Re: Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are a lot like the indoor smoking bans of a decade or so ago

John Stewart

The analogy falls apart, though, because at least in proposed Canonbury West LTN, the effect will be to shift traffic to other streets.  So the analogy is a ban on smoking in one pub, leading to all the smokers going to other pubs which are just as bad.


I am a bicyclist and in general in favour of well designed LTNs, but this one will be terrible.


From: <> On Behalf Of George Coulouris via
Sent: 16 September 2020 6:14 p.m.
To: CCC <>
Subject: [camdencyclists] Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are a lot like the indoor smoking bans of a decade or so ago


What a great analogy:


Josh Blacker (Ealing councillor)

A propos of nothing*: Once upon a time, people could smoke in pubs and cafes. This was harmful to them, to others, and generally made the environment pretty unpleasant. But it was the status quo. 

*yes, this is a thinly-veiled thread on LTNs. 

Other people smoked regardless of the impact their choice had on you. They smoked around your children, who were breathing in toxic air. The public health implications were huge. 

Campaigns were launched to ask people to change their behaviour, to little effect. The then-CMO said “voluntary agreements were not reducing the health risks from passive smoking quickly enough”. Something drastic had to be done. 

Enter, the smoking ban. This was hugely controversial - 78% were against it in 2007, shortly after it took effect. Your personal choice was now restricted, for the benefit of other people. 

The health effects were immediate. Heart attack rates fell noticeably. Longer-term fewer people will suffer from passive smoking - and with smoking down by almost a half, from smoking itself. Our communal spaces are much more pleasant, too. 

Public support has done an about turn. From 78% against to 83% in favour ten years later.
It takes incredible bravery in politics to do something on the face of it so deeply unpopular, but sometimes the evidence tells you action must be taken. 

Behaviour change is hard. Asking nicely often doesn't work. Changing the implications of people's choices - to smoke you have to leave the pub and go outside, for instance - gives people a reason to change those choices. 

Thanks to @JXantheW have realised I misread YouGov support in 2007 - people broadly in favour. But opposition was very vocal and angry: "The anti-smoking fanatics will use the ban to victimise and stigmatise smokers," Forest said. That's language we recognise from LTNs... 

• • •


Join to automatically receive all group messages.