Friday, 25 February 2011

Is Honduras Unlocking Your Home's Door To Tobacco Control?

As we have seen with previous *cough* debates, ASH and their tobacco control mates really do appreciate a country to quote as a precedent.

Ireland and the US were perpetually referenced prior to the smoking ban, just as Canada and Iceland were in forcing through idiotic tobacco display ban legislation. But always on the lookout for 'the next logical step', these tedious tossers are running out of loony, self-defeating states to emulate.

They could follow Bhutan, I suppose, but even hideous bigots must realise that following such a nasty dictatorship's stunningly harsh line will win them far more enemies than friends.

So step forward Honduras, who I'm sure we will hear a lot more about in the future. The pharmaceutical marketing department tobacco control industry will be salivating as they study how this develops.

Honduras law lets police be called on home smokers

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — The last refuge is vanishing for besieged smokers — at least in Honduras. A new law that took effect Monday says family members can call in the police on people who smoke at home.

The new measure bans smoking in most closed public or private spaces and orders smokers to stand at least six feet away from nonsmokers in any open space.

The law explicitly bans smoking in schools, gas stations, nightclubs, restaurants, bars, buses, taxis, stadiums and cultural centers but it doesn't clearly ban smoking at home.

A clause, however, expressly says relatives or visitors can summon police to deal with smokers at home: "Families or individuals may complain to law enforcement authorities when smokers expose them to secondhand smoke in private places and family homes."
Bingo! They've found a way to unlock the private front door and punish their citizens in their own homes - simply encourage a family member to rat.

I can imagine ASH's Shoreditch HQ is buzzing at the potential here. The UK has been softened up perfectly in the past decade or so with any number of snitch-lines, grassing is now an perfectly acceptable pastime thanks to New Labour. If they're unnamed, even better ... the state does so love an anonymous complainant these days.

And this is a solution which would very handily circumvent the inconvenient British trait of naturally abhorring anyone who dictates what they do in their own homes, as articulated by NHS Health Scotland in 2009 (source pdf here).

On the one hand the home is a private space and there is some resistance found in the ethical debates inherent in public health literature to the blurring of the public/private boundary for smoke-free public health interventions. This is often articulated by libertarian arguments advocating the rights of smokers in their own home and opposing perceived encroachment of the State into private space.
They were obviously not thinking as imaginatively as their counterparts in a confused Central American backwater, were they?

Predictably, the unelected WHO think it just doesn't go far enough.

But while [Armando] Peruga, [a program manager at the World Health Organization's Tobacco-Free Initiative], praised the measure as "a positive law," he said the clause allowing family members to call police on their smoker relatives is confusing. The clause "does not make much sense since the law clearly does not prohibit smoking at homes."

"It seems its intention is to educate by way of complaints, a move that I do not find very feasible," Peruga said.
Now, I hate to cast aspersions willy-nilly, but we are surely living in times where certifiably insane people are being allowed to wander free, and unsupervised.

I vaguely recall another administration in history which advocated family members reporting on each other, but it escapes me for the moment. It's on the tip of my tongue, it was ...


7 comments:

jredheadgirl said...

"They were obviously not thinking as imaginatively as their counterparts in a confused Central American backwater, were they?

Predictably, the unelected WHO think it just doesn't go far enough."

Well, who do you think is behind all of this insanity in the first place? It appears to be straight up collusion between the WHO and Big Pharma, at the expense of freedom and autonomy for the rest of us. These people are despots, plain and simple. Oh, if only the world new.

Bucko said...

It's wierd that communism dominoed and democracy is trying to take up the slack.
Particularly at the same time that autonomous dictators in the middle east are getting their arses whooped.
Are we going full circle so western civilisations eventually become the oppressed and freedom reigns in the middle east and the ex communist bloc.
Untill it all goes around again?

Anonymous said...

Bucko,

I have always thought that, perversely, communism was the greatest defence of our freedoms. As long as the free west politicians were critical of communism and their despotic control and lack of freedom they could and would never impose a similar oppression on their own people. When the wall fell the whole dynamic changed.

Bucko said...

Anon - I've never made that distinction but it makes a hell of a lot of sense.
Food for thought there

junican said...

Honduras is very much an American place. It does not surprise me one bit that this has happened - a pretty cool first step - very clever. I wonder how many palms have been greased?

Frankly, I welcome this development. Sooner or later, Tobacco Control will go too far. It will not be in Honduras. Sooner or later, the shit will hit the fan

nisakiman said...

You could be right junican. Give them enough rope and they may well hang themselves. I already see potential opportunities in the fact that companies are adopting a policy of not hiring smokers. Although this is blatant discrimination, the authorities seem to be turning a blind eye to it. Once it becomes accepted practice, I think it would be difficult for the powers-that-be to prosecute an employer who adopted a "smokers only" hiring policy. After all, it's only the other side of the same coin. Since the smoking ban is (in theory) predicated on the health aspects of SHS with regard to employees, presumably if one had a "smokers only" hiring policy then the reasons for the ban on that employers premises would be negated. This could then provide a platform for a legal challenge against the blanket ban. These are just idle thoughts of mine, and I may have missed something in my reasoning - I'm not a legal beagle - but it's perhaps something that could be refined and brought to bear on the situation.

Belinda said...

Weird how they can get police to 'deal with' smokers when they are not actually breaking the law. ASH Scotland could learn lessons here: http://www.ashscotland.org.uk/alliances/scottish-tobacco-control-alliance-(stca)/smokefree-homes-and-cars,-3rd-march-2011