Personae Non Gratae

After yesterday’s good news, more bad news – this time from Montreal:

Starting Thursday smokers become persona non grata on terrasses and public areas throughout Quebec.

The final provisions of Quebec’s latest anti-tobacco law come into effect on May 26, 2016, and affect smoking indoors and out.

That means smoking is not allowed:

· on commercial terrasses, including restaurants and bars
· in or near playgrounds, including pools, skateparks, skating rinks, etc…
· on or around sports fields, including areas for spectators
· on public campgrounds
· near outdoor areas used by daycares
· on the grounds of preschools, elementary schools, and high schools

Smoking is also banned in enclosed locations where minors may be present, including cars and common areas of residential buildings.

Bill 44 also clarified existing smoking bans, such that smoking is banned within nine metres of a door, air vent, or openable window.

There is no exemption for those who prefer to vape, since the law treats e-cigarettes exactly the same as other tobacco products.

Fines for smoking in public areas increased last November when the law received Crown assent.

The fine for first-time offenders is $250 to $750, while recidivists can be fined up to $1,500.

Businesses that allow people to smoke can be fined up to $100,000, while failing to post a sign banning smoking can result in a $25,000 fine.

There’s no public health justification for any of this. But they don’t bother with that any more. They’re now openly aiming to stamp out smoking, everywhere.

And when these latest draconian laws don’t work, they’ll be back with even more draconian ones. They wait until everybody has got used to one set of draconian laws, and then they ratchet them up to a new level of draconian.

I generally suppose that this Tobacco Control madness is going to blow over one day, and life will go back to normal. Or halfway back to normal.

But what if it doesn’t? What if it just gets worse and worse and worse? What if the laws just get more and more draconian?

I spent this afternoon sitting in a sunny pub garden with a beer and a cigarette. What happens when that gets banned too? And when all drivers (and not just those with children on board) are banned from smoking in their cars? And when you’re banned from smoking in your own home? Because all these things are happening somewhere, if not right here right now.

In many ways, by historical standards, the persecution of smokers remains pretty mild. We’re not having our noses cut off. We’re not being flogged. We’re not being sent to prison or to re-education centres. But if the war on smoking keeps on ratcheting up, it won’t be long before things like that start happening.

At what point will smokers start really fighting back? Or will they never fight back?

Are smokers going to be like the Jews of Nazi Germany that dutifully did whatever was demanded of them, right up to climbing aboard the trains that took them to death camps? Or are they going to be like the Jews who fought in Palestine to create what is now the state of Israel (and who had profound contempt for the Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust – because they didn’t fight back)?

This isn’t just a question for smokers. It’s a question that all sorts of people have had to face again and again throughout history: When do you decide that you’ve had enough, and that you’re going to war? When do you decide that you can no longer carry on being Mr Nice Guy, and punch the other guy smack in his face, as hard as you possibly can?

I keep a photo of my wartime Spitfire pilot uncle on the mantelpiece in my living room, because he was someone who had faced that question, and who had decided to fight. And yet, precisely because he was one of The Few that fought in the Battle of Britain, it follows that most people chose not to fight. The RAF was not besieged with volunteers. They weren’t queueing for miles. And that’s why there were only The Few.

It was the same with the wartime French Resistance. There were very few of them too. Most French people in Occupied France did whatever they were ordered to do.

So my guess is that most smokers will choose not to fight against their oppressors, however bad things get for them.

But a few will. Even if it costs them their lives.

There’s not much that needs to be said about the majority who will choose not to fight. They’ll have any number of perfectly reasonable justifications.

But what about the minority who do choose to fight? Perhaps we should begin to discuss how smokers might start to really fight back? What makes them flip? What sorts of things might they do? What kinds of strategies might they adopt? Can they fight back at all? Can they ever hope to win?

About Frank Davis

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28 Responses to Personae Non Gratae

  1. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Nothing left but for everybody to defy the law openly everywhere as that’s all they left you to do!

  2. Smoking Lamp says:

    We need to fight back and need to start now. The outdoor bans will eliminate smoking patios and create wide area smoke free zones as soon as the Antis can engineer the support.

  3. beobrigitte says:

    That means smoking is not allowed:

    · on commercial terrasses, including restaurants and bars
    · in or near playgrounds, including pools, skateparks, skating rinks, etc…
    · on or around sports fields, including areas for spectators
    · on public campgrounds
    · near outdoor areas used by daycares
    · on the grounds of preschools, elementary schools, and high schools

    Perhaps in Quebec the ceiling is nowhere high enough for the scared-to-death anti-smokers?

    So my guess is that most smokers will choose not to fight against their oppressors, however bad things get for them.
    I am not so sure about this. As law makers (almost) all over the world are tobacco control’s sock puppets and “science” is made by who pays for what result, our fight against our oppressors is not a a conventional one. The first time I encountered anti-smoking propaganda (a film shown in school; the “TAR” lungs…) was back in the early 1970s. So, that is >50 years of a bunch of scared and hateful people drip-feeding nonsense into rich and powerful people.

    These days I question myself: will I have to start a fight or will events destroy the poor little, fear – and hateful anti-smokers’ “hard” work?

    • Harleyrider1978 says:

      Eventually the whole house of junk science collapses and the chirade falls apart it’s almost there!

  4. Marvin says:

    It most certainly is not about public health, it is about the FINES that are being imposed, that is their income stream. It is also the reason they will never make the sale of tobacco products illegal. Tobacco will remain a legal product, but you will be fined, ever more severely, for using it. Maybe that is one way to fight back, deprive the government (and hence TC) of their income. Grow your own, buy on the black market, don’t pay any fines. The last one, I know is difficult, especially if you have a job or a family to support, but for us retired oldies, a month in prison is probably the only way to make a well publicised point. The UK government is already whinging about the loss of £2billion of unpaid tobacco taxes, imagine their horror, if we could double or treble that.

    • Jude says:

      This is a pretty good assessment of the options available. I think buying on the black market, (remove the tobacco taxes from the governments coffers), is probably the most effective way. Most people are considerate, and wouldn’t want a business person to wear a big fine for their civil disobedience, (this is why they make the fines to businesses so much larger). Many people also aren’t in a position to not pay fines, as you say they have jobs, families etc.

      Personally, as a vaper, I am already a criminal in my country, but at least I have the satisfaction of not paying money to the oppressors in the form of tobacco taxes. Even when I was a smoker I bought from the black market, so civil disobedience is no big deal on a personal level. I wouldn’t put a business owner in the position where they would be bankrupted because I decided to smoke on their premises though.

      Where are the tobacco companies ? Where is their support for the consumers of their products? Why are they willing to fight for their brand names and packaging, but doing nothing to help those who keep them in profit? If a tobacco company said to its customers, “we are willing to pay all fines from individual smokers that disobey the anti-smoker laws”, along with legal support, I wonder if this would encourage people to engage in civil disobedience?

  5. waltc says:

    I’ve been pondering those questions for over a decade and have no answers. Reasoning with legislatures –appeals to cirted science, arguments of civil liberties, dark histirical parallels–doesn’t work. Even swaying legislators one by one usually doesn’t work because in most cases they’ll still be massively out.voted and personally slimed (“Baby Killer” “Pro-cancer”) and there aren’t enough smokers who’ll bombard their own reps to give the guy cover. Lawsuits, no matter how well grounded in legal precedent don’t seem to work because the judge is the jury and the jury is rigged. Civil disobedience, unless carried out on a massive and sustained level, won’t work for individuals who are easy pickings and smokers as a group can’t be counted on in numbers greater than, at best, a dozen. Boycotts aren’t wide enough or sustained enough to to convince lawmakers who, if they notice the monetary dent, blame it on Something Else, or argue that it’s irrelevant to the grand prospect of Saving Lives. Isolated individuals are likely to lay low when it’s legal to threaten them with their jobs or their homes and bar owners will call the cops when a defiant smoker could cost them a 100K fine as in Quebec. Petitions (5000+ bona fide signatures against the NYC bar ban obtained in a week) are ignored. The media at large won’t give us a break and the few columnists who risk hate mail in otder to speak truth haven’t enough influence or else merely preach to their own choirs. And scientists, like Enstrom, get booed by their peers, denied grants, and fired.

    So I’m left with thinking it may come down to a single voice –of someone who’s earned both power and above-reproach respect to loudly yell “Enough'” and disrobe the emperor, stitch by stitch.

    • Frank Davis says:

      someone who’s earned both power and above-reproach respect to loudly yell “Enough’

      Who might you mean? The only person that springs to my mind is the one person you don’t want to see gaining any power: Donald Trump. For I was instantly reminded of something I read yesterday:

      What energizes the Trump phenomenon is the power of “NO!”: people who think the train is about to head off a cliff want to pull the emergency cord that stops the train even if they don’t know what happens next.

      For Donald Trump is very loudly yelling NO! to any number of things (although not the matter at hand). For example, Trump on the global warming racket:

      “We’re going to cancel the Paris climate agreement, and stop all payments of US tax dollars to UN global warming programmes”

      Damn right!

  6. DICK R says:

    If only they had put the same effort into banning that stinking entry level drug marijuana the world would be a safer and happier place

  7. Cecily Collingridge says:

    “When do you decide that you’ve had enough, and that you’re going to war?”…
    I am preparing for my Last Stand. I am reaching the end of my life and events in the last few weeks have resulted in my being referred to Social Services and a home care package being initiated. It is proving to be a complete muddle, overly bureaucratic and jingoistic, with the left hand not knowing what the right is doing among the agencies involved. I am not altogether sure I am going to adapt that well. The first visit by a carer was yesterday and she left a great thick folder where records will be kept presumably. Being the nosy sort, I looked through it. Right at the back is a tab labelled Customer Information Guide, in which there is a heading ‘Smoking’. It says:

    “Following regulations introduced under the Health Act 2006, all public places and workplaces in England became smoke-free. All employees have a right to work in a safe and healthy environment.
    This includes being protected from passive smoking. [Company name] have developed a policy in consultation with staff and their representatives to help provide a healthy, safe and comfortable environment. This applies to all staff, contractors, visitors and tenants/residents/customers while in communal areas or while staff are working with them personally.
    Customers will be required not to smoke while staff are present. Failure to comply with this ruling may, after consultation, lead to the withdrawal of services.”

    Nobody dictates what I can and can’t do in my own home and I cannot see how undermining my autonomy so blatantly with threats equates with the notion of supporting independent living and well-being.

    • Frank Davis says:

      This is something I’ve been vaguely wondering about.

      Customers will be required not to smoke while staff are present. Failure to comply with this ruling may, after consultation, lead to the withdrawal of services.

      At least it’s only “while staff are present”. I’d imagined that the “customers” would be required to to have stopped smoking for 3 months before staff wearing gas masks and carrying smoke sensors were allowed in.

      • Cecily Collingridge says:

        Each organisation involved may have their own policy with variations. E.g. I noted earlier this year (in an online article in the Burton Mail, 19 Feb 2016) that Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s policy states “Patients and visitors will not be allowed to smoke or use an e-cigarette anywhere on trust-owned premises… those who receive care AT HOME (my emphasis) will be affected, with staff requesting that patients provide a smoke-free room and refrain from smoking FOR UP TO ONE HOUR PRIOR TO AN APPOINTMENT”

    • garyk30 says:

      You have my prayers and best wishes.

    • lleweton says:

      Wishing you well, Cecily. I’m appalled that no-one among the ‘great and the good’ In this Land of the Free, speaks up for people like you – and like me.

  8. Rose says:

    Most mystifying press release of the day.

    Smoking related hospital admissions rise
    GB News: 27/05/2016 – 16:19

    “New figures published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) have reported that hospital admissions from smoking are increasing.
    The HSCIC reported that hospital admissions thought to be caused by smoking in the UK went up by five per cent in ten years standing at 475,0004 in 2014-15.

    The group commented that Blackpool had the highest rate of admissions with 2,830 per 100,000 of the city’s population going to hospital with illnesses thought to be caused by smoking, while the City of London had the lowest rate with 880.

    Additionally, Manchester had the unlucky mention as containing the highest estimated rate of people dying from smoking-related conditions with 458 per 100,000 of population, while Harrow had the lowest rate with 185.
    The report revealed that there are an estimated 2.2 million e-cigarette users on the UK – four per cent of adults over the age of 16. Meanwhile, 19 per cent of adults described themselves as smokers.
    Read more”

    When you read more you find that smoking may have nothing to do with it, but they are at a loss to describe the increase in any other way.

    “Hospital admissions estimated to be attributable to smoking go up by 5 per cent in ten years

    The number of hospital admissions2 estimated to be attributable to smoking3 was 475,0004 in 2014-15 – a rise of 23,000 (5 per cent) in the last ten years.

    However, the latest figures published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre1 also show that the number of deaths among adults aged 35 and over which were estimated to be attributable to smoking4 has declined – there were 78,000 deaths in 2014 compared to 89,000 in 2004. In 2014, this comprised 47,000 deaths of men (21 per cent of all deaths) and 31,000 women (13 per cent).

    Conditions that could be caused by smoking resulted in 1.7 million admissions to hospital, for adults aged 35 and over, in 2014-15 – an average of 4,700 admissions per day. These figures refer to admissions with a primary diagnosis of a disease that can be caused by smoking, but for which smoking may or may not have actually been the cause. Since 2004-05, this figure has risen by 311,000 (22 per cent). This differs from the estimated smoking-attributable admissions because those headline figures are the result of more detailed analysis.”

    Are they trying to say that a certain group of diseases has increased since the Smoking Ban which may or may not be attributable to smoking but they have no other way of describing them than as “smoking related”? I am at a loss

    Perhaps thats the problem with Newspeak, there are no words left to say what you mean.

    • DP says:

      Dear Rose

      “ admissions thought to be caused by smoking..”
      “Conditions that could be caused by smoking..”
      “..estimated to be attributable to smoking..”

      The report seems to be a science free zone. “Thought to be”, “could be”, “estimated to be attributable” have no place in government reports, unless of course the parties concerned have completely abandoned any sense of professionalism in their chosen careers.

      I often wonder whether this is a deliberate ploy to sow distrust of all pronouncements by supposed professionals, though to what end?

      More likely perhaps is that the field of health – along with much of government – has become saturated with incompetents whose day job amounts to producing plausible sounding drivel, primarily for the consumption of other government-employed incompetents.

      It is not a new phenomenon. Many years ago, an American doctor of my acquaintance stated that about 90% of research was rubbish (he also opined that a cure for cancer would never be found, because there was too much money involved in looking for one) and Richard Feynman, in his commencement address at Caltech in 1974, warned against ‘cargo cult science’.


      • Andrew Edward Oakley says:

        I’m afraid the likes of Arnott being marched into jail will not be in our lifetime but maybe the great great great great bastard grand daughter of the evil cow who carried on her mission and almost eradicated the last known smokers left in hiding in deepest Mongolia but was stopped by a caring considerate alien culture that became a world government that decided to feed her to starving rats.

        Nothing2declare will also be expired when the abuse from our public servants ends on that date of 24 june.

      • waltc says:

        The “thought to be” etc popped out immediately and tho I confess gross ignorance of Brit geography, aren’t Blackpool and Manchester highly industrialized and isn’t Harrow a small academic town (where, on the playfields of it and Eton, royalty are schooled?)

    • garyk30 says:

      The answer to their problem is simple.

      The ‘diseases caused by smoking’ mostly happen to old folks.
      Plus, old folks get admitted to hospitals more often.

      Since the % of the population that are old folks keeps getting higher and higher, the number of such hospital admissions will continue to rise no matter the % of the population that are smokers.

      • Rose says:

        Could they have used smoking attributable fractions and tied themselves in a knot post ban?

        Estimating smoking attributable fraction (SAF)

        “We used smoking attributable fraction (also known as population attributable risk) to estimate the quantity of medical care attributable to smoking. This concept was first defined by Levin as the “maximum proportion of lung cancer attributable to cigarette smoking”. Subsequently, the concept was renamed as smoking attributable fraction (SAF) and used by Rice et al and Shultz et al.”

        Rice DP, Hodgson TA, Sinsheimer P, et al. The economic costs of the health effects of smoking, 1984. The Milbank Quarterly1986

        Shultz JM, Novotny TE, Rice DP. Quantifying the disease impact of cigarette smoking with SAMMEC II software. Public Health Reports1991;

    • Harleyrider1978 says:

      It’s just like the asthma junk nurses study pure BS

  9. Andrew Edward Oakley says:

    Vapers are fighting back.

    The Canadian Vaping Association has filed a legal challenge against a Quebec law that limits the use of electronic cigarettes.The association describes itself as a national group of advocates, retailers, manufacturers and distributors of the electronic cigarette industry.

  10. DP says:

    Dear Mr Davis

    There are many ways to fight back against government interventions. The obvious one is smoky-drinkies. Pubs started as a room in a private home – the new generation of convivial meeting places will be in smokers’ homes.

    Government can be legitimately deprived of tax revenue by buying from EU countries, and having a holiday as well – at least until 24 June 2018, when our formal notice of withdrawal from that corrupt institution expires. Go to to learn how to avoid being abused by our public servants upon your return.

    Growing and curing your own tobacco is a good hobby. You should pay over the requisite tax when finally processing the tobacco into usable form – shredding for pipe or cigarettes or rolling leaf into cigars.

    Complementary to that is the excellent hobby of home brewing, wine and cider making. No need to involve government at all unless you sell the product.

    I expect the smoking ban will be overturned in much the same way the Wall came down. There will be a growing resentment of the ban, and one day smokers will be drawn together into pubs, somewhere a group will light up and the action will spread like wildfire throughout the land.

    Perhaps the scales will fall from the eyes of our supposed government, and the likes of Arnott et all will be marched into court and then, hopefully, into jail.


    • Andy Dan says:

      I quite agree DP. Nothing gives me more pleasure than coming home after a hard day and pouring a pint of home brew and lighting a homegrown roll up. The latter is especially satisfying, as until a few months ago, I’d been paying through the nose for tobacco. This year’s crop is well under way.
      I remember reading on another blog a few years ago, about a smoker who, whenever confronted by the antis, got in their faces big time, telling them in no uncertain terms where to go. He said that they always backed down. If they were women, they often started crying. One man wet himself.
      We’re not all hard men, and an encounter like this could easily ruin our day whatever the outcome. What I would say is that whenever you’re out, relaxing, enjoying a smoke and a beer, just have one eye on the people around you in case there’s a zealot about to give you a hard time. That way you’ll be ready for them, either physically or verbally.
      Since the smoking ban, I’ve only once been allowed to smoke inside a pub by the barman. I have heard though that there are pubs in Wales where, when the doors are locked after hours, the ashtrays come out. There’s hope yet.

  11. Rose says:

    Has anyone else been following this?

    New expenses scandal emerges as Tories fight police in court
    27th May 2016

    “As the Conservatives go to court to prevent police investigating its South Thanet election expenses, Channel 4 News reveals fresh evidence of undeclared expenses there, and the scale of the operation.
    “Detailed new evidence from inside a Conservative campaign office in the key South Thanet constituency reveals the huge resources provided to this campaign.
    Other documents and social media postings further reveal how staff from Conservative party headquarters were parachuted in to the constituency to help their candidate beat Farage, with many related costs not declared locally.

    Channel 4 News understands that there are 18 police forces up and down the country that have been given or are seeking an extension to the time limit relating to election expenses.
    The Conservative party is currently only attempting to block in South Thanet an extension to the legal time limit that the local police force has to investigate election returns.
    Today, new evidence obtained by Channel 4 News reveals that an important battlebus visit on election day to South Thanet, up to a dozen promotional videos made for the local candidate, and a conference room used by a minister to campaign on local issues for the candidate appear to have never been declared.”

    Beat Farage

    “In the South Thanet contest, UKIP Nigel Farage was defeated by the now Conservative MP Craig Mackinley – by 2,800 votes. He was assisted by tens of thousands of pounds of spending that appears to have been used to help local campaigning – enough to take him beyond the £15,000 cap.
    The new revelations come as the Conservative Party take the unprecedented step of trying to oppose a court extension to the police investigation into whether it correctly declared the money they spent in South Thanet. That hearing itself was in a closed court session not open to the public or press.
    The Conservative Party bought in James Laddie QC, one of the country’s top lawyers, to attend the closed session at Folkestone Magistrates Court on Tuesday May 24.”

    “The hearing on whether Kent Police will be given a time extension – already granted to 18 police forces up and down the country – is due to take place on Wednesday next week.”

    So glad that I stopped voting for them, though I do feel sorry for the real conservatives still in the party.

  12. west2 says:

    Reasonable people have already decided enough is enough already. This steadily growing number are clamoring for ideas on how to fight back with minimal personal risk.

    Noting waltc and DP’s observations:-

    How about suggesting more and more reasonable people are now coming to the conclusion that smoking bans are only held together by threats, are passé, a dismal failure and so will inevitably be repealed? (Where have I seen that tactic used before?) This requires little in the way of effort, puts no one at risk and can be brought up in ordinary conversation or posting in comments.

    The rise in hospital admissions for ‘smoking related’ illness, the result of an aging population and how a smoking related illness is calculated, can be used to undermine bans. The promise was of decreasing costs yet they are increasing. Smoking bans were targeting the wrong thing and are a failure.

    Are smoking rates decreasing? If they were 20% and are now 19%(?) then is that a decrease? Obviously in %age terms it is but what about numbers?

    DP’s exposé of ASH in addition to the mess TC are getting into over Vaping could also be fruitful. Perhaps they might help portray anti-smokers as an elite who are only doing this for their own selfish, snobby reasons, money and [abuse of] power? One might ask, “are you in TC for selfish reasons or for money and power, as it is not about health”?

    Go further, challenge the motivation of anyone espousing anti-smoking propaganda. When confronted with typical smoker slurs just ignore while continuing to question their personal motivation. Every little helps.

    Ask for baseline risks whenever people quote risk or suggest a reduction in risk. What does a 50% reduction in heart risk really mean?

    SmokeFree = DecencyFree. “Fighting” can be head on or by utilizing your opponents own ‘strengths’ against them.

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