Blimey, a sensible government decision on smoking

This is a surprise:

The government\’s \”nudge unit\” wants to encourage the use of smokeless nicotine cigarettes, banned in many countries around the world, in an attempt to reduce the numbers killed in the UK by guardian.co.uk on Smoking\" href=\"http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/smoking\">smoking diseases each year.

The Cabinet Office\’s behavioural insight team – better known as the nudge unit – wants to adopt the new technology because policy officials believe the rigid \”quit or die\” approach to smoking advice no longer works. Rather, they want nicotine addiction to be managed to help smokers who otherwise won\’t quit – an approach the unit believes could prevent millions of smoking deaths. Ten million people in the UK smoke, and smoking claims 80,000 lives a year.

Cue hysteria from ASH in 3…2…1…

30 comments on “Blimey, a sensible government decision on smoking

  1. It would also help pubs if people started e cigarettes.
    I hate the smell of tobacco smoke I am so glad that my wife doesn’t come smelling like an ashtray (she gets a train from London Bridge) but I don’t want people be forced to stop doiing something – I just don’t want them to do it near me.
    After all I don’t let off wind near them!

  2. A lot of antismokers object to e-cigs because they “look like cigarettes” and the vapour “looks like smoke”. People have been told not to use them in pubs.

  3. A pox on the antismokers if they simply object to the appearance – the problem for most non-smokers is the smell, and as e-cigarettes don’t have it then there should be no objection to such things being smoked in pubs &c.

  4. I read an interesting factoid about smoking bans. Apparently railway carriages were resolutely smoke free when cigarettes first became fashionable, and the companies refused to allow smoking. The tobacco lobby had an act of Parliament passed making it illegal to restrict smoking, so the incumbency advantage (pub owners not going non-smoking because they don’t want to move first, or they fear the unknown) was put in place by force of law.

    If it’s true, and I don’t know if it is (but would like to find out) then I feel a lot better about that incumbency advantage being removed by force of law.

  5. I found the legislation – Regulation of Railways Act 1868.

    All Railway Companies, except the Metropolitan Railway Company, shall, from and after the First Day of October next, in every Passenger Train where there are more Carriages than One of each Class, provide Smoking Compartments for each Class of Passengers, unless exempted by the Board of Trade.

    The status quo was that railways did not want to provide smoking carriages, so the government forced them to on behalf of smokers.

  6. Matthew,

    pub owners not going non-smoking because they don’t want to move first, or they fear the unknown

    Actually, JD Wetherspoon ran a pilot non-smoking policy across a number of their pubs and found that sales dropped 7.6% (food up a little, booze and fruit machines down a lot). The pub closures match the effects seen at Wetherspoon.

  7. If ‘quit or die’ isn’t working stop doing the ‘quit or die’.

    There are two reasons I can think of why the Government feels it must ” adopt the new technology” – so it can continue nudging and to tax the products.

  8. Hang on, if you allow virtual ciggies that means that smokers are still allowed to get some of their pleasure. That won’t do, will it?

  9. Not at all. I imagine the device they bless will come from Big Business. The device Leg-Iron uses does not and I recall there was an attempt to ban it.

  10. The effect of the smoking ban in Norway, so I am told, is for anyone under the age of 30 to be sucking a lump of raw nicotine called snooze (dunno if that’s the correct spelling), which originated in Sweden – where it is banned. It gives you a huge nicotine rush and is highly addictive. How long before this starts to appear in British clubs?

  11. snus looks disgusting; looks like you’re chewing a teabag.

    What we need is for snuff to become fashionable again.

  12. I’m massively in favour of virtual cigs; as a sometime smoker of both varieties, I’ve been converted to the e-ones, although a proper cancer stick or two will still be required.

    Amazed and delighted to see that the UK government is broadly in favour and that ASH is broadly in favour; in Australia they’re illegal to sell due to Insane Nanny Bullshittery that I’d thoroughly have expected the UK to clone.

  13. Tims – the snus thing is really interesting, and the causality runs the other way. Sweden’s always been well below the rest of Europe at smoking fags, cos snus has always been a thing. It’s still not very good for you (mouth cancer risk elevated), but immensely better for you than fags.

    Swedish health authorities, Sweden being quite a sensible country (Tim W can point out all the ways in which it’s surprisingly libertarian), encouraged everyone to switch from fags to snus; it had the quickest “smoker to non-smoker” switching rate of anywhere ever.

    But, because Mad Puritan Clowns and Fag Companies control the health debate, snus never had a chance elsewhere in Europe. It simultaneously failed to fit the puritans’ agenda of making everything shit for everyone, and failed to fit the fag companies’ agenda of selling people fags (because snus is sold by the Swedish state tobacco monopoly, which isn’t arsed about international expansion).

    So it’s illegal outside Sweden (which has a special derogation), even though if it were legalised everywhere else, fewer people would die. “Bureaucracy win”, as they say.

  14. The key point about snus is that it’s better for the people around you too, which is why the Swedish route is so sensible.

    john b: Technically the e-cigs are legal in Australia, it’s the nicotine juice that isn’t. You can get the equipment perfectly legally for the purpose of “smoking” nicotine-free juice. Of course, if you were to then turn around and import, for personal use, some nicotine juice from a more enlightened country… well, the e-cig vendors have no control over the wantonly criminal actions of their customers.

    I live in Australia, and I’ve been loudly singing the praises of the e-cigs to all my smoking friends. I’m considering getting a job lot and handing them out as chrissy presents.

  15. The status quo was that railways did not want to provide smoking carriages, so the government forced them to on behalf of smokers

    So much property rights during the laissez faire Victorian era.

  16. But, because Mad Puritan Clowns and Fag Companies control the health debate, snus never had a chance elsewhere in Europe. It simultaneously failed to fit the puritans’ agenda of making everything shit for everyone, and failed to fit the fag companies’ agenda of selling people fags (because snus is sold by the Swedish state tobacco monopoly, which isn’t arsed about international expansion)

    Which ‘puritans’ would that be? It is one of the more far-fetched delusions of smokers and the smoking lobby that non-smokers oppose them having pleasure. No, we just oppose you make things shit for the rest of us.

  17. “Which ‘puritans’ would that be? It is one of the more far-fetched delusions of smokers and the smoking lobby that non-smokers oppose them having pleasure. No, we just oppose you make things shit for the rest of us.”

    I totally object to breathing someone else’s tobacco smoke. However, I support the ‘right’ (God how that word has been abused) of anyone to choose to smoke, so long as they don’t do it around me.

    In practical terms, this means that I oppose the pub smoking ban: private premises (as pubs are) should be able to choose to be smoking or non-smoking venues (or provide separate smoking areas.) In fact, being a non-smoking venue could be a sales point. There was such a pub here before the ban; it was a ghastly glossy chrome and glass bar and always nearly empty (I assumed the bouncers on the door were to keep people in :) ). So when the general smoking ban was imposed this place lost its only point in its favour, and promptly closed.

    After all, objecting to something but defending the right of anyone to do it anyway is just a variation of Voltaire’s non-quote (actually Tallentyre.) It’s a matter of tolerance and of being liberal, in the English sense rather than the American.

  18. totally object to breathing someone else’s tobacco smoke. However, I support the ‘right’ (God how that word has been abused) of anyone to choose to smoke, so long as they don’t do it around me

    So I do.

    In practical terms, this means that I oppose the pub smoking ban: private premises (as pubs are) should be able to choose to be smoking or non-smoking venues (or provide separate smoking areas.)

    Why should they be free to permit smoking, but not free to obey other laws that govern the behaviour and regulation of private businesses? The fact that a pub is private property does not mean that anything goes. It is a business, not a private individual, and therefore is subject to all kinds of regulation that private individuals are not subject to. I don’t see why this principle becomes invalid when we are talking about smoking.

  19. After all, objecting to something but defending the right of anyone to do it anyway is just a variation of Voltaire’s non-quote

    No one is stopping people from smoking, just limiting where they may do it. Taking a dump is not banned but if I were to crap infront of you in public whilst you were eating your meal, you wouldn’t appreciate it or defend my ‘right’ to do so.

  20. “Why should they be free to permit smoking, but not free to obey other laws that govern the behaviour and regulation of private businesses?”

    That makes no sense at all. I was advocating repealing the ban, not disregarding it.

    Oh, and take a dump wherever you please!

  21. “That makes no sense at all. I was advocating repealing the ban, not disregarding it”

    The point I was making was that the smoking ban is no different from any kind of regulation that applies to businesses but does not apply to individuals. Restaurants are bound by food hygiene regulations; private kitchens aren’t. If that is reasonable – and I think the vast majority of people would say it was – why is it also not reasonable to restrict smoking in restaurants and pubs?

  22. Which ‘puritans’ would that be? It is one of the more far-fetched delusions of smokers and the smoking lobby that non-smokers oppose them having pleasure. No, we just oppose you make things shit for the rest of us.

    Stephen, if that’s the case, then why the hell do the anti-smoking authorities oppose the use of snus? Because they do; their lobbying against it is *why* it’s illegal to sell it in the EU outside Sweden. Passive snus-absorbing is Not A Thing.

    I’m an occasional smoker, although quite excited by e-cigs and not very excited by the concept of lung cancer.

    I’m not interested in smoking ban arguments at this point. Even conceding that smoking bans in public places are legit, and that people who advocate them are trying to protect The Innocent Public, that is absolutely not the case for snus and e-cig bans.

  23. Stephen, if that’s the case, then why the hell do the anti-smoking authorities oppose the use of snus?

    I don’t. But then I also support the complete decriminalisation of narcotics. I don’t care what you do to your own body provided that you do it well away from me.

    Because they do; their lobbying against it is *why* it’s illegal to sell it in the EU outside Sweden. Passive snus-absorbing is Not A Thing

    So even pro-smoking France opposes snus? Why?

  24. “The point I was making was that the smoking ban is no different from any kind of regulation that applies to businesses but does not apply to individuals. Restaurants are bound by food hygiene regulations; private kitchens aren’t. If that is reasonable – and I think the vast majority of people would say it was – why is it also not reasonable to restrict smoking in restaurants and pubs?”

    It’s rather easier to avoid a pub which allows smoking (even if you didn’t know beforehand, you will as soon as you walk in the door) than it is to avoid a restaurant that serves up e.coli.

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