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Four years ago, Edinburgh and Scotland were catapulted onto the global stage when our MSPs voted to introduce a total ban on smoking in enclosed spaces.

Many of Edinburgh’s pubs are famous as the drinking holes of emerging poets and scholars, but now you no longer have to enjoy the experience through the unattractive, choking, grey haze of some fellow patron’s cigarette.

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Published On: Thu, Oct 21st, 2010 at 4:16pm

Smoking Ban success – Article by Catherine Stihler MEP

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by Catherine Stihler MEP

Four years ago, Edinburgh and Scotland were catapulted onto the global stage when our MSPs voted to introduce a total ban on smoking in enclosed spaces.

Many of Edinburgh’s pubs are famous as the drinking holes of emerging poets and scholars, but now you no longer have to enjoy the experience through the unattractive, choking, grey haze of some fellow patron’s cigarette.

Labour were the pioneers behind the groundbreaking legislation. Since the ban’s inception, in March 2006, numerous health experts from around the globe have travelled to our capital city to see first-hand how the ban has improved the quality of life for many in Scotland.

Lothian and Borders Police were not alone when they announced the smooth introduction of the ban, citing very few violations and compliancy from members of the public. To date there are have been very few arrests or prosecutions due to breaches of the ban.

Since England and Wales followed suit in 2007, cigarette sales across the UK have dropped and attitudes towards smoking – particularly passive smoking – have changed a great deal. More and more people consider smoking, particularly in closed spaces, to be unacceptable, socially irresponsible and a great danger to public health. Continuous evaluations of Scotland’s move toward a smoke-free society have produced resoundingly positive results. A sizeable percentage of the public support the ban, and there have been notable reductions in the rate of hospital admissions for illnesses such as heart disease and asthma. In the first year of the ban, nine Scottish hospitals reported a 17% decrease in heart attack admissions. Despite these figures, there are some Conservative and UKIP politicians and commentators such as Brian Montieth, who have not accepted the medical results and refuse to acknowledge the change in public tide.

I believe that the current legislation, albeit bold, does not go far enough and more must be done to build a complete smoke-free society. Unfortunately, the smoking ban has not translated into lower rates of lung diseases such as Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – an illness strongly associated with smoking. There are roughly 100,000 sufferers of COPD in Scotland, with a predicted rise of 33% by 2030, unless action is taken now to reduce the rates of smoking and polluted air. It kills more people across the UK every day than some cancers or liver disease, and many of the areas with the highest recorded rates are in Scotland.

I have teamed up with the British Lung Foundation and European Lung Foundation to push for strong, co-ordinated action across Holyrood, Westminster and Brussels to combat the scourge of lung disease and smoking. I strongly support the British Lung Foundation’s campaign to ban smoking in cars when a minor is present. Education, teaching and learning must remain at the core of any smoking cessation strategy.

The smoking ban has clearly been a great success, a battle has been won, but the war is ongoing. I know that through bold, joined-up action, Scotland and the UK can continue to play a pivotal role in tackling smoking-related illnesses. With lung disease rates continuing to rise, we can only imagine what the situation would be if the pro-smoking campaigners got their way and polluted the air of Edinburgh’s pubs and restaurants once more.

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  1. […] Stihler MEP tells The Edinburgh Reporter she wants the smoking ban extended even further. Do you agree with her that smoking should be […]

  2. Dave Atherton says:

    I think Ms Stihler is rather insulting our intelligence on the success of the smoking ban. Not unless you call pub closures and unemployment a success.

    According to the British Beer and Pub Association in 2006 we had 58,200 pubs and in July 2010 52,000 a net loss of 5,800. In 2008-9 alone:

    “22.07.2009

    Pub closures up to 52 a week – more than seven a day

    24,000 jobs lost in the last year

    2,377 pubs close in last 12 months

    Government loses over £254 million in tax in last 12 months due to pubs closing”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/apr/12/general-

  3. F Wilson says:

    What planet does this MEP live on ? it cannot be planet Reality, Lets look at the True facts behind the Smoking Ban, Record number of Pub and Club closures,massive number of forced unemployment because of the ban,cancer rates Up again,tobacco sales Up ( hence the local councils Investing in tobacco companies to help protect their Pension funds ) Yougster smoking rates Up, millions of people face Discrimination and Bullying and have had their social lives taken away from them and All based on Unproven “claims” that SHS is a danger,claims that have been proven to be false by the Majority of research studies. Now we have MPs,the Pub Industry and the Public calling for a Reform of the smoking ban to allow something that no government had the right to take away from Private business, Choice, choice for the industry and choice for the public both smoker and non smoker alike.
    Success is not the word to use with the smoking ban. Control is the word. Compliance by Threat does not = support.

  4. Dave Atherton says:

    Adult smoking has hardly gone down, if at all in Scotland and in fact youth smoking is up.

    “The number of young people smoking in Scotland has returned to a level last seen nearly 10 years ago, according to a report by health officials.

    The survey revealed nearly a third of people between 16-24 are smokers.

    In 2004 the number of young smokers in Scotland had fallen to just 25% but by 2007 that figure was 31%.”

    http://www.ashscotland.org.uk/ash/4320

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/7791012.stm

  5. Phil Johnson says:

    You poor, poor woman! How sad it is to find that a member of a parliament still believes the Pell study even after it was publicly humiliated by the BBC. Whoever voted this creature into a position of power must wonder at their own intelligence!

  6. Chas says:

    The only reason why there have been very few prosecutions is because of the big fines for breaking the stupid law and smokers do not wish to see their publicans fined over £2,000.
    For decades the smoking rate had declined, but since the start of the anti-smoking propaganda the decline stopped and has now increased. The anti-smoking propaganda has been the best advertisement for the tobacco industry. In a recent INDEPENTENT survey over 80% of publicans want to see smoking back inside pubs, and a recent newspaper poll showed that over 80% of the public want smoking back inside pubs.
    Back in the 1950s and 1960s when smoking was much more common very few children had asthma, but there are now more than three times the number of children with asthma.
    Since the smoking ban thousands of pubs and clubs have closed making tens of thousands of staff unemployed.
    The smoking ban has been a complete failure.

  7. Belinda says:

    In the pursuit of a smoke-free Scotland how far is Ms Stihler prepared to go? Is she prepared to endorse the action of a landlord such as this (http://www.vancouversun.com/health/year+woman+told+butt+evicted/3696774/story.html)apology for a senior citizens’ housing association, which has terminated the residence of a woman of 88 years of age on the grounds that she is a smoker.

    Is she prepared to witness the deliberate and systematic stigmatisation of smokers described in the British Medical Journal by Simon Chapman and Becky Freeman http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/17/1/25.full and particularly directed to heavy smoking populations, including the mentally ill http://neuroethicscanada.wordpress.com/2010/05/02/tobacco-denormalization-and-stigma/

    I share Phil Johnson’s amazement that anyone still believes that heart attacks dropped 17 per cent after 2006, the claim that the ban in England dropped by just 2.4 per cent did not stand up to scrutiny, http://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.com/2010/06/latest-smoking-banheart-attack-study-is.html

    Up to a fifth of people still smoke in Scotland and the concentration is much higher in some areas. The remainder might give up more readily without such a sustained assault on their dignity, which may not be Ms Stihler’s personal intention but is certainly part of the anti-smoking drive.

    Then again, they might still not want to give up. At what point does persuasion give way to coercion? … it seems that coercion has already arrived in some parts of the world.

  8. Flora McDonald says:

    What a dreadful, sanctimonious article! This woman has been elected? Never again, I hope. The smoking ban in pubs and bars has ruined community and social life in Scotland, businesses have closed down and workers thrown onto the dole (and she’s from Labour the hypocrite), smoking rates have NOT gone down but actually gone up, and her stupid figures about heart admissions “going down 17% in 9 Scottish hospitals” were proved to be lies over a year ago.

    Come on lassie, why not come out with it? BAN SMOKING ALTOGETHER, everywhere, for everybody. Do it now. Come on, out with it, say it in public, I dare you. That’s what you want, is it? Smokers are dirty filthy beasts, and smoking should be banned tomorrow. Forget the economy, forget the job losses and poverty and worry hitting families: let’s stop old people having to stand out in the freezing cold to enjoy a pipe with their whisky BY BANNING SMOKING ALTOGETHER. That’s what you want, clearly. Banning smoking everywhere is the most important issue that you, as an elected MEP, have chosen for the Scottish people.

    (Oh….sorry, you’d quite like the FOUR TIMES amount of tax that smokers pay over what they cost in health costs, would you? To pay your inflated MEP salary and your inflated expenses swanning around Europe? Sorry, couldn’t quite hear you…)

    And while you’re about it, why not ban Angus Beef (meat is SO bad for you), and whisky (alcohol is SO bad for you), and street lighting (energy consumption is SO bad for you). Oh, and porridge oats (carbohydrates are SO bad for you).
    Close down all the pubs, and brewers, and distillers, and livestock producers. It’s bad for the Scottish people.

    Heaven forfend the Scots could actually think for themselves, and the odd bar or hotel owner or two could actually choose whether to offer smoking or non-smoking facilities to their guests. At the moment, the only way many are surviving is to have “smoking lockins” after hours.

    Tell ye what, lassie, we’ll all go for long healthy walks together and eat heather. And go to the wee kirk on Sundays to pray for our smoking meat-eating whisky-drinking souls.

  9. Pete says:

    Thanks Catherine,”Labour were the pioneers behind the groundbreaking legislation” that’s why most smokers will never vote Labour again.

    Not only smokers but the multi thousands of people that have lots their jobs and homes, and the loss of large amounts of pubs all because of this policy.

    The cat is now out of the bag, deaths by so called passive smoking have been disproved along with all the other studies that turned out to be loaded in favour of anti smokers.

    The anti smoking lobby has had its day.

  10. Maker says:

    Jees. This article has stirred-up a hornets nest. I quit smoking. I have no desire to be a passive smoker. What I don’t like is the flaunting of the law. Try getting into a pub these days and you run a gauntlet of smokers huddled in the doorway or even just inside the door.

    If you walk down the ramp to Waverley station in Edinburgh, there are no-smoking signs all the way down but nevertheless there are usually plenty of people smoking directly under the signs. The same at Edinburgh airport, there is a “smoking shelter” just outside the main entrance – rather than use the shelter, smokers congregate underneath the awning – beside the no-smoking sign.

    As for smoking in cars – I think it is a good idea to ban smoking if there are kids in the car. It is only fair. If there are no kids in the car – I couldn’t care less.

    There is plenty of evidence that a smoking ban is beneficial:
    http://iom.edu/Reports/2009/Secondhand-Smoke-Exposure-and-Cardiovascular-Effects-Making-Sense-of-the-Evidence.aspx

    To say that the tax take on cigarettes is four times higher than the social costs of smoking is absolute rubbish. There is no evidence for that whatsoever. If anything ASH (http://www.ash.org.uk/) cites that the real cost of smoking is closer to £100 per pack!

  11. F Wilson says:

    Maker

    I am sorry to say it but you really have swallowed the ASH Propaganda,if you were to look at the Majority of research studies into possible passive smoke harm you would soon see that the Majority of studies find that SHS cannot be raised to any level that would be harmful, so as you can see there is no reason for people to be made to stand Outside of Pubs or other buildings where they get in your way. The taxpayer funded quango that is ASH needs to go ASAP,they do not tell the truth and the public now know this much. Time for Adult Choice not more state control.

  12. TheBigYin says:

    Maker, what a load of bull you write above. I, or any smoker is not breaking the law by smoking under a sign OUTSIDE a building, they are breaking the law by putting such a sign up in the first place.

    I will fight to the end to have this iniquitous law against a quarter of the pupulation ended, and it will, just like it was ended in Nazi Germany, where the present anti smoking laws come from.

  13. Chas says:

    Maker. As F Wilson says ‘you really have swallowed the ASH Propaganda’.
    ‘If anything ASH (http://www.ash.org.uk/) cites that the real cost of smoking is closer to £100 per pack!’
    Do you REALLY believe that smoking 40 cigarettes for 50 years, the real cost would be £3,640,000?
    You may want to be controlled, but I prefer to be free.

  14. Eddie Douthwaite says:

    This is how the Scottish Government wastes taxpayers money:-

    ASH Scotland funding by Scottish Government 2008/2009 £938,000 ( 90% of their funding), Col 2010 of link below.

    “Mary Scanlon (Highlands and Islands) (Con): The ASH Scotland evidence is highly critical of the funding of the lobby groups from which we heard last week. We asked all the lobby groups where their funding came from and I think that we are aware of how they are all funded. It is only fair that I ask you where ASH Scotland’s funding comes from.

    Sheila Duffy: ASH Scotland is a registered Scottish charity, so our accounts are publicly available and audited. In common with the national

    Col 2010

    charities that deal with drugs and alcohol, we receive substantial funding from the Government. Because of that, we are reviewed periodically by the Government, which commissions an independent review to look at our cost-effectiveness and funding. I can certainly give you a breakdown of our costs for the previous financial year if that would be helpful.

    Mary Scanlon: I do not really want to know your costs; I just want to know where your funding comes from.

    Sheila Duffy: Ninety per cent of our funding comes from the Scottish Government; 2 per cent comes from the national health service; 6 per cent comes from other charities such as the British Heart Foundation; and 2 per cent comes from self-generated income and donations from individual supporters. A condition of the public funding that we receive is that we may not use it for campaigning and lobbying. That activity is funded from our earned and voluntary income.

    Mary Scanlon: You said that 90 per cent of your funding comes from the Scottish Government. How much is that in cash terms?

    Sheila Duffy: In 2008-09 it was £938,000, which went to support a great deal of project work in areas such as inequalities in relation to tobacco, youth development work, partnerships and the development of training for smoking-cessation services.

    Mary Scanlon: So, ASH Scotland is receiving nearly £1 million from the Government to fund it to lobby the Government.

    Sheila Duffy: No. Under the terms of the funding, we may not use it for lobbying.

    Mary Scanlon: You receive nearly £1 million from the Government.

    Sheila Duffy: We receive that funding to deliver objectives that are in line with national policy. We are clear and open about the work that we do and the funding that we receive. That is not true of groups that are funded by the tobacco industry. There is no clarity about the tobacco industry—

    Mary Scanlon: We heard from those groups last week; they got a good grilling from us all. You are being given nearly £1 million in order to support the Government’s national policy on smoking.

    Sheila Duffy: I must take issue with that statement, because the money that we are being given is to support objectives and outcomes that are in line with national health policies, including—

    Mary Scanlon: Which are determined by the Government. The Government determines national health policies and it gives you nearly £1 million to lobby on those policies.

    Col 2011

    Sheila Duffy: I must be clear about the point that the public funding that we receive may not be used for lobbying purposes. It is for delivering services and projects that are in line with public health policy in Scotland.

    Mary Scanlon: So, of the nearly £1 million, how much is used for lobbying? Can you give us a rough guesstimate in percentage terms?

    Sheila Duffy: I have not looked at the exact percentage, but a really tiny percentage of direct spend goes on lobbying. That work tends to be shared with other health charities whose aims are similar to ours.”

    http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/committees/hs/or-09/he09-1702.htm#Col2004

    And that is a FRACTION of what Ms Stihler and her Anti-Smoking Eurocrats spend.

  15. Jane says:

    Don’t you people read the news? The figure of 17% reductions was PROVED to be a lie and the actual figures were released AFTER this lie was published.
    The ‘public’ do not support bans (only the anti smokers do )
    The ONLY reason that people ‘comply’ is fear of fines or imprisonment and not because they agree with this spiteful divisive ban
    Cancer rates are rocketing since the ban as is childhood asthma .
    Every word this woman utters is total lies and misinformation.

  16. Eddie Douthwaite says:

    Further to my last:-

    Sheila Duffy said:-


    Sheila Duffy: ASH Scotland is a registered Scottish charity, so our accounts are publicly available and audited. In common with the national

    Col 2010

    charities that deal with drugs and alcohol, we receive substantial funding from the Government. Because of that, we are reviewed periodically by the Government, which commissions an independent review to look at our cost-effectiveness and funding.”

    This is an extract from the “INDEPENDENT Review” she mentions:-

    ” The elements of the methodology
    3.3 The methodology involved a number of elements:
    · the establishment of a Steering Group to support the review and provide feedback on findings at 2 stages in the process, after the initial findings and after the interim report
    · the collection of data from a range of sources, including ASH Scotland, the Scottish Government, internet research and the SDF and the analysis of this
    · a stakeholder survey comprising 50 interviews of key external and internal stakeholders
    · review of financial controls, audit and governance
    · an evaluation of ASH Scotland’s communications strategy
    · benchmarking
    · identification of the key issues
    · drilling down on the key issues, including the collection of further data and follow up with stakeholders
    · the production of an interim report for comment by the Scottish Government and the Steering Group
    · the production of a final report

    The Steering Group
    3.4 The review Steering Group comprised:

    Mary Allison NHS Health Scotland
    Mary Cuthbert Scottish Government
    Gerard Hastings Institute of Social Marketing and Centre for Tobacco Control Research ( CTCR)
    Emma McCallum Scottish Government
    Susan MacAskill Institute of Social Marketing and CTCR
    Kerry McKenzie NHS Health Scotland
    Maureen Moore ASH Scotland
    Jenny Niven ASH Scotland
    Brian Pringle ASH Scotland
    Joyce Whytock Scottish Government

    Note: Mary Cuthbert and Joyce Whytock are members of the Scottish Governments Substance Misuse Team.

    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2008/08/29113558/5

    NOT REALLY AN INDEPENDENT REVIEW IN MY OPINION.

  17. Flora McDonald says:

    @Maker.
    You are wrong. I am right. I said smokers paid 4 times as much in tax as all smoking-related HEALTH costs. Not SOCIAL costs, as you said. The social costs are enormous and devastating, and actually immeasurable, so don’t get me on to that one, because it brings a lump to my throat to remember all the closed local pubs and the local communities they supported and the awful effect on people’s lives and wellbeing.
    You did put a link to ASH’s figures again, though, so I went back again and checked them. Yep, I’m right. Try using a calculator. And the only way they could fudge their figures was to add a notional (i.e. made-up) value price on a year of human life: “We use UK government departments’preferred estimate of the ‘human value’ of prevention of a fatality (just under £1 million) to calculate the value of extra years of life to people who give up smoking.” So, try getting a bank loan or a mortgage by telling the lender you have an personal estimated value of £1 million just by being alive.
    Still no idea where the £100 a pack figure comes from. My personal and professional opinion is that it is b*llocks.
    Anyway, I’m off on hol for a week now. Bye.

  18. Eddie Douthwaite says:

    Why is my last comment still awaiting moderation?

  19. admin says:

    Mr Douthwaite – in the interests of being fresh for a Monday morning we took some time off yesterday afternoon! That’s all…..your comment is now up on the site. Thank you for your interest in the story.

  20. Eddie Douthwaite says:

    Admin:

    Thanks very much for the explanation.

  21. Eddie Douthwaite says:

    Extract from my post 24 Oct at 4.17:-

    Sheila Duffy said:-

    “Because of that, we are reviewed periodically by the Government, which commissions an independent review to look at our cost-effectiveness and funding.”

    This is from the “External Review of ASH Scotland” in 2008:-

    “The elements of the methodology
    3.3 The methodology involved a number of elements:
    · the establishment of a Steering Group to support the review and provide feedback on findings at 2 stages in the process, after the initial findings and after the interim report
    · the collection of data from a range of sources, including ASH Scotland, the Scottish Government, internet research and the SDF and the analysis of this
    · a stakeholder survey comprising 50 interviews of key external and internal stakeholders
    · review of financial controls, audit and governance
    · an evaluation of ASH Scotland’s communications strategy
    · benchmarking
    · identification of the key issues
    · drilling down on the key issues, including the collection of further data and follow up with stakeholders
    · the production of an interim report for comment by the Scottish Government and the Steering Group
    · the production of a final report
    The Steering Group
    3.4 The review Steering Group comprised:

    Mary Allison NHS Health Scotland
    Mary Cuthbert Scottish Government
    Gerard Hastings Institute of Social Marketing and Centre for Tobacco Control Research ( CTCR)
    Emma McCallum Scottish Government
    Susan MacAskill Institute of Social Marketing and CTCR
    Kerry McKenzie NHS Health Scotland
    Maureen Moore ASH Scotland
    Jenny Niven ASH Scotland
    Brian Pringle ASH Scotland
    Joyce Whytock Scottish Government”

    This hardly seems to be an external review as those involved are Tobacco Control advocates.

    It does not mention that Mary Cuthbert and Joyce Whytock are part of the Scottish Governments Substance Misuse Division which includes Tobacco Control.

    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2008/08/29113558/5

    This is NOT what I would call an INDEPENDENT Review under any circumstances.

  22. Bill Gibson says:

    Yet again a Labour Party politician openly lies to the nation. Recently i asked Ms Stihler to endorse The Brussels Declaration on Scientific Integrity … to date she has declined (see http://www.brusselsdeclaration.org)

    She obviously has difficulty in determining facts from fiction as can be seen from the posts above .. or is she in the payrole of Big Pharma

    Last week I found our that the smoking cessation product Zyban presents further dangers to health as there are links of heart defects to newborn babies .. but then politicians ramain single minded in their attack on smokers with no thought to greater dangers to others. as a result of their actions

    http://www.newsinferno.com/pharmaceuticals/popular-antidepressants-linked-to-birth-defects/

    Why has such information been suppressed by the Governments here in the U.K.?

  23. Yet another politician without a clue. Nothing more needs to be said really.

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