Brian Edwards Media

Nanny doesn’t want you smoking outside. Nanny’s a real spoilsport!









Health professionals in Auckland have proposed that smoking be banned in all outdoor public places in the city. At least I think that’s what they’ve proposed. The front-page story in this morning’s Herald isn’t entirely clear on whether the ban is intended to be universal within the Auckland City boundaries or restricted to certain public spaces.

Leaving aside for the moment the question of whether banning smoking in any outdoor public space can be justified in what we like to call ‘a free society’, a limited ban (on virtually anything) invites public confusion and is therefore much more difficult to enforce. A total ban, on the other hand, leaves no room for confusion or the excuse, ‘I didn’t realise you couldn’t smoke here.’

As I write this, a poll on the Herald’s website reports:

Excellent and sensible idea – 43%

 Good in theory –  27%

Not a fan but would go along with it – 4%

Outrageous, a step too far – 26%

That’s 74% of respondents variously in favour and 26% adamantly against. An unscientific poll of course, but indicative at least of majority support for banning smoking outdoors as well as indoors in public spaces.

So yes, if there were such a law, you would essentially only be able to smoke in private indoor locations, including your home and garden, other people’s homes and gardens with their agreement, and (I’m guessing here) other privately owned indoor premises with the agreement of everyone who ever used the premises.

Put even more simply, you would not be able to smoke in any outdoor location where  you might come into contact with another  member of the general public – on the street, in the park, on the beach, in children’s playgrounds, tramping, climbing, jogging, playing or just plain walking. 

I think it’s an excellent and sensible idea.

Smokers talk of their ‘right to smoke’ and indeed no one wants to take that right away from them. There’s really no difference between a person’s right to fill their lungs with tar and die from lung cancer and a person’s right to live on a diet of  junk food and sugar drinks and die of a diabetes-related condition or a heart attack. Please feel free.

But there is no right to pollute the air that others breathe with your smoke, including, I would suggest, your own family’s air, whether in the home or in the car. Especially in the car!  

There is no such thing as a right to do harm.

Anyway, the suggested ban has brought the usual money-based objections from business and the hospitality industry:

Auckland Council member Cameron Brewer said the real epidemic the city faced was obesity, not smoking

‘Smokers’, he said, ‘have got to smoke somewhere and if you try to introduce an outdoor ban, all that will do is see more retreat inside, lighting up in the family home or car, which is much more damaging to non-smokers.’

Not a very convincing argument, since the addictive nature of smoking almost certainly means that those people light up in the family home or car now, in addition to smoking outside.

And smokers don’t have to smoke. They can beat their addiction and stop smoking as millions of others world-wide have done.

But at lease Mr Brewer acknowledges the damaging effect of smoking on non-smokers.

He was also admirably in favour of more public education on the dangers of smoking. ‘That’s what works,’ he said. ‘Municipal meddling over the years hasn’t made one bit of difference,’

Possibly not, but central government meddling certainly has made a huge difference.  The ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces is the most significant reason for the decline in smoking in New Zealand over the past decade. As Heart of the City CEO, Alex Swney,  observed, ‘When that was imposed people thought the world was going to end. But now it seems almost obscene that someone would light up in a restaurant. This would be the same as that – it’s just evolution.’

So there you have it – ‘Nanny State’ lurking in the wings again. I never had a nanny, but I’ve seen enough of them on telly to realise that they can be really annoying, always trying to stop you doing fun things like sticking your fork in the electric socket or swallowing a marble or shoving  a crayon up Rover’s bum. But when you become a big boy or girl and can think clearly, you come to understand that Nanny really had your best interests at heart and was right all along.

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  1. It seems like a ridiculous idea to me. You would need to do a lot more than just claim it to prove to me that you are damaging someone else when smoking alone on a beach. Even within a few feet of them, the harm is only in an “offense” rather than giving them passive smoke.

    Sorry man. This one’s just stupid.

    BE: I think we’ll all be delighted for you to stay as far away from us as possible, Ben. And not just for the sake of our health. If you’re a smoker, your breath will smell and so will your clothes. Carry on by all means. But please don’t stub your smokes out in the sand.

  2. People who complain about the “nanny” state are nevertheless all too happy for “nanny” to pick up the tab for the medical expenses which inevitably arise out of their right to poison their bodies.

  3. Whatever happened to rights of non smokers we have a right to protect our health, what smokers do not have a right to do is cause us to develop cancer as a result of a disgusting, filthy, toxic and plain out right rude and disrespectful habbit. I say good on those who have had a gutsful of weak smokers who give in to a disgusting habbit. Time you smokers started showing respect for non smokers such as children whos immune systems are not fully developed

  4. Tax the stuff out of existence. Win all the way. :)

  5. Hmmm… Whilst I loathe the smell of cigarette smoke, and I don’t want to be in an enclosed space with people smoking, outside there’s very little danger for non-smokers.

    Lets face it, walking past a smoker is seconds of exposure and the wind gets rid of the smoke anyway. There would be more damaging chemicals from the cars than from the cigarettes.

    So I don’t think this is about protecting non-smokers from passive smoking, it’s more about reducing spaces for smokers so that they smoke less. Personally I think there are restrictions enough.

  6. >People who complain about the “nanny” state are nevertheless all too happy for “nanny” to pick up the tab for the medical expenses which inevitably arise out of their right to poison their bodies.

    Everyone dies and nanny pays for them all. Smokers, however, take far less pensions. The healthiest of people cost the MOST when they die, because they do it really slowly. The economic argument is very weak, and the moral argument against curtailing a basic freedom of self-harm only works by massively inflating the damage smokers cause to other people. Fair enough if you blow smoke in someone’s face, but smoking alone considerately is no more damaging to someone than driving past them in your automobile that pumps out hundreds of liters of toxic smoke every minute.

    We do not need laws to enforce the basic decency not to deliberately annoy people with your smoke out of doors, other than the already existing ones about not being a public nuisance.

    I am not a smoker, btw. But this is a wedge issue on curtailing freedom to self-harm (if the harm to others is negligible), something I consider extremely valuable.

  7. You don’t smoke any more then Brian?

    BE: No Sandy, I don’t smoke any more. I stopped smoking 25 years ago. From that one can of course conclude that I am incapable of making a rational or unbiased assessment of the issue of banning smoking in public places. For an unbiased and rational asssessment of that you need to turn to people currently addicted to nicotine – in much the same way as you would turn to an alcoholic or heroin addict for a rational and unbiased assessment of issues surrounding booze or narcotics.

    I hope I haven’t unfairly judged the the agenda behind your question. It just sounded a little as though you were about to say that ‘reformed smokers were always the worst’ when it came to judging other people’s smoking.

  8. Yep, I’m a smoker – however I try to respect the people who loath it and keep well away. I have to say though, that Kath & Debbie are reporting in from Idiotland – smokers are shown to use relatively few health $ as we tend to die quickly and not linger too long she’ll be glad to learn.
    It’s the fatty epidemic that is soaking up my tax dollars to amputate legs and pay for stapling the overwrought guts of weak willed gluttons. As for the Scientific way the Herald would’ve constructed their poll? Yeh right. You’d get a similar result if the question had been about violent video games &/or bitey dogs.

    BE: “As for the Scientific way the Herald would’ve constructed their poll? Yeh right.” I think I described the poll as ‘unscientific’. And actually most reasonable people would not approve of violent video games or bitey dogs. So what’s your point?

  9. Here we go again….the issue is about freedom to engage in personal choice of the use of legal products. Some people have prejudiced & selfish views about how others should use that freedom, but what’s new in that?

    The rabid anti-smoking brigade would generally have it that smoking is so evil there should be a total ban. Perhaps it is that evil, and perhaps there should be. In which case lobby & work for permanent change for the benefit of society as a whole.

    Don’t create social pariah’s, a de facto criminal class, or alienated segments of society simply because you do not agree with their personal choice regarding how to indulge in legal activities.

    I object to grossly fat people spilling over into my personal space. I also object to the nanny state providing a framework where the financial consequences of their obesity costs the taxpayers. Yet we don’t hear the do-gooders insisting that the obese should take their milkshakes indoors, or be banned from placing undue stress on public benches. We are also quite relaxed about nanny funding a universal superannuation, whether you need it or not, or nanny providing unilateral no-fault revenue compensation to every idiot in society, including those engaged in criminal activities, and those showing no regard for their own and others safety.

    It is ridiculous to allow a segment of society to openly choose to purchase a product, tax them disproportionately while doing so, and then effectively attempt to drive use of the product underground. That sounds fascist to me.

    By all means crucify the smokers, and ban the evil forever more. Once we’ve done that, let’s get on with cleaning up anything else which annoys (say) 70% of us. Bugger the 30% minority, huh?

    With this approach to societal reform, we could introduce mercy killings, stop screaming babies being allowed on aircraft, ensure the obese were prohibited from purchasing anything with sugar in it, and have idiotic protesters who inconvenience the majority or endanger other vessels to be bulldozed out of the way or sunk as the circumstances dictate.

    Now that’s a fair society.

    BE: Great rave. Totally ignores the fact that no-one is suggesting that you shouldn’t be able to smoke. You just shouldn’t be able to bother other people with your smoking.

  10. @BE I’m not a smoker. I just believe in human rights.

    BE: Human rights do not include harming or even discomfiting other people.

  11. I am a non smoker of 20 years I stopped because I wanted to, not because some health board propagandist emotionally or legally manipulated me.

    Apparently, anti-smoking lobbyists will not stop until they have made nicotine illegal. And once the prohibition has started we will see a very lucrative black market developing.

    Shall we ban cars and trucks from our streets. I’d rather the occasional inconvenience of a small puff of tobacco smoke than poisonous exhaust fumes. Which would you rather suck on? get real NZ this is a non-issue.

    BE: This is the argument that because there are other contaminants, one shouldn’t ban this one. There’s no logic to that. Nicotine is more addictive than heroin. It destroys people’s health and kills thousands of New Zealanders each year, more than 10 times as many as are killed on the roads. Pollution from vehicle exhausts is also a health risk but this isn’t about making a choice between one form of pollution and another.

  12. What an enormous change there’s been, in a few short years, to the acceptance that smoking is on the way out. Less than ten years ago, anyone who had suggested a ban on smoking in public outdoor spaces would have been put in a straightjacket, almost. Now , it seems, the majority agree. Far-sighted legislation, unpopular with many at the time, made the difference.

  13. Lurking inside every lefties breast is a control freak. You exemplify the general tendency perfectly BE.It’s the reason your beloved Helen finally had her fingers wrenched from the levers of power.

  14. It is an idea which may be a little bit before its time.Eventually there will be no tobacco smokers (theyre a dying breed).Its possibly more effective to concentrate our efforts by stopping younger people beginning smoking than a difficult to enforce a blanket ban such as this suggests.There s always the added problem of Cannibis and crack smokers as well.

  15. It’s not only the poison fumes it’s also the butts that are discarded into ornamental pot plants, on the footpaths etc. Asians are the worst. Just about everyone smokes and they no consideration.

  16. This ban would simply be ignored with impunity, since it would be impossible to enforce.

    The upshot of that near universal flouting would be the weakening of already accepted non-smoking boundaries because once people accept one ignored law, they’ll start to let the rest slide. Already, I have seen smoking creeping back inside some section of some bars.

    You see, in a democracy there is no point in passing unenforceable social legislation against which a sizable minority will actively rebel and when most other people wont care enough to actively stand up to the rebels.

  17. I see there is a new Tony. I was Tony here before he was so I will call myself Old Tony – not to be confused with the Real Tony who we haven’t heard from for a while.

    Anyway, the harm principle. Not my personal ethic but it has a lot going for it.

    I lose my enthusiasm however when I see how inconsistently it is applied.

    There are two ways to move its boundaries. One is in relation to whether or not the harm is to be caused to a human. The classic expression of this is abortion where by defining a foetus as not yet human one avoids involvement in harm. In my opinion not a defensible position.

    The other is by disputing whether harm is caused. Smoking is fairly easy as the evidence is ironclad. But many who are rigid in their views on smoking’s harm will defend vigorously the need to avoid censorship of the vileness of the internet, irrespective of whether children can access it. In my world the one is as demonstrably the cause of harm as the other.

    Even in the personal sphere, many who would share your views on smoking Brian would never contemplate staying within a boring marriage for the sake of the children. They would argue in the face of considerable evidence to the contrary that ending the marriage will not impact on the kids or that the ills of the marriage equate to the ills of its termination.

    So at the risk of going off on a tangent, while I have no difficulty with the application of the harm principle in the way you espouse, I’d love to see it consistently applied.

  18. ‘Don’t create social pariah’s, a de facto criminal class, or alienated segments of society simply because you do not agree with their personal choice regarding how to indulge in legal activities.’

    I’ll bet yer happy that tobacco is still legal…lest this rant be construed as one for the decriminalisation of all drugs.

  19. Mostly I agree with you Brian, but not on this issue. The problem with this line of thought, banning smoking, is that ultimately we are talking prohibition.

    There is a point to the exhaust fume argument. I have teenage boys who are astute observers of adult hypocrisy. Inconsistent and contradictory rules and laws are likely to have a negative effect, especially with youth.

    Rules and propaganda that go too far, like the “reefer madness” propaganda around cannabis, actually has the opposite effect.

    I’ll admit that people smoking upwind can be mildly annoying, but it is not worth making a law against it.

  20. Hi Hendo
    Actually Asians aren’t the worst. Fact,they’re the best.
    Latest stats here:

    Māori Women 50%
    Maori Men 40%

    Pacific Women 29%
    Pacific Men 35%

    Pakeha Women 22%
    Pakeha Men 20%

    Asian Women 5%
    Asian Men 20%

    Source: NZTUS 2008 (Ministry of Health 2009)

  21. I gave up smoking many years ago but propoals such as this have me reaching for a packet of cigarettes. I would be curious to know what is the greter hazard on Queen Street; the occasional smoker or the continual discharge of exhaust fumes, many from poorly tuned diesel engines.

    There was the African state, Botswana I think, that recently banned breaking wind in public. Perhaps this should be the next step.

    It is not a matter of being a nanny state, it is a matter of being an intolerant state; ban anything which meets with our disapproval.

    By all means stop smoking in areas where others may be affected, but in wide open spaces where only the smoker is at risk (and providing he or she is well dressed at the time); give it a rest. Similarly if I want to smoke in my car and I never carry passengers, mind your own bloody business.

    It is a pity that as a society we do not expend the same amount of effort on the really important things as we do on trivia. Let’s ban smoking but it is too hard to deal with the problem of child abuse and child poverty. Perhaps if the 74% who approved of a smoking ban, disapproved of child poverty we might now have a government prepared to take some action.

  22. >BE: Human rights do not include harming or even discomfiting other people.

    Yes, they do. Rights are always a trade off. The right to eat is the right to eat food that other people then can’t eat. The right to poo is the right to pollute something, requiring a cleanup. The right to free speech is the right to offend people. The right to property is the right to exclude others from the property.

    The question is not whether exercise of rights harms someone else, because they always do, to some extent, but about a balance of goods and evils. If you choose to ignore completely that smoking makes hundreds of thousands of people feel good every day in NZ (and really bad when they can’t have it), can often be the pleasure that they most look forward to, and focus entirely on the offense to your nostrils, then you don’t get rights at all.

    I don’t like the smell of cigarette smoke either, but smokers know that, and they take the trouble to do it outside, where the effect is minimal. This is law now, and I approved of that one, but there’s got to be a point where taking offense is itself the harm that has got out of hand.

  23. Apologies to Old Tony for inadvertently stealing your handle – carry on with it & I’ll be someone else.

    Contrary to some perceptions here I am no activist for decriminalisation of cannabis pr anything else. Quite the opposite in fact. Nor am I avidly defending the right to smoke from a self interest perspective. I am an ex smoker myself, & agree with all the logical arguments about how stupid, harmful & unpleasant it is. (Nor do I actually detest fat people – though I admit I hate getting one on the plane next to me).

    My point, which I do believe strongly, is that it is absurdly dangerous for any society to begin to move down the path of alienating significant proportions of its population simply because another significant proportion do not agree with the personal choices they make, within the boundaries of the law of the land. Where does that Big Brother (we know what’s best for you) approach lead?

    If it is bad for society, then move to change the rules for the society as a whole. The type of society that permits the removal of basic legal rights for minorities without any due process and a clear mandate to do so legally, is a society that will in turn continue down the path of trying to micro-manage its citizens lives by stealthy, & regular erosion of other liberties.

    Using stupid comparisons such as relative impact of vehicle emissions simply obscures the bigger issue of the nanny-brigade wanting to re-shape society to conform with their views.

    We live in a society where 70% mandates from the voters are mot considered strong enough to enforce change legally. Why would we allow change to be imposed that is only a strongly held view of perhaps 40% of the decision-making population?

    We shouldn’t is the simple answer.

  24. I have a real issue with this argument.

    Second hand smoke is poisonous and dangerous to unwilling participants. Smoking in any enclosed space basically forces everyone else in that closed space to smoke as well. However the same is not true for the great outdoors.

    The basis for a ban is not for health reasons, as second hand smoke in the great out doors is not a substantial health risk, largely because it is transitory, so the exposure levels are not high. Pollution causes approximately 1100 deaths per year (RNZ had a program about this), and the Ministry for the environment puts hospital admissions due to pollution at a couple of thousand, far more, I would wager then caused by second hand smoke outdoors.

    So the question is one of the discomfort it causes to others. I understand this, but would say that people with terrible BO cause discomfort, obese people cause discomfort on public transport, cars exhaust causes discomfort. There are numerous things that people who live together in a society do that cause other people in that society discomfort. Part of living in that society is to trade off the various discomforts. If you think smoking is a discomfort you should not have to put up with, then it’s hard to argue with that, I’d just warn against making things illegal on that basis alone.

    Tax revenue from smokers practically pays for the health system (not that this justifies smoking). Diseases relating to obesity are rapidly creeping up, soon to outstrip smoking as a leading cause of death. They are not taxed in accordance with their cost to society yet they burden society in a similar manner to smokers. I think it is wrong to ostracise smokers, they are not the only ones who present a burden and discomfort to society, they probably aren’t even the worst offenders.

    I thought smoking in playgrounds was illegal. Also, you can turn around to a smoker and ask them to move, or aim their smoke elsewhere. Many smokers will do just this and apologise. Rude smokers won’t, perhaps the ability to taser those smokers would be sufficient?

  25. Can we include cheap perfume and excessive aftershave as olfactory insults. I joke you not.

  26. You commented here that you thought that one would still be allowed to smoke in other privately owned premises if everyone using them agreed. You added that you were guessing.
    If there is any way that they can be classed as a workplace your guess is wrong.
    In September 2006 a court ruled that a meat company in Hastings could not provide a smoking room under any circumstances. The room provided was closed off with two sets of doors, nobody was ordered to clean it, so smokers would have to tidy it themselves. It was vented outside. It was pretty clear that all the people using it were happy to do so. The firm, Progressive Meats, offered it because food hygiene regulations basically meant that staff could not go outside without removing all their working gear and would take their whole break dressing and undressing.
    As far as I know that decision still stands.

  27. I worked on the 2004 legislation that banned smoking in bars and restaurants. At the time some submissions sought to ban smoking outdoors…but people who are addicted to smoking need to have somewhere to go for their cigarette. When I’m walking outdoors I hate getting a lungful of someone else’s smoke, and there’s evidence that those trying to quit get tempted by the whiff of passing ciggies so it’s hard on them too, but I don’t think it warrants a legislative remedy.

  28. “I see there is a new Tony. I was Tony here before he was so I will call myself Old Tony – not to be confused with the Real Tony who we haven’t heard from for a while.”

    Old Tony…hmmm, this is indeed a problem. I used to call you Fake Tony, but “Old” is alrightish. Shall we call the other one Nouveau Tony? What do you think Nouveau Tony?

    As for fagging in public…I quite like the smell of a durrie every now and then…very nostalgic.

  29. Youngish Tony?…nah…Nouveau Tony it is.

    Legalise all drugs, but crack down on users if they harm others. Simple

    That’ll sort out the real libertarians from the dabblers Nouveau Tony. Once you accept this logic, you can then bandy round the “Nanny State” cliche as much as you want…but somehow I doubt you have the conviction.

  30. What’s next after the purist do gooders have stamped out smoking…drinking, darts, motor racing, hang gliding? Everything has the potential to be dangerous to someone, whether the perpetrator or a bystander. As a boring long time extinguished ex smoker, I sometimes almost feel like starting smoking again, just to demonstrate that I can. I understand the banning of smoking in buildings but in the open I think the dangers are very much exaggerated. They always accompany these scare mongering statements with percentage figures that overwhelmingly support only their argument. Bullshit! If you drive without a seat belt or smoke you are an idiot, end of story, but if it is only going to harm you, why should we legislate against you? That reminds me…I must go down to the Council and get a pollution permit to blow my nose at 3.31 tomorrow afternoon.

  31. I’m a 67-year-old lady who’s been a two-packet-a-day smoker for more than 50 years. My right fingers are so stained by nicotine that the poor things look withered and jaundiced. My skin is so age-spotted and wrinkly, that when I squeeze-and-lift it, it resembles a chapati; my hair is so oily and limp that you can fry chips in it; my breath is so befouled by acrid odour, that when I speak, the person that I’m addressing recoils as if given an electric shock. But the worse thing is: that, if I forget to insert my falsies — having long lost all my pearlers — I tend to dribble from the corners of my mouth, requiring me to deploy my green rancid-coated tongue to coax the escaping drool back inside my mouth. It’s embarrassing, to be sure.

  32. @b.e…’..Nicotine is more addictive than heroin..’

    um..!..i presume you are a stickler for accuracy.. i feel i should correct you on that one..

    ..having been addicted to heroin/cocaine/barbiturates/tobacco..

    ..and having been able to see alcohol as an easy path/option..

    ..and having gone thru withdrawals from all those..

    ..and using none of those now..

    ..i feel i can speak with some authority on the subject of withdrawals…

    so on a scale of most addictive/worst withdrawals first..

    ..heroin..without a doubt..

    ..there is no way words can convey that sucker…

    ..(well there is..but that’s not for now..)

    ..and each successive habit you get on heroin..the withdrawals get worse..

    ..(btw..the worst..and the most evil drug on the planet is methadone…yes..!..i know..!

    barbiturates…also a nasty/dangerous withdrawal..almost up there with heroin..and best only done under medical-supervision..the others you can do solo..

    ..cocaine..i always found cocaine fairly easy to come-down/withdraw from…

    (..strong/body-stone pot will help to a large it will with all withdrawals..)

    ..and all over in a couple/few days..

    ..and the easiest of them was tobacco..

    ..after smoking for 15 yrs i just gave myself a date/day..meditated on full ashtrays for a get in the required mood of self-loathing/self-disgust..

    ..then i went looking for some weak pot…

    ..and each time the nicotine monkey kicked in..i wd take a puff or two off the weak joint… was a relative breeze..(and the pot works/helps with the withdrawals a treat..

    ..that whole tobacco is more addictive is really nothing more than an urban-myth..

    ..usually passed around by nicotine-addicts as a self-justifying whine…

    ..or by ex-smokers as an act of self-congratulation..

    ..but easy to believe if you haven’t experienced both..

    ..i hope that helps..


  33. I recently attended the rugby 7’s in fine Queenstown weather. Found myself a good spot near halfway amongst the large crowd. It’s not lost on me that in the context of discussing the effects of second hand smoke, the on-field activity is heavily dependent on the efficiency of the heart and lungs especially, as is my enjoyment of the event.

    Things going well until a woman lights up nearby, and the pleasant gentle breeze becomes a portal for toxic fumes from the choice this nicotine addict made. Defenders of tobacco on ‘freedom’ grounds would suggest to move away – but remember, it’s a large crowd, and the spot (to that point) was great. Why should I move?

    Also, in a scenario where there is no feedback from people (which would be unusual given the documented harm), no more controls or government regulations, and where there just the smoker and their cancer sticks, the eventual effects reveal these products are really Enemies of Choice.
    Did she understand how much her puffing was ruining the event? Even if not, it was.

    Also, moving wouldn’t prevent the harm done to those around her (children included). The misguided mindset which a couple of people have displayed that outdoors there is no harm has to be included in education efforts. Calls for greater education also reveal that people are not as ‘informed’ as it is made out to be.

    It’s a bit like saying that a 20c piece has no value because $1.00 is greater. Related to brief exposure, tobacco has a ‘debit value’ on health, and the effects over a sustained period of time collect. Since the human body is material, it constitutes parameters, even in the open air.

    Good on the health professionals for raising the issue, because who else will take the initiative if freedom from regulations is the call? Defenders of tobacco? Bollocks.

    The ‘smell’ of tobacco smoke is not absolute: it is a warning to your senses of environmental harm. The value inherent in the concept of ‘informed choice’ will be realised when smokers take the initiative to quit independent of regulations, based on personal understanding rather than the mere existence and supply of information regarding tobacco-related harm.

    But how many smokers acknowledge personally that they are addicted, whilst regarded by peers as making the ‘lifestyle choice’, which is really a deceptive concept in relation to smoking. Such regulation is needed as a catalyst to supporting people to quit.

    Even leaving smokers to consume their tacks, discussions about the effects of second-hand smoke will have account for the implications of collected brief exposures for non-smokers if the government get around to raising the retirement age. Not only are the heart and lungs (and the rest of the human constitution) necessary for enjoying 7’s, they’re also factors of production (in their own right).

  34. I totally think the author is correct, smoking outdoor may not come obvious in terms of biological harm, but when you walk past someone who smoke, and feel your breathing tubes irritated and coughed a little, it is a reminder that it is totally not your option to not being exposed to smoke. At the end, it doesn’t do any good for sure. Plus how many times have you seen smokers having their buds still on fire, and caught the public bins on fire. I’ve seen at least 3 and each time, i had to go up and use up my water bottle to extinguish the fire. Look, we human create such harmful habit, and it is our job to make sure our future generation can grow away from it.

  35. I wish they spent as much energy on child abuse as they do on a cigarette.

    If they did, NZ would have a hell of a lot less problems.

  36. right, too many “Tony’s” and nouveaux is too hard to type, so I’ve gone with “Tone” – the former one-off “Tony” who was also briefly “Young’ish Tony”. Apologies for my multiple personalities and all that.

    To the bleaters moaning that they don’t have the entire planet to use in accordance with their personal desires – stiff!

    I get peeved with loud music from neighbors, extraordinarily & unnecessarily loud cars, snotty obnoxious brats running loose in supermarkets, and agree with the earlier chap about folk with lashings of cheap and nasty perfumed water liberally scattered about themselves in public.

    All of these things are an imposition on my own peaceful enjoyment of the planet, and interfere with the environment as nature would have it. By the by, so too do construction projects, commercial enterprises, any form of mechanised transportation, and animals that are objecting vocally to being restrained by humans. I am confident that I can find another 40% of the population that will agree with me on at least some of these things if need be.

    So let’s ban the smokers from using open air facilities pronto. That will create the precedent for us to then move stealthily into all other areas that are offence to the desires of the minority. But we know better right?

    In no at all time we shall only have smokers dutifully paying massive taxes on their consumption, who are only allowed to smoke in the newly liberated dog kennels (but only if a nuclear power plant style air filtration system is installed and they have full resource consent approval from any humans living within 10 km of said kennel). We shall also have probably eliminated the rip-off-chinese-perfumes from public use – they too being restricted to use in suitably ventilated kennels.

    The new world according to the utterly selfish and righteous PC-nanny supporters will consist only of freely roaming obnoxious brats playing loud music from their extremely loud cars. But they will not smell of anything offensive.

    A much better society I am sure.

  37. The fundamental issue here is the inhalation of smokefrom combusted material. Smoke inhaled deliberately by those who aim to get whatever drug the smoke can carry into their lungs (e.g. nicotine, marijuana, heroin, crystal meth etc); and smoke inhaled passively when smoke is present in the surrounding air. The whole aim of the Smokefree movement is to minimise both in public and especially the smoke created from burning tobacco (and by extension marijuana – but one issue at a time).

    I agree that smoking tobacco in the open, in a park or playground, dilutes the smoke. The issue here is not the level of pollution, but the aim to denormalise the sight of tobacco smoking in public. It should never be “normal” to see a person deliberately inhaling smoke from combusted material – to see the drug “user” in public.

    It is unfortunate that tobacco addiction has a long history of being intertwined with human activity, and so allowed the development of the legal marketing of devices that enable smoke inhalation of combusted materials to occur. In this process we have legal growers, legal dealers, legal pushers, and legal users of processed tobacco that when burned yields the insecticide called nicotine as a drug of “enjoyment”.

    There are non smoke inhalation methods of obtaining nicotine, each with equal or lesser degrees of harm (for example, chewing tobacco causes far greater harm than chewing medicalised nicotine gum). So if a person still requires a nicotine “fix”, or just nicotine to prevent nicotine withdrawal, then let’s go down the path of harm reduction.

    However, in the case of denormalizing the public sight of people directly burning and inhaling combusted smoke, then having smokefree public spaces should be the norm. In other words for the general good society should ensure that cigarette / pipe / cigar smoking becomes a private activity that only harms the “user”.

    All public places following the above argument should be Smokefree.

  38. This is an interesting cross section of views on a subject that we all should have an opinion on. No one is unaffected by this. What I find interesting is the number of people who are apparently incapable of expressing an opinion they hold without overtly or covertly making a personal attack on other people who they believe may see things differently. Don’t they realize what a turn off this is to the reader. For my part when I see such stuff I simply stop reading and go on to the next writer.

  39. We inhale second hand smoke from combusted material everywhere we go, other than some parts of the Planet where there are few humans. We also merrily inhale a myriad of toxic substances that we manufacture. In that respect we are akin to ants blithely manufacturing insecticide.

    The “denormalising” argument is again a nice way of nanny marketing the message, but it is a method of ostracising a segment of society engaging in permitted behaviour.

    That is just fundamentally wrong.

  40. I found giving up a gram a day P habit easier than giving up smoking.

    Smoking is awful. I hate it. Yet after more attempts to quit than i can count – i recently started again.

    I honestly wish with everything i have in me that the “nanny” would just go the whole way and make it illegal.

    It is an awful addiction and i feel like the only thing that will cure me is the thought that i would be breaking the law if i did it.

    I am sure that there are many, many smokers out there that feel the same way that i do.

  41. Smoking is disgusting.

    So is farting, cheap perfume/cologne, BO, the smell of certain foods, etc and so on.

    You want to ban those Brian?

    BE: A total non-argument, Millsy. Not worth responding to.

  42. Banning smoking everywhere will make public health officials feel good.

    Banning smoking everywhere will make (some) non smokers feel good.

    It is difficult for public health officials to justify their existence. Like what achievements can they point to?

    A total smoking ban is something they can point to as an achievement. This ensures future funding for their jobs.

    It will not make any significant difference to our health statistics, and, even if it did (unlikely),it would take about 200 years to show up.

    I await with interest to hear about the first death certificate to attribute death to smoking cigarettes. I await with even greater interest to hear about the first death certificate to attributed to secondary smoke inhalation (where from? A passing car, a barbecue?).

    No, I am not a smoker. No, I have no interest in any tobacco company.

    I am deeply suspicious of “authority figures” telling us ignorant peasants how to behave.

    Some scientifically debatable ideas would be helpful.

    Statistics do not (often) present grounds for action.

    Statistics is not a science, it is an amalgam of sudoku, kenken, scrabble and research ego. Remember the epidemiologist from Auckland University who had “proved” butter was a poison.

    I rest my case.

    If smoking is to be banned so should the consumption of butter be banned.

    BE: “I rest my case. If smoking is to be banned so should the consumption of butter be banned.”

    You have no case. Confident assertion of non-facts doesn’t make them facts. Your final sentence is a total non sequitur, a non-argument.

  43. be @ butter..

    (i’m not trying to be a contrarian here..but..)

    other addictions i shed were to flesh/blood/fat..

    ..i then shed animal bye-products as well…

    ..and have as part of that dietary/health change looked at the health implication of that creature-based diet..

    ..some of which can be found here:

    (search-link will also offer a smashing pumpkins song with butter in the title..but hey..!’s a great clip/song..!..)

    and that purely laymans’ research has led me to conclude that butter/dairy is a form of slow-death…

    ..and the/a case can be made that dairy now is not that different from tobacco at the first health-awareness-stirring days..

    ..(and the first story in that cache is the butter-queen chef in america admitting she actually has diabetes…

    ..from eating butter/dairy/animal-fats..)

    ..then of course there is that little-known-about attempt at auckland university five or so years prove that dairy is healthy/good for you…

    ..the study/experiment was funded by fonterra..

    ..and the scientists/researchers were tasked with providing scientific-proof of how good dairy is for you…

    ..and as part of the study human subjects were given measured dosed of dairy..

    ..and then tested..

    ..the experiment had to be pulled/closed-down…

    ..because the human subjects were all suffering measurable negative health-outcomes..

    ..and to continue subjecting them to this (literally) poison set off all sorts of ethical alarm-bells.. ended/discreet curtain drawn over the whole proceedings..


    ..(‘why didn’t they tell us..?’..i hear you ask..) that ‘early-stages’ comparison between ciggies and butter/dairy..

    ..the advice we hear know is like the first/hesitant murmmerings of the anti-tobacco voice/warnings..

    ..urgings to just ‘cut down to ten a day’…

    ..i mean..where can you find health advice urging you to consume even more of what i have come to view as yellow-muck..

    ..aside of course from the ads on television exhorting you to consume more/normalising consumption..

    ..much like the doctors in the ciggie-ads used to..


  44. You seem to have some sort of agenda against me, Brian.

    BE: Oh dear, Millsy, that’s worrisome thinking.

  45. Smoking is an addiction. Addiction skews judgement (just look at the butt-strewn entrance to Auckland hospital). Legislation is a DEFENCE, on behalf of sensible, aware people against this behaviour. Too bad it had /has to come – but I refer you back to my second sentence.

  46. In case you missed the news last year – 2025 is the date set, by the Government, for this nation to be effectively smokefree (i.e. 1-3% still smoke – self grow). This came about post the Maori Affairs Select Committee Inquiry on the insidious (read that as murderous) tobacco industry. This was the number one goal! And it has political support! If the deaths of 5000 each year is not enough incentive to rid this country of this ‘product’ then nothing will..PS and those that preach “personal choice” delve back in history and you will find the tobacco industry introduced that very phrase for the masses (then) to fight on their behalf – there is NO personal choice when you have a product designed specifically to addict its users!

  47. BE

    The anti smoking lobby relies on statistical co relation between smoking and lung cancer.

    The original statistical analysis was pretty damn good. I have no argument against it.

    There is a very high probability of a RISK of contracting lung cancer if one is a smoker.

    There is absolutely no certainty of getting lung cancer(or any other malaise) through smoking.

    There is no strong case ever presented that would indicate “secondary smoke” presents a feasible risk, let alone a co relation with health. I concede there maybe a possible connection with people who spend a lot of time with smokers in confined quarters. This has never been established in any statistically (let alone scientifically) plausible manner.

    The Auckland University epidemiologist who famously declared butter to be a poison relied on statistics. That is what epidemiologists do.

    My point being if local bodies are going to rely on statistics to ban things they should ban butter as well smoking. After all, a local “expert” has “proved” butter is a poison.

    I am still puzzled what at what “non facts” I confidently asserted.

    Clarification please.

  48. I have my opinions on this issue, but what I really would like to say is, Brian, get rid of your comment responses. You had your opportunity to share your opinion and take up all the space you want, you can even respond via another article if you so desire. The fact that you’re responding to half the comments, mostly to argue for your side of discussion, is both annoying, and a little petty. Let the discussion happen on it’s own. We know where you stand, you wrote an entire article from that position, let people comment without having to readdress your constant rebuttals.

    BE: I tried that for a period and got nothing but complaints from readers and commenters who missed the fun. I’m Northern Irish and an arguer. I’m afraid you’ll just have to live with it.

  49. I don’t mind people sucking on the ciggy, as long as they don’t exhale. If you watch a smoker, they just suck on it now and then, most of the cigarette just burns up and pollutes the air around it.