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« Postcard from Ireland | Main | Champagne and caviar »

Three in five smokers want smoking ban relaxed

Three years after the introduction of the smoking ban in England a poll of over 1,000 smokers has revealed that three in five smokers want the smoking ban relaxed to allow separate smoking rooms.

The survey, commissioned by the Tobacco Manufacturers Association, also shows little support among smokers for extending the smoking ban to other areas - 62% would go less often to the pub if smoking was banned in all of the pubs’ outdoor areas.

Chris Ogden, chief executive of the TMA, said:

“We are recovering from recession and it is time to lift the legislative weight off struggling local businesses and their communities. The smoking ban has, contrary to claims from health organisations, severely threatened the £6 billion pub and bingo industry by negatively affecting thousands of people working in the hospitality sector who have lost sales, jobs and their livelihoods. Here is the evidence of how the smoking ban has impacted on Britain's pubs and clubs:

In the last year, almost 2,000 more English pubs have closed making a total loss of 4,148 since the ban in 2007 and over 10,000 jobs have been lost per year.

The rate of closures has almost trebled since the ban (1.1% 2004-7 versus 2.8% 2007-10).
7.6% of pubs in England and 20% of bingo halls have closed in total since the ban.

Almost 40 pubs are closing every week.

“The TMA supports an amendment to the legislation that would give landlords the choice to allow separate smoking rooms in pubs and clubs and we would encourage the Government to improve the legislation by introducing this proportionate amendment. Adult smokers should have available to them places where they may smoke without inconveniencing others and any review should be balanced, proportionate and take into account the likelihood of continued negative impact on business.”

Reader Comments (84)

Now, I wonder if this press release will be as enthusistically re-printed by the media as the ASH missives are? I bet not. However, I am pleased to see the tobacco industry start to speak out - much too late, but better late than never.

July 1, 2010 at 8:44 | Unregistered CommenterMark Butcher

According to an article in the Mail this morning, Nick Clegg will today invite the public to nominate laws, regulations and infringements to their liberty they want repealed.

The Government will be launching "Your Freedom" website for everyone to have their say on, and I am sure everyone on here will know of one law in particular that needs overhauling.

You can see the full article here

July 1, 2010 at 9:36 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

The "Your Freedom" website can be found HERE

Restoring civil liberties

Which current laws would you like to remove or change because they restrict your civil liberties?

Get involved, it says. I certainly will do.

July 1, 2010 at 10:27 | Unregistered CommenterDick Puddlecote

I'm, surprised that two out of five smokers don't want any relaxation. Are they mad? I am sure ASH and their overpaid cronies will trumpet this negative 2/5 figure loud and clear and use it to our disadavantage.

I will have my say on the "Freedom" website but I am very sceptical given that the LibDems have made clear in the past that they love the smoking ban and don't want any amendment. If they did, I'd have voted for them but Mark Pack told me himself that the LibDems are no friends of smokers. One can only hope that they have changed their stance on this issue and recognise that ,at least, 3 in 5 smokers are somebody too.

July 1, 2010 at 11:11 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

So (to reinforce Pat's sense of astonishment):

This would seem to indicate that 40% of 'smokers' DON'T want the Ban amended.

That's 4% more than voted for David Cameron, incidentally.

Are they clinically insane, merely stupid, or undercover agents for the WHO and ASH ?

Sorry - I just don't get it.

Anyone have a plausible explanation for this bizarre phenomenon ?

And PLEASE don't mention the bloody Children !

Or the I-Like-Being-Beaten-Up-Because-It-Makes-Me-More-Peaceable Brigade.

July 1, 2010 at 11:34 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Come off it Pat and Martin, I would have thought by now that people on this site, especially you two, were not that naive to really believe the figures produced were all from "real" smokers.

As we all know, ASH and now NICE have their grubby little fingers in all the pies.

Imagine you work for one of these fraudsters and you hear it through the grapevine that a poll is being carried out amongst smokers to judge what they think about the ban, what would you do? Yes, of course, you would put your hand up and decare yourself as a lifelong smoker, who wants (beyond beliefe) the smoking ban to continue or even enlarge so that your life is made completely unbarable.

I mean, let's face it, isn't that what we all want??????????????

July 1, 2010 at 12:14 | Unregistered Commentersusie

er...excuse me, my name isn't bloody Susie. The post above is mine!

July 1, 2010 at 12:15 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

There has just been a discussion on R5 about this website. Before it started I got the impression that the most popular topics were the smoking ban and the hunting ban. These were the first two topics covered when the phone in started. R5 had as a guest someone from from CRUK, who was obviously there just to defend the smoking ban. She got away with saying that that 80% of adults were in favour of the current ban. I think this figure comes from asking whether the ban is a success, or by mentioning workplaces. Even I'd have to answer yes. I've never seen anybody smoking in a pub.
I don't think 3 out of 5 smokers is a very good result - particularly given the study is commissioned by the TMA. I don't think referring to polls is a good idea in general. Infringements on liberty, where others are not affected, are not a matter for voting. It is this we should be stressing. The real issue and the one with which rational, sane people have sympathy is whether smokers should be banned from getting together and forming a smoking club staffed by its members. This illustrates the freedom issue most starkly. We don't vote on what colour our neighbours should paint their kitchen. Most of these questions arise from the tyranny of the majority. There is something not quite right about this consultation. Imagine the same discussion about Jews in Nazi Germany having to wear yellow stars. Which way would the public vote go?

July 1, 2010 at 12:22 | Unregistered Commenterjon

I went to the Freedom website that DP pointed out, but I couldn't read any of the suggestions or comment or vote on them. According to my online status activity byte counts, I was receiving no data from it. No trouble elsewhere. So it appears to me that the site must be overloaded.

I did manage to find the headings of suggestions relating to smoking though.

1. repeal the smoking ban
2. Save Our Culture, repeal the smoking ban
3. Allow smoking in defined areas/room in pubs
4. lift fag ban
5. cannabis for personal use
6. Unecessary no-smoking signs
7. Repeal and change the Smoking Ban
8. Magic Mushroom Decriminalisation
9. Ban Smoking in all public places
10. Legalise cannabis for recreational and medical use
11. Anti Smoking Laws
12. Smoking
13. Repeal the smoking ban
14. 'Ban' smoking ban in pubs. Give the Landlord/Landlady the choice.
15. Smoking laws

So there appeared to have been 7 suggestions unambiguously calling for the repeal or amendmant of the smoking ban, and just one that appeared to be calling for the ban to be extended.

July 1, 2010 at 12:31 | Unregistered Commenteridlex

While I'm surprised that 2 out of 5 smokers didn't want the smoking ban amended, I'm not surprised that some smokers didn't.

After all, I know one smoker who welcomed the ban because he thought it would help him to give up smoking (it didn't).

Also some smokers have been as brainwashed as everybody else, and regard smoking as a filthy, antisocial habit. Smokers of this sort are unlikely to want the ban amended.

Furthermore, some smokers probably never go to pubs anyway, and don't care about the ban.

July 1, 2010 at 12:43 | Unregistered Commenteridlex

The website is there for people to suggest laws which should be scrapped not brought in. Complain about number 9 above.

July 1, 2010 at 12:44 | Unregistered Commenterjon

3 in 5? I've never met one smoker who thinks its a good idea. Oh, hang on, there's that cropped haired middle aged bloke, sitting at the end of the bar in trendy T-shirt, shorts and cheap trainers who loudly proclaims the he's 'a smoker and thinks its a good idea' .
I forgot him.

No chance of seeing the data I suppose? You know, simple things like questions, demograph, habits, frequency of visit, changes of view, etc. you know, all the uncomfortable questions. Nah, I didn't think so.

July 1, 2010 at 16:08 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

I have just watched a video clip of a Daily Politics discussion with Clive Anderson about which laws should be repealed under the Your Freedom initiative. I was interested to hear that the smoking ban was amongst the five most popular items to be broght up on the new website.

But when they questioned Margot James, who I am ashamed to say is a Conservative MP about this very subject, she poo-pood the idea, saying that the health question was so important that this particular one "just isn't going to happen" no matter how many people vote for it.

I didn't like the look of Ms James, and I certainly did not like her rhetoric. Who the hell does this woman think she is, when she goes against the will of our deputy PM, who obviously has David Cameron's backing?

You can see the video clip here

July 1, 2010 at 17:25 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

I hope you're right Peter but it was the lack of public commitment to amend this ban from the tories that stopped me voting for them. I still remain sceptical that they want any more from smokers than the vote they were given by some and they plan to do nothing for us. My guess is that the lady above would not speak out of turn and must know the Tory hierarchy's view on the ban. We will have to wait and see but I fear there will be a huge playing down of the popularity of this issue as one to be repealed and it will be brushed under the carpet. It's probably why it is scattered among lots of issues - that breaks down the numbers and makes an amendment seem less popular than it is. The Lib Dems don't want any amendment and Cameron was too cowardly to speak up for it before the election so why on earth would he now see fit to amend it.
Incidentally, for anyone who is interested, I have been asked to go live on BBC Radio Lincolnshire tomorrow morning at 7am (!!!!) to talk about the third anniversary of the smoking ban. I suspect they will have me on first by phone and then let the smoke free lot slap me down without further reply.
Cripes - I never used to be this sceptical or negative.

July 1, 2010 at 18:29 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Pat - It may well be worthwhile writing to Andrew Lansley (see Junican's post above), and pointing out to him, that perhaps if Margot James's comment are correct...then what is the point of this website anyway.

July 1, 2010 at 19:33 | Unregistered CommenterChris F J Cyrnik

@Peter T

Margot James is a Facebook buddie of mine and have her email address, I'll drop her a line.

July 1, 2010 at 19:47 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

@Peter T

Margot did not say she was worried about 'elf and safety on smoking, she said that she wanted the health and safety laws repealed.

Pressed on smoking Margot said that she thought the Department Of Health would block it.

July 1, 2010 at 20:25 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Peter -


"er...excuse me, my name isn't bloody Susie. "

That's what they ALL say, Peter.

And you're right: it WAS naive of me not to imagine that ASH (the Health Lobby's answer to SMERSH) had the power to spike a survey commissioned by the TMA. I'd better move house and change my identity while there's still time. Otherwise, it'll be an ice-pick for Martin (I know how to deal with Deborah's spells)....................................

Dave A -


"Margot said that she thought the Department Of Health would block it."

Then it's up to Nick n' Dave to ORDER them NOT to !

Don't see the problem, frankly............................

jor -

I like your sentiments.

Government-by-Survey would be a dangerous path to take - even in this country.

In such an event, we could end up with Simon Cowell as Minister of Culture (assuming such a preposterous post is to survive)...................................

The Best of Times.

Or the Worst of Times ?

Let's commission a survey to find out............................................

July 1, 2010 at 21:16 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Prevarication pre election from the Tories on the smoking ban amendment and now prevarication in Govt, perhaps. You're right Martin V. Who's in charge? The Govt or the DoH?

July 1, 2010 at 21:28 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Pat, I agree with you completely. I'm a UKIPer at heart but I've been fairly impressed with the coaslition so far. If they amended the smoking ban they'd unndoubtedly get my vote in future. It's not so much the Ban itself (although that is clearly a bonus) it's the fact that it shows that they can think for themselves without being bullied by ASH and the BMA. It's the fact that they take property rights and the right for small business to flourish without State interference seriously, and it's the fact that they are LISTENING rather than dictating.

As ever, the ban is about more than just smoking - I've been using it as a political barometer since it came in as it tells you everything you need to know about a politician's true colour regardless of what they actually say. Are they Big State authoritarians or libertarians? Tolerant or intolerant? In that respect it has actually been quite useful.

But back to the point - if they amended the ban they'd get my vote in future. Surely worth their bearing in mind.

July 1, 2010 at 23:26 | Unregistered CommenterMr A

OK, here's how I think they managed to spike the survey and get 2 in 5 "smokers" who agreed with the ban.

According to the TMA press release, the results came from a "Smokers’ Panel survey conducted by Holden Pearmain in May 2010 with 1,000+ smokers."

Now, how exactly does Holden Pearmain conduct these panels? Well, I came across a site called, Talk Panel.

What is Talk Panel? Well: "The TALK Panel is made up of thousands of people across the UK. It aims to bring together a dedicated group of people to share their opinions about products and services they interact with on a daily basis...Your views are valuable to us and as a token of our appreciation prize draws are run for each surveys, and for participations in TALK Polls and TALK Forum; there will also be a Monthly Prize Draw for more exciting prizes ranging from iPods to Camcorders!"

Now, who exactly runs this website? From the FAQ's: Holden Pearmain Research‎ Ltd.

And how do they "qualify" the panel participants?
"Now I’ve joined the TALK PANEL, what happens next?
Once you have joined TALK PANEL as a Panel member you will be sent survey invitations to your email address from time to time. Clicking on a link in the invitation email will take you directly to the survey.

Oh, very scientific! So, there is absolutely no qualifying and, in fact, the more dishonest you are (ie. saying that you are a member of every target group known to mankind), the more monthly panels you can participate in and, therefore, the more entries you have in the monthly prize draw!

Honestly, what kind of useless, worthless morons are running the TMA?

July 2, 2010 at 2:40 | Unregistered CommenterAno

Actually, perhaps I'm being (a little) hard on the TMA, as there is no evidence that they actually commissioned Holden Pearmain to undertake such a corruptible panel.

Nevertheless, they obviously have the resources to commission a proper survey on smoker attitudes towards the ban and, far from doing so, they simply parroted the Smokers' Panel rubbish. That should never have happened.

July 2, 2010 at 3:10 | Unregistered CommenterAno

Ano (and others).

I too have been trying to find detailed info about this survey (via the TMA and the HP sites) but to no avail.
Many of us here have been complaining and complaining that we are unable to access the raw info from which these survey results are compiled. The same applies to the TMA survey as applies to ASH and Co. Without the raw data and a genuine assertion that the survey was impartial, one may as well bay at the moon - this rvey will be meat and drink to the ASH propagandists and provoke further media attacks from them and even more publicity. What is wrong with people like the Tobacco Manufacturers Assn? Why don't they lay the whole thing out, word for word, on line so that everyone can see? It beats me.
I have just posted on The Publican website. I have suggested that they promote a new survey of pub goers asking genuinely reasonable questions OF PUB GOERS (not the general population) about what they would like to see in pubs. I do not think that such a survey would be terribly difficult to organise and might give a genuine insight to the realities. I have suggested that they organise the survey in such a way that people who do not go to pubs as frequently as they used to can get to express their opinions. Now is the time to do it - if publicans want more business.

By the way, I say again Andrew Lansley's own office email address:

July 2, 2010 at 4:32 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

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July 2, 2010 at 5:48 | Unregistered Commenternike shox

Simon, I think your supervisory eye is needed here, dont stay away too long or it will be Nike sports bras next??

July 2, 2010 at 8:42 | Unregistered Commenterann

Ano -

Thanks for the info. Most interesting.

I must say, it SOUNDS more like the dreaded Focus Group to me than what I - and doubtless many others - would regard as a 'proper' survey.

I'd just like to see a genuine poll - conducted among a sensibly large sample of the adult population - which sought to find a response to one simple question:

"Are you in favour of giving adults the choice between smoking and non-smoking venues, and/or smoking and non-smoking areas within those venues ?"

No shading, no ambiguity, no room for high-minded prevarication - just a request for a simple 'Yes' or 'No'.

If fewer than 75% answered in the affirmative, then we really WOULD now be living in a totally different country from the one I grew up in (I can live with the soulless banality of modern pop - just about).

If such a survey HAS been conducted recently with (more or less) such a question, I'd very much like to know.

July 2, 2010 at 9:04 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Incidentally, who ARE


'anr', and

'Mart \'...................................?

(I think we can safely leave 'Nike shox' to Simon's Eraser)

July 2, 2010 at 9:15 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

You've only to watch the famous 'Yes, Minister' episode to see the value of these things.

In any event, 'true or false' surveys (yes or no) are notoriously unreliable. You can only attempt them by asking supplementary questions that would indicate the value of the respondent e.g. in this case 'Are you a smoker?', 'how frequently do you visit pubs?', have you visited more or less frequently since the ban?' how much do you smoke?' etc., etc.

In my experience of smokers this does look to have been plucked out of the air.

July 2, 2010 at 9:24 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Mr A -

There are two issues upon which I will judge both the 'Liberal' credentials of AND the capacity for adult, rational thinking on the part of the Coalition:

a) The Great Smoking Ban Idiocy, and

b) The Great Climate Change Idiocy.

Since we manifestly do not live on a (fully) Grown-Up Planet, I'll settle for a pass mark of 50%.

For now.......................................

July 2, 2010 at 9:28 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

No plans to review smoking ban:

July 2, 2010 at 10:13 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

Frank -

I take your point, of course.

But part of the problem with modern 'surveys' IS their level of sophistication.

The question 'Are YOU in favour of CHOICE ?' (in these circumstances) is surely not an unreasonable one ?

The respondent here is pinned to the wall. There's no chance of evasion via the 'well, in some circumstances' escape hatch - favoured by those who, when pressed for an opinion, fear - like politicians in the studio - to confess that they have none to offer.

No chance, either, of those commissioning the survey to cherry-pick the 'appropriate' response from the 25 variables on offer - and then forward it to their media lapdogs.

And it's far less burdened with philosophical and ethical considerations than 'Are you in favour of Capital Punishment ?', for example.

I'm not really interested in the whys and wherefores.

Merely the declaration of principle.

It is from THIS, after all, that everything else flows..............................

July 2, 2010 at 10:20 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

"No plans to review smoking ban................."

Astonishing !

So, New Labour (for 'twas they) promised a 'Review' (yes, yes, I know) in 2010.

And our Freedom-Loving Listen-To-The-People Coalition denies us even THAT ?

So much for Progressive Politics.

In all fairness, though - we don't really NEED a 'review', do we ?

Just an Amendment..................................................

July 2, 2010 at 10:27 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

I wouldn't read too much into that "BBC" healdline Joyce. It does state "a Department of Health spokeswoman told the BBC: We currently have no plans for a review."

Let's be honest, the coalition has only been in power a few weeks and I don't suppose this issue rates (at this moment in time) very highly on their books.

When they hopefully see the true feelings of the masses on this issue, I am very confident that they will form a new opinion that something needs doing.

Up to now smokers have been alone, little voices in the vast wilderness that is the world wide web, we have had hardly any support from those who we sould expect it from. With this new Government website, maybe and hopefully, things will change.

July 2, 2010 at 10:28 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

Certainly, on the face of it, Martin, that would seem to be the ideal question. However, if you went further i.e. 'do you support choice relating to the smoking ban' and then got a No, you would be able to qualify and filter accordingly whether the person was genuine or not and, therefore, relevant or not.

This is why political polling is subject to such things. A vote 'for' somebody doesn't translate into certainty to vote.

The pressure is on, definitely, I sense poker play here. I'm unmoved by the DOH saying there is no review as they are, undoubtedly, aware that any review would not be limited to what they want - an extension. If you sense a problem, don't fight the battle.

July 2, 2010 at 10:36 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Dave Atherton.

You seem to have got my post mixed up with someone else?

I never mentioned anything at all about 'elf and safety on smoking, or 'elf and safety on anything else for that matter.

I also did not hear Ms James say, when pressed on smoking, that she thought the Department Of Health would block it.

The exact text of her part of the interview when asked for her views on the smoking ban went as follows:

Ms James: Personally I wouldn't go along with that because I think too many lives would be saved by it.

A.Neil: If millions of people write in and say Nick Clegg, we want to repeal the smoking ban, what's he going to do, is he going to seriously consider it?

Ms James: Well I think it's not going to happen, the department of health would (she is then interrupted, cannot hear what is said) the evidence for the ban (another interruption blocks her views) yeah exactly!

July 2, 2010 at 10:43 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

Peter Thurgood: She didn't seem to know what she was saying. Firstly, she said 'A matter for debate', then said she didn't want a repeal and it wouldn't happen because of the DOH. Very defensive.

Didn't seem to have very much to argue with, just relying on the DOH to provide the answers whether they can or not.

Lets keep this going.

July 2, 2010 at 10:49 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Peter - yes, the piece is ambiguous. It isn't clear whether the Government has 'no plans' to review at all or not just in the Autumn. It might also be conflating the DOH with the Government and to the DOH a review will certainly mean only the intention to further restrict and not amend. It does, however, seem ominous when it coincides with the Government's appeal to the people to say which laws we want repealed. The message seems to be any law but the smoking ban.

(BTW apparently the HM site has the usual "we hate smokers" comments and I wouldn't be astonished if ASH has rallied the troops.)

Martin - you're spot on in that a good quantitative survey WILL pin people down. Questions are very specific and often respondents are disallowed by the options from which to choose their response from sitting on the fence with a "don't know".

July 2, 2010 at 11:07 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce


****must say, it SOUNDS more like the dreaded Focus Group to me than what I - and doubtless many others - would regard as a 'proper' survey.****

No, it's actually much worse than that.

1. This "research company" (and I use the phrase loosely) has set up a website called TALK PANEL.
2. Anyone can join - in fact, anyone can join as many times as they wish, just as long as they can join via proxies and other IP obscuring means. For example, I could have 100 "joins" if I wished. Why would I want to do that?
3. They give out prizes to people who complete their surveys.
4. Does the "average" person join these sites? If you put up survey results as being representative of society, you'd better make sure that you have a representative sample. I can almost guarantee you that this site is infested with people who are far from "average".
5. When you give people prizes for participating in a survey, the survey is email only (so, no vetting), and you send out an email saying they want smokers to participate, and you were a non-smoker but the kind of person who joins these kinds of sites, would you lie? Of course you would!
6. So, a scumbag looking for a cheap prize, who doesn't smoke, but can hold themselves out as a smoker (and who has an actual incentive to do so), ticks a few boxes on an internet survey and:
7. The Tobacco Manufacturers Association - an organisation which should be sticking up for its clients and its clients' consumers - shows itself to be incompetent, by not figuring out what I did with one - ONE, google search.

Someone needs their ar*e kicked from London to Brighton.

July 2, 2010 at 13:17 | Unregistered CommenterAno

Thanks again, Ano.

So, it's quite worthless, then.

As are all self-selecting polls - with or without the incentive of A Big Prize (a dinner date with Deborah or Liam, for example):

"Do YOU think it right to blow smoke in a baby's face ? Phone now, on............."

In a sense, I'm rather relieved............................................

July 2, 2010 at 13:54 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

I think Ano has hit the nail on the head as regards these 'surveys'.
They're all a load of bullshit, never accurate and the questions are always geared so that whoever sets them up gears the questions to get the answers they're being paid for by whatever 'research' outfit has set them up in the first place.
In my opinion the only accurate survey would be one that has just two answers 'Yes' or 'No', but they cant afford to go there, as they know they would never get the answer they want to hear.
Surveys, like beggars and charities (salvation army excepted) are now on my hit list of shams to avoid.

July 2, 2010 at 14:32 | Unregistered Commenterann

Up to now smokers have been alone, little voices in the vast wilderness that is the world wide web, we have had hardly any support from those who we sould expect it from. With this new Government website, maybe and hopefully, things will change."

We still are lone voices in the wilderness. This Freedom Bill for smokers is a con. Yes, I remember getting the same excited feeling when the No10 petition site began and we all know that was the same sort of scam designed to have the appearance of a Govt listening and acting on the public's wishes when really Gordy had no intention of allowing any petition that his party didn't approve of. This is the same. I am afraid we are all in for a big disappointment. The Lib Dems hate us, the Tories don't give a damn as long as they stay in power and frankly they don't need us. The last election proved it.

... and yes, I did my radio interview this morning and it was as I suspected. I was interrupted by the interviewer who didn't want me to get my points across, he beat me up with the health and clothes stink issue, and then, as he cut me off to get on with a studio debate, I imagine he let the smokefree dogs tear apart what I'd said.

All of this a few minutes after Smoke free was on the news claiming a huge victory and how everyone loves the ban, and how the public police it themselves. They then had a smoker who said she didn't mind not smoking inside, and then one of our friends who began by saying he thought the ban was a good thing before going on to say that it had gone too far. With friends like that our enemies don't have to work very hard do they.

July 2, 2010 at 17:25 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

I feel truly sorry for you Pat, it sounds to me that you had a thoroughly rotten time of it.

But I am surprised that you, a person who should know the media, and not trust them one bit, fell for their rotten plan. I wouldn't go anywhere near one of these type of things if they paid me a fortune, you are only there as fodder. They are not really interested in your views at all, all they want is a scapegoat, and today, I am sorry to say, you were it!

Do me a favour, get your own programme together, and see if you can sell it to one of these small radio stations, you never know, they just might buy it???

July 2, 2010 at 18:00 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

You win some debates, Peter, and you lose some. I always expect to be treated that way but it won't stop me at least trying to get the message across. One good thing about it is that I can't imagine many people up and about at 7am here and listening to that when there are such better radio stations to tune into.

However, what I don't expect is own goals from our own side and that happens far too often from those like the smoker who was happy to be treated like shite and the smoking ban campaigner who began by saying that the ban was a good thing. There are the two in five I guess.

July 2, 2010 at 19:11 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Pat - Good for you for having the guts to do it despite expecting not to get a fair hearing. If you are invited to do more, I hope that you accept. We pro-choicers are in such a downtrodden position that it's valuable that people even hear that there is dissent.

You'll know that you're a media tart when Debs refuses to be on the same programme :)

July 2, 2010 at 19:23 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

According to this list I would say the TMA has estimated conservatively.

July 2, 2010 at 21:02 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda

Pat -

Just to say that I - like Joyce - greatly admire your courage and energy in pursuing this path on behalf of ALL of us here (and beyond).

Many, many thanks for sticking it out. I know it must be pretty dispiriting at times for you.

Are there NO rebels in the Media these days ?

What a bloody shower............................................

July 2, 2010 at 23:34 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

I'm a technology illiterate - hell, I've just got round to exploring Youtube!

But Peter's suggestion to Pat above has got me thinking of an idea. I can't imagine that no-one else has thought of this but I haven't seen it suggested elsewhere.

We have Dave Atherton here who is evidently meticulous in squirrelling away every piece of materiall. Could you,, Dave, produce a potted evaluation of the 'science' that underpins the ban on a form that's suitable for posting on Youtube and are there creative ways to drive traffic to your posting? Could MPs be driven there?

Apologies if this is an old idea that other people have found doesn't work.

July 3, 2010 at 0:49 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce


Funny you should say that but I am currently an essay as we speak which I hope will be the definitive counter blast to the junk science.

The problem is that it takes days and weeks of research, how Chris Snowdon wrote his book is beyond me. I have 726 pages of the US Surgeon General's 2006 report to read for example.

I would be happy to help.

@Peter T

Sorry to confuse you with someone else.

July 3, 2010 at 3:00 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Dave Atherton.

It must be very difficult to ‘keep on keeping on’ as regards the scientific aspects of the smoking ban. But it is important that you should do so. I am convinced that, in the end, your endeavours will be justified. Of course, it is likely that your personal endeavours will never be ‘recognised’, but your reward will be to be proved to be right. I do not think that monetary reward or applause is anywhere near as pleasurable as simply winning. EG. Easyjet lost one of our bags on a trip to Majorca. They offered £400 in settlement. I disagreed, and argued and argued with them. In the end, they offered £827, which I accepted. The pleasure for me was not in the sum of money, but the fact that I won!

I have placed a suggestion on Nick Clegg’s Freedom site. My suggestion was not simply that the smoking ban should be repealed or amended, but that ‘CHAPTER 1 OF SECTION 28 OF THE HEALTH ACT 2006’ should be repealed. My reasoning was that the Smoking Ban was not actually Health related, but was Safety related. Health is about diseases, broken bones and broken minds and not whether or not it is SAFE to inhale second hand tobacco fumes (or any other fumes, for that matter). The beauty of this idea is that Smoking is taken out of the hands of the Dept of Health and placed in the hands of the Dept of Safety (if there is such a thing).

Also, ‘smells’ and personal feelings are taken out of the argument. The reality becomes, “To what extent is second hand smoke dangerous?”

In addition, put in those terms, even if second hand smoke IS possibly dangerous, why should not free people decide for themselves whether or not they should take the risk?

One can only hope that MPs will stop being ‘useful idiots’, being manipulated by the medical establishment. If they do not, then everything that they do will be suspect.

July 3, 2010 at 4:29 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

Junican -


"One can only hope that MPs will stop being ‘useful idiots’, being manipulated by the medical establishment......................"

And possibly start learning how to do some of their OWN research (they have ALL the facilities AND the 'researchers', after all).

Perhaps we could all club together and pay for them to attend a one-day Google Familiarisation seminar (once they've been taught how to switch on a PC) ?

The Civil Service can no longer be trusted to offer sound, impartial advice, alas.

How it must LOVE the lazily ill-informed career polticians of today.

As for members of the Medical Establishment generally, I think it high time that someone reminded them that, while they undoubtedly perform a useful and generally beneficial function in Society (for which I've had cause to be grateful on several occasions) - like car mechanics, street-sweepers, and plasterers - they are essentially TRADESMEN, too.

Not parish priests, mindful of the state of our Souls.

(We stopped grovelling to THEM a long time ago)

July 3, 2010 at 8:36 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

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