A Surprising Response

A couple of weeks back I wrote about a suicide and a protest at Swansea prison after a smoking ban had been introduced there.

I didn’t mention at the time that I had also written to my Westminster MP about it. I don’t often write to my MP. My letter (or rather, email) was short and to the point. I cited two newspaper reports, and went on to say:

Prisoners are now being forced to stop smoking. We are constantly told that nicotine is highly addictive – so isn’t this like imposing cold turkey on heroin addicts (something we don’t do)? It amounts to cruel and unusual punishment being inflicted on them, over and above the sentences they are already serving.

It would appear that any barbarity is now permissible in the name of “health”.

I usually get acknowledgements from MPs for my letters. And usually they tell me they don’t agree with me.

But a day or two back I got a short email reply from my MP in which he wrote that he had taken up the matter with the government on my behalf, and said he would let me know when he got a response. There was even a reference number attached.

Nothing like this has ever happened before! My MP doesn’t seem to be an antismoker, but I don’t believe he’s a smoker either. I’ve been wondering what induced him to take the matter up with the government.

Perhaps it was because my letter was short and to the point? Perhaps it was because the barbarity of what was happening appeared as obvious to him as it was to me? Perhaps he’s getting about as sick of health nazis as I am?

No doubt the government will in due course respond with some vague banality. But I’m rather cheered that, after years of writing to them, one of my several MPs has done something.

Perhaps there’s hope yet for British parliamentary democracy? I’ll keep you informed of any further developments.

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About Frank Davis

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47 Responses to A Surprising Response

  1. audreysilk says:

    Thumbs up.

  2. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Frank I’d say that finally there is an undercurrent of politicians finally fed up with the ASH bullshit!

  3. jaxthefirst says:

    I wonder if the recent report from the Royal College of Surgeons about the unnecessary withholding of NHS treatment for smokers and the obese, simply because they are smokers or obese (rather than for any proven clinical reasons), might have made just a few MPs stop and – just for a tiny second – actually, for once, think about how dangerously far this “war on smokers” has gone. Maybe, too, the murmurings of various parties (i.e. local authorities in the South West and David Nuttall, MP) pointing out what a huge waste of public money it is to keep pumping more and more funds into projects which are targeted at fewer and fewer people has struck a chord?

    Or perhaps the newly-emerging indications that diesel particulates in the atmosphere are at least as responsible as tobacco smoke – if not more so – for causing lung cancer has given them pause for thought. As the number of smokers has fallen, but the number of lung cancer cases has continued to rise – with the fastest increase being in young-ish never-smokers who have grown up with ever-diminishing exposure to ETS – perhaps they’ve finally realised that the science that they thought was “settled” was never actually settled at all. Ergo, they’ve missed the opportunity for many years of potentially fruitful research simply by virtue of a complacency born of their willingness to believe without question the weasel words of various highly vested interests.

    Or maybe, as Harley says, the anti-smoking crowd have simply now pushed some MPs’ credibility to the limit with their exponentially-far-fetched claims about smoking and ETS. Perhaps the uncomfortable truth is finally starting to dawn on them that anti-smoking hysteria has been little more than a massively over-exaggerated myth, hyped up to the limit by a small number of people with a cunning eye to their own financial advantage, and buoyed by a slightly larger group of people who exhibit the rather worrying need to identify someone – anyone – that they can feel somehow morally superior to.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Perhaps it is indeed slowly filtering through to MPs what a racket TC is.

    • Some French bloke says:

      “the number of lung cancer cases has continued to rise – with the fastest increase being in young-ish never-smokers who have grown up with ever-diminishing exposure to ETS”

      Jax, your statement neatly applies to the situation in France with regard to lung cancer, but the opposite trend has been observed in the UK: as concerns the under 55 years of age, the incredibly toxic effects of smoking even seem to have had been on the wane well before the war on smokers was really declared, i.e. at a time when cig smoking rates were – and had been for quite a number of decades – at historically high levels:

      Strangely, in France, the same downward trend hasn’t been observed before the 2000 mark was reached… And also note the steep increase in female LC from 1990 onwards.

      The corresponding trends for the over 54:

      In short, all but one of those eight slopes are in contradiction with TC’s favourite mantra.

      • Some French bloke says:

        Note: It should also be kept in mind that the UK and France have very similar age pyramid structures (and population levels), making comparing crude rates in the two countries very pertinent, and by the same token making those highly misleading “age-adjusted” rates altogether irrelevant.

  4. Tony says:

    Sounds promising Frank.

    A little early to suggest this I know. But I think the issue of total smoking bans in psychiatric units is even worse than ‘cruel or unusual punishment’.

    http://www.f2c.org.uk/blog/2015/12/31/campaign-against-smoking-bans-in-psychiatric-units/
    https://barryessex.wordpress.com/category/freedom-in-mental-hospitals/

  5. vapingpoint says:

    Don’t get excited for Gods sake. You will get a nice reply saying the minister has attended to your inquirey/suggestion/complaint and it will “foreward” a “form” letter back from the Minister of Bullshit, regurgitating all the stuff you already heard before. THAT’S how democracy works in the UK. Done it many times. See my blogs.

  6. English Grandad says:

    To force people with mental health problems to stop smoking is beyond barbaric, it’s actually evil. In the true sense of that word.

  7. Pat Nurse says:

    My MP Karl McCartney is brilliant. He has taken up every single issue I have raised with Govt and he is very supportive. However, despite his good intentions, I still end up with the usual response from the Dept of Health – run by Debs and her cronies such as Andrew Black – that “(Insert huge figure) die from smoking and passive smoking and the Govt has a duty to ensure that children don’t smoke, blah, blah, blah…” I stopped raising the issue with Karl after the last response came that the Govt can not do anything further because the matter is now in the hands of my local council so any further concerns should be addressed to them.

    The problem is, however, the leader of our council is a smokerphobic thug. Back in 2001, when the council was talking about making an historic public venue non smoking after it’s tax funded refurbishment, I wrote to him saying that smokers were tax payers too and so the council had a duty to provide facilities for their needs and enjoyment and that could be done without bothering people who didn’t like smoke. He refused to reply and so I had to write to the chief exec officially to complain that as a tax payer, the least I deserved was a response from the leader.

    I pointed out that there was no evidence to suggest passive smoking killed and certainly wouldn’t harm or even irritate children who may use the hall during during the daytime for school projects – which was the reason smoking was banned during adult entertainment events at night time too – and I enclosed some information I got from Forest. When the response came, the leader said Forest was a tobacco industry liar. He said further along the lines that if I was such a “pathetic addict” (yes he did use those words) that I cannot control my addiction for one evening then that is hardly the council’s responsibility.

    I can see that I am going to be greeted with a fair and open mind should I ever raise the issue of mistreatment or unfairness against smokers with this tosser.

    • Pat Nurse says:

      And I should add that unfortunately as Labour controlled, most of the others are exactly like him.

      • prog says:

        They’re groomed by tobacco control liars. Egotistical useful idiots.

      • vapingpoint says:

        And Lib Dems too. I would think Greens and Conservatives equally. Our MP who is now the “Leader”, used to smoke. Now he just babbles on about “for the sake of our children” and other phrases that we KNOW have infected him from Tobacco Control. When you become a politician, you become polluted as a living, breathing person. Cameron and Clegg both smoked when they came to “power”. I would have an instant and constant loyalty to any politician who smoked. And I’m sick of Parliamentarians applauding the guy who switched to vaping everytime he mentions the fact in the House of Commons. I actually don’t smoke as I took to vaping like a duck to water. I never meant to “give up smoking”. But, RAGE enters me when some smarmy human says “Oh, well done for “giving up” smoking”. And I become INCANDESCENT if they add “When are you “giving up” vaping?” My husband reminds me to “be nice” – but I’m afraid, I’m always “nice” EXCEPT on this topic of smoking.

        I feel if society were released from Tobacco Control, the old vigour, creativity and spontaneity of living would gradually return. We are like a wild field that some gardener has decided to mow, and mow, and mow until there is only bare earth left.

        It’s a crime.

        • jaxthefirst says:

          “ … if society were released from Tobacco Control, the old vigour, creativity and spontaneity of living would gradually return.”

          Indeed, VP. I think that it’s been very notable how increasingly sluggish and uninspired society has become in direct proportion to the amount of power and influence Tobacco Control has been granted. The outward ripples which emanate from the activities of that nasty little clique of “controllers” has spread way beyond their initial stated target of eradicating tobacco smoking.

          It isn’t just that they (and new-to-the-game copycat campaigners) have widened their horizons to include many other “vices” like vaping, alcohol, sugar, salt and fast food with the same tactics, but it seems to have had an overall “dampening” effect on society overall. It’s very hard to put one’s finger on exactly how (or indeed why) this has happened, but people just don’t seem to have the capacity to do a lot of the spontaneous things that they used to do – to have fun (real fun, I mean, not “organised, wholesome-fun-for-all-the-family” type activities), to get into a really interesting conversation, to see the broader horizons of life outside their own little personal spaces, to innovate, to create, to explore and to discover.

          It’s almost like Tobacco Control is the root of a really, really nasty infection which, although not (yet) fatal, is nevertheless now negatively affecting the energy and wellbeing of all sectors of its host – society. Economically, again, is it really pure coincidence that the economic downturn in this country (and many others) has seemingly marched in perfect step with the increasing activities of Tobacco Control? Perhaps it is, but it must surely be worth pondering on the fact that an apathetic and unceasingly-bullied public are unlikely to be any more enthusiastic about going out and spending their money on anything but the essentials than they are about going out and doing anything else.

          Tobacco Control has a great deal to answer for, and not just to tobacco smokers, either.

        • Pat Nurse says:

          I can no longer be nice. The anger has completely taken over. I’ve been that way for almost 10 years now and the rage will not abate.

    • “He refused to reply and so I had to write to the chief exec officially to complain that as a tax payer, the least I deserved was a response from the leader.”

      Nicely done Pat! Never let them get away with that sort of behavior. It also points up to the higher ups that not only are their underlings biased but that information heading up the food chain may be getting filtered.

      – MJM

      • prog says:

        There’s been a change in the lexicon in recent years – they are now self-proclaimed leaders. The relevant CEs in my county/DA are NOT my leaders – merely obscenely overpaid public servants who should simply ensure that services are delivered in a cost-effective and efficient way.

        Tony McArdle – Lincolnshire County Council Chief Executive – £173,226
        Tony Hill – Lincolnshire County Council Executive Director for Public Health – £160,834
        Debbie Barnes – Lincolnshire County Council Executive Director for Children’s Services – £125,983
        Pete Moore – Lincolnshire County Council Executive Director for Finance & Public Protection – £125,983
        Richard Wills – Lincolnshire County Council Executive Director for Economy and Environment – £125,983
        Andrew Taylor – City of Lincoln Council Chief Executive – £111,471
        Dave Ramscar – Lincolnshire County Council Assistant Director for Fire and Emergency – £111,100
        Beverly Agass – South Kesteven District Council Chief Executive – £110,000
        Richard Harbord – Boston Borough Council Chief Executive – £106,100
        Manjeet Gill – West Lindsey District Council Chief Executive – £105,000
        Glen Garrod – Lincolnshire County Council Director of Adult Social Care – £105,000
        Judith Hetherington Smith – Lincolnshire County Council Chief Information & Commissioning Officer – £105,000
        Ian Fytche – North Kesteven District Council Chief Executive – £104,018
        Stuart Davy – East Lindsey District Council Chief Executive – £102,960
        Anna Graves – South Holland & Breckland Councils Chief Executive – £115,00 (joint post, £57,500 from each of the two councils)

        + expenses..

        We often here that the average UK income c.£25,000. I very much doubt that average wage in Lincolnshire is much above £15,000.

        • Barry Homan says:

          They should be stripped of their jobs and sentenced to picking up butts from street gutters, and be given only 20p for each pound of butts they collect at the end of the day – to be spent only on bland, bottled water and some strange, gray hippy-glop full of organic nutrients.

        • Pat Nurse says:

          For clarification – The chief executive has since retired and the leader is Rick Metcalfe. The council is the district council. It used to be called the Lincoln City Council and then the council got all pretentious and changed it’s name – probably at a big expense to the tax payer – to The City Of Lincoln Council. The hall was owned by that council that decided to ban smoking in it – in 2005 and not 2001 as my finger mistyped – because it was going to be a centre during the day where kids could take part in school project stuff. The reasoning they gave was that passive smoking from people smoking at evening venues (despite good venitlation etc) could kill or harm children using the centre next day. It was a lie, and an early version of the lie we hear all the time now, and it was done not because of harm but because of smokerphobic councillors like pRick who decided come hell or high water to support the Labour Party’s move to ban smoking which was clearly in the pipeline then and it did come along in 2007, softened by such bans by such bigoted over paid public officials.

          The Lincolnshire County Council is not as oppressive nor bullying and recently, for example, ruled out any suggestion that smoking would be banned on any of its beaches.

          Basically, Lincoln City Council is an authority with too much power in the hands of those with tiny brains and non existent intellect. In other words, they are generally too thick to be able to rationalise. They talk equality but implement social exclusion for those they dislike or who are just not quite as pretentious as the council would like them to be.

          Putting the power to ban at will into the hands of such councils is one reason I would never vote Tory. They are cowards who knew the smoking ban issue was a vote loser so they washed their hands of it and gave it to bigots and thickos.

  8. Rose says:

    Bosses at East Kilbride hospital Hairmyres to review smoking policy as new evidence emerges on ‘vaping’ benefits
    30 Apr 2016

    “Bosses at Hairmyres are set to review their smoking policy after new evidence on the benefits of ‘vaping’.
    The smoking ban at the hospital could be relaxed following a Health Scotland review, which showed that using e-cigarettes can help give up smoking tobacco.
    NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (NHSGGC) have taken action based on the figures, and say e-cigarettes can now be used on hospital grounds by patients, visitors and staff.
    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/bosses-east-kilbride-hospital-hairmyres-7851558#gvZP7I4uy4E2yXtp.97

    “However, the substitute will not be allowed within buildings, or at entrances or exits to hospitals and other health facilities.”

    Pity

    Propylene glycol in e cigarettes might keep us healthy, says researchers
    2009

    “Propylene glycol, the primary ingredient in the electronic cigarette cartridge, may be a powerful deterrent against pneumonia, influenza, and other respiratory diseases when vaporized and inhaled according to a study by Dr. Oswald Hope Robertson. Decades before the e cigarette was invented, a study was conducted by Dr. Robertson of the University of Chicago’s Billings Hospital in 1942 on inhalation of vaporized propylene glycol in laboratory mice.

    “Dr. Robertson placed groups of mice in a chamber and sprayed its air first with propylene glycol, then with influenza virus. All the mice lived. Then he sprayed the chamber with virus alone. All the mice died.”

    The researchers also found that “the propylene glycol itself was a potent germicide. One part of glycol in 2,000,000 parts of air would–within a few seconds–kill concentrations of air-suspended pneumococci, streptococci and other bacteria numbering millions to the cubic foot.”

    “Far from posing a threat to our health, the propylene glycol in e cigarettes might just keep us healthy. Further studies should be done on the effects of propylene glycol to determine if it can be used successfully as a virus prevention tool. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the best flu preventative was right under our noses all this time?”
    http://www.news-medical.net/news/20091104/Propylene-glycol-in-e-cigarettes-might-keep-us-healthy-says-researchers.aspx

    Antibacterial and antifungal properties of propylene glycol, hexylene glycol, and 1,3-butylene glycol in vitro.
    1991

    “The antimicrobial properties of three glycols, – propylene glycol, hexylene glycol, and 1,3-butylene glycol – against Candida albicans, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Streptococcus pyogenes A, Streptococcus mitis, and E. coli were studied in vitro. Within 20 h, 10% and 30% hexylene glycol in fresh tryptic soy broth were able to kill all the micro-organisms listed above. Five percent hexylene glycol showed some antimicrobial properties but the 1% agent had no effect. Thirty percent 1,3-butylene glycol and 30% propylene glycol were approximately as effective as 10% HG. ”
    http: //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1675525

    • Some French bloke says:

      One part of glycol in 2,000,000 parts of air would–within a few seconds–kill concentrations of air-suspended pneumococci, streptococci and other bacteria

      It should also work wonders against tooth decay then, which is largely due to something called Streptococcus mutans?:

      “The bacterium metabolizes different kinds of carbohydrates, creating an acidic environment in the mouth as a result of this process. This acidic environment in the mouth is what causes the tooth decay.
      … cavities caused by the bacteria are the reason for half of all dental visits in the U.S.”
      https://microbewiki.kenyon.edu/index.php/Streptococcus_mutans

      • Pat Nurse says:

        What good does it do a smoker who doesn’t vape? It might as well be a blanket ban. Vaping is not smoking and it’s an inferior choice but, as I have said before, if someone is vaping, I will smoke. I refuse to be treated as a 3rd class citizen because some healthist thug thinks I would be better on a ecig.

        • Rose says:

          Stops you getting other peoples bugs, Pat, rather useful in a hospital.

        • Rose says:

          I have no interest in vaping either, but I have no problem with vapers making themselves useful.
          We are not allowed to any more.

          Medicinal Smoke Reduces Airborne Bacteria
          2007

          “We have observed that 1 h treatment of medicinal smoke emination by burning wood and a mixture of odoriferous and medicinal herbs (havan sámagri = material used in oblation to fire all over India) on aerial bacterial population caused over 94% reduction of bacterial counts by 60 min and the ability of the smoke to purify or disinfect the air and to make the environment cleaner was maintained up to 24 h in the closed room.

          Absence of pathogenic bacteria Corynebacterium urealyticum, Curtobacterium flaccumfaciens, Enterobacter aerogenes (Klebsiella mobilis), Kocuria rosea, Pseudomonassyringae pv. persicae, Staphylococcus lentus, and Xanthomonas campestris pv. tardicrescens in the open room even after 30 days is indicative of the bactericidal potential of the medicinal smoke treatment.”
          http://asianagrihistory.org/research/Medicinal-smoke.pdf

        • nisakiman says:

          Have there been any studies specific to tobacco smoke, Rose?

        • Rose says:

          I shouldn’t think so, Nisakiman.

          You might find some references in here.

          Medical Uses of Tobacco Past and Present.
          https://idl.ucsf.edu/docs/#id=ztdw0044

        • Pat Nurse says:

          So does smoke Rose. I have no problem with people vaping but I have a huge problem with people vaping if I am not allowed to smoke and I won’t be forced onto something that harms me, because vaping makes me ill, just because I can’t smoke.

  9. Some French bloke says:

    In response to a series of comments by Tony and Frank on last Sunday’s thread, I posted a belated comment on the subject of Doll and Hill’s Hospitals questionnaire:
    https://cfrankdavis.wordpress.com/2016/04/24/bradford-hill/#comment-129009

  10. Andy Oakley says:

    “No doubt the government will in due course respond with some vague banality. ”

    You got it Frank.

    P.S, This also reminds me when I contact Simon Clark @Taking Liberies, he only allows the post of mine he agrees with and won’t let others be seen , even when they are in response to another poster.

    Talk about over the censorship cos I dared to make a comment regarding a recent Vaping story, he knows who I am and my vaping blog. I had been told by several fellow vapers not to bother with pissing in the wind, now I know. I

    Wanker.

    @Pat Nurse ,regarding your Taking Liberties post and muddied waters, I agree with your views completely,

    • Pat Nurse says:

      I can’t remember that one Andy. I do have to say, though, that there are times when I wish Simon wouldn’t allow a post of something I’ve said. Far too much of what I say these days is said in anger. I stopped making sense ages ago when the smoking issue became non nonsensical to me

      • Andy Oakley says:

        Its because its “you” Pat that Simon allows all your posts, I’m afraid many others that dare go against Simons views or post unwanted comments find themselves banned.

        The reason is that the blog is his job, his salary therefore gets very touchy about anything negative on smoking campaigns unless you of course attack ASH/WHO then everything is allowed through the censorship.

        I have given up bothering ,3 out of 10 posts so far is fucking nonsense, I won’t bother and many other vapers won’t bother either despite Simon holding his hands out for a unified army against ASH in his threads.

        His crediblty is low in smokers eyes thats why his blog has just the regulars bothering, in Vaping circles he is known as the” joke that dont smoke”.

        • Pat Nurse says:

          I like Simon and I trust him but sometimes I wish he was a bit more aggressive in pushing the true agenda of the thugs we are all fighting. I am no favourite of Simon’s. He often disagrees with me and vice versa. Some of my posts haven’t appeared but it may be because my anger possibly makes them liable to legal action against him for allowing comments to be defamatory. He is all we’ve got and he is doing his best in a fight that is set up to ensure we all fail. I would expect him to back smokers before backing vapers and I would stop supporting Forest in an instant if he ever promoted the right to vape over the right to smoke. Sadly, I don’t think we can ever be united as a force. Big E cig can see how much can be made from people being forced to vape as an alternative, and wants to convert smokers so won’t support their choice to smoke not vape. Vapers in the movement who are working with and sharing platforms with public health thugs know their best chance of being left alone is to keep patronising we poor “pathetic addict” smokers who are killing ourselves and need vaping to “cure” us, while promising to eradicate smoking if those with the power – ie public health – back their choice to vape and leave them alone. it all stinks. Vapers have weakened our fight to strengthen their own. Before they appeared, I felt we had a chance. Now they claim to speak for smokers and have taken our voice. But we must remember, we are not vapers, vapers are not smokers, they should speak for themselves and stop trying to attempt to speak for us and what might “help” us to quit smoking. We’ll never quit and we resent vapers trying to force us into third class citizenship.

  11. Dmitry says:

    Dear Frank,
    as I see from you recent posts, you are very much alive and kicking. In the meantime, we’ve got news here, in Russia. In March there was an annual report of the Human Rights commissioner to the President. The end of the chapter 2.5 says that our anti-smoking law is a clear breach of human rights and should be reviewed and amended. Something to cheer us all up, right?
    I waited for the officilal English translation to find its way to the Ombudsman’s English website, there is still none, thought it’s very much there in Russian. So maybe you want to see my very unofficilal and not-so-British translation of that piece, and before I try to paste it I have to confess that I’ve lost your e-mail and am ashamed to ask Michael to give it to me.
    So this is how it looks –

    From the 2016 Report of the Russian Ombudsman for Human Rights to the President of Russia, ch. 2.5.

    The ability to reach a public consensus is the basic indication of a healthy nation. The ongoing fight for a healthy way of life has demonstrated that we are having problems with being a healthy nation.

    The harm of smoking does not require discussion. But the 2014 law “On safeguarding of public health from the effects of environmental tobacco smoke and the consequences of tobacco consumption” had from the very start leaned exclusively towards limitations of rights of the smoking citizens. According to various estimates, there are more than 30 million of such citizens in Russia, constituting a significant part of adult population. Their elementary rights have not been taken into account at the drafting of that law. As a result, the law does not contain the minimal necessary range of rights of smokers, such as would not be encroaching on the rights of non-smokers.

    The result is the predictable discontent of both smokers and non-smokers, since the law, being based on bans and limitations, irritates one group of population and does not meet expectations of the other group.

    As a reaction to the “excesses” of the anti-smoking law the public discussion has been started on the need of rebalancing the situation, on correcting the basic bans that irritate the smoking citizens and softening the potential factors of social discontent.

    In the year 2015 the smoking community has been actively discussing the following proposals:

    = Designation of the special places for smoking in the airports, as well as the smoking carriages on the trains (the idea being supported by the Russian Airports Associations and the Railways of Russia Corporation).

    = Amendment of the order of establishing the smoking rules at the workplaces (the Federation of the Independent Trade Unions of Russia promotes the idea of transferring the right of decision on that matter to the joint trilateral committees of employers, employees and the trade unions).

    = Loosening the bans on smoking in restaurants and hotels (the Federation of Hoteliers and Restaurateurs is in favor of legislating the smoker’s restaurants and designating special places for smoking in all and any hotels and other such places).

    Numerous other well-founded proposals are under discussion.

    We deem necessary the reviewing of the results of implementation of the current law and passing of the necessary amendments to it.

    The report have been presented to the President on March 25, 2016. The English version will be published on the website http://eng.ombudsmanrf.org/ . All in all, the document is devastating, notably on the subject of income inequality and taxation and the rest of related subjects.
    The ombudsman is a lady, Ella Pamfilova, used to be a minister in the first Russian reformist governments in early 1990-s and a prominent politician afterwards. On March 27 she had been appointed head of national Election Committee, which is a promotion, especially before the September elections to the Parliament.
    If you have any questions, please ask away any time.
    Respectfully yours,
    Dmitry

    • Frank Davis says:

      Thanks for that. Very encouraging. I’ll post this up on my blog. And I’ll email you as well.

    • nisakiman says:

      That’s great stuff, Dmitry. I’ll echo Frank in saying thank you very much for the information. It would seem that commonsense and fairness is still alive and well in Russia.

      What do you think the chances are of the law being amended? Good? So so? Unlikely? We (I think I can speak for most of us here in this case) would be interested to hear your opinion, as we have no idea how the Russian legislative system works.

  12. Dmitry says:

    Dear Nisakiman, it’s hard to say. We are having a new Parliament after the September election. We know that the most ugly anti-smoking lobbyists have been disowned by their own parties since bans are very unpopular with the public. But we still do not know the overall picture, like who will be elected, who will vote for or against.
    On the brighter side I may say that the general mood has changed. The failure of the bans is obvious, as many people predicted (nobody observes them). The clever ones are scuttling crab-fashion from that topic. The idiots who are still in, are hysterical, demanding new bans. We (the Smoker’s Rights Movement) are slowly inserting the right ideas into the public, so now the public or at least a part of it knows that this is a failed project of an ugly foreign medical lobby (yes, a bit of xenofobia is good for you, especially if it is based on real facts).
    All in all we are moderately optimistic, but are ready for a long fight.

    • nisakiman says:

      Bravo Dmitry! Good to hear that there is resistance!

      Here in Greece (I’m English, but I’ve lived here for the past 14 years) it is much the same. They have tried to establish smoking bans four times so far – first in 2002, then again in 2003 (partial bans then), then again in 2009, and then yet again in 2010. And here we are in 2016, and I can still smoke in almost every bar or restaurant I go to.

      The Greeks and the Russians obviously have more in common than just the religion! Or perhaps it is the religion that makes them rebel against stupid rules! :) Who knows. Anyway, best of luck there in Russia. Keep us informed about how it goes.

      • Ιt is, but it’s the Hellenic Religion ethics and ways, that does it. If you expected it were the christian one, it isn’t. You already know well the orthodox ‘sharia’ of Πηδάλιο, and how it views smoking, drinking, and plenty of other things.

        Be grateful to Hellenic Religion, whose timeless and powerful Tradition overrides the christian orthodox dogma and often diffuses it. You live like Hellenes, so thank the Hellenic worldview and its ethics for that.

        • nisakiman says:

          Yes, indeed the Πηδάλιο is quite proscriptive. However, the Greeks interpret it as they will, and the Greeks being Greeks, they put a fairly loose interpretation on the overall concept. After all, life is for living, is it not?

          I’ve known several priests here, and what has always struck me about them is how normal they are. My local priest often buys me a beer or ouzo if I see him in the local kafeneon. He also sells insurance on the side! Quite apposite, don’t you think? Both spiritual insurance and physical insurance – the full package! Another priest I knew smoked like a chimney, drank like a fish and had been an illegal immigrant in the USA – he used to work in a pizza restaurant in New York. Came back to Greece and took the cloth. But a real person, and lots of fun, too.

          For all it’s shortcomings, I love this country. Real people in an increasingly unreal world.

        • They don’t interpret it, they disregard it – there is a difference. What you see and enjoy, along with many others, is the Hellenic religious customs and worldview, not the christian ones. Give credit to it, respect it, and bear in mind that without Hellenic religion, this world you enjoy so much would disappear.

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