Thursday, 2 June 2011

Dave Atherton debates Deborah Arnott on passive smoking and denormalisation

The crucial question: Deborah Arnott of Action on Smoking and Health takes on Dave Atherton of Freedom2Choose.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice to see an impartial presenter for once, too.

buffalo_jr said...

Dave did not handle this well. For example, when she says the ban has overwhelming support, why not ask why non-smoking bars etc. had to be forced through through legislation; why didn't pubs voluntarily choose to go smoke free through market forces if the ban was so popular. Why are pubs now closing in mass despite all this popularity?

On the 'it's unpleasant if you're lying in the park and someone wafts a load of smoke over you', why not say that would only happen if you were lying next to them. It's nonsense. Ask if we are legislating on genuine health concerns or mere annoyances, and if it's annoyances, where does that stop? Surely mobile phones, crying babies, ball games etc. etc. would have to be banned too.

The arguments presented in favour of the ban were rubbish. The goal was open and you shot wide.

TheBigYin said...

Buffolo_jr I understand what you say and I can think of a dozen things I'd like to say to this woman but when you have only hours to prepare then you have to be a media whore, which Dave is not. He is an ordinary man that has strong feelings about the ban and much to back up his intransigence towards it.

The media want soundbits and Ms Arnott is a media whore with a rack of soundbites honed over the years.

F2C is on a learing curve as far as the media is concerned but we are quick learners.

We will never give up the battle on a few twistings and turnings from the likes of Ms Arnott!

Belinda said...

I'll have to listen to it again, but I felt that Dave Atherton's answers were at least to the point. Deborah Arnott, on the other hand, countered Dave's assertion that most studies didn't assert a positive association between lung cancer and passive smoking by suggesting that the combined opinions of the World Health Organisation and the Royal College of Physicians should be enough to trump all these studies. She is the more experienced in the media but her arguments were based on recommending 'just do what the experts say', and attempts at personal put-downs.

Anonymous said...

I thought Dave Atherton was brilliant.
Its a shame there was such limited time for this. Smokers are treated like second class citizens. We are denied an indoor space, in any public building and are left to sit or stand outside exposed to the bad weather. If any other minority were treated like this, their would be a public outcry.

ONS Survey's confirm that when asked in 2005,2006 and 2007 that around 68% of those questioned, preferred to have a choice of indoor areas for adults. Restrictions not a total indoor smoking ban that we have now.
From 2008 the question about giving adults choice was withdrawn.

buffalo_jr said...

I do appreciate what you're saying and of course it's easy sitting at home and not under hot studio lights, but he seemed ill-prepared. I don't claim to be an authority on the skill of debate but purely through observation I note it's important to keep off the defensive and not to let them dictate the course of the debate. Avoid passionate outbursts (hard I know but it's inviting them to interject). Speak slowly and calmly; bizarrely, the slower and more boring your tone, the less the likelihood of being interrupted. If they do interrupt, stop talking immediately or it becomes 'who can shout loudest'. Calmy request that that you are allowed to continue. Stick with cold hard logic, and call them on it if they don't. Research their usual arguments and have your responses prepared. Give your opponent plenty of time to speak - you are implicitly demanding the same in return.

buffalo_jr said...

Anon, the whole 'treated like second class citizens' argument is nonsense. The smoking ban is not an attack on specific people, but rather an attack on a certain activity i.e. it attacks what you do, and not who you are. Smokers are not a minority in the same way that Bangladeshis are a minority. Smokers are not denied entry to any place whatsoever on account of them being smokers (it was tried in a hospital somewhere, but didn't last).

And the polls thing is a perfect example of allowing the likes of Arnott to dictate the course of the debate. They are irrelevant and should be treated as such (although it can be pointed out that large numbers support smoking restrictions purely because they've previously been subjected to years of propaganda and indoctrinated with the idea that ETS is killing them). By quoting polls she is implying that the measure of something's popularity should determine whether or not it should be permitted at all; total black and white. Of course, the market has always done a much better job of harmonizing these things; there are no losers, no division, and no need for a ballot.

If you take them on with either of these fallacious arguments i.e. the 'second class citizens' argument, or 'what the polls say' argument, you'll lose.

Belinda said...

I wish you were right about antis not discriminating against smokers (rather than their smoking) and it may be the case in this country but in the US this sort of thing is increasingly reported http://healthcareers.about.com/b/2010/11/26/smokers-banned-from-hospital-employment.htm

http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2006/06/smokers-should-be-banned-from-college.html

Anonymous said...

@buffalo Jr. Denying adults a space (where they can smoke) inside all buildings that can be publicly accessed. Forcing those of us that do smoke to stand or sit outside, is treating people as though they are secondhand citizens.
You state this is nonsense.
Clearly you are not a frequent smoker on the receiving end of the ban.

I am sure that the ban has made thousands of us feel like this winning argument or not.

Belinda said...

More discussion on Dave Atherton's blog here: http://daveatherton.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/my-appearance-on-cnn-with-ms-deborah-arnott-of-ash/