Lebanon Ban Goes Up In Smoke

H/T Harley for news of the new Lebanon smoking ban. From the BBC:

A ban on smoking in enclosed public places has come into effect in Lebanon, prompting sit-in protests by some restaurant and cafe owners.

The ban covers bars, restaurants and cafes where traditional shisha, or hookah, water pipes are ubiquitous.

Anyone who breaks the ban faces a $90 (£57) fine. Cafe owners who turn a blind eye could be fined up to $2,700.

Smoking, which is banned in public in much of Europe and the United States, is very popular in Lebanon.

Daily smoking is more prevalent among adults in Lebanon than in any other country in the Middle East, according to World Health Organization (WHO) figures from 2009.

More than 45% of men and 30% of women are estimated to be regular smokers.

Neighbouring Syria became the first Arab state to enforce a smoking ban in April 2010.

And look what happened in Syria after that. I wrote about the revolt of Arab smokers last year. From Yahoo:

One coffee shop owner in Hamra expressed concerns about the likely impact on his business.

“Nearly 80 percent of our customers come here for the hookah. How will we do in winter when there won’t be any terraces?” he asked.

The new law was also met with derision in second city Tripoli, scene of recent fighting between pro- and anti-Syrian factions.

Law 174 didn’t last very long.

…after a September 4 timid raid on a café in the southern city of Tyre (Sur), hardly anyone was still talking about Law 174 on September 5.

The Tourism Minister warned that the ranks of the Tourism Police were severely understaffed and that there may not be enough officers available to enforce the new smoking ban. No one pointed out how funny it was to have a “tourism police”, though the good minister lamented that his current staff of around 70 was inadequate, and only 10 could actually be devoted to enforcing the smoking ban. Violators were expected to fork out fines of over $100 (Dh367), and restaurants, cafés, and other outlets would be charged fines ranging between $1,300 and $4,000.

Of course, the Lebanese and their guests continued to smoke…

I think the simple lesson is that when about half the population smokes, and there’s nobody to enforce them, smoking bans are bound to fail.

The bans really only stick if smokers are a small enough minority, and the law is rigorously enforced. With smoking having become a minority pastime in the UK and the USA and much of Western Europe, it wasn’t too difficult for smokers to be exiled from their bars and cafes. In Eastern Europe and the Arab world, it’s much harder.

It’s the tyranny of the majority. It was the same with the UK hunting ban. Most people were anti-foxhunting, so fox-hunting was banned. They did it because they could.

And it means that, when (if they ever do) most people have become vegetarians, meat will be banned in restaurants. People will complain about the ‘stink’ of cooked meat, and there’ll be junk science proving that it’s toxic, and causes cancer and heart disease, etc, etc. But basically it’ll just be holier-than-thou vegetarians forcing their preferences on everyone else, just like with the smoking ban and the foxhunting ban.

But if the law holds in some places and not in others, that doesn’t mean that once a smoking ban has come into force, it will remain in force thereafter. Most antismokers seem to think that once they’ve got their bans on the statute book, that’s the end of the matter.

But ultimately they are bad laws which demonise and exclude substantial numbers of ordinary people, and such laws are most likely to be repealed, when wiser counsels eventually prevail. They create division and discord where division and discord did not previously exist. And the demonised and excluded will inevitably unite and fight back.

You can see it happening over on Pat Nurse’s blog, where she’s been building support for an Octabber counter for the antis’ Stoptober (I’ll be joining in). But that’s not the only development there: a TV video editor is offering his services to make a video to counter the antis’ one. I suggested that Leg-iron write a fiendish plot, and it seems Leggy’s already thinking about it. If we could get Phil Williams to star in it, it could turn into something amazing.

Because this is how it happens. We smokers have all the skills, and all the resources. All that is necessary is for them to come together.

About Frank Davis

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26 Responses to Lebanon Ban Goes Up In Smoke

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    Frank in one of those stories it was noted that a certain tourism policeman took a break from his duties to have a smoke break!

    In other news I was just watching a documentary on the last days of Adolph Hitler they mentioned Hitler was a rabid anti-smoker and they said that even if Hitler hadnt killed himself his Parkinsons disease would have been his end in short order as it was so advanced! Now we know that smoking wards off Parkinsons Disease! Talk about poetic jusitce ehh……..

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Longtime smoking cuts Parkinson’s risk dramatically – The Chart – CNNthechart.blogs.cnn.com/…/longtime-smoking-cuts-parkinson’s-risk- …Cached
      You +1′d this publicly. Undo
      Mar 10, 2010 – “Nobody should advocate smoking to prevent Parkinson’s disease,” said Dr. Honglei Chen, a tenure-track investigator at the Institute.

      More by Matt Sloane Smoking cuts risk of Parkinson’s diseaseparkinsons.about.com/…/smoking-cuts-risk-of-parkinsons-disease.ht…Cached
      You +1′d this publicly. Undo
      Mar 11, 2010 – A recent study published in the Neurology Journal found longtime smoking reduces the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. The study …

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    Phil Williams should be on TV and in movies,he is that good!

  3. Frank Davis says:

    The idea of a counter-video to the Stoptober thing is a very appealing idea. In 3 minutes you could create a little movie, with its own plot and cast of characters. I immediately thought of Leg-iron’s stories, and also his attitude to antismoking drones. The ones that he tells outrageous nonsense to, and who believe him (for some reason, the only one that comes to mind is him telling people that the Romans made straight roads because they hadn’t invented steering – which isn’t about smoking exactly, but illustrates the approach he takes). I often try to imagine what these encounters are like.

    So my suggestion is that one of Leggy’s encounters with the antismoking drones is dramatised. Leggy could write the script (he probably knows it backwards already). There would be two characters. The actor playing ‘Leg-iron’ (perhaps even wearing an iron mask) would encounter an antismoking drone somewhere, and slowly and relentlessly and patiently ‘explain’ a few things to him or her. The only thing the ‘antismoking’ actor would need to do would be to listen open-mouthed, agog, periodically saying “Really?” or “Oh, no!” and getting more and more frightened.

    It would start out quite light-hearted, and get darker and darker. Maybe the lighting would change, going from bright sunlight to candlelight, as ‘Leg-iron’ droned on inexorably, slowly painting an ever more terrifying picture of inescapable doom. And maybe it would all end with a piercing scream, and total darkness.

    Well, it’s one approach….

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Frank I have excellent recall and I remember a few years back a supposed reporter was questioning these anti smoking drones at a anti smoking rally. He fed them their one liners and then dispelled the myths with he truth and left them agast. I believe it was done in England if you recall seeing it.

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    This was a few days back but Leg Irons blog reminded me of it too cool!

    Smokers Are Still High School’s ‘Cool Kids,’ Study Finds
    Power of peer approval outweighs decades of public health education among teens

    http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2012/09/06/smokers-are-still-high-schools-cool-kids-study-finds

  5. Junican says:

    Anyone who breaks the ban faces a $90 (£57) fine. Cafe owners who turn a blind eye could be fined up to $2,700.

    Exactly the same trick which was employed here. But it has not worked in Lebanon. Why? Because NONE of them have conformed. Would that our publicans had had the same foresight in 2007!

    When the smoking ban in England was passed, I did not believe that it would actually happen. Even as the months passed up to July 2007, I still did not believe that it would happen. Come July 2007, it happened. And what happened then? The owners and staff of pubs imposed the ban (acting as impromptu gestapo) with the utmost zeal. There really is not a lot of difference between zealously imposing a smoking ban (against one’s personal beliefs) and herding people into gas chambers. And I mean that. The experiment in the USA about how easily people allow themselves to be persuaded to inflict pain on others at the behest of ‘authority’ is witness.

    It seems to me to be the case that the Holy Zealots of Tobacco Control dare not let up. If they did, then their empire would start to deteriorate very rapidly. the whole TC empire depends totally upon fear.

    • Frank Davis says:

      There really is not a lot of difference between zealously imposing a smoking ban (against one’s personal beliefs) and herding people into gas chambers.

      No there isn’t.

      And I mean it too.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        We could attack ASH head quarters and toss in a few second hand smoke grenades and then when the poor bastards come running out dying in their minds we could laugh!

        Of course they will die,they proved it remember!

        • legiron says:

          second hand smoke grenades… heh heh heh.

          Third hand smoke grenades are even better. No smoke, no smell, but pull the pin and everyone in the room will eventually die.

    • kin_free says:

      Is this what you were referring to Junican?

      Milgram’s Obedience to Authority Experiment 2009

      Here is another experiment that highlights the power of peer pressure/herd instinct/how to make you doubt or disbelieve yourself in the face of obvious truth or just to slot in behind all the other sheep;

      Asch Conformity Experiment
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYIh4MkcfJA&feature=player_embedded

      These common psychological responses are what the tobacco control industry exploit all the time – This is why they constantly tell you that smoke bans, plain packs, etc are so popular, using fake/fixed polls etc and why they constantly tell you that smoking prevalence is reducing together with all the other de-normalising tactics. It is why they constantly wheel out figures of authority who are easily manipulated using these same psychological tricks or who are just prepared to lie through their teeth.

      It is all a con trick and yes, they have no option to try to maintain the initiative with ever more absurd tactics/rhetoric – but the public are beginning to realise they have been conned. It won’t be long before we reach the all important ’100 monkeys’!

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Excellent observations Kin Free you are so damned right!

      • kin_free says:

        Thats interesting – the Milgram video is in 3 parts but you tube does not automatically show parts 2 and 3. They can still be seen by Copy/pasting the title (Milgram’s Obedience to Authority Experiment 2009, 2/3) in the search box and change 1/3 to 2/3. The first part only shows the one person who refused to continue.

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Smart man my computers a bit sluggish this morning and I wasnt able to watch it all.

          I too would have told the arsehole where to shove it,I have a very shallow attitude when I feel im being manipulated by anything.

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    You wanna read something that will make you puke:

    Our Mr Owebama at work with anti-smoking via HHS and sebelius

    http://www.hhs.gov/ash/initiatives/tobacco/tobaccostrategicplan2010.pdf

    • Margo says:

      I’ve just scrolled down it, harleyrider. It is astonishingly puke-making. There’s a bit in it entitled: Expand Research and Surveillance that promote the effectiveness of both population and individual-based cessation interventions ….
      It says they need to discover how best to bully various categories of people, such as lesbians, gays, ethnic blah blah blah, the poverty stricken, etc etc. Quite amazing.

  7. kin_free says:

    Yeah HR, What’s the betting that the person who refused to continue with the Milgram experiment was a smoker?

    Just a reminder of the type of people that we are dealing with in the anti-smoker camp – snakes in the grass!;

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      The same thing in America,the ACS gets a behind closed door meeting and cuts a deal weeks before its leaked to the media that a smoking ban has been considered by a locality! Deal is made prior to any open debate!

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    Universities and cancer clinics are all on the take from Big Pharma payoffs
    Tuesday, September 11, 2012 by: Willow Tohi

    Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/037151_universities_Big_Pharma_payoffs.html#ixzz269xScpV0

  9. harleyrider1978 says:

    Two-thirds of Indonesian men smoke, tops in world

    A survey released Tuesday found that 67 percent of all males over 15 years old smoke. The sprawling archipelago ranked second only to Russia overall with a rate of 35 percent compared to 39 percent, respectively.

    “We have failed in protecting our people,” said Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi, commenting on the rate of male smokers jumping from 53 percent since 1995. “We have been defeated by the tobacco industry … we don’t want this, we cannot accept this because our job is to protect people from cigarettes.”

    AWHANNN! Now we start to see that the October quit strategy by ASH and the government are really a surrender and not another last ditch effort!

    http://www.wate.com/story/19509025/two-thirds-of-indonesian-men-smoke-tops-in-world

    This stories all over the net right now!

    • Pat Nurse says:

      When will these Govts get it that they haven’t been beaten by tobacco companies – they’ve been beaten by adult consumers who wish they’d find something more useful to do with their taxes than attack them with tobacco control campaigns they don’t want.

      That’s why #Octabber is important and why I’d ask you to keep on tweeting #Octabber to make them see that we are not on tobacco industry strings and we are quite capable of making our own decisions and fighting back – despite the lack of the tobacco control industry or tobacco industry wealth.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Pat, good point!

      When will these Govts get it that they haven’t been beaten by tobacco companies – they’ve been beaten by adult consumers who wish they’d find something more useful to do with their taxes than attack them with tobacco control campaigns they don’t want.

      I understand that austerity measures are necessary in order to sort this mess Labour has left this country with.
      However, WHY IS TOBACCO CONTROL SIPHONING TAXPAYER’S CASH?? Let’s face it, if there is funding for the persecution of law abiding citizen, then austerity measures do not apply.

      Going back a few years; the early 80s. Unlike a hell of a lot of people I managed to land a job in these days (learning quickly that I would have been better off on the dole). Nevertheless, we DID go to the local pubs – all of which WERE PACKED.
      Nowadays the pubs are empty; shopping trips into town are a no-no, as I cannot have my coffee’n’ciggie breaks, which I need to survive such a day.

      This reminds me: Does anyone know who is the owner/shareholders of “Make-your-own”? I buy cigarette tubes and used to get the “Gizeh” ones, which nowadays I get from the internet as shops stopped stocking them.
      This “make-your-own” brand appeared at the same time…………. I’d hate to think ASH et al is making us fund their idiocy.

  10. Margo says:

    Have just thought: won’t be accepting the doc’s invitation to have a flu jab this year – because they do them at the surgery in October.
    Never mind – always had grave doubts about the wisdom and safety of that jab, anyway.

  11. Pingback: Those dark October days are coming. | underdogs bite upwards

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