Tobacco displays to be banned


by Rumbold
10th December, 2008 at 6:53 am    

Shops in England and Wales will no longer be allowed to display tobacco openly. This is the latest in a series of attacks on an apparently still legal product. There are two problems with this new legislation. One is the obvious one; namely the attack on the right of shopkeepers to display legal products that they are allowed to sell.

The other is the money spent on this legislation. The ‘survey’ used to justify it cost money. Someone had to write it, cross-reference it and money will have to be spent on enforcing it. Yes, this money is likely to be a drop in the ocean in terms of government spending. And yes, calling for the money to be returned to its rightful owners (i.e. us) never seems to attract much support. But what about the areas that this money could have been spent on, but wasn’t? What about the lack of spending on domestic violence shelters, or the lack of help given to people released from prison? Unless we stand up to the small abuses of taxpayers’ money, the state will continue to spend money on what ideological whim of the day it is enthused by, rather than on services that really matter.

(Via The Filthy Smoker)


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  1. Sofia — on 10th December, 2008 at 11:31 am  

    this is not an ideological whim. For once I’m not going to disagree with this. Smoking is a huge burden on nhs resources in many forms. It is also a significant risk factor in the three biggest killers in this country!

  2. MaidMarian — on 10th December, 2008 at 12:27 pm  

    ‘the state will continue to spend money on what ideological whim of the day it is enthused by..’

    There is actually an interesting read accros to the Plane Stupid! discussion. Like PS!, the anti-smoking lobby has assiduously targeted government and elites. What they have not done is take on the public. Granted PS folllows a direct action model where as the anti-smoking crowd have worked more within the ‘Political Opportunity Structure’ but neither has really directly engaged the public beyond ‘awareness raising’ – as though people are not aware of climate change and the dangers of smoking.

    Sofia is correct that anti-smokling law is not an ideological whim. This is the result of careful pressure on elites that bypass the public altogether. When we talk of a political class it is well worth remembering the flip-side. If protest is aimed at government rather than the public and government is as such compelled by the message ‘something must be done’ is that not the fault of pressure groups tactics, at least in part?

    PS! does not stand outside a travel agency telling people they can’t fly. The anti-smoking lobby does not stand outside newsagents stopping people buying cigarettes. Both want the government to do the unpopular thing for them. It may well get media coverage (PS!) and it may be sucessful (anti-smoking).

    But from the standpoint of participatory democracy and civil society it leaves a pretty bad taste in the mouth.

  3. Rumbold — on 10th December, 2008 at 12:28 pm  

    Sofia:

    But tax revenues from cigarettes bring in billions of pounds, thousands of jobs are tied to it, and the NHS would have to sepnd lots of money if people lived longer, not to mention the increased pension cost. So the financial argument doesn’t really apply.

  4. Rumbold — on 10th December, 2008 at 12:29 pm  

    Excellent points MaidMarian. ‘Whim’ was the wrong word.

  5. Sofia — on 10th December, 2008 at 12:31 pm  

    well decrease the need for smoking reduce the nhs burden and the need for more money and we’re all happy…let’s not forget the potential in saved lives or does that not matter?

  6. Sofia — on 10th December, 2008 at 12:32 pm  

    i’m sick of hearing about the billions made from smoking and not seeing enough of the devastation it causes…

  7. Sid — on 10th December, 2008 at 12:37 pm  

    i’m sick of hearing about the billions made from smoking and not seeing enough of the billions ploughed back into resolving the devastation it causes…

  8. Sofia — on 10th December, 2008 at 1:09 pm  

    not seeing enough? what are you missing? the money spent on adverts to get ppl to try and stop…the money that’s going into smoking cessation…initiatives to get industry to be more accountable..the third sector millions spent on trying to get ppl to quit…??

  9. soru — on 10th December, 2008 at 1:59 pm  

    ‘the NHS would have to sepnd lots of money if people lived longer’

    Tobacco is hardly optimal for this purpose – it kills people after they have been educated, but before they retire.

    A properly tailored synthetic drug could be much more selective in who it affects. Health costs and welfare taxation that are currently crippling western industrial profitability would be eliminated at a stroke. The effect on asset values can hardly be overstated.

    The only thing holding us back is the dead hand of government reg…

    Ah, Mr Bond, I was expecting you around now.

  10. Bhargavi — on 10th December, 2008 at 4:08 pm  

    Its actually decent public health legislation.

    Lots of evidence (albeit from the US) that areas of high deprivation and minorities have higher levels of risk factors for disease, higher incidence and worse outcomes …. BUT also much higher frequency of adverts for risk factors eg cigarette ads/sale points than wealthier neighbourhoods and less implementation of safety measures.

    If we’re serious about reducing inequalities in health outcomes …. some forms of blanket legislation like this are needed …

  11. dave bones — on 10th December, 2008 at 4:40 pm  

    Maybe if they banned selling tobacco products all together, or if you had to do a run up the beach under fire from Howitzers I’d be able to stop smoking. Or if they put explosive charges in cigarette packets, blank ones of course- The packets not the charges.

    Either way I am rabidly for anything which might stop people smoking.

  12. Kulvinder — on 10th December, 2008 at 4:54 pm  

    I think banning the meagre advertising on shop displays and thereby encouraging dem yuth to go online to learn more about which brand is the considered ‘sick’ has to be amongst the most idiotically counter productive campaigns ive heard of recently.

    All they’ve done is create a situation where the social cliques that encourage peer pressure will strengthen as they share information about what brands are sold in which shop, or even what brands exist.

  13. Sunny — on 10th December, 2008 at 5:04 pm  

    Oh dear oh dear, the Loony Libertarians are getting angry again.

    Should the govt not spend any money at all on anything and just return it to its ‘rightful owners’? Is any sort of public polling or opinion gathering a bad idea? Don’t know where this stops. I know, let’s disband the army and stop spending money on weapons and return that to its rightful owners! How about that for a start Rumbold, since you hate govt spending.

    As for banning advertising of smoking products – of course I’m for it. The product is legal only because so many people are addicted to it, otherwise its clearly a health hazard for the smoker and for the passive smoker forced into inhaling that smoke in closed environments.

  14. Leon — on 10th December, 2008 at 5:15 pm  

    Wouldn’t the money lost from sales tax be made up by the money gained from healthier people working more, longer and being taxed. Also, wouldn’t money saved via the NHS (think of all that cancer treatment that wouldn’t need to happen) be worthwhile too.

    Or is all those billions bigger than any of the above?

  15. ASinha — on 10th December, 2008 at 5:22 pm  

    I live in CA, not England, but I am all for the state regulating tobacco ads. This is contrary to my anti government intervention inclinations. In certain instances the government needs to save idiots from themselves. Thus we get tobacco, helmet and seat belt regulations.

  16. ASinha — on 10th December, 2008 at 5:27 pm  

    Also the tobacco industry is pretty corrupt. Check out a DVD – The Insider with Russell Crowe and Al Pacino. It is an amazing movie about big tobacco.

  17. Bartholomew — on 10th December, 2008 at 5:28 pm  

    Why not confine selling tobacco to special shops with blacked-out windows bearing the words “CIGS SHOP: 18+ ONLY” ?

  18. Don — on 10th December, 2008 at 5:32 pm  

    Rumbold,

    The incremental sidelining of baccy has worked rather well so far, wouldn’t you say? Do you think government was too intrusive when it banned TV ads or smoking on public transport?

  19. Shamit — on 10th December, 2008 at 5:40 pm  

    The tobacco industry makes billions of pounds while producing products that may and do cause deadly harm to its users. Any other industry would have been shut down or an attempt would have been made to do so.

    I am not denying free choice here and smokers must take responsibilities for their action. But the tobacco companies as well as the Government have to take some responsibilities in this regard too. Especially, when the substance is abused by young kids.

    This is a good legislation and awareness and education would save lot of money for the health care system – and more importantly it would save lives.

    Remember the Government is not banning smoking or cigarette sales so whats the beef here?

    btw, unfortunately I am still a smoker.

  20. ukliberty — on 10th December, 2008 at 5:55 pm  

    Leon, if I recall correctly, revenue from tobacco is about £10bn a year, and treated smoking related illnesses costs the NHS less than £3bn a year.

  21. Leon — on 10th December, 2008 at 6:00 pm  

    What about the loss of tax due to people dying early, or missing work due to illness?

  22. ukliberty — on 10th December, 2008 at 6:15 pm  

    I have no idea about that, nor about the saving of state pension or other age related benefits due to people dying early.

  23. Shamit — on 10th December, 2008 at 6:26 pm  

    UKliberty — you are joking right?

    This thread is now degenerating fast into stupid territory.

    Not everything should be based on money — governance is also about improving the quality of life of citizens. And this legislation does attempt to improve quality of life for our citizens especially the younger ones.

    Statistics in other countries where this legislation is in place show that this does reduce the number of new people smoking. And, that does impact upon health services not only now but in couple of decades time as well.

  24. ukliberty — on 10th December, 2008 at 8:59 pm  

    OK Shamit, you are dissatisfied with a utilitarian approach, satisfied about losing a potential £7bn net revenue, and have raised a point about quality of life. To what extent do you wish to interfere with the lives of others for their own good?

    For that matter, how are you measuring quality of life? Physical health, or mental well-being too?

    Quality of life would also be improved by improvement in diet – do you think the Government should ban foods that increase risks of illnesses?

  25. Shamit — on 10th December, 2008 at 9:33 pm  

    This legislation does not force any adult individual citizen to do anything. So the premise of your argument on liberty does not hold much water. You are still allowed to go and by Ciggies and I would do it myself.

    I am measuring quality of life based on statistics of a potentially longer and disease free life. However, at 18, should people still want to buy smokes — they are at liberty to do so. So, where in the hell is this legislation imposing on individual rights?

    Individual rights are indeed important in a liberal democracy and those rights have my unequivocal support. However, this particular legislation is not the issue around which we have this debate.

    It would be far better to have the liberty debate based on outrageous stuff such as local authorities using anti-terrorism laws to check who lives where and so forth. The debate on 42 days is important as is on the issue of id cards. But bringing this particular proposed legislation within the realm of that debate is flawed. No one is forcing anyone to do anything.

    On your point about banning foods — well, I don’t see anyone banning any adult smoking either through this legislation? Do you? So where is the clamp on individual liberty on this one?

    The Government in this case is doing its duty and should be supported.

  26. Chris E — on 11th December, 2008 at 12:27 am  

    The ‘problem’ is that what should on the face of it be a straight forward question of individual liberty gets wrapped up in societal questions that are anything but.

    It’s hard to feel sorry for an industry that did it’s utmost to deny the truth for so long, going as far as to suppress the results of their own research.

    The actions of smokers and the smoking industry were almost calculated to create an aggreived majority who would then agree with every turn of the screw when the pendulum started to swing. If the drinks/smoking industry had worked out a suitable compromise so that people could drink without ending up stinking of smoke they wouldn’t have been faced with an almost blanket ban across Europe.

    Oh, and FWIW all of this renders the actions of the Pro Smoking Lobby far more sanctimonious than than Anti-Smoking lot could ever come up with.

  27. Sunny — on 11th December, 2008 at 3:45 am  

    Oh, and FWIW all of this renders the actions of the Pro Smoking Lobby far more sanctimonious than than Anti-Smoking lot could ever come up with.

    Or indeed the environmentalists.

  28. BenSix — on 11th December, 2008 at 4:51 am  

    It’s a minor point, but if you’re getting particularly bored with the “Smoking Kills” labels then some sharp work with a highlighter leaves a much more satisfying “Smoking Thrills”.

    *Nods, sagely.*

    Ben

  29. shariq — on 11th December, 2008 at 6:17 am  

    My sympathies lie with the people who are against this. People are already aware of the dangers of smoking.

    Instead of trying to make marginal gains on the smoking front, wouldn’t ending the hypocrisy on the war on drugs be much more important.

  30. Rumbold — on 11th December, 2008 at 10:06 am  

    Sunny:

    “Should the govt not spend any money at all on anything and just return it to its ‘rightful owners’? Is any sort of public polling or opinion gathering a bad idea? Don’t know where this stops. I know, let’s disband the army and stop spending money on weapons and return that to its rightful owners! How about that for a start Rumbold, since you hate govt spending.”

    There are things that it is necessary for government to spend money on, which is why we have government in the first place; namely, defence, and law and order. Other things, over the years, have become accepted as areas in which the government should spend on, such as maintaining an NHS and a state education service. Fair enough. But why the government should spend money on forcing shopkeepers not to display a legal product is beyond me- do you think that there are no areas on which the money should be better spent? Why is it the government’s business how shopkeepers display their wares?

    Heh Bartholomew.

    Don:

    “Do you think government was too intrusive when it banned TV ads or smoking on public transport?”

    It shouldn’t have banned TV ads, but it was right to ban it on public transport, just as it was right to ban it in schools and hospitals. People should be allowed to smoke in pubs though.

    Shamit:

    “Not everything should be based on money — governance is also about improving the quality of life of citizens.”

    We only brought up money because as soon as someone mentions smoking you get people claiming that less smoking would save the country billions each year. In fact, I am not sure that any definitive study has been done on it.

    “This legislation does not force any adult individual citizen to do anything.”

    Yes it does- it restricts the right of shopkeepers to order their shops the way they see fit. Napoleon has his revenge. It is an an attempt, with our money, to change the behaviour of law-abiding adults.

  31. Sofia — on 11th December, 2008 at 10:15 am  

    Here are some stats..if you want to go down the cost implications..some of you ppl drive me insane…

    In 2006 the direct health care costs of managing CVD in the UK were £17.38 billion – most cvd is caused by atherosclerosis (CHD,CVD,PVD)

    World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics report that, in 2002, ischaemic heart disease
    was the leading cause of death in the United Kingdom, causing 20% of all deaths, with a further 10% of deaths attributable to cerebrovascular disease (stroke).

    Adult smoking prevalence 28% (2000) 22% (2006. this reduction has been due to government smoking cessation policy.

    Research shows that Point of Sale (PoS) display has a direct impact on young people’s smoking. In 2006, almost half (46%) of UK teenagers were aware of tobacco display at PoS and those professing an intention to smoke were more likely to recall brands that they had seen at the point of sale.4 Similarly research in Australia and the USA has shown that PoS display advertising of cigarettes normalises tobacco use for children and creates a perception that tobacco is easily obtainable

    Jurisdictions that have enforced tobacco point of sale bans as part of a range of tobacco control measures have seen a decrease in smoking prevalence among young people. In Iceland the prevalence of daily smoking among 15 year olds fell from 18.6% in 1999 prior to the cigarette display ban to 13.6%% in 2003, two years after the law came into effect and has continued to fall thereafter

  32. Sofia — on 11th December, 2008 at 10:16 am  

    let’s not even go down the cancer cost routes!

  33. Sofia — on 11th December, 2008 at 10:18 am  

    “People should be allowed to smoke in pubs though”.

    why exactly??? if you want to die of heart disease, stroke and cancer, then please don’t make me through secondary smoke inhalation!

  34. Sofia — on 11th December, 2008 at 10:23 am  

    please note i am not attributing all cvd etc to smoking but smoking has a significant impact on this area.

  35. Rumbold — on 11th December, 2008 at 10:24 am  

    Sofia:

    But what about the other side: namely the tax revenue from cigarettes and related businesses, the numbers employed, the savings in the NHS, pensions and accomodation from people dying earlier?

    “why exactly??? if you want to die of heart disease, stroke and cancer, then please don’t make me through secondary smoke inhalation!”

    You don’t have to go into a pub if you do not want to. If so many people want non-smoking pubs, there will be non-smoking pubs. I don’t smoke, and have never smoked, and prefer non-smoking pubs, but surely that is a choice that the owner of the pub should be making. Why not ban alcohol from pubs as well? After all, it can be addictive, people who drink can harm those around them, and alcohol-related illnesses costs the NHS billions every year.

  36. ukliberty — on 11th December, 2008 at 10:28 am  

    Shamit,

    well, I don’t see anyone banning any adult smoking either through this legislation? Do you? So where is the clamp on individual liberty on this one? … no-one is being forced to do anything

    Where have you been? There are a number of places that smokers are no longer allowed to light up in! The liberty of individuals to sell products they want to sell has also been interfered with – that is what the original article was about.

    Liberty is about lots of things, but any interference with it must be necessary and proportionate. This applies to being detained without charge to being allowed to buy or sell what we like. This Government has a predilection for interfering with our liberty – why should the freedom to trade not be debated along with detention without charge?

    What about not being allowed to advertise junk foods, and not being allowed to openly display them? Would you support that?

    There is more to quality of life than merely being healthy…

  37. cjcjc — on 11th December, 2008 at 10:34 am  

    Sunny – you are funny.

    Always crying “liberty” for the causes *you personally favour*, while accusing those whose liberties you would restrict of “loony libertarianism”.

    I hate smoking as much as anyone, but this proposal has taken things too far.

  38. Sofia — on 11th December, 2008 at 10:34 am  

    Rumbold…i disagree with your pub analogy….what about smoking in restaurants..should we have non smoking restaurants..so i can go out only with my non smoking friends???

    “There is more to quality of life than merely being healthy…” aaaaaaaaaaaaaghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…..i wish i found that funny…uk liberty…why don’t you tell someone with cancer that…

  39. Sofia — on 11th December, 2008 at 10:43 am  

    as for junk food, there are moves by local authorities to not allow licences for those chicken burger places etc within a certain vicinity to schools, or if they are too close to other similar outlets…i’m all for that.

  40. Rumbold — on 11th December, 2008 at 10:45 am  

    Sofia:

    “What about smoking in restaurants..should we have non smoking restaurants..so i can go out only with my non smoking friends???”

    People who smoke don’t have to smoke when they are out. They have a choice.

  41. Sofia — on 11th December, 2008 at 11:00 am  

    Rumbold..still dont’ agree with your analogy. smokers still have the choice to smoke outside or not at all…

  42. ukliberty — on 11th December, 2008 at 11:06 am  

    “There is more to quality of life than merely being healthy…” aaaaaaaaaaaaaghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…..i wish i found that funny…uk liberty…why don’t you tell someone with cancer that…

    Why don’t you try thinking about what could contribute to “quality of life”, other than healthiness?

  43. Sofia — on 11th December, 2008 at 11:22 am  

    health..physical or emotional is one of the highest indicators of quality of life. Without your health, quality of life is severely impacted..

  44. ukliberty — on 11th December, 2008 at 11:32 am  

    Does happiness contribute to emotional health?

  45. Sofia — on 11th December, 2008 at 11:49 am  

    of course it does…but if you want to tell me that someone is can be happy if they smoke and eat junk..then plz don’t….because the negative repurcussions far outweigh any simple and short term definition of ‘happy’

  46. Rumbold — on 11th December, 2008 at 12:09 pm  

    Sofia:

    But with respect, what business is it of the government’s to legislate and sepnd money on what they think will make people happy. If my idea of bliss is to watch the complete series of Friends on fast forward then I should be able to do so. Similarly, if people want to smoke, they should be allowed to.

    Or look at it another way. Should the government force adults to exercise? After all, obesity costs the NHS money, and people who are fitter and healthier are, on average, probably going to be slightly more happy.

  47. ukliberty — on 11th December, 2008 at 12:09 pm  

    I’m not pretending I have the answers. What I am saying is that the issue is more complex than it first appears – quality of life is contributed to by all sorts of things. And yes, a smoke or a burger does make people feel happy. Where they go wrong is doing too much of it.

    But, in the general case, why on earth should the state be allowed to interfere with someone living their life in the way that he wishes, even if it causes him quality of life issues?

    What you seem to be saying is that we have a duty to protect particular people from themselves such that we must interfere with the right of everyone to live their lives as they wish.

  48. MaidMarian — on 11th December, 2008 at 12:30 pm  

    Rumbold (46) – ‘what business is it of the government’s to legislate and spend money on what they think will make people happy.’

    I think that you are rather losing sight of the original article here. I don’t think that government went into the smoking ban believeing that it would have made everyone happy. They may have said so in public, but if they did they knew it was cobblers. This is not designed to please one and all.

    This ban is not there to to make people happy, it’s there on the balance of public health issues. Yes, it may be a fetter on democracy but democracy is not there to make everyone happy in more or less equal measure.

    There are real freedom issues here, but the pudding is being overegged. Hence, following the flow, you can say things like, ‘Similarly, if people want to smoke, they should be allowed to.’ No one is preventing smoking. If government wanted to that it could ban the import of tobacco.

  49. sonia — on 11th December, 2008 at 1:11 pm  

    “But, in the general case, why on earth should the state be allowed to interfere with someone living their life in the way that he wishes, even if it causes him quality of life issues?”

    whilst i have sympathy with those feelings, it’s called the NHS, and as maidmarian puts it above – public health.

    (unfortunately or fortunately, we do live in a society where we have others to consider. sad and not that much fun often but there you go!! it really is a give and take situation, isn’t it?)

    of course the problem for the government is we know there is just as much if not more cost to the NHS through alcohol abuse – not only in the long-term sense (which is true for tobacco) but also in the immediate short-term sense (A&E admissions on weekend/drink driving etc.) so the real issue is the disparity of its approach, to different substances, which leaves it open to criticism.

    i’d say i agree with rumbold in as much as i don’t think this is a particularly effective measure. the display of tobacco in the shops, isn’t that huge, really, compared to the display of alcohol anyway. plus even if any of this stuff were not displayed, in the shops, it doesn’t really matter. people know where to buy it from!

  50. sonia — on 11th December, 2008 at 1:22 pm  

    what’s this talk about smoking in restaurants? you can’t smoke anywhere inside full-stop anymore.

    i dont mind the ban in a place where i know lots of different people will want to go – i can go outside to smoke if i feel the need.

    the issue is that at the same time as protecting the public, which is fine and acceptable and reasonable, however, the legislation doesn’t allow for a group of like-minded individuals, who want to get together in a private space/club – where no one who doesn’t want to smoke – doesn’t have to come in – to designate that space for smoking! so that is an infringement on my private right, and other smokers who choose to put themselves in that position, – and frankly, i can’t see that that is very clever. there are usually loopholes to smoking bans, the US for example, has certain bars = where everyone knows you can smoke, so no one else goes there! the loophole there is that the bar is selling tobacco and they have to let people try the goods for sale on premises :-)

    i think its fine for society to say they want to contain a problem which affects us all. again – if some people then freely want to choose to go somewhere and smoke together, or make open for other smokers, seeing as they can smoke in private anyway – i can’t see why that can’t be. If smoking were a religion, i daresay we would be able to demand infringement of our collective ‘worshipping’ ritual. or something

  51. ukliberty — on 11th December, 2008 at 1:24 pm  

    Sonia, I think we dealt with the NHS above – the cost of treating smoking related illnesses is less than a third of the revenue from tobacco. That said, I do have an issue with passive smoking – but that is because passive smokers may not have consented to breath in smoke.

    I agree that it is curious about the disparity of approach between smoking and alcohol abuse, particularly because I suspect the costs of alcohol abuse are higher not only in terms of treating alcohol related illnesses but also the social costs peculiar to alcohol.

    Hmm, I wonder if it is because it would be politically inexpedient to campaign against alcohol in a similar way?

  52. ukliberty — on 11th December, 2008 at 1:25 pm  

    however, the legislation doesn’t allow for a group of like-minded individuals, who want to get together in a private space/club – where no one who doesn’t want to smoke – doesn’t have to come in – to designate that space for smoking!

    Quite! That is my problem with it. It is just a blanket ban, there is no provision for freely coming to a private arrangement such as you describe.

  53. sonia — on 11th December, 2008 at 1:25 pm  

    so in summary, while the smoking ban is acceptable to me, they have gone “too far” and not left a little avenue open to ‘us’ – which would have been tactical from the government’s perspective, and would have meant all the freedom brigade wouldn’t have been jumping down their throats so much.

    it is not that difficult to allow people to have designated smoking spaces where no non-smoker needs to intrude! yes perhaps it has to be a collective decision to ensure no one’s rights are being transgressed i.e. have a designated smoking space where it would be inappropriate or ‘other people’ need to come into – but that’s obvious.

  54. sonia — on 11th December, 2008 at 1:29 pm  

    p.s. in terms of populations who are heavily at risk, Asian men who have spent their lifetimes eating ghee and very hot chillies (in addition to smoking no doubt) are in a very high risk category for coronary diseases.

    i don’t know how much of a burden they are on the NHS but perhaps we might want to suggest they reduce their gluttony a bit.

    oh and all fat people of course / they should definitely be banned from using public transport..if ever there was a public nuisance that was it

    my i quite like this fascist side of me.:-)

  55. sonia — on 11th December, 2008 at 1:31 pm  

    52 – yes you are right, that is the problem with it. Interesting to see how European countries deal with the legislation because they are trying to accommodate for small pubs who only have one room.

    i think its only fair that choice should be available to people. even the bloody americans have their exceptions.

    .

    p.s. Sofia, you’ll find not many smokers actually smoke at the table while they eat. it is generally not considered polite.

  56. Random Guy — on 11th December, 2008 at 1:55 pm  

    Who cares? The tobacco companies have already gone on record saying that their main markets at the moment are in the third world, and that the first-world as a market is saturated. This sort of thing will help their image while they suffer no sort of restriction in Africa/Asia etc.

    Still, this is interesting from the freedom of selling perspective. I think that tobacco should be displayed the same way as it is now, only that there should be a sign on the cigarrete pack which notifies the smoker that he/she will need private medical cover to take care of any future smoking-related illnesses that arise due to their habit. So there. You can have your cake and eat it.

  57. Leon — on 11th December, 2008 at 2:14 pm  

    People who smoke don’t have to smoke when they are out. They have a choice.

    You obviously have never been addicted to anything. Speaking as a former smoker (40 a day toward the end) it’s not as simple as that.

  58. Sunny — on 11th December, 2008 at 2:39 pm  

    ha ha, well aegued sofia!

    and funnoy how the demands for health related evidence died out when you presented them.

    Rumbold – I doubt the govt is directly spending money on this… more likely it will be the NHS, which can probably justify it given the costs associated that sofia mentions above. In fact, it might even save the economy some money! how about that then?

  59. Leon — on 11th December, 2008 at 2:50 pm  

    Cheers for the stats Sofia, much appreciated (when you gonna write something for us btw??). :)

  60. ukliberty — on 11th December, 2008 at 3:23 pm  

    Sunny, according to a report called Beyond Smoking Kills, published in October 20008 by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) in collaboration with Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation, treating smoking related illnesses costs the NHS (or rather, the public purse) £2.7bn a year. Tax revenue from tobacco is about £10bn, according to HMRC.

    Sofia’s comment that “In 2006 the direct health care costs of managing CVD in the UK were £17.38 billion – most cvd is caused by atherosclerosis (CHD,CVD,PVD)” is so vague as to be useless, not to mention in stark contrast to the figure above produced by three major anti-smoking organisations. I say vague because cardiovascular disease covers a lot of things, and the risk of getting a cardiovascular disease is increased by lots of things, not just smoking.

    I suspect she copied her facts and figures from this document without understanding them.

    Are you endorsing her comment because you’ve looked into the the figures and agree with them, or have you taken them at face value because they support your position?

  61. Rumbold — on 11th December, 2008 at 4:44 pm  

    Sonia:

    “Asian men who have spent their lifetimes eating ghee.”

    Maybe if they didn’t sell it in 20 litre tubs…

    Leon:

    “You obviously have never been addicted to anything. Speaking as a former smoker (40 a day toward the end) it’s not as simple as that.”

    I am not saying that addiction is easy is overcome by any means. My apologies if you thought that. What I meant was that the scenario that Sofia was describing doesn’t have to happen- people don’t have to sit at a restaraunt table and smoke.

    Random Guy:

    “I think that tobacco should be displayed the same way as it is now, only that there should be a sign on the cigarrete pack which notifies the smoker that he/she will need private medical cover to take care of any future smoking-related illnesses that arise due to their habit.”

    Presumably then this rule should also apply to anyone who eats too much, drinks too much, eats the wrong things, doesn’t do enough exercise, works in a dangerous environment, injures themselves when it could be prevented, gets pregnant, or stays with an abusive partner who betas them. At the the end of the day anyone who doesn’t make the right health decisions all the time should be penalised- or would that affect the entire population?

    Sunny:

    “And funnoy how the demands for health related evidence died out when you presented them.”

    But all the stats proved was that smoking-related illnesses cost money to treat. As ukliberty says, we don’t actually know whether or not smoking represents a net cost or benefit to Britain.

  62. Rumbold — on 11th December, 2008 at 4:53 pm  

    MaidMarian:

    “There are real freedom issues here, but the pudding is being overegged. Hence, following the flow, you can say things like, ‘Similarly, if people want to smoke, they should be allowed to.’ No one is preventing smoking. If government wanted to that it could ban the import of tobacco.”

    But what we are seeing are salami tactics. The gradual chipping away at the locations for smokers to buy and consume their product. Soon more restrictions on it will be announced.

  63. bananabrain — on 11th December, 2008 at 5:02 pm  

    As ukliberty says, we don’t actually know whether or not smoking represents a net cost or benefit to Britain.

    that would be my point, personally; it would also depend on the boundaries of the system and how it is measured. you would have to include the costs saved for elderly care, unpaid pensions and healthcare insurance, all the costs that would have otherwise have been incurred if smokers didn’t die earlier than they do. i hate to say it yet again, but it’s rather like the stupidity of refusing to let drug dealers participate in the mainstream economy.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  64. Sofia — on 11th December, 2008 at 5:34 pm  

    i copied and pasted because i couldnt’ be bothered to argue using my own words…also i did say that it was not all related to smoking..read before you comment.

    having said that…if you smoke you will more than likely have other risk factors for cvd…high blood pressure…the biggest risk factor for stroke and also a risk factor for chd…and if you want to put in an asian context then just add diabetes to the mix

  65. Sofia — on 11th December, 2008 at 5:34 pm  

    and i only mentioned restaurants because someone brought up pubs…

  66. Sofia — on 11th December, 2008 at 5:37 pm  

    i’d give you the stats on bangladeshi men, smoking and stroke but i don’t have them to hand…when you see a 40 year old die and leave a young widow and children die, then stopping PoS cigarettes will not actually seem so awful. If we didn’t want the govn involved then don’t complain when you see the rates of heart attacks and stroke increase with the additional burden this brings on the economy…alongside the ageing populations….

  67. Shamit — on 11th December, 2008 at 5:50 pm  

    I still don’t understand why people seem to have just problems with this legislation?

    And, I am also getting dumbfounded on why people seem to be banging about loss of freedom of choice? In this country, we don’t prohibit selling and buying firearms.

    And, if we take the liberty argument a bit further, hell, someone should be able to not only buy a gun but also have the right to practice it on an innocent bystander. Hey its my right to shoot — choice anyone?

    Scientists and doctors,and evidence say smoking in a room where non smokers are present – well — its kinda like shooting a gun. Except for the fact that there is no superficial wound but the damage is there nonetheless. One person’s freedom of choice must not cause harm to another is a fundamental building block of a liberal democracy.

    Honestly, this does not stop anyone selling ciggies to any adult who chooses to buy them and because of that fact there wouldn’t be any huge black market either as some have anticipated.

  68. ukliberty — on 11th December, 2008 at 6:02 pm  

    Sofia,

    here are some stats..if you want to go down the cost implications..some of you ppl drive me insane…

    In 2006 the direct health care costs of managing CVD in the UK were £17.38 billion – most cvd is caused by atherosclerosis (CHD,CVD,PVD)

    If you didn’t introduce the £17.38 bn in order to support your argument about costs, why on earth did you introduce it? Why did you not break it down into costs related to smoking, obesity, and sedentary lifestyles? Was it because the higher figure suited your argument?

    the additional burden this brings on the economy

    I think it’s pretty evident by now that there isn’t an additional burden, that there isn’t a net cost, isn’t it? Otherwise you and organisations such as ASH, Cancer Research, and the British Heart Foundation, would be able to point to it. Instead all we hear is how much smoking costs the NHS. But that isn’t the full picture, is it?

    Sonia’s contrast of anti-smoking and anti-alcohol abuse policies is more interesting in this light. The medical and social costs of alcohol are around £20bn – I don’t know what revenue is. As Rumbold and Bananabrain point out, there are numerous costs to consider. Bananabrain’s point about drugs is interesting here too, because apparently £500m is set aside to treat drug-related illnesses. We don’t receive any revenue from drugs.

    Even if there is a net cost, does it mean we should interfere with other people’s choices to the extent of banning things? Or rather should we insist on ‘polluter pays’, increasing revenue from tobacco such that there is no net cost to the public purse?

    If we didn’t want the govn involved then don’t complain when you see the rates of heart attacks and stroke increase with the additional burden this brings on the economy…alongside the ageing populations…

    I don’t complain about those things, and you have yet to substantiate your claim about the burden.

    All we should be doing here is educating people as to the risks of consuming cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, diet etc, and covering the costs of treatment and addiction programmes using the principle of ‘polluter pays’. What business is it of yours if someone wants to increase their risk of getting lung cancer?

  69. Don — on 11th December, 2008 at 6:39 pm  

    Rumbold, what’s intrinsically wrong with salami tactics?

    Smoking is known to be highly addictive and incurs massive health damage. Quibbling over costs/income seems irrelevant and cold when the actual damage on the ground is so apparent. An outright ban is impractical, partly because too many people are addicted and partly because that would present a genuine issue of personal liberty.

    So government has chosen to chip away at it. Good call, in my view. Adults who want to buy baccy can do so freely but if a range of fairly moderate measures by government can eventually reduce demand to the point where it is as widespread as snuff-taking then that is money well spent.

    And really, are the costs of these measures significant in terms of overall government spending? Do you think anti-smoking adverts are a waste of public funds and evidence of intrusive government?

    I also support measures to stop irresponsible loss-leading drinks promotions in city centre bars. But not prohibition. If there is an evident social ill which is costing lives then government should take notice and take action. Doing it gradually is sensible and practical. I just wish they would take the same approach to cannabis. (Not that weed is an evident social ill, but persuade and restrict rather than ban.)

  70. MaidMarian — on 11th December, 2008 at 7:19 pm  

    Rumbold – I agree with Don that salami tactics are not something as such wrong.

    Again though, democracy is not about pleaseing all. On a separate point, all those who accuse Labour of timidity may like to dwell on the borderline hysterical reaction to the smoking ban as a clue to why timidity is a feature of governance nowadays.

    (Though Don, the feckless loss leading is actually on supermarket sold alcohol, not bars! Untill someone actually grasps the nettle of telling the middle classes that the policy that lets them buy £4 bottles of wine is having seriously negative effects it is a problem we will have).

  71. Rumbold — on 11th December, 2008 at 9:19 pm  

    Sofia:

    “when you see a 40 year old die and leave a young widow and children die, then stopping PoS cigarettes will not actually seem so awful.”

    But then is that an argument for restricting anything that causes premature death? Including going on blogs instead of exercising?

    Shamit:

    “And, if we take the liberty argument a bit further, hell, someone should be able to not only buy a gun but also have the right to practice it on an innocent bystander. Hey its my right to shoot — choice anyone?”

    Because someone’s right to life trumps someone else’s right to shoot.

    “Scientists and doctors,and evidence say smoking in a room where non smokers are present – well — its kinda like shooting a gun.”

    Maybe extensive passive smoking every day for years and years. But then if that was the case why would you keep going to such pubs and clubs?

    Don:

    “Rumbold, what’s intrinsically wrong with salami tactics?”

    The dishonesty. If the government wishes to ban something, they should make the case for it and do it.

    ” And really, are the costs of these measures significant in terms of overall government spending?”

    No, as I said in my post. But it is the principle of waste. Either the money should be spent on necessary things, or returned to us.

    “Do you think anti-smoking adverts are a waste of public funds and evidence of intrusive government?”

    Yes. They are a waste of taxpayers’ money. If the NHS wishes to provide anti-smoking services they should, but advertising is a waste of money.

    “I also support measures to stop irresponsible loss-leading drinks promotions in city centre bars.”

    So companies shouldn’t be allowed to set their own prices?

  72. Amrit — on 11th December, 2008 at 9:33 pm  

    ‘If the NHS wishes to provide anti-smoking services they should, but advertising is a waste of money.’

    WTF? How is anyone supposed to know that such services exist UNLESS THEY’RE ADVERTISED?

  73. Rumbold — on 11th December, 2008 at 9:36 pm  

    If people tell their doctor that they wish to quit smoking the doctor can direct them to the appropriate services.

  74. Amrit — on 11th December, 2008 at 9:39 pm  

    Yes, but you’re forgetting that most people avoid going to their doctor at all costs, and from what I have seen of people trying to quit, most don’t even think of going to the doctor, but rather try to go ‘cold turkey’ or take advice from others who have quit.

    So… being a trifle idealistic there perhaps… I think that if it were that simple, the adverts wouldn’t exist. Mais ce n’est pas ainsi.

  75. Rumbold — on 11th December, 2008 at 9:43 pm  

    Amrit:

    “Yes, but you’re forgetting that most people avoid going to their doctor at all costs, and from what I have seen of people trying to quit, most don’t even think of going to the doctor, but rather try to go ‘cold turkey’ or take advice from others who have quit.”

    So in other words people have no need for the services. So why advertise?

    ” I think that if it were that simple, the adverts wouldn’t exist.”

    Oh dear. So the state only spends money if it is necessary?

  76. Amrit — on 11th December, 2008 at 9:49 pm  

    ‘Oh dear. So the state only spends money if it is necessary?’

    Don’t try to turn this into a generalisation! Perhaps IN THIS INSTANCE (that of anti-smoking adverts), they feel it is necessary to spend the money so that those who find that ‘cold turkey’ doesn’t work have something to fall back on. Whilst those who choose from the start to be aided in their quest to quit know where to go.

    The insane wait times at doctors’ surgeries (remember those?) have also served to dissuade people more and more from going to the GP unless they really have to, so effectively, the adverts are more necessary than ever, some might say!

    Unlike you libertarians, the govt. don’t just assume that everyone can sort things out for themselves :-P .

  77. Rumbold — on 11th December, 2008 at 9:53 pm  

    Well, you seemed to indicate that if the adverts weren’t needed they wouldn’t exist, which seems to be a bit of a logical fallacy:

    Something needs to be done
    This is something
    So let’s do it

    I find it difficult to believe that people who want to give up smoking but can’t do it on their own wouldn’t at least think of talking to their doctor.

    “The insane wait times at doctors’ surgeries (remember those?) have also served to dissuade people more and more from going to the GP unless they really have to, so effectively, the adverts are more necessary than ever, some might say!”

    Er…advertising doesn’t eliminate the need to see a GP or other medical professional.

  78. Amrit — on 11th December, 2008 at 9:56 pm  

    ‘I find it difficult to believe that people who want to give up smoking but can’t do it on their own wouldn’t at least think of talking to their doctor.’

    Well, in many cases, I think it is a pride thing as well. In the way that drug addicts like to believe they can stop ‘at any time’, some smokers find seeking help in quitting humiliating because it’s like admitting they have a problem, and well… eventually some will come to see it that way and quit, while others won’t!

  79. Rumbold — on 11th December, 2008 at 9:57 pm  

    Amrit:

    “Well, in many cases, I think it is a pride thing as well. In the way that drug addicts like to believe they can stop ‘at any time’, some smokers find seeking help in quitting humiliating because it’s like admitting they have a problem.”

    True enough- but what does that have to do with advertising?

  80. Amrit — on 11th December, 2008 at 10:01 pm  

    ‘True enough- but what does that have to do with advertising?’

    It allows them to access services anonymously – i.e. without going through their GP?

  81. persephone — on 11th December, 2008 at 10:02 pm  

    ” attack on the right of shopkeepers to display legal products that they are allowed to sell.”

    The first thing that struck me upon reading this is that anything that regulates/constrains small shop keepers when selling such products the better. I say this because I frequently read in the local paper of the small shop keepers who are fined (a paltry £90) for selling cigs/alcohol to underage children. These are repeat offenders not one off incidents.

  82. persephone — on 11th December, 2008 at 10:23 pm  

    “…but if you want to tell me that someone is can be happy if they smoke …then plz don’t ”

    Agreed that many smokers are decidedly not happy. I have worked with many sales people who largely smoke heavily as a means of coping with the stress of hitting targets & long hours etc & the resultant effect on their quality of life. In some cases the stress goes unchecked & reaches a critical level as they use smoking to cope with it rather than tackling the root cause.

    What I am saying is that I do see stress (if not covered under the heart related problems) as being on the list of associated illnesses that can be added to the list @ 31.

  83. Don — on 11th December, 2008 at 11:06 pm  

    So companies shouldn’t be allowed to set their own prices?

    Hey, god forbid I question the wisdom of the market. It’s working just great.

  84. Rumbold — on 12th December, 2008 at 9:53 am  

    Amrit:

    But you would have to go along to meetings and register anyway, so it doesn’t really solve anything.

    Peresphone:

    “The first thing that struck me upon reading this is that anything that regulates/constrains small shop keepers when selling such products the better. I say this because I frequently read in the local paper of the small shop keepers who are fined (a paltry £90) for selling cigs/alcohol to underage children.”

    I don’t see the link myself. One is a breach of the law, the other is the restriction on the layout of a shop.

    Don:

    “Hey, god forbid I question the wisdom of the market. It’s working just great.”

    Much better to let a committee of bureucrats decide everything. After all, a state-controlled economy has done wonders for the USSR, Cuba, and North Korea… oh wait.

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