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Frank Davis

Banging on about the Smoking Ban

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Had Enough?
Interesting letter to an MP published over on DP yesterday. A solicitor writing to say how he and his lady wife had thrown in their jobs because it simply wasn't worth the candle any more. That was the first half of the letter. The second half was a long rant about the breakdown of society over the past 20 years, taxes, illiterate kids, political correctness, the nanny state, global warming, biased BBC, corrupt politicians, the EU. The smoking ban got a mention, I was glad to see.

"We are all looking at Egypt and wondering when that day will come here. I confidently predict that it will come within my son’s lifetime if things don’t change."

I suppose I've been wondering the same thing. Somebody in the comments pointed out that it had been a bloodless revolution in Egypt, and that was how it should be done. It seems to be the fashion, ever since the Czech 'velvet revolution' 20 or so years ago, to have bloodless revolutions. No more tumbrils carrying aristos to their appointments with Madame Guillotine. Revolutions aren't what they used to be.

Maybe the same thing, or something very like it, will happen here. But I don't see it happening any time soon. I think that what's more likely is that, buried under an ever-growing burden of taxes and rules and regulations, the real economy will simply be unable to support it all any more. Just like a horse can't be laden with more than a certain load without buckling under the weight. The real economy now supports a vast wedding-cake superstructure of government, employing millions of bureaucrats and pen-pushers and finger-waggers whose sole job in life is to invent and enforce thousands of unnecessary and hobbling rules and regulations. There's been a veritable torrent of new laws over the past decade, the principal effect of which has been to make life worse for everybody.

And it's becoming insupportable. The horse's knees are ready to buckle. And when they finally do fail, the tax revenues will dry up, and there'll be nothing with which to pay the army of bureaucrats and meddlers. And they'll be laid off. And with that the din of propaganda about smoking and drinking and global warming will end. The finger-pointers and do-gooders and busybodies will join the ranks of the unemployed (and most likely the ranks of the unemployable).

Trouble is, the good solicitor probably wouldn't like this new army of unemployed people "leeching off the rest of us" any more than he liked them in their previous incarnation as taxpayer-funded government busybodies. But which is better? Paying them to do nothing, or paying them a lot more to invent and enforce thousands of interfering rules and regulations? The unemployed, bless 'em, don't do anyone any harm. But government busybodies actively make life hell for everybody.

There's a good case to be made that all our current problems are the consequence of hyper-regulation. We're getting buried under laws. The smoking ban is, after all, the perfect example of a piece of unnecessary and destructive legislation.

And what does everybody hate about the EU? All the petty little rules and regulations they make, of course. They've even got their own special even-more-draconian smoking ban under preparation, which will feature show trials of prominent law-breakers.

And what about global warming? The real threat there is not that the planet will get warmer, but that there will be yet more taxes, and yet more regulations. None of which will do any good at all, of course.

These days, if you want money, the best way seems to be to discover some hitherto-unnoticed (and actually non-existent) threat - secondhand smoke, global warming, avian flu, etc, etc - and scream loudly enough about it to get government funding to set up your own dedicated bureaucracy to regulate it, all at the taxpayer's expense of course.

We're paying more and more taxes to be restricted and regulated by more and more petty bureaucrats. The simplest thing to do would be to fire the lot of them, and render them all unemployed. It will cost a lot less to keep them unemployed than it is to employ them full time to meddle full time in everyone else's lives. The blessing would be twofold. Firstly it would save taxpayers' money. And secondly it would reduce the hyper-regulation that's stifling the economy and making everybody miserable.

Fire them all, and all the problems would go away. Pubs would allow smoking once again, and our fragmented society would begin to repair itself. Global warming would be forgotten. Business and industry, freed from hobbling legislation, would flourish. The nanny state would disintegrate. And, relieved of the stress of an over-regulated life, people might even smoke less and drink less.

It's unlikely that any of the current political class will show any initiative in this respect. Politicians are, after all, the first to dip their snouts into the trough of public money. They are the very personifications of interfering busybodies.

The important first step is to start recognising mass unemployment as better than the mass employment of an army of interfering busybodies. We should stop thinking of employment as being somehow nobler or morally superior to unemployment.

Ask yourself. Which would you prefer? To pay ASH's Deborah Arnott £100,000 a year to be Britain's anti-smoking harridan-in-chief? Or to pay her £10,000 a year to just stay home and shut the fuck up? Because that's the real choice. It's one or the other (although I know a lot of people would simply like to strangle her). You can't complain about Deborah Arnott doing her job out of one side of your mouth, and then start calling her a feckless leech out of the other side the moment she joins the ranks of the unemployed.

Me, I'd prefer her to be idle, doing nothing. I wouldn't mind a bit if she didn't get out of bed until 2 pm every day. I'd even volunteer to bring her a mug of vallium at 2 pm every day to make her sleep right through.

But there's a near-universal conviction that everyone should have a 'proper' 9-to-5 job Doing Something, even if what they do causes misery and suffering for millions of other people. And, because we still think that everyone should have a proper job, pretty much the only way we can create the required employment is by using taxes to pay the wages an ever-expanding army of bureaucratic government busybodies. It is our refusal to tolerate idleness that is the fundamental reason why we are cursed with all these rules and regulations. Because making and enforcing interfering regulations is what governments do. That is the entire mission of our elected representatives in parliament: to make laws. There isn't anything else for them to do than dream up new laws which will require new armies of bureaucrats to draft and modify and adapt and enforce. And it's slowly killing us.

But if were to encourage mass unemployment, not only would we save the money paid to all those interfering government employees, and spare ourselves from their dictatorial legislation, but we would also save a great deal of energy transporting them to and from work every day, and heating their offices, and providing them with desks and computers. At a stroke, we would reduce our carbon footprint by 50% or more. How more Green can you get?

Not convinced? Still think everyone should have a job? Never mind. The dreadful Arnott will grin and snigger and start dreaming up new ways of making life even more miserable for you than it is already. After all, it's what you're paying her to do.

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Faster than you think

Frank, you may find change like this will come sooner than you think

As you know the top rate of tax is now 50%. A awful lot of people - myself and my partner included - are not happy about that and refuse to pay it

We paid ourselves massive bonuses last year, and basically took all our money out of our businesses, whilst the tax was still at 40%

Of course we paid tax on those earners - LAST year, and we paid our extra taxes due on our tax return in January

The point is an awful lot of people did exactly the same. A lot of bankers and high rollers paid themselves two years salary last year

You may recall Alistair Darling saying the Revenue had an "unexpected" higher input of tax - that was everyone paying themselves their bonuses, and the next years salary

The point of all this is, last year they got a lot of tax. This January they got a lot of tax. But this coming year, and next January they will get sweet FA. That is when the shit will seriously hit the fax. And fucking good!


The 9-5 thing is taught to us at school
It takes great skill and ingenuity to live a life on little money
Its almost honourable
There are plenty of worthwhile things to fill your days than wasting them working to pay taxes and aquire posessions
The Internet is one example.
Doing nothing at all
All these activities will flourish with more people not being distracted by having to waste their days away 'working'

Doing Something

"But there's a near-universal conviction that everyone should have a 'proper' 9-to-5 job Doing Something."

Being productive and producing things that might make people's lives easier and more comfortable.

Police protect(they should anyway), healthcare people cure,and bur-crats are leeches that take our money and do nothing useful!

Gary K.

A very interesting thought of the day, Frank, and Thank You for it. You see, my profession is set to face an insultingly hefty pay cut whilst being expected to deal with an ever increasing work load guided by even more rules and regulations. In order to do my job fast and effectively I bend more rules and regulations than I abide. This will stop. Reason: For as long as my employer pretends to pay me I pretend to do my job.

Yes, they are very much the thoughts of the day. I have a new one every morning.


21 years and 11 months ago at the age of 47 1/2 I was rushed into open heart surgery when I coded during angioplasty. Durng my recovery I was given a grave warning that if I did not quit smoking my life would be in serious jeopardy.I never did quit smoking and here I am today still smoking a little over a pack of cigarettes a day.

I'm nobodys dummy. I graduated Phi Beta Kappa and have a Master's Degree. The one thing I learned well was to reason which has helped me to succeed well in all my professional endeavors.If this heart incident had occured in 1960, my smoking would have been of far less interest to the medical witch doctors. They would have divided the blame between the genetic fact that my fathers side of the family was riddled with a history of "heart attacks" and that I was working a management job that was so filled with stress that it would have killed a healthy camel.

I haven't had the "heart" to tell my Doctors that I never quit. They are very happy with my present condition.If I told them they would simply harrass me to "death" or refuse to treat me me and write me the prescriptions I need. Those who don't know that I still smoke never complain that I stink or that my house smells of second hand smoke. The world is simply better off not knowing that I am a smoker.

What I did do was get out of that stressful job, found one much more suitable to me and one that paid much, much better. I'm now retired and in the last 21 years have watched as several never smokers and smokers who had quit died an early death from cancer and heart problems.

Smoking has always helped me relax and I very much enjoy it. Most of the people I know are like lemmings, unthinkingly following the piper's tune, too scared or too stupid to use any logic. I tell a few of them that 50 years from now, when I'm dead and gone, the Headlines will be read that science has found that smoking has nothing to do with nothing. I wish I could be here when that day arrives.

Well said Anon. The more that we read from people like yourself, the more obvious it becomes that the new tyranny is upon us - disguised as Public Health.

completely agreed with all that.

Most of these so called 'non-jobs' are in fact 'negative-jobs', i.e. they make things worse. Sack 'em all.

Just one thing - the UK government spends more on 'private sector procurement' that it does on public sector employees. How much of that money do you think is wasted, i.e. stolen?

Interesting -

Nicotinic Acid

"Nearly all cardiac infarctions and around half of all strokes are caused by atherosclerosis.

An early treatment of atherosclerosis is therefore crucial to preventing cardiovascular diseases. Stefan Offermanns’ team of scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research has now demonstrated that the anti-atherosclerosis drug nicotinic acid halts the inflammation of blood vessels.

Previously it had been assumed that nicotinic acid mostly alleviates atherosclerosis by reducing the concentration of LDL cholesterol and by boosting HDL cholesterol in the blood plasma."

"Atherosclerosis is a chronically progressive alteration of the arteries that can develop over years and decades, in which cholesterol accumulates in the arteries and inflammation occurs. New research has shown that it is mainly the chronic inflammation of the vascular wall that promotes atherosclerosis and may lead to acute illnesses such as a cardiac infarction."

"Further studies showed that the nicotinic acid receptor is present in different immune cells. For example, the receptor was found in macrophages in atherosclerotic blood vessels. When the scientists intentionally blocked the receptor in the cells of the immune system, the effect of the nicotinic acid disappeared. This suggests that the receptor expressed by immune cells transmits the anti-atherosclerotic effect."

Useful knowledge, though the original headline is a bit misleading.


"pellagra-preventing vitamin in enriched bread," 1942, coined from ni(cotinic) ac(id) + -in, chemical suffix; suggested by the merican Medical Association as a more commercially viable name than nicotinic acid.
"The new name was found to be necessary because some anti-tobacco groups warned against enriched bread because it would foster the cigarette habit." ["Cooperative Consumer," Feb. 28, 1942]

Nicotinic Acid Content of Old Gold smoke. - 1941

The Absorption of Niacin in the Smoking of Cigarettes 1944


"Parmele informed Mr Riefner that work on nicotinic acid could be confirmed free of charge by Dr Elvehjem at the University of Wisconsin.

Dr Elvehjem analyzed samples prepared by Parmele by the microbiological assay method of Snell and Wright. The mirobiological method was more specific than the chemical method employed by Parmele.
Lower levels of nicotinic acid were found, but Parmele's essential findings were confirmed"

Nicotinic Acid
Utilization of Tobacco Waste


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