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Insulting our intelligence

I go away for three days and while I'm away ASH publishes a report about smoking in the home.

According to The Times, which headlined its report 'Plan to stamp out smoking in social housing':

Stop smoking campaigns must target tobacco use in domestic settings, according to Action on Smoking and Health, which found smoking was twice as common among those in social housing than other tenures.

It also said housing associations should consider designating new-builds as non-smoking areas.

My response, written in haste moments after landing at Dublin airport on Monday (ASH's press release was embargoed until 00:01hrs on Tuesday), read:

“Reaching into smokers’ homes takes tobacco control in a new and rather sinister direction.

“Focussing on social housing targets those who can’t afford to buy their own homes. That’s discrimination in anyone’s language and many people will find it repellent.

“They say this is not about banning smoking in the home but that’s clearly the long-term goal. It’s prohibition by stealth and a gross intrusion into people’s private lives.”

I was quoted by The Times (in print and online) and a number of regional newspapers (online only) but my soundbite was restricted to the first sentence so the points about discrimination and prohibition got lost.

That's important because – despite the evidence before us – ASH is determined to deny the suggestion that they want to ban smoking in people's homes.

According to TalkRadio:

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health has said it is “unreasonable” to stop people from smoking in their own homes, but more has to be done to reduce smoking in social housing and privately-rented properties.

A report by Action on Smoking and Health and two All Party Parliamentary Groups found that smoking is “highly concentrated” on council estates, with a suggestion that new social housing could be designated smoke-free.

Ms Arnott stressed that this was not suggesting that people should be stopped from smoking in their own homes.

She told TalkRadio’s Matthew Wright: “It makes a good headline but the report does not actually say that people should be stopped from smoking. That would be completely unreasonable.”

“We are not suggesting that people should be stopped from smoking in their own homes,” she added.

“But, when the ban on smoking in public places came in we saw a decline in the number of people smoking in the home.

“Because, if it is dangerous to smoke in front of your workmates, why are going to smoke in front of your family?

“So there is much less smoking in the home than there used to be but it still happens.

“We need to do more to remind people why it is not a good idea. But, we certainly do not want to ban it.”

Deborah's colleague Hazel Cheeseman said much the same thing when we were interviewed together on LBC.

In Hazel's case she emphasised that the aim was to make new developments 'smoke free'. But that's still prohibition, right?

It strikes me that ASH is playing down the idea of stopping people smoking in their own homes because they know how that sounds to most people.

And if they don't know they should read these reactions on the Nottingham Post website:

Dave Jennings, 71, said he had no plans to stop smoking in his council house. “It is not anyone’s business what I do in my house,” he said.

Non-smoker Gary Brown, 66, said people smoking in their homes was no one’s business but their own. He said: “Politicians are always trying to ban this or that. Why can’t they just leave people, paying rent in their own home, alone. These people need to get a grip.”

Non-smoker Karen Lovell, 39 from Bow, east London said: “If you pay your rent, I don’t see why it’s anyone’s business what you do in your home.”

Dawn Tillett, 51, said: “I don’t smoke but people pay enough in rent to be able to smoke in their own home. For me it is nothing to do with the council or the government. People know the risks of smoking - if they do it, it is their choice.”

The reality is, ASH is deliberately obscuring the truth of the situation, as prohibitionists always do.

How often, for example, did we read that ASH didn't want to ban smoking in every pub and restaurant in the country until, one day, they did.

"No-one is seriously talking about a complete ban on smoking in pubs and restaurants," said Clive Bates, director of ASH, in September 1998.

Or what about the ban on smoking in cars carrying children? When we voiced concern about banning smoking in private vehicles the British Lung Foundation responded:

'Smoking in cars results in concentrations of toxins much higher than are normally found elsewhere ... Suggesting that other bans will inevitably follow insults the intelligence of the public ...'

If anyone is insulting our intelligence it's Deborah Arnott and ASH who want to create 'smoke free' housing developments where residents are not allowed to smoke while insisting "we certainly do not want to ban it".

If that's not a real-life example of George Orwell's Newspeak I don't know what is.

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Reader Comments (5)

ASH is lying. That is what they do. They do want to ban people from smoking in their homes and they will target those on low incomes because they are easy to push around. They have announced their intention to bully poorer smokers with the threat of, ultimately, eviction and removal of their children, during the noise on Brexit so few will notice or kick up a stink about it.

Raising this now is to test public opinion. Now watch for a flurry of "selfish addicted smokers are killing their children at home and they don't care" press releases claiming all sorts of nonsense such as promoting the idea that childhood illnesses which affect all kids, such as ear infections, only affect those children of smokers.

ASH and their cronies are evil, nasty, abusive, overpaid, bigots who pick on the weak and vulnerable because they can. I say that anyone who loses their home as a result of ASH hate campaigning should then pitch up a tent right outside the front door of these Naztie vile excuses for humans.

Friday, November 23, 2018 at 13:08 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Meanwhile, note the divide and conquer tactics by wooing vapers with the threat of forcing smokers to quit, be evicted, or vape. vaping is awful and no substitute for happy smokers who do not hate themselves. We also do not know the long term health implications of vaping and I sure as hell won't be forced into it not knowing how it could affect me after decades of use. That risk is being pushed on people for political reasons. If and when it goes wrong, the thugs at ASH will be long gone and no one will be held accountable.

Friday, November 23, 2018 at 13:13 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

I rent in Spain, there is no call for me not to smoke in my rental. In the UK I have noticed a lot of rental agencies are putting into the adverts for rental properties (No pets, No smokers) shades of 1930s upto 1960s when it was okay to cite (No blacks, no Irish) because they could. Until it was made illegal, perhaps we smokers should claim to be a victimised minority and see what the results would be. As for myself I have come across one landlord who attempted to tell me I could not smoke if I rented from him. He was very surprised at my reply. It was full of Anglo Saxon expletetives

Friday, November 23, 2018 at 15:47 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Kerr

This needs stopping straightaway. Smoking is a legal pursuit and it is no business of anyone else what you do in your home either rented or owned. These nasty prohibitionists have now gone far enough. How long before its alcohol or any food they don't approve of. The UK is rushing towards a Big Brother society and I for one will fight ASH every step of the way.

Friday, November 23, 2018 at 16:36 | Unregistered CommenterTimothy Goodacre

The persecution of smokers must stop. The antismoker grifters encouraging these draconian bans must be stopped. Their sinister lies must be exposed and their public funding removed. Active resistance against this persecution is essential too stop the march toward prohibition and totalitarian social control.

Saturday, November 24, 2018 at 3:50 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

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