Wednesday, April 09, 2008

(Non) Smoking kills

Publicans are not generally known for their suicidal tendencies, but I fear that the death of
Uli Stegmaie will be the first of many.

Smoking ban drives German barkeeper to suicide
Uli Stegmaier, 60, saw turnover at his pub in the southern town of Balingen fall by 20 percent following the implementation of the smoking ban in the state of Baden-Württemberg in August 2007, the paper said.

His brother-in-law, Helmut Rathmann, told Bild: "His suicide note dealt exclusively with his bitterness about the smoking ban. It was not aimed at his family but at politicians."

Stegmaier, owner of the Bären bar for the past 30 years, hanged himself in the attic of his farmhouse. He leaves a wife and five children.

He had been a campaigner against the ban before and since it was implemented arguing it would see the closure of many bars.

Friends and family said he had campaigned against the ban because he feared that it would force him to close the pub.In recent post on the internet he wrote: "The state is riding roughshod over the rights of barkeepers and threatening the livelihood of many."

Rathmann said Stegmaier he had donated money to activists who want to take the regional government to court in a bid to have the ban reversed.

It is apparent from the comment section in the local paper that he was a popular man whose pub was a great venue.
Of course this is not the first direct casualty of the smoking ban after James Oyebola was shot dead when as a bouncer he asked for people to comply with the rules.
No doubt these casualties mean little to the health police who keep on restating the myth that passive smoking kills. Well I suppose it is no longer a myth, but I am pretty sure that this is not what they meant.


Eurojism said...

Killing yourself because of a 20% downturn in business?

Can't really blame the smoking ban for this poor guy's fate ... he was clearly unstable in the beginning.

Gawain Towler AKA Elaib Harvey said...

30 years business gone bust and wife and five children to support because of a bloody illiberal law that has no basis in justice.

Nope I disagree, I would think the situation could easily drive a man overthe edge.

john10001 said...

I have sympathy for this bloke and his friends and family. However I do not necesserily believe it was the smoking ban that caused the 20% drop in business and I also agree with the previous poster who commented on this that the bloke must have been unstable in the first place to commit suicide due to a 20% downturn in business.

While it is true that here in the UK roughly 1 in 5 people smoke (20% of the population) I believe this loss in business for the German bartender could have been due also to other underlying reasons such as high inflation forcing up the price of goods as well as the troubled Euro currency having its affect meaning less consumer spending and higher unemployment.

I believe the same thing will definitely now be happening in the UK. I am not saying that the smoking ban has had no effect on business because it has, but this will be mainly on rainy days when 1 in 5 people who usually go out to bars and pubs choose to stay home instead where they can smoke indoors out of the rain.

One of the major causes for loss of business at bars, pubs and clubs in the UK will be the excessive inflation on alcoholic drinks imposed in the latest budget of the Labour government. This is the thing that will really hurt the entertainment industry in the UK.

I disagree with people who try and hack pro-choice sites, however I am someone who supports the public ban on smoking and believes it is one of the few good things the Labour government have done in the last 11 years.

I used to be a smoker but I gave up eight years ago so I can appreciate that smokers do have the right to smoke if they want to, as long as it is legal to do so and as long as they are not infringing on the rights of the majority of non-smokers.

Smokers really need to learn though that they are a minority and it is necessary that their liberty to smoke does not affect the majority of people who have no desire to breathe in their fumes. Smokers may have the right to smoke, but they DO NOT have the right to smoke wherever they want to. They only have the right to smoke in designated areas were the health of the majority of people who don’t smoke will not suffer as a result of this.

A large majority of smokers seem to have an ignorant arrogance about them, they don’t seem to give a damn where they light up or who their smoke affects.

A year ago I used to regularly catch the train to work. One evening when I was waiting to catch a train back home there was one bloke in Leeds station waiting on the platform for a train who had a very young girl with him of only 3 or 4 years age. He lit up a cigarette and the smoke was drifting down and right in the face of his own I assume his daughter! He didn't seem to care or give a damn and was more concerned about looking down the platform to see if a train was coming into the station while enjoying his cigarette and giving his young girl passive lung cancer.

It is the same deal with many people I know, relations, friends and workmates. They light up in their own homes not caring that their young children even babies are breathing in their smoke, which completely fills the room! One of my friends at work, full credit to her gave up smoking as soon as she got pregnant and hasn’t looked back since. She now has a healthy beautiful young daughter of 18 months. Sadly this is not the case with another work friend. She is halfway into a pregnancy and hasn’t given up and it doesn’t look like she has any intention of giving up smoking whatsoever. In my opinion smoking while you are pregnant is tantamount to child abuse there can be no excuse for it whatsoever. It is one of the ultimate displays of selfishness and neglect and can damage a child and harm its chances in life before it has even been born.

I for one am extremely happy that the smoking ban has now finally arrived in England it is something I have harassed my MP about in the past. I gave up smoking only a couple of years into Blair’s first term in government and around the time he was being entertained in the Millennium Dome for the Millennium celebrations. Now he has recently left office we finally have a ban on smoking.

At the time I smoked I was by no means one of the biggest smokers in the world I only smoked about four packs of 20 a week, maybe slightly more than that. The year after I had given up though I managed to save just shy of £700, which pretty much paid for the majority of my air fare to Australia. If I could save that amount of money back then from giving up, just imagine what you could save today given what the price of a pack of 20 would cost now compared with back in 1999.

The smoking ban is one of the rare brownie points I have to hand to Nu-Labour. They have clearly seen the big picture on this and know that we need to send out the right signal for the sake of our children their health and their future, smoking is not something that should really be encouraged or that we should promote, but something we should frown on, criticise, ridicule and condemn. Smoking is not something that normal people should want their children to take up and aspire to do at any point in life. I hope all smokers will come to realise just like I did how stupid they look with a cigarette in their mouth and perhaps one day with any luck smoking will be banned completely in this country.


Former Smoker
Current Smoke hater
Eight years clean and proud of it