Wednesday, 6 June 2007

The Smoking Ban - England's First Sign of Civil Unrest?

Nick Hogan, landlord of the Swan Pub is leading the fight against the smoking ban which comes into force on the 1st of July. Nick says: "This protest is growing and we are still a month away. It is a -protest against dictatorship. It is not about being pro-smoking. It is about the freedom to choose." The Health Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, is calling the ban: "a triumph for public health (which) will protect everyone from the harm of secondhand smoke".

Now, I smoke and yet I agree with banning smoking in certain places, but this ban is going too far and is infringing on our civil liberties. In the beginning you could smoke at your desk, your workbench or wherever you applied your trade, as long as it was safe to do so. This was very correctly banned as non-smokers had no choice but to endure secondhand smoke. Then we had smoking rooms which tended to be away from non-smokers and well ventilated. Now this is where I start to disagree with the ban. What is wrong with a well ventilated room that non-smokers do not enter? I'm struggling to see the health risk. Why have smokers been forced to stand outside their places of work, when they have suitable indoor facilities that do not risk the health of non-smokers? I can't think of an answer to that one, apart from: because the government said so.

Another great idea was to put restrictions on the outdoor shelters that could be erected outside workplaces. What you are allowed is basically an open Bus Shelter. Can someone please tell me why these shelters must be open to the elements when non-smokers will never enter them? is this some kind of smoker's punishment? I cannot understand why the government have banned smoking or imposed regulations in areas that non-smokers do not frequent. Surely the same logic could be applied to banning Elephant hunting in Barnsley.

And then there's the pub issue. Pub landlords should have the right to allow smoking on their property. If I walked into a bar, and several of the clientele were partaking in an activity which I found unsavoury, I would turn around and find another bar. But what about the Bar staff? I hear you say. There are many jobs where not only your health, but your life is at risk, mine is one of them. I choose to do the job I do, just as Bar Staff do. That's freedom of choice, something which is slowly but surely being taken away from us.

Wouldn't it have been better to leave this to market forces? If non-smokers were so sick and tired of smoking in pubs, wouldn't we have non-smoking pubs popping up everywhere? But no, instead we have the government forcing this law upon us without any consultation of the people. I find this trend to pass new laws and invent new taxes which are obliged to honour very disturbing. I'm trying to see where democracy comes into this governments policy. The government are saying: you will behave like we tell you and we will take your money by further taxation without representation, if not, you will be punished.

What makes things worse is that I understand this government directive is now going to cost the tax payer £1.6 billion to implement. Also I'm led to believe that 1,200 compliance officers (compliance, that's got a ominous ring to it) are to be paid £22,000 a year to hand out 'on the spot' fines. That's more than a front line soldier gets! Oh, and get this: prisoners can smoke in their cells. Marvellous.

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IanP said...

It spreads much wider than just smoking. It is beginning to infect every aspect of our lives.

You will only put certain rubbish in certain bins, or be punished.

You will place your bins in a certain place, at a certain time on a certain day, or be punished.

Government are now speaking of doing the same with drinking, and with eating, and with travelling, and with employment, and with interacting with other people, and with, and with, and with....

It is to put it bluntly totalitarianism by legislation. 26,000 pieces of legislation.

You will do what we tell you, or be punished. You will no longer think, act or do as you please, we will do that for you, or you will be punished.

We now live in a totalitarian state, legislated totalitarianism.

Daily Referendum said...


It is all very disturbing. I think the people will wake up to this too late.

IanP said...

Until the mainstream press begin to speak up, and break free from the spin, it will be a long slow uphill struggle to get the message out there.

As Perry de Havilland said over on Samizdata the other day with regard to the totalitarian state:
The excuses will not invoke the Glory of the Nation or the Proletariat or the Volk or the King or the Flag or any of those old fashioned tools for tyrants, but rather it will be "for our own good", "for the Planet", "for the whales", "for the children", "for the disabled" or "for equality".

But if they get their way it will be quite, quite totalitarian.

We have already been subjected to a new law every three and a quarter hours, every day, every year for 10 years..

and they keep planning on more, and more and more.

Anonymous said...

Am I not right in saying that with ventilation systems in public places,(another law enforced by the government)It is healthier to smoke in public places than at home! I am however a little worried as I am a smoker and the ban is being enforced in July. I enjoy smoking when i go out and I don’t want to go outside to smoke. My friends and i were talking about this last week and one of them recommended I try a gel she found on the internet called nicofix, you rub it into your hands and it stops all cravings. I think it may be worth a shot, unless of course the government now comes up with a law for hand gels!

Sarah North said...

I totally agree! im rather anxious about the forthoming smoking ban in under a month. I initally thought i would have to give up smoking but i really don't want to! I might give the gel you talk about a try!

Anonymous said...

i was born free and i will retain the right to do what i want freely sod em all!

joe camel said...

Some people love freedom, some don't. Some who don't take a sadistic pleasure in policing those who do.

The only answer is in minimizing one's time
spent in public. Stay home and put your money in the bank.

proud smoker said...

State of the art air cleaners remove not only smoke but a thousand other breathable pathogens.

But "clean air " fanatics don't want clean air, they want no smoking and filthy air.

Suffer, you bastards.

Anonymous said...

I hate and totally diagree with the smoking ban.

I have been down the battle for two evenings now and the atmosphere is shocking. It will never be the same again!!
To get on the bandit with me pint and light a cig up after hard day at work used to be the best.

Surely it is more important to stop these terrorists than force us to smoke outside of pubs. The government are liberty takers and I will never vote for any of them and move abroad.

Smoking Geordie