Smokeless Fool

Temptation

Temptation?

The topic I resisted writing about yesterday was the ban on the display of tobacco products that came into force yesterday. I’m a smoker you see, so I risk condemnation or accusations of bias. But then I thought, what’s new?

The rationale behind this latest crack down on the evil weed is that it will curb the numbers of young people who take up smoking, but I’ve seen no evidence to back-up this claim.

There are places, like Canada, that have hidden supermarket cigarette stocks behind shutters that claim have seen a small drop in the number of young smokers, but without any evidence of cause and effect.

The argument goes that all the effort that the tobacco companies put into packaging and point of sale material is designed to influence impressionable young minds and attract the next generation of smokers.

Personally, I think they do it differentiate their brand from another, but setting that aside, the argument for hiding the displays falls down because next on the list of things to be banned is any sort of branding. All the packs will look alike in plain white wrapping, so why bother with hidden displays?

The answer, of course, is that it is another victory for the anti campaigners in the ongoing war with smokers. Andrew Lansley admitted as much when he said:

‘We want to arrive at a place where we no longer see smoking as a normal part of life. We’re doing it by stages with constant active pressure.’

And that would be a laudable aim if the government were upfront and honest about the final destination.

We know from the research that the two biggest influences on young people to take up smoking are their parents and peer pressure. If mum and dad smoke, then smoking becomes normalised and if a friend offers you a cigarette, it would be uncool not to accept.

The ultimate aim then has to be make tobacco illegal, but before you clap you hands and shout hoorah, just remember who it is that will have to make up the shortfall in the taxman’s coffers.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

13 comments… Add yours
  • Roger Green 7th April 2012

    As a non-smoker in the US (and son of a former smoker), it’s fascinating to see the contradictory messages, from the TV/radio ad ban in the early 1970s, to continued tobacco subsidies, to bans in certain locales such as restaurants. That said, the total number of smokers has declined over time, though the decline has largely stopped, I believe.

    Reply
  • Mr Parrot 7th April 2012

    I should have mentioned that the number of young smokers in the UK has plateaued since the ban on smoking in public places which seems counter-intuitive, at least for the public health lobby.

    Reply
  • rhymeswithplague 7th April 2012

    Both my parents smoked. A lot. The air was always blue and the ashtrays were always full. Dad always said if I ever wanted to smoke, not to hide it from them; they would provide it for me. None of this did anything to “normalise” smoking in my young, impressionable mind. In fact, it did just the opposite. I did not take up the habit because it smelled bad and stained one’s fingers. Both of my parents eventually died of cancer, but neither one (amazingly) had lung cancer.

    So I can’t really identify with this post except as the exception that proves the rule.

    Reply
  • Mr Parrot 7th April 2012

    I suppose that I’m testing the rule too as neither of my parents ever smoked. Ironically, lung cancer caused my mother’s death when she was sixty.

    Reply
  • Captain Kirk-Pudding 7th April 2012

    Did you intend the subtle pun re the very last word – “coffers”? I would have never have guessed that you are a smoker as your Word Pressed blog looks so clean and white – no horrid yellow-brown nicotine stains. It’s never too late to stop you know. I did. Have you got any other sinful habits you’d like to tell us about before we go?

    Reply
  • Captain Kirk-Pudding 7th April 2012

    “have never have” – see, I told you I’m as liable to errors as anyone but at least I managed to give up the evil weed.

    Reply
  • Mr Parrot 7th April 2012

    Ah YP, sometimes I’m so subtle that I don’t even know I’m doing it. A bit like the smoking really!

    Reply
  • Trevor Rowley 7th April 2012

    “Smoking never did my uncle Harry any harm. Fifty a day man he was. Lived ’til he was eighty three.” Yes, we’ve all been spun tales like this, but, unfortunately, said uncle (and at least a dozen others) probably belched his carcinogenic cigarette exaust smoke up the noses of numerous innocent non-smokers who just happened to share the top deck of the five past six bus with him on the journey home from Manchester every weekday night back in 1965. In those days, it was quite acceptable to subject any poor schmuck who just happened to be around to more than a liberal dose of second-hand “instant death”. Rant over. Where to stick the ciggies? Under the counter with the dodgy mags for starters. “You’re usual, sir? Twenty coffin nails and the April edition of Health and Efficiency? That’ll be three and six please.” (three shillings and sixpence, for the benefit of our colonial cousins)

    Reply
  • Mr Parrot 7th April 2012

    Yes, we do all have those stories. My nan gave up her Woodbines at the age of 90 and lived till she was 96, but I’m not so naive as to forget that these are survivors’ tales.

    But there are important issues at stake here. Is it alcohol next, or junk food? A ban on rock climbing and other dangerous sports? Abandon women who’ve had PIP implants because it’s self-inflicted?

    That might seem far fetched, but then so was banning smoking in public places twenty years ago.

    Reply
  • Trevor Rowley 7th April 2012

    First they came for the trade unionists and we said nothing. Then they came for the homosexuals and we still said nothing. Then they came for the smokers, then the alcoholics and the lardies and we still said nothing. I’m a City supporter and just hoping they aren’t interested in me. Sorry for this dreadful spoof (and insensitive reference to something from Nazi Germany) but I just couldn’t resist it. However, the reference to me being a City supporter is true and, boy, have we suffered over the last forty four seasons. We just couldn’t be punished any more, I just know it.

    Reply
  • Mr Parrot 8th April 2012

    No-one has banned being a City supporter – yet!

    Reply
  • Lady Mondegreen's Secret Gardener 9th April 2012

    Hello Mr Parrot, just popped over from Going Gently. I remember being cynical about the Effect when NZ banned smoking in restaurants and public spaces and tobacco display – about 6 years ago now I think. There are no-nonsense signs on the white cupboards at the supermarket checkout written in Maori and English ‘Smoking Kills.’ There is certainly a pronounced reduction in smoking amongst my social peers but that could just be part of the whole health review that folk do for themselves in middle age. My dad who was a non-smoker died of lung cancer. Pretty sure that passive smoking was responsible. I’ve always been a non smoker but at an Easter social gathering where smoking would once have been the norm I have to confess to a touch of nostalgia when I caught the whiff of a loan smoker.

    Reply
  • Mr Parrot 9th April 2012

    You’re very welcome Lady Mondegreen. Of course smoking has been banned in public spaces here for some time too. There were appeals for it to be allowed in designated areas where both owner and patron were happy about it, but that came to nothing and it is certainly one of the reasons for the decline of the Britsh pub.

    The tobacco smell I miss most is that of pipe smoke that had a wonderful sweetness and character to it, unless it’s just my nostalgia for my granddad!

    Reply

(will not be published)

Scroll Up

Thanks for taking time to send this report

The following text will be sent to me: