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Wednesday
May102017

The smoke police 

A 79-year-old man in Ontario, Canada, received three tickets for smoking in his own vehicle.

According to the Mail Online, which got the story from the National Post:

He was fined more than $1,000 for smoking in an enclosed workplace, failing to have a no-smoking sign in his SUV, and failing to properly supervise a workplace.

Arguing that the vehicle - a Porsche SUV - was never used as part of his cleaning business, Harry Kraemer took the case to the Provincial Offences Court and won, with all three tickets being overturned.

Describing some of the "smoke police" as "overzealous", Kramer said:

"Very soon, they'll keep coming and coming and coming at us and pretty soon we can't have a smoke except in the middle of some farmer's field."

Kraemer believes he was 'unfairly targeted as part of an ongoing dispute with the anti-smoking officers':

Last year, he was fined after an officer found an ash tray and cigarette butt in his private second floor office ...

He says he smokes with the door closed, window open and fan blowing.

But he was slapped with two tickets for workplace smoking which sparked a huge row.

"I verbally told him to get the hell out of my office and I said some very nasty things maybe, I don't know," said Kraemer after he was handed the ticket.

The officer, Kraemer said, told him, "We'll be back."

A year on, and an enforcement officer, working on what the claimed was an anonymous tip off, had approached him in his Porsche and handed him the ticket.

'An anonymous tip off' is exactly what I had in mind when I asked how a ban on smoking in social housing might be enforced:

It could create a snooper's charter allowing people to snitch on neighbours, especially those they don't get on with.

The Mail added that:

Ontario's anti-smoking team investigated 100 complaints of inappropriate smoking [my emphasis] last year.

Anyway, the Canadian connection and references to 'smoke police' brought to mind a song by the semi-professional Toronto band The Intended.

Back in 2004 the band recorded a song called 'The Smoke Police' with lyrics by poet Eric Layman. You can read them here, together with this comment by Eric himself:

I wrote this because I wanted to attack 'the smoke police' and have fun doing so. There's too much preaching already, without my tying more 'should-nots' around people's necks.

Before The Intended recorded it, I used to drop copies off in restaurants and bars. Several times, the owners told me they liked it. People who don't want to inhale smoke are free to patronize a smoke-free locale.

A smoker has the right to smoke anywhere that permits it - with the owner of each bar, etc. having the right to say Yes or No. My right to smoke in a bar is an extension of the owner's property rights. That the government has the power to ban smoking, does not give them a moral override.

Recently, I quit smoking for health reasons; but I continue to support freedom of choice. An attack on the rights of one person is an attack on every other person's rights.

Most people, including free-enterprisers, support the idea of the 'nanny state' in some areas. I don't. Government does not have a right to outlaw behavior which doesn't infringe on others' rights. But if you want government to take care of you like a child, don't be surprised if they order you around like a child.

I met Layman when I was in Toronto in 2005. We were introduced by Matt Finlayson, founder of The Intended, who had sent me a copy of the song and the album on which it featured.

Sadly Eric Layman died a few years later, aged 64.

Meanwhile the 'smoke police' is no longer the title of a wry protest song. It actually exists in the form of a team that investigates "inappropriate smoking" and prosecutes people for smoking in their own private offices and vehicles.

Harry Kraemer's convictions may have been overturned but that won't stop the smoke police harassing other smokers. Globally, this is only going to get worse.

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Reader Comments (4)

I agree, this is only going to get worse. The global antismoking campaign relies upon the persecution of smokers to justify its draconian smoking bans.

Just yesterday in California the City of Laguna Beach banned smoking in all public spaces and the City of Arlington, Texas banned smoking in bars. These bans were imposed by the tobacco control regime and accepted by politicians despite sizable public opposition.

The Arlington ban featured public comment claiming that smoking bans reduce heart attacks despite the fact that these false reports have been proven as frauds time and time again. The persecution of smokers will continue until the corrupt tobacco control industry is dismantled.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 21:54 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

The aim is to criminalise us and so they are on track. This is not a surprise to me. After a 20 year hate campaign, it is inevitable. The next logical step, one might say.

The bigger question is, what do we intend to do about it? Probably not much as usual. Smokers are their own biggest enemy, beaten into submission and shamed into feeling worthless.

The western world can no longer claim to be tolerant and compassionate nor hold high morals about promoting inclusion.

Meanwhile, get ready also to be denied medical care when you need it as the "caring" staff in the NHS are ordered to sit back and watch you die rather than save your life. A friend of mine has been told that if she should need oxygen, she is not allowed to have it while she still smokes even though she is trying very hard to quit.

Everything that once had value in the UK is worth nothing anymore. If smokers are to be treated so badly, then why should we care whether the NHS is private or not?

If we have any campaign, we should be demanding decades of product tax back and in refunding it, the NHS would go bust.

Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 15:18 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

The nightmarish scenario in which smoking is banned even in our own home is frighteningly real. But it has a very weak point: how is it going to be enforced? Plenty of public health academics and regulators frequently issue "recommendations" that imply an extra gradual step of intrusiveness and even, occasionally, "end game" future fantasies.

Yet, nobody (as far as I know) asks them to address this important question: how the hell are they going to police and enforce smoking bans in our own homes. Evidently, these public health academics and regulators do not care, as they are not the ones who will be required to police and enforce these bans.

It is time to begin demanding public health academics and regulators to explain in detail how will home bans will be policed and enforced. We should not accept platitudes or weasel words, just let us know how you will enforce it. We need to demand an answer to this. Will they force us to place ultra-sensitive smoke sensors in our homes connected with the police HQ's? will they send drones to hour homes? Just say it !!

It is about time to force them to admit that their "end game" fantasies imply very harsh and cruel measures. I believe this can work because it would take them out of their technically soft and cool comfort zone. It would remove the benign mask worn by the tyrant.

Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 3:20 | Unregistered CommenterRoberto

We live in a world where tobacco is being demonised, and marijuana is being promoted. Medicinal narcotics are being legalised in many US states and is expected to be legalised on a federal level within a decade and the UK/EU within it's scope. I have nothing against the green smokers, but has anyone noticed the absurdity of the campaign against tobacco smokers when you look at the big picture!

Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 17:40 | Unregistered CommenterWilliam

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