Smoking ban on the way?

If NI gets a smoking ban, it’s more likely to be total than partial. At least those were direct rule minister Shaun Woodward’s candid thoughts today. He’s not expected to make a decision until 2007, but this is the clearest indication yet that he favours a total ban. Consultations with unions follow. But considering their stance on the Republic’s ban, it’s unlikely there will be substantial opposition from that quarter.

  • Denny Boy

    Shaun Woodward: “I will make my decision in the autumn. Whatever course of action we take, we will have to make a very robust argument for it.”

    Here’s a robust argument, Shaun: Cigarette smoke has been known to kill people.

  • Keith M

    “He’s not expected to make a decision until 2007.”

    One man who knows there won’t be an executive any time soon.

  • Diarmuid

    i have been enjoying the smoking ban here in Ireland for almost 1.5 years.

    Its about time that the UK did the same.

  • C. William Barnes


    Its is time to limit mobile phones too, especially while driving. Make it a package deal with smoking…mobiles are the new tobacco, effecting the health of non-users. Add to the list below the new British Medical Assoc study showing a 4x greater risk of car accidents EVEN WHILE USING A HEADSET!! Using a hands-free device while driving impairs the visual system to an exstent comparable to an alcohol level of 4-5g per 100ml…in other words the individual is drunk.

    Research clearly shows that cell phones cause oxidative stress in living systems. Besides the serious research presented by Dr Salford (cited below) that cell phones set the table for Alzheimer’s, Turkish researchers have shown that cell phones increase free radical damage in the skin…so for those from the Malone Road chatting on your mobile phone while getting a botox injection…your cell phone is hard at work wrinkling your skin! Now that we know that cell phone exposure, at just one hour per day, increases the generation of free radicals, all bets are off. Generation of free radicals (oxidative stress) is part and parcel of most chronic diseases, from diabetes to cardiovascular disease to brain conditions. The severity of psychiatric conditions like depression and schizophrenia are associated with increased oxidative stress. Ultimately, illness depends on your genetics, your diet, your stress levels, and your environment….mobile phones are adding to the total burden, and one persons ear pain will be another persons dizziness, and another young childs future Alzheimer’s disease etc. But all of that doesn’t matter at all because mobile phones are BIG business and in today’s brave new Ulster, money talks.

    Consider that within enclosed reflective spaces, such as trains and planes, the effects of multiple users becomes additive. Do we really then have any idea what constitutes a safe level? Just like second hand smoke, mobile phone use is voluntary so you take your own chances. You should resent being exposed to high levels of microwave radiation just because someone wants to talk about what they are having for tea, or what film to get from video shop. An additive effect in an enclosed space, or through the masts , may be affecting non cell phone users, perhaps those with genetic susceptibilities making them more prone to Alzheimer’s or any condition where increased generation of free radicals has been shown. Cell phones have rightly been described as the largest human experiment in history.

    The bigest concern is with children; new research from Spain indicates that cell phones throw off behavior and brain activity for over an hour after use in children

    References below for those who care… you are certainly not going to see these references posted at your local mobile shop…

    Environ Health Perspect. 2003 Jun 111(7):881-3
    Salford, et al. Nerve cell damage in mammalian brain after exposure to microwaves from GSM mobile phones.

    Mausset-Bonnefont, et al.Neurobiol Dis. 2004 Dec 17(3):445-54.
    Acute exposure to GSM 900-MHz electromagnetic fields induces glial reactivity and biochemical modifications in the rat brain.

    Maier, et al.Acta Neurol Scand. 2004 Jul 110(1):46-52.
    Effects of pulsed electromagnetic fields on cognitive processes – a pilot study on pulsed field interference with cognitive regeneration.

    Ilhan, et al.Clin Chim Acta. 2004 Feb 340(1-2):153-62.
    Ginkgo biloba prevents mobile phone-induced oxidative stress in rat brain.

    Ayata, et al. Oxidative stress-mediated skin damage in an experimental mobile phone model can be prevented by melatonin. J Dermatol 2004;31:878-83.

    Hondou. Rising level of public exposure to mobile phones: Accumulation through additivity and reflectivity. J Phys Soc Japan 2002;71:432-35.

    Langer, et al. Hands-free mobile phone conversation impairs the peripheral visual system to an extent comparable to an alcohol level of 4-5 g 100 ml.
    Hum Psychopharmacol. 2005 Jan;20(1):65-6.

  • Paul

    Restricting mobile phone use while driving – didn’t they just do that?

    A smoking ban may well be on the way – but in the mean time, we in the North seem to be the only people in Ireland who can smoke in public, and the only people in the UK who can go hunting with hounds. Funny how protecting a few foxes can seem more important than protecting humans from cancer…

  • Peter S

    Paul, regarding the mobile ban: The law does not extend to hands-free use of equipment. Similarly, users will not be prosecuted if the phone is held in a cradle.
    The new BMJ article shows that hands-free doesn’t make much of a difference at all, it is a call for an outright ban in cars except in emergencies. I’m not sure about Mr Barnes other issues, but the idea of young children, even pre-teens, using mobile does worry me a bit.

    With regard to smoking, how many people will die while ministers ponder the issue…what is to think about? Someone smoking in confined areas will compromise my health, and that of my children…end of story.

  • Wee Hood

    Wooosh Thats me blowing smoke in yer faces…….Why should my rights as a smoker be infringedf upon.

  • Shiver Me Timbers

    Cellular phones are just fine…for all the studies you reference on the dangers, there are 1000s of safety studies. There is no reason to take away the enjoyment of smoking a cigar in a bar…if you don’t like it, stay home!!!

  • Jo

    Ths smoking issue is less about public health than the health of those workers who have no choice but to work in a smoke-filled atmosphere.

    If you are an employer, know about the risks posed to your employees through passive smoking and do nothing, you will be legally liable.

    Hence the government is taking this reasonable step to prevent billions of £ worth of cases against employers in years to come. I fully expect the arrogant disregard of the pro-smokers to come to the fore but it is the pub owner who will be fined if they permit smoking in areas where smoking will be banned.

  • Bored

    This really is a no-brainer. Passive smoking kills. I smoke. I don’t have a right to force others to breathe my smoke. Smokers who witter on about their ‘rights’ in this regard really are the pits. The on-going farting about by Shaun Woodward on this one is beneath contempt. Yet again, the North is left to fumble around in the dark ages while the South leads the way.

  • Keith M

    Wee Hood “Why should my rights as a smoker be infringed upon.”

    No one is prtoposing a prohibition on cigarette smoking (at least at this stage), if the law introduced in Northern Ireland is the same and in this country you will simply have go outside to smoke. The ban has been an undisputed success here, and the sooner it is introduced in the UK, the better.

  • Baluba

    Just back from a weekend of top notch GAA action in Dublin.

    The smoking ban is outstanding!!!!! Coming home from the pub smelling just as good as when you left, no cough, no stinging eyes – brilliant.

    A no-brainer is absolutely right.

    I remember as a child making the pilgrimage to Mecca (Croke Park) and then having the whole day ruined by ignorant people breathing noxious fumes all over me the whole day. I thought it was antisocial at the time, but now of course I know it’s much worse than that, it’s a callous disregard for my health.

    Don’t give me the ‘if you don’t like it stay at home’, ‘smokers have rights too’ nonsense. Smoke all you want you plonkers. A terrible addiction it is, a human right it is not.

    Just like the Euro, the Brits just don’t have the balls to make the move that makes most sense!!!

  • JustAThought

    Just a thought…

    A large amount of government revenue is collected from the sale of cigarettes. Unlike Ireland, the UK actually PAY INTO Europe to fund less well off countries…

    Less Cigarettes sold – less tax – less avaliable money to spend…HIGHER TAXES FOR NON-SMOKERS!

    I know what your thinking, sure we spend it all on the NHS treating those filthy, nasty, coughing and spluttering l’il smokers but i have the solution!

    Anyone over hmmm…(1960’s…) say about 45 who were made aware of dangers and didn’t stop, make them go private. They obviously have money to spend on ridiculously high priced products.

  • Ginfizz

    First hand-guns. Then Hunting. Now smoking in public. What’s next on the New Labour social engineeering, petty middle class hit-list?

  • Dr. Castleman

    “Cellular phones are just fine…for all the studies you reference on the dangers, there are 1000s of safety studies”.

    Where are these 1000s of studies? Who funded them? Was it motorola and vodaphone? Seems like all of the mobiles are “safe” come from nokia etc. You can live in your dream world created by the mobile industry, but mobile phones are not wee toys to be handed out to children. We have absolutely no idea of what the long term consequences are. Research money is difficult to come by for non-industry investigators, and the minority of studies that are not supported by the mobile industry are raising concerns. I agree with Barnes that this business is so much like tobacco. The agressive marketing tactics to children are sinful.

    “Hence the government is taking this reasonable step to prevent billions of £ worth of cases against employers in years to come. I fully expect the arrogant disregard of the pro-smokers to come to the fore but it is the pub owner who will be fined if they permit smoking in areas where smoking will be banned.”

    Jo, catch yourself on. In the most letigious nation on the planet, the USA, smoking bans have been working out very well over the last 3-4 years. More then 30 of the 50 States have smoking bans. There are no long lines of people looking to bring cases against employers. If there are issues, they are usually mediated according to the local laws. Employers should be legally liable if they do not comply with the ban, its a responsibility that comes along with being an employer. Public health encompasses work place health. That is why employers are liable if they leave a wet floor or use dangerous materials. If Woodward went along with your way of thinking, we would still be thinking about whether we should use lead in paint beacuse an employer might be liable. It is also a responsibility of the pub owner. If they do not comply with the law, they should be fined… just as if they allowed underage drinking, or just as if they allow someone to get more and more drunk without cutting them off. It is about responsibility, and the pub owner needs to take it… because public health is on the line.

    Woodward doesn’t need half a minute to consider this ban. A delay, Jo, is no “reasonable” step.

  • Ringo

    Just a thought…

    A large amount of government revenue is collected from the sale of cigarettes. Unlike Ireland, the UK actually PAY INTO Europe to fund less well off countries…

    Just a plain wrong….

  • Concerned Loyalist

    “SMOKING KILLS”…That is one of the many hard-hitting messages that appear on cigarette packets in the United Kingdom.

    That is the long and the short of it. It may or may not have a detrimental effect on the local pub/club atmosphere, with people nipping outside to smoke, but that is a small sacrifice to make to save lives. In particular those who work in the hospitality industry deserve a smoke-free working environment. After a discussion on the subject with New York Mayor Bloomberg, Shaun Woodward claimed that these employees inhale an average of 10 cigarettes in an 8 hour shift through passive smoking…this is totally unacceptable and must be addressed immediately!

  • Ginfizz

    This is what everyone wants to know. The truth is that the scientific establishment has found it impossible to reach agreement on the issue. Interviewed on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs (23 February 2001), Professor Sir Richard Doll, the first scientist to publish research that suggested a correlation between lung cancer and primary smoking, commented: ‘The effects of other people smoking in my presence is so small it doesn’t worry me.’

    Professor Doll’s comments may surprise some people but not those who have analysed the argument about passive smoking in detail. In 1992, for example, the American Environmental Protection Agency published a report that was said to demonstrate the link between passive smoking and ill health in non-smokers. In 1996 however a US federal court ruled that the EPA had completely failed to prove its case. It was found not only to have abandoned recognised statistical practice, but to have excluded studies which did not support its pre-determined conclusion, and to have been inconsistent in its classification of ETS compared with other substances.

    Likewise, in 1997, the National Health & Medical Research Council in Australia was found guilty by a federal court judge of acting improperly in preparing its draft report on passive smoking because it didn’t consider all the relevant scientific evidence and submissions.

    If that wasn’t damning enough, in March 1998 the World Health Organisation was forced to admit that the results of a seven-year study (the largest of its kind) into the link between passive smoking and lung cancer were not ‘statistically significant’. This is because the risk of a non-smoker getting lung cancer has been estimated at 0.01%. According to WHO, non-smokers are subjecting themselves to an increased risk of 16-17% if they consistently breathe other people’s tobacco smoke. This may sound alarming, but an increase of 16-17% on 0.01 is so small that, in most people’s eyes, it is no risk at all.

    Case against passive smoking rests on an absurdity

    Writing in the Daily Telegraph (24 March 1998), medical editor Dr James Le Fanu replied to claims that he had misled readers about the WHO study by pointing out that the case against passive smoking rests on an absurdity (ie ‘that it allegedly causes a type of cancer in non-smokers, adenocarcinoma, known not to be related to smoking’). Referring to an editorial on ETS in The Lancet that identified ‘a special risk with adenocarcinoma in contrast to the squamous cancers of the airways seen most often in active smokers’, Le Fanu wrote, ‘Passive smoking cannot conceivably cause lung cancer.’

    A further critique of WHO’s ETS study, which appeared in the Economist (15 March 1998), pointed out that, ‘It is dangerous to become involved in campaigns that are not solidly based on scientific evidence’ and added: ‘Although passive smoking is unpleasant and irritating for non-smokers, that alone cannot justify banning it in public places.’

    A year later, in July 1999, in its draft Approved Code of Practice on Smoking at Work, the United Kingdom’s Health and Safety Commission declared that, ‘Proving beyond reasonable doubt that passive smoking … was a risk to health is likely to be very difficult, given the state of the scientific evidence.’ Interestingly, the UK Government has yet to implement the ACoP, which may have something to do with the lack of conclusive evidence about passive smoking and ill health.

    Greater London Assembly report

    Worse was to follow for anti-smoking campaigners. In April 2002, following an exhaustive six-month investigation during which written and oral evidence was supplied by organisations including ASH, Cancer Research UK and FOREST, the Greater London Assembly Investigative Committee on Smoking in Public Places declined to recommend ANY further restrictions on smoking in public places, stating very clearly that it is not easy to prove a link between passive smoking and lung cancer.

    As joint author of the report, Angie Bray put on record her opposition to a total ban on smoking in public places in a letter to the Daily Telegraph (5 July 2003). According to Bray, ‘The assembly spent six months investigating whether a smoking ban should be imposed in public places in London. After taking evidence from all sides, including health experts, it was decided that the evidence gathered did not justify a total smoking ban.’

    British Medical Journal report

    Most recently of all, an explosive new study that seriously questions the impact of environmental tobacco smoke on health was published by the British Medical Journal (16 May 2003). According to the study, one of the largest of its kind, the link between environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer may be considerably weaker than generally believed.

    The analysis, by James Enstrom of the University of California, Los Angeles and Geoffrey Kabat of New Rochelle, New York, involved 118,094 California adults enrolled in the
    American Cancer Society cancer prevention study in 1959, who were followed until 1998. Particular focus was on the 35,561 never smokers who had a spouse in the study with known smoking habits.

    The authors found that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, as estimated by smoking in spouses, was not significantly associated with death from coronary heart disease or lung cancer at any time or at any level of exposure. These findings, say the authors, suggest that environmental tobacco smoke could not plausibly cause a 30% increased risk of coronary heart disease, as is generally believed, although a small effect cannot be ruled out.

    No clear connection

    Perhaps admitting defeat on the link between ETS and lung cancer, the anti-smokers now argue that passive smoking is responsible for a whole range of other problems, including the rising number of asthmatics. Incredibly, smoking is being held responsible for the increased prevalence of a range of illnesses over a period when the prevalence of smoking has dramatically declined and the places where people smoke have been increasingly restricted.

    The simple fact is that in terms of establishing a clear causal connection between exposure to ETS and illness in non-smokers, the anti-smoking industry has continually failed to prove its case.

    Neddless to say. none of the above has deterred the anti-smoking lobby. Indeed, the British Medical Association, aided and abetted by ASH, is now claiming (November 2002) that ‘There is no safe level of environmental tobacco smoke.’

    While it is perfectly legitimate for people to express a dislike of the smell of tobacco smoke, the distortion of scientific, statistical, methodological, and research procedure to provide a medical justification for banning smoking in public places is not acceptable, least of all as a pretext for removing the rights of 13 million British adults.

  • Jo

    “Le Fanu wrote, ‘Passive smoking cannot conceivably cause lung cancer.”

    This man’s research is sponsored by Forest and the tobacco indusrry. Hardly suprising that he comes out with this result, eh?

    I think posters are a little bit more aware that researach sponsored by a mutli billion industry might JUST be a little suspect. If you dont believe passive smoking kills, try to spend more time deep inhaling other peoples stray smoke.

  • bertie

    Risk to health is very important but its not the only thing. Even if it was proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that passive smoking posed no health risks I still don’t want to have to do it.

  • Ginfizz


    To be fair, the article above did come from the FOREST website – although I do agree with its content.

    How well informed you are!

  • Jo

    I also think for myself on this subject – as a member of the public. I don’t always feel the need to cut and paste.

    Dr Castleman,
    Thank you for your advice to catch myself on.

    Do I need a prescription? My point was simply that this legislation will pre-empt many court cases which are inevitable given the long term exposure and damage caused by passive smoking in pubs and restaurants.

  • Jo

    PS, er, Doctor: I am in FAVOUR of the ban.

    My concern is that any delay in legislation provides an opportunity for lobbying by the “hospitality” industry, who of course have a vested interest in prolonging this debate..its saving them money in the short term.

    Govt. is trying to save them from the long-term consequences of continuing to enforce dangerous working conditions for their employees – if they had but the wit to see that…

  • Dr. Castleman

    Jo – I was just kidding when I said catch yourself on :). I didn’t think that you were not in favour of a ban, I just completely disagree that a delay is going to save billions of pounds in the future. Again, precedent has been set in the USA.

    Ginfizz: You seem up on the research that the tobacco companies would want you to believe is reality. I am wondering, do you work in the industry? Here a some studies I would like your comments on…1. that passive inhalation accounts for 80-90% of the effects of smoking. 2. That some scientists produce research that is funded by the tobacco industry and softens the message that passive smoke is bad for humans 3. that more than 50 studies show a consistent effect on passive smoking and lung cancer. 4. that parents who smoke force their children to passive smoke 60-150 cigaretes a year. and 5. That passive smoking increases oxidative stress in kids. Once you show that Ginfizz, the connections to a host of other illnesses will follow. As Barnes previously pointed out, oxidative stress can manifest in a number of illneses in children.

    You will note my cutting and pasting abilities too.

    Circulation. 2005 May 24;111(20):2684-98.

    Cardiovascular effects of secondhand smoke: nearly as large as smoking.

    Barnoya J, Glantz SA.

    BACKGROUND: Secondhand smoke increases the risk of coronary heart disease by approximately 30%. This effect is larger than one would expect on the basis of the risks associated with active smoking and the relative doses of tobacco smoke delivered to smokers and nonsmokers. METHODS AND RESULTS: We conducted a literature review of the research describing the mechanistic effects of secondhand smoke on the cardiovascular system, emphasizing research published since 1995, and compared the effects of secondhand smoke with the effects of active smoking. Evidence is rapidly accumulating that the cardiovascular system–platelet and endothelial function, arterial stiffness, atherosclerosis, oxidative stress, inflammation, heart rate variability, energy metabolism, and increased infarct size–is exquisitely sensitive to the toxins in secondhand smoke. The effects of even brief (minutes to hours) passive smoking are often nearly as large (averaging 80% to 90%) as chronic active smoking. CONCLUSIONS: The effects of secondhand smoke are substantial and rapid, explaining the relatively large risks that have been reported in epidemiological studies

    BMJ (British Medical Journal) 2005;331:70 (9 July, 2005)

    Public health scientists accused of soft peddling the dangers of passive smoking after taking grants from tobacco related organisations
    Heidelberg Annette Tuffs

    Four German public health scientists have been publicly criticised in Der Spiegel magazine for accepting funding from the tobacco industry in return for supporting tobacco friendly research projects and policies in the 1980s.

    Berlin journalist and public health expert Dietmar Jazbinsek discovered the names of 15 German prominent public health scientists in the internet archives of the 40 million documents which the tobacco industry had to make public following a US court decision in 1998.

    He claimed that the documents showed that four of them received large sums from the tobacco industry or organisations dependent on the tobacco industry for their research and had repaid the favour by doing tobacco friendly research and by promoting tobacco friendly health advice.

    Lung Cancer. 2004 Aug;45 Suppl 2:S3-9.

    Tobacco smoking and cancer: a brief review of recent epidemiological evidence.

    Sasco AJ, Secretan MB, Straif K.

    International Agency for Research on Cancer, France.

    This report summarises the epidemiological evidence on the association between tobacco smoking and cancer, which was reviewed by an international group of scientists convened by IARC. Studies published since the 1986 IARC Monograph on “Tobacco smoking” provide sufficient evidence to establish a causal association between cigarette smoking and cancer of the nasal cavities and paranasal sinuses, nasopharynx, stomach, liver, kidney (renal cell carcinoma) and uterine cervix, and for adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus and myeloid leukaemia. These sites add to the previously established list of cancers causally associated with cigarette smoking, namely cancer of the lung, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, pancreas, urinary bladder and renal pelvis. Other forms of tobacco smoking, such as cigars, pipes and bidis, also increase risk for cancer, including cancer of the lung and parts of the upper aerodigestive tract. A meta-analysis of over 50 studies on involuntary smoking among never smokers showed a consistent and statistically significant association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and lung cancer risk. Smoking is currently responsible for a third of all cancer deaths in many Western countries. It has been estimated that every other smoker will be killed by tobacco.

    East Mediterr Health J. 2003 May;9(3):441-7. Related Articles, Links

    Effects of passive smoking on children’s health: a review.

    Hawamdeh A, Kasasbeh FA, Ahmad MA.

    King Hussein Medical Centre, Amman, Jordan.

    Since the mid-1980s there has been increasing interest in the effects of passive smoking on the health of children. It has been estimated that the total nicotine dose received by children whose parents smoke is equivalent to their actively smoking between 60 and 150 cigarettes per year. This review article considers the evidence for a relationship between passive smoking and disorders such as: prenatal damage to the fetus; poor growth indicators; respiratory illness; atopy and asthma; coronary heart disease; and sudden infant death syndrome. We conclude that paediatricians should not be complacent about the hazards of passive smoking for children and that public health education efforts should be continued.

    Eur J Pediatr. 2005 Jul 16; [Epub ahead of print] Related Articles, Links

    Increased oxidative stress in infants exposed to passive smoking.

    Aycicek A, Erel O, Kocyigit A.

    Divanyolu Caddesi, Gonullu Ishanl Kat 3, 63080, Sanliurfa, Turkey.

    The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of passive cigarette smoking on the oxidative and anti-oxidative status of plasma in infants. Eighty-four infants aged 6-28 weeks were divided into two groups: the study group included infants who had been exposed to passive smoking via at least five cigarettes per day for at least the past 6 weeks at home, while the control group included infants who had never been exposed to passive smoking. The antioxidative status of plasma was assessed by the measurement of individual antioxidant components: vitamin C, albumin, bilirubin, uric acid, thiol contents and total antioxidant capacity (TAC 1 and TAC 2). Oxidative status was assessed by the determination of total peroxide levels and the oxidative stress index (OSI 1 and OSI 2). Plasma vitamin C, thiol concentration and TAC 1 and TAC 2 levels were significantly lower, whereas plasma total peroxide levels and OSI 1 and OSI 2 were significantly higher, in passive smoking infants than in the controls (P

  • Ginfizz

    Dr. Castleman

    I don’t work in the tobacco industry – I’m in lobbying (much more evil). I find the arguments re. passive smoking fairly weak. I want a society in which people can pick to live their lives whatever way they want. The anti-smoking brigade just come accross to me as nasty, petty little new-Labour fascists. The same people that ushered through a ban on hunting with dogs and handguns.

  • bertie


    I don’t mind you smoking if you want to. (Well ok I’d rather nobody ever did anything that was bad for them but hey, I’ve a highish colestoral count and a passion for chilli and sour cream). I just don’t want to have to smoke as well.

  • Ginfizz

    I don’t smoke. I think its a filthy habit. I just don’t believe in bullying people.

  • Jo

    No-one is being bullied.
    Do you feel bullied because its illegal to use your mobile while driving, by the 30 MPH limit, by the drink-driving laws, by the fact that you won’t be served in a bar if youre drunk?
    The same social and legal framework that prevents you from pouring the last 1/4 pint over your neighbour at the bar will be employed to ensure that the sidestream smoke from my colleague’s cigarette won’t go into my lungs.

  • Ginfizz

    Oh please. Stop being such a drama queen.

    Churchil smoked cigars all his life and lived till he was ninety.

    I doubt very much that your life will be shortened in any way by someone near you smoking.

  • Baxter

    To Ginfizz’s point…when will it end. Look at this in New Jersey, USA. Next they will stop us from chewing gum in a car, or even while walking. What about an ice-lolly and a 99 poke?

    New Jersey to stop smoking while driving
    > TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – Ashtrays have been disappearing in cars like fins on
    > Cadillacs, and so could smoking while driving in New Jersey, under a
    > measure introduced in the Legislature.
    > Although the measure faces long odds, it still has smokers incensed and
    > arguing it’s a Big Brother intrusion that threatens to take away one of
    > the few places they can enjoy their habit. “The day a politician wants to
    > tell me I can’t smoke in my car, that’s the day he takes over my lease
    > payments,” said John Cito, a financial planner from Hackensack with a
    > taste for $20 US cigars.
    > Those cigars, pipes and cigarettes would become no-nos for drivers.
    > Offenders would be stung with a fine of up to $250, under the measure,
    > whose sponsor said it’s designed more to improve highway safety than
    > protect health.
    > Some states, including New Jersey, have considered putting the brakes on
    > smoking while children are in the car. But none have gone for an outright
    > ban on smoking while driving, according to Washington, D.C.-based Action
    > on Smoking and Health, the country’s oldest anti-tobacco organization.
    > Smokers, feeling like easy targets, say enough already. They argue they’ve
    > been forced outside office buildings, run off the grounds of public
    > facilities, and asked to pony up more in per-pack excise taxes when states
    > feel a budget squeeze.
    > “With smoking, it’s becoming increasingly fashionable to target
    > legislation or prohibitions,” said George Koodray, a member of the
    > Metropolitan Cigar Society, a 100-strong group that meets in Paterson for
    > dinner and a smoke.
    > Assemblyman John McKeon, a tobacco opponent whose father died of
    > emphysema, sponsored the legislation. He cites a AAA-sponsored study on
    > driver distractions in which the automobile association found that of
    > 32,000 accidents linked to distraction, one per cent were related to
    > smoking.
    > The measure, co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Lorretta Weinberg, a fellow
    > Democrat, was introduced last month just before legislators’ summer break.
    > It faces some improbable odds for passing.
    > Some legislators may fear the bill is frivolous compared with more
    > pressing issues like taxes, said political analyst David Rebovich.
    > And there’s this to consider: Traffic safety groups acknowledge motorists
    > now widely ignore the state’s year-old law against using hand-held
    > cellphones, so why would smoking be any different?
    > Mitchell Sklar, of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police,
    > said police departments may balk at enforcing such a law. “In general,
    > we’d rather not try to incrementally look at every single behaviour and
    > make those a violation,” he said.

  • Ginfizz


    Well spotted. If I might (rather distastefully) paraphrase.

    First they came for the handgun enthusiasts, and I didnae object for I wasnae a handgun enthusiast.

    Then they came for the fox-hunters, and I didn’t object for I was not a fox-hunter.

    Then they came for the hare coursing set, and I didn’t object for I didn’t go hare-coursing.

    Then they came for the tobacco-lovers, and I didn’t object for I wasn’t a tobacco smoker.

    By the time they came for me, I had died of boredom because all the fun had been taken out of life.

    Welcome to Blairs Britain – a soul-less, life-less, talent-less, charcterless sh*thole, where northern mediocirities lecture us all on how to live, where dreadful people like Alan Millburn are government ministers. Where certain minorities – Gays, Muslims, Immigrants etc have to be treated with caution and care, and other minorities have to be shat upon from a great height – Hunters, Shooters, Smokers and anyone with a remotely Conservative point of view is branded a racist.

    Waken up Britain!

  • Jo

    As the subject is smoking and the premature deaths of thousands of people every year due to smoking-related illness, perhaps you would be good enough to elaborate to the soul-less and character-less, the “fun” of emphysema, tar filled lungs, chronic shortness of breath and amputated limbs?

    Its not so much that smoking kills, it also deprives many more people of so much enjoyment of life before they die. I think you want to wake up – and go volunteer to visit some patients in the City Hospital.

  • Bored

    Comments like Jo’s last merely continue to emphasise the confusion at the centre of this entire debate. The smoking ban in the south is NOT about stopping people smoking (though that does appear to have been a correlative result of its enforcement). The ban is all about protecting people who DON’t smoke from people who DO.

    How fucking simple can an issue be.

    If I decided that I liked burning manure and insisted that I be allowed to do it in every pub, restaurant and cafe of my choice what sort of reaction do you think that I would get from Ginfizz et al. – precisely – I’d be told to piss off sharpish.

    Really folks there are more intractable, complex and demanding issues worthy of our debate than this no-brainer.

  • Dr. Castleman


    Apparently minister Woodward does not consider it a no-brainer. He and his cohorts are probably in a cigar bar having a cognac and thinking it over.

  • Jo

    I beg your pardon, I didnt believe my comments display confusion nor do I believe that they merited the use of the “eff” word.
    All of the smoking-related problems I listed could equally be caused by inhalation of smoke from others, although cancer of the mouth face ad oesophagus might be more common. The ban is about protecting employees, as well as members of the public, so at least I hope that that has added to your knowledge of this subject.

    This is probably the most important public health issue of the last twenty years, so I believe its important to discuss – sorry if you feel there is something else you would rather fight about!

  • Gerry O’Sullivan

    Bored wrote:
    The smoking ban in the south is NOT about stopping people smoking (though that does appear to have been a correlative result of its enforcement).

    I believe that trying to make people quit was one of the prime reasons behind the ban in the Republic. Fewer smokers means fewer people needing treatment for smoking-related illnesses, thus less pressure on the health system.

    Trying to ban smoking altogether just wouldn’t work, so the next best thing is to make it as inconvenient as possible to smoke outside your own home.

    The remarkable thing about the ban was that it came from a Fianna Fáil minister, despite severe opposition from the publicans’ lobby. Also, the fact that the real benefits (i.e. less pressure on the health service) will not be enjoyed for another 15-20 years. Long-term thinking is a scarce commodity on the benches of Leinster House.

  • Ginfizz

    “Apparently minister Woodward does not consider it a no-brainer. He and his cohorts are probably in a cigar bar having a cognac and thinking it over.”

    Now that sounds like fun!

  • Mark

    Maybe I’m wrong on this, but I thought the handgun ban was brought in by the Conservatives. Throwing chewing gum out of your car IS illegal, it is littering, an offence which is far too laxly enforced if you ask me. Protecting non-smokers’ health is a good reason to ban smoking in enclosed places, but far from the only one. Stinking clothes has been mentioned and sounds a bit frivolous, but would be a welcome change. The biggest benefit will be to ex-smokers – I’m sure every user knows someone who has quit then fallen off the wagon while drunk, or has done so themselves – to people who only smoke a few a day but go mad when they have had a few drinks and to those who start smoking when they are out.

    The really irritating thing is that Woodward admitted in his speech that the smoking ban in New York was a major factor in helping him give up, yet he still hasn’t made his mind up what he should do here.

  • Baxter

    Ginfizz – one more for you on our changing times. You just can’t even make this stuff up.
    Wagging antenna? Roof turning red out of anger?

    See the news clip below…

    New technology and road rage
    > Animating rage
    > Soon, cars will have the capability to show “emotions” – like “pleasure”
    > and “anger” – create a safer and more joyful atmosphere for people driving
    > on congested roads. Four inventors working with Toyota believe it would
    > and have just patented the concept in Japan. In practice the driver of an
    > “emotional vehicle” would feed details of their own mood into the car’s
    > computer system. In turn, the car would combine the data with what the
    > car’s monitoring system observed about prevailing traffic conditions. The
    > net result would be a car whose roof turned red if another car cut in, or
    > wagged its antenna if pleased.

    Can’t you see it now, young lads fighting on the dual carriageway because one had the nerve to put on a red roof, or someone wagged their antenna at some muckers wife lol lol

  • Valenciano

    Gerry: “Fewer smokers means fewer people needing treatment for smoking-related illnesses, thus less pressure on the health system.”

    Nope it means less cash for the health system (as often 60% plus of the price of a pack goes to the government) and additionally people living maybe up to 10 years longer, thus using the NHS more and also receiving pension costs which otherwise would have went to the NHS.

    Jo: “Its not so much that smoking kills, it also deprives many more people of so much enjoyment of life before they die.”

    Which again comes back to you imposing your view and values on other people. Their choice surely? As many people enjoy smoking then surely removing that right is what is depriving them of enjoyment. My grandad quit smoking and booze for health reasons and spent a soulless and depressing final 5 years – I really wonder why he bothered.

    Mark: “The really irritating thing is that Woodward admitted in his speech that the smoking ban in New York was a major factor in helping him give up, yet he still hasn’t made his mind up what he should do here.”

    So because Woodward was too weak willed to quit on his own accord everyone else should be treated like him? What next: crash helmets in cars and a speed limit of 30mph on all roads? I mean like many non-drivers I resent breathing in peoples car fumes!

    How about reintroducing rationing – look at the health benefits from the government deciding what we should and shouldn’t eat! Maybe we should also have compulsory weekly government inspections of our homes to ensure that we’re not doing anything that would harm us, after all it’s up to the government and not us to look after our own wellbeing right? The answer to all this is that in a free society we all make our own choices and live by them.

  • Z Boo

    Mobile phone radiation is frying our brains!! Turn off your phones people!!!

    Soon we will need full body suits and breathing apparatus to live in this world.

    Valenciano, how do you feel about mobile phones?

  • Valenciano

    ZBoo obviously mobile phones should be banned from public places including bars – think of the harm that passive radiation does! A benevolent government should protect us from such evils.