The Smokers’ Survey

I received a mail yesterday from Simon Clarke tipping me off about a survey.

Needless to say, I was ahead of the game and had already completed it.

It’s completely anonymous and fair [in my opinion] and the only problem I had was a question on “smoking related diseases” which I found confusing as everything these days seems to be a “smoking related disease”.  That aside, I give you the blurb:

ANTI-SMOKING campaigners like to bombard politicians and the media with ‘facts’ about smokers. 

The most common ‘statistic’ is that 70 per cent of smokers want to quit. More generally they like to give the impression that most smokers wish they’d never started.

Some smokers probably do fall into one or both of those camps and if you want to quit smoking or switch to a safer alternative such as electronic cigarettes, good luck to you. That’s entirely your choice.

But it’s not the full story. Despite the well-known health risks many smokers say they enjoy smoking and have no wish to stop. Sadly their voices are usually drowned out by politicians, the public health industry and even the media who all think they know better.

To find out what smokers really think about these and other issues the Centre for Substance Use Research (CSUR) in Glasgow has designed an in-depth survey.

It includes questions about your experience of smoking and how you feel about the habit. 

It asks whether you feel stigmatised for smoking and what impact quitting would have on you.

The survey also asks about your experience (if any) of NHS stop smoking services and new tobacco or nicotine products such as e-cigarettes.

Most important it invites you to say whether or not you enjoy smoking.

You don’t have to answer any questions you don’t want to. All the information you provide will be kept completely anonymous and stored securely.

Depending on the number of submissions we receive the plan is to publish a report that will be free to download and will be made available to a wide range of interested parties.

The Smokers’ Survey,” says Neil McKeganey, director of the Centre for Substance Use Research, “is a way of getting the voices of smokers heard above the clamour for ever greater regulation.”

We can’t do that without your help so if you’re a smoker please complete and submit the survey as soon as possible.

So go on.  It’s painless.  It’s anonymous.  They imply it’s UK based but Irish [and presumably anyone else?] are welcome to compete it.



Why get it for free when you can pay for it?

Just imagine a very simple scenario…

You are looking for a particular item, so you go into a shop.  There, to your delight you see the very item you want on a big stand in the middle of the shop floor with a huge sign over it – FREE! NO STRINGS ATTACHED! HELP YOURSELF!  Behind it, at the counter you see precisely the same item with a sign on it – NOW ONLY €260!

What would you do? 

Would you take the free item, or would you shell out €260?

In a normal word this would be considered a rhetorical question, but this isn’t a normal world.  This is some kind of strange parallel universe where they start complaining that everyone is taking the free item and not paying for the other one.

Not only that but they are complaining that one chap has helped himself to the free item 230 times, when he could have paid €260 for it elsewhere.

I confess to being completely baffled.  I am partly baffled as to why they are giving the stuff away for nothing but I am far more baffled at the inability to understand the most basic understanding of human nature and a total failure to grasp the most elementary piece of logic – if you can get something for nothing then why the fuck should you pay for it?

I knew some time ago that the lunatics had taken over the asylum.

Apparently they have been ousted by the positively deranged.

A tenner for my thoughts

Well, here I go.

I’m not a blogger by nature, and this is my first toe in the blogging water, as it were. I have to do some tidying up to the look of the blog for a start.

Don’t have any rants or grumps just at the moment. It’s a good day. But all that will change no doubt.

And with those immortal words so this little venture started.

I was a little confused in the past as to when exactly I started this site as I back-dated a couple of posts before the launch just to make the place look occupied.  However the thought struck me that I just had to look at when the domain was first registered.  That was on the 20th of October, 2006 so for a long while I assumed I started around the 22nd.  But I remembered that this site originally didn’t have a name and I had registered a different domain at the time and that was done on the 16th.  So allowing for things to go live and all that, I must have started on the 17th.

Yup.  The 17th October, 2006.  Ten years ago today.

And here I still am, over a million visitors, well over a million words and a lot of sweat later, still wondering what the fuck this site is all about and where the fuck it’s going.

I can’t help but wonder if I would have started if I had known what was ahead of me.  Would I have blanched at the prospect of writing some mindless shit every single day?  This is my 3,717th post so it’s actually a fraction over one a day.  I suppose I would as it has been great craic up to now. 

Reading back, I was a bit of a wimp in those days gone by.  I even used asterisks for f*ck’s sake!  As things progressed though I developed a strong Fuck It attitude and stopped with those little PC nuances and just let rip.  It’s a lot more satisfying calling someone a cunt rather than a c*nt [or, God forbid, the C word] and seeing as everyone knew what I was implying, I just decided not to be a hypocrite.  Let’s call a spade a shovel, as it were.

So here’s to another ten years?

I wonder if I’ll still be around?