Not Cultural Change but Cultural Division

H/T Rose, Deborah Arnott a few days ago in New Scientist:

A letter from a non-smoking prisoner with lung cancer, distraught because he was forced to share his cell with smokers, convinced me that smoking in prisons is an issue of human rights. If anything, more so than in public places such as pubs and bars because prisoners have no choice about whether to be there or not.

Rights, I always thought, were what everyone had. But in this case, it seems that only one prisoner has any rights, and the rest can all go hang. Only his grievances matter, and theirs not at all.

If (or as is all too likely, when) smoking is banned in prisons, smoking prisoners will quite simply be forced to give up smoking, because there’ll be nowhere else they can go. And since by Arnott’s own admission, some 80% of prisoners are smokers. that’s going to mean cold turkey for more or less the entire prison population at exactly the same time. I can’t think of a more certain recipe for riots than the imposition of what is in effect a further punishment upon them, over and above that handed down by the courts.

She ends by saying:

The cultural change that has taken place everywhere else in society needs to be extended to prisons so that inmates and staff no longer have to put up with the harm caused by second-hand smoke. After it happens, just as with pubs and bars going smoke-free, we’ll all wonder what the fuss was about.

Genuine cultural change is something that happens gradually over time, as individual people choose to change their beliefs and habits. The imposition of draconian smoking bans, whether in prison or in wider society,  entails overriding individual choice, thus precluding further genuine cultural change. And that will almost certainly mean that people’s beliefs and habits won’t change at all, except to the extent that they have been coerced.

Is it likely that a prison smoking ban will convert prisoners en masse into ex-smokers? I suspect that, most likely, among the first things prisoners will want after their release will be cigarettes, as well as any number of other creature comforts, however long they have been imprisoned. There will be no enduring cultural change at all. The prisoners will remain unreformed.

And the same is true of the wider society. As soon as smoking bans are relaxed (for example, by introducing the smoking rooms proposed by UKIP) the released smokers will head back inside, and light up, just like the released prisoners.

The introduction of smoking rooms (as well as accompanying non-smoking rooms) will also highlight the cultural division between smokers and antismokers that has emerged since the public smoking ban of 2007. Smokers will stick with other smokers, and antismokers will stick with antismokers. For what had once been a unified culture has broken into two separate (and warring) cultures.

For it is not so much that we have witnessed cultural change over the past 8 years, but rather cultural division. If there has been the appearance of cultural change, it is really only because an illusion of universal consent has been contrived – by completely ignoring smokers.

And as the faint voices of ignored and excluded smokers gradually get heard, it will come to seem both unfair and unnecessary to everybody (bar the worst antismoking zealots) that while non-smokers have an abundance of places where they can meet and be made welcome, smokers have none. This inequity has yet to be recognised only because people like Deborah Arnott have been very successful in maintaining the illusion of a cultural solidarity that no longer exists. It will become impossible to paper over the cracks in the culture.

There will then be a dawning realisation that, instead a smooth cultural change having taken place, there has instead been a cultural catastrophe.


About Frank Davis

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32 Responses to Not Cultural Change but Cultural Division

  1. Smoking Lamp says:

    Often he first thing recently released inmates from non-smoking correctional facilities look for is a cigarette. Ask any one who works near a house of detention or jail.

  2. Smoking Lamp says:

    Of course I meant to write the first thing…

    In addition to Arnott’s comments at the New Scientist, she is spouting off in the Guardian today: “Deborah Arnott, chief executive of charity Action on Smoking and Health, said there was no evidence to support claims that depriving prisoners of tobacco could lead to riots.” Specifically she said: “Prisons all around the world have gone smoke-free with few problems and, in the UK, all high-security psychiatric facilities have already gone smoke-free, as have prisons in the Isle of Man and Guernsey, without any trouble.” Of course the recent Victorian (Australia) riots are included in the claim of “few problems.”

    See: “Whitehall ‘knew about health risks’ to prison warders as anti-smokers push for total ban”
    Fears of mass riots in jails if authorities tried to stub out smoking are misplaced, says anti-tobacco charity,”

    • Rose says:

      Whitehall ‘knew about health risks’ to prison warders as anti-smokers push for total ban

      Of course they did, they had already been threatened by ASH under the Health and Safety Act 1974 before any testing was done, they were relying on the exemption for Crown premises.

      “The reports found that secondhand smoke levels exceeded the US classification for “unhealthy” for short periods of time.”

      Unhealthy levels? So what levels of tobacco smoke were considered healthy? New Labour had already signed us up to the FCTC in 2003 so the answer was none.

      “Under Article 8.1 of the FCTC, ‘Parties recognize that scientific evidence has unequivocally established that exposure to tobacco smoke causes death, disease and disability’. Parties therefore agree to adopt and implement, in areas of national jurisdiction (and, at other jurisdictional levels, to actively promote the adoption and implementation of), effective legislative, executive, administrative and/or other measures providing for protection from exposure to tobacco smoke in indoor workplaces, public transport, indoor public places and, as appropriate, other public places. Such protection must be in place five years after the FCTC comes into force for a Party.”

      100% smoke-free environments Because of the nature of the threat to health posed by small particles and by gaseous and vapour phase toxins in tobacco smoke, strategies which permit the presence of lit tobacco in enclosed or substantially enclosed public places or workplaces, or on public transport, cannot protect against exposure to tobacco smoke. Ventilation, air filtration or designated smoking areas are not acceptable strategies. Only 100% smoke-free environments can effectively protect against exposure to tobacco smoke.”


      Protecting workers in licensed premises from the effects of secondhand smoke

      “Over the summer, the Department of Health has sought opinion regarding implementation of its proposed partial smoking ban for licensed premises. Since the General Election in May, Patricia Hewitt, the new Secretary of State is rumoured to be more sympathetic to a complete ban, so everybody is asking—is the lady for turning? And if so, what might encourage her to turn? The details of the ban are contained in the public health white paper Choosing Health: Making Healthy Choices Easier . Many submissions will argue that the proposals are impractical and that a complete ban—as in other workplaces—would be preferable.”

      “In these largely non-unionized establishments, a variety of unproven and ineffectual measures (not smoking at the bar, smoking rooms, exhaust ventilation) are proposed to protect bar workers. Further, banning smoking completely only in establishments which serve food may encourage ‘dry’ pubs to give up serving food. Similarly, the exemption of private member clubs will result in an uneven playing field which may further increase health inequality.”

      “Back in 1998, the Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health (SCOTH) estimated the increased risk to non-smokers of lung cancer from ETS at 24%; the excess risk of heart disease in non-smokers compared with those not exposed was 23%, and important risks to the children of smokers were identified .

      These statistics were sufficiently compelling for Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the anti-smoking lobbying group, to write to leading hospitality industry employers suggesting that the date of ‘guilty knowledge’ had now been passed and consequently employers were vulnerable to serious legal risks if they continued to knowingly expose employees and others to second-hand smoke.

      So far, no claims from non-smokers have yet succeeded before the courts (though there have been a number of out-of-court settlements) but it can be merely a matter of time before there is a success. Perhaps the ASH campaign prompted the Wetherspoons chain to ban smoking in many of their outlets earlier this year.”

      “Although commonly recommended by the tobacco industry, ventilation systems designed to extract carbon dioxide have not been proven to be effective at removing the hazardous smoke particles identified by SCOTH.

      Repace Associates calculated that they would have to create tornado-like levels of airflow to reduce exposure to the de minimis levels demanded of exposure used by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration”

      “In a legal opinion obtained by ASH, J. Melville Williams QC suggests that not only has the date of guilty knowledge passed for employers, but also for the Health & Safety Executive and Commission. He further suggests that ETS should be formally recognized to be within the 1988 Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations, not least because of the 4000 carcinogens that it is believed to contain; this would oblige employers to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment.

      So what should individual occupational health practitioners be doing about ETS? The weight of evidence against passive smoking now is such that:

      We owe a duty to our employers and customers, especially those in the entertainment industry, to bring the hazards of ETS to their full attention, even though ETS is not yet formally recognized as an industrial hazard.”

  3. jaxthefirst says:

    Enforced social change never, ever works in the long term. Never has and never will. Social change which happens naturally, on the other hand, does, e.g. anti-racism, which started way back in the 1950s and is now firmly established in the western psyche – so much so that those people clinging onto the old racist ideals are now regarded as thoroughly outdated or just plain nasty. Ditto sexism and homophobia. As you say, Frank, attitude change must necessarily be a long, slow, self-generating process in order to be lasting.

    Enforced change, on the other hand, never lasts and in fact can be counter-productive in terms of achieving the long-term attitude change that the enforcers desire. True, of course, harsh and restrictive laws, rules and regulations can give the impression of attitudes having changed, but the problem is that if that change is only being manifested under threat of severe punishment, whether of the formal kind in terms of penalties and fines or the informal kind in terms of harassment or bullying, then it becomes vital that the pressure is kept on constantly. Because the moment the pressure is relaxed, society has an irritating tendency to “spring back” to precisely where it was when the pressure first started, i.e. further “back,” if you like (from the change-wishers’ points of view), than society might have come had it been left to its own devices. China is a classic example. Look at how quickly, after a loosening of the strict Communist bonds to which the people had been subjected for so long, they sprang back into their previous state as successful business people within a successful trading nation. Exactly, in fact, what the previous, radical Communist regime had been suppressing for so long. It never went away; it was only ever concealed beneath the fear of punishment or public humiliation. And something concealed isn’t something extinguished.

    So, the answer can only be to keep that pressure on constantly; the problem is doing so. As any teacher of Physics will tell you, when something is exerting constant pressure on something else, eventually something’s gotta give. It’s just not possible for pressure to be kept up ad infinitum. It may take many years, even eons, in the case of something huge like tectonic plates, but eventually, something will give, and then you get the “spring back” and, after a period of fairly brief readjustment, everything goes back to pretty much how it was before.

    And so it is with the anti-smoking movement. They are, no doubt about it, using up energy pretty quickly as the combination of the harsh reality of the ban in economic terms, the social division it has caused, plus the upstart newcomers on the block in the form of anti-alcohol and anti-sugar etc have started to push them back. They try to put a brave face on it, but they know that they haven’t really won the battle – they’ve just discovered a means (i.e. enforcement) of giving the impression that they’ve won it. One just has to ask one question to show the lie: If attitudes have really changed, as they like to insinuate, why do they continue to argue against any relaxation of the ban? For surely, if attitudes had really changed, no-one would take advantage of any new, less restrictive policies and, even if they did, the public (with their “new” attitudes) wouldn’t take advantage of them, would they? The contradiction in these two positions – claiming attitude change whilst refusing any relaxation of (indeed extending) the ban – illustrates very starkly that not only have attitudes not really changed at all, but, more importantly, that the anti-smoking movement knows it.

    I personally think that smoking as an activity probably would have died out over time. Even before the anti-smoking movement hyped up the hysteria with SHS, people were giving up smoking in large numbers and over time I think that people (voluntarily) would have continued this trend. But the moment the anti-smoking movement tried to accelerate the process, and giving up smoking became something which people felt they “had” or “ought” to do, rather than something which they wanted to do, this gradual (but lasting) process screeched to a halt. So that, when the anti-smoking movement finally runs out of steam completely – which I believe will happen sooner than one might imagine – the number of people returning to smoking will be huge, and as a result smoker numbers will certainly be far higher than would have been the case had the interfering campaigners kept their big noses out altogether. Now, that’s irony for you!

    • Smoking Lamp says:

      Excellent comments to an excellent blog post! Max, you are absolutely right. Rigid enforcement does not equate with societal acceptance. As you quite rightly argue, if public opinion was truly antismoking you wouldn’t need the bans because the market would opt for smoker establishments on its own. The incremental bans are proof of that irony. First ban indoor smoking in restaurants, then ban it in bars. The problem is many people still wanted to smoke so smoking patios became popular. Now the outdoor smoking areas are being curtailed. Again, usually first targeting patios serving food (as was the case in Los Angeles a few years ago and Sydney today. Of course people still smoke out doors , so the next ban is to curtail smoking in wide spread areas (i.e, downtown business districts, parks, and beaches). In the build up to the recent New Orleans bar ban, the antismokers even publicly claimed the ban was needed despite the fact that they claimed smoker bars were becoming popular without the ban.

    • Jude says:

      Brilliant post, thank you. I think what we are witnessing today is also the anti-smoker groups riding the wave of authoritarianism that has taken over in several countries, including my own, Australia.

      Its actually hard to believe in today’s climate, but Aussies were once a very tolerant people, I can remember this in my own lifetime, but this has changed dramatically over the last 2 decades. It coincides with the rise of the extreme right wing governments, (these are not conservative liberal governments as the name “The Liberal Party” suggests).

      Where once the Liberal Party were seen as mildly conservative, but socially tolerant, they have morphed into something very nasty indeed. That being said, what was once the party of workers, the Australian Labor Party, have morphed into the party of big business, and are equally as totalitarian in their view of the citizens of this country. They have also taken on the most intolerant, divisive and fascist policies of the current LNP government, so you would be hard pressed to see daylight between them.

      What are people to do? Personally I think there is going to be a huge backlash, because as you say, nothing has changed with the people themselves, most Aussies are still tolerant people, who do not have totalitarian or fascist views, but their views have been hidden by the media, where now we only see the views of the extremists antis, and the totalitarian government.

      We live in interesting times…..

      • jaxthefirst says:

        Jude, what you describe almost exactly mirrors the situation in UK politics. Our equivalent of your Liberal Party is our Conservatives – traditionally known as the right-leaning, generally pro-business party; and our equivalent of your Labor Party is our own Labour Party – traditionally the voice of the working classes, the employee and the downtrodden. In many ways, our Tories (Conservatives) were the “party with a head” and Labour the “party with a heart.”

        But, like your two Bigwigs, ours too have morphed into an almost indistinguishable central mass which epitomises the worst of both sides and the best of neither! The Tories have done nothing in real terms – absolutely nothing – to reverse the anti-business policies inflicted on businesses by previous Labour administrations, except for providing a few exemptions for their Big Business friends (like the banks), which are largely meaningless for small or middle-sized businesses, who still struggle under the enormous weight of increasing rules, restrictions and regulations and the tons of pointless red tape which emanates on a daily basis from the EU. Similarly, our last few Labour administrations have consistently eroded the rights and freedoms of the whole population (including their supposedly-beloved “working class”) with their constant meddling in the personal and social lives of what they clearly regard as their “subjects,” with attempts to control the absolute minutiae of everything from daily exercise, to eating, to drinking, to smoking, and even to the views and opinions people hold. But the most pertinent fact in all this is that neither side has ever made the slightest effort to reverse the policies of the last lot, so that one, literally, can’t get a fag-paper between them and one cannot help but conclude that, at heart, they all basically agree with each other.

        Hence the rise in popularity of UKIP. Sadly, due to our First Past the Post electoral system, the number of seats won in Parliament in no way reflected the huge number of votes they won in the recent General Election (in terms of numbers they actually beat the Liberal Party – previously our third-largest party – if my memory serves me correctly. If not, they were a very close fourth.). Since the Election we’ve heard less of them than beforehand, but I suspect that that might well change again once the run-up to the promised EU referendum gets going, because they are the only party who have stated that they want us out, full stop – not of this mealy-mouthed half-measures of “renegotiation” or “new terms.” But the point is, they got all those votes not just because of the policies they were proposing, but also because they represented the “none of the existing lot” vote for people who simply didn’t want more of the same as they’ve had for the last 30 years or so.

        From what you say, it sounds as if Oz is ripe for the rise of its own equivalent of UKIP. Obviously, in Oz you don’t have the thorny issue of the EU from which a party can launch itself, as UKIP did here, but I strongly suspect that there are probably “deliberately ignored issues” in Oz which are simply conveniently overlooked by your own Big Two parties because they don’t want to do what they know the public wants them to do – and it’s this type of issue which can lead to the rise of a New Kid on the Block in political terms and, believe me, as we know from here in the UK, they can really shake things up a bit simply by offering to address those issues rather than ignoring them. It’s highly likely, for example, that we’ve only now got the firm promise of an EU referendum from the Tories because of UKIP’s rise in popularity. It hasn’t happened yet, of course, but the whole “referendum” question looked to be quietly forgotten about – and probably would have been, had it not been for UKIP.

        I’ll be watching the Aussie political landscape with interest from afar and keeping my fingers crossed for you that, from out of the ruins created in your country, like ours, by “consensus politics” a UKIP-like phoenix might rise from the dust. Keep us posted!

        • Jude says:

          Yes Jax, what you are saying is indeed a mirror image, not surprising though as our own Westminster system of Government comes from the UK, with a few changes. Indeed I hope we do see the rise of smaller parties, and we have seen many more independents and minor parties elected to our senate, which has held in check the very worst of this current regime. The make up of the senate has caused huge outrage from the career politicians, they see it as a problem, as it limits their power to do incredible damage, most ordinary people see it as a necessary safeguard against totalitarianism.

          The most common complaint I hear from normal everyday people, is that they dislike the policies of both major parties, (or in fact the policies are the same, and will hurt people equally), so they don’t know who to vote for. It reminds me of that old saying, “no matter who you vote for a politician always gets in”.

          The media here is owned by Murdoch, almost entirely, and favours the current LNP, (Libs), because they protect his billion dollar empire, so we hear very little of anything else except stupid personality politics, and partisan propaganda. Its childish, and spectacularly stupid, but I expect nothing more from Murdoch.

          It would be very easy just to give up on the whole country, but I’ll keep agitating from the sidelines, its the only action left open to people now. Thanks to you and Frank for some sane converstation and views.

      • Frank Davis says:

        nothing has changed with the people themselves, most Aussies are still tolerant people, who do not have totalitarian or fascist views

        The same is true of most Brits. And I dare say, most people everywhere.

        • Jude says:

          Yes I agree Frank, but the screaming noise from the antis is all we hear in the corrupt media, serving a corrupt bunch of political greedites and nutters.

    • Frank Davis says:

      As any teacher of Physics will tell you, when something is exerting constant pressure on something else, eventually something’s gotta give.

      I think that what a teacher of physics would actually teach is that to every force there is always an equal and opposite force. (Newton’s 3rd law). And so however hard the antismokers press down on smokers, the smokers will be pressing back equally hard. And that is exactly what I find myself doing, in my small way: I push back. And I dare say that this is what more or less everyone who reads this blog is doing, in one way or other. The antismokers are not very numerous, but they are well-funded and in positions of influence. The smokers are far more numerous, and without government funds or political influence. But the forces are nevertheless in balance. For despite all their claims of having changed the culture and denormalised smoking, as many people seem to be smoking as ever (only outside rather than inside). If ‘something has given’, it would seem to be the formerly cohesive fabric of society

      One just has to ask one question to show the lie: If attitudes have really changed, as they like to insinuate, why do they continue to argue against any relaxation of the ban? For surely, if attitudes had really changed, no-one would take advantage of any new, less restrictive policies and, even if they did, the public (with their “new” attitudes) wouldn’t take advantage of them, would they?

      Well, exactly. Smoking hasn’t been denormalised, and culture hasn’t changed.

      Yesterday I was sat outside a pub, drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette, and watching one person after another sitting down at outside tables and lighting up. There was no tut-tutting or hand-waving from adjoining tables. There never is. And this is the situation in rural England 8 years after the introduction of a draconian smoking ban. If the ban were lifted, everyone would head back inside, and breathe a sigh of relief.

      I personally think that smoking as an activity probably would have died out over time. Even before the anti-smoking movement hyped up the hysteria with SHS, people were giving up smoking in large numbers

      But people were giving up smoking over hyped-up hysteria about FHS (first hand smoke). I think the reality is probably that levels of smoking reflect the degree of stress that people find themselves under, and this is probably why smoking increases in wartime. There seem to be a lot of people (e.g. Joan Bakewell) who don’t smoke at all, but in a life crisis (e.g. a divorce) will start smoking. So, aside from all the antismoking hysteria of the past 60+ years, it may be that life has not been very stressful for most people, and they had little need of tobacco to calm themselves, and that’s why smoking prevalence has fallen. But that could all change very suddenly in the event of a political or economic crisis.

      But that’s just a guess.

      • jaxthefirst says:

        Thanks for filling in the gaps for me on the Physics, Frank. I thought you might – much more your field of expertise than mine! But I knew it was something like that from my Physics lessons back in the 1970’s!

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    What gets me is nobody has accepted arnots so called change. Everybody I know simply stopped going to non smoking places and drove the miles to a smoking establishment. Its that simple.

    Those younger folks who are still working simply adjusted to goin to where the new smoking area is legal or illegal. In fact it appears downtown Nashville nobody bothers obeying the ban. Not even in restricted hospital zones. I even saw a VA police cop lighting up at nite at the hospital along with a few hospital staff. Truly nobody wants the ban its simply something they are waiting to go away.
    And they always do go away………….history proves it everytime.

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    Whitehall ‘knew about health risks’ to prison warders as anti-smokers push for total ban | Society …

    The Guardian

    Fears of mass riots in jails if authorities tried to stub out smoking are misplaced, says anti-tobacco charity. prison cell smoking cigarette. Campaigners …

  6. Lepercolonist says:

    Deborah Arnott is in bed with ISIS.

  7. Rose says:

    A letter from a non-smoking prisoner with lung cancer, distraught because he was forced to share his cell with smokers, convinced me that smoking in prisons is an issue of human rights

    Social movements and human rights rhetoric in tobacco control

    “Using human rights rhetoric is one strategy that can provide momentum and a sense of purpose to the movement. A strong social movement is imperative to resist or prevent erosion in the salience of tobacco control (that is, to prevent relapse) and to provide the political and economic support to achieve future goals.”

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Thats excatly what all the CDC PROPAGANDA RUN ON TV is over the summer last year and this. Remember CDC requires all actors/make bekieve victims have doctor write an OPINION LETTER stating whats wrong with them was caused by smoking. You see as we all know and CDC too. That nobody has ever proven smoking causes anyhting in anyone. After they get chosen to be a televised victim,CDC pays THEM A big whopping 2500 bucks for LYING TO EVERYBODY.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Aleckoboy 2h ago



        As I former prisoner (and a lifelong non-smoker) I’ve written about this controversial issue from an inmate’s perspective – which seems to be sadly lacking in this debate. The claim above by ASH that a complete smoking ban in other jurisdictions has caused “few problems” is utterly misleading and based on a complete lack of understanding about the current crisis in our prison system. While major riots – such as MAY have been sparked off recently in New Zealand by a ban – are rare, there is always a massive upsurge in smuggling of tobacco as contraband (by prisoners, visiting family members and a minority of corrupt staff members), as well as internal disciplinary systems in meltdown when trying to enforce such a prohibition.

        However, serious riots cannot be ruled out, given that we are already seeing a substantial upsurge in violence – both between inmates and against members of staff – as well as a rising number of incidents of self-harm and suicide in our overcrowded, understaffed prison. Presumably a massive increase in self-harming doesn’t worry ASH at all. In fact, one wonders how many dead bodies ASH truly believes will be a price worth paying to enforce its obsessive, totalitarian diktat on prisoners.

        Those who are interested in reading another perspective on this issue can find my previous contribution to this debate at Prison UK: an Insider’s View.

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          I listened to a Prison Warder on Local radio this week, who said, “…surely it is not beyond the wit of authority to put non-smokers together, and smokers together..”. He was baffled by the anti-smoking lobby, again ready to create trouble which they won’t have to deal with. It seems some anti-smokers make this crusade an obsession, regardless of other points of view. I would say to them, get a fecking life!

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Smoking in prison is a controversial subject, not least because an estimated 80 percent of adult prisoners smoke. Many have had tobacco habits since childhood and given the high levels of stress in prison, efforts to kick the weed often end in failure. As a lifelong non-smoker, I have been able to view the subject with a degree of detachment. I’m not a fan of tobacco, but at the same time I’m not a ‘born-again’ anti-smoking zealot.

        At present rolling tobacco – currently known as “burn” in jail slang – is freely available on prison canteen order sheets in adult establishments and most cons religiously order their ‘ounce’ or ‘two ounces’ or whatever they can afford using their weekly “spends” (prison wages, plus any private cash available depending on the individual’s IEP level). Even some cons who don’t smoke order burn as it serves as a substitute internal prison currency. Want a decent hair-cut from a fellow inmate? That’ll cost half an ounce or 12.5 g (around £4.00). Chocolate (50p a bar) and tins of tuna (£1.20) are also alternative currencies, but rolling tobacco remains the unit of exchange of choice in British prisons.

        That may be set to change in the not too distant future. Rules on smoking inside prisons have been getting increasingly more restrictive and there are Ministry of Justice plans to make all prisons in the UK smoke-free by around 2015. The prohibition is expected to be introduced incrementally and most establishments have already restricted smoking to prisoners’ cells (with the doors closed). Smoking in the open air, for example outside buildings or on the exercise yard, has also increasingly been banned.

        No ifs, no butts…
        Officially, HMPS policy is that prisoners who don’t smoke should not be forced to share cells with smokers. In practice, for “operational reasons” this isn’t always respected. I was lucky in that I only had to spend one night banged up with a very heavy smoker. It wasn’t pleasant and by the morning I really felt sick. Fortunately, I was then moved to share with another non-smoker.

        In another prison I did opt to move in with a friend who was trying – unsuccessfully – to kick the habit. He signed up for a healthcare “smoking cessation” programme and was initially prescribed nicotine patches (which didn’t work) and then Champix tablets. When stress finally defeated him, I agreed that he could smoke out of the open window. Still, I preferred to share a cell with a decent bloke on those terms to being banged up with a complete numpty who didn’t smoke.

        So how would a complete prohibition on burn work in practice? Total bans on tobacco have already been introduced in prisons on the Isle of Man and Guernsey. This radical step has not been without problems. For example, governor’s adjudications for disciplinary offences linked to unauthorised possession of tobacco rocketed in the Isle of Man after the total ban was introduced in May 2008. Unlike the Isle of Man, however, Guernsey does permit prisoners to purchase and use e-cigarettes.

        In theory, it should be easy to ban tobacco from closed prisons. Tobacco products can simply be removed from the weekly canteen sheet, meaning that any possession would then be unauthorised and a violation of prison rules. However, given that the Prison Service is often unable to prevent the smuggling of drugs into the estate, it seems a pretty safe bet that tobacco smuggling will present a new, and very lucrative, business opportunity for entrepreneurial cons.

        There may also be implications for NOMS’ commercial relationship with DHL, the current contracted supplier of canteen goods. A very substantial amount of prisoners’ monies goes on buying tobacco. A total ban on sales has the potential to hit the profitability of the entire operation.

        It is perhaps worth noting that since smoking was banned in New York’s city jails in 2003, the average price of a contraband cigarette has rocketed to an amazing $30, while a full pack is reported to change hands at the infamous Riker’s Island jail for around $200. Nice work if you can get it. Similarly, disciplinary actions against inmates and the arrest of would-be suppliers from outside the prison walls continue to rise. According to the New York Daily News, there had been a total of 85 arrests of people attempting to smuggle tobacco into the city’s jails between January 2012 and May 2013.

        Of course, whenever the issue of a complete smoking ban in prisons is raised in the media there are dire predictions of riots and violence. I’m not personally convinced. Prisoners tend to be a pretty reluctant rioters these days. It does happen, but the draconian sentences that follow serious disorder and damage – up to nine years on their sentences for the ring-leaders of the HMP Moorland riots in 2010 – do discourage major disturbances.

        I do think that there are going to be difficult – and very grumpy – times ahead, however, if the tobacco ban is imposed as planned in 2015. I predict a massive rise in ‘nickings’ (internal charging) and governors’ adjudications in connection with the unauthorised possession of tobacco products, as well a drain on staff resources at a time when numbers of uniformed officers are down to dangerously low levels.

        A total ban will also impact on prison staff (uniformed and civilian alike) who will have to trudge out of the establishment – checking in their keys – in order to enjoy a crafty ciggie in the carparks outside the security perimeter. And as with all prohibitions of commodities, the real winners will be the smugglers who will take advantage of the new market conditions to cash in.

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    Nigel Farage

    2 hrs ·

    The Independent reporting that the EU referendum will be held in June next year. Bring it on

    David Cameron will fast-tracks the EU referendum to June 2016

    David Cameron is set to hold the in-or-out referendum on Britain’s future membership of the European Union in June next year and will announce the fast-tracked date as the centrepiece of his party’s annual conference in October.

  9. harleyrider1978 says:

    Obama Greatest Gun Salesman in History ⋆ UFP NEWS

    Proving once again just how out of touch with Americans Obama truly is, a new report from the ATF says that Gun production has more than doubled since 2012…

  10. harleyrider1978 says:

    Grog, junk food next plain packaging targets, lawyer warns

    A beer bottle with a picture of a cirrhotic liver could soon grace Australia’s table, a litigator warns

    Regulators in Australia could look to introduce graphic warning labels on packaging of alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and food that is unhealthy, a senior partner from Herbert Smith Freehills warns.

    Representatives from the law firm, which is taking on the World Trade Organisation on behalf of British American Tobacco over plain packaging and warning labels on tobacco packaging, has told Fairfax Media that tobacco is often the “canary in the coal mine” for changes to labelling and warnings around the world.

    A beer bottle with a picture of a cirrhotic liver could soon grace Australia’s tables, said Benjamin Rubinstein, who was part of the legal team that successfully defended BAT in a $280 billion racketeering case in the US.

    “I think there have been rumbling among the public health community about what’s next: is it just tobacco? What about sugary foods? Fatty foods? What about alcohol?” the HSF partner said.

    Mr Rubinstein said it was possible regulators could look to introduce graphic warning labels on the packaging of alcohol products, soft drinks and foods that were viewed as being unhealthy in the future.

    “Often tobacco, whether it’s litigation or regulation, is the canary in the coal mine and I think public health authorities rightly want to encourage healthier lifestyles and there are a variety of ways they can do that, and, of course, there are limits – be they free speech limits or property rights – on what they can do.”

    Mr Rubinstein joined HSF’s head of investigations and financial services litigation, Scott Balber, and David Wallace, a partner who specialises in dispute resolution, on a trip to Sydney, Melbourne and Perth to hold briefings with clients and partners of HSF.

    Mr Wallace, who was a member of the defence team that won the first tobacco case heard in Britain, at the High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland, said corporations in Australia and elsewhere had to be prepared for cross-border litigations.

    “Some of these litigations jump the border like a virus,” he said.

    “Tobacco litigation came here; it’s gone to other jurisdictions and it’s still playing out in a very big way in Canada.”

    Ireland passed plain packaging laws in April that would strip tobacco products of most of their branding, much like in Australia. Australia introduced plain packaging laws on tobacco products in 2011.

    While “big tobacco” continued to rail against being stripped of intellectual property, this year the British Medical Journal published the results of 14 separate studies on the impact of plain packaging on the public indicating the laws were producing positive public health outcomes.

    “Even if it doesn’t jump the border, even if it is not imported or exported, there are valuable lessons from that experience that a company can take on board – even prior to that regulatory engagement if you will – and that is in terms of its own proactive management of its risks on a strategic basis.”

    In a wide-ranging interview, HSF partner Mr Balber – who has defended financial institutions against action brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission – said Australia’s big banks and other corporations could also be subject to action by regulators resulting in billion dollar fines.

    Mr Balber said Australian corporations should be aware that they could be prosecuted under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, anti-bribery laws, accounting controls, financial controls and breach of sanctions issues.

    “When Australian regulators and the Australian government see those numbers, you have to wonder whether they’re thinking: Why are we not pursuing a piece of that pie from the perspective from the government that’s always looking for new sources of revenue like everyone, resource restrained like everyone else?:”

    In the US, major financial institutions including JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Standard & Poor’s have all been slapped with hefty fines over breaches of various legislations.

    Earlier this year, six banks – Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, UBS and Royal Bank of Scotland and Bank of America – together received fines totalling $US6 billion for manipulating Libor (London Interbank Offered Rates) and foreign exchange markets.

    While Australia has never seen fines of this quantum levelled against financial institutions, several financial sector companies are subject to a major investigation over the alleged rigging of bank bill swap rates.

    “I would be surprised if down the road there weren’t [a] more aggressive regulatory enforcement regime that results in more of the US style of penalties,” Mr Balber said.

    He also believed Australian regulators were considering changing whistleblower laws to include “bounty payments” to people whose whistleblowing led to SEC fines.

    The US Securities and Exchange Commission implemented changes under the Dodd-Frank Act to afford greater protections to whistleblowers, including a provision for “bounty payments” capped at 10 per cent. Whistleblowers can also seek employment protections under US laws.

    “I don’t have a great insight into what the Australian regulators are thinking, except that they are aware of it and that it’s in the mix of possibilities. It’s certainly something folks are talking about.”

    At present, Australia offers little protection to whistleblowers who too often risk losing their jobs for speaking out against their companies.

    Over the past two years, staff members at Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and IOOF have blown the whistle on those companies, revealing scandals that in the case of CBA and NAB have led to massive compensation programs for customers.

    Mr Balber and Mr Wallace both warned of the repercussions of bringing in bounties for whistleblowers.

    “It creates perverse incentives,” Mr Wallace said.

    He said in the past employees would blow the whistle for moral reasons but under Dodd-Frank, they had a personal pecuniary benefit in blowing the whistle.

    Mr Balber and Mr Wallace also said it was wrong to assume that a company agreeing to pay a fine to the SEC was necessarily an admission of guilt.

    “[In regards to whistleblowers receiving a share of the penalty] I hate to be cynical, but it’s not necessarily the case that companies that have done the wrong thing pay settlements to the SEC.”

    Read more:

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Its just as we said when australia did plain packs on cigs,it was a pathway to screw the rest of them. Then if the MSM hasnt figured it out yet its a short hop from there to total control over press content.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Samo Samo as Hitler did……………control of everything one step at a time. Changing the laws as need be or forcing courts to totally turn a blind eye to the law and decide in the Nazis favor as has happened in America at every turn on anything Obama wanted as it hit the supreme court.

  11. Rose says:

    Deborah Arnott – New Scientists

    Even in the UK there are precedents for going smoke-free without riots erupting. Psychiatric premises, including high-security facilities such as Broadmoor, went completely smoke-free in 2008, without any trouble. All juvenile jails have been smoke-free since 2007, and smoking is already banned in adult prisons on the Isle of Man and Guernsey.

    Isle of Man prisoners go on hunger strike over smoking ban
    4 May 2008

    “The woman, who asked not to be named, claimed 16 of 32 inmates on A wing had been on hunger strike for three days.

    She claimed the introduction of the ban was a ‘shambles’ and that in the weeks leading up to it prisoners were able to stockpile tobacco and smoke until they ran out.

    She said: ‘Tobacco in the jail is worth more than heroin – that’s how bad it is.’

    It is understood nicotine craving prisoners have resorted to smoking dried out teabags wrapped in pages of the Bible.”
    http: //

    Prison has “lost control” of smoking ban according to chief prison inspector

    “THE Isle of Man Prison has lost control of the no-smoking ban.
    That’s according to the chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick who inspected the prison in March.
    Along with a team from the HM Inspectorate of Prisons he visited the prison in Jurby and found that prisoners were flouting the smoking ban – often in full view of prison staff.

    The Isle of Man Prison is Europe’s only completely non-smoking prison. The ban was introduced in 2008 following the prison’s move from Douglas to the north of the Island.
    The report, which has been published today, found that the total ban had resulted in a “large number of negative outcomes”.

    Nick explained: “Many prisoners appeared to be intensively and creatively engaged in circumventing the smoking ban.
    “We saw this happening in full view of staff and were satisfied it was a wide spread and long standing occurrence.”
    Prisoners were also found to be using lint from tumble dryers and pubic hair to make their homemade cigarettes.

    “They boiled up nicotine patches, soaked fruit peel or other substances in it and then rolled cigarettes from the resulting ‘tobacco’ in pages from dictionaries and bibles held together with toothpaste. Lights were obtained from kettle elements and electrical wiring.”

    “Although Nicotine Replacement Therapy is offered this was also criticised after investigators found nicotine patches were being given out with other medication and did not have to be applied under supervision.
    Nick continued: “Quite apart from the unknown health risks of what prisoners were smoking there was bullying to obtain nicotine patches, the good order of the prison was undermined by a widely flouted rule and many prisoners resented its inconsistent enforcement.”

    Ex-prisoners speak out on smoking ban
    23 October 2013

    “The Isle of Man’s prison authorities remain adamant the prison smoking ban is working, despite a number of claims to the contrary from ex prisoners.

    The prison’s deputy governor Nigel Fisher recently told the Isle of Man Newspapers the smoking ban was effectively enforced and a report two years ago claiming the situation was out of control with the ban routinely flouted was ‘somewhat exaggerated’.

    But following that statement a number of former inmates have contacted the paper to dispute this.

    ‘The lads make up their own cigarettes which is obviously 10 times more harmful – so it’s obviously not working,’ said Aaron Roberts from Anagh Coar who served a couple of weeks two years ago.

    He said cigarettes were often fashioned using Bible pages as cigarette papers stuck together using wood glue.

    ‘That’s using pages with ink on and glue so there are chemicals in there.’

    All former prisoners who contacted Isle of Man Newspapers said prisoners were using nicotine patches, issued to them to help them stop smoking, to make cigarettes. This was done by boiling them in water to extract the nicotine then soaking anything from tea bags to dried fruit peel or even fluff from the tumble drier – whatever was available – in the fluid. The substances were then dried out, shredded and used in place of tobacco.

    Another former prisoner, John Joyce accused the authorities of lying when they claimed the situation was under control. He said he could see no reason why a compromise couldn’t be reached whereby prisoners were allowed to smoke outside during exercise periods.

    Proposals to introduce a similar smoking ban in UK prisons wouldn’t work he added: ‘Some people would do anything for a smoke, and some of them are never getting out anyway: there would be murder.

    ‘I smoked all the time I was there. Ninety nine per cent of prisoners do smoke and half the screws would like to see smoking allowed there because it takes the tension away.’

    Former prisoner Steve Dockerill said the patches had become a sought-after commodity: ‘People have even been attacked for their patches,’ he said, adding he used to trade his patches for cigarettes.

    He said many warders turned a blind eye to smoking and prisoners often lit cigarettes by creating sparks from the mains power point in their cells.”

    Patients riot at Moors Murderer’s hospital
    Jul 2008

    “An Ashworth insider said: “The smoking ban came in on 1 July and it has been very unpopular.

    “There is no smoking allowed for anyone on the premises.

    “We’ve got ex-prisoners coming in who are used to prison life where they can smoke and they are not happy when their lighters and cigarettes are confiscated. It is an unworkable situation.”

    A spokesman for Mersey Care NHS Trust, which runs Ashworth, said: “The patients, who are relatively new admissions to the high secure hospital, caused damage to the roof of their ward.

    “The patients claimed to be protesting about losing the right to smoke within the hospital.

    “The ban is in force in all three high secure hospitals in England in order to conform to NHS guidelines and a recent High Court ruling.”
    http: //

    And that’s only the trouble that the public got to know about.

    • Joe L. says:

      Beautiful, Rose. The selective memories of these anti-smoking half-wits is astonishing. It must be nice to live life pretending everything always goes your way. Unfortunately, this strategy has continued to work for them.

      • Rose says:

        Here’s one I forgot.

        The teabag ban at the Isle of Man prison.

        3rd January 2010

        “TEABAGS have been banned at a non-smoking jail after lags used them in cigarettes instead of brewing up.
        Inmates at the Isle of Man Prison now have to make do with tea granules after dozens were caught puffing away on ­teabags in their cells.

        The £42million prison, which opened in ­August 2008, is Europe’s only non-smoking jail.
        Even prison guards are banned from ­smoking on the premises and have to go into a nearby car park to light up.
        Lags are told they have no choice but to give up and are given free nicotine patches and counselling sessions to help them beat their cravings
        But instead of quitting, ingenious inmates poured out the contents of teabags and rolled makeshift ciggies.
        One former prisoner, who did not want to be named, said: “Stress levels are very high in the jail because of the smoking ban.

        “When a warden comes back from having a fag in the car park they come in stinking of smoke and saying how enjoyable the cigarette was – and that just makes everyone mad. ”

        Previously in Canada

        Guards fall ill as inmates puff on nicotine patches
        April 12, 2006

        “CALGARY — Innovative inmates craving tobacco are smoking nicotine patches despite a smoking ban in Alberta jails and guards say the fumes are making them sick.

        When tobacco was banished from correctional facilities 19 months ago, prisoners started making homemade cigarettes from Nicoderm patches, according to documents obtained by the Calgary Herald.

        The recipe, recorded in Alberta Correctional Service documents, is simple.

        Peel the adhesive nicotine strip from the patch, boil in water, place toilet paper in solution and stir. Dry, add small pieces of hardened orange peels if desired, then roll in paper ripped out of Bibles.

        No matches? No problem.

        Inmates light up with sparks from tubes on fluorescent lights or electrical outlets by turning two pieces of wire or lead from pencils into prongs, or by using wicks made from toilet paper.

        Sometimes retail lighters are “suitcased” into jail they’re smuggled in by concealing them in a body cavity.

        “The smoking ban has created brand-new problems we didn’t anticipate and plan for,” said Dan MacLennan, president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees.

        Inmates have suffered burns and injuries from electric shock, there’s a constant fire hazard from the smoldering toilet paper wicks, and 21 corrections officers are on sick leave or workers’ compensation because of contaminants from the patch cigarettes.

        Breathing problems have started to affect one guard so badly his doctor placed him on two inhalers, says a Nov. 15 internal report.

        AUPE has appealed for a complete ban of Nicoderm patches in all Alberta jails. The patches replaced cigarettes when smoking was banned in October 2004.”

        Alberta prisons ban “the patch”

        ‘Homemade’ cigarettes not exactly Players, but they’ll do
        Alberta has banned the use of nicotine patches in its prisons after inmates invented ingenious, MacGyver-esque methods of converting the quitting aids to smokable cigarettes they rolled in pages torn from the Bible. The makeshift cigarettes, in the absence of lighters and matches, were lit with burning wicks of toilet paper set aflame by short-circuiting wall sockets with pencils or wire. That generated toxic fumes worse even than the second-hand smoke associated with tobacco, attacking the lungs of guards

        The phenomenon, which began not long after tobacco was banned from Alberta prisons two years ago, shines a light on the alchemic prowess of prisoners, who have “24/7 to constantly think up new ideas,” says Cec Cardinal, a Calgary correctional officer and chair of the union local that agitated for the ban. Inmates sought their fix by scraping nicotine-laced adhesive from the patches and mixing the resulting gum with water; dried orange peel or tea was then stirred into the solution and left to settle before inmates rolled the faux tobacco leaf — sometimes called “teabacco” — in pages ripped from books. Strips from the Bible were especially favoured for their “finer, softer type of paper,” says Cardinal.”


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