Sinds het rookverbod in Schotland werd ingevoerd zijn de verkopen van sigaretten daar met 5% gestegen. Dezelfde ervaringen worden gemeld uit Ierland en Italië waar algemene rookverboden al langer van kracht zijn. Experts wijten dit aan het feit dat er thuis nu meer gerookt wordt dan tijdens het uitgaan: veel rokers blijven weg uit de kroeg en roken thuis veel meer dan ze in de kroeg zouden doen.
Ook het ontmoedigingsbeleid naar jongeren werkt niet: jongeren gaan roken steeds meer zien als een rebelse daad.
De anti-organisaties en overheden, die beide argumenten (vermindering van roken en bestrijding van nieuwe rokers onder jongeren) hebben gebruikt, krabbelen nu terug: het ging altijd al om de bestrijding van meeroken, beweren ze nu.
Alwéér moeten we dus constateren dat een aantal beweringen van anti-rokenorganisaties én overheden ontzenuwd zijn. En die laatste leugen, de meerokenleugen, zal over enige tijd ook vanzelf verdwijnen doordat de geloofwaardigheid van de anti-rokenbeweging zelf snel achteruitgaat…
SALES of cigarettes in Scotland have increased since the ban on smoking in public places was introduced earlier this year, confounding predictions by politicians and health experts.
Despite expectations that there would be a drop in the number of smokers and in the amount of tobacco being smoked, Scots are now buying 61,000 more packets of cigarettes every week than before the ban was introduced.
The trend — which reflects the experiences of other countries that have banned smoking in public — is believed to be partly driven by people smoking more at home.
Other countries also saw a rise in the number of young people smoking because the habit came to be seen more as an act of rebellion.
This month a study by Dundee University said that bar workers had experienced health benefits. However, if people are smoking more at home since the ban, children who live with smokers may be suffering instead. Every year more than 17,000 children under the age of five are admitted to hospital in Britain suffering from illnesses related to passive smoking in the home.
A separate study at Edinburgh University is looking at the impact of the ban on children. Public health experts said that the new figures were a cause for concern.
“It’s extremely plausible that more people may be smoking at home after the ban,” said Phil Hanlon, professor of public health at Glasgow University.
“If that’s the case, it’s very worrying. The evidence is accruing to support the fact that smoking at home damages the health of others in the home.”
The figures, provided by the Scottish Grocers Federation, show a rise of almost 5% in sales of cigarettes from shops. The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) said cigarette machine sales in pubs and clubs remained unchanged.
Scots spent on average £6.3m a week on cigarettes before the ban, according to the survey. After a slight dip, sales increased to reach higher levels than before the ban at £6.6m — or 1.3m packets — on average a week. Spain and Ireland have seen similar effects.
“Many members were concerned that the ban would see a drop in cigarette sales, which make up 20% of business at convenience stores. But that certainly hasn’t happened,” said John Drummond, chief executive of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation.
Paul Waterson, chief executive of the SLTA, added: “These figures appear to confirm what we predicted all along; that the ban would not lead to a decline in sales of cigarettes. The government and anti-smoking campaigners insisted it would. Now they are backpeddling and saying it was only ever about protecting people from passive smoking. It is quite clear that it has not delivered what they said it would.”
The ban has been hailed a success by the Scottish executive. When it was introduced Andy Kerr, the health minister, predicted: “As well as protecting people from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke it will help many people to give up smoking. Evidence from Ireland proves this.”
However in Ireland cigarette sales are now higher than before the ban, which was introduced in March 2004.