Monday 24 September 2012

Tolerance wins the day Switzerland

This is why anti-smoking campaigners prefer to get their laws pushed through by gullible politicians and unelected international organisations...

Voters in Switzerland have rejected a total ban on smoking in enclosed public places at a referendum.

It was not just rejected, but very soundly defeated everywhere but Geneva...

In some cantons, more than 70% of voters rejected the ban, according to Geneva newspaper La Tribune de Geneve. Geneva itself bucked the trend by supporting the ban by 52% to 48%.

Geneva already has a "comprehensive" smoking ban, so for them it was merely a case of dragging the other cantons down with them.

The Swiss Socialist party "deplored" the result...

Good to see the socialists are as keen on democracy as ever. As Longrider says...

This is what happens when you ask the proles what they want. Which is why it will never happen here. The proles, you see, don’t know what’s good for them. That’s why we need the great and the good of Westminster and the Guardian readers of Islington to decide for us.

With smokers making up a gradually decreasing minority of the population, it is interesting to see nonsmokers rejecting anti-tobacco extremism. Earlier this year, the people of California rejected Prop 29 which would have added a dollar to a pack of cigarettes. As I said at the time, the nonsmoking majority could easily have seen this as a free ride and yet they decided (wisely) that it was better to keep money in the pockets of ordinary Californians than to have it transferred to Stanton Glantz and his tobacco control cronies.

The case of Switzerland is interesting because all the cantons already have fairly extensive smoking bans while making reasonable exemptions for smokers. Nonsmoking environments are the norm and so even those who hate the smell of smoke have nothing much to gain from expelling smokers from their designated areas and cast out into the street.

This why anti-smoking advocates hate reasonable compromises. When everybody is happy, it is difficult to push people towards extremism. At one time, I remember reading a how-to guide from Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights which told campaigners that it is better to have no ban at all than it is to have a partial ban that will accommodate everybody. They know it has to be an all or nothing affair.

As a result of the referendum, Switzerland continues to follow the European path of having extensive smoking bans which provide reasonable accommodation for smokers. You would never guess this from the Independent's report, however:

Europe's 'outsiders' vote to remain one of last Western nations where you can light up

Switzerland joined Romania, the Czech Republic and Germany as one of the handful of European countries to turn down a rigorous ban on smoking in all enclosed public places yesterday after voters rejected the idea in a national referendum.

Rubbish. Just off the top of my head I can add the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Portugal, Croatia, Poland and Austria to the list of places where smokers can light up. Most of the other countries have some form of exemption, including Sweden (as the Independent concedes) and even the more rigorous laws are routinely ignored (eg. Spain, Greece, France). The total smoking ban remains a phenomenon that is largely confined to the Anglo/Protestant countries of the world.

The Independent does, however, mention an important fact which appeared in the BBC's original article yesterday morning but was later removed.

Laurent Terlinchamp, president of Geneva's association of restaurant and bar owners had criticised the proposal as extreme. "In Geneva, where the law came in two years ago, we were told that a new clientele would start to come back to establishments," he said, "But this is not the case because profits are down 10 to 30 per cent depending on the type of business involved."

It's the same story in every country. Never does it change.

Meanwhile, there is a petition doing the rounds to review Scotland's smoking ban. See the reports in the Scotsman and the Scottish Sunday Express. Click here to sign the petition.


JohnB said...

We’re all familiar with the high profile shmucks of the antismoking racket – Stantonitis Glands, John Banz½ the ⅓, Simple Simon Crapman, Gregor Cannoli, etc. Most of them travel to countries untainted by antismoking fanaticism so that governments can get first-class advice on how to destabilize their countries through antismoking hysteria. There is one particular fanatic that has been highly influential in the Asia region but very much “flown under the radar” – Judy Muckeye.

Some background on Judy:
(Note from link above: “Initially, she was instrumental in bringing about a ban on smokeless tobacco products in Hong Kong”)

An obituary by Judy:

Hong Kong, where Muckeye has been highly influential, is now a centre for training in smoking cessation:

JohnB said...


But, the article I’d really like to highlight is this one:

In stark contrast to the Swiss circumstance over the weekend where the public had its say, Muckeye emphasizes how Tobacco Control Racketeers would preferably operate:

Asia's One-Woman Anti-Tobacco Campaign Still Going Strong
“For most of the past 25 years, Hong Kong-based, British-born doctor Judith Mackay has been the tobacco control movement in Asia.

She has pushed for tougher laws and higher tobacco taxes, lobbied for bans on advertising, and advised and cajoled governments in Hong Kong, Laos, China, Vietnam and most other Asian countries.

She drafted Mongolia's first post-Soviet anti-smoking law in her hotel room on the last night of her trip there, after spending most of the visit under suspicion of being an American spy.

Her success is based on her ability to convince the right person with the right power to make changes that will save lives. And she is happy to take advantage of non-democratic regimes.

"That is one of the reasons I was so active in the 1980s. Once you had democracies, you have white papers and green papers, you had public debates and forums and it went on forever," the 65-year-old said from her Hong Kong home.

"I found I could jump over quite a few fences in one go," added Mackay, who has been a senior policy adviser to the World Health Organization for more than 10 years.”

There we have it. Dealing with democratic countries can be such hard work. You have to deal with nonsense like freedom and personal autonomy. There’s all that useless paperwork required to justify your claims. And those endless public debates….. well! No. Judy would be happy to “take advantage of non-democratic regimes”. You need do deal with and con only one or, at most, maybe a handful of people. It can mostly be done over a six-course dinner; no paperwork; no public debates. Much.... much better. Smoking bans and a smoker persecution and extortionate tax program can be set in motion by lunch the next day. Then it’s off for a spot of tennis. That’s the way the world should operate.... none of this Swiss stuff.

Anonymous said...

They know it has to be an all or nothing affair.

Put simply they know that when a partial ban is in place and there is no continual propaganda being pumped even the partial ban becomes useless to the point that cooler heads go why is there a ban law at all!

These bans life span is limitied unless the propaganda is pushed and pushed all the time. The money for such public mass media campaigns is pretty well gone. The American nazis have had to rely on the CDC to spend the money for nation wide media blitzes and even CDC's money is limitied in this regard. So Big Pharma has been making grants to the CDC for these anti-smoking messgages along with a hefty Grant to do a southern states economic study on smoking bans over a 2 year period. Of course Dr Friedeman gave the study results at the announcment of the study beginnings!

Michael J. McFadden said...

"Rubbish. Just off the top of my head I can add the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Portugal, Croatia, Poland and Austria to the list of places where smokers can light up"

Excellent catch Chris. ::sigh:: it's sad how skillful their propaganda is. I read their statement without giving it much thought and part of me just assumed it was correct. Without your reminder the little "factoid" of just three European countries would have sat in a corner of my brain to perhaps jump out sometime, DESPITE the fact that I know perfectly well that the Netherlands etc are as you stated! Think how effective constant repetition of such half-truths are for people who have no real interest/connection to the subject and get all their information from "the news."


Ivan D said...

It is no surprise that the Swiss socialists were in favour of the extremist measure and were disappointed by the outcome of democracy. Based on track record, one would have to conclude that Socialism and democracy are mutually exclusive.

For a long time, Public Health has been a very safe haven for socialists. Probably a safer one than the "Independent" based on its circulation figures.