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Frank Davis

Banging on about the Smoking Ban

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An Appeal To Readers
Last night I posted up a piece which was, in part, about the social isolation and disintegration that I thought the smoking ban was causing. This evening, among the responses, there was the following anonymous message:

I am getting too old to stand outside pubs or restaurants. Plus I was taught that it was only 'ladies of the night' that stood in the street smoking.

I have been 3 years away from any social contact other than the odd hello with neighbours.

Being a widow with no family it was always going to be hard to get back into some semblance of normality with regard to socialising, but I didn't think that it would be this bad.

I used to meet up in a cafeteria with some lady friends, but now that has stopped as a few of the ladies were smokers and didn't want to stand in the street to have a cigarette.

I went to a quiz night at the local pub as there were quite a few elderly 'singles' there. That has stopped. I also playe bingo once a week and that too has stopped as there is no pleasure in having a drink there with no cigarette.

I am now on anti depressants and wish that I had the courage to kill myself and join my dear husband.

Thank you politicians for making my life not worth living after working from age 14 until 68. I am now 74 and have lost my soul and will to live in this lonely place.

Nothing needs to be added. Here in a nutshell is the social devastation caused by the smoking ban. It falls most heavily, of course, on the elderly.

I think these stories must be told. There must be thousands upon thousands - millions even - of people all over the country, and all over the world, in much the same situation. People who had their social lives destroyed. People who have become profoundly isolated and depressed as a consequence of smoking bans.

Our politically correct news media will never report any of it. They won't report it because for them smokers are non-persons, people who don't count. So it's only going to be on blogs like mine that such people are going to find a voice.

So I'd like to appeal to my readers, particularly the elderly (65-70+) and vulnerable ones like my anonymous commenter, to write to me to describe their personal experiences of the smoking ban. I'm interested in younger readers' experiences as well, of course.

And I'd like to ask readers if they know any elderly and vulnerable people who may have become isolated. Phone them up! Pop round and see them! Ask them how life has been for them. Get them to tell their story.

I'm sure there are thousands and thousands of horror stories out there, that need telling, and which antismokers would prefer never get told at all. When the stories start being told - and they will be told -, they might begin to feel ashamed of what they've done.

I've set up a googlemail account: cfrankdavis@googlemail.com

And I've also put up a (rather crude) box in the right margin, which will stay there.

Emails are welcome from all over the world, but since this a UK blog, non-UK writers should give some indication where they are, and what sort of ban is in force where they live.

Any suggestions are welcome.

P.S. Many thanks to Witterings from Witney, Muffled Vociferation , Flying War Pigs, Grumpy Old Twat, and everyone else who has linked to, or reproduced, this appeal.

I have just posted this blog on twitter. I have some Labourite contacts on there, but I rarely mention the smoking ban because it just gets that pre programmed drivel which makes you squirm. This is the kind of thing they need to see. Feck the health arguments. Feck the brainwashed ignorance. Just cold, hard facts. And they say we are selfish. Bastards

Thanks for that. I don't have a twitter thing.


Whilst everywhere else

The ban is completly ignored.

All business premisies, excepting government buildings, are private. What buisness is it of the state at all to determine how private individuals go about their business and what behavior they allow within their walls.

I work in an NHS hospital. Every day I see patients in wheelchairs with drips and catheters forced to expose themselves to public view, even in the past freezing winter that we have had. Just to have a cigarette. I feel embarrased to walk past them in my uniform, as though I was part of this hideousness. Recently, a lady, obviously very sick, had been left outside by a porter. She asked me to take her back to her ward, but not knowing what that was, we had to wait in reception a long time for a porter to take her back. She was distressed and so ill, we held hands until the porter came. I wonder often since, was that her last cigarette? This is cruel, inhumane, what have we become?

What have we become?


Ian B (Anonymous) Expand

Recently, as a hospital in-patient, the single room I had looked out to an open courtyard. One nurse said that she could open the door to let me have a ciggie, another said they weren't allowed to do that. Jumped-up little Hitlers come in all sorts of uniforms. On the morning of my discharge, I decided to go outside via the main doors only to find the door to the unit locked. A patient is, in effect, a prisoner while in hospital.

The old and forgotten

Well pointed out Frank

About time someone had a roll call of the millions reduced to the level of lepers and whores.

Later on today I will comment on the sadness,sorrow ,isolation and despair thrust on the poor , the old, the widowed,the disabled,
the vulnerable in my forsaken town.

The Free Corps

Meanwhile in cold (hearted) Canada

At least 3 senior citizens that we heard of have died of hypothermia kicked out in the Canadian elements to smoke. One worker was crushed and killed when the roof of the temporary shelter employees had built for themselves collapsed under the weight of the snow. A distant relative of mine in his 80's, slipped on the icy stairs of his old age home and died of cerebral trauma. Many are injured the same way. And how many such horror stories have we not heard of because the media don't report them?

Our indoor ban is identical to yours but they're into outdoor bans now as well and mental institutions and hospitals are setting a new trend of sending their ill to the curb to smoke as they are forbidding smoking EVERYWHERE on hospital grounds indoors AND outdoors.

Sick f'n bastards.

Iro Cyr

Re: Meanwhile in cold (hearted) Canada

I wrote a piece about deaths caused by smoking bans for F2C a while back: Fictional and Real Deaths. For example:

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is investigating the death of an elderly man whose frozen body was found outside a personal care home last week. The body of Barry Collen, 74, was discovered around 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 2 outside the Sharon Home at Kanee Centre, a 157-bed personal care home in the city's William Whyte neighbourhood.

Members of Collen's family say they have been told he went into the care home's courtyard around 1 a.m. to have a cigarette. The temperature was around -20 C the night of Collen's death, with a wind chill of -31.

I always read this blog, but have never commented. I have to be anonymous as I have no idea how to become a livejournal user !!
I feel very similar to that poor woman. I am lucky enough to still have my partner and we now stay home together as I am a smoker and will not stand on street corners to smoke. The last time I smoked in shame was in 1962 at school.
I have lost a lot of old friends that I used to see for a meal and drink as roughly half were smokers and will not go out any more.
Family occasions are a thing of the past where we would go out for a meal or have a hall for parties. Nobody wants to go out now.
Travelling is a nightmare. Flying terrifies me, but a ciggie helped calm the nerves. I don't fly any more because of the no smoking rule. Perhaps social isolation is the real agenda ?? My husband an myself used to go out to meet friends regularly, but he would not want me to have to stand outside on my own and it would not be fair to expect him to come with me. So we sit indoors.
This smoking ban has put an end to my social life and I hope that if I were left alone like that poor woman that I too would be lucky enough to follow my husband to a better place.

You don't need to have a Livejournal account. A lot of people post anonymously, but put their names at the end of their posts, or in the header.

Perhaps you might consider writing a bit more about your experience of the smoking ban. And about the experience of some of your friends. I'd be more than happy to post it up here as a guest post. Because, as I've said, I think that these stories need to be told.


OMG these ladies are my nans age and its people who are younger than them who made these horrible laws that make them stand out in the cold and they should be ashamed at throwing their parents in the street, my nan smokes ad says she would rather be at home and i thought it was because she was old but now i think its because she dont want to stand in the street, i cried when i read this letter and wish that my nan could go out to see people and not sit indoors unhappy, they are bastards who do this to old people

I'm getting angrier with every post from or about an isolated, distressed person who feels shame or fear. Those ban-loving fools want us all skulking and apologising for our simple legal pleasure in smoking. When the ban came in I quickly found that I chose to stand outside building in a defiant, even confrontational manner, since I had been sent to stand there, was breaking no law and could therefore make myself be seen not skulking, not ashamed, but angry.

PT Barnum

But I'm not elderly, frail, physically disabled, ill, or otherwise vulnerable and I can afford to do it in a defiant way.

What I would like to see is this. If you are not elderly or frail and you have a family member, a friend, a neighbour, do something to help them. Organise get-togethers in a smoking-friendly house, do something to make sure that the folk you know who are now shut in at home, alone, depressed, have a chance to meet other people in a safe and pleasant place. Be creative and generous. Show solidarity with our own kind, look after our own, because no one else will.

We are supposed to become afraid and hide ourselves away. Do not let this happen, especially for those who are least able to stand up for themselves. The ban will go in time, but in the meantime why can't we each act locally, in our own families, to make things a little bit better?


thanks old fella
And a massive dogend ashtray in a pub!

I have always maintained right from the start that this is nothing short of elder abuse as I watched those elderly people sitting outside in the cold shivering & isolated. This part of Canada (BC) isn't quite as bad as the rest of the country in the winter but bad enough. One would think that a ventilated smoking room would be in order in our long term care facilities & of course hospitals.

Old and forgotten

We once were an happy crowd

Ernie. Disabled .Parks his wheelchair behind a
wheely bin to keep out of the draught

John .86 Far East Veteran huddles in a doorway
with two other Veterans

Doris 82, Widow .Stays n 7 nights a week now

Meryll 72 Widow .Friends dont go out anymore

George 82 Manchester Reg. isolated

Jeff 74 Lancs Fusiliers, Non smoker. Friends dont come out any more

Beryl 78 misses her friends at bingo stays in

Joan widow 59,Pat 64,Helen 74 widow, local shut

Jud Ex Para Suez Drives round looking for friends

Me 67 smoker(55 years) used to be 7 nights a week
in the pub ,now once a fortnight
Waiting for the rebels to start kicking ass.

Is anyone listening

Re: Old and forgotten

I may use that on my blog, much like the other comment.

It's from The Free Corps, am I right?

Taxman kills himself 'over smoking ban'

"A taxman killed himself after the smoking ban left him a virtual recluse, an inquest heard yesterday.

Lawrence Walker, 61, barely went out when cigs were barred from his local pub.

Friend Robert Lye said: "He felt insulted to have to stand outside and smoke.

"We think the ban killed him. He was so depressed about it he hardly went out.

It made him very solitary."

Mr Walker, of St Columb, Cornwall, leapt to his death from cliffs at Porth beach, Newquay, in June. Coroner Dr Andrew Cox recorded a verdict of suicide."

"Suicide girl's father calls for hospital smoking ban rethink

2:36pm Tuesday 25th September 2007

A father whose mentally ill daughter jumped to her death inside a hospital is calling for a rethink of the smoking ban.

Miss Butler was not formally assessed by an "appropriate psychiatrist" despite being deemed by a Crisis Resolution Team as fit for discharge to "home care", an inquest at Westminster Coroners' Court heard last week.

The nurse who accompanied her on the cigarette break was never told two other patients had also leapt to their deaths from the same spot, the inquest heard.

Lord Dunboyne said: "There are two areas of current government policy which need to be examined very carefully."



Lawrence Walker is pretty much the patron saint of this blog. I wish I had a photo of him. He's the poster child of the smoking ban.

I'd not heard of the other suicide, although Lawrence Walker isn't the only one, obviously.


Frank, you've started something really important here. I hope more people's stories of isolation and depression can be gathered, because we know now there are so damned many, and then they need a wider audience. These people's pain must be used to hurt and humiliate and shame ASH and all their mates.

PT Barnum

I also hope that I can get more such stories. There must millions of such stories out there, untold.

I wonder though whether they're the sorts of stories that people prefer not to tell. The British are very much of the uncomplaining, "stiff upper lip" cast of character. If somebody knocks on their door and asks them how they're doing, they're most likely to say that they're just fine, even if their left leg has just fallen off.


appeal to readers

Frank, thenk you once again for a brilliant and oh so accurate post about the misery caused by this heartless ban. Am a 68 year old smoker since my teens. Have just come back from 3 weeks in the USA (one more than expected because of that smokey volcano).Apart from the proliferation of those po faced notices all over - no smoking here etc and the misery of hanging round an airport or two with no smoking facilities (why should it bother anyone if I smoke in a ventilated room?)Seattle WA is a non smoking zone and proud of it. If you light up on the street you are leapt upon - not by anti smokers - but by natives desperate for a cig.

Anyway I really support this campaign. The misery and isolation which leaps out of your posts(ers) is heart rending. Gratuitous cruelty. We must restore dignity and self respect to the older smoker - like everyone else I don't see why I should be sent to the naughty corner to have a smoke. Like them I decline to go outside. SO I go out less. I live in West London and when this campaign takes off am glad to support any activity to cheer isolated older fellow smokers.