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Friday
Nov252016

Sheffield smokers steel themselves for further harassment 

Sheffield City Council has announced proposals to reduce smoking. They're out for consultation, deadline January 2, 2017.

The Sheffield Star has the story on its front page today, with the full report (including Forest's response) on page 4. It reads:

Smoking could be banned outside public buildings in Sheffield and at events like the city's half marathon and Christmas lights switch-on.

Lighting up in the vicinity of hospitals, universities, council offices and leisure centres would be outlawed under proposals from council chiefs.

According to the council, in a press release issued earlier this week:

The vision for the Tobacco Control Strategy, which will run from 2017 to 2022, is to create a smoke-free city where people live longer and healthier lives, where children think smoking is unusual, and where young people don’t take up smoking in the first place ...

The World Health Organisation recommends that a comprehensive programme of tobacco control is adopted in order to effectively reduce the number of smokers. This includes supporting smokers to quit, preventing children from starting to smoke in the first place, increasing the awareness of the dangers of smoking, removing cheap and illicit tobacco from our communities and extending smoke-free environments to protect people from the harm caused by second-hand smoke.

Interestingly:

In Sheffield the budget for tobacco control is £1.1m and, currently, 60 per cent of this budget funds stop smoking services and 40 per cent funds wider tobacco control work.

The city council is proposing to move £220,000 from stop smoking services into prevention work. This would involve working with all secondary schools in the city as well as some primary schools, increasing the number of outdoor smoke-free sites and events, and increasing the investment in communication and media campaigns targeting those who find it the most difficult to quit.

So stop smoking services would lose approximately a third of their budget but instead of spending the money on more important issues (maintaining roads and pavements or tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, for example) the council intends to use some of the money to increase "the number of outdoor smoke-free sites and events".

The real issue is why councils are spending public money on tackling smoking when there are national campaigns and events including Stoptober and No Smoking Day plus numerous lobby groups and "charities" spewing out anti-smoking propaganda every day of the year.

I would be more impressed if Sheffield City Council announced that it was to cut its "tobacco control" budget, not just reassign part of it to other anti-smoking initiatives that could further punish those who don't want to quit.

Anyway here's Forest's response:

"Banning smoking outside public buildings, even hospitals, is rather pathetic. Tobacco is a legal product. As long as they are considerate smokers should be allowed to light up outside.

"Smoking in the open air doesn't put anyone else's health at risk so there's no justification for extending the smoking ban to any outdoor area, even children's play areas. People should be allowed to use their common sense, and most do.

"We would support a cut in funding for stop smoking services because the numbers using them have dropped dramatically in recent years, but there are better things to spend public money on than other anti-smoking initiatives.

"In a nationwide poll this year only 14 per cent of the public believed that tackling smoking is a very important priority for local government. The issue came second bottom in a list of ten priorities.

"Tackling crime and anti-social behaviour was the highest priority. Other issues that were rated more important than tackling smoking included investing in roads and pavements, investing in street cleanliness, and improving facilities for young people.

"The council needs to get its priorities right. Tackling smoking and harassing smokers should not be one of them."

The council is asking for people's views. To have your say visit the online consultation hub.

I'll remind you again nearer the closing date. Something to do over the Christmas break, perhaps!

In the meantime I'll link to the full report in the Sheffield Star when it's posted online later today.

Plan to ban smoking from outside public buildings in Sheffield (Sheffield Star)

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Reader Comments (10)

So, despite the fact that Sheffield smokers pay the same council tax as everyone else, the council has decided they are not members of the public.

And you wonder why I call these bullies thugs.

Friday, November 25, 2016 at 8:53 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

Do these zealots not realise that under the current laws they cannot stop anyone having a smoke in the open air. These laws can only be made or repealed by HMG, in order for them to be legal

Friday, November 25, 2016 at 11:38 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Kerr

Even if it were legal I wouldn't obey this rule. No-one, especially a tinpot council is going to tell me where to light up in public. Remember this is the council which cuts down trees in the street against its residents wishes. These councils need to be tightly reined in and told forcefully to shove their police state ideas.

Friday, November 25, 2016 at 15:44 | Unregistered CommenterTimothy Goodacre

Link to the actual consultation: https://sheffield.citizenspace.com/place-business-strategy/sheffield-tobacco-control-strategy-2017-2022/

There's only 6 questions - my answers:

1 Strongly disagree

I disagree with the initial premise that "5 children start smoking every day in Sheffield"

Population of Sheffield is estimated at 569,275 [http://ukpopulation2016.com/population-of-sheffield-in-2016.html]. 5 children per day is 1,825 per year, or 0.3% of the population.

Clearly such exaggeration should not warrant spending taxpayer's money on such frivolity.

2 Strongly disagree

Another specious premise. It is this sort of false argument that leads to unwarranted bans on 'vaping'.

Likewise the unscientific argument about 'second hand smoke' which exists in open spaces in homoeopathic quantities.

Nothing should be done to prevent someone partaking of a legal activity under any circumstances.

And again - a massive waste of taxpayer's money.


3 Strongly disagree

Stop attempting to 'motivate' people to do/not do something that is legal, simply because others think they shouldn't be doing it.

Mind your own business in other words.


4 Strongly agree

And spend the money not spent on "stop smoking support" on more pressing issues, such as potholes and getting the bins emptied in a timely manner - i.e. the things a local council /should/ be concentrating on.

5 Strongly disagree

Patches and gum have been demonstrated to be largely useless, especially considered alongside ENDS ('e-cigs')

Stop funding them altogether, no matter how much the pharmaceutical industry screams.

6 Agree

Friday, November 25, 2016 at 16:42 | Unregistered CommenterPJH

Denormalisation anyone?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-38092146
"Simply being at the bottom of the social heap directly alters the body in ways that can damage health, a study at Duke University in the US suggests.
Monkey experiments showed low status alters the immune system in a way that raises the risk of heart disease, diabetes and mental health problems.
One expert said the findings were "terrifically applicable" to people.
The findings, in Science, had nothing to do with the unhealthy behaviours that are more common in poorer groups."

Of course despite that they, or maybe the BBC, still take a swipe at smoking.

Friday, November 25, 2016 at 19:05 | Unregistered CommenterTony

The move toward outdoor bans is a tactic based on persecuting smokers. They call it 'denormalisation' but that is the goal; persecution and division are the means. There is no credible since supporting health risks from second hand smoke. This is especially the case outdoors. The case indoors was based on manipulating evidence, outright lies, and propaganda.

Saturday, November 26, 2016 at 0:25 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

It is better that we recognise that things have moved from denormalisation towards out and out criminalisation and that is for no other reason than we enjoy smoking, we are not dead or ill and we will not quit.

Call it for what it is - persecution and harassment or a group of unprotected people who are ripe for inhumane and illegal treatment by those who know they can get away with abuse and discrimination because there is no one to stop them.

Who or what next? There will be something and someone and serves them bloody right for supporting this current hate campaign against one group of consumers.

Saturday, November 26, 2016 at 15:10 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

"The World Health Organisation recommends that a comprehensive programme of tobacco control is adopted in order to effectively reduce the number of smokers."

It sounds like they're talking about feral cats. Put the name of literally any other population subgroup in place of "smokers" and try to imagine an enlightened 21st century public official ever uttering such a thing.

"The WHO recommends that a comprehensive programme of firing squads is adopted in order to effectively reduce the number of Norwegians."

Saturday, November 26, 2016 at 18:28 | Unregistered CommenterNate

Deserted all government and political parties as punishment for their deranged attack on smokers of whom I am one. Political shake up needed in UK.

Sunday, November 27, 2016 at 13:19 | Unregistered Commentergray

Tried to complete the consultation but my postcode wasn't acceptable with not being from Sheffield.

I'm sick of being treated as a leper and a murderer. These bullies need to be held to account.

Monday, November 28, 2016 at 0:23 | Unregistered CommenterHelen D

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