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So the ban is three-years-old and the signs, health wise, are good. Heart attacks are down an incredible 40% and people will live longer because of that, some 40,000 people giving up smoking in the last year alone, according to the NHS own quit smoking scheme. But the Accident & Emergency departments are not necessarily quieter because the government, rather hypocritically, decided to boost drinking hours, putting in place 24 hour boozing, which has increased fatal knife attacks and drunken crime. So what is the government playing at?
If its a tax ploy it isnt working either, fag sales down 7% in the 12 months and beer sales down 11% in those three years as smokers turn their backs on pubs and clubs. We don't know if some of those cigarette sales have moved to the black market but we do know the government is losing revenue, the long term calculation being it will be recovered through savings in the NHS. More sinister movers and shakers say the positive health statistics from the ban was purely about pushing through more privatization schemes in the NHS, the government looking long term and saying 40,000 will give up every year so we can cut this much money etc...handing over some A&E to private companies. Under Cameron that has started. Are they making people healthier so to force them onto private insurance?
Those lost tax figures may look small but they are already amount to at least one penny on income tax for every working person in the UK. Clearly extra drinking hours hasn't increased tax revenue as planned, one would presume the purpose of, and the drunks are just staying out longer to cause more mayhem and violence. Some would say the flat 5% tax increase on booze for each of the next five years is to recover the loss tax through the smoking ban. Some hospitals are reporting a 50% increase in drunken attacks. People are now getting pissed on cheap beer from the supermarket at home and then going out later to cause trouble, effectively having more booze in their system. Today the Tories say they wont lower the legal alcohol level because, and I quote, will devastate the rural economy. What they really mean is they will lose 5 billion in tax, health & safety still not an issue for the government.
The reason for the smoking ban in public places, we were told, was bought in on union health & safety grounds, supposedly to protect staff and the
Pictures of Should smoking be banned in all public places?
Booze good - fags bad?
public from the deadly fumes. But the irony was that pub and returant employees are the most likely to smoke in any sector and many picked the job because they could puff behind the bar. Another irony, if we are on the subject of health effects to bar staff, is that pub employees are also the most likely to be alcoholics, the 24 hour drinking laws picking up the slack and reclaiming those lives supposedly saved from passive smoking cancer and fatal asthma attacks. Again, what are these laws for? We know one-in-five of us will suffer dementia if we live over 80 and one of the more cynical reasons to tolerate smoking after the war was to cull working-class people so they couldn't claim state pensions in the decades there after. In the 1960s people lived just 5 years after retirement date. Fags were a tremendous earner for the government over the decades and now we will have to replace that revenue and that means non smokers having tax increases, be it through asthma and cancer inducing petrol tax car fumes in the atmosphere or a 20% VAT rate talked about. Why can't non smokers just bare the smell and often stale air in pubs for those tax reasons? Pubs are very quiet in the winter now and the atmosphere just isn't there. The aroma has always been part of going to the pub.
The pubs industry is really hurting because of the smoking ban, especially the tied houses and working mans clubs. Bingo Halls, pretty much all there is for old folks to do before they get dementia, are closing every week. Free houses have more scope to deal with it on what beer they buy in and more flexibility on food and other entertainments; where as tied pubs are increasingly run by these pub companies that tend to buy pubs and bars that have a high property value so they can sell them on as commercial or housing concerns at later dates. And as property prices are set to fall, these companies need revenue and the only way to get it is higher rents and beer prices passed on to their landlords, forcing just as many drinkers out of the bars that way as the pubs go out of business. I just dont know why a smoking room wasnt allowed in the law.
Let me say at this point I don't smoke and I have also have zero problems with smokers. My mum smoked when she had my big sister and so my sister smoked. Mum stopped smoking when she had me and my brother for that reason. We did not smoke. We were not particularly bought up in a working-class environment where fags are passed around like bread and wine at Mass and I'm thankful I didn't pick up my mums habit, but I still feel she had the right to smoke, none more so than because of the huge tax revenue people like her were generating back then. When I see someone smoking today I see someone keeping my income tax down, as simple as. I don't see a bad person, just someone who picked up a bad habit. Keep smokeing away is my message as this is a free country. I think alcohol is far worse for society as passive booze attacks are far more violent in the pubs and on the streets than passive smoke attacks at the weekends.
I particularly like the smell of a cigar or a good pipe-it beats the smell of tobacco free urinals any day!
The people that really irritate me over this ban are the ones that called for it, they complaining that they didn't like going to smoke filled pubs. Well guess what? They are still not going to the pubs! They are mostly middle-class nimbi's who very occasional drink real ale in small town and those pockey village pubs and because of the smoking ban those pubs are ironically closing faster than any others - which did make me chuckle. The non smokers were supposed to take up the slack and start going to pubs. But their gripes were never really about the smoke, if you ask me, but the people on the end of the cigarettes...the working - class! . And the only bar in the country you can legally smoke in under the new law? Why the House of Commons, of course, the MPs exempting themselves from any criminal charge like they did over having any responsibility over fiddling their expenses.
4 pubs a day are apparently closing in the UK because of this perfect storm in the pub trade and the last thing they need is people who don't actually go near most pubs having an opinion on smokers and pushing through these draconian laws. These are the same people that moan about the war in Iraq because it's for oil and yet won't have the alternate fuels like wind and nuclear anywhere near them because it spoils their vue. Why do we listen to these liberal idiots when it comes to raising tax in this country, like smoking clearly does, revenue used to subsidize uneconomic wind and wave power, of course.
We know that 70% of smokers are in the lower income groups in the U.K (apart from the three year middle-class smoke at uni!!) and they haven't seen big falls of smokers as the other social classes have. Apprently, the ever increasing cost of paying for an education has hit smoking sales big in the 650,000 university sector, the tobacco comapanies having to hand out free fags at univerities to keep them into smoking while they study.
Where tobacco companies are still winning is getting new business is kids, that demographic on the rise again as smoking companies switch most of their advertising budget on to the web to snare them there. The subtle targeted advertising is on the increase and when you do see fags reviewed on ciao, there's a good chance that's the case. In fact should we be advertising cigarettes that way at all on ciao?
An investigation on the BBC, headed by that bloke from Dragons Den, found sales of cigarettes to under-age kids has increased an incredible 50% here. The tobacco companies are not going down without a fight it seems. One retailer in five was found to be breaking the law in an underground operation run by Trading Standards, which if we are honest is nothing new, but what is surprising is how easy it is for kids to get fags from vending machines. Four out of ten kids in the operation succeed in getting fags from these machines. Almost one-quarter of newsagents sold fags to kids risking a £2500 fine. Is the government really that keen on stopping smoking we wonder? Can they afford that lost revenue we know they are losing? Are blind eyes being turned to hook the kids and at least keep some money coming in from fags in the future. When Duncan Bannatyne went to Africa to see how the big tobacco companies court business he was even more shocked. Fags were clearly marketed to young people and a pack of ten was cheaper than candy bars to get them hooked early, some vendors charging just 2 pence per individual fag. Africa is huge market and so a likewise increase in smoking is expected, the fag companies looking to recover those lost profits as the west turns their back on the cancer sticks after both parties learnt their lessens through legal class - actions by smokers with illnesses. Spain and Portugal, although enforcing smoking bans, generally saw the people ignore the bans and cigarettes sales actually increased by some reports. To get the French to stop smoking is almost impossible? That, at least, has nothing to do with social class.
Eloquently said. Just on the pubs bit, I have a friend whose husband’s job is restoring pubs and he’s virtually gone out of business because of the pubs losing so much custom, and money, since the smoking ban.
jjcross 12.10.2011 11:02
Though I completely disagree with you- I see where you are coming from though- you see Ithink it was like an investment for the government to ban smoking in public places- at the start of the ban they lost money due to the fact many gave up but the NHS still had many smokers to deal with (as "profit" takes a little while to come in- now however I believe it is different the NHS will now save money because of the lesser smokers in the UK- saving the government bigger money than smokers bring in due to tax. Therefore I really do disagree with you- I personally believe I have the right not to breath the cr*ap smokers puff out in pubs!!
Great review though would give you an E! but sadly I cant because I don't agree
Have a nice day
carolynla 27.08.2010 20:59
the ban doesn't really bother me except for on train stations, i think you should be allowed to smoke there.