Isis Update

The Isis International Social Impact Survey now has about 410 completed questionnaires in its database, and we’re probably not going to get much more, and so I’ve started thinking about analysing the results.

So today I wrote a bit of Java to read and process the data. I was thinking of using a spreadsheet program to do this, but decided in the end that doing it with Java gave me more options.

I’ve already looked pretty closely at my own set of 40 or so completed questionnaires, and they have an interesting story to tell. And it’s that more or less all smokers have experienced negative impacts from the smoking ban: nobody is reporting positive effects. For about a third of respondents, the ban has had little or no effect. For another third the ban has had moderate negative impacts. And for the last third, the ban has had severe negative impacts.

The latter is much more than I expected. For the past few years I’ve been guessing that about 10% of smokers had been severely impacted, but in my personal survey it looks more like over 30% – three times what I expected.

And what I’ve also been seeing is predominantly negative impacts in respect of pubs. Most people have ticked that particular box.

Quite whether the same goes for the other surveys is something that I’ll be finding out very soon. But from what I’ve seen of them so far, a similar picture is emerging from them too.

There’s also the comments that people have made. Some people have been quite vocal, and most of what they say isn’t very complimentary about bans.

And since the survey has been conducted in several countries, it’ll be interesting to see if any differences emerge. But from a cursory look at the responses from different, it doesn’t seem like there’s very much difference between smokers in different countries.

It’ll also be interesting to see what non-smokers’ responses to the ban has been. My own personal survey only included one non-smoker, and he didn’t like smoking bans at all. I’d expect other non-smokers to be rather more supportive of bans than he was, but we’ll see.

I don’t think there’s going to be much need for much in the way of mathematical analysis. Opinion polls of this sort aren’t scientific. At best they can only produce a hazy picture.

Apart from plotting a few graphs or pie charts, what I hope to do is to read all the completed questionnaires, and try to get a sense of the overall picture.

But the Isis survey looks set to paint a much darker picture of the effect of smoking bans than the one painted by Tobacco Control, which is of smoking bans having no negative impacts, and being both popular and successful.

What will Tobacco Control’s response to the Isis survey be likely to be? They’ll probably ignore it, and get their friends in the media to ignore it too. And if they can’t ignore it, they’ll set out to trash it, most likely as “amateur” and the work of a “front group for Big Tobacco”.

But, if that happens, the news of the Isis study will spread on the internet, and it’ll start getting cited by smokers and their allies. It’ll probably be at this point that Tobacco Control will hit back.

But regardless of what Tobacco Control may think, the Isis survey should give smokers a better idea of how other smokers have been affected by smoking bans. They’ll gain something of a better picture than the one they’ve drawn from their own personal experience, which (apart from Tobacco Control’s media whitewash) is all they’ve got to work with.

It may also stimulate further surveys. There are a lot more questions that smokers can be asked. And perhaps a new set of questions will come out of it.

It’s December now, and I don’t expect that I’ll produce anything before Christmas. I’m hoping there’ll be some discussions over on the Social Impact Survey blog. But sometime in the New Year I expect to see a report taking shape with a few bullet point conclusions.

About Frank Davis

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10 Responses to Isis Update

  1. Wiel Maessen says:

    Try, Frank. It can read the downloaded CSV and analyse it…

    • Wiel Maessen says:

      I even made it easier for you. I converted the CSV file to this packages’ database format and sent it to you by email.

      • Frank Davis says:

        I downloaded Gnumeric some time ago at the suggestion of Smoking Scot, and got it to work with the Isis data. But I never use spreadsheets, and I am unfamiliar with their capabilities. And that means that if there is something I want to do (like walt’s suggestion below), I won’t know how to do it using Gnumeric. But I am quite familiar with Java, and it will be much easier for me to write the code to do what I want in that manner.

        What I may do, however, is to use Gnumeric to create tables, graphs, pie charts, etc, from datafiles I have created in Java, beause that would be a bit of a chore in Java.

  2. waltc says:

    It’ll be very interesting to see the % breakdown (not bothered/ bothered a lot) by country. Maybe reflecting the national character? Or at least giving a clue as to where the revolution might actually begin.

  3. harleyrider1978 says:

    Tax hitmen to track your spending
    Up to two million people are to have their credit files secretly checked under a crackdown on tax evasion to be unveiled by George Osborne to help raise another £10 billion.

    Credit reference agencies will cross-check details of the income people declare on their tax returns against their spending patterns to identify “high” and “medium” risks of both illegal and legal tax avoidance.

    People identified to HM Revenue and Customs will then be subject to more detailed investigations. About two million people are expected to be scrutinised under the programme, which may lead to privacy concerns.

    HMRC will today unveil the “successful” results of a pilot programme involving about 20,000 people which will now be extended nationally.

    Many of those who are expected to be identified are likely to be self-employed workers who have under-declared their income to the authorities.

    However, those who have benefited from secret windfalls – such as an inheritance or a bonus – and people with secret offshore accounts could also be highlighted.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      The above shows just how desperate the UK government has become. Its even more of a showing to just how bad it is in dwindling revenues. Its also an excellent opportunity in the long run for smokers as economics can force the hand of government to give up its Inquisition against smokers for the sake of enforcement costs,blackmarket revenues losses,the costs of taxpayer funded groups like ASH that produce ”nothing” for the revenue dept. Shuttered Pubs,Bingo Halls etc…………As we can see the government would rather shake down its ”PRODUCERS” than cut back their desire to socially destroy us all and its ever increasing social welfare costs. The day comes when finally the government will have to come to terms with reality! Then we win……….

  4. Dave says:

    I went on Danny Alexander MP
    Chief Secretary to the Treasurys website

    Pressed the butoon on left
    “Make a Donation”

    and paid 9 [nine] pence into his account using PayPal.

    I urge everyone to send tuppence to Danny.

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    Duke and Duchess of Cambridge expecting a baby

    LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince William and his wife Catherine are expecting a baby, destined to be the country’s future monarch, the prince’s office said on Monday. “Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby,” the office said in a statement. “The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry and members of both families are delighted with the news. …t

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