Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'Smoking'

La Leche and Piri Weepu: when helpful persuasion becomes harmful fanaticism.

PIcture: TV3

A great deal has already been written about the pressure brought by the La Leche League, the New Zealand College of Midwives and Plunket to have a 2-second clip of Piri Weepu bottle-feeding his baby daughter Taylor removed from an anti-smoking TV ad produced by the Health Sponsorship Council.

Though unconnected, the Weepu story followed close on the heels of widespread protest against Facebook which had effectively banned a photograph of a Sydney mother breastfeeding her baby from one breast while expressing milk with a pump from the other.

Both stories were about censorship. Facebook had censored the photograph of the Sydney woman because it breached its rule that a woman’s breast could only be shown if she were using it to feed a baby; any other depiction of a naked female breast was regarded as a gratuitous display.

The La Leche League, the New Zealand Colleague of Midwives and Plunket had used their influence to persuade the Health Sponsorship Council to censor a 2-second film clip of Weepu bottle-feeding his baby because, they argued, it would damage their message that ‘breast is best’. La Leche League director Alison Stanton observed, ‘It’s really important that those messages are consistent across the board.’   Read the rest of this entry »


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.  Read the rest of this entry »


Incoherent Rave about Smoking, Nanny State, Spring, Phil Goff, Obesity and Low Self-Esteem



Photo: Greg Bowker/Herald

Photo: Greg Bowker/Herald

I read that New York’s Health Commissioner, Thomas Farley, has said he wants to take the Big Apple’s war on smokers to the city’s beaches and parks. There will be the inevitable cries of ‘Nanny State’ from smokers and possibly even from some civil libertarians. My own view is that the only right smokers have consists in the freedom to very slowly take their own lives, as uncomplainingly and as far away from the rest of us as possible. This may seem harsh, but there really is no difference between the smoker and the heroin user. Both are drug addicts. I hear no argument in favour of junkies having the right to shoot up in public places, whether indoor or out. Read the rest of this entry »