Simon Clark today (my emphasis added):

The problem is, freedom means very different things to different people. One of my favourite films is The Lives of Others which highlights the surveillance activities of the Stasi in East Germany in the 1980s. I have blogged about my week in Moscow in 1981 and this film conveys perfectly the claustrophobic, fearful yet curiously optimistic environment I encountered.

The point is, the war on tobacco can pale into insignificance compared to the loss of other freedoms. Indeed, a few weeks ago I addressed a small group of Russian journalists on the subject of smoking bans. One or two laughed when I described the misery the ban has inflicted on some people in the UK.Perhaps my message got lost in translation but I got the impression that in the context of even recent Russian history, the freedom to smoke in public places is considered a rather minor issue.

Anyway, I did my best on Saturday to explain the significance of the war on tobacco and why it matters. I argued, for example, that it’s a microcosm of what’s wrong with society (and the Conservative party) because it breeds intolerance and extremism. It encourages the abuse of science and statistics and much more. Ultimately, I said, the war on tobacco has resulted in a shocking abuse of power, often by unelected mandarins in Whitehall.

I’ve always thought that the non-smoking Simon Clark has never felt that the loss of freedom caused by smoking bans was of much significance by comparison with, say, being sent to a Siberian gulag for 10 years. It’s probably one reason why he runs a relatively low key campaign against smoking bans.

I’m not surprised he feels this way. I think it’s the way that a great many non-smokers feel about the smoking ban: that it’s a bit unfair, but there are a great many worse things that could happen to someone. They just don’t get it.

But I think one has to experience these things personally before one can truly know what effects they have. I’ve never been sent to prison, let alone a Siberian gulag, and so I have no experience of what that’s like. I can guess what it might be like, of course. And I can read accounts of prison or gulag life. But I can never really enter into the experience until I’ve lived it myself.

But in the case of the UK smoking ban, I don’t have to guess what it’s like. It’s been my lived experience for the past five years.

Yet before the ban came into effect, on 1 July 2007, I  too was having to guess what it was going to be like. Most of the smokers that I knew weren’t too bothered about the prospect. A typical remark was: “It’ll be no trouble. You’ll just nip outside for a quick smoke now and then.” I wasn’t sure that it was going to be that straightforward. I didn’t know what it would be like, but I had a sense of dark foreboding.

In the event, I was profoundly shocked by the impact of the ban both on me and fellow smokers. The first of July was a rather surreal day, during which smokers (myself included) wandered around in shock and disbelief outside the pubs. It was on that day that a stranger came up to me and said: “It’s not a free country any more.” The words are etched in my memory now, because I think that no truer words were said to me that day.

Over the next few weeks, the pubs emptied of their usual afternoon custom. Before the ban, there’d be 10 or more people around the bar inside the River during the afternoon. After the ban there’d be just one or two. If the River didn’t go broke, it was because it was a  pub-restaurant, and the restaurant clientele stayed on. They came to eat, after all, not to smoke and drink. So after that, the restaurant was full, and the adjoining bar was all but deserted.

And that was pretty much the end of my social life in Devon. Before the ban, I regularly met up with the few people I knew for a couple of beers and games of pool. After the ban, I hardly saw any of them again.

Most of my old friends still lived in Bristol, where I had lived for many years before moving to Devon to look after my aged mother. But the ban gradually took its toll there too. Part of the reason was that I used to meet up with many of them at pubs or restaurants, and once the pubs were no longer the pleasant and welcoming places they had been, I met up with them less and less. But another part of the reason was that many of my Bristol friends were non-smokers, and some had become antismokers who banned smoking in their own homes. The ban had no impact on the non-smokers, and was welcomed by the antismokers. And the result was that my deeply uncomfortable personal experience was something that most of my old friends simply didn’t share. I may have lived under a cloud since 1 July 2007, but for them life had continued exactly as before. Nor was it ever possible to explain to them in what way my life had become so uncomfortable.

I promptly fell out with my antismoking friends, in some cases very openly. And I drifted apart from my non-smoking friends. And I even had difficulty with my smoking friends, because, while none of them liked the ban, most were of the view that there was nothing that could be done about it anyway.

The result, over the past 5 years, is that I’ve seen less and less of former friends, some of whom I’d known for 30 years or more. For me life took a sharp turn on 1 July 2007, while they went sailing happily on. And all of them entirely oblivious of what had happened to me.

As I see it these days, I was expelled from society that day. I became persona non grata. But it has just taken years for that expulsion to take effect. It was an exile (as Deborah Arnott would call it) that only began on 1 July 2007. And it was an exile that was foreseen (see right margin: “Smokers will be exiled to outdoors.”) and fully intended by the likes of Arnott. They intend to rid the world of smokers.

That this exile/expulsion happened to me, and not to all other smokers, was largely a reflection of my circumstances. I was, if you like, already ‘semi-detached’ from most of my friends by the fact of living 100 miles away from them in Devon. I was also unmarried, and so had no family life to fall back on. And furthermore I didn’t live somewhere where I could bring friends home to entertain them. My social life had been 90% dependent on pubs and restaurants, until they became the forbidding places they are now. So I was already on the margins of society when the smoking ban came along and drove me fully outside.

But I strongly suspect that I am very far from being the only person who has experienced such expulsion. It’s the main reason why I started the ISIS Social Impact Survey a few months back (I’m due to call a halt to it very soon, and ask pollsters to record their findings on the ISIS website. Casual visitors can do the online poll shown in the right margin). Because I think that if my experience has been replicated to a greater or lesser extent by millions of other smokers, then it will amount to a large scale fragmentation of society in the wake of the smoking ban. And Britain will have become rather less of a cohesive society than it was five years ago. I don’t think that is in any sense a good thing.

And there’s not just the social fragmentation, of course, but also the economic damage. I spend most of my time at home now, and far less than I used to spend in pubs and restaurants. And spending less time in these places means spending less money in them. And it means spending less on everything, everywhere. About the only things I spend more money on are whisky and tobacco. And if that is replicated throughout the rest of society, it will amount to an economic recession.

There’s also even a political fragmentation. I used to regard myself as a bit left wing, and was a regular Lib Dem voter. But since nearly all the Lib Dem MPs in parliament voted for the ban, I have never voted for them again. And I’ve more or less completely lost interest in all the main parties. None of them represent me. None of them want to represent me either. And that’s a deep alienation, to which is added the fact that I no longer watch TV, or listen to the radio, or read newspapers. Why should I? This isn’t my country any more.

And then there’s the anger. I’ve been more or less a constantly angry man since 1 July 2007. I think a terrible injustice has been done not just to me, but to millions of others all over Britain, and all over the world.

Because all this is being replicated not just throughout Britain, but all of Europe (except Switzerland) and much of Canada and Australia and New Zealand and the USA, and also in a great many other countries.

It’s not that it’s all been a wholly negative experience. Smoking bans don’t actually kill people (or at least, not that many).

One upside of the ban, when I was living in Devon, was that I got to spend many hours sitting by the river that flowed past my local pub, and became fascinated by its various moods, and even traced it to its source and followed it to its estuary on the Devon coast.

And I also have hours and hours and hours of time to devote to my various numerous projects. I am seldom interrupted. The phone hardly ever rings these days, after all. The result has been that the past year in particular has been among the most productive in my life.

And now also I have my own blog, which over 1000 people read yesterday, and through which I’ve begun to feel that I have made a set of new and like-minded friends all over the world. Which is nice. But if I have so many readers, it is probably largely because (as many of them have told me) that I write about things that they have experienced too.

But my point, in response to Simon Clark, is that the smoking ban has had a monumental impact on my life, in ways that I’m sure it hasn’t on his. And it still is having such an impact. The smoking ban may look like it is insignificant (particularly to Russians), but its effects are nevertheless profound and insidious.

It’s rather like having gentle pressure constantly applied to an arm or a leg. At first you don’t notice it, but gradually your arm or leg goes numb, and then they cease to work properly, and then you have difficulty walking or picking things up, and finally they have to be amputated. All because of a single unyielding slight pressure, which was disregarded as being unimportant.

“Loss of freedom”, “intolerance”,  “extremism”, and the “abuse of power and statistics” are all to some extent abstractions. I can write about those things too. But the real impacts of the smoking ban are those that are experienced personally. And those aren’t really part of my lived experience. My freedom has only been fractionally circumscribed. And I never encounter intolerance or extremism (not even my antismoking friends were extremists). What I have experienced is exile, loss of community, widening social divisions, and profound political alienation.

But to go back to what lies outside my experience – being sent to a Siberian gulag -, I dare say that while some people took that experience very much to heart (e.g. Alexander Solzhenitsyn), there were others that simply served their time in the gulag, and then went home and picked up their lives where they left off. Some might have even enjoyed their time in the camps, if they were rapidly promoted to positions of power, and gained access to vodka and chocolate and warm accommodation. And everyone has heard of the ‘old lags syndrome’ whereby ex-prisoners commit crimes in order to return to the prison environment with which they have become familiar. There is nothing that says that an experience of one sort or other will invariably be unpleasant for everyone who goes through it.

For example, Dave Atherton remarked, when I first met him a couple of years back, that his social life had become much more intensive and fun since the smoking ban. And good for him too. Nevertheless, he also is a tireless campaigner against the ban.

Personally, my guess is that, in a few years time, many people will belatedly realise that the smoking bans that have been multiplying through the world have been a disastrous social experiment, with enormous negative impacts, and steps will be taken to reverse them. They won’t seem insignificant at all.

Unfortunately, the colossal damage that is being done looks likely to me to be permanent. Just like amputated legs stay amputated when the pressure is lifted. For if the smoking ban were overturned next week, I won’t be recovering my lost friends. Nor will I be reading newspapers and watching TV. Nor will I be voting for Cameron or Clegg or any of the rest of them. My exile, I strongly suspect, will prove permanent.

About Frank Davis

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53 Responses to Insignificance

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    Frank pep rally time!

    Do you think we have an impossible task to regain freedom.

    We dont have a constitutional amendment to get repealed to regain freedom.
    We dont have anyhting but a simple vote anywhere to get the bans repealed.
    The collpase of the EU will ensure the bans go away.
    It will be the same in the USA.
    Whats the lifespan of a smoking ban in historical context.
    5 years 10 years 20 years………Actually bans have a very short lifespan.
    A movement that cant pay for media blitzes on a constant level know full well the bans life is in jeopardy. Propaganda is what feeds the hate and outcry for support. But does the general public even care. Not really,they dont seem to care either way but to the 20%-25% of us who smoke we care and its our collective outcry day in and day out that counts. We dont need massive cash infusions to run our mouths against the bans. TC does as they dont say anything unless theres a payday in it for them. There moneys pretty well gone making only token showings just because the grant money says they have too.

    Are the bans fixing to start getting repealed,mmm maybe. We have seen some very fine omens lately and after 5 years of us pounding the internet pavement fighting these nazis they are on the defensive and the word is out on SHS and we can thank all of us for putting that information out there and standing and fighting our enemies one battle at a time…… We will win and they dont care really if they lose,they just jump ship and pick up a new advocacy cause and move on…..

    We dont move on,we fight!

  2. Frank Davis says:

    Do you think we have an impossible task to regain freedom.

    No. A very difficult uphill task, but not an impossible one.

    In fact, I think it’s something we’re bound to be successful in, however tough it looks right now.

    • Dave says:

      Frank you have touched on something here indeed that is clearly over looked by many. It has been 2 years now in my area and my only social outlet is at the casinos. I have been a life long regular casino patron so when the ban came in it did not affect me as much as others because casinos are totally exempt. However I did regularly go out to dinner and meet up at a bar with friends. That is all gone and many have just gone in different directions and like you I have no idea where they are. It is like living in a different world and I had no idea the damage that would occur. If the ban was repealed I would have a mixed reaction as we will never get back all those good times that never happened nor will the 500 plus bars that have closed in my area get there business back. A complete loss of faith in my elected officials,media and science is something that may never be healed. This alone cracks the foundation of society. Here in the U.S.obesity,soda pop are the big targets right now and as they attack these things many people are feeling what it is like to be a smoker. This has brought many more people to sympathize with our cause and is building a backlash to the nanny state. It is clear it will take a complete assault on all our freedoms for most to wake up to what is happening. This will run it’s course as history shows but the loss many of us feel can never be fixed in my opinion. Before the ban I never truly understood what a minority race of people were subjected too or how they felt but now that I have been forced into being part of one it sure has been an eye opener. Many of us will never be the same again…

      • Frank Davis says:

        A complete loss of faith in my elected officials,media and science is something that may never be healed. This alone cracks the foundation of society.

        I don’t think it will ever be healed. And it does indeed crack the foundations of society.

  3. Brewlady says:

    My husband’s solution was to buy a pool table. In some ways, he gets to have his cake and eat it too, the beer is cheaper, the smoking not banned. Yet in some ways, we’ve exiled ourselves to our basement. I suppose the ANTZ don’t care about that. Not what freedom should be, my take.

  4. Frank Davis says:

    On the ‘insignificance’ thing, I’ve said this before, but the introduction of the Book of Common Prayer in England in 1549, which replaced the older Latin Catholic mass, was probably seen as an ‘insignificant’ change, which had the benefits of church services being conducted in English which everybody could understand (except the Cornish), and were also ‘smoke-free’ once the candles and incense were removed, and were generally regarded by most enlightened thinkers as being an all round ‘good thing’. But Western Christendom has never recovered from the divisions that were created then.

    I dare say that much the same applies in the USA over the divisions that led to the Civil War. It was probably something apparently insignificant that created the profound division – a division that still exists today.

    It’s the little things that matter.

  5. wobbler2012 says:

    I’m with Leg Iron on this one and just waiting until some of these ANTI bastards get something that they enjoy very much banned, and then laughing at the arseholes for not seeing it coming.

    • They will never admit to it, even when it happens. An oxecetelyne torch to the bollox MAY make an impression, but otherwise, they are brain dead.

    • Fredrik Eich says:

      Threaten them with closing their restaurants at the evenings and weekends. That is what I do and it’s the only argument that I find that works. Many of them would be happy to see pubs/casinos/bingo halls close and but they can’t bare the thought of loosing their restaurants.
      Shift workers have an overall risk of heart disease of ~40%. Clealy, if restaurants are cloased during the evenings and weekends any risk of heart disease is eliminated. This puts them in the difficult position of explaing why it is ok to kill staff by going out when ever it pleases them just so long as no one smokes while they are doing it.

      • Rick S says:

        That’s already happening, even though it never gets mentioned anywhere. It was fairly obvious that if pubs had to resort to serving food in an effort to minimise the impact of the smoking ban, and given the fact that there’s a limit to the number of people willing and able to eat out, restaurants would be the ones to lose out in the end. In my area, a whole bunch of restaurants have gone for good – the old tradition of having a few beers followed by a curry seems now to be a thing of the past, sadly.

        • Fredrik Eich says:

          “few beers followed by a curry seems now to be a thing of the past, sadly.”
          Ah, but in my circles we only went to the curry house when the pubs closed because the pubs had closed. When the hours first got extended there was not so much need for the post pub curry. If anything pubs have now become curry houses, or certainly many of them. That’s not including the pub themed little chefs that seem to be nothing more than places for people to have a cheap meal out.

  6. Reinhold says:

    Like water, we shall vanquish the rocks.

  7. raymond barfoot says:

    dear frank, thank you so much. you always manage to say what i can think of but never phrase properly,loss of even a small portion of freedom is still loss of freedom. period.i pray the charlatans of tobbacco control rot in hell. i pray for that dailyas a matter of fact.they have no mercy for us smokers so why should we show them any?hang or draw and quarter them all publicly and let god sort them out. i have tolerance but these scumbuckets do not deserve any. to tartarus with them and their hectoring ways.i am a smoker and proud of it.nil illegettami carburendum. just sayin. raymond barfoot

  8. waltc says:

    I will never again like or trust the media, government at any level, New York City, New Yorkers, or people in general. That aside…

    I would revel in repeal. I’d go out more and do more. I’d possibly rekindle some old acquaintances who weren’t ever anti but whom I let go because getting up from the table or the bar and having to “step outside” would have been to collaborate on my own exile and to tacitly cave to my second class status. I believe “living well is the best revenge.” OTOH, I fear that by the time repeal comes, if comes it ever does, I may not be alive.

    Stop being modest, Frank. You’re the voice of our communal subconscious.

  9. John D says:

    As with any attempt by one group of people to control another the smoking ban only works for as long as those being oppressed give the oppression heed.
    When it was introduced in the time honoured fashion by propaganda and threat of fine (The obligatory £1000) or jail everyone simply assumed that the oppression was the new reality and that was that. Whatever label people gave themselves, smoker, non smoker or anti smoker everyone agreed to the oppression which is why its still here today.
    The smoking and all the other pleasure bans are designed on purpose to stop people getting together and talking, at least that is my take on it.
    They began with smoking as a test of utilising the ‘health and think of the children’ arguments to see if people will accept fundamental change to their way of life with as little resistance as possible.
    Clearly it worked ‘gangbusters’ as the refined and honed blueprint is now being rolled out across the broad palette of actions people take to get together and have a good time.
    The ‘war’ on Cannabis has totally failed and is now used as justification for keeping funds flowing into ‘law enforcement’. It was the initial attempt to force people into behavioural change against their will so it was back to the drawing board, think tank or the nudge unit to come up with a better way which emerged as the ban on smoking.

    What is required to be rid of these bans is harder to figure out. There are multiple layers of masters at work in this world and it is extremely difficult to identify who the ones worth taking out but at the end of the day people don’t need to figure this out. In New Zealand people power removed the NZ telly tax. In Switzerland the people told THEIR government there will be no smoking ban. In many other countries across Europe people simply ignore the smoking bans.

    People are the answer because the Arnots of this world and whoever their puppet masters are are just people like you and me. True they may be armed with police and statutes but they are just people. And therein lies the rub, at least for me.
    Most people I know simply whine and accept and then sit about waiting for ‘something to happen’. I have successfully convinced two of my oldest friends that giving up the TV tax is easy and justified but still they pay it because it is ‘what they are supposed to do’.
    Asking them “Says who?”
    they simply say the government and when asked “Did you elect this government?”
    They say “No but I had a vote…”

    Voilà the circle is complete.

    • Barry Homan says:

      I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: the fundemental flaw in the antis* design is they’re trying to get rid of smoking – but they can’t and won’t get rid of smokers.

      I don’t smoke hash, grass, marijuana, whatever you call it. I never was part of that cool crowd, besides the stuff never did anything for me. The point is, making the stuff illegal didn’t make those who smoke it go away. The same with tobacco smokers. The antis will have to keep fighting and fighting, which to some of us sounds like they’re guaranteed life-long jobs and gov’t funding – oh really? It’s a legal product we’re using, as legal as owning a bicycle – how much longer can the antis fight?

      Really, how much more money can they waste until gov’t says “Okay, that’s enough”

      Smokers will be here a long long time – that’s a reality.

  10. raymond barfoot says:

    dear frank, i still say you put into words what many smokers feel, and you do it in a way even a lunk-head like my can easily you say what i and many others i suspect, would love to are just one of the many people i read web log wise abd yet you are one of the best voices of how we smokers feel.thank you from the recess of my tiny little heart.may you be a strong voice for us smokers for long while yet. raymond barfoot

  11. harleyrider1978 says:

    government funding charities to lobby self breakdown

  12. The smoking ban has some unpredictable consequences. This is very funny.

    “He claimed he had made the comment after he saw a group of women smoking outside a council office and passed a comment because he was annoyed as he is “very anti-smoking”

    Read the whole article here

  13. Freedom says:

    So eloquently put. It reflects so well the hurt felt and damage caused.

    Non-smokers really don’t understand the significance of this vindictive legislation.

    I’ve often heard Simon comment that smokers have “adapted” – this always annoys me, I have never adapted and never will. I comply with the law because I don’t want to end up in jail.

    We must change the public perception about the supposed harm caused by SHS – then we have a chance of getting the public to think again.

    Keep up the good work…

  14. Radical Rodent says:

    A word if I may. I do not smoke. I have never smoked; indeed, I do not understand why anyone would want to smoke. If all the smokers in the world decided to stop smoking, I would be happy with them (however, the tobacco industry may not be so happy….).

    That said, I feel that if you want to smoke, then there should be nothing to stop you doing so (barring proper regard to safety). As the ban approached, I had my own misgivings about it; it seemed a bit too draconian, the heavy hand of The State imposing itself upon the individual. Why they could not adopt the idea of a separate smoking (or non-smoking) room seemed odd; perhaps it was considered too simple, and not sufficiently penalising for the “evil” smoker.

    My own idea is that anyone should be able to do or say as they so wish, so long as they do not impinge on the rights of others; to whit, a smoker should respect my right to fresh air, and not light up next to me, expecting me to quietly accept it.

    On a similar notion, Emma West should be returned to her home, all charges dropped and none pending, her life and family given back to her with and given the full and profuse apologies of The State. Similarly, that black woman uttering her anti-white diatribes (not racist, of course… oh no, no, no… definitely not racist – however, had it been a white woman with similar anti-black vitriol… well…) should also be allowed on her way without hindrance. We all have a right to our own opinions; we each have the right to express them. However, with rights come responsibilities, and one of our prime responsibilities is to ensure that no-one is criminalised for the non-violent expressing of their view. We let that idea slip, and it will not be long before we are all regarded as criminals, in one form or another.

    Radical Rodent

    • Frank Davis says:

      a smoker should respect my right to fresh air, and not light up next to me, expecting me to quietly accept it.

      I’m sure you’re a nice guy. But you’re the kind of person that I no longer want to know. Because I no longer have any time for people who can’t tolerate a little tobacco smoke.

    • nisakiman says:

      “… a smoker should respect my right to fresh air, and not light up next to me…”

      RR, I appreciate your degree of tolerance of smokers, and the fact that you see the blanket bans as intrinsically wrong, but as others have pointed out, what, exactly, is your right to fresh air? Do you stand in the middle of a busy street to stop all the traffic, demanding that they drive their vehicles somewhere away from you, because you have a “right to fresh air”? Do you tell your neighbours to extinguish their BBQ because you have a “right to fresh air”? Do you tell the farmer spreading slurry to desist, because you have a “right to fresh air”?

      RR, the “right to fresh air” is a meaningless mantra foisted upon a gullible populace by the anti-tobacco fanatics. There is no “right to fresh air”. Not for you, not for me, not for anybody. It’s a fact of life that some times in your life you are going to be downwind of a smell you don’t like.

      If I don’t like traffic fumes, I move out of the city. If I don’t like the smoke from my neighbour’s BBQ, I go inside and close the windows. If I don’t like the stench from the farmer’s slurry, I picnic elsewhere. I don’t demand my “right to fresh air”, because I have no such rights. I either tolerate it, or I move away from it. Simple as that. Because society is, or perhaps I should say should be based on the principle of “live and let live”.

    • Fredrik Eich says:

      Radical Rodent,
      I understand what you are saying but my attitude has alsways been that if you don’t like the fact that you can’t smoke in a restaurant then simply go to a restaurant where smoking is permitted. Before the blanket smoking ban, it was easy to avoid smokefree and smokefree areas by simply not going to them in the first place. The problem now is that it is impossible to avoid them (save staying at home). At no point when smokers were in the majority were laws passed banning any private places (such as pubs and restaurants) going smokefree or having non-smoking sections. That is the difference and I have yet to meet a smoker that thinks pubs and restaurants (etc) should be banned from going smoke-free.

  15. nisakiman says:

    I agree, Frank, that Simon, nice guy that he is, does not understand the situation. He approaches the issue from a Libertarian, academic point of view, and deplores the curtailment of people’s freedom to choose. I’m sure Forest saw his appointment as a bit of a coup; a non-smoker cannot be tarnished with the “nicotine addict” brush, and thus can perhaps carry more weight when debating with the Arnotts of this world.. However, this somewhat misses the point, because it in essence is endorsing the lie that is anti-smoking; that smokers can’t help themselves, and so must be helped by those who know better.

    More importantly, as you point out Frank, as a non-smoker he is basically unaffected by the bans. so for him it is a point of principle rather that a life-altering change. There is no fire in his belly about the situation; he is not incensed; he is not really angry. And that shows when he is debating the subject. I think he is quite passionate about the unfairness of it, and I think he does his best, but he is not angry, as we are. As such, he will never carry the argument. Not the way someone who has had their life destroyed will.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I agree. He’s a nice guy. But as you say, he comes at it all from a point of principle. And he’s quite passionate about that. And he does a good job too, climbing on TV and radio all the time.


  16. Margo says:

    i completely identify, Frank. Have been thinking: why does it matter so much? Then I thought of things that have in the past been made tolerable/even sometimes enjoyable by cigarettes:
    – large doses of other people (eg social gatherings)
    – hours of passive confinement (eg journeys in planes and trains, meetings)
    And things that are made easier/more fruitful by smoking:
    – creative work requiring concentration and focus
    – personal sorrow/sadness, loneliness, oppression and deprivation of all sorts, including hunger and thirst (why so many mentally ill or poor or homeless people smoke).
    Then I thought of the categories of smokers (only from my own observation):
    – creative people
    – loners
    – hedonists (they often drink and eat a lot, too; they like all the sensations)
    – givers and helpers (eg social workers, nurses – Freud’s ‘oral’ people, who are usually very nice but may tend towards landing themselves in low-paid ‘doormat’ situations).
    And I thought of the varying reactions I’ve observed to the smoking ban:
    – smokers who gave up, often quite easily (maybe they only ever smoked because everyone else did, and now they’ve given up for the same reason)
    – people who go on smoking but don’t complain or seem to mind the ban (I don’t understand them at all)
    – people who responded by going off and analysing the research for themselves, found it wanting, wondered what was behind it all, became increasingly angry and even less likely to give up smoking than they were before (I understand them completely – these are the independent-thinker group).
    For most of us our years of research have turned up all kinds of stuff – we’ve learnt masses about no end of things, including levels of corruption in high places we may have only suspected before but now we’re sure about. So we’ve lost our faith in all authority.
    Okay, it’s not a gulag (though they did have cigarettes, small rations of them – I looked it up) but it is true deprivation, because so many of the things we did before are just no longer enjoyable, and some of them aren’t tolerable. The world’s become more bland, like a garden with astroturf for grass and no flowers. And it’s all so bloody unnecessary.

  17. garyk30 says:

    “a smoker should respect my right to fresh air,”

    This is a very curious right that seems to only exist in the minds of the non-smokers and is quoted rather often!

    In the ten years, or more, that I have been looking into such things, I have never seen such a ‘right’ put forth in a law or govt edict.

    This right does not exist in any natural or God given context.

    Not to mention, what is ‘fresh air’?

    Smoke-free air contains all sorts of nasty toxins and unhealthy chemicals and is hardly clean or pure.

    Guaranteeing non-smokers ‘fresh air’ is the driving force behind bans; but, does little to provide toxin-free air.

    • chris says:

      And, as has already been pointed out, the “fresh air” they desire is air that has no tobacco smoke. Air full of auto exhaust and other pollutants is OK…

  18. johnnyrvf says:

    As a lurker I enjoy the subjects and perspectives Frank writes so eloquently about, I do not smoke and never have, but my wife does and when friends come around and ask to light up I not only stop those who out of politeness make the moves to go outside but make sure there is an ashtray on the table before they ask. I find the type of people who ban smoking in their homes to the detriment of their friends who smoke frankly insufferably ill mannered and wonder how they can consider themselves in any way polite, but many people ill educated in what society and human interactions require act in this way, seemingly believing that their false cultural majority position allows them to act and be without humility. As to SHS, I am an unashamed petrol head and on the shelves of my workshop are fuel additives so toxic that even a small spill on the skin will quite likely cause ill health; I LOVE the scent of tetraethel lead in the morning! the notion that a puff of un clop ( French slang for a cigarette ) is going to cause me or anyone else any harm could only be entertained by the mentally sub normal or the deranged………( and there are a lot of deranged people about ).

  19. harleyrider1978 says:

    3 ways RWJF violates ethics if not legal business practices

    1) Lobbying by a tax exempt organization

    RWJF, a tax exempt organization, has provided $446+ million to organizations and urged them to advocate for policy changes (lobby). Even as HHS inspector general has declared grants by tax exempt organizations used for lobbying is illegal.

    2) RWJF makes a profit from alternative nicotine products promoted by smoking ban lobbyists

    Robert Wood Johnson Foundation owns nearly a billion of dollars in Johnson & Johnson stock, (see p 7 hyperlink) J & J manufactures or owns Nicoderm, Nicotrol,Nicorette, Commit, etc. drugs which RWJF openly promotes once/while smoking bans are enacted. Furthermore, RWJF was started by Johnson & Johnson founderRobert Wood Johnson, so the separation between RWJF and J & J is virtually non-existent.

    3) Promotes idea that taxpayer funds (Medicare, Medicaid) should be used to pay for the alternative drugs that RWJF profits from

    This pamphlet by RWJF lobbyist American Lung Association (see last page of brochure) promotes the use of alternative nicotine products manufactured or owned by Johnson & Johnson, which as explained above, increases RWJFs financial assets.

    Finally, the reason RWJFs self serving smoking ban agenda needs to be stopped is that it has eliminated and destroyed hundreds of thousands of jobs as evidenced at following links:

  20. harleyrider1978 says:

    Frank it seems my post got eaten by the Bin Monster,could ya toss her out there folks may want to read it about RWJF.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Its from Mark Weinermont and he just got IRS to start an investigation into RWJF’s 501C3 non-profit status! Can we say WHISTLEBLOWER AWARD FOR MARK!!!

  21. harleyrider1978 says:

    German occupational health experts debunk passive smoking fraud
    Typical myths of the anti-smoking movement are the alleged dangers to hospitality staff by passive smoking and the claim by an Italian “scientist” that tobacco smoke leads to more toxins in the air than fumes from diesel engines.

    This propaganda was given a reality check by the German Berufsgenossenschaft Nahrungsmittel und Gaststätten (BGN), the Employer’s Liability Insurance Association for the Food and Hospitality Sector, a compulsory body for all companies in that area, controlled by trade unions and employers’ organizations alike.

  22. Greg Burrows says:

    Thank you Frank for putting into words what I and many others have suffered at this deviant social control, I will carry on fighting this because of the corrupt nature of the people involved with this.
    I will not rest, untill those who have brought this injustice, using half truths and lies to account, some of these people running NGO’s are the scum of the earth and the people who gave them the power also are, untill we get back an honest agenda and eradicate these people we have no hope, it is the fabric of this country that has been destroyed, that is worth fighting for.

  23. Greg Burrows says:

    Margo said “For most of us our years of research have turned up all kinds of stuff – we’ve learnt masses about no end of things, including levels of corruption in high places we may have only suspected before but now we’re sure about. So we’ve lost our faith in all authority.”
    Correct Margo I have learned that the corruption is endemic in our elite, to stop the truth getting out that SHS is not significantly harmful, the authority has made sure that many thousands have had to be corrupted to follow their tyranny, where does this end, we have turned into a despotism.

  24. Greg Burrows says:

    A good link here on despotism, maybe 1946 but is more relevent today than ever. Watch

  25. Pingback: Obesity Control | Frank Davis

  26. Appears like they experienced a lot better results than the Occupiers. It’s a great idea. Let’s follow the Russians’ lead.

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