Friday, May 31, 2013

Can't Take It

Smoking ban inspectors facing agression

Government inspectors are too scared to check the smoking ban is not being flouted in cafes and bars and are now travelling in pairs with police back-up, according to media reports on Thursday.
The food safety body NVWA says inspectors are afraid of agression from cafe owners and clients and have been working in pairs since last year. 

The new legislation will see smoking prohibited within 15 meters of entrances to stations, airports, metro stations and ports, workplaces, entrances to apartment blocks, and in children's playgrounds and beaches from tomorrow.
In June 2014, the ban will be extended and enforced on long-distance trains and shipping journeys, hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and markets and on suburban railway platforms.
Tasmanian authorities are scrutinising legal advice that indicates Launceston's smoke free areas are invalid.
It now appears that the regulations have not been finalised, which a court might consider if a fine or power was challenged.
The Launceston City Council says it has received legal advice that the Public Health Act regulations are not complete.
The Launceston mayor Albert van Zetten says that has called into question the smoking ban in the city and means plans to extend the bans have been deferred.
"We thought we had the legal ability to do that but what's happened is apparently there's some by-laws that we were relying on under the DHHS which hasn't quite been done," he said.
Launceston City Council discovered its smoking bans in two malls and two bus stops where in trouble when it tried to extend the bans to other areas.
The bans have been in place for two years but the council has legal advice they are not valid because it is not the "occupier" of the affected streets.
Smoking is legal. It is totally inhumane to tell a sick person that, by fiat, they are not allowed to do something, that they must have "therapy" imposed on them when that has little to do with their immediate condition, when they are not harming others. It can be hard enough to get a person to seek necessary help. It can become impossible unless they are forcibly detained when they are provided with a powerful reason for refusing help.
There is no health gain from this. It is a cruel infringement of human liberties that really benefits no one, it is (and I accept that this is a bias) another blind application of universal rules based approaches that has become so prevalent in what is called social policy. In pursuit of goals and targets, in the desire to control, we have become inhumane, censorious, lacking in fundamental human empathy.    

In this new debate, however, the focus of legislators’ interest has narrowed considerably, and now includes some of the spaces we might naturally regard as our most private – namely the interiors of our homes and cars.
Legislation that determines what we can and cannot do in our own homes simply does not fall into the same category as a law to stop you lighting up a cigarette in a crowded bar. The health lobby might present this new push as simply a natural progression from existing legislation, but the fact is that this crosses a significant line, and is in danger of setting new and unwelcome precedents.
And there are other issues over how this will be policed. Will police have the resources (given the cuts in their budget) to effectively prosecute this; and given the finite resources they have, is this where we want them spent? Look at the number of drivers still seen on their mobile phones. And what if the windows are open? What if the roof is down on a convertible?
Perhaps the biggest concern, however, is precedent. If the state has the right to stop parents smoking in front of their children in the car, why not the living room? Does it also have the right to control what they feed to their offspring at the kitchen table? Does the state have the right to determine what levels of saturated fat children ingest? Or what TV programmes they are permitted to watch?
The urge to protect children is an honourable one, but it cannot be a carte blanche for illiberal laws.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Exscuse My Miserable Mess

Sad times for me.

 Using this for that and I never have before.


 I miss you. I already miss you,but I knew I would.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Videos Seemed About Right Tonight

Not sure if the story about version one and version two of this song are right but apprarently one was first and it wasn't allowed to be played as written because it "simulated drug use". Guess which is which?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Carolina In My Mind

 Now a bill in the state Senate could send the ordinance up in smoke.
Senate Bill 703 would effectively eliminate regulations on outdoor smoking and limit how municipalities control it.

Questions raised on smoking ban during city council session

After hearing an overview of the proposed ordinance — which in its current form bans smoking across the board at all businesses, restaurants, bars and private clubs — council, one by one, said what they liked and didn’t. Ward 2 Councilwoman Becca La Strada said while she supports a ban in restaurants, she’d like to see private clubs and bars excluded.

North Carolina Senate Bill 703 (Bill Text)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Daily Nicotine or How It Would Have Looked If DNS Issues hadn't cropped Up

Since my Daily Nicotine paper is down here is what would have been in today's issue.

Why are Britain’s Tories courting Michael Bloomberg?

Really? I never even knew Bloomberg and the Tories were an item until I read this article. I rather doubt whether David Cameron raises much of a blip in the United States. (If RMC and RTL are any evidence, though, the French public and some of the media seem to like him. They say he takes the ‘tough stances’ against welfare they would like to see in France.)
The article filled me with apprehension, especially when I read that Bloomberg likes London ‘because the city has so many health and safety regulations’.
The articles STATES that pregnant women WILL be tested for CO by midwives. The article suggests that NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) HAS ORDERED midwives to test pregnant women for CO as an indication of whether they are smoking or not. Of course, NICE has no such authority. The whole thing is just another example of Tobacco Control spin.
But the important thing is the comments. How can it be that there are so many mentally ill, emotionally-driven people in the world? So many people who cannot distinguish between REAL harm and IMAGINED harm.

All that taxpayer cash handed to obsessed single interest bully boys and doom-mongers, and the upshot is a decline of 3% in around a quarter of a century. Epic fail, huh?

Of course, if you look carefully at the figures, it isn't difficult to work out which European nations are performing the best.
Large declines occurred in Nordic countries, in Denmark (from 45% in 1990 to 20% in 2010), Iceland (from 30% to 14%), Sweden (from 26% to 14%), Norway (from 32% to 21%), and in the Netherlands (from 37% to 21%). 
That is, Nordic countries where smokeless tobacco and snus are widely available - and Holland which has one of the loosest smoking bans in Europe.

While I smoked, I was never aware of anyone who crashed their car because they were addicted to smoking, or killed their spouses because they were "blown" on cigarettes. I never heard of gangs of youth under the influence of tobacco, vomiting in the streets or attacking passers by. I did not read in the papers of folks overdosing on cigarettes. In my personal life, none of my children suffered low birth size, cot deaths or asthma, allergies, or lowered IQ's even though I would light up to feed them in the night, or if they stressed me out with messy rooms, or fussy eating. We lived in a big house, five kids and smoking Mom and Dad. None of our children smoke, although they tried it, all dumped it in their twenties. None of them, or us, committed any offence under the influence of smoking.

PUBS are closing at an alarming rate in Scotland with 147 calling time in the last six months, figures show.
Research by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) suggests six bars shut down every week.
Paul Waterson, chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said the dismal statistics showed the smoking ban, the recession and cheap supermarket booze had taken their toll on traditional watering holes.
He said: “The industry have never recovered from the smoking ban and have never had the same influx of people coming in.
A Royal College of Midwives source told the Sunday Times the guidance is "ill-judged", adding: "Midwives should not be seen to be policing pregnant women and enforcing CO monitoring."
The test will not be compulsory but midwives fear many mums-to-be will feel under pressure to take it.
Parenting expert Ellie Lee, of the University of Kent, said: "It's outrageous.
"If pregnant women think they need help with stopping smoking then that is fine, but it's not the place of midwives to start dictating to women what they do and don't do.
"The next thing will be blood tests on women to see how much they drink."

Plain packaging in an independent Scotland?

The health of the people is surely the highest purpose of government, so it is chilling to hear that the Coalition does not consider the prevention of ill health and premature mortality to be part of its role
I suppose that is what you would expect doctors to say, and as it happens I agree that a Conservative government would prioritise corporate interests over public health more than I would like. But as it happens, I don't happen to believe that plain packaging is a policy that has any particular merit – the evidence for it has been collated entirely by people employed specifically as tobacco control advocates and suffers disastrously from a lack of objectivity. Government sources know that most people start smoking before they can buy tobacco legally, indeed it is only a matter of years since the legal age of purchasing tobacco was raised, and smokers generally tell you that they were given cigarettes by friends before they could purchase legally.

Stats life – welcome to the fictional world of tobacco control

The University of Bath's sleight of hand or deception would be unimportant if it wasn't for the fact that the case against smoking – and passive smoking in particular – relies to a large extent on epidemiological studies.
According to Wikipedia:
Epidemiology is the study (or the science of the study) of the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in defined populations. It is the cornerstone [my emphasis] of public health, and informs policy decisions and evidence-based medicine by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive medicine. Epidemiologists help with study design, collection and statistical analysis of data [my emphasis].
Given this, you might expect publicly-funded tobacco control campaigners to demonstrate a rather better grasp of the data concerning their own website.
They say history repeats itself, and this is reminiscent of Prohibition in the 1920s. As a Wisconsinite I have been in many taverns and bars across the state, and I cannot believe how naive people are as to what  happens in real life.
Don't think for an instant I don't know which establishments I can go in to smoke and have a beer. The more north I go, the more prevalent these establishments are. So I can stop in and socialize. In the southern part of the state, sentries actually stand guard, which I find amusing.
And some people I immediately distrusted. Dr W, in whose house I once lived, and who was the first antismoker I ever encountered, profoundly shocked me one day by breaking out into a loud tirade against his errant eldest son (probably caught smoking), and stood bellowing in the hallway of his house against the “filthy, filthy, filthy” habit. I immediately concluded that he was a bit mad, and when a few years later I took up smoking, it was in part because there couldn’t be much wrong with it if a nutter like him thought that there was. Dr W gave me a permanent lifetime inoculation against antismoking. Because I witnessed the irrationality of it at first hand.
“Well it doesn’t cost anything to get it checked out. Especially if you have any trouble getting deep breaths” [Already there was no way she could take a deep breath, she was seconds from hyperventilating]. “I mean, the tuberculosis outbreak is certainly real. It’s all over the news. Anyone can catch that. Well, anyone who doesn’t smoke.” [Look up, eye contact time and try not to smirk at the panic in them] “Tuberculosis is a lot faster way to die than smoking.”
She left just as I was getting warmed up. Sometimes it’s just too easy. I have yet to hear whether she saw a doctor, she certainly isn’t out in the smoking patch with the rest of us so she hasn’t taken the easy option.
And just last month five U.S. senators wrote to the FDA asking that it restrict e-cigarettes’ sale, distribution and marketing to young adults even though the FDA hasn’t yet conducted research in regards to e-cigarettes’ safety.
And now California bill SB 648 is gaining momentum as it seeks to ban e-cigarettes in every location regular cigarettes are currently prohibited.
The motive behind it? Lawmakers say e-cigarette use encourages smoking of traditional cigarettes.
A question worth asking is if the FDA hasn’t yet done long-term research on e-cigarettes, then how can lawmakers anywhere make any conclusions — good or bad — regarding this product?
That raises troubling questions about such a nanny-like approach to employee health. Is it really your boss’ business if you’re gorging at buffets or running marathons? And doesn’t it invoke shades of Big Brother, to be constantly monitored for things like blood pressure or glucose levels?
“It’s a laudable goal to encourage employees to improve their health, but it’s not clear this is the best way to go about it,” says JoAnn Volk, a research professor at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute, who co-authored a recent white paper on wellness incentives.
There are also serious legal questions, too, about health-related rewards and penalties. While they’re allowed under health laws like HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), that doesn’t mean companies couldn’t face potential action in the courts.
“You can’t penalize workers if they have a family history of a certain condition, or a particular genetic makeup,” says Volk. “There are also privacy issues, depending on who’s running the program and whether the information is being kept confidential. So there are a number of different legal hurdles that companies need to clear.”
There would have been more,but it's late and I'm tired.

My apologies to the lovely people from Bath (sarcasm) who visit my twitter paper every day for a much longer period of time than a normal user would.

I know you guys will miss my paper most of all.

Friday, May 10, 2013

New York State Of Mind

New York City: Prohibition Prison

Unfortunately local, state and federal officials have blindly embraced tobacco prohibition.  Mayor Bloomberg’s policies have made New York City a tobacco prison, with cigarette prices, at $12-15 a pack, the highest in the nation.  Now he wants to prohibit cigarette sales to anyone under 21 years of age (here), which will force more of today’s legal consumers to the black market.

Half of the cigarettes sold in New York State are illegal, shifting a quarter billion dollars of government revenue to criminals (article here). 

Prohibitionists love to claim the moral high ground, but they are bootleggers’ best friends.

NYC Ban on Smoking in Jail Creates Black Market

The average price for a single smoke at Rikers Island is $30, jail sources said — a far cry from the 50 to 75 cents a “loosie” typically costs at a bodega. And full packs that legally sell for $15 in stores can bring as much as $200 in the Rikers Island “brown market,” according to a DA source.
To combat the underground trade, the Correction Department uses dogs to sniff out drugs, tobacco and even cellphones.
It may be a good idea to consume less sugar, salt, trans fat and tobacco, but should government tell us what we can and can’t eat and drink? At a time when we often toss around rhetoric about taking rights away like its yesterday’s newspaper, Bloomberg actually is taking away New Yorkers’ rights to decide what to drink, eat and consume with increasing regularity.  It begs the question:  what is next?  It is not much of a stretch to imagine Bloomberg requiring sandwich shops to serve only whole grain bread (more fiber), employees to use stairs instead of elevators (more exercise), or Girl Scouts to sell crates of apples instead of Thin Mints (more vitamins).
Our government was not created to interfere in our lives or restrict our freedom of choice in such a way.
“We’ve got to do something about our court system. Because they just stop everything,” Mr. Bloomberg lamented during his weekly radio interview Friday morning with WOR’s John Gambling.
Mr. Gambling chimed in in agreement: “Everything gets stopped–everything the city does.”
“Every single thing,” Bloomberg echoed. “You just can’t run a railroad this way.”
Mr. Bloomberg said that, while he was “sympathetic” to judges who are “supposed to determine the law,” the courts are now being used “as a process to stop things rather than a process to really find out what the law is. And that’s unfortunately the direction we’ve gone. And they’re just gonna delay and delay and delay.”
The mayor’s third term agenda has increasingly been blocked by judges, including his plan to bar the sale of large, sugary sodas, and a plan that would have forced men looking for space in homeless shelters to prove they really have no place else to go.
"Apparently the crusade against smokers to date has so emboldened government that the rule of law no longer need be practiced when it comes to its citizens that choose to smoke," said Audrey Silk, president of C.L.A.S.H., a HuffPost blogger, and urban tobacco farmer.
And of the signs, which tell New Yorkers smoking is prohibited, Silk said, "There is only one way for the public to interpret this language. There's nothing to imply that the 'prohibition" is unenforceable, which it now clearly is.
"The Office of Parks' behavior goes from bad to worse - from at least the facade of official policy-making to settling for simply fooling people with unofficial signs."

Smoking Ban for Beaches and Parks Is Approved
Opponents of the bill spoke strongly against it; several members derided it as an overly broad law that would infringe on individual liberties.
“We’re moving towards a totalitarian society if in fact we’re going to have those kinds of restrictions on New Yorkers,” said Councilman Robert Jackson of Manhattan, who described himself as a marathon runner and nonsmoker.
Others said the ban would set a dangerous precedent. Councilman Daniel J. Halloran III of Queens said, “Once we pass this, we will next be banning smoking on sidewalks, and then in the cars of people who are driving minors and then in the homes.”
A compromise that would establish designated smoking areas outdoors was scuttled by Council leaders in favor of an all-out ban. The bill will become law 90 days after Mr. Bloomberg signs it, which he is expected to do this month.
Smoking ban at state parks expanded
Smoking is prohibited in all New York City parks, for both those run by the city or the state. There are more than 300 municipalities that have restricted smoking in locally owned parks, state officials said.
Fines of up to $250 could be issued by law enforcement if the smoking regulations are violated.
Smoking will still be permitted at most campsites, open air picnic areas, parking areas and undeveloped areas within the 330,000-acre state park system, the state said.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tiny Bites

The Barnacles of Smoking, Alcohol and Cyber-Snooping

It seems a small step, but it’s definitely going in the right direction, and may just be the first sign of a long-overdue “Smoking Spring”. Huge congratulations and thanks to Angela Harbutt and the HOOPS team.

Derisory and distasteful to threaten smokers with blindness

They would therefore be surprised to learn that in reality smokers have a high 90s% chance of not getting cancer.
They go on to claim, "at any time (ie. imminently) smoker's cough (a myth in itself) can become lung cancer".
Well why shouldn't we believe the claims of the anti-smokers?
There are many reasons but to take just one, the highly respected British Doctor Study ran for 50 years and repeatedly reported that over 20 years of active smoking did no harm.
These findings are not disputed and bizarrely, even Prof Chapman once admitted this in an obscure corner of his otherwise virulently anti-smoking website.
Is there some way for us snusers in Sweden and in the EU to help and fight for Swedish snus?
The only thing we can do right now is to inform people what’s going on behind the curtains, cause one day we might stand there with a ban on snus and then it will be too late. 
While the plants were ostensibly grown to provide “shade” in a sunny front window, Chesney was really trying to do something else.
“I proved my point,” he said.
That point, said Chesney, is “that the laws are stagnant and designed by people out of touch with reality.”
Chesney, who hails from Dresden, Ont., but has been living in Nelson for two years, isn’t a smoker but he defends the rights of those who choose to light up.
In fact, his ambition is to eventually market a less-harmful cigarette.
“It’s close to my heart,” said Chesney of tobacco. “I appreciate the sacredness of it.”
In fact, he said the tobacco plants he was ordered to remove from his window were an ancient strain of the plant, which had strong cultural implications in some settings.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Mixed Bag

Ninety Smokers

Two months before the smoking ban in Great Britain came into force photographer Dan Donovan was invited by ninety tobacco smokers to take their photo's in places that they would no longer ......

Government should let us eat, drink, smoke and be merry

Longevity is not a friend of Social Security.
For that matter, longevity is not a friend of Medicare. The older we get, the more medical problems we have. There is no way around that. Our bodies wear out. I have some older friends whose hobby is going to specialists.
With that in mind, you’d think the government, at the very least, would take a hands-off approach to longevity. If a citizen wants to live a long life, fine. If not, that should be fine, too.
Instead, the government has become a scold.
Tobacco bans have been enforced across nearly 40 states for the health benefits of prisoners. But some are defying the ban and are paying on average of $200 for a packet of cigarettes.

Inmates are shelling out a staggering $300 to $500 for a tin of tobacco in states including Florida and Ohio, according to local reports.

Hospital alarm system will sound when people light up

The alarm, which is followed by a presumably shaming loudspeaker message to stop breaking the rules, is sensitive enough to be triggered by a single smoker lighting up. A representative of the company that installed the machine said in a hospital statement that its purpose is twofold: to encourage better health and to keep the hospital grounds tidier.

Smoking ban bills projected to fail

For Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, a non-smoker, the apparent defeat of the Crownover-Ellis bills, session after session, is not surprising.
“I have great respect for Representative Crownover, she is my friend and we agree on just about everything, but on this bill we differ (because) it is about personal liberty and about private property,” Hughes said.
Hughes spoke against Crownover’s bill in the 2011 session when it passed in the House but was ultimately killed in the Senate.
“If you have a business, a restaurant and you want to allow smoking in your business, I don’t have to go there if I don’t want to,” Hughes said. “It is not the government’s job to tell you what you have to do with your property.”
His Republican colleagues John Frullo of Lubbock and Four Price and John Smithee of Amarillo, see it the same way.
“I don’t advocate smoking in any way, shape or form, but I just don’t think it’s the state’s business to tell you where you can or cannot smoke,” Price said.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

How Far Is Too Far?

Nelson business told to remove tobacco plants from window

Chesney was growing a crop of about 50 tobacco plants at his magazine office that he formerly ran as the Kootenay Time cafe. He said the plants were grown from seed and were being used to provide shade and privacy for people working inside.
"I'm not selling tobacco here; I don't even smoke myself," Chesney said. "I think its a little extreme that I'm being told what type of plant I can grow in my window."
The notice came from an Interior Health enforcement officer, who advised Chesney that he was welcome to grow the tobacco plants in his home garden or under grow lights in a back room, as long as they're out of sight of passersby.
He was given two days to either remove them or face a fine of $575 each day they remained on display.

Queensland Government Bans Chocolate, Saffron, Echinacea and Beer

Last week the QLD government passed the Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2012.  As a result, many harmless chemicals, foodstuffs and herbal medicines were inadvertently banned including the popular cold and flu herb, Echinacea; the popular sleep tonic, Tryptophan; saffron; chocolate and even the unthinkable – alcohol.
The new laws state that if the ‘intent’ of a substance is to have similar effects to a banned or dangerous drug, the substance virtually becomes the drug.

“This mayor must be the great Houdini–he must be Houdini–because in 2001, when he took office, we were selling 42 million cartons of cigarettes in the City of New York,” the representative, David Schwartz, contended. “The great Houdini waved his magic wand and all of a sudden, in 2013 we’re selling 7 million cartons of cigarettes.”
Mr. Schwartz, needless to say, did not find that drop a credible reflection of actual declines in smoking.
“If anyone believes that smoking dropped from 42 million to 7 million,” he explained, “then there’s a bridge behind us I’d like to sell everybody.”
Instead, he blamed the drop on black market sales.
“This mayor and this council has created the largest black market we have ever seen. This black market in cigarettes rivals the drug trade. Opportunists have taken advantage of the system and they are buying untaxed cigarettes in this city and they are selling them all over the place,” Mr. Schwartz said, railing loudly against the mayor in front of a tobacco store near City Hall.
Mr. Schwartz was one of several members of a new coalition, Save Our Stores, that recently formed to vehemently oppose Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to forbid stores from publicly displaying cigarettes and tobacco products, as well as establishing a minimum price for cigarettes and prohibiting retailers from redeeming cigarette coupons. The coalition, naturally, ripped both into Mr. Bloomberg’s policies and the mayor himself, depicting him as an enemy of small businesses who swamps them endlessly in fines and regulations.
Police say the officer installed the camera to deter students from smoking. That’s according to the Captial-Gazette.
Police say the camera was put in plain sight and did not record on transmit any images.