Smoking Myths (SFA) - 2007

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As the smoke clears: The myths and reality of Smokefree England[archive] was a document produced by Smokefree Action (at the latest March 2009, however the most recent reference they cite is October 2007) which claimed to list, and then debunk, 10 so-called myths about the smoking ban enacted on July 1st 2007:

  1. Myth: It will be bad for pubs
  2. Myth: It will be bad for bingo
  3. Myth: There will be large scale non-compliance
  4. Myth: There will be heavy handed enforcement with undercover officers and covert filming
  5. Myth: Working men's clubs and shisha bars will close
  6. Myth: People won't really quit
  7. Myth: Smoking is a victimless crime/ Claims about the health impact are flawed
  8. Myth: House fires will increase as people will stay at home to smoke
  9. Myth: There will be an increase in exposure of secondhand smoke in the home, affecting children
  10. Myth: The public do not want a smoking ban or any further tobacco control measures

Unfortunately, as time has progressed, the 'myths,' in large part have been shown to be facts.

In 2011 they came up with a series of 7 more 'myths' to do with plain packaging.

It will be bad for pubs

Smokefree Action stated that:

Pro smoking groups claimed that the smokefree legislation would be bad for business and we would lead to many pubs closing down. The evidence to date from notable pub groups is that the smoking ban has had 'little impact' upon their sales.

CR Consulting (2011) on the other hand found that before the smoking ban, the closure rate averaged 0.6% (1990-2006) and after the ban, in the respective countries, the closure rate increased to 2.7% - over four times.

In 2008, the Valuation Office Agency had the following guidance to give regarding smoking and businesses:

4.3) It was not considered that this change [the smoking ban] could constitute a [material change of circumstance] and earlier versions of this advice reflected this. Advice from counsel now shows this view to be wrong that the ban on smoking can be a matter affecting the physical enjoyment of a hereditament. In other words, how it can physically be used beneficially.

4.9) In considering smoking ban proposals, [valuation officers] need to envisage what rent would be have been paid for the hereditament at the [antecedent valuation date] assuming the ban was then in place affecting both the subject premises and other premises.[1]

It will be bad for bingo

TODO:

There will be large scale non-compliance

This was never a myth to begin with, so quite why they feel the need to debunk something that wasn't said leaves one to wonder if this is merely a filler to get the list to 10 items.

There will be heavy handed enforcement with undercover officers and covert filming

SFA had this to say:

What has happened in practice is that council officials have approached the situation as they said they would, in a reasonable manner applying a 'softly softly' approach with relatively few fines being issued. Further, Lambeth council have recently reported that they issued their first fine while Staffordshire have yet to issue a single fine, providing further evidence that these claims were unsubstantiated.

The reality, however, is much different:

  • Irish publican Paul Finnegan didn’t even know he was facing jail time for breaching the ban (by allowing smoking on his premisis) until he read the story and saw his name in the papers on Thursday morning.[2]
  • Nick Hogan, 43, the former landlord of The Swan and Barristers in Bradshawgate, Bolton, UK was jailed by magistrates for six months for failing to pay fines and costs totalling £10,136 after he was found guilty of allowing customers to light up in January 2008.[3]

Working men's clubs and shisha bars will close

TODO:

People won't really quit

TODO:

Smoking is a victimless crime/ Claims about the health impact are flawed

Smokefree Action state:

Numerous international reports from bodies such as the WHO, IARC and the UK's Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health found that exposure to secondhand smoke was responsible for an increase in heart disease, lung cancer and reduced lung function.

Thousands of death certificates are issued naming smoking as the cause of death, however not one person has had second hand smoke as the cause. Indeed, when presented with 'incontrovertible' proof that second hand smoke could have caused their death, the courts have refused to acknowledge it.

When pressed to name victims of SHS, anti-smoking groups seem very reluctant (or unable) to answer.

Of the three that were named:

  • (Estate of) Mildred Wiley vs tobacco companies was found in favour of the companies[1] (she had pancreatic cancer which spread to her lungs[2])
  • (Estate of) Burl Butler vs tobacco companies was found in favour of the companies by a 11 to 1 majority[3]
  • (Estate of) Larry Ray Thaxton vs Norfolk Southern Railway was settled out of court before it came to trial.[4]

Furthermore, Smokefree Action go on:

Recently released research from Scotland shows that admissions to hospital for heart attacks have declined by 17 per cent since the introduction of the smoking ban in public places.

Lies. Statistics available from ISD Scotland show nothing of the sort.

Emergency Admissions for Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI), Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) and Stroke, January 2005 to March 2010, by Month

A graph of total of Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI), Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) and Stroke, January 2005 to March2010, by Month[4] shows the reality.

House fires will increase as people will stay at home to smoke

TODO:

There will be an increase in exposure of secondhand smoke in the home, affecting children

TODO:

The public do not want a smoking ban or any further tobacco control measures

TODO:

References