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You having nothing to lose except your chain-smokers

Because I grew up in the 1970’s I still associate Trade Unions with the rank-and-file of the British urban proletariat; the lantern-jawed, barrel-chested, horney-handed, hobnail-booted sons of industrial toil. These were the rough, tough, no-nonsense men who hewed the coal, forged the steel and rivetted iron plates down in the boiler-room of the British economy.

In those days ‘male grooming’ meant a smell of honest sweat and a smear of brickdust and anyone who was stupid enough to go into a working class pub and prissily complain about the smokey atmosphere was more likely than not to experience ‘Death by Shipbuilder’.

Alright, I know that’s a cartoon but at least it was corroborated to a small degree in real world of shop floors, lathes and jackhammers. But the coal fields are silent now, the shipyards have all gone and the smokestack industries are billowing clouds of vapour over Taiwan not Teesside and so the Trades Union Congress (TUC) needs new rubrics to campaign on. Out has gone the fiery old rhetoric of revolution, strikes and class war and in has come the priggish, condescending ideology of health fascism:

Pubs, clubs and restaurants could increase their takings by banning smoking, says the TUC.

The TUC is pushing for the ban, because it believes passive smoking presents a health risk to waiters, waitresses and bar staff.

Very useful this ‘passive smoking’ hoax. What would organisations like the TUC do without it?

Rory O’Neill, editor of the TUC-backed Hazards magazine which published Saturday’s report, said: “Big Tobacco (the lobby) has spent big money to prevent UK workplaces going smoke-free.

Ah yes, the hobgoblin of ‘Big Tobacco’, yet another shadowy capitalist conspiracy determined to preserve our right to choose. They’re a ‘lobby’, don’t you know. All ‘lobbies’ are malevolent and driven by greed, as opposed to organisations like the TUC which is motivated solely by altruism and love for their fellow humans.

Let us hear the voice of the ‘lobby’:

But Simon Clark, director of smokers’ rights group Forest, said: “Neither the consumer nor the hospitality industry wants a complete ban on smoking and there is absolutely no need for it.

“If the overwhelming majority of people wanted smoke-free pubs and restaurants it would happen, believe me, because people vote with their feet.

Is this Apostate of Hell trying to tell us that if that people wanted a smoke-free environment then any entrepreneur who opened a non-smoking restaurant would clean up? Just further proof that the concept of a free market is a standing affront to people with agendas to advance and empires to build.

My, how the TUC has apparently changed its tune. In the good old days they denounced ‘profits’ and told the workers that they had nothing to lose except their chains. Now they seem to want to enourage profits while telling the workers to lift that barge, tote that bail, have a little smoke and land in jail.

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5 comments to You having nothing to lose except your chain-smokers

  • paul nelson

    although in priniciple a libertarian.. new style ex-liberal since 9-11. One area,, (actually two if you include guns) I cann’t get on the libertarian bandwagon for is smoking. the thing is passive smoking isn’t a fraud it is real, big tobacco is big, does have loads of money and does need to replace all the customers who keep dying off and the bit that I think is the most important is that smoking isn’t about choice. Most are hooked while still minors and from then on they are addicted.. physically and mentally so where is the liberty in that?

  • Sorry Paul but restaurants and bars are private property… no one HAS to work there or visit there. If you do not like smoke then stay the hell out. It is a simple matter of property rights.

    And by the way, if you are also against people owning the means to defend themselves, do not kid yourself you are in any shape, way or form a libertarian, either in principle or in practice.

  • S. Weasel

    passive smoking isn’t a fraud it is real

    No it isn’t. Or, at least, there’s plenty of data to suggest it’s a fraud – at the very least, the dangers are greatly exaggerated. I’m feeling cynical this Monday morning, so I’ll point out that second hand smoke hysteria and the gigantic lawsuit against the tobacco companies have a suspiciously close temporal relationship.

    Steven Milloy (of the imminentaly book-markable junkscience.com) writes for Fox: “Later in 1998, the WHO published the largest study ever done on secondhand smoke and lung cancer. The study reported no statistically significant association between secondhand smoke and lung cancer. Oops.” If I recall correctly, that’s the report that the US tried to pressure WHO not to release.

    big tobacco is big

    So? What is it with you guys and your fear of big things? Is Starbucks “big” coffee? Is Dunkin’ “big” donuts? Is Hollywood “big” cinema? Is Sears “big” underpants and socket wrenches? Does this make them intrinsically evil on some level I’m unable to perceive?

    does have loads of money

    Hooray for big tobacco!

    does need to replace all the customers who keep dying off

    Oh, well, now really. Smoking is bad for you, undoubtedly…but not so wildly, suicidally bad that sellers of tobacco kill off their own customer base at a rate that puts them out of business. In my youth, nearly half the adult population of the US smoked, and people weren’t exactly dropping like flies. And from my casual observation, it doesn’t look like young people need a lot of convincing (any more than they ever did) to take up the habit.

    smoking isn’t about choice. Most are hooked while still minors and from then on they are addicted

    Sure it’s about choice. Choices that are difficult to amend or repeal are still choices. An addiction isn’t an immutable law of physics.

    I quit smoking years ago. It sucked. How much freedom are you willing to take away from your neighbors to ensure they never have to go through something that sucks?

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    Paul Nelson wrote:

    big tobacco is big

    You see, this is why I use the terms Big Government and Small Tobacco. If we’re led to believe that the cigarette makers are “big”, what does that make the US government, which has much larger revenues, as well as the taxing power to sic lawyers on the cigarette makers until the cigarette makers are forced into capitulation?

    Unsurprisingly, every time I use those terms (“Big Government” and “Small Tobacco”), people get really irritated.

  • Paul Nelson

    passive smoking isn’t a fraud it is real

    No it isn’t. Or, at least, there’s plenty of data to suggest it’s a fraud – at the very least, the dangers are greatly exaggerated. I’m feeling cynical this Monday morning, so I’ll point out that second hand smoke hysteria and the gigantic lawsuit against the tobacco companies have a suspiciously close temporal relationship.

    > as an epidemiologist and statistician I am afraid that I disagree, not that I can ever prove a null hypothesis, I won’t try, but it looks like a rabbit, smells like a rabbit and I am prepared to take a littl e leep and call it one (pn)

    Steven Milloy (of the imminentaly book-markable junkscience.com) writes for Fox: “Later in 1998, the WHO published the largest study ever done on secondhand smoke and lung cancer. The study reported no statistically significant association between secondhand smoke and lung cancer. Oops.” If I recall correctly, that’s the report that the US tried to pressure WHO not to release.

    >one swallow doesn’t make a summer and as I said you cann’t prove a null hypothesis (that there is no effect) I am not going to quote you chapter and verse but passive smoking kills and on a population level it kills a lot of people (pn).. anything more on this discussion will just be contradicting each other and will turn into the monte python argument sketch (pn)

    big tobacco is big

    So? What is it with you guys and your fear of big things? Is Starbucks “big” coffee? Is Dunkin’ “big” donuts? Is Hollywood “big” cinema? Is Sears “big” underpants and socket wrenches? Does this make them intrinsically evil on some level I’m unable to perceive?

    >It doesn’t make it benign.. it means that it is an organisation with a desire to survive and the means to fight. It also has an ignoble product. (pn)

    does have loads of money

    Hooray for big tobacco!

    does need to replace all the customers who keep dying off

    Oh, well, now really. Smoking is bad for you, undoubtedly…but not so wildly, suicidally bad that sellers of tobacco kill off their own customer base at a rate that puts them out of business.

    >120,000 people a year in the uk is a large number to replace in anyones language (pn)
    In my youth, nearly half the adult population of the US smoked, and people weren’t exactly dropping like flies
    >yes they were.. in hospital where I work and see it.. not at 25years old but a little latter and when you are dead you cann’t really shout about it too much . (pn).

    And from my casual observation, it doesn’t look like young people need a lot of convincing (any more than they ever did) to take up the habit.

    >That’s right exactly the problem ….because it’s image has been carefully projected as cool and anti-establishment..with huge budget advertising and an inherently addictive product…(pn)

    smoking isn’t about choice. Most are hooked while still minors and from then on they are addicted

    Sure it’s about choice.

    >ahem… most are addicted by the age of 12… that is not really choice .. the power and motivatino of the tobacco industry verses the ambivolent, uninformed position of your average 11 year old boy (or girl)? figure.

    Choices that are difficult to amend or repeal are still choices. An addiction isn’t an immutable law of physics.

    >correct… so >?

    I quit smoking years ago.

    > well done

    It sucked. How much freedom are you willing to take away from your neighbors to ensure they never have to go through something that sucks?

    > the problem is that many don’t go through it and quit and the effect is regressive… if you are rich you are more likley to get the support and motivation required to quit .. so you are successfully killing off poor people and funding the rich who don’t give…

    and it is not freedom to smoke.. it is a ticket to lack of choice, lack of self determination and lack of life.

    I won’t ban it.. just advertising and in public