, science and democratic view I hope it sends a shudder down the spine of every free thinking person.

    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/lsv20a00/pdf

    http://iarnuocon.newsvine.com/_news/2007/10/17/1028570-secondhand-smoke-mirrors


  4. Millitant Says:

    Tom; an interesting and revealing response.

    “The idea that no person should be allowed to take employment that carries a risk is absurd.”

    Straw man: no-one I know of argues that all risks should be eliminated from employment, for example no-one suggests that all construction sites should be closed or that no employee should drive a car. The usual safety at work principle is that unnecessary risks should be eliminated as far as possible.

    “Instead, the risks should be made clear and individuals should be free to determine the balance for themselves.”

    This of course would be an argument for repealing most if not all regulation of safety at work. For example, the use of hazardous chemicals is highly regulated. The risks are well known, so this argument would tend to the conclusion that employees should be “free” to work in places where chemicals are not stored or used safely if they so choose.

    What is the underlying reason for this apparently extreme conclusion? “This, again, is a property rights issue: every man has a property in his own person, and is able to make an informed decision as to the costs and benefits of any employment.” In fact, this argument is directed at the property rights of the employer at least as much or more than the employee: if accepted it would be wrong to require employers by law to provide reasonable standards of safety at work.

    A moment’s thought suffices to show that this is not a “liberal” principle at all, but a profoundly conservative – in fact reactionary – one.

    Dave Atherton: your post is just yet another reprise of your scientific ignorance and is not to the point in any event, so I won’t be responding to it.


  5. Dave Atherton Says:

    @Millitant

    In the last debate someone was kind enough to count up the ad hominems I was subjected to, I believe the figure was 50, now risen to 51.

    As we all know cheap abuse means that you have run out of arguments.


  6. Millitant Says:

    Dave Atherton: no I think my exchange with Tom is interesting a full of arguments, on both sides. I just don’t want to waste my time and the time of other readers by engaging with your endlessly repeated factual errors. Again.


  7. Pat Nurse Says:

    the smokerphobic’s right to this mythical “clean air” – if such a thing truly exists in modern society which is full of all sorts of toxins, tobacco being one of the least harmful – ends where the smoker’s right to exist and to enjoy free association with like minded people starts.

    One person’s choice does not have to impact upon another person’s choice as far as smoking is concerned but this is not about health. It’s about the bloated, greedy and fantatical anti-smoker political lobbyists forcing through an agenda of hate using distorted and manipulated maths to achieve its aims and not real and biological science. End Hate. End Smokerphobia!


  8. Belinda Says:

    @Militant

    ‘So my question to you is this: let us suppose for the sake of argument that you are presented today with scientific evidence on the dangers of secondhand smoke that is clear and which, as an intellecutally honest person, you find it impossible to ignore or deny. …smoke in workplaces across the UK can be roughly qunatified at 600 – or about three times the number of deaths from workplace accidents.

    Now, give me a clear and convincing libertarian argument why regulation of secondhand smoke in the workplace as a health and safety issue would be unacceptable.’

    What has happened is less regulation of secondhandsmoke in the workplace than a complete ban. To justify a complete ban, which we have now, you would need to know not only that smoking is dangerous to bystanders, but also that it is dangerous in a way that no other airborne toxin is dangerous. There is no little point in removing smoke from the air if toxins from other sources remain in the air. Health authorities are so busy trying to discourage us from smoking that the issue of what other toxins remain in the air (such as air from busy urban streets outdoors drifting inside) gets ignored … or answered with a voice pleading: ‘but we need cars!’

    Regulation of air quality is the issue, not regulation of smoke.

    In any case, there has been no consensus about the toxicity of smoke over these many years so it seems unlikely that the proof you speculate about will be available today. This means that there are a good number of people who are willing to run risk of exposure to smoke for the sake of a better social life.

    When you speak of speculated deaths from secondary smoke exposure there is no evidence that I know that such deaths are easily picked out from the annual mortality, running to around 600,000 a year. If there are allegedly 600 or so deaths from the presumed effects of passive smoke from this number, it is to be expected that almost two-thirds of them live to at least 75, well past retirement (I am looking at 2003 figures from BHF). Since 600 is a tiny proportion of the workforce and mortality rate, I am struggling to see what the fuss about smoke is, since such a figure could easily be distorted by confounding factors. Comparing this with workplace accidents, which can cut people off in their prime, seems ill advised: these people are clearly identified, unlike the hypothetical people who die (perhaps) of the alleged effects of smoke.


  9. Angela Harbutt Says:

    @Militant

    If you have read Common Sense Common Safety – Lord Youngs report on Health and Safety – you will know that he said in his summary that the standing of health and safety in the eyes of the public has never been lower – and that the main reason for this was the way that sensible health and safety rules that apply to harzardous occupations (your chemical workers example) have been applied across all occupations.

    In the same report David Cameron’s forward says “Good Health and Safety is vitally important. But all too often good, straight forward legislation designed to protect people from dangerous hazards has been extended inappropriately to cover every walk of life….. We are going to focus regulations where they are most needed; with a new system that is proportionate, not bureaucratic; that treats ADULTS LIKE ADULTS (my emphasis),and reinstates some common sense…”

    Your likening of working in a hazardous industry where “the use of hazardous chemicals is highly regulated” to pulling pints in a bar is simply absurd and hysterical.


  10. Dave Atherton Says:

    All arguments go away when you install air extraction and even unextracted places are perfectly safe.

    “PASSIVE smoking in pubs may not be as harmful as we think, according to the results of an exclusive Wales on Sunday investigation. We sent our non-smoking testers to five different pubs across Wales to measure just how much cigarette smoke entered their systems within a three-hour period.

    Our results were processed and supervised by the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London. The highest reading showed that in Copa bar, Cardiff, our tester smoked the equivalent of one twentieth of a cigarette in three hours. If taken over the year, spending 20 hours a week in the pub – not unusual for pub staff – this would equate to 19.4 cigarettes a year.

    Two readings showed the same results – The Godfrey Morgan pub in Newport, and The Bryncoch in Neath – where our testers ‘smoked’ the equivalent of one sixtieth of a cigarette each. This equates to just over five cigarettes a year.

    The tester at The Godfrey Morgan was sitting in a no-smoking area, although he had to walk through the smoking area and was sat just a few feet away from smokers.

    The final two pubs, Revolution in Swansea and The Wynnstay Arms, Llanbrynmair, recorded negligible results, and both our testers found the places were well air-conditioned.

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/tm_objectid=14871372&method=full&siteid=50082&headline=smoking-out-truth-over-passive-health-name_page.html


  11. Millitant Says:

    Belinda: “What has happened is less regulation of secondhandsmoke in the workplace than a complete ban. To justify a complete ban, which we have now, you would need to know not only that smoking is dangerous to bystanders, but also that it is dangerous in a way that no other airborne toxin is dangerous.”

    Why? Do you mean that no “airborne toxin” should ever be regulated, or banned, unless they all are? What about the ones that can readily be removed from the workplace, as against those that can’t. Fallacious reasoning I am afraid.

    Angela: “Your likening of working in a hazardous industry where “the use of hazardous chemicals is highly regulated” to pulling pints in a bar is simply absurd and hysterical.”

    No: if anything, the absurdity and hysteria is yours. I used the examples of hazardous chemicals (and cars) to illustrate that Tom’s argument from property rights would apply to most if not all workplace hazards – since if the risk is well known, his position appears to be that employees should have the “right” to decide whether to expose themselves to it or not.

    I am always happy to engage with libertarian arguments, even when I think they are profoundly wrong. I am less happy to engage with libertarians who lack the intellectual integrity to deal with the opponent’s position as stated, rather than following their lazy misrepresentation.


  12. Tom Papworth Says:

    Thanks, everybody, for your contributions.

    Before we kick off, I just want to clarify (as we’ve had this confusion on the previous post) that the “Tom” above was not me but another person. However, I think he has responded adequately to Millitant’s first contribution.

    To Millitant’s second post, I would say that I would be happy to see health and safety regulations relaxed to allow informed individuals to work in enviroments where there is a calculated risk to harm – be it from second hand smoke (SHS) or from chemical exposure. The key is “informed”; employers should not be allowed to misrepresent the dangers.

    The result would be that those who fear SHS could avoid it and those who do not could take employment. What is it that you have against individuals being free to make informed choices?


  13. Millitant Says:

    Tom P: Happy to accept that there are two Toms posting out there, particularly since you buy Tom 2′s argument.

    So let’s just clarify exactly where we have got to. Yes, you would still apply the argument against regulation of smoking in the workplace, even if it was proved to your entire satisfaction that it was a serious health risk. Yes, you would apply this principle to other safety regulations, for example exposure to hazardous chemicals at work. You think it’s much better for everyone to be “free” to make an “informed choice”. And this principle would hold even if the practical implications were a significant increase in the number of deaths and injuries at work.

    That has the merit of honesty. Personally, I think it’s utterly wrong-headed: for example, it takes no account of the disparity in economic power between employees and employers, or of the competitive pressures on employers in unregulated markets to relax standards. I also think that it would enjoy little or no public support. But I would be very pleased to put that to the political test.

    In future discussions of this kind, let’s cut to the chase, eh?


  14. Belinda Says:

    Regulation should be based on the reasonable control of measurable hazards. We have all kinds of measures of safety and sanitation ranging from food and hygiene procedures to air cleaning/ventilation/air curtains to safety goggles, helmets, gloves and boots. To me a smoking ban is on a par with approaching food safety issues at work by banning public food service, rather than implementing procedures about the temperature of food storage, for example. You can make environments safer without banning specific substances and materials.


  15. Tom Says:

    “”Straw man: …”
    “Instead, the risks should be made clear and individuals should be free to determine the balance for themselves.”
    This of course would be an argument for repealing most if not all regulation….”

    The risks described in the article and in most examples used are risks derived from the central point of that job. The whole point of having an ice road trucker (apart from riveting television) is to move goods across a very dangerous stretch of road.

    In the same way, the whole point of having bar staff is to provide the customers with a good time with their friends, which for some include smoking. I don’t consider pubs or clubs to be purely about drink- smoking is a social activity as well. Legislation against smoking attacks one of the core activities that go on in a club or pub, which is disanalogous with enforcing chemical handling requirements.

    I know absolutely nothing, so forgive me if I’m wrong, but I’d would say these are different from smoking regulations. The dangers are smoking are extremely well known. The dangers of, say, Hydrogen Fluoride are much less well known so the argument for intervention in that case is much stronger than in working in smokey rooms.

    “What is the underlying reason for this apparently extreme conclusion? ….if accepted it would be wrong to require employers by law to provide reasonable standards of safety at work.”

    Wholly accepting or dismissing that notion won’t work in the real world, so we have to find a medium for current policy. If we accept that employees are capable of making informed decisions in matters involving sacrificing their health for money, and also accept that in some cases the information and power balance is warped in favour of the employer. In our society I don’t think the power balance is hugely skewed (to the extent that someone will have no option but to work in a smoky pub for more than a few months) and, in the case of smoking there is no information imbalance that might need to be addressed. Therefor there is no real reason to enact this legislation.

    There seems to be a mistake made by those opposed to the more libertarian side of liberalism that we think all regulation on activity is bad. Most of the regulations we’ve mentioned in this argument will have come in this world from union pressure and from cases for compensation being brought for injured workers (“That chemical is perfectly safe, wash the floor” … “Argh argh argh sizzle” kind of thing). Union activism would set rules that companies would follow, and fear of lawsuits would (and do) keep them honest. We’re not living in the Victorian era, we’re living in a world where people’s rights are considered equal before the law and labour being organised is not illegal.

    “A moment’s thought suffices to show that this is not a “liberal” principle at all, but a profoundly conservative – in fact reactionary – one.”

    How rude. Sir, I shall call you a Marxist and fart in your general direction.


  16. Pat Nurse Says:

    @Tom – “We’re not living in the Victorian era, we’re living in a world where people’s rights are considered equal before the law …”

    Except if they are smokers and then they can legally be denied jobs and housing when no other minority can.

    The problem with anti-smokerism based on nothing but misrepresented data put forward by a powerful and wealthy political lobby group such as ASH is that it is taking us back to that Victorian era.

    In fact, there is nothing progressive about any of it. Progressive would promote tolerance and allow the science and technology of this NuAge to find a solution that doesn’t involve demonising, excluding, or denormalising people.


  17. Millitant Says:

    Tom 2: “The dangers of, say, Hydrogen Fluoride are much less well known so the argument for intervention in that case is much stronger than in working in smokey rooms.”

    I think that’s what philosophers call a “heroic move”. If it were true that the dangers of all hazardous chemicals were poorly understood by the public, then Tom 1′s position would suggest that employers should educate potential employees so that they could make an informed choice, rather than banning or regulating the chemicals concerned. But actually, there is quite wide knowledge that paddling in sulphuric acid is a bad idea, for example.

    “Fear of lawsuits would (and do) keep them [employers] honest”. Well, up to a point, Lord Copper. You find it acceptable that employers should face civil liability retrospectively for hazards affecting the safety of employees, but not that they should be regulated in advance to prevent the harm in the first place? Why? And in any event, since Tom 1 thinks the key principle is informed consent, I cannot see how any employee could bring a claim if such consent had been given, even if clear causation can be legally established, which as in the case of asbestos can take many years and many lost lives.

    Finally, I described the argument used by Tom 1 as conservative, not Tom 1 himself, whom I do not know. That’s an important distinction as I am sure you will see, if you stop to think about it.

    I don’t know you either but the last line of your post actually is rude, and frankly rather dumb by comparison with the rest.


  18. Tpm Says:

    I’d actually like to disagree with Tom Papworth, and say I am him. Hope this clears everything up.

    @Pat: Smokers are discriminated against in housing because they damage the building. If you want to live in a building where the landlord doesn’t want to have to repaint every few years, either stop smoking or buy it.

    As far as jobs go, I haven’t heard to anything like that. I can see people discriminating against some of the habits of smokers, such as the smoke break, but if someone was not hired/was fired simply //because// they smoke they have a legitimate case.

    Smokers are not a ‘minority’ in the PC sense of the word. Being make to feel unwelcome because you have a deeply irritating habit is in no way the same as being made to feel unwelcome because you have a the wrong skin colour.


  19. Pat Nurse Says:

    There are plenty of examples of smokers being sacked from jobs because they are smokers. I have seen the “Smokers need not apply” ads myself and have complained to the Equal opportunities comission and been told that there is nothing in law to stop such blatant discrimination often done not because of a fear that a smoker will smoke in the workplace, where it is forbidden by law, but that some employers see smokers as degenerates not capable of doing the job they are qualified to do because they are smokers.

    As for housing – your prejudice has highlighted what I am talking about. I have no problem with houses being rented as no smokING properties. Smokers do not have to smoke inside where they live and many chose not to even in their own homes. It is the refusal to allow smokers homes because of prejudices such as yours that are Victorian, extremely bigoted and downright dangerous!

    With the invented Third Hand Smoke now being given credence by smokerphobics using the same method of distorted data paid for by wealthy self interest groups that only pay for results they want, that aim to actually make those homes owned by smokers devalued so that they are denied the right to sell them. If this scandalous lying to achieve the smoke free world ideological aim does not stop, my guess is that THS will be used to take homes away from smokers that they own within the next decade. You cannot say this is ridiculous or untrue bearing in mind the way private property was taken from pub landlords and declared public property.


  20. Dave Atherton Says:

    @Tpm/Tom

    It is far more 3 dimensional than that. In the USA some employers openly discriminate against smokers. This is from Dr. Michel Siegel’s blog who is a Public Health professional. What starts there comes over here.

    “The Administrative Management Society has estimated that six percent of all employers in the United States discriminate against off-duty smokers.”

    As Millitant amply exemplifies, having a pro choice, especially evidence based with links etc is an open invitation to be rude and ignorant. As I mentioned someone counted 50 ad hominems against me in the last debate.

    This is the “intellectual” end of the debate when one goes middle and low brow the abuse is quite marked, e.g.

    “Smoke in your own home. Get cancer. Die.

    Just keep it away from me, that’s all I ask.

    daviduk84
    12:27pm

    This, ironically, was from the same guy who elsewhere professed to be happy that smokers were outside, away from “decent” people.

    [...] let’s have free loaded pistols for use by these smokers there too so that they can end their pathetic lives in a dignified way and save us and our already burdened health systems a lot of problems.

    tjtwatterjones
    10:49am

    “But what about the rights of smokers?”

    They have the right to die. That’s it.

    davycrockett
    11:20am

    http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2009/01/law-journal-review-blasts-employment.html

    http://dickpuddlecote.blogspot.com/2010/08/cataloguing-psychosis.html


  21. Tom Johnson Says:

    “there is quite wide knowledge that paddling in sulphuric acid is a bad idea, for example”

    Which is why it’s not regulated? If someone choses to work as a life guard in a sulphuric acid based paddling pool, that’s their lookout…

    You have missed the major point of most of my arguments. Please re-read.

    Also, I was under the impression that flatulence was an accepted form of rebuttal. My sincere apologies.


  22. Pat Nurse Says:

    I note also that TPM is selective about who can be discriminated against and who cannot. Discrimination is discrimination. We don’t discriminate at work against religious belief because of the law to protect people’s right to believe. People are not born into a religion. Their parents may chose it for them but they are free to chose their own and change as their beliefs change and they often do. What next? Discriminating against white British Muslim women because they chose to change their religion from Christian?

    This is about some employers and landlords who discriminate against what IS a minority despite TPM’s dismissal of it, because they don’t like people who smoke and believe like some lifelong smokers from childhood to old age that their health would be more damaged if they quit than if they continued to smoke moderately and the evidence such as we know shows that this is true.

    I find such bigotry as TPM’s deeply offensive never mind “irritating” and yet I would not call for him to be discriminated against in the work place or to be made homelesss because his fanatical zealous views because I believe in equality and the right of people to believe what they like. I draw the line when that thought becomes action as is the case with those landlords and employers who discriminate against smokers and ASH Uk which uses all of its wealth to incite hate against smokers with false scaremongering data and downright lies.


  23. Belinda Says:

    @Militant

    ‘Why? Do you mean that no “airborne toxin” should ever be regulated, or banned, unless they all are?

    Pretty much. They all get mixed up together to form what is commonly known as indoor air. The whole thing can be cleaned up. Further, I haven’t said anything against regulation, but it should be the air quality that is regulated rather than the smoke banned.

    ‘What about the ones that can readily be removed from the workplace, as against those that can’t. Fallacious reasoning I am afraid.’

    Show me why a pollutant that comes from a cigarette can’t be removed while a pollutant that comes from any other source can be?


  24. Mr A Says:

    I particularly liked the second point of this article and the use of visiting others’ homes as an example, and it is this simple point of “adult social interaction” that so easily gets forgotten what with ASH forever raising the bar and tempers getting frayed.

    I smoke but do not do so in others’ homes unless they agree to it, and usually I do not even ask to smoke inside their home, if they don’t smoke themselves. If they said I could not even smoke in their garden, however, then I would quite simply not visit them – I would find it hard to be friends with such an intolerant person anyway (and before the “addict” tirades start, I’m sure a vegetarian would do the same if I had a dinner party and INSISTED on only serving meat products with no vegetarian alternative). However, in my home I smoke and I allow others to do so. I am considerate of others re: smoking when eating etc but I smoke in my own property. Others know this when accepting invites and so come knowing this. It’s a situation of adult interaction and making of choices that has worked pretty damn well for decades.

    And this is what rubs me (and I think so many others) the wrong way about the Smoking Ban…. the fact that it’s law. When 28% of the population smoke then it seems right and fair that the vast majority of public spaces should be smokefree. And I have no quibbles with truly “public” spaces (I.e those owned by the State – Libraries, Museums, Local Government buildings and the like) being such. Similarly, I have no issues with owners of private property deciding their property should be smokefree (as we saw in trains, buses, cinemas, shops and almost all workplaces and restaurants prior to 2007). However, it is the way that the law defines privately-owned premises as “public spaces” and FORCES these properties to be smokefree, regardless of the wishes of the owner, that irks me . The current thinking on smoking seems to be that people should be able to wander anywhere and if they encounter smoking then they have a “right” to “clean air” (as if there really is such a thing) that trumps anyone else’s right to smoke – even when some 15,000,000 people do so. This is an absurd position, akin to banning lapdancing clubs in case someone may wander in and be subjected to nudity or banning Arthouse Cinemas because they may stroll in for a minute and be subjected to pretentiousness. It’s called making informed decisions about where to go and what to do. In a civilised nation full of socialising adults, there is no reason why smoking and non-smoking venues cannot operate as long as they are clearly labelled as such. There is a massive demand for smoking venues and the current law prevents a smoking entrepreneur from setting up a smoking venue staffed by smoking bar staff – just in case someone might walk in who objects to smoking (and their numbers are radically exaggerated – while almost everyone I know is a non-smoker I have NEVER actually met a die-hard anti-smoker in the real world). The smoking ban is anti-freedom of social interaction, it’s anti-business and it’s anti private property rights – it’s the result of an infantilisation of society where people expect the State to do everything for them because they do not have the social skills to ask others to not smoke or the wherewithal to set up their own non-smoking venues.

    While it is the deliberate campaign of denormalisation that I find truly disgusting about ASH and their ilk, it is the simple fact of, “Why can’t we all get along? Why can’t there be a compromise?” that really bothers me about the Ban. It’s uncivilized, and at heart we all know it – that’s why the Ban is always temporarily lifted when Obama visits – deep down we know it is demeaning and degrading to FORCE people to stand outside. The response of ASH would undoubtedly be something about peeing in swimming pools, but that isn’t an issue…. if there were separate swimming pools. Besides, their current position is absurd as not allowing smoker venues has entrenched smokers’ attitudes and made smoking far more “ever-present” than it was pre-2007. Children from non-smoking families now see smoking everywhere, in every street, outside every building. Before the Ban, smokers were inside pubs so such a child would probably never even have seen someone smoking (not that I think that’s a bad thing, anyway).

    And if secondhand smoke was truly dangerous (and the evidence is pretty clear that it isn’t, but let’s just for the sake of argument agree that it is), even that does not negate the right of smokers to free association. Do we stop people playing rugby or rock climbing or cycling on busy roads because there is an increased risk to health and they could choose not to do these things? No, because as adults we make choices and such a choice should be whether to enter a smoker’s pub or a smokefree pub, knowing what you will find within if you choose to do so.


  25. Pat Nurse Says:

    Well said Mr A.


  26. Dave Atherton Says:

    @Mr. A

    Amen.


  27. Neil E Dunne QbE, UoL. Says:

    @Mr A
    What’s not to like.
    Risk assessment should not ignore those who are affected by the precautions but in the case of tobacco control not only are they ignored but all that might add balance are denied representation.
    Instead we have ‘evidence from experts!!!!
    Dr Ashcroft Reader in Biomedical Ethics at Imperial College, London , to the Health Committee with regard to Bingo Halls and, with no known experience of trying to avoid the pouring rain while huddling in a Manchester doorway, stated “Smoking with their friends outside is no less a form of social interaction than smoking inside.”
    and from
    Professor Sir Liam Donaldson (a statement about alternative information that ignores the possibility of looking in a mirror) “I do not think that study stands up to any scientific scrutiny whatsoever, leaving aside the conflict of interest in the funding which to me is tantamount or comparable to a research study on organised crime being funded by the Mafia.”
    Big Pharma or Big Tobacco – Who is the ‘Mafia’?
    Democracy, libertarianism – whatever you believe in — This sort of bias is not on. Commonsense should have its place.
    Interesting read – http://www.ideasinactiontv.com/tcs_daily/2006/06/risk-vs-liberty.html

    PS. anyone heard from Amanda


  28. Dick Puddlecote Says:

    Careful, boys and girls. Militant has every angle covered, especially that debate-stopper – spelling. Self-pronounced superior intellect which ignores anyone they consider as beneath them on a liberal thread should be admired and worshipped, so be respectful and bow down, OK?

    By the way, is Militant really called Militant?

    Oh bugger, dropped the ‘l’ again. ;)


  29. Dick Puddlecote Says:

    I have to admit a mistake on my behalf. When I joked that ‘Martin’ had run off to tell teacher on the other thread, it was a wordy tool to describe his withdrawal from the debate. I didn’t actually believe he had done so in a literal sense.

    Did he offer you an apple, Angela? Pfft. :)


  30. Tom Johnson Says:

    If you are capable of not smoking at work or on your landlords property, then there is no way they would ever find out. Smoking is still a choice, not something that should be covered by the anti discrimination bullshit.


  31. neil Says:

    What a joke!

    I can’t believe Liberal Vision is still whining about the smoking ban. Move on!


  32. Jonathan Bagley Says:

    Further debate is pointless. Here it is in big letters for those who have difficulty.

    SMOKING IN A PRIVATE SMOKING CLUB STAFFED BY ITS SMOKING MEMBERS POISONS ONLY THE SMOKERS.

    THE HEALTHY CONSUME MORE HEALTH CARE RESOURCES BECAUSE THEY LIVE LONGER AND DIE MORE EXPENSIVE DEATHS.


  33. Belinda Says:

    @Neil

    Move on, yes, nothing to see here …


  34. Neil - not the same one Says:

    @neil Says:

    June 29th, 2011 at 12:11 pm
    What a joke!
    I can’t believe Liberal Vision is still whining about the smoking ban. Move on!@
    Too many Neils but never enough exposing of Tobacco Control troughers.


  35. Smoking Hot Says:

    Where do the Tobacco Control fraternity go on holiday? l didn’t see or hear any of them in Greece (smoking ban totally ignored). Nor do l see or hear them in Bulgaria (smoking ban totally ignored). Smokers and non-smokers socialise happily together at bars, clubs, restaurants, parks, beaches and so on.

    ls it they don’t go to these countries … or is it they leave the preaching at home in the UK?

    :-)


  36. Neil - the original one Says:

    Tobacco Control don’t have holidays.
    They go on funded trips all over the world to meet up with other funded friends and talk about how they can piss smokers off even more.


  37. Junican Says:

    I liked Tom’s reference to the ‘swinging fist’. How often have I had that thought! “Your right to stick your nose into my personal affairs stops at my swinging fist” May I say….LOL…..in these august pages?

    But seriously……..Millitant is at it again, isn’t he? He wants to discuss the matter on his terms. I would not lower myself.

    The simple matter is that, on the flimsiest of evidence, VAST economic harm has been done to pubs and clubs. but many other groups have also been seriously damaged, such as musicians and artistes, to say nothing of the knock on effects as regards suppliers to pubs, clubs and similar places such as bingo halls. Tell me again why the Government put VAT up to 20%?
    Also, VAST damage has been done to the social lives of many, many people – especially the lonely and disabled.

    And what are the grounds for this incalculable harm caused by Tobacco Control?

    “”Results: Across the United Kingdom as a whole, passive smoking at work IS LIKELY TO BE responsible for the deaths of MORE THAN two employed people per working day (617 deaths per year), including 54 deaths in the hospitality industry each year. Each year passive smoking at home MIGHT account for another 2700 deaths in persons aged 20-64 years and 8000 deaths among people aged ≥ 65.”” [My caps].

    {That quote is from Prof K Jamrozik’s paper in the BMJ of 2005 re SHS deaths. Mr Atherton will confirm)

    Now read it again and note the “is likely to be” and the “more than” and the “might”. Then notice these two peculiar things:

    1. Why did Prof Jamrozik need to explain to the big brains of the BMJ that 2 deaths per day equals 617 per an?

    2. Why was the number of deaths per an in the hospitality industry stated so specifically as 54 when deaths up to 64 were rounded to 2700 and 65 and over rounded to 8000? Why did Prof Jamrozik say EXACTLY 54?

    In my little mind I see a ‘coded’ message.(Yes, I know that it is ‘conspiracy theory’) I see a little message. The little message is: “Look – I have been VERY WELL PAID to find these “is likely to be”s and these “might”s, but the reality is that it is a load of sh*t”

    Also, let us not be complacent about the importance of that paper (2005). I saw the figure of ’50 deaths per an in the hospitality trade’ quoted by a spokesperson for ASH Scotland a couple of years ago.


  38. Junican Says:

    One last thing. We know why Millitant is attacking Dave Atherton personally – it is because he demolished Saint Deborah, isn’t it? Keep up the good work, Dave! We can add Terrified Millitant to Terrified Rollo!Gosh…how PATHETIC to be terrified of a wisp of tobacco smoke!


  39. Greg Burrows Says:

    People have compared hazardous chemicals in the same breath as SHS, it is right that the HSE regulate safe working levels of exposure to dangerous toxins and instruct that ventilation or other methods used to bring toxins down to a safe level so that the product can be handled/manufactured, this is where the smoking ban is shown to be the most currupt legislation ever produced, the HSE could not produce evidence that second hand smoke reaches a level where it becomes harmful as all the epidemiological evidence from around the world show that shs is not significantly harmful, the government got around this small matter of harm by not putting the ban through the HSE as no ban could have been formulated by the HSE, so the government put the ban through the Health act 2006, where no proof was required that SHS is harmful (see HSE OC255/15) when the HSE were called to speak in Hansard before the ban was enacted the HSE reply on two occasions was that this legislation had not been proposed by the HSE so they could not comment.


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