Smoking Bans as Self-Inflicted Disasters

I was looking at some YouTube videos this morning of the scene in Saint Martin, which the eye of category 5 Hurricane Irma passed over a couple of days ago, trying to assess how much work was going to be needed to be done to recover from it. A couple of snapshots:

I’d half expected to see every building with its roof missing and its windows blown out. But, as far as I could see, most buildings had survived pretty much intact. It was just that, here and there, one or two – which looked like they were pretty flimsy to start with – had been demolished.

I also didn’t see telephone or power cables strewn over the streets. That suggested that they were mostly underground, and that the water and electricity and telephone supply network was intact.

Clearly there was a lot of work to be done clearing pieces of debris from the streets, and demolishing half-demolished buildings., and chopping up fallen trees. There was probably a strong demand for roof tiles and window glass, and they’d be almost unobtainable.

The impression I had was that life was going to be harder for everybody on the island. It would take longer to go from one place to another while some streets remained blocked with fallen trees, or closed due to dangerous structures. But a volunteer army could probably clear the streets in a few days, and demolish most unsafe buildings. There might be a market for newly-valuable roof tiles off demolished buildings, as everything was cannibalised and re-used as far as possible.

It looked to me like life might almost be back to normal in a couple of months, and much of what had been demolished would have been rebuilt after 6 months, once shipments of tiles and timber and glass (already on order) had arrived.

And when Irma arrives over eastern Florida tomorrow, with slightly lower wind speeds, it’ll probably do slightly less damage over a much larger area. Everyone in Florida will have to work harder, but not for quite as long as on Saint Martin.

But that’s just a guess. Recovery may take longer when homes have been flooded (which doesn’t seem to have happened in Saint Martin), and many possessions lost or rendered unusable.

Looked at using the same perspective, smoking bans are like natural disasters for smokers. Life gets harder for them. If once they could light up a cigarette more or less wherever they were, they now have to “step outside” for one, perhaps having to walk for 10 minutes to find somewhere.

And, much like in Saint Martin where many people are having to go without all sorts of things (just one coffee a day, courtesy of your next door neighbour, rather than the usual five?), smokers may be reduced to five cigarettes a day, rather than the 20 cigarettes a day they’d like.

And, just like roof tiles in Saint Martin, cigarettes are getting more and more expensive, which means more work must be done to buy a cigarette, as well as to smoke it.

And as smoking restrictions intensify, life only ever gets harder for smokers. There is no recovery.

The difference, of course, is that Hurricane Irma is a natural disaster which could not be prevented, while smoking bans are self-inflicted disasters.

About Frank Davis

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14 Responses to Smoking Bans as Self-Inflicted Disasters

  1. nisakiman says:

    Mexico’s strongest quake in a century strikes off southern coast

    I wonder how long it will be before they find a way to blame it on ‘climate change’. I’m sure some bright spark will come up with ‘research’ showing that Global Warming is driving seismic activity.

  2. smokingscot says:

    I’ve been very interested in the way the Japanese handled the aftermath of their Tsunami. It affected an area that’s quite far north and was lightly populated (so not a world away from the Dornoch / Wick coast in Scotland).

    Of course the locals knew perfectly well that they were vulnerable to Tsunami as well as earthquakes (shakes they get very regularly) – and there are even markers way up hillsides showing where previous Tsunami’s reached.

    So yes they built quite flimsy wood framed houses with galvanised sheet roofs, partly because they’re better in earthquakes – and they’re cheaper and quicker to build. And in some places they built whacking great walls in the belief they’d be so high that no Tsunami’d ever breach them.

    They got the last bit really badly wrong, even if the sea wall had been 5 meters higher they’d still be too low.

    (sort of similar to Londoner’s belief the Thames Barrier will be enough for ANY tidal swell).

    In Japan they’ve moved whole villages further inland on higher ground (the Tsunami dropped the shoreline by about 30 cms in places). But many of the people who lived there before were old and 6 years on there are very few left and those who are don’t always want to go back to an area with such awful karma. Mind over 15,000 people died that day – and for the most part there is and never will be a body (and that’s a very big issue, as many a mother who lost a child in WW2 will attest to).

    So it is that what they’re building is something very different – and I have to say that the photo of Iwaki is the most poignant – they’ve given it over to trees.

    The folks in that tiny little place called Barbuda have seen 90% of their island completely destroyed – and they don’t have the option of higher ground, nor of the state putting them in temporary housing, nor of state subsidies.

    There are 140 odd photos attached to the first one in this article. They mix in the Dutch territories, but the most telling of Barbuda is photo number 19 (not sure this’ll bring up the photo but worth a try).

    I don’t see insurance companies forking out for any of this lot, indeed I suspect many never took out insurance in the first place, so as there’s precious little in the way of sustainable employment in that territory, it’ll take several years for them to even begin to get things working again.

    Maybe the Dutch territories and maybe places with offshore banks and trust companies and the like, but not little Barbuda. There I suspect the best solution is to emigrate.

  3. waltc says:

    podcast: Snowdon and two others discuss the nanny state; last half is about the smoking ban. Chris is “still furious.”

  4. Pingback: Inaccurate Forecasts | Frank Davis

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