People Fighting Back

H/T Harley for this little bit of good news from Massachusetts:

WESTMINSTER, Mass. (AP) — Only a handful of people were able to speak on a proposal that could make the tiny Massachusetts town of Westminster the first in the nation to ban all sales of tobacco products when boos and shouts from the crowd shut down the public hearing Wednesday night.


But amid shouts of “America!” and “Freedom Now,” Board of Health chairwoman Andrea Crete gaveled the hearing to a close just 25 minutes into it instead of taking comments.

“The crowd’s getting out of control and the room’s filled to capacity,” she said. “We don’t want any riots.”

Crete and the two other board members were escorted out by police, and the crowd dispersed. She said the board would accept written testimony until Dec. 1 and would vote later. She didn’t specify a date.

“I’m disappointed that we didn’t get to have the hearing,” she said. “We’re trying to save lives and prevent children from being future users.”

Joyce McGuire, a Westminster resident and nonsmoker who opposes the ban, also was disappointed the hearing ended early.

“I think people are really angry because they feel this is being shoved down their throats,” she said. And with the proposal drawing national media attention, she added, “I think we all feel really embarrassed. I don’t think this is the way our town is.”

The decision rests solely with the board, which says it is fed up with bubblegum-flavored cigars, electronic cigarettes and other new products that appeal to young people. Board members say the easiest course of action is to enact a total ban on all sales within town lines.

It reminds me a bit of the protest against Stony Stratford‘s proposed outdoor smoking ban.

But what happens if the Board of Health just goes ahead and bans tobacco products anyway? After all, these people always think they know what’s best for everyone else. Are they going to change their minds just because a bunch of people show up with placards and US flags?

In other related news, I’ve been reminded of Alan Auld:

A furious smoker wants to sue the government for £1 million — claiming the ban on lighting up ruined his social life.

Alan Auld says he has been forced to give up his regular trips to the pub and has lost friends because of the law.

And the 69-year-old is asking for donations from other smokers to fund his court battle against ministers.

Dad-of-one Alan, of Aberdeen, said: “The smoking ban finished my social life. I’ve been going to pubs since 1961 and have smoked ever since I’ve been at school, but the smoking ban killed the pub experience for me.

“I used to go two or three times a week and it was a great way to see all my friends. I’ve only been in a pub five or six times since it’s been voted through. I’ve decided that it’s time to act.”

Well, I’m very sympathetic. I’ve had the same experience, after all. And I imagine there are about a million other people like us in the UK, judging by the ISIS survey.

What had been always been a welcoming pub for smokers up until 30 June 2007 became horribly unwelcoming on 1 July 2007, when, as Deborah Arnott predicted, smokers were “exiled to the outdoors.” That was always bound to shatter communities, and sever friendships. Never mind all the pubs that have closed their doors since then, I think that the real (and in my view, irreparable) damage caused by the ban has been the social damage.

I wish Alan Auld well, of course. But I can’t see how you can prove in a court that it was the smoking ban, and the smoking ban alone, that cost you your social life. Are you going to call upon former friends to testify on your behalf? Lost friends, in my experience, can all too easily become enemies.

Furthermore, even if I did think I knew how to prove it, I don’t think I would pursue the matter in court if I didn’t have the money to hire lawyers to fight the case. And I can easily imagine that something like this could run up hundreds of thousands of pounds in costs. Which is why I’d never dream of doing it. I just don’t have enough money.

All of which means that there is no justice, except for the rich.

Nevertheless I noticed that, in the comments under Simon Clark’s article (linked to above), quite a few commenters seemed more than happy to bung Alan Auld a few quid. So I’ll direct them to Handymanphil and his link to justice4smokers’ PayPal donations page (assuming that is the right place for donations to Alan Auld’s fighting fund).

I’d be interested to hear what my readers think about this.

And finally,

Meet America’s oldest living vet. He smokes cigars, does yard work, drives and drinks whiskey. And he’s 108.

About Frank Davis

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35 Responses to People Fighting Back

  1. junican says:

    Oh Dear.
    Remember when we all baled out Hogan from Bolton? We all contributed funds to pay his ‘exemplary’ fine of £10,000 for not acting as an unpaid enforcer of the smoking ban. We paid his fine and freed him from jail.
    But he had made appalling errors. I went to his pub (in Bolton, where I live) and observed the situation. Even then, when the repercussions of the Ban were still not clear, I saw that a notice over the bar which said, “Smoke at your own risk” was just inviting the attention of the Environmental Officers of the Local Authority. It was OBVIOUS that he did not know that the law required him ‘do something’.
    I cringed.
    What he should have done is plaster the pub with “NO SMOKING” notices, but turned a blind eye to anyone who lit up. Had he done so, he would have had reasonable grounds to contest his conviction. The same applies to Hewitt in Blackpool.
    What I am saying is that, had these people plastered their pubs with “No Smoking” notices (which could have been really amusing skits), their duty under the law would have been fulfilled. They had not “allowed” smoking. I don’t think that it is true, but it is easy to imagine that these two publicans were ‘set up’ somehow to be guinea pigs. It is easy to see how Zealots in local authorities, here and there, might have been tasked to find a couple of guinea pigs for prosecution. The way in which the Smoking Ban was framed enabled the Zealots to force citizens to police other citizens and force them to comply.


    Thus we can see how the Smoking Ban can be circumvented provided that publicans have legal advice and courage. It is simple. Plaster your walls with “No Smoking” notices and put saucers on the tables. Better still, and in addition, march and complain and complain. It needs only one small bar to set the ball rolling.

    Perhaps it is too late, but, on the other hand, perhaps that is how Prohibition in the USA met its demise,

    • prog says:

      There were a few rebels who fought the law and the law won. Tony Blows and the licencee of the pub at Drighlington come to mind. Made a stand, but there was no way the antis were going to let them get away with it. It was critical that open and persistent dissenters were made examples of. Nevertheless, there’ll be plenty of pubs that still haver lock-ins. I suspect that as long as they keep quiet there’ll they”ll be largely left alone. It doesn’t help TC agenda to chase too many offenders because it’d only highlighted that the ban is unpopular with owners and customers.

    • Junican and Prog: As far as I know, the only legal cases we’ve won in the States have been pub owners who did EXACTLY wha Junican recommends! The laws generally do NOT require pub owners to physically assault smokers or even refuse to serve them!

      – MJM

  2. GC says:

    You may like this one….
    Living past 110….

    ” Kim said the 17 supercentenarians did not report obvious health habits that explain their longevity. As a group, he said, they did not have especially healthy eating or exercise habits.

    “About half of them were smokers,” Kim added.”

  3. prog says:

    Nor could any ill non-smoking employee successfully prove that SHS was to blame. Has anybody attempted this? Who would they blame? This totally different to safety at work regs, which are based on real risks that must be minimised by employers. The ban is as near as dammit a ban of an immoral act in a public enclosed space. The proposed outdoor bans are based on nothing but morality.

    • “Nor could any ill non-smoking employee successfully prove that SHS was to blame. Has anybody attempted this? Who would they blame?”

      Prog, this is nothing but a chimera floated by the Antis over the past few years. It’s totally and completely bogus of course. Even if they could get the secondhand smoke causation nonsense past a judge, very few hospitality people can point to a single decades-long employer and prove that their health problem came about because of exposure during those decades rather than other ones.

      But, as said, the court case aspect is irrelevant: of all the hundreds of millions of US employees, I don’t know of a single one offhand that has won such a case. The closest to it would be the settlement the tobacco companies made with the airline stewardesses, and in that case the stewardesses got zero, while the Antis and the Lawyers got millions!

      – MJM

  4. Rose says:

    Smoking hot emotions in Massachusetts town on front line of America’s tobacco wars

    “In response to withering criticism, the board of health in Westminster, a rural community of 7,400 people, called a public meeting to give locals the chance to voice their opinions.

    As an exercise in consultation, it did not go well.

    The hearing was scheduled to last two hours, but was abandoned after just 23 minutes amid unruly chaos. To choruses of “God Bless America” and chants of “America!” and “Freedom Now”, Andrea Crete, the chairwoman of the three-person board, brought the gavel down on the evening’s session after several failed attempts to bring the meeting to order.”

    You can see why anti-tobacco are so terrified of meeting the public and exclude the very people their policies will have most impact on.

    Westminster made the fundamental mistake of letting people have a voice instead of deciding policy in secret.

    This is how it’s done.

    UN’s health agency boots public to work on a global tobacco tax in secret
    October 13, 2014

    “A tobacco reduction conference hosted by the World Health Organization, the United Nation’s public health agency, took a hostile and alarming turn on Monday when the public was kicked out of the meeting.

    The tyrannical attack on the principles of transparency and accountability took place when delegates from more than 175 countries who are part of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a UN global anti-tobacco treaty, agreed unanimously to boot spectators. Delegates then voted to ban the public from the Moscow conference center where the event is taking place for the duration of the week-long meeting.

    “We don’t need the public here!” proclaimed Uganda’s representative. Libya’s chief delegate Mohamed Ibrahim Saleh Daganee gritted his teeth as he demanded other delegates join him in voting to close the meeting to the public.”

  5. Bucko says:

    That thing in America will certainly end with the ban going through. They are now taking thoughts by letter rather than public meeting. Sounds very much like the ‘consultations’ we are used to over here.

    All the health puritans will write in to support the ban while few members of the public will react on paper like they did in the meeting hall.

    The upshot will be that the ban has overwhelming support and will go through. That’s tobacco controllers for you.

  6. nisakiman says:

    I sent some money towards the Alan Auld fund. He hasn’t got a hope in hell of winning the case because all the dice are so heavily loaded against him. But that’s not the point. If he can get it to court and show publicly that the smoking ban was based on a lie (which shouldn’t be difficult) it will go a long way towards unravelling all the other deceptions that Tobacco Control are so fond of lobbying for legislation with. What the aim of the case must be is to garner as much publicity as possible.

    Most of the TC propaganda only works because nobody is in a position to question its veracity, but it wouldn’t stand up in court because it’s based on lies and exaggeration. Exposed to the harsh light of reality, it would wither away.

  7. Rose says:

    Oh FFS!

    Rosetta mission scientist Dr Matt Taylor cries during apology over ‘offensive’ shirt

    “Rosetta scientist Dr Matt Taylor breaks down as he says he made “a big mistake” by wearing a shirt during the mission’s live stream featuring cartoon images of women wearing bondage gear and firing guns”

    I have a very flattering T shirt with a similar image that I bought in the 70’s and still wear occasionally with pride.

    Funny, I have never thought of powerful women with guns as a demeaning image, so why is it OK to show pictures of powerful men with guns but not women?

    I do so hate sexism in all it’s ugly forms.

    • carol2000 says:

      It makes me want to vomit when people grovel to PCs.

      • Edgar says:

        Who’s stopping you?

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Miles and money…………or we would all be together wasting the taxpayers billions travelling to somewhere to outlaw someone we hate and then get kickbacks for doing it.

          So if we had a few million we could group up and have a good old vomit on the Nazis together…………

    • beobrigitte says:

      1. Has Matt Taylor also still got “Tank Girl” T-shirts? *Awesome* I still have, too!!!
      I used to wear them going shopping with my youngest in the buggy and the other two holding on to the buggy. This did not stop teenagers offering me good money for my T-shirt(s)!

      2. Matt Taylor ‘helped mankind land on a comet’ – WHY is he being made to apologize for a T-shirt that I did not notice when following the updates on Philae’s landing? Don’t tell me that there were people more interested in what the guy was wearing than in what he was explaining!

      • Rose says:

        Because he was rightly looking happy and excited, he was wearing the shirt his friend made ( female) for his birthday , most of the world was hanging on his every word, perhaps the complainers were feeling neglected.

        Well we certainly have noticed them now.

        He looked absolutely crushed and it made me very angry.

        • beobrigitte says:

          And his arms are covered in tattoes – WHO cares?

          He did his best to explain to people the mission; he worked on it for long enough. I doubt he got much sleep in the last 24 hours (or longer!) before Philae touched bouncingly down.
          And what do people care about? His t-shirt……..
          No wonder the guy is crushed!!!!


          (Perhaps he would like to borrow one of my my Tank Girl t-shirts for the next broadcast?)

          A fucking t-shirt and another scientist bouncing up and down with joy will be remembered…..

          The world does not deserve this major scientific achievement. And, yes, I am ANGRY.

  8. What exactly has a pub landlord to do if they have ‘no smoking’ signs all over the pub and they ask a person to stop smoking and the punter politely says ‘no’ ? If the landlord physically evicts the smoker could he get charged with assault ? Is the landlord expected to call the council EHO (who will not be available in the evenings or weekends) or is the landlord expected to call the police ? By the time the police come the punter would have finished their cigarette or left the premises. So what happens then ?

  9. carol2000 says:

    Anti-smokers want people to think that the only objections smokers can come up with are half-baked, simple-minded crap like that. And when people shovel out their money to him while ignoring those with actual viable ideas, it’s no wonder smokers have no freedom.

    • jaxthefirst says:

      That’s all very well, Carol, but where are all the research establishments crying out for cash to research the virus scenario you’ve mentioned in the past (because I strongly suspect that’s what you’re talking about here)? Sure, I understand that the “establishment” aren’t going to fund any research in this direction because it would risk blowing apart their much-beloved “only smoking causes …” mantra, but maybe if a research establishment (with a bit of genuine interest in real research, rather than, like most, just chasing the biggest funders) wanted to do some “virus/LC-link” research they could raise the funds via an Internet campaign. I’m sure that there’d be as many, if not more, people on blogs like these who would happily contribute as much to those establishments as are willing to contribute to Auld’s court case. I imagine that pretty much everyone on here would be delighted to see the media having to eat their words with a headline: “Lung Cancer goes viral – it’s NOT caused by smoking!” (Quite catchy, don’t you think?)

      The trouble is, none of the research establishments are asking. Unless, of course, you have a link to one that is – in which case a good start would be to publish a link on here so that we can all chip in. After all, no-one can donate to a cause, no matter how worthy, if no-one wants the money.

  10. beobrigitte says:

    Today I watched a new news programme titled RT news. I never thought much about what RT means; I assumed that it was an American news offspring that was a little more daring.
    I did learn more about the French protests against the ‘police state’; the Italian protests against more austerity measures and protests in Argentinia.

    Eventually I did decide to find out. I ended up at

    NO WAY!!!!!

    However, they interviewed a lot of people; this one stuck out:

    Quite an interesting interview; he states that STRESS was the cause of heart attacks; he thinks that America should be ‘people centric’ not ‘government centric’ and ‘the govenment should conform to the will of the people, not the other way round’…

    When it comes to politics I am a heathen – these days I have them all down as liars and cheats – and my main concern is the repeal of the smoking ban and avoidance of more senseless laws.
    So, WHO is this Carson? He did not mention smoking and wanting to destroy all tobacco and smokers. All I found was that he is not in favour of cannabis for recreation.

    I do wonder how much longer RT will be available on freeview; perhaps we should tell the Russians that Freedom is a thing of the past here……

    • waltc says:

      Carson is a black neurosurgeon, apparently quite a genius who invented successful new surgical techniques. I even think he was connected to Johns Hopkins one of Bloomberg’s pet charities. He’s an admirable guy with a fine Libertarian philosophy who came to national attention here when he was chosen to speak at some …dinner? where Obama was present and he “spoke truth to power.” Since then he’s been an occasional Talking Head on Fox News, has traveled around the country speaking, stumped for Republican candidates in the recent election, and there’s a “draft Carson” movement to get him to run for president in 2016 which would be a mistake for him and the party. For all his likability and generally good principles , we don’t need another political amateur. Been there, done that.

      • beobrigitte says:

        Thanks, Walt!

        Since then he’s been an occasional Talking Head on Fox News

        The interviewer pointed out that Carson no longer works for Fox News and asked why. Carson explained that ‘each candidate is supposed to have equal access to Fox News and therefore it was mutually agreed that he no longer ‘works’ for Fox News.

        we don’t need another political amateur. Been there, done that.

        We over here unfortunately are still doing that…. So we may aswell give a guy who does not want us smokers exiled to outside of society a chance.
        I wanted to find out if Carson was an anti-smoker – no luck. He does not touch the subject smoking in what I could find on him.
        He must know that smokers are voters!

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          I gather your talking about DR BEN CARSON…………..The man is loved by millions for his straight forward commonsence approach towards everything………..He has no qualms about punching the Nazis hard like DR SO CALLED OZ! A lead Nazi in the pay of the leftist media………

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Bloomberg donated 1 billion dollars to john Hopkins and that’s where all the JUNK SCIENCE to support bloombergs nanny state policies comes from like last years anti-gun violence study Owebama used after the sandyhook shooting took place…….

        Goals of the Department

        Develop approaches for applying the findings of epidemiologic research in the formulation of public policy and to participate in formulating and evaluating the effects of such policy

        Center for Gun Policy and Research


        The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research is engaged in original scholarly research, policy analysis, and agenda-setting public discourse. Our goal is to bring public health expertise and perspectives to the complex policy issues related to gun violence prevention.

        An important part of the Center’s mission is to serve as an objective and informative resource for the news media, thereby providing the public with accurate information about gun injuries, prevention strategies, and policies.

        Current Events

  11. harleyrider1978 says:

    Nonsmokers in automobiles are exposed to significant secondhand smoke

    Posted By News On November 14, 2014 – 5:30am

    Nonsmokers sitting in an automobile with a smoker for one hour had markers of significantly increased levels of carcinogens and other toxins in their urine, indicating that secondhand smoke in motor vehicles poses a potentially major health risk according to a groundbreaking study led by UC San Francisco researchers.

    The nonsmoking passengers showed elevated levels of butadiene, acrylonitrile, benzene, methylating agents and ethylene oxide. This group of toxic chemicals is “thought to be the most important among the thousands in tobacco smoke that cause smoking-related disease,” said senior investigator Neal L. Benowitz, MD, a UCSF professor of medicine and bioengineering and therapeutic sciences and chief of the division of clinical pharmacology at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center.

    “Ours is the first study to measure exposure to these particular chemicals in people exposed to secondhand smoke,” said Benowitz. “This indicates that when simply sitting in cars with smokers, nonsmokers breathe in a host of potentially dangerous compounds from tobacco smoke that are associated with cancer, heart disease and lung disease.”

    The scientists published their results on November 14, 2014 in the journal Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention published by the American Association for Cancer Research.

    For the study, 14 nonsmokers each sat for one hour in the right rear passenger seat of a parked sport utility vehicle behind a smoker in the driver’s seat. During that time, the smoker smoked three cigarettes. The front and rear windows were opened 10 centimeters, or almost four inches.

    Before being exposed to the smoke and then eight hours afterward, the nonsmokers’ urine was analyzed for biomarkers of nine chemical compounds found in cigarette smoke that are associated with cancer, cardiovascular disease and respiratory diseases. Seven biomarkers showed a significant increase following exposure to secondhand smoke.

    “This tells us that people, especially children and adults with preexisting health conditions such as asthma or a history of heart disease should be protected from secondhand smoke exposure in cars,” said lead author Gideon St. Helen, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher in the UCSF Department of Medicine.

    The scientists cautioned that the research might not represent smoking situations in most cars because the stationary vehicle used in the research would provide less ventilation than a moving car.

    “Nonetheless, the air samples we took were similar in makeup to those seen in previous smoking studies that used closed cars and cars with different ventilation systems in operation,” said St. Helen. “And so we believe that the general levels of risk to nonsmokers that we present is realistic.”

    Source: University of California – San Francisco

    • beobrigitte says:

      They keep going for it again and again. Perhaps they should BUY us all cars? I paid for my car – if I need to ban “chiiiiildren” so be it – I say what is done INSIDE my car. In my car one smokes cigarettes/e-cigarettes (if passengers wish to do so).
      Full stop. End of discussion.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Some courts have found that you car is an extension of your home………….with all the protections and privacy that come with it.

  12. harleyrider1978 says:

    What Would Happen Tomorrow if Coffee Were Banned?

    I’ll assume this happens in the U.S., since it’s what I’m familiar with. I think other instances of prohibition would be a pretty good model.
    •Rich people would quickly find legal loopholes allowing them to continue using coffee without interference. During America’s alcohol prohibition period, it was decided that whiskey had some medicinal benefits, so it could be prescribed by a doctor and filled by pharmacies. Some pharmacies had doctors on site who would “diagnose” their customers with conditions requiring an alcohol prescription and then fill the prescription right there. (Using this strategy, Walgreen’s went from an obscure local pharmacy chain to an international company that’s ubiquitous almost 100 years later.)

    Figure: Prescription form for “Medicinal Liquor.”

    •Conversely, enforcement would focus on ethnic minorities and other unpopular social groups. In an effort to retroactively justify the practice, variants of coffee popular among these groups would be profiled as “more dangerous.” Cafe con leche would be treated much more seriously than the nearly identical caffe latte. (Compare the discrepancy in the way various versions of cocaine are treated legally, or for a lighter example the social panic over Four Loko versus Red Bull and vodka.)

    Figure: Cafe con leche. (Photo by mariosp on flickr, licensed cc-by-sa.)

    •With the closing of the cafes that occupy most street corners, we’d see a sudden explosion of urban blight. In some locations with solid fundamentals, you’d just see unnecessary bank branches popping up, but you’d also see a bunch of crime concentrated around all the newly abandoned buildings, like in present-day Detroit.
    •Large sections of the population would lose all respect for the government

    from last year………..looks like even the leftist Huffington Post is tied of the NAZI STATE

  13. Frank Davis says:

    WESTMINSTER — In the aftermath of an emotional public hearing on the town’s proposed tobacco-sales ban, some residents were discussing the possibility of recalling the Board of Health members who proposed the new policy.

    If the residents did want to recall the Board of Health, Town Clerk Denise MacAloney said they would only be able to recall two of its members. Since 1995, the town has had a bylaw providing for recall elections, but the bylaw states that an elected official with six months or less left in his or her term is not eligible for recall.

    “(Board of Health chair) Andrea Crete’s term is up on April 28, so she wouldn’t be eligible,” MacAloney explained.

    Read more:

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