Tobacco Control Always Gets Other People To Do Its Dirty Work

Some news I came across a couple of days back:

Health workers attacked and abused over hospital smoking ban

Rules banning smoking outside Victoria’s public hospitals could be reviewed because health workers are being attacked and abused while trying to police the policy.

Calls for an audit of the ban are being led by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, which is concerned nurses are being put in danger.

“We’re hearing that the policing of the ban actually leads to violence and aggression against our members,” union state secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said.

The calls come after the death of Melbourne heart surgeon Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann, who was allegedly punched in the head in the foyer of Box Hill Hospital after expressing concern about people smoking near the hospital entrance.

Tobacco Control always gets other people to do its dirty work in enforcing smoking bans. They don’t suffer the consequences of enforcing the laws they enact. I doubt that Deborah Arnott or Sally Davies or Sir Charles George or any of the rest of them would ever have dreamed of themselves telling anybody to stop smoking: they get other people to do that for them.

In the UK, pub landlords were co-opted to enforce the law, entirely unpaid. At least the police, like firemen, are paid to do dangerous work. I suppose that nurses and porters and other hospital staff are paid for the work they do, and might be expected to enforce hospital rules and regulations as part of their normal duties. Or conversely, they might not be expected to.

It should be no surprise to anyone if smokers object to being made to walk long distances to find a place outdoors where they can smoke. It should be no surprise if they react angrily to officious busybodies, and say abusive things, and even become violent. The same would happen with car owners if they are told that they can’t park somewhere, and must park miles away, and walk long distances, simply because their car emits carbon dioxide.

In the case of Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann, it would appear that he was an elite antismoking zealot much like Sir Charles George, who also happened to be a heart surgeon:

Dr Pritzwald-Stegmann, 41, is now clinging to life after an alleged one punch assault out the front of Box Hill Hospital last Tuesday evening.

Police allege the medical professional was knocked unconscious by Joseph Esmaili, 22, after asking him to stop smoking near the hospital entrance.

He remained in a critical condition on Friday – ten days after the alleged assault – an Alfred Hospital spokeswoman said.

Pritzwald-Stegmann seems to have been different from the rest of the antismoking elite, in that instead of getting someone else to enforce their smoking bans for them, he attempted to do so himself, and was promptly met with extreme violence.

It also rather sounds like Joseph Esmaili was a street fighting man who knew how to throw a punch, and Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann didn’t know how to dodge one, and the outcome of their encounter was a foregone conclusion (although I doubt Esmaili was trying to kill him). It also sounds as if, despite his medical skills, he lacked rather a lot in the way of diplomatic skills, if he managed to get into a fight with Esmaili.

But if Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann was met with violence that cost him his life, aren’t nurses and other hospital workers likely to meet with the same? Why should they put their lives at risk to enforce hospital regulations?

The same question should have been asked of pub landlords in the UK. Why should they put their lives at risk to enforce a smoking ban which they never used to have to enforce? It must be much harder to enforce such a ban in a pub environment in which a great many people will be intoxicated, and liable to get into fights over any number of issues.

Smoking bans are enacted by people who, for the most part (Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann excepted) are never going to experience any of the consequences of them. Those consequences fall on the smokers on which they are imposed, as they are required first to trudge their way out of the hospital, and then to trudge far from the hospital entrance as well. And the consequences also fall upon those who are required, usually without any financial remuneration, to police these bans.

But if antimoking police were remunerated for enforcing smoking bans – and perhaps smokers also remunerated for being required to walk long distances to smoke – it would most likely would have proved far too expensive to do. Smoking bans require voluntary enforcement, for otherwise they’ll be too costly.

It really should be that, whenever anyone enacts some law, they must also provide funds to enforce that law.

I imagine that when (and if) Victoria’s hospital smoking bans do get reviewed, they will be reviewed by people who don’t have any intention of enforcing them themselves, and want other people to do their dirty work for them: they will vote to keep the ban, and maybe even extend it. The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation might then respond by voting to instruct its members to refuse to police such bans. Other hospital employees’ organisations might do the same. The ban will remain, but nobody will enforce it, not even those who first enacted it.

….

And here’s Part 2 of my three part conversation with Legiron:

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About Frank Davis

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24 Responses to Tobacco Control Always Gets Other People To Do Its Dirty Work

  1. The same question should have been asked of pub landlords in the UK. Why should they put their lives at risk to enforce a smoking ban which they never used to have to enforce
    I have always felt that that would have been a way to attack the Smoking Verbot before the courts, on the Common Law-ish principle that no one should be forced to endanger themselves.Unfortunately it would take some young, preferably photogenic student-hols bar girl getting beaten to a pulp in the bar before the police arrived and that not just once :(

    Had the police been inundated with calls from worried bar staff after the ban came in…. but no, as ever, Brit smokers meekly trooped outside after donning the day-glo neon pink ‘Leper’ Hi Vis vests. Then again what should one expect from smokers who refused to boycott pubs and argued it wasn’t the landlord’s fault?

    • roobeedoo2 says:

      That’s because we’re a tolerant people, Stretch. Too tolerant. Until ain’t no more.

    • Tony says:

      I’ve never run a pub but my impression was that publicans tried to avoid contacting the police unless absolutely necessary. I suspect that every contact the police had with a pub would have been a black mark for the publican and too many of them would jeopardise their license.

      I think several police forces also stated that they were not to be called to assist in enforcement. Anyone calling them would have been risking a fine for wasting police time.
      Nick Hogan was jailed for failing to prevent people smoking in his pub. After his release, he did enforce the ban, ordering a smoking customer to leave. The customer did leave but returned later with a machete to attack him.

      As for people not boycotting pubs, my impression is that they did. Which is why so many, the majority of pubs in my area, closed down.

      Having said that, I was disappointed at the way the vast majority simply acquiesced. Very few would have had any experience of persecution so probably didn’t even recognize it. Just tried to carry on as normal in disbelief at what seemed a bad dream.

      • legiron says:

        I didn’t actively boycott pubs, I’d still go if a bunch of friends were going, but my pub visits went from weekly to a couple of times a year.

        I didn’t ‘boycott’, I just didn’t go to places where I didn’t feel welcome any more.

        • Bemused says:

          Ditto, we used to go to the pub every Friday and Saturday, between 7 and 10 of us. Mostly smokers. It dwindled away, first in numbers and then in frequency. I now go to the pub once or twice a year with my wife for a meal. Even when I stopped smoking 5 years ago (my choice not coerced, just stopped enjoying it) I did not increase my visits to the pub and never will. I actually get satisfaction watching them close. Maybe I have a vindictive streak.

    • jaxthefirst says:

      Under the terms of the Health Act 2006, it is in fact a defence for someone failing to prevent smoking in a “smoke free” premises if “ … it was reasonable for him not to comply with the duty,” and surely, being afraid of being physically assaulted must count as precisely such a “reasonable” ground for not enforcing the ban. That said, though, I do have a distant memory of a landlady who was fined for “permitting smoking” even after using this as her defence for not challenging the customer (a particularly nasty piece of work, IIRC). It was yet another worrying precedent set by this terrible, divisive piece of legislation, i.e. even the Courts, whose very function is supposed to be ensuring that the law is enforced in line with the actual written legislation, in the their anti-smoking zeal, feel emboldened enough to disregard those defences, even though they are clearly there in black and white. As indeed they did in the case of Hamish, who qualified for defence under the previous clause, because he “did not know and could not reasonably have been expected to know, that the person in question was smoking,” (I understand he was on holiday at the time). But they still fined him anyway, and then hounded him continually for non-payment of the fine, even though his defence (according to the legislation itself) was watertight.

      It’s also arguable that if landlords had had any spine in them, then the fear of “losing valuable customer support” might have been argued on the same basis, although given the previous examples, it probably wouldn’t have succeeded. But it would have been nice to see at least one or two give it a try – or one of the large PubCos on their behalf, if it was too expensive for an individual to do it – even if only to highlight the fact that that clause was even in there. But no. They all rolled over compliantly and obediently did just as they were told, and then immediately started bellyaching that all their smoking customers had deserted them!

  2. Rose says:

    Some smokers are meek, some are too polite and some are nuts.
    Their own studies say so

    High rates of smoking among people with serious mental health conditions
    1 November 2016
    http://ash.org.uk/media-and-news/press-releases-media-and-news/high-rates-of-smoking-among-people-with-serious-mental-health-conditions/

    Perhaps if he’d picked on a frail elderly person to boss about instead?

  3. Rose says:

    Smoking bans are sparking a rise in violence and disorder in UK prisons
    September 20, 2017

    “There have been numerous reports of riots and violent clashes in UK prisons this year. It’s always difficult to pinpoint the causes of such flash-points, but an outbreak of violence at the privately run HMP Birmingham in September suggests that the prison smoking ban could be partially to blame after prisoners were reportedly heard chanting “we want burn” – which is slang for tobacco. The private company that runs the prison (G4S) and the Prison Service have not confirmed that this was the cause of the riot but the reports raise some interesting questions.”

    “Understandably, it is neither in G4S’s commercial or the government’s political interests to admit that the smoking ban was in part responsible for what happened at HMP Birmingham. Both released vague statements about the situation being under control, with nothing being said about why it had occurred.”
    https://theconversation.com/smoking-bans-are-sparking-a-rise-in-violence-and-disorder-in-uk-prisons-83990

  4. PJH says:

    “It really should be that, whenever anyone enacts some law, they must also provide funds to enforce that law.”

    No thanks – they waste enough of my tax as it is.

    Oh – you think they’ll fund it themselves? From their salaries paid from.. my tax?

  5. beobrigitte says:

    Health workers attacked and abused over hospital smoking ban

    Rules banning smoking outside Victoria’s public hospitals could be reviewed because health workers are being attacked and abused while trying to police the policy.
    If this ugly smoking ban is not abolished, I propose a rather substantial wage rise for the already overworked and underpaid hospital staff who feel ashamed having to tell the road traffic accident victim’s family that they have to leave the hospital ground if they wish to get themselves as together smoking a cigarette,before/after having to seen the victim.(These cases are usually treated with respect and happen on a daily basis!!!)
    The repulsive anti-smoking club wants the ban – they provide the workforce to enforce it! The tax payers don’t want it, so tax monies stay out of these slimy hands!!! I’m sure Bill Gates will volunteer to put up the cash without getting some of it back.
    Alternatively, the anti-smoking society (all 300 members collectively) provides jobs for all controllers for all hospitals?

    But if antismoking police were remunerated for enforcing smoking bans – and perhaps smokers also remunerated for being required to walk long distances to smoke – it would most likely would have proved far too expensive to do. Smoking bans require voluntary enforcement, for otherwise they’ll be too costly.
    I am an egalitarian. Needless to say, I expect to be paid if expected to walk further than out the door for my cigarette.

    It must have given some of the hard-core anti-smokers heart attacks on observing how well we collectively ignored smoking bans on hospital grounds so far.

    • nisakiman says:

      It may well be that in their eagerness to further consolidate their position, they’ve overreached themselves with the prison smoking ban and the hospital grounds smoking ban. People are getting pissed off with these petty diktats, and it’s starting to show.

      I’d like to think that their (TC’s) world is starting to unravel, and that they will soon discover that they’re not as omnipotent as they thought they were.

      • beobrigitte says:

        Indeed! I hear/read about prison smoking ban riots with glee. Aren’t prisons supposed to be dangerous places? We all are often being told about prison gangs…
        The anti-smokers want that hated ban, they better volunteer to be controllers in prisons.

        I reserve a seat in the first row…

        That brings me back to:
        Dr Pritzwald-Stegmann, 41, is now clinging to life after an alleged one punch assault out the front of Box Hill Hospital last Tuesday evening.

        Police allege the medical professional was knocked unconscious by Joseph Esmaili, 22, after asking him to stop smoking near the hospital entrance.

        He remained in a critical condition on Friday – ten days after the alleged assault – an Alfred Hospital spokeswoman said.
        That youngster smoker must pack a hell of a punch!! The anti-smoker must also be an ultra-healthy non-s… anti-smoker. I do wonder, what happened.
        Somehow I would have a question: Did this medic really ask the smoker to stop smoking near the entrance?

        I abhor violence but I can see why these reaction are on the increase. It’s a ‘back-on-the-wall’ case, pushed there by liars and cowards.

        • beobrigitte says:

          I begin to suspect that the anti-smokers KNOW how fast they are losing “support” and now do everything to remind everyone how much they are supposed to hate smokers and therefore a healthy anti-smoking (fake David) medic gets knocked out in one punch by the ‘big bad smoker’ (fake Goliath).

          With the prison population this is more difficult since a lot of them already are hated.
          With the mentally ill it doesn’t matter, they are invisible.

          Wonder why the anti-smoker are increasingly being detested?

        • Lug Nicht says:

          It would seem you know something about the general attitude of “elite” surgeons: “I am your lord and you shall bow.” I believe there is a story here, and I hope it will be told.

  6. waltc says:

    Buckshot: I think I read at the time the Doc was KO’d that tne 22 yr old was either a mental patient himself or a visitor with a mental history….In the first weeks of the NYC ban, a bar bouncer was, in fact, killed, but it caused no re-thinking of the ban; if anything it just proved that smokers were violent scum. OtOH, an elderly man who lit up in a restaurant was dragged out to the curb by a bouncer and thrown onto the sidewalk where he cracked his head and wound up in a coma. No second thoughts about the ban or the righteousness of ejecting him either.

    .Hospitals: when my mother (now long gone) was in one–a huge, 8 story several block-square No Smoking warren–I learned to carry a spray can of intensely sweet (IIRC, lilac) air-freshener and go into one of the one-person visitors’ bathrooms on her floor to smoke.. No problem. And it was likely the best-smelling (well, if you like lilac) john in the joint. When I preferred to go out, I’d go onto a loading deck in the back usually in the company of many smoking doctors and nurses. But perhaps things have changed by now. For the worse, of course.

  7. Mark Jarratt, Canberra, Australia says:

    I wrote to the local healthist government agency protesting against the proposed smoking bans anywhere in the large Canberra Hospital precinct, receiving the usual overblown baseless tripe in reply about the ‘proven dangers’ of outdoor smoking, and the need to ‘set a good example’ at a healthcare facility (i.e. censor the reality that smokers exist).
    People who are already ill enough to need hospital treatment, family members and friends, are now obliged to walk, or push their wheelchair, at least 75M in all weather to escape the wrath of the controllers.

    The aim is obviously, and totally unethically, to aggravate existing ailments, hasten the demise of smoking patients, and thereby relieve financial pressure on the public health system.

    Together with the rivers of gold stolen from smokers to unfairly subsidise other taxpayers, fewer patients provides more funds for the meddling public health busybodies. How can they ever lose…

  8. Joe L. says:

    OT: Frank, I found an article you might find interesting. It might add some new perspective to Idle Theory.

    A few days ago, in your blog post, Because It’s Hard, you postulated that when people are more idle (and more rich and free) that they start setting themselves (and sometimes others) difficult tasks to achieve.

    Interestingly, the article I link to below appears to describe what is happening to the children of the rich and idle: they don’t/can’t/won’t do anything. Apparently, these spoiled, idle teenagers are less likely to try alcohol and drugs (I can only assume that also includes smoking), they have no interest in sex or even in dating, and they are also putting off getting jobs and even avoid getting their driver’s licence. They are not transitioning into adulthood and thus are having trouble adjusting to the real world.

    You might think these overly-idle busybodies would be all about setting goals and assigning tasks for their own children in order to help them along, but no. Instead, these parents coddle and encourage this behavior from their little snowflakes.

    Not drinking or driving, teens increasingly put off traditional markers of adulthood

    • Frank Davis says:

      That’s very interesting. Where was it?

      Here.

      • Joe L. says:

        Yes. Sorry, I still had the previous link in my clipboard when I pasted. It seems to be an AP article, so there are many sources.

      • Frank Davis says:

        There’s no particular reason why anyone should do anything in particular in their idle time. The possibilities are infinite. My idea with JFK and the like was simply that they liked doing challenging things. And expected other people to want to do the same. But other people may not want to do that at all, and may want to stay in a safe environment. In many ways I was like that, staying in university for nearly 15 years..

        • Joe L. says:

          I couldn’t care less how people choose to spend their idle time.

          I think it’s possible that these privileged teenagers are coddled by their idle parents to the point where they have no need or interest (or are too fearful) to explore the world they live in. This seems to be a major reason why these kids arrive at college as complacent, overly-tolerant, politically correct, antismoking, climate-change believing sheep.

        • Joe L. says:

          I couldn’t care less how people choose to spend their idle time.

          To this I would like to add, “… as long as they don’t interfere with other people’s lives/idle time.”

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