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Wed, 19 Jun 2019
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US Department of Veterans Affairs bans smoking at all healthcare facilities

VA hospitals ban smoking
© U.S. Air Force/William Tracy
All Department of Veterans Affairs health care facilities will be completely smoke-free by October, with all forms of tobacco use, including e-cigarettes and vaping, banned from facility grounds, officials announced in a news release Monday.

The policy change, first published by the Veterans Health Administration in early March, ends the use of designated smoking areas or shelters at VA hospitals.

"Although VA has historically permitted smoking in designated areas, there is growing evidence that smoking and exposure to secondhand and thirdhand smoke creates significant medical risks, and risks to safety and direct patient care, that are inconsistent with medical requirements and limitations," officials said in the release. "Accordingly, VA's Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has collaborated with key stakeholders to update and recertify the policy to be consistent with the department's commitment to Veterans and the community."

Comment: Where's the evidence that second and third-hand smoke poses significant medical risks?

Lies, Damned Lies & 400,000 Smoking-related Deaths: Cooking the Data in the Fascists' Anti-Smoking Crusade

The change applies to everyone at VA facilities, including patients, visitors, volunteers, contractors, vendors and staff, officials said.

Comment: A November 2008 study conducted by major universities in Texas showed that smoking was high in people with PTSD - a condition that veterans are highly susceptible to.

Smokers were approximately twice more likely to have PTSD than nonsmokers in the general population, and individuals with PTSD were approximately twice as likely to be current smokers. Smokers with PTSD evidenced more negative affect, trauma history, and comorbid psychiatric history, as well as quit attempts and higher relapse rates. PTSD symptoms were associated with expectations that smoking would reduce negative affect, which, in turn, was associated with increased smoking rate and nicotine dependence. Male sex was associated with nicotine dependence and PTSD avoidance, while the relationship between PTSD and smoking relapse due to withdrawal was stronger in females. Specialized, integrated PTSD and smoking cessation treatments showed promise in increasing quit success relative to standard care in randomized trials.
Some people should smoke, some people shouldn't.

Eiffel Tower

City of Paris extends smoking ban to 52 parks and gardens

Paris extends smoking ban
© AFP (File photo)
The city of Paris will extend a ban on smoking to 52 parks and gardens in the French capital from June 8, the mayor's office announced Friday, marking World No Tobacco Day.

Smokers in the French capital face further restrictions on their liberté to light up with a new measure to ban smoking in 52 parks and gardens across Paris.

The announcement -- made on May 31, World No Tobacco Day - adds 46 additional parks and gardens to a list of six parks, which were designated no-smoking zones in July 2018.

The measure is aimed at "reducing the number of smokers in these parks and cigarette butts thrown on the ground", explained the directive issued by city authorities.

The French have long cherished their smokes, from Gauloises to Gitanes, and France ranks among the EU's heaviest smoking nations. The new move to increase public health standards will be phased in, with the first few weeks of "sensitisation" set to last until early July.

Take 2

City of Beverly Hills votes to ban ALL tobacco sales, but exempts cigar clubs

Arnold Schwarzenegger holds a cigar
© Damian Dovarganes/AP
Then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger holds a cigar as he waves to Long Beach residents after visiting the city.
Beverly Hills has long been anything but a smoker's paradise. The city was the first in California to ban smoking inside restaurants and most public places, back in 1987, and added outdoor venues to the list in 2007.

Now it is poised to enact what officials say is the most stringent tobacco ban in the country, eliminating the sale of virtually all recreational nicotine products - with one very Beverly Hills exception.

Cigarettes are out. Vapes are dead. But for an elite group of aficionados, hundreds of whom swamped committee meetings and wrote the city in protest, cigars will be spared - as long as they're smoked inside one of three dedicated lounges.

Entreaties have poured in to City Hall from top executives at real estate offices, security firms, talent agencies - and from former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Nearly all of them are acolytes of the Grand Havana Room on North Canon Drive, a club so exclusive its members need a special key to get in.

"The Grand Havana Room, which I have been a member of since its inception, provides a treasured home away from home, " wrote Schwarzenegger. "It is unthinkable that the city might adopt a policy that would intentionally or unintentionally cause the closure of this character-defining institution."

Comment: How does one define their character at a cigar club? Smoking cigars and rubbing elbows with powerful people? Translation: Arnie loves his tobacco and wants to continue to enjoy the benefits of tobacco with his wealthy friends, without criticism from prying eyes.

Comment: See also: Smoke, Lies and the Nanny State


Fascist Sweden to ban smoking outdoors

No smoking sign
A new law banning smoking in outdoor areas will come into effect this July, Swedish News SVT reported on Saturday.

From July 1 2019, the new smoking ban will cover outdoor serving areas at cafes and restaurants, as well as public playgrounds, bus shelters and train platforms, sports arenas and entrances to civic buildings. The ban also applies to electronic cigarettes, known as e-cigarettes or "vapes".

"The goal is to prevent people suffering from diseases associated with smoking and passive smoking, such as cancer," Minister for Health and Social Affairs Lena Hallengren told SVT.

The new legislation is a step towards the so-called "Smoke-Free Sweden 2025" goal, which aims to see less than five percent of the population smoking by the year 2025.

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has been tasked with implementing the change in law, and resourced with 8 million SEK (830,000 U.S. dollars) over 2019 to run a national awareness campaign and support municipalities to implement the law locally.

Comment: See also: Lies, Damned Lies & 400,000 Smoking-related Deaths: Cooking the Data in the Fascists' Anti-Smoking Crusade


Japan's Nagasaki University bans smokers from all teaching positions

Nagasaki University bans smokers from teaching positions
© Tomohiro Ohsumi
Non-smoking area in Tokyo. (2017)
Nagasaki University will not, in principle, hire professors or teachers who smoke, a move that apparently is a first by a state-run university.

However, university officials said exemptions to the rule will be allowed if applicants promise to quit the habit after taking up the post.

The new policy announced April 19 reflects a growing trend to ban smoking in all public spaces, including restaurants and bars, in the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The policy also mirrors growing efforts by private-sector organizations to implement no-smoking rules.

Comment: See also: University of Toronto to implement total smoking ban on campuses


Illinois bans those under 21 from buying tobacco

Illinois bans under 21 tobacco purchases
© Matt Cardy/Getty Images
The state of Illinois will soon ban anyone under 21 from purchasing tobacco.

Gov. JB Pritzker signed the "Tobacco 21" law on Sunday.

Illinois is the first state in the Midwest to adopt this kind of law. It covers tobacco and vaping products, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes and vapes.

The law had been vetoed by the previous governor, Republican Bruce Rauner.

It takes effect on July 1.

The city of Chicago already bans people under age 21 from purchasing tobacco. That change pushed smoking to a "record low" of six percent, the Mayor's office said in a statement, a 50 percent decrease in six years.


Malaysian waiter slapped for enforcing smoking ban

Malaysian waiter slapped for enforcing smoking ban
© The Star/Asia News Network
A mamak restaurant waiter who politely told a group of three men to stop smoking in the eatery got a rude shock when he was slapped and scolded.

Mr M. Selvam, 25, from India, was merely doing his job in reminding customers of the newly imposed smoking ban when one of the customers slapped him.

"It was around 12.30 pm on the first day of the ban on Jan 1. We had placed 'no smoking' signs but some customers were still smoking.

"I went over to a group of three men who were smoking. I politely told them to stop smoking but one of them got up and suddenly slapped me. I was shocked. They then left," he said, speaking at the restaurant in Seksyen 25 in Shah Alam on Thursday (Jan 3).

Comment: See also: Smoke, Lies and the Nanny State


Totalitarian hell: Sweden votes to extend smoking ban to most public places

Smoking ban in Sweden
© Shutterstock/Zitke
Sweden is banning outdoor smoking in certain public places, including playgrounds and train station platforms.

In a 142-120 vote on Wednesday, the Riksdagen extended the smoking ban as of July 1, 2019.

Smoking in outdoor restaurants and entrances to booths for smokers will also be banned.

In Sweden, smoking is currently allowed in designated smoking areas in most workplaces and public places.

Official figures show only 11 per cent of the Swedish population of 10 million smoked daily in 2016, with about 10 percent smoking occasionally.

Comment: For the truth about tobacco and why the PTB want to stamp out smoking, see:


The UK town where over half the pubs have vanished

Pubs vanish in Accrington, UK
© Mark Waugh for the Observer
The Arden Inn in Accrington town centre.
Fifteen years ago, taxi driver Basharat Khan would drive past the Hyndburn Inn on Accrington's Blackburn Road and marvel at how packed it was. He never went inside - he doesn't drink - but he noted its reliably heaving beer garden.

These days, Khan is inside the building most days: six years ago he converted it into a halal butcher's shop, which he runs with his son, Waqar. Instead of pints of bitter, the pair sell 3kg of keema (mince) for £10.50 and give out Indian sweets rather than peanuts to their customers.

The Hyndburn Inn is one of 50 pubs in the east Lancashire district of Hyndburn to have closed since 2001, when the borough boasted 95 - a drop of 53%. Only Newham in east London has lost a higher percentage in that period, according to official figures released last week that show more than a quarter of the UK's pubs have closed since 2001.

Khan thinks he knows why: "The smoking ban. I've been driving a taxi for 29 years and since the ban people don't go out nearly as much. They think 'sod it, I'll stay at home.'"


Smoking ban hits Switzerland's train stations

No smoking!
© Fotolia/vege
Smoking openly inside Swiss train stations will be banned from 1 June 2019.

From this date on, smokers will have to use designated smoking areas or smoke in front of the train station.

This development comes following three different types of smoking trials, implemented by the Association of Public Transport (VöV), in six Swiss stations on 1 February 2018.

These tests saw Basel, Nyon and Zurich Stadelhofen go completely smoke-free, while smoking areas and lounges were introduced in Bellinzona and in Neuchâtel respectively.

Better air quality, less pollution and saving money on cleaning are being cited as the key reasons behind the smoking ban decision.