Enforcing a smoking ban

As the smoking ban D-day in Northern Ireland comes ever closer the Belfast Telegraph reviews the impact of the prohibition in other countries that have introduced it. Meanwhile, how it operates in Scotland is being debated. Keith Richards and Hampden Park face fines after he smoked during the Rolling Stones concert and recently, an Edinburgh venue was threatened with closer unless it stopped Mel Smith from smoking on stage as part of his show about Churchill.

  • Let’s hope politicians don’t blindly follow the word of the FRLT on this one like they did when they opposed the limited liberalisation of liquor laws recently. This is one of the few occasions on which nannystatism is needed and is desirable.

    Smoking Kills. Kill Smoking.

  • fmk

    never mind saving the bloody apostrophe (what is this – no news day? i’ve heard that story about a dozen times since 7.00 am this morning – it’s a bank holiday on the mainland so we have to go to sleep too?) how about a campaign to put the u back into closure?

    🙂

  • nmc

    It would be ideal if there were smoking clubs, or something to keep us puffers happy. In Spain all restaurants and bars have to display a sign on the door saying whether you can smoke or not.

    This seems to work ok, if you want a non-smoking atmosphere then you can get one, or you can eat in a smoking establishment. One thing I think everyone will notice – the new smell in bars, stale beer, urine and vomit, but no fag odour.

  • eranu

    totally disagree about the smoking ban. its a load of hyped up hysteria. there are a million more dangerous things around. if you’re that worried about your health then stay indoors and breath bottled oxygen through a mask.

    the amount of people that smoke is minimal and you rarely get a smokey atmosphere in a pub or club. whats happened with these bans is that a few people twisted the public into going along with what THEY wanted. not what the public was crying out for. it worked because in todays society if someone says something is harmful or bad, and you argue against it, then YOU are the bad guy. if you say something is an acceptable risk then all of a sudden you are the devil himself. the smoking thing got warped out of all proportion.
    as an example, there are a certain amount of people killed on the roads every year. if there was a campaign to reduce the national speed limit to 20 mph so that nobody was ever killed on the roads again. arguing against this and saying that its ok that 100 people die on the roads would make you look like the worst person in the world. when in reality the speed limits are what they are because present casualty figures are acceptable loses to most people.

    smoking is legal. banning it in pubs is an enormous erosion of people liberties.

    remember all the public out cry over smoking over the last 10 years? no? me neither….

  • Garibaldy

    The point is the health of people who work where others smoke. Liberty is the freedom to do what you want as long as it doesn’t negatively impact upon others.

  • Eranu-

    Are you joking when you say that there is rarely a smoky atmosphere in pubs and clubs? Perhaps you are a smoker and may not notice, but simply popping into a pub for five minutes leaves one’s clothes stinking of smoke for the rest of the day. As I mentioned on another thread, I called into the John Hewitt for a pint on Saturday, but upon entering I promptly turned on my tail and left as the place was reeking with fumes.

    As Garibaldy says, the key is the rights of workers. Why should they be exposed to a much greater risk of illness compared to their counterparts elsewhere in the service industry, just to keep a small number of smokers happy?

    There may be a million more dangerous things around (I’m struggling to think of just a few in everyday life, never mind a million), but if simple action can be taken to reduce those risks without major disruption or significant curtailment of rights, then I think that it is good. It was a nuisance to switch over to unleaded petrol, for instance, but it reduced the risks posed by leaded petrol.

    Apart from that, being able to enjoy a pint or meal without going home coughing or stinking of an ashtray is an additional bonus.

  • kloot

    you rarely get a smokey atmosphere in a pub or club.

    Dont know how you came up with that. For non smokers, the smoking ban in the Republic has been a joy. I can now go to a pub, have a few pints and leave and not have my close and person smelling of smoke. I use my inhaler alot less as well. Every time I walk into a pub up north im reminded of how bad it used to be down south. And in fact the smoking ban in pubs has also had the effect of changing smokers attitude to smoking around other people in non pub environments as well. I see it in my mates/family who will now go outside someones house for a smoke. People no longer presume to just light up in someones house.

    Long may it continue

  • kloot

    Spelling mistake “not have my close” should of course read “not have my clothes”.. it was a LONG weekend!!

  • eranu

    el matador,
    come on, you’re exaggerating the smokey atmos a bit! ive never been in a bar in belfast city centre where there is overwhelming smoke in the air. you cant change the law to ban something that is legal just because it makes your shirt a bit smelly after a night out. how about banning red wine because if its spilt on your shirt it might be murder to get out ?? 🙂

    as regards workers health. i think on this issue that if you dont like any smoke around you then dont work in a bar. its obvious! if i didnt like heights i wouldnt be a crane operator and if i didnt like driving i wouldnt be a taxi driver. health is important, but its way overboard and unfair to ban a legal activity like this. an outright ban impacts on peoples socialising and on their weekend and nights out. thats a major restriction in a liberal democracy.

  • fair_deal

    “The point is the health of people who work where others smoke. Liberty is the freedom to do what you want as long as it doesn’t negatively impact upon others.”

    What about the harm caused by those under the influence of alcohol? The negative impacts of it are probably more demonstrable on others than passive smoking so why is it targetted?

  • Garibaldy

    Eranu,

    It’s being restricted rather than banned. Restricted to areas where it can’t harm others.
    People need to work, and one of the major points of social legislation since the C19th has been to ensure their health and safety while they do so. Removing smoking from pubs is in line with laws to remove abestos.

  • Garibaldy

    FD,

    One person drinking alcohol does not in and of itself harm others. But when people do things that do harm others under the influence of alcohol they are punished for those actions. It is the actions that harm others, not the alcohol in and of itself. That is different than smoking.

  • B em us ed

    One of the better arguments in favour of the ban – just look at the grammatical state of eranu’s posts. With half-wits like this opposing it you know it makes sense.

  • Peter

    I’ve often wondered whether opponents of the ban would be happy to tolerate someone taking a dump on the floor beside their table in a restaurant.

  • eranu

    garibaldy, i thought it was a total ban they were going for? if not, it soon will be. down here in the ‘unoccupied 26 counties’ 😉 its a total ban. so when you go for a night out to a public house you are not allowed to do something which is legal. my experience of bars at home in belfast is that the few people that want to smoke can do so and still stay around their mates and join in the conversation etc. in dublin some of your crowd in the pub are missing at intervals during the night. this removes them from whats going on, and also removes you from any crack they are having.

    i understand your point about health and safety but i think that smoking and drinking go hand in hand in a pub. they are the main part of the nations social pastimes. its a big over reaction to tell people they cant smoke in a pub because of minor health issues such as passive smoking.

    basically smoking in bars is not a big deal and changing the law to stop it is a massive over reaction.

  • Garibaldy

    Eranu,

    It is a ban inside the bar. Which is different than a total ban (i.e no smoking in the street) was the point I was making.

  • foreign correspondent

    The smoking measures in Spain are crap. Bars under 100m squared could choose to be smoking or non-smoking. The vast majority of these chose to remain smoking bars either because they wanted to or because they were are afraid to lose customers. Bars over 100m squared have to have a no-smoking area. By and large this is respected but in one bar I go to there is often someone smoking in the non-smoking area and the owner doesn´t say a thing to them. My solution? Bring in the total ban that is in force in the Republic. Smokers shouldn´t be allowed to impose their smoke on others.

  • nmc

    I still think there should be a choice. Maybe even allow a number of bars to become licensed for smokers, and keep the majority for non smokers.

    I’ve often wondered whether opponents of the ban would be happy to tolerate someone taking a dump on the floor beside their table in a restaurant.

    Come again? So if you were in the great outdoors you would be equally uncomfortable if someone came up to you with a fag, or someone sat down beside you and took a dump on the ground? Smoking and defecating in public are not really comparable.

  • bertie

    Whatever Anyone thinks of having ban in public places, surely the Mel Smith – Churchill thing is a stage (he he) too far!

    (Although I thought that fire regulations had already done for actually lighting up on stage)

  • Bem us ed

    Having smoking areas in pubs is like having pissing areas in swimming pools.

  • Eranu-

    “you cant change the law to ban something that is legal just because it makes your shirt a bit smelly after a night out. how about banning red wine because if its spilt on your shirt it might be murder to get out.”

    I don’t believe I did argue that there should be a ban because of the smell it leaves on clothes. I simply pointed out that the end of such an occurance is a frimnge benefit.

    “i think on this issue that if you dont like any smoke around you then dont work in a bar. its obvious! if i didnt like heights i wouldnt be a crane operator and if i didnt like driving i wouldnt be a taxi driver.”

    A little glib of you. Scaling heights is fundamental to crane operation. Driving a car is fundamental to taxiing. Inhaling poisonous fumes is not fundamental to bar work, hence the fact it is being banned. If people choose to inhale carcinogens in the privacy of their own home, then so be it, but no one in a public setting should have to endure it. A lot of people have little choice but to engage in bar work- it’s bad enough considering the anti-social hours and bad pay such workers experience- the least we can do is ensure that they don’t get ill or die because of it.

  • eranu

    el matador,
    “I don’t believe I did argue that there should be a ban because of the smell it leaves on clothes.”
    yep, didnt mean it to sound like that.

    you sound pretty strongly anti smoking because of the health impact. my general attitude, which covers light smoking, is that things that are a little bit bad for you arent that big a deal. the negative effects are blown out of proportion.

    anyways, its pissing down outside. time to get soaked on the walk home !

  • ha_ha_ha_he_he_he

    I can’t wait for this ban, it’ll stop the smokers actually smoking as much (me). Just wish it’d hurry up, save me a fortune!

  • Eranu-

    Indeed, the health impact is my key motivator, but as I say, I’m quite happy for people to clog their lungs in their own homes. As one who is normally socially liberal, in the instance of passive smoking in public areas I make an exception in that I support legislative intervention to end it.

  • Valenciano

    The Spanish ban was a classic example of how such bans are business-unfriendly. Of about 500 bars near the centre of Valencia, 10 went no smoking on 1 January 2006 when the partial ban was introduced. By the end of February all but two were back to permitting smoking as they lost not only smoking cutomers but their friends who accompanied them on a night out.

    As for workers, Eranu is right – people have freedom of choice not only in where they go on a night out but also in where they work. Such nanny state measures are the start of a slippery slope.

  • Garibaldy

    That slippery slope began a long time ago with banning children from going up chimneys

  • All these anti-smoking people are right you know, we shouldn’t allow things that put people at risk. A 5 mph limt on cars, a complete ban on any type of drug (alcohol for example) and a death sentence for all those involved in distributing,selling or having any involvement in the drugs trade would most definitely result in an extreme drop in deaths caused by this type of thing. Then they could target pc and television use next, as it causes damage to the eyes. In fact, looking back at the point about cars, why not just ban all types of transport? I mean, if we all had to walk everywhere it would be much better for the environment, wouldn’t it!

  • Valenciano-

    “Such nanny state measures are the start of a slippery slope.”

    But is it? Big business rarely loses this kind of argument. This is one of those rare occasions where public health will trump the greenback. The very specific nature of this particular issue I believe will keep it aloof from other attempts at nannystatery (which should be strongly opposed).

    Garibaldy-

    Chuckles induced.

    Intelligence Insider-

    Is your handle an oxymoron?

  • Valenciano

    ElMata, the point would be that once you start restricting smoking there’s no real reason for not going off on a health bender about other things – fatty foods, booze, car use…

    It really just comes down to individual choice and I subscribe to the view that in a free society, adults should be able to make their own choices about what they do.

  • El Matador, taking into consideration some of your previous postings I will take your question as tongue in cheek! lol

    Perhaps you would be good enough to point out what was wrong in what I have mentioned?

  • Val-

    Well there is a good reason- smoking is uniformly and omnipotently threatening to the health of those in the environs of people using cigarettes. Fatty foods, booze and cars are only dangerous if misused, and with regard to food particularly, only dangerous to the person consuming it.

    I recognise the point you make, but I think smoking is a unique case and that any theoretical attempts to introduce similar restrictions/ bans in other areas of life would be vigorously opposed.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    El Matador: “But is it? Big business rarely loses this kind of argument. This is one of those rare occasions where public health will trump the greenback.”

    Will it, I wonder… one wonders what will happen when the tax revenues attributable to the sale of tobacco products dry up, as preachy anti-smoking folks claim to want.

    El Matador: “The very specific nature of this particular issue I believe will keep it aloof from other attempts at nannystatery (which should be strongly opposed). ”

    Bollocks. The health fanatics will simply chalk up a victory and move on to the next issue.

  • nutjack

    blame that trumpet-playing bastard Roy Castle

    dedication, dedication, dedication’s what you need…if you want to be a clean air inflicting health fascist dictating ooo don’t make my shiny new shirt smell take the money from working mens clubs imbibe smoke through playing a trumpet die of cancer so everyone can whine about passive smoking even if there isn’t a proven link (unless you play a trumpet in a working mens club for 30 years) Record Breaker, yeehhhh!!!

  • JR

    Just back from a holiday in Kilarney. What a beautiful place!!

    It was a treat to lunch with the family in restaurants free of smoke. I can’t wait till the ban arrives!!

    Nutjack I hope you die of lung cancer.

  • El Matador

    “Fatty foods, booze and cars are only dangerous if misused, and with regard to food particularly, only dangerous to the person consuming it.”
    So, theres no danger to anyone else from a person who abuses alcochol?
    No danger to road users from a driver who eats too much fatty foods and is thus more likely to have a heart attack at the wheel?
    No danger of anyone being involved in any type of road traffic accident unless they have “misused” a car?

    If you want to ban smoking because it’s dangerous to non smokers then it’s the same as wanting to ban everything else!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    El Matador: “Fatty foods, booze and cars are only dangerous if misused, and with regard to food particularly, only dangerous to the person consuming it. ”

    Really?

    Reckless driving and drunk driving… ever heard of them?

  • DC-

    “Bollocks. The health fanatics will simply chalk up a victory and move on to the next issue.”

    Nice to see you too. By branding those who support the ban (the majority of the public, by all accounts) as ‘health fanatics’, you seek to undermine the case by virtue of those involved. I, for instance, am not a ‘health fanatic’. Far from it. In fact, I have just tucked into a tasty curry fried rice.

    “Reckless driving and drunk driving… ever heard of them?”

    Indeed I have. And both of them occur due to the misuse of booze and/ or cars. As I said.

  • Donnacha

    They banned smoking here in NZ pubs, bars and clubs almost two years ago. In a sweeping move to improve the lot of the working class (and to make it safe for politicos to go for a glass of chardonnay) they decided to ban the weed and trumpeted how much better it would be. Pubs would make more money; more non-smokers would go to the pub; everyone would be healthier and everyone would give up smoking. What shite. Pubs are closing here (as in the Republic, where 600 pubs have closed in the past two years, partly because of the ban) and owners are selling them for less than the bricks and mortar are worth. The number of people going to bars is static or declining. The non-smokers who used smoke as an excuse to sit home and sip sauvignon blanc have signally failed to trot off down the local for a pint and smoking levels are not dropping any faster. Of course, the stated aim is to eradicate smoking, as it is bad and it costs the health service about NZ$300 million annually in treatment. Where the government plan to recoup the NZ$960 million in taxes from cigarettes is a mystery to everyone including the Government. And it has failed in its aim. In my local — where the pub never smelt of smoke thanks to the massive air-exchange system the owner installed — we still close the doors and light up. The bouncer barred Health Department inspectors one night (for unsociable bhaviour) and we sat in side smoking like Lords’ bastards.

  • Billy Ghoti

    The real question is, should those people who wish to smoke tobacco be allowed to do so?

    As someone who smoked for 40+ years and hasn’t smoked for 3 years after spending 2 weeks in the cardiac ward of the Ulster Hospital, I say yes.

  • Comrade Stalin

    the amount of people that smoke is minimal and you rarely get a smokey atmosphere in a pub or club.

    Complete and total nonsense. Almost all bars in Belfast are smoky as hell.

    not what the public was crying out for.

    Got any evidence for that assertion ? As far as I am aware smoking bans have been popular whereever they have been implemented. If they were so unpopular then why don’t you find people running for an election on a “lift the ban” ticket ?

    smoking is legal. banning it in pubs is an enormous erosion of people liberties.

    There are several other liberties denied to you, such as the ability to take a shit in the middle of a street, or the liberty to empty radioactive waste into the water supply. Why aren’t you bleating about those ? Liberty my ass. We all live in a shared space.

    Valencio surprised :

    The Spanish ban was a classic example of how such bans are business-unfriendly.

    I can’t think of a state-mandated public health measure which has not been “business unfriendly”. If you’re going to argue against this then please stick to the justification being used, which is to do with public health. Please don’t try to argue that it’s not a good idea because it impacts profitability. Businesses and industries everywhere are required to follow the law when it comes to the environment, waste disposal and so on that they don’t do anything which is detrimental to public health.

    As for workers, Eranu is right – people have freedom of choice not only in where they go on a night out but also in where they work. Such nanny state measures are the start of a slippery slope.

    I’m particularly surprised to read this from you. Who would voluntarily choose bar work over a safer job ? Do you think people work in bars serving drunks in crappy conditions by choice ? You are talking as if the working population out there have total job mobility and can simply walk out of the bar and into another job. If only it were so.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Donnacha:

    Pubs are closing here (as in the Republic, where 600 pubs have closed in the past two years, partly because of the ban)

    Another old chestnut, completely unsupported by any available evidence. Have you seen the price of a house in Dublin lately ? If you were saving for a mortgage in the RoI, don’t you think it would occur to you to cut back on luxuries, such as hitting the (extremely expensive) bars in Dublin on the weekends ?

  • gg

    If it’s ok for smokers to put poisonous fumes into the air, is it ok if I go round and drop strychnine into their drinks? Or is that a different thing altogether?

  • moochin photoman

    The John Hewitt operates a no smoking policy up until 3.30pm after lunch has finished.

  • CS-

    “There are several other liberties denied to you, such as the ability to take a shit in the middle of a street.”

    A Classic 😉

  • Fraggle

    Another piece of rubbush that Nutjack trotted out is that there isn’t a link between smoking and adverse health effects. This is wrong and the evidence is gradually accumulating showing the risks. It’s been hard to prove due to the difficulty in controlling sample populations but the evidence is coming in.

    Regarding drinking and car use: people are allowed to drink and they are allowed to drive cars. Their freedom to do both at once is restricted to protect themselves and others. Using false analogies is not a good way to make your point.

  • Donnacha

    “Another old chestnut, completely unsupported by any available evidence. Have you seen the price of a house in Dublin lately ? If you were saving for a mortgage in the RoI, don’t you think it would occur to you to cut back on luxuries, such as hitting the (extremely expensive) bars in Dublin on the weekends ? ”

    Comrade Stalin, the figures I quoted are from the Vintner’s Federation of Ireland and form part of the organisation’s annual report. In the space of the first two years of the ban, 600 bars closed down, amounting to 10 percent of the VFI’s membership. The reasons for the, mostly rural, pub closures are the effects of the smoking ban, the effects of increased policing of drink-driving and local authority compliance charges. There is also a worry, according to the VFI, about pubs in Dublin being sold as they are now worth more as buildings than as licensed premises and, faced with a downturn in trade, owners are simply cashing in on a booming property market and selling them for conversion into flats.

  • Rory

    I blame the death of religion myself. Now that it is no longer ‘cool’ to declare a religious affiliation and have all the associated pleasures of condemning all who do not share your beliefs to hell, the natural puritans of the prissy lower middle orders must find a substitute means of condemnation whereby they can feel superior and have the added fun of hurting others with justification. This time round it’s eating meat and smoking.

    Next month non-organic vegetarians will be the target.

  • Donnacha

    I’m amazed they haven’t decided to limit the amount of booze available to each patron as well. After all, it’s bad for us. It’s all good news for the illegal drinking dens, mind you.

  • Garibaldy

    This isn’t about damaging your own health. It’s about damaging that of workers. That’s why the trade unions are the biggest supporters of smoking bans in the workplace. And rightly so.

  • Shay Begorrah

    I think that northies will find they quickly adapt to the smoking ban and afterwards wonder why it took so long to put it in place.

    The smoking ban is a clever bit of social engineering and has contributed to the decline in smoking in the south as well as making going to the pub a more pleasant and less dangerous experience for the 75% of the population who do not smoke. The initial embarrassing fudge of smoking ban legislation in Britain made me doff my cap once more to Pearse.

    Finally the closure of many smaller public houses has many contributing factors other than the smoking ban including property prices, the popularity of so called super pubs, the decline in the lunch time trade (because of cafes and sandwich bars) and the adoption of more European style socialising habits (ie: drinking wine at home while watching football).

    The Office of Tobacco Control website (www.otc.ie) has some data on levels of smoking in Ireland for those who are interested (precis: going down but not fast).

  • Comrade Stalin

    Comrade Stalin, the figures I quoted are from the Vintner’s Federation of Ireland

    Ah, so you found a completely impartial source. I’m glad you took the care to find an unbiased point of view.

    I’ve heard of this VFI report. It’s several years out of date at this stage, if I remember correctly.

    In the space of the first two years of the ban, 600 bars closed down, amounting to 10 percent of the VFI’s membership.

    OK, so the obvious questions are :

    – how many bars actually opened in the same period ?
    – how many bars closed or opened in the same periods prior to the ban ?
    – what evidence exists to show that any drop in business was actually caused by the smoking ban ? Is it completely inconceivable that issues such as the increasing cost of living may have led to the drop ?

    There is also a worry, according to the VFI, about pubs in Dublin being sold as they are now worth more as buildings than as licensed premises and, faced with a downturn in trade, owners are simply cashing in on a booming property market and selling them for conversion into flats.

    Did they name any of the pubs which closed and became flats ?

    I’ve a real hard time accepting any of the content of this pitch from the VFI. Pubs in Dublin still charge ridiculous prices, and the price of drink continues to rise (this is not consistent with their claim that they are losing business (you don’t put prices up when your customers are deserting you). I used to live in Dublin for a time before the ban – anecdotally speaking (and I know that doesn’t count for much), I can’t see any difference in terms of how busy the pubs are. The only difference I notice is the clean air.

    I’m amazed they haven’t decided to limit the amount of booze available to each patron as well. After all, it’s bad for us. It’s all good news for the illegal drinking dens, mind you.

    Smoking bans are aimed at protecting employees, not patrons. It’s not nanny statism so much as the government trying to head off a future risk of massive class-action lawsuits being brought by thousands of former bar workers dying of lung cancer.

  • Donnacha

    Well, fair enough CS, you don’t have to believe the VFI and perhaps it was naive of me to expect that organisation to be unbiased. If you want a for instance, which is not anecdotal by the way, I was home recently in Enniscorthy down in Wexford and did a bit of a tour of the town. Where there were once (three years ago when I was last home) 42 pubs in the town and its immediate environs, there are now 33. Speaking to the owners of some of the bars (Holohans, to name one example) they said that the smoking ban had the main effect on their turnover, with drops between 30 percent (in the bigger hotels) and 60 (in the smaller pubs, especially the old men’s pubs). People are drinking at home because they can smoke there and that is hitting pubs in the pocket. As for not raising prices when trade is down, that is not my experience at all, especially in England, where I managed pubs for a living. There, after continuous increases in beer prices, trade fell away. In reply, the breweries put the prices up to compensate for the fall in volume. Since spirits were not getting whacked in the same way (the chancellors of the time having a taste for whisky, one suspects) we were left with the ridiculous situation whereby the rich drank mass-produced ale and the poor had to be content with malt. The situation only changed with the profliferation of free houses and discount chains like Wetherspoons.
    I do agree that the cost of living will affect turnover and I wholeheartedly agree that Dublin’s beer is shockingly overpriced (more than a euro more per pint than the country).
    As for Dublin pubs being sold, this from August 20 Sunday Independent:

    “the property value of pubs has risen 188 per cent in just two years. So for a growing number of pub owners, it makes more economic sense to earn millions from the sale of the premises than to continue doing business.
    One body representing publicans in Ireland states that as much as 10 per cent of its members are leaving the trade and selling up.
    The high-profile sale “for alternative use” of Dollymount House in Dublin’s Clontarf for €12m in July illustrated the phenomenon. Quinlan’s pub in Terenure, Dublin, was also sold recently and is expected to be replaced by apartments.
    Bill Morrissey, of leading pub auctioneers Morrissey’s, said the change has been coming about since post 2000.
    Said Mr Morrissey: “There are two main factors, the slowing pub trade and the growing property market.
    “The birth of apartment living in Ireland means that the site value has soared. You can sell four floors instead of just one. If you are not enjoying the same volume of customers and there’s an option to make millions, you can’t blame people taking the opportunity.”
    He forecast that in 10 years, most pubs will be part of a building complex, with other offices or businesses attached, instead of just stand-alone premises.
    Ray Brady, of Brady’s pubs in Terenure and Castleknock in Dublin, said there was no doubt that a rising number of publicans are feeling the heat and getting out of the game.
    “A lot of pubs have been sold to make way for residential property. It’s not easy being in the pub trade now, business has dropped.”
    He said superpubs and pubs in the suburbs and commuter belts were being hit particularly.”

  • Harry Flashman

    I am a life long non-smoker, I do however love pubs, I enjoy going to pubs for a drink and for the crack, the crack is provided by the other patrons among whom are a huge number of smokers. I do not want my fellow boozers having to get up and leave my company every twenty minutes because along with their drinking they also like a smoke. You see I knew before I entered the pub that it would be smokey, I also figured it would be full of oul’ fellas watching the racing too, I don’t like racing but I would never dream of telling the bar man to change the tv to the Health Channel. It was all part of the package of going to an Irish pub, if I didn’t like it I would go to a coffee bar and have an organic tofu latte instead.

    So what is the situation now? Well when I was last in Donegal this summer me and my mates were all together and naturally we all headed to our favourite pub which has a cracking band playing. Unfortunately eighty percent of our company were smokers, smokers who like to smoke as they’re supping their ale. So we sat at a table outside. Outside, away from the music, away from the crack, outside where the midges ate us alive.

    Next night, did we go to the pub? Why bother? We went to the off licence and loaded up with wines and beers and sat at home, where we laughed and smoked away. Now how do you think the pubs are doing when real customers like us leave? Do you think there was a sudden rush of hill walking vegans who had been desperately waiting for this moment to have a non-alcoholic fruit shake in a smoke free environment? Do you think this was the missing niche in the Irish pub market? Check out your – empty – locals to find out.

    If all the “ooh I hate pubs they’re just so smokey” people really existed then the market would have catered for them, there would have been an explosion of smoke free pubs opened specially for them, there weren’t any because the punters never wanted them.

    But what about the workers? In an age of full employment, at a time when the country is being flooded by foreigners trying to fill the job vacancies in Ireland, don’t tell me anyone who objected to smokey pubs couldn’t find work somewhere else. If I don’t like wiping shite or cleaning up blood I won’t get a job as a hospital porter, if you don’t like smoke then don’t work in a pub, because tobacco smoke IS a fundamental element of public houses (no, taking a dump in the middle of the floor is NOT a fundamental element of public houses, before someone brings up that fatuous comparison again).

    I worked in a pub/night club for ten years, there were on busy nights no fewer than thirty five staff employed, the manageress and I were the only non-smokers among the entire payroll. It wasn’t the staff demanding this ban; it was the prissy, preachy, interfering, middle-class do-gooders who can’t stand seeing working people doing what they bloody well like without interference from their betters.

    Christ I hate the anti-smoking brigade, I really do.

  • foreign correspondent

    An elderly relation of mine recently had a health scare, related to his lifelong smoking, which left him struggling for breath all night. Apparently it was so bad that several members of his immediate family gave up smoking immediately. Smoking is a really really really stupid thing to do. For years non-smokers in Ireland have had to put up with others´ smoke if they went out for a meal or a drink, not saying anything because we culturally shy away from making a fuss. Long live the smoking ban, North and South. I hope the EU makes it union-wide soon.
    Christ, I hate the ´I don´t give a flying **** about my own or anyone else´s health brigade.

  • Donnacha

    The reasons for the, mostly rural, pub closures are the effects of the smoking ban, the effects of increased policing of drink-driving and local authority compliance charges.

    There is another reason too – the value of the licence. There are villages up and down the country where the ratio of people to pubs is around 100:1 or less, so many pubs simply aren’t viable businesses any more. Pubs get passed down the generations, and quite a few of those who have inherited a pub cash in the value of the licence. They’re not interested in trying to make a living from the pub. They may have day jobs. Convenience stores and supermarket chains like Aldi and Lidl are always on the lookout for licences and are buying up disused rural licences.

    Those that decide to stay in business have to adapt to new circumstances. So now we are seeing more pubs making an effort at serving better food, or converting part of the pub into an off-licence.

    There is also a worry, according to the VFI, about pubs in Dublin being sold as they are now worth more as buildings than as licensed premises and, faced with a downturn in trade, owners are simply cashing in on a booming property market and selling them for conversion into flats.

    I can’t see why the VFI should be worried about Dublin pubs as they represent publicans outside of Dublin. It’s the LVA (Licenced Vintners Association) who look after Dublin.

    Whatever about the rights and wrongs of smoking restrictions, there is rock-solid support for it here in the Republic. Compliance is in the high 90%s, and even smokers themselves have gotten used to it. Some think it’s great, particularly younger smokers, as the smoking area outside the pub is a great place to pull, apparently. :o)

  • Garibaldy

    Harry,

    Since when are trade unions representing workers middle class do-gooders? Total red herring.

  • Harry Flashman

    Garibaldy

    If you believe that representatives of trade unions today are the horny handed, cloth cap wearing, sons of toil that propped up the bars of working men’s clubs as they downed their ale and sucked on their Senior Service fags that you might have known from your (or your father’s) youth then you clearly haven’t been in any of the plush, glass and steel, air conditioned offices of today’s trades unions.

    If you do happen to pop in to one of these offices take note of all the “prissy, preachy, interfering, middle class do-gooders” masquerading as workers. The scene that will greet you will be more akin to the common room of a social sciences department in a former polytechic rather than a grassroots organisation representing the interests of the working classes.

    For my money the right of adult working men and women to freely associate and enjoy what few pleasures and vices they may have among likeminded adults free from the sort of people who in a previous generation were Godbotherers who used to sneer at them from pulpits would once have been seen as the hallmark of a true trades unionist.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    El Matador: “By branding those who support the ban (the majority of the public, by all accounts) as ‘health fanatics’, you seek to undermine the case by virtue of those involved. I, for instance, am not a ‘health fanatic’. Far from it. In fact, I have just tucked into a tasty curry fried rice. ”

    Good for you. Riddle me this, then — if tobacco is Sooooooooo dangerous that it must be banned in near all public places (and I firmly believe once all indoor public venues are banned, the busy-bodies will move to have it banned outdoors, mark my words), why does not the government ban the toxic stuff, lock stoke and barrel?

    Likewise, there is no legitimate reason to infringe upon the right of a publican to run the sort of business he cares to run. If he wishes to cater to smokers, that is his business and not the state’s. If one does not want to work in a smoky atmosphere, one should not apply for a job at an establishment that caters to smokers.

  • nmc

    UK Population – 60,441,337
    Smoking related deaths – 112,337

    Percentage of UK population to die from smoking related deaths is less than 0.2 percent. Presumably a large percentage of these unfortunates are “first hand” smokers, thereby lowering the percentage further for the passive smokers. This coupled with the fact that anyone with lung cancer is looked on as a victim of cigarettes, when the world we live in now has mobile phone masts, microwaves and many other potential carcinogens that we know damn all about.

    There is hype around the subject of smoking. If looked at from a subjective perspective smoking doesn’t harm nearly as many people as some would have you believe.

  • Peter

    nmc

    I’d recommend a course on basic maths or has all the smoke muddled your brain? Your 0.2 percent figure assumes that all 60 million of us are going to die this year.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Peter: “I’d recommend a course on basic maths or has all the smoke muddled your brain? Your 0.2 percent figure assumes that all 60 million of us are going to die this year. ”

    *BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT*

    Oh, I’m sorry, that is the wrong answer, but thank you for playing, Peter.

    nmc said, and I quote: “Percentage of UK population to die from smoking related deaths is less than 0.2 percent.” Properly read, he expresses the number of smoking deaths against the UK population, full stop. He does not make any claims as to what percentage of the populations of deaths in the UK smoking related deaths represent. While I will concede his is not a particularly useful statistic, his statement does not pre-suppose that all 60 million some odd Britains are going to kick off this year. As a consolation prize, I would recommend a decent English grammer workbook and a few courses in statistics.

  • Garibaldy

    Harry,

    I’ve been in quite a few trade union offices in my time. You’re right that there is a generation of bureaucrats coming up with little experience in the workplace, but the current generation of union representatives do have a background in the workplace. And of course there are the conferences and branch meetings etc that set policy, and support for the ban. There may well be a split here between those who work temporarily or part time in the bar trade, and those who make a lifelong career out of it and for whom the ban is much more important.

  • Peter

    Dread Cthulhu,

    I don’t wish to embarrass you on a public form but I’d recommend you reconsider you last email.

    “nmc said, and I quote: “Percentage of UK population to die from smoking related deaths is less than 0.2 percent.””

    what he actually should have stated was “the percentage of the UK population to die “this year” from smoking related deaths is 0.2 percent”

    using his own phrase the percentage of UK population to die from smoking related deaths will be about a fifth or 20%.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Peter: “using his own phrase the percentage of UK population to die from smoking related deaths will be about a fifth or 20%. ”

    No, he said .2 percent… or to put it out in decimal notion, 0.002, not .20. Before you argue, if 2 percent = 2% or, in decimal, .02, then .2 percent = .2%, or, in decimal, .002.

    Again, you’re just playing semantic word-games, which contribute little to the conversation. Likewise, you have changed your thesis, indicating you really are simply trolling, playing “gotcha,” rather than intent on having any sort of mature discussion.

  • Peter

    Dread Cthulthu: either you are unable to understand maths or you don’t want to understand.

    Eitherway 20% of all deaths this year in the UK will be smoking related. (approx 114k out of a total of 570k deaths). Extrapolating and assuming no change in policy about 20% of the overall population of 60M will eventually die from smoking related illness.

    Would you like me to draw you picture to make it a bit easier for you smoking apologists to understand.

  • nmc

    Percentage of UK population to die from smoking related deaths is less than 0.2 percent.

    Sorry, I’ll repeat what I said, more clearly, that is to say that less than 0.2% of the population in the UK will die this year from smoke related illnesses.

  • Fraggle

    What Peter is trying to say is that nmc has pulled a figure from somewhere showing annual deaths from smoking related illnesses and misquoted it. This does seem to be the case.

    Dread Cthulhu is the one playing semantic word games, playing “gotcha” and trolling in this instance.

    From an ‘Ash’ factsheet:

    “Deaths caused by smoking One in two long-term smokers will die prematurely as a result of smoking – half of these in middle age. The most recent estimates show that around 114,000 people in the UK are killed by smoking every year, accounting for one fifth of all UK deaths.”

    These numbers are remarkably similar to those misquoted by nmc and back up Peter’s 20% figure.

    If you want to glance at their source, it’s here

    http://www.ctsu.ox.ac.uk/~tobacco/country_names.htm

  • Peter

    nmc, so now we are clear and you have been given a free maths lesson are you planning to revise your quote?

    “There is hype around the subject of smoking. If looked at from a subjective perspective smoking doesn’t harm nearly as many people as some would have you believe.”

    Considering smoking related deaths are 5x higher than those coaused by road accidents and 22x higher than those caused by alcohol I think the fags harm quite a few people.

    I’m also of the opinion that considering the amount of cigarettes illegally imported into the UK at the moment the government should be considering billing smokers for a percentage of their medical teatment for smoking related illnesses.

  • Fraggle

    “Sorry, I’ll repeat what I said, more clearly, that is to say that less than 0.2% of the population in the UK will die this year from smoke related illnesses.”

    “There is hype around the subject of smoking. If looked at from a subjective perspective smoking doesn’t harm nearly as many people as some would have you believe.”

    Absolute rubbish. Your 0.2% figure is meaningless at best and you are using it to downplay the amount of smoking related deaths in a deceitful fashion. Around 100,000 people will die this year from the effects of smoking out of a total of around 500,000. This is not a trivial level of harm. There is not any hype surrounding smoking in comparison to, for example, GM foods. Smoking is a well proven killer and arguing otherwise in the face of overwhelming evidence makes anyone look stupid.

  • nmc

    considering billing smokers for a percentage of their medical teatment for smoking related illnesses

    considering a packet of cigarettes provides the exchequer with roughly 4 quid, I think that without smokers the NHS would go down the toilet. Otherwise as stated earlier, they would consider making fags illegal, but they can’t do that because the smokers are paying too much money in tax.

    I will concede that my mathematical point has been well beaten down, however the fact remains, as a UK citizen you stand a 0.2 percent chance of death. Obviously when you consider that not everyone in the uk will die this year, and take the number of smoke related deaths as a component of the total deaths this percentage rises, however if 0.2 percent of the population dies every year from smoke related disease you can work out your odds of being one of them, one in every five hundred people will die from smoking related disease. I don’t really care if the other 499 continue living for decades or die this year.

  • Fraggle

    “I will concede that my mathematical point has been well beaten down”

    You should have stopped right there.

  • kensei

    “Christ I hate the anti-smoking brigade, I really do.”

    Take your hatred, take it to the power of 1 million and you will get a fraction of my hatred for cig smoke, people accidently stabbing me with cigs, the cling of smoke the next fucking morning, and everything else to do with smoking.

    Frankly, I don’t give a fuck about your opinion or health or your liberties. I’m just glad they’ve banned the thing and will substantially improve my nights out.

    BTW, arguments about alcohol and cars are of course, entire unrelated and should be dealt with on their own merits.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Peter: “Eitherway 20% of all deaths this year in the UK will be smoking related. (approx 114k out of a total of 570k deaths). Extrapolating and assuming no change in policy about 20% of the overall population of 60M will eventually die from smoking related illness. ”

    Ah, now you’re changing the basis of your arguement, Peter.

    nmc brought forth a statistic, presenting the ratio of smoking deaths vs. total population. Now, I cheerfully concede its not a particularly useful statistic, but its a statistic nonetheless. Your response was, and I quote, “Your 0.2 percent figure assumes that all 60 million of us are going to die this year,” which is does not — it simply show the ratio of smoking deaths to the total population.

    When called upon this, you decided it was time for a quick shell game, change the basis of your arguement in an effort to save face. You said, and I quote, “using his own phrase the percentage of UK population to die from smoking related deaths will be about a fifth or 20%.” Again, he did not say this — all he did was present a ratio between smoking deaths and total population. You will note, I already said, in my original post, it was not a useful statistic.

    Fraggle: “What Peter is trying to say is that nmc has pulled a figure from somewhere showing annual deaths from smoking related illnesses and misquoted it. This does seem to be the case”

    As I noted in my original post, and I quote, “While I will concede his is not a particularly useful statistic, his statement does not pre-suppose that all 60 million some odd Britains are going to kick off this year.”

    Do try to keep up, Fraggle.

    Fraggle: “Dread Cthulhu is the one playing semantic word games, playing “gotcha” and trolling in this instance”

    Hardly — I simply called Peter on putting words in nmc’s mouth. At no point did nmc presuppose that the whole population was going to drop dead in the space of a year.

    nmc: “considering a packet of cigarettes provides the exchequer with roughly 4 quid, I think that without smokers the NHS would go down the toilet. Otherwise as stated earlier, they would consider making fags illegal, but they can’t do that because the smokers are paying too much money in tax. ”

    Actually, I think you will find you are correct, assuming health costs and related patterns in the UK reasonably approximate those in the US. Smokers, despite incurring costs earlier, end up being a net savings on state-funded medical programs, due to their relatively early “expiration date.”

    Likewise, I would be curious about the tax structure — i.e. who makes what off the sale of a pack of cigarettes. As much as folks go on, the state can’t do without that revenue. The state is, functionally speaking, a silent partner in the enterprise, getting to nag and berate the seelers of tobacco, but making a great deal of money off the transaction.

  • Fraggle

    DC, drop your lost argument. I’m keeping up and I’m well ahead of you on this one.

    ncm said:

    “UK Population – 60,441,337
    Smoking related deaths – 112,337

    Percentage of UK population to die from smoking related deaths is less than 0.2 percent. ”

    Now, the figure of 112,337 is the number of people to die in a given year, his following statement is only correct if the entire population dies in that year, otherwise it’s false. Not everyone is going to die and the statement is false. Peter was quite correct when he pointed out:

    “Your 0.2 percent figure assumes that all 60 million of us are going to die this year.”

    A correct statement would be:

    The percentage of UK population to die from smoking related deaths in one year is less than 0.2 percent of the total population.

    OR

    The percentage of the UK population going to die from smoking related deaths is roughly 20%.

    Now, nmc didn’t actually come out and say that 60 million people were going to die in one year but his argument implied that. Peter was merely following nmc’s flawed logic to it’s conclusion.

    Now, please don’t try to patronize me when you and nmc are quite clearly wrong.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Fraggle: “Now, the figure of 112,337 is the number of people to die in a given year, his following statement is only correct if the entire population dies in that year, otherwise it’s false. Not everyone is going to die and the statement is false.”

    No, its is not — it is simply not a useful statistic, as I pointed out from the start. It expresses exactly what nmc stated — smoking related deaths as a ratio to population. Peter decided to play gotcha, rather than simply correct nmc, explain the uselessness of the statistic and introduce the very real information he had — the ratio of smoking deaths to total deaths.

  • nutjack

    JR – “Nutjack I hope you die of lung cancer.”

    will that be from passively smoking your filthy cigarettes? i don’t smoke

  • Fraggle

    No, its is not—it is simply not a useful statistic, as I pointed out from the start. It expresses exactly what nmc stated—smoking related deaths as a ratio to population.

    Wrong!

    It expresses smoking related deaths per year as a ratio to population.

    Give up and move on.

  • Peter

    Dread Cthulhu when you are in a hole quit digging. I didn’t change my argument but tried to make it easier for you and nmc to understand.

    I’m well aware that smokers pay alot in tax if they purchase their fags through legal means. My problem is that a huge proportion of fags are now purchased on the black market and as such we are losing revenue that could be used for smokers and passive smokers cancer care.

  • Harry Flashman

    Kensei

    Think of how much you hate smokers and multiply it by your own million to work out how much I hate priggish net-curtain twitchers with an anally retentive obsession about how other people live their lives and who glory in the ability to enforce bans on previously legal activities without recourse to a democratic mandate.

    Unlike you though I believe in freedom so in no way would I ban your spouting shite in public forums, that’s freedom kensei, not just for you but for us all!

  • exBangorBoy

    A total smoking ban in bars and restaurants came into force in Toronto about 3 years ago. The usual suspects caterwauled at the time, and now …three years later…. nada. The bars took a much bigger hit from the SARS crisis and all the wimpy Septics who cancelled their trips to Toronto.

    Like the RoI, the ban is widely supported and adhered to, even amongst the consumers of coffin nails.

    Mind you, you do have to admire (in a perverse way) the fortitude of smokers. You gotta be tough to be standing outside a Toronto bar on a February night when it’s a balmy minus 20 celcius and the wind is coming from Baffin Island.

    Just as an addendum, the province of Quebec has introduced a ban on smoking in basically all public enclosed spaces. I mean in Quebec FFS they practically handed out smokes in the delivery room.

  • Jo

    One of the more sensible posts here pointed out that in fact this is a health issue, not simply for non-smoking patrons of public places (note “public” means a group which is 75% non-smoking) but for employees. Pasisve smoking is not as someone ignorantly dismissed it, a “minor health issue” Working in an environment where 100 people smoke during your eight hour shift, anything up to 8,000 cigarettes, is equivalent to the employee smoking several themselves, even if they don’t personally smoke. Employers liability means that in future knowingly subjecting people to smoke will entail laibility not just for premature smoking -related death (which I covered last week on JOBLOG) but also the decades of infirmity and illness which is the other destructive aspect of this malignant addiction.

    Of course, if you are so principled that you want “freedom of choice”, at least be consistent.
    I am sure that there are places where you can still buy asbestos for your childrens bedroom. They say it is a good fire retardant after all.

  • Exiled in Scotland

    Smokings been banned here in Scotland (the land of adverse health effects) for a few months now.
    People accepted it straight off and there has been little objection from smokers.

    Now people can go out for a night out and leave with clean (non-smokey) clothes.

    There has been a reduction in turnover at bars and other things like Bingo due to the ban.

    It will be funny to look back in a few years time about smokey bars in the same way people look back at smokey cities. Nostalgia is one thing but it is in the public interest to prohibit smoking in enclosed public spaces and to stigmatize smokers.
    Reducing the number of smokers (especially among the young) is something that we should work towards – and associating smoking with poverty, poor health and shivering outside bars can go someway to address the perception of smoking.