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Smoke Free Homes

Tim Paton
4th April 2009

I was handed a comic, sorry, ‘Registration Form’ from a Manchester hospital this week. You complete the form, and return it to Smoke Free Homes. Once you send it in, you receive ’smokefree items’, which include a Smokefree Home Award, and free entry into a prize draw.

Let me make it absolutely clear that I am not criticising a person’s choice if they wish to make their own home a non smoking area. They may have genuine medical reasons, the home may include non smokers who don’t like the smell of tobacco smoke, maybe they don’t like decorating, or their pet parrot has been watching too much TV and when someone lights up says “Go Smokefree Go Smokefree.” I am going to quote some of their alleged ’facts’, and share my own thoughts with you on the matter.

It begins by saying:

“There is growing evidence that breathing in other peoples’ smoke is a cause of illness.”


That seems a fairly mild beginning, after all, in 2006 it was ‘overwhelming evidence.’ Don’t be fooled, it soon picks up steam and launches into: “It (SHS) can result in heart disease.” Many of you reading this will understand when I call that statement a Glantzism, and I am surprised they didn’t quote the 17% reduction in Scotland. As the King of Siam said, ‘this is a false lie’. It has been clearly shown up as manipulation of figures, but it is still quoted as a fact.

“Cigarette smoke contains 4000 chemicals, including rat poison, rocket fuel and floor cleaner”.


Now hold on, let’s slow down a minute. It used to be 40, then it became 400, now it is 4000 For those unfortunate enough to have been taken in by overstatement, each ‘0’ they add makes it ten times more frightening. For those of us who keep a check on the scare mongering, each ‘0’ is exactly that, absolutely nothing.

At this point I would like to touch on a couple of facts about the supposedly harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke. In 1979, a ‘safer cigarette’, the result of many years of approved scientific research and development, was almost ready to go on the market in the USA. Suddenly, the approval was withdrawn, and the research confiscated and destroyed. That same year, a similar thing happened here in the UK. Many popular cigarette brands were actually available in the shops containing a safer Government approved new smoking material, NSM. These mysteriously disappeared as quickly as they had appeared. The Scottish factory producing NSM closed, which meant 600 unemployed - or was it 6000 - no, I will not do what they do and add a 0 to make it seem worse than it really is!

Before I go back to the ‘Smoke Free Homes Registration Form,’ one more thought about the alleged toxins in tobacco smoke.

The American Indians grew tobacco and placed great importance on it. We have all heard of the ‘peace pipe’. Here is another way they used smoking - if the tribe had to make an important decision, the chief and elders gathered in a wigwam, sealed it up, and began to smoke, passing the pipe around. As the air became thick with tobacco smoke it had an effect on them, which they believed helped them to decide on their course of action. Imagine what would have happened if a brave had arrived with an important message - “White man say it should be smokefree wigwam.” Yes, you’ve guessed it, the chief would have replied “white man speak with forked tongue.” The American Indian may have had a bad deal historically, but at least the reservations are exempt from smoking bans and they can grow their own tobacco.

Let me get back to the comic, sorry, ‘Registration Form’.

Here are a couple of the alleged benefits of a smoke free home.

“Children will be less likely to be absent from school, to have behavioral problems or learning difficulties.”


Yes, you did read it correctly, that is what it says. Now you know why I keep referring to this as a comic.

Here is another one.
“Family pets are likely to be healthier and live longer”.


Come on, this is getting ridiculous now. You remember the dog who said ‘sausages’, how long before we get one that says ‘smokefree’.

They finish off with a list of four ‘facts’.

“The main source of second hand smoke is smoking in the home”.


I am not surprised, we can’t smoke anywhere else now, not even in a pub, club, café or restaurant.

“If you smoke around your children, they can inhale the equivalent of 150 cigarettes a year”.


That is 0.4 a day! Let me repeat, 0.4. I wonder how many fumes from school buses and 4 x 4s’ they inhale each year?

“50 children are admitted to UK hospitals every day because of tobacco smoke in the home”.


Yet another one of their unprovable statistics. Totally without any evidence, and easy to do. A child is admitted to hospital with a chest infection. Does anyone smoke in their home? Yes. Then that is the reason put forward. Hold on, wait a minute, slow down. More are admitted from a non smoking home, so what was the cause of their ailment?

And the last one:

“Smoking is one of the main causes of fires in the home”


One of the main causes? I wonder what the other ones are? Cooking must be pretty high up on the list, so stop cooking, no, let’s go the whole hog and cut off the electricity and gas supply to the home. We might bump into things and get a bit smelly, but we’ll have an excellent ‘carbon footprint.’

You will notice that I have ‘taken the proverbial’ out of this piece of literature, unfortunately, it’s not a joke, it’s a warning.

Remember the voluntary segregation on planes, buses, trains, cinemas, shopping malls and so on? They had all become totally non smoking long before the smoking ban. Remember the separate areas in pubs and clubs, cafes and restaurants? Many of the eating places had become totally non smoking before the smoking ban, pubs and clubs were forced to when the legislation was passed.

I repeat, this is a warning. Voluntary registration of smoke free homes? How long before they try to make it compulsory?








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