Control, control, you must be controlled

As I’m sure you’re aware, England has had their ridiculous ban on smoking in cars since September 2015. They even “celebrated” the anniversary this year where there was a totally unremarkable 3% decline in self-reported exposure in kids to smoke in cars – using their own survey figures of course. Now the so-called “ban” in England didn’t apply to Scotland, so instead they had to create their own version of the Orwellian legislation.

December 5th saw the official introduction of such silliness – tabled by former MSP Jim Hume, and passed unanimously back in October last year. In his words the legislation is because:

Children suffer because of second-hand smoke.

OK then. The purpose?

The purpose of the bill is straightforward, it is to protect our children from the harmful effects of exposure to second-hand smoke.

Anyone with an ounce of common bloody sense will see where this is going. Wales tried it with their Public Health (Wales) Bill – you’ll remember the initial drafting extended the smoking ban (including ecigs) to your own home (if it is deemed a place of work) – and failed, but only because of some dimwit calling another party a “cheap date”. The wording was rather explicit. Of course, Scotland (as with England and Wales) have been extending smoking bans for years, all in the name of “public health” of course. The legislation to ‘prohibit’ smoking in cars (though it is clear to not include e-cigs – so far) with kiddies is just another example of the public health lobby overreach.

It didn’t take long for ASH, and the BMA to hint at further extensions to such bollocks to include all cars regardless. Who says there isn’t a slippery slope eh?

Thing is, this legislation – as with its English counterpart – is all virtue signalling. All it is really doing is making the lives of smokers – and being the cynic that I am it won’t take that long for the real zealots to include vaping in such measures – more hellish than it already is. Smokers & vapers can’t smoke/vape in pubs, clubs, and most workplaces (I am of course lucky there) – among a myriad of other places. Heck, even an open-space in Bristol and a beach in Wales have a “voluntary” smoking (including vaping) ban – which was of course “fully welcomed” by supposed “e-cig friendly” folks (not that I believed a bloody word of their supposed ‘support’).

Those caught face a £100 fixed penalty or up to £1,000 if taken to court.

So if you get caught you face a fine. Who exactly is enforcing this legislation? No doubt, just like England, the police won’t issue anything – after all, haven’t they got enough to be getting on with? – no, instead it’ll likely be down to the local authorities to enforce (great, more jobsworths with a bit more power – just what Scotland needs), but the legislation isn’t about a revenue stream (natch):

“This legislation is not about raising revenue or forcing people to stop smoking.

“It is designed to purely prevent acute exposure of children to second-hand smoke and put an end to the anxiety they are subjected to.”

Instead it’s about making people’s lives even more miserable by telling them they can’t enjoy their choice in their own car. Of course, I for one don’t endorse or condemn any smoker that lights up in their own car (kids aboard or not), this is simply a case of gesture politics, keeping the sock-puppets happy – thing is, by giving in on this issue gives the puritans more confidence (and belligerence) to start demanding more and more. Like the BMA and ASH.

“I’d like to see a reduction in tobacco retail outlets – there is currently one per 90 smokers, and eight times as many as there are pharmacies.” — ASH Scotland

“Dr Peter Bennie, chairman of BMA Scotland, said the move was a welcome first step but called for a complete ban to protect adults as well as children.”

So no slippery slope at all then. First it was “wherever food is served”, then “all public spaces” now it’s your own property – and if the BMA gets its way, that’ll be regardless of whether or not you have a kid on board.

Of course, it doesn’t stop there (natch).

According to a major new report launched today (Wednesday 7th December 2016), NHS hospitals across UK are falling ‘woefully short’ of national standards on helping patients who smoke to quit and enforcing smoke-free premises.

Good grief! Look, hospitals are a horrible place to visit, and even bloody worse to stay in.

many NHS hospitals are missing out on a ‘golden opportunity’ to provide what is often the most effective front-line treatment for smoking patients who are sick  –  support and medication to help them quit tobacco.

Do they have zero compassion here? Well of course not the nannying fuckwits, they don’t care that smokers light up on hospital grounds because they’ve likely received some bad news (I was one of them – twice), all they care about is getting people to quit smoking as soon as possible. Wales (of course) are leading the way in being complete idiots in this regard, but this is the modern-day United Kingdom where everything has to be measured:

  • Over 7 in 10 (72%) hospital patients who smoked were not asked if they’d like to stop (the last place I want to be ‘asked’ if I’d like to stop is at a bloody hospital)
  • Only 1 in 13 (7.7%) hospital patients who smoked were referred for hospital-based or community treatment for their tobacco addiction (did those patients actually want help? My guess is probably not – look for them as “relapse” figures in the next STS report)
  • Over 1 in 4 (27%) hospital patients were not even asked if they smoke (‘cos of course, not-smoking is so common now right?)
  • Only 1 in 10 hospitals completely enforce their fully smoke-free premises. Rates of enforcement were even lower for hospitals which provided areas where smoking was allowed.  The report highlights the importance of a smoke-free NHS – to trigger and support quit smoking attempts for patients and reduce second hand smoke exposure for children, staff and the public (well, those that don’t fully enforce smoke-free premises – and my local hospital is one of those that don’t – are the more compassionate ones. If folk want to quit they’ll come to you for help, if they don’t then leave them the hell alone)
  • Provision of nicotine replacement therapies and other smoking cessation treatments were  ‘poor’ in hospital pharmacy formularies (because NRT works so well doesn’t it?)
  • Only 26% of hospitals had an identified consultant ‘lead’ overseeing their smoke-free and smoking cessation plans (so now hospitals, and the NHS in general are wasting even more cash ? Good bloody grief!)
  • 50% of frontline healthcare staff in hospitals were not offered training in smoking cessation (frontline staff have a lot of stuff going on – going through a smoking cessation thing with a patient probably isn’t high on their priority list ya know? – and they wonder why SSS budgets are being cut!)

In the study, 25% of hospital patients were recorded as being ‘current smokers’ – which is higher than rates in the general adult population (19%)   Other studies have shown that approximately 1.1 million smokers are admitted to NHS hospitals a year.

I think the phrase here is – so what? how many diabetics are admitted each year? how many alcoholics? how many drug users (illicit or otherwise) – this is simply a case of targeting. Nothing more. But of course it leads to:

All NHS hospitals should have a blanket ban on smoking on their grounds, a senior health official has said.

Tell me, what the heck has this got to do with health? But of course, they’ll get their wish and ASH will “fully welcome” it as yet another slice at smokers (which will of course lead eventually to vapers too).

This is all about control. Controlling when, and where you can enjoy yourself.

Update

It’s just come to my attention that Public Health Wales are calling for further extensions to the smoking ban to include school, hospital and playgrounds along with outside all nurseries. In their words:

In the case of schools and playgrounds this should include the perimeter of these settings otherwise the intended impact of the restrictions is unlikely to be achieved i.e. if parents or other adults are permitted to smoke at the perimeter of a playground or at the school gates in clear view of children this will not impact on the intended goal of ‘denormalisation

There you go. It’s never been about health. It’s always been about control.