Friday, July 06, 2007

Charles Kennedy, Hypocrisy and Consistency

Poor old Charlie Kennedy. He's headline news at the moment for breaking the smoking ban and smoking out of the window of a train to Plymouth. But what's this I hear? Charlie voted for the smoking ban? No, surely not. Yup, HERE's the evidence.

He also told the Daily Star "The way the world is moving, in terms of people's awareness, perception, concern about health, as well as the liberties of those who do not smoke. I think it is inevitable frankly that is the way it is going to go. And it is something I personally would support." (Daily Star, 20 June 2005).

I have very mixed views ont he smoking ban. I would never have voted for it, but I'm quite happy not to have to put up with cigarette smoke in public places. That probably makes me as much of a hypocrite as Charles Kennedy. The lack of consistency in the policy is astonishing. Surely the logical step is to ban smoking completely. I'm not saying I am in favour of that, but if, from a public health viewpoint it is so bad, that is surely what they should be doing.

Of course the other point is that alcohol can be just as damaging, obesity too. But far from restricting the sale of alcohol the government is happy to make it more easily available. Again, I am not saying I would restrict it as I believe people should be responsible for their own actions. But the mixed messages being sent out from the Department of Health are odd to say the least.

67 comments:

Anonymous said...

Isn't the whole point of the ban to reduce the dangers of PASSIVE SMOKING ie to third parties.

I'm amazed I have to explain this to you Iain.

James Higham said...

The hypocrisy is breathtaking. How they can look people in the eye is beyond me.

Unknown said...

Iain, you are completely wrong to link smoking with alcohol in the same argument.

One simple fact. Alcohol in small doses for the average person is actuall y beneficial to their health. there is a stack of evidence linking not just red wine, but many other alcolic drinks with better hearts and a range of other benefits. Smokins is not beneficial in any does.

Don't confuse the two as this just muddies the water.

Of course, alcohol to excess is bad, but then again so is salad !

Mog said...

there is no such thing as passive smoking. its just another excuse for the socialist politicians (including Cameron) to exercise power over us.

I have just started smoking again after two years off the weed and its great!

Bloody good for nothing, tree hugging, global warming embracing, elf and safety adhering, speed limit following,interfering, busybody wastrels.

Anonymous said...

As someone who finds other folks' cigarette smoke unpleasant*, I have noticed in London this week that I am now exposed to far more of the "passive" stuff. Smokers used to be in their offices - or those tight-knit little Cancer Clubs, stood outside doorways. They didn't affect me. But now, every time I go out the office, the streets are full of workers having to stroll round the block for their fag. They are now unavoidable. And it's far worse at lunch-time if I'm going for a sandwich.

I assume it was always part of a two-stage process: they expected this parade of smokers on our streets - and that will then allow Them to get all excited and ban all smoking in public...

*slightly hypocritcal - do enjoy a very ocassional cigar

Anonymous said...

It's not just Charlie that's a hypocrite - every single politician who voted for the smoking ban is. Why?

Because one of the few buildings exempt from the ban is the Houses of Parliament.

Sometimes the political class in this country make me want to vomit.

Anonymous said...

As a smoker I am sick to death of the innacurate selfish comments made by the whinging non smoking brigade. Put your face next to a car exhaust for fifteen minutes then tell me how you feel. Britain, land of the brain dead

bgprior said...

Whether your own consumption of smoke or alcohol is good or bad for you is neither here nor there. It's your own body - do what you want to it.

The difference between smoking and alcohol is that your drinking does not affect me, whereas your smoking does. Forget the passive-smoking argument, it's not necessary to the case, and you end up arguing with smokers about the real risk. The point is, you're not allowed to punch me, even though it will probably cause no lasting harm - it is the infliction of physical discomfort on another that is disallowed, and that should apply as much to smoking as to punching.

All the same, I wouldn't have gone for the ban either, as there were ways of enabling (through the licensing regime) smokers and non-smokers to co-exist. The problem comes when neither side is prepared to compromise.

Anonymous said...

Just because you ban something it doesn't make it go away. (see the 'war on drugs' for an example). I hate smoke, but I would prefer a mixture of smoking and non-smoking places to go, so that everyone gets a space where they can be without annoying anyone with their take on how life is the most fun.

Why is this so difficult nowadays???

ScotsToryB said...

Idiots all.

The purpose of this is to test whether or not the powers that be can introduce a ban and have it accepted.

QED.

STB.

The Huntsman said...

As a drinker I do not force others to share the waste product of my habit. Smokers on the other hand do force others, to their considerable discomfort, to ingest the foul by-product of their filthy habit.

This they call "the freedom to smoke": their freedom, mind, not ours.

I am a libertarian but do not consider this to be hypocritical: it is a matter of my freedom to breathe clean air.

Anonymous said...

Norfolk Blogger:

You are right to say we should not confuse the negative impact of smoking with that of alcohol.

The evidence of the abuse of alcohol can be seen every weekend in every town in the country. The fights, the vandalism, the many victims of alcohol related incidents and the assualts on health staff in our A&E departments.

The evidence for passive smoking dubious, inconsistent and unproven.

Do we hear any calls for restrictions on alcohol?

Would most people oppose the ban if the Spanish solution was proposed. Probably.....

This ban is just another example of the insidious way this Goverment promotes populist bigotry.

Finally I'd just like to point out how facile your comment about salad was. No wonder the Liberal Democrats are such an attractive choice for Government. God Help Us!

Anonymous said...

Its not about smoking or passive smoking which by the way was brought up to cover up the embarassing fact that cancer rates went up as smoking rates fell so the anti smoking lobby made up the passive smoking argument! Its about showing us who is the BOSS and more and more things are going to be banned by the EU commisars you just wait and see! And to finnish there IS evidence that smoking is helpful to people with mental illness and that there is no proof that passive smoking hurts anyone!
Never believe what the commisars tell you!

ScotsToryB said...

Idiots all.

The purpose of this was to see whether or not the government could introduce a comprehensive ban on a topic of their choosing and if you would all comply.

QED.

STB.

Man in a Shed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ScotsToryB said...

Idiots all.

The purpose of this was to see if the Government could introduce a law of it's own choosing and if you would all comply.

QED.

STB,
.

ScotsToryB said...

Idiots all.

The purpose of this was to see if the Government could introduce a law of it's own choosing and if you would all comply.

QED.

STB,
.

Man in a Shed said...

Have a bit of understanding Iain !

Charles has been heavily involved in SDP/Lib Dem politics since his days as a student.

Hence he had really forgotten what its like to make clear cut and principled decisions.

There really should be a ex-Lib Dem rehabilitation program where people are taught they can't have it both ways and be all things to all people.

ScotsToryB said...

Multiple apologies, but... I kept getting back to the word verification and got more and more ANGRY when I could not post....glitch?

STB.

Anonymous said...

Was Charlie boy "under the influence" when he was caught smoking? The local news reported that he was on the train in charge of his young child but went off for a ciggie. He was challenged about smoking illegally but chose to argue the toss rather than extinguish his fag.

I don't know who was looking after the infant while Kennedy was elsewhere arguing about his right to flout a ban that he had enthusiastically supported in Parliament.

Perhaps Charlie thinks the ban doesn't apply to him but only to us lesser mortals who do not have the exalted status of being Parliamentary politicians?

Arrogant hypocritical moonfaced turd springs to mind.

Anonymous said...

One thing the anti smoking lobbyists will not tell you is that for hundreds of thousands of years ever since fire was used, human lungs have evolved to cope with smoke from fires around which humans used to sit and wood smoke has just as many "carcinogens" as tobacco! so before you could switch on a light you would spend a large part of your life inhaling wood smoke!
Put it this way, if everyone quit smoking tommorow there would still be lung cancer and all the other supposed illnesses! The commisars are seeing just how far they can push us before we rebel and at this rate that will be never!

Anonymous said...

Freedom is the right to impose your wishes on others, obviously.

David Anthony said...

Personally, I'd ban smoking from any household with children in it. I'd don't see why we should protect pub-goers and bar staff more than we protect babies and children, on whom passive smoking has a far more damaging and long term effect... and who have no choice whether to live there.

It will be impossible to enforce though and I know I'm in the great minority, but I believe it all the same.

Anonymous said...

Well done Charles! A man of the people! :)

Anonymous said...

The EU jumped on the no-smoking bandwagon to demonstrate the reach of its power into every public space in the superstate - and soon it'll be private spaces as well.

Anonymous said...

This is nothing compared to the orgy of hypocrisy we'll have to endure tomorrow as rock stars fly in by private jets to lecture us on our carbon footprint. They will then jet back out to enjoy increased album sales much of the proceeds of which they will then stick up their noses on produce that has resulted in the murder of many a poor South American (so much for poverty relief - Ok that was last year with Sir Bono the tax avoider), then Al Gore will no doubt turn up in his fleet of limos to do the same.

The whole lot of them make me sick, and people will take their words as gospel.

But am I bitter? well yes actually

Newmania said...

Norfolk Blogger said -Don't confuse the two as this just muddies the water

By which he means does not assist the gossammer thin pretence that there is anything more to this than the state deciding how we should, live our lives for us . We shall also assume that Norfolk does not smoke ( its too working class) , but does drink.( in a continental way the national Government approves of ). The evidence for passive smoking presenting any appreciable risk is not there. For drinking however the results for non participators are violence abuse and fear on a huge scale. The reason they don’t ban it is that they would not get away with it but they will in the end . I was so grateful that a clothes horse with a media degree like Caroline Flint felt she needed to remind me , at my expense, that wine contains alcohol. Gee thanks .

Why for example not fit governors to cars as they do small bikes to prevent them exceeding the speed limit . Because they dare not . The state will take what power it can. There was no outcry for this infantilisation of the working man it is simply the beast picking off the weak one in the herd.

Incredible that we have allowed this to happen and incidentally it does not reduce smoking just as speed cameras have not reduced speed.

Old BE said...

And let's not forget the government's attitude to gambling, which isn't physically harmful has been shown in Australia in particular to be pretty socially damaging to the weakest in society.

Madasafish said...

As a non smoker I am sick to death of the innacurate selfish comments made by the whinging smoking brigade.
Put your face next to a car exhaust for fifteen minutes then tell me how you feel. Britain, land of the brain dead ..

Cigarette smoke is worse than that.

In fact I think smoking affects the brain cos all the arguments for freedom of choice etc..given out by the muppets who smoke can easily be turned on their head by those of us who don't smoke but have to put up with the outpourings of depraved addicts.

Charkes Kennedy? Well I expect he may have been feeling tired after a hard week's work as a Lib Dem MP... or not as the case may be.

Old BE said...

Why for example not fit governors to cars as they do small bikes to prevent them exceeding the speed limit .

That is already in place in lorries and the EU intends to do the same for cars. The German car industry lobby is (for once) doing something useful by holding it back.

Newmania said...

"Put your face next to a car exhaust for fifteen minutes then tell me how you feel. Britain, land of the brain dead ..
Cigarette smoke is worse than that."


I`d love to know what brand your chums smoke? You are aware that camels aren`t actualy made of camel. Don`t you ever fancy some rough shag? I know I do

Anonymous said...

mog

im with you on this one.

Having just listened to that vacuous idiot Toynbee on R4 i am sick to death of these tree hugging, poor tolerant, chav champion rubbish. If you dont like smoking dont go top a pub, or open a non-smoking pub and see how many bellends turn up for half a bitter, a packet of cheeese and onion to discuss the latest health and safety directives from muppet councils diversity department ina smoke free atmosphere.

Please leave us alone you NuLab scum

Anonymous said...

HYPOCRISY.... WHAT...DIDNT THE TORIES VOTE AGAINNST THE SMOKING BAN...DOES THIS MAKE KENNEDY A REBEL WORTHY OF TORY PRAISE

Anonymous said...

My all time favourite was listening to Ken Clarke on BBC Question Time about a year ago, were he argued that smoking wasnt adictive and wasnt as harmful as everyone says.

Newmania said...

KENNEDY A REBEL WORTHY OF TORY PRAISE


If he didn`t belong to Party which delights in illiberal nannying it would . On the vote ...no point . The question would not arise under a Conservative administration.

Anonymous said...

Bugger the smoking ban and bugger the drinking and whatever else. Charles Kennedy was, is and will evermore be the only credible leader of the Liberal Democratic party. And here's to that.

Anonymous said...

I love hearing the pathetic smoking addicts squeal in self-pitying outrage.

Delicious!

Anonymous said...

It was not very sensible of Charles Kennedy to ignore the banon smoking in trains. Neverltheless, smoking out of the window would have an absolutely negligible passive smoking effect.

A lot of fuss about nothing.

Anonymous said...

More worrying for you, Iain, is the news from Simon Jenkins in today's Guardian, that plans are afoot to ban the Jack Russell, as it occasionally can bite people.

Anonymous said...

I've got to give full credit to the Government on this one. They've managed to brainwash every non smoker with apparent ease. A true work of genius.

Alcohol costs the NHS three times the amount smoking does. The irony that this ban is to protect the drinkers is frigging hilarious.

Well done tony. You fooled all of them all of the time.

Anonymous said...

There is no justification for telling someone that they cant use a legal product on private property where the owner doesn't object.

It's legal to smoke, it should be legal to smoke on private property.

Pubs aren't public places. They are private property in which the public can enter. The owners have the right to not let you in. They are not public places.

I shouldn't have any right to enter someone's private property and tell them what they can or can't do or tell a business who they should let in.

We are living in a nanny state, ruled over by wet liberals who were probably bullied at school and now have massive hard ons because they can legislate fascist laws that take away people's rights.

It's not your property. You should do as you are told by the landlord or piss off. No one is forcing you in.

Prodicus said...

Oh, do stop being so reasonable and understanding. If I hear you singing 'There but for the grace of God go I' once more I shall throw up.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Are you not sick and tired of preople telling you what not eat, dont drink, dont smoke dont do this dont do that.

Just leave us alone and get on with your own life.

Am pleased to report local pub has inside room where you can smoke your head off if you want. These will be springing up all over the place in local communities where we please ourselves.

Anonymous said...

And his excuse, when approached by police at the end of the journey? He thought it was still perfectly legal - because he was leaning out the window.


And this is a fella who voted for the ban!

Anonymous said...

I am astonished how ill-informed some posters are about smoking and related issues, when I would have thought that the facts are beyond dispute.

Smoking is causes cancer, deformaties in unborn babies, costs the NHS millions and kills more people than Osama Bin Laden could dream about. It is addictive and economically ruinous to people on low incomes.

The tobacco companies need to open up new markets in places like China and Africa just to replace the people they have killed in Western Europe.

And God knows how much working time is wasted by people having to leave their places of work every half hour to feed their habit. People who then want to shroud your restaurant/pub/club in their own stink.

Honestly, it's a no-brainer.

As for Charlie - isn't it sad? He is an alcoholic and a nicotine addict. His brilliant career has now been blighted by these two demons. On top of that he has now joined the Paris Hilton school of citizenship which espouses the belief that the rules are for the little people.

How much public sympathy can there be for a man whose evident lack of basic will power renders him unfit for high office?

And that is the killer. Will power. The people whingeing on about their "rights" as smokers are out of arguments. What they are in denial about is their inability to face giving up - and that irritates them to death. Literally.

Anonymous said...

bgprior said:

it is the infliction of physical discomfort on another that is disallowed, and that should apply as much to smoking as to punching.


The smell of alcohol makes me, and many others, want to heave. Ditto drunks - also the trail of destruction drunks leave on our roads. Fumes from cars pollute the air and cause huge damage to health. Planes shower all of us with particles of numerous highly dangerous carcinogens.

And the taxpayer subsidises aviation industry as well as picking up the tab for the health damage of all of the above .

Smokers are being scapegoated and criminalised by an anti-smoking lobby which is largely comprised of a bunch of health damaging hypocrites.

Auntie Flo'



Tough.

Anonymous said...

David Anthony said...

Personally, I'd ban smoking from any household with children in it.

Health visitors advise parents of babies not to take them for walks near roads because car fumes damage their lungs.

Millions of children who live near busy roads are exposed to such damage every day. Ditto the millions of children who live near airports.


Do you drive, David? Do you fly? I bet you do. What hypocrisy.

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

nic o'tean said:

And that is the killer. Will power. The people whingeing on about their "rights" as smokers are out of arguments. What they are in denial about is their inability to face giving up - and that irritates them to death. Literally.


I take it that you have given up health damaging, oil squandering, planet destroying, atmosphere polluting, car driving and flying, nic o'tean?

No? You haven't? Unable to face giving up?

What hypocrisy.

Little Black Sambo said...

"Its about showing us who is the BOSS."
English Democrat, you are spot on. These no-smoking signs that are now EVERYWHERE are a constant reminder of our servile status. When is the revolution going to start?

Anonymous said...

i'm against the ban - mostly because if the government gets away with this, then they'll want to ban something else.

give them an inch, they'll take a mile

funnily enough, i think it was the U.S state of New Hampshire , which has a strong vocal libertarian lobby, that recently voted down a smoking ban.

Anonymous said...

from wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoking_ban

Studies in Ireland and Scotland have already shown that the percentage of smokers in the country has increased since the passage of the smoking ban with changing habits due to the ban having led to creating new smokers.

Contributing to the increase in the number of smokers is the flirtation practice of smirting, a ritual of flirting outside pubs using cigarettes as the social piece to do so.

( i can vouch for that, having been in Ireland recently and seeing this for myself. if your a youngster and want to chat up a girl - the best place for it is now *outside* the pub, away from the blaring music... )

Anonymous said...

Irrespective of whether you believe in the justice of the smoking ban or not from 1 July it is an offence to smoke in a public place etc etc and you have to question the judgement of any leading politician or public figure who would actually break the said law in an extremely public place, on a train of all places, and then lamely claim that by blowing the smoke out of the window he was somehow exempt from said law

Anonymous said...

As a non-smoker I am dismayed about this smoking ban. I understand all the arguments about smoking - and would not smoke myself.

If publicans wish to allow smoking in their Pubs -'Alright', I say. I don't have to go into that Pub. As other have commented, a Pub is private property.

I am not my brothers' keeper - unlike those who aspire to be spies for the little Hitlers and their dictats.

Ironic that Gordo wants you all to support the Mafia by gambling.

Anonymous said...

I'm SO bored by Charlie K- another self-important preening gormless jock. Can we have a Charlie K free-zone please?!

Anonymous said...

Banning smoking would not be a logical response to concerns over its health effects. That would be an example of legislation by wishful thinking, rather than legislation through consideration of the likely outcome.

It is already the case that perhaps 20% of cigarettes smoked in the UK are contraband or counterfeit. This results in even greater health risks to those smoking unregulated cigarettes, the criminalisation of million of people and billions of pounds being diverted from the public coffers to the criminal economy.

It is worth noting again that there is still no convincing evidence of the dangers of passive smoking - none of the surveys that purport to demonstrate it is robust. This legislation is another example of the dangers of over-bearing government, which results in rule-making based on prejudice not principle.

David Anthony said...

Auntie Flo said... "Do you drive, David? Do you fly? I bet you do. What hypocrisy.

Not at all. Smoking is for pure pleasure and it is harming and shortening the life expectancy of millions of young children who are forced to inhale the smoke of their parents.

Forgive me for being more concerned about the health of innocent children than that of the smokers' right to have a fag in front of Eastenders.

It's hypocritical to ban parents from giving their children a fag to smoke but allowing them to let their children smoke the equivalent of hundreds of fags every year through passive smoking.

neil craig said...

What this proves is that the smoking ban is, despite all the lies about passive smoking being a health risk, absolutely nothing to do with health.

It is a purely illiberal vindictive ban by the politically correct (which includes the "liberal" democrats as a party).

Chuck was smoking out of the window. Whatever the legal position & perhaps his opinion may be more informed than that of the transport police, the fact is that this does not inflict the "danger" on anybody else.

bgprior said...

Aunti Flo',

The smell of alcohol makes me, and many others, want to heave.

If you can think of a practical way to enable drinkers and non-drinkers both to be able to go out for a drink and not have the other group's habit inflicted on them, then I will support it. Or is this (oxy)moronic? The contradiction demonstrates that your comparison is irrelevant.

Ditto drunks - also the trail of destruction drunks leave on our roads.

Which is illegal.

Fumes from cars pollute the air and cause huge damage to health.

And we constrain people's freedom to pollute by banning the use of lead in petrol, and requiring manufacturers to produce vehicles that meet emissions-limits for CO, NOx and particulates. Should we not?

Planes shower all of us with particles of numerous highly dangerous carcinogens.

And living is guaranteed to bring you closer to the end of your life. So your answer to the inevitability and ubiquity of threats to our welfare is that we should never act to try to ameliorate those threats?

In case you didn't read properly the post to which you replied, let me state again that I oppose a full smoking ban, but support the use of the licensing regime to provide smoking and non-smoking pubs. I place no reliance on the health impacts which most smokers seem to want to use as their straw man - you can do whatever you like to your own body, and I am not opposed to inhaling your smoke on grounds of the impact on my health, but on the basis of the physical discomfort it causes me. I am not trying to take away your freedom to smoke, or to go into a pub (if you can stand the smell) and smoke. I am simply asking to have the opportunity to go for a drink without having to inhale other people's smoke.

Almost all of the comments opposing a ban have not stated whether they would support a compromise. The implication of their failure to propose this option is that they simply want the ban overturned and would not offer a compromise to non-smokers. If that is the position of most of you, then you had the ban coming to you, even though it's wrong.

Pogo said...

"David Anthony said...

Personally, I'd ban smoking from any household with children in it. I'd don't see why we should protect pub-goers and bar staff more than we protect babies and children, on whom passive smoking has a far more damaging and long term effect..."


Proof positive that the nonsense touted as "science" in Blair's Britain is accepted far too uncritically.

Might I suggest that you take a look at the W.H.O. 1998 Cohort study on Environmental Tobacco Smoke. This was one of the largest studies ever done on the subject of "second-hand smoke" and only managed to produce one, even vaguely, statistically-significant result... Which was for children who were exposed to ETS - and who had a *lower incidence* of "smoking-related illnesses" in later life.

I'm a life-long non-smoker but I'm far more annoyed by seeing junk-science used to justify repressive legislation than I am by going home from the pub with my clothes a bit smelly.

Anonymous said...

What nonsense from Norfolk Blogger and Nick O Teen (fnarr fnarr). I'm not really sure what his point was, but having once smoked and now not smoking doesn't make one any happier about illiberal, woolly and degrading laws being used to coerce a population into losing its liberty, particularly not when it's pretty clear to those of us who don't have the fortune to live in posh enclaves that the main target of this illiberal measure is the working class. I do really detest mawkish sentimentality, pseudo-science and feeble reasoning being used to beat the people in our country who work hardest for the least. You work on the roads all day and now you can't have a smoke with your pint. Well done Liberals! Well done Socialists! If Jarvis Cocker hadn't existed we would have had to invent him.

I won't rehearse all the arguments about private property because they're so obviously correct, nor the rubbish that alchohol won't be next -- it is starting already, or haven't you noticed? The class of people best represented by Liberal Democrats *exist* to ban things. They just started with smoking because so few people do it and most of us who don't do it must admit that we don't like the smell from those who do -- hence easy target!

Just one last point. If the health effects of smoking are so appalling that they outweigh the rights of adults to decide for themselves how to act, why didn't you gutless control freaks make smoking illegal?

Anonymous said...

David Anthony said...

Auntie Flo said... "Do you drive, David? Do you fly? I bet you do. What hypocrisy.

Not at all...Forgive me for being more concerned about the health of innocent children than that of the smokers' right to have a fag in front of Eastenders.


Stop evading my questions, David. Do drive? Do you fly? If so, you damage the health of children by doing so. Yet you scapegoat smokers.

What hypocrisy.

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

Little Black Sambo said...
"When is the revolution going to start?"

This is England, Sambo. You'll have to wait two or three decades.

David Anthony said...

Stop evading my questions, David. Do drive? Do you fly? If so, you damage the health of children by doing so. Yet you scapegoat smokers.

What hypocrisy.

Auntie Flo'


Your argument is the common argument put up by smokers and it holds no water.

1) Yes I drive out of necessity, smoking is purely for pleasure.

2) Driving is in the open, smoking by parents is in a contained house from which children have no choice to leave.

3) The most harmful chemicals such as lead have been taken out of petrol, whereas the most harmful chemicals of cigarettes are of its very essence.

4) Stating hypocrisy is such a weak argument and is employed by those who can't be bothered to argue the facts. Everything is hypocritical if you apply your rationale. Politics and society is a debate about compromises. I breathe CO2 into the air, does that mean I can't campaign against Global Warming.

What idiocy.

If you can't be bothered to argue the facts then I'm done with this debate.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be very difficult to justify the statement that smoking embodies 'pure pleasure'. It clearly performs many positive functions such as increasing social cohesion, promoting group identity and feeling of belonging.

I am also very much down with the smoking flirtation theory. When I started university, my halls of residence had just become non-smoking.

The steps outside provided an excellent meeting place where you could be quite sure there would be people to talk to. If you ever experience the phenomenon of asking another smoker for a lighter, it is a simple gesture of friendliness that is probably unreplicated anywhere else in London

Standing outside together in the cold also generates that feeling of shared suffering - hence it becomes hard to leave 'team smokers'.

Of course, most people would find it silly for you to be standing outside in the cold if you didn't smoke, so if you want to justify your presence there, you have to smoke. Because you regularly see these people in a way that involves no awkward prior organisation, they become your friends and you all carry on smoking together (because you always smoked, right?).

If smoking was for pure pleasure (and I don't think smoking intrinsically provides that much pleasure), smokers wouldn't care where they smoked. They'd be smoking alone in ditches and park benches like heroin addicts.

All in all, well done government, you have provided a very powerful incentive for young people to take up smoking.

bgprior said...

cee, As a non-smoker, I would like to apologise for my anti-social, fractious behaviour. Still, I think I've found an alternative means of achieving that social cohesion, group identity and feeling of belonging - I'm off happy-slapping with the posse. Nice to know that "bringing people together" represents a redemptive, positive function to any behaviour.

(Before you rabid smokers start complaining that smoking and happy-slapping are not morally equivalent, that is not my point - it is that cee's use of group-cohesion as a reason why smoking is positive is bullshit.)

Anonymous said...

I never said smoking was a good thing - I was just disagreeing with the claim that (for the smoker) it only serves to provide pure pleasure.

There are plenty of reasons that people smoke which are nothing to do with the physical addiction. Furthermore, if we end up facilitating those reasons (for example through creating small smoking areas where people can swap lighters til there hearts content) people will take advantage of it.

I also never said that smoking is *necessary* to provide social cohesion! Obviously there are many ways people make friends, I just recognise that if you create a situation where young people can ligitimately stand around outside a building at any time of day without needing any other explanation for their behaviour - they will start smoking so they can meet the opposite sex.

Scipio said...

Can't we vote to ban Charlie Kennedy! What has he ever actually done of any note or worth - other than marry a wmen who went to university with my wife?