England passes no compromises smoking ban

As of summer 2007, Brits will be forbidden from smoking in all indoor restaurants and clubs. This isn’t all that surprising, but what’s worth noting is how determined the banners are to impose their lifestyle choice on everyone, everywhere in the country. A compromise bill would have prohibited smoking in pubs while allowing England’s 18,500 private, non-profit clubs to make their own rules.

Proponents of the compromise argued that private clubs should be as free as people in their own homes to allow smoking if they so choose. Prohibitionists shot this logic down because — get this — it would have given clubs an unfair advantage over pubs. So when the government infringes on the rights of bar owners and forbids them from offering the kind of environment their patrons want, it justifies a further power grab as protection from the disadvantages it has itself imposed. Very disturbing.

A number of commenters on my site supported the DC smoking ban and will probably support the England one as well. The main argument they put forward in favor of the DC ban was that the city is suffering from a market failure in which most consumers really want smoke free bars, but for some strange reason bar owners aren’t providing them. In England the opposite logic prevailed: consumers really want to be able to smoke in pubs, so they have to ban it everywhere.

So, prohibitionists in the audience, time to show your true colors. If you really believe the market failure argument, tell me you think England should have compromised. Then tell me again why DC shouldn’t have compromised, even though the city council had a quite sensible compromise bill before it. Alternatively, feel free to admit that you just don’t like smelling like smoke and will support whatever argument is convenient for passing a ban. Comments, as always, are open.

[Note: I realize a few of you think smoking is soooo dangerous that it shouldn’t be allowed anywhere except 5000 feet from the nearest building and possibly in one’s own home, but not if children, puppies, or rare plants are present. I think you guys are crazy, but consistent. You’re exempted from this exercise.]

[Like everything else I link to, link via TMN.]


26 thoughts on “England passes no compromises smoking ban”

  1. I disagree with both the law and the compromise. Each individual establishment should have the freedom to make its own rules with regards to smoking, a mon avis.

    And incidentally, I consider myself a relatively anti-smoking person (though I do tend to smoke when I drink, specifically with Banecker). I just think that under my plan, there would be plenty of fine bars and eateries for both people who smoke and people who don’t.

  2. I agree with you of course. But if we’re stuck with smoking bans, as we appear to be, I’ll take ones that offer multiple options over ones that ban smoking everywhere. Hell, even the Virginia Senate has passed a state wide ban. Virginia!

  3. My understanding is that smoking bans are intended to protect the people who work in bars, not the patrons. I mean, the ban in bars just makes it so that bars are no longer excepted from the general ban on smoking in workplaces. And if private clubs have employees too, then I guess the ban ought to apply to them as well.

    I mean, obviously if the ban were intended to protect patrons, it would be fairly ridiculous. It’s clear that the overwhelming majority of people prefer smoking bars to non-smoking bars. And if someone doosn’t want to sit in a smoke-filled bar, he doesn’t have to go in one. But the staff don’t have that luxury.

    I’m a smoker myself and I’m not particularly happy about the ban here in Toronto, but I think that argument has force. Now, when they stop letting us smoke in smoking rooms and on patios, I’m going to be pissed.

  4. Oh, and also, let me add that having to go outside for a cigarette in Toronto in the middle of February is a real test of one’s dedication to the cause of smoking. Compared to that, I don’t think Virginians have any cause to complain.

  5. That is one of the justifications that has been offered for the ban, but certainly not the only one. Nor do I believe that worker health is what truthfully motivates most ban supporters. But that ground has been well covered in the past on this blog, which is why I excluded it from this exchange.

    The market failure argument is one I’ve seen a few normally pro-free market people adopt. The comments section of this post on Zhubin’s blog is an example.

  6. Interesting post in that I’m writing a story for the Lawton Constitution about Oklahoma’s new smoking ban for restaurants. I’m not a smoker but I feel bad for these people that are being forced outdoors. It’s affecting the social fabric of my local greasy spoon!

  7. Oh, I see now that I’m coming quite late to this debate.

    Still, don’t you think you need some principled reason for excepting bars and clubs from the general ban on smoking in workplaces? Or are you against that, too?

    I mean, the way it looks to me is that if the ban on workplace smoking is reasonable, then bars should be no exception. You seem to interpret this as a loss of freedom, one more step down a path to the nanny state. To me, it looks more like removing an unprincipled distinction from current laws.

  8. In principle, I do oppose the workplace smoking ban. But given the evolution in attitudes toward smoking, I suspect that most workplaces would be voluntarily smokefree with or without it (or at least make some accomadation for non-smokers, such as designating common areas as smokefree).

    You raise a good point though. I’ll take a stab at it and say that there’s a difference between banning employees from smoking and banning patrons from smoking. So if I’m a person looking for a generic office job, it’s useful for me to know that I can work in any firm without worrying that I may happen to get the cubicle next to a chain smoker who’s going to make my life miserable. A uniform ban on smoking in the workplace is a simple (though arguably too strict) solution to this uncertainty.

    But if I’m going into the bar and restaurant industry, I know in advance that part of my job will be dealing with customers who come to a place specifically to eat, drink, and possibly smoke. I’m waiving my right to a smokefree workplace by taking a job in an establishment that allows smoking. There’s no troubling uncertainty that would prevent me from knowing this in advance.

    You may find the distinction tenuous, but if we take your argument seriously we’d have to conclude that even hookah bars, tobacco shops, and other places geared specifically toward smoking would have to become smoke free. But this is absurd. Surely there comes a point when we acknowledge that a smoky environment is an essential part of the business and should be allowed as a matter of individual choice. Given that so many people enjoy having alcohol and tobacco in combination, I see working in a bar that allows smoking as an example where the employee needs to accept the risk or get a job in one of the increasing number of smokefree establishments or move into another field.

  9. OK, but then I think you’re being uncharitable toward your opponents, by thinking that they’re just grasping at straws, using whatever arguments they can find to support their position. They have a principled position, which is that no one should have to work in an environment where they’re regularly exposed to second-hand smoke. You seem to think that’s an absurd position, but I don’t see that it’s obviously so.

    Your claim that we have to “acknowledge that a smoky environment is an essential part of the business” is (I think) begging the question. Isn’t that precisely what’s at issue here?

    For one, smoking isn’t an essential part of the bar business; that’s proved just by the fact that smoking bans haven’t harmed the bar business. And clearly you can run a tobacco shop without letting the customers smoke in the shop.

    I admit that it’s a consequence of my argument, if carried to its conclusion, that hookah bars and cigar bars would have to close (or at least completely revamp their business), but I’m not convinced that’s a fatal problem. You could make the argument that we shouldn’t ban prostitution because it will have a bad effect on whorehouses, but that argument already assumes that the whorehouses have a right to be there. Even libertarians have to recognize (I hope?) that the mere existence of an interest is not proof of its legitimacy. “To each his own” is not a principle of justice, because “his own” is precisely what has to be determined in an account of justice.

    My point is not that prostitution is bad, therefore whorehouses should close; smoking is bad, therefore cigar bars should close. My point is only a point about the order of explanation. And the question of whether or not those businesses have a right to be there in the first place is prior to the question of whether they’ll be unfairly harmed by this law.

    All I’m saying is, rights have to be balanced against each other. There’s no such thing as an absolute right (you might think I’m being a crazy socialist here, but what I just said — that there’s no such thing as an absolute right — comes straight out of Locke, in his argument against Hobbes. If rights are absolute, then government is impossible; the very purpose of government is to balance rights against each other).

    So the point is this: *If* there’s a right to a smoke-free workplace, then that has to be taken into account in assessing what bar owners can do in their bars. You might deny that there is such a right. I’m just saying, that’s the issue that has to be debated here, not the issue of whether smoking is essential to the business.

  10. I’d be more charitable toward my opponents if I had reason to think that they were sincerely concerned about worker safety. But the vast majority of smoking ban supporters aren’t actively looking out for the interests of workers in fields more dangerous than bartending, nor, I suspect, have they even done their homework to figure out what comparable risks across jobs really are. Take mining, for example. After the tragedy a few weeks ago, everyone was demanding stricter safety regulations. How many of those same people are still following the issue weeks later?

    When people who ordinarily pay little attention to worker safety issues suddenly become veritable labor activists in the one case that happens to affect their own recreation environment, I find their motivations just a bit questionable.

    Obviously, I don’t agree that there’s a “right” to a smokefree workplace. But even if you do insist on using rights language here, it should be a waivable a right. I suppose you’d say workers have a “right” to not risk severe injury on the job, but surely firemen, police officers, and pro athletes get to waive it. Similarly, people who want to work in hookah bars, tobacco shops, and (I would argue) regular bars should also be free to waive the “right” to a smokefree workplace. Any smoking regulations should include provisions to create spaces where this “right” can be waived, so that willing owners, employees, and patrons can voluntarily come together in a smoky, boozy environment.

    This is just a roundabout way of getting back to the original point of the post, which is that compromise bills would be superior to bans promoting the “one best way” to run a bar.

    Speaking of which, where are the market failure folks? Chad’s a smart guy, but he’s not defending you here. Speak up!

  11. Believe it or not, I’m sympathetic to your position, that there ought to be some way of addressing this issue short of a blanket ban on smoking in bars. In Toronto, some bars have “smoking rooms” — airtight glass prisons where smokers can go for their guilty pleasures — but I’ve heard rumours that those will soon be outlawed, too, for reasons that border on fascist. I’ve ever heard that smoking on outdoor patios is going to be a no-no, which seems to me *completely* insane.

    But putting those crazy things aside… you’re making the following unwarranted inference. Yes, there are jobs that essentially contain an element of risk. But the element of risk involved in breathing second-hand smoke all day is not essential to the job of bartending. You can have bars without smoking.

    If miners are exposed to unnecessary risks, then we rightly call their employers negligent. That’s why we have workplace regulations in the first place; to prevent owners from exploiting their workers, by making them bear excessive risks while they accrue all the benefits.

    What you need is an argument for why the workers should have to bear this particular risk. Why should bar owners profit from serving smokers, while bar workers bear all the costs in the form of exposure to second-hand smoke? Don’t you market types call that an “externality”?

    I will be the first to agree with you that I think compromise solutions, like regulations requiring appropriate ventilation or provisions for special smoking rooms, would be the better way to correct this particular market failure. But just saying that the workers choose to bear the cost because they’ve agreed to work there, as you seem to say — well, that’s a slippery slope if i’ve ever seen one.

  12. And, actually, that’s just another way of making the same point I was making about “rights” — the question of whether the cost of being exposed to second-hand smoke is one that the bartenders should bear is prior to the question of what bar owners can choose to do in their bars; the answer to the second question importantly depends on the answer to the first.

  13. Rather than making a judgment of which risks are necessary or unnecessary, I think it makes more sense to look at market conditions when deciding whether or not to regulate. In the mining example, there appear to be asymmetries in knowledge and power. If workers live in a mining town, they may have few other options for employment. Also, given the complexity of mining operations, they probably have no way of knowing if management is carelessly doing things that could lead to catastrophe. I’m no expert on mining, but I accept those reasons as providing a good prima facie case for regulation.

    Neither of those conditions hold for second hand smoke in bars and restaurants. Jobs in the service industry abound. Even if circumstances force a person to take a short term job where they’re exposed to smoke, finding a better alternative requiring the same or similar skills should not be too challenging. Secondly, there’s no lack of information about whether one will be exposed to smoke or not. Smoking policies are easily discovered.

    Given that there are no asymmetries of knowledge or power here, you’re making an unwarranted assumption that bar owners reap all the benefits while imposing an externality on their employees. Why not assume instead that exposure to smoke is among the things bar workers are compensated for, along with having late hours, being on their feet all the time, and dealing with occassionally unpleasant customers? Ironically, you’re now making a market failure argument of your own, but aren’t providing any reasons to support it.

  14. I guess we’re not far from agreement here.

    I’m kind of surprised to see you come out in favor of regulating the mining industry; I expected you would say that whatever miners are paid reflects the market value of their work, including the value of the kinds of risks they have to take on, and by accepting the terms of their employment they agree to bear those risks. I guess you’re not the heartless libertarian I thought you were!

    I agree with you that the service industry is relevantly different from the mining industry. It’s public knowledge which bars are smoky and which aren’t, and the risks of second-hand smoke are known to anyone who has a third grade level of literacy. And I agree with you that the power relations are different, as well. “Having no choice” but to work in a mine is a lot different kind of “no choice” than “having no choice” but to tend bar. (Really, in my experience, “having no choice” but to tend bar translates to “I need a job where I can drink”).

    Still, I think once we admit that there’s a standpoint external to the worker/employer relationship from which risks have to be assessed (i.e., once we admit that the mere fact that someone accepts certain terms of employment is not proof that those terms are objectively fair), then it’s at least debatable whether second-hand smoke is an acceptable risk. And there might be reason to think that up to a certain point, it is acceptable; but where that point is, is a political question.

  15. “Take mining, for example. After the tragedy a few weeks ago, everyone was demanding stricter safety regulations. How many of those same people are still following the issue weeks later?”

    Ooh! Ooh! Me! I was watching a C-SPAN hearing on it the other day. Yes, North Carolina is that exciting!

    Jacob makes a good point here, and that is that labor regulations should be reserved for those times when laborers have diminished power to withhold their labor. In situations where laborers have the opportunity to choose where they want to work, these things should just work themselves out.

    However – and there’s a big however here – the aforementioned Friedmanian (neologism = fun) ideal rarely occurs in practice. Your average service sector laborer cannot afford the weeks without a paycheck that would arise from withholding labor. Especially in a tight labor market such as the one that exists currently, turning down a job offer or quitting a job is generally not an option. The reality is that the situation of laborers in restaurant/bar jobs is more like the miners’ situation than you might realize.

    That having been said, I suspect that Jacob’s right in that the real motives behind the smoking bans probably have more to do with nanny statism rather than with honest concern for worker well-being. Perhaps a better option that restricts smokers’ rights less would be a more comprehensive unemployment assistance and job training program so that laborers can move from one job to the next if they feel endangered or uncomfortable. This would be more costly however.

    (Also, working in a mine is qualitatively far more dangerous than working in a smoky bar. That makes regulations not only reasonable but necessary in the former instance.)

  16. Completely aside from the issue of workers’ rights, let me expound on what I perceive as the particular kind of market failure here, which is also applicable to other situations.

    It seems to me that even good markets are restrained by a certain kind of inertia: What has been established custom requires a great deal more market pressure to change than it does to keep going as is.

    You can always make the argument that if non-smokers felt strongly enough, they’d boycott, or would simply patronize smoke-free establishments. There’s an obvious problem of information (I don’t know which bars in DC are smoke-free, if any truly do exist). There’s also a problem with consumers in this market not being truly autonomous and reasonable when they have to make the relevant decisions (because they are likely intoxicated).

    And anyway, we all know that a perfect market doesn’t exist, and there will always be costs involved in switching from smoking to smoke-free. Those costs may be great enough to require a vastly greater non-smoking-preference, when it should only require a net preference over 50%.

  17. Yeah, I get the argument. I’m just asking the people who make it why they don’t support compromise bills instead of bans. Based on a comment you made some time ago, I think you would, but others don’t.

    Incidentally, your “net preference over 50%” statement is weird. Niche markets cater to far smaller consumer groups. What’s the net preference for hookah bars? Pretty tiny, but quite a few of them exist.

    Which raises the question of why there aren’t more bars catering to non-smokers. See my next post.

  18. Barzelay, I don’t see how mere preferences are going to get you a justification for smoking regulations.

    First of all, I think you’re simply wrong to think that most people prefer non-smoking bars to smoking ones. Bar owners are businessmen, after all, and if there actually *were* a huge, untapped market for non-smoking booze halls, I think people would be falling all over themselves to cater to it.

    But even if you’re right, and there’s a silent majority of people who actually want non-smoking bars, I don’t see how that gets you a justification for a law banning smoking. I don’t see how it makes sense to think of the law as a medium for realizing preferences.

    Imagine that I have a preference for organically-grown vegetables, but I happen to live in a small town with only one grocery store, and the grocer simply refuses to carry them (say, because he thinks he’d lose money by doing so). I don’t see how I’m being wronged here; I don’t see how the mere fact that I prefer organic veggies means that I’m entitled to a grocery store that carries them; more importantly, I don’t see how I’m in a position to call for a law that would *force* the grocery store to carry them.

    You might say that the grocer just doesn’t understand his market, and that if he sold organic vegetables, people would come in droves to buy them. But even if that’s true (which I doubt it is), I don’t see how that entails that we need a law to force the grocer to sell them. To me, it means I need to drive to another town to buy my fancy-pants veggies.

    Notice that you can make the same arguments here that you can make about non-smoking bars: organic vegetables are much better for you than non-organic ones; if people understood their interests properly, they would buy organic. So what? Where does the justification for coercion come in?

    If I’m going to have some justification for imposing my preferences on others (whether it’s my preference for organic veggies or for non-smoking bars), that justification is going to have to dig deeper than merely asserting my preference. And I don’t see how the fact that lots of people have a preference makes it more enforceable than if only one person has it; that’s a difference in degree, not in kind. Lots of people prefer shopping at IKEA to shopping at other furniture stores, but we don’t think there should be a law requiring an IKEA within a certain distance of every American home.

  19. I think switching examples in mid-argument was unfortunate there. I also think I have trouble knowing when to shut up.

    The point that lots of people having a preference doesn’t per se make that preference enforceable could be better made this way: even if 51% of the people in my imaginary small town prefer organic veggies and the grocer refuses to carry them, I still don’t see why he should be forced to sell them. He’d certainly be irrational not to, given the money he could make–but last I checked, it’s not against the law to be irrational. Nor should it be.

  20. You have, of course, raised a question necessarily underlying any argument on this subject. Under what circumstances does the goverment have the right to intervene in the free market? Great, but so what?

    The only reason we’re even discussing anything but that question itself is because it has been decided by our society that there is no satisfying answer, and we must therefore look at individual circumstances. I’m not sure whether or not I agree.

    The 51% in my post was meant to express that, in a perfect market that was completely dichotomous between two mutually exclusive alternatives, the proportion of market entities following the more popular alternative would approach 51% as the number of entities became sufficiently large. This may or may not be accepted (I am not all that well-acquainted with the free market arguments). Although there may be 200 smokefree “establishments,” this number is meaningless without more information. We’d need to know how many of those cater to a particular demographic, and then we’d need to know how many that catered to the same demographic allowed smoking. And we’d need to know that for as many demographics as possible. Even if there are 200 smokefree bars, it doesn’t really sound like a functioning market if there are 4000 smoking bars. Unless non-smokers really just don’t care that much.

    But what of the argument that consumers are unable to express their preferences due to being intoxicated?

    In any case, I’m quite sympathetic to compromise solutions, and I’m quite sympathetic to claims that the government should have no right to legislate based only on preference (of which I think this ban is an example). I find it somewhat ridiculous, however, to believe that any of you really think that there is not a market failure here, and that consumer preference for non-smoking is not being underrepresented.

    I think that, given enough time, many more bars would be smokefree. Certainly there are more now than there were ten years ago. But often, the problem with the market is not that it cannot cope with circumstances, but that it copes with them too slowly. Perhaps the ban is using a jackhammer to insert a thumbtack, but I don’t find anything wrong with the motivation to speed up a market shift. Are there better ways of doing it? Probably yes, and I’m on record supporting some of the compromise solutions.

  21. I obviously don’t think all consumer preferences are being met all of the time or I wouldn’t believe there’s any role for entrepreneurship. But, for reasons outlined in the next post, I think non-smoking bars and restaurants are a case where the market is functioning to meet them. Comparing a gradual shift to a make believe world where all preferences are met immediately isn’t identifying a market failure, it’s engaging in wishful thinking.

    Your willingness to use government power to “speed up” a market shift sets a dangerous precedent for other situations. It would encourage anyone who provides a product (organic growers, to use Chad’s example) to lobby city councils to have its adoption accelerated through coercive laws on retailers. Ironically, it would give entrepreneurs more incentive to please politicians than to please consumers. For someone who claims some affinity for free markets and skepticism of power, it’s a bizarre position to take.

    Your intoxication argument is just grasping at straws. One, not everyone gets absolutely trashed. Two, it wouldn’t affect people’s judgment about the first bar they go to in a night. Three, who the hell cares? Are you seriously suggesting we should be passing laws based on the fact that people who are drunk may not be perfectly in touch with their sober consumer preferences? What’s next, eminent domaining one of the Adams-Morgan big slice pizza joints and replacing it with a healthier Subway? Give me a break.

  22. As I’ve said, I don’t think the ban is the best solution, and I will now admit that I do not even think it is a good solution. But I continue to insist that it is a serious market failure, and not an anomolous one, either.

  23. I’d make a good libertarian?!? Slander! Slander!

    Look, I’m very happy to dismiss this particular market failure argument, but (as I’ve said) I’m not against the smoking ban. I’m not a libertarian; I’m a liberal. I look at this issue as a way of reconciling competing rights or freedoms, not as a way of balancing competing preferences.

    We think (or at least most of us think) that people are free to smoke if they so choose. But we also recognize that smoking is not like other private choices that people make; smoking in company necessarily exposes other people to risks, risks that at least some people would not voluntarily accept. If we look at the problem this way, then it becomes clear that there’s a genuine conflict of freedoms here, and not a mere conflict of preferences; that is, my smoking subjects you to a harm (or at least the possibility of a harm) that you did not choose to bear. That harm is involuntary in a way that a mere unrealized preference is not, in that is is imposed on you from outside. The political question is the question of how to reconcile your freedom not to have your body invaded by carcinogens with my freedom to suck on my cancer stick.

    I think that the two extreme solutions to the problem (“I’ll smoke wherever I damn well please” and “You’ll not smoke within 100 miles of civilization”) both have the fault of giving one person’s freedoms too much weight over others’. It’s obvious that people can’t smoke whenever and wherever they please–at least, not if we’re to have any respect at all for other people’s health. But I think it’s equally obvious that the other solution, the no-smoking-under-any-circumstances solution, is also going too far. It’s ridiculous of “public health puritans” to think that people should be protected from all airborne risks; if that were true, then we should ban not only smoking, but also cars, factories, farms, and–most especially–exhaling. The problem with these activities isn’t that they’re risky; the problem is that the risks they pose to third parties are involuntary. The goal shouldn’t be to eliminate risk; risk is an essential part of human life (big ups to Nietzsche!). The goal should be to reconcile these obviously valuable activities with the involuntary costs they impose on others. (And, from the other side, the fact that these risks are ineliminable doesn’t mean that *any* risk is acceptable; the fact that you can’t have a big city without smog doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t regulate vehicle emissions).

    You might think that all I’ve done is translate the language of “preferences” into the more noble-sounding language of “freedoms,” without really changing anything about the debate. I don’t think that’s true, though. I think there’s a difference between the situation of the person who ‘prefers’ to go to a smoke-free bar but has none available, and the person who has to go to work every day and be surrounded by chain smokers — just as there’s a difference between the person who ‘prefers’ to live in a smog-free city, and the person who lives in a city that takes no measures at all to reduce the emissions of cars and factories. I think the second person has cause to complain in a way that the first person does not.

  24. I guess my argument rests on accepting the difference between not being provided with a non-smoking environment (OK) and being forced to be in a smoking environment (not OK). That would be like the difference between not being offered organic veggies to buy (OK) and having non-organic veggies literally forced down my throat (not OK).

    I’m not sure that the analogy is perfect; I admit that the difference is much more clear in the veggie case. But to me, all that means is that there’s going to be considerable variation in what counts as an acceptable solution to the smoking problem. That’s why, like I said, it’s a political problem; different cities will settle the problem in different ways. That’s fine by me, as long as we at least recognize that there *is* a problem.

  25. Statistics from 1960 to 2006 show smoking in decline worldwide. The Irish Tobacco Control figures show a natural decline in smoking over this period. But “SINCE” the ban in Ireland, the natural decline has ended, and the number of smokers has increased. See http://www.otc.ie/chart.asp?image=fig_1.1.jpg

    Based on Irish Government figures; there are now 10,000 more Irish smoking because of the ban. Vintners Federation of Ireland quote 600 permanent pub-closures and over 12,000 full-time pub-jobs lost so far. Huge amounts of money have been wasted on this, which could have been spent instead on effective ventilation and air filtration.

    PUBS are losing up to £2,000 a week in Scotland, because of the smoking ban. See http://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/readstory.php?id=7126

    Our Government should take note, and learn the lesson from Ireland. With this new law, hundreds of thousands will stay at home. People, including myself, will stay in to smoke, saving money by using cans. You will, perhaps, recall that the Health Minister herself freely stated that the (alleged) danger is far greater in the home than any public place.

    I also e-mailed the UK Statistics, and asked them how my people died by passive smoking, from the time records began; they could not name “ANY” I think this whole issue is far too overrated, with the lies ASH and other government funded groups have spread, as there in not one case, of a person being physically harmed or dying by passive smoking.

    Gradually this Government is chipping away at the freedom of the British people and of late, it has become very clear how a majority of the voters have had quite enough of this rising totalitarian rule. Allow the people of this country the freedom to choose their social environments, we are not children and can make informed decisions as to where we socialise and work. Allow the natural progression from early education to gradually reduce the numbers of smokers – it is working now, so why not let it continue, instead of bringing in a draconian ban which will clearly, as Ireland will confirm, make smoking as “cool” as it was years ago. Can people not see that this is history repeating itself???

    Our Government should take note, and learn the lesson from Ireland. With this new law, hundreds of thousands will stay at home. People, including myself, will stay in to smoke, saving money by using cans. You will, perhaps, recall that the Health Minister herself freely stated that the (alleged) danger is far greater in the home than any public place.

    Visit the following site it will give you tables of the highest smoking prevalence and the highest lung cancer prevalence. The two don’t match up; cancer is more likely to be caused by your food, or individual genes.

    State Health Department officials say they have no evidence that more people are smoking after a long and steady decline, agency spokesman Tim Church said.

    How could Tim Church possibly say the above, as cigarette sales are up, so that means only “one” thing, far more people are smoking when a ban is imposed, it happens word wide please read on.

    OLYMPIA, Wash. — Legal cigarette sales in Washington are up, despite a tax increase and a ban on smoking in most public places, state revenue figures show.

    In the first three months of the year, 52.5 million packs of legally taxed cigarettes were sold, slightly more than the 52.4 million packs sold in the first quarter of 2005, according to the state Revenue Department.

    Figures for the nine months since the 60-cent-a-pack tax hike also increased compared to the corresponding months in 2004-05.

    If they can manage a similar ban in Italy, then I’m sure that England can deal with a no smoking ban in public places.

    There is big difference in Italy, as most of the year it very warm, and I would site outside the bar, then all the time.

    In reply to the, Smoke danger remains.

    Kate Alley wrote, I quote,

    Many people believe ventilation machines remove smoky air and replace it with fresh air. This is not the case. Ventilation machines act as a filter. While the machines do remove the visible elements of smoke, the cancer-causing particulates in tobacco smoke are too small to be seen by the human eye and too small to be trapped by the filter.

    These ventilation systems, actually remove all the air and its particulates, if you colour the air you would see and understand this far more, the whole air is removed then replaced

    The problem is these are far more harmful toxins in the every day air, so you would have to live in a bubble to avoid these, most bars have far less toxins than the natural air outside, so what would be the point on people not smoking in the bars.

    MSP Patrick Harvie said spending 24 hours in Glasgow city centre was the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes. Oxford city centre has the worst air pollution in the country, according to a survey which compares inhaling the air there to smoking 61 cigarettes a day. So with all the toxins in the air, is a ban in bar and clubs, really worth all the time and money, when good ventilation could be far more useful.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4401628.stm http://archive.thisisoxfordshire.co.uk/2004/08/27/9214.html

    I have recently seen a copy of the leaflet being distributed by The Department of Health and having read the studies published by ASH and the British Heart Foundation, there is a part of their stated “Facts”, which, to me, do not stack up.

    Whilst I have no wish to enter into a protracted argument regarding the alleged dangers from second-hand smoke, I would just like to seek an explanation of the penultimate page in the leaflet that accompanied the letter. That is – the page wherein it is stated:-

    “FACT – Your body starts recovering just 20 minutes after becoming smoke-free.”

    If this is in fact, “a fact”, then how can organisation such as Ash and the BHF possibly claim that passive smoking can begin it’s course of destruction within 30 minutes!!!

    Your leaflet appears to contradict the “science” screamed at us by the Anti-Smoking groups. They cannot have it both ways – either passive smoking starts it’s allegedly lethal journey within a non-smokers body within 30 minutes, or a body begins to recover from ACTUAL smoking within 20 minutes.

    I look forward to receiving your comments.


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