Victory in Virginia

For the past few weeks I’ve been reporting on one Virginia lady’s struggle against antismokers on her housing block (see here and here). She’d written to both me and Michael McFadden in growing despair, as there had been a petition by the antismokers to get her evicted.. Michael came up with all sorts of suggestions of what she might do. All I could think of doing was to use my blog to tell the world about her plight.

Anyway, a few days ago she told us that she was been called in to see the managers of the foundation that owns the housing block. And she was absolutely dreading the prospect. I emailed her a couple of days ago to tell her I was keeping my fingers crossed for her (because that was about all I could think of doing). It was all looking very, very bleak.

But last night I got this email from her (reproduced with permission, and slightly edited to remove names):

Dear Michael and Frank –
Just got in from the meeting with the corporate liaison and building manager…
and – shock of shocks – it went VERY WELL.
(excuse me while I faint).
Apparently they have been meeting with people, and groups of people, all day.
The group of antis/bullies was so irrational and out of control and so obviously pissed at me for complaining about loud prolonged parties in my hallway that they were basically told to stuff it. (not in so many words, but you get the picture). When they started complaining about my cigarette smoking and the odor going through the vents and under doors and all through the hallways, they were told by both the liaison and our chief maintenance person that this is impossible because each apartment is completely self-contained, and the construction of the building is such that no odor at all, let alone smoke, can pass from one apartment to the other. And if they catch a whiff of cig smoke in the hallway, well, too bad – it’s no different than a whiff of perfume, or cooking odors, and no one complains about those.
When the antis/bullies were asked why they only complained about MY smoke, when there were other smokers here, the reply was that I smoke a lot more than the other smokers. When confronted on how they knew that, they had no answer – because they have NO IDEA how much or how little I smoke! :) So that complaint of theirs was totally and promptly tossed aside by the liaison.
I’m still in a state of disbelief. I would think I’d dreamed it all, except my mental health support person was with me and he’s confirmed that what was said was indeed said. :) :)
He also told me that although I was visibly nervous (shaking), I was quite articulate about the bullying/harassment that’s been directed towards me since this all started. I guess I was, since the liaison believed every word I said (possibly because I was rational and not screaming and yelling and exaggerating like the bullies she’d spoken to earlier). Everyone in the group of people who have been harassing me has received a warning. Three warnings, and they’re out. And there will be, she assured me, NO RULE IN ANY OF THE FOUNDATION’S BUILDINGS banning smoking in one’s own apartment. Yes, the antismoking petition was sent directly to HUD, but HUD sent it right back to the Foundation and basically said, “You deal with it.”

Today, smoking residents came out victorious. :)

We were all amazed and delighted.

I just hope that’s the end of it.

I’d like to think that I helped out a bit here, but really all I’ve done is use my blog to tell a few people what was happening: MJM was way, way more constructive than I was.

But I think that if there’s a lesson to be drawn from this episode, it’s that there are still a lot of reasonable and compassionate people in the world, and that not everybody has been converted into antismoking busybodies. And it looks like a few of those reasonable and compassionate people were managers at the Foundation which owned this housing unit.

In fact, I’d like to suggest that that there are a lot more reasonable and compassionate people everywhere in the world than there are zealots and fanatics. And that as zealotry and fanaticism mounts, a great many ordinary people hate what they see happening, and they set their faces against it.

About Frank Davis

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35 Responses to Victory in Virginia

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    Nazis getting there own shit crammed back down their throats………….love it

  2. cherie79 says:

    Nice to know there is some sanity in the world, gives us hope that freedom, and not just to smoke, may return one day.

  3. Linda says:

    Wow!! Wonderful news!!! Hats off to you and Mr. McFadden!!! And the poor soul who had to endure the harassment; good for her for not backing down and going quietly into that good night!

  4. jaxthefirst says:

    I’m so pleased for this lady. It just goes to show, doesn’t it, that anti-smokers do tend to be a “type,” and they’re not generally a type who are particularly popular with others. In fact, they’re usually their own worst enemy, and are particularly damaging to the whole anti-smoking movement in terms of helping to keep up the (false) appearances of “only wanting a reasonable solution.”

    It calls to mind an event which occurred in my workplace, way before the smoking ban, but well into the height of anti-smoking hysteria. A particularly anti-smoking member of staff wrote to my manager suggesting that it was high time that our company stopped being “anachronistic” and “outdated” by still having a smoking room within the building and that it should follow the example of many other companies and ban all smoking indoors. This letter was passed directly to my manager as a proposal to be brought up at the next senior management meeting for consideration, and my guess is that this member of staff hoped to sneak it into the (all non-smoking) managers’ meeting without any smokers on the staff knowing, in the hope that it would be agreed and decided upon and smokers would simply have a fait accompli presented to them. Sadly for this particular member of staff, I was tasked with sending the note back to him acknowledging his suggestion, so I took the opportunity to write my own response to the senior managers from the smokers’ perspective and offering several compromise suggestions to keep the smoke away from the non-smokers but still preserving the smoking room. Several of the senior managers came up to me privately before the meeting to thank me for giving them the other side of the story which, as one of them pointed out, “we wouldn’t have had the benefit of if you hadn’t have written.” I’m pleased to say that one of my suggestions was adopted, we kept our smoking room (at least until the smoking ban came in, of course) and the anti’s sneaky plan was quashed, much to his dismay.

    But the point of this is that this particular member of staff wasn’t just an anti-smoker. He was a “moaner” of the first order. He moaned about everything, from his pay, to the hours he had to work, to his supposedly-uncooperative colleagues, to overly-demanding customers. He wasn’t averse, either, to volunteering to take on extra work, only to back out at the last minute, citing that the extra responsibilities would be “too onerous” in view of his “huge workload,” or “too disruptive” to his private life – thus leaving the senior managers well and truly in the lurch. So much so, that they finally stopped accepting his “volunteering” and never bothered even asking him to do anything extra, because they could never be certain that it would actually ever get done. Needless to say, he then moaned about that, saying that it wasn’t fair that he was always “passed over” whenever any new opportunities arose! So, although I like to think it was my own well-worded and well-thought-out missive which saved our smoking room, I suspect it was as much about the fact that the entire senior management team regarded this man as a massive pain in the backside and were thus naturally ill-disposed to take any “suggestions” from him in the first place!

    Thankfully, he retired some years ago, and the company were, to be honest, thoroughly pleased to see the back of him. He was a waste of space and certainly a waste of the company’s money. But now, when I think about the (mercifully few) anti-smoking members of staff whom we still have left in our organisation, it’s notable that, to a man, they are all from exactly the same mould. I’m sure everyone on here has worked with one of the types. They’re the ones who whinge endlessly about everything and anything, let down their colleagues and the company at the last minute, are off sick with unerring regularity (usually Monday mornings) or who do little more than lurk about by the coffee machine complaining to everyone who will listen how little time they have, how unappreciated they are, or how unreasonable the senior management are.

    In fact, it’s quite surprising that many of the most vocal anti drones out there in society haven’t been taken aside by some more senior members of the anti-smoking movement and told quietly but very firmly that they’d be a lot more help if they simply kept their big, complaining mouths shut, whether it’s about smoking or anything else! They’re risking exposing the real, bitter and twisted nature of anti-smoking as a whole because, unlike the “professional” antis, with their trained, faux “sympathetic” expressions and their constantly-stated mantra that they want to “help smokers” or “protect cheeeldren,” these bungling amateurs simply can’t conceal the true colours of any anti-smoking zealot.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Its a win and that’s what counts.

    • waltc says:

      Agreed. As a type, these people are the perpetually wronged. They generally lack power, partly from a lack of either guts or charm, but in anti-smokimg they’ve finally found a socially acceptable complaint and the one area in which they can exert power. The revenge of the nerds.

  5. rattyariel says:

    I’m the victorious smoker in Virginia. :) :) :) :) I want to thank Frank and Michael, from the bottom of my heart, for their support, and I also want to thank all of you kind and understanding individuals who have taken the time to read about and comment on my situation. You all have lent me strength that I didn’t think I had. These past few weeks have been so scary for me – the harassment by the antis/bullies here has been relentless and incredibly nasty – but now they know if they don’t leave me alone, they are in danger of being evicted. Thank goodness that the corporation which owns this building has ANTI-antis in it. :) :) :) :) :) :)

    • Joe L. says:

      Congrats! I’m very pleased (and admittedly, somewhat surprised) about this positive outcome. It’s encouraging to know there are still some rational people out there. All the more reason to never give in!

    • Barry Homan says:

      Way cool, congratulations – smoke a victory ciggie!

    • Frank Davis says:

      You all have lent me strength that I didn’t think I had.

      It’s good to know that we could do that.

      It’s good to know that, simply by speaking up for someone, even if they are on the other side of the Atlantic ocean, we are able to help them a little bit.

    • Scott Ewing says:

      Congrats from M.A.S.H (Michigan Against Smoker Harrasment) BTW- I am a landlord and my policy is that I welcome smokers and non. Antis would be shown the door, not that I’ve ever had to. Out of the hundreds of prospective tenants I’ve met with, exactly one has declined to rent from me because I allow smoking in my buildings. Does this hurt me? Not at all. The last two vacancies I’ve had were reserved 18 and 2 hours respectively after the first showing.

    • beobrigitte says:

      rattyariel, CONGRATS!!!
      I am very pleased to read that there still ARE building managers with common sense!!!

      When they started complaining about my cigarette smoking and the odor going through the vents and under doors and all through the hallways, ….

      I can’t tell you how often I have read (and still do read – a few weeks ago in Austria!) this overused anti-smokers’ whinging and whining lie in English and in German…

      When the antis/bullies were asked why they only complained about MY smoke, when there were other smokers here, the reply was that I smoke a lot more than the other smokers. When confronted on how they knew that, they had no answer – because they have NO IDEA how much or how little I smoke! :)

      I am glad the question: ‘How do you KNOW’ was asked!!!! – and it shut the anti-smokers up!!

      People really have had enough of this anti-smoking lark!!!!

  6. waltc says:

    This is heartening to all of us. Btw, I sent your post of last week to my cousin’s husband, the gut at HUD and have heard nothing but crickets. Maybe they,re on vacation. They’re not ants; he smokes cigars.

  7. Smoking Lamp says:

    This is excellent news and a reminder that you have to stand up for your liberties or they will be taken away. This lesson should hopefully inspire others to stand up against the mounting antismoker tyranny.

  8. nisakiman says:

    Yes, very good news indeed.

    I don’t know if it’s my imagination, but in my trawlings round the news stories of outside bans and the like, I’ve been noticing a lot more comments that start in the vein of “I don’t smoke, but….”, or “I don’t like smoking, but…”, and then going on to say that they think smokers are getting a really raw deal and should be cut some slack. Perhaps the hysterical antics of the anti-smokers are starting to be seen for what they are – bigoted and baseless attacks on decent people who are not only indulging in a perfectly legal habit, but are paying punitive taxes to do so.

    Maybe, just maybe, the tide of public opinion is turning on this issue.

    • Joe L. says:

      I am also seeing more comments like these recently. I’m also hoping it’s a sign of the times. I’m so used to seeing comments that begin “I’m a smoker but … I hate smoking,” and “I smoked for X years, but then I quit because … I hate smoking,” which all sound very self-righteous and always strike me as written by anti-smoking shills.

  9. Rose says:

    Very good news.

    When you’ve delved into anti-tobacco’s activities for a few years you start to forget that there are still a lot of rational people out there in the everyday world.

  10. Rose says:

    A smoking ban in prisons won’t really help cons – but it could destroy their economy
    23 July 2015

    “Smoker or non-smoker?” After “guilty or innocent?” it’s one of the most important questions you’ll ever be asked – should you have the misfortune to be sent to prison. A staggering 80 per cent of prisoners smoke, but there’s far more to their tobacco habit than mere nicotine: tobacco – “burn” – is the gold standard of the prison economy and cigarettes are branded indelibly into convict culture.

    When I was incarcerated in 2011, for my actions during anti-government protests the previous year, I recall my surprise at discovering that prisons were, somewhat ironically, one of the last bastions of liberty in an increasingly smoke-free world. Your prison cell is your home, legally speaking at least, so the 2006 Health Act does not apply.”

    “Paper money is forbidden in prison. Instead, the inmate economy turns on “burn”. Almost anything you might want or need outside of the weekly shop has to be purchased with brown gold. A haircut or a matchstick frame for that picture of your kids? That’ll be half an ounce. Want the resident artist to paint your portrait or the wing drug dealer to sort you out with a decent spliff? One ounce. Fancy a tattoo? That’ll certainly set you back a bit.”

    “It’s hardly surprising that those trapped in our miserable prison estate crave release. The response of one inmate to Public Health England’s inquiry says it all: “[Tobacco is] everybody’s lifeline in here.” As Andrew Neilson, Director of Campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, observes: “Our prisons are overcrowded and under-resourced. We have seen a rise in prison suicides and in violence. The prisons are currently struggling to get prisoners out of their cells and into purposeful activities, let alone enforce a smoking ban.”

    In other words, there’s no doubt our prison system is going up in smoke – but tobacco is not the culprit.”–but-it-could-destroy-their-economy-10411955.html

    Smoking May Act as an Antidepressant Drug

    “Chronic smokers have biological changes in the brain similar to those caused by antidepressant drugs, according to a study gaining national attention.”

    “The overall study involved 20 human cadaver brains, including 10 from smokers and 10 from non-smokers. The published study covered a total of 16 brains.

    The scientists examined a lower, posterior portion of the brain that is associated with depression, the locus coeruleus. None of the subjects had been diagnosed with depression in their lifetimes, so that was not a factor, Ordway added.”

    “The study found that the brains of chronic smokers had neurochemical abnormalities in the locus coeruleus that can be produced by repeatedly treating laboratory animals with antidepressant drugs, he explained.

    Specifically, long-term smoking appears to inhibit monoamine oxidase (or acts as an MAO inhibitor). Monoamine oxidase is the enzyme that metabolizes monoamines — such as norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, Klimek explained. The locus coeruleus produces norepinephrine. Drugs that inhibit monoamines are antidepressants.

    Nicotine, Ordway added, does have antidepressant qualities, but is not an MAO inhibitor.

    It’s uncertain whether chronic smokers have these brain characteristics before they start smoking, which could increase their susceptibility to becoming smokers.

    But Ordway said investigators suspect smoking itself causes the neurochemical changes.”

    It’s how the prisoners cope and at their own expense.

    And the awful thing is anti-tobacco know that.

    FCTC/COP/5/9 Annex 3 page 12

    “Researchers have found a marked decrease in the levels of monoamine oxidase (MAO) in the brains and peripheral organs of smokers . MAO is an important enzyme responsible for breaking down dopamine.

    The decrease in MAO results in higher dopamine levels and may be another reason that smokers continue to smoke, i.e. to sustain the high dopamine levels that lead to the desire for repeated drug use.

    It has been suggested that this change is likely to be caused by a substance in tobacco smoke other than nicotine.

    Certain tobacco constituents are reported to be MAO inhibitors, such as 2,3,6-trimethyl-1-4-naphthoquinone …”
    http: //

    Which at last explains why it was a normal reaction to give a wounded soldier a cigarette. I always wondered.
    Human instinct, it’s a wonderful thing.

    • jaxthefirst says:

      Rather begs a few questions about the smoking ban in psychiatric hospitals, doesn’t it, Rose? OK, then, here’s an easy question for all medical professionals: How do you think a depressed patient will respond to withdrawal of an anti-depressant (whether smoking or something prescribed, as they both seem to be having the same effect)? Will it:

      a. Decrease the patient’s depressive symptoms, or
      b. Increase the patient’s depressive symptoms

      Tricky one, isn’t it, Doctor? I’ll give you a clue – the answer is B.

      On another note, it does point to a reason why smokers, despite all the prejudice, persecution and bullying heaped upon them daily, still stubbornly remain the happiest, friendliest and nicest people in society. No wonder pubs are failing all around us – not only is the best company either outside or not there at all, but what’s left inside now has a disproportionate number of boring moaning minnies propping up the bar, which is enough to put off the remaining nice non-smokers from bothering to go, too!

      • Barry Homan says:

        That’s because a cigarette is an excellent social mechanism. By contrast a mobile telephone is a tool of withdrawal into a little isolated world.

      • Rose says:

        Rather begs a few questions about the smoking ban in psychiatric hospitals, doesn’t it

        I think it answers some important questions. It has long been thought that people in psychiatric hospitals smoked so much because they were self-treating, I heard about it years ago and was quite struck by it as I was having a cigarette myself at the time.

        When I started looking the only way I found the previous beliefs on the properties of tobacco was by reversing the latest anti-tobacco science by press release and looking if anyone had ever said the opposite.
        So deeply had they been buried, I hadn’t had a clue.

        For example ,

        Smoking makes your teeth fall out — tobacco has been used as a toothpaste for hundreds of years and still is in certain parts of the world

        Smokers don’t heal — tobacco was used to heal wounds

        Schizophrenics chain smoke and are thought to be self treating — only this month – “Smoking may trigger schizophrenia, scientists warn”

        As with the ban on herbal medicines, hide the information, cast doubt about it’s safety and get rid of traditional rivals, after all, the big money is in products you can patent.
        Tobacco just doesn’t seem quite so easy to get rid of.

        Government don’t have much choice, without pharmaceutical favour there is no NHS.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Guard claims staff knew Ravenhall prisoners would riot over smoking ban –

      July 24, 2015: A prison guard at Ravenhall claims senior management ignored warning signs of the smoking ban riots that are expected to cost …

  11. harleyrider1978 says:

    Casino blames smoking ban for 2nd drop in monthly take – KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana …


    And The New Orleans Advocate reports ( ) that the facility’s top executive put most of the blame on the city’s indoor smoking ban.

  12. harleyrider1978 says:

    Harrah’s New Orleans revenues down again, official blames smoking ban as gamblers flock to …

    The New Orleans Advocate

    Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER — Revenue at HarrahÕs Casina is down. The casino is blaming it on the cityÕs new smoking ban.

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Revenue dropped 30 percent in June at Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel & Casino.

    30% there goes all that staff jobs they said would be gone and no nonsmoker influx as usual

  13. margo says:

    Absolutely brilliant!

  14. harleyrider1978 says:

    Tobacco Firms Won’t Have to Pay Initial Compensation to Smokers, Canada Court Says

    Firms include units of British American Tobacco, Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco
    A Canadian appeal court ruled on Thursday that units of British American Tobacco PLC, Philip Morris International Inc. and Japan Tobacco Inc. won’t have to pay initial compensation to smokers of 1.13 billion Canadian dollars ($867.7 million) in damages while they appeal a recent court decision.

  15. harleyrider1978 says:

    Secondhand smoke exposure increases risk for infant death, chronic respiratory infections, asthma and is estimated to increase direct medical and life-lost costs in the U.S. by nearly $5 billion annually.

    Ever heard so much insanity in one sentence…………

  16. Rose says:

    Just idly reading the comments on an article about Eastbourne beach, it occurs to me that I may have been taking too logical an approach to all this.

    “Linda Carey said, “There is nothing worse than coming out of the hospital, schools or shops and breathing in someone else’s smoke exhaled from their lungs.”

    Oh dear, Lynda Carey, I think there might be, you just can’t see it and you are every bit as guilty as everyone else.

    Human breath emissions of VOCs.

    “The medical community has long recognized that humans exhale volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Several studies have quantified emissions of VOCs from human breath, with values ranging widely due to variation between and within individuals. The authors have measured human breath concentrations of isoprene and pentane. The major VOCs in the breath of healthy individuals are isoprene (12-580 ppb), acetone (1.2-1,880 ppb), ethanol (13-1,000 ppb), methanol (160-2,000 ppb) and other alcohols. In this study, we give a brief summary of VOC measurements in human breath and discuss their implications for indoor concentrations of these compounds, their contributions to regional and global emissions budgets, and potential ambient air sampling artifacts. Though human breath emissions are a negligible source of VOCs on regional and global scales (less than 4% and 0.3%, respectively), simple box model calculations indicate that they may become an important (and sometimes major) indoor source of VOCs under crowded conditions. Human breath emissions are generally not taken into account in indoor air studies, and results from this study suggest that they should be.”

    Chemical analysis of exhaled human breath using a terahertz spectroscopic approach

    “As many as 3500 chemicals are reported in exhaled human breath. Many of these chemicals are linked to certain health conditions and environmental exposures. This experiment demonstrated a method of breath analysis utilizing a high resolution spectroscopic technique for the detection of ethanol, methanol, and acetone in the exhaled breath of a person who consumed alcohol. This technique is applicable to a wide range of polar molecules. For select species, unambiguous detection in a part per trillion dilution range with a total sample size in a femtomol range is feasible.”
    http: //

    “Cynthia Lyons, East Sussex County Council acting director of public health, said, “Second hand smoke can harm our health and contains over 4,000 chemicals, some of which are known to cause cancer.”

    Well compared to the 3500 chemicals reported in human breath, some of them known to cause contagion, Cynthia Lyons’ concern over only 4,000 seems quite pathetic,

    I don’t particularly want to breath the contents of some stranger’s lungs either, but up until now had considered it unavoidable.
    Of course banning other people breathing in all enclosed public spaces would be impracticable – compulsory masks, perhaps?

    • beobrigitte says:

      “Linda Carey said, “There is nothing worse than coming out of the hospital, schools or shops and breathing in someone else’s smoke exhaled from their lungs.”
      Well, the likes of Linda Carey advocates Deborah Arnott’s “Smokers Will Be EXILED to the outdoors. Perhaps that wasn’t too bright an idea?

      “For the health of non smokers and children it should be banned from all public places.
      My generation (smokers and non-smokers growing up around smokers) is giving this (and about EVERY European) government a major headache: We are beginning to claim our well deserved PENSION. Oh, hang on; the governments have decided that we all ‘live longer’ NOW and are healthy enough to have to wait until the ages of 65/63 to claim our pension….
      I would like the anti-smokers to explain this to me!

      However Cheryl Horton-Powell, said a smoking ban would be a ‘ridiculous idea’ and called for the councils to ‘stop persecuting smokers’.
      Indeed, a smoking ban IS a stupid idea and, yes, it is high time to stop persecuting smokers.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      unambiguous detection in a part per trillion dilution range ROFLMAO

  17. harleyrider1978 says:

    Bull Eur Physiopathol Respir. 1977 Jan-Feb;13(1):145-56.

    The effect of chronic exposure to tobacco smoke on the antibacterial defenses of the lung.

    Huber GL, Pochay VE, Mahajan VK, McCarthy CR, Hinds WC, Davies P, Drath DB, Sornberger GC.


    To evaluate the effects of cigarette smoking on the host defenses of the lung, male CD rats were exposed to fresh whole smoke for up to 60 consecutive days. Intrapulmonary deposition of smoke and animal exposure levels, quantified with decachlorobiphenyl and other smoke tracers, indicated a daily cigarette exposure equivalent to approximately a pack and a half per day in man. Pulmonary alveolar macrophage function in situ was quantified by the inactivation of an aerosolized challenge of Staphylococcus aureus six hours after inoculation. Controls (n=120) inactivated 88.8+/-0.64% of the staphylococci. Exposure to whole smoke did not impair intrapulmonary antistaphylococcal defenses, with inactivation rates of 89.8+/-0.97% (n=49) and 89.1+/-0.46% (n=74) at 30 and 60 days, respectively. Inactivation distribution frequency analysis in controls revealed that 7% of animals had inactivation values greater than two standard deviations from the mean. With prolonged exposure mean with less skewing towards the abnormal. Alveolar macrophages harvested from smoked animals were comparable in viability and in vitro antistaphylococcal activity to controls, appeared to be metabolically activated and had specific stereologic ultrastructural alterations. These studies indicate that chronic exposure to tobacco smoke does not impair, and in fact may stimulate, the host defenses of the lung, as evaluated by in vivo and in vitro pulmonary alveolar macrophage function.

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