H/T Rose, for this story:
Bristol is now the first city in the UK to ban smoking in some public places.
It is trialling a voluntary smoking ban in two areas in the city but businesses in the area can decide whether or not to follow suit.
Bristol was for many years my adopted home town. It was where I was at university. It is (or rather, was) a laid-back, easy-going town. London friends used to visit just to relax. That all changed with the smoking ban. It now seems to have become Anti-Smoking Central in the UK.
I don’t know what a “voluntary” smoking ban might be. But it looks like a way of introducing soft bans which gradually evolve into hard bans. They’ll be able to put up No Smoking signs, but initially you won’t get fined. The fines will come a few years down the track.
But that’s not the only story out of Bristol. The article continues:
New research reveals the huge strain smoking puts on relationships.
The study, conducted by Smokefree South West, found more than four out of five people (83 per cent) have encouraged a friend or loved one to quit smoking.
More than half of the 1,000 people surveyed in the region said that the fact their friend or loved one still continued to smoke made them feel anxious (57 per cent), with more than one in ten (13 per cent) complaining that their worry kept them awake at night and nearly two out of five people (17 per cent) stating that the habit caused friction in their relationship.
The study found that one in three people (29 per cent) had stopped encouraging their loved one to quit as they were scared of starting an argument and 65 per cent had resorted to extreme measures to force the change, such as guilt-tripping their loved one (28 per cent), chopping up their cigarettes (seven per cent), hiding them (17 per cent) and refusing to buy them (19 per cent).
Mrs Andrews said: “We know that most smokers want to quit but often put it off until it’s too late to avoid serious damaging disease or early death.
“We all know smoking kills but somehow we think it will kill ‘other people’ not us.
“For those who are close friends of a smoker or who love them this can be very hard and even frightening to live with.
“Smoking has a dramatic emotional impact on friends and family members, on top of the well documented damage caused by passive smoking, which is especially harmful to children who breathe it in more rapidly.
“The message is simple, if you don’t want to quit for your own health, then take that step to do it for the health of your family and your relationships, as your loved ones are desperate to help you quit, but often feel powerless to do so.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t think that somebody who guilt-trips their “loved one”, or hides or chops up their cigarettes, can really be said to “love” them in any meaningful way.
I’ve never had anyone do these anything like this to me, but I wouldn’t tolerate anyone behaving that way for even 10 minutes.
But what really got me was the way the blame for conflict was neatly foisted onto the smokers: “New research reveals the huge strain smoking puts on relationships,” and “Smoking has a dramatic emotional impact on friends and family members…” No, smoking doesn’t put huge strain on relationships, nor has it any dramatic emotional impact on anyone.
For it’s not smoking that causes conflict: it’s antismoking that does that. Smokers and non-smokers got along fine in Bristol for over 40 years. A lot of my friends there were non-smokers. There was no division at all. The division only started to open up when people who’d got frightened of tobacco smoke started banning smoking in their own homes – something which first started happening around 1990. And it intensified tenfold when the UK smoking ban was imposed in 2007. That was when I started losing friends in Bristol, one by one. Partly because there was nowhere congenial to meet them any more. And partly because many of the non-smokers had gradually metamorphosed into mild antismokers (although none of them ever lectured me).
It’s smoking bans contrived by virulent antismokers that set people against each other. It’s not the smokers who start the arguments, or who hide or chop up their property. It’s not the smokers who get up on their high horses and start lecturing people.
If this study by SmokeFree South West (.xlsx file) inadvertently shows anything at all, it’s the truly immense social damage that antismoking campaigns cause. Because without all the antismoking campaigns, all those people would have been getting along fine. If anything, the study does a better job than the ISIS survey in revealing the extent of the damage that has been done.
I’m lucky. I never got lectured. And I never got my cigarettes hidden or chopped up. It must be horrible to have friends, partners, family doing things like that. And doing it week after week, month after month. It would be like living with Deborah Arnott.
And it’s why I’m increasingly of the view that smokers and antismokers simply can’t co-exist. They’re like matter and antimatter. And, if this madness doesn’t stop soon, the best thing that smokers can do is walk away from it, and go form separate communities. Or find an Israel for smokers.
I have lots of happy memories of Bristol. And a few sad ones too. But I don’t think I’ll ever go back now. It’s become a hostile, alien place.
P.S. H/T Harley, Bristol smoking ban flouted on Day One