Well, that was interesting. I’d expected most readers of this blog to disapprove of smoking bans outside hospitals, but I didn’t think everyone would. But at the time of writing, 93% think that such bans are “very, very wrong”, and the remaining 7% think they’re merely “not right”, and nobody is sitting on the fence on the issue.
Why’s there such strong feeling about it? I think it may be that hospital patients are the most vulnerable people in society, and very often totally dependent on the care of people around them, and in no condition to fight back against impositions of this sort – which makes such smoking bans the worst sort of bullying by the worst and most cowardly kind of bully.
But what a deep moral divide exists between my readers and the board of trustees of Sandwell hospital! What a chasm!
Elsewhere, the news of a proposed US federal ban on smoking in public housing has been lighting up the social media.
Smoking would be prohibited in public housing homes nationwide under a proposed federal rule announced on Thursday, a move that would affect nearly one million households and open the latest front in the long-running campaign to curb unwanted exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke…
No safe level of secondhand smoke, of course:
A study by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that a nationwide smoke-free public housing policy would result in annual cost savings of about $153 million, including $94 million in health care, $43 million in reduced costs for painting and cleaning smoke-damaged units, and $16 million in averted fire losses.
In their proposal, federal housing officials said that the surgeon general’s office had concluded that there was no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke and that separating smokers and nonsmokers, building ventilation and cleaning the air could not eliminate exposure. That, officials said, could be accomplished only by eliminating smoking from indoor spaces.
“The argument about secondhand smoke is over,” Julián Castro, the federal housing secretary, said in an interview on Wednesday. “It’s harmful, and we believe it’s important that we have an environment that’s healthy in public housing.”
secondhand smoke… can travel through walls
Public housing is just the start:
“Smoke-free housing is definitely the next frontier in tobacco control efforts, and this is something where we can make an enormous difference for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers,” he said of the federal proposal.
Dr Michael Siegel approves:
“This is a natural step to continue to spread the smoke-free protections that started with workplaces and then spread to restaurants and bars,” said Michael Siegel, professor of Community Health Sciences at Boston University’s School of Public Health.
I think that this may signal the beginning of the end of the era of passive resistance by smokers. At present, smokers banned from cafes and bars and other indoor areas can usually just go outside or stay home to smoke. But with outdoor and home smoking bans, there’ll be nowhere to run. They’ll be forced to either surrender, or fight. They’ll either adopt the new state religion, or they’ll resist.
And I think many people, both smokers and non-smokers, will realise (if they haven’t already) that regulations on smoking can equally be applied to any number of other activities. e.g. cooking, using wood-burning stoves, wearing perfumes. Once smoking is regulated in people’s own homes, everything else will also sooner or later be regulated on one pretext or other.
And since the authorities intend neighbourhoods to police themselves, it will set neighbour against neighbour, accelerating a process of social fragmentation already well advanced after previous smoking bans. There will be bitter disputes between neighbours, and even armed confrontations and shootings.
The depth and bitterness of those disputes may be seen in the results of the poll I’ve just conducted.
And since knee-jerk governments all around the world take their lead from the USA, it will mean that exactly the same will happen everywhere else.
We are sleepwalking towards a global civil war, in which neighbour will be at war with neighbour in every city and town and village.
At least 40 people have died and up to 100 have been taken hostage in an apparently coordinated series of gun and bomb attacks in Paris, according to police and reports.