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« Tale of two countries | Main | Big Brother is watching you »

England: minority support for comprehensive smoking ban

According to The Times today, the latest British Social Attitudes survey shows that "support for the smoking ban has soared, particularly in Scotland where it was first introduced".

In Scotland, we are told, support for the ban has doubled from 25 per cent in 2004 to 53 per cent.

In England, however, and contrary to the tone of The Times report (because it doesn't mention it), support for the ban has remained static. In fact, less than half the population support the current comprehensive ban.

I have a copy of the BSA report in front of me. It reads:

In Britain as a whole, the majority support a smoking ban, with just seven per cent saying that smoking should be freely allowed. However, the level of restriction, whether a complete ban or simply restricted to certain areas, divides the public.

While just under half (46 per cent) support a ban on smoking in pubs and bars altogether, a similar proportion (41 per cent) prefer limiting smoking to certain areas of pubs and bars.

When we compare levels of support towards the ban in England and Scotland in 2007 we see attitudes were different on either side of the border. While attitudes in England were very similar to those in Britain, Scotland was much more supportive of a complete ban on smoking. There, nearly six in ten supported a complete ban in 2007, while a much smaller proportion (35 per cent) thought that smoking should be allowed in certain restricted areas.

So there we have it. According to the survey, only 46 per cent of people in Britain (2008) and 46 per cent of people in England (2007) support a comprehensive ban. This compares with 58 per cent of people in Scotland (2007).

Perhaps attitudes have changed since then. I don't know. But the idea that a large majority of people in Britain/England are enthusiastic supporters of a ban in every pub and bar is demonstrably false.

I will explore the difference between Scotland and England later. In the meantime you can read The Times story HERE.

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  • Response
    Like an archaelogist dusting off some remnant of an earlier age, Taking Liberties has found out that a formerly regular question, now deemed to be taboo, is still being asked, albeit quietly.

Reader Comments (13)

I had a look at their website to see what the backgrounds of the people who produce this stuff were.
Yep you guessed it ,"politisised fairy tales" from institutionalised people.
One of them is even ex BBC .
Complete rubbish.

January 26, 2010 at 20:03 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

The vast majority of those polled who support a total
ban in place of liesure dont smoke and sit in front
of telly seven nights a week. Obviously they will
support anything that destroys the joy of others,that
is the sum of their insular hatred.Pollsters go out of
their way to find them.

January 26, 2010 at 20:31 | Unregistered CommenterFree Corps

*Anecdote alert****

Friends of daughter were asked to do a street survey. This was a good few years ago and I can't, now, remember who it was for.

They got off to a reasonably good start, gathered a few responses, then it began to rain. They ended up at a friend's flat where they spent the rest of the day filling in the questionnaires themselves - varying them a bit to make them look authentic. As far as I know they got away with it.

I have no idea how widespread this kind of th ing is, but I do know that no children's survey on anything at all can ever be trusted. All a child needs to know is that s/he can fill it in anonymously and it's got something to laugh about for days to come.

But then, practically EVERYONE knows polls aren't strictly trustworthy - except gullible politicians who use them to pass truly unpopular legislation.

January 26, 2010 at 21:28 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Peter Hitchens reminds us - in 'Broken Compass' - that the TRUE function of 'opinion polls' is NOT to GARNER Public Opinion, but to INFLUENCE it.

And - for the broad mass of the Human Race - there is NOTHING quite so seductive as CONFORMITY.

Something our Masters have understood for a long time.

Even before the runaway success of 'Mein Kampf'.

And we all know what a Great Success the Nuremberg Laws were.

I mean - EVERYONE obeyed them.

Isn't THAT what a 'Successful Law' means ?

Take a bow, Mrs Hewitt.................

January 26, 2010 at 22:09 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

I was debating something along these lines some while ago with a Glaswegian friend of mine, and she said: “The thing is, Scotland doesn’t really have pubs like there are in England.” Not being familiar with Scotland, I found this surprising – my impression was that as a country with a famous love of “the wee dram” and who have made the creation of one of the best types of alcoholic beverage into an art form – pubs must surely (before the smoking ban, that is) have been found on almost every high street, backstreet and corner. She assures me otherwise. They have (or had) plenty of hostelries, of course, where regulars meet to enjoy a convivial drink or two, just as they do in England, but she assured me that these are regarded more as “bars” than pubs by their customers, and as such, have less of an important place in the beating heart of the community as does the traditional English local. Perhaps that’s why the smoking ban has (if these figures are to be believed) hurt the Scots less keenly than it has the English – the damage done (and I don’t dispute that damage has been done), simply doesn’t run as deeply into the Scottish psyche as the loss of the pub does to the English one. Any Scots on here, please feel free to correct me and I will pass the message on to my Glaswegian friend .......

January 26, 2010 at 22:49 | Unregistered CommenterTango

Specky, what's your view of the Office of National Statistics? Sound, or a seething mass of pro-choicers?

January 26, 2010 at 22:53 | Unregistered CommenterDick Puddlecote

I tried to click on HERE in order to read the article. The link took me to Times on Line, but I could not find the article. Can anyone help?

January 26, 2010 at 23:46 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

What about the O.N.S Survey pre Ban ,I was informed that the O.N.S said 67% of the public wanted a choice and this was several years running ?

January 27, 2010 at 0:24 | Unregistered CommenterC.Whittaker

Mr Puddlecote.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority, a non-ministerial department which reports directly to the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Well thats the bare bone description.

The ONS is a government department.
Probably heavily politicised by Labour.
The idea of statistics does have a place in society but because we see so many rigged polls nowadays ,(rigged by question)i.e if you remember the classic,
1."Do you think it is alright to smoke in front of children ?

2.Do you think it is alright to smoke in a car with a child passenger?

3.Do you think smoking in cars should be banned ?

Polls are not highly regarded by the public thats for sure.

January 27, 2010 at 9:56 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

Post a comment below the article suggesting the reporter reports the news rather than writes it. "Soared, paricularly in Scotland," is a gross distortion.

January 27, 2010 at 11:07 | Unregistered Commenterjon

I agree with Tango about Scottish pubs.
I was only in scotland, Perth in fact, once years ago pre ban for a weekend and was taken aback at the lack of drinkers in bars and that bar was in the hotel I was staying in, I didnt see any pubs, well none that were obvious, so cant speak on that score.
But was amazed when the bar closed at 10pm and I'm sure that went for pubs too.
Everyone seemed to go to bed early because the town was deserted.
I think its something to do with their calvanist religion and they lead a very strict life. They also know the value of a shilling and dont throw they money around foolishly.
The bigger cities like Glasgow are probably different and I'll stand corrected.
But having experienced their culture however briefly I was never surprised when I heard they supported the smoking ban so thoroughly.

January 27, 2010 at 12:00 | Unregistered Commenterann

@Tango - when I was growing up in Glasgow in the 60s most pubs were thought of as drinking dens: men (no respectable woman would be seen in a pub) went to drink, smoke and get away from 'the wife'; you were probably thought a big girl's blouse if you ate flavoured crisps! Glasgow's undergone a transformation in the thirty years since I left and there are also now what I'd call bars and cafe bars - places which are licensed but also sell food and beverages. Neither the pub nor the bar are like the English pub, or at least English village pubs. Neither are rural Scottish pubs - they're just drinking dens in villages. My guess is that in Scottish villages (and I had the misfortune to live in one) the women go where women in Glasgow used to before bars - to the nearest hotel.

(Just to confuse matters a cafe bar is not the same as a cafe and a cafe in the West of Scotland is not the same as a cafe in England. In my home area of Glasgow there are few left but they were shops (invariably owned by Italian immigrants) which sold confectionery and cigarettes and home-made ice-cream which was so distinctive that each owner jealously guarded the recipe. Even now I long for a double-nougat from Valerio's!)

January 27, 2010 at 19:45 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

"...the idea that a large majority of people in Britain/England are enthusiastic supporters of a ban in every pub and bar is demonstrably false."

Yes, and this is one of the things that angers me immensley. 97% compliance and overwhelming support are for a 'no smoking' policy which was in place in just about everywhere except pubs and clubs for years, decades, even centuries before July 2007.

January 27, 2010 at 22:54 | Unregistered Commentertimbone

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