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No such thing as a free lunch


fourm member

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As the saying goes.

The Scottish government has published its tobacco control strategy for the next 20 years. It's called Creating a Tobacco-free Generation.

Chapter 2 says 'we have defined ‘tobacco-free’ as a smoking prevalence among the adult population of 5% or lower'.

Since when did governments determine the meaning of words?

The UN estimates that 5% of the world's population uses illegal drugs. Does that mean we have a drug-free world?

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carver

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natdoor have you thought about making that word into a trade mark, it could work as an alternative.

And WTM well remembered, a fine explanation of what a word can mean.

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fourm member

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natdoor

If the Scottish government passes a law saying tobacco-free means 5% or less then that is fine.

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spider9

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fourm member

First of all NO government would ever pass a law defining what an expression means - that's not what laws are for.

But if, as they appear to be doing here, they say "For the purposes of our study, we will accept that anything below 5%, can be considered as tobacco-free", then I can see no harm or deception in it.

As long as the position was made clear (and it was) then what is the problem?

Earlier, you worried about them redefining the 'poor' - but that definition (like the 5%) would need to be defined, numerically presumably, according to the context it was being used in, welfare in your example. So it might need to be something like " We will consider a family poor if the household income less than £X per week" - the point being the definition would need to be explicit before adoption.

Governments are redefining things all the time - tax allowances being a case in point, perhaps!

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Woolwell

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Doesn't the Child Poverty Act 2010 define child poverty - "a household falls within the relevant income group, in relation to a financial year, if its equivalised net income for the financial year is less than 60% of median equivalised net household income for the financial year."? Whatever equivalised may mean!

Of course it is an internationally agreed standard. But it is mathematically flawed as someone will always be below the median therefore you cannot eradicate it but perhaps lower the gap.

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bumpkin

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So if 3million people (5% of UK population appx) get drunk every day then the UK is alcohol free?

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spider9

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bumpkin

The debate here concerns the original Scottsh government definition, with regard to smoking - absolutely nothing to do with alcohol, as nobody is claiming trying to achieve an alcohol-free population.

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bumpkin

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Spider9 The same percentage applies to anything. If something contains 5% sugar it is not sugar free. Not to my mind anyway.

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spider9

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bumpkin

At the risk of constant repetition, nobody is claiming that Scotland will be free of all tobacco, they have explained what 'free' means for their purposes IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE.

For an average person it is possibly an easier 'headline' concept to understand than something like:-

"Tobacco-aspiring towards a maximum of 5% public usage"

Would hardly make a pithy lead!!

As I keep saying, I'm happy with tobacco-free, as long as it is clearly explained what meaning is intended - and it clearly was.

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Quickbeam

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If a cafe reduces the price of it's lunches to 5% of the original price, can it legally claim to be offering free lunches?

Rhetorically speaking of course...

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fourm member

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spider9

'absolutely nothing to do with alcohol'

I'm sorry, you've clearly missed part of my point. World-wide prevalence of drug use is about 5%. When the UN established the single convention on narcotic drugs its aim was to create a drug-free world.

An enormous number of lives have been destroyed by the single convention and, if 5% means free then people like David Cameron can claim (as he does out of cowardice) that the current policy is working.

The point I made to natdoor was in answer to his about marriage.

I think you are wrong to say 'First of all NO government would ever pass a law defining what an expression means - that's not what laws are for'.

All laws define what words mean. Take two examples I'm familiar with. The Ragwort Control Act 2003 defines what is meant by the term 'ragwort control'. The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 defines what 'drug' means in this context.

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