More on Smoking in Prisons

After my last protest against UK prison smoking bans, I’ve now received the response that was sent by the Ministry of Justice to my MP. Here’s the complete letter (click to slightly enlarge) from the Ministry, with all names redacted:There are two remarkable passages in the letter, in my opinion.

First is the assertion in the second paragraph that there is “no evidence linking smoking as the causal factor in any incidents of violence”. Yet there are a number of newspaper reports that do exactly that. Doesn’t the Ministry of Justice read newspapers?

Second is the bizarre assertion in the fifth paragraph that “Recent research is showing that smoking does not relieve stress, rather it presents the appearance of reducing stress, when its action is to relieve the withdrawal oriented stress of not smoking.” What’s meant here is that the only real stress that smokers are ever under is the stress of not having smoked a cigarette recently.

This is why the next sentence goes on to say that “Research shows that smokers are more likely to suffer anxiety, and that stopping smoking can have outcomes equivalent to a course of antidepressants.” Stop smoking, and become happy!

Whoever wrote this nonsense is clearly a virulent antismoker who refuses to accept that there are any benefits whatever from smoking. This might not be too surprising in the Ministry of Health, but it’s rather surprising to find it in the Ministry of Justice in a Conservative administration.

The letter was written on 8 December 2017, and since that date the Supreme Court has ruled that the the 2006 Health Act does not apply to prisons. Which means that really all the current prison smoking bans should be revoked.

I’ll be composing another letter to my MP pointing this out.

Perhaps readers may have some of their own observations to make.

Advertisements

About Frank Davis

smoker
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to More on Smoking in Prisons

  1. George Speller says:

    “no evidence linking smoking as the causal factor in any incidents of violence” but that’s not the point, is it. It’s NOT smoking that causes the violence.

  2. Vlad says:

    This letter is a total disgrace…I would suggest giving some links on how the dangers of passive smoke are an invention and then ask them even if one is scared of that imaginary danger, like children are scared of the Boogey man, how are they affected if people are allowed to smoke outside or in a shelter?

  3. Rose says:

    Research shows that smokers are more likely to suffer anxiety, and that stopping smoking can have outcomes equivalent to a course of antidepressants

    I have read this “research” when it was given to the press but dismissed it as too daft and easy to debunk to bother posting.

    Stopping smoking ‘as effective as antidepressants’ at improving mood
    2014

    “UK researchers found people who quit smoking experienced reductions in stress, anxiety and depression as well as improvements in mood and mental health-related quality of life, compared with people who continued to smoke.
    Moreover, the benefits of stopping smoking were the same in people with psychiatric disorders as in the general population.

    The team said the results should reverse the widely held perception that quitting smoking worsens mental health issues, and encourage GPs to give patients ‘maximum support’.”
    http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/mental-health/stopping-smoking-as-effective-as-antidepressants-at-improving-mood/20005864.article

    Smoking may increase sensitivity to social stress: Study
    July 25, 2017

    “Lighting a cigarette may not be a good way to relax and it may increase sensitivity to social stress, according to a new study by the French National Centre for Scientific Research published on Tuesday. Researchers found that exposure to nicotine, rather than withdrawal from it, which is commonly seen as anxiety-inducing in smokers, produced a stressing effect on lab mice, reports Efe news. “(The experiments) suggest that nicotine could enhance the effects of stress,” said Philippe Faure, the centre’s head of research, during the study’s presentation in Paris. Scientists from the University of Paris-Seine’s Neuroscience Laboratory and the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis’ Institute of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology evaluated the levels of social stress in the rodents when exposed to nicotine.

    Social stress was induced when the critters were subjected to repeated aggressions by their dominant congeners. The nicotine receptors of some of the specimens were blocked, while others had their receptors activated. By studying their behaviour and the electrophysiological parameters of their brains, the centre’s experts found no signs of social stress when the receptors were blocked. The opposite occurred in mice with activated nicotine receptors, who showed signs of increased social stress.”
    http://www.financialexpress.com/lifestyle/science/smoking-may-increase-sensitivity-to-social-stress-study/778757/

    Smoking ban across the UK has made us happy!
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5147197/Smoking-ban-UK-happy.html
    I suppose social isolation, public defamation and impoverishment must just suit some people.

    Now I understand it’s purpose, to be quoted when authority is questioned.

    • Frank Davis says:

      When you stop smoking, the social isolation, public defamation and impoverishment comes to an end, and that’s why you feel happy.

      Social isolation, public defamation and impoverishment can be applied to absolutely anything – drinking, eating, reading, clothing, religion – in order to make people comply.

      • Rose says:

        True. The tobacco control template seems very popular at the moment for a variety of substances and practices.

        Rob Lyons 2014
        “A quick Google search brings up a host of other jostlers for the position of ‘the new tobacco’, including meat, Big Food, tanning salons, alcohol, stress, coal, cellphone and wireless radiation, soda, dairy products, pornography, and confectionery. (I gave up after the first 20 pages of results – ‘the new tobacco’ brought back almost two million results.)”
        http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/using-the-tobacco-fear-to-police-our-lives/15036#.WlZcvDenwdU

        3 years on they’ve added sitting and sugar.

      • Joe L. says:

        When you stop smoking, the social isolation, public defamation and impoverishment comes to an end, and that’s why you feel happy.

        Exactly. Tobacco Control, through relentless denormalization propaganda campaigns and draconian smoking bans, have been increasingly turning the act of smoking from an enjoyable experience into an inconvenient, uncomfortable, lonely, anxiety- and guilt-ridden ordeal in order to drive people to quit.

        Clearly, it is actually antismoking that is bad for one’s health. Tobacco Control must be destroyed.

  4. Jack Ketch says:

    O/T On the Austrian Situation. Just saw this in the German speaking news headlines; “Vielleicht noch im Februar – spätestens im März wird es ein Volksbegehren für die Beibehaltung des Nichtrauchergesetzes geben. Initiiert von der Ärtzekammer Wien. In Vorarlberg begrüßen sowohl ÖVP-Gesundheitslandesrat Christian Bernhard, als auch der Vertreter der Gastronomen, Andrew Nußbaumer, die Initiative. Bei Letzterem lautet das Motto nun aber so oder so “Freiwillig Rauchfrei”.

    A quick & Dirty translation : “Perhaps in February already or at the latest in March there will be a public Petition to keep the Non-Smoker Laws. (the Petition) has been initiated by The Vienna GMC. In Vorarlberg (a federal state) the initiative was welcomed by the ÖVP State Spokesman for Health Christian Bernhard and also by the representative of the Gastronomy Chamber Of Trade, Andrew Nußbaumer -for whose own motto is, however things go (with the petition) “voluntarily Smoke Frei”

    Yes Beo, I know that’s a sloppy translation!

    • beobrigitte says:

      No worries about the translation! I think everyone gets that the anti-smoking lobby is in full action.
      “Vielleicht noch im Februar – spätestens im März wird es ein Volksbegehren für die Beibehaltung des Nichtrauchergesetzes geben. Initiiert von der Ärtzekammer Wien.
      A referendum? Austrians, PLEASE do REMEMBER Bavaria in 2010 and how the anti-smoking zealots got the vote. Cheating, cheating, cheating.
      (the Petition) has been initiated by The Vienna GMC. In Vorarlberg (a federal state) the initiative was welcomed by the ÖVP State Spokesman for Health Christian Bernhard and also by the representative of the Gastronomy Chamber Of Trade, Andrew Nußbaumer -for whose own motto is, however things go (with the petition) “voluntarily Smoke Frei”
      The voluntarily smoke-free has been tried in some Alm Restaurants. Epic fail. I didn’t eat or order a drink there, either, and instead LOUDLY told the people I was with to wait until we get back to the valley to have a meal in a restaurant that VALUES customers.

      Austrians, if you go to a referendum, watch the sneaky anti-smokers e.g. gathering the old people for a coffee afternoon out, not letting them leave until they’ve signed. Film them and show the world!!!

      Austria, become Europe’s backbone!!!!

  5. Paul Marland says:

    Surely the real point is being missed. Most of the government reply, and some of the comments, are wholly irrelevant. The prison service simply has no right to prohibit a legal activity, followed by a large proportion of prisoners, in the name of what it considers to be ‘health’, however deluded or justifiable their pretext. Prisoners are sentenced to imprisonment, not to a compulsory health regime, regardless of whether or not that regime has any merit. To evangelise by coercion for anti-smoking is akin to saying that mullahs should impose their faith on all prisoners, for they too would say that Islam is for the good of the prisoners.

    • Frank Davis says:

      mullahs should impose their faith on all prisoners,

      Judging by what Tommy Robinson was saying a few months ago to James Delingpole, that’s exactly what they have done.

  6. waltc says:

    You might reply, first, with links to as many news items of ban-caused riots as you can find. On the question of stress, they’ve been trying to say for years that smoking merely reduces the stress of nicotine withdrawal and rather recently started commissioning “studies” designed to prove their thesis. Some troll on fb posted a link to a relatively recent NY Times article to the effect that smoking increases heart rate and therefore must also increase stress so smokers merely dream that their stress is being relieved. To counter him, I did a google and came up with links to “studies” that show how and why, physiologically and biochemically , smoking does in fact relieve stress; suggest you do that google and incude those links. Finally, I pointed out that even if smokers just “believe” that their actual circumstantial non-smoking-related stress has been relieved, the placebo effect has an honorable record.

  7. Jack Ketch says:

    Beo, I wasn’t sure (the longest time I have spent on Austrian soil was at motorway service stations to piss) whether Volksbegehren means ‘petition’ or ‘referendum’ down there. I assume it is the ‘petition’ that they need to have before a referendum?

    • Jack Ketch says:

      and of course fucking WordPress puts my reply in the wrong place again.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Beo, I wasn’t sure (the longest time I have spent on Austrian soil was at motorway service stations to piss) whether Volksbegehren means ‘petition’ or ‘referendum’ down there.
      I’m not entirely sure, either. However, the anti-smoking cowards have invaded Austria years ago. I am banking on the stubborn Austrians now.

  8. beobrigitte says:

    Ok. We have all this OMG!!!!! Health hazards!!!
    Blabb ruling our lives nowadays.
    Prisoners are people who have done something wrong and therefore are condemned to spend time away from society, living a life ruled by others. Awakening times, eating times shower times. We all take these things nowadays to be mostly the LAST things as individuals to be in control of. The healthists are taking charge of everything else. And healthists are VERY scared people.
    Food for thought? ESPECIALLY for the so-called “free” people…

    Tonight I was reminded of a village story which I had forgotten about but confirmed with one of the children involved in 1980.. .
    The story goes:
    Walburga had 3 children in the 1930s and there was a big asparagus field to be harvested. (Asparagus harvest is 6 weeks, ending the first week in June). For these weeks the 3 kids were penned into the chicken run until about 10 am whilst the parents went to harvest the asparagus.
    One fine day a neighbour turned up on the asparagus field, shouting:” Burgl, Burgl you better get home! Your kids are walking Church street, dragging the washing line with your undies behind them, singing “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name”….

    There is a lot of worse things that can happen to you…. Well, not many. Smoking does not enter the list. In any case, the 3 kids locked into a chicken pen turned out to be very SUCCESSFUL business people and parents with a great sense of humour – fully rounded people.

    Our lives are becoming duller by the day and prison cells are in higher demand by the day. Smoking? It does not enter the list of worry!!!

    • Jack Ketch says:

      Burgl, Burgl you better get home! Your kids are walking Church street, -Beo
      God I miss white ‘Spargel’ (Asparagus) ! Also your anecdote reminded me of a book I got years ago full of such ‘village stories’ from The Bestest Frau In The World’s village-all written in the village Hessian dialect of the pre-war generation of the village. I really must enter The Cupboard Of Doom and find it again.

  9. jaxthefirst says:

    “Stopping smoking can have outcomes similar to a course of antidepressants.”

    Really? How curious! You might like to ask them why, then, in the three years following the smoking ban, and all the thousands of much-trumpeted quitters who gave up after July 2007, there was a massive 30% increase in the number of people being prescribed antidepressants. Surely if quitting smoking was such a wonderful way of getting the same effect, there’d have been a decrease in that period, n’est pas? Just like pub numbers falling off a cliff in the second half of 2007 and obesity rates rising in exact correlation to the falling numbers of people smoking, and the rates of loneliness and isolation rising sharply in the years following the ban, and – yes – riots and violent scenes in prisons where bans have been imposed, there do seem to be an awful lot of “strange coincidences” which seem to have followed the progress of the whole anti-smoking movement with uncannily awkward timing. One has to wonder how many of these “coincidences” have to happen before someone realises that they – err – aren’t actually coincidences at all.

    There could also be some typical anti word-games going on here. No doubt that if someone was forcibly made to take antidepressants against their will, they’d be pretty resentful and angry about it, despite the chemical effect of the “happy pills,” just as they would if they were forcibly made to give up smoking, as they are being. Antidepressants, after all, don’t take away your awareness of what’s being done to you, they just dampen down the feelings that go with it and keep them suppressed. So, yes, in that respect the effect would be the same. But that doesn’t mean it would be positive.

  10. Rose says:

    Having destroyed peoples social networks and abusing them at every turn, with taxes and defamatory adverts and disrupting their work lives with bans, sometimes leads to predictable outcomes like the taxman who threw himself off a cliff, leading to further opportunities for TC to look down the wrong end of the telescope.

    Smokers at higher risk for suicide
    2014

    “A new paper, published online in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco, finds state public health interventions, such as cigarette excise taxes and indoor smoking bans, could also reduce rates of suicide by as much as 15 percent.”

    “It is an open question whether smoking is a direct risk factor for poor mental health outcomes, and by extension, suicide,” the researchers write in their study. “If so, this would have significant implications for public health and clinical practice because it would establish smoking as a common and modifiable risk factor for suicide. In this case, more effective tobacco control policies and other smoking interventions could be promising means for suicide risk mitigation.”

    The study, led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, analyzed data from the National Center for Health Statistics, representing all 50 states. The researchers concluded that each dollar increase in cigarette taxes could reduce suicide risk by as much as 10 percent.”
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/smoking-and-suicide-risk-may-be-closely-linked/

    Smoking and Suicide: A Meta-Analysis
    2016

    Conclusions

    “There is sufficient evidence that smoking is associated with an increased risk of suicidal behaviors. Therefore, smoking is a contributing factor for suicide. Although this association does not imply causation, however, smoking prevention and cessation should be the target of suicide prevention programs.”
    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0156348

    • Frank Davis says:

      “it would establish smoking as a common and modifiable risk factor for suicide.”

      Since smokers are supposed to be killing themselves smoking, I would have thought that smoking would have long since been established as a risk factor for suicide.

  11. Rose says:

    This is a new one.

    £10,000 of tobacco and cigarettes seized by Trading Standards was stolen
    11th Jan 2018

    “The illegal tobacco products were being stored in a shipping container at Carlisle East Fire Station and were due to be destroyed.
    But offenders managed to get there first and cut a 2ft to 3ft hole in the side of the container, clearing it of the products taken during the raids.”
    http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/10000-of-tobacco-and-cigarettes-seized-by-Trading-Standards-was-stolen-fc68709e-ae31-4b99-807f-93634ba0526c-ds

No need to log in

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s