Tuesday, 2 March 2010

The Smoking Ban

On 1 July 2007 one of the very few decent pieces of legislation introduced by the Labour government, the ban on smoking in public places and workplaces, came into effect.

Previous legislation was to have a non smoking area but this didn't work very well as the smoke simply difted over.

What a pleasure it has been to sit in the canteen at work and eat my lunch without being surrounded by clouds of smoke.

What a joy it is to go to a pub for a drink and a meal and not have to breathe in the fumes from other people's cigarettes nor to have to go home with my clothes stinking of them.

My mum has smoked ever since I can remember, and still does, and I always hated the smell of fags (that's British slang for cigarettes for any Americans reading this). I still remember my first driving lesson. I got into the car and the first thing the instructor said to me was "Do you smoke?". He could smell cigarettes on my clothes.

Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 different chemicals. At least 50 are known carcinogens (cause cancer in humans) and many are poisonous. Smoking causes heart disease, cancers of the lung, larynx, oral cavity and esophagus, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Smoking is also a contributory factor for the development of cancers of the bladder, pancreas, and kidney. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more severe asthma.

So it's a surprise to me that the ban still seems to be so controversial. Why would anybody object to a law that stops people being forced to breathe in these chemicals?

I've read about landlords of pubs being fined and imprisoned for ignoring the law, the most recent I read on the Derby Patriot. True, lots of pubs are closing down but is it really the smoking ban that is to blame?

I think that is much too simplistic. People's lifestyles have changed. The days of the men leaving work and heading straight for the pub while the wife sits at home are long gone. If you want a drink you can buy it much cheaper from supermarkets and the fact is that there were simply too many pubs in this country, a legacy of days gone by when the pub was the only place for socialising.

One idea I've heard put forward is to have smoking and non smoking pubs. Sounds okay until it's examined in more detail.

When a group of people go out the liklihood is that at least one of them will be a smoker. Naturally the smoker will want to go to the smoking pub and his or her friends will go along to keep them happy. Thus starving the non smoking pub of customers.

It also doesn't take into account that pubs are also workplaces. Why should the bar staff in the smoking pub have to breathe in all their customers smoke?

They could choose not to work in the smoking pub but that would restrict their employment opportunities.

I really don't see why stepping into the fresh air for 10 minutes while they smoke is such a problem.

Nationalists believe in a healthy body and a healthy nation and should support the smoking ban.

I look forward to the day when nobody wants to put cancer causing toxins into their bodies through smoking and totally support ASH.

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