Diminishing Returns and Unintended Consequences

I sometime wonder if people like Cameron are politically cleverer than we think, or that they have political advisers who are cleverer than we think.

Consider the PP and car smoking ban (with kids). We have wondered why on Earth Cameron didn’t just let the last Parliament run out of time. Why push those two useless events through?

Suppose that I say that Cameron ET AL are perfectly aware of the huge conglomeration of anti-smoking organisations and money as compared with the poverty-struck, disjointed opposition. For C et al, the fact that the antis are few in number compared with the number of smokers does not matter one jot. Only power matters, and it is the organisations which have the power, and not the smokers.

So, from C’s point of view, which is the better option’, follow the organisations or follow the smokers? But it isn’t just that consideration. There is also the idea of diminishing returns. What actual result is PP supposed to produce? I cannot think of a single one. I don’t think that the Zealots have actually claimed a specific result. They say that children will be deterred. That could well be true – as it applies to children, but it will hardly apply to people what are not children – ie. teenagers.  Is there any doubt that ASH’s attempts to class 17 year-olds as children will backfire eventually? And what actual result is the car-smoking-with-kids ban expected to produce? If I were to take my youngest grandchild, who is 13, to school, and I didn’t smoke while he was in the car, then I would most certainly light up when he left the car. Further, on a long journey, the only result would be that I would stop more often for a cig break. Nothing would basically change.

Thus, from C’s point of view, he did not get the backs of the medical profession up in the run up to the election, and also, another arrow in the Zealots’ quiver has been shot off to no effect. I think that most of us have noticed that more and more people are just getting absolutely fed up with all the lecturing. Thus, for us smokers, the more of the anti-sugar, anti-salt, anti-alcohol blather we hear and see the better. Should we play devil’s advocate? I’m beginning to think so. In fact, I am certain that it is so. When we see anti-sugar reports in newspapers, we should plough in with anti-sugar, inflammatory claims. “Our next-door neighbour’s kids are all very plump. They always seem to have lollies or ice-creams in their mouths. Both the neighbours are themselves horribly fat. I think that it should be a crime to treat children like that”. Stretch the elastic. Stretch the spring. Stretch them until they snap back with force.

I think that the British Isles have reached the plateau of tobacco control damage. TC has driven smoking so far underground that no one knows the real extent of sensible use of alternative sources. I spoke a couple of days ago about ‘deception, etc’. Does anyone note that news stories about smuggling are almost always about the confiscation of millions of cigarettes? You rarely see any new items about seizures of rolling tobacco. When it happens, it seems to be incidental to the seizure of cigs. Think about how easy it would be to disguise several kilograms of rolling tobacco as some other product. Blankets? Duvets? Cotton? A container-full of wool? And then, after a little moving of ‘the goods’ about, a nice little cottage industry churning out thousands of fags per day. In Australia, these fags are called ‘Manchester’. How ironic if, in Ireland, they were called ‘Melbourne’. What a giggle.

And let’s face it, tobacco control is becoming something of a giggle, is it not? They did their worst with the smoking ban. Anything later is an anti-climax. Since the smoking ban, everything has been subject to the laws of diminishing returns.


But we further have the matter of Unintended Consequences.

The Scottish excuse for a Government has issued a survey open to all about: a) battering ecigs, and, b) persecuting smokers who need to go to a hospital. This is where the unintended consequences come in. Think about that general phrase: SMOKERS WHO NEED TO GO TO A HOSPITAL. How many people go to hospital when they do not need to?

So, if the Scottish excuse for a Government enact a law banning smoking on hospital grounds, who are the people likely to be affected by it? The first group is going to be the staff. Right – it is up to staff to demand that their Union protects them from persecution. But will any of them be persuaded to stop smoking? On the contrary. It is almost certain that they will become defiant.

Those who ‘need to go to a hospital’ fall into two obvious groups, inmates and visitors. (I realise the connotations of the word ‘inmate’) Assume that inmates cannot just pop outside to have a smoke, but need to walk hundreds of yards. Suppose that one of them gets really ill because of exposure. Who then would be said to have ’caused’ the exposure and the illness?

But all of that is really an aside since the ‘unintended consequences’ are what are interesting. We trip into motivations of individuals which are impervious to the tricks of tobacco control. What is most likely to happen when a hospital patient who is a smoker, and is denied smoking, when he is released? He will undoubtedly smoke even more than before. What will visitors do? They may refrain while visiting, but they will undoubtedly make up for the forced abstinence thereafter, as well as retaining the feeling of hate and distrust of the management of the hospital. How much more would that be the case if someone you loved had died there? The hospital did not stop your loved one from dying, but stopped you from smoking.

But it is even worse. The unintended consequences of smoking ban notices all over the place – on every wall and every door – give an impression that nothing else matters. The notices are forbidding and reduce the hospitals to the status of workhouses.

“Arbeit macht frei” might as well replace the ‘No Smoking” notices, for those two ideals are simply opposite sides of the same coin. Both mean servitude.

And is that not what happened when publicans did not rebel against becoming unpaid policemen? Why did they not rebel against being forced into ‘Arbeit macht frei’?

Is it too late? Or are the unintended consequences still on hold? It is still possible for the association of publicans to fight against “Arbeit macht frei”. Remember that “Arbeit macht frei” in this context means, “You publicans will work and take all the risks of violence and loss of business, and your work will make your place smokefree and customer-free”.

It is not for smokers to fight anything since we cannot combine meaningfully. Tobacco companies could have created a smoker union of some sort, but they were too arrogant to bother.


The lowest leaves of my plants are starting to yellow, which means that they are dying. Meanwhile, the topmost leaves are thriving. Almost all empires start to rot from the inside out. It is clear that tobacco control is subject to that same law. The only real question is ‘when will the likes of Chapman, Glantz, Siegel, Bates, etc, etc, be seen to be false prophets’? Regardless of what they say and defend, all of them want CONTROL of ecigs. And they want that CONTROL to be at the expense of others, and not themselves.

Clive Bates may be useful to vapers, but he is a false prophet. He still wants vapers to be controlled and regulated on the grounds that ecigs are ‘cessation devices’. He does not want them to be enjoyable.

‘Unintended consequences’ of gradual tobacco prohibition has, in my mind, created precisely the conditions for ‘chemical highs’. How easy would it be, when on an aircraft, to sniff a bit of cocaine?Or even a pinch of snuff?


What is absolutely clear beyond doubt is that the likes of ASH ET AL are dinosaurs. Or perhaps the word should be ‘lizards’ since they have no other purpose but to grab and inject poison. The FCTC was the construct of lizards. Oopst! I do not mean extra-terrestrials! I mean sneaky, poisonous, omnivorous rats.





13 Responses to “Diminishing Returns and Unintended Consequences”

  1. Rose Says:

    When we see anti-sugar reports in newspapers, we should plough in with anti-sugar, inflammatory claims

    No we shouldn’t.

    Discouraging the use of sugar could lead to a new surge in busybodies and we have more than enough of those already.


    11 Oct 2008

    “Sugar can help make you a sweeter person, researchers claim.”

    The report said: “The findings suggest a link between glucose levels and the expression of prejudice and the use of stereotypes.

    “People with lower glucose levels are more likely to use stereotypes when describing others and, if they are high in prejudice, are more likely to make derogatory statements.”

    The researchers from Amsterdam University and Florida State University added: “When people engage in the act of trying to control public expressions of prejudice or the use of stereotypes, they consume the energy required for self-regulation.

    “However, once the energy source is restored to normal levels, people regain the ability to control conscious responses towards others.

    “Because self-control depends on processes that consume glucose as an energy source, people who have lower levels of blood glucose may be more likely to express prejudice.”

    And that’s not all.

    The anti-cancer properties of Jam.

    Jam can curb cancer, say food scientists
    12 Oct 2008

    “An ingredient found in jam and jelly may help prevent the spread of cancer, research suggests.

    Both popular foods contain a modified form of pectin, a natural fibre found in fruits and vegetables that is widely used in food processing.

    A laboratory study by the Institute of Food Research found modified pectin releases a molecular fragment that curbs all stages of cancer progression”

    “Pectin supplements that claim to detoxify the body and protect against cancer are already sold on the internet, and a laboratory study published in the journal Glycobiology last year showed pectin can slow the growth of prostate cancer.

    Scientists at the University of Georgia in the US found when prostate cancer cells were exposed to pectin powder or heat-treated citrus pectin, up to 40 per cent died.

    The cells were made to “commit suicide” through a natural process called apoptosis that halts the creation of tumours.
    Other studies on rats and cell cultures suggest pectin also fights lung and colon cancers”

    • junican Says:

      Why is it that these studies appear once, if at all, and then disappear for good? What follow up has there been? Why are these studies not being quoted in response to the claims of the anti-sugar zealots?
      That is what is really annoying.

      I still think that wild exaggeration of bad effects is a good tactic, especially if the tactic is used for a good period of time.

      • Rose Says:

        There’s quite a bit about pectin online these days.

        Pectin induces apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells: correlation of apoptotic function with pectin structure

        Cancer Research UK describe modified pectin as an alternate therapy and of course natural products can’t be patented.

        More importantly, it justifies the regular consumption of marmalade at breakfast.

  2. nisakiman Says:

    Your reference to ‘Arbeit macht frei’ struck a chord with me, Junican. It started me wondering what subliminal effect it might have if stickers with ARBEIT MACHT FREI in Gothic script started appearing above or below all the ‘No Smoking’ signs that proliferate. There is no real overt reference to Nazism, but the association would be obvious to many, if not most. I think it would be a subtle and effective subversion of the ‘No Smoking’ demand. I for one would be enthusiastic in applying the addendum to every ‘No Smoking’ sign I came across if I were in UK. Indeed, even though I’m not in UK, I’d happily add a couple of hundred quid to a fund for printing said stickers to be distributed to smokers around the UK.

    • junican Says:

      A nice idea, nisak! There’s nothing to stop me printing out a few stickers and sticking them underneath the ‘No Smoking’ stickers on the pub door windows. I wonder how long they would last before they were removed by staff?

      • nisakiman Says:

        The more I think about it, the more I like the idea.

        But for it to be effective, there would have to be a bit of organisation and some (not a great deal, I wouldn’t think) finance for the printing of thousands of the stickers (economy of scale) and the cost of distributing (posting) them to interested parties.

        If you were prepared to administer the project, Junican, as I said, I’d happily donate a couple of hundred quid. And I’m sure bloggers like Frank D, Dick P, Leg Iron etc would be only too happy to spread the word to encourage both donors and those prepared to embark on the seditious course of sticking the addenda under the ‘No Smoking’ signs. It could even turn into an international phenomenon! I’m sure there are plenty of people in Australia and the USA who would like to undermine the propaganda message we are being constantly bombarded with.

        I have a feeling it would infuriate the anti-smoking crowd and make a lot of other people start thinking about what those ‘No Smoking’ signs really mean to their liberties.

      • junican Says:

        Nisak, I cannot do it. I have a seriously disabled wife to look after.

  3. jaxthefirst Says:

    “Should we play devil’s advocate? I’m beginning to think so. In fact, I am certain that it is so. When we see anti-sugar reports in newspapers, we should plough in with anti-sugar, inflammatory claims.”

    Oh, I’m not sure, Rose. I think it would be quite a good idea, BUT I think that each time the analogy should be made to the anti-tobacco movement, to highlight how ridiculous BOTH movements are and also to filter into the public’s subconscious that there is no difference between the two. As an addendum to the proposed comment, for example, I’d add: “Why would we all be so outraged if we knew of parents buying cigarettes for their children, and yet we don’t show the same outrage towards ice-creams and chocolate?”

    And funnily enough, Nisa, I had exactly the same idea when reading the article. Printed in fairly small writing, people would have to actually look at them to see what they say, rather than busybody wardens seeing them from a mile off, and many wardens wouldn’t even spot them at all and just think they were teenagers or something, putting up signs for some local band gig, and printed onto the normal kind of sticky labels you use for envelopes, they’re very, very hard to remove.

    I also like the idea mooted some while ago by another blogger of taking a few dead cigarette ends into somewhere rabidly anti-smoking (like a hospital), and casually dropping one or two on the floor in the loo, or in the corner of a corridor etc, thus making all the anti-smoking freaks tear their hair out wondering how on earth anyone could possibly have got away with smoking, not just one, but two or three, cigarettes in one place without being spotted and ejected by “security.”

    • junican Says:

      The problem with discarding cig ends is that no one will ever know. That is not the intention.It is critical that people should know.
      I really like the idea of ‘ARBEIT MACHT FREI’ stickers because they are easy to produce, take little space, point to Nazi ideals, need a little thinking about (even if the words mean nothing to the average person), and put fear into the hearts of the Zealots. The fear would be that they do not know where the stickers will appear next. Also, even if the stickers are removed, they can be replaced.


      Freely translated equals “Do what you are told to do or be freed from this life”.

      • Rose Says:

        I’m not comfortable with “Arbeit Macht Frei” but I do like the idea of the gothic script, perhaps something more contemporary with a sense of menace that everyone will recognise, both young and old.
        Gothic script would suit a Dalek voice.

      • thelastfurlong Says:

        I agree. And the implication is Godwin.

      • thelastfurlong Says:

        Ideas to place on “No Smoking” signs. Liberty? NOT! Goodbye liberty. Are smokers not people too? The beginning of the end of personal liberty. This sign is an act of violence. This sign is an example of repression. No smoking and what else? No more persecution. Enough already. Second hand smoke is not the enemy. This sign is offensive. Hate speech here. Placed here for the benefit of the Government only. Unfair to smokers. 1984 expressed. Totalitarianism in action. Smoking and leprosy too. This sign is an intrusion. Who said? Stick it! This is private property defiled by law. Smokers defiled. The mean- spirited love this sign. If not here, where then? Not here, not there, not anywhere. Unfair to a minority. This is a hate crime. This offends me. Offensive to smokers. Not on OUR watch.

        A touch of Godwin – Hitler loves this!

  4. junican Says:


    It is only a matter of time before elected politicians realise that they they have power and academics do not. Thus, politicians can sack any academic that they chose to sack.
    Academics have cooked their own goose.

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