Smoking Bans as a Single Political Issues

From Taking Liberties:

We’ve said many times and I’ll say it again, smokers are voters too.

The problem is, relatively few people vote for a candidate on the basis of a single issue, especially in a general election. That’s why single issue candidates (including former directors of Forest!) invariably lose their deposits.

Anti-smoking policies may annoy and even anger millions of people but they don’t affect the outcome of elections. That appears to be the view of strategists like Lynton Crosby and it’s hard to disagree with their analysis.

There are several reasons for this. One, smokers are a minority of the population. Two, even smokers (the majority of them anyway) have other priorities – the economy, the NHS, immigration, all the usual issues.

I’m sure he’s right about that last point. But I’d explain it slightly differently.

I think that how much smoking bans matter to smokers is largely determined by how adversely smokers are affected by them.

I’ve always imagined, for example, that if you were a wealthy smoker who mostly entertained and smoked at home, a smoking ban would probably have very little impact on you. And in fact, you might even find your social life busier than before, as smokers gravitate to your welcoming home.

Equally, if you weren’t rich, but most of your friends were smokers, and you were all “exiled to the outdoors” together, there’s probably be a considerable camaraderie, a bit like wartime in the trenches: “All in it together.” And they could always smoke round at each others’ homes.

But in my own case, when I’d been primarily using pubs and restaurants as social hubs, being “exiled to the outdoors” amounted to being more or less expelled from society. Particularly since I had relatively few smoking friends remaining (as I was describing yesterday) among a long term circle of friends who’d gradually been becoming antismokers.

I see smoking bans as natural disasters a bit like Swiss snow slides. When they hit the sleeping hamlet in the mountains, they miss lots of buildings completely, damage quite a few others, and bury other houses completely (along with their occupants). For many people (in fact most people), the avalanche has little or no effect, and their lives go on as normal. For others, it’s a bit of a disaster, which shakes them up badly, but from which they recover sooner or later. But for others, it’s pretty much the end of their lives, and nothing else matters to them. And which category anyone falls into is almost entirely a matter of luck.

How angry smokers get depends on how adversely they’re affected. The kind of public smoking bans that are common more or less everywhere in the world don’t affect many smokers very adversely (except perhaps in places like Russia, where being “exiled to the outdoors” may be a death sentence). But if indoor smoking bans are extended to the outdoors (as is happening more and more), then a lot more smokers will be very adversely affected. And if home smoking bans are introduced, so you can’t even smoke in your own home, more or less all smokers will be very adversely affected, including the rich ones. And they’d all be up in arms.

For example, when the Islamic State in Iraq started employing their usual brutal methods against smokers, it’s most likely that all Iraqi smokers felt equally threatened, and equally enraged. And since in those countries smokers are a far higher proportion of the population than in the UK (50% or more), the Islamic State probably found that it had thoroughly alienated a substantial proportion of the population, and so backtracked.

So the more antismokers intensify their war on smokers – and They Never Stop – the more that smokers will start seeing smoking as a Single Issue which matters more than anything else.


About Frank Davis

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38 Responses to Smoking Bans as a Single Political Issues

  1. Smoking Lamp says:

    Frank, I think you are right. The incremental implementation of smoking bans made them tolerable. First indoor bans (sometimes with exceptions for bars); then bars were added. If you live in a warm weather location (e.g., California, Spain) you could still smoke on patios (even Canada had heated patios). When the outdoor bans started, a few years ago the bans became intolerable. The bans are reaching the point where political backlash is inevitable.

    • Press Release
      July 1997


      Defining the choice to smoke as “a chronic disease” and declaring “no value” to the use of cigarettes, a panel commissioned by the President and congress has proposed an Orwellian “blueprint” for “control”– on an international basis– that exceeds all boundaries of democratic tradition says Wanda Hamilton, Vice President of the Florida Smokers Rights Association.

      The Commission, headed by ex-FDA czar David Kessler and ex-Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, has seriously proposed the immediate implementation of what clearly must be seen as totalitarian means– backed fully by the power of police-state enforcement– to achieve an almost classically totalitarian goal, a kind of mandated behaviorism. Or to use their own words, “the goal is to change the behavior of smokers.” Not only in America but all around the world.

      Their prescriptions include (but aren’t– unfortunately– limited to) the following:

      ¶ Smoking bans in all public places in America, indoors and out. And eventually in all public places in the world. (Indoors and out.)

      ¶ Smoking bans in all homes “where children… live,“ such fiats to be legitimized by “legal protections” designed “to protect children from parental tobacco smoke.”

      ¶ “Sustained” anti-smoking “educational programs,” not only for children but also for adults, not only in “the schools,” but also “in homes.” (“All aspects of society need re-education.”) Yep. Their word (and Mao’s): “re-education.”

      ¶ Research to be done on “the effect of subliminal messages in early childhood.”

      ¶ For current smokers: “a mix of intensive services… provided in hospital settings, psychiatric and drug treatment facilities and in-patient nicotine dependence centers.”

      ¶ Political surveillance “at all levels of government” to “expose tobacco campaign contributions, tobacco lobbyists, and ethically compromised government officials and lawmakers.”

      ¶ An executive order from the President to all cabinet departments and trade representatives instructing them essentially to blackmail foreign governments into accepting, embracing, enacting and enforcing these “tobacco control standards” within their own countries. Implementation to be paid for with U.S government funds.

      ¶ Also to be paid for with U.S. government funds, the “surveillance, prevention of”– and punishment for– illicit international trade in tobacco including, of course, “smuggling.”

  2. OT Anyone here ever dealt with dental issues like an infected tooth pulled but leaving like a puss pocket to the sinus. Not big just doesn’t seem to want to go away.

    • Draining thru the pulled teeth in the gumline directly below the pocket. Got Cipro for it now from family doc.

      • waltc says:

        Watch out for Cipro, Harley. It’s got serious side effects, especially affecting tendons. Google it. And they can happen fast. Btw, I wrote that press release above for Wanda. (Tolja I’m an old hand at this.) and it was nice to see it again. Not btw, the list of the other (and only) members of that commission reads like a who’s who of TC extremists. No “fair and balanced.”

        • Oh I know Walt I been taking Cipro off and on for years for lyme disease management..
          This year winter wise been sicker than a dog with stomach bug crap weve had all over this place. I saw people in the docs that have had the same bug for 4 months and cant shake it. goes away week later comes back repeat. Then sinus issues and then freeking infected tooth……… is goings on anymore!

          Ya that was a brilliant piece you wrote. I just found that one day in some comments back a few years ago and had it on another disc I uploaded to files a few days ago and re-found it.

  3. Rose says:

    Any political party who would single out 20% of the population for “denormalisation” or would join in the bullying rather than stop it, can do the same to any other section of the population, at any time and for any reason. There is a precedent now.

    Goodness knows what bees they will get in their bonnets next, but now it exists in law, where you can stand to consume a perfectly legal product, where you can’t and under what conditions and which will not allow you to negotiate with others in the normal way of human relations to allow it.

    I can’t vote for any party that pretends that any of this is normal or even desirable.

    Patients on drips in the streets, for heavens sake, and yet it’s those patients who are considered the miscreants?

    It may be considered a single issue but to my mind, fair treatment for all of the population all of the time is fundamental.

  4. I’m not really angry at the effect the ban has had on my own smoking habits. I smoke the occasional cigar and, whilst it isn’t that pleasant to smoke cigars outdoors for about 9 months of the year in the British climate, this isn’t the root of my anger. I miss ‘the smoke’ more than anything – other people’s. I miss the fug, I miss the ambience. Pubs are now like restaurants; the ones whose trade is mainly booze struggle to keep going and many have closed. Going into pubs occasionally as a child, the lingering smoke *was* the pub. I never imagined it would be any different. Fortunately I got to experience a few wonderful months of the real pub while I was over the legal drinking age. There is a new generation of legal drinkers who won’t remember things any differently, indeed, some who may not have experienced being indoors around smoking at all. A more cosseted generation there has never been (mine was bad enough). I feel sorry for them.

    • Frank Davis says:

      the lingering smoke *was* the pub

      I agree. But, unlike you, I spent much of my life inside those smoky pubs and cafes. They were social spaces. I miss the smoke. But above all I miss the society that went with it.

      • Absolutely. A shared social space where there was no conflict, no distinction between smokers and non-smokers. Even the most fervent anti-smokers always seemed to have a great time, they rarely complained about the smoke. To hear them look back on the pre-ban pubs now you’d think they’d been forced to snort wasabi and vinegar the way they go on.

        It’s great to discover your blog Frank. Cathartic reading, especially your personal reflections.

        • jaxthefirst says:

          “you’d think they’d been forced to snort wasabi and vinegar the way they go on.”

          Classic, BSB! Made Oi Larf, that did!

          And yes, Frank’s blog is a brilliant must-read for anyone looking for an oasis of sanity in a world gone mad …

    • Marvin says:

      “There is a new generation of legal drinkers who won’t remember things any differently, indeed, some who may not have experienced being indoors around smoking at all.”


      That’s a good point and it’s my worst fear that if the prohibition carrys on for much longer, there will soon be a generation that has NEVER KNOWN smoking in pubs and to them it will be unimaginable to do so. Maybe that’s TC long term goal, which is all the more reason for us to get the pub bans rescinded before it’s all too late :(

  5. Rose says:

    The CDC turns medical science on it’s head.

    Ostomy bag-wearing student, 19, wages war on new anti-smoking advert warning smokers they might end up like her

    “A new anti-smoking advert warning people that they could get colon cancer and be forced to use an ostomy bag for the rest of their lives has drawn the anger of a 19-year-old student who uses one as a consequence of her fight with inflammatory bowel disease.

    Hattie Gladwell blogs about her experience of living with an ostomy bag after she underwent emergency surgery for ulcerative colitis.

    She has called for the new Tips From Former Smokers ad, commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to be banned.”

    Quite right too.

    Even the Australian’s know that’s a lie.

    Health ‘benefits’ of smoking?

    Ulcerative colitis

    “Ulcerative colitis is a serious bowel disease in which the inner lining of the colon and rectum becomes inflamed and permanently damaged. Current smokers have a lower risk of developing ulcerative colitis, compared to non-smokers and ex-smokers”

    Is the CDC trying to cover it’s own back for inadequate warnings about the pitfalls of cessation?

    • Rose says:

      The anti’s single minded obsession with nicotine doesn’t seem to have got sufferers very far.

      Nicotine: does it have a role in the treatment of ulcerative colitis?


      “Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory disease state of unknown etiology. Its progression is erratic, with patients experiencing periods of exacerbations and remissions. Current therapeutic options have yielded less than satisfactory results. With the discovery of the potential relationship between nonsmoking status and the onset of ulcerative colitis and the development of various nicotine dosage forms came the hypothesis that nicotine may play a protective role against the development of ulcerative colitis and maintenance of remission.”

      “The use of nicotine as a single agent cannot be recommended at this time. Clinical trials have also revealed poor patient tolerability and long-term compliance due to nicotine’s significant adverse effect profile. Overall, investigation of nicotine in the treatment of ulcerative colitis has yielded disappointing results.”

      CONCLUSION: Nicotine cannot be recommended as adjunctive or single therapy for the treatment of ulcerative colitis and will not alter current treatment options.”

      It’s a great big plant, a tobacco leaf is not just nicotine, it has lots of different things in it otherwise it would be a puddle.

      And you set fire to it.

      Carbon Monoxide Soothes Inflammatory Bowel Disease

      “Doctors have long known that smokers rarely suffer from a common form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) called ulcerative colitis, but they didn’t know why.
      A new study in the December 19 issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine might help explain this apparent resistance. Scott Plevy and his colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh now show that carbon monoxide (CO), a component of cigarette smoke, helps shut down the intestinal inflammation that causes ulcerative colitis.”

      • Rose says:

        ‘Doctors don’t always know best:’ Student claims he cured debilitating bowel disease by taking up smoking

        “A medical student claims to have cured himself of a debilitating disease by taking up smoking.

        Formerly a non-smoker, Stephen Pendry, 23, struggled with crippling pain, tiredness, shortness of breath and dehydration since he was diagnosed with bowel disease ulcerative colitis four years ago.

        He had to rush to the toilet up to 15 times a day but is now completely symptom-free, thanks to a new four-a-day cigarette habit.”

        Dr Sean Kelly, Consultant Gastroenterologist at York Hospital, who has written on the subject in the British Medical Journal, said: ‘It is a well-established medical fact that smoking protects against ulcerative colitis.

        ‘Rarely, we use tobacco as a bridge to conventional medical therapy.

        ‘We sometimes get an ex-smoker to start smoking again – for a short period – to settle the colitis and then allow medicines, such as azathioprine, to maintain remission after they have stopping smoking completely.”

        “Dr Kelly added it is common for ulcerative colitis to be found in patients who have recently stopped smoking.”

        He said: ‘The condition is three times more common in people who have given up or who never started smoking. We do not know why.’

        Sad that CDC should try to claim yet another disease for smoking, especially one so inappropriate.

        • But if they pull it everything else they said then also becomes SUSPECT………..
          Loss of public perception in trust is then lost and everyone sings LIARS LIARS PANTS ON FIRE……

  6. Greg Burrows says:

    Frank, I agree with you that in politics you can not just have one single issue such as the smoking ban, you have to encompasse this in with other political issues, the main thing with the smoking ban is that it is a dodgy legislation brought about by charlatans, which is my gripe, the change in politics is rules are now there to be obeyed in other words you are only allowed to do what the law allows you to do, our past system was you can do as like as long as you keep whithin boundries of the law, due to EU legislation and Mr Blairs government who made more laws in his term than all the laws ever made before in British history, our liberty and freedom to make our own decisions has been slowly chipped away in so many ways, this is why I am fighting the smoking ban as this is one of these. ( I am also angry that I can not socialise anymore, especially as the whole thing was based on a lie)
    UKIP are the only party fighting against infringment of our liberty and the only party who have a policy on the smoking ban, hopefully at this election we can get a foothold in eradicating those who are a danger to all of us through their temperence Orwellian control.

  7. prog says:

    I’ve met plenty of seemingly normal people (including smokers) who merely tell me to ‘get over it’ because the ban was a very minor issue and it’s no big deal.

    Nothing could be further from the truth – it epitomises precisely what is wrong with modern society and politics. Point that out and you’re branded a Far-Right nutter. Most don’t seem to have the slightest concern that lying and propaganda, so effectively used to control a minority group, are now greasing the slippery slope towards their total subserviance. The young are in most denial, yet they’re the one’s that are facing a bleaker future. And now we see that they’re being encouraged to vote for more socialist shit.

    • roobeedoo2 says:

      This time I will be casting my vote solely political parties’ attitudes toward smokers.

      • roobeedoo2 says:

        I say ‘smokers’ and not ‘smoking’ because for far too long it’s been about the thing. Not the human being. I cannot vote for a party that has no tolerance of me.

      • prog says:

        I live in very safe Tory constituency, with an old school MP who consistently opposes TC legislation. Not that it has made the slightest bit of difference given that he and like minded colleagues are outgunned by the majority of other MPs.

        Btw. you can find out what your vote is worth here:

        One Person, One Vote.
        But are all votes equal?
        In the 2010 election, more than half of all voters voted against their winning MP.

        Their votes simply didn’t count.

        In the UK, the only voters with any real power to choose the government are those who live in marginal constituencies.

        Indeed, voters in the most powerful 10% of constituencies will wield more than 30 times as much power as the least influential.

        The rest of us have little or no power to influence the outcome of the election.

        In fact, statistical analysis by the NEF (the new economics foundation) shows that one person in the UK does not have one vote…

        …it’s more like 0.30 votes.

        In some ultra safe constituencies the value of your vote falls to practically zero.

        Find out how powerful your vote is in this general election. Search the Voter Power Index for your constituency:


        Mine’s the equivalent of 0.138, the average UK voter having 2.22 x more power.

        • roobeedoo2 says:

          Mine says 0.091. A very safe seat. The MP of my constituency, member of a party with Dalek tendencies (“Exterminate!” is the logical conclusion if I refuse to give up smoking and they refuse to be tolerant of me, is it not?), he doesn’t really need my vote, then.

          I smoke, I vote and this time I’m voting for me and will be voting UKIP. To all intents and purposes, it would be like spoiling my ballot paper.

    • jaxthefirst says:

      Couldn’t agree more, Prog.

      I certainly object to the smoking ban for much more than just because of the negative effect it has had on me personally. In many ways, it is more concerning to me because this particular piece of legislation runs so contrary to so many of the basic principles for which the law should stand, and, legally speaking, it has had several pretty fundamental deleterious effects. For example:

      1. No matter how it’s worded, in effect it’s the first piece of legislation which makes one adult (a pub landlord) more harshly punishable for an offence committed by another adult (a smoker lighting up in his pub) than the person actually committing the offence – to my mind, a dangerous deviation away from one of the most basic principles of British law that “if you do the crime, you do the time.”

      2. It’s unfair, plain and simple. The wording of the Health Act makes it quite plain that it, as a law, is “against” one group and “for” another. For a piece of legislation to so blatantly favour one group of people over another, again, runs completely contrary to the whole purpose of having laws at all. Laws are, after all, supposed to ensure that – as far as is possible in a complex and imperfect world – everyone has a chance to be treated fairly. Isn’t that why it’s called the “justice” system? Where’s the justice in a law which only sets out to protect the interests of one group, at the direct expense of another?

      3. It’s supplied a template law which can (and I have no doubt will) be used in any context, on the basis that “well, it was OK, and massively popular, and hugely successful, and saved countless lives, etc etc etc” for smoking, so why not apply it to [latest Proclaimed Evil]?” When the Public Drinking Ban, or the Town Driving Ban, or the Fried Foods Ban, or whatever else comes in, as it surely will, I’ll bet the wording of the actual legislation will be almost identical with just a bit of tweaking. So one bad law will form the foundation for a whole host of others.

      4. It’s unreasonable, by very determinedly and deliberately giving no quarter to smokers at all. How on earth is a Man in a Van, alone, having a cigarette on his way home, hurting anyone else at all with his “passive smoke?” Why is it not permitted that a group of smokers start up a members-only pub or club of their own, with only smoker members permitted and only staffed by smokers? How would that hurt non-smokers? And isn’t the law supposed to be the very embodiment of “reasonable?” Reasonable force, punishment to fit the crime, mitigating/aggravating factors and all that. Isn’t that an attempt to keep things in perspective, i.e. “reasonable.” So, doesn’t an unreasonable law such as this show a worrying move away from reasonability and towards a dictatorial approach? Is that really what we want our laws to be – a bludgeon to force people to do as they are told?

      5. It’s essentially protected the intolerant, the rude, the selfish, the demanding and the uncompromising in our society, i.e. the very people whom the law should be reining in rather than encouraging, and given them legitimacy. By enshrining in law the fact that it was OK for people to be prejudiced against smokers, it’s essentially approved prejudice per se. Prejudice, it has essentially said, is sometimes OK. And that is a terrible thing for any law to say. Ever. Intolerance and self-righteousness in this country has increased exponentially over the last decade, in no small part due to the subtle but nonetheless very easily-understood message given out by this wicked piece of legislation.

      6. It’s given hope to a multitude of off-shoot groups who are against this, that or the other “pet peeve,” that they can “achieve the same success in respect of ….., as the anti-smoking movement has” It’s given countless busybody campaigners hope that they in turn will manage to “denormalise” whatever it is that they don’t like and has spurred them on to greater efforts in trying to become the “new ASH,” with the result that we now have Action on Sugar, the Alcohol Health Alliance, BRAKE, the National Obesity Forum and CASH snapping eagerly at our freedoms, too. If this law had been strangled at birth they’d all still be sitting in their little boxes, quiet as mice.

      So, a bad law all round, for all number of reasons. And therefore one which, in a civilised country such as we like to think we are (although sometimes I do wonder whether we still are), should – and would – be watered down, relaxed or, better still, repealed altogether.

  8. DenisO says:

    Smoking Clubs?
    We have smoking “clubs” here in California, a tyrannically Leftist State . I’ve never been to one, but heard of them. I gather they’re generally associated with cigar stores that carry a big selection of expensive smokes, and can afford to keep them open. I wonder if they could get a liquor licence too. I kinda doubt it, but can’t see any legitimate reason why not. Would it be legal in London, and would it be profitable enough to keep the doors open? Obviously, I’m not the first to think of these ideas, and since you are not forbidden to smoke in private homes, is there an allowance for private clubs? If the public can’t be poisoned by these places, why restrict them?

    I support freedom and that is why I read these comments; I am a former smoker. Frankly, too many smokers realize they are addicted to tobacco, are trapped, and can’t get too angry about anything that is meant to help them quit. IOW, they’re not enraged by smoking bans, and are not going to join voter groups that demand their rights back.
    It seems to me that if smokers could claim their smoking can’t bother the public, that would be a sound reason for removing the ban. Outdoors and private clubs are the same to the public.

    • I’ve read about a cigar club in London which has a cigar shop door so you can go in and ‘sample’ the cigars (this would not happen in Scotland where the ban is even more draconian – no exemptions for specialist tobacconists)

      I posted on Frank’s previous blog whether there could be any creative use of the exemption for smoking bedrooms in hotels – because there is no law against private parties and taking alcohol into a hotel room.

    • Rose says:

      Frankly, too many smokers realize they are addicted to tobacco

      But how and by what?

      Nicotine as an Addictive Substance: A Critical Examination of the Basic Concepts and Empirical
      Evidence – 2001

      “There are so many findings that conflict so starkly with the view that nicotine is addictive that it increasingly appears that adhering to the nicotine addiction thesis is only defensible on extra-scientific grounds.”

      “In summary, apart from numerous conceptual and definitional inadequacies, the notion that nicotine is an addictive substance lacks reasonable empirical support. There are so many and such grossly conflicting findings that adhering to the nicotine addiction thesis is only defensible on political, not scientific,grounds. ”

      Well worth reading, it tells you how they did the animal studies to get their results.

      And all that before they discovered that NRT had a failure rate of 98.4%

      They even had to redefine the meaning of the word addiction which used to include in intoxication, but of course that didn’t apply in the case of nicotine.

      US ruling turns smokers into junkies – 1994

      “Nicotine is addictive, a panel of experts on drug abuse decided last week. The decision leaves the door open for the US Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco as it does other addictive substances.

      Over the past few months, the FDA’s commissioner, David Kessler, has been campaigning for tobacco to be regulated in the same way as many other drugs.

      To do so legally, he must demonstrate that nicotine is a powerful drug, and that the tobacco companies depend on nicotine’s addict-iveness to keep smokers smoking.
      But the tobacco companies continue to insist that nicotine is not addictive. To settle the issue, Kessler asked the Drug Abuse Advisory Committee to give its expert opinion.

      “The drug abuse panel listened to a whole range of definitions of addiction. But the debate highlighted some important questions. What makes a substance addictive? What is the difference between an addiction and a habit? Has the term ‘addiction’ become meaningless?

      In 1988, the US Surgeon General concluded in a report on tobacco that nicotine is addictive in the fullest sense of the word. It is psychoactive, having a direct effect on the brain; it is reinforcing, meaning that users will keep using the drug; it is used compulsively despite harmful effects. The desire to smoke takes precedence over other important priorities, such as health, and smokers become physically dependent on nicotine.

      Despite this, a handful of scientists – inside and outside the tobacco companies – claim the Surgeon General stretched the traditional meaning of addiction too far. They claim his report adds to the growing abuse of the word as in pop psychology’s ‘food addiction’ and ‘sex addiction’.

      ‘The smoker’s ability to think or reason clearly is not diminished when making the decision to quit or continue smoking. In short, this is clearly not a behaviour that the smoker has lost control over.’

      “He points out that until the 1960s, most definitions of addictive substances included the intoxicating effect.
      He said that this part of the definition should still apply, and as nicotine in normal doses is not intoxicating, it should not be considered addictive.

      Some scientists outside the tobacco companies agree. For instance, Robert Cancro, head of the Department of Psychiatry at the New York University Medical School, claims that ‘addiction’ has become ‘a modern shibboleth’. ‘A person who seeks pleasure from smoking . . . is different from a person ‘strung out’ on drugs.
      The former may enjoy the activity and pursue it; but the latter will reshape his life to obtain the drug,’ he said.

      Robert Cloninger, professor of psychiatry at Washington University in St Louis, also rejects the notion that nicotine is addictive. He does not believe it causes loss of control over behaviour or physical dependence”

      But scientists on the winning side of the debate last week claim the critics misunderstand or misrepresent what constitutes an addiction.

      ‘Tobacco representatives seem to focus in on one element of any definition. They say nicotine cannot be addicting because it does not cause intoxication.
      But that’s only one of the things that goes into an overall definition,’ said Richard Hurt, director of the Mayo Nicotine Dependence Center in Rochester, Minnesota.

      Jack Henningfield, chief of the clinical pharmacology branch at the National Institute on Drug Abuse Addiction Research Center, points out that in high enough doses nicotine can be intoxicating, while very low doses of drugs such as heroin and cocaine may not be intoxicating.

      Henningfield also rejects most of the other alleged differences between nicotine and other drugs. For instance, the fact that many people can quit nicotine does not prove that it is not addictive, as people do give up other addictive drugs.
      And the fact that smokers do not turn to crime to feed their addiction has more to do with the ready supply of cigarettes than a lack of addictiveness, Henningfield says.

      Comparing smoking to eating chocolate or other compulsive behaviours misses the point says Henningfield. ‘Of course you can see compulsive behaviours for anything.

      Drug addiction requires a certain kind of chemical to act on the brain. The chemical activity in the brain reduces the freedom of choice whether to use that drug or not.’
      http: //

      That would be David Kessler of chocolate chip cookie fame.

      How the Food Makers Captured Our Brains

      “As head of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. David A. Kessler served two presidents and battled Congress and Big Tobacco. But the Harvard-educated pediatrician discovered he was helpless against the forces of a chocolate chip cookie.”

      “When it comes to stimulating our brains, Dr. Kessler noted, individual ingredients aren’t particularly potent. But by combining fats, sugar and salt in innumerable ways, food makers have essentially tapped into the brain’s reward system, creating a feedback loop that stimulates our desire to eat and leaves us wanting more and more even when we’re full.

      Dr. Kessler isn’t convinced that food makers fully understand the neuroscience of the forces they have unleashed, but food companies certainly understand human behavior, taste preferences and desire.”

      Maybe too many smokers do believe that they are addicted to tobacco, but will they also fall for the chocolate chip cookie?

      How about Vegetables?

      Could you have a hidden addiction?

      “Scientists at Nottingham Trent University recently discovered that spicy foods arouse and stimulate the senses – causing people to become curry addicts.”

      PROMIS, a company which specialises in rehabilitating people with addictions,

      deals with a whole range of obsessive behaviour. Alongside patients addicted to drugs and alcohol they are now treating people dependent on certain foods.

      Founder of the group, Dr Robert Lefever says food addiction is caused by chemicals in food, which create a mood-altering effect.”

      “Foods such as potatoes – and even tomatoes and peppers – contain a natural poison called solanine just underneath their skin. In some people this chemical causes a natural high – and can therefore be addictive.”
      http: //

      It seems that nothing is safe.

      • DenisO says:

        So, nicotine is not addicting? Maybe for you, and maybe I should have said “is addicting to some of us”. I wonder what percentage. Shall we take a vote?
        I know I quit, at least 30 times over 30 years, and one or two smokes, after quitting, and I was hooked, hard, again.
        We get “hooked” on many things, but the chemical ones are hardest to handle. Alcohol is habit-forming, but since it is basically sugar-based, the body recognizes it as a food. Habits can be broken by distracting the lower part of the brain (the IL cortex) that gets nervous when we skip a habit, but it likes new habits better (though it still retains the old ones). I lost the afternoon-shadow urge to have a drink by going to the gym to fix my back, about the same time. “The Power of Habit”:
        Then I got the habit of going to the gym, EVERY DAY, which was too much, but hard to quit. Going every other day, is much harder for me.

        Nicotine is not a food, but it does physically stimulate our brain, and when its “normal” level in our blood drops, most of us get a strong urge to smoke. A heavy smoking night and the urge is stronger. An old method of quitting I used when I had to get ready for a sport, like competitive swimming, was to put off the first cig. for 30 minutes, every day. Gradually, the blood nicotine level dropped and quitting was fairly easy (until I followed the temptation to “try” one, at a later time).

        • Rose says:

          No I don’t think it’s nicotine and with the failure of NRT even the anti scientists are beginning to look elsewhere, everyone consumes some nicotine everday in their food, it’s a common plant chemical and yet causes no trouble.

          But when I swapped from premade cigarettes to additive free tobacco on a matter of principle, I experienced an unpleasant sense of withdrawal for three days, which has stuck in my mind. So I’m quite prepared to think that something is addictive but I wouldn’t like to say what.

          If nicotine was addictive, nicotine patches would work.

    • smokingscot says:

      More than simply London.

      This is the outfit:

      and this is a better photo (number 3 in case it does a default)

      There are several others, however they’ve got the good sense to keep it off the web!

  9. Rose says:

    In support of Greg’s statement, a favourite article.

    Life under Labour: the worst of worlds

    “From MPs’ expenses to our over-regulated, badly-governed society. Is it any wonder we British are so angry?

    ” our characteristic mildness as a nation is being tested to destruction by our politicians – whether in national or local government – who have forgotten that if they must interfere in our lives, to do so only when it is absolutely necessary. We have the worst of all worlds – not only are we over-governed; we are badly governed as well.”

    Here are just a few of the things you could do before 1997 but can’t now – many of them, it must be said, forced on us by EU directives, though our government in most cases agreed them.

    Smoke in a pub or on a railway platform in the open air in the middle of the countryside, or at a covered bus stop, or in your own car if it is used for work, or in your own house if it is used as an office where outsiders may come.

    Own a horse, donkey or Shetland pony without possessing a passport carrying a picture of the animal.

    Ride off with a pack of hounds in pursuit of a fox or stag.

    Play the piano in a pub without an entertainment licence.

    Stage more than 12 events a year at, for instance, a school or church hall at which alcohol may be served without a full licence.

    Set off a firework after midnight or be in possession of a firework if aged under 18 at any time other than the period around Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve.

    Own a pistol for any purpose, including sport target practice.

    Stage a protest of any sort, even if alone, within 1km of the Palace of Westminster, without the authority of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner.

    Fish in the River Esk without authorisation.

    Enter the hull of the Titanic without permission from the Secretary of State.

    Import into England potatoes which a person knows to be or has reasonable cause to suspect to be Polish potatoes.

    Obstruct the work of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales.

    Imbibe an alcoholic drink on a London Underground train or bus.

    Keep a car on your own driveway without tax, even if it not being used, without filling in a form.

    Sell a grey squirrel (though you can kill one).

    Labour has created new offences at twice the rate of the previous Tory administration, which was bad enough in this regard, and it has done so at an accelerating pace. Now you may support some or all of these new laws. What cannot be denied is that we have had a frenzy of law-making that has changed the character of the nation in a way that many of us neither expected nor wanted – even those who voted Labour (especially those who voted Labour, perhaps).

    What is that drives the legislative mania of modern governments? Will any of them really, truly commit themselves to stop frustrating the activities and livelihoods of Her Majesty’s law-abiding subjects with unwarranted interference, intrusiveness and incompetence?

    Have they no sense of history, no philosophical framework within which they can understand the point at which government activity must end and the private citizen begins? They have lost all concept of the impact of excessive law-making on the freedom of the individual.”

    And that was in 2009, goodness knows what its like now.

  10. Pingback: The Injustice of the Smoking Ban | Frank Davis

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