International Social Impact Survey Starts

Well, today at least three people started asking smokers to fill out the ISIS questionnaire. Someone’s been pounding the streets of Torbay today in the bottom left corner of Britain, and Leg-iron’s taking it round to a smoky-drinky tonight in the top right corner of Britain. And I was out this afternoon in the middle of Britain. We’d all printed off copies of my compressed-format English questionnaire.

Meanwhile, it’s being translated into French*, Greek, Dutch, and Spanish. It’s already been translated into German, using a quite separate questionnaire designed by Reinhold. Emails are flying all over the world carrying little pictures and suggestions and advice. Text messages too.

In the background, progress is being made to enable the completed forms’ information to be entered into a remote server (two of them, actually) by pollsters using either their computers or mobile phones. It will actually be possible for pollsters to enter the data directly using their mobile phones, without any paper at all.

And an online poll, using the same questions, is going to be launched in tandem with the paper poll. We already have a domain name for this.

Here’s what the latest v.12 English questionnaire looks like:

This shading has been introduced partly to try to differentiate the ‘official use only’ top strip from the main body of the questionnare, and stop people trying to fill it in, but also to highlight the checkboxes – because most people seem to miss the Do You Smoke? question in the top right corner.

It’s not really quite professional quality (like Reinhold’s), but it serves its purpose. With four of these questionnaires on a single piece of A4, nobody found them in the least bit unreadable, and everyone zipped through the questions in under a minute.

And I’m not sure if my polling methodology is actually very professional either. It consists of driving to a pub, buying a drink, heading out into the garden, and keeping an eye out for smokers, and then asking them if they’d like to fill out a questionnaire about the social impact of smoking bans. So far, everyone that I’ve approached has readily agreed. And then I sit keeping an eye out for more smokers, until I’ve finished my drink, and head off to another pub. It’s the pub-crawl polling methodology. You keep at it until you end up under the table.

And it’s astonishing that it’s all happened so fast (and is still happening). After all, it’s only a little over two weeks ago that I had the idea that we could do our own poll. Since then something like 20 volunteers and advisers have huddled together in a private blog to thrash out the questions, and who does what, and what goes where. And now, two weeks on, we’re already hitting the streets.

And the main blog (i.e. this one) has been very helpful too in responding to my trial questionnaires, and showing what issues smokers seem to care about most. And there have been little jewels of advice dropped in the comments. You guys have been really helpful.

And as I was sitting with my beer and cigarette out in a sunlit pub garden, I wondered if Tobacco Control could move this fast. Almost certainly not. Theirs is a gigantic organisation, and you probably have to apply in triplicate just to use the toilet. Large organisations can’t move fast. What we’ve got is a small band of people who will improvise solutions to problems as they arise (and I bet we’ll be hitting plenty of problems over the months ahead).

And it’s all being run on a shoestring. My principal expenses so far have been the beers I’ve been buying myself, and will no doubt carry on buying. Well, somebody’s got to do it. We’ll no doubt be accused of being funded by Big Tobacco, or being a ‘front group’ for them, or something. But the evidence that we’re not is to be found in this blog, and also in the other private blog (which I can make public with the press of a button). There have been no stretch limos full of tobacco company execs handing us money or advice. We’re doing it all ourselves, using the resources we already have.

And we’re asking questions that Tobacco Control don’t ever seem to have asked. They’re pretty simple and obvious questions, most of them. So why hasn’t TC been asking them? Well, the simple answer is that TC doesn’t give a screw what smokers think. To them, we’re just vermin to be eradicated. You don’t ask vermin what they think of your Zyklon B, do you? No, I thought not.

Anyway, back to the serious questions. Iro Cyr rushed off without completing the French translation. So I throw it open to my readers to answer these questions:

*1. What is the French for ‘total’ (as in ‘total ban’)?

2. What is the French for ‘partial’ (as in ‘partial ban’)?

3. What is the French for ‘better’, ‘much better’, ‘worse’, and ‘much worse’?

I bet I’ll have the answers to these questions by tomorrow morning. That’s how the internet works. Mais oui! Bien sûr.

About Frank Davis

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53 Responses to International Social Impact Survey Starts

  1. mtoal52601 says:

    I’ve got a working data entry system, and submitted this to Wiel. Check your email! :)

  2. Fredrik Eich says:

    Ah!
    Having done a whois on the url, I can see why this has happened with such speed!

  3. Fredrik Eich says:

    Are you using an RDBMS of some discription to store these data and if so which one?

  4. Frank Davis says:

    It would be quite nice maybe to write a Java application (or applet) which showed how the data was panning out. Why wait to publish right at the end? Why not publish as it comes in?

    Heck, maybe we’ll find that smokers love smoking bans. And that’s exactly what one young lady said to me today. “It’s so much more sociable outside pubs these days!” she said, as if she never ever wanted to go back to the bad old days when people could talk to each other inside a building, rather than outside.

  5. Where do I get a copoy of the German one?

  6. waltc says:

    French (from the top of my head, but you might want to double check me)

    Total= (surprise) total or complet
    Partial= partiel
    Better= if you’re using it as an adjective, meilleur; as an adverb; mieux as in “ca va mieux” (it goes better)
    Worse= pire .
    Now I’m scraping the bottom of my head:
    Plus mal (roughly: more bad); moins bien (less good or less well); affreux (awful); deguelasse (lousy)

    • Frank Davis says:

      Wonderful thing, the internet. And there was me, pretty much fixed on heureux, plus heureux, muy plus heureux, and malheureux, plus malheureux, and muy plus malheureux.

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    It’s the pub-crawl polling methodology. You keep at it until you end up under the table.

    Love it! What pollster wouldnt work for us………….

  8. Jeff says:

    If I may contribute my two cents to the French translation:
    Walt’s translations are very accurate, except for the equivalent of ‘lousy’ which is spelled ‘dégueulasse’.
    Total ban : interdiction totale
    Partial : interdiction partielle
    Better or worse : I suppose it relates to question #6 – if so it would be better to ask ‘Est-ce que votre qualité de vie s’est améliorée ou dégradée?’ – Answers : ‘très améliorée, améliorée, inchangée, dégradée, très dégradée’
    Note that ‘muy’ is a spanish word (‘très’ in French).
    Good luck with the poll.

  9. junican says:

    The French for ‘more’ is ‘plus’. Eg. ‘more pretty’ could be ‘plus belle’.

    On the subject of the questionnaire, I have in mind to try a different approach (maybe tonight at the pub, if I get the chance). I am going to try a more conversational approach. A sort of, “This is a damn nuisance (having to go outside). I don’t turn out anything like as much as I used to. How about you?”

    I’ll try it.

  10. mactheknife says:

    If you need cash Frank, you only have to ask, It’s a brilliant concept and I’ll back it to the hilt.

    Respond to grey_sentinel@hotmail.com

    Best regards Mac the Knife

  11. junican says:

    I tried it – sort of. The pub was so quiet that only myself and Neil actually were outside at the same time. Neil adjusted his opinion (which I described before), that the ban has had no effect, to ‘has had some effect’.

    But that is not the point here.

    I asked him if the ban has changed his habits. It is slightly illuminating that he could not remember how long the ban had been in existence! However, since the inception of the ban, he has bought his own house, and has a mortgage. Thus, his drinking habits have been affected – he no longer ‘turns out’ mid-week.

    I have known him for some years, and so I could hazard a guess at his replies to the questions:

    Male: Smoker: about 35 yrs old.
    Pub, rescaféant, cafe?: No direct change.
    Friends, family?: Not discussed..
    Time at home?: Yes, but because of mortgage. Cost of drinkprohibitiveprohibative as compared with cost of drinks from supermarket (in his circumstances). (We talked about these costs momentarily)
    Experts, MSM?: Not considered, but probably irrelevant.
    Quality of life?: No change, but purchase of house critical.
    Care Homes?: Not addressed.

    Responses such as the above are quite likely to be common. That is because the majority of people have more important things going on in their lives (to them) than the principles of freedom.

    I did mention that we are doing an on-line survey before I asked him about his hfazed He was not fazzed by that statement at all.

    I think that people who are working have a much better chance of doing the survey since they will have more opportunities, and since the respondents are likely to be amused by the idea in their lunch break, or whatever. It is most certainly worthwhile. We must remember that it does not matter how many ‘Neils’ there are – they are to be expected. The likes of Richard Doll concentrated on the ‘Non-Neils’ and drew far-reaching conclusions from the small number of people who conformed to their norm. Thus, it is not the one-evening-per week people who are likely to be affected, although even they might reduce their attendance and consumption just a little, but enough to affect the Pubco, etc, profits.

    I must conclude. There is something to be said for changing the fundamental thinking behind the survey (some time in the future). Perhaps ‘feelings of shame’ for being a smoker might have more relevance to what we are trying to do. It is worth considering.

    • reinholdfrombavaria says:

      Perhaps ‘feelings of shame’ for being a smoker might have more relevance to what we are trying to do. It is worth considering.

      Absolutely, Junican. But you can’t ask that.
      (“Are you ashamed of being a smoker? [Y] [N]”).

      • lecroixkwdjer says:

        Actually, things have evolved to such a point, that I am considering “being proud of being a smoker”. Never in the past had I thought about such things. It would be like feeling proud of eating cheese. But now, it seems different. Cheese eaters are not discriminated against (yet). People who smoke, are. Anyone who smokes and is willing to take a stance, to draw the line, to do something is…well, kinda cool to me now.

        • Frank Davis says:

          Don’t you remember the “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” (the French) who opposed the Iraq war?

        • lecroixkwdjer says:

          WordPress is still a bit unfamiliar to me : i always wonder where a reply may end up. Thanks for the clarification. :)

    • Frank Davis says:

      I’ve yet to encounter as strong a negative response as I would make to smoking bans if I had filled out this questionnaire. But I’m getting a negative response all the same. It’s just more mildly negative than my own.

      And anyway, I’ve not been expecting an extremely negative response from everyone. In my own estimation, it’s only about 10% of smokers who really hate the ban. And I’ve yet to encounter one of these. But I know they’re out there.

      What I am wondering is whether I’m going to find them sitting outside pubs.

      • lecroixkwdjer says:

        I also expect a milder response than my own (although I have met a few dozens on the internet that feel as I do). I know I won’t 100% like the results of the survey. But I need to know. I need figures that have some value. Remember that, with all due respect, I feel my position is even more that of a “hardliner” than yours. But you work harder than I do at fighting the ban. And I have met others on the net that also make me feel that I should do more. The good thing is we all do something.

        Yes, I do remember the “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” expression :) I think the Simpsons brought it back to the present. And I have very strong opinions on the Irak war, about what the French did (or did not) or even the Spaniards.

        Perhaps I should have said “celery” instead of “cheese”. These days almost any word can get you into trouble with the politically correct crowd. :)

        Just kidding. I understand that you meant even eating cheese can be a cause for criticism :)

        • lecroixkwdjer says:

          I in no way mean you are part of the politically correct crowd. I am responding to your “!” post just in case you misunderstood me and thought I disliked your comment or something. Arg, typing can not convey ideas perfectly. U see why we used to have bars? Even someone as me enjoyed direct communication :)

        • Frank Davis says:

          I was responding to Reinhold, not to you, with my “!” comment.

        • lecroixkwdjer says:

          It was just in case. :)

  12. lecroixkwdjer says:

    The Spanish version should be ready in no more than 48 hous. I am getting help from reinholdfrombavaria, who’s been very kind. Once everything is in place, I hope to get from a humble 25 people polled, to a 100 (a very satisfactory figure). I fear my polling might be biased, so I will err on the side of caution and try to avoid, as much as posible, people whose opinon I already know (that is, against bans). I understand this is another form of bias, but I want results that I in no way can manipulate, willingly or unwillingly. Perhaps what amazes me the most is that ISIS has been put together, as Frank says, in a very very short time. That fact is an interesting poll in itself.

  13. O.K. I have been thinking about the German version and have discovered a problem.
    Reinhold has a ban, the same as in Britain, in Bayern.
    Here in Berlin, those in Hamburg, Leipzig, Dresden, and many others North of Bayern/Franken/Schwaben do not. So I am not sure how useful the information will be from here, because, in particular, the “Pub ban” does not exist.
    But I will deffinately ask around. Middle of June, and again in August, I am at a few meetings where Vereine (clubs) from all over Germany meet. I will take the forms with me, if that is not too long to wait(?)

    • reinholdfrombavaria says:

      Here in Berlin […] the “Pub ban” does not exist.

      Bist Du sicher?
      Are you sure?

      Darf in Berlin in jeder Kneipe, egal wie groß, egal ob Essen oder nicht, nach wie vor geraucht werden? Ich meine: Ist es nicht so, dass sie, was weiß ich, höchstens 75 qm groß sein und kein Essen anbieten und niemand unter 18 reinlassen dürfen? Das würde dann m.E. nämlich schon unter Rauchverbot fallen – eines mit löblichen Ausnahmen, aber auch nicht grade keins.
      Aber wie auch immer, seid froh, dass bei Euch keine bayrischen Verhältnisse Einzug gehalten haben. Bayrische Verhältnisse in Preußen, mannomann, das hat echt nicht sein dürfen. Glückwunsch!

      By the way, I the hell am Reinhold. ;-)

      • beobrigitte says:

        Ich meine: Ist es nicht so, dass sie, was weiß ich, höchstens 75 qm groß sein und kein Essen anbieten und niemand unter 18 reinlassen dürfen?

        Das ist nicht nur in Berlin der Fall; in anderen Bundeslaendern, in denen es “kein” totales Rauchverbot gibt, sieht es genauso aus.

        Das würde dann m.E. nämlich schon unter Rauchverbot fallen

        Dem kann ich mich nur anschliessen. Ein totales Rauchverbot fuer alle Bundeslaender in Deutschland zu erzwingen, wird fuer diese verkrachten Existenzen von Antirauchern einfach zu lange dauern. Durch die obige Regelung wird dem ganzen Land so ein Rauchverbot locker untergeschoben. Schluss mit dem Unsinn. Die Gelder, die an diesen Unfug verschwendet werden, koennen leicht in verbesserte Belueftungsanlagen investiert werden, und dann ist RUHE.

        Apologies for writing in German – just pointing out that, due to the various different Bundeslaender and their own local politics, it will take the anti-smoking zealots a long time to enforce a total smoking ban for the whole country. By creating what I personally call silly exceptions a total smoking ban can be introduced almost unnoticeable. At least that is what the anti-smoking zealots hope for. The monies wasted for the introduction of a total smoking ban are better invested in improved ventilation systems.

      • Hello Hell is Reinhold. Wie geht’s?
        XX Darf in Berlin in jeder Kneipe, egal wie groß, egal ob Essen oder nicht, nach wie vor geraucht werden? XX

        (May one in Berlin, smoke in every Pub, no matter how big, if there is food or not, how it used to be?)

        Eigentlich nicht. Aber die Kneipe hat die Wahl. Und ich habe bisher keine Kneipe gefunden, die “Nicht Raucher” ist. Es muß sowas geben. Vielleicht Stadtmitte, oder so, nur, daß ich sie nie gefunden habe.

        (Not really. But the pubs have the choice. And I have not until now, found one that is “non smoking”. They must exist. Just that I have not found one.)

        Essen. Hmm. Kann sein, daß das ein Problem wird. Aber, ich gehe onehin nicht is diese Art von Kneipe.

        (Food pubs, could be problomatic. But I don’t go in that sort of pub any way.)

        According to the regulations in Berlin/Brandenburg, a Pub (You may be right “without food”) may choose to be “smoking”, if they ban under 18s and put a notice as to such in the window.

        One pub tried it. And went from a booming business to broke virtually over-night. It is now re-opened (new owners) and is once again “smoking”. Most of the old customers have now gone back, and the place is going great guns once more.

        However, as you would expect, and as Beobriggitte below aludes to, there are arseholes around who, regardless of the evidence, want to make Berlin, like Bayern, totaly none smoking.

        Trouble is with German law, there appears to be no “consultation period” as in Britain. You go to work, and on the way home, you can be booked for something that was not an offence as you were finishing your first fag and corn-flakes.

        :-)) Maybe not quite literaly. But all of a sudden you read/see, that something is about to become illegal, and up until that point, no one even knew it was being discussed.

        • Frank Davis says:

          there appears to be no “consultation period” as in Britain.

          The British ‘consultations’ are fraudulent. Dissenting opinions are simply ignored. The ‘consultation’ is purely a matter of going through the motions of pretending to consult, when the decision has already been made.

        • XX The British ‘consultations’ are fraudulent. Dissenting opinions are simply ignored. The ‘consultation’ is purely a matter of going through the motions of pretending to consult, when the decision has already been made.XX

          Aye. I am always astounded by the similarities between German and British law and administration.

          Clear to see that we are cousins. When not actual, Brothers. :-)

  14. Margo Jackson says:

    I’ve clearly found all this stuff too late. I’d love to fill out a questionnaire. Can someone send me one? I LOATHE the ban. It has transformed me and my life out of all recognition. It has turned me into an obsessive, miserable, depressed, stay-at-home, opinionated bore and made me smoke more than I ever did before. I don’t go on long journeys any more, I think twice before accepting invitations, I don’t like non-smokers visiting me, I hate going to the doctor and would never ask for help for anything that might be called ‘smoking related’ (almost every ailment). And I can see that even a few of my fellow-smokers have been partly won over by the propaganda and now feel guilty and ashamed about their smoking. I HATE it.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Those questions are pretty much what we’re asking. You can see the questions here. We’ve only just firmed up the questions. Do you just want to fill in the survey, or would you like to do some polling of friends, family, neighbours, pubs. We need pollsters (We’ve got about 20 in 7 countries).

      • Margo Jackson says:

        Probably just fill out the questionnaire, as I don’t see many people these days. Thanks for replying.

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  16. beobrigitte says:

    I would like to fill the questionnaire in – can’t find it…. Sorry, what have I missed?

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