William Saunderson-Meyer
William Saunderson-Meyer

The Free when-it-suits-us Market Foundation

When one finds oneself cheering the combined team of the Tobacco Institute and the Free Market Foundation – the latter with surely about as much credibility in a post-financial meltdown world as the Lenin Institute of Economic Innovation – one must perhaps pause and head for a neurological examination.

Certainly it was disconcerting to be agreeing with ultra-libertarian Leon Louw, executive director of the Free Market Foundation. He was weighing in against the Health ministry’s contentious plans to ban all smoking in public places.

‘If you allow this to happen, you have effectively opened the sluice gates,’ said Louw. ‘No way will the nico-nazis be satisfied. They will keep on moving the goal posts. Is that the society you want?’

He was supported by Chris Hart, chief economist at Investment Solutions, who in an address to the Foundation said that the proposals were ‘unconstitutional, impractical and ill-considered’. Louw and Hart share the approach of the Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa that while the regulation of smoking in public places was fair enough, the draft regulations went too far and were excessively restrictive.

Their arguments are mainly economic and, in the case of Louw, the right of the individual to freedom of choice and minimal state interference. The new law would abolish dedicated smoking areas, erected at considerable cost, effectively banning smoking anywhere except in private homes – where the kiddies that the government is ostensibly trying to protect mostly are.

There would be significant knock-on effects on economic activity and employment, argues Louw. In Ireland, 11% of pubs were forced to close within four years of a total smoking ban.

Louw forgets that for a government which is allowing its Health ministry virtually free rein to curb unhealthy habits – resulting in the loss of literally billions of rands of economic benefit that the planned ban on liquor advertising and liquor industry involvement in sport sponsorship will mean – a knock-on effect on public drinking will probably be welcomed.

In reality, it is licensed restaurants and pubs, which will dutifully obey the new laws, that will be economically penalised. The steadily growing shebeen industry, mostly operating unlicensed and unpoliced, will score by ignoring the law. The Township Liquor Industry Association, which says the regulations are more stringent than laws in the apartheid years, has already demanded an exemption.

The critical argument against the new legislation, raised by the Law Review Project, is that the new law is being made by executive decree, not through the parliamentary process. “This amounts to a direct violation of the constitutional requirement of separation of powers,’ said spokesperson Tebogo Sewapa.

The LRP believes that the draft regulations show there was ‘no longer a legitimate desire to defend the rights of non-smokers, but rather act as a draconian intervention against those of smokers’. The Health ministry should rely on common laws governing nuisance, property rights, freedom of association, and contracts. ‘Smoking is a vice, not a crime, just as it is not a criminal offence to be obese, have reckless recreations, or be dishonest without committing fraud,’ Sewapa said.

The objection to government executive fiat in a constitutional state is one that the government should seriously think about. So, too, should the opposition Democratic Alliance.

The march that the African National Congress national government is trying to steal with its anti-smoking regulations is no different from the DA-ruled Western Cape government’s decree that it will arbitrarily seize the cellphones of motorists who use their phones while driving.

Both the ANC and DA are acting unconstitutionally but believe that their patently good intentions outweigh constitutional niceties. Both are wrong. The true test of constitutional commitment is acceptance of its strictures when the call goes against one.

Strangely, the Free Market Foundation hasn’t whispered a word about the DA trampling upon motorists’ right to due legal process and freedom from the arbitrary seizure of private property. So is that the society you want, Mr Louw?

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    • Marcus Dlamini

      This is only half the story. I am sure a little bit of digging will uncover ties between the FMF and the tobacco industry.

    • http://none Lyndall Beddy

      You have left out the economic reality.

      The government will lose billions of rand from the sin-tax on tobacco – probably 100 times more loss of taxes than saving on Health Care.

      The joke is the European Union, which also is anti-smoking, actually encourage their farmers to pull out olive trees (which bind the soil and produce healthy olive oil) to grow tobacco because of the profits!

    • http://www.southafricana.blogspot.com Dave Harris

      The Law Review Project is another NGO bankrolled by undisclosed sources, probably also funded by some corporation with tobacco interests, to maintain the status quo regardless of the DESTRUCTION caused by smoking causes on the collective health. These usual suspects, acting in corporate interests, are hoping slow down the passage of this legislation. just as they did with the Protection of State Information Bill, while our democracy pays the price for these legal shenanigans.

      Your comparison of smoking to obesity is infantile! An obese person does not endanger the health of others as in the case of smokers with their deadly second hand smoke! Simplistically comparing the ANC initiative to ban smoking in public places to the white tribal DA party´s apartheid style seizure of personal property – a flagrant violation of our Constitution, is equally bizarre and shows your fundamental misunderstanding of democracy!

    • Tal

      Is it not possible to provide accurate figures for “sin tax” government revenue on tobacco products and compare it with proven government expenditure on smoking-related problems? Surely this is not an impossible requirement?

      Let’s see the numbers, whichever way they may point.

      I am less interested in tobacco industry job arguments. These start in agriculture (other high value crops are surely possible) and go on into a value chain that is adaptable. There is a cost, certainly, but once again I’d like to see a reliable set of figures.

      Disclaimer: I am a smoker. (I would appreciate similar disclosure in further comments)

    • Reducto

      In the middle of his rant, Harris does say one sensible thing: comparing smoking to obesity is ridiculous due to the latter not hurting anyone else. But then he shows this statement comes from nothing more than blind loyalty to the ANC in his trashing of the initiative to deal with self-centred drivers in Cape Town.

      Firstly, the ban on smoking in all public places goes too far, as it stops smokers from even smoking in designated smoking areas that are properly sealed off from everyone else. This goes well beyond protecting non-smokers from smokers.

      Secondly, drivers who speak on their cellphones pose a danger to other people’s bodily integrity and lives. When a fine was all one could get, they acted like there wasn’t even a law in place! South African motorists care more about their own convenience than the more fundamental rights of others. As a Capetonian I have already seen a decline in idiots with one hand on the wheel and one hand holding a cellphone to their ear. This is a necessary outcome that mere fines did not achieve, and it is indisputable that lives are going to be saved. As I already discussed in WSM’s other blog, this may very well pass a limitation’s analysis in terms of section 36 of the Constitution.

      So, ultimately, the plans to ban smoking in public places goes well beyond what is necessary. But the confiscation of cellphones, while drastic, is necessary given the selfishness of motorists who could care less if they get fined.

    • http://southafricana.blogspot.com Dave Harris

      @Reducto
      Saying the smoking ban, which is in line with the practices in most democracies around the world, is excessive is crazy talk! Just like saying discrimination is necessary like during the apartheid years.

      “confiscation of cellphones, while drastic, is necessary”
      Nowhere else in the world is think kind of confiscation of one’s personal property condoned.

      See a pattern here, on how the minds of these beneficiaries of apartheid, like Reducto and William, functions? They have SO much to learn about democracy. :-(

    • LittleBobPete

      I come from a family where both my parents smoked over 50 a day. I personally have never put a cigerette to my lips ever. But, if others around me do so, I don’t get on my high horse and bitch……..even as a non smoker, I agree these laws are draconian.

      A far bigger and more pressing problem this country faces is the problem of fast foods and cold fizzy drinks……….obesity and diabetes will have a far worse impact on our general state of health than either smoking or alcohol ever will.

      There should be massive sin taxes on both fast foods and fizzy drink manufacturers. Oh yes…..that will never happen here, ANC chaps have their fingers in those pies!

    • Anne Coventry

      The plain fact that these laws are no longer about protecting anyone but about punishing a sector of the population is what is wrong with them. One of the best things about the ANC government so far is that they haven’t nannied us – but this is probably only because they can’t yet get the bigger things right, so don’t have time to worry about the little things. Once lawmakers have time on their hands they turn to interfering in our personal lives.

      Why doesn’t the population and the government become just as concerned about making the air safe by doing more about pollution caused by exhaust fumes and factories? If second hand smoke does so much damage, what does this pollution do? Sitting in a traffic jam for hours must be far worse than the occasional whiff of second hand tobacco smoke. Is it only second hand smoke that is of concern because smokers are easy targets?

    • MLH

      As a smoker, I hardly ever go to restaurants anymore, anyway and it’s years since I lit up in anyone’s home unless they gave me express permission. However, I do think perspective in health matters has been completely lost.
      Why don’t we insist all girls from nine upwards wear chastity belts to protect them from AIDS? Pointless exercise when so many younger have already been raped.
      Why don’t we ban alcohol completely outside the home? Oh, of course, so much alcohol-related abuse occurs inside the home.
      Why don’t we do something constructive about licensing all drivers properly? But wouldn’t that cut additional income earned by those in the licensing sector.
      Why don’t we ban all 4 x 4s, since every rev produces more foul smoke that one of my cigarettes? Oh, I did forget, the state is pro the auto industry because the ANC fancies itself in smart vehicles.
      I could go on for hours, but luckily, the only public place where I am a regular visitor and like to have a cigarette, is peopled by workers who also smoke, so we all duck behind the nearest building to do so. If 50m distance were possible, I’d do it. But in an urban area, it simply isn’t.

    • Dominic Lee

      “Dave Harris” is not as funny as it used to be. In fact, the previous writer was much better. It used to be contentious, uncomfortable and prone to make you stop and think even if you disagreed. But it’s gotten kinda predictable now and really needs some new blood (or maybe recall the previous writer?) to keep it relevant. Just my 2c as a fan.

    • Reducto

      @Harris: Funny you dealt with nothing I had to say on why the smoking ban is excessive and why cellphone confiscation is necessary. I’ll post it again for you, given you have such trouble reading:

      Firstly, the ban on smoking in all public places goes too far, as it stops smokers from even smoking in designated smoking areas that are properly sealed off from everyone else. This goes well beyond protecting non-smokers from smokers.

      Secondly, drivers who speak on their cellphones pose a danger to other people’s bodily integrity and lives. When a fine was all one could get, they acted like there wasn’t even a law in place! South African motorists care more about their own convenience than the more fundamental rights of others. As a Capetonian I have already seen a decline in idiots with one hand on the wheel and one hand holding a cellphone to their ear. This is a necessary outcome that mere fines did not achieve, and it is indisputable that lives are going to be saved. As I already discussed in WSM’s other blog, this may very well pass a limitation’s analysis in terms of section 36 of the Constitution.

    • Max

      I agree with Anne. If second hand tobacco smoke (hysterically described as DEADLY by Harris) is so harmful, then where is the outrage about car fumes and especially truck fumes and factory smoke? And braai smoke!

    • Reducto

      In fact, had the ANC come up with the idea to confiscate cellphones and the DA the smoking ban, you can be sure Dave Harris’ comment would read like this:

      > Beneficiaries of apartheid just want to keep endangering people by talking on their phones while driving their fancy cars. He’d find a way to racialise the issue.

      > Beneficiaries of apartheid want to import smoking regulations from western countries. He’d find a way to racialise the issue.

      He wouldn’t actually deal with the merits or demerits of either. His argument would be based purely on the fact that the ANC came up with the one, and the DA the other.

    • Enough Said

      I agree with William Saunderson Meyer. The Free Market Foundation, like political parties are very selective what free market principles they like to employ.

    • cyberdog

      @redacto: Wrong, there is no sense in Harris’s drivel. Comparing obesity and smoking is acceptable, as is throwing in the cellphone saga into the mix. The comparison is not about the harms or effects of the actions, but about each of the persons right to freedom. A right to choose whether they want to overeat, smoke, or drink, or talk on their cellphone. Yes there are consequences, and people need to not only be aware of these, they should also take responsibility of the results of their actions. It is called accountability. However, bringing in draconian laws that equal communism and slavery is NOT acceptable. Also brushing aside a persons constitutional right by illegally taking possession of their private property is NOT acceptable. If laws need to be introduced, Start at the top, tougher laws should be introduced for the government, and its members. Much more severe penalties for irregularities, corruption, theft and incompetence. Much more accountability. Starting at the top, and fixing the top, it will make the problems at the bottom so much more easier to resolve. Also they should be setting the example.

      How can you expect all the citizens to accept accountability and stringent, unreasonable laws against petty crime, yet the government does not and will not accept accountability for the damage they have caused.

      UNACCEPTABLE! NO! I WILL, LIKE MANY BEFORE ME, MY FREEDOM IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR!

      Short term there is a possibility (a very small possibility) that…

    • Reducto

      @Cyberdog: “he comparison is not about the harms or effects of the actions, but about each of the persons right to freedom. A right to choose whether they want to overeat, smoke, or drink, or talk on their cellphone. Yes there are consequences, and people need to not only be aware of these, they should also take responsibility of the results of their actions.”

      And yet, if someone is killed by a driver talking on his or her cellphone, there is no bringing them back, no matter how much you hold the driver to account. Rights are justifiably limited where they conflict with the more fundamental rights of others.

      I fail to see why the need to curb government corruption negates the need to deal with drivers who put the lives of others’ at risk.

    • Reducto

      @Cyberdog: Also, you suggest no other reasonable solution to the problem. Drivers aren’t deterred by fines, nor does the fact they can be tried for culpable homicide after the fact seem to deter them. Yes their rights are limited through this law, but they have shown no regard for the more fundamental rights of others.

    • http://none Lyndall Beddy

      My uncle, who was a farmer and smoked a pack a day, was told on his medical check up at age 45 that his lungs were as clear as if he had never smoked.

      According to his doctor this was because he was a farmer and breathing clean air, and the real lung problems were caused by the smog and pollution of the cities, especially the fires of the squatter camps.

      This bill is typical ANC displacement activity.

      And I disclose that I am a smoker, as were both my parents, but neither of my children smoke.

    • Max

      Smoking has benefits for mental health. This is well documented and is undisputed in the psychiatric and psychological professions.

      Draconian legislation like that proposed would be very bad news for depressives, schizophrenics, those suffering from bipolar disorder, and for various other mental health sufferers. It would consequently also be bad news for those who care for these sufferers.

    • Charlotte

      Dave Harris’s constant trying to cover up for the ANC by trying to pull down the DA, is nothing more than that…. Very trying!
      Repetition of his racist, stock-in-trade pet phrases, doesn’t make it right, factual, logical, credible or not laughable. It just makes it recognisable.

      Now indignant about 2nd hand smoke (even when smoking is in a designated smoking area), it is another smokescreen for ANC corruption, ineptitude and mismangement.
      He is not concerned with hundreds of people who have been burnt to death in shacks by homemade fires, trying to keep warm or dry in this freezing cold; or the thousands who are dying of from hunger, crime, grime and lack of healthcare.

      One wonders when their blue light brigades whisk ANC leaders in their warm luxury vehicles past the informal settlements, whether they even look up?
      … Housing, Employment, Education? … As the Minister of Education said : “That is not my concern!”

      Regarding ‘Democracy’? Zuma’s latest utterence: “Democracy’ is ‘complex”
      You can bet on that – especially when, like Dave Harris and the Zumafied-ANC (Arrogance, Nepotism, Corruption) they confuse it with hypocrisy.

    • Charlotte

      … And as far as obesity goes, it has a LOT to do with crime and other people:
      Look at the size and girth of ANC appointed police. They couldn’t catch a criminal if they were in front of him and had a headstart.

    • http://none Lyndall Beddy

      Smoking is also very important for alcoholics – who need to replace the booze dependency with cigarettes at least for a bridging period.

    • http://blogroid.wordpress.com blogroid

      I haven’t had a cigarette since a bullet passing through my body 18 years ago, sucked out the lower right lung lobe and i spent weeks in intensive care dragging oxygen through a tube… So a plus of being shot was no more tobacco. I also do not like tobacco smoke in my space and arrange my life so that i don’t get it.

      As i recollect the last lot of amendments a few years back imposed restrictions on smoking in homes where there were children. Thus that avenue may well be covered already. I do think this latest rule is over the top though.

      Logically one could say that by introducing this legislation the Gov’t, in their role as nanny [we all had nannies in apartheid days so why not now] are moving to make tobacco use close to impossible [other than in clandestine spaces… ]

      Does this mean that we are now going to proscribe tobacco production? Presumably we will have to export surpluses and that seems contradictory: that we would more or less ‘ban’ smoking here but still tax profits on exports.

      As for the theft of cell phones in the Cape i find myself oddly in agreement with Provocateur Harris. This is a place that wants the army in to guard its townships because the SAPS and local constabulary can’t deal with criminals [apparently]. Now they want to steal cell ‘phones from their legal owners. Glad i don’t live there. Gang violence and a legit, cell ‘phone thieving mafia.

      Something in all this reminds me of a scene from Rum Diaries recently.

    • http://Bloghome Chris2

      The ANC wants to make SA appear as a nanny state that is soooo concerned about its citizens’ health. This is a smoke and mirrors effort to deflect attention from their failure to guarantee citizens relative physical safety and relative freedom from brutal crime. Draconian legislation is needed to deal with armed criminals much more than for criminalising smokers. What portion of the police force will be taken off serious crimes to go after smokers?

    • Brent

      William, your dig at ‘Free markets’ “the latter with surely about as much credibility in a post-financial meltdown world as the Lenin Institute of Economic Innovation” is the classic case of setting up your Straw man and then gleefully shooting him down. The financial melt down was not a Free Market melt down as the US property markets were far from free being were heavily influenced by the State via Freddy Mac and Fanny Mae, two huge Govt financial companies ie Govt interference in ‘Free markets’.

      Brent

    • Citizen Cane

      Most telling from WSM: “The steadily growing shebeen industry, most operating unlicensed and unpoliced, will score by ignoring the law. The Township Liquor Industry Association …. has already demanded an exemption.”

      Naturally! And even if they don’t get it, it won’t deter them. Like taxi drivers, ANC politicians are above or below the law..
      –And now, wearing their halo oh, so tight, the ANC is protecting us from 2nd hand smoking!

      Why not ban booze. Look at the crime, sexual abuse and murder that results from that!

      And drugs???! Open drug-related gang warfare is rife on the Cape Flats. But the army aren’t trained to shoot rubber bullets; so they can’t help…. so we’re told!

      What does the army actually do – besides marching exercises, and illegally protesting and rioting to demand more money for doing nothing?
      We’re not at war with anyone. We should be at war against drugs. Of course, the fact that this gang violence is in the Cape – and that Helen Zille asked for help; well, hell, that would be enough to politicise anything.

      Rotten management is ‘Blame, attack, defend, make excuses”. Add to that, the usual ANC cover-up (like banning smoking in all public places) for their corruption, ineptitude, mismanagement and irresponsibility -, and there you have the full explanation and the reason why.

    • Max

      Interesting thoughts from Zizek (a non-smoker) about the dynamics of prohibition:

      “The Taliban not only forced women to walk in public completely veiled, they then also prohibited them wearing shoes with too solid (metal or wooden) heels, and ordered them to walk without making too loud a clicking noise which may distract men, disturbing their inner peace and dedication. This is the paradox of surplus-enjoyment at its purest: the more the object is veiled, the more intensely disturbing is the minimal trace of its remainder.

      This is the case even with the growing prohibition of smoking. First, all offices were declared “smoke-free,” then flights, then restaurants, then airports, then bars, then private clubs, then, in some campuses, 50 yards around the entrances to the buildings, then – in a unique case of pedagogical censorship, reminding us of the famous Stalinist practice of retouching the photos of nomenklatura – the US Postal Service removed the cigarette from the stamps with the photo-portrait of blues guitarist Robert Johnson and of Jackson Pollock. These prohibitions target the other’s excessive and risky enjoyment, embodied in the act of “irresponsibly” lighting a cigarette and inhaling deeply with an unabashed pleasure (in contrast to Clintonite yuppies who do it without inhaling, or who have sex without actual penetration, or food without fat) – indeed, as Lacan put it, after God is dead, nothing is anymore permitted.” http://www.lacan.com/zizbobok

    • http://southafricana.blogspot.com Dave Harris

      My goodness! Look at the usual suspects come out of the woodwork to rail against ANYTHING proposed by the government, even if they have to make outrageous claims that smoking and second hand smoke is not really that harmful, while the ENTIRE world knows otherwise! LOL Just like how they tried to justify apartheid! Sies, anything to keep the status quo for as long as possible!

    • http://necrofiles.blogspot.com Garg Unzola

      Comparing smoking to obesity is ridiculous because obesity far outweighs smoking in terms of public cost. Rather than not affecting anyone else, obesity really does affect everyone else in the same way that smoking does.

      That being said, the blog post makes a valid point and yes, the DA deserves to be tarred and feathered for their disregard for individual rights too.

      Sure, the smoking laws have decreased smoking in public places and I agree with them, but I disagree with smoking laws with regards to privately owned ventures. In the cases of restaurants and pubs, me as a non-smoking has the choice to go there or to go somewhere else.

    • http://www.mfundza.co.za Mfundza

      You talk about positive freedoms – freedom to smoke, freedom to advertise cigarettes or receive such advertising – but you don’t talk about negative freedoms. Perhaps people should be free to not be harassed or manipulated by advertising? Perhaps they should not have to breathe other people’s smoke? Freedom from a significant probability of being mowed down by an idiot driver turning a corner while talking on their phone?

      From this it should be very clear that there is no obvious conclusion based on ‘freedoms’, contrary to what you imply.

    • Rich

      …and next we will only be able to braai on smokeless braais!

    • Reducto

      @Harris: “even if they have to make outrageous claims that smoking and second hand smoke is not really that harmful, while the ENTIRE world knows otherwise!”

      Yes second hand smoke is dangerous. But you refuse to listen when it is pointed out why this public smoking ban is excessive. Smoking sections will no longer be allowed in restaurants. If smokers want to go sit in a sealed off section of a restaurant where they harm nobody but themselves, that should be their choice alone.

      This is why the ban goes to far: it goes beyond protecting non-smokers from smokers.

    • http://none Lyndall Beddy

      Rich

      Good one – braaion smokeless braais AND forbid any fires in the squatter camps or cities?

    • Graham

      If people smoked and only harmed themselves, then I would have an issue with the law.
      If people only injured themselves when talking on cellphones while driving, then I would have a problem with the law.

      But while innocent people get affected by others’ selfishness, then I have no problem with the law.

      And just to bring to attention of smokers – scientists have created a practical disposal vehicle for all your stubs. It’s called a freakin dirtbin.

    • Bernpm

      It could be resulting in a movement to have all smokers fired or not being able to land a job as they might have to go home -the only place to smoke- for their hourly fix.
      Alternatively, they combine forces and rent a flat in the office block.
      Another eternal debate with no outcome!!

    • ConCision

      From the Unscrupulous to the Ridiculous
      or
      Bad to Worse to Worst
      Good Start to Being Cursed
      And We’ll Reach the Bitter End
      When ‘Mad’ Comes Last
      But ‘Bad’ Comes First

      – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

      Alcohol or cigarette advertising:
      BAD

      Speaking on a cellphone when driving:
      VERY BAD

      Using drugs
      Stealing money from Slush Funds
      Having unprotected sex outside marriage with someone
      who has HIV (remind you of anyone?)
      VERY, VERY BAD.

      Dealing in drugs
      Corruption at every level of the ANC
      Awarding illegal tenders to friends or family
      Driving around in luxury cars at tax payers expense
      Getting away with billions, lying and living in luxury
      while ANC members who voted them in and
      on whom they needed to spend the money
      for housing, healthcare and education
      and employment and electricity
      and water and transport
      – and didn’t
      DESPICABLE

      But for the ANC to show their ‘good’ side
      We can now only smoke at home or outside –
      TYPICAL, TOPICAL, ILLOGICAL and FARCICAL

    • http://none Lyndall Beddy

      London used to have “peasouper” smogs so bad, from the burning of coal and wood fires, that the old people and young babies died, even in ambulances on the way to hospitals, which amulances had to have someone walk in front with a lantern to show the way..

      So if you want to stop city smog you must stop all braais, all coal and wood fires, and all bonfires.

    • Max

      @Graham: Can you please explain how the law as it stands, allows for smokers to harm others?

    • Graham

      @Max
      I walk from the train station to work. If it is raining, I stick to the covered sidewalks. Unfortunately though, so do all the countless smokers.

      In restaurants, smokers happily take their toddlers into the smoking sections.

      Thats two examples of how the law as it stands allows smokers to harm others.

    • Reducto

      It should be added, regarding the issue of cellphone confiscations, that if a traffic officer falsely accuses you of speaking on your cellphone and attempts to confiscate it, that would be unlawful and you would be entitled to resist. Any arrest as a result of your resistance would thus also be unlawful. And you be entitled to sue, and if your phone records clearly show you weren’t on your phone, you should have no problem making your case.

      And the City of Cape Town is planning to rely heavily video evidence.

      So, in reality, the only people who have to be worried about this are those people who should be worried are those people who speak on their phones while driving. And as I have stated repeatedly, they are not deterred by fines, so this measure is necessary to deter them from endangering the lives of others.

    • Bernpm

      Another angle….some serious attempts to calculate some facts on CO2 emissions :

      http://micpohling.wordpress.com/category/environment/ for some interesting calculations on CO2 emissions

      or this one: http://micpohling.wordpress.com/2007/03/27/math-how-much-co2-is-emitted-by-human-on-earth-annually/

      One solution seems coming up: make all 7 billion people stop breathing. Problem solved !

    • Rich

      Lots of Smoke Nazis here…it appears to be a socially acceptable way to fixate all their hate and this sometimes takes absurd proportions.
      And here is an interesting difference between the races when it comes to smoking (just to keep DH et all something to nibble on). Black people have a much higher incidence of lung cancer than white people even if they smoke fewer cigarettes. The cause of this is not yet determined but some advocate the fact that white people are predisposed to tolerate a level of smoking due to their long evolutionary development in colder climates and therefore long periods spent in smoky caves!

    • Max

      @Graham
      You failed to answer my question.
      Your two examples are examples of people breaking the current law as it stands without the new draconian ammendments.
      It has been illegal to smoke on railway platforms, or to bring toddlers into smoking areas (including cars when smoking) since 2009.

    • Graham

      @Max
      Never knew that about taking toddlers into smoking sections. restaurants I go to very lax about that.

      It is not however against the law to smoke on sidewalks. today I counted smokers I walked past where I smelt (inhaled) their smoke. I stopped counting at 50.
      Its not fair that my lungs should suffer because of others’ habits.

    • Max

      @Graham
      If restaurants are lax about the prohibitions in their restaurants, then THEY should be held accountable together with the irresponsible mothers. There is no need to victimize smokers further.
      When you walked on the sidewalk, the exhaust fumes from the cars, buses, trucks and lorries were doing way, WAY more damage to your lungs than a few whiffs of second hand nicotine smoke. There is no need to victimize smokers any further.

      Your indignation is misplaced.

    • Graham

      @Max
      I am all for government bringing in laws forcing citizens to drive electric cars etc. Not so amped on what the car fumes are doing to my lungs…
      These laws however do further protect non-smokers (I can happily live without those 50 wiffs of second hand smoke a day).
      As a non-smoker I agree with the proposed law.

    • Max

      @Graham
      Fair enough.
      As a non-smoker I disagree with the law because it smacks of unnecessary persecution and misplaced indignation.

    • Citizen Cane

      The following letter appeared in our local newspaper today, signed by ‘Ray’ of Salt River.

      “This government makes me sick. They want to be hard on smokers who bother nobody. Why don’t they worry about drugs that are destroying our community and children? Check school grounds anytime day or night and you will find druggies doing drugs there. Why turn a blind eye to that?
      Smokers are not stealing or killing to support their habit.
      Don’t take the easy way out. Be hard on drug dealers and make our countr proud.
      Leave smokers alone.
      PS I am a non-smoker.”

      It’s all relative. Now vigilante groups like Pagad want to take to the streets to protest against drug peddling and open gang warfare in their areas, which have seen the deaths of over 20 innocent people – and children – in the past few months.
      They are forbidden to do so.
      The police cannot cope and many are in cahoots with the drug dealers themselves. The army who were asked to assist urgently by Helen Zille, have still made no appearance.

      All the fuss about cigarettes is just another smokescreen to cover up the gross , ineptitude, mismangement and corruption of the present government.

    • Peter L

      @WSM
      Unfortunately there are some horribly spurious arguments in your piece, unsupported by any credible evidence, William.
      Any first year statistics student would recognise the apparent abuse of statistics.

      “In Ireland, 11% of pubs were forced to close within four years of a total smoking ban.”

      This is correlation, not causation as you seem to wish to imply.

      Pub attendance has been dwindling in the UK & ireland for years, and the total number of pubs in operation continues to decline.”
      The total smoking ban was probably a contributory factor, possibly even a major one, but certainly not the only one.

      Quote “resulting in the loss of literally billions of rands of economic benefit that the planned ban on liquor advertising and liquor industry involvement in sport sponsorship will mean ”

      What you are not accounting for is the MUCH greater cost to society (externality) casued by alcohol consumption and abuse. These costs are spread very wide and paid for by all taxpayers.

      Quote “The Township Liquor Industry Association, which says the regulations are more stringent than laws in the apartheid years, has already demanded an exemption.”

      Ah the township liquor industry – what a contribution that august institution makes to the welfare of society – theft, robbery and violent attack on (drunken) patrons leaving the “Tavern”, rape of female (inebriated) patrons, shootings, attacks etc.

    • Max

      The Handbook of Harris it hath spoken:

      “My goodness! Look at the usual suspects come out of the woodwork to rail against ANYTHING proposed by the government, even if they have to make outrageous claims that smoking and second hand smoke is not really that harmful, while the ENTIRE world knows otherwise! LOL Just like how they tried to justify apartheid! Sies, anything to keep the status quo for as long as possible!”

      So beware all ye who dare to question or criticize what our leaders decide on our behalf. Woebetide the infidel racist who dares criticize ANC policy: You are defined by doing so as a beneficiary of, and indeed an apologist for APARTHEID. Do not be fooled into thinking that smoking legislation has nothing to do with Apartheid. It does! And by taking a wrong stand in regard to smoking, ye are in fact condoning and longing for the days of apartheid. Ye evil vipers.