The ban on smoking indoors in public places, including bars, discos and restaurants, has been in effect for a year now in the Netherlands. Geenstijl commemorates the event (NL) with a post, whose title translates to : ‘One year smoking ban, the smoldering mess’.
As covered on this blog, the Dutch judiciary is contradicting minister of Health Ab Klink and itself (see here, here and here), while the minister and a goodly part of parliament sing the tune their (and our) true masters demand. In a new twist, this week a foundation called ‘Red de Kleine Horeca Ondernemer’ (Save the Small Hospitality Entrepeneur), representing a number of small cafes and bars, filed a suit (NL) against the state, claiming up to 100 million euros in damages.
This blog has been accused on conspiracy thinking when we remarked that the ban would be upheld no matter what, since our government (such as it is) does not have the power to contravene the EU Commission who are adamant that ‘Europe’ should become smoke-free.
But, thanks to EU Observer, we stand vindicated: Brussels wants smoking ban across Europe.
The European Commission on Tuesday (30 June) called on member states to boost their non-smoking legislation in order to move towards a “smoke free” EU by 2012.
The commission is suggesting the bloc’s 27 member states agree smoking in “enclosed public places, workplaces and public transport” be banned by 2012, while children’s exposure to tobacco should be specifically tackled and “efforts to give up tobacco use and pictorial warnings on tobacco packages” should be encouraged.
Just remember: It is for the children! We are now waiting for the first local politician to suggest that smokers lighting up in front of their children be declared unfit parents and their children taken away.
In the course of their argument, the commission come up with some truely fantastic figures:
According to commission estimates, 25 percent of cancer deaths and 15 percent of total deaths in the EU can be attributed to smoking.
Last year alone, 6,000 people died in the EU just from “workplace exposure to tobacco smoke,” including 2,500 non-smokers, it says.
Given that no study worthy of the name has found a consistent link between ‘second-hand smoke’ and illness I find that very hard to believe. And 15 % of total deaths in the EU? I would really like to know how they came up with that number.
To give the article some balance, EU Observer asked UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom about his thoughts. And he makes an absolutely crucial point:
Nobody pretends that smoking is a good thing, but it is legal
These bullies seem to have no truck with freedom, liberty or tolerance. Well in that case we shall have to take it back. And if that means a certain level of civil disobedience, well so be it
Which of course describes the situation in the Netherlands to a T.
But mr. Bloom raises a point that is absolutely fundamental to both the character of the EUnion and the fight we have on our hands regarding freedom and (personal) sovereignty: Smoking (unlike marijuana, or illegal immigration) is a legal, non-criminal activity in ALL member states. Granted it does harm, it is not healthy. Then again: what are the costs to industry and society of employers getting injured in their weekly Saturday football match? If we allow the EUnion to ride roughshod over the law like this, legislating quite arbitrarily against legal activity in the personal sphere, then where IS the limit of the EUnion?
We all should let these insufferable busybodies know that they need to stay out of our personal lives (and preferably out of our country) or else face the consequences. By which of course I mean violent insurrection and executions at dawn.