Here comes unemployment…

Some companies are already refusing to hire smokers. No justification beyond ‘We don’t like them’ but hey, discrimination on that basis is just fine with our government.

Now they have invented a reason. Studies have Shown and Experts have Said that smokers are lazy. This is in addition to being smelly, stupid and generally toxic.

They studied 60 smokers and 50 non-smokers and asked them to wear a pedometer for a minimum of 12 hours a day for six days.

That’s it. A study of 110 people over six days. From there they extrapolate to the population of the planet and conclude that because the smokers didn’t walk around as much for six days, all smokers are lazy. This is what passes for a comprehensive study these days. Forger the scientific method. Personal bias trumps the truth every time.

This was in Brazil. If it was in the UK, the smokers would have walked more because they’d have had to go outside every time they felt like smoking.

No mention of balancing the study for occupation. If the non-smoker group included a few postmen and the smoker group included some computer programmers… there you go. I’ll bet that if you studied the walking habits of postmen vs. politicians you could ‘prove’ that politicians are incredibly lazy. Not that anyone really needs any proof.

It’s more junk. I’m not even going to call it ‘junk science’ any more – the ‘science’ has long since left the building. All that’s left is the junk.

This ridiculous study is going to be used to justify adding ‘Do you smoke?’ to every job application form – by law, no doubt – and gullible managers will be ‘advised’ that employing lazy smokers will reflect badly on their promotion prospects.

Nevr mind that, in Local Shop certainly, the smokers are among the busiest group and all are far better at handling stressful days than the non-smokers. It’s that taking five minutes to relax that does it, nothing to do with the nicotine or the smoke. No, we are not allowed ‘extra time’. I take my break time in 5 minute increments – I am not there long enough to need a single 20 minute break except on Fridays and Saturdays. On those days I am there long enough to be allowed a much longer break. I have never taken one.

When things are getting tense, the smokers will go outside for five minutes and come back relaxed. Nonsmokers could do this too. The smoking part is not compulsory. Just go outside, watch the birds fly around, take five minutes to put your thoughts in order and get back to work. Productivity and morale would both be boosted. Eight hours of continuous stress is very bad for you. Naturally, most managers would not even consider this because most managers are idiots.

The managers of Local Shop are fine with my incremental-break system. I take no more time than any of the nonsmokers, in fact it’s often less. That will change as the ‘smokers are lazy’ meme takes hold. Not at once, but there will be a drip-drip-drip from the antismokers, first on the public sector and then into the private sector.

The Daily Mail will ‘out’ businesses employing smokers and urge boycotts. This will backfire at first because there’ll be a lot of smokers looking to change jobs and it will be useful to know where to apply.

In the long term it will lead to ghettoisation. This is already under way in some areas with smokers being refused housing in case they taint the perfect ones. Soon you will see motor insurance forms asking if you smoke and if you do, that will put up your premiums. It’s been happening with life insurance for a long time. The one ‘loophole’ they’ll want to close is the pensions one – smokers get a better deal because we are not expected to last long after retirement. Some Expert somewhere is working on a Study that will prove that smokers simultaneously live longer and die younger. The drones will believe it.

The ban on smoking in cars is likely to happen. Already, ministers are talking about bringing it in by the summer. Behind the bluster, I suspect it’s a done deal. It will have nothing to do with children. It will be extended to all private vehicles using the ‘level playing field’ excuse. Even if your car is parked at the top of a mountain with just you in it and not a child in sight, you will not be allowed to smoke in it.

Note the wording that’s being used too – it will be an offence for a driver to ‘fail to prevent smoking’ in his own car. The same as was used to make publicans into unpaid enforcers. That gets away from the ‘driving without due care and attention’ part because it doesn’t have to be the driver smoking. When your child lights up in the back seat, you must take your eyes off the road, your hands of the wheel, turn around and snatch that clay pipe from his tiny wizened lips. In the interests of safety.

Every smoker shopuld get a scrapyard car, park it in the garden, SORN it, sell the engine and wheels and any other useful parts and be sure to take out the steering wheel and instrument panel. Maybe also the driver’s seat. Then you can smoke in it. It’s the driver’s responsibility to stop you but… there’s no driver.

This will all be irrelevant of course, once all smokers are excluded from housing and employment. We won’t be able to afford cars anyway. Then it will become illegal to smoke under a bridge or in a discarded cardboard box.

Then ASH and their drones will decry the wastrels cluttering up their world and demand a Final Solution…

I’m posting early this evening. I intend to turn off the internet for a few hours and power ahead with some writing. My plan was to tootle along earning just enough to live on until that pension kicks in – but that’s still six years away. I’ll need to become independent of employment sooner rather than later, I think. And there is only one way to make money from writing.

Staple your arse to a seat and write the damn things. Lots of them. Nobody can buy it if it’s not written.

One other rule – make sure the whisky and tobacco are within reach before using the stapler.



22 thoughts on “Here comes unemployment…

  1. Every smoker shopuld get a scrapyard car, park it in the garden, SORN it, sell the engine and wheels and any other useful parts and be sure to take out the steering wheel and instrument panel. Maybe also the driver’s seat. Then you can smoke in it. It’s the driver’s responsibility to stop you but… there’s no driver

    Im in luck every yard in Kentucky has at least 2 on blocks and Im no diferent with 3 in my yard and 6 down on brothers farm!


    • I have heard that writing erotica is a good way to make a living. Unfortunately I can’t do it. I’ve tried. I could have been a scriptwriter for Brian Rix, Benny Hill or the Carry On films but serious porn? Nope.


  2. A poor study.indeed. I’ve been involved in medical studies and I can tell you they have to be very well designed in order to get coherent data which actually means anything. Too many uncontrolled variables and not enough participants make this study doomed before the first click of the pedometer. Crap in, crap out.


    • Here’s another – to add weight to the ban smoking in cars. The “study” consisted of sitting in the back seat of a car using a hand held measuring device.

      Note 14 cars driven by smokers and data taken from 63 trips that lasted about 30 minutes.

      Oh, and did you know.. using the air vents in those vehicles made no difference to the levels of pollutants. Interesting… clearly never been in a 7 series BMW.


    • I’ve been involved in experiments on humans – whoops, I mean medical studies too. Even with a large set, it can be hard to get a certainty of result. The buggers just won’t all behave the same way! Mind you, I was working with old people, before the New Teaching came into effect. Nowadays it would probably be like wortking with lab rats.

      Except they’d be less intelligent than rats.


  3. XX Every smoker shopuld get a scrapyard car, park it in the garden, SORN it, sell the engine XX

    Without an engine, it is no longer a motor vehicle, and any laws relating to moptor vehicles become nul and void.


    • True, but can you imagine the average Council jobsworth even beginning to grasp the concept that a car with no engine or wheels is no longer a vehicle? That game could last for weeks.


  4. If you made enough off of your writing to afford whiskey and tobacco, you could quit working the store. But then, what would you do for material?


    • I don’t want to quit work. I like it there. It’s not difficult work, it doesn’t follow me home and there are minds to play with. The other side is, when I spent years working alone I was starting to talk to myself – and sometimes realising that I hadn’t left the house for days.

      What I intend to prepare for is the day when smokers are excluded from work. It could happen.


  5. Naturally, most managers would not even consider this because most managers are idiots.

    As you can see by reading reviews of workplaces by current and former employees –

    I checked Amazon and ebay, both places I have to use to sell (unfortunately), and time and again, management seem to be detached from a) the workers and b) reality. Same with the supermarkets I had a gander at.

    Managers seem like politicians and GPs. They believe they’re on a higher plane than us wretches and so can ignore us and do their own thing. Constant bad decisions from refusing to listen to what’s actually happening on the shop floor (or any other place) never seems to put them off from thinking they know what’s best.

    Deep down, they probably know that most of the staff are more capable of doing a better job in management than they are, so they keep their distance and muddle along.


  6. Already poster ‘in another place’, but here it is again…….

    Cars today, our homes tomorrow? Let’s start with local authority housing, right? How long before the four o’clock knocks start? “We have received reports from neighbours of the odour of burning tobacco emanating from these premises.”
    A slippery slope? No fizzy drinks in cars with children on-board? Never going to happen? Let’s meet here again in a couple of years and see how things are shaping up.

    Think of the children? If it’s as dangerous to kids as the health zealots would have us believe, thus harming children, is it not already against the law to cause harm to children? Or would those big scary numbers they like to use just get ripped apart in court as pure fantasy?

    Think of the children? Give this some thought; the more governments insist on trying to hold everyone’s hand, the less likely it will become that anyone will bother to learn to walk on their own. Or is that the plan?


    • That’s already happening in parts of America and is happening in old people’s ‘homes’ here. I’ve seen 80-year-olds outside in the cold smoking.

      They can’t really call them ‘homes’ any more. They are old people storage units now.


  7. Obviously the smokers were hard at work at their JOBS SITTING AT THEIR DESKS AND WORKING, while the nonsmokers were wandering around to the coffee break area and visiting each other’s cubicles to swap jokes and observations on sports.

    Companies should clearly hire only smokers if they want to do well.

    Re cars: I think this blog has covered that farcical “23x what’s found in smokey bars” claim before, but I don’t know if we’ve looked at the “peak concentrations” scam. Here’s an excerpt from the “Karz With Kidz” section of TobakkoNacht:

    Another trick favored and featured by antismoking researchers in this area is similar to the one used in the outdoor smoke studies: focusing on the momentary conditions of what they call “peak concentrations” (i.e., the “microplumes” mentioned a little earlier), while deliberately confusing those exposures with ones that last continuously over 24-hour or 365-day EPA guideline periods.
    Think back to the last time you were in a car or a social situation with a smoker sitting right next to you. Occasionally, the air will waft the wrong way and, for a moment, a concentrated plume of smoke will blow right into your face (or into a researcher’s “sniffer monitor”) from the burning tip of the cigarette. It doesn’t happen often in a moving car with the windows cracked even moderately open, but even then, such moments occasionally exist.
    That is what is meant when researchers cite figures for peak concentrations. Such figures are completely meaningless when com-pared with the EPA outdoor air standards for contaminants inhaled and exhaled with every breath, for 24 hours a day / 365 days a year, but that is exactly the comparison Antismokers make when presenting these “smoking in cars pollution studies” to the public. For individual tiny discrete moments, the air quality in a particular few cubic centimeters of space in these cars could indeed be far worse than the EPA’s level for 24-hour constant and inescapable exposure. Actually, if that were all the air one had to breathe, it’s unlikely even the hardiest adult would survive for a single hour. But in terms of a moment of exposure, it’s kind of like having a cup of coffee at 160 degrees and taking a tiny little sip from it – you’ll enjoy it and your health won’t be damaged at all. But if I immersed you in a cannibal’s kettle at 160 degrees for 24 hours, you’d be soup. Heck, you’d be deader than a hard-boiled egg in 24 minutes!! That’s why you should ignore the “peak readings” in stories about studies like these: they’re nothing but a propaganda tool used to frighten innocent people.

    – MJM


    • Thanks – that’s well explained.

      I have to laugh at the ‘x times the level in smoky bars’ thing. The ‘x’ changes all the time. And… what smoky bars? There aren’t any, not any more. So one cigarette in any enclosed space will generate more smoke than you will find in any bar.

      So will a candle.


  8. It makes my blood boil with indignation when I read about a study with only 110 people in it which is only run for 6 days. If it was 1000 people run over 6 weeks I would still conclude the sample size was too small. Did these idiots quote a P value BTW? I would be most interested in their confidence limits too. Frankly this is just nonsense.


    • It’s run until they get the answer they want. If they defined sample size and run time at the beginning, they might be faced with an incovenient result.

      It’s called Post-Logical Science. Or maybe The End of the Age of Reason.


  9. I work with a young chap who when I was sitting outside with him at the local works bar smoking area, enjoying a fag and my pint when he starts all the hand waving and moaning about giving him the big C, bear in mind I was downwind of the prick at the table.

    Yesterday I learnt he had recently been attending a shisha bar,

    I was approaching boiling point with rage and anger, not quite boiling but pretty fucking near as dammit.


First comments are moderated to keep the spambots out. Once your first comment is approved, you're in.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s