News Archive

Smoking ban outside Brighton’s restaurants and pubs proposed

The crackdown on those people who enjoy the pleasures of a smoke continues; smokers are very aware of the ban on smoking in public places such as restaurants and pubs. Some smokers actually agree that enjoying a cigarette, pipe or cigar after a meal, whilst being a wonderful experience to them, can cause discomfort to others who may still be eating.

However, authorities in the Sussex seaside resort of Brighton and nearby Hove are taking things a step further, which is a step too far in many peoples estimation. This time they are proposing that cafes, restaurants and pubs with outside eating areas will be asked to consider introducing a voluntary smoking ban and it is all part of a move by city council and NHS bosses in Brighton and Hove to help reduce the impact of smoking in the city.

This move follows on from a consultation that was run by the council in 2015, asking people for their views about smoking in public spaces outside. A majority of those people who were asked supported the idea of banning smoking in those restaurants and pubs with outdoor seating, which they suggested should be smoke free. The other suggestion that smoking should be banned in parks and on the beaches was thrown out, respondents to the survey considered that it was anti-social to smoke where people are eating and drinking.

Already moves are afoot to begin the ban and following interviews conducted on twelve businesses, including cafés, restaurants and pubs from the North Laine, Brighton Marina and city park areas, ten have indicated that they support the idea.

The suggestion is a voluntary one and unlike the national ban on smoking in public places indoors, there is no legislation to impose a ban on outdoor areas, but because the concept is entirely voluntary, many business owners are very sceptical and some are concerned that they could lose loyal customers. One business owner already asks smokers not to smoke near children and to move away if any were near.

Brighton’s Pavilion Gardens Café is run by David Sewell, in a comment he said that although he had never smoked in his life, you must be aware of what the customers want, for example if it was a blanket ban and not a voluntary arrangement it would be easier to enforce it. For example, he went on, “If every café decided to introduce a ban then we would follow suit but if you are on your own then it could lead to you losing customers who come every day. You either say no smoking at all, or in this case ask them to use their common sense.”

Needless to say the proposal had a mixed reaction from people in the seaside resort, as you may expect, because the majority now appear to be non-smokers, most comments are in favour of the proposal, but it also has brought out the usual comments that are not related in any way to smoking, such as tables on pavements. But one cynic has retorted by saying: “Yes, we must protect people from a small amount of cigarette smoke whilst totally ignoring the masses of toxic diesel fumes belching out of the buses, taxis, vans and lorries in the city centre.”

Man jailed for nine years and six months for smoking in plane toilet

Smokers in general, much like the vast majority of the population of the UK are law abiding and obey laws. But, as always there is always the exception to the rule and 46 year old John Cox from Kidderminster believed that the law applied to everyone but himself, that is where he got it wrong and found out to his cost.

Any of us who have flown on commercial aircraft in the last few years must know that they are non-smoking and that means anywhere on the aircraft. We are warned that smoking in the toilet is not only forbidden, it can be dangerous and the detectors will react if someone decides to light up.

Well not only did Cox decide that it did not apply to him, he actually threw a lit cigarette into the aircraft, toilet waste bin causing it to catch fire. The Monarch Airbus was flying at 33,000 feet at the time, and destined for Sharm el Sheik; the incident caused the aircraft captain to issue a mayday call and he considered an emergency landing when the crew struggled to extinguish the resulting fire.

This was not the first time that a smoke detector had gone off, although it was in another toilet and the fire was put out by the crew. The captain then issued a strongly worded warning about the ‘moronic’ conduct of smoking on board, only for it to happen a few hours later. On arrival in Egypt Cox was detained later to be arrested on his return to the UK.

Once again alcohol was involved, during the court case it was revealed that Cox had been drinking before and during the flight, and was abusive and aggressive to other passengers and the crew, the captain, who had flown for Monarch for 20 years, said he had never experienced an incident with so much potential danger. Also Lady Justice Sharp said: ‘The level of culpability and potential for harm is at the highest level.

Cox pleaded guilty to arson and being reckless as to whether life was endangered and was jailed for four years and six months at Birmingham Crown Court in January. However, an appeal was lodged and the Court of Appeal has ruled the sentence was too lenient and jailed Cox for nine years and six months. Will he get the message now we wonder?

Vaping laws are changing in the UK

Although new stringent laws relating to tobacco are shortly to come into effect, these include a ban on packs of 10 cigarettes, the phasing out of menthol brands, plus plain and even more graphic packaging of the cigarettes. The millions that have turned to vaping, considered by many experts to be far safer than smoking tobacco, firmly believed that they would be exempt from the draconian laws affecting tobacco, but if so then they are in for a disappointment!

The Tobacco Products Directive comes into force on May 20th which has raised questions and concerns with vapers, and in the industry. Firstly vaping will not be banned, but some accuse the Government of doing all they can to discourage the use of the products without banning it outright. This all seems rather draconian when vaping is a recognised method of weaning people away from tobacco products.

In total there are seven new requirements which are:

  • Restricting e-cigarette tanks to a capacity of no more than 2ml.
  • Restricting the maximum volume of e-liquid for sale in one refill container to 10ml.
  • Restricting e-liquids to nicotine strength of no more than 20mg/ml.
  • Requiring nicotine-containing products or their packaging to be child-resistant and tamper evident.
  • Banning certain ingredients that include colourings, caffeine and taurine.
  • Labelling to require warnings for e-cigarettes and e-liquids
  • E-cigarettes and e-liquids must be notified to heath regulators before they can be sold.

Clearly the new regulations are seen as an erosion of the freedom vapers have had until now.

From the manufacturers of the products and the liquids, they view it as a concern that they will be required to tell the regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, about new products coming onto the market.  They point out that a lot of what is now law is already carried out on a voluntary basis by reputable dealers and manufacturers, of more concern is the fact that the cost of complying with the new laws will be passed on to vapers.

Manufacturers have been aware of the new regulations for a year now, but vapers, in general, are completely unaware, some vapers will not understand why their vapes are weaker and smaller on May 20. The suggestion is that it would be wise to stock now before their vapes are taken off the market.

Obesity not smoking is the top cause of preventable deaths

For years we smokers have been subjected to a barrage of negative comments about the pleasure of a cigarette or cooling smoke through a bong, telling us on numerous occasions that we are not only killing ourselves, but costing the NHS billions of pounds!  The last suggestion may seem strange considering the amount of duty and tax that our pleasure brings to the treasury, but that is another matter.

Now the target is people who are overweight, as it has been reported that being obese can increase your chance of heart disease and stroke, which are the world’s biggest killers and having a bulging waistline is now the leading cause of preventable deaths, all according to a team of scientists from the Cleveland Clinic.

The data, which was collated using 2014 data on causes-of-death in the US and analysing behavioural risk factors that may have contributed to the deaths put obesity ahead of smoking and they went on to suggest that obese people lost as much as 47 per cent more life years than those who smoke. This is a big turnaround from fifteen years ago, and then tobacco would have topped the list as the leading cause of preventable deaths.

This is of course not the first time that obesity has been highlighted as the cause of preventable deaths; here in the UK levels have more than trebled in the last 30 years and, on current estimates, more than half the population could be obese by 2050, according to the NHS. Other figures that have been obtained show that in the year 2015, pharmacies in England dispensed just under half a million products for treating obesity at a cost of £13.9 million. In that year 6,000 or more people underwent obesity ops like gastric bypasses stomach stapling and gastric band maintenance in England alone!

Being overweight can cause a person to have heart problems, this is well known and it is one of the biggest killers in the world. Currently there is a war on sugar as a means of trying to get obesity levels down, but portion sizes, snacking on crisps and chocolate must play a huge part. Before we become too sanctimonious, heart disease and stroke, two of the world’s biggest killers, can be caused by both smoking as well as obesity.

What are the new cigarette laws aimed to decrease the number of smokers?

Do you know that new laws on tobacco and cigarettes is coming into force in a few weeks? Here is all you need to know about the new laws and how it will affect smokers.

What are the new laws?

In a drive by the government to decrease smoking in the UK cigarettes will no longer be available in packs of 10; this includes smaller packs of rolling tobacco too. The news actually came into force in May last year, but suppliers and shops were given a year in order to shift their stockpiles.

The ban comes into effect on May 20th 2017, meaning that you will no longer be able to buy 10 pack of cigarettes and smaller rolling tobacco packs (less than 30 grams). Some flavoured tobacco products including fruit, spice, candy and vanilla will also be banned at the same time.

So, by May 21st the cheapest packet of cigarettes will retail for £8.82, putting more pressure on smokers to cut down or quit altogether.

Many smokers would have noticed that their cigarette packets have change recently too. Branding on tobacco products is being phased out and being replaced by plain packets with graphic health warnings printed on them.

Under the new laws, menthol cigarettes, which many experts say are often aimed at younger smokers are also being phased out. A complete ban on menthol tobacco products will take effect on May 20th 2020.

Why are the rules changing?

Officially known as the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016, it is part of the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive designed to deter young people from starting smoking and help current smokers quit.

The laws are designed to overhaul the sale, advertising and packaging of tobacco products to make smoking less appealing.

What do you think about the new laws? Add your comments below.

NHS Hospital will not enforce a smoking ban on its premises as it would put patients in danger of speeding vehicles

The management of the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals in Dorset have been forced to defend their decision to not to ban smoking in the grounds of its hospital premises. They made the decision not to ban smoking in the grounds of the hospital because, it their opinion, believes doing so would put patients in danger of speeding vehicles. Government health officials have been putting pressure on hospitals and last week Public Health England chief executive Duncan Selbie wrote to all NHS trusts urging them to impose total bans on their premises.

Richard Renaut, who is chief operating officer of Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said in defence of the defiance to the pressure from Government: “We currently have a number of designated smoking areas across the Trust and if we ban smoking on our grounds altogether, as we have tried, it pushes staff, patients and visitors to smoke close to the main roads around the hospital which compromises their personal safety, especially at night.” He went on to say that they had tried the ban, but it resulted in forcing smokers dangerously close to the adjacent main road where cars and lorries frequently travel at 50 mph. This is not the only hospital in the area which has defied the Government health officials’ pressure, Poole hospital is also allowing smokers to continue lighting up on their premises in designated shelters “away from the main hospital buildings”.

Naturally, anti-smoking groups have been quick to respond, Deborah Arnott, chief executive of the campaign group ASH, said: “Smoking is still the leading cause of preventable premature death in Britain killing nearly 100,000 people a year compared to less than 2,000 who die from road traffic accidents. The hospital should be doing more to support quitting not facilitating smoking.” The BMA has been quick also, commenting that hospitals were “colluding” and it was “misguided sympathy” Richard Renaut, said that the Bournemouth Hospitals Trust is actively taking proactive measures to help those people who want to quit smoking cigarettes.

Methods such as nicotine replacement in the form of patches can be used to help people. But, as we have seen, vaping is now an increasingly popular method of nicotine delivery and is one favoured by an increasing number of health officials.

Health experts claim postcode lottery is hitting people wanting to quit smoking

The expression “postcode lottery” is very much in vogue at present, even though it has nothing whatsoever to do with winning millions of pounds, although we feel sure there will be one somewhere. Nowadays, it is generally used to determine the performance of public bodies which fall within a certain postal area. This is what happened when evidence, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, showed that that an increasing number of clinical commissioning groups have been instructing GPs to stop providing help to those wanting to quit smoking.

When, in 2012, local authorities were made responsible for improving public health, they were given £2.8bn of grants, which were, at the time, ring fenced. Since then the grants have been pared back and councils have become more cash strapped and have looked for services to cut to keep the books balanced, cessation of smoking was one area that was hit.

Doctors have been providing treatments such as replacement nicotine therapy in the form of Zyban and Champix. Normally counselling was also provided and the results have been impressive. Figures obtained suggest that nearly a quarter of a million people stopped smoking in the 12 months to April 2015 as a result of using the services, which is success rate of 51%. However, as an example, one County Council Worcestershire has said that services to help quit smoking will only be given to pregnant women.

This of course has put Clinical Commissioning Groups in a difficult position having to explain to patients that the service to help them is no longer available. Other groups have also been similarly affected; East Kent, York and Somerset. Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead are amongst the increasing numbers.

Pressure groups such as Ash has found that smoking cessation budgets have been cut in almost three in five authorities and it could be that more smokers wanting to stop, or reduce the amount of cigarettes they smoked, will turn to the use of vaping which, according to a recent study funded by Cancer research UK, showed that this was far safer then cigarette use.

University study reveals that vaping is safer than smoking

This recent study seems to confirm something which, for many who use vape pens as an alternative to smoking cigarettes, vaping is safer and they feel better in themselves. Many of us as are aware that there has been a lot of misinformation that has been put out about vaping, but now this latest study has found that after the six month study, the scientists found that smokers who switched from real to e-cigarettes had far fewer toxins and cancer-causing substances in their bodies than continual smokers.

The experts who carried out the study are suggesting that their findings will reassure those that are anxious to quit who have been confused by mixed messages about the safety of e-cigarettes, will now be reassured.

Naturally those who are wanting to stop smoking cigarettes, or even those that feel that vaping is a safer alternative, it is necessary for smokers to switch over completely to e-cigarettes, those that did not make a “clean break” from cigarettes still had significant amounts of tobacco-related toxins in their saliva and urine.

The lead author of the report, Dr Lion Shahab, from University College London, reported that e-cigarettes, or vaping, is far safer than smoking, and suggests that there is a very low risk associated with their long-term use.

The study was funded by Cancer research UK and the scientists studied included smokers and ex-smokers who had used e-cigarettes, as well as other alternatives such as patches and nasal sprays, for the six month period of the study. The results have shown that e-cigarette-only users had 97% lower levels of one toxic chemical, NNAL which is a chemical associated with smoking tobacco, it is associated with lung cancer.

British experts have been quick to welcome the findings, Dr Ed Stephens, senior research fellow at the University of St Andrews for example said: “This paper confirms the potential benefits of e-cigarettes and contributes to the growing body of evidence that the risk from chemicals in vapour is far lower than in cigarette smoke when an e-cigarette is used as the manufacturer intended.”

Experts agree that there is growing evidence that e-cigarettes are a much safer alternative to tobacco, and it does suggest the long term effects of these products will be minimal.

Age limits on e-cigarettes has seen a rise in pregnant teens smoking tobacco

The message appears to be confusing, on the one hand evidence, we are told, is that smoking cigarettes is bad for both a pregnant female as well as the unborn child. On the other hand, numerous studies suggest that e-cigarettes do not pose the same risk, yet more “experts” are saying that they should not be used by expectant mothers!

It is known that when teenagers become pregnant the use of cigarettes slows during pregnancy, but since new legislation was introduced created in 2010 there was a 14% increase in pregnant teens smoking tobacco. What this all means is that retailers more strictly enforce e-cigarette regulations than the identical laws banning cigarette smoking for under-18s, no it doesn’t make sense does it. In the summer of 2016in America, new rules went into effect stating you have to be 18 to buy e-cigs and you have to show an ID if you’re aged under 27.

The result is that pregnant teen smokers cannot to switch to an alternative so when they fall pregnant they simply carry on using cigarettes, directly as a result of these new laws making e-cigarettes illegal for under-18s, far more strictly enforced than the identical age limit on tobacco products.

Many surveys have been carried out, particularly in the “States” where during 2014 a number of them enacted laws which are designed to reduce access to them, the most common policy was a minimum legal sale age of 18, enacted by 40 states between 2010 and 2014. The results of these surveys show that use of tobacco increased.

We find it difficult to understand why the law is so strictly enforced concerning the use of e-cigarettes, but not so for tobacco use, particularly when e-cigarettes are regarded as being a safer alternative, more so in the case of expectant mothers!


Facebook is more addictive than smoking

Checking Facebook is an addiction for most of us, the writer included, but in this case reminders appear on my smartphone that I have been mentioned and being   an animal of intense curiosity I simply have to look, usually disappointed with the result!

Now we hear that this is more addictive than smoking and the social media site has joined the likes of alcohol, sweets and junk food to become one of the New Year resolutions that we want to quit, and which most of us allow to fall by the wayside in the shiny New Year! Now it may be a surprise to some, but according to a recently published study, carried out by online local services marketplace, that questioned 1,500 people concerning their New Year’s resolutions, more of those asked wanted to quit social media rather than smoking.

The figures quoted are not enormous, but they are still significant, because it appears that 8% wanted to stop smoking, whilst 10% opted for quitting social media that included the likes of Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat too.

We are told that excessive social media usage could be bad for our health, increasing levels of depression, even the eminent University of Copenhagen published a study in which they say: “Regular use of social networking such as Facebook can negatively affect your emotional wellbeing and satisfaction with life.”

So why not “bite the bullet” and quit social media, add smoking to it and use vaping as an alternative, you know it makes sense!

social media addict