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Monday
Oct162017

ASH Scotland, Big Brother and the eradication of choice

Update on yesterday's post.

Following a report in the Sunday Times Scotland that featured calls for smoking to be banned in the home, with the emphasis on social housing, the Herald asked Forest to comment.

Here's our full response:

"Banning smoking in any home would be a gross invasion of people's privacy.

"Targeting social housing is particularly obnoxious because it penalises unfairly those who can't afford to buy their own home.

"Prohibiting smoking at home would be almost impossible to enforce but it could create a snooper's charter encouraging people to snitch on neighbours they don't like.

"What happens if someone is caught and prosecuted? The consequences, including possible eviction, are out of all proportion to the alleged offence.

"The puritanical health lobby needs to get a grip and realise there are far worse things in the world than smoking.

"If campaigners really want to reduce children's exposure to tobacco smoke at home they should lobby government to allow separate smoking rooms in pubs and clubs.

"Tobacco is a legal product and adults must to be allowed to smoke somewhere without constant harassment and discrimination."

A substantial part of that quote is featured in today's paper under the headline, 'Smokers fuming over plan to ban tenants from lighting up at home'. If and when the report goes online I'll add a link.

We subsequently sent a press release to other Scottish media with the result that Forest has also been quoted in the Daily Record and Scottish Daily Mail.

Interestingly the Record (which supports most anti-smoking legislation) has also published a leader urging caution:

For the estimated one in five adults left in Scotland who does smoke, where else can they light up but in their own homes?

A public health campaign on why it is wrong to expose children to second-hand smoke would be far more effective than Big Brother legislation that takes the power of the state into living rooms.

Smoking out of sight of kids makes sense – if smoking makes any sense at all – but there is no need to hound people out of their own houses to prove the point.

See Smoking ban in people's private homes is a step too far – but we must educate on dangers to kids' health (Daily Record).

Meanwhile the Herald quotes a Scottish Government spokesman who says:

"We have no plans to ban smoking in people's homes. We'll continue to explore other ways to support out ambition of creating a tobacco-free generation by 2034."

Ironically ASH Scotland is employing the 'choice' argument. Instead of joining calls for a blanket ban on smoking in the home (a policy that even the Record describes as 'Big Brother legislation'), CEO Sheila Duffy talks of giving tenants a "choice" of smoking or non-smoking accommodation.

"We would like people to have the choice to live in smoke free accommodation. At the moment there's not an option."

This is so disingenuous I don't know where to begin but it reminds me of those anti-smoking campaigners who, 20 years ago, said they wanted to give people a choice of smoking or non-smoking areas in pubs and restaurants.

I had no problem with that, nor did I have a problem with giving people a choice of smoking and non-smoking pubs.

Eventually however the same people who began by calling for choice demanded the eradication of smoking in every single pub and club in the country.

In fact, as soon as legislation was introduced everyone was denied choice – even belligerent anti-smokers – because if there's only one option the state has made the choice for us.

Imagine a one-party state where you can vote but there's only one party to vote for. There's a word for that.

Likewise, when tobacco control campaigners talk about "choice", what they mean is the complete opposite. In their mad, bad, authoritarian world, "choice" means no choice at all.

Everywhere – workplace, the home – has to be non-smoking in order to give non-smokers a "choice".

But what about the nine million people who smoke, one in six of the adult population? Should they be denied choice, even in their own homes?

Increasingly tobacco control campaigners are behaving like autocrats and dictators, bending even the language to suit their smoke-free agenda.

The good news is, when even the Daily Record recognises the danger ('This Big Brother legislation on lighting up would take the power of the state into living rooms.'), there's a glimmer of hope we can turn the tide against this aggressive, oppressive lobbying.

Update: You can read the Herald report here (Should smoking be banned in the home?). Rather chuffed that it features my full quote including:

"The puritanical health lobby needs to get a grip and realise there are far worse things in the world than smoking.

"Tobacco is a legal product and adults must to be allowed to smoke somewhere without constant harassment and discrimination."

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Reader Comments (4)

Is Sheila insane or just a bloody liar? Of course there is such a thing as a home without smoking. It is everywhere up and down the country lived in by people who don't smoke and those who do smoke. A lot of smokers now go outside to light up but those who choose not to should not be bullied into it by paid professionals from a lobbying quango.

She is beginning the drip drip effect of lies in exactly the way they did it with pubs. Before the ban there were plenty of pubs and other places that did not allow smoking but ASH made it an either or thing claiming the non smoking places did not exist - even those with the revolting Roy Castle "clean air " award. Give it 10 years and she will be claiming that without a law banning smoking in homes, non smokers are "forced" to be around smokers in their own homes because govt has not given non smokers the choice not to smoke in their own homes because there is no law banning it.

The smokerphobic thugs in ASH are vile. Their funding must be cut and their hate campaign against smokers must be exposed for what it is.

Monday, October 16, 2017 at 10:58 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

I suspect that this talk of having a 'choice' of smoke free homes is an attempt to begin a very unpleasant process. Get a tenant to agree not to allow smoking in their home. Then get the landlord to designate that dwelling as permanently 'smoke free'. Over time, all accommodation will be so designated and all new tenants that smoke will have no choice but to sign the contracts.

I think it is clear from their language. To understand them just convert every word they say to its opposite. So 'choice' becomes 'no choice', 'freedom' becomes 'slavery' etc.

Monday, October 16, 2017 at 17:56 | Unregistered CommenterTony

It is utterly important for all of us and for the good of the community for some people to realise that what you do in your own home that is within the law is your own right, and that if the law prohibits smoking indoors then that is also your own right, but generally what you do in your own home is whatever you want and whatever you like. There is no immediate reason for which smoking could not be allowed in a home except for the will of its occupant whose private asylum that would be, and how many times beyond going to school and maybe to university should those people be reminded of elementary and basic principles such as the private asylum of ones residence as well as maybe the right to keep your own trade marks registered with the state and the right to smoke whenever including wherever you wish to yourself, without being given any specific direction as to what to do.

Monday, October 16, 2017 at 20:40 | Unregistered CommenterCostas Kitis

A lot of apartment buildings and most condos in Canada have banned smoking, but that's been on a building-to-building basis. Health Canada wants to ban smoking in all multi-unit dwellings, but has run into a bit of a hitch. As we all know, tobacco smoke is demonic, but marijuana smoke is holy. They haven't yet figured out how to protect the right to smoke marijuana in your own home if they ban tobacco smoking. Hopefully this will keep them occupied for some years yet ; )

I hope in Scotland, if they won't listen to reason, they'll at least manage to get hung up for decades by their own red tape!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 0:15 | Unregistered CommenterChanah See

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