Sunday, 23 September 2012

It Lives!

Tobacco control may have moved on to other absurd (and increasingly transparent prohibitionist) nonsense, but there's one issue that refuses to die however much they try to pretend it has.

Belinda reports today on a petition in Scotland which has attracted interest from The Scotsman and the Sunday Express (click to enlarge, as usual).

More than six years after Scotland's ban, it's still being discussed. Still something newspapers feel is a live subject and worth talking about - hardly surprising since comments sections are always fiercely lively whenever the matter is mentioned. The same is true of Wales. It was bound to happen, as has always been historically the case when governments pass bad law. 

In Switzerland, they have a different kind of democracy. You know, one where they actually listen to what the people have to say instead of fake science and the congenital lies of state-funded activists. They today gave a resounding no to the idea of a comprehensive nationwide smoking ban.
La Tribune de Geneve suggests voters rejected a full ban because they did not want to force the smaller cantons into changing their local laws, and because of resentment at perceived state interference in people's lives.
Oh boy! Ain't that the truth!

If our own voters were allowed the same democratic input at the time, the result would have been the same in this country too. The Office of National Statistics were adamant about that in their General Household Survey of 2005 [pdf].

I'll break that down for you, again.
Since 1996, they have split the responses between those who approve of an outright ban, those who favoured some restrictions, and the numbers calling for none at all.
The figures up to 2005 were:
2003: 20%, 70% and 8% respectively.
2004: 31%, 63% and 5%
2005: 33%, 61% and 5% 
Note that the first figure is those in favour of what has now been inflicted on us. The significant majority didn't want it. This could have been embarrassing to Labour, in the wake of their authoritarian Health Act 2006, if the ONS hadn't changed the way they presented the stats ... which is exactly what they did. I'm sure they still asked the same questions, but tables were published showing 66% agreeing with restrictions (a flatline from the previous two years by their own admission), without any further detail. 
Lo and behold, a majority now in favour, whereas before they were struggling for a third of those surveyed. As Paul Daniels might say, now that's magic.
So, if our own government showed as much respect to us as the Swiss equivalent does to their citizens, the same result would have been seen here in 2006. Sadly, Switzerland seems alone in actually trusting their own people to make decisions in a {cough}democracy.

Every single country in Europe - from Ireland in 2004 to Bulgaria this year - have enacted bans on smoking in private businesses without even a casual nod to public opinion or democratic process.

It's why ASH Scotland are still being called on to defend their trouser-filling north of the border six years on, and why they are still required to trot out long since debunked Jill Pell junk science to do so.

It's never going away. Thank you Switzerland for proving that and being an embarrassment to every politician who claims - and 'claims' is the operative word here - to be in favour of democracy and freedom.


junican41 said...

It is interesting that The Scotsman and the Scottish Sunday Express have, apparently, broken ranks. Perhaps they are becoming aware of the slippery slope, or are taking notice of the strength of feeling in their comment sections.
It incumbant upon all we bloggers to continue to attack Tobacco Control with all our strength. They are simple propagandists and advertising agencies. They do not (normally) quite lie, but they exaggerate and shout just like TV adverts.
Smoking areas with good air-cleaning equipment is a good start, but, eventually, recognition of private property rights must be the aim. Also, all the nonsense about 'children and young people' (always lumped together) must be seen for the scaremongering that it is.
Also, when common sense once again prevails, we must not permit the arseholes like Pell, Arnott, Glantz, Chapman, etc to get away scot-free. They are just as guilty of malingering as any Nazi, even if the outcomes are not the same.

Lysistrata Eleftheria said...

Thanks, DP. That Swiss result has come as rather cheering news.
"In some cantons, more than 70% of voters rejected the ban."

I also followed your link to your 2009 post which showed a roughly similar voting breakdown of public opinion in the UK - and from my own research I don't think this has changed much. I don't trust YouGov but I do trust more or less the ONS.

It gives me hope, because in the UK about 27% of the adult population smoke tobacco (don't query my figures, they're a guesstimate for the purposes of this blog comment and well above the official rate of 22%).

And yet almost more than double again - non-smokers - still think there should be choice and provision and don't want an outright ban. YAY!

The £millions spent on propaganda and junk science by the Tobacco Control Industry still aren't working, EVEN ON NON-SMOKERS.

Because most people who don't happen to smoke see people who do smoke, vape, use snus, whatever, primarily as friends, family and neighbours and as just normal people. And they are big-hearted enough to prefer a freer choice.

Mag01 said...

Indeed, it was a resounding rejection of a nationwide blanket indoor
smoking ban. Twenty-five of the 26 cantons rejected the proposal outright. Geneva,
WHO headquarters, was the only canton over 50% and could only muster ~52% (yes).
Tessin, described by one commenter as the “California”
of Switzerland,
could only manage a bit over 49% (yes). That says a lot.

(move mouse over canton area to see vote result)

It’s a very important result. It goes completely against the
grain of governments around the world effectively stepping aside and allowing a
top-down (WHO) infliction of policy on their constituents: This signing-up to
the FCTC has allowed the WHO to bypass due sovereign political process. In Switzerland,
it’s been a little different, and kudos to its political system. It’s where a
vote has been allowed on scrapping exemptions to the current smoking ban and
the vast majority of the Swiss population stated – emphatically – to leave
things be, that enough is enough. It throws a big spanner in the UN (WHO) and
EU plans for standardized, blanket indoor smoking bans (and then other bans,
e.g., outdoor, because we know it doesn’t stop with indoor bans). It also
demonstrates that the WHO, its FCTC, and the network of antismoking hysterics can
be stood up to. It will set other countries that can see the social and
economic fallout of these blanket bans to ask why they can’t also have exemptions/accommodation.
And there’s no reason why they can’t.

I’d hazard a guess that the antismoking racket is having a
few uncomfortable sphincter spasms.....head pangs......wallet irritation, and pondering what combination of lies to use in attempting to
“contain” the fallout from this result. Or maybe they’ll just try to ignore it.

moonrakin said...

The prohibitionists will not give up - like any bunch of totalitarian zealots they are intoxicated by the prospect of imposing their views on others. Truth and consensus do not matter to them.

I recall the unpopular smoking ban in Norway in the early 90s which failed spectacularly and then the zealots decided they weren't going to engage in any of that democratic nonsense again.

The use of forthright language is important and I'm certainly not going to write a sentence in future that doesn't include the word liar when writing about ASH, SFSW or CRUK. They are marketeers.... and I'm with this guy in that department.

DaveAtherton20 said...

I have also collected opinion polls where it has an honest question, here are a sample.

52% against smoking ban in Edinburgh. Paid for by Nicotinel who would gain from people giving up.

28 Jul 2004

More than 80 percent of pub customers in Wales are opposed to a complete
ban on smoking in pubs according to a survey carried out for leading
independent brewer, pubs and drinks company SA Brain & Co Ltd.

The independent survey of nearly 1,400 customers and staff found that
only 19 percent of customers and 12 percent of staff support a total
ban on smoking in pubs. There was, however, more widespread support for
the provision of no smoking areas for eating and at the bar.

“Three quarters of people in Scotland believe there should be exemptions to the smoking ban, a poll has suggested.

johnproblem said...

Democracy? In Britain? Once every five years only.
And, by the by, what happened to that excellent and socially useful item - the 'Smoking Room'/ 'Smoking Parlour' in pubs? Another victim of social engineering.....

Mag01 said...

We’re all familiar with the high profile shmucks of the
antismoking racket – Stantonitis Glands, John Banz½ the ⅓, Simple Simon
Crapman, Gregor Cannoli, etc. Most of them travel to countries untainted by
antismoking fanaticism so that governments can get first-class advice on how to
destabilize their countries through antismoking hysteria. There is one
particular fanatic that has been highly influential in the Asia
region but very much “flown under the radar” – Judy Muckeye.

Some background on Judy:

from link above: “Initially, she was instrumental in bringing about a ban on
smokeless tobacco products in Hong Kong”)

An obituary by Judy:

Hong Kong, where Muckeye has been
highly influential, is now a centre for training in smoking cessation:

Mag01 said...


But, the article I’d really like to highlight is this one:

In stark contrast to the Swiss circumstance over the weekend
where the public had its say, Muckeye emphasizes how Tobacco Control Racketeers
would preferably operate:

Asia's One-Woman Anti-Tobacco Campaign Still
Going Strong

most of the past 25 years, Hong Kong-based, British-born doctor Judith Mackay
has been the tobacco control movement in Asia.

has pushed for tougher laws and higher tobacco taxes, lobbied for bans on
advertising, and advised and cajoled governments in Hong Kong,
Laos, China,
Vietnam and
most other Asian countries.

drafted Mongolia's first post-Soviet anti-smoking law in her hotel room on the
last night of her trip there, after spending most of the visit under suspicion
of being an American spy.

success is based on her ability to convince the right person with the right
power to make changes that will save lives. And she is happy to take advantage
of non-democratic regimes.

is one of the reasons I was so active in the 1980s. Once you had democracies,
you have white papers and green papers, you had public debates and forums and
it went on forever," the 65-year-old said from her Hong Kong

found I could jump over quite a few fences in one go," added Mackay, who
has been a senior policy adviser to the World Health Organization for more than
10 years.”

we have it. Dealing with democratic countries can be such hard work. You have
to deal with nonsense like freedom and personal autonomy. There’s all that
useless paperwork required to justify your claims. And those endless public
debates….. well! No. Judy would be happy to “take advantage of non-democratic
regimes”. You need do deal with and con only one or, at most, maybe a handful
of people. It can mostly be done over a six-course dinner; no paperwork; no
public debates. Much….. much better. Smoking bans and a smoker persecution and
extortionate tax program can be set in motion by lunch the next day. Then it’s
off for a spot of tennis. That’s the way the world should operate….. none of
this Swiss stuff.

nisakiman said...

I mentioned on FD's blog this morning that the Daily Telegraph online, which I read over my morning cup of coffee had not a word about the Swiss vote. I even searched 'Switzerland' and got the "All the news from Switzerland" section. Not a word about it. Has anyone noticed if it's been covered by any of the other dailies? If not, then it smacks of an ASH led gagging of the media. Because as Jay pointed out in reply to my comment, you can bet your bottom dollar that if the vote had gone the other way it would have been all over the front page.