THE POISON GARDEN website      Arum maculatum berries on a Cannabis leaf 

Search thepoisongarden.co.uk:

This free script provided by JavaScript Kit

Pontifications on Poison

Being some ramblings on events associated with poisonous plants.

Saturday 1st October 2011

In England, from today, the sale of cigarettes from vending machines becomes illegal. It’s another small step to try and reduce the number of young people taking up smoking. The other parts of the UK (Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) are expected to follow suit within a year.

The ban is based on evidence that 11% of under-18s who smoke buy their cigarettes from vending machines. As always with tobacco control measures there is debate about how effect a measure will be and what harm it will do.

        Nicotiana sylvestris, woodland tobacco        Nicotiana sylvestris, woodland tobacco

Of course, those 11% will find another way of obtaining their cigarettes. It would be naïve to think that a child would quit smoking just because they could no longer obtain their supplies without any adult contact. The hope is that some children will not smoke that first cigarette if they have to ask another human being to supply it. ‘Another human being’ could mean a shopkeeper willing to ignore the law on selling to under-18s or it could mean someone who is willing to buy cigarettes for someone who is underage or it could be just asking a friend for one cigarette to try.

Nicotiana sylvestris, woodland tobacco

There is the usual outcry about the change from sections of the pub trade. And, as usual, it makes no sense at all. A spokesman for the British Beer and Pub Association is quoted as saying that landlords won’t want to sell cigarettes over the counter because it meant having a ‘high-value’ item behind the bar. You’d think that landlords would welcome the fact that adults wanting to buy cigarettes would have to come to the bar where they would be presented with opportunities to buy drink or food. Not welcoming it sounds like not wanting to acknowledge that they have underage people in the pub.

There are always voices opposed to any move to exert tighter control on the availability of tobacco products. Some of those voices are from people who simply do not accept that tobacco is harmful. When I was taking tours around the Alnwick Garden Poison Garden I would always describe plants in the Nicotiana genus as ‘the biggest killers’. (Nicotiana tabacum is the species used to produce most of the commercial tobacco but it doesn’t do well in a northern European climate so, at Alnwick, we grew Nicotiana sylvestris, woodland tobacco, as an example of the genus.)

Nicotiana sylvestris, woodland tobacco

On a number of occasions, I was heckled at this point by someone saying ‘rubbish’ or the like and a few people would say, with conviction, after the tour ‘Smoking has never killed anybody’. I accept that you can argue about the extent of the harm done by tobacco smoke, particularly to non-smokers who come into contact with it, and I fully accept that there are other things in the world that can cause harm but I really don’t see how anyone can cling to the notion that smoking does not reduce the lifespan of around 50% of all smokers.

I was once told that, in France, especially the rural areas, there was a problem with people distilling their own spirits. Rather than try and enforce an outright ban on such activity, the French set a date and said that anyone born after that date could not distil alcohol for themselves. Older people could do so for personal consumption. I haven’t been able to confirm if what I was told, by an elderly Frenchman who offered me a sample of his ‘brandy’, is true but the point is this is a sound approach to dealing with a situation that should be the main driver for tobacco control.

What matters most is to try and reduce the number of new smokers so that, over time, the prevalence of smoking in the total population is reduced. Making it harder for children to buy cigarettes has to be a good move even if it is only a small step.

The next step, currently being considered before legislation is drafted, is to force plain packaging onto manufacturers. It is interesting that the manufacturers are strongly opposed to this. If attractive packaging is so important to the tobacco companies then one assumes they would only use it if forced to by law. If the UK is the first country to compel plain packaging then it would become much harder for illegally imported cigarettes to be sold. The tobacco companies have always denied that they turn a blind eye to illegal re-importing by, for example, supplying millions of cigarettes to what should be a small outlet in Europe.

 

Full Entries

2016

Tuesday 25th October 2016
Saturday 20th August 2016
Sunday 6th March 2016
Wednesday 3rd February 2016

2015

Saturday 28th November 2015
Friday 27th November 2015
Monday 17th August 2015
Wednesday 15th July 2015
Friday 26th June 2015
Thursday 25th June 2015
Thursday 30th April 2015
Wednesday 29th April 2015
Wednesday 11th March 2015
Tuesday 3rd March 2015
Saturday 28th February 2015
Sunday 22nd February 2015

November 2014

Monday 24th November 2014
Saturday 8th November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

Wednesday 24th September 2014
Monday 1st September 2014

August 2014

Tuesday 26th August 2014
Saturday 16th August 2014
Tuesday 5th August 2014
Friday 1st August 2014

July 2014

Sunday 27th July 2014
Wednesday 23rd July 2014
Sunday 13th July 2014
Sunday 6th July 2014
Tuesday 1st July 2014

June 2014

Wednesday 25th June 2014
Tuesday 24th June 2014
Sunday 22nd June 2014
Monday 9th June 2014
Wednesday 4th June 2014

May 2014

Monday 26th May 2014
Sunday 18th May 2014
Wednesday 14th May 2014

April 2014

Sunday 13th April 2014
Saturday 5th April 2014
Thursday 3rd April 2014
Tuesday 1st April 2014

March 2014

Monday 31st March 2014
Tuesday 25th March 2014
Friday 21st March 2014
Monday 17th March 2014
Sunday 16th March 2014
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Thursday 6th March 2014
Wednesday 5th March 2014
Saturday 1st March 2014

February 2014

Thursday 27th February 2014
Monday 24th February 2014
Wednesday 19th February 2014
Monday 17th February 2014
Thursday 13th February 2014
Monday 4th February 2014
Monday 3rd February 2014
Saturday 1st February 2014

January 2014

Thursday 28th January 2014
Thursday 23rd January 2014
Friday 17th January 2014
Wednesday 15th January 2014
Monday 13th January 2014
Thursday 9th January 2014
Tuesday 7th January 2014
Wednesday 1st January 2014

December 2013

Monday 23rd December 2013
Friday 20th December 2013
Tuesday 17th December 2013
Friday 14th December 2013
Thursday 12th December 2013
Sunday 8th December 2013
Wednesday 4th December 2013
Sunday 1st December 2013

November 2013

Friday 29th November 2013
Wednesday 27th November 2013
Tuesday 26th November 2013
Friday 22nd November 2013
Monday 18th November 2013
Friday 15th November 2013
Thursday 14th November 2013
Sunday 10th November 2013
Thursday 7th November 2013
Wednesday 6th November 2013
Friday 1st November 2013

October 2013

Thursday 31st October 2013
Sunday 27th October 2013
Wednesday 23rd October 2013
Monday 21st October 2013
Friday 18th October 2013
Friday 11th October 2013
Wednesday 9th October 2013
Tuesday 8th October 2013
Monday 7th October 2013
Tuesday 1st October 2013

September 2013

Monday 30th September 2013
Saturday 28th September 2013
Friday 27th September 2013
Monday 23rd September 2013
Sunday 15th September 2013
Monday 9th September 2013
Tuesday 3rd September 2013
Sunday 1st September 2013

August 2013

Sunday 8th September 2013
Tuesday 3rd September 2013
Sunday 1st September 2013

Tuesday 27th August 2013
Sunday 25th August 2013
Monday 19th August 2013
Friday 16th August 2013
Tuesday 13th August 2013
Friday 9th August 2013
Friday 2nd August 2013
Thursday 1st August 2013

July 2013

Saturday 27th July 2013
Sunday 21st July 2013
Wednesday 17th July 2013
Monday 15th July 2013
Saturday 13th July 2013
Friday 12th July 2013
Thursday 11th July 2013
Wednesday 10th July 2013
Tuesday 9th July 2013
Saturday 6th July 2013

June 2013

Friday 28th June 2013
Tuesday 25th June 2013
Friday 21st June 2013
Thursday 20th June 2013
Wednesday 19th June 2013
Saturday 15th June 2013
Sunday 9th June 2013
Saturday 8th June 2013
Saturday 1st June 2013
 

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012 blog

June 2012 blog

May 2012 blog

April 2012 blog

March 2012 blog

February 2012 blog

January 2012 blog

December 2011 blog

November 2011 blog

October 2011 blog

September 2011 blog

August 2011 blog

July 2011 blog

June 2011 blog



IMPORTANT NOTE

The POISON GARDEN website is not connected with Alnwick Garden Enterprises Ltd and/or The Alnwick Garden Trust.