Re Tobacco Control,How important is ‘What’as compared with ‘Who’ and ‘Why’?

Simon Clarke has highlighted a plan in Scotland to ban smoking and ecig use in or on any council property. See here:

Simon says:

Aberdeenshire Council has drafted a revised smoking policy that aims to ensure non-puffers are prevented from inhaling toxic tobacco fumes [my emphasis] in car parks.

Under the proposed new rules, smoking – including electronic vaporizers or ‘e-cigs’ [my emphasis] – will face a blanket ban on any premises or site owned by the council even if someone lights up in a private vehicle [my emphasis].

Simon points out the nonsense of such an idea.


But I think that we should go much further.

Most bus stations are owned by local authorities. Anyone who has used a bus station knows that buses keep their engines running while they are in position at a bus station. I do not know precisely why that is so, but I can imagine that the bus needs to be kept warm, and that the way to keep the bus warm is to keep the diesel engine running. So, all around the bus station, there are buses with their diesel engines running. So, all around the council property, there are engines pumping out fumes which the WHO has said are carcinogenic. And these fumes are pumped out all day long.

I hope that readers can see the reason for my heading of this post. We have reached a point where the the ‘what’ does not matter. The ‘what’ (banning toxic tobacco smoke in places like bus stations, which are enclosed within a cloud of toxic diesel fumes) is irrelevant.

The REALLY IMPORTANT QUESTION is Who and Why? ‘What’ is no longer of any importance. The banning of smoking and ecigs in places like like bus stations, which are full of buses running their diesel engines all the time and flooding the air with masses of toxic fumes, is the ‘what’. Those ideas are too stupid to contemplate, and yet people on the Aberdeenshire Council are determined to remove 0.001% of tobacco ‘fumes’ while leaving 99.999% of diesel fumes in place.

That is the reason that ‘what’ (smoking bans in bus stations and such) is not at all important.

So what actually IS important?

This is where we come down to the nitty-gritty. The important questions are “‘Why’ have these proposals been put the council, and ‘Who’ put proposed them?

What this means is that the ‘What’ is not important. That may be a strange idea when you think about smoking bans in pubs, and yet it is the most important idea of all. The ‘What’ has never been that important. ‘Who’ and ‘Why’ have always been much, much, much more important, but we did not know, and neither did politicians. You would think that politicians would be especially aware of ‘Who’ and ‘Why’ since they swim in that sort of swamp, but it is easier to be concerned with ‘What’, and vote for the easy option. That is how the smoking ban became enacted.

Contrary to what many people think, the smoking ban is very weak. It is founded upon MPs who did not know about the ‘Who’ and the ‘Why’. Sooner or later, it will be overturned on the grounds that citizens are not state zombies and tax fodder. Human Rights have their place, and one ‘human right’ is to survive, whatever it takes. Even if you have to thieve to survive, you can do so, provided that it is the only way. You might be arrested and jailed, but you did what you had to do.

An investigative journalist might seek to know ‘who’ the Aberdeenshire Councillors were who welcomed that idea, and ask ‘why’ they did so.

My serious point is that these Councillors are zombies. They ‘become alert’ when there is something that that they can actually DO. BAN SMOKING – and then they can go home.

But  there is a rebellion in the offing,  regardless of the EU vote. The EU vote does not mean that Cameron et al can say, “Sorry, but the EU directive says that…” Brexit is only the beginning.




5 Responses to “Re Tobacco Control,How important is ‘What’as compared with ‘Who’ and ‘Why’?”

  1. Roberto Says:

    More than “zombies” the councillors you describe are responding to pressures from a powerful lobby. They will not compromise their careers to stand up to defend a principle or to defend the rights of a powerless (and despised) minority. The last thing they want is to face activists and lobbyists accusing them of being soft on “air poisoners”.

    These Scottish bans show the progress of TC strategy to start intruding in personal private places: today is inside vehicles, tomorrow it will be inside private homes (the children, etc). It is already happening in the USA. There is a proposal to ban smoking in all spaces (including inside homes) in all public housing facilities in the USA. Those breaking the ban face eviction (and this would affect a million smokers who are mostly low income and/or senior citizens). From the USA it is likely to spread to English speaking countries, then to the EU and then to the rest of the world through pressure from the WHO. What protects us, smokers and vapers in Latin America, India, China, Russia, Africa, Muslim world, etc, is the fact that authorities have more pressing problems to attend than “protecting the health of non-smokers” and the lack of strength of the anti-smoking religion. When such bans have been issued they are not well implemented in practice. Smokers and vapers simply smoke and vape when cops are not watching and nobody “turns them on”. I saw it recently in India.

    It seems that these increasingly intruding TC policies will include vaping as a target. This will put to test the commitment and political power within Public Health of pro-vaping advocates. The question is how far can TC go on trampling civil liberties in the developed world before there is some sort of rebellion.

    • junican Says:

      You are right, Roberto, but what you are talking about is ‘the what’. My point is that ‘the what’ is not the important thing. It is the ‘who’ and the ‘why’ which are important.

      • Roberto Says:

        Junican, yes I agree, we have talked about the “what” long enough, so I apologise for being repetitive. But we also know who are the “who” and what is the “why”. In my humble opinion what needs to be thought of is “the how”, specifically the “how” to rebel and counter the “who” doing the “what” (the “why” is likely good material for social psychologists). I do recognise that I have no answer on this “how”. I also recognise that a lot of legal efforts have been made by people like MacFadden and CLASH in NY. But at some point there will have to be some sort of stronger civil disobedience rebellion in the developed countries. It is not unlikely that the spark for this may occur in the next couple of years in the USA when the smoke-free ruling in public housing takes full steam (likely if Hillary Clinton wins), which will cause senior citizens to be evicted for smoking in their own homes. If these evictions happen it would be really outrageous. If there is no strong reaction in the USA this will trigger the Orwellian nightmare of nanny state snooping in the homes of smokers in the developed world.

        I have no answers on this “how” also because smokers (and vapers) here in Latin America do not face the type of adversity as in the UK (or the USA, Canada, the EU), However, we need to keep a watchful eye because our conditions may worsen with time as TC creeps deeper into our local Public Health systems.

  2. Timothy Goodacre Says:

    These rules and restrictions on smokers have passed into the absurd. Smokers are being victimised, bullied, and through high taxes, robbed. We must now be outside the law and defend ourselves. Defy all these stupid rules !

    • junican Says:

      I have said before that smokers must become ‘outlaws’ and be proud of it. It is not smokers who are the badies in this western – it is the Zealots who wear the black clothes and the masks. But it is the politicians who are most culpable since they are the ones who nod the laws through.

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