Today’s call by for a ban on smoking in parks and squares attracted only a modest amount of media attention.
We’ve been here before of course because former Labour health minister Lord Darzi made a similar plea in October 2014 before he was shot down by Boris Johnson who called the idea “bossy”.
Darzi will no doubt return again and again to the subject, aided and abetted by an increasing number of politicians and anti-smoking campaigners, but for now there seems little enthusiasm for the proposal.
Actually, in the UK, it started with Stony Stratford. But this time it’s Simon Chapman who has objected:
Professor Simon Chapman at the University of Sydney says there is no scientific justification for such a draconian attack on basic freedoms.
He points out that no studies have looked at exposure in parks or on beaches – “almost certainly because researchers with any knowledge of airborne exposures would appreciate that such exposures would be so small, dissipated, and transitory as to be of no concern.”
He argues that outdoor bans based on communities’ amenity preferences “should not be dressed up in the language of public health” and says the line of shielding children from the sight of smoking “is pernicious and is redolent of totalitarian regimes in their penchants for repressing various liberties, communication, and cultural expression not sanctioned by the state.”
Coercing people to stop smoking in settings where it poses negligible risk to others is openly paternalistic, he writes. If it is fine to tell smokers that they cannot be seen to smoke anywhere in public, why not extend the same reasoning to drinkers or to people wolfing down supersized orders in fast food outlets?
I’m beginning to think that this is a tactic in the antis’ playbook. First make a name for yourself as an antismoking zealot. Then, somewhere down the track, say that some proposed new measure is outrageous/over the top/completely unjustified, and start fighting against your former allies in Tobacco Control (while remaining a zealot in all other respects). That way you get a bit of a name for standing up for smokers.
The point of the exercise is get your people not only into Tobacco Control (where they all start life anyway), but also into the opposition to Tobacco Control. Think of them as two armies: Tobacco Control on one side, and Libertarians on the other side. It would sure help Tobacco Control if many of the leading lights in the Libertarian army originated in Tobacco Control, and remained true believers, wouldn’t it?
So many people have done it that it’s beginning to look like standard practice. Michael Siegel. Clive Bates. Now Simon Chapman. You could say it was started by Richard Doll’s denial that there was any danger in secondhand smoke.
I’d steer well clear of such people. They’re all snakes.
And one for the girls: Russian Lawmakers Propose Banning Women Under 40 from Smoking.
Supporters of the law, which has been stuck in a parliamentary committee since June 2014, reason that the health risks posed to children by mothers smoking (such as increased odds of stillbirths, premature birth, cleft palates, and so on) outweigh any civil right to tobacco. The law would apply to all women, not just those who are pregnant. “Female smokers are often unable to carry a fetus to term or even become pregnant in the first place, as smoking kills an egg’s ability to be fertilized,” the legislation argues. The law would also ban the sale of tobacco products to women of any age in the presence of their non-adult children.
And following on from yesterday, a 5-year-old essay by John Brignell that’s as true today as it was back then.
There are major differences between real science and bureaucratic science (BS). Real science involves living with the prospect of failure. In BS, failure is not allowed. The whole project is mapped out beforehand in forms such as Gantt charts. There are deliverables that have to be delivered on the due date. With the exception of really big physics, real science is carried out by small groups. It is the same with BS, except that there are about five managers for every researcher. Above all the expected result must be delivered on time. Those who desire further patronage never report a negative result or, indeed, a result at variance with the expectations of the sponsors.
We can identify the “scientists” who habitually lie by the fact that they produce, on time, results that are never unexpected and always conform to the establishment-sponsored theory. Real science is never that predictable…