Grieshaber on the Tobacco Products Directive

In a comment a couple of days ago, Brigitte drew attention to Professor Romano Grieshaber, whom I’ve mentioned several times in the past. Grieshaber was effectively working for Tobacco Control [see note 1 at bottom] until he retired and started speaking out against it. [see note 2] He has recently written in protest against the EU’s proposed Tobacco Products Directive. He wrote (translation courtesy of Brigitte):

In recent years, indeed, changes were serially made ​which were intended, and in any case had the practical effect, of smokers being made step by step more and more socially contemptible and letting them feel this contempt. This [social denormalisation of smokers] begins with school education (where children are taught that they are not only not to smoke, but that they should abhor smoking adults – which leads to, of course, that they react adversely to smokers) and does not end with old people’s homes where the right to be allowed to smoke in many old people’s homes stands and falls with their [residents] own ability to hobble to the door. You can provide such measures with the even most innocent-sounding names, yet those who are affected by it, understand quite right, as what it is actually meant, namely as – undeserved – punishment.

I’ve said myself several times that smokers are being punished. It’s good to know that a non-smoker from “the other side” also sees it as punishment.

Grieshaber also thinks that it won’t work (Google translation):

I am convinced with absolute certainty that tobacco control through humiliation, verbal abuse, threats, and punishment of smokers, will prove socially and politically counter-productive.

I agree, of course. It’s bound to fail. ‘Counter-productive’ is perhaps a bit of an understatement.

It is an absurd notion to use horror images to convey “consumer information”. These images do not convey information, but emotions, and these emotions are: fear, disgust, anger. The EU was founded to relieve those emotions over former opponents of the war, which had also been deliberately created once and again rekindled. Whoever thinks it is healthy for a community to now produce such emotions in relation to another group, which is easily done, sooner or later faces a rude awakening.

Indeed, it’s disgusting to see fear, disgust, and anger once again being kindled against a social group. We all know who did that. Unfortunately, whatever its original purposes, the EU now promotes such fear and disgust and anger.

Is it actually perceived in Brussels that EU-skepticism is increasing in Europe? The Tobacco Products Directive and its possible consequences may look harmless in comparison to the possible consequences of the debt crisis and its impact on people’s attitudes to the European Union. Nevertheless, it may be the straw that breaks the donkey’s back, if only because it is perceived as  patronizing of the EU by a growing number of people, in whose eyes it has become intolerable, so that every new regulation is perceived as harassment…

This is perceptive of Grieshaber. I don’t know whether the Tobacco Products Directive will be the last straw, but why should any European smoker welcome the EU when smokers are already not welcome in the EU?

That is, after all, exactly how I feel: The EU doesn’t want me – and I don’t want the EU.

The EU declared war on smokers years ago. And yet some 30% of the adult population of Europe are smokers. That’s one hell of a lot of people for EU bureaucrats to make enemies of. And these days it’s pretty much my principal reason for thinking that the EU is bound to fail. Grieshaber may have it the wrong way round: Debts can be written off with the stroke of a pen, but the kind of animosities that are aroused by undeserved, unjust punishment are likely to last for a very long time.

Because I for one am never going to forgive the filth that started this war on smokers. I’m never going to forgive the antismoking zealots and their enabling politicians and pundits. There isn’t anything they can ever do now to regain my respect. There’s no way back. The boats have been burnt. And I suspect that more and more smokers feel the same way that I do.


1: There’s disagreement from my German readers about this.

2: There’s disagreement from my German readers about this too.

3: You make up your own minds about it. But I suppose the way that I see it is that anyone who goes looking for health risks associated with tobacco is following the footsteps of Tobacco Control into a very dark forest. Fortunately, Grieshaber found his way back out before he got completely lost. Most people don’t.

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49 Responses to Grieshaber on the Tobacco Products Directive

  1. Reinhold says:

    “Grieshaber was effectively working for Tobacco Control until he retired and started speaking out against it.”

    No, Frank, Grieshaber never worked for TC.

    • Frank Davis says:

      You know more about it than I do, but he did research on passive smoking:

      “The question ‘Is passive smoking injurious to health?’ is commonly regarded as having already been unequivocally answered. I, however, did not find any such unequivocal answer in my prevention investigation.”

      For several years he focused on studies of passive smoke exposure in restaurants and the discussion of hypotheses which have become the basis of the nonsmoking protection legislation.

      If he was doing a “prevention investigation” into passive smoking, he was doing the same sort of research as Tobacco Control does. That he found no “unequivocal answer” means that he was honest about his results. But he only seems to have become highly vocal since he retired.

      In what way am I mistaken?

      • Reinhold says:

        But he only seems to have become highly vocal since he retired.

        That’s absolutely right.

        If he was doing a “prevention investigation” into passive smoking, he was doing the same sort of research as Tobacco Control does.

        Maybe, but not as one of them, but separately, with a different and independent group, and coming to very different results, as you pointed out yourself.

        He did that research, of course, because it was politically stated that exposure to tobacco smoke would cause this and that, especially occupational diseases for waiters. He found out that it doesn’t, and was persecuted therefore during his active time over and over again, and: silenced, yes.
        … Until he retired. Yesyes.

        • Frank Davis says:

          So, but for the fact that he eventually spoke out, would he not have been indistinguishable from the other researchers?

          Is he not rather like Dr Michael Siegel, who did much the same – with the difference that Michael Siegel believes that passive smoking may well have killed 200 waiters, while Romano Grieshaber does not?

        • smokervoter says:

          Michael Siegel believes that passive smoking may well have killed 200 waiters

          Is that figure annual, cumulatively? Worldwide, USA? Was he personally involved in the study ?

          I don’t get over to his website much, the comments don’t work without a bunch of machinations that I’m not inclined to bother with.

        • Frank Davis says:

          It was his own study, conducted somewhere in the USA. I think the 200 figure was the total deaths among waiters.

        • Rose says:

          Involuntary Smoking in the Restaurant Workplace
          A Review of Employee Exposure and Health Effects
          http: //

          Involuntary Smoking in the Restaurant Workplace

          Click to access Sqvq39e00.pdf

          c. Martha Perske, 2000

        • smokervoter says:

          To maybe answer my own question, it seems to be cumulative and over a 16 year period and from 400 restaurants in the USA. He studied other peoples studies.

          I’m no Junican at perusing scientific papers. They all seem to suffer from a severe lack of clarity and a tendency to hop all over the place with comparisons and conclusions to my feeble mind.

          I also found find this quote from the NYCLASH webpage.

          “Siegel claimed his research shows bartenders who do not smoke themselves inhale the equivalent of one-and-one-half or more packs of cigarettes a day and that ‘220 bartenders working in the state today, if they continue to work for 40 years, are going to die from their exposure.'”

          In fact there’s quite a critique of Dr. Siegel and his studies to be found there.

          Nobody tears the tobacco prohibitionists A New One quite like Audrey Silk & Co.

        • beobrigitte says:

          So, but for the fact that he eventually spoke out, would he not have been indistinguishable from the other researchers?

          Is he not rather like Dr Michael Siegel, who did much the same – with the difference that Michael Siegel believes that passive smoking may well have killed 200 waiters, while Romano Grieshaber does not?

          No, Prof. Grieshaber is nothing like Dr. Siegel.
          Dr. Siegel was a very active anti-smoker (I believe his “expert opinion” in court landed the tobacco industry with a hefty fine) who simply fell out with the anti-smokers, when their lies became too stupid. Perhaps Dr. Siegel feared what is well on the way – lack of scientific integration and with that the ridicule of science.

          Prof. Grieshaber on the other hand was never an anti-smoker. His studies did not conclude in favour of tobacco control and when he presented his results he was being silenced. In his book “Goetterdaemmerung der Wissenschaft” Prof. Grieshaber describes this – as well as the treatment delegates from the tobacco industry received.

          The only thing both have in common is that they are non-smokers.

          (Anybody, please correct me if I’m wrong)

      • Mia Holl says:


        Prof. Grieshaber was head of the prevention department of the Berufsgenossenschaft Nahrungsmittel und Gastgewerbe (BGN), that means: “employers’ liability insurance association”. They did resarch to prevent occupational diseases, not to build Potemkin Villages. They found out, much to their own surprise, that according to the notifications of illness waiters had ho higher risk for the so called tobacco-related diseases, and in lung cancer they were even under average.

        You had no chance to notice it, but it is not true, that he didn’t speak out before his retirement. He did as early as 2007, but the media ignored it completely. He tried at least three times with press releases of the BGN until 2009. After that it became silent until his retirement in 2011, when he started to write his book. The BGN was (and probably still is) under heavy pressure from the antismoking mob that accused them of the promotion the lies of Big Tobacco and even made an unsuccessful attempt to get Prof. Grieshaber fired, and I think at that point in 2009 it seemed reasonable to wait the short time until retirement.

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    The EU declared war on smokers years ago. And yet some 30% of the adult population of Europe are smokers.

    Greek Prime Ministr Antonis Samaras with President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy

    (With photo) BRUSSELS, Sept 17 (KUNA) — Greek Prime Ministr Antonis Samaras Tuesday held seprate meetings with top European Union leaders to discuss plans for the EU presidency which Greece would assume from 1st January.
    Samaras’s meeting with President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Parliament Marticn Schulz and the President of the European Commission Jopse Manuel Barroso, touched upon developments in the Greek economy and the EU’s financial assistance programme to Athens.
    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Barroso said “I assured Prime Minister Samaras of the Commission’s support in the run-up to and during the Greek Presidency, in what will be the fifth time that Greece takes this very important leadership position.
    “The Greek presidency will play an important role in ensuring that key legislative files are taken forward in the Council in the first crucial six months of 2014,” he noted.
    On his part, Samaras said “there is no more talk about the Greeks exit (from the euro) and our recovery is considered imminent from next year. Job creation and the return to long term sustainable growth is obviously our top priority. And Greece’s come back will be signalled and underlined under the Greek Presidency.” (end) KUNA 172357 Sep 13NNNN

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Greek Lawmakers Complain as Parliamentary Smoking Ban Is Flouted

      By Antonis Galanopoulos – Feb 7, 2013 11:32 AM CT .

      Facebook Share
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      Greek lawmakers demanded action be taken to stop colleagues from breaking a law banning smoking in Parliament, saying failure to do so undermines public faith in the legal system.

      “This image being presented by Parliament of lawmakers being indifferent to the laws they themselves vote for and even worse violating them by smoking everywhere has to be reversed,” lawmakers said in a statement accompanying a letter addressed to Parliament speaker Evangelos Meimarakis. The letter was signed by 88 of Greece’s 300 members of Parliament.

      Greece has repeatedly failed to implement laws banning smoking, including the latest legislation that prohibited puffing in all enclosed public and private workplaces that was passed in 2010.

      “There is no respect for the law or the health problems some non-smokers face,” lawmakers including former Health Minister Andreas Loverdos said in the letter, according to an e- mailed copy.

      Signatures came from the parties that support Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s coalition government, New Democracy, Pasok and Democratic Left, as well as the main opposition Syriza party and independent lawmakers.

  3. harleyrider1978 says:

    Any recovery for Greece means 100s of Billions of Euro’s in loan guarantees,it doesn’t mean theres work or even a possibility of improvement for the local unemployed Greek which Now stands at about 30-50% unemployment last I looked

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    Nightlight Noctiluca The article only mentions nearly double survival in smokers. The research paper has even more dramatic effect of smoking:

    3.54 times more smokers come out without brain damage after the recovery from heart attack (“good neurological outcome”):…/abstract

    This is due to several well known protective effects of tobacco smoke:

    1) Low dose Carbon Monoxide from tobacco smoke exercises cells conditioning them to become resilient to hypoxic signaling and conditions (these occur during heart attack)

    2) Nicotine stimulates growth and branching of blood vessels in lungs, heart and brain (it is even used for heart medication as a drug alternative to bypass)

    3) Nicotine and Carbon Monoxide block apoptotic signaling and suppress apopotisis (cell suicide under stress)

    4) Low dose Nitric Oxide acts as vasodilator and stimulant of circulation (e.g. used by body builders; heart patients get it via nitroglycerine; generated also by Viagra)

    A History of Smoking is Associated with Improved Survival in Patients Treated with Mild…

    Resuscitation, Volume null, Issue null, Pages null, null, Authors:Jeremy S. Pollock; Ryan D. Hollenbeck; Li Wang; David R. Janz; Todd W. Rice; John A. McPherso

  5. ijcd36 says:

    I think you should all look at the demonization of smokers in a broader context.

    Mothers used to be the most revered and respected group in society. It is after all the most challenging of ‘careers’. Feminists have reduced it to drudgery.

    Family doctors also used to be a revered and respected group in society. Then in 1967 the Metropolitan Police, on the instructions of Roy Jenkins the Home Secretary of the day, started harassing them for parking safely but illegally outside patients they were visiting, their own homes and their surgeries even though they had a 24 hour responsibility for their patients. Then increasing manipulation of their Terms & Conditions of Service since 1969 has reduced them to a bunch of bossy body technicians commanding little respect.

    The Church never commanded much respect after the Great War. It was seen as the Conservative Party at prayer! Then in the ’70s the Archbishop of Canterbury took on an ‘advisor in left wing affairs’. I knew him and could name him. The next thing we know is debates about women priests and bishops and so-called ‘gay’ clergy that have split the Anglican Church in two.

    Then there is professionalism. There used to be two kinds. On the one hand is the ‘professionalism’ of the footballer who knows all the dirty tricks in the book and how to play them without being caught. On the other hand there was the professionalism of the doctor, lawyer, teacher or banker where integrity was paramount. For example, good doctors never mentioned words like heart disease, blood pressure, or cancer unless it was absolutely certain it lay at the root of a problem. This was to avoid generating hypochondriacal fears requiring expensive tests and repeated consultations to reassure the patient. It was considered unethical to ignore this reality. Nowadays the professionalism of the footballer reigns and has brought health, education, justice and capitalism to its knees.

    I have observed that the Cold War was actually fought on two fronts, military and psychological and that the psychological aspect of the Cold War has been overlooked. See ‘Psychological Cold War’ at:

    Much is made of democracy. It used to mean government of the people, by the people for the people. Now it means government by the majority for the majority and the suppression of fashionably disagreeable minorities such as smokers.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I think we do see the demonisation of smokers in a wider context. For example I frequently connect it with the demonisation of carbon dioxide, which is very similar.

      I tend not to see it in terms of the Cold War, because I tend to think that this ended with the disintegration of the Soviet Union (although I suspect you might disagree). But since the EU seems to be in process of becoming a new version of the Soviet Union, we are effectively facing the same problem anyway.

      • ijcd36 says:

        Yes! I disagree because the philosophical aspect of the Cold War together with its psychological sequelae is no longer necessary. It has successfully insinuated itself into every aspect of the philosophy of the whole world. It is the Socialist Empire on which the sun now never sets. Socialism has conquered the world.

        Does it not seem to you strange that the hostility to tobacco has been taken up so avidly worldwide not just America, Europe and Britain? The ‘gay marriage’ issue is another case in point. Marriage used to provide a legal and spiritual foundation for raising a family. It has nothing whatsoever to do with same gender relationships. And yet we even find the concept of ‘gay marriage’ embraced by Cameron and the Conservative Party. Who does the ‘gay community’ think it is other than the largest, wealthiest, and also it would seem, the most decadent minority in society? Having criticised with a derogatory word, no doubt I can now be accused of ‘homophobia’. So much for sticking my neck out and joining those who lobbied Parliament for a change in the law in 1967.

        Big Brother is not on his way. He has already arrived. I think it is time everyone stopped arguing about smoking, gay marriage, women bishops, etc, and started thinking about how to see him off.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Mothers used to be the most revered and respected group in society. It is after all the most challenging of ‘careers’. Feminists have reduced it to drudgery.

      Whilst I do have one or two problems with feminists, I do not blame them for mothers working full time. Even nowadays quite a number of women would chose to stay at home with the children, unfortunately the cost of living state independent no longer allows for that.
      Then there are mothers who become the sole breadwinner of the family. They just have to get on with two full time jobs then.

      • ijcd36 says:

        I realise that some mothers have to cope with difficult circumstances and do not wish to get embroiled in an argument on the subject.

        However, many men are getting very cheesed off with bossy domestic dropouts.

      • beobrigitte says:

        I realise that some mothers have to cope with difficult circumstances and do not wish to get embroiled in an argument on the subject.

        Quite on the contrary!
        The stay-at-home mothers nowadays will have a new problem in the future; the Lib/Con government came recently up with a new idea: If your spouse dies, you will no longer get his/her pension and you will have to rely on your own. Tough sh*t when you were a wife staying at home with the children. It’s state pennies for them and in Winter you have the option of either keeping warm or eating.
        Thank god I did 3 full-time jobs (University, Job + mother) and 1 part-time (24 hrs nightshift in an EMI resthome) for quite some time. My OWN pension is assured!

        However, many men are getting very cheesed off with bossy domestic dropouts.
        I have no doubts about that! Are you aware of how many women are cheesed off with controlling, non-contributing partners/husbands?

        • margo says:

          Well said, Beobrigitte. ijcd36 has got it the wrong way round, I think: feminism was a reaction to thousands of years of oppression for women, particularly mothers. Revered and respected? Hah! Owned lock stock and barrel by their husbands (if they had them), good or bad, with no say in how society was run. Even their children belonged to the husbands.

        • ijcd36 says:

          Oh dear! I am sorry! I am not really into boiling blood if I can avoid it!

          I totally disapprove of the notion of depriving wives of their husband’s pension if he dies. But that is typical of the anti-maternal ethos of our times that lies at the root of our social and domestic problems.

          If you think I am rather thick, you are perfectly right. I devoted my life to studying the problems of general medical practice and have not been paid for over 40 years – no wife – no family – etc, etc, and so forth. Like I said, the ethos of the times!

          You might be interested in a recent blog:

          I would certainly value your opinion if you have time to look through it.

        • beobrigitte says:

          Oh dear! I am sorry! I am not really into boiling blood if I can avoid it!

          No worries, no boiling blood. Just a statement of facts.

          If you think I am rather thick, you are perfectly right.

          Quite on the contrary!

          I devoted my life to studying the problems of general medical practice and have not been paid for over 40 years – no wife – no family – etc, etc, and so forth. Like I said, the ethos of the times!

          You, as I, will definitely have an OWN pension to look forward to and both of us can keep ourselves warm AND eat at the same time.
          In many ways you might regret not having the warmth that children well turned out bring – and their drop in visits!!!! (Considering the different continents 2 live on it is just wonderful to be surprised!!!)
          And, before you ask; my children’s father does play an equal role in our children’s life. He may be lousy husband material, but he is a good father. Nevertheless, there are things no-one should be expected to put up with. That’s why I will have my OWN pension to look forward to. Would I do it again? YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • ijcd36 says:

          Pension! What pension?
          Thank you girls for putting all that in writing.

        • beobrigitte says:

          Revered and respected? Hah! Owned lock stock and barrel by their husbands (if they had them), good or bad, with no say in how society was run.

          To say how society was run wasn’t an issue; most women had some arsehole excuse of a man who was pre-occupied with his (?flaccid) dick trying to exert control over what was of no worth to them. All these women needed was a ticket to do it alone. And when it was provided, a lot of them did.

          (Apologies to all males, it’s only a joke!!) ;
          Men are like the old-fashioned light switches; the little lever goes up and the lights go out……..

        • beobrigitte says:

          Pension! What pension?

          Just don’t tell me you forgot to pay into a private pension fund……..

          Oh dear…………………………

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    The Other Side Of Anti-Tobacco Campaign

    When people suddenly emerge as apostles of anti-this and anti-that, we often assume they must be altruistic in intention. We do take it for granted that they must mean well simply because they appear to be speaking well. However, in most cases such people are not being driven by any altruistic motive. At a closer look, the ulterior motive which is their primary motivation becomes obvious. Children and women are common motifs in their campaigns but in the long run it becomes clear that they (the campaigners) just use them (children and women) as a means to the end the campaigners seek to achieve, not the very end. Those on whose behalf they claim to fight often end up being the very victims of the campaigns. Hence, the need to examine the ugly significations of anti-tobacco campaign woven around children right to a good future.

    For quite a while, there has been a crusade in Nigeria against tobacco as it is in most parts of the world. Many countries in Europe have already banned the use of tobacco products in public places. Some African countries have also done the same. Nigeria too must not be left out of the global campaign against the use of tobacco as there is much at stake than mere tobacco. (Obama’s threat to withdraw the US support to Nigeria for not recognising the right of gay people in the country shows clearly that there is more to such global campaigns than what the parties bring to the public space.) Presently, two bills are under deliberations in the legislative arm of government pursuing the intents of some anti-tobacco NGOs. One of such bills, the National Tobacco Control Bill, failed in 2009 when President Goodluck Jonathan refused to sign it. From World Health Organisation (WHO) to local NGOs, the cry is “ban tobacco advertising to protect young people” and “Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids.” Push for legislation against tobacco products production and advertising is considered the most effective way for protecting young people and achieving a future for them. However, the way legislation is used in Nigeria assures beyond doubt that in the long run the anti-tobacco campaigns in Nigeria may be found to have nothing to do with protecting young children.

    What in Nigeria has legislation ever changed in favour of the masses? Noise for legislation does not start with anti-tobacco movements. For well over a decade there was the cry of Freedom of Information Bill. Then, the promoters of the Bill created through the power of the mass media a utopian Nigeria where information will become accessible on demand to any interested party. However, since the Bill became an Act, nothing significant has changed. Government and other official activities are still executed on the basis of official secrecy. Journalists still have to rely on what political office holders tell them as they have no better alternative in practical terms. Journalists and media houses have recently been victims of government hostility the barbaric way it was in the military era. It is interesting to know that it is the government that signed the FOI Bill into law that has attempted to gag the press through crude brutality. That stands as a testimony against the intention of those who were at the forefront of the campaign for FOI Act, showing that their goal was purely political and nothing more. If not, where is the campaign for implementation? What does a sound-minded Nigerian make out of that? There is much noise around an idea that sells, and this is an established principle in the politics of funding NGOs.

    In like manner, the Petroleum Industry Bill also has raised dust for years. A heated argument in all sections of the country attends the issues it raises. The legendary Occupy Nigeria was indeed a brave attempt by Nigerians at calling the Federal Government to give its decision on oil matters human face. Isn’t the Bill already a stillborn? From the National Assembly where it started to fuel pumps around the country, it is still the same story of corruption. We can guess whose interest it is the proponents of the Bill are serving. That does not mean the opponents mean any good either. What about the deregulation of the oil sector of the economy? President Goodluck Jonathan introduced it as the only hope for reviving the economy of the country. (I still buy a litre of kerosene for N150 up till today. It is even worse in some places.) Yes, it is still partially deregulated. The point is, if partial deregulation has not been able to change the landscape in any significant manner, the potency of full deregulation in doing any better is doubtful. Some may consider SURE-P a valid point for deregulation. I simply ask such people to tell me where our annual infrastructure budget goes and what is left for SURE-P to do if budgetary allocation is responsibly utilised.

    So, why do some Nigerians still make noise about regulation and legislation their legitimate business? The answers are not shrouded in any obscurity. There are legislators and they must legislate. There are NGOs and they must serve the interests of their funding bodies. If truly the WHO and all these NGOs care about the youths, things that are more imperative should be their primary preoccupation. One of such matters is education. Up till today, beyond primary school education is not a right in Nigeria and we don’t have NGOs campaigning against the reign of ignorance and the passivity of government in addressing it. This may be because ignorant people are easy to rule. ASUU has been on strike for two months and concerned NGOs who are in the business of securing a future for Nigerian kids have not seen the cause of ASUU a worthwhile and urgent one. There is a fault in their logic: when sticks of cigarette are taken away from the view of our children, life becomes better for them and their future becomes assured. This shows nothing but trivialisation of the youths themselves and of the myriad of problems that threaten their future.

    If these people’s interest in the youths is sincere, let them sponsor bills that will address in realistic ways the problem of unemployment in Nigeria. An embarrassing experimentation is going on with entrepreneurial training in various higher institutions of learning across the country. There are programmes designed for practical skill acquisition alongside curricular activities. Those programmes have been celebrated as laudable attempts at solving the problem of graduate unemployment in the country. However, polytechnic and university lecturers and professors alongside the entire nation ought to mourn that development rather than celebrate. In the name of acquiring practical entrepreneurial skills, teacher education students could learn tailoring and pharmacy students shoemaking. The point we are making is that those courses do not have practical relevance. Why then should students invest their time and resources in education when it cannot equip them with practical skills that can make them self-sustaining later in life? Isn’t it better to learn such skills for a year or two with full concentration than with extra luggage of curricular activities? In a sense, higher education in Nigeria is becoming relevant only for the certificates.

    Government may ban tobacco products adverts but keep playing around more serious societal problems such as official corruption that has become a defining attribute of the country in international relations. The very problems that threaten the future of our children will remain yet unsolved. All this noise reflects a conspiracy in high places against common people. They do all these to distract us from the bitter realities of the fact that the country does not appear to have any interest in its youths beyond selfish political interest. NGOs and activists at the forefront of these campaigns are not doing them for gratis. Their funding comes from somewhere. They dare not tell the public, in the spirit of Freedom of Information, how much they have spent lobbying for the passage of the bill in the National Assembly and the implications of the campaigns for the seriously fractured Nigerian economy.

    The World Health Organisation claims that tobacco kills up to half its users. Such claim is meaningless to an average Nigerian youth who since childhood has lived among people who smoke and is yet to see most of them fall dead. In principle such claims are just like the myths and taboos parents do tell their children when they are young. Children do grow up to a point where they doubt the authenticity of such claims and attempt the forbidden. Once they find out they are not true, children do become caught up in the habit of acting in defiance to those myths and taboos, even when they really don’t have to. Thus, what was intended to be deterrents end up being motivations. A friend once said that when he was in medical school, the common practice was if you cannot remember anything about the causes of some diseases, just write “smoking and drinking.” That reveals the degree of mystification around the use of tobacco products, even among those who are supposed to know better. One problem with mystification is that it is often counter-productive. When young people eventually find out that the claims made against tobacco are both unreasonable and unsubstantiated, nothing will be able to hold them back when they venture into its use.

    Laws may be made against tobacco advertising but you and I cannot be too sure we will be any better for it. Our children sure will be left with the future that responsible parents can plan out for them and the one they can eke out for themselves in the absence of responsible parenthood. Laws may restrict the use of tobacco products to some quarters of the society but they will also give your children and mine more rights and freedom to visit anywhere they like. In the long run we will realise that legislation against tobacco will not do for kids what responsible parenthood must do for them. Take time to study the trend in teenage crimes in those countries where tobacco adverts have been banned for years; where most of the teenagers have never seen tobacco adverts on the TV. You will find that legislation, as good as it is, can be a distraction from addressing problems at their root. What happens after legislators have gone home with the popularity gained from bill sponsorship should start being our business because it really is our business.

    •Boluwaji, a public policy advocate, wrote from Abuja

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  8. Frank Davis says:

    For fairness sake I’ve amended the post to draw attention to the disagreements in the comments.

  9. vivendi says:

    Mia Holl and beobrigitte have it absolutely right. Grieshaber has never cared about smoking bans, his only task was to prevent work related illness and accidents; such as butchers cutting their fingers, bakers suffering from flour allergies. Besides his mission to prevent work related accidents and illness there was also the question of what would fall under the mandatory worker’s insurance. At some point in time he had to answer the question whether hospitality workers could claim insurance coverage for heart attacks and cancers. because they were exposed to SHS at the workplace. His analysis of the medical reports of over a million insured workers showed absolutely no correlation.
    Surprised by this result, Grieshaber became very outspoken and publicly questioned claims to the contrary from tobacco control Germany (WHO Collaboration Center). Subsequently he was personally attacked by some German professors and finally by his own employer who was under extreme pressure by the WHO et al. Having been close to his retirement, he decided to go completely silent and wait … only to publish his book after retirement.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Same thing happened in Ohio with workers comp cases………..and if I remember right a certain WHO officials wife also tried to get compensation over her dead husband and SHS. But was turned down there too!

      • beobrigitte says:

        Actually, Prof. Grieshaber’s blog does address the anti-smokers. There is an 8 part article which I will translate (help is more than welcome!!!) as soon as I can find the time to do this.

        In this blog Prof. Grieshaber addresses a rabid anti-smoker:

        Paint by numbers / Denialists like you and me … and Dr. Kuhn. (This Dr. Kuhn – whoever he may be ran a blog attacking Prof. Grieshaber’s findings and attracted the scum of any anti-smoker’s bathtub to write the long overused, idiotic anti-smoker comments)

        Diese Überzeugung sowie diejenige, dass der Nutzen von „kleinen Unwahrheiten zum Wohle der Allgemeinheit“, die manchmal sehr verführerisch sein können, in der Wissenschaft den damit zwangsläufig verbundenen Schaden niemals aufwiegen kann und ein solches Vorgehen außerdem einen zutiefst unwissenschaftlichen Geist offenbart, muss kein Epidemiologe mit mir teilen, um sich diese wichtige Kosten-Nutzen-Analyse ab und zu vor Augen zu halten und über die tatsächliche Wirkung seiner Arbeit nachzudenken. Denn dies zeichnet einen guten Wissenschaftler viel mehr aus als noch so viele peer-reviewte Veröffentlichungen.

        (Lousy, rushed translation……. *apologies*)
        This conviction and the one that the benefits of “small falsehoods for the public good,” which can sometimes be very seductive in science, inevitably caused damage can never be outweighed and such an approach also reveals a deeply unscientific mind, no epidemiologist must share with me to keep in mind this important cost-benefit analysis from time to time and actually think about the real impact of his/her work. Because this is what distinguishes a good scientist any number of peer-reviewed publications.

        I really do believe that if Prof. Grieshaber had found in his research anything that supports tobacco control, he would have stated it. He only did his job when looking into anything that might endanger people at their work place.

        Should I ever meet Prof. Grieshaber and should he ask me not to smoke as he just does not like the smell of it, I’ll happily comply.
        Smoking has become something really important only SINCE the smoking ban was dictated.

  10. DP says:

    Dear Mr Davis

    ” … yet those who are affected by it, understand quite right, as what it is actually meant, namely as – undeserved – punishment.”

    Our written constitution, namely the Declaration of Rights of 1688 (old style = 1689 new style), provides protection from this:

    “That excessive bail ought not to be required; nor excessive fines imposed; nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted; “

    I cannot think of anything more cruel nor unusual than to force people who smoke to do so outdoors in all weathers, and especially those who are already sick. To rub salt into the wound, our government specifies an inhumane ‘shelter’ for smokers which would see all members of parliament swinging from lampposts if it were applied to animals. Especially kittens. Or puppies. Or children.

    Further, this cruel and unusual punishment is being inflicted without any crime being committed by those being punished.

    I wonder when someone will bring a case for breaching this fundamental part of English law.


  11. Bernd Palmer says:

    @margo: “ijcd36 has got it the wrong way round, I think: feminism was a reaction to thousands of years of oppression for women, particularly mothers”
    Even if off-topic, I cannot let that stand.
    Thousands of years? Oppression by whom and what oppression?
    Could it be that our ancestors lived in a different era and had organized their lives to adapt to the prevailing conditions?
    I’m old enough to have memories of my father working 5 days a week, 10 hours a day. My mother gave up her job when she got married and had children because taking care of two children and keeping a household just didn’t leave much time for a professional occupation. At that time, there were no washing machines, dryers, dish washers, and other time-saving aids. House-holding chores and caring for kids were full-time work. Caring for kids couldn’t be delegated to nannies or educational institutes because ordinary people couldn’t afford paying for them. In the 1930s, men were mostly and widely absent from home in Europe because of a raging war.
    And best of all, my mother preferred taking care of the family business over spending 10 hours a day in a sticky office typing letters on a Remington.
    So there was a logical way to divide labor between couples living together. Now tell me were there was any oppression, other than by the necessities of life, waiting for feminism?

  12. Bernd Palmer says:

    Sorry, make that 6 days a week (including Saturday).

  13. Bernd Palmer says:

    and an ugly typo: Now tell me where there was any oppression

    • beobrigitte says:

      Bernd, in all fairness I have to say that I can see Margo’s point.

      I’m old enough to have memories of my father working 5 days a week, 10 hours a day. My mother gave up her job when she got married and had children because taking care of two children and keeping a household just didn’t leave much time for a professional occupation.

      This was the setup of a family for many, many years and I am sure that if 1 single wage nowadays ensured the survival of the family, many more women would chose to stay at home with the children. For me it was incredibly hard to leave my children with a childminder but I had no other option. Unlike many, many women before, I was “empowered” by a chance to take a risk and become financially independent in order NOT to have to put up with what a husband laughs off as a “misdemeanor” whilst a wife feels degraded by. Respect for each other disappears and it used to be the case of women just having to put up with their husbands – or live a life in poverty.
      Can anyone remember when women were finally granted “the privilege” to vote?

      As often pointed out: I do have problems with the feminists; if anything, they harm women’s equality. However, I do believe that everyone should be given the SAME chances. What they (both, male and female) make of these chances is their problem.

      I was able to take mine – and won.

  14. Bernd Palmer says:

    beobrigitte, I couldn’t agree more with you: Everybody should have the same chances (although LIFE isn’t too fair in this respect) and rights, including the right NOT to conform to a social “standard” and not to be forced into a role just because it is considered the only politically correct role.
    I’m offended by “the thousands of years of oppression for women”. Our ancestors had different social organizations and visions, judging them from our modern point of view is wrong. The generations of my parents and grand-parents were not stupid, they organized their lives in pursuit of happiness as we do, but in completely different contexts.
    I fully understand that it is both difficult and important for you to manage your financial independence, professional career, and the care of your children. You took a personal decision or a decision between you and your partner, you didn’t need neither feminism nor government intervention, did you?

    • beobrigitte says:

      You’re right, I took a personal decision, kicked the father out for too many “misdemeanors” and made it on my own. I am one of the lucky ones now; I can have holidays wherever I want them. (Pity is that it is hard to arrange more than 1 week at the time).
      This would not have been possible 100 years ago. Then, without a husband, my life (and that of my offspring) would have looked bleak.

      Thanks to the smoking ban (thus non-visiting pubs) I now can afford even more.

      In theory I should be grateful; in practice I am not. I used to enjoy a great social life in my local pub. (That one closed 3 years ago!)

      Life is about taking chances; I have been a smoker for 44 years. I have had easy times and I have had hard times.

      I’m offended by “the thousands of years of oppression for women”.

      I am not. What exactly is the date women were “allowed” to vote?

      The role as “home maker” has been assigned to women. Now, our government springs a new one to the women who chose to stay at home; once your spouse dies you no longer will have the right to his pension. You NEED your OWN…..
      That is quite a task, isn’t it?

  15. Bernd Palmer says:

    A final comment:
    “The role as “home maker” has been assigned to women”. The role to give birth has been assigned to women as well ;-). The organization of responsibilities and tasks within a couple is solely their business. If the partners cannot reach agreement, then each of them has the right to vote … out.
    Did you vote against the smoking ban? What, you were not allowed? Even if you had voted against it, the ban would still have been implemented. Tyranny of the majority.

    • beobrigitte says:

      “The role as “home maker” has been assigned to women”. The role to give birth has been assigned to women as well ;-).

      Yeah, and, believe me; during one labour, when my rather helpless partner could think of nothing better to say than this: “Shhht, just do your breathing”. My reply was heard all over the ward: “F*ck the breathing!!! And just that you know: YOU ARE HAVING THE NEXT ONE SO YOU KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE”.
      And I really meant it! Needless to say this would have been a miracle. :)

      Did you vote against the smoking ban?

      There was vote for the public.

      What, you were not allowed?

      Nope. And neither were men.

      The smoking was successfully lobbied by the anti-smokers. The public had nothing to do with it.

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