Tuesday 29 December 2009

Only Criminals Are Deterred By Smoking Bans

Finally, the MSM are waking up to the powerful disincentive of smoking bans on visiting your local, err, prison?

No smoking prison sparks drop in crime

A noticeable drop in recorded crimes on the Isle of Man is being attributed to the opening of Europe's only completely no smoking prison.

The number of burglaries has plunged by more than 35 per cent, there has been a 25 per cent drop in the number of assaults and the number of people caught stealing cars has fallen by seven per cent in the past year.

Domestic assaults fell 11 per cent and criminal damage offences dropped eight per cent.

Correlation? Causation? Who knows? However, let's take the assertion at face value for now, seeing as a mirror article in the Mail even quotes a former prisoner who spent six months there.

"As soon as word got round that it wasn't a joke and that all smoking was banned, even in the exercise yard, a lot of people I know started having second thoughts about committing crimes.

It was something they genuinely feared. Not prison itself, but the idea of being forced to give up smoking.

Some of my mates have simply given up crime, whether it be stealing cars, shoplifting to order or burglary, as a direct result of the smoking ban."

Yep, in both reports, it's definitely the smoking ban wot done it, trumpets the obedient MSM.

Yet strangely, whenever the carnage of pub closures is mentioned (52 per week at last count), the press tend to attribute it to just about everything but the smoking ban. It's normally either the recession (of which we have suffered many with no pubs closing), cheap supermarket booze (always been so), or high pub prices (when were they ever cheap?). The smoking ban is sometimes tacked on as an afterthought, but never with any conviction despite the fact that said wholesale closures, both north and south of the border, began in earnest the moment the respective bans were implemented.

The ban's disastrous effect on the hospitality industry is stunningly obvious, with plenty of unequivocal evidence to back it up, but the MSM (and the government) are incapable, or unwilling, to categorically link the two. The reduction in Manx crime is less easily attributable to the ban, but instantly touted in these reports as the only cause.

It's perfectly believable that a non smoking prison on the Isle of Man could be having a noticeable effect. After all, if comfort in incarceration is lessened for smoking ne'er-do-wells, the deterrent is obviously going to be more potent.

But by the same token, isn't it about time the press, the government, and pub fans in denial (you know who you are) admitted that pubs and clubs are also deeply affected by smoking bans, and stopped trotting out the usual refrain that they have 'little or no effect'.

The hospitality industry is in the comfort business, after all, it's what they do. If potential criminals are making life changing decisions to avoid being forced somewhere in which they can't smoke, is it so very difficult to accept that pubgoers can be easily discouraged from voluntarily entering premises, for the same reason?


Witterings from Witney said...


Personally I would let them smoke, what I would deprive them of is the benefits of the society they enjoyed as law-abiding people. Things like: voting, tv, newspapers, rights, 'comforts' like blankets, mattresses, pillows, heating in their cells, choice.

Plus I would have them out in chain gangs clearing up after people, doing all those jobs that local authorities find so time-consuming and costly, like litter picking, hedge cutting, ditch digging, road sweeping, picking up dog-poo, etc etc.

Oh and on Bank Holidays - lock them in their cells for 24 hours and then slop out after a 4 day weekend!

marley said...

Send one to empty my fuckin dustbin I'll give him some fags.

Christopher Snowdon said...

Fantastic post and flawlessly argued.

timbone said...

When I was reading the first paragraphs, I wondered where it was leading. I am not a criminal, but I am a smoker, and when I watch someone being arrested on these actual footage programmes, I always think, 'they won't be able to have a cigarette until tomorrow morning'. I can see a possible link therefor to the falling crime rate in the IoM. This is why I wondered where it was going.

Then it got on to the old chestnut of the catastrophic decimation of the hospitality industry, and it all clicked. You are good Dick...maybe I better rephrase that.

Angry Exile said...

Interesting on two levels. First the uneven way in which a smoke ban in prison is credited with a later reduction in crime levels but manages to dodge blame for a reduction in people wanting to go out for a pint. Second, as WfW says, is that making prison less comfortable makes criminals less inclined to risk going there. Who'd a thought it?

Junican said...

I am very surprised that the Sec of State for Health has not already trumpeted the success of the smoking ban evidenced by old lags stopping committing crimes.

It is clearly logical to assume that all the people who are not going to pubs any more are old lags.

Seriously though, this wonderful piece of news clearly indicates how draconian the smoking ban is. It is a seriously awful punishment. Erm...just a minute....what are we being punished for?

banned said...

Sad but obvious Dick, since we all know that alcohol will be the new tobacco in the bansturbation stakes, why would they care if pubs are closing at the rate that they are?
They would welcome it.

JuliaM said...

Hang on, aren't we always told (by the 'progressives') that most crime is opportunistic, or spur-of-the-moment, or committed by the mentally unstable who are unable to plan ahead or recognise the consequences of their actions, and so therefore this would have little or no deterrent effect.

Suddenly, we are supposed to believe that they can make calculated decisions on risk, but only when their smokes are threatened?

Someone's having us on...

Turing word: backee !

Anonymous said...

That's probably why us smokers are banned from lighting up almost anywhere. To keep us under the cosh of rule. The difference is that we haven't committed a crime !!
That must have been the plan all along..The total CONTROL of smokers !!!

Anonymous said...

According to CAMRA 26 pubs a month were closing in 2006 and 20 a month were closing in 2000.. please search the BBC for the article on this.. you'll find pub closure was an issue long before the smokers adopted it as a reason to allow smoking.

Anonymous said...

Average price of Ale in the UK is £2.05
Average price of Lager in the UK is £2.25


4 cans of 500ml Pilsner at Asda costs £2.43!

Supermarket Lagers are at all time low in value, and have been for the last year or so, this has prompted many reports into the pricing strutures of alcohol in supermarkets by leading researchers for the government.

Pubs closed during the 1990's recession
pubs closed during the 1970's
pubs closed during the 1930's

This recession is no different.. but coupled with the fact that there is a whole raft of cultural changes.. pubs are now closing.. It is nonsense to say it is purely and only because of the smoking ban.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Err ... no-one said it was "purely and only because of the smoking ban". Nice straw man.

It certainly is a cause, though, even ASH have admitted it is responsible for upwards of 50% of closures (commissioned study by AC Nielsen).

The point of this piece, therefore, was to ask why the MSM attach no significance to the ban at all in relation to pub closures, yet are champing at the bit to claim that only the ban is responsible for an entire drop in Isle of Man crime.


Anonymous said...

The teabags will will be next, I know vegetables have nicotine in them, but do teabags?
Canada inmates did the same I believe- cannot wait for the new round of adverts, I can just see it, from the drug companies lol Dick Theraputic teabags hmm yummy.
Manitoba jail bans tea

September 12, 2005

WINNIPEG (CP) - A Manitoba jail has stopped serving tea because some inmates were using tea bags to make cigarettes.

Smoking has been banned at the Headingley Correctional Centre near Winnipeg since November 2003, but that hasn't stopped some inmates from finding creative ways to get their fix. All they need is a dried-out tea bag and some nicotine chewing gum.