The ISIS social impact survey is now moving into its data analysis phase. Though there are still more results to be added.
I spent a while this evening entering Walt’s completed questionnaires, which he has emailed me, since he was having trouble entering them at the ISIS website. Oddly enough, I experienced the same problem he had, which was the screen getting filled by an error message. It turned out that it was caused by having a single quote in one of the fields (as in people’s homes). Removing that resulted in the error message not being displayed.
And it didn’t take long to do Walt’s 25 completed questionnaires, largely because I could lift whole blocks of text and copy them straight over. In the next few days I’ll do Dogstokes’ 35 or so completed questionnaires, which he mailed to me. I’m hoping for a dozen or so by mail from Iro Cyr. And that Leg-iron finds the ones he’s got scattered around his house.
We’re looking at a bit over 350 responses in total, including 40 or so received online. I was hoping we’d get something like 1000 responses, but of our 20 or so initial volunteer pollsters, 8 more or less dropped out for one reason or other, so we had a “labour force” of about half the size we started with.
The main body of responses is from USA, Britain, and Germany. But there are some from Greece and Spain and Canada and Holland too.
The database is available to download from the ISIS site by registered pollsters in comma or semi-colon delimited text. These are, I believe, suitable for spreadsheets. So if any of the pollsters wants to fool around with them, they’re welcome to do so. I don’t have a spreadsheet (maybe there are free ones online?), so I’ll adapt a Java programme I’ve written to read in the data, and total things up, and maybe draw some tables and graphs.
The main thing now is to figure out what it all means. Looking at Walt’s NYC data this evening, it seemed to me that it was much the same as my own English numbers. Some smokers were hardly affected at all by smoking bans, and some people were affected a lot. Nobody said they actually liked smoking bans, although one or two thought they helped cut their smoking.
What also needs discussing is what’s to be done with the survey once the analysis is done and the conclusions drawn. We’ll probably be trying to get some media attention. I have my doubts that we’ll get very far in an ASH-dominated media environment. The ISIS study is almost certain to be roundly trashed. But we can try.
I think that soon it would be a good idea for interested pollsters to get together with me on the invite-only Social Impact Survey blog/forum to share some thoughts. That forum has been pretty inactive for months.
And there are other surveys we can consider doing. Now that we have an online survey working, we can do more, asking more different, detailed questions.
For myself, the ISIS survey has been about me wanting to find out how other smokers have been affected by smoking bans. Did they welcome them? Were they not much bothered by them? Were they severely impacted (like me)? The answer looks like it ranges from Not Bothered to Severely Impacted, and (judging from comments on the questionnaires) there are a lot of angry smokers out there.
And this is kinda good news for anyone looking to raise a global army of smokers. The necessary anger is out there. It’s just being stifled and hidden by media inattention.
I think the next stage may be to try and unite these angry smokers all over the world. Because that seems to be the most important thing, if Tobacco Control is to be defeated and destroyed. This is already happening online. But there are lots of smokers who aren’t online. How do we reach them? How do we teach them that there are a lot of angry smokers just like them all around the world? Is there a task that we can give them to do? And how can we do this with next to no money at all?
My first thought tonight about this is that there should be something printed up, giving advice, encouragement, website addresses, email addresses, maybe even box numbers and telephone numbers, and just littered everywhere. In pubs, in cafes, in restaurants, in trains, in buses, in waiting rooms, anywhere. Maybe it would have “Hey Smoker!” in red letters on it. And part of the advice to anyone finding it would be to reprint it and scatter it. And that would give them something useful to do. And if that happened not just in Britain, but also the USA and Europe, the message would gradually percolate outwards.
Maybe small ads in newspapers could do the same. Ideally we’d take out full page ads in newspapers, but that would probably be far too expensive.
Those were just some instant ideas.
For the army is out there. Angry smokers just need to find out that they’re not alone, and that there’s a huge, angry swarm of them already. They just need to hook up with them.
It’s something that’s going to grow exponentially. First 1 person, then 2, then 4, 8, 16, 32 and so on. It already is. We’re probably already up in the thousands already. Soon it will be tens of thousands, and then hundreds of thousands, and so on up.
And they will be invincible.