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.