It Didn’t Work

I occasionally dig out an email written by Baroness Elaine Murphy to Michael McFadden:

“Dear Mr McFadden,
You and many others have completely missed the point about smoking and health. The aim is reduce the public acceptability of smoking and the culture which surrounds it. We know that legislation which discourages all public smoking will have the better impact on public understanding and perception of smoking as an unacceptable habit. Hence fewer people will smoke, hence health overall will improve.”

About which MM remarked:

“Basically an admission that the smoking ban is based on a lie… the lie that it’s about secondary smoke and “protecting the workers’ health”.”

The real purpose of the smoking ban was to denormalise smoking, and get smokers to quit smoking.

Coming up towards 7 years into the UK public smoking ban, the verdict must be that it didn’t work. Smoking prevalence in Britain has hardly decreased at all. Smokers have carried on smoking on the streets, outside pubs (rather than inside them), and at home (very often in the company of friends whom they would have formerly met up with at pubs). The ISIS survey showed that in the UK after the 2007 ban, 70% of smokers frequented pubs and cafes less, and 35% much less or hardly at all.  The same proportions stayed home correspondingly longer.

There have therefore been zero health benefits. Furthermore, the more that smokers stayed home, the less they were likely to spend, not just in the pubs and cafes from which they were now excluded, but everywhere else as well. Pub and cafe communities died. And pubs closed in their thousands. And with mounting punitive tobacco taxation, a black market in tobacco grew up, that deprived the government of tax revenues.

Why did Baroness Elaine Murphy think that something else would happen? Why did she believe that legislation would be successful in getting smokers to quit? Why did she write that “we know” that legislation will change public understanding and perception, and get people to quit smoking? What studies had she seen that to underpin such confident predictions?

It occurred to me today that, if there were such studies, many of them would have been carried out in the USA, in places like California where smoking bans had been in place for a decade or more. Such studies (in cities like San Francisco) may well have shown that in SF smoking bans attracted wide (and growing) public support, and that as a consequence fewer and fewer people in SF smoked. And while it had been feared that bars and cafes would lose customers, they actually gained customers. From this it was concluded that, when smoking bans were introduced, many smokers saw the light and quit smoking, and were glad to have done so. All they’d needed was the slight nudge of a smoking ban by an enlightened government. And so what had worked in San Francisco (and no doubt numerous other towns in the USA) would surely work everywhere else too. It was these studies that Baroness Murphy had seen, and were what lay behind her certainty.

However, assuming that such studies were carried out, and drew such conclusions, there’s another explanation for what happened. In the USA, there is no single federal USA-wide smoking ban, but instead a patchwork quilt of city and state bans. Smoking may be banned in one town, but it will often be permitted in some nearby town. So when a smoking ban was introduced in San Francisco, smokers simply drove to nearby towns to find bars and cafes in which they could smoke. And some of these smokers would maybe even have moved to live in  those nearby towns. And as they moved out of SF, antismokers from the same nearby towns would start moving into smoke-free SF. And these incomers were the new customers who replaced the departing smokers. And as a consequence, SF surveys of residents would have shown that smoking ban popularity rose as time went by, the bars and cafes thrived, and fewer and fewer SF residents smoked.

However, it wasn’t that any smokers had quit smoking. They hadn’t. They’d just relocated.

And furthermore, once they had relocated, many of them became active in (successfully) preventing smoking bans being introduced at their new locations.

Anyway, using their survey data, antismoking activists (who hadn’t noticed any population movements) had drawn the conclusion that smoking bans worked extremely well to de-normalise smoking, and to get smokers to quit smoking. And they published this result in their journals, where it was avidly read by the likes of Baroness Elaine Murphy. Who in turn took these findings to the British government, and asked them to enact a UK smoking ban.

But the subsequent UK smoking ban was a “federal”, country-wide ban. There was no escaping it by driving to a nearby town, or across state borders, as in the USA. But – just like in the USA (see GaryK comment) – smokers didn’t quit smoking. Instead, this time they stayed home. Or they smoked on the streets, or outside pubs. There was nowhere else to go.

In this manner, what had seemed to work so well in San Francisco, and what Baroness Elaine Murphy was very confident would work in Britain, didn’t work at all in England and Scotland and Ireland. Or anywhere else.

In fact, it’s been a disaster. Because in the USA, as smokers and antismokers relocated by swapping places, everybody got what they wanted, more or less. And this probably meant that in the USA there was much less social and economic damage caused by smoking bans. Smokers carried on smoking, but in new bars and cafes in new towns, surrounded by new smoking friends. And the same was true for antismokers. But in the UK and Scotland and Ireland (and in fact everywhere blanket “federal” smoking bans were introduced) only antismokers won anything. And this is why there seem to be far more angry smokers (like me) in the UK than in the USA.

Anyway, this whole essay is built around the supposition that there were numerous US studies which seemed to show that smoking bans were effective in denormalising smoking and getting smokers to quit. Maybe one or two of my US friends might have seen or heard of such studies. Or might know where to look for them. Or have other comments to make.

If there is any truth to the foregoing analysis, it will mean that UK antismoking activists must be scratching their heads and wondering why smoking bans didn’t work like they were supposed to. Probably the UK and several other governments are wondering the same. In the meanwhile, antismoking activists have managed to get UK tobacco displays banned and almost succeeded in getting tobacco plain packaging introduced, as ineffective stop-gap measures to keep the ball rolling. But sooner or later countries which have introduced blanket smoking bans in the expectation of replicating San Francisco are going to have to recognise that It Didn’t Work. And that they’re going to have to do something else. And they probably have no idea what.

About Frank Davis

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70 Responses to It Didn’t Work

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    Mandate this Tobacco Control!

    …………………./´¯/)
    ………………./¯../
    ………………./…./
    …………./´¯/’…’/´¯¯`·¸
    ………./’/…/…./……./¨¯\
    ……..(‘(…´…´…. ¯~/’…’)
    ………\……………..’…../
    ……….”…\………. _.·´
    …………\…………..(
    …………..\………….\…

    Deb Arnot can satisfy herself on it too at ASH UK!

    Thanks Frank Ive vented now

  2. LOL! I don’t think I can be as graphically creative as Harley, but how about this to the Baroness: :P ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘

    That note from her was penned at some point in 2005ish I believe, at a point when the Welsh Assembly Government was discussing a ban and I had written to a number of MPs (There’s an excerpted version of that WAG letter in TobakkoNacht’s Slings and Arrows section.) I remember it made me sad that someone sporting such a wonderful Irish name was coming out with such social control claptrap as though it was a GOOD thing. ::sigh::

    Frank, I don’t think there were many such studies done by that point. The chances that MP Murphy actually read STUDIES on it are about as close to nonexistent as a bordello being run out of the basement of the Sistine Chapel. Most likely she’d simply read a few ASH pamphlets mailed to her by the ASH lobby and believed them. At that point in history, even though California had banned smoking in bars, it:

    1) Still allowed smoking in any bars employing less than 6 staff

    and

    2) Still had a HUGE defiance problem in bars that was rarely acknowledged in the media. How do I know this? Because there WAS one study done by an Antismoker around 2003 in which he had surreptitiously studied California bars and found that roughly half the large bars supposedly covered under the ban were in various degrees of noncompliance. His study was likely valid since he was NOT presenting it as a reason for getting rid of the ban but rather as a reason for strengthening its enforcement.

    Your point about the federal/local thing is VERY valid here though: not only are the laws wildly different but the enforcement of them is wildly different. Even within individual states or cities with supposedly uniform laws, the enforcement seems to jump wildly depending upon type of place (e.g. members’ clubs vs. tourist traps, center-city vs. neighborhoods, yuppie bars vs. biker gang hangouts, urban vs. rural, etc).

    So, any idea if MP Murphy is still in Parliament and waving her antismoking schtick around the joint?

    :?
    MJM

    • Frank Davis says:

      The only thing I know about the Baroness is that she’s not dead yet. But she was an antismoking doctor and so possibly fairly well connected to Tobacco Control.

      1) [California] Still allowed smoking in any bars employing less than 6 staff

      According to Wikipedia, it’s still pretty much like that.

      • Tom says:

        Yes, but that is called a “loophole” by certain anti-smoking politicians, especially one from SF who helped get tobacco retailing in drug stores banned, along with some other tobacco related bans, on top of all the smoking bans – and he said, at some point, that “loophole” in California law, must be abolished.

        Also, it’s not only less than 6 employees, the “loophole”, as they call it, but it was for bars that were 100% owner run, meaning zero employees – so a few bars, and only a few, statewide, are set up so that there is the original owner, then he has “owners” who help him/her attend to the business, their “pay” being in equity or dividends instead of in wages or salaries.

        There may be one such bar still in SF, on outer Van Ness Avenue near Lombard, called the Black Cat?, or something like that – but I’ve never seen anyone smoking in that bar, only outside – so it may be it’s so “normal” to smoke outdoors that even the smokers go out, or else management may have decreed it, even though they fall within that “loophole” Tom Amiano, a SF politician, one of most from Bay Area who have taken over 100% iron-fisted total anti-tobacco control of the entire state through their new headquarters in Sacramento, being the one who called it a “loophole” he wishes to close next, not that he hasn’t already done enough damage in terms of pushing anti-tobacco measures, all the while glorifying legalization of marijuana of course – since the two are a see-saw, opposite one another, in CA – one legal but the other illegal, or vice-versa – no compromise.

        CA’s bans are statewide at this point. But in SF they have dictated possibly as much as a dozen local anti-smoking ordinances banning smoking everywhere the state laws did not. So go outside of SF and there’s still smoking bans, in general, but it varies throughout CA as to whether it is banned outdoors in most places, like it is in SF, with $500 fines too, in some outdoor spaces.

        Berkeley, across the Bay, hopes to ban smoking inside peoples’ private stand-alone homes, so that will be the next big thing they’ll aim for next.

        There is a dirty little secret in CA about certain places that are not under the bans and where smoking, indoors, is profuse. But I hate to say anything about it, because if I do and someone in government catches whiff of it, due to public exposure of this dirty little secret, then they’ll call that a “loophole” next – and I do not want there to be anymore damage to the hospitality industry than there has been already by mentioning this anomaly, where smoking is still very legal and heavily practiced, indoors and well within driving distance of SF and LA both.

        • Frank Davis says:

          But as a resident in California, does my analysis square at all with your experience? That smokers headed wherever they could still smoke (and antismokers to wherever they couldn’t). Or is the whole of California just as bad as the UK (although we don’t have car or outdoor bans yet)?

        • I’ve often wondered about the smoking ban interacting with the stereotypical bad ass biker/gang bars of L.A.

        • Tom says:

          Yes, it is like that where-as San Francisco Bay Area is more and more populated by anti-smoking or non-smoking type persons, those who adapted and accepted the horrible bans, indoors and out – but there are other areas not that far away where it’s still more prevalent to have more smokers seen in public than the opposite effect visible in SF.

          The “dirty little secret” in fact proves this out as there are some business sorts where no smoking ban exists and smokers seem in the majority, and indoors too, and these are within a few hours driving distance from SF or LA areas.

          I just don’t want to say exactly where or what or start naming names – because the Anti-Smoking Industry is like dealing with a cop, when you get pulled over for some reason. The more you put up resistance or offer logic as to why you should not be pulled over for some alleged infraction, the harder the enforcer becomes as he wants to retain complete control – and then it goes down through the system, into the courts, where the traffic judge nearly always upholds the police officer over his or her victim.

          I don’t want to name specific areas where there might be more smokers, where many may have fled to, because I do not want to invite trouble to those areas and by making them general public knowledge, it tips off the Anti-Smoking Industry control freaks to want to go after those areas, or business types where legalized indoor smoking is taking place this very minute in fact, next.

          But yes, to your question – smokers move out as the anti-smokers/non-smokers move in and it results in some areas being smokier and some areas being smokiless, so to speak. I think so too.

          What would be great, in my opinion, is those areas that have become smokier, they should have no smoking bans then in effect and the state should relieve those areas from the bans. They won’t, they’ll only make it worse and keep expanding, even into the areas that have more smokers, but ideally, it would be nice if they’d stop and let those areas alone already.

          I’ve seen expensive anti-smoking billboards as far as several hundred miles outside of LA in the middle of nowhere driving back from LV to SF, where the state of CA’s Anti-Smoking Industry is obviously worried about people going to NV, smoking in the casinos, then driving back and smoking. I think NV really bugs some people in CA who are anti-smokers, they just can’t stand the thought of it. There’s been entire editorials written in fact in local SF papers citing the “horrors” of going to bars, nightclubs and casinos in NV and having to “breath in smoke” and calling it “filthy” and so forth. You see editorial opinions like that frequently, since the Anti-Smoking Industry finances a lot of jobs and taxes in SF and greater Bay Area.

        • prog says:

          @ Mike. ‘I’ve often wondered about the smoking ban interacting with the stereotypical bad ass biker/gang bars of L.A.’.

          I seem to recall reading that when the IRA meet in pubs, the smokers dutifully trudge outside for a cig.

      • Steve Kelly says:

        The Californian state-wide “public places” ban came in 1998. It was the first draconian state-wide ban and had — still has — wiggle room as has been mentioned. I know somebody who lives in San Francisco. He told me just a few years back that that he knew a good number of bars in which — sometimes within and other times without the law — you could smoke freely.

        Our dear friend “Dokta” Stanton Glantz, who is based in SF, has complained about smoking still being quite common in bars there. The irony is, based on smoking in bars anyway, and despite California’s being an Anti citadel in many respects, some parts of California including SF are relatively loose compared to lots of other US locations.

        Of course there are local bans in some Californian cities & towns which are horrific (e.g. bans in apartments & condos, or even in your own front or back yard, & even beyond this, movement now towards bans in free-standing homes.)

        Much of the US is today about like the UK in terms of bans. It’s about like that where I live in Massachusetts & in the 6 New England states generally. I don’t know how much disobedience there is around here. I’ve given up on going out. Anyplace that wants to be smoker-free sure is going to be at least when it comes to me. Those places can get along without me or my money either.

        In the US the biggest drop-off in smoking came after the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report (SGR). From the mid-‘sixties to the mid-‘eighties overall smoking rates dropped from about 50% to about 30%. Note that antedated the draconian Anti efforts and scares.

        Since the mid-‘eighties US smoking rates have edged gradually down to probably about 20% (although more recent figures are more dubious because grey & black market & grow-your-own — which increase as Anti oppression increases — can’t be reliably traced. Smokers are more likely to deny smoking now, to doctors or insurance companies or other interrogators, too.)

        So people who were inclined to quit out of concern for their own health, did quit, in considerable numbers after the SGR and related reports, and smoking rates have kept dropping at a much slower rate as Antism has grown ever crazier & more vicious.

        I don’t care, even if Anti efforts have contributed to perpetuating gradually declining smoking rates over recent decades, which is questionable. Fear-mongering and hate-mongering and denial of reality and besoiling the name of Science and trampling individual dignity and liberty and precious social cohesion are terribly evil things; they aren’t the way to go about “accomplishing” anything. All they really accomplish is the destruction of social decency. A society which employs such tactics, to any purpose, has become a worthless society, not fit to live in.

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          The SGR’s it must be remembered are politically motivated reports. Theyre conclusions as we have all seen are suspicious and angled to but one extreme. HATE!

          The instigator has always been Johnathan Sammet ring leader of all the reports since 1980 when anti-smoking Nazism first took off and SG Koop began his Bible thumping sermons I mean lectures on the evils of smoke! Ive sat thru 3 of Koops Lectures in the early 1980s and Im here to tell you its about as fiery as Billy Sunday ever was……….. We as in hospital staff and Doctors alike smoked and laughed as he read off his B.S. claims!

          Even my own Cdr. Anderson at flight Physiology was taken by his roaring screams and had us put up the first anti-smoking crap literature and the first in 1981 HUMAN LUNG PIG SCARE bogus board in the world. Right in the main hallway of the unit for all the pilots we trained to see! It detailed a smokers lung to the non-smoker lung in it.

          Of course it was all B.S. as nearly all our Physiologists smoked save one! Even the Flight Surgeons all smoked that were attached to us from the Squadrons………….

          So yes the Navy went on the anti-smoking kick with the SG KOOPs first run in the 1980s and we laughed at it for the most part…………..But it would never have got off the ground if then first lady Nancy Reagan hadn’t been anti-smoking herself……..She excerted great pressure to push that agenda back then followed by nearly every first lady since save GW’s momma!

          I don’t trust any of them or any of their science and never will,it is all blasphemous lies with no more than HATE as the prime motive to pushing it all!

        • Tom says:

          They have since then closed a lot of these “loopholes” as the anti-smoking politicians working on behalf of UCSF, Stanton Glantz and Mitch Katz – bearing in mind, UCSF is still considered SF’s largest employer and one of the largest, if not the largest, economic engine drivers by way of income, property and other taxes going into city and state coffers as well as bringing in sister industries, such as pharmaceutical giants into the city.

          Even just a few years back, outdoor smoking was permitted and so there were a few scattered cafes here and there which had some outdoor seating room and the smokers were free to congregate there over coffee, cigs and wi-fi. But no longer. That “loophole” has been closed, so there is no more outdoor seating permitted to be smoking either.

          I’ve heard tale of a few indoor bars here and there where some smoking might take place, but those are usually in parts of town I do not know I would feel safe, late at night, going about, in a few of the rougher neighborhoods where the vast city-wide gentrification program, aka “Greening” or Agenda 21 derived, has already invaded and been performed.

          Once a neighborhood in SF has been “Greened” though, then typically, all smoking “loopholes” are closed and thus no more smoking, indoors or out, under threat of fines or community service and of course always under the auspices of the Anti-Smoking Industry tools who are plenty available for fake-coughing, hand waving and foul name calling to help drive smokers out of the “Greened” areas.

          Further from SF and out into the countryside, where you might find lots more smokers congregated outdoors and individually larger in number, with less to no outdoor smoking restrictions, there is constant movement outward from SF and Sac into those areas, to “Green” and thus “conform” them as well. You also find Helpful Tools for the Anti-Smoking Industry showing up to fake-cough, hand-wave and foul-name-call in some of these locations in particular situations also, meaning there are already transplants situating themselves there, in order to “Green” these outlying areas and make sure they fall into conformity with the same “Greening”, which includes heavy duty anti-smoking, also.

          Myself, I would be very careful lighting up in any public areas in SF underneath signs stating explicitly there are $500 fines for outdoor smoking – and crackdowns do happen and are heavily propagated over local MSM when they do certain times of the year – and I would dare someone to light up and begin smoking almost anywhere in most parts of SF inside a bar or restaurant without drawing immediate reaction from the “enlightened” indoctrinated public which would react, perhaps even with violence, given the state of anti-smoking propaganda on all sources of media, tangible and broadcast over the air.

          If I could post photos, I could illustrate quite plainly, the ominous $500 Fine for Outdoor Smoking sign, various tons of others similar all over town and all using different codes to cite authority which overlaps many agencies as they all rushed to put an outdoor ban in place and then some areas where not only is the new No Outdoor Smoking sign posed on ALL businesses in ALL districts EVERYWHERE, by law, but some have gone overboard in bolting brass No Outdoor Smoking signs all over the table tops on outdoor seating areas, to make certain nobody has not gotten the message. And then there are the new “Green” “Parklets” the city is installing, as each neighborhood is “Greened”, which is removal of parking spaces, to discourage cars and installation of outdoor seating areas in the former parking spaces – also with their own little No Outdoor Smoking signs on them, even though they claim to be Open To The Public To Everyone and thus non-discriminatory.

          Discrimination exists, in SF, against smokers. That is for certain, a fact. If there are a few hidden places to smoke indoors, at this point, I doubt it will be in a high traffic, highly visible, mainstream area.

          They are even reaching now into the depths of skid row, which are a few areas, Tenderloin and some others, building expensive new apartment and condo buildings, bringing in eateries and UN versions of perfect little beer gardens, which are very limited days and hours and no smoking allowed outdoors, and in the process of “Greening”, all this latest is an attempt to push smoking out of the city, entirely, once they are done.

          I have lived in SF proper for well over 13 years, for another 3 years prior to that during an earlier stint and SF Bay Area cities, including Silicon Valley for well over 31 years – and I, myself, see them progressing to make it worse and not better, in regard to allowing people to smoke, legally, indoors or out. So that has been my experience with the matter and not tons of bars and cafes having smoking going on, freely and unfettered, indoors or even outdoors, at this point – that final “loophole” having been closed just a year or two back.

          San Francisco is a rough town on smokers, it honestly is. It’s bad. And they always take pride in being innovative, in finding new ways to persecute people while calling it “good”. It’s a staple of this area.

        • Frank Davis says:

          Not quite what you wanted, but near.

        • That’s quite a sign (the Berkeley one). Smoking attacks people outdoors, eh? Specifically the elderly and kids, and then it goes looking for people in wheelchairs and makes them bleed out of their heads (?) and goes on to attack people and make them slip and fall down??? And what’s with the curlicues of smoke rising off the smoker’s clothing?

          That is definitely a sign for the record books!

          – MJM

        • Tom says:

          And, locally, in and around all of SF Bay Area, Berkeley is publicly and widely praised and celebrated as being the “Birthplace of the Free Speech Movement” – only when it comes to expressing oneself, through the art of sexy smoking – that freedom of speech is condemned, criticized, villified and banned.

          Come to think of it, pre-WWII, Berkeley was very much pro-Hitler and pro-Mussolini too.

          And before that, Berkeley outlawed alcohol and liquor, as a forerunner to national Prohibition coming about, shortly there-after.

          Says a lot about Berkley, or Bezerkely, as some, outside of the Bay Area, like to call it.

        • beobrigitte says:

          Much of the US is today about like the UK in terms of bans. It’s about like that where I live in Massachusetts & in the 6 New England states generally. I don’t know how much disobedience there is around here.

          I was in Massachusetts only a couple of month ago and expected the ban to be far worse than here in Britain.
          First, Massachusetts: I was very surprised that at least twice/day I was offered 1$ for a cigarette and that I found a smoker room in a hotel. Doing the usual sightseeing tours I also found that the outdoor smoking ban (if it exists there as I was previously told) is being ignored. Even a huge shopping mall (was not my idea to visit, I hate shopping!) provided SEATS and ashtrays right by EVERY entrance; the food/cafe places were located near them, too! We did go to some posh and less posh eating places and bars; at one I took my beer outside with me and lit up by the door. No-one batted an eyelid. On re-entering the place the door lady asked to take my empty bottle and offered a full one.
          The first thing an 88 year old smoker told me was: “If you drive 30 minutes you get your cigarettes much cheaper”.

          Second, England: here there are great variations, depending on where you go. I hear the south is pretty uptight whereas in the north you might be in for one or two surprises.
          Some pubs here have found interesting (and amusing) ways around the ban; especially the pubs the bikers meet, and people just don’t mind. Here in Liverpool the artificial cough has long stopped since scousers do not mince their words. And the one thing NOT to do in scouseland, is to grass. In many ways they remind me of the Asterix cartoons; they batter each other and when the coppers come, they all sit around a table playing cards, to carry on battering each other after the coppers have gone. Artificial coughers have not much help here!

          I don’t care, even if Anti efforts have contributed to perpetuating gradually declining smoking rates over recent decades, which is questionable.

          Well, here they appear to have contributed to nothing other than closing pubs down and getting a lot of people out of work. All in the name of “health” which means NOTHING.

          So, the Ashites believe that people will live 10 years longer if they give up smoking. It’s time then, that ASH opens it’s purse and supports these “longer living” people; the fuel bill has gone up and pensioners will die of hypothermia. (Even if it is the generation that lived through the war and years and years of breathing in “Passivrauch”!!!)

  3. Marie says:

    Frank, how can I place a picture here?

    • Frank Davis says:

      You can’t, unfortunately. It’s WordPress policy. But you could copy the URL of the image and post that.

      • Marie says:

        OK. I will do it tomorrow :)
        I just tried to find out, if the smoking rate got down since the ban in 2007 in Denmark, because I think, it did. I will ask Klaus K. I think he will know that.

      • Barry Homan says:

        Klaus probably knows better than me, but I live in Denmark, and there is at least no dramatic decrease. Small bars still allow smoking, many hotels still have an indoor smoking area. The anti-smokers in Denmark, based on my own observation, definitely belong to the category of dreary, unattractive folk, the types who don’t get invited to parties.

        However, they are trying to make their “ins”, trying to position themselves in a way where everyone has to sit at their table, and they get to be the center of attention – you all have observed this behavioral pattern amongst antis, haven’t you? They do this, because they never get asked to sit at the other people’s (e.g. smokers) table. There is that distinct personality disorder amongst many antis here.

        I believe the Danes are cautious, they resist all this New Age thinking, quietly, subversively; the prohibitionists don’t really have the upper hand yet. There are no loud billboards or rotten, high-budget commercials attacking smokers. Denmark has socialized healthcare, but Danes don’t embrace pc platitudes and modern left-wing socialized behavior; it’s not in their spirit or character. They resist it.

        The cool people here smoke. The antis here, by and large, are definitely not in the cool category.

        • nisakiman says:

          I have a Danish client (who is also a good friend) and both he and his wife are non-smokers. However, he’s completely relaxed about smoking; it’s not something he concerns himself with. His 21 year old son smokes when he’s with them, and they express no more than mild disapproval – I think more from the expense aspect than anything else.

  4. nisakiman says:

    It’s an interesting theory, Frank, and one that would be worth investigation. I’m sure there must be studies on demographics and movement in the USA; it should be possible to prove / disprove the concept of smokers moving to smoker-friendly environs and vice versa.

    • Frank Davis says:

      While MM might be right that Murphy had just read a few ASH flyers, in general governments like to have fairly good evidence that some new policy – such as a smoking ban – is actually going to work. That’s why I think there must have been some studies which showed that smokers responded to smoking bans by giving up smoking. And since most of the experience of smoking bans was to be had in the USA, and California in particular, such studies would most likely have been conducted there.

      The same goes for anything else. e.g. wind power and solar power and tidal power. Governments will want to see evidence that shows that they will work.

      Perhaps a letter or email to the UK’s DoH would elicit a response?

      • smokingscot says:

        Not sure they do Frank.

        My belief is they took it on faith. The medics, the psychologists and such were out in full force telling us all that the ban would work and non’s would immediately rush in to fill the vacuum. They knew there would be a vacuum. They simply hoped that by shouting loud enough that non’s were put off on entering a pub or bingo hall because of our smoke that it’d make it seem there would be no commercial downside.

        SHS and employees health gave them the moral high ground.

        Certainly with renewable energy the Scottish government seems perfectly happy to go with any credible excuse and is quite willing to adopt a suck it and see attitude. I say this because, while I believe there is real potential with tidal energy, I think they’re barking mad to be in the business of financing trials to try to prove that wave energy can be harnessed economically. Honestly folks, trying to chain something to the sea floor in the Atlantic Ocean. Barking doesn’t do that justice!!

        I’m watching the plain pack skirmish. Again “they” wanted the coalition to simply accept their word for it. In this case my suspicion is the powers at Tory HQ had noted the techniques used for the smoking ban… and the effect it had on Labour at the polling booths in Scotland and England. Very sensibly they said they wanted concrete proof that plain packs will make a difference, hence the attempts to talk up what didn’t quite happen the way they’d predicted in Australia.

        Of course their main argument for plain packs is that youngsters will be put off at the sight of uncool packs. That doesn’t have quite the same emotional tug as saving innocent employees who have no choice, nor does it wash with parents. Their sprogs thought it the height of cool to meander around with jeans that allow them to display their underwear. And Mr. Jobs convinced them that white earphones, leads and doohickey player were the height of fashion!

  5. margo says:

    Is there a way to know how much smoking prevalence has actually declined as a result of Anti-Smoking? We’re told that it has, and it does seem to me that it has, but how many smokers have really stopped and how many have just gone ‘underground’ (lying to their doctors and in surveys, hiding it from their neighbours, switching to smuggled cigs, etc, etc) must be an unknown, surely? I’m wondering if harleyrider’s lovely drawing could be a kind of graph showing this – with years on the vertical, going up from the bottom from, say, the 1940s to the present day: smoking increased post-war and especially in the ’60s-80s and then declined from the 90’s onwards? So the top of harleyrider’s ‘middle finger’ represents us lot, the ‘hard-core contrarians’??

    • Frank Davis says:

      Is there a way to know how much smoking prevalence has actually declined as a result of Anti-Smoking?

      I don’t think there is, but most reports seem to show that smoking prevalence has dropped from 23% of the adult population to 21%. However, lots of people who enjoy a cigarette from time to time don’t class themselves as smokers, and will say so. And in the current climate of fear, I would expect smokers to go underground in exactly the way you suggest. So all these numbers – 23%, 21%, and so on, are highly suspect.

  6. mikef317 says:

    I don’t like the flow of my comment, but I think the points are reasonable, even if the writing isn’t so good….

    Zealots believe in their religion. People will accept the TRUE WORD OF GOD if they are properly taught (of forced by law to do what their “betters” tell them to do).

    Before prohibition U. S. alcohol consumption was in decline. Without prohibition, with fewer drinkers, many “saloons” might have changed to “dry” restaurants. While smaller in number there still would have been “wet” places for those who wanted to drink. Most people, I’d say, would have accepted the norms of whichever type of establishment they visited. The same could have happened with tobacco – smoking or non-smoking places depending on what the owner thought was best for business. But zealots know what’s best for everyone, so with prohibition we got Al Capone, speakeasies, bathtub gin, and today, with smoking, we have a huge black market in tobacco and a much diminished restaurant / bar industry.

    Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/156833/one-five-adults-smoke-tied-time-low.aspx has been polling U. S. cigarette smoking since 1944. I’d accept their figures as reasonably accurate. The highest smoking rate they show is 45% of the adult population in 1954. Smoking has been in decline since the early ‘70’s – well before the modern smoking ban craze.

    The above is % of population, and the population has increased substantially, so if you asked how many people actually smoke, there are probably as many today as there were in the 1940’s and ‘50’s. (I’m not going to look up the number; Gary K. would probably know.)

    The first “modern” U. S. smoking ban was in Minnesota in 1975, and that just required “no smoking” sections in restaurants; bars were excluded. Bans really became “popular” in the late ‘80’s and the ‘90’s. Much like alcohol prohibition, zealots pushed for laws to “finalize” a social change that was already happening. Naturally they screwed things up.

    Why the gradual decline in smoking? Tobacco ads are restricted, and warning messages are on all products. Funding against tobacco comes from virtually every level of government, from foundations, “charities,” and since the 80’s, drug companies advertising “cessation” products. Ever escalating amounts of money are spent demonizing tobacco, but there has only been a gradual reduction in smoking beginning in the 1970’s?

    Typical zealot behavior: they know the TRUTH, and have to convert EVERYONE. But not everyone will accept conversion. With every law they pass, with every tax increase, junk science study, vulgar anti-tobacco ad, zealots irrationally think they advance their goals. I’d argue the opposite – to replace persuasion with coercion and propaganda will only make you enemies. All that zealots do today just serves to create a greater opposition to their goals. And – might I add? – fuel an increasingly angry opposition (including non-smokers who are not zealots but do see the irrationality of the fanatics).

    Re “nudging” people to quit. As a member of the baby boom generation, I’d say that half are certifiable hypochondriacs. They’re also scientifically illiterate enough to fear whiffs of smoke. Baby boomers are habitually capable of scaring themselves, without a nudge from anyone.

    Re restaurant / bar business. I once read a study (don’t have a link) that looked at multiple studies on the economic effect of smoking bans. Data analysis was quite simple – just two columns, based on WHO FUNDED THE STUDY. Those funded by anti-tobacco all said business was booming. Those funded by other sources all said business was awful. This is a too long comment, so I’ll just say that you can prove anything with cherry-picked data. I’ve frequently visited NYC restaurants before and after the smoking ban (and have been on friendly terms with several owners) and have watched their establishments go out of business due to lack of customers.

    Before the NY smoking ban, for decades I spent thousands of dollars a year at restaurants. (I’m not rich, but not poor, either; I don’t own a car; any vacation I ever took was lounging at home, and my home will never be pictured in House Beautiful Magazine.) But I had discretionary income, and as a not very good cook, I chose to spend money in restaurants. No longer. I’m one of the smokers who have converted to take out places where you get a plastic knife, fork, and spoon, paper napkin, and the a Styrofoam container with a meal you carry home to eat. I miss sit-down restaurants, but I’ve opted out of that part of the economy, and if truth be told, I can cook a hallway decent meal myself, with ingredients from the local supermarket. (And I’m out to buy food; I don’t go into other stores as I once did after eating at a restaurant.)

    Re U. S. city / state bans. Americans are car crazy, so driving to a nearby suburb might be considered normal. Driving to another state, however (unless you live near a border), probably isn’t worth the effort.

    I’m leery of the idea that people would move from a smoking ban area to a non-ban area. I didn’t move out of New York. Why? I’d have to sell my house, and travel around the country looking for a new house; not a trivial expense. (And if I found a place, might people in that area be agitating for a smoking ban?) Suppose I found a dream house? Real estate transactions are expensive (taxes, land surveys, building appraisals and inspections, lawyer’s fees, etc., etc.) There’s also the matter of spending maybe a month to pack up everything I own, ship it cross-country (expensive) and then spending another month unpacking. And what about a job in my new location? I’d lose benefits from my old job. Could I find employment? At what salary? (With the money it would cost to move – $10,000.00? $20,000.00? – I’d need a job.) I’d like to have a cigarette at a bar or restaurant, but I’m not going to pay the price of moving for that privilege (or indisputable right?).

    Somewhat on topic. New York City just raised the legal age to purchase cigarettes to 21. Forgetting the black market, for the price of a subway fare, any 18-20 year old can take a 10 minute ride on the PATH train from Manhattan to New Jersey where (unless NJ decides to honor NYC laws or ban out-of-state customers) they can legally purchase cigarettes. (Equally they could just take a bus past the NYC border and buy cigarettes in any other part of NY state.) This is a typical anti-tobacco screwball law.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I’d argue the opposite – to replace persuasion with coercion and propaganda will only make you enemies. All that zealots do today just serves to create a greater opposition to their goals. And – might I add? – fuel an increasingly angry opposition (including non-smokers who are not zealots but do see the irrationality of the fanatics).

      I think that’s true. Push people and they just push back. It’s universal. In fact, everything pushes back when it’s pushed. It’s Newton’s Third Law of Motion: For every action there is an equal and opposite re-action..

      Data analysis was quite simple – just two columns, based on WHO FUNDED THE STUDY.

      I think that UK government must have seen some studies showing that smoking bans were very successful at getting smokers to quit. But I also suspect that any such studies would have been antismoker-funded, and therefore cherry-picked. In these sorts of studies the conclusions are drawn first, and then data is found to support the conclusions.

      I’m leery of the idea that people would move from a smoking ban area to a non-ban area.

      Two or three years ago, I sold my parents’ home in Devon, England. I didn’t know where I was going to end up living. But if northern England had been pro-smoking with smoky pubs and restaurants, and southern England antismoking with smoking bans everywhere, I would have been very tempted to move to Yorkshire. As it was, I didn’t have any such choice.

      • Rose says:

        I think that UK government must have seen some studies showing that smoking bans were very successful at getting smokers to quit

        I don’t know about quitting, but there were studies that may have convinced them that there would be no damage to business, if they did ban smoking.

        Smoke screen – 2003

        “Medical experts and workers want legal controls on passive smoking at work. The tobacco and hospitality industries do not – and are using lies, junk science and deceit to back their case. Guess who the government is listening to?”

        “A new analysis of 97 studies in eight countries on the impact of smoking bans on the hospitality industry showed that the most rigorous and independent studies found no negative impact on business.”

        In England these alleged “bans” were in fact non smoking areas, and the supposedly independant studies were by antismoking groups.

        “The three independent studies, with declared funding sources and no links to the tobacco industry, found no negative impact of existing UK smoking bans in pubs and restaurants.”

        “Two of the three UK studies found the majority of pubs reported an increase in trade after bans were introduced.”

        Study 40
        Report by the Newcastle University Department of Epidemiology and Public Health for North East Against Tobacco (NEAT)
        Funding source indicated: NEAT

        Study 49
        Publisher: Tobacco Control
        Funding source indicated: Staffordshire Smoke-free Alliance

        Study 55
        Publisher: Report by Yorkshire Ash Funding source indicated: Yorkshire Ash
        http://www.hazards.org/smoking/smokescreen.htm

        “Anita Lal and her colleagues conclude that worldwide, all the studies that found smoking bans had a negative impact were funded by sources that were in some way related to the tobacco industry.”

        “Anita Lal of VicHealth Centre for Tobacco Control, Melbourne, Australia”

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    Gallup went with the Nazis a year or so ago. Mikle wrote a short comment about it back then here on Franks Blog.

  8. cherie79 says:

    Saw a programme on Sunday called Housecall where a Dr. stated the first thing they saw a medical school was a smoke blackened lung! He said he couldn’t believe it was a lung, can’t believe they are still pushing that while using smokers lungs for transplant.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      This pretty well destroys the Myth of second hand smoke:

      http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/28/16741714-lungs-from-pack-a-day-smokers-safe-for-transplant-study-finds?lite

      Lungs from pack-a-day smokers safe for transplant, study finds.

      By JoNel Aleccia, Staff Writer, NBC News.

      Using lung transplants from heavy smokers may sound like a cruel joke, but a new study finds that organs taken from people who puffed a pack a day for more than 20 years are likely safe.

      What’s more, the analysis of lung transplant data from the U.S. between 2005 and 2011 confirms what transplant experts say they already know: For some patients on a crowded organ waiting list, lungs from smokers are better than none.

      “I think people are grateful just to have a shot at getting lungs,” said Dr. Sharven Taghavi, a cardiovascular surgical resident at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, who led the new study………………………

      Ive done the math here and this is how it works out with second ahnd smoke and people inhaling it!

      The 16 cities study conducted by the U.S. DEPT OF ENERGY and later by Oakridge National laboratories discovered:

      Cigarette smoke, bartenders annual exposure to smoke rises, at most, to the equivalent of 6 cigarettes/year.

      146,000 CIGARETTES SMOKED IN 20 YEARS AT 1 PACK A DAY.

      A bartender would have to work in second hand smoke for 2433 years to get an equivalent dose.

      Then the average non-smoker in a ventilated restaurant for an hour would have to go back and forth each day for 119,000 years to get an equivalent 20 years of smoking a pack a day! Pretty well impossible ehh!

  9. Joe Jackson says:

    Frank, I’m on your side, but I think we should know what we’re up against and not indulge in wishful thinking. I think it’s extremely unlikely that more than a handful of people have travelled around the US or re-located to escape smoking bans. Even if you felt strongly enough about that one issue to actually move, you’d be crazy not to consider that the place you move to, will probably be next in line. Even when bans are not state-wide, and it’s possible e.g. to go to a smoking bar in another city or county, you’d still have to drive, possibly some distance, which makes drinking problematic.

    Also, don’t underestimate the broad popularity of bans and antismoking in the US in general. Most people, including a lot of smokers, have climbed on the Anti bandwagon; they think it’s a noble crusade. Last week in New York, I took a friend visiting from Germany, to one of the few ‘loophole’ bars where you can legally smoke. She asked why the place wasn’t packed. I told her I think it’s because smoking has become so taboo among ‘right-thinking’ people, and the ban so widely accepted, that even the smokers think it’s only right to step outside. (I went to an ‘underground’ party in a warehouse in Brooklyn a couple of years ago, where no smoking ban was enforced, but the smokers all went out on the fire escape anyway). And it’s more important, even to the smokers, to go to the cheaper bar, or the trendier bar, or the bar with the pool table, or whatever, than to the smoking bar. People generally want to go ‘with the mass’ (I’m sure that in the 1930s, many people who didn’t really enjoy smoking did it anyway, just to be part of the group). As for those illegal ‘smoke-easies’, I hear about them now and again ‘in theory’, but no one ever seems to be able to direct me to one in practice. Sure there are people who don’t like smoking bans, and there is some resistance, but, notwithstanding a few heroic figures like Michael McFadden, it’s pretty much invisible.

    The US is, as you say, a bit different to other places, but not because Americans are able to dodge smoking bans. On the contrary, I think they’re so faddish and paranoid and gullible and obsessed with ‘health’ and ‘risk’, that they accept and support them far more than, say, the Greeks. I’d say the British are somewhere in between.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I’m sure you get to see far more places than probably any other commenter here, Joe, and that’s very valuable.

      you’d be crazy not to consider that the place you move to, will probably be next in line.

      That’s the problem, isn’t it? It’s a bit like moving your towels and sunshade up a beach when the tide’s coming in. But the tide does eventually stop rising.

      The US is, as you say, a bit different to other places, but not because Americans who are able to dodge smoking bans. On the contrary, I think they’re so faddish and paranoid and gullible and obsessed with ‘health’ and ‘risk’, that they accept and support them far more than, say, the Greeks. I’d say the British are somewhere in between.

      I think Americans are a bit more able to dodge bans than us Brits are. I can climb in my car and drive as far as I like on this island and there’ll be no smoky pubs anywhere. But they can do the same, and find some place somewhere, maybe 200 miles away.

      Anyway, it’s not just Americans who are “so faddish and paranoid and gullible and obsessed with ‘health’ and ‘risk’”. I’ve spent the last 30 years watching many of my British friends slowly sliding into the sinkhole of that mentality too. It seems that the more prosperous anyone is, the more they start to worry about smoking, drinking, diet, carbon dioxide, whales, polar bears, etc.. And maybe the more they watch TV, the more they’re encouraged to worry about them. And also the less scientifically educated they are, the less able they are to think critically. It’s an epidemic of collective madness, and one for which we should be seeking an explanation.

      And the piece above that I wrote last night presented what seemed to me to be a fairly plausible explanation why what’s happening in the USA is different from UK and other European countries (no “federal” smoking ban). I was very interested to see what my American friends would say about it.

      Maybe it doesn’t work. In which case another explanation needs to be suggested.

      • beobrigitte says:

        I’ve spent the last 30 years watching many of my British friends slowly sliding into the sinkhole of that mentality too. It seems that the more prosperous anyone is, the more they start to worry about smoking, drinking, diet, carbon dioxide, whales, polar bears, etc..

        Worry about smoking, drinking and carbon dioxide is something senseless given to a population slice by slice in order to curb our behaviour for some fictional “health/species survival benefit”. Whales and polar bears are perfectly fine with our smoking, drinking and carbon dioxide and also are not necessary for the survival of our species. But they are necessary for the survival of a small group of people in the arctic circle who at some point were banned from hunting their food!
        Nevertheless, I was glad to join a whale watching tour instead of a whale hunting tour. It was quite amazing and given the opportunity I’ll go again, even though I did put my foot in it when talking to some person working on this trip. I just commented: ” Wow, I didn’t know that whales come here!” Answer: “oh, yes, they have always done that”. Me: “Oh, so climate change didn’t affect them”? (Can’t remember the exact wording, but I do remember it took the person a while to come up with some politically correct answer)

  10. harleyrider1978 says:

    I can say for a fact I sold the farm in ten after the ban and moved to Kentucky where I could smoke indoors!

  11. harleyrider1978 says:

    tennessee

    • Tom says:

      Isn’t TN the state where by state law, you are not allowed to smoke in a bar while drinking because SHS is considered too dangerous, but at the same time, you are permitted to drink in a bar while carrying a loaded pistol, rifle or shotgun, by your side, cocked and ready, should any drunken arguments break out? Or am I mistaken and mis-read?

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Tom actually Tenn has a BAR EXCEMPTION along with a 21 and up excemption for any venue. They also have a garage door excemption……………..that can be about anything if you set your mind to it.

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          On the concealed carry in a bar you can unless posted by the owner. Much like it should be anywhere where smoking is concerned. However you cant be drinking while carrying!

  12. harleyrider1978 says:

    Frank and Joe I can say I don’t get around much other than a few states away and the smokers are out of doors yet I know many places that have smoking indoors regardless of a ban. Yet one place I do get around to is the comments runs on stories daily and the people are finally saying enough is enough its gone to far. The bigger picture making these folks turn on the nannies is the entire agenda has screwed them too! Look at Obama’s poll numbers now and its because people are finally connecting him and his progressives to the daily attacks on them in their lives.

  13. harleyrider1978 says:

    That shoulda been Bigger picture not what it came out as,frank can you edit it! thanks

  14. garyk30 says:

    The difference between the UK and the USA is like the difference between Rose and Harley.

    Restrained research vs ranting and raving.

    Stiff upper lip vs rampant rebellion.

    Yet, they would get along quite well and enjoy each others company.

  15. Joe Jackson says:

    Frank, it’s true that AS A WHOLE COUNTRY, the US is not quite as bad as the UK, as there are still some corners where you can smoke in bars (Las Vegas, New Orleans, Miami) and some cities with smoking bans (e.g. New York) have exemptions for a handful of bars (mostly expensive cigar bars). Nevertheless, to state the bleedin’ obvious, the USA is a very big place, and it’s not really much easier to go from San Francisco to New Orleans for a smoke – or even a holiday – than it is to go from London to Athens or Belgrade. Also, great swathes of the US are WORSE than the UK, with bans outside, etc.

    I sometimes think the US is a lost cause, and any reversal of the antismoking trend will have to come from Europe or somewhere else. A friend of mine was telling me that there are no antismoking laws in the State of Wyoming, where his father lives. I did a bit of research and this turns out to be true; and yet, quite a number of bars in Sheridan, the biggest city in that state, have gone nonsmoking voluntarily because they think it’s the ‘right thing to do’. That’s what we’re up against. The only possible consolation is to think that, Americans being as faddish and extreme as they are, when the backlash happens it will be huge. But we may well not live to see it. I’m not saying we should stop fighting, by the way; just that we shouldn’t kid ourselves!

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Joe IN Casper Wyoming they had a ban for a year and a few other cities have bans there but they have no statelaw and will likely never have from what Ive read. The Casper ban was just voted out about 5 months ago after a new council was elected. The Nazis there pulled every dirty political trick they could find to get one in and are now running a petition to put it on a ballot but don’t have funding and the Lady pushing it cant get even 100 dollars in donations to help pay for it.

      In other places like campus smoking bans I read yesterday where BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD gave a 200,000 dollar grant and bought a smoking ban in Mississippi and they stated it straight out in the story……….

      The Obama Administration has been illegally using Federal Grant money thru CDC,HHS,NIH etc to basically finance these groups to get bans in place or to pay off cities with grants if they pass a smoking ban! Its a grant based upon population size the smallest being 2500.00 dollars in Mississippi. I can list you dozens of other big cities that got millions for doing it and even the ACS has donated big time money and special baby incubators to local hospitals if the city passes a ban.

      That’s what we are facing the full force of Obamas Federal government.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Colleges being forced to go smokefree by Obama Administration

        The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced an initiative to ban smoking from college campuses last month. This is part of the HHS goal to create a society free of tobacco-related disease and death, according to their action plan released by the HHS in 2010.

        Colleges who fail to enact campus-wide smoking bans and other tobacco-free policies may soon face the loss of grants and contracts from the HHS, according to the plan. Western receives grants through a subdivision of the HHS called the National Institutes of Health, Acting Vice Provost for Research Kathleen Kitto said.

        http://www.westernfrontonline.net/news/article_f8068f12-0efe-11e2-8b41-001a4bcf6878.html?success=1

        Obama administration to push for eliminating smoking on college campuses

        Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/09/11/obama … z29zJ2V2TV

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          He is behind the public housing bans across the nation too!

          the CDC and other federal agencies have been dooling out grant money to city, county, and other local governments that adopt smoking bans, not to mention to anti-smoking coalitions who push for stricter smoking bans. It’s been happening in both the Saint Louis area, plus also in the Myrtle Beach area. I’ll note that these aren’t the only 2 areas of the country where these ban grants have been given to a smoking ban coalition.

          Articles proving it’s been happening(wasteful grant money being given to anti groups pushing for smoking bans, plus waving financial grants to communities that ultimately decide to ban smoking) in both parts of the country(grant money going to both Tobacco-Free Saint Louis in the Saint Louis area, and Smoke-Free Horry in the Myrtle Beach/Conway area):

          Smoke Free Florence used federal dollars for lobbying

          FLORENCE, S.C. – A government report confirms that Smoke Free Florence, the organization behind implementing the city’s controversial smoking ordinance in 2011, illegally used funds to lobby local elected officials.

          Though disciplinary action was taken, a government watchdog group is demanding the county be barred from receiving federal dollars as a result of the violation.

          It began in April of this year when Cause of Action (CoA), an advocacy group located in Washington, D.C., accused Smoke Free Florence of misusing monies from a $6 million grant used in an anti-smoking campaign that assisted with passage of a new smoking ordinance in the county’s largest municipality.

          The report, which included roughly 19 months of research, concluded that Smoke Free Florence misused grant monies from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The monies were managed through the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and facilitated through the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and Circle Park Behavioral Center in Florence.

          A separate report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office confirmed funds were improperly used, but only had DHEC repay $247.79 in funds deemed misused and required some staff members to attend additional ethics training.

          Dan Epstein, CoA executive director, said that isn’t enough, not by a long shot.

          “Ultimately, what needs to be happening on behalf of the taxpayers is (that) Florence County, South Carolina, can never receive another federal dollar ever again until it shows it has proof of concepts for ensuring that federal funds aren’t misused,” he said.

          Epstein and the CoA report point to documentation – personal emails and meeting minutes for the most part – that it obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests that show DHEC staff lobbying members of the Florence City Council to support a smoking ordinance. It shows that they attempted to manipulate meeting minutes to, Epstein said, mask their involvement in influencing the passage of the ordinance.

          At the heart of the CoA report lie a series of emails among Smoke Free coalition volunteers and DHEC employees attempting to sway the votes of two Florence city councilmen, Glynn Willis and Buddy Brand, to support the ordinance. One email from Lori Phillips, a DHEC employee, recounts a conversation between herself and Florence City Councilwoman Octavia Williams-Blake – a Democrat and the smoking ordinance’s chief proponent – in which she said possible political ramifications and re-election implications for the two Republican councilmembers was keeping them from supporting the measure.

          “I asked Octavia what we could do to help make up Glynn and Buddy’s minds,” Phillips wrote in the email. “She said that the arguments about this being non-Republican hit home with them and they are about getting re-elected. She said they need to know that a large section of the residents in the City of Florence want this. I shared that we will have poll results to back this up.”

          Other emails discuss political strategy and show Phillips, as well as other DHEC employees, strategizing ways to convince Willis and Brand. The two councilmen later faced criticism from the Florence County’s Republican Party for their eventual support of the ordinance.

          What’s more, the report show that Phillips, as well as another DHEC consultant, Ian Hamilton, advocated minutes of Smoke Free Florence meetings be changed and that certain details about DHEC’s involvement be removed. Officials with Circle Park Behavioral Center, who served as a fiscal agent to disperse the grant funds from DHEC to implement the coalition program itself, confirmed that they had issued a complaint to DHEC regarding this incident. They said that the meeting minutes were not altered.

          Williams-Blake said she wasn’t surprised that a group like CoA had filed a report related to the smoking ordinance. The source of much controversy communitywide, stemming mostly from conservative activists claiming the move violated civil liberties, Florence’s smoking ordinance debate was always a hot-button issue.

          With regards to her interaction with Phillips and other members of the coalition, Williams-Blake acknowledged that she was contacted by the group several times to discuss the ordinance.

          “It was always sort of talking about where we were at in the process of voting or did I think it was going to pass,” she said.

          Shortly after the CoA report was issued, the CDC launched its own investigation into Florence County and others named in the report. They concluded that lobbying had in fact occurred in violation of the CDC’s lobbying guidelines, resulting in DHEC refunding the $247.79 related to “planning activities,” according a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Staff members were also required to receive additional training on lobbying restrictions under the CDC’s guidelines.

          “At the time of the event discussed, DHEC responded to the CDC’s inquiry, and DHEC agreed to follow CDC’s recommended remedies,” a statement issued by DHEC said. “CDC requested two remedies, both of which were completed, with follow-up sent to CDC in June of 2011. Furthermore, DHEC prohibits lobbying activity by employees in their official capacity.”

          A CoA spokesperson said the CDC’s actions “missed the mark” and that harsher action should be taken.

          As of Friday, Florence County is still receiving some federal dollars for select grants but other federal dollars are run through the state, according to County Administrator K.G. “Rusty” Smith Jr.

          http://www.scnow.com/news/politics/article_6db26dd6-cfb0-11e2-a3d3-001a4bcf6878.html#facebook-comments

    • Frank Davis says:

      any reversal of the antismoking trend will have to come from Europe or somewhere else.

      I agree, and I think Eastern Europe is a likely possibility. In Bulgaria (about which I’ve written several times), there’s 40% smoking prevalence, and it seems to me that the more smokers there are in any country, the more likely that there will be resistance. And in Bulgaria there actually is strong resistance from politicians and celebs wanting to reverse their year-old ban.

      Even more interesting is Russia, which began to introduce a smoking ban last June, and is now introducing fines. Next year the ban will extend to restaurants and hotels. And yet 60% of Russian males smoke.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Frank they actually have squads of anti-smoking enforcers in Moscow running around with arm bands on confronting smokers over the new law!

      • beobrigitte says:

        any reversal of the antismoking trend will have to come from Europe or somewhere else.

        It will come from the country where the antismokers are most rampant and boiling point is reached. Or a global recession.

  16. harleyrider1978 says:

    I think that’s enuf to get the point across,but there are pages and pages of this stuff about how they’ve been doing it and getting away with it.

  17. harleyrider1978 says:

    Even here in Kentucky there back again for this years attempt at a ban:

    Just got this in:

    State Chamber of Commerce to endorse smoking ban

    The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce will testify on Thursday in favor of a statewide smoking ban, in front of the Interim Joint Committee on Economic Development. We need you to take immediate action.

    If you are a member of the State Chamber of Commerce, please call them and cancel your membership, and let them know you’re doing so because of their support of a smoking ban. Their number is (502) 695-4700.

    Everyone should call 1-800-372-7181 and ask to leave a message for ALL MEMBERS of The Interim Joint Committee on Economic Development, to “oppose any smoking ban”.

    Tell them you also want to give them the following message (In the blank below, choose “business owner” or “resident”):

    I am a ______________ in Northern Kentucky. A statewide smoking ban would override our local decisions. Allowing Frankfort to ban smoking statewide would be like banning alcohol statewide. Let our local communities decide.

    PLEASE make this call immediately. Then pass this message along to your friends who are against the smoking ban. We need all the calls to Frankfort that we can get. Our allies throughout the rest of the state will be making calls from their area, as well.

    Thank you for your continued support and your continued activism. None of the people involved in Northern Kentucky Choice get paid to fight this fight — unlike the pro-ban nannies — and we’re not looking to get paid. We are working hard, as volunteers, to continue to protect your property rights. The choice to allow or disallow smoking on private property should be left to the owner.

  18. beobrigitte says:

    “Dear Mr McFadden,
    You and many others have completely missed the point about smoking and health. The aim is reduce the public acceptability of smoking and the culture which surrounds it. We know that legislation which discourages all public smoking will have the better impact on public understanding and perception of smoking as an unacceptable habit. Hence fewer people will smoke, hence health overall will improve.”

    I’m sure Michael, as a polite person, thanked the baroness for her response and the admission that smoking bans have been introduced on the lie of passive smoking damage to brazenly practice eugenics – and persecute law abiding people.

    Hence fewer people will smoke, hence health overall will improve.”

    This would require a little bit of an explanation; health overall?
    Just curious, how many youngsters in their 30s following this “health drive” are currently off work sick long term with e.g. depression? And, how much has the diagnosis e.g. “bi-polar disorder” increased, so that even the chiiiildren (the next work force supposed to contribute to the state and pension for the now 30-ish year olds) are being put on tablets?

    So, the persecution of smokers will “improve health overall?” Interesting…..

  19. Charles Burns says:

    It would be great if the USA was, as you describe, a place where one can easily relocate to or even find smoker friendly refuges in nearby towns, and thus we all get what we want. The reality is that smoking bans are nearly universal, including park, beaches, and subsidized housing, or what you would call council houses or estates. Unless one lives in or very near the very few states like South Carolina, where the local economy is still largely dependent on tobacco farming, we smokers just stay home and hope that non smoking fellow tenants don’t rat us out to the landlord. It’s apparently not as smoker. hostile here as it is in Australia, but not by much, and bans on smoking outdoors on federal government property, including National Parks, have been in place for some time. Smoker neutral states are mostly rural with hot climates, and even in these states, bans continue to multiply. In short, in the USA, smoking has been ad hoc criminalized. And we are not many of us so economically free to just up and move to places where, in fact, the ONLY attraction to living in is that one can have a smoke with your drink, but not after your meal. The grass is no greener over the Pond

  20. Pingback: The Dispossessed | Frank Davis

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