So, the smoking ban is popular?

Via the Pub Curmudgeon’s Twitter incarnation (@oldmudgie) is the news that the ‘popular’ smoking ban is actually only popular with a minority of killjoy pursed-rectums and mindless sockpuppets. Most people, not just smokers, support the provision of smoking rooms in pubs.

51% support the idea. Smokers account for 20-25% of the population. We have allies, folks. Maybe they see that it’s not just smoking in the crosshairs of the Righteous.

It used to be that way, long ago. Some very old pubs still have ‘smoke room’ and ‘snug’ etched on the windows. Now that most are open-plan it’s not so easy to change back but hey, pubs, I used to spend a lot of time and money in you in my youth. I might still be doing that if you hadn’t decided to throw me out. Now I visit a pub maybe once or twice a year and I don’t stay long. we’ve had a Wetherspoons in town for about five years. I’ve never been inside.

The article suggests that many of the remaining pub owners do indeed recognise that banning their core custom wasn’t a smart move. Smoking and drinking go together for a lot of people and the Healthies who don’t smoke… also don’t drink. So that idea that the pubs would fill with people who hate smoking was a non-starter from the outset. Those people hate drinking too. Surely someone other than the smokers realised that? CAMRA didn’t. They just wanted their beards free of other people’s inferior smoke. Well, those beards are smokefree now. Largely pubfree too. You did that, CAMRA. Can’t blame the smokers now. You helped ban us all from pubs eight years ago.

It’s just in a local paper so far, but word is getting out. That smoking ban was only ever a business-killer. We didn’t stop smoking or drinking. We just stopped doing either of them in pubs. The ‘supermarkets are cheaper’ shit was silly. Supermarket booze was always cheaper. In pubs, you weren’t just paying for the booze. You were paying for the ambience. Destroy the ambience and there’s no point any more.

Will we come back to the smoking rooms, if it happens? I’m not sure. Those who turned 18 eight years ago have never experienced smoking in a pub. Some have never even experienced smoking indoors. They might not take to it. We oldies have Smoky-Drinky and shead-pubs now. We are also still smarting over the pub industry’s insistence on extending the ban to private clubs so they were totally screwed too. We cannot have a smoke club staffed with smokers and only smokers as members so no non-smoker can possibly be harmed. You did that to us, pub industry. We do not see you as a friend.

I don’t think I care if pubs have a smoking room now. Sod them. They haven’t wanted my business for nearly a decade and they were instrumental in making sure I could not set up a proper smoke club. I really don’t think a smoke version of apartheid will be of any interest to me now.

Repeal the smoking ban entirely, defund the antismoker groups or I am not interested. No compromise.

What’s that, antismokers? I just want it all?

Well why not? It’s only the same as what you want.



27 thoughts on “So, the smoking ban is popular?

  1. Brilliant post, LI.
    What was absolutely critical, in the imposition of the Smoking Ban, was the totally disproportionate level of punishments via fines on publicans. Such publicans did not need themselves to commit a crime, nor did they need to facilitate some sort of crime. Although they were required to prevent ‘an action’ (lighting a cig), that action, in itself, was not a crime.
    I am still absolutely amazed that publicans did not contest that assumption of ‘crime’.
    But there are no signs that booze and food companies are any better organised than were pubcos. All of them seem to believe that a ‘level playing field’ is OK. Erm… No. The ‘level playing field’ in pubs has produced a ‘level playing field’ of boredom. Restrictions have produced zero fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s the same with smoking in cars. The driver is expected to enforce the ban, and the driver gets fined if they fail. So rather than having their attention fully on the road, they have to shout at passengers who light up.

      This is modern politics. To hell with road safety, let’s make every car a Stasi enclave and have the driver watching the inside of the car rather than the outside.

      It’s been like that on buses for some time now. The bus driver’s attention is split between watching the road and watching the passengers in case one lights up or opens a beer.

      I bet the driverless cars won’t work if the monitoring system detects alcohol or tobacco. Yet if the car is fully automatic, you could smoke and drink while it takes you home. You’re not controlling it anyway.

      Politicians really need their faces rubbed in a nasty pile of priorities.

      Or dogshit. That would probably work better.


  2. I don’t think I care if pubs have a smoking room now. Sod them. They haven’t wanted my business for nearly a decade and they were instrumental in making sure I could not set up a proper smoke club. I really don’t think a smoke version of apartheid will be of any interest to me now.

    Repeal the smoking ban entirely, defund the antismoker groups or I am not interested. No compromise.

    I’m inclined to agree with you there, LI. The idea of ‘smoking rooms’ in pubs is somewhat reminiscent of those disgusting ‘smoker’s lounges’ you find in some airports, which merely coop all the smokers up in a little, badly ventilated glass box for the antis to gloat at.

    I had a couple of hours stopover at the brand-new, state-of-the-art airport terminal in Doha earlier in the week. It is a massive, sprawling affair, with a central hub full of fancy shops and cafés, and heaving with passengers in transit. The ‘smoking lounge’ closest to the centre was a tiny affair (and hard to find), probably less than 20 sq metres, with a barely functioning ventilation system. It was so smokey you could barely see across the room; it was jam-packed with smokers (standing room only) and was a thoroughly unpleasant experience. And this in a busy airport where at least 25% of the thousands of passengers will be smokers who have just endured long flights on which they are forbidden to smoke. It is obviously a deliberate move to further stigmatise and penalise people who have the temerity to continue smoking against the wishes of the health fascists.

    Anyway, to get back on tack, if there’s to be any reversal of the law, it should be to allow any pub that wants smoking clients to be a smoking pub. Those pubs that wish to continue to be non-smoking are welcome to do so. The trouble is that the anti-smoking zealots know full well that if that was to happen, the smoking pubs would be heaving while the non-smoking pubs would continue to be empty husks, and that would give the lie to all their protestations that people just LURVE non-smoking pubs and have no desire to change the law. TC would be a busted flush, and that cannot be allowed to happen.

    I went to get a takeaway pizza a couple of nights ago. I ordered my pizza, and a glass of red wine to drink while I waited, and sat down at a table inside (it’s winter here, too) and started rolling a ciggy. The guy brought my wine, and with it an ashtray. The few people eating at nearby tables didn’t so much as blink when I lit up.

    I’m so glad I live in a civilized (albeit broke!) country. None of that no-smoking silliness here.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s expensive, but I encourage you to try business class with Emirates via Dubai. The cigar lounge is exceptional. The worst airports (SYD, LHR) have no airside smoking opportunities whatsoever, even in first class.

      “The trouble is that the anti-smoking zealots know full well that if that was to happen, the smoking pubs would be heaving while the non-smoking pubs would continue to be empty husks”. Quite.

      I regularly travel to Germany. My old local is non-smoking (it has to be, as they serve food) and my new local, about 150 yards away, boasts staff who smoke as they serve you. Guess who gets the lion’s share of my business.

      For a (short) period, I didn’t smoke, but still elected for the smoking cabins in aircraft. No children, you see. Now there’s no choice. A common antismoker postulate is “How would you like it if I farted at you?”. Well, Mrs Antismoker, I take Fishermen’s Friends when I’m flying. They don’t quite agree with me, so in the heavily-recirculated, stuffy cabin air, you can relish every molecule of my flatus through your over-sensitive, delicate little nostrils.

      I have abandoned my (UK) local. Lazy Sunday afternoons with the crosswords and the laptop are a thing of the past, along with dropping in for a couple on the way home. For every drink that I do not buy, I put the corresponding sum into a piggy bank. In the last week alone, it boasts over £40. I haven’t been to my club since the ban, and that saves at least a further £40 per week. This is a club, mark you, that has a famous smoking room – where you can no longer smoke!

      Having seen at a tender age what being geriatric really means – not carving wooden toys for the grandchildren, but soiling yourself and calling for your mother – there has been no doubt that I do not want to join their ranks. What sort of naivety do these people possess? Even if the Bogeyman doesn’t get you, you’re weak and worn out, vulnerable and one slip away from a hip replacement, one pustule away from an ulcer that will never heal. Your power of learning has declined in a world that changes ever more rapidly. You cannot keep up.

      So when I think of people who have robbed me and others of our freedom to choose, I don’t wish death upon them. I wish them long lives. Very, very long lives.

      “What was absolutely critical, in the imposition of the Smoking Ban, was the totally disproportionate level of punishments via fines on publicans. ”
      Like any good totalitarians, the human excrement responsible for the legislation delegated the responsibility to Blockwarts. A plague on their houses.

      Liked by 1 person

      • “So when I think of people who have robbed me and others of our freedom to choose, I don’t wish death upon them. I wish them long lives. Very, very long lives.” Good point. But can’t we hang a few all the same?

        Liked by 2 people

        • Revenge is a dish best served cold. Hanging is too bloody merciful, and imposing our mores on them makes us look no better than they.

          Let them entertain the delusion that they’ll always be 20 years old. They won’t let us smoke near the hospitals that we paid for. Let them ooze with bedsores and get the occasional thrashing from a third world nurse’s aide.

          If you’re a smoker and you end up in one of these places, light up in your bed. The punishment will be no greater than had you done so 100 yards from the building. Resist! If they confiscate your cigarettes, harvest your pubes and smoke them with a page torn from a bible. Resist! You paid for your treatment, they are not your masters. Resist! Some lemon-titted harpie or some wanker with a sociology degree and a weak father could not get a proper job, so they work for the NHS and try to tell you what to do. Resist! Simon Stevens is head of the NHS. You pay him. Tell him to polish your shoes, be smart about it! Resist!

          I am not sure if you can smoke in Broadmoor, but it must be better than some of these Poundland infirmaries you bought with with sweat from your brow and are now Nigerian maternity wards or Eastern European GPs’ surgeries.

          Mrs 20 works at a posh hospital, and if her stories are anything to go by, it is beyond imagining what an ‘Save! Our! NHS!’ place is like. A fate to which I cheerfully condemn the antismokers. Watch them wear out the patience of their loved ones as they linger, interminably. Let them hear, smell, taste, feel what old age is like.

          At the risk of repeating myself, my physiology lecturer told us that lung cancer was the best way to die. Poor bugger had given up smoking (much younger wife), he spent several years having bits ripped out succumbing to stomach cancer instead.

          Liked by 3 people

            • Ditto, Cherie. Wasn’t there a study (Japanese, I think) which showed a very strong risk of developing cancer after (again, I think) about 18 months of suddenly giving up smoking? And that certainly ties in with my experience. Of all the people I know who have died from the disease, about a third of those were ex-smokers, and of those all had given up smoking some time during the previous two years. Only one person that I’ve ever known in my life has ever developed cancer whilst they were still smoking, which certainly doesn’t fit in with the official scare stories, particularly bearing in mind my (relatively) great age!

              I’ve always had this little personal theory that smoking doesn’t cause lung cancer, any more than sunbathing causes skin cancer, but that the constant mild irritation of doing something slightly stressful to one’s system causes a little “weak point” where cancer, caused by something else – most likely a combination of several things, being as cancer is widely acknowledged as a multi-factorial disease – will appear, if it’s going to appear at all (which it may not, hence the reason why so many smokers don’t develop cancer). Now, if that weak point is removed, by giving up smoking or stopping sunbathing etc, then all that happens is that something else that one is doing causes some other part of the body (like, for example, the stomach, as in your lecturer’s case) to become the main “weak spot” instead where that multi-factorial-caused cancer develops. And because we all have such personal body chemistries which react in such different ways to different things, it’s impossible to know for certain what anyone’s “weak point” is, until such a time as that weak point, like the weak link in a chain, gives up the struggle and gives way to a disease (or simply ceases to function properly). Which is one reason why all these one-size-fits-all health “instructions” – no smoking, no drinking, five-a-day, daily exercise, no sugar, no salt, low fat etc – are so meaningless. In some cases they may even increase a person’s tendency to develop cancer by putting stress on that person’s particular “weak points.” Indeed, this may explain why so many health nuts and/or mega-fit sportspeople tend to succumb to the disease so frequently when to all intents and purposes they’ve led pretty much “blameless” lives. It could even be that, for some people, too much “healthy stuff” is in and of itself intrinsically as unhealthy and risky as the much-accused “naughty stuff!”

              Following this theory on a step further, this could also be why all those so-called experts (like CRUK and the BMA) have, despite over a century of supposed “research” failed so dismally to find reliable, safe treatments for such a common disease and are still largely reliant on what are essentially hit-and-miss, semi-Medieval treatments like major surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which have now been around for many decades and haven’t, in all honesty, changed a great deal since they first started being used. They’re simply barking up the wrong tree; they are blaming the reason for the location of the disease as the reason for the disease itself, when in truth the two are very likely completely unrelated. It’s a bit like treating someone with an infected wound by giving them instructions in how to avoid accidents, rather than treating the infection with antibiotics and good wound care. It’s sort of a case of using a sledgehammer to crack the wrong nut!

              But one thing’s for sure – all the time the medical profession and their associated tag-on “experts” remain too arrogant to admit that they’ve got the basic premise of cancer wrong, and continue relentlessly trying to find “reasons” why habits of which they personally disapprove “cause” cancer, when in fact they do no such thing, there isn’t a hope in hell that medical science will ever move on sufficiently to develop genuinely better treatments for the disease than we’ve got now – or indeed have had for around the last 50 years. And that, 15 years into the 21st century, is a shameful indictment almost to the point of being criminally negligent.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Another trigger seems to be trauma as it was in my case, my husband’s very sudden death in front of me. I know of quite a few others personally and many more on the Cancer site I follow. My immune system seemed to collapse and I was ill for months after, about the time the Cancer started. I had surgery only and never stopped smoking as my research suggested it would make little or no difference to long term smokers. Contrary to everything I was told so far I am fine over four years later.


                • There’s your answer, right there. Immune system collapse.

                  Now, smoking basically isn’t all that good for you; inhaling a witches’ brew of partial combustion products is basically bloody silly, on a par with permitting diesel vehicles in towns. Both produce shitloads of known carcinogens. However, smoking also gives you nicotine, which is a powerful neurotransmitter and smoking also embodies ritual and habit which are again soothing on the nerves.

                  Immune systems and nervous systems are very intimately intertwined; mental health and immune system health are closely linked. Giving up smoking under such circumstances is basically bloody silly; the small harm from carcinogens is being heavily out-weighed by the stress of whatever reason you had for stopping smoking, the lack of the smoking rituals, and the lack of the nicotine stimulus for your brain. Basically, you’re starting with a small stressor and heaping on stress upon stress upon stress, and all this hurts your immune system which makes you feel crap, and that hurts you still further!

                  No, if you want to give up smoking, take up electro-fag instead. Do both. Make a ritual of electro-fag, make it a pleasure to be savoured and damn well set aside the time to fully appreciate the luxury. Over time, taper off the combustion ciggies, and slowly, ever so slowly switch to the electro-fag. If you don’t want to quit the smokes, get a pipe and learn to smoke that instead; it isn’t quite as harmful as are ciggies.

                  But above all, whatever you change, taper in the change SLOWLY over a period of months or a year or so. Rapid change is not good for your immune system, and it anything else happens to stress you over the period of the change-over, put it on hold for a while. Avoid stress, it isn’t good for you, and avoid stopping doing the stress-relievers that let you cope.


                  • Dr Dan

                    “We put the tobacco on our skin and waited to see what would happen,” Jarvik recalled. “Our heart rates increased, adrenaline began pumping, all the things that happen to smokers.”

                    The inventor of the nicotine patch , a neversmoker, who at the time was investigating Green Tobacco Sickness among field workers caused by the nicotine in wet leaves.

                    That’s not the effect most smokers would expect from smoking a cigarette.


                  • Don’t worry! I never had any intention of stopping, after over 50 years I am sure any damage was done long ago. I used the e cig when I was in hospital, they were not well known then, and I got lots of Drs and nurses asking me where I got it. They are ok but now it is bring made almost impossible to use them anywhere what’s the point? Might as well stick to the real thing. I stopped about a month before surgery when I used the e cig and about a month after but that was it. If TC really cared about Heath they would be delighted with e cigs but they eat into pharma profits and their paymasters won’t allow that.


    • They can’t afford the enforcement at the moment and, from the little I know of them, I doubt they’d bother enforcing it anyway.

      It must be nice to live in a country where the government concern themselves with real problems. The thing at the top of the UK government’s agenda is what colour fag packets should be.


    • XX Anyway, to get back on tack, if there’s to be any reversal of the law, it should be to allow any pub that wants smoking clients to be a smoking pub. Those pubs that wish to continue to be non-smoking are welcome to do so. The trouble is that the anti-smoking zealots know full well that if that was to happen, the smoking pubs would be heaving while the non-smoking pubs would continue to be empty husks, XX

      Which is Exactly what has happened in Berlin, and other citys around Germany that give the choice.

      My local got turned into a non smoking pub. It was at the rail station, and did a roaring trade for over 60 years. It lasted three months as non smoking, and they had to close due to lack of customers.

      Saturday and Sunday afternoons, for example went from a CONSTANT 80 to 90 customers, to literaly 5 or 6!

      Someone else bought the place, and it is now a smoking pub again, and although the customer levels are still only around the 50 or 60, they are building. And the pub has had to re-hire four of the bar maids that were “let go” as the other ones business started dropping through the floor.


  3. Cheers for the name-check! 🙂

    I ought to point out that the “Morning Advertiser” is actually the trade paper for the pub industry, not a local paper. But I don’t think we’ll be seeing that story in the Guardian any day soon.


    • Well, it’s technically local to pubs. Or local to your local 😉

      I doubt any MSM paper would dare touch that story. The day I see it on the BBC is the day my jaw will drop low enough to type with.


  4. I took a long, tiresome, tedious, convoluted look at the whole shmoo a couple of weeks back.

    Was interested in that business of what the younger generation might think and came up with:

    “There should be something for tobacco control to point to, after all no one aged 24 or less has any adult experience of people smoking in any enclosed public space. However even those aged between 18 and 24, while slightly ambivalent on the matter, still come out in their favour with 40% saying yes (to separate smoking rooms), 31% saying no and a very large minority – 29% – saying they’re not sure.”

    and toward the end it struck me… bang!

    “Looking back at the figures for those aged 18 to 24 (40% yes, 31% no, 29% don’t know), I see a remarkable similarity to figures we saw in the lead up to the Scottish referendum. When the chips were down the people of Scotland did the only sensible thing – and saved us from a dire prospect now the price of oil has collapsed. 55.3% said yes to the Union and my gut tells me a similar figure will vote for smoking rooms.”

    It’s part of a much larger catch all, however should there be any masochists out there, it’s the February jobbie here.

    Re usage of smoking rooms, my experience is limited to Amsterdam. Some are as you describe, others very nice indeed. If this works it’ll take you to photo # 16. What’s not to like about it? Plus they’ve got free wifi and a big screen telly that gets things like CNBC and Bloomberg during a quiet morning. Usual sports stuff of an evening and it’s well off when the room gets packed at weekends.

    That said, personally I’m not in the least fussed what kind of smoking room they have. They cost a mint whatever and it’s space, which in Amsterdam is a luxury, so yes I sodding well frequent them. And no I do not frequent any that don’t have then, nor hotels that don’t have smoking bedrooms.


    • I can highly recommend Hotel Plantage. There was a mix up and they gave me a non smoking room. The porter just gave me an ashtray and told me to be discreet.
      I usually stay in good hotels but since the chains (Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, etc) have gone antismoking they can fuck themselves.


    • The ‘don’t know’ should really be ‘don’t care’. Smoke or no smoke means nothing to them.

      Until they realise where it’s going…. plain packed burgers… and then they are suddenly onside.

      You’re right, it’s like the independence thing. It just needs a spur to make the ‘don’t cares’ care.


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