I know what you are thinking: "I'm a non-smoker, this has nothing to do with me. In fact, I prefer it now that pubs don't smell".
A reasonable statement, I have heard it a thousand times. Very reasonable. Until, that is, you begin to dig deeper and think harder.
When they banned smoking in pubs & clubs in March 2006 (in Scotland) and July 2007 (In England, Wales & NornIron) something incredible happened; they divided us absolutely. Prior to these dates, friends were simply that, friends. Very shortly after the bans were enacted, we drifted apart. People we had happily co-existed with in the same shared space were badly, terribly affected by the ban. Both smokers and non-smokers.
I spent those years (2006-2010) learning everything I could about tobacco. And I do mean everything. I studied it from seed to smoke. I know what's in it tobacco, I know what "harm" it does, I know which diseases it offers protection from, I know the benefits and the disadvantages of smoking tobacco. I know it's history, who used it and when. (The answer to that one surprises most: shreds of tobacco were found in pyramids dating back more than 8,000 years). I have read 78 of the original studies on proclaimed harm from second hand smoke. I have read a hundred other meta-studies that those originals spawned. I have studied the financial aspects and who earns more from tobacco/nicotine (it's touch and go whether it is the pharmaceutical or the tobacco companies, if you must know), such a great business either smoking or stopping smoking is. The industry employs 105 million people around the world. Tobacco taxes generate trillions for greedy governments the world over. They are, honestly speaking, completely and utterly addicted to tobacco money. Caring for people who contract "smoking related diseases" (this is mostly mythical; I can pretty much prove that whatever malady was contracted can easily be contracted from a dozen different things) costs them but a fraction of what we pump into the coffers.
If anyone ever says to you "Smokers are a drain on the NHS", tell them to piss off. Smokers in the UK alone generate enough money to design, build, equip, staff and maintain EIGHT new hospitals a year. The tobacco take is £12 billion a year and (although this is a big, fat lie), smoking related illness supposedly costs £2.5 billion. As the (turncoat) MP Stephen Pound said during the (very brief) debate on smoking bans "That's not a bad deal for the country". Not a single MP denied it. Check Hansard. It's in there.
Incidentally, did you know that we debated the Iraq war for 40 hours, the smoking ban for a measly 4 hours, and the fox hunting ban? Over 400 hours of parliamentary time. The war affected the entire nation, the smoker ban affected 15 million people and their friends, and the hunting ban? Around 100,000 people.
None of this is the point of this piece.
This, however, is:
Almost all of you come here to learn about freedom. Whether it is my personal journey you are following, or just to read up on ways you can be awkward, the basic premise is freedom; the getting and keeping of it, or to share your disgust when you learn that freedoms are being curtailed. It is for those reasons that I thought you would all, by the time you have finished reading this, rush off immediately to sign this petition.
"Why should I?", I imagine would be your first reaction.
About that I will say this:
- When the bans came in they said it would be good for pubs. So far, we have lost 8,468 pubs.
- They said it would be good for clubs, restaurants and bingo halls. So far we have lost over 2,000 of them
- They said non-smokers would flock to the new, clean, fresh-smelling pubs. They did not. Hence the wholesale slaughter of some fantastic venues.
- This one childish Act has put more than 200,000 people out of work.
- They didn't just ban smokers. They effectively banned tolerant non-smokers as well.
- They took away your right, Mr & Mrs Non Smoker, to decide for yourselves.
- They ruined your friendships, interrrupted some brilliant conversations.
- They sent YOUR older relatives outside to smoke in atrocious weather conditions.
- Not one single life has been "saved" by this smoking ban. Not one.
- Yet several people have died as a direct result of it. The first death was a 74 year old man in Scotland.
- This legislation is nasty. It cost billions to implement and hurts us all.
- Reinstating the owners right to decide will revitalise the pub industry.
- It will allow us all to meet again in safety, warmth and comfort.
- It will allow us all to talk, uninterrupted, once more.
I really could go on. The odours! We will be rid of them (piss, vomit, BO) once more as landlords and landladies can afford once again to switch on their air management systems. Of course, that was always the easier answer, better air management. I have seen systems that allow me to smoke in a bar separated from the barkeep and my non-smoking friends by an air curtain. The only way they know I am smoking is because they can see me.
Several suggestions are put forth by campaigners, such as:
- Separation-No. That is a Frankfurt Technique and I will not endure apartheid here.
- Segregation-No. That is even worse.
- Licenses for pubs that allow smoking inside.-Absolutely not. Too much regulation as it is.
- Allow only a set number of pubs to allow smoking. 20% is a popular number. -Nope. All landlords get to choose.
One thing I think we can all agree on: there is scope for improvement. A great deal of scope. In order to get those inepts talking about it again-with a fresh and honest look at the legislation-we need to nudge them. We can do that by signing the petition I am going to link to.
Points to note:
Do NOT sign the petition if you are content to be told what to do by nanny.
Do NOT sign the petition if you believe the legislation is working just fine thank you very much.
Do NOT sign the petition if your biggest gripe is having to wash your clothes after a night out.
Do NOT sign the petition if you firmly believe that you have a right to "clean" air. You don't.
Do NOT sign the petition if seeing smokers huddled outside in wind, rain and snow gives you a little buzz.
Do NOT sign the petition if you cannot decide for yourself what is safe and what isn't.
Beyond that little list, you have no reason NOT to sign the petition.
If you have a strong desire to get your MPs/MSPs/Assembly Members doing something worthwhile, creating wealth, jobs, and a safe venue for you and I to meet up and talk, then please go here and add your support for this debate.
If you want to debate the science, bring it on. I have two million facts to share with you.
If you want to debate the finances, I have 12 billion facts to share with you.
If you want to debate the freedom to choose, I have only one fact: every time they "create" a freedom for one, they take it away from another.
Always remember: one right removed diminishes us all. If we never stand together on anything, they will divide us, and divide us, and divide us. We are easier to control in small groups. I will not be controlled by these imbeciles any more. Will you?
When they "created" this freedom for you to breathe clean air (no such thing, do ask me why) they killed many people both directly and indirectly. I have examples of this. When they told smokers to get outside they opened the door for rapists to strike vulnerable women. Many have been raped as a direct result of this ban. I have examples. When they sent us outside to smoke in Scotland, the use of Rohypnol rose by a massive 140%. I have the evidence.
Was even one life (one that was never in danger; I have those facts too) saved by this nonsensical ban? No. Not a single one. Was the health of bar workers improved? Several studies in Scotland show that no, they were not.
Are you aware that 58% of quitters die of lung cancer/lung disease within 30-50 months of quitting? I have that study.
Are you aware that smoking provides protection against Alzheimers Disease? I have that study.
Are you aware that smoking prevents several cancers? I have those studies too.
Smoking is said to kill 100,000 thousand people a year in the UK. It doesn't, but they need you to believe that. The NHS alone kills between 60,000 and 80,000 people a year due directly to negligence and diseases contracted whilst in hospital. How many of those deaths, do you think, are labelled as "smoking related"?
Your government lies to you. It does this day in and day out. Why did you imagine they would tell you the truth about smoking?