Smokefree Shenanigans (and a “Public Consultation”)

It never ceases to amaze me how ludicrous these anti-smoker folk are. Not simply content with banning smoking (and of course in some cases vaping too) indoors in bars, pubs and all the other fun places that we like to attend, now they’re taking aim at the great outdoors.

It’s not the first time, Swansea held a consultation, which they subsequently ignored. Pembrokeshire council made a beach smokefree (which of course included vaping), Bristol has a “voluntary ban” (complete with oh so cute sign posts) – arguably they were “the first” to do such a bonkers notion.

Of course, once the “first” voluntary ban had been put in place, many others soon followed (yes Sheffield, I’m looking at you) and of course now hospitals are banning both smoking and vaping in the grounds. But there’s always one that has to go just that one step beyond into sheer puritanical insanity isn’t there?

Birmingham Children’s Hospital plans smoke-free zone for nearby roads

Erm what? A smoke free zone to include nearby roads? The very same roads with many automobiles with internal combustion engines? The very same vehicles emitting a cocktail of “noxious” gasses? Well I never.

As you can see, the “exclusion zone” is a substantial area of public highway surrounding the hospital itself. Of course, they are completely ignoring the main trunk road at the top of the picture to focus solely on the areas wherever anyone can enter the hospital grounds.

Isn’t that just completely bonkers?

Fellow blogger Christopher Snowdon did highlight a very valid point:

Birmingham’s pollution hotspots have been revealed as campaigners call for a crackdown on emissions in the city.

Data obtained by Birmingham Friends of the Earth had disclosed the city’s five most polluted areas where the air is most filled with toxic nitrogen dioxide gas.

They are outside the Brasshouse, in Broad Street, outside Birmingham Children’s Hospital, outside O’Neills also in Broad Street, Kings Heath High Street and underneath Spaghetti Junction.

Quite. Well, the hospital has opened a “public consultation” (which they’ll no doubt ignore if the results don’t go their way), where of course they ask some heavily loaded questions – which is of course how these consultations work.

“What are your views on a smoke-free zone outside of Birmingham Children’s Hospital?”

“Should the zone apply to e-Cigarettes?”

They also ask about the proposed boundaries, but offer no option to say “no, don’t fucking do it you puritanical fucktards”, but they do leave a lovely comments box which I highly recommend utilising to make your opinion known (might want to not use “puritanical fucktards” though, #justsaying).

Signage is another question, along with “should members of the public ask people to stop smoking in the zone” – ignoring for a moment the conflation of vaping and smoking, they are encouraging members of the public to harass smokers. Under no circumstances is that even close to being “OK” – we’ve seen how it is in Australia where anti-smoker folk down there are emboldened to bully and harass smokers. No good can come of this I assure you.

Then there was the question about fines. Which, according to spokespeople, “aren’t being considered”. Really. Unfortunately for them, the hospital has no rights to issue a fine on a public highway, and as staff are going to be too busy, it’s unlikely to be them that’ll issue them, oh no it’ll be down to some jobsworth lackey from the Council to “patrol” and hand out bits of meaningless paper. In the name of health of course.

Do go and complete the consultation, let them know what you think of this farce. Make them think twice about doing something incredibly stupid.

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12 thoughts on “Smokefree Shenanigans (and a “Public Consultation”)

    1. It does, and these public space bans are coming thick and fast with many places implementing “voluntary” bans. Which I will of course “voluntarily” ignore.

      1. The objective is not to stop you smoking. It is to make you slightly afraid, slightly ashamed and slightly worried, and then let those feelings build up. It is persecution.

        1. Yep, the “questions” on how “comfortable” you would feel are a) skewed and can be interpreted in many ways and b) worthless anyway as you’ll always have a “super puritan” Joe Schmoe willing to bully a smoker – we’ve seen that already in Oz.

          But like I said, if it does get imposed, I will gleefully ignore the ban, along with any “requests” to stop or move on.

  1. The correct response to anyone asking you to put out your cigarette on a public road is “If I put this out, it will be in your eye.” Encouraging the public to confront a smoker is asking for trouble. Seriously, it is a major over-reach, attempting to ban smoking on public roadways adjacent to the hospital property. At least here, in the U.S., a private institution wouldn’t even try that. They would be instantly called out on it and probably sued.

    1. If I’m understanding the Highways Act correctly, the Hospital has no jurisdiction anyway. Even the Local Authority has limited jurisdiction – though how much is probably buried in some legalese somewhere.

  2. I’ve done a lot of these consultations over the last several years – a total waste of time. Complete the questionnaire if you wish, but my opinion is that we should not join in the narrative at all. These people know very well that what they are suggesting is ridiculous. Why would they be doing it? Might I suggest that it is to reinforce their equally ridiculous ban on smoking in hospital grounds? What is the phrase? The Overton Window? The more that these people are ignored, the better. They just do not give a toss what you think or say. In any case, the whole thing is window dressing with the intention of pressuring the local authority.

    1. Maybe so, but Brighton had a “public consultation” for a smoke-free beach (if I recall correctly) which was pushed down – due to the consultation. It is likely, of course that this consultation is merely a show and it’ll get pushed through regardless of public opinion (how often do we see that?!).

      In my view, and it is purely my opinion here, that if you don’t make your voice heard and it gets pushed through, well it’s the classic – no voice, no say scenario. Just my opinion though 🙂

      1. Paul, I see that, and it is a difficult one I admit. But, the way I see it, that is part of THEIR narrative. Why are they consulting about a regulation which they have absolutely no power to introduce nor, indeed, any authority to even suggest? It’s a trick, intended to draw people into their narrative. I should imagine that 100% of Tories want people to vote Tory. Suppose that, in a poll (for that is all these consultations are), 25% of Tories said that they wanted people NOT TO vote Tory? How would those people be treated by the Tory party? They would be called a lot of names.
        There comes a point where you just have to ignore these people and their polls and consultations. Let them have 100% support. Only when they say, “Every single person was in support” will alarm bells begin to ring.
        I used to be on YouGov’s panel and answered lots of surveys. I took me quite a long time to realise that the purpose of the smoking surveys was to produce a 70% pro-bans majority. From a smokers point of view, it would have been better had they got a 100% majority. In that way, the artificiality of the surveys would have been revealed.

        1. Not disagreeing with you, in fact I welcome your point of view. It does beg the question then, if (as we all suspect) these consultations are skewed to produce the results they want, then what else can the public do? Write to the Hospital? The Council?

          It really is a no-win situation.

  3. This is one of the most biased “consultation’s” I’ve seen.

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