Saturday, 6 November 2010

Turks disenchanted with smoking ban, while Dutch fighter speaks to the Sun

As if half measures by the Dutch and Bulgarians were not enough, recent reports show that Turkey is also less than happy with the smoking ban with over 70 per cent of those interviewed (including the non-smokers) finding fault. The report doesn't speak of non-compliance, however. The results contradict an earlier survey that found widespread support for the ban, but also find business losses on a large scale.

Authorities last year expected that the smoking ban would be implemented without trouble. The tobacco control expert interviewed there, Elif Dagli, expressed particular happiness about the short time-scale of implementation. She also denied that there was any hint of human rights violation involved in a smoking ban. This might explain why she feels it should be possible to implement such a ban without spending years trying to convince the population that black is white. She blames business failures under the smoking ban on a refusal to adapt to new conditions

Meanwhile Wiel Maessen explains his fight in the Netherlands to the Sun newspaper. Bars could not compete on an equal footing (in a so-called 'level playing field'), because they did not have to space to cater for people smoking outside, or the facilities to reorient their businesses. Claiming (credibly) that up to 80 per cent of Dutch believed smoking in public should be allowable, he states that the bans themselves are socially and psychologically damaging, and more so to 'the common man' (ordinary people) who felt excluded from social engagement by such a ban. Elif Dagli would have little sympathy with this argument, but I am sure most Turks would see exactly what he meant. 'Smoking kills' is a simple argument, but the issues around smoking bans are far from simple.

Wiel points out great disparities between penalties imposed in the UK and the Netherlands, and says that the Dutch have a different approach to enforcement in many areas.

The European Commission's current consultation on the 2001 Tobacco Directive includes questions in every area of tobacco regulation about whether laws and enforcement should be included in the directive or left to member states to regulate. The European Commission will not win itself many friends by insisting on Europe-wide conformity on smoking regulation.


Anonymous said...

Countries like Turkey, Greece and indeed most of the North African countries which border the Mediteranean and Aegean Seas have a reputation for 'turning a blind eye to laws they do not approve of and also have been among the strongest resisters to occupations or outside influences that may adversely affect their cultures. It is then no surprise that serious resistance to the anti smokers policies are strong in these countries, indeed if the Turks (should they gain admittance to the EU) and the Greeks actually stop bickering they could at a grass roots level seriously damage the EU's anti smoking initiatives.

The Dutch too are another people similar to the Greeks and the Turks, they also have a history of independant thinking, they have a way of working quietly and effectively in the background as demonstrated by their small but very significant victory over the smoking ban there. Given their small size as a nation they had stood tall in Europe for centuries, they fought off Napoleon and Hitler (despite long bitter occupation) they are also ine of the few European countries if not the only one that successfully fought Great Britain to a draw and in one instance won outright when Admiral Michiel De Ruyter successfully destroyed the British fleet in Chatham harbour in the Battle of Medway. Little surprise that with a pedigree like that the Dutch people have the fortitude to stand for what they believe is right.

The Pro choice movement in the United Kingdom would do well to mark the acheivements of these countries, to note what they are doing and tailor it to the British mindset.

Like the illustrious De Ruyter perhaps Wiel Maessen could spare a little time to visit, talk with some our publicans and pro choice organsations perhaps even begin to take the fight where it belongs, it may be that Wiel is one of the few people in Europe at present who can carry the torch lit by Gian Turci, I hope so for we need such men.

So well done Wiel, well done Holland.

John Watson

Eddie Douthwaite said...

Also in the Daily Mail:-

Anonymous said...

The rest of the world should follow hollands lead,an they don't hide them in the shops why should they when 80% of the populous say no to the bans. Not like in north america canada an the united states where they even want to ban smoking outside. These bans have saved a few an alienated a multitude,They have magic pills to guit instantly maybe theres one for the human condition an we can all be saved Huh?