World Hellth Organization

I’m no fan of Clive Bates. He used to run ASH before Deborah Arnott, so he’s an Enemy of Smokers, just like her. But he’s got a surprisingly long string of other offences to his name, including working for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Greenpeace, and the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit.

But occasionally even antis like him get something right. And he’s managed to infuriate the World Health Organisation by publishing a variant of their logo.


Part of WHO’s objection was to a parody of their logo that Bates posted, which (at the time of this writing) he has replaced with a text graphic that reads “Graphic removed at the request of the Legal Counsel of the World Health Organization”. But the characterization of “request” is not exactly correct. In the letter sent to Bates by the WHO (which we have obtained a copy of), they threatened to “refer[] the matter to the relevant authorities in the United Kingdom” (where Bates is based) if he did not comply with removing his content. They asserted that he was “using the name and emblem of the World Health Organization (WHO)…in an unauthorized, misleading and libellous manner”.

That accusation is quite troubling from the perspective of a free exchange of ideas. There are very brief substantive claims about particular statements (see below), but notice that the accusation says that the mere act of using the name of WHO when criticizing WHO is unauthorized, misleading and/or libellous. It boggles the mind that WHO is effectively claiming that no one can criticize them by name.

It doesn’t boggle my mind. These fuckers have a truly monumental sense of their own self-importance. So they’re bound to fly off the handle any time anyone offers even the slightest hint of criticism of them.

And what better way to get up their noses than to reproduce the offending logo? With luck it’ll go viral, and end up plastered all over the internet. (In fact this seems to already have happened.)

And naturally I thought I’d have a go at making a variant logo. This one has a skull impaled upon a large spike, and is the logo of the World Hellth Organisation, so obviously the World Health Organisation can’t ask me to remove it.


Anyway, one good thing about this little saga is that it sees antismokers pitted against antismokers – something that seems to be becoming increasingly common.

Most days this blog gets about 1000 views, and the Black Lung Lie gets less than 100 views. But today the blog got a record 15,000 views, with 13,000 of them of the Black Lung Lie. This happens from time to time.

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41 Responses to World Hellth Organization

  1. cherie79 says:

    I know when I mentioned the Black Lung Lie on the lung cancer site I belong too, in response to some of the nonsense some members were being fed and believed, there was a big response, sadly mostly disbelief. I think the brainwashing had gone too deep and smokers continue to feel responsible for their illness, even the ones who had given up decades ago. Still hopefully I at least made some think.

  2. jaxthefirst says:

    More than you think, probably, Cherie. As the WHO and all its little cronies have steadily moved onto other “pleasures,” buoyed with their “success” on tobacco, more and more people are actually stopping to think now, before believing every word they say. It was always inevitable that their credibility would start to crumble when they started to overstretch themselves – which they now are doing. And, having drawn people’s attention to the Black Lung Lie, it’s not out of the question that even the “disbelievers” amongst the readers on your other site might now, with many of their non-smoking pleasures now coming within the same crosshairs might just remember your mentioning it and think “Mmm, maybe …” Sometimes it just takes a bit of time and a bit of a “push” for things to ring true with people.

    • Some French bloke says:

      hopefully I at least made some think.

      True, it’s possible to make small dents in the consensus at ground level. Of course, that’s nothing in scope compared to the global counter-offensive that’s so direly needed and long overdue, but meaningful still.
      A while ago, I was able to unsettle the preconceptions of a reasonably open-minded fellow by quoting some information found in an essay by Geneviève Barbier and Armand Faracchi, La société cancérigène (2007). It states that people in Strasbourg (population ± 350,000) are ten times more at risk for lung cancer than those in Épinal (population ± 35,000), a similar difference is found in the case of Aurillac vs Toulouse (meet the rural divide!).
      And that conversation with the woman in the park that Walt told us about a while ago has certainly not been fruitless either.

  3. cherie79 says:

    I think I am the only one who admits to still smoking and fully intends to continue. I know others do but are too ashamed to say on a lung cancer site. To my surprise I didn’t get a lot of the abuse I expected, some admired my honestly but most gave me ‘advice’ on stopping! I pointed out it was not that I couldn’t but that I didn’t want to, that really caused confusion. I hate the way sick people are loaded with guilt when they are so vulnerable, as if lung cancer wasn’t enough to cope with. Even though many on the forum have never smoked or given up decades ago they still believe if they smoked it is their fault. It makes me so angry what TC have done so callously and now it is affecting treatment, if I get a recurrence and have any problems being treated I would contest it all the way to the European Court. If smoking was so dangerous and this has been known for over 50 years why was the government allowing it’s sale and benefitting from the taxes? Thus to discriminate against smokers for medical treatment would surely be against their human rights since the government were no different from any other drug dealers . .BTW I get my 4 year scan results next week and will let you all know.

    • Yvonne says:

      “It makes me so angry what TC have done so callously and now it is affecting treatment”.
      My husband was in hospital recently, another patient in severe pain was not getting much in the way of treatment, his doctor said to him “If you are well enough to go out for a smoke then you are well enough to go home”, to which my husband (also someone who likes to smoke) said to the patient “Don’t worry mate the size of his gut he will have a heart attack soon”. The doctor gave him such a glare.
      In my opinion, doctors are part of the problem, they have been brainwashed at medical schools, so many lack the curiosity to read more than anti-smoking press releases. They become doctors because they are good at learning but don’t have critical thinking skills. They are complicit in wasteful measuring of smoking habits, waistlines and the like instead of getting down to real diagnosis and treatments.

      • cherie79 says:

        Must agree, my wonderful GP retires at the end of September and that is one of his complaints, that he didn’t go into medicine to lecture people on how to live and was sick of the box ticking mentality the rules the NHS now. I will miss him as the younger ones feel it is their duty to make everyone live the way they want. I have not yet had any problems just the occasional grumble but no doubt it will come.

      • carol2000 says:

        A lot of them become doctors because they want to make money, which they get plenty of criticism for. But it’s the supposed altruists who are our real enemies, because they want to tyrannize us.

    • prog says:

      ‘If smoking was so dangerous and this has been known for over 50 years why was the government allowing it’s sale and benefitting from the taxes? Thus to discriminate against smokers for medical treatment would surely be against their human rights since the government were no different from any other drug dealers . .’

      Well said. But the government is not a dealer. It’s a profiteer – to the tune of 80% of retail cost (UK), revenue collected on it’s behalf by an industry that has been gagged and branded as evil, and consumers as stinking, child-abusing addicts.

      But hey, no good reason to ban tobacco when we can simply make smokers’ lives miserable and get them to pay handsomely it. And if some children happen to fall victim, so be it, government is not really interested in individuals (as aptly demonstrated in Rotherham and other towns).

      Very best wishes for next week..

      • cherie79 says:

        Thank you. At least I have the satisfaction of never having bought cigarettes or tobacco in this country since the ban started and I know plenty of others who do the same.

        • nisakiman says:

          Which is one of the reasons why TC et al really haven’t got a clue what the smoking prevalence in UK (or anywhere else they tax tobacco punitively) actually is. They just trot out the 20% figure based on tobacco sales and telephone polls, and pat themselves on the back because retail sales are falling and (because of the relentless persecution) people are less and less inclined to admit to smoking.

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    I kinda used the Black lung lie a lot this week Frank……………… see the Nazis was runnin thise here kit ya buy online of 2 lungs one black and one pink and well the Devil in me followed evry damn one of those video links as they came out and then well the Nazis started posting on about lung shit and smoking and well the Devil bit me again and againa and again………….well damn it I just cant help Myself!

  5. Re – Black Lung Lie increase in viewing – this – Smokers Lungs vs Healthy Lungs #vinefamous appeared recently. I think I’ve seen it a long time ago – but it’s up as “new”. Time to re-blog your post? I would like to find out from the film maker about the “black” lungs used in the movie.

  6. Rose says:

    Nice Logo, Frank.

    While I applaud Clive Bates creation of the logo, I’m not surprised he took it down when threatened, because he has been at the other end of the process defending the WHO’s good name after this article was published in the Telegraph.

    Passive smoking doesn’t cause cancer – official
    By Victoria Macdonald, Health Correspondent
    8th March 1998

    “THE world’s leading health organisation has withheld from publication a study which shows that not only might there be no link between passive smoking and lung cancer but that it could even have a protective effect.

    The astounding results are set to throw wide open the debate on passive smoking health risks. The World Health Organisation, which commissioned the 12-centre, seven-country European study has failed to make the findings public, and has instead produced only a summary of the results in an internal report.

    Despite repeated approaches, nobody at the WHO headquarters in Geneva would comment on the findings last week. At its International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, which coordinated the study, a spokesman would say only that the full report had been submitted to a science journal and no publication date had been set.

    The findings are certain to be an embarrassment to the WHO, which has spent years and vast sums on anti-smoking and anti-tobacco campaigns. The study is one of the largest ever to look at the link between passive smoking – or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) – and lung cancer, and had been eagerly awaited by medical experts and campaigning groups.

    Yet the scientists have found that there was no statistical evidence that passive smoking caused lung cancer. The research compared 650 lung cancer patients with 1,542 healthy people. It looked at people who were married to smokers, worked with smokers, both worked and were married to smokers, and those who grew up with smokers.

    The results are consistent with their being no additional risk for a person living or working with a smoker and could be consistent with passive smoke having a protective effect against lung cancer. The summary, seen by The Telegraph, also states: “There was no association between lung cancer risk and ETS exposure during childhood.”

    And put in a complaint to the Press Complaints Comission

    Letter From Clive Bates to the Sunday Telegraph regarding their reporting of the World Health Organization study on secondhand smoke.
    http: //

    ASH/ Passive smoking/ Press Complaints Commission Adjudication

    “Mr Clive Bates, Director of ASH, 16 Fitzhardings Street, London W1, complained that an article published in the Sunday Telegraph on 8 March 1998 headlined “Passive smoking doesn’t cause cancer – official” and an accompanying editorial headlined “A setback for nanny” contained inaccuracies in
    breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the
    Code of Practice.”

    “The complaint was not upheld”
    http: //

    The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) press release condemning the Sunday Telegraph report as ‘false and misleading’.

    Press Release WHO/29
    9 March 1998


    Challenging the Telegraphs reporting

    On March 8th 1998 the Sunday Telegraph published a front-page headline report accusing the World Health Organization of suppressing a study that the newspaper claimed showed there was no link between passive smoking and lung cancer. The Sunday Telegraph headline was: “Passive smoking doesn’t cause cancer – official”.

    ASH immediately contacted the Sunday Telegraph requesting a withdrawal and correction. When it refused, ASH concluded there was no alternative but to make a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC).

    This page brings together the various pieces in the story (pdf files).”
    http: //

    But all this is water under the bridge because the very next year the WHO announced it’s Partnership Project with the Pharmaceutical Companies to “help smokers quit” and the denormalisation campaign was unleashed upon the unsuspecting people of Britain.

    Letter to The Publican re. protecting employees from passive smoking
    7th June 1999

    Dear Editor

    Re: smoking in pubs

    It is true that the Health and Safety Executive is developing a new Approved Code of Practice to deal with passive smoking in the workplace (Pubs face new smoking bans, Code is a blow, 7th June 1999). All the ACOP will do is provide meaningful guidance on how the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) should be applied to tobacco smoke in the workplace. This law already exists and has no exemptions for the hospitality industry. The ACOP will clarify the law and help publicans comply with it.

    A new ACOP would not mean that all smoking must be banned in pubs. The heart of the law is that employers have an obligation to do what is reasonably practicableto reduce their employees’ exposure. That could include segregation,ventilation, banning smoking at the bar or other measures. It also means the ‘do nothing and ignore it’ approach is not an option. The best approach for any pub is to wholeheartedly embrace the Charter agreed by the Government and trade bodies such as ALMR and BII and to do what is reasonable and practical to protect their employees. That is good professional business, and it should not be a cause for alarm, despair or resistence.

    Yours sincerely,
    Clive Bates

    http: //

  7. Rose says:

    In fairness to Clive Bates, it was under his tenure that the legal opinion on the “date of guilty knowledge” under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 was sought.

    “In 1998 ASH obtained a legal opinion from John Melville Williams QC which suggests that the date of guilty knowledge in respect of SHS would be likely to be held by the Courts to be some time in the early 1990s.”

    But it was used to threaten the hospitality industry directly, after he’d left.


    ASH and Thompsons’ Tell Employers:
    Don’t Say You Weren’t Warned Over Secondhand Smoke

    “The hospitality trade faces a rising threat of legal action from employees whose health is damaged by secondhand smoke, after a new tie-up between health campaigning charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and the UK’s largest personal injury and trade union law firm Thompsons was announced today.”

    “ASH has sent a registered letter to all the UK’s leading hospitality trade employers, warning them that the “date of guilty knowledge” under the Health and Safety at Work Act is now past, and that employers should therefore know of the risks of exposing their staff to secondhand smoke.

    Employers who continue to permit smoking in the workplace are therefore likely to be held liable by the courts for any health damage caused.

    ASH and Thompsons intend to use the letters in any future court cases as evidence that employers have been fully informed of the issue.”

    “Because of the widespread publicity the scientific evidence on secondhand smoke has now received, it is our view that the date of “guilty knowledge” under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 has passed.”

  8. roobeedoo2 says:

    I think your symbol is fucking brilliant, Frank. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. WHO claimed good intentions and what could be more ‘good’ than saving lives?

    If you repost the Black Lung Lie, you should repost the OCD one too that Smoker Voter linked to last week; these organisations are propagating phobias. And more symbols, please. Symbols are ancient; why else would they insist on their symbol (the no smoking sign) appearing everywhere?

    • Frank Davis says:

      I have no plans to re-post the Black Lung Lie. It has achieved a strange life of its own without any further intervention on my part.

      And it was also, at the time, just another blog post of mine, put together one evening because it just so happened that I’d pulled together enough information on lungs to write something. And it’s not even particularly well written. There are no sources given for the statements by numerous surgeons that smokers lungs aren’t actually black, but are indistinguishable from non-smokers lungs. And the bit about emphysema could have been explained better.

      And it could have done with a quote of King James writings on the insides of smokers.

      I think I’d want to completely re-write it.

      But I think the black lung lie (the lie itself rather than my essay about it) is an example of One Lie Too Many. The antismokers somehow always feel that they must throw absolutely everything at tobacco, even things that are not true. The SHS lie is probably the current prime example. But getting people to believe that the insides of smokers’ lungs are black is another pretty spectacular lie to tell, and to keep repeating for 300 years. And once the antis have been caught in one lie, it gets a lot easier to catch them in other lies.

      And as far as I can see, more or less absolutely everything they say has been a lie, that has only gained traction by being endlessly repeated for the past 70 years (and mybe the past 500 years).

  9. margo says:

    I haven’t trusted WHO since I found out about the deal it made with the IAEA in 1959,
    by which the International Atomic Energy Agency (which is committed to the expansion of nuclear power) gained the right to veto any WHO reports on the harms of radiation.

  10. Frank Davis says:

    Redhead Full Of Steam seems to have done her own logo too.

  11. Rose says:

    There are no sources given for the statements by numerous surgeons that smokers lungs aren’t actually black, but are indistinguishable from non-smokers lungs

    Yes there are, Frank.

    Some of the quotes were taken from these statements

    US House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce House of Representatives
    (01 January 1969)
    “I have examined thousands of lungs both grossly and microscopically. I cannot tell you from examining a lung whether or not its former host had smoked.”

    “Smoking does not discolor the lung.”

    “…it is not possible grossly or microscopically, or in any other way known to me, to distinguish between the lung of a smoker or a nonsmoker. Blackening of lungs is from carbon particles, and smoking tobacco does not introduce carbon particles into the lung.
    The educational value of the various specimens shown the comittee escapes me”

    Statement of Dr. Irving Zeidman, Professor of Pathology, University of Pennsylvania Before US House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce Re: Cigarette Labeling & Advertising-1969


    And were used in this article

    The Smoking and Health Controversy: A View From The Other Side

    “”Smoking Turns Your Lungs Black” – This assertation prompted many questions in the recent Congressional hearings. However, a number of pathologists and other doctors testified that there was no way to tell a smoker’s lung from a non-smoker’s lung. Here is SOME of their testimony……”

    Bear in mind that in those days of the smogs everyone who lived in a city had black carbon particles in their lungs and some still do, smoker or non.

    Of course time and clearer skies help a lot.

    Dirty Diesel

    Michael Abramson is Professor of Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine from Monash University in Victoria.

    “Michael Abramson: The lungs of city dwellers are much dirtier than the lungs of rural dwellers. So that if a post mortem examination is performed, you actually see the black deposits on the outside of the lungs of city dwellers and also in the lymph glands in the middle of the chest. And this is true, even in people who haven’t worked in a coal mine or haven’t smoked. It’s simply the effect of breathing in fine particles over the years of a lifetime.”

    And now

    Smokers’ lungs used in half of transplants

    “Almost half of lung transplant patients were given the lungs taken from heavy smokers, with one in five coming from donors who had smoked at least one packet of cigarettes a day for 20 or more years.”

    “Despite this, new research shows that those people given the lungs of smokers were just as likely to be alive up to three years after transplantation as those who had organs from non-smokers. In some cases, they had improved survival rates.”

    James 1st

    “Surely Smoke becomes a kitchin far better then a Dining chamber, and yet it makes a kitchin also oftentimes in the inward parts of men, soiling and infecting them, with an unctuous and oily kinde of Soote, as hath bene found in some great Tobacco takers, that after their death were opened.”


    ” Elizabeth I complained she was “greatly grieved and annoyed with the taste and smoke” of it, while James I was “moved to compassion” by the way the pollution was eating away at St Paul’s Cathedral, and oversaw a law banning burning the fuel within a mile of his court.”

  12. carol2000 says:

    That’s really just lawyers blowing smoke out their asses, in hope of finding someone naive enough to intimidate. The thing is, it won’t intimidate a real enemy, one who knows the establishment will never do anything good for them. But it might intimidate a fellow traveler who gets out of line.

  13. Greg Burrows says:

    Yes Rose you are right that “guilty knowledge” under the HSE, HSAWA 1974 was never substantiated under Clive, lying is just what ASH decided to do.
    It states on this case on your link
    “The EAT rejected the Respondent’s appeal and held that:

    ‘It seems to us that a good starting point for the implication of a term of the sort that the tribunal had in mind is Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It is to be stressed that this case was not concerned with health and safety, in the sense that there was no evidence before the industrial tribunal that being exposed to tobacco smoke is in fact injurious to the health of those who have to endure it”.
    Why no evidence because there was not any.
    Which exemplifies HSE OC255/15 article 9 “In essence, HSE cannot produce epidemiological evidence to link levels of exposure to SHS to the raised risk of contracting specific diseases
    and it is therefore difficult to prove health-related breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act”.

  14. nisakiman says:

    Just out of interest, I Googled “If I smoke, will my lungs turn black?”. Interestingly, Frank’s post was third on the first page. That’s quite something. Also, I clicked on the No 2 listing, and found the question:

    I have seen the pictures and know conventional wisdom states that the lungs of smokers turn black due to smoke, however I came across this blog post (my emphasis – and there was a hyperlink to Frank’s post) which refutes the claim. I know it’s from a biased smoker blog, however the cited references seem reasonable.
    The basic idea is that it’s emphysema which causes black lungs and not tar, and while emphysema incidence is higher among smokers that doesn’t mean that all smoker’s lungs turn black. This is what an image search for emphysema turns up.
    One of the most striking claims I think is that smoker’s lungs are routinely used for transplants. Would blackened lungs really be transplanted?

    About 13 percent of double-lung transplants in the U.S. came from donors with a heavy smoking history, according to Taghavi’s new study, presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons In the end, after all other variables were accounted for, people who got lungs from heavy smokers lived as long and as well as those who got lungs from the tobacco-free, Taghavi found. There was no significant difference in cancers, though the study didn’t specifically look at lung cancer.

    And further down:

    Thank you for the detailed reply. This makes me conclude that the anti-smoking lobby has been spreading lies as a scare tactic, and these lies have taken hold. I’ve had medicine graduates tell me how I was dumb and misguided for doubting the black lung story, and furthermore tell me that they had it on good authority from their professors. While I don’t doubt smoking is harmful, stuff like this does make me wonder what else the anti-smoking lobby is lying about. Maybe the harmful effects of secondhand smoke? This is exactly why so called authorities on a subject shouldn’t lie, because it brings everything into doubt.

    A perspicacious comment.

    Frank, that post is having a real impact.

    • Some French bloke says:

      Up till now, ‘confirmation bias’ was almost 100% in favour of the antis, complete with appeal-to-authority, ad populum (bandwagon), and no sign of dissent in sight.
      At last someone has managed to put a dent in it.

    • prog says:

      Ranked 2nd when I Googled it.

      This was from the 4th…

      ‘Can your lungs turn black if you inhale smoke from a piece of paper?

      If it has nicotine or tobacco on it, yes they can. If not, then no, it is just normal, harmless smoke.’

      on the other hand…

      ‘Smoking does not turn your lungs black. This is a myth created by educational tools developed to discourage kids from smoking Cigarettes. The pictures you always see with black lungs displayed are actually pig lungs that have been dyed to represent smoker’s lungs. Some even have fake tumors sewn into them before they are preserved and plasticized for the kits. While black lung is real, it is related to significant carbon inhalation such as you might see in a coal miner.

      This does not mean that smoking does not harm your lungs. While there are no outward appearances of damage unless the patient has severe emphysema, dissection of the lungs of smokers will show the alveolar spaces of the smoker contain numerous scavenger cells (macrophages) that are filled with engulfed (phagocytized) particles of impurities and debris.

      The good news is that damage to the lungs from smoking will be repaired, over time, if a smoker quits. While the black lung images falsely suggest the tissue in the lungs is dying, this is not what happens. The lungs will heal if you stop smoking. It just takes time.’

      If you register you can edit replies…

      • beobrigitte says:

        ‘Can your lungs turn black if you inhale smoke from a piece of paper?

        If it has nicotine or tobacco on it, yes they can. If not, then no, it is just normal, harmless smoke.’

        This is hilarious!

        Never mind how often it is printed/spoken by people whose work includes autopsies that smoking does NOT turn your lungs black, the anti-smokers – in their fashion – just ignore it and peddle the painted pigs’ lungs lie.
        However, there is a ‘black lung disease’ – people working in coal mines get it. And they still do. A nut… erm … bloke with the name ‘Repace’ wrote a paper in which he claimes that the field of ventilation technology would have to produce an ‘indoor tornado’ in order to ‘make a room in which people smoke “safe” for non-smokers’.
        The smoking ban that followed had the side effect to stifle ventilation technology research and progress. The anti-smokers celebrated.
        Little is known and written about people working in coal mines (I believe coal mines are much in demand these days) missing out on this ventilation technology progress.
        Since Repace is American, perhaps he would care to continue his “work”?
        This was published in July 2014:
        If the American Labour party is anything like ours the miners are doomed.
        Labor officials said they would begin to address an enormous backlog of unresolved black lung cases – believed to be more than 14,000 of them – by adding more than $2.7 million to the program’s budget.

        The anti-smokers simply do not care – the miners don’t smoke underground. And when they come up, covered in dust, coughing, the anti-smokers blame SMOKING.

        Ironically, had ventilation technology NOT been a thorn in the anti-smokers’ eye, we all would be in a “safer” place.
        Also, by now I am sick of catching colds every time I am on a long haul flight! Since there is no smoking on airplanes, ventilation is something at the bottom of the list.

        *Rant over*

  15. beobrigitte says:

    And naturally I thought I’d have a go at making a variant logo. This one has a skull impaled upon a large spike, and is the logo of the World Hellth Organisation, so obviously the World Health Organisation can’t ask me to remove it.
    It sure hits the nail on it’s head.

    Anyway, one good thing about this little saga is that it sees antismokers pitted against antismokers – something that seems to be becoming increasingly common.
    Indeed. I have already booked a seat in the first row in order not to miss any of the the spectacle when the anti-smoking zealots are being held accountable for the damage they created!

  16. Reblogged this on artbylisabelle and commented:
    Who the whom is WHO?

  17. harleyrider1978 says:

    Looks like a new site with fresh folks I just joined up………..

  18. harleyrider1978 says:


    MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — There has been a “high level of compliance” with the Berkeley County Board of Health’s workplace smoking ban since it was expanded to include bars on July 1, but the amount of cash put into limited video lottery game machines at more than 80 of these alcohol-serving establishments also dropped by about $1 million from June to July.

    A few bar owners and managers contacted this week attribute the drop in revenue, at least in part, on the board of health’s move to expand the county’s ban on smoking in workplaces and public places, but also say they need more time to judge the long term impact.

    Business owner C.B. “Butch” Pennington said they are trying to do different promotions to increase business, but isn’t optimistic revenue will rebound.

    The $7.2 million that was put into the state-regulated gaming machines in July at 85 establishments in Berkeley County was down from $8.2 million in June when there were two more gaming locations in the county, according to figures maintained by the West Virginia Lottery. The July 2014 tally was about $940,000 lower than July 2013 and the lowest since $7.4 million in January 2014, according to the state lottery.

    Pennington said his three video lottery/restaurant businesses in July saw declines of about 46 percent, 17 percent and 36 percent, respectively, compared to June. Food and bar sales, however, remained fairly even, Pennington said.

    At his two liquor stores, Pennington said wholesale liquor sales are “really down” and he added that three clubs have indicated they might very well close in the coming days given the effect of the smoking ban on their business.

    “We tried to explain that to the health department,” Pennington said of the regulation’s effect on the businesses.

  19. Pingback: The Black Lung Lie | Frank Davis

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