Are Politicians beginning to regret Smoking Bans?

A few days ago, Smoking Lamp drew attention to a call by some French periodical for smoking to be banned outside French cafes as well as inside:

Readers’ views: Why it’s time to ban smoking on cafe terraces in France

It reminded me that, when there were calls for smoking to be banned in outdoor areas in the UK a few years ago, Boris Johnson (who doesn’t smoke) was among the first to say No.

It also reminded me that, back in 2006, and for a few years afterwards, a lot of the MPs who voted for the UK smoking ban were congratulating themselves for the wonderfully progressive measure they had just enacted. And I don’t seem to hear those voices any more.

There was a Budget statement a few days ago. I didn’t watch it, but Junican did:

I watched the second half of the budget speech this afternoon. To be honest, I had forgotten about it until something reminded me. I was in time for his his tobacco announcement.

I was somewhat disappointed. I expected at least a short diatribe about the Evil Tobcoms, but t’was not to be. All there was was a single sentence – something like, “As usual, tobacco duties will rise by inflation plus 2%”. End of.

Perhaps I’ve just been inattentive, but after their initial enthusiasm for antismoking measures, I’ve had the impression that the glitter may have worn off for the political class.

And there are some very good reasons why it should have. There’s no down side to smoking bans for campaigning antismoking organisations like ASH, but there are for politicians who lose the votes of smokers. I’ve often written about how I voted Lib Dem for 25 years, and stopped dead when I found that 95% of the bastards had voted for the smoking ban. I’ll never vote for them again. Ever. And I very much doubt I’m the only ex-Lib Dem voter in Britain who stopped voting for them for that reason. And I suspect that a lot of Lib Dem MPs know that this is what happened. And that rather took the shine off their effusive self-congratulation.

I think that a lot of MPs must feel that they were duped. That they were victims of a confidence trick by antismoking organisations like ASH. And, in fact, they were. Deborah Arnott even bragged about it.

Furthermore, while reading some piece by Tony Blair in which he listed his achievements as Prime Minister, I noticed that the smoking ban was missing from the list. Yet, even more than the Iraq war, I regard the smoking ban as his principal legacy.

Not long ago I carried a photo of David Cameron smoking a cigarette. He never allowed himself to be caught on camera doing that while he was Prime Minister. But now that he’s become a political nobody, the casualty of Brexit, he probably no longer cares. Why should he?

And it’s probably no different in France. Is it entirely accidental that, in Britain one of the most popular politicians in the country is the ostentatiously smoking and drinking Nigel Farage, and in France there’s the ostentatiously smoking Marine Le Pen,  and now in Italy the smoking Matteo Salvini? If you want to win the smokers’ vote, get yourself snapped with a cigarette in your mouth, standing in the rain outside some bar.

So I suspect that the political class feel cheated. They were assured that the smoking ban would bring a rush of new customers to pubs and cafes, but it did the opposite, and many of them closed.  They were told that most smokers wanted to stop smoking, and that a smoking ban would provide them with the final encouragement to do so. But instead they just carried on smoking. And 10 years later they are all still there, standing in the rain outside. And none of this was supposed to happen. They thought they were going to win votes from grateful smokers, not lose them.

No doubt there are plenty of virulently antismoking politicians around. After all, it was only yesterday that I posted up Massachusetts’ Elizabeth Warren giving a speech that any antismoker would have applauded. But I suspect that there are a number of politicians who know quite well that all these smoking bans have been a disaster, but daren’t say so.

And so when the antismoking zealots come asking then for yet more bans, because the original bans they’d asked for (and been given) didn’t work, they’re unlikely to be received as unquestioningly as last time.

But having embarked on this disastrous course, the politicians can’t see any alternative but to carry on. They can’t see what else to do. And they don’t want to lose face by admitting that it’s a disaster.

And I think that it’s a far worse disaster than I’ve been suggesting here. I think that the smoking ban has been an absolute catastrophe. It’s created a fractured society, divided between smokers and antismokers, who can no longer even share the same space. These are people who can’t be in the same room with each other, or even on the same cafe terrace.  And it’s not going to get better: it’s only going to get worse. For the reviled and excluded smokers are only going to slowly get angrier and angrier at the way they’re being treated. And even if many of them stop smoking, they’re going to be angry that they were forced to stop smoking, and they’re going to be angry for the rest of their lives.

Egged on by the mendacious antismoking fanatics, the politicians have lit a fuse that will eventually result in a colossal explosion.

About Frank Davis

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12 Responses to Are Politicians beginning to regret Smoking Bans?

  1. Smoking Lamp says:

    The Dundee City Council in Scotland is seeking to impose a total workday smoke ng ban on council employees. A poll on the topic is now open: “Should workers be banned from smoking on their breaks?”

    • jaxthefirst says:

      Just voted in the poll and then viewed the results. Wow! A whopping 92.9% were against the ban. Maybe people are finally waking up to the fact that anti-smoking has now moved from nannying into bullying territory and that smoking as an activity is now being routinely used as a “foot in the door” by those who seek to deprive others of their statutory rights (such as breaks from work, in the true sense of the word), not just in relation to smoking but – after “testing the water” with a smoking restriction – in respect of anything else that they might not like their employees doing in their supposedly free time. Perhaps that much-denied Slippery Slope is fast becoming more visible to more people now that it’s starting to gather a bit of momentum … ?

  2. Roobeedoo2 says:

    I don’t think politicians regret the smoking bans. Goldfish have longer memories than most politicians. Especially the progressive types.

    • Goldfish have longer memories than most politicians. Especially the progressive types.

      They’re in thrall to a perpetual present, or ‘nirvana thinking’, as Mark Jarratt puts it: time trends for Lung cancer as against smoking are routinely disregarded, since they abundantly show that smoking never had anything to do with the LC problem which they, and their professional antismokers cronies, pretend to be busy solving, despite all evidence to the contrary.
      Early 19th century German philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte warned us against mystics, whether they be enlightened or delusional, taking over government. Yet the king of Bhutan, aka Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, reigning over a ‘spiritual’ kingdom where the first TV set appeared in 1997, decided that, as of 16 June 2010, the sale and production of tobacco would be banned in Bhutan. His became the first country to outright ban tobacco on the basis of the modern (i.e. relatively recent) lies that have been propagated about the supposed hazards of smoking. See Tobacco Control Act of Bhutan passed on 16th June 2010.

      The only viable explanation: a couple of Western counsellors (i.e. universitarian cyborgs) took a massive dump into his buddhist cranium, encountering no significant opposition. And the only conclusion: human understanding as we used to know it has been well and properly abolished on a global scale!

      • Frank Davis says:

        They’re in thrall to a perpetual present, or ‘nirvana thinking’

        I wonder if that relates to my idea of the Rosy Vision, about which I was thinking 20 years ago?

        In Idle Theory living things have to work to survive, and they cannot live perfectly idle lives. But the wish to do so is very powerful, and so sometimes they engage in wishful thinking, and start to believe that perfect idleness has been attained. This is the Rosy Vision. And it’s a very dangerous delusion.

  3. Simplex says:

    The danish tax minister recently called the FCTC stupid. He was being targeted by the usual suspects for ‘violating’ it by daring to meet with some representatives of the tobacco industry a couple of years ago. He also adressed the anti-democratic proces in which a body of un-elected individuals (namely the WHO) get to dictate who a danish minister can meet or not.

    I noticed this with some glee, since this is the first time this kind of stuff makes it to the MSM. And about bloody time!

  4. John says:

    Smoking bans are at the root of all current divisions in the world the same way smoking bans were the beginning of the divisions leading to the last World War. Nazis then, Nazis now – and people who are waking up to the idea of a NWO and the Globalists who rode into power on the smoking bans should in time realize from where their power began – it started firstly when persons believed the SHS Fraud and fell for the rest of the frauds to follow, including Global Warming Fraud, leading to the fracturing of nations as it stands currently and the destruction of liberty and freedom for all. So yes, smoking bans are at the root – the ROOT – of what ails the world currently.

  5. Rose says:

    Politicians have blamed the death of the pubs on something else entirely and moved on.

    Just as the GMB did

    GMB union urges end to beer tie
    9th March 2009

    “The union has published a statement with the anti-pubco Fair Pint campaign that blames rents and the beer tie for recent pub closures”

    “Britain’s pubs survived two world wars. They cannot survive being made to be cash cows to pay off the debts of the property companies and brewers that so clearly don’t have the interests of pubs and consumers at heart.”
    Now missing, but still shows up on Google

  6. Doonhamer says:

    Not a smoker, but I feel that it is just becoming spiteful. I miss the camaraderie of a pub with smokers and the odour that wafted out of a pub was always tempting. And the second hand smoke from a good cigar or pipe tobacco was a delight. Alas I fear that I will never see it return to the way it was in my lifetime.

  7. Mark Jarratt, Canberra, Australia says:

    Any politician who actually believes they would win votes from ‘grateful’ smokers is clearly not an exponent of reality, buying into the nonsensical ‘nirvana thinking’ of meddlesome prohibitionists.

  8. John says:

    Remember when UK smoking ban began under Labour rule back in July 2007.

    Apparently discriminating against and hating smokers is not the only problem with Labour, they have others as well, such as the ones listed here.

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