Wednesday 27 October 2010

Who didn't see this coming?

I've written a few times about the myth that smoking bans are truly "comprehensive" outside of Britain and Ireland. In truth, other countries have passed laws which—while still trampling inexcusably on property rights—are far less draconian than those seen elsewhere in the world.

In other nations smoking bans have been relaxed (Holland, CroatiaPoland), or were relaxed to begin with (Portugal, Denmark, Belgium), or are simply ignored (Holland again, Greece and everywhere outside Europe).

And it seems that I am not alone in observing this...

While partial or total smoking bans have been introduced in many European countries ending patrons' ability to smoke in bars, cafes and other public venues, it is still relatively easy in some states to find a bolt-hole where smokers are welcome, whether due to exceptions to such laws or owners flouting the bans.

We can't be having that now, can we? And the response from the (unelected) European Commission should come as no surprise.

Health commissioner John Dalli has said he wants to put a stop to this.

"We need a complete ban on smoking in all public spaces, transport and the workplace," he said in an interview on Monday (11 October) with German daily Die Welt.

The EU wanting to override national sovereignty is not a massive shock. And there had been noises on the smoking front.

Announcing that Brussels is currently preparing a bill to be brought forward next year, he said that exceptions should no longer be tolerated

Then perhaps they could start by banning smoking in the EU's offices, where the last attempt to stop MEPs smoking ended within weeks after the political class revolted?

The commission will furthermore try to win agreement on rules making tobacco products no longer visible to customers and make packaging as unattractive as possible. The packets are to be made identical in appearance and to bear colourful warning pictures, such as of diseased lungs, as well as more information on the toxins the product contains.

"The more uniform and bland packaging the cigarettes are, the better," said the commissioner.

Quite. And who better to make things bland and uniform than the European Commission?


Smoking Hot said...

"The packets are to be made identical in appearance"

l'm certain the counterfeiters will love that!

Eddie Douthwaite said...

What's the point when they want the cigarette packets hidden from view anyway.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris;- great to see your safe return!

I've thought for some time now that there's a Russian (or old Soviet Union) influence component in all this, and that that should be investigated in more depth;

If there were a country influencing the WHO FCTC etc - and Godber admired the Soviet health system - then one might expect them to join as late as possible, and make excuses...

Looking at the WHO data, it fits.

And one of the few recollections that contemporaries could make about Philby after he defected was merely that he (too) admired the Rusiian health system... I do not think it inconceivable that they were in to the medical establishment as well as Oxford & MI5 in the 50's & etc.

I notice that Anna Gilmore is a Russian specialist, too...

But here's an accidentally discovered riff on graphic design, relating to Russian health warnings;- is there a lesson here?

156. Design is war

How neat that the locals there are free to invent their own riffs on the "required" messages, and plan forward!

And where are the creatives and entrenpenuers in the west making contrary message stickers and covers? (and posters, & etc!)


Anonymous said...

I have just come back to Norway from a short trip to Holland. Sorry, but the smoking banners in Holland have the bit as far between their teeth as they do in Norway. I stayed at a hotel with no smoking area, except outside the front door. I refused, quite noisily to use this at all hours of the day and night as it was not safe for a woman alone to stand, effectively in the street, in her pjs. My comments were met with complete indifference. I found balconies on each floor of the hotel that were perfectly acceptable to me and should have been perfectly acceptable to the hotel management as they were outside, but one of the little functionaries told me, at two in the morning that they were non-smoking areas. I demanded to know why as they were outside and isolated from the hotel by double thickness fire doors. No answer was forthcoming. I stated that as I did not sleep well I intended to use the balconies as a smoking area and that if I was forced on to the street and came to harm I would sue, sue and sue again. No more was said. The hotel trade, which can choose to have smoking rooms has chosen not to in many places because it saves on cleaning bills. Instead of having to have carpets and soft furnishings regularly steam cleaned they can now get away with a quick vacuuming and bugger all else. Result, hotels smell baaaad and the bed bug is back. Support for smoking bans often has nothing to do with objections to cigarette smoke and everything to do with saving money. The town I stayed in in Holland is a University town, the town I live in in Norway is also a university town, both are trying to cultivate a tourist trade and both are failing miserably. I wonder why. They will discover that for everything there is a price and for the, so called, hospitality industry the price of alienating a third of their potential customer base is going to be high. Good. The fewer of them that survive the better. Jobs will be lost, shame isn't it that the industry concerned does not give a damn about either it's customers or it's employees. All of those specialist cleaning firms have already gone to the wall anyway, pest control companies will boom.