Tuesday, 13 April 2010

The Smoking Debate and Reform

The Telegraph is hosting a vote 'Reform the Smoking Ban'. At present there are 65 fors and 9 againsts.

Yes I know, if you don't smoke, this is of little interest, but let's look at the wider issue. Only this week it's come to light that the 5-a-day for fruit and vegetables was a lie. There never was and still is not, any evidence to prove that 5 portions of fruit and veg were the way to a disease free life. Rather like the amount we should drink in a week.

Only recently a neighbour of mine was diagnosed with skin cancer. Her first words to me were, (I paraphrase here), "I never go out of the sun and I have my 5-a-day." That slogan promised to her that she would keep disease free. What a con!

The 5-a-day was thought up by a Californian woman to promote the sales of fruit in her area. She thought the local fruit producers weren't selling enough. The US government picked up on her slogan and the rest is history; well insofar as we follow the US like sheep on many occasions.

Let me say, as a person who loves vegetables, that I've always eaten much more than 5 a day, but I now sympathise with these parents who feel intense guilt because their children refused to conform to the government's advice. I well remember a grandmother friend being extremely distressed because she couldn't force her two grandchildren to eat vegetables or fruit after or even between meals. Her daughter (their mother) hnd always insisted that they must have their 'government ration' and because the children were now able to express themselves when their mother asked what they'd had to eat at granny's, she was distraught.

The result was illuminating. My friend's daughter had never managed to force her children to eat the required 5-a-day and she admitted to her mother she relied upon her to do it.

Smoking not banned. The government love the income they receive from smokers. It helps pay for quite a handsome part of the NHS yet they deny smokers the right to enjoy their habit in reasonable comfort. No other EU country enforces this law to this degree.

Go on, vote for reform or else vote for smoking to be made illegal.


scunnert said...

I once read some WHO stats on relative risk. Apparently eating one steak a week, having one glass of milk per day, or one cookie (biscuit) per day were more dangerous than second hand smoke. Even more interesting was that smoking was classified as an "extreme risk" as smokers were eleven times more likely to get lung cancer than non smokers. However, they were silent on the fact that homosexuals were some four hundred times more likely to get infected with HIV than heterosexuals.

Don't you just love it when health advice becomes politicized?

Dramfineday said...

Caveat SR - couldn't care less about people smoking (I was a smoker once myself) but not in public or work places, polluting the air and clothing of others - been there, had that, dire!

The great outdoors - just the place for a puff!

Ha, Ha, the word verification is Stincona - just what you get from fags

Captain Ranty said...

"...polluting the air and clothing of others....".


You support legislation against a smell?

I can think of 10 or 15 odours that turn my stomach but I wouldn't cheer yet another poxy statute banning them. It's the road to hell.

Cheer all you want, but when they come for something YOU like, don't be asking me (and 15 million others) for help.


Alex said...

opposite opinion here Rosie.

I'm asthmatic and that only adds to my discomfort with smoking. I live in Spain where clubs and bars still allow smokers. I can handle most bars just but many i can't and clubs are a nightmare. Not only does my throat dry, I have to go out every 10 mins for fresh air, my eyes nip and I get congested and on top of that my hair and clothes reek.

It sounds strange to many but to me smoking is a kind of violence. Whatever, I think it's a clear case of your rights ending where others' begin..

As for raw veg and fruit, it's great. I think it cures all sorts of problems.. I've seen that in action!

Sue said...

I've just had to turn over from BBC1. There's a programme on called "Spoilt Rotten" about Alder Hay Hospital.

A nurse is lecturing the father after his son's hearing has been tested.

"Does anyone in the house smoke?", she says.

"Yes, I do", the dad says guiltily, "but I do it outside".

"You know your son still suffers from the smoke on your breath and the smell on your clothes?", she says and adds "you will have to stay away from him for at least 2 hours and then shower before you are in contact with him again".

I have never heard so much tripe in all my borne bloody days!

scunnert said...

Funny how some folks complain about the smell of tobacco but don't seem to notice the stink of cars.

Probably because they own one. Here's a question: What would you rather be stuck in a garage with a car that's running or a smoker? Isn't it about time we banned cars?

Sue said...

There are a couple of non smoking places to eat/drink (mainly Brits actually) in my part of Spain.

They're usually empty and shut down unless they allow smokers in.

subrosa said...

I read some years ago that I could get a serious, even death infection from eggs. Ask Ms Curry scunnert.

subrosa said...

I agree. It is dire for those who doesn't smoke but, in that case, why doesn't the government BAN it?

Like CR says, when I go into the city the smells are overpowering and asphyxiating.

I don't see many smoking unless outside shopping centres.

subrosa said...

Alex, I have a friend who is asthmatic and none of us would dream of smoking within yards of her. She doesn't actually mind smoke. She says walking through Glasgow is far worse.

I'm all for fruit and veg myself but to think that we've been brainwashed is dreadful. As I say, how many responsible parents have felt guilt over the years? Disgusting that government could impress such persecution upon parents.

subrosa said...

Sue, I've taped that but not had the opportunity to view it as yet.

Gawd, I hate these Righteous. They're possibly the ones who go home and drink a bottle of whatever before their shoes come off.

subrosa said...

The stinks of cars or booze or dope scunnert. Don't tell me many haven't smelled hash somewhere. Oh we're all so Righteos unless we're caught - and of course the smokers are a perfect 'caught' target.

subrosa said...

Sue, when we go to Spain we get the choice. Much the same as we get the choice as to whether we drink alcohol I should think. The government gets a great cut from both.

Billy said...

Dear Dear! Tobacco and Alcohol just happen to be the biggest drug problems in the world. It is amazing how many people who do these drugs complain or whinge about other junkies as if they are somehow different.

As someone who doesn't do any of these drugs, legal or illegal, the problem is not just with the young - the older generations are just as bad or worst.

If the governments were to destroy every tobacco plant in the world tomorrow and all ingredients for alcohol you would all be out seeking some other poison - as that is all they are, poisons.

I agree Subrosa, people should be allowed to take whatever drugs they want - but they should also have to pay for their own health.

What everyone gets out of the Health Service in their lifetime is far more than the peanuts they put in that is why the Health Service is crumbling because of the people who selfishly think they can do what they want.

subrosa said...

Good for you Billy. A teetotaler and a non-smoker of any substance.

I'm a smoker Billy and I enjoy a drink. I've paid my fair share in tax to the government.

Unfortunately the only time I really needed emergency help from the NHS was when I contracted c.diff in one of their dirty hospitals. Initially I was only in overnight for an examination.

I was very ill for some months (although as soon as I knew the problem I insisted I came home to the cleanliness here). Truthfully I've never recovered the energy I had before but I try daily.

It was nothing to do whatsoever with my smoking or drinking, it was to do with people who don't give a damn about others. They can't be bothered to wash their hands. Patients, visitors and staff (the staff being less guilty).

So please don't tell me that I'm a drain on the health service. Their lack of hygiene caused my problems and nearly cost me my life. Were all these visitors and patients smokers and drinkers? I don't know.

scunnert said...

Over here in Canukland the neo-puritans have also trotted out the old chestnut that smokers should have to pay for their medical care. When I point out to them that the tax on tobacco is what pays for our health system and that given their attitude perhaps non-smokers should start funding their own health system they mumble ans shuffle away.

I drink and smoke and haven't been to a doctor in over twenty years - other than a physical for a job. When I went for the physical the receptionist said they had no record of me as a patient and asked how long ago my last appointment was? When I told her: "twenty years or so" she gave me this withering look as if I'd just passed gas.

The doc, who was the same age as me and a good guy who loved talking politics, had warned me the dangers of smoking. He retired some months later due to throat cancer. Life is a bitch and will bite you on the ass no matter your best efforts. So cheers - I'm going to crack a cold one.

Alex said...

comparing tobacco smell with car fumes don't add up.

I don't have a car so that's that myth gone.

With cars there is a trade off. I mean millions of us use them to work and travel. They are intrinsic to mobility and the functioning of our economy as well as urban life and leisure. So we can trade off the smell for the overwhelming benefits.

Cars fumes don't smell as badly as cig smoke and certainly do not have the trade-off value - not even approaching it. So the smell comparison doesn't stack up, not at all.

scunnert said...

Alex, I don't see how you can possibly support someone's selfish behaviour of vehicle ownership. These fiendish machines kill millions annually on the roads while poisoning the very air we breath and the earth we rely on to grow our food. Personally, I find their fumes offensive and a danger to my health. I see nothing to recommend them and suggest that we ban them completely and promote public transport in their place.

Thank you!

Dark Lochnagar said...

Rosie, I always eat my five a day. I always insist that we eat 'Tomato' flavour crisps.

BTW, I agree with ALEX!

subrosa said...

Ah scunnert, but the big question is - did you pass gas?

subrosa said...

My car fumes smell as bad as smoke or worse Alex. Maybe it's because it's a diesel. If I start the car in the garage before I open the door it's dreadful. If I smoke a cigarette in the garage with the door closed not even the most anti-smoker would notice.

subrosa said...

Ah DL, so that's what makes your nose look like a bursting tomato!!

Billy said...

I also had an infection after having a cyst removed from my knee which took months to get rid of. Who knows if it was the hospitals fault or if I went in with it. The trouble is until they test everyone going in they will not know who is really to blame. A lot of these infections are in the soil etc so people who do the garden are more likely to have it and not know. I have cats and volunteer for Cats Protection so I could have had it when I went in. A lot of the infections in patients are brought in by them unknowingly. Time to test everyone going in methinks!

The old myth of I pay more tax or haven't needed the NHS. The fact evryone gets far more out of Health, Education etc than they put in. The vast majority of the people could not afford any of these if they had to pay for them themselves. Everyone subsidises everyone else only a lot of selfish people want more than others. The people who claim they hardly use the NHS would then expect a fully equipped and manned Health Service to suddenly materialise when they do eventually become ill.

subrosa said...

Billy I have no objection to paying taxes and it's my choice to smoke and therefore give to the treasury with that too. I'm not objecting. I don't object to paying for children to be educated,although I object to the quality of education they receive these days.

As for infections. Yes I'm sure some infections are brought in by patients and visitors. Some hospitals now test for MRSA when patients arrive. C.diff testing takes a few days and is possibly too expensive to do en masse, but it has been proved c.diff is a hygiene problem and usually hospital rather than community based.

The folks I know who say they've seldom used the NHS know they're lucky and I don't know of one who objects to paying towards our health service.

Debate is Free said...

I have no problem with people drinking or smoking what I do have a problem with is when people shove it in my face so to speak.

The drunken lout screaming and shouting at kicking out time or the numbskull who insists on puffing their smoke into my face.

I also take issue with people who don't bother asking my permission if they can smoke in my house and just light up and stink my house up with smoke when I have a perfectly nice bench in the garden surrounded with flowers for them to puff away in.

subrosa said...

DiF, it's not for me to say really, but couldn't you suggest to your smoking visitors that they use your flowered bench?

Maybe I'm lucky but my smoking visitors never smoke without asking. I then move them to my 'smoking room' where they can sit comfortably with a door open to the outside.

Again I'm fortunate because I've never had anyone puff smoke in my face for years. Mind you, this winter, I've had more than my fair share of folk coughing in my face. Has the art of covering your mouth when you cough gone out of fashion? Have the PC brigade got their talons into that too?

Debate is Free said...


As my extended family all smoke thats exactly why we put it there with a wee roof over it as well when it rains for them!

And no matter how many times we suggest it to them they still stink up my living room! Gits!

subrosa said...

Kirsteen, you know what I'd do? I'd tell them before they come in to go and have a smoke on your lovely bench because you now have a policy of no smoke in the house.

We cannae choose wir family though. :)

Mad Dog McClane said...

A bit late... great cartoon, reminds me of the exits at UCLH in Camden.

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