Ban. It is such a short, yet thoroughly Orwellian word. In short, ban is a simple word for prohibition. Prohibition has been attempted on numerous occasions and frankly, it never does turn out well.
Why do I want to talk about bans? Well there are a number of reasons actually, but the one that stuck in my craw was the utter insanity currently proposed by Nottinghamshire County Council. Just recently a friend asked me for some advice on countering, or at least informing a university smoke-free policy and it got me thinking.
We know, by and large that the “science” on second-hand smoke (soon to become third hand which is utter bollocks) is pure and simple junk. There is no other word for it. I am of course referring to the infamous EPA report of 1993, upon which “smoke-free” legislation is largely based. Other “studies” soon followed to “prove” that a wisp of tobacco smoke will somehow reach down your lungs, cause untold amounts of harm, while simultaneously sticking to furniture and all manner of surfaces to further poison you.
This “junk” science, along with sockpuppetry of the highest order brought about substantial societal changes. Changes that, at first were “only where food is served” to protect the non-smoker (and of course any employees that happen to not like it), were meant to serve the health of the public. It didn’t matter that the science that these bans were based were rubbish, misleading or downright false the fact of the matter is that policy makers were swayed with The Children™ and other pressures from sock puppet charities.
Thus began the long, drawn out “war” on smokers. Small bans became big bans, encompassing workplaces, company vehicles, all public (indoor) places. Exceptions were rejected, smoking rooms were prohibited, limits were applied to outdoor smoking shelters and all in the name of “public health”.
Now don’t get me wrong, there is evidence of some harms being attributable to smoking, though I would suggest that some of that evidence is over-exaggerated to the point of being ludicrous. Whether you believe all the said harms associated with smoking or not is not really the point, the fact that claims of “no safe limit of second-hand smoke” continues to proliferate through public health and into the minds of the general population and is based on, ultimately weak science has led to the current insanity surrounding proposed bans on the use of vapour products, and even in some cases the use of smokeless tobacco.
While I am a vaper, I am by nature libertarian so I really don’t give a flying rats ass what you choose to do. The problem I have is with authoritarian dickwads imposing prohibition that ultimately boils down to someone “not liking it”.
When it comes to “smoke-free” policies, you’ll always find phrasing such as:
protect employees, elected members, and people who visit the premises from the effects of smoking and secondhand smoke exposure.
In recognition of tobacco health risks and environmental hazards
What exactly are they protecting from? The “dangers of second-hand smoke“? You’d be more likely to be harmed while working then a few wisps of smoke from being outside near smokers. The inclusion of vapour products in such policy is even more farcical, but here’s the nub.
Bans on vaping are only being proposed for some of the following reasons:
- It “looks like smoking”
- They might be a gateway to smoking (really people, do you still believe that?)
- They might “renormalise” smoking (ffs, smoking is normal)
- They’ll undermine tobacco control efforts to reduce smoking (well tough chuff m’laddo, deal with it)
- We don’t know what’s in them (it’s not hard ya know. 3 key ingredients plus some flavouring)
- They aren’t safe or licensed (well BAT have a licensed one, how do you like those apples chum?)
- To “harmonise” smoke-free policy (well fuck me sideways, they want to ban vaping because they’ve already banned smoking. Fuckwits)
- We don’t like it
You could probably add reasons like “we’ve been told to do it” or “we weren’t asked” (here’s a tip ASH, just bloody speak your minds rather than hiding behind “we weren’t asked”), but in effect it really boils down to the fact that vaping bans are being proposed because they’ve already banned smoking. If there are no smoking bans, or at least substantially less restrictive bans, there’d be no need to propose bans on the use of vapour products.
The other aspect of these kinds of policy, is the condescending nature behind phrases like this:
identified smokers should be offered support to quit and information on using licensed nicotine products for temporary abstinence
In other words, if you work here you really shouldn’t be smoking (or vaping in the case of Nottinghamshire County Council), but if you do here’s some licensed nicotine products (I’ll just bet Glaxo are overjoyed at this prospect) so you can do your days work without enjoying a smoke (or vape).
Are happy employees not productive employees?
Just be careful, it’s not just smoking/vaping bans, there’s probably a ban on running somewhere, or some other irrelevant nonsense to “protect” you from, well being you.