Does Tobacco Control Have an Achilles Heel?

Somehow, the Tobacco Control Industry got away with it.

What is ‘it’? It was the imposition of duties upon publicans and owners of private businesses and properties to enforce a law. Not the police; not the armed forces; but ordinary citizens who were, prior to July 2007, ‘friends’ of the potential ‘offenders’.

There is one absolutely clear lesson from that July 2007 situation. The friendliness of publicans was artificial. It was not real. It was like the friendliness of door-to-door salesmen. The smiles and welcomes were false. They were calculated.

I am ‘friendly’ with the staff of my local. I like them. They are nice and they know me personally by name. But what would they do if I lit a cigarette in the pub? They would immediately attack me physically, such is the extent of the brainwashing that they have endured. They would not shrug their shoulders and pass me a saucer or something to act as an ashtray, with a warning, “On your own head be it”.

But it is precisely there that the Achilles Heel lies.


I have no doubt that the ‘no smoking in cars with children’ will pass. But what will not stand up to lawful scrutiny, in due course, will be the responsibility placed upon the driver to ensure that other adults in the car comply. Why does the driver have any authoritarian duty? He/she is only the driver. He/she has more important things to do, while negotiating the traffic, than admonish anyone who lights a cigarette.

Clearly, the complexities run deeper and deeper, but the Irish Parliament has passed the law before the police have worked out how it can be applied. Is there any precedent for such a situation?


Sooner or later, this question of employing citizens as law enforcers, without payment, will hit the Constitutional Courts (the Supreme Courts), and the Zealots will lose. They will lose because of the general principle, in Common Law, of ‘Conscientious Objection’ (it is late, and I forget the precise formula). Thus, in the WW2, those people who could demonstrate a conscientious objection to killing, were excused military service. But that does not mean that they were allowed to just go home and carry on. Many were assigned to medical teams and such.


I am surprised that the few publicans who tried to defy the smoking ban received so little support from their fellows. One must presume that their fellows were happy to be driven out of business.

But conscientious objection does not have to be based upon religion. It is reasonable for an individual to say, “I OBJECT, AND REFUSE TO COMPLY”. In such a circumstance, he must pay the price. It is entirely wrong for any other person, aka publican, to be obliged to act as judge and jury.


If Parliament passes the ‘smoking ban in cars with children present’ law, then its claim to be GOVERNMENT is destroyed. It deliberately demolishes its own credibility.


5 Responses to “Does Tobacco Control Have an Achilles Heel?”

  1. mikef317 Says:

    A New Yorker’s perspective.

    Back when I frequented restaurants (pubs), I was friends with a number of owners (and staff) who were also smokers. All enforced the smoking ban. I never objected to this. I often stood outside with the owner (facing cold, and maybe rain or snow) and had a nice chat while we both smoked.

    Many (most?) restaurants are small, “family owned” businesses. In NYC (and most places) you need a license to sell food or drink to the public. The NYC smoking ban (and I believe this applies most bans) has a provision to revoke the license of any restaurant that repeatedly violates the law. The owner can no longer operate the business. No income, but expenses (rent on the building, etc.) must be paid. Staff must be let go since there are no customers. Food on hand will quickly spoil. Basically, the business has to be sold to someone who will enforce the smoking ban. The “owner” and staff must all find new jobs. (Talk about draconian….)

    Would my friendly owners (or their staff) have “attacked me physically” if I lit a cigarette in the restaurant? Of course not, but they would have politely asked me to go outside. That or risk their livelihood – something I would not ask a friend to do. Which is why I always went outside to smoke – frequently with my friends.

    P.S.: All my friends who owned restaurants have closed their doors, often after decades of running a successful business. Which is maybe why I almost never eat out anymore.

    • junican Says:

      I have seen people physically chucked for less that lighting as cig! Our experiences in the UK are not dissimilar to yours in New York. They mirror the world-wide nature of the WHO organised NGO plague.

  2. Samuel Says:

    A local businessman who owns a small theater and a bar was for a long time a very loud and forceful proponent for a municipal ordinance forbidding smoking inside bars and restaurants. he was completely free to set this as policy in his own businesses but wanted a “law” so he would not be at a competitive disadvantage regarding other bars. Clearly he wanted this for his own satisfaction and not because any groundswell of customer demands impelled him. he never got his wish; the city government wisely observed that such a “law” exceeded their authority. Unfortunately the State government did pass such a “law” and forbade smoking inside all businesses except tobacco shops. This same small business owner was crowing about this “law” on the front page of the local newspaper but was the first to open an small annex to the back of his bar where he privately allowed smoking. Subsequently his bar became the preferred hangout for the local police.

  3. beobrigitte Says:

    Does Tobacco Control Have an Achilles Heel?

    It has a few – and it knows it.

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