Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Scottish call for relaxation of smoking ban

Scottish licensed trade representatives have joined the call for a reversal of the Scottish smoking ban – the article includes a contribution from Eddie Douthwaite of Freedom to Choose (Scotland).

I don't go along with the call for a licensing system for allowing smoking personally. As a non-smoker it never bothered me to have smoke about and I don't know that it's one of the things that councils should be trying to make money from. Allowing smoking in licensed premises makes for a bit less mess in the streets and that's one saving before they even start charging licence fees. But it's good to see that the Scottish Licensed Trade Association has identified air quality as the pertinent issue, and air cleaning equipment as the solution. 'Ventilation works in industrial situations where the air needs to be clean,' says Paul Waterson (SLTA chairman). 'Why can't it work in pubs?' This would mean redeploying council staff from the unsavoury duty of prosecuting their friends in the community for smoking-related offences, to that of assisting licensees in keeping the air clean, not only of smoke but of any other airborne toxins – recommending appropriate air cleaning equipment, ensuring that filters get cleaned out and replaced when needed. They're environmental officers, aren't they?

The Press and Journal's editorial on this issue is feebly written and  muddled. 'Unsightly huddles of smokers... are a poor byproduct of the ban,' it says, adding that this is 'outweighed' by protection from secondary smoke. Having just pointed out that ventilation equipment has been put forward as a solution to this issue, it fails to explain why such equipment will not work. It would seem that even if we live in the space age and the nuclear age, we still need to have smokers outdoors because air cleaning equipment doesn't work. I don't like what this says about our priorities. This line of argument also suggests that the leader writer of the Press and Journal lacks vision. What kind of leader writer defends a government for trying to saving face rather than admit they got the answer wrong?

The leader then goes on to say that 'mixed messages' would be sent out by revising the ban, and that it would 'seem inconsistent' to revise the ban after recently applauding it. Sorry to say, but this kind of excuse comes of consulting only one side of the issue seriously. Sheila Duffy, quoted in the Press and Journal news story (first link) has claimed health benefits from the ban, such as heart attacks (no time to link to these stories at present but you know the ones I mean), finding less evidence of smoke in bar staff's breath after the ban than before it, finding bar staff sneezing less in June 2006 than March 2006. This kind of 'evidence' will be relied on to 'prove' how helpful the smoking ban is. ASH Scotland seems to be the only authority the Scottish Government (and much of the press) recognises on smoking issues.

It is hard to imagine the Scottish Government doing any research into what kind of air management system will remove smoke particles from the air, or listening to anyone who has done such research. As the Press and Journal editorial points out (although weakly), such an approach would do little to support the denormalisation of smoking (it would 'send out mixed messages'), and that is why the Scottish Government is against it.


Anonymous said...

Welding smoke is far more hazardous than secondhand smoke. And air quality testing shows that welding smoke is regulated to safety standards by OSHA, so lawmakers allow OSHA do do its job rather than ban welding smoke.

Anonymous said...

Here is an independent study

carried out by an independent organisation in the business of monitoring the indoor air environment

Anonymous said...

What this does prove is that the Pub Industry does Not support the smoking ban, just like polls all over the UK that tell us that the Public want the smoking ban Reformed,bad news for Duffy and co at ASH,their propaganda now means Nothing, time for change,the Government would be in Neglect of their duty if they did not reform the ban to help save the Pub and Club Industry.


Anonymous said...

as someone who quit smoking 9 months ago I fully support the ban it's a joke that people are allowed to poison themselves under the misguided notion of FREE choice when the simple fact is they continue using out if nothing more than addiction and a lack of intelligence. No intelligent person willing poisons themselves and stupid peoples opinions on subjects are void.

Unknown said...

I think you secretly wish you still smoked Anon otherwise you would not give a monkeys whether others smoke or not. You are obviously in denial and to compensate you slate others that do smoke so viciously just to appease your conscience.

Smokers, as are the population in general, are living longer, so much so that governments are worried about how to look after them in their dotage.

I am a smoker therefore I am so get used to it!

Belinda said...

Anon, you are simply wrong and illogical. Are you the same sub-intelligent individual that you were when you smoked? (joke). Or has stopping smoking made you 'Intelligent'?: 'stupid peoples opinions on subjects are void.' Apart from the bad punctuation here: this is like a kids' game where you make up the rules of an imaginary world. How on earth do you define stupid?

Anonymous said...

The public have no faith in the so-called "scientific basis" that resulted in the introduction of the smoking ban.

Scottish Political parties should now look to amend the ban and remember that there is an Election in May.

Anonymous said...

I used to be an Anti-Smoker until I looked in detail at the scientific studies that supported a smoking ban.

They are total fiction produced by people with vested interests.

Anonymous said...

A pub landlord I knew, non smoker, told me he was happy to have a non smoking bar but saw no reason for the removal of choice.
He said he used to work in a meat packing plant (or such) where one part of the plant had to be kept at 40 degrees below zero centigrade while people were working in the same warehouse. The separation of the two areas was an air curtain. Yet the part of the warehouse where the workers worked was comfortable and warm.
Air curtains, air filtration, etc. all make the clear point that the ban on smoking in pubs is nothing to do with health and everything to do with social prejudice.