Hi, Colin and welcome to the Tavern.
...the only tavern where smoking is allowed, apart of course from the bar in the house of commons where the bar staff will no doubt gladly suffer the unavoidable deseases caused by the cigar smoke of their glorious leaders who are above and beyond the trivia of the nanny state. A noble cause if ever there were one
It's interesting to note your use of the term 'Soviet Scotland' and irony does not begin to convey the comparisons of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The former soviet union enjoys much more 'freedom' than it's former western enemies these days and Germany appears to be the only European country resisting the pressure of the World Health Organisation to ban smoking. Our Grand Parents suffered and died against such tyranny for our freedom of choice and now we head towards Public Health dictatorship, identity papers and a federal state of Europe. Even a cursory glance at the statistics of WHO reveals their hypocricy; whilst dictating smoking policy to the world they fail to explain why their figures contradict their opinion. Why do the biggest smoking nations have lower cancer and heart desease rates than the 'lower' smoking nations?
Could it conceivably be that Mediterranean countries or China or Japan have different genetics or diets? Obviously not or the anti-smoke researchers would have taken this into account wouldn't they? And what of the figures for smoking trends? A roadworker is more likely to smoke than an accountant, the roadworker is also more likely to have a poor diet and be exposed to pollution, Shouldn't these confounders be taken into account when a researcher asks a cancer patient how many cigarettes he smoked in 1957? Obviously everything I have been taught was wrong as it seems perfectly acceptable to conclude that if you have cancer and you have ever smoked or been exposed to smoke (which is everyone) smoking was the cause without any doubt, question or possible confounder.
Those former leaders of Germany and the USSR would have been proud of our Governments propaganda machine; an example being the latest 'smoking is bad' TV advert that tells us that a smoker dies from a blood clot every five minutes. Horrific, sensational propaganda that is scientifically useless. After all, I could tell you that a coffee drinker dies of a blood clot every 3 seconds but without real medical evidence, the factoring in of other possible causes and at the very least a comparison of how many non-smokers die from a blood clot every five minutes, manipulation of public opinion is all it is.
The second interesting issue you mention is that you are a law abiding citizen. Here lies the second problem with Government intervention into personal freedoms. It criminalises the population. The Government loves to put normal people in prison for breaking the codes of unwanted nanny laws that challenge freedom of choice, which is why Britain sends to jail more of it's population than any other European nation, Granny's, Parents, Drivers; live your lives as your state dictates or you will be detained.
The smoking ban wouldn't be so bitter if it were in the slightest based on any truth or integrity. If I had submitted conclusions in my Uni exams based on the same logic the anti-smokers use, I would have failed miserably and I'm pretty sure my tutor would have asked if I had been paying any attention at all. If I had reduced confidence intervals, left out undesirable data, all to achieve a result, and then expressed statistically insignificant results as Irrefutable proof I would expect to have been laughed at.
However, for a public presented only with a conclusion it is natural for them to accept that a smokers arteries look like porridge and that a lit cigarette is more harmful than a spent nuclear fuel rod.
I'm happy to be on your side against the anti-smokers Colin, remember though that ideological persecution is an obsessive disorder for which there is no known cure!