We’ve Stopped Spending (rpt)

I’ve decided to leave this post up for the time being, so that a few more people can read and perhaps add to the comments under it, all of which make a strong case that smoking bans have a far greater negative impact on the economy than is often suggested.

In the comments earlier today, Jax wrote that smoking bans had kicked off the economic slowdown. I was making a similar point a few months back in The Unhappy Shopper. But I’ve never been entirely convinced that smoking bans actually started the slowdown. But the argument isn’t a new one. It was used during US Prohibition (see right).

In our own tobacco prohibition era, ASH’s Deborah Arnott denies that smoking bans cut spending and reduce tax revenues.

DA: “People pay tax on different things. If you’re not spending the money on cigarettes, which just goes up in smoke, you’ll spend the money on other things.”

Do people really “spend the money on other things”? I certainly haven’t been. I can’t really think of any spending of mine that has increased since the smoking ban to compensate for the decrease in the money I spend in cafes and pubs and restaurants.

I now spend most of my time at home. And much of that time is spent online, or reading library books, or writing computer programmes, or thinking – and I don’t spend much money doing these things. I only make brief forays outdoors, and then mostly to just buy food. After all, for smokers it’s become a hostile, forbidding world out there. We’re not welcome. So I’ve been saving on petrol, and on shoe leather, and on clothes. And taxi and train fares. And also on the cakes and chocolates and books and magazines that I once used to buy on impulse.

There’s also been a cultural withdrawal on my part. I no longer buy any newspapers. And I no longer watch TV (and so pay no TV licence). I’ve been to see just one movie in the past five years. It’s become their culture. It’s not my culture any more. It’s not even my country any more. It’s been taken over by a bunch of Nazis, most of whom are as unelected as Deborah Arnott.

And, while I’m smoking pretty much as much as I ever did, quite a lot of the money I spend on it has gone abroad – either on black market tobacco, or on stuff that I’ve bought abroad (e.g. Spain) -. So while I continue to spend money on tobacco, a lot of it isn’t going into the UK economy.

The main point is that I’m not “spending money on other things”. Nor am I likely to start spending any time soon.  For even if I had a sudden windfall of cash, what the hell would I spend it on?

Here’s Rose’s comment:

It occured to me that I haven’t needed to use a taxi since July 2007.

I haven’t bought a dress to go out for the evening, because I haven’t needed one.

Nor bought a lipstick.

I found a receipt from my favourite hotel dated from April 2007, it was the last time I stayed there for the weekend.

I don’t vist teashops any more, I buy something from the bakery and take it home.

And Lou’s comment:

It’s not smokers alone. Most have family, almost all have friends – and they feature in this too. At least the sensitive ones do in my experience. Now, when I visit, it’s a case of something knocked up at home, or a takeaway, whereas previously it would have been the works and possibly a second coffee and several fags in a restaurant.

These are just one day’s comments on my blog. A few days back Leg-iron was saying the same:

I haven’t been inside a cinema or a restaurant since the ban came in and soon stopped using cafes too. It’s not relaxing to be made unwelcome, so why on Earth would I pay extra for it? I drink my tea and coffee at home too, and bought an espresso machine a few years back as a direct result of the smoking ban. It’s a Gaggia Cubika and it’s excellent.

In fact, it’s rather hard to imagine what else banned smokers might spend their money on. Is it really likely that they’d say, “No worries, I’ll just take up scuba diving instead”? Or, “Now’s my chance to build up a great stamp collection”? The mere fact that people have money in their pockets doesn’t mean they’re going to spend it – particularly when there is no longer much for them to spend it on.

The message is the same from all four: We’ve Stopped Spending. And when people like us stop spending, other people stop earning. And that means that business everywhere becomes depressed, and companies go bust, and people lose their jobs.

And when it’s about a quarter of the population that stops spending – stops buying drinks in pubs, or coffee in cafes, or meals in restaurants, that is bound to have an impact on the whole economy. When I lived in Devon, before the ban I used to buy just one pint of lager at the River every day, and occasionally two. Back then it cost about £2.50 a pint. So that’s easily £1000 per year. Add on everything else I stopped spending (restaurant food, teas, coffees, newspapers, etc), and it’s probably £2000 a year I stopped spending. If Britain’s 13 million smokers also stopped spending that amount, it adds up to £26 billion per annum. In 2009 the UK hospitality industry added some £33 billion in gross value to the UK economy total of £860 billion GVA (see also). “Gross value added” is the difference between the sale price and the production cost of a product. So if Britain’s smokers stopped buying a pint of lager and a pasty and chips (or their equivalent) every day, that’s about 3% of the UK economy gone missing. And not all of it would be lost in the hospitality sector.

So what does it take to cause a recession?

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82 Responses to We’ve Stopped Spending (rpt)

  1. Even if you spend your money in other goods,whats best for the state, tobacco with 80% tax or vegetables with 0% tax ?And eventually who pays Deborah’s salary?

  2. Frank one of the main points in repealing prohibition was the government was broke and they were spending litterally billions on enforcement of the dreaded Volstead act. We all remember Elliot ness and the untouchables chasing al capone all over chicago. Well its no diferent today with bootleg tobacco. We all know what created that problem high taxation,basically prohibition by tax! Lets just ask How much money is being spent on enforcement and chasing bootleggers in the new era of prohibiiton itd be a windfall for our side if we had a study to show how much more money the world govmnts would save by repealing all the bullshit and get back to normal…..its a case the nazis couldnt touch especially after weve already shown their bloated smokers cost society so much is all bullshit in its computations. Which they create real magical new terms to show difering amounts of cost…….unrealistic and flat out lying,real costs is what we need and in a world wide study of enforcement costs and losses in revenues to the taxman!

    Maybe Mike and Kuneman can tap the numbers or maybe they already have.

  3. There are lessons to be learned from alcohol prohibition we need to relearn and use to our advantage with the governments in ending this trash yet again. Maybe Chris has a magic book hidden in a vault with the behind the scenes issues that led to repeal. We need that and make it our bible!

  4. Heres the latest they are claiming,I bet its 10 times the amount they claim!

    http://www.nacsonline.com/NACS/News/Dai … 14121.aspx

    Findings suggest that one in seven packs of cigarettes is contraband, resulting in billions of lost revenue a year in unpaid taxes as well as increased health risks for consumers

    LONDON – A new study of discarded cigarette packets in the U.K. has revealed that black market tobacco and fake cigarettes account for one out of every seven packs of cigarettes consumed in the region, the Daily Mail reports.

    The finding corresponds to a loss of roughly £2billion ($3.2 billion U.S.) a year in unpaid taxes as well as increased health risks. Fake cigarettes have been found to contain higher levels of chemicals such as arsenic, lead and cadmium

    The findings correlate with figures gathered from HM Revenue and Customs, which estimated that up to 16% of cigarettes consumed in the U.K. in the year 2009-10 were fake or counterfeit (estimates for rolling tobacco were much higher at 50%).

    Most of the fake products are manufactured in China and Russian and contain high levels of cadmium, which is linked with kidney disease, and arsenic, which increases the risk of certain cancers. They have also been found to contain sawdust, tobacco beetles and even sawdust.

    The fakes are sold in street markets for as low as £3 ($4.80 U.S.) a pack.

    “It is not surprising that, in these difficult financial times, some smokers are tempted to turn to cheap brands of cigarettes and hand- rolling tobacco to save money,” said John Seale, head of public protection at North East Lincolnshire Council. “However, many of these cigarettes are made overseas in premises where hygiene is poor and the quality of materials used is substandard … This is why the council works proactively to seek out and punish illegal tobacco sellers. Those who are caught will be prosecuted.”

    The survey found 20 different brands of counterfeit cigarettes and rolling tobacco, with the Russian-produced L&M and Jin Ling brands the most common.

    Trevor Parkin, Tobacco Control Alliance coordinator, said the biggest concern about the finding is that it places minors at risk.

    “’One of our greatest concerns is that sellers of cheap cigarettes will readily sell to underage people,” he said. “This illegal market therefore poses a real threat to the future health of our young people.”

  5. I was thumbing thru a search and this popped up and rather intresting on the subject its from James Repace on the BMJ tobacco control blog and its rather good news for us by his own admission!

    From my perspective as a researcher, the amount of money available to fund Cynthia is right. For example, research funds for secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure research are rapidly dwindling to zero. This sort of research gives a very big bang for a buck. If you doubt this, just Google my name and see how upset the Smokers’ Rights Goons who front for Big Tobacco are with my research alone. And I am far from the only target. More specifically, the biggest remaining problem to be researched is secondhand smoke infiltration in multi-family dwellings, which affects tens of millions of people in the U.S. alone. I don’t know of any State health departments outside of California who are providing research funds to study this widespread problem, and California doesn’t have enough to fund a major study. Most State and local health departments in the U.S. don’t even want to hear nonsmokers’ complaints on this issue. It’s a sad state of affairs.

    James Repace, MSc.
    Visiting Asst. Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine, Dept. of Public Health
    FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor

    email:
    website:

    http://blogs.bmj.com/tc/2010/09/14/polluter-pays-increasing-funding-for-global-tobacco-control/

  6. Tom says:

    Atlas is shrugging…

  7. Junican says:

    Here is a big question (and it applied in prohibition):

    If thousands of officers are chasing around trying to find illicit fags, what are they producing? The fact is that they are producing nothing at all, since any illicit fags confiscated are destroyed. They will not produce revenue for the Gov since the people whose tobacco was confiscated will find another illicit source. Therefore, the cost of the officers is a direct drain on resources. Where do these resources come from? From taxes. But if millions (of smokers) are no longer spending on licit fags or on high price alcohol in pubs, not only duty is lost but also vat on pub sales and all the other taxes and vat that would have been paid by suppliers to the pubs. That is, there is a massive knock-on effect. But there is a double whammy – the people who become unemployed then become benefit claimants, thus heaping even more costs onto the State, in addition to the cost of the customs officers. But, as we have seen, many people (including myself, who is reasonably well-off) just see no reason to spend. I have reduced my nine times a week habit (of going to the pub) to three. So I need to ‘get dressed up’ less often, therefore I need less clothes and everything else, as Frank said. I have found that I can amuse myself almost cost free – as I am doing now. A bottle of Chilean red wine and a packet of fags (bought abroad) and I am happy. Of course, all these smokers (and non-smokers) who have stopped frequenting pubs, are now sitting at home getting fat, so no saving to the NHS – just change of illnesses.

    That’s what happens when the State starts to interfere. And do you know what the real problem is? The fact is that the State can only think in terms of ‘one size fits all’. In comparison, private enterprise, with all its faults, benefits from individual inventiveness.

  8. massive knock-on effect

    I love the terminology cousin! You bring up very valid points and should be used in an economic cost analysis by our side!

    • smokervoter says:

      Although tobacco control inc. likes to portray smokers as a meaningless, miniscule and shrinking slice of society’s pie at 20-25% of the population, we are not a trifle. I would never make the mistake of disregarding that much of anything. The whole of anything is generally made up of quarter/fifth slices. They aggregate the 75-80% who don’t smoke into a monolith and use it as a cudgel.

      When it comes to bars and pub trade, they ignore the multiplier effect of smokers. I guesstimate it’s between 2.5 and 3:1. That is, from what I’ve read before and more importantly from personal experience, smokers generally compose(d) 60% of a tavern’s customers. Even non-smokers would often partake when drinking for some strange reason. I know this for a fact because they would bum cigs from me while doing so. I’d conservatively guesstimate 5 cartons worth (@ $60 each). I didn’t mind, I found the sheer kookiness and temporary bonding of it entertaining. And especially so if the borrower happened to be a fetching lass. Or resembled Lauren Bacall from a Bogie movie.

      If these same people are now voting for smoking bans, I want my money back.

      And Junican, about that Red Chilean wine; Concha y Toro by chance? I love it.

  9. the says:

    Of course its having a major effect on the economy and yet it goes on. With the Tories now pushing hard for banning cheap booze as well. Yet every day there are ‘anti smoking’ ads on TV costing millions.
    My spending habits of decades have changed completely. No visits to cafes, restaurants, cinema at all. No clothes shopping, very little petrol and no more browsing in any shops.
    I no longer use any hotels and rarely travel. I’ve gone into shut down.
    Because I’m spending more time at home I’m growing more food and spending even less in the supermarkets. I brew my own booze and I’m growing tobacco.
    Yet just a few years ago I would ‘go out’ almost daily and spend a day shopping and then chill in the pubs. I know in my small neck of the woods the shops are becoming as deserted as the pubs, many are closing or at least reducing days opening. Every single tradesman will now offer work for cash and I would think virtually everyone takes them up on it.
    The general feeling is repression and subsequently resentment and misery.

    • Rose says:

      “Because I’m spending more time at home I’m growing more food and spending even less in the supermarkets.

      the, me too, I’ve even taken up bread making (with a machine, I’m not that into hard work) When you think of the amount of things that we buy that not long ago we used to make for ourselves, like your brewing, it seems extraordinary with the inevitable taxes, that we ever paid a supermarket or company to provide them.
      The red peppers that I used to buy for 80p each now grow in profusion on my windowsill, same size and some of the plants bore 10 each last year. Grown from seed taken from a shop bought one.
      I have become obsessively interested in how much I’m saving by growing my own vegetables and making my own bread as compared to the supermarket and check prices frequently.
      The stupid thing is, I really don’t need to.
      But each time it feels like a little triumph, because my money’s not going into the system and on to some nameless shadowy Them.

      Lifelong conservative, would you believe, but they seem to have altered the meaning of
      the word.

  10. Pingback: Nanny’s been busy. | underdogs bite upwards

  11. c777 says:

    It is apparent to me and I am sure many others .
    We are heading for the fabled financial armaggedon every western nation is indebted and has no real means to promote true economic growth.
    The manufacturing economies in the far east will fall with the west as their markets dry up this is starting to happen now.
    The current crony capitalist model is unsustainable .
    Greece is were we will all be in a few years time ,about as long as the can can be kicked.
    There will be no Arnott’s and other such useless eaters sucking the life blood from the economy.
    The only ones to emerge unscathed will be the more independently minded people who edge towards some kind of self reliance.
    The state will not have the funds to pay for hangers on like ASH .
    In fact I have a feeling the current political junta will be swept away ,hopefully to be replaced by more accountable less centralised government.
    Think on this half of the population do not even vote they are hardly going to come out in support of such a self centred regime as we have now .
    Who are taking the cuts when the economy crashes .the only sector the government controls ,the public sector ,that same public sector that contains the busybodies and enemies of the people.
    No real cuts at the moment but soon the cuts will be forced upon them they do not want to dismantle the apparatus of state that gives them the fifth of population who work within, therefore are arms of the state even though they may not realise it.
    Watch what happens to the European political classes when they observe the backlash they are about to get in Greece .
    Mandelson stated we are in the post democratic era.
    Wrong.
    I think the political classes are about to get a wake up call.
    Democracy is about involvement in the political process just like Greece we now see a lot of “involvement”.

  12. Jim says:

    I’m not a smoker, but your comment about how you have withdrawn from society chimes with me. I used to read the paper every day, have a TV, go out a lot. Now I do none of those. I get my news from the internet (and am amazed an the banality of TV and newspaper news when I do see them), watch any program I like via internet streaming (no licence required!), and stay in. Like you I no longer feel connected to the what passes for popular culture nowadays. Its as if someone stole my country – in fact I think they did, it was Tony Blair and his crew of wreckers.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I find it easy to understand why smokers now feel estranged. We have been expelled from society, after all. But non-smokers I find harder to understand – except if they are sufficiently sympathetic to smokers to be appalled by what’s being done to them. But then, there are probably lots of other reasons for becoming estranged from society,

      • Rose says:

        Even my Mum has noticed, the landscape is altering around her. She doesn’t drink or smoke, but she sees the pubs she has passed year after year, boarded up now and empty or bulldozed for new housing. The area is beginning to look wrong.

        She looks sad when my sister has to stand outside at her birthday lunch.

  13. mikef317 says:

    Just to add my (unspent) two cents, I’ve also cut back drastically (99%?) on the hospitality industry.

    I’m from New York. We have places with “pub” in their name, but I’d call them bars.

    I’m not a bar person. Stuck at an airport? Bar. Attending a dead relative’s wake? Bar. Rarely, a quick drink with someone because we each had other things to do. Otherwise….

    I’ve eaten thousands of meals at restaurants. It was a luxury I enjoyed and could afford. (No world cruises for me; no Picassos hanging on the living room wall.) I used to have a few drinks (and cigarettes), and a meal, and coffee with another cigarette. After eating, being in a good mood, I often casually strolled into a store and bought a few things.

    Today I can still get the drinks, the meal, and the coffee, but I must step outside for cigarettes. My luxury is gone.

    Using last year as an example, I ate out maybe a half dozen times. I don’t enjoy it anymore. (Might a person at the next table complain that I reek with the stench of smoke, and demand that I be sent to eat in the restaurant’s sub-basement, assuming that I’m not carted off to jail for endangering public health?)

    Mostly, I stay at home, fix my own drinks, and my own meal, and my own coffee – and smoke as much as I like. And since I’m home, I don’t causally stroll into shops. This saves me money but doesn’t provide a single penny to chefs, waiters, dishwashers, or sales clerks. Which means they have less to spend on luxuries or necessities. Which effects other businesses….

    I was on friendly terms with three restaurant owners (two of whom smoked), and each said that the ban hurt business badly (which I could see for myself just by looking at the empty tables). All three restaurants have since closed. (N.Y. is tough on eateries, but two had been feeding people for several decades.)

    Even after the ban, I frequented these establishments because I considered the owners and staff friends and knew they needed my support. Today I don’t have any friends that own or work in restaurants.

    Did smoking bans kick off the economic downturn? Sounds like something I might like to believe – but certainly couldn’t ever prove. At very least, smoking bans sure as hell didn’t help.

  14. Since the mid 90s, I used to go to Dublin for about 4 or 5 weekends a year with my partner. We went once after they installed their ban in 2004 and have never felt the urge to go since. All in all, each visit cost us around £500, a hefty chunk of money which was spent in the UK afterwards.

    Since 2007, I’m saving like never before, and when it accumulates to a decent level we splurge it all … abroad (Prague, usually). You should see the luxury Turkish hotel we’ve booked for August – I’ve never spent such a vast amount of money on a trip before. Booked direct too, so apart from the cheap flights we booked last year for the week, it’s all going to other countries. I’d rather spend it in this country but, as Frank says, what is there that is worth spending that much on?

  15. God how I wish we had a budget to work with! Testimonials in commercial ads of ordinairy people on how the bans harmed them,of course pushing the knock on effect Junican mentions and evryone else.

  16. Mr A says:

    I’m actually loaded because of the Ban. I used to spend around £1000 – £1500 a month purely on going out – pubs, clubs, lap dancing joints, restaurants, taxis….

    I now spend around £50, if that. As I’m no longer welcome in the real world, I spend a lot of time online, a lot of time working out / running / cycling (God, it sounds like what prisoners do in jail, doesn’t it? Well, except the cycling), all of which is free. I don’t travel to any overly smokerphobe countries (I’ve turned down opportunities to go to New York and San Francisco this year, both of which I would have jumped at if they weren’t so smoker-hostile) and I always wanted to go to Dublin, but that desire disappeared in 2004.

    I also spend a lot of time working, as I now have lots of free time now I’m no longer going out, so I have an extra full time job, the salary of which just goes into an untouched high-interest account every month. I have no idea how much is in there – tens of thousands certainly.

    And it’s not just me, my friends used to spend similar amounts and they too now only go out once a month, if that – that’s dozens of us not spending a grand a month (and they don’t even smoke, they just drifted away from pubs because they find them dead and sterile places now).

    Throw in how much Tobacco Control actually costs in terms of spending and funding that goes towards it, the £5,000,000,000 a year vending machine industry which has been virtually destroyed, the 100,000 bar workers now on the dole rather than paying tax etc, and it isn’t at all inconceivable that the smoking ban had had an enormous effect on the economy. (And that’s even forgetting the “feel good”/ “feel bad” factor which has such an impact on our spending).

    It just boggles my mind that what is so obvious doesn’t even seem to register with non-smokers for whom it is a non-issue at best. It’s telling that local economies (like Nevada) get rid of their bans citing economic damage as the reason. Yet it doesn’t seem to figure in the national debate for some reason.

  17. Mr A says:

    As Dick says, “I’d rather spend money in this country, but there’s nothing to spend it on.”

    I totally agree. I have a ton of cash just swilling around in my bank account. I’ve bought a sports car and I travel to smoker-friendly places but I’d rather spend it in pubs and restaurants. Hell, I haven’t been to a lap dancing club or night club since 2007. It’s looking like in another couple of years I’ll have enough to buy a house for cash. But I don’t particularly want to. It’s just what else am I going to do with it? Look at the statements and go, “Ooooooh”?

    I just want to have fun, like we used to be permitted to do by our lords and overseers.

    • nisakiman says:

      “It’s looking like in another couple of years I’ll have enough to buy a house for cash. But I don’t particularly want to. It’s just what else am I going to do with it?”

      Wait until Greece bombs out of the Euro and then buy a house here. You’ll pick up an investment bargain, and have a permanent, easily accessible holiday home in a smoker-friendly country. Although they have the EU mandated ban here, it’s almost universally ignored. All the bars and restaurants I go to have ashtrays on the tables. All the government offices have ashtrays on the desks, where the occupant sits under a “No Smoking” sign puffing away contentedly. And that applies to the reception desk in the central police station, too.

      I’ve read a lot of negative comments in the press about the Greeks recently, but I personally love the disdain with which they treat attempts at coercive nannying and finger wagging. You’ll never see any theatrical hand waving from non-smokers here. They just accept the fact that some people smoke and others don’t. End of story. Even when I visit non-smoking Greek friends in their home, an ashtray is put on the table. Without question.

  18. chris sorochin says:

    I live in a smoking-hostile region and what I do with the money I’m not spending in bars is I save it to travel to places where I’m not treated as a leper.

  19. Mike_Iver_Bucks says:

    I concur with all of this. I have travelled to Ireland pre-2004 and loved it. I wouldn’t go there now if you paid me. The US? You have got to be joking, not a chance. My partner and I used to go out every night, and would dress up (smart casual). We still go out, not as much though – our pub at least has a decent heater – but now we dress to keep warm. Our spending on clothes has certainly been highly reduced. My cigs I get 100% from abroad, and have done now for at least 5 years. I have no desire to spend money in this country when this country has ruined my way of life. Pre 2007 we hadn’t been on a real holiday (ie 7+ days) for years, now we go on holiday at least once a year to a certain European country that isn’t so hostile to smokers, and in any case is warm enough that you don’t want to sit inside. O/T but you do all realise that Gibraltar is VERY smoker friendly? No problem smoking inside pubs – or anywhere else for that matter, so I hear.

  20. Newspaper depicts Merkel in Nazi uniform…

    Default, euro ejection…

    [IMG]http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee147/harleyrider1978/mn.jpg[/IMG]

  21. http://drudgereport.com/

    Merkels nazi pic wont load,but ya can see it on drudge

  22. Rose says:

    Is there a brewer in the house?

    In the last hour –

    Health Ministry accepts controversial WHO alcohol proposals

    “Poland’s Health Ministry has accepted a controversial raft of proposals from the World Health Organisation (WHO) designed to counter alcohol abuse in the EU.

    The WHO document proposes that all liquor stores must be licenced by the state, and that these shops should only be open for business for only eight hours per day.
    Some alcohol shops in Poland are currently open through the night.

    Although EU countries are not immediately obliged to create legislation in response to the document, the EC will begin work on a new strategy to confront alcohol abuse this spring.”

    http://www.thenews.pl/1/12/Artykul/90297,Health-Ministry-accepts-controversial-WHO-alcohol-proposals

    • Junican says:

      What I find very odd about that, Rose, is that he Polish Parliament and Health Dept NEED instructions from the WHO. Why cannot they decide for themselves? What has the WHO got to do with Poland directly? It really does make me wonder what on Earth is going on behind the scenes.

      • Rose says:

        The new Ireland? So they can tell us what a huge success it’s been?

      • Rose says:

        Ireland’s smoking ban ‘a success’

        “The Irish Republic has hailed a smoking ban as a success, with 97% of inspected premises complying with the law.
        A report on the workplace ban, by the Office of Tobacco Control (OTC), found one in five smokers now choose not to smoke at all on a night out.

        Since the ban was imposed on March 29, 96% of pubs and restaurants have complied – with 89% displaying the required no smoking signs.

        The report also found more non-smokers were now venturing out to the pub.

        Health minister Michael Martin welcomed the report saying: “The successful introduction of the new measure reflects the widespread public support and goodwill that exists for a healthy smoke-free environment in the workplace.”

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3763471.stm

      • Frank J J says:

        Yep, a raving success in Ireland. Which is, no doubt, why a quarter of them have closed.

      • beobrigitte says:

        “Poland’s Health Ministry has accepted a controversial raft of proposals from the World Health Organisation (WHO) designed to counter alcohol abuse in the EU.”

        The POLISH citizen accepting this is about as valid as the GREEK citizen accepting the smoking ban! Has anyone tried “Zubrowka” as well as some other Vodka variants?
        (The Polish member of my family has taken me through some wonderful Vodka tasting sessions)

  23. Yo cousin,Id say there all the same set of nazis either in the country or at the EU! Doesnt really matter who proposes what,its an attack on all of us across the board. The non-smokers are targets now,thank god!

    • beobrigitte says:

      My latest impression is, that a lot of non-smokers are getting fed up being abused by the anti-smokers. They are aware that they have been lied to. They are also tired of smokers NOT going out anymore and if they do, they leave asap.
      All non-smokers (except 1) I know and/or have spoken to, are perfectly happy with smokers smoking in a pub. The most common sentence I heard, was: “what’s wrong with ventilation? It worked before the ban came in. Apart from that, pubs that had an open fire didn’t smell much of smoke, anyway.”
      I keep telling them that they MUST speak up!

  24. garyk30 says:

    Here are more folks that have cut spending.

    Frozen to death as fuel bills soar: Hypothermia cases among the British elderly double in five years

    Energy is cheap — but not when throttled by Greenie laws and regulations

    The number of pensioners dying from hypothermia has nearly doubled in five years, a period when a succession of cold winters has been coupled with drastic rises in energy bills.

    The official figures emerged after several days of Arctic conditions which drove temperatures across the whole country as low as minus 10C (14F). They showed that 1,876 patients were treated in hospital for hypothermia in 2010/11, up from 950 in 2006/07.

    Three-quarters of victims were pensioners, with cases soaring among the over-60s more than any other age group.

    The increasing toll of hypothermia over the past five years coincides with a surge in energy costs, especially gas prices which have gone up by 40 per cent.

    Soaring energy bills are pushing more and more pensioners into fuel poverty, forcing them to choose between heating and eating

  25. Monty says:

    A number of years ago, I reached the point where I realised that I actually hated going out. I used to enjoy a whole day out shopping, with lunch at a nice restaurant, or an evening out at the cinema or theatre. I would look forward to visiting different parts of the country, staying at pleasant hotels, seeing the sights. Spending money.

    But then, all of those places of hospitality, and entertainment, became something else. Workplaces. The smoking ban was an important part of it, but there were other intolerant impositions too. A drove of the old regulars abandoned my local pub when some poor old codger was told he couldn’t bring his little dog in with him anymore, because of elf’n safety. Then they tried turning it into a child friendly venue, and gastopub, and made it open-plan. Got rid of the dart board, the dominoes, the billiard table, all the vestiges of an old style blokey public bar or snug. And they banned salted nuts in case any of the kiddie winkies might have a nut allergy. All the charm of the place disappeared, along with all the old characters who realised they were no longer welcome. The place is deserted, and now it’s up for sale.
    You might as well get dressed up for an evening out at the blimmin benefits office.
    People aren’t convivial anymore. You hardly dare open your mouth and say anything lest you fall foul of someone else’s interpretation of political incorrectness. The public domain has become much less free, and much more oppressive in recent years.
    The last social function I attended, was a diamond wedding party held at a beach chalet. Cake and a glass of bubbly, juice for the children. The family extended a warm welcome to passers-by, who were invited to have a drink and some cake, and meet the happy old Darby and Joan. Very nice. They had their wedding photo of 60 years ago, and old pictures of what our town centre looked like in those days. Then some interfering old ratbag from the council arrived and said “I’m closing this down, you can’t just do things like this on the beach.” They were doing no harm, making no noise, causing no obstruction, leaving no litter, selling nothing. They had caused no inconvenience to anyone. But they were treated as if they were criminals.

    No wonder sensible reasonable people are turning inward, staying on their own territory.It’s the only domain off-limits to the stasi enforcers. We have an entire state apparatus of punitive busybodies determined to home in on whatever you like doing, and stamp it out with their jackboots. They have already inflicted immense damage on our society, and our economy, and even if we were to stop it now, the effects would not be reversed in our lifetimes.

    • jaxthefirst says:

      Monty

      Monty

      A number of years ago, I reached the point where I realised that I actually hated going out.

      Me too. I really, genuinely don’t want to go anywhere these days. I do force myself out from time to time, in order to accompany my OH, who is the type who would go stir-crazy if we never went anywhere, but our trips out and weeks/weekends away have without a shadow of a doubt become noticeably rarer since 2007, and I always grasp with enthusiasm anything which smacks of an excuse to pull out of a pre-planned event.

      I think, too, that the effect of an unenthusiastic smoking partner on a non-smoking one is much underestimated – and was completely overlooked by the anti-smoking campaigners pre-ban. Only last weekend I managed to convince my (non-smoking) OH that we (you’ll notice the plural, there!) didn’t really want to go to all the fuss and bother of a rather swanky event which we’d been invited to by a friend. You know, all that dressing up in posh gear, making small-talk with people we’d never met before and probably had nothing in common with, and (this was the clincher) one of us having to stay sober enough to drive home afterwards – the implication being that it would be him, on the basis that if I had to go the whole evening either without a cigarette, or having to go outside in the snow every half-hour for one, then the least he could do is let me have a few drinks – which he could hardly argue with, could he? The result? We stayed in and congratulated ourselves on having a nice, relaxed, chill-out evening instead of all that going-out palaver. He’s even started saying these days – since our local pub closed and he’s had to find another one to frequent – that his “new” local isn’t quite the same as his “old” one was, that he misses his old chums from the old place (only one of the old crowd goes to the new pub) and he’s usually back from his regular pint-after-work about half an hour earlier than he used to be. And believe me, you couldn’t find a man more “spiritually at home” in the pub as he used to be. So, regardless of what the likes of the Dreadful Arnott might say, the ban is having an effect on non-smokers’ attitudes and spending, too.

      And, like Mr A, my bank balance since 2007 has, without any conscious effort on my part, shot through the ceiling! I never realised that “going out and doing stuff” was so expensive!! A very rough calculation of my yearly expenses these days indicates that on average I now save about twice as much as I spend on cigarettes and over the last five years that money has just sort of sat there and piled up – and I’m one of the mugs who still buys the darned things at full price!

      • Rose says:

        “I always grasp with enthusiasm anything which smacks of an excuse to pull out of a pre-planned event”

        Me too, and I used to be the instigator of such adventures.

        I have a wardrobe full of velvet dresses and nowhere to dance, I wonder if they would make good polishing cloths?

      • We’ve had a similar regime to you, jax. We used to go to restaurants very frequently, and it was always a lengthy affair with a good (so pricey) wine, liqueurs, the lot. We still do occasionally, but with most of them delivering, we stock up on our wine etc, lay the table nicely, and enjoy exactly the same experience at home. It’s something we’ve worked on over time so that we now have a professional coffee-maker, brandy warmer, ice bucket and stand etc and other accoutrements to the restaurant experience.

        It was over long candle-lit home-restaurant evenings like this that we planned our wedding last August, and the savings helped towards the budget. So, we have spent some of the saved money in this country, though I’m pretty sure we’re not likely to get married again, so I don’t think ASH et al can get too carried away. ;)

  26. Frank Davis says:

    Some very interesting comments here. It really does seem that smokers everywhere are just staying home and not spending.

    And surely governments everywhere (not just in the UK) must realise this is happening, even if they won’t admit it? Or are they completely oblivious, and so much in the thrall of ASH and co that they really do believe that these bans are popular?

    I’m not going to add a new post like I usually do. I just hope that a few more people read the current post, and the comments under it. Who knows, some politician might read it?

  27. FRANK HERE YA GO>>>>>>>

    Should the World Health Organization Regulate Alcohol Use?
    A University of Oxford researcher is calling on the World Health Organization to put in place policies that would regulate alcohol use.
    Devi Sridhar, a lecturer in global health politics, wrote that WHO should treat dangerous drinking as a global public health crisis, just as the agency treats disease outbreaks and tobacco use. WHO, she said, requires countries to report outbreaks of certain diseases and also institutes policies requiring member nations to take measures designed to curb tobacco’s supply and demand.
    “About 2.5 million deaths a year, almost 4 percent of all deaths worldwide, are attributed to alcohol — more than the number of deaths caused by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria,” Sridhar wrote in her commentary, published in the journal Nature.
    In 2010, WHO published a document, the WHO Global Strategy to Reduce Harmful Use of Alcohol, that included strategies such as prohibiting “unlimited drinks” promotions and instituting a minimum age to purchase alcohol. These recommendations, Sridhar argued, should become legal requirements.
    Excessive drinking is also a major public health issue in the U.S. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive drinking cost the U.S. $223.5 billion in 2006. Losses in workplace productivity, illnesses caused by too much drinking and motor vehicle accidents made up most of the burden.
    Dr. Ihsan Salloum, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, said while binge drinking and alcoholism are problems in the U.S., preventive strategies in this country, such as raising the legal drinking age and taxing alcoholic beverages, have helped reduce the alcohol-related health burden significantly.
    “If we can get countries around the world to agree on these type of strategies, we can have a significant impact on morbidity and mortality,” he said.
    Even if there is international consensus on ways to reduce problem drinking, Sridhar said there will likely be problems with enforcement, just as there are with tobacco in certain countries.
    Nonetheless, she said WHO must move forward with efforts to make safer consumption of alcohol a public health priority.
    “The WHO is the only body with the legitimacy and authority to proactively promote health through the use of international law,” she wrote

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/02/15/should-the-world-health-organization-regulate-alcohol-use/

  28. Well I would bet money pharmas behind the alcohol shit too!

    Quit-Smoking Drug May Also Curb Drinking
    Study Finds Chantix Makes Drinking Alcohol Less Enjoyable
    By Brenda Goodman, MA
    WebMD Health NewsReviewed by Louise Chang, MD Feb. 15, 2012 — A drug that helps people stop smoking may also cut alcohol cravings, a new study shows.

    The drug Chantix works by blocking nicotine receptors in the brain. Many people who have taken the drug to quit smoking have reported to their doctors that they were drinking less, too.

    Intrigued by those reports, researchers have been trying to figure out exactly why Chantix may curb alcohol cravings, and whether it could work as a new treatment for alcohol addiction.

    “There are only currently three medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of alcohol-use disorders,” says Sherry McKee, PhD, an associate professor in the department of psychiatry at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

    She says that although those treatments work for some people, “Not all drinkers respond to those treatments, so we need to identify novel targets.”

    McKee is studying Chantix for alcohol addiction. She was not involved in the current research.

    What’s more, if Chantix can blunt cravings for cigarettes and alcohol, researchers say it could be uniquely beneficial for many people whose smoking habits dovetail with excessive drinking.

    “It’s very hard to treat both [addictions] at the same time,” says researcher Emma Childs, PhD, a research associate at the University of Chicago. “This drug could be brilliant because it could treat both of them, really.”

    http://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/news/20120215/quit-smoking-drug-may-also-curb-drinking?src=RSS_PUBLIC

  29. Tom2 says:

    I’ve seen this for a few days and didn’t know what to comment. I could say a lot too from what I’ve seen at ground zero for smoking bans, San Francisco, CA, USA – but just speaking personally, I walk by coffee shops, bars, restaurants, stores, other places where in the past I’d have gladly stopped to spend money – but no longer. It’s not even a matter of being a smoker, non-smoker or ex-smoker – it’s a matter of the anti-smoking industry has created a culture that exists only based by excluding classes of people that the culture does not feel worthy to exist. Smokers are amongst the excluded, other undesireables exist as well. But if they’ve built this culture based on exclusion – then by default, many people are walking around feeling the brunt of being second-class – and as a result, will spend less, since there’s no free choice remaining and who wants to spend money to support a culture that excludes segments of the population as the only basis upon which the other segments doing the exclusion can thrive. It also eventually transforms neighborhoods and cities into exclusionary zones that only cater to the wealthy, those who can afford the higher costs for meals, drinks and entertainment, in order to make up for all those undesireables excluded out of existence away from the socially acceptable culture, which again, the culture that dominates, as molded by anti-smoking, only exists with the requirement that some be excluded. It cannot exist unless others are excluded – the vice-versa of when people had free choice – and chose to spend freely, by choice, not by being bullied and dictated to. Don’t know if that makes sense, but it’s something that seems apparent to me, that it’s created a culture that only exists but at the exclusion of others. Without excluding others, it could not even exist – it goes against the grain and is why like a cancer, it destroys entire economies once it becomes prevalent and the only dominant culture, which it does so also by brute force – propaganda, lies, banning.

  30. For the wider economic consequences of the bans, including the all-important ‘ripple effects’, see the study that Dave Kuneman and I did about five years ago, along with a list of links to other important ones, at:

    http://kuneman.smokersclub.com/economic.html

    and here’s a listing of studies done on the subject by various PhDs — compiled by our Bill Hannegan in Missouri:

    http://keepstlouisfree.blogspot.com/2011/12/smoking-ban-studies-by-phd-economists_18.html

    – MJM

    • Barry says:

      I still say the National Choke-Out Day is a strategy worth trying, the day where smokers around the world don’t buy anything – especially if it’s near the holiday season.

      Our strategies and talks and discussions – many of them very sound and worthy – are nevertheless concentrated in isolated little spaces like these blogs, places that we rush home to every day and check, and maybe gain some hope and keep our spirit alive – which is important, but aren’t we just small pockets of collective groups?

      Where is the outside action? Our voices are NOT being heard, so most of us compensate by focusing on these discussions at home, in privacy and safety – brothers and sisters, what our we really accomplishing?

      National Choke-Out Day would scare the willies out of politicos and rabid anti-leaders around the world – don’t like the name? Choose another.

      Frank, Michael J, Pat Nurse, and all the others – leaders in our front – please take my idea under further consideration. We are up against Goliath, but most of us just stay at home and talk about “the big battle”, without ever engaging in it.

      Time to bend down, gather up a few rocks, and pull out the sling.

      • Lou says:

        Barry,

        I think Pats’ idea of a stroll through London at the end of March is excellent. Let them see it’s not dead and it’s real people with families.

        http://patnurseblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/update-to-follow-soon.html

        From the top of my head, and it’s a couple of years back, surveys showed 90% of ordinary people have no difficulty with smokers having access to decent outdoor areas (I’m thinking the pavement stuff you see in Rembrandtplein or Leidseplein, Amsterdam with screens, awnings, heaters etc.). And over 75% still have no trouble with the concept of smoking rooms or even excluding pubs and – far more important – social clubs (that’s still closer to 78%).

        I do not believe for one second that the British People are the problem. In fact I believe that most ordinary folk think there’s room for everyone and feel a degree of frustration that it’s this horrid confrontational style that’s being used. They know they’ve been hijacked by the cessation lot who “speak on their behalf”. They do not.

        What will harden attitudes is a deliberate attempt to cause harm to others using our perceived financial clout. They can easily place themselves in our position with respect to discretionary spending and most are mortified at the retail price of a pack of giggies. They will understand the thread of this post which I believe is tinged with sadness. There is no malice in what has happened, rather a gradual dawning that it really is true. What we’ve all suspected for years; our tiny little individual actions make a difference.

        What gets me are the number of comments from non-smokers. That I’d never factored into any equation and this post simply serves to show that smoking bans have a far greater impact than any could have imagined. But that raises the issue of who controls the media….and that’s another story.

      • Frank Davis says:

        In a profound sense, reading the comments here, you could say it’s already Choke-Out Day every day.

  31. Tony says:

    It’s all about the destruction of local society. Here where I live we used to have many pubs around the town (outside of the city center.) Most of the pubs that are left are plasticized “theme pubs” where pretty much nobody knows each other. Like McDonalds there is precious little difference between them from one town to the other.

    Slowly but surely over half of my towns local pubs have gone, one of my favorites for many a year from 1987 up until the smoking ban has just been knocked down, to be replaced by flats.

    Back in the late 1990’s I used to love nothing more of an evening than having a pint, a ciggy and a game of pool. If my best mate I used to be out with all the time (almost every night of the week) had said to me, “Tony, in just over ten years time you will not be able to smoke in a pub” I would have thought of him as absolutely off his rocker. Now not only is it not possible to smoke in the pub I had so much fun in, the pub is not there either.

  32. Greek rhetoric turns into battle of wills

    High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/78f9f072-5808-11e1-bf61-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz1mVm4hEYz

    The battle of wills between Athens and its eurozone lenders intensified on Wednesday, with Greece’s finance minister accusing “forces in Europe” of pushing his country out of the euro while his German counterpart suggested postponing Greek elections and installing a new government without political parties.

    The tongue-lashing by Evangelos Venizelos, who is expected to stand in April elections as leader of the centre-left Pasok party, came as his government scrambled to meet escalating demands from international lenders that must be met if Athens is to avoid a full-scale default.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/78f9f072-5808-11e1-bf61-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1mVlgYMKs

  33. Greek rhetoric turns into battle of wills

    The battle of wills between Athens and its eurozone lenders intensified on Wednesday, with Greece’s finance minister accusing “forces in Europe” of pushing his country out of the euro while his German counterpart suggested postponing Greek elections and installing a new government without political parties.

    The tongue-lashing by Evangelos Venizelos, who is expected to stand in April elections as leader of the centre-left Pasok party, came as his government scrambled to meet escalating demands from international lenders that must be met if Athens is to avoid a full-scale default.

    http://tinyurl.com/79ky7wg

  34. Merkel trying to set up more puppet governments in the EU!

  35. Junican says:

    We think – and then we see. We see that ASH ET AL actually do nothing at all. They sit at their desks and emit press releases and studies and surveys and, somehow, they force politicians to do their bidding, and then politicians force others to do ASH ET AL’s bidding. Not a single person in ASH ET AL actually do anything at all to enforce the bans that they recommend, nor do the tame politicians. They do not impose them nor do they enforce them – they get someone else, like Williams MP, to do it for them. Tobacco Control must be the biggest confidence trick of all time. It is beyond my comprehension that politicians hide their faces and pretend not to see the devastation that the ban has caused.

    “Smoking causes premature death”. There is no such thing as premature death in reality. If one dies, one dies. There is no way back. Death is ‘an incident’, a ‘full stop’. There is no ‘nearly dead’ and no ‘nearly not dead’. Why have no ‘philosophers’ or church leaders (especially) not spoken up about this corruption of the idea of death? Death ‘is’ or ‘is not’.

    The idea of ‘premature’ death is simply a mental construct. It implies only that, maybe, a person who has died (or, in the case of soldier, been killed-in-action) could have lived longer ‘if only…..’. In the idea of ‘premature death’, the words “If only…..” are of paramount importance. There can be no idea of ‘premature’ death without the words “If only….”

    Thus, again, ASH ET AL have corrupted our language – with malice – by inculcating the idea that Smoking Bans ‘save lives’. Again, we see much the same idea as ‘premature death’, except in reverse. The only possible reality is ‘postponed a death’, and not ‘saved a life’. The corruption is deliberate.

    When the short-term, grab-it-while-you-can, politicians accepted the ban as ‘a good thing’, they granted to ASH ET AL despotic power. Politicians cannot be seen to do anything which is against the welfare of children. They are fucked.

    And yet it would take only one MP to call the bluff, and all the rest would fall in line – provided that the lone wolf succeeded.

    The trouble with MPs, when speaking in the House of Commons, is that they have to be reasonable and nice. But you cannot be ‘reasonable and nice’ with the Holy Zealots. The only thing that they understand is FORCE. They are always right. Only FORCE will oust them, because they themselves use FORCE. Propaganda is FORCE. You cannot reason with them – you can only shout at them. FORCE is the only way.

    • Frank Davis says:

      It is beyond my comprehension that politicians hide their faces and pretend not to see the devastation that the ban has caused.

      I guess it’s beyond mine too. But they manage it all the same.

      • Rose says:

        After such a catastrophic mistake surely that attitude is more about saving face.
        No one likes to admit that they’ve been conned.

  36. Junican says:

    Full italics not intended!

    [I've corrected it = Frank]

  37. Walt says:

    The last time this came up, I posted that by now, here in NYC (aka Bloomburg) I’m pretty much like Frank (except I have a tv). I refuse to go to a restaurant (here it’s pretty much 40 bucks minimum) and then be forced to acknowledge that I’m not fit to eat with pigs and have to “step outside.” Besides, if you’re there with only one other person (whether smoker or nonsmoker), it’s too awkward to have to leave them alone at the table or, if they smoke, to force us each to smoke on each other’s schedule. And if you’re there with a larger group, there’s an instant alienation as the smokers get separated from their nonsmoking friends for that “step outside” and then begin to resent them for being “allowed” to stay in, and for not being as furious about our exile as we are. As for bars, what’s a drink w/o a smoke? Theatre? why, when there’s no place to go before or after?

    Then, too, I feel the same “cultural alienation.” I no longer LIKE the people of New York or feel any kinship with them or comfortable around them. I remember, in my relative youth, when I was writing material for some of the then-hot nightclubs in the Village and the West 50’s and going out every night, how I loved this city and everyone in it, as though I and New York had synchronized heartbeats. Gone, gone, gone.

    However, we who now socialize at home (our own or our friends’) are looking down the barrel at the next TC move: smoking bans in “multi-unit” housing. So I guess I’m saving up to buy a house in the country. (I wonder if the Unibomber’s shack is still available.)

  38. Sheila says:

    I can certainly identify with most of the comments on here. Now retired, we would normally be having frequent weekends away. My OH, an ex smoker who enjoys a drink and socialising, is often suggesting that we shoot off somewhere, a nice hotel or a coach mini break, anywhere really to get out and about.
    Nice hotels, with even a smoking bedroom, are hard to find. The thought of going anywhere here, fills me with dread. You never can be sure just how bad the facilities will be or how the staff react to having smoking guests staying.
    Best to just wait and go abroad. Seems kind of strange. If you stay at a hotel here, practically everyone is a non smoker. Last year stayed at a hotel in Turkey. All English guests and practically everyone is smoking.
    Says a lot.

    • nisakiman says:

      “Seems kind of strange. If you stay at a hotel here, practically everyone is a non smoker. Last year stayed at a hotel in Turkey. All English guests and practically everyone is smoking.”

      This is something I’ve touched on before in a comment I made somewhere (here?) a while back. I live in Greece, and in the summer we have a lot of tourists, predominantly Brits When I’m out and about, eating in restaurants, drinking in bars or whatever, it seems to me that the majority (60-70%) of the adult tourists are smokers.

      It’s always been a puzzle to me.

      Do only smokers choose to holiday in Greece? Or do they only smoke when they’re on holiday? Or do people lie to pollsters in UK when asked if they smoke? I don’t know, But the percentage is certainly much, much higher than what we are told is the current UK figure of 20 odd percent.

      In in the ex-pat Brit community that I’ve encountered (and there are quite a lot), I would say that the figure is close on 80% smokers. Why would that be?

  39. Mike_Iver_Bucks says:

    On holiday in Portugal, I see *at least* 70% of adult Brits smoking. So it isn’t just Greece

  40. Marie says:

    This has been a very interesting thread. The guy who runs the “clearing the air” blog has drawn the link between smoking bans and economic downturns several times. It is an interesting idea. For myself I have to say that when we moved to Norway we pretty much stopped spending evenings in the pub or going out to eat because it is so expensive. We would pop out on a Sunday to read the newspapers, drink a couple of beers and relax for an hour or two, but that stopped with the local smoking ban so we hardly ever do our relaxing in public spaces. We don’t miss it. Really, Norwegian bars and restaurants always have been full of kids. Lots of noise and the absolute minimum of either self or parental control. Aww aren’t they cute, as they bash into your chair, knock over your drink and drown out your conversation. We sit in comfort at home, sip wine, eat well, listen to music, watch films (no TV, if you think British television is bad you should get a load of the shit they show in Scandinavia), entertain friends or simply relax. No journey, cheaper drinks, better food and a way better environment. I will say that when we first came here the towns largest and oldest pub/bar was always stuffed on Friday evenings. Not so now. There were more bars and cafes than there are now too. The local health crusaders have been trying to shut down heated outdoor areas and reduce the amount of shelter they offer. Business owners are currently ignoring them as they have worked out that the local enforcers cannot be everywhere all of the time. If the patrons don’t complain and they do not, then the local regulators cannot do a thing. Norwegians often appear to be very conformist, but they seem to take a “carry on regardless” attitude to most of the impositions of the state.
    Oh and they say that only 21% of Norwegians smoke, total balderdash. Lots of the locals are “party” smokers. That just means they don’t like buying cigarettes or cigars, they apparently have no objection to smoking someone else’s. I have a friend in London who describes herself as a non-smoker, but the last time I popped across she asked me to pick up some duty free cigarillos, which she enjoys. So can we redefine non-smoker as non payer?
    I think I have been dribbling at the brain a bit here, but what I mean to say is that even in a country where drinking costs a fortune and smoking is officially the devil incarnate people just get on with their lives and the hell with the busybodies.

  41. mtoal says:

    I’m involved in the hospitality as a karaoke host for the past 3 years in a small town in the state of Iowa, at one of the more popular local joints. I can tell you, that once the State of Iowa began enforcing it’s ban (it was introduced in 2009 but enforcement didn’t happen until a year later) the crowds definitely took a hit. Only now in 2012 have we really started seeing crowds on an occasional basis, that compare to the pre-ban crowd we had consistently every single weekend. I used to love hosting the shows, but now it’s a hassle! We get a marginal singer, virtually the entire bar population suddenly steps outside for a smoke. Frequently we call a singer who is dodging out for a quick smoke. My business partner and I are tag-teaming smoke breaks. And, I believe driving everyone outside really increases the chances for fights. Someday, we’ll be able to smoke inside again like real grown-ups.

    • Tom2 says:

      Gee, you are lucky. In San Francisco, it is illegal to smoke outdoors in many places, including sidewalks unless against the curb next to traffic or 30 feet from the buildings and not anywhere outdoors in certain entire outdoor squares, plazas and parks, where the fines can go as high as $500 per crime of outdoor smoking. Outside smoking places beside bars, restaurants and cafes have also been made illegal and it is an interlocking weave of ordinances, some from state, some from city, some from county, health department, playground department, education department, public transport department, etc. – so even if one is overturned, there’s always going to be dozens of others still on the books.. So at least clientele there still have a legal smoking area outdoors.

  42. garyk30 says:

    This may explain some of the crap from California.

    No surprises here!!!!!

    Percentage of Adults Reporting Poor Mental Health, 2010

    http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparemaptable.jsp?ind=93&cat=2

    1(tie). California………. 38.6%
    3. Utah………………. 38.2%

    Percent of Adults Who Smoke, 2010

    http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparemaptable.jsp?ind=80&cat=2

    50. California…….. 12.1%
    51. Utah………………. 9.1%

    • No wonder PHARMA wants smoking gone! Self medication works!

    • Tom2 says:

      And that’s only the ones brave enough to self-report. Think of the ones who answer no, when really, it is yes. Boosts the percentages quite a bit. And also goes to that recent saying about liberalism being a disease at this point, because it contradicts logic, 99% of what the ideology claims these days. And, in California, it was liberal-progressives who introduced and still maintain the necessity of all their outdoor smoking bans. (Someone, an old (approaching 70y/o) communist, well liberal-progressive, tea-toddler type, someone I seldom see but (regretably) bumped into several months back, made some comment about older times and among comments, said, “back when there was still smoking”. So in the eyes of Californian liberal-progressive-socialists, who introduced and still maintain necessity for even more strict bans than they already have – they are deluded into thinking that smoking no longer exists, anywhere, and that the’ve somehow “won”. Problem is, if RINOs took over, they’d only just continue the same. And for proof of that, just look at highly religious conservative leaning Utah, the second state on your list above of those reporting extreme mental illness and where smoking and drinking both have been under attack since the day the state was first occupied by conservative religious white settlers.

  43. the dude says:

    It’s not just the sale of a pint or two that was lost from the ban. It’s way more than that. It’s fuel we used to consume to go places, tags and repairs for the car, little incidentals you grab while at the gas station, a myriad of items.

    When they implemented the ban here in Canada in 2006 every shop and mall that had smoking customers emptied overnight. Granted many of those out for a smoke and stroll weren’t spending a fortune but now they’re spending zero.

    There are countless empty coffee houses and small restaurants closed and shuttered in my town. These places were hubs of activity in the evenings. Always busy. Now they’re gone.

    So you see the ban has buggered business in Canada too in so many unintended ways. Smokers will still present the same costs to the health care system as they did before the ban so what has the ban accomplished beyond social control?

    I quit by the way. Since I couldn’t enjoy a smoke with eating out I stopped eating out. I stopped going out. That became too hard to bear so I quit smoking so I could go among people out but I don’t spend money like I used to. It stays in my pocket.

  44. smokervoter says:

    So many things and people to address and comment on. One at a time.

    @Rose – Love your “We are up against Goliath, but most of us just stay at home and talk about “the big battle”, without ever engaging in it.

    Time to bend down, gather up a few rocks, and pull out the sling.”

    You, my dear are a national treasure. Frank’s comment on every day being, in effect, a smokers boycott day was crossing my mind too, but a concentrated one is a great idea.

    How about adding another one-time special day to the mix in order to change things – Election Day.

    You’ve got three years to go before the next election. Gawd, that must be frustrating. In the US, as we speak, smokers are missing out on a golden opportunity to change things by getting out in the Republican primaries and nominating Ron Paul. I look at the numbers and moan to myself in distress. He can’t seem to get past the 20% hump, but Romney and “Lumpy Rutherford” Santorum aren’t that far ahead of him. Do the simple political math on smokers and it is clear to me that we are not showing up. If we had, I’m convinced he would be in the lead. The opportunity to leverage our minority status into political power is especially enhanced in a primary. Shame on us. Apathy sucks.

    @ Junican. Your explanation on premature death has been buzzing around disjointedly in my head forever but I’m unable to flesh it out in words as you do. I like the way you break paragraphs down in to sentences and sentences down into words and then make logical sense out of it all. You sir, are a national treasure as well.

    @Tom. I particularly enjoy your reports from the belly of the beast in San Francisco. I’ve mentioned it before, but I once lived 85 miles away. Your descriptions of champagne socialists and limosene liberals are priceless. You’re an excellent writer and thinker. Long may you run.

    Back @ Rose

    “Lifelong conservative, would you believe, but they seem to have altered the meaning of the word.”

    Amen. See Pat Nurse’s recent “The Conservative Party is scum” posting. See my Republican party shunning the only true limited government candidate, Ron Paul.

    Romney, Santorum or Gingrich for true limited government? David Cameron’s Tories? Got any other good jokes? Only limited government will destroy smoking bans and the god awful Nanny State. There’s no place, nor money for either in truly limited government.

    And finally @ me.

    A requote from a comment I made to an earlier posting regarding RINO’s and both parties being the same and might as well stay home as a protest vote and what’s the use and Tories and Labor are one and the same and UKIP’s got no chance and Republicans are just as Nanny as Democrats:

    “I have voted in every election since I turned 18 and was able to do so. Hence the name. I hold my fellow Republicans feet to the fire regarding smoking laws and taxes. If they go RINO on me I turn up the flame.”

    RINO=Republican In Name Only

    • Rose says:

      Smokervoter

      Not guilty I’m afraid
      “We are up against Goliath, but most of us just stay at home and talk about “the big battle”, without ever engaging in it.
      Time to bend down, gather up a few rocks, and pull out the sling.”

      That was Barry 5:54 am

      I am more attracted by plausible deniability as a concept : )

      But though it’s going to hurt me a lot, I consider it my duty to vote against the Conservatives for the first time in my life. Though I know that there are real Conservatives in the HoC, their leaders are clearly not.
      No real Conservative could stomach the sight of the elderly and the sick standing outside hospitals and care homes for a second.

      • smokervoter says:

        Whoops! Well Barry, that goes for you as well.

        And Rose, I still about think your internet search tips and patterns and textile design. I continue to get absolutely nowhere most of the time. I still don’t use Google, I like StartPage. Same problem with it picking up words occurring in the margins totally unrelated to the main article despite the fact that I’m using proximity operators like NEAR.

        I aroused my own curiosity about why Pall Mall smokers opened up they’re packs from the bottom. Searched for an hour – Nothing.

    • One man can make a diference,or a boy with a sling! I tirelessly bite nannys arse everyday everywhere just like the rest of us! Nanny is feeling it trust me,the bastards wont even fight back anymore.

  45. GaryK: That’s a GREAT set of stats!!! LOL!

    MToal, you wrote, ” Only now in 2012 have we really started seeing crowds on an occasional basis, that compare to the pre-ban crowd we had consistently every single weekend. ” Yep: you’re seeing the fabled “bounce back to normal myth” which politely ignores the fact that the REASON the places are beginning to see more people again is because so many places have closed! The ones that survived eventually hit the “equilibrium number” of the number of pubs that can make the amount of money for the owners that makes owning a pub worthwhile. If you banned alcohol in pubs you’d see the same thing: business would plummet, pubs would close, and eventually the few that were left would all be doing very nice (although expensive) dinner businesses. People would visit as tourists and say, “Gee, the alcohol ban doesn’t seem to have hurt the pubs at all! I was in London last weekend and visited around and all five of them were doing fine!”

    – MJM

    • Mike if they mandated an alcohol card to punch for say only 2 beers per nite! Youd get the same effect but theyd claim no its not banned you can still drink we are just limiting how much you can…Hope the nazis arent reading this,I surely dont want them to get anymore halfass ideas.

  46. Tony says:

    Wow, 72 replies, this thread is smoking!

  47. Jales says:

    Another thing to consider is probably a small one, but who knows: I’m no longer a donor. I no longer volunteer to be an organ donor as well as stay home most of the time. If I’m not an acceptable member of society, well neither are my organs. It seems a bit petty, but well, it’s kind of petty to tell me, a taxpaying citizen of this country, that I must bow to another’s wishes in order to reap the benefits non-smokers. Surely you don’t want the organs of a second class citizen?

    I also encourage others to withdraw their status as well. I don’t know how it works in other countries, but I wonder how many others have stopped giving blood, donating organs, etc?

    • Jay says:

      You can bet that even the most virulent anti-smoker will accept smokers’ lungs if the chips are down. It might have come as a shock to the listeners of R4 last week when an interviewee (a doctor, I think) remarked that they’re acceptable, if not ideal, in a programme about the BMA’s (resurrected) presumed consent proposal. They ain’t getting mine either, though, and I would opt out.

      I’ve stopped going out, too, although I find it hard as I live alone. At least I have to go out to work. Goodness knows how isolated elderly smokers feel and with the prospect of NHS incarceration or care looming.

      @Michael 8.54 – Do you know that has never occurred to me before!

  48. Junican says:

    @ Smokervoter.

    I thank you for your kind remarks.

    My thinking about premature death is not just ‘thoughts’ – it is based upon real experience. If I might just mention two real experiences:

    1. When I was in my early twenties (damn! that’s fifty years ago!), a friend of mine who was a miner had a serious accident in the pit where he worked. He recovered, and re-appeared in society. But he was not the same person. He was very quite. And then, after a few months, he disappeared again. And then, for reasons that I do not know, he died – at the age of around 25. “If only he had not had that accident!”

    2. An elderly (70 ish) female relative was found to be suffering from breast cancer. She gradually faded away. She died in hospital. Her husband was at her bedside when she died – she suddenly stopped breathing and died. Shouts of, “Nurse! Nurse!” rang out. The nurses took about five minutes to arrive. Later, he said, “If only the nurses had arrived earlier…..”

    Every death is premature as seen by the survivors. Tobacco Control have turned this heartfelt emotion into a means of persecution. They are the devil incarnate.

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  51. lecroixkwdjer says:

    I stopped spending two days before the ban came into effect on January 1st 2011. I have never again visited a bar or a restaurant. I have never been in a bar or a restaurant were smoking is not allowed and I will never be. Neither outside nor inside. Those places seem hostile to me now and they will not get my money so that the ban can stay.
    I don’t buy newspapers or magazines. I don’t watch any tv or listen to national radio. I barely need any new clothes these days and I can decently sew. I repair most things at home myself (the smoking ban mandates that I can’t even smoke at my home if a technician is working inside!). I watched a few videos in youtube and learned to cut my own hair. I buy my groceries in the places that have the smallest “no smoking” signs. Or none, if possible. I shun any bussiness place that seems to take pride in its “no smoking” signs. I have learned to identify some edible wild plants and I collect most of my herbs and spices when I hike. When wild fruits are available, I collect some as well. I barely drive anymore. Driving is no longer fun, the goverment is just out to fine you for anything and everything anyway. I keep a car “just in case” but it’s making less and less sense to own one with all those tolls and gas taxes and tax taxes.

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