Sunday, July 18, 2010

Personal Message To Nick Clegg

There are several suggestions put forward asking you to consider amending the smoking ban. They have provoked many comments and much interest. Despite this I hear you are in danger of ignoring widespread public opinion on this matter. You will be seen to prefer listening to vested interests and bigoted self interest groups. In doing so the Your Freedom initiative will be exposed to ridicule and as a thinly disguised sham, created to convince you that you have some sort of influence as a minority segment of a Conservative government. Conversely if you listen to the outcry you will see that the courageous action, the common sense stand and one that carries massive public support is to control the influence of unrepresentative and unscientific self interest groups. The amendment of the smoking ban to allow smoking in ventilated, segregated areas in hospitality venues where the owner chooses is an idea for Our Freedom that does not merely encompass but engulfs the three aims stated within your initiative.

Amending the smoking ban will:

  • Restore A Civil Liberty
  • Repeal An Unnecessary Law
  • Cut Business and Third Sector Regulations
enough said!


UK Government: Incompetent or Corrupt?

My wife and I are now socially isolated as a result of the smoking ban. We are only allowed to smoke in our home, which fortunately we own, as otherwise it might not be so clear cut. Oddly, business owners are not allowed to permit smoking in their property. How can that be right in a democratic modern society? We voted Tory in the hope that free market ideals would return, that the erosion of civil liberties would be reversed and that common sense and rational use of science would prevail.

Terrorists have more protection under the human rights act than smokers.

We have done nothing wrong.

It is claimed that smoking causes harm in non-smokers. As a result of expensive government funded media campaigns, the public has been fooled or scared into believing that this is so. It is far from the truth that environmental tobacco smoke causes "passive smoking" in non-smokers and resultant ill health. On the contrary, scientific methods have been unable to demonstrate any consistent figures supporting this claim. An equal number of studies demonstrate statistically insignificant harm and statistically insignificant benefits from ETS (evidence freely available and gladly supplied). The key studies used to support the claim have been shown to be lacking in scientific rigour (evidence freely available and gladly supplied). Somehow and for some reason the balance of these studies has been presented to the public in a biased way. One can only guess at the motives for this inaccuracy. This is dealt with at length by other commentators. Time and time again it is recorded that the self proclaimed motives of ASH and the WHO, are to reduce smoking rates, which their actions have failed to do. They self admitted methods used for this reduction are to engender a fear of smokers and to socially isolate smokers. This could otherwise be described as deception, scaremongering and at worst social engineering or brainwashing.

A strange anomaly exists in government and public health policy. Mental health is rightly being given increased priority and smoking is prevalent in higher numbers of those with mental health problems opposed to those without such issues. Social isolation is a known cause of increased mortality as is mental illness and lower social class, so how can it be a sensible goal to isolate smokers, those with mental illness and the socially less fortunate. Would it not be more appropriate to target mental illness and social deprivation. Smoking has become an easy target and real issues are being ignored.

Smokers have long known of the risk they take and could not be in a better position to make an informed choice. Sadly that is the only choice we have left, having been deprived of the choice to meet up with non-smoking friends for uninterrupted discourse.

Smokers are exposed to the risk of leaving venues to smoke outside. This comes with particular risk to women, who are exposed to rowdy torment on the street and spiking of their drinks left in the establishment.

The very sad thing is that there is no justification for these measures and that the concerns of those who dislike the smell of smoke and may erroneously believe the smoker is doing them harm, can easily be alleviated by adequate ventilation and segregation and the choice to avoid businesses where smoking is permitted. I am not given the choice to smoke where I cause no offence, instead I am forced to cause offence in doorways. I am not given the choice to go to a venue where smoking is permitted and I can minimise my exposure to anti-smokers. Instead this legislation brings me and anti-smokers into conflict. Surely a policy of live and let live would be a preferable alternative.

No other area of legal human behaviour has been targeted like this before and the sordid history of prohibition is well known to all. This legislation causes social unrest, social isolation and persecution of a significant (20-25%) minority of the population. It is dishonest, scientifically unjustified and probably rooted in petty corruption.

It is no secret that the SCOTH committee who advised the government prior to this legislation was predominantly comprised of members with pharmaceutical company interests. It is no secret that pharmacological interventions for smoking cessation are big money spinners. It is no secret that the mainstay of pharmaco-therapeutic manipulation of smokers' physiology is nicotine replacement and it is no secret despite widespread publicity to the contrary, that NRT is abysmally hopeless at stopping people smoking and extremely expensive. Why therefore is the NHS spending our money on it. Surely, NICE should have concluded by now that it is not financially viable. Why hasn't it? Your guess is as good as mine.

Nicotine addiction is widely used to explain smokers' behaviour and a useful tool to depict smokers as weak "crack whores", even imply a form of criminality, certainly label us as undesirables. The poor efficacy of NRT belies this belief and reinforces the idea that smoking is a smoker's choice not the consequence of a smoker's weakness against the nicotine receptor.

All these points further prove that government policy is informed not by science and noble intentions to improve our health but by the sinister and corrupt agenda of interested parties and the bigoted opinions of self interest groups.

In short the government is either incompetent or corrupt. Point made!


Friday, July 16, 2010

Amend the smoking ban you hypocrite!