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« Introducing ... Forest Éireann | Main | More evidence of the bully state »

Pubs need smokers

Philip Johnston, one of the speakers in our recent Voices of Freedom series of debates, has written an article in today's Daily Telegraph that is summed up by the headline: Smokers could breathe life back into pubs.

I couldn't have written it better myself. Philip writes:

Why was the law not framed in a way that would reflect the interests both of the majority who favoured a ban and of those who would like to carry on puffing, whatever damage it might do to their health? Initially, it was envisaged that there would be exemptions for private clubs or the provision of smoking rooms in pubs, and their continuation in workplaces that had already banned smoking in most of their office space. A simpler route would have allowed landlords to designate their pubs as either smoking or non-smoking establishments, giving people – including staff – the choice of where to drink and work.

He quotes a letter by publicans representing the Save Our Pubs & Clubs campaign - and has some hardsh words for Nick Clegg's Your Freedom project:

If this is supposed to be a serious exercise in consulting the people, how come some things are already ruled out? True, the chances of getting capital punishment through the Commons are zero; and, in any case, Britain has signed international treaties promising that it will not be restored. But the same is not true of smoking. If a reasonable amendment to the ban was put before Parliament, there is at least a chance it might succeed, especially given its impact on the businesses of many MPs' constituents, which was not known when the law was passed.

The article concludes:

It is certainly worth having the debate: an amendment to the smoking ban is one of the most popular ideas on the Your Freedom website and a quarter of the population still indulges. But I wonder how many people who took Mr Clegg at his word and asked for this law to be looked at again realise that their contribution has almost certainly been a waste of time.

Full article HERE. You can comment.

Funnily enough, I am currently drafting a piece that will appear in the brochure for the Morning Advertiser's Great British Pub Awards dinner next month. It includes this quote from Antony Worrall Thompson: "It may be unfashionable to say so but pubs need smokers and we must do as much as we can to accommodate them."

Reader Comments (8)

A good article by Philip Johnston, especially where he says: "A simpler route would have allowed landlords to designate their pubs as either smoking or non-smoking establishments, giving people – including staff – the choice of where to drink and work".

But, isn't this exactly what I have been saying for the past two years?

As most people on here will know, I do not agree with separate "smoking-rooms" in pubs or clubs etc; to me this still stigmatises smokers. It smells to me very much like a smokers-ghetto, somewhere the anti-smoking lobby can push us off to, with cries of "unclean - unclean".

I am sorry but separate smoking-rooms are not for me. I want the same rights as a non-smoker has, i.e. the choice to go where I choose, and I am glad to see that Philip Johnston agrees with me.

August 17, 2010 at 13:58 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

I posted a few comments under my alter ego of cfrankdavis. Why is it that the antismokers just keep saying the same thing? They're like stuck records. Do they all have to take a shower if somebody lights a cigarette?

August 17, 2010 at 15:38 | Unregistered Commenteridlex

The surprising thing about this article is a couple of comments underneath still doubting that the ban has anything to do with increased closures! Speechless. In fact, on the freedom (Ha! what a joke!) website a couple of morons were trying to maintain that pub business has INCREASED since the ban! Sheesh!

There's nothing you can do with prats like that. Debate is a waste of time.

August 17, 2010 at 15:45 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Idlex, regarding the "stink" thing, have you read my article on the stink

Just scroll down the page. I wrote it two years ago, and I think it just about sums it up.

Frank, I agree with you about trying to debate with these anti-smoking jerks. I have tried to reason with them over the years, no shouting, no heated arguments, just plain common sense, asking for equality. But the truth is Frank, the majority of these anti-smokers are ignorant beyond belief, you can almost see their blood vessels boiling over in the lines they write, or should I say "spit" at you.

Propaganda is the only way, it worked in Nazi Germany all those years ago, it has worked now with our children and the vast uneducated masses. If we want to get our message forward, we need to use propaganda against them in the way they use it against us.

August 17, 2010 at 16:43 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

"the majority who favoured a ban ................."

Is that quite correct ?

I had rather assumed that 'the majority' was AGAINST a Total Ban.

Or have I got things wrong ?

August 17, 2010 at 21:45 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Firstly, can I commend Dave Atherton on his magnificent effort to repudiate the 'urban Myths' as he calls them? I said to Dave once, ages ago, that, at the end of the day, it will be the science which will turn out to be the critical thing. I read all the comments (300 +) on the site, and it was as clear as clear could be that the antis had no science - all they had were smells and witchcraft. Again and again, a person would say (you would think that they did not read the comments already posted - which they probably do not) that pubs are not closing because of the smoking ban. Again and again, Dave said 'a few hundred pre 2006 and thousands after 2006. What more proof do you need?' Well done, Dave! - and everyone else who posted there - I saw FD there, for example.

I came in late to the discussion on the Telegraph site. Would anyone mind if I post the comments that I made there?

Here goes:

""There is a small error in Mr Johnston's article (if he is speaking up for smokers) and that is when he says, "But what about the rights of smokers?"
Smokers have never claimed 'the right' to smoke, witness the fact that smokers perfectly happily comply with the admonition not to smoke on garage forecourts (which is the first thing that came into my mind!).
What actually happened was that ASH started to say that smokers do not have the RIGHT to smoke. They then went on to encourage their supporters to believe that smokers WERE demanding the right to smoke. A fine piece of clever propaganda, if I may say so.
No. Smokers do not ask for the RIGHT to smoke - we only ask for permission to smoke where the owner of the business/property agrees that we can do, which may be in a smoking room or wherever. The fact of the matter is (as many others here have said) that there was never any need for the dead hand of the state to become involved at all. But even if the Government were convinced that it was right for people who did not like tobacco smoke to have 'smokefree' facilities, arrangements could have been made. A simple law requiring that a portion of the place be 'smokefree' (even to the extent of 50% or more if necessary) would have sufficed.
Ah!, one might say, but what of the plight of workers in these places? Ought they not to be protected?
The answer is, of course, protected against what? All the serious studies have found no harm from passive smoke, so what are people to be protected against? But even accepting some minuscule risk, how difficult is it to protect them from such a risk? Very easy - a few fans.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! There we see the problem from a Government point of view! There are just too many complications for politicians (useful fools as they are) to cope with. Better to ban smoking where people work, no matter how infrequently, altogether. Propaganda will sort out the simple souls.

And so it has come to pass - but unintended consequences start to rear their ugly heads, do they not?""

Thus we see that a committee comprised of 'healthists' and another committee composed of 'useful fools' caused the Labour government to reverse their manifesto pledge, along with the assurances of ASH and co (where did they get their info from?) that the smoking ban would not affect pubs.


""Oh. One more thing.
I have read every comment to date. I must admire the persistence of some people in their anti-smoking stance, but their arguments are so woefully inadequate that they are meaningless. It is like a person complaining about Einstein's General Theory of Relativity because Space makes his clothes and his hair stink and that he needs a shower immediately after being exposed to Space.
Lord Above! Give us strength!""

It is true, is it not? Every point that the antis make is irrelevant.


""There is one particular 'idea' on the Your Freedom' site which has over a thousand votes and nearly a thousand comments. The 'vote' is about 65% for an amendment to the Smoking Ban in favour of some relaxation.
Any pollster will tell you that a 1000 + people is quite adequate (but better, 2000 AS A MAXIMUM OF WHAT IS NEEDED) in order to assess the mood of the Nation.
It follows therefore that THE MAJORITY want a relaxation, whatever that may me. ASH and co can bluster as much as they wish and commission faulty surveys on Mumsnet if they wish, but it is a MATTER OF FACT that people voting on Your Freedom have expressed an opinion, which ought not to be ignored. There are too many votes and these votes are sufficient to be representative of the people's views. We need no more fiddled surveys. We have the ultimate survey - the one conducted by the Government itself.
There really is no need to get 100,000 signatures on a petition to amend the smoking ban. The voters on the Your Freedom site have voted enough.""

I publish the above only to show that REASON is on our side - UNREASON is on the other side. Tobacco, like alcohol, is a lovely thing for people who are grown up enough to know HOW to enjoy it in a reasonable way. What we grown ups are absolutely against in any way shape or form is THE DEAD HAND OF GOVERNMENT dictating.

Sorry to go on.

August 18, 2010 at 3:50 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

Junican -

Nicely said !

August 18, 2010 at 22:40 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

What interview.

There has been no reference to your interview on Duncan Barkes show on TalkSport.

August 19, 2010 at 1:26 | Unregistered CommenterDavidR

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