Timmy elsewhere

At the ASI.

It appears that the smoking bans haven\’t in fact reduced the number of heart attacks: haven\’t, even, reduced the incidence of smoking.

28 thoughts on “Timmy elsewhere”

  1. If you were quietly swallowing something, Tim, I’d agree – but you’ve picked a vice that requires you to set fire to something and blow smoke all over the room I’m sharing with you. My non-smoker’s life has to a pleasurable degree improved since I stopped having to share in your pollution.

  2. The externalities of smoking don’t have to be as dramatic as heart attacks. Merely the pollution of a shared environment is an externality, leading to hair stinking and clothes needing to be washed. Not to mention a raw throat.

    We don’t tolerate (or shouldn’t) people pissing in the street, even though there’s little public health issue with urine running in the gutters. The stink of stale urine and the splashing on to passers by is enough. So too with smoking.

  3. ” My non-smoker’s life has to a pleasurable degree improved since I stopped having to share in your pollution.”

    It’s notable that I haven’t for some time been kept awake by the stink of cigarettes on my pillow put there by my contaminated hair after coming back from a night out.

    The smoking ban of course hasn’t been put in place for such reasons: your and my nicer life didn’t figure in the calculation. By for once the unintended consequences of the legislation are on the upside.

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    ambrose murphy – “My non-smoker’s life has to a pleasurable degree improved since I stopped having to share in your pollution.”

    That may be true. But the real question is whether the loss of our freedoms is worth whatever trivial pleasures you get from not having to smell tobacco smoke because you are too lazy to find a non-smoking venue.

    Well put it that way, not really, no. It is not the question. The question is yes, this is nice for you. But irrelevant.

    Personally, as a non-smoker, I like the smell.

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    I like the increase of STDs in Ireland. I assume it is because studs and sluts not only smoke, but also hook up on the street.

    Go figure.

  6. SMFS – contrasting your “freedoms” versus my “trivial pleasures” is a lazy non-argument, just as easy and meaningless when it’s flipped around. Likewise somehow it being a non-smoker’s job to find a non-smoking venue, rather than the smoker’s to find a smoking one.

    I’m with katie, both posts – well put.

    Tim adds: Ah, but the justification for it being illegal for there to be no, absolutely none, smoking places is that the effects upon the health of those in such smoking places is too high a price to be paid for the freedom and liberty to smoke.

    And if those health effects of passive smoking are largely (possibly entirely) made up then that justification goes away.

    The argument is not that all public spaces must be made available for smoking. But that by simple common social agreement some places might be so.

    Like one of the pubs I took you into in Bath over 25 years ago, a place which even back then had a strictly enforced no smoking area.

  7. “whatever trivial pleasures you get from not having to smell tobacco smoke because you are too lazy to find a non-smoking venue.”

    If you think you can belittle as “trivial” the pleasures of not enduring the stink of stale cigarettes for days on contaminated clothes, I think I’m entitled to belittle as “trivial” the pleasure obtained from smoking and similarly ask why smokers are “too lazy” to find another habit like sucking boiled sweets.

  8. “Personally, as a non-smoker, I like the smell.”

    Since you think that the objections are about “smell” of smoke you cannot be a life-long non-smoker: you must have at least been a smoker to have developed the thick hide required to ignore the very real unpleasant effects on non-smokers.

    I also believe you are flat out lying when you claim to like the smell of stake cigarette smoke.

  9. “I like the increase of STDs in Ireland. I assume it is because studs and sluts not only smoke, but also hook up on the street.”

    I don’t give a toss. As long as their rutting behind the bins doesn’t wake me up at 2AM.

  10. Bloody hell. This is basic freedom stuff, people.

    For publicly owned spaces, where the government can reasonably decide which activities should and shouldn’t be permitted based on the will of the general population, there is a genuine clash between the benefit to smokers of smoking, and the benefit to non-smokers of not permitting smoking.

    For privately owned spaces, there is not. If I want to smoke in your house, and you’re happy for me to smoke in my house, then nobody else’s views are relevant. That doesn’t change when you substitute “house” for “business”.

    The only possible justification for interfering with individual freedom to that degree is actual *harm*, not just “waah, I don’t like it”.

  11. “But that by simple common social agreement some places might be so.”

    I agree. But we must remember that before the ban there were few restaurants and pubs that had any kind of segregation, and those that did usually had no ventilation that actually made much difference to wandering smoke. Smokers had almost completely occupied public spaces, severely curtailing choice.

  12. (and the pissing analogy holds here. If I want to open a club where people go and piss on each other, then I should be allowed to, notwithstanding the fact that most people wouldn’t want to frequent such an establishment…)

  13. “That doesn’t change when you substitute “house” for “business”.”

    Oh but it does. A shop or a bar or a restaurant is a public space, even if privately owned. If members of the public are invited in, it’s a public space (clue: what is the word “pub” short for?).

    A private club isn’t a public space (again, clue in the name). Nor is an office or a warehouse.

    “The only possible justification for interfering with individual freedom to that degree is actual *harm*, not just “waah, I don’t like it”.”

    Tell me where you’re going to be in public tomorrow and I’ll pop over and tip a bucket of piss over your head. It’s not actual “harm” right? I’m totally sure you won’t like it.

  14. “If I want to open a club where people go and piss on each other”

    Just tell me where you’re going to be. You see, you don’t ask to be pissed on, just as I didn’t ask to be assaulted by smokers, but it happened anyway.

  15. I was going to reply, but I think KT’s done it.

    25 years ago I smoked more than you, Tim – I wouldn’t have noticed the non-smokers’ area except to resent the waste of space. These days, well, come over and smoke to your heart’s content – just on the terrace, not in the living room; and if we go to the pub, let’s find one where I don’t have to pay a dry-cleaning as well as (my half of) a drinks bill.

    And important point worth seconding – restaurants and pubs are public spaces. The state of play before the ban was horrible. So whatever the problem with the ban, tweak it, object to it, carve out space in it, but don’t go back.

  16. Ambrose, I agree: the ban isn’t very fair to smokers, and there should be room to tweak it to make room for smokers to not die of the cold. Or for places to apply technology (I’ve seen some very effective smoke extraction systems used in offices on the Continent).

    Tim [email protected] I’m very happy indeed with the Portuguese system as enacted.Tiny places and restaurants are smoke free. Larger bars must have both a non smoking area and also a decent extractor system (the government sends a man around to check that it is capable of dealing with the air volume in the room). And plenty of places have simply said “no smoking”, for the majority of their customers prefer that.

    Fine by me: it’s the abolition of choice that upsets me, and abolition based on those spurious health grounds.

  17. “if we go to the pub, let’s find one where I don’t have to pay a dry-cleaning as well as (my half of) a drinks bill.”

    Again, I’m in favour of this. If a friend of mine suggested meeting up in the pissing club, I’d suggest an alternative venue. But the current state of play *doesn’t allow me and Tim to go to a pub where we can blow smoke at each other should we wish*.

  18. As a life long non smoker, I have enjoyed not having to come home smelling of stale cigarettes after a night out.

    But I don’t agree with the ban. I didn’t have to go to pubs that were smoky if I didn’t want to. No-one forced me to. It was my own free will.

    I actually think now we could repeal the ban and not all pubs would go back to allowing smoking. Prior to the ban non smokers had no frame of reference as to what it could be like. Now we know and there definitely would be a market for smoke free pubs. As there would be a market for smoky old boozers too.

  19. “*you were voluntarily entering a pissing club*.”

    And mostly I didn’t consent to be treated so and before the ban I didn’t go out much. You call it freedom to not be assaulted, I call it a loss of freedom.

    But now I go out an awful lot more than I used to now that the public spaces haven’t been monopolised. I for one welcome the freedom I have been given by our new nanny overlords.

  20. “Much of the problem arose from the rank bad manners of smokers. Remarkably simple, really.”

    I remember eating a delicately flavoured risotto in a restaurant when the couple at the next table lit up and totally ruined the rest of the dish: none of the flavour could be discerned. So I left a half-eaten meal and went hungry. Apparently I am now instructed that this was a demonstration of my freedom to eat food without tasting it.

  21. Hmm. *Before* the smoking ban, most good restaurants were either non-smoking or had serious and properly vented non-smoking sections that accounted for most of the seating. This is precisely because having your dinner ruined by someone lighting up is rubbish, and *hello, free market, business, all the stuff Tim likes and the fact that I agree with a lot of it is why I keep reading here*.

    The idea that you couldn’t go out for a good meal without having it ruined by smoke was true in 1980, but not in 2006. Pubs were a different story (I was always surprised that nobody in the industry thought it’d be a good idea to do non-smoking seriously – well, apart from Wetherspoons, who did, and a few niche places – but it’s a very conservative industry and also I think Jim has a point).

  22. True, pubs no longer smell of cigarette smoke. But they now smell of piss, farts, BO, and stale beer. I like the smoke-free environment, but the UK doesn’t half smell.

  23. When our local pubs had a non-smoking lounge, and a public bar area where smoking was allowed, it seemed to me that that was a rather good compromise. It also meant that the meal service area was kept free of smoke. I used to go regularly, book a table for lunch in the non-smoking lounge, and nip into the public bar after the meal for a smoke. I didn’t spend a lot on drinks, but I did like to spend freely on meals.
    But now the places are almost empty. Several have closed altogether, another is likely to fold in the new year. I haven’t been in since my first experience of having to stand outside in the pouring rain.
    My cooking skills have improved a lot. The beer is cheaper at home. I can invite my friends round, they can bring their dogs, kids, and the occasional bottle of plonk. Yet I never smoke in the main part of the house, I have a smoking room. It works at our house.

  24. So Much For Subtlety

    ambrose murphy – “contrasting your “freedoms” versus my “trivial pleasures” is a lazy non-argument, just as easy and meaningless when it’s flipped around.”

    By all means flip it around. Because it is not a lazy argument. Before the ban you had the ability to eat in a non-smoking venue or a smoking one. As you preferred. Now you do not. You have lost a freedom. You have gained next to nothing.

    “Likewise somehow it being a non-smoker’s job to find a non-smoking venue, rather than the smoker’s to find a smoking one.”

    By all means, let’s consider it the obligation of the smoker to find a smoking venue. But first the smoker needs to have the basic freedom to open a smoking venue. We no longer have such a right.

    Kay Tie – “If you think you can belittle as “trivial” the pleasures of not enduring the stink of stale cigarettes for days on contaminated clothes, I think I’m entitled to belittle as “trivial” the pleasure obtained from smoking and similarly ask why smokers are “too lazy” to find another habit like sucking boiled sweets.”

    By all means. I have no idea what the pleasures of smoking are, but I am happy to concede they look trivial to me. But the point is that the freedom to do something people may not like but does them no real harm is not trivial. If the Government can ban smoking they can ban anything. The comparison with sweets does not work. Any more than asking why gay people can’t have sex with women or why Methodists can be good Anglicans. It is a question of choice and freedom. Non-smoking venues existed and if non-smokers cared, more of them would have existed. Now smoking ones do not. No one was ever forced to go to a restaurant that allowed people to smoke.

    Kay Tie – “Since you think that the objections are about “smell” of smoke you cannot be a life-long non-smoker: you must have at least been a smoker to have developed the thick hide required to ignore the very real unpleasant effects on non-smokers.”

    An interesting assumption. Wrong on both counts of course. I am a life-long non-smoker. Although exposure to other non-smokers makes me less willing to admit it in public.

    “I also believe you are flat out lying when you claim to like the smell of stake cigarette smoke.”

    Another interesting claim. If nothing else this amusing if childish rudeness shows that the real problem is with the mini-Mussolinis who want to ban things. This is verging on mental illness. Why would I bother to lie? Think about it. As it happens both claims, as with everything else I write on the internet, are true. I just don’t care enough to make it up.

    Kay Tie – “I don’t give a toss. As long as their rutting behind the bins doesn’t wake me up at 2AM.”

    And yet the idea of two consenting adults sharing smoke out of your sight drives you to childish public rudeness. If you don’t mind me saying so, I don’t believe you. Such narrow minded puritanism may find one target at a time, but it will find the usual targets in time.

  25. SMFS:

    “this amusing if childish rudeness shows that the real problem is with the mini-Mussolinis who want to ban things. This is verging on mental illness.”

    I also notice a great deal of visceral intolerance coming from that particular quarter. But there will always be individuals who seek to demonise some identifiable group of people, and cast them as a form of pollution.

    The main problem we have now, is the legislative framework that tends to criminalise the special interests of non-racial minorities. So you can’t open a hotel just for Catholic families, or a pub just for smokers. About a year ago I was staying at a private hotel that specialises in catering for people and their pets. It was very nice for me, I love critters. But they have had a complaint from a prospective customer who is allergic. He reckons he should be able to stay wherever he likes, and the hotel should be forced to ban pets.

    The concept that any commercial service offered to the public, must be acceptable to all members of the public, is utterly wrong-headed. I don’t like screaming kids, so I don’t go to Disneyland. If somebody is offering a venue where kids are not allowed, I want the right to go there, and spend my money there.

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