Friday, 17 December 2010

Dutch MP explains smoking ban decision

On this clip, a Dutch MP explains his decision to retract the smoking ban on the small bars in Netherlands. If you've listened to the clips in this post you will recognise some of the voices, notably a few happy customers in a smoking-permitted and a less-than-happy Cecilia Farren (ASH). Cecilia appears to feel that vested interests only exist in the tobacco industry, in order to sully what would otherwise be an open-and-shut case like asbestos. She doesn't see that a life is a continual battle of conflicts of interest – even though GASP, her own organisation, is a commercial entity that promotes smoking cessation and tobacco control.

The Dutch MP, Anne Mulder, speaks for the new Coalition government in the Netherlands. He explains that the decision is ideological, based on people's responsibility for making their own decisions. Economic considerations are minor, even though they are likely to be a factor in people's decisions: he doesn't see this as a problem – anti-smoking interests argue that the economic interests of the licensed trade or tobacco industry are a dangerous distraction (and any pharmaceutical interests of their own are of course irrelevant because their intentions are beyond reproach).

People smoke. Other people wish to provide recreational venues for them. We don't need to interfere.

I think that was the solution that the Coalition Government was meant to come up with. Instead they came up with Nudge, and misunderstood it. To nudge people to stop smoking, you have to improve their standard of living, because people with a better standard of living smoke less. Spending precious health budgets on tobacco control freakery couldn't be more irrelevant.

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If you have plenty of time on your hands listen to this clip too: Wiel is interviewed by Jason Mohammed on BBC Wales, along with Dr David Bailey of the BMA in Wales. Public reactions take this discussion to nearly two hours, but there is much of interest near the beginning. Interesting: it sounds as if BBC reporters have accepted that the ban has damaged trading conditions for the hospitality. They ask, should we amend the smoking ban and save our pubs? I never cease to be amazed by members of the general public, faced with publicans who personally witnessed their takings plummet between June and July 2007, or over the following weeks and months, who insist that their problems are nothing to do with the smoking ban. One licensee complained of such criticism, 'I was obviously hallucinating when I watched my takings go through the floor after the smoking ban came in'. Dr David Bailey is one such know-all, who appears to have thought it unlikely  that Wiel's association of twelve hundred publicans had experienced any economic hardship (even though some of them had lost up to 70 per cent of their takings).

1 comment:

Dr. Brian Oblivion said...

Moar anti-smoking zealot tears please.

Smokers owe these charlatans, ASH holes one and all, a great debt of misery. It's coming you prats, I assure you. You'll be reaping the rewards of what evil you've sown.

How dare these freaks treat fellow citizens as subhumans. It's time they were nudged back.