With the Scottish Government firmly committed to steadily increasing restriction on smoking, it seems rather strange to see a news item about pub bosses holding talks on relaxing the smoking ban, as the licensed trade in Scotland takes advice on ways to relax the ban in a bid to stem the number of pub closures.
The talks seem to be rather pointless - described as taking the advice of licensees from the Netherlands, Croatia and Hungary (which are said to have a more relaxed system) at a meeting in Edinburgh - as the ban is a matter of legislation. Unless they are looking at methods of evasion, or of having talks with the legislators, then they are not going to achieve anything.
There is also the matter of their claim that some 800 pubs have close since the smoking ban came into effect - apart from sound of licensees whining, there is no evidence to place all 800 at the door of the ban, and every reason to point at something called a recession, job losses, and reduced income.
Far from any thought of relaxing the ban, the Scottish Government has increased the range of the ban, and it now includes cigarette vending machines (as sales are unsupervised so children can use them), and certain classes of outdoor area - parks in Glasgow come to mind - and in a wider context, governments around the World are considering more wide-ranging bans which would cover yet more outdoor areas.
It's another one of those stories I hope the media follows up on, as it will be interesting to see if the licensed trade comes up with anything.
After all, it can't really go for mass disobedience, as they presumably don't want to jeopardise their licences at next renewal - and add more to their claimed total of 800 smokeless closures.
I knew I had tripped over something that recently mentioned increases in smoking restrictions, and makes these pub talks look futile and wasteful:
Perhaps they could allow lines of booths, similar to telephone kiosks, with extractor fan and filters. These could be coin operated and allow one person to stand inside whilst they had their smoke, the door would be interlocked so it would not open whilst there was still any smoke inside.
I can't remember which airport I saw them at, but there's such a thing as a smoker's chair. It's got an industrial air scrubber under the seat, so you can puff away in your own cloud of smoke, which then gets sucked underneath and cleaned away...
I am not convinced that the smoking ban is the cause of the pub closures. Rather it is the price of alcohol, unemployment ( although that has never seemed to stop people drinking or smoking), recession and a general lack of 'leisiure' funds. I don't think that any relaxation of the anti-smoking bill would save even one pub from closure. I'm sure there have been by-laws in some German cities where smoking in ALL public places..in and out od doors is banned.
I agree. Since a large majority are non smokers, there should be as many new customers attracted as old ones lost. But, as you say, there are other factors. I don't think abolishing the smoking ban would restore the good old days for them. And anyway, pub closures were already starting long before the ban.
Fortunately, not a Scottish story, but about some smokers in a place called Stony Stratford, in Buckinghamshire.
This could be the first place in the UK to effect a complete ban on smoking in public places - something which I understand already has existed for some time in some places abroad, so is not something to dismiss as a crazy idea thought up in the UK.
I don't usually approve of gross generalisation, but this lot look as if they are a bunch of dirty, smelly, arrogant , ignorant smokers who would happily exercise their 'right' to demonstrate their drug addiction in public by blowing their smoke in your face, and show little concern for anyone else's right not to breath in their fumes.
More serious and worrying perhaps is a political party that presumably wants to be taken seriously, but has leader who has stated he would flout such a ban if it were to be made law (or bylaw to be a touch more accurate): UKIP leader Nigel Farage has promised if there is a ban he would be the first to light up in the streets and face a fine.
There has been a few stories in the media recently regarding related laws which some are pursuing, but I don't really want to get stuck on this subject - which I suspect we could - but it is maybe worth mentioning the more notable items occasionally, or those that have actually reached the stage of becoming laws or bylaws.
A relaxation of the ban would possibly mean some customers will return, though I suspect very few, but a lot more customers who like the smoke free atmosphere will leave. The best thing Jack McConnell ever done was to champion the ban. Now how does one manage to get into a pub without wearing a gas mask because of smoke filled doorways and the annoyance of smoke filtering into pubs depending on how the wind blows?
It's even worse in bad weather when the smokers are huddled round the door, half in and half out, and are very reluctant to move aside to let anyone in or out. What I find even worse is a bus stop I have to use frequently in Glasgow. When it's raining it's hijacked as a smoking shelter by the staff of the large multi national corporation who have office premises beside it, so public transport users have to stand in the rain while these people hod the shelter with their cigarettes and cardboard coffee cups from the vending machine.
I 'enjoyed' a cigarette on my way back from the shops recently. A chap few yards ahead of me decided to light up, and for some reason decided I was not going to pass him, so although I tried speeding up and slowing down my walking pace, he stayed the same few steps ahead of me, and I had gulp down all his 'second-hand smoke'.
And it's not the first time.
I wonder if some blokes (neds? ) do this deliberately?
Noting the last comment, and taking it literally, I've noticed how pervasive outdoor smoke can be while wobbling to and from from the shops.
Even though this strange practice (walking - if you don't know what it is, Wikipedia probably has an articles ) takes place along a busy main road, I find it surprising how wide the effect of a smoker can be, especially on a calm day.
I often have to cross the road an walk on the other side to get away from their fumes, which can easy linger and create a stinking plume that can easily extend to 10 metres and more behind them.
I would not claim to have a particularly great sense of smell, but I have occasionally been amazed to cross the road, and then when passing them (on the other side of the road) been amazed to see that they are not actually smoking sometimes, and are merely saturated with the stench, after presumably having been indoors for hours and locked in a room with their own little 'pollution heaven'
I really just wanted to add this little story that nobody seems to have noticed much - well, it was only one shop:
I don't think that makes this story 'poorly researched'.
This is about the removal of tobacco from the shelves in light of current legislation.
I think Lidl would not have stopped selling cigarettes (was it only cigarettes they sold? ) in response to legislation, but because their sales were low.
Looking at their alcohol shelves today, they have very few recognisable brand names, and smokers love their brands.
Well known brands are what we see in the airport and border smuggling programmes on TV featuring customs. I've never seen any weird European stuff hidden in those cases - the neighbours would not buy them.
Lidl probably could not sell the odd foreign or own brands they stocked - even if they did try and kid the customers by using artwork and packaging cloned from the famous brands
I've only started using Lidl regularly in recent years - a few years ago I did not go in because the shops were always largely empty.
Even today, a busy Lidl - and I have two to chose from - only has about a dozen cars in the car park, and we have a big and fairly empty store to ourselves.
One cashier can deal with all the customers, and is usually out on the floor arranging shelves until a couple arrive at the checkout. And this is in Glasgow.
I suspect that Lidl just found that they did not make enought profit on cigarette sales.
They work on the basis of a limited number of items (compared with the big supermarkets) sold at competitive prices and often only have one checkout manned so having to get cigarettes from below the counter, or elsewhere, would slow them down.
I suspect that Lidl just found that they did not make enough profit on cigarette sales.
They work on the basis of a limited number of items (compared with the big supermarkets) sold at competitive prices and often only have one checkout manned so having to get cigarettes from below the counter, or elsewhere, would slow them down.
I think you have hit the nail on the head, the Lidl business model is akin to that of the low cost airlines.Limited choice but good value, although without some of the trickiness sometimes associated with Ryanair Cigarettes aren't making enough to justify their inclusion in the product range, so they have to go.
I have long felt that the next major event in tobacco retailing would be one of the major supermarkets stopping selling it. Maybe this is the first sign of it happening. It is not only legislation that is adding to the burden but security issues are playing an increasing part. Cigarettes are now a high risk\value item requiring special measures. They are light, portable and easily "fenced", much more attractive than booze which is relatively heavy and can't be just chucked in the back of a van. It will be interesting to see if this selective withdrawal continues and becomes the prelude to a Sainsbury leaving the tobacco market altogether.
A while ago, a newsagent mentioned that he was only making 5% or 20p on a pack of 20 , and about 8-9% on hand rolling tobacco.
This was just before the current round of restriction was about to confirmed.
Items such as this are not sold to make their own profit in the shop, but to bring in footfalls and generate other sales. If they end up costing sales (like in Lidl) then they are booted out.
Better to sell them in schools...
Back in 2000, the school cigarette trade was reported to have become part of a booming playground black economy, and a mother revealed how she had found £30 on her son, and he admitted he had made it selling cigarettes at 25p each. (Birmingham.)
It could be interesting if other supermarkets followed their example - they would spin it as for health reasons but actually because not profitable enough. It could mean that small shops would sell more but they would then have even more security problems with less secure premises and there might be more black market cigarettes being sold.
It could mean that small shops would sell more but they would then have even more security problems with less secure premises and there might be more black market cigarettes being sold.
An increasing number of small shopkeepers no longer leave cigarettes on the premises but take them home with them at night as the insurance premiums having been rising inexorably if tobacco is left on the premises to attract thieves. The consequence of this is that they tend to purchase stock in smaller quantities and this can further cut their margins. I suspect that the growth in the size of the black market in cigarettes must now put its economic impact up there along with illegal drugs and just a difficult to deal with.
Cracking new artwork coming to a cigarette packet near you:
After rejecting the tobacco companies’ appeal, the High Court of Australia has declared the country’s new obligatory cigarette packaging law constitutional. Look at them above - starting on December 1, the packages’ iconic brand design will be fully replaced by the real horrors of smoking.
And rest assured, the Australian aspect is not really relevant in the wide world, this is coming sooner or later - everywhere.
The lawsuit against the Australian government was presented by the usual suspects: British American Tobacco - the makers of Lukcy Strike -Japan Tobacco International, Imperial Tobacco and, of course, Philip Morris, the manufacturers of Marlboro.
The new law dictates a generic packaging for all brands, using a combination of olive, yellow and black, with big text warnings and a full colour picture graphically displaying the effects of smoking.
All brand design will be reduced to fine print, a mere identifier with the name, variant and number of cigarettes in the pack. The iconographic designs will become history, such as Marlboro, Lucky Strike or Camel - which still survive in the rest of the world, surrounded by giant “SMOKING KILLS” or “SMOKING PRODUCES IMPOTENCE” warnings, as well as smaller graphically strong images.
The companies are protesting the decision, but they can’t do anything about it.
But what was their whining argument against this law based on?
The reduction in the seductive appeal of their product?
Their argument is that this will help criminals (?!?). In the words of Sonia Stewart, from Imperial Tobacco, “the legislation will make the counterfeiters’ job both cheaper and easier by mandating exactly how a pack must look.”
Do they think it is in any way hard for a counterfeit ring to replicate a pack of Marlboro today - a kid armed with a computer and a decent colour printer could do just as well on a small scale.
Might be difficult for a kid to print the packets but it does mean they only have to print one packet style and can easily add the brand and variant rather than print different version for each brand they are faking.
But if it is possible to print this then who knows!
Those clever things don't matter to smokers picking up a 'bargain'.
As we have seen from the customs and similar programmes on the TV now, the people smuggling counterfeit smokes already have customers, and the customers are not sitting with microscopes to look at the print, colour analysers to look ink, or ripples on the package.
Their only question is 'How much pal?'
The anti-forgery devices only matter to police and customs, when they seek to seize such items as counterfeit.
And as we also see from those TV programmes, the number of times that happens is pitifully small.
Bear in mind we only see a sample of the cases they stop, and they only stop a tiny number of people or lorries passing through ports.
I also don't understand "The above plans do not appear to leave any scope for these kind of changes and therefore appear to be aiding the counterfeiters."
When the cigarette manufacturers print and cut the new unbranded - which they do, not the government - why would they not incorporate those same ant-counterfeiting devices?
The legislation only removes the attractive branding, and replaces with attractive images of the sexy results of smoking.
Does the legislation outlaw the continued use of the existing anti forgery devices?
If not, what prevent the cigarette companies from playing with ink, adding ripples, or anything else?
Even if the colours in the legislation were rigidly prescribed and constrained, invisible markers could be added to the ink.
Customs would like that - imagine being able to check for counterfeits using UV or IR
And the cig cos couln't complain about the cost, since it would only replace the tricks they were using before
Methinks the cigarette companies are merely continuing their old myth "Smoking is good for you" or "There is no reason to believe smoking causes cancer" with new words slotted in in the hope that if they say it often enough, enough people will believe it.
I'm sorry, but I'm still at the "What's your point caller?" stage.
Counterfeiters are not making packaging that contains the anti-counterfeiting measure, so all their production is going to carry on as it was before, only with new artwork.
These measures have NO EFFECT on the counterfeiters at the production level - the same rubbish and sweepings from the floor will still be produced and sold by them.
And risking repeating myself - Joe and Josephine Public buy the stuff without feeling the packet or analysing the colour of the print. They only want to know that it is cheaper than what they buy in the shop.
I do repeat that the anti-counterfeiting measures only apply to SEIZED goods, enabling police and customs to prove that the stuff is counterfeit without the hassle of opening the packets and having the contents analysed.
And no more or no less goods will be found and seized by police and customs because the branding on the pack has been replaced with nice pictures. That's the result of stops and sniffs
The tobacco company's are/were merely throwing up a smokescreen to try and preserve their valuable branding and brand loyalty which has now been wiped out.
It's the same as MacDonald's whining about not being able to advertise freely on kid's TV and have all their crud shown with cartoons and toys.
And it's the same as forged money.
We pass the stuff daily, despite the anti-forgery methods, because we can't see the difference - forgers are able to make stuff that needs equipment to detect it, and we don't carry it. Again, only police and customs in most cases.
There was a news feature about the launch of the new £50 note, where most traders were refusing them as they said they couldn't check, and couldn't afford the loss.
So 'we' bear the effect, while the counterfeiter who passed the note in the first place waltzes off with their profit. The measure didn't make it harder for them, they're still in business, but we are left holding a note worth paper - or a real one nobody wants.
Try the east of Glasgow for smoking kids.
I now cross the road to avoid any shops with a bunch near the door.
If it's not alcohol they ask you to "Jump in for us mister", then it's cigarettes now, as most shopkeepers are refusing to serve them.
And I'm getting worried that the dirty look I get when I say "Sorry pal, no." is going to turn into a knife between the ribs one day.
There is supposed to be a total of 1,000 packets of a certain well-known brand in this sort-of model of a jet aircraft, placed in Koltsovo airport as a promotional gimmick,
You have to wonder at the logic behind this, because even in Russia (Yekaterinburg) the packaging has to carry the large message 'SMOKING KILLS'.
However, it might be that the genius who came up with this one is trying to take nervous passengers' minds of their fear of flying on rickety old Russian aircraft that are badly maintained and likely to fall out of the sky (on internal flights at least.)
And they might have been trying to beat the next phase of the campaign to put people off smoking, as the packaging is further modified to show graphic pictures of the various diseases and cancers caused by smoking.
Here's an interesting little story - and which happily vindicates an expression I used recently in another thread.
In that case, I got my card marked for making the simple observation that "If there's no law against something, then you can do it" - which was met with a description of being 'disingenuous'.
I had to go look that one up, and was so shocked at the result given the simplicity of the little phrase... I just couldn't come up with a reasonable response.
While he may not have used the exact phrase, I'm pleased to say that someone a little more learned in things legal than I have been, has both said the same thing, and stood by it with his actions...
None less that Donald Findlay QC:
An email was sent out to the Faculty of Advocates saying smokers should use a smoking shelter at Parliament House in Edinburgh where the Court of Session is instead of standing under the colonnades or in the car park.
But Donald Findlay QC says he will continue to light up his pipe where he wants as long he is not breaking the law.
Mr Findlay told the Herald: “I am resigned to being a member of the underclass of Scotland – the smokers who make up a quarter of the population. I won’t smoke in the colonnades just to make a point. But until somebody shows me a law which I am breaking, I will adopt my usually policy on these things and do what I like within the law.
“I will light up my pipe, if I want to have a smoke, unless somebody can point to the rule of law which says I am not allowed to do so. In which case I will, of course, comply with it. People have to have a legal basis for telling me I am not allowed to do something.
“By what lawful authority have they issued this edict? What is the punishment for failing to comply with this edict? How is it to be enforced, that 24 hours a day, seven days a week the car park and the colonnades are used by members of the public, people coming to the courts and tourists?”
Their arguments beggar belief, and one can only assume that they probe that their products also cause brain damage, if they mean them to be taken seriously:
A spokesman for Imperial Tobacco said: "We cannot comment on an ongoing legal process but our position on the issue of display bans remains clear.
"There is no credible evidence that display bans have reduced tobacco consumption or youth smoking in the few countries where they've been introduced.
"They go against the principle of adult choice, they are anti-competitive and they place an unnecessary cost burden on retailers - £16m was spent by large retailers in England refitting stores, according to the British Retail Consortium.
"Furthermore, display bans will not result in substantial volume declines but they lead to longer in-store transaction times and shopper frustration whilst anti-illicit trade activities are undermined as display bans blur the definition between legal product and counterfeit tobacco illegally traded in pubs, car boot sales, street corners, etc."
I think I asked, or made this observation before...
If Imperial Tobacco contends that there is no credible evidence that display bans have reduced tobacco consumption or youth smoking in the few countries where they've been introduced - then why are they so keen to repeatedly fight the Scottish Government's ban, if it is not going to affect them?
Their apparent desperation doesn't do much to add credibility to their claim.
Nor does they additional claim of "hey go against the principle of adult choice, they are anti-competitive and they place an unnecessary cost burden on retailers."
Adults still have the choice to buy cigarettes and poison themselves voluntarily and without restriction.
Since the ban is against ALL advertising, it can hardly be called 'anti-competitive'.
And as far as a cost burden on retailers (or consumers for that matter) goes, how can NOT producing advertising material be an unnecessary cost burden? Are they planning to charge for NOT providing promotional material they no longer have any need to produce?
They're nuts... and seem to think the rest of us are stupid.
US surgeon Alton Ochsner recalled that when he was a medical student in 1919 his class was summoned to observe an autopsy of a lung cancer victim. At that time, the disease was so rare it was thought unlikely the students would ever get another chance.
But by the year 2000, it was estimated that 1.1 million people were dying annually from the disease, with about 85% of those cases stemming from a single cause - tobacco.
"The cigarette is the deadliest artefact in the history of human civilisation," says Robert Proctor of Stanford University. "It killed about 100 million people in the 20th Century."
Jordan Goodman, the author of Tobacco in History, says that as a historian he is careful about pointing the finger at individuals, "but in the history of tobacco I feel much more confident saying that James Buchanan Duke - otherwise known as Buck Duke - was responsible for the 20th Century phenomenon known as the cigarette."
Not only did Duke help create the modern cigarette, he also pioneered the marketing and distribution systems that have led to its success on every continent.
In 1880, at the age of 24, Duke entered what was then a niche within the tobacco business - ready-rolled cigarettes. A small team in Durham, North Carolina, hand-rolled the Duke of Durham cigarettes, twisting the ends to seal them.
Two years later Duke saw an opportunity. He began working with a young mechanic called James Bonsack, who said he could mechanise cigarette manufacturing. Duke was convinced that people would want to smoke these neatly-rolled, perfectly symmetrical machine-made cigarettes.
Bonsack's machine revolutionised the cigarette industry.