Nice Work If You Can Get It

H/T Captain Ranty for this Daily Mail article.

Ban smoking in beer gardens to stop social smokers from lighting up, experts say

The smoking ban should be extended to beer gardens and areas outside pubs and bars to tackle a rise in ‘social smoking’, a group of experts has said.

It’s always ‘experts’, isn’t it? Or ‘doctors’. Or ‘researchers’.

But it’s good to know it’s experts. Wouldn’t want to hear absolutely anybody’s opinion, would I? No.

And I’m an expert too. I’m an expert at all sorts of things. I’m certainly an expert smoker. I’ve got decades of experience. And I’m an expert drinker too. I can pick up a glass or a mug and drink its contents without spilling any of it. And I’m pretty expert at talking as well. Words come out of my mouth with a perfect English accent. And one after another rather than all at the same time.

And I like to meet up with other experts like myself, and have a few beers and smokes, and talk about expert stuff.

A test group of 13 people who identified themselves as social smokers aged between 19 and 25 discovered that they found it difficult to reconcile their stated identity as non-smokers who smoke.

So, right, the bunch of experts went to a pub garden and got talking to a few people sitting at other tables. Nice work if you can get it.

Good sized sample there. All of 13 people! My, my. When I get talking to people, it’s usually only one or two. But then, if I stay all day, it can get to be as much as 12 – 15. So the experts must’ve spent all day at the pub chatting to people. Either that, or there were 13 experts, and they each spoke to one person. And most likely the same person.

And that person said, “I’m a social smoker aged between 19 and 25.”  It’s understandable if some people are a bit vague about things like ages after they’ve had a few beers. When I met a couple of pretty Japanese girls in a Fukuoka bar a few years back, I told them I was aged 33 – but that I’d had a few too many beers the previous night and might be looking quite a lot older. And I wasn’t making things up. I had indeed had a few too many beers the previous night.

Anyway, the social smoker aged between 19 and 25 that the 13 experts got talking to said he was a “non-smoker who smoked”. Which reminded me of Joan Bakewell. She’s another non-smoker who smokes. There seem to be rather a lot of them.

And I think maybe I’ll become one of these “non-smokers who smoke” too. Or perhaps a “smoker who doesn’t smoke’. One or the other. Or both. It’s a bit of a conflict.

They managed this conflict by limiting where and when they smoked and by sharply differentiating themselves from ‘addicted’ smokers to whom, by and large, they felt superior, using several strategies.

I too differentiate myself from other ‘addicted’ smokers. They’re a real pain. I have complete contempt for people who are addicted to smoking.  I’m not addicted to smoking. I’m addicted to air. The cigarette smoke is just a flavouring I add to air. I can do without the flavouring, but I can’t do without the air.

These included claiming never to smoke alone; asserting that they controlled when, where, and how much they smoked; and defining their smoking as ‘a temporary phase.’

Me too. I never smoke alone. A cigarette is an instant friend. “You’re never alone with a Strand.” And my smoking is ‘a temporary phase’ thing too. I’ve only been doing it for the past 45 years or so.

They also rationalised their smoking by saying that it only happened when they had been drinking, describing smoking and drinking as going ‘hand in hand.’

That’s exactly right. Wine and beer are perfect. But tea and coffee are just as good. In fact more or less anything will do. And best of all when it’s hand in hand with a pretty girl. A beer, a cigarette, and a pretty girl. What more could a man want?

Some said that alcohol prompted cravings for a cigarette, which they wouldn’t otherwise experience.

I’m like that too. When I buy some fish at a fish and chip shop, I almost always want some chips to go with it. And some salt and vinegar. And maybe some tomato ketchup. Funny that. And when I put a shoe on one foot in the morning, I always immediately want to put a shoe on the other one too. Funny that too.

Anyway, this latest piece of peer-reviewed tobacco research not only got into the Daily Mail, but also the Daily Telegraph. I wonder how that happened? Maybe there were some Daily Mail reporters sitting outside the pub too?

Campaigners say that a ban on smoking outside bars and pubs could improve public health, and described people who smoke on patios and pavements as “anti-social”.

Well, it is anti-social to go outside for a smoke. People should stay inside, obviously.

Most “social smokers”, who only reach for a cigarette while on a night out, support the idea of extending smoking ban legislation to cover such areas, according to academics.

Surely if they only smoke on nights out, the ban should be on nights out?

The academics, writing in the journal Tobacco Control, concluded that introducing a policy of smoke-free bars would help social smokers quit by “changing the environment that facilitates it”.

Ah, they’ve turned into ‘academics’ in the Telegraph. Maybe they were expert academics. Or academic experts. Or expert academic reporters.

Strange bunch of academics though. They can’t even go into a pub, and sit down and have a beer or two, without doing a bit of research into the ‘social smokers’ they find there. They can’t just sit nattering about the weather and the football or what was on telly last night, like everybody else does. Nope.  It seems to be a strange compulsion of theirs. They’ve got to squeeze in a bit more research, as soon as they see anyone smoking. All written on the back of a beer mat, and stuck in a back pocket.

Except these guys don’t need to write stuff down. You don’t need to in Tobacco Research. They can just remember it all the next day. Or the next week. They’ve got perfect memories. They know how many cigarettes they’ve smoked in their lives, and how many cups of coffee they’ve drunk, and how many ham sandwiches they’ve eaten.They can recite word for word entire conversations they had last week, or last year. Tobacco research is like that. None of the careful records kept by physicists and astronomers and other scientists. No need for it. Perfect memory, you see.

Actually, I’ve got a perfect memory too. I can remember everything I ever ate. You don’t believe me? Go on, and ask me what I had for lunch on any date in the past 50 years. Any date at all. 13 June 1967? Let’s see, that was cod and chips in the Birmingham Arms in Hungerford. 4 August 1979? That was, mmmm, bangers and mash in the transport caff just east of Watford, and a very nice caramel sorbet surprise afterwards. 15 February 1985? Steak, chips, beans, tomatoes, and carrots, followed by steamed rolly-polly pudding and custard at the Waldorf hotel in Casablanca. 12 August 1997? Fricasee of lamb on rice, with courgettes and harricot beans, followed by apple crumble and evaporated milk at the Maitre Chef in Montparnasse.

See? I remember it all perfectly.

I think that, when it gets warmer, I’m going to do some of this pub garden research myself. After all, I’ve established that I’m an expert. I think I’ll just a spend a few sunny afternoons chatting to people in pub gardens. I won’t use a notebook. I’ll just rely on memory. Maybe over a few months I’ll manage to talk to 12 or 13 people. These days it seems that’s all that’s needed.

And come up with stuff like, “If smoking ban isn’t relaxed, 6 out of 7 smokers will move on to harder drugs next year.” Or “Most smokers do Not want to stop smoking, and wish Deborah Arnott would just Drop Dead.” Something like that.

Should be dead easy to get it into the Daily Mail.

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About Frank Davis

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27 Responses to Nice Work If You Can Get It

  1. Tom2 says:

    Outdoor smoking is banned in San Francisco at all outdoor seating areas, this is for bars, restaurants and cafes, all no-smoking and they have big legally required no-smoking-outdoors signs posted on all the windows and doorways, including where there is outside seating. It is only allowed at the curb, next to traffic or 30 feet from any building, which is hard to do in the confines of a densely built urban environment. In some of the gentrified areas, not only is this the case but there are new beer gardens set up that cater to the wealthy Yuppie-type “in crowd” clientele and have been non-smoking from the start. To that generation of Yuppies just coming up, this seems normal to them, is to be expected. And it’s a damn boring site seeing them all sitting out of doors, sipping pricey beers whilst making sure none of them smokes. All their energy in fact is put toward making sure they all “non-smoke” together, at the same time. This is not just an empty threat of the anti-smoking industry. It is one of their “next steps”. Beware.

    • Junican says:

      San Francisco – not exactly comparable with Glasgow or Manchester in the winter months. Believe me, no one but an idiot would sit outside in the driving rain mid-winter in these places.

      Jolly good show for the San Franciscans, but irrelevant as far as the rest of us are concerned, and it is the rest of us who face the problems.

      • Tom2 says:

        San Francisco is ice cold, wet and damp much of the winter and foggy cold and damp many of the summer months too. It’s not palm trees and hot breezes like down in Los Angeles. It’s also very cold, wet and damp, though obviously not as cold as further north where you are.

      • smokervoter says:

        There is an old saying “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Whether or not it originated with Mark Twain is debatable. It is cold and foggy and depressing there, a perfect trope for Stanton Glantz and his dank cult of human wet blankets at UCSF.

        It only becomes relevant when the powers that be in Manchester and Glasgow look to San Francisco as some sort of model of progressive civic governance to copy. Something tells me the Dreadful Arnott has either been there at a conference or gets intellectually moist at the very thought of visiting the place.

      • Junican says:

        I stand corrected!

  2. Tom says:

    I actually keep waiting to see the the study that shows merely saying the word ‘cigarette’ poses some risk that must be mitigated through legislation, as it might make someone picture a cigarette somewhere in their head, or think about smoking one… And it will be, of course, banned, just like yelling ‘fire’ in a theater… Or like Voldemort being referred to as ‘he who shall not be named’…

    • Tom2 says:

      I’ve thought that before too. Every year there is a big to-do in the newspaper when one of the major UK universities, Oxford maybe, comes out with their yearly updates to the standard English dictionary – and they will list new words to be added and what they consider obsolete words to be removed. “Cigarette”, I truly do believe that one year soon, it will be quietly removed from the standard English dictionary as another method of writing it out of history, as if it never existed in the first place. It’s totally Orwellian, but I do believe that is going to happen eventually.

  3. Pingback: Interview. | underdogs bite upwards

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    How about some good news for a change!

    Augusta Georgia Commission rejects tougher smoking ban

    The Augusta Commission has rejected a proposed tougher smoking ban.
    The measure failed by a 6-3-1 vote.
    The ordinance would have banned smoking in virtually every public space and in some outdoor areas, as well as in vehicles with children 14 and younger. It would have allowed smoking on city property if it is leased or rented, but not in the building itself.
    Augusta is under a statewide law that bans smoking in most public places where children could be present, such as most restaurants, but allows exemptions for bars and restaurants where no one younger than 18 is admitted.
    http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/government/2012-02-21/augusta-commission-rejects-tougher-smoking-ban?v=1329851803

  5. Walt says:

    Can you think of a study on any other subject that would be granted any ink with a sample of 13 people?

    Otherwise, I note that they’re no longer bothering with the ruse of secondhand smoke and the harm to asthmatic babies who wander unattended onto restaurant patios; they’re now at least admitting that they’re going after smokers. Even non-smoking smokers.

    The other thing to note is the success of the brainwash– these youthful not-smokers (what, me smoke?)” have delightfully absorbed all the carefully-taught lessons that smokers are declasse. But the other thing to note is: it hasn’t stopped them from smoking.

    BTW, the study ended with their being shown a sample of graphic warnings and asked to identify which would disgust them most.

    • Jay says:

      These included claiming never to smoke alone; asserting that they controlled when, where, and how much they smoked; and defining their smoking as ‘a temporary phase.’

      This is the sort of justification that you expect to hear when talking about alcohol conusmption (Do you have a drink problem? Answer our questions to find out! 1) Do you drink alone?…). Mind you I must be a non-smoking smoker too, as my smoking is temporary – it lasts about five minutes and then I don’t do it again until the next temporary occasion :)

      Wish the experts wanted to interview me- I’d make a point of screwing up their research (easy with a sample of 13).

      BTW Belatedly, Many Happy Returns, Frank.

  6. nisakiman says:

    To compound the risibility of the fact that the sample group only totalled thirteen people, it seems those thirteen people were self-selected, recruited through Facebook and a ( obviously massively successful) poster campaign in pubs. So any response from them is certainly not going to be representative.

    And they print this stuff in the papers? And expect us to take it seriously?

    Yes, likewise, a belated birthday greeting, Frank. I hope you drank and smoked to excess.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Thanks. I smoked a nice cigar.

      But I’m not even sure that there were 13 people in the sample. It seems entirely plausible to me that there were 13 experts in the ‘group of experts’, and they each interviewed one person, and then pooled their results to produce a grand total of 13 samples. But there weren’t 13 people; there was only one person, who was interviewed 13 times (and quite possibly gave slightly inconsistent answers).

      Implausible? I don’t think anything is beyond the bounds of plausibility with these jokers. And this piece of research really is a joke.

  7. Fredrik Eich says:

    “I can pick up a glass or a mug and drink its contents without spilling any of it.”
    Drink more and you’ll soon get the hang of spilling drink. I am so good at it that I can even spill other peoples drinks.

    • lleweton says:

      Amazing that such a tiny sample receives so much coverage but ….the trouble is that if one reporter spikes a handout as not worth covering and a rival uses it, the first reporter is likely to face an ‘inquest’ from his bosses. And vice versa: ‘Why didn’t you use it? ‘ I suspect a consensus develops among specialist journalists. What’s news is news, even if it’s rubbish. And vice versa!

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    Smoking Bans: Banning Freedom

    According to Prof. Aeon Skoble, smoking bans are on the rise in America. At first glance, this trend seems to stage a battle of rights. The smoker claims to have the right to smoke, while the nonsmoker claims the right to clean air in “public” places such as restaurants and bars.

    In an important way, however, restaurants and bars are private places. They have owners, just like homes. Skoble argues that restaurant and bar owners should be able to set smoking rules for their establishments, much like you can set smoking rules in your own household.

    Nobody forces a customer into a particular restaurant or bar; drinkers and diners are free to choose among the alternatives available, each of which has a unique environment, including its set of smoking rules. Discussions about “smoker’s rights vs. nonsmoker’s rights” miss the fundamental issue: restaurant and bar owners’ property rights.

  9. The Apiarist says:

    “They also rationalised their smoking by saying that it only happened when they had been drinking, describing smoking and drinking as going ‘hand in hand.’

    Note the the classic use by the ‘expert’ of the word “rationalise”. In their vocabulary it means an illogical explanation for something of which they disapprove.

  10. Frank Davis says:

    The study can be found here, apparently.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      I submitted the following:

      More JUNK SCIENCE on the BMJ
      harleyrider1778@yahoo.com, Tobacco control quality control
      Smokers rights advocate
      It amazes me that 13 interviews with some folks is considered science. Whats even more amazing is that this qualifies as science based research by the BMJ and even more amazing is that its CALLED PEER REVIEWED!

      But then this is what tobacco control does. Creating Junk studies and calling it science when its not even suitable to be a dear abby letter.

      Conflict of Interest:
      None declared

      Published 22 February 2012

  11. garyk30 says:

    From Snowden’s blog:

    ” They are the people who have successfully given up buying cigarettes. As one respondent said:

    “so yeah, that’s part of my rationalizing, if I’m not buying them, I’m not a smoker. If I’m only getting them off people, then it’s not an issue. Because I’m not wasting my money.”

    Leeches, all 13 of them!

  12. cherie79 says:

    I had a good laugh at a hospital check up recently, the Dr. thought I was a lot younger than I am, I happen to have very good skin, all the women in our family do, just genes I guess. Anyway he asked if I lived a very healthy life. His face was a picture when I said well if you count 50 years of smoking and drinking red wine I do! I know a few of these social smokers, they never buy cigarettes but after a drink to two they ask for one. I wonder if they go by cigarette sales when they try to count the number of smokers as no one I know has bought cigarettes or tobacco in this country since the ban. As for that survery! it is not even worth commenting on, have these people nothing better to do?

    • SalsaJo2 says:

      Re: Proud Smokers: Thanks for that Frank. I’m a proud smoker too. Not in the least bit ashamed. They’re the ones who should be ashamed of themselves; spouting alot of nonsense and lies about smoking and health. Before the smoking ban I used to look forward to going out and meeting different people or just being in the company of friends. I dread going out now. Simple reason – I can’t be me. I’m happy being me, but the smoking ban doesn’t allow me to be me. As you so rightly say, being a smoker is part of one’s personality. The idiot, so called ‘experts’ don’t seem to comprehend this aspect of humanity. But then they wouldn’t, would they……. The whole things a nightmare and so completely unjustified! Everything you’ve said is so very true. Thanks again.

  13. Pingback: Proud Smokers | Frank Davis

  14. jaxthefirst says:

    I’ve often wondered where all those “smokers who support further restrictions” come from, because I’ve never in my life met one. Ever. Oh, sure, I’ve met those forelock-tugging smoking-apologists who say they “don’t mind nipping outside for a smoke,” but actively supporting further restrictions? Never.

    Now at least we all know who these people are – they comprise this wonderfully convenient group with their magical metamorphosing capabilities who define themselves as “non-smokers,” but who still smoke, thus rendering them – although they may not realise it – as “smokers,” when convenient, by the powers-that-be. This handy group of people can thus be counted in either group to suit the statistics, depending on whether they are looking for “smokers who support further restrictions,” “smokers who want to give up,” “non-smokers and who like the ban,” or “non-smokers who have banned smoking in their homes” etc.

    And, quite apart from all that, doesn’t this self-styled definition of a “social smoker” rather fly in the face of the anti-smokers’ argument that smokers don’t smoke because they enjoy it – they smoke only because they are addicted? If these people aren’t addicted, then why are they smoking at all??

  15. jaxthefirst says:

    Oh, and any “social smoker” who might be reading this, happy in the false sense of security that calling yourself a “non-smoker” and agreeing with the anti-smoking lobby’s every proposal will somehow render you immune from their attention, ponder on this: it won’t. Anyone who smokes anywhere, at any time, ever, is, in their opinion “a smoker” and by definition therefore “the enemy” – no matter how useful you might be to their agenda at the moment. When push comes to shove, your protestations that you “don’t smoke every day” or that “you only smoke at the weekends” will fall on the deafest ears you’ve ever come across. And the argument that “the big boys made me do it” just doesn’t cut any ice with the anti-smoking movement and never has. Do you really not realise who you’re colluding with here? There’s no compromise and no appeasement with these people. When it suits them and they need to “do away with” the classification of a “social smoker” then you’ll suddenly find yourself lumped in with all the rest of us wicked “smokers,” just as moderate drinkers are slowly and stealthily being incorporated into the category of wicked “binge drinkers.”

    Think it won’t happen? Just ask any real smoker and think again. Seriously. Because, although you might not realise it, real smokers’ attitudes are hardening, too, in the light of increasing state-sponsored persecution, and there are many of us these days who also feel that if you’re not truly “with us” then you’re our enemy too. So, having aided and abetted our own bete noir, you might well find yourselves out on your own when you suddenly find yourselves – as you inevitably will – in that self-same bete noir’s crosshairs. And believe me, out on your own isn’t a place you want to be when you are up against them – it really isn’t.

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