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Smoking Bans Still De Rigueur

March 2011

From the desk of John Dicey, Worldwide Director, Allen Carr’s Easyway

News of further smoking bans/tightening of restrictions in Belgium indicate a complete lack of regard for something normally held so precious by the smoking cessation, medical, and scientific establishments – the application of evidence-based policy.

I’m not sure how those responsible for driving smoking cessation policy for the last decade sleep at night. Clearly the smoking bans haven’t worked (although no-one would argue against the need for them in order to protect the health of non-smokers in enclosed public places). One of the main benefits mooted by the supporters of smoking bans was that they would “de-normalise” smoking and therefore reduce the levels of smoking in young people. Given that smoking amongst youngsters is as popular as ever – this clearly hasn’t worked. As Allen Carr predicted – the bans have had very little effect (if any) on the level of smoking in the wider population – let alone amongst youngsters.

Allen Carr and Allen Carr’s Easyway were ostracized by the medical and scientific establishment when we lobbied against the smoking bans. Our view was (and remains) that it was more important to give smokers help to quit smoking than it was to ban smoking (the latter being fairly pointless without the former). A child whose parents smokes is far more likely to smoke than a child whose parents do not – therefore concentrating on effectively curing smokers as opposed to merely banning it would seem sensible to most.

Does it not seem strange that so called medical, quit smoking, and scientific experts should claim to be able to cure addiction to nicotine by prescribing the nicotine addict with errr….nicotine? Isn’t it even more mad that they’d be given the power and purse strings to spend hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayer’s money on such folly? If you think that was mad…the same people, having seen the writing on the wall “nicotine won’t cure nicotine addiction you dummy” would, instead of acknowledging the error of their ways (and perhaps even taking the slightest notice of the worldwide success of Allen Carr’s Easyway To Quit Smoking) would now claim that nicotine products should not be used to cure smokers – but to keep them hooked to “a less harmful nicotine delivery device than cigarettes”. You couldn’t make this stuff up – yet this state of affairs remains entirely unchallenged by the media.

Talking heads from the UK’s Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), National Institute for Clinical Health & Excellence (NICE), the Department of Health, and the NHS Quit Smoking Service will fall over themselves with so called evidence supporting the positive effect of the smoking bans. What they won’t admit is that “quit rates” recorded by the NHS and much quoted by scientists and medical “experts” are based on a smoker having successfully quit smoking for 4 weeks. They also won’t tell you how they calculate the number of smokers in the UK when in the last ten years the black market in illegally imported and counterfeit cigarettes has ballooned in proportions that can only be described as epidemic.

Any claimed reduction in the level of smoking in the UK can surely be dismissed when you look at the explosion in new retail outlets for contraband cigarettes; market stall holders, car booters, the man-down-the-pub, the supplier in the staff room at work. ASH claim that 10% of cigarettes smoked in the UK are now contraband. Does anyone have any idea how they know that? Others claim that contraband tobacco seized represents only 10% of all contraband that successfully makes its way into the country. How do they know that? The fact is that they don’t.

No-one has the slightest idea how many smokers continue to smoke in spite of the smoking bans and the “establishment” that has ignored Allen Carr’s advice for so long seems to have a very flexible view of what it considers “evidence-based policy” citing all sorts of half truths, theories, and finger-in-the-air guestimates as if they were hard facts.

They’ll carry on banning, they’ll carry on prescribing nicotine, and carry on ignoring a cure which costs no more than pack of cigarettes. And you’ll carry on paying.

You can read about the new/tightened smoking ban in Belgium here: