|Katherine Devlin: "Mr DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up"|
Rather interesting, I thought, considering that the ONS published a poll every year from 1996 to 2005 on attitudes to a smoking ban in pubs. They split the responses between those who approved of an outright ban, those who favoured some restrictions, and the numbers calling for none at all.
The figures up to 2005 were (emphases mine):
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 was undemocratically 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 for that year ... 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.
You could say, then, using the BBC's vernacular, that - considering the lesser percentage compared with the BBC's 34% on e-cigs - the public seemed 'fairly relaxed' about smoking in pubs prior to the smoking ban.
I also suspect that if the BBC had split their poll into those who approve of an outright ban on e-cigs, those who favour some restrictions, and those who think there should be none at all, that they could have presented their poll differently - perhaps arguing that a majority want legislative bans. The fact that they didn't reflects rather well on the BBC, I'd say.
Of course, others may not be as generous in not manipulating polls on public use of e-cigs so vapers should be wary of being complacent. That 62% opposed is not as encouraging as it superficially seems, in fact it's alarming how large the minority agreeing with the proposal is ... especially absent of any fake science suggesting vapour harms bystanders.
A larger majority than that has been ignored before in very recent history, after all.